Chapter 1: This Can't Be Real

The route through the thick pine forest could have been filled with wonder, but to Honoka it was one of the most awkward experiences she had ever been forced in. Getting to the new school would prove to be even more socially painful than any physical accident she had ever experienced. Even more than the time she was hit by a drunk driver. Honoka scuffled at her own comparison. At least then she had her family, but here there was no one on her side.

Feeling too uncomfortable with the deathening silence, Honoka tried to figure out things she could do to distract from her trip.

Honoka puckered her lips, her need to whistle stopped when she peered over to her companion. Restraining herself as her lips deflated, the other teen sitting right next to her seemed pleased with her decision. Kotori was holding onto her skirt, her body stiff, as her eyes avoided any possible contact with the other woman. The driver in front kept her eyes strictly on the road. The chauffeur made sure that the black Mercedes-Benz made it to the boarding school in perfect conditions.

"H-Hey," the sudden high voice was the distraction Honoka was hoping for, "Umm I'm sorry about you know," finally since the start of the three hour drive, Kotori was facing her, "Running you over with my car and all."

"Oh it's fine," Honoka smiled but the other couldn't find it in herself to return it, "Your family is already doing enough repaying the damages." Kotori nodded, but it seemed there was more to this topic than Honoka was expecting.

Kotori knew it was only right to pay for the ginger's medical expenses. Though it was her mother who had insisted they also pay for the ginger's education. Kotori didn't understand where the sudden urge of charity sprouted from her coldhearted mother. Of course, Mrs Minami had spent more time talking with Honoka during the lawsuit. Her mother explained the extra time was to just clean up Kotori's mess, which made sense, but that didn't explain her other actions. Kotori knew better than to believe her mother was capable of any form of love.

But Mrs Minami explained that they had to compensate for everything, even going as far as giving the ginger her own scholarship and endless financial support in the shape of a black card. An item Kotori felt was too much especially after paying for her medical bills. But her mother had made it clear that this was the only way, unless she wanted to spend the rest of her life in jail for driving under the influence and an attempt at manslaughter.

Kotori inhaled plenty of oxygen before continuing, "When we get there we'll be in different rooms. I'll help you find the dorms, but that's it," She wasn't trying to be rude. Kotori just didn't want to be constantly reminded of her summer mistake, "Please don't talk to me or act like we know each other when we're at school."

"Ok," Honoka nodded, not really seeing why she should object.

"And don't tell my mother, she doesn't need to know about this, alright?" Kotori needed to know that her mother wouldn't know about the cold treatment.

"Ok," Honoka agreed not really understanding.

The car was parked temporarily within the roundabout of the school's front office. Honoka had gawked and awed at the establishment. It had literally felt like they had entered a different dimension after passing the large forest surrounding the school. Once the buildings had become visible, it seemed like the campus stretched out far and wide, almost like the private high school was its own city where only the rich were allowed entrance. With the car coming to a halt at the main office, Honoka couldn't help but stare as the other two went about their normal business.

After a short while, Honoka finally took her first steps outside her door, she looked up at the glass building.

"This is where you go whenever you want to leave the school," Honoka still clung onto the door as Kotori stood on the sidewalk right across the other. The young teen saw no harm in explaining the basics, "You need a special permit to rent a taxi," Kotori pointed at the cars lined up in wait, "You'll be given a time limit and fined if you do not return on time."

"How much in fines?" Honoka was still overwhelmed by the luxury.

"An hour is like five hundred," Kotori thought, not really knowing herself, "Anyways you also get detention, but if you get five of those you get suspended," she then pointed towards her right where a dome like structure could be seen peeking out from the tree line, "You get sent there for reeducation, but for both our sakes please don't end up there. It looks bad on my family and truthfully," Kotori looked around before whispering, "Those who get sent in, never come out."

Honoka swallowed hard as the bellhops took their luggage. Kotori didn't seem at all fazed by the uniformed figures collecting her multiple suitcases. Though Honoka watched curiously as they worked with the bellhops seeming confused by Honoka's duffle bag. They even went as far as to ask if this was all her luggage in which Honoka shyly nodded. The silver haired teen didn't understand how the ginger was hoping to survive a years worth of school with so little.

"My ladies," their cherifer bowed, "You're luggages are being taken to your rooms and your mother will be calling in the evening to see how you're both adjusting."

"Thank you," Kotori acknowledged. They were a day early from the fall semester, so they practically had the campus to themselves, "Alright let's go." Heading towards the forest path, Kotori led the way.

Honoka followed quickly behind her as she admired the stone path and the bronze street lamps. Her eyes admiring the materials and craftsmanship placed in such a simple dirt road. Honoka was overwhelmed by how natural this whole place was assembled. Even the air, feeling thick and full, smelled purely of pine and rich minerals. There were no bugs buzzing or insects crawling as they moved along the forest trail with sounds of a near by stream. Honoka would have almost believed it was all real if it wasn't for the speakers system hidden under the lamps base. Bending over enough, she could hear the school playing soothing river noises.

"Wow," Honoka was way over her league, "This can't be a school."

Kotori had stopped walking as she watched Honoka play around with the pathway, "I'm kind of scared to ask what your old school was like," she saw the ginger dip her hands into the moist dirt.

"Well public school is like this big building," Honoka dusted her hands off, much to the disgust of the other, "And you can walk there or drive," Honoka read the tags on the floor informing her of the type of tree she was looking at, "You go in and mess around or study and once it's over you go home," this just felt too much, "There really isn't no fancy stuff like this."

"That doesn't sound so bad," Kotori thought about how she would enjoy being in her own room everyday, "As long as I have my spa break and designer studio I'll be fine."

Honoka reframed herself from laughing. It really wasn't the other's fault that she lacked common knowledge, "It's not like that," the ginger made a mental note that these students were in fact sheltered, "You have multiple classes but it's the same room design over and over again. There are no fancy classes or special treatment."

Kotori didn't understand, "So is it like a mini school?" Honoka wanted to explain, but at this point she probably needed a lot more than words.

"Here," Honoka pulled out her phone, "I'll search up a documentary on public schools and send it to you."

Kotori was hesitant on giving away her number, "I'll just search it up myself," she gave a small smile and Honoka accepted it.

After a long walk through the campus with Honoka examining everything, they had finally arrived at the dorms. The dorms were technically tall apartment buildings scattered around with a small park in the center.

"This is Sunny Valley, the apartment complex for the first years," Kotori pointed at the benches and fountain that had Honoka's attention, "Isn't it cute?"

"Wait first year?" Honoka shook her head, bringing her attention to the silver haired woman's words, "I'm a second year."

"Yeah, but your knowledge test showed that first year was the better option," seeing the ginger bow her head in shame, Kotori tried to comfort her, "Mother couldn't do anything about that sorry."

"No it's better this way," Honoka sighed, "I literally missed the first half of my own first year thanks to those injuries, so it only makes sense."

Silence rang as Honoka shook away the air of defeat around her, meanwhile Kotori shifted her stances. The other woman felt odd that the ginger would bring up the accident in such a manner. After all, she could have still passed if she had just placed her all into it. The other just missed some school during her recovery. Nothing too big if she had studied on her own.

Kotori sighed as she recalled her own experience, how her team of lawyers were dealing with the mess,while she was off attending her own first year like normal. She had her mother to thank for that.

"You should have just studied harder," she looked away, her inner being knowing she was wrong for saying such a thing, but Kotori really did believe she could have studied in the hospital.

"Where are you going to live?" Honoka ignored the comment.

Kotori pointed towards the west, "You see those apartments on those hills," she beamed, "That's Mountain Peak Resort," she proudly admitted, "The hills were created to imitate mountains and it has a great view of the whole campus."

"What about the third year?" Honoka was just being mind blown by how much money really could buy.

"The third years are further down near the private beach," Kotori pointed southeast, "It's called Oceanic Retreat," the silver haired girl could see how excited Honoka was after hearing their school was located near a beach, "But only the third years have full access to the beach," and Honoka visible frowned which almost made Kotori giggle, "The other classes only use the beach during physical education, but even then we only use a small part of the land."

"That sucks," Honoka sighed before realizing something with equal importance, "Wait does this mean each year has their own school building?!"

Kotori was unsure what that meant, placing her finger to her mouth to think, she figure she should just answer it like normal, "Well… we all share one school but I guess we kind of do," seeing Honoka confused, she explained, "If you go down that path," she pointed towards the cobblestone path northwest, "You'll find the main road. The main road leads all of us to the main building where classes are held. Of course depending on your interest you might have to hike to the other buildings but as first years you'll just be using the main building."

"Oh," Honoka eyes were spinning. For a high school the campus was starting to sound more and more like a college, "Who attends this school," she mumbled to herself.

Not catching the last part, Kotori motioned for her to follow, "Come on I'll show you to the head office."

They checked in and Honoka received her own key to her dorm. Kotori had helped Honoka find her room which didn't take too long thanks to the other girls' experience. Honoka entered her room, immediately taken in by the small furnishing. Kotori had decided to give the girl a couple of advice before they officially parted ways forever.

"Each dorm comes with a TV, dishwasher, washing machines, and dishware," Kotori spoke as Honoka wondered around gasping at the fine details like fresh towels and the plasma television, "The fridge is empty but there is a grocery store near the center park that you can buy ingredients from," Honoka was now playing with the curtains, "The center plaza also tends to have a farmers market every month, but most of us just eat at the cafeteria."

"This place is amazing!" Honoka declared as she bounced her behind on the sofa. She was overjoyed to feel the extra spring in the cushion. Honoka hopped up and down before seeing Kotori's disappointment. She fell steady on the soft material, "I'm literally on top of the world!" She rocked back and forth rubbing her skin all over it.

Kotori was appalled by the others lack of decency as her face scrunched up in displeasure. Honoka pulled herself up, adjusting her knee from outside her pants, before looking up to Kotori, "And I get it all to myself?!"

"Heaven's no!" Kotori shook her head, "You're sharing this room with another girl, so if I was you I would pick a room before she arrives."

Honoka nodded making her way down the small hall. Trying the first door, she found that it was locked, "What does it mean if it's locked?"

Kotori froze in fear, her face blushing from embarrassment. With much regret, Kotori simply stated, "She's probably inside."

"Ah," Honoka nodded, "Hello Miss, it's nice to meet you!"

"Honoka!" Kotori pulled her away, "Just try the other door," she urged her, not wanting to face anyone at the moment.

To Kotori's relief, Honoka obeyed and the door across the others opened. Inside it was simply empty with the expectations of the bed, desk, and her duffle bag. The closet was slide open to reveal it was empty and the window had a small curtain. Although she was a bit disappointed by the lack of glamor, Honoka felt much more at home with much less.

"Alright you have the basic's down," Kotori wanted to leave after knowing another woman was in the apartment, "So if you need any help ask your roommate, ok?"

"Thank you Kotori," Honoka smiled, "I'll see you around," but when Kotori winced unknowingly to the comment, Honoka quickly restated, "I mean when we see your mother."

Kotori took her leave and Honoka was left alone in her room. Placing her hands on her waist, she took in the air conditioned room, it was time to unpack.

It didn't take long before her things were put away as Honoka laid on the plain bed. With only one pillow and a blanket for any comfort, the ginger really did feel more relaxed with nothing more. Letting the day events finally settle, Honoka felt that she might need a quick nap just to really adjust.

Thirty minutes of sleep evolved into three hours. Waking abruptly to the sound of a door slamming, Honoka panicked in her half sleep state. The sun was in the process of setting, the apartment only having its lights on in the living room, Honoka looked around in confusion. She wasn't at the hospital, but it didn't take long before she remembered where she was sleeping. Standing up, she made her way to the living room to see a young girl hunched over the small dining table. The sounds of a plastic bag being ruffled as the redhead pulled out take-out. Smelling the fried chicken and spice sauce, Honoka's stomach growled at remembering she was hungry.

Hearing the growl, the other turned to find Honoka shyly waving at her, "H-Hey," she said not wanting to be rude.

The redhead visibly nodded in awkwardness, "Hey," Honoka approached slowly as she smelled the rice and fried vegetables.

"My name is Honoka Kousaka it's nice to meet you," she held out her hand for the other to shake.

"Kousaka?" the redhead thought but decided to ignore it for now, which also included the offered hand, "Maki Nishikino," she turned back to her dinner.

"So Maki did you buy that?" Honoka was now leaning behind the wall pillar, her eyes staring at the steaming food.

Maki paused from her unpacking, "Maki?" she scrunched up her brows, unamused by the sudden familiarity the other was showing her, "I'm sorry but who are you again?" Honoka's eyes were glued to the meal, so she unwillingly had missed the others words, "Earth to Kousaka!" Maki waved her hands in front of her, unwilling to let the disrespecting go on.

"Is it free?" Honoka's stomach growled as she wondered how far she would go for free food.

Seeing she wouldn't get anywhere with the other hungry as she was, Maki offered up her food, "I'll let you have it if you sit here and listen to me properly ok?" Honoka nodded enthusiastically as she took her seat. Digging in to the other's dinner, Maki sighed as she went to the phone to order more food.

"Anything you say Maki," Honoka began right away and Maki rolled her eyes.

"Alright let's get one thing cleared up," Maki took a seat across from her, "You do not have permission to be calling me by my first name."

"Huh?" Honoka paused her feasting to swallow her mouth full, "Then what am I supposed to call you," the ginger chuckled at the others silliness, before digging back in.

Offended by the others mockery, Maki found herself lost for words. Shaking away the embarrassment, Maki tried again, "Uh? My last name?" she tried to return how stupid the ginger had made her feel but it didn't seem to work.

"Why? You're not someone older," Honoka's poor upper bring being her best defense, "Besides we're friends right? You fed me and by the laws of nature that means we are now best friends!"

"Laws of nature?" Maki was confused by the others weird wording, "What does the natural laws have anything to do with being fed?"

"Not literally it's like friendship code," Honoka felt her own brain deflating at having to explain just common knowledge. Not wanting to start a conversation on a subject she also didn't know well enough, Honoka pushed it back to the topic in front of them, "So this school is pretty amazing right?"

"What?" Maki had seen better, "This school is alright I guess."

"Alright?!" Just then the door rang and Maki went to pay for her delivery. Bringing the meal back to the table, the redhead made herself comfortable on the other side of the wooden table, "Wait you paid for the food?" Honoka began to sweat at how expensive the food probably could be.

"What? No I'm just using my student points," Maki showcased her ID card, "Everyone has one."

"Student points?" Kotori hadn't explained what student points were, "What's that and did everyone get an ID?"

Maki was now the one confused. Growing up in the country, the redhead knew that these systems were introduced in the elementary levels. Deciding to ignore the ginger's lack of common sense, she clarified, "Yeah. Student points are what the school gives you at the start of the school year which you use in place of money. You can earn them by being a modeled student, but you can also lose them if you break any rules."

"How do I get one?" Honoka eyes sparkled at the power.

"Didn't you get one mailed to you during the summer?" Maki didn't know what to think.

"Eh?" Honoka was lost. If it was something as important as Maki was making it why didn't Kotori or Mrs Minami tell her about it, "I didn't."

Worried a bit, Maki went to confirm the other items, "How about your uniform?" Honoka shook her head, "We start classes tomorrow, do you even have your schedule?" the ginger once again shook her head and Maki raised a brow.

"What do I do?" Honoka was in panic mode.

"Just go to the front office and explain what happened," Maki had begun to dig in her own food. If the ginger was going to eat while she talked, then Maki would return the disrespect, "They might have your stuff," she swallowed before speaking, not wanting to copy the ginger's bad habits.

"The front office is the place with the roundabout right?" Honoka remembered it, maybe.

"Yeah," Maki took a sip of her cold tea.

"Come with me," Honoka pleaded.

"What? No," Maki wasn't about to stop her own plans for a stranger.

"Please! I don't remember where the building is," Honoka begged, "Maki please!"

Maki had her arms crossed, her head looking at the plants, as Honoka talked with the receptionist. The two girls were dressed differently, with Maki rocking a pair of short shorts and large hooded sweater and Honoka wearing a t-shirt and pants. The redhead couldn't believe she had willingly offered her help. She should have just called one of the costudions to take the ginger, but it was all too late.

"Here you are," the business woman smiled as she found the ginger's records, "Please follow me so we can create your photo ID," she beckoned the girl to follow.

Honoka nodded, stopping to look at Maki who knew what she was trying to say, "I'll wait right here," and to prove her point, she took a seat on the waiting chairs, "So hurry up."

Maki picked up a random magazine as she waited. It took a while before she saw the ginger exiting the photography room, but she was surprised to see Principal Minami with her. Unable to hear what they were saying, Maki could only hope the ginger wasn't in any trouble already.

Ms. Minami smiled at the redhead, who quickly covered her face with the magazine, "What a lovely friend you've made," she said as Honoka nervously laughed, "So did you get a chance to see the whole school?"

Honoka laughed a bit more, "I kinda fell asleep when I was shown to my room."

"That's a shame but I'm sure you'll have plenty of time to see everything," The secretary came back holding the ginger's ID and more. These items were handed to Honoka while Mrs Minami approved, "Here you go, your school ID," she smiled as the ginger examined the photo, "I added some extra credits so don't be afraid to use it," Honoka nodded as she was then handed her three sets of the school's uniform, "I've also be sending you your class schedule to your email, including the therapy treatment days."

"Alright, thank you," Honoka bowed, but Mrs Minami wasn't done.

"Honoka I'm sorry that you had to travel with my daughter, but it seemed like the best way to get you both alone. I hope you both were able to talk properly and become good friends," Mrs Minami then dropped her voice low into a whispered, "But would you mind keeping what happened to you a secret between us?" She placed her hand on the other upper arm, "I don't want rumors to spread."

"Of course," Honoka nodded, especially after all the treatment she had been receiving, "I won't tell no one."

"That a girl," Ms. Minami squeezed her arm, a silent threat as they exchanged smiles, "And to celebrate our secret please accept this," she handed over the large handbag filled with more gifts.

A/N:

Hello everyone! This is my new story I have been working on for an year now. It is my surprise to all of you guys. I hope you enjoy it!