Past to Present
"Thank you for the meal."
"That was delicious mom!"
"Ehehe, thank you. I'm trying new recipes."
Tsuburaya family was just having dinner. Since the family head wasn't present due to his work, all three of them always had dinner together whenever possible. The mother, Kaoruko, was a housewife who mostly stayed home. She loved cooking, and she loved to cook for her family. And one of the reason why her husband married was due to her cooking. Takuji had one little sister, Kizuna, who is currently studying in Yomioji middle school. She was the underclassmen of Riku's little brother, Rikiya.
While Kaoruko was washing the dishes, the siblings were watching TV. It was an anime of a samurai that came from the past to chase a demon who killed his family. While trying to find the demon king, he also met a girl who looked similar to his late sister and now protecting her from various supernatural incidents relating to the demon. Both of them liked the series, but only Kizuna liked the anime adaptation. Nonetheless, Takuji simply wished to see his sister happy, so he watched it together every week.
The scene on TV showed the two main characters, Kansuke Ichimonji the time-travelling samurai and Yuriko Hagiyama the girl he met when he came to the future. They were walking home side by side under the dusk sky.
"[Kansuke-kun, are you free this weekend?]" She turned around to ask Kansuke with smile.
"[I think I am not, Yuriko-san. Why would you ask?]" Kansuke asked back after reminding himself if he had an errand or not. She chuckled to hear his response and pulled out her smartphone. She showed him a picture of a special price of zoo entry fee. She said that she would go there with her friends. And they asked her if she could bring him along. He said he would love to and they continued walking home while a crow spied on them.
"Onii-chan, it's been a while since we go out together huh?" Kizuna avert her attention to her brother for a bit to ask. Takuji just nodded. She looked to the kitchen and called her mom.
"Mom, can we go to the zoo tomorrow? Can we? Please?" With a pleading like a child attitude and a puppy eyes, she asked her mother. But her mother shook her head.
"Sorry, Kizuna-chan. Okaa-san already had plans to go the with the neighbourhood mothers to visit the hot springs." Kizuna looked disappointed and pouted. Kaoruko sighed a bit, and form a small smile.
"Oh, but how about you go with her, Takuji-san? And bring your friends too. I'm sure you want to play with your friends on holiday too right?" Kaoruko suggested. Kizuna looked happy and came to her brother.
"Yeah, onii-chan. That way, I can meet Riku-san again. Aaah, it's been a long time. Haa." Kizuna started having a dreamy look in her face and obviously imagining her spending time with Riku. Despite Takuji mentioned most of the time about his friends gender, she just denied him all the time.
"Okay, I'll ask them if they wanna come. But it won't fair if just us though, how about I asked them to bring their siblings too?"
"Cool!" Getting a thumbs up, Takuji texted both of them and they replied with yes. Saturday, 10 p.m., meet at the station. They finished watching the anime as Kansuke defeated the crow demon. They both went to bed afterwards.
Under the darkness of his room, Takuji pondered whether he should asked Jun as well, but he hadn't really known the guy so he decided to asked him next time instead. He closed his eyes as his conciousness started to drift away.
Saturday had come. Takuji was checking himself in the mirror. He wore a green polo shirt and a blue jeans. He liked to keep it simple. After that, he left the room and waited in the living room for Kizuna. Moments later, she came in.
"Onii-chan, how do I look?" Kizuna wore a yellow sundress and a hat. Takuji simply smiled and said, "Wow, looking good Kizuna. You never wear girly clothes when we played before. Is it Riku? Or Rikiya-kun?" Kizuna gasped and blushed. She proceeded to playfully punch her brother.
"Onii-chan, you idiot! I'm wearing because it's been a while since we go out together. I want to show you that I'm not a kid anymore." She pouted and looked almost crying. Takuji felt bad and about to approach her, but instead he got his forehead flicked.
"Hey, what gives?"
"Ufufu, onii-chan still weak to me almost crying. Fufufu."
She seemed satisfied and headed outside. Takuji just chuckled while rubbing his forehead. He picked up his belongings and followed Kizuna. They both walked to meet the others. Once they get there, there was two girls waiting near a street clock. One of them wear a t-shirt and a long pants and the other a shirt with a cardigan on it and a skirt. Noticing their friends, Takuji and Kizuna came up to them.
"Yo. Sorry to keep you waiting."
"Good day, Asuna-san, Asuka-san."
Takuji raised his right hand to greet them while Kizuna bowed. Asuna bowed back and Asuka waved his hand cheerfully.
"Hello you two. We just arrived actually. Asuna took a while to prepare, so I have to wait for her." Asuna simply rolled her eyes.
"Really aniki, you were the one who took a shower too long. I think even Riku-nee doesn't shower that long."
"Hush you. Why would you bring Riku now? She is completely unrelated in my matters of shower time." Replied Asuka while glaring at his little sister.
"Uhuh. And nice to see you again, Kizuna-chan. How is school?" Asuna asked Kizuna.
"It's been great so far. Sure there are problems sometimes, but Rikiya-senpai help me so much. He likes to talk about you, Asuna-san. He is disappointed that you guys didn't go to the same school."
"Well, I feel like to study somewhere different from him. It's not like we stop being friends. If anything, I'm glad that I didn't go to Yomioji." She looked a bit sad at the end of her sentence. But unknown to her, the said person heard all of it.
"Oh, so it's like that. You can just say so, Asuna-chan. I'm sulking for nothing for the past year."
"Hawawa?!" Asuna let out a squeal. The boy grinned at her reaction.
"Oooh, that's a cute reaction, I mi-" He was rudely cut off.
"Stop sneaking up on me, Rikiya!" Rikiya was holding his stomach after being punched by Asuna. The others couldn't comment and left their mouth agape by the situation.
"So cruel, Asuna-chan! Is this how you greet me after long time no see? I thought we are besties! But, deredere Asuna-chan would be creepy, so this one is fine too." His painful look suddenly changed to happiness. Asuna's face filled with disgust and she quickly turned her attention to Kizuna.
"See why?" Everyone simply nodded as a sign of understanding and knew why Asuna decided to enroll to a different school. Riku came not long after that.
"Rikiya, if you don't behave, I will tell aniki not to bring you the comiket. And also, your figurines will be confiscated. Honestly, if only you behave as good as your looks, you will get a girlfriend already." Riku warned Rikiya and shook her head after seeing her brother usual behaviour. Noticing Riku, Kizuna faced lit up and came to greet her.
"Good day, Riku-san. Rikiya-senpai is always taking good care of me. I can assure you he never do something indecent in school."
"Oh, Kizuna-chan. Long time no see. Well, if that's the case, can you keep an eye on him? I think your presence is enough to cool him down a bit."
"Yes! I will do my best!"
After exchanging greetings, all of them went aboard the commuter to the zoo. They all started conversing with their own group. Takuji took a glance on his sister, who were trying to intervene whenever Rikiya or Asuna threw shades on each other. Riku and Asuka also told them to keep it down. After 30 minutes, they finally reach the station where the Sanyou zoo was located. They paid their tickets after a quite long line of queue and enter.
"Wow! It looks so different from back then!"
"How can I forget that I got attacked by monkeys?"
Kizuna and Takuji recalled what happened. Takuji was about to eat some chips near the monkey cage. He tried to feed one of them, only for a horde of monkeys charged like rabid dogs. He shivered a bit reminiscing that moment. All of them looked amazed by the change of the zoo. It was more spacey, new layouts for certain types of animals, and also new aquarium.
Since the girls wanted to see elephants and giraffes, they visited the herbivores section first. When they reached around the monkeys area however, Takuji immediately hid behind Riku. Everyone laughed and approached the monkeys. Looking at Rikiya tried to interact with them, an idea popped into Asuna head. She took out her phone and approached Rikiya.
"Huh? You want me to take a picture with the monkey?" Rikiya pointed to the monkey with a confused expression. Asuna nodded and said, "Yep. And please do this pose with it." She told him to do a pose next to the monkey. She almost laughed but tried her best to hold in.
The picture was taken and she gave him thumbs up. Rikiya wasn't sure of what just happened, but for Asuna's smile was worth it. He moved along after waving goodbye with the monkey. Asuna went near the monkey and asked for a high five. The monkey gave her one and both of them smirked. From afar, Riku shook her head while Asuka chuckled.
Next they went to see baby animals. Riku couldn't contain her excitement taking pictures with a baby tiger. After seeing the picture, instead of smiled, she frowned. Asuka noticed this and couldn't keep quiet.
"Riku, what's wrong? Is the picture not good? We can ask to get another one." She snapped out of her frown and shook her head.
"No need, Asuka. It's good. A-Anyway, wanna see the aquarium? They are having a dolphin show later." Riku tried to change the subject. Asuka tilted his head but after hearing dolphin show, he immediately agreed and grabbed Riku's hand.
"Yes! Come on, let's go!"
"Oi! Slow down!"
Both of them left quickly to the aquarium. Takuji, who spent most of the time in silence, finally spoke again.
"Still needs something more to put the wheel in motion. But, it's going to the right direction for now. I just observe for the time being. Dolphin show should be fun." Looking towards the aquarium, Takuji slowly walked to the aquarium.
When they arrived, it was already packed with visitors. Luckily, the youngers siblings already secured the front row seats. Takuji took a seat next to Asuka and Kizuna. The trainer and the dolphin did a beautiful attraction with a lot of jumping and synchronized movements. Since the group sat on the front, they were in the receiving end of the water splash. It was not good for Riku and Asuka, they got completely soaked. Right now, they went to the back with the staffs to get changed.
"We are terribly sorry! I think Suyu just got a bit too excited today. She usually wasn't like that." The trainer tried to apologize to the pair, but both of them didn't look upset.
"Haha, it's okay sir. She was having fun and so were we. Getting wet isn't so bad sometimes."
"But, we can't go home with a wet clothes Riku. Aw, what should we do?"
Luckily, the staffs prepared two t-shirts from the merchandise stand. Relieved, both of them quickly accepted it and changed. But the motive on the shirts made both of them blushed. It was a couple t-shirt.
"Oh look at you two! You are matching!" The staff complimented them. Both of them looked at each other, and felt embarrassed. The staff thought that they were a couple.
"Um, sir. You mind if we ch-"
"Ah, thank you sir! You saved us big time with this" Asuka cut in before Riku finished her sentence. The staff smiled and apologized again. After that they both went back to their friends waiting near the food court.
"Why do you stop me from talking Asuka?" Riku was curious why Asuka stopped her back then. She thought that Asuka must be embarrassed because of the misunderstanding, but he wasn't.
"Hmm? You don't want us to match Riku?" he looked up to her with a disappointed face.
"No! That wasn't what I meant! It's just...eh...you...know..."
"For the first time, I can wear matching t-shirts with you. I always want to do that Riku. Sorry if I was selfish."
The air became awkward between them. It was rare for the two to argue about something. Riku felt bad for asking in the first place. Asuka just wanted to had some good memories with his best friend, but she had to be a jerk. Sighing, she spoke up.
"No, you're not. It's okay Asuka. I was just not used to have something like this happen ,that's all. Well, t-shirt design aside, I kinda wish we match on an animal design or something." Asuka cracked a small smile.
"Um, what about we buy one and a keychain as well?"
"Sounds great." Slowly the tension cooled down. Unnoticed by them, 3 pair of eyes were spying from the shadows.
"Man, aneki and Asuka-nii is so awkward sometimes. If only they can be more honest to themselves." Said Rikiya while rubbing his temples.
"True. Honestly, it's been like this since forever. I really hope they just date already." Asuna followed suit. Kizuna asked, "How long actually they've been crossdressing, senpai?"
"Almost a decade. Aneki protected Asuka-nii ever since childhood, and both of them started crossdressing around that time too." Explained Rikiya.
"He never told me the reason why, but Riku-nee also doesn't want to talk about it." After that they tried to catch up to the food court.
Takuji opened a small notebook from his pocket. Inside, there was a lot of random writings and drawings he made on his own. He opened up a blank page and wrote, "The handsome female prince and the beautiful male princess. An event in their past caused them to break the rules of society. Their meeting gave birth to an odd but heartwarming friendship. But will they keep that forever or try to change?"