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  1. #1
    wanderlustee is offline Senior Member Regular
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    Default 7 Days of OPIUM [a semi-original shoujo fanfic]

    Okay. So, I saw this really detailed (and looooong) fanfic in Esthetique and I got inspired to write this story that's been on my mind for quite a while.

    It's a shoujo-romance (more of josei, actually) based loosely on the premise of Love Scar. This is my first time writing a story so forgive the occasional slips. But in general, I think I did quite well for a first-timer

    I've written half the story already but I don't want to post it all in one go ^^; BTW, the story's clean (read: no drugs nor smut scenes), sorry to disappoint.

    With that said, I now present my very own 7 Days of Opium. ENJOY!


    PS: Yes. It's a double-post. Eeep!
    But once you conquer the world, then comes the hard part.
    What kind of world would you create?

    -Johan [Monster]

  2. #2
    wanderlustee is offline Senior Member Regular
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    Default

    As the airport personnel handed back her passport, Kima felt another urge to throw up. Her head has pounded all through the long flight and it seems to get worse now that she's back on land. "Must be a fever", she thought. But she didn't really care so she didn't bother taking her temp.

    "How long were you gone, Doctor?"

    "Three years."

    "Oh. Then...WELCOME HOME!" the personnel quipped enthusiastically.

    "Hm?", she was distracted by her pounding head. "I hope so." She smiled faintly.

    "The connecting flight's still three hours away. You might want to eat out first." The personnel was in the mood to be helpful.

    "I'll do just that. Any burger stores nearby?"

    "There's two a couple of blocks ahead."

    Kima gave a brief "Thanks" as she headed for the nearest exit. She felt strange being back after what seemed like ages but renewed wonder soon won over. She looked around at everything in excitement, happy to be back in a country she sorely missed.

    Four blocks and eight minutes after, she spotted the two burger joints facing each other. McDonald's was jam packed but the second joint, a new one she hadn't tried before, wasn't. She was just about to cross the street for it when she saw the billboard.

    It was huge. And really eye-catching. Guaranteed to make anyone stop and stare--but not really freeze the way she's doing right now. She felt her insides go cold; her head pounding harder than ever.

    She'd know that face anywhere. That addictive smile. Those thick long lashes.

    "Aaah. I forgot this IS Japan after all", she murmured before passing out on the cold sidewalk.


    *****************


    Kima woke up four hours later in the nearest clinic, brought there by concerned passers-by. The attending nurse would insist she stay there until the clinic doctor (who's got a flight to catch as well) gets back to discharge her. Kima, not being in the best of moods, simply stated, "I'm a doctor too. And a good one at that. Tell YOUR doctor I discharged myself. Thanks."

    The renewed wonder and excitement was gone. Numbness took over. She wandered around for a while, staring blankly, but careful not to look at billboards any more. She still hasn't eaten a thing but has already forgotten that she needed to. Somehow, she managed to rebook her missed flight early the next day.

    "Really," she thought during the flight to Okinawa, "I shouldn't have promised Kanzaki-sensei I'd attend the convention. I would have saved time and money--not to mention energy--if only I had the heart to say no. Probably would have saved myself from fainting too," she added quietly.


    *****************


    Upon arrival, she quickly caught a cab and requested to be taken to "Whichever hotel all the doctors are checking-in". The cab driver chuckled heartily. "A hugely popular band is set to arrive soon", he shared conspiratorially, but Kima was too tired and hungry (though she forgot she was) to keep up the conversation. There was also this nagging thought she couldn't quite figure all throughout the drive.

    When she got to the hotel, she was already a few hours late and had to rush straight to the convention hall. "Day 1, day 1, let's see... Ah. Neurology & Psychiatry. Not exactly my favorite topics", she said while reading through the list of activities for the whole 7-day duration.

    The convention wasn't just about gathering doctors who had something significant to contribute to society; it was also about molding exceptional students into the fields they should be specializing in. In a way, it was a week-long gathering of the who's who and the soon to be who's who of the medical community.

    "What did you say your name was again, Doctor?" the tall student with thick glasses asked at the entrance. The seats were limited so invitations were needed to be allowed in.

    "Ishi-" she started distractedly. "FUJI. Kima Fuji." She corrected as she scanned the activities list again.

    The student's eyes widened ever so slightly. "Right. This way please."

    Inside, the hall was already packed and the only seats vacant were near the back. "Ouch!" another doctor exclaimed as she accidentally stepped on his foot.

    "Eeep. Sorry."

    "No problem Dr. Fuji." The other doctor smiled a winning smile. He had a chiseled face and unbelievably smooth skin. He looked perfect--the type you'd want to introduce to your parents. Others would have surely swooned.

    Kima read his nameplate. "Ah. Yes. Nice meeting you Dr. Kitaro", and she proceeded disinterestedly to find a vacant seat.

    "Fever's all gone now?"

    Kima turned sharply. "I'm sorry?"

    "The nurse told me you discharged yourself from my branch clinic yesterday", he explained conversationally as he tried to follow her find a seat.

    Mixed disbelief and realization was evident on her face. It took her a full half-minute before bowing politely to reply, "I'm still not feeling my best but the fever's nearly gone". She paused then added as an afterthought, "I'm sorry for leaving abruptly and thank you for your hospitality".

    Dr. Kitaro once again smiled his sparkling smile. "Well, I'm glad you're okay. Just call me Ryuu, Dr. Fuji," he highlighted the name, waiting for her to say that Kima is fine as well.

    No such luck.

    "Ah. I missed the first part of Neurology," Kima sighed as she finally found an empty seat by the aisle. The speaker on the podium was discussing the latest findings on the Amygdala but she couldn't concentrate. The nagging thought was back.

    "What is it that I've forgotten?" she thought as she bit her lip. "Maybe eating will help", she said aloud as she stood up again and headed for the exit, by passing the still sparklingly smiling Dr. Ryuu Kitaro.

    On the corridor, she saw two hotel attendants gossiping and giggling girlishly in a corner and decided to ask. "Excuse me. I need to find the way to the dining hall please."

    "Ah", one of the girls answered, "which dining hall do you prefer, the buffet, the sushi place, the--"

    "The nearest one is fine", Kima interjected politely.

    "Oh. Just straight ahead then. You'll see the Deli", and the girls went back to planning how best they can get autographs from the VIP guests they expected to arrive soon.


    *****************


    Luckily, the Deli offered delicious smelling coffee and huge bagels, designed to quench ravenous hunger like the one she's currently feeling. As Kima finished her meal quickly, she decided she needed extra sugar in her body for energy.

    "One chocolate-chip donut to go please", she said to the lady at the cashier.

    "Sure. Would you like that in plastic or paper bag?"

    Bag. And then it hit her--the nagging thought. She forgot to retrieve her check-in luggage! "Can't believe my luck these days." Kima hurriedly paid the bill, grabbed the sticky donut with her hand, and rushed outside.

    She was just about to take a bite as she crossed the street when she heard tires screech. An oncoming car swerved and nearly crashed into her. Surprised, she let go of the donut and it rolled dirtily on the ground. "Aah!" she exclaimed as a second car swerved and narrowly missed crashing onto the first, her donut getting crushed in the process.

    Kima bit her lip. The donut was now a chunk of shapeless brown. She was embarrassed by the mayhem but knew she couldn't afford to stay longer for proper apologies (she was feeling childishly irritated too). She thus bowed a quick apology to the direction of the two cars before hailing a cab on the opposite side.


    *****************


    "Kyaa! They're here!" the hotel attendants whispered excitedly as the band OPIUM entered the lobby. All four members were used to the years of attention bordering on adulation that they continued lightly arguing as they checked-in.

    "Really, Shi-i. I could have hit you out there," complained the lone lady member, a girl with sparkling eyes and well-toned arms.

    "Forget it Kito", says the guy with blond hair. The two looked very much alike, save for the difference in height. "Shi-i isn't really a bad driver so if he swerved like that..."

    The third guy snorts as he hears the exchange between the twins. "I was beside him Chiro, there wasn't really a need to hit the brakes. The poor girl was about to cry over the donut. You two should buy her a whole box if we run into her later."

    "Eh? That's unfair Pachi! Why me as well?" Kito asks wide-eyed.

    "I guess because it's YOU who technically ran over the donut", quips her twin, Chiro. "Are you even listening, Shi-i?"

    But the root of the argument, the one they called Shi-i, the one who swerved and hit the breaks even though there wasn't really a need to do so, was pensively quiet and didn't seem to hear a word that the other three has said within the last few minutes.

    "I'll sleep. Don't wake me up", and he grabbed his room keys and headed for the elevator, oblivious to the stares of everyone around him.


    *****************


    Hideyoshi Ishikawa woke up feeling tired and exhausted. He was half-naked in an unfamiliar bed that smelled faintly of blood and antiseptic. A girl was curled comfortably beside him, one of her hands holding onto the side of his stomach, as if in an embrace.

    "Ah. You're awake", she smiled as she slowly opened her eyes. "Good that the bleeding has stopped", she commented while extracting her hand from the recently closed wound on his side. "How are you feeling?" and she stood up to feel his forehead.

    "Slightly dizzy and exhausted. My throat feels parched," he answered obediently.

    "Right. Can you move your hands?" she asked as she got up to get a glass of water.

    He noticed the bandages that covered his hands. It felt painful to move the fingers but none seemed broken. "Yes."

    "Great", she smiled again as she helped him drink from the glass. "You must be famished. I'll order food. What do you want Mr. Ishikawa?"

    He nearly choked on a mouthful of water and spent the next minute coughing. "How did you know that name?" he whispered hoarsely.

    "Umm. Your grandpa called while I was cleaning your wounds last night. I didn't have the heart to tell him you're a complete stranger I found hurt by the roadside so I took the liberty of saying I'm a good friend you're about to take for dinner but that you couldn't answer the phone since you're currently busy buying me flowers", she blushed as she explained.

    Hideyoshi stared intently at her.

    "Oh. And I took the liberty of having a friend retrieve your motorcycle. He says it'll be good as new, 5 days max", she added nervously.

    She was, in fact, a very attractive girl despite the messy hair, tired eyes, and stained clothes. As she continued to explain things she thought needed explaining, Hideyoshi realized it was his blood that stained her shirt.

    "If you could, umm, quit staring for 10 seconds, maybe you can decide on what you'd want for lunch so I can call delivery", she summed up her speech.

    Hideyoshi smiled apologetically. "My bad. Sorry for forgetting my manners. Anything you're having is fine with me."

    She froze for a whole 5 seconds before delightedly gushing, "Uwaaa! You got a really nice smile."

    The sincerity of the compliment caused him a rare blush--which was strange considering he's used to hearing such compliments every so often.

    Noticing his discomfort she shifted on her seat. "Right, one huge burger coming up", and she busied herself ordering over the phone.

    When the delivery arrived, she cut the burger in small pieces and placed it on a plate. She then took a shower while Hideyoshi ate and looked curiously around the room. There were books everywhere, mostly about medicine and surgery. Pots of flowering vines adorned the windowsill, lending the room a scent of freshness and wild beauty. He chewed slowly, grateful that she cut the burger. With both his hands bandaged, it really was easier to eat in smaller pieces.

    "So, I have a class in half an hour but I'll be back right after to bring you clean bandages and a fresh change of clothes", she said as she got out from the shower. "Make yourself at home. Read any book you like. Sleep a lot. It'll help you heal faster", she continued as she wrung her hair dry with her hands. She paused. "Are you, perhaps, related to the deceased master pianist Shuuichi Ishikawa?"

    There was a full minute of silence. Normally, Hideyoshi would have simply ignored the question but for some reason--be it the burger, or the bandages, or her disarmingly innocent expression--he found himself answering quietly. "I'm his son."

    She was shocked. Anybody who knew the maestro would. She lowered her eyes. "I'm sorry", she said quietly. "I didn't mean to pry. I won't mention it again, here or anywhere else if it makes you uncomfortable."

    He looked at her thoughtfully. Fans would have fought bitterly for such intimate information. Guess she isn't a fan. In fact, she didn't seem to know him at all. His eyes twinkled at the strangeness of it.

    "Do you normally take home people of unknown history like this?" he asked curiously while she picked three large books from a pile in the floor.

    "Like what?" she asked as she tried vainly to fit all three in her bag. The zipper jammed and the bag looked about to burst.

    "Feed them, clothe them, nurse them back to health", Hideyoshi enumerated.

    She paused, then winked flirtatiously. "Nope. Only the REALLY good-looking ones."

    He laughed aloud. He felt at ease with her and her (slightly messy) room. "Thank you. Just call me Hideyoshi."

    She looked back as she got out of the door to rush for class "And I'm Kima. Kima Fuji."



    *****************


    The insistent knocking woke him up. Hideyoshi sat up and lighted a cigarette, completely ignoring the person on the other side of the door.

    He was, as Kima courageously declared four years before, terribly good-looking. Tall and lean with beautiful eyes and--if you're lucky enough to see a full one--a beautifully addictive smile. His right ear is pierced and his left arm is covered with an intertwined fire and water dragon tattoo, the red and blue-gray ink compatibly clear on his skin.

    Perhaps contradictingly, he was well-mannered--surprising people who have come to equate bands with foul mouths and bad attitude. The fact that he refused to divulge his surname also lent him an air of mystery that made fans infinitely crave to know more.

    He was an extremely gifted musician and lyricist--all of them in the band were. Add to that a lasting charm and appeal, and even an outsider would understand why they dominated the music scene for nearly ten years now.

    He finally got up to open the door as the knocking turned into banging. It was Kito.

    "Shi-i, what took you so long?" she asked as she handed him the box of donuts.

    "Hm?" he raised an eyebrow in question.

    "That's for the girl earlier. Pachi claims he saw her again and insisted we buy her a box as an apology. I've chosen the flavors well so it's your turn to--"

    Hideyoshi felt a chill as he remembered the seeming illusion he nearly ran over earlier. "Where?", he cut her off.

    "Eh? By the lobby. Some convention I think on--"

    For the second time, he didn't wait for her to finish. Instead, he rushed straight to the elevator, surprising other guests inside. "Down?" a star-struck girl squeaked. He nodded his head briefly and shoved his free hand in his pocket.

    When he got out on the first floor, he headed for the reservations desk. "Excuse me. I need to find out which room Mrs. Ishikawa is staying please. Kima Ishikawa" he added breathlessly. The girl, however, was busy reading some magazine about OPIUM that she barely looked up as she replied "I'm sorry, we don't really divulge--" her eyes bulged as she realized she was seeing the live version of the picture on the magazine.

    "Ah. Just a second Sir", she stammered as she typed I-S-H-I-K-A-W-A on the computer. The computer yielded a blank and she tried one more time. "I'm sorry, there seems to be no Ms., Mrs., nor Mr. Ishikawa staying at the hotel for the moment..."

    Hideyoshi would have smiled at the statement if only he weren't feeling so grim. He tried to clear his thoughts and handed over the box of donuts to the incredulous girl as thanks. He was just about to leave the lobby when he heard the hushed exchange between two women in crisp business suits.

    "Was it really HER by the Deli? THAT Kima Fuji?" the first woman asked.

    "The very same. I almost didn't recognize her, she's gotten so skinny", whispered the other.

    "Anyone who's been through the same would. You think she's just hear to listen or...?" she trailed off. "And when did she get back?!"

    "I wonder that too", Hideyoshi spoke quietly. Pale upon hearing the name, he walked slowly towards the Deli.


    *****************
    But once you conquer the world, then comes the hard part.
    What kind of world would you create?

    -Johan [Monster]

  3. #3
    wanderlustee is offline Senior Member Regular
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    Default

    Kima's fever has long subsided and her headache's gone since the flight earlier. She had luckily retrieved her luggage without a glitch and has already checked herself in to the hotel. It was a long travel getting to the convention but she felt good being surrounded by doctors from all over Japan. Surprisingly, there'd been no open animosity towards her all day so there was no reason--no reason at all--for her to feel bothered as she chewed another bite from her ham and cheese sandwich.

    But she was, in fact, uneasy. And she looked around the Deli for a possible cause though it seemed ridiculous. Aside from herself and the crew, the only other people around were an elderly couple sipping coffee by the corner, and a guy leaning by the door staring intently at her. His hair was a bit longer than in the billboard but there was no mistaking the red and blue-gray tattoo. It was only then that she realized who the guest everyone's been excitedly prettifying themselves for:

    Hideyoshi.

    She choked on her sandwich as he walked towards her table. "You're back", he said quietly as he took the seat beside her. It seemed an innocent observation, just like saying the sky is blue or that fish could swim.

    He continued to look intently as he handed her a tissue to wipe the crumbs from her mouth. If it were the past, he would have wiped it off himself. She felt electrocuted as her finger tips touched his and hastily pulled her hand away. The tissue fell forgotten on the floor.

    There was a flash of hurt in his eyes. "When did you arrive?"

    It took her a long time to answer. "Yesterday."

    Contempt crept in his voice. "And you weren't going to tell me? Not that I expected much considering it's been--"

    "Three years, 2 months, and 8 days", Kima whispered hoarsely.

    "So nice of you to keep track", he said bitterly as he drank her remaining lemonade.

    Kima found it unbearable hearing him talk like that, seeing his beautiful face contorted in near disgust. She never really made him angry before except the one time she almost got bitten by a rabid dog she thought she could take home. And that time, he simply kept silent as he held her hand tightly in anger.

    "Don't drink from other people's glass", she reminded him softly. "It's unsanitary and you never know what it contains EXACTLY.”

    Hideyoshi turned sharply, his beautiful eyes flashing in hot anger. He bit his lip so hard it started to bleed. "Are YOU?"

    "Am I...what?" she whispered, afraid to hear the question in full. She trembled as she reached out to wipe the blood from his lip but he grabbed her hand mid-way.

    "Are you other people now MS. FUJI?" his hand tightened on her wrist as he spat the name venomously.

    Blood drained from her face. She had decided a long time ago, it seemed ages already. It hurt so bad back then but she knew she couldn't waver. She didn't have the right to waver.

    After 3 years, she should have had the strength to answer. But she didn't; she couldn't.

    The silence was frightening. "It hurts", she whispered, more to herself than to him.

    Hideyoshi blinked. His grip loosened, slowly letting go of the wrist. It was red. He's been gripping it too hard.

    He looked at her for a full minute. "I'm here for a photo shoot but the sched's a mess until Ai arrives", he said simply as he got up. "Are you here for the medical convention?"

    She nodded.

    "What room are you in?"

    She answered obediently, "1115".

    His features softened. He headed to the counter and bought a box of donuts from the star-struck cashier. "I'm on 1800." Come up when you find your answer", he said quietly, his breath brushing lightly on her ears.

    With that, he took a donut for himself and handed Kima the rest of the box. "Eat up."


    *****************


    Ai Sasahara, it turns out, was an extremely pretty actress steadily gaining a solid block of fans with her successive box office hits. Her agency's been strategically building her reputation by pairing her with one big name after the other, this time with heartthrob actor Maki Matsuruda and a mystery popular band member. What the film is all about and the exact roles they'll be playing, people are yet to find out.

    Kima learned all these from the TV last night as she was trying to fall asleep. It had the opposite effect and she ended up more wide-eyed than ever. It didn't need her genius to figure out that Hideyoshi was the mystery band member. And she tried to convince herself she could handle whatever sight might greet her in the next few days to come.

    She felt absentminded as she entered the convention hall. It was Day 2: Recent Virus Outbreaks & Persisting Diseases. There weren't a lot of people inside yet. Maybe she could get a seat near the front this time. She smiled a little. She still had nearly half the donuts left from last night's 11. She brought the whole box with her in case she got hungry, which was a bit odd since she rarely ate much these days.

    “Didn't sleep well last night, Dr. Fuji?" It was that doctor again, smiling the winning smile he must have practiced a hundred times in front of a mirror.

    She looked at his nameplate again. "Hello Dr. Kitaro", she greeted in turn.

    "Just call me Ryuu", and he took her by the elbow, steering her to the front seats.

    Kima sighed inwardly. He was obviously trying to be friendly and she couldn't turn him down a second time without being rude. "Do you want some donuts, Ryuu? My--" she paused. "I was given way too many last night. They're still good though," and she took a bite from one as she offered him the box.

    "Thanks." And he took one as well. Damn. The strawberry one. "When did you get back Dr. Fuji?" he asked as they maneuvered their way between the aisles.

    She remembered the rare outburst last night; the question she couldn't answer. "Kima is fine", she smiled faintly. "Just two days ago." She didn't bother asking how he knew about her--nearly every doctor did these days.

    "Well, between the two of us, people are saying you're an ice princess and I've been trying to prove them wrong", he said flirtatiously as they finally found their seat 5 rows from the podium.

    "It doesn't matter. I'm just here for the 6th day actually."

    Ryuu raised an eyebrow. "Then you would be discussing 'Exemplary First Aid & Outdoor Surgery'? I should have known."

    "How about you, Ryuu. When are you scheduled?"

    "Eh? How did you know I'd be speaking as well?"

    She didn't know if he was just trying to be modest or he really was simply clueless. She opted for the second. "There's a Ryuu Kitaro who's been making waves in the field of dermatology and cosmetic surgery a few years back. You're a Ryuu Kitaro and you've got unbelievably perfect skin. There can't be that many Ryuu Kitaros out there", she explained as she finished her donut. "I just don't know which topic on the 4th you'll be discussing, 'Skin Deep Dermatologic Beauty' in the morning or 'Hazards of Cosmetic Surgery' in the afternoon."

    "They invited me for both. Thanks for the compliment."

    Kima would have rolled his eyes at the vanity if only she wasn't impressed. Anyone who got invited to speak was special, and most were already in their 40s or 50s. So far, Kima was the youngest, followed by Ryuu who seemed to be in his early 30s. It was impressive, considering he'll be speaking on two topics.

    They were silent for a while as they listened to the speaker, a certain Dr. Kaneyoshi, discuss the latest potentially less-destructive cure for Wilson's disease.


    *****************


    During lunch, Kima somehow found herself in the company of three other doctors: Dr. Kaneyoshi; Dr. Honda, a slightly overweight lady specializing in internal medicine; and Ryuu. Their table was next to that of four medical students, excitedly discussing a couple of recently acquired facts, and OPIUM, among other else. Kima still felt full from the donuts earlier and focused on their conversation instead.

    One of the students, a girl with perfectly manicured nails, started the discussion. "I know they checked in yesterday, I know it! But the reception's being such an a**, refusing to divulge the room number, much less even confirm they're even in the hotel."

    "Somebody claims to have seen Pachi and Chiro late last night. Must have been avoiding the crowd", another girl reported.

    The lone guy in the group puts in his two cents. "Another guest swears Kito went to the Deli to buy donuts. Drats. I knew I should have brought coffee yesterday", he said ruefully.

    "We should have gone swimming as well", the manicured girl said to the other girls. "Maybe we'd get super lucky and bump into Shi-i. Wanna try later? We could skip the remaining presentation", she lowered her voice as she stole a quick glance at Dr. Kaneyoshi in the next table.

    Kima smiled at the exchange. It never failed to amaze her the lengths fans would go just to get close to their idols. She remembered the incident Hideyoshi laughingly shared, wherein Chiro received used underwear in his fan mail. Now, it wasn't uncommon to receive one or two such items from obsessive fan girls but the particular underwear received were a pair of briefs--and a huge one at that! Chiro nearly cried in disgust. Everyone else (his twin, especially) found it hilarious. The band has since requested their recording company to screen fan mails and packages. Chiro has also commanded them never to mention again the incident. Kito, of course, made it a point to tease him about it the whole month after.

    "What are you smiling about?" Ryuu asked curiously. He was leaning way too close and Kima found it uncomfortable. Unconsciously, she moved her chair back a bit.

    "Nothing much. The students were talking about the band OPIUM and it reminded me of a funny story I heard a while back."

    "Really?" Ryuu's eyebrow arched. He was just about to press for details when a stylishly dressed girl appeared at his side.

    "Kyaa! Dr. Ryuu! It's been too long!" she hugged him as she made a pretty pout. Even Kima, who's been out of Japan for a while, would have figured who she was. Every inch of her spoke of style and beauty, her small frame matching her angelic face.

    Ryuu introduced her to the table. "Everyone, this is Ai Sasahara. Ai, meet Drs. Kaneyoshi, Honda, and Fuji." The renowned Dr. Kaneyoshi, for once, seemed unable to speak. The girls at the next table giggled.

    "Wow. How did you know each other?" Dr. Honda asked.

    "I'm one of his clients. He does a great job for women in need." Ai smiled warmly as if endorsing in front of a camera.

    Kima stared at her absently, wondering what kind of role Hideyoshi was offered for him to agree to appear in a movie. She knew he had declined a handful of offers before. "I'm a musician, not an actor", he would say. "Was it the role this time, or maybe Ai Sasahara?" she mused quietly.

    "You're in your own little bubble again", Ryuu tried to rouse her from her thoughts. "Mind sharing what's on your mind?"

    Ai looked at Kima sitting quite close to Ryuu, their shoulders almost touching. He had moved himself again. "Ne, Dr. Ryuu, are you dating Dr. Fuji this time?" she asked in stage whisper.

    Ryuu smiled mysteriously in response. It was a smile calculated to draw an air of curiosity and mistaken assumptions. The other doctors looked at the two in interest; the students craned their necks to hear more.

    If Kima had noticed, she might have stamped Ryuu's foot hard under the table. But she didn't and Ryuu took it to mean she didn't mind such insinuations. He was, after all, aware that he looked exceptionally good. And with his intelligence and success, women of all ages were sure to flock all the time.

    Dr. Kaneyoshi stood up regretfully as he realized the time, stammering a bit as he excused himself from Ai Sasahara. Unluckily (or maybe, luckily), he knocked his tea to the person on his left, spilling all the contents on her lap. The still very much warm liquid and the repeated apologies as he tried to wipe off the spill brought Kima out of her thoughts.

    "It's okay Dr. Kaneyoshi. You need to get back to the hall now", she gave a small smile as she stood up. The tea had lightly scalded her legs. "I'll just go up to my room to freshen up, then head straight back to hear your lecture on Parkinson's." Glad of an excuse to leave, she hurried to the elevator.


    *****************


    All four elevators, however, were full. And she knew if she really wanted to catch Dr. Kaneyoshi's remaining lecture, she had to try to get at least halfway up via the stairs. Kima had just finished climbing the first flight of stairs when she heard familiar voices going down. She never really met the rest of them before but knew their faces, voices, and characteristics by heart. He had told her way too many stories, and shown her way too many behind-the-scene videos for her not to remember.

    "She's supposed to be here a couple of hours ago", a male voice said with a hint of irritation. [Must be Pachi.]

    "Well, she comes late from time to time but I think her manager and personal assistant are here already", a female voice explained patiently. [Ah. Definitely Kito.]

    "So, how come we're here without our managers and personal assistants?" another male voice quipped teasingly. [Hmm. Chiro?]

    "I guess because the photo shoot's about us, and you three are just tagging along", a third male answered. It was the voice that made females squeal in delight; the voice that had the power to make her heart stop.

    Kima banged her shin hard on one of the steps. "Ouch!" she bit her lip. She should have known they often took the stairs down to avoid the crowd and picture-hungry autograph seekers. The whole band found her bent over as she was massaging her throbbing shin.

    "Eh? It's you again", Kito chirped in surprise.

    "It's WHO again?" Chiro asked, curiously looking from Kima to Kito.

    "The donut girl yesterday", Pachi tried to hide a smirk as he noticed Kima's tea-stained lap. "Another little accident?"

    Kima was a bit confused at the donut referral but replied easily, "Somewhat. A friend at lunch just got a little clumsy." She didn't mind him smirking since that's really just how he is. "And my name is Kima. Pleased to meet you."

    Hideyoshi's forehead creased as he looked at her shin. "I take it you plan to climb all the way to the 11th floor limping?" he leaned on the wall as he spoke, the edges of his lips curling into a frown.

    She reddened. "Not really. I originally planned to get up until the 5th or 6th and take the lift from there but I tripped when I heard your voice--" the words tumbled from her mouth before she knew it.

    He stiffened and looked past her. "So I can't be near you anymore without you choking or tripping." It was a statement, not a question.

    Kima fought the urge to reach out and smoothen away the creases on his forehead. "Hideyoshi," she called softly, partly to remind him that there were other people around, partly because she wanted him to look back at her.

    "That's a bit rude Shi-i. Personally, I think tripping just from hearing the voice of someone you like is real sweet." Kito smiled, naturally assuming Kima was a huge fan of Hideyoshi. She was right, actually. But it was a whole lot more than simply being a 'fan'.

    The strangeness of the exchange between the two, the frown, and ripples of tension, weren't lost on Pachi. He looked hard at Kima. She was slightly thinner than the girls Hideyoshi usually went for but her face had an intriguing quality to it. Wheels started turning on his head.

    "Something," he thought, "must have gone amiss with yesterday's donut-giving. That'd explain the tension. If things don't turn out well with Ai, maybe the band could try matching this accident-prone lady with Shi-i. I wonder how they'd fare together." Pachi had been bored since arriving at the hotel and he found Kima to be the perfect diversion.

    "After all", he reasoned to himself, "we've been trying so hard to get Shi-i serious with another girl. I don't know where that blasted wife of his went but this project with Ai is the first time he’s shown real interest in a long time. And if this doesn't work out, we have to have back-up." With that, the usually busy-in-his-own affairs Pachi resolved to devote time tracking Kima and knowing more about her.

    Chiro, taking cue from his twin's assumption, offered a once-in-a-fan's-lifetime chance. "We're actually doing an amateur photo shoot on Shi-i and Ai for this romance flick set to be released in a few weeks' time. Shi-i doesn't really feel up to acting but they--the director and co.--needed him to draw in an even bigger crowd so he was given a non-acting role as Ai's dead boyfriend."

    Kima was still rubbing her shin but she listened attentively as he spoke. Chiro was cool. So far, he was the only one she knew who could wear such weird clothes and still be able to pull it off as fashionable.

    "Anyways," he continued, "we need to take tons of pictures of them together like they're a normal couple in a normal setting. That's why we each got a camera from the director." Chiro waved the high-tech camera phone that hang from his neck. "He wanted us to take shots of Shi-i and Ai as normally as possible without attracting much attention since people don't know yet that Shi-i's on the film. We also need to take solo shots of him doing all sort of things we get to see all the time. Basically, Ai would use all the good shots to reminisce on her beloved boyfriend."

    "Err. What my twin is trying to say," Kito added as she glared at him for giving away the plot, "is that you're very much welcome to join us take shots and all. Just don't tell others about it, we'd get in trouble."

    Kima was touched. And dumbfounded. She didn't expect they'd actually take a liking on her nor that she'd get invited at all. It was a no-win situation (for her). Surely there was a way to turn down the offer without seeming like she did. She looked at Hideyoshi for help.

    He answered coolly. "No one's forcing you if you don't want to. In fact, no one's ever gonna force you." The other meaning wasn't lost on her. Pachi got even more curious.

    She answered before she could think. "I'll just go get changed. Ai's by the greenhouse restaurant."


    *****************
    But once you conquer the world, then comes the hard part.
    What kind of world would you create?

    -Johan [Monster]

  4. #4
    wanderlustee is offline Senior Member Regular
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    [Haha. I don't know if anyone's even reading this but since I started it, might as well finish it. Right? Anyways, part 2 exceeded the maximum characters allowed so here's the continuation -wanderlustee]


    Kima didn't bring a lot of clothes back to Japan. She didn't have much to bring, actually. She ended up wearing a striped over-sized shirt and denim shorts since she had to save all the more formal looking ones for the remaining days of the convention. That, and the fact that she needed to air her legs a bit because of the minor scalding earlier. She put her hair up quickly in a bun, unknowingly achieving an over-all look of careless youth.

    Her eyes automatically searched for Hideyoshi as she got back to the restaurant. It was a little past 2:00pm and the place was nearly deserted. To her surprise, Ryuu Kitaro was still there, currently engrossed in sharing some skin tips with Chiro. "Ah. The power of vanity. Ai must have introduced them", Kima thought as she nodded a hello to the two. Now that she was there, she honestly didn't know what to do. She cursed herself inwardly for not thinking earlier.

    Ai sat unmoving as another girl (her personal assistant, maybe?) re-touched her make-up. Kito and Pachi were fooling around with their cameras while Hideyoshi talked to someone on the phone.

    Kima was glad everyone was busy. It gave her an opportunity to stare at him. She hadn't done so in a long time and it hurt simply to look but found it hard to take her eyes off either. She felt as if she were window shopping; wanting something so bad yet knowing she can't afford the price.

    Her head had begun to pound again and she leaned on one of the thick, fake vines. Someone started to play the harmonica and another tapped the table in perfect rhythm. It soothed her mind and slowly, she drifted off to sleep.


    *****************


    For some reason, this particular stray she found hurt by the roadside seemed to have no plans of going home (wherever that is) anytime soon. She knew he had the money for better accommodations. He was, after all, the son of THE Shuuichi Ishikawa. Plus, he told her himself that he belonged in a popular band. So why linger at all with a boring medical student, feeding only on whatever is available with her meager budget?

    But Kima liked having Hideyoshi around. More than simply like, actually. And it irritated her because she knew she can't get involved seriously with anyone. Not now that she's signed up for 8 months of volunteer work in Mozambique.

    Trouble is, just three short days with him at his charming best is enough to make anyone fall hard. And Kima was no exception.

    "Don't you have a concert or somewhere you need to go at all this week? Anything that you band people need to do?" she asked pointedly.

    His eyes twinkled in amusement. "Why, want free tickets? As my doctor, you only need to ask. I'll get you one with a handful of limited bonuses thrown in the way."

    "I'm not a doctor yet."

    "Yup. Just Hideyoshi's, don't worry." He referred to himself in the third person.

    "Not interested. Thank you."

    He looked at her in mock surprise. "Really?" And he closed his eyes to nap. It was her bed. Her's. But he made it seem like half was naturally his. In irritation, Kima thought of a way to disturb his sleep.

    "Let's go to the hospital. I need to get some notes and we need to have those bandages checked. I might have missed something." She didn't, really. Kima was among the top in her class and the night she found him, performed much more than simple first aid. Her professors would have been proud.

    He opened one eye first, then the other. "Got any baseball cap?"

    "What for?"

    "Heard someone say I looked good in it." That was only half-true. He needed it so they wouldn't get mobbed by people.

    Kima rolled her eyes as she went next door to borrow one.



    *****************


    The hospital was in chaos when they arrived. A couple of houses downtown caught fire and quite a number of families got hurt in the process. Children were, of course, treated first than adults. Kima rushed to the ER to help, leaving Hideyoshi in the lobby with some of the kids.

    Most had just been treated for minor burns and were waiting for their parents inside. All were in a state of shock and disbelief. Some were able to save one or two personal belongings, which they hugged close to their bodies.

    Hideyoshi didn't know what to do. He knitted his brows as he tried to think of a way to help. When he saw the electric keyboard a boy in yellow pajamas was clutching, he knew he had found his answer.

    "Mind if I borrow this for a while?" He asked softly but the boy didn't seem to hear him. He tried to ask permission one more time and then proceeded to pry it from the child's dead-lock grip. After a few minutes, the keyboard was finally free.

    What should he play? His father, a master pianist, had taught him well but he had barely played the last few years and his hands hurt from recent wounds. He opted to start with a relatively easy classical piece. It had a soothing, calming effect. The children listened in interest and their mood lightened perceptibly.

    He then shifted to a few, well-known nursery rhymes which delighted them even more. By now, most of the adults had finished receiving first aid, and had stopped to listen as well. He pulled his cap lower and completed the impromptu recital by converting 3 of his band's hits into one long beautiful piece.

    People were awestruck. Both by the talent, and the fire and water dragon tattoo on his arm. "Shoot. I should have worn a jacket."

    Kima, done with treating burns and helping out, whisked him away before the crowd even put two and two together.



    *****************


    As they walked hurriedly out of the hospital's back door, Kima tried furiously to blink her tears away. She didn't know what to do and she hated him for it. Once on the street, she decided to take the bus thinking he wouldn't dare get in one. Maybe then, her heart would be at peace.

    Not quite.

    "Kima. Kima are you mad?" He looked worried as he followed her inside. She pretended not to hear anything and took a seat by the window. Hideyoshi sat beside her and willed her to face him by gently turning her chin.

    "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cause trouble. It won't happen again."

    He looked so sincere, so concerned. Tears started streaming uncontrollably down her face. "You're stupid. What am I supposed to do now?"

    "I don't understand. What are you supposed to do with what?" His beautiful eyes were troubled, his expression sad.

    Kima couldn't take it. She took his bandaged hands and tried to wipe the blood off with her hanky. The wounds had opened when he played. She knew it hurt bad but that he continued just to cheer the kids up. She had fallen for him so absolutely hard, there wasn't anything to do but acknowledge it.

    She surprised him by tenderly holding his face with both hands and kissing him on the lips. Sweet, butterfly kisses that brushed over and over as he looked at her in wide-eyed wonder. "What, did you fall for me already?" he asked incredulously.

    She wanted to smack him but he suddenly kissed her back; his mouth smiling that beautifully addictive smile. "Stupid. You're supposed to keep me, no matter what."

    People were ogling but they were too busy to care.



    *****************
    But once you conquer the world, then comes the hard part.
    What kind of world would you create?

    -Johan [Monster]

  5. #5
    DeVoLi is offline Senior Member Frequent Poster
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    I'll read it this weekend after work
    since you put so much effort into it... its the least I can do I guess

 

 

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