Chapter 1: Remember You
The road flies beneath me as my car speeds along the highway, the sun blazing down at it nears its zenith. It's mid-June of Showa 56, almost two years since I left. I've been in Tokyo since I graduated, studying psychology at a university there. I'm hoping that by doing so I might be able to help Satoshi-kun more. I was hoping to go into neuro studies actually, but even after applying myself more after I learned of his condition I wasn't able to get my grades up to what they would need to be.
I was nervous about going to Tokyo at first, worried that it would cause the dormant Hinamizawa Syndrome that I, along with all of the other villagers, have to awaken in me. Because of this, I went to Irie before we left and we made sure that I knew the symptoms to watch out for as well as he gave me a syringe of and a small vile of a clear liquid, telling me to inject myself with it and return to Hinamizawa if I noticed any of them.
That's not the reason I'm returning though. I luckily haven't noticed anything to suggest that I'm beginning to lose my sanity. Instead, I'm coming because of a call I got from Onee last week telling me that Kei-chan finally proposed to her. They'd started going out about a month before I left, after Onee had finally built up the courage to confess to him. I'm happy they've worked out. I haven't told anyone I'm coming though. I thought it'd be more fun to surprise them.
Just then, I see the same sign that Kasai pointed out to me years ago when he helped me escape from St. Lucia Academy. Smiling, I flip on the car's radio and whisper to myself, "Welcome home, Shion."
"Shion! What are you doing here?" Onee exclaims after opening the door to find me standing there.
"What? You didn't think I was going to congratulate my big sister properly?" I ask, "It looks like I'm going to have to work harder if I want to steal Kei-chan from you."
Her face flushes and she looked peeved, but when she sees my joking smile she starts giggling. Before I know it we're both laughing. It seems that still hasn't changed. We're still sisters.
I can't help but feel a pang of jealousy when I see the ring sparkling on her finger though. Technically I'm the oldest, even if no one accepts it anymore. If things had gone differently one that day all those years ago, maybe I'd be the one getting engaged. I wouldn't want to marry Kei-chan though. He's a bit too childish and rough, much better suited for that Onee than me.
I walk through the door and Onee and I talk for a while. She tells me what's happened since I left: What stores have opened and closed, that Rika-chama was confessed to by some kid named Okamura, that Rena still goes on those "treasure hunts" of hers once in a while…
After a while, the conversation shifts to Satoko and I find my thoughts drifting to Satoshi-kun. I remember that cold room with the beeping monitors under the Irie Clinic. Is he still there? Is he still strapped down? "Hey…" I say slowly, nervously, "Has… Has Satoshi-kun returned?" I shouldn't ask. I'm the only one aside from the manager who even knows what's going on with him. "I see," I murmur before she can reply. She doesn't have to. I can tell the answer from the expression on her face. "Is Irie still working at the clinic?" I ask brightly after a moment of silence.
"Huh? Yeah, of course. He's still coaching the Hinamizawa Fighters too. They're probably practicing right now, actually."
"At the field in Okinomiya?"
"Yeah, I believe so."
"I'm going to see him," I proclaim, grabbing my bag off the floor as I get up from my chair and head for the door.
My hair whips around my face as I wind my fingers into the chain link fence that surrounds the baseball diamond. Irie's sitting on the bench with his back turned to me. I don't think he's noticed me yet, so I call his name.
"Shion-san!" he calls as he stands up and walks over, "I didn't know you were coming back!"
"I wanted it to be a surprise," I state before continuing meekly, "Is Satoshi-kun still…?" I don't finish. He knows what I mean.
"…Yeah," he replies after a quick pause, "Would you like to see him once practice is over?" He says it just loud enough for me to hear. No one else knows about it and we'd like to keep it that way. I just offer a quick nod of approval.
He leads me down into the clinic's basement a while later. It doesn't seem to have changed since I last saw it. Same bland beige walls and cold concrete floor, the ceiling dotted every meter or two with flat rectangular lights. Irie opens the mechanical door with his key card and I rush in just like I did the first time I was here. Unlike that time though, I stop in front of another door rather than the large observation window and Irie lets me in this one as well.
"Satoshi-kun!" I say as I step through. He's here of course, sleeping with a peaceful expression as the heart monitor beeps beside him. "He's not tied up anymore…" I think aloud, noticing that the thick leather straps that had held him down by the arms and legs are gone.
"I tried an experimental cure on him the other day. I'm not sure exactly how well it worked. But it seems that he at least won't try to scratch his throat anymore."
I wince at the reminder of this. "…Can I stay with him for a little while? I just want to talk to him a bit…"
"Sure. That phone connects directly to my office upstairs," he nods towards a phone hanging on the wall as he turns to leave, "If you need anything, just call me with it. I'll let you two be alone."
Once he's gone, I walk over and sit on the floor beside the bed. There's no chair, but I don't care. I just sit there talking about whatever comes to mind. I tell him about Tokyo, my friends there, my classes, the city itself... Once I can't think of anything more to say about that, I move on to repeating what Onee told me earlier, what I can remember of it at least.
"I wish you'd talk to me," I murmur once I finish talking about Satoko, "I'm not blaming you or anything, of course! I know it isn't your fault. I just miss you…" My heads gotten a little heavy by now, so I rest it on my arm, propped on the side of the bed. Now that I've moved my head, I've realized that there are tears on the corners of my eyes. I close my eyes before continuing, not wanting to cry. "I want to walk with you again. I want to go shopping with you again. I want you to pet my head again…" It's all spilling out now. I've gotten used to him not being around, and it makes me feel so guilty. I just want to see his smile again, if nothing else. "Satoshi-kun…!
I stay there for a minute, sobbing quietly. I can almost imagine him petting my head like he used to, almost feel the warmth of his hand…
I open my eyes to see his head turned towards my, eyes opened slightly and a look of pained concern present on his face. I wasn't imagining him petting my head, he really is.
A/N: And so I'm starting yet another fic despite having not finished one in almost a year... I will finish them all! Just you wait!
Anyway, this is something that I've been wanting to write since finishing watching Higurashi over a year ago and learning that Satoshi-kun never comes back. Actually, I read on a YouTube comment yesterday that he does come back in one of the arcs in the novel's remake. Is this true? OwO That aside, I love Shion and Satoshi-kun's characters, as well as their undoubtably my favorite anime couple, so I really hope I wrote them well.
I tried to keep the way this was written similar to the sound novels - I don't typically write in first person present tense for one thing - and I also hope I did okay on that.
The thing is, I haven't actually decided how this will end. I have two ideas, but they're quite different and I'm not sure which I like better. I'll probably just end up playing with both for a while then posting the one I prefer. Do I want a happy end or a sad one... hmmm... I'm better at writing sad things (I think...) but my inner fangirl is screaming at me to give them their happy ending. This could be tough.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and its characters belong to 07th Expansion and Ryukishi07. All property belongs to their respective owners. I own nothing but my imagination.