Naomi didn't recognize her surroundings as she entered the room in front of her. At first she seemed to be on her own. She took a look around. Yep, definitely alone. And in a place she'd never been before. This kind of struck her as strange but not as much as it probably should have. In fact, she was just mildly surprised. This didn't have the air of being real at all, so she was probably dreaming. So she didn't give the fact that she was in a rather dark room with barely anything inside much of a thought.
Was it really this bad? Her frustration at her now ex-boyfriend and the situation she just escaped from? She couldn't be that desperate, now, could she? She still thought that it had been for the best to break up with him. And she wasn't likely to change her mind all of a sudden.
Suddenly she could make out a person at the end of the room but didn't know who it was. It looked kind of familiar even though his back was turned on her. She stepped a little closer, a tingling sensation in her fingers. Looking down she saw some leather gloves with cut-off fingers. When did she get those? As far as she remembered she didn't have anything like this in her wardrobe.
Now she was fairly certain that the other person was a man. He was tall, broad-shouldered and had short brown hair. The clothes were rather strange, a red coat with some bronze decor or something like that. It was too dark to see properly. As she stopped in the middle of the room the guy turned to her.
She knew this face, had definitely seen it before. It was one she heartily disliked. It was the face of a fellow musician she'd never been too friendly with because he was simply too full of himself. And he thought almost everyone else was too immature to be bothered with. Oh, how she hated him!
A grin spread out on his features - she admitted he wasn't ugly at all but she never liked or disliked someone just because of his looks anyway. She felt the urge to just punch him. She really wanted to wipe that smirk off his face.
"Found you." He didn't say more than those two words but it was enough to make her want to run away. Or simply beat him into bleeding pulp. It was his voice, alright. But what on earth was he doing in her dream?
All of a sudden the ground started to shake. She carefully stepped back but he didn't move at all. Time for her to leave. Definitely. She wondered where Kôji, Yûichi or Markus were when they were needed for a change. Then the ceiling crashed down upon her and everything went black.
Naomi woke with a start, fighting the urge to scream. Her heart beat pretty fast and beads of sweat covered her body. She looked around, not recognizing the room she was in at all. It was still dark around her but at least she could make out some outlines. She couldn't hear anything but her own heavy breathing.
Only a few things she knew for sure. She was lying in a bed. Every single bone in her body was aching like Hell. And her head felt like Tatsuya had given it a special treatment with his drum sticks. Nice.
The guitarist closed her eyes. For a while she just lay still and tried to concentrate on breathing regularly. The pain lessened eventually. It didn't disappear though. At least it ceased a considerable amount. It was much easier to focus her thoughts that way.
She completely lost track of time by the time she opened her eyes again. Okay, admittedly with her sense of time it really hadn't been there before, but whatever. The lighting conditions hadn't changed at all. So it was probably nighttime. Or someone had done his job in shutting out the light properly. But for that she could actually see too much. How long had she been sleeping anyway?
She took another look around, more carefully this time. As far as she could see the blinds weren't closed so she could rule that out. A faint ray of light fell through a rather large window right beside her, though she couldn't really tell if it was a street lamp or moonlight. This ruled her own bedroom out, too. She turned her head to overview the sparsely furnished room she was in.
There was a door on the other side of the room, directly opposite the window. Beside it a small cabinet with a TV on top which looked quite old-fashioned. She made out a wardrobe which had definitely seen better days, a table with two chairs. And then there was the bed she occupied. And that was it.
Definitely not her room. And not one of her friend's either. So where the heck was she?
Naomi blinked and propped herself up on her elbows and took another look around, just to be sure. There was nothing else to see in this room. There were no pictures, flowers or other personal things. Nothing to tell her to whom this room belonged. How could anyone live in a room like this anyway? This was beyond her. The room gave the impression of being uninhabited and she found this quite disconcerting.
She could feel a drop trickle down her cheek. Perplexed she raised her hand and touched it gingerly. Definitely sweat. Good. Wait, not good. She placed the palm of her hand on her forehead. It felt too warm for comfort. So she was probably sick. That explained why she felt like she did. But not why she was in a room she'd never seen before.
And she would really like to know how she got here. And who owned this place.
With dawning apprehension she sat up straight. Surely not...? Oh no, please! Don't let it be this sorry excuse for a man! That arrogant, freaky little... Narrowing her eyes she really hoped that it wasn't his apartment she was in. She'd never forgive him. And not herself for letting herself get into this predicament. Oh, if it was him who brought her here she was definitely going to kill him!
She needed to get a few things straight first, though. At least she should make sure if it was really his room or someone else's. To be perfectly honest - she wasn't sure what she'd done last or where she'd actually been before waking up here. The last thing she did remember was this strange dream. And she was pretty positive about it being a dream.
The young woman sighed heavily. If she wanted to find out where she really was there were just two options; either she just got up and left the room to take a proper look around... or she stayed here to wait for the original inhabitant to take pity on her by actually showing up.
A loud rumbling noise told her that waiting was completely out of question. She wasn't surprised that she was hungry since she couldn't remember when she ate something last. That was definitely a first. She wasn't the Queen of Patience anyway (more of the opposite, actually). What if no one showed up for a really long time? She just couldn't have that. So the best way to do something about her current situation was getting up and look for some food. Plus, she really needed a long hot shower.
Naomi ran a hand through her shoulder-length brightly pink coloured hair. In some way, this kind of situation wasn't completely new for her. At least the waking up in an unfamiliar room part. Usually this involved some heavy drinking the night before ending up with her staying at a friend's place. Even though she'd been quite shocked at some point - she'd never forget waking up in Kôji's apartment after drinking with him and Yûichi the night before, discovering her colleagues had coloured her hair pink in the process. Admittedly, this was the first time she was seriously confused about where she ended up. And she definitely wasn't hung over. She definitely couldn't remember getting near any alcohol for some time.
She swung her feet over the edge of the bed. As soon as they touched the cool wooden ground she heard a key being put into a lock nearby and then turned. A door was opened and then closed again. Seems that the maestro actually decided to come home, she thought bitterly. Footsteps were to be heard on the other side of the door she threw a bemused glance at.
Before she could even so much as blink the door latch moved. Now came the moment of truth. Now she would finally find out who was her probably not chosen host. She crossed her arms over her chest, finally noticing that she shivered in a rather pathetic manner.
Someone pushed the door open and light flooded the room. Naomi was blinded by it and closed her eyes. She blinked a few times as she lifted her hand to protect her eyes. As soon as she was able to distinguish her surroundings again she squinted at the door frame and winced. What she saw was the most bizarre appearance she'd ever seen - not even one of her friends in his most eccentric costume could compete. Though she was rather glad that it wasn't the person she feared it to be it was rather unsettling to see this.
The figure was about 6" - as tall as Markus. He had long black hair, wore a red bandana and a long and torn red cape with several buckles. Along with this came black leather clothes - also with some belts and buckles - and black leather boots with bronze covering. Instead of his left arm there was a bronze claw. He had a holster at his right hip, holding a pretty large weapon. But the most unusual were his gleaming red eyes. She'd never laid eyes on a person such as this before.
Either someone was celebrating Helloween quite early - or it was a cosplaying freak. Both thoughts sent a shiver down her spine. She wasn't sure what was worse. Not knowing this person or him being, well. Being what he looked like.
For a few moments they both observed each other in silence. The young woman gulped heavily, feeling uncomfortable under his piercing stare. She couldn't bring herself to say something. Or move. A small voice in her head whispered that she should flee from this otaku guy. But there was nowhere to retreat to anyway, was there?
"How do you feel?" her opponent asked after a while. He had a calm, deep and rather pleasant voice.
Naomi blinked in surprise. She didn't know what she expected... but surely not him asking for her well-being and definitely not this voice! "I..." She stopped and bit her lower lip. How did she feel, actually? She was freezing like Hell, she was confused beyond imagination, thirsty and hungry... and all her limbs hurt. There were even parts of her body aching which she never knew of being able to. However, for a moment she didn't really know how to express all that. This fact confused her even more. She's always had the gift of gab, so why on Earth did she suddenly fail to find the right words? This was another first beside her not remembering when she last came across some food.
It didn't seem like the stranger expected a reply anyway. Without so much as saying anything at all he closed the door and switched on the light, blinding her again. He went over to the wardrobe to take some dark trousers as well as a black sweater out which he handed over to her. Then he turned away and looked out of the window.
Now she finally looked down at herself and actually realized that she merely wore her undergarments and a shirt that was way too large. Anger rose inside her. At herself for being too preoccupied with her surroundings to care about the state she was really in. And at him for daring to undress her! But what happened to her own clothes? Surely they had to be somewhere close.
Her cheeks were bright red as she put on the trousers and the sweater - both were too big for her, it was his stuff - then she sat back down on the bed. Not sure if she should thank him or rather punch him for his indecency she glared at his back, carefully contemplating her words. A growl escaped her throat which showed how pissed she really was.
He turned back to her and examined her for a few seconds. "You're quite lucky," he finally stated.
This caught her completely off-guard. She shot him a questioning look. To wake up in the apartment of a man she'd never seen before - almost undressed, at that - and who was armed... without even knowing how she got here... well, that was definitely not her idea of being lucky.
"If I hadn't found you and brought you here, you'd most probably be dead by now." He leaned against the window sill and folded his arms. "You've had a really bad fever for the past four days," he continued when she didn't say anything in return and just gave him a dirty look.
Her jaw dropped and her anger was replaced by shock. "Four days have I been here already?" she squealed. "Damn! Rikuo will kill me!" Immediately she hopped off the bed but regretted it on the spot since the sudden movement made her feel dizzy. Moaning she let herself fall back onto the bed, put her elbows on her knees and delved her fingers in her hair.
The stranger sat down beside her. "You should be careful, I see you still have a fever. Maybe you should sleep a little more."
"Don't you dare tell me what I'm supposed to do," she hissed at him. "Four days..." she whispered, still in shock. "I'm so dead!" She heaved a frustrated sigh, then tilted her head and watched him intently. "It will be tough luck if I still have my job. Being absent for four days without giving word is absolutely disastrous!"
"You're sick. If you overexert yourself with that fever it won't help you at all," the dark guy retorted calmly. "If you're dead you don't need your job anymore. I don't know this Rikuo guy but he won't expect you to ruin your health for your job."
"You don't have the faintest idea," Naomi muttered under her breath and ran both her hands through her hair. One thought was still nagging at her. "Where am I, anyway?" she asked him quietly, feeling rather empty now. It was quite tiring to be angry when you were sick, too. "And where's my stuff? At the very least I should call the studio and tell them I'm sick. I guess they're either really worried or pretty much pissed off by now."
For a moment he gave her a blank stare. "You're in Edge. I gave your stuff to an acquaintance of mine, she offered to clean and repair it. She will be back in a few hours to return it to you."
"Damn!" she hissed and her head drooped. Why did something like this have to happen to her? "Where is this... Edge, anyway?" she wanted to know. "Never even heard of it."
"Edge of Midgar." He raised an eyebrow. How could she not know where Edge was? Everyone did.
"Edge of what?" she asked in confusion and looked at him, irritation evident on her face.
Now he furrowed his brow. "The city grew at the edge of the former capital Midgar after most of it was destroyed by Meteor, thus the name. But everyone knows that, so should you."
"You've got to be kidding me!", she spat at him. "When did they rename Tokyo to Midgard? Is this some kind of sick joke? Is that why you show up here with this Helloween costume? Who's behind this? Shinya, so he can take revenge on me?" Her eyes narrowed and she gave him a piercing stare. "Don't take me for a fool, I know the former capital is still Kyoto and Midgard is from an old Nordic saga."
Now he looked rather confused. What was she talking about? He wasn't sure if she was talking too quick for him to really understand her or it was all gibberish. "Midgar has always been Midgar," he said stiffly. "It has been the capital for a very long time. Until about four years ago. I don't know any Tokyo or Kyoto. Where is that supposed to be?"
Naomi gave a mirthless laugh. "Tokyo is the capital of Japan, what else? Has been for about 200 years. But I only lived there for two years now," she replied. "Not knowing Tokyo, honestly! Where do you come from, Mars? Or probably Planet Goth?" With a snort she crossed her arms and turned away from him. This was really too much for her. "And you should probably read more or you would know the story about Midgard as well."
The stranger watched her for a while. Even though she didn't look at him she could feel it. "It's your fever... you're fantasizing," he muttered. "There is no Tokyo. And no Japan. The capital was Midgar. Without a D at the end."
"Quit lying, damnit!" she finally lost her nerve and swirled about to face him. "Of course it exists! I live there! Don't give me that crap and don't tell me I'm imagining things, because I'm not!"
He sighed and got up. "I'm not telling you anything. It's the truth. This Japan doesn't exist. Probably it's a feverish hallucination or some drugs."
She stood up, hands curled up to fists. "I don't do drugs!" she growled at him. Her anger was back though she wasn't sure if it was a good or bad thing.
"Maybe not voluntarily. You probably don't even know it," he concluded. His voice was still calm but there was a new edge to it. As he was about to leave the room he turned around and looked at her. "I guess you're hungry," he stated before he closed the door behind him.
Naomi scowled after him. What the fuck was this? How could he give her that crap and then just leave? She still didn't know where she was. And how the Hell she got here. This was a nightmare. It simply had to be. There was no other explanation that made any sense. But somehow this felt too real to be a mere dream. Though with her fever she definitely wasn't one to judge.
Rolling her eyes she sat down on the bed. Something was definitely wrong here, though she couldn't tell what it was exactly. How could this be happening? All she wanted now was to go home. But as long as she didn't know where she really was and had to wait to get her clothes back this proved quite difficult.
"Well, sucks to be me..." she sighed. If things were different... Stop. Right there. Why was this familiar to her, now? Then she remembered. Shinya leaving the room after her phone call with Kôji. Her saying just those words. She blinked. Once. Twice.
"Nah," she finally waved it off. This wasn't possible. How often had she wished that things were different and never had anything happened? Unless she did something about her situation by herself. There was just no way that she ended up in a completely alien place just because of that. It was just absurd. If it was true that would mean she'd never see Luca, Yûichi and everyone else ever again.
And she shouldn't take this freak too seriously, either. Tokyo didn't exist? Don't make me laugh, she thought, you need to get up earlier to mess with me. She just knew that her whole life couldn't be one big fat lie. And not just her imagination. Impossible!
She threw herself onto the mattress in a rage and started to hit the pillow repeatedly. "Damn!" she called out. "Fuck!" She suddenly stopped. What was she doing here? She surely didn't believe anything that goth guy said, right? Why did she worry so much about it, then? She should try to sleep. Probably she would wake up in her own bed the next time. Besides... the poor pillow didn't do anything to her, it wasn't responsible for this mess she was in. She flattened the pillow carefully with her hand. "Sorry about that," she whispered. Pulling a face she slapped her forehead. Now she was talking to a pillow, for Heaven's sake! And apologizing for hitting it, at that. Something was most definitely wrong. If not just with her situation, but clearly with her. Was it because of the fever? Or the strange dream she'd had before? She didn't know. Maybe it was just because her breakup with Shinya finally got to her. Or she was just stressed out. Whatever.
With a frustrated groan she laid down and closed her eyes. She really hoped that everything would be back to normal as soon as she woke up in the morning. With that final thought she fell asleep.