Edited by RedPandaChick
The bell rang and woke me up with a jolt. Something felt weird before I fell asleep, so I quickly tapped my body. I was inside Araki-kun's body again. I almost screamed and hit the desk but that would've been weird coming from Araki-kun. Well, maybe I did hit it, but gently…
Anyways. I ran out of the classroom and almost fell twice while rushing downstairs. Running with a body exceptionally taller than mine wasn't an everyday thing.
I smashed open the laboratory's door and screamed, "Kawahara, it happened again!" before I even looked to see if she was there.
The room was empty. I let out a deep breath. I almost exposed us, I thought.
Out of nowhere, someone pushed me inside the laboratory and closed the door.
"Hey! Oh, it's you," I said when I saw Kawahara. "Why did you push me?"
"Before the hallways become crowded and people start to suspect us," she responded.
"I guess you're Kozue Suzuka-san inside Araki Koji-san's body."
"How did you know?"
"I heard your screaming from the stairs. You should avoid that if you do not want people—"
"It happened again!" Araki-kun yelled after smashing the door open.
I shushed at him and gestured with my hand to tell him to come in. He stepped inside and closed the door.
"You shouldn't yell, people will hear you," I said. "Did you talk to anyone?"
"No, I ran here this time," he replied.
"Perfect. Kawahara, did you find anything about what's happening to us?"
"Please tell us you did!" Araki-kun added, almost screaming.
Kawahara pushed her glasses up and responded, "I need to determine what is happening before I can find anything."
"Even we don't know what's happening!" Araki-kun yelled.
"Stop yelling!" I hissed at him. He looked at me for a second and then looked down at the floor.
"Sorry. I don't why I did it…," he said, confused.
What's wrong with him? I wondered. He's been acting weird…
It was then that my brain connected the dots.
I shook Kawahara's shoulders, "You have to find the solution now!"
"Well, I came up with a hypothesis last night," she revealed and pushed her glasses up so they didn’t fall off after I shook her.
Both Araki and I grinned.
"But I discarded it just now," Kawahara added.
My heart sunk right after it had been given hope.
"What? Why?!" Araki-kun yelled.
"Did you hit your heads again?" Kawahara asked us.
"No…," I answered.
She was right. We'd thought the cause was that we hit our heads, but that explanation couldn't work anymore.
"It means we're doomed?" I slumped in surrender.
"Not completely," Kawahara smirked.
We stared at her, puzzled.
"I have one more hypothesis," she continued.
"What is it?!" Araki-kun and I shouted.
"You are too close," Kawahara said.
"Oh, sorry," we apologized.
Kawahara sat at one of the desks and Araki-kun and I sat next to each other on the other side.
Kawahara stared at us intently. I could see her determination to help us, but was that really the only reason she was doing it for?
"Have you interacted today?" she asked.
"We have," Araki-kun responded.
I remembered that morning's incident. He'd pulled me toward him so suddenly that I didn't know how to react. People stared at us, too.
"About that," he interrupted my thoughts. "I'm sorry if I did something that annoyed you, Kozue."
"Annoyed me?" I asked.
Well, I couldn't talk for some reason, I thought. And I practically ran away from him. I don't blame him for thinking he annoyed me.
"I-It's okay. It's just weird that I'm inside another person's body," I replied. "It's even weirder because it's a guy's. I even had to go to the bathroom—"
I shut my mouth with my hand and turned away from him. I accidentally told him what I did!
"You what?" Araki-kun asked.
"There is another thing that intrigues me," Kawahara interrupted. "Did you fall asleep today as well?"
Araki-kun and I nodded. It was the same as the previous day; I felt sleepy right after starting the first class and it only got worse as the hours passed, no matter how hard I tried to stay awake. Then, five minutes before the break, my eyes closed on their own.
"Then I can confirm my hypothesis, for the moment," Kawahara smirked.
"Really? What is it?" I asked her.
"Touch," she answered.
"Touch?" Araki-kun and I asked, glancing at each other.
"You feel sleepy after you touch. You then fall asleep and wake up with your bodies swapped."
We stared at Kawahara with our mouths open.
"It makes sense," Araki-kun said.
"It does! It fits with what has happened until now," I nodded in realization. And it was the only explanation I could think of. Except I didn't think of it…
"It means that, if we touch now, we should get back to our bodies," Araki-kun added. He was smarter than I thought.
"About that," Kawahara interrupted, shattering our hopes again. "There are variables that we still don't know."
"Wait, didn't we touch yesterday when we came in here?" I asked, still thinking about what Araki-kun said.
"You're right. Nothing happened after that," he replied.
"That is one of the variables. Maybe there is a cooldown time," Kawahara shrugged.
"Cooldown time?" I asked.
"Time to wait between swaps," Kawahara responded.
"How long?" Araki-kun questioned.
"We can not know until we experiment."
"Does it work if we touch our clothes? Or do we need to touch our skin directly?" I asked.
"We can not know until—"
"Is there a cooldown time after we get back to our bodies, too?" Araki-kun questioned.
"Good question. Maybe we can force ourselves to sleep and it happens faster!" I suggested.
"Are you listening?" Kawahara asked coldly. She showed no emotion, as always, but her eyes pierced through our souls.
"Sorry…," we apologized.
"We shall begin with the experiments today," Kawahara continued, back to her normal, emotionless expression. "At what time did you have physical contact?"
Physical contact? Why didn't she just say touch? I wondered. I still can't understand her even after two years in the same class. I only know that she wants everyone to call her by her last name.
"Around eight-thirty," Araki-kun replied.
"And at what time did you feel sleepy?"
"After starting the first class. But I managed to stay awake until five minutes before the break," I answered.
"Me, too," Araki-kun added.
"Understood. I will work with your data," Kawahara said.
"Thank you, Kawahara!" I grinned. "Can I ask why are you helping us?"
"Because this is an interesting phenomenon; supernatural I would say," she responded.
Did she just call us a phenomenon again? I thought.
"And because it's fun," Kawahara added.
I understood her a bit better after that response. She wasn't just looking for a solution.
"Yeah, I think I understand," I laughed.
"It wouldn't be that fun if you were going through this," Araki-kun sharply said.
"Araki-kun…," I let out, worried. Even if I knew the reason he was acting like that, I couldn't help but think that was what he really thought about the situation.
"Ah, sorry again! I don't know why I'm reacting like this," he apologized and stood up to bow.
Kawahara and I looked at each other. She still had an emotionless expression but I knew she realized what was happening. I nodded to confirm it.
She stood up and walked around the desk to approach Araki-kun.
"Araki Koji-san, I didn't introduce myself properly yesterday. My name is Kawahara Enko. I'm a third-year student in class B, the same class that Kozue Suzuka-san."
She extended her arm forward and Araki-kun, still bowing, saw her hand next to him. He then stared at Kawahara for a second.
"Nice to meet you, Kawahara-san," he greeted and shook her hand.
"Call me Kawahara."
"See? It may be weird that we swap bodies when we touch, but it can be fun, too!" I joyfully said to Araki-kun. "Also, why do you want people to call you only Kawahara?"
"Honorifics shouldn't be necessary, they only add more letters to articulate," she replied.
"But you call everyone by their full names," Araki-kun added.
"I do it on purpose to emphasize how unnecessary honorifics can be. Strangely, no one has called me out for it. Maybe I should reformulate my approach."
I doubt that's the problem, I thought.
"By the way, did you really go to the bathroom with my body?" Araki-kun asked me.
My heart skipped a beat. I thought he forgot!
"Oh, look at the t-time! Break is almost over!" I stuttered and ran for the door.
But Araki-kun grabbed my shoulder before I could escape.
"I'm sorry, okay? I swear I didn't see anything!" I confessed with my eyes closed. I was too embarrassed to see his face.
"It's fine," Araki-kun said and looked at the floor. "It's only logical these things will happen."
He was blushing. My body probably didn't help with that either. Also, was it weird to think I looked cute?
"And thank you for not seeing anything, I promise I will do the same," he added.
That means he hasn't seen anything, I thought, relieved.
"I feel weird for some reason," Araki told me. "It's as if I didn't know how I should feel. And my stomach—"
"Let's try our best to survive today! I'll see you after class!" I shouted and ran outside the laboratory even though the break was far from over. I didn't want to be the one to tell him the reason.
I turned at a corner to take the stairs back to the classroom and bumped into someone. I had already stopped running so it was only a little push.
"Sorry, I didn't see," I apologized.
"I wasn't looking where I was going either," he giggled.
"Oh, it's you—"
I stopped talking.
I almost reacted as if I knew him! I thought. I doubt Araki-kun has met him, he's in my class, after all. I'll wait to see if he knows me.
"It's fine," I corrected.
We walked away without saying more. I acted a bit cold, but that was how I thought of Araki-kun.
My foot suddenly slipped on the first step of the stairs and I grasped on the railing not to fall.
I looked down to see what I stepped on; a small origami. I picked it up and admired it for a second. It was very pretty but I sadly left a mark of the shoe on it.
Is it Tarō's? I wondered.
"Ta—Hey," I called him before he left.
I approached him and asked, "Is this yours?"
He saw the origami and quickly took it from my hand.
"A friend made it! Thanks!" he said and ran away.
He's always weird, I thought.
I stepped on the stairs again when someone called me.
I instantly recognized the voice but didn't want to believe it until I saw it. I turned around and saw Hisa and Rem staring at me.
You have to be kidding me, I thought. Wait, I can use this opportunity to see what they say about me when I'm not with them.
"Yes?" I replied.
Hisa walked towards me with her arms crossed and Rem followed her. They stared at me for a few seconds.
What are they doing? Trying to intimidate me? I wondered.
"What do you want with Su-chan?" Hisa asked me, straight to the point. Typical of her.
"What do I want?"
"You've been talking a lot with her these past two days."
"Yes, and you just met her," Rem added. I didn't expect her to join Hisa in something like this, it wasn't her style.
"You won't tell me you already like her, right?" Hisa questioned. She stared intently at me.
What is this pressure?! I thought.
I gulped and said, "I just want to talk to her."
"Oh, is that so? Excuse us then," she smiled. "But, don't get too full of yourself, we'll be watching you very closely."
"And don't think she'll like you just because you're rich. She's not like that," Rem added.
"See ya," Hisa kept smiling.
They walked past me and headed upstairs.
I finally could breathe again.
What's up with them?! I thought. I know they are trying to protect me, but this is too much!ns188.8.131.52da2