attempt 1

spoilers


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Most people liked to say that they don't remember anything from their junior high days. Liked to pretend that by 20, they grew out of the trauma being a pubescent thirteen year old inflicted on a person.

Kitajima Maya was not one of those people.

More than once, Maya found herself prey to the habit of just nodding off whenever her mom went down memory lane. She'd hum and laugh whenever something remotely funny was brought up, protest when her mom tried to tease her on habits that she lost after she moved, and murmur quiet "oh yeahs" whenever her mom tried to remind her of her life as a junior high schooler. She guessed she was pretty lucky in this respect; her mom was the kind of person who liked to reminisce. It was an endearing quality and it certainly endeared her father to the woman enough to still keep in civil contact after their divorce. It also meant that Maya wasn't expected to indulge her mom because she was doing it enough for herself anyways.

That played out perfectly for her.

Because Kitajima Maya literally couldn't remember her life as a junior high schooler.

Or at least anything before her move back into her father's home.

Everything between attending the entrance ceremony to the move was a blur. There were some moments that she thought were poignant but like dreams, they all tended to fade away the more she tried to recall them later into the day. The more she tried to remember, the more that she just couldn't.

Eventually, the effort proved draining and she stopped putting effort into remembering and went along with the flow.

Besides what person wouldn't want to be graced with that kind of gift- to completely blank out on the worst years of a person's life? Maya certainly wasn't. Junior high wasn't all that important in comparison to high school anyways- if she were ever asked to pick between the two, she definitely would've picked erasing her junior high years all the way. Just based on principle.

There was one name that struck a chord within her though.

Minamino Shuichi.

Her mom had mentioned him a few times during her bouts down memory lane. The handsome boy that fourteen year old Maya had fallen head over heels in love with. The boy who used to walk her home because they lived in the same neighborhood. The boy that Maya had labored and made bento lunches for despite having not slept at all the previous night because she was too enchanted by the latest late night alien special. Ok, so maybe her mom mentioned him more than once. But Maya never really listened beyond that.

In fact, her mom only really referred to him as "Shiori's Son" because she just so happened to obsessed with his mom as she was with memories. So his full name never slipped out of her lips.

Instead, it was on a study camp with some other preppy high school that she finally learnt his full name.

If she was going to be specific, then really she didn't really learn his full name and connect the dots until an hour after meeting the guy.

The thing about the study camp is that it's typically held for three days and two nights. This year, since her high school joined forces with another school that was also staying in the same vicinity, they extended the trip a bit longer to account for a little more free time and to get students from both schools to mingle with one another. Really the idea was that freetime was spent mingling with the other school, but most of her classmates just went off and wandered the forest and caught butterflies on their break anyways.

Maya, on the other hand, and spectacularly for this particular trip, had made a bet with her father that if she were able to rank within the top ten on her exams, then she'll have the entire summer to spend with her grandmother and Uncle no questions asked.

Which meant that Maya spent most of the camp inside studying her head away until a teacher came and basically kicked her out of the building early on the last day. Demanding that she joined the rest of her classmates in their frolicking before they had to load the bus. "Go enjoy the mountain air, Kitajima." Her teacher had said before pushing her out and shovering her things into her shocked hands.

Maya, frazzled still with math equations and English grammar formulas floating around her head, ended up waking in a random direction after she managed to orient herself properly in the aftermath of her banishment from the room they used as a classroom. It had air conditioning and even if it was the last day, that simple commodity was already missed terribly if not for the slipping hopes of her extended summer stay with her family.

She didn't realize she made her way to the small shrine that was situated by the hills ( until she snapped out of her thoughts and narrowly missed a step that let up to the structure. ?)

Quickly putting her stuff down, she clapped her hands and said a quick prayer. Hoping that the Guardian of the Shrine would hear it somehow and grant her the ability to transcend time and space just to pass her upcoming exams. She was praying so hard that she didn't even realize there was another person beside her until she completed her bow and saw a pair of maroon trousers standing beside her.

To say she was startled was an understatement, she was close to cursing when she realized she was near holy ground. Maya could practically hear her heart jump out of her chest as it rapidly tried to settle itself back down. In the meantime, she trailed her eyes over the stranger and found that while terrifying, he was (thankfully) a sight to look at as well.

There was a sense of familiarity about him as well but it was quashed when she realized that the maroon trousers belonged to the Meiou students that were using the building opposite of theirs. as far as Maya knew, she didn't know anyone from Meiou. So strange.

Stranger was the complete look of shock sketched onto his handsome features. He certainly looked like a character out of a storybook; with his thick red ponytail and bright green eyes, she thought that he was a demon or something insane. But the expression playing on his face didn't match up with those identifiers and it was really something she didn't quite know how to take.

The look did him absolutely no justice.

His stance went horribly rigid when he got a better glance at the girl when she straightened up, like he was expecting someone entirely different and got blindsided. She guessed in a sense that he probably did- her grandma drilled in her the habit of always offering a prayer to any kind of shrine she came across. Whether it was falling apart of tiny- no one from the city really offer prayers unless it was during the big new years shrine visits. he must've thought she was super weird.

not that maya cared all that much.

but the stranger was cute beyond belief and she hoped out of vanity that that wasn't the first impression she gave him.

He looked jsut about to say something when the voice of the class president echoed from behind her, footsteps stomping up the dirt stairs until stopping halfway and calling "Kitajima! We're leaving soon!"

"Coming!" She hollered back. For some reason the stranger looked even more shocked, his lips moved soundlessly. If Uncle wasn't so anal, then she would've shoved it off for a twich but she knew how one pronounces her name and he most certainly mouthed it in his shock. Maya knew that sticking around might not be the best idea so she offered a quick bow to the boy, her eyes staring locked onto his the moment she turned her attention back on him, and bolted.

When the class president named him on the bus and went on about the different rumors sourrounding minamino shuichi, maya couldn't help but think back on that one look he sent her before she left him by the shrine. that almost forlorn almost heartbroken expression that broke his iconic cool image.

Maya wondered if he was about to break.

She couldn't shake off the feeling that she did know him from somewhere and that something something was horribly wrong.

She just couldn't put her name to it.

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When her mom passed away, her dad fell into a slump. The compassion and understanding that she'd always admired in him all but slipped away in the excuse of putting in more work hours to avoid the shrine Maya helped set up with her uncles in the living room. He'd come home drained from hours of vigorous work, heading straight to the kitchen for something to eat before passing out in his room. His old routine of calling out for his newborne after announcing his arrival was exchanged for a quick nod to her whenever they crossed paths in the house and one simple glance into the nursery. Her dad's dis(assembly) was something she sympathesized with, but with her own highschool exams coming up and college applications, she'd compartmentalized and focused it all on Jun instead. Jun, who was only a bubbling toddler when it happened. Jun, who if her dad continued to mop, was going to grow up with an absent father.

At first, Maya spent the weeks following the funeral taking care of Jun and making sure her dad was ok. Their neighbors were good friends with the family so they didn't mind it whenever she dropped Jun on them to make sure her dad wasn't spiraling. In fact, the divorced man and his son welcomed it wholeheartedly. The tween would draw out her entire schedule just to know when he'd be able to play with Jun again. When her dad's moping turned into workplace vigiliance, she announced that she was going to start going to a nearby cram school. Maya had never seen a bigger smile.

Of course, she knew that it couldn't last long. As much as she was grateful for her neighbors, the man she called Uncle ever since he first moved in was in a relationship and she couldn't in good conscious keep dropping her baby brother on them even if his son looked at her like she hung the stars everytime he saw them enter their gates.

When she voiced this to the man, a stony look crossed his face. He left her with an instruction to take care of his son and to stay until he came back and swept out of the house like a storm.

He didn't come back until the next morning.

When she returned home, her dad was pale and sweaty but when he caught sight of Jun's sleeping body, the expression broke for an upturn that almost filled in smile lines she thought were long gone.

So if asked, Maya's thankfulness could've been exchanged for a promise to kill for her neighbor. She looked to them like they were her own blood; whenever her dad didn't have an answer, she felt no qualms towards jumping the bushes and banging against their kitchen window to ask the older man the cons of microeconomics.

She wasn't even sure who was sadder when he finally came over with a wedding invitation and the announcement that he was also going move away soon.

Jun, despite being a toddler, had clued in on the move and burst into tears whenever the man shifted away from him. For the boy he'd imprinted on as his own brother, the tears that sprang out were shared whenever they so much as crossed paths.

So not being able to attend the wedding herself when the time came felt like a wrecking ball. The date fell between the middle of Maya's new out-of-town summer occupation and the worst fever Jun had ever experienced. The plethora of gifts she sent their way as an apology for their absence felt empty in the face of it all.

It was only their abrupt visit before going on their honeymoon that made up for it.

Because not only did they come the day Maya returned after a long day of train transfers, the man her ex-neighbor married turned out to be not only otherworldly beautiful but a familiar face.

- introduce shiori in another chapter? - just focus on kazuya relationship here? or just go fast?-Nothing could have prepared her for the sight that she was welcomed to after when her father called her down from unpacking.

Minamino Shiori stood in front of the small shrine her dad only just had the opportunity to clean. Smiling sadly at her old friend before turning to Maya with the same look that danced between them whenever they brought up the time Maya shrieked in front of her son and Shuichi out of confusion shrieked back on a frequency untravelled by man.

So not being able to attend their wedding felt sort of horrible to Maya.

While the family assured her that they understood perfectly, it still didn't stop her from hauling herself on the hour long train ride to visit with Jun every other weekend in a show to somehow make up for it.

There was a part of her that felt guilty. While her brother's situation was unavoidable, her's was something more flexible. It wasn't like she didn't know when the wedding was taking place- the planning was meticulous. They'd ask her to RSVP weeks in advance. If it were any other summer occupation, she could've just booked the week off for the wedding. But she didn't and instead Kitajima Maya was possibly the only person to decline a RSVP with an hour long phonecall that consisted mostly of apologies and incomprehensible crying. The person on the other line certainly was confused.

It was that same certainty that Maya kept herself to this schedule and tightened her grip over Jun's hand. Making sure her steps were slow enough to match his small feet and that the bags slung over her shoulder wouldn't collide with his much smaller body. God knows how many times she's accidentally knocked him down since he learned how to walk.

It didn't take long to reach the Hatanaka residence. Mostly because Jun's chicken legs demanded to be held half way through the journey and Maya was a sucker for his round eyes. When Shuuichi caught sight of them through the window, he immediately leapt out and all but teleported himself by her side to take the excited toddler into his arms.

Shiori was at her usual place by the door when they finally waddled inside, Kazuya not far beside her. She wasn't surprised to see the slightly apologetic expression on her face that said her son wouldn't delight them in his presence again and Maya was quick to say that it was ok and that she hoped that her presence wasn't bringing them much trouble.

inside she sympathesized with him. she wouldnt want to be in the same room as the girl who skipped out on his moms wedding with the lamest excuse known to man.

Kazuya only pounded her on the back for that before shoving her deeper into the house.


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attempt two

or reverse idgaf lol

this is attempt one actually might get recycled but who cares no one reads the writing dump but me because im a dump


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The red Kasuga outfit, contrary to popular belief, is heavy as hell.

Even if the red sokutai was made out of a light travel friendly silk, the amount of hair I had to stuff into the headgear was insane. The zoumen (蔵面) that was attached to the headgear was light in of itself being just a sheet of paper with a painted face but its ever looming presence entirely not appreciated. If it weren't the only thing holding up the concealment, having been enchanted a while back, then I would've ripped it off a long time ago. I didn't care if it helped me blend in with the others, it made the disguise all the more stuffy. Of course, to top it off, there was what was underneath the hooded robe to be considered too. Black leggings and a layered kosode to disguise my movements, added to the humidity of the town resulted in a very sweaty human. It didn't matter that the enchantment would've concealed everything, I wouldn't have been allowed to leave unless I was covered head to toe looking like one of the Kasuga patrons. I just wanted to die at this point- I wasn't even sure if what made the outfit heavy as hell was even the outfit in itself or just the buckets of sweat I managed to accumulate underneath it; I just knew that getting out of the town was my prerogative.

Or at least out of the humid bustling towncentre where the streets were lined with kitchens constantly spitting out food.

I guess I should've been thankful that the Kasuga weren't known for their words. Everytime I was jostled, all I had to do was give a small pause and bow and then all was dismissed. If I wasn't wearing the outfit, I could only imagine the chaos that would ensue.

If it weren't my first time donning the outfit, I would've been more weary about the jostling. It was a little different now though, I had faith in the enchantment and knew what to expect out of the town. They wouldn't look twice at me. Appearance wise, I was every bit a lone Kasuga wondering around the town. A sight that wasn't as rare as I first thought.

The only thing that could really give me away was the scent and I didn't know if the enchantment covered that aspect.

Which is why I was trying to snail my way to the water. Where the ferry was still docked.

Heavy or not, the docks were the one place that was far enough away from the bustling humid town and activity. Even though the bathhouse had the same view, it didn't bring me as close as to the seabreeze as the platform did. I also didn't want to trudge through the Bathhouse's busiest hours as well.

The docks worked out fine even if I wasn't allowed to take the outfit off.

So with as much grace afforded to a Kasuga, I slowly made my way to the docks. Mimicking as close as possible Kasuga mannerisms and stature as I neared where the ferry would soon come back to pick up the richer patrons. The impending headache I was sure to get from the weight over my head was already starting to form but I could also start to feel that cool seabreeze brushing against the robes and cool through the zoumen.

I closed my eyes, just pausing at the steps leading down into the pier and stood there listening to the sea and feeling the wind, smelling the delicious foods from town. Idly, I remembered to ask for some of the recipes from the shopkeepers later. They were bound to give them to her one of these days. She'd already convinced the dumpling shop to surrender the formula.

No one was near enough to really wonder what this Kasuga was doing, which was a plus and the fact that I'd just finished what Haku asked me to do for him was a bonus. I could return after this and be rid of the retched costume. Judging by the sun, I only had a few more hours to go before I could return back home so all was good.

My fists clenched between the creases. All was good. I wanted to say.

But Haku wasn't going to be pleased with what I found out.

Of course the world just loves throwing me in a loop because just when that thought began to settle in my mind , a large hand gripped where my shoulder was (and not where it was supposed to be like the disguise was supposed to disguise) and broke me out of my thoughts in a familiar voice.

"Excuse me."

Minamino Suichi only had to smile nervously at me.


jk one more


Shinkai Naho

Shibutani Naho idk which one sounds better lol

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Once, My grandma disappeared for almosr 4 years.

Apparently she was only ten. She vanished with her parents. Between the old newspper articles and what little my dads mom remembered of the time, shed just moved and her own father wanted tonget to their new house as soon as possible. It only tooke 4 years. What was amazing was that when they emerged out, the ten year old that shouldve been newly fourteen remained unchanged. It was a point of wonder.

Naho nevee ever really though a lot about it. When she was younger the story seemed to enteance her in. Now she just settled for a million inanswered questions.

Her grandma was always slightly weird. One of the first things she'd try to stamp into her mind was that if she ever missed her stop and the train kept going and someone demanded her name was to day that she was Sens blood.

The statement in itself was crazy, even her father scoffed at it. But it seemed like she was the one she tried to instill the reassurance in. She loved her so everytime her grandma brought it up Naho would agree silently. Even if she didnt understand.

There was only ever one time she thought she had to say something of the sort and that was only just a few days ago. After visiting her grandmother from her mansion home out in the country side, she fell asleep while transfering trains and somehow ended up in a totally different side of Tokyo that she wasnt familiar with.

She jolted up then and took a scan of the car, her eyes falling on the only other occupant who also happened to be sitting across from her.

At 20, naho liked to think she matured a lot since she graduated from Meiou. She liked to think that her classmates teasing wasnt what shaped her interest in her biology degree- her membership in the botany club was met with enough giggles. She was still also in touch with her old classmates so she was still very much in the rumor mill as it was no matter how much they aged.

She was also not crazy.

Minamino Shuichi was something like a star to them. But that wasnt jolted her the most.

It was the deadstare he sent her way. Something calculative. And anger.

When he asked who she was, she played with the idea to do what her grandmother had told her but then she saw that in his rigid posture was unfamiliar.

When she pretended she didnt just recognize him right away and tilted her head and said "shinkai naho. We went to the same highschool ?" She felt a huge relief wash over her.

He relaxed and tthey chatted. Laughing about both of them sleeping and missing their stops.

It was a strange encounter. One that she quiclly forgotten about.

It wasnt until

She mever got what she meant by that until she died the first time and her grandmas boyfriebd brought her back to life.


SPOILERS SPOILERS MOREEEEEEEEEE

ohohoohohohohohohohoho


main inspiration is mainly like lmfao natsume yujincho roku episode 8 and an unhealthy amount of delving into yyh fics during my spring term rip me im so tired

oc - Shibutani Naho

title is idk

river flows through the forest

hide and seek with the dead mans daughter

think of a title one day LMFAOLMFAOLMFAO

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When Shibutani Naho's great-grandmother was 10, she disappeared for 8 years.

At this point, it was more of a cautionary tale. Her father used to tell the story to her everytime she wandered off in shopping centers or out in the wild as a young child. She traveled too deep in the forest and couldnt find her way out until years passed and the road leading up to the shrine she sought refuge in was finally discovered by forest workers. Dont wander too far from daddy, he used to warn her, you'll get lost like /ggramma/. His eyes would always wrinkle upwards everytime she held onto his hand a little tighter, always following her instruction when she begged to go back home.

If there was one thing that the matriarch had drilled into them it was to always go back home.

Back when she was still alive, Naho would take the train after class and go take care of her and her grandparents on the weekends. The Shibutani couple owned a small bathhouse in a part of Tokyo that was near nature but far from pollution. There her greatgrandmother thrived and made huge leaps in her aging sickness. She seemed more alive in that setting. Being able to see the stars at night and listen to the stream of running stream brightened her demonar so much that they all forgot that she was on the end of her days. Everyone but Naho.

Sometimes, the two would sit, feet dangling off the second floor balcony and she'd listen to the shibutani elder murmur about what she remembered from her disappearance.

A bathhouse just like this one. A River Boy. A promise to meet again.

When she was still at her prime, she'd leave small boxed gifts to take home with promises to gift them to her former friends if anything ever happened to her. She mustve known thay her time was almost up. That year she gave Naho an aged purple hairtie for her birthday. Her eyes tearing from separation. She didnt have the courage to stretch the material to its limit with her thick hair until she saw the look her grratgrandmother sent at the sight of the hairtie.

She seemed so alive back then. When her condition plummeted it was all they could do to convince her to move to rural tokyo and open the bathhouse. She tried to help at first but they all had to step in when she popped her hip. Now naho continued those duties.

But the stories kept coming. Each day gaining in detail. Its a story that truly disorientated her to this day. Even if her dad continued to discourage its telling- his mother didnt even remember the details of her disappeance and though she reappared unchanged, naho grew up being told not to listen to her grandmothers sullen tales.

No use to listeninf to the unsold he had said but she was already enthralled.

When she returned back to Meiou when the break was over , she always felt a little saddened. Thay first day she received the hairtie he actually stared at her with an undeciphabke expression

She didnt know if she liked thay expression but the rest of the year had continued like ant other and she soon forgot that encounter.

It wasnt until university did it escalate