A/N: I'm re-vamping the earlier chapters, and possibly I'll re-write all of the chapters. The plot will still stay essentially the same, it's more a matter of elaboration and clearing up some muddiness in the early chapters that's been bugging me. No more Japanese vocabulary, WITH THE EXCEPTION of suffixes because they help define the type of relationship the characters have with each other, and the word "sensei" (which is technically a suffix anyway) because that is the only way Yoru and the others refer to their teacher. The never use his name, they just call him "Sensei" instead.
NIGHt OF StARS – CHAPTER 1 - INTRO
"Yoru!" A girl with long, black hair ran through the small apartment. "Yoru, you bastard! Where are you?! I'm leaving without you!" She threatened, but it was only half-hearted. She would never actually leave without him. Tsukiko would sooner walk through fire than do anything to hurt her brother. With a deep sigh, she stopped in the middle of the living room and gazed around her. Tsukiko had searched the entire apartment to no avail. Had Yoru snuck out in the night again? She worried that was the case, but he hadn't snuck out for weeks now, why would he start again? And what was he doing all night long instead of sleeping? So many of her questions were left unanswered. Just when Tsukiko was at a loss of where she could look next, she happened to glance out the sliding-glass door of their balcony. "Yoru!" She gasped, tossing her bag to the floor and running out to his side when she saw her frail brother lying unconscious on the cement floor. A morbid thought passed her briefly, and Tsukiko worried that he might already be dead.
She shook her twin brother frantically until he woke up. "Tsu-Tsu-Tsu-ki-ko! St- stop- it!" Yoru managed to get out and Tsukiko let go of his shoulders. "What do you think you're doing?!"
"I'm waking you up! You're going to be late for school!" She choked back tears and struggled to compose herself.
"It's Sunday, isn't it?"
"No! It's Monday! Idiot!" Tsukiko got up and headed to the kitchen. She felt guilty for shouting at him, but her adrenaline was still racing and she couldn't think straight. She worried about him a lot more than he seemed to realize. "Get dressed and eat this!" She walked back over to him holding a banana.
"I'm not hungry." Yoru said plainly.
His sister didn't believe him, and kept her hand steady. "Feh, yeah right." She scoffed. "You're eating it!"
"I hate bananas." Yoru leaned away from it. "They're repulsive. You know I can't stand them."
"Don't be such a little child, or I'll start treating you like one." Tsukiko said. "Now, be a good boy and eat something before you starve yourself to death. If you would just eat something... ANYTHING, you wouldn't pass out so much." She put the banana down on the floor in front of him. "Please? For me? This isn't healthy, you're really starting to scare me..."
In a matter of months, her tall and already thin brother had lost a considerable amount of weight. He started refusing meals, making the excuse that he simply wasn't hungry and would tell her he would eat later... and although Yoru tried to conceal it as much as possible with clothing, Tsukiko could tell that his once lean, slightly muscular body was nothing but a skeletal shadow of it's former self. He was wasting away right before her eyes and there didn't seem to be anything Tsukiko could do to help.
When Yoru looked up into his sister's eyes, he could see they were brimming with tears. He hated to see her in so much pain, especially knowing that he was the cause of it. "Fine..." He sighed dejectedly and peeled the yellow fruit. "Horrid things, aren't they?" Yoru laughed quietly to try lightening the mood. He reluctantly finished off the banana, bite by "repulsive" bite. "There. Happy now?"
"Yes." Tsukiko smiled. "Here, I'll help you up." She stood, offering her hand to him, and hugged him once he got up as well. "You just worry me so much sometimes. Don't scare me like that again, okay? Please?"
"By the way, what were you doing out on the balcony?"
"Just getting some fresh air. I was having nightmares again... it's all so easy to see... so clear. It might have just as well been yesterday that it happened." He leaned against the railing and looked down at the street below as he tried to explain. He wanted to talk with his twin about it, but there was just too much to say. Yoru wouldn't know where to begin.
"Yoru. Please listen to me. I know it haunts you, but that happened a long time ago, and not just to us I'm sure. You have to learn to put it behind you and get on with your life. You can't change what's happened in the past anymore than the rest of us can."
"I know that, it's... it's hard." Yoru said. Bitterly, he thought about how she didn't know what was actually bothering him. Not that it was her fault, but he could never find a way to tell her what had happened. Yoru wanted nothing more than to be able to block the entire incident out of his mind, but so far his efforts were unsuccessful.
"I know." Tsukiko smiled kindly. "Would you like to stay home today from school? I'll tell Sensei that you aren't feeling well, okay?"
"No, I'm fine. I've missed too much school already. I'll go, but you leave now. There's no sense in us both being late. I'll be right behind you, okay?" He smiled reassuringly.
"Alright." Tsukiko smiled back. "Well, I'm off!" She hesitated briefly, before picking up her bag and running out the door.
Yoru's smile quickly faded once the door closed behind his twin. He promptly made his way over to the bathroom and threw up in the toilet. His stomach ached and his throat burned, but there was nothing he could do about it now. It was a routine that he could barely fight even if he had wanted to. He brushed his teeth and got dressed in his school uniform. "Damn bananas."
Hideki walked slowly down the hall away from his class. He was in no hurry. Why would he be? It was the morning of a school day, the worst time of all. Akita Hideki was anything but a morning person, and this particular day he was torn between sleeping at his desk until the first bell rang, and trudging half-asleep to the water fountain to quench his thirst. The fountain won out, besides, who knew? Maybe drinking some water would help to wake him up.
As he rounded the corner, Hideki was suddenly slammed into the wall by a dark blur, he stumbled but did not fall. It was quite a shock to his drowsy system, and jolted him wide awake. Hideki rubbed his sleepy green eyes to focus better on what had hit him so hard.
"Ouch." Yoru groaned from his place on the floor. He looked up at Hideki who was still standing. "I'm sorry. Are you okay?"
"I'm okay." Hideki tried not to gawk at the boy in front of him, but in four and a half years together as classmates, he couldn't remember ever hearing Yoru speak. His voice was lower than Hideki had anticipated.
"I should've been paying more attention..."
"No, It's my fault. I didn't even have my eyes open." Hideki smiled, butterflies fluttered in his stomach. "Uh- um... here, let me help you up!" He held out his hand awkwardly to Yoru who accepted it. "Are you feeling alright?"
"Yeah, I feel fine. I'm just a little dizzy." Yoru said. "Mornings aren't really my thing." He was lying. Yoru loved mornings, it was nighttime that gave him trouble.
That made Hideki smile inwardly as well as out. Who knew that the quiet gothic boy could actually be spoken to so easily? He chuckled. "Yeah, mornings aren't for me either. Be careful and hurry. Class is about to start, Sensei will get mad if you're late!"
"Seems like you should be taking some of your own advice – aren't you're heading in the opposite direction?" Yoru grinned.
"True enough!" Hideki laughed. Was it possible? Did Yoru actually just take a shot at him? He had been in Yoru's class since grade seven, but this was the first time they had ever spoken to each other. In fact, Yoru hardly spoke to anyone... other than Tsukiko, of course. "See ya in class!" He smiled.
"See ya!" Yoru replied quietly. Hideki was nice, he wasn't one to be the centre of attention, and was in fact a pretty shy guy, but he was still well liked despite that fact. It didn't surprise him that hewould smile and help Yoru up off the ground like he would with any other student. It's just how he was.
Hideki was just about to turn around to continue on his way when he noticed Yoru stagger and grip the wall out of the corner of his eye. "Hey... Are you sure you're alright, Yo-!" The dark-haired boy fell forward and Hideki rushed to keep him from hitting the ground. He was surprised with how light Yoru was, considering the fact that he was almost the same height as Hideki.
The bell signaling the start of their first class rang while he kneeled over Yoru in the hallway. Hideki groaned as he lifted an unconscious Yoru up. "Well, Yoru-kun... It looks like we're both gonna be late for class." He said. Hideki was thankful that the nurse's office was nearby, just down the hall.
"Please help!" He called as he carried Yoru into the small white office.
The nurse gasped and got up from her desk. "What happened?"
"I don't know." Hideki laid Yoru down on the bed and shrugged his shoulders. "He just passed out in the hallway. He seemed fine a minute ago."
"Are you his friend?"
"Not exactly, but I'm his classmate." He nodded. He knew that one brief conversation didn't mean they were friends, or that Yoru even liked him, but the possibility of getting to know his reclusive classmate better excited him.
He didn't look well, though, Hideki noticed. It was hard to tell with their uniforms just how much weight Yoru had lost over the summer break, but his gaunt face was enough to set alarms ringing in the blond's head. When he was carrying him, it was like he could feel every one of Yoru's bones through his clothing. It scared Hideki to picture how skeletal the other boy's body must look now. He shuddered.
"So, what is it?" He said after a few minutes of silence. "Do you know what's wrong with him?"
"I might have an idea..." She trailed off, deep in thought about what was wrong.
"Should I go get his sister?" Hideki offered. He feared the situation was more serious than the nurse was trying to let on.
"You know her?"
"Yeah. She's in our class, they're twins."
"Yes. Please do."
I'm going to stop here for now. Since this is just the beginning of the story, I don't want to get into too many of the plot issues just yet. That will be saved for the next part. Next time, you will start to learn about Yoru's problem and possibly even about one of his secrets that torment him so much.