The Other Side Of The = Sign (Part 1)
And here we are again. Finally continuing this and this time we take a look into Sasaki’s side of things. Hope the meeting btn her and the three E-TT-A’s meeting I made up is good. I will try to get Part 2 our of the way before others.
This is without beat. Riza is on that now and I will out it on FF.net when it’s done.
Without much more pain….
Everything related to SHnY belong to Tanigawa Nagaru-sensei not me.
- The Other Side of the ‘=’ Sign Part 1-
It was cold!
09:09 hours in the morning, early October with the sun in the corner of the sky and yet it was still cold. The dew on the grass where it could be seen was giving off a sheen that was without a doubt, the sign of frozen water. It was cold.
Upon such a scene one would wonder how cold it would be when winter does arrive in two or so months. Despite how cold it was, the world was not affected in the least. Everything was going ahead just like the day before and the day before that. One would be placing the ‘just like clockwork’ here. Traffic was on the high as business was picking up for the day. The sound of horns was deafening but ‘just like usual’, no one minded the noise.
The pavements were filled to the ‘T’ with the less unfortunate who couldn’t afford their own means of transport of which included salary men, housewives and lots and lots of school children. Even though the final picture was one of a replaying video, each person was in their own world. Where some were shaking heads to their music players trying to wake their sleepy brains, most were on their cell phones texting, texting and texting some more just for the heck of it. No need to point out which group was doing the texting.
The world was such a boring place. The meaning of life could be concluded by merely looking around the place. There was a mother holding onto a new born while fighting against time to make it to the elementary school which is attended by her elder daughter. She bumps into two high school kids who give her mean looks for meddling with their love-love of hand holding that translates to the girl clutching onto the guy’s hand as if the closeness will get her more accessories. A man in a business suit gives them mean looks mattering something about ‘kids’ only because he wishes that he were back in those carefree days. On the other side of the street an old man that looks short of one year to stand no more opens up shop.
Get born. Attend school for half of your life. Work your life force off for the rest. The end!
Sasaki was one of such pitiful creatures.
15 years old, jaw-length cocoa-brown hair, intelligent dark chocolate brown eyes and according to her school mates, a terawatt smile. The three sizes – obviously secret and as far as clothes go, she was wearing the South High uniform and holding her school bag on her way to school. Just like every other school girl around.
Just like every other schoolgirl.
To be fare, she was even less than the rest as far as life went. Where other girls her age would spend summer travelling or crashing festivals, she was spending hers in books, summer school and for the nights – internet schooling. The extra classes she took away from school were of a different class. Where her friends are digging their brains trying to figure out two or three trigonometry problems, Sasaki is going through different ways to prove to her university instructors that the third blue orb from our sun isn’t the only life sustaining of the nine.
But really, as far as that route went, she might as well have been trying to prove that the earth was flat. In other words impossible. Despite the proof she gave them since they started teaching her, she knew very well that they still thought of her as a first rate nut-case. Sasaki could not blame them. Other than her superior brain, she was just like any other human girl. She got born, still in the process of studying and all awaited her was passing on her genes or her generation dies with her and the inevitable ‘back to dust’ combo breaker card.
Yes, she was just like any other girl…until three days prior when the world as she knew it completely changed in front of her own eyes. Sasaki had read more books than any other person alive, she knew for sure, but she could not believe what had transpired that day. The only reasons she didn’t throw the happenings in the ‘dream bin’ was simply because she had never thought about any of her dreams before for more than a day better yet hours. It had been three days and she was still thinking and seeing the scene as if it had happened only seconds before.
It was just another typical morning and Sasaki was on her way to school. But this day was unlike the typical that came before. Her mind was wandering and though she disgraced to have thought it, she was thinking about a boy. Before conclusions are made, she had one think to get clear – her thoughts were pure.
Okay, she might have had a crush, a tiny crush on the boy that she hadn’t see since graduating junior high but no one had control of their own body reactions, right! Just yesterday as if by divine miracle she had bumped into him on her way from after school tutoring. That meant that it was quite late just past 22:00 hours and although she cared not what the boy did, she had to make conversation.
As it turned out, Kyon – that was the boy’s nick name though everyone she knew called him that and he was fine with that, was coming back from Tsuruya-san’s place. Everyone that lived in their district, no, perhaps even those that lived farther away knew of the Tsuruyas. She never got to do it often but when she had the chance to watch television, the name Tsuruya was always in the news or some other public programme.
She was overjoyed at the meeting and their conversation went just fine as if they were seeing each other daily. Sasaki was happy as well to find that Kyon hadn’t changed upon entering High School. He was still the same careless sweet guy that was her only friend in elementary and half of junior high. Most of the other students were intimidated by her seeing her as the school idol and so no one got close to her.
Kyon was different though and she dearly cherished the moments they were together. Even in her high school she was alone so you can imagine her joy upon the re-union. Sasaki didn’t mind the quite life she led but she had more fun talking to someone else. The list of the people she could talk to casually was limited to her left hand fingers.
Sasaki and Kyon talked about everything and nothing but she was happy and so she couldn’t help thinking about the encounter the next morning.
There comes a time in life when even the most careful of people make the dumbest of mistakes and that morning was Sasaki’s turn.
At the crossing she was in the front and lost in thought as she was, once the walk sign turned green, she started forward. She missed the shocked looks and alarmed waves of hands in front of her on the opposite side of the main. She missed the shouts of warning all around her and the cars that were parked instead of stopped on either side of the road. Sasaki also missed the distant sirens of police cars.
What she didn’t miss was the sudden shadow that enveloped her and when that sunk in and she looked to where the morning sun was supposed to be, everything slowed to the speed of minus sixty. In the time she had gained, her brain over-processed the situation. She was standing in the middle of the road half way on both sides. The ‘walking man’ was green both forward and backwards. Everything was as it was supposed to be.
Except cars weren’t designed to move as the one she was facing at that moment. Even if flying cars were released and already on the roads since she went to sleep last night, the picture wasn’t as she had seen in one of those futuristic movies she had watched.
No, instead of the ‘front’ with the lights and everything facing towards her, she was staring right into the ‘roof’ of the car. In fact she was looking straight into the insides of the car through that little roof window. At that time said car was about five meters away from her. The time it took for her widening eyelids to reach maximum diameter, Sasaki was tracing the map of the wirings at the bottom of the car and the distance between her and the car was reduced to half a metre. The car had covered four and a half meters and did a one-eighty turn within a quarter of a second. All of this took place without the car touching the ground, at all.
The onlookers covered their eyes not up to watching the following scene of the poor girl getting intimate with the grim reaper by getting kissed between her eyes by the car tyre, which would crush her skull on the tarmac road finishing a master piece that would make Da Vinci proud, if not for the material used – brains.
A least that was what should have happened.
Just before Sasaki had lost her first and last kiss to spinning hot rubber, everything in her field of vision became a blur and closing her eyes was all she could do not to go mad. Her right ear was ringing and it hurt quite a bit. Most of her right side was being pushed in on itself as it met resistance.
The fact that she had that ‘awareness’ was all the proof she needed to confirm that she was still alive. Once the resistance and the ringing in her ear stopped, albeit the after effects decibels, Sasaki dared to open her eyes. The first thing she saw was her knees. That was strange. The scene reminded her of when she soaked in her bath.
The next information to enter her brain was that she wasn’t alone as just above her bent waist was a head looking at her – A head that belong to a kid. Queue a few seconds of calculations. Sasaki had never doubted her brain and so when she received an answer that she was being held bridal style by a child, she produced the appropriate response. For the first time since she could remember, Sasaki’s heart started to pick up speed at an unbelievable rate. Even when she was faced with death only moments before, she was calm. Her face rose in colour and just before the temperatures reached critical levels, she was up and placing a measurable distance between herself and the girl that she now saw looked to be eleven or twelve years old.
To Sasaki’s amazement, her mouth couldn’t release the words that were rolling in her mind. ‘Why wasn’t she dead? How could a girl, years younger than her be able to lift her? How did she get from middle of the street with a car practically on top of her and end up…where ever she was. Who was that girl? Where in God’s name were they?’
Looking around, Sasaki deducted that they were on top of one of the tall buildings and not far away from the almost-accident scene judging from the sirens. She looked back to the girl. Kicking common sense to the side, that girl had just saved her life. She had to say something but her mouth just couldn’t work. Sasaki decided to study the girl until all her motor senses came back to her.
As stated before the girl looked to be around 11 or 12 years old according to the growth rate Sasaki was used to. The most redeeming of features about her was her hair. The girl had a lot of hair. By a lot I mean that her body was two-thirds the size of that hair. It was raven coloured and went so far as to almost touch the ground and the two low ribbons at the base are what was stopping them from sweeping the floor. At her face, the hair was cleanly trimmed at the height of her top eyelash.
She had beautiful small round eyes that had similarly coloured pupils as her hair. Her round face was neutral without any kind of emotion yet that didn’t downplay how cute she was. Sasaki couldn’t decide whether the girl’s outfit was a uniform or not but she had on a black coat with colour-matching skirt. Under was a white blouse that looked like a shirt with a collar and a large grey bow under the collar. She had on black stockings that came up to under her knees. Her shoes were black as well.
Strangely the mysterious girl still had her arms up as if she was still holding Sasaki. That gave Sasaki the strength she needed to get her mouth to work.
“You can put your arms back down.”
A smile made its way onto Sasaki’s lips both from relief that her mouth still worked and when the girl complied.
“Thank you for saving my life as well.”
The mystery girl only blinked at Sasaki.
“My name is Sasaki. Can I get your name? That is if you don’t mind.”
The girl only continued to stare at Sasaki and before she decided to continue this one sided conversation, the furtive girl’s lips moved.
“_______”. She answered.
“I am sorry. I didn’t hear you. Could you say that again?”
This time Sasaki tried to pay extra attention even if it meant lip-reading.
The girl tried again. Her voice was so small that Sasaki almost missed the name again.
She asked to make sure she heard right. The girl nodded and Sasaki smile some more. It was a strange name that she had never heard before but it was somehow fitting.
“Well Kuyou Suyou-san, thank you again for saving my life.”
The girl…Suou-san, gave the smallest of nods and had Sasaki not been paying top attention, she might have missed it. Sasaki had a lot of questions for the girl but she somehow knew that it would take her a long time to get the answers. Suou-san didn’t look like the talkative kind as well. On the other hand she was going to be late for school. Too many factors were against a prolonged conversation.
As if reading her mind, Suou-san picked up Sasaki’s school bag that she had dropped in her ‘escape’ and walked over to Sasaki. She offered the bag which Sasaki took.
“Thank you Suou-san. I better get going then.”
Sasaki turned and started for exit door. She looked calm on the outside but on the inside she was pure chaos. Everything seemed different now for some reason. It was her life was completely different. It was all she could do not to turn and give her brain the answers it sought. Sasaki somehow managed to make it to the door without turning around but when she reached for the handle, the door didn’t barge. It was locked. She jerked it some more for effect and still nothing.
Suou wrapped her tiny fingers around Sasaki’s wrist. Sasaki let go of the handle and turned. She let the small girl lead her away from the door and towards the edge of the roof they were on. Suou turned to her and started shutting her small eyes then opening them. Sasaki deduced that she was being asked to close her eyes and so she did just that.
Once the world turned black, Sasaki felt herself being lifted off her feet and held just as moments before. It was such an effortless action and while Sasaki’s overwhelmed mind was still processing that, she felt the slight pull of gravity which indicated that they had jumped. She waited for them to land probably on the street but the impact never came.
It wasn’t until she felt the wind beating against her face no more that she opened her eyes once again. This time Suou let Sasaki’s feet touch the ground as soon as she opened her eyes. Sasaki wasted no time to get free of the girl’s arms. Looking around, the scenery was a familiar one. They had landed on the school building’s roof top. Sasaki spent most of her luck time there so she knew right away where she was.
The bell went off soon after as if it were waiting for Sasaki.
“Thank you for…everything Suou-san.”
Sasaki blushed. She felt foolish all of a sudden for not having more to say that ‘thank you’. She hoped she got a chance to properly show her gratitude to the girl some time.
“Will I ever see you again?”
Sasaki deduced that the best way to have a conversation with the girl was to ask questions that required a yes or no or a nod and shake of the head. To Sasaki’s delight, the girl nodded her head. Sasaki turned and headed for the door that wasn’t locked and made her way to her class room.
Despite a few minutes having passed after the bell rang, Sasaki entered her homeroom before their teacher. She entered all the while replying to the good mornings that her class mates sent her way shyly. She made her way to her seat in the back near the window one place from the back. The place behind her was unoccupied since she second year of High School began. Taking advantage of the teacher’s absence, Sasaki thought back on the past minutes.
She was almost rolled over by a car. A girl way smaller than her and younger saved her. Sasaki still couldn’t comprehend how she had managed to do that. The obvious thought process was that she wasn’t human. Suou-san must have flown otherwise there was no other explanation for how she could get to the tops of high buildings.
Her thoughts took similar trails and Sasaki felt like everything she knew in life had been shuffled, re-designed and redefined. Their homeroom teacher decided to show up ten minutes later and by the way he acted, everyone knew something was up, apart from his being late.
The class representative stood and gave the usual command. Everyone stood up.
All heads bowed to their teacher.
Everyone greeted. After the teacher answered the class president concluded.
“Take your seats.”
Chairs were pulled as students settled into their respective seats.
“First, I apologise for being late but there is a reason for that.”
The teacher explained nervously. Students started murmuring among themselves.
“I understand that it must seem strange seeing as we are reaching the end of the school year but we have a transfer student joining us today. Please be very welcoming of her.” The murmurs increased in volume.
“You may enter Tachibana-san.”
The girl in question proudly entered the class room looking to the world like any other kid on the block. She was quite pretty as evicted by the guys and some girls wooing her. When she got near the teacher, he leaned to whisper something to her and soon after the girl turned and wrote her name on her board.
The name ‘Tachibana Kyoko’ was neatly displayed on the board soon after. She was efficient and precise that even Sasaki was impressed.
“Good morning. My name is Tachibana Kyoko. I just moved to this town with my family due to my father’s job and will be attending here for the next two years. My brother has also just transferred to this school but he is a year ahead of me. I love deduction games, detective movies and logic studies. My role model is, I am embarrassed to say, a fictional character – Bruce Wayne AKA Batman. Most of the boys must have heard of him. I look forward to getting to know all of you and learning from you. Please take care of me.”
The girl bows after her breath-taking introductory speech. Not getting a reaction, the new girl – Tachibana-san finally shows signs of embarrassment when she raises her head wondering what she said. As if Sasaki’s classmates were waiting for the girl to connect eye to eye with them, they clapped and boys whistled. She sure was going to be popular. Sasaki couldn’t help a smile that graced her lips as well.
Tachibana’s eyes swept across the room and when they connected with Sasaki’s, a brighter smile broke over her face. Sasaki wondered about that.
“Well Tachibana-san, thank you for the lovely introduction. Questions will have to wait as we are quite behind on time. As for you seat…”
The teacher didn’t take long to find it. There was only one empty place and it was right behind Sasaki.
“Take the empty place over there in the back by the window behind Sasaki-san.”
Tachibana-san bowed to the teacher and said a ‘thank you’ then started to make her way towards Sasaki.
“Seeing as you are neighbours, please do take care of Tachibana-san for a while Sasaki-san.”
Sasaki absently answered ‘yes teacher’ for her attention was on Tachibana-san. The girl had her eyes fixed on Sasaki all the way from the front until she reached her side where she paused and turned to Sasaki.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Sasaki-san, please do take care of me.”
She stretched out her hand for a shake. Sasaki took only moment before she reached out with hers and the officially met.
“It’s nice to meet you too Tachibana-san.”
Sasaki smiled as she remembered that day. She hadn’t seen her hero since then and she had been going through different ways in which she would talk to Suou-san when they did get to meet. Tachibana-san seemed to have got a shine on Sasaki as the girl was almost with her all the time. They ate lunch together and Tachibana-san was very good at striking conversations that Sasaki actually found interesting. Not a lot of things grabbed her interest.
All the reminiscing found Sasaki at that fated crossroad where she got up-close and personal with the mechanics of cars. She couldn’t help the shiver that went down her spine and a sudden thought that she just might meet her saviour around the ‘scene’. The pedestrian crossing light turned green and after a few people crossed before her, Sasaki decided to follow. This time just like the day before, she looked both left and right before crossing. Once again like the day before, she was disappointed when there was no Kuyoh Suou.
Sasaki wondered what Suou-san was doing. She was probably off saving lives just like a super hero. She wondered what Tachibana-san’s reaction would be when she found out there was a real super hero. Well, she wouldn’t be finding out anytime soon. Sasaki didn’t think she would be telling anyone for the matter. The day before Sasaki was the centre of attention at school, again, just when she was glad that the Tachibana-san brother and sister had taken the spot light from her.
Seeing as no one was coming straight out with it, she never got to find out until she was summoned to the principal’s office. She was always amazed by the paparazzi. There was an award winning picture of her staring right at an on-coming rolling car and all evidence pointed to one conclusion – certain death. Yet there she was standing in front of the principle with several teachers including her homeroom teacher. You could understand the poor people’s reactions.
“I don’t really understand what happened as well Principle. I blacked out and when I came to I was on the school rooftop. I guess someone saved me.” Sasaki had explained with a shrug. The incident was too much for the teachers and so they had no other choice that let her go. Of course when she got back to class, everyone was all over her with enough questions to make her a billionaire.
The wonders didn’t stop there though.
When it came time for lunch, she was glad to escape from the mob for it was some hoe established that she preferred to eat alone on the roof. There was an exception this time in the form of Tachibana Kyoko. The lunch started out as any other with them passing pleasant conversation until…
“You weren’t telling the complete truth about yesterday’s incident were you?”
Tachibana Kyoko switched gears all the while still eating as if it was no big deal. It took everything Sasaki had to not choke on her drink. She looked over to Tachibana-san who wasn’t even paying attention to her. She dissected and experimented in her head whether to tell the truth or ‘have a cow’. Sasaki was always a great judge of character and the girl beside her was giving off the ‘I know what really happened last summer’ vibe.
“It was the truth though. I was saved by someone- A girl. She brought me over to school.”
Sasaki had decided to hold off the girl’s name. Tachibana didn’t seem all that phased at all continuing to enjoy her food. The girl had a big appetite. She didn’t comment on the subject anymore and after finishing her bento, she switched to the previous night’s episode of ‘The Adventures of Batman’. Sasaki listened as the girl passionately went on and on about the dark knight.
At the end of the last class when the students had tired of pestering Sasaki for answers, they had all left except a few who were on class duty. Just as Sasaki stood up to leave, Kyoko leaned and whispered into her ear.
“Don’t worry about it. We will take care of it.”
That was what she said before zooming out the door. I was left there open mouthed wondering what she was on about. After going home and doing some deep thinking, I could only come up with the accident. She was probably talking about that. If that was the case though, what did she plan to do about what and how? Well, Sasaki was going to find out soon as she neared the school gates.
Sasaki somehow managed to make it to class without being jumped by the journalism club or the news happy students. Did gossip die that fast? Not that she was complaining. One day of questions was enough for her. Warily entering her classroom she expecting to be jumped but surprisingly only the usual glances were sent her way.
She settled into her seat and after another quick sweep of the room to make sure, Sasaki shook her head. ‘Gossip didn’t die that fast’. She thought as she reached into her bag to pull out a novel to pass her time until classes started. Ten pages in Tachibana-san made her entrance. That girl was in the school for only two days and she was already acting as if she had been there years.
Sasaki watched as she greeted everyone she came across be it boys or girls. Her twin high pony tails at the back of her head gently swayed as she looked from one person to the next. Her hair was light toffee coloured. Were it to be let down from the ponytails, it would reach her chest. She was quite tiny and was easily the smallest girl in their class yet that was the cute factor about her. Her face was small as well and was framed nicely with light brown eyes like many Japanese girls.
But what Sasaki liked about her most was her smile. She put on her own smile as Tachibana-san made her way towards her seat.
“Good morning Sasaki-san.”
“Good morning Tachibana-san.”
Sasaki answered as she turned in her seat, closing the book in the process, to face Tachibana-san.
“You may call me Kyoko Sasaki-san. I think Tachibana-san is a mouthful, don’t you?”
“Well then Kyoko-chan, I will take you upon your offer.”
“Thank you. I would like that.”
Kyoko pulled her coat off and placed it on her chair. Everyone was wearing one now. The weather had started winter quite early. Once she was done, Kyoko leaned forward and talked in a small voice so that only Sasaki could hear her.
“I took care of ‘it’ just like I promised.”
Sasaki whispered as ell so that there were no eavesdroppers
“Yeah, about that, what were you talking about exactly?”
“I was referring to the accident of course. Haven’t wondered why no one is talking about it this morning?”
Sasaki did indeed wonder but she had to make sure.
“And so, what did you do, brain wash the whole country or something?”
Kyoko simply giggled.
“No. That would be too troublesome. We simply ‘erased’ the accident from history. People can’t know of something that never happened now can they?”
Sasaki opened her mouth but Kyoko didn’t let her voice any thoughts.
“I will explain everything during lunch. Right now class is about to start.”
And just on cue the bell rang and the teacher came sauntering in as if she was outside the door waiting for the bell. Sasaki would get her answers during break. The morning classes went too slow for Sasaki and when the bell for lunch rang, her excitement was quite visible. She made haste to organise her bag and grab for her lunch box ready to go but Kyoko placed a hand on her should keeping her in her seat.
“I want you to wait three minutes and then come up, okay?”
Sasaki nodded trying to hide her displeasure but Kyoko only laughed lightly and ran out of the class with her bento. Sasaki decided to start counting the seconds to pass the time. Once she reached 180, Sasaki tried real hard to stop her legs from picking up speed in a run. In no time at all she was on the door that led to the roof top. Taking a deep breath feeling like her world was about to change for good, Sasaki exited to the roof.
To Be Continued…