Chapter Thirteen : The Calm Before A Storm
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Kanna hums to herself as she runs the black and white dress carefully through her personal sewing machine at home. She has completed the bodice and the skirt of Madoka-chi’s French maid dress and she is carefully stitching them together. As she does, she thinks about Madoka-chi and Aoi-chi. Their relationship had started pretty quickly. She had noticed the little looks on Aoi-chi’s face when she looked at Madoka-chi, as though she was struggling to figure the girl out. How it went from that simple curiosity to this relationship she does not fully understand.

She hadn’t thought that there was more to it than friendly curiosity. Madoka-chi is a pretty big mystery, after all. She can’t blame Aoi-chi for being fascinated by her. She is princess-like without being stereotypically elegant. She is a little withdrawn, but not introverted. She obviously has some major issues, considering the strange episode she had last night at Aoi-chi’s. It draws a strange picture in her mind of who Madoka-chi might be. Maybe she is a rich conglomerate princess whose parents paid no attention to her and forbade her to have any human contact, except for staff like Kozy. That might explain why she was almost as clueless as Aoi-chi had been at being a girl.

It is true that Madoka-chi has worn some cute and fashionable clothes, but Kanna noticed, particularly at the mall, that Madoka-chi’s tastes in clothing paralleled Aoi-chi’s. It was as though the cute clothes she wore had been chosen for her and she had no say in them, or rather, she had not shopped for them herself. When it comes right down to it, Madoka-chi shopped like a boy, even though she acted like a girl the whole time. Come to think of it, she has acted more and more feminine after getting closer to Aoi-chi.

Kanna finishes the stitching and turns off the sewing machine. She stands and turns the dress inside out, shaking it gently, and carries it to a nearby dress form mannequin. She pulls the dress onto it and inspects it carefully, making adjustments here and there. It has the low bodice, the short skirt, slightly longer in the front with a petticoat layering that makes it puff out a bit. The skirt itself is pleated, and has a lacy frilly white apron sitting over it. She has added lace accents to sleeves that will bare Madoka-chi’s upper arms. She plans to make some lacy bands that will go around her upper arm. Would a couple of cute bells be excessive? Maybe she will do something like that for her thighs, too.

Kanna smiles as she studies the dress. She has to make another one for idiot-pres, too. That is where the real fun will start, she grins. “Why do you have that stupid look on your face?” her little brother’s voice interrupts her thoughts. She blushes slightly and turns a glare on him.

“Don’t just invite yourself into my room, Katsuji! I’m busy making costumes for the festival next week!” She puts her hands on her hips.

Katsuji sticks his tongue out in response. “They’re just stupid girly costumes,” he snarks.

Kanna grins in response to that provocation. “If you aren’t careful I might make you one too. I’m going to be making a dress for a guy in my class next. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too much extra effort to throw in a cute little dress for you as a bonus.”

Katsuji’s eyes widen at that, and with a squeak he darts out, slamming the door behind him. Kanna laughs to herself. She hasn’t thought about it before, but maybe it would be fun dressing Katsuji up. The concept of dressing idiot-pres up seems to have awakened something strange in her. She dismisses the thought for now, turning her thoughts back toward Aoi-chi. She would be just about finished with her date with Madoka-chi now. She hopes it has gone well for them.

Aoi and Madoka sit together on the train during the return ride back to Tsukuba. Madoka holds onto Aoi’s arm, not seeming to care if anyone sees her being affectionate. Aoi blushes, looking down at Madoka. She looks so comfortable and happy, she can’t help wanting to cuddle with her. Today was like a whirlwind of emotion. She blushes, thinking about it, feeling her heart start thumping again. When she thinks back to their kiss in the bathroom of the arcade, she shivers. She feels like she wants to go even further with Madoka, but she isn’t sure how, or how fast she should go.

Madoka looks up into her eyes and smiles, making her blush again. How can she look at her like that? It is criminal the way she can captivate her heart with just a look. She can’t help turning Madoka’s face up and giving her a soft kiss. It’s an impulsive thing. She seems to be doing a lot of things on impulse lately. The people around who notice studiously look away; there are also those who stare. Aoi doesn’t care all that much about that. She has already decided that she has to accept these feelings, and that means that a lot more people much closer to her than they are will find out. That is what will be difficult.

Madoka kisses her back softly and eagerly, though she blushes as she looks at some of the people whose gazes linger over them. When the kiss breaks, Madoka sighs softly. “We should not be so… open about things.” She blushes. “People will think…”

“Who cares what people think?” Aoi grins. “I’m in love with a girl. I said it, out loud.” She looks at Madoka. Madoka’s blush rewards her for her courage. A slightly guilty look crosses Madoka’s face but she snuggles up to Aoi.

“I… ohhhh…” Madoka trails off, unable to say anything, but the look in her eyes says it all. Tears stand in Madoka’s eyes, and Aoi finds herself unable to resist moving in for another soft and passionate kiss.

Madoka gasps breathlessly as Aoi moves in for another kiss. She is helpless to do anything but kiss back, her head fuzzy. Aoi has said that she loves her! She wasn’t able to say it in the bathroom of Taito Station, but now she has, and Madoka is happy. She has already known that Aoi returns her feelings. She can’t kiss her like this if she does not, but being told by Aoi directly has so much impact on her that she is crying. As the two kiss, the train announcer calls out the Kenkyu-Gakuen stop, and neither of them stop kissing. The train would continue on for one more stop before reaching Tsukuba Station.

The doors slide open and people disembark and board, and still they don’t stop, caught up in the moment. As they kiss, the doors slide closed and the train pulls forward again. Suddenly they hear a gasp. “It is you! Aoi! Who is…” the voice trails off. Madoka knows the voice of the person speaking. She turns red as they stop kissing and looks up into the face of Midoriyama Hisako. She wants to cry out in happiness, but the embarrassment of the moment holds her in place, frozen.

Aoi looks up in shock as she hears her aunt’s voice, and she curses inwardly. I should have been thinking more clearly. Of course they might run into some people they know by now. Well, it is done, and she has decided not to be ashamed of her love for Madoka. She puts on a smile, even though she blushes.

“Aunt H-Hisako,” she stammers.

Hisako eyes the two girls and her eyes widen slightly. “I didn’t recognize you without the wheelchair, Madoka! You two… of course you go to school together… I should have thought about that.” She seats herself next to the two, and watches with amusement in her expression as they separate slightly. “I don’t think this is the place to have a deep conversation about this, but when we get to the station, let’s go somewhere and have a little talk.” She smiles.

Aoi blushes and nods. “You aren’t going to object, I hope.” Aoi frowns.

“No… far from it. I approve!” Hisako grins at the two. Madoka seems to relax at that, and suddenly the girl impulsively hugs her. Aoi watches her, stunned, as Hisako laughs and strokes Madoka’s hair softly.

“How… do you know Madoka? What kind of relationship do you have?” Aoi asks, her tone containing a little jealousy. Hisako looks at Aoi with an expression of amusement.

“She’s like a little sister to me.” She winks at Aoi who sighs and relaxes slightly. “That mansion that I worked at for that crusty old Yoshi was where I met her. She’s…” Hisako hesitates, looking conflicted for a moment. “She’s his... daughter.”

“Oh… that makes sense.” Aoi replies, wondering at Midoriyama’s pauses. They sounded a little suspicious.

They reach Tsukuba station and disembark together. They leave the platform, going slowly so Madoka can walk along with them. Madoka feels embarrassed that she is holding them up so much, but she can only walk so quickly in her walking brace.

“I don’t know why, but I never expected to see you walking,” Midoriyama points out to Madoka as she walks. “I had this sad vision of you being stuck in a wheelchair all your life after all you went through and what Yoshi did to you. I’m really happy you are on your feet, though.” She smiles.

Madoka blushes, looking anxiously at Midoriyama. She is skirting her secrets a little too closely for comfort. Part of her aches to tell Aoi about those secrets, though she doesn’t know how she will react. “Yes… I was surprised too. The master says I should be able to walk after I use this for a while. I’m very happy that I don’t need the chair anymore. It’s very hard to do anything in a wheelchair.” Madoka sighs. “I feel like maybe soon I’ll be able to run and jump freely.”

Aoi smiles at her, looking proud of her, and Madoka blushes, feeling warm inside. “I haven’t wanted to pry, but you have been going through a lot, I can tell. I just accepted that you were in a wheelchair, because that was how you were when we met. But now that you’re recovering, I’m wondering what happened to you.” Aoi said, looking anxious.

Midoriyama glances at Madoka apologetically, and Madoka smiles at her as if to say, it’s alright. “I… was in a pretty bad car accident. My real parents died in it, unfortunately, and ever since then I was unable to walk. I had to undergo some pretty serious physical therapy and surgery. It was a while before I was able to go to school.” Madoka chewed her lip, eyeing Aoi. She isn’t sure exactly how much she can tell Aoi.

Midoriyama nods. “I saw her when she was recovering. She was a pretty horrible mess.” she murmurs softly.

Aoi’s eyes have been gradually widening more and more at that, and she impulsively embraces Madoka. The three stop before the escalators leading up to the street. “I’m so sorry. That sounds absolutely awful… I could not have imagined how much you went through.” Aoi starts to sob softly, holding Madoka, and Madoka can’t help sniffling and sobbing as well. It isn’t long before she breaks entirely as Aoi holds her.

Midoriyama hesitantly draws the two girls aside, so they will not block the flow of people going up and down the stairs, and protectively puts her arms around them to keep them from being viewed too closely by the passerby. Midoriyama comforts them by stroking their hair softly. After a while, when the two girls have cried themselves out, she lets go and smiles at them. “I think that it would be best if we went somewhere nice to have a bite to eat and a hot cup of tea. I know just the place right by the station.” Midoriyama offers. “My treat.”

They leave the station together by escalator and Midoriyama leads them to a nearby cafe and deli. The two younger girls seat themselves together at a table while Midoriyama orders. Aoi looks at Madoka and touches her cheek softly. “So, I don’t want to make things emotional again, but I have to know… you are so beautiful it stops my heart. Aunt Hisako said that you were really hurt by the accident. Why are you so amazingly gorgeous?” Aoi blushes.

Madoka blushes as well, feeling her heart beat quickly due to the compliments that Aoi is giving her. “Thank you…” she blushes. “I… my adoptive father is a world famous plastic surgeon. He did his best to fix everything. I don’t look much like I used to.” Madoka squirms a little as Aoi looks at her.

“You’re really lucky. A lot of people have to go through life permanently scarred from a situation like the one you were in. To be able to walk away from it, and to be so beautiful is an amazing gift, I think.” Aoi smiles at her.

“I didn’t used to think of it that way, but ever since I started going to school, I’ve changed my mind about it.” Madoka sighs softly. “I know that I’m lucky. It’s not easy, but I can’t be spoiled and cry because not everything is the way I would want it to be.”

Aoi grins. “I know what you mean. Isn’t my Aunt great, though?”

Madoka smiles and nuzzles Aoi’s hand, nodding. “She is.” She giggles. “I really miss her. When the master and she had an argument, everything felt so bad.” She sighs, her giggles fading. “Kozy does his best to fill in, but his cooking… you know.”

Aoi nodded. “Those eggs of his…” She laughs softly. They’re interrupted by the light thump of a tray on the table. It contains three chocolate breads and three cups of tea. Midoriyama smiles at them as she gestures for them to help themselves. Aoi and Madoka do so, each taking one of the chocolate breads.

“Kozy’s eggs, ne? I never got to taste his cooking, thankfully, but the master always complained about how bad things were before. That was back when he properly appreciated me.” she sniffed. “So, how is Kozy doing? Is he getting desperate yet?” Midoriyama grins as she sips her tea and focuses on Madoka.

Madoka nibbles at her chocolate bread and swallows, giggling. “He really is. He tries, but we both miss you. Why can’t you just come back?” she asks, her tone soft and plaintive.

“I’m sorry. I should have controlled myself.” Midoriyama sighs. “What’s done is done, though. I will say this, though. I regret it. Leaving you behind was the hardest thing I’ve ever done… and now I feel as though I should not have.” Midoriyama’s expression becomes determined.

“I won’t leave you behind like that ever again. I want to be there for you and help you, so if you ever need anything, just let me know. I know how it must be with that crusty old man,” she adds.

Madoka smiles when Midoriyama says that to her.

“Thank you Midoriyama… I really…” Madoka was interrupted by Midoriyama.

“Hisako-nee or Hisako-nee-chan,” she admonishes Madoka the way she always used to, and Madoka giggles.

“Hisako-nee…” she murmurs softly, testing the sound of it out.

Hisako nods, pleased. “Good girl. It will even be true if you stay involved with Aoi. She is my niece after all, though honestly, I prefer that she call me Hisako-nee too.” She smiles at Aoi who returns her smile with a wry one.

“On a different note, I never read this in you, Aoi! I haven’t been as close to you as I probably should have, but I never really thought you were the yuri type,” Hisako points out to Aoi.

“I didn’t, either. I don’t exactly look at guys on a regular basis, but I do like looking at Samurai in dramas.” She laughs.

“I always thought that that was your type… not that I disapprove, like I said. I don’t know how onee-chan will take it…” She frowns, thinking. “I think your father will be alright with it. You are going to tell them, aren’t you?”

Aoi nods. “I am. I went on a date with Madoka to explore my feelings and I’ve decided that they’re real.” She looks at Madoka and Madoka blushes, rubbing up to her.

Hisako rolls her eyes a little and giggles at the lovey-dovey mood between the two.

“Why were you boarding the train at Kenkyu-gakuen?” Aoi asked curiously.

“Oh… that’s because my new job is not far from that station. I’m working as a cook at a four-star hotel now.” Hisako smiles.

“Wow… that’s really impressive, Au… Hisako-nee.” Aoi laughs.

“My cooking speaks for itself,” Hisako responds with false modesty.

“I miss your cooking, Hisako-nee…” Madoka sighs.

“Oh? That’s sweet.” Hisako smiles at her. “Maybe you can come over to my new place sometime and have a meal or two.” She smiles. “I’d love to feed you.”

“Really?” Madoka bounces with a happy smile. Aoi giggles.

“Yes, really.” Hisako grins, and starts to eat a piece of her chocolate bread and Madoka sips her tea.

“I should call Kozy,” Madoka says, regretfully.

“Do it. I’d like to see him again.” Midoriyama smiles.

It didn’t take long for Kozuke to arrive after he was called. When he entered the cafe, he looked around and spotted the three women. With a pleased smile he walked over, and bowed slightly.

“You don’t know how difficult it has been trying to get ahold of you, Midoriyama,” he murmurs, taking her hand. “The master won’t say so, but I know that by now he regrets his act of firing you. He’s been pretty miserable. Something has been weighing on him. Do you think that perhaps…” Kozuke is cut off by Midoriyama putting her hand up between them.

“It’s too late. I’m already working. That crabby old man will have to find another chef and maid.” Hisako smiles apologetically.

Kozuke sighs with obvious disappointment. “Understandable.” He turns his attention to Madoka and Aoi.

“Did you have a good time?” he asks them.

They look at each other and giggle a little. Madoka blushes. After a moment Madoka tells them both about the date, what they had done, how fun it had been.

“I want to take her to an amusement park next time,” Aoi adds in. “A date in Tokyo can’t possibly have been as exciting for her as it was for me.” She smiles.

“Are you kidding?” Madoka looks at her. “I was able to see it through new eyes… plus I haven’t seen it in so long myself that it felt fresh to me. It was a perfect date.”

Aoi blushes, grins, and hugs Madoka.

Kozuke looks at Hisako again. “Will you at least exchange contact information? I think you two should stay in contact… that is, if you’re willing?” 

Hisako nodded, with a warm smile. “I intended to. I want to be in Madoka’s life. She needs someone to protect her.” She looks at Kozuke. “You seem to do a pretty good job of that, though.”

Kozuke blinks and smiles. “I suppose so, but there are things that I can’t share with Madoka. Things that only an older woman can. She needs that, and she needs you.”

Hisako nods. “I understand, Kozy. Don’t worry.” She pats his cheek. He blinks again and nods. 

They exchanged contact numbers in the cafe and parted ways.

Time seems to fly for the rest of the evening. Madoka returns home. Master Yoshi doesn’t say anything to her, except to check on how she is doing with the walking brace. Aside from sore hips and legs again, she is all right. They have a quiet meal of take-out once again.

Madoka goes to sleep quickly that night, and for once her dreams aren’t of the car accident. Instead, they are of a certain brown-haired girl with amazing blue eyes.

Those dreams make her wake up early with a wet feeling between her legs that is unfamiliar to her. She remembers feeling a sudden elation as her eyes flutter open. She reaches down to examine herself and notes that she is soaked. Not only that, but the sheets are. She claps her hands to her cheeks and blushes. Oh no… I wet the bed… I haven’t done that in a long time… What will Kozy think of me? she wonders. After smelling her hand, she frowns. It doesn’t smell like urine. As though summoned by the thought, an urge to urinate does start to nag at her.

She sits up and wobbles to her feet, unsteadily, inching her way towards the bathroom. Her legs hurt so much, it’s ridiculous. Each step burns her muscles, but she finds that despite the pain, she is able to totter into the bathroom very slowly and sit down on the toilet. She relieves herself with a soft sigh. When she finishes, she cleans herself off and stands up with a little groan for the pain, and totters over to the shower handle. The bath hasn’t been filled, so she sets herself down on the bath stool, and after she turns on the water, she sits there, feeling the hot water running over her body, soothing it as it runs over her skin in rivulets.

She cleans herself, applying a little body wash, but she is careful not to soak her hair. Kozy would help her to dry it out quickly enough, but she doesn’t want to have to go to the trouble. When she feels cleaner, she stands up and totters over to the towel rack and wraps herself in a large fluffy towel. She leans against the nearby sink as she rubs herself down and dries off.

Once dry, she pads into the bedroom, grateful to sit down on the bed and rest her legs. She could have put the walking brace on, but did not want to go to the trouble. She would wear it for the first time to school today, and the thought of being able to move around somewhat normally in school pleases her.

Not much later, Kozuke opens the door with a click and looks at her, sitting up on her bed and wrapped in her fluffy towel. “Good morning, Sugar.” He smiles as he steps inside, closing the door behind him.

“Ready for another day of school?” he inquires.

“My legs hurt, but I am.” Madoka smiles.

“If they hurt too much, you can use the chair today,” Kozuke suggests.

“No… I want to keep going and get better.” Madoka smiles warmly at Kozuke and he nods approvingly.

Kozuke drives Madoka to school as usual, and when they come to a stop in front of the school, as usual Aoi and Kanna are waiting.

Instead of the typical routine of Kozuke getting out and walking around the van to let Madoka out and getting her chair for her, Madoka opens the door and steps out of the van herself, with only a little awkwardness. Kozuke waves as she closes the van door and when she steps away he drives onwards, leaving Madoka to walk towards her friends.

Kanna’s eyes open wide seeing Madoka walking over to them under her own power, and she bounces a little, squeeing. She rushes over to the girl and impulsively hugs her. Madoka gasps, nearly losing her balance, and giggles, hugging the beautiful blonde girl back.

“This is amazing… what is that thing on your legs?” she asks as Aoi walks over and the two girls blush as they look into each other’s eyes.

Kanna catches onto the mood between them and she laughs softly. “Oh… things went very well I take it?” she asks. “Aoi-chi wouldn’t say.” The two girls laugh and Aoi joins in on the hug.

“They did.” Aoi smiles. “I’m thinking about telling everyone today,” she says.

“Are you sure? Some people might say bad things about you… and idiot pres is going to be heartbroken.” Kanna looks a little anxious.

“This isn’t about him. It’s about us, Kanna,” Aoi murmurs.

“Yes… I can see that.” Kanna sighs, sounding a little sad as the three break the hug. “Oh… I finished Madoka-chi’s and idiot-pres’ dresses for the Festival last night.” She smiles, attempting cheerfulness.

“I’m sure they’ll look amazing. I can’t wait to see idiot pres in your dress.” Aoi grins and Madoka giggles at that, nodding.

The three walk through the school gates together. Madoka blushes when a breeze stirs her skirt. It was much easier to control that sort of thing when you were seated all the time. Having to watch your skirt when walking in public is more challenging. She was so swept up in the moment on the date yesterday that she hadn’t paid much attention to her skirt at the time, but now that there is a little normal distance between herself and Aoi, she is able to think about how the skirt feels. The temperature of the day seems colder than it probably is to her. 

People around them point at Madoka as she walks by, and she blushes at the attention. The walking brace draws even more attention than the wheelchair had. When they reach the shoe lockers, open them, and begin to exchange their outdoor shoes for their indoor shoes, Madoka struggles to lift her feet sufficiently, but is unable to do so due to the brace. Noticing her struggles, Aoi and Kanna help her to take her shoes off and replace them, as there is no convenient seating for her to use nearby. Madoka blushes, wishing she didn’t need this much help, though when Aoi plants a kiss on her ankle while helping to slip her shoe on, she has to admit that this situation has its pluses.

At that moment, of course, Eiji walks by. He stops to greet Madoka and Aoi, first shocked by the kiss, and then the fact that she is not in a wheelchair today seems to occur to him. “You’re walking!” he exclaims, surprised.

Madoka blushes and nods. Aoi stands and looks at Eiji with a little grin. “Isn’t it great?” She smiles.

“Yeah... “ He grins. “You look prettier somehow,” Eiji comments and blushes, looking away.

Madoka giggles. “Um… thank you. I don’t know how losing a wheelchair could have that kind of an effect.”

“No… it’s not that. The wheelchair was cute, but today you seem like… you’re glowing.” Eiji looks at Madoka then, in a suddenly very aggressive way. “I want to tell you that I…” Aoi puts up a hand quickly and waves it to interrupt him.

“Hands off Madoka.” She suddenly hugs Madoka after slipping around behind her, making her gasp and blush. “She’s mine, stupid-pres.”

Eiji’s eyes widen, and he stands there with his hand half-extended towards Madoka. Kanna’s eyes go about as wide as possible and she looks at Eiji, concern reflecting in her eyes.

Eiji’s expression becomes confused and slightly hurt. “Wait… yours? What do you mean?” he asks, not seeming to be able to wrap his head around that.

Mine,” Aoi repeats, her tone aggressive. “I’m sorry, but she’s my girlfriend.” She blushes. Madoka gasps after hearing that, and melts. A crowd has gathered around them at this point, staring. Madoka notices Ippei and alot of her other classmates in the crowd. A few people cheer while others gasp in surprise. The sounds of laughter and disappointment clamour around them as Eiji continues to stare in disbelief.

“Your girlfriend? I know that. You and Kanna and…” he trails off as Aoi suddenly turns Madoka’s head and gives her a kiss, ending that train of thought. His eyes widen and he stumbles backwards as if struck, shaking his head.

“Oh…” The crowd hushes as everyone watches him. “I…” He looks at the crowd around him and puts on a smile. “I wish you both well.” He bows a little and pushes his way out. Madoka watches him go, feeling a little sad for him. It hasn’t really occurred to her until now that a boy might develop feelings for her. She likes Eiji, though not in the same way that she likes Aoi-chan.

“That was pretty rough,” Ippei commented as he stepped closer. “It takes a lot to drill an idea like that into idiot-pres’ head.”

“I thought it was a little…” Kanna looked at Aoi. “A little cruel.” She chewed her lip.

“I know.” Aoi sighed a little. “But I couldn’t have him thinking he has a chance with my girl.” Aoi blushes and everyone gasps and chatters again. “Go after him, Kanna. Now’s your chance,” Aoi says to her friend with a smile. 

Kanna blushes a little. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She frowns.

“Don’t pretend. I know that you like the idiot. Go comfort him.” Aoi sighs as she urges her friend to go.

Kanna blushes and hesitates before pushing her way through the crowd as well, though it mostly parts for her. Moments later a tall figure claps his hands.

“Alright… that will be enough. You all have classes to get to,” Ren-sensei says firmly, breaking up the crowd. Everyone goes on about their pre-class activities with murmurs and laughter. He studies Aoi and Madoka. “Hamada-kun, you need to report to the nurse’s office. You missed out on the health examinations in the first semester.”

“Why, Ren-sensei?” Madoka asks.

“It was considered that we should just skip it since you won’t be getting into athletic activities any time soon, but Sakamoto-kocho is obligated to get your health data.” He shrugs. “Just get it over with and come to class.” He hesitates before adding. “You might not want to be so open about your relationship. Love between girls is still a little controversial… not that I disapprove. Relationships in general are discouraged in school, and making a scene will likely result in your being talked to by another teacher. Just a friendly warning, girls.” He nods to them and steps away.

Aoi and Madoka look at each other. “I’m not going to hide my feelings for you. How about you?” She smiles as the two start walking towards the special elevator.

“I feel the same.” Madoka blushes.

They part ways at the elevator. When Madoka reaches the second floor, she walks on past homeroom in the direction of the nurse’s office. When she steps inside, the nurse is there waiting for her. She smiles warmly at her. “Good morning, Hamada-san. Close the door and we’ll begin the quick exam. I’ll need you to take your clothes off, except for your underwear and stand for me… impressive piece of equipment you have there, by the way.” She gestures to the walking brace as Madoka closes the door.

“Thank you. It really does help.” Madoka smiles as she starts disrobing, though she blushes, looking away. By now she is used to having Kozuke see her, and she feels like she wants Aoi-chan to see her even more intimately. No one else has, except for the master, probably. She slips her skirt off and removes her uniform jacket, unlacing the krevat as she does, and after that she pulls off her undershirt.

The nurse studies her thoughtfully and nods to herself, but doesn’t say anything as she starts performing chest and height measurements, getting all of her sizes for the records. She has her stand on a scale and gets her weight measurements as well. After that is done, she moves onto performing a basic physical checkup, listening to her heart with a stethoscope, having her sit and checking her reflexes. When she opens a kit and produces a syringe, Madoka’s eyes widen a little and she draws backwards. “I don’t really like needles,” she mumbles. The nurse laughs.

“I understand. I don’t care for them either. They want to run a cursory blood test to make sure you’re... healthy.” The nurse hesitates as she says that.

“Do we have to?” Madoka asks, unable to keep from whining a little.

The nurse nods to her. “Yes. I’m afraid so.”

With a sigh Madoka leans forward and shuts her eyes tightly. “Tell me when it’s over,” she mumbles, her voice quavering.

Hisako is on vegetable cutting duty. She has gotten a job at a restaurant located inside of a four-star hotel, though she is considered an apprentice and not a master chef. It will be a while before she can prove herself, and she has a lot to learn about cooking in a professional kitchen versus cooking for a small family. The challenge of it makes her grin. As she dices onions, she thinks about Madoka and Aoi. They looked so happy together that it had made her want to squee. Only a sense of adult decorum had made her keep her cool then. Now it was professionalism that kept her from doing so, thinking on it.

Life is going to be interesting, now, she thought. She still cannot believe that girl had once been a boy. Hisako had been able to see only one thing since meeting them in the train: two girls deeply in love. Yuri isn’t her thing, but she is pretty open minded, and finds the two simply adorable as a couple. The idea of being able to legitimately consider Madoka family appeals to her even more. When she finishes cutting vegetables, she quickly bustles around the other kitchen staff and sets to stirring pots.

One rule she has found out about working in a big kitchen like this is that you always stay busy. There is always something to do, even for an apprentice.

Madoka returns to class after the exam concludes. A few of the students stare at her as she enters in her walking brace, and some wave to her. When lunch comes around, she spends it with Aoi. Kanna gravitates over towards Eiji with an an apologetic smile and a wink for her two friends. Eiji doesn’t make eye contact with her after what had happened this morning. He seems to still be struggling with the concept of Aoi and Madoka’s relationship.

Aoi and Madoka’s lunch seems like it will be a quiet and semi-intimate one, but a crowd of other students pile in around them suddenly, asking questions about Madoka’s walking brace at first. She answers what questions she can, standing and moving around for them to display how it moves with her. They clap for her and grin, but it becomes quickly apparent that the thing on most people’s minds is her relationship with Aoi.

“Is it true?” a girl asks with wide eyes.

“What?” Madoka asks, knowing full well what she is asking.

“You and Wada-san!” she murmurs, blushing.

“I’m right here, you know,” Aoi says with a sour expression. “Yes, it’s true. We aren’t going to hide it.” She blushes slightly.

“You’re really brave, Wada… I always thought so but, wow…” The girl gapes. The students around laugh. Some of the boys express their disappointment, but overall people seem to approve.

The rest of the week goes by in a flurry of activity. The excitement in regards to Aoi and Madoka’s relationship dies down as excitement for the upcoming festival increases in intensity. Everyone including Madoka stays after school for several hours every day. Nothing else of note happens during the week, though Madoka and Aoi enjoy their time together, sneaking kisses and touches from time to time when they’re together.

On Thursday, everyone tries on their costumes. Eiji seems to get over things and grows a little closer to Kanna, going so far as to try his costume on with everyone else. He laughs as everyone cheers for him.

“Are you sure you can’t make me a butler costume?” he asks Kanna wryly, standing in his maid costume. He shakes his skirt with a comical expression. It looks pretty awful on him. He has no figure for it,Madoka thinks.

“I think it needs a blonde wig,” Kanna comments. Eiji’s face falls a little at that and they laugh.

Aoi looks amazing in her Momotaro costume. Her breasts are framed nicely by the costume, looking like a cute Miko’s robes, but a little sexier. “I’ll need to bring my Boken, tomorrow.” Aoi comments as she checks herself out.

Madoka blushes when she sees her maid costume and tries it on. When she enters the classrom, The whole class applauds her. 

“Now that you can walk, you can help the wait staff a little more.” Eiji smiles at her. He seems a little distant, but his eyes say that he still appreciates seeing her in her maid costume more than she appreciates seeing him in his.

“Yes. I’m very happy about that. It’s still hard to walk, but I can take orders and give people drinks.” Madoka smiles happily. Eiji nods and turns to Kanna, then.

“I feel like an idiot in this. I don’t want to wear it tomorrow,” he grouches.

“You look fine. It’s fun.” Kanna winks at him.

“Fine for who? I’m a manly man.” He scowls at Kanna.

“For me, of course.” Kanna grins. Eiji blushes faintly at that.

The day of the festival arrives, and some classes are suspended so that students can set up stands outside and finish preparations for their class projects. There is an air of excitement as everyone in class prepares. The cooking team is hard at work baking confections and making tea and coffee. Menus have been made up and laminated. Everyone gets in costume and finishes the final touches of turning the classroom into a cafe. Madoka’s lacy curtains go a long way towards transforming the windows and giving the room a classier air. They stack the desks in the corner of the room and bring in tables and chairs.

Vases with flowers are brought in for atmosphere and a stereo is set up in the corner to play fun music. It quickly becomes apparent that everyone’s hard work has resulted in creating something special as the atmosphere of the classroom changes almost completely. A couple of other students post up signs that would direct visitors to the school in the direction of their cosplay maid cafe.

Madoka and Aoi look at each other with excited expressions when the chime rings school’s end and the beginning of the festival. The whole class cheers.

“Let’s do it!” Eiji yells out.

Meanwhile, the faculty meet in the teachers room, surrounding a nervous looking Sakamoto-kocho.

“We need to handle this situation pretty carefully. This is a ticking time bomb that could go off in our faces and ruin the school’s reputation,” he murmurs.

Ren-sensei sighs, looking down. “This is ridiculous… I don’t see the problem. Madoka is completely feminine looking.”

“I vouch for that,” the school nurse chimes in. “There’s nothing aside from her chromosomes that would indicate any masculinity. Not just that. Madoka actually had a period and I witnessed it. What kind of boy bleeds from their vagina? It shouldn’t be a problem.”

Most of the men blush and look away due to that statement. Sakamoto-kocho speaks up in rebuttal. “How do we know that it was a period? Couldn’t it have been side-effects from surgery?”

“That is possible.” the nurse frowns. “It could also be possible that she was born with Y chromomes. That is a known defect that occurs in a certain percentage of children. Some boys have been born with two sets of X chromosomes. The blood test cannot be considered as conclusive evidence that Madoka was a boy.” she challenges.

Sakamoto-kocho scowls at her. “And what of the transcripts of a boy named Fugui Madoka? He was on vacation with his parents near Tsukuba and their car crashed and he disappeared. It’s a little too much of a coincidence don’t you think?”

“I agree.” the nurse frowns. “We should still follow up with her legal guardian before taking action.”

“I’m already in the process of checking with her legal guardian and social services. We need to get back on topic. Let’s talk damage control options.” Sakamoto-kocho gets the conversation back on track. 

No one says anything for a few moments, however, until the silence is broken by the buxom math teacher, Kaneko Mae. “Of course it’s a problem! He’s been changing with the girls in Physical Education. How is that not a problem? If there is even a chance that this isn’t a fluke, we need to consider that. More importantly, we now know that he still likes girls.”

“Don’t do that, Kaneko-sensei,” Ren admonishes her. “It’s not kind to misgender someone like Madoka, assuming that she was a boy. That would make her transgendered, and even though society doesn’t look favorably on it, I still can’t approve of discriminating against her.”

“I don’t care if it’s kind or politically correct or not. Right is right, and wrong is wrong.” the elderly and traditional Nakagawa Junpei grunts. “Whatever other issues there are, it’s not legal to let him use the bathroom with the girls, and changing clothes is probably even worse.”

“You don’t know that Madoka is a ‘he’. I think it’s fine. Just don’t say anything. If you didn’t test for it you wouldn’t have ever even known,” the progressive and artful Sakurai Hisako murmurs, eyeing everyone.

“I agree. Just let the poor girl be.” Shibata Gen, the science teacher, adjusts his big glasses and scowls. “We have more important things to worry about with the festival starting.”

“We can’t be irresponsible. At the very least we need to do something about the bathroom and changing situation.” Sakamoto-kocho frowns.

While they continue to argue the matter for some time, a girl stands at the door. Her eyes widen as she listens in. After a while, she covers her mouth with her hand and then dashes down the hallway amid crowds of students.



Once again for those who don't know or remember, -kocho is an honorific indicating Sakamoto's status as the principal.

For those who wanted an update on Midoriyama, I hope this made you smile. :D
I had intended to bring her back into Madoka's life, so don't worry that you may have influenced the story flow. You didn't. There will be a lot more of her in the future!

Sowwies, I lost track again of the days!  I keep doing it because of the way I am at the moment!  It's why I had to take a hiatus from Kamifan.  I hope things improve soon, so I can be serious again!