Chapter 24:

024 – Hope

Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path


October 17, twenty-four days since the beginning of Gin's inevitable recollection of his agonizing past.

His house has been bare, but it had become barer for almost a month, with only Yuna Akanami residing in it. All that being said, the atmosphere has gotten a lot worse due to the recent revelation of her parents that she accidentally heard.

She has been crippling over the guilt that she has done nothing for Gin, who she had dubbed her "younger brother." Her younger sister and Gin is apparent to be sharing their affection towards each other, but in the older sister's case, she had developed a familial love that she regretted not showing Gin when he was still not under the mental breakdown.

It was lonely. She hasn't seen the couple for a while. The most that she can do is reminisce the fun moments the three of them had under the single roof. She may not be a true resident of the house, but she had finally found how it felt to have a brother, only for it to fade away, turning to loneliness.

"Hahh… I really sound like I have a brother complex…"

She has not come home to her parents. She had mentioned how he knows how kind Gin is and how he could forgive her parents without second thought, but it was different for Yuna. Gin has become family to her, and to discover that he was a "sacrifice" to save her sister's life, her thoughts aggressively mixed.

She is sat on the couch alone early in the morning, sipping her daily coffee with a plate of fried rice on the table. The television is turned on, not tuned on the morning news, but rewatching a comedy anime.

She's taking advantage of Gin's subscription to Crispyroll. He still has two months from his subscription.

But with that said and all, with them rewatched and all, those are just a momentary escape to the sadness that grew on her. However many times she laughed and smiled, it was just ephemeral happiness.

It is very rare to hear someone knocking on the door of the house. If it was just Gin's family, they will twist the keys in the doorknob and they will enter. No one knows how many days or weeks has it been since the last time someone knocked.

But if Gin was there, he would probably complain that no one is using his doorbell.

Out of excitement that she expected it to be her sister and Gin, she opened the door gracefully with a big smile. But it was not them.

However, it was not the end of her happiness. In fact, her happiness doubled as she saw right in front of her is a man which made Yuna's face turn red.

Without a second of hesitation, she embraced the man, which perhaps is her lover.

"I-I haven't seen you in a while… I'm so lonely."

"Mhm. It does seem like it. Why don't we drink some coffee?"

"I'm already drinking mine," monotonously, she said.

"Ah… Hahaha…"

"I'll make you a cup."

"Thank you, Yu."

She ran to the kitchen with the excuse of making another cup of coffee for her boyfriend. But actually, she was just so happy that she can't hide it.

"Hooo… You sure make it strong. Have you ever made Gin taste your blend?"

"…

How is he… anyway?"

"Gin, huh…

It was definitely a rough time. Even for me, it was also painful. I have seen no person suffer like that until now. He is carrying such a heavy load with him.

But things are almost fine now. There is no more of that suffering and pain in the air near him. He had survived, thankfully…"

"Is that so… I'm so glad. Will they be back soon?"

"That… it's up for them to decide. Gin hasn't fully recovered yet, so your sister will be taking care of him further. So I don't think I can answer your question.

But with his current physical condition, he can go home any time. Just… don't be so surprised."

"…?"

"Sorry I can't stay much longer, Yu. I have to check things in there."

"No, it's okay. But I have one last question."

"Hmm? What is it?"

"Why is your face censored and you're not even given narration of your expressions?"

"Aahhh… I guess it's part of the story…?"

Well, some of you might know who he-

"Oh, shut up, narrator!"

"Anyway, I have to get going now.

Love you," the man leaned Yuna's head forward and kissed her on the forehead, making her red behind her glasses.

"S-See you later…"

And the requested narration has been written.

"I told you to shut up! I never requested for it anyways!"

Oh? Really? Not even one bit?

"Mhrrrrrmmm… I just love him so much! Are you satisfied now?!"

All the man heard, who just stepped out of the yard is senseless talking-to-herself of her girlfriend.

"Pff…"

~ ~ ~

An hour later, someone is in front of Gin's house again.

This time, the doorbell rang.

Without getting her expectations ruined, Yuna just normally opened the door, seeing a woman with chest length black hair with fringes waving to her left, and wearing a pair of eyeglasses with a standard frame.

It is actually Yuna's character description. At least her appearance.

"A-Are you… my doppelganger?" Yuna thought to herself, but ended up saying it out loud. "Ah, sorry. May I know who you are?"

"My name is Shiina. I'm looking for Kei Sakato. Is he here?

By the way, isn't this his brother's house?"

It is indeed Shiina Kumine, which happened to not be sporting her past hairstyle (NoFutsuu, chapter 29) and she just happened to have the same hairdo as Yuna.

"Are you by any chance Kei's girlfriend?"

"Umm… yes."

"Before anything else, this is really his brother's house. I'm a next-door neighbor who is currently living here to watch over the house since Gin is away right now.

If you're looking for Kei, he's probably in their house a few blocks from here.

Nevermind, he's already here."

Just a few meters away, Kei was seen walking towards them. What is in his perspective is two girls with the same looks. On the left is Yuna, which her head is poking from the door frame and on the right is Shiina standing as they both look at him approaching.

Although they cannot hear, he muttered, "Is it left…? Is it right…? Left… Right… Left…

On the right…!" he suddenly shouted.

"Whoa there. Chill, Kei. It's still morning."

"Hahh… I almost mistook you from my girlfriend, Yuna."

"Well, sorry not sorry. This has been how I look like ever since the start. It just happened that we look very similar."

"Oh, right. Any news about Gin?"

"He may be coming home any time soon."

"Hahh… That's really good to hear. That idiot's worrying us to the edge again.

Anyway, let's go, Shiina."

"Okay."

"Later, Yuna."

"Have a nice date."

"A seminar. Not a date," he stressed and they walked out of the lot.

"It seems like something happened to Gin?" asked Shiina.

"Something reeeaaaally happened. Excuse how nonchalantly I will say this, Shiina, but he was in a critical condition."

"W-What happened…?!"

"Something in the lines of extreme mental breakdown. Hearing what Yuna told earlier, I'm so relieved that he recovered."

"I see… I hope your brother gets well."

"Thanks.

Ah, sorry. I need to wipe my glasses."

As they were walking, Shiina bumped to a decently tall man with a walking stick which is walking with a woman. It seems that they are a couple too.

"Oh. I'm very sorry," the man apologized.

"It's okay."

With that, the couple lightly bowed and continued walking in the opposite of her direction.

"Something wrong?" Kei asked after getting his glasses cleaned.

"No big deal. I just bumped to someone.

Wait, have I seen that person somewhere? His hair is long though. Nevermind, did I just see Ringo?"

"…?

You're probably seeing things."

Side note, Kei and Shiina are helpless without their eyeglasses.

"It's a given that you still have some difficulties with walking, but you ought to be more careful, Gin."

"S-Sorry…"

"Anyway, that woman really looked like Sis… or Shiina?"

"You mean… your sister?"

"It's weird how you say that. I don't think I'll get used to this… You know, you even call her Sis."

"Oh. I see…"

They both wondered of how Yuna will react once she sees them. But in Gin's case, he seriously thought of it as he was very curious of how he will react to someone he knows well but can't remember.

That is what he also felt upon meeting with Rin without his memories of her.

▪ ▪ ▪

Four days before this very day, the whole of it was intended for a whole body checkup of Gin, who lost his memories the day after.

"Alright, checkups are all done," Sean announced behind his mask, followed by a tense gaze from anyone involved in the current circumstances.

Gin is still in the same isolation room, just with the addition of a hospital bed. As suggested by his father, they decided to keep the scribbles displaying "RIN" that he wrote. It was for the reason that he might recall something as they assumed that it was a very important memory for him.

But the only ones who knew of the recent revelation are Rin and Rishou Kagetora at that time. He discovered Rin's existence as code 019 when Ginji showed him a certain document, which he suddenly recalled that she was always close to Gin after meeting him again.

"The results tell that his mental state has finally stabilized, aside from the fact that he lost his memories. For his constitution, no more declination has been found. If he eats properly in the duration of few days, he will be fine." Sean explained.

"Don't worry. He has an insanely big appetite," added Rin.

"Y-Yeah… he's unreal.

Regarding his memory impairment, Dr. Kagetora found out that it was only a temporary memory loss. Although no one knows when he will regain them. For the time being, he will be fine and we can say that what happened to him will not happen again when he comes back.

That's a guarantee because he can at least remember her girlfriend's name and face but not his own.

If he decides that he wants to go home, as he can any time, we will ask you to keep watch of him, Ms. Ringo."

"Of course. You don't need to ask, Sean."

"I'll give him a walking stick seeing that he has difficulties with walking."

"Umm… may I know if I can go outside…?" in a small opening from the door of the room, Gin peeked outside with only his right eye and asked.

For some reason, Rin suddenly puffed red in her face and came running to Gin saying, "Yes, you can! But you better rest first!" all in one breath with a seemingly delighted expression.

They didn't get her at all.

~ ~ ~

Again, he is sat on the bed with a curious face and wide eyes which has not been seen from Gin for all eternity. He's still under confusion.

"S-So… I am Gin Sakato and my parents are Amano and Senna…" he pointed with a folded finger. "I am aware that I don't have any memories of my current life, but only I can remember 'Rin' and how she looks like. Do I… have some kind of a connection to her?"

Rin came near to at least seven inches of distance between their faces and landed her hands heavily on Gin's shoulder.

"Gin…

I. Love. You!"

.

.

(What a way to waste space)

.

.

"EEEEHHHHHH?!?!?!?!?!" it was total silence after Rin's obviously blatant statement, but it was broken when he flinched out of shock together with a goosebumps until he turned white, which then happened to all of them aside from Rin.

"W-W-Wha- I don't quite get it…! You s-s-z-s-z-say you l-love me…?! Wh-Wha-"

"And it's the same for you," she blankly answered with her arms crossed.

"Th-Then, does that mean we…"

Rin then lowered her torso down as to see eye to eye with Gin who has all the shock written on his face. But after a few seconds, he hid on his blanket.

"I-I'm embarrassed…"

"Oh my goodness, our son is so innocent…!"

"Oh my goodness, this guy is so innocent…!"

"Oh my goodness, Potato is so innocent…!"

They all thought, and followed with a synchronized shout.

"What a maiden!"

Gin has become an adorable character.

But to all the reader's sanity, don't imagine that.

"But seriously, it scares me that his reaction is so normal. We've never seen our son this normal for a very long time. No, we haven't seen him like this at all!" Senna exclaimed.

He unwrapped his blanket and sat again displaying a blank face which then sizzled in red.

"B-B-But I guess… I can see us being together… as a couple. Even if I have no memories… I'm certain that I will still fall for you," he struggled to tell but he still gave a refreshed smile with flowers on the background.

"Dude, you're so smooth. Who are you," they all thought in unison.

With all the teasing that Rin did, she still gave out first and fainted.

But as her eyes closed and falls, the arms of the silver-haired, who was sat on the bed is now crouching on the floor and caught Rin before falling down—as if almost a blur had passed. He stood and put the unconscious girl on the bed.

It was truly an event with a surprise after another.

"G-Gin…

It's so amazing to see you acting so manly… but surely you're not okay after that," Hiro plainly uttered with a blank stare.

"Y-Yes… I don't even know how I did that.

And my legs are giving out…"

It was truly an event full of delight.

~ ~ ~

Seeing that things have calmed down, Rishou Kagetora without second thought asked to send himself back to the hospital, grateful for treating a "scum" like him, as he calls himself, with care inside the base.

He took a look one last time at Gin which sincerely expressed his gratitude to the doctor, being enlightened that he saved Gin's life.

He knelt down shedding tears and replied, "No… there's no reason for you to thank me…" and injected a tranquilizer once again and left the underground base.

Finally, it is now the time for lunch. Those who are in charge of the kitchen did not hold back with making countless dishes. Thus, turning a simply defined lunch to a feast.

It was once again a rowdy meal. Rin has gotten used to it, as she had meals with the Exiles for a few times. Amano looked back on the times when Eijiro invites him to eat in the base so forcefully. Senna on the other hand is experiencing her first bite with the Exiles, but she honestly daydreamed of the "if" of Eijiro Kurogane being with them.

While Gin is just sat with all of them, stuffing any food that came to his sight. His memories may have been lost, but his powerful appetite remained.

"Geez… You're eating like a caveman, Gin.

Here! Open wide!" Rin offered to feed him.

Both of their feelings in that current moment were very different, not even like they were back to the very start, but as if a new relationship between them was formed.

The said thing for instance is not even something they cared much about. They just let such a trivial thing to come and go with their nonchalance that was far from the normal. But it was different as it weirdly turned to a flustering moment.

Nevertheless, with the sudden change in their relationship, perhaps temporary, Gin had recovered a lot in those few days of slowly getting back to shape.

▪ ▪ ▪

Thus, it came to the 17th of October, with the third time that someone is in front Gin's house, ringing the doorbell.

"Ugh… it's still morning. Why are there so many people coming here…" Complaining and all, she still opened the door, revealing her younger sister and her brother(?).

"W-We're home… finally…" Rin, for some reason has shyly greeted.

"…………

Uuuuhhhhh… Waaaaahhhhhhh…! W-W-Welcome back…! Waaahhhh… I miss you two so muuuccchhhh… Aaaahhhhh…!"

Emotions have overflowed to the lonely heart of Yuna after finally seeing the two who somewhat became very special to her. Tears flied out of her eyes as she dived towards them with an embrace.

She will not be alone in the house anymore, she thought.

~ ~ ~

After they have calmed down, all they did was sit on the living room idly, without anyone talking.

Gin was looking around with somewhat astonished eyes. Rin's face has turned into a blob with so much delight shining from her. And Yuna is sat, swaying her head left and right with a smile along with her nose running with the opposite direction of her swaying while her eyes are still swelling red from crying.

It was honestly disgusting.

"Why would that have to be added?"

It was necessary.

"S-So… this is my house…?"

"Huh?" Yuna jolted.

"Yep. As far as I know, you're still paying the loans for the house together with your family. But you have a house for yourself for more than a year of living alone."

"Oh. I understand."

"By the way, your room is upstairs. It's the door on the left of the hallway. The opposite room is ours for the time being. Can you climb the stairs on your own, though?"

"I can. Thanks for telling me in advance.

Umm… you say that I live alone, but are you also living here by the looks of it…?" Gin timidly asked.

"Huh?!" Yuna jolted again.

"We are the only ones that can look over you when your condition was not yet critical. So Sis and I are living with you temporarily."

"Uhh… You're Rin's older sister, I see. But were you the person I bumped with earlier?"

"Nah. It wasn't her, Gin. I can guarantee you. The woman earlier was prettier than Sis."

"You sure have the guts to say that, imouto… But you're probably talking about Kei's girlfriend most likely.

Wait, that shouldn't be the thing I'm worried about! Why the heck is Gin behaving like that?! And why is his hair that long and silver?!"

She realized too late.

"So let me just speak in Gin's behalf, Sis. I'm sure you already know what happened to Gin with all of his key memories coming back to him. It was too much of a strain physically and mentally, which became life endangering. In the midst of that, for some unknown reasons, his hair grew quickly and in turn changed the color of his hair to that—gray, or silver. According to his parents, it was how he originally looked like when he was born."

"So… you're saying that he was born, not with a black hair but silver? How is that even possible?"

"Honestly. None of us knows what could be the reason for it. It did not originate genetically, but they just shrugged it off and settled with it being nonsense."

"How carefree…

Wait, I get the feeling that you haven't been getting to the main point, little sis."

"It's no use beating around the bush…

Gin… has lost all of his memories again, though temporarily. But…"

"M-Memory loss…? But what?" she came to the point where she doesn't know what to feel anymore. Her positive and negative emotions kept bouncing back and forth resulting to an indefinite feeling.

"But… Hwaaahhhhh…

Of all the things he can remember, it was only me. Ehehehe…" Rin turned back to a refreshed blob.

"I seriously want to pinch you…!"

"…!

Please let us not be hostile to each other. Although I can't recall anything, I do get the feeling that it was a very fun time ever since you started living here. Even though I say that, I'm somehow having fun right now," a serene expression has been painted on his face as he let out a blissful smile directed at Yuna.

Seeing such an almost angelic face, her heart softened and fluttered.

She silently embraced the two who is sat in the couch in front of her.

"Uhh… Sis?"

"Gin."

"W-What is it…?"

"Once your memories come back to you…

I will have nothing to say if you decide to marry my sister."

"Sis…!"

"U-Uuuhhh… Even if it was just a joke…

We've just been dating for a year and besides, we're still both young… I'll pretend that I didn't hear that since that's still out of the question…

Ahaha…?"

The two suddenly turned their gaze at him suspiciously.

"I don't think I have ever mentioned that we're in this relationship for a year, although true."

"Gin. Did you really forget everything?"

"I swear…!"

"Then prove it…!

One night I sneaked in your house. What do you think I did?"

"W-Wait! You did that? Maybe you forgot something?"

"He's clear!"

Correct answer: Gin was asleep and she stole a kiss on his forehead.

"Then my turn! What is the name of my boyfriend?"

"W-Wha-?!

Wait, can I also call you Sis like Rin does?"

"Yep. Go ahead."

"W-Wha-?! Sis, you have a boyfriend?

Then if I were to guess… I don't know many names so…

Hiroomi?"

"Like I know who the heck that guy is…!!!

Positive! He has no memories!"

But in truth, even Rin does not know the name or the face of her sister's beloved.

After that fuss, Gin had finally come back to his room.

"I-Is this really my own room…?"

"Something that I would assume that you won't currently know is that you love art so you turned your own bedroom to an office. Sometimes you play games on the console."

"I see…

Oh? A cat?" right after he opened the door, came Haku snuggling on his foot.

"His name is Haku. He is originally your first companion in this house. He keeps you occupied a lot of times so you won't feel lonely.

Though I haven't seen him act like this towards you. Maybe he missed you considering that you were away for a bit."

"I really don't have much to say… I can't even imagine that I live here…"

"Not to mention, the window outside which is accurately parallel to yours is my room inside. I told you already that we just live next door to you. If anything, we always wait at each other every morning on our windows. Thinking about it now… it hasn't happened in a while."

He stood still and silent while his eyes are focusing only on the window.

"…

Rin?"

"Hmm?"

"Thinking about it now… how are we really as a couple? And how was I as your certain someone…?

I'm kind of curious, I guess."

The sudden questions took Rin by surprise. Knowing that Gin may not know what she is thinking, she answered with a question.

"Gin… Do you want to remember everything?"

"Of course I do. I have no memories, but I always weirdly react with things that apparently, Gin has memories of. I can definitely say that I had fun with those."

"You really want to remember everything…? Even the things that had happened to you?

The things… that ruined you…?"

The concerned look of Rin bounced back to her as a hint of sadness is seen in Gin's face.

"…

I may not be the real Gin… and I am aware of that. But if it is my memories that I need to remember, then there is nothing I can do. Besides, I don't think I can ever escape it.

So now… I will decide not to run away."

"No… that's plenty of a reason that makes you Gin. You even said it yourself awhile back, that you will not run away anymore.

I'm sorry for bringing that up."

"It's okay. For now, I think we should rest. We just got home."

"…

Yeah."

It was a long morning, but noon eventually passed by without much of the sun. The three had their lunch together after a time of loneliness.

After the moment he had his fill in his stomach, he went back to his room. Looked for every detail inside, imagined how he could have been conversing with Rin between the two windows. But his eyelids began to fall down on their own and the yawn sounded inside the room. He closed the window, lied down on his bed and closed his eyes.

What he did not know is that the coldness has been growing.

It was time for dinner, but he did not come down. The sisters had a look in his room. They saw the silver hair shining over the innocent sleeping face of Gin. He has not yet woken up from when he originally slept.

They closed the door, and bid a good night to him.

▪ ▪ ▪

The sun has risen, but it was not present in the skies. It is truly a dull morning with the gray clouds. It's as if the clouds are hinting that the dry roads and concrete will not stay dry any longer.

Gin opened his eyes with blue and black eyes.

"Brrr… Cold…"

He finally realized how long his hair is and went to the bathroom to look on the mirror. There showed his silver hair with a length that almost touches his shoulders.

He went back to his room to grab something to tie his hair in one place, but the cold says not to. Weirdly, he found hairpins in one of the drawers of his closet.

"D-Did I use to wear hairpins…?"

I don't see a reason why I need to include that to any of the chapters but I still did, is what the author thought.

He wore it and carefully went down the stairs.

"Good morning, Gin," Rin greeted.

"G-Good morning.

How long… was I asleep? I don't remember passing out."

"Around the afternoon, I'd say? I went to your room to tell you that dinner was ready but you were fast asleep. Seriously, you slept like a log."

"Umm… Rin? I just realized just now… It's Thursday today. You said that you've been taking care of me ever since what happened to me. Does that mean that you haven't gone to school since then?"

"Ahh… Don't worry about it. Even though I am absent for almost a month now, I always ask what's happening in school. Whenever someone from the base leaves perhaps for work, I ask them to send paper works to the school mailbox.

If you're worried about not coming to school, you shouldn't. The principal apparently had a good reason for excusing you and I, although I don't know what it is."

"The principal?"

"I guess you haven't seen him ever since you lost your memories. He was the former leader of the Exiles."

"I don't quite get it, but I guess it's okay."

"Anyways, let's have our breakfast. Sis is about to wake up any time soon."

"I guess."

"Oh, look. Gin! It started snowing, finally!"

"…

Snow…"

After that, he decided to learn more about himself, as he even feels that he is a different person, however unaware of whom he originally is. He had finally held a pencil once again, and astonished himself with how he gave life to abstract lines produced by the graphite.

He had learned a lot from his persona, but it was indeed entirely different from what his memories hold. It was frankly just a mere gaining of information, thus, making his being incomplete.

But it was not entirely negative, as the Gin with no memories can relate to the emptiness of himself. One has no memories, and one had no emotions.

As if a pattern, the happenings continued on for a while.

▪ ▪ ▪

I wonder what's going on outside.

Yeah. You've been here for quite a while and the door hasn't unlocked yet.

But hey. Would you look at that, Kuro. My head sure has turned white, doesn't it?

A white box, huh? I can't help but feel nostalgic.

For this to happen, it can only mean that something happened to me in the reality. All I know is that I have no memories on the outside.

But for us to retain everything, I guess this won't last.

Wait. It really is just like that time, isn't it?

Hmm?

Just like right now, you are lying down on the floor. Not even thinking about when will the door open.

Now that you mention… I did that and lost interest of counting the remaining days in those two years and before I know it, the door already opened.

Goodness… why in the world did I take so long to fully realize that I was in love with Rin…

Pathetic.

Yep. We're pathetic.

But then again… I wonder how and where I am now. Surely I won't go far away with my flimsy legs.

Who knows? We might be in a coma.

We'd also be asleep if that's the case.

Oh, yeah. Brain-dead.

Suddenly, a metallic sound echoed in the room which was then followed by a sound of creaking.

To their surprise, they saw the door to "reality" ever so slowly opening.

Oh, shoot. Can't have that closing any time soon.

Kuro! Catch you later!

Yep. I'll be watching you.

And so, Gin left his mental realm without a second wasted.

▪ ▪ ▪

October 24.

His eyes opened after being woken up by a cat's tail under his nose.

"Hahh… Haaaahhhh… Achoo~!"

Haku's fur made his upper body rise forward and sneezed, startling the sleeping cat.

‹Gin›

I looked around as I feel the extreme cold creeping in the entirety of my body.

It was to my surprise to see that I suddenly woke up with my memories intact. Moreover, I froze upon seeing myself sat on a very nostalgic bed. More so, I froze after realizing that I am back at home.

I had the intuition that I will not have the capacity to keep myself out of my cognitive world for so long with how much my head hurts. Thus, I hurriedly jumped and sat on my chair grabbing a piece of paper and a pen on the desk.

For a moment, the small detail that I am now able to move my legs better came and went by. With that thought, I wondered what is the current date and time.

I turned my phone on and showed that it is currently 8:22 in the morning, Wednesday, at the date of October 24.

I tightly held the pen I was holding and started writing whatever came to mind.

But it was just a short time of being "awake." My head told me that it was time's up. It was however not a sad departure as I am satisfied that I managed to write everything that I wanted to say.

Please… let her see it.

~ ~ ~

"Yawn~ Gin… you awake…?

It's nine now and I just woke up. Sis made breakfast so we better go down…"

Rin opened the door just to see a sleeping Gin with his hand on Haku which is on top of him, who also came back to sleep.

"What a listless pair…"

"Hmm… I haven't seen him interact like this with Haku ever since we came back. That's new."

Seeing that the only window in the room provides light inside, she noticed that the glass has significantly fogged and childishly went towards it to play on it.

But she heard a rustling of paper on the desk which is just by the window and saw a piece of paper on the floor which seems to have something written on it.

"Writing something, I see."

The paper is flipped, thus, she assumed that it had a handful of words written looking at the bleeding of the ink.

She picked it up only to find out that there is also something written on the currently flipped side.

"Readme.txt.

(Seriously, please read this, Rin.)"

"He hasn't joked like this for quite some time, huh…

(!)

Wait… no way…"

After realizing that something was off upon reading the joke, she quickly flipped the paper which said:

"Apples… I'm finally back home, huh? Seriously, I can't believe it.

Rin? Are you reading this? If so… good morning, I guess?"

"…

Good… morning…"

"So the current time is around 8:20. It has been eleven days since the last thing I can remember. It's a bit sunny I see. Anyways, hi. I'm Potato.

Let's be real. I miss you, Rin. And to all of you too. The only thing I know is that I have no memories of coming back home, let alone know what is currently happening. No, that's not quite right to say that I have no memories. In fact, I have everything—I mean, "everything."

It's weird, isn't it? But I am a nonsense of a person anyway. Currently, I have all of my memories, but at the same time I don't. Who you're interacting with is also me who have no memories. I'm still inside him.

I feel like I want to tell you this since it's quite interesting. Ever since my memories reset, I've been stuck inside my mind. Literally. I've discovered that I have my own world inside my head. This is not mere imagination! I can see myself there, but I am locked inside. That's why I appear to have forgotten everything. But seriously, it's extremely real.

Sorry, I don't think I can be moving outside my mind yet. I even feel like my head is fogging to blur as I write.

It was a short time of coming back. But I promise that I will find a way to go back for good.

I love you, Rin."

It is what was written. It was a letter mainly dedicated for Rin.

Without conflicting thoughts, he woke up Gin which immediately opened his eyes.

"Mmmm… Oh, Rin… Is it morning now?"

"Gin, even though I highly doubt you're aware, you wrote this, right?" she desperately asked.

"Ehhh… That certainly is my handwriting… but I don't remember writing that.

Maybe I unconsciously wrote that while asleep?"

"You're a crazy sleepwalker, but no," she thought of saying it out loud, but kept it to herself.

"Well, it's fine if you don't remember. But!"

She then hugged Gin for reasons he can't comprehend.

"U-Umm… Rin? For what reason did I deserve to be embraced?"

Rin did not know if it was a joke, or it is just Gin politely speaking. Either way, she answered.

"No reason. I just want to hug you right now."

They had breakfast afterwards.

Let's also include lunch.

~ ~ ~

"By the way, are you fine with walking now?"

"I guess for the most part, Sis. I'm not having any difficulties anymore."

The topic came up just after finishing their lunch and settling the food they ate.

Kids, don't move around too much right after eating.

"Also, are you by any chance feeling light?"

The follow up question that Rin asked confused him plenty.

"L-Light…? I don't quite get it."

"Let's see. How do I say it… You've lost a lot of weight from the effects of the strain in your body. But at least you recovered quickly.

Gin. Do you think you can jump to the roof from the ground?"

"Eh?"

"Woah. I wanna see that. I only saw that on TV when he jumped so I want to see it personally."

"Uhh… Whhhat?"

"You know, you actually can jump or generally move exceeding the human limits. You talk so fast, you run so fast and you jump so high. You can even recover broken bones in a matter of hours."

"Huuuhhhh…

Oh my goodness… I seriously don't know myself."

"Don't let it get to you."

After thinking about it, he set aside the thought and collected the empty dishes on the dining table.

"I'll do the dishes today. I feel bad for making you two do the housework every time. I own the house, after all.

So go get some rest, Sis, Rin."

"…

Mhm. Thanks!"

Like a fleeting moment, days passed by.

▪ ▪ ▪

No… I can't let this pass.

But, do you have any idea on how to get out?

I have to find a way… maybe there's something in my mind that can help me. I'm running out of time.

I promised…

Hmm… Of course I know how you feel. I also want to go out even for once, but I am bound here, only watching the outside. Even I don't want to miss that.

That's the more reason why I need to leave. It's something that has been etched in this head. I don't want to forget it and I don't want to miss it…

You already know what I'm about to suggest. But I'm sure you're aware of the risk.

Yeah… I don't want to be doing nothing when the crunch time comes. Surely a little headache won't be a big deal.

Oh, goodness. Calling it "little" is so much of an understatement.

Well, do what you want. I wish for your success.

Hahaha…

Right. Let's break the lock of this door by force.

▪ ▪ ▪

October 27.

"Yawn~ It's so rare that he woke up before I did."

The door of Gin's room was open.

It was another late start to the day. At nine, the snow has already covered the roads a good layer of an inch.

Seen in the windows are bulldozers removing excess snow in the roads while it still comes down from the clouds.

Rin's sister has not yet woken up, and so she went downstairs to find him. But he was not anywhere.

Gin still has no memories. He hadn't left his yard since he know the fact that he doesn't recall anything outside, taking into consideration that he can also get lost somewhere.

But he was not seen inside his house nor his yard.

"Is something the matter, Ringo?" Kei opened the door upon hearing Rin knocking.

"Is Gin here? Or did he drop by here?"

"Hmm? No. I've been awake early so I know that he didn't come here. Besides, does he even know that I'm his brother?"

"No way… Gin…"

"What…? Did something happen to him?"

"Gin… I can't find him anywhere…"

Somewhere, under the silver clouds stood a man with silver hair. The snow is piling up, covering the grass he's stepping on.

The illusion of the dark clouds eliminated the whiteness of the snow—turning gray on the eyes.

"Hoohhh… Sure is cold…

I can't believe it took me nineteen years to visit. I can't even recall your face…"

The silver snow falls again.


Chapter Message:

That ends 024!

Sheesh, I'm bad at making an attempt to make an unpredictable plot point.

Thank you for reading!

Next

025: Reality. I said, reality.