Author's note: Well well, look who's back at it! It's Ichigoskullface again, and this time, I'm not writing a Haruhi fic! I'm a bit surprised myself. I had two Haruhi stories lined up, but my interest has been shifted away from it as of late. The story I was going to do next (that I previewed at the end of my last), is probably not going to get written at all. This won't come as a disappointment for many of you, seeing as how I didn't really reveal much in the preview. I have not, however, thrown out the idea of a trilogy. I might get around to that later, especially when my interest in Haruhi is rekindled by season 2's (imminent?) release.
You may wonder why it's taken so long to get around to writing another story. Well, the answer is pretty simple. Classes. I managed to do well this semester after failing every class in the first. Shit is on track now, so I'm not really worried about it. Besides classes, I also have work. Most of my free time not spent hanging out with my friends is spent playing Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst, studying my Japanese and more recently, Grand Theft Auto IV. And besides that, I've had a lot of anime to catch up on.
One of those animes that I just recently finished watching, Higurashi no naku koro ni, left me begging for more. I'm like a heroin addict, shakily awaiting his next hit of black tar just to make it through the day. Thankfully, a third season is on the way, hopefully this year. I'm also gonna get around to reading those mangas sometime.
Well, now that I've bored you with the excruciatingly boring details of my life, let's get right down to it. Just for reference, this story takes place immediately following 'Matsuribayashi-hen'.
Disclaimer: I don't own Higurashi no naku koro ni, or any of it's characters. But of course you knew that, didn't you?
The pale moonlight came through the window, throwing the bedroom of Rika, Hanyu, and Satoko into sharp contrast. Rika's form could be seen, highlighted by the moon's rays, sitting on the window-ledge with her legs hunched up against her body. Hanyu sat against the wall nearby, ever her "cousin's" devoted companion. Satoko lay covered on her futon in the middle of the room, sleeping soundly.
Smiling softly, Rika slowly twirled a glass of whiskey in her hand, listening to the cubes of ice tinkle against the side of the glass. A thoughtful expression on her face, she brought the glass up to her mouth and took a sip.
"...I can't believe that it's finally over, Hanyu..."
Hanyu nodded slowly, smiling brightly at Rika.
"You know... I think this is the first world in which I've seen you smile like that."
"Well... maybe it's because it's the last one... and it couldn't have gone any better."
Rika took another sip, silently tasting the alcohol before swallowing.
"Why do you drink, Rika? Isn't that stuff kind of... gross?"
Still smiling, she answered slowly, "One develops strange tastes... when you live as long as I have..."
"But... you're a child, Rika-chan."
"In body, yes. But we cannot take back the last hundred years, Hanyu."
Rikas smile faded, allowing a haunted expression to creep onto her face. Hanyus smile quickly fell away.
"I'm old, Hanyu..."
"Au au au..."
"...But I'm happy. For the first time in decades... I am truly happy."
"I'm old, but I'm not yet tired. Not at all... There is so much to see... so much to do...and I have a lifetime to do it."
Hanyu smiled again, "I bet you could give Oryo Sonozaki a run for her money!"
Rika laughed loudly, perhaps influenced a bit by the alcohol, eyes sparkling with life. She shut her mouth quickly, trying to avoid waking Satoko. She turned to look at her friend. She did not stir.
"Haha... yes... I bet I could."
"So... Rika... what do you plan to do with your life, now that you can actually live it?"
"...I've lost my interest in the silly pursuits of childhood... but I will play with my friends, whom I love."
"...I suppose I will devote myself to more intellectual pursuits...I've grown hungry for knowledge."
"Ah, I see. That's a noble goal."
Rika shook her head slowly, "No, it's a bit selfish... But I think I've earned the right to be a little selfish."
Hanyu nodded and leaned back against the wall, closing her eyes. Rika took another sip.
"...What about you, Hanyu? What will you do with your life?"
Hanyu opened her eyes into narrow slits, peering into the darkness, "I don't know..."
Rika chuckled slightly.
"Au au au! What's so funny...?"
"...You. You're a child, Hanyu."
"Me...? But I'm older then you, Rika!"
"Perhaps... but this is the first time you've actually lived...It's good to not know what you're going to do when you are so young..."
Hanyu continued staring silently into the darkness.
"...You sound like somebody's grandmother, Rika-chan."
"Yes. I do. All those years, Hanyu. It's... heavy."
Both girls lapsed into silence. After a few minutes, Rika suddenly lifted the glass and imbibed the rest of its contents, much to Hanyu's dismay.
"Au au au! You need to stop drinking, Rika-chan! It's bad for your health!"
The futon in which Satoko slept shifted slightly. Rika sighed.
"...Goodnight, Hanyu. I will see you in the morning."
Hanyu shook her head in defeat.
Rika stood up and went to her futon in the middle of the room, Hanyu following suit.
A few seconds after they had settled down, Satoko opened her eyes, worry etched onto her features.
At school the next day, life progressed normally. The Watanagashi festival had passed... and there was no curse killing. There was a rumor going around town that Takano Miyo had been apprehended for some reason the previous day, but it wasn't known for sure.
The days club activities were taking place with their usual vigor. Mion had brought up another foreign game of hers- Monopoly. Though the rules were explained thoroughly at the start of the game, Mion was still soundly thrashing her fellow club-mates. Keichi expressed his displeasure with wild accusations directed at the Club President.
"This isn't fair! You've got the mob on your side!"
"Eh he he... is Kei-chan being a sore loser? Shall we double the penalty to make up for your whining?"
"You're on! I will defeat you, Sonozaki Mion!"
"Ah, ha ha ha ha ha, you are both wrong! I have already set up a trap for you both! Victory is assured!"
Shion shook her head in exasperation, " Do you mean that single hotel on Boardwalk, Satoko-chan? Is that the kind of trap that they teach you how to set in jail? After all, that car piece that you wanted so badly seems to be spending a lot of time in there..."
"Just you wait, Shi-chan..."
Rika and Hanyu sat side by side, a small smile gracing the features of the former, and a much larger one on the latter.
Mion turned her attention away from a fuming Keichi toward Rika, "Hey, Rika-chan. What's up? You haven't said much."
Rika's smile widened with practiced ease, "Nothing much! I'm just... enjoying the atmosphere. Nipa!"
"S...so cute...I'm going to take...t-take..."
Rena clenched her fists on the table, a small rivulet of drool oozing out the corner of her mouth. Keichi noticed this and held out his hand in a 'stop' gesture toward her. She calmed down and gave him a smile.
Satoko watched Rika, that worried expression clouding her features once again. Mion got her attention.
"Hey, Satoko. It's your turn. Maybe you can get out of jail this time, ne?"
Satoko smiled and took the dice.
"Hmmm? What is it, Satoko?"
The sun was setting, and everybody was wrapping up the days club activities.
"...Can I talk to you in private?"
"...Yeah... sure...", Mion turned to the rest of her friends, "Hey, I've got something to talk about with Satoko, we'll catch up."
Everyone acknowledged her and went on their way. Rika hung back for a second longer, giving Satoko a glance before heading out the door.
"...Alright... what's up, Satoko-chan?"
"Well... last night... I got woken up by Hanyu-chan and Rika-chan's talking..."
"Well... Hanyu-chan was telling Rika-chan to stop drinking."
"...Drinking? You mean like...sake?"
"...Yeah. I guess..."
"Mion... what should I do?"
Mion stood silently for a few seconds before coming to a decision.
"...Come on, Satoko-chan. Let's go talk to her."
"Are you sure?"
"...Yes. We... don't want this to become a problem."
Stepping out the door and into the hallway, they both made their way to the front door.
They stopped in their tracks and turned around, seeing Rika standing outside the classroom door. Satoko made her way toward Rika.
"What's wrong, Satoko?"
Mion answered for her, "Well... Satoko told me that you were drinking Sake last night."
"...Ah..It was whiskey, actually. I had a glass. On the rocks."
"R-Rika-chan! You're too young to be drinking!"
Rika didn't answer. Satoko gave Rika a hug, sobbing silently into her shoulder.
"...It's okay, Satoko..."
Satoko stepped back, stamping her foot in anger, tears running freely down her face.
"It's not okay! Why would you need to drink! Why!?"
"...Some drink for pleasure... others do it for pain. And still more do it to forget..."
"S... stop talking like that Rika! You sound so... so..."
Satoko broke down on the floor in front of Rika. Rika stooped down and hugged her tightly.
After a few seconds, Mion spoke, "So... why do you drink then, Rika?"
"...I don't know. Pleasure... pain... oblivion... perhaps for all three..."
"Rika...are you unhappy? You seem so upbeat most of the time... but there are times when you seem like a totally different person."
Satoko cried even louder.
"No... I'm the happiest I've been in a long time..."
Mion's face contorted in confusion.
"...so very, very, long..."
Author: Wow. That's the best 'first chapter' I've written so far, methinks. In all my previous stories, my first chapters have been pretty weak imho, but this one... I'm very pleased.
Please, please please please review! Or I'll set Oyashiro's curse on you!
Kyon: So... why am I not in this story?
Author: Because I said so.
Kyon: So you're leaving me to rot in prison?
Author: For now. You know, most murderer's get 10-20, Kyon.
Kyon: ...Just what are you implying?
Author: Nothing at all.
Kyon: Yare yare...