Disclaimer: I do not own The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
50 Impressions in Time
He sees her marching up to him, face set with determination–she's going to kiss me, he half-fantasizes–but when she crumbles the time-charging device in his open palm, he knows its over.
42; no return:
She yelps as she goes barreling into his bed–his prone form–"What the hell?" he stammers–and for one second she feels him holding her and it's perfect, terrifyingly perfect–before she screams bloody murder, sprints down his stairs, leaps–and is gone.
"You asked Hayakawa out?" Kousuke inquires, the disapproval all but apparent in his voice.
"Yeah," says Chiaki breezily. Challenge creeps into his voice. "What of it?"
"What about Makoto?"
"What about her?"
"She feels left out."
Chiaki half-panics at the thought, but his pride, his hurt, masks it. "Yeah? She wasn't the only one."
"If I got a girlfriend, too, then you would be alone," Kousuke replied matter-of-factly.
Makoto collapsed the pillow against her face. What, was she incapable of getting a boyfriend? Was that his assumption? She screamed mutely into the pillow. She could have Chiaki if she wanted–she crushed the thought and flipped over.
The baseball hits her square in the jaw. A hiss of pain grits through clenched teeth. Her eyes water. But it's not the impact that causes her to.
"You're going out with Hayakawa?" Kousuke questions neutrally, except for the slight downturn of his brow. There's more aggression in his voice than Makoto really ever remembers.
"Yeah." Chiaki laughs. "She just gets me, you know."
Makoto feels needles in her eyes, but she doesn't oblige. She pulls back and launches the baseball as far as she can. He swears and canters after it. Makoto watches him for a moment, before an unwelcome frown spills past her lips. Her eyes drop to the ground, and she shakes off the mitt. Kousuke catches it in her wimpy, half-hearted toss. "Kousuke, I'm bushed. I'm going home."
Kousuke is unsurprised. "Want me to walk you home?"
She shakes her head, scuffing up dirt as she retreats off the field. She finds her bag lying next to Chiaki's, and her leg abruptly burns to give his duffel a good kick. She refrains, bites her lip. She turns away and heads down the road.
"Hey, Makoto! Where are you going?" hollers Chiaki from behind.
It isn't until then that she lets the angry welts carve down her cheeks.
She's twenty-one, kissing her boyfriend fully on the mouth, when she remembers olive eyes and bright, tangled locks. She pulls back abruptly.
"What's wrong, Mako?"
"Let's watch the sunset," she proposes.
"Alright," he agrees, threading their fingers together. (She lets him.)
They look out across the river. The orange hues twinkle across the water, reaching and retreating at her feet. She forgets the kiss lingering on her lips, and only remembers crying until the sun has gone.
"Damn it, Chiaki! Look at you!" cries Makoto wearily.
He's lying back on his bed, the blankets pulled up to his chin, and a warm ice pack across his forehead. "I didn't know I was getting sick," he musters as an excuse. "Relax, I'll be fine."
She pulls out a plastic bag he didn't know she brought, yanking a suspicious-looking capsule from its many contents. She unscrews the cap, and two tiny pills tumble into her open palm. Makoto grimaces at him. "What are you doing with so many blankets on?" Without waiting for a response, she wrenches the sheets off his overheating body.
His toes curl from the sudden chill. "What are you doing?" he deplores her. "It's freezing!"
"It's 35C outside."
He glances at the tablets in her hand, and shuts his eyes in fatigue. "I'm not taking that."
"It's medicine, Chiaki. Not poison."
"I don't need it. I'll be fine," he insists, and it begins to sound like he's pouting.
"Chiaki, if you don't take it voluntarily, I'll have Kousuke come over and ram it down your throat," she replies determinedly.
He chuckles. "I'll like to see him try. I can take him!" Chiaki grabs the uncomfortably warm ice pack from his forehead and chucks it on his desk.
"Are you crazy?" spouts Makoto, flabbergasted. She glares at him, eyes narrowed in that trademark expression. He gazes back, completely content in just observing her displeased countenance.
After a moment, Makoto breaks eye contact, takes the ice pack, and turns on her heel to head down the stairs. Chiaki smirks at her retreating back. He allows his eyes to close, and as they slide shut, he feels them burn.
Seconds later, he hears her footsteps pounding against his staircase. It sounds as if she's taking them two–or, hell, three–at a time. His eyes flare open and he tries to prop himself on his elbows, when he registers, with alarm, the sight of her sprinting through the doorway–directly at him. He feels the air leave his lungs at all once and his head slams back into the pillow, jarring and disorienting him for a moment. "What–" he starts, when he feels Makoto's cool fingers forcefully squish his cheeks, and two unidentified pellets going down his esophagus.
A dry cough hits Makoto right in the kisser. She makes a face, keeping an eye open to make certain he's swallowed them.
"See?" he hears as soon as he is able to ascertain what is going on. "That wasn't so bad." He opens his eyes to the realization that she is sitting on top of him. He barely notices the perspiration glistening on her forehead, barely catches the shortness of her breath. Chiaki stares, dumbfounded, into her triumphant hazel eyes.
He is suddenly overcome by the desire to see her naked or bathing.
He forcefully closes his eyes, trying to commit this remarkable event to memory. He wants to remember the sensation of her hands splayed against his chest, her thighs on his waist, the cool feel of her skin on every burning point of contact.
"Chiaki?" Makoto reacts worriedly. "You're turning really red. Are you okay?"
He can barely nod.
"Crap! You're not allergic to aspirin, are you?" she exclaims, panicked. She hastily climbs off him, reaching for the capsule that's sitting on the floor beside his bed.
It's all he can do not to take her hand and keep her there.
"It's just a cold," Makoto insists. Her nose drips and she sniffs viciously to keep it from leaking.
Kousuke hands her the bottle of liquid cold medication. She grimaces in distaste, but takes the container. "You stay home and rest. Chiaki and I will take notes, so don't worry about needing to get to school too soon."
"Chiaki's not going to take notes," Makoto deadpans.
"I will take notes," corrects Kousuke.
Makoto nods industriously and allows herself to sit back against the pillows. "You know this is Chiaki's fault, right?" she questions archly after a brief beat of silence.
Kousuke decides against replying.
"His cough hit me right in the face, you know," she continues. "You best be careful unless you want Chiaki spittle infecting you," she finishes dramatically.
Kousuke's mouth twitches in amusement. "Advice taken. I'll come back tomorrow to check on you." Unexpectedly, he pulls her into a brief one-armed hug. Makoto is taken completely by surprise.
She sneezes into his shoulder before she can help herself.
Kousuke is rendered momentarily speechless by Chiaki's entrance into the classroom–early. When he regains control of his vocal cords, he knits his brow in trepidation. "What are you doing here?"
Chiaki responds with a chortle. "I'm a student here; what are you doing here?" he quips capriciously.
Kousuke shuts the notebook he's been looking over, and pulls off his glasses. "You never come to class early," he contests.
Chiaki slaps him on the back, dropping his bag with the other shoulder. "That's not true!" Before Kousuke can present his infallibly tardy companion with the slew of evidence stating otherwise, Chiaki sends a cheerful grin over his head, in the direction of Makoto's desk. "Morning, Hayakawa!"
She returns a smile. "Morning!"
Kousuke watches with disquiet as Chiaki abandons his usual seat and temporarily claims the empty desk behind Hayakawa's. "How'd you like the game, last night?" he engages conversationally.
"It was fun," she meekly replies, her fingers drumming apprehensively on her knees.
"Yeah, it was, huh? The last inning was pretty intense! Who were you rooting for?"
Hayakawa's eyes peer up, as if the answer is written on the ceiling.
Kousuke frowns out the window, looking for a sign of Makoto biking up to school, looking as cheerfully flustered as usual. She's nowhere to be seen.
The bell sounds; feet scramble and chairs scrape.
"Mamiya, since you're miraculously early today, I'll leave you the honor of passing out these pop quizes!" booms their instructor. Groans echo through the room. Kousuke extricates a writing utensil from his backpack and returns his glasses to resting position on the bridge of his nose. As he scrawls his name in the top corner, he can't help but cast a worried look over at the empty seat next to him.
As he's about to finish answering the second question, the door slides open. His attention refocuses immediately.
"Sorry I'm late," announces Makoto, bowing.
"Pop quiz, Konno!" bellows their ever-merciful teacher.
Makoto plops into her desk, pulls out a writing implement, and begins.
"Someone was extra late to class today," insinuates Kousuke playfully as he reaches into his backpack for his packed lunch.
Makoto's mouth drops to the side, eyes staring forward, as if she's deciding whether or not to explain herself. "I don't know," she reveals. "I didn't sleep all that well last night."
For how much effort she's putting into squashing her apparent unhappiness, she's extremely forthcoming, Kousuke thinks. "Let me guess," he jokes, "you had a nightmare you came to school unprepared for a quiz?"
The side of Makoto's mouth turns up, and Kousuke appreciates that his efforts to cheer her up are not futile. "Well, yeah, I dreamed that," she nods, "I came to school unprepared." Her sentences trails off unexpectedly. She smothers her crestfallen tone. "At least I didn't come to school naked. You're always telling me those nightmares are the worst."
Kousuke plays along. "They are! Think about it; you don't have any clothes on, and you have to go asking around naked for clothes. It's humiliating."
Makoto flashes him a grin, and he's taken aback by how much he's missed it. "I would have just gone home! Why would you even go to school butt-naked? You're crazy, Kousuke!" she patronizes him affectionately. She rummages in her duffel for her sandwich and indicates to the door. "Let's eat outside."
Makoto slurps her juice box dry with a gusto. "I'm going to throw away my trash, okay? Be back in a second," she tells him, jumping to her feet and ambling off toward the corner of the school
A minute later, she returns, a faraway look of dismay planted on the set of her eyes and lips.
"Makoto?" he asks.
She takes a carrot from him and nibbles on it, watching the clouds crawl across the sky. "It's nothing," she tries to reassure him. She doesn't tell him she saw Chiaki having lunch with Yuri. And she certainly doesn't tell him that she saw them kiss.
"Makootooo!" Within a second of hearing her name, she finds her neck locked in the familiar crook of Kousuke's elbow.
"Ow! Let gooo!" she wails through the choke-hold, feet scrambling beneath her to maintain Kousuke's hurried pace. Her arms flail uselessly outward, and she ends up half-laughing, half-crying from lack of air as he drags her across the field to the baseball diamond.
She says she isn't lonely, but he knows when either of his best friends lies.
She despises the idea of toying with people's feelings, so when she tells Kousuke in a drunken stupor that she loves him, she hopes it's true.
A/N: First ten of fifty from the 50scenes challenge over on LJ. A new project I'm curious to work on. Comments and critiques welcomed. Thank you for reading.