Kazusa Normal Ending – VII

Kazusa and Haruki have set out. They tussle lightly over their in-transit meals: Kazusa needles Haruki for getting two of the same bento box, claiming he doesn’t understand the fun of trading bits and pieces of two different respective boxes back and forth; Haruki hassles her in return for getting two of the same coffee.
They didn’t actually leave at first light. Kazusa wasn’t likely to be ready in time anyway, but Haruki, somewhat uncharacteristically, didn’t have anything in order by the time they woke up, either.
They’d been too busy getting up to something other than sleeping.
Then, in the course of an hour, they managed to miss the first express train, mix up their transfer station, and ride back a station. It’s past noon now.
Normally Haruki would have worked everything out meticulously beforehand, to make things as efficient as possible; but the word “efficiency” is well out of their minds at the moment.

“Let’s just try to get to the inn by the end of the day.” That was what we decided.

We had plenty of time. There wasn’t any set timeframe for this trip that we were going to spend together.

Because we had promised… to be together forever.

Even after the concert was over, when we no longer had any reason to be together, always…

……

They’re about an hour out of Tokyo now. Most of the buildings have vanished, replaced by sprawling fields.
Kazusa asks Haruki if he wants a frozen mandarin. He refuses.

The feelings of exaltation, fretfulness, expectation, weariness, that came with this impulsive trip, unplanned in every possible sense…

It all mixes together in his heart, into something complicated. But Kazusa seems to be enjoying herself fully. She insists that he peel the mandarin and feed it to her, slice by slice.

……

Haruki gives in and feeds Kazusa the mandarin. With every slice, she starts licking and sucking at his fingers with greater zeal, moaning, mere steps away from being blatantly sexual—a bit of mischief to embarrass Haruki, and it works, especially when she suggests that she might put her mouth around something a little different later. At this point, openly kissing would be less embarrassing for him, and that’s saying something. It is clear that Kazusa no longer has any reservations about acting this way in public, no worries about judgmental looks from those around her.

……

Youko observes the state of disarray in which Kazusa’s apartment has been left. By her estimate, it wasn’t a burglar, or anything of that sort—Kazusa must have done it herself.
Miyoko, harried, takes Youko to task for not telling her where Kazusa was staying—it could have saved Miyoko a whole lot of trouble in searching—but Youko isn’t interested in engaging with that, instead asking whether she might infer anything from the state of the apartment.
Miyoko doesn’t feel like inferring, so Youko moves ahead: there are clothes scattered about, which means Kazusa was pulling clothing out in a hurry, which further means that, wherever Kazusa is, she has clothing with her. Several days’ worth, in fact.

Youko
“If I had to guess… I would say Kazusa has gone on a trip.”

Youko suspects Kazusa may be even more her mother’s daughter than she thought, suddenly running away with a man right before a concert. Miyoko doesn’t want to think about it.

Youko
“Well, Guitar Boy, exactly what are you planning with my little girl? I certainly hope you’re prepared to take responsibility!”

……

A fair amount of time has passed, and Kazusa is dozing against Haruki’s shoulder. He nudges her gently to wake her. They’ve been holding hands the whole time.

Haruki
“Wake up already. …Do you want some of my coffee?”

Kazusa
“Oh, are we… there yet?”

Haruki
“No… We’ve got about an hour left.”

They’re in a tunnel at the moment. The darkness makes Kazusa think it’s night time already, but faint lamps passing by at regular intervals serve as reminders that they’re inside a man-made structure.

Kazusa
“Yawwwn… Then why’d you have to wake me up? I was having a nice dream…”

I had heard her muttering, “Haruki, Haruki,” over and over in her sleep…

She complains that she was just about to get to the good part. Haruki isn’t thrilled that she would rather see her dream version of him than the real one, though he also wonders what “the good part” was going to be.
But that’s not important right now. He pushes her against the window, just to make sure she’s watching at the crucial moment: 3…2…1…
And then they exit the tunnel.
Everything is white. The sky, the trees, the ground. Even the evening sun is hidden behind dense clouds, making it hard to believe it’s there at all.

Kazusa
“…Snow.”

The last time they saw it together was in Strasbourg.
The first time was five years ago, on Christmas—the three of them.
Like the blank pages of “White Album,” Kazusa says, still in awe.
It may not be piling up in the city streets like it did back then, but as they look up at it now, it brings so many emotions—fond recollections, happiness, sadness, pain.

Kazusa
“We came this far… We’re really here.”

Kazusa was the one who chose the place. Haruki made no objection.
Where they’re headed isn’t unknown territory.

Kazusa’s right hand, which hadn’t let go of my left this whole time, gripped tighter and tighter.

Their feelings pass between one another, even without words.
Up to this point, as long as the sun was up, as long as there were people around to watch, Haruki was able to keep playing the part of someone with common sense.

But, as the sun set, as the people disappeared from our field of view, my self up to this point, my correct self, sank as well.

And, when the sun had sunk completely, leaving only me and Kazusa behind in the world…

That was when my true self—the one who had turned his back on the world—entered the stage.

……

Haruki and Kazusa prepare to have their dinner at the inn. The fragrant steam of the hot pot suffuses their room. But, in spite of their gnawing hunger, they’re having a hard time digging in.
They already know how delicious it’s going to be. It’s the same meal.
They’re at the place they stayed on Christmas Night… five years ago.

The lodging Setsuna reserved. A place full of memories for the three of us.

Dizzying immorality, an egregious betrayal. The very worst thing we could possibly have done to Setsuna.

But they couldn’t stay away. After all, this is where their great mistake truly began.
Kazusa suggests that they raise a toast—to the two of them.

Haruki
“Yeah… To the two of us.”

They wished each other a Merry Christmas then, though what they did was more like a year-end party, to forget everything.

……

It’s still snowing. They’ve been staring at that perfect white scenery through every window they’ve encountered—the train, the taxi, the inn itself.
Haruki asks if he should go get another bottle of something—the beer they toasted with wasn’t quite enough.
They recall getting stupid-drunk on champagne Kazusa brought the last time they were here. Haruki and Setsuna had a blast, but the situation had long since begun to tell on Kazusa.

……

They lean against each other, having finished their meal and alcohol, staring at the snow yet again. They don’t call for the hostess to come and clear everything away yet. Kazusa just wants to keep on in this moment for a while.

Haruki
“Hey… Where should we go tomorrow?”

Kazusa
“Let’s not go anywhere. Let’s just stay here.”

To hear her talk like that, you wouldn’t think they were on a trip at all. But Haruki’s fine with just doing things they way they always do.
Kazusa tries to remember when the checkout date is. The day after tomorrow…?

Haruki
“I checked up on that earlier. They said extensions are no problem, and we should stay as many days as we like…”

Kazusa
“Is this inn okay…?”

Haruki
“Well, it’s far from any big tourist sites, not great for skiing, and people pretty much only come here for the hot springs, right?”

Kazusa
“That doesn’t sound ‘okay’ at all.”

Haruki
“Well, but for us, it’s more than okay, right?”

Kazusa
“…Eh, maybe.”

Haruki
“We can stay here as long as we want, you know? …I’ve got enough money lying around for it.”

Kazusa
“Don’t show off to me about money stuff. You know that better than anyone.”

She says she could take care of him, easily. He’s not really sure what to say to that, so he suggests they go to the hot springs.
Kazusa has something else in mind. He can tell from the way she’s looking at him, out of the corner of her eye.
He hasn’t kissed her yet today, she says.
So, he does.
With their gazes, they have a different conversation, remember how, five years ago, they pledged eternal friendship here. Haruki apologizes for ruining that. Kazusa tells him not to take it all on himself.

……

After some time, they go for a soak in the hot springs.

……

By the time they get back to their room, the futons are already laid out, right up against each other.

They’re both ravenous tonight. It’s the first time in days that they haven’t been at each other since morning. The lacy white underwear Kazusa is wearing beneath her yukata only excites Haruki further.
First they pleasure one another, simultaneously, with their mouths and tongues, stimulation mounting upon stimulation, until Kazusa has a small orgasm—but she’s far from done, and they keep on. Kazusa is getting more and more vehement in the act, guiding him insistently toward a conclusion—but Haruki isn’t done, either.
He spreads her apart with his hands.
Not the usual spot—but somewhere narrower, smaller, a bit behind it. Kazusa cries out, her voice a combination of discomfort, shame, and surprise. She tells him to stop. He begins working his tongue in anyway, and, at his entreaty, she resumes her own activity at the other end.
It’s his, now. Every single part of Kazusa is his.
When he finally finishes inside Kazusa’s mouth, she swallows as much of it down as she can, licks up the rest, and then takes him back into her mouth—as though he needs the help. He’s got plenty of stamina left.
In accordance with their usual routine, it’s his turn on top now. But he has something slightly different in mind this time around. He tells her he wants to try it from this other entrance.
Kazusa protests. It’s dirty. It’s gross. He’s a freak. What if it hurts? He distracts her by continuing to work at her with his tongue.
He has no way of knowing whether it’ll hurt. This will be his first time doing it, after all.
Kazusa stops protesting, surprised.

Kazusa
“You haven’t… You haven’t done this with anyone?”

Haruki
“…No one but you.”

He tells her he wants all of her. She calls him a freak again.
He assures her that he’s her freak. She admits that the fact that she’s about to agree to it makes her his own personal freak.
She slowly moves herself into position.

……

Kazusa is struggling a little. Haruki asks her to endure it, for him.

Kazusa
“…I will. For you, I’ll take anything.”

Haruki slowly pushes himself in. Kazusa screams.
The tightening Haruki feels is completely different from what he’s used to—trying to force him out, rather than welcoming him in—but he knows the sensation must be even more foreign to Kazusa.
He apologizes. Kazusa tells him to knock it off. She’s doing this for him, so he has to enjoy it, at least.
As he pushes in further, he tells her to relax, but it looks like that’s going to be easier said than done.

The arms and legs that were holding her up shivered, and she pressed her face into the pillow, moaning, almost sobbing.

From her expression and reaction, it was clear that she wasn’t feeling much pleasure from this act yet…

Haruki
“Kazusa… Do you want me to pull out?”

Kazusa
“If you have the time to worry about that, then hurry up and pleasure yourself already!”

Haruki
“…It might hurt even more.”

Kazusa
“Then, keep telling me how good it feels. Tell me you love me. …If you do that, I’ll come, too, no matter how much it hurts.”

He starts panting harder. She tells him again. Say it.

Haruki
“Hah, ahh… K-Kazusa… It feels so good… inside you… ahh…!”

Kazusa
“Yeah… Keep saying it… Keep making those sounds… That’s all I… all I need to… ahhhh!”

It was always like this… Kazusa could get pleasure from my voice. She could climax from my words of love alone.

He tells her that all of her is his now. There’s nothing he hasn’t touched.
His words, his gasps of pleasure, are taking Kazusa to a height beyond what she’s experiencing physically. He tells her she’s all he has. She assents: he belongs to her.
Kazusa’s voice is slowly changing to her more accustomed voice for times like this. Less strained, heavy breathing, more rapture.
She tells him again: he can do anything to her, because it’s him.
With the snow still falling outside, everything looks the same way it did five years ago.
But that doesn’t shake how they feel.
At last, Haruki thrusts all the way into her and ejaculates, so hard that his head goes blank.
Kazusa hears him start to try to apologize, and calls him on it. He always feels regret after coming inside her.

Kazusa
“Hah… I don’t need that. If I get broken by you, there’s nothing to regret.”

She won’t tell him not to apologize, but she will refuse to listen.

Haruki
“And, I… If I break with you, I won’t regret it.”

Kazusa
“…Stupid.”

He meant what he said. He hoped it would reach her heart, and yet it had the opposite effect.

But Kazusa just muttered that single word, “Stupid,” and didn’t raise her face from the futon for a while.

……

In the aftermath of all of that, Haruki and Kazusa are visiting the hot springs again. It’s after three in the morning. Kazusa is complaining about how weird it still feels, what they just did, but Haruki can tell she’s truly happy—happier than she was five years ago.
Back then, they were simply back-to-back, connected through Setsuna in the middle.

Setsuna’s right hand in my left hand. Setsuna’s left hand in Kazusa’s right hand. In that way, the three of us gave form to our friendship.

Kazusa remarks upon how lovely the scenery is.

My right hand and Kazusa’s left hand were left open to the outside.

She could keep looking at it forever.

But now, only Kazusa’s left hand and mine were connected, tightly.

Five years ago, Kazusa took her right hand away from Setsuna, and my left hand…

She almost doesn’t want to leave.

Haruki remembers Setsuna saying the same three things, almost exactly. He wonders whether Kazusa realizes the repetition.
But he’s not tactless enough to point it out. Instead, he says they might as well stay here forever, if they want to. Eating good food, enjoying the hot springs, watching the snow.
Going after each other like beasts. Tell the staff not to come in and tidy up while they’re out.
Kazusa says the staff will figure out what they’re up to in there, around the clock. Haruki doesn’t care. What is there to be embarrassed about? They aren’t doing anything wrong.

For the world that I had always lived in, this was an astonishingly flimsy argument…

But, as those lines slipped out of my mouth even more easily than I would have imagined, perhaps I was no longer a resident of that world.

They both wish they could stay here forever. Let the snow keep falling forever. Let it shut them in. What more would they need?
Kazusa jokingly tells him not to look at her naked body when they get out, but in reality, they’re still all over each other, embracing tightly. They don’t want to let go. It feels like, the moment they take their hands off each other, everything could end.

……

Kazusa
“Hyah… Ah, ahh… ahhh… H-Haruki… Let me… rest for a second.”

Kazusa breathed ragged breaths, her chest heaving up and down…

As he keeps grabbing at her breasts, she catches him in her arms.

Kazusa
“You’re just… bottomless. I can’t remember how many times we’ve done it since this morning.”

Haruki
“Kazusa, I… I’m not about to stop.”

Kazusa
“…Don’t say something that’s gonna turn me on that lightly. The next time, I might not be able to hang on very long.”

I buried my face in one of Kazusa’s breasts, taking the tip there into my mouth, caressing it with my tongue, sucking it with my lips.

Her warmth, her smell, her heartbeat, all bring him ease.
Kazusa asks what time it is, but it’s not like either of them really cares. It’s been snowing all day, again. All they can really tell is whether it’s daytime or nighttime, depending on whether it’s bright or dark out.
She starts musing about her upcoming concert. The weekly publications and things would probably love it if she screwed up. The heroine becomes a heel. Though it’s not like she’s playing for their approval anyway.
Haruki has been occupying his mouth otherwise, not thrilled by the reintroduction of this topic.

Kazusa
“You really just love sucking my boobs. Every single time we finish, you do this.”

Kazusa suggests he might be mistaking her for his mother, and warns him that he won’t be getting any milk. Haruki says he would prefer not to have his mother brought into this discussion, and he can’t remember breastfeeding, anyway. That memory seems to have vanished as he grew up.

Kazusa wasn’t my mother. My whole heart understood that.

So, why? Why was I having a natural conversation like this, as though I were speaking to a blood relative…?

Kazusa
“I know, I know… Yeah, do whatever you want.”

Kazusa
“You can suck my boobs until they get all stretched out. You’re the only one who’s gonna be seeing or touching them, anyway. If they get out of shape, you’re the only one who’s gonna care.”

As though she had sensed my hesitation, Kazusa grabbed her breast and shoved it into my face.

Like a mother, giving her breast to her child… No, that wasn’t the image that came to me.

Kazusa teases him, but he can’t hide his own appetites.

Haruki
“Hah, mph… Slp, slp… Huff, mmph…”

The image may not have come to my mind, but in the end, there I was, sucking single-mindedly at Kazusa’s nipple like a baby.

As he does, the sounds Kazusa makes are anything but motherly.

Haruki
“Don’t… think about anything, right now. Mph… hah…”

Kazusa is taken slightly aback.

Haruki
“Don’t think about the concert, or other people, or… or what happens when we get back…”

He should have said this earlier, while Kazusa was talking to herself.

Haruki
“You and I… we’re the only ones here. There’s nothing else in this world.”

He’s saying it to himself, as much as to her.

Haruki
“So… Don’t think about anything. Just keep me in your arms. Just stay in my arms…”

As I spoke, I attacked her nipple with my lips and teeth, letting my words permeate her body.

Haruki
“Mm, mph… ahh… If you do that… ah, ah… Everything will be… fine.”

I convinced myself, by convincing Kazusa.

Haruki
“Life is simple… Everything will be solved, before you know it… Hahh, mm, mph…”

At this point, I wasn’t saying anything like, “This is what we’ll do to make things go well,” or, “I’ll make it work somehow.”

But, really, that was only natural…

Right now, I couldn’t even protect myself adequately.

No matter how much I tried to explain it. No matter how tightly I embraced her, trying to make her forget.

No matter how far I tried to flee, I couldn’t stop the anxiety over the future just ahead of us.

Not Kazusa’s, but my own…

Could I remain myself from here on out? Having cut off society, my relationships with people, everything?

Would Kazusa make it back in time for the concert? Supposing she did, would she be able to play well?

Haruki seems to remember Kazusa saying something about taking a rest. Kazusa’s pretty sure that was hours ago. Haruki couldn’t say.

…Would Kazusa be able to continue playing the piano? Or would she keep running away with me, forever?

And, if Kazusa did choose the latter future, how would I respond to her…?

Not as though time means anything to either of them right now.

Thinking about it wouldn’t necessarily bring me to any conclusion. I didn’t want to think about it, anyway.

So, to crush down the anxiety gushing up out of the depths of my chest, I filled the depths of my chest with Kazusa.

……

Haruki makes small talk with the hostess of the inn, while Kazusa sits awkwardly by, staring at the floor. She’s always shy like this around strangers, be they mild-mannered members of the public or people from the media.
Things take a dangerous turn when the hostess starts to remark that Kazusa looks quite a bit like “that pianist, you know, the one who just did a concert recently.” But Haruki swiftly and handily deters her: Yes, she gets people telling her that all the time. You know, when she takes her glasses off and lets her hair down like this, maybe there’s a bit of a resemblance. Of course, he adds, he doesn’t really see it at all. His lady is far more beautiful than some celebrity.
The hostess agrees, and tells Haruki he’s a lucky man to have someone so lovely and reserved.

Haruki
“Oh, I completely agree. …We’re getting married soon, you know.”

The hostess congratulates them both, while Kazusa blushes scarlet out of shock.

……

Later, when they’re alone, she has a bone to pick with him.

Kazusa
“Where the hell are we getting married? …In our dreams?”

Kazusa
“I know you were trying to get her off my trail, but wasn’t that going a little far? …Man, you sure can lie now.”

Haruki realizes how careless he’s been. The hostess may have gone along with his cover-up, but her eyes were rooted to Kazusa the whole time. Everyone in the inn is probably talking about her now, comparing her with photos in magazines.
Something has to be done before they figure it out. A single crack has finally appeared in their perfectly closed-off world.

Haruki
“Let’s leave tomorrow morning.”

……

It’s been storming since noon. The snow outside the window is blowing completely horizontally. In their perfectly dark room, the white powder snow illuminates Kazusa’s skin, her hair, her eyes.
All throughout dinner they didn’t say a word. No alcohol, no leaning against each other, barely even noticing the flavor of what they ate.

But… Immediately after the hostess cleared away our meal and laid out the futon, we lost all self-restraint.

More powerfully, more violently, than last night, than this morning, shouting like beasts, tangling our whole bodies up in one another, hurting each other…

Over and over, shooting into her, until Kazusa fainted for a short time… And then, finally, stillness visited us once more.

Now that Kazusa’s identity has been found out, someone from Youko Touma’s office will probably show up to drag her back by force. Or, even worse, if someone from Haruki’s business realm were to catch wind of it first…

Kazusa
“You’ll have to get back to work soon, Haruki. …Since you used up a whole week just for me.”

Suddenly they’re afraid of everything. Looks from the staff. People’s conversations. The sound of the phone at the front.
The crack is widening. Kazusa says there are limits even to her own selfishness. She has to get back to her piano, and Haruki has to get back to his work.

Haruki
“What are you talking about, Kazusa? We can’t go back. You already said you didn’t want to.”

Kazusa
“I’m happy. I’m really happy that you’re still saying that, Haruki, seriously. But, you—”

Haruki
“I won’t let anyone disrupt the two of us. No one…”

He cuts her off, because he doesn’t want to hear what she’s about to say.

Haruki
“Let’s go north… Even farther north than this.”

Kazusa
“North…?”

Haruki
“Deeper into the mountains, even more remote hot springs… Wait, actually, we might stand out less in a city.”

Haruki
“Right, that could actually work… Hey, why don’t we just go for it and go to Sapporo? The snow there is probably even prettier than here.”

They can check out first thing in the morning, but they’d better sleep now, or getting up will be difficult…
Kazusa interrupts him.

Kazusa pressed her face against my chest.

Kazusa
“…Ugh… snff…”

She clung to me even more tightly than before, hot and cold droplets wetting my chest.

Haruki
“You don’t have to worry so much… I promise everything will work out somehow.”

The fingers of both her hands dug tightly into my shoulders.

Kazusa
“You… You’re…”

Through those powerful pianist’s fingers, I could feel her whole body shaking.

I could feel her anxiety.

He tells her he’ll make her happy.

So I wrapped her up, and stroked her hair, letting my peace of mind pass into her.

Until the shaking stopped, until the anxiety vanished… Until we met the dawn.

He’ll make her happy some day, he says.
But Kazusa doesn’t want “some day.” She wants him to make her happy now. Just a little would be enough.
She tells him to say what he told the hostess of the inn earlier. She wants to hear it again, even if it was a lie.
It wasn’t a lie. He wants to make her his wife. They’ll be together forever.
She clings to him again, shakes, weeps. But it’s not out of anxiety this time. It’s not sadness—it’s the opposite.
Kazusa Kitahara. He says he’ll write it down, just like that, in the inn’s register tomorrow. No more need for pseudonyms.

Kazusa
“Do you swear? Do you swear to make me your wife, Haruki?”

Haruki
“Yes… In sickness, and in health…”

Kazusa
“Through happiness, and sadness?”

Haruki
“For richer, or for poorer.”

Kazusa
“You’ll love me, and honor me, and comfort me, and help me…”

Haruki
“I swear to devote myself to you, for as long as I live…”

Kazusa
“Ah… Haruki… Haruki…!”

Embracing each other madly, kissing madly.

We rolled across the two futons that were set out, now with me on top, now with her—but, no matter how we moved, our lips never parted.

Kazusa
“Ha… Haruki, mmm… mph… Hah, ah, ahh… More… More…!”

No dress. No tuxedo. No witnesses, and no exchanging of rings.

In fact, we didn’t have a single person who would bless our union.

Kazusa begs him for it.

But, right now, just the two of us…

In accordance with our mutual vows, we held our ceremony as man and wife.

……

Their bodies are burning up, melting together.

Connecting our lips, passing our tongues back and forth, mixing our saliva, pouring it into one another’s bodies.

Aloud, they reaffirm that they belong to one another.

Rubbing our legs, thighs, calves, and the tops of our feet together, cultivating our pleasure and our sense of oneness.

Sometimes faster, to heighten their pleasure. Sometimes slower, to affirm their emotions.

Kazusa
“Ah, ah, ahhh… I… I don’t… No… I don’t want it to end… I want to do this forever…!”

He promises that it won’t end. Not today, not tomorrow, not the day after…
Their hearts, bodies, and lives will remain connected.

Kazusa
“Hah, hah, ah, ahh… Don’t let go… Don’t ever let me go again, Haruki…! Ah, ah, ah, ah… Ahhh!”

Making love as man and wife. Pledging their eternal love to one another.

And so, just as we’d been doing every day, for the past several days…

No, today alone, we had lost count of how many times it had happened—my ejaculation, Kazusa’s contractions.

But neither of them is stopping, because they’re connected in every possible way.

We didn’t have a dress, or rings, or documents, or a seal, or anything to prove our vows to one another.

And yet, tonight… There was no question that we were bound together.

……

When Haruki wakes up, it’s already bright and clear outside. He overslept. They were supposed to leave first thing in the morning. He tells Kazusa to wake up and get dressed.
Kazusa isn’t there.

……

According to the hostess of the inn, Kazusa headed out for “a walk” earlier. Kazusa, the homebody. Kazusa, whom he had told not to leave the room.
He trudges through the snow, looking desperately for her.

Haruki
“Kazusa… Kazusa!”

The staff at the inn, worried over my response, offered to call the police, but I adamantly rejected this unnecessary help.

It’s just a walk. She just wanted to take in the early morning air and scenery. She’ll be back before long.
They made a promise to be bound together forever, after all.

……

Finally he finds her, after following her footprints off the trail, up a hill, out onto a plain. She looks like a painting, a woman with long black hair in the middle of the snow.
The moment he sees her face, he all but collapses.

Kazusa
“What’s with you? Your face says, ‘I was worried to death.’”

Kazusa
“Why would you get that worried over me just going for a walk? Even you can’t be that overprotective.”

He didn’t think she might have worried herself into doing something drastic, did he?
He insists he didn’t.

Kazusa
“Well, I dunno… Your legs are shaking so hard, you look like you could collapse any second.”

She starts to approach him, but he tells her to stay back. Insists he wasn’t really worried, he just came to call her in for breakfast.
Kazusa doesn’t buy it, of course. The truth is, he doesn’t want her to see his tears.

Kazusa
“Heyyy, Haruki, look this way. Hey! Look me in the face.”

Then, she catches him off guard.

…The moment I snapped and tried to glare at Kazusa, a punishment came down upon me for being so stupidly stubborn.

Kazusa
“Yep, pretty cold… Bet we could have a snowball fight…”

Kazusa is clearly having fun. So, Haruki gets her back.

Kazusa
“Whoa?! You…! That was under my clothes! Not fair, Haruki!”

Haruki
“This whole thing has been unfair for me! It’s not balanced at all!”

Kazusa
“How was I supposed to know that?! It’s not my fault you came running out after me in your robe!”

Haruki
“Well, I mean… I mean, I was worried! What else was I supposed to do?!”

Kazusa
“So why were you worried?! That’s what I’m asking, Haruki! You still haven’t told me!”

Then, suddenly, as though a switch had been flipped, they’re both laughing. They believe what they’re feeling is happiness, and they roll those feelings up into snowballs and throw them at each other, and then, before they know it, they’ve tumbled down into the snow, in each other’s arms.

……

Kazusa breathes heavily after the morning’s exertions.

Kazusa
“You know, I’m feeling kinda warm now… Which is weird, since we’re lying in the snow…”

Haruki
“That’s because you’re wearing a coat. I feel like I might freeze to death any second.”

They decide to lie there a little longer, hand in hand, watching the morning sun, confirming one another’s existence in this world of their own.

Kazusa
“You’re really gonna stay with me from now on? I mean, really really?”

They made their vows to each other last night. Haruki gives his answer with no hesitation: Yes.

Kazusa
“Everywhere I go, you’ll go with me…?”

Everywhere.
Kazusa’s hand tightens around his.

Haruki
“If that’s what you want. Because, the two of us…”

Kazusa
“Like this… even… into hell?”

Haruki
“Yes. Wherever you go, we’ll go together.”

Kazusa
“Haruki…”

Kazusa slowly turns her face toward him. Her snow-white skin, her jet-black hair and eyes, create a beauty that is almost transparent.
And, with that clear voice, befitting that transparent beauty, she speaks.

Kazusa
“…I refuse. I can’t go with you.”


1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9