Reality Check

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"What's it gonna take for you to leave our friend group?"

You deflated a little at her question. You had been hoping against hope that Oshiro coming here meant she was interested in you, wanted to get to know you. All the player character had to do to warrant her attention was start the route of one of her friends. You'd befriended all her friends and this was the first time she so much as approached you.

"The world on a string," you answered, deadpan.

"Be serious."

You were serious. You wanted to be happy and confident that everything would work out in your favor. You wanted to feel like you had control over the situation by the time the main character appeared on the scene.

When you refused to elaborate, she huffed a short sigh and ran her fingers through the tuff of long hair atop her head. "Listen, whatever you want from Minoru -cash, popularity, I don't know- isn't worth your life."

"What do you mean? Is she dangerous?" You knew she was, but you wanted to hear the words from her mouth. She came here to talk and you were interested in what she had to say.

"Yes," she said simply in a hushed tone. She stared at you for a long moment, her eyes digging into you like needles. "I waited for a while, hoping you would mess up and Minoru would drop you, but you keep pushing all the right buttons. So I tried running you off, but you just won't stay away."

Attempting to drown someone in a fountain certainly was one way of warning them to stay away, you thought, just barely holding in a snort. You didn't want to make this girl mad. Or madder. There was always some sort of rage simmering just below the surface with Oshiro.

"Now you're all buddy-buddy with Hinata and Kimiko, and I'm worried if you don't leave now, you'll never be free." It was hard to imagine her worried about you. That was a good sign, right? However, her feeling the need to step into your relationship with Minoru was not.

"How?" You asked and, when she just furrowed her brow at you, asked again, "How is she dangerous?"

"I've known Minoru since we were in diapers. She's controlling." That was true. She had control over the whole school. But it always seemed like she wanted more. "She wants a hand in everything that happens in your life. She wants you completely dependent on her. She did it with me, she did it with Hinata and Kimiko, and now she's doing it with you..."

"Hinata? Kimiko?" This was news to you. The game never went into the relationships between the girls, just their relationship with you, the player.

"Yeah... It's all my fault. Both of them. That's why I'm not gonna let you walk into the lion's den without some sort of warning." Oshiro paused and looked down at her hands as if they were covered in blood. For all you knew, they could be.

"I know I'm a bully now, but I was ten times as bad in middle school. I did things I'm not proud of, made Hinata cry almost every day. One day she just couldn't take it anymore and decided to jump off the roof of the school. Luckily she landed on her feet. Although I'm not sure you can call compound fractures in both legs lucky. It's a miracle she's able to walk."

"And you claim you're not a monster?" You spat, suddenly incensed on behalf of your friend. You felt sick to your stomach just thinking about what Hinata must have gone through to put her in such dire straits. No wonder she was such a nervous wreck. "How could you do that to Hinata? How can you continue to pick on her after what you did?"

"Hey, I was just a dumb kid. I didn't know my actions would have those kinds of consequences!" She hissed in return before putting her head in her hands. "I'm only hard on her now because I want her to grow a spine! If she can stand up to me, she can stand up to Minoru."

Then Oshiro started pressing on her eyeballs, hard, with the heels of her hands to keep from crying. You knew that trick because you used it in the past.

"What about Kimiko?" You asked. You almost didn't want to know.

"After Minoru took Hinata under her wing... I thought I was free. As fucked up as it sounds, I thought I had paid back my debt to her by... Giving her Hinata, in a way. I started making other friends. Kimiko was my first girl friend. She wasn't like the other girls. She didn't take insults or blows lying down. She fought back. I still have scars from all our schoolyard dust-ups."

"So what changed?"

"Minoru did. She started taking an interest in Kimiko. She would watch us fight and then swoop in to patch us up with her little first aid kit. I was too willful. I wouldn't let her play nurse with me. But Kimiko liked the attention." That sounded like Kimiko alright.

Oshiro scowled at nothing and no one. "Suddenly Kimiko went from my friend to our friend. Then, as we got older, Minoru started switching out her tried and true bottle of Children's Ibuprofen with stronger, more addictive 'medicines.'"

Understanding struck you, far too late.

"I think... I think Minoru drugged me."

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