by C. M. Lacey
Tatsuya Miiyazaki did not want to die, but when the time came, and he saw there was no way of avoiding it, he allowed it. That's not to say that Tatsuya was suicidal or even that particularly brave. It's just that he knew it was his time. He knew in that moment that it was time to leave the world to make sure another could live in his place. At least… that's what he thought.
Before the event that would take his life, Tatsuya was a relatively popular guy. For a 2nd year High School student in Shizuoka Gakuen High School, he stood out from the crowd. It wasn't because he was decent looking with a medium build and stylized windswept hair with long bangs, or it wasn't because he was above average in sports and made acceptable grades. The reason he was noticed was because of his sister, Chika.
The two siblings were a sensation because they were nearly identical. While technically they were fraternal twins; besides the fact that he was a boy, Chika and he looked far too much a like. She even had a similar hairstyle; a wild bob that gave the illusion of controlled messiness. The two always tried to separate themselves look wise, but even when they tried to do so they generally ended up looking the same anyway. They simply had the same tastes. So when Tatsuya got his latest hair cut, Chika colored her hair a reddish brown color in order to standout more from her brother.
If Tatsuya were going to be honest, his sister was more popular than he was. She was a school idol, a rising star in the High School Volleyball world. Because she was above average in height among the girls, she could always jump higher. But it was her speed and technique that made Chika a force to be reckoned with. Once she found her perfect partner, Ayumi Kaihori, Chika was the Queen of Beach and the Court.
As for Ayumi Kaihori, she was the reason Tatsuya was accepting his grim fate that day. Ever since early 1st year Middle School, the girl had been apart of his life. Tatsuya had met her like he met almost everyone else, through his sister. Even then Chika was shaping up to be a great Volleyball player, and was above nearly everyone in the school, including the boys. But back then she lacked a partner who could keep up with her. And that's when Ayumi came in.
In middle school she was a beanpole of a girl, who had long hair but was around Chika's size. Yet while she was average at best in the looks department, she was the only girl who could keep up with Chika. At first the two were rivals, then someone had the bright idea of teaming the two of them up together. All disagreements and differences were immediately swept under the rug when the two started playing together. In short, Ayumi was Chika's soulmate. And so from that day onward Ayumi became Chika's best friend and partner. As a result, Tatsuya also became Ayumi's close friend.
As Ayumi grew older, and when all three of them entered High School, Ayumi really bloomed. A late developer, Ayumi didn't get her body until that summer. She didn't have as big of a chest as Chika did, but her hips and behind were more shapely. When Chika got her short haircut, Ayumi followed suit with a cute short bob with side swept bangs as well. It was that change, above everything else, that rocketed Ayumi into Chika's league in beauty. It wasn't long before the two were known as Queens. The boys fell for them, for both their talent and their looks.
But Tatsuya was different from the other boys in Shizuoka Gakuen High School. While they had fallen with both his sister and Ayumi, Tatsuya wasn't as superficial. He knew Ayumi before she was a Queen, and had developed a long lasting love for the girl when she had such a skinny butt that her skirt barely fit properly. Just like everything he shared with his sister, Ayumi was his soulmate, only for him it was more than friendship.
On Ayumi's side of things, he knew she didn't share the same feelings. In fact, he doubted she even knew he liked her. She had grown up with him always being Chika's sidekick and saw him as such. Of course this evolved more into a friendship and she was equally as pleased to hang out with him as she was with Chika, but she didn't see him as a boy. He was just part of their group.
Tatsuya wasn't about to change the group dynamic, even if Chika had caught on pretty early of his feelings for Ayumi. By the time he realized it himself, they were already a unit, and Tatsuya didn't want to shake that. So as Ayumi became cuter and boys started noticing her more and more, Tatsuya sat back and watch them. He was there when Ayumi described in great detail her first date, her first kiss, and even sat calmly when she pondered on giving her first time to her current boyfriend Kouji Aizawa. Through all of this Tatsuya bared it, watching his sister stew more than him, as she knew his secret. More than once she had stepped in to keep Ayumi single or stop a kiss from happening. But it was too late now, and both of them knew it.
But whether or not Ayumi would ever see him as anything more than just Chika's brother wasn't important. Tatsuya would go on loving her, regardless. And that was the reason why he was laying on sidewalk, convulsing in pain slowly dying. Ayumi would never know of his feelings, but she would go on living, and really that's all that mattered.
On the evening of his death, Ayumi had been visiting the Miyazaki home. It had become a tradition for the group to meet at either parent's place to do homework together. The Kaihori family had almost become a second home to both Chika and Tatsuya, and Ayumi like another daughter to the Miyazakis.
It was a normal enough setting, Ayumi aiding in literature and English studies, while Chika advised her strong suit of science and math homework. That night Tatsuya contributed with history and helped Chika with science. By working together, they all got their work done quicker and helped each other keep their grades up. The enjoyable part of these study sessions were in-between subjects when they'd goof around, or play around after they finished.
That night Ayumi stayed for dinner, as they had more work to do than normal. Tatsuya couldn't say it was as enjoyable as it could be. Ayumi seemed to be extremely happy with her relationship with Kouji, and would occasionally pop a story here or there about him. But even when she was describing how well he kissed, Tatsuya was glad she was there. Kouji might be her boyfriend, but Tatsuya got to be with her more.
It was late by the time they had finished working, and as usual Tatsuya walked Ayumi home. She didn't live all that far away, but his father always insisted that it was his duty as a man to walk Ayumi home in the dark. Of course he never minded this, but it really wasn't necessary. It was these times that Ayumi and he got some alone time.
"I just found this out the other day, but did you know that Doves are actually just white Pigeons?" Ayumi was saying as she walked behind him with her hands behind her back. She was holding on to her school bag, so it kept bouncing off her legs making a hush slapping sound as she walked.
"Um… yeah?" Tatsuya laughed a bit at her. "They have the same name." (In Japanese the same word for Pigeon is used for Doves)
"I guess I never put two-and-two together before." Ayumi said, then smiled her sweet grin at him. "Why didn't you tell me Tatsu-chan?"
"I didn't know it was a big issue." Tatsuya teased back. "Next time I learn some obscure fact on animals I'll be sure to tell you right away."
"You better." Ayumi tilted her head slightly in his direction like she was pointing a demanding finger at him since her hands were holding her bag.
"This might come as a shock to you then, but Crows and Raven's are the same species too." Tatsuya went on with their joke.
Ayumi gave a fake gasp. "You don't say?"
Ayumi giggled and leaned up next to him. She swung her hips so she lightly shoved him with her waist, then laughed when he stumbled a bit to the side. They always were that familiar. But when he joined her again and looked at her, she gave a tiny aura of guilt on her face. The mood changed completely, and Tatsuya didn't know why.
"I have to watch myself." Ayumi finally said, seeing that he noticed the tonal shift. "I'm too friendly with you."
"I know it's not a big deal to the three of us, but now that I'm dating Kouji-kun…" Ayumi started, and Tatsuya felt his heart sink. Couldn't they go just a few minutes without having to talk about Kouji? "… he's told me before that he feels uncomfortable with how close we are."
"He's been super understanding up until now." Ayumi quickly said, trying to make excuses for her boyfriend. "I mean, he knows that since Chika is my best friend that you are as well. It's sort of a twin thing. But he doesn't understand. All he sees is that you're a good looking boy who gets to hang out with me."
"Well, I'm glad that Kouji-kun thinks I'm good looking. But you can reassure him that he's not my type."
Ayumi laughed, then snorted. She gasped and covered her nose, then laughed again. She did this occasionally when she laughed at something she didn't expect. She always thought the snort was embarrassing, but Tatsuya liked her unguarded noises.
"You know what I mean Tatsu-chan." Ayumi finally got out, after her fit of giggles. "Although the image of the two of you kissing just popped in my head."
Tatsuya bopped to top of head lightly. "Get it out of there."
"Sorry, it's still there." Ayumi smiled a teasing grin.
"I'll have to suck it out of your ears…" Tatsuya warned.
He had done something like this before when they were younger and it had become a joke between them. Her ears were sensitive and it was always a good spot to get her in a laughing fit. Occasionally he's grab her had and suck the air between her ear and his lips to get her to go, or else blow air at her ear for the same effect. Of course this childish behavior was going on less and less these days, but every-so-often, he'd attack her.
"Okay, okay!" Ayumi pressed her hands to her ears, her school bag dangling from the left side of her face.
Tatsuya laughed and the sight, and pushed her hands back down. "You look funny."
Ayumi winked at him from her sweet small grin. They shared a moment when she allowed herself to look into his eyes. Then all at once she turned a way. "See, this is what I'm talking about. We can't play like this anymore."
"I got'cha." Tatsuya sighed. "I'll stop if you stop."
Ayumi looked like she was holding back another smile, and the result was two puckered cheeks that seemed like they were holding back air. "You'd like that, huh? Me being the one to finally give up."
"It's for a good cause." Tatsuya teased on. "Kouji-kun's poor fragile heart can't take seeing his lover being friendly with a girl."
"With a gir-" Ayumi looked confused for a second, then squeaked and laughed again. She stopped walking and snorted, then clasped her hand over her nose again. "Stop it!"
"You really have a sick sense of humor Ayu-chan." Tatsuya stopped walking, and turned to watch her.
Ayumi was doubled over laughing. He didn't want to imagine what was going through her mind. He could imagine that it was probably some weird yaoi fantasy that most girls had every now and then. Tatsuya was secure enough in his masculinity that he didn't care about things like that. He could always play the gay-joke to get Ayumi to laugh or blush.
The street lights flickered as he watched her try to regain her composure, and he looked up. Ayumi might have noticed if she wasn't busy laughing and wiping away tears, but the power line overhead was sparking. Something wasn't right, and Tatsuya thought maybe they shouldn't be standing underneath them anymore. Advancing to Ayumi, he grabbed her hand real quick and tugged her head.
"Hey, you're supposed to be less touchy-feely, remember?" Ayumi said, her face still red from laughing.
"We got to move." Tatsuya pointed up. "That power line is looking dangerous."
"Oh no!" Ayumi gasped, and her hand tightened around his.
They jogged from under it, both turning their heads every so often to see the sparks start to get worse. They were a good ways away, when Tatsuya noticed the real problem. On the other end, where they were heading, a tree branch had fallen on the line. It was attempting to snap right off, and the inconsistency of the electrical current flow was causing the sparks to happen on the other end. The line was going to break off.
"Quick. Cross the street." Tatsuya went to a stop, and pulled a still walking Ayumi to stop as well.
She was in front of him, her back turned towards the new danger. She was still looking at the sparks on the other end. "I think we're okay now, but-"
That's when Tatsuya accepted his fate. The line so near to snapping free from the tree limb had done what it threatened to do. It broke away, and inside of just dropping below where it was attached, it fell and went into a swing. Ayumi's back was front and center for the electrical whip to strike. Without hesitation, without thinking, Tatsuya pushed Ayumi with all his might into safety of the street. She flew as far as he could toss her, fell on the ground and rolled. She was just about to stand up and shout at him for doing something so reckless when she saw what was going on.
And that's the last thing Tatsuya heard. The cable slapped into him like a Roman scourge, both slicing open his chest and frying him with high-voltage direct current. Remarkably he didn't die right away. He was flown backwards, as the power surged in his body. He couldn't hear anything, he just saw a short haired girl pull Ayumi out of the road, and a strange looking platinum blonde running over to him. Where had they come from? And that was it. Ayumi's screaming face and the legs of the blonde.
He was dead.