AN: My first SZS fic, how 'bout them apples? I decided to pick the (to me) easiest "couple" in the series, Matoi and Nozomu. There are pairings I like more *cough* Meru *cough*, but the two seemed like a good place to start. So this is just basically my idea of the Nozomu-Matoi relationship, no fancy conflicts or nothin'. Don't feel like ranting today, so get to reading!

There are people with chronic paranoia, I've heard. They must be the most miserable people in the world. I'm saying this because I too have experienced the fear of being exposed, watched, and monitored. It's probably one of the more irrational fears one can have, and therefore, one of the strongest.

I don't have the chronic disorder, at least I haven't been diagnosed with it. But in our modern society, one can not help but feel like a lab rat sometimes. It's a source of worry, just as worry is a source of despair. And despair is something I'm quite familiar with.

Matoi Tsunetsuki is one of my students, a pleasant and intelligent girl. She's also a stalker. It's unusual, yes, but it's not like the rest of my students are any better. I struggle daily with their quirks and personalities, whilst trying to give them an education and a general idea of how the world works. Granted, they have taught me a few things as well.

But back to Matoi. She, like many of my female students, took a liking to me. The reason was a misunderstanding, and I thought it could be cleared up. But even when I explained the situation to her, her feelings didn't change. Is she to this day denying my words, or does she simply not care?


For as long as I can remember, the ones I've loved have always tried to push me away. Is it really so strange? I've thought to myself. To want to be near the person you have devoted your heart to, is that not natural?

Nozomu Itoshiki is different. He thought that my attraction to him stemmed from a misunderstanding, which is incorrect. I love him, and I'm aware that he doesn't return the feeling. When I started following him around, he showed the same signs as all the others. To put it bluntly, he freaked out. I understand that. It's something people aren't used to, such powerful love and devotion. It scares them. But unlike all the others, Nozomu didn't push me away.

After a while, he was no longer upset or even surprised at my presence. He just let me be. At first, I thought he was trying to ignore me. It wouldn't have been the first time someone had tried that approach.

But that theory quickly fell when he let me in on conversations, among family or just with the rest of my class. He listened to me and valued my inputs, all while not once saying anything about my desire to be near him. Nozomu Itoshiki accepted me.


In the beginning, it was horrible. I felt claustrophobic with the knowledge that someone was always near me, even when I was certain I was alone. Matoi could be a step behind me, and I would never notice her. From time to time she would appear, commenting on something or another, and I had to press my frightened scream down my throat every time.

However, after a few weeks, something changed. So much was going on in my class, I felt like I was going to go insane. When I got home in the evening, I was too tired to even despair over my situation. It would still be a while until Kiri Komori, the hikikomori, would move into my house. She and my nephew Majiru would make my life a little easier, but before then, that was Matoi's job.

No matter how inappropriate it was, she did care about me. At home, it seemed she didn't feel the need to remain in the shadows, and talked openly to me. We never talked about anything important, and due to my aversion towards small talk, not much was said. But her very presence was enough to make me feel better.


I feel comfortable around him, of course. Nozomu is one of the most insightful persons I've met in my entire life. He's also the most cynical and pessimistic, which says a lot about what insight grants you.

In school, I was wary. I was by no means the only one who had feelings for our new teacher. But I saw my feelings as true love, while the others' were merely crushes. Well…perhaps with the exception of Chiri's, whose definition of love is a little beyond me.

Thankfully, I seemed to be correct in assuming that my fellow students were content with being around our teacher on school time (the exception being Chiri once again). As the days passed, I watched Nozomu grow more familiar with me. Instead of resisting me and trying to keep me at a distance, like so many other had previously done, he just let me be. In return, I was relaxed around him, less clingy and more compliant. I was thrilled that he appreciated my company.

Being the talkative cynic he is during lessons, I expected Nozomu to be the same outside of his work as well. But that was not the case. The further he got from the school and us, the more quiet and shy he became. From being the first one to criticize anything and everything, he became a silent soul that came home, ate, and watched TV until he fell asleep. Soon after, I would walk up and turn off the TV, and I'd also remove his glasses so he wouldn't accidentally crush them (the guy moves around a lot in his sleep). It was sorta nice, taking care of him like that.


So, what are my feelings towards Matoi Tsunetsuki? I don't know. I feel great gratitude towards her, and I have no doubts that I would've tried to kill myself twice as often without her company. Now, with Majiru and Komori-san around, she feels like a part of my dysfunctional family more than anything. Maybe that's a good thing. I've never asked how she feels about it…come to think of it, I've rarely asked her about herself at all. I know as much about her as any of my other students. That's depressing, considering how much time I've spent with her. That's how selfish I am.

I can never repay Matoi for what she's done for me. It might seem as all she has done is pestering me continuously, invading my privacy and giving me neck injures (looking over your shoulder fifty times a day will do that). But in reality, she changed my life. The paranoia I occasionally suffered from, the awful experience when she first started following me, all that has been compensated for. Not only did she help me through a tough time, she has given me a feeling of absolute safety. No matter where I am, I know someone is watching over me. Like a guardian angel. That's what she is to me. My guardian angel.

Heh…I remember how I reacted the first time she stuck her head out from behind my back. Forcing myself to stay calm, I asked with a strained voice: "You were there?" Now it's an inside joke of ours, and I say the same thing every time she appears. And she always answers with the same words…


"Yes, the entire time." The face he made was priceless. I had to try my best not to laugh, or he'd think I wasn't being serious. I was. So yeah, maybe it's too much to hope for that the man I love will one day realize his true feelings for me. I may be a dreamer, but I know how that sounds.

Honestly, I'm content with what I have for now. Nozomu, "Itoshiki-sensei", trusts me, listens to me, and dare I say it…cares for me. But like I said, I'm a dreamer. I still think something can happen between us, if not now, then some time in a near future. Oh, and I'll admit I was a little ticked off when Kiri moved in, but she seems to be more interested in Nozomu's nephew than our beloved teacher. And as for Chiri…I don't think I need to worry about her. Worst thing she can do is kill Nozomu, in which case I would take my own life to be with him in the afterlife.

All and all, I think things could be looking a lot worse.

AN: Review if you like, I'd love to know how my first attempt went!