Side Story: Good Morning
Author's notes: Hello! I hope you enjoy this side story for the mean time! More TsunxTsukiko in Chapter 8 :3
Taking short quick breaths as he jogged around their clean and quiet neighbourhood, Kyosuke was on his 3rd lap when he decided to go home to get ready for school. His grey sweater was soaked in sweat by the time he arrived at his 2-story house's front door. He punched in the code on their house's state-of-the-art security system and called out as the door unlocked and let himself in, "I'm back."
Taking off his blue and white running shoes and placing them on the shoe rack located by the side of the doorway, he started heading for the dining room. As he passed thru their spacious living room, he pulled off his sweater and left it to hang on the luxury fabric-covered couch and quickly grabbed the remote from the side table. With a push of a button, he turned on their flat-screen TV, flipped thru the channels till it was on Disney Junior and made his way to where the heavenly smell of omu-rice and pork belly slices were coming from.
"I'm back mom!"
"Oh Kyo! Have a seat! I'm almost done. Did you call your siblings?"
He grinned and pointed to the TV he had turned on as his mother glanced at him. She was a small mother in her early 40's but still had the face and physique of a single woman in her 30's. It was common for women in their family to look younger than their age. She chuckled and shook her head in amusement when she heard quick and loud thumps on the stairs and tiny screams. Taking that as his cue, Kyosuke sprinted to the end of the staircase and picked up his 4-year old twin brother and sister, Kira and Kana. He took them to the dining room and seated them while they kept laughing. He goofed off with them as they waited for their mother to finish cooking their breakfast.
"Alright settle down you three little pigs. It's time for breakfast."
Kyosuke's petite mother, Rina, started setting down a plate in front of each of them. Each plate was lavishly covered with fried rice with steamed chicken bits, wrapped in a fluffy scrambled egg and decorated with cute drawings using ketchup.
"Look, it's Minnie Mouse! Mom drew Minnie Mouse on mine!" Kana's long jet black hair bounced in the air as she jumped in her seat and squealed in delight.
"Ah mine is Mickey! Right mom? Right?" Kira looked up at his mom who was placing a plate of pork belly on the table, his eyes full of expectation. He sported the same buzz cut hairstyle as Kyosuke and it couldn't be denied that he looked exactly like his older brother (there had been several occasions when people thought he was Kyosuke's son). Rina warmly smiled at Kira.
"Yes, that's Mickey, Kira-chan!" she said in her usual high-pitched motherly tone.
"Ha! You have Minnie," Kyosuke pointed at Kana's plate with his spoon, "and you have Mickey," he proceeded to point at Kira's, "but look at mine! Mom drew Mickey and Minnie on mine! I have two drawings!"
He grinned and watched the twins' reaction. He had always enjoyed teasing them till they were on the verge of tears. It was one of the few things that reminded him he was the eldest and he had the power (however illogical it was). The twins frowned and leaned on the table, scrutinizing his plate of omu-rice to see if he was telling the truth. Upon seeing that there was indeed a drawing of Mickey and Minnie, their frowns turned into stabbing glares. Kana whined, complaining how it was unfair while Kira stuck out his tongue toward his big brother.
Kyosuke stuck his tongue out as well while he taunted them until Kana started wailing (though tears weren't coming out) and pulling on her hair in frustration.
"Kyosuke Iehara! You stop that right now." Rina hissed and glared at her eldest son.
Having had his fill of sibling power, he decided to wipe off his grin and proceeded to coax his baby sister to calm down.
"Sorry Kana-chan… Nii-chan was just joking with you guys…"
He picked up the bottle of ketchup and pulled Kana's plate toward him.
"Look Kana-chan. Nii-chan will draw Mickey beside Minnie so you'll have two as well. Here, look!"
Kana eventually quieted down as she observed Kyosuke busily drawing on the top of her breakfast and lit up when he gently pushed it back towards her; her Minnie was now holding hands with a crudely drawn Mickey. Her brother's skills in drawing didn't matter as long as it was Mickey and Minnie.
"What about me?!" Kira moaned indignantly and pushed his plate towards Kyosuke.
The older brother merely laughed and drew on his mini-me's omu-rice as well.
"There. Nii-chan's done."
Untying the back of her apron and taking it off, their mother then briskly walked up the stairs and into their bedroom to get ready for work. "Kyo! After you're done, take a bath with the twins okay? Your dad already sent me a message that I need to be at the office in an hour!" she called out from upstairs.
"Okay! Tell dad not to forget the promise he made to the twins!" he called back while he finished his breakfast.
"Nii-chan, what do mommy and daddy do again?" Kana asked, biting on her small metal spoon.
"They tell people to do stuff for them. Lots of people. Well, daddy tells mommy what the people should do then mommy goes to tell them what daddy said." Their elder brother explained while he chomped on a huge slice of pork belly.
Kira had been separating the small pieces of onions from his omu-rice but came to look at Kyosuke when he finished explaining. "Daddy and mommy are teachers?" Kira inquired, sounding surprised.
Kyosuke laughed at Kira's question, amused at how he actually had a point.
"No no. They work at a company. Daddy is president and mommy is his secretary. Our daddy is also daddy to a lot of other people but only during work. Mommy is also their mommy."
He grinned as he observed them, feeling infinitely entertained by the twins.
Leaves rustled as the early morning breeze blew past the trees rooted near a man-made pond filled with colourful Koi. A large man stood by the pond, sprinkling fish flakes all over the water and humming as a school of koi swam towards his direction.
His full head of grey hair glistened a little from the warm sun and his arms were permanently painted with dragons that slithered up to his shoulders. In fact, his whole body was covered in tattoos and only the navy blue kimono he wore hid it from plain view. His wrinkled yet firm face with a scar near his chin drew out fear from anyone who would gaze upon him.
The man who was widely known as the head of the Yamaguchi clan smiled when he heard a small voice yell out fiercely from the small dojo he had made in their compound for his one and only daughter who was a Kendo enthusiast.
Gripping her shinai tightly, Naoto breathed out a shout every time she swung her wooden weapon in the air with force. Strands of her short milk-tea dyed hair stuck to the sides of her face and she had rolled up the sleeves of her kendogi up to her shoulders. The excessive heat and perspiration had forced her to take off her helmet as well as her socks.
She continued her exercise in the solitude of the dojo her father, Shintarou, had gifted her when she expressed an interest in learning the way of the sword back in middle school. She had told him one night about how she liked the sport and the tiny girl was thrilled when two guestrooms in the far east wing of their traditional Japanese compound was immediately renovated to become her private dojo.
To pay back her father's generosity, she immersed herself in the sport despite her height being a disadvantage; she was currently a 1-dan Kendoka.
Slowly, the door the slid open and a tall and lean man with a shaved head dressed in a plain yellow kimono stepped inside and knelt down on one knee, his head bowed down as well.
"Ojou-sama. Your breakfast is ready. The Boss has called for you." He stated as Naoto continued to swing her wooden weapon in the air.
The man remained in his position until she stopped to catch her breath. Picking up a towel, the small girl lightly patted her sweat away and gave the man a curt affirmation. He nodded and hastily went on his way. She put away her shinai and other equipment in the wooden locker by the door and went to the dining area.
As she passed by the corridors connecting to the altar and living rooms, several grown men clad in kimonos and dark business suits rushed to bow in front of her and greeted ( or more like shouted) her good morning. Naoto nodded as she walked on, making sure she stood straight in order to demand respect from her family's underlings.
A middle-aged woman with her hair tied in a bun was kneeling by the door leading to the Dojima's dining area. She wore a blue kimono with white flowers printed all over it and had her hands placed on her lap. The woman bowed and pulled the door open when Naoto arrived.
Inside, her fearsome looking father, Shintarou, was sitting on the tatami beside a woman who was still radiantly beautiful despite her age. She was considered one of the Yamaguchi clan's symbols for being a woman who possessed traditional Japanese beauty. The food in front of them lay untouched as they waited for their offspring to arrive.
"Nao-chan, good morning!"
"Good morning mother, father." Naoto smiled and sat across her mother.
As his daughter settled down, Shintarou nodded his head and cleared his throat.
"Shall we eat then, Minami? Naoto?"
"Yes." Both women answered.
Naoto picked up her chopsticks and started eating while her parents discussed their business schedule for the day.
A slim figure dressed in a white shirt and red boxers lazily came out of the bathroom after having emptied his bladder and tying his messed up raven mid-length hair high on his head, making him look like a turnip. Haruto was dealing with the usual side effects of painting the town red deep in the night with his college buddies and grumbled to himself for forgetting his nth vow not to drink too much during school days.
Dragging his feet towards the kitchen, he stood in front of the refrigerator with narrowed eyes and pulled on the fridge door. He quickly reached for the milk carton and locked his lips on the container's opening only to be left begrudgingly disappointed since not a drop was left inside it. Haruto angrily threw the milk carton in the trash bin and took out from the fridge a bottle that had a quarter of orange juice left in it.
Settling on the sofa in his small apartment, he glugged down what remained of the orange juice while he rested his head on the top of the sofa's back. A sigh of content escaped his lips as he closed his eyes, absorbing the comforting quietness of his home. The silence was short-lived however, for in a matter of minutes, a figure unlocked the front door from outside and noisily barged in Haruto's apartment.
"HARU! WAKEE UPPPPPPPPPPP!"
She closed the door with a bang before recklessly taking off her shoes, making the young nurse cringe and groaning.
"I'm already up…"
"Oh good! Did you make breakfast already?"
Haruto rolled his eyes and faced his older sister, Reika. She was wearing skinny denim jeans and a pastel pink blouse that looked too tight for her chest with her boobs almost spilling out from the wide neck opening. Her hair was not kept in its typical bun but was let down and curled.
"What kind of outfit is that?"
Haruto sat straight on the sofa, his brows meeting in disgust. Reika walked toward him and pulled off his hair tie, much to his dismay.
"I was on undercover duty last night at the clubs. I even saw you at that fancy club at the end of the entertainment district. Your dance partner there was a minor and I caught her right after you and your friends left. I'd have had to arrest you if you took her with you."
She flashed him a haughty smile and went to the kitchen. Haruto grumbled as he rested his back on the sofa again, irritated that he now had to delete the phone number of the pretty girl he had danced with last night. Then his mind wandered off to the thought of how funny it was that his 28 year old sister was a cop working graveyard shifts while he, a 24 year old with undeniably good looks, a charming personality and above average intelligence, was a school nurse working the 8 to 5 routine.
"Haru, don't you have 'school' today? Go take a bath while I cook." Reika jested while she started taking out ingredients from the fridge.
" . Very funny." He retorted with an irate tone, refusing to move a muscle.
He was about to let his eyelids fall when Reika suddenly appeared in front of him and pinched his cheek.
"Ow! What the- that hurts!"
He tried to pull her hand away from his face but the more he did, the more she tightened her pinch on his flesh.
"I told you to take a bath." She said sternly.
"Fine fine! Let go!"
"Call me nee-chan."
"Let go nee-chan!" he said thru gritted teeth with both cheeks turning red.
"What is wrong with you?! Let go nee-chan please!"
Satisfied, Reika smiled at him again and walked back to the kitchen to continue her cooking. Rubbing his reddened cheek (the one she had lovingly pinched), Haruto muttered as he stood up and made his way to the bathroom, vexed at how he was being treated like a high schooler and how such a man like him was powerless against his one and only Reika.
Meows of hunger echoed throughout the Himura residence. A ball of white fur with brown spots stalked her owner (who was dressed in a pair of black boxers and a loose blue tank top) everywhere he went and relentlessly demanded that she be fed. She had a tendency of breaking fragile things by pushing them off when she didn't get her way and Nene was almost at her limit.
Feeling the impending danger to his mother's house decorations when Tsun saw her jump to the table where a vase was placed, he bolted toward her and picked her up.
"No no no! That's a new vase!"
Nene looked up at him, her sapphire blue orbs expressly demanding that her stomach be filled right then and there. Her meowing grew louder and sounded more irritated the more her owner stood there without moving to the kitchen.
"Alright your highness… Geez."
He made his way to their small kitchen, a still meowing cat cradled in his arms. Tsun's mother, Minako, was busily setting the table. She was happily humming to herself while she did so and greeted them good morning when the two came in. She just recently had a pixie cut and was feeling very refreshed.
"Good morning mom."
Tsun put his pet down on the floor and took out a bag of cat food from the cupboard above the sink. He then walked toward a small red bowl positioned beside their old refrigerator and filled it with Nene's breakfast. He then sat down on his chair for his fill as well. As a smiling Minako finished placing a plate of eggs, natto, and onigiri on the table, she took her seat as well.
"Itadakimasu." They said together and picked up their chopsticks.
A bandaged hand hung at the end of a twin-size bed.
The curtains were tightly closed and heavy darkness enclosed the whole room. The sun had risen outside yet no light could come in. She mindlessly stared into the dimness while drowning in an ocean of silence, her hair messed up and all over the pillow beneath her head. Feeling her chest rise up and down as she breathed, her hazy eyes wandered around her room.
After a few moments, she curled her body into a ball but did not bother to pull the thin blanket that was at the bottom of her feet. She closed her eyes as her heart ached, remembering the bright faces of those who were already gone. Tsukiko buried her face in her pillow as she held her breath. When he felt her lungs burning from the lack of air, only then did she breathe again.
'Breathe again' was what her grandfather told her from the day he took her in, a year after the tragedy that befell their family.
She slowly propped herself up and wiped away the tears that escaped her.
More author's notes: Did you like this side story? XD The Yamaguchi clan is a reference to the existing Yamaguchi-gumi in Japan.
Omu-rice – (literally omelette-rice) Japanese fried rice wrapped in egg then decorated with ketchup
Koi – those carp with silver/white/black/orange colors which are kept in households and temples for decorative purposes and as cultural symbols
Shinai - a weapon used for practice and competition inkendorepresenting a Japanesesword
Kendogi - a uniform for training, used in martial arts derived fromJapan; particularly a Kendo uniform consisting of a top (uwagi) and bottom wear (hakama)
Kendoka – one who practices Kendo
1-dan – the 'dan' indicates the level of proficiency in martial arts
Ojou-sama – literally means Princess. It's usually used in anime and manga to refer to girls who come from rich and powerful families.
Natto - a traditionalJapanese foodmade fromfermentedsoybeans (It has a weird taste but you'll grow to like it hahaha)
Onigiri – Rice balls