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Her Reflection

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Hinako sat up from her mattress. It was the weekend,so she didn’t have to go to school. It was raining heavily,so she didn’t have to go anywhere. Not until afternoon,anyway.

 

As she sat up,she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the window.

 

Blonde hair,one eye blue,and one eye amber.

 

Ever since she became a Reflector,she always saw her magical self in mirrors.

 

Always in that flowy pink dress,with the bright blue sword on her back. When she was in her school uniform. When she was in her pyjamas. When she…wasn’t wearing either of those things.

 

She didn’t particularly mind. She didn’t bring it up to Yuzu or Lime,either. They were Reflectors longer than she’d been,so they’d have noticed that fact already,right?

 

None of her friends,even the ones with rings,seemed to notice that,however. Hinako saw no real need to bring that up.

 

It made it a bit harder to get dressed,but at least she wasn’t the type to do makeup in any real detail.

 

Hinako chuckled at that thought.

 

Reflector…reflection. She supposed it made sense.

 

She stood up,careful as always to put weight on her left leg. Standing on the balls of her feet,she walked gingerly,rhythmically to the bathroom,the sound of rain accompanying her little performance.

 

Washed her face.

 

Brushed her teeth.

 

Gave her other self a little smile in the mirror.

 

She dried her face off and walked back to her room,sitting cross-legged in front of her cabinet. She pulled the lowest one open,pulling out a pill box from atop a stack of other miscellaneous items. She learned pretty quick that she had to use one of these,or else her absent-minded self would end up missing days.

 

Gently,she opened today’s compartment with a snap,emptying its contents into her palm.

 

Two little orange tablets.

 

She swallowed these.

 

And one little blue tablet.

 

She left this under her tongue to dissolve slowly.

 

The pills…they made things so much better.

 

They made so many parts of her body better.

 

Except…except

 

Idly,her hand reached down,brushing over her right knee.

 

 

Sighing,she tossed the pill box back into the drawer with a clatter.

 

Just as she was about to get up,her gaze fell on something else,at the bottom of the drawer.

 

A small photo frame...

 

Hinako picked it up,turning it over.

 

Slotted inside was a photo of Hinako with…

 

With…

 

She couldn’t remember her name any more. A friend from the ballet school…

 

They had to have been friends,right? Who prints and frames a photo with a complete stranger?

 

She had to have been from the ballet school,right? Hinako didn’t really socialize outside of it…

 

Try as she might,she couldn’t remember who this girl was.

 

But…she noticed another detail.

 

With the morning light shining through the window at this angle…Hinako could see her reflection (her Reflection?) in the photo frame.

 

Carefully,she turned it an an angle.

 

It almost looked like her magical self was superimposed over her regular self,from a year ago.

 

Her…magical self.

 

The one who was tall.

 

The one who was actually pretty.

 

The one who could run.

 

Who could fight.

 

Who could dance.

 

In a fit of pique,her palms pressed against the back of the photo frame. Her thumbs pressed hard against the front,almost as though she was trying to choke the life out of someone she absolutely,irrevocably hated.

 

Harder.

 

Harder.

 

Harder-

 

Crack.

 

The glass shattered under the force,a spiderweb pattern centered on her left thumb.

 

The glass had broken finely enough that the photo under it was barely visible.

 

And it definitely was in no shape to be reflecting anything any more.

 

Hinako blinked.

 

She gave a low hiss,finally setting the broken frame down to look at the oozing cut on her left thumb.

 

Carefully,she put her thumb in her mouth,sucking out the blood. She should have been thinking about embedded shards,but she wasn’t.

 

Silently,she opened another drawer,pulling out a bandage which she neatly applied to her wound. Not bothering to stand up,but still carefully applying her weight,she crawled over to her bag,pulling out her notebook to tear a page out of it.

 

Crawling back to her cabinet,she emptied the glass shards into the paper,bunching it up before unceremoniously dropping it into her wastepaper basket,alongside the bent metal frame,and the photo within.

 

Hinako arched her back,stretching out her muscles and letting out a contented sigh like nothing had happened. Standing once more,she picked up her phone off her desk,turning on the screen.

 

No messages or blog posts,not at this hour in the morning. But the sight of her wallpaper,a selfie with Shihori and Sarasa,elicited another smile from her.

 

Sure,the bonds between people were what gave a Reflector her strength. And sure,she did spend time with all her friends…but she found herself hanging out with both of them the most.

 

Shihori,so beautiful,so friendly,so supportive.

 

Sarasa,so graceful,so talented,so driven. And when she was embarrassed…she looked really cute,too.

 

They were everything Hinako wanted.

 

They were everything Hinako wanted to be.

 

Shaking her head to clear out those errant thoughts,Hinako began idly flipping through the menus of her phone,stopping on the Dark Cave icon.

 

It was fun the first couple of times,but it started getting repetitive…

 

Hinako pursed her lips.

 

Her right thumb pressed firmly on the icon.

 

Her right thumb pressed “yes” on the confirmation prompt to delete it.

 

By now,the tablet had dissolved. Time for breakfast.

 

Hinako walked downstairs. As always,her mother wasn’t around. Now that she thought of it,she’d never seen any of her friends’ parents either. Except like,Ako’s dad…

 

But she was used to that. Her mom,at least.

 

She made herself a mug of tea,and opened the fridge,taking out a walnut bread that she got from the school store.

 

She sat down at the table,still with her phone in hand.

 

The rain had already settled down.

 

Hinako took a bite of the bread.

 

A sip of the hot tea.

 

With only a moment’s deliberation,she opened up Table Chat.

 

Shihori-chan,Sarasa-chan,wanna go shopping today?