"His coughs.. It just keeps getting worse, doesn't it? Is it alright not having him lie down?" The older maid asked.
"It's probably easier for him to breathe, so it'd be better to leave him that way for now." The doctor said.
"Poor Yuki.. It's alright for me to talk to him right?" A familiar voice asked which made Yuki pause, though his coughs just continued to make it difficult for him to even breathe, it's been this way since that day.
"You're very kind Akito-sama. Yes, indeed… but, staying too close to him is probably…" the old maid's voice trailed off.
"What are you worrying about, it's nothing contagious after all." Akito said happily. "If there's any change, I'll let you know right away."
"Okay. The medicine should take affect any time now." Akito closed the door and Yuki kept his head down. He hated the chair that he was forced to sit on.
"Are you going to die? Yuki?" Akito asked with a smile on his face. "Hey, are you dying?... How pathetic."
'Slowly becoming weaker; is it the body or the soul? A voice that isn't heard… a wish that is unfulfilled… just quietly closing one's soul…' For Yuki seconds seemed to turn into minutes.
"They didn't come… to visit do they." Yuki heard someone ask through the small crack in the doorway to his room. "His parents."
"Of course they don't. Didn't you know? The two of them are in the middle of a trip."
"Ehh…?! But… then what about his brother?"
"All he said was "Oh.""
"By that… doesn't he understand that it's about his younger brother?"
"Kyo's…" Akito voice trailed into his ears as the older boy juggled some bean bags up in the air. "About Kyo, the cat's mother, she committed suicide. Some years ago."
Yuki thought back to the words Kyo had told him unconsciously.
"Everything's the mouse's fault. Because of you. Because of you everything."
"That's right… The cow, Hatsuharu, he too says he hates Yuki. He says he's a laughing stock because of the mouse…. You really are hated aren't you." Yuki felt Akito place a bean bag in his hand, his eyes narrowed with a cold smile on his face.
Another bean bag was placed near his ears.
"While on the surface, it's said to have been an accident, it was suicide." Akito continued. "She's supposed to have left behind, what's essentially a suicide note too, saying that:"
"It's become hard to be by him. At least, if he'd be born as the mouse, maybe we could've been a little happy." Akito memorized.
" Kyo blames you but then, he told his father:"
"He'll kill Yuki and die himself."
"From this world."
The bean bag fell.
"..." Yuki placed a hand on his neck.
'Even for dawn. It's rather dark.' Yuki quietly got up and picked up the hat that belonged to Kyo. 'I should return this… But no doubt, he won't take it back.' Yuki thought back to the look on Kyo's face, a mixture of pure hatred, sadness and intense loneliness.
'That kid's sadness. I don't know it. I don't know anything. If I really did disappear from this world, I wonder if even a little of that sadness would disappear.' He thought.
He placed the hat on his head.
"... It doesn't suit me…" His voice said quietly.
'If I disappeared would I be able to do something useful for the first time? If the world's dark, hates me, and doesn't need me there's no meaning to my being here right now.'
"Hey. Hey. Are you dying."
He stood up and grabbed a pair of clothes that he'd never gotten the chance to wear. Only going from school then back into Akito's dark room.
Then he ran.
'Something burst.' The older Yuki explained. 'Somewhere, a part of me burst and went flying. There was no thought. I just wanted to move like mad, to make a run for it, maybe I just wanted to hurt myself to rouse myself into action. I just wouldn't give up no doubt. On the streets, people were scare, so close to dawn who knows how far I ran. I kept running regardless of how difficult it was. Eventually I ended up in a place I didn't know but I kept running and where I ended up was.'
"AAA!-" A voice called making Yuki stop look at a woman with bright orange hair and a long dress on.
"M-Ma'am it's early morning so please be a little more quiet…" One of the police officers begged.
"AS IF I COULD DO THAT! THAT'S MY IMPORTANT YOUNGER DAUGHTER WHO'S GONE MISSING! ENOUGH YOU GUYS HURRY UP AND GO LOOK FOR HER!" The woman screeched.
"That's why we're asking you again for ay distinguishing features—"
"I SAID SHE'S A CUTE GIRL WEARING A CUTE HAIR BAUBLE, WEARING UTE CLOTHES, HAS A CUTE VOICE, AND A CUTE FACE! GOT IT?!" She screamed with big tears running down her face.
"NOT AT ALL!" The police officers yelled.
"Waa she's so cute she might've been taken away by someone… what'll I do… If anything's happens to that child I…" Yuki thought she was going to keep crying but she stood up tall and began cracking her knuckles. Yuki wondered if she was a demon as she began to laugh demonically.
"Please, calm down.."
'Scary…' Yuki thought.
"Enough. I'll look for her myself." The woman help her body close to her and continued to cry.
"Ma'am, if you could please wait at home."
'... But there are also 'mothers' who worry about their kids like that… wearing a hair bauble. Eh?" Yuki paused, he had remembered running by someone like that. 'Come to think of it just now…' Yuki ran back to where he came from and began to look around. 'I'm sure… It was somewhere around here… maybe I imagined it…'
Yuki paused and looked at a little girl with big eyes and tears running down her face. Her brown hair was short and reached her shoulders and had hair baubles on the right of her face. 'Hair baubles… she's here. No doubt… They were taking about this girl. What to do, I should… tell her mother…'
Yuki began to run back to the house only to look back and he felt his eyes widen. 'She's following me—! What should I do… Is this alright… but having a girl… get close is…' Yuki heard a loud sound and looked back to see that the girl had fallen. She got back up and began to follow him, more tears running down her round face. Yuki paused and felt heat raise up and began to run again.
He felt hopeful.
'Right now… That girl's world is entrusted to me. In order not to get separated and lose, chasing after me with all she has. She's depending on me. On me. She needs me.'
Yuki stopped and when he saw that they had made it. He felt himself smile. 'See you're here.' Yuki turned around and placed Kyo's hat on her head. 'You made it.' He then ran off and hid behind the pillar and he felt himself transform due to his emotions.
"Mom… Mom… Mom. Mom." The little girl continued to call and her mother rushed out the door and hugged her.
'... Thank goodness. Thank goodness. Was I even a little useful? If so, I'm really happy. I'm really happy. I'm so very happy.' Yuki thought and tears fell down his mouse eyes. 'That's right I know of a time when someone needed me. That instant definitely happened. Even though nobody remembered anymore, even if you end up forgetting. It definitely happened.'
It took a few minutes for Yuki to transform back into a human and he put his clothes back on. Luckily there were some nearby bushes so he didn't have to make a scene. Yuki began to run back home only to bump into someone and fall back.
"Sor—" Yuki froze when he saw it was Kyo. The boy glared at him and ran off even faster. Yuki moved to get up again but this time he fell onto the ground with another body on top of him. He felt himself groan as the pain of the impact made it difficult for him to breath.
The body pushed itself off him and Yuki looked up and felt all of his face turn red.
I bumped into a girl.
He felt his heart began to race as he looked up at the girl and just stared at her.
Her skin was dark brown and her hair was strange and coiled like the roots. Her hair went down to her knees and were tied up in two ponytails on either side. Her eyes were dark brown, nearly black like her hair.
The girl stared up at him, both confused and embarrassed. The two of them got off the ground and when the girl turned to leave Yuki grabbed her hand and wrapped his arms around her. The girl froze but Yuki only held onto her tighter. He wasn't sure if he was going to faint from everything that happened or if he was in a dream but he wouldn't let go. He felt tears run down his eyes as he held onto her.
He didn't know how long he had but he eventually released her from his hold. They looked up at each other, both embarrassed and shocked. The girl went to open her mouth but Yuki lost all of his courage and ran away, with the widest smile he ever had on his face.
He wondered if he would meet her again one day.
Yuki paused, looking up at the sky building. ".. And?" Kakeru asked him, both of them sitting on the ground floor. "What's 'a pathetic and unseemly thing?' You've been sitting there silent the whole time. Are you feeling sick again?"
"... I was… thinking a bit about when I was a kid. It's not a very nice memory. I was in an isolated world. Even my family deserted me. It was around then that I met Minami. Just that one time… she was very small and I never asked her name so when we met again, I didn't even realize it was the same child, but I'd thought to do my best. That not all was darkness to do my best and keep living…. But it was no good. I became weak once again. I was supposed to have understood clearly, I was supposed to have known but, little by little. I was defeated."
'The darkness was so great and heavy. In the end, I too became warped.'
"It's stupid." Yuki covered his head with his hands and looked down at the ground.
Akito— 'Hope became despair.'
Kyo— 'Desire became envy.'
"I wanted to be liked… even though all I wanted was to become friends… As a result in the end, I closed myself off inside my own shell.'
'Rejecting the world to protect myself.'
"Helpless… But before such a helpless me, she once again appeared by my side. Being nearby me. She listened to my words, being neither disgusted proving time and time again… Countless times accepting me…"
"So what do you feel towards her?" Kakeru asked.
"She was my first friend and my first love. I suppose even now those feelings will never truly fade, they've only changed bit by bit. I will always love her, in the same way a mother loves her child, unconditional and eternal."