3rd June, 2015
Dear YOU. Before you continue reading this story, I want to point out a few important things. This work is fairly old, and I'm not a native English speaker. Over the years however, I have improved a lot. I think other writers will agree with the feeling of wanting to hide when it comes to their old works, but at the same time, I do take pride in my improvement. I also don't want to take my works down, because I know some people enjoyed them regardless back in the day.

So please just be aware that what you're about to read does not at all portray my writing abilities today. Thank you, and enjoy!


DISCLAIMER:

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and its original characters belong entirely to Ryukishi07. Also, any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is merely a coincidence. This fictional work is written by C. 'Cherrylin' L. G.. Any resemblance to the plot, story and concept is not intended, and should not be accused as copied or traced work. All content is fictitious, and should not be confused with real events.


To Cosmo; Happy Birthday! I hope you enjoy this, more than anyone!


HIGURASHI NO NAKU KORO NI: PUNISHMENT GAME


"Finally," Shion muttered in a low voice. A wry, victorious and mocking smile was plastered on her face, her eyes closed with self-satisfaction.

"Finally, what?" Her twin sister, the club leader, growled lowly, staring at the card pile on the table with disbelief; she rarely lost the games at all, especially not if they involved cards, but today, she had lost several rounds of Old Maid. In the end, she had lost equally many rounds as Keiichi, while the rest of the club members had lost random amounts - with the exception of Shion, who apparently had won all of them.

"Finally," the twin began again, her smile turning twisted while she leaned back in her chair, "you and Kei-chan lost at the same time, while I won."

Warmth surged to Mion's cheeks ever so slowly, her heart increasing its beating; she didn't like the tone in her sister's voice. "S-so what? It's not like it's a huge deal," turning her head, she met the confused, violet eyes of Keiichi - though, beside him, Rena was as if shining with expectance, making the tomboy even more worried; Shion knew how fond she was of the boy, and it wasn't unlikely for her to decide a punishment game that'd in some way force her to express her feelings. Hell, Shion.. what are you going to make us do?

"Oh, it's a huge deal indeed, Onee.. Remember the club's rules? The winner may do anything they want to the loser. That's why it's a huge deal." She was snickering.. looking at her with a mocking, light-teal glance. The way she had crossed her arms over her chest only added to her way too cocky power.

"I don't get it.." Keiichi said slowly, turning his head from one twin to the other, then back.

"What don't you get?" Mion couldn't keep back a snap. "We lost. Is it that hard to understand?"

"I mean.. it seems like it's all that special. Okay," he gave her a serious nod, "I admit it's not often you lose, Mion, but.. it's still just a game."

Was he pretending, or was he really that thick? The tomboy sighed deeply. "Man, you're hopeless."

"Aw, Onee.. he's not hopeless," Shion spoke in an innocent voice, "he's just clueless." Her words were followed by a grin, a grin Mion immediately hated.

"I wonder what the punishment game will be, I wonder, I wonder!" Rena chanted happily from where she sat. Something about her voice had some hint to it that she already had guessed - or knew.

"So do I," Keiichi raised an eyebrow, turning his gaze to Shion after having looked at her sister for a while. "So.. what's it gonna be? Judging from Mion, it seems to be pretty bad."

...so oblivious, Mion thought, repressing another sigh. Knowing Shion, she'll have us do something.. probably lovey-dovey... Her face heated up slightly more at the thought. Depending on her sister's mood, that could probably be anything between a brief hug to a make-out on the floor.

"What it's going to be? It's going to be embarrassing," Shion gave the boy a dirty grin, "and involve the two of you."

"Oh?" Keiichi looked back at the tomboy. "Something like standing in underwear while you take pictures for the whole village to see?" He clearly wasn't the slightest convinced in his own words.

"Don't give her crazy ideas!" Snapping again, Mion had a hard time keeping down her anxiety; a punishment like that wasn't unlikely. Damn.. damn, damn, damn... why did I lose.. no, why did Shion win? That bitch's never been sane..!

"Shion," Satoshi began slowly beside his girlfriend, "that'd be kind of cruel.."

Rolling her eyes, Shion sat back, putting her hands to the back of her head, raising her voice. "I order you to-"

"No sexual ideas!" Frustration grew into an anxious aggression in Mion, even if she doubted that was what her sister wanted to say.

The twin turned her head to the tomboy, narrowing her eyes with a raised brow. "Why are you and Kei-chan's thoughts so perverted? If that's what you want, do it in private, I'm not interested! I'm not going that far! Though," her voice became darker, her smile turning grim, "I order you.. the two of you,.. to kiss.. And quite intimately, not just a little peck on the cheek."

Silence.. Everyone turned their heads from Shion to Keiichi to Mion, the two latter both seeming to almost blush their heads off. Even if Mion had kind of guessed it'd be something like that, it still seemed so unreal to hear those words. The clock was ticking, but it was too slow for the tomboy's head; those seconds were surely minutes.

"Haauu..." Hanyū broke the silence with a low mutter, bringing Mion back to reality.

"W-wa-wait..w-w-wha-what-WHAT! ?" She stared at her sister, panicked. "Y-y-you c-can't be s-s-serious!"

"Oh, but I'm very serious indeed.."

"Th-there should be a rule against this!" Keiichi joined in, his face as blushing as Mion's felt.

With a low laughter, Shion winked at him. "Don't worry, all pictures will be mental."

Mion looked around at the others; Shion was just smiling, Satoshi seemed slightly uncomfortable, Satoko was blushing slightly, Keiichi far more so, Rena was trembling with shining eyes, Rika seemed slightly uninterested, and Hanyū was looking patiently at them. It made Mion feel like a nervous wreck...

More silent time passed by. Neither Keiichi nor Mion moved, but simply stared at each other, their cheeks burning more and more. The tomboy felt her heart beat painfully against her ribs, and she had to control her breathing to not start lacking air. Shit.. This definitely won't be pretty.. Shion, I hate you! You bitch..!

A deep, impatient sigh came from Shion. "Come on now, it's not like it's poisonous!" The girl wrapped an arm around Satoshi. "We're living proof!"

I don't give a damn about your 'living proof', I swear you're trying to kill me, even if not with poison! "B-but Shion! Kei-chan and I, w-we're not-"

"I don't care! Until this is done with, you just have to pretend! And I know especially you are good at pretending, Onee! Now get up!"

Reluctantly, the boy got up slowly, looking at Mion as he stood. Their eyes met, although the tomboy broke the exchange to look at her sister briefly, before her gaze darted back to Keiichi. Her heart beat was getting really intense, and kind of painful. An anxious stomachache was beginning, and she shortly felt dizzy. Then she swallowed that painful clump that had gathered in her throat and got up too; Keiichi had already taken the first step, and if he could, so could she.

Yet, that tiny spark of courage faded away the moment she stood on her still weakening legs. "Shion.. really.. y-you can't f-force us to do this.." Mion pleaded lowly, looking at her sister. For the first time for as long as she could remember, she felt she needed help.

"Of course I can. The winner may do anything they want to the losers. That's your rule, Onee."

"Still! Th-this involves s-something that could be t-taken serious!"

"Pft.." Shion huffed, clearly not giving a damn.

..fuck you.. She gritted her teeth at her sister, then turned her head back to Keiichi. Her heart skipped a beat; he was approaching her, slowly, one hesitant step after the other. He was still on the other side of the table, but he was making progress. Then he halted, looking around nervously, before taking another step.. then another.. then one more.. yet, halfway around the table, he stopped again, biting his lower lip as he looked at Mion with contained frustration. Shion let out a loud, fake yawn, which seemingly worked better than saying 'hurry up', for Keiichi continued immediately, even if still slowly.

As Keiichi got closer, Mion took a step back, feeling weak. "R-Rena! Help! Tell Shion it's not fai-" upon turning her face to the red-haired girl, she realized she had to give up on her; Rena was almost bursting with those sparkling eyes, having a hard time controlling herself, her eyes darting from one to the other with impatient expectance. The tomboy found her 'kaii-mode' rather stressing, and looked back at Keiichi, the boy continuously getting closer. Well, this is just too bad, you old man.. Seems like life is about to end now - but at least it's been a good life.. up until now.

The boy finally stood in front of her; time stood still. He was awfully close. She tried to force herself to calm down, feeling as if she didn't relax, she'd pass out onto the floor - though, her attempts were in vein. She was panicking. Looking at Keiichi, she saw the same discomfort reflected in his eyes, although at the same time, he didn't seem as much of a wreck as herself. Of course, he was probably just more used to embarrassing punishments.. but it could be he was really good at containing it. Though, then Keiichi suddenly sighed, losing his confidence. "Shion.. are you sure? You could figure something more embarrassing, such as a maid outfit or something.."

Shion let out a loud, mocking laughter. "A more embarrassing, awkward, cute, and to some extent, true and rewarding thing does not exist. Now do it..!"

Regretfully, the boy let out yet another sigh, looking at Mion with apologetic, violet eyes. "Sorry Mion.. don't feel.. um.. violated.."

"W-w-well," Mion swallowed as Keiichi looked into her eyes, "it-it's for the cl-club.. a-and its sa-sacred rules.. and p-punishments.. I s-suppose..."

"Y-yeah.. h-have to think of club reputation.. right?"

A sudden noise interrupted them, and they turned their heads toward Satoshi, who got up rapidly and hurried to Rena, grabbing her shoulders, clearly an attempt to hold her down, or at very least getting ready to.

Mion felt a tiny bit of disappointment in her heart. Fuck it... thanks, Satoshi, now it'll take even longer for us to get confide-

She didn't even get to finish her own thought, for Keiichi, with a gentle hand on her cheek, turned her face back to him, and put his lips on hers. The girl felt a complete panic, certain she'd fall over if as much as a feather poked to her. Keiichi let go quite quickly, but the tomboy still felt dazed from the fact he actually kissed her. It was as if her surroundings were closing in on her, she felt certain that her head would explode from heat. The boy's face was deep red too, and Satoshi was having trouble keeping Rena from abducting them. Though, Shion seemed almost pissed.

"What? What the hell was that! ? Was that all? ! You call that a kiss? ! ? You'd think there'd at least be a little hug too! This ain't good enough!"

An immediate frustration shot up in Mion, along with a sudden spark of courage; this could be her only chance, and she could do this. "You idiot, Kei-chan, she said intimately!"

She threw any shame over her shoulder, blocking out the existence of the others, and freed herself, letting out her feelings; carefully, but quickly and kind of violently, she grabbed Keiichi's shoulders and pushed him against the wall with her, wrapping her arms around his neck, pressing her body against him, closing her eyes, and put her lips on his with a tender kiss, all before he managed to react. Mion felt all of her body heat up, joy and fear spinning in her head; there was a 45-45 percent chance he'd either enjoy this or hate her the rest of his life (and a 10 percent chance he'd be indifferent once this was over). She felt his body tremble against her, his whole body, warm like hers, his lips almost burning. He wasn't moving, as if frozen - although, had he been an ice sculpture, surely he had melt from their still rising body heat. The girl's thoughts became more and more distant as she freed herself; deep down, she knew she had wanted this, no matter how hard she denied it. She briefly let go of the kissing to get a bit of air, but continued immediately; embarrassment and awkwardness had faded away. Her classmates were making comments, but she didn't hear them; all that reached her ears was the ticking of the clock as it teased her with making the seconds way too slow.

Keiichi turned alive again; she felt his shaking arms anxiously wrap around her body, and he carefully started pressing his lips back to her. Mion opened her eyes briefly to see he had closed his own, and so she let the world turn dark again once more, making her hug tighter. Then his body stopped trembling, as if confidence took over his anxiety. His arms pulled her into a strong embrace, an embrace that was almost painful, nails digging in her skin beneath her clothes. She felt slightly uncomfortable at first, but then she relaxed completely, gaining full trust in the boy. Mion shifted, standing astride him, pressing herself even harder against him, convinced she could feel his rapid heart beat on her own chest. Shit... this went further than she had intended. She hadn't expected him to be so willing to return the love, and even if this was only pretension, she felt happier than she had ever been before.

The rest of the club had become utterly silent; the two teenagers didn't let go of each other, except breaking the kiss shortly, constantly, to get air. The world became nonexistent to them; they had each other. Even if it wasn't serious, they were together, right now. Anything else was irrelevant to them. Hadn't she been leaning against him, and been in such a tight embrace, she'd probably have fallen down; her legs had become weak.

By the time they broke off, Mion had already stopped counting the seconds long ago. Her heart was skipping beats, and as they looked into each others' eyes, she felt the awkward embarrassment return, the blushing warming up her face again, even if she had just got rid of it. Regret and disappointment filled her the same moment their arms let go too, the knowledge that this was over almost making her want to cry. She'd never admit it, but this was something she'd never be able to forget, not even in a hundred years.

Then realization shot her back to the pure reality; the club was still there. They were still watching them. Mion gritted her teeth, her head almost exploding again. Yet, she stood boldly, panting, turning her head to Shion. "Happy..?"

For a while, everyone remained quiet; they all stared at them, paralyzed. Even Rena, who moments ago had to be restrained, wasn't moving.

"Wow.." Shion finally breathed, a smile returning to her face. "That.. that was more than I had expected! Who'd thought my stubborn boy of a sister was such a great kisser?"

"Oh shut up," Mion spat, her tomboy returning as her sister spoke. "Had to satisfy you."

"Yeah, and you sure did! Now, to finish up your punishment, the two of you will have to clean up while the rest of us go home!"

..leaving us to speak in private, huh? Though, she felt rather grateful. "And that'll be all?"

"Yep! That'll be all! No more punishments for you two this time! You're free once you've cleaned up in here. Now everyone else, we're outta here!" Shion's voice was awfully thick of victory as she got up, took her bag and left. The rest of the club silently followed her, Satoshi waving a quick goodbye. Hanyū, the last one to leave, stopped by the door, turning her head to them. She smiled, expressing relief, and gave them an approving nod before leaving without a word.

Alone, the teenagers were quietly beginning to clean up; Mion gathered the cards, assembled them and put them in her locker, then went to help Keiichi move the tables. With everything standing alright, she went toward the broom in the corner, but a nagging feeling of being watched annoyed her. She halted and looked over her shoulder; only to see Keiichi staring at her, then quickly turned his head away when their eyes met.

"Kei-chan, rather than staring at my butt, take the dustpan."

"I wasn't!" The boy objected, but immediately went for the dustpan while Mion began sweeping the floor.

Whether it was my butt or not, you were definitely staring at me anyway..

Silence followed again as she got through the class with the broom, and Mion felt regret for not talking; she knew she should take the chance to speak with him, but it was as if everything that needed to be said had already been spoken.. but when?

"You're doing it again," Mion remarked suddenly without looking at the boy, feeling his intense staring.

A moment's hesitation passed before he replied. "..so what if I am.."

She halted her cleaning and looked over at him, their eyes meeting immediately. He was... deep in his thoughts, unreadable, waiting for her to finish sweeping so they could throw out whatever dirt there'd be. Mion felt uncertain, not sure if she wanted him to look away or not, or if it even mattered. Still though, why did he look at her? Okay, she admitted it was quite a different day for both of them, but why would he be staring at her like this?

"Am I really all that interesting? Was today all that unusual?"

"You're just incredibly unpredictable.." The boy frowned. "No need to get aggressive."

Aggressive.. Tch, trust me, I'm not mad at all..

They finished cleaning, Mion enduring the boy's watching gaze from time to time; it hadn't mattered what angle he saw her from, she was apparently a very interesting individual.

...what happened earlier? The tomboy wasn't even sure. She remembered feeling the happiness that had surged through her heart, the warmth from the love that had been between them.. yet now, all she felt was emptiness, regret, sadness at the thought it was over, that it was only pretension and nothing more. This could be something that they'd never speak about again, and that thought alone was as if trying to kill her.

She picked up her bag, for the second time today feeling as if she wasn't really there - only, this time she wasn't filled with happiness and love; rather sadness and disappointment. Her mind was spinning, but it didn't seem to settle down on a specific topic. The girl gritted her teeth in irritation at the headache that was on its way.

"Hell," Keiichi's voice behind her broke her out of her trance suddenly.

"'Hell', what?" She didn't even turn to look at him, going toward the door with her bag in her hand. 'Hell, this was a weird day'?

"You're.. really good at acting.." His voice was low; it was clear that there was more to his words.

The girl halted, unexpectedly. A new happiness surged through her heart, confidence lighting up her spirits. "Kei-cha.. no," she let out a deep sigh; there was no need to pretend anything anymore. "Keiichi.. it wasn't an act.." Mion turned her head slightly to look back at him, a faint blush warming her cheeks, a beautiful, happy smile curving her lips. "It was all real."


[A/N]

..and now, I'll go to sleep. My deadline for this fic was a good hour ago, as I intended to upload it at midnight in the birthday child's timezone, but.. it took more time than I expected… bleh… It's 8 in the morning, I'm dead-tired.

Though, again, Happy Birthday, Cosmo!