The class had begun most of the class were still talking about Ayumu's death. Ms Toda walked in the classroom content holding the roll and marking it not feeling hesitant when she said Ayumu's name –and the class's response- Toda then realized what she had done and sped up the roll call and finishing it. Manami entered the classroom with her classmates all distraught.
"Why did Ayumu have to go?" Manami wailed "It was better if she was here! She was like my best friend."
"Mana, its not your fault!" Hiro answered patting Manami at the back and moving Manami towards her seat while the rest of the group walked to their seats as well.
"As you may know, during the last few hours of school Ayumu Shiiba's body was found at the train tracks yesterday. It would be best if we all try to stay behind the yellow line and not cause anymore accidents okay?" Ms Toda announced. Miki reacted, how could Toda be so calm about this but then she thought that it was a teacher's role to maintain their composure. Manami was wailing with Hiro crouching next to her and reassuring that 'everything would be okay'.
Throughout the duration of the first two periods, Ms Toda had to try and stop the "Ayumu business" in the classroom and have the class go back to study which failed since the class would talk about Ayumu and the train that hit her every few minutes to the point that the people were talking about the brand of the train which was inappropriate in both Toda and Miki's view. Miki however was doing the classwork which made her ignore the class discussion.
After class, the whole class left the classroom leaving Sonoda who was completing his sunflower drawing and Miki who was putting her books in her bag. She turned to Sonoda and knew it was the chance. She walked over to Sonoda and placed her bag in the table in front loud enough for him to pay attention to her.
"Sonoda, you are Ayumu's garden partner right?" Miki asked "I'm Hatori, the student who is absent for most of the semester."
"Hatori-san," he accepted the introduction "Indeed I am Ayumu's garden partner."
"Had Ayumu said anything to you?" Miki asked
"No, no she hasn't." he closed his book, stood up and left his seat "I don't know where you are going in this conversation but if this conversation links anything with Shiiba's death, I don't want to talk about it." Miki crossed her arms the chance was blown, in failure she walked out of the room. As she got out of the doorway, someone came to her. It was Yukino another classmate in Ayumu's class, she was easy to spot since she had short black hair, glasses and wore the school vest.
"Yukino! Stop!" Yukino's friend Reina screamed she was distinguishable since she wore a white shirt, black pigtails and also wore spectacles.
"Hatori-san!" Yukino cried "It was Anzai-san! Anzai brought Ayumu to this. I was scared, I didn't want to tell anyone- Ayumu's been bullied these past few weeks." Hatori could see that Yukino was panicking since she was speeding questions so quickly "Anzai… there has been rumours that Ayumu has been going out with Katsumi behind Anzai's back which caused Anzai to harm Ayumu and have the whole class go against her. Hirose-san and Midori poured drinks on her while the others ruined her lunch box. I didn't know what to do but stare … I … I… I didn't want anyone in class to harm here"
"STOP!" Hatori raised her voice and slowly raising her hand and then dropping it again. She took a breath and looked at Reina in the eye. "Reina, did you know about this?"
Reina crossed her arms "It was Anzai, definitely Manami. Yesterday the whole class wrote nasty things about Ayumu on the white board. Hiro and Midori sprayed her hair with red spray paint… and people were throwing drinks at her. It was-"
"DON'T MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOU FELT SORRY!" Yukino shouted "Reina, you joined in the laughing as well. She… she didn't' deserve this." Yukino instantly burst into tears before bowing to Hatori and running out of the building
After school had finished, Miki resumed her job at RAINBOW Café, after her job was over (which she long waited for) she was ready to return to her apartment. Passing through many people ignoring their eyes before someone had bumped into her Miki looked behind her to apologize but before the words would come out of her mouth her eyes widened. The person in front of her wore a grey school vest, her hair wet and shortened and her shirt and skirt torn. It was definitely Higashi High's uniform. Miki walked to her pushing people out of the way and grabbed the person and turned her around her glasses were broken and she had bruises on her face. "Yukino!" she spat urgently and before she could say anymore. Yukino burst into tears and leant on Miki's and sobbed.
Yukino told Miki that after school had finished she walked home as usual. When she walked to the park someone came up behind her and knocked her unconcious. When she regained consciousness she realized that her hair was cut, her clothes were torn and she was in an alleyway. Miki couldn't say anything. Instead, she decided to take Yukino to her apartment.
"Here wear these, they won't fit perfectly" Miki spoke as she threw a pink shirt and green overalls to Yukino "They're mine, but I'll let you have them if you fit in them."
"Thank you Hatori-san," Yukino whimpered forcing a smile as see held the clothes with her hands and walked into the bathroom to change. Miki walked to the kitchen area and started making some katsu and rice for Miki and Yukino. Miki knew that Yukino herself didn't have the willpower to return home in her current state instead, Hatori told Yukino's parents on her behalf that she'll be staying at Hatori's house doing homework – Hatori intended to give Yukino her uniform or mend it some how.
As Yukino walked out of the bathroom she looked at the mirror and stared at the clothes which almost was a perfect fit, she tied her wet hair and walked to the kitchen. Miki turned as she heard Yukino's footsteps and looked at her, she leant her right hand on her him while the left hand gripped on the counter "The last time I wore those was probably 2 years ago, I grew really fast haven't I?" she smiled before resuming the cooking.
"Wow it smells so nice, what is it?" asked Yukino
"Katsudon" Miki answered "When I was with dad, I always cooked this for him if he wanted to."
"Great! Compared to you I can't cook food in that quality … mother thinks I'll make a good doctor but a horrible housewife." Yukino responded "I end up with either burnt Katsu or burnt Ramen all the time."
"Hey, hey, as they always say you Fall down seven times, stand up eight." Miki replied "It'll take time, I started cooking when I was in junior school. I kept on practicing and practicing until I got it right." Miki started plating the dishes. The conversation ranged from the cooking, to household chores and also Yukino's studies.
Yukino helped Miki bring the bowls of katsudon to the eating area and they both ate in silence. After finishing, Miki sent the dishes to the sink and then turned around and looked at Yukino's head as if Yukino had a large mole on her forehead or something "that hair does not do for me." Miki confessed "I think you need a haircut." Miki saw Yukino's pupil constrict. "Don't worry; I had experience at my dad's hair salon."
Yukino remembered that her hair was much more shorter but it wasn't too short there were some mangled cuts here and there. Miki grabbed some scissors and instructed Yukino to sit on the dinner table seat, Miki went through her bag and grabbed a towel and wrapped it on the back of Yukino's neck and started cutting her hair.
"Yukino, I think you should apologize to Reina." Miki said
"But I can't, she… she…" Yukino stuttered
"Don't move… she did participate in the bullying right?" Miki asked as she starting snipping towards the lower back of her head
"She… wasn't the only one. The whole class didn't do anything but laugh. I didn't know what to do, whether to feel sorry or stare at what was going to happen." Yukino paused she began to think of the many times Ayumu was bullied and remembered the image of Manami's friends ruining Ayumu's lunch and Hirose pouring a drink on Ayumu's head. Ayumu's skirt glued to her seat and struggling to pull herself away from the chair while everyone else around the classroom began laughing at her and not helping her. She knew it was human psychology, no one would out right save Ayumu they would transfer their own responsibility to other people in the class and that person would transfer it to someone else before no one would actually help Ayumu. "Reina… didn't help Ayumu either. In Health, Ayumu borrowed Reina's book since something happened to hers."
"Was Reina reluctant?" Miki asked
"No… she… looked like she was a matyr or something. There was a vibe in the classroom where almost everyone thought that Ayumu was some sort of disease or something" Yukino sobbed and slowly tears fell out of her eyes while Miki continued cutting the really awful ends of Yukino's hair.
"So this is why you don't want to apologize. You let everything out and that's okay." Miki responded as she began cutting the sides "Things take time, if Ayumu was still alive she could have possibly been a lot more stronger-"
"And her death made me realize what a horrible school and world we live in." Yukino continued "I wish all this bullying never happened."
Miki dropped the arm holding the scissors and placed her other arm on Yukino's back "Well, hey we'll fight against it alright?"
"Yes we shall." Yukino smiled as Miki finished with the fringe.
"Wait here… I'll grab the mirror." Miki grinned before walking in her bedroom and exiting with a large mirror. She placed it in front of Yukino and smiled "here you go,"
Yukino didn't know how to respond. Tears were streaming down her eyes. Even though she couldn't clearly see herself because her glasses were shattered, she knew that at that moment she felt like the most beautiful girl in the world.
As the moonlight illuminated the windows of the apartment, Miki turned off the lights and offered Yukino her bed Miki slept on the futon on the floor. "Thanks for today, Hatori-san." Said Yukino
"Don't mention it," Miki answered in a tone in which Yukino could've sworn was a slight giggle. Yukino was about to say more but before Yukino continued Miki closed her eyes. Yukino however stared at the window and the moonlight shining through and then she too had fallen asleep.
-Fall down seven times, stand up eight is a Japanese proverb which talks about perseverance after a failure.
- Yukino is the girl in the glasses seen with the girl in pigtails (Reina). She tells Hiraoka Sensei everything after Hirose's event.
- I was originally have Yukino raped by Akira's gang but then I realized that would be horrible to do to an innocent girl like Yukino so I changed it to a bullying incident outside of school that happened when Yukino was unconscious.
- Personally I didn't like Reina at all, as I skimmed through some scenes to get a glimpse of the characters I really hated how Reina was an absolute hypocrite throughout the whole drama by become a bully, whistle blower and bully again.