A Pair of Goggles, a Field Hockey Stick,
and a Fistful of Green Sweater
Himeko stares up at a pair of goggles and a green sweater and, for the first time, she is afraid. The ropes dig into her skin, like they did that time before, when those men were touching her, before she learned to wield a field hockey stick like a weapon. Before Sket, before Captain, when she'd been Onihime and she'd lost.
She struggles against her bonds and they taunt her, call her names, every word reminding her what a fool she's been to let them close, to trust them. This is supposed to be therapy, but instead it's history on repeat, a betrayal of the worst kind. She's locked in a room with two men, no weapons, no one to help her if she screams. They're supposed to be helping her, they're the sket-dan, that's what they do, but who's to protect her from them?
She tries to remember this is therapy. She's supposed to break the bonds, fight them off, take back the power and conquer her fear. This is Switch, this is Bossun, they'd never hurt her like this. Even if they were those kind of guys, they know what she can do to them with her Cyclone once she gets free. Unless they are planning on her never getting free? She is shaking.
Suddenly Switch's electronic voice turns from creepy molester back to normal. A nudge is shared, then a glance. And then her bonds are falling away and she's crumbling into someone's arms—Bossun's. Here's the moment where she's putty in his hands, totally broken, and yet all he does is hold her. The minutes tick by and shaking turns to sobs. She tells him to do his worst. He strokes her hair and tells her he's sorry, it was a stupid plan.
Something hovers just out of her eye line. She looks up and it's Switch. Holding Cyclone. Handing it to her, sitting down. She holds it in her hands, runs her fingers over it to make sure it's real. She looks at the two sheepish, cowering boys. Her teammates. Her friends. Sket-dan. She drops Cyclone to the ground and lunges for them, catching Bossun's neck and a fistful of green sweater. Switch starts to bow out, leave her with Bossun, but he's part of this too. Part of them. She holds tight, pulling him in until she is draped across the two of them, goggles mashed into her temple and a laptop gouging her hip.
But they are warm, and real, and here.