Chapter 39:

Fair Approaching

Couple That Can't Touch

A tiring week followed after Suzuka's and I's first day of practice. Class, club, then practice at my house every day. There was hardly any time left for ourselves. We even had to skip the experiments that Kawahara-san wanted to do during the week because of how tired we were.

When the last weekend before the Club Fair arrived, we decided to meet at the usual park in our free time before we needed to part for club activities. I arrived first, followed by Suzuka not long after. Kawahara-san and Tarō-san arrived together in a taxi a few minutes later.

"Good morning," Kawahara-san greeted. Tarō-san—beside her—waved as they walked towards Suzuka and me sitting on a bench.

"Hi," Suzuka smiled. "How were your weeks?"

"They were fun and tiring," Tarō-san responded. "I had to make lots of paintings. And I learned a few things about shot composition."

"Shot composition? Isn't that for recording movies?" I asked.

"Well, yeah. But I want to do the best work possible for this."

I still doubt it's necessary, but who am I to stop him?

"You're in the Art Club, Tarō?" Suzuka asked.

He nodded. "I am."

"Oh," Suzuka uttered in surprise. "Do you remember when you bumped into Koji on the stairs?"

"I do. It was the first time we had met. I got somewhat nervous because of the rumors about him being a jerk, so I walked away without saying anything."

The rumors got that far that quickly, huh?

"Well, it was actually me in his body."

"Wait, really? You started body-swapping that long ago?"

Suzuka nodded. "Yep. I wanted to ask you about it at the time, but I was too focused on acting like Koji. You like making origami?"

His eyes widened yet his smile never disappeared.

"No, no, no. I'm in the Art Club to paint. That's what I like."

"Come on, it's not like we'll make fun of it. The origami you dropped looked so cool and pretty! Do you have more?"

Tarō-san stayed silent for a moment, exchanging glances with the three of us. He moved his backpack in front of him and looked for something inside. He took out a pencil case and opened it. A few, tiny, origami figures were cramped inside. We stared at them in surprise. They looked simple, but they probably weren't easy to make.

"See? I told you they were cool and pretty," Suzuka said.

"They are," I added.

Tarō-san's smile turned into a grin.

"You never told me about this," Kawahara-san said.

I can't tell if she's upset, disappointed, or indifferent.

"Sorry. It's just that people in elementary and middle school made fun of me because of it. That's why I joined the Art Club when high school started. I like art in general and I heard it was cool. I also stopped making origami in public."

"Did it work?" I asked.

"Yes. People gradually started ignoring me."

I don't know if that's better.

"Well, I'm glad you didn't stop completely," Suzuka continued. "Even so, I'm sure no one would've made fun of you in Kasen."

"Yeah, I'm just realizing that," Tarō-san giggled. "That's why I dropped my origami when we bumped into each other. I'm slowly getting back into making them in public again."

"Great!" Suzuka smiled. "What about your week, Kawahara?"

She had continued to stare at the origami until she got asked. Then she looked at Suzuka to answer.

"I was finally able to make a decent report with your pulse readings from this week."

After experimenting the previous week, Kawahara-san told us that she didn't have any data to compare against. She made us wear the wristbands at random times during the following week to gather the necessary data.

She took a bunch of stapled papers out of her backpack and handed them to me. I skimmed through the few pages. There were multiple graphs and numbers indicating our BPM and comparing it against each other's. I couldn't make anything out of it.

"My conclusion is that there's no direct relation between your pulse and the swapping. There might be a correlation, however. Since you are in a completely different body that doesn't belong to you, it's normal that you will be defensive during any social interaction, making your pulse raise."

Suzuka and I stared at her and then at each other.

"In short, we get nervous," I summarized. "The swapping itself doesn't make our pulse raise."

"Correct," Kawahara replied. "I'm still working with very little data, but it's unlikely that your pulse is related. Which means that we won't need to worry about it. Which means that we should go to the next step."

Oh no.

She put the papers back inside her backpack and took out what resembled the wristbands, but bigger.

"These are headbands. Once you put them on your head, they will begin recording the electrical signals in your brain."

"Really?" Suzuka asked, shocked.

Kawahara-san nodded. "Sadly, they are of bad quality. Their range is quite small, which will make it difficult to find subtle details. Still, I hope it is enough for our experiment."

She handed the two headbands to Suzuka and me. I stared down at it. Well, at least it's not another social experiment.

"Please go ahead and put them on your head."

Suzuka and I complied. I stretched it a little and wrapped it around the upper side of my head, going around my forehead and above my ears.

"It's quite tight," Suzuka said.

"Perfect," Kawahara-san replied. "The tighter it is, the closer to your brain it is, therefore it will record the data better. Now touch yourselves."

"Kawahara-san, we already went through this," I said.

As we already silently decided, I let Suzuka touch my hand. Once again, Kawahara-san asked us questions about different topics as the five minutes passed. We fell asleep and we were instantly awoken.

Kawahara-san took the phone from Tarō-san's hand and stared intently at the screen. Surprisingly, I could finally read an emotion in her face; amazement.

"Did something happen?" Suzuka—in my body—asked her.

"It did. I will need to give it a better reading later but, from what I can see now, even the electric signals in your brains have swapped."

"What?" I let out.

I stood up and approached Kawahara-san. Suzuka did the same.

"This is Araki Koji-kun's graph," Kawahara-san said. "Notice the waves before eleven past eight."

Then she slid her finger on the screen to change to another graph.

"And this is Kozue Suzuka-san's graph. Notice the waves before eleven past eight."

"They are entirely different," I said.

"Correct. But if we extend the readings only by one minute…"

The waves in both graphs suddenly spiked at the exact same time and changed their strength. However, the weird part was that, after the spike, my graph looked very similar to Suzuka's one before the spike and vice versa.

"It's as if they… got swapped?" I said, confused.


"I don't know about brain waves and that stuff, but isn't that weird?" Suzuka asked.

"It is practically unexplainable. This could be essential to find more information about the swapping. It could even help to find a cure."

"I just hope we don't need brain surgery," Suzuka giggled. "We won't, right?"

"At this rate, anything could be possible."

Suzuka let out a long breath. "What's next, then?"

"I won't make the same mistake. Just like with the wristbands, we will run this experiment through the following week. You will take the headbands home and wear them every night."

"Won't that be uncomfortable?" I asked.

"The tightness might be. But you don't need to worry about breaking it, they are meant to be used while sleeping."

"Do we need the app that you showed us just now?" Suzuka asked.

"It's not required. The recording automatically begins when it detects it has been put on a head. The data is stored internally and can be accessed at any time."

"I see," Suzuka replied. She looked at me. "I guess we will see the results during the fair."

"You're right. We should get going before it gets too late," I said.

"Your bodies are still swapped," Kawahara-san interrupted.

"Oh, right. What will we do for the next thirty minutes?"

We chatted for the following thirty minutes. There wasn't much to say, so the topics kept running out, making us talk about the past. Then we swapped back to our bodies. Unlike the previous times, we were able to do it on the first try, giving Kawahara-san a better reading of the swapping cooldown.

Since we were all together, Yoshimura-san drove us to the school. It wasn't as crowded as a normal weekday; everyone could arrive at any hour they wanted to without problems—as long as their club allowed it. As we got out of the car, some people stared at us. Just then I realized that it was the first time that I had come to school with that many friends.

We all separated to go to our clubs. Kawahara-san and I walked together to the Cooking Club kitchen. We arrived a little later than the agreed-upon time.

"You're late," Yasue-sensei said as we stood at the door; he didn't seem happy.

After a moment of him staring at us, he let us in. We headed to our spot and began practicing the menu. On the first day of the fair, the Cooking Club was going to show food made by the best members. Obviously, I wasn't chosen for that. On the second day, everyone was split into two groups; cooks and waiters. After half of the day, they would swap the groups, giving everyone the chance to cook.

"Will you make Kozue Suzuka-san try your food?" Kawahara-san asked me.

Where did that question come from?

"That would be great. Why?"

"Make sure not to use mustard. She's allergic to it."

"I know. I doubt she would order something with it."

"The menu doesn't show the ingredients. During the first-year fair, she ordered something that had mustard by accident. She instantly got ill and wasn't able to return to school for a week."

"I didn't know it was that bad. I'll make sure of it, thanks for the advice. What about you? Will you make Tarō-san try your food?"

"Yes. I have trust in his reviews."

I didn't expect an answer that straightforward. It seems that she already asked him for many opinions.

Patreon iconPatreon iconMyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon