“It’s obligatory, alright! Obligatory! You’ve always been helping me out so much, so I simply thought that it just wouldn’t do to not give you an obligatory token in return…”
Kajiura Ritsuka’s face was already bright red before she could finish speaking as she handed Toujou Basara some chocolate; contrary to her own words, however, she smiled and gave Basara a fondly look as he received it.
It was noon on Valentine’s Day; Hasegawa Chisato, the school nurse of the Hijirigasaka Academy, had witnessed such a scene from the infirmary. She took a sip of her cooled coffee and let out a sigh as she remained seated within.
“…Really, now. Tachibana and Kajiura too? I’m really overdoing the whole teacher role here.” She muttered, the crooked shape of her lips stemming from not just the bitter taste of the coffee. “I envy their innocence somewhat.”
Her thoughts then went back to events that had occurred not long ago; Basara had invited Hasegawa over to his place to celebrate Valentine’s Day a week earlier with her so that he would celebrate on the real day with Mio, Yuki and the rest of his family. The two rendezvoused on a rather precise day, a day where Mio and the others were occupied with a secret meeting.
There, she had given him her own handmade chocolate, shared a meal with him and expressed her feelings to him as their bodies overlapped with one another.
Moreover, she had also shared a trip to the hot springs with him in January, where she had spent an unusually long time with Basara even as the actual time ticked by and deepened her bond with him even further.
That said, she would be satisfied like any proper adult would when it came to Valentine’s Day—or so she thought.
“It’s not that I’m unsatisfied, but…”
An unshakeable, suffocating feeling still stirred within her; a feeling that even Hasegawa herself could not comprehend or sort out.
Reflexively, she turned toward her laptop meant for work.
She then opened a news page, her eyes narrowing behind her glasses as she read its contents. A moment passed before she withdrew her cellphone and began typing a message to a certain someone.
A few days passed; it was a holiday that day.
Hasegawa and Basara were walking in a shopping mall. The visitors were manifold there despite Valentine’s being over; apart from normal couples, families and other middle-aged couples were also present, contributing to the vast and diverse clientele of the mall.
“We’ve come quite far out today, haven’t we?”
“Yes. This mall was under renovation for the past few months. I took an interest in it,” Hasegawa said, entwining her arm onto Basara’s.
“S-Sensei! This is…”
“Inappropriate in public because we’re teacher and student?” Hasegawa let out a mischievous expression at Basara’s shocked response. “Don’t worry; the students of Hijirigasaka Academy generally don’t come to this place.”
“I guess you’re right.”
Hasegawa was right; in light of how such a shopping mall was quite some distance away from the nearest station of Hijirigasaka Academy, the students of the academy generally found it too troublesome to take a trip here.
Hasegawa had learned of this place through the news she found on the internet the other day.
“That said, we don’t need to show any restraint in this case, don’t we? Even if we are teacher and student…”
“Well, you do have a point, but…” Responding inarticulately, Basara took a fleeting glance at Hasegawa.
“What’s wrong?” Although she somehow knew what he wanted to say in the back of her mind, she asked thusly nonetheless, squinting at Basara’s state of being at a loss for words.
Basara was paying attention to the attire Hasegawa was current wearing; it was distinct from most of her usual clothing that emphasized her ample adult appeal, such as her usual white coat and tight skirt she typically wore at school, and the elegant coat she wore during their trip to the hot springs together.
She was giving off a very different vibe than what she usually exuded; she was wearing a half-coat and a lightly flaring skirt, and she was decorated by many accessories, each of lovely designs. Apart from the coat and skirt, the rest of her attire seemed to be an ensemble.
It was a different look from usual, her clothing wrapping her original adult appeal in a composed, girlish sweetness.
“You think this doesn’t suit me?”
Basara quickly shook his head, visibly flustered. “I don’t know much about fashion at all, but…” He then took on a more bashful expression as he replied. “I guess I could say that it’s a good look for you, I suppose.”
“That’s a relief. I’m glad I didn’t pick something you wouldn’t like.” Hasegawa said, loosening her expression.
“By the way, why did you choose to come here of all places? Is there an event here today or something?” It was a holiday following the mall’s renovation, and something reminiscent of the likes of an event stage seemed to be under way.
“No, I didn’t choose to come here for that.” Hasegawa abruptly stopped in her tracks, her gaze scanning the vicinity of the unfamiliar shopping mall.
She then turned to Basara with another playful look on her face.
“I suppose you could think of this as a test of sorts? One from your teacher, so to speak.”
“I thought I’d have you escort me for today.”
“Eh…? I really haven’t decided anything for today, you know?”
“And that’s exactly why I’m giving you this test. I’ve always been the one between us to decide where to go during our outings, after all.”
“That’s true…there are times where I do get the feeling that I’m not taking the initiative well enough once in a while.”
Am I being too unreasonable? Hasegawa thought as she glanced at Basara with a rather troubled expression, though she didn’t say it out loud.
“Let’s think about it over lunch, then. Let’s see…” Surveying her surroundings once again, Hasegawa then pointed at a particular shop in the distance.
“Why don’t we start there?”
It was a completely ordinary fast food restaurant that possessed a nation-wide chain.
“Something like this also tastes good once in a while, huh?”
Hasegawa was boldly helping herself to a hamburger with three meat patties; licking away some of the sauce from her lips, she held a satisfied expression on her face.
Basara was staring at Hasegawa, looking rather puzzled as he held a standard teriyaki burger in his hand.
“What’s wrong? Is there sauce somewhere on my face?”
“No. I’m just surprised. I never thought you be the type to enjoy hamburgers.”
“That’s where you’re mistaken. I’m quite casual when it comes to eating alone. It’s not like I dislike dull food such as this. Don’t you remember us meeting up at a yakiniku diner previously?”
“Now that you mention it, that’s true…”
“I won’t deny that it’s quite rare for a member of the Ten Gods to enjoy something like this though.”
“Quite right.” Basara said, relaxing slightly at Hasegawa’s joking remark.
“Well, have you decided where you want to take me yet? You have until we finish eating to decide.”
“Whoah, hold on a second—” Basara abruptly raised his voice in surprise as he turned to Hasegawa, who was still enjoying her hamburger; he himself had yet to finish his own meal, as he creased his eyebrows in thought.
“You’ve given me quite the unreasonable task today…I don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to things like this.”
“But you have enough experiences with me, don’t you?”
Basara turned away, now even more troubled following Hasegawa’s counterattack; his gaze suddenly stopped.
Behind Hasegawa was a cinema complex right outside the fast food restaurant they were eating in; the posters advertising the movies that were on screen that day along with a conspicuously large “POP” sign had caught his eye.
“How about a movie?”
“Ah. So that’s what you’ve decided.” Hasegawa turned around, ascertaining the fact that Basara had decided as such due to the cinema complex that was right behind her. “That’s a good idea. I’ll give you a passing grade for that. If you would have suggested this with someone you’re going out with for the first time, though, keep in mind that two of you may not necessarily share the same interest.”
“Is that so?”
“However, this is you and me we’re talking about. In a sense, we’ve already been together for quite some time.” She giggled, turning toward the interior of the cinema complex.
“Do you have a particular movie that you want to watch?” Basara said, examining the available movies through his cellphone. “There’s some hero movie based off an American comic. It’s not a continuation or sequel or whatnot, so it won’t be difficult for us to watch. There’s also this sci-fi movie that looks particularly interesting. It’s about Mars—”
“No, let’s go for that.” Hasegawa pointed toward a particular poster. The title of the poster read “Lost Day Memorial”, a Japanese film. It was different from the action and sci-fi movie that Basara had pondered over, with only a simple illustration of a man and a woman holding hands decorating the poster. The tag line of “Remember everything of me” gave off a vibe that it was going to be a somewhat tragic tale.
Regardless of whether or not the movie was popular at present, Basara had never heard of the title.
“A romantic film?”
“All the more befitting of a date. Is it too cliché? I just thought that it would be best if we didn’t go for anything childish.” Hasegawa smiled sweetly—a devilish, smiling face that caused Basara’s heart to reflexively throb ever faster in his case.
“Sensei, are you really okay?”
“I’m alright. However, give me a few more moments…just a few more moments…I’m sorry…”
Fifteen minutes passed since the two finished the film “Lost Day Memorial” and went out into the lobby.
Hasegawa’s eyes were red; she had removed her glasses and was wiping her eyes with a handkerchief, but her tears had yet to cease despite the handkerchief already being quite damp already.
And although it may not appear as such, she was in a better state than what had previously transpired; Hasegawa had been sobbing throughout the latter half of the movie.
Basara and Hasegawa now settled at a corner of the lobby so as to not disturb the wave of customers coming and going.
A moment passed before Hasegawa finally put on her glasses again before letting out a deep breath; it wasn’t a sigh, but more of an effort to let out the feeling of satisfaction that had welled up in her chest.
“It was a good story. Thinking about it now, I honestly shouldn’t have assumed that it might’ve been a childish film,” She said, earnestly. “The heroine must embark on a journey she must take to pursue her dreams. And even knowing that the two may never see each other again once they part, the male protagonist, that young man…he saw her off all the same.” Her tears flowed out again, “How painful it must’ve been for them. And to think how much they longed for one another…it was really fine acting. ….And then there was that last kiss. How it expressed their hidden passions toward each other. What a performance.”
“I have to admit I was amazed by how it turned out too. I’m glad you enjoyed it,” Basara wiped away another wave of Hasegawa’s tears with his own handkerchief. “I must say I didn’t expect you to be the type to get emotional over something like this, though.”
“You said something like that earlier with the hamburger, too. What type of woman do you think I am, then?” She said, pouting a little.
“I’m a girl too, you know.” Her expression suddenly changed to that of a light smile as Hasegawa took Basara by the arm. “Well, sorry to keep you waiting. Let’s continue our date, then.”
And Basara went about the shopping mall, his arm tugged by Hasegawa as they walked together.
“Ah!” Hasegawa exclaimed, suddenly running up to another outlet.
“What do you think of this?”
It was an optical shop. She took a sample from one of the available pair of glasses on display at the storefront; it was distinct from her usual under-rimmed glasses, one that placed particular emphasis on the frame.
“It gives off quite the distinct impression—”
“Let’s go here next.” Hasegawa did not let Basara finish his reply as she returned the sample and briskly walked toward another shop.
She had chosen an apparel shop this time.
“What about this…I guess maybe it’s a bit too much?” Hasegawa now held an attire in her hand that was similar to the one she was wearing at the moment, one that possessed even greater emphasis on its adorable design. The large amount of frills decorating the attire gave off would prompt one to think that it was rather childish.
“What do you think?”
“It’s cute, but—”
“Ah! Let’s go to that shop too!” Hasegawa then headed toward a shoe store next as Basara hurriedly chased after her.
“Wearing sneakers doesn’t seem so bad at all. How about this? These boots too…”
“Please wait.” Basara finally stopped Hasegawa before she could head off to another store again without giving him time to respond.
“What’s wrong? Are you feeling tired already?” Hasegawa turned to Basara with a wry smile, pausing upon noticing his expression.
“Did something happen?” He asked, taking her hand.
“What do you mean, ‘did something happen’?”
“You appear quite fresh today, Hasegawa-sensei. I think it’s a good look for you. And I’ve got to see so many unexpected sides of you today as well. It’s just…I can tell that you’re forcing yourself to lighten up.” Basara’s expression was now serious.
“Toujou…” Hasegawa’s eyes were now downcast. “But of course. That’s just the kind of person you are. That’s why Tachibana and the others—”
“No, that has nothing to do with today. I get it now…” Hasegawa appeared to be wavering a little, as she finally raised her head and stared at Basara intently.
And then she finally spoke.
“It’s just last month. I got to spend such a long time with you. We were able to build a very deep bond between one another. You don’t know how happy I am to have managed to share that with you…”
“And throughout Valentine’s, I’ve been watching your surroundings as your teacher…no. After all, I live in a flow of time that’s different from yours…one that’s not decided only by age.”
“I’m a member of the Ten Gods. I’m no normal human being. I’m incapable of passing time the same way you and the other students do in this world. Well, your circumstances are a bit special in this case, but it doesn’t change the fact that you and I are different.” Her expression appeared to be somewhat resigned.
“That’s why…one way or another, somehow, I just wanted to live in the same time you’re living in right now. I wanted an experience like that. Not as teacher and student, but through a date where we’d explore a shopping mall we’re visiting for the first time…odd, isn’t it?”
And it now defied some semblance of loneliness as well.
“And then there’s…” Hasegawa continued, “The fact that there might come a time where I would have to part with you.”
“Thinking of something like that just scares me, pains me. That’s why I was so taken by that film earlier…”
Hasegawa abruptly widened her eyes in surprise.
Basara had forcibly brought her into a tight embrace.
“I’m not letting you go.”
“You dummy…we’re still outside today, you know? Even if there aren’t any students from the academy here…” She said, her cheeks reddened as the atmosphere around them suddenly changed; the crowd of customers suddenly disappeared, leaving behind only an empty shopping mall.
She had made a barrier that replicated the venue while cutting them from the rest of the world.
She then leaned in closer, pressing herself deeper within Basara’s embrace; her body grazed and rubbed on his own as she piled herself upon him, altering the shape of her abundant breasts wrapped underneath her pretty clothing.
“Nnn…” Hasegawa’s voice reflexively spilled out, “Toujou…I want you to remember everything of me.” She then said the exact words from the film that they watched earlier—the line said by the heroine, about to leave that place in that particular scene, toward the protagonist, the young man, as he suffered under a fickle moment of heartbreak.
The two then huddled their bodies close together, their palms and fingers alike intertwining with the others’.
As they piled their bodies and hands together, Hasegawa placed her thigh in between Basara’s legs; under such a state where they could not grow any closer than they already could, Hasegawa took Basara’s lips for herself in a passionate kiss.
“Mm… Mm, chuu ♥ Mmm…”
As their lips forcibly pressed upon one another, Hasegawa greedily attempted to force her tongue within Basara’s mouth, to which he responded accordingly; their tongues noisily and passionately desired the other as they intertwined.
“Chuu, nnn, fuu…. Nnnn… ♥”
Their saliva flowed and mixed together amidst their intense kissing; their lips had yet to come apart as Hasegawa guided Basara’s hand down her abdomen to her waist.
“Touch me,” she said in between breaths as they continued kissing.
Basara complied with her request, savoring the sensation of her body through her clothes with his palm; he ascertained the signature sensation of her womanly body beneath the fabric of her winter clothing, drinking in the ample sensation of her warmth and softness unimpeded by the clothing that separated them.
“Aah, nnn….Haaah ♥Toujou…”
Parting from the kiss, Hasegawa let out a subjugated moan; Basara’s hand was rubbing against her abdomen while the other clutched her waist, reaching underneath her skirt to grab hold of her butt.
“Fuuah, aah…. ♥ There… Feel me… Feel me more, nnn, haah”…
Basara’s lips once again plastered themselves onto Hasegawa’s; melting into the craving that came with the kiss, Hasegawa exposed her ample chest and tempted Basara’s hand toward her breasts.
Basara’s hand slipped within the partially opened space from the clothes that were different from what she usually wore; his hand gently clung to her skin wet with sweat.
“Nn… Aaah…” As his hand moved in further, Hasegawa’s lips, piled on with kisses, let out even more sharp breaths in arousal.
Basara eventually arrived at the valley between her pair of breasts. Taking off her clothes completely, her suppressed breasts created a deeper valley than usual; Basara’s fingers then entered the space between them.
“Aah, ah ♥”
Hasegawa held on tightly to Basara’s hand as she grew unable to continue kissing him; guiding his hand toward her chest with her own, her hand then clung tightly onto his sturdy body after it had completed its previous role.
“Toujou, more, deeper… Ah, aaah ♥”
Basara’s hand advanced deeper within her bra, savoring the swelling, plump sensation underneath, touching her suppressed nipples with his fingers.
“Ah, aaaah, nn! Nnn…♥”
Basara stole Hasegawa’s lips for himself once more as she elevated her voice in pleasure with them.
Their fingers, bodies, and tongues entangled with one another’s densely; their body heat and breaths mixing together gave them the feeling as if everything they had was melding together.
“You’re so cute, sensei. Both your clothes, and the way you are today…”
“Nnn…. You don’t think I’m weird today…♥ That makes me so happy…”
Basara and Hasegawa experienced every nook and cranny of one another.
“Sensei…no, Afureia…I’m right here with you.” Basara finally addressed Hasegawa Chisato by her true name. “I won’t let go of you, ever. We’re already walking within the same time.”
“Toujou…” Hasegawa’s eyes narrowed euphorically at that statement.
And the two kissed once more—a long, deep kiss.
“Nnn…” It was Hasegawa who then broke the kiss first. “I’m sorry.” Hasegawa finally released her body that was closely huddled into Basara’s, reflexively releasing his hand simultaneously.
“I can’t even help myself just over something like this,” Hasegawa said, smiling wryly.
Basara blankly stared at her for a moment before eliciting the same response. “You’re right. I feel the same way.”
“That said, Toujou…from here on out, let’s carry on as we always have, alright? This time not with a me who envies others who get to live in the same time as you do…but a me who walks beside Toujou Basara.”
“Yeah. You’re quite cute today, sensei, but I’d settle for your usual self, too.”
“Just so you know, it’s quite embarrassing to be called cute like that…” Hasegawa said, averting her gaze. She then put on her clothes and glanced around the vicinity. In a moment the hustle and bustle of the mall had returned; the barrier had been dispelled.
“Well then, as usual…let’s head over to my room now.” She said, linking her arm with Basara’s.
“Yes, Hasegawa-sensei. Let’s get going.” Basara then walked toward the exit of the shopping mall with Hasegawa.
“Hey, Toujou,” Hasegawa said after a moment. Basara turned to see her looking at him impishly.
“Call it one more time. Call me by my name.”
Basara became slightly surprised for a moment, but regained his composure shortly after.
“Let’s go, Afureia.”
Basara and Hasegawa continued to spend time alone together; even if the two were not walking in the same time, they moved forward together nonetheless, their hands never letting go of each other.
And such a feeling is so strongly etched within the hearts of both Basara and Hasegawa.