Owari no Chronicle:Volume13 Chapter 37

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Chapter 37: What I Want to Do[edit]

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Check on me a lot

And let me check on you

Because I want you to be with all of me

Because I want to be with everything of you

Darkness fell over Taka-Akita Academy’s main gate.

A large bulletin board for students was set up on the inside of that westward-pointing gate.

It was used to summon students, inform of teachers’ absences, post notifications of suspensions, and announce the results of club activities.

Currently, the lights illuminated a single sheet of paper on the board.

The imitation vellum was decorated with white and red artificial flowers and contained writing in ink.


The Leviathan Road Meeting was concluded with equal approval ratings for both Top-Gear and Low-Gear concerning their intertwined history.

As agreed to by both parties, five representatives of Top-Gear and five representatives of Low-Gear will conclude the root conflict via combat.

If either side has insufficient representatives, a replacement can be made with approval from all other Gears.

Top-Gear: Toda Mikoku – Hajji – Nagata Tatsumi – Alex – To Be Determined

Low-Gear: Sayama Mikoto – Izumo Kaku – Kazami Chisato – Heo Thunderson (Dan Harakawa) – Hiba Ryuuji

  • The battles shall be carried out one-on-one.
  • The battles shall begin at noon on December 23. Weapon acquisition shall begin at dawn on December 23.
  • Each representative shall acquire a Concept Core weapon at this spot before the battles begin.
  • Each representative may freely choose a Concept Core weapon on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • A concept space shall automatically expand around each battlefield zone in Tokyo.
  • The traits of the concept space shall be influenced by the concept weapons contained within.
  • If a representative’s Concept Core weapon is stolen or destroyed, they will have lost the battle.
  • The winner shall return their Concept Core along with the loser’s Concept Core.

–December 22, 2005, Leviathan Road Meeting Moderator

The bulletin board’s surroundings were completely abandoned.

Night was falling over the version of the front gate’s bulletin board that had been split off into a concept space.

Distant noise carried through the night sky.

Small lights and shadows could be seen in a dark, dewy yard.

The lights were in the backyard portion of the large yard. They were positioned in front of a small shrine set up near the fence and trees to the west.

The garden lanterns on either side of the shrine had lit candles inside.

A single photograph had been placed in the illuminated entrance of the shrine.

It pictured a woman and her photographed eyes looked out at the boy and girl standing before the shrine.

The boy had sharp eyes and wore a navy suit.

The girl had long black hair and wore a white armored uniform.

The girl took the boy’s left hand and smiled.

“Mom…and dad. And grandpa, grandma, and even great-grandpa.” She nodded. “Have you all been waiting?”

She exhaled.

“Great-grandpa helped the Tamiya family, so they honored the surname Shinjou here. And it seems Sayama-kun’s grandfather looked after you, too. So…”

She closed her eyes.

“You were protected by some strange people, but that’s why everyone is here, isn’t it?”

“Shinjou-kun, I am not sure this is the time to slip in some oddly appropriate judgements.”

“I-I wasn’t trying to do that.”

Shinjou smiled, relaxed her shoulders, and spoke to no one in particular.

“Um, I had always thought I was alone.”


“Yes.” She nodded. “I felt helpless, I cried all the time, and I’ve done nothing but rely on you since I met you. But…”

She opened her eyes, looked to the shrine, looked to the mountains and the lights of the city to the west, looked up into the night sky, and stared at the moon.

She moved her gaze from the shrine that honored her surname, across the earth it stood on, and up into the heavens it connected to.

“I can’t reach the moon, but this world only exists because of what my parents and those who came before them did.”


“I always thought I didn’t have parents, but if I truly hadn’t had any…the world wouldn’t be the way it is. And I don’t think I would be the way I am either.”


“I think some portion of the world was made by my parents’ hands.”

She squeezed Sayama’s hand and looked back down to the shrine.

“I can’t see them or speak with them anymore, but as long as this world exists, the things they did will live on and I can add on even more.”

Which meant…

“The world isn’t our body. It’s more like a creature that lives on with our deeds carved into it. The things we’ve done will continue to exchange words in the world even if we’re no longer here.”

In other words…

“The world is like DNA.”

At that point, Shinjou slowly let out a crumbling breath.

“You know what, mom and dad? I care for you.”

Her thoughts could no longer reach them and she wished she could meet them, but that was exactly why she said what she did.

“I will take care of this world. Because I want to see all of you, I’ll take care of the world you all protected. So it’ll reach you, won’t it? What I do will pass through the world and reach what you did, won’t it?”

There was no answer to that question, but she still received one.

“It will.”

She felt a squeeze on her hand and heard Sayama’s voice.

“There is no way our thoughts will not reach the world.”

She opened her eyes wide and turned to the side, but Sayama remained facing the shrine.

“Let us make the world ache, Shinjou-kun. If we work together, it will have twice the effect. No, you count as two people, so I will have to put in some extra effort to bring it up to four times.”

“T-two is enough. It just has to reach my mom and the others.”

Sayama turned toward her and smiled in the moonlight.

“Then we can use the remaining two to make each other ache.”

He took a breath.

“I see you as a single individual, so that is just perfect. Right, Sadagiri-kun?”

He placed an arm around her shoulder and they turned back to the shrine together.

He exhaled and the breath appeared white in the air.

Realizing that their surroundings were cooling down, he spoke.

“The surname Shinjou is no longer alone.”

“That’s right.”

Shinjou looked to the shrine, blushed, and crouched down as if to show her white armored uniform to the small structure.

“How do I look? I wear this even when I’m a boy. But I like this kind of clothing and I have someone who agrees I look good in it, so…”

She did not say “don’t worry”. Instead, she smiled and said something else.

“Isn’t that great?”

She leaned up against Sayama and nodded toward the shrine.

“Now that I know that, I want to be with him.”

After a short pause, she began to sing.

This was the one thing she had remembered.

It was the same song her mother had sung and she directed it toward the photographed smile in the moonlit shrine.

Slowly but surely, the song continued.

As the night grew darker, the festival’s light and noise grew.

Of all the colors on Taka-Akita Academy’s brightly lit bulletin board, the largest was the notice for the night’s costume dance party.

It took place on the general athletic grounds that the students called the Big Emperor. The large sandy area was located directly ahead from the main road and it had been transformed into a four kilometer dance floor.

The stands, decorations, daruma dolls, and other items no longer needed after the first half of the festival had been turned into a large bonfire in the center. Costumed dancers surrounded it in five circles sized extra large, large, medium, small, and extra small.

The extra large circle was four kilometers across and its dancers ran quickly around while the extra small circle had approached within a meter of the blaze. They all danced to the light music club’s original song Stand By Bon.

The emotional cries of electric guitars accompanied the five-stage costumed Bon dance and the fire cast dancing shadows on the surrounding school buildings. The people watching the shadows of those dancing supermen or mystery men generally received a single impression.

“This looks like a demonic ritual meant to destroy the world.”

“I don’t want to hear that from someone dressed like you, Brunhild.”

Kazami looked over at Brunhild as the two of them stood in front of the clubhouse near the main gate.

Brunhild still wore the black outfit she had worn to the meeting. She even wore the three-cornered hat and carried the scythe.

However, she had more to say as she drank a bottle of tea she had bought at a nearby festival stand.

“You’re not one to talk in that armored uniform.”

“But I don’t have anything else that looks like a costume. My band outfit was designed with more emphasis on being showy.”

“Showy? I think you mean indecent. How can you show your midriff in public like that?”

The one who smiled bitterly at that was not Kazami. It was Izumo who stood on Kazami’s other side.

“Still, Chisato, that outfit is going to stand out. Some people are going to recognize it, you know? There are quite a few UCAT members at the school, both as students and teachers.”


Kazami turned toward him and suddenly tilted her head and glared.

“Kaku? Could you not carry around a surfboard wearing only a swimsuit at this time of year?”

“Don’t be stupid. I’m dressed as Borderman, the new hero your old man’s planning!”

“Don’t you mean Boarderman? To match the surfboard?”

“No, his name comes from how he always stops right on the border of unacceptable as he foments rebellion.”

“That is not stopping on the border! That’s running straight past it!”

“It’s nice how energetic you two idiots are, Kazami. But Izumo, were you serious about that?”

“Yeah.” He pulled some sunglasses from his swimsuit and put them on. “Although not many of them are part of the special division. This is the standard place for the naturalized people to send their kids and they end up getting caught up in it somehow or another. And for some, it’s just because their parents were in UCAT.”

He crossed his arms.

“Also, I’m sure most of the teachers are. And it isn’t just the school. I’m sure there are plenty outside too and I think the numbers are growing. Even among those younger than us.”

“I see.”

Kazami nodded and heard the drum and bass Taka-Akita Ondo, so she looked to the dancing and wriggling group beyond the flames.

“A lot of them aren’t even wearing costumes.”

“It really is a demonic ritual, isn’t it?” Brunhild tilted her head a bit. “More importantly, where are the others?”

“Heo is probably enjoying herself somewhere in the festival and Harakawa will be with her. Hiba went on ahead to UCAT because he’s worried about Mikage. As for Sayama and Shinjou…”

Kazami looked to the graduation artwork visible as shadows on the distant schoolyard.

“They were dancing together, but then they saw the artwork their parents made and said they were going to the Tamiya house. Look, it was those creepy hands. There’s one for each of Sayama’s parents and one for Shinjou’s mom.”

She smiled, Brunhild said “I see”, and Izumo said “So that’s where they are.”

Kazami nodded at their replies.

“They’re both idiots, but they’re a good match.”

“The way I see it, idiots have a way of being a good match for each other.”

“Oh? Like you and that black cat?”

Brunhild looked to the cat and it averted its gaze while backing away.

Kazami sighed as she watched the girl swing down her scythe and dash after the animal.

She then looked up at her partner.

“Kaku, let’s go dance too. It is our last year here.”

She pulled on his hand.

“Wait, wait,” he said as she pulled him along. “What about my surfboard?”

“Just stick it in the ground somewhere.”

He looked down at his outfit with a troubled look.

“But without the board, I’ll look like a freak.”

“You already do!!”

“Hey, Sayama-kun?”

Shinjou’s voice filled the wooden room.

She forced a smile below the dim light of a single lightbulb.

“Why was the futon already laid out?”

“Hm. It seems to happen automatically. That is the Tamiya house’s detached room for you.”

“And. Who. Arranged. For. It!?”

She repeatedly slapped the single futon and blanket.

“And it even has two pillows like for a couple!”

“Well, we will not need three for a while yet.”

That comment left her speechless and her face rapidly grew red.

She tried to say something.


But she found she could not put her thoughts to words and realized this had taken a turn for the worse.

“I-I’m leaving.”

She stood up while keeping her head lowered to hide her heated face.

Still sitting on the futon, Sayama looked up at her.



She had difficulty gathering her thoughts.

“This isn’t right. Something about it isn’t right. It’s, um, uh…”

She had a single thought.

It feels like we’re making other people do things for us.

I’m such an awful girl, she thought.

“I’m leaving. I am.”

She took the first step, wondered what she was doing, wondered why she was not stopping, and started past Sayama.

“Wait, Shinjou-kun!”

He moved in front of her and grabbed her to stop her. And he did so while still on his knees.

His height meant his arms wrapped around the back of her thighs and his face pressed against her lower stomach.

“I cannot let you have that look on your face, Shinjou-kun.”

“Where do you think you’re looking when you say that!?”

“Ha ha ha. Your navel through the armored uniform, of course. And if I look up, I can see the silhouette of your breasts.”

“Y-you never listen! You need to be more open to what I’m saying!”

“Then let us both be open.”

He used his knees to spread her legs.

With a defenseless zone below her body, she shrank back.

However, he excitedly moved his knees further in.

“Now our coordinates are even closer! Not long until we are safely together!!”

To prove that did not mean safety, she rained blows down on the top of his head.

“Y-you don’t have any idea how I feel, do you!? I’m going to keep this up until you lose all your extra lives!!”

“C-calm down, Shinjou-kun! I believe my life comes with no extra continues!”

“No mercy.”

The next blow must have hit in just the right spot because Sayama groaned and shrank down.

However, that movement stuck his face between her thighs.

She cried out and tried to escape by pulling out her legs, but his arms were wrapped around the base of her thighs on the back side. He was also spreading her legs with his knees, so it could not have been more difficult to keep her balance.

“Y-you’re latched on as tightly as some kind of mythical creature! Are you the mythical Crotch-Grabber!?”

“How could you cast such aspersions on the butt fairy!? Still, I think the mythical Old Thigh Man sounds better.”

Hearing that, she frantically looked around.

“A spear. I need a spear. P-preferably something that can ward off evil!”

“While this is entertaining, you need to calm down, Shinjou-kun. With an emphasis on ‘down’.”

Sayama lowered his arms. The arms that had been grabbing at her butt reached the backs of her knees instead and they pulled to send her tumbling down.

She fell onto her legs and found herself sitting on Sayama’s lap.

“See? There you go.”

He grabbed her hands to help her balance in her slightly backwards leaning pose and he placed her hands on his shoulders which left her with no choice but to look at his face.

That face was as expressionless as ever and he looked her directly in the eye before nodding once.

“Then let us leave, Shinjou-kun.”


Her body suddenly seemed to float.

She cried out as Sayama’s arms wrapped around her butt and the back of her knees.

He then lifted her up.

She panicked, but more at having her vision up so high than at being held. She leaned on his left shoulder and wrapped her arms around his head.

“W-we can leave?”

“Combining when the two are not in sync stereotypically leads to a failed combination or a combination accident.”

“But are you okay with us leaving?”

I’m sure he is, she thought with an inward sigh.

With that in mind, she relaxed her shoulders.

“Maybe I was the only one worrying about Ryouko-san…”

“Oh, Ryouko? I do feel bad for what I did to her.”

“For what you did to her?”

“Yes.” He nodded and glanced down at the futon. “Before leaving with you the day before yesterday, I laid out this futon. Ryouko was quite angry that I left nothing for her to do.”

“Oh? So you were the one that put it here.”

“Yes. I thought it would surprise you.”

“Oh?” she said again while resting on his shoulder.

She then grabbed his head, lightly kicked his shoulder and chest, and leaned back in midair.

“Tell me that sooner!!”

She sent a full-powered knee into his chest.

Three minutes later, Shinjou was fixing the futon.

Even though she complained, she could not deny that she was blushing and, when she turned around…

“I didn’t know an expressionless face could be so filled with anticipation, Sayama-kun.”

“I cannot help it when I think about the fact that you are fixing our futon. It is just so sexy.”

Don’t let him trick you, she told herself while finishing up by correcting the positions of the pillows.

She sighed and reluctantly scooted over toward him.

“Shinjou-kun, why not come sit here again?”

He patted his lap, so she thought for a moment and looked to the four walls, the ceiling, and the window.

“No one’s looking?”

“Ryouko would never allow it.”

She gasped at that name but thought about what it must mean.

“I wonder if this is hard for her.”

“If it was, she would not be so affectionate toward you.”

“Are you sure?” she asked. “I hope you’re right. Yes…”

She sat facing him on his lap.

He then removed his suit coat and placed it over her shoulders. After hiding her from their surroundings like that, he took her hands and wrapped them around his shoulders.

“Now, then.”

And he embraced her.

Before she could even breathe, he brought their bodies close and the inside of the suit coat tickled at her arms.

So this is what boys wear, she thought just as he raised the head she had pressed against his shoulder.


And their lips met.

Wow, she thought. Woww, she added. Oh, wow, she also thought.

The three thoughts combined into permission.

His tongue came knocking at her lips and she wondered if that was the polite way of doing it.

She accepted the tongue with her lips, embraced it with her own, and felt her tongue held close.

“Nn,” she breathed. He considerately pulled his lips away, but she pushed in to show it was fine.

They twisted their bodies to deepen their greeting and seemed to form waves.


After parting, they spent a few seconds catching their breath.

Even inside the room, their breaths were white.

“Are you cold, Shinjou-kun?”

“I-I’m not, but… Ah, wait.”

She started to remove his tie.

“I should remove this, shouldn’t I? If I don’t, I might end up strangling you.”

“I have a feeling your initial conditions there are not quite accurate…”

They are, she told herself as she removed the tie and looked at him in his shirt.


She was unsure whether she should remove the shirt.

She panicked when she realized she was blushing and thought back to their usual nights and evenings.

Oh, he always removes his shirt himself.

He would never remove his clothes before hers and he would only ever remove the bare minimum of his own.

Wow, so this is my first time stripping him, she thought as she saw him nod.

“In our doujinshi, you always strip me from below.”

“What have you been reading!?”

He had yet to find out that she had bought one of them on the pretext of needing reference material for her writing.

“Honestly,” she said to avoid the issue.

She unbuttoned the shirt, starting at the top, and his skin gradually appeared below.

“S-Sayama-kun, you don’t have to strike a pose for each button. You really don’t. I-if you scare me…look, my hand is shaking and preparing to poke you in the eyes.”

“That is a dangerous way of expressing fear.”

Before he had finished speaking, she had unbuttoned down to his navel.

This is as far as I can go.

She could have sworn steam was rising from between the hair hanging over her downturned head.

Nervous sweat appeared on her back and neck, soon covered her entire body, and made her feel hot and damp. So to hide that fact…

“U-um, I unbuttoned your shirt. Wh-what should I do now? Strangle you!?”

“Please stop strangling me to hide your embarrassment. And unfortunately for you, it is now my turn, Shinjou-kun.”

Eh? she thought as he reached for the chest of her armored uniform.

The soft material could be removed by pulling the clasps from the hem.


The thin inner suit was exposed, but he immediately used his fingernails to open it from her neck and down to below her navel.

Her breasts were still covered, but everything from her sweaty throat to the flesh below her navel was bared.

The suit clung to her, so the shape of her body was perfectly visible in the dim light.

She looked to the necktie that had fallen between her breasts.

“You aren’t going to remove my tie?”

“I have wanted to see you like this since I first met you.”

“Y-you like it partially clothed!?”

As soon as she said that, he stuck his left arm below her waist and sent her tumbling backwards.


She now lay face-up on the futon.

It worried her to only see the ceiling and the lightbulb in the darkness, but his face soon came into view and moved in close.


As their lips met, he removed her shoulder armor, the suit below, and the skirt at her waist.

Fighting it would do no good, but she did not want to just be at his mercy. That contradictory feeling led her to squirm and make his work more difficult while also pulling him closer to feel more of his warmth on her lips.

She felt his left hand remove her inner suit and reveal her body below while leaving only the frame, armpits, side, and waist portions in place.

He stripped the suit way by sticking his hand between the thin material and her skin. His slightly chilly palm would gropingly grasp her sweaty skin and his fingers would ticklishly wrap around her.

My sweat.

Her skin would bulge out between his grasping fingers and she felt like the moisture was being squeezed from her.

It embarrassed her, which quickened her breathing. Her lips were sealed by his, so her breathing grew even more erratic and she sweated even more.

His middle finger traced between her breasts, accurately followed the line down to her navel, pressed on her navel, continued further down, and then moved back up. He repeated the process with a set rhythm, but it soon grew random, which made Shinjou realize how impatient she was.


She breathed in.

“Quit teasing me.”

“Very well, but you seem to be misunderstanding something. Still, I will be gentler.”

He did it more gently and she squirmed.

Her sweaty breasts were exposed to the cool air, her bare stomach and navel rose and fell as she breathed, and he moved his hand to the bottom of her stomach.


After a pause, she nodded.

She did not close her eyes. She wrapped her left arm around his neck, placed her right hand on her mouth, and looked.

She was being fully exposed.

He removed the soft armor and she felt a chilliness reach the space from the joint between her legs to her butt.


Before she could say anything, their lips met once more and he swallowed her words.

No fair, she thought while also feeling relieved. It was a troublesome combination.

He then placed his fingernails on her stockings and tore them from the inside.

“Ah, w-wait! If you tear those…”

“Do not worry, Shinjou-kun.”

He pulled something from the back pocket of his pants.

“I have spare stockings here. …What is that look for? Do you have a problem with my assistance?”

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“At this point, anything I said would be halfhearted…”

“You brought your own spares, didn’t you?”

“D-don’t ask that…”

She then realized her exact state of undress. The front of the suit had been entirely stripped away and opened up.

“Can you see me, Sayama-kun?’

“Yes.” He moved back a bit and nodded. “This is you, Shinjou-kun.”

She nodded and he first brought his lips to her forehead. He then lowered them to her eyelid, nose, lips, throat, and collarbone. He both licked and pecked at her skin.

“You taste just like blood.”


He pressed his ear below her chest to listen to her pulse, held his cheek to her navel to feel her warmth, and…

“Ah, S-Sayama-kun. U-um… Any lower and…”

“Shinjou-kun, what good is practice if it is not as much like the real deal as possible?”

He lifted her knees up and did as he had said. He did so carefully and she felt some dampness reach her down below.


She kept silent but trembled a bit, so he realized what she was thinking and spoke.

“I will make sure to do the same when you are Setsu-kun as well.”

“Ah, b-but…”

“People must be fair in all things.”

Before she could protest, he did as he said, as if warming her body.


She gasped several times and the ticklishness and embarrassment caused her to raise her knees and bend backwards as if trying to escape. But she twisted too much and rolled over onto her stomach.


She frantically tried to get up and face Sayama again, but she could not gather any strength in her hips and collapsed.

She sat with her spread knees on the futon and her body collapsed forward, so her hips were raised toward Sayama.

“U-um, Sayama-kun. This was, u-um, an unavoidable accident, so…”

“It would seem people have trouble knowing what to say when they are filled with too much happiness.”

“What kind of happiness are you talking about!?”

She stretched her arms below her body and tried to hide the area between her legs, but Sayama grabbed those hands.

She was lying face down with her butt lifted high into the air and now her hands were being pulled back between her legs.

Before she could think anything, her upper body was pressed against the floor. Her knees were fixed in place as if opening toward her stomach, so the tug on her hands caused her back to arch backwards.

“S-stop, Sayama-kun. And being a butt spirit is no excuse…”

“Oh, so you finally accept the existence of my guardian spirit, Assmodeus III!?”

“I was only making a joke to hide my embarrassment, so don’t respond like that!!”

The spirit brought his lips in close.

“Hyah!” she cried and tried to move away, but her upper body and knees were held in place. Bending her waist was the most she could manage. As she twisted out of the way, the dampness would pursue and she gradually lost track of whether she was the chaser or the chased.

There was nothing to be done about it and her stomach simply rose and fell as her entire body seemed to undulate.


She realized she was lying on Sayama’s suit.

So she gave herself over to it. Her sweaty skin did not slip on the suit’s material, so she buried her face in it as if entrusting her body to the cloth and sweaty friction.


A long tremor ran through her body, she breathed in a few times, and she entrusted her surging body to Sayama.

She no longer tried to escape. She instead did as she pleased.

And after some unknown amount of time passed, she realized the only remaining motion was the rising and falling of her shoulders.

Ah… she thought while twisting her limp body and wiping away the sweat now that she was free.

She rolled onto her back and saw Sayama looking down on her from above.

The embarrassment of realizing he had been looking at her this whole time brought tears to her eyes, but he smiled at her.

“You are beautiful, Shinjou-kun.”

“Y-you’re saying that again?”

She looked up at his bare upper body and realized something.

“This is really not the time to make a joke, you know?”

“When have I made a single joke this entire time? We need to take this seriously, Shinjou-kun.”

“That really cooled me down…”

“Heh heh. It is so lovely how inconsistent you can be, Shinjou-kun. …Perhaps I should try to do the same.”

“You mean you’ll get even worse?”

With that said, she relaxed her body.

She let out a warm breath and removed her hand from her throat. She moved the hand down along her side and found him between her slightly raised knees.

“Honestly… There’s nothing to hide or any need to, is there?”

“There never was, Shinjou-kun.” He smiled. “I have always been looking at you as you are.”

“Why does that sound so concerning coming from you? Well, it doesn’t matter.”

She smiled bitterly because her heart could not deny the heat and sweat covering her body.


“Sayama-kun, are you sure you don’t want my butt facing you? You are a butt spirit, after all.”

“But then I could not embrace you from the front.”

“That’s right.” She felt a little relieved, but her cheeks also flushed. “Then… Can we do it that way later? I like it when you praise me.”

He gave her a troubled look and seemed not to have expected that.

“For some reason, you seem to be under the impression that I am an indecent person.”

“Don’t worry. I don’t think that at all. …What I think goes far beyond that!”

“Calm down, calm down.”

He brushed up her bangs and stroked her head.

She narrowed her eyes and he wrapped his left arm around her shoulder and toppled forward.

She felt her raised knees pushed outward, so she raised her legs a bit to wrap them around his body.

“Sayama-kun, will you check on my body to the very end?”

He smiled a little at that.

“I cannot do that.”


“After all,” he said. “There is also Setsu-kun and I never want to stop checking on you. We can’t have today be the end.”


“So I would like to continue checking on you forevermore.”


She breathed in, formed words from the feeling filling her chest, and raised her arms to embrace him.

“So do I!”

As if to show his agreement, he held her tight and she realized her spoken wish had been granted.

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