Title: Arashi After Hogwarts - The Perilous Hunt
Genre: Fantasy/ AU/ Drama
Summary: A continuation from Arashi at Hogwarts series. The boys wait patiently and anxiously for Yami's next move. In the meantime, they continue hunting in secret while preparing for their next concert. However, Ohno is worried about the vision he learned from his uncle, and Nino is beginning to doubt his cause in the hunts. Is it worth stopping someone to be alive?
A/N: omgosh, you guys. are you still there?! i'm so sorry for updating so slowly! please forgive me with this intense/long chapter!
Chapter 8 - A Breathless Concert
He was running as fast as he could towards the studio. He felt really bad for leaving Ohno in such a short notice, but Jun managed to capture a wondering poltergeist that was across the street. He just hoped that Ohno would be alright starting the recording without him. He stopped just outside the prop door to catch his breath. He could hear Ohno in the Share House set talking to the three female guest by himself, and finally Jun opened the door.
"I'm back," Jun called, trying to pull off a normal greeting.
The staff thought he had just went to the bathroom, but only Ohno knew where he really went. Despite that, they still managed to do their job. The recording ended smoothly, and together they headed back to their greenroom.
"I was beginning to worry," Ohno said. "I thought I had to do the show all by myself."
"You were more worried about that than me fighting off a fiendish beast?" Jun smirked.
He pulled out the shining glass orb from his pocket and let it roll out on the table for Ohno to see. It was an easy catch, or perhaps Jun was getting better like the rest of them. Either way, it was good that their combat magic skills were honing again after their humiliating defeat from Yami. They planned not to lose a second time.
"These hunts are become nothing, really," Ohno said as he sat down on the couch. "It's as if Yami's attempts to bring spirits have lessened."
"I seriously doubt he's slacking off," Jun said gravely. "Has Naruse told you anything?"
He watched his old housemate went stiff for a brief second. Ohno had a soft expression of distress, but it quickly vanished before Jun could even question him.
"Information is slow," Ohno said. "I haven't talked with him in days."
Just then, there was a knock on the door.
Ikuta Toma walked in, "Hello."
"Hey, Toma," Jun grinned. "You're here early."
"Well, of course. If I'm going to promote my movie on your show, I must be early," Toma smiled back as he entered the room.
Just then, his eyes fell onto the glass orb that was still on the table. Realizing this, Jun made a small gasp and reached for the orb, but Toma already saw it.
"It's nothing! It was...Aiba's Remembrall," Jun quickly lied. "He left it here again. Ironic, huh."
"No, I know what that is," Toma frowned. "You don't have to lie to me. That was a capturing device, wasn't it? From Naruse?"
Jun's eyes widen and he shared a quick glance of surprise with Ohno, who sat up straight.
"How did you know?" Ohno asked.
"I'm also hunting," Toma explained as he pulled out his set of clear glass orbs. "About a month ago, I ran into a ghost and it attacked me. I freaked out, but an Auror named Unubore saved me. He told me what was going on, and I immediately understood the situation, so I offered to help."
"Just like that?" Jun said, slightly surprised. "You didn't even question about what's going on? Not even thinking...why bother?"
Toma pocketed away his spheres before he shrugged. "I thought if I didn't do something, someone might get hurt. Sure, I would normally think this should be handled by our government, but the man who saved me was quite passionate. I thought to myself, I would like to be as passionate as he is."
"What kind of Auror is name Unubore anyway?" Ohno mumbled.
"You've been hunting spirits this whole time?" Jun asked. "Who else is in our agency working with Naruse?"
"Only a few, I suppose," Toma said. "When I asked Yamapi if he's involved, he looked at me as if I was crazy. Not everyone knows about this, so I've been doing my best to maintain its secret."
"I don't suppose you haven't heard anything from my uncle, have you?" Ohno asked.
"Not really. I don't get jobs from him," Toma said. "I get orders from Unubore. The guy may be inspiring, but he's a hopeless middle-aged wizard in love with every woman on the face of the Earth. I know SMAP is involved and Higashiyama. I'm guessing Arashi knows about this too."
Jun nodded before he asked nervously, "Did Naruse or Unubore tell you...why we're hunting?"
Toma pursed his lips into a thin line, "No, but...I have an idea why."
There was a look of understanding in his eyes, and Jun lowered his gaze. The sense of guilt was coming back again, and he bowed his head, "I'm sorry."
"Don't be," Toma quickly responded, "You're not alone in this fight, Jun. I may not be around a lot, but I like to help in my own way. I'm your friend too."
Jun raised his head and felt his heart swell. He remembered back in their school days the short moments they did spend time together. Toma may have been in the Ravenclaw house, but his presence was profound later in the years when Jun was struggling to gain back trust. He was deeply touched by their friendship.
"It's the least I can do," Toma smiled. "I don't want anything to happen to you or the fans at the concert."
"What?" Jun uttered.
"Your concert," Toma said matter-of-factly. "Naruse and his team are preparing for the attack."
"Attack? What attack?! I never heard of this!" Jun whirled around furiously and faced Ohno. "Did you?"
Ohno bit his lower lip and fiddled with his hands before he looked up at Jun. "My uncle...mentioned it to me the day when Aiba woke up."
"I didn't want to worry you," Ohno quickly stood up in his defense. "My aunt's visions can sometimes be vague, and I also didn't want to believe it. Besides, nothing has happened so far. Perhaps nothing will happen."
"We can't take precautions so lightly!" Jun stressed. "There will more than 70,000 people attending! Why haven't you told me before?!"
"Because I knew you would panic," Ohno said calmly, but firmly keeping his gaze. "My uncle told me that we've got to keep a clear head about this. I've thought about telling the staff to cancel the concert so many times, but that'll be troublesome for everyone. And I prefer when you give your 110 percent to concerts than hunting. If I had told you and the others, we wouldn't be able to focus on our jobs properly. I only allowed myself to worry. I didn't want you guys too."
"You were burdening this information all by yourself?" Jun asked, his voice brittle and quiet. "Why?"
The Adam apple of Ohno's throat bobbled up and down. "Because you have enough to bear."
The tension was even more immense with the silence than their yelling. There it was again; the overwhelming pressure weighing on his chest. Jun could not stop his hands from shaking with frustration and fear. At the same time, his heart was tearing at the thought that everyone around him was being delicate because of his role as the Gate Keeper. He will never be free of self-doubt and anxiety of the unknown. Jun has been avoiding it for weeks, but at night the darkness reminds him of everything he's done and all his failures. His past mistakes and his fear of messing up again always crawls back into his mind.
"I'm sorry," Toma frowned, looking guilty. "I shouldn't have said anything. I thought you knew."
"I'm fine," Jun moaned, hopelessly.
Suddenly, there was rattling on the window pane. The three men looked up and saw a tawny owl pecking at the glass. Ohno was the closest and opened the window for the owl. It dropped a letter in his hand, and it flew off again. Ohno ripped the envelope open and quickly scanned through the short letter.
"It wouldn't matter if Toma told you or not," Ohno said, looking up. "After today's recording, there's going to be a meeting at Nakai's safe house tonight."
* * *
It was near midnight as the living room slowly filled with wizards and witches from the Magical Law Enforcement. Ohno squeezed between Nino and Sho on the couch as everyone waited for Naruse's arrival. Ohno, Jun, and Toma came straight from the recording to the safe house. Sho, Aiba, and Nino were already waiting along with a few other Aurors. Some faces were familiar from the olden days, but there were new wizards as well. Ohno spotted Higashiyama leaning against the wall patiently, and Mizushima was talking quietly with Nakai Masahiro. Tsukumo Ryosuke, their old school doctor, was also present. He also spotted the Auror that Toma talked about, Unubore, who was a dead ringer to their old-enemy-now-friendly-co-worker Nagase Tomoya.
"He must be some distant cousin," Ohno thought.
"Where is Naruse?" Nakai spoke in the corner loudly. "I didn't built this safe house to be a counseling room."
"Maybe someone should have enchanted the room to be bigger like his mouth," Ohno said, monotonously.
"Hey!" Nakai shouted across the room, pointing a threatening finger at Ohno. "You should be grateful. I let you sleep here!"
"I do more than just sleep here, and I am very grateful," Ohno smirked, sharing a wink with Nino.
"Oh, you better not have-" Nakai started up, but Jun and Sho quickly blocked his way from advancing.
Some things never change.
"What is going on here?" Naruse entered with a strong voice. "Nakai, calm down."
Nakai brushed off Jun's and Sho's grip as everyone settled down. Ohno was surprised to see his aunt, Sakita Shiori, following Naruse and sat down on a spare seat. She must have returned from China, which could only mean her hopes of finding a solution to the problem has ended. Ohno wasn't sure if it meant good news or bad news.
"Thank you all for coming," Naruse started off. "Let's get right to the subject. As you all know, there is a chance that Yami might attack Arashi's concert soon. We are not sure what day or why, but we have to prepare accordingly."
Immediately, Sho shot his hand up as if he was in Potions class again.
"I don't understand why we can't just cancel our concert," Sho said. "I don't want any harm to fall on our fans, juniors, or our staff members."
"I agree with Sho," Jun nodded. "We just learned this recently, but I wish we were informed sooner."
"I'm sorry we kept you in the dark," Naruse frowned. "We had hoped the situation wasn't so serious, but Shiori had another vision and it seems prominent."
"You're not seriously thinking of letting Yami near our concert, do you?" Aiba asked. "And risk all our fans? And for what?!"
"It's the perfect opportunity to catch him," Higashiyama answered. "We've tried confronting him head on, but it has done more damage to us than to him. We have to lure him in."
"Like fishing," Ohno mumbled to himself. "Except I don't like it."
"Are you saying you're going to use Arashi's concert as a live bait?!" Toma asked, bewildered just as much as the members were.
"You will not be unarmed," Tsukumo spoke. "We will provide you with extra protection, and we will also stay hidden as we wait for Yami's next move. If he attacks, we will act quickly and secure the stadium."
"And the fans?" Jun asked.
"I am sorry. In a perfect world, they would all be saved," Naruse said, bitterly. "I know this sounds brute and cold, but I'm sure you're familiar with war. We will do our best to spare as many lives as we can. No doubt he will bring help, possible dozens of spirits, but we will be ready."
The man named Unubore raised his hand, "A question, sir. Shouldn't we be considering about the number of Muggles attending the concert? I would hate to think the poor ladies will be completely traumatized by the presence of magic. And I doubt we'll be able to identity and gather all the Muggles to perform a Memory Charm in a safe and orderly fashion."
"It's something we have to risk for now," Naruse nodded. "I order all of you to restrain any Memory Charms until everything is settled. It would consume too much time from our main objective. I'm afraid no one will leave the concert in the case of an attack."
"What?!" Jun, Aiba, and Sho were on their feet, outraged.
Ohno couldn't find his voice from utter shock. Nino also had a stunned look in his eyes with his mouth slightly gaping. The other wizards and witches started muttering to themselves, also surprised by Naruse's decision. Ohno couldn't move as he let the others voice out his disapproval.
"The fans won't be able to make an escape?!" Jun gawked.
"You're just going to let them sit there completely vulnerable?!" Sho yelled.
"What if the majority turns into Imperfects?" Naruse fired back, silencing them all. "What if the Imperfects escape and eats another, killing anyone in its path because we didn't shut the gates? No...the fans stay inside."
"I won't allow this!" Jun shouted violently. "You should at least let the unaffected fans escape even if there's just one Imperfect on stage!"
"They are an irreplaceable part of our lives," Aiba said, passionately. "There has to be another way!"
"It'll be total chaos," Tsukumo sighed, already sounding exhausted. "I'm on their side, Naruse. Surely, we can find a way to get the fans out safely."
"It is a bit extreme," Shiori spoke up, her voice clear and high as Ohno remembered. "I know what I saw in my visions. Fans will escape the stadium. It'll be a nightmare for them, but perhaps there is still hope. There will be witches among the audiences, and they will be able to defend themselves and others in need even in the slightest. Arashi has taught their fans well to be good to others."
Ohno nodded his thanks. Jun and Aiba were still fuming, but Nino lightly grabbed Aiba's arm and pulled him down back to the couch. They all relaxed as well, but Ohno could still see the agonizing look on Jun's face.
"And Yami?" Nino asked, surprisingly calm. "What will he do?"
"I did not see him in my vision clearly," Shiori shook her head. "Just utter chaos. But I strongly believe you will meet him, as well as save those who can be spared."
"In any case, we will be there waiting," Naruse concluded. "This is how we'll execute the plan."
The meeting carried on about formulating the surprise attack on Yami. Ohno, his band members, and Toma remained quiet as they watched the experts put out their opinions for the best defense. It was weird watching other wizards decided the fate of their concert outcome. There were so many "what if"s and "when this song starts" or "move here when this song begins." Never did Ohno thought of Arashi's songs as cues for battle. Somehow, it was something Ohno wish will never come to play again.
After an hour, the meeting finally ended and all the Aurors, Ikuta Toma, and the other wizards and witches involved left for home. Ohno, his friends, Naruse, and Shiori remained. Ohno was surprised that Nakai wouldn't stay at his own safe house, but he explained he must return to the studio to inform his group, SMAP, of the situation. It touched Ohno that his seniors were worried about them, even if they did rubbed heads together in their normal lives.
It was dark as he rolled on the couch. Ohno thought he was alone in the living room as he tried to fall asleep, but he heard whispers in the hallway. The dim light glowed from the kitchen, and Ohno could see two shadows next to each other.
"You should get some rest," he heard Naruse uttering.
"I will," Shiori answered softly, "Nakai was kind enough to conjure an extra bedroom for me."
"Are you hungry? Do you need anything?"
"I'm fine," Shiori said. "You need more rest than me."
Ohno waited patient in the dark until he heard Shiori's footsteps echo down the hall and up the stairs. Naruse didn't follow her, but Ohno could hear him entering the living room. Ohno remained quiet, assuming Naruse didn't know he was still awake. He heard his uncle sat down on the plush armchair and sighed heavily.
In the end, Ohno sat up.
"Uncle?" Ohno whispered.
"Did I wake you?"
"No, I couldn't sleep."
Naruse made a small chuckle, "That makes the both of us."
He watched his uncle rub his brows over and over as if he was trying to cure a headache without magic. His bangs were sloppy and messy. His shirt wasn't prim as it used to be, and his tie was loosened. The man sat there looking beyond tired, and Ohno could only imagine the stress his uncle was going through. Perhaps far more than himself.
Still, he asked, "Is something wrong?"
Naruse lowered his hand onto the armrest. He shook his head and a soft grin spread across his face. Wrinkles formed around his eyes.
Suddenly, Ohno felt a small sliver of joy in his heart.
"That's great news!" Ohno whispered, but still enthusiastically. "When did you know? Was it in that letter a month ago?"
Naruse nodded and a small glimmer shined in his eyes with pride. Ohno couldn't help but smile as well, knowing there will be a new cousin to tease. Ohno remembered from his childhood how different his uncle used to be: cold, distant, and uncaring. His uncle's mind was focused on his own concerns, and he was ambitious to achieve goals that was in the best interest for him. It explained why he was appointed as Head of Slytherin House, but Ohno knows that deep down, his uncle was braver than ever.
"It's funny how things change," Ohno sighed. "It's almost scary, and yet wonderful. I would never imagine myself getting married or having kids. But seeing you, and how much you've change...I don't know. Maybe."
"You'd be surprised."
"But there are some things that don't change," Ohno said grimly. "And that Yami kid. He will probably never stop after what he's been through."
There was brief silence between them. The sounds of a soft clock continued to tick the time away, and Ohno wondered where the cursed child is right now. A child so damned by darkness and lost between two worlds, Ohno felt pity on him.
"Do you remember what we talked about before?" Naruse asked. "About finding something worth protecting?"
"For me, it's pretty obvious," Naruse said. "And I am grateful to have met Shiori, Sora, and Hiroshi. They are precious to me, and I am willing to give them everything if I can. But before them, I only had you."
A soft prick jolted his heart.
Naruse nodded, "You were the closest thing I had to something important. Even though our past was a bit shady, I wanted to protect you. Even now, a little."
Ohno swallowed, avoiding the sting in his eyes, "Y-you've never mentioned this before."
"Maybe because it's easier to say it now that I have my own family," Naruse said. "My point is that if I didn't protected you, I would have no reason to move on."
"I believe that is why I kept going on what I was doing," Naruse explained. "Why I push myself so hard even if it was painful. The idea that I had something to protect means that I would have a reason to keep living. I think that's what Yami lacks. A reason. And he is trying so hard to find it, but his mind is so twisted, lost, and confused. He's developed a dark reasoning. He reminds me bit of myself, back in the day. If only I had a way to confront with him and talk to him."
"We will," Ohno said, determined. "Maybe he doesn't know it yet, but I think he's still lost. He would definitely want to hear your words."
Naruse smirked, "The question is will it be enough?"
Ohno knew a rhetorical question when he hears one, but in his heart, he wanted to say yes.
"You should get some sleep," Naruse stood up. "You have a concert tomorrow."
* * *
He figured the staff would put up a fight as to why so many Aurors were present. Their managers were demanding why Naruse was stationing government officials around the perimeter of the stadium, but Naruse did not answer them. If they're not interfering with the concert, then there was nothing to worry about. At least, that was his explanation, but Aiba can see the anxious looks between the members and the staff.
Aiba waited in the back with his friends and the rest of the juniors before the concert begins. They waited in utter silence as they hear the stadium buzz with people. It was almost taunting when the noise grew louder and louder. The fans were arriving, and the time to perform was upon them. Aiba was dressed in their costumes with his mic in hand. As a precaution, he also had his wand safely tucked inside his jacket in case he needed it. Hopefully, he doesn't have to.
"Let's form a circle," Jun called.
Aiba stood up with everyone as they linked their arms with each other. He lowered his head, feeling his heartbeat thumping like a rabbit. He always felt nervous before a concert, sometimes the feeling fades away the moment he starts singing his UtaMahou. This time, however, it was a different kind of nervousness. It was a horrible pit feeling of fear and uncertainty. It was the worst kind to feel before having a concert, and Aiba hated it.
He nearly jumped when Jun let out his concert cheer.
"Johnnys!" Jun roared. "Let's light up the stage!"
They all shouted in unison.
They dispersed and headed for their separate ways. Arashi headed towards the main entrance so they can enter as five. As he stood behind the door, hearing the fans chanting their name, Aiba had his eyes closed and his hand was shaking. He was scared. He had experienced being possessed before, and he never wants to see the sorrowful memories of a ghost again. And yet, he couldn't stop thinking about it rather than the concert. Going back out into the battlefield was more frightening when he knew what was out there.
Then, he heard Sho's voice softly behind him.
"Whatever happens, I'll stay close to you," Sho whispered. "I promise I won't let them get near you again."
He swallowed nervously and nodded.
The beat started and the fans cheered as the doors slide open. Aiba did his very best to smile again, and he waved his hand over his head. The sky was clear, and the seats were filled to the top. It always took his breath away at how many have come, but now he was frightened by the amount they might have to protect...or lose.
Still, he sang his very best. Already on their second song, he started crying. When they did their opening MC shout outs, he did his very best to keep a straight voice, but he couldn't stop looking at their smiling faces and thinking they'll vanish soon. He cried on stage more than once, and the fans don't know the real reason why. He even spotted Jun shedding a few tears. An Arashi concert should not start off like this.
Aiba took more notice of the fans discreetly instead of glancing over them. As they entered their tenth song, he walked along the runways and waved at the fans below him. He spotted a girl beaming at him with his uchiwa. What was striking about her was that her concert shirt was changed into a tank top, and graffitied with the message: "I love Chiba too."
"Heh," Aiba chuckled to himself and pointed at her. She screamed excitedly and waved back.
He spotted another fan, but this time it was a man. He was holding up his daughter in his arms, but kind enough not to have her riding his shoulder so others behind him could see. Still, the father waved the hands of his daughter towards him, and Aiba was extremely touched. The little girl waved her penlight eagerly as Aiba approached closer. Even as he sang, he couldn't help but think the father must have worked extra hard to pay for the tickets. Maybe worked double shifts to make extra hours
"Please let nothing happen tonight," Aiba prayed.
Finally, they reached their MC session. They were halfway finished, and for the first time, Aiba thought he wanted nothing more than it to be over. He started to think Yami wouldn't come at all, but he could spot a few Aurors in the crowd acting as bodyguards. They continued to sing and dance flawlessly, and he never made one mistake. He was even becoming more hopeful that everything will turn out alright. As they were near end or their concert, they climbed up the stairs at the other end of the stadium. They sang to their hearts content as the fireworks lit up the stage, wowing the fans. It was breathtaking sight, for the fireworks tell a story of their past, unknown to the fans.
They were infused with magic, and the colorful sparks took shape of impossible figures that normal Muggle fireworks could never do. Aiba was quite proud because he helped with the set up. First, it was a giant blue squid that scared the fans slightly as it swooped down on them for fun play. Then, a raging red volcano erupted, followed by an enormous green dragon emerging from a yellow temple. The last one was a purple bud that blossomed into a gorgeous flower, beautiful and symbolic. The fireworks display was so bright, it was almost blinding until nothing was left but a thick cloud of smoke. Aiba thought they just might make it through the concert.
And that's when the lights started to flicker...
Suddenly, the music stopped. One by one, the stadium lights turned off, leaving the fans confused and only their penlight blinked. Aiba felt goosebumps crawl up his arms and neck as a single spotlight shined down on the circular platform. Only one person stood there in the center, black as the night and yet fair as the moon. Aiba's heart sank.
The boy didn't seemed bothered by the light, considering Aiba always seen him in the shadow. Yami opened his arms as if he was a performer too.
"Let the final act begin!" Yami shouted.
Suddenly, a rope flew across the air and tightly coiled around Yami. He fell over and Naruse quickly climbed on stage with his wand brandished out. The audience began to murmur, and Aiba could hear his manger shouting in his ear piece.
"What is going on?!"
Jun was the first to thunder down the stairs, not wanting to risk Apparating infront of the fans, and Aiba followed him along with the others. Yami made no attempt to escape and just laid there, bounded. They finally reached the circular center and all five of them stared down at the boy, completely shocked that they captured Yami so easily.
But the red eyed boy grinned menacingly at them.
"What will you do...Arashi?" Yami whispered.
There was blood-curling scream and Aiba whirled around to see. The top seats started plowing down and the fans slowly began to realize they were beginning attacked. Aiba watched in horror as a whole battalion of Imperfects raged down on the audience. Aiba fumbled a bit as he dropped his mic.
"Where did they come from?" Aiba gasped.
"T-they were in disguise?!" Nino choked.
They almost moved in unison. The Imperfects formed a barrier against the only two exits of the stadium. The fans were trapped. The insane kid behind them laughed like a maniac. He stood up and his shadow claws ripped apart his rope bounds easily.
"Which shall you choose?" Yami yelled. "Save your people? Or your precious spirit collection?"
"What?" Naruse gasped.
Ohno reflexively fired a hex at Yami, but the boy sank into the ground like liquid and reappeared further away. His shadow minions hovered him like a dark deity.
"With all your best men here, I'll parade into the Ministry's treasure trove of Paradise souls," Yami laughed. "That is, if you don't care for the well-being of your citizens! Farewell!"
Yami disappeared once again into shadow just before Jun fired another hex.
"What should we do?!" Aiba cried. "He's completely butchered our original plans!"
"We can't stop him now," Sho grunted. "Our fans!"
"Fight off the Imperfects!" Naruse ordered. "Don't hesitate. Just do it!"
Aiba took off running with Sho close by his side. He saw a couple of fans shrinking away from the doors, but the Imperfects already attacked innocent bystanders. The entire stadium was filled with screams. The Aurors already made a barrier between the audiences and the Paradise monsters. Aiba spotted Muggle fans watching in horror as magic spells zoomed past them and bright lights were sent flying towards the Imperfects. Aiba pulled out his wand as well, wondering how to get the them out safely.
"Aiba!" Sho yelled.
A male Imperfect leaped towards them, but Aiba pointed his wand just in time.
The man was pushed back further away, and then Aiba spotted a fan being chased by another Imperfect. The girl tripped and Aiba ran as fast as he could before he got a good aim and fired another jinx. The monster fumbled and fell splat on his face against the concrete.
Aiba kneel down next to the girl. "Are you alright?"
"Wha-what's going on?!" She cried.
As he helped her stand, he spotted a wand was poking out of her tote bag, but she was still trembling.
"You're a witch," he said. "You've got to help us. Protect the Muggle fans while we get rid of these guys."
"There's no time! Hurry!" Aiba said, giving a gentle push.
She sucked in her lower lip and nodded curtly before she took off again. The Imperfect from before stood back up and growled at him. He has never faced an Imperfect before, and he has never killed anyone. The deranged man looked so human, and yet it sneered its yellow teeth at him. His wand hand was shaking as the Imperfect came closer.
"Diffindo!" Aiba shouted.
The Imperfect was slashed across the chest, but it wasn't enough to take him down. No matter how many spells or curses he fired, the monster will show no pain and will continue to fight. Suddenly, a red blast punctured through the head of the Imperfect, and it fell over dead. Naruse came running towards them.
"We can't hold them off," Naruse panted. "Yami was prepared for this. The Imperfects are too many, and your friends aren't killing them."
Aiba spotted Jun and Toma battling next to each other, pushing the Imperfects further away from the frightened fans. Ohno and Nino were also doing the same thing, pushing but not killing. A part of Aiba felt relieved because deep down he recognized their faces. These were their fans, after all. Only the Aurors and the expert wizards were exploding the heads of the Imperfects. Still, there were so many loose monsters raging through the stands pass their barrier, but a couple of fans used their own wands in defense. The only source of light were flashes of spells and the penlights littered on the ground.
"We can't kill them all, we have to get the people out of here!" Sho cried.
"How?" Naruse shouted. "The Imperfects keeps flooding in from the exits. There's no end."
Aiba was scanning the stadium for a possible escape route. Then, his eyes landed on the stage. It was as if Sho read his thoughts as they shared the same realized look.
"The stage!" Aiba gasped. "Get the fans out through the backstage!"
"If we can herd them towards the main entrance where we came," Sho added. "They can escape out through the backstage exits!"
"Get your band members to move the fans towards the stage," Naruse ordered. "We'll hold off the Imperfects."
"Right," Sho nodded as Naruse took off running. "Aiba, get Jun and Toma. I'll get Ohno and Nino."
"How are we going to get the fans attention?" Aiba panicked.
Aiba turned on the spot and reappeared next to Jun. He quickly explained the plan, and they took their place besides the most amount of fans gathered. When Aiba popped up again, he startled a few fans in front of him. They were probably Muggles, but this was not the time to worry about it. With Toma's help, they unleashed a soothing UtaMahou to calm the hearts of their fans.
"Everyone, follow Ohno!" Sho's voice boomed through the stadium.
Ohno was at the head of the herd, leading the fans up the stairs towards the main entrance. The staff members were there and helped guide the fans in an orderly fashion through other openings into the backstage. Aiba spotted a few Imperfects advancing behind them, but he quickly whiplash his wand and the monsters stumbled back. He kept his arms spread in a protective manner, making sure none will come close.
It was a tiring and hard processes. Despite their UtaMahou effect, the fans were still in a panic. There were so many people climbing onto the stage, Aiba was sure it would collapse. Children were crying, a few brave witches also helped Arashi fight off the Imperfects, but they too looked scared and fell back. They were pushing and shoving, and screaming out of fear. On the runways, there were too many people trying to climb on top, that fans were being crushed. Sho tried to order the fans to move back a bit for the people up front to climb up, but moving back meant being closer to the Imperfects, and it terrifies them. People were being trampled on, and Aiba did his best to help them. He has helped several seniors that were fell over and bruised themselves badly. To his horror, he saw victims laying on the floor dead and covered in blood.
"Shizuka! Shizuka!" Aiba heard someone call.
He looked up and saw the father from before. The father looked around frantically, and Aiba felt his heart drop to his stomach. The man was alone and he was pushing against the current of fans flooding towards the only exit. The father made eye contact with Aiba, and he ran towards him.
"Please," the father begged, grabbing his sleeves. "My daughter! Where is my daughter?!"
Aiba held onto the man's arms to keep him from falling.
"I will find her," Aiba nodded. "Leave it to me. Now please, head for the exit!"
The father was in tears and shaking his head, but Aiba left him and he sprinted back towards the seats. The stadium was less dense now that a good amount have escaped, but a ghastly sight of dead bodies were left abandoned. Still, the remaining Imperfects were vastly at large. He could hear Sho calling out to him, but he continued to push forward. He climbed back up on the runways that was less crowded and tried to follow the path where he first spotted the father and daughter.
"Aiba!" Sho called.
In the midst of penlights, purses, and blood, Aiba spotted a single pink shoe. It was too small for a woman to wear, this obviously belonged to a little girl. Aiba feared the worse as he followed the trail as best as he could. If only he knew how to do a tracking spell like Ohno.
In the end, he didn't need it.
He found her, on her back as her stomach was ripped open by a hunger Imperfect.
"...no..." Aiba sobbed.
The Imperfect was none other than the tank top fan who loved Chiba. His Chiba fangirl. He had a hard time recognizing her because of the amount of blood dripping from her jaw and neck. Her eyes were completely different from before, and her skin was extremely gray. Aiba raised his wand at her as she lifted her head to sneer at him.
How dare she eat a child. He had to end her.
"But she smiled at me," Aiba thought. "She looked so happy when I spotted her. How can she be a monster?"
His vision was starting to get blurry as he held back tears. His hand was shaking violently as she slowly approached him. He just couldn't do it. Even after she killed a small child, Aiba still couldn't bring himself to fire even a single hex. How did Ohno do it that one time? Was it because he didn't know the Imperfect was once human? Did Yami perfected the Imperfects? Was there a chance she could go back to normal again?
In the end, he couldn't kill a person even if she was eating flesh and soul. She was once a life. She was Aiba's fan.
Aiba lowered his wand...
The girl's head exploded and she crumbled to the floor. He turned around and saw Naruse standing with a few blood splatter on his face and suit.
"Come on. We have to leave!"
No one was left on the stadium except the few remaining Aurors making their way towards the stage exit, and the Imperfects. Aiba followed Naruse up the stage just in time as the doors slide closed.
The concert was over.
End chapter 8
To Chapter 9 - http://arashiforyou.livejournal.com/50905.html
i tell ya, writing this chapter wasn't easy. i kinda used the song title for all the wrong things XD
oh, i am so cruel, why am i laughing?