Story: Lotus and Cranes (all chapters)

Authors: Jdwheels

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Chapter 1

Title: Chapter 1: Arrival

Lotus and Cranes

By Jd Wheels

*** This is a Original piece of Yuri fiction... I own all characters and events***





Tokyo seemed so large, especially from the back of a small taxicab in the middle of a wild traffic jam. It seemed large when my plane came in for a landing an hour and a little ago. Now being in the cab and on the road, it was so damned huge... and it was intimidating for a young girl like me from Canada.

The past few weeks had been interesting to say the least... life usually changes amazingly fast at the best of times, but with me landing in the Japanese capital Tokyo... was way more than what I was wanting change. Saying that this was going to be a huge culture shock for me coming to this sprawling metropolis was putting it mildly. It was enormous, large place and I was just young girl.. Far from where I was from.

I had been brought up in a small coastal city in farthest west Provence of Canada, born to Mark Hammond and Yoko Saatchi. My father was a oil rig manager off the coast of British Columbia for a major Oil Drilling company. He was a tall strapping Canadian, with dark hair and a soft hazel eyes. My mother was a very petite woman, a teacher who was originally from Tokyo City but had moved to Canada to learn to teach non-textbook English back in Japan. Since I had been born a Canadian, it’s clear that she never made it back to Japan. I was conceived on the night they were engaged, a little over seven months after she had arrived. Guess my Dad worked fast.

She was going to marry my Dad, but they decided on about eight months to saving money so they could do the wedding a good as they could, but the wedding never happened. Two months after they had decided that, my mother found out she was pregnant with me. They were ecstatic... Mom said that my Dad was overjoyed. They decided to continue on, and get married around my birth. They were happy... that changed, as my Mom said.

Two months before their wedding had been scheduled, no tlo mention before I had arrived, my Dad was killed by a malfunctioning Hydraulic boom crane on the ocean drilling rig he was managing. The arm of the huge machine collapsed under the over ten tons it was carrying, and it and the load landed on my Dad, and two other workers that were assisting him in an inspection. In the blink of an eye, I had only one parent.

Because Dad had been an orphan and had no relatives that were alive any more and his foster family had all died, my mother ended up being left alone before I even had been born. With that said, I was born a few months later... and my mother said it was a truly bittersweet sort of moment, but she would not change it either. She said that my smile reminded her of him even from the moment I came out.

Despite finding herself a single mother, she did not return to her homeland and simply worked hard to bring me up in Canada as a teacher for newly immigrated Japanese families. She stayed because that it was in honouring my father’s life and the love he had for my mother, that she did that for. As I grew, she made sure that I knew my father as well as she could have done, even though they had only been together for just over a year when he had died. She said that she felt as if she knew him for years... that makes me want to cry.

Despite living in Canada, my mother made sure that I was fluent in the Japanese language while also learning proper English... because I was half Japanese. I soon had amazingly good grasp on both of the languages when I was a little over six, not to mention that she was probably the start of me having an interest in Japanese Literature and history as well. It was a passion for my Mother, and she instilled that in me. Because of that sort of thing, I am sort of a bookworm when it comes down to it. Ok already... I fully admit that I am a bookworm. I said it, now I move on.

My world then crumbled around the time just before my thirteenth birthday. With in three short months, my mother was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of brain cancer. I was so devastated, to the point of being despondent. She had gone to the doctor about some migraines she had been having for weeks, but tests showed a much more sinister of a problem... Cancer that brought a tumour the size of a baseball deep in her brain

She had attributed her excruciating and debilitating migraines to just working too much, or something as simple as a pulled neck muscle... the reality soon was clear that this pain was telling of something that was more sinister than anyone could have ever imagined. The Doctors were all agreement, saying that there was no radiation treatments, Chemotherapy or even surgery that could help out at this point. Morphine was the only thing that eased my mother’s pain, even though she never showed it very much...I still knew that she was in such pain.

Despite knowing that she was going to die soon, we started to talk like at no other time. She kept telling me to be happy and live my dreams as much as I could... she also told me that she would be proud of whatever it was that I became. She admitted that it was sad that she would not be there to see me fall in love or graduate from school... but reminded me that her spirit would be there. I felt comforted by that, as she quickly got worse until finally drifting into a coma. It was my 13th birthday, and I knew that it was not much longer

I lived with a family that was close to my mother while she was in the hospital, they helped me as my Mom withered away for a few months as she hovered in a state of suspended animation. I would go to school, go see her and then go back to the people that I was staying with and start it all over again. I hated it, but I would never change it either... I was there for my Mother.

Thankfully Mom’s suffering came to an end five months to the day that she had been diagnosed with the tumour in her brain... she finally died. I was at her bedside when she passed, and I hoped that in her state, she had known that I was there. I wish to believe that she really did know that I was there at the very end.

After my Mom died, I continued to live with that family friends for a few more months before life changed once again. Through translators and children’s advocates at the Japanese Embassy, it was decided that I was going to live in Japan with what little family I had.... rather than having to endure the foster child system ore the chance that I would not be adopted.

My Mother’s only Sister and her Husband agreed to adopt me as their own despite them having a older son already. With no other family that could take me, and the family that I had been staying with having already too many in their house, that was the only choice I had. Twelve days later, I was sitting on a commercial flight to the orient with most of my worldly possessions in the belly of a 747.

This is how I came to be in the back of a taxi being driven around in the middle of one of the most populated cities in the world with a trunk load of possessions and not knowing was going to happen next. Just a question as you ponder all of this... Want to be me?

By the way, my name is Akimi Saatchi in the western style. I am just thirteen years old, very short, got some thick glasses and shortish hair that I hate. I am sort of brainy and dorky as well, I don’t stand out or am anything special, and just am me... and that is all I want to say for now.


Chapter One: Arrival


The area that the cab was taking me to was affluent to say the least, amazing at the best. The houses were in the old ways of being built with the angled roofs and wood gates with amazing stone wall that surround them. I watched the houses in awe as we travelled along the streets of this awesome city, I could not help but think that this was perhaps one of the most amazing places in the world... and where I would be living.

The taxi stopped in front of a home that had a red and gold roof on it. It glittered in the sunlight, throwing a shadow through the gates that were in front.

" This is my destination?" I asked the cabbie, not sure if this was the place that I had him taking me too.

" It is." he said, giving me a yellow teethed smile.

" You sure this is the right address?" I asked, not wanting to be left alone in a unfamiliar country.

He turned around and seemed to be a little irritated with my question.

" You showed me the number, I brought you straight here, girl" he said, snapping a little at me. " This is the address that you were wanting."

" Ok..." I said, a little scared with the man’s tone to me.

" Now..." He said, seemingly satisfied that I backed off. " That will be 5,000 Yen."

I stepped out and found there was a middle aged woman in a grey and light pink Kimono standing there as the Cabbie began to unload my mountain of bags from the back. I looked at the woman as she payed the man his fare before I could even get the money out to, and that forced a smile onto my weary face.

The woman was a little taller than me, which is not hard considering I stood only four foot eight and I maybe weighed eighty pounds. The woman in the kimono was pretty yet all too silent, as she only venturing to give me a bow in welcoming. I was not sure if this was my Aunt Kiko or not, but considering how far I have travelled... I was feeling being bold in my exhaustion.

" Auntie?" I asked.

The woman shook her head, and bowed.

" I am Yui, the maid for your Aunt and Uncle." She said, almost apologetically in very broken English. " They are inside and wait for you to arrive from the airport, I was told to wait for you and pay for your cab, Akimi-chan."

" You lead me then when your ready.." I said, in Japanese.

The woman’s eyes lit up, as she heard me speak in her language.. And that made her seem to relax. She bowed low and swept one of her arms towards the gate.

" You go in to the house back there, and I will gather your bags into the yard." She said, happy. " I will bring them in later."

I bowed back and went through the gate, following the surprisingly fast Maid who was carting many of my bags. I headed towards the house that sat near where a large rock circled coy pond was in the middle of a beautiful lily garden with stone carved benches for sitting and meditating. I was impressed by the scene... it was tranquil yet opulent at the exact same thing. It was the prettiest sight I have ever seen.

The inside was very neat and decorated quite elaborately for a Japanese house. I was led back to what could be called the dining room. Kneeling around the table were three people. A stout man in his late forties sat in a expensive blue suit and reading a paper sat at the head of the table with a woman in her early forties next to the man... and she was a near perfect twin of my Mother. Next to the people was a boy that was about fifteen in a school uniform of dull grey and white.

" Aunt Kiko?" I asked, as the t.

She smiled, her eyes danced with the hinting of tears. She seemed overjoyed just looking at me, as she stood up and come around the table.

" You look like your mother so very much.." She said, looking my face over intently. " She was like a china doll even when she was a woman... you have that exact beauty as well."

" Thank you..." I said, very nervously.

The stout looking man started at me, and his eyes made me start to sweat like mad.

" She looks like a boy.." The man commented with a gruff grunt, looking me over as if he was looking at a piece of meat at a butcher’s shop. I could not say a word back, fear took care of that. " Not a girl as she suppose to..."

" She does, Father." Piped in the boy, while glaring at me. " She seemed all up and down, no angles to her..."

" There is nothing to her... like a praying mantis" Snorted the man, giving a almost malicious sort of chuckle.

" Tell me father... is she a boy, or a girl... I think even she doesn’t know yet..." The lad chortled as he jumped right in, his word were venomous and hate filled.

The woman looked at the barrel chest man in the sharp business suit, and seemed to be upset.

" Hush, Sadato, Teru.." She said to both the man and the boy sternly. "She is our Niece, and your cousin... we welcome her as family."

The lad looked over at his mother, the unmistakable mask of irritation flashed over his young face. He was clearly irritated by his mother

" But she does, Mother..." Came back the lad, leering at me a little harder. " Look at her, I have more boobs than she..."

" Stop, your mother asked you too...!" Barked my Uncle, immediately stopping the lad’s words dead.

I was taken back by my Uncle’s boldly cold comment, not to mention the leering and sexual jabs the young lads crassness delivered... but unfortunately I have to admit that they did have a point.. I had this bob type of haircut that came to just above my jawline and I had a pair of black rimmed glasses that matched my hair that made me look a little like a boy. That point aside, it was probably the fact that I was just starting to go through puberty and had ‘very little ones’ that made me look boyish even despite that I wore a dress. I was still hurt by the comments that had been thrown at me.

The burly man looked at me and gave me a stare as he stood up, showing that he was larger than what I had thought. He walked over to me and stood there and looked down on me. He towered over a foot taller than me. I swallowed hard as I felt my uneasiness growing as my uncle stood there, staring down at me like a giant.

" So you are Yoko’s daughter, Akimi?" He asked, being a little intimidating just by the way he looked at me..

" Yes sir..." I said, bowing low and gracefully like I had been taught to by my Mom. " Nice to meet you Uncle, and I truly thank you for letting me come here to live with you and Auntie."

He seemed quite shocked as I talked to him. He stared right after me for quite a while, then give a low grunting noise.

" You speak very good Japanese, girl..." He said, glaring at me. " I am pleasantly surprised that you can speak this well and be coherent, despite you had been born in Canada."

" Thank you." I said, glad to hear any little complement come from him, after what I had been welcomed with.

" Don’t be too proud of yourself, girl..." The man growled, almost irritated with my politeness. " You need to continue to improve on it... and all before you start school, so you don’t embarrass your family here."

He never once gave any hint of a smile, looking me over continually. I was still feeling stunned with his words, and stung by it’s calm yet vicious venom. I swallowed hard, but made the decision to just let it go the best that I could... I had no idea on how to be dealing with this in anyway.

" Teru is right...There is not much to you, is there, girl.." He finally commented with a flat tone. " You look like a scrawny chicken standing there, you have no meat on you."

" N...No, Sir... I guess not" I said, not quite knowing how to respond to the man looming over me.

" And I guess it is now our job to do that.." He said, with a sarcastic tilt to his speaking. " We are family, as my wife informed me."

He looked me over for a second more, then walked by me without another word. He seemed to go from staring at me, to ignoring me... which I was sort of glad of that for the time being. It was better to be ignored, than to be criticized from the moment that you have arrived.

" I am off to work then... tend to this girl like we agreed to.." He said, walking out the door. " Come Teru, I will drop you off at the train station."

" Yes, Sir..." Said the lad, jumping up and grabbing a black leather bag that was near him and followed his mountain of a father.

Uncle Sadato just walked to the front door as a man in a black uniform waited just inside the house. I had not seen the man there, and I imagine that this was his driver that was picking him up for his work at some large financial company based in the heart of Tokyo. My cousin followed his father, never once saying a word, almost as if he was afraid to say anything. That was fine by me as well

My aunt seemed a little embarrassed with Uncle’s attitude. She waved for me to take a spot at the table. The maid set a cup of tea in front of me almost immediately when I got to my knees, which shocked me. I nodded to thank the woman, but she had already disappeared almost like a ninja.

" Don’t mind your uncle, Akimi..." She said with the same calming lilt as my mother’s tone was.

" He does not like me, I think..." I said, being honest with what my sense of it all was.

" He can come across like that..." Sighed my Aunt, adding with a peaceful tone put with her words. " He is a very gruff man, but is kind once he gets to know you, and lets you know him as well."

I nodded and took a sip from my cup, unsure of my aunt’s words or my Uncle’s attitude towards me. Frankly, I did not see any sign of him ever liking me My first few moments at my new home was far from being a bunch of great memories... it was very crappy in fact. I felt so uncomfortable just being here, that all I wanted to do was take the first plane back to Canada. I was now feeling more alone that at any time..

My Aunt just tried to make me get to relax by simply talking softly while she was getting to know me. I was glad for the great amount of kindness being shown to me from her, as my mind was frazzled by the long flight I had endured to get to Japan... not to mention that it took almost a half hour for security alone. I felt my exhaustion coming over me like a freight train, now that I was sitting still. I knew that this was jet lag, but it was still uncomfortable to be going through.

Auntie noticed right off the look on my face, and she gave me a little smile of complete understanding. She reached over the table and set her hand on mine, and I felt instantly comforted..

" You look like you are very tired." She commented. " I see your eyelids drooping like the branches of the willow under a heavy snow."

" Uh, very, Auntie." I said, with a sleepy nod, feeling he full effects of the long journey come over me " It has been a very long day..."

" It is the long plane trip that has made you like this..." She said, waving at Yui to hurry of somewhere. " I think that your bags are already been taken up to your room so you can nap without being disturbed. You can rest up so you can try and get to know your cousin when he is back from school... he really is a nice young man"

" Really?" I asked in a little voice... when I am really tired, I tended to do that.

A nap did sound really good, right about now, I had to admit. I was getting tired from fighting it off like I was. I nodded that I wanted to, and that felt good to me.

" There are fresh sheets on the bed in the room that is set for you, and I will make sure you are not going to be bothered..." She said, sounding proud that she could help. " Just lay down and rest for as long as you need to."

" Thank you, Auntie..." I said, my whole body was loving the idea. " I am so tired."

The maid led me back through the rather open house and up a narrow staircase located past what seemed to be the point were the hall to a few rooms met the way to the kitchen. I looked at the steep stairs, but quickly followed the maid, my need for some sleep making climbing the steps very hard.

The stairs led to a rather small upper floor where I could see that two bedrooms and a bathroom were. Through the one door, I saw a neat bedroom room with sports posters all over it and various sports related knickknacks were. It was apparently my Cousin Teru’s room, and I was very impressed with how neat it was..

There was a second doorway that was directly across the little area from Teru’s room. It was obviously empty, but I could see the mountain that was my suitcases and boxes that were stacked just inside the doorway. I smiled, as that was my room. Yui waved me to follow her in to that room.

The room was quite small, having only a desk built right on to the wall with a pink coloured laptop set on it. The desk had a wood chair with a cushion that had a crane handstitched on its top. There also was a western styled bed tucked under a storage cupboard where a upper bunk might have been back in Canada. There also was a small side table with a alarm clock and a pale blue goose necked lamp and a few books on it. The room was rounded out by a woven mat on the hardwood floor next to the bed and a small closet that had a built in dresser just inside the two sliding doors.

" Cozy..." I commented to myself.

Yui said nothing to me as she simply bowed and backed out of the room smoothly with out one word spoken. She pulled the door closed with out a whisper of a sound, and I heard it shut tightly. I was now all alone.

Standing in the middle of the room like, felt very strange to be alone after the plane ride and everything else. I looked around my new room, trying to process everything with a very exhausted mind. In truth, that was not working very well... I felt like I was in a very thick fog.

Deep down weary, I was glad of the silence that the room brought me, the large airport was almost too much for me to endure.. It was so overwhelming with the throng of people and the sheer magnitude of the noise that rose from it as I tried to go through security and get my bags as well. I had never in my life experienced a thing like that, and hoped it would be a long time until I get to again.

I turned my head and looked at the boxes and suitcases that was now all of my life. The pile seemed to loom larger than Mt. Fuji did when we flew over it. A part of me wanted to start unpacking so it would not be overwhelming me, but the heaviness of the complete weariness I had through my body made that thought out-of-reach.

" I will put that all away later..." I told myself, my exhaustion was now all consuming. " I need to sleep."

I walked over to the small bed took a seat. As I sunk in, I noticed that it felt very comfortable and inviting, the mattress felt as if it had been made for me. I swung myself onto the bed and laid there, taking off my glasses to set them on the bed table. I remember sighing and closed my eyes, then that was it... I fell into a deep sleep.

[End notes: Author:  New story.  Got the idea while on the road.  Put up two chaptersw... if you want more, you have to review and tell me. Ta-Ta.]

Chapter 2

Title: Chapter 2: Life Complications

[Author's notes: Akimi has barely been in Japan for a day... she meets two people that just may change her life.  at least they will make her new life interesting.]

Chapter Two - Life complications




I slept a lot that arrival day, and I even went to bed early as well after doing a little unpacking... mainly of my clothes. I was too tired to gather out what little else I had packed, but doing it tomorrow would not take very long... The travelling had wore me out to the point that I could barely function, and my body just made it clear that it needed sleep. When I climbed the stairs that night to my new room, it was labourious and I nearly just decided to sleep on the stairs.

I did not see either my Uncle or Cousin very much other than at supper that night... witch suited me just fine. Uncle Sadato went off to do some work in a back room and I had no idea where Teru had went off to. They were somewhat nicer to me through the entire meal, but that came with both of them speaking to me very sparingly. I was glad, as my exhaustion might have let my frustrations out onto them... doing that on my first day would not have been good.

The next day broke sunny and held the potential of being very hot. I awoke and I felt better. I rolled over in my new bed and just layed there. The silence of my Uncle’s house was very pleasing to be waking up in. I looked at the clock on the table next to me... and it was fifteen minutes to six in the morning.

" Oh no..." I grumbled.

It was probably that I had slept so long that I was up this early... but from the noises I was hearing, I was not alone. I could hear water starting to run in the bathroom next to my room, obviously Teru was awake and probably showering for school. Smells of food cooking told of a family that was up very early. This was usual, I thought... forgetting that school over here started earlier and went a later.

As I layed there, realizing that the culture shock was starting up already... my exhaustion had made forget about simple things like this. I was then thinking about getting up when a soft Knock came at the door.

" Are you awake, Akimi-San??" Asked the Maid through the closed door.

" I am..." I replied, settling that it was time for me to wake up.

The woman came in to my room and gave me a look of curiosity as she did.

" Your not out of bed yet, Akimi-san?" She said. " Everyone else is up as usual."

" Just waking up, Yui." I said, throwing the covers off of me.

Yui looked at my sleeping attire, and made a face of surprise with a hint of a wee little grimace. I was wearing a long black T-shirt that fell to my mid thigh and that was it, just like I have done for years. It was just straight, completely plain black and was sort of form fitting without revealing anything.

" Don’t you not have anything nice to sleep in other than that shirt, Akimi-chan?" She asked, almost hesitantly.

I was surprised with the woman’s question. I never had anyone ever comment on what I wore to bed before.

" This is just my sleepwear..." I replied, not really knowing what else to say to her. " I have slept in just a t-shirt for years."

" Just that? Not even any real pyjamas?" The woman asked, looking at what I was wearing.

" Yes... just this" I replied, not quite understanding the big thing about what I wore to bed.

Yui just nodded and started to leave the room, seemingly accepting my sleeping habit. I just grabbed a little clear zipper bag filled with my toothbrush and other things to wash up with, to start my morning ritual when the woman stopped just shy of exiting the room entirely

" I almost forgot, Akimi-san..." She said with a little gasping noise. " Breakfast is almost ready... you are to join the family." She said. " It is a tradition in this household to always gather for meals."

" Thank you... will be down." I said.

" I will tell them that, Akimi-san" She said bowing.

She bowed again and then headed out of my room to head down stairs. I took this time to continue gathering my toiletries so I could wake myself up on this early morning. I could hear that Teru hustling out of the bathroom and race down the stairs. By the sounds coming from outside of my bedroom door, Teru had nearly knocked the maid down the stairs in his hast... then heard the angry maid chastise him loudly for his antics. I giggled at the thought, almost being able to envision the woman scolding Teru.

This paved the way for me to go and wash up now without having to interact with the lad... after how he acted yesterday, I was not up for any of that crap in the first place. Clutching my little clear bag and a towel the maid had left with me, I hurried to clean up so I could dress and get down stairs.

I found my Aunt and Teru kneeling at the dinning table eating what looked to be a noodle type of dish. I could not help but see that Uncle Sadato was not anywhere in sight, and neither was his briefcase. I took my place as my aunt looked at me, already guessing where Uncle had gone to.

" Did you get enough sleep last night?" She asked.

" Yes, I did." I said. " The bed was very comfortable, and I slept very soundly, Auntie."

" I am glad that it was good." She said.

I nodded and took a sip of my coffee that the maid had brought me, somehow knowing that I was not a true tea lover despite being in the country of tea drinking. My Auntie just sat and kept talking to me.

" Your Uncle regrets that he had to go into work earlier than was the normal today..." She said with a smile. " He will be back sometime this evening... "

" That is alright.." I said, sort of glad that he had gone in early anyways.

I thought that little speech was meant to help me feel not as nervous with the man who is basically ignoring me right now. It did bother a small bit that my Uncle was acting like this, the fact was with all of this change and new everything was making this situation harder. I tried not to let it bother me... but admitting it helps.

Cousin Teru looked at me, and I thought he was going to make some rude or obnoxious sort of remark at me... but he surprised me by saying nothing and just kept on eating. I just did the same, listening in silence as Auntie and her son talked about his school day ahead. I was shocked at how much more polite than he was acting like yesterday, which actually made me nervous... but I never let myself show it.

Soon, Teru left to hurry for the train to get himself to school with, leaving my Aunt and the maid Yui with me. It now fell relatively quiet, as we all just sat and ate that way for quite a long time. You know... I found the quietness of the house to be very soothing.

After a little while of silence, my Aunt looked at me. Her face looked rather serious yet still held her usual kindness in the eyes. I was unsure of what that meant, but I was willing to listen because it probably was important.

" You know that you will be attending the school we had picked for you in a few days?" She asked, out of the blue.

" You mean Nagato Junior and Senior?" I asked, reminding myself of the name of the school.

" Yes... it is the same school as Teru goes to." She informed me. " He is in a higher level that you are..."

I nodded, knowing that this plan for my education had been made the day that my Aunt and Uncle had made the decision to let me come over and live here.

" I did the Transfer Entrance exam for the Nagato School a few days ago back in Vancouver." I said, the memory of doing that test still gave me a rush of anxiety that made me queasy... it had been a test from hell, and took me hours to complete. " It was a very hard test, Auntie.... I have never took a test like that ever."

" I know you took the test the other day... we were informed of that by the school faculty" My Aunt said nodding, then she paused before adding. " Do you think that you did rather well on the test?"

" I think that I did..." I replied with a slight pause, thinking back on the test that took me three hours to do... three very long hours.

By the smile that flowed over the woman’s face, my words of confidence seemed to make her very happy.

" That will help you in the long run if you have scored really well on that test.." She commented, pleased with my answers to her. " Do you know if they will they contact us with the score?"

" I think so, Auntie..." I said, remembering something about that being said when I showed up to do the test at the University of British Columbia which partners with the school... its been a long few days, and I was not fully sure my memory served me well. " They never really said."

" That is good then, Akimi..." She said, seemingly becoming more relaxed with that information. " We will go down later today to pick up the uniform you will be requiring to attend there, and then head over to where we need to pick up all of the text books as well"

" That is fine, Auntie... Thank you." I replied, remembering my Japanese manners lessons my mother had me do.

The topics soon turned from the school thing to just chatting about things back in Canada and my Mother as well and then slid into other more light topics as we ate our breakfast. I was glad that the topics had gotten lighter, it was a way of diverting myself from looming things like school. The fact of starting a new school in a new country was causing me great anxiety... but who would not feel like this? Here I was, barely over twenty four hours since arriving, and I was thinking about school. Saki anyone?

It was a little while later, I had gone out into the small courtyard for some air and to familiarize myself with my new home. My aunt was busy with something and Yui had go to the market for some groceries.. And I found myself feeling rather restless. I know that I had some major unpacking to do, but doing that did not appeal to me... so I thought I would just wander around for a little, then finish it all up and make my room as home like as possible.

I pulled open the front gates to the courtyard, and stepped out onto the sidewalk. I wanted to get to know a little of the area I now was living in even if it was just outside of the walls. I had seen the opulence of the houses on the street my Aunt and Uncle lived on, but in all of the rushing around and just arriving... I had not taken very much notice of anything about my new neighbourhood.

Out on the sidewalk, I looked far down either way. I could see many children of different ages coming out of homes up and down the street. By the uniforms and leather briefcases they all carried, it was obvious that they were all off to their respective schools. In groups, pairs and just on their own, schoolchildren were heading off under the brightness of an already hot sun. It was in some respects, just like school mornings back in Canada.

I smiled a little, as the scene was actually very inviting to me.... and that made the thought of me doing the same thing in a few short days. I have to admit that I am nervous as hell in just thinking of it. I just tried to calm that feeling, but it had a small foothold and wanted to torture me a little bit longer..

I stood there on the sidewalk and watched, noticing that a few of the children had taken a moment to look over to me and stared. Guess even here in one of the biggest cities in the entire world, the new kid is always quickly noticed right off the bat.

" Some things are the same, no matter where you are..." I commented to myself, giggling as I realized that.

Suddenly, I heard some frantic running footsteps for a fraction of a second from behind me as I looked up the street before something or someone bowled me over like a freight train. I let out a small grunt, as I was violently was knocked to the ground while being showered by many sheets of paper and a few books that were now flying everywhere. I hit hard and I found myself on the already hot pavement.

" What the.." Was all I could say.

I found on top of me a young girl in pigtails and dressed in a sailor suit looking uniform. She was sprawled on top of me, pinning me to the sidewalk, and seemed dazed for a second until she started to stammer loudly.

" Oh... Sorry... a thousand pardons... please forgive me..." was the only thing this younger girl could stammer out as she got herself off of me while trying to bow a million times in a row while still on her knees.

I got myself off the ground, and found that I was not hurt from this except for a little scrap on the side of my hand, all the while the girl that had knocked me down was babbling her apologies like a drunken man at an auction, all the while crying a little.

" It’s all right... I am not hurt..." I assured to the girl, trying to stop this younger lass from repeating herself over and over again.

" I should not have been running like that..." Was the phrase the younger girl was now repeating punctuated by tears. " I ask for your apologies in the humblest of ways... "

The girl continued to apologize over and over again, as she hurriedly tried to gather up what had flew our of her hands when she had slammed into me. I started to help while trying very hard to reassure the girl that this all was under control and I was not injured or mad with her... seeing this girl crying was hard. As I tried to calm the young woman, a voice behind me made me stop what I was doing and look up.

Dressed in a wonderful form fitting grey and white uniform with a little bowed ribbon for a tie, stood a girl that took my breath away. She had this long dark hair that cascaded around her perfect teardrop shaped face like a curtain, accented by these pair of soft brown eyes that seemed to dance and sparkle in the sun’s light. I felt my heart was now pounding away just seeing that smile which seemed to outshine the sun, Never have I ever seen such a beauty... beauty that seemed to radiate from within the girl, and project out for all to enjoy.

This pretty of a girl, who was near my age, looked down at me as I was helping the younger one gather up the scattered items. This girl smiled broadly and just kept looking at me, her eyes captivating me like no one else, it made my soul feel as if it could jump out and fly across the sky.

" I am sorry for my clumsy little sister Yumi here knocking you down like this..." She said, her voice sounding so magical that it was heaven. " She can be so clumsy at times. I had warned her to stop running down the street headlong without looking where she was going, but she has dirt in her ears I think.."

" Hey, I washed them yesterday ..." Pouted the pigtailed girl, stomping her foot to accent her words.

" If you washed them more often, Yumi, you would have heard me..." The older girl said, bowing so gracefully. " Just know we are so sorry."

For a moment, my mouth could not let a single word the older of the two was so pretty... like a model. I fought off the instant onset of my verbal paralysis, catching myself looking at the girl.

" It is ok..." I assured the girl, trying not to let her see that I was blushing..

" Are you hurt in any way?" She asked, obviously and thankfully she did not see my reddened complexion.

" I seem to be in once piece still..." I said, my heart pounding in my chest as I looked at this girl. " just a wee scrape on my hand, that is not even bleeding."

" That is good." She sighed, as I finished handing the younger one the last little bits she had dropped.

The girl with the amazing smile nodded and giggled, making my heart flutter wildly... her deep brown eyes making me shiver a little. I was going to say something when I saw the girl then let out a tiny gasp of air and looked at me closer. I was a little nervous as she looked at me so intensely, and I felt my heart speeding in my chest.

" Uhm what..." I stammered, a little confused with this.

The girl seemed to snap out of staring at me, and looked at me more normal. Even that look, struck me as odd.

" Oh, are you Saatchi Akimi? The girl that has transferred from overseas?" She asked without a single hesitation..

" Uh, I am..." I said, totally dumbfounded that this girl knew my name like this. " How did you know?"

She gave a bit of a giggle and nodded her head.

" Let me explain, so you don’t think I am strange..." She began. " I am Student leader of room A-3 Toshiki Isono, and I was informed yesterday of you would be coming to Nagato Junior and Senior in a few days..."

" You were told all of that?" I asked, surprised that the news had gotten to this girl like this.

She saw the extent of my surprise and smiled at me, causing me to relax... although not much. Those eyes of her still were making me feel all funny inside.

" We as Student leaders in Nagato Junior and Senior are always informed of things like this, Akimi-chan." She explained, taking a second to look over at my Uncle’s house next to us. " When I had heard of your arrival, I had no idea that you were living here, near my sister’s and I home."

" Nice to meet you..." I said, not getting much more out and feeling quite stupid that was the only thing I could come up with to say. " Um... I live here with my Aunt and Uncle now."

She giggled, obviously not letting my verbal awkwardness bother her. That only made me want to know her even more than what I have felt.

" Right here?" She asked, pointing at the house.

" Yes.." I said, my words failing me again.

" Then it seems that we will be taking the same train to school daily." She smiled, getting my heart to flutter again. " If you want, when you take that step to come to our humble school... I will help you get use to taking the mass transit train by showing you where and which line it was."

" You... would help me get use to the trains?" I stuttered, hating that I was talking very stupidly.

" It is what a Student Leader is all about." She said, with confidence. " Helping out every student, no matter what level they are in."

I was going to ask a few more questions that had popped out of my brain’s fog, but the younger sister had really started to pull hard on Isono’s arm.

" C’mon..." The wiry smaller girl wined loudly, her voice sounding irritatingly harsh. " If we miss the train to both of our schools, we are both in big trouble if we don’t get to school on time."

" We are not going to be late, Yumi..." Said Isono, looking at the younger one. " I was just talking..."

" Enough talking then... C’mon!!" Yumi said frantically while puling her older sister past me and down the street. " No matter what you are at school, you are not going to make me late."

" Very well, Yumi..." Conceded Isono, letting herself be dragged away. " We will talk later."

With that, the two went on their way to the train station which I assumed not very far from here. I stood and watched them, so many emotions flooded me all at once.... emotions that I did not even have a name for.

" What is wrong with me?" I asked myself, confused and a little overwhelmed with it all.

The girl and her sister were quickly out of sight, but something inside of me lingered... an emotion that was so strong. The girl was gone, yet I could still hear her musical lilting voice so clearly in my mind...and that made me shiver with delight. I tried to stop this feeling, and the feeling that it was somehow wrong... but nothing could stop it, I still could see the girl’s face in my mind

I took a deep breath, trying to gather myself and stop my mind from doing what it was... and failing as I now walked in to the courtyard of my new home. I closed the gate and stood there, and realized that I had no idea what I was doing now... my mind was busy with thinking about the girl named Isono, my body was just going through some sort of automatic mode. I stood and looked at the coy pond full of the varying sized fish swimming calmly in the clear water, trying to get my mind back into the present.

I just decided to head back in to the house... my unpacking from my move still awaited me upstairs and I was sure that it was not going to do it on its own. I was hoping that this task of mine would help whatever this was that had come over me to leave... or at least help it be not so vivid in my head.

There was no one in the main area of the house as I went through. I could hear my Aunt on the phone that hung on the wall in the kitchen, and she was obviously talking to Uncle Sadato while the maid was busy doing her chores. I just went by without a word and headed up to my room, wanting to just have the time alone to clear the mind out.

Once up in my room, I quickly got down to the task of getting my room to a state that I would like. I started opening suitcases and organizing things that go in either dressers and closets... the four large and rather heavily taped boxes of other stuff that I had carted all the way across the pacific will half to wait until I finished getting my clothes in some recognizable order. It seems almost daunting, but I just told myself that it was not going to be a big thing.

I set to work with the organization of my changed life, trying to meld my old life and new one into something that could be considered half-assed normal. It seemed that I could not get my mind to stop thinking about Isono... this was overtaking my feeling so nervous about starting that school.

My life was not really screwed... it just did not seem like it was mine any more. I wished that my Mom was here to help with all of it, especially with whatever it was with the girl and these feelings that had been stirred up... but then I would be back in Canada and with my Mom. I shook my head, and started to cry a little. I still missed my mother so much.

First full day with my new family and life... and I was already working on my nervous breakdown. Asking for a huge glass of Saki was sounding better and better. I sighed and collected myself, returning to getting my new room into shape. It would take all day long, and there was no one else that would do it... did not want anyone to anyways.

Chapter 3

Title: Chapter 3 - Dazed

[Author's notes: When you feel out of place... life jacks up the levels that you feel it at. Akimi finds out that it is like that... to the tenth power.]

Chapter Three - Dazed


I stood looking at myself in the mirror that was on the back of my bedroom door, and was finding myself rather pleased. I was looking at how my newly purchased school uniform looked on me, eyeing myself carefully. I had to admit as I looked at myself in the mirror, it looks good on me. The Mary Jane styled shoes that were with the outfit were not my favourite footwear I have ever had... but they did look good with the uniform.

Here I was I had only been here for three full days, and here I stood in this uniform that had a grey skirt and a white shirt and realized that I was about to go off to my new school. I could feel the butterflies bouncing in my stomach looking good did little to stop me from being thoroughly nervous.

" Are you ready for this?" I asked my own reflection, as I picked up my school satchel that was loaded down with a ton of brand new shiny books. I looked myself over one more time, hoping that the ribbon tie I had was done right and that I had pressed my skirt correctly. Going by the handbook for proper deportment that my Auntie had given me, I looked every bit as perfect as the photograph in there did. " I am as ready as I can be.."

I opened the door and stepped into the hall, feeling a wave of being overwhelmed overtake me. I knew that things were going to change all over again, just like it did after my mother’s death... and the move over here did. I felt my stomach turn, as my stress level rose with each passing second.

To my luck... Teru was already in the hall, closing his room door. I swallowed hard when I saw him, and knew there was no where to hide now. I had avoided him for the most part, but being there with him was not what I needed this morning.

The lad stopped and looked over at me, almost as if he might end up saying something to me. Remembering what had already been said by the lad, I waited for some wicked comment to come out of his mouth.

" You look really good... The Nagato uniform suits you." He said, with a surprising smile on his face.

" Uh... Thank you..." I stammered, totally shocked that the lad had said something so nice to me.

He looked at me and kept smiling. He seemed nicer than what I have experienced in the first few days here. He actually was giving me a smile that was finally friendly as we hung in the hallway.

" I can’t imagine how nervous you are this morning..." He said, with a very sweet tone. " Going to a new school is bad enough... But going to a new school in a new country where the only people you know are relatives... would be hard."

" I am... nervous..." I said, nodding, still shocked at this turn-a-round by the boy. " It is very different..."

Teru paused, but it was not a awkward sort of thing. He looked at me with his eyes, there was this air of respect now coming from him.

" I think you’ll do fine at Nagato..." He said, smiling quite broadly. " If you need any help from now on... just ask."

" You would help me?" I asked, shocked with his offer.

" Of course I will..." Was his answer to me.

Teru nodded and then took a long breath as we both started to head down stairs together. He looked over and grinned, his eyes told of a emotion that he was not quite knowing what to do with it.

" Sorry about being so mean to you that day... " He said, his remorse was evident on his face. " I sort of was being like my father... and I must admit that was not good"

" That is ok.." I said, smiling... feeling that he was being honest.

" It’s not... I was mean... really mean.." He said, admitting this to me.

He nodded and smiled, and we both just headed down stairs for our morning meal. He looked over just before we reached the bottom, and gave me a very impish sort of smile

" I forgot to say one things..." He started, looking right into my face. " Welcome to the family..."

For the first time in three whole days, I felt comfortable here in Uncle’s house. That made the day ahead feel a little less frightening... unless I really started to think about it.

" Thank you." I said.

" Don’t get all sentimental on me and all of that...This just is between you and me.." He smirked, the a little bit of a chuckle as well. " Don’t want you to get a swelled head because of my niceness?"

" I don’t want to... I can see your head is already quite big enough..." I teased, feeling free enough to tease him a little bit.

" Funny!" He said, chuckling deeply in his chest, as we hit the main floor.

Auntie and Uncle were already at the table and having their breakfast when Teru and I joined them for breakfast. For some reason, neither one of us looked at one another as we took a seat at the table. It was a sort of unwritten agreement between us, and that seemed to me as so natural. For what ever reason this was happening... it seemed that it was the right thing for both of us.

As usual, My aunt was the one talking to the two of us while my Uncle seemed to only grunt once in a while though his newspaper before he ended up dashing off to his work the instant that the driver showed up. The interesting thing that ended up happening was Uncle Sadato was leaving with his driver when he stopped just inside of the door. Uncle gave a nod individually to each person who had been at breakfast, and he actually give one right to me as well. He then gave a smirk, then he followed the driver to the awaiting car for the ride downtown.

Once he was gone, I started to think things have started to change. Uncle Sadato at least was not making any of his hurtful comments anymore, like he initially had done on that first day... he might just have been in too much of a hurry, but I have a feeling that this was not the case. I guess that was sort of a step forward between him and I, even though there was just the awkwardness of silence between us. The strange thing was that there was that a feeling of change in the air in general.

I stepped out of the house, to follow Teru this morning. He had offered to show me the way to the nearby train station for the ride to my school. His mother had asked him to show me the way, and he had complained about it for a few minutes... but I noticed that he did not argue too hard against it anyway. That made me laugh on the inside. I knew that he had to ‘play’ the part still for his mother for the time being... but for the life of me, I was not sure of why. Boys are confusing for me, I guess.

It was ok with me that he would help... considering that I was not expecting the beautiful girl named Isono to remember what she had offered me the day her sister plowed me over. I was really hoping that she would...actually I was praying on it, but reality is stronger than my daydreaming fiction could ever be. I was not too hopeful though, that was why I agreed for Teru to help me.

I was going near the gate, when I saw a figure through the slats. I gasped, as I saw the pretty girl standing there... with Yumi in tow.

" You are early getting on your way..." She said, smirking. " I can get to appreciate that."

Those few simple words, made my heart sing. I could not help it. Her voice seemed to raise my soul higher.

" You remembered..." I said, still in ‘pleasant’ shock.

" I do not ever forget a promise.." She said. " I said I would help you get to our school."

" I believe that now..." I said, feeling oddly ecstatic

" She really wanted to come... dragged me all over the place like a stubborn dog" Grinned the mischievous Yumi, bouncing on the balls of her feet.

" Hush, Yumi.." Said Isono, seemingly a little flustered..

" You did that to me, sister..." Whined Yumi.

I was surprised... I saw Isono’s cheeks reddening deeply and she had a shy look in her eyes as she looked away from me for a moment. I felt my own face grow hot and I knew I was flushed as well.

Teru smirked and nodded to me, his eyes told me that he understood in some way what was going on... even though I could not.

" Guess your not needing me any more to show you to the station, cousin..." He said, acting all angry.

" You need to relax, Teru-kun..." Piped in Yumi to the teenager. " Your head might explode."

" You little twerp.." Shot back the young man, as the girl hid behind her big sister when he took a step to her.

" Neah, Neah!!" The girl said from behind her sister, tongue stuck out at him.

Teru snuffed loudly, looking at me with what I knew was a good acting job on his part... he did looked like someone that was very angry.

" You are on your own then, Akimi-san." He said, bowing up like a peacock, in a very imposing stance.

The boy turned and gave a wink to me in a way that no one else saw, showing that he was doing this for me. I tried to thank him with a small look, and hoped that he had saw it. He walked through the gate and hurried to catch up to a group of boys a quarter of a block up, acting all macho and stuff as he did. That left Isono, Yumi and I to walk to the station.

" Your cousin is a pain..." Yumi commented, making a face at the back of the departing Teru. " ...he has bullied me at times."

" Actually he is not that bad..." I said, causing the younger girl too look at me with great question.

" What?" Yumi said, obviously not believing that Teru was a good person, with good reason in her eyes. " He’s a pain, Akimi-san."

" Lets get going then..." Isono said, changing the subject as the little girl seemed like she was getting angry in a way. " If we miss the early train, we will have to use the later one... and that on is almost too crowded."

" Sure..." I nodded, feeling instantly giddy with just looking at her beauty. " You are my guide."

We all walked off, talking casually between all of us. I ended up fielding many questions from little Yumi about Canada and where it was that I had come from. I did not mind very much the questions... to a point, but I wanted to talk to Isono more instead of having to be bombarded with machine gun questions I had to address to a very hyper young girl. She was a very excitable little one..and I saw that it was her charm.




I was not even close to being ready for seeing what my new school would turn out to be. It was a very big shock from the second that I had layed my eyes on it as we walked toward it. What I found was amazing to the tenth power.... and that also went for the overwhelmed factor as well.

Nagato Junior and Senior was a massive complex and sprawling grounds set in the middle of Tokyo... and it was much larger than little Yumi’s school was which I had seen when we dropped her off. This school was much larger than anything Canada could have ever had. Nagato is, in a single word, colossal.

The campus spanned a total of four square blocks in the heart of the sprawling city. The school had ball diamonds, soccer pitches, track and field facilities, three gyms, theatre and a full Olympic sized pool and it’s own large Karate Dojo. There was even a fully operating television station for the Senior classes... it was amazing. It was a entire place made like it was a city that had been made for learning.

I was feeling way out of my element as I entered the huge place. This was going to be a experience just starting this. This did not help my nervous state... it made it grow by the many times.

After finishing the entire registering process, which my Aunt and Uncle had started as my guardians, I noticed something... everyone in the office when I was in the office seemed almost overjoyed to be meeting me for some reason. They even said that the Principal will be talking to me when he arrived from a meeting he had. That was even more odd, considering the school usually got foreign students, as far as I knew. I just passed it off and not being use to the way things were done here in Japan

I got my class schedules and was assigned a little locker that was located in one of the school’s entrance area. Reality was now settling in on me as Isono led me to get up to my first class. I was here in Japan, living in Japan and now... going to school here. I was overwhelmed and completely frightened at the same time. I don’t know if the wonderful girl knew my feelings of all this, but I fought to calm myself.

I was led through the crowded and very expansive maze of halls, to class A-3, by the lovely Isono. This class was tucked away in a small side hallway on the third floor, in the ‘A’ wing which was next to the science area. Despite being a little off of the main hall on this floor, the small hallway was crowded with people... people that were staring at me. My stomach felt like it was in knots at this point.

I followed Isono in to my classroom, my nervousness was now at a all time high judging by how much my stomach was now gurgling. There were about thirty to forty boys and girls there all in the uniform of this school, all mulling around talking. Just watching the interactions going on between schoolmates was that instant reminder me that I was going to be the outsider here... and perhaps for a very long time.

Then something weird happened. As if on some unspoken cue, the entire class suddenly all stopped and was looking right at me. I let out a gasp and felt myself stiffen, as all eyes were now fixed onto me. I fidgeted nervously as I stood there beside Isono, not knowing why everyone was staring at me..

" Uh, What is happening?" I stammered, feeling uneasy.

I was expecting to be stared at some, but this was more than at any time that I had ever been the ‘new kid’. I waited for an answer from my escort, but instead all I was hearing was different voices from all sides of the room, things that I did not know what they were meaning.

" That’s the girl standing there with Onee-sama... She’s the one they were talking about..." Asked one female voice, almost excitedly.

" She doesn’t look like much to me.." Said another in reply.

" They say that nobody from overseas have done that ever in the history of the school..." Said a male voice.

" Wow... impressive, I got to say" Sad another boy. "

I was puzzled at what they were referencing pertaining to me. I looked at Isono, hoping she might know what everyone was talking about.

" Don’t you do not know that you are the talk of the entire school for your amazing achievement." The pretty girl commented, almost teasingly.

" I don’t understand... what are you talking about?." I said, feeling uneasy as hell, not understanding why she was taking this all so lightly.

Isono gasped, her joking manner faded quickly. She looked at my face, probably because my confusion was written all over it.

" Akimi-san.. You did not know what your achievement is..." She asked, her face showed a sense of reality starting to hit.

" No...I don’t have any clue." I shook my head... I did not know in the least what they were all talking about.

She turned to me straight on, and give me a peaceful sort of look as I waited to have someone explain things to me..

" When you took the entrance test for Nagato, you did something that no one transferring from a foreign country has done, and that only a few have done that ever had been from here in Japan as well..." She started, looking me directly in the face.

" I... did?" I said, feeling somewhat nauseous " What did I do that has everyone all buzzing?"

" Out of a possible 800 total points score that people can get on the entrance test... You got a perfect 800 out of 800" She said with a little smile. " I also know that it was the more academically in-depth version of the two exams, sent to Canada because the fact that you were transferring from another country."

I felt my knees get instantly weak, and my heart nearly stopped right there... I could not believe what I just heard. I had to put my hand out and on a nearby desktop to steady myself before I had gotten up close and personal with the linoleum under my feet.

" I have gotten a perfect score on the entrance exam?" I stuttered so noticeably, almost disbelieving what I had just heard.

" You have gotten a perfect score..." She said with great excitement. " I was told of your marks at the same time as the told me of you coming to our school... I thought you knew your results."

I sucked in a deep breath and felt ever limb I had was shaking, the news was hitting me like an avalanche.

" Nobody told me about it..." I said, feeling my knees were still a little rubbery. " I thought once I was here, they would just have the information on where to put me from the test results."

" It is that... and much more as well..." Isono explained, then asked. " They did not even tell your Aunt and Uncle either?"

" I don’t think so..." I replied, as this was sinking in. " I am sure that they would have said something to me, or at least I think so, if the school had told the of this."

" That is strange..." The girl said.

The teacher, Miss Tawazaka, came in at that moment so we all took our seats hurriedly after greeting her as one. Even when I stood up and was introduced to the class by the teacher... I was not quite all there, still being affected by the complete shock of what was seen as something big. Not only was the spotlight squarely on me for being the new student, but for being the foreigner and now it was there because I was seen as a brain as well. Even as we got down to the lessons of the day, these thought came through every little thing that I was suppose to be learning,

Lunch time came around, and I was glad as the lessons were exceptionally gruelling... Canadian schools were never this intense, but I found myself liking the style that the teaching was done in. It was so intense, that helped me focus on something other than the exam results and the amazing girl that seemed to make me swoon.

With the lunch that had been packed for my by Yui, I was led outside to eat by Isono so I could be introduced to all of her friends. I was nervous to meet with anyone, after the whole marks thing, but I was happy to be with Isono.

We took a seat on a huge patch of grass that was only about eighty yards away from the ball diamonds, under two large trees that seem to come together with their branches to make a roof all on their own. That is where I met four of the most interesting, yet completely ‘diversely’ strange people I had ever met. I say diverse... which is better than weird.

The oldest girl was a third year student by the name of Iuto Maki. Maki was quite tall, very long and lean had a boyish sort of look to her... except for a very well endowed chest that was right there for all to see. She had a nicely cut short brown hair that did not even touch her uniform’s collar and had these intense piercing dark eyes that made me feel more that just a bit nervous. It was because I could not help but notice that she had started to stare at me from the moment we met, almost as if she was trying to look right though me.

The second was an girl of average height with long braded pigtails and these two expressive looking eyes. She came across as a real sports type of girl with a overly bubbly personality that just might get irritating really fast if you did not watch yourself. This ball of energy was named Saitou Wami, and I was told was the oldest niece of the vice principal of this school.

Wami was nice and very personably right of the bat, but she talked a hell of a lot more that Isono’s sister did on the walk to school...which after enduring that, I thought that it would have been a hard thing to beat. She was one of those who never seem to pause even for air... or her mouth stop moving.

The last of Isono’s friends was a girl called Watanabe Saya. She was so much different than the other girls. This one was a very quiet girl with very long hair that when she stood came to the back of her knees and always seemed to have a sullen look on her face. The girl seemed to be so incredible shy... so shy that it came across that she was awkward to a extreme. Just to watch this girl try to be amongst us while struggling with even the simplest of conversation... to the point of crying softly. She was in no way like Isono or any of the others.

It was interesting to meet all of these people... and ended up making my day a little bit brighter than it had been. I guess now that I knew a few people made a bit of a difference. It made thing seem as if things were going to work out. I was not sure of how it would all work out, but at least there was a small sense of things could get normal...whatever that might be.



After school, I was ready to get home, but things did not turn out to be smooth. Isono had to stay back for something to do with her duties as a Student Leader, and her sister wanted to wait for her. I wanted to wait for the pretty girl, but my body that was almost to the point of pure exhaustion was wanting nothing more that to go back to Auntie’s home and rest.

I had a problem with doing that though... I was not sure of the right train and stops to take to do that. I know I could do was wait and go with them... but I did not want to.

" Great..." I moaned to myself, not knowing what to do about this.

Luck must have been with me, as I spotted Teru walking past in the hall alone. I flagged him down and explained what was going on as quick as I could. He understood my problem, and agreed to help me get home safely. I just was very glad to have seen Teru there and in the massive crush of all of these people who attended Nagato.... I felt lucky.

The train ride was long and crowded as all hell, crammed ever worse than what it had been this morning. I was so amazed at such a massive group of people could be packed in a small space as this tin can of a train car, but my cousin reminded me that this was Tokyo all of the time. I had been expecting culture shock, even as I readied to fly over here... but I had forgotten about the population shock that would be right here, even though Vancouver was a large and crowded place too. Tokyo eclipses Vancouver in every department.

Teru and I barely spoke, even though we sat side by side on the far side of the train. I was not up to talking after such a long day, finding it actually hard to keep myself awake as the transit care bucked and swayed with almost a hypnotic rhythm. I was glad that my cousin seemed to know that I was that tired, and still kept close. It made me realize, that his actions towards me were always an act... this was the true Teru.

One hour and twenty minutes later, my cousin and I were very near the front gates... so glad to see the place. I was feeling dead tired and just wanted to eat something, have a nice and hot bath then go to bed after getting my homework done. That sounded like heaven to me, it really did. I could not wait for any of that plan to come.

" Good to be home..."Muttered the lad, as he walked beside me.

" It feels good..." I agreed, then my mouth let out a ..." but..."

" Not like home though?" He asked, hearing my words.

" No...not quite yet..." I said, then added. " But it still feels good to be where you can relax."

He laughed and made a grin to me as a sign of friendship.

" It will become to feel more like your home, Akimi... but it will take a little time." Teru assured me.

" It will.. I know..." I said tiredly.

" I hope it is very soon for you..." The lad said, letting his sweetness shine right through to me.

" Yeah..." I said, agreeing.

We both had just entered the courtyard and were headed to the front door when we heard the maid calling out loudly. She was not yelling at us or anything like that, it was as if she was calling out to the entire house. Teru and I looked at one another, puzzled at the normally quiet Yui yelling like a madwoman.

" She is back...Akimi is back..." She yelled.

" What is she yelling about me like that?" I asked my cousin.

" I was going to ask you that same thing..." He said.

Just as we were ten feet from the steps to inside, My Uncle Sadato lumbered out to the step with Auntie Kiko closely following.

" You are home, and I am glad..." He said right to me.

I was stunned at the greeting, so... friendly. He had never said anything even close to this to me before and nothing this nice either in three days. I just stood there so bewildered, not quite knowing what to do with this turn of events.

" Uncle Sadato..." I said, bowing to him.

He came down the steps and stoped in front of me, then put one hand on either of my shoulders. He looked right at me, actually having a large smile beaming at me.

" We are so proud of you right now.. Our family cannot be happier with you." He said.

" What for?" I said meekly, still in shock.

" I got a call on my cell at work... it was your school telling me of your amazing accomplishment." he said.

I gasped, forgetting the fact that the school would have notified my guardians about things like this. I swallowed hard and looked up at my Uncle.

" The entrance exam..." I got out, feeling absolutely flustered but realizing what the man was saying.

" Yes, that exam is exactly what I am talking to you about..." He beamed with this pride that was warm. " You have gotten a perfect score, and in their advanced testing as well... the school is very impressive indeed." He smiled even larger. " Your Aunt and I feel pride with your accomplishment."

He bowed to me and smiled, handing me a small box wrapped in sparkling silver paper that had a flowing pink bow tied around it. I held that box in my hand and looked at it, shocked so much and yet not quite knowing what the significance of this present was.

" This is a small token that shows our pride of you, and to acknowledge your boundless proficiency..." He said, then adding. " And this is also a small apology from me for my headstrong actions towards you.."

" You are apologizing to me?" I gulped, my ears not believing what had been said.

" It is..." He said, making it clear.

I looked at the box, then over at my Aunt who stood just behind Uncle Sadato. She nodded and smiled warmly, quietly telling me that everything was alright. Teru nodded his head at me too, and smiled. With my hands trembling a little as I unwrapped the little package, I wanted to know what my present could be.

Inside of the box underneath the paper, was a purple cellphone. It was a glorious rich purple colour with a beaded handstrap on the side, that had a small ‘Hello Kitty’ character bob on it, along with some small light pink star beads that accented it . I was shocked, as my mom was never rich enough for one for me... and I never really had asked for one.

" Is this mine?" I asked.

" You need that for when you end up going out on your own..." Started Uncle, smiling, and handing me the little slip of paper that had the phone’s number on it. "And we got you that to show our pride with you... pre-loaded with the numbers to your home, to my cell and Teru’s as well along with text messaging... safety first."

I bowed and thanked him very excitedly, feeling this sense of having a family starting to build in me... slowly. I smiled and looked at my phone as the others went back in to the house. Teru nodded at me as he went by.

" Don’t text me too much on that phone.." He warned in a whispered tone, playfully punching me in the arm.

" Only at night... when your sleeping..." I smirked playfully.

" Ohh..." He said, laughing a little bit as he entered the house. " I will text you then when your in the bathroom then."

" You’ll hear me pee then..."

" Gross..." He said, making a playful face as he walked off and up into the house for supper.

I stood for a moment then headed in myself, as laughing for a little. I was amazed at what had came about today, which had been the third day in Japan. Nothing at all could have made me ready for any of this. It was becoming almost like a surreal thing, but it was honestly very real.

I wondered what could be coming next for me... because this was so surreal, anything could happen. It already had.. And this was just my beginning.

Chapter 4

[Author's notes:

When you think of someone reaching out for you.. its a good thing, right?  Sometimes it is... and sometimes it is the start of things.


Chapter Four - Touched



The alarm went off at the time it was suppose to, and I groaned as the sound literally felt like it was scrapping the inside of my mind. Six o’clock comes way too early...even here in Japan. I reached out and turned the alarm off, and snuck my hand back into the warmth of the covers that I cocooned myself with. I was not wanting to get up.

Just drifting back off, I then started to hear some very weird music coming from across the hall. Apparently Teru was awake and playing what seemed to be Anime music early, a thing that I wanted to kill him for at this moment. It was a good thing for him that I did not want to get up at this time... I just might have hurt him. I curled up more and pulled my entire head into the covers like a turtle, trying and convince myself that I did not have to get up and go to school. The bed was just feeling so damned good right now, and I did not want to move.

Unfortunately, the good side of my brain was beginning to override my want-to-sleep-for-the -day brain... and it did not help the other fact was I had to really pee. After a few minutes of trying to stop the urges to go and failing, I needed to make the choice. I relented and got up, and hurried to dress and get to the bathroom and then avoiding any ‘accidents’ before any could happen.

I had finished washing up and dressing, I entered the dining area a while later. My Uncle was sitting there reading the paper as seemed to be his usual morning thing while Auntie was writing something in a book. They both looked at me, and gave me a smile.

" Good morning, Akimi..." Said Uncle in his low voice, giving me a smile that was good to see.

" Good morning." Also said Auntie Kiko, smiling.

" And a good morning to the both of you, Auntie and Uncle." I said happily, as the two greeted me warmly.

I nodded and took a seat while Yui hurried in with my coffee and breakfast. The scene felt warm and inviting... and this felt so good. I then noticed that Teru was not there at the table.... I froze, wondering if I was going to be able to get myself to school on my own.

" Did Teru go to school already, Auntie?" I asked, a little nervous about that possibility.

" He had an early Baseball practice to attend today..." She said.

" Teru went for a early Baseball practice?" I echoed, now a little nervous with tis situation.

" He is the first string catcher for Nagato’s Team One... and he needed to ready a new pitcher for an upcoming game they have with a rival school team." She explained. " He said that he would text you about it after he left and got on the train."

I made a noise, and remembered that I still had the phone stuck in my blazer pocket. I was glad that I did , because running back upstairs would be a pain in the ass. I pulled the device out of my pocket, and turned it on The light told me that it was now on, and right there on the screen the little thing told that there was one message waiting for me. It was Teru’s message, as Auntie had said he would do

" Hey, sorry can’t help today, have baseball practice ... but I will see you at school... perhaps one of your new friends might help." It said plainly, ending with a smiley face making a weird face.

I sighed and flipped the cell closed and set it beside me on the table so as not to forget it, the reality of getting myself to school was my task of the day. I just may need to use the phone in case I got lost, I thought to myself. I sighed and started in on my breakfast. I was sure that I would make it without any troubles, even though this was my second day only.. I had a wee bit of a fear that I might not know the way there.

I just told myself that I would be just fine... yet if felt like a lie. Whether or not it was or was not... it did not change the situation. I was going to ask Uncle for a ride, and made it easier for me... but I stopped myself. I was not going to learn, without trying... that was my mother’s words to me many times. It was official, I was going to brave getting myself there... the cellphone was a insurance policy. That thought helped.... at least a little.

I was coming out of the front door, heading off to make my way to the train and then school... that was when I heard very excited voices. I looked up, I saw outside of the gate was the pretty Isono, her sister Yumi and surprisingly there also were the three others girls that I had met the day before. They all were waving and being silly, one even jumping up and down like mad while waving at me. I could not help but burst out laughing so loudly when I saw the group of girls. In seeing them, I knew that my little plight of getting to school was no problem anymore.

I waved and hurried over to the gate where the maid, Yui, was already opening up the portal to let the others into the courtyard to meet me. It made me feel good that they were including me like this... and I was still that ‘new’ kid.

I was greeting the girls, when the youngest of the group let out this really odd noise like a cat getting stuck or something. I was startled by this sound, even though I could see who had uttered it..

" A cellphone?? You got a cellphone, Akimi-chan, You got a cellphone!!" Yumi shrieked, jumping excitedly in place. "That is so cool , Akimi-chan... you have a cellphone of your own..."

I looked at the phone in my hand, realizing that for a moment I had forgot I had kept it in my hand since I picked it up from the table. I felt a little bashful having the phone in my hand like I was trying to flaunt it, but I was not...and I hoped the others knew that I was not trying to flaunt that I had one.

" You have a cellphone now?" Isono asked, who also was very excited when she saw my cell. " You just moved here... an’ you got a cell."

" My Uncle got it for me because of my marks on that test...." I said, actually a little proud but still shy.

" You got it for your perfect scoring?? My sister is so right...That is so cool..." Isono nodded, seeming generally happy for me

Little Yumi made a face and kicked the ground, causing a plume of dust and dirt to fly up. This action by the girl made the others look over and silently question what the middle school girl was reacting this way.

" Awh.. It is just no fair.." She pouted.

" No fair... you mean that it is not fair for Akimi-chan getting a phone?" Asked Isono, not getting her sister’s tantrum.

" Yeah.." She pouted in answer. " She got a cellphone...and I don’t.."

" Why are you upset that Akimi-chan got a phone for doing so good on the entrance test?" Prodded the older sister, obviously not getting it.

Yumi crossed her arms, frowned and kicked up a bigger cloud of dust into the morning sunlight.

" When I get good marks at school... I only get a scoop of ice cream.... and not a cool phone like that..." She whimpered, causing everyone around her to laugh. "And I have not had ice cream in a long time. How fair is that?"

" Yeah, but might I remind you that you have had such bad grades lately that is the only reason why you have not gotten any ice cream in a while." Isono said, making everyone laugh harder.

" I know my marks are bad... but its still is not fair..." The little girl gasped and then stuck out her tongue, causing deeper laughter to erupt around the group, and causing Yui to shake her head and head back into the house.

I was going to just tuck the phone away, but Isono snatched right out of my hand. I looked at the girl, not quite sure why she had grabbed it from me. The girl gave me the prettiest smirk I had ever seen, and made me quiver a little... making me forget to try and wrestle my cell away from her.

" What...?" I stammered.

" Relax, Akimi-chan. I am going to enter my number, so you have it... you just got to have it, you know." She smiled, and gave me that look all over again. " Both my home and cell number and text too... you got to have everything."

" Me next after Onee-sama finishes..." Shouted the tall Maki very boisterously, reaching over everyone like a toddler at a candy shop.

" Who made you a queen so you could go next, Maki-chan... it’s my turn after Onee-sama is done..." Cut in Wami with a pout while pushing away the long arm that jutted out over her head.

" Want a bet it is your turn?" Said the taller girl, playfully shoving the athletic girl a little.

" Yeah, I do." Wami came back., giving the mush large girl a poke in the rib cage.

As I waited for everyone to finish filling my phone with numbers, I saw the very quiet and demure Saya put her hand up nervously while tilting her face a little downward. I took that as the very overly shy girl’s version of telling them she wanted to put in her phone numbers. I did not think there would be not too many phone calls from her, because of her extreme shyness but I had this odd little hunch that texting would be more of her mode of communication. Don’t know why, but that was the sense I got.

I turned and watched Isono, as she finished with my phone and handed it off to Maki, much to the displeasure of Wami who had lost the reaching battle with the much taller and longer limbed girl. I secretly watched her as she stood there and watched others punch in their numbers into my cell, acting still excited.

I saw her smile while she stood there, that amazing sparkle her eyes had was drawing me to watch her intently as she stood there... her beauty was nearly bordering on hypnotic for me. I felt so guilty in watching the girl as if I was some sort of stalker or being a pervert, but I was drawn to watch this so pretty of a girl. She was amazing, and I could not for the life of me, pry my gaze away.

I still did not understand why I was constantly drawn to the girl that was the head of our class... but I was. From her smile to how she talked, I found myself drawn to her. It seemed from the second my eyes had taken her in that first day, all I wanted to do was stare at her like I was star-struck.

"She is so beautiful... how can I not look at her?" I asked to myself.... trying to find the right excuse. I had no excuse even for myself, if the truth needs to be known.

I snapped out of my wondrous fog and made myself watch the others instead of taking in the girl. It did feel wrong in watch the girl, to a point... but the fact still was that it still felt equally as right watching her. I needed to stop thinking about the girl like this, even though every single fibre in my body did not want to stop. I wanted to know her as deeply as possible... was that so bad?

After everyone was done and I had my phone back now filled with contacts, we realized what the time was. We did not realize that were so close to not being able to catch the usual train, to the point that there was very little time left... We had ten minutes until boarding, and many blocks to traverse.

Like a group of jackrabbits, we scurried off to school almost moving like one flowing Amoeba type of group down the street. Our little group was something to see, I think because we had unintentionally unnerved a nice elderly couple that were out for a early morning stroll when we all rushed past them. We all did call out our apologies, but from the way the little man was yelling at us as we continued to hurry down the street towards the subway train station, I guess that the apologies we were hurdling back was not accepted.



We got to school, but with very little time before classes were about to start. The reason for the lateness was that Yumi had gotten lost in the little market area that we had to go through on the way to the subway train station. We were all running, and it was Isono who noticed that her sister was not beside her as normal.

" Go on to school all of you..." She sighed. " She is my sister... no need for all of you to be late because of us."

" We are doing no such thing, Onee-sama.." Immediately said Wami, arms crossed to show she was serious. " We are not going to just up and leave... we will all help find your sister."

"It is smarter if we all stayed back and helped you out as one, you know." Maki came in, adding as she spoke. " Us as a group spread out will find her faster than if you did it all alone."

" Yeah..." Agreed the first girl, me and Saya agreed with a nod.

It was official...We all as one single group were not going to leave. Swe would all look for the small Yumi.

Isono looked at all of us and smiled. She looked so cute as she realized that we were just going to help her no matter what.

" Thank you..." She said, looking gratefully at us all.

We smiled and got down to the task at hand... trying to find the missing young girl. We all split up to look throughout the open air marketplace, the fear of being late for classes were not important for us now... we needed to locate Yumi. I for one was petrified for the well-being of the girl.

A little over fifteen minutes passed as we all checked every isle of produce and other things that were piled on every table there. I found her the girl standing in a crowd eating a chocolate puff she had bought herself. I was relived, but when they came in response to my calling out that I had located her... it was apparent the others were not happy with the girl going off on her own like this. They all were now bitching the girl out while they began to drag her to the platform.

Once out on that platform, and to all of our horror, we found out that we had missed our regular train by a scant few minutes. The girls that made up our little group seemed to get even more upset with the girl as the reality of our missing our train sunk in. The girl just stood there, head down with tears streaming down her face as she silently let the others vent their extreme upset on to her. The others were more than a little harsh on the young girl, I admit, but she seemed honestly sorry. I was upset, but I think I handled it pretty good.

Things did cooled off quite fast, then clearly vanished as the next train arrived and we all got on for the ride to school. Soon we were all talking away on different things, the anger and upset of the last little bit became nothing more than a distance memory that probably would never really be thought about.

We got off at our stop, and hurried to make sure that our youngest group member got to her school. We were glad that Yumi’s middle school was basically across the street from Nagato most southern facing end. Dropping her off if her school was even one block farther than what it was, would have been a disaster. Because of this, we still had a outside shot to get into class right on time.

Once inside of out school, it was a simple yet weirdly restrained dash through the crowded hallways of Nagato. The others all had scattered to go change footwear and then hustle up to class as fast as they could. I had to hurry myself to the best I could, because my locker was situated in a different area of the school. I was glad that Isono took a moment to point me in the right direction before she scooted upstairs. It was my second day still, and I was still a little lost in the expanse of this school.

I had found my way to my locker thanks to a hell of a lot of luck, and I was half bent over reaching into the metal cubbyhole to gather my indoor shoes for the coming school day... that was when something happened. Something that was shocking to say the least, and never was expecting.

I felt a hand touch my left butt cheek, and not the just a normal sort of grope.. The hand had snuck right under my skirt and firmly cupped one of my cheeks. The hand hung there and gave that cheek a firm but not a pain inducing squeeze, holding for a moment and then just let go. I let out a very high pitched squeak like a surprised mouse and moved my hands quickly around to my backside in reflex ... the offending hand had already let go and was gone. I let out a strongly swear quite loudly in English, my anger boiled and then flashed inside of me.

I whirled around, going to take the head off of the bastard that was responsible for copping a feel. I could feel my blood pressure spiking in my ears as I felt way more angry than violated... whoever this guy was, was going to regret ever doing this after I was done with him. I whirled around, ready to completely lash our at the bastard...what I found was nothing like my expectations were.

The tall, and stately girl known as Maki was the one who was standing there, one hand on her hip. She was standing not very far from me with this unmistakable smirk of impish per portions on her face. Seeing the girl standing there with such a defiant sort of stance, I got this strong sort of feeling that she might be the one who had grabbed my ass. I was shocked, but that was what it looked like.

" You did this?" I asked, not knowing what to think

In response to my shock induced question, Maki lifted her hand and made a squeezing motion in the air right at me as her eyes locked onto mine. She put her hand down, and seemed to really look at me with this air of certainty

" I am, Akimi-chan!" She said, as calmly a swimming pool void of people.

"Oh..." I said, feeling my jaw drop... the tall rangy girl had been the one who grabbed my backside.

There she stood, only twenty feet away from me with this large air of confidence glowing in her intense gaze. Maki never made a move to run away or anything like that... she just stood there unfazed with her actions as her sultry smoky gaze locked on to me.

" Why?" I asked the taller girl.

The girl took a step closer, but never broke her stare. She stood there for a second, not say a word, yet those eyes held a intenseness to them.

" I had to say, that was wonderful to have grabbed that ass-cheek of yours..." She said, with no hint of shame or remorse for what she had done.

" My...ass?" I stammered, amazed at the girls bluntness.

" Yes, your wonderfully rounded ass." She answered back, with boldness in each word. " I got to say that you really are quite cute and that ass of yours is really firm and shapely... I happen to like those type of assets in a girl, Akimi-chan. You have that and more, I might venture."

She then looked at me for a moment, and seemed to really enjoy the shock that my face held... I could see that in the way she stared at me She blew me a little kiss and started to turn away as more people came from a doorway to the outside.

" See you at lunch then..." She said with a little wink. " Onee-chan and all of us are suppose to meet near the old west fountain to eat together... one of us will show you how to get there."

" Uh, yeah.." I replied, my mind had nothing more to say, as it was still mired in shock.

" Bye.." She smiled.

Maki gave a little mischievous giggling smile as she hurried off , waving over her left shoulder with a flair. In an instant, the tall girl had disappeared into the crowds of students that were still heading to classes all over the large expanse that it Nagato. She was gone just as quickly as what she had done, and that left me standing there.

" Holy Crap!" I said to myself, not knowing what else really to say.

I stood there totally dumfounded as all hell, trying to make sense of it all. It had been Maki who had grabbed me... like some old perverted man in a long trenchcoat standing at a playground waiting for a moment in time. The weird thing was, it made me both freaked right out, yet excited. I was not very sure of how I was suppose to react... truth was, how was I suppose to know.

I heard the final bell chime overhead, and had to run, not having any time to process this strangeness. I only hope that I could focus on my school lessons, because my mind was sort of feeling fried at the moment. I took the first flight of stairs I came across, hoping that theses were the right ones.

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