Yay. My first story for Angel Beats! In case you're wondering, the title 'Shining in the Sky' is the name of a song in Clannad. R&R
Disclaimer: I do not own Angel Beats! and any of its characters. All rights to the respective owners.
Genre: Adventure & Romance
Prologue – Memories
'Hmm… okay, looks like today we're going to talk about probability…'
I sighed as Math teacher waved a piece of chalk around and started babbling away. I had given up on this last period from the very start. It wasn't like I hated Math; instead, my dream to be a doctor rested on my grades in all science subjects. But for some reason, I kept losing my focus; in fact, I'd been unable to concentrate on anything anymore. Anything except the image of that girl…
The girl, with short, silky white hair and a matching, short-brimmed hat… I saw her a few days ago when I was out buying a birthday present for my bedridden little sister. It was so strange. I'd never met that girl before in my life, but somehow I felt like I knew her, like we were connected in some way… somehow.
Since then, I'd been unable to take my mind off her. And what's worse, the more I thought about it, the more I regretted holding back at the last minute when my hand could have reached her.
The harsh voice that belonged to our Math teacher pulled me back to reality. That was when I realized I'd been looking out the window next to me this entire time.
'So, daydreaming again, huh? Hmph, since you're so smart, why don't you solve question 13 for us?'
I suppressed a yawn as I fumbled for the correct page and searched for the question. It was just simple arithmetic on probability, so I delivered my answer without difficulty.
I figured I got the answer correct, since his face got noticeably darker. Before I could sit down though, he barked, 'Otonashi, don't forget you have cleaning duty today.'
Just as I was thinking about how cleaning duty had anything to do with probability, he babbled away again with his chalk in hand.
Before I knew it, the bell rang and it was time to leave. Well, for my classmates at least. That, while I was stuck with cleaning duty.
I scanned the room as I waited. It was early March, and today was another warm spring day of the week, so it was a bit odd that students had been calling in sick since last week. Even now I could spot six to seven empty seats in our class. Had the flu suddenly become hyperactive this year and decided to stick around even after winter? Maybe that was why Math teacher seemed especially grumpy, even with me?
My mind trailed off again as I waited for the last student to leave the room. I halfheartedly walked downstairs to the storage room where the cleaning tools resided. It was so frustrating. The image of that girl kept popping up in my head. If only I knew who she was… This was giving me a headache.
As I dragged my heavy body, now loaded with tools, up the stairs again, the corridor was already deserted. I sighed as I trudged to my classroom. This is going to be a long day.
That was when I heard it. The soft sounds of a piano playing drifted into my ears. It was so beautiful, yet so familiar. I must have heard it before, but where? I had never been a fan of music, so why was I reacting like this?
The piano continued to play, and for some reason, the image of that white-haired girl popped up again. But it was different this time; somehow, the image was… clearer.
The music was coming to an end, and before I knew it, I found myself abandoning the cleaning tools in the middle of the corridor and running for the music room. Somehow, I didn't want to let it end. Not like this.
Panting heavily, I slid open the music room door. The music came to an abrupt stop, and then I saw her. The girl with the short, silky white hair now tied back into a cute little ponytail. Before my mind could stop me, I rushed over to her, grabbed her hand and blurted out, 'Kanade!'
I didn't know what was happening to me. My mouth had moved on its own before my conscious mind could stop it. I didn't even know what 'Kanade' meant. The girl stared blankly at me.
I loosened my grip on her hand after my conscious mind took control again. I let go of her hand and walked back a few steps. 'Sorry, did I startle you?'
No answer. The girl continued to stare blankly at me.
I didn't know what to do. I didn't even know why I had come here in the first place. Maybe I had secretly wished that the girl would be here waiting. But now that she was here, I felt that it hadn't accomplished anything.
Just as I was having trouble figuring out what to say next, another familiar voice shouted from outside the music room. It belonged to my harsh Math teacher.
'Otonashi, what are you doing here?' he barked. 'You've got some nerve hiding when you're supposed to be cleaning. Kid, you've got a demerit coming your way for shirking your duties. No, I'll make that three.'
He was slowly marching this way. There was no time for second thoughts. Almost reflexively, I grabbed the girl's hand again and whispered into her ear, 'Let's make a run for it.'
We ran out of the room using a second door to the back. By that time, the demon giving chase behind us had also broken into a run. I guessed I could consider myself lucky that he was not much of a sports type, but I also took care not to run too fast since I was carrying a girl.
Dub-dub-dub. I could feel the girl's strong, accelerating pulses in my hand. I didn't know why, but each time the vein pulsed, I got a strange yet familiar feeling.
'I'm going to – gasps – get you expelled – gasps – if you keep running like this, Oton – gasps – ashi!' Math teacher barked with difficulty behind us.
I knew I was risking a lot, but I also knew I couldn't let go. I felt like I needed to hold on to her. I had a feeling I'd lose her forever if I left her now.
Dub. We ran up a flight of stairs and down another. Dub. We ran across the library and the science laboratories. Dub. And then down the final set of stairs into the playground.
DUB. That was when it all clicked.
All it took was an intense sense of déjà vu. The evening sun shining in the cloudless sky, the pool beside us as smooth as a mirror and as clear as crystal, the playground in front of us gleaming in the orange light…
I remembered. I remembered the final moments we spent together on this set of stairs. When I confessed my love for her. When she disappeared right in my arms. When I was in so much pain I thought about dying.
I slowed to a stop before turning to face her. I was silent for a few seconds, but in the end, I managed to say in a trembling voice, 'Kanade?'
I stared at her silently, and she stared back at me, but this time her eyes were glistening as tears began to form. And then, a moment later, as I still stood dumbstruck, she hugged me.
Tears rolled down her eyes as she said, 'Yuzuru.'
I hugged her back, but I still didn't know what to say.
'I started to think that you really had forgotten about me.' Her voice came in the form of a sweet and familiar tone.
'I-I don't understand,' I managed in the end.
'I've been waiting for you, Yuzuru.' Kanade looked at me and smiled once amidst tears. I didn't know if they were tears of joy, but seeing her cry made my heart ache.
'Leaving you behind was the most painful feeling for me. I love you, Yuzuru. So much that the memories of my past life still remained when I was reincarnated and born into this world. I've been searching for you ever since.' She rested her face against my chest. 'Do you still love me, Yuzuru?'
Tears welled up in my eyes. 'Yes,' I said and hugged her tighter. 'I do. Of course I do. Sorry for making you wait this long.' Tears started streaming down my eyes. 'I'm so sorry. Please don't leave me again, Kanade.'
'I won't. I promise. Thank you so much for loving me, Yuzuru.'
We stood embraced in each other's arms while enjoying the cool, silent summer breeze. I'd never felt happier.
Happiness didn't last.
The fierce howl came yet again. I opened my eyes slightly to find him clumsily carrying the broom, the mop and the towels I had abandoned in the corridor. I smiled and shut my eyes. I wasn't about to let go of her.
After all, true love transcends everything, right?