Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
A few days have passed since the place next to Hinata became vacant, and Ichinose still constantly visits the neighboring class to see her boyfriend.
I noticed him becoming more depressed by the day. He’d zone out more and more, and just wouldn’t concentrate on the classes at all. He would either follow Ichinose with his gaze as she left for another or quietly look out the window.
—And I was waiting. all to make sure I wouldn’t miss the opportunity.
Soon after that, the time had finally come. Hinata skipped class for the first time. Despite it being Study Camp, he didn’t move from his seat, and all of our classmates left without paying any heed. Meanwhile, I left the classroom and hid to find out what he’d do.
A bit of time later, he dazedly left and made his way to the rooftop, laying down on his back all alone. Since classes were currently happening, no one would come to the rooftop.
It’s now or never.
“…? Ah, Kuraki-san?”
“Quite unusual, isn’t it? You’ve always been so serious.”
Hinata, who didn’t expect anyone to appear, scurried himself off the ground as soon as I sat down next to him. He’s quite panicked, but he still takes the lead in the conversation.
“K, Kuraki-san?! What’s wrong? Classes are going on right now.”
“I know, I’m skipping too. Calm down, I won’t tattle you.”
“O, okay. Sorry. Do you come here often?”
“Well, yeah. It’s nice and quiet during classes, isn’t it?”
I’m gonna let him calm down then we’ll talk about it, which is the last thing he wants to do given his situation. He’s surely holding it all inside, his feelings and frustrations, which isn’t a good thing to do.
That’s why you should let your sadness go right here, and finally get your closure. Otherwise, you won’t be able to move on. I want you to come to me, Hinata.
“You’re not feeling well these days,” I started.
“Hmm?! No that’s not… true.”
“It’s Ichinose, isn’t it?”
His body quivered when I hit the nail on the head.
“It’s a shock, isn’t it? Her having a boyfriend, I mean,” I continued.
“…Haah, am I so readable?”
“Well, you’ve been like that for a while now.”
“I figured no one cared, haha, ha…”
He tried to put on a strong smile, but it was so sad it could break at any moment. I’m sure he’s trying to fight back the urge to let it out, all so he doesn’t bother me, a person he has nothing to do with. Hinata is kind, even at a time like this.
I can understand what he’s feeling well having watched him for a long time, so that’s why…
“It’s okay, just let it out. You’ll never get relief if you keep bottling it up,” these words came from the depths of my heart, and I wanted to break his shell, to make him understand that it was okay to rely on me.
“We… we’ve been together for so long, I thought we’d stay like that forever.”
“So, when she suddenly up and left my life, I felt lost. I don’t know what to do…”
“I, I’ve been—hic—together with you for so much longer… hic… I thought forever… hic… I… I…”
He cried and cried while cuddling up to me. It broke my heart to see his eyes bleed tears like that… But this is the end. As soon as he stops crying, she’ll have left his heart, and no one will disturb our world anymore. I ran my fingers through his hair as he looks down, tears kissing the floor.
I wonder what kind of expression I made back then. Regardless, I’m sure it wouldn’t do good to show him.
“—Thank you, Kuraki-san. I feel like I’m a new man.”
“You’re welcome to visit anytime, fellow skipper.”
“Ahaha, that’s right. Oh, but I want to properly give my thanks, so, do you have anything you’d like?” I offered.
“Anything I’d like, hmm~?”
“What do you want me to do~? Anything’s fine!”
“Well then, first things first, nice to meet ’cha!”
“Same here. Since Suzuka started dating, I’ve been practically a recluse. I appreciate it.”
“Then we can be friends. Two loner friends.”
“Ha-ha, that’s nice! I’ve made a new reassuring friend, hmm. It’s so relaxing to be with someone.”
When his eyes meet mine along with his words, I feel a strong sense of serenity and trust toward me. It seems I’ve firmly lodged myself into his heart, so I might be able to ask him about it now.
“Then, can I call you by your first name?” I asked as naturally as I could while trying my hardest not to ruin my image, all to keep a chill and mature impression.
“Of course! Hehe, I’m looking forward to hanging out with you from now on!” He gave me an ear-to-ear grin as he answered.
He’s smiling next to me… This isn’t a dream, this is real… The place where I currently stand is the one I’ve dreamed of for years and years. There was no spot by his side up until now. Someone was already there before me, Suzuka Ichinose, but she gave it up for another.
So now this place belongs to me.
T/N: Next chapter is the last one!
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