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Chapter One: Before All That Weird Shit Starts Happening
Pete Carter. A dull name for a dull person. Why couldn't his parents have picked something more interesting, like Zachary or Zebediah, or maybe Ezekiel? Anything with a 'z'. He liked the letter 'z'.
Pete leaned back in his chair, glancing over at the clock that was counting down the time remaining until four. He couldn't focus on the lecture being given by his history teacher. Who could? Why did Mr. Jackson have to get the bright idea to lecture a class full of jittery high schoolers on one of the most boring subjects in the world - the life and times of some unremarkable French dictator - on this day, the last day until summer break? And why bother even trying to expend his effort on the last class of the day? No other teacher would ever think of doing something as dull as that for the last ever class period of the year.
Except for Mr. Jackson, of course. Pete didn't expect anything less from him. I might be an uninteresting person, thought he, but at least I'm not like Mr. Jackson. The worst part about him was that he expected all of his students to give him their full, undivided attention. Whenever he got to a somewhat less dull part of the tale, he would always have to interrupt himself in order to bring peace to the classroom. This made anyone actually interested in the subject lose focus quickly as Jackson tried to establish order once again. Honestly, if the man had to be played in a movie for some reason, he would be played by Ben Stine.
Oh man. I'm so boring that I can't even think of anything else on the last day of school except for how dull Mr. Jackson is. In fact, I should be getting excited for tomorrow!
The next day wasn't just the first day of the summer holidays. It was also the day of Pete's first ever trip to Japan. The best part was that it was technically a school trip, meaning the school paid for it in full and he could go with all his friends that were interested! In fact, most of his friends were going to be going on the trip, except for a few that either couldn't make it or felt that "China is a vastly superior country". Oh, silly Tommy.
As for who was going, there was Rodney Blekmyer; Jake Fulton; the Richardson twins, Eric and Derek; and Emmett Nielsen, all in his Japanese class at school. Oh, and Mandrake Nichols. Pete couldn't stand Mandrake, but he knew that not even he could get in the way of his enjoyment of the trip.
And Dana. Can't forget Dana.
To put it bluntly, Dana Johansen was Pete's romantic interest, while also being a close friend. This made things a bit difficult. Not only was Dana already in a relationship with Emmett, but even if she wasn't, he wasn't going to chance ruining their friendship by actually making an advance. He was content with being alone... for the time being, anyway. He supposed that eventually, Dana and Emmett would break up and then he could swoop in for the steal. This was pretty low, wishing for the demise of a close relationship just to get with Dana on the rebound, but it was the only plan Pete could think of. No other girl caught his eye as much as Dana.
Pete had to stop himself from glancing over at Dana just then. She was sitting alone and apparently paying close attention to the lecture. She seemed to have a genuine interest in the topic. In fact, she probably did. For some reason or another, she really enjoyed learning about the past and the history of the world. She was so into history, in fact, that she had already read the history textbook five times over before Jackson had assigned chapter four.
She had a real desire to learn. This was part of why Pete was so attracted to her. Not only this, but she had a vested interest in anything Japanese, as did he. Anime, manga, and much more fell into the category of "Dana's interests". She was much more advanced than him in their Japanese class. The teacher always would recommend that she move up to Japanese AP, but she would decline it, looking over at her group of friends.
She wasn't just a total geek (AKA awesome) when it came to that stuff, but she was also cute. Not a busty blonde bombshell, but cute in a way that made Pete more attracted to her than all the 'fake' girls that he had been infatuated with in the past. He liked her for her mind, and that, he felt, was much more deep than any bodily attraction.
Pete turned away, blushing, as Dana glanced in his direction and cocked her head questioningly, wordlessly asking why he'd been looking over there. He'd been staring at her without really thinking about it, getting lost in his own mind and not really thinking of what his body was doing. It was unintentional things like this that caused him to come close to winning the "Creepiest Person of the Year" award in the yearbook. Of course, he lost to Rodney. Nobody could win against Rodney in the "creepiness" category.
Rodney Blekmyer used to be the type to sit alone by himself. At the start of high school, having just transferred in to the program, Pete thought he could make a friend with the loner in the corner and maybe get him to be a more social person.
This was, simply put, a bad idea.
Rodney had no social skills whatsoever. He didn't need any when he was a loner, for obvious reasons. However, when he became a "social butterfly", as he referred to himself, that skill set did not improve. In fact, it became worse, probably compounded due to the fact that he didn't seem to ever get the hints that people tried to give him to help him operate as a normal human being.
He did everything that was not socially acceptable: chewed with his mouth open; made awful jokes at inappropriate times, places, and volumes; rarely took a shower; constantly spouted pointless facts about and his own achievements in his new favorite obscure JRPG; and even played Yu-Gi-Oh, the card game, in public. By himself. In the middle of the hall during passing period, no less.
Not just this, he was creeping up on Pete's territory by constantly asking out Dana. Like many other things that flew over his head, Rodney didn't get the idea that Dana was taken. And that this meant that he couldn't and shouldn't ask her out. Granted, Emmett, being Emmett, didn't do much about it. Dana, however, brought down the pain.
As with most hints, that also flew as high as a 747 over Rodney's head.
So now there was Emmett. Emmett Nielsen, to put it plainly, was a weaklin-
Pete jumped in his seat, startled from his reverie by the sound of the release bell.
"And that concludes this year, students. Thank you for being here. Have a great summer. I know I will. Ha ha haa." This was Mr. Jackson, even managing to come off as boring when talking about summer vacation. At this, the classmates finally were able to bolt out of their chairs and run out the door, Pete included. They would have done so earlier, had Jackson not been a member of that irritating group of teachers who insisted that the teacher releases the students, not the bell. To Peter, the bell signaled when the class started and ended, no two ways about it.
Once outside the classroom, Peter joined the fast-flowing river of people anxious to get down the stairs, across the courtyard, and onto the buses at the back of Jefferson Davis High. Peter saw one guy go down and nobody stopping to help. It was every man for himself out here.
Looking up ahead, he saw Eric (or Derek) walking with Jake. Well, not so much walking as being forced forward by the flow of students jostling and shoving each other to try to be the first outside. Since most of the students took the bus home, though, there was really no need to be the first. But this was high school, where everything's a contest.
Somehow managing to find a gap in the crowd, he rushed forward to catch up with Jake and the Richards twin. Wagering a guess as to the identity of the twin, he clapped a hand onto their shoulders and said, "Hey, Jake and Eric! It's officially summer vacation!"
"Yeah, man! Took it long enough to get here!" Jake replied, a huge smile on his face.
"Hey, Pete, you still can't tell me and Eric apart?" Derek complained, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Come on, you've known us for... how long now? Three years already?"
"My bad, Derek... Anyways, are you guys pumped for tomorrow?"
"Hell yeah, dude! There's no chicks like Asian chicks, am I right?" Jake elbowed Derek and gave a sleazy grin. Derek rolled his eyes.
"Are the Japanese of female gender the only reason you're going, Jake?" he asked.
"Well, duh! Is there really another reason I would be going?" He was right. Jake had never been the type interested in Japanese culture, manga, or really anything that would warrant taking a trip to Japan. He was, however, known as a player, and seem to have a new girlfriend every week. Some of those were his exes who didn't know any better.
"Honestly! I can't believe you. We're going to Japan, one of the most historically and culturally rich countries in the modern world, and all you can think about are the girls," Pete said, dismayed. "Come on, aren't you at least interested in seeing the country of origin of that one anime you watched a while back?"
"Come on, Pete! Why did you think I watched To Love-Ru? For the plot?" Jake laughed.
"Well, I did..." mumbled Derek.
By this time, the trio was down the stairs, out the door, and into the courtyard. Although the hot Texan sun was high in the sky and had been for a few hours, the three were kept pleasantly cool by a breeze that wafted through the yard. Pete got a glimpse of Emmett in the crowd, walking with Dana.
"Dammit, guys, what am I going to do about Dana?" he asked Jake and Derek, more so to Jake than Derek. Derek... Well, to be blunt, he was hopeless with the opposite gender.
"What problem is there, man? I mean, besides the fact that she's going out with that loser Emmett and you still love her," Jake said. Pete stared at him in disbelief.
"That IS what's wrong! Don't you see? This is the last day of the school year, and although she's going on the trip to Japan with us tomorrow, I don't see a solution to the problem in sight. I don't want to break them up, but-"
Derek interrupted. "Exactly! Look, they're happy together, I think, and you should leave them be. If Dana wants to break up with Emmett and be with you, then she will, sometime. And if she doesn't, then she won't. Simple. Don't try to force her to do anything she wouldn't want to." Pete and Jake stopped and stared.
"Now that is some good shit there. The ladies love that stuff, man. How is it you don't have a girlfriend yet?" Jake asked. Derek shrugged.
"I've tried, but they all already either have a boyfriend, just flat out reject me, or are lesbian. I guess that all the cool nerdy girls are taken." Pete glanced ahead at Dana. You can say that again, he thought. They started walking again and made their way through the throng of people to the back of the school, arriving at the bus circle at last.
"See you tomorrow morning, guys!" yelled Pete as Derek and Jake got on their buses. Jake turned around and mock saluted as he walked backwards up the bus stairs. After waving goodbye to Derek, Pete looked around for his bus. It was usually at the back of the line in the first bunch, so he walked in that direction. However, when he got there, he couldn't find it. He looked around for people from his bus, but none were in sight. Then again, one could have been standing three feet away and he wouldn't have noticed, since he barely knew anyone who rode with him. Besides Mandrake, but that was another story.
Walking up a small hill near the circle, he got a good vantage point from which he could see the buses and their numbers. Pete scanned all the buses and found his at the front of the line, which was a big surprise... as well as a big problem as it was already leaving.
"Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit!" he cried as he ran down the hill and after the bus. But it was to no avail. He simply wasn't fast enough to reach the bus in time before it turned the corner and peeled away out of sight, almost as if it was taunting the fact that it could go faster than Pete. His parents were not going to be happy that they had to pick him up from school. It didn't matter that it was the last day of school. They absolutely hated having to come pick him up for any reason, even for his extracurriculars. They both worked near each other on the same street on the other side of Alamo Park.
That ain't gonna happen today, Pete thought as he got an idea. He started running back towards the front of the school, but was interrupted midway there.
"Yo, Pete, think fast!" a voice behind him said as Pete was tackled to the ground.
"Get offa me, you bozo! I'm trying to catch my bus!" Pete cried as he pushed his assailant off of him. Of course, it was his buddy Tommy messing around as usual. "And you know I hate it when you do that, man! It gets me all dirty and shit!"
"Ooh, Tommy, stop it! I might get a little dirty!" Tommy mocked, brushing off his clothes and straightening his glasses as he stood up. "Jesus, Petey boy, sometimes I have to wonder if you're more of a germaphobe than Emmett."
"I don't have time for this! I have to catch my bus before it turns the corner at the front!" If he missed it there, that was that.
"Oh shit, sorry! Go, man!" Tommy cried. Pete peeled off through the mass of people as quickly as he could. He wasn't wasting time with formalities.
He burst through the double doors behind the main building and popped out the other side a few seconds later. He saw the bus parked at a red light. Yes, I still have a chance!
Suddenly, someone shot past Pete, knocking him to the ground. He rolled over and quickly stood up, only to see Mandrake get on the bus. Pete stared from afar, furious, Mandrake flipping him the bird and smiling from a window as the light turned green. The bus pulled away, leaving Pete stranded at the school. Defeated, he walked back over to the bus circle, taking a seat on the hill where he had looked at the buses from earlier.
Tommy strode over and sat down next to him. "I'm guessing the long face means you didn't catch the bus?" he asked. Pete turned and glared at him.
"This is all your fault! My parents are going to be pissed off that they have to come pick me up from school today." Tommy widens his eyes, first with mock fear of what Pete was going to threaten to do to him, then with recollection of why he had tackled Pete in the first place.
"Oh right, man! I wanted to know if you wanted to spend the night at my place tonight. I've got the latest game releases on my Xbox and enough Mountain Dew and Cheetos to last us the whole night! You in?" Tommy asked with a hopeful grin. Pete thought about it for a few seconds.
"Yeah man, let's do this! Hell, this'll save having to explain to my parents that they need to come pick me up from school on the last day," Pete remarked, forgiving Tommy. "Your bus here yet?"
"Actually, it just left." Pete looked at Tommy, an irritated look quickly taking over the relieved smile. "Ha, I'm just messing with you. It's right there." Tommy pointed at a bus towards the front of the line. They then were forced to watch from afar as it closed its doors and took off.
"...God damn it."
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 02:55 PM.
Lmfao, the ending. It was absolutely hilarious. XD; Anyway, I'm a total n00b at reviewing any form of writing so I hope I don't go wrong with this post.
I really, really am liking this. You set up multiple plot points in the first chapter. I haven't read much stuff online apart from a few One Piece and Devil May Cry fanfics but I noticed that the first chapter in them usually comprised of establishing a single main point and concentrating on it. You managed to do quite a bit by introducing so many characters, introducing Dana as his love interest (with an interesting backstory to them, too) and this whole trip to japan. Plus, the best thing, in my opinion, is the fact that everything felt so organic and natural. Stuff like To-Love Ru (haven't seen it but I've heard it has some, ehmm, ecchi stuff) reference actually felt like they belonged there. It didn't felt forced in the least. Which was great.
The only criticism, if it can be called that, is that I felt that the exposition given to Rodney wasn't as necessary. I mean, yeah, since you did decide to give him the "creepiest" tag you HAD to explain why he was considered so. But I felt that you could've written less about him. Details about him could've been done in a more compact manner, I think. He didn't play a major role in the chapter so his character could've been fine with a little less spotlight is what I'm saying, in short.
But I guess you did that since he'll probably play some role in the next few chapters and you won't need to explain his creepiness again. So that's good. Anyway, nice stuff! Looking forward to the next chapter! :]
cute. badass. monster.
Anyways, here's Chapter Two! (I have about 20 chapters already written, I'll post one here every day for a while if I can)
Chapter Two: Cheetos, Cheetos Everywhere
"...so like I was saying before, Japan ripped off China! They took the language, the art, everything from China. Japan is not original! China is superior! I will never visit an inferior country, and you shouldn't either!"
"Will you please just shut up? You've been at this for the entire walk!" Pete complained. Since both of Tommy's parents were at work and his older sister was hanging out with her friends, Pete and Tommy were forced to walk all the way to Tommy's house. It wasn't that long of a trip, but when walking instead of taking a car... One mile went from being three minutes to forty. And for the entire damn way, Tommy was complaining about how there’s no field trip to China, why can’t they use the money for the Japan field trip and go to China instead, China is a vastly superior country, yadda yadda yadda. Frankly, Pete was sick of it.
“Well, what do you want to talk about, Mr. Japan-Loving-Bastard?” Tommy queried.
“Enough with the Japan versus China shit! Come on, let’s talk about, I don’t know, video games.”
“All right then, I guess. As long as the games aren’t made in Japa-"
Pete socked him in the arm.
"Ow! What was that for, you dickhead? I was just saying that I didn't want to talk about that stupid country!" Tommy pouted, rubbing his upper arm. "Fine, you want me to start lying? Well, here's the first one: You punch hard!"
"Don't make me give you a 'weak' punch again," Pete warned Tommy. Tommy put his hands up.
"Fine man, I'll stop. Oh hey, we're here."
With a click, Tommy unlocked and opened the door to his house. The two stepped inside.
"Welcome to my humble abode, wherein I reside," Tommy stated with a flourish of his hand. Pete chuckled and followed Tommy up the stairs in the front hall to his room.
When Tommy opened the door, Pete looked inside with awe. "When you said you had enough Dew and Cheetos... you weren't kidding."
Cases of Mountain Dew lined the walls. The bed was a dumping ground for jumbo bags of Cheetos. Even the seats in front of the TV were made of cases of Dew, the cushions out of Cheetos bags. Tommy wasn't messing around when it came to his snacks.
"So man, what do you want to play? I've got... Yell of Obligation: Rainbow Ops 1/2, Sytuation 3, Mercenary's Pledge 3..." Tommy said while digging through an old Mountain Dew box.
"Those don't even sound like real game titles!" Pete said. "Are you sure you didn't get some Chinese bootlegs of real games?" Tommy spun around and glared at Pete.
"Of course they're so-called 'bootlegs'! Whatever the Chinese make are leagues better than anything made in the US or Europe! They're the superi-"
"Yeah, yeah, I heard it all on the way here. Whatever, I don't even care anymore. Let's see if these games are really all you say they are."
* * *
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP...
Pete groaned as the sound of an unfamiliar alarm clock roused him from his sleep. His whole body hurt from sleeping on some kind of a lumpy mattress... made of Cheetos bags. Of course. The party. Last night, they had stayed up until three playing some Yell of Obligation and dining on the snacks around the room. Speaking of which...
Pete ran across the room and threw up into an empty Dew box.
Man, that's one hell of a way to start the day off, he thought. The day... today... Saturday... What was special about- oh! Oh damn! Today's the day of the trip! And I'm not even packed!!
After digging his stuff out from under the Cheetos mattress, he bolted down the stairs and out the door before Tommy even had a chance to wake up and turn off the alarm. Luckily, it was Tommy's school day alarm, leaving Pete with two hours to get home and get ready. He didn't even care that it was seven in the morning and his house was five miles away; he ran like crazy.
Until he tripped into some bushes at the side of a road. Pete was just clumsy like that.
He picked himself up and brushed himself off, cursing his nonexistent coordination. Then he noticed something peculiar on the ground in front of him. It was a beautiful blue geode that was cleanly split at a line about three-quarters of the way around the sphere. It was made peculiar by the fact that it seemed to have made a trench in the ground from the direction of the road, almost as if it had been shot out of a gun during a drive-by aimed at local foliage. But as his mom loved geodes and her birthday was coming up, he paid that no attention and shoved it into his backpack to give to her later.
He then continued running, all the way... to a bus stop. Thankfully, the bus came soon enough and the ride didn't take long, so Pete was able to get home in time to pack, get appropriately dressed, and get to the Alamo Park International Airport, with five minutes to spare.
"Go, honey, go! I don't want you to miss your flight," his mom said as he got out of the car at the airport.
"Thanks, mom. I'll see you in two weeks!" Pete kissed his mother goodbye and raced into the terminal, dragging behind him his luggage and wearing his backpack haphazardly from one shoulder. He checked in, proceeded through the much-too-personal security checkpoint (more like "security gauntlet", he thought to himself), found which gate his flight was located, and rushed there even faster than he'd rushed to the bus stop just a short while earlier.
"Last call for all passengers boarding United Airways flight 4630 with service to Tokyo," the receptionist called as Pete ran up to the desk, panting and out of breath.
"Yes... Hi... I... Pete... Carter... Here..." he panted, giving her his boarding pass.
"Well, aren't you cutting it a bit close, son," she commented as she passed the ticket through the scanner. A flash of "CARTER, PETER N: APPROVED" appeared on the display and the receptionist waved him through the gate.
"Don't cut it so close when you come back, Peter, you hear? Tokyo International closes their gates faster than you can say, 'Wait, my son's on board and I'm not!'" she called after him.
"I'll keep that in mind, thanks!" he tossed back as he ran down the ramp leading to the plane.
As Pete stepped on board the airplane, a stewardess greeted him kindly. I'm on the plane. I'm safe now, he thought as he looked around the cabin. And what a cabin it was. It was one of the newer Airbus models, the A380, complete with two decks of seats and comfort as far as the eye could see. He whistled quietly as he walked down the aisle. The plane was packed. Every single seat he could see was taken. Nobody wanted to miss the comfort of such a spacious airplane.
What I wouldn't give to fly first class on this thing some day, he thought to himself, looking enviously at the front of the plane. He looked at his ticket: second floor, wing row seat near the middle of the cabin. He found the stairs and made his way up to the second floor. I have never climbed stairs on an airplane before, he thought to himself, giddy for some reason. Holy crap, that was awesome. I can't wait to do that when this thing's flying!
"Yo, Pete! Nice of you to show up!" Derek (or Eric) called from his seat. He patted the seat next to him. "You're over here, with me!" Okay, now he knew it was Derek, as he knew beforehand that Derek had the seat next to him on the plane ride. They'd all compared tickets a few days prior, and except for friggin' Mandrake who upgraded to first class because he was a spoiled brat, they were all sitting in the same vicinity.
After putting his carry-on suitcase into the baggage compartment, Pete made his way to his seat, exchanging a lot of "excuse me"s and "pardon me"s as he tried not to cripple anyone's feet by stepping on them. When he finally made it to his seat, Pete waved to Dana, who was sitting three rows back next to Eric. She waved back and smiled her cute-as-a-kitten smile of hers. Pete blushed and quickly sat down before she could notice. He stuffed his bag under the set.
Derek turned to him and asked with a grin, "So Pete, on a scale of 1 to my dad's barbecue grill, how stoked are you?"
"Oh man, I am so stoked that your dad's grill would have burned to the ground already!" he replied, making what could quite possibly be an exact copy of the grin of the Cheshire Cat. Maybe wider. He'd have to measure it at some point in the trip. After all, it wasn't coming off until the day they had to return to Texas.
"The itinerary for the trip is amazing! I mean, we're going to stay at a Japanese host family's house, go to school with them, go meet the people behind Studio Ghibli, meet the people who work at Game Freak, go see a Hatsune Miku concert, take part in Sanno Matsuri... And to top it all off, just think of the stuff in between! Eating authentic sushi, exploring the streets of Tokyo and seeing what we can read, living life in such a fascinating place... Man!" Derek closed his eyes and smiled. Pete grinned and turned to face the front of the plane.
"Good morning, everyone! Or as we like to say in Japan, おはようございます、みんなさん！!" the stewardess spoke over the speakers. Pete could almost hear her brimming with fake enthusiasm, as if she hadn't already given this spiel hundreds of times before. "As we prepare for taxiing and takeoff, please turn off all electronic devices and stow them now. When the seatbelt light is on, please keep your seatbelts..." She went on for a few minutes as the plane began to taxi to the runway.
"Before we take off, please keep in mind that there are some strong winds up in the air where we'll be passing during takeoff. There will be some minor turbulence, so please abide by the 'fasten your seatbelt' sign even more than normal. With that, I believe traffic control has cleared us for takeoff. Have a good flight!"
"You ready, Derek?" Pete asked.
"I'm Eric; my brother and I swapped seats. But yeah. Let's do this!" he exclaimed, throwing his hands into the air. "Take off, baby, here we go!"
The plane lurched forward and began to pick up speed. Pete sank further and further into the back of his seat as the plane moved faster and faster.
And suddenly, the plane was lifted off the ground, achieved by an amazing feat of aerodynamic engineering. Pete leaned back in his chair (even more than what the plane was already doing) and thought of what his friends were doing in regards to the takeoff.
Derek would be doing the same thing Eric was doing: riding it out and enjoying every minute of it. Rodney would be screaming "WOOOOO! I LOVE PLANES!!" really loudly. In fact, Pete thought he could almost hear it over the sound of the engines. Jake would be chatting up the girl that he most likely swapped seats to sit beside; they would be making out before the plane reached 40,000 feet. Emmett would be curled up into a ball, wishing that it was over. Mandrake was probably enjoying himself, all smug up in the first-class cabin. Damn him.
And Dana? Probably sitting there not doing much of anything, just having a calm, collected smile on her face while enjoying the feeling of riding on an airplane. Either that or grinning like a homicidal maniac, depending on whether or not she took her pills that morning. He hoped for the calm Dana. Hyperactive Dana was a bomb threat.
Pete decided that he was going to watch the latest episode of Family Guy on his phone. Screw the rules; his iPhone on airplane mode wasn't going to mess with the plane's navigational systems or anything. The FAA didn't know diddly squat about how airplane mode worked. He pulled out his phone, only to realize it had 2% charge left.
Damn it! This is what I get for screwing around all night at Tommy's. I forget to charge my phone overnight.
Then, he got an idea.
He checked the seatback copy of the small brochure detailing the features of the airplane. Finding the section about what was at each seat, he was relieved to find out that his seat had a socket for charging electronic devices. At least he hadn't forgotten his phone charger at home, unlike his flash drive, which he'd been planning to use to share his favorite movie with his host family.
He pulled up the backpack he had under the seat in front of him and unzipped the front compartment. The charger fell out of the pocket and Pete groaned. It was the dodgy one, the one he had to tilt at exactly a 29 degree angle from the ground, otherwise it wouldn't charge the phone. At least I have a charger, he grumbled in his mind as he reached down to find the socket into which to plug the charger into. With a disconcerting bzzz sound, it slid into the socket.
As Pete was ready to plug his phone into the other end of the cable, the plane suddenly started shaking. Pete missed the charging port entirely and cursed the air.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the turbulence," the stewardess came onto the speaker to say. "It should be gone in a few minutes. Please do not get up until then, and if you can, please try to wait until we are cruising at an altitude of 40,000 feet. Thank you for your cooperation."
Pete tried again and again to plug in his phone, but each time the charger came near the port, the turbulence would throw off his aim. Pete tried this four or five times before he became frustrated.
Without this video, takeoff will be boring. This ride will be boring. My life will be boring, he continued in a sarcastically melodramatic manner. Please, don't let my life be boring. Charge, you bastard!
Pete managed to connect the charger with the phone and get his finger caught on a bit of exposed wire at the same time as the plane shook with the biggest jolt it had that flight. He saw a small blue flash.
The last thing Pete heard was the phone chirping to tell him it was plugged in.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:05 PM.
I'm so glad that you worked through the formatting to bring this story here. The little bit I scanned yesterday caught my eye, and I'm happy to read the full thing.
Really, your writing style is great. I love the little pieces of humor, not only from Pete but also from what happens to Pete. He reads like a typical teenage boy with friends and a crush on an adorable (perhaps crazy when off her meds?) girl.
Can't wait to see what happened to Pete, since he just couldn't live without his video. He didn't want to be bored, so it looks like he perhaps got his wish.
And now, it's onto the next chapter!
Chapter Three: Twelve Hours Later
Pete slowly arose from his deep state of unconsciousness. The first thing he felt was a burning pain on his finger. Then the uncomfortable seat on which he laid.
...ugh... My head feels like it's had a run-in with a car going 90 after drinking 20 gallons of beer...
The finishing touch was a sudden soreness that washed over his muscles. He audibly groaned and shifted in his seat.
Then he opened his eyes.
Something was... different. Maybe it was the fact that he'd just woken up, but the colors around him seemed more vibrant. Everything had a slight outline around it.
And... holy shit, that's a weird hair color.
He turned to Eric... or was it Derek? His mind was still too muddled from his deep slumber. The twin was asleep. He, like the rest of the airplane, seemed... drawn in. Pete tapped him on the shoulder and stirred him from his slumber.
"...huh? ...Nakamura-kun? What do you want...?" Eric mumbled and opened his eyes just a bit.
"Uh, no man, it's me, Pete. Remember, we're on the plane to Japan and you fell asleep at some point," Pete said. "I don't know when because I was... asleep... myself." Eric looked at Pete strangely.
"Pee-to? No, you're definitely Nakamura-kun. You can't fool me," 'Eric' said with a grin.
Well, he looked like Eric, but he seemed different, and not just because he looked... cartoony. He seemed more Asian, somehow. As if someone who could do something like that randomly decided they were going to change Eric's nationality but keep him looking pretty much like he did before. Oh, and his hair was now green. Couldn't forget that.
Besides this, there was the fact that, without even trying, they were speaking to each other in fluent Japanese. Only if he focused on what he was saying did Pete even realize he was speaking it. It felt like English; as if it was a language he'd known all his life.
What the hell is going on here?!? Pete frantically questioned in his mind. To 'Eric':
"Yeah, I was only kidding..." Now what? So Eric-san, why does it seem like I've suddenly plopped right into an anime? If that's even what's happened here. Yeah, that would get Pete, or rather, 'Nakamura-kun', sent straight to the loony bin. Thankfully, 'Eric' continued the conversation himself.
"So what did you think about our first trip to America? It was so interesting seeing how Americans are different. Did you remember when we went to their high school and they didn't wear uniforms? And how they bought that awful lunch in their cafeteria instead of bringing a healthy boxed lunch from home? How crazy was that?" he said with a chuckle. Pete half-heartedly laughed along as he tried to think of an answer.
"Well, uhh... I found it funny that... um... they don't actually seem to put ketchup on everything...?" he replied, struggling to think of what would be strange about Americans from a Japanese perspective. It appeared the only new knowledge he had in this strange situation was his knowledge of Japanese.
But 'Eric' laughed, saying, "That's true. And they think we put soy sauce on everything! Ha!" Pete laughed along with 'Eric' for a bit before realizing that he really did think that.
"But it'll be nice getting back to... Tokyo, right?" Pete nervously said, unsure if this plane was still going to the same place. He then realized that Narita International was probably an in-between pit stop and kicked himself mentally.
Indeed, 'Eric' looked at Pete strangely. "Yeah, especially as a layover on our way back to Kokogawa, right?"
"Yeah! Right, right, that's what I meant." Pete could swear that as he put his hand behind his head, a cartoon sweat drop must have appeared. 'Eric' looked like he was going to ask something, but thought better of it turned away instead.
A soft bing sound was heard.
"グウド イブニング、エベリアヌ！ オル アス ウイ ライク テゥ セイ イヌ ジェッパン, good evening, everyone!"
Pete was worried. He'd barely understood the first part, yet, he realized, it was English. It appeared his knowledge of languages had flipped. Barely understanding English but having perfect knowledge of Japanese...
This is one hell of a realistic dream.
He still was unsure about just what this was. But if it was a dream, then hanging around here might not be so bad.
He waited for the stewardess to get through with what she was saying in English before she got to the part that he could understand.
"We are approaching Tokyo and will be landing shortly. Please put your tray tables up and put your seat backs in their full upright position. In preparation for landing, we ask that you please turn off all mobile phones and other electronics."
That triggered something from Pete's memory. The last thing I did before blacking out... was plug my phone in to that dodgy charger. He looked around on the floor and found his phone. Or at least, he thought it was his. He couldn't really tell.
Instead of being his sleek iPhone, it was some kind of flip phone that looked as if it came from the years before the rise of the smartphone. The dodgy iPhone charger appeared to have become an equally messed up charger for the old cell phone. He could tell it was dodgy because it didn't even seem to be charging the phone, and he could see the wire exposed in the same place as on his iPhone cord.
This is what probably caused whatever event happened back there, he thought. He unplugged the phone and held it up to look at the exposed bit.
Just as he plugged the charger back into the phone (he didn't know why; it obviously wasn't going to charge), a minor bit of turbulence struck the plane and Pete's fingers touched the exposed bit.
Aww damn. Time to wake up, I- ow! He pulled his finger away from the cable as it had shocked him.
...That hurt. It hurt. I felt pain. But this is... This means...
Pete laughed out loud at the ridiculous-sounding explanation as to what had happened that had popped into his head. It was logically and scientifically impossible. It defied reason and all sense of reality. But there was simply no other explanation, other than perhaps he suddenly went insane. But until proven otherwise...
...I think I'm trapped in an anime.
After that realization, it took all of Pete's effort to not go insane.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:11 PM.
Chapter Four: Sushi and an Old Friend
The plane landed on the tarmac with a jolt. However, Pete was too preoccupied with his own thoughts to notice.
What am I supposed to do? Where do I live?? What school do I go to??? What's my full name?!? What do my parents look like?!?!? Why didn't the mysterious forces at work here do anything to my mind besides swap which language I'm best at?!?!?!?
Pete waited. And waited. And continued waiting. But of course, he had no reply.
Maybe, just maybe, I'm a character in some fictional work somewhere and the author's just messing with me. Well, screw you too, Mr. Author Man!
He stopped with this path of thinking because it sounded like the ravings of a madman, completely disconnected from the logic of the world. Then again, what today had been connected to logic? Just then, he noticed 'Eric' nudging him.
"Hey! Nakamura-kun! Are you still with us?" he asked, shoving Pete again.
"Huh? Oh yeah, totally. Just spaced out there."
"Well then, hurry up! Didn't you notice we stopped at the gate?" Pete looked up and noticed that this was indeed the case. Everyone around them was already standing up and getting their luggage out of the top compartments. Pete stood up as well and made his way into the aisle. He grabbed his suitcase and backpack and slowly made his way out of the plane with the rest of the passengers.
Arriving at the gate's entrance, he saw the other Richards twin, Derek, standing and talking to someone who might have been Jake. But it was hard to tell, as Jake had had blond hair and this guy had reddish-brown.
Maybe his hair color changed. In fact, maybe mine changed. Pete hadn't quite gotten a chance to inspect himself yet.
"Hey guys, mind waiting here for me?" Pete told 'Derek' and 'Jake'. 'Derek' turned to Pete and looked at him strangely. As if he recognized him but didn't at the same time.
"Yeah, dude, that's cool. We have a three-hour layover here, by the way. I'll tell the others when they disembark," 'Jake' replied. He seemed normal enough, pretty much just like 'Eric'. But that look he got from 'Derek'... He shrugged it off and set off on the task of locating the restroom.
Now, Narita International was not what Pete had been expecting. This being Japan, he imagined the airport would be more... hi-tech. In fact, it reminded him a lot of the airport back in Texas: big, but not really that special in terms of how it looked.
Pete found the restroom, walked in, and looked at himself in the mirror.
In terms of appearance, he had changed like the others had: basically himself but made more into an anime character. However, he wasn't expecting the hair color. It was a dark blue color instead of mousy brown; close to black but not close enough that someone could mistake the two.
His clothes had stayed the same, interestingly. Pete surmised that his Japanese counterpart had much the same sense of style as he did (that is to say, none at all) and that he had gone shopping while in America for coincidentally the same clothes as Pete had been wearing. But now, what was his name?
He'd gotten part of the name from 'Eric': Nakamura. But was that the first name or the last name? The Japanese called each other by either first or last name depending on how close they were, he knew from Japanese class. Nakamura sounded like a surname, but...
He glanced down at his luggage, hoping to find some kind of identification tag that would help his clothes get home safely if he'd ever misplaced the suitcase. But nope, the card was blank. He'd never bothered to fill it out in his past life (this was how he was starting to refer to his life up until that morning as) and his Japanese alter ego probably thought it wasn't important either.
But now it was important. Very much so, in fact.
He pulled out his phone to see if it had any emails or messages on it that could help pinpoint who he was...
...and saw "PROPERTY OF NAKAMURA MICHIO" written in big, bold strokes across the back of the device. That takes care of that, he thought, relieved to at least have a bit more information on his life.
He returned to the gate, everyone else already gathered there. Pete saw Dana, or whom he assumed to be Dana, talking with 'Emmett'. He had to assume she was because her hair was pink. Yeah. Pink. Not dyed, either. It looked completely natural. And to add to that, she was smaller now. He easily had four inches on her, where she was about his height in his past life.
Noticing Pete, 'Jake' spoke. "Hey, everyone! Since Nakamura-kun is back, I say we all go eat something for dinner. I don't know about you guys, but I'm starving. Anyone with me?" Everyone nodded. Airplane peanuts simply were not enough to go on for five hours. And Pete hadn't even eaten at all that day; he'd either been asleep or simply hadn't had the time. On top of that, he'd thrown up everything in his stomach before he even had the chance to fully wake up. He was famished, to say the least.
"Well then, let's all head to Sushi Kyotatsu! I saw it when we were here on our way to America and I want to try their sushi!" Everyone gleefully followed 'Jake' to the sushi shop, conveniently located just down the corridor from the gate for the plane heading to Kokogawa in a few hours.
Arriving at the sushi place, everyone started grabbing plates of sushi. Pete looked at all the different choices going past on the conveyor belt but wasn't sure what Michio would normally eat.
He didn't have to worry. When it was his time to grab a plate, 'Jake' got one for him. "Baka-kun always takes ages before deciding on the same thing each time, so let's skip all that," he said, grabbing a California roll plate and placing it in front of Pete. "You always get American style food anyways."
That was news to him. Back in his old life, he loved foreign food much more than American. But then again, he realized that American food was foreign now. The whole situation was seriously confusing.
He put soy sauce on his roll, picked up the chopsticks, and ate it. Wait... Since when did I learn how to use chopsticks? In his old life, he'd always been hopeless at using chopsticks. Maybe it was muscle memory, maybe it was a skill given to him by the mysterious force. He wasn't about to complain, though. Whatever helped him blend in as Nakamura Michio.
But someone did notice something else odd.
"Nakamura-kun? I've never seen you eat soy sauce with your sushi before..." said 'Eric' with an odd look. He was getting a lot of those from him today.
Pete just shrugged, grabbed another plate, and said, "I just felt like it today, you know? Something different." He felt that sushi should always go with soy sauce. It was a little bland otherwise.
"You know, Nakamura-san, you sure are acting different today. Anxious to get back to school already?" 'Eric' questioned. Pete cursed under his breath. If it was still the same day, that meant that high schools in Japan still had about six weeks left before summer vacation.
And here he was, ready to enjoy his summer vacation. Instead, he was stuck in school for another six weeks. Granted, it was a Japanese high school in an anime, which meant that nothing much in the way of working was going to happen there.
...Right, 'Eric' was still looking for an answer. "Well, kind of. There's also something else on my mind, but it's nothing you should worry about."
'Eric' shrugged and turned back to his sushi. However, 'Derek' walked over to Pete and asked:
"Is this about our mutual American friend, Pete-san?"
"Uh, y-yeah!" Pete stood up quickly, almost knocking over the small tower of plates that had formed in the span of a few minutes. He caught the plates before they fell, and motioned 'Derek' out of the sushi shop and into the men's restroom.
"All right, how do you know about Pete-san?" he questioned 'Derek', wondering how in the world Derek knew about Pete or if it had just been something 'Eric' told him that Pete had said earlier. He decided to play it safe for now with a question that was ambiguous enough.
"You mean I was right? You're really Pete Carter?" 'Derek' asked bluntly.
"And you're really Derek and not his freaky anime clone?" Pete replied, now able to be equally blunt. Derek gasped, then let out a relieved sigh.
"So not everyone had that happen to them," he said. "Thank god! I thought I was going crazy!"
"Right? I thought I was alone in this anime world!" Pete replied. Derek paused for a moment.
"Oh shit, you're right. We're the ones that ended up in an alternate universe, not Asian clones of our friends. I guess that explains quite a bit. But how can they speak English?"
"They can't. We can speak Japanese."
"...That's just weird. But helpful."
A man came out of the stall they were standing next to, looked at them oddly, and decided it would be a good idea not to stay in there any longer with the loonies. He left without even washing his hands. Pete turned back to Derek.
"Do you know anything about our situation?" Pete asked. "Anything helps. Your name, everyone else's names, our school..."
"Well, my name is Ketsuke Daigo, Dana's name is Kaneko Ayumi, and Jake is Yamamoto Akihito. No idea about Rodney, Eric, and Mandrake, or about our school. Do you at least know Eric's name?"
"Nope, sorry." Derek's face fell.
"How am I supposed to interact with him? I mean, he's my twin! If I avoid saying his name, he'll know something's up. Hell, even if I do find out his name, I bet he'll know something's wrong!" Derek started to hyperventilate.
"Derek! Get a hold of yourself! Relax, we'll figure out just what the hell happened and get home. Trust me on this." He patted Derek on the back and slowly began to calm him down.
"A- all right, man. Do you have any idea how long it'll take to fix this mess?"
"No clue. For now, you should try your best to act like Ketsuke Daigo and I'll try to act as Nakamura Michio. Nothing much can really happen if we get caught since they can't really get any proof that we're not really whom we say we are, but I would rather prevent that sort of a situation if possible." Derek nodded in agreement.
Returning to the sushi restaurant, they both sat and ate in silence while everyone else minus 'Rodney' chatted about the trip. 'Rodney' decided it would be a better idea to lodge airplane peanuts up his nose and try to get others to eat them out, mainly Kaneko. Even in an anime, he was still as weird and annoying as usual.
Pete thought about what life at his new home in Japan would be like. What was his house like? What was his family like? Did he still have only a younger brother or did that change? He pondered those thoughts and more as he finished eating his fill of sushi.
When everyone tried to pay, Yamamoto stopped them. "I'll be paying for all of you guys. Just consider it an early birthday present. Or late for you, Kaneko-chan." They insisted they would pay, but Yamamoto was feeling generous and wouldn't have any of it. He paid and they all left the sushi place together, heading to the gate for the plane to Kokogawa.
They sat and took up an aisle, Pete sitting in between Kaneko and Derek and across from 'Rodney'. Pete prayed he wouldn't say anything stupid, then turned to Kaneko. This could be a chance to glean some information on his situation.
"Kaneko-san? How are you feeling about returning to school tomorrow?" Pete asked. She turned to face him.
"Oh, I suppose I feel fine. Returning to Akira High won't exactly be difficult. But then again, America was such an interesting place!" she spoke. Pete made a mental note: Akira High School. It was the first time he'd heard her speak since the incident, he realized. He liked her new, slightly more feminine voice; not to say he didn't like her old one, but.... "Cars on the right of the road, a summer vacation that lasts three months... I'm going to have plenty to write about for the paper." Pete stared blankly. She sighed.
"Nakamura-kun! Don't tell me you forgot about our group essay on America for Watanabe-sensei's class? That's so like you."
"Yeah, I guess it must have slipped my mind while we were having fun in Texas." She laughed. It was infectious; Pete laughed along with her.
"So Michio-kun," she started, using his first name. "Hiroki and I are going to go explore the airport since we didn't have time to last time. Do you want to come with us?" Pete thought about who Hiroki would be, but then he realized that there was only one person there that Kaneko was close enough to use only their first name without an honorific: 'Emmett'. Pete made a mental note of that, too.
"Sure, that sounds like fun!" he exclaimed. Kaneko grinned, and they both stood up.
"Hiro-chan! Michio-kun is coming with us to explore the airport!" she told Hiroki. He looked up from where he was sitting. He didn't look well.
"Ughh... Sorry, Yumi-chan, I'm..." His chest heaved. "Something from that sushi shop must not have sat well with me... Hurk!" Suddenly, he dashed for the men's room. Pete could hear the sounds from where he was sitting. He and Kaneko turned to each other and grimaced.
"Let's get away from here, shall we?" she asked. Pete nodded, and the two walked in the direction away from the men's room.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:16 PM.
Chapter Five: Where in Japan is Kokogawa Anyways?
If Pete didn't look at Kaneko, he could almost imagine that it was just him and Dana running around the airport, taking the terminal tram and goofing around, just like normal.
But every time he looked at her and saw her bubble-gum pink hair, he was harshly reminded that it wasn't. He was running around with a girl named Kaneko Ayumi through an airport in Japan and he could understand all the Japanese but the bare minimum of the English.
It was strange, but hey! How many people did he know that had been in an anime? Not that many, he was sure. In fact, he only knew of one other person.
"Nakamura-kun! Let's go up here!" Kaneko said, rousing Pete from his thoughts. He looked at where she was pointing. It was a long flight of stairs going to the top level. Once she was sure she had his attention, she flew up the stairs, Pete lagging far behind her. After all, he'd been running around with her for the past hour or so, and he was tired.
Even in another dimension, I can't be athletic, he thought, panting and out of breath at the second floor. Kaneko had already made it to the top and was calling down to him.
"Nakaamuraa-kuun!" she sang. "I beat you to the top, like usual!"
Pete decided to just walk up the rest of the way.
Once he eventually made it to the top, he looked around for Kaneko. She was nowhere to be found. Pete assumed she'd ducked into one of the little shops around there-
Pete turned around. There she was, at the bottom of the stairs now. That girl's medication must have worn off a while ago.
He walked back down the stairs and rejoined Kaneko. He checked his phone for the time: 10:57 PM. The plane left at 11:30, but they were a long ways away from the gate.
"Kaneko-san, let's start heading back to the gate," he said. She frowned for a moment, then brightened again.
"Race you there, Michi-chan!" she yelled, then took off. Pete was sure he heard a sonic boom as she rounded the corner.
* * *
Pete eventually made it back to the gate after a thirty minute trek. Kaneko was already there talking to Hiroki, who still looked a little green. Derek was talking to 'Eric'. Derek appeared to be fine, and 'Eric' didn't seem to give the impression that anything was wrong. That would probably be why Derek was so calm when talking to him. He sat down in the same spot he had been sitting before.
"Oh hey, Nakamura-san!" It was 'Rodney'. "What were you doing with Ayumi without Sato-san?" He snickered as he said it. Pete looked at him strangely.
"What...? What are you-"
"HEY EVERYONE! NAKAMURA MICHIO IS TRYING TO STEAL AYUMI-CHAN FROM SATO-SAN!" 'Rodney' screamed out. All activity in the airport ground to a halt and all heads turned in Pete's direction. Pete put his head in his hands.
Kaneko was, obviously, furious. She went over and socked him in the face. "Tanaka! Why would you say something like that? He was just keeping me company while Hiroki was sick in the bathroom!" Tanaka. That was one more name to add to the list.
"WOOOO! I just got punched by Ayu-chan!" He ran off, hands raised in the air in some kind of victory.
"Whuu...?" Pete didn't even know.
Bing-bong! The PA system came on.
"Attention, passengers heading to Kokogawa. The plane has arrived and disembarking will commence shortly. After that, we will start the boarding process. Thank you for your patience."
"If that stupid Tanaka Yoshi doesn't make it back in time to catch this flight, then I say good riddance!" Kaneko fumed. Pete couldn't agree more.
He chatted a bit more with Kaneko as he watched all the passengers that were getting off the plane. Most of them had hair of odd colors, and a few were cosplaying. Kaneko could easily cosplay as a character from Lucky Star, or really most animes, Pete thought as he looked at her, the cosplayers in the background.
"All passengers boarding Skymark flight 8352 with service to Kokogawa: we are now starting the boarding process. Zone 1, please come up to the desk with your boarding pass."
Pete located his boarding pass in his backpack and found the zone number: Zone 3. He had a bit of time to wait.
"...Psst, Derek," Pete whispered. "I've never heard of this Kokogawa before. Do you know where it is?"
"I have no idea, man. It might be a fictional place made up for this anime."
"Damn it. I was hoping it would be real and that we could look it up when we got back to Texas."
"Zone 2, please board the plane now."
Derek got up. "That's my zone. See you all in Kokogawa!"
He walked to the line alongside Sato and Pete focused his attentions on Tanaka. If his memory of when they all compared seat numbers earlier still applied... he'd be sitting next to him. Back then, he'd asked everyone if they were willing to swap seats, but nobody else wanted to sit next to Rodney. With good reason, too. His only hope was to see if some poor stranger was fine with switching seats with him to get a window seat.
"Zone 3, we are ready for you to board the plane."
"HEY! THAT'S MY ZONE!" Tanaka yelled and shoved his way in front of the people that were already in the line waiting to board. Pete rolled his eyes and braced himself for the most annoying plane ride of his life.
He got up at the same time as Kaneko and they both walked to the gate together, trailing their suitcases behind them.
"Please, Kaneko-chan, save me from Tanaka-san!" he begged, almost kneeling down on the floor. Kaneko rolled her eyes and sighed.
"Fine, but you owe me and Hiroki," she said. Why Sato? Pete thought, a bit confused about what Kaneko was going to pull.
Kaneko went through the gate first, and then came Pete's turn. He scanned his boarding pass just like he had in Texas, but this time, the screen flashed "NAKAMURA, MICHIO: APPROVED". Just another hint to remind him where and who he was, in case he was going to forget.
But that wasn't going to happen any time soon.
Pete walked down the aisle and got on the plane. Unlike the last one, this one was cramped. Really cramped. As in, there were only four seats to a row and he had to duck his head to walk down the aisle. He followed Kaneko to her seat, ahead of his. Next to her window seat was this huge tub of lard formed into the vague shape of a man.
Kaneko said, "Excuse me, sir? That’s my seat beside you and, well, I kinda wanted to sit with my boyfriend.” Ohh. That would explain it. Pete blushed a bit at the thought of himself in a relationship with Kaneko. “Would you mind taking his spot? He has a nice window seat near the wings."
The man grunted a harsh "fine" and slowly got up, took his suitcase out of the luggage compartment, and waddled further back to sit in Pete's seat, next to Tanaka. Pete bet he was already regretting that decision to accept Kaneko's offer.
He flashed a relieved smile at Kaneko, who had sat down in her seat. He put his luggage up and slid down next to her. The seat was a little warm and damp, but Pete decided it was better than Tanaka. Anything was better than Tanaka.
"So, what do I owe you?" he asked Kaneko, who was sitting there, looking at him with her own relieved grin.
"You don't owe me anything," she said. "It was payment enough getting out of sitting next to that guy." Pete laughed.
The stewardess came on to the PA to go through the usual stuff they have to say before takeoff while the plane taxied down the runway. Pete turned to Kaneko and saw this massive grin on her face. She appeared to barely be sitting still.
Bomb threat Kaneko. Oh boy.
The plane sped up down the runway and took off, headed to its destination: Kokogawa, Japan.
* * *
The plane lurched as it touched down in Kokogawa half an hour later. This got Pete's attention enough to pull him away from the 3DS he'd found in his backpack. In his past life, he'd preferred the PS Vita, but now he could see what Nintendo had going for them.
"Man, this Pokémon stuff isn't half bad," he told Kaneko, who'd calmed down only by necessity: she'd finally gotten tired. Kaneko cocked her head questioningly just like Dana would, and it was somehow made even cuter by Kaneko's pink hair and smaller frame.
"Of course it isn't, Nakamura-san... Are you feeling okay?" That's when Pete noticed that the stylus he'd been using had a Poké Ball motif and that the 3DS was yellow... and had the face of what he had learned was a Pikachu on it. When he'd pulled it out earlier, he'd been wondering what the face was. Oh man, Michio's a huge Pokémon fan! I don't know jack about Pokémon except what I just played!
"Oh, yeah, totally! I'm just a little weird about seeing..." My sister? My brother? My mom? Who's living with me? "...Kokogawa again!" Kaneko sighed.
"I know what you mean. It must be hard for you with your parents gone and all."
My parents? Gone?
He just sat there, shell-shocked. A tear began to form at the corner of his eye.
I mean, they're not my parents... But they gave birth to Michio, and since we're parallel universe clones of each other... It's like I just lost mine. Besides, I have to live as the guy for an indeterminable amount of time, so...
Pete wiped away the tear, not wanting Kaneko to see him like this. But she was perceptive.
"Naka-chan, don't cry! I know you miss them, but you still have Emi-san to take care of you, right?" Emi-san? Big sister, aunt, or who? Pete just had no idea what to think anymore.
"Besides, your parents are moving back... when was it? After the summer break? It's too bad they had to move for their work, but such is life."
...Move for work? They're not dead? They're not dead!!
"Yeah, it gets a little hard, but you're right. They'll come back. At least they haven't passed away," Pete said with a sigh full of relief.
"Attention, passengers. We have parked at gate 9C, and you are now free to move about the cabin. The time is 11:56 PM. Thank you for flying Skymark!"
Pete got his luggage and deboarded the airplane, Kaneko following close behind. The classmates all met up at the gate, like in Tokyo. This time, however, it was to say goodbye. Until tomorrow, that was.
For some reason, returning to Japan on Sunday evening doesn't excuse us from having to go to class the next day, Pete reminded himself. After telling everyone else goodbye, he pulled Derek over to the side.
"All right, Derek. Good luck at home, and hope that your parents aren't dead," he said. Derek just smiled.
"Oh, I don't have to worry about that. Keigo – Not-Eric – told me that they would be waiting for us at the entrance to the airport." He looked at Pete, suddenly worried. "...Are you saying that because your parents here have... passed?" Pete took a deep breath.
"No, but for a few minutes, I was led to believe they were. It was awful, man. Even if they're not really my parents... You know?"
Derek nodded. "I'm just glad my parents don't appear to be divorced in this world! I wonder if they're still happy or if they're still in the pre-divorce pissy stage? I had to bear it once and I couldn't possibly take it again."
"Ooh, sorry, man. I'd forgotten they were divorced in real life. I don't come over to see you that often! That's probably why I don't remember."
Derek half-smiled. "Well, let's hope that's not in this family's past, present, or future."
They rejoined the rest of the group, and Pete realized he hadn't seen 'Mandrake' at all that day. Strange, because he was sure he said he was coming. In fact, Mandrake made sure everyone knew he was coming, and on first class too.
If he owns his own goddamn jet in this world, I'm going to kill him.
The group walked to the exit, everyone talking about the trip and that they were so glad to be home. Derek turned to Pete and whispered, "For us, the trip's just beginning."
"Ain't that the truth," Pete replied as they walked past the security checkpoint, bracing themselves for what they would find on the other side.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:20 PM.
Chapter Six: Welcome 'Home'
They came down the ramp to find a horde of parents and guardians all there and ready to welcome their kids back home. Pete was worried about finding Emi, but he hadn't needed to be. She ran up to greet him the moment she saw him get off the ramp.
"Little brother! How are you doing? How was your trip?" she asked, hugging him and tousling his hair. Little brother? So she's my older sister? Interesting, as I only had a little brother back in my old life.
"Come on, Emi, you're not older than me by that much!" Pete guessed. She looked about twenty. "You don't have the right to tousle my hair yet!" Emi just laughed.
"Oh, Michi-chan, you haven't changed one bit! Now come on, we're going to go get your suitcase from the carousel."
Pete and Emi walked to the luggage carousel together, her asking things about his trip and him responding with some made-up BS about what he did. It wasn't hard since he knew all the touristy stuff to do in Texas. Besides, she didn't seem like the type that was going to cross-examine what he was saying.
The carousel started up with a loud clang and then a constant kachunk kachunk sound as it moved each individual piece. One by one, the suitcases filled with people's personal belongings came out onto the carousel. Pete waited until Emi pointed out one that was passing right by them, then grabbed it off the carousel with a large heave. He pulled up the handle and rolled it out of the front doors of the airport, alongside Emi.
Emi led him to the car: a silver 2008 Mazda Demio. She opened the trunk and Pete crammed his luggage in. After he closed the trunk, she handed him the keys. He stared at the keys, then gave her a look.
"What? I'm not old enough to drive yet!" he exclaimed.
"Yeah, that's why you were going to the Nakamura Emiko School of Driving for two months before you left. Or did you forget already?"
Pete was in trouble. Back in Alamo Park, he hadn't learned to drive yet. In fact, he had been planning to start driver's ed that summer. Obviously, that was now a bit problematic.
Emiko jingled the keys in front of Pete's face, then realized he wasn't going to take them. "Oh, sorry, Michi-chan. You're probably tired from the trip. We'll practice tomorrow then, okay?"
Pete gave his best tired impression, yawning and opening his mouth huge. In fact, that twelve-hour sleep he'd had earlier had left him chock-full of energy, but he needed to play this off if he was going to get out of driving. "Yeah, okay. Let's just go home; I just want to lie down and take a nap." He got in the passenger seat, and Emiko laughed.
"I thought you said you didn't want to drive?" Pete frowned, then realized that the right side was for the driver in Japan. He facepalmed, then got out of the car and instead went in the left hand door. Emiko laughed again then got in the driver's seat, turned on the ignition, and carefully drove out of the parking lot.
Well, not carefully. More like rapidly. Some might even call it manically.
She had quite a few narrow misses and almost crashed into the pole on the other side of the toll booth that's supposed to stop drivers from leaving if they haven't paid for their parking, but somehow managed to keep the car from even getting a dent on it and herself from getting arrested for reckless driving.
If Michio was taking driving lessons from her... Pete shuddered. In any case, I see the stereotype about Asian drivers is pretty correct. For her, at least.
Emiko took the on-ramp for Highway 60 and sped up to almost 100 kph, way past the posted limit of 80. Pete hung on for dear life; not because 100 kph was fast, but because of Emiko's driving. The woman took hairpin turns at full speed, and he could swear that the car only had two wheels on the ground at any given point in time.
Emiko practically flew down the exit ramp, and only then did she slow down to an agreeable speed. Pete slowly unclenched his fingers from the sides of the seat and let his body relax. Emiko turned into a small neighborhood and parked in front of a modest two-story house on a corner. Pete opened the door and got out of the car, looking at the house.
"Nice to finally be back, huh?" Emiko asked, walking over beside him.
"Yeah. Back..." he murmured under his breath. To Emiko, he said, "Yeah, I missed this place." After Pete got his bags, they walked through the gate at the front. Emiko unlocked the door and stepped inside, turning on the lights as she took her shoes off, placed them in a cabinet beside the front door, grabbed a pair of slippers, and put them on. Pete followed suit as he entered. As Emiko walked down the hallway and turned some more lights on, he took a good look around at the home he was likely to be staying at for a long time.
The front door opened up into a hallway, at the far end of which was a kitchen. To the immediate right of the front door, there was a wide entryway to a family room. To the left of the hallway was a staircase going up, following along the length of the hall. There were a few doors along the hallway, possibly leading to linen closets or half-baths, or maybe a bedroom or two. Pete couldn't see much else from the entryway, so he stepped into the family room.
From there, he could see there was an entryway to a dining room with a table that was already set, and beyond that, the kitchen again. Walking back into the main hallway, he took the stairs this time, arriving on the second floor.
He looked at the doors, two out of the four having a small nail off which hung a sign telling whose rooms they were: 'Emi's Room: Please Knock', then 'Michio's Room: Danger! Do Not Enter!' Pete entered the room on the right, Michio's room, turned on the lights...
...and was mildly surprised to find it almost identical to his old room. Then again, nothing much could surprise him today.
His bed and the window above it were still opposite the door and the closet still on the right wall; his desk was still to the left of the door and his computer still on it, his bookcase to the right of the desk. But where the large window and cupboard used to be - the far left wall - there was a sliding door which led out onto a balcony, from which he could see a window on the house behind theirs. The cupboard was moved to the foot of his bed, but he didn't care. He had a balcony now!
He'd never had a balcony before because his old house was all one floor. His room was in the front of his house and its big window looked onto the street. It was a change to have a balcony there, but a pleasant one nonetheless. Pete dropped his bags on the wood floor and opened the doors to the balcony, stepping out into a cool night breeze.
If he looked past the neighbor's house and out into the distance, he could see the skyscrapers and office buildings of what was probably downtown Kokogawa. It looked nice at night, with every building having some sort of lights on. They hadn't gone through there on the car ride to the house as the airport was on their side of the city. Pete wished that they had driven through the downtown though, as he wanted to see it up close.
He came back inside after a bit more city gazing then closed the door and the blinds covering it. After all, with the lights on, everyone could see into his room easily, and he didn't want that for obvious reasons.
Pete's next order of business was his computer. He turned it on and watched it boot up. And then, a login screen.
Now he was stuck. Pete was pretty sure his password of random numbers and letters hadn't stayed the same for the conversion to Micho's computer. And knowing himself, he was too paranoid to tell anyone else or write it down anywhere.
Trying to put in my old password once shouldn't hurt... he thought as he started typing it in. But he was making all sorts of mistakes as he did so. It was as if some kind of muscle memory already knew how to put in a different password...
Pete gave it a shot and typed in what felt correct and noted it in his conscious memory. Lo and behold, the password was accepted. It was a different set of random numbers and letters this time.
Getting to his desktop, he found it was pretty much the same as he'd left it, except a lot of things were in Japanese. A report on the history of Japan that he'd made for Japanese class had changed to a report on Europe and America, but that was about it. Interesting.
Signing into his email, he was surprised to find a lot more personal emails between him and other people. In fact, a lot of them seemed like simple texts that he would have sent from his phone. Then he remembered that Japanese cell phones actually used email to send texts. Just something else to get used to.
"Michi-chan! Dinner!" Pete heard Emiko call from downstairs. "I made noodles!" He wasn't very hungry, but it was his first night back so he assumed that Emiko had made a special "welcome back" dinner for him.
That's what his mom would have done back home. She would have prepared a big lasagna dinner, or maybe delicious home-made macaroni and cheese. He wondered what kind of noodles awaited him downstairs.
He left his room and walked down, headed into the family room, then turned left to the dining room, where Emiko was waiting with two bowls of hot, steaming... instant ramen noodles.
"I don't know why, but I expected you to make something special since I just got back," Pete remarked. Emiko laughed.
"Stop teasing me! You know how my cooking always turns out!" No, but he could gander a guess from that. "Anyways, sit down and eat! I did at least get you shrimp flavor, which I generally forget to."
Pete slid into his chair and picked up the chopsticks. At least I know that I can eat with chopsticks now. It would have been bad living in Japan and not being able to use them...
"We gratefully receive the meal!" they both said, and so the meal commenced.
Pete slipped up once using the chopsticks, though, and Emiko went to go get him a fork, laughing about how he had become too "Americanized" for chopsticks. He just grumbled and continued eating the ramen as he had been, slurping the soup down afterward. Emiko was just finishing up her noodles.
He opened the soft drink that was sitting at his place. It looked strange, to say the least. It came in a glass bottle and had a marble trapped in between the liquid section and the section where someone would drink out of. It was called Ramune, and it was apparently bubble gum flavor. Pete tried it.
It was completely different to Coke or Sprite from back home. Ramune tasted as if someone had taken bubblegum flavor, diluted it with water, and added carbonation. It tasted pretty good, basically. The soda was gone before Emiko could even finish her soup. She looked at him, impressed.
"I bet you were dying to have some good old Japanese food and drink, huh, Michi-chan?" Emiko asked teasingly. Pete just grinned.
"Thank you for the meal!" the two said together. Emiko threw away her bowl, then went to the family room and turned on the TV to watch a soap opera. Pete decided that the best thing to do was to retreat into his room and examine all he could of Michio's life, and so he walked up the stairs with a "good night" to Emiko. Emiko just waved at him without looking, not turning away from the TV for even a second.
Pete entered his room (after all, it looked like and pretty much was his room) and took a better look around this time. On the wall above his dresser was the same poster of Back to the Future, an excellent '80s time travel sci-fi comedy, except he assumed it was now in Japanese. The bookshelf had plenty of the same books that he'd had pre-incident, but some were now in Japanese. Some weren't, which Pete found interesting. Maybe Michio had been challenging his knowledge of English by reading them.
However, he also saw that his lucky Longhorns cap and autographed football signed by Derrick Johnson were replaced by Pokémon figurines and a few scale model Poké Balls. There were also figures of girls from various anime, including a few from that one Derek and Jake had been talking about... Just yesterday? Was it really just yesterday? Pete figured that it was more like two days ago with the time change, but oh well.
In addition to his books, he had plenty of manga. All the normal stuff was there: Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Pokémon Special, etc... And then there were a few odder choices, such as The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi and Lucky Star. Those two weren't ordinarily found in a teenage boy's room. Then there were simply some he'd never heard of before, such as Tetsuwan Birdy and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. There was certainly a lot more to this Michio guy that Pete had yet to find out, though, and that stuff was in his emails.
He logged onto his computer and accessed the emails once again. Reading through them, he saw that Michio had tried asking out Kaneko a while back but had failed. At that time, it wasn't publicly known that Kaneko and Sato were going out, so it came as quite a shock to poor Michio when she rejected him due to that. He then tried asking out one of Kaneko's friends, but she acted rudely to him, asking him if she was just a "consolation prize". Michio and her had apparently not gotten back on speaking terms since then. Pete stored the name Hayashi Rei into his memory, under "maybe avoid but try to get on speaking terms with if possible", a very specific category in which she was the only person.
He found that Yamamoto was as much of a womanizer as Jake, that the twins were still as close as ever, and that Tanaka was somehow even worse when it came to being social. In fact, Pete was even able to find the first glimpse of whom he thought was 'Mandrake': a rich student named Honda Atsushi that had transferred into Akira from some ritzy private school in Tokyo at the beginning of the year only for the reason of having a glimpse into how "commoners" lived their lives.
And yes, Honda did have a goddamn private jet, which he'd ridden to and from America on. And a limo which picked him up and dropped him off at Akira every day. Nice job living as the commoners do, Richie Rich.
He found a picture of Honda on some corporate Twitter feed, showing a photo from a company picnic. He was sure he'd found him because there was an Asian boy in the foreground that looked almost identical to how Mandrake had looked. His face was a cross between "happy for the camera" and "I would rather be earning money right now".
By that time it was 1:24 AM. The soup was then settling into Pete's stomach, making him groggy and ready to take a shower and go to sleep. He turned off his computer and headed towards the bathroom, taking some clothes he'd found under the pillow of his bed with him.
Once he was in the bathroom and undressed, he quickly realized that there was no shower. In fact, there was only a movable shower head and drain next to a smallish bathtub. It was odd, and also something they hadn't yet covered in school. Did the Japanese shower outside the tub, then get in later? Pete recalled something like that from an anime he'd watched a time ago.
He turned the water on and waited for it to warm up. While it did, he took a good long look in the mirror. This is me, for now. I'd better get used to it. Michio's body isn't much different from mine, besides the hair color and slight differences in overall structure.
He sighed. Better get used to it. Right.
Then he engaged in the slightly awkward yet somewhat familiar act of taking a shower.
Twelve minutes later, he emerged from the bathroom, clean as a whistle but tired as if he hadn't slept for twelve hours earlier that day. The heat from the shower plus the warm soup... They were collaborating to make sure Pete got into bed as quickly as possible.
He stumbled into his night clothes, shuffled to his room, and plopped down on the pillow, falling asleep in the familiar bed almost instantly.
Pete woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world, or at the very least, Japan. But as he stepped out of his bed, he realized that this was no longer necessary.
Somehow, he was back in his normal room in Texas. And he wasn't about to question why.
He checked his calendar. It was the day of his real trip to Japan... And he'd woken up late! Why hadn't his mom burst into his room screaming that he was late, like she always did?
Pete rushed into his closet and put on some clothes, then packed with lightning speed. This time, he brought the charger that charged well instead of the dodgy one. Then, taking his luggage behind him, he ran out of his room and into the kitchen, where his mom was making breakfast.
"Mom! I'm going to be late for the trip to Japan!" he cried. She turned around, and he realized that he'd confused his older sister, Emmy, for his mom.
"Mom already left to the airport without you!" she said, motioning with the spatula she held in her hand to the street. Pete started to plead with her to bring him to the airport...
Then he stopped. Things weren't adding up here. Why would his mom drive to the airport without him if only he was going on the trip? How was it that Emmy's cooking actually smelled... good? And most importantly, since when did he have an older sister named Emmy?
Then it hit him.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:27 PM.
Chapter Seven: A Sore Awakening
Quite literally, in fact. Pete snapped awake, for real this time, to discover that a Poké Ball that had been on the shelf above his bed had rolled off and hit him squarely in the forehead. As he rubbed his head, he looked back at the dream and noticed telltale signs of it being fake. The fact he couldn't read anything when he looked around his room, the location where he woke up... After all, if everything else was fictional, he could at least rely on the last day of school as a real day with events that actually happened.
And yes, he was still in Japan. His forehead was still smarting. He was tired from a lack of sleep from the night prior. And he couldn't feel his left arm because he'd slept on it. What an awful way to start the day, he thought, rubbing his arm to try and regain some feeling.
It was early in the morning. About seven, Pete thought. Right then, an alarm clock started beeping on his dresser. He walked over and turned it off, looking at its display. He was pretty close with his guess: it was exactly seven thirty in the morning, and apparently it was time to get ready for his first day of high school in Japan.
He wasn't quite sure what to do. In every anime, the students were shown getting to school, maybe on time or late or whatever, but what about getting dressed? What even constituted the uniform of the school he was going to?
Pete checked in his closet to see a white, collared, button-down shirt and brown slacks hanging together on a hook on the inside of the closet door. There were also a few more pairs of the same clothes hanging inside. Pete took a wild guess and assumed that this was his school uniform.
He took off the clothes he had worn the night before and put on his new uniform. It was airy and comfortable, the kind of uniform you would normally expect to wear in the summer if you were forced to wear pants all year long. Pete generally preferred wearing jeans to dress pants, but these would do fine. They certainly weren't as dressy as his church pants, thank god.
Now that would be uncomfortable to wear every day, he thought to himself as he took a look in the mirror. Looking back at him was a somewhat casual but still smartly dressed Japanese high school student that would fit right in with any anime.
Including this one.
Pete put on his house slippers and walked downstairs to find a barely-awake Emiko making herself coffee. She yawned a tired greeting as he walked past her to the refrigerator. He grabbed some orange juice from the fridge and found the cabinet with the cups, taking one out and setting it on the kitchen table. Before serving himself a glass of juice, he found the bread and the toaster and made himself some toast.
So far, it was turning out to be a pretty average morning. Minus the Japan thing, Pete might have even dared to call it just another day at school in boring old Texas for boring old Pete Carter. Of course, one look out the glass doors of the kitchen would break his little fantasy, but for now, Pete was content with his OJ and his toast, which was just then popping out of the toaster.
He spread himself some jam on the toast and had his breakfast. Emiko sat down with him and had some microwave burrito she pulled out of the freezer along with her coffee. Pete looked at the burrito and rolled his eyes. His brother was just like that: never eating what their mom made for them that morning and instead opting for the nearest thing he could heat up in the microwave. Those two definitely had to be related. In a freaky sort of cosmic way, they were, he realized.
Emiko checked the time on her watch. "Michi-kun, it's already eight. You should get going to school! You don't want to be late on your first day back!" With that, Pete realized he actually had no idea how to get to Akira High. While he finished his breakfast and packed the necessary school supplies in his backpack that he'd found around the room, Pete tried to think of a way to get directions to the school.
Then he realized that there was the Internet for a reason. Like he did quite often nowadays, he facepalmed, which was not a good idea with toast still hanging out of his mouth.
He looked the school up and, having little time to spare, he quickly memorized the directions and set off. As he walked along an alleyway behind the houses, which seemed to be so commonplace in suburban Japan, he looked around at the sights. Finally, he was getting to see the side of Japan he had been promised when he'd signed up for the trip.
It wasn't quite how he expected. He thought the houses would either be more futuristic or more traditional. In fact, they were pretty Western from what he could tell. Most of the houses wouldn't have looked out of place in his neighborhood back home.
Now came Pete's fatal flaw. He was so interested in looking at the houses that he forgot the directions to the school and eventually got lost. He wasn't any good with directions or memorization, in any case; the fact that he'd been distracted just made sure he'd get completely and totally lost in this maze of alleyways behind the houses. He wasn't even sure how to find his way back to his house, or even what address his house was!
Pete was screwed. No idea how to get to school and no clue how to get back home...He looked around, hoping for some hint or anything. But there was nothing. He considered asking a stranger for directions, but so close to home, a stranger might turn out to be someone Michio knew.He decided to call Derek-
Suddenly, Pete spotted the twins walking across the alley ahead. He hurried up, took a sharp turn left, and caught up to them. He slapped each hand on one of their shoulders.
"Oh hey, guys! I got a little lost on the way to school." The two turned and recognized Pete.
"Pe- I mean, Nakamura-san!" exclaimed Derek. "How did you get lost going to Akira? I mean, it's right there!" Pete looked up ahead and saw a three story building at the end of the alley they were walking down, where it came out onto a corner of a road. So he had been going the right way the whole time.
Keigo ribbed Pete."I guess you and Daigo-kun are still getting used to being back in Japan, huh?"
"Yeah, I guess," said Pete. "But what was Daigo-kun doing that made you think that?" This made Keigo laugh and Derek hang his head in shame.
"When he woke up this morning, he walked straight into a wall outside our room then fell backwards down the stairs!" Pete laughed along with Keigo now. "Honestly, it's as if he's never lived in that house!" Derek raised his head and pushed his glasses back up.
"Yeah, well, I'm just not used to being back in Japan after living in a house in America," he spat back. Pete just grinned, knowing how Derek must feel. In fact, he was probably the only person that knew how Derek felt at that moment.
As they arrived at the front entrance to Akira High School, Pete and Derek tried to take subtle looks around. The school was a white concrete building, three stories tall, and the side they could see from where they were was very long. However, the overall shape was yet to be seen.
They entered into the front section of the school, where they took off their shoes and put on slippers. It was certainly strange for the two Americans, but doing this stuff was common for the Japanese. They placed their shoes in their lockers and walked into the school.
Once inside, they found themselves in a pretty standard anime high school. The wall on the left had various classrooms, and the wall on the right had windows which looked out onto a courtyard. From that view, they could see that the school was an elongated U shape, with the three being in one of the arms of the U.
Keigo basically escorted them to their homeroom. Pete wondered for a second what class he had after homeroom for first period and where it was, but then he remembered that the teachers moved around in Japan, not the students.
They arrived at classroom 1-C and slid open the door. Quite a few students were milling around and talking to their friends. Pete saw all his friends from the trip already there and talking with their respective groups. He saw 'Mandrake' in a group of people in expensive-looking jackets, which looked ridiculous because it was almost eighty degrees inside and even hotter outside.
A few people looked up as the trio walked into the classroom. One of them saw Derek and waved him over. Pete looked at Derek. He shrugged, and walked over to join them. Keigo went off to join his group, and Pete was left standing there awkwardly.
He went around and listened to what each group was talking about. One subject was a yaoi anime (eugh), another one was America, a third topic was programming (the group Derek had joined), and the fourth one was the subject of a huge debate. As he approached the last group, one of the people in it pulled out a chair for him without even turning from the heated discussion. Pete realized that this must be Michio's normal group and sat down in the chair. He wondered what they were talking about.
"...times do I have to say this?! This is the last damn time I will tell you this, moron! Espeon is the best Eeveelution and you cannot dismiss this simple FACT!" one of them practically screamed at another, punctuating his last word with a fist landing on the table.
His opponent looked ready to explode. "You just don't understand the amazingness of Umbreon! Its higher defense stats don't let it back down from any opponent, especially not your puny Espeon! Umbreon is also immune to Espeon's psychic abilities, you DOLT!"
Both groups just started to glare at one another, then everyone turned to Pete. "President, we see you're back! Decide for us which is better!"
Pete blanched. He was the president of a Pokémon fan club here? He really had no idea what to choose, so he chose one at random.
"Um... Espeon...? Espeon is the best."
Half of the group smugly grinned at the other, while that half looked at Pete unbelievingly. "But... But Espeon is weak to Umbreon! Umbreon is..."
They sighed. "All right, President. We concede." Being the president of the fan club was an issue, seeing as Pete knew next to nothing about Pokémon. He needed to find more information out before whenever their next club meeting was. Speaking of which...
"Since I've been away, I need to know when our next meeting is," Pete said. One of the members turned to him.
"Uh, President Nakamura? Are... are you feeling okay?" No, not really, he wanted to say. "We still have club on every Thursday... I didn't change it since you left, sir!" I? He surmised that this was probably the vice-president.
"Yes, of course... Did anything happen in the two weeks I was gone?" Pete queried. The vice-president thought for a moment.
"Not really, no. This argument has been going on for that entire time. Remember when you left, when you said that they both have their upsides and downsides? That's what started this whole war. Thank you for finally bringing it to an end!"
"No problem. Espeon just happens to be my favorite Eeveelution, so I went ahead and said that so they would finally stop." He was getting good at this BSing thing, but yet, he did have to actually learn about Pokémon for the club meeting on Thursday.
The bell rang to start class and everyone quickly got quiet and sat in their seats. Derek and Pete scrambled to sit in the closest empty chairs. The moment they did, a worn-looking old man slid open the door to the classroom and stepped inside. He looked at them all for a few seconds before speaking.
"Good morning, students. Class leader, you may begin."
"RISE!" a voice called out. Everyone in the classroom stood up.
"BOW!" Everyone bowed.
"SIT!" That's what they did.
Pete was already accustomed to this from his Japanese class, although back home, they added an extra step between 'rise' and 'bow' that was essentially 'stand at attention' since American kids were a lot more fidgety.
The teacher, whom Pete realized was probably Watanabe-sensei, pulled out a piece of chalk and wrote a textbook page number on the blackboard. "Please pull out your books and turn to page 544. The topic today is the Japanese shogunate of the medieval times." Pete stifled a yawn. He had already been through this section of history in his world history class, and he didn't want to have to learn it all over again. Instead, he focused on what was outside the window.
The courtyard of the school was not visible from the window, which disappointed him. What was visible was the track field, where he could see the girl's gym class running laps. If he needed any more confirmation that this was an anime, he had it right there in the unnatural bouncing of their chests. Hell, those things looked weightless, they were bouncing so-
An eraser smacked him in the side of the head.
"Nakamura Michio, is there something outside the window that interests you so much more than the rich history of our country?" the teacher asked, wiping his hands on his pants. He looked outside and saw what Pete was staring at. Pete felt a bit guilty for staring at the girls.
"So you like running, eh? How about I go ask the coach to give you 20 extra laps to run for today's gym class?" The old teacher smirked, his classmates giggled, and Tanaka laughed really awkwardly hard. Kaneko just looked at him disdainfully. Pete turned back to the textbook open in front of him and groaned. This was going to be one long first day, he could already tell. When is the interesting stuff in this anime going to happen?
The day actually passed by rather quickly for Pete. He found the lessons somewhat interesting and engaging, for once in his life. For example, the history lesson at the beginning of the day that he'd thought was boring actually taught him various new things about the Japanese medieval period. He was starting to like this school, although he still wished to be on break.
After class, the students had to clean up around the school. Pete and Kaneko were paired together to clean classroom 1-C for the week. While Pete clapped the erasers, Kaneko put all the trash into a big trash bag. There was awkward silence for the first five minutes. Then:
"...Look, Kaneko, about this morning-"
"I don't even want to hear it! That was rude, staring at those girls like that!"
Pete struggled to explain his way out. "I wasn't actually looking at the girls! There really was a hornet-"
"Yeah, yeah, I've heard it all before. There just happens to be a hornet's nest in some tree near the track, and that's what you were staring at? Come on, at least try to be original. God, I wish you could feel what's it's like to be stared at as if you're only a piece of meat..."
Pete pointed out the window. "Well, look for yourself. See the tree near the track? It's on one of the lower branches, and it's massive." Kaneko stared at the tree.
"I can't see it!" she complained. Then the light shifted, revealing a faint dark mass that hung from one of the branches. She gasped.
"They... they really should get someone to cut that down!" she said, not wanting to admit that maybe she was wrong. But she smiled at Pete, and they continued cleaning up the classroom. This time, though, they actually had a conversation. In his mind, Pete wiped away the sweat from his forehead. That had been close.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:30 PM.
I caught up with this last night, and was really confused by that "epilogue". I had to think about it for a bit! Glad to see that it was Pete's dream!
It's great that you're not rushing Pete's want to get home. Instead of his focus being only about how to get back to the life he knew, he's seeing how his anime life is and finding that parts of it are actually pretty good. It'll be interesting to see if that affects his decision if he does find a way back home.
I'm still really enjoying this story. I didn't read ahead when you linked to it on Dropbox, so everything is a surprise to me. It's really great, and I can't wait to see if anything stereotypical anime happens to Pete.
Chapter Eight: The Week Drags On, Oddly Enough
Once they were done, he said goodbye to Kaneko and walked home. This time, he knew the way since he'd had time to print out the directions at the school. He followed the ridiculously simple path to get back (seriously, how had he gotten lost that morning?) and walked in the back door.
"I'm home!" he called out to the house. Nobody was there, and Pete assumed that Emiko was still at her job and wouldn't get back for a bit. He kicked off his shoes, then went up to his room and set his stuff down on the floor next to his bed. That day had been pretty easy, and he honestly wouldn't mind a few more days of it.
How long will this last, I wonder? Pete thought. I was hoping that when I woke up this morning, everything would be back to normal. Of course, this wasn't the case. He was just going to stay in that anime until he either found his own way out or whatever brought him in took him back out. He was at the mercy of the plot.
He walked back downstairs and went into the family room. He turned on the TV and tried to find an interesting show. All he could find on was anime and things that looked that they should have been live-action but was made into an anime... at which point he realized that it was live-action. For a minute there, watching TV, he'd almost forgotten where he was.
As he was surfing through, though, he came across a preview for an anime which caught his eye. It was called Anime-ted! Magic American Change and had an easily recognizable main character.
As suddenly as he'd landed on the commercial, it passed and he was left watching a commercial for vegetable juice with music sung by Hatsune Miku.
He just sat there, listening to the song, as he tried processing what he'd seen. An anime... of an American... that looked almost exactly like Michio did... and it had an extremely suspicious title. ...Could it be an anime based on his adventures within the anime world? Holy world-destroying paradox, Batman!
He raced upstairs and turned on his computer. Logging onto the Internet, he made a google.co.jp search for "anime-ted magic american change anime new". The results were less than appealing. The only media released of it had been the trailer, and that was also the only information known about it, besides its release date: July 4th. Pete saw what they did there.
He decided to watch the beginning of the trailer, the part he'd missed. It played an anime intro over short clips from the upcoming show. It was really weird, because it was showing scraps of events that had happened in the week up until the trip. The style was heavily trying to copy American cartoons but failing because it was an anime. Pete watched as his animated self lamented over Dana, missed his bus, and played games with Tommy. It was eerie, to say the least. If he was still here by the Fourth of July, he definitely wanted to watch it to see if he could glean some foreknowledge. He could wait a month.
He looked around the popular anime websites, still unable to find any more information. Sighing in disappointment, he walked back downstairs and started watching the latest episode of something called Cat x Highschool. He couldn't follow it well; for some reason, there was a normal old cat that was also a high schooler, and that was apparently the entire joke. He left the channel feeling confused and changed to something classic: Neon Genesis Evangelion.
"I'm back!" a voice called from the right. Pete turned his head and saw that Emiko was home.
"Welcome back. How was work today?" he asked. She sighed and plopped down on the sofa next to him.
"Same old, same old. You'd think working at the video store would be fun, but it really does get boring after a while."
"I couldn't imagine that! It sounds like it would be a lot of fun! All the new anime that come in, the manga with all the awesome action sequence drawings..." He paused. "Say, sis, have you heard of Anime-ted! Magic American Change?"
Emiko thought for a second, then snapped her fingers. "Yeah, I actually did hear about it. In fact, we're getting a few volumes to rent out soon. The people making it are just holding out to release it on TV, but all the episodes are already done. Why do you ask?"
"I'm interested in it. Think you can snag me an early copy of the first volume?"
"Sure thing, Michio. Working at the video store does have its perks, after all, or I wouldn't continue working there." She looked at the TV. "Re-watching Evangelion, I see?"
"Yeah, there's not much else on. There's just something called Cat x Highschool, and I keep feeling like I'm missing the joke."
"You must be, because that show is hilarious!" She snatched the remote out of his hand and changed it back. She started laughing the moment the cat came on screen. "Just look at it! Everyone thinks the cat goes to high school! People in anime are so dumb!"
Pete just rolled his eyes and went to get something from the fridge. He pulled out a banana and ate it in silence, listening to the sounds of the TV and Emiko's laughter from the other room. He finished the banana and walked upstairs to his room.
Sitting down at his computer, he contemplated what to do next. Should he try to research this new anime more, even though it seems like there's no more information to be found? What about himself? After a school day as Michio, he thought he could handle whatever would come his way during a normal day at school. ...But he still needed more facts about the one thing that he needed to be a nerd about: Pokémon.
He pulled out his Pokémon 3DS from his backpack and turned it on, starting up the latest installment in the long-running Pokémon series: Pokémon Y.
* * *
"Michio-san! Time for dinner!" Pete heard Emiko call up the stairs. He saved the game, closed the 3DS, then rubbed his eyes. How long had he been playing for? He honestly could not tell, he had been so interested in the lives of the people and Pokémon in the game. The 3D feature made everything pop out and look much more real than they had looked in previous games, and the story was as good as always and really made you think about ethics, though in a strange manner since it was about fictional animals that were able to think like humans. Oh well, it was interesting anyways, and Pete couldn't wait to get back to playing after dinner.
He walked down to the kitchen, where that night they were having takeout from a nearby sushi restaurant.
"We gratefully receive the meal!" they both called out before they began to eat. The sushi was good, though Emiko made the same comment about soy sauce on his sushi that Keigo had made the day prior at the airport in Tokyo. Pete just waved it off as his tastes changing with time and finished his plate. The pot stickers that came with the sushi were also good, but Pete wondered why they came with them. After all, sushi and pot stickers came from two completely different countries. Pete just shrugged it off and enjoyed the food.
After the meal, the two went off to do their normal nighttime duties, including brushing their teeth and showering. Thank goodness Emiko could use her own, separate bathroom so they didn't have to fight over the bathroom like at home.
When he was done, he messed around on the computer, browsing the Japanese equivalent of YouTube, called Nico Nico Douga. It was okay, but YouTube was much better and simpler to use.
"Cat videos are still funny, even in Japanese," he said, not really knowing what he'd expected. That the funniness of cat videos would somehow decrease due to a language barrier? That didn't even make sense.
He checked the clock. Eleven PM already? It was getting late for a school night. He didn't want a repeat of what had happened Sunday. He shut off his computer, turned off the light, and climbed into bed, staring up at the ceiling. Living as a Japanese guy that looked almost exactly like him was strange, but it was manageable. He pondered the question of how long it would take to get back to normal, then shrugged and decided to simply live in the moment.
He fell asleep almost instantly, dreaming of flying bacon and time machines powered by tacos. He always had strange dreams.
* * *
The next morning, his alarm woke him up as it would have the day before if he hadn't instead had a rude awakening, courtesy of a falling object. He got out of his bed, got dressed, and went downstairs to get breakfast. Emiko was making herself coffee as she had been the previous morning. Pete decided to change the morning up a bit and just ate a bowl of cereal and a bit of fruit.
After breakfast was done, he went to school. The school day went by much as it had the day before. He got his work done, went home, did more stuff, then went to sleep that night, only to repeat the cycle again until Thursday afternoon, where the normal routine was broken up by the Pokémon Fan Club meeting. By then, Pete had played enough Pokémon Y to get by, but he was still nervous about being the president of a club, apparently the most knowledgeable about the subject.
"ALL RIGHT! The 43rd meeting of the Akira High First Years Pokémon Fan Club is about to commence!" called the vice president, whom he had eventually learned was named Yamada Masaki. "On to the first order of business. The legendary Umbreon versus Espeon debate was settled by our president upon his return to Kokogawa. The winner is Espeon." A few of the members that hadn't been there that morning grumbled a bit before settling down.
"Today has been designated a non-debate day," the vice president continued. "Today is the long-awaited Classics Day; everyone will play Pokémon Red and Green to see just how far the Pokémon franchise has come since its creation." Everyone, including Pete, pulled out their classic beige and green Game Boys from the 80s and popped in either Red or Green Version.
Some people decided to trade or battle Pokémon with each other using big old link cables they'd brought, while others showed off their mastery of their games by literally completing them in five minutes through use of an interesting glitch. Pete just sat to the side and played Red for the first time on his purple GBA, laughing at all the deformed sprites of Pokémon it had.
After the meeting was over, everyone pitched in to help clean up the classroom, which was somewhat easy because they really hadn't made much of a mess with their games. No one wanted to leave behind their precious classic cartridges, after all.
Pete walked home and did his normal stuff as he had for the past few nights. But that night, he laid there in bed, resting his head on his backpack, just thinking.
For an anime about a guy that gets sucked into an anime, the situations have, so far, been fairly normal, the exception being the event that brought me and Derek here. Honestly, this anime is boring. I've been dropped into an anime, where theoretically ANYTHING can happen, and I just happen to be placed into an average Japanese high schooler 'slice of life' one.
He turned over to lie face down on his stomach and groaned.
Make aliens come down and try to establish a trade agreement. Or maybe have a zombie virus outbreak take over Kokogawa. Hell, let one of the people at my school be a magical girl, for crying out loud. Just have SOMETHING interesting happen. Don't waste my time here, Mr Author Man!
With that, he fell asleep and had a dreamless night.
* * *
The next morning was fairly normal, though his neck was sore since he'd accidentally slept on his backpack. Pete had half expected some of his wishes from the night prior to come true, but it hadn't worked. He couldn't even remember what he'd wished for, so that might have been a good thing. Who knows what could have resulted?
The rest of the day was also normal, but the next day being Saturday, he finally had a day off to explore the city. However, his plans to go out were cut short by an invitation from Derek and Keigo to go hang out at the local video game store. Pete agreed, on the condition that they would all go downtown and visit the Pokémon Center the next day. They were fine with that, and actually had wanted to visit themselves seeing as it had only opened recently.
At the video game store, Pete looked around the shelves at the various games on display. There were games ranging from some Pong consoles dated 1979 to the Wii U, released sometime recently. At his house, Pete only had a GameCube and the 3DS along with his Game Boy Advance, and didn't have enough yen to buy a new console.
He decided instead to buy an interesting Pokémon game he hadn't heard of: Pokémon CrystalDust, an English game. He asked the clerk about it, but he didn't know much about it except that it might have been a bootleg. His curiosity was piqued and he bought it, wanting to know more.
"Hey, what's that you've got there?" asked Derek when he saw what Pete has bought.
"No idea. Supposedly, it's a bootleg Pokémon game, and I'm interested to see how it is."
Derek shrugged. "Whatever, it's your money. Or was." He bought a copy of Tetris for his NES and Keigo found a cartridge of E.T. for the Atari 2600. Pete tried warning him that it was crap, but he didn't listen and bought it anyways. Pete could only shrug.
They all went over to the twins' house to play their new games. Pete was surprised to find that CrystalDust was actually good for a bootleg. E.T. for the Atari was worse, if that was possible, than the reviews gave it credit for. Pete could remember a certain Angry Video Game Nerd that wouldn't even review it until he had enough money to make a movie about reviewing it. It was just that bad. And Tetris was, well, Tetris. Nothing much else to say about it.
After they got their fill of gaming, though, it was time for Pete to leave. "I'll see you guys tomorrow morning at the Pokémon Center!" he said, waving from the front walk. They replied their affirmations and closed the door. Pete was left to take the short walk back home.
"I'm back!" he called into the house.
"Welcome home, little bro. How was the game store trip?" Emiko replied. She was sitting in the family room watching that stupid Cat x Highschool again.
"I got an interesting bootleg Pokémon game, Daigo got classic Tetris, and Keigo bought a copy of the game that singlehandedly brought about the American video game market crash of 1983."
Emiko winced. "E.T. Atari? Didn't you warn him?"
"I tried. He still wanted to play it anyways." He went up to his room and turned on his computer, intending to research himself more. However, he'd left a TV Tropes JP page open from when he was looking up Animated! and soon found himself caught in its vortex of knowledge on Japanese entertainment.
He glanced at the clock a little while later- okay, make that three hours later. Pete groaned and got up from his chair to stretch. It was already time for him to go to sleep, incredibly enough. He turned off his computer and just got in his bed without even taking a shower. He didn't even care anymore, he was just so tired. Almost instantly, Pete was sound asleep.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:33 PM.
Chapter Nine: The Interesting Stuff Starts Happening
The next morning, Pete groggily sat up from his bed at eleven in the morning, his usual weekend time. He slid out of bed then stood up straight. He felt... off, somehow. Off balance, for one. He might have been getting sick, but he wasn't sure. He'd have to check his temperature.
His bleary eyes could barely make out what was in front of him. He shuffled, unsteadily, to the bathroom and splashed water on his face, trying to wake himself up. Pete hoped he wasn't sick, because he really wanted to spend Sunday with the guys in downtown Kokogawa. It was going to be his first time in the downtown area, and Pete was excited, to say the least.
He looked up from the sink... and saw a girl, about his age. She had long, lighter blue hair that went down to her waist. She had an athletic build, was anime proportioned, and was honestly really cute. She was wearing a simple pink nightgown, and was in his bathroom. His body was still in the process waking up, so he didn't quite freak out. Pete's tired mind only was able to wonder why she was in his bathroom...
...and why he was seeing her in the mirror.
Pete blinked. The girl in the mirror stared. He waved at her, and she waved back. He scratched his cheek, and she scratched hers. He then noticed her striking, electric-blue eyes. He reached behind his head to rub his neck as he often did when he was embarrassed or nervous... and felt hair behind his neck. The girl in the mirror looked surprised to feel her own hair...
...then his tired mind finally put two and two together and made six.
He jumped back from the mirror, the adrenaline created by the realization waking him up immediately. As he guessed, the girl in the mirror jumped back with him. There was an uncomfortable tugging feeling from his chest as he landed.
He looked down and saw just what he was expecting. What no man under 300 pounds should have.
He screamed. No, she shrieked. ...Should she think of himself as a girl or a boy now...? Everything was too confusing.
Pete (?) staggered out of the bathroom and flopped onto his bed face down. Bad idea. His... things... started hurting. He groaned and rolled over.
Of course, Pete being Pete, he started thinking of the social repercussions of suddenly becoming female, rather than doing what most guys in his situation would be doing–thinking about what he could now... well... do. Would he have to pass as his cousin in school? Would he have to claim that he had a sex change operation? Now that would be a tough one to explain the reason for. Pete sighed as he stared at his pink ceiling.
...Wait. Pink ceiling?
Pete sat up straight and took a good look around his room. Pink didn't even begin to describe it. The walls were pink, the carpet was pink, the bed he was sitting on was pink... Pete was beginning to wonder how in the world he hadn't noticed it earlier. The manga and posters still seemed to be the same though, as well as his computer. All the Pokémon stuff was still there, too.
Suddenly, Emiko burst into his room. "Michio-kun, it's already eleven! Get u-"
Then she noticed Pete. "Uh... Hi? Who are you...? Where's Nakamura Michio?"
Pete nervously grinned and waved. "R... Right here, sis..." Emiko stared as Pete blushed because of his new, delicate voice. It surprised him.
"B... But... Michio is a..." She then noticed the room. "Pink walls... Pink ceiling... Everything all girly..." Emiko leaned in close to Pete, then gasped as she recognized his features, but feminized. "Michio! It really is you! But..."
Pete shrugged. "What happened? I really have no idea. It must be magic or something, because I just have no explanation for this or what happened on the plane-"
He stopped himself. He was saying too much. Then again, with proof of magic all around them, this was logically the perfect time to admit he wasn't even Michio.
Emiko looked at him. "On the plane? To Japan? Before you returned?" She looked at him, sudden realization, or at least partial realization, showing in her eyes. "Something magic like this happened then? Just what did happen? You've been acting differently ever since you got back."
She sat down next to him and looked straight into his eyes.
"So tell me. Just what's been going on here?"
Pete took a deep breath and told her everything, from his normal life in Alamo Park, Texas up to the time he woke up that morning. It was still really strange to hear a girl's voice coming out of his mouth and have to brush long, light blue hair out of his eyes... not to mention the alien feelings coming from his new... ahem... parts.
But he ignored them and told his entire story. He left nothing out. After all, Emiko might be able to help him think through the situation as she had the thought processes of an anime character, and every detail might have been significant.
When he was done, he gulped. She stared at him for a minute, removing all his layers like a ripe onion, seeing him first as a girl, then as her brother, and finally as Pete Carter, American.
"...That is the most inane story that I have ever heard of, outside of an anime. But if what you say is true... that would explain everything I've seen in the past week or so. Including today. And I guess that same magical power turned you into a girl, Michi- I mean... uhh... Pee-to...?"
"Well, as long as I'm your brother Michio - and I still technically am Michio: same personality, much of the same likes and dislikes - just call me by that name. It makes things simpler." Then he looked down at himself. "But while I'm your sister...?"
"I... I'm actually not sure. But since your room seems to have changed with your gender... maybe your life elsewhere already has a name for you?"
That was true. It was possible that everyone but the siblings had always thought of Pete as a blue-haired girl. Pete decided that he had to research himself all over again. Great.
He started by turning on his computer. Instead of his normal desktop, with an epic image of a scene from Kingdom Hearts, it was an image of the entire cast of Lucky Star in cheerleader outfits. Pete tried ignoring it and went straight to the Internet. He logged on to his email (thank goodness neither the username nor password had anything to do with his name or he would have been screwed) and checked the recent emails as he had earlier. A lot of the messages were the same, but some, especially the ones referencing Kaneko and Yamamoto, had changed. Pete's alternate girl self was apparently really close friends with Kaneko and hated Yamamoto's guts, both of which made sense considering the circumstances.
He scanned the emails for any mention of his new name and found one in which Yamamoto had been flirting with 'her': Michiko. Simple enough of a change, but one which solidified that he was of the opposite sex. Well, at least he wasn't going to have to try to pass off a sex change operation, but it still didn't change the fact that this was going to take some time getting used to.
And besides the changes to his relationships with Kaneko and Yamamoto, he appeared to have two extra female friends: Keiko and Yuiko. Coincidentally, their last names were Ketsuke, like Daigo and Keigo. Cousins, perhaps, or some other relatives? Pete decided it wasn't exactly important to figure out at the moment. He turned around to Emiko.
"Well? What did you find?" she asked impatiently.
"A few things have changed in my life, such as my aversion to the color pink..." He looked around the room. "A few of my friends have changed how they relate with me. And my name is Michiko. But other than that, it looks like nothing much has changed. So far."
"What about your mind? Are you attracted to guys now? Do you find yourself acting any differently?" Emiko questioned. Pete thought for a moment.
"As far as I can tell... I'm still attracted to girls, and I don't believe I'm acting any different, though logically I couldn't tell seeing as I'm limited to my knowledge of my mind from my mind, which might have changed, therefore making an outside source that knew the old me, such as yourself, the only method of verification."
Emiko laughed. "Well, that sure sounds like the little brother I know. Well, since neither of us knows how long this will last or how to change you back, I guess it's time to get you acquainted with the finer points of the life of a Japanese schoolgirl... Michiko." She grinned again.
A shiver went down Pete's spine. He could already tell he was in for one hell of a time.
Emiko walked over to... gulp... his dresser. She opened the top drawer and pulled out a light pink bra and matching panties. It wasn't anything too frilly; for a girl, that is. But for a guy trapped inside a girl's body...
"Oh god, I have to wear that?" Pete complained. It was just so insulting to his masculinity. Then again, so was whining... Thinking about it, he had sounded there like a typical girl when faced with something ugly to wear.
Emiko nodded. "Sorry, this is the least girly thing I could find. And I'm not letting my little sister go bra-less. And especially not panty-less. Unless you'd like to dive right into g-strings...?" She gave a coy smile as she pulled one of them out of the drawer. Pete's eyes widened and he blushed.
"Jesus christ, no! How... How is that even considered underwear? It doesn't even cover anything up!"
"That's the point, genius. It's designed to seduce men. You should know that better than any other girl."
"True, but... Whatever! Just put that thing away! It scares me just thinking about wearing one!" Emiko fake-pouted a bit and put it away, then walked over to Pete with the original underwear.
"It's time to get acquainted with yourself. You are, at the moment, getting more intimate with a girl's body than any other guy on the planet. You should honestly consider yourself lucky."
"You call this lucky?? The first girl I'm going to see naked outside of certain... reading materials... and it's myself." He sighed. "To be honest, I never expected that the first time would be like this. I thought it would be with a nice blonde on prom night, both of us ready to do the deed and me completely inexperienced. To be completely honest, I thought she would laugh, at both my inexperience and... well..."
"All right, enough dilly-dallying, Michiko. You're eventually going to need to do this anyways if you're stuck as a girl for an extended amount of time," Emiko said. "This is for your own good. If you don't take that nightgown off in the next ten seconds, I'm taking it off for you."
Pete did as he was asked and immediately blushed harder than he ever had in his life. It was just so alien. He didn't even know his own body anymore.
"See? It's not so bad. It's just your body. It's not as if it's someone else that you're looking at there."
Pete forced his eyes away from the mirror. "Th... That's the thing, though. My mind hasn't quite made the connection yet. It's still as if that's someone else in the mirror. It was a lot easier getting used to how Michio looked because we're already almost identical. But this..." He looked back at himself in the mirror. The blush returned harder than ever. To make matters even more awkward and confusing, he found he was attracted to... to himself. Well, technically not himself, but also himself at the same time from an alternate universe whose body he was inhabiting... All this was just more fuel for the confusion fire.
"Well, get used to it. You're probably going to be seeing this for at least some time. Speaking of which, for that time..." She held up a bra in front of his breasts. "...you're going to need to wear one of these every day. So time for you to get learning."
"Well, I know I have to learn and all but... God, do you realize what this feels like? I'm a guy and I'm about to wear a freaking bra! It feels like I'm about to crossdress!"
"I don't quite think it's crossdressing if your body's gender matches the gender your clothes are intended for," she said with somewhat of an evil grin on her face. Pete shuddered.
"That doesn't change the whole idea of a guy wearing girl clothing. It's just that I seem to have gone a bit farther and am wearing a girl's body too. And no matter if I look like a girl or not, I'm still mentally a guy. So it's still crossdressing, at the very least for me."
"Well, I guess you do have a point. That doesn't mean you get to walk around not wearing underwear. As your dear older sister, I have to stop you from doing such things." She shoved the underwear into his arms. "Seriously now, shut up and put these on."
Pete supposed it was better for him to wear underwear rather than have every guy within a five mile radius be able to get a show of his newly-gained privates. He sighed and resigned himself to the horrors of using female underwear.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:35 PM.
Chapter Ten: All Aboard the S. S. Awkwardness
It took a while, but Petra finally managed to slip the bra on and close the clasp. During that time, she'd been mentally conditioning herself to use female pronouns and the name Petra for herself, at least for the time being. Sentences such as 'She held up a bra in front of his breasts' were simply really strange to think about.
Emiko could have probably taught her quickly enough, having done this for much of her life, but Petra wouldn't know because she just left Petra to her own devices. She'd always almost get it right only to fail to close the clasp in the back every time. Or otherwise, she'd close the clasp right but it would be uncomfortable to wear. She had finally come to the realization that the strange feeling was simply from the fact that it was a bra and not because it was, in and of itself, an uncomfortable bra.
She turned around to show Emiko her work. Emiko laughed at her then handed her the panties. "You know, they're easier to clasp on in the front then turn around."
Petra gave her a glare of death. "You could have told me that half an hour ago!"
Emiko grinned and handed her the panties. Those were vastly easier to put on, for obvious reasons. "I know, I know, but it was funny to watch you try clasping it in the back."
Once the panties were on, Emiko giggled and clapped. "You really look the part now. I mean, it was obvious you were female before, what with the hair and all, but... I dunno, it's different now."
Petra grimaced and said, "I know what you mean. I can just feel my masculinity seeping away every second I have these things on."
"That's implying you were masculine before..." Emiko smirked and walked over to the closet. Petra glared at her back. While she rummaged around in there, Petra turned back to the mirror. She cupped her breasts in her hands and shuddered at the unfamiliar sensation.
"How the hell did it ever come to something like this? Sure, I wanted my life to be interesting, and I wanted this anime to become more interesting, but this is just plain ridiculous," she mumbled to herself. She turned around to ask Emiko a question about what was taking her so long when she saw the outfit she had picked out for her.
The top was a light pink tank top that looked too short to cover her stomach, paired with a black miniskirt. Petra stared at the clothes in disbelief as Emiko placed them on her bed.
"You expect me to wear... that?" she complained. "No way! That's too girly! Aren't there some jeans or something? Maybe a simple t-shirt?"
Emiko walked back to the closet and looked in. "Nope, not at all. Your female self was a real girly girl. For example..." She pulled out a pair of thigh-high boots. Petra made a weird face.
"That right there is fetish fuel. I don't think I would be caught dead wearing that," she said, somewhat disturbed by the fact that she even owned them.
Emiko pouted. "I think they would look cute on you, but okay." She put back the boots and pulled out some simple sneakers. "You can wear these when we leave." She placed them on the floor beside Petra.
"All right, now put them all on. I'm going to leave the room because I want the full effect! And also because you already know how to put them on." She opened the room, stepped outside, and closed the door softly behind her. Petra thought she could hear her giggling as she made her way downstairs.
She turned to the outfit on her bed and took a long, deep breath. "Goodbye, manhood. Hello, Dolly."
* * *
"Michiko-chan! How does it feel? Does it look cute?" Emiko said, bursting into Petra's room. There, standing in front of the mirror, looking down slightly, and shyly blushing was a ridiculously cute, blue-haired teenage Japanese girl dressed in accentuating clothes and wearing black ankle socks. She'd even combed her hair somewhat well. Emiko marveled at the transformation.
"Wow, Michiko! You look great! The socks are a nice touch, but you need to wear a different kind of shoe for that. ...But it's like you're the little sister I've always wanted!" Petra looked up from her self-embarrassment to glare at Emiko. She nervously backtracked. "Not that I ever had any problems with Michio, it's just that... I've always wanted a little sister I could share girl advice with, trade fashion tips with... Well, I can only do the first thing now, but at least it's something." She went into the closet and pulled out a different kind of shoe that had a strap over the bare top of the foot instead of covering it all up.
"Well, I'd greatly appreciate that stuff right about now, because frankly, this is getting to be really, really weird! More so once I walk outside this door and try to interact with other human beings! Pretending to be Michio was one thing, but this is just borderline insanity. I can't realistically act like a girl!"
"Come on, it's not that hard."
"For you, maybe. You've had your whole life to train to be an effective girl. For me, all I can see happening is awkward conversation and obliviousness to whenever I make a mistake." She groaned. "If this lasts for any longer than, say, today and tomorrow, then I think I'm going to go insane."
"Stop overreacting! Jesus, you sound like me whenever I'm freaking out about Valentine's Day and what I should give to whom... Now that's serious business. You have an entire day to train before school tomorrow." She grabbed the shoes and Petra, pulling her out of the room, down the stairs, and to the main hallway.
"Lesson one: the walk." Emiko moved to the doorway of the family room. "Let's see you walk down the hallway."
Petra did as she was asked. Emiko just made a face. "If I needed any more proof that you were a guy, there it is." Petra turned around.
"What? What did I do wrong? I was just trying to walk like I normally do." Emiko made a tsk tsk sound.
"You walk just like a guy does: shoulders together, a pronounced slump, hands trying to go into your nonexistent pockets. You need to carry yourself with an air of elegance. Your body has to say, 'I'm a woman and I'm proud!'" She then remembered who she was talking to. Petra just stared with a seething anger in her eyes.
"All right, fine. How about, 'I'm a woman and it's hopefully just temporary but I'm going to have to live with it for now!'" Petra sighed, then walked back towards Emiko, this time with her back straight and her gait well-formed. Emiko nodded approvingly.
"That's much better. But..." She paused. "There's something still wrong. Now you look more like some guy in the military, but you still look like a guy. Let me try and see what's the difference." She slowly walked down the hallway, Petra taking mental notes. Suddenly, Emiko stopped.
"That's it!" she exclaimed. "It's your hips! You don't have that girly shake to them. Try walking with your hips moving like mine." Petra did so, and Emiko just sighed. "Now see, that's just a mockery of how a girl walks. Your hips are all over the place!"
Petra was fuming. "God damn it, quit being so critical! I highly doubt anyone will notice. Now, let's eat breakfast! I'm starving!" She began walking over to the kitchen.
"Stop!" Emiko exclaimed. "You... What were you doing just then?"
"All right, look, just quit it with the whole-"
"No, no! You were walking perfectly just then!" Emiko said in disbelief. Petra looked down at herself, confused.
"But, I wasn't doing anything special...?"
"That must be it! Muscle memory or something gets you to walk like a girl when you're not consciously trying to walk a certain way."
Petra shrugged. "I guess so. Muscle memory sure likes helping me in plenty of situations." She thought back. "But the bra?"
"Ha ha, I bet it was because you were doing it wrong the whole time," Emiko said, laughing all the way to the kitchen as Petra fumed.
Emiko went over to the pan to pour some pancakes from the ready-made mix, but Petra quickly took the pan away from her, remembering what had happened the last time she had tried cooking something: ergo, yesterday. The fire department had to be called to their house, it was that bad.
Thankfully, Petra was skillful in the kitchen, and so she made them both some pancakes. She put two on Emiko's plate and four on her own, as per usual. But this time, Emiko frowned.
"Look, Michiko, now that you're a girl, you can't just eat everything you want. It'll go straight to your hips." Petra shrugged and sat down at the table with a bottle of maple syrup. She poured too much on, also as per usual, and Emiko just sighed. "You'd better hope that you have as high a metabolism as you did when you were a guy, then."
"Oh, don't worry. I feel ridiculously hungry, as if I could eat three of these stacks. I bet that Michiko is more athletic than me and therefore actually has a higher metabolism." With that, she dug into her syrup-soaked pancake stack. Emiko looked like she'd decided that the lesson would be better taught later and just ate her two pancakes without saying anything more.
Petra just sat as she did normally: legs splayed out, hunched over her food. Emiko grimaced when she noticed the way she ate.
"Fine, you can eat your pancakes, but be civilized about it! You look like a dog, shoveling everything in as fast as you can! Cut out neat little sections and daintily put them in your mouth.And close your legs! Like that, you're just inviting a guy to come and take a picture!" Petra groaned and leaned back in her chair.
"Jesus, I didn't know girls had it so hard! 'Sit this way, walk this way, eat this way, or else you'll look butch!' But at least other girls had years and years of conditioning! I had none of that. This is definitely going to be one hell of a learning experience, with a ridiculously steep learning curve."
"You think this is hard? Just wait until we go out later. Outside this house, you'll find men that will mentally undress you and treat you like nothing more than a cute, skinny piece of meat waiting to be devoured."
...Piece of meat... Where have I heard that recently? The phrase triggered a memory in Pete's mind from last Monday.
"God, I wish you could feel what's it's like to be stared at as if you're only a piece of meat..."
...Could that have been it? The trigger for the gender bender? Did Kaneko have some sort of magical powers that she didn't know about? Or maybe she knew the whole time and did this to him on purpose? Well, she supposed she was going to have to learn the lesson Kaneko wanted her to learn whether she intended it or not.
The two finished their breakfast and walked to the front door. They put on their shoes, Petra taking her sweet time with the Mary Janes.
"Come on, don't be a wuss. You've already made it this far," Emiko said, trying to hurry Petra up.
"It's not that! It's that I've never worn this kind of shoe before." She finally figured out that they were actually somewhat easy to put on and did so. They both got up. Petra took one final look at herself and shuddered at what she'd become.
"You ready?" Emiko asked. Petra just shrugged.
"As ready as I'll ever be for something like this."
She took a deep breath. Well, here goes everything.
Emiko opened the front door. The two 'sisters' stepped out of the house and into the world that seemed to not have changed one bit except for the gender of one person.
As far as her neighborhood went, everything was normal. Their elderly neighbor still waved at them while watering her garden, just as she did every morning. Emiko's car was still there and in one piece. Somehow, Petra had thought that more things would be affected than just her, but she supposed that she hadn't made much of a difference. And she was fine with that, as it left less to guess about her new reality.
They got into the car and Emiko started the engine. Petra watched out the window, trying to guess where they were going. As they got closer and closer to the main city, Petra got it. They were going downtown, just like she'd been planning to that day, in her previous timeline.
She marveled at the downtown area. It was busy and bustling, unlike the small part of town she'd come to know somewhat well. They went past a McDonald's that had a Pokémon theme and guessed that they were nearing the Pokémon Center store she'd been planning on visiting.
Just as it came into view, so did the Ketsuke brothers waiting outside. They were far away, so Petra couldn't be sure it was them. Were they actually still waiting for her, even in this timeline?
As the car got closer, the two in front of the store were revealed to be twin girls that looked around the same age and general form as the brothers. ...What was more, their faces highly resembled the faces of the Ketsuke twins, they wore the same kind of glasses as the boys, and of course, they were twins themselves. Were these the cousins from the emails?
As Emiko saw them, she slowed down. "Are... Are those two Ketsuke Daigo and Ketsuke Keigo as girls??" Sudden realization came on Petra's end, too. The twins waved as Emiko slowed to a stop.
"Well, I guess my trip to the Pokémon Center hasn't changed, even though everyone involved has," Petra said as she opened the door and got out.
"Well, thanks, sis! I told you they'd be here!" she said, with a motion to get her to move. Emiko got the hint and drove away, looking back a few times in disbelief at the sudden change in plans and genders. Petra watched her pull away, then turned to the twin sisters. "So... Keiko and Yuiko! Shall we go in?" The two nodded and followed her inside.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:36 PM.
Chapter Eleven: Seriously, What Are The Rules For Magic?
Inside the Pokémon Center were walls lined with Pokémon products: games, stuffed animals, DVDs... Petra was impressed with the place, to say the least.
They went around, grabbing things and showing them to the others. They each bought a few things, including a few stuffed animals Petra got.
She got Derek alone while Keiko went to download a demo to her 3DS and asked, "So, how's it feel to be a girl?"
Derek looked at her funnily. "Uh, are you okay? It feels just like it has felt for the last sixteen years, minus the change in hair color to green." Now it was Petra's turn to look at 'Derek' strangely.
"Wait, wait... Aren't you Derek?"
"What? No... Aren't you Petra?"
The two looked at each other with confusion and a hint of suspicion.
"Well, then who are you??" they asked simultaneously.
"I'm Deryn Richardson..." 'Derek' said, a bit of horror creeping into her voice.
"And I'm Pete Carter..." Petra said. "Petra's only the name I'm giving my inner self while I'm stuck as a girl to avoid gender confusion."
"But then... You're saying I'm some guy named Derek? I used to be a guy? And you too? But... I remember everything as if we were girls, including before we became Japanese..."
Petra had to sit down on a Snorlax bean bag to let it all sink in.
"...So, only Emiko's and my memories have stayed the same?" This shit gets weirder and weirder...
"Looks like it, Petr- I mean, Peter. This magic really messes with your head..."
"You're telling me." Petra stood up, albeit on shaky legs. "I had to spend the entire morning learning how to be a girl."
"It couldn't possibly have been that hard..."
"Oh, but it was. You wouldn't know, of course..." She slammed a fist on the Snorlax chair. "Damn it, I wish Derek could have been here with me, experiencing this same stuff! I'm the only one that's actually been present the entire time!"
"Well, I don't! I wish Petra was here with me! I don't want to disappear like she did!" She seemed really frightened.
"...From both our perspectives, the other seems to have disappeared. The issue is, which one of our realities... is correct?"
"I bet it's whatever reality everyone else remembers. Besides you or me, I mean." Petra thought about that for a second.
"That's it. It's got to be that. But actually, there's someone else who remembers things exactly how I do: my sister, Emiko, like I said before." Deryn suddenly looked really scared.
"So... I never really existed?? I... I'm just a creation of magic?!?" She was hyperventilating now. Petra patted her on the back, trying to calm her down.
"I don't know if we're using alternate universe theory or what, but it's obvious you must have existed somewhere. Obviously, your memories could not have appeared from nowhere. In fact, if we are on alternate universe theory, Derek would logically be in your universe, freaking out about the same stuff I am." Of course, Petra didn't believe one iota of this: her universe was the only one. But if it calmed Deryn down...
And it worked. She started breathing slower and slower, coming down to a normal level. While she did that, Keiko ran over. "Yui-chan! It's just like you to have a panic attack inside such a calm, childlike place!" She grabbed her arm. "Come on, you silly. Let's go check out the dolls!"
Deryn looked at Petra one last time, then skipped ahead with Keiko. Petra sighed.
"How am I gonna get Derek back..." How, indeed. She had no idea what the rules of this magic were. Maybe if she thought hard enough about it, she could see the connections between what happened and when they happened. For now, she decided that she would just have to endure Deryn. Hey, at least this was better than losing a partner completely. At least they went through similar experiences; up to that morning, that is.
She decided to just enjoy the day and worry about Derek later, and ran to catch up with the twin sisters. Today was going to be fun.
...Except that the sisters, being girls, wanted to go clothes shopping after the visit to the Pokémon Center. Of course, Petra didn't want to be dragged along, but the girls did just that, dragging her by her arm to the shopping district. The entire way, she was being observed by onlookers. The attention made her feel rather uncomfortable. It was pretty much like what Kaneko had said... Well, are you happy now?
"It's so unlike you to not want to go clothes shopping, Michiko-chaa!" Keiko asked as they arrived in front of the first store. Petra nervously shrugged, trying to give Deryn a hint so she could help out. But she didn't get it.
"It's just that... Well, um..." She couldn't think of an excuse. Her mind was blank. "...I'm feeling a bit sick. Yeah." Keiko looked at her pointedly.
"Yeah, sure. Suuuuuure. You just keep telling yourself that and I'll keep trying to guess what it is." They walked into the store, Petra trying to resist more but failing. "Is it... an important event? You're not sure if you can pick out the right clothes for the event?" She looked at Petra's face. "No, that's not it. You're fine with that kind of stuff."
By this time, they were deep in the jungle of the women's section. Skirts, skinny jeans, and dresses were everywhere.
"Mmm... Is it... You don't have enough money with you? Oh, if that's it, I'll pay for it." She glanced at Petra again. "Still not right? Hmm..."
Deryn piped up. "Maybe it's a boy." Keiko snapped her fingers.
"That's it! You're afraid of picking out clothes because you're not sure how he'll like them! Oh, not to worry. We're the experts when it comes to attracting the opposite sex. It's really simple though." She placed one hand on her boob and the other on her butt. "Tits and ass. It's all that a guy needs and wants in a woman. They're so simple to figure out."
"Well... What if there's a guy that likes girls more for their personality and not their looks?" Petra asked.
Keiko and Deryn just burst out laughing. "Yeah, yeah, sure!" Keiko said, almost completely bent over from laughter.
"Bring us a guy that can ignore your body for your brain and I'll strip down naked in Times Square!" laughed Deryn, wiping a tear from her eye.
"Wouldn't that defeat the purpose though?" The twins stopped laughing.
"What? You were being serious?" asked Keiko. "Well, why should that stuff matter to you? You're beautiful, girl! No guy can resist the allure of your body!"
"No, really! I happen to know a guy that happens to like minds over bodies. In fact, I know him pretty closely," she said, shooting Deryn a look. "You could almost say that sometimes, we're... ahem... the same person." Deryn pointed at Petra from behind Keiko with a questioning look on her face. Petra gave an almost imperceptible nod. Deryn's eyes widened.
"Well, if you're so close, then..." Keiko got close to Petra. "...who is it? And why aren't you going out already if he's so close to you?"
Petra just said, "It's complicated."
"But-!" She was silenced by a look from Deryn.
"Oh, all right, fine. Let's just get to picking out clothes." They walked over to a section that contained nothing but booty shorts, where the changing rooms were. Petra groaned in expectation of what was to come.
"Michi-chan, I kind of want to make it up to you for being so pushy. Why don't Yui and I choose your clothes for you? No effort on your part. I know you said you were feeling 'sick' too, so we'll get you only the good stuff. Plus, I've always been dying to pick out outfits to go with your hair!"
"Thanks, Keiko-san. I don't think I'm well enough to handle my own wardrobe right now." Now there was a sentence she'd never expected to say in her life. Keiko hopped in the air and clapped, a huge smile on her face. Deryn started pushing Petra to the changing room.
"No peeking... Peter." She grinned. "You only get to see what we choose when we're done. And you have to model all of it for us. All of it."
"You're having fun with this, aren't you?" Petra asked, an I'm-gonna-kill-you-later look on her face.
Deryn flashed another smile. "It's not exactly every day I get a guy-turned-girl subject to try out cute girly clothes on." She closed the curtain to the changing booth. Petra was left there to take her clothes off in preparation. She did so, but not without a bit of awkward fumbling first.
She looked in the mirror again. There she was, just as she had looked that morning after she put her underwear on. She really was cute. She could see why Keiko was telling her so much about looks and men's focus on the ass and breast area. If she thought about the person in the mirror as someone not herself (which was easy, as her mental picture of herself was still Pete Carter), she could tell that she was... ahem... well-endowed in both departments, to put it simply. Petra definitely would not have minded going out with her if the situation wasn't... how it was.
Then she thought harder about what had happened. Exactly what was the cause? The quip from Kaneko earlier in the week must have been one. And... maybe Petra's own desire for something interesting happening in the anime? Those two alone couldn't be the only factors, though, or everyone would have their wishes granted all the time. No, there had to be something else... but what?
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sight of a pile of clothes migrating from outside onto the seat next to Petra. She pulled back the curtain a bit, just enough for her head, and peeked outside. The twins were there with huge smiles on their faces.
"So... you really expect me to wear all of this?" They nodded, not seeing the problem. Petra sighed, defeated by their enthusiasm. "Fine. It's not like I even have a choice in the matter. You two won't let me leave until I do this for you." She closed the curtain and turned to the pile of clothes.
Like I've said so many times today... I really never expected to do this.
She put on the first outfit,a light blue halter top and short shorts. It felt really weird to have her back exposed while wearing a shirt, not to mention the strangeness of wearing shorts even shorter than boxers. Then again, the whole 'being female' thing was weird overall. Nothing could top that in terms of strangeness.
She stepped out of the dressing room and showed the twins how it looked.
"Oh my gosh, that looks so cuuuute!" they squealed. Petra felt a strong blush come to her face. She tried to go back into the dressing room, but Deryn grabbed her arm.
"Michi-chaa! Don't go back in yet! Spin around first!"
Petra did so, feeling more and more embarrassed the longer she had the girls fawning over her.
"Oh my gosh! I'm totally buying that for you!" Keiko squealed. "Now I really want to see you in more clothes! Go try on the next outfit!"
This continued for a good half hour, Petra trying on new clothes and the twins going crazy over her. In the end, Petra got a ton of new clothes that she would rather not wear but would have to. True to her word, Keiko paid for everything. Petra was glad, as she hadn't actually brought that much money with her, and most of it had already been spent at the Pokémon Center.
"Well, that was... fun..." she said once the three had left the clothing store, bags of clothes in tow. "But that's it, right? No more clothes shopping?"
"Right," Deryn said with a sinister smile. "We're going swimsuit shopping now."
Petra froze. "Did... Did I hear you correctly? Swimsuit shopping?" Deryn and Keiko nodded together.
"Come on, Michiko-chan! It seems like you keep forgetting today's plans!" Keiko said, disdainfully. "We talked about this, remember? We would go to the Pokémon Center, then clothes shopping, then swimsuit shopping! You seemed pretty excited for it yesterday, so what's the deal?"
"Nothing. Nothing at all. I'm perfectly fine with going... swimsuit shopping." Petra shuddered. Then, she got an idea. "As long as you two are trying on swimsuits with me, of course." Now Deryn was the one to look nervous.
"Now... Come on, Michiko-san, today's the day we buy stuff for you!" she said, gulping. Keiko looked at her oddly.
"Yuiko, is there something wrong? I mean, we're all girls here. I think we should all be comfortable modeling swimsuits for each other like we've been in the past."
Petra grinned. It was time for a little payback for the clothes modeling from earlier.
"That's right, Yuiko-chan! We are all girls here, after all. Are you just uncomfortable with your body or something?" she said, her grin looking somewhat sinister.
"You know perfectly well that's not it." Deryn sighed, defeated. "Let's just go already."
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:41 PM.
Chapter Twelve: The Beach Episode, Minus the Beach
They arrived at the swimsuit store, although the trip was not without a little teasing from Petra to Deryn about being uncomfortable wearing swimsuits around other girls. In her head, Petra was laughing hard about giving Deryn a hard time and Keiko being confused because of her obliviousness to the whole situation.
The trio of girls walked inside. It was a small store, but it made sense that it was small because it only sold bathing suits. It had a huge selection, ranging from the most conservative one pieces to the skimpiest bikinis. The three each chose a few to try on themselves and some for the others to try.
"Since you're sooooo comfortable with your body, why don't you try this on?" Deryn asked Petra, holding up a bikini that barely covered anything up and didn't support anything either. Petra grimaced.
"How about you break out of your shy shell and wear it yourself?" she retorted. Deryn glared at her.
"Girls, girls!" Keiko said, trying to break up the argument. "This is supposed to be, you know, fun." She gave a sinister grin. "So how about you both wear it, one after the other?"
Petra pointed at Deryn with her thumb. "Only if she wears it first." Deryn tried to complain, but Keiko shut her up with a look. Deryn grumbled and stomped to the changing room in the back, closing the door behind her.
Keiko and Petra waited a bit. While they did so, they exchanged swimsuits for each other to wear. Suddenly, the door opened and out came a red-faced Deryn wearing almost nothing at all, not even her glasses. Petra just stared at her, feeling a flush come to her face. Deryn caught Petra's eyes lingering on her chest area and quickly went back into the changing room with a suppressed shriek.
"Wow, she really isn't comfortable with her body today," Keiko said. Deryn came back out, fully clothed and looking like she had just swallowed something nasty. She handed the suit to Petra. Petra took it and walked into the changing room. She undressed again, a bit quicker than before.
She 'put on' the swimsuit (which really shouldn't even be called putting it on because there wasn't much to put on) and looked at herself in the mirror. It really was almost like being naked; only the bare minimum needed to be legal was covered. Thank goodness her underwear covered up the rest. She blushed, suddenly really self-conscious about walking outside and showing it off because of the implications of how it would look by itself.
There was a knock on the door. "Hurry up in there, Michi-chaa! I want to see how it looks on you!"
"We both do. Especially me."
Petra gulped and opened the door just a crack, then a bit more, until finally, it was open completely. The girls saw it, then started squealing again. They started talking about buying it for Petra. She tried stopping them, but they kept going on and on about how totally not degrading it was. Then the two stopped talking and laughed.
"Come on, you really think we would buy that? That thing is a magnet for pervs everywhere." Petra gave a sigh of relief, thankful that they had been joking.
"Now let's all try on some normal bikinis," she said. Yet another thing I never ever expected to say.
* * *
They left the swimsuit store, their arms full with their bags of clothes and two swimsuits each. Petra was embarrassed that Keiko had paid again, but Keiko shrugged it off, saying, "It's the least I could do after forcing you two to wear that ridiculous string. That thing shouldn't even be called clothing."
Their mother was in front of the store in her car, ready to pick them up. Petra was surprised, but assumed she had already known about the plans. Everybody seemed to have known but her. They loaded their stuff into the trunk, then got in and headed to get some lunch. Petra smiled as they stopped at the same Pokémon themed McDonald's she had seen before. They got out of the car and stared in awe at the two giant Pokémon statues that were keeping guard of the front door.
They walked inside past an Ash cosplayer coming outside with a plush Pikachu on his shoulder. Petra had thought about cosplaying earlier that day, then realized that a lot of things she was interested would no longer be possible.
They came up to the counter where the cashiers dressed like Pokémon said, "Welcome to the Pokémon McDonald's! We fill your stomach to full health! Shall we take your order?" It was a parody of the speeches that the nurses at the Pokémon Centers in the games gave. The whole ambience of the place was unlike anywhere she had been at before. Everyone had on some kind of Pokémon-related accessory or costume and were simply enjoying a shared love for the franchise. Petra, having been a stranger to the whole thing until recently, felt a bit left out.
While she was having her internal dialogue, everyone else had ordered, and it was now her turn. She took a bit of time to decide what she wanted.
"Uhh... Let me... I'll have the... Tall Tauros Burger with Great Ball Fries, and a Miltank Milk Shake." The two girls and their mother turned to give her a strange look.
"Michiko-san...?" asked Keiko with the strangest look of all. "The Tall Tauros? Are you sure you're feeling all right? You generally get a small salad..." And here I thought that my hungriness meant that Michiko normally got this kind of stuff. I guess that's just my brain. "She'll take the Oddish Salad with blue cheese, just like normal." Petra tried to complain, but Keiko just said, "Come on, you know it's for your own good. You don't want to lose that cute figure!" More fun of being a girl. Just when will this end??
They sat down at the table and chatted for a bit, then the twins' mother picked up the food when it was ready. They all had gotten salads, and everyone but Petra acted if it was a big serving. For her, however, it all just looked like wet, dead leaves with no sustenance to be found. However, she was hungry, so she ate it. It took her barely any time at all and she still felt ridiculously hungry afterwards. She pulled Deryn aside when she was done as well.
"How the hell was that considered 'lunch'? That was a bunch of nothing all piled onto a plate!"
"It's just something you're going to have to get used to, Peter. I mean, have you ever seen a girl eat an entire three-patty sandwich?" She made a tsk tsk tsk sound. "That kind of stuff is just unladylike."
"Restrictions, restrictions! That's all that I'm getting out of being a girl! As a guy, I'm free to do whatever I want and look damn awesome doing it!"
"Well, if it'll make you feel any better, we're going to go eat dessert now."
Petra huffed. "Fine, but I better be able to eat what I want for that. This lunch has left me with a huge hole in my stomach."
"All set here?" the twins' mother said when she saw the two coming back from where they'd been having their conversation. She and Keiko had already finished and were simply waiting for them to return. The two girls nodded and the four exited the room to a cry of, "We hope to see you again!" from the cashiers. Just like in a Pokémon Center, Petra thought.
In the car, Petra's stomach kept rumbling. The Tall Tauros burger had looked so good, and now all she'd gotten from it was the lettuce. Keiko gave Petra strange glances every time her stomach rumbled, as if somehow the meager serving of leaves had filled her stomach. How was it possible?
They got to the dessert parlor and each got a scoop of ice cream... except for Petra, who stuffed herself with a piece of apple pie alongside two scoops of ice cream. Somehow, eating a lot of dessert was more acceptable than eating a large burger.
After some more 'fun' and 'adventure', this time at a shoe store and then an entire store dedicated to girly cell phone cases, they finally drove back home. Petra waved goodbye to the girls as she got out at her house, bags in hand. Emiko came out of the house to greet her.
"So, it turns out that you already had something planned. When were you planning to tell me?" she asked.
"Hey, I didn't know that this thing was still going on since I'm a girl. But, as it turns out, it changed the twins to female too. I wonder if it was only due to today's trip that the world had to change them or what..."
"Well, I guess that now I have to take you through all the embarrassing 'get-used-to-being-female' shopping trip people in gender bender anime have to go through."
Then she noticed all the bags with clothing brands on them alongside the Pokémon Center bags. Petra gave an embarrassed smile. "Yeah, my two friends already took care of that for me." They walked into the house, and Petra set the bags down on the floor next to the entryway.
"I'll say." She took a peek into one of the bags. "Oh wow, they got you to go swimsuit shopping? That's even further than I intended!" She pulled out a ruffled pink bikini. "Oh my god, this would look so cute on you!!"
Petra snatched it back. "Yeah, yeah, I've been hearing comments like that for the past few hours. You know how unmasculine that makes me feel?" she asked, crossing her arms underneath her boobs. Emiko just laughed.
"What's so funny?" Petra demanded.
"It's just... You're talking about masculinity, yet you're standing here looking every bit like the peak of femininity. Your arms crossed, the tank top and skirt, your hair..."
Petra groaned. "As if I can help it."She picked back up the bags from the floor. "Now will you help me carry this disaster up to my room?"
They walked up to Petra's room. She tossed everything out onto her bed, then put it all up. She shuddered at some of the clothes she knew she'd have to wear so as to not disappoint the girls and hung them in the closet with the rest. Once her bed was clear, she flopped down on it and began to think.
How can I fix this? This can't go on for another day. Little food, lots of little clothes, an overabundance of the word "cute"... Plus, not to mention these annoying... things... She cupped them and felt a shiver run up her spine. These overly sensitive fat sacks... No man should have them and yet here they are, fully functioning and able to lactate if I were to get-
No no no no no. Petra did not want to think of that. She moved her hands off and just tried to think the situation through.
So let's see here. These events are caused by the vaguest of wishes. "I want my life to be interesting!" "I wish this anime would stop being boring!" But the second one was combined with a very specific wish from Kaneko: "I wish you would know what it's like to be stared at like you're a sack of meat!" But it's not like everyone that wishes for something gets it. If that were true, I would be in the NFL. What could be the trigger? What changed in the days leading up to the trip that would have enabled something ridiculous like this to happen?
Then she got it.
It wasn't the phone charger or anything. It was my damn phone.
Of course. She'd known the phone was malfunctioning. It had started acting up at school on the last day and she'd been intending to take it to the Apple Store before the trip. However, running late that morning had taken all of the free time she'd been intending to use for the short pass by the Apple Store in the mall near the airport.
What's more, the phone had been close to her and on both times. In fact...
She lifted up the pillow that she was resting her head on and found her phone. She had left it there last night because she'd been staying up texting Derek about theories on their present situation and was too tired to get up and plug it back in.
It was near her when she'd made the wish for the anime to be interesting and near her when the wish had been carried through. It was close by when on the plane, she'd made that sarcastic comment about not being able to watch Family Guy making her life boring. That was it. It had to be her phone.
She opened it and stared hard at the tiny LED display, trying to force its secrets out. "Show me how your magic works!! How do I control it?!?"
The phone, in response, just dimmed its screen. Petra groaned and tossed it back onto the bed.
"Maybe it has a one-week refreshing period? Possibly?" She had no idea. She was just going based on hunches. Maybe it was just some deity messing with her and she had no control over it. Maybe she was just going crazy and she was still Pete Carter but lying in the corner of a rubber room in an asylum back home.
But no. There were clues everywhere that hinted at this life being real. Besides, she was not ready to admit she was crazy. Not yet. For now, she'd just have to deal with life as a Japanese girl. And that, she was finding out, was much harder than she'd thought.
She got out of bed, seeing as it was still afternoon, and spent the rest of the day just hanging around the house, doing what she wanted, how she wanted. Emiko kept telling her that she was acting like a complete guy, but Petra didn't care. She was finally feeling like herself for the first time that day.
She eventually had to go to the bathroom though, and this took away any sense of normalcy as she reached for something that wasn't there, blushed, and sat down instead.
After enjoying the day a bit more, she had dinner... and now came her shower and soaking in the bathtub. This was, she had always known, where the extreme awkwardness was going to come from.
She stripped down again and took a good, long look at herself in the mirror. Even after spending an entire day as her, Petra still couldn't believe she was the girl looking at her from the other side of the glass. She picked up the showerhead and used it to wash herself all over, getting rid of the sweat that had accumulated over the warm and busy day. Her long hair was an issue to wash, but with enough shampoo, she finally wrestled it into a nice, clean mop.
She then took a long, relaxing soak in the tub. This was her favorite part of Japanese showers: they washed themselves outside the bathtub first then relaxed for a while in the tub. She closed her eyes and breathed in the smell of the shampoo still lingering on her hair. Slowly, she drifted off to sleep, dreaming about being male again.
Soon, however, Emiko woke her up, asking why she was taking so long. With a start, she got out of the tub and dried off. She put on the same nightgown she had been wearing that morning, stumbled over to her room and flopped onto her bed... only to flip over the other way due to two little problems. She soon drifted back into dreamland, wherein appeared a single, solitary potato, singing something about liking big butts and that it couldn't lie.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:45 PM.
Chapter Thirteen: Kill Me Now, Please and Thank You
The alarm clock woke Pete up, just as it had been doing the week prior. Getting out of bed, however, reminded him that he was now female, as all the unfamiliar sensations of being so returned. The hair flowing down his back, the gaining of some things and the absence of others...
Petra put on a fresh pair of still unfamiliar underwear, this time a frilly white. Emiko was right; she had absolutely none that could be considered plain. She wanted to get some that were less fancy, but the idea of underwear shopping absolutely terrified her. The bra took less time than it had the day before, but it still took longer than it should have because she was so tired. She pulled out what she knew were the uniform socks: a pair of thigh-high chestnut brown ones. She dreaded wearing them, but slid them on anyways.
And then she went over to her closet and pulled out her school uniform. Oh god, the girl's uniform. The uniform was a classic sailor fuku in the school colors, which were turquoise blue for the neckerchief and eggshell white for the shirt.
How do I know the specific names for these colors? she pondered. Oh, the wonders of the female brain.
Like everything else in her wardrobe, it was just so feminine. This time, she didn't even have a choice, as this was the uniform. She put it on with little complaint after she came to that simple conclusion. Besides that, she didn't want to waste the energy.
"Good morning, Emiko..." she said as she sleepily stumbled downstairs.
"Morning, Michiko-chaa..." Emiko's customary greeting descended into a yawn as she stood in front of the coffee maker as she did every morning. "Today's your big day. Time to see if you can pull off your femininity in a crowd of observers." She turned around and blinked. "Oh jeez, not looking like that, though!"
Petra cocked her head questioningly. "What? Did I forget something?"
"Yeah, your hair and makeup!"
"Oh shoot, my hair... Wait, did you say makeup? No. Nononononononononono."
"Yesterday, I let it slide because we were just going on a casual shopping trip. But today, you're going to school. Without makeup on, you become less attractive."
Petra just stared at her unbelievingly. "And you think I WANT to attract men?!?"
"Well, you have to at least look like you made an effort. And it's a waste of that body to leave your face looking so plain."
Somehow, although Petra wasn't sure how, she let herself be dragged up to her room and plopped in front of the vanity mirror on her dresser. She'd noticed all the makeup and tools on the dresser earlier, but didn't really pay much attention to it and didn't really think about having to use any of it. But now, here it was.
"Come on, Emiko! I honestly look fine without makeup on!"
"Fine isn't good enough! You have to look positively radiant!"
Petra wasn't going to get anywhere with her, she realized. "Sure. Okay. Whatever. Just hurry up and get this over with." Emiko wasn't moving to pick anything up. Petra turned to her. "You gonna start this or what?"
"I want to see you try it first. A guy, applying makeup for the first time in his life? I've got to see this."
Petra sure was giving a lot of looks of disbelief that day. "You... you're joking, right? I can't apply makeup on my own!"
Emiko smirked. "Maybe your magic muscle memory will help out." Of course, they both knew it wouldn't. As evidenced by the bra incident from Sunday morning, Petra had to at least start correctly in order to have her muscle memory kick in and save the day.
"Where do I even start? There's so much stuff here!"
Emiko shrugged. "Do what feels right, I guess."
Petra looked at the various cases, brushes, and colors. She reached for one, then changed her mind. She reached for another one; the same thing happened. She turned to Emiko, defeated.
"Just tell me where to start, damn it! I'm completely lost!" Emiko sighed and picked up a case with powder.
"Here's some foundation. You apply it like so..."
* * *
It took only five minutes, due to Michiko's face generally looking fine already like Petra had claimed earlier. In fact, only some of a product that smoothed skin tone and some mascara was needed. After Emiko started for her, Petra was able to finish on her own, interestingly. When they were done, Petra had to admit it: she suddenly appeared much more attractive than she had a few minutes ago.
"Wow, what a difference this stuff makes. It feels odd having my skin covered with this gunk, but at the same time, it feels like I'm already used to it. I'm thinking... muscle memory? Skin memory? Something managed by the subconscious, anyhow."
"I never thought I'd say this, but you make a fine girl, Michio. I mean Pee-to. Or wait, no. Michiko." Emiko was really having fun with this, Petra could tell. "Go do your hair and meet me downstairs for breakfast. Just be glad your nice lips don't need lipstick, or you'd have to put that on afterwards too." She walked out the door. Petra could hear her stomping noisily down the stairs.
Honestly, if they would survive the hopeful future shift back to manhood, I'd definitely take some pictures of myself. Right now, I look like the anime schoolgirl of my dreams. Now, if I could only get past the fact that that's me...
Then she had an idea, one that wasn't too farfetched. Her cell phone was the cause of everything, correct? So therefore, its contents would theoretically have to be preserved. After all, if the thing which caused the changes changed itself, it wouldn't be able to continue changing itself, or anything else. It was only logical.
That would mean... there were pictures on it from her old life. She hadn't actually bothered to check before.
She quickly rushed to her computer desk, where her pink flip phone was charging. She yanked out the charging cable and flipped it open. She scrolled to the multimedia function, selected 'Photo Album', and opened it.
Her breath caught in anticipation as it loaded.
...And there were only pictures of Michiko and her friends. Petra stared at it and scrolled back through her history. Michiko at lunch at school, Michiko making a peace sign in a selfie, Michiko, Kaneko, the twins, and a few other girls posing in...
Oh shit. Cheerleader uniforms. I'm a friggin' cheerleader at Akira. How much more girly can Michiko be?
But that wasn't the important part at the moment. The real question was, if the phone wasn't the cause... what was? This threw off all the ideas that Petra had been having recently about the magic that surrounded her and her friends.
Then she thought the whole thing through a bit more and found her mistake. If the phone was what had caused the change, then logically it wouldn't change itself or its data... or its looks. It had originally been an iPhone, then a gray flip phone, then a pink one. And the charger had changed, as well as almost all of the rest of the universe.
So what hadn't changed? Derek's mind the first time, and Emiko's the second. No electronics or anything. Nothing that she knew of that was able to cause the things that had been happening. And most importantly, nothing physical that had stayed constant throughout both changes. Petra's mind was the only one that had stayed the same throughout the entire time, but she wasn't about to believe she'd gained psychic powers or something that made weird shit like this happen. ...Then again, with magic, anything was possible. It was just as likely that it was her phone as it was her brain or the banana Derek might have eaten the morning before the flight. It was frustrating to think of this stuff because she never got anywhere.
Defeated by the curse of magic not having rules, she simply picked up her sky blue backpack and walked back downstairs. Emiko saw her from the family room and took a spit take with her coffee.
"Petra! What the hell were you still doing up there?!? You're going to be late for school unless you skip breakfast!" What a god damn perfect way to start off the day, she thought to herself as she dashed into the kitchen, grabbed some toast out of the toaster, shoved it halfway in her mouth, and ran out the back door into the alleyway behind her house.
She made it to school with only a minute left before the late bell rang. She quickly threw off her shoes into her shoe locker, put on her school slippers, and dashed upstairs into her homeroom just as the bell rang to start class. As she sat down, the teacher stood up.
"Good morning, students!" called Watanabe-sensei. "Class leader, you may begin."
Everyone waited a bit, but nobody called out. All eyes fell on Petra. The teacher gave her a pointed look and coughed as a hint. With a start, she got out of her chair and stood up.
"Aah.. R-rise!" Almost everyone stood up, but confusedly and not all together like usual. Some people needed to be told that she'd called out.
"Bow!" This time, she yelled it with a bit more confidence and almost everyone did it at the same time. There were still a few stragglers.
"SIT!" Everyone heard her that time and sat down together, as normal. Petra sighed and slumped down in her seat. That had been a small, but unexpected development.
"Now, class." Watanabe-sensei gave her another look. "Please turn your books to page 553 so that we may begin learning about the time period in which Japan turned from feudalism to the West in search of modernization and a bright future."
Petra did as she was asked, but soon zoned out because she had really studied hard about this period before and knew more than the teacher was saying. She looked around the classroom, her eyes settling on random things. There was Sato, staring intently at his book as if he wanted to block out the existence of everyone in the room. Tanaka was sitting to the back, making odd snorting sounds every few seconds; it was mildly annoying.
Kaneko was there too. She looked like she was trying to focus on the lesson, but also seemed distracted, occasionally shooting a glance over at Deryn and Keiko. Sometimes, Petra caught Kaneko looking at her, but she would always turn away if Petra saw.
Odd. I wonder what's on her mind.
The next few classes went by in a haze. As time went on, Petra found herself less and less interested in the lessons and more and more curious as to why Kaneko was acting the way she was. When it was finally time for lunch, she walked over and sat down in front of her with her bento box.
"Kaneko, is anything wrong?" Petra asked. "You seem to be less focused on the class today than normal." Kaneko was trying not to stare at her, but failed.
"No, t-there's nothing wrong! Don't worry about me!" she replied with a forced laugh. Petra wasn't going to buy it.
"Look, if there's anything wrong, you can tell me." Here, Petra applied some other new knowledge. "We're close friends and on the... cheerleading... squad together, right? You can trust me."
Kaneko was still looking at her oddly. "Cheerleading squad... Y-yeah, of course!" She sighed as if bracing herself. "Look, you... you wouldn't believe me if I told you."
With all the stuff that had happened in the past nine days, Petra was inclined to believe anything. "Oh yeah? Try me. I won't laugh."
"...You promise?" she replied with an uncertain smile.
"Of course! That's what friends are for!"
Kaneko took a deep breath, then leaned in towards Petra. "Well, you see, I... I don't remember you ever existing."
"Well, I kind of do, but... it's weird. I remember you, with your personality, but as a... guy. Keiko-san and Yuiko-san too. I don't understand. It's as if on Friday, according to my memory, I left here and you three were male. But now, I come to school and you're all girls on the cheerleading squad with me." She put her head in between her arms. "...What's going on with me? Am I just going insane? Did Keigo-san, Daigo-san, and Michio-kun not ever exist? Nobody else seems to think they did! Not even they themselves do!" She started sniffling and mumbling quietly to herself.
Petra blinked in confusion a few times. She tried to process what she was being told, but her mind was blank. A whole slew of questions were forming, but precious few of them had answers.
She finally managed to get words out. "...Oh my god... You remember me? Michio me? ...Well, I am Michio, trapped in a female body. I can't believe it. Someone else remembers besides me and Emiko?!"
Kaneko returned the stare. "M...Michio-kun?!?! I-it's you??" Petra made an embarrassed smile.
"Yep, no idea how but here I am, female and honestly pretty hot."
"But ho... How... Wha... How does something like this even happen?! How come only you, me, and.... you said Emiko, right? How come only us three remember you as you were?"
"You think I know? I know just as little about this magic stuff as you. And plus, I have little time to focus on that since I have to train to be a girl. It's tough shit being female without being raised as such." She grabbed her chest and lowered her voice to a whisper. "And these things... These are the hardest shit to deal with!"
At this point, Kaneko's expression shifted from shock to one of suppressed laughter. She put her hand on her mouth to stop herself, but a snort escaped through her nose. Petra glared at Kaneko as she stopped trying to resist it and started laughing like crazy.
"What? What's so funny about this mess?" she angrily questioned. Kaneko couldn't stop laughing, and it was starting to attract attention. She eventually came down.
"Hahahaha... Hah... Haaaa... Sorry about that, but it just feels so nice to know that I'm not a complete lunatic."
"Honestly, by the way you were just laughing, I was starting to think that you were." Even though she was still somewhat miffed by Kaneko's laughter, she was happy to have another ally, one that went to school with her and could guide her through all the awkward moments that were sure to come up there. Thank goodness she didn't have to go through the day alone.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:48 PM.
Chapter Fourteen: My Life As A Teenage Cheerleader
Lunch continued somewhat oddly, with Kaneko and Petra sitting in a corner of the room together by the window, Kaneko asking questions to Petra about gender differences and Petra feeling too awkward to answer them. Petra finished her bento rather quickly because each time Kaneko would ask something too strange, she'd quickly stuff another vegetable or chunk of rice into her mouth. A few questions weren't like that, though, and Petra was able to answer them.
Panties or boxers? Boxers.
Girls or guys? Still girls.
Who else knows? Emiko and Yuiko.
How did you do your makeup? Emiko helped.
Most awkward point of this whole experience thus far? Swimsuit shopping yesterday with the twins.
At the reply to the last question, Kaneko snorted out the milk she had been drinking while waiting for an answer.
"Oh my god. You went swimsuit shopping? Pffffhaaahahahaha!" She cracked up, laughing as hard as Tanaka.
"Stop it! It wasn't funny! It was torture! Well... except for one thing." She grinned at the payback she had delivered to Deryn. Kaneko gave an astounded gasp.
"You pervert! You shouldn't have done something like that with them!" Petra blinked, the grin sliding off her face.
"I bet what you meant by that was that you changed with them, didn't you?! I can't believe you!!"
"What?! No, no! I was laughing about a bit of revenge I dished out on Yuiko-san. She made me try on a boatload of extremely girly clothes while knowing full well how I'd feel about it, and so I cornered her into doing something just as personally embarrassing." Petra saw the look on Kaneko's face and stopped her before she could think of anything awful. "Not like that! Come on, I thought you knew me! I treat women with respect! Hell, if this situation's karma for something, I sure don't know what!"
Kaneko's eyes suddenly widened as she thought Petra's last sentence through a bit. "Wait. You don't think that this was caused... by my wish from Monday?" She looked like she was about to cry. "Oh, Michio, I'm so sorry! I never really expected it to come true!"
"Don't- don't cry! I'm not dead, disabled, or hurt, am I? I'm just somewhat..." Petra cupped her breasts again. "...inconvenienced. Yeah, that's it."
Kaneko wiped away the tears that were starting to form. "You... You're sure? You're not mad?"
"Nah, I'm not mad. Just confused and kinda curious." She pulled out her phone. "I had some theories about this, but I'm pretty sure they're wrong. I used to think my phone's charger was somehow the cause, but I thought it through and realized that had to be wrong."
Petra put her phone away and said, "You got any ideas?" Kaneko thought for a moment. She looked like she was going to respond a few times, but each time, she would stop herself mid-start and go back to thinking.
Finally, she said, "I got nothing. Magic doesn't have rules like reality does." She paused for a moment. "Wait, I guess I can't call it that since magic is apparently a part of reality."
"Naw, you think?"
At that point, the bell rang for lunch to end. Petra went back to her desk, then remembered what the next class period was.
Oh my freaking god. I totally forgot about this. ...What the hell am I going to do?
She looked over at Kaneko as the same realization dawned in her eyes.
The next class was gym. Which meant gym clothes. Which meant changing. Which meant temporary public nakedness. Which meant...
Sure, it was every guy's dream, but that didn't make it any less horrifying for Petra.
Already, the boys were leaving the classroom to go to 1-D where the guys changed, and girls from other classes were flowing in. As Petra sat in her seat, totally petrified, the last student left and closed the door behind him. One of the girls locked it and a few others went to shutting the blinds.
And finally, the moment of truth: all the girls minus Petra—who was trying to look away but couldn't because there were girls everywhere she looked—were stripping down to change for gym. Kaneko came over to her, rage painted all over her face.
"Listen, Nakamura!" she seethed. "If you so much as glance at anyone, I swear I will kick you straight out that window, second story or not. Got it?" Petra heard the message loud and clear. She stood up while looking at the floor and opened her backpack. All around her, she could hear the sounds of shifting fabric and articles of clothing landing on the ground. Petra couldn't help but have her entire face look like a ripe tomato from embarrassment as she took out her gym clothes from her backpack. She took off her own clothes, accidentally glancing up as she pulled her camisole over her head.
It was only for a second, but Petra saw everyone, a few exposed. Her head swished back down so quickly, she swore she thought she was going to get whiplash. Thankfully, Kaneko had her line of sight obstructed for that second by her own undershirt and didn't notice. Petra didn't doubt her threat for one second.
She finally was able to access her bra and unhooked it, releasing the beasts. She traded it for a much more conservative exercise bra, which fit more snugly and didn't allow for as much movement and bounce as the normal bra did. This, sadly, meant that practicability had to be exchanged for comfort and it ended up being much more tight and uncomfortable.
She put her plain gray exercise shirt on and took out some small black shorts. Petra made a face at them before resigning herself to putting them on. After putting her stuff away, she grabbed her running shoes out of her bag to carry outside. Now she had nothing to do but close her eyes and wait for Kaneko to decide when she could look again.
A few minutes later, Petra heard a whisper in her ear. "All clear, you're free to look. But don't stare." Petra finally cracked open her eyes to see that every girl was, indeed, done. Some were starting to walk outside, and slowly, the classroom emptied. Kaneko and Petra trailed behind everyone else, having a whispered conversation about what was going to happen next.
"Nakamura-chan, since you're on the cheerleading squad now, you have a separate gym class from the rest of the students. When we get outside, follow my lead. I'm the cheer captain and it's my job to make sure you're a good team player."
Petra followed Kaneko over the track where everyone else was going to be running to the center, grassy part, where a few other girls were stretching. Kaneko motioned to her to join the others, and she did so, trying to match what everyone else was doing. Petra felt surprisingly limber and flexible, very unlike when she was a guy.
Once they were done stretching, Kaneko led everyone through some cheers. Petra kept messing up and brought a lot of attention to herself. She'd fall over, sock someone else in the face on accident, and generally make mistakes in the routine that Michiko wouldn't be making. Eventually, she started doing a few things right, though a few of the others asked if anything was wrong. Deryn kept looking her way, as if remembering what had happened the day prior and putting it together with what had just gone down in the classroom.
Before she knew it, Petra got taken up by everyone else's energy and started having fun herself. Her moves became more relaxed and confident, and every time she'd make a mistake, she giggled and got over it. It was only after gym class was over and all the girls were heading back that she realized what she'd been doing.
Enjoying being a cheerleader? Actually doing something during gym class? Giggling, even? Wow, I must be more mentally affected than I thought.
Kaneko chose that time to come over and talk to Petra. "Michi-chan! Wow, with the way you were performing and acting, I would honestly not have guessed you were a girl if you hadn't told me earlier. Your acting ability is improving!"
Petra groaned. "That's the issue. I don't think it's acting anymore. Most of what I was doing back there wasn't me acting. At first it was, but then I relaxed and just started doing what felt normal."
She grabbed her head, as if in pain. "What the hell is going on?! I'm a man, for Christ's sake! I shouldn't be enjoying this, or giggling!" Tears started welling up in Petra's eye. "Oh, and look! Now I'm crying! I don't even know why I'm crying! Normally I'd just shrug this off or make a joke or even get pissed off, but crying?"
Kaneko took the opportunity to give her a tight hug that was both comforting and awkward for Petra. "Oh, Michio-kun... I didn't realize that you felt like this. I'm betting that it's your hormones making you act differently. Don't worry, once this whole thing is sorted out, you'll have testosterone running through your brain and you'll be back to your normal, manly-ish self."
Petra gave Kaneko a look through her tears. "Wh-what's supposed to mean? That I wasn't manly before?" She sniffled. "Ordinarily I'd get all fired up over a comment like that, because I was plenty manly before!" She paused for a moment. "...And by that I mean I still am! Or would be if my body wasn't producing so much damn estrogen!"
They stepped through the open door to the girls changing classroom. They were the last ones to arrive, so they closed the door behind them. Again, a few girls closed the blinds, and again, Kaneko threatened Petra with defenestration if he was to look. Petra changed as quickly as she could without looking up then sat in her seat, eyes remaining closed.
She heard footsteps approach her desk. "Michiko-chaa...? Why do you have your eyes closed?" It was a voice she hadn't heard before, but the use of her first name signified they had to be close.
"Ehm, it's because... Uhh... I'm trying to fall asleep?"
"Come on, Michi-chan! We're all girls here! It's not like you have to be embarrassed to see other girls naked, right?" She put her hands on Petra's, which were being used to cover her eyes. Shestarted straining against the girl's pull on her hands.
"No, stop! D-don't!" Petra exclaimed. "Why are you being so persistent anyways?"
"Because I'm perfectly comfortable with my body and I want you to be too!" She finally managed to peel Petra's hands off her eyes, but Petra still had her eyes squeezed shut. The strange attacker didn't let go of Petra's hands, though. Instead, she placed them on...
"KYAAAAAAAA!!!" she screamed as she fell out of her chair, quickly got up, and ran blindly towards the door. She crashed right into it, found the handle, and quickly threw it open then slammed it closed behind her. From there, she didn't stop until she was in the restroom, crouching on a toilet, breathing heavily.
Who... who was that, and why did she put my hands on her– what girl would do that?!
She just sat there for a couple of minutes, her rapid breathing coming down but not her massive blush. It was like something out of a dream–that a girl would do something like that. Yet, it was somewhat startling at the same time. She didn't even know who it was! And would Kaneko kill her, even if she'd been forced to do it against her will? Petra didn't have any answers.
Suddenly, she heard the door to the bathroom open. From under the stall door, she saw a pair of slippers come into view. They stopped right in front of her door and turned to face the closed stall.
"Michikooo~! Why did you run away like that? Aren't you comfortable around me yet?"
"Uh, well..." Shit! How'd she find me? "I-I'm just not exactly fine with you forcing me to touch you in places like that!"
"Uwaaau~! That hurts, Michiko! Since we're going out, we need to be comfortable with each other in that way, like I've been telling you!" The latch in the door shook a bit, then turned back. The door slowly opened.
"You always run to the guy's restroom, ne? You've got to stop doing that, silly Michi-chaa!"
The fully-dressed girl standing there cutely smiled, then held out her hand.
"Come on, let's go back to class."
All Petra could do was be dragged back to 1-C while her brain tried to understand just what, exactly, was going on.
To add to the confusion, when they reached the door to the classroom, the light blonde-haired girl turned back to Petra, grabbed both of her hands, leaned in, and kissed her on the lips. She then giggled and skipped back inside, her ankle-length hair trailing behind her. Petra was left standing outside the room, what the girl had said earlier finally sinking in.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:50 PM.
Chapter Fifteen: Nobody Saw This Coming, Possibly
...Hoooly crap. So, Michiko's in a relationship with that one girl from... I think it was class 1-B. This is... surprising, to say the least. ...Wasn't she much quieter and reserved before? What changed that?
As usual, Petra had no answers. Perhaps something had happened in Michiko's past that brought out this completely different side of her. Maybe it was Michiko's acceptance of her same-sex orientation that made her open up. After all, that kind of acceptance in Japan's society was almost unheard of, and it would be enough to make anyone start being an outgoing person.
Petra walked into the classroom and sat down at her seat, eyes raised to a random corner of the classroom, lost in thought about just how little she knew about her new life. Around her, the last few girls were finishing up what they were doing and beginning to leave.
"Michiko! What happened? I was changing and didn't see what happened at the time, but I heard that apparently this girl was forcing herself on you?" It was Kaneko, putting herself in Petra's line of sight. Petra blinked and focused on Kaneko's weirded-out face.
"Yeah, that one quiet girl from 1-B from our timeline is suddenly feisty and confident. Oh, and she's my girlfriend."
"Wait, you mean you, Michio-kun, had a girlfriend? That's surprising! I wouldn't have guessed. You must have kept it hidden well."
"No. I mean Michiko has a girlfriend."
Kaneko's eyes got quite wide. "But she... And you... And you two... What...?" She made a strange expression. "So Masumi-san is like that? I never would have guessed that, either."
"Maybe that's why she was always so quiet before. I'm guessing that since she didn't think anyone would accept her, she never opened up. But here, Michiko met her and apparently brought out her inner playful personality."
"Makes sense. But wait." Kaneko thought for a bit. "If Michiko is like that... then... Are you..." Petra got what she was hinting at.
"Augh! No! Even as a girl myself, I still like girls! Why would you even say that?!"
"Sorry, sorry! It was just a stray thought. But now... what are you gonna do about it? Are you going to stay together with her and pretend to be Michiko? That might be difficult considering people going out know each other pretty well."
"Yeah, I think that's what I'll have to do. After all, this might be just a parallel universe which Michiko will eventually come back to, so I don't want to ruin what seems like a good relationship. And besides, it's not like I suddenly have to pretend I like guys or anything. I was actually pretty scared I'd have to do something like that."
By that time, all the girls that didn't need to be in 1-C had left and the boys of the room were coming in. As Tanaka passed Petra's desk, she heard him audibly breathe in and saw him make a creepy smile. Kaneko noticed this and kicked him into and over his desk, leaving his legs on top of the desk and the rest of his body contorted into a ball on his chair.
"Aw god, I'm gonna have to deal with Tanaka-san, aren't I?" Petra's eyes widened. "Jesus christ, I bet that creepy pervert has a crush on me like he has one on you!" She put a hand on her mouth. "'Scuse me, I just need to go throw up for a second."
Kaneko waited patiently while she went to do just that.
Once Petra was back, Kaneko continued speaking. "I'm not sure if you two are having a private relationship, but you can pretty much guarantee that Tanaka-san is going to try doing something. You already know that he tries it on me despite my public status."
Petra groaned and slid down in her chair. "I can put up with just about everything else, but definitely not him." The bell rang for class to continue just then, and Kaneko went back to her seat. The English teacher came into the class. Even with the mindset of a person who only spoke Japanese, she could tell that the teacher was worse than the average Japanese person at speaking English.
"ギュウドデイ、クラッス！ イングリッシュ タイム ナウ！" It was simply grating to the ears. However, despite how bad the teacher was, she always tried paying attention as she wanted to relearn as much English as possible. Due to the teacher's incompetence, however, she was unable to understand most of what was said that class period except for "may I have a sandwich". It was basically a huge waste of time.
Nothing eventful happened for the rest of the school day. However, when it came time to choose two students to clean the roof, Petra and Yamamoto were picked. She disliked being on roof duty, but hey, at least it wasn't with Tanaka. The two collected their cleaning supplies and took the stairs to the roof. Surprisingly, Yamamoto wasn't talking at all. Generally, Yamamoto was loud and boisterous. Petra wondered if it was the forced chore of cleaning the roof that had made him like that.
They picked up trash in silence for a while, occasionally saying hi to the students from other classes unfortunate enough to be chosen to do this menial task. No words passed between Petra and Yamamoto for a while, though.
Finally, Yamamoto broke the silence. "Hey, Nakamura-chan... I hope you're not mad about something. Normally, you would be griping and complaining about this, but now you seem lost in thought, or maybe steaming about something."
"What? I was thinking about how it was strange that you were so quiet! It's just not like you." Yamamoto stopped in the middle of his stoop to pick up the can in front of him. He slowly stood back up, facing away from Petra.
"Yeah, I was thinking hard about someon- something! Not someone." He sighed and let his head sink.
"Who's this 'someone' and why have they got you thinking about them so much that you won't even talk?" Petra asked.
"No, no... It would be too embarrassing to even say." He started picking up trash again, but faster now and without even looking at Petra. "I... I think I like someone."
Petra thought she was starting to understand the situation. "Oh what, you like someone? As if that's something new. There's got to be something else to it."
She heard him gulp. "Yeah, I know, I know..." He put down the cleaning supplies and just stood there for a few seconds. Petra was really confused now, but then again, she felt like she'd seen this before. He mumbled to himself for a few seconds, before finally turning back to her and leaning against the entrance to the stairwell, an odd look of determination in his eyes.
"Michiko-chan! I... I think..." He paused. Petra's eyes widened as she finally got it.
"...I'm in love with you! Will you please go out with me?!"
...Oh shit. I didn't see this one coming, somehow. I was expecting Tanaka to try something, but not Yamamoto. That's why this whole scene looked familiar. But h...how do I respond to this? Unbidden, her cheeks flushed and her heart rate went up quite a bit.
Damn it! I'm attracted to boobs! Boobs! BOOBS, GOD DAMN IT! However, no matter what things she tried thinking of, Petra could not calm herself down. It was as if despite her mind, the rest of her body was still attracted to males. But... it had also been attracted to that one girl, Masumi, the same way. Interesting.
Despite the hormones threatening to stop all rational thought processes, she still managed to get words out of her mouth. "...Look, Ya... Yamamoto-san... I'm sorry, but I can't and don't like you in that way. Besides the fact that you're a perverted player and I hate your guts, I'm currently in a committed relationship with someone else." Was that the right thing to say? Should she have been harsher, due to his status as a womanizer? Or should she have been a little softer, knowing personally just how much being in the friendzone hurt? In any case, it was certainly interesting being on the other side of the rejection.
Yamamoto blinked once. His face began to fall, and for a moment Petra almost started to think he was going to cry. Then:
"God damn it! How are you and Kaneko the only two girls in this school that don't fall for me?!" He stuck out his lower lip. "And, if I must say so myself, you two are the cutest. I'd know."
"And that's precisely why I'd never date you, you ass." Petra stomped off and started briskly picking up trash from elsewhere on the roof. Of course, there were plenty more reasons for not dating him, but telling him them would be opening a whole new series of complications.
"Hey! Michiko-san!" Yamamoto came running up behind her. "Wait, did you say you were in a relationship? That must be why! You're secretly in love with me but you don't want to break it off with the-"
A swift kick to the crotch area shut him up in no time at all. He fell on the ground, whimpering in pain. Petra could almost feel how much that had hurt and cringed in sympathy. But Yamamoto deserved it. Petra continued picking up trash, completely ignoring the body rolling around on the floor in pain.
"Damn... That hurt... But knowing it was from you, Michi-chaa... that makes the pain almost... bearable... I guess it's just like usual..." Oh, so this asshole has asked out Michiko in the same way before? And gotten rejected this same way too? Doesn't he know when to quit?? Man, Yamamoto, I can't believe I used to think you were somewhat cool, with your ability to get any girl you wanted. How pathetic.
Petra was too pissed at him to stay on the roof for one more moment and ran downstairs. Her hormones were still on "hot guy alert," but she used the rush of energy they gave her to peel out of the school at record speed. She felt like she was home in almost no time at all.
Okay... What... What was that?! I was acting like a total girl back there! I kicked a man in the balls back there! That's a huge part of guy code and I just broke it!
...But then, he was coming on to me.
...Aaagh, this whole situation is just messed up, plain and simple!! I'm just going to go to bed. And I'm not coming back out until I'm male again.
She didn't even bother kicking her shoes off and just ran upstairs before flopping onto her bed.
Screw Yamamoto! Screw my hormones!! Screw my body!!! And SCREW MAGIC!!!!
Petra was fully intending to stay in her bed for a long time as she'd promised, when suddenly, she heard a far off booming sound. Not 'explosion' boom, but 'sonic boom' boom. Right after, the door to her house was suddenly flung open. Petra sat up quickly, her mood abruptly switching to frightened. Multiple footsteps were heard racing up the stairs. Petra looked around for a weapon, but there were none to be found.
The door to her room burst open. And in came not robbers, nor murderers, nor the police asking questions about magic.
It was the seven people that were in this situation along with her. Deryn, Keiko, Kaneko, Yamamoto, Tanaka, Sato, and Honda. They all crowded around her, Petra not having any idea of what was going on.
"Nakamura-chan! We ran over here as soon as we realized you were the only one not at school," said Keiko.
"What? Wh-what's going on??" Petra stammered. Everyone looked scared, as if they'd all gotten the worst news of their life.
Masumi was there too, though Petra hadn't noticed because she had been behind everyone else. She jumped onto Petra, at the verge of tears. "Michiko! On the news, they're... they're..." She sniffled. "They're saying that aliens have invaded earth!!"
Petra looked around at everyone else. They nodded. She really, really wanted to believe they were all playing some joke on her, but what happened in the next few seconds proved that all of what their demeanors were suggesting was unequivocally true.
A voice came to Petra. It felt like something was speaking directly into her mind. "DENIZENS OF JAPAN. PLEASE DO NOT BE ALARMED. WE COME IN PEACE, AT LEAST UNTIL PROVOKED."
Petra ran over to the glass doors that opened to the balcony of her room. Everything outside looked normal... until the sky shimmered to reveal hundreds and hundreds of alien ships.
"WE HAVE WEAPONS ON BOARD OUR SHIPS MORE DECIMATING THAN ONE OF YOUR ATOMIC BOMBS. WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO KNOCK OUT ALL COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD. IN FACT, WE HAVE ALREADY DONE SO. JAPAN IS NOW IN A SELF-CONTAINED BUBBLE OUT OF WHICH NOTHING LEAVES AND IN NOTHING COMES. UNTIL A TRADE AGREEMENT HAS BEEN PUT IN PLACE BETWEEN OUR WORLD AND YOURS, OUR HOLD ON EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION WILL NOT BE RELINQUISHED."
A small explosion could be heard in the distance.
"OUR PEACE AGREEMENT HAS BEEN RETRACTED. YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO ATTACK US UNPROVOKED INSTEAD OF NEGOTIATING AN AGREEMENT OF TRADE. A VERY POOR CHOICE."
"Are you kidding me? The Japanese army tried attacking the aliens even after they said they come in peace?? And that they have weapons of mass destruction on board?!?" exclaimed Deryn. Petra could not believe the pure stupidity of the government at that moment.
Then, a sound much like a huge releasing of gas pressure was heard. Before Petra could even take in the words of the aliens, she realized that the air had a smell like rotten eggs.
"Eugh... Oh god! What the hell is that smell??" Kaneko covered her nose, as did everyone else in the room.
"It smells like my lunch bag after I forget to wash it for a while," Tanaka said as he made a face.
"What is this?? A pathogen designed to kill us or something?!?" Deryn started hyperventilating and Keiko tried patting her on the back to calm her down.
"If it is, then you're not helping the situation by hyperventilating." It was Yamamoto, trying to help and yet still trying to put the moves on her. Even in a possible life or death situation. Deryn immediately stopped, too, since "the moves" were still extremely effective.
"Guys, they only said they cut off external communication," Petra realized. "That means we can watch the Japanese news and see if anyone anywhere knows what's going on." With that, everyone rushed downstairs and into the Nakamura family room. Petra found the remote and turned on the TV. Everyone was glued to the set as it took its sweet time warming up.
Finally, the news channel was displayed... but there was nobody there. All that could be heard were some scuffling sounds from the background. The ticker was still running, the background was there, the image from the report was there in the top right, with a caricature of an alien there.
But the reporter's seat was completely empty.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:53 PM.
Chapter Sixteen: Attack of the Unintended Wishes
"Where is the reporter...?" Kaneko wondered out loud, a hint of worry creeping into her voice.
"Oh my gosh! They're deleting humans!!" Deryn once again started freaking out.
"Calm down! That... That can't be it! Right?" Keiko looked around the coffee table for support, but all she got were grim expressions.
"...Is there anything we can do? I don't even think my money can help in this situation." Honda. Of course. "But there has to be something that can be done. If the Japanese army can't stop the invading aliens, then maybe we need to think of a different solution."
"What? What on earth can we do against aliens, Honda??" Kaneko practically screamed at him. "We're just high schoolers without even one gun between us! What do you expect us to do?!?" She suddenly gasped and turned towards Petra.
"Michiko-chan! The magic that turned you into a girl! If we could find out what did it-"
"Wait, wait..." This was Masumi. "Did you say magic... turned Michiko... into a girl?? What?? What?!?" Kaneko groaned.
So much for keeping Michiko's relationship alive. Nice job, Kaneko. Well, now that she went ahead and said it, I guess it has to be revealed. But all of it. Not just the fact that I'm a girl, but that I'm not even Michio to begin with. Everybody was staring at Petra, waiting for her to give an answer. She gulped and took the first step on a long road of explanations.
"Well, to start off with... I'm not supposed to be here. I'm not really Nakamura Michiko, and to Kaneko, I'm not Michio either." Everyone gasped at these words, especially Masumi. Poor Masumi, it looks like she's going to cry... "...My name is actually Pete Carter and I'm an American guy who randomly got stuck in this world, first as a guy named Michio, then as a girl named Michiko. And you guys are almost direct copies of my friends from Alamo Park, Texas!"
"...This is so much to take in... Slow down a bit!" Keiko exclaimed as she held her head in apparent shock. Yamamoto was just staring at Petra with a blank expression on his face, also in shock. Tanaka had an expression of disgust on his face. Kaneko gave Petra a hurt look, as if asking why she hadn't shared the whole story with her. Deryn was giving Petra the same scared look as she had when she was scared of being replaced by Derek. Honda stood to the back, giving his usual stoic expression, but Petra could tell by his eyes that he, too, was shocked by the news.
"...Pee-to Caataa." The first one to ask a question was, surprisingly enough, Sato. "How... how come if what you say is true, then... why do we all remember the same but a completely different history than yours?"
Petra shrugged. "You think I know how this magic stuff works? Not in the slightest. I only know that each time there's a magic event, only the memories of a few of us are preserved. Whom those people are seem to be random. And I, for whatever reason, have kept my memory this entire time."
Tanaka suddenly asked a question. "How... how long has it been since you took over Michiko's body?" he asked, somewhat shyly which was unusual for the guy. He must have really been nervous.
"Only since yesterday. ...Why?" This sentence made Tanaka breathe a sigh of relief, Yamamoto run into another room to barf, Masumi relax her tensed body, and Keiko give a small whimper.
"We... we tried on swimsuits together! And you're a guy!" She suddenly stood up, took a step towards Petra, and slapped her hard on the cheek. "You pervert!! You disgusting, good-for-nothing pervert!!!" With that, she began to cry, now needing to have Deryn comfort her.
"Look, it wasn't my fault! You guys basically forced me into it! Remember how many times I said I didn't want to go clothes shopping?" She sighed, remembering the whole disaster. "What's worse, Deryn there knew about what was- wait, I meant Yuiko- knew about what was going on with me. That's why she wanted me to try on the string bikini."
"D-Derin? ...Could Yuiko, my own twin sister, have been swapped with a different person without me noticing?!" She grabbed Deryn by the shoulders. "Please tell me Pee-to is lying! Please tell me that I haven't been dense enough not to recognize my own twin!!!"
"...I'm so sorry, Keiko-san, but... I really am not Yuiko." At this, Keiko began to bawl. Nobody stopped her, and Deryn and the others simply watched in silence as they continued trying to process whatever was going on.
Suddenly, from the TV, there was a blast of white noise which made everybody jump. It even shocked Keiko out of her reverie. All that was on was now a mess of grayscale dots, flashing randomly about on the screen. The TV itself shut off completely after a few seconds. The ceiling light in the family room dimmed, then the room was plunged into a semi-darkness. The only light source was the window, which had its blinds pulled shut.
"No power? Damn!" said Deryn. "I'll go open these blinds and let some light in here." Se crossed over to the window and started opening it, then closed it back up almost immediately.
"All right, just what the hell did those aliens do? Why are there god damn zombies outside right now?!?" Everyone ran over to the window and took turns peeking around the blinds, seeing for themselves the undead sea they were smack-dab in the middle of. With that, the focus was finally brought back to the real matter at hand: the invasion of the alien armada and how to stop it. Everyone came back to their original spots, shaken quite a bit by what they'd seen.
"...Pee-to Ca–" Honda started to speak, then was interrupted by Petra.
"Just stop calling me that. Everyone keep calling me either Michio or Michiko; it works better for Japanese voices."
"Fine then. Michiko-san... Are you somehow able to harness this 'magic' and direct its power towards your own desires?"
"What, you mean like wishing?" Petra thought about all the wishes that it had misinterpreted so far. "Not exactly effectively or in a stable manner."
"But do you at least know the source?"
"Well, it could really be anything, but I was mainly disposed to thinking it's my cell phone, for a variety of reasons. But now, I'm not so sure."
"Maybe I could take a look at your phone and see if anything's up with it?" Deryn suggested.
"Yeah, no problem. It's upstairs, in my ba–" Petra suddenly remembered that in fact, her bag was not upstairs. She'd forgotten it when she dashed home after Yamamoto's sudden confession.
It was, in fact, still at the school.
On the roof.
Past the zombies.
"...We're screwed. We're royally screwed."
"What do you mean, we're screwed...?" Kaneko sniffled. "Just... Just go get your phone out of your bag and–"
Petra whirled around, red-faced. "My bag isn't upstairs though! I just remembered that I left it on the roof of the school, since I ran out of the school so quickly after Yamamoto–"
"OH GOD I CONFESSED TO– I CAN'T BELIEVE I CONFESSED TO ANOTHER GUY!!! AAAAGHH!!" It was Yamamoto from the other room, presumably still throwing up in between sentences.
"That means that we just have to go get your bag, ne? It's only at the school?" Masumi queried, a hopeful lilt to her voice.
"Yeah, only at the school," Deryn responded snarkily. She snapped open the blinds on the window. "What, did you just happen to forget the zombies??" She glanced out the window. "Uhh... Where did they go?"
A crash was suddenly heard from the kitchen, then some grunting and moaning sounds. "I think I have an idea," Petra whispered.
"I have one too," said Deryn. "How about we RUN?!"
At that moment, a zombie shambled through the door from the dining room and moaned. It took everyone a second, but presently they were screaming and out of the door faster than they could blink. Outside, it looked like the apocalypse had finally arrived. No humans were in sight; everyone in the neighborhood was a zombie minus the nine of them. Keiko screamed the moment she saw all of them lumbering about, and of course the moment she did, all their unblinking eyes turned towards her. Petra quickly slapped her palm over Keiko's mouth, but it was too late. They slowly started shambling their way.
"All right, we need weapons," she hurriedly got out. "Deryn, where's the place people normally get weapons from in something like Left 4 Dead?"
"Well, they're generally lying haphazardly on the ground." She looked around a bit. "Nope, not going to work here."
"We could raid a gun store!" exclaimed Masumi with an excited grin.
"We don't exactly have a neighborhood gun dealer here," Petra replied.
"...How about we just... use garden supplies? I-I saw a shed out back when we got here," Sato finally contributed. Petra snapped her fingers.
"Of course! That's what we'll do. Everyone, let's get to that shed and bash some zombie heads in." She grinned. "Dibs on the crowbar."
As they ran around the house, Honda asked, "But aren't they still technically your neighbors? Shouldn't we not try to kill them?"
In response, Petra stated, "Don't forget, this is magic we're dealing with. I just need to wish it to undo the alien invasion, and everyone will be fine." Kaneko threw open the door to the shed and they all crammed in, closing the door behind them.
"All right guys, I'm not sure how this magic stuff really works yet, but what I do know is that me and one other person have to make it to the school to wish for the undoing of the invasion. Even if something happens to anyone, everything will be back to normal after the wish. With that in mind, nobody should feel bad about killing the zombies of our neighbors." She grabbed the crowbar off the tool rack. "Get your weapon and get to that school!"
There were suddenly thumps against the door. Muffled growls could be heard, and claws were raking the side of the shed. The zombies could smell fresh meat, and they wanted it badly.
"And quickly. Did I say quickly? I meant to say quickly."
Everyone looked around and found random gardening tools to aid in the fight to the school. Even Keiko, who was still shivering from her fear, grabbed a small spade. Petra didn't see how it would help, but at least it was something.
"You guys ready?" Everyone nodded and brandished their 'weapons'.
"Then, let's go!"
With this, Petra kicked open the door to the shed, nailing two zombies that had been trying to break in. Swinging her crowbar, she took out another one that was coming around the corner of the shed. She took a deep breath in and smiled. "Man, I feel like Gordon Freeman."
Everyone ran out from behind her, swinging their blunt weapons and brandishing their power tools. Tanaka was laughing gleefully and swinging his weed whacker, though of course, it was used more as a blunt weapon because a weed whacker was otherwise not very effective at killing things.
"How–Hah!" Yamamoto interrupted himself by clobbering a zombie over the head with his shovel. "How far away is the school from here–Yah!"
"Didn't you–ungh!–run here earlier?" Petra answered, knocking off an enemy's head by cutting through its neck.
"Yeah, but I had an adrenaline rush and wasn't exactly counting my–oof!–steps!"
"It's not that far! But with all these–aargh!–zombies, it's going to take much more time to get there!"
"Well then, we'll just keep on fighting until we're in!" He confidently smiled at her then smacked a zombie in the side of its head. Unbidden, Petra found blood rushing to her face. Damn, Yamamoto was successful even given the current situation. She distracted herself by hooking a zombie on her crowbar, then tossing it into another.
Eventually, with much zombie bloodshed, they were able to claw their way into the entrance of the school, next to the shoe lockers. Here, at the school, they finally saw the worst of the zombie virus: their friends, their teachers, people they've known for years were disfigured, bloody, coming to attack them. Petra thought she recognized old Watanabe-sensei, but tried to put the thought out of her mind.
Everyone was crying or at least tearing up by the time they made it to a hallway on the third floor filled with student zombies. They all dashed into and locked themselves in the nearest classroom, bracing the door and windows to the hallway with desks and chairs.
"I... I had to stab Nagase-saaaaa..." Keiko cried. "B-but it wasn't real–*hic*–really her, right...?"
"No, no, dear Keiko-chan... It was a zombie... Those aren't our real classmates... I didn't just kill him..." Kaneko gave Keiko a huge hug, and started crying herself. Masumi was just sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth. Honda's eyebrows were quivering, and a single tear could be seen gleaming on his cheek. Deryn was pacing back and forth, deep in thought, either to escape the situation or figure a way out of it. Yamamoto was looking out the window at the teeming masses of gray skin down below. Sato's shoes could be seen from under the teacher's desk. Tanaka was mumbling to himself in a corner of the classroom.
And Petra was watching everyone, trying not to think about the thumping sounds from the doors and windows, and also not trying to throw up from the horrible smell of decay and blood. With everyone in such a rotten mood, she gave in and simply collapsed on the floor, crying her eyes out and screaming, unable to contain her supreme terror.
"Guys! Guys!! Pull yourselves together!! Remember, this will all go back to normal once we get to the roof! We need to help Michiko-san get to her backpack!" Deryn reminded everyone.
"How do you expect us to do that?! The access to the roof is blocked by that horde!!" Honda screamed. The moment he did, everyone stopped what they were doing immediately. Honda was not the type to do that, and they had never heard his voice raised like that before. Tears were streaming down his face.
"It's simple. The windows aren't blocked, are they?" Deryn opened one to demonstrate. "Then if we can reach far out enough, we can grab onto the gutter, then swing onto the railing around the roof." She looked around the room. "Anyone have any ideas on how to reach the gutter from here?"
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:56 PM.
Chapter Seventeen: Duct, Duct, Goose
"Okay, when I said 'any ideas to reach the gutter', I wasn't thinking of anything this stupid." The idea in question was to use a ladder which they had found in the supply closet, stick it halfway out the window, and have almost everyone sit on the inside end of it while two people exited the room. This was a really, really bad idea, mostly because the ladder appeared to be starting to rot. It was their only hope of getting onto the roof, though, so they were forced to try it. Nobody really wanted to go onto the roof with Petra, but Kaneko decided she would volunteer mainly because she was strong and, though she didn't really want to say it, she felt like she was entitled to it because she'd known Petra for longer than everyone else.
Kaneko climbed out onto the ladder first, tilting the ladder a bit but then settling firmly on the floor of the classroom again. She reached up and was able to grab the railing, like Deryn had said, and pulled herself up with relative ease. Her weapon of choice, a gardening fork, was handed up to her, its long handle just barely reaching her outstretched hand. Petra's crowbar was hooked onto the end of the fork.
It was suddenly Petra's turn, and she wasn't too thrilled about crawling out a window on a rotting ladder some thirty-something feet above the ground, as one would expect. But, she thought, it's either possible death by falling or otherwise certain death by zombies. She braced herself and climbed up onto the ladder.
"Good luck... Pee-to," whispered Masumi in her ear before giving her a kiss on the cheek. "Now go and bring the real Michiko back to me. Please."
Petra smiled assuringly. "No worries. I'll get the world back to normal in no time." With that, she started crawling up the ladder, ducking underneath the window frame as she went.
Outside, it was cooler than it had been in the classroom due to a stiff breeze. Petra would have preferred being hot to having the wind because it threatened to either push her off or bend the ladder so much that it snapped. She made the mistake of looking down and suddenly realized just how high up she was.
"Michio-kun! Look up! Up here!" Petra was perfectly fine with looking anywhere but down. She saw Kaneko reaching a hand out and grabbed it. The moment she did, a strong wind rocked the ladder and it creaked a bit. Petra gulped and used her other hand to make a swipe for the edge of the roof, hitting the side of it on the ledge but just not able to grab it.
Her weight settling back down on the ladder was its final straw. It completely gave way with a loud cracking sound and fell towards the zombies below. Petra was left dangling from Kaneko's hand as she struggled to pull her up. Everyone inside the room gasped, and the twins fainted.
"Just... hang... on...!" Kaneko grunted as she strained her muscles, attempting to hoist Petra up. Petra was lifted just high enough by her efforts to now be able to grab on to the ledge and help Kaneko pull her up. Her arm muscles screaming, Petra finally managed to get her leg over and onto the ledge, from that point on able to maneuver herself up using the guardrail. Once safely onto the roof, she sat down, her arms burning and her leg aching. Kaneko rubbed her arms where the metal of the railing had chafed into her skin.
On the rooftop, no zombie was to be found, presumably because the doors to the roof were locked with a pass code and there hadn't been anyone up there when the pathogen had been released. This was extremely good fortune for the two girls, as their efforts to even get up there would have already been hindered.
"How about... next time..." Petra panted, "we use a ladder... that's not half rotted."
"Sounds like a really good idea to me..." Kaneko responded.
The far-off voice of Masumi floated over to the two. "...Hey, you guys doing okay...?" Petra leaned over the railing.
"Yeah, we're actually doing much better up here because there aren't any zombies," she responded. "Lucky us that the most exposed section of the school besides the courtyard was completely empty when the aliens arrived."
"Go on then! Go and fix the world, hero."
Petra grinned. "Well, I suppose that's the last we'll be hearing of them until we bring back the cell phone..."
She and Kaneko realized the same thing at the same time.
"...Damn it, that's what we were forgetting," Kaneko groaned. "We actually needed to bring the phone back so Derin could take a look at it."
"I suppose our only hope now is figuring this out for ourselves," responded Petra.
She took a good look around the roof now, trying to remember where she'd left the bag when she ran off. Okay, so there was an AC unit behind me that I ran around, and a staircase entrance that Yamamoto was leaning against. Where was that on the roof?
It was a rather large roof which had a lot of large AC units. Only two of them had a stairwell near them, though. One of them was on their side of the roof, and the other was all the way across the school, on the direct opposite side. Petra slowly walked over to the one on her side, dreading what she realized the moment she saw the positioning. They were on the wrong side of the school.
Suddenly, a muffled scream cut through the air. Petra immediately recognized whom it was.
"MASUUUUUMIIIIIIIII!!!!!" Petra screamed, a guttural cry of anguish. She was suddenly able to find the energy within her to grab Kaneko's arm, pull her up off the floor, and drag her to the other end of the school in two minutes flat. Petra spied her bag leaning on the AC unit and practically ripped it open, finding her cell phone and screaming at it:
"Please prevent the alien attack from ever happening! Please!! Please!! PLEASE!!!"
But nothing happened. The cell phone's screen dimmed then shut off, but the noises of the zombies scouring the neighborhood for food continued.
"Please!! Please! Please..." The pleas to the magical phone descended into a sob. Her energy spent, she curled up into a ball with the plastic device clutched tightly in her hand. Kaneko hugged her tightly, trying not to cry herself.
"Come on, Michio... We... we have to get back to the classroom... That phone's secrets might only reveal themselves to an experienced hacker."
"R-right... Masumi... will be f-fine... once Deryn looks at this... a-and figures it out..." She shakily stood up, feeling somewhat better and ready to go back to the classroom.
The only question was... How would they get back? The way they came was certainly out of the question. And they couldn't just walk there normally. There was no way in or out of the classroom. Petra leaned against the AC unit to think.
Then it came to her. The air ducts. They went all around the school and (most likely) weren't infested with the undead.
"Kaneko, do you know of any way to get into the air ducts?" she asked. Kaneko realized what Petra was thinking and smirked.
"I remember seeing this one broken AC unit whose grille was unscrewed to gain access to the fan. Uhh..." She looked around. "Damn it, these all look alike! It'll take us ages to find the one that was unscrewed."
Petra pulled on the one she was leaning against. It gave way easily. Kaneko rolled her eyes and grinned.
"Right. It was that one. Who'd have thought?"
Petra slung her backpack over her shoulder and crawled into the vent, lowering herself down a few feet to get to the level of the roof of the third floor. It was pitch black inside the vents, though she could hear the sounds of zombies eerily echoing around her, as if she were surrounded. She held out her phone in front of her and used the flashlight app she'd gotten. The pathway ahead was suddenly illuminated with a burst of whiteness. As she'd thought, there were no zombies in the vent, though there were a few sudden drops ahead that she'd need to avoid. She heard Kaneko drop down behind her.
Guided only by the tiny light of the phone, she crawled along the vent. Kaneko followed closely, holding onto Petra's shoe tightly for guidance. After what seemed like ages of slow going, they came to a T-shaped fork in the vent. They initially chose the left vent, since they needed to go counterclockwise around the school, but then realized that that just led off to a section that ended somewhat quickly. They retraced their steps and continued onwards.
After a while longer of eventless crawling, Kaneko started to speak. "Michio-kun... I... I have a question. You might not know the answer to it, but that's okay. Why... are we immune to this virus? Why the nine of us, specifically us whom have a counterpart in your world?"
"Strictly speaking, Masumi-chan doesn't actually have a counterpart in my world. Only the eight of us which were flying from the United States have one. And anyways, I have no idea. Maybe the magical aura surrounding our group repels pathogens? That would be pretty nice."
"Oh... I was really hoping you knew. I guess it's going to be explained here as well as in any zombie survival game, where the four main characters are just somehow... Immune. Kind of a cop-out, if you ask me."
"...This is real life. I somehow doubt it's a cop-out."
"I know, I was just making a point." She paused for a second. "You really don't know how this stuff works, do you?"
"I know about as much of how magic works as you. Hell, I don't even know if it's the phone that's been causing all our present dilemmas. All I know is that it's our last hope for getting out of here alive and not dead or a zombie. This bag does not, sadly, contain an Escape Rope for that."
They continued along in silence, until Petra cried out, "shit, the phone! The battery's dead!" Without the light from the phone to aid their eyesight, all they had to go by now was the tiny bit they got through the vent grilles.
"Besides the fact that we no longer have light... how are we supposed to charge the phone now?" Kaneko asked, starting to worry.
"We'll find a way. We just have to get back to our group, and quickly, because the light is starting to fade out there." This was true; it was already about eight o'clock and the sun was setting.
Suddenly, amongst the moans and groans of zombies, a raised voice could be heard. Its words could not be understood, but Petra realized this meant they were close. She crept further and further along until she could understand them.
"...not coming back! They would have been back already if they were-"
"Shut up! They'll be back! I know they will! They just need to find a way!"
"But what if the roof was filled with-"
"No! Don't spend your time worrying! All we should do is have faith in them!"
Petra recognized whom it was. To her relief, the one confident in their return was Masumi. I was really worried something bad had happened... Of course, the one that didn't think they were coming back was Deryn, always the scared one.
Petra reached the next vent grille and looked down into the room. She saw the back of Deryn's head from where she was, and was directly over the teacher's desk. She turned around to Kaneko, grinned (though she didn't know if Kaneko saw), and kicked open the grate, landing neatly on top of the desk. Deryn shrieked.
"You called?" Petra said, with a huge smile. She jumped off the desk to an astounded Deryn and a teary-eyed Masumi.
"Michiko! You're okay!! I... I was so worried!" She pointed a quivering thumb at Deryn. "N-not as much as her but..." She started crying from sheer relief and squeezed Petra really tightly.
A thump was heard behind them. Kaneko had dropped down from the roof of the classroom. She jumped off and ducked under the desk, presumably to give Sato her trademark bear hug.
"I... I'm sorry I wasn't confident in your return... I guess that makes me a bad friend..." Deryn mumbled. She gave Petra a hug, trying to hug her around the clingy Masumi. "Still... I'm glad I was wrong."
Being clung to by two girls like this... This is awesome.
Petra snapped out of it. But! There's still something to be done.
She handed Deryn her cell phone. "Do what you need to do. I'm gonna talk to Masumi a bit." Deryn nodded, then went over to a desk in the corner and pulled out her laptop from her bag.
Petra pried Masumi off of her body. "Look, are you comfortable with this? Since I'm a guy and you're... female-inclined?"
"I honestly couldn't care what gender you say you are. To me, you look like Michiko and you act like Michiko, and until you get the real Michiko back, you're gonna have to do." She kissed Petra, though this time it was less like a quick peck. Petra blushed hard, but returned the kiss.
Then she noticed Tanaka and Yamamoto staring at them, probably thinking really nasty thoughts. She broke from the kiss, then went over and simply told them, "I'm not gonna punch you since we all need as much blood as we can hold, but I'd appreciate it if you two could quit being perverts for once in your lives. Don't forget, I'm a man." That last sentence immediately made them snap out of it and got Yamamoto running over to the only trash can in the room.
"Not in there! Out the window!" Kaneko cried, and he managed to hold it in until he got there. "Who knows how long we'll be in here? We don't want that smell in the air!"
By then, almost all the light in the classroom was gone, the sun finally setting over the horizon and leaving only a small glow. It was hard to see from one end of the classroom to the other. The zombies were noticeably more quiet now, because they presumably had to have some kind of sleep, and that was combined with the fact they were much less interested in prey they couldn't get to. The banging at the door to the class and the hall windows had completely stopped.
Looking through the cracks in the barrier of desks at the occasional zombie wandering around in the hallway reminded Petra of something. She turned to Masumi.
"Masumi-chan, why did you scream earlier when we were on the roof?" she asked. Masumi turned and tried to think.
"It was because I was looking out the window at the roof, willing you guys to be all right, when a breeze lifted up my skirt. Of course, Tanaka and Yamamoto saw, and so I screamed and covered up quickly."
Petra started laughing. "I'd thought the zombies had managed to break in and they were attacking you, so I literally dragged Kaneko-san over to the other side of the roof in about two minutes flat. In fact, if you hadn't screamed there, the light would have gone out in the vent before we escaped." She grinned. "So thanks, I think...?" Masumi laughed.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 03:57 PM.
Jesus Toby... you didn't have to quote a whole chapter haha.
I've been a silent reader to this, and I have to admit this is awesome. The twists are brilliant and the whole story so far has been a great read. Can't wait for future updates mate, keep the good work up!
Chapter Eighteen: Hacking the World, One Line at a Time
The only sound in the room was the sound of Deryn tapping away on the computer keyboard. The solitary source of light besides the quarter moon was from her laptop monitor and occasionally from the phone, which Deryn had plugged into her laptop so it had a charge. Honda was sleeping on the floor on a pillow made from his jacket. Keiko was sleeping on a few books covered by a scarf. Kaneko was snoring in her sleep, her head lying on her backpack. The others were making do with what else they had around to try to sleep comfortably.
The only person up besides Deryn was Petra, though not because of a lack of trying. Every time she tried to go to sleep, an image of her mother would pop up, or of her father, or her brother. Sometimes, it was even of Emiko. No matter what, her mind would just not let her tired body get its necessary rest. She got up from where she had been sleeping (on top of the teacher's desk) and walked over to Deryn's solitary desk in the back corner. Looking at the time on the computer, she saw that it was already eleven at night.
"Can't sleep, hm?" queried Deryn. Petra sighed.
"No, I can't. Every time I try, I keep thinking of my old life before everything happened. Before I got on the plane. Before my magical phone decided to somehow change my entire life."
"I know what you mean. That kept me up my first night here. I guess it didn't really hit you until tonight, huh?"
Petra shrugged in response. "I guess so. But it's worse somehow because of the stuff with the zombies. It makes me realize that maybe... my boring life wasn't so bad after all."
Deryn stared at her. "If you're trying to have one of those It's A Wonderful Life epiphanies where everything goes back to normal once the main character realizes they were wrong, that's not going to happen here."
"I know. It's not what I was trying, but that's what it sounded like, I guess." She gave a halfhearted grin. "Got anything on your computer?"
"I've actually been writing a program to detect changes in activity on your phone this entire time. Then, once I'm done, we'll have you and Kaneko make wishes and see if it spikes. Then we'll have a place to start probing."
Petra smiled. "Sounds like a plan."
She looked out the window at the starry night sky. Without all the lights of Japan causing light pollution, all the stars were strikingly visible. But was she really looking up at the starry sky? Were the aliens gone? Or were they just waiting up there, cloaked, watching the whole disaster go on as if it was some sort of TV show? Petra bet they were still there, laughing at the puny immune earthlings that thought they still had a chance.
"Well, that should be it," Deryn yawned, shutting off her laptop. "We'll try it tomorrow. Let's get some sleep while we can." She turned off Petra's cell phone too, as she wanted to conserve the little battery power the two devices had left. Petra watched as she put away her laptop and rested her head on the bag.
"'Night, Deryn," Petra said as she walked back over to the teacher's desk. She laid down with her backpack underneath her head. It was lumpy on one side, so she flipped it over. Now, after the talk with Deryn, she was able to fall asleep easily. That night, she dreamt of the events of Half-Life and the coolest theoretical physicist ever.
* * *
The next morning, she woke up to morning light streaming in through the window. She opened her eyes and saw that a few others were up and about, searching for something around the classroom.
"Morning, guys..." she said, rolling over to stand up on the ground. Her neck had a crick in it from sleeping on her backpack the entire night. "What are you guys looking for?" she asked as she massaged her neck.
"Food," Yamamoto replied. "None of us have had anything since lunch yesterday." At that, Petra's own stomach rumbled, as if reminded that it, too, was hungry.
"Have you guys found anything so far?" He shook his head.
"Nothing at all. Not so much as a granola bar in the teacher's desk." He sighed. "At this rate, we're going to starve in here before the zombies get us."
Darin looked up from where she was sitting. "Hey, wait. This is the perfect opportunity to try something." She stood up and went over to where Kaneko was sleeping. "Hey, you. Time to wake up and make some wishes come true."
"...no, Taco-sama, I don't want to eat you... ...oh, all right, since you insist..." She suddenly sat up. "Hmm? Taco-sama? Where did...?" She noticed where she was. "Oh. Ohhhh. Just... Just ignore that, will you?"
"Come on, taco girl. We need you and Michiko-san to wish us up some real food." Deryn pulled Kaneko to a standing position.
"Right. Uh..." She gave a look to Petra. "How do we do this again?"
Petra walked over to the phone. "I wish we had food. Now you try it," she said, motioning to Kaneko.
"I would really like some food right about now," Kaneko said to the phone.
The three looked at Deryn's laptop screen. Nothing had changed.
Deryn frowned. "Hmm. Is there any time of the day that your phone has decided to grant your wish?"
"Well..." Petra thought for a minute. "So far, it's always happened sometime on a Saturday night, and everything's changed when I wake up Sunday morning. ...But I can make the wishes at any time during the week and they'll 'activate' Saturday." She then happened to glance at the screen of her phone; it said'SERVICE DISABLED'.
"Hey, why's the cell tower service disabled?"
"Possible interference from towers with their own sources of power that don't need to be constantly maintained. I want to isolate it to just this phone."
"Let's see what'll happen if we turn on the cell tower service. Maybe my wishes need to connect to the Internet or something." She went into the settings and enabled it. Still nothing appeared on Deryn's screen.
"Weird," Deryn commented. "No interference. I guess all the cell towers around here rely on the grid."
"I wish for some food," Petra said again. Nothing.
"I would very much like some food, please," said Kaneko.
There was suddenly a small spike of activity on the monitor. All three of them gasped.
"There! There it is!" exclaimed Deryn. She started typing instructions into the screen very rapidly. After a bit, though, she just stopped cold.
"What? What is it? Have you found a way to fix this?!" Kaneko was a bit frantic now.
"No. I thought I did for a second, though." Deryn leaned back in her chair. "I almost thought I had an SSH terminal connection with something, but whatever I was trying to connect to had too weak of a signal. All I can say is that it's most likely not your phone."
Keiko overheard this. "What?! Are you telling me we came all this way for... NOTHING?!?" She sat down on the ground, her legs too shaky to stand. "We fought through tons and tons of zombies to get here, then had Michiko-san and Kaneko-chan risk their lives getting to the roof... And what do we have to show for it? Blood everywhere and a pink plastic cell phone."
"Don't forget, the cell phone can pick up the signals from the magic. That's very useful."
Petra's forehead furrowed. "Damn it, I know there's a piece of the puzzle here that keeps eluding my memory. Something... unusual that had happened before the trip. Something that I was reminded of sometime recently. ...What the hell was it?"
"Let's try something," Kaneko suggested. "Retrace your steps from the time right before the trip. Try to remember everything that happened, be it something inconsequential or something important."
Masumi crawled over to sit in front of Petra, an expectant smile on her face. "Story time! I can't wait to hear what your life was like in America!"
"Story time? Well..." Petra took a deep breath. "Fine. Here goes.Back to the time before all this weird shit started happening to me.
"My name was Pete Carter. A dull name for a dull person. Why couldn't my parents have picked something more interesting, like Zachary or Zebediah, or maybe Ezekiel? Anything with a 'z'. I like the letter 'z'. ...But that's off topic. Well, anyways, near the end of my history class on that Friday afternoon, I was leaning back in my chair, glancing over at the clock that was counting the time remaining until four..."
* * *
"...So I woke up late on the morning after the sleepover because Tommy's alarm was set for the wrong time. I shot out of the bed, got dressed, and raced to the bus stop nearest his house. It was like a mile away, but I-""Wait, wait," interrupted Kaneko. "You ran for a whole mile at seven in the morning and didn't complain, or trip, or slow down, or anything? I highly doubt that. You're really weak and uncoordinated."
Petra rolled her eyes... but stopped in mid-roll. "Wait... Now that you mention it... I do remember tripping into some bushes. And..."
Petra's eyes widened and her jaw dropped. Of course. Of friggin' course. The one detail she'd forgotten about that morning, and it was the most important one of all.
The geode. She'd found a geode in the ground, thought about giving it to her mom, and shoved it in... her backpack...
The lumpy object.
She ran to the teacher's desk, suddenly confident of what she would find. She unzipped the front pocket.
There it was. The same exact blue geode she'd picked up from the ground when she tripped into the bushes at the side of the road the morning of the flight. For all intents and purposes, the geode should not be there. Petra had discovered it in a different timeline, in an event that hadn't even occurred in the timeline she was present in at the moment. The backpack wasn't even the same backpack.
But there it was. It was the only explanation. It had to be.
She pulled it out of her backpack and ran over to Deryn. Both she and Kaneko gasped.
"That geode... That's the missing part to the geode I found before the trip then lost!!" Deryn exclaimed. Kaneko quickly turned to Deryn.
"Wait, I found it in your seat on the plane ride! I put it in my own backpack to give to you later, but I forgot. In fact, I think I still have it with me!!" She grabbed her backpack from where it was laying at her feet, then opened the front pocket. She pulled out a part of a geode the exact same color as the one Petra held, but much thinner.
They lined the two up together. It was a perfect match.
"Well, girls, I believe we finally, finally, have an answer to some of our most important questions," said Deryn with a gigantic smile on her face. "I bet whomever has one of these near them as the world changes remembers everything from the previous timeline. And the two owners of the rocks have to be in agreement about a wish before it's executed."
Petra snapped her fingers. "That makes sense! On the plane, right before I blacked out, I wished for my life to be more interesting. The rock was in my backpack at my feet as I did so, because I forgot to take it out before I left."
"On that same plane ride, in my timeline, I was thinking about how cool it would be to be a character in an anime just before I blacked out. And I had the geode in my purse, as a good luck charm. When I came to, I was too busy freaking out to search for the rock, but I did notice that my purse no longer existed."
"And on Thursday night..." Petra suddenly remembered her wishes that she'd sort of made that night and her breath caught in her throat. "Oh my god... I just realized that all of this shit that's happened to us so far has been because of a few unintended wishes I made that night..."
"You can't take all the blame for it, though. I must have also had some sort of desire for interesting stuff to happen," Kaneko said, though it didn't help Petra cheer up any.
"It doesn't matter anyways," mentioned Deryn, grabbing the two pieces to the geode and setting them down on either side of the cell phone. "Both of you, place your hands on your own geode." They did so, and Deryn continued. "Now wish for something unanimously."
Kaneko looked at Petra, and she nodded.
"I wish that all previous wishes would be undone!" the two spoke, in unison. Deryn's eyes lit up as she saw what was being displayed on the computer screen.
"Full signal strength! Perfect! ...All right! I have an open SSH session with the geode!" She made a strange face. "I can honestly say I never expected to say something like that."
Everyone crowded around the laptop, those who were asleep woken up by the commotion. Deryn was furiously pounding away at the keys on her laptop. Petra glanced at Deryn's screen and was amazed by all the text floating by at remarkable speeds.
The computer screen suddenly went blank; the only thing left was a blinking cursor. Deryn looked up at the two girls that made the wishes and told them to repeat their wish. They did so.
On the computer screen, a sentence appeared: 'TEMPORARILY UNABLE TO PROCESS REQUEST. ERROR: INSUFFICIENT POWER. QUEUEING.' The blinking cursor appeared again, this time under the sentence. Deryn typed in "help error". A list of errors and what they meant appeared on the screen, with the 'INSUFFICIENT POWER' error meaning that it needed more time to recharge fully in order to make sure it can carry out whatever instructions it needed to.
There was also a way to override it if a person was short on time.
Deryn put in the override command: 'safelimits == false'. The computer spat back 'safelimits: ENV VAR ACCESS DENIED.' She tried a few other things, but it always came back with 'ENV VAR ACCESS DENIED' no matter what she put in. The only command she could access, it seemed, was the general help command. Kaneko and Petra even tried wishing for access, but of course, the wish was put in the queue.
After about half an hour of trying, it was evident that all they were doing was making the laptop's battery dwindle. It was already at 5% and threatening to turn off any moment. Everyone was dejected, feeling like their only chance was lost: they would either have to wait five days without food or water, or go get it and risk their lives doing so. Any hope of possibly returning to their old lives was gone.
Suddenly, Deryn had an idea. She typed in 'sudo safelimits == false' and quickly got Kaneko and Petra to wish for the wishes to be undone.
A single message popped up. 'WARNING: POWER POSSIBLY INSUFFICIENT TO CARRY OUT TASK. PROCEED ANYWAY?'
Deryn typed in a single 'Y' and pressed Enter.
Petra stopped being able to remember anything after that.
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 04:00 PM.
Chapter Nineteen: The Return of the Normalcy
She felt as if she was floating. Not in water. Something more viscous, like a perfectly even jelly. But she wasn't breathing. She didn't have to breathe in that jelly. She had no knowledge of anything except raw emotion. She knew only that she was perfectly content with floating there for all eternity.
Until a feeling came to her. A feeling she thought she hadn't known before. A sense of urgency. Telling her she needed to start swimming up. She tried ignoring it, but the nagging feeling kept bothering her and bothering her until she was forced to give up her dream of lying there for all time and try to swim up.
She was suddenly aware of the presence of something. Something different than the jelly. It wasn't physical, nor could she do anything with it. A word came to her: light. She suddenly craved that light more than anything. She started swimming towards it, faster, faster, faster...
She suddenly broke through the surface of the jelly and saw the source of the light.
It was a lamp on a bedside table in a hotel room.
She remembered everything.
Petra sat up in the bed. ...Wait, a hotel room? What?
She took stock of her surroundings. It was an average size for a hotel room; there were two beds which included the one she was sitting on. There was a flatscreen TV sitting on the dresser a foot away from the base of the bed, to the left. There was a window with its blinds closed to her right and a door that presumably led outside on the wall to the far left. Another bed, identical to her own but empty, was beside hers, a foot to her left. There was a mirror above a desk that was right at the foot of her bed. She saw her reflection in the mirror...
... and Pete Nigel Carter looked back at her.
She smiled. Pete smiled back at her. She reached up. So did Pete. She felt behind her head and felt short, curly hair. In the mirror, Petra could see her hair, which was brown and neither dark or light blue.
It had worked. Pete was back. All the changes to the world were reverted.
But why was he in a hotel bed?
Suddenly, the covers in the bed next to his shifted. Pete had thought that that bed was empty since he couldn't see a head, but now he realized that whomever it was was just covered head to toe by the comforter.
A hand reached out and pulled down the covers to reveal the face of... Derek. Not Daigo, not Yuiko, not Deryn, but Derek.
"Whaaaa..." He yawned. "What happened?" He searched for and found his glasses on the bedside table between their beds, putting them on. The first thing he saw was Pete staring at him. "...Pete? Holy shit, Pete!!!"
He was speaking English. Good, old, hodgepodge-of-languages English. Better yet, Pete could understand it.
"Derek! Dude, what the hell happened since Saturday night? You got replaced by a girl named Deryn!"
"No way! That's what happened to you! You were suddenly replaced by a girl on Sunday and she didn't recognize me at all! So what the hell happened that made us come back to real life?"
Pete got out of his bed and checked the time. It was about five minutes after Deryn had typed in the last command that allowed the wish to go through. He turned back to Derek, who was getting out of bed himself. "It was the plan and expertise of your female counterpart. What, how were you planning to get out of that classroom alive?"
Derek stared at Pete, confused. "Get out of the classroom... alive? What are you talking about...?"
"Weren't you just in a zombie apocalypse, trapped in a classroom on the third floor with no food?" Derek's jaw dropped.
"You're not going to tell me you were just experiencing that...?! I didn't go through anything like that! I was just sleeping in class!"
"Wow, you sure had it easy. We had to fight our way into the school through a ton of infected classmates only to get cornered in a classroom on the third floor." He walked through the hotel room, looking at everything. "But that's behind us... or just me, I guess. Now we have another situation to deal with. ...Where exactly are we?"
Finally, he found what he was looking for: a notepad with the hotel's header on it. "...According to this, we're at the Travelers Hotel in Osaka." He paused. "Wait, I've heard that name before."
"Wasn't that the hotel we were going to stay at after we stayed at the host house on our trip?" Derek suggested.
Suddenly, it all clicked. "I only undid the changes to the world. I didn't revert the world to the one from two weeks ago. Logically, this means that we're where we would be if we had actually gone on the trip to Japan. That must be it." He started to laugh. "We're on our school trip to Japan!"
"You're right! This is all what should be happening if our normal schedules would have been carried out!" Derek started to laugh too. "So what do you want to do, Mr. Exchange Student?"
"Mister... That reminds me." Pete ran into the bathroom and slammed the door closed. A whoop of joy could be heard a second later. Derek laughed even harder.
Pete came back out, a stupid grin on his face. He noticed Derek and his laughter. "Hey, you don't know how good it feels to be a guy again after spending two-and-a-bit days as a girl."
"I would have thought you'd be happier about getting out of the zombie apocalypse alive, but okay." He was about to say something else, but stopped in the middle of his breath. "Hey, how did you undo all the changes in the world? You're not going to tell me you found the source of the magic?"
"Actually, we did." Pete went over to his backpack, which he'd seen laying up against the frame of the bed. He reached into the front pocket and pulled out the part of the geode that he'd found on the ground such a surprisingly short time ago, showing it to Derek. "Let me guess, you either have the other half of this or used to but lost it?"
Derek stared, first at the rock, then at Pete. "Yeah, I lost it on the plane here... How did you know? Did this 'Deryn' lose it too?" Pete nodded.
"Actually, Kaneko turned out to have it. She found it on your seat on the plane. She's part of what caused me to become a girl."
They stared at it. "So... what should we do with it?" asked Derek. Pete shrugged.
"How do you dispose of a magical item so that nobody can use it anymore? All the ways I can think of would result in paradoxes." He went to open the blinds to let some sun into the room when there was a knock at the door. Pete went to get it while Derek inspected the geode.
It was someone he almost thought he'd never see again: Dana.
"Hey, Pete. Can I talk to Derek? The TV in our room's not working; we can't get any channels."
"Yeah, hold on a second. Hey, Da–Derek!" he called, almost calling him Daigo. But Derek didn't even turn from the rock. Pete sighed, then went and tapped Derek on the shoulder. "Derek, K–Dana's at the door."
"Hey, Pete, was the rock always this shade of blue...?" Derek asked, not even turning to face him. Pete looked at the rock. It was, indeed, a darker hue of blue. He remembered it being a sort of electric blue before, almost glowing, but now it was more of a 'normal' blue, very different than before.
"Huh, that's weird. Maybe it's broken. Oh well, we were going to dispose of it anyways. Now can you go fix Dana's TV?"
Derek sighed. "Fine, but I want to take another look at the rock later." He got up, went to the door, and left the room. Pete closed the door behind him and went over to the bedside table, where his phone was charging. His iPhone, that is, not the pink plastic flip phone from the anime. It was becoming easier by the second to refer to his life in the anime as something out of fiction and removed from the rest of reality.
He unplugged his phone and unlocked it, laying on his bed as he did so. Even though he had no service, he could still access all his stuff. Everything was exactly how he'd left it. His notes, his apps, his photos...
Pete scrolled through the photos. Actually, his photos had changed. Nothing was gone, but some photos of events he didn't remember were added: him with a Japanese kid, presumably the son of his exchange's host family; him looking from the top of a huge tower out at a city; him, Eric, and Derek holding up merchandise from a Pokémon Center. All things he would have done had the natural course of events taken place.
He got to the most recent photo. There wasn't anyone in the shot; it was just a photo of a cityscape over the railing of a building's roof. It looked somewhat familiar; Pete guessed it was a view that had had pictures of it taken before and posted online. He locked his phone again and picked up the remote for the TV, turning it on as he did so.
He scanned a few channels, but all the ones he tried were static. Checking the channel guide leaflet, he tried tuning to the local TV news station. It was also static.
Maybe this is what Dana meant by 'her TV's broken', Pete mused. The cable must've gone out. The hotel staff should really get on that.
With no Internet, no TV, no Derek, and no visual idea of where he was, he decided to open the shades and see what view of Osaka he could get from the window. He got up, walked over to the window, pulled the blinds back, and gazed out over the town.
He was about eight stories up, and the view was great. He could see for about half a mile before a few skyscrapers came together to block his vision. He could see people milling about in the streets below, doing whatever they needed to do. He watched for a while, mildly interested in the activities of the Japanese populace before realizing that he'd actually been one for the past week and a bit.
The TV suddenly came to life, blaring the weather report at maximum volume. Pete rushed over to lower the volume to one that wouldn't wake everyone up within a three room radius. He sat down and watched the reporter spout sentences in Japanese he would have been able to understand an hour ago. It was funny, this magic stuff.
The door opened, and Derek came in, holding a key card in his hand. "I don't think I did anything, but while I was there, the cable came back on. She thanked me anyway." He sat lightly down on the bed.
"The cable must have been out in the entire hotel or something because I was just getting static until a bit ago. Hey, is Dana's room right across the hall or something? You came pretty quickly."
"Yeah, she's in the room diagonal from us." He saw the rock sitting on the desk where he left it. "I want to take another look at that geode before exploring the rest of the hotel first, though."
Pete shrugged. "Feel free to take a look. I'll be here, trying to find a channel running anime." He started flipping through, now able to see all the different kinds that Japan had to offer. He came across one that was just starting its intro sequence and settled down to watch.
He thought he might have recognized the anime and its awkward drawing style that looked like it was trying to be an American cartoon. For part of the intro sequence, all the characters boarded a plane in a stylized America and got off in Japan. That's when he finally did recognize it.
It was Anime-ted! Magic American Change.
Holy world-destroying paradox indeed.
"Pete! Come take a look at this!" Derek called.
Confused, Pete responded, "Yeah, I know, I'm already watching it."
Derek glanced at the TV. "No, no, man! Over here!" Pete sighed and tore himself away from Anime-ted to go over to Derek. Derek held up a USB cable that was cleanly cut at a certain point.
Pete shrugged, still confused. "What? You need a new cable?"
Derek shoved the cable in Pete's face. "Look at it closely! Don't you recognize it?" Pete stared at it hard, but it still looked like just a gray USB cord.
"Where'd you get it from?" Pete asked, trying to figure out just what Derek meant.
"This cable was plugged into my laptop. And, if I'm not mistaken, this was the charging cord to a Japanese cell phone." He opened up the laptop itself. "And see? My laptop was on and this SSH terminal window open." The window was filled with gibberish ending with a message of 'CONNECTION ABORTED', so Derek closed it to reveal windows of code editors and compilers.
"Look at this! This stuff must be all the source code involved with that plan you were talking about earlier, the one 'Deryn' came up with." He scrolled through the documents. "Deryn's a good programmer, if I must say so myself."
Pete was, quite appropriately, flabbergasted. "Why do you have all of this stuff? Shouldn't it have disappeared along with the anime dimension?" Derek could only shrug his shoulders.
"Could you get me your phone? I want to try reprogramming this thing for iPhones so I can take a peek into this rock." Pete got it for him along with the charging cable and sat back down on the bed. He hadn't missed anything; this station had commercials right after the intro sequence (ordinarily annoying, but this time convenient).
The anime started off with a shot of the clock in Mr. Jackson's room before cutting to the animated Pete's anxious face. Pete knew exactly where this story was going to start.
He settled in to watch the first episode of the anime of his crazy trip. Everything important was there: being bored on the last day of school, missing the bus, spending the night with Tommy, and finding the geode, the same one Derek was inspecting now.
The episode ended at the perfect spot, at a cliffhanger right after Pete became conscious and realized he was in an anime. Pete sat back and thought over it. Everything, right down to Michio's voice, was spot-on with what he'd been experiencing. A week in an anime and he'd already started to forget how drawn it looked; now, seeing it in the real world, with real-world objects, the contrast was startling.
To be honest, even though he'd already lived the events, he still wanted to watch the rest of the season.
"...Pete. Come here." This was Derek, who was speaking in an odd voice. Pete, a little weirded out, walked over. Derek showed him his computer screen. The terminal window was back, though it only had a few sentences on it now.
It read 'INSUFFICIENT POWER TO UNDO CHANGES. DATABASE REVERSION HALTED AT 78% COMPLETION. ATTEMPTING TO STABILIZE CURRENT STATE.'
And perhaps the most worrying one of all: 'DATABASE INSTABILITY: HIGH. UNABLE TO STABILIZE. POSSIBILITY OF DATA CORRUPTION.'
Last edited by diegoisawesome; June 21st, 2013 at 04:03 PM.
Note: Kagome is now Kaneko. Why I thought Kagome was a last name, I will never know.
Chapter Twenty: Escape from Osaka
"...Possible data corruption? With this rock, I'm kind of scared to ask what kind of data would be corrupted."
"This 'reversion halted' stuff sounds really bad..." Derek looked around. "...You don't suppose that database is Earth, do you?"
"That would be disastrous. I'm hoping you're just getting interference from someone else with a corrupted website or something."
Something else appeared on the screen: 'OVERALL DATABASE CORRUPTION: 5%. INSTABILITY LEVEL: INCREASING. ADDITIONAL POWER REQUIRED TO RESTORE TO LAST STABLE BACKUP.'
"Man, I sure feel sorry for that guy and his web server," Pete said, still trying to convince himself that the world wasn't about to fall to pieces.
There was a small earthquake. It wasn't enough to even trip Pete, and was over in a few seconds. The two guys looked at each other for a few seconds.
"That was completely unrelated to the instability... right?"
Derek sighed. "Come on, Pete, let's face it. The world is the database, and it's getting corrupted.What's worse, we don't know how widespread the corruption will become or what parts of the world will–"
Derek blinked. "Hm? Wha... Where am I?" He looked around, a look of bewilderment settling on his face.
Oh shit. The first thing to get corrupted just had to be Derek's memory. Pete grabbed Derek by the shoulders. "Come on, Derek, remember! You were talking about widespread corruption and–and databases..."
"Derek? Wait..." He looked down at himself. "...So something like this is what Pete was feeling." He looked up and took a step back. "Wait... Are you Pete?"
"Are you Deryn?" He, or rather she, nodded. "Damn it, I had Derek back for all of half an hour and now shit's starting to go all weird again."
He blinked. Suddenly, he found himself in a completely different position, sitting on the bed with his legs crossed.
"...must have caused Pete and I to suddenly become–" Derek interrupted himself when Pete quickly uncrossed his legs.
"What the hell? I was just over there, talking with Deryn...?"
"Pete? Great, you're back. I have no idea what's going on, but I think the instability of the universe is causing more swapping to go on. I was just talking about this with Petra, after I calmed her down in regards to suddenly being male. I'm Derek, though I don't know for how long."
Pete looked over at the bedside table to try to read the clock, but it was off. Nothing he did would turn it on again. Even the lamp wouldn't turn on. He groaned. "Please, please don't let this be another apocalypse."
"With this rock? No way. It wouldn't have enough power to do something like that right now." He turned back to his laptop. "Besides, I have a pretty good idea as to why the power's not on."
Pete looked over Derek's shoulder. There was a new error on the screen: 'data/earth/species/human/global_manifest.dat: 99% CORRUPTION OF FILE. UNABLE TO READ CORRUPTED SECTORS. REMAINING 1% STABILITY: MODERATE.'
Derek turned back to Pete, a grim look on his face. "If I'm right, that means that 99% of humanity no longer exists." He noticed the look on Pete's face and quickly retracted his statement. "Well, they're not gone. The 'files', or as we know them, people, are all referenced by one giant file. Without that file, none of the people stored in any other file can exist. I guess that you and me are in the 1%."
"And the 1% has moderate stability," Pete finished. "Not completely stable." Derek nodded.
More errors were coming in: 'data/earth/world/japan: 46% CORRUPTION OF FILES IN DIRECTORY. STABILITY: MODERATELY POOR.' 'data/earth/world/japan/kokogawa: DELETION NOT POSSIBLE: NO OTHER FILE TO REPLACE SECTOR.' 'data/earth/world/japan/kokogawa: 0% CORRUPTION OF FILES IN DIRECTORY. STABILITY: PERFECT.' 'data/earth/world/japan/osaka: 13% CORRUPTION OF FILES IN DIRECTORY. STABILITY: MODERATE.'
Then the big one: 'OVERALL DATABASE CORRUPTION: 7%. INSTABILITY LEVEL: INCREASING. ADDITIONAL POWER REQUIRED TO RESTORE TO LAST STABLE BACKUP.'
"The world's corruption has increased by 2% in the last twenty minutes..." Pete worried.
"That's right. Which is why we need to fix it somehow." The laptop suddenly shut off. Derek cursed.
"Deryn ran down my battery. And now, thanks to Osaka's corruption, there's no power to the hotel to charge it. Worst case scenario, the corruption knocked out the power plants themselves." He blinked a few times. "It just happened again... Petra, is this happening to you, too?"
"Sorry, but Petra's not here at the moment. This is Pete speaking." Deryn groaned.
"Having another girl here in the same situation was much nicer..."
Dana suddenly burst into the room.
"Pete! Derek! I don't know what's going on, but Jake and Eric suddenly disappeared from their room while I was there!"
"They don't exist? Well, that's just great. At least you still exist. Everyone else has probably been erased from existence." Dana just stared at him.
"What... do you mean?" she questioned, starting to sound worried. As Pete was going to respond, he felt something shift.
"I mean that according to what we've found, 99% or more of the world's population is gone." Now Dana looked more confused than scared. Deryn was also looking at him oddly, glancing above his eyes every other second.
"Derek and I found this out before his mind was swapped with Deryn's. If we had a charge on his laptop, I'd show you myself." Dana was looking really freaked out now. She started talking to Deryn... but Pete couldn't understand her.
She was speaking English. He, however, was speaking Japanese.
Pete felt something shift again. He was immediately able to understand Dana again.
"...not suddenly gone like Eric and Jake, but he's speaking fluent Japa..." She glanced back at him and her mouth dropped. "...Okay, what? What?!? Did... Did Pete just..."
Deryn looked too, and her eyes lit up. "Petra! You're back! Thank goodness!" She gave him a huge hug.
"Deryn... Ahh shit, my voice... Sorry, but I'm still Pete in here." Pete unhooked Deryn's arms and walked to the mirror. He was now a female version of his real-life self; he assumed this was the body of Petra from before she went into the anime. "Hey, is it narcissistic if I think Petra's hot?"
"Seriously, what in the world is going on here?!" Dana was totally lost, and with good reason. Pete tried explaining everything about the geode and the anime, but Dana was still trying to hold onto her last shreds of logic and wouldn't listen, even with Pete telling her as Petra.
"This has got to be some kind of elaborate prank. I bet Pete's just around here somewhere, like under the bed, and you're some random girl staying at this hotel that looks like him. I'm sorry that it didn't work, but I refuse to take part in this." She started looking all around the hotel room, looking for 'Pete'.
Pete himself sighed and went over to the window. He tried to think of how he could get Dana to listen as he watched the sun set. He glanced down at the street... and immediately realized a way to do just that.
"Hey, Dana, if you really don't believe me about the world... Come downstairs, to the lobby." He grabbed Dana's hand and, amidst her protests, pulled her out of the room.
The hallway was pitch black except for some scarce emergency lights lining one side. Pete started to drag Dana down the hallway...
...when suddenly, he was at the doors to the hotel, staring out into the street full of crashed, empty cars. Alarms were going off. A car was on fire to his right. An explosion was heard in the the distance, most likely from another car.
"I guess Petra brought you here," he said to the astounded Dana. Thankfully, his body was back.
"You weren't messing around, Pete... So the world is corrupting itself as we speak? Doesn't that mean we need to fix this ASAP?"
"See, here's the issue. The rock has no power. And we have to either wait a week or somehow get it more power. We don't have time for the first one or know how to do the second one." He started back into the hotel then stopped. "Uh... Could you lead me back upstairs? I have no idea where the stairs are."
Dana was about to start walking to the stairs when Derek ran down ridiculously fast, almost tripping on the last step. "Guys!" he yelled as he grabbed their arms, his laptop bag swinging from his shoulder. "Run! Don't ask why, just run!!"
Pete and Dana didn't ask why.
They ran over to a van that was just idling by itself in the middle of the road, miraculously having avoided the disaster. Derek popped open the driver's door, Pete and Dana got in the side doors, and they started off down the street.
"Derek, what's going on?" Pete worriedly questioned as he looked out the back window.
"Just keep watching out the back," Derek said, trying to focus on the road ahead. Pete and Dana did so. As he watched, he realized that something was happening with the building. It was getting... shorter. Not just smaller because they were getting far away, but actually shrinking in size. Come to think of it, every building behind them taller than 6 stories had its top floors... gone.
"Derek! What the hell is going on with the buildings?!?" Dana screamed as Pete sat back in his seat, paralyzed with fear.
"As I was looking out the window in our room, I started to see Osaka's corruption increasing exponentially, from the center out. If we hadn't gotten out of the hotel when we did, who knows what would have happened." Suddenly, the car veered over to the right sharply. "Aaah shit! I'm driving now!" He turned the car straight and started slowing it down.
"Deryn!! No! Keep the car moving!" Pete yelled. The disintegration was catching up to them quickly. Deryn yelped when she saw the tops of the buildings ahead of her disappearing and got the car moving faster again.
Soon enough, the buildings that were disintegrating fell behind them. By that time, they had reached the outskirts of Osaka. The moment they passed by a highway sign, Deryn turned the car sideways and stopped it. Her body was suddenly replaced by Yuiko's, and she started saying something in Japanese, to which Pete just said that he couldn't understand her. Now he knew why Deryn had been looking at his hair earlier. Deryn just sighed and pointed at the city behind them.
It was a strange sight to see. Where there would normally be skyscrapers with smaller buildings all around, nothing was there. There were small buildings, but they were all close to where they were sitting in the car. Pete didn't know what Deryn was trying to pull.
"...Shouldn't we be getting further away?" Dana asked, as confused as Pete. The corruption was tearing down the buildings a little bit ahead of them at this point. A house just ten feet from where they were started to have its second floor eaten up. They watched as the road's end came closer and closer. All that could be seen past the end was blackness.
The house was, by now, completely gone. The ground started getting eaten up too, and Pete could see that the blackness was just soil. The grass just in front of them was disappearing.
"Deryn, just what the hell are you planning?!" Pete exclaimed. He knew Deryn had to have a good reason, but he really couldn't see much benefit from just waiting there like sitting ducks to be erased from existence.
Suddenly, the corruption just... stopped. For no reason at all, the destruction didn't go past some invisible line just next to the van.
"Whaa...?" Pete said, not sure of why it hadn't continued further. He got out of the van along with Dana and Deryn. They stood at the lip of something that looked like a huge crater, though instead of any indication of a bomb, there was just unburnt dirt.
"It just stopped here? At this sign?" Dana asked, astounded. Something shifted in Pete's mind and he was suddenly able to read the characters on it: 'NOW ENTERING OSAKA CITY LIMIT'. Now it all made sense.
"This proves my theory," Deryn said. "The corruption stopped at the political border of the city because only the town's file was what was corrupted. We should be fine now. And finally, I'm not a guy anymore. Though I'm still not quite myself."
Pete laughed. "I can't wait until Derek comes back and he's like thaaa... Damn it!" Pete became Michiko in the middle of his sentence.
It was Deryn's turn to laugh, but the laugh turned into a surprised yell once Derek was back. He realized where he was and calmed down, if only a bit. "Did Deryn really stop at the edge of the town? How stupid is she? That was an unproven theory and we could have died. Then who was supposed to save the world?"
They swapped back to themselves just in time to hear a scream from around the side of the van, the side where Dana was. Pete and Derek raced over, to see Dana standing there, open-mouthed, looking at something they couldn't see.
"Dana! Are you okay?! Why did you scream?" Pete asked, shaking her a bit to help her recover.
"I... I don't know what it was, a-a ghost or something, but... T-there was this girl that had long pink hair standing there for all of a split second!" ...Long pink hair? Familiar much? "I didn't see her face, but something about her was... off..."
Derek punched the side of the car. "Damn it, Deryn! If she hadn't run down the charge on my laptop, I would have been able to see what's going on."
Just then, another earthquake, much like the one they'd felt back at the hotel, start shaking the ground. Being much closer to it than before, the earthquake's effects were much stronger. They all collapsed to the ground, Pete slamming his head on the door of the van on the way down.
The quake subsided as quickly as it begun. Pete sat up slowly, his head spinning and his vision blurry.
"Dana, Pete... You guys still here?" It was Derek's voice.
"My skull feels like it just had a run-in with the bumper of a DeLorean going 88, but otherwise, I'm fine," responded Pete, rubbing his head to get rid of his splitting headache. He saw someone sit up in front of him, but his eyes were still too blurry to make out whom it was. He saw a blob reach up and start moving around a larger blob and guessed the other person was massaging their forehead too.
"Damn it, Pete, why'd you have to go and hit your head just before swapping back to me? You could have at least taken it like a man first instead of leaving it to me. shit, this hurts..."
Pete surmised that the knock on his head must have been more serious than he'd thought, because he totally thought that he'd heard the voice of Petra. Not coming from him, either.
Then his eyes began to focus correctly once more.