[Bokushinu V3] CUT 5 – Tomorrow I will die, you will revive

“Let’s unravel the mystery around Sakamoto! In this corner, Hikari-chan here will reveal all of Sakamoto’s secrets!”

In this autumn morning, while I longed for the futon.

Is it snowing? It was so cold, one might be wondering. On this day, I was awoken by the cellphone alarm, and it caused me to remember the part. It has been a while. Is it the second time?

“Now then, let’s begin! Why’s Sakamoto so tall? Most likely, it’s because of that, the same reason as to why giraffes reach their necks out to eat the tall leaves, he grew tall because he’s trying to looking at the cleavage of women from high above! As to be expected of you, Sakamoto!”

“What kind of evolution is this?”

I retorted with a grimace, and continued waiting for the rest of the alarm.

“That’ll be all for today! See you!”

“…”

Hikari Yumesaki finished her words. But if my guess was correct.

“…You aren’t listening, right?”

I guessed. I knew she would leave a message like before. Just as expected.

“…Yep. Not listening.”

She cleared her throat with a little cough. Now then, what kind of message will she leave behind?

“…”

“…”

“Sakamoto.”

It’s here–

“………………………………………..What are you hoping for LOLOLOLOLOL? fufufuLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.”

–Ack.

……Dammit. She got me.

“Always doing such stupid things.”

After this idiotic procession, I finally got out from my bed. Whatever, this day wasn’t for staying in bed. Two days ago, I received a message.

“I’ll tell you where the Atelier diary is hidden! Look at the attached map. By Hayato.”

Hayato and I had a meeting during the five shared minutes we had. Two days later, he sent a message to me, so that Hikari Yumesaki would not realize. I wanted to find the magazine immediately, but it was too far away, so II could only wait until the rest day.

“Alright, let’s go after breakfast.”

Saying that, I quickly finished my breakfast, and left home.

I continued on under the clear, freezing blue sky. I followed the map, took the trains and bus, and after five hours of travel, I finally arrived at a dump located in the dumps–right, it’s that Atelier. Dried leaves covered the place, and it was as though time stood still in this world. I proceeded to dig up the thing buried in there.

“This is…the Atelier’s diary.”

The diary hidden in the rusted iron box was so brittle, just flipping the pages might cause them to be ripped off. As rumored, this contained the exchange diary of the two girls. And–

“‘Two days ago, the soul of the other me had left this world. As per her wishes, we recovered all the secrets we know of, for those who were to share the same fate as us’–is that so?”

The dates were already too dirtied to be seen, but recorded on it was clearly the information I wanted.

And so I continued reading the diary entry. Again and again, wanting not to miss out on any word.

“I see.”

After a long while, I put down the diary, and then–

“…Right, I’ve decided.”

—————————–

“So, at the place I died, on the four hundred and forty fourth day–?”

The opening of the diary entry this day contained such a line.

Two days ago, I took the diary in the Atelier, and recorded everything I found in it on the notebook. I wanted to bring it back, but I had a feeling that I should put it back there, so I hid it in a place only I knew of.

Hm, so, I wrote a long~ long entry in the journal,

  1. A body can’t have two souls living in it forever, so the soul living inside will become unsuited, and will vanish. The amount of time the soul living in the body shows up will continue to decrease, five minutes at first, and then thirty, and then, the time reduced would be regular. Four hundred and forty four days after the death, the soul living in the body would vanish forever.
  2. There was only one way to prevent the soul living in the body from vanishing. That would be to negotiate with what they called the god of death. This would allow the soul living in the body to remain with the host. But in such a situation, the soul of the original host–would be erased at the moment of the negotiation.
  3. The way to negotiate: four hundred and forty four days after the death, return to the place of death. That would be the only chance to negotiate with the death god.

Your day of day is the Eighth of April. Four hundred and forty four days later, so the X day will be June 25th next day. On that day, we’ll go to negotiate with the death god at the crossing you died at. During that one negotiation we have, we’ll have to choose who gets to live.

First off, if we choose that I get to live, just go to the crossing on June 25th, and negotiate with the death god, saying ‘Akitsuki Sakamoto will live’, and that’ll do. After that, your soul will vanish, and I’ll get my lifespan back.

Next, if we choose that you get to live, on the same day, we go negotiate, and tell the death god ‘Hikari Yumesaki will live’. Once the negotiation succeeds, my soul will vanish, and the body will be yours.

Anyway, next year, on June 25th, either you or I will have to vanish.

…That’s all.

I wrote the message with as much detail as possible, so that the idiot would be able to understand.

And her response was basically,

“Sorry. I’ll like to think over this for a while.”

It was a short message. However, it was reasonable. Even I was hesitant if I should write it down when I knew of the facts. In fact, this was not an issue that could be set aside.

Hayato and Chiaki had already come to the conclusion that Hayato would vanish. Hayato never told Chiaki when he would vanish, but the latter said that it did not matter. If she had known of the actual date, she would have lost it. Thus, they decided to continue spending whatever remaining time they had left like usual, until the day it happened. With that, there was nothing I could do, except to watch them spend their remaining time.

“So what will the end result be…?”

I had a look at the diary. It was Friday, already in the middle of December. Soon after, winter break would arrive.

The remaining time continued ticking towards the end.

————-

“Nn…”

That day, the moment I woke up, the first thought I had was that it was freezing.

“Have you woken up?”

The blanket was moving. Ah, Yukiko? Why are you in my futon?

“You can sleep for a while longer.”

The voice echoed in my brain, dulled from all that sleep. Okay then, I’ll just continue to sleep for a little while more. But why enter my futon? Well, it’s warm to be hugged, so I’ll let her.

“So warm…nice smell…”

Oi oi, we’re siblings, but don’t cling onto me that much. Also, get rid of ‘that part’. ‘It’s not nice smell’, but ‘smells good’ here, right?

“Again…just one more time…”

Speaking of which, what’s with this strange sound? The pitch should be a little higher than usual–

–Chu.

“Wooooaaahhhhhhhhh!!??”

Eh, what!? What was that about? Something indescribable just touched my lips?

“–Ack, Kinoshita!?”

“Ehehe. Good morning, bro

But that was not all that shocked me.

“–Hey, Kazeshiro!? Why are we sleeping in the same room!?”

“What…you’re making a ruckus so early in the morning, Sakamoto.”

And there was something more shocking.

“–Hey mohawk!? Why are you here!?”

“P-please don’t worry!! I did not see bro getting XXX by Kinoshita since morning!!”

W-wait a sec. Wh-what’s going on here? And also, I just realized. Where’s this place? Why did it seem like I was in a big hotel room or something?

But one confusing thing continued after another. This time, it the sound of the door being opened, probably a fusuma–

“Brother, hurry up and wake up–fuuee!? Wh-wh-what are you half naked in the futon with Kaoru!? Has it come!? Has it come now!?”

THis time, it was Yukiko’s turn to show up, her drool dripping onto the floor.

“W-wait! Where am I!? What’s going on here!?”

But the confusion situation compounded. Following Yukiko, the girls continued to deliver knockouts.

“…Sakamoto. I never thought you would have such fetishes…”

“Oh deary me, you look happy there, senpai. This Misaki really is an idiot for having hopes about you.”

“Ka-Kasumi-chan…? Misaki-chan too…!?”

My brain was about to explode, but the one reliable guy present, Kazeshiro seemed to have realized my confusion.

“Ah, Sakamoto, calm down. There’s a reason for this.”

Those words, together with that lethargic face of his, caused me to understand everything. Ah, so that was the case…

“Hikari Yumesaki, huh…”

 

“Good morning Sakamoto! We’re off for a three day two night skiing trip! I called everyone in out of a sudden, but everyone quickly gathered! You’re really so popular here, Sakamoto!”

Such a ridiculous line was written in the journal stashed with my belongings.

“Yesterday morning, Hikari suddenly asked us out for a skiing trip. I didn’t expect her to book a hotel at this time. We set off in the afternoon, arrived at night, skied around for a little while, and stayed for the night–that’s how it went.”

Kazeshiro and I quickly had our breakfast, and we slipped out, making sure we knew what was going on in the conversation. Goodness, that Hikari Yumesaki. I thought she was brooding over the Atelier. Why did she suddenly came out to travel?

“…Nothing happened last night, right?”

“That’s impossible. We had fun skiing, but after that.”

So it did happen huh? I was already feeling very angsty seeing how she went out travelling with this bunch of weirdos. Looking at Kazeshiro’s face however, it appeared it was really bad.

“There was a huge ruckus large night. Hikari proposed that we play the King’s Game.

So, the night after the travel X a bunch of hopeless companions X King’s Game X Hikari Yumesaki. What’s with this fiendish equation?

“It was crazy. Hikari became king a few times, had Sanada and Koudera kiss her on the lips, had Mohawk jump into the snow in his underwear, and had Kinoshita say the name of the one he likes, which ended up causing your little sister collapse on the floor in a nosebleed…”

Ooohh…well, that’s a tragedy…

“And when Hikari was king, she had a round of strip rock-paper scissors with the girls. She was godlike when she kept winning over and over again, and had them strip. You should apologize to them.”

“What the hell did that idiot do…”

Damn it. I’m jealous. Speaking of which, what’s with her doing that with all the guys around?

“Kazeshiro, you didn’t see Kasumi and Misaki strip, did you?”

“I have no interest in any females other than Hikari.”

Ah, I see…

“And then, it was troublesome when we had to sleep. Kinoshita wanted to attack Hikari at night, so I defended for the entire night. I was trying to hold back from attacking her myself.”

Good job Kazeshiro. I’ll just pretend not to hear the dangerous words you said.

“I kept waiting until you switched with Hikari; it was tiring. After that, I just let Kinoshita do whatever he wanted. That was really amazing. I’m amazed you didn’t get woken up like that. Haha.”

This isn’t funny at all! Secure my innocence until the very end, man!

“Dammit…that’s why I hate to travel…”

Just to note, I guess Hikari Yumesaki was rather happy last night; in the journal she brought along, she drew the scenes of them playing strip rock-paper-scissors and them looking angry as they kissed her. But–

“…”

I remembered something similar to this sudden trip happened back in the summer. I knew what this point.

The journal in the Atelier presented a painful choice before us. This trip was definitely for the same purpose as before, to wipe out the uneasiness, and escape from reality. Otherwise, it could be to finish any unfulfilled wishes–

“Kazeshiro.”

“Hm?”

I said to the guy before me.

“Did Hikari Yumesaki…sat anything after that?”

“…Nope.”

I told Kazeshiro about the Atelier. It’s amazing that he could continue being with us as per usual, but actually, he probably did not feel at ease at all.

“Sakamoto.”

But he definitely understood what we were going through.

He understood my thoughts, he understood Hikari Yumesaki’s thoughts, he understood–

“No matter the outcome, I’ll choose the future you two will decide.”

“…Okat.”

The future Hikari Yumesaki wanted to choose.

 

“Watch out!”

In the afternoon, we arrived at the ski slope,

“A-are you alright, Kasumi?”

I asked Kasumi from below, as she had collapsed upon me.

The weather at the ski slope was clear. The blue sky and white snow glittered, and looked really dazzling. The songs that would typically play near the elevator in the winter was echoing happily.

“So-sorry about that, Sakamoto. I-I’m terrible at skiing…”

Oh really? I saw you catching up to me at a really fast speed, and stumble around as you knocked me down, or that’s just me. Whenever you tripped over, your amazing breasts would press on my face; I guess that’s definitely a coincidence.

“B-but, you’re skiing fine today, Sakamoto…”

“Ah, yeah.”

“Yesterday, you were going ‘woah, I can’t stop! We’re gonna crash!’, and you knocked me down so many times…tch.”

!? Did I just hear her click her tongue, or was it just me!?

“Hahaha…”

Anyway, the three of us, meaning Kasumi, Misaki and I were skiing together. Yukiko seemed terrified of the lift, and was playing around in the snow with Kinoshita. “The mountains are calling for me.” Kazeshiro said that, went to the expert areas, and did not return. As for mohawk, probably assaulted with snowballs by the elementary school girls there, and soon vanished before I knew it. I saw a large snowman with a mohawk in the corner of the ski slope, but it was probably just me, right.

Misaki should be around just a moment back, but she vanished. Kasumi seemed to have knocked someone aside when she skied down, so I guess Misaki’s disappearance had something to do with that.

“Hey, hey, Sakamoto…are we going to play…the King’s Game again today?”

While I was leisurely skiing and having such wild thoughts, Kasumi suddenly asked.

“You were so bold…yesterday, you were saying ‘if 1 is a girl, then put the ice in the mouth and serve it to the king’s mouth! For boys, do something shocking! For mohawk, jump into the snow in your undies!’…”

“No, that’s…”

“And then, you went ‘if 2 is a girl, sleep with the king in a futon! If a guy, mime something! Mohawk, jump into the snow in your undies!’…”

“Erm, this…”

“And then, you said, ‘if 3 is a girl, step on the king barefoot! If a guy, confess to the one you like! Mohawk, jump into the snow in your undies!’…” If only I was 3…”

He’ll die! Mohawk will die! Also, what did you just say!?

The terror from last night caused me to shiver, and at this point, Kasumi was being so excited that she could not stop. She continued,

“So-so, I’ll secretly tell you what number I drew, Sakamoto. If you become King…I’ll do anything you ask me to do…”

“…Eh.”

That meant…

“I want to repay you…until you let me like you…”

Following that was an unbearable silence. In such an atmosphere, we skied down the snow slope. I was worrying about what to say as I reached the elevator.

“Sakamoto…”

The presence around Kasumi changed.

“I…have something I want to tell you again…”

“Eh…”

Her face was blushing, her lips quivering as she stammered. Her anxious eyes caused my heart to itch

And so, at the highest point of the elevator, it seemed Kasumi made up her mind, her warm, moist eyes were staring at me–

“Sakamoto! What I feel about you is–“

“Now then, senpai! Take the lift with Misaki! Ah, please move aside.”

Thud!

“Ah…!”

Kasumi let out a squeal.

Knocking aside Kasumi before the elevator arrived, and arriving before my eyes was–

“Goodness, upperclassman Sanada, that was dangerous. Please take the next ride.”

It was Misaki. She took the cable car ride that had just arrived–and sat beside me. As for Kasumi, she could only give chase after us alone in the back seat.

“More importantly, aren’t you cold, senpai? Misaki shall lean over to you to provide warmth.”

“Eh, ah, erm…”

I had no right to refuse. Misaki’s body was clinging towards me, and the head covered in the knit cap filled with warmth was leaning on my shoulder. Not good, this is bad. There was a loud coughing sound of an old man from the cable car behind me. This lift’s going to be filled with blood.

“More importantly, senpai. Yesterday was intense. You actually said to play strip rock-paper scissors, and had Misaki strip to almost nothing. Please continue tonight. I am prepared now.”

Ugh…I can’t agree to that…

“So-sorry. I think I went overboard…having you do such a thing even with guys around.”

Anyway, better apologize for the idiocy yesterday. Misaki sighed, and seemed a little peeved as she said,

“…Well, please don’t mind. We stripped, but upperclassman Kazeshiro was just grinning stupidly away at you, senpai, and I’m starting to wondering if he’s gay. Kinoshita’s inching close to you, and I tell that he’s gay. As for that mohawk upperclassman, he passed out there. With so few people watching, I really wasted my efforts there.”

..Sorry.

“So, you’re going to have to repay me today, senpai.”

“Eh? Repay?”

Misaki gave a teasing smile, and said,

“Misaki shall whisper to you the number drawn later, and you can enjoy the Misaki you want for as much as you want, so please look forward to me.”

“Eh, wh-why this…”

“Misaki just had a talk with upperclassman Sanada, that we’ll tell each other our numbers. If senpai knows of Misaki’s number and chooses her number…you know the consequences.”

“Ugh…”

Not good. I could hear more coughing from the lift behind me…no matter the option, I’m going to die.

“Fufufu. Misaki’s looking forward to it.”

With this strange sense of dread, the lift continued up. I guessed it’s my psyche at work, as I felt the wind blowing by my face was icy too.

“I say, Misaki.”

Once I saw the drop off point, I subconsciously asked,

“Do you…like me?”

“Huh—-?”

Once I asked, I realized. Damn it. What did I just–

“No, sorry. It’s no–owowowow! My-my finger! Don’t twist it there!”

“Fufufufu. You really like to play with a girl’s heart. How about it? If your reply makes me unhappy, you can jump down from here.”

I’ll die! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

“No, erm…”

I remembered Kasumi’s blushing face from before.

I really wanted to know. I wanted to know how much everyone liked me…no, how much they liked her–

“Right, sorry. I didn’t say anything, so please don’t mind–“

“I do.”

“–!”

This unexpected reply caused me to widen my eyes.

The sudden thing wasn’t Misaki’s confession, but her pink lips–that touched mine.

“More than the one I admired.”

“…”

Seeing me lower my head with a flushed face, Misaki giggled.

“You seem to be really troubled, senpai.”

“Eh?”

“It was the same yesterday. You were having fun, but you seemed frustrated about something. Misaki can tell. Even so, you got the answer.”

“…Answer?”

“Didn’t you say so yourself? ‘It’s great to come out on a trip with everyone. Now I can finally make up my mind’. Misaki’s glad to be able to help you, senpai.”

I didn’t know what that idiot decided on the previous day.

But it seemed she got something, she got something from this trip with the ones she liked.

“Senpai.”

Misaki gave a cute smile, and said tenderly,

“Is this Misaki today the Misaki Koudera you want?”

“…Yeah. Thanks.”

Really, thanks. Thanks for liking…us

And after that, I got off the drop off with my body sizzling.

 

…Naturally, the demon lord that appeared from behind brought me a tragedy.

—————-

“…Brother.”

“Oh, Yukiko. Good morning.”

Two days later, the trip ended. Yukiko came to my room with a gloomy face. What’s wrong?

“There’s a fan letter for you…”

“Fan letter? Eh, from who?”

“From brother…”

“…”

Again with the bothersome things.

Recipient’s Akitsuki Sakamoto, sender’s Akitsuki Sakamoto. Most importantly, there’s the line ‘I like you ever since I first saw you! Please give me an autograph!’. Ugh…Yukiko’s stare has been pricking at me for quite a while…doesn’t this look like some pitiful lonely self-enactment? What was the me yesterday doing!?

“Goodness…hm?”

Then, I spotted a strange line at the bottom of the fan letter.

“D drive–>stored–>hidden.”

“This is…”

Skeptical, I quickly responded.

“D drive → Hidden anime folder → Hidden folder…huh?”

I immediately switched on my computer, and followed the instructions–found it.

When was this created? The hidden folder Hikari Yumesaki created had a little note inside there.

“Read this as you watch the TV.”

Upon seeing the title, I knew what she was trying to get at. She’s a kind one; she’s telling me not to watch with seriousness.

Her kindness left me biting my lips. I double-clicked, and I saw it.

The words–that contained Hikari Yumesaki’s decision.

“To Sakamoto. Sorry for making this late reply. I really thought through this, and I’m feeling really uneasy. But I’ve made up my mind. I really thought through this, and made up my mind.”

She made up her mind–

Seeing those words, I nearly broke down in tears, but I continued reading,

“I guess–I’ll be the one vanishing.”

“…Hikari Yumesaki.”

I see. So that’s…your choice.

“Fufu. Well, I do feel a little scared once I decided that I have to die. But I can’t sacrifice you after all. The skiing trip back then allowed me to be sure of my thoughts. It’s so sudden, but everyone agreed to my summoning, and they all gathered around you. Everyone was smiling so happily on the trip. I really believe that everyone loves you. I can’t bring myself to end your ife and continue living.”

“…”

No. The one everyone really loves isn’t me…

“Sorry. You worked so hard to find a way to let me live, but I choose to die. However, I guess this is my fate. Or rather, it’s because I extended this life that should have ended that I have no regrets. Also, it’s wonderful to experience your life, Sakamoto. That’s why…my life shall come to an end. I’ll go negotiate with the death god on June 25th. Thanks for wasting so much time for my sake.”

“…Damn it.”

I knew. I knew she would make that decision. However…

“Also, I made another decision.”

Hikari Yumesaki was not done with her message.

“I’m going to meet mama. I’m going to confess everything to her. I’ve decided. This time, I won’t run away.”

Needless to say, it was a cruel matter. Despite this, Hikari Yumesaki decided to go. There’s definitely a determination no outsider could image.

“Hikari Yumesaki…”

How much did she struggle when she wrote this journal entry. How much pain did she go through? She’s actually scared, right? But, if she did so, I can’t move forward…

….So I too made up my mind.

“Right. I understand, Hikari Yumesaki.”

I picked up the pen, and wrote my reply to her on the journal.

“I understand. If you say so, I won’t say anything. That’ll be the end of that.”

That will be the end. If not, this rare determination will be for naught.

“There’s only half a year left, but let’s enjoy it as much as we can. You and I are going to create the best life for Akitsuki Sakamoto.”

“Alright!”

Feeling pumped up, I picked up the cellphone, and gave Kazeshiro a call.

“What now, Sakamoto?”

“Let’s create some memories together.”

I skipped the greetings and looked up at the winter sky as I said this to Kazeshiro.

“Huh? Memories?”

“Yup. Memories.”

The sky was far and blue, looking as though it’s about to suck people in. It just felt within reach.

“Let’s go crazy and make memories, proving that she once lived on this world, in my body.”

“…!”

“Smile as we watch her leave. Smile as much as we can as we send her off.”

“…Sakamoto.”

He’s a sharp one. He’s able to tell what decision Hikari Yumesaki made just by hearing that.

And he’s a kind guy. He never asked anything, just said ‘I understand’.

I hung up, and looked at the calendar. There were four more months, a year since I met Hikari Yumesaki–huh?

“…This is fine, right?”

———-

Time flew.

Hikari Yumesaki probably discarded her bothers, and like before, went crazy every day, pulling pranks everywhere.

“Anyway, I’m going to play as much as I want! On Hikari’s calendar, every day is Sunday!”

“So aren’t you a NEET now?”

Also,

“Anyway, work hard to discarding your status as a virgin! If you’re always thinking about Hikari and not go out with other girls, Hikari here won’t feel relaxed!”

“I-I don’t need you to worry about that.”

And also,

“I want to go into a men’s bath! Just once! I want to enjoy the sight of naked handsome guys after they’re done with their club activities!”

“Please don’t.”

“…I’m satisfiedthough I was treated as a suspicious person.”

“Heeeyy!! You went ahead with it!?”

And so on. Hikari Yumesaki got more agitated by the day. Goodness, thanks to her, rumors of me doing dumb things is going to spread everywhere. Well, as long as she’s happy, it’s fine.

“Yahoo Sakamoto! I asked the class out to go out for karaoke tomorrow. Do your best, okay?”

“Seriously…again with the unnecessary stuff.”

I chuckled to myself as I read on–hm?

“Sakamoto.”

“Hm?”

“Ehehe. It’s great to be in your body

“Eh, ah…hm?”

There’s a strange illustration on the journal, and the Hikari Yumesaki in the illustration blew me a kiss. I couldn’t help but frown. I wasn’t too sure, but it seemed Hikari Yumesaki’s really happy.

But the cruel truth loomed to us. Hikari Yumesaki’s revival time was shortened by thirty minutes, and got shorter, to an hour at this point. However, she did not sigh about this. So, I couldn’t say any deflating words either. I had to pretend to remain strong.

And so, time continued to pass.

——–

“Ah, Sakamoto…it-it’s cold!”

What’s going on…

On this day, so close to the end of the year, I arrived at the station while the sun was setting. This morning, the journal had the words ‘come to the station at 6pm. Prepare a bag and clothes’.”

“Ah, right. That. You said it’ll be given to me when we meet. Here.”

And at this point it was 6pm, for some reason, there was a girl at the station waiting for me. Kasumi handed me a letter. Eh, what’s this?

“Wh-what’s the matter, Sakamoto? You told me to hand this to you when we meet…”

“Ah, it’s nothing…thanks.”

I received the letter Kasumi received from the yesterday me, and once I opened it, I saw the words “If Sakamoto’s going to keep worrying about Hikari, Hikari will be worried! Be Kasumi’s escort!”.

Hikari Yumesaki probably was worried that I would continue to yearn for her, that I might end up like Kazeshiro. She wanted to match me up with Kasumi. I knew her intentions, but this occasion was awkward, because this day was–

“I’m glad, Sakamoto…you chose me…on Christmas Eve, such an important day. So this means, I have a chance?”

Right, it’s Christmas Eve.

Wait, hey…this isn’t good. Kasumi’s all dressed up as a girl. Her clothes and hair looked like they’re going for the kill. Also, Kasumi just said, “I told my family that I’ll be spending the night at a friend’s place. It’s 6 now, you know? There are still many couples on the streets. If I’m just going to have a meal and tell Kasumi “That’ll be it for the night, I wish you a happy winter break”, I’ll be lynched to death, right? What do I do?

But at this point, it was pointless to say anything. First, I followed the instructions in the letter Hikari Yumesaki gave me, and went to the restaurant we booked beforehand for dinner, and exchange gifts (the gift was already packed neatly at the bottom of the bag.

I hoped we would be able to chat on to pass the time, and try to make it last until dawn. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned, as Kasumi proposed that we leave, so I had no choice but to follow her out of the restaurant in a lethargic manner. Damn it, I should have noticed when we’re about to pay, but there’s a lot of money in my wallet. I guess it’s meant for me to splurge.

After that, we’re just strolling around on the streets on this Christmas Eve. Before I knew it, Kasumi grabbed my arm, and was acting like a lover. She was staring at me from time to time with some intent, saying, “…It’s time.” I tried to pass it off, saying, “Let’s continue walking, okay?”, however, her blazing eyes were obviously begging for something. Not good, not good, this isn’t good! Somebody save me, I’m serious!

“–ah.”

Right when I was being all anxious, we came to a crossroad junction with few passers-by, and Kasumi suddenly exclaimed,

“Do you remember this place?’

Hmmm…this…eh?

I looked around, wondering, “Did something happen here?” I couldn’t remember at all, but it’s probably something that happened while Hikari Yumesaki’s personality was active. In this situation, it’ll be very inappropriate to look as though I don’t know anything.

“Yeah, I do.”

Anyway, let’s just try to let this conversation flow.

“You…hugged me tightly over here.”

!? What did she say?

“That’s my first encounter with you, Sakamoto.”

“–Eh?”

“I was harassed by a delinquent here, and you saved me. Back then, you were the one who saved me. You were Sexy Dream.

…Ah, so that’s how it is.

“Back then, you were so cool. You had strength, and guts. I was relieved when you hugged me.”

She seemed to be dreaming as she said this. She was happy, delighted.

However, I didn’t dare to look in her eyes. That’s because she didn’t know that the one she fell in love with wasn’t me. She fell in love with the me who’s soon going to vanish from this world. Not me.

“But–“

But?

“The one time when I really came to like you, Sakamoto…was probably afterwards.”

“Eh?”

I lifted my head in surprise. Those words took me by surprise.

“When Mohawk came to the classroom…you were the one who saved me, Sakamoto. Back then, you were panicking, and yet you stood before Mohawk to protect me. Actually, you aren’t used to such things, right? So that’s why Sexy Dream put on the mask?’

“Ah, no, that’s…erm.”

“But you saved me, Sakamoto. You brought your courage and saved me with all you could. You kept fighting in front of everyone, even without the Sexy Dream mask. Back then, I realized. Ah, Sakamoto’s a scaredy cat, a little more timid than the appearances shows, but despite this–you’re still a strong, yet kind person. That’s why…I like you.”

“…”

Kasumi’s gentle voice left me speechless.

I was always mistaken. I thought the one she liked wasn’t me. But it didn’t seem to be the case. She actually likes me–

“It’s because I like you like this, Sakamoto, that I really like this timid you today.”

“Ah.”

Kasumi went straight for the kill. Ugh, was I found out?

“I was so looking forward to today though.”

“…Sorry. I guess when it comes to such things, I…”

“Fufu, it’s fine. I’m already happy that you asked me out on this special day.”

My words were already cold to the max, yet Kasumi responded with a very kind smile. She’s really a kind girl. She got rejected over and over again, yet she’s always being kind to me. Really–

“But…it’s Christmas Eve today. I still want another gift.”

However, Kasumi on this day seemed a little different.

“Just today…I want this gift from you, Sakamoto.”

“!?”

Kasumi’s looking at me with an alluring face, and she closed her eyes, her face slightly lifted up. That’s…

“…”

At this point, there’s no escaping. I prepared myself mentally, approached Kasumi, and embraced her by the shoulders.

And then, her lips–her lips…

L-lips…

“……………”

Time passed just like that, and after about two minutes (there’s only silence during this time!)

“…” “…”

Kasumi, being impatient that she had to wait, opened her eyes, gave me an unhappy look, and even said,

“Sakamoto, you’re a coward.”

“Ugh!”

Ev-even she said this about me…

But she immediately regained her smile, and with much reluctance, she said,

“I’ll continue, to keep pestering you.”

“Eh?”

She said with a clear voice,

“I’ll keep waiting, waiting, until you embrace me willingly.”

“…”

“Until then, let’s until with today’s events.”

Kasumi gave me a smile, and ran away.

As the snow started to fall on this night, I stood rooted to the spot, blankly.

“…Thanks.”

I muttered to myself in this world glittering with white snow, with nobody around.

——————–

“Gahh…”

A year passed on the calendar, and it was January.

“I’m going to clear all the games I piled up! I’m not going to die until I get all the heroines in this amazing game! Watch me! I’m going to clear this overnight, my brides!”

Hikari Yumesaki’s idiotic rampage caused me to be severely sleep deprived, and at this moment, I’m resting in the infirmary. Ah, the bell rang. Class started? Whatever, just one hour of nap then.

“Did you get worn out because you had a one night stand with your girlfriend? This is why you’re a delinquent!”

“You might not be wrong there.”

“Fufufu. There’s a lot of be implied there. This teacher is feeling lonely.”

The strange looking color of the muffler would remind one of winter, swaying about.

The nursing teacher Higumo looked away from the book in her hands, and asked me,

“I say, Akitsuki, is there anything bothering you at the moment?”

Hm?

“No, nothing. Why?”

“Hm…how do I put it? I guess I have a feeling.”

Higumo noted vaguely. It looked like she had something to say.

With a concerned smile, she said,

“Well, seeing a goody-goody like you, I’m sometimes scared.”

“Hm?”

“You’re always considerate towards others, so much that you might offer your life to help someone else.”

“…”

“Akitsuki.”

Higumo took a breath, and continued. She looked a little anguished.

“Doing things as what others say might not be the right thing to do. If you lie to yourself, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. Regret is the punishment to not working hard. For the one who bears responsibility–your remaining life is a tad too long.”

“…”

Silence lingered between us. Higumo looked at me worried. In response, I–

“…What are you saying? I don’t have any worries.”

“Is that so?”

“Yeah.”

I glanced aside at a worried looking Higumo, and again looked up at the ceiling.

It’s probably just me, but an unspeakable uneasiness struck me, but it’s common.

I ignored Higumo, and kept quiet.

Higumo’s lonely expression continued to linger in my mind however.

—————–

“I angered Yukiko…”

The days and months passed, and it was February, when the winter remained harsh. Now what?

“After I had a bath, I saw the chocolate Yukiko made, and then I remembered that it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow. So I couldn’t help but say ‘who’s this for!? Is it for brother!? You’re a brocon, Yukiko!”, and then she lashed out saying “I’m not going to give it to you, brother!’…”

What did you do?

“Uu~I wanted to have the chocolate Yukiko made…I don’t like the thought of dying and becoming Restligest-san…Sakamoto! Try to get the chocolate! Please!”

She wrote the wrong kanji for self-sealed spirit. No, I guess it’s decent in this situation. No, more important. (TN: Restligest, basically a spirit that gets stuck in a building or land, unable to pass on. In this context, probably a manga shout-out to a 4koma called Re-Kan!)

It looked like Yukiko made chocolate for Valentine’s, but Hikari Yumesaki did some unnecessary stuff and angered her. Ugh, actually, Yukiko’s a proud one. If I apologize to her, I guess she’ll forgive me.

Just to note, I guess there’s something of a Valentine’s Day gift on the table. There’s a box of Koala March snack there, and a card with the words “with love❤”. So she forgot about it. And I thought Valentine’s Day was one girls will never forget.

“Now then, what do I do?”

I felt a headache, but it seemed I worried too much. That day, after dinner, I was spacing out, watching the TV. At that moment, Yukiko sat beside me, grumbling away. What she muttered was–

“Yukiko’s not going to give chocolate to a guy who’s not delicate, like brother. I’m going to give it to Kaoru. Yukiko just going for this.”

“Yukiko’s not going to give chocolate to brother, even if it’s a little. Yukiko’s going to eat it tomorrow. Too bad brother’s not going to eat it..”

“The chocolate Yukiko made is delicious. Surely anyone will regret not eating it. This isn’t a bluff.”

“…Yukiko worked so hard to make it.”

“…Yukiko practiced…for this day…Yukiko’s not going to give it to brother…”

“…Sobs.”

…That’s how it turned out. Well, it looked like her pride would continue to be at work since she did say ‘won’t give it to brother’, and I wouldn’t say ‘I want it’. But I knew that the chocolate’s in the fridge, and the amount of effort put into packaging clearly didn’t show that it’s leftovers. Well, she worked so hard into preparing, and yet it’s going to be there until Valentine’s over, Yukiko’s gloing to break down in tears.

…Goodness, looks like I got no choice.

“Hey, Yukiko.”

“…What?”

“…You still have some of your hand-made chocolate left, so why don’t you give it to me?”

“——!”

“Please. I didn’t get any chocolate today. If I don’t get any from my family, I’ll suffer.”

It’s a lie. Both Kasumi and Misaki gave me some really delicate chocolates. “To the one I love.” Even Kinoshita showed his affections towards me.

“I apologize for what happened before. Forgive me, okay? We’re siblings, right?”

Just in case, I gave a little nudge. After that, Yukiko went silent for a few minutes.

At first, she was still looking displeased, but then, her face started to show a smile–

“I-I guess it can’t be helped then! Really, if you wanted to, you could have said so! I-I just so happened to have some left, so I’ll just give them to you! It’s troublesome to deal with it, so perfecting time! It-it’s just chocolate between relatives. Don’t get cocky!”

Yukiko did her best to hide her smile, giving a strange look of a fake angry face as she yelled. Then, she took out the nicely wrapped chocolate from the fridge, and handed it over to me.

“Goodness…Yukiko hates you, brother! Don’t be mistaken!”

Yukiko said while blushing. Yes yes, thank you, Yukiko.

Well, I finally got the chocolate Yukiko made. To be honest, I feel it’s a pity to leave such delicious chocolate to the me tomorrow. But if I didn’t, I’ll get punished again. I left a slip on the chocolate ‘enjoy it’, and left the chocolate in the fridge.

Seriously. Remember to thank me, tomorrow’s me.

———————-

Again, some time passed.

“Welcome.”

“Good afternoon.”

March was approaching, and the weather finally got warmer. On this day, I came to visit Madam Hinako. There’s only one reason. Yesterday’s me left a short message–‘mama said ‘welcome back’.

“It’s cold, isn’t it? Come, hug Adam. This one’s one.”

“Ah, thank you…”

I hugged the black cat Adam, which seemed to be a little too fat, giving a wry smile. At the very least…it’s energetic.

After drinking some of the green tea Madam Hinako brewed, my body warmed immediately, and my heart calmed down as well. Now then, time to ask,

“Madam Hinako, erm…I got something to ask.”

“Ufufu. Looking at you now, i guess Hikari never told you the details.”

“–!”

“Hikari came here yesterday.”

–As expected.

It looked like Hikari Yumesaki finally confessed everything to madam Hinako.

A long time passed since Hikari Yumesaki decided to confess, but it seemed she finally made up her mind. Both mother and daughter were about to reunite, yet she told her mother that she was about to vanish, and it’s really tragic. To be honest, I didn’t know what expression I should have as I came here.

“Like usual, she came by and wandered around the watermelon field…and I knew it’s Hikari’s personality that showed up. I watched by the side quietly, hoping that she might show up. Then she really came over to me slowly. I couldn’t help but cry when I saw this. So, even though I wanted to wait until the very end, I couldn’t help it. I opened the door, and found her standing before me…she kept apologizing over and over again…she didn’t have to apologize for anything.”

“…”

Madam Hinako made a joke at the end, and started laughing. However, I remained grim faced. I knew I should not be giving such a face, but my body just wouldn’t obey.

“After that, we chatted a lot, about how much fun it is being Akitsuki’s other half, what happened. She’s really fond of you, it seems. Everything she talked about what you, and she had joy on her face as she talked. And then–“

And then,

“…You heard?”

“Yes. I suppose…that moment will be arriving soon.”

“…I’m sorry.”

“Fufu. There’s no need to apologize. It’s thanks to you that I’m able to see Hikari. And also, I saw quite a bit of her smile too.”

Madam Hinako chuckled.

She did not cry. Surely she did, and surely she was enduring the tumultuous emotions. Actually, she probably didn’t want to see my face. Thinking about this, I felt guilty.

However, Madam Hinako did her best to show a smile, and talked about what her dearest daughter talked about, what kind of life the daughter living in my body had, a lot, a lot of things. Till the end, she kept a smile.

“Akitsuki.”

I was about to head home. She sent me off at the corridor, and tenderly said to me,

“Thank you. It’s great that Hikari’s able to live in your body.”

I could not answer.

Just enduring the tears that were about to fall took all my might.


And so–time passed by in an increasingly rapid manner.

Hikari Yumesaki happily passed her remaining time.

She created doujins with Yukiko, and went about having fun.

She went dating with Misaki, was caught by Kasumi, and interrogated.

Also, Kazeshiro, Kinoshita, and even Mohawk joined in to form the Sexy Dream squadron.

Every day, she enjoyed herself, and was glowing until the very end of her life. All for the sake of not leaving behind any regrets in her remaining time, not leave any regrets in her life. Thinking about this, I felt a little dejected.

“This is the place Hikari loves. We often have our hero meetings here.”

Kazeshiro lifted his head at the sky, muttering,

We’re at the balcony of Takiou High School. At first, we were having tea at the South Star, and then I asked Kazeshiro “Is there any place to relax around here?”, so he brought me here. I was an outsider, but Kazeshiro said “there’s a way to get in”, so we sprinted all the way here. This guy’s being reckless recently.

“That person always like high places.”

I stood at a corner of the roof, imagining Hikari Yumesaki at this location with a great view, spreading her arms wide, the black hair fluttering with the wind, giving a shining smile–

“It’s going to be a year soon”

I let my thoughts run wild, and suddenly muttered this for some reason.

The spring breeze was gentle and wind, seemingly wearing at the memories little by ittle.

It had been a year…since the moment when I first laid on the watermelon field, wondering if I lost my memories.

“Sakamoto.”

“Hm? What is it?”

Kazeshiro turned his back on me, asking,

“You’re not thinking of dying for Hikari’s sake, are you?”

“…”

…What are you saying now?”

“She made up her mind. I too made up my mind. If you’re worried, you can go wait at the crossing on June 25th. Either way, the personality showing up that day isn’t going to be me.”

“…Yeah. Sorry, forget about what I’ve just said.”

After that, Kazeshiro too went silent.

Several hours passed, and we never chatted, instead immersed in the wordless time.

The sunset seemingly tried to summon the anxiety in our hearts, and was etched deep in my eyes.

———————–

Late March, during the Spring vacation as the plums bloomed, Hikari Yumesaki wrote on the journal.

“1. Buy a 500 yen ticket at the station 2. Get down to the last station of the Express Train 3. Ride the bus there. 4. See the map Hikari personally drew.”

I followed the instructions, and finally came to that place.

“Isn’t this the camping site?”

My childhood memories–the camping site where Hikari Yumesaki and I somehow met, and had memories off. Haha, how nostalgic. I remember us playing by that river, but Hikari Yumesaki wouldn’t come over, so–

“So, what’s note?”

There’s a letter in the journal, the envelop with the words “Open only when you arrive!” I open it, and found another map. However, this wasn’t an ordinary map.

There were marks and marks, and also a . I see, a treasure map.

First, I tried digging at the place with the mark, and dug up a lot of upskirt photos of Kasumi, Yukiko and others. How did you managed to take so many? How indecent, I’m confiscating.

Then, at the mark, I dug up something packed inside a plastic bag. I opened it, and found a photo of Mohawk and I wearing bloomers and making ridiculous bodybuilder poses. Naturally, I threw them into the river. I could see Kasumi blushing as she waved her arms about in a corner of the photo; better forget about this.

And then,

“Ah.”

I found photos at the place with the mark, but it wasn’t a photo taken by Hikari Yumesaki.

“So there’s such a photo.”

It’s a photo of kids, filled with memories. Right, it’s the photo of our encounter. Hikari Yumesaki probably found it from Madam Hinako.

The girl in the center wearing a headband was Miyamoto. Yeah, I remembered her face. I was beside her, and back then, my face wasn’t that terrifying. However, I could see clear signs of what I would become growing up. Once I did, I became scary.

Then, my eyes landed upon a shy looking girl. Back then, she was an obedient, timid crybaby.

Right–she’s my Polaris Princess, Hikari Yumesaki. She in the photo was tugging firmly at my clothes, looking to be on the verge of tears.

“This is where we met, huh?”

The nostalgic photo caused me to reminiscence the past. No, I can’t cry. That Hikari Yumesaki’s trying to make me cry through some strange way.

“Hm, what’s this?”

I took out the other thing inside the plastic bag–a letter.

“Once you read it, crush it and throw it away.”

Such a line was written on the envelop. What did she mean? I opened it.

“Throw it away. If you hide it, I’ll get angry.”

She warned me. Got it.

“Throw it away.”

“Really, throw it away.”

“I wrote this letter after summoning my guts here. Promise me.”

“…I say again, throw it away.”

“Argh, this is annoying!”

I retorted at the envelop filled with warnings, and opened the memo. Goodness, what was written–

“Sakamoto, I like you. The boy-girl kind.”

“…”

At that moment, I made up my mind to keep this letter forever.

To hide the embarrassment on my face, I lifted my head towards the sky. A plane’s trail glided through the wide sky. It went further up, glittering. It kept moving forward.

“…Thanks.”

The time of Hikari Yumesaki’s personality decreased by three hours.

 

 

“Yukiko.”

That night, I came over to my little sister’s room, and called out for her. Yukiko was facing the computer, and looked over at me with annoyance.

“What is it?”

“Nothing. Just a little bored. Let’s play some games.”

“Eh? Wi-with Yukiko?”

“Yeah. Come, sit here.”

I took out the cellphone, sat on Yukiko’s bed, patted my thighs, and had her come over. It was a little embarrassing, but I wanted to try this once.

“Go-goodness…if you want to stick together with Yukiko, Yukiko shall obliged brother. Yukiko’s a kind one.”

“Yeah. Glad to have a kind little sister.”

Yukiko’s clearly feeling happy, yet she’s acting like a tsundere for some reason, and her face looked strange. I couldn’t help but grimace at her.

I had Yukiko sit between my thighs, and started having fun as we played games.

“…This should be the only thing left.”

“Hm? What are you saying?”

“No, it’s nothing.”

After that, it was time to sleep. I had a look at the calendar, waiting for the death anniversary of Hikari Yumesaki that was about to come–April 8th. On this day, it will be her personality, not mine, that’ll show up.

Soon, very soon, everything will end. After that–

“I’m…doing this.”

————————–

The time was 4am. In the dark room, I heard the rain as I awaited this moment.

April 8th, Hikari Yumesaki’s death anniversary. The weather was rainy.

This would be the day Hikari Yumesaki’s personality would show up. At 4.59am, she would take over from me. Thus, there were still fifty nine minutes. This was the remaining time I had.

“Time to head out.”

I put on the watch Hikari Yumesaki gave me, and checked the time.

I passed through the darkness, walked out of the room, and slipped through the corridor quietly.

The rain appeared in my sights, and it was really heavy. It appeared it would not stop for the time being.

I walked down the asphalt road that was flooded. The vinyl umbrella blocked the sky, and made it look a little twisted, probably because of the raindrops.

“I remember it was the raindy day.”

I heard the raindrops, and thought of the journal entry I wrote.”

“There’s something I have to apologize to you about, Hikari Yumesaki, I lied.”

I walked down to the crossing where Hikari Yumesaki died.

“I told you the Atelier Journal contained the truth to the revival.”

There’s still an hour left. What would her feelings be when she wakes up?

“I said, that on the four hundred and forty fourth day after the death, the 25th of June this year would be the only day to negotiate with the death god.”

She would probably be fuming. Definitely lamenting.

“444. This might look like something, but I just made it up.”

But it did not matter. No matter how much she hated me.

“The one day to negotiate with the death god is not the 25th of April, but–“

As long as that person, Hikari Yumesaki,

“Exactly a year after death–today, April 8th.”

Could continue to live, it did not matter.

“By the time you’re reading this entry, on the 8th of April, I might have completed the deal.”

Sorry, Hikari Yumesaki.

“You probably won’t forgive me. There’s no way you will. But.”

I’m really sorry, Hikari Yumesaki.

“I guess it’s impossible for me after all. There’s no way I can live in a world without you.”

I can’t accept a daily life without you.

“So, Hikari Yumesaki, continue living for my sake.”

The water slipped down my face. Raindrops or tears, I could no longer tell.

Sorry everyone, Yukiko, mom, dad, I’m really sorry.

“Forgive…me.”

Choking on my tears, I went forth.

There’s still another two hundred meters to the crossing. The location was at the other side of the corner. It was enough, I don’t have to think much. I’ve decided not to turn back, just head forward. If I missed this day, I’ll be unable to save Hikari Yumesaki. So, on this day–I have to do this.

“Eh–“

But I had to stop.

There was someone holding a black umbrella standing before me in the dark screen of rain, and I gasp.

“Yo.”

That guy waved at me, smiling heartily. Why…

“Kaze…shiro……?”

“So you came by? Sakamoto?”

Kazeshiro was standing before me.

“What are you doing, Sakamoto? It’s still too early to go to school.”

“Why are you here…?”

I paled, and asked. Kazeshiro smiled, and said with rigor,

“TIme to go back, Sakamoto. I’m not letting you meet the death god.”

“How did you know…”

I made a lie on the journal to hide the truth from Hikari Yumesaki. Naturally, I did not tell Kazeshiro, and the hidden location of the Atelier journal was known only to me. I told Hayato to keep it a secret. However,

“–!”

As I thought about it, I realized. No way.

“Have you noticed it now, Sakamoto?”

Kazeshiro looked up at the rainy sky, and let out a deep sigh, saying,

“Hayato Hyuuga. That guy told Hikari Yumesaki everything. Everything about the Atelier journal.”

“Wha…”

“That Hayato Hyuuga probably expected it, that you may have lied. He probably realized that this was unfair to Hikari, so he told her the truth. Hikari then realized why you lied that it was four hundred and forty four days later, and thought of what you wanted to do.”

“Damn it…”

I see, so that’s how it is. Why didn’t I suspect anything?

–I’m the same as you.

I asked Hayato why he was working so hard for Chiaki, and this was his answer. Hayato saw that I was the same as him, wanting to die for his partner. The reason why Hayato did not want me to do this because he chose me to be the friend supporting Chiaki. With this mindset, even an idiot would understand. Hayato would not just watch me die. No matter how I might tell him to keep this secret, it was pointless. At this point, the situation developed as Kazeshiro had said. Hayato and Hikari Yumesaki were on the same side, and in a certain sense, he understood her feelings better than anyone else. That was why he would not pretend to ignore this unfair lie to Hikari Yumesaki.

“Hikari told me. It looks like Sakamoto wants to die in my stead. He’ll definitely go negotiate with the death god before.4.59am on the 8th of April. If he finds out that I know this, he’ll definitely try to slip through. So make sure you pretend not to notice, and on that day, no matter what, you have to stop him”…”

“…So you show up before me now, Kazeshiro?”

“Yeah. I’ve been in ambush since last evening. And you showed up.”

…Damn it.

I glared at Kazeshiro with much regret. In contrast, he was sneering away, taunting me.

“Sakamoto!”

He called out, loud enough for a certain someone who’s no longer on this world to hear.

“If you want to save Hikari, you’re going to have to beat me! You win if you beat me! You can die all you want then! But if you can’t–“

The smile vanished from Kazeshiro’s face. The hollow eyes were staring right at me, and I could not look straight into them.

“That’s enough already. Continue living happily in the world without Hikari.”

“…Haha.”

For some reason, I started laughing out loud. Ah damn it. I thought it would be a perfect strategy. I never thought I would be seen through so easily. But it did not matter.

“Too bad, Kazeshiro.”

“…What?’

My plan failed. Good job, you guys. But you guys made a mistake. No, you guys are overconfident.

“Kazeshiro…do you think you can beat me?’

“…”

I stared at the enemy, and declared this. Hikari Yumesaki, I don’t know how you managed to bribe Kazeshiro.

“Kazeshiro. You’re not going to beat me.”

I have the advantage in height, physique and arm strength. There’s no way your thin arms are going to beat me, Kazeshiro.

Firmly believing this, I smiled. I’m confident. However,

“Who knows, Sakamoto? Hikari said that I’ll win.”

“…What?”

Kazeshiro didn’t back down, and smiled, laughing,

“Sakamoto. This is…the opposite of back then.”

“Eh–“

For a moment, I did not realize what he was getting at. However, I immediately understood.

“Back then, I wanted vengeance through my death, and Hikari asked you to stop me. Right now, it’s me who was asked by Hikari, and you’re the one who want to die. Look how far you’ve fallen, Akitsuki Sakamoto.”

“–!”

“I remember it was raining back then. Sakamoto, you were like me back then. That’s why–“

Saying that, Kazeshiro glared at me,

“I won’t lose. Back then, you were the same.”

The turbulent rain overpowered Kazeshiro’s voice. The memories of that day appeared in my mind, and everything before my eyes went blank.

Regret and rage were mixed into my blood, running throughout my entire body. The rain poured harder than before–

“Ahhh!!!!!”

The next moment, I ran, threw aside my umbrella, and swung my fist at Kazeshiro. Howeve,r

“Gah!?”

He easily evaded my fist, and landed a clean shot into my abdomen.

“Guh….aaahhh!!”

Despite this, I stood up, trying my best to fight back. I continued charging into the rain. However,

“Ah!”

I couldn’t reach. Not only that, I was easily beaten down,

Several times, I stood up, and several times, I was beaten down. Kazeshiro again dodged my attacks, beating me down, and blood dripped onto the ground along with the rain, probably as I was hurt somewhere. I felt displeased.

“Damn it…damn it…”

I can’t lose. If I lose, and miss out on the day, I won’t be able to save Hikari Yumesaki. There’s no second chance; once I miss this, she’ll never be able to be revived again. However,

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

With all of my remaining strength, I stood up, and I saw Kazeshiro’s anguished eyes.

Stop. What are you looking at? What are you pitying?

“Stop pitying…me–!!”

That was the last of my strength. I could not fall correctly.

Kazeshiro swung his fists down on me, depleting my strength. I collapsed onto the concrete, the rain staining my skin.

“Why…why, can’t I win…”

The tears could not stop.

“Let go…Kazeshiro…”

“…”

“Please…I beg of you…!”

Kazeshiro remained silent.

“Let go, Kazeshiro! You miss out on this day, and you won’t be able to save Hikari Yumesaki! I can’t live without her! You’re the same too, right!? You’re fine with Hikari Yumesaki dying just like that!?”

I yelled at Kazeshiro, who stood in the rain. I believed that he would surely understand me.

“Think of what Madam Hinako will think! She just reunited with her daughter…but, they’re going to be separated again! Are you willing to allow such a cruel thing to happen!? Say something!? Are you willing to let her die!?”

I will not allow this to happen.

“Kazeshiro! You don’t want Hikari Yumesaki to die, right!? Or is it fine that she’s dead!? What about you, Kazeshiro!?”

“…Sakamoto.”

“Answer me! Even if Hikari Yumesaki vanishes, you’ll really…”

I could no longer continue my words. That was because, Kazeshiro’s hand was grabbing me by the collar.

But that was not the only reason why I could not say anything;.

“Do…you know what I’m thinking about as I stand here…Sakamoto?”

“–“

At this point, I noticed. Kazeshiro’s–crying too.

“Do you know the feelings Hikari had as she asked me? The feelings I have as I stand here? Please, don’t say anything…stop putting me in misery!”

The tears continued to fall. Anguished tears seeped into the rain.

“Also, Madam Hinako knows about this.”

“Eh–“

Kazeshiro’s words left me speechless again.

“When Hikari went to visit Madam Hinako, she confessed everything; about how she was going to vanish, that you want to die, everything that will happen today, everything, everything, everything–“

Impossible…but, these actions–

“Are for your sake…”

“Eh?”

“Even till the end, Hikari was still scared of meeting Madam Hinako. However, she’s more worried about you feeling guilty for letting her vanish–that you won’t dare to look for Madam Hinako again because of her disappearance–to prevent this from happening, Hikari summoned her courage to meet her. And, she said everything. She prepared herself to see her mother cry, all for the sake of having you meet her mother again.”

“…”

“You’re a blessed man. Hikari thought so much for your sake. I said it a long time ago, but your life is the best of all. That’s why….I can’t let you end your life here.”

“Impossible…”

Despair turned into rain, freezing my body.

“Was I the only one in the dark?”

“…”

“Was I the only one in the dark…”

Kazeshiro did not say anything.

“I came to save Hikari Yumesaki…but I was the only one who didn’t know anything…in the end, I was saved, by Hikari Yumesaki…again…again…”

I could not stop crying. I wanted to save Hikari Yumesaki. However, I was saved by her again.

“Sakamoto.”

Kazeshiro picked up the umbrella, and walked towards me, taking out something from his bag.

“Ah…”

It’s a letter with a pretty color. That’s,

“From Hikari Yumesaki, a letter for you.”

“Letter…”

I received the letter Kazeshiro handed to me, and wanted to open it, but my hands could not exert strength. However, I finickedly moved my fingers, and opened the seal. Appearing before me was,

“To Sakamoto,”

The familiar cute words appeared on the letter.

“If you see this letter, this means you intend to die for my sake. I’m really sorry for pretending not to notice all this while. Don’t blame Kazeshiro. It’s all my decision.”

“Hikari Yumesaki…”

“Sakamoto, I’m really happy by your feelings. Every time, you’ll come to save me. Again and again, I was saved by you. That goes too for Kazeshiro, and for mama. You kept saving me. Without you around, I probably won’t be able to do anything. So I’ve already made up my mind. One day–until the day I’m able to save Sakamoto, I’ll definitely choose to save Sakamoto. I want to be the hero protecting Sakamoto. This is my repayment for not being able to do anything. I want to protect the irreplaceable, most important…you that I love.”

“No…”

No, Hikari Yumesaki. It’s just you who thinks that you didn’t do anything. You’re the one who changed my lonely life. Do you know how much I’ve benefited from you.

“And I said before, that I can’t live in a world without you. That’s because,”

The exceptionally pretty handwriting continued–

“I can’t live on alone in this world anymore. The ones connecting my life to this world are the cold, yet gentle eyes line.”

It was the line that girl once wrote in her student handbook, the line that caused Kazeshiro and I to misunderstand,

“Ehehe! I’m finally able to use this line! I always wanted to use it once before I die. It’s amazing, isn’t it, Sakamoto? Really appropriate to use it here. As to be expected of this Hikari! Praise me! Praise me! Pat my head! And then…”

And then,

“Keep smiling. Don’t cry, Sakamoto. This is my final wish.”

“…!”

The rain got warmer, and my cheeks got hotter. The tears fell, my fists are clenched. Everything–

“Ahhh!!!”

 

“–Sakamoto!”

I ran. Kazeshiro hurried after me. Just a little more, and I’ll reach the crossing where she died. As long as I get there, reach there. But,

“Ah!”

My legs do not obey me, and tripped me over. The rain pelts on my body mercilessly,

“Ahh…”

As I fell, something fell from my pocket.

The thing that rolled before me gradually got damp.

“Hikari Yumesaki’s…talisman…”

The strings scattered, and the content spilled out. Inside it was a piece of paper that was folded really small. The rain soaked paper contained the words Hikari Yumesaki wrote with her cute handwriting,

“Sakamoto. We’ll be together forever!”

“Together…be together…””

I reached my hand out, yet it was not enough. Just a little more, but yet unable to reach. I could no longer, reach for it, ever.

“Why couldn’t I do it…”

The hands of the watch on my wrist indicated 4.58am. Ten seconds, twenty, thirty. And then,

“Come back.”

A voice rang through the rain.

It was a kind, bubbly voice. The one who picked up the talisman for me was.

“Akitsuki.”

“Madam Hinako…”

Thank you.

I seemed to hear her mutter.

After that, the time reached 4.59am.

 

 

 

I died, and she revived.

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