Whatever Happens

~1100 words :: Ppoi! :: Hina/Makoto :: 11/29/10
The worst thing she can imagine is not being friends with Makoto anymore. She keeps her hands on her knees, fingers digging in so she doesn’t reach out. She has held Makoto’s hand before so many times, but it would be different now. It would feel different now that she knows. (Note: Much of the dialogue (my translation) comes directly from ch. 84 of the manga. Cutting your hair is a common response (especially in fiction) to getting dumped or having your heart broken or things of that nature, as a symbolic way of making a new start.)

[Since this manga has not been licensed in English and scanlations were dropped after vol. 4, I don’t expect anyone to be familiar with canon. However! You can totally read this without canon knowledge. Here is the background for the fic: Makoto and Hina have just graduated from jr high and all during the last year they have both had a crush on the same boy in their class, Amano. At first they made a pact that neither of them would do anything about it, but at one point Makoto told Amano she liked him. He told her he didn’t like her that way. Recently another friend told Makoto that Amano probably likes Hina (which he does), which Makoto eventually tells Hina. Hina still waffles about doing anything about it, saying she’d rather choose their friendship over a chance with Amano, and she and Makoto have a fight, with Makoto asking if Hina pities her and then calling her a coward. That finally prompts Hina to call Amano and ask him to meet her in the park. He does and they talk a bit and before she can work up the courage to tell him how she feels, he kisses her. She is so shocked and upset that she pushes him away so hard he falls down, then she runs off, and my fic basically picks up from there.]


It’s when Amano-kun kisses Hina that she realises. It’s that moment when he’s suddenly real, an actual person and not just whatever she’s imagined him to be all this time, that she realises it was never him she wanted to kiss in the first place.

He kisses her and it’s all wrong. He kisses her and she knows then that it wasn’t pity that made her hesitate, and it wasn’t fear. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to hurt Makoto. It wasn’t any of her excuses, but all she can hear in her head is Makoto yelling “Coward! Coward! Coward!”

She pushes Amano-kun away and he stumbles and falls on his butt. He looks shocked and hurt, and she stands there for a minute, fists clenched and tears running down her face, and then turns and runs.

She is a coward, just not the way Makoto meant it.

The first thing she does when she gets home is cut her hair. She does it in the bathroom with the door closed and her eyes puffy and red. It’s been years since she had it this short.

At dinner her eyes are still swollen, but when her mom asks about her hair, Hina just says she wanted something different for the new school year. New uniform, new school, new hair.

When she sees Makoto the next day she says the same thing, denies Amano-kun had anything to do with it (she’s not lying when she says he didn’t break her heart). Just a change of pace, a new beginning, laugh it off. But then her mouth keeps moving and she hears herself say, “If anyone broke my heart, it was you,” which is stupid, because Makoto hasn’t done anything. Hina’s heart broke all on its own.

Makoto’s eyes go wide and Hina feels like Amano-kun must’ve done, because she just wants to grab Makoto’s shoulders and lean in and kiss the huh? right off her lips.

Instead she laughs again, her cheeks hot, and accidentally-on-purpose drops her messenger bag on the ground. She crouches down, rummaging through her stuff to make sure everything’s okay. It’s a good distraction, or maybe Makoto’s just happy to change the subject, too, because there’s no more talk about hair or Amano-kun or broken hearts.

Instead they talk about flower arranging (Hina had been on her way to a class her mom teaches when she’d gotten Makoto’s call) and ikebana (Makoto’s family is so traditional they probably have their own style) as they walk the rest of the way up the hill.

They sit down at the top, right in the middle of the path. The branches of the cherry trees meet overhead, pink and fluffy against the night sky. The paving stones are cold and hard, but there’s only the width of her bag between her and Makoto and she could sit here forever if there was a way to just freeze time like this.

“It’s so quiet,” Makoto says.

“No one ever comes out here.”

It was like this last year, and the year before that. A petal flutters down right in front of her and she wishes on it like a shooting star. Next year, too. Whatever happens, let us be here together next year, too.

The worst thing she can imagine is not being friends with Makoto anymore. She keeps her hands on her knees, fingers digging in so she doesn’t reach out. She has held Makoto’s hand before so many times, but it would be different now. It would feel different now that she knows.

She can’t stop thinking about it, though, about how she would take her hand and kiss away the chill, kiss the soft skin between thumb and forefinger and the callouses on her palm from kendo.

She starts talking just to get the image out of her head. “I…was wrong about a lot of things, about you and about Amano-kun.” She can feel Makoto watching her, but she doesn’t turn her head. “I wanted to stop being that person, the one who always relied on you for everything. I cut my hair because I wanted to reset things, to think again about whether or not I really like Amano-kun.” She already knows the answer to that, but this is part of the resetting. “So you and I can be together again.”

She does look at Makoto then, can’t keep the smile from her face, because that’s what matters, isn’t it? Even if they’re just friends, even if all they’ll ever be is just friends, Makoto is hers. Amano-kun can’t come between them now, and soon they’ll be in a new school with no boys at all.

Makoto smiles back and leans in close and Hina’s heart skips a beat, but Makoto just says, “I like that idea,” and reaches in her bag for the scissors.

“Makoto!”

Holding a hunk of hair straight out in front of her, Makoto says, “I thought I wasn’t the sort of person who got jealous or envious,” and snip! go the scissors, not through the flower stems they’re supposed to cut, but through Makoto’s long, straight hair. “I thought they were ugly feelings, feelings I shouldn’t have.”

She cuts through a hunk on the other side and all Hina can do is watch in horror. “I wish I hadn’t learned otherwise…but at the same time, I’m glad I did.” She stands up, lets the wind blow strands of hair from her hand. “I’m not sad that he didn’t like me back. I’m grateful that I was able to experience all these feelings.”

She bends down, smiling at Hina, and says, “I’m glad I fell in love. I can forgive him because it was you he liked.” Her hair hangs ragged around her face and she looks prettier than ever. “That’s how strong our friendship is.”

“Makoto…” Hina takes her hand, lets Makoto pull her to her feet, lets Makoto pull her into her arms.

“If you apologise, it’ll just make me angry, Hina.”

“Yeah,” Hina says, face pressed against Makoto’s shoulder. There are pieces of hair all over Makoto’s coat, but it doesn’t matter. Makoto is warm and soft and nothing has ever felt so good as holding her does right now.

“Whatever happens, we’ll always, always be friends.”

“Yeah.”

“Let’s come here again next year.”

“Yeah.”

“Thank you, Hina,” Makoto says, her voice breaking. “I can finally cry.”

And Hina lets her.