*FEEL THE POWER!*
I must be back in World A(kane).
I wake up to the loud sound of my Masked Avenger alarm clock. By instinct I wave my hand to try to turn it off, but then I remember that I slept in a futon last night. Despite sleeping on the floor, it was really cozy.
I don't wanna get up…
I reluctantly get up from my futon to turn off the deafening alarm. I stretch my arms towards the ceiling, and let out a loud yawn.
I notice that there was no one in my bed right now. Last night Yuki-san was sleeping peacefully in my bed, unlike Akane, who usually snored obnoxiously. Now that I think about it, Akane probably already left downstairs to help my mother prepare breakfast or something. On school days she was always the early bird. Still, a part of me was really curious about Yuki-san's home cooking. But, I wasn't going to complain about Akane's either. I'm back in World A(kane); I just hope Yuki-san is feeling better.
I should tell Akane what happened, and what I should do next…
I smell a strong fragrance seep through my door. The scent of fried eggs and spices came from my kitchen. I assume that Akane was helping my mother, and they were about done. The aroma was starting to make my mouth water, and I could hear a subtle growl coming from my stomach.
I hope it's hamburg steak!
I change into my uniform quickly and head out towards the living room. I see my mother cleaning up, but Akane was nowhere to be found.
"Where's Akane?" I asked mother.
My mother turns towards me and gives a suspicious look.
"Akane…? Well she got up early and helped me make this huge breakfast." as she proudly displays our kitchen table, filled with various dishes. "She left as soon as we finished cooking. I wanted her to stay and eat with us, but she said she had "something important to do."
What could be so important?
"I made her grab some toast at least, and she headed out." my mother remarks. "With a little guidance, she could become a really good cook…" as my mother winks at me.
W-What could my mother be implying?!
I sit down on the table and face my biggest challenge yet – somehow finishing this feast of a breakfast. If Akane was here, there was no doubt she could have eaten everything no problem.
There's no way I can finish this!
"You better eat up Kazuki! You need to recover!" encouraged my mother.
I sigh deeply and pick up a fork.
Here goes nothing…
I think I'm gonna hurl…
I made it to school without throwing up on the way. My stomach was slightly protruding through my dress shirt. I felt slightly nauseous, as I managed to finish everything Akane and my mother cooked. At some point, everything just tasted like mush, but Akane's cooking was still delicious. There was just something slightly off though. When I took a bite of the omelet rice, it didn't taste the same as the one she cooked before. It felt off, like she missed an ingredient or two.
I'm walking towards my classroom, class 2-B. Still, I haven't run into Kaneko-san yet. Usually she'd be running around making a commotion or something. Akane's disappeared as well without a trace. I would think being her boyfriend and all, that she would say something before she left the house. The school felt eerily quiet today for some strange reason.
What did she need to do that was so important?
I sit down on my desk and look out to the window. Akane was still missing. The seat in front of me was empty. Suddenly I find myself stuck in a headlock.
"Today's your lucky day loverboy!" as Daisuke hands me a pink heart-shaped box.
Wait a minute!
I just realized something! Today was Valentines' Day!
"I got your favorite, caramel." he teases.
Daisuke seemed like he was back to normal. My partner in crime was back to his regular self, cracking jokes and teasing me relentlessly. In his other hand was a small bag, already filled with other boxes of chocolates.
"I have too much, just take some." as he popped a few pieces of chocolate into his mouth.
I put the box he hands me discreetly back into his bag.
"Have you seen Akane anywhere?" I asked him.
"Huh?" He was too busy stuffing his mouth with candy. "Nope. Haven't seen her around at all." he says.
"Why?" as he gives a mischievous grin. "What did you two do after we left…?"
"Never mind!" as I pushed my perverted partner in crime away from my face.
I had to go to my regularly scheduled therapy session with Dr. Mori anyways. Knowing her, she probably wasn't going to be too happy today. If anything, she was going to be the one needing therapy today, as I act as her shoulder to cry on.
"Hello…? Kazuki-kun? Wake up kid!" Dr. Mori snaps me out of my daze.
I shake my head and blink my eyes several times like a camera shutter.
"I'm sorry." I rub the back of my head. "I have a lot on my mind today." I explained to her.
Dr. Mori crosses her arms and pouts. Even at whatever age she was, her pout reminded me of a child. It was kinda adorable actually.
"I know today's Valentines' Day and all Kazuki-kun, but don't get your hopes up kid." she bitterly says. "If some girl gives you chocolate, you better appreciate it!"
Clearly Dr. Mori didn't have any sentimental feelings towards this holiday. However, I couldn't help but notice she was wearing a bit of make-up today. Maybe she actually had a date or something later tonight.
I better be careful at what I say. One wrong move and I might set off a minefield!
"Anyways…" as Dr. Mori takes a sip of her coffee. "Tell me how have you been feeling?" What's up with Yuki-san?" she asks.
I wanted to tell her I nearly died and stuff, but that's probably not something that Dr. Mori needed to worry about. The last thing I wanted was another scolding.
"Things have taken a turn for the interesting I suppose."
Dr. Mori raises an eyebrow. Her expression changed from a slight boredom to intrigue.
"That's good to hear Kazuki!" as she smiles. "I'm glad young love can blossom even in this day and age…" as Dr. Mori takes a deep sigh, followed by a long gulp of coffee.
She takes out a small clipboard and skims through some papers on it.
"Have you been having any more of those headaches, or feelings of light-headedness?" she asks.
I nod my head. "Yes."
It's true that they were still happening, but they were decreasing in frequency.
"That's good! I'm glad you're feeling better." Dr. Mori writes something down on her paper, and she puts down the clipboard. Suddenly, there's a brief moment of silence.
"Say Dr. Mori…?" I asked her. "Let's say you have a boyfriend-"
Suddenly I can see Dr. Mori scowling at me. I see her fists were curled, and it was obvious that I needed to be very careful about what I was going to say.
"You better make a good point with this Kazuki…" she says cracking her fists.
I stepped on a mine!
"U-Uh! Let's say you have a boyfriend right? What if you only had him like only in your dreams? A-And your dreams are almost indistinguishable from real life. What would you do? Would you choose the dream, or the real world?"
Dr. Mori relaxes and places her thumb underneath her chin. She's deep in thought about my random question.
"Still having those lucid dreams Kazuki?" she comments.
"Well…sort of." as I chuckle.
"If that was possible, I don't think I could accept being in a dream." she replies. "As much as it hurts me to say, I would rather choose loneliness than to be stuck in a dream world."
Her answer surprises me. Despite her inadequacies, Dr. Mori was still willing to be stuck alone in the real world, rather than in a false but perfect life?
"I would rather face the truth of life, than take comfort in the ignorance of something I know can never be more than a pale imitation, even if it was distinguishable from reality. Or I'm not sure. It's a hard decision to make." as Dr. Mori shrugs her shoulders.
She had some good points. A part of me really wanted to stay in World A(kane) permantely with Akane, who is the girlfriend of my dreams. But there was no way I could leave everything here in my original World B. I couldn't leave Yuki-san alone, especially since I knew of her background.
To choose truth or happiness. I don't know what I would do.
"Random question though, have you seen Akane around?" I changed the subject.
"Random question after random question today Kazuki?" as Dr. Mori lets out a heartfelt laugh. She was bemused at my concern for Akane. "It's Valentines' Day, so maybe she's planning something today?" she teases.
"W-Who could that be…?" as I trail off with laughter.
Dr. Mori looks out into the window. It's a bright and sunny day.
"Have a happy Valentines' Kazuki-kun." she smiles slightly. "If anything, you're probably the closest I'll have today…" she mumbles at the last second.
Someone please marry this woman!
It's nearly the end of the day now. I've been looking around and asking people left and right, but I haven't run into Akane at all.
Where could she have gone?
In the corner of my eye I spot Kaneko-san passing by in the hallway.
Maybe she knows where Akane went?
"Hey Kaneko!" I shout to catch her attention.
She freezes in her tracks and slowly turns her head towards me. Her face was turning a bright red; she was blushing more than usual. Also, it was kinda weird to see the Roadrunner doused in make-up, something I've never thought she knew how to use. I can hear her give a long sigh, and she turns around. Kaneko-san awkwardly walks towards me, taking very small steps, since I think she was carrying something underneath her red track suit. With only a few steps away from me, she suddenly turns around.
"Eep!" as she dashes away from me.
"W-Wait!" I try to reach out, but she already left dust clouds behind her.
Just what is up with her today…?
I'm heading back to class 2-B now, tired from running around. Besides Valentines' Day, today was also the first big exam of the semester. Most of the class had dates planned afterwards. The only real date I had today was with a test. Needless to say, I'm not prepared at all. Given what's happened the past couple of days, all I could hope for was a passing grade. The last time I even touched a textbook was when I was tutoring Kaneko-san that one night. Thinking about it, it was weird how she suddenly asked me what I thought about her and Yuki-san.
Didn't Kaneko-san say something about Valentines' Day…?
It was probably Kaneko-san being an airhead again. I head back into my classroom, and I see a small box on my desk.
I look around quickly to see if this was a mistake.
This must be pity candy from one of the girls, or maybe Daisuke just left it behind.
I pick up the small box and it was in the shape of a cat's face. It was black, with a small pink ribbon tied around it. I couldn't help but think this looked too good to be pity candy. It was ornate, and I've never seen something like this at the supermarket or a convenience store. I open the box to find a small assortment of chocolates. Dark chocolate here, white chocolate there, it was all varied and molded like a cat's face too.
This person must really like cats…
I suddenly had a moment of realization, and I felt a looming figure's presence appear behind me.
"Akane-!" I quickly turn around.
Upon closer inspection, it was actually Yuki-san. She was not wearing the red string Akane wore.
Then that means…I didn't wake up in World A(kane)!
This didn't make sense to me. I thought I was supposed to wake up in the other once I fell asleep no matter what. But thinking about it further, maybe because I was knocked out, I had already hopped to World A(kane) somehow. Akane mentioned something about a cool-down, so maybe that was still in effect? Then that means when I go to sleep tonight, I'll probably wake up in World A(kane) tomorrow.
I guess I'll be back to normal after tonight. This is vital information.
If Yuki-san was standing here in front of me, then that meant that this morning's breakfast was!-
"Ahem…" Yuki-san coughs to catch my attention.
Despite her cold demeanor, she was trying very hard to hide her blushing face. She kept her eye contact at a minimum, looking away every so often. A small crowd of students gathered to quietly observe this situation.
"I-I hope you enjoy these chocolates…"
The whole classroom was staring at us now. We even managed to attract the attention of the people in the hallways.
"The Ice Witch gave chocolates to someone?!" quietly whispered a male student.
Yuki-san was hoping this would be over quickly, but I was kinda enjoying every second of it. It took every fiber of her courage to go through with this.
"I did not have the time to make them because of this morning, so I got this instead." she explains.
"Isn't that the super rare specialty chocolates? It's from a special cafe that you'd have to reserve months in advance?! How'd she manage to get those today?" commented a female student.
"T-Thank you!" as I instinctively bowed my head.
I kept my head low towards the ground. I could tell that she was still standing in front of me, tapping her foot anxiously. I raise my head slowly, to see that she along with the class, was holding their breath.
Oh! Eat the chocolates dummy!
I fumble to open the box again my hands were shaking. I take out one of the pieces of chocolate and pop it into my mouth.
Wow…this is amazing!
It was a caramel flavored piece, my favorite kind. The chocolate coating melts in my mouth, revealing a sweet and salty caramel filling, which provides a decadent flavor. Before I knew it, I had already grabbed another piece and put it into my mouth.
My reaction brings relief to Yuki-san. She gives a small smile of accomplishment, and promptly sits back down to her seat like business was usual. The whole class moves on and resumes regularly.
Oh…I guess she's just being nice to me. That's all.
I sit back down on my desk and plop my head onto my desk. I feel tired, like all my energy had been drained instantaneously.
I'm not ready for this test…
I lift my head to see Yuki-san turned her head slightly towards me.
"Maybe next time they will be homemade." she teases.
Her cheekbones curl, as I can see only half of her subtle smile from behind. However, she quickly returns back to her stoic demeanor.
Things are looking up Kazuki!
Yuki-san's smile revitalized my energy. I felt like I had just managed to reach a checkpoint, like I had finished a level in a game.
Maybe I'm getting closer to Yuki-san.
Before I knew it, my teacher slides the door open to a thud, and everyone else quickly takes their seats
"All right everyone, testing begins. Put away your candy!" as he unwraps a piece of chocolate.
"Good luck, Kaneshiro-san." I hear Yuki-san whisper to me.
"You too, Yuki-san!"