***

And Then?
A CCS fanfic by Sakura [kinomoto@edsamail.com.ph]
Standard disclaimers apply.


Slightly edited version up 2002.9.13.
This was up n months ago but I took it down because it didn't read well.
It still doesn't read well, but what the heck.

For Ciircee-san.

***

And then I was running up the stairs. I didn't really know why I was running in the first place --- it was around half past six or so, soccer practice wouldn't begin in at least an hour, and I had finished all my homework. But I was running anyway, taking the steps two at a time.


And then I was dreaming. I don't really remember what I was dreaming about, but knowing me, it must've been about breakfast. I dream about food a lot. I usually dream about miso soup in the morning, maybe a bowl or two before the alarm goes off. Miso soup and a big bowl of rice.


I was running because I felt like I had to. That morning I felt sluggish and heavy, as if I were moving underwater. The sky was downcast and breakfast was cold and that morning Sakura was taking too long with her skates...


I was dreaming about breakfast. It was miso soup, a bowl of rice, pickled vegetables, and a cup of tea.


...And I was getting the bike ready and Sakura was in the hall and for some reason I got impatient so I said 'I'm going ahead!' and got on my bike and speeded off...


And after the cup of tea, a piece of fruit. Then obaasan leaned across the table and asked if I liked the meal. 'What would you like for lunch?' she asked, and I paused to think---


...But Sakura caught up with me at the next intersection, and I had to bear her whining about how cruel I am to leave her behind every morning. My little kaijuu of a sister. That didn't stop me from hurrying to school anyway.


---so I said,'How about gyuudon? Or maybe something less fancy, like omu rice?' Obaasan said, 'Yes, that sounds good' and she got up from the table when the alarm on my watch suddenly went off and before I knew it I was in the classroom, at my desk...


I parked my bicycle in the schoolyard and ran inside the school. I breezed past the shoe lockers and hurried up the stairs, taking them two at a time.


I was at my desk, dreaming about breakfast. The problem with dreaming about food is that you get even hungrier when you wake up. I already had breakfast that morning, but for some reason my stomach was growling...


I rounded the corridor and almost tripped over a mop the janitor left in the hall. You know you're too early for class when you see mops and buckets like that hanging all over the place.


...But I didn't bring lunch with me, and the canteen wouldn't open for at least two more hours. You know you're too early for school when the canteen's still closed. So---


One more flight of stairs, then finally --- at the end of the corridor, my classroom.


---I figured that being hungry and sitting in the classroom all alone wouldn't do me any good, so I decided to take a walk outside to breathe in some fresh air. I stood up and walked to the door---


Two more steps and I was grabbing the handle, pushing the door back on its hinges when---


---the door flew open and I jumped back to see---


---someone's face around inches away from mine, instantly shocked and totally perplexed. It took me a while to realize that it was the transfer student, the one who arrived the other day---


---blue eyes, dark hair. It was the one who sat behind me, the one who played soccer during lunch time.


Tsukishiro, I remembered. Tsukishiro Yukito.


The one who told me to join the soccer team. I played soccer back in junior high, but I wasn't really a member of the varsity team. He said, why don't you join then? and his eyes were blue, a mysterious kind of blue.


So I said sorry, and pushed past him.


Then I remembered. His name was Kinomoto. He mumbled an apology under his breath and walked to his seat.


I was all out of breath for some reason. All that running finally got to me, I guess. I heard a step behind me and he said---


'Good morning,' I said, and waited. I figured, here's a classmate, I might as well strike a conversation. Obaasan and ojiisan always tell me to make as many friends as possible, but as far as I can recall I never did have friends at all---


So I turned around and he was smiling at me. He was pale and fair-haired and he was wearing glasses, the thick-framed kind.


---not in the real sense of the word, but I took the chance and said good morning. He turned around to look at me and he smiled a little bit, and it was kind of comforting. I went on to ask him if the canteen was open.


And I said, 'of course not' and he looked kind of disappointed. He wasn't so skinny, but I wasn't sure if he already had breakfast or not (come to think of it, he did look kind of hungry) so I fished inside my bag for


---a pork bun, the kind you get at convenience stores. I was about to say thank you and leave the classroom when the pork bun suddenly sailed through the air, landing in my arms.


'You can eat that,' I said, and he looked surprised again, just like when I had almost knocked him over a while ago.


'Are you sure I can have this?' I asked, and he shrugged, saying he had lots.


Then he said thanks and smiled, opened the package, split the pork bun in two---


---and tossed half of it back to him. He caught it neatly in mid-air, but he looked like he didn't know what was going on.


'Eat,' he said, and for some reason it was kind of funny since it was so early and we were standing at the far ends of the classroom holding half of a pork bun each and staring at each other dumbly---


And there was something funny about it and I couldn't hold it back so---


---before I knew it the corner of his mouth started to twitch and soon he was laughing, and I looked down at my pork bun and found myself smiling---


A big smile, not like the small grin he flashed a while ago. A big smile, the closest to a laugh as he could get.


So he said, 'Sorry I'm being silly again' and I said,


'Go ahead and be silly, I don't mind,' he said, and I walked up to him and


and he stuck out his hand.


'Nice to meet you, Kinomoto-san,' I said, and he smiled again and I thought, he should smile more often and


he was smiling up at me and I was thinking how someone could smile so much and look so serious at the same time


I thought this time I could finally make real friends, and start by being friends with him, Kinomoto-san,


and I thought maybe this Tsukishiro would be fun to hang around with


Kinomoto-san, who encouraged me to join the soccer team.


the transfer student, Tsukishiro Yukito, the one with the smile and the glasses


Kinomoto-san, dark hair and mysterious blue eyes.


and giver of halved pork buns. I smiled.


And then he reached out


and shook his hand.


and shook my hand.


That's where everything began.


Everything.


And then...


And then...?


[O.Wa.Ri.]