Rushing through the busy evening streets of Tokyo in the rain, Matsumoto Noriko finally found the building she was looking for. Pulling down her hood and wiping her glasses clear of the rain, she walked inside. The evening receptionist looked up at the wet woman, raised her eye brow in curiosity, but smiled none the less.
“Welcome to J-Storm, may I help you with anything?” She asked Noriko softly. Noriko nodded “Hai…ano I was just wondering if Matsumoto Jun had left for this evening?” she asked the receptionist. The receptionist looked at her suspiciously “Sumimasen, Demo I’m not at liberty to release that information.” Noriko sighed, “I figured as much, I suppose me telling you that I’m his imouto wouldn’t change your mind?” The receptionist shook her head.
Noriko sighed again “oh well, time to go to plan B then, ano… Sumimasen!” she announced just before she turned around and put up her hood again, and walked out into the rainy streets of Tokyo. Noriko walked to the train station and using her Sucia card she passed through the barriers to catch the Yamenote line to Shinjuku. She never thought that the 3 stops it took her to get from Shibuya to Shinjuku would be the longest 3 stops of her life. Once she got off the train, she rushed out of the station, forgetting to put her hood back up this time. Rushing towards an apartment block she hurriedly ran up the stairs to the second floor and knocked on the 5th door down. When she got no reply she knocked again.
She waited around for 5 minutes continually knocking, then gave up and shrunk to the floor. She wanted to cry, however, she knew now was not the time for that. She looked at her dead phone and then at the key chains hanging from it. Her eyes widened as she thought of something. ‘Toshi-kun…’ “Maybe he’ll be in…” with renewed hope and determination in her eyes, Noriko got up and wander back out in the rain in search of where she hoped her friend still lived.
After 10 minutes of walking, her hair wet and body utterly drenched, She finally reached the apartment she was looking for. She was grateful that the door she needed was on the ground floor, as she really didn’t feel like walking up any stairs. Ringing the doorbell she awaited an answer, she only had to wait about 2 seconds till she heard shuffling around and someone unlocking the door.
A tanned brunette poked his head through the gap in the door, eyes widening slightly when he noticed who was outside. “Nori-chan?!” Noriko nodded her head to the question in his tone. “Hai Toshi-kun, it’s me.” She said softly, mustering up a small smile. “Ehhhh! Ah! Ohairi Kudasai!” Noriko Nodded and responded her thanks to her friend.
She honestly didn’t know why she didn’t think of him first, Her brother was known to always be out and about somewhere no matter the weather, whilst Ohno Satoshi was prone to staying inside to have to ‘quiet time’ as he put it. Taking off her shoes at the door way, Noriko entered her friend’s house. As she waited at the door way Ohno appeared again with a couple of towels and a set of clothes, “Go to the bathroom and dry off, You’re a little shorter than me so the clothes might be a bit big for you, but it’s the best I can do. “ He said handing her the towels and clothes and pointed her in the direction of the bathroom.
Noriko thanked him again and went the bathroom to dry off and change. When she got out, Ohno was already waiting on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate in hand for her. He chuckled when he saw her, as his t-shirt did in fact look like a dress on her, luckily his trousers where tighten and tie up ones, so it was just the length that was the issue, not the fact that they won’t stay up. He patted the seat next to him inviting her to sit.
Noriko sat down next to her friend and took the cup of hot chocolate from him. Ohno, sipping from his cup, looked over at his long time friend and sighed slightly, “Nori-chan, not that I don’t enjoy your company, but what are you doing here? In the pouring rain no less?” he asked, quite confused as to why she was here.
Blowing on her cup of hot chocolate, Noriko kept her gaze to the ground whilst answering Ohno. “Yukio…h-he…got too violent. I got scared…so I ran. I went to Aniki’s house after asking for him at the J-Storm building, but he didn’t answer his door, and my battery on my phone is dead so I couldn’t call him… so I came round yours instead…” Ohno frowned as he listened to the story, he became more and more angry as he listened, even more so when he finally noticed the bruises on her face.
The frown continued to mar his face, he knew he wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, well, until Jun knew what was going on at least. “Nori-chan, How long had it been going on for?” It was a question he was sure he didn’t want to know the answer to, however, it was a necessary question.
Noriko continued to look down to the ground. She pushed her glasses back up to the bridge of her nose, took another sip from her drink and let out a sigh. “Ano…Yukio…has always been a bit harsh, but it was nothing I couldn’t deal with… Demo… he just got more violent as time went by… and after the last time-Yesterday, it was too much… I just had to get away. So II ran, and jumped on the next train to Tokyo.” She said bringing her knees up towards her chest.
Ohno frowned further, “Why did you never say anything? We speak on the phone all the time, you come down often enough too! So why did you not tell me?!” Ohno said, a bit louder than he intended and immediately felt sorry for it when he saw Noriko flinch. “Sorry Nori-chan, Demo, Nande?” he apologised, and asked again in a much softer tone this time.
Finally Noriko looked up at him, however, she had tears in her eyes.”I didn’t see it necessary to at first Toshi-kun… and when it got worse, I got scared. And I thought that if I told anyone he would get more violent that he already was…” she said, the tears finally letting loose and running down her cheeks
Putting his cup down on the coffee table and doing the same for Noriko, Ohno brought the crying woman into a hug. “Baka Nori-chan…” he whispered into her hair, not really knowing what else to say as Noriko just continued to cry into his shirt.
Whilst trying to sooth and calm Noriko down, Ohno noticed the jingling of keys in the door ‘Yabai!’ he thought to himself, ‘Nino please read the mood!’ he silently prayed to himself, slightly wishing he has telepathic abilities as he watched the door open.
Ninomiya Kazunari expected that when he got home that evening, he would find a snoozing Ohno with a book about something or other in his hands and a poor attempt at a meal on the cooker.
He did not however expect to find his friend on the sofa hugging some woman. “Tadaima…” he called out as if nothing was the matter. “Okeari…” Ohno responded, and he just about heard a muffled ‘Okeari’ from the woman in Ohno’s arms.
Noriko winced when she heard the ‘Tadaima’ in a very familiar voice. ‘I knew I would see him at some point I just didn’t think it would be so soon…what is he doing here?’ sighing she lifted her head from Ohno’s chest and used the sleeve of the borrowed t-shirt to wipe her eyes. Ohno looked down at his friend “feeling better Nori-chan?” he asked. Noriko nodded slightly “Hai…a little bit at least…arigatou Toshi-kun.” She said with a slight smile on her face.
‘Toshi-kun? There only one person I know who calls Oh-Chan that…’ “Matsumoto-Chan?” Nino called out to the pair on the sofa. Finally turning around to face Nino, Noriko put on a brave face, smiled and nodded “Hai Ninomiya-san, Konbanwa, hisashiburi desu.” She said holding back the wince that wanted to come about with that statement, and gave him a wave.
‘Yabai.’ Nino thought miserably to himself. His mind filled with old memories of a young girl heartbroken face as tears ran down it. He gave her a quick smile back “Un…Hisashiburi. “ he nodded “So watcha doing here?” he asked the girl, whilst taking off his shoes and walking into the living room.
This time she did wince and Nino noticed it, making him feel slightly regretful for asked the question. “Eto… I had an argument with y boyfriend…we broke up and I walked out and I didn’t know where to go.” She said telling the truth in a roundabout way. Nino knew she wasn’t telling the whole truth as he could see the bruises on her face, however he decided to keep his mouth shut as he knew it wasn’t his business to ask, or get involved. “Ah okay. Does Jun know your here?” She shook her head at his question.
“I went round to his earlier and he wasn’t home and I would have called him however my phones out of battery, so I couldn’t.” She explained, Making Ohno remember something in the process. “Ehhh… Gomen Nori-chan I forgot to tell you to call Jun. Go and use the house phone and give him a call, you know his number?” he asked. Noriko nodded and thank him “Arigatou Toshi-kun.” She said standing up. Walking over to the cordless phone she picked it up and came back to sit on the sofa next to Ohno, whilst Nino took a seat in the chair next to the sofa.
Dialling Jun’s number, Noriko waited for him to pick up, which after 3 rings he did. “Ohno-san, nan desu ka?” Came Jun’s highly frustrated voice fluttering through the phone making Noriko giggle. “Mou~ Aniki! That’s no way to pick up the phone! What did Toshi-kun do to you?” Noriko asked through her giggles down the phone. “Noriko? Nani? Why are you at Ohno-san’s place? Why aren’t you in Chiba? What’s wrong? Daijoubu desu ka?!” Jun’s voice officially becoming more panicked as he continued questioning his sister.
Noriko gave a soft chuckle at her brother’s panicked state and answered his questions “Aniki, I’m at Toshi-kun’s house because you weren’t in. I’m not in at home in Chiba because me and Yukio had a falling out, lots of things are wrong and Iie, I’m not okay, but I’m not explaining over the phone.” She said, her voice becoming sadder towards the end. Jun still sounded panicked but not as much as before. “Okay, you hang there for this evening, and I’ll be with you early in the morning okay? I would come now but I’m still in the middle of shooting.” He rushed out.
Noriko nodded, even though Jun couldn’t see her “ Okay, hold on one second Jun-nii-chan.” She said and then turned to Ohno “Toshi-kun, cam o say round yours this evening onegai?” she asked. Ohno looked slightly surprised by her question “Ano… I thought you already were staying here…? Oh well, either way its fine by me.” He answered. Noriko nodded and gave him a smile in thanks then turned towards Nino. “ Is it alright with you Ninomiya-san?” Nino looked more surprised than Ohno did, however it was more because of the fact that she even bothered to ask him “Hai Hai, its fine with me Matsumoto-chan.” Noriko gave him a small smiled then zoned back in on her conversation with her brother. “Hai Hai. Everything’s sorted. I’ll see you tomorrow Jun-nii-chan.” “Un. Bai Bai. Take Care.” “you too Aniki! Ja ne.” She said before hanging up the phone.
Ohno looked over at Nino and gave him a look that said all. Nino sighed but nodded “Eto…Matsumoto-Chan, you can have my room, ill share with Oh-Chan .” he said to the girl on the sofa. Noriko looked rather shocked “Ano… Are you sure? I’m quite all right sleeping on the sofa.” Nino just waved her off “Hai, Its fine. Hontou.” He said whilst walking towards his room to grab some pyjamas.
Looking back over towards Ohno, she shook her head laughing slightly when she saw the smug look on his face “ Toshi-kun, that really wasn’t necessary… I could have slept on the soda.” Ohno shook his head in defiance “ Iie. Nino needs to learn to be a bit more polite and grow up a bit. So it was necessary. In all honestly, I would have given you my room and bunked with Nino, but he knew that I would do that and I knew that he wouldn’t offer.” Ohno explained, well tried to anyway.
Noriko just giggled at the explanation “Toshi=kun, when your quiet you just about make sense, when you become chatty, all of a sudden you stop making sense.” Noriko said still giggling, now however at the pout on Ohno’s face.
End of Chapter 1