Into the forest of fireflies

Chapter 2

Every summer, Hotaru would come and visit me, every summer I would eagerly wait

for her at the stairs... Summer... Is the only time when I get to see Hotaru...

"Huh? A scarf?" I asked confusingly

"Yep!" An instant reply from Hotaru, "it's for you. I've always thought that winter is really cold and wondered what you use to warm yourself up. So, if you can... Please accept it! It's not really cool or anything... I mean... It's my grandfather's and um..." Hotaru blush, her face was as red as a tomato, actually even more redder that a tomato, "P-please accept it..." She continue with her face all red.

This is Takegawa Hotaru, an middle schooler I guess? Or was it a grade schooler? Let's drop that part.. And she's... My... M-my... *cough* friend.

"T-thanks. It's very nice of you." I said.

Hotaru look up with a very big smile, "well then, I'm off. Take care Gin." She said.

I lightly smile and wave to her as she run further and further... And... Further...

In a blink of an eye, winter arrived. I used the scarf given by Hotaru, it felt really warm... Though it's her grandfather's.. It's very warm...

Then I felt my chest throbbing... *ba-bump, ba-bump...*

It's really hard to breathe... It... Hurts.. Just the thought of Hotaru made my heart throb, my temperature is rising, I can feel the warmth in my cheek... What's this strange feeling...? It... Hurts... It really hurts...

I tightly grab my shirt and try to breathe... The pain is really hard to bare... I heavily breathe in and out. It really hurts... I don't want to disappear... I don't want to be apart from Hotaru... Hotaru... Hotaru... As I thought of her, tears start dripping from my face... I couldn't see clearly... All I could think of is Hotaru... Of how I want to spend more time with her... Hotaru... That's selfless, crybaby... Then I realized... That I was in love with her...

All the times I've spent with her, even though we argue sometimes... I really enjoyed all of them...

As tears continue to fall from my eyes like rainfall, I said, "I don't want to disappear... I want to spent more time with Hotaru! Please Yamagami-sama... Please give me more time... Please..."

Again, summer arrived. "Ta-dah~ what ya think?" Asked Hotaru in her high school uniform. I stared at her for a very long time, she's very beautiful... I thought. I lightly smile behind I mask, though I'm sure she can't see it, "This is... A high school uniform.. Right?" I asked.

"Yup!" An instant reply from Hotaru. "I look good in it, now don't I? All my friends say I look like a model~" she bragged.

"You look kinda feminine..." I said.

"What? Of course! I'm a girl after all. What? You thought I was a boy? Humph!" Hotaru pouts...

I maybe saying those, but honestly, I think she looks very beautiful... Then I felt a throbbing from my chest. *ba-bump! Ba-bump! Ba-bump!* my heart is pounding very hard... It's this feeling again... But it's somewhat different from last time... This time... It felt very... I blush as my temperature rises, it felt like eating a whole chocolate cake by yourself... Though, I do not know what is a chocolate cake, just judging by how delicious Hotaru describes it, I think it tastes very nice... Like this feeling... It's a very calming and comfortable feeling...

"You're beautiful." Those words suddenly came out of my mouth. I'm not sure whether Hotaru heard me, but I hope she doesn't... I blush and glance at Hotaru. She's...playing with butterflies...! I sighed...

Hotaru turned to me and asked, "what's up?"

"Ah, no, it's nothing. Shall we go?" I said looking away.

Hotaru smiled and nodded.

~ The next day ~

"A festival?" Hotaru ask while she holds the fish hook tightly.

"Yeah. It happens every year. But back then, you were too young, so I didn't invite you. But now you're a high schooler... Maybe you can sneak out?" I said.

"Yeah, i guess I can... But still... A Yokai festival is still kinda..."

"Don't worry, most of them are dressed as humans. It'll be like a regular human festival. Well, sometimes, humans also sneaks in and join the festival. And..." I pause for a moment and continue, "if anything were to happen, I'll protect you."

Hotaru smiled, her face was a bit reddish, "okay! A Yokai festival~~ I can't wait~~" she said. "Ah! I got a bite!"

I look at Hotaru... And smiled. I thought to myself, tonight, I'll finally convey my feelings for Hotaru... Tonight...

"I like you." I slightly whispered behind my mask.

"Hmm? Did you say something?" Asked Hotaru.

"No, nothing. Anyway, did you catch anything?"

Though I wish for us to stay this way forever, but every summer, Hotaru ages... As for me, I'm still the same... I can't keep things the way the are all the time... I don't want to live in a world without Hotaru...I'll make a life changing event... I want to be with Hotaru forever, no matter the situation.

~ Night time... 7:00 ~

"Gin~! Sorry I'm late..." Shouting Hotaru, running here in her yukata.

"It's fine. Shall we go?" I said.

"Un." Hotaru nodded

"Ah, Hotaru, wait." I said and take out a cloth from my sleeve. "Tie this to your wrist, so we won't get separated."

Hotaru nodded, and tied the cloth to her wrist. She smiled and ask, "shall we go?"

We went around many stores, ate some delicious food. Then we came to a mask store, Hotaru look around and then she pat the owner's head thinking that it was a mask. The owner look up to her with a scary expression, Hotaru was shocked and ran away while shouting, "I'm sorry..." And so, I was pulled along with her run. We ate the floating cotton candy, actually, we didn't eat it, we watched it float up in the air (lol). After that, was the fireworks... It was really beautiful, I had a lot of fun... But then the fun has come to an end, the festival was over...

I was escorting Hotaru back to the forest, then we chatted. I stop and look up to the sky, "you know, I'm planing to move here to work, that way I can see you, not only on summer, but spring, autumn and winter as we- eh? Gin, what's wrong?" Hotaru turn to me and ask.

"You know Hotaru... I want to be with you forever... Even if I have to go through a crowd, as long as I get to see you smile, then I'll be satisfied.." I said.

I lightly smile, and took off my mask and wore it on Hotaru's face. I gently kissed the mask, I could hear Hotaru's heart pounding... I pull myself out and smile, "that mask, keep it."

Suddenly, two children was running our way, one tripped and I grabbed his arm, "be careful." I said.

Hotaru smiled and bend down, "now be careful you guys."

The child smile and nodded. Then they ran and wave goodbye, Hotaru wave back to them...

Suddenly, I noticed a shimmering on my hand. I look at it and saw it disappearing! Then my body starts to glow...Was that a human? I asked myself...

Hotaru turn to me and saw the shimmering, her expression changed and shouted, "was that a human child?"

If this is the end for me... I have to make it count! I thought. I let out a big smile and extended my arms, "come Hotaru..." I said, "I can finally touch you."

Without hesitations, Hotaru took off the mask and ran to me, she tightly hugged me, no letting me go... I softly whispered to her ears, "I like you, Hotaru."

Hotaru was in tears, she smiled and said, "Me too... I like you too... Gin."

This is as far as I go... I smiled and disappeared. This is as far as I go, but at least, someone like me, was able to find love... Though it was for only a little while, I could feel Hotaru's warmth, I could feel and hear her heart pounding. Thank you, Hotaru... Thank you for showing me so many new things and new feelings... I love you Hotaru, and I'll always watch over you.

~ 5 years later ~

Hotaru came to visit her uncle again. She was all matured and feminine... Then she came to the Yamagami forest, she gently smile and said, "I'm back, Gin."

I smile softly, "welcome back, Hotaru." I said.

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