Chapter 3:

Shared Selfishness

The Premonition Winter Gave Me


Both high school students walked slowly in the empty corridor. The echo of their footsteps resembled the beating of a rhythmic heart being squeezed like the leaves of a dry autumn tree, through its withered veins at the hands of an innocent child. With the sensation of the papers in her fingertips, Kanon couldn't stop thinking that the tower of information that she carried in her arms was a weight more to carry in her body next to the thousands that she had in her interior. Hanae's figure was beside her, lost in her own world, crushing the favor she was asked to with her chin as she feared that some winter windy blast would decide to play with them, scattering the papers like artificial snowflakes floating between them. Kanon's soul wandered in a thread because of the cold, wishing to curse, preventing the drops caused by sweat from staining the papers. Hanae blew a bit of air upwards, trying to fix a rebellious brown lock that had escaped her pink hair accessory. Her dedication was enough to make the blond smile, her hat jumping as she moved towards her final destination.

The door of the student council was alien to Kanon. She had never thought to be in front of this, except with some company. The few times she had walked through this corridor had been to escape the daily life that she repelled with a bubble composed of a falsehood that insisted on believing as the truth. Her arms would fall asleep due to the position she was in, a slight itching opening its way so that, eventually, cause all sensitivity to escape. If Hanae was experiencing the same thing, she chose to check the face of that girl who had shaken her world with simple phrases, gestures and so on, thanks to the constant visits from her, due to the sullen cat who refused to treat her master well. Losing herself in that captivating peach from Hanae, the lips of a pale cherry, Kanon realized that she was biting them. Drops of water ran down Hanae's temple, her eyebrows straight from the effort she made to keep the piles of papers she carried all the way. Kanon avoids letting out a sigh by being unable to offer to help her a little more, given that if she was already struggling with her own, carrying Hanae's would be worse, besides risking them to fall and end up hurting her. It was enough for Kanon to take a little stress off her.

Now all that remained was to open the door.

Hanae took a small leap, settling down. The chestnut haired girl closed her eyes, making a gesture of determination, readty to open the only obstacle between them and their goal. The blond with that spot next to the secrets that they keep between the two, put her back a lot straighter to, in a certain way, try to open with her foot the sliding door. Of course, the task would not be easy for Kanon. First, the simple act of helping Hanae and walking to the council was a difficult task. She never thought to offer to help her after seeing her suffer when she returned from the teachers' room. Hanae swallowed, while her cinnamon eyes reflected the sun's rays dilated in her pupils.

I can do this!

But before Kanon could extend her foot, shrieks from the other side baffled them. They were perplexed, surprised, and at the same time frightened by those screams of suffering and complaint that escaped. Kanon began to doubt that she had definitely been involved more than necessary. She wanted to spend her last year as a student similar to a stain on the wall, or a wallflower, which she had achieved the previous years and part of the current one. An extra character. Someone nonexistent, with simple desires to graduate and follow a tiny dream similar to her presence. She didn't want to excel. She didn't want to attract attention. That's why she used the hat. That's why her personality is sullen in class. That's why she let her hair grow to cover her face more, her golden strands causing her neck itching by being relatively long, even more than Hanae's. That embarrassed her.

Innocently she thought that, if in some future she had a girlfriend, her only requirement would be that she had short hair because, before her eyes, she would look out of place when she was the other way around.

During her silent monologue, the girl who lit up her world a few times, opened the door with her foot in a violent way, stealing her breath. She had the same idea, except that it did not cross her mind that she would perform an act that took the personality, the act, the mask she presented to others at school out of a painting. Kanon was hurt, but at the same time she was grateful that that moment was hers alone, with no witnesses in the corridor. She flashed a victorious smile to herself, making the sound of the door crashing into the frame resound mercilessly throughout the area. Once the light of the student council entered them, the scene that awaited them was out of this world.

"S-S-Sonoko-san! Sonoko-san! The scissors, the scissors!"

Raven hair was squandered on the floor around the victim who exclaimed the name of his assailant. Her characteristic lavender was held by a long ponytail, making the back of her neck shine, the winter uniform accentuating her beautiful figure, a long shadow falling at the feet of Kanon and Hanae. In her delicate peach skin, slight wrinkles arose thanks to her sinister smile, which caused fear in Kanon, while Hanae just kept moving towards the interior of the council, ignoring the screams of the boy sitting against his will in a chair. The amber eyes of the President of the Student Council were closed while she cut right and left with both hands the most precious possession of a boy who stood out for his kindness.

"Y'know Fuyuta-kun,  you would definitely fit the uniform for girls. You'd rock it" pronounced the lavander haired girl while momentarily left her hairdressing session, lowering her voice a little to imagine the man dressed in that garment.

"I told you I'm not going to use it!" He remarks in annoyance, raising his indigo eyes during a move of Sonoko's position, arranging her glasses and then continuing to cut the volume of hair a little more.

Kanon just remained frozen in her place, static. Her face had no expression to make known the strange mixture of sensations that those two generated. Certainly, he knew Sonoko Higashimura as the president by name alone, seen her profile when she visited Hanae to ask for some extra favors (which she now sees justified given that there are not many hands on the council) and that ephemeral, momentary and shameful moment with the fence weeks ago (now that Kanon thought about it, almost a month ago) to go and buy Milky's food. For her part, Hanae kept walking, even without saying hello, ignoring the show that was taking place, making it look like something mundane in her cinnamon eyes.

"Why? Your face is small and you have silky hair... it really bothers me" throwing a face full of envy towards no one in particular, during a supposed praise prayer, Sonoko continued to cut with more violence.

A piece, which seemed like it for Kanon, fell hard to the ground, indicating that the kidnapped boy had lost much of his hair.

"Aaaah, you're very obvious about it! My roots hurt!" he complains, screeching at the girl.

I never thought I'll see those two in this way. Akizuki-kun of the other class is very reserved but, he gets along well with everyone. I imagined that Higashimura-san was a girl who moved everyone under her own will but, I would never believe the relationship between these two. Except that Akizuki-kun would open up in that way to someone and express everything he feels.

"I envy him"

The murmur of a girl immersed in a world of false dreams through inks and blots was lost in the show.

"Oh, but what an exaggeration ..." says the lavender haired girl, still cutting with both scissors without looking at him with her eyes closed, unconcerned but, at the same time, with a chilling joy.

"No more! You're making an unpleasant sound" he kept complaining, sensing that something was not quite right.

"Isn't it? But what a wonderful climate, is not it?" seemingly, the conversation did not get anywhere thanks to Sonoko.

"A conversation that does not make sense is scary!" still squeezing his eyes, Fuyuta had stopped fighting and chose to ignore the hair that was still falling.

Once the chestnut girl who shook the monochrome world of Kanon Tachikawa released the papers on the table, those guys who had two different talks returned to reality, like her, remembering that her arms were falling asleep thanks to the amount of sheets that she was carrying. The amber eyes of the president of the student council found the intruder, stopping. Fuyuta sighed, staring up at the ceiling, silently thanking that his torture was over. Taking advantage of the president's dismissal, he noticed a certain unknown presence: the future writer.

Who, by the way, walked with a poker face just like Hanae.

"Hanae-chan!" Sonoko released the scissors, running towards the youngest in a matter of seconds, crushing her face in her chest. "How long have you been here? Thank you very much for the help! I'm sorry if we're overloading you. After all, it's just the two of us."

She pointed to a distant Fuyuta, the indicated one apologizing for being the focus of attention once more.

"It's no biggie for me, happy to help" she shied away from the unwanted hug, to finally point out the strands of hair on the floor. "Remember to clean up this mess before leaving."

"Yup, yup! I know I'm clueless, Hanae-chan" she laughs nonchalantly, scratching a finger at her cheek.

Manai-san is a good girl. It's easy for her to make many friends, unlike me...

"Run while you still can, Tachikawa-san"

Fuyuta Akizuki's voice baffled her, almost making her release the papers she still did not leave somewhere. Due to the commotion, she had forgotten her true objective, returning when she recognized that, indeed, she was in the Student Council. A place that in her three years of high school had not entered and never believed she would. Hanae Manai had entered her bubble, breaking it little by little, without her noticing, bringing it closer to a warm light that did not burn, but rather transmitted an unknown feeling in her heart. Kanon raised her face, doing her best to meet Fuyuta's gaze.

"You will not want to end up like me," he said depressed. "I'm going to miss my little ponytail."

"But that cut suits you, Akizuki-kun," Kanon smiled, doing her best to start a conversation like any seventeen-year-old girl.

"I agree with what you say but, she should never find out" he conceals an evident blush while watching his nightmare. He narrowed his eyes in relief, placing a hand on his chest. "I'm counting on you."

"Um. Sure"  stuttered the girl with two shades of hair, hidden by the hat." What did you mean with I have to run while I still can...?"

When the exact words wanted to escape from the prison in which the raven haired boy had placed them, the conversation between Sonoko and Hanae was over. The president's ear lifted up, recognizing a voice she had never heard before. In a certain corner of her long-term memory it sounded familiar but, at the same time, almost the product of a dream. A certain event appeared blurred in her mind, which she decided to ignore. Hanae looked sideways, quickly becoming a reproach, in the end finalizing in suspicion mixed with anguish. Her heart squeezed without knowing the reason. Hanae bit her lip, unhappy with the situation and, for some reason, Kanon realized without understanding. Little did she care, the famous why. She only wanted to remove, remove that expression from the face that gave light to her dark soul every afternoon of the week.

"Ohhhh!" exclaimed the upperclassman, picking up the scissors from the ground like lightning to go to the blond who all her year despises for having a dark and suspicious attitude.

Sonoko placed her face with curiosity in front of Kanon's, the latter one averting her eyes given the shame. Not knowing whether it was coincidence or not, she could feel two cold looks directed at her person. One came from her left, while the other faced him from the right. Hanae's face had taken a drastic turn, one he secretly observes in the Manai apartment whenever Milky does something undesirable or a mischief like ripping furniture or climbing over what the brunette had cleaned seconds before. Kanon sweated cold, which she had rarely done. It was an unpleasant but, at the same time, comforting sensation. She had never experienced murderous emotions without feeling bad. Looks that wanted to eliminate her, but not with the hatred he had always experienced.

That made her laugh.

Could it be that Manai-san is interested in that sense towards Higashimura-san? Akizuki-kun gives me a very similar vibe. For him it must be because I'm a simple intruder. In any case, I did not believe Manai-san had interests of that kind, I will take it into consideration...

Kanon blushed slightly.
"Your face is familiar to me ..." Sonoko raised her eyebrows behind her glasses, resembling two delicate worms on her forehead. Kanon had to contain a laugh.

A laugh that was immediately blocked by remembering that detail almost a month ago.Her face became whiter than the papers she was carrying, struggling to keep them in her arms when she wanted to collapse.

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When jumping to the sidewalk, a girl who knew through observations, since she visited Hanae constantly, watched her after doing her acrobatics. Her lavender hair was swaying in the wind, her amber eyes shining behind her glasses. Her breath was cut after seeing an unknown and attractive figure, while she was frightened to death to be seen with her true appearance. After hitting the ground, she started running after avoiding falling on top of her.

"The cat!" She shouted as he disappeared.

"The cat?" The new girl was confused, loneliness remained as she meditated on those words, believing that it was some code. Be that as it may, she did not know there was such a handsome and unusual girl in school. "I wonder what year she's in..."

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Hanae Manai swallowed saliva. The liquid did not manage to appease the ardor that was generating inside her throat. Certainly, the closeness between her best friend and that girl who unexpectedly had become part of her life, irritated her. She had never experienced ill feelings towards anyone, except her cat, but that's another story. Remembering the conversation she had with Kanon in her living room, knowing that Sonoko saw that side of him that was hers alone, had devastated her inside. She could have acted as carelessly as Kanon told her, letting it be unpleasant but, her paper heart sank into a pool of misery momentarily, struggling to return to the light that characterizes her. Kanon represented a hope she had not been able to imagine. Something that encouraged her to continue. Something to wait for. Every day she returned to the solitude of her home, with a cat that did not purr in her presence. Now, every time she arrived late for some reason at school, some words always received her, rumbling in her head like a gentle melody from a lullaby played by a loving mother:

                                                                         Welcome home.

She remembered the smell of miso soup entering the hall, waiting for her at the table. A dinner for two. A dinner prepared by the clumsy girl who only offers to cut vegetables. Sure, she was surprised by its delicious taste, Kanon confessing nervously that it had been instantaneous.

Still, it was lukewarm. I want that warmth to return.

He imagined the broth slipping down her throat, going to her sunken heart like an imaginary rope. Little by little it was spreading, going by this organ that caused a myriad of emotions in human beings, leading them to commit all kinds of acts. For a moment, her heart oscillated between darkness and light.

I wanted that side of Kanon to be only mine. A secret between both of us.

"Oh, well," she mumbled to herself, looking upwards. She could becoem selfish later.

Kanon doesn't belong to anyone. I can't demand her to be only mine.

"You look so much like her ..." thought Sonoko loudly. Kanon quickly shook her face, leaving that detail aside. However, she did not separate from her. Sonoko's fingers extended to the golden strands that hung from her neck, almost reaching her shoulders as she let it grow to hide her presence little by little, starting with her face. A macabre smile was drawn on the girl, taking from Kanon almost, a cry of sheer terror at seeing how Sonoko began to open and close the scissors that she carried in each hand. "Uhuhuhu ... your hair is long. Let me cut it!"

Now I understand the first words that Akizuki-kun told me.

Hanae burst out laughing. For his part, Fuyuta breathed a sigh of relief. Kanon was confused by the two contrasting reactions, ignoring the nightmare that was in front of her.Bookmark here

"Just let me take off that hat..."

Her attention returned to the lavender haired girl tied in a tail in a matter of seconds.The brunette immediately stopped laughing. Her face could resemble a stone, something that almost puzzled Kanon. At the same time, she was grateful to see another facet of her beloved Manai-san. Grateful that it is only she who sees it, given that Fuyuta had closed his eyes, giving a small thanks to no one in particular, that Sonoko had changed her target of torture. Even so, Kanon began to meditate what excuse to give. She could start by mentioning that her arms were on the verge of having a cramp from the weight. Yes, that could be.

"My ... my ... my hair is sensitive! It is very susceptible to falling off!" she exclaimed with closed eyes, losing the expression of extreme confusion of the girl in front of her.

"Yeah, that's right!  That's why you can't take off that hat! Can you imagine having a rain of more hair on the floor? You don't want to clean up any more, right, Sonoko?"

The words that escaped Hanae's lips were a relief for Kanon. Her sapphire eyes opened up, shining with overflowing joy without understanding the reason.

"Hm... It would be a problem" she meditated while crossing her arms, and tilting her face. "Right, Hanae-chan. How do you know that?"

"Um! I ... well ..."


"Manai-san knocked my hat down once!" Kanon still didn't believe how she was following the flow, both minds running in the same direction without any restraint.
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"Yes! You have no idea how much hair came off her head. He could have put on a wig ... it was very unpleasant" finished the brunette with cinnamon eyes.

"I see. What a shame" infatuated, Sonoko turns her back on Kanon.

In the distance, Hanae and Kanon exchanged a look of encrypted messages that they themselves did not understand.

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After avoiding the crisis of the century in the eyes of both girls who carried out an internal struggle against their true identities within their paper hearts, they returned to classes with total normality. The flow of time became eternal, both yearning for the same end of the day without knowing it from each other. The atmosphere that Kanon found heavy, oppressive, like superficial razor-sharp blades, unlike the real ones that tormented her life, diminished her negativity. Hanae's scent came to her side, causing her to see it in her own clothes. The cushion she used to sit on, the moments that they stuck shoulder to shoulder as she read her story, the momentary brush between their fingers as she loaded the shopping bags. Hanae's vanilla perfume was part of her existence. Kanon could feel it in every corner, recognize it miles away. She hid a smile, placing her back straight. Hanae was absorbed in the teacher's lessons, making her studious side shine. Kanon wanted to be at her level, not just the girl with a two in Japanese and outstanding grades in Health.

Hanae had incorporated people into her life. Her limited circle of friends had become part of her. Vague memories tormented Kanon's mind, remembering black spaces of solitude when she saw joined hands, excluding her. Excluding her throughout her life for reasons that have logical explanations and natural causes. Love dies a certain day. Without prior notice it may cease to exist but, for children, that anomaly that the blonde had with the rest of them was something different. In these children's minds, concentrated in words of adults who do not understand, based on commercial and stereotyped images, the different it is bad. Therefore, it must be removed. Kids with single mothers were an anomaly.

How does childhood work? Why must growing up be so painful?

A delicate origami swan came to his folder. The hands that saved him little by little narrowed, retreating in slow motion towards his mistress. A smile that pacified the demons that eat away at their existence dissipated in that instant. He shook his face, then lost himself in the infinite blue of the sky. That art of folding paper always saved him in the worst moments.

"I hope that for the next class, you have in your heads the terms of each kanji, and their stroke order as well. That's all for today."

After the teacher retired, the bustle took over the classroom, the social butterflies going from carpet to carpet, from person to person, word of mouth spreading rumors and despicable lies behind the others, reigning hypocrisy in each of them. Be false cupids, false smiles, false hopes, false lights, that was their way of life. They fed on empty words, which Kanon had witnessed throughout her life. She looked down at the origami swan, ignoring her dark thoughts.

"Guys, have you already filled out your papers?" the voice of a friend of Hanae called her attention. "Hanamin, with your notes you must be pointing to a good university, right?"

"Oh... um, yeah."

Manai-san?

Kanon heard instability in his voice.

"You filled yours yet, Imaizumi?" The student continued.

"Nope" he answers in a carefree tone. "And how come Hanae-chan gets a cute nickname like Hanami and I'm stuck with my surname? Even Hanae-chan calls me by my name."

"I wonder" replied the girl.

"Izuno, you should take this more seriously" replies Hanae, her face on the table. "Tachikawa, have you written anything down?

Kanon observed a sheet that every student fears. A paper about her future. Certainly, they were in the theird year but at the start of it but, the high school wished to have their ideas from before and go advising them through the year. He watched her,  and decided.

"I think I'm going to help my mother with out library business."

"Oh!" the pink haired girl who was always with Hanae clasped her hands in amazement.

"You are determined, incredible" said Izuno.

"Hanamin, are we going to change?" the member of the circle that Hanae had been coupling her life approached the aforementioned. Her pastel pink hair hypnotized many men of her year, including older and younger.

"True, we have physical education," she answered, enlisting her things. "All right, Kozue."

"Hanae, do you think you can lend me your Japanese notes later?" The charismatic voice of the other member of the group appeared, standing next to the girl as he placed a hand on her shoulder.

"Izuno... when are you going to copy from the board?" she smiled, giving her best to contain the annoyance. "Besides, I know someone who needs them a little bit more than you do. I'm sorry, really."

Kanon was the only one to notice the change of emotions in Hanae, surprising himself. Even so, he did not realize that she was referring to her with that last sentence.

"I tried. My defeat was noble, at least" sighed the black haired guy, scratching the back of his head.

The blond gave her best to repel the warmth that Hanae offered her with the friends that, little by little, had begun to take her side. The celestial gaze of Kozue Shida and the seriousness that Izuno Imaizumi sometimes gave her heart, making her feel soft and sweet, did not stop shaking her. Especially when the girl who constantly confuses her about her own feelings gave her a touching smile. A smile that Kanon wanted to capture in a wooden box and lock it under lock and key. The faint light that radiated clouded its darkness. That emotion fell when, suddenly, she remembered the name of the subject of physical education had escaped from the lips of the pink haired student.

Oh God.

Standing up, he goes to Hanae. The girl felt Kanon's fingers softly through her winter blouse against her shoulder. She had only felt it this close in the solitude of her home. That touch generated warmth in her heart, robbing her of a smile that the individual who treated as a suspect in their first meeting longed to treasure. The wind snatched them away like a simple autumn leaf from a tree. Something important had to happen to Kanon to come to Hanae that way in school. She adjusted her hair, her hands giving against her mid-short hair. In that instant she took the notion of the difference between the sizes.

Kanon's hair was longer than hers.

"Manai-san ... Manaii-san ..." she whispered like a little girl who had just committed some mischief. "I'm in serious trouble."

"What's the matter, Tachikawa?" looking at her, she tried to understand her message.

"Come, come."

Hanae did not understand how, in a matter of seconds, they were close to each other behind a curtain. The window was open, giving it a slight chill. The winter breeze was refreshing. Taking the sheets to the student council must have made her sweat more than necessary, and she felt somewhat guilty. She sighed silently, ready for the blond's problem with that black stain in her hair.

"What should I do with this?"

Lifting her blouse, Hanae did not act like an ordinary girl. Normally, this act would cause blushes in a person of the opposite gender. Not in a girl. However, for her, it did not happen. Although, she silently wished it happened and had no idea of why she wished for something like that, having Kanon's flat chest exposed to her cover by a cute white bra with a pink ribbon.

Rather, her face turned white due to the surprise.

Scars circled Kanon's torso. Some closed, others open. Reddish crusts that indicated their improvement, others that came off. They roamed and roamed, from left to right. Her body had been transformed into a palette, the wounds being the colors that painted her existence. The small light known as Hanae placed both hands on her mouth, looked up and saw the sapphire  eyes that, if it were not for her personality at school, would captivate thousands of men.

"What is this?"

"You see..." slightly looking away, Hanae could feel Kanon's heart beating a thousand beats per second. "I had a slight accident in a stationery store."

"..."

"Manai-san?" Kanon blinked at not hearing any response.

"Slight accident?" she emphasized, clasping her arms. "Where did you do that?"

"I kept looking at some typewriters, especially a model that I would like to have. I was distracted looking for the price and well ..." hiding her eyes with the shadow of the hat, she murmured the last thing. "... I fell on top of a pencils and pens counter."

Kanon says it as if it were something obvious. Although I see it likely, given how distracted this girl is. She dyed her hair for his typewriter, for God's sake!

"... you're kidding me, right?"

"I'm serious, Manai-san!" hiding the light pink that formed on her cheeks, Kanon lowered her blouse.

"I really ... I do not know if you're someone amazing or just an idiot ..." and clumsly holding a cheerful laugh, Hanae contagiously amazes Kanon by making her laugh as well. "I'm afraid to leave you alone for a single moment."

"Ehehe" Kanon gave a soft giggle, amused by Hanae's words.

"You're right they would be a problem. The P.E uniform is quite see through. What are you thinking on doing?"

"I don't know yet but, I'll think of something."

Both girls behind the transparent curtain in the classroom had shared something special. Something else that united them even though they did not realize it. Two curious glances were directed at both, perplexed and stunned by their closeness. Kanon was unfriendly, a great contrast like a black spot in Hanae's golden world. Kozue placed her hands under her chin, then tilted her head. Izuno was sitting on top of the desk, watching them cautiously. The girls, who were not subject to reproach, continued their private talk about clumsiness, ink, writing and errors.

"Since when do those two get along so well?" Asked the girl with pastel pink hair, then lost interest when she saw her friend smiling behind the curtain. "Oh well."

"Hm..." was the ony comment from the tan skinned boy.

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"Skipping class?"

A voice that had seldom made its way into Kanon Tachikawa's ears appeared at his side. She was on the roof, watching how small people looked from the height. Only more stains in this world, working ants to survive, oblivious to being observed by superior forces that they can not control. When they spoke to her, she felt that those words were superior to her, just as she felt when observing the students following the class she should be attending.

"Imaizumi-kun... yes, it could be said. You too?"

Izuno stood beside her, leaning on the railing that separated life from death. Kanon looked up at the sky, the presence of the tan skinned boy shaking her world. Since she started interacting with Hanae, definitely, many more people were trying to enter his bubble.

"Yes. I son't see any point in physical education class, unless it's just soccer."

"Mmm."

The silence was terrifying to Kanon. In the first place, she felt that her answer had been very empty, although she had a very clear reason. Izuno had never spoken to her in these three years of school, and that to the seventeen-year-old girl was overwhelming. The only person with whom chat was casual was Hanae, except that more at home than in class but, it was with who she had opened to. The fact that the carefree brunette approached him was a tangle of sensations impossible to describe. They were both joy and fear. The last being thanks to a past that Kanon wanted to forget. Shadows surrounded her, people leaving her. Suffering and jokes.

"What's your relationship with Hanae?"

Crossing his arms behind his neck, Izuno gives Kanon a suspicious look.

"Huh?" Raising her face, since she had him leaning between her arms on the railing, her eyes expressed wonder at the question. "What do you mean by that?"

-"Are you two dating?"

"N-No! No!" stunned, Kanon backs away, waving her arms in denial. "That would be impossible."

After all, I do not think we would make a good couple. We do not fit at all. We are like two wrong pieces of the same puzzle.

"Yes, you're right" smiling, with no evil in his words, Izuno looks at the girl with the hat. "Just promise me you won't hurt her."

"Hurt?"

Izuno didn't answer, trying to hide his face with his rebel bangs. An idea made its way into Kanon's head, highlighting an innate characteristic of her.

"Could it be that ... Imaizumi-kun, do you like Manai-san?" Disappointed, she launched a question that usually brings shame to escape someone's lips.

"Ah?" The boy known for being irresponsible recoiled, scared to be so sudden while he pretended that an obvious blush took hold of his face. "What's that question?

Izuno blinked, not understanding the reaction.

"If it were like that, is there a problem?" He muttered, running over his words.

"So you do like it, Manai-san? I guessed? Is that why you're worried about me hurting her? Although ... it gives me some pity because Manai-san would not notice a boy..."

Now it was Izuno's turn to react strangely.

Is he an idiot or what? Kanon has an innate innocent insensitivity. And why is that that Hanae would not notice a boy? Is she declaring war at me? Is that it? Although...

"It's not that! Just like you, I only see her as a friend!" with his back to her, he crosses his arms across his chest." It's just ... you'll see, I met her brother in elementary school. We were part of the same soccer club then, I feel it is my duty to protect Hanae. That's why I must watch you, just like my uperclassman would do ... like a brother."

"Hm? Why watch me...?"

She doesn't get the point, does she!?

"Okay, I give up" sighing, he places a hand on his forehead, turning around to look at Kanon.

Indeed, Kanon didn't understand obvious hints. Being true to her words, Izuno moves the finger of his unoccupied hand, pointing to it.

"Changing the subject, why do you wear the winter uniform in the middle of summer? Are not you hot? I mean, even if it's winter now of all times, you do wear it during summer."

"N-No..." Kanon looks away. "I'm hypersensitive to the cold."

"Your own body betrays you!" Izuno shouted. "Wait ... do not tell me you have scars or something. I'm sorry if it's that, it's something imprudent on my part."

Kanon's eyes turned white, causing her to embrace the physical education coat she used to cover her shirt. Those wounds would be seen by being translucent. She had told Hanae but, for some reason, the blond did not want to hide it from Izuno. Something told her she could trust him. If he is Hanae's friend, she is sure she could.

"You'll see ... below this ..." Kanon began to lower the coat's closure. " Only Manai-sanhas seen what's there."

Evidently, Izuno began to misinterpret Kanon's words.

How quickly did they get to that point ?!

Until she lifted her shirt, showing the scars of her accident, explaining what happened. The same story he told Hanae. Of course, Kanon was careful enough to don't show her bra so just lifted a bit over the belly.

Oh. So this is what happened behind the curtain.

"I don't know if you're someone amazing or just an idiot" commented Izuno.

"Manai-san always says the same thing" laughing like an innocent child, Kanon felt relaxed.

"Come here, you silly girl" Izuno pulled her around the neck, forming a fist to fondly crush her hat playfully.

"I-I-Imaizumi-kun!" Kanon was struggling to breathe, to still continue with the laughter.
Izuno was mesmerized in her reaction, understanding.

So Hanae likes these kinds of faces.

The wind on the rooftop was refreshing. A winter that indicated a change A premonition that was yet to come. A sudden change after hrt years of solitude. Kanon could feel that warmth in others, something she had never experienced in her seventeen springs, thanking the brunette who stole her afternoons for it.

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The brightness at the Manai department's TV was reflected in the eyes of both teenagers. Shoulder to shoulder, they were watching a movie on the same couch, Hanae with her legs up, hugging them. Milky was immersed in Kanon's, her black hair free of her hat. It was the only place she could be herself, without fear of being rejected. The sun died in the distance, painting its surroundings with orange. However, she could not sink into her beauty. The film in which they were sunk was a terror, which Kanon did not like at all, while in contrast, Hanae was involved in the plot with a poker expression, making it difficult to know what she was thinking. They had finished their homework on time because there were few, and she suggested doing an extra activity. Sometimes, the tail movement of the cat madeKanon's heart to jump into thousands of miles, since she didn't enjoy that cinematographic style. Once the movie was finished,Hanae turned off the DVD player.

"How fake."


"A-Are you serious?"
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Observing her profile in the orange light, Kanon lost herself again in Hanae's hands. There were fewer band-aids, causing the blond to smile. In that instant, Hanae looked at her.

"Why are you smiling?"

"It's nothing."

"Don't tell me that ... " her face took a gesture of displeasure, "... you smile at the sight of blood. And even the film used a low quality one..."

"I'm not like you, Manai-san. You had a somewhat macabre smile the whole movie."

"Next time I will rent a better one."

... will there be a next time?

"Tachikawa, it's late. Do you stay for dinner? I'll make stew" she asked the question,  standing, losing herself in the sapphires and that black spot that captivated her.

"Of course, with pleasure" Kanon took the same initiative, getting up,  smiling when observing the table where, lately, they always had dinner together, "Only if you let me help you with the vegetables."

"You always ask me the same thing. How bad are you in the kitchen?"

"You have no idea. I am a disaster and it is the best I can do."

"You're more clumsy than I thought." Delicate laughs escaped Hanae's lips. "So you think you can pass me a pin from my room? This bit of my fringe is bothering me."

Kanon nodded, going to fulfill the favor. Milky followed her as she climbed the stairs, resembling a lap dog instead of an independent cat. Kanon walked slowly, looking for a sign to indicate that it was Hanae's room. Seeing the sullen animal scratching a door, she knew she had hit the lottery.

"It must be here."

She entered as if nothing, going straight to the desk in search of a pin as ordered, breaking all stereotypes of nervousness by entering the room of a girl you probably like.

"I guess I'll find some ... " she said as she looked at the wooden table. While looking, her eyes found a paper full of blots, crossed out and crumpled. "Is this the sheet of ...?"
She held it in her hands, confirming her suspicions. It was the sheet they had given at school about their future. With just seeing it like that, all crumpled and broken, Kanon's heart split in two.

"Manai-san ... how did I ... how didn't I realize ... Manai-san..."


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"Hey! You took your sweet time. I did everything in the end. How hard was it to find me a pin?" Hanae said as she moved the stew into the saucepan once she felt Kanon's footsteps behind her.

The hug she gave her from behind bewildered her.

The blond haired girl entwined her arms around Hanae's neck, the blond hair losing itself on her neck, the black stain making an obvious contrast between her chestnut. Watching her curiously, Hanae still did not understand her sudden action. Her head was running a thousand, wondering possible answers. Kanon was leaning on her body, holding her tighter. Hanae could feel frustration in the girl, causing her to drop the ladle with which she was stirring tonight's dinner.

Kanon's breath was warm, she knew it once she spoke leaning on her uniform.

"I'm sorry."

"Huh?" More surprised than ever, Hanae still did not understand.

"I am so sorry."

"Why are you apologizing?"

"You were crying and I did not notice it. I am so sorry."

"You're very strange," she said, putting out the fire in the best possible way, since the girl was not separated from her. "It's ready, let's sit down. I want to read your story, after all."

Separating from her, Kanon was still hidden in her two-colored hair. Milky had returned with her and, surprisingly, was stroking Hanae's leg.

"Milky! What a miracle" reaching out to him, she manages to carry it. "Tachikawa, look, look! I got it ...! I did it...!

But before Hanae finished expressing her emotion, without mercy, the cat scratches her face. The brunette lets out a scream, catching Kanon's attention, as she drops the cat to the ground.

The blond was with her eyes blank because of the sudden event.

The demon-possessed cat had been able to break the tense atmosphere that Kanon had formed on her own.

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"Are you feeling better, Manai-san?" Kanon had just finished the homemade band-aid on her nose, thinking that the roles had been reversed. Now it was she who was healing her.

"Something like that. Stupid cat..." leaving the chopsticks on her plate, Kanon got lost again in Hanae's hands, smiling at not seeing any change. Hanae approached the girl, joining her warmth. "I want to read your story."

Pleasing her, she takes it out of her school bag, that black strand of her hair moving with joy as if it had a life of its own. Once in the sweet fingers of her Light, she began to read in her head the new written paragraphs.

"Every time there are less traces of pain and I wonder if they will heal soon. Kae's home is warm, and I want to keep giving it that warmth. I want to see her smile because that smile has illuminated my world. That cold place to be in solitude, little by little, I hope to be filled with the same light that fills me."

"Every time I fall more in love with your writing. It's a simple style but, each paragraph says more than it seems and each dialogue says more than what is pronounced" mentioned Hanae, stroking the pages. "Although there have not been many of those last. It stills leaves me a beautiful, warm feeling inside."

The position they were in was the same as Hanae felt when reading Kanon's story. She was sitting, leaning her back on her chest, while Kanon had both hands on the floor, leaning back to support his weight. Of course, that last one could not say it. She did not want to make Hanae think she felt a little heavy.

When not knowing what to answer, she chooses to confess an act of today.

"Imaizumi-kun saw what I showed you today."

"Uwah ..." she made a noise that Kanon did not know how to interpret.

"I had no other alternative, it would generate misunderstandings. He thought I wore the winter uniform all year for hiding scars or something" smiling nervously, she excuses herself.

"Hmm..."

"What's up?"

"Nothing. Nothing happens" she answers, her coldness freezing Kanon by having her body on hers.

Something is definitely happening!

"Sure?" she dares to ask.

"I wanted it to be only mine ... Sonoko saw you a while ago without the hat and ... thinking for a moment that she would recognize you scared me."

Now I understand his "Mmh" of the day I told her that Higashimura-san had seen me when crossing the fence. Yes, she was angry! I knew it! Now that also explains her look this morning.

"I'm not going to steal Higashimura-san."

"Hah?" Her depressing tone of voice changed to one of bitterness.

"I will always support you, Manai-san!"

"What are you talking about, Tachikawa?"

"Of what…? Higashimura-san, of course!"

"Sonoko?"

"Are not you interested in Higashimura-san?" That made Hanae more confused.

"Uh, sure, she's my friend."

"Manaii-san, you do not have to hide it from me. I would never judge you" fixed on her idea, her gaze full of determination frightened the kind Hanae.

"Do you think I ...?" A light bulb lit in her head. "It has to be a joke!

Hanae's laughter flooded Kanon's heart like never before.

"Manai-san ...?"

"Sonoko has a boyfriend!" Stretching her stomach, still resting on Kanon's chest, she separates so she can have a breath by not giving more "Did you really think that I was in love with Sonoko?"

"That's not why you did not look at me that way when ahe approached me? And who is the boyfriend?"

"Really, I do not know if you're someone amazing or an idiot. Every time you surprise me more" taking a tear from her eye, she responds. "And who else do you think? Akizuki!"

Oh, now it makes a lot more sense.

"I just wanted that part of you to be exclusively for me.Sonoko saw it ... and now Izuno knows about that clumsy accident at the stationery..." returning to seriousness, Hanae lowers her hands. "But I know that is selfish on my part."

Kanon opened her eyes, impressed.

"It is not selfish" her fingers brushed for brief moments. "Seeing a Manai-san being ignored by her cat, making rushed purchases, fighting to live on her own, that puts many expressions of disgust, that she likes horror movies ..."

"Are you flattering or insulting me?" she did not know whether to laugh or get angry. "I think you're not helping much with that list."

"I don't  want others to know this side of you."

"Tachikawa..."

"Besides, there's still my story, right?" Smiling with a closed eye, their fingers come closer. "These moments that happened with you, I want them to be mine alone."

"I also ... I want these moments that happened with you to be mine alone."

Their hands turned into one, observing each other deeply, smiling toward each other. An ephemeral selfish moment that they shared between the two, revealing their longings and insecurities.

The farewell came later, leaving Hanae alone, embracing that moment in her heart. Kanon said goodbye without waving her hand, her back going away.
Every time she leaves, I feel like a piece of my heart is cooling down again. Why will it be? That hug alongside that I'm sorry ... why can't I take them off my head?

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