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Author Topic: Fate Connects Us All [OS Series] - Stalkee [WMatsui]  (Read 4434 times)

Offline Keiyuu

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Fate Connects Us All [OS Series] - Stalkee [WMatsui]
« on: November 30, 2018, 09:40:58 PM »
Fate Connects Us All

I started this series a few years ago and now I've finally decided to finish it (if I can remember what my ideas even were lmao). Fair warning: it might take a while since I am a college student with finals coming up. Only two of them are fully written at the moment and I'll post them after I finish editing (this post is just a notice lol). I'm honestly pretty excited because I really liked this series and just never posted it because of my rule of not posting things until they're completely done, but these are one shots anyways so what's the harm?

There are a total of 7 one shots that all happen in the same universe (or maybe not?), but all follow their own storyline and genres (e.g. powers, reincarnation, supernatural, etc.) with an underlying theme of fate for all of them. Each one shot is focused on a different pairing. So if you want, you could just read one without reading any of the others. Every time I post one I'll add the hyperlink to the list below.

On a side note, I'm glad to be back! Hope people are still willing to read!  :yep:

Pause [Kojiyuu]
Stalkee [WMatsui]
Mutual [Mayuki]
Switch [Atsumina]
Thoughts [YuiParu]
Linger [SayaMilky]
Fate [MariMii]

« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 02:13:28 AM by Keiyuu »

Offline Haruko

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Re: Fate Connects Us All [OS Series]
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2018, 03:52:44 PM »
Waiting for this.. Can we add a Yuunaa or Mogion?

Offline Keiyuu

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Re: Fate Connects Us All [OS Series] - Pause [Kojiyuu]
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2018, 10:11:09 PM »
God if I could go back in time, I'd smack younger self. So much telling and not enough showing in this fic  :sweatdrop:

@Haruko: Hey! Thanks for waiting~ I would, but I don't know much about the newer members now since I've been out of the fandom for a few years. I do remember watching an AKBingo couples episode with Yuunaa and Mogion (which was funny and adorable) but that's about it.

Pause [Kojiyuu]

Haruna is just a little girl when it starts happening. People around her suddenly stop moving, and not just people, it’s like the whole world just...well using one of the vocab words she has just learned that day in school – they pause - like when you’re watching a movie and you hit that little button with the two lines on it. Time isn’t stopping—it’s not a stop because then the movie would restart from the beginning and not from where you left off. No, just like the movie, everything resumes not long after. In fact, it’s like it never even happened at all, but Haruna knows it did. She is so sure, but no one else will believe her.

“It really did happen!”

But who listens to kids? The adults just chalk it up to her imagination until Haruna starts believing it as well.

Then one day, it happens again - a pause. She counts the length this time – 10 minutes. And Haruna does a lot in those 10 minutes (mostly draws on the walls), but when the pause ends and the drawings are still there (though she gets yelled at for it), then Haruna has her confirmation.

So with that question answered, she starts asking more. When will it happen again? How long does it last each time? What causes them? And most important to the little girl—why is she the only one not affected? Is there really no one else like her? Is she all alone in this? If so, then why? Of course she doesn’t go so in depth at first, Haruna is only a child after all, but as she grows older, and more pauses keep happening – each one longer than the last, more questions without answers pop up. Maybe she should’ve been scared, but the fascination of the whole situation overtakes any fear she would’ve had. Haruna is just far too curious.

She doesn’t know how to find the answers, though she doesn’t hesitate to try. But looking it up produces creepy forums where people claim to be werewolves, libraries only contain stories and folklore (and satanic rituals), and with those two options out the window, Haruna has nothing left. She gave up asking other people a long time ago. Maybe as a kid it was okay to have an ‘overactive imagination’ but now she’s grown up to be a teenager and her parents will definitely get her checked.

Having exhausted all her options, Haruna kind of gives up. She’s tried everything, so maybe it’s time to just accept it and move on. For as long as she can remember, Haruna’s been experiencing these gaps and living with them as a normal part of her life, and now she doesn’t question it anymore. She tries to convince herself it’s for the best and squashes her (still growing) curiosity.

The pauses don’t seem to change though - completely unaffected by Haruna’s decision. Over time (ironically), the pauses have grown to last about half an hour now, but other than that there is nothing of significance. They maintain their thirty-minute period and are still at random. It happens when Haruna’s in the bath, walking to school, trying to study for exams, taking a nap (which actually confuses her a lot when she wakes up and barely any time has passed) but she can’t say that they aren’t pretty helpful when she wants to catch up on sleep. Then sometimes it’s once a day, other times none for a week, but Haruna thinks nothing of it.

The universe is just doing what it has always done, and even if Haruna is the only one who’s not a part of it, she doesn’t mind.

This continues on for a while and Haruna doesn’t even think about the pauses anymore they’re so commonplace – like something as simple as the weather (and just as unpredictable).

It’s a normal day for her. She oversleeps in the morning (though that’s not out of the ordinary for her at all), but luckily one of the pauses allows her to make it to school on time and repeat her boring schedule. Now Haruna’s hanging out with her friends after classes have ended. They go to the mall and shop around, eating crepes and having a good time. They’re her best friends, but Haruna doesn’t feel the need to share her little secret with them. Not yet at least, because if Haruna can’t explain it then who will believe her? And she’s had enough of people laughing in her face.

All of a sudden, everything halts, the speed of the world goes to zero. Haruna merely sighs and continues munching on her crepe, her friends on the bench next to her with their mouths open mid-sentence. She’ll have to explain later how she ate her snack so fast but stranger things have happened (Haruna doesn’t like to talk about it).

Then movement catches her attention, like something just disappeared into a store close to where Haruna’s sitting. And she immediately stands, dropping her forgotten crepe and dashing off to find out what it is. It’s the first time she’s ever seen anything move (other than herself) during one of these periods and she has to find out what it is for the life of her.

When she does, it’s not what she expected. A model-like lady who is obviously obsessed with fashion is definitely not what Haruna thought she’d find. She wonders what she has in common with this lady as they’re both unaffected by the pause but she can’t think of anything.

“H-Hey...” Haruna can’t help but stutter. She’s so nervous, scared, excited all at once.

The tall lady spins around, arms loaded with shopping bags. “Oh I didn’t expect to run into anyone.”

I didn’t either.

“So then, what’s your name?”

“Me?” Haruna asks, still a little out of it due to her new discovery.

The lady rolls her eyes, “No, the one that’s frozen behind you. Yes, you.”

“I-I’m Kojima Haruna. It’s nice to meet you.” Haruna then frowns. “Do...Do you know what’s behind these pauses? You seem so calm. How?...”

“Hmm I guess you’re the other one then...” Her inquiries are completely being ignored.

“The one what?”

“I guess this was meant to be then, if I met you here...” The lady murmurs to herself, then looks back up at Haruna. “Well I’m just going to clear up the fact that I’m not the cause of all this, if that’s what you mean by ‘pauses’.”

“Then what—”

“Ah.” The lady holds up a hand to stop her. “Not what. Who.”

Haruna’s eyes widen a bit as the information sinks in. There’s someone deliberately doing this...But... “Why? Why would they do this? What reason do they have? And...why are we the only ones not affected?”

The lady just smirks. “Have you ever heard of the red thread of fate?”

But Haruna’s frown only deepens.

“Well whatever~ It doesn’t really matter. To put it simply, I’m not human, and therefore not the one you’re looking for. I just came down here to do some shopping while the ‘pause’ is going on so I don’t have to pay.”

Haruna thinks the lady talks in a much too vague and confusing way. She’s not human? Isn’t that stealing? And who am I looking for?...

Seeing her perplexed expression, the lady sighs. “Well if I were to explain this...” This girl...what is she an airhead? Do I really have to spell it out? All she wanted was to get some new clothes. “Look, there is someone causing this,” She spoke slowly, accentuating each word, “And they are the only other person not affected besides you.”

“B-But I...” That only raises more questions for Haruna.

Ugh I’ll never get any shopping done at this rate. “I will answer your question though.” She cuts her off.

“...Which one?”

The lady smirks again, “All of them. Because they all have one answer. Why, you ask?”

What she says next stuns Haruna past words.

“For you.”

This encounter marks a change in Haruna’s life. It rekindles her curiosity and it’s back stronger than ever. She has to—she must find out who is causing them. And why...her of all people?

It’s hard to go back to normal, pretending like nothing happened—even though she was so good at pretending before. But Haruna still doesn’t know where to look, the only thing she can think to wait for the next pause – the only connection between her and the mysterious person.

She had tried to ask the lady, but the next second she looked up, the lady was already gone, vanished into thin air. So there went Haruna’s only lead. But she is slightly grateful to the lady for telling her something at least.

Another pause does not occur for the next week. During this time, she keeps wondering. What kind of person are they? How do they know when Haruna needs the help? What do they like? The questions drift from actually being about the pauses to the person themselves. And the most prominent question of all, is if that person really pauses time just for her. Are they searching for her like she is for them? Haruna’s chest constricts at the thought.

By the time a week has passed, Haruna is already hopelessly infatuated with someone whom she has never even met, and she can’t wait to meet them. It gets to the point where she doesn’t even care what they are like or that she had never even seen them once. They could be a guy or girl, tall or short, ugly or beautiful, it doesn’t matter. Haruna is already far too...‘interested’ as she puts it and knows she has passed a point of no return.

She thinks of trying to force one to happen just for the sake of meeting them. One thing she did figure out, when she really thought about it, is that all the pauses happen at convenient moments—too convenient.

Haruna tends to take really long baths, almost always wakes up late for school, likes to get distracted when she’s studying for tests, and when she’s really tired, the pauses give her time to rest and sleep or catch up on work. The pauses give her back crucial time that Haruna accidentally wastes, and before she even knows it, she has come to rely on them. Like she knows they’ll be there when she needs it, and it gives a sense of comfort knowing now that someone is doing it on purpose – for her apparently.

A more extreme example that Haruna had chalked up to coincidence in the past, is when she was little and the pauses weren’t so common just yet. She had run across the street, letting go of her mother’s hand because she was too excited for ice cream, and a car almost hit her. Almost.

A pause happened right then, and it saved her life.

Originally she believed they were random, accidents that the universe generated, but now she knows that’s not the case. Now she has someone to thank.

Haruna is sure that cheesy line of ‘I’d stop time for you’? is exactly what’s happening. Someone is doing exactly that—for her.

And again, she can’t wait to meet the cause.

When the pause happens once again, Haruna doesn’t waste any time. She sprints out of her classroom, off campus and into the city. She’s got thirty minutes at best and if she doesn’t make it back by then she’ll have skipped school by accident. But who cares.

Haruna’s only following a hunch or something like that, something that comes with the pause, instincts, feelings, she doesn’t know. She just knows she will find them if she follows it.

Haruna walks down streets, and when there was an intersection she just charges straight ahead, only to turn back and head a different way when it feels wrong - a feeling of anguish and anxiety right in her gut. She makes it all the way to a hotel, a tall intimidating skyscraper that blocks the sun, but it feels right in her chest, and she goes inside. Passing by the frozen people in the lobby, she rides an elevator up and up, all the way to the top floor, but it’s not high enough. Then Haruna’s feet take her to a set of stairs leading to the roof. Blood pounding, she sprints up there next, feeling like she’s so close to what she’s looking for.

A windblown and rusty metal door greets her at the end of the steps.

Haruna pauses, she hesitates, not knowing what she’ll find. Her heart beats hard and she swallows thickly. The uncertainty weighs her down and she can’t lift her hand to turn the doorknob. But when has that ever stopped her before? And not knowing the answer to her question won’t stop her now.

The heavy metal door opens with a creak, and the sunlight blinds her for a split second before her eyes adjust and focus on the back of a figure sitting near the ledge, which is where she heads only stopping a few feet away.

“Hey.” She says confidently this time, though slightly out of breath. Haruna has just ran through the entire city and up the last few flights of stairs, unsure and following something she doesn’t even understand, to find the cause of something she doesn’t understand, and for a reason she doesn’t understand. Nothing is going to stop her.

Because she likes this person, and if the pauses were all for her, then Haruna has her confirmation that they like her too. Hopefully.

The figure stands up and turns around, dusting off her clothes and the first thing that catches Haruna’s attention is the smile – wide and happy with dimples to accent it. Then Haruna knows that it’s a girl, she’s short, and also beautiful.

“Hey~ I’ve been waiting.”

The voice causes another twinge in Haruna’s chest. And she’s suddenly hit with the realization of what she’s been following this entire time. That indescribable sensation of comfort that feels just right...

Haruna has been following her heart all along.

« Last Edit: December 07, 2018, 10:21:36 PM by Keiyuu »

Offline Keiyuu

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Re: Fate Connects Us All [OS Series] - Stalkee [WMatsui]
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2019, 02:11:59 AM »
Stalkee [WMatsui]

Rena is sitting in the park, minding her own business and just enjoying nature. Life has been hectic for her lately, moving to the city, finding a job that takes up almost all her time and trying to pay rent for an apartment where she lives alone. Her parents had been against the idea at first, saying it was dangerous for their only daughter to live alone in the city like this. She could be robbed, mugged, stalked, raped—any number of things could happen, but Rena convinced them that she would be fine. So she tries to be careful not to attract much attention (not that she’s the type that prefers standing out anyways).

But now that she’s at least a little used to her new lifestyle, some days she has off she prefers to go this quiet little park in the center of town that not many people know about. Maybe it’s due to the playground at the entrance full of rowdy children and rusting metal, but hardly anyone ever makes it farther than that. It’s a closed off space surrounded by tall skyscrapers and concrete seas but once you take a few steps down the path and into the trees, it’s like another world. Rena likes how it’s closed off like that, kind of like her. Though unlike this park, no one had ever tried to venture that deep into her thoughts before.

So when she’s stressed or just wants to take a walk, she always finds herself here somehow. It’s usually in the afternoon like today, with the sunlight spilling through the thin canopy and leaves brushing along the path as she strolls along. Rena recalls that there will be a small open space coming up, there’s a fountain there. It’s a small stone fountain where people throw coins and wishes, benches lining the edges of the expanse for joggers and dog walkers to rest.

There it is. Rena smiles as it comes into view. The soft rippling of the fountain, the light breeze in the air, the fresh scent of nature, it’s so absolutely calming to her.

She briefly wonders how the park looks in the morning as opposed to now, or perhaps at night. At night, the air is probably cooler, she could hopefully see the stars when you usually can’t in the city. She doesn’t have a good enough excuse to come at night though, and it would be dangerous to be out late, but maybe she’ll get to find out someday.

Sitting on the bench she always chooses, Rena just closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, leaning back. Suddenly she feels a little sleepy, she thinks about taking a nap here, but her common sense tells her otherwise. She might catch a cold, or perhaps someone may kidnap her while she’s sleeping but that sleepy feeling is still very alluring. Instead, Rena opens her eyes to snap out of it, losing none of the comfort of the moment though.

But what surprises her when she opens her eyes, is that there’s someone who seems to be heading directly for her. That has never happened before.

She nearly panics until she notices that it’s just another girl. A girl with shoulder length black hair not unlike Rena’s own, and a similar build as well, though no one could be quite as scrawny as Rena due to her genetics. But still, it raises some flags when this girl stops in front of her, right in front of her so that their knees are barely a foot apart.

The girl is looking down, probably at the ground from what Rena can see, but at this distance Rena is almost suffocating with curiosity. She has to know why this girl has approached her.

Does she have something on her face? Was the girl dared to come over and prank her? Did Rena do something wrong? She can’t really tell what it is exactly that would cause a stranger to talk to her like that, though the girl hasn’t said a word yet.

“H-Hi...” The stranger finally speaks.

“Hello...” Rena responds hesitantly. She doesn’t know how to deal with this. So she just decides to wait and see what the girl wants.

“Ano...I’m really sorry first of all, for approaching you so suddenly.”

Rena didn’t expect her to apologize first, but chooses not to interrupt because it seems the girl has a lot to say and not a lot of courage to do so.

“M-My name is Jurina,” She bows a little and introduces herself. Then she straightens up and finally meets Rena’s gaze. “And this will probably sound really really creepy but...well...I’ve been watching you for a while?” She tenses and pauses to see how Rena will react to this, almost like she’s expecting to get yelled at.

But Rena doesn’t do anything. And really, before she can really think of anything to say, the girl starts again.

“I know you don’t know me, but I see you at this park a lot.” She bursts out, as if afraid Rena will suddenly disappear before she finishes. “I mean, I come here to run and stuff so that’s when I first saw you, but you just kinda caught my attention so whenever I come here I end up looking for you. You’re really pretty and I don’t know why but I just catch myself staring sometimes and walking behind you, from um, far away.” The stranger just keeps rambling on like that with her words overflowing. “Again, I know this is really creepy but that’s why I decided to say something before you noticed and started hating me. I just—I,” She takes a deep breath and exhales as calm as Rena’s seen her, and gestures between them. “I feel like I know you.”

Rena immediately stands.

“Wait I’m sorry!” She apologizes again at the action, and thankfully the girl backs up a little bit to give Rena the space to get up as they’re facing each other. She seems terrified that Rena will reject her, and leave before she’s said what she wants to say. But Rena doesn’t want to hear the rest of it.

“I’m sorry, but I’m a little uncomfortable with this right now.” Rena apologizes as well, trying to keep the emotions off her face. Her mind is running at high speeds about all kinds of things, but most overwhelming is a sense of dread makes her want to get out of here right now. Like right now. Here’s the truth - Rena has a stalker. Could it be that her parents were right after all? “And if you don’t mind I need to get home now.”

“O-Oh it’s okay...I’m sorry for all this.” The stranger looks entirely dejected. But Rena can’t bring herself to feel too bad, she does feel sorry for the girl a little bit, but she’s too overwhelmed and is currently panicking.

Rena is scared.

So she just nods her head and starts walking away again at a brisk pace. Rena doesn’t like this park anymore. She doesn’t want to come back again. She feels a little sad at the loss of her favorite place, she never even got to see what the night sky looks like here, but Rena is too afraid of this stranger she just met. This stranger also just happens to have been watching her for a long time now. Rena’s thoughts immediately go dark.

She’s afraid she could be kidnapped, turned into a slave or prostitute, organs sold for money, she could be killed and defiled, or the stalker could just be a normal girl but that could still mean something. It’s always the innocent looking ones that function as bait. Rena has a feeling something will happen, and that this girl is not harmless, but she doesn’t want to find out.

She never thought something like this would happen to her, even if it happens all the time in cities and her parents worry about it. But to her? Someone who never stood out, never had friends or a social life to speak of, never did her makeup or dressed nice except for her job, why her?

And most of all, she’s afraid because she’s seen this girl before. She just doesn’t know where. And that terrifies Rena to no end.

“Wait! Miss!” That familiar voice is calling out to her. Rena is surprised that she recognizes it more than the fact that the girl is following her. Her hopes of simply running away are dashed and suddenly leave her feeling empty.

Rena doesn’t turn back to look and breaks out in a run, she knows she’s being chased. But why? Why does she have to be chased? Why now? When she finally made it to the big city where she can learn and live out her dreams? This was her start and now it’s been ruined by one stalker.

“Wait you forgot something!”

The line does catch her attention for a split second, but the next Rena’s mind tells her that it’s a trick and she runs faster, her shoes pounding on the pavement. She shouldn’t fall for it. This girl has been watching her, observing her every single time she came to the park. This stalker had been there, hiding, in the shadows, without Rena’s knowledge and just the thought sends shivers down her spine.

If she wasn’t so mentally shaken, she would’ve realized she did indeed leave something behind. Rena doesn’t like carrying bags as they are too bulky, but she can’t very well leave home without a wallet so wristlets are perfect. But when she sat down earlier she had let it slip off her wrist and onto the bench - not that she’s noticed. She’s too busy running.

Her mind is clouded and she dashes across the street quickly, if she makes it before the traffic light’s countdown hits zero then she might be safe. Rena’s breathing is already ragged since she’s not the most athletic but a wave of relief hits her when she makes it to the opposite street corner. She almost feels like cheering. The girl can’t cross the street when dozens of cars are coming through.

But Rena miscalculated. She made it with two seconds to spare, and the girl seems to have thought she could make it in that time. At this point, Rena feels safe and chooses to stop and catch her breath, even sneaking a glance backwards but then her breath catches in her throat.

That girl, Jurina is her name, is halfway across the street when a bus hits her. It’s one of those big public buses that take time to stop or to speed up, the driver must’ve seen the street light almost change and chose to keep going, the same way that Jurina chose to keep going. She never even saw it coming.

People scream. Rena doesn’t. She stands frozen as Jurina’s image suddenly disappears, swept away by the bus and the big monster lets out a loud and heavy puff of air as it finally screeches to a halt at an angle, slightly in danger of tipping over the side but bounces back. Everything around her is frozen for a second as people take in the aftermath and shock of what just happened. Rena can’t see Jurina’s body from this angle, but she can see a pool of blood forming, seeping over the black skid marks and under the front tire of the bus. It’s so red, bright red like dye, unlike the dark stain you would see if you got some on your clothes from a small cut or wound.

Then people start moving again. Some rush forward to help, some run away, some pull out their phones, and some, like Rena, just keep standing there without moving even an inch.

The next hour is a blur, Rena can’t remember any details at all. She knows she volunteered to ride in the ambulance with her stalk—with Jurina as it was the least she could do. She is a prime witness after all, and even the cause of the accident. But the entire time, her mind is still frozen at that one point, with one image shining in the back of her eyes.

It was Jurina, one arm raised with Rena’s yellow wristlet in hand, tightly gripping it so she doesn’t drop it while running. Her other hand is reaching forward a little, reaching for Rena and it seems like she might actually catch her, but of course she doesn’t. Jurina’s expression sticks in Rena’s mind with perfect detail. Her hair is blown back as she sprints all out, her face set in a worried expression, worried for Rena when she should’ve been worried for herself. And what is most frightening is Jurina’s eyes. They’re staring right at Rena, almost right into her soul, into her mind, into her thoughts.

Rena doesn’t think she’ll forget this image for the rest of her life.

She spends what feels like days talking to police officers and recounting the event, and a bit of what happened beforehand that led to this. She knows it’s her fault, but the officers reassure her that she won’t be held responsible. That’s not what concerns Rena though, because she is responsible, she is just concerned with how she’ll take responsibility for it.

The only thing she can think of is to visit Jurina every day. So instead of going to the park every day, now she visits the hospital, sometimes a bouquet of flowers in hand when the ones she brought the previous week start to wither. Jurina is in a coma. They don’t know when or if she’ll wake up, but Rena has hope. She has to.

One day, as she’s sitting there, she’s hit with the thought that she and Jurina have ironically switched places. Rena has gone from stalkee to stalker as she’s now the one watching Jurina without the other girl’s knowledge. And the more she watches her, the more she realizes that she judged Jurina too quickly. Rena was just afraid and she let it cloud her judgment. She definitely regrets running away, but she regrets it even more that she didn’t even give the girl a chance.

There are so many things that she wants to say to Jurina, first and foremost she wants to apologize, but she has to wait until the girl wakes up. And she realizes that Jurina doesn’t even know Rena’s name, or else she wouldn’t have called her ‘Miss’ so that’s another topic to add to the list. But eventually, as subtly as possible, Rena starts feeling a little different towards her ‘stalker’. It’s a gradual pull but firm nonetheless, and Rena can’t explain it but she decides not to question it anymore. Last time she hesitated, Jurina ended up like this.

I’ve met her before. The thought hits her like a breath of fresh air.

It’s not until the fourth week that Rena starts growing bolder, sometimes brushing Jurina’s hair or even taking her hand, because by now she has realized that Jurina actually cared about her, enough to run after her without a second thought which Rena reminds herself to reprimand the girl later. Jurina does seem younger than Rena after all, though Rena doesn’t know how old she is exactly, again she’ll have to ask when she wakes up.

But where?

And as slowly as the time passes while she’s sitting at Jurina’s bedside, Rena thinks Jurina looks a little prettier each day. She looks peaceful lying there, not at all like the day a month ago when she was covered in red, her black hair splays over the pillow and Rena likes to think Jurina is smiling just a little.


Day by day, Jurina seems to grow more and more familiar, and day by day, Rena falls a little harder.

She never expected this either, though Rena had an unprecedented fear of it that first day she met the girl. She then wonders if this is how Jurina felt when she was watching Rena from afar like the latter is doing now.

“Good afternoon Rena-san. It’s time for her checkup again.” A nurse steps in and slides the door shut softly.

“Hai.” Rena bows her head and gets up, pulling her seat out of the way. She stands in the corner as Jurina receives her regular checkup, but Rena does notice that it’s a different nurse today - one she hasn’t seen before.

The nurse is tall, with short hair tucked under her nurse’s cap. Rena thinks that she looks unnaturally skinny like Rena herself, but unlike her seems to be the type that would be very fashionable, if she wasn’t forced to wear the standard white nurse’s uniform.

“It seems everything is normal. We’re still unsure as to when she’ll wake up, but if we’re lucky it could be soon.” The nurse finishes writing her notes on the clip board and smiles at Rena. It unnerves her somehow, that smile. It felt like the day Jurina approached her, but even more uneasy and inexplicable.

“Hai, thank you.” Rena bows gratefully nonetheless.

“No problem, it’s my job.” The nurse brushes it off, but then taps the pen to her chin seemingly in thought. “But you have good instincts, don’t you? You’re already nervous around me.”

“E-Eh? What do you mean?” Rena inquires in confusion. “Wait and what about my ‘instincts’?”

The lady only smiles, or maybe smirk is more like it. “I mean your instincts when it comes to people. Like how you meet someone for the first time but it feels like you’ve met them before. Most people wouldn’t be able to remember or act upon that feeling, let alone trust it. Or maybe instinct isn’t the right word. Hmm...Memory, maybe?”

She’s never met this nurse before, Rena’s sure. Not like she’s met Jurina.

“But nevermind that~ Anyways, as I said, if you’re lucky then Jurina-chan might wake up soon.” The tall nurse adds a wink along with her smile. “Make sure to answer her properly when she wakes up okay?”

And then she takes her leave just like that, Rena feeling more confused than ever. Seriously, how does the nurse know that much about her?

But Rena doesn’t have time to think anymore as shuffling from the bed catches her immediate attention. She rushes over as Jurina groans, eyebrows furrowing and Rena resumes her spot right at her bedside, though this time leaning over the girl impatiently careful not to let her hair touch the girl.

“Jurina?” She says hopefully.

And her hopes are answered when Jurina’s eyes blink open. She blinks a few more times, adjusting to the light before she finally turns her head and her eyes then land on Rena, which is what Rena has been waiting for. It’s the third time that their gazes have met and the happiest time for Rena.

For Jurina too, as she cracks a smile.

It’s then that everything makes sense. The dread that was in Rena’s heart wasn’t dread after all.

It’s hope.

How could I have ever forgotten? The smile that burns bright as a thousand suns.

“H-Hi...” Jurina’s voice is a little hoarse from lack of use.

“Hello...” And Rena still doesn’t know how to respond, but she smiles too, and it’s a start. A new start. They have a chance now. Suddenly, the random thought comes into her head that she should visit that park again. Rena still wants to see what the night sky looks like from there, and now she thinks she wants to take Jurina there too. There she can tell Jurina all the things she’s been saving for the last month (how sorry she is, how pretty Jurina is, how she has the strange inkling they might’ve met in another life, another time) and Rena’s heart races just at the thought. She has an excuse to go now, and it won’t be dangerous. Rena won’t be afraid.

Not when Jurina is with her.

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