Goodbye, Hello, Who Are You?
Part 5: Akio's Awakening
Version 0.1
A Dance Dance Revolution Fanfiction
By: Azurite (but people call me Andi, Akachan, Mer, and Baka)
http://azurite.rosedreams.org

Well, if you've gotten this far, then you are no doubt wondering one of these things:
(1) WHAAAT?! Andi wrote a DDR fic!? What about all her *other* unfinished fics? Well you know the story about the thing that never goes away? Ever? Yeah, this is like that. I'd never be able to watch/play (ha ha) DDR again if I didn't write this. So here it is.
(2) O.o How did I get here? What am I doing here? Well, if you clicked on "DDR" in my profile, then you either knew what it meant, and wondered what the heck a poor dancer such as myself was doing with those three letters, or you were like "huh? Dark Dark Rain? Double Dark Rocks?" and just clicked out of curiosity. Well, poor soul, you have found your way to a piece known as a FANFICTION! It's about DDR. Ha. Ha.

Notes and Schtuff:
(1) No, I can't DDR. I have terrible coordination. I can try, but I only embarass myself and my much-better-at-DDRing friends. My fingers are much faster than my feet anyway. -.- Of course, that doesn't help me when playing DanceManiaX any...
(2) No, I don't own DDR-- any aspect of it. Konami owns DDR, and the individual artists responsible for the songs therein own them. I'm not making a profit off this... if anything, I'm giving MORE money to those companies by buying their games, and dumping token after token into the arcade machines to try and play. Key word being try.
(3) Yes, I have written fanfiction before, but no, not DDR fanfiction. This is an original piece... it's fictional (duh. Hence the "fiction" part of fanfiction) and absolutely did NOT happen. I'm just sort of setting it where I am, since I know my area best. ^.~
(4) Yes, I know *some* Japanese. So unless you're a native or have studied Japanese for over 10 years (ooh goody, someone on par with me!) then don't correct me. I may not know kanji all that well, but I know names and phrases like I know the English alphabet. -.- Don't even comment on that last one.

Dedicates: (because I'm a dork)
Amber (GRRL POWER!)
Oni~i-chan (*bounce bounce*)
Sean (Youse got some CRAZY edits, man…)
Mike (waaaaaaaai! *pounce!*)
Fred (d00d, j00r $k!llz are l33t!)
Joemi (WE WILL DUEL AGAIN!)
Helen (KAWAII YO!)
and Will (YOU RULE, DUDE!)

Going Nuts?
I may be going crazy, I may not... but since this is DDR-related, I might as well mention it here: I swear to god that I have heard the UNCENSORED "Whistle Song" (i.e. "Blow My Whistle Bitch") on 7th Mix. Yet all my friends insist that on every DDR machine they play, it's censored, and that cannot be changed. O.o Am I losing it? ^^;;;

Well, welcome welcome welcome to Part 5 of my DDR fanfiction, "Goodbye, Hello, Who Are You?" Haha, it's been a while… and I wish I could say I have an excuse or three thousand, but naaah, I really don't, not when it comes to my fanfiction. I'm totally ecstatic that GHWAY has gotten such good feedback… and I hope to get more, too, now that the plot's finally going somewhere. Of course, my weak point in all this is making sure it stays a DDR fanfiction, and not just your run-amok Original Fanfiction… ^^;; hehe…

Here we go!

I don't remember much of anything.

Not how it happened, anyway. Wouldn't that be terrible though? If you were trapped on Earth, the memories of your death haunting you… and those you loved?

You could never move on.

Akio Kataoka, age 18. Pronounced dead on September 13th, 2002, at 2:57am, at Tokyo Metropolitan Hospital, Shinjuku Branch. Victim of a hit-and-run accident. No suspects at this time, or any reported witnesses. Body discovered by Shinjuku Sanitation Department employees as they were on their rounds.

What a way to go.

Akio Kataoka had never been a fatalist—not in the strictest sense of the word, anyway. Fatalists were people that believed that their destiny was preoredained… that everything that happened to them, good, bad or ugly, was MEANT to happen. That some all-powerful, all-knowing being out in the far reaches of heaven said "You must get an 30% on your test today," or "You must come in 4th place in the All-City track meet." Fate just worked out like that… right?

Yet somehow, even while believing in "destiny," Akio never let it control him. He was too wild, too much of a free spirit. Perhaps that had caused his downfall.

September 13th, 2002: 7:57 PM

"Akio… are we going to KonamiLand again?" Kumiko asked, trying to disguise the distaste in her voice. It wasn't that she didn't like the place… and it certainly wasn't that she'd gotten tired of Akio's company. Quite the opposite, actually—she wanted to spend more time with him. Tonight, more than ever, since it was finally their anniversary…

Three whole months together… does he even know?

Kumiko cast a saddened glance at Akio, who seemed more absorbed in his latest issue of DanceEX than he did in her. He had one arm hanging from the subway's rung, the other precariously balancing the binding of the thick, glossy zine in his other hand. His nose was so close to the fine print that it almost looked as though he was sleeping between the pages… not paying an ounce of attention to his girlfriend.

Kumiko sighed. It had been this way for the past few weeks now. She was getting tired of it. Sadly, Kumiko's near-fairy tale romance had deteriorated into this… this strangeness. All they ever did was talk on the phone, chat online, and meet every day after school. Most evenings, they went to KonamiLand afterwards. Their study dates, once a romantic endeavor when their relationship first officially "started" became nothing more than an excuse for Akio to mooch free food of the Nikados.

It wasn't that Akio was selfish… but as of late, his attention had been elsewhere. Suffice it to say, Kumiko was worried. Or at least, she'd started out worried. Then she became irritated, pensive, and then jealous. Anger followed not long after, and it was a vain attempt to supress this anger that led Kumiko to keep agreeing to going out on these "dates."

She was still half-hoping, she supposed, that all of Akio's ignorance had been just a façade, and that tonight things would be different. Yet Akio was dressed the same as he always was, brought the same amount of cash he always did, and hadn't said anything along the lines of "Happy Anniversary" to her.

And it hurt like hell.

The subway train jerked forward, the sound of metal screeching against metal ringing loudly in the two teenager's ears. The sudden stop of the train caused Akio to lose his grip on the rubber hand rung, and he fell forward, collapsing onto Kumiko. She blushed crimson from underneath him a moment, half expecting their eyes to meet and him simply to kiss her…

"Suman." Akio apologized gruffly, standing up. He barely offered a hand to Kumiko when she struggled to stand-- instead, she sat sitting on the carpeted floor of the train for what felt like an eternity longer, the gentle tick-ticking of her own watch thrumming in her ears. What… had just happened?

What happened to you, Akio? What changed?

"This is just too weird, don't you think?" Andrea mumbled to those present. After the odd incident with Alexa and the mysterious Asian girl from earlier, everyone was musing about Alexa's recent bouts with fainting spells.

"Maybe she's just a little traumatized from the accident… more than she's letting on," Whitney suggested, running a hand through his brown-and-blonde-streaked hair.

"Aw, come on, this is Alexa… she's a total trooper. Although, if *I'd* been hit by a motorcycle flying at me at 70-odd miles per hour, I'd be a bit traumatized too…" Gabrielle chimed in, sucking on a lollipop. She pulled the oversized watermelon-flavored candy from her mouth, her expression melting into one of thoughtfulness for a second.

"Though An, didn't you say that she was totally freaked out by some picture you had? Of some guy?"

At the mention of "some guy," both Matt and Jason twitched, though neither said anything. Vic and Scott both exchanged 'a glance,' but they too kept silent.

"Uh… yeah. I showed her some article from DDRNews,  and she went totally white—" Andrea paused a moment to laugh, "I mean whiter than she already is!" She joked, and those present winced in suppressed agreement.

"So what did this article say exactly? Did Al know the guy, maybe?" Scott mused, rubbing two fingers against his chin. His pose was almost that of a philosopher, though with a poufy yellow-and-navy jacket on, it made Scott looked more like a shrunken pansy than Aristotle.

"…Maybe. The guy was some 'Akio Kataoka.' He died in some freak accident… a hit-and-run, just about two weeks before Alexa's own accident."

"Weird," Jeremy mused. "Haha, maybe she's being haunted!" In response to the flimsy joke, Jeremy received a round of deadpan stares.

"WHAT?" He groaned, shaking his head. "Geez guys, grow a sense of humor."

Unfortunately, no one in Andrea's party realized just how right Jeremy was.

Where am I? Oh no… not this place again! It's so cold… and lonely… Matt… Andrea… someone… anyone?

It was as if a thick fog had swallowed her whole again, encompassing her entire body in its thick murkiness. She was trapped, relying soley on her tactile skills to weave her way out of this mystery place. She'd been in here once before, she knew… but it had seemed so long ago.

At least then, there had been some light, some sense of hope in the not-so-distant future… where was that now? What was this place?

It seemed like an eternity that Alexa wandered in the mysterious dark, damp, and fog-shrouded realm. All at once, everything and nothing was familiar, like some half-remembered dream. Alexa's thoughts seemed to echo off unseen walls, bouncing back distorted, childish and weak.

Her legs growing tired, Alexa decided to flop down and rest—maybe just stop and think for a moment—totally unaware that a cool stone bench had formed right underneath her. In fact, everywhere she walked, everything she touched slowly grew form and shape, the fog pulling away until she was left waiting for something –or someone- in a nondescript little gazebo surrounded by dark bushes and the slight bubbling of a nearby creek.

*sigh*

Alexa looked up, feeling utterly hopeless and lost. This was her greatest fear, reliving itself in her mind, over and over again. She was alone. Completely, totally alone.

When she looked up from her hands and began to notice the world that had formed around her, a patch of fog seemed to take shape in front of her eyes. For good measure, Alexa rubbed her eyes—once, then twice. The first time, the mist seemed to coalesce from nothing, grayness merging into grayness. Then, it blurred more upon rubbing her eyes again, and this time, the grayness faded away, blots of shapes and colors becoming apparent. In disbelief, Alexa watched as a boy –a boy whose face she knew all too well—formed from the darkness.

"Akio…"

"You again!" Akio murmured, his form finally solid. He strode over towards Alexa purposefully, but stopped –almost abruptly—a good meter away from her. There he stood, almost inspecting her with a critical eye, scanning her for some mistake or flaw in her appearance.

"Your voice is familiar but… I've never seen you before in my life." Akio said in a matter-of-fact tone. Then he smacked his hand to his head, shaking it and mumbling something incoherent between his fingers.

"W-What? I didn't say anything? What do you mean? Stop shaking your head like that!" Alexa's voice trembled as she tried to stand up. This wasn't possible. This had to be some warped, twisted dream. Indeed, she'd hit her head harder than she thought all those times she fainted… and all this was some nasty, terrible side effect that came from the accident that she couldn't remember.

Surely it could be solved with a mere dose of acetametaphin.

"Of course I've never seen you before in my life," Akio began, shaking his head again wryly, but at least this time, meeting Alexa's terrified gaze, "I'm DEAD."

Now would be the perfect time to faint, Dirson! Alexa told herself, gulping involuntarily. Dead? But if he was here, and she was here, and all this was so strange…

"But I—I'm not…!" Alexa began to protest, her face growing flushed. She just COULDN'T be dead! Even if so many bad things happened –no matter how many times Mom yelled at her, pressured her, or how many stupid math tests she failed… no matter how many fights that her friends got into, or how many times Alexa was unsure of her own heart… -- everything always fell into place. Things always, somehow, someway, turned out right… eventually.

"No," Akio clicked his tongue against the side of his cheek, "I don't think you are. The last time I remember your voice, it was when you were… almost inside my head. Like I could hear you speaking to me, but you weren't really there. And then, I found myself staring at a reflection that wasn't my own."

"…and it was as if the voice you heard wasn't meant to sound the way it was…" Alexa murmured, recalling how she knew—just KNEW—that she wasn't supposed to understand Akio so clearly. After all, Andrea's article clearly stated that he'd been a Japanese high-schooler, an outstanding DDR player, and…

"So what then? Why am I here… with you?"

"…" Alexa didn't have an answer. Instead, her mind kept conjuring up the face of the young woman from the Pier Side arcade earlier that night. If it even was the same night. Regardless… there had been shock, joy, and then abrupt sadness reflected in that girl's depthless brown eyes. And on the edges of her memory, Alexa almost heard a name whispered…

"Kumiko…"

"What did you just say?" Akio uttered, his jaw hanging open. His expression was not one of shock, more like stunned surprise, if anything. His brows were furrowed, his muscles tense and his face grim—the name meant something to him.

"That girl… from the arcade earlier. It was almost like… almost like she recognized me!"

"Kumiko… she's here… I mean… just where the hell are we, anyway?" Akio muttered, settling down on the cool stone bench beside Alexa.

"Your guess is as good as mine, sugar," Alexa sighed in resignment. She didn't understand any of this. She vaguely remembered hearing Akio's voice in her head—being surprised, for lack of a better word, at seeing his face and obituary printed on a sheet of paper that her friend had… and now…

"I guess we're stuck together for the time being then. I feel like I've been asleep for a long time… and now I've just woken up. Like I have a lot to do…"

"Unfinished business." Alexa stated softly. Akio turned to her, an eyebrow raised in questioning.

"You're stuck here because you have something –or someone- holding you back from moving on. I don't know why that links you to me, but… if I'm going to be stuck with some DDR champion's mind in my head, then I guess I have no choice but to help." Alexa quirked a grin at the last moment, trying to make light of a situation that seemed all too surreal.

Akio laughed, a wonderful, cheering laugh. A painful sting reminded Alexa of Matt, Whitney, Vic, Scott, Jason, and Jeremy. All the other guys she knew –true friends of hers that she cherished. Would she ever see them again? What about her other dear friends, like Gabrielle and Andrea?

"You'll see them again, don't worry," Akio reassured her, placing an unusually warm hand on the younger girl's shoulder.

"How…did you…?" Alexa stared up at the handsome Japanese boy in wonder, her green eyes meeting his chocolate brown ones.

"Not sure. Maybe I can read your mind!" Akio laughed, tapping a finger to Alexa's brow. He stood up and grabbed her arm, pulling her away from the bench, away from the gazebo, the bushes, and the bubbling of the creek.

"Come on," he said, stepping forward into the endless night, "We have a lot to do."

^^;; Okay, this just got TONS more surreal. This is really only a beta version of this part… I may post a different part completely when I get the chance… Not sure. I really wanted to bring Akio into the action, as he's a vital part later on.

This is supernatural, romance, AND mystery, people! Get ready for the suspense! The action! The drama! (I'll try!)

REVIEW, please, and help me improve!

~Azurite