“Matte!” Luna rushed up to him. “You aren’t going to walk home today, Kizamaro-kun?”
He shook his head. “No, we’re leaving for the weekend, so my parents are picking me up.”
“Oh,” Luna smiled. “Sayonara.”
Once he had left, she turned to two other classmates. “Well, let’s go.”
Gonta rubbed the back of his head, “Gomen, Inchou, but my parents are also picking me up. I have a doctor’s appointment.”
“Oh… well, I guess it will just be myself and Hoshikawa-kun today.”
“Eto… Inchou.” Subaru approached her.
“I’m… I was gonna stay later today and hang out in the planetarium for a while.”
Luna felt her heart sink, but smiled nonchalantly. “O-oh… that’s okay. I’ll just be going home by myself today.”
“Are you sure that’s okay?”
She turned to leave, but paused when Subaru spoke up, again.
She looked over her shoulder. “Hai?”
“I… uh… nothing.” He smiled. “See you next week.”
“Oh, yes. Sayonara.”
She sniffed away her tears, and hurried down the hall.
Luna squeezed the phone.
“No. I have another important meeting tomorrow, so it’s easier if I don’t come back.”
“What about Okasan?”
“She’s on an overnight flight to America, so you won’t be able to get a hold of her.”
Luna bit her lip. “But, Otousan! It’s my-”
“I’m sorry, Luna, but I have another call on hold. I’ll have to talk to you later.”
“Okay… sayonara, Otousan.”
“I love you-”
The drone of a broken connection was her answer. Luna stared at the receiver then gently returned to the stand. Walking down the hall to her room, she ran her hand along the wall. She was alone, again. It was normal, so why did it still pierce her heart?
She turned the knob on her door. But how could they? It was her birthday. Her birthday! Luna threw herself on her bed, not bothering to remove her shoes. Not one person had recognized the occasion that day. At least her father could’ve said something, even if over the phone.
Luna let the tears roll down her cheeks. She felt so alone, and in the empty house, the loneliness only grew. Was her existence so trivial to her friends and family?
As she sobbed quietly, a light knock on the front door echoed through the hall. Luna sat up, and rubbed her eyes. She glanced at the clock. Who was here at this hour? The rapping repeated, and Luna jumped out of bed. Rushing down the hall, she hoped. Was it one of her friends? Maybe even Subaru.
Luna flung the door open, and stared at the green-haired boy on the porch.
“Konnichiwa, Inchou.” He inclined his head.
“Oh, Futaba-kun.” She tried not to sound too disappointed. “Wh-What are you doing here?”
Tsukasa frowned. “Is it a problem?”
Luna shook her head. “No, no! Gomen nasai,” She stepped back, opening the doorway. “I just wasn’t expecting you. Please come in.”
Tsukasa smiled and walked into the hall. “Arigatoh. Gomen, I know it’s late. I just saw you walking home. You looked upset. I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Oh,” Luna looked away. “It was nothing. I’m over it.”
Tsukasa was silent. Then, Luna felt a warm finger touch her cheek.
“Are these tears nothing, too?”
Luna looked up at the boy. Tsukasa gazed sadly into her moistened eyes.
Tsukasa drew back his hand. “You don’t have to lie to me, Inchou.”
“I…” Luna choked back a new wave of tears. “I… I just… It’s my birthday, Futaba-kun! It’s my birthday, and everyone forgot!”
She didn’t care that she was crying. Luna didn’t care that she, the secure class president, was breaking down in front of one of her classmates.
“I know.” Tsukasa whispered.
“That was the second reason I came over.” He eyed his Wave Scanner nervously. “I came to give you this.”
The boy drew a paper bag from behind his back.
Luna blinked away a few tears. “Futaba-kun…?”
Tsukasa smiled. “Happy Birthday, Inchou.”
Luna stared. Tsukasa had remembered? She took the bag from the boy’s outstretched hand, reached in, and extracted a small hand-mirror with glass shards attached to the rim. In the center of glass was glued a ballerina figurine.
Luna fingered the dancer’s lace skirt. “Futaba-kun… you made this for me?”
“Hai.” He reached out and bent two of the glass shards up diagonally. “If you put this in the light, the rays will reflect off the glass, illuminating the girl. You can make pretty colors by adjusting the glass. They won’t break if you move them. See?” He pointed the base of a glass piece. “There are hinges. Look at this.”
Tsukasa moved five pieces. A rainbow of colors enveloped the dancer.
“Futaba-kun…” Luna sniffed.
Tsukasa looked up, brow creased. “Daijohbu?”
Luna flung her arms around the boy. “Arigatoh gazaimasu, Futaba-kun!”
She felt Tsukasa stiffened as her shoulders shook with her sobs. She pulled back. Tsukasa stared, apparently at a loss for words.
“I can tell you worked really hard on this. Arigatoh.”
Tsukasa blushed. “N-no problem at all. I know what it’s like to have a lonely birthday, so I wanted to make sure you weren’t forgotten.”
Luna fingered the present sadly. “Arigatoh…”
“Inchou… you’re parents aren’t here, are they?”
Luna’s head snapped up. “Fu… Futaba-kun. H-how…?”
Tsukasa smiled. “I could just tell.” He grew serious. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Y-yeah… I’m home alone a lot, so it’s not a big deal…” Luna sniffed. “I just don’t understand why it still hurts.”
“Loneliness is an enemy you just can’t win against. It’s natural to be sad… especially when it’s your birthday.”
Luna smiled, tears again welling in her eyes. “Arigatoh, Futaba-kun.”
Tsukasa suddenly cringed and grasped his head.
“Futaba-kun! Daijohbu?” Luna rushed forward.
“Yeah, yeah.” Tsukasa waved her back, and relaxed his stance. “I just remembered I need to get going.”
“Are you sure? You could stay for a little.”
“Gomen, I’d love to,” he winced, again. “But I really do need to go.”
“Okay…” Luna opened the door.
“Gomen nasai, Inchou. Happy Birthday.”
Luna smiled. “See you next week.”
Tsukasa nodded, then walked out, muttering to himself. She ignored it, and closed the door. Returning to her bedroom, Luna sighed. She had hoped Tsukasa would stay for a while. Placing the mirror on her dresser, she sat down. Luna adjusted the glass absentmindedly. She shouldn’t be so selfish. Tsukasa didn’t have to come over in the first place. Still… the emptiness of the large house only increased her yearn for company.
Luna kicked of her shoes by the dresser, and stared at herself in the large mirror on her desk as she brushed out her blonde tresses for the night, and sighed. Tsukasa was a wonderful, caring friend… but the one she really wanted to recognize her still hadn’t mentioned the special day. Subaru was who she really wanted to come by.
Throwing herself onto the bed, Luna hugged her pillow close. The tears again swelled as her thoughts dwelled on the number of people who had forgotten her. Her friends… her parents… Subaru. She allowed a single tear to trickle down her cheek before she allowed exhaustion close around her consciousness.
Luna moaned and rolled over.
Tap, tap, tap.
Her eyes fluttered open, and she stared into the darkness.
Tap, tap… tap, tap.
Luna turned toward the sound. She slid out of the bed and ambled to the window, rubbing her eyes. What was it?
She drew the curtain back and gazed blearily into the starlit night.
The hand waving in front of her eyes came into focus, and she squinted at Subaru’s face.
“Hoshikawa…” Luna lurched back when the face registered. “Hoshikawa-kun!”
Subaru laughed nervously. “Konnichiwa.”
Sliding the window roughly open, Luna exclaimed. “You-You’re here?”
“Is that okay?”
“No, no- I mean yes… I just, I mean…”
Subaru smiled sympathetically. Luna blushed, then motioned inside.
“Please, come in.”
Subaru placed his hands on the windowsill, then swung his legs over.
“Gomen. I know it’s late, but…” He looked down. “I didn’t say something today that I should have.”
“No… Eto,” he held out a small, wrapped box. “Happy Birthday, Inchou.”
Luna stared. Had Subaru just wished her a Happy Birthday? The thing that had distressed her all day had finally occurred?
“Do you not want it? I know I’m really late, but-”
“No, no!” Luna exclaimed. “Gomen, Hoshikawa-kun… I was just…” She smiled, and tears of joy moistened her eyes for the second time. “I’m very happy.” She took the gift. “Arigatoh.”
Luna peeled back the pink wrapping paper to reveal a plain, brown box. She removed the small lid and peered inside. The box was full of small paper stars, each a different color or shade of a color. Luna held a hollow star between her thumb and index finger, and admired.
“They’re wonderful…” She looked up. “Did you make all of these?”
Subaru rubbed the back of his head, and smiled wryly. “Well, not exactly. Okasan helped out a lot.” He held up two origami stars, one perfectly shaped, and the other small and bent in interesting directions. “See?”
Luna beamed. Subaru obviously put much thought and effort into the present.
“I meant to say something at school… but I didn’t know if I should ‘cause I didn’t have a present.”
Luna giggled. “You’re forgiven!”
Luna shuffled through the stars, then frowned when her fingers brushed against a rough object. She wrapped her fingers around it, and extracted a silver rock.
“Oh, I almost forgot!” Subaru touched the rock. “This is a moon rock. Otousan gave it to me few years ago after one of his trips to space.”
Luna’s head snapped up, and she held the rock out. “This was your father’s?”
“Yeah…” Subaru frowned. “Do you not want it?”
“No, I love it. Demo…” she looked at the stone. “Isn’t it really special? It was your father’s, after all.”
“It’s very special to me, Inchou. That’s why I’m giving to you.”
Luna blinked. That’s why…
Subaru closed Luna’s hand around the rock. “I tend to lose things, so I figured you were the best person to give it to.” He winked. “You’ll keep it safe for me, right?”
Luna nodded, an ecstatic smile twitching the corners of her lips. This was something precious with which Subaru was entrusting her.
She pressed the rock against her chest. “Arigatoh… Hoshiwaka-kun.”
“You’re only making it worse.”
He frowned. Why couldn’t Gemini leave him alone on this point?
Hikaru walked up behind him. “He’s right. Besides, I won’t allow you to have feelings for that girl. It will distract you.”
Tsukasa gazed sadly down at his friends. “You don’t have to worry. She’s Subaru-kun’s.”
Hikaru walked away. “Let’s go.”
Though he heard his brother jump to another road, Tsukasa remained. Their smiles were so happy… so content. They didn’t need anyone else…
“Dwelling on it will only make it worse for you.”
Tsukasa turned away, and followed Hikaru. Subaru was lucky. Stealing one more glance, he smiled sadly and gazed back at the road.
Closing his eyes, Tsukasa whispered, “Otanjou-bi omedetou gozaimazu, Inchou.”
Translator's Notes: 'Matte' means 'wait', 'eto' is 'um', 'Inchou' means 'Class President', 'hai' means 'yes', 'sayonara' is 'good-bye', 'Okasan' is a name for 'mother', 'Otousan' is a name for 'father', 'Konnichiwa' means 'hello', 'gomen nasai' is 'I'm sorry', and 'gomen' simply means 'sorry', 'daijohbu' means 'are you okay?', 'arigatoh' is 'thank-you', and 'otanjou-bi omedetou gozaimazu' means 'Happy Birthday' (since it is incredibly long and hard to pronounce, I only used it once).