That evening, the pair of twins were not as cheerful as they had been when they left the Burrow on that warm, summer afternoon. From the moment Kaoru picked up whatever it was that was surely much too sparkly to be a regular shard of glass, curiosity and a sense of foreboding occupied the Hitachiin twins, leaving no room for anything else, not even the amazing dinner Mrs Weasley prepared (which was obviously not an ordinary Weasley meal, judging by the expressions on the freckled redheaded siblings). Hikaru and Kaoru were completely unable to keep down the nauseous anxiousness that quickly built up in their stomachs. They kept glancing at each other with their hidden emotions hardly hidden at all from their expressions. Even Fred and George couldn't help but shoot them nervous looks from across the dining table.
Mrs Weasley, having to deal with her devilish identical sons for years, immediately caught up with their body language. Even after the Little Devils assured her that they simply never had much of an appetite and that everything was perfectly fine and oh so normal, and they definitely did not find something that may or may not be a clue to how they can go home or transport themselves to Middle Earth for that matter, Molly Weasley was persistent. Little Ginny herself noticed something wrong in Hikaru and Kaoru's behavior. But they couldn't just tell them about their little souvenir, right? You don't barge into a stranger's home with no idea how you arrived in their world in the first place and announce, ''Guess what? We found a portal that could probably take us anywhere including parallel universes! Don't mind us.''
Oh, wait. The Japanese twins had done something like that already. But this was different...sort of.
While Mrs Weasley ranted on about how little Hikaru and Kaoru were eating and insisted on building miniature versions of Mt. Everest out of food on their plates, Fred and George had sent the Japanese twins a silent message with their eyes: We'll talk about this later.
So that's how the Hitachiin twins found themselves in Fred and George's bedroom late that night, both of their meals threatening to make a second appearance because of the strong sense of foreboding that conveniently chose to settle in their stomachs of all body parts. The moment Hikaru's fingers made contact with the Weasley twins' bedroom door, both of the Japanese redheads felt firm hands clasp their arms and dragging them inside. While George (or at least, Hikaru and Kaoru suspected it was George) guided them toward one of the beds with an occasional prod to the back, Fred immediately locked the door and pressed his ear against the wood, as though listening for any intruders. When it seemed like Fred was unable to pick up any peculiar sounds, he pulled away from the door. Hikaru and Kaoru watched as Fred sat beside his twin on the bed across from them.
Without wasting another second, Fred held out his hand as if waiting for one of the Hitachiin twins to hand over cash. ''Let me have a proper look at it.''
Kaoru's eyes narrowed in suspicion at these words. He knew exactly what Fred was talking about; he wanted to see the portal piece that rested in his pocket. ''You already did,'' he responded, recalling how much Fred and George had gushed over and marveled at the breathtaking shard of the once whole glass orb.
''Besides,'' Hikaru added, ''how will that help?''
''Shush now, don't interfere with the expert. I simply wish to determine if it is truly what you assume it is.''
In perfect harmony, the Hitachiins replied, ''But you haven't even seen the real thing!''
Before Fred could come up with an excuse, George had urgently raised a finger to his lips and fixed them all with serious eyes. ''Keep your voices down,'' he muttered.
The Little Devils were pleased to see that Fred did not argue. Although, ironically, Kaoru fished out the portal piece from his pocket anyway. It was almost like holding thin air; it weighed nothing at all! Kaoru constantly feared that he might forget the thing was in his pocket and accidentally squish it under his weight.
All other three sets of eyes stared at the small, shiny glass-like object in Kaoru's hand. Nobody spoke a word.
Finally, George cleared his throat to break the uneasy silence. Unfortunately, he asked the one question Hikaru and Kaoru hoped nobody would ever ask. ''What do we do now?''
The Hitachiins prepared to answer with an ''I don't know'' or a dejected shake of the head, but Fred had thankfully cut them off from displaying their ignorance. ''There's only one thing to do, of course. Find the other pieces, spellotape them together, and voila; a free ride home!''
''That would be plausible except we have no idea if this even is a piece of the portal,'' George interjected. ''And if it were, how can we be sure that the other pieces survived? Or even exist, for that matter.''
''Also,'' the Hitachiins put in with an identical look of displeasure on their faces, ''we prefer going home by other means.''
Fred snorted. ''And what are these 'other means' you speak of, hm?''
Hikaru very much wanted to reply, ''Anything but that dreadful portal!'' He realized how childish this would have sounded, so he couldn't help but feel some relief when his brother said something more reasonable. ''We can't be sure if the portal can even take us back,'' Kaoru provided. ''We didn't know where it was going to take us in the first place.''
''What if the portal you used will direct you to the place where it was conceived?'' George wondered aloud.
Fred smirked. "Oh, George, you and your wonderful brain. Where would we be without you?''
''Probably in the streets begging for alms because you're too stupid to actually go home and eat what mum cooked.''
''Okay, okay, stop!'' Kaoru interjected, raising his palms in the hopes of shutting up the English redheads. "What we really should be doing is trying to figure out the mystery of this portal.''
Hikaru nodded lazily, as though the entire conversation had done nothing but bore him. ''We would actually get somewhere if we knew what to talk about. I mean, we found a glass shard. So what? We're gonna go around the world searching for the other shards? What if it really is just what it looks like: glass?''
Fred clapped his hands and eyed Hikaru with mock admiration. ''Way to ramble.''
Fred's twin buried his face in his hands. ''Why do I even talk to you, Fred?''
''Because I am awesome.''
Kaoru stared disbelievingly at the Weasley twins, wondering why the heck they kept going back and forth without trying to solve the actual problem at hand. They didn't have all night, for goodness' sake! Instead of joining in Fred and George's useless bickering, however, Kaoru decided to get back to Hikaru's words. ''That point was pretty much made long ago. Right now, I think our main focus should be trying to figure out what the hell we should do.''
The older Hitachiin twin puffed out his cheeks and placed a thoughtful hand on his chin. ''How about...getting a midnight snack?''
Kaoru could no longer help but smack his own face with his palm. They really weren't going anywhere.
All right, Kaoru thought. We have no clues, no leads, no proof. What actions are in our capabilities? And aside from answers to whether or not this...thing is a portal piece, what do we need the most right now?
Just as Kaoru was about to come to a conclusion, George butted in. ''Maybe we should put all of this portal business aside and try to contact someone you know, yeah?''
For the first time in all this useless chatter, the Little Devils responded in harmony, ''Someone we know?''
Fred clapped his brother on the back. ''You smart git.''
George simply rolled his eyes and waved his twin off, returning his gaze to the Hitachiins. ''Well, you did mention ' other means' of getting home.''
Kaoru noticed that Hikaru's expression turned contemplative. Other means...Kaoru mentally smacked himself. Of course! Why hadn't they thought of it before? It should have been the first thing that crossed their minds the moment they arrived at this world! How stupid were they to rely on the instinct that their family back in Japan were looking for them?
''Communication,'' Kaoru muttered. He scored each redhead's face, then fixed his eyes on his twin. '' Our phones won't work, yes, so our best bet is—''
''—going to the city,'' Hikaru finished for him.
Fred, who obviously found the entire discussion dull, yawned. ''So that's it? Obsessing over that sparkly fragment of this 'portal' only to decide in the end that you'll exhaust yourself for miles to perform some muggle activity?''
''It's the best chance they've got for now,'' George sighed. ''Unless you want to retrieve your nonexistent microscope and perform a thorough study on the glass shard.''
The other Weasley twin replied determinedly, ''I'm willing,'' only to get slapped at the back of his head.
Hikaru and Kaoru watched as the British pranksters squabbled on, being in deep thought themselves. Kaoru may not have shown it, but he had been worried about Hikaru this whole time. To hell with being the ''younger'' brother, Kaoru's twin definitely needed him. Thoughts of not getting home haunted Kaoru. He knew how much his brother cared for their friends back home, and how it would break him if they had to stay in this unusual place forever...not saying it was bad, of course. The Burrow was a fantastic place! And the Weasley family (save the twins) were pretty nice themselves. But spending the rest of their lives there was a no-no.
Could they do it, though? Reach the city and contact their family? Kaoru didn't care who answered the phone, as long as he knew they had hope.
Some time later, when the Hitachiins had returned to their own bedroom (after being strictly instructed not to perform any acts of incest), Kaoru tossed and turned, visualizing the next day's possibilities. It was rare for him to be this nervous about something. He didn't even know why he was so nervous. They had a plan, they knew what to do, and there was a chance their problem would be solved. Why was he fretting like this?
Beside him, Hikaru grunted and opened his eyes, adjusting to the darkness of the room to get a better look at Kaoru. ''Why do you keep moving around so much?''
Kaoru managed to steady himself and took a deep breath. ''I'm just anxious. Go back to sleep.''
Instead of closing his eyes and drifting back to dreamland, Hikaru scooted closer to his younger brother and stared at him with concern. ''Don't worry too much. It'll be okay.''
The younger twin took a deep breath and closed his eyes. When he opened them again, a small smile had formed in his lips. ''I know,'' he lied. Looking at his brother's eyes, Kaoru knew he wasn't convinced. But Hikaru simply sighed. Kaoru felt his twin squeeze his hand and fall back to sleep.
Early that morning found four redheads wandering about the muggle village, searching the skies for a sign from above about what the hell they should do next. Getting stranded in this part of Ottery St. Catchpole with no reception or any sane modern person to talk to wasn't exactly a part of their plan. Molly and Arthur Weasley had both agreed that spending some quality time in an actual city with actual technology would undoubtedly be beneficial, but how on earth were they supposed to get there? Oh, right; walk around unfamiliar territory to see if there are strangers who could help them! Of course!
Yeah, Hikaru didn't think so.
Honestly, he had no idea how they got here. What were they supposed to do anyway? Stop by a trash bin and ask it for directions? Hikaru wasn't even sure if the villagers had means of transportation to the nearest city. Did Mr and Mrs Weasley expect them to ride a cow into cement roads? Okay, perhaps that last line was a bit too harsh, but their problem remained unsolved.
Beside him, Fred looked around the cottages with a somewhat proud grin. ''Here we are,'' Fred proclaimed, hands on his hips.
''Breathing the fresh muggle village air.'' George inhaled deeply as though smelling all flowers within ten miles. It was clear that the Weasley twins were enjoying this as much as Hikaru was.
Both of the Hitachiin twins sighed regretfully. How did they even enter this whole situation?
From the distance, a wail erupted. Muggles covered their ears and shut their doors. A few of the adventurous ones took a peek from their windows or stepped outside to get a glimpse of whatever it was that caused that shriek. Hikaru himself took a few steps forward to see what the noise was about.
Several feet away, a middle-aged woman was glowering at a surly man. And—behold!—a cab was parked right beside him! Hikaru wouldn't say, ''parked'' exactly, seeing the crooked alignment of the wheels and the evident haste to brake the vehicle. But who cared? There was real technology staring him in the face, one that they desperately needed, too.
As the older of the Hitachiin twins moved closer, he noticed that the woman seemed to be shielding a little boy. The boy clutched onto the woman's dress and buried his face in the fabric. At first, Hikaru thought he was cowering, but upon closer inspection, he noticed that the boy was hiding in embarrassment. The woman who was probably the boy's mother glared at the taxi driver like she didn't want anything more than to strangle him and use his skin as fertilizer.
''I's tellin' ya, t'was an accident!'' the man tried to reason.
''Some accident!'' the woman hollered. A few bystanders snickered, causing the boy to flush.
Hikaru turned away from the scene. As bored as he was in this world, he was not interested in seeing some random argument between strangers. He turned his head to Kaoru, who was watching as the mother and the cab driver exchanged screams. Fred and George were smirking and whispering to each other, completely ignoring that there were two other redheads beside them. Hikaru returned his eyes to the row in front of him. More villagers had come to watch. Some were eyeing the taxi with suspicion.
At last, the woman yelled, ''To hell with you!'' and stormed off, gripping her son's wrist so firmly it looked like his hand would come off at any moment. A few bystanders shook their heads or snorted before returning to their daily routines. But Hikaru didn't have enough time to observe his surroundings. The Weasley twins had stepped toward the taxi driver.
''If yer 'ere to pester me 'bout that boy, I ain't—''
''Oh, that's not why we're here, sir,'' Fred assured the man with a smile.
''I believe you can take us to our destination.'' George nodded at the black cab.
The man pulled out a cigarette from his pocket and lit it. Hikaru covered his nose as the smoke spread in his direction. ''And what've ya got for me?''
The Weasley twins glanced at the Hitachiins, and a heavy weight settled in Hikaru's chest. They were expecting the Little Devils to handle this. It was a bit annoying, seeing as Fred and George were the ones who suggested the idea of riding the taxi into the city in the first place. But what other choice did they have? This was not an appropriate situation to be selfish. Besides, Hikaru himself had thought of hitching a ride anyway.
The Japanese redheads both approached the cab driver with smug smiles. They knew what to do, even though they hadn't verbally come to an agreement. The man's eyes widened as Hikaru and Kaoru presented their proposition. He nearly dropped his cigarette to the ground, too.
''So yer a Henchicken too, eh?'' the taxi driver uttered, taking another puff on his cigarette.
''Hi-tah-chin,'' the Little Devils corrected. But for Hikaru, it didn't matter how that man pronounced his last name; he was absolutely relieved that they had a chance, after all. It seemed that the Hitachiins' fame rose as far as Britain.
The four redheads stared at the man, who was leaning against the hood of his taxi.
''What?'' the cab driver demanded. ''Ya expect me to give ya a free ride to wherever ya want jus' because you're some relatives of that bloody Japanese family?''
''You wouldn't want to say that in front of our father,'' the Hitachiin twins threatened, even though they knew perfectly well that their father would have been fine without getting free rides from a taxi.
''Hn.'' The man snorted. ''Never heard o' yer daddy. Whoever that Yo-blah blah is, I've never entertained a person with that name in m'life.''
Hikaru narrowed his eyes, and Kaoru did the same. What did he mean he didn't know his father? His father was pretty much the reason why the Hitachiins became so popular.
''But,'' the man chided. ''I have heard of these blasted Henchickens. And I don't think my hide'll be safe if I refuse a request from a family member. Even if they are a bunch o' idiots.'' He opened the back door of the cab and sniffed, annoyed. ''Get in.''
It wasn't the most comfortable taxi experience, that was for sure. But if they were having their way, who was Hikaru to complain?
Hikaru stared out the window as the landscape changed. The cab whizzed past Ottery St. Catchpole and into the nearest city at an impressive speed. The police couldn't catch the driver here in the middle of nowhere. The trees and grass became thinner and thinner as the car drove farther. Eventually, Hikaru had to turn his head away from the window when the sunlight flashed painfully in his eyes.
Finally, the cab came to a halt.
''Yer on yer own, kids,'' the man said. He unlocked the doors. ''Don't come lookin' for me when ya get lost, got it?''
The four redheads exited the taxi, and before they could change their minds, it had drove off as far as possible.
Hikaru looked around him; even in the summer, the streets were bustling. Cars drove past them and building doors opened and closed with amazing speed. As the older of the Hitachiin twins studied his surroundings, Kaoru took out his phone. The latter cursed in Japanese.
''No luck, I suppose?'' said George, looking over Kaoru's shoulder to see the screen of his phone.
Kaoru shook his head, and Hikaru's heart sank. Hikaru took out his own phone and strangled back his own curse. There was still no signal. How were they supposed to call their family? Then Hikaru remembered something he saw while he was examining the city.
''Over there.'' Hikaru pointed to a phone booth. He wasn't sure if he could call all the way to Japan; heck, he wasn't even sure how to use a telephone booth, but it was worth a shot.
The attempt proved useless. The four redheads took turns in dialing the Hitachiins' home number until they had dropped all of their coins into the slot. Hikaru was very much tempted to kick the damn thing until it broke, and judging by his brother's expression, Kaoru felt the same. The younger Hitachiin twin took a deep breath and looked around instead, probably searching for yet another alternative.
The pair of twins each had their own suggestions ranging from searching for a phone book to see if a relative lived nearby, to barging into the police station and pretending to be poor, lost, foreign victims of mugging in the hopes of receiving help in contacting their family (after all, they needed to have some back story aside from getting magically whisked off to a school for witches and wizards).
After a few hours of walking around and exhausting their options, Hikaru himself was exhausted. Never in his life had he walked this much in one day without so much as a minute on a chair. The Little Devils looked at each other and their Amazing Twins Telepathic Skills told Hikaru that Kaoru shared his tiredness.
''We're tired,'' Hikaru and Kaoru complained. They both buckled their knees and leaned on each other for emphasis.
''Quick, George, ready the bed; these poor things are on the verge of death!'' said Fred with a mock urgent expression.
''Forget about beds, chopping their legs off will get rid of the weariness permanently,'' George responded.
''Brilliant! Where's the axe? Or do you prefer that we use a saw?''
Hikaru let out a small ''hmph'' before turning his back completely on the Weasley twins and focusing on his brother instead. ''Lets's have some coffee,'' he said in Japanese.
''And leave them here to fight for their lives in the muggle world? Sure!'' Kaoru replied enthusiastically in the same language.
Chuckling to each other, they walked away to search for a coffee shop, leaving the British wizards undoubtedly confused.
After Hikaru and Kaoru had taken their orders, the Weasley twins came running into the shop. An amused Hikaru examined their exasperated faces. Fred grabbed a chair from a nearby table and dragged it over to where the Hitachiin twins were sitting.
''So much for staying together,'' Fred muttered.
George pretended to wipe a tear from his eye. ''How could you leave us there to fend for ourselves? Two poor wizards all alone in the presence of a hundred muggles...we could have died!''
''Oh, shut up,'' said the Little Devils in harmony. Hikaru couldn't stand whining.
The older of the Hitachiin twins took a sip from his drink. They spent quite a lot of time outside, yet they didn't find any clues at all. He let out an audible sigh and stared out the window.
Suddenly, Kaoru (whose head was previously resting on his palm in a bored manner) yanked hard on Hikaru's arm.
A startled Hikaru immediately averted his gaze to his twin brother. What could have possibly caused him to act this way? As an answer, Kaoru shoved the newspaper he was holding right under Hikaru's nose.
''Look at the date,'' Kaoru hissed.
The Weasley twins eyed the younger of the Hitachiins curiously. Hikaru wondered why Kaoru was all worked up. What about the date that bothered him so much?
And when Hikaru looked at the newspaper before him, he knew the answer.
They went back thirteen years in time.
Rant Mode: On!
Okay, I know you hate me and I am so sorry! Honestly, I have no excuse, I'm just extremely lazy. Also, I've been trying to sort out the whole plot and since I'm an airhead, I kept postponing the actual coming-up-with-a-plot day after day. And so here we are, half a year later. I'm extremely sorry and I know I've been completely irresponsible. Feel free to virtually torture me if you'd like. :C
But all that aside, thank you! Thank you for not unfollowing this story and actually waiting about 5 or 6 months for the next chapter. I'm RELLEH grateful! *hugs*