Kimagure Orange College - Episode 30
by Stephen Tsai
 
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stsai@netcom.com (Stephen Tsai)


Kimagure Orange College

[Writer's foreword:  This is the thirtieth episode of a fan-fict series
based on the characters in Kimagure Orange Road.  They are intended to
take place after the movie, "I Want to Return to that Day", and follow
the characters Kasuga Kyosuke and Ayukawa Madoka as they start the next
phase of their lives in college.
        If you missed the previous episodes, notes about the new
characters, and previous events are listed after the ending credits.
In addition, previous episodes are available at
ftp://ftp.cs.ubc.ca/pub/archive/anime-fan-works/KOR/Kimagure-Orange-College/
        One thing I would like to say up front:  Although I have
graduated from college, my experience is in the American college system
and culture.  The span of my experience in the Japanese advanced
education system is limited to watching anime, pen pals and research.
Any mistakes, inconsistencies, etc. are neither intentional nor are
they meant to show disrespect for the Japanese education system.  In
fact, I would appreciate any constructive criticisms, corrections, and
insight any readers might offer me.  Mail all such letters, praises or
flames to mailto:koc@usagi.org.]

Episode 30 - Remember Me

[Fade in to a hospital room seventeen years ago.  A pale young woman
lies in a bed with a tearful expression on her face.  Surrounding her
are a young man with his baby son, and an older couple.  They are also
in tears.]

Chibi-Kyosuke*:  [Crying.]  Kaachan...!**
*Little Kyosuke
**Mom

Takashi:  [To Chibi-Kyosuke.]  B-be brave, Kyosuke!  For your mother's
sake!

Akemi:  [Weakly.]  My babies...are they...

Grandpa:  [Also crying, but trying to be brave.]  They're all
right...they're going to be fine.

Takashi:  [Fighting back tears as he holds Akemi's hand.]  If only we
had more time...!

Akemi:  If only...[Tears in her eyes as she looks at her baby son.]  If
only...I could...[Hand slowly goes limp.]

Grandpa:  [With his hand on her forehead.]  One day you will....  [A
tear rolls down his cheek.]  I promise.

Chibi-Kyosuke:  [Crying.]  KAACHAN!!!!

[Cut back to the present day in a restaurant.  Grandpa motions for
Kasuga to sit down, but Kasuga ignores him as he stands paralyzed with
confusion.  Sitting beside Grandpa and Grandma is a young woman
slightly younger than Kasuga.  Her long brown hair and delicate
features contrast with the expression of absolute shock on Kasuga's
pale face as the memories of the awful day from long ago echo in his
mind.]

Kasuga:  [To himself.]  M-masaka*...!  Sh-she can't be...!
*Can't be

Grandpa:  [Concerned.]  K-kyosuke!  Please sit down.  Everything will
be made clear soon.

Young woman:  That's all right...from what you've told me, I guess we
should have expected that.

Grandma:  [Calmly to Kasuga.]  She's a relative from our village who's
come to town to visit the university.

Kasuga:  A-a relative?  [To himself as he forces himself to calm down.]
I-I guess if it were her, she'd be quite a bit older by now.  [Manages
to compose himself.]  I-I suppose you're right...

Grandpa:  [Jovially smacks Kasuga in the back.]  Of course we're right!
Sit down!

[As the evening passes...]

Grandpa:  ...so you see, we'd like you to take her around with you
tomorrow.  Show her university life and what do you have to deal with.
She left her home because she was curious to meet you and see what your
life is like.

Kasuga:  Really?  But almost no one leaves the village.

Grandma:  That's not entirely true and you know it.  Besides, with
society changing as it is, it may not be possible to remain secluded
forever.  [Drinks her tea.]  Our older ways are fading away like the
snow in spring; it's up to the younger people like you to see that we
don't lose our identity.

Young woman:  I would very much like to get to know you.  It would
be...my fondest dream.

Kasuga:  F-fondest dream...?  What do...?

Grandpa:  Whoa...it's getting late!  You two better get going.  I'm
sure you'll have a long day ahead.

Kasuga:  Eh?

Grandpa:  [Jovially.]  Oh my...I guess I forgot to mention it; she's
staying with you tonight!

Kasuga:  EH?!?  [Blushes.]

Grandma:  [Nods and smiles.]  That's right.  We wanted you two to get
to know each other better.  Besides, Kyosuke, you're not into that
stuff, are you?

Kasuga:  [Embarrassed.]  O-obaachan...!

Young woman:  Daijoubu* Kyosuke.  I trust you completely.
*It's OK.

Kasuga:  [Nods.]  Aa, ah...[Stands up, then stops.]  By the way, what's
your name?

Young woman:  Akemi.

Kasuga:  [Freezes for a moment.]  ...

[After saying farewell to grandparents, Kasuga and Akemi leave.]

[Cut to Kasuga's room at Seishun-kan.  Kasuga and Akemi are laid out on
the floor side-by-side in futons.  The soft glow of the digital clock
silently counts as the minutes and hours go by, but neither one of them
can sleep.]

Kasuga:  I-I just wanted to apologize for acting so strange at the
restaurant.

Akemi:  Don't worry about it.  [Pause.]  Do I... really look like her?

Kasuga:  [Pause.]  I... you see, I don't really remember her that well.

Akemi:  You... don't?

Kasuga:  [Nods.]  Well, I was two when....  [Pause.]  To be honest, I
haven't thought about her in a long time.  [Long pause.]  Not since I
was able to accept what happened.

Akemi:  Eh?  When was this?

Kasuga:  Well...when I was about four, the family was spending the O-
bon festival at the village.  I remember still feeling bad about her
passing and...a part of me was still blaming my sisters for her death.
While everyone else was trying to celebrate, I was sitting off by
myself.  I was...kind of confused on how I was supposed to feel.  But
then, one of the relatives came over to see how I was doing.  When I
told him how I felt, he talked to me.

Akemi:  Who was he?

Kasuga:  [Long pause.]  I never found out.  One of my uncles, I think.
Anyway, for some reason, there was something about him that made me
trust him.  I let my feelings pour out and he listened and tried to
comfort me.  He explained that he just recently lost someone very dear
to him, too.  He tried to teach me that life and death are part of the
same cycle.  He said that while my mom's death was tragic, I shouldn't
blame my sisters for it.  It wasn't fair to them and...mom would have
never wanted that.

Akemi:  [To herself.]  Kawaisou*...
*Poor, unfortunate

Kasuga:  Even though I wasn't feeling like it then, he promised that
one day, I'd learn to deal with the grief without losing my memories
and that things would get better.

Akemi:  It sounds like he was trying to offer you words of courage.

Kasuga:  [Nods.]  Un.  It wasn't until a few years later that I fully
understood what he said, and I tried to find him.  I wanted to thank
him for helping me.  [Regretfully.]  I never saw him again.  But I
never forgot what he said either.

[Cut to the next morning.  As Kasuga awakens, he turns to see the
adjoining futon empty.  As he stands up, a look outside his window
facing the front porch confirms that the visit wasn't a dream as he
sees Akemi downstairs talking to the other tenants.  In his room,
Kasuga starts dressing in silence.]

Kasuga Narration:  I haven't thought about my mother since that time
two years ago when Ayukawa and I visited her grave on the island.
Since then, I've tried to go on with my life and put the past behind
me.  Sometimes though, life doesn't seem to let me do that...

[Kasuga heads downstairs without a sound.  Before he arrives, he hears
Akemi's voice along with several others.  He stops to listen.]

Egami:  ...a slacker, I tell you!  Always so indecisive!  I tell you,
what he needs is a good kick in the pants!

Kasuga:  [To himself.]  Yaro*...!
*<Netiquette violator>

Fujimoto:  [Calmly.]  Now, now, Isamu-san.  Kasuga-san hasn't been late
with his rent in over a year, has he?  Don't you think that deserves
some consideration?

Egami:  [Grumbles.]  Well...

Fujimoto:  [To Akemi.]  So you're a relative of Kasuga-san?  [Looks
closer.]  You do bear a strong resemblance to him.

Akemi:  [Nods.]  Un, I'm here to visit him for the day.

Fujimoto:  It's true that sometimes he's absent-minded...

Yoko:  [Deadpan.]  Sometimes?

Fujimoto:  ...but I'm glad that Eiji has such an honest role-model.

Akemi:  It's good to hear that he's such a good boy!

Eiji:  [Comes out of door #3.]  Yoko-oneechan*, I'm ready!  Okaasan,
itte kimasu**!
*Older sister or female friend
**Mom, we're leaving

Fujimoto:  Chotto matte ne*...[Looks Eiji over and straightens his
school uniform.]
*Just a minute

Eiji:  [Squirms.]  Okaasan, you're embarrassing me!

[Akemi pauses and looks at Eiji and Fujimoto with sadness, then quickly
looks away.]

[Cut to Room #4.  Upstairs, Tanaka's eyes narrow as he watches Kasuga
and Akemi walking towards the bus stop.  He pauses, lights a cigarette,
and smiles.]

Tanaka:  Omoshiroi*...[Takes a puff of smoke.]  I wonder what Ayukawa
will think when she finds out how Kasuga spent last night...
*Interesting

[Cut to the city bus enroute to Butsumetsu University.  Crowded with
students and salarymen, the bus accelerates towards the main
thoroughfare leading to town.  Inside, people talk amongst themselves
in small groups.]

Akemi:  So, what are you supposed to do today?  It's a school holiday,
isn't it?

Kasuga:  Well, I'm going to meet a couple of friends at the student
union.  You see, our classes changed for the new semester and we're
going to look at our schedules so we can set aside some time to study
together.

Akemi:  It's good to have friends to study with.

Kasuga:  Un.  Kimura Keiko and Katsu Ritsu have become close friends
since I started college.  Ayukawa thinks so too.

Akemi:  Ayukawa?

Kasuga:  Ayukawa Madoka.  I met her in junior high.  She's...someone
very special.

Akemi:  [Muses.]  Kimura-san and Ayukawa-san...  [Smiles.]  So, which
one of them is your girlfriend?

Kasuga:  [Blushes.]  A-akemi-san... We probably shouldn't talk about
this stuff in public....

[Cut to Ayukawa's apartment.  Inside, Ayukawa goes over her schedule as
she finishes getting ready for the day.  As she leaves the building,
she nearly runs into Tanaka.]

Ayukawa:  Ah...suimasen*.
*Excuse me

Tanaka:  [Politely.]  Not at all.  Ohayo gozaimasu*, Ayukawa-san.
Allow me to compliment on how... fresh you look... especially
considering last night.
*Good morning

Ayukawa:  ... I'm not sure I understand you.  What about last night?

Tanaka:  Well, you know how thin are the walls at Seishun-kan.  During
the whole last night, I've heard Kasuga-kun talking to someone...
someone female.  Since I was sure only you would be spending a night at
his place, I naturally assumed....  Forgive me for being presumptuous
if this is not the case.

Ayukawa:  [Frowns.]  Ahh...

[Cut to the student union.  On the main floor, small kiosks offer
everything from coffee to photocopy services.  As Kasuga and Akemi
enter, they are drawn towards one of the tables by familiar faces.]

Kimura:  Kyo-chan!  [Waves her arm.]  Kotchi, kotchi*!
*Over here

Kasuga:  [To Akemi.]  There they are.  [To Katsu and Kimura as he and
Akemi approach the table and sit down.]  Minna*, this is Akemi-san.
She's a relative visiting from my grandparents' village.
*Everyone

Akemi:  [Bows.]  Dozo yoroshiku onegaishimasu*.
*Please to meet you

Katsu:  Yoroshiku.  So, are you Kasuga's cousin?

Akemi:  Ah...well...it's difficult to explain.

Katsu:  [Casually.]  Heiki, heiki*.  Don't worry about it.  [To
Kasuga.]  So, are your classes finalized?
*That's alright

Kasuga:  Un.  I've got my major courses in the morning this semester.
I'm going to be tied up with the school newspaper in the afternoons.

Katsu:  That fine.  Most of my labs are going to be in the afternoon.

Kimura:  Eh?  Kyo-chan is working on the school newspaper?

Kasuga:  Un.  It's a big step.  So, what does your schedule look like?

Kimura:  [Excitedly.]  Aa!  I'm taking some advanced math courses just
like Kajiyama-sensei promised!  I'm in a research class with one of the
professors in the math department!

Kasuga:  Hontou da?  Sugee*!
*Really?  Wow

Kimura:  Un!  Hokusai-sensei asked if I want to work with him, and
Kajiyama-sensei said it was OK!  We're working on the Taniyama-Shimura
conjecture, plus maybe we'll use the Langlands and Tunnell's theo...

Katsu:  [To himself.]  Here we go...

Kasuga:  [Starts to sweat.]  Ahh...what's that?

Kimura:  Oh, that's very simple!  It was first suggested by Taniyama
Yutaka around 1955 and states that all semistable elliptic curves with
rational coefficients are modular.  Kakkoii ne*?!
*Isn't it cool

Katsu:  [Nods.]  Ah, un.  Kakkoii.

Kasuga:  [Nods.]  Un.  So, what else is going on this semester?

Katsu:  [Puts hand behind head.]  Well, Egami's announcing a rent
increase, so I'm going to have to find a job now.  Maybe you can put in
a good word for me at Chez Kooun.

Kasuga:  [Slightly nervous but nods.]  Aa...sure...if you'd like.

Kimura:  [Slightly down.]  My parents don't want me to get a job.
They're worried it will distract from my studies.

Katsu:  That's too bad...[Thinks for a moment.]  You know what?  You'd
make a perfect waitress for Chez Kooun.

Kimura:  Me?

Kasuga:  [Concerned.]  Oi, oi.  Her parents might not approve!  [To
himself.]  In fact, I'm sure they won't.

Katsu:  The last time I was there, Aoki-san mentioned that Hitomi-san
and Naoko-san would be leaving because they're going to be starting
juken* classes for their senior year.  [To himself.]  Besides, this
would be my chance!
*Cram school for college entrance exams

[Fade to imagination.]

Kimura:  [Romantically.]  Ritsu-san, would you please go out with me?
The truth is...you've always been my "special someone".

Katsu:  [Holds Kimura's hand while flipping an entree on the grill.]
H-hontou da?

Customer 1:  [From the outside dining area.]  Oi!  How about some
service?!?

[Fade back to reality.]

Katsu:  [To himself.]  Kampeki da*...
*It's perfect

Sakurai:  [Walks up towards their table.]  Oi minna!  Genki kai*?
*Hey everybody!  How's it going?

Kimura:  [Blushes.]  Sakurai-sempai*!
*Senior student

Katsu:  [To himself as the imaginary scene shatters.]  Che*...
*Mild Japanese expression of disappointment/irritation

Sakurai:  [To Kasuga.]  And who is this lovely young lady?  [Faked
stern expression while waving finger.]  Kasuga-san, I didn't take you
for the kind of person who would two-time a girl.  Especially if one of
them is Ayukaw--

Kasuga:  [Indignantly.]  Oi, oi!  It's not what it looks like!

Kimura:  [Brightly.]  Akemi-san is Kyo-chan's cousin!

Akemi:  [Slightly embarrassed.]  Well, not really...

Sakurai:  [Smiles.]  Eh?  I would have never guessed that Kasuga-san's
cousin would be such a beautiful young lady.  How about I take you
someplace to get lunch?

Kimura:  [Despondently.]  But you promised you'd take me to lunch.

Sakurai:  Oh, of course.  How silly of me!  Hahahah...

Katsu:  [Grumbles.]  ...

[Cut to the student-run cafe on campus.  Several tables stand out in
the open.  The lunch hour is almost over, so there's no one here.
Kasuga and Akemi choose a table and sit down.]

Akemi:  So you're with the school newspaper?

Kasuga:  Un.  A friend of mine helped me get the position.  I'm just
starting, so right now I'm one of the junior writers with the sports
desk.

Akemi:  Really?  It sounds exciting. Do you like it?

Kasuga:  Well... yeah.

Akemi:  Eh?  Is something wrong?  You don't sound too sure.

Kasuga:  Umm... I... you see....  [Sighs.]  I don't even know how to
say this.  You see... there's one guy whom I have to interview every
now and then...  [Akemi nods with understanding.]  I mean, he seems to
be a pretty nice guy, but, still... I can't help but feel envious... or
maybe even jealous.  I don't even know what to think or what to do.

Akemi:  That's true...  Sometimes you have to use your judgement on
important decisions.  But you have so many good friends.  I'm sure they
can help you as well.  [Takes Kasuga's hand.]  Whatever you decide, I'm
sure you will do what you feel is best.

Kasuga:  A-akemi-san...

Ayukawa:  [From behind Kasuga.]  So here you are!  I looked all over
town for you!

Kasuga:  A-ayukawa...!

Ayukawa:  [Harshly.]  When I heard about it, I didn't want to believe
it!  If you didn't want to have lunch with me, then I could accept
that.  But did you really sleep with her as well?

Kasuga:  [Starts blushing.]  Ch-chigau yo*!  K-koko ha**...!  I
mean...nothing really happened!
*Mistake (lit:  False)
**This is

Ayukawa:  [Hurt expression.]  I see... then you *did* spend the night
with her.

Kasuga:  [Shakes head vigorously.]  Damedamedame*!  What really
happened was... well...
*Nonono

Ayukawa:  [Bitterly.]  Yes?  Can't think of anything?  Just say some
neat and convenient lie, like that she's your long-lost cousin or
something.

Kasuga:  B...but, Ayukawa, she *is* my relative, on my mother's side,
and...

Ayukawa:  Oh, really?  So you're telling me she knows of your little
family secret and you wouldn't mind if I tell her?

[Akemi looks at Ayukawa sharply for a second.]

Kasuga:  Uhh...

Akemi:  [Sighs.  Almost to herself.]  I told otoosama this wouldn't
work.

Kasuga:  Ehh?

Akemi:  [Softly.]  Of course I know that he's an ESPer, Ayukawa-san.
I'm more surprised that *you* know that.

Ayukawa:  [Lost.  To Kasuga.]  Did... did you tell her about that as
well...?

Akemi:  [Shakes her head.]  No, of course he didn't.  [Sighs.  Calmly.]
As a matter of fact, it was me who told him about our powers.  [Both
Ayukawa and Kasuga look at Akemi without comprehension.]  You see, he
did tell you the truth - I *am* his relative; and nothing happened
between us last night.  But he didn't tell you all the truth, because
he didn't know it.  You see...Kasuga Kyosuke...is my son.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

[Cut to the Tendou residence in the Nerima district of Tokyo.  In his
bedroom, Genma is sleeping under the lit lamp.  Suddenly, the lamp
flickers and goes out.]

Genma:  [Fearfully.]  Sh-shimatta*!
*Oh shoot!

[Genma quickly gets out of his futon and scrambles downstairs.  Looking
outside, he sees all of Tokyo under power blackout.  With
determination, he pulls up a hidden panel under the floor.  He then
takes the stairs down to a secret basement filled with heavy machinery.
Inside, he sees P-chan sitting on a treadmill in a cage as Kasumi
finishes cleaning up the room.  In the center of the room, there is a
lighted pedestal with nothing on it.]

Genma:  Taihen da*!
*Terrible

[As Kasumi watches with confusion, Genma opens a hidden refrigerator
door, pulls out a bottle of Budweiser with a picture of Ranma making a
face at the reader.  He puts it on the pedestal, then stands back.]

P-chan:  [Angrily at the bottle's picture.]  Bwee...!  Bwee...!
[Starts running towards the bottle, which starts the treadmill moving
again.]

[Outside, power comes back to Tokyo.]

Genma:  [Wipes brow with relief as he pops another bottle of beer.]
Whew...!

[Writer's note:  Standard Disclaimer.]

[END COMMERCIAL BREAK]

[Cut to the cafe.  Ayukawa stands frozen in shock.  Kasuga pales at the
pronouncement, but manages to maintain his composure.]

Ayukawa:  [Shocked.]  B-but how...?  You're younger than he is!  We've
visited her grave!  You...

Akemi:  Well...it's difficult to explain.  You see...[Looks away with
uncertainty.]

Kasuga:  [Noticing Akemi's hesitation.]  Daijoubu Ake- ah,
okaasan...[To himself as he pauses.]  That sounds so strange for me to
say....  [To Akemi.]  I...don't keep secrets from Ayukawa anymore.

Akemi:  [Surprised.]  R-really?  [Relieved.]  Well, then that makes it
much easier.  Let's see...where do I start...

[Fade to 17 years ago.  The scene of tragedy replays as Grandpa gently
holds dying Akemi's hand.  He tries to be strong as Takashi does his
best for Chibi-Kasuga's sake, but can't stop from breaking down in
tears.]

Akemi voiceover:  The last thing I remember was the feeling
of...sadness.  Not just for myself but for the pain my passing would
cause.  I remember thinking to myself, "Now I'll never know what
Kyosuke will become.  I'll never be there for him."  [Pauses.]  And my
father knew what I wished for.

[Show Grandpa with his hand on Akemi's forehead and quietly
concentrating.]

Akemi voiceover:  Before I died, he did what I didn't even think was
possible, even for someone as powerful as him.  He read my mind - all
of it:  my memories, my feelings, my... soul if you will.  You see, he
was determined that... he was going to do whatever it took to fulfill
my last wish.

[Flashback of Grandpa praying for strength in front of a village Shinto
temple.]

Akemi VO:  He couldn't place my memories anywhere else, so...

[Cut to Grandpa, still dressed as in the hospital scene, materializing
next to his house in the village.  He turns around the corner and sees
Akemi.  She looks younger.  There's a bird with the bandaged ankle
hopping nearby.]

Akemi VO:  He went back in time and talked to me - I was only 18, and
just met Takashi.  I didn't really understand him then, but I trusted
him.  So he put my older memories into my body - and brought me here,
seventeen years after my death.

[Cut back to the present.]

Akemi:  [Smiles sadly.]  This explains why I don't look 35 now, doesn't
it?

Kasuga:  [Nods.]  So - what... now?

Akemi:  [Simply.]  I will have to go back.  18-year-old me needs her
body.

Kasuga:  But what will happen to those memories?  And what about the
current ones?  From today and yesterday?

Akemi:  It... well... they came from seventeen years ago.  Maternity
ward, room 108.  But where they go... it depends.

Kasuga:  Wh-what do you mean?  Is there a choice?

Akemi:  [Silent for a moment.]  We all have our choices.

Kasuga:  ...

Ayukawa:  Th-that's really some story.  Even for ESPer powers, that has
to be the most impressive feat I've heard of.

Akemi:  That's true.  To be honest, I'm a little surprised that you
know about our family secret.

Kasuga:  Well, like I told you before, Ayukawa is very special.

Akemi:  I'm sure.  H-how did you two meet?

Kasuga:  We met in junior high.  Our family had just changed schools
and I was trying to adapt to a new town.

Ayukawa:  Kasuga-kun was the second person in town to... to be kind to
me.  You see...there was a time when I was involved with some bad
people.  The truth is...if I hadn't met Kasuga-kun, I probably wouldn't
be attending college.  [Looks thoughtful.]

Kasuga:  [Blushing.]  A-ayukawa.  You did a lot of that yourself....

Akemi:  It sounds like...you two do have something special.

Ayukawa:  [Nods.]  I met him for the first time on...[Shakes her head.]
no, that was the second time, I guess.  [Smiles, then laughs.]  When
ESPers time-travel, things can get confusing!

Kasuga:  [Shakes head.]  Not really, Ayukawa...  For me, the moment on
the stairs was our first time.

Ayukawa:  [Shakes head.]  No, it was our second.  [Thinks, then smiles
again.]  Just like 99 1/2 stairs... [Pauses for a moment and looks at
Akemi.]  You know what?  You two actually do look similar.

Akemi:  Really?

Ayukawa:  [Nods.]  Un.  There's the eyes... and maybe the smile.
And... [Notices something.]  Say, what kind of pendant is that?

Akemi:  What?  You mean this one?

[She holds her pendant on the palm of her hand.  The finely engraved
pattern on them resembles two intertwined snakes, eating on each
other's tail.]

Ayukawa:  That's a very interesting design.  [Long pause.]  Well, I
have a music rehearsal to attend this afternoon and...I'm sure you two
have a lot to talk about.  [Stands up, turns around, then stops.]
Kasuga-kun...I'm sorry I thought you were cheating.  After all we went
through...I should have known better.  [Leaves.]

Akemi:  I can see why you consider her special.  I remember how I felt
when I first got to know Taka...[Trails off.]

Kasuga:  Otoosan?

Akemi:  [To herself.]  It really was just like this...  [Looks at
Kasuga, then looks away.]  What it would be like to see it all over
again...this time with Kyosuke and Madoka...  [Starts to cry.]  D-do I
really want to go through with it?

Kasuga:  O-okaasan, d-daijoubu?

Akemi:  Kyosuke...have you ever had to make a difficult decision
where...either choice you made would hurt someone?

Kasuga:  Eh?  What do you mean by that?

Akemi:  Well... I mean....  [Sighs.]  Tell me, Kyosuke, what do you
think about your sisters?  Are the three of you close?

Kasuga:  My sisters?  Well, Kurumi and Manami are sometimes a handful.
I have to admit that sometimes they can make my life
more...ahh...interesting.  But when it comes right down to it, they're
still family.  We've helped each other out a number of times and the
truth is, I think I'm a better person, having looked after them from
time to time.  Which reminds me, I still haven't got them a birthday
present....

Akemi:  "A better person"...[Smiles.]  I see.

Kasuga:  The truth is...if not for them...I might not have had the
strength to do... what was right.  [Seeing Akemi's confusion.]  You
see, not too long ago, I did face a difficult decision.

Akemi:  What choice was that?

Kasuga:  Well...when I was in junior-high, there was...another friend
who was very close to Ayukawa and me.  But when we were about to
graduate and I had to choose...  [Stops, then continues.]  You see, I
knew that no matter which one I chose, someone was going to be hurt.
What made it worse was that a lot of it was my own fault, because of my
own indecisiveness.

Akemi:  How did you make your choice?

Kasuga:  [Long pause.]  I made the only choice I could.  It was the
choice my heart told me was the right one...[Long pause.] no matter how
much it cost me...

Akemi:  [Pause.]  Do you have any regrets?

Kasuga:  [Nods.]  I've always had some regrets...about what I did, and
the mistakes I made.  Recently I was able to go back and put some of
the pain behind m...us.  But...if I had to do it again...well...I think
I would have made the same choice.  [Stops.]  I guess a lot of this
doesn't make much sense.

Akemi:  [Smiles.]  Not at all... it makes a lot of sense.  In fact,
you've been a great help to me.

Kasuga:  Eh?

Akemi:  You see, Kyosuke...I'm...facing a very difficult choice.  One
that can...will...change the direction of my life.  A part of
me...wasn't sure I would have the courage...to do what I felt was
right.  But...I want to follow your example.  [Looks up to the sky.]
Follow my heart to make the decision I feel is right.

Kasuga:  [Fearfully.]  Wh-what are you talking about?

Akemi:  [With more determination.]  You'll see, Kyosuke.

[At this moment, the clock in the tower chimes five o'clock.  Akemi
looks around at the lengthening evening shadows and shudders.]

Akemi:  Kyosuke... I think we should go.

Kasuga:  Where?

Akemi:  To the train station.  I promised to meet my father there.
He... he will take me back.

Kasuga:  Do... do you have to go?

[Akemi silently nods.]

Kasuga:  [Gets up.]  Then, I guess, we should leave.  When do you have
to be there?  We can take a bus or we can walk; it's not that far.

Akemi:  I still have some time; let's walk.

[Kasuga nods.  Akemi gets up and they leave the campus.  Akemi looks
around.]

Akemi:  [Points at a peaceful looking street, lined with blooming
cherry trees.]  Can we take that street?

Kasuga:  Yes, it's in the right direction.

[They enter the street.  Immediately, the blooming cherry trees obscure
the bustle of the city, muting the traffic noise as well.  The street
is empty, and there is no one else in sight.  Kasuga and Akemi walk in
silence for a while.  The gust of wind rushes around them and the tree
branches tremble.  A white shower of cherry petals descends upon Kasuga
and Akemi.]

Akemi:  [Looks up.]  Kirei, ne*?
*Aren't they beautiful

Kasuga:  [Nods.]  Very.  [Hesitantly.]  Do you... really have
to...leave?  I mean...couldn't you stay just a little longer?  I
mean...there's so much I want to tell you...

Akemi:  [Nods sadly.]  Un.  There's so much I would like to hear and
say as well.  Kyosuke, I know that...this day has been only a slice of
what your life is like.  Believe me when I say that...I'd like nothing
more than to be with you for the rest of my life.  But...I can't...

Kasuga:  Demo...naze da...*?
*But why

Akemi:  Because of you, Kyosuke...and your courage.

Kasuga:  Eh?

Akemi:  Remember when you said, "I made the only choice I could... the
choice my heart told me was the right one, no matter how much it cost
me..."  You made me realize that... no matter how much I may have
wanted to do so, my dilemma had only one real choice.  I must follow
through with my destiny.

Kasuga:  [Fearfully.]  D-destiny...?  [Thinks for a moment.]  M-
masaka...*
*It can't be

Akemi:  [Holds Kasuga's hand.]  I know it sounds unfair.  But...what
kind of person would I be if I put myself before my own children?  Life
and death are part of the same cycle.

Kasuga:  Life and death?  You mean...

Akemi:  [Nods.]  Un...you remember what happened...many years ago.  But
from that tragedy, your sisters were born.  [Long pause.]  I know it
must be difficult for you.  I can't begin to apologize for the pain I
know it must be.  But...no matter what happens, please don't think less
of me.

Kasuga:  [Long pause, then nods.]  Un... yakusoku yo*.
*Promise

Akemi:  You see, Kyosuke, if I don't choose the path destiny had laid
out, then Kurumi and Manami would have never been born.

Kasuga:  [Beginning to understand.]  Then...then...the choice you were
talking about...was...your life or theirs?

Akemi:  [Nods.]  Un.  One life...or two.  Kyosuke, when I see you now,
I have a million reasons to want to live my life.  To watch you and
Madoka-san grow together...spending my years with your father... just
being alive.  But Kurumi and Manami...their entire lives are ahead of
them...I'm sure they have even more reasons.

Kasuga:  I...[Looks downcast.] I guess I understand.  Okaasan - I... I
admire you.  I didn't think anyone could be that selfless.

[The wind picks up; more cherry blossoms are falling down.]

Akemi:  [Shakes her head.]  It's just that I see the things clearer
now.  [Pauses.]  Death is much less scary if you see it up close.  When
the body is dying, all the fears are running away, like the rats from
the sinking ship.  But something remains, like the captain, till the
very end.  Call it soul, if you will.

Kasuga:  But - what about the desire to live?  An instinct?  Can you
really turn it off?

Akemi:  [Firmly.]  Yes.  Because that's what makes me human - not the
fact that I am alive; but the fact that I can sacrifice my life for
another.

Kasuga:  Two lives.

[Akemi nods.  By now, they are walking in a constant shower of white
fluttering petals, descending on earth.]

Akemi:  Did you see my pendant?  The one with two snakes?  [Kasuga
nods.]  I always liked it: two snakes, biting on each others tail.
This is the way I see life and death - now, that I've seen both.  They
are like two snakes - and when they eat themselves, life and death
become one.  [Looks up.]  Like these cherry blossoms.  They die, to
give birth to fruit.  Fruit drops the pit, which bears another tree;
and the tree blooms.  [Smiles.]  I hope I don't sound like I'm
preaching - because I'm not, really.  I'm trying to convince myself
rather than you.

Kasuga:  [Nods and pauses.]  It is still... unfair.  Why do you have to
go!?

Akemi:  [Simply.]  Because I fell in love with your father.

Kasuga:  W..what?

Akemi:  There's an old saying in my village that ESPer/non-ESPer
couples won't do well.  I think it might be so because we're not...
entirely compatible.  My father tried to stop me from marrying Takashi
because he knew of the dangers.  So I wanted to ask you...

Kasuga:  Y..yes?

Akemi:  ...please be careful with Madoka-san.  I would hate it if what
happened to me would happen to her as well.

[Kasuga nods, gloomily.  They reach the end of the alley and enter the
busy street.  Kasuga walks ahead, while Akemi stops for a while and
looks back into the cherry lane, where the flutter of petals is dying
out.  Then she sighs and catches up with Kasuga.]

Kasuga:  Wait!  [Pulls on Akemi's hand.]  There's one thing that I want
to do.  I want something to remember you by.

[Akemi looks where he's pointing.  She nods and they enter the photo
booth.  Kasuga drops a coin into a slot, and the booth starts taking
pictures.]

[Flash!]

Akemi:  I'm glad you thought of this.

[Flash!]

Kasuga:  I just wanted a picture of you and me - before you go.

[Flash!]

Akemi:  [Nods.]  Yes - before I... go.  Back, to 1971.

[Flash!]

Kasuga:  1971?

Akemi:  Yes... the year your sisters were born.

[Flash!]

[Cut to the Butsumetsu train station.  The sun is beginning to descend
from the sky and the activity of the train station is increasing due to
the large number of working people returning from their respective
offices.  Amid the crowd, Kasuga and Akemi wait on the bench.]

Akemi:  [Looks at the clock in the train station.]  Otoosama should be
here in a few minutes.

[Kasuga nods.  For a few seconds, they sit next to each other on the
bench, unsure of what to say.  Then Kasuga yawns.]

Akemi:  [Smiles at him.]  Tired?

Kasuga:  Uh, no.  Just sleepy.  And you?

Akemi:  I'm sleepy, too.  We were up for almost all night, after all.

Kasuga:  [Nods.]  Do you mind - if - if I take a nap?  Just for a
minute.

Akemi:  [Smiles.]  Be my guest.  You can put your head in my lap.

Kasuga:  [Blushes.]  O...okaasan...

Akemi:  What, are you afraid to be personal in public?

Kasuga:  [Pauses.]  I... I guess it doesn't really matter.

[He puts his head down in Akemi's lap and closes his eyes.]

Akemi:  [Looks down at him wistfully.  Quietly.]  That's just how it
used to be, Kyosuke.  Seventeen years ago for you; yesterday for me.
You're still my little boy, Kyosuke.  [Pauses and rocks him gently,
humming an old lullaby.]  Kyosuke?  Kyosuke?  [Smiles.]  You're asleep.
You always fell asleep really fast.

Voice:  You too, Akemi.

[Akemi looks up and sees Grandpa who looks wistfully at her and
Kasuga.]

Grandpa:  You also used to sleep in my lap, years ago.

Akemi:  I don't remember.

Grandpa:  I do; although it had been more time since then for me.
[Pause.]  So - have you decided?

Akemi:  [Nods.  Quietly.]  Yes.  I'm going - back.

Grandpa:  Are you...really sure you're going to go through with it?

Akemi:  Otoosama...I think you knew in your heart what my choice would
be.

Grandpa:  [Looks down.]  Call it a father's last hope.  Before you
go... I want you to know that... what you're doing... I think it's very
brave.  Kurumi and Manami... well... I'm sure you would have been proud
to see how they turned out as well.

Akemi:  Then what I did... what I will do... I'll have no regrets.
Kyosuke... he's everything I had hoped for... and more....

Grandpa:  I want you to know that... if there were any other way... I
would have...

Akemi:  Please.  Don't make this harder....  I know in my heart that
you would do anything for me.  But you can't blame yourself because
you've done more than enough.  You've already given me so much more
than I could have hoped.  A chance to see my son... and the man he will
become.

[Kasuga stirs and opens his eyes.]

Grandpa:  Well, I'm just in time, I see.  I hope you two had a good
time!  [Stops when he sees their expressions.]  I see...

Kasuga:  [Gets up and looks at Grandpa with mixture of confusion and
regret.]  Why...why didn't you tell me who she was...?!?

Grandpa:  I was hoping to spare you the pain of reliving it.  [Sees
Kasuga's skepticism.]  I knew this wouldn't be a long-term matter.
What's more, if too many people knew, there would have been chaos and
all of destiny would have been threatened.

Kasuga:  What do you mean by "destiny threatened"?

Grandpa:  Akemi had to make her *own* choice.  [Looks sad.]  Deep in my
heart, I knew what it would be....  If everyone knew, they would have
done everything they could to convince her to stay.

[Pause.  The clock chimes six.]

Grandpa:  [Looks up.]  It's time to go.

[Akemi gets up from the bench and three of them stand in silence amid
the lengthening shadows.]

Kasuga:  [Pleading.]  Can you stay... for a little more?  Please?

Akemi:  [Shakes her head.]  The more time I spend with you, the harder
it would be for me to leave.  [Smiles at him.]  You know, all depends
on the right point of view.  Think of it as me tricking death - and
getting another day to leave.  So - in the end, I win.

Kasuga:  [Quietly.]  But you're going to die.

Akemi:  No.  I already did.  Seventeen years ago, in a snow-white
hospital bed.  Maternity ward, room 108.  Nothing can happen to me
anymore.

Kasuga:  [Pauses.]  Okaasan... are you trying to convince yourself
again?

[Akemi looks at him and does not reply.  The three of them walk towards
the departure area, where other passengers are already boarding the
train.]

Akemi:  Kyosuke... before we leave... could you promise a couple of
things for me?

Kasuga:  [Nods.]  Anything.

Akemi:  Please don't tell your sisters.  I don't want them to go
through the burden of knowing... the choice that had to be made.
[Kasuga nods.]  By the way, you mentioned that you didn't get a present
for their birthday.

Kasuga:  Yes?

Akemi:  [Smiles.]  You should consider yourself partly responsible for
their lives now.  You helped me to make the right choice.  You can
think of it as a present you gave them.

Kasuga:  Uhh... I see.

Akemi:  Please take care of them, ok?

Kasuga:  [Nods.]  Un.  And?

Akemi:  Please promise me another thing.  I'm... even more afraid of
being forgotten than of dying.  Please, Kyosuke - try to remember me...

Kasuga:  [Leans forwards to kiss her.]  I'll never forget you....

PA:  This is a last boarding call for the Chuu-oo train, departing from
track two with stops at Higashi-Nakano, Kouenji, and Ogikubo.

[Kasuga stands back as he watches Grandpa and Akemi board the train
heading northward.  His hand clutches the photos.]

Kasuga Narration:  I stood there for a long time, watching them leave.
I couldn't help but wonder... what might have been if... things had
been different.  How my life would have turned out.  Somewhere, in the
back of my mind, I've always wondered what okaasan would have said to
me about...the choices I made with my life.  Maybe now...I can take
comfort in knowing that she approves....

[Akemi and Grandpa turn and look back at Kasuga from the train
entrance.  As the train doors come to a close, Kasuga puts his hand on
the glass sliding door, as Akemi puts hers on the opposite side.  Then
she says just two words, which Kasuga can't hear through the glass.
But he sees her lips move soundlessly.]

Akemi:  Remember me.

END CREDITS

New Character Designer/Writer           Stephen Tsai
Co-writer                               Vladimir Zelevinsky
Pre-readers                             Bob Carragher
                                        Greg Dreher
                                        Herbert Fung
Very special thanks to                  Hitoshi Doi

A tip of the hat and a deep bow to      Matsumoto Izumi for starting
the whole thing

If I left anyone off, my apologies.  Any mistakes/embarrassing faux pas
are entirely my own.  If there is anything here you must flame, mail
them to mailto:stsai@netcom.com.

Thank you for taking the time to read this episode of my series.  If
you are interested, previous episodes should be available at
ftp://ftp.cs.ubc.ca/pub/archive/anime-fan-works/KOR/Kimagure-Orange-College/
site.  I've got the next episode in the works.

Hope you enjoyed it and thanks again!

-- 
Kimagure Productions|P-chan:  [Suspiciously.]  Minna, I sensed dark
    --present--     |energy from that girl!
 Orange College #30 |
  Sailor Ranma #18  |Ranko:  [Disdainfully.]  Again?  Don't you think
   *Coming Soon*    |you've spread enough ugly rumors about innocent
Stephen Tsai        |people?
stsai@netcom.com    |Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Ranma #16

http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Ginza/1604/
 

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