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i don’t think i knew what being human was really like.

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She’s not sure what Mangetsu remembers, if anything, from the world they came from before—

but then again, she’s not sure herself, either.

It’s been two days, maybe, since she woke up again; definitely on Japanese soil, far from the endless void of the moon, or the dyed skies that Magiaconatus showed her. But if she thinks about it – was it longer? Suishou’s final words to her – something that once would have stayed on her like a scar for life – seem like they were uttered so many, many years ago, a mere fraction of the endless cycle Suishou herself suffered through but all too much to even consider for her—

…still, Shingetsu can’t help but wonder: if Mangetsu didn’t remember anything, she’d be a strange girl for accepting the offer of a classmate she barely knows to go sit by the bay and look at the stars.

“Shingetsu-chan?”

…more to the point, she must seem like a bit of a weirdo, too. Sitting on the bank of grass past the time they probably should be out, awkwardly balancing the dinner Mangetsu brought her on her lap, staring up at the sky.

“Mm.” She blinks once, twice, and then—“Mm! What is it?”

“You know a lot about stars, then?”

About what they mean for the flow of magic inside the corporeal shell, the way the movements of celestial bodies so far away it would take even the greatest mage half a lifetime to reach them (let alone come back) somehow change the way that rush of energy crackles through you, the polarity of points in the sky and how they reflect the way humanity itself has grown--

“Not… not really.”

…but she never really knew what any of them were called.

“Oh! Heh. No, I just kinda… assumed!”

“...mm. That makes sense. What with the whole ‘the night sky looks really pretty from the bay, do you want to go see it’ thing.” God, stupid, stupid Shingetsu. That’s how you ask a girl out, not ‘try to casually hang out with her to understand what kind of place her insane dream left her in’; and now the worst part is she’s wasted such a good little flirt on just trying to see if they still have that connection.

“Ooh, yeah, that, but also… you seem like you’d have a telescope? Star maps? That sorta stuff.”

“…maybe?”

“Or that you’re really, really into starsigns. Bet you know what my house is in retrograde!”

“Absolutely.”

She stares at Mangetsu, right into the eyes, like she’s trying to read her soul. Not that she’s ever been good at that, at figuring out who people are. Without the kind of little mental tricks and misdirects magic afforded her, she has to rely on that most human of things: intuition.

“…the water one.”

“Aquarius?”

“No. The other watery one.”

“Pisces? …that’s a fish.”

“…it truly is.”

There’s only so far the steely grin into Mangetsu’s eyes can take her before Shingetsu breaks the connection, hand over her mouth to stop her laughing from ringing out over the entire shoreline. For her part, though, Mangetsu seems to find it funny, too, rapping her knuckles onto the grass before looking right back at her.

“Hehe… do I know more than you? About horoscopes and stuff!”

“Look, in my defence, I never said I did.”

“And in my defence! I thought it was kinda cool you maybe did!” Is she cool? No, she’s not, but, maybe, yes, a little – a little bit. Determined, she’s always styled herself, but… cool is good too. “Also! We should… probably eat? I mean the food’s probably sorta cold already, but you still want it sorta fresh, so!”

Shingetsu, the not-self-proclaimed cool girl in the situation (take that, Suishou!) calms herself down enough through chewing on her lip and balling her hand up that she manages to, shakily, open the lunchbox, a sudden wave of memories – like it’d been only yesterday, the taste of lukewarm potato wedges, and the warmth of your hand, and isn’t it embarrassing that that’s one of the things I remember most vividly of all – as she looks down at it.

“Too much? Too little? I tried to guess what you’d like.”

It’s simple, visually well-composed, and probably a little too heavy on the carbohydrates – sandwiches, katsu on rice, thick-cut fries, and then a few rather bright pickles.

--her little word of thanks before she starts to eat must have been too quiet, though, because Mangetsu looks at her like she’s a woman possessed when she starts wolfing it down, shoving one of the fries into her mouth, idle hands already snapping her chopsticks and trying to gather together what she can of tare-drizzled rice and chicken cutlet.

“Woah.” The curious, honestly sort of shocked-looking stare starts to melt, though, Mangetsu leaning back onto her elbows and that little smile showing through.

It’s really her.

And Shingetsu, looking back at her with breadcrumb-covered chicken hanging out of her mouth, catches herself wondering, if those days they spent together were the first time she wasn’t a magician, wasn’t the last great witch, wasn’t the fiend lost to her own family and tearing another apart.

Just—herself.

Perhaps, if she’d never met Mangetsu, she wouldn’t have gone through with it all. If her weakness would have caught up with her; if she would never have seen what a world without magic could have been like.

“How is it?”

“It’s…” Shingetsu opens her mouth to speak, realises it’s full of food, and stops, all while Mangetsu just starts giggling at her. Is it that funny? She tries again, barely even sounding out the ‘I’ before a grain of rice shoots out of her mouth, and—

“It’s okay! Take your time.”

“Mmf.”

“I mean, considering… it’d be pretty bad if you choked on your food and died now!” …not helping, Mangetsu.

--considering what?

She does what she’s told, though. Slow, calm bites – well, as much as you can bite now thoroughly mushed-up rice – and swallows, making sure she’s not going to embarrass herself again.

They’ve got all the time in the world, now. Not every single word has to count. But, still—

“It’s really, really good, Mangetsu.”

Some of them should.