It had been some three months since Miharu's rescue had taken place from her home world of Seiren. Things have quieted down in Yukinari Sasaki's home or at the very least this was the way it seemed to anyone observing from the outside. Kirie, a martial artist and friend who has harbored feelings for Yukinari in the past, still lives next door to Yukinari and remains a loyal friend. Lisa, witch and younger sister of rich, privileged, and crazed pervert Kazuharu Fukuyama, resides in the Fukuyama estate conceiving new witchcraft in futile attempts to split Yukinari and Miharu up. Koyomi and Tomoka meanwhile had returned to Seiren, their jobs as Space Travel Agents urging them back. Yukina, her own duties on Seiren similarly not the kind to be ignored, had also long returned.
Kirie, as was her usual school day routine, showed up to the Sasaki residence one morning to accompany Yukinari and Miharu to school.
"Yukinari! Wake up! Don't you dare oversleep again Yukinari" Kirie called out knocking on Yukinari's door, ringing the doorbell, and peering into the peephole. "Yukinari, this is starting to become a habit" Kirie sighed worriedly to herself. "You slowpoke... Alright, I'm coming in!" Turning the door knob to find the door unlocked, Kirie enters. "Yukinari, are you in here? Miharu?" Kirie calls out to an empty living room. No response of any sort rings out. "Maybe they've already set off?" she thought. She approaches Yukinari's room upstairs quietly and knocks on the door. "Yukinari, are you in here?"
"J-just a second! Almost done getting ready!" Yukinari responds. Kirie grants him a second and finally, the door immediately opens revealing a Yukinari in his uniform and backpack ready to set off.
"Finally, Yukinari! Are you not getting enough sleep or something?" Kirie chastised.
"I'm sorry Kirie, it was a long night yesterday" he tells her exiting his room and closing the door behind him. Heading for the front door, Yukinari looks back at a perplexed Kirie looking in the direction of Miharu's room, the room once occupied by Yukinari's parents. "What's wrong?" he asks her.
"Aren't we waking Miharu up?" Kirie asked.
"No, she's still feeling under the weather so she'll be staying in again today."
"Really?" responded Kirie in surprise. "That would make it two days now. That's pretty long for someone like Miharu; she'll usually just eat her way out of any illness."
"Yes well, please don't disturb her. She needs her rest" Yukinari warned as Kirie approached Miharu's room. Proceeding outside, they both set off for school.
"So what's she got again?" Kirie asked walking alongside Yukinari.
"A pretty bad cold" Yukinari elaborated.
"I'm sorry to hear that. Did you try giving her medicine?"
"Yeah" Yukinari answered.
"Careful not to leave that stuff where she can easily find it. You know how she can get" Kirie advised.
"Of course Kirie... Now let's hurry up!" Yukinari urged as he sped up. "Or we'll be late!"
"Well you should wake up earlier then slowpoke!" Kirie criticized as she kept up with Yukinari.
School went off as usual. Math class was torture for most students except Yukinari who was quite good at math. Something exploded in chemistry class and the cat dissection in biology was gross yet enlightening as expected. During lunch time, Yukinari and Kirie joined several other students on the roof of Mizuno High.
"So I guess we'll be eating alone together again?" Kirie remarked having a seat at a lone bench with Yukinari.
"Guess so" Yukinari agreed.
"Miharu probably misses eating at school more than anything" Kirie said pulling out a lunch from home.
"Maybe" was Yukinari's lethargic reply, a lunch he had purchased from the school sitting on his lap.
"I'll save some of my lunch for her for later" Kirie said setting some of it aside.
"You don't have to" Yukinari said.
"I don't but I'm gonna" Kirie objected. "She loves mom's cooking so this should make her day. I'll give it to her after school."
"O-okay" Yukinari agreed as they both dug into their lunch. Nearby, Kirie spots fellow students rushing about carrying festive decorations.
"School festival's happening soon" Kirie observed. "You looking forward to it?" Kirie asked biting a dumpling.
"Sorta" Yukinari said maneuvering some rice into his mouth.
"Sorta?" Kirie asked.
"I remember the last one: I could never win anything in their stands" Yukinari surrendered.
"Is that it? How's about I win ya something?" Kirie offered.
"Y-you don't have to Kirie!" Yukinari said alarmed by Kirie's generosity. "I don't want you spending-"
"I don't mind. I like the challenge" Kirie said.
"Well, if you insist" Yukinari said uneasily.
"I insist" Kirie said. "Does that mean you'll be going?"
"Yeah, guess I have to now."
"You better! You want me to win you something don't you?" Kirie asked.
"Alright, I'll be there" Yukinari surrendered.
"Awesome! Sounds like a plan" Kirie said as she noticed something missing from their lunches. "We need drinks."
"We do" Yukinari agreed.
"I'll go get 'em" Kirie said getting up.
"Where?" Yukinari asked.
"Vending machine, duh!" Kirie said as she approached a vending machine nearby and returned moments later.
"Kiwi for you" Kirie said placing a can of juice by Yukinari's lunch. "Your favorite, right?"
"Yeah, thanks Kirie!" Yukinari thanked.
"No problem!" Kirie said as she placed a blueberry drink by her own lunch.
"No no no, it's my treat" Kirie said objecting to Yukinari's attempt to pay her for the drink.
"Are you sure, Kirie?" Yukinari asked.
"I'm sure" Kirie said. "If you wanna make it up to me, make sure to make it to the festival."
"Kirie, I'll make it to the festival" Yukinari said firmly. "..You've twisted my arm enough."
"So I can stop twisting?" Kirie joked. Yukinari chuckles and nods. "Can't wait even more now! I'm starting to wonder how long it's been since we've hung out together?"
"Uhh, I don't know... Two weeks?"
"Two weeks?" Kirie said surprised. "Odd. It feels like over a month."
"Two weeks at most" Yukinari said.
"We played mini-golf, Kirie" Yukinari reminded.
"Right!" Kirie recalled. "You and Miharu wandered off that time."
"Only for a bit" Yukinari answered.
"Enough for me to forget, apparently" Kirie joked prompting Yukinari to gesture in amusement. "You and Miharu have been spending so much time together" she said. "You two don't have as much time to hang out with us like before."
"I suppose so" Yukinari agreed.
"That's a shame" Kirie said disappointed. "..You know, mom got me a new yukata and I'd love for you to see me in it. You and Miharu could come with Fukuyama and I to the festival. I don't think I've actually ever worn one before, can you believe that?"
"Y-yeah?" Yukinari responded uneasily as he shifted his lunch around his bento box as Kirie pauses.
"Umm... Yeah you can believe I've never worn a yukata or yeah you can come to the festival with me?" Kirie asked. "D-did I say me!? I meant Fukyuama and I" she corrected herself.
"Yeah, I can go" Yukinari said. "We can go, I mean. Miharu and I" he corrected himself as well.
"It'd do you some good Yukinari. You've been looking down recently: Miharu's not 'that' sick is she?" Kirie asked with grave concern.
"No, she'll be okay" Yukinari said somewhat coldly. "And the festival, I can't wait" he said in a similarly frigid manner.
"Is something the matter? You don't seem too enthusiastic."
"I, I'm sorry, of course I can't wait" Yukinari retorted immediately returning some life into his speech. "S-so, when is this festival?"
"Next week. Did you forget?"
"No. Yes! I'm sorry" Yukinari corrected himself.
"Don't apologize. We all forget" Kirie reassured him. "We all forget things. We wouldn't be human otherwise."
"Yeah, you're right..." Yukinari said as though simply shrugging off the topic. Kirie feels somewhat annoyed by his tone but ultimately ignores it.
"...Well, I hope we can all go" Kirie concludes. Both continue eating and after some hesitation, Kirie finally musters up the courage to ask what most would consider a question with an obvious answer.
"So I guess you and Miharu have been official for a while now" Kirie asked.
"What?" Yukinari said perplexed by her abrupt inquiry.
"I mean living under the same roof and all for that long..."
"Uh, yeah yeah. We're official" Yukinari declared almost as if trying to avoid the topic. "Why do you ask?"
"N-no reason, just asking" Kirie says eating a portion of her lunch. "...It's such a nice day today. You know what the best part about eating on the roof is?" Kirie suddenly challenged.
"The nice breeze?" Yukinari answers.
"That's one of them" Kirie said.
"Closer" Kirie said grinning. "That guess was close enough: the sky is" she finally answers.
"The sky's the best part?" Yukinari said looking upward.
"Yep! Ever just look up at it and get lost?" Kirie said also looking skywards.
"G-get lost?" Yukinari asked amused by Kirie's suggestion.
"You know!" Kirie defended as Yukinari grinned and she blushed. "Like get lost in thought! I mean just look at it! It just looks like a huge painting that goes on forever in all directions. There's just something about staring up at it. Almost feels like you're about to fall into it."
"Yeah, I get what you mean" Yukinari responds. "Now that I really focus on it."
"Perfect for sitting and eating under. It's so relaxing! It puts me at such ease!" Yukinari nods softly. "And it's a nice blue color at this time of day, not yellow or orange."
"Something wrong with those colors?" Yukinari asked.
"There's just something sad about those colors is all" Kirie answered. "Dusk bums me out sometimes. I wonder if I'm the only one?"
"Hmm... You're not: evening gloom hits me too sometimes so I get it" Yukinari agreed.
"Good to hear I'm not alone" Kirie said. "..Mornings are the best. The dark purple sky goes to blue, love watching it while being super warm and cozy in bed" she said as she maneuvered a bit of chicken into her mouth. "I psyche myself up for the cold morning before breathing in that fresh dawn air. Really wakes you up! Shake out your limbs loose, do a few stretches, and hurry downstairs for breakfast. Flick on the morning news and - and now I'm just rambling" Kirie said embarrassed. "Sorry about that."
"It's no problem at all Kirie, really!" Yukinari said smiling at the brunette. "I don't mind listening to you. I like it actually."
"Thanks" Kirie says smiling back before returning her gaze to the sky. "What must it be like flying through them?" she asked moments later.
"The clouds?" Yukinari asked as he surveyed large stratocumulus clouds streaking across the sky.
"Yeah..." Kirie confirms.
"Fluffy? It's just a bunch of water droplets: we should take a plane ride through 'em one day" Yukinari suggested.
"Now that sounds like an idea!" Kirie agreed enthusiastically. "Wonder how much that costs?"
"Just have Fukuyama pay for it" Yukinari suggested.
"Hahaha, it's his parents I'll have to convince but it's another good idea" Kirie said. "...A part of me feels a little sad though when I look at clouds" Kirie commented passively.
"Yeah.. The way they drift as if uncaring, unaware of their distancing. It's sort of sad, really" Kirie said. "Don't you think so?" Yukinari, distracted by lunch, simply nods and hums in agreement. "You know, it kind of feels like us, drifting apart. We used to spend more time together and we'd do things together too but now..." Kirie sighed unexpectedly. "...Sometimes I long for those days... I guess it's only natural to become nostalgic as time goes by."
Yukinari could only look at Kirie curiously as she looked at him back rather stoically, an unexpected silence between the two taking over. Yukinari then recalled what Kirie had alluded to moments before: he had been spending less and less time with the brunette who was now, to everyone's surprise and many admirers' distress, going out with Fukuyama. Before his meeting Miharu, Kirie was his only friend and their days were often spent doing things together from playing video games, going out to eat, and watching movies: Kirie was almost a girlfriend though Yukinari's allergy forbade any such relationship. He instead considered her a friend and neighbor, the kind of friend and neighbor who'd get him chocolates on Valentine's Day after Yukinari, as was usual, received nothing from any girls. The fact that she did not make the chocolate herself as was customary always gave him reason to suspect they were bought out of pity though perhaps Kirie's ineptitude at cooking could offer an alternate explanation. Regardless, he was always grateful. Despite her culinary deficiencies, Kirie was a very pretty girl, pretty enough to garner herself several admirers, male and female. She was violently short-tempered enough to intimidate many more away, a temper Yukinari at times would fall victim to by accident. Kirie was also heroic, always stepping in to right wrongs or stop the rich pervert Fukuyama's abuses when he kidnapped Miharu or harassed Koyomi. She was strong and confident, typical of someone as adept at martial arts as she was and the opposite of Yukinari who was quick to mope and give up, something Kirie disliked greatly. Despite this, she often encouraged him to try harder and to become stronger. So far, no such development had taken place. He still retained the nickname 'Punynari' around school.
"Festival can't come soon enough" Kirie said.
"What are you talking about Kirie?" Yukinari asked.
"Are you scared that's what's happening to us, Kirie?" With a look of anxiety, Kirie hesitated.
"Sometimes, it feels that way" she answered honestly.
"Kirie, I've known you for so long, it's ridiculous that we never not be together." Yukinari, having finished his lunch, stands up and disposes of his bento box. "It's not like we're going anywhere. I mean we live next door to each other!" Yukinari said. "Kirie, I think we'll be friends for the rest of our lives. And that's a future I'm looking forward to!"
Standing near the edge of the roof looking down at the campus, Kirie replies "you're right, I'm sorry. I'm just being overly emotional. Forget I said anything" and smiles weakly.
Not satisfied with the face Kirie was making, Yukinari adds: "Kirie, if you need convincing, may I say something?" Kirie, intrigued, turns her attention toward her blue-haired friend. Nervously, Yukinari says "you've been there for me for so many things ever since we were kids, you're part of my childhood and I want you to be a part of the rest of my teens and I want you to be a part of my adulthood too. I think I'd be sad if there would be a time in my life with you not in it! Please don't ever forget that Kirie! And yes, I'll be able to make it to the festival and I'm sure your yukata will be lovely!" Smiling, Yukinari finishes though he starts to wonder whether he had said enough in that moment. "I-I think that's all" he says awkwardly. Kirie, on the other hand, suddenly looks directly at Yukinari in surprise and stands staring at him. Slowly she walks up to him, her eyes glued to his. "Kirie, w-what's up?" Kirie's hand finds Yukinari's shoulder and then just as suddenly she pulls him into a warm embrace. Yukinari, puzzled and a bit flushed by her sudden movement, asks "Kirie, i-is something up? Kirie?" Kirie, relieved by Yukinari's words does not speak at first but instead continues to hold Yukinari in her arms.
"Thanks Yukinari. That made me feel better" Kirie said softly.
"I, I made you feel better? Were you not feeling well?" Yukinari asked as he debated whether to hug back. Quickly recalling Yukinari's allergy, Kirie pushes him away.
"Oh, that's right! Your allergy!" Kirie exclaims in realization as she releases her hold. "I'm real sorry!"
"Don't worry!" Yukinari said. "It doesn't react like before." Looking over Yukinari's skin, she notices no reaction, his face free from any blemish.
"Oh... Good... That must be why you love her, huh? She helped cure you after all." Yukinari does not respond to this and instead remains silent, a serious look on his face. "Eh, Yukinari? Something wrong?" Turning away with a look of bitterness, he responds.
"...Actually, there 'is' something wrong. I, I can't lie to you anymore."
"What?" Kirie breathed.
"Kirie... Miharu and I... have been growing apart for some time now."
"Wh-what!? What are you saying Yukinari!?" Kirie replied shocked. Looking down below and gripping the wire fence surrounding the school's roof, Yukinari sighs.
"She returned to Seiren some time ago and we haven't spoken since."
"So then her being sick was untrue?" Kirie asked in disbelief.
"Yes, it was."
"Why Yukinari? Why would you lie like this?"
"I was afraid" Yukinari responded timidly. "I was afraid that after so many people had worked so hard to bring Miharu back from Seiren and now that we've fallen apart..." Yukinari paused then went on. "It just seemed like such an ungrateful thing."
"So instead you lied to me?" Kirie asked resentfully.
"I'm sorry" Yukinari replied. An awkward silence grabbed hold of the two briefly.
"..Th-that's okay Yukinari" Kirie went on. "Love is fragile. Love and heartbreak, they happen. But I bet you're planning on seeing her again sometime soon though right?" A long pause takes place.
"Kirie, I don't think so. I don't want to" Yukinari says looking away. Shocked by these words, Kirie stands in her place, a dozen questions racing in her head.
"Why? Yukinari, what happened between you two?" Kirie asked.
Yukinari, still looking down from the school roof replies. "I don't want to talk about it." Kirie, respecting Yukinari's request, goes silent. Turning and facing Kirie who was now wearing a look of worry, Yukinari goes on. "I just want to thank you for all you've done for me and the support you've given me. Well, us: Miharu and I."
"Yukinari, I can't believe this."
"Neither can I, Kirie..." Yukinari finished and returned to class without another word as lunch period ended. He got through history class smoothly and finished the class duties of his usual bullies as well as his own. Yukinari wasn't a tall high school boy. On the contrary, given his small stature and the fact that he was once allergic to girls earned him a notorious reputation as someone who could be pushed around and, with the right amount of pressure, coerced into doing other people's school cleaning duties. That was especially true since he was feeling down from his break up not long ago.
"Very good, very good" Yukinari's classmate Mikako commented surveying the fruits of Yukinari's labor in cleaning up a blackboard. Standing taller than Yukinari, wild green-hair on her head and an unfriendly smirk on her face, she surveyed the blackboard.
"Very nice there Punynari! Good job" praised her dark-haired boyfriend Kenichi.
"Nice to have Punynari at this school isn't it? Allergy or no allergy, he knows how to follow orders!" Mikako celebrated.
"Absolutely" agreed Kenichi. "Okay now beat it, teacher's coming." Kicked out of the room, Yukinari makes his way home alone.
"Bullied again" he observed pathetically though such an occurrence was not anything new. Prior to meeting Miharu, he'd be taken advantage of by alumni, the majority of them women which would ultimately lead to his female allergy. Worse still was some female tormentors would use his allergy to coerce him more effectively. And even though he was getting over his female allergy, his break-up with Miharu has deposited him into a state of apathy that would only make him seem even more ripe for exploitation.
A quarter-way into his walk home, a limo pulls up on the road next to him. The limo window opens up to reveal Kirie inside.
"Yukinari, hop in!" Kirie calls out. Yukinari, too tired to ask from the cleaning duties pushed on him gets in and sits next to Kirie.
"Hello Kirie" Yukinari manages to murmur out.
"Hey Yukinari" Kirie said. "Tired?.. Yukinari, you're covered in chalk; you didn't have cleaning duty today. Did someone make you do chalk duty for them!?" Kirie questioned firmly. Yukinari, ashamed and exhausted, doesn't answer but Kirie picked up on this regardless. "Don't let them do that to you Yukinari! Stand up for yourself!" Kirie reinforced patting his uniform. "Tell them to buzz off!"
"Don't do that here!" rang out a previously unrevealed voice. "You're covering up the interior of my limo with chalk dust!" Fukuyama, arms folded sitting opposite Yukinari, protests. "Punynari, if you're going to ride with us please mind the expensive and delicate leather."
"I'm sorry" Yukinari apologized weakly.
"Shut up Fukuyama" Kirie expressed angrily.
"You pulled him in, you're responsible" objected Fukuyama.
"Don't mind him Yukinari" Kirie said still patting the dust from his uniform.
"Stop Kirie, I'll clean myself at home" Yukinari said gesturing Kirie to stop.
"Where's Miharu?" Fukuyama suddenly asked. "You two are often together. She's missed classes for-"
"She's sick and staying home" Yukinari quickly lied. "I'm taking care of her 'til she gets better." Kirie says nothing to this obvious lie.
"Really? I can help anytime! I'll personally help her if you'd like" suggested Fukuyama slyly. Lecherously he added "I'll give her a full-body exam if you want me to!"
"No, that's fine" Yukinari retorted firmly. "She'll be fine!" Kirie, still remaining silent, looks out to Yukinari's home as the limo comes to a stop.
"We're here" announces the chauffeur from the driver's seat. Climbing out, Yukinari thanks Fukuyama and the driver and immediately makes for his front door. Kirie makes for her own home after saying her thanks and turning down another night out with Fukuyama explaining that she has things scheduled for the night.
"Having plans of your own tonight? Again?" Fukuyama asks.
"That's right" Kirie answers coolly. "See you tomorrow."
"Hmph!" Fukuyama sniffs loudly. "Fine then Kirie. Good night" Fukuyama recovers turning his chin up slightly. "Driver, home." The limo then pulls away as Yukinari shuts his front door, his back up against it, eyes closed.
"What now?" Yukinari ponders to himself. "Should I go see her?..." In silence he thinks. "No, I don't want to. I should learn from all this instead. Let this experience be a lesson in life, not a tenacious heartache." A sudden knock comes to Yukinari's door. Yukinari, reacting, turns around to face it.
"Yukinari?" Kirie asks through the door sensing Yukinari's presence.
"Kirie, did you need something?" Yukinari asked opening the door.
"Ca-can I come in?" Kirie asked cautiously. Yukinari allows her in and she enters closing the door behind her. "How you holding up?"
"I'm... holding up fine" Yukinari answered as he leads the way to his living room couch and has a seat.
"...Are you thinking about her?" Kirie asks having a seat next to Yukinari. Yukinari, for a moment, doesn't say anything but continues lost in thought.
"..No, I'm thinking about... something else."
Kirie hesitated but after mustering up the courage, she asks "so what happened Yukinari?" Yukinari says nothing at first making Kirie feel slightly guilty. "If you don't want to talk about it, I underst-"
"My rash is fading Kirie" Yukinari interrupts. "You'd think she'd be happy for me but she's been very... uneasy about it" Yukinari explains, the last few words spoken after some contemplation. "..Always asking where I'm going or who I'm meeting up with. It just felt as though she didn't trust me and we've drifted apart over time. It came to a point where I thought she preferred my allergic self to return but I don't want that. I hate that old me, that weak me."
"Yukinari, I can't believe this" Kirie replied softly. "I thought you two would be together forever."
"So did I Kirie. So did I but I've learned how fast love can fade away and I'm looking at things so differently now... You know, I'm too tired to think right now and I just want to be left alone. Kirie, I'm going to bed soon."
"I'm sorry, I'm just so tired" Yukinari explained standing up. "It's been a long day for me."
"Okay Yukinari" Kirie responded understandingly, getting up and proceeding outside.
"Good night Kirie" Yukinari called out before closing his front door.
"Good night Yukinari" Kirie replied and she proceeded home. As she did so, Yukinari continued to ponder.
"Maybe.. it was because guys are so rare in her homeworld?.." he thought. "Maybe that's why she had become so overwhelmed with worry, with grief over my fading allergy?.. But then did that mean that was the only thing that brought us together? My allergy?" he wondered with alarm as he prepared for bed, the portrait of himself and Miharu face down atop his bedside table.