AN: Just wanted to pop in real quick to say a few things. Firstly, this is the first fanfiction I've ever written, so if it's a bit rough around the edges, I apologize. I promise I'll be getting better with each chapter. Also, you may notice that I released both the prologue and the official first chapter at the same time. I didn't want to drop just the prologue because I find that it's too short to be alone, but I also didn't want to combine it with chapter one so I decided to just release them at the same time. So, with that out of the way I hope you all enjoy what I've been working on and if you have any questions, comments, critiques, or concerns, please feel free to let me know!

Prologue


She was still talking to me. But why? Couldn't she see that I'm not there anymore? Couldn't she see that she had robbed me of everything I had? So why? I couldn't even understand what she was saying. Her voice sounded as if it was being projected to me from under water.

I felt like I was drowning. And yet she looked so content. It was as if she couldn't see how I was shaking. Like she didn't remember what she did to me. Like she couldn't even remember what she did to her friends.

I still couldn't hear her.

But could she hear me?

"Tell me why."

And she could.

She could hear me.

Clearly.

She stops mid-sentence,"Hm? What was that?" her gaze is inquisitive, thoughtful. Her emerald orbs study my own as if looking for an answer within them.

I swallowed and broke my eyes from her gaze. Feeling returned to my body as my heart began to pound furiously and my throat ran dry. But I couldn't waver, I couldn't let them down. I just couldn't be afraid anymore. I grab my wrist from beneath our shared desk to steady the tremors. Swallowing once more I begin again:

"Tell me why you did this. Why am I here? I- what even is this place? Monika, I-" my voice is suddenly extinguished.

I didn't even know her anymore. I thought I had her figured out: a kind-hearted, headstrong girl who has the passion and self-discipline to chase and achieve anything she put her mind to. She was undoubtedly the poster girl for perfection. And to think she had even inspired me to want to be more like her... I just hadn't known how wrong I was.

I still couldn't believe it.

Monika places her hand on my own and catches my gaze once again. That was common, our eyes meeting like this. At least once or twice a day back in the Literature Club our eyes would meet. It never lasted long, a moment, maybe two. Then it would be back to work; back to writing, back to discussing literature with Yuri, back to trading quips with Natsuki, back to joking with Sayori... and it was all gone. I would give anything to have that back. But now I'm stuck here alone in this dark classroom with the very person who took it all away.

"Akira," she begins, "You know why I did this."

Her voice is level and smooth. It was the same voice that used to calm me down and make me sure of myself when attempting to write poetry for the first time. Now, however, it makes the hairs on my arms rise.

"No," I whisper. I don't want to hear it, not again.

She smiles gently as if she didn't hear me, "It's because I love you."

There it was again. Those words that cut like knives. I couldn't take it anymore.

I pull my hand from hers and stare into her eyes, "How?" I demand. My voice quivered and my eyes began to burn, "How can you keep lying to me?"

Her emerald eyes flicker and widen in shock, "Akira," her voice becomes meek, "What are you saying?"

"You don't love me," the tears that I've been holding are finally allowed to fall as I continued to speak, "You don't love me at all. This isn't love. This is just wrong."

She's visibly hurt, struck down to her core. I had never seen her like this. Still, I couldn't force myself to feel bad even if I wanted to. After all, what she's feeling now is what I had felt for the past few days because of her.

"I-" she pauses and blinks as the tears began to roll down her cheeks, "I do love you. I love you more than anything. W-why do you think I did this?"

"Because you love me?" my words were laced with venom and mocked her tone, "You took everything I had. Sayori..." my voice staggers upon itself, "You manipulated her until she couldn't take it anymore. And I... I couldn't even be there for her; I couldn't be the person for her that I should've been. And Yuri... you drove her to madness until she killed herself. And you know what? I couldn't even stop her. I was too late. Again," my whole body was shaking, and my voice was becoming harder to keep under control.

I had held this in for so long... to release all of this raw emotion at once was truly liberating. "I don't even want to know what you would've done to Natsuki. I can't even begin to imagine what would have happened to her if she had tried to get any closer to me."

"Monika, I just can't take this anymore. So if you love me, if you really care about me, then prove it."

She looks worse than I've ever seen her. Her eyes had reddened with tears, the cuffs of her jacket had become wet due to them being used to wipe away the unending tears, and her mouth was twisted into a permanent frown.

"How?" she breathes shakily.

"Take it back. Take it all back. Bring us back," my words were desperate, but this was the only chance I had left.

"Akira... please," she sounded utterly heartbroken. And the way that she looked at me sent a sorrowful pang to my heart. Her eyes begged me to stop, but I couldn't.

"Monika, you know that you can do this. I know you can do this, with everything you've already done you must be able to reverse this. Please, I need my friends back."

She looks down at the desk and wipes the tears from her eyes.

"Please don't make me do this," she's visibly shaking now, her very essence is torn apart in grief. She knows that she's losing me.

"Monika," I stand rapidly and grasp her shoulders firmly. For the first time, she doesn't return my gaze, "I need this. Please."

Monika was warm, her muscles had tensed up beneath my grip, and I could feel the slight tremors that pulsed throughout her body. She stares at the desk and bites her lip. All had gone silent, save for her sniffles and the occasional thunk of a tear connecting with the desk.

I realized after several moments that I was holding my breath, as I exhaled she reached up and placed her hand on my cheek. She stared intensely into my eyes as if she was searching for something within me that would assure her that I didn't know what I was saying or that I was merely joking.

"Do you really want this?" she asks meekly as if she was afraid of the answer, "This is what's good for you, right?"

I reply quietly, "I want this, this is the best thing for me."

She drops her hand from my face and back onto the desk.

"Okay, I'll do it." the sound of defeat, heartbreak, and misery in her voice mixes to form a concoction that, for some reason, tears me apart. For a moment I thought I was doing the wrong thing here. Maybe it was because it was only at that moment that I could see Monika's pain. For the first time she had let all of her defenses down, and I could begin to see through her facade. She wasn't at all who I thought she was. She was just broken and putting on an act. She never actually had it together as I thought. Instead, she must've been spending all her time trying to hold it together. I only just realized that she truly did love me. I recall the smile she had given me only minutes ago and realize that it was the most genuine smile she had ever given me. It was a smile free from restraints and free from all pain. She was truly happy.

And here I was taking that away from her.

I felt terrible for her, though I knew I shouldn't. She had done so many horrible things after all, so why should I feel bad if she's heartbroken or unhappy? Doesn't she deserve this? Though I want to believe that that's the case, there's a part of me screaming out against that. I just can't shake the feeling that there's more to her than I thought. Even though she destroyed my life, I still feel like there's something more that I just couldn't see.

"Close your eyes."

But there's no more time for me to dwell on that idea, it was already too late. Soon I'd be back to the day I joined the Literature Club. From there I'd have my chance to change things for the better. All that's left to do now is just to close my eyes.