Title: Chances are
: T
: Ritsu watches over eight memories. Mio dismisses them.
: 2
: Happy birthday, Mio.


Let the alarm chime
Hear me breathe again before you hurry home
Tell me one last time
Just wonder if this love is true like your poem


"You have such pretty hair!"

The little girl cowers and Ritsu, like any other enthralled child at her age, takes that as encouragement.

"Can I touch it?"

The little girl stands up—oh, she's taller than me, Ritsu thinks—and quickly leaves the classroom. Ritsu's second thought is, Why is she crying?

"Ricchan's a bully!" one of her friends exclaims. "She made her cry!"

Ritsu spins around with the look of a betrayed victim. "I did not! I only asked if I could touch her hair!"

"You made her cry!" her friend continues to insist.

Ritsu frowns and growls, "You're not my friend anymore."

"Good! You're a bully! I don't wanna be friends with bullies!"

"I'm not a bully!"

"Yes you are!"

The argument disintegrates in coherency and soon there are fists and feet flying about. The teacher steps in and the two children are sent outside to face the wall. The little girl is coaxed back inside with a soft handkerchief.

The next day, Ritsu makes up with her fighter from yesterday. She's lost a friend and has gained a friend, but she wishes for another one. For she is a greedy child.


"Annd I won! And I gotta go. See ya later."

The two boys she was playing against in a game of cards look up with scowls on their faces. They have lost a card each and they are not pleased at how fast their friend has dismissed them. Only a tiny portion of lunchtime has passed and they have not yet eaten. They need to win back their cards, and more, before they can satisfy their hunger.

"C'mon, Tainaka! Two more games."

"I want to play with Mio-chan."

"She just reads books all the time," the other says, "it's boring. Play with us." His voice lowers to a sneer, "Or are you scared of losing?"

"I just won your card, Kato!" Ritsu points out. "And Mio-chan knows how to play cards now. So we're gonna play that."

"Huh? She bought some?"


"Are you gonna play for keeps?"

Ritsu finds the many questions annoying for they're wasting precious seconds. She leaves them without an answer.

"Mio-chan! I'm back!"

Mio looks up from her cupped hands. "Welcome back, Ricchan."

"Whatcha doing?"

"I was reading the cards," Mio replies, looking back at her hands. "Why don't we play by its rules?"

Mio's question is a valid one. Kids hardly glance at the words in the description boxes. It's the titles and the characters printed on the cards that matter. Card games, to these kids' knowledge, should only involve flipping them around on the ground with another card. It's when a card fairly falls on top of another does the game end.

Ritsu throws a card onto the ground. She squats, then gives out from the stress and kneels. "The rules they give are boring," she states. She pulls out a plastic card from her shirt pocket, her prized flipper, and waits for Mio.

Mio carefully squats, making sure she isn't stepping on anything nasty. She places a card about half a metre away from Ritsu's and uses another card as the flipper. "What kind of game is this?"

Ritsu sticks her tongue out. She's watching Mio's card. It's an uncommon one, like hers. "It's a friendly game."

"I want to try a game for keeps," is the quiet reply.

Ritsu looks up. "Are you sure?"

Mio nods. "Yes."

Cool, I want that card anyway, Ritsu thinks. "Okay then. For keeps. You can go first."

Mio stares at the ground for a moment or two. Then, she reaches out and flips her card towards Ritsu's. It lies on its back again but a dozen centimetres closer.

It's now Ritsu's turn. She picks herself up and shuffles around the two cards, as if calculating which angle she should flip from. She eventually goes back to where she sat and flips her card. Her card joins in with the laziness of the other. Mio's turn, and her card finally tips over to its front.

The cycle continues and soon the cards are about a hand's width from each other. Both cards are hiding their titles and it's Mio's turn again. She flips gently.

Ritsu watches numbly as the card falls on its back. On top of hers.

"I won," Mio murmurs.

Ritsu continues to watch the two cards. It's when Mio's hand hovers over them, about to collect them, does she look up. She wants to demand a re-match. But because she has looked up and has seen the bright smile spread across Mio's face, she doesn't. She still demands, though, for another game.

Several games and a bite of lunch later, Mio and Ritsu walk back to class. Ritsu's carrying the same exact cards she had on her when she left. Usually, this leaves her feeling quite dissatisfied. So she feels a bit odd at the lack of that and looks across her shoulder.

Mio's straightening out the corners of the two cards she's won. She meets Ritsu's eyes and gives an easy smile.

That's the first and last time they play cards.


"We're best friends aren't we?"

Mio's listening to music with her headphones on so she doesn't hear the question. Ritsu throws the magazine she's reading to the ground and stomps over to her. She pulls the headphones back and repeats the question.

After some squabble, Mio asks back, "Does one interrupt a best friend's leisure time?" She answers her own question. "No one but you does that."

Ritsu doesn't know if Mio's avoiding her question or she has answered it. "Does that mean we are?"

"Are what?"

"Best friends."

Mio leans back in her chair with a strange look. "Do you know me?"

"Of course I know you! Why else would I be in your room and—"

"No I meant. Do you actually know me?"

Ritsu doesn't understand the question. She has answered it and yet Mio keeps on repeating it as if she's some kind of idiot. So she lists all the things she knows about Mio. "You're Akiyama Mio. You're in fifth year. Your birthday's on the 15th of Jan so you're younger than me. Oh, and you're a scaredy cat."

Mio's eyes narrow. "You're Tainaka Ritsu. And your blood type is B so you sometimes don't think before you speak. You can be quite irresponsible too."

For some reason, Ritsu's enjoying this. She's grinning. "That's because you're such a perfectionist! So sensitive too. Being A type and all."

"There's nothing wrong in trying to be perfect! At least I'm being serious! You're hardly serious. Especially in music class. Your name doesn't really suit you."

Ritsu's grin wobbles by the last sentence. She straightens her mouth. "Look who's talking!" she cries, "Your name could've had the beauty kanji. But no, it has a rain radical. At least mine is nice, rain woman!"

Mio stares.

Ritsu, who hasn't yet learnt the skill of perception, continues, "So that's why it's been raining all these days." She huffs and falls back onto Mio's bed. "It's because of you, isn't it?"

"Get out."

A chill runs through Ritsu. She cautiously lifts her head. "What?"

Mio's hunched over her desk. She's shaking and clumsily pulling the headphones back into place. "I said get out!"

Or it would've sounded that way if her voice hadn't broken midway.

Ritsu soon finds herself off her backside. Her arms are out and around Mio in seconds. Mio shrugs and shoves her off. Ritsu is stubborn.

Eleven year old Ritsu doesn't know how to be aware of others, but she knows when to apologise.


"How about this?"

Mio looks over where Ritsu is pointing at. Yellow, white and black phones look back at her. "Are these DOCOMO phones?" Mio asks.

Ritsu nods. "Uh huh. The latest models."

Mio looks closer to read the signs. "Ah, these are the ones? I'll get the white D902i then."

"Okay, I'll take its yellow." Ritsu sees Mio's face contort in confusion. "What?"

"You're getting the same model?"

"The others don't have an mp3 player!"

"Right. So if I choose the N902i instead," Mio says, pointing at the yellow gadget, "would you still take that?"

Ritsu twists her mouth. "What's your point?"

"We don't always have to get the same thing, you know."

"It's not like I'm choosing the same colour as you."

"That's not really the point."

Ritsu figures the expression she's pulling must look pretty pitiful, because Mio soon buckles. "Let's go pay then."

Ritsu skips along Mio's side. Her cheerful demeanour is crushed when the salesperson declares regretfully, "My deepest apologies, but the yellow models are currently unavailable. Would a white or black one do?"

Ritsu creases over and hides her despair. Feeling Mio's eyes on her, she straightens up and says, "A black one will do." And she knows what Mio is thinking. She isn't quite fond of black. It looks so depressing.

"So it's two D902i phones. One white and the other black."

The two girls give their words of affirmation. The salesperson gives a big, blank smile and finalises their order. They leave the store with Ritsu holding the bag, for she has accepted it as soon it is given.


"Don't start, Mio."

"Can we go to that shop we just passed?"

Ritsu clutches the bag closer to her ribs and turns. "What?" She sees the store Mio is pointing at. "Oh. Yeah, sure."

They enter the shop and Ritsu strides in strongly. Mio doesn't follow. She stops at the first stand and Ritsu backtracks. "Whatcha looking at?" Ritsu asks.

Mio shows her a tiny, greenish blob of an animal wearing a red hat and strap. "What do you think?"

Ritsu pokes it, making it spin on its head. Upside down. "Looks cute," she says. She then looks at the rest of the phone straps. "Why?"

"I'm going to buy it."

"So why did you want my opinion?"

"Because it's for you, dummy."

Ritsu looks back. Mio looks away and continues, sounding less sure, "Um, unless you don't want it, then—"

"No no, I want it." Ritsu goes back to looking at the straps. "Uh, thanks."

She hears Mio leave for the register. She scans the tiny items until one catches her eye. There's one that is bigger than the others, so she snatches it off from its hook and joins with Mio.

She sees Mio glance at the item she has placed on the register table. But there's no comment. That is, until they are outside and Ritsu shows it in an outstretched hand.

"This is yours," Ritsu declares.

Mio continues to look at her hand. Another few seconds pass, forcing Ritsu to look as well. The strap looks more like a bracelet than anything. Then, Ritsu finally realises. It's pink. Maybe that's the problem?

"Um," Mio finally says, "Sorry, it's just. It looks a bit … childish."

Ritsu searches for a quick reason. "We're graduating soon, aren't we?" she says, knowing that the topic carries many burdens. "It'll make you feel young."

Ritsu looks up and sees she's being stared at. There's a smile and the strap leaves Ritsu's hand.

"Thank you, Ritsu."


Ritsu's scared to speak up.

Mio's killing her hand. She's been killing it slowly ever since they passed the entrance of Sakuragaoka Senior High School. She's not even using her left. But Ritsu knows for sure that her own left is dying.

Ritsu distracts herself. She ponders over what would've happened to the group of girls, who teased Mio just a few months prior, if she hadn't made it on time. She ponders over what kind of food Ms Akiyama has prepared for them when they return. She ponders over—

Ritsu's left hand dies a bit more. She snaps out of her thoughts and stares straight ahead. They've made it to the acceptance lists. She quickly looks for Mio's name and finally speaks up.

"You're in Mio."

Ritsu's hand is still complaining so she speaks louder. "You made it, Mio!"

"I can't find your name."

Ritsu turns her head. "Huh?"

"I can't find…." Ritsu's hand grows numb. Mio faces her and her eyes are bright with tears. "We made it," she whispers.

"See? I told you so."

Mio lifts her hands to her face to wipe at her eyes. Ritsu flexes her hand and is glad that it's still alive. She looks around. Girls are hugging each other and crying, and she feels a bit awkward just standing there.

"I'm so glad," is another whisper.

Ritsu looks back at Mio. She rests a hand on Mio's shoulder, the fully functional one, and clumsily pulls her in for a hug. Mio only stiffens up slightly.

"I'm so glad."



Ritsu forlornly looks up to the dark sky. She can't wait for the rainy season to pass and she wishes for the days to hurry up. She wants to celebrate her birthday soon.

"You forgot your umbrella, didn't you?"

Ritsu jumps. She didn't hear Mio's footsteps behind her. She grabbles for an excuse as she turns around.

Mio sighs. "Good thing I remember. Let's just use mine."

Ritsu's mouth closes with a snap and she looks at the umbrella Mio is holding. It's meant for only one person. She's going to get wet anyway.

"If only we weren't wearing our uniforms," Ritsu grumbles, "we could just walk in the rain."

"It's never just a walk for you," Mio says, walking out of the building to open the umbrella. "You always stay out for hours and end up sick."

Ritsu stays back, waiting for Mio to impatiently beckon her over. She does. Ritsu runs and tackles her with a side hug.

"Ritsu! You nearly made me fall!"

"But you didn't so cheer up."

They walk into the rain. "Let go of me."

"If I let go of you I'll get wet!"

Ritsu looks down and tries to watch out for any puddles. Despite her vigilance, her white socks soon turn dark, clinging to her legs. She ignores the nasty, moist feeling in her shoes and holds Mio tighter, feeling her shudder whenever they encounter a worm. Ritsu looks up. Her side is wet and the umbrella is leaning over to Mio's side.

"Hey Mio, hold the umbrella properly!" Ritsu looks across. She almost stops walking.

Mio faces away. "We're nearly there so walk properly will you?"

"Then hold the umbrella properly."

Mio blindly pushes the umbrella into Ritsu's hands. "Then you hold it!"

Mio drops the handle before Ritsu can grab it. The umbrella falls to the ground and rain is upon them.

"Why didn't you take it?" Mio screeches.

Ritsu ignores her and looks ahead. The station is just twenty metres away. Good. She snatches the umbrella and Mio's hand and runs.


"Just run!"

"It's slippery!"

When they reach shelter, Ritsu drops the umbrella and eyes Mio from head to toe. She's soaked through and her cheeks are flushed from exertion. Ritsu wonders if the walk was also weary for her. "You okay?" she asks.

"Yeah. I think."

Ritsu watches as Mio steps aside, avoiding strangers' eyes, to peel off her sweater. She watches as Mio turns and wrings the drenched clothing.

Despite the cool rain and the biting wind, Ritsu grows warm as she continues to watch. Watches Mio pull the sweater back over her head with great difficulty. Watches how the white shirt reveals Mio's bra and how cold she is. She lets her eyes linger a bit longer before she forces them away.



"Do you have any clothes in your bag?"

"Huh? No. Why, are you cold?" Ritsu instantly regrets her choice of words. Her eyes are drawn back to Mio.

"No." Mio's chest trembles as she takes a breath. "It's just … oh geez! You're so forgetful aren't you?"

Ritsu tilts up her head. Mio's face is redder than before. "Huh?"

Somehow, the red deepens. "Just look at yourself."

For a moment, Ritsu panics. But Mio continues to speak, "I can't believe you forgot to…."

Forgot? Ritsu looks at herself, and finally figures it out. She curses and crosses her arms. She then flips her bag off her shoulder, ripping it open.

She thanks the gods and her mother when she finds her own sweater, neatly folded, near the bottom. She pulls it out and pushes it down to her waist.

Mio is quiet throughout the train ride. Although Ritsu is glad for that because it makes the humiliation die so much quicker, when they start walking again and she's still quiet, Ritsu has had enough. "Talk or something!"

Mio looks at her as if she just realised she is there. Ritsu almost regrets breaking the silence but trudges on. "You can even laugh if you want."


Ritsu feels really childish now. "Because."


"It's just, it wouldn't make a difference if I wore one anyway. Yet…." Ritsu trails off and mucks up her hair. "Ugh."

"It does make a difference, actually," is the quiet reply.

"How? I'm flat."

"No you're not."

Abrupt silence.

Ritsu doesn't dare look at Mio, and she's pretty sure she's doing the same with her.

"You actually look?" is something Ritsu would've liked to say. But she figures there are enough awkward moments between the two of them today.


"I see how your hairstyle really suits you."

Ritsu clutches the creased paper. The words she's reading aloud miss the rough treatment.

"But I also want to see the casual you."

It's been a year since she received these words. Innocently found in her mailbox. Innocently and just lyrics.

Sure, she has said they were no good. But there's a reason.

These words. They feel too personal. Ritsu wants to believe they were written not for the general public but for her. Just her.

She reads again. This time she replaces the pronouns and imagines Mio saying them. She imagines Mio saying these words and more.

"These winter days, despite how cold they are, make me happy.

"I see you run, and your white huffs of breath."

Choking, she scrunches up the paper and throws it across the room. It will be later collected with a given up heart.

"I'm not in love with her," she whispers.

Then stop reading these terrible lyrics, her mind reasons.

"She gave them to me."

For your professional opinion.

"She gave them to me."

Her mind throws its arms in the air. Fine! You're in love with her. Accept it.

"She's a girl."

You're still in love with her.

"She has boobs."

That you stare at all the freaking time.

Ritsu throws a pillow towards the direction of the lyrics.

You know she looks at you a lot.

Ritsu stops and stares at the ceiling. She waits. Her patience is rewarded.

Just tell her how you feel. Leave it out in the open.

"And what if she doesn't feel the same?"

You'll stay friends.

That's when Ritsu stops listening. The cycle repeats for the rest of the week. By Friday, she explodes, "Okay! I'll tell her! I'll tell her on her birthday."

Good, her mind says. It finally leaves her alone.

But Ritsu's forgotten that entrance exams exist. And they come for Mio before her.

Ritsu waits it out. She waits for Mio's weeks of hell to finish. What a time to turn 18 in, Ritsu thinks.

The hellish weeks pass. Ritsu still waits.

It's when she's about to experience those weeks herself does she act.

She stands outside the Akiyama residence and knocks. Mio opens the door. She's muttering about stress and dark circles are slapped onto her eyes, resisting recovery.

Ritsu forgets what she's supposed to do. She raises her voice, enters the house despite Mio's protests and makes a general, mental ruckus of things, offering Mio a reprieve. It's eventually accepted with a smile.

Ritsu is being a good friend.

Just a friend.


"You're going to Tokyo uni?"

Mio eyes the floor. Ritsu feels her insides clench further. Why not Kyoto? she harshly thinks. But she knows why. She isn't stupid. And as much as she wants to be immature about it, Mio's hurting a lot more than her. She's the only one of the four that's going to a university in another region.

Ritsu breathes silently. She pats Mio on the shoulder. "That's great Mio!"

"Ritsu." She sounds so tired. "You don't need to pretend."

"I'm seriously proud of you Mio."

"Stop it!"

Ritsu jerks back. "Sorry."

"No." Regret is lacing with the tiredness now. "No, I'm the one that should apologise. I … I'd even said I didn't want us to separate. Us four."

Ritsu pretends there's an afterthought there. "It was bound to happen sooner or later. We're really lucky we went to the same schools 'til now."

"I wish I was luckier," is the whispered reply.

Ritsu leans in to hear it clearer. "What?"

Mio looks up and watches her. She seems to be closer. Ritsu can even feel her breathe.

"I wish…."

For a short, terrifying, longing moment, Ritsu thinks she's going to be kissed.

She doesn't. She's blanketed with warmth. Mio places her head on Ritsu's shoulder. Her arms are on her back, pulling her.


"Can I hug you, for a while?"

"Huh? Of course you can."

Ritsu rests her arms on Mio's back. It feels strange, Ritsu thinks, to be the one hugged. She's also surprised, for Mio's hold is strong and sure.

"We'll call each other," Ritsu comforts. Her shoulder hurts from the answered nod.

"Every week," she adds. It hurts again.

"I," Ritsu starts, needing to tell. But she doesn't want the hug to end. So she says another truth, "I'm going to miss you."

There's no more hurt. Instead, she hears an actual reply. But it's so quiet. It also doesn't make sense, and Ritsu half-wonders why this feels like goodbye.



"Hi Ritsu."

As promised, they call each other every week. And, every week, Ritsu manages to convince herself to not utter the unuttered truth. Although the frequency of the calls goes downhill whenever it's exam period, like a parabola, it returns.

Now, during summer break, Ritsu's at their favourite café and Mio has finally arrived back home.

"You look well," Ritsu says.

Mio smiles. "You look well too."

Ritsu's heart flutters and she suddenly feels four years younger. "Uh, so why don't you sit?"

Mio takes the chair across from her and settles down, flipping her hair to the front.

The notion reminds Ritsu. "You really did cut it."


Ritsu reaches across and runs her hand through Mio's hair. It just reaches below her collarbones.

"I did say I did," Mio clarifies, almost embarrassed.

Ritsu smiles. "It really suits you."

Mio gives her a strange look. She glances at the time on her wrist. "How long did you wait?"

"Not long." Too long.

"That's good."

"Yeah." It wasn't.

"Have you eaten breakfast yet?"

"No," Ritsu says truthfully. Before Mio's arrival, she's been suffering a weird fit of jitters. She was afraid she'd vomit if she did eat.

"Huh? That's not like you. Please don't tell me you're dieting."

"Like you're one to talk."

"I stopped, thank you very much."

"Good. You look great like that."

Mio blinks at her. "Ah, thank you. I should go order something." She stands up and does just that.

Ritsu breathes out and shakes off her nerves. Damnit woman, Ritsu berates herself, you're nearly an adult. Act like one.

She looks for Mio and instantly spots her. She watches as Mio pulls out her purse and pays. After the server has accepted her money, Mio looks over her shoulder. She glances back, and then returns to their table.

"What did you get?" Ritsu asks.

"Chocolate cake and coffee."

"You drink coffee? I thought you hated it."

"I got used to it. Aren't you getting anything?"

"Uh … I want a cake myself but I can't be bothered."

Mio grins. "Good. I got you one."

Ritsu straightens up. "Really? ! Aww thanks! I love you."

Mio stares. Ritsu doesn't fidget and looks up just as the waiter serves them. They take a bite of their cake, tasting and swallowing. And then it finally hits Ritsu. She splutters. Mio's head snaps up, and it's as if she just punched her in the stomach. "Ate too fast," Ritsu explains. She throws in a few good coughs whilst she's at it.

"You really haven't changed."

"And you have?"

"I might've."

"Uh huh."

"What do you want to do next?"

"We can shop around."


After four hours of trying various outfits and a bag at each hand, the two stumble pass a purikura.

"Let's take one?" Mio suggests.


They rummage for change. There's enough.

Inside the little box, Ritsu feels their junior high days wash over her. Except during those days, it's always her that has to wrap her arm around the other. So there are no awkward spaces in between them, imprinted forever.

Now, Mio's hand is on Ritsu's shoulder like how hers is on Mio's. She feels giddy and poses with a stupid looking grin. Mio laughs. Last picture and Ritsu's hand slides down till it's at Mio's waist. The camera clicks. Ritsu leans forward and waits for the picture preview.

"Please go outside for your photos," the machine instructs.

Ritsu wraps her arms around Mio and nudges her out of the booth. Mio continues to laugh and stumbles.

"Should we decorate them?" Mio asks as they hover over the touch screen outside.

Ritsu hums in thought. She watches the countdown and decides. "It's better if we don't. I want them like that."


They both reach out for the finish button. Ritsu is quicker so Mio's hand lands on hers. It stays there.


The hand pulls away and there's an apology. Ritsu kicks herself. Mentally.

"You don't need to say sorry, you know."

Mio looks over her shoulder.

Ritsu stares. She sees the proximity and lowers her eyes just slightly. Mio's lips. She wants to taste them, terribly.

Mio looks back at the screen. The machine gurgles and spits and Ritsu steps back. She picks up the photo.

"There aren't any scissors here," Mio says.

Ritsu passes the photo sheet to Mio. "You can cut them up after."

They both know Ritsu can't cut straight so Mio accepts it. "True."

They make their way home, clinging and retelling childhood stories. They forget the photo indefinitely.


"Hi Ritsu."

Ritsu smiles and grips the phone tighter. "Hey Mio. Why the sudden call?"

"How come I have to answer that? I never ask you that when you make one of your spontaneous calls."

"That's because I instantly tell you why I'm calling you. So tell me, what's up?"

Mio speaks again, and it all falls into place. It's exam stress. Mio continues to abhor these times and needed someone to rant with. But she has her pride. She doesn't want her fellow classmates to see this part of her.

"Christmas is coming soon," Mio suddenly remarks.

"Yeah. So fast, huh?" Ritsu adds. Secretly she's wondering how the last few months lagged on at the most inconvenient times. "I'm seeing couples everywhere."

"Well it's always like this around this time."

"Yeah, so many mixers and that. Hey, we should go to one in the weekends. I heard there are free food and drinks."

"Um, I can't."

"Huh. Why? Don't you lie that you don't drink and—"

"That's not it." There's a soft intake of breath at the other line. "I don't—how do you say this?—exactly fit the requirements to attend."

Ritsu reads over Mio's words. "Aren't you single?" she asks without thinking.

"No," is the shy reply.

"What?" Ritsu coughs out. She then realises Mio's not joking and thinks quickly. "Oh, congratulations? Sorry, dunno how you can, you know, reply to that." She would've continued her rambling if Mio didn't cut in.

"Actually, I don't know what to say when people tell me that. It's not something achievable or … do you know what I mean?"

"Yeah I know."

She tries to remember the mandatory questions a best friend usually asks. She catches one, carefully constructs it and throws it at Mio. It quickly breaks. "How long? You know, you two. Together."

"Five months."

Ritsu tries not to breathe, holding in the hurt. "How come you…."

"You know how bad I am in sharing personal details, Ritsu."

She's forgotten that. "Oh, yeah." There's a pause to recall again. "So how did you two meet?"

"Um, we met on the first day of the semester."

Ritsu numbs herself. "What? Really? Took a while for either of you to confess or something?"

"Something like that … can't we talk about something else? It's embarrassing."

"Yeah, sure," Ritsu replies, and she hopes it didn't sound too grateful. Or choked.

When the call ends, the silent tears have long dried. Ritsu flexes her neck and lets the black phone roll away from her hands. She looks at the window and the sky, where a black monster with a white heart lives. She watches.

Ritsu watches over eight memories.

She closes her eyes and another memory is added. She only misses this one when she dreams with her eyes open. For it never existed.


End of chapter

A/N: I disclaim the lyrics at the start. It's from One Last Time by Bonnie Pink. I also stole the fic title from her.

Anyway, don't worry. When I update Arpeggio after this, it should, assumingly, cheer you guys up.

Interesting note when I was Wikipediaing: Hikasa Youko (Mio's voice actress) is listed, along with several other notable people, as a rain woman. I found this after I finished that particular section of this fic, BTW. What a coincidence. Oh, and I don't particularly know what a rain woman/man does. Their presence brings rain? They can bring rain if they wanted to? I don't know.

Other notes (?):
— No idea if Japanese kids play their cards like that. Pretend the kids in here do.
— Yes, I actually searched up their damn phone models. So I just realised they're slide phones. Not flip ones. *headdesk* Well, the ones in the anime.
— Lyricists usually use the boku (I) and kimi (you) pronouns. Mio uses watashi and omae respectively when she speaks. No wonder Ritsu thought a boy wrote them. lol
— It seems to be a custom or something for Japanese girls to cut their hair after a broken heart.
EDIT: The manga chapter where the four aim for Japan Women's University is ignored. I mostly follow what the anime lays out. And the anime has them in Kyoto. While in the manga, they're in the middle of nowhere in Japan. Thanks for the heads up anonymous.

EDIT: Decided that I was being too cruel in tricking a few of you with the genre. I've now fixed it.