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That night, I had a dream.
A dream that I was aware I was dreaming.
I’ve heard of it on the TV or somewhere. I think they are called lucid dreams?
People say that lucid dreams can be manipulated to attempt things like ‘Let’s do naughty things inside a dream!’, but of course I‘m not capable of that kind of skillful behavior.
The most I can do is to wake up inside the lucid dream and see the events from the perspective of a third party.
The contents of my dreams are mostly reminiscences of past events.
I don’t have a clue why, but—like when I blacklisted the mail I received from the IMA, to the somewhat forgetful me I’d say it’s very handy (it may be by chance that I remember things I thought I’d forgotten).
This time it’s from when I was in my last year of elementary school—
That day I went to the Saegusa festival.
“Don’t wanna! I… don’t want to be apart from Chiharu-kun!”
A scream that seemed squeezed out from the depths of the throat.
At my side, clad in a yukata—seemingly a bit less stylish than currently, the Kyouko back from elementary school.
This was the place of our memories.
Midway uphill and removed from the core of the festival, a not very known spot that was perfect to see the fireworks.
“Don’t be unreasonable. Even if you say you don’t like it, nothing can be done against family issues, right?”
“Besides, mom said it, right? Even if we move out… We’ll be back in a year or so. It’s not like we won’t meet again.”
Around five years ago.
Due to my mother’s job, I was out of my hometown for about a year.
Thinking about it now. That time, how harsh were the words I told the girl before my eyes?
Back then our relationship was somewhat different from what’s called ‘friendship’.
That was… Without mincing the words, it was ‘dependence’.
The Kyouko from back then was like a chick that took for its parent the first person it saw after birth, she followed me.
“One year is too long. Since Chiharu-kun is so forgetful… You’ll probably end up forgetting about me…”
“Don’t worry. Since I won’t forget you.”
“I don’t have a reason to believe in those words!”
“I won’t forget.”
“Liar! You may say that, but since you are Chiharu-kun… It’s in you to forget your promises!”
Ueh. How much do you not trust me…
But of course I think my memory is only up to about that.
“I won’t hand Chiharu-kun to no one. I won’t!”
With big fat tears on her eyes, Kyouko grabbed my sleeve.
Yup. How weak she was…
She hasn’t changed in the least. Once Kyouko decides something, in that case her obstinacy won’t let her budge a bit.
Once we get to this point, there’s no convincing her.
What? Now that I think, if that’s true… What was with that incident of the past?
How did I break through that situation back then?
Let’s speak from the results.
Where the sentence I spurted to Kyouko that time is concerned, as it competes for the first, second rank on my dark history, was something that could kill me from embarrassment.
“Kyouko. What day is today?”
“…? What day… July 7th. It obviously is Tanabata.”
“Yeah. That’s right. Today’s the once a year day Orihime and Hikoboshi can meet…
It’s a bit like us two right now. That’s why—let’s make a wish.”
“… Like what?”
“In short… Like this.”
I took a tanzaku from the bag and started to write a sentence with a pen.
‘So that Kyouko and I can be together forever.’
Gyaaaaa. My head hurts…
That’s right, I did something like that…
I think I understand now why I had forgotten it until now.
If I remembered something so embarrassing, my self would crumble in an instant.
“… I’m glad. This tanzaku… I’ll treasure it forever.”
… Are you for real?
Could it be that Kyouko… Is weak against this kind of conceited remarks?
“Th-the truth is, me too. I was also about to make something for today’s festival, but…”
Saying that, Kyouko took out a tanzaku of the same size as mine—
The moment I leant over to see what was written in it, my senses went back to reality.
That time, what was the wish that Kyouko had written on the tanzaku?
Though I feel that it was something I absolutely mustn’t forget, that it was something very precious to me, as I’ve awaken from the dream, there’s no way to check.
× × ×
Once I woke up—I was on top of my bed; all four of my limbs chained.
“Good grief. This pattern once again?…”
Sad, isn’t it?
Though a normal person would have slim involvement with situations like this, to me, this… State of being bound by chains and handcuffs was a usual thing no different from a mid-morning coffee break.
When, sighing, I reminisced how things got this way—
I could easily pinpoint the culprit.
That was… Right after I finished my dinner.
After drinking the coffee Manami made me, my memory was totally blank.
In other words… It should be that.
Darn. That Manami… She always does as she pleases!
“… You’ve woken up.”
What entered my view—was an unforeseen scene.
There was the negligée-clad figure of my childhood friend.
… Furthermore, it’s not an ordinary negligée.
The thinness of the fabric that clung to Kyouko—being a see-through material, if you look closely, from the gaps on the lacy weave you could catch glimpses of her pale pink underwear.
“Sorry… I couldn't think of anything else.”
“Erm. What the heck is this for…?”
“Though this time I strayed from the usual pattern and tried to choose an adult-like underwear. Does it… Suit me?”
Ignoring my question, Kyouko asked me with uneasiness in her glance.
Let’s say it clearly. Suiting her or not… I think it’s of a level on a completely different dimension.
Could it be that until now I never regarded Kyouko as ‘someone of the other sex’?
The negligée-clad figure of Kyouko is charming and has enough power to make my reasoning crumble.
“Strayed from the usual pattern, you say… Could it be that you still hold a grudge about that time?”
“Of course. Didn’t you hurt my womanly pride?”
“If that’s the case, then sorry. I’ve apologized. So put some clothes on and remove these bindings asap.”
“… Sorry. I can’t do that.”
“Why, you ask… Because then it will be a hindrance for snatching Haru’s chastity, ain’t I right?”
I’ve noticed too late.
In this situation that can’t be seen as nothing other than two people alone on the same bed… I can’t offer any kind of resistance.
Eeerm. Let’s cool our head.
Could this be… What’s called a desperate crisis?
“Wait! Explain to me first what’s happening!”
“Haru, did you know?”
Whispering into my ear,
“I haven’t gotten serious yet.”
Kyouko suddenly leant on me, covering me like a blanket.
Soft. And she smelt very good.
In a single breath, her face got closer.
We were at a distance where simply by breathing a bit, both our lips would meet.
Even if I try to resist—since my body is numb, I can’t move.
Could this too be the doing of the drug? If I could move my body a bit, maybe I could break through…
For what it counts, Kyouko grabbed my shirt.
I felt like a carp being cut apart on top of a chopping board.
This is bad. This is bad. This is bad.
My first time will be a reverse rape by my childhood friend… It can’t be more pathetic.
… Mm, wait.
While thinking on a plan to break through, a question suddenly surfaced on my mind.
Why am I so unhappy, to begin with?
Kyouko… It’s crystal clear that, judging only by looks, my childhood friend is quite the beauty.
… No, let’s stop running away by saying ‘only by looks’.
I do realize she’s truly hardworking—she’s equally beautiful inside.
And that’s not my subjective opinion.
Her popularity at school is enough proof.
Apart from her, there’s no other charming girl that will say she’ll snatch my chastity.
Shouldn’t I be thankful? Wouldn’t it be better that I, for the sake of future reference, gave up in a manly way?
Right when my thoughts had turned into a mood of resignation.
Kyouko, sighing as if she had realized something, stopped the hand she had been moving until then.
Most likely—it must have fallen into her view while opening my shirt.
Right when Kyouko saw the pendant I was wearing, she looked like she was surprised, her eyes round.
“Wh-why are you…”
“…Aah, this? It looks like a very old thing, but, recently, it appeared while tidying my room.”
Could this be my chance?
I have totally no idea of the reason why, but it seems like a certain fact that this pendant is Kyouko’s weak point.
Clinging to a ray of hope, I connected a rapid-fire barrage of words.
“For some reason I couldn’t get rid of it and tried wearing it, but… Does it suit me?”
“… It’s nothing. I don’t think that’s possible, but…”
Kyouko muttered shortly, as if not interested.
However. I didn’t miss it.
Just now, Kyouko’s appearance was clearly unusually agitated.
As soon as her bodily temperature rose, her hands and feet started trembling.
Why this timing?
Could it be Kyouko knows something about this pendant?
… No, we can also think of it backwards.
The attitude of firmness she had until a while ago seems weird.
For what reason? Being acquainted since elementary school is not for show.
She’s not like a certain little sister of mine. Kyouko, by nature, is not capable of this—sneak love-making visiting as she pleases as if she went to buy an ice-cream from the convenience store.
And, I did notice.
A single tear fell from Kyouko’s eye.
I see. That’s right.
At that time, I was convinced.
Her current behavior is clearly not on her own volition—
If I think it for a bit, it’s obvious. When a boy and a girl love each other, it’s not likely that the girl would engage in this kind of sneak love-making visiting as she pleases, I believe.
While it could be, it’s no more than a supposition.
The bentou, the girl’s toilet.
Both of the recent incidents Kyouko caused may be related to the current one.
—In any case, something must be happening.
There should be some deep-rooted cause to Kyouko’s weird behavior—
Though my body is far from being in best condition, thanks to the long chatting, it seems it’s become considerably better than a while ago.
If it’s in this condition, perhaps—
By using the one special skill I fostered by growing with sad family circumstances—the Getting Free of Bounds technique.
“Sorry, Kyouko. I can’t return your feelings.”
“You are bad knowing when to give up.”
She resolutely said over her shoulder,
“Have you forgotten perhaps your standing? If I felt inclined to respect your intentions… We wouldn’t have got to this.”
“That may be true. However, you too have forgotten something.”
Cooling my head, I, showing off— said quite the cool sentence.
“My bad, I— haven’t I for 16 years been protecting my chastity from my little sister?”
And, as I bent all the joint of my body on impossible angles.
*CRACK, CRACK* *SNAP, SNAP* *CREACK, CREAK*
That way, sounds like taken out from a manga echoed through my room.
“Did you know? About living beings. Don’t they evolve in order to adapt to their surroundings?”
“E-even so. A regular human… Better, any living being able to bend its joints like that—eeeeeeeeeeh!?”
Kyouko was in a state of bare surprise before my shocking squirming motions suitable of a soft-bodied being.
Do-don’t look at me as if I weren’t human… If pushed, I’d say, aren’t you lot better further removed from humans?
I missed you… MAI HANDO.
I was deeply moved by my arms that were fixed at my back by the handcuffs.
Following that, bringing the cuffs to my mouth, I bit them off.
“I see. I… Made a mistake.”
Kyouko, once I managed to break free from my restrictions, sobbed and sighed while facing no one.
“Why have you been behaving so stupidly…?”
“I cannot say. If you knew, you’ll surely become disillusioned.”
Clearly having many things I want to say to her, once I saw her face, my words thawed inside my throat like ice.
“Let’s say the truth. Not even I understand it. But, you know, even if I was making a mistake, if I keep trying without giving up, surely a way will open itself. That’s what I feel.”
“Aaah. This kind of half-baked one is the worst pattern. It’s repulsive, right?”
“… You see, Kyouko.”
The thing that keeps bothering her is not a skin-deep obstacle.
“If something bothers you, I want you to consult it with me. If it’s me, I think I’ll surely will be able to support you.”
Kyouko, for an instant, opened her eyes wide in surprise, but quickly abruptly averting her sight,
“I’m sorry… Since there’s nothing I can say to you…”
A word of apology. Picking up her uniform that had fallen to the ground, she dashed out in an unladylike manner.
What the heck was all that, I wonder.
I’ve known Kyouko for a long time, but I feel that being rejected so obstinately is a first up to date.
Looking in reaction to a big thunder, the scenery was blanketed by bullet-like raindrops.
It seems tonight will pour.
The night before the Saegusa festival.
Having an uncomfortable feeling that I couldn’t get rid of, I spent all night awake.
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