Title: The Other Arashi
Inspired by: These photoshoots of Jun
and the movie/book Coraline
Summary: The agency decided to make Arashi's next PV at a secluded mansion in the mountains that had the perfect setting. Arashi has to stay for three days at the mansion, but Jun discovers horrifying secrets about the place.
Author Notes: This is an AU setting in the world of Coraline, but slightly different. Also, the reason why there are no pairings is because the story is not romance based. Arashi is all friends, so that's why it's general. Enjoy!
The Other Arashi - Part 1
Jun peered out the car window and saw the tall trees beginning to thin. The road uphill was long and steep as they drove up the mountain. Finally, they arrived at the top, and Jun opened the car door. The crisp autumn wind hit his face like a cold wave, and he shivered under his thick jacket and scarf. He could hear the other members climbing out of the van as Jun looked up at the mansion.
It was old, but elegant mansion much like a magnificent castle. There were turrets and many windows, covered by white curtains inside. In the front courtyard stood a massive angel statue, posed with its wings crumpled in shyly and its hands covering its face. Jun thought the mansion gave off a nice Victorian style that was perfect for their new promotion video. It was an amazing stroke of luck that the staff was able to find it. The landlord was kind enough to rent it to them, but refused to go to the mountains with them.
"My gosh, look at this place," Sho gasped. "I didn't know mansions like this existed in Japan."
"I really like that statue," Ohno commented. "I wish I can sculpt like that."
"Should we take a picture?" Jun offered, pulling out his personal camera. "It can be part of the Photo Shop pictures."
Just then, their manager, Gin Okami-san, walked up to them with a few heavy bags on his shoulders.
"I'll take it for you," Gin said.
Jun gave him the camera and left his bags at Gin's feet. He hurried to stand in the middle of the group as they gave peace signs as their pose.
"Oh, what if we copied the angel?" Aiba suggested. "It'll be funny, right?"
"Alright," they said in unison.
Jun thought it was kinda silly to cover his eyes, but he made sure he smiled to the camera. He heard the faint click, and he lowered his hands.
"Let me see," Jun said, his hand outreached, but someone yelled from one of the staff cars.
"Hurry up! We have a tight schedule! Go and pick out your rooms!"
Arashi moaned their reply and grabbed their bags. Jun pocketed the camera and decided to check on it later. Inside the mansion, it was enormous. The floors were hardwood and polished, and the ceilings were framed in elaborate crowning. There were three pathways from the foyer. The one on the left lead to the library, the center hallway lead to the ballroom where they'll be filming their PV, and the right side was the entrance to the kitchen and dining room.
Upstairs was where the bedrooms were and a ballet room where they'll be rehearsing their dance. Ohno was taking his time looking at each painting as they climb up the stairs, Aiba and Nino were giggling and ventured into the ballroom while Sho went solo and went to check the kitchen. Jun figured the staff member was just cranky because they still have plenty of time before they can start rehearsal. So, Jun explored into the library.
At first, he thought it was going to be small, but the library took up the entire west side of the mansion. He could smell the mold off from the wood, and the shelves were cramped with books. Jun dropped his bags at the door and browse through the library. Many of the books were in English, and he walked down the alleys. Then, he found a quiet opening where a fireplace was closed up. There was an old chair with its cushions still intake, but the color was faded from the sunlight. There were ornaments perched on the fire mantle. An old oil lamp, a dusty toy robot, a snow globe, and a rusted old key.
Jun picked up the key and then he heard a hollow sound. Wind was whistling through a crack, and Jun looked all around, until he noticed the wallpaper was peeling. Jun walked over to the side of the fireplace and noticed a dark outline along the wall. Curious, and knowing the mansion was already useless, he peeled off the wallpaper until he discovered a door.
The door was short, perhaps people weren't as tall back then. Jun spotted a small keyhole that seem to match the key he had in his hand. He inserted the key, just in case, and it did fitted.
"Wha?!" He jumped. He turned around and saw his dance instructor.
"What are you doing goofing around?! Get dress for rehearsal!"
He placed the key back on the fire mantle and followed the instructor.
Because there were only five rooms in the mansion, Arashi offered themselves to stay at the mansion while the staff booked a nearby hotel. Jun thought the rooms were going to be huge and elaborate just like the rest of the place, but they were empty and plain. The walls were grey and the bed was squeaky. He kinda wished he took the hotel offer instead. Jun set his bags down and got dressed for rehearsal.
The ballet room was the center room on the second floor, therefore, the biggest. Like any dance room, there were mirrors plastered on every wall expect the door. A ballet bar ran around the room and it was beginning to peel off its gold paint. The floor creaked with each step, and there was a faint scent of oil.
"I hope we don't fall through the floor," Nino joked.
"This is going to be tough," Sho sighed as Jun sat down to stretch. "This will be the first PV we've ever done by doing it in one take."
"That's why we have to practice extra hard on the choreography," Jun said.
"But it's hard enough as it is with our stageplay coming up," Sho added. "They're so similar. I keep messing up the footwork."
"You'll be fine, Sho," Aiba reassured him.
"That's rich, coming from you," Nino smirked. Aiba playfully smacked his head.
"Come on, guys. No more games. Let's get to work," Jun said, firmly.
Back in Tokyo, they've already got the routine, but unlike their previous PVs, they've never done a dance routine in one go. It'll be like they're about to perform for a music show, but it was a lot more complicated than that. The PV will also be telling a story, so they have to dance, sing, and act in one long continuous shot. In less than two minutes of practice, Aiba messed up his position and they had to start over again. Jun shrugged this off, but then Ohno made a mistake five minutes in, which surprised Jun.
After thirty minutes of practice, they were only able to go through the entire dance routine one time. Sho and Aiba made the most errors, mistaking when it was their turn to step forth or the order of dance moves. Jun was frustrated that none of them was getting it right.
"What's the matter with you guys?" Jun panted. "We can't have this many takes when we do the PV."
"I'm...I'm sorry, Jun," Sho bowed his head. "I guess I'm just not as fast as I used to be."
"You almost got it," the dance instructor said positively. "It'll be alright."
"No, it won't," Jun grunted. "Shooting is tomorrow and that's it! If we can't-"
"Jun, we'll get it right. Don't worry," Ohno spoke up.
"After the PV shoot, Sho and I have to do our stageplay the next day," Jun sighed. "I'm just-"
"I know, I know," Ohno patted his shoulder. "Just relax, okay."
"But..." Jun couldn't finish his thought and stood there in silence. Ohno nodded his head and walked over to Nino.
Everyone was taking their break and Jun looked around the ballet room. He saw Nino sitting quietly and playing his video game, Ohno was sitting next to him and looking over his shoulder. Sho and Aiba were talking something about tomatoes when they should be practicing considering they made the most mistakes.
Why can't Ohno be a little more strict and show more leadership? Sure, they were fine with him not saying anything, but there has been a silent rule among them that Ohno does get the final word when he speaks. That is only when the situation calls for it. Jun admits they aren't as young as they used to be, but he was getting tired of their lack in perfection.
"That'll do, guys. Take the night," the dance instructor said.
It was already late, and the staff was departing for their hotel. They told Jun and the members that they've set up the background and the props for the PV in the ballroom, and they'll begin early tomorrow. Unfortunately, because of the cost for the road trip, the material used for the PV, and the rents for the hotel, the staff had enough cash to buy cheap groceries instead of taking them out to dinner.
Which means one of them has to cook.
"I'll do it," Jun said, already putting on the apron, "I always cook anyway."
"Don't be like that, Jun," Sho stepped up. "How about you take a break?"
"Yeah," Nino nodded. "You were awfully stressful today. Let us handle dinner."
"I've gotten better at cooking," Sho grinned, taking the apron from Jun.
"Uh, okay...what are you going to make?"
An hour later, Sho made burnt food.
"How could you have burnt spagetti?!" Jun yelled.
"I was trying to make lasegena," Sho pouted. "You put them in the oven, don't you?"
"Why couldn't you cook, Ohno? At least you make good fried rice," Jun sighed, forcing himself to eat.
"I thought Sho's effort to make you feel better was...nice," Ohno defended.
"Yeah, this made me feel a lot better," Jun grumbled.
"I'm really sorry, Jun," Sho bowed. "I promise, I'll make it up in the future."
Somewhere in the dark depths of Jun's memory, he felt his heart breaking again but he quickly dismissed it. He finished the last bites of his dinner and place his dish in the sink before heading back upstairs. After a quick shower, he entered his room and saw Ohno waiting for him. His clothes were little covered in dust, and his hair was slightly matted to his forehead like an old man.
"Hey, Jun. Look what I found in the attic!" He grinned.
He held up a large picture frame and Jun gazed down at the painting. It was a portrait of a man sitting in a long coat and a cane at his side, but the resemblance of the man's features were strikingly similar to Jun. It was almost as if the man could have been his ancestor, or if Jun had his own self-portrait. The only difference was that the artist added gears and bronze metal to parts of the body, as if the man was half machine.
"That's creepy," Jun mumbled, taking it from Ohno. "He looks just like me."
"I know," Ohno nodded, "I wanted to find more, but I got spooked out because I think I heard mice up in the attic."
"Maybe you should put it back," Jun said, "This belongs to the landlord, so we shouldn't take it."
"But he doesn't live here anymore. And Gin said so himself that the landlord doesn't even want to set foot in this mansion," Ohno shrugged. "Well, I just thought it was something to get your mind off of today."
Jun sighed, and leaned the painting against the wall.
"If you want to help me, then please be more stringent with the other members from time to time."
"You know I can't do that, Jun. It's not my place."
"Well, I just...never mind," Jun mumbled, "Thanks anyway."
* * *
Jun felt his stomach rumbling with pain. He rolled over in his bed, staring at his alarm clock. It was only midnight, and everyone went to sleep early, so he can't turn on the hallway lights. He walked out into the dark hallway until he found the bathroom.
'Damn, Sho,' Jun thought. 'Having to make dinner and everything.'
When he stepped out of the bathroom, he heard a quiet squeak. He stared down at the foyer below and saw something scurry around on the hardwood floor. Jun slowly descended down the stairs and noticed it was a mouse, but it wasn't a normal live mouse.
It was mechanical.
Jun could see the gears turning and hitching, and yet it moved so fluidly as if it was a real mouse. It dashed towards the library and squeezed under the door. Suddenly, Jun wanted to find it, and he quietly jogged after it. The library was a lot darker at night, and he tried to switch on the light, but nothing came on. He looked around until he saw an old candle wick and a match box.
With the candle as his only light source, he searched through the tight spaces between the bookshelves, straining his ears for the mechanical mouse. He saw it make a quick dash, and he gave chase. It lead him all the way back to the fireplace from before, but he didn't see the mouse anywhere.
The small door from before caught his attention, and he immediately remembered the key on the fire mantle. He stared back and forth between the door and the key.
"It's probably nothing," Jun uttered.
He set the candle inside the lamp, and picked up the key again. He inserted the key and twisted until he heard the click. The door creaked open and Jun gasped. A long tunnel stretched out before him. It didn't make sense since this was the end wall of the mansion, and yet the tunnel traveled far, glowing in soft violet and bright blue. It was like a vortex.
His heartbeat was racing, wondering where the tunnel leads. Should he wake the others? Is it safe? Surely, one look wouldn't hurt.
He crouched down and journeyed into the tunnel, feeling the walls as if they were made out of silk. He must have walked for a few seconds until he saw the other end. It looked dark, but he pressed forward.
He was back in the library.
He stood up straight and looked around. It was the same library no matter how he looked at it. Maybe he was just hallucinating, but he looked behind and the magical tunnel was still there. Jun walked through the library until he saw light coming from the exit. He entered the foyer and noticed the kitchen light was on. Someone was humming and he could smell something delicious. He knew that voice.
"Riida? What are you doing here in the middle of the night?"
"Oh, hey Jun! You're just in time for dinner."
Ohno turned around and Jun yelped. He pressed his back against the wall, taking in what was before him. Ohno somehow looked less wrinkled and more handsome. His hair wasn't matted, but bright and fluffy looking. His smile was bright and shiny white, but it was his eyes that were different.
They were big black buttons.
"This must be a dream," Jun panicked. "You're not Ohno. He doesn't have bu-bu-"
"Buttons?" Ohno chuckled. "Do you like them?" He tapped his fingernail against the button, "I'm your Other Ohno. Why don't you get Other Sho and tell him dinner is ready."
"O-other Sho?" Jun muttered, wondering why he wasn't running away.
"He's in the ballet room," Ohno told him. "Go on. I'll have the food on the table by then."
Jun wanted to ask a billion questions, but he couldn't find his voice. Ohno seemed completely normal, if not better besides the button eyes. Jun slowly backed out the kitchen and climbed upstairs. Every instinct was telling him to run, but he was distracted when he heard a distinct tapping noise coming from the ballet room. He climbed up the stairs and saw the door was open, light was spilling out. Jun squinted his eyes at the light as he entered the room.
He was tap dancing with his head bowed in concentration, but when Jun spoke, he stopped.
"Hello, Jun," Sho turned around.
Jun wanted to scream. Sho also had buttons for eyes: large, black, unmoving, and unblinking eyes. Yet, everything else about Sho was exquisite. His skin complexion was flawless, and his dark hair full and glowing beautifully as well as his smile. It was as if Ohno and Sho aged younger.
"Want to see my new dance?" Sho asked enthusiastically. "I've been practicing it just for you."
"For me?" Jun frowned suspiciously. "But...the Sho I know can't tap dance."
Suddenly, the soles of his shoes grew tall, revealing mechanics inside with spinning gears and wires.
"These shoes dances me."
The mechanical shoes retracted and Sho began dancing, or rather, the shoes started dancing. Jun watched Sho do impossible dance moves the real Sho could never do. One minute he was doing a simple waltz step, then he changed to hip pop, then he spun on the floor break dancing.
"Whoa," Jun stared at awe as Sho jumped back into the air and landed on his heels. "That was...amazing!"
"Would you like to join me?" Sho offered his hand.
"Uh...O-ohno said dinner is ready," Jun fumbled.
"Oh, good! I'm starving."
Sho wasn't even sweating, and he swung his arm around Jun. The big button eyes stared at him, and Jun couldn't look away from its alluring and disturbing holes. He thought he saw traces of thread and stitches, but before he could even ask, they were already in the dining room.
"I made your favorites, Jun," Ohno greeted them.
It was practically a five course meal served on the table. Simmering hot foods of Jun's favorite was making his mouth water. He didn't realized how hungry he really was after his trip to the bathroom, but Jun still kept his distance as Sho and Ohno took their seats.
"I...I shouldn't..." Jun mumbled.
"It's okay, Jun," Ohno said. "I know we may seem...different, but we're really not. The food is the same, the place is the same, and we are the same...but better! A little food won't hurt. You must be hungry, after all."
Sho was already helping himself to some pasta and Jun finally took his seat.
"I guess...not," Jun nodded.
He helped himself for some soba noodles, dipped them into the special sauce, and slurped. It was delicious! He tried the hot pot and the meat. Before he knew it, his plate was filled and he was enjoying every bite. Sho was waffling down the potato salad, and Jun was too happy stuffing his face with cut up mango cubes.
Ohno just sat there.
"Time for dessert!" Ohno grinned, and went back to the kitchen.
While he was gone, the table was suddenly cleared away by tiny mechanical mice. Jun watched in fascination as the robots maneuvered through the silverware and cups to pick up the heavy dishes and plates as if they were nothing. Jun knew if Aiba was here, he would have loved them.
Ohno returned with a white box and he set it down in front of Jun.
"For you, Jun."
Feeling good with a full stomach, Jun opened the box and saw a cake. It was frosted with white cream and decorated in purple icing saying-
"Welcome home...Jun?" He read. "What is this?"
"We've waited for you," Ohno said, "for a very long time."
"With you here, our group can finally be complete." Sho said.
"But..isn't there another me, or something?"
"No, of course not!" Ohno chuckled. "You are perfect, so there's no need for there to be another you. Everyone else has another being, but they mostly fit for you."
Jun sighed and stared sadly at the cake.
"I can't stay here," Jun said. "I have my own group, and they'll worry about me if I'm gone."
"I understand," Ohno nodded, looking sincere. "Just take your time to decide. But just to celebrate for you coming, just have a small piece."
Jun smirked, "No, thank you. I should really go to sleep. I have work early tomorrow."
"Of course," Ohno nodded, eagerly, "Let us show you to your room."
Sho got up and lightly pulled Jun along as if he was an excited little boy. When they entered his room, it was completely different from before. The walls were painted blue, and tiny mechanical toys moving everywhere. The bed was a king size, four-poster bed with soft see-through drapes, and fluffy blankets and pillows.
"Wow," Jun smiled, "This is amazing!"
"I knew you would like it," Ohno smiled, "I am your Leader, after all. It's my duty to look out for you."
He crawled into bed, sinking into its softness. The flying toys were making clicking noise like a lullaby. Jun could feel his eyes getting droopy, and the food sitting warm in his belly was making him even more tired. He saw Ohno's round button eyes and warm smile gazing down at him, his hand smoothing out his hair. Jun closed his eyes for only a brief moment and rolled to his side.
His eyes flew open and he sat up quickly. His room was back to normal, the walls were grey, the hardwood floor was dull, and there weren't any mechanical toys flying around. The sun was peaking through his window, and he rubbed his eyes.
"I should have known it was a dream," Jun grumbled and got out of bed. "But...it felt so real."
* * *
Jun let out a deep and low irritating groan. This was the tenth time they called cut.
"I'm sorry!" Aiba bowed, "I'm very sorry!"
"Let's start over," the director called.
Jun went to sit down while the staff rotated the set again to the beginning. This PV was their most complex one ever, and they can't afford anymore mistakes if they want to get it done. The costume was starting to feel heavy, and Jun gulped down some water. Ohno was standing quietly by himself, tapping his shoes back and forth on the ground. Sho and Aiba were giggling about something, and Nino sat next to him, resuming back to his video game.
Jun didn't want to seem like a jerk, but he wanted someone to tell the guys not to mess around so much. When have they started to slack off? It can't be because they're getting older. This is what they do for a living; they always work hard. Was it just Jun? Was it the stress of filming a complicated PV and a stageplay coming up? He's done more stressful jobs, so why now does he feel so peeved?
"If only the other Ohno was here?" Jun mumbled to himself.
"The what?" Nino spoke, his eyes still glued to his DS screen.
"Oh...it's this dream I had," Jun said, "where Ohno and Sho had buttons for eyes."
"Creepy," Nino said.
"And they were completely different," Jun continued, "Sho was able to break dance, and Ohno cooked so many good food. Even my room upstairs was better. Until I woke up...but other than their weird button eyes, it felt so real."
"Well, it was just a dream, Jun. That's how dreams always are."
"But now that you mentioned buttons, my room, for some reason, is filled with buttons and little gear things," Nino said, "I think this mansion used to belong to an engineer or something, and my room must have been a work shop."
"Arashi, back on set!" Someone called, and Nino closed his DS.
They started the music, and the lights dimmed. As choreographed, they danced in the dark until the cameras finished their rounds. Ohno and Sho went to do their duet while the rest quickly hide from the camera to grab more props. Jun and Aiba were given their canes while Nino got his top hat and a deck of cards. The camera focused on them while Ohno and Sho climbed up the set to the upper level. The lights turn back on, and they danced again.
Jun could hear the set turning behind them, and Ohno and Sho added into their chorus line. They stopped dancing, but continued to sing as they walk around a table of instruments, trying to look mysterious and crafty.
Suddenly, Nino's hand fumbled and he made a ridiculous attempt to save his deck of cards from falling.
"Cut!" The director shouted.
"I'm terrible sorry!" Nino bowed.
"We weren't even half way!" Jun yelled, his frustration reaching its peak. "What were you even trying to do?!"
"I thought I just shuffle the cards in the air to my other hand," Nino said, not bothered by Jun's anger. "I was able to do it last time, so I thought I could do it again."
"At this rate, we might as well edit the video instead of doing it in one shot," Jun grumbled.
Sho came down from the second level, "Jun, we make mistakes. It's alright."
"How can you be so calm? We have our stageplay tomorrow!"
"Jun, just take a break while the staff fix up the set," Gin appeared. He patted his shoulder and walked him back to his seat.
He can't understand why this was making him so angry. He didn't want Arashi or the staff to see him like this.
"How about a longer break?" A staff attendant asked. "They've been dancing nonstop, and the wheels on the set needs some greasing. It's pretty heavy."
"Alright," the director nodded, "Two hour break, Jun."
"Fine," he sighed and walked out of the ballroom.
The only way he can calm down is by reading. Still in his costume and his cane, he walked back into the library. He decided to pull down a few books to read near the fireplace. He found a few interesting textbooks that'll help get his mind off of the stress, but then he found one book that was very thin and very old.
It was a journal, but the ink was so faded, he couldn't read the first couple of pages. There were drawings of what looked like the mansion, except it looked like a factory inside. In the end, Jun could read any of the scribbles except for the last page.
"The books are alive," Jun read out loud.
There was a drawing of two big black buttons.
"It was just a dream, Jun."
He closed the book and carefully set it back on the shelf. He abandoned his books and his cane behind, and he walked towards the fireplace again. The key was still stuck to the door, as if he left it there the entire time from last night. He had two hours to himself, if it was a dream, a look wouldn't hurt.
He turned the key and closed his eyes, apart of him wishing for the tunnel to reveal to him again. He swung the door open and felt the familiar soft breeze. He opened his eyes and saw the mystical tunnel stretched out before him once again. He felt his smile spread across his face.
"I knew it was real," he whispered, and crouched in.
When he reached the other side of the tunnel, it was night time. He was startled to find gifts waiting for him at the fireplace. There were mangoes and dried plums cut and stacked neatly on a plate for him. He saw the note card and read it.
I hope you like the fruits I cut for you.
Nino and Aiba have wanted to meet you and they arranged a special performance for you at the ballroom.
I'll see you soon.
He happily took a few pieces of mangoes before he left the library. He walked down the central hallway towards the ballroom, and he could hear an orchestra tuning. He opened the doors and gasped. The ballroom transformed into a theater. The seats were filled with bronze and copper robots. They all clicked and hummed as if they were real people, and at the very front of the theater, he saw Sho waving at him.
Jun walked down the alley and joined Sho at the front.
"Where did all these robots come from?" Jun asked.
"Shh!" he interrupted. "The shows about to start!"
The robots clapping sounded like a real audience, and Jun clapped as well. The curtains were drawn and Aiba was standing with his back to the audience. He wore a tail coat and white pants with high black boots. His top hat was slanted on his head and oddly shaped. He looked over his shoulder and smirked. His eyes were buttons as well.
A soft piano melody began to play, and Aiba began to sing his sweet voice in a slow song.
"And from the forlorn world her visage hide,
And though they be outstripped by all days,
At the woods boldness by thee blushing reside!
I shall live if not to capture a glimpse of thy gaze."
The background began to move to reveal a night sky and a balcony. Nino was leaning over the edge in a pink dress and a voluminous wig with gold curls. His eyes also buttoned.
"Oh my gosh," Jun giggled.
Aiba gazed up dramatically, his hand over his heart and propping up his foot on a fake rock. Nino continued the song just as sweet.
"Who is it that says most, which can say thy heart ache,
But reckoning time, my spirit be confined.
To me that languished for his sake.
Thou canst not vex me with inconstant mind,"
Somewhere, the orchestra gradually build, and Aiba sang louder and soulfully.
"And hang more praise upon deceased I
Then love, live upon my wishes blindly"
Nino gracefully reached out his hand to Aiba.
"That on the ashes of his youth doth lie
All days are nights to see till I see thee,"
The orchestra died down, and the soft piano came back. Nino jumped down from the balcony as Aiba dramatically became ill. Nino cradled Aiba's head in his lap. They sang together more softly, and Jun was leaning forward in his chair.
"Make blackest night beauteous, and thy old face new.
Which hides your life, tis we meet again by morning dew."
The lights dimmed, but the orchestra grew dramatically in a sorrowful melody. It was an excellent shadow effect as Jun watched Nino lift up a knife and sacrifice himself to die with his love. The music ended and the robot audience applauded. Jun and Sho stood up as well, clapping as the lights came on and the two actors bowed before the curtains closed.
"That was beautiful," Jun smiled. "They were amazing!"
"Tomorrow, Sho will do a performance too," someone spoke behind him.
He turned around and saw Other Ohno walked down the alley with his hands behind his back.
"If you want, you can perform together," Ohno said. He tilted his head innocently, his black button eyes shined against the light.
"That...would be fun," Jun nodded, and followed Ohno out of the ballroom.
"You know you could stay here, if you want to," Ohno said.
"You guys really want me to stay?" Jun mumbled, feeling slightly guilty.
"Of course," Sho grinned, "We'll danced perfectly, read the books in the library, and Ohno will cook your favorite meals."
They entered the kitchen and Ohno gestered him to sit down at the table. A hot cup of cocoa was waiting for him that was topped with a perfect swirl of cream and chocolate powder.
"Maybe I should," Jun whispered to himself before he spoke louder. "Maybe I should stay here."
"That's wonderful, Jun! There's just one tiny little thing you have to do," Ohno smiled, and went to get something from the cabinet.
"What is it?"
"It's a surprise!" Sho nodded, his black button eyes not leaving Jun.
Ohno returned with a purple box in a blue bow tie, and he pushed it towards Jun.
"For you...our precious member," Ohno sighed.
Jun almost greedily pulled the bow and opened the box, but his smile faded as quickly as it came. Inside was a long sharp needle, a spindle of purple thread, and two big black buttons looming up at him. A sickening feeling was sitting in the pit of his stomach as he stared up at Ohno's and Sho's eyes.
"Black is traditional," Ohno explained bluntly, "but we can get custom colors, like purple. Or even gold." Ohno started tapping his button eyes with his fingernail again, "But Nino would probably be jealous of you."
"No!" Jun pushed the box away. "I won't let you sew buttons in my eyes!"
"But you have to say yes if you want to stay here," Ohno insisted calmly.
Jun stood up abruptly, "I knew I shouldn't be here. The moment I saw your creepy eyes, I knew this wasn't right!" He started panicking as Sho and Ohno also stood up, getting eerily close to him. "This is a dream. I must have fallen asleep on the set and I'm dreaming. I just have to go to bed and wake up."
"You're going to bed?" Ohno pouted. "I was going to make your favorite barbecue tonight."
"No, I'm...really tired," Jun backed away to the foyer. Ohno and Sho followed him. Their black button eyes were emotionless, yet their wide smile didn't falter.
"Of course, Jun. I'll tuck you in," Ohno grinned.
"No! That's okay," Jun walked up the stairs. "You just...stay there...maybe I'll come back."
As soon as Jun was out of their sight, he dashed upstairs, ran into his room, and shut the door. The tiny mechanical toys were still buzzing around. These shouldn't be real either, and Jun grabbed them down to lock them away in a truck. He feared that Other Ohno will come after him and try to sew buttons in his sleep, and he barracked his door with the dresser and the truck.
"Just wake up. Just wake up. Wake up," Jun moaned as he covered himself with the blankets. He shut his eyes as tight as he could and waited.
He saw light hitting against his eyelids making his world seem red. He opened his eyes and threw the covers off. He expected to see his old dinky room, but the window outside showed it was still night, and the wallpaper was the same colors and his bed was still majestic. The dresser and the truck was still up against the door.
"No...I'm still here?" Jun whispered.
How can he go back home? Last time he woke up, he was in the real world because it was a dream.
"It's not a dream," Jun sat up, "This is all real. A different world. A fake world."
The way he came in is the only way he can get out. He had to get back to the tunnel in the library. He quietly pushed the truck and the dresser aside, the mechanical toys inside seemed dead, and he opened the door. For some reason, the mansion was a lot darker than before. Every footstep he took was a loud creak that echo throughout the house. His shadows stretched long across the walls as he traveled down the hall.
He pass the ballet room, and he saw Sho standing there solemnly in the dark. His head was bowed and sometimes he click his heel across the hard floor, but it was as if he was a lifeless doll.
Jun made the floor creak, and suddenly Sho whirled around, his big black button eyes stared right back at him.
"You shouldn't be out of bed," Sho said, his voice droned. "Other Ohno wouldn't like that."
Jun felt his heart froze for a terrifying second.
"I don't care what Other Ohno thinks," Jun uttered, "He can't control me, and I'm going home."
Sho's head was still low, hunching his back as he did so. The mirrors behind and around Sho gave off an eerie dark green shade and shadows of Sho's body. Suddenly, Sho lunged towards him, but Jun was quicker and grabbed the door handle, closing it shut. Jun was too scared to let go off the handle.
When he did, he sprinted down the stairs and threw the library door open before closing it behind him. The library was different. It was as if the bookshelves loomed over him. He could see a single light source coming from down the long alleyways, and Jun slowly approach the fireplace.
There, Other Ohno was sitting peacefully on the winged chair, and slowly turned his head towards him if as if he knew Jun was coming even with quiet footsteps.
"They say the proudest spirit can be broken with love," Ohno smiled creepily at him. His black button eyes shined slightly red against the firelight. "And I want to be a part of your life."
Jun gulped nervously, feeling a shiver run up his spine. While Ohno was busy fixing the firewood, Jun glanced down at the small door. The door was slightly ajar, but there was no key. Whatever is keeping him from going back home, it must be this...Other Ohno. Either way, Jun had to make his feelings clear.
"I want to be with my real Arashi group," Jun said firmly and strong. "I want you to let me go!"
Other Ohno placed the iron stake down and stood up. For the first time since Jun met him, Other Ohno frowned angrily.
"Is that any way to talk to your leader?"
Jun glared back. "You aren't my leader."
"Apologize at once, Jun."
"A good leader must show discipline," Other Ohno said, "I'll give you to the count of three....one...."
Other Ohno was getting thinner. His flesh was deteriorating to show more bony metal-like structure.
He was a lot taller. His arms and legs grew, and his hair became like wires and oily. Those big black buttons didn't change.
Jun ran. As if they were hiding, more of the tiny mechanical mice started attacking Jun from above. They scurried and clawed at Jun's face, hair, and neck. They climbed up his legs as he ran down the alleyway, and he got lost in the maze.
"You cannot run forever!" Other Ohno shouted, his voice shrill and inhuman.
Out of instinct, Jun pulled down some of the books and threw it at the monster chasing him. A book opened and a massive ocean wave splashed out and pushed the Other Ohno far away. The book landed open on its back as water continued to leak out as if its contents was made purely out of water. Jun glanced around and noticed the wave caused to push down more books laying open.
They were suddenly spilled of its contents. A book of fairies laid open and real life fairies fluttered alive. Another book about bugs was open, and hundreds of bugs were crawling off the pages.
"The books are alive," Jun gasped to himself.
Suddenly, the Other Ohno came charging back down the alleyway, his hair entangled and baring his sharp pointed teeth. Jun ran down another alley and making his way back towards the fireplace, towards the small door. He pulled down books and laid it open behind him, hoping it would cut off Ohno from advancing.
His last book was about large cats, and he was thankful of hearing the terrifying roar, followed by an even more terrifying screech. Jun lunged for the door and swung it open. The tunnel that was once mystical was suddenly dirty. Spider webs covered everywhere, but Jun didn't have time to think. He closed the door behind him and ran down the low tunnel. Webs and bits of dirt cling to his clothes and hair, but he didn't dare stop.
Finally, he reached the other end of the tunnel, and the library was suddenly light. He was back in the real world. He quickly shut the door behind him and locked it with the key. He pocketed the key for later to throw it away. He never thought he would be so happy to see the sunlight shining through the windows, and he dashed out of the wretched library.
He jogged all the way back to the ballroom, but no one was there, not even a single staff. Perhaps they noticed he was gone for too long and got worried.
"Hey! Hello!" Jun called throughout the mansion. "Ohno? Sho? Gin Okami-san? I'm back!"
He headed for the kitchen and spotted a note on the table.
"Sorry we couldn't finish the PV shoot.
Going to talk to Johnny, and the staff is having an important meeting.
You guys go ahead and have dinner out.
"They left without me?" Jun mumbled, feeling a little scared.
He quickly pulled out his cell phone and called Ohno, but he didn't pick up. He climbed up the stairs to check on his room, but no was around.
"His hat is still here," Jun whispered to himself. "He never goes out without his hat..."
He called to Sho, hoping that he'll pick up. Then, he heard a phone ringing in the distance. With his cell phone still calling Sho, he followed the sound and entered the ballet room. Sho's cell phone laid in the center of the room, and Jun picked it up.
"What's happening here?"
The room suddenly got dark and cold. The mirrors slowly fogged until he saw a shadow standing in one mirror. It wasn't his reflection.
"Nino!" Jun yelled, pressing his palm against the cold glass. "Nino! Hey!"
His back was towards Jun. He was holding himself as if he was hurt; he was like a small child. Then, Aiba appeared in the mirror next to Nino. His was covering his face, crying. Then Sho appeared, he was sitting with his knees up and his arms covering his head, refusing to look at Jun.
Lastly, Ohno's figure appeared.
"Riida!" Jun cried.
Ohno was covering his face as well. He could see traces of tears dripping from Ohno's chin, and Jun frantically slammed his palms on the mirror. As if he finally heard him, Ohno raised his hand and drew his finger across the foggy glass.
Ohno still had his other hand covering his face and they slowly disappeared.
"NO!" Jun screamed and punched through the mirror.
The shattered glass rained down on him as he crouched down from harm. Even as the noise stopped, Jun couldn't get back up. His hands covering his head wasn't just protecting him from the glass, but from fear.
He lost them. He lost his members. How could this have happened? What happened to them? Who did this to them?
It was almost too easy to answer.
Jun stood up, feeling defeated and dragged his feet back to his room. He slowly opened his door and saw the painting leaning against his bed, looking from back at him even though he remembered he didn't put it there. He strode across the room in two steps and picked up the portrait.
The painting changed to the four remaining members. Ohno, Sho, Aiba, and Nino sat in their PV costumes. Half of their bodies were metal and gears. Their eyes looked sad and lost.
"He's taken them," Jun sank into his knees. "The Other Ohno...why?"