This is Chapter 1 from Volume 2 of the Kanon light novel series.
The text is from Baka-tsuki.
Again I stopped myself from letting out a yawn near the end of the fourth lesson.
Today’s weather was oddly good. Looking through the windows to the court, I could see the snow piled up yesterday night reflecting the white afternoon sunlight.
The court, in the middle of school buildings, was white and plain, covered with snow, no one to be seen there.
But there were clearly a pair of footprints on the plain snow ground.
These footprints lead to a girl who wasn’t wearing a uniform.
Kitagawa, sitting behind me, poked my back with a mechanical pencil.
“Aizawa, you’ve noticed that person there as well?”
“That girl has been standing there for a while. She just stood there as still as a doll.”
“Is she asleep?”
Kitagawa’s head drooped.
“Hey, do you really think that someone would sleep with that posture?”
“Perhaps this person would.”
I pointed to my cousin Nayuki beside me who was in deep sleep.
“…Maybe you’re right.”
Kitagwa agreed, kind of speechless. I should have known, after living for several days with my cousin, that she always fell asleep, the parade of her alarm clocks in the morning proved to be of no avail; and when she was sleepy, she would close her eyes with a “ku” sound, even while she was eating or talking.
“There aren’t so many people like Minase around. But that girl’s weird on a different level.”
“Say, it’s cold even when the sun’s up. She’d be gone soon.”
Noticing our conversation, the teacher eyed at us, and we thus stopped talking. Still, I often looked out through the window, restless and worried.
The girl still stood there, waiting.
Her apparent small figure, shoulder-length hair, and a warm cape on her shoulders that embraced this body.
I probably know who this girl was.
The bell for the end of the fourth lesson rang.
The girl at the court could have heard it too, as she seemed to have looked up to the windows of the school building.
I was right.
I had seen this girl.
She was the girl I met with Ayu yesterday when we lost our way.
To head out to the court, I must open the heavy door at the end of the corridor.
The door wasn’t locked, but in this cold weather, even freaks wouldn’t want to head out.
That being said, though, I rejected Nayuki’s and Kitagawa’s offer to eat at the cafeteria and opened that frozen steel door.
Immediately the cold air outside assaulted me. Gahh, cold. I rubbed my hands for warmth and looked around.
I got her.
Alone among the snow, the girl blended in as her skin was as white as snow.
It was only a coincidence that I had met her yesterday evening, but I couldn’t help feeling attached to the girl.
I was still worried of her fear and loss then when the stuff in her bag fell out and was picked up by someone else.
But I didn’t know how to strike a conversation with her, so I just raised my hand.
The girl turned around to face me. Her fresh brown hair lights up her small face. From the colour of her skin and her iris I could tell she didn’t dye them, but that she had less black pigment. Her fingertips that held her cape were white and small, giving off a dreamy aura.
I stood in front of her silently, struck by the impression that if I were to say anything wrong, she would hence vanish.
Shortly after, the girl smiled.
“What are you doing here?”
“What I am doing…”
Seeing her smile and talk, I followed the topic she started.
“I saw someone suspicious in the court, so I came here to check.”
The girl gave a polite and formal bow.
“I didn’t see anyone of that sort.”
“That person’s right here.”
I pointed to that girl.
She placed her fingers on her lips and titled her head.
“Why? I’m a student here.”
Of course she had told me she was a student yesterday.
“Then why are you standing here in your casual clothes?”
“Because I’m absent today.”
“That’s just skipping school.”
The girl smiled again.
“I have been on leave for some time now. I have a condition, but it’s getting worse lately.”
Her condition matched the weakness the girl evoked, so I just nodded my understanding.
“But I got out of bed today to meet someone.”
“Is this person in this school?”
The girl smiled and gave no reply. The answer seemed obvious, though.
“May I know what sickness that is?”
The girl lowered her head. I pondered whether I should have asked, but the girl quickly stated her answer with a smile.
“It’s a cold.”
“What? Why do you look so drained all of a sudden?”
I just thought it would have been something more serious.
“Would it sound better if I contract something more serious?”
“Oh, of course not.”
Her correct guess of what I thought threw me into a little panic.
“Well, it can be said as an influenza.”
“You don’t have to refer to with a harder term.”
Drained, in some other level, I wanted to sit down, but not in the snow. Glancing around, I found a bench used for fencing the flowers. I shoved away the snow on top of it and invited the girl to sit with me.
“Speaking of which, we haven’t yet introduced ourselves.”
“Right. I’m Aizawa.”
“How did you know my name?”
“Because that’s how that girl called you yesterday.”
“You have such a good memory.”
The girl’s face became red.
“As you say, I actually have a good memory.”
I’m Misaka Shiori.”
I had heard of this surname, yet because of my contrastingly inapt ability of remembering things I couldn’t tell where I had heard of it.
“Is it some weird surname?”
Shiori looked at my face with unease.
“Of course not.”
“Have I made Yuichi-senpai tired or dissatisfied?”
“It’s nothing at all.”
She presented herself different from the impression she made, I guess. I was a bit more intrigued to talk with her.
“Please call me Shiori.”
“Yes, Shiori. Aren’t you hungry?”
“Shall we have lunch together?” invited I.
After several minutes, I walked, holding two bags, my head swaying in confusion.
I opened the heavy door again to the court. Having gone indoors, I had to get used to the cold outside once again, feeling as cold as the first time I got out, my shoulders shivering.
Shiori was waiting for me at the same place.
She accepted my lunch invitation, but…
“It’s cold here. Why don’t we get inside? If you’re worried someone might see you not in your uniform, we can find somewhere desolate like the stairs or something.”
Shiori shook her head to my suggestion.
“I like this place.”
“You like this place? Don’t you have a cold? It’ll become more serious if you stick around here. Besides, you’ve been here even before the lunch break.”
“Yuichi-senpai, have you been looking at me all the time?”
“This doesn’t matter!”
Probably to excuse my embarrassment, I asked Shiori what she wanted to eat so I could buy and take them here.
A while later, I did get what she wanted.
“Have you bought it?”
Shiori greeted me happily.
“Yes. But are you really fine with only this?”
I handed it to her, remaining my doubt.
Shiori took it with her slender hands.
“It’s really the vanilla one. Wonderful!”
“Yuichi-senpai, you’re upset again. Do you want to eat ice cream too?”
I just couldn’t figure the mindset of someone who would want to eat ice cream as lunch outdoors in this cold season.
Shiori said with a singing tone, opened the cover to the vanilla, scraped a spoon of sold white ice cream, and stuffed it into her mouth.
The spoon still in her mouth, she squinted in joy.
Sitting beside her, I remained silent, taking a bite of my tuna sandwich.
“My body feels cold just from looking at it.”
Shiori attacked her ice cream with the spoon, making them soft before putting it in her mouth. The white ice cream damped her soft, open lips.
“Yuichi-senpai, do you hate ice cream?”
“I don’t hate it, but it depends on the weather.”
“Ice cream is my favourite. I can eat it all day.”
“Well, I think it won’t be nasty.”
I wouldn’t take responsible, though, if her cold worsened.
“So, take a bite.”
Without hesitation, Shiori scooped a spoon of ice cream with the spoon she used and handed it over.
If I ate this, I would be having an indirect kiss despite knowing her for only a while. Still, the white stuff in front of me puffed white smoke.
“To be honest, my doctor told me to stay away from ice cream.”
I rejected her indirect kissing offer, a bit regretfully…No, I rejected her ice cream.
Shiori nodded intently and stuffed the ice cream into her mouth.
“Shiori, don’t you feel bad from eating cold stuff here?”
“My doctor didn’t tell me to stay away from ice cream.”
Sure, normal doctors wouldn’t expect their patients to eat ice cream outdoors in the winter.
I stole a glance at her.
“Yuichi-senpai, your doctor wouldn’t blame you for one small bite.”
Shiori insisted that I wanted to eat ice cream.
I wanted to heed to her lengthy explanation and try a bite, but the sole thought of the icy cold seeping into my teeth deterred me.
“I decide to listen to my doctor.”
“Yuichi-senpai, you got my appreciation.”
Shiori spoke as if touched, and sent another spoon of ice cream into her mouth.
“It’s very good.”
If her dialogue were textual, a heart symbol of indulgence would be added to the end of her line.
“Shiori, you’re mysterious.”
Perhaps I was referred as mysterious or the like by my classmates, but I had forgotten.
“In what way?”
“Hmm. It’s as if your body is made of snow.”
She had skin as white as snow; she ate ice cream in the chilly weather.
She seemed she would vanish if anything ticked off, yet her smiling, innocent face took no notice. She was a girl to be worried, to be protected.
“You’re a romantic person, Yuichi-senpai.”
Shiori laughed, retrieving my attention.
“I hope you aren’t serious.”
Romance just didn’t fit my character. I saw, though, Shiori’s enchanted face.
“You and I are both living people. Look.”
Before I knew what was happening, Shiori touched my hands. I swallowed the soft surprised gasp back to my throat. Light pink, small and long fingers. The slight touch of her fingertips was warmer than I expected. My fingers, in contrast, turned cold in the chilly air.
“I know, but your hands are so warm you seem to have a fever.”
I slowly moved my hand away, trying to tell her I didn’t hate being touched, even though this mere sensation made me restless.
“I’d suggest you go back inside.”
I continued to persuade her.
“I can’t get in without my uniform.”
But Shiori rejected flatly.
“They won’t see you if it’s just a while.”
“They definitely will see me.”
“You lack the spirit, I say.”
“Even if I do have the spirit, they’ll see me, besides…”
Shiori, who had been smiling, suddenly looked down.
She didn’t continue what she had been saying.
I remembered what I had forgotten: the desperate and frightened look on Shiori when I first met her.
Why is she having the same look now?
Shiori looked up and gazed at the school building.
The school building looked close and dull, yet in her eyes they seemed far and inaccessible.
A nameless sense of grief filled my heart.
Shiori’s sudden diversion to speaking freaked me out.
“I didn’t say anything yet.”
Shiori looked unhappy.
“Sorry. What happened yesterday?”
“Yesterday, what’s the girl called?”
“Do you mean Ayu?”
“Ayu-chan, is it?”
What a cute name, Shiori commented, nodding.
“The ‘-chan’ doesn’t really fit her.”
I could tell Shiori wanted to derail the topic, but I still went with her flow.
“But she is older than me.”
“It sounds hard to believe.”
“Ayu-chan doesn’t study in this school, does she?”
Shiori was sceptical of my answer.
“Honestly, I know as much about her as you’d probably do.”
“But she said yesterday it was a reunion after seven years.”
“That’s what she claim. Nothing in me agrees.”
Shiori seemed worried of how I would react. In her eyes she pursued the reason behind.
I nodded and commenced.
“In the past, I’d come to this town every winter. Probably snow occurred treasurable to me in this town because it didn’t snow at where I live.”
“I can understand.”
“But one year I stopped coming. I can’t really remember why, though. What was left was a strong reluctance to come to this town again.”
Shiori said nothing more, her face hinted with concern, looking silently at me.
“I came here this time because of my parent’s work. I came here first because I had to change to the local school. I’m now living at my relative’s house.”
“So is Ayu your relative?”
“No. I met Ayu yesterday at the shopping district. She knocked me from behind all of a sudden with taiyakis in her hands.”
“Taiyakis, indeed. She even told me in a serious tone she was being chased. Before I could ask her what was happening, I saw an old man seeing taiyaki running madly to us. She told me she was being chased; and I told her she was a taiyaki thief.”
A vivid picture of what happened popped up in my head, and I laughed it off.
“Did you also help her to get away with stealing?”
“No way. I was just caught with her flow.”
Shiori placed her thumb beside her lips and looked down like a detective.
“So Ayu-chan were friends with you many years ago, and when you two met each other after so long, you end up being chased together.”
“I suppose you can put it that way.”
Something was off. I was speaking with a girl called Shiori, so why did she have to talk about Ayu. I was afraid of talking about my lost memories or even my past—well, Nayuki will certainly know, still—I have never talked about it with even my closest classmates. But I had easily told Shiori. Or even, I hoped Shiori would know more about me.
“Ayu-chan and you sound like a soap opera. It’s so cool.”
Shiori held the cape on her shoulder and heaved a sigh.
“Do you really think so?”
I would rather say it was a comedy show than a soap opera.
“I do. While at face value you two argue, but emotionally, you…”
“You’re rude. Please don’t burst into laughter.”
Shiori, I’m afraid that’s beyond me ability. How do you expect me to confess to that little thing?
“Is it really that weird for a girl to dream of a soap-opera-like love relationship?”
Shiori spoke softly, her thin face titled to a small angle.
“Is this dream really plain and stupid?”
“I never said that.”
We fell into a while of silence.
The ice cream cup Shiori was holding had long been empty.
I had also finished my lunch.
Before the moment for “Let’s call it a day, then” came, I grasped my final chance and shot the question.
Shiori immediately replied, seemingly prepared.
“Shiori, do you really think like that?”
“Longing for a love relationship?”
“Of course. That’s my dream.”
Shiori looked afar again, but then she suddenly fixed her attention at me.
Her eyes were pale but abysmal and pretty.
They sent a thought to me, though it was probably my own imagination.
The person she wanted to see was me.
When she knew I was in her school, she sneaked out of bed despite her cold to bump into me.
Could it be?
The ringing bell reminded us of the end of the lunch break.
Shiori shoved away the snow on her skirt and the upper part of her cape, and stood up.
“Can I come again?”
“During the lunch break, sure.”
I should have told her not to come if her cold hadn’t worn off, but I couldn’t.
I was excited by the sole idea of meeting her again.
“But it might be better if you cure your cold first.”
Anyway, I still wanted to sound reasonable.
“Haha, I understand.”
“Well then. I’m going back home now.”
Shiori gave a light bow and turned away.
Heading to the school gate, she chose her steps carefully on those she and I had stepped on, as if not wanting to increase the footprints on the snow.
I saw her off.
Can we soon see each other again? In my heart, I asked her leaving back.
Then as if our hearts connected, she turned lightly around.
“See you tomorrow.”
Left alone, the coldness I had forgotten seeped back into my body.
Checking that Shiori was nowhere to be seen, I swiftly got back into the classroom.
“Yuichi, where did you go?”
“I had something to take care of.”
When I replied Nayuki, I saw the person behind me, reminding me of something.
“Oh right, Kaori!”
Kaori furrowed her brow, looking at me doubtfully.
“Kaori’s surname is Misaka, don’t you remember?”
“Kaori, don’t you have a younger sister?”
The impression Kaori and Shiori made was entirely different, but with closer observation, the whiteness of their skin, the brightness of their hair, as well as the contours of their face resembled each other. Their voice was similar too.
“No. I don’t have a sister.”
But Kaori denied flatly.
“Yes Why are you so convinced I have a sister?”
“…I’m just guessing.”
Kaori looked at me with renewed suspicion.
“You don’t have to pry further if you really don’t have a sister.”
Kaori crossed her hands in front of her chest, rendered silent.
Nayuki smiled leisurely.
Kaori and I said in unison. Of course, I knew there was something
Kaori was related to Shiori. Kaori may insist if she wants, but Shiori might well be sister.
So was Kaori the person Shiori wanted to meet?
Still, if they were sisters, they should be living together. There was no need for her to drag herself along with her cold to school.
The teacher lecturing the afternoon lessons came into the classroom.
My classmates returned to their seats.
I also returned to my seat beside the window, wondering whether I should bring this up the next time I see Shiori.
Probably I shouldn’t ask too much about their private matters.
But I had gone as far as telling Shiori affairs I was reluctant to share with other people.
Maybe Shiori could feel the same thing I felt from her. If that was the case, she might just stunningly lay them out open and wide.
Anyway, that would only be possible until I could meet her again.
I rested my eyes on the court.
No one was there now, save two pairs of footprints.