Important: Spoilers for all of 'Refrain'.

I don't own anything.


Prologue


A blackened canopy. The smell of gasoline. The stillness of a sleeping forest.

I feel only pain. My mind is static.
Somehow, I'm not inside the bus. The impact of the crash must have thrown my body through one of the windows.
I trace the trail of broken glass back to the wreckage.

At the origin, there is only anguish.

I drag myself through the debris to look for others.
Just in front of the bus, on the ground, covered in glass, there's something I recognize.
Shreds of white cloth. Frayed blue ribbon. A familiar button adornment.

They're in there.

The Little Busters are still on that bus.
My breathing halts momentarily. But I can't stop.
I have a job to do.
I don't have long. I have to be quick.
I'm not going to make it.
Some of them are probably alright. They'll wake up and go to a hospital and they'll be alright. Definitely. There is hope for them.
Yeah. They're alive. They'll wake up in a few minutes and escape.

I have to give them that chance.

I turn around to leave. A few yards away, two pulsing masses in the grass catch my eye.

Riki and Rin.

I smile. So there is hope after all.

I use all of my remaining arm strength to drag my tattered body to the engine, the source of the gas leak.
I see the exposed engine and the growing puddle of gasoline beneath it. I remove my jacket and hold it against the scorching surface.
It hurts
I can't use my hands. I have to use my back.
I can't run
It looks like this is the end, the part where I have to accept my death. The bus is going to explode. Unorganized thoughts and regrets swirl around in my mind. I don't want this. But it has to be done.

This is my final gift to the Little Busters.

Is this enough?

I lean against my jacket, pressing against the engine with my body weight. The gas is still dripping. I'm just buying them time.

Is this all I can do?

A building force finally escapes my throat. I scream. I scream with everything I have. The scream echoes through the dense forest.

And then the connection is built.


I hear voices.
First there's Masato, Kengo, and Komari. Then, Kudryavka, Mio, Kurugaya, and Haruka. Now they're all "here." Then…

We all share the same fate.

But there's only eight of us. That's right. I can't find Riki or Rin.

They're not here.

I don't know "where" we are. I don't know what's happening. All I know is that we're probably all dead. That doesn't matter now, though. There's something more important.
In this heaven-space, we share thoughts.

"We have to save Riki and Rin." That's all there is left for me to do in this world.

Masato asks for clarification.

"They're weak. I'm not sure if they can function properly without us. They'll fall into despair when we're gone. We need them to grow stronger."

They all agree. But nobody knows what we can do. Looks like I have to decide what we're going to do. Just like old times. It makes me a little sad.

Then, this is our final mission.

"Let's create a world."

A world where we repeat the first semester until the field trip. A world where Riki and Rin can build strength little by little. We'll force them to grow up. We'll do this as long as it takes. They deserve to be happy.

I need everyone's help to maintain the world. Everything needs to be copied: the birds, the clouds, the sun, the wind… We need to duplicate reality. We'll need an elaborate script dictating how the world's scenarios will play out.

If it's for Riki and Rin, I'll do it. The others feel the same way. I feel like this will be good for the girls, too.

"Then it's settled."

In a second, my sadness becomes resolve. I need to see this through to the end. Riki and Rin can live without us.

I'm sure of it.

Our thoughts unify and our image is projected over our current world. In a matter of minutes, the world is complete. All that's left for us is to play our roles according to the script.

Mission start.