The classroom was buzzing with the voices of classmates, discussing their plans as Christmas approached, complaining about part-time jobs, and various other topics. However, something was bothering me.
I couldn’t shake off the heavy feeling from the dream I had yesterday. But I believed that it was something that could happen. Christmas… We had planned to spend it together. But should I prioritize everyone else? Would it be better if I were not around and allowed everyone to pursue their own romantic paths?
Normally, I wouldn’t agonize over such things. But after that dream, I couldn’t help but think about what might come next.
What if we defeated the demon race? What if we saved the world? Would our relationships come to an end? If we did, would I start walking a solitary path, just like in my dream?
Cold and lonely.
While everyone around me was getting excited about Christmas, I was trapped in these thoughts.
“What’s wrong, Moegi?”
“Eh? Ah, it’s nothing…”
“You seem down.”
“Yeah, well, actually… I’m a bit concerned about my skin condition!”
“But it looks fine to me.”
“Oh, really? I’m feeling better now!”
“…Are you sure there’s nothing bothering you?”
“There really isn’t.”
“Alright, if you say so.”
Karen-chan showed concern for me. Maybe it had been evident on my face. I needed to be careful. School was enjoyable, and coming home was fun. With these memories, I had enough. I didn’t need anything more.
“Alright, take your seats.”
Our female teacher entered the classroom, and the lesson began. I listened absentmindedly while she wrote on the board. The end of the school year was approaching, and the classroom felt colder than usual. Despite the warm air from the heaters, there was a lingering chill. Some students had blankets over their laps. Was it because of that?
Without thinking, I gazed out the window, and white snowflakes began to fall from the cloudy sky.
“Uwaa, it’s snowing. It’s cold, and I’m afraid to drive tomorrow morning.”
Some students responded to the teacher’s words.
“Is it because you’re single?”
“Hey, don’t jinx our grades!”
“Did you get a boyfriend this year?”
“What’s it like being alone?”
“Well, to sum it up, it’s lonely. That’s why I like having the TV on, even when it’s unnecessary.”
It sounded somewhat similar to the dream. Maybe I would turn on the TV to distract myself from loneliness.
I heard Fuyumi-chan’s voice from behind.
“Do you have some free time after school?”
“Do you want to go watch a movie?”
“…..That sounds nice. I’d like to go too.”
I felt like I needed a change of mood. If I let my emotions show on my face, I would only make everyone worry.
“Alright, let’s do that then.”
She said that and returned to focusing on the lesson. Time passed quickly, and it was soon after school.
“Sorry, I’m going to watch a movie with Fuyumi-chan.”
“Alright, see you later.”
I told Karen-chan that I was going to the movies with her, and we headed to the cinema. It was snowing heavily, and my socks were getting a bit wet. It was chilly.
“Yeah, it’s cold. Our family has quite a resistance to cold, but this year feels exceptionally cold.”
“I agree. It does seem colder this year.”
When we arrived at the cinema, surprisingly, there were many people there, and I spotted a few couples on uniformed dates.
“Get lost, lovebirds…”
“Hey, they can hear us?!”
Her aversion to couples was truly something remarkable, and I thought that every time.
“What are we watching?”
“Well, I recommend one of the recent popular romantic comedies.”
“Okay, let’s go with that.”
While looking at the movie listings, we lined up to buy tickets, purchased some popcorn and drinks, and entered the theater showing the romantic comedy. The theater was filled with couples.
“Aren’t we out of place here?”
“No, it’s fine. We’ll need to be assertive, or we’ll feel even more out of place.”
Well, maybe it was better that our seats were on the edge. By the way, this movie was quite the topic of conversation, supposedly a romantic comedy with a happy ending after a series of misunderstandings.
Before the movie started, there was an announcement prohibiting any kind of recording or filming.
“I really like this part.”
Oh, I’ve seen this actor on TV before.
Such thoughts quickly vanished as the movie unfolded. The woman who couldn’t be honest gave up on her love after a series of misunderstandings, only to have a man come along and marry her when she least expected it. Honestly, I found it interesting. Even though I knew it was fiction, I still found myself emotionally invested.
After the movie ended, we left the theater, and she spoke to me as we walked.
“Well, that was quite enjoyable.”
“Yeah, it was.”
“…Did it help you change your mood?”
“Never mind. I just had a feeling your expression changed slightly. You know, women’s intuition and all. I guess everyone else can feel it to some extent.”
“I think you should be more open, Moegi.”
“You hate guys?”
“But I don’t think that has anything to do with it. Gender doesn’t matter. You fell for Fried horse mackerel-kun, and it just happened that he’s a guy.”
“I think you understand, right?”
While she was talking, she suddenly noticed something and stopped in her tracks.
“Well, I should go around here.”
“Yeah, bye-bye, baby. See you tomorrow.”
She ran and left. As I watched her, I also saw the scenery outside. I was surprised to see it. It was snowing so hard outside that I could almost call it a heavy snowfall. The size of each snowfall was different from what it was before I saw the movie.
“It’s a heavy snowfall…”
This was going to be challenging to get home in. My socks were undoubtedly soaked, and my head was wet. My body temperature was likely dropping, and I would be shivering soon. I needed to brush the snow off my head when I got home. The view outside overlapped with the scenery from my dream.
When I walked out of the movie theater, everything was pure white, and people were walking around. I saw some people covering their heads with their hands to keep them from getting wet, just like I was doing.
My heart skipped a beat when I heard that voice. It was him, holding an umbrella.
“Here, please take this umbrella!”
“Why are you here?”
“I heard from Karen-senpai that you went to the movies, and since it started snowing, I came to bring you an umbrella.”
“I see… Thank you.”
I accepted the umbrella from him, and we walked home together. It was endearing, and it overlapped with my dream. I felt that even this reality might one day become a fantasy, and tears welled up in the corners of my eyes.
“Is something bothering you?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Well, it’s just that I had a feeling that you seemed different today…”
“It’s nothing like that.”
He matched his pace and walking speed to mine. Even that made me happy and sad. This might become a fantasy…
I don’t want that. I don’t want it at all. Please notice. Say it from your own mouth. Hold my hand even if you have to force it.
“I thought I knew everything about you, Moegi-senpai… But I recently realized that I probably don’t. So, can you talk to me? I can’t bear to see you looking sad like this.”
“Please tell me. Anything, no matter how small or big, something I can do or can’t do.”
“I’m worried about you. I can’t stand to see you carry everything on your own. I’m being selfish, but I want you to smile and be with me, no matter what, even after we defeat the demons, even ten or a hundred years from now. Please tell me.”
In this snow-covered, completely white world, he and I faced each other. It was a world with nothing but pure white, and he looked straight at me. It was not a fantasy; it was reality. I was grateful that he was thinking about the future.
Tears fell from my eyes. I had tried to hide them, but it was impossible.
—I can’t hold back anymore, and there’s no turning back or hiding now.
My complex and scattered emotions converged into one, and I placed the umbrella on the ground as if throwing it away, then pulled him close.
“I… I love you! Kuroda Izayoi, I love you!”
He let go of the umbrella, and in the midst of the falling snow, our heads became covered in snowflakes. I held him tightly, waiting for his response.
“! Ah eh, I… I love you too.”
He seemed surprised, stumbled over his words, but when he looked into my eyes, he seemed to realize something and immediately said it.
“What do you mean by that?”
“I mean it as someone of the opposite sex, as a woman, as a friend, and as someone I deeply respect… I love you.”
Tears streamed down my face. Strangely, despite the heavy snow and the low temperature, it felt warm. I held onto him without moving for a while. I wanted this moment to last forever, to lose all sense of time.
In this place, we might be judged for our actions, but I didn’t care. For this moment, for this time, I wanted to be like this.
“Will you stay by my side, always?”
“I want to stay with you.”
“Not just me, but Kohaku-san, Karen-senpai, and Aoi-senpai, they all feel the same way.”
“I won’t abandon anyone. Neither will they, nor will I.”
As we walked back, we encountered a group of elementary school kids who pointed at us and started chattering, so I decided it might be best to stop hugging him in public.
“So… um, you like me, right?”
“And, well, you probably like everyone else too, right?”
“Yes. So I’ve been thinking, maybe I could date everyone… I’m sorry.”
It turned out he did like me. I wondered what he liked about me exactly.
“I’m sorry if this is too forward, but what is it about me that you like?”
“Oh, I guess… everything?”
“Well, it’s hard to say… but probably from the beginning, though it’s a bit embarrassing to admit… Recently, Aoi-senpai also showed interest in me, and I started thinking about my ideal partner…”
“Well, I was secretly thinking that I could go out with all of you …… Sorry …….”
“Oh, I see. ……”
D-Does that mean he was targeting me!? Ugh, I’m happy but… embarrassed.
And when he said he liked everything about me… did he mean both my heart and body?
I’m happy that he likes my heart, but having romantic feelings for my body… is that possible with me?
I’m taller than him, and my ch*st, well, it’s quite his type, right?
Or feet? I’m often told by Karen-chan that my bare legs are erotic. Huh? Wait a minute!
If he likes me physically , what happens next!? I’ve heard that guys want to do those things, especially him. He spends every day with those incredibly lovely girls, so he must be… pent up, right?
If I become his girlfriend, would that kind of thing happen!? Like, with my legs… intimate stuff!? Oh, but we’re not officially dating yet…
And what about the polygamy issue? In modern times, that’s not accepted. Multiple marriages are out of the question.
But even before that, would Kohaku-chan and the others accept polygamy!? No, she definitely wouldn’t!
Personally, I don’t mind being with him no matter what, and I enjoy being with everyone, so maybe I support it. But I can’t just openly suggest starting a harem, right?
“Um, Moegi-senpai, are you okay? You look like you’re in a hundred different emotions.”
“Okay, I see… Um, you don’t have any objections to being in a relationship with all of us?”
“I think it’s fine. I’m in favor, maybe?”
“Thank you so much!”
“Hey, don’t kneel down like that in public!!! Look, the neighbors are all watching!!!”
“Thank you so much… I’ll kneel down to the point of breaking my forehead bone!”
“Don’t do that, don’t smash your face into the ground!”
I quickly helped him up and stopped him from kneeling down.
I couldn’t help but laugh, unable to contain my happiness. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but I can’t help but feel happy knowing that I can walk this path with him.