Title: Arashi After Hogwarts - The Perilous Hunt
Genre: Fantasy/ AU/ Drama
Summary: A continuation from Arashi at Hogwarts series. Jun fell with Yami into the Department of Mysteries. He was determined to stop the cursed child at all cost, even if they were dangerously close to the vault. Suddenly, their plans crumbled when Yami surprise attacked. The vault is open, and everything is lost. The war between reality and dream has arrived. But Arashi will never go down without a fight. They've only just begun.
Chapter 11 - Knights of Storm
"Naruse!" He gasped, standing up. "What are you doing here?! You can't be...you can't-"
"But I am," Naruse nodded. "It's alright, Matsumoto. I was meant to from the beginning."
Jun shook his head, "What are you talking about?"
"Yami was wrong," Naruse said. "You weren't the Gate Keeper...I am."
The wind blew through his hair, and yet he couldn't feel it. There was strange flip in his stomach that he wasn't sure what emotion it was: relief, frustration, joy, confusion.
"What do you mean?" Jun uttered. "I...I sacrificed thousands all those years ago. I forced open the portal for the first time and created Yami."
"Technically, you were the first to make a sacrificial opening, but you weren't the first one to open the portal," Naruse explained. "We thought you did, but you didn't truly opened the portal. It was me. The spell that I cast on you boys was the key to the real gate. Verax dolor."
Jun immediately remembered. When Jun was possessed by the Metal Vocal Wizard, Naruse was working for him. At the time, his friends had infiltrated his castle and he was about to destroy them. However, Naruse was a double agent and stopped Jun by casting that spell, 'Verax dolor.' All that Jun remembered was seeing a blinding light that stopped him momentarily. It was the spell that got Ohno, Sho, Aiba, and Nino stuck in Paradise the first time.
"But...Yami has been passing through the two worlds all the time," Jun said. "You said that spell could only be done once."
"Exactly," Naruse nodded. "It could only be done once because the gate was opened. The spell didn't need to be performed twice. Aoi, my ancestor who told me the spell, said to use it when the time was right. He never said anything about being the Gate Keeper. I assume he was the previous protector, and once I performed the spell, the title passed down to me."
"If the gates were opened this entire time, how come only now the spirits were appearing?" Jun asked.
"They didn't had a guide like Yami," Naruse answered. "He grew here in Paradise all his life until he was finally able to enter the living world himself. Once he knew how to do that, he started his purging. He must have guessed you were the Gate Keeper because of his contacts with the sacrificed souls you spent. They had memories of you, and so Yami targeted you."
"And he finally got to me," Jun sighed. "I'm dead...I can't go back, can I?"
"I can get you back," Naruse said. "I am now responsible of whom can leave Paradise as a true human. Yami has been leading the spirits through false portals because of his powers. He has been taking them out through windows and back doors, but he can't get them through the front entrance like me. That is why the spirits return with hostile intentions. From here, I can seal the gates for good, closing all possible exits. No one will leave Paradise unless I say they can."
"But someone might cast the spell again once the gates close," Jun said. "How would you stop them then?"
"I created a new incantation," Naruse simply answered. "It came to me the moment I arrived here, and now it is written. The only one who knows the spell is me...until the day I decide to pass on the title."
"What about Ohno?" Jun asked quietly. "Does he know you're...dead? Will you be alright here holding such a heavy burden?"
Naruse only side-glanced at him and climbed up the hill until the grass was leveled. Jun followed him and glanced back at the river and the beautiful sky. He noticed that Naruse looked younger than he did before. It was like he was Hogwarts Potion's teacher again. His hair was thick with no gray hairs, and he looked clean in his neat prim suit. Just as Jun remembered him long ago.
"This was my home," Naruse explained. "I had peaceful memories here when I sat by the river."
"I'll be fine," Naruse turned towards him. His voice was clear and silvery. "In all honesty, I couldn't have asked for a better position. It suits me. To be seen as the justified angel of death has always been my calling. Being a Gate Keeper makes no difference. I'll stand by the doors and rest in peace, knowing that no evil will come to my nephew, my wife, or my children ever again. I always wanted to protect them in every way possible. And with this...I can."
Naruse lifted his finger and sliced through the air. A white vortex opened before them, leading back to living realm.
"Once the gates are closed, Yami's powers will vanish," Naruse said. "He'll have no connection to Paradise. Everything will go back to normal. He'll literally become nothing, the poor thing."
"What do we do with the spirits still loose in our world?" Jun asked.
"All the spirits, ghosts, and poltergeists will eventually break free and come back to Paradise," Naruse said, softly. "The souls they've consumed will also return to the rightful living owners. The Imperfects, however, cannot return. Neither the souls they've eaten."
"I...I figured as much," Jun uttered. "What should we do with Yami?"
Naruse tilted his head slightly, "I would give him a chance to live."
"But he's the reason this is happening," Jun said firmly. "He's caused the deaths of thousands, including my fans. He's already ripped the fabric of reality and caused Paradise to bleed into our world. And he's the reason why you're here! How can we possible let him live?!"
"He's made horrible mistakes," Naruse said gravely, "but haven't we all."
It took a while for him to calm down, but Jun realized how related they were. The three of them. Yami, Jun, and Naruse. He never knew the full story on what happened in Naruse's past, nor does he know what the man did entirely, but Jun figured it was just as bad as what he did or what Yami has done. They've all had their faults, but Naruse has seen the error of his ways and he became good. Jun had also done heinous crimes in his youth, but he reclaimed redemption and currently finding the strength to forgive himself. Then, there was Yami. Jun thought the cursed child would never break free, but it's not about breaking free from the past. It's about finding a new future and a better tomorrow.
Jun realized it's what Yami is searching for.
"Matsumoto," Naruse called before Jun stepped into the portal. "Could you tell my family that I'm sorry. I haven't been the most attentive husband or father....or uncle."
Jun felt his mouth open slightly, touched by how sincere Naruse has become. "That's not true, sir. They loved you."
For the first time, Jun saw Naruse smile wholeheartedly that reached to his eyes. He never knew that his teeth was so perfect and white. It contrasted nicely to his dark skin, and Jun finally understood why Naruse was admired so much during school. Jun stepped through the portal and looked back one last time.
There goes a great man...
* * *
He was ducking behind a wall as Ohno, Sho, and Aiba continued to fire spells at Yami. The cursed boy wouldn't put down a fight and kept up his shadow walls to protect him. However, it was a much more difficult battle than just shadows. The world was chaotic. The spirits were released from the vault, and they were swarming over their ends. Some disappeared through the walls, not even noticing the battle before them. The air was thick with a vapor-like mist, creating illusions around them. There were rhinoceros charging, trees and wild vegetation suddenly appearing, sparks and flames exploding everywhere. Ohno, Sho, and Aiba did their best not to resort to using the powers from Paradise and relied soley on their wand magic, but it was as if their magic was getting weaker. The power of Paradise was overpowering the world of reality, and Nino didn't know what to do.
All he could think of was staying behind with Jun's body in his arms. He tried every recovery spell he knew. He even went so far as to do Muggle's CPR like how he saw it once when he was working on a drama. But Jun's lips were cold and there wasn't a single breath coming from him. He was having a terrible vision of deja vu. The last time Nino thought he was dead was back when they were teenagers.
"Jun," Nino whispered. "Please...wake up."
Ohno had told him that Naruse was dead, and Nino saw the dreaded look in his eyes. What scared him most was that there wasn't a single trace of wetness in Ohno's eyes, as if he was burning with vengeance. Now, he understands the feeling. But despite Yami's shadow piercing through Jun's chest, he couldn't find a single wound on him. Nino was determined that Jun wasn't dead, but after an hour of trying to revive him, he was losing hope.
At last, he heard Yami yelp in pain. He looked over the wall and saw that Sho's spell finally hit its target. The child in question had completely changed from before. He was hovering over them in a meaty, pulsating body made of shadows, blood, and flesh. His eyes were still blind, but his numerous arms acted as his sensors. It was as if a colossal demon from hell infused his body with Yami, and the cursed child was in the center of its chest.
Yami raised his arms again, ready to forge another ball of dark magic, but nothing happened. Suddenly, Yami's demonic body was pierced with a beam of light from inside. The demon shadow let out a loud groan of pain and it heaved over. They watched in shock as more beams of light penetrated through, like a sun was about to burst from within. Nino could see the shadow literally dripping with black ooze, and Yami's original body was more exposed.
"W-what the-" Yami stuttered. "NO!"
"Incarcerous!" Ohno yelled.
Yami was bound by a lasso and he was yanked away from the black sluggish body. Ohno held him down, but everyone watched the black ooze screech. Slowly, the air became more clear, and the chaotic illusions were fading. The spirits were still escaping the vault, and they continued to circle high to the enchanted sky above the cathedral. The bleeding shadows began seeping into the cracks of the floor, and the last of the Paradise illusions disappeared. Nino held his breath the entire time. Everything was back to normal. Back to reality.
The cursed child before them struggled to free himself.
"Why is this happening?!" Yami shouted. "This can't be!"
"Finally spent, are you?" Aiba said.
Still bonded with ropes, Yami managed to stand up and make a run for it. But Sho was quicker and hexed Yami to reel in back. One of Aiba's red seal traps were still in place, and Sho planted the boy right on top. Yami tried stepping out, but a force pushed him back. He was trapped completely.
Nino sighed heavily, relieved that it was all over. But it didn't prepared him for the stirring in his arms. He glanced down and saw Jun moving his head slightly. Nino's heart leaped to his throat as he watched before his eyes Jun coming back to life. Jun's eyes fluttered open and glanced up. He could feel tears welling up.
"Jun?" Nino whispered.
"It's done," Jun groaned with a small smile. "The gates are closed."
"Jun!" Nino wrapped his arms around him tightly before he called out to his friends. "You guys! Jun is alive! He's awake!"
He heard their hurrying steps across the stone floor and they crowded around them. Everyone was a mess, covered in mud and bore a few deep cuts and ripped shirts. Aiba immediately wailed his cry of relief and Sho stood there completely shocked. Ohno got down to his knees, his eyes still dry but wide and surprised.
"We thought you were dead," Ohno gasped. "We saw him stabbed right through you!"
"I was," Jun moaned, slowly sitting up. Nino supported him. "I was in Paradise temporarily, but I made it back."
"How?" Sho frowned. "When we were there, our ancestors helped us. How did you-"
"It was Naruse," Jun answered. "It was never me from the beginning. He was the Gate Keeper the entire time since he cast that spell. He opened the gates first, and once he's in Paradise, he closed it. He locked away Yami's powers as well as Paradise spillage."
Nino thought he swallowed a firefly with his mouth hanging open. This was the second time Jun went to Paradise and came back alive. Both times Jun nearly dead. Nino could barely begin to fathom the thought of it, but he was relieved Jun was alive.
"My uncle," Ohno sighed, his eyes staring at the ground. "He's the Gate Keeper..."
"Ohno, he said he's sorry for leaving." Jun said.
Nino could see Ohno's mouth quivering, but the stubborn man wouldn't let a single tear drop fall. Nino was beginning to worry how much pain he was going through. Jun slowly got up and they walked back to Yami, who was still tied up and trapped inside the large red seal.
"What should we do with him?" Sho asked. "He's powerless now. He's nothing but a lost child."
Nino glared down at Yami. How much he loathed the boy for bring all of this misery. Nino never thought he wanted to get rid of someone as much as he did for this child. Nino was about to raise his wand, but Jun stepped forth.
"We give him a chance," Jun said. "He's made mistakes like all of us. But he's still alive, we should give him just that."
"Jun! This is the boy that started this whole nightmare!" Sho stressed. "He was about to bring our world into war and destroy our very existence. There are thousands who lost their souls because of him!"
"So have I," Jun said, calmly. "I've sacrificed thousands of souls as well, but I was given a chance."
"You weren't yourself!" Aiba said, his voice hoarse. "It wasn't you, it was that stupid Metal Vocal Wizard. You had nothing to do with it."
"I let it happened!" Jun fired back. "I know what I did. Even if you guys might not agree, I still let it happened. And Yami is just a boy too. Now that he's powerless, he can start to redeem himself."
Yami raised his head as if he appreciated Jun's backup. Nino still didn't approve of it.
"Just tell me one thing, Yami," Nino said. "Why?"
The boy looked up at him with defeat and sadden eyes. "Isn't it obvious?"
Suddenly, there was a low moan echoing through the cathedral. They all looked up and around, wondering where the noise was coming from. Nino was sure the Paradise illusions were over, but the fight was not over. It sounded like voices. Then, Yami started panicking.
"No!" Yami cried. "I can't be here! Please! You have to let me go! They're coming for me!"
"What are you talking about?" Sho frowned.
"The spirits!" Yami cried. "Without my powers, they'll come after me!"
Nino glanced up again and saw nothing. Earlier, those that escaped their capsules rose up towards the surface, wanting to find a soul to consume. Something was drawing them back towards them.
"Why you?" Nino asked.
"It's because I lied to them!" Yami shouted. "Why do you think they become Imperfects? I didn't bring them through the main gates. I couldn't really bring them back to life. I only used them to win my war! But you fools took away my powers! I have nothing left!"
"They wouldn't go after you unless you have a soul worth consuming," Sho said. "Do you even have a soul?"
"No!" Yami yelled. "Why do you think they called me the cursed child?! Because I am nothing! I cannot feel, or taste, or dream. I am just an empty vessel. That is why I tried to make this world to be like me. So that they can understand you don't need a soul." The boy started laughing despite his eyes being wide with fear. "You don't need foolish things like feelings and dreams when you can wield unimaginable powers!"
Somehow, Nino knew he was lying.
"But without your powers, you're useless," Nino stared down at him. "Except...being the perfect body to use for a spirit. You are literally the closest thing to being alive that came from the land of the dead."
"They'll fight for Yami's body," Aiba gasped, realizing the situation.
"We'll get you out," Jun said, "Just let us-"
But there was deafening boom that shook the entire room. Nino dropped down to his knees as hundreds of spirits soared above them. They were angry and red, and they circled directly above Yami. There was just way too many spirits to fight off, and they were already swan diving like a drill towards the cursed child. Nino saw Jun running towards Yami, but he pointed his wand at him.
As if someone pulled Jun by his collar, he zoomed back towards him. Nino and Sho kept a firm grip on him.
"It's too dangerous, Jun. We have to get out of here!" Sho yelled.
"We can't leave him!" Jun shouted over him.
"It's too late!" Nino yelled over him. "There's too many spirits. We have to leave!"
"NO!" Yami shrilled. "Don't leave me! Please, don't go!"
With Aiba's and Ohno's help, they tugged Jun away from the cursed child. There were too many spirits flooding the midnight garden, and they hid underneath a wall that formed a protective pocket. They faced out towards the courtyard, but they could still hear Yami's cry for help.
"I don't want to disappear!" Yami shouted. "I was born to be nothing! I wanted to be whole!"
Jun covered his face, trying his best to silence his sobs. Somehow, Nino also felt pity of the boy behind him. It was almost inhuman for them to remain hiding just to save themselves. Nino also noticed the sorry looks on the other member's faces.
"I wanted to feel happiness!" Yami continued to cry. "I wanted to feel joy, and sadness, and tranquility. I just wanted to know what it's like to be loved! Please...I want to live!"
Nino felt his tears finally seep out; Aiba was reduced to tears as well. Jun had his arms wrapped around his knees with his head down. Sho was rubbing his back, trying to calm him, but he also looked solemn. Ohno looked confused whether it was the right thing to just hide from a boy's cry for help, but the same time, he was the boy that cause their suffering as well.
It was just like before when Nino faced his father. Was it really right for them to allow someone to live or not? If not them, then who does hold that power?
Finally, the screams ended, but the spirits remained. They stayed hidden from them, huddling together and hoped everything would just end. It was like they were boys again back in Hogwarts, when the world seemed to be falling apart, they were still together.
One by one, the spirits faded away and all was quiet. Ohno was the first to rise and looked around. There was a look of dread on his face when looked out towards the center of the cathedral, and the others stood up as well to look. Nino was the last to emerge, but Ohno quickly pushed him back.
"Don't," Ohno uttered. "Don't look..."
NIno furrowed his brow as he saw Jun, Sho, and Aiba also gazed in the direction Ohno saw witness to. Jun and Aiba's face were completely red from their tears and looked defeated more than victorious. Sho wore a pitiful look before he turned his gaze away.
"What is it?" Nino asked, trying to stand up to see.
But Ohno kept a firm hand on his shoulder. "You can't."
He heard a moan. He wasn't sure if it was Yami, but the voice sounded a lot deeper. Obviously a poltergeist won the fight got to Yami's body first and degraded into an Imperfect. Nino has seen plenty of horrific scenes and monsters before. Seeing another Imperfect wouldn't surprise him that much. He roughly shoved Ohno out of the way and stood up, pushing past his friends aside so he had a clear view.
His breath was sucked out of him.
An Imperfect man stood in Yami's place. Oddly enough, the creature was probably the most human looking compare to all the other Imperfects he has ever encountered. Before, they had grayish skin, jagged teeth, and walked with a hunch. This one was standing up straight like a normal person, and it's skin was surprisingly normal toned, but it still looked like he was lost and disoriented.
"Dad," Nino whispered.
The Imperfect turned its head at the sound of his voice. He looked so much like himself expect his father sported a small goatee. Nino watched his father slowly turned his body towards them as if he just realized he had company. He was alive again, but his mind wasn't there and Nino knows this.
The worst part was that he could talk.
"Kazu," it groaned.
"Nino, let's go," Ohno said. "We'll...we'll have someone else-"
"No," Nino said, firmly. "I failed to capture him the first time around...I have to do this myself."
His father looked back at him and let out a slow grunt. It was as if he was trying to speak, but the Imperfect couldn't comprehend anything else. It was a sick twist of fate to see him again. In his dark past, they were at opposite positions. Nino could remember clearly, as if flashbacks were flickering across his eyes. He would crouch before the man during stormy nights and await his abuse. Now, he was the one with the wand, but this wasn't just a simple torture spell. An Imperfect can never go back to normal. He had to end the man's life.
So why can't he stop remembering the good times he shared?
He swallowed a hard lump in his throat. It still remained.
His father was slowly approaching them. His hand was shaking, so he held his wand with both hands to steady his aim.
"Nino, I'll-" Ohno spoke.
"Stay back!" Nino shouted.
His father would lift him up and spin around, smiling and laughing with him. His father used to be the best cook in the house. His deformed father was gaining dangerously close with murderous intent.
"You are my precious son, and I will always love you."
He screamed, but his wand still expelled his spell. The bright jet of red light cleaved right through the Imperfect's head. Blood splattered behind and the body fell on its back.
Nino's trembling hand dropped his wand, but he managed to stand on weak knees. He thought he could take it like the all the classic stories of father and son revenge, but no such feeling arose inside him. Just pain, grief, and remorse. There was no sense of relief at all as he let his tears drip down his chin.
Ohno's voice was sore and husky. "It's over."
"He saved me," the fan smiled to the reporter. "I thought I was going to die when suddenly Sho appeared next to me, and he help me up. I'm truly grateful."
"Arashi protected my sister," another fan told to the camera. "I was lost in the crowd, but they found her for me. And I was so relieved."
"They were like angels," a senior fan grinned. "They protected us from those horrible terrorists. Not once did they abandoned us until we were all safe. They truly care for their fans' well-being. They risked their lives."
Nino flipped the channel again on his Muggle television. Another report about Arashi's concert was broadcast. By some miracle, the Muggles didn't report any magic usage. Either that or the wizards of the entertainment business edit them out. But Nino didn't believe so. He knew those fans on the news report were Muggles because he remembered their faces. They were shocked and scared on that fateful night when Nino used his magic to save them. And Nino could tell they remembered everything. They didn't had the Memory Charm performed on them.
The Muggles were keeping their secret.
"Nino saved me," a fangirl grinned. "Those awful people came after me, and I thought I was done for." She gradually broke down, gasping between breaths. "But he suddenly appeared out of no where. Arashi saved my life!" She sobbed.
It was the weirdest satisfaction hearing someone say they were saved by him. He was used to hearing fans saying he was cool, cute, smart, or handsome. But he never heard someone praised him because he saved their lives, literally. It felt ten times better than saying they were his favorite idol.
He turned off his television and head off for work. After the news broke out of Arashi's concert being attacked, the media was in a frenzy. Apparently, it was the works of a terrorist group. The fans were outraged that such a thing would happened, but at the same time, people started appreciating them even more when they learned Arashi did their best to save their fans. There were a few who were also angry at them for endangering their families and friends, but Arashi quickly released an apology video.
Nino visited the stadium several times. There were hundreds of flower bouquets and posters to those who lost their lives. Nino lowered his head and prayed to every one of them. His friends did the same. He did some public and private appearances, and he would bring his own bouquet every time. He once saw Aiba standing next to a man who lost his daughter. He heard the story from Aiba, and felt deeply saddened for the man's lost.
As for the Imperfects, they were put out by the Ministry. The public doesn't know this, but it disgusted Nino that their fans' last moments were slaughtered like animals. In a way, Nino was glad Yami was gone and never bring such horrors to his precious fans again. But at the same sickening time, he was grateful.
He got to hear his father's words before he left. He remembered crying buckets that night after the lost of his father again. He never cried for the man before until now, and he felt better afterwards, as if a buried thorn was finally removed. He was glad everything had come to an end. According to Jun, all the spirits will eventually return to Paradise on their own, and the souls they've consumed will return as well. It was just the Imperfects that had the sad ending.
He entered the green room and found Ohno alone. His head bowed and his face still hidden behind his cap. He was staring down at a photo, but Nino didn't have to know whose picture it was. Nino sat across from him.
"How are you feeling?" Nino asked, quietly.
Ohno didn't glance up. "I visit my aunt last night and...she knew."
"My uncle," Ohno said, taking in a shaky breath. "She saw a vision of him before he died. That's why she came back from China. She knew and yet she still let him go fight."
"Ohno..." Nino sighed. "I'm sorry."
He pocketed the photo away, but his face still hidden. "She let him go to protect me. If he wasn't there, I would have died. Even though it pained her to lose him, she told me that my uncle would be even more sadden if he lost me."
"It's not easy," Nino nodded, "losing someone you cared about."
They sat there in utter silence, but Nino didn't mind. He understand the need to give others their space. It was only a bit strange now because he's never seen Ohno look so beaten down. Nino was worried when Ohno told him to give him some time alone. It's been a week since the Battle at the Ministry, and he was wondering if Ohno was doing okay without him.
"Kazu," Ohno spoke, his voice brittle and quiet. "How do you do it?"
"How can you go on like this? How do you cope with it all?"
Nino felt his heart pricked. He could feel Ohno's lost as he remembered when he lost his father. They were the same, and it's one of the many reasons why Nino loved him so much. They both thought they hated a certain man in their lives, but truthfully when they realized the man was gone, they loved him dearly. Nino had always loved his father, and he could see Ohno has always loved his uncle. Nino stood up and circled around the table. He sat closed to him.
"I don't," Nino answered. "There never is a way to cope when your heart is broken. But you know what helps make me feel better? Even a little?"
Ohno slightly raised his head, but Nino could only see his lips and nose.
"I cry," Nino said, smiling gently. "I cry because pretending to be strong doesn't help at all."
At long last, Ohno made eye contact. Nino could see the pain he's been going through alone. Their leader has always been stubborn, but the man has reached his limits and Ohno slowly began to break down. Nino opened his arm and let Ohno rest his head against his shoulder. Ohno gripped his hands tightly onto Nino's shirt. He could feel his shoulder becoming wet immediately, and Ohno's sobs were breathy and loud. He snuffled, moaned, gasped, and yelled out his frustrated pain. Nino let Ohno keep his cap on, as a way to make him feel no one was watching despite them being alone.
Nino sat there, with his arms around his leader and let the man pour his heart out. When Ohno started to calm down, Nino also shed a tear for the old professor he respected.
* * *
The recording took longer than usual. It was for their new single, but there was something off with the song. Jun thought they shouldn't be singing at a time like this, but it was all they could do to move forward. During the recording session, Jun suggested to change the lyrics a bit. The staff was a bit upset since they recorded Sho and Aiba's already, but Jun offered only to change his solo part. He wanted to spread a message to the fans in his own way, that they weren't the only one suffering. Arashi is also sadden by their lost.
It was late when they finished recording, and Jun was the last to leave. Ohno said he still wanted some time alone, but he told Jun he felt better. Sho and Aiba went off in their separate path as well, but they said something about meeting up later. That's when Jun spotted Nino holding a small bouquet before he left. He knows where he was going.
"Nino, wait up!" Jun called. "I'll come with you."
Together and silently, they journeyed to the stadium. The lights were still on for anyone who would like to pay their respects. There were even some candles that lit the way. Jun was surprised that Nino didn't Apparate to the stadium. Instead, they walked the entire way, but he didn't mind. A little aching feet was nothing compared to what happened. They arrived at the wall lined with hundreds of flowers, picture frames, and teddy bears. Jun read a few messages and sighed with a heavy heart.
There was no one in sight as Nino kneel down and placed his flowers next to another batch. They both pressed their palms together and bowed their heads.
"There are times when I wish I could get a Time Turner and fix everything," Jun finally spoke. "Just...so many things could have been avoided if I only knew."
"We all wished that," Nino said, wisely. "There are things I wish I could have fixed too. We just have to be brave and face onward, and learn from our mistakes rather than hide from it."
Jun chuckled. "You've changed, Nino."
"You're surprisingly like a Gryffndor nowadays," Jun said. "As for me...I don't know. How can you be so hopeful that everything will turn out alright? After everything I've done and the mistakes I did. How do you manage to be so hopeful?"
Nino tilted his head as if it was no big deal. "Honestly, it's because of you."
"You're surprisingly the most hopeful person I've ever met," Nino said. "Despite what Yami told you, claiming you were the Gate Keeper and all, you still resisted. You were the first one among us to fight this when we didn't want to. I don't think you realize it, but I think deep down you wished for the better instead of beating yourself over it."
Jun's eyes were glossy, and Nino grinned earnestly. "You didn't suffer so much as you think you did, Jun. You hoped for a better future since the beginning."
Jun shifted his weight, gazing down at the flowers. "Perhaps you're right. It has taken me a long time, but I think...I've finally learned to forgive myself. I am ready to move on."
The two friends smiled peacefully.
Suddenly, there was a loud pop next to them, and Sho appeared followed by Aiba. They each held a bouquet. Aiba was obviously the biggest, nearly twice the size of his torso.
"I told you they would be here," Aiba smirked at Sho.
"Hey, guys," Sho said, ignoring Aiba's smug. "We came to repay our respects, and we were wondering if you would like to come over to Aiba's place. He's planning a new idea for Arashi."
"New idea?" Nino mumbled as Aiba and Sho placed their flowers down.
"I call it the Knights of Storm," Aiba grinned. "We're practically seen as heroes, now. Kinda like knights, right? And since we're going to be personalities again this 24 Hour Television, I thought of a little segment for us to do."
"I suppose, but what does it involve?" Jun asked.
"I'll tell you along the way," Aiba nodded. "But we should get Ohno. He would like to hear-"
Then, another pop appeared, and Ohno stood before them. He wobbled slightly.
"Oh wow, I really need to work on my landing," Ohno moaned.
"Riida! Did you...did you you just Apparated!" Sho gawked.
"Yeah, I got my license two days ago," Ohno said. "I'm sick of not getting to a place on time. I mean, you never know if it's a life or death situation. So I finally got it."
"About time!" Nino grinned. "Do you know how long it takes for you to come to my place on foot?"
"I didn't think it matter," Ohno shrugged.
"Come on, guys. I know a great place to eat," Sho said. "It's not far from here. We can walk. Come on."
"Wait! I thought we were going to my place," Aiba pouted.
"With your mess, your apartment probably bred a horde of Nifflers," Nino mocked.
Jun watched his four friends walk ahead of him. Nino was still bickering to Ohno, Aiba was chatting away with his new brilliant idea, and Sho just chuckled. Jun looked back at the flowers. He drank in the scene one last time before he bowed to them, and he followed his friends again.
He thought he would never break free from his past, but now he knows he can step forward. He can create new beginnings with these guys.
"My aunt said it's a boy," Ohno grinned. "She thought of naming after his father or maybe Tomoo."
"Congrats!" Sho said.
"As celebration for a new life, I call for a round of beer!" Aiba cheered.
"Alright then, Aiba foots the bill," Nino said, slyly.
"Aiba, I want an Kobe beef, please," Sho teased.
"Those are too expensive!"
"And one omelet," Ohno sneaked in.
"One omelet is fine," Aiba pouted.
"And maybe six orders of eel," Sho added.
"That's so considerate of you, to share your food with everyone," Aiba said.
"Who said I was sharing?!" Sho said, "I eat alone!"
"You eat too much, Sho," Nino retorted.
Now....it is finally over! XD
Well, it wasn't as grand as the first series, but i hoped you guys enjoyed it nonetheless. This story was really a big "what if" scenario. Like an extra special episode to a run long drama show. haha!
Despite it being sorta depressing, i hope you guys got a lot out of this. i tried putting in lots of messages and morals into the story like i've done before. even though there wasn't much romance action, i hope it was still fun read.
Thanks for reading everyone! I'm currently working on another story, so please look forward to that!
(partially the whole reason why i hurried to end this one) XD
Until next time!
P.S. A little side story to make you smile. Naruse is happily fishing in his river Paradise while singing his favorite Arashi song.