Sotobamura, a isolated town in England. The town was originally an japanese colony and the town was established during the edo period. It seemed to have stayed the way it was builded. No new buildings and only the families of the original settlers. Their traditions changed and they stopped speaking to people from outside the Sotoba walls. When they separated themselves from the rest of Japan they got forgotten. Nobody heard anything from Sotoba for decades and everyone thought that they had disappeared. So they called it The Dead Village.
The Dead Village
Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)
Here there is death. But even here,they say,
Here where the dull sun shine this afternoon
As desolate as ever the dead moon
Did glimmer on Sardis, men were gray;
and there were little children here to play,
With small soft hands that once did keep in tune
The strings that stretch from heaven, till too soon
The change came, and the music passed away.
Now there is nothing but the ghost of things, -
No life, no love, no children, and no men;
And over the forgotten place there clings
The strange and unrememberable light
This is in dreams. The music failed, and then
God frowned, and shut the village from his sight.
Monday, April 15th 1889
Rain was pouring down on a cold April night with sounds of thunder and lightning in the background. The thick clouds made it impossible to see the stars so it was pitch black. On the thin road there was a traveling horse carriage. The wagoner yelled at his horses and whipped them so that the trip would end sooner. Inside the carriage sat a family who was about to move in to the village. A man and a woman were sitting at the far side of the carriage. The woman had a cream ankle-length dress with puffed sleeves. The cuirass bodice was gold and had embroidered lace all the way over the square shaped neck-line. The small crinoline was making it very uncomfortable for her to sit but even with the discomfort she looked happy as she leaned her head on the shoulder of her husband. He was stroking her midnight blue hair and looked very pleased. He wore a velvet smoking jacket with a tombstone shirt and a red medallion ascot. Opposite of them sat their teenage son. He was wearing a similar outfit as his father but with darker shades. He had a bored look on his face and he was hiding his eyes behind his long violet bangs. He didn't want to have eye contact with his parents after their fight. He remembered what he had said. ''Why do you have to be so selfish? Can't you see that I'm perfectly fine in the city! If you want to move to a creepy old village then fine. Just don't drag me along.''
His parents had never liked living in Japan. They didn't approve the politics, education and they wanted to flee from anything new. They didn't agree to the new, less strict, rules and thought that kids nowadays had no discipline. It was the final straw when their own son managed to get expelled several times, even thought they had sent him to the strictest boarding schools in the whole country.
Sotoba was perfect for them. It was isolated from the rest of Japan, always holding together no matter what, many ground rules that the villagers had to follow to avoid chaos. When the boy had been sent back from school his fifth time, they had drastically sold their estate and loaded their belongings into a large ship that they had bought. Their maids and butlers had to resign as the family left the country, but they hired temporary employees that would follow them all the way to England. His father had even hired a tutor for the teenager so that he could study during the trip.
Three months later they arrived in London harbour just as they saw the bright light's from the beautiful city.
London was in a great industrial age but the air was horrible from all the smoke that was coming out of all the chimneys. It created a fog of air pollution. When they had dropped anchor and stepped out of their ship his parents payed a flaky man that had been waiting for their arrival. His mother had told him that the gentleman was going to let them stay at a inn for that night so they could leave early in the morning. The family and their servants left their ship as it was and followed the odd man into the city.
London was so much different than Tokyo. The streets that they walked on were filthy and the people around them looked as if they lived in poverty. The townhouses seemed like they haven't been painted for decades and people on the street walked in crowds. He remembered one man actually trying to steal one of their luggage but the man quickly got beat down by their robust servants. They arrived to a somewhat decent street and the odd man introduced himself as Ernest. Ernest opened the tavern door for the family and let the family sit at a booth in the corner while the their hirelings brought up their belongings upstairs. Ernest and his wife Florence offered them some wine and the adults talked well after closing hour while the boy sulked next to a window upstairs. The constant chit-chatting downstairs made his head ache from the foreign language, even though he had become mostly fluent in the english. When he tried to sleep in the uncomfortable bed the gas street lights with their luminous light deprived him from his sleep. The boy twisted and turned all nigh in his sleep until it was dawn. Ernest and his wife prepared a carriage for them and bid them farewell.
And so, the carriage was headed for the village where they would meet one of the Kirishiki, Tatsumi, who would take them to their new mansion. The violet haired boy leaned against the window and moved in his sleep. Another lightning struck not too far away. He let out a wary sound that was not a sigh, nor a groan and put his elbow on the windowsill as he took up his pocket watch. It's 2am.
"If every night is like this then I'm never going sleep again.." Thought the boy and looked out the window. Through the pitch dark he watched a silhouette appear in the rain. Behind the silhouette he could see a tall dark fence with the name Sotoba written in a gothic font. The carriage stopped and the horses let out a deep neigh.
"Guess this is the end of the line!" Exclaimed his mother and stood up.
"Byebye to freedom.'' Said the boy, still sitting and staring out the window, not even bothering to get ready. His mother seemed to get a bit upset. She knew he hated moving but he can still try to make the best of it. The father glared at the teenager.
"Can't you show some respect? This isn't like any other city out there. They actually care about keeping it nice. You should be thankful we found such a wonderful place and even got you into a great school!'' The boy stared icily back at his father. The mother sighed and braced herself for the words that were about to be spilled.
"You humour me father, this will be no different than any other town. Just because they are a bunch of control-freaks doesn't mean they can control me."
"We are doing this for your own good! You need a peaceful environment so you keep your head clear and focus on studying."
"Frankly, I don't give a damn how beautiful and peaceful it is there. Why would I even care about studying if I'm not allowed to do what I want to in my life?"
"That language will not be tolerated young man!"
The teenager rolled his eyes and continued.
"How exactly is it a great school? The village is in the middle of nowhere and they, most likely, have no real education. They probably teach you that religion bullsh-'' He was cut short when his father slapped him. He felt his chin as it began to ache. His father stepped back and rubbed his hand which had become a bit red.
There was an uncomfortable silence except for the heavy rain outside the carriage.
"Azusa we should get moving''
His mother gave an apologetic look to the teenager as they slowly stepped out of the carriage and into the rain leaving the boy inside looking daggers at them.
"Damn..'' He said and touched his cheek as he watched his reflection in the window. He had got a bruise from his dad's rough hand. "That's gonna leave a mark''
His mother had said many times "That's his way of showing he loves you! He just want you to grow up and be a good boy'' He wanted to spit when he thought about his mother words.
"What if I don't want to be good?.." Said the teen for himself as he hugged his knees to his chest and sighed.
Meanwhile the couple had already walked over the man who stood next to the big entrance. The man had fussy light blue hair, that stuck out in every direction, and he wore a black tuxedo.
"Welcome'' Said the man under his umbrella while giving a bow to the pair. "I'm Tatsumi the steward of the Kirishiki.''
"Nice too meet you Tatsumi-san. I'm Yuuki and this I my wife Azusa."
"I hope that you will like it here in our humble village. I've heard lots of good things about you." Said Tatsumi in a cheery voice.
The three turned around as two carriages arrived and parked.
"That's a lot of baggage you have there. I'm afraid you can't bring in servants."
Yuuki walked over to the wagoner and gave him a bag of coins. The driver nodded and jumped of the carriage and walked off into the rain. The other wagoners followed.
"You don't need to worry about them they will surely find their way back, and as for the servants the Kirishiki will provide you with a maid once you've settled.''
"How wonderful!" Exclaimed Azusa and hugged her husbands arm.
The boy got out out of the carriage and walked over to his parents who were chatting with Tatsumi. His mother turned to him and patted his head. The blue-haired steward noticed the boy.
"You must be Natsuno! Welcome kiddo'' Natsuno raised his eyebrows as he hissed.
"I'm not a kid. Never call me Natsuno again.''
"Natsuno! That's no way to talk to a superior!'' His mom gasped at her son's behaviour.
The man simply smiled at Natsuno. "It's okay. He will learn in time. My name is Tatsumi. Nice too meet you Yuuki-kun!''
"Whatever.'' Natsuno walked past them and headed towards the gate.
Yuuki clenched his fist and took a big breath before speaking to Tatsumi.
"I'm sorry about Natsuno's attitude. He had a rough ride and I think he is just tired'' Tatsumi gave Yuuki a sympathetic smile as they all looked over to Natsuno who started pulling the chain at the big gate.
"I think someone is excited to see their new house. Why don't you all go inside the carriage and I'll drive you to your home.'' Tatsumi walked past Natsuno and unlocked the gate.
Natsuno ignored him and turned away as he sat down on a small pillar sticking out of the ground next to the gate. He didn't realise it was wet until he had sat down. He didn't feel like standing up so he remained on the pillar. The blue haired lady stepped inside the carriage as her husband led the horses through the gate.
"We have some ground rules in Sotoba but I won't bore you with all of them now. I'm sure you will learn them all in school Yuuki-kun." Tatsumi walked over to Natsuno. The boy snorted and jumped off the pillar. Yuuki followed his wife inside the carriage and sat down next to her. Tatsumi took this opportunity and grabbed the boy's medallion ascot with a swift moment and lifter him up.
"I hope that you wont cause any trouble here. I don't have time dealing with brats like you."
Natsuno coughed and swore at the servant.
"Is there a problem?" Yuuki opened the carriage window and looked outside. Tatsumi let go of Natsuno.
"Not at all Yuuki-san!" Tatsumi smiled and patted the boys back.
"Off you go!" He closed the gate after Natsuno.
The boy adjusted his ascot and stepped inside the carriage. The family sat inside the carriage while Tatsumi took the wagoner's seat. Tatsumi whipped the horses and they were on their way inside Sotoba.
Natsuno looked out the window and saw the dark fence getting further and further away and disappearing slowly. He couldn't believe this was the last time he would ever see he outside world. He closed his eyes and wished that this day never happened.
He woke up from male voices outside the carriage. He looked at his pocket watch. It's 3am.
Natsuno rubbed his eyes and decided to investigate what was going on. He stepped outside and stared in astonishment.
"This must be our new house''
The mansion was made out of gneiss and it was two story tall with a large porch. The house was huge compared to their old estate, he could hardly see the top of the house from the mist that was settling after the hard rain. Natsuno went closer to the site and looked through the black fencing that was a tipped with spikes. He touched the vines growing on it. Behind the fence was a garden, it looked like nobody had taken care of it for a long time. It stretched all the way around the house. The house had been inspired by a english castle. It wasn't creepy, even though the building was so dark and the garden had overgrown.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?''
Natsuno didn't notice that a man had been standing next to him. He wore a white brocade tailcoat and a grey vest beneath. The man had light blue hair that made his skin look pale as snow.
"It could use some gardening" Replied Natsuno and the man laughed.
"Hahaha, that's true. Oh sorry, I forgot to introduce myself! My name is Seishirou Kirishiki. I'm the head of the village." The man had a strange appearance. They shook hands and observed the wondrous house together. It was something odd about him, but Natsuno just couldn't put a finger on it.
Tatsumi approached them after putting the last furniture inside the house.
"Would you like to come in? Your parents are already inside.'' Natsuno remained quiet and followed the looked along the dirt road. Through the mist he could see some houses like his in the distance.
Tatsumi opened the gate and it creaked from the rust as he pushed it open. They walked through the dense garden and went up the patio. There were torches lit up next to the big black front door. Natsuno opened the big door and gaped at the sight as he stepped into the house. The hall that he was currently in had a tall ceiling and a huge chandelier hanging at the top. The walls had a lovely champagne shade and the floor was made of marble with countless natural patterns running through the stone. There was a big staircase next to two large columns, made of the same material, that led up to the second floor.
Natsuno stepped over to the middle of the room with his hands in his pocket. He could hear heels tapping and music from a piano in a room nearby so he went to inspect it. The drawing room was located right next to the hall. He went through a cased opening, that had a beautifully carved lintel, and saw both his parents behind the big snow white forte piano. They had begun playing the Pastoral symphony composed by Beethoven. The pair had perfected the art of 4 hand-piano and played the music piece flawlessly with their own twist to the piece. The composition resembled their mood; a happy and grateful feeling after the storm.
The boy stood by the opening and examined the room. The forte piano, where his parents were playing, was in the center of the room. There were two golden chesterfield sofas in front of the piano and some armchairs behind it. The flame glowed and sparks flew from the burning wood in the large fireplace in the back of the room. The whole room was a bit smaller than the entrance but it had the similar characteristics. The couple started playing staccato and Natsuno sat down with his back to the cased opening frame and listened to the marvelous melody. The pastoral symphony was majestic even though it was simple, natural and straightforward, the piece sounded out of this world although it's solid and steady. Natsuno closed his eyes and focused on the piano. His mother began to sing the part that was supposed to be played by the clarinet. Her silvery soprano voice ringed throughout the room and echoed perfectly in sync with the piano.
Music was the only thing he and his parents had in common. They were the ones who personally taught him how to play the violin so perfect that he outplayed most professional violin players. Natsuno would always play while either his father or mother would accompany him on the piano. He had loved it, playing new tunes everyday with his family, going to a music school with other talented children and of course the fame he got in the city. Natsuno shifted as he looked out the large window and sighed. It was all great until he became a trophy child. His parents began travelling around the country, showing off their little Beethoven and made him play for people he didn't give a rat's arse about. The other kids ignored him when he began middle-school since all he was to them was a 'bootlicker'. It made him hate music, hate people and especially his parents. He became an outcast until when one day.. He cracked.
Natsuno stuck the floor with his fist as the horrifying memories came back again. The singing stopped abruptly as he did so.
"What wrong?" Asked his mother with a concerned tone.
"You know exactly what's wrong.. " He got off the floor and walked towards the big staircase as he heard her calling for him.
"Natsuno! Come sit next to us darling. We should enjoy this moment as a family." Said his father from behind the piano as he played absurdly fast triplets. Natsuno strode reluctantly back into the room and sat on a sofa. He put his elbow on the armrest and sunk down into the couch as the pair continued the piece. He heard footsteps, turned around lazily, and saw Seishirou and Tatsumi. They watched as the couple played in ritardando, as the piece was coming to an end, and finishing it of simultaneously with forte risoluto. The two men clapped their hands and Natsuno got out of the sofa and headed out of the room with twitching hands. The rage was building up inside him, he couldn't stop thinking about how his parents ruined his life once again.
"You two are quite the pair! I've never heard anyone play like that. It was absolutely delightful!" Said the man in the white coat as he walked over to the piano.
"Thank you sir. We're very happy you found it entertaining." Said Yuuki as he shook the man's hand.
"You're very talented, why, you could even perform in the town square if you'd like! I think the villagers would be most interested." Concurred Tatsumi that had put down the last box of goods on the coffee-table
"Oh, but we have so much to do!" Sighed Yuuki and put the lid of the piano down.
"But once we're done, we would love to host a housewarming party!" Said Azusa and clapped her hands in excitement. Her husband nodded and put an arm on her shoulder.
"I'll let everyone know if you decide to do so! You should get some rest now, it almost dawn.'' Said Tatsumi and bowed as he exited the house.
"I hope that you will feel at home here. I bid you farewell." The couple bowed as Seishirou followed his servant out the front door.
Yuuki looked at Natsuno who had been standing in the hallway during their conversation. He was looking at the floor.
"You should be getting some rest. You have school tomorrow.''
Natsuno obeyed, since he didn't want to start another argument with his father, and went up the marble stairs. He walked along a big lit up hall with a with a few doors on each sides. He saw a note on the floor next to a red door and picked it up.
"They even chose the room for me.." He crumpled the paper and went inside the room. Natsuno slammed the door shut behind him as he entered his room. Shivers ran down his spine as he looked around the room.
Why was it all white? Are they trying to imprison me in some kind of asylum?
The room was not that big, to his left was his bed and a desk and in front of him stood a big wardrobe. The only thing that was letting light in the room was the window. He opened it an watched the gray sky that was hid the morning sun. There was a big tree blocking his view right next to the window. The tree had thick branches and there was one branch fairly close to his window. Natsuno climbed up on the windowsill and poked the branch. Natsuno shook the branch up and down.
"That's my escape route.'' The boy mumbled for himself. He then threw himself on his bed and drifted off to a sleepless slumber.
The sun rays came through Natsuno's bedroom window and made him squint his eyes. He sat up and brushed his bare chest. For a while he stared at the white wall.
"Yeah, I'm still here" He remembered and fell back onto his pillow. He had hardly sleep anything for the last three hours. He opened his eyes and watched the ceiling, it was just as white as the walls. He hated how clean and white everything was. It made him feel confined. Natsuno rolled out of bed and landed on the ruby carpet next to his bed. He turned so that he was laying on his stomach and started playing with the soft fabric.
There was a knock on the door. Natsuno twitched at the sound but remained quiet.
''Natsuno?'' It was his mother's voice. She continued knocking. ''Natsuno are you awake?''
''No'' Muttered the tired boy who couldn't get up from the floor.
''Natsuno you have to wake up. We are going to drop you off at your new school. I think Tatsumi is going to show you around.''
''Super..'' Natsuno commented sarcastically while rolling over to his back again. He and Tatsumi hadn't exactly got off at the right foot.
''Get up'' Azusa commanded. "I hung your school uniform on the knob."
''Put your clothes on and come to the dining room for breakfast.'' She said and started walking down the hall. With a groan Natsuno stood up and walked to the door and opened it. Natsuno observed his new clothes. It was a pair of black trousers, a golden tie, a simple white shirt with a high collar and a black jacked with the name Kirishiki on the right sleeve embroidered with a golden thread. The teenager said nothing and simply put the outfit on.
Natsuno made his way down the stairs and went through a glass door on his left. The dining room had a lovely flower print wallpaper and the room was huge with a table stretching across the whole room. It's length was unnecessary for such a small family. His parents sat at the far end of the table and his mother waved to him. She wore a simple white dress which was hand-embroidered and she held out a cup of tea to her son. Natsuno walked to the other side of the room and received the drink. He sat down opposite of his father who wore a kimono bathrobe and was drawing something in a notebook. Natsuno took a sip of the cup and reached for a scone. The food selection was a bit strange since it was a mix of japanese and english food, but it would pleased his rumbling stomach either way. His father and mother had started eating their miso soup so Natsuno grabbed his bowl of steamed rice and started eating in silence.
"I'm done with the sketch now, it's not really that perfect but it gives you a close impression how the garden is going to look after I'm done with it." Said Yuuki as he passed the drawing to his wife. She took some time studying it and smiled back it him.
"It will be wonderful."
"I sure hope so, because it will cost a lot of money. Especially that fountain in the back."
"You're awfully quiet today Natsuno" Remarked Azusa mid-sentence whilst passing the bowl of scones to Yuuki.
"Tatsumi came by and said that he wont be able to show you around. He will let some students help you instead. That will be fun, right?
"I'm sure it will go fine in school, just think of it as a new start! You can change all the things you did wrong the last time!" Said Azusa, trying to get a reaction from her stubborn boy.
"Natsuno, cheer up honey. I know the first day may seem hard but I'm sure you'll find it bearable." She sighed and slowly drank the rest of her Earl Gray tea.
"I hope that you wont act like that in school. That's not a good way to make friends" Mumbled his father that was losing his patience for the boy. Natsuno remained quiet and so did his parents for the rest of the breakfast.
He finished his bowl walked out of the dining room and in to the main hall. There was a coat stand next to the exit which wasn't there when he arrived. Natsuno saw a pair of shoes that were obviously a part of his school uniform because of the big golden 'K' on them. He put them on and sat down in a armchair which also had been placed around the time he slept. He waited impatiently for his parents so that he could get this day over with.
The teenager felt embarrassed as he walked down the dirt road with his parents. His mother was very cheery and skipped as though she was young again. His parents held hands and commented on everything they saw in the village. Natsuno didn't listen and simply looked down at the ground. He did admit that it was nice outside but he would never move away from the city just because of some pretty flowers and buildings. The street they lived on had houses, similar as theirs, but smaller. The rich villagers lived there, but they had no where near the same amount of wealth as the foreign family.
They finally made it out from their street and he started to feel a bit chilly. The sky wasn't clear so there was no sun to warm him. He saw some elders women, wearing matching bristol taffeta suits, sitting on a bench chatting.
"They probably don't have anything else to do in this village" Thought Natsuno as they passed them. He overheard them gossiping.
"Isn't that the family that moved in to the old mansion? My, they sure don't look like outsiders." Blabbed the youngest madam with a black fan. The women nodded their heads in agreement as the next one continued.
"What a handsome young man!" The woman pointed straight at the boy. "He will surely be a hearbreaker! Hahaha!" The elderly women laughed in sync. His parents turned around and waved to them, it seemed that they hadn't overheard them since they still looked unconcerned. The madams waved back and continued their conversation.
"What a nice young couple!"
"Absolutely lovely, but their boy hasn't got the Sotoba manners yet."
"Hopefully he will be a nice host at their party, or I might not show up!"
"Oh deary, you're such a liar! Who wouldn't miss the chance to be at a ball in a huge mansion?" Natsuno grit his teeth and ignored them. He didn't want to listen to their stupidity. People have no privacy in such a small village. As soon as a rumour spread everyone will know about it. He didn't care what they thought about him anyway, he was going to get out of this village eventually. Their laughter faded as they made it further into the village. They passed tons of townhouses. They all had an english feel to them.
They finally arrived at a big building made of limestone. There were windows covering almost the entire building and made it look like a typical english school. It was odd though, since the school mainly taught japanese, japanese history and japanese religion. He could see some children in their uniforms running around and some teenagers that looked the same age as he. It looks like the elementary school and the senior high school were in the same building.
''I'm not even surprised'' Thought Natsuno while he rolled his eyes.
"Behave now Natsuno."Azusa ruffled Natsuno's violet hair and patted his shoulder.
Natsuno went through the large door and stopped inside the large building. He had no idea where he was going. He sighed and ventured further into the building. As he walked along the corridors he constantly felt eyes staring down his back. It wasn't the most welcome feeling.
After a while of pacing he noticed that he'd been walking in circles. He sighed in frustration as went outside again.
"I have time left before the lecture start. I shouldn't stress like this.." Thought Natsuno while sitting down on the nearest bench. He brought up his schoolbag and opened the book his mother had bought for him in London. The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He looked up between the pages and tried to examine the people. Many were around the age 8 to 14 but he could see some teenagers like him chatting next to the school fence. There weren't many of them so he guessed that they would be in the same class as him. They all looked the same to him. It wasn't the uniforms that made him think so but the way they acted.
They were just like the old ladies that he had seen on his way to school, the teenagers were bragging and gossiping about small things that shouldn't even be important. They girls looked like dolls with their perfect hair and perfect posture while the boys acted like gentlemen. They weren't playing around like the children around them, well that's only natural when your at the start of your adulthood. There was only one girl who stood out from the crowd, the one who had been staring at him the whole time.
The pink haired girl stood in the middle of the 'girls circle' and was ignoring her friends who tried chatting with her. He had noticed her first of all the other teenagers because she had a high amount of make up on but he hadn't noticed that she'd been gaping in his direction. It was creeping him out.
The group began to move and Natsuno adverted his attention to his book. He kept his glance down as the class passed him, making him as invisible as possible. They were either too intrigued in their conversation to notice him or to scared to speak to him. He went back to his book and began reading.
A few minutes later he realised that the class had got inside because the lecture had started. Natsuno gave himself a mental smack and took up his pocket-watch. He swore as he was late and put the book down in his bag. He ran through the entrance and began walking up the stair that seemed a mile long from where he was standing. Natsuno turned around as he heard the entrance door opening. He saw a blonde teen running up the stairs. His tie and shoelaces were untied and there were pens dropping from the bag he was barely holding. The blonde tripped on his shoelaces and landed face first on a step. Normally, you should help people up if they make a fool of themselves but right now Natsuno didn't care if so the Queen of England herself fell in these disgustingly long stairs. His father would kill him if he was late.
"Bloody hell not again!" Cursed the boy downstairs.
He stopped and saw that the blonde had gotten up and was gathering his belongings. Natsuno regretted his decision as the blonde became aware of his presence and waved to him. Natsuno quickly turned around, feeling guilty, and walked up the last step. Natsuno suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder and gasped as he was spun around.
"Heya! You're the new kid right?" The boy's honey-brown eyes lit up as the corners of his mouth tilted up in a broad smile. Natsuno was stunned.
"I'm late for class" He stuttered the words out while looking anywhere in the room but in his eyes.
"Don't bother going to it then. If you're late they will either lock you out of the classroom or make you wear the dunce's cap." Said the boy as he took his hand off Natsuno's shoulder. Natsuno didn't blink and kept watching him in shock as he lazy tied his loose tie. He was so carless and so imperfect. Maybe this day would be interesting after all. The boy snapped out of his thought as the blond stretched his hand out to him.
"I'm Tohru Motou. You must be Natsuno, right?"
"Don't call me Natsuno" Said violet haired teen with his usual irritated voice.
"Huh? Why not?" Said Tohru as he scratched his fuzzy hair.
"I don't like it. Just call me Koide or Yuuki."
There was an awkward silence but the blonde kept his broad smile up. "If you would stop looking at me, that would be great.." Thought Natsuno as he tapped his foot repeatedly.
"Hey, I have an idea"
"Yeah?" Natsuno gave him a bored look.
"If I tell Hirosawa-sensei that I showed you around the school we could actually get away with being late"
Natsuno looked at his watch once again. "Whatever, let's go"
"I will show you your classroom, the gym, the library and the school temple!"
"…" Natsuno started to walk down the second staircase." These people even have a temple at their school? They will surely try to brainwash me." Thought the stubborn boy. He felt a arm slide over his shoulders and froze.
"The classroom is on the third floor. But your class wont start until one hour or so.'' Said Tohru and pointed at the stairs while holding his other arm over Natsuno's shoulder. Natsuno calmly removed Tohru's arm with the tip of his fingers and remained silent. Tohru ran through the corridor and waved to the awkward teen so that he would hurry up. They started the tour inside the school.
"This is the library!" Tohru announced excitedly. He had already showed Natsuno the rest of the school so now was the time for the best part. Natsuno breathed out heavily as they went to yet another room.
The library was bright and clean. There were more bookcases than the amount of books. The room was almost like a labyrinth with all the half empty shelves. A massive labyrinth.
Tohru took a step in front of Natsuno and put his hands up in the air "It's huge isn't it?!"
The younger boy nodded and continued to observe the room.
"You know, one time I even got lost here. I wandered off too far into the library and I couldn't find my way back. Now I know tons of hiding spots!"
"Well, at least I have a place where I will be left alone." Thought the violet haired boy and rolled his eyes to the silly blonde who just wouldn't shut up. Tohru smiled at him and the awkward silence was back once again.
"Shouldn't you be in class? It ten o' clock." Said a man behind the counter. Both boys jumped as he spoke, since they weren't aware of his presence.
"You're Yuuki-kun right? I'm the librarian Yuzuki" The eldery man was wearing a colorful vest, a white dress shirt and a black silk puff tie. The man had a friendly smile on his face.
"If there is anything you need feel free to ask me"
"Thank you sir." Natsuno gave him a polite bow.
"I hope I will see you here soon again, there are many interesting books that you can borrow."
The boys walked out the gigantic library.
"Wow! I can't believe it's been one hour already. Time does really fly by." Tohru exclaimed.
"Thanks for the tour." Natsuno surprised Tohru when he spoke.
The blonde rubbed the back or his head.
Natsuno turned around and headed to the classroom he had been instructed to go to.
"Hey Natsuno! Why don't we eat lunch together later?" Tohru shouted from across the room
Natsuno pinched his nose and looked back at him.
"Don't call me Natsuno."
"I take that as a yes!"
Natuno shook his head as the blond skipped to his own classroom. They were about the same age, so Natsuno wondered why he wasn't going to the same class. He wanted to ask him but he took out his pocketwatch instead, and saw that he was running late again. He clasped the watch and ran to his classroom passing some students. He arrived just in time as the teacher was closing the door.
''Welcome Yuuki-kun! Im Hirosawa'' Natsuno looked at the middle-aged man in the gray costume. He had a blank stare and gave a slight nod towards the blackboard. Natsuno bowed to the teacher in a respectful matter and went up to the chalkboard. He wrote his name and kanji and turned around to the class. They looked at him as if he was from another planet. Natsuno was prepared for that though.
"I'm Yuuki Natsuno. Thanks for having me"' He could feel all the eyes on him. He held his gaze on the wall in the back so he couldn't make whole class began to whisper.
"Any questions for our new student?" Asked the teacher. There was a silence in the room and a few pupils shook their heads.
"Well then, you can take a seat by the window" Said Hirosawa. Natsuno took his bag and walked over to his desk. Heads turned as he walked all the way to the back of the room.
"Open page 228 in your math book. We will start with repeating last weeks algebra assignments."
The teacher started the lesson and the boy slowly dozed off. He decided that he didn't need to pay attention when they went through what he had already learned last year. He looked out the window and saw a lake in the far distance. Behind the lake there was a forest, and he could see a rooftop sticking out. It was probably a watch tower. He'd seen several of them on the carriage ride. His trail of thoughts were interrupted as he felt someone looking intensely at him. He turned his head slightly to the right.
Pink eyes pierced him with their gaze.
He turned his head back abruptly almost showing his panic. It was that girl from before, she was sitting on the other side of the room but her stare still felt so intense. He didn't want to turn around again and kept sitting stiffly.
He shrugged the feeling off as he saw students gathering their things and leaving
'Is it over already?' He thought as he mimicked their actions and went out the classroom. The hallways was crowded with teenagers from different classes. Natsuno didn't have any trouble getting through the crowd though, they all seemed to back off as soon as he moved in their direction. Unfortunately, since he had no idea where the cafeteria was, he had to wait for everyone.
"He is cute." Said a green-haired girl out loud to her friend.
"He is very cute!" The short dark haired girl concurred.
Normally you would get heart warming feeling if someone said that to you, well If you actually gave a damn.
"He looks like a wierdo." Said a athletic boy who put his book in a locker. "He should join the Masao-group, right Masao.? He clapped the back of a really lanky guy so that he almost lost his balance.
"Stop that." Said Masao as he regained his footing.
"They are all so stereotypical. It's ridiculous." Thought Natsuno as put his palm on his forehead. He was a frustrated how they could just blurt things out but he kept his calm.
"I wonder what he does in his free time." The conversation kept going.
"He is probably a bookworm" Said another male voice
"He is smart then! Not like you Tamotsu!"
"Hey! That was uncalled for!" They all laughed and walked off into a room that Natsuno assumed was the the cafeteria.
"They are all the same." Said Natsuno as he began to rummage through his bag. He brought up his lunch box and got startled when he saw that a girl had appeared in front of him.
"Hi!" Said the pink haired girl and jumped at the spot. She wore a similar jacket as him, a black skirt and golden leggings. The shoes were different from the other girls. It was a pair of black satin shoes. They had chunky heels and black ribbon ankle straps. She smiled at him.
"I'm Megumi Shimizu. Nice to meet you!"
Natsuno said nothing. He could see that it was making her nervous as she turned around to her friend who waved to her. "Keep going, It's going great!"
Natsuno started walking towards the cafeteria door.
"Wait up!" Megumi stopped him. "Yuuki-kun would you like lunch with me? I would really like to get to know you." Natsuno didn't give her a single glance and kept walking.
"We can talk about the city! I've always wanted to move there. It's so boring here." She said and tried starting a conversation with him. Megumi had a hard time to trying to keep up with Natsuno.
'Just leave me alone' Thought the boy as he started moving faster. She finally stopped following him when her friend called for her.
"Megumi, let's go eat lunch!"
"Fine." She said and stomped away.
Natsuno sighed in relief and proceeded to enter the cafeteria. It was almost the opposite of the library; It was very dark and the floor was made of dark quartize. There were small black table made of iron and some black chairs made of the same material. He didn't want to take up on Tohru offer, but he wouldn't be able to avoid him since they all had lunch in the same room. The boy walked to the end of the room where nobody was seated and sat down next to a open window. He opened his lunch box. It was onigiris, grilled fish, tsukemono and some cherries.
"Itadakimasu." He mumbled and ate some grilled fish with his chopsticks. Natsuno looked up when someone familiar sat down in front of him.
"Don't look so shocked. I told you we were having lunch together" Said the blonde and brought up his own lunchbox.
"I'm fine by myself."
"Well I'm not, so you have to keep me company!" Said Tohru and laughed.
"Whatever." said Natsuno and looked out the window and thought. 'Why do these villagers have to be so clingy?'
Tohru then started talking about his day. Natsuno tried to listen but then dozed off again.
'If I can hold out for a few years, I could flee and start a new life where I belong. No, I wont need to wait that long. I just have to find the right opportunity for my escape, run and never look back. I should start my preparation as soon as possible-'
Tohru interrupted his trail of thoughts when he started swinging a cherry by its stem in front of him.
He seemed to have lost interest in his own lunch and started poke around Natsunos bento. Tohru lifted the cherry up high as he could and then slowly placed it on his tongue. Natsuno gave a skeptical look as he met Tohrus eyes.
"What? This is how fancy people eat cherries!" He explained and pretended that he had a beard "I don't always eat cherries, but when I do, I eat them like a sir" Said Tohru with a exaggerative british accent.
'Dont smile, don't smile, don't smile' Thought Natsuno while looking down at his food as the blonde began to laugh at his own joke. His smile was like the cheshire cat and so contagious, Natsuno almost couldn't help but to smile too. Natsuno pushed his bento across the table.
"You should try it Natsuno!" Said Tohru as he took another cherry from the wooden bento box.
"No, I'm good. And don't call me-" Natsuno got interrupted.
"Hey you know what we should do? We should totally go to the town square. I'll show all the shops and restaurants we have."
"I don't really enjoy those sort of things."
"Naw, come on! I'll be a good guide, I promise." He stared at him with his puppy eyes.
"I don't think I can." Natsuno
"Oh that's fine! We can always go on Saturday." Said Tohru and stood up as he gathered his belongings.
"Wait I don't-" Natsuno gave an irritated sigh as the blond interrupted him once again.
"My class is starting. I'll see you tomorrow!"
"Bye Natsuno!" Tohru waved as he ran to the exit.
"Ugh!" Natsuno put his head in his palm as he growled.
The hour felt like days in the gray classroom. Natsuno had been paying next to no attention and simply stared out the window. Everything was jus so.. dull. He would probably die from boredom before the day ended. The girl constantly staring at him didn't make him feel any better either. What was her problem anyway?
As the teacher dismissed the class Natsuno almost jumped out of his chair. He grabbed his bag and shoved his way through the crowd. He just wanted to get home without another villager making remarks about him.
The boy took a big breath as he left the school and began walking the way his parents had showed him. His house was really far away from the school. He almost had to walk for half an hour to get home. He heard footsteps behind him as he walked on the dirt road. Someone had been following him for a while. Natsuno turned around and startled the pink haired girl. Megumi waved at him and ran a bit closer.
'Not this again' Though Natsuno as he continued walking in a accelerating pace.
She walked next to him and said "You take this way home too?"
"I..um.. I've head a rumour that you're having a house-warming party. Is that true? I'd love to come!"
"I would love to see your house. It must be so beautiful with all those modern furnitures."
"Why are you ignor-"
"Hey Natsuno! The violet haired boy turned around as the blonde ran towards them. The girls smile instantly turned into a frown.
"Mutou, your house is the other way." Her voice sounded very aggravated.
"Yupp, but I decided to take a detour so I can escort my good buddy Natsuno." He smiled as put his arm around Natsuno's shoulder.
She spun her heel and stomped away to the opposite direction. Natsuno pushed the arm off his shoulder and turned back to his original path.
"What have I told you about using my first name?" The blonde had managed to get him provoked once again.
"That you don't like your name, and that you don't want to be called by it?" He had a sly smile on his lips.
"If you know that why do you keep calling me that?"
"Because I like your name."
Natsuno let out an angry snarl expressing his extreme annoyance as he stormed off. Tohru began to chuckle uncontrollably.
"You owe me one!" Shouted Tohru in the distance. "I totally saved you from 20 minutes of walking with miss chatterbox."
"I don't need your help." Natsuno increased his speed until he couldn't see the blond. "Cant they all just leave me alone?"
After ten minutes of walking he finally saw his house. All he wanted to do now was sleep and forget these annoying people. His parents had to be retarded to think that moving 9601 km to this village just so that the villagers would treat him the exact same way as everyone did in the city. He felt like an object that didn't belong anywhere and was just an inconvenience. There is just a matter of time before Natsuno will get bored and do something delinquent like the other times he transferred. This village will be no exception.
Natsuno left his school bag, sat down by his desk and stared at an open blank notebook.
Natsuno had begun writing his journal when he was sent to his first boarding school in Japan. It wasn't a daily diary, it was just something he wrote down his thoughts in when he had the desire. It was the only treatment he had agreed on with his psychologist. Forced to do actually, since nothing else seemed to work. But it was fine for Natsuno, as long as he didn't have to share his feelings with someone else. Natsuno shut the book and yawned.
"I'll write in that damned thing tomorrow.."
The wind was making the tree shake and the leaves were flying into his bedroom. Natsuno got up and closed the window.
"What the-?" He mumbled as he saw that Megumi stood in front of the gate. Her eyes were fixated right at him. Natsuno closed the blinds.
'Why is she here?' He thought while undressing and sat down on his bed.
It was only five in the afternoon but yet he felt so exhausted. He rested his head on the pillow.
''Only for a few minutes..'' He yawned and closed his eyes.
I re-wrote this fic since I wasn't really happy with it's length and the way I wrote it. I think I posted that fic three months ago, and I was always to lazy to rewrite it. But now I did it! Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
This chapter is like a prologue. I tried to give you a somewhat open view of my version of Sotoba, and how this fic is gonna play out. A bit japanese and a bit victorian. You have no idea how much time i spent researching.
Oh and Tohru is now the original most interesting guy in the world. I promise I will not use any more memes...
I hope that you liked it!