Play 13: War And Food

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I was beginning to plan out my escape route if they figured that I was an imposter when Nagakura's face lit up like a light bulb.

  "That plainly means...I can take your beans!" With lightning speed, he grabbed the brown beans on my fish to his own plate.

  Heisuke yelped in protest. "That's not fair!" He then tried to snatch the beans from his plate, but Nagakura elbowed him in the arm. Heisuke winced from the pain, but didn't give up.

  They were still fighting about the beans when Harada sighed. "Sorry you had to see this, Jun. They're always like this..." In reply I laughed, shaking my head slightly. I continued to stare at the both of them, recalling fondly that Daisuke and I sometimes act like them when Nagakura suddenly took the entire fish from my plate.

  "Hey!" I protested furiously. "That's mine! Give it back!" I tried to grab it with my chopsticks but missed. After all, Nagakura was bigger than me. I gave up, realising that I wasn't going to get the fish back when Nagakura somehow managed to cut the fish into half with his chopsticks.

  "Here." He placed the fish back in my plate, and I realised that he had given me the bigger piece. I stifled my embarrassed giggle as he and Heisuke continued fighting for their food. I turned to the others in the room--everyone was eating happily, wolfing down every single grain of rice they had in their bowl--except Souji. I tilted my head curiously, staring at his half-filled bowl of rice when he answered the question in my mind.

  "If I get too full then I start getting slow." He gave me a nonchalant smile.

  Nagakura interrupted me just before I wanted to reply something provoking. "Hey! Wadda ya mean, 'slow'!?" He paused a moment, probably thinking about stealing Souji's half-eaten fish, and I was right. "Ah, whatever. I'm taking that!" He lunged for the fish before I could blink.

  I frowned at Nagakura, wondering if he had a big stomach. "Are you sure? I mean, I don't really care or anything..." I mumbled the last sentence to myself.

  "So long as I got a little sake to sip, I'm good." Souji drank from the sake cup in his hands.

  "Then I guess I'm going with sake too." Harada followed suit, drinking the entire cup at once. I stared at the both of them in confusion. How could they be fine with just sake?

  "I think you just don't want to get fat, right?" I huffed at Souji, shooting an apologetic glance at Harada beside me. "Well, if you don't want to eat..." I stared longingly at his bowl of rice, pondering if it was ill-mannered to ask for that.

  Once again, Souji read my mind like a book. He picked up his bowl and gestured it to me. "Here. Don't worry about being a freeloader or anything, Jun. Just eat your little heart out, okay?" I fixed my eyes at the bowl, before taking it from his hands slowly, mumbling a thanks. I felt like I should give him something in return, so I reached over and gave him my remaining beans.

  "Payback," I hissed, and continued to gulp down my rice and fish. I was quite sure that my eyes were shining hungrily as I ate one and a half bowl of rice, but I didn't care. Before I knew it, everyone was clearing their dirty dishes, and I hastily followed along. When I was done, I ran back to my room with Souji behind me.

  As I was making my futon (I always did that long before my bedtime), I thought about dinner with the Shinsengumi. It was fun, I had to admit, maybe even more than with Daisuke.

  "It's strange though," I said aloud when I was done. I laid on my stomach, relaxing on the soft sheets. "If only I could..." I trailed off, shocked. I wanted to say 'forever', right? I shook my head violently. I was going to leave them someday, back to my own world. If I got too close, I would get hurt, though I wasn't sure from what. I was already having this achiness after leaving dinner with Souji--it felt like hell.

  I tried putting my finger to it, but couldn't figure out what this feeling mean. I ended up falling asleep from exhaustion of thinking too much, the lump in my throat not disappearing anytime soon.

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