Tokyo University, one of the most prestige schools in the world, and the greatest school in Japan. I knew my chances of entering this school were slim...really slim. Be that as it may, I never gave up on that dream of entering, nor the promise to someone I made a long time ago. No matter how hard I tried, no matter what I did, I failed...three times now to be exact. It was my own fault, I have many faults to be exact. Still, I never wanted them to be pointed out by someone...especially, by her. It's because of her, that my life took a completely different path. Maybe if I had made different choices, or if some new plot was drawn out, or maybe if there was a different writer for the story of Keitaro Urashima things could have been different. However, this story was written by someone else. Things change for a different path, and my life becomes complicated because of that girl, Naru Narusegawa.
"The night had turned from early to late. It felt normal, like clockwork, it was normal. Knowing that I failed the exams for Tokyo U even felt a bit normal. Still seeing her fail the exams too was something that was anything but normal. I don't know how we ended up here, physically and metaphorically. Our study sessions were going well, and we were getting along pretty good. Yet, still, both of us didn't pass. Now at the moment, we were here at some lousy restraunt drinking god only knows what. It tasted awful, but it was somehow comforting and refreshing. Maybe this is why Mitsune drank this stuff down."
As Kietaro reached for the large pitcher of liquor, Naru's hand immediately seized his wrist.
"Don't...even...try it", Naru scolded.
Reluctantly, Keitaro removed his hand and let the brunette girl across from him finish the pitcher's contents. Despite there being a lot of noise from within the restraunt, there was an awkward silence between them. The boy with glasses twindled a napkin between his fingers to pass the time by unwrapping and rewrapping the item. It was a small contemplating way to pass the time, but in reality it could only get him so far.
"Naru I'm sorry you didn't get into Tokyo U",Keitaro said trying to be sympathetic. "It wasn't your fault...
"I know it wasn't, it's your fault Keitaro", Naru spattered.
The words that cut off Keitaro Urashima's own speech put a poisonous feeling in his throat. For the first time since they arrived, Naru was looking at him. This look however was not her usual gaze, but rather an icy stare that could somehow burn a hole through him despite it being so cold.
"If it wasn't for you, I would have passed! It's all because of you and your study sessions that I failed; And look at you, you didn't even pass!"
It was now Keitaro's turn to hang his head in shame.
"She's right." Keitaro thought to himself. "Our study sessions have taken a lot of our time, but it did raise both of our grade point average."
"If I had known you would be such a disappointment, I would have never studied with you!..."
As he was now being verbally assaulted by Naru, Keitaro could only continue to hang his head and respond with small unthreatening words. Every word hammered away at his mind and heart as he clenched the table edge.
Keitaro spoke lightly, "Stop it..."
"If you ask me, you have no chance of getting into Tokyo U!..."
"Please stop", Keitaro repeated.
"That promise girl is going to be disappointed when she finds out you failed both her and the test!..."
"Stop it Naru..."
"I know I'd be disappointed knowing I made a promise with a failure!...".
Her words were really getting to Keitaro at this point.
"Please, just stop...", the boy pleaded.
"And I also know now", Naru said as if she was ready to slaughter him with her shouting, "That the whole time studying with you was a waste!...
"I SAID STOP IT!"
Everyone remained in a silent shock as Keitaro's anger finally hit critical limit. Despite having a large amount of liquor running through her system, Naru could clearly tell that Keitaro had angrily flipped the table on it's side. To make the matters even worse, his fist nearly drilled two holes into the floor at Naru's sides as he stared into her eyes a mere three inches from her face. The moment was uncomfortable for Naru, but it was necessary for Keitaro.
"Listen Naru, say what you will about me I can tolerate it, I always have; but don't tell me what and why I do what I do. You have no right to judge me by how I keep on going forward."
With that Keitaro grabbed his jacket and left the needed money for the restraunt's services and repairs. Naru could only stare at the floor, and the cracks where Keitaro's fist took out their anger. She couldn't help but wonder two things. How much anger did she take out compared to Keitaro, and how were the choices they made going to affect their lives.
By the time Keitaro made it back to Hinata Soul, the night was late beyond any. His feet were surprisingly steady despite consuming alcohol from a restraunt less than an hour before. The restraunt incident was still burning through his skull.
"That Naru, why is she taking her anger out on me? I had no control over what happened, it just happened. But still..."
His thoughts traced back to his last spoken words to her. "Listen Naru, say what you will about me I can tolerate it, I always have; but don't tell me what and why I do what I do. You have no right to judge me by how I keep on going forward."
"...I had no right to say that so harshly to her. I mean, they weren't mean words, but I should have said it differently."
At last, Urushima had reached the top of the stone stairway. He looked at the large dormitory for a short while.
"Huh, why are the lights on?", Keitaro said to no one in particular. "Is everyone still awake?"
Keitaro entered through the doorway, not even bothering to say he was home. As he peeped from behind the door, he noticed that everyone was asleep on the couches or floor. The room was decorated with a congradulatory banner, some balloons, food that was most likely cold by now, and confetti that was yet to be thrown around. It warmed his heart to know that they wanted to do this for him. Part of him wanted awaken them, he really needed someone to talk to for comfort. Yet, a big chunk of him said "Just let them rest, we can deal with this tomorrow". As any gentleman would do, Urashima gathered the blankets from the cupboards and placed one on each of the girls. Once everyone was covered with a blanket, the boy took refuge on the farther chair that should have belonged in the dining room. He crossed his arms and laid them on the backrest as he placed his chin on his arms. With a deep sigh of either relief or exhaustion, the ronin just stared at the people all around him. While his life was very unlucky, it was also rich in some areas. The calm peacefulness was just what the boy desperately needed. However, like in all of life's tales, peace can only last for so long. It was then that a very unsober Naru Narusegawa slammed the door open. This was the last thing that Keitaro needed right now.
"I'm home everyone!" Naru said, confirming that she was still drunk. "That jerk Keitaro left me and..."
Everyone began to rise from their slumber as Naru faced Keitaro again. There was some kind of transmission disconnection as Naru couldn't process what to say or do. Before any of the seven people in the room could respond, it happened.
"You perv, you dare try looking at everyone when they're asleep!"
Keitaro had no defense as he received a punch right in the jaw that sent him across the room.
"Naru wait it's not like that", Keitaro pleaded as he stood up.
"I'll say it's not very gentlemin like ta be peepin on a bunch of sleepin beauties."
Before he could fully stand up, a large glass bottle was cracked right on his head. There was no delay as Su attacked him with an imense flying kick. The attack was playful, but it still did not help the Urashima ronin. His end appeared in sight as he was now faced with Motoko.
"And now this is where you die", Motoko roared as she unsheathed her weapon. "Stone Cutting Sword!"
Keitaro's reflexes came into play as he tried to quickly grab the sword between his hands. While his body would move just fast enough, his mind was moving even faster.
"Why am I getting punished", His own voiced echoed in his mind. "I didn't do anything. I just put some blankets on them. I was trying to be nice to everyone."
In the mist of the attack, Keitaro had enough time to rotate his head and look back at Naru. Her expression was still that sub-zero degree stare that could blast a hole through someone like a heat laser. It was hurtful for him, but angering as well.
"That's it, maybe it's time I stopped trying to be nice."
Since Keitaro was never one to do the sane thing, his tactics switched to purposely do the insane thing. His eyebrows furrowed and hands dropped as well as his defenses. This did not go unnoticed by Motoko, but it was too late as her attack was in full set motion. The mini explosion happened as the sword and energy collapsed on Keitaro. The only one's to shout for Keitaro in concern were his aunt Haruka, and Shinobu. The dust began to settle from the shockwave. In it's wake the floor now had a gash a good six feet across. The devastation to Keitaro was another story. A large slashing wound ran from above Keitaro's right eye, across his nose, down his left cheek, and across his left shoulder.
"But...how...why didn't you", Motoko stuttered almost as bad as Shinobu.
Everyone was in an utter gasp. The pice of cloth was torn open along with Keitaro's face and shoulder. Unlike his clothes however, they did not spill blood as his face did. It wasn't like when he bleed from a punch or a kick from the girls, it was blood that flowed down in anger. The blood flow fitting as his face showed only anger. He didn't look like the same person they would see daily. The last straw that made him look like someone different was when his glasses split from the sword and shattered on the floor. Motoko's face seemed to read "How did he do that", and "What have I done". Keitaro's face was a mere statue that stayed in a blank angry tone. He walked past Motoko and everyone before gritting the words, "Naru, outside, now".
When Naru finally arrived outside, Keitaro violently ran his hands through his hair in frustration while pacing back and forth.
"Keitaro...I...", Naru tried to say before Keitaro cut in.
"Naru, you've had your chance to speak, now I'll have mine!"
Naru slightly flinched from Keitaro's words. They weren't hurtful yet, but they were very forceful and demanding.
"Naru, for the last few months you have treated me like garbage", Keitaro boasted. "You've worked me day and night in chores and studying! You've physically and violently hurt me all of the days I've been here! You've made fun of my personal life, you've made fun of my sex life, and you've made fun of my past life!"
"All of those things are true Keitaro! When have any of those things been wrong?"
"That still doesn't make it right!"
Inside the dorms, the girls continued to listen to the conversation outside. The only one who was not listening in on the drama was Shinobu. The younger girl sat in the corner trembling with her hands covering her ears.
"Oh-no, oh-no, oh-no! Not Keitaro and Naru-Sempai, not them, not them! Oh-no, oh-no, oh-no!"
"Keitaro you've tried three times to get into Tokyo U and and failed each time. Why even try it at this point?"
"Why don't you", the arguing between the two continued.
"Because I made a promise to Seta!"
"And I made a promise to the girl!"
Normally the squabbling between these two would have been like a couple having a simple disagreement. This time however, it was different. Sooner or later, one of them was going to say or do something they were going to regret.
"She won't like you anymore Keitaro!"
"Seta won't look at you the way you want him to!"
At that point everyone was once again in a gasp. The shouting stopped, but not before hearing a very loud slapping noise. Shinobu stopped trembling as she removed her hands from her ears. This would be known as the point in the argument were someone did something they would later regret.
Outside of Hinata Soul, Naru began to tremble. Her hand was in midair as it recently struck Keitaro's face. The boy turned his head back to face Naru. She immediately pulled her hand back. It was not bloody because she struck the undamaged side, but it still hurt just as much as Motoko's wound. Also like Motoko's wound, Naru's wound drew blood as well. Keitaro wiped his lip from the freshly spilled DNA.
"Was that satisfying, Naru?"
Although Keitaro was good at taking one of Naru's punches of kicks, this slap hurt him in more than one way.
No more words were spoken as Keitaro entered Hinata Soul. He said no words to them, nor did he try to. The boy stormed upstairs and closed the door behind him. The rest of the night went by in utter darkness for Keitaro. While everyone calmed down and went to rest for the night, the Urashima boy could only lay on his mat in the darkness staring at the hole in his ceiling. His thoughts ran about in his head like a track star at the finish. Close to about two in the morning, Keitaro pulled out some cardboard boxes from his closet. It was then he started placing different items within the cardboard cube. Close to ten minutes later, Keitaro climbed the stairs into the attic and placed the boxes down. As he climbed down for the last box, he was met by a pair of small, fragile eyes.
"Sempai, what are you doing, Shinobu asked a bit nervous.
The boy was at loss for words. What could he say at this point? The best he could come up with was "I'm uh, just moving some junk out of my room". He searched his pocket for an item, an item he thought he brought along for this specific purpose. Shinobu searched the dimly lit ground as well. Her eyes caught the gleam of what she knew he was looking for. Even though he did not say what he wanted, she had enough common sense to tell her that this item did not belong on the floor before them. Finally, the younger girl handed Keitaro what he was looking for, a permanent marker.
"Oh, thanks Shinobu."
"Yes sempai...so...are you ok sempai?"
"Yeah, I'm fine Shinobu."
Before he could look away, the Maehara girl gently grabbed the sides of her face to examine his wounds.
"Does it hurt sempai?"
The look in her eyes told Keitaro that she was generally concerned for him.
"N-no, not really."
After a small confirmation, she let go of his face so he could finish his own business. He tried to ignore her from then on as he placed the last box in the attic and walked back to his room. Yet, her voice had an effect that told him to listen.
"Sempai, do you, do you hate Naru?"
Now Keitaro was really at a loss for words. Memories of the two of them flooded his head, both good and bad. The question could be contemplated for so long before he answered.
"No". His answer was simple, and held almost no expression of anger. "As much as she's hurt me, and no matter what she does to me...for some reason, I...I just can't hate her...even if I tried, I could never hate her."
There was a small relieving sound that emerged from Shinobu's throat.
Before she walked away to her room, and as Keitaro entered his, he called out to her.
"Shinobu", Sinobu turned around as he called to her. "Thank you for checking up on me. I know that was the reason why you came to see me."
"You're welcome sempai."
She smiled at him, and he smiled back at her before he closed his door. With that, she left to her room for a relieving night's sleep.
The morning sunlight is said to always bring about something new; but for Naru Narusegawa, it would only bring about the old troubles from the night before. The brunette girl slumber herself upwards from her bed. Her head hurt...alot. Wether it was from the alcohol substances, or Keitaro, she couldn't really tell. All Naru knew, was that she would be in for a bigger headache. Naru looked at her stuffed squirrel, knowing it hid the passage to Keitaro's room. About ten percent of her wanted to look under and see what he was up too. However, the rest of her was in no mood to deal with him for now. He would most likely be at the breakfast table anyways. She slightly contemplated walking down the stairs before taking that first, then second, then step so on and so forth. When Naru reached the bottom, she walked into the kitchen to see everyone at the table; heads down and not saying a word.
She tried to have that cheery tone in her voice once again, but her efforts went in vein. She took a seat next to the others at the table. The silence surrounded them despite the ticking clock and Haruka's cooking at the stove.
"So Shinobu, how are your studies going", Naru asked as polite as possible.
The girl said nothing. All she did was scoot her chair a little farther away from Naru. Something wasn't right, no one was acting like themself this morning. As she looked around, she saw the empty chair where a certain someone would normally sit.
"Ah, I see that lazy Keitaro hasn't waken up yet."
At that point everyone stared daggers of death at her. Before they could all jump at her to annihilate the brunette, Haruka spoke up.
"He's gone", Haruka said less Melancholy than the others.
"He left", Haruka said as she pointed to the counter. "His resignation is on the table."
Despite being at the table for so long, she barely noticed the piece of paper on the table. The form was professional enough as a resignation, but the letter might as well been a note card. It only said " Take care everyone. Love you Aunt Haruka. Sign, Keitaro Urashima". The letter didn't have time to reach the floor as Naru bolted upstairs.
"Keitaro," Naru shouted in hoping she didn't sound too angry.
Her shout was never truly answered back as she opened the door to an empty room. The sickening feeling that he was actually gone was rapidly approaching. Once she confirmed that he was not in his room, she had only one more hope to find him. Her breathing quickened as she rapidly ran down the flight of cement stair to Hinata Soul. When she reached the bottom, she looked in all directions. All she could see was some traffic, and a few people that were not Keitaro. With that, her last hope was gone. Her knees collapsed, and she fell on her bottom. Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked up at the sky.
Back in Hinata Soul, Shinobu sadly walked back up the stairs to her own, lonely room. She was tempted to enter Keitaro's room, but she knew it would only sadden her to see an empty living place. Without even eating breakfast, the young girl entered her own room and quietly shut the door behind her. Despite her room being welly furnished, it felt just as empty as Keitaro's. Her eyes traced her room over and over again; until it stopped at her mirror. Wedged between her mirror and frame was a small letter with her name on it. Immediately, Shinobu rushed to the letter and tore open the package.
Thank you for checking on me last night. I have to leave for a while to clear my head and get myself straighten out. Don't worry, I'll still write you. Take care of yourself, and take care of Hinata Soul.
Your friend, Keitaro Urashima
Shinobu hugged the letter to her chest in pure relief. She was happy that he would keep in contact with at least her. She questioned whether she should tell Naru, or the others, but put it aside and bask in the mood of relief. Her eyes looked back out the window to the blue sky and fluffy clouds.
"Keitaro, take care of yourself too ok..."