Chapter 1: The Day She Was Brought To The Other World
"Mama, why is it when you look in the mirror you're a girl, but when I look into the mirror I become a boy?" Rin asked waving at her reflection. She was four at the time, seeking her mother's attention as usual when she popped the question.
"What are you talking about?" Her mother Lily asked paying her little attention. She kept her hand steady as she applied dark red lipstick. She was running late for work and had no time to partake in small chitchat with her daughter.
Rin leaned closer to the bathroom mirror, pointing at her reflection. "See? That's not me. It's a boy. He keeps copying me." She glared at the glass. "Stop it."
Her mother rolled her eyes. She would never understand children, or Rin. "Sorry, Rin. I'm late for work. Let's talk later, okay?" she said patting her daughter's head. She ran off before she had the chance to protest.
"Hey!" she yelled after her. She huffed in annoyance. "No one ever listens to me," she muttered. She turned to the mirror, giving her reflection a hard look before she stuck her tongue out at it.
As did the boy in the mirror.
Rin had always believed herself to be insane. Ever since the day she found out that seeing that boy―that thing in the mirror wasn't normal. When did she start to see her distorted image? Who knows, but it had ruled her life ever since. This insanity of hers didn't limit itself to mirrors. Oh no. It took the full course. Whenever her image was reflected off pools of water, whenever her photo was taken, whenever she was drawn, she didn't see herself, she saw him. It had been so long since she saw her true self that she didn't know how she looked like anymore. How did she look like? Did she look like him? These questions would always drive her mad. Not that she wasn't already.
Rin supposed she should come forward with this illness of hers. Maybe then would she find someone willing to help her, maybe then she would be able to receive treatment and finally be cured. These thoughts had crossed her mind many times before and she knew these were nothing but sugar-coated dreams. With her mother working overseas, no friends, and her status as a social outcast, there was no one to talk to. Even if there were, they wouldn't be able to help her. They didn't understand what it was like, and they never would. She knew if she were to tell someone about her illness, she'd be taken away and her barrier around other people would only grow stronger.
Rin pulled the covers away as she woke up to the painfully bright sunlight. She groaned, forcing herself off her bed as she made her way to the bathroom. "Another day of school," she muttered. She dreaded the thought of spending eight hours crammed into a classroom with her annoying classmates.
She turned on the tap, splashing her face with cold water. It immediately woke her up. With her eyes shut tight, she searched the wall for the hand towel hanging by a hook. She grabbed it, wiping her face clean of excess water. When she opened her eyes, she found them meeting his. She quickly looked away and grabbed her toothbrush. So did he. She wet it, squeezing toothpaste onto the brush. As did the boy. This annoyed Rin. She always felt mocked when looking into the mirror. It was as if her distorted image knew what bothered her, thus imitating everything she did, so she turned around, her back facing the mirror as she finished her morning routine.
Rin ate her breakfast and changed into her uniform soon after. She grabbed her school bag, ready to head out when she realized she'd forgotten to tame her unruly blonde hair. She cursed under her breath as she headed back inside.
She climbed up the stairs, opening the door to her room. It was there she found her white ribbon sitting by her bedside. She grabbed it, sitting in front of her dresser with an attached mirror to it. She stared right into it. It was the only time of day when she would dare to look right at him.
She took a comb, wincing as she pulled at the knots in her hair. Her distorted image watched calmly at the sight of her pain. A look of interest gleamed in his eyes as he stood still. It was only during this time would her reflection not imitate her. She didn't know why. Was it because they had different hair styles, she wondered. While they shared the same shoulder lengthed hair, they both wore it differently. Rin liked to wear her hair loose, tying a large white ribbon on the front of her hair to keep stray hair from flying at her face while her distorted image tied his hair back into a loose ponytail.
"Stop looking at me," she mumbled, tightening her bow.
Her reflection didn't imitate her mouth movements either. He remained still as he watched her with serious eyes.
Rin sighed, knowing that talking to her reflection was useless. She stood up, grabbing her school bag as she left her room, slamming the door behind her.
"Have a nice day," The boy muttered, smiling to himself.
Rin had come early.
There were only five minutes until class would begin. The teacher was nowhere to be seen. Rin's classmates had taken this opportunity well. They had all spread out to different corners of the classroom sitting in their cliques, chatting. She wouldn't have minded if she didn't find a pair of boys sitting in her seat. Yuuma and Al, if she remembered correctly. She approached the two in an awkward manner.
"Um, excuse me," she whispered.
They didn't seem to hear her or feel her presence.
"Excuse me," she said raising her voice.
"Hm?" Yuuma said noticing her first.
"You're sitting in my seat."
"Can't you let it go? Just this once?" Al asked with a smile.
"No," she said sounding ruder than she intended.
There was a silence between the three teens. Al's smile had faded, and Yuuma glared at her. "You don't have to be so prissy about it," he snapped as the two boys returned to their original seating.
Rin sighed. She was never very skilled with communication. She was raised alone therefore was clueless on how to deal with other people. She usually came off as rude or mean which caused friction between her and her other classmates. It wasn't long before she was labeled as an outcast. She wasn't surprised about it either. She frowned. She supposed it was a good thing. The fewer people that wanted to be with her, the smaller the chance anyone would find out about her secret.
"Hello Rin," a bubbly voice called.
Well, there was one exception.
"Hello," she said in a less than audible tone.
Her classmate Miku smiled as she sat in the seat in front of hers. "So, it's your birthday tomorrow. Shall we celebrate?"
She furiously shook her head. "No. I wasn't planning on doing anything special so..."
"Eh? Why not?" she frowned, clearly disappointed.
"Oh, well." Her smile returned. "Then I'll get you something special."
"You don't have to―"
"I want to."
Rin blushed. She wasn't used to other people's kindness, and her classmate Miku was especially kind to her. She didn't know why. Rin was passive, quiet, and depressing to be around. Miku was direct, talkative, and energetic. People would always flock to her side. They were complete opposites with absolutely nothing in common. Well, even if that was the case, Rin liked having her by her side. She shed a bit of light on her dark self.
The school day passed slowly. Rin forced herself to stay awake during her teacher's lesson. She wasn't paying attention, but attempted to appear so. She flipped through the pages of her notebook, finding many doodles and scribbles mixed in with her notes. She turned to the last page surprised to find it filled. There were still many free pages in between the current and last page. She turned back to the last page, curious as to what she had written.
Her heart stopped as she read the first line. Now she remembered. This had been a list of the possibilities...of her illness. Schizophrenia, hallucinations, the list went on. There were even notes on her mirror image. Rin had been in an awfully depressing mood when she had written this. How she could ever forget this was a mystery.
Rin tore at the page, scrunching the paper into a small ball, quickly shoving the paper into her desk. She breathed a sigh of relief. Out of sight and out of mind.
Rin packed her things as she heard the sweet ring of the bell echo in her eardrums.
Miku got up from her seat and stretched. "Finally it's over. Now I can go on my date with Kaito~" she sang.
"H―Have fun," Rin said, proud she was able to utter the sentence.
Just as Miku was about to leave, she froze. "Rin," she said with her back turned towards her.
"Do...Do you want me to introduce someone to you?" she asked.
"Huh?" She didn't understand her question.
"A boy. I have a friend who's organizing a goukon this Friday..."
Rin's eyes darkened. Now she understood. A boyfriend? Rin barely had any friends. What made her think she would be able to handle a romantic relationship? Did Rin even hold romantic feelings for anyone? An image of her male-reflection popped into her head. Her eyes widened. Why had his face come to mind? She didn't love him. He was just a pigment of her imagination, an image of her insanity.
If that was the case, then why did her heart clench, and her face redden at the thought of him?
"Rin?" Miku said turning to her. "Are you listening?"
"O―Oh, um thanks for the offer," she whispered. "but I'm not interested."
She frowned. "Oh."
Rin adjusted her bow in front of the bathroom mirror. When his hair was perfect, she knew hers was as well. "There," she said, satisfied.
Rin stared at the palm of her hands expectantly, as if she was about to witness some sort of change. Today was her birthday, though she didn't feel any different. She was sixteen, but didn't appear so. She didn't really grow much after she turned fourteen. She balled both her hands into tight fists. "Let this be a good year," she said taking a deep breath.
Just as she was about to leave the bathroom, she heard a male voice whisper, "Today's the day."
She stopped in her tracks, quickly cranking her head towards the mirror. She and her distorted image both shared looks of shock and fear. They sighed. It was only her hearing things. "I'm paranoid."
But as soon as she turned away, her reflection had smiled deviously.
Rin headed down stairs. She stopped by the home phone. Its red blinker informed her of a missed call. The caller had left her a message. She decided to listen to it as she got ready to leave.
"Hey Rin, it's me." She recognized the voice as her mother's. "Happy birthday. You're fifteen years old now. Ah, how time files."
Rin rolled her eyes as she slipped into her shoes.
Anyway, I sent you a present. It should be delivered to you in about a week. Keep your eyes out for it," she laughed. "Again, happy birthday. I love you. Bye."
"Bye," she whispered.
Rin arrived at school not long after. She walked down the hall. Her classroom was only a few feet away. She checked her watch. She was earlier than usual. There was a little over twenty minutes before classes would start. She slid the back door of the classroom open as she stepped inside. She walked towards her desk noticing it was already occupied by a girl with teal pigtails. Miku.
She crouched by her desk, trying to shove a wrapped present into the gap when a scrunched paper fell onto the floor. Miku took notice of it, and picked it up. Rin's eyes widened. No! She ran up to her, wanting to snatch the paper out of her hands, but it was too late. Miku had opened up the paper, looking at the contents inside. She furrowed her brows. "I...am psychotic? Schizophrenia? Mirror-image...Len?" She looked up at her. "What is this?"
Rin slowly started to back away from her. She wore a distressed expression, her eyes wide in shock. It was over. Miku had found her note and Rin had no cover up story. She was finished.
"Rin!" Miku yelled, chasing after her.
Rin didn't stop. She didn't want to be confronted, so she continued to run. She needed a place to hide. She went into the girls' bathroom hoping the space could provide some sort of sanctuary, but it didn't. Miku had soon followed her inside. "Rin, what's going on? Are you okay?"
"I―I." Again, she backed away until her back met with the bathroom mirror. She had nowhere else to run.
And that's when it happened.
A dazzling green light had shone from behind. Her back tingled with warmth as murky air blew from behind. She was frozen in fear. What on earth was going on? Before she could even further question the situation, two firm hands latched onto her shoulders as they pulled her into the portal leading to the abyss behind her.
And the last thing she saw was a pair of frightened teal eyes.