Author's note: This story is not linear. It will not be told in chronological order. Each chapter will cover one encounter. The fiction is like a puzzle: You get to read and figure out how and when events happen as I slowly reveal it to you. Taiki Kayashima is a mysterious character, and any fiction about him has to reflect that. Also, it's important to note that the events here occur after his high school graduation. Kink and Orion are adults. Very silly adults. Anyways, I hope you like Junko. I tried to make her the type of person that I would want to be friends with, faults and all. This is only my second story, and my first ongoing one. It'd be nice to get feedback so I know if it's being received well. Lastly, I do not own Hana Kimi, nor does it seem like I could ever buy the rights. I'm a poor college kid.


et·y·mol·o·gy /ˌetəˈmäləjē/ noun

1. The study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.

2. The origin of a word and the historical development of its meaning.


XXIII.

"They're boorish, snobbish, pretentious…" Nana's nose scrunched in intense frustration as her angry mind struggled to think of more adjectives to label her parents.

"Bourgeois." I offered meekly before releasing a long yawn.

I frequently mispronounce the word Bourgeois, which may make me an unsophisticated troglodyte. However, while I mispronounce the word, I am not the type of person to pedantically snap at other peoples' incorrect pronunciations of Bourgeois, which is perhaps a worse type of person than an ignorant former owner-of-a-childhood-speech-impediment. The word Bourgeoisie is a French noun, used mostly in the fields of sociology, philosophy, and history. If you are described as bourgeois, then you are most likely upper middle class, and others will assume you belong to a very materialistic culture of thinking. My current companion, Nana, was undeniably bourgeois. However, she did not identify as materialistic, and fancied herself as disenfranchised with the status-obsessed high society lifestyle. Arguably, this made her similar to every other privileged young adult in the process of rebelling against their parents, but I did not voice this opinion.

"Bourgeois." She corrected me with the accurate pronunciation. The word was perfect the moment it left her lips, and she shot me a look mixed with pity and condescension. I suddenly had trouble sympathizing with her current raging tirade against her parents' pretension. Unfortunately, I was currently in her vehicle, and she wasn't above forcefully removing me from a moving automobile.

"I mean, I can find a date without their assistance. I don't need to go to some tragic high-society young singles mixer. They're just afraid that I'll find someone that doesn't fit into their perfect little paradigm of propriety. They're afraid to give me even an ounce of freedom—Junko, where's the turn?" Nana's temper paused as she looked at me with her plastic-like fake Barbie smile. This favor would cost me later, I was certain. Nana was not known for her selflessness. She was the daughter of a businessman; I was the daughter of a psychiatrist.

"It'll be up here, on the right." I pointed somewhere up the road and shifted my telescope into a more comfortable position in my lap. Nana's overbearing leer felt like an infrared beam on the side of my face. I made a mission of not looking into her stupid Medusa eyes unless absolutely necessary.

Nana made the turn and we traveled down an untrustworthy looking dirt road. Every so often, I would catch her looking at me, attempting to catch my eye. I became increasingly uncomfortable in my seat, listening as Nana attempted to force conversation between us. Truthfully, she was the last person I had wanted to call for transportation. I hadn't spoken to her since we had both graduated. However, she was the only one able, (and willing), to drive me to the middle of nowhere. Even if I had taken a train, carrying a heavy telescope and camping materials, it would still have been a considerable walk from where I needed to be.

"Junko." My name oozed out of her mouth like slime and I struggled to meet her gaze. Truthfully, Nana was dangerous. Malice material was her blood and manipulation manna filled her soul with misused charisma. Nana didn't make friends; She made accomplices. All of the traits usually associated with high levels of intelligence manifested themselves inside of Nana, but she utilized her attentiveness, charm, and eloquence in the most controlling fashion possible. I was her current Best Friend, which was code for 'I had the most to lose by ticking her off.' She kept me close, making sure that I maintained the mask we both wore when around each other, and the even more garish masks that we wore when interacting in public. It was a dangerous game.

"Junko." She repeated. This time, I met her eyes and offered my own bogus half smirk. She had long ago assigned me the role of the Intellectual Cynic. I played my part well. "What is this place? Why was it so important for you to come here this morning?"

"The transit of Venus occurs today. 07:10 on June 6th. That's today, this morning." I yawned. "It won't happen again for over a hundred years from now, and I want to see it. It'll last for almost seven hours, though, so I figured I'd just make a day of camping out of it." Nana's smile faltered slightly. My answer had bored her.

"And you had to see it kilometers away from your own house? And you had to call me at four in the morning in order to drive you there?" She was annoyed. She didn't appreciate the agency of astronomical events.

"Well, I'd planned on taking a train, actually, but I overslept a bit." Truth. She believed that; She always complained that waking me up was a chore.

"Why couldn't you just skip the train ride and watch the translate thing from your backyard?" She snorted.

"Transit. And there are too many distractions and tall buildings around. It has to be here." Also truth. Nana looked skeptical.

The foliage around the rickety road grew more uninviting as we travelled further into its clutches. The car rumbled cantankerously as we bumped-jumped-dropped along the muddy path. Nana seemed uneasy, and I reveled in her discomfort, disregarding my own schadenfreude. Her hands gripped the steering wheel tightly, and her knuckles turned stark white in their tenseness. This time of morning offered nothing but eerie cold, even in early June. It was probably around 16˚C, and the chill offered no security to Nana.

"Junko, what is this place?" Nana asked suspiciously.

"I found it when I was younger. It's quieter than anywhere else, and I like that." Partial truth. Maybe. Well, it was a lie of omission, anyway. I was younger, but only by a few months. And I did like it, but it wasn't particularly quiet when I needed it to be. Still, I couldn't afford to lend Nana any more of my secrets. She did not need more ammo against me.

The lane became narrower as we passed further down, until it eventually became too thin for the vehicle to safely pass through. Nana slowly pulled the car to a stop, and I began to gather my things together in my lap. Nana kept her eyes focused directly in front of her, staring through the windshield as if focused on something beyond. It wasn't until I reached for the handle on the door that her hand snapped out and grasped onto my wrist, prohibiting me from exiting. Her face seemed stern, and almost concerned. Her eyes were intense and demanded my attention.

"Junko. I don't like this place. I will be back here, at exactly 15:00, to retrieve you. You had better be here, and you had better be undamaged." Her words surprised me, and for a moment I genuinely believed that she felt worried for my safety. However, my naivety returned to understanding as I processed her words. Undamaged. She did not use hurt, injured, or wounded. She used the word undamaged, like someone would for an object. I was her possession. I was not allowed to damage her property.

She released her vice grip on my wrist, and I turned to leave. She issued an indignant cough, and I stopped, once again, to adhere to her desires. I was a remarkable servant.

"Aren't you forgetting something?" She asked, leaning forward. I sighed and kissed her cheek, while she kissed mine. It was our ritual, her way of insuring that our illusion of closeness continued. She smiled, triumphant, and I exited the vehicle. I watched her drive away, faster than usual, before turning to leave. She was exceptionally quick to remove herself from this place. I smiled at her silly superstition.


thes·pi·an /ˈTHespēən/ adjective

1. Of or relating to drama; dramatic: thespian talents.

2. Thespian Of or relating to Thespis.

noun

1. An actor or actress.


Cut. End scene. That's a wrap. Take a break.

I had finished playing my role of diligent beta girl for the moment. Now I was Just Jun, the person harboring a home inside my skinny body. It was refreshing not to worry about crafting a character for other people's convenience. I scrunched up my face into the ugliest contortion I could muster, (at least I think I did, as there weren't any mirrors readily available), and hugged my entire luggage closer to my body. I waddled away, awkward and unladylike, into the dense vegetation. I had to pause every few moments to readjust all of my belongings in my arms. I probably looked like a mentally underprovided penguin with poor navigation capabilities. I stepped over thick tree roots and fallen branches, managing to progress through the copse without dropping anything. The air was still chilly, but my locomotion was too strained for me to consistently halt and hug my jacket closer or to keep the fabric from bunching in uncooperative places. I could distinctly feel one of my socks begin to slip down my skinny leg and pool in the curve between my ankle and my foot. My boot began to eat the stocking. I hated that.

There is something deliciously rebellious about going to bed without setting an alarm clock. Foolishly, I had trusted my internal clock to know that I needed to be awake before fourteen hours of rest. Instead, my body decided that we were a bear, and not only just a bear, but a seasonally mistaken bear that also forgot that it's supposed to eat before sleeping for long periods of time. In the beginnings of June, I had unknowingly activated a hibernation cycle deep within my biological programming. However, my empty stomach, upon realizing with deep HORROR that victual consumption hadn't occurred for quantities of hours reaching the double digits, began a sudden campaign against my brain. My stomach, easily the most combatant of my innards with a history of being the biggest attention-whore, easily won the battle and demanded my awakening. I woke up both bewildered and famished, with that there-was-something-I-was-supposed-to-be-doing-today feeling. I left the house in a hurry without appeasing my tummy, and it was a wonder an internal mutiny hadn't yet occurred. Still, I could feel the early rumblings of a tantrum starting in my belly. I quickened my pace.

I popped my head between a few branches and shimmied unpretty through more trees. I could see Stargazer a few meters ahead, and I wanted to drop all of my junk on the ground as soon as possible and eat. I was lucky it wasn't too dark out, considering our usual meeting times. I didn't usually have so much baggage with me, however, so I suppose it was convenient. The grass became steadily more visible and I could finally walk without watching where I was stepping. I dropped all of my belongings on the green, except the telescope, because I didn't want her to get wet. Stargazer accommodated me with a dry-looking rock, and I placed my telescope on the stone. I sat on the ground and huffed, unused to being awake at such a weird time of day. I searched through my bag for a snack and fumbled with the wrapper like a child.

"I hope that isn't your breakfast." I turned to The Dedicated Follower of Fashion and opened my jaws, unleashing my tongue to show him the half-chewed contents in my mouth. I was in no mood to put up with his sass today. He grimaced at my actions.

"That's attractive." He said sarcastically. I smiled; I was glad we had these chats. "You're late."

"I know, but it's not my fault: I turned into a bear."

"As always, I am fascinated to hear your explanation."

"You're awful cranky this morning." I pouted teasingly.

"You agreed to bring the food, so I'm more than a bit hungry." He rubbed his arms. He looked as cold as I felt.

"Sorry." I smiled apologetically. I really did mean it. "There's lots of food in the bags."

He raised an eyebrow, a perfectly shaped annoying eyebrow, and I knew what he was asking without him actually saying it.

"It's not junk food, I swear. I just haven't eaten either, and I didn't want to offend my stomach any longer."

"Okay. Which bag?"

"Oh, it's actually the basket. Hold on." I pulled up my fallen stocking and brushed some stuck grass off of my skirt before striding towards the basket on the dry rock. I started pulling our breakfast out of the tiny container like a magician, the master of basket Tetris. I handed a bento box to The Dedicated, and grinned. He smiled, suddenly friendly upon the sight of food. We sat in silence, consuming our meals like starved Homosapiens. I felt around my teeth with my tongue, making sure no embarrassing bits were left in my mouth, while I waited for him to finish.

"Thank you for the food. It was nice." He wiped his mouth with a napkin, and I watched his lips.

"You're welcome, D Double F. I brought lunch, too."

"Why do you insist on calling me that? It's substantially longer than the codename I suggested."

"Because you wouldn't let me call you The Kink, and because Sage is a spice, not a person."

"I gave you a good Codename."

"D Double F is a fantastic codename!"

"It's not a good codename if you have to abbreviate it in order for it to be workable in casual conversation."

"I could shorten it to The Dedicated…"

"It's still too long."

"Well, you named me Orion, and that's a guy's name."

"It's your favorite constellation."

"Fine. But now I'm going to call you Kink, and there's nothing you can do about it." I crossed my arms.

"Fine." He stood up to put his empty box on top of the tiny basket and then returned to sit next to me. We sat in silence for a few moments before speaking again. "We should probably start setting all of this up."

"Yeah…" I looked at him with my head turned sideways. I could feel my hair fall over my shoulder and tickle my elbows. My hair was stupidly long. His expression didn't change. He was entirely too enigmatic. His face without a mask was filled with more mystery than any disguise could ever convey. My identity was painted on my face for him. There was a definite power imbalance.

"So..?"

"Yeah, okay, right." I stood up again, pulling up my socks for good measure before we began the process of making camp. There wasn't much, as we weren't staying overnight, but there was enough to ensure that we would be comfortable for several hours.

I silently assigned myself the responsibility of setting up the astronomical equipment, which was arguably the most important job. It was our activity for the morning, after all, and The Kink had no idea how to operate anything. He reorganized the food for the day, and began to untangle the hammock. I checked on him every few minutes, as he seemed a bit flustered working with the rope. I wondered if he resented me for not packing it more appropriately, but he didn't appear too bothered with it. He eventually straightened everything out and commenced the bothersome procedure of hanging it. He searched for the right trees, and I focused on making sure our equipment was safe enough to view the transit without incident. There was always a risk when observing the sun directly, so I made sure that we had everything to watch the event properly. I was excited, even if my grogginess and early-morning banter with Kink suggested otherwise. Unfortunately, I was worried that the clouds wouldn't leave in time for us to observe the transit. It looked like it might even rain.

Kink finished adjusting the hammock in time for me to complete the setup for our observations. It was 05:54 now, which gave us plenty of time to waste until the transit. The temperatures still hadn't reached the twenties, but they were close. Still, Kink removed a blanket from my rucksack and sat on the dry rock. I followed him to the spot and sat next to him. He wordlessly wrapped an arm around me before pulling the comforter over the two of us in a bundle. I pressed my face into his chest. Kink smelled like cucumbers and green tea mixed with dew drops and musky masculinity. Truthfully, I enjoyed the scent.


in·ti·mate /ˈintəmit/ adjective

1. Closely acquainted; familiar, close.

2. Relating to or indicative of one's deepest nature.


Somehow, the Kink and I had managed to become intimate without ever having been intimate. We didn't know or use each other's real names; We didn't know where the other went to school or university; Codenames were given to family members if we wanted to talk about home situations, and creeds were never discussed. Actually, we only had a vague idea of each other's ages. Birthdays were not shared. However, we knew more about each other than anyone else. Without the information usually used to dissect a person's personality to categorize and label them, we had created a relationship that required no pretexts. I was Orion and he was The Kink. Somewhere, a sociologist mourned the lost opportunity to study our relationship.

Our relationship might not have been considered genuine, actually. We had yet to become physical. Occasionally, I would hike up my skirt in order to pull up my stockings, and I would catch him watching me. I sometimes convinced myself that he was staring at the newly exposed skin and considered seducing him for a brief second before instantly discarding the idea. I did not want to seduce the Kink. I valued our encounters more than that. Visiting Stargazer and conversing with the Kink was the highlight of my week. Here, I wasn't a bisexual feminist atheist future-lady-of-science with a psychiatrist father and a dead mother; I was Orion. Stargazer was a different world, a parallel pocket dimension in the fabric of space and time, created specifically for us. Here, we could stop being who we were, and instead be something else. The Kink and I could not be sexual. I had already figured it out, realized that it would ruin everything, that we could never be that. We held hands and huddled close together for warmth; We spoke openly about ourselves and each other; We were close. We were Orion and the Kink formerly known as the Dedicated Follower of Fashion.

"Have you written any creepy poetry lately?" I asked, suddenly breaking the silence. His poetry was hilariously terrible, but he wrote it anyways. When I was feeling particularly vain, I sometimes told myself that he wrote it just for me.

"It isn't creepy, just dark." He said, He sounded offended, but he was smiling.

"I feel like you were probably a Goth in high school." I teased him.

"Dark poetry isn't necessarily Goth. It's just being sad and melodramatic on paper." He grinned, fidgeting on our makeshift chair in order to pull a folded up piece of paper out of his pocket.

"we aren't broken, but scarred

scars last forever, you can't fix them

yet we keep cutting through each other

and inflict pain from behind our masks

Whitman was wrong

you can't be the wounded man

we're all just sadistic spectators"

He finished and I clapped like a mentally deficient seal. I chuckled a bit and he smiled, his face turning a bit pink. He always got embarrassed after reading his angst poetry, but he continued to bring and share it with me. It was part of our ritual. He would recite bad poetry and we would laugh. I would contribute relevant conversation topics that I'd wanted to talk about. He would let me speak at him, discussing a point of view that I'd rehearsed and perfected over the week, while I carried out a conversation that I'd already had in my head several times. Then, after I was sure that he would follow my script and that I knew what he planned on saying, he would transport the chat in a completely new direction and I would have to reevaluate my entire argument to support my opinion. He would chuckle at my frustration, knowing that I secretly enjoyed impressing him with my intellect and would be annoyed that he seemed unmoved by my words. I was quite used to going unopposed. The Kink presented a new challenge.

Encounter Twenty Three was mostly uneventful. We observed the transit of Venus, ate our packed lunches, and then I drew on his arms with magic markers because he let me. We promised to meet again the following Saturday of the week. It was his turn to choose and provide our activity, which meant I wasn't responsible for carrying anything next time. He helped me pack everything away, and walked me to the halfway point between Stargazer and the place where I promised to meet Nana. He kissed my forehead before he left, and I felt short as he bent over to do so. Nana arrived exactly when she said she would, looking around nervously and anxiously as we drove out of the forest. Her paranoia gave me more enjoyment than I wanted to admit, and I listened to her talk about herself for the majority of the ride home. I stared at my hands, covered in green magic marker ink from touching Kink's temporary badass stamps before they were dry. I looked forward to Encounter Twenty Four.

I thought of cucumbers and green tea mixed with dew drops and musky masculinity.


sen·ti·men·tal /ˌsentəˈmentl/ adjective

1. Of or prompted by feelings of tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia: "she felt a sentimental attachment to the place creep over her".

2. Dealing with feelings of tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia in an exaggerated and self-indulgent way.