Chapter 6

Sho woke up the next morning and prepared for school. His fever had receded, and he felt much better. He picked up his backpack and was about to head out the door when he heard Arrietty calling for him. She was back in her old, red borrowing dress. Sho definitely preferred her red dress over her new blue one, but he didn't mention this. "Good morning, Arrietty. What are you up to?" "I want you to take me to school with you." Silence fell, and Arrietty repeated a moment later, "Take me to school." Sho asked nervously, "But how? I can't keep you in my pocket, or my backpack!" "How about your shirt pocket?" Sho thought about it for a while, and then nodded. He lifted her carefully into his chest pocket, and set her inside gently. "When I get to school," he whispered, "I'm going to put you into my bag." "No, keep me here. Now you better hurry before you are late." He shuffled slowly down his stairs, ensuring that Arrietty didn't fall out. He suddenly remembered his nightmare, and shivers rippled through his spine. Arrietty noticed a change of expression, and she immediately knew that he had just recalled his nightmare. She patted him through his shirt, trying to soothe him. Sho calmed himself down, and headed off to school, munching on a bagel while picking a small piece off and tucking it into his shirt pocket.

When they finally arrived, she peeked out of his pocket, and saw more people than she had ever seen together. Boys, girls, adults, children, all shuffled about. The children chattered among themselves, walking in the same general direction. The adults were engaged in conversation while holding mugs of some brown liquid. She was stunned, since she had never been in such a risky and dangerous situation. She heard Sho whisper something, but over the din of all the people it was too quiet. She replied, "I can't hear you. What did you say?" Sho whispered a little louder, "Are you comfortable?" Arrietty smiled, and said, "I'm fine." The bagel was delicious, but it was still quite a large breakfast for a borrower, and she was feeling somewhat sleepy again. "Sho… Sho…" Sho looked down into his shirt pocket. "I'm going to sleep for now. I'm not used to waking up so early. He nodded slightly, and looked back up. Arrietty dozed off for a while, and woke suddenly when the bell signaling the end of the first period. She looked expectantly at Sho, who told her that it was a history lesson, and math was coming next. Arrietty peeked entranced over his pocket as the numbers and letters floated through her head. She had never learned so much in one day! Sho was glad that he had brought her along – he was having fun along with her, even though he didn't show it. She was right; they were just like siblings. The day went on with Arrietty cramped up in his pocket, eating scraps of food that he dropped in during lunch, and resting when she was exhausted from all the new knowledge.

School ended, and Arrietty was completely worn-out. "How do you endure every day like this? It's like a stream of knowledge that never stops!" Sho grinned without looking down, wary of all the people around him." I can stand it because it's what I've done for nearly my entire life." "Hmm." She held her head in two hands, groaning. "I'm getting a headache now. Can you hurry home? I need to rest my brain." Chuckling to himself, Sho quickened his pace just a bit so that it wouldn't cause discomfort to the little Borrower in his shirt pocket. When he finally dropped his backpack beside his desk, Arrietty peeked out of his pocket. The world was spinning around her, and she nearly fell out of his pocket. She caught Sho's eye, and he knew that she wasn't feeling well immediately. He grabbed her quickly but softly and ran to her house. He opened the front wall, laid her down onto her bed, and turned off the lights. Arrietty smiled, and closed her eyes. "Thank you, Sho." "Don't thank me now. Rest now, because I am worried." Arrietty giggled a little, then said, "You needn't worry; I'll be fine." Sho closed the wall gently, and heaved a big sigh. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to let her go to school with him. But tomorrow was Saturday, so she'd have all the rest she needed.

Arrietty stood on Sho's shoulder as he took her back out into the garden. He still had homework to finish, but Arrietty was more important to him. He carefully sat down on his rock, and Arrietty climbed down his arm into the grass. She hummed her song, and Sho joined in a little bit. When they had finished singing the chorus several times, Arrietty noticed something. "Uh, Sho?" "Yes?" "How can you hear me?" "What?" "I'm humming in a very soft voice, and the wind would have carried m voice far away. How can you still hear me?" Sho froze. She was right; he had heard her voice clear in his head, like she was a normal human humming. Arrietty did not move either. Maybe he was learning to hear and listen for her voice, like the way she could hear her mother's scream, even from a borrower's kilometer away. [sidenote: this idea comes from ~cewilson5.] Arrietty tried talking in a quiet voice, instead of her usual shouts. "Sho, can you hear me when I speak like this?" She looked up, but Sho made no movement. Disappointed and confused, she was about to dip her head when he slowly nodded and turned his head toward her. "I heard. You asked if I could hear you if you spoke like this." He faced the sky, and asked nobody in particular, "How?" He paused, then asked again, with more urgency, "How?" He jumped up, frightening Arrietty, and shouting at the afternoon sun, "How can I hear you?" Arrietty, in her own normal voice, asked, "What if Haru hears you? Or your aunt?" Even though Sho's ear was further from Arrietty than normally, he heard her like she had spoken into his ear. "They are out buying groceries. They left when you were still asleep." They spent the rest of the afternoon in silence, soaking in the midday sun and the wonders of Sho's uncanny ability. "Sho, go into the house." He looked down at Arrietty, who repeated her statement without making eye contact. "Go into the house." "Why?" "Just do it." He shrugged, and obliged. Arrietty watched his back grow smaller and smaller until he set his foot inside. Then, she called out, "Sho, if you can hear me, come back here and pick a green flower." It was a trick; there were no green flowers around her. She watched as Sho hurriedly ran back toward her and frantically trying to find something. After a few seconds, he gave up. "Arrietty, I can't find a green flower." She didn't know if she should smile or be terrified. Was it a good thing that a human bean could hear her so clearly? Sho noticed her distress, and soothingly whispered, "It's okay. Don't worry. At least now if you ever get lost I can find you." She nodded hesitantly. She still wasn't sure if this really was a good thing. She sighed. At least she knew he wouldn't use this against her. She lifted her head and stared into Sho's eyes. She smiled, and then said, "Alright. Don't you have homework you need to do?" He nodded sadly, then extended his hand. She shook her head. "I want to stay out here. I haven't gotten too much fresh air lately, and I need to keep up my strength." Sho nodded, and said a soft "Seeya" before he walked off.

"Arrietty, wake up. It's time to go back in now." Arrietty yawned and rubbed her eyes. "What?" "You fell asleep on my leg. You've been out for 2 hours now. She jerked upright. "Two hours? And you haven't moved?" Nope." Sho replied with a smile. "C'mon, lets get back inside. I still have to finish my homework." A yawn was her only reply, but she slowly pulled herself up and allowed Sho to carry her back.