I thought that doing things for someone else was meaningless.
I had a friend—or at least, that’s what I thought back then. Maybe it was just wishful thinking. But at that time, I genuinely believed that we were friends. So, when that person tried to sit down, I would pull the chair away and pretend to fall intentionally. When they spilled their lunch, I would try to stop them and clean up the mess they made on their uniform.
[This isn’t worth it. Please stop.]
I would intervene, try to prevent such incidents, and do my best. I protected them with all my might. I didn’t want gratitude or material rewards. I just treasured having a precious friend.
But because of that, the bullying was redirected towards me. The person I thought was my friend joined the bullies, and it became unbearable. My efforts were meaningless, and that person, who I thought was a friend, was just another stranger.
I began to think that doing something for someone else was all wrong.
Even acts of courage and self-sacrifice were all futile. Worthless, like garbage. I couldn’t trust anyone, couldn’t believe in anything. I felt invalidated in every way until I met him.
Talking to him, looking at his back, it felt like everything was being rewarded. My frozen heart began to thaw. What I had done wasn’t in vain, wasn’t garbage. He said the thing I wanted to hear the most.
It made me happy, incredibly happy.
And now, I felt guilty. I had started to want him. There had been times when I thought the harem option was a good idea. But the moment I sensed the possibility of him being taken away by everyone, I was terrified.
Now, I’m here with him.
We share the same bed. Last night, we held each other closely, not in a weird way, but simply cuddling. I fell asleep like that, leaning on him.
He didn’t say a word about everyone else. No, I didn’t let him.
Everyone… Aoi-senpai, Moegi-senpai, Karen-senpai. I feel genuinely sorry for them. They must resent me. I ruined the fact that we both had feelings for him.
I couldn’t trust those people completely. I didn’t have the strength to believe. Despite spending such fun times together, relying on each other as underclassmen, having each other’s backs in battles, I couldn’t trust them. I couldn’t let go of the possibility of being betrayed again.
I feel strongly that I’m flawed. I have rejected the idea of believing. I’ve rejected it, I’m afraid, and I still haven’t overcome it.
But if I could overcome it…
No, it’s too late. I have no reason, no right, no meaning for thinking such things when I’ve already thrown everything away.
I got up from the bed and started making breakfast.
I’ve been thinking for a long time. What should I do? What is the right course of action?
I’m sure she has been thinking about everyone too. Without a doubt, Aoi-senpai, Moegi-senpai, and Karen-senpai are important to her. So, convincing her isn’t something I can take lightly.
She said she would let go. I wonder if she genuinely means it, if it’s a lie, or if she’s saying it unconsciously while feeling something else deep down.
But deep down, I think she can’t really let go. Maybe that’s just what I want to believe. I pushed her into this situation. Should I burden her any further?
Should it be just the two of us, or should it involve everyone else?
But either way, I know things can’t stay the way they are. I need to get to know her better. Understand what she’s feeling, what’s going through her mind, and how much anxiety she’s been dealing with. We need to talk openly and move forward.
We can’t stay like this forever.
For the first time, I’m filled with uncertainty about my actions. Is it right or wrong? Is it for her benefit or just my selfishness?
I’m filled with anxiety, but… I need to talk to her.
I was making breakfast when suddenly, Izayoi-kun approached me with a determined, no, anxious look in his eyes.
He said he wanted to talk a bit, so we both sat down on the bed.
“Uhm, I’m sorry for bringing this up out of the blue”
I thought it might be about everyone again. I knew he couldn’t forget about them completely. So, I couldn’t bring myself to say it. I avoided it. I didn’t want to show him any more of my ugly side.
It might already be too late, but I still didn’t want to show him. But I couldn’t stop the negative emotions from showing on my face and in my demeanor.
He’s sensitive, so he must have noticed. But I couldn’t stop.
“Tell me about yourself,”
He looked into my eyes and said. I felt relieved that he wasn’t referring to everyone.
“Um, I’m Gindou Kohaku. I’m sixteen years old. My favorite food is parfait, but I don’t really hate anything…”
As he asked, I started to talk about myself, starting with things he probably already knew. When I had talked about some things, he interrupted.
“Tell me about your dissatisfaction with me. Please speak your mind without holding back, from the bottom of your heart.”
“From the bottom of my heart?”
“Yes… Even about everyone…”
I had always considered those words taboo for my unstable self. I thought it would be better not to say them, so I had been suppressing them. But, unable to contain myself, I spoke.
“I’ve been anxious all along… Izayoi-kun, you prioritize everyone else over me. I’m happy that you care about me, but I’ve always worried that one day, because of everyone, you’ll abandon me.”
He remained silent.
“I like everyone too… Aoi-senpai, Moegi-senpai, Karen-senpai… But I probably can’t trust myself. The thought that even they might betray me is ingrained in my mind. Someday, if it turns into a harem, and the three of them betray me, I’ll start hating them, and you will leave me. I was terrified, so scared it was unbearable.”
“This spiraled out of control, and I couldn’t stop it… I can’t imagine a life without you. I know it’s because I’m abnormal, foolish, and cowardly. But without you by my side, I can’t live…”
…I said it. I admitted that I was abnormal. He probably already understood from my actions. But saying it out loud brought a different kind of fear. What if he started to dislike me? What if he thought of me as a burden, a woman too heavy to bear, and never wanted to see me again? Terrified, I clung to him.
“Please, don’t leave me… I’ll do anything… Anything at all. I’ll do anything, even if it’s something intimate. I won’t make you work, I’ll cook delicious meals every day. If they’re not good, I’ll make them again. So, please, please, don’t leave me…”
I didn’t even understand myself. I didn’t know what was what anymore. I just wanted to say what I wanted to say and do what I wanted to do. I knew I was being selfish, but I couldn’t fight the fear.
I had buried myself in his chest. I had expected to see fear, disgust, mockery, hatred, or contempt on his face. I knew what I had done, what I had said.
But… it was different. He didn’t wear any of those expressions; instead, he was just crying. It must have been his frustration and vulnerability. Tears welled up in his eyes.
For the first time, I saw his vulnerability. I had seen him cry before, but this was the first time I had seen his weakness.
“I’m sorry… I pushed you into this. I always thought about everyone’s happiness and acted according to my convenience. I hurt you with my half-hearted efforts.”
He squeezed me tighter. I felt like he was telling me he wouldn’t let me go.
“I can’t keep hurting you like this, and I need to make you happy and put your mind at ease right away… But I can’t abandon everyone. You care about me so much, and yet I’ve pushed you to the brink… I’m trash, utterly hopeless, and a fool…”
He cried. His hands were trembling, and his body shook. He was self-deprecating and overwhelmed by his own vulnerability. Still, he continued to hold onto me.
“I’m really sorry… But I can’t live without you either. Both you and everyone else are so important to me that they’re immeasurable. I can’t let go, and I don’t want to let go.”
He held me so tightly that it hurt. I felt he was just like me. He showed me a side of himself he didn’t want to reveal. He couldn’t forget about everyone. But I didn’t want to let go either. I wanted everything from him, and nothing less would satisfy me.
He was greedy. He was selfish. Just like me.
“I promise you won’t regret this. I’ll make you so happy that you’ll be satisfied with your life, even when you grow old and die. Please, give your life to me, Gindou Kohaku.”
And he was cunning. With those words, there was nothing more I could say. I thought I knew the depth of his love.
But I didn’t expect it to be this deep. I thought I was stronger. But his love… I realized it was stronger than mine.
His words carried a weight, as if he had harbored these feelings for years. It felt like he had held onto immense emotions, and now, those emotions enveloped me.
He wouldn’t let go of me. And I wouldn’t let go of him.
I thought it was an abnormal relationship. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel that it was okay.
“Yes… I will dedicate my life to you.”
I didn’t know if it was the right or wrong answer, but it felt right to me.