Dreams Never Come True
Disclaimer: Bakemonogatari owned by um, SHAFT and its author.
It isn't as if Kanbaru enjoys being a lesbian. Sure, it looks hot in porn, but in real life it's nothing but a constant bout of longing and pain. Even as a self-proclaimed masochist, the heartache that comes from unrequited love is of a different variety than pure physical pain. It doesn't, for one, disappear. That she has learned from years of waiting. Of waiting. Of giving up.
No, not quite. Sometimes she still harbors dreams; of the lewd kind, of course, but more often dull, uncreative ones like:
I) Walking home holding hands.
II) Eating crepes together.
III) Smashing watermelons at the beach.
IV) Watching movies.
V) Shyly going to the love hotel together after their third dinner date.
At least, those are the images of typical dates she has garnered through the few times she had deviated from her usual staple of boys' love mangas.
Or even stargazing. Just looking up at the night sky with her sempai. Simple wishes like that.
Sometimes she hates Araragi, really. Not the point of murderous intent (certainly, she feels that the rainy devil episode was well past and over), but enough seethe silently while watching their shadows intertwine together in rare moments where they walk through the same path (not two, but three; three and never two), Araragi and Senjougahara and her – her lagging behind, trying to chime into their conversation and wishing with all her heart that she is a man. Then maybe it won't be this way. She will even accept having an idiot antennae protruding from her head.
But alas. ALAS.
She heaves a sigh.
"Huh? Oh, nothing! I was just thinking about the newest release of Barazoku I couldn't get." She almost forgets that Her Most Venerable Sempai is beside her. Walking. Home. Her bike creaks gently as she wheels it forward with both hands, backpack on one shoulder. It all seems somewhat entirely too peaceful.
Araragi-sempai? Where did that omnipotent presence go?
"That siscon has his sisters to attend to. While you were fantasizing about two sweaty men tying and trying various appendages on each other." As expected, she is probably the one person who can say such things so naturally and without the slightest hint of inflection. "Here." Senjougahara stops. Holds her hand out towards Kanbaru.
"Your bag," she says, making another motion. "Let me carry it."
Kanbaru has the sudden urge to pinch her own cheeks. What is this dating sim-like scenario? Is she supposed to blush and look down shyly? Maybe shift restlessly on her feet?
"...Are you trying to become a moe character? It would work better with longer hair and a lot of stuttering."
"Wha-" Sometimes Kanbaru thinks that Senjougahara might be playing too many games. But to let her sempai carry such burden, how can she! "I-it's okay," she stutters. Unintentionally, because it's just so easy to stutter in front of Senjougahara. Too easy. "It's not like it still hurts, I mean, look!" With that, she swings her bag around with her left hand. It isn't entirely effortless, but she is proud that she had managed without so much as a cringe.
"Be silent and walk." With a concise order, Senjougahara takes the bag from her and starts leading the way slowly.
There were similar situations too – Kanbaru remembers – back when they were still the Valhalla Combo. When somehow she had been too stubborn and her sempai would always reprieve her with that firm, gentle manner. Although Senjougahara had gotten more sarcastic, and somewhat more out there, relief washes over Kanbaru as she finds in Senjougahara traces of the familiar, kind sempai.
Seventeen minutes and many turns later, she finds herself in Senjougahara's room, watching blankly as the older girl pours tea into her cup. A drop away from overflowing, Senjougahara tilts the pot upward, sets it aside, sits, and motions towards Kanbaru's cup in one fluid movement. Sitting in Senjougahara's plainly furnished room, they both take slow sips of their tea. Senjougahara with her usual expression of disinterest, and Kanbaru... well, in bafflement.
How did they...? Well. No. Why. While it is true that they have never walked home alone before this, they did spend some time together studying. Getting tutored by Senjougahara, she meant. Their relationship has never advanced to the stage beyond that of a junior-senior bonded together by their common experience against aberrations.
"Sempai? Why did we come here?"
Kanbaru would have been happy if this had happened months before – before Araragi appeared into the picture. After all, it is just as if her dream had come true. But now she thinks it is really a bit too painful to fully enjoy by having her fantasies run wild. Being pinned by Senjougahara while she breathes on her ne-
The monotonic voice interrupts her potentially R-rated reverie. "Is it wrong to want to play with my cute junior once in a while?"
Most people, Kanbaru thinks, actually have the decency to stress a syllable or two upon uttering such suggestive sentences.
"And I think it's a good time," Senjougahara starts again, and Kanbaru notices that her sempai's cup is still nearly full, and she notices how slender Senjougahara's fingers are. And if her eyes travel upwards a little more, refocuses a little bit, then- "...ur tendencies... Did you hear me?"
"Yeah! Um," Quickly averting her eyes towards a safer place – her tea cup – Kanbaru tries her best to not look guilty. "Snail agencies?" She offers weakly.
"Are my breasts that fascinating?"
"What I said: I think we need to discuss your tendencies."
Kanbaru chuckles as she wipes the spilled tea with tissues she procured from a nearby box. "What tendencies? I don't- I don't know what you're talking about. Ha. Ha."
Senjougahara looks at her. Merely looks – it cannot even be classified as a stare, or even a gaze. It is merely Senjougahara looking at Kanbaru. It's worse. If she had glared at her, then at least she will be able to judge the emotion at the other end – or at least take a rough guess. But it's impossible to seize anything if Senjougahara just merely looks at you. She would make a great pit boss.
"On a scale from one to ten, how arousing it is to have me tied naked to a chair while you have your way with me?"
The split second it took for Kanbaru's brain to properly process Senjougahara's ridiculous words feels like eternity. "Wha- Wha- Wha? Oh erm- I-"
Shit, that look.
"Uhm... Uh- eighteen?"
With that, Senjougahara leans back with a sigh, her hand on her chin. "Well, at least your taste is marginally better than Araragi-kun's. You didn't draw me with a school swimsuit on."
"You- YOU SAW THAT!" Kanbaru bangs the table in surprise.
"Well, yes. I thought it was just a textbook." Senjougahara sips her tea.
"It has 'PRIVATE' written in big bold letters across the cover!" Kanbaru makes an imaginary rectangle with her hand to indicate the size of the font.
"It's in English. I don't speak English." Senjougahara says in flawless English.
"You-" Kanbaru falters.
"Page fifty-three was me in a maid costume." Senjougahara concludes.
"Anyway," she starts again when significant time has passed in silence. "It was interesting. Especially the part where I was tied to a crucifix with vines slowly creeping up towards... Hmm, or would you rather..." She leans forwards, grabs the younger girl by the collar and starts whispering rapidly into her ears. When sufficient time has passed and Kanbaru is thoroughly reddened to the color of ripe tomatoes, she settles back into a proper sitting position.
What ensues is what they call the pin drop silence. Yes, they can probably hear a pin drop in the neighboring room – seeing as how Japanese houses are made of a few sheets glued together.
"Sempai..." The silence is broken when Kanbaru - head hung low, color back to normal - addresses her in a softly. "Is it... I wonder if it would've made a difference if I'm a man?" And that is it. A question she has been hoping to ask for years. Senjougahara has seen her most private fantasies after all. And by trying to kill Araragi, she had, in essence, confessed her love to her sempai. Even if the rejection had resulted in months of depression on top of the existing symptoms of a broken heart. She just wants to know. "I mean- I just want to know. If you'd consider me-"
-She finds herself briefly having a view of the ceiling (pretty wood grain, she thinks in one odd moment), before hitting the tatami mat with a loud thud and her eyes obscured by a cascade of silky hair. She smells Senjougahara's scent. She feels Senjougahara's breath on her neck. She knows Senjougahara is pinning both of her hands with her own. She knows- even if her senses are momentarily paralyzed, because she has been through this before.
Senjougahara shifts, and she finds herself looking into her eyes. Feels her soul being stared into, feels the burning
"...Oh. Okay." Second rejections hurt just as much as first ones. Really. She tries hard to keep that silly grin plastered on her face, arms still pinned by Senjougahara. "Well, okay then. I just wanted to, you know, know. I mean, it's not that I still like you. But I was just curious if I was born a guy- I mean, of course not. It's not like I'll ever win against Araragi-sempai even if I'm a guy, and it's not like you're into girls like me- uhm, I mean. It's not like this is something from yurizoku, is it? Ha. Ha ha. Ha." Not only that she is rejected twice, she was rejected twice in a compromising position. And on top of it, babbling while having someone you love inches away from your face, feeling her warm breath is too much for anyone. Even for perverts like herself. Especially for perverts like herself. Love sick perverts like herself.
"I know you love me, and you know I don't like you nearly as much as you do me." Senjougahara says with her trademarked complete lack of sensitivity.
Kanbaru looks away. Of course she knows. It is not like she has any other thoughts to think of apart from that for the past few months.
She almost dies from (a pleasant kind of) shock when Senjougahara inches her face closer, and, lips brushing Kanbaru's slightly, asks: "Do you..."
Kanbaru hears her heart beating madly, going thump thump, fluttering unrestrained in her rib cage.
"I am a very selfish person," she feels Senjougahara's lips moving, hears the sound a second after, "I told Araragi-kun of the few possessions that I have: the time I spend with him, a clumsy father, the night sky in my memories, and you. My cute underclassman. Is it so bad..." She runs her fingers through Kanbaru's hair, gently stroking it with a long, languid motion. "That I want everything? I want you for my own selfish use."
"I-I-" Kanbaru croaks. She doesn't understand the implication. Senjougahara has just pinned her to the ground, asked if she loves her, then declared possession over her. Right after she rejected Kanbaru for the second time.
"Don't think too much."
Of course she has to think too much. It is playing just like in those daydreams of fluffy romance she always has; of those dreams where she wakes up sweat drenched, shivering with the taste of her senior's name on her lips. Not Senjougahara/sempai, but
And she knows, because the brutal conditioning of years of unrequited love, that dreams, they never come true.
"Why?" Her mouth suddenly felt dry. There's nothing she wants more than to go back to the court where all she hears are the rhythmic thumps the ball makes as it hits the floor under her precise dribbling. There's nothing her hormones want more than being pinned down by Senjougahara like this.
"Why?" Suddenly she (not quite) regains her personal space, leaving only her hips pinned when Senjougahara pushed herself up. Senjougahara touches her index finger to her lip and tilts her head. "Hmm. Because you seem to have taken more notice of Araragi-kun lately."
"Guh- what? No, that was- that was!" That was so not it, Kanbaru wants to shout. She only attempted to seduce that damn siscon because she wanted him to break up with Senjougahara and then she could maybe be the rebound woman for her and and
"And I'm terribly jealous." Senjougahara continues with a lopsided smile. "Of him, naturally. But I also very much loathe to share my adorable underclassman with anyone else. So. Do you love me? Or," her gaze narrows and suddenly Kanbaru feels her wrists pinned again – only this time with much more force. "Do you not?"
Kanbaru looks sideways at Senjougahara's slim wrist, then back towards her face. Suddenly she feels very, very afraid. She feels like her hormones are going on overdrive – despite the fear – and in consequence her brain cells are probably shutting off. But she is a self-proclaimed masochist, after all, and there is pleasure mixed in that fear and – crap. There her mind going to totally unhealthy places again. She can guess (even amidst the high rate of brain cell genocide) in a gut level where this is going. Kind of understands Senjougahara's ridiculous angle. Well, not really. But this was what she spent a third of her life wanting. She realizes it will never be like in her dreams, where they share their deepest secrets, share a carton of popcorn at the movies, walk back holding hands but. But beggars can't be choosers. And maybe she tires of seeing the same dreams for years.
She is a self-proclaimed masochist, after all.
Senjougahara still looks at her. Kanbaru forces herself to look up into her eyes, quells the (odd. Slightly less pleasant; why?) flutter in her stomach, licks her lips to form the words easier and says: "I... Yes. I love you. Sempai."
And suddenly it was the cascade of hair again, and she finds herself shuddering involuntarily when Senjougahara's lips brushes her ear as they whisper: "Keep it a secret from Araragi-kun, okay?"
Dreams, they never come true.
But apparently, fantasies do.
Note: In the novel Hitagi did joke about rehabilitating herself with Kanbaru in the infamous starry skies scene when she told Koyomi to wait for a while. Of course, her being her, we never know how serious she was...