Chapter 1: Rin's Chapter--Loving the You Beside Me Now
In a first year dorm room of IS Academy, a girl is sleeping soundly.
“Ack, ack…, looks like…I got the summer flu…”
The girl’s called Huang Lingyin. As the representative cadet of China, she’s the registered pilot of the IS [Shenlong].
(What went wrong…? Did I eat too much shaved ice? Or is it because I slept in the nude while it was hot? Or is it because I kept the air-conditioning running?)
Though she continued to think, she couldn’t concentrate.
Her head started to ache.
Her consciousness went blurry, and the ceiling looked like it was spinning around.
And her body was so hot that it was limp. She didn’t even have enough strength to turn on the TV.
She didn’t have any appetite, yet she felt hungry, and she couldn't sleep well.
Her roommate Tina went back to her country, America, and now, Rin’s the only one in the room.
‘’Will I die like this here?’’
‘’Alone in another country—’’
Thinking about this, a terrifying thought struck her, perhaps because she got weak due to the illness.
Her consciousness started getting blurry, and she got further away from the ceiling.
‘’Am I really going to die like this?’’
On thinking about this, a name naturally came out from Rin’s mouth.
At first, she thought that she was just imagining it.
But on seeing Ichika appear right in front of her, Rin blinked twice, and realized that this was reality.
“Wh, why, why, why are you here!?”
Unable to understand the sudden change in situation, Rin even forgot about her fever and sat up.
But that force lasted only for a moment, and she immediately sank back onto the blanket weakly.
“Oi oi. What are you doing? Lie down.”
Ichika gently hugged Rin, who fell forward, and made her lie on the bed.
“Shu, shut up…if it’s like this, I…ack, ack!”
“Ah, see? Don’t force yourself to talk. Here, drink this. It’ll replenish your liquids and sugars.”
While saying that, Ichika passed the sports drink to Rin.
Rin obediently accepted the drink and took a gulp. She then turned to Ichika and asked.
“And, and then? Why are you in my room?”
Rin suddenly thought of something.
(Do, don’t, don’t tell me he wanted to do whatever he wanted while I was sick—)
[I can do whatever I want to the tough Rin now. Kehehe.]
[STOP, STOP IT, IDIOT! I’LL KILL YOU!?]
[Oi oi, now’s your chance to act tough. Ora—, I’ll strip you, I’ll strip!]
[NO~! YOU BEAST! FRUIT, TRAITOR~!]
--Too much. That was too much.
(I, I think my fever made me weird…)
It’s true. Right now, her mind’s not really okay.
‘’It would be better if the fantasy just now was a little more sentimental.’’
[Don’t think about it. Just enjoy it.]
(This Ichika may not be that bad…)
Te! Bruce Lee!
She bemoaned herself.
On a side note, Rin should be on Jackie Chan’s side, but she doesn’t think she’s the eldest.
“Why? Because you didn’t show up.”
‘’Didn’t show up? Me? –Do, don’t tell me?”
[Since Rin didn’t come over to my room, I came over. My Esperanza.]
[How troublesome, Dragon-chan. Hey, baby…]
Ahhh, stop. Just stop!
(If this keeps up, my headache’s going to get aggravated…)
The correct saying should be ‘my head will hurt’ or ‘the headache will worsen’, but she doesn’t even have time to correct it.
Speaking of which, her head’s hurting at a 12/10 rating because of the flu and other reasons.
“Like I said, we agreed to go meet our primary school friends today, but since Rin didn’t show up, I felt something was odd and came over to your room.”
--Our other friends couldn’t enter IS Academy since they’re outsiders. Ichika added.
It seems like only Ichika came over to check on Rin.
(Uu…I forgot due to the headache…)
Speaking of which, her phone did seem to ring a few times.
She felt really bad, but on the other hand, she felt somewhat happy too.
(Ichika was concerned about me…)
Thinking about this, her heart pounded again.
“Anyway, sleep well for today. I’ll take care of you.”
Rin nodded her head obediently.
Right now, she’s alone with ichika.
And he’s taking care of her. He was just concerned about her.
This made Rin really happy.
(Nn…I think I won something…)
Extremely frail due to the illness, Rin showed a weak smile.
At that moment, a wet towel was placed on her forehead.
“Ah, sorry. Was it cold?”
“No, it’s not that. I was just shocked…it feels good…”
Haa…she sighed, and the hot air came out.
This sounded really erotic, and Ichika was a little moved.
Rin and Ichika soon ended their conversation, and both became silent.
But rather than it being an awkward silence, it was more like a gentle silence as both of them understood each other.
(Being alone with Ichika… being alone with Ichika…)
DOKI DOKI. The intense heartbeat gradually heated up her heart.
Rin secretly glanced at Ichika so as not to be seen. Either the summer flu or the heart in love was messing around as the heat went up and made her face blush.
(Ichika, he became so cool after entering high school…he’s a lot taller than when he was in second year of middle school…)
“Wha, what is it?”
She tried to act calm, but Rin’s pitch went higher by half an octave.
(U, uwa! Was I spotted? I, it’s okay, right?)
“You haven't eaten anything since morning, right? Do you have any appetite?”
“No, not really… maybe my stomach’s a little hungry…”
“Really? Then I’ll make something. What do you want to eat?”
“Oi, oi, better eat something you can digest well.”
“How rude… noodles are the best food originated from China… it’s good for digestion…”
“Gruel will do, right?”
Ichika made the decision without listening to her.
But Rin just thought ‘how nice…’ with regards to this somewhat forceful manner.
“Ah, I don’t want something too hot. Ju, just make wheat tea gruel.”
Rin said that in a stiff tone as she turned her face away, not wanting to let her reddish face be seen.
“Got it, got it. Then, please wait for a while.”
On hearing Rin’s reply, Ichika nodded his head and left the room to use the kitchen.
Rin was left alone in the room, but the loneliness she felt just now disappeared without a trace as she gently patted the towel on her forehead.
‘’I’m so happy.’’
‘’Ichika thought of me.’’
‘’Only concerned for me.’’
This was something Rin felt really happy about.
(Arre…? Didn’t the same thing happen during Middle School…)
She searched through her memory in a vague manner, and couldn’t think of it. As expected, she still had a fever.
(That was, during…the rainy season…I forgot to bring my umbrella. I ran off, and got a cold…)
--That was a lie. That didn’t happen at all.
Actually, she wanted to get into Ichika’s umbrella, so she looked around for him.
And then, she did find Ichika, but there was already a girl with him.
She was a classmate of Ichika and Rin. She would often go out to play with Gotanda Dan, Mitarai Kazuma, and the group formed by Nakanoi Riefumi and Toumoto Eri.
On first impression, she looked ‘cute and quiet’.
She seemed somewhat distant from the rest, but she could get along well with everyone.
Her personality was the complete opposite of Rin, but they had quite the good friendship, which made up for it.
(That Karin confessed to Ichika…)
‘’I wanted to support her as a friend.’’
Well, she lied again—
(I, I was really… scared… I thought that I couldn’t take it if Ichika said OK…)
Thinking about how devastated she was, tears welled up in Rin’s eyes.
(I, I ran away at the last moment… like an idiot…)
She forcefully rubbed her eyes to wipe away the tears.
(But in the end, Ichika came to see me while I took leave the next day, and took care of me…)
Actually, she wanted to listen to the reply of the confession.
But she didn’t manage to hear it.
(Maybe I can listen to it now…)
After that, what she heard was that Ichika didn’t go out with Karin.
She was afraid to find out the reason.
(But, but I obviously, Ichika—)
“Oh, Rin. Sorry to keep you waiting.”
“Y, yo, you! At least knock the door first!”
‘’It’s not that my heart pounded! Idiot!’’
--She couldn’t say it even if her mouth broke, but her body sat up honestly.
“Sorry. I neglected it since it was Rin.”
“Wha, what do you mean by that? Idiot…”
She was a little happy, but she couldn’t express it.
“Hoi, I made wheat tea gruel and let it cool. It won’t be too hot now.”
“Hm? How honest.”
“HA, HA!? I DON’T KNOW W WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT! WHAT ABOUT BEING HONEST!? IT’S NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL! THANKING SOMEONE IS WHAT SOMEONE IS EXPECTED TO DO!!!”
“Got it got it. Don’t shout so loudly like this. You’re going to collapse.”
Rin laid down as she seemed to slam her head into her pillow.
Putting the utensils down on the table beside him, Ichika took a chair to put it beside him.
“Then, okay, can you get up?”
Though it didn’t seem something he should be saying to someone so lively just now, but on hearing that, Rin forced herself to support her upper body.
“So, so I say! Feed me…”
“Ahh, un. Okay.”
Ichika took the spoon, and took up a mouth-sized portion of gruel.
“Is it good?”
She didn’t really understand what the taste was, but to the heating body, the gruel made from the wheat tea felt extremely cooling.
“Then good. Here, ahn.”
Close mouth, chew. Close mouth, chew.
This continued on, and half a minute later, the gruel was all gone.
“Bu, but, well, it was too bland. Unsatisfactory. It would be alright if you just added some mustard in.”
“I say, eating spicy food is bad for your stomach.”
“My, my stomach’s fine!”
“Yes yes…here, ahn.”
“Speaking of mustard, I remembered how back in middle school we used to go to that ‘Fujiryuu’ shop a lot for that roasted mustard noodles."
“Ah—that was really nice.”
“And the students all had large bowls of stuff stacked up freely.”
“You guys always ate them in one large bowl after another.”
“Speaking of which, you’re the only one amongst the girls who ate one huge bowl.”
“Sh, shut up! Why would I remember something like that!”
It should be mentioned, after Ichika pointed that out to Rin, she only ordered normal bowls after that.
Of course, she felt ashamed that other boys teased her for being a big eater, but two days later, she realized that ‘it’s worth it to get more for the same price’, and stopped doing that.
Basically, there was no meaning to hide it.
Either way, she did punch Ichika hard the first time she met him.
(That was, well, eh… my bad… but, I did apologize after that…)
But well, that was in the past, and it’s Ichika’s virtue not to be fussy about such things.
“Tha, thanks for your hospitality.”
“Oh, almost finished. You’ll be fine after some rest.”
Ichika cleared up all the utensils as he said that, and left the room.
Forcefully sinking her head into her pillow, Rin asked absentmindedly.
(I’ll just ask today since there’s a chance.)
Though there was something she was really mindful of, the will not to run away like last time was burning strongly too.
After that, it had been 5 minutes since Ichika came back, but to her, it felt like more than an hour had passed.
“Well… I got something I want to ask you…”
“What? My deposits’ a secret.”
I’ve been spending a lot recently. Ichika noted wryly.
“It, it’s not that, idiot.”
“What is it then?”
“We, well…erm…du, during middle school…”
She wanted to say it, she wanted to ask it, yet her voice went softer.
(Ahh, really! Go me, go!)
Clenching her fist tightly under the blanket, Rin finally asked,
“Why, why did you not go out with Karin!?”
--I said it!
‘’I said it.’’
‘’Is this really good? Is it really alright to ask him about that? It’s better not to let him recall that, right?
Her mind continued to spin about.
At that moment, the stunned Ichika opened his mouth,
“So, so I say! You were confessed to, right?”
“Wha, what…you knew about that?”
‘’I heard that from my friend!’’ It’s better for her not to say that.
Even a scaredy cat who doesn’t know the truth doesn’t want to be someone despicable for telling lies.
She couldn’t step aside with regards to that.
“Ka, Karin was that cute. You didn’t hate her, right?”
“Eve, even if you say that, in fact, Hitozato-san had no reason to like me.”
For an instant, Rin was stunned as she couldn’t understand Ichika’s words.
“Like I said, it was Kazuma. Mitarai Kazuma. Hitozato-san liked him.”
“Haa…? The, then, why did she confess to you…”
That’s what she didn’t understand.
Seeing that Rin wanted to know what was going on, Ichika folded his arms and answered.
“Most likely, she got the wrong person, right? Me, Kazuma, Dan, we were always together.”
“What do you mean she identified the wrong person? That’s not possible, right!?”
“Nope, it was like that! Definitely.”
“Because Hitozato-san would always ask me about Kazuma every time she talked to me. Though you probably didn’t know.”
She didn’t know at all.
Of course, they had a good relationship. Rin was the type of girl who would be in the center of attention, so she would often hear stories about romance. Even so, this was the first time she heard about this. Rin was stunned that she didn’t understand Karin at all.
Thinking about this, she seemed to turn limp for a while.
(I, I, I kept misunderstanding for so many years…)
An idiot, she was an idiot. There was nothing more stupid than this.
But perhaps because of the fever due to the flu, she couldn’t even get angry at all.
Anyway, she could only laugh dryly.
“So I said that her confession should go to Kazuma.”
‘’I’M NOT INTERESTED IN THAT TOPIC ANYMORE!’’
‘’…Impossible. Even till now, I’m still friends with Karin.’’
“Those two should be dating, right? Ah, but Kazuma said that he had to date a really popular girl. Hm? But since everyone just met today after a long time, I was just wondering.”
Rin sighed softly, not wanting to let Ichika realize this as he folded his arms.
“Why didn’t she confess immediately?”
“…Wouldn’t a wrong confession be really embarrassing…”
“Eh? What did you say?”
“No, nothing! That’s enough, I’m going to sleep!”
“Really? Okay then, I’ll stay in this room for now. Just tell me if there’s anything. I’ll stay at the table here so that I won’t bother you.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“No, well…sta, staying here…”
“? That’s the case.”
Ichika revealed a look of disbelief.
This natural kindness made Rin blush happily.
“The, then, well…thanks…”
Rin thanked softly, and she got gradually attacked by the sleep monster that came with her satisfaction of being full.
And with Ichika beside her, she entered dreamland with a hazy consciousness and a sense of comfort.
It was an orange memory.
“I, Ichika, here.”
“What is it, Rin? Why are you so formal?”
After school, during the dusk of orange, there was only two people in the orange classroom, facing each other as they sat at the orange table.
Both of them were wearing the school uniform of Nanatsuno Middle School. Ichika was wearing the Gakuran, while Rin was wearing the sailor uniform.
“We, well. I was thinking if I should change my hairstyle. What do you think?”
Squirming about, Rin asked in a manner completely different than usual.
Wanting to know Ichika’s response, the timid girl’s heart made her eyes float up.
“Eh? Why? That hairstyle suits you, Rin.”
Rin smiled like a flower blooming.
Full of joy, Rin played with her ponytails.
“Re, really? I see, so it suits me well. Ehehe…♪”
“? Such a strange person.”
“Who, who are you calling strange!?”
“Wah wah!? St, stop it! Stop kicking me!”
“Wha, what what what!?”
“Fu, fuu…what now…idiot…”
Rin still remembered what was said that evening.
She definitely would not forget about it.
The memory of the orange love—
Having woken up, Rin looked at the clock on the wall. It seemed that she had slept for about 2 hours.
“Ichika...is he around?”
Ichika immediately came out after he was called.
(He really kept me company me all the time...)
Her heart felt really unbearable.
But this felt as sweet as a forbidden sweet poison, full of allure.
“We, well...I got a lot of sweat on me, so I was hoping you could wipe my body...”
Unbelievable words came out from her mouth.
(Wha, what am I saying!?...is, isn't it weird? It's weird, right!?)
DOKI DOKI. Her heart beat wildly again.
Though she wanted to control the Red Hare Horse that was rampaging, it didn't go well.
“So, so I say...wipe my body...”
“Di, didn't you say that you would do anything?”
“No, even then, that's—”
“S-Shut up shut up shut up! You're my slave! Listen to me!”
Blushing really hard, Rin flailed as she said that.
Ichika looked troubled as he scratched his head, and forced himself to nod his head.
“Slave or what, really you...haa, never mind. Fine.”
Though it was shocking of her to say that, it was even more shocking to hear Ichika agree with it.
But now, it meant that the embarrassment was on Rin.
Either way, she had to take her clothes off and reveal herself if she needed to wipe her body.
(U, uuwaah...wha, what...I just said it out of impulse. Thi, this, this means that I have to strip here...show, show my naked body in front of Ichika...)
The more she thought about it, the more she felt that it was shameful.
Seeing that even the ears had dyed red, Rin hurriedly hid inside the blanket.
“No, nothing at all! Turn over there, idiot!”
Then, she forced herself and threw the pillow.
Grabbing the pillow with his right hand and putting it down at Rin's waist to support her, Ichika walked to the bathroom to wet the towel.
(Wh, what, wasn't that kind of gentle...)
She shook her head around to shake that giggling expression of hers.
(Why, why did I say such a thing...)
It was already past the level of being bold.
(I, I wasn't treated as a weirdo...)
No matter how shocked or lost Ichika was, he wouldn't use that as a reason to label her as weird. She knew that.
But because this was IS Academy, the girls are as much as what the term implied. Amongst that, getting first place in affection level with Ichika would be the tough question.
(Bu, but, what is it...do, don't tell me...that idiot Ichika would treat me as someone of the opposite gender...)
Rin swallowed her little expectations and anxiety with her saliva, and put her hand on her pajamas.
(Uu, at least I should have some breasts...)
I can't think about this.
Though she does beat out Laura by a little in terms of the size, Laura, who's almost void in that aspect, was daring enough to go naked and snuggle into the bed— that was really bold.
In other words, she had to go to this extent or further.
(More than that, what should I do...what...)
Tick, tick...she undid her buttons.
As she wasn't wearing underwear in the first place, she just undid her buttons, and her breasts were revealed.
Realizing the small size of her breasts again, she felt pitiful and angry.
“I tried lots of ways...”
Rin nearly jumped up in shock the moment she heard Ichika's voice from behind. No, she jumped up softly.
“Wha, what now? Why are you so loud out of a sudden?”
“Do, don't, don't stand behind me like that!?”
“Why? Am I some kind of assassin?”
“S-Shut up shut up shut up!!”
No, you're the noisy one. Ichika thought as he held Rin's head.
Just like that, Rin went completely silent out of embarrassment.
“Then, I'll wipe from the back.”
With her upper body naked, Rin covered her breasts and turned her back on Ichika.
As it felt exceptionally alluring, Ichika's heart started to beat wildly.
However, Rin couldn't see Ichika's reaction as her back was facing him.
And at the time, Rin didn't have the luxury to observe him like this now.
Clak clak clak...
Ichika and Rin didn't say anything as time passed by.
Unlike the comfortable silence from before, it was now a delicate silence for both sides.
(Ahh, my back...feels so good...)
The icy towel wiped the skin comfortably.
Everytime it touched the warm body gently, Rin would curl up slightly due to the numbing itchiness and ecstasy.
“Oi, oi, stop making such strange sounds.”
“No, it's not really something you need to apologize about...”
In the end, they continued the silence, and three minutes later, the wiping was complete.
Ichika's pitch felt like it was higher, as his heart was racing because of the unexpected act of Rin.
“...The front too...”
“The, the front...well, wipe it...”
“Wha, what are you saying!?”
“It, it's alright, right...or, you hate girls with small breasts...?”
“Tha, that's not the point, right...”
Ichika was at his wits end on hearing the slight trembling in Rin's voice.
She was not someone who would say this normally.
What's going on? Thinking this, he felt that he couldn't leave Rin alone like this.
“Ahh, really. I got it!”
“In exchange, you can't get angry! You can't hit me or kick me!”
“Wh, what are you treating me as...”
Rin argued back, but her voice was soft.
Keeping her back at Ichika, Rin secretly glanced behind and moved the hands covering the breasts.
Of course, Ichika couldn't see them directly from behind.
But, Rin's face went all red as she bit her lips, since she felt embarrassed about having to reveal herself completely.
(The, source of this heat...source of this heat...source of this heat...)
While thinking about that, Ichika's hands gently went around to her front.
(He, he touched them...Ichika, he touched them, my breasts...)
Her heart was beating so wildly it went erratic. Right now, she was worried that her heartbeat got revealed.
But before Rin could get emotionally ready, Ichika's hands touched her breasts through the towel.
The irritating silence happened again.
Rin couldn't take this rock-gnashing-like feeling and opened her mouth.
“The, they're small, right...”
“Tha, that's not true...well,...they're nice to touch.”
“Shu, shut up.”
That exchange went around between Ichika and Rin as they blushed and continued with the wiping.
“The, then, seems like things are okay now. I'll go back to my room then.”
“U, un, thanks.”
Rin put on her clothes again and snuggled back into the blanket. She couldn't look at Ichika in the eyes due to the embarrassment.
But at the same time Ichika was looking up at a corner of the ceiling when he was talking to Rin.
Ichika hurriedly left the room.
Rin managed to take of glimpse of Ichika as he left, and he was as red as her now.
(He's blushing, which means, he realized...)
--I'm a girl.
Rin smiled happily as she used her hand to cover her rapidly beating chest, DOKI DOKI.
And then, she got taken into a gentle slumber by the sleep monster.
(I love Ichika...I won't lose to anyone. I won't.)
With this oath of love, girl, pursue forward, and run towards the battlefield—