Too Young To Remember

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"Hey, stop crying. You're making me feel bad." Someone voiced out.

"Huh?" A little girl was curled into a much smaller ball. She felt so alone at that time that she just wanted to disappear. But she couldn't disappear no matter how much she tried. She could only become smaller, as small as she felt in the suddenly big world. Her eyes blinked in surprise and she embarrassedly faced the other person. It was a kid, actually it was a boy. "I'm sorry. Umm…" He had brown hair like she did only it was a crayon darker. He wore such a silly outfit, or at least to her. He had a red long sleeved shirt underneath a shirt that had a zebra's stripes. He looked familiar. "…Jumpy?"

"C'mon, my names not that hard." If he was showing concern a while ago, it was hard to tell since he looked annoyed now. "It's Junpei. Jun-pei not Jumpy." He made an effort to pronounce every single diction from consonant to vowel.

"S-sorry, Jumpy." She stammered, a bit afraid at the sudden outburst.

"It's better than nothing." He sighed in defeat. Teaching her his name could wait, she looked like she had issues. Really depressing ones. He fished something from his pocket and quickly handed it to her, already deciding for her to take it. "Here, your hanky's probably covered in snot already so you can use mine."

"Thanks." She quietly took it. Truth be told, hers had nothing of the sort on it. It lay untouched in her pocket, completely forgotten in her surge of sorrow. She just started crying without a care for anything else. More tears poured and she furiously wiped them off with what he gave her.

"So what are you bawling about?" He tried to look nonchalant but failed miserably. He was really concerned and even she in her weary state could tell.

"My brother's supposed to pick me up…" The piece of cloth was nowhere near her face now, it was being fiddled by her fingers which suddenly took interest in it.

"But he's not yet here?" It was more of a statement rather than a question. She sadly shook her head. They knew where they were, they were at school more specifically at the school playground. But even so, she looked so… lost. He couldn't stand seeing her like that. His fist clenched unconsciously. "…I want to play on the seesaw."

"Huh?" Did he really just say that?

"I can't play on the seesaw alone. It doesn't work that way." He said as if it was the most logical thing in the world, which it was by the way. He hesitated saying the next line but strengthened his resolve at one glance at her. So in a tone that's as friendly as he could get, he told her. "Look, I'm asking you to play with me."

"…" She sniffed back a sob and for a moment he expected her to just start crying again. But then it happened. She smiled. "Okay!"

"Well, what are you standing there for?" He sprinted ahead and shouted back at her. "Hurry up, Kanny!"

"Kan-ny?" That definitely woke her spirit. Almost instinctively, she ran after him. "My name's not Kanny!"

"And I'm not Jumpy." He said so smartly but had this smug look.

"Oh." What was his name again? Her face scrunched up in an effort to better remember. He was the boy from her class who didn't talk too much or at all if not asked to. She was pretty sure it was somehow connected to Jumpy…

"Are you kidding me? You can think about my name later." Without thinking he had grabbed her hand. "I want to play on the seesaw already."

"But I don't even know your name yet."

"You already called me Jumpy."

"Alright. I'm – "

"Kanny."

"It's not Kanny." She pouted which prompted him to roll his eyes.

"And it's not fair that only I get a funny nickname. Besides, it's pretty close, right?" He hoped it was because in all honesty he couldn't remember her name. He never did try to memorize the names of all his classmates, all he needed to know was his teacher's. He did remember that she was the cheerful girl with the bright attitude. She was called Kanny or something. Maybe he could check tomorrow.

"Fine… Jumpy."

"Ditto, Kanny."

They did the seesaw, the swings, the slide, the monkey bars, and back to the seesaw again. "This was really fun! We should do this again!" She was really happy and it showed. There was this big grin plastered on her innocent face, a contrast from a while ago. And he figured, she looked better like this. She was better off that sparkle in her eyes rather than those tears.

"Yeah." He tried to smirk just to look cool at that moment but found out he couldn't. He was too busy smiling like a goof.

The metallic screech of the seesaw was howling out in the silent abandoned school grounds. It was already getting late which was whenever he looked straight. He'd see her and behind her was the sun setting which made her appear to be just as bright as her personality. He didn't want this day to end, not yet.

"Akane!" Someone yelled from afar.

"Aoi!" She shouted back and eagerly sprinted towards the person. They were against the fading sunlight so he could only make out silhouettes not faces. That must be her brother. She then started waving. "I'll see you tomorrow, Jumpy! Let's do this again!"

"Sure! Take care, okay!" Suddenly, he was excited for tomorrow.

And just like that, they had found a new friend, more than that, they had found each other. There was now someone to look forward to when going to school and hopefully in the future too.

But for now, they were too young to remember their names but they wouldn't forget their nicknames.

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Shinra-ex-SOLDIER