Chapter 1:

Everyday Life, Sort Of

Hime x Hime

I've loved routine for as long as I can remember.

"Rise, and shine! If I have to hear all twenty of your alarms, then you're going to deal with me getting you up instead!" I shook my sister, Yuki, in an attempt to wake her up. She was either still half asleep, or her acting skills had greatly improved.

"Didn't I say five more minutes? Big dummy!" I narrowly dodged a kick aimed at my face.

"Haha, you gotta be faster than that to OOOF—!" I fell backwards on the ground, her latest kick hitting me just below the belt.

"What was that, again??" She taunted.

Guess I spoke too soon.

My name is Sakuta Yamada. You could say I was a pretty average person, or however the old cliché goes.

I stood at around 5’10". My neatly pressed black school uniform complimented the matching slacks. The only hint of color were the golden buttons running down the middle of my jacket.

All in all, I was perfectly ordinary. Mostly.

Yuki, meanwhile, hopped out of bed. She stepped over me as I rolled on the ground. My rectangular eye-frames did little to hide the pained expression from her shockingly accurate strike.

"Geez... I swear you've been so weird since you started high school. Are you sure you didn't hit your head or something on your first day?" Yuki put her hands on her hips, chastising me for being so overbearing. "That's no way to make a debut."

"Hey, that's a little rude, even coming from you! At least you're awake now..." I sighed, exasperated.

Believe it or not, this was a perfectly normal morning in the Yamada household. I had grown so used to these shenanigans that they had become second nature to me.

Although, I wish she'd show a little initiative to get herself up in the morning.

Yuki still wore her pajamas despite being only minutes away from being late for school. She had the same brown eyes and hair that I did, but hers was tied up in two twin-tails on either side of her head.

She had just entered middle school as a thirteen year old. She was also in the midst of quite the rebellious streak… much to my chagrin.

"Last one to the table cleans the dishes!" We said almost simultaneously, sprinting down the stairs towards our breakfast. Our mom left for work early, but left some plates of food to eat as she often did.

The glint from the living room window cast a streak of light on the table. I took down two onigiri, and a glass of orange juice in just a few seconds. I ended up washing the plates so Yuki could get ready. Like the fine brother I am.

Looking in the bathroom mirror, I tried to smooth out my hair. Perhaps my least favorite personal feature was my cowlick. It caused a single strand of hair to stand up and curl on top of my head. It bothered me to no end. I had tried everything, but nothing seemed to tame that lone strand. And so, I kind of accepted it.

"Are you ready to head out?" I asked Yuki as she paced down the stairs. She paused near the doorway as if she were thinking about something.

"Are you gonna walk to school again? You might be late, because of me..." She looked unusually sheepish, but I patted her on the head.

"I'll be fine, I'm always on time. Besides… what else would I do?" I shrugged, smiling.

"You know what I mean... The bike?" She gestured over to the back door. Sitting up against the wall near the backyard was a fully restored cherry-red Schwinn Traveler bicycle, the 1950 model.

"I haven't needed it yet. Why switch up a routine that works? And..."

I'm not ready to ride it. Not yet.

"He wanted you to have it, you know... That's what he told mom." Yuki looked wistfully at me. "Do you still remember him? Grandfather, I mean."


How could I ever forget? A vision of flashing red and blue lights invaded my mind. The spoke of my own bicycle spun around in my head, reminding me of that humid summer evening...

I shook the thought away.

"C'mon, sis. We'll be late, let's go!" I put on a smile, and shuffled her out the door without answering her question. Some things were better off just leaving alone for now. Shockingly, she accepted my cue and exited with me.

Walking outside, I prepared myself for the school day ahead. A breeze swept through my messy hair, and I felt an unusual pep in my step. The sun greeted us with a warm smile, shining brightly upon our small Sapporo neighborhood.

"Hey Yamada-kun, Yuki-chan!" A girl riding on a bicycle passed by, giving us a wave. I recognized her as one of my next door neighbors, so I returned the gesture with a smile.

"She certainly gets to school early..." I noted.

I walked the same route to school alongside the river every day without fail. My mode of transportation had not changed since I started high school. In fact, neither had my arrival time. Just before the bell.

"This is where we part ways." I said as we reached a fork in the road. Yuki's school was in a slightly different direction, and much closer than mine. Suddenly I got a little nostalgic. "You know, you're a pretty good kid. I'm glad you're my sister!"

"Ew, what's this all of a sudden? You sound like an old man, saying such embarrassing things so early in the morning." Yuki made a face, but then she started laughing.

"I try to be nice for once, and this is what I get!?" I huffed, making a show of my indignation.

"Sorry, sorry haha." She smiled. "See you later, big brother!" She disappeared on the horizon as I waved her off.

Passing under a kilometer's worth of power cables, I issued my standard greetings to those who took the same route. The river running under the bridge gushed loudly beneath my feet as I made my way across. The water levels seemed unusually high today, but such was the case with the fresh snow melt. I thought back to my previous interaction.

"Yuki sure has changed a lot... I guess I have too." I said to myself, keeping up the pace.

They say that change is inevitable.

Sometimes people are forced into change by the events surrounding them, or their environment. On the other hand, I hoped that nothing in the world I had created for myself would ever change. Just the thought of it terrified me.

Though, it would certainly seem that life is never that easy.


Hime x Hime