Baka to Tesuto to Syokanju:Volume10.5 Me and Usagi and My Ambiguous First Love

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Me (Watashi) and Usagi and My Ambiguous First Love[edit]

Me and Rabbits and My Ambiguous First Love

Even till now, I have been having a recurring dream.

It was about what I saw after school during primary school.

What that girl wrote on the blackboard silently, in the classroom where the sunset was shining into.

It was neither her punishment nor her duty. At first glance, it seemed to be something done for an unknown purpose.

She would write and erase, and, after erasing, write again.

That kid kept repeating this seriously — this girl left an exceptional impression within my heart.[1]






[2]

“Yes. I think it’s great to have Himeji Mizuki-san as a Pet raising Committee member.”[3]


I was nominated during the first class meeting in 4th grade, and couldn’t help but freeze.

“Choosing Himeji Mizuki-san is a great idea!”

“Isn’t it perfect? It’s a plain and boring job anyway.”[4]

“It sure suits our ‘Plain Lover’-san!”

I could hear whispers from all around. The only ones who would call me that were those classmates who were in the same class as mine in 3rd grade.

“What is it, Himeji-san?”

The facilitating teacher said that, and everyone looked over.

“W-Well, about that…”

I must refuse it. Even though I had that thought, I was so nervous that I couldn’t speak up properly.

At this moment, the stares that were shot at me got sharper.

My mind went blank, and I could only lower my head.

I must refuse it.

It wasn’t that I hated the job, but that my body’s frail. If I get hospitalized, I’ll have to be excused from school for a long time, and that’ll cause a lot of trouble to many people. I don’t want that…

“I, I…”

I tried to squeeze the words in, but everyone’s stares intensified, and I couldn’t say anything.

“—You’re not willing to?”

I heard a concerned and friendly voice.

I looked up, and saw that the boy sitting at the table next to me is talking to me.

“…Yes.”

I nodded my head.

“I see. If you don’t like it, you can say it out loud.”

I looked at the boy and saw him put on a bright smile as he said:

“Erm, can I call you Mizuki-chan?”

I nodded my head silently.

Then, that boy stood up and said to the teacher for me,

“Sensei, Mizuki-chan is very obscene!”[5]

……………Eh?

The boy had stares raining all over him as his voice rang through the classroom.

Ah, well…wait a moment…that sounds like it means another thing altogether.

That boy ignored my doubts as he repeated it again, clearly:

“Mizuki-chan is really obscene!”

It, it really means something completely different when you say it like that!

“Wa, wait wait.”

I hurriedly pulled the boy who still wanted to go on. Don-Don’t repeat such a line so many times!

“Hm? What is it?”

The boy gave me an incredulous look, apparently not understanding why I was trying to stop him. Uu…how, how am I going to explain this…

“I-I-I’m not obscene…”

“Eh? Aren’t you unwilling?”

“I, I’m unwilling.”

“Then it’s the same, right?”

“I’m unwilling, but I’m not obscene.”

“???”

The boy looked cute as he blinked. Ah, what should I do…he didn’t understand at all…

“Aki-kun, the way you say it makes it sound like ‘that kid’s very H’, you know!”

“How pitiful~ Aki-kun’s bullying a girl here!”

“Onee-chan will get angry too!”

The boy’s friends seemed to be teasing him and having fun with this as they spoke up.

On hearing that, that boy finally seemed to understand what I was trying to tell him.

“Ah, no, it’s not like that! It’s a misunderstanding! Mizuki-chan’s obscene but isn’t obscene at all!”

“Which one is it??”

“A-Anyway, it’s obscene to be a Pet raising Committee member!”

“Aki-kun, you can’t say that either!”

This situation went on in class as everyone was looking at us.

Auuu…I, I really couldn’t take it…

“W-Well…I’m willing to be a pet raising member…”

I was not used to the stares everyone shot at me, and couldn’t help it as I decided to become a pet raising member. Uu…I’ll have to talk to the teacher about what’ll happen when I get admitted into hospital…

My name’s written on the blackboard, under the ‘Pet raising member. Girl’ column.

“Well then, how about the male pet raising member? Is anyone willing to nominate himself?”

The teacher looked around and asked everyone. The male Pet raising Committee member column was the only empty slot left.

Who will it be…?

I wanted to know whose name will be written on it. If that person’s going to work with me, I would end up bothering him a lot. No, maybe no one will raise names because nobody wanted to work with me. If that person gets nominated and didn’t like this job, it would cause trouble to me too…

Thinking of it really made me depressed.

Then, right beside me…

“E-Erm! I’d like to be a pet raising member too!”

The boy from before raised his hand energetically.

“You want to be a pet raising member!? Aki-kun!? Really!?”

“Aki-kun. Do you know how to take care of animals here!?”

“Alright, I’ll do it too!”

And, after saying that…

“Mizuki-chan, please take care of me.”

The boy turned to me and smiled.

“Y-Yes. Please take care of me too…”

And this was my very first encounter with Yoshii-kun.

“Heh~ so that’s how a rabbit house looks like on the inside.”

On the first day of pet raising duty, Yoshii-kun and I arrived at the rabbit house located beside the school building as pet raising members.

“Ah, there’s a new rabbit this year.”

Yoshii-kun carried the smallest of the three rabbits.

The rabbit was shocked, and at first, it started flailing its legs.

“Good boy good boy.”

The rabbit quickly calmed down after it was patted, and quickly quiet down within Yoshii-kun’s clutches.

“Do you want to carry it too, Mizuki-chan?”

“Eh?”

Yoshii-kun carried the young rabbit in his hands over to me.

“Ah, are you not good at dealing with animals?”

“Er, erm, that…”

I was at a loss of words.

Actually, I really could not handle animals. When I went to a pet exhibition, I wanted to pet a dog on the head when I got the permission, only for the dog to timidly let out a growl “Uuu…!”

“It’s because you’re scared of the dog that the dog is frightened of you, Mizuki. That’s why it started barking.”

Otou-san said after he saw this, and continued, “If you want to be liked, you have to like others first.”

“—Mizuki-chan!”

“Ah, it, it’s nothing.”

“Really?”

“Right, we should start cleaning.”

I remembered what happened when I tried to touch the dog, and turned my eyes away from the rabbit.

“You’re right. Then, everyone, be good kids and stay here.”

Yoshii-kun put the rabbits at a place where they won’t interfere with the cleaning and takes out the grass from their nest. During this time, I used the broom to sweep the floor.

“I’ll go change the water then. Mizuki-chan, please do the feeding.”

“Eh? Ah, okay.”

Yoshii-kun took the rabbit water pail and walked out of the house. I wanted to change the water because I was scared of them biting my hand when I feed them…

However, it could not be helped. I would still have to continue my job as a pet raising committee member, so I should get used to it earlier.

I put the grass and vegetables on the large plate, and got ready to put it in front of the rabbits.

“He, here…”

I timidly pushed the plate, and once the rabbits smelled it, they came scampering over to me

“Nu, nu♪”

They seemed to be humming as they ate.

Ahh…they look, so cute…

Its small mouth continued to nimble. I guess it was tasty as their ears and tails were twitching. The smallest one seemed to be having a hard time eating it though, as its food continued to slip outside, and its tilted face was rather dazed. It really looked adorable.

"Erm…there’s quite a lot that overflowed…”

I said these words as I was overly concerned that too much food overflowed.

However, the rabbit continued to look into the tray energetically.

“The, then, please excuse me…”

I said softly, and put the vegetables the rabbit tossed out onto the floor back onto the tray.

And then, that rabbit looked like it really wanted to eat a lot as it ate the vegetables in my hand.

“Wa…wa…”

Its unexpected action caused my body to stiffen up.

However, the rabbit continued to nibble without caring about me, and even started licking my hand, maybe because of the smell of vegetables on it.

“Hya.”

It was warm, and a little itchy.

I let out a cry, and the rabbit tilted its head at me in a mystified manner before turning to eat the food on the tray again.

The young rabbit happily twitched its ears and tail, and did not look scary at all, but cute. I started to have a feeling beside fear at this point.

Should I touch it a little…?

It is feeding now, so it should be alright to touch the back. I thought as I reached my hand to the rabbit’s back.

The child that was focused on eating did not show any signs of irritation after I touched it.

I felt a soft and fluffy feeling on my hand, together with a slight throbbing.

“Waa…”

This first touch on a rabbit felt a lot better than I expected, and I was engrossed as I continued stroking its back.

“It’s cute, isn’t it?”

“KYAH!?”

A voice suddenly came from behind, and I jumped up in shock.

“Ah, sorry, did I scare you?”

Yoshii-kun, who returned, looked at me in an apologetic manner.

It seemed I was not the only one shocked here—the rabbits seemed to be protesting or were simply panicking as they hopped around Yoshii-kun.

“Wa, WAH WAH!”

Yoshii-kun lost his balance trying to dodge them, and the water he was holding was poured down his head.

“Auu…looks like I have to go back again…”

Yoshii-kun took the water container and went out of the house again.

It was really funny to see the rabbits give the “How about that!” look as they watched him leave, and I could not help but laugh.

It has been past three weeks in the new class.

At this point, everyone was already used to this class and formed all sorts of small groups. For examples, the boys who like sports would group themselves together, or the girls who were more mature would group themselves together as well.

During break time, the girls would start talking about more mature stuff during break time inside the classroom.

“Akihisa-kun seems decent.”

“Yeah. He’s cute and athletic.”

“And he has a gentleness that the other boys don’t have~”

“Yeah yeah!”

The ones chatting happily belonged to the group of the very outstanding girl in class—Kanda-san. This Akihisa-kun they were talking about must definitely be the Yoshii Akihisa-kun who was doing pet caring work together with me.

It was just as they said. Yoshii-kun was very charming. His responses were as cute as a little animal’s reactions, he was always energetic, and unlike the other naughty boys who would play pranks, he was extremely gentle. Most importantly, he was always positive—he looked very dazzling to me as I got attracted to him.

“How about we attack him~?”

“Eh—? Really~?”

It’s too sneaky of you to run away like that--!”

Attack...as in, becoming his lover, is it?

That’s great... I did not have such frivolous thoughts of liking each other, but I too wanted to improve my relationship with Yoshii-kun...like calling him by his given name or something

However--

“I don’t think...I’m good...”

I could not help but sigh.

No matter what other people say, I’m not cute, I’m gloomy, fat, not athletic...

The more I thought about this, the more I could not stop sighing.

...Haa...

“I wonder what kind of girl Yoshii-kun likes...”

“Hm? What about me?”

“HYAAA!?”

I did not know when Yoshii-kun stood beside me, but he heard me muse to myself. Wha, what shall I do!? Did he hear everything!?

“Ah, it’s Akihisa-kun!”

“Akihisa-kun, raise your hand!”

“Hm? Okay.”

"Ahaha, you really did it~"

"Just like that Jirou I raised at home!"

"???"

It seemed that Yoshii-kun did not understand that he was being teased as he still had his hand raised up.

"Akihisa-kun, come over and talk~."

Kanda-san, who said that she wanted to go out with Yoshii-kun, waved at him.

While Kanda-san was trying to lure him over, Yoshii-kun answered,

"Sorry, but I'm looking for Mizuki-chan regarding something, so let's talk later--"

"Eh?"

I could not help but let out this voice. Looking for me regarding something? What is it?

"..."

Kanda-san gave me a sharp expression, probably because she felt that I got in her way even though I did not plan on doing so in the first place...

"Er, erm...is there anything you want from me?"

"Yes, well, I'm sorry about what I did to you before."

"Before?"

It might be explainable if it were the other boys, but Yoshii-kun probably did not do anything...

"I'm talking about the pet caring member thing. You got involved because I pulled you in, isn't it? You said that you didn't want to do it, Mizuki-chan, so I'm sorry about it."

“Ah…”

Speaking of which, I remember now.

I was not concerned about it in the first place. At that time, I was just bothered by the ‘very obscene’ line here.

“So here's something for you. It's very late, but it's a present as compensation."

Yoshii-kun handed a small package to me.

"What compensation?"

"Don't say that. Please accept it."

I wanted to refuse, but Yoshii-kun gave a troubled look.

"I, I'll accept it then..."

"Un."

I reached my hand out, and Yoshii-kun smiled happily. That smile showed so much happiness, and I could not help but be stunned by it.

"Er, erm, can I open it?"

"Yes, open it then."

I took note not to crush the things inside as I opened the packaging,

"Wah..."

There were cookies of all shapes and sizes inside.

"I did taste it beforehand, but just tell me if it doesn't taste nice."

Yoshii-kun's words caused me to doubt my ears for an instant.

Eh...? Taste...that means,

"Did you make it yourself, Yoshii-kun?"

"I did give it to onee-chan to taste, so it should be fine..."

Yoshii-kun said without much confidence. He's able to cook? Amazing! I did not know how to do anything at all.

Just when I was wondering whether I should learn cooking from Yoshii-kun, Kanda-san walked over and said,

"Looks good--Akihisa-kun, I want some cookies too ♪."

"Umm, sorry, I only made enough for Mizuki-chan."

"Fumm"

Kanda-san gave me a cold stare. Ah...it seemed that she was angry...

"You'll become fat if you eat cookies."

"Right~?"

"Ah, I should have been the pet caring member in the first place."

Kanda-san's friends said.

It's true that I'll get fat...but...

"...Erm, about that--"


KIN GONG KAN GONG


The end of the recess bell overpowered Yoshii-kun's words.

"Ah, it's time for PE next."

"Time to change."

Everyone in class walked out of the classroom. I should be going too.

"Thank you, Yoshii-kun. I'll try it."

"Ah, un. About the pet caring committee member thing, I'm really sorry." After thanking Yoshii-kun, I head off to the changing room too.

"We'll be playing dodgeball for today's PE lesson. Boys and girls, get into 4 groups of 4!"

Sensei said that we would be playing dodgeball, and the boys let out loud cheers happily. It seemed that the boys liked dodgeball, but I was not good at it...

We got into groups to decide on the teams, and then, the group I was in had too many people, probably because some people from other groups did not come over.

"Someone has to leave."

"That's right."

Kanda-san and the rest whispered as they stared at me...was it because they were angry at what happened during break time?

"Erm...I'll join another group then."

I raised my hand and said, and Kanda-san and the rest nodded in a satisfied manner after that.

"Is that so? Sorry then."

"Please."

"Okay."

It would be awkward to be in the same group as Kanda-san's group. This might be better. As I was thinking about that--


"Our team is lacking numbers here. Does anyone want to join us?"


I heard Yoshii-kun's voice. So his team is lacking players? It seemed that I really have quite the fate today. I'm a little happy...

I scampered over to Yoshii-kun and said,

"Yoshii-kun, we have too many players on our team here. Can I join your team?"

"Hm? Ah, Mizuki-chan."

And just when I was about to join Yoshii-kun's team,

"Wait, Plain-lov--Himeji-san. I should just step out."

Kanda-san, who came over out of nowhere, said this.

"Eh? But I..."

"So be it then. I'll come up and join Akihisa-kun's group."

It seemed that Kanda-san wanted to be in the same group as Yoshii-kun. But I wanted to be in the same group as Yoshii-kun too...

"??? So the one joining isn't Mizuki-chan, but Reika-chan?"

Yoshii-kun did not know who was joining as he looked at Kanda-san and me from time to time.

"Well..."

"Yes! Me! I want to join!"

Kanda-san forcefully pushed me aside as she stood in front of Yoshii-kun.

"But wasn't it supposed to be Mizuki-chan right from the beginning?"

"It's me! And--"

Kanda-san looked at me and said,

"--I'm more useful here than Himeji-san, right?"

Now that she said that, I had nothing to do.

It was just like what Kanda-san said. She's athletic, outgoing, and...unlike this fat me, she was pretty...

It could not be helped if I could not beat her out, I told myself.

"Then, I'll go back to my group--"

Before I could finish, Yoshii-kun said to Kanda-san,

"I hate it when people say it like that."

"Eh...?"

At that moment, Kanda-san was stunned. Yoshii-kun did not care as he said,

"Mizuki-chan, how about you join our team? Sorry, you can go back to your team, Reika-chan."

Yoshii-kun then raised my hand.

That means...Yoshii-kun chose me, did he...?

This unbelievable situation confused me.

In contrast, Kanda-san understood this situation earlier than I did--

"Wh, why...!?"

--And she raised her eyebrows while biting her lips angrily.

"...Don't get cocky there. You just earned Akihisa-kun's pity over there--Plain Lover-san."

--She glared at me and returned back.

Kanda-san's words caused me to feel extremely depressed after the happiness before this.

I was already used to people calling me this...but I did not want to have people calling me that in front of Yoshii-kun...

Concerned about Yoshii-kun's reaction, I turned over to look at his face tentatively.

"I don't like this..."

"...Eh...?"

And at that moment, I saw a different expression from usual on Yoshii-kun's face, startling me.

"Yoshii-kun...?"

"Hm? What is it?"

I called out to him, and he answered me like usual. Was it just my imagination...?

"Pl, please take care of me."

"Yeah, same here."

I lowered my head, and Yoshii-kun answered me similarly.

"Do your best, Mizuki-chan."

He looked very happy for some inexplicable reason. Normally, he would be showing a disgusted expression for choosing me instead of the very athletic Kanda-san...

And then, I realized something--

Does Yoshii-kun not know that I am bad at sports...?

"..."

The moment I thought about that, I felt a chill.

That, that's right! Yoshii-kun hasn't been in the same class as me up till now! Of course he doesn't know how bad I am at sports!

"Ah, waah..."

Wha, what should I do!? We cannot swap around here. If we lose because of me and Yoshii-kun hates me...!

...An, anyway, I should apologize first!

"Er, erm, Yoshii-kun."

"Speaking of which, Mizuki-chan."

"Actually, I'm really bad at sports--"

"About Reika-chan just now."

"I'll definitely pull everyone down--"

"Let's get rid of her first, shall we?"

".........Yes?"

These unexpected words caused me to let out an impromptu cry. Reika-chan...he was talking about Kanda-san...right?

"Well, get rid of her, as in...?"

"Ah, of course we're not going to fight. I'm talking about dodgeball."

"I know that!"

I could not help but raise my voice.

This is that Kanda-san we are dealing with here!? Her athleticism will not lose out to any of the boys. How do we eliminate her!?

As I panicked--

"I'll pass the ball to you. Throw at her as much as you want."

Yoshii-kun smiled as he said to me.

As I stared at this smiling face, I really could not say 'I can't do it'.

But if I did not say so...

"Yoshii-kun, I..."

Even if I get the ball, I would not be able to throw the ball strongly...


"Let's begin-- A group and B group, step onto the court!"


The teacher's voice rang. It seemed that Yoshii-kun's group was B group, so we were to step on the court right from the start.

"So that's how it is. Keep looking at me."

"Ah."

Yoshii-kun stepped onto the court without caring about my lack of confidence. What should I do...I have not told him that I am bad at sports...

"Then we'll choose courts through rock-paper-scissors."

The teacher said this, and the match began.

In that case, I could only do as what he said.

"Look at Yoshii-kun, look at Yoshii-kun, look..."

I continued to repeat these words and stared at Yoshii-kun seriously.

Right from the beginning, I just kept following what he said, and stared at him as if my life depended on it--

"...Amazing..."

And I was stunned as I looked at him.

He gently picked up the ball that was thrown at his feet and threw a sharp ball, hitting an opponent. As I thought about that, he created another opportunity for his teammate to pass. Yoshii-kun was dazzling, being so active on the field even if I did not want to see him.

"Here, Mizuki-chan."

"--Eh?"

My name was called, and I looked over, only to see the ball fly right at me. Ah! Is this the moment when Yoshii-kun said that he would pass the ball to me...!? I, I must catch it!

"Wa, wa!"

I panicked, and could not hold onto the ball properly.

Boing boing, the ball bounced gently into the opponent's court.

"Kukuku..."

Kanda-san smiled as she stood on the opposite court. It was my fault that the ball bounced off to that side...

"So, sorry!"

I lowered my head to Yoshii-kun. What was I doing...he already said that he would pass the ball to me...

However, Yoshii-kun did not mind about my miss,

"Don't worry. We'll soon get the ball back."

He smiled as he said that, and walked right to the opponent.

"Heyah!"

The ball was thrown at Yoshii-kun from close distance. If it were me, I would definitely be knocked out if such a fast ball flies right at me.

"Niheehee. Too bad."

Yoshii-kun easily caught the ball.

This time, the ball was on our side, and it was a chance as the opponent was right in front of us.

"Watch this. Right back at you!"

"Wa, waahh!? Danger!"

As Yoshii-kun got ready to throw, everyone on the other side scampered like spiders in front of him.

At this moment,

"Here, Mizuki-chan. Please."

He pretended to throw it out, but he actually threw the ball to me at a speed I could catch it.

"Wa..."

I barely managed to catch the ball, and standing right in front of me was Kanda-san, who thought that the ball definitely would not be thrown at me as she remained undefended--

"Go, Mizuki-chan!"

I heard Yoshii-kun's voice.

"Ye, yes."

I stared at Kanda-san, who looked really shocked, and threw the ball out with all I had.

The ball flew out, hitting Kanda-san on the foot, and landed on the floor.

""Ah...""

Kanda-san and my voice rang in unison.

It hit...? I, I hit Kanda-san...?

"Okay! Got it!"

The ball rebounded back after hitting Kanda-san, and a teammate picked it up.

"Aki-kun, over to you!"

"Alright!"

Yoshii-kun received the ball from the teammate's pass, and at that moment, hit the last remaining person.

"B team wins!"

The last player on the opposing side got hit, and the teacher declared the end of this match.

As everyone cheered, Yoshii-kun looked over at me.

"Here here, Mizuki-chan. Your hand."

"Eh? Eh? Like this?"

I reached my hand out while not understanding why,

"Nice job!"

Yoshii-kun said that as he high-fived my hand.

"Ah..."

The overlapping hands had a vague warmth within.

"Hey, Aki-kun! It's too sneaky of you to ask a girl for help like that!"

"Hehe! We win either way!"

Yoshii-kun's friends on the opposing teams said that, and Yoshii-kun ran out.

As I remained there, I spaced out as I clenched my hand that touched Yoshii-kun's hand.

"Listen to me, something really amazing happened today!"

Once homeroom meeting was over, we could return home.

I hurriedly packed my bag, and ran off to the rabbits' hut.

"I hit Kanda-san when we played dodgeball today!"

The three rabbits were the ones listening to me, and they gave me a "What's for mealtime?" look, but I was so excited that I did not notice and immediately hugged the smallest rabbit.

"And I was in the same group as Yoshii-kun. I worked with him!"

It was something that happened in the morning, but my excitement did not subside even after school.

To me, who normally ended up getting hit immediately and picking balls, what happened today was really memorable.

"Hmmm~, shall I write a diary entry today~?"

I was so happy as I rubbed the rabbit with my face.

The rabbit felt that my actions were weird at first, but after it understood that this was an expression of love, it licked my face.

Recently, I had been starting to understand what otou-san meant when he said that 'if you want to be loved, you have to love others first'. The rabbit I liked would respond to me affectionately in my clutches. As I was happy, I would come over even when it was not time for our duty.

"Well, Yoshii-kun's really amazing at dodgeball--"

As I wanted to continue, the rabbit looked behind me.

I followed its stare and saw Yoshii-kun walking right at me--for some reason, my heart raced somewhat.

"Then, that's all for now. Time to eat~"

The rabbits heard that there was food, and happily leaped over to my feet.

Yoshii-kun came near the house, taking care not to step on the rabbits as he opened the door and went in.

"You're here early, Mizuki-chan."

"U, yes, well...I want to see these children earlier."

I was not lying. I really wanted to see them earlier, but I will keep what I said before as a secret.

"I see. The rabbits sure are cute, aren't they?"

"Yes."

I was a little happy that I had the same thoughts as Yoshii-kun.

"Arre? Is this one male?"

"No. That's the mother. This one with the larger tail is the father."

Amongst the 3 rabbits, one of them was a 4-year-old father, one of them was a 3-year-old mother, and the one I liked was a young girl that was less than a year old.

"Then, this one?"

"This is the youngest girl."

The three rabbits really looked the same, but they had their unique traits. I was proud that I could distinguish them from each other just by their movements.

"Doesn't this one seem rather concerned about us? It has been tilting its head at us."

"That's its habit. It's cute, isn't it?"

"I see. So it's a trait. It's definitely cute . Arre?"

"What is it, Yoshii-kun?"

"Mizuki-chan, you have grass in your hair."

"Eh?"

Yoshii-kun said as he stared at me. There was grass on my hair? I think that child kicked it onto my hair when I cuddled it."

"Eh...is, is it still there?"

"Ahaha, it's on the other side. I'll help you take it off."

Yoshii-kun got close to me and reached his hand out.

His hand touched me. That was the hand that touched mine when we played dodgeball.

I realized this, and blushed as I froze.

"Okay, I took it off...Mizuki-chan?"

"FUAAH!?"

I let out a cry I did not expect. Wh, why!? Why is my face so hot?

"What is it? Are you feeling unwell?"

"It, it's nothing, nothing at all...!"

"??? You're very weird here, Mizuki-chan."

Yoshii-kun tilted his face as he saw my thoroughly blushing face.

At his feet, the one-year-old rabbit was tilting its head in the same direction.

"Good morning."

Yoshii-kun waved at me as he walked into the classroom.

"Good morning~ Aki-kun."

"Good morning. You're later than usual today."

"Un, well, onee-chan..."

"What? Did you do something to make her angry?"

Ever since we swapped seats in the past, my seat got further away from Yoshii-kun. We used to be able to greet each other when we were sitting close to each other...

At these kinds of moments, I would hate myself for thinking too much. Why can I not summon my courage? Someone like me is not cute, bad at sports, and if I have any good traits like being very positive...

"Good morning, Akihisa-kun. What is it? What happened?"

"Ah, Reika-chan. Good morning."

And the girl who was the complete opposite of me, pretty, outgoing, athletic--Kanda-san greeted Yoshii-kun.

"It's not really anything big here,"

"Yes yes--ahaha! Akihisa-kun, what is it?"

"Eh? What is it?"

"Your head! Behind you!"

"Eh?"

Yoshii-kun hurriedly looked behind, and found that there was a cute hair ribbon on the back of his head girls would wear.

"Ahaha! What is that, Aki-kun?"

"Aki-kun, you got pranked on!"

"You're cute, Akihisa-kun♪"

"Ah...! Onee-chan definitely did that."

Yoshii-kun reached behind his head to pull down the decoration. Everyone stared at him and laughed.

"Ah. That's so funny~"

"That's really funny there."

"I don't find it funny at all!"

"Ahaha, is that so?"

"Sorry sorry."

"But Aki-kun, why would onee-chan do that to you?"

"Well, I don't know about that, but onee-chan definitely did not look happy."

"That means you definitely did something again, Aki-kun."

"You can't think of anything?"

"Unn... she asked me 'what happened to the cookies you made?', and I said 'I gave it to a girl in class', and she wasn't happy about it..."

"Did onee-chan want to eat the cookies you made?"

"But onee-chan doesn't like sweet things..."

"That's not the problem. Onee-chan is really pitiful there..."

"I'm the one to be pitied here. I had salt water for breakfast this morning!"

"Salt water for breakfast? Ahaha, that's really amazing!"

"That's not funny at all! Who can live on with salt water alone!?"

"""AHAHAHAHAHA!!!"""

Laughter erupted at that moment.

It was always like this around Yoshii-kun. Everyone was happy, and Yoshii-kun smiled energetically as well.

That is great...he has so many things I do not have...

"Hm~? I wonder who Akihisa-kun made these cookies for that caused him to end up like this~"

Amidst the laughter, Kanda-san whispered as she glanced at me.

The rabbits continued to nibble grass in front of me.

During the pet caring time after school, I spent time alone with the rabbit.

I put the food that dropped out back inside the tray, and the female rabbit happily licked my hand. I could not help but give a grin at this moment.

"Good one, children."

I patted on the back of the rabbits that turned back to eat the food from the tray. The rabbit then tilted its head and gave a soft voice. Rabbits would make noises when they are happy or angry, and I only learned of that as a pet caring member.

At first, I wanted to quit the job of being a pet-pet raising member, but I really liked this job. Every day, I would look forward to duty time that occurred once every week. The rabbits were that cute, and...Yoshii-kun had duty as well.

However,

"Did Yoshii-kun forget about the duty today?"

I patted the rabbit on the back as I said. Today's duty is swapped over with another day because another class had to go to another school today, so Yoshii-kun probably forgot because of this.

"It's a pity..."

I whispered as I scratched it from behind the ears.

The rabbit probably felt good as it let out a soft voice.

After taking good care of them, I kept the cleaning equipment and closed the rabbit hut door.

"Bye bye. I'll come back."

I said my farewells and went back to the classroom to get the bag.


"...-chan, you find Kojima-san to be better?

"Ehh, but he often play pranks."

"I can't stand him either."


I returned to the classroom, and heard the voices from within. Most likely, there were still some people chatting in the classroom.

I opened the door and silently walked in.

As expected, the ones inside were my classmates--Kanda-san's group of 4 in the classroom.

"Reika-chan, so yours is?"

"Yes, Akihisa-kun."

"Ah, I understand!"

"He's so cool, right? Like during PE class."

"Right?"

I heard the name I was concerned with, and immediately looked over.

And my eyes met Kanda-san's as her group looked over at me.

"..."

Kanda-san narrowed her eyes as she smiled and asked,

"Hey, Plain Lover-san, who do you like most?"

"Ye, yes?"

This unexpected question caused me to panic.

"Do you have someone you like?"

"No, I, well, no..."

I did not really understand what it meant to like someone...and, I did not think that this kind of thing was to be said with others...

"What's the problem here? Tell me~"

"We want to know too."

"Yea, it's too sneaky if you don't tell us after hearing us~"

"Eve, even if you say so..."

I did not hear much, and I did not want to hear them in the first place...

Kanda-san said as she saw that I was unwilling to talk,

"Well, it's--nothing. If you don't have one, so be it."

"Eh?"

She let me off just like that? I thought she would pursue this further.

"I thought you would say Akihisa-kun, but it's great if that's not the case."

"Eh? What's the problem with that. You'll definitely win when compared to Plain Lover."

"Yeah~ you're skinny and cute, Reika-chan."

These words hurt me.

I did feel this way personally, but it was really sad to hear these words said right at me. I am fat, and not cute at all...

As I looked dejected, Kanda-san and the rest continued,

"We can't say that. Boys are kids after all. If you say so--"

"Ah, well, the other boys will move further away from him."

"It's pitiful that Akihisa-kun would be teased by other boys."

"Especially when he got involved with Plain Love, right?"

Ah...

The moment I heard the words Kanda-san's group said, I remembered.

It was true that those boys who talked to the girls would be teased. If that was what would happen when he talks to me, I wonder what will happen if he likes me...

"But does Akihisa-kun really like Plain Lover?"

"Hurry up and say it, you know?"

They asked me again.

I had doubtful feelings of not wanting to cause trouble for Yoshii-kun, felt embarrassed as I wanted to keep this secret, and also...I had a little pride in me.

These feelings intertwined with each other, and before I realized this, I cried out.


"I--I DON'T LIKE YOSHII-KUN AT ALL!"


I did not know why I just had to say it at that moment.

Even if it was just a few moments earlier or later, even if it was just a little softer

Then--


"Ah...erm...did I hear something I shouldn't have listened to...?"


And then, Yoshii-kun would not have heard it.

"A, Akihisa-kun? Why?"

"Haven't you returned back?"

"I remembered that I have pet caring duty, so I rushed back...but it looks like it's done. Sorry, Mizuki-chan."

Yoshii-kun lowered his head at me, but I was thoroughly confused--

"...!"

I took my bag from the table, and ran away from the classroom without looking back.


"Ah! Mizuki-chan!"

"Forget about it, Akihisa-kun. Don't bother with Plain Lover-san."

"Right right. Plain Lover-san doesn't like you anyway, so it's not like it matters anyway."

"Speaking of which, Akihisa-kun, can you talk with me for a short moment?"

"..."

"??? What is it, Akihisa-kun?"

"...Sure, I have something I want to say to you too, Reika-chan."

After that incident, I had been living through the days in a daze.

Because of that, I did not notice that everyone stopped calling me 'Plain Lover' from a certain point.

"What is it, Yuki-chan?"

Now, even my friends who often called me 'Mizuki-chan would call me Yuki-chan. I think it was derived from 'Mizuki-chan→Zuki-chan→Yuki-chan[6]

"Kanda-san and the rest started calling you that first."

And I could only get this answer when I asked about how this nickname came about.

Kanda-san's group; I started thinking more into this the moment I heard about this. Did they call me Yuki-chan because I looked as fat as a snowman, or...

"You don't look fine recently, Yuki-chan. What happened?"

"No, it's nothing."

My friends were worried, so I answered them with a smiling face. It was nothing in the first place.

"Then, I'll go for my pet caring duty then."

"Ah, okay. See you, Yuki-chan."

I bid farewell to my friends that were heading home, and ran off to the rabbit house.

I opened the rusted gate and went in. The rabbits came running over, seeing if it was me.

"Hello there. How are you feeling?"

I greeted the rabbits that were jumping around me. The rabbits seemed rather happy as they let out cries.

"I'll clean up now, so wait for the food, okay?"

I put the rabbits that were hopping around out of the hut one by one, cleaned up the inside of the hut, changed the water, the bedding grass, and finally, I served the food the rabbits were waiting so long for. They happily nibbled on it.

Normally, I would stroke them on the back...but today, I started to think mindlessly.


"I--I DON'T LIKE YOSHII-KUN AT ALL!"


These same words continued to repeat in my mind.

I really regretted it, and I was dejected over it.

I actually said that to the kind Yoshii-kun, and worst of all, he personally heard it...

He definitely hates me now.

Yoshii-kun was kind, and up till now, he had not shown it, but he definitely hates me in his heart. Anyone will be angry when someone like me says 'I don't like' with regards to them.

"I didn't expect that I would say such hurtful things to Yoshii-kun."

Before that, I would feel happy whenever he called me, but now, I keep avoiding his eyes. I could not do the pet-caring duty I normally looked forward to because I was admitted into hospital from time to time, and he had to do the pet-caring alone. Nowadays, I could not stand being alone with Yoshii-kun.

"Haa..."

There was a saying that happiness will slip away if I sighed. In that case, I suppose no happiness, no matter how small it is, will befall me in the end. I had been practically sighing whenever I breathed.

As I was feeling depressed, I felt a soft touch at my feet.

Conscious of this, I looked over, and saw a rabbit rubbing itself at my feet. It was the youngest girl that always had its head tilted.

"..."

I wordlessly squat down to pat her back, and the other rabbits, on seeing my reaction, tilted their heads and let out a cry 'Nu' before going back to nibble on their food.

Were they comforting me?

I thought as I stared at the rabbits that were eating, occasionally looking up at me.

"If you want to be loved, you have to love others first."

As what otou-san said, once I started loving the rabbits, the rabbits loved me back too.

However, in that case--

"I will be hated if I said that I do not like, I guess..."

This thought continued to swirl in my mind.

"I didn't want to say that in the first place..."

My vigor and happiness slipped out of my mouth with that sigh.

And it was two weeks later that I caught a fever and got admitted into hospital.

I suppose it was really true when they say that illnesses come from mind.

On a particular morning a week ago, I got up, found out that I had a fever, and took sick leave, but the fever just would not subside. The next day, I went to the hospital I often went to.

Right now, my fever has subsided somewhat, but since I still have to take many tests and treatment, therefore I continued to be hospitalized.

It seems that my body’s immunity system is slightly weaker. The doctor at the hospital did say ‘when you’re an adult, you don’t have to come to the hospital’.

I was already used to seeing this hospital room.

Inside this unpleasant pure white room, there was a large bed and a chair for guests to sit on. On the table beside the bed, there were flowers okaa-san put there, and there were also postcards my classmates wrote in when I was hospitalized.

“Get well soon, Kawai Nene”

“Let’s go out and play when you’re recovered! Yoshino Shinobu.”

“A lot of things happened. Sorry, please take care of yourself. Kanda Reika.”

Amongst everyone’s encouraging words, there was one line from Kanda-san.

Also—

“I’ll definitely go visit you—Yoshii Akihisa.”

Amongst the letters that were sent, there was Yoshii-kun’s message as well.

“…”

After seeing this, I wondered if Yoshii-kun bothered about the words I said about him, or rather, I wonder if he forgot all about it…

Or rather, maybe I can say that ‘Yoshii-kun never had any thoughts about me in the first place’. I may be just an afterthought to Yoshii-kun.

“As expected, someone cute and energetic like Kanda-san is better than me…”

In the past, she would give a few bad looks to me, but she would not do so recently. She even wrote an apology on the postcard and was worried about me.

“Kanda-san’s so good…and so energetic, athletic, cute, gentle…”

I cannot match her in every way.

Besides, I do not like myself at all. I hate the fact that I have no good points, and I hate that I keep hesitating like this.

I wonder what Yoshii-kun felt when I, an annoying person said that ‘I don’t like him’. Did he feel shocked, or…

“…”

The more I thought about that, the more worse I felt.

“Oh yes. I have to study…”

I brought the bag beside my bed over and laid out the studying materials in front of me. Since my body is feeling better, I have to work hard for the one weeks worth of lessons that I had missed. I want to catch up with everyone, even if it is only about studies…

There was no one else inside the ward room. I continued to do a maths assessment book[7] alone inside, and the ticking of the clock’s second hand just felt very loud.

And then, I found that I wrote a wrong answer.

“Ah…I filled in the wrong answer column…”

I accidentally wrote the answers I should have written on the left side on the right instead.

I looked back to see where the problem arose from, and found that I wrote the answer of the 4th question in the wrong column.

“Ahaha…this isn’t good…”

I erased the parts I wrote wrongly with an eraser and rewrote the answer again. And then, as I was rubbing away with my eraser, the page on the assessment book was torn as it let out an annoying sound.

“Really, I can’t do anything…”

Why is it that I am so useless no matter what I do? I am so gloomy, not cute, so weak, and cannot even do my maths well…

“Uu…uu…”

All sorts of feelings swelled in my heart, and tears came out from my eyes.

It was a good thing no one was looking, and I continued to cry as I did the questions.

On the next day, at 8pm.

Visiting time was over, and okaa-san got up to return home.

“Then, Mizuki-chan, I’ll come back to visit tomorrow.”

“Un, thank you for bringing the books here, okaa-san.”

I thanked okaa-san graciously for bringing books to me.

I often talked about how cute the rabbits at school were when I was at home, so okaa-san bought me a book called “How to raise Rabbits”. Maybe she will allow me to raise rabbits at home.

“Speaking of which, a boy was buying the same book when I bought this book. Is it a current trend to raise rabbits?”

Okaa-san said this before she returned back.

I will be happy if that is the case. The little rabbits are really cute.

“Your body is recovering nowadays, but don’t stay up overnight.”

“Okay~”

Okaa-san left these final reminders behind as she walked out of the hospital.

Left alone in the patient wardroom, I hurriedly reached over for the “How to raise Rabbits”. It will be great if there is a way to make rabbits happy written on it, so that I can try it out when I go to school.

On the books, there were basic things like “Important things for nurturing”, “things that they can’t eat”, and also more in-depth information like “how to play together” and “How not to be hated”.

“Eh…so rabbits like to dig holes...I didn’t know that.”

Even if there is no dirt, they like to play with things given to them like tissue paper.

I really wanted to try out all sorts of things with those children at school at this point.

I could not help but continue reading, and saw the chapter “Rabbit illnesses”.

“The symptoms might be rather severe by the time you find out that the rabbit is sick. You have to spot early symptoms.”

These words caused my heart to tense up. I never thought that those children could get sick.

“But everyone has had good appetite, and they were jumping around energetically. It should be alright, right…?”

The symptoms listed were similar to humans, like fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and those children never showed such symptoms.

“Thank goodness. Looks like they’re fine…”

I continued to read the symptoms that did not match, and patted my chest as I continued. The last line that was listed, however,

“Also, rabbits might suffer from an illness called ‘torticollis’.”

Torticollis, I have never heard of this illness before.

“Torticollis is a disease caused by a problem in the organ controlling the balance in rabbits. The main illnesses will involve inner ear and middle ear infection. On rare occasions, it might be caused by a parasite damaging the brain.”

Problem, illness, brain damage.

I could not help but hold my breath as I read the horrifying words laid out in front of me.

It is alright, they are still energetic, nothing will happen to them…

“The symptoms include unsteady walking, tripping, repeated tilting of the head, and so on.”

“Eh…?”

Tilting heads, now that it was mentioned, I remembered that youngest girl that was less than a year old .

“The illness will develop based on the body size, and sometimes, it might die in a short time.”

That child had been tilting its head repeatedly for a long time, towards the same direction over and over again.

“Once you find it tilting its head, you have to bring it to a specialist clinic.”

I had been in hospital for a week, and it had been 3 weeks ago ever since the last time I saw that child.


“Doesn't this one seem rather concerned about us? It has been tilting its head at us.”

“That's its trait. It's cute, isn't it?”


It was not a habit, it was sick…!

I felt angry at my stupidity. It was because I thought that I knew about everything, and I did not notice it back then…!

“The symptoms might be rather severe by the time you find out that the rabbit is sick. You have to spot early symptoms.”

I recalled the opening line in this chapter.

Problem, illness, brain damage—death.

It might be too late if I do not hurry up.

“That sort of thing is impossible…!”

I said these words that I did not actually managed to hear.

“The symptoms might be rather severe by the time you find out that the rabbit is sick.”

The words on the book caused me to feel more and more uneasy.

Unknowingly, I ran out from the wardroom to the school.

“…”

The school at night was so silent and dark, without a trace of life.

“How is that…possible…”

I collapsed on the floor in a limp manner as I looked into the rabbit house.

The father and mother rabbits were sleeping soundly. Slightly further away—that rabbit that was less than 1 year old was lying face up, not moving at all.

I did not know if it was because the illness developed quickly during these past few days as that child lay on a towel that was not too cold, acting as a bed. The hay on the tray were scattered apart for easy eating.

But the care showed by the pet raising committee members did not work at all, and this child slept silently without breathing.

“Why…! It was still energetic before this…!”

It was even prodding at my body, and comforted me when I felt down. It was just, 3 mere weeks ago…!

I did not have any faint hopes about whether it was just sleeping while facing upwards. I knew, without cuddling it, that it died in the middle of the night.

“Mizuki-chan…?”

As I was spacing out, someone called me by my name.

The owner of the voice was holding the book I just read.

“Yoshii…kun…”

Why is he here, why does he have that book?

I would have such doubts in the past, but at this point, I only had one thought.

—It was my fault.

The reason why this child died is because I did not notice it.

There were so many telltale signs before this, but I did not notice it even when it tilted its head. If I had checked through it carefully, if I had discovered it earlier, it could have been saved.

This child died because I was hospitalized.

If I had carried out my duty as a representative and told others about how it keeps tilting its head, maybe the vet might be able to save it.

Why is it that I just cannot do anything.

I have a weak body, I am gloomy, I am fat, not cute, and have very poor athleticism. I can even fill the answers wrong, and I could not realize that the rabbit I loved is feeling sick.

“Mizuki-chan, about the rabbit, sorry…”

Yoshii-kun said to me in a concerned manner.

It was the same for Yoshii-kun. He is so kind to such a person like me, and I even said ‘I don’t like him’ after all that had happened.

All sorts of annoying thoughts swirled in my mind—the one little friend that would comfort me at this moment can no longer move because of me.

“Mizuki-chan, are you alright…?”

The things I hate, the things that cause me anguish, and the things that cause me bitterness, the more I thought about this…

“I HAD ENOUGH!! EVERYTHING…EVERYTHING!!”

I yelled without thinking about anything and ran away from that place.

I did not remember how I ran.

Before I realized it, I was back at my hospital room when the lights were out, and I buried my face in the pillow, crying.

—Why is it that I cannot do anything?

—What am I doing wrong?

—Why is it that I am so useless?

This sudden sequence of events caused me to have negative thoughts.

—No matter what I do, someone like me will keep failing.

—Am I an existence that annoys people when I approach them?

—If that is really the case, am I going to be hated by everyone for the rest of my life?

I lost my little friend, and I could not stop hating myself as I cried for a rather long time. The nurse checking the room would probably feel annoyed about talking to me, so I covered the blanket over myself and continued to cry.

My throat hurt, and my tears were dry.

I lifted my head weakly, and saw that the hands on the clock pointed at 11.

“I should be sleeping now…”

I did not feel like sleeping, but I had to do this.

Okaa-san will be troubled if my body weakens even more after another late night. I don’t want okaa-san to hate me here…

“I don’t want to have any dreams tonight, whether they’re good or bad…”

I did not want to experience both the pain of the dream or the loneliness of waking up.

I closed my eyes that were swollen from the crying, slipped the blanket over myself again, and at this moment


“Hachoo!”


My ears suddenly heard this voice.

“Eh…?”

I dragged my sleeping body up and looked around.

This voice, did someone sneeze…?

Was it from the next room? But the walls were not so thin that a sneeze could be heard…


“Hachoo!”


As I thought about that, I heard that voice again.

The voice came from the large window facing the courtyard.

I, who was so tired from crying that I could not turn my head, did not want to think of anything as I got off the bed and pulled the curtain aside.

And then, I was shocked and made speechless by the scene outside the window.

“Wh…y…?”

There was a tall and large tree outside the window.

And Yoshii-kun’s body was shaking as he sat on a branch.

BTS vol 10.5 275.jpg

“Yoshii-kun!?”

I opened the window and called out to Yoshii-kun who was outside.

“Ah, Mizuki-chan, good evening.”

Yoshii-kun greeted me just like how he would greet me when I was on my way to school.

“Good evening isn’t the issue here! Why are you over there!?”

In contrast, I asked back in a thoroughly confused manner.

And then, Yoshii-kun stared at my face and said.

“Because you look really sad, Mizuki-chan.”

Eh…?

“Do you know? It’s better to be with someone else at this time.”

Yoshii-kun beamed as he looked like he was trying to encourage me. On the other hand, I was becoming more and more confused because I could not understand Yoshii-kun’s actions.

To be with someone else…so he’s been sitting on the tree outside so late at night, in such a cold weather, all for this!?

If he says that he wants to be together, would it not be meaningless to be outside without myself knowing in the first place!?

Why—

“Why must you do this!? You can just leave me alone!”

It is better to forget about someone like me who cannot do anything, who can only add onto other people’s troubles!

In response to my words, Yoshii-kun said with an incredulous look,

“Eh? Why must I leave you alone?”

Why? Why in…!

“Because of me! I said that I do not like you already, Yoshii-kun!? Did you not hear me say it that time!?”

“Yeah, I did hear it.”

“Then—!”

Then you would definitely hate me—

“But I do not mind about that. Onee-chan always said that I am not popular with girls, and also—”

Yoshii-kun kept his always smiling face as he continued,


“—Even if you don’t like me, Mizuki-chan, I do like you.”


At that moment, all the words that rushed to my mouth vanished.

Yoshii-kun’s ‘like’ and my ‘like’ were different. I knew that he was talking about the like between friends.

But even so—these words were already a big treasure I gained.

“Ah, that’s right. I got something I want to give you, Mizuki-chan.”

As I was at a loss of words, Yoshii-kun agilely used the branch to get to the window.

“Here, a get-well-soon gift.”

Yoshii-kun said as he pulled out something small from his pocket.

“…A rabbit, hairclip…?”

“Yeah.”

Yoshii-kun nodded.

“You might become very depressed about seeing rabbits, Mizuki-chan…but that kid definitely won’t wish for this.”

Yoshii-kun said as he was at arm’s length from me.

“So I hope you’ll continue to like rabbits for that kid’s sake, Mizuki-chan.”

And then, Yoshii-kun reached his hand out and put the rabbit hairclip onto my hair.

“Un. You look like a ‘Snow Rabbit’, Mizuki-chan, just like what everyone says.”[8]

Once again, he showed the smiling face I liked most.







[9]

After that, 7 years had passed.

I was in a different class from Akihisa-kun after we went on to fifth grade, and we never actually had the time to talk to each other after that—until our second year in high school.

“But a lot of things happened recently…”

A lot of things happened one after another, as if it was a make-up of all the lost time at one go. I did all sorts of various things with Akihisa-kun, and our relationship is now better than before.

“Principal-sensei[10] even talked about studying overseas…”

Really, so many things happened that I am all confused now.

“Hey, Akihisa-kun, what should I do…?”

I inadvertently let out a soft sound, and then—

—GACHAK

“Mizuki-chan, I’m going to wash the clothes. Is there anything you want to wash—”

“Hiyaaaaaaahhhh!?”

Okaa-san suddenly walked into the room. I, I thought my heart nearly stopped!

“Okaa-san! Didn’t I say to knock the door before entering the room?”

“Ah…sorry, okaa-san always forgets about this.”

“isn’t there a ‘knock please!’ sign hanging on the door?”

“Hmm…but okaa-san isn’t good at baseball[11], you know.”

“That’s not it, okaa-san!? This knock isn’t that kind of knock!”

Speaking of which, I only learnt this baseball-related knowledge recently.

“Then, Mizuki-chan, what were you thinking about?”

“Eh, well, that’s…”

Embarrassed, I turned my eyes away.

“In other words, you’re engrossed in your primary school life with Yoshii-kun—”

“Fueeh? How did you know?”

“You’re thinking that you should have switched the recorders secretly that time, right?”

“Ah, it’s okay, the latter half is all wrong—no, that’s not good at all, okaa-san!?”

“Ufufu, you’re asking me how I know? Of course I do, I’m your mother.”

“Stop! Don’t look like you guessed everything correctly! I never thought of doing that in the first place!”

I feel that okaa-san’s impression on me has changed ever since she saw the bolster. That…that, I just bought it out of convenience!

Okaa-san ignored my panicking self as she gave a steady look, continuing,

“I have only met him once, but Yoshii-kun is a good kid.”

“Ah, un. That’s right. He’s really kind, just like in primary school.”

“Yeah. He has become Mizuki-chan’s prince charming ever since then.”

“Do, don’t say that!”

Ever since she knew about this, okaa-san would occasionally tease me with this.

“But why has Yoshii-kun been so nice to you right from the beginning?”

“Eh?”

Okaa-san suddenly said.

Why? Because…he’s Akihisa-kun?

“Maybe Yoshii-kun likes Mizuki-chan in the first place?”

“How can that be? That’s impossible.”

I immediately denied okaa-san’s guess.

That is because there is nothing to like about me.

“Really? That might now be the case. Everyone has their own fated encounter, you know.”

Okaa-san continued to joke with me without knowing the truth. I said that it was impossible already.

“Okay, please go out. I’m thinking about something!”

“Okay okay, I understand.”

I pushed okaa-san by the back and nudged her out of the room.

“Fuu…really, okaa-san’s always like that…”

I closed the door and sighed hard.

“Akihisa-kun, huh…?”

Because of her, my mind was filled with this name.

I opened the drawer and took out something from within—

A rabbit hairclip.

The treasure I got when I was in primary school.

Akihisa-kun looked like he had forgotten that he was the one who handed me this gift, but I still remember it clearly.

At that moment, as I kept crying alone in that dark wardroom, Akihisa-kun said to me with a gentle voice, ‘So I hope you’ll continue to like rabbits’ and left this treasure in my hand.

I did not forget a single moment during this incident.

“Yes, I do like them…starting from that moment, until now…”

Akihisa-kun, I really love them; both the rabbits, and you.


Notes[edit]

  1. This part is written from Akihisa's perspective. The pronoun 僕 is used in the 'within my heart' line.
  2. Space intended. There was a blank page.
  3. Now, the story starts from Mizuki's perspective. I (私) is used here.
  4. As noted in volume 5 question 4, if we take out the ‘Hime (姫)’ from Himeji Mizuki, we get 路瑞希 (ji-mizuki), which sounds like 地味好き (jimisuki), or plain lover.
  5. What the boy wanted to say was, いや, らしい, which would mean ‘no, it seems’ (literal) or 'it seems that she doesn’t want to do so'. Without the comma, いやらしい means ‘very obscene’
  6. ミズキちゃん to ズキちゃん to ユキちゃん
  7. To shut some people up for me supposedly not using Japanese RAWs, the original text gives it as drill, okay? ドリル. Now, how do you expect me to put it in
  8. The real meaning of the nickname 'yuki' given to Mizuki. I'm just going to treat everyone as idiots and say that yuki means snow.
  9. Space intended. A time skip of 7 years happens here, just like Fairy Tail.
  10. Don’t look at me here, Mizuki always adds them together
  11. Both knock and fungo (baseball drill) are written as ノック