A/N: Edited and re-uploaded since it seemed the ending was a bit too ambiguous for some readers. And also there will be follow up chapters to come!
I was always hurt.
"I'm sorry, Shizuru."
You couldn't return my feelings and I understood that - I know this world isn't so perfect that I would get everything that I want – I understood, but I was in pain none-the-less.
Perhaps, I had been too pompous in reading into your signs and actions – but I was confident – I was sure that you returned my feelings.
I knew I was special to you, just as you knew you were special to me.
Yet we never spoke a word of it – keeping that gap between you and I, we refused to put those unspoken emotions into words; to make our fears into reality; to take that step to our public damnation and scorn.
Then that night came, when I no longer had the strength to lie to myself, I fell and you... You shied away in fear.
I had hoped that we would walk this path together; that you would follow my lead and brave the storm with me – side-by-side – but as I watched you cower in fear I wondered: is this world really so fearsome that you'd rather deny your true self than to face it?
It was then I decided: the world was to blame; that I had to save you from your fears; that the only solution was to rid ourselves of the world – even if it was wrong; even if I had to become a monster to do so - as long as we could be together...
But I failed – and horribly so.
In my quest to rid you of your dreads I bloodied my hands but as my actions were for you I was ultimately soiling yours. I thought you hated me for what I had become; for doing it all in your name; I thought you couldn't forgive me – and that you could no longer love me as a monster.
As I held you in my arms that night in the church, I wished that I had never burnt that bridge and crossed the point of no return; I wished I could go back – where we kept our distance but secretly knew each other's place in our hearts – at least then we were together.
At that time, I finally realised that with my actions – I was hurting you.
You were hurt that I had become a monster and that you were my reason for doing so - you were hurt because you still loved me.
"I can't have the feelings that you wish I did."
I recall those words you spoke as you gently tucked away strands on my hair.
I knew better than to believe those lies, but still I accepted them.
I convinced myself that it was my fault for misunderstanding you and ignored the remorse in your eyes; the slight tremble in your hands and the heart-wrenching pain you must have felt as you resumed that façade to yourself and the world.
Even at the face of death you couldn't escape that lie – that was how afraid you were.
When we returned, I refused to acknowledge your fear; refused to believe you loved me as I did you because it was easier to believe this pain was one-sided – I didn't want to see your insecurity and feel compelled to save you.
Because I can't.
It was easier to believe in your lie - it was better than to know: you were more scared of the world than you had cared for me.
But there was no escape. You never left me; you never avoided me or kept away – in a crowd surrounded by your friends you always found your way to my side. I deceived myself to believe it was because you felt obliged – to make me feel welcomed and accepted, despite my unrequited feelings – but in time it became hard to ignore that it wasn't so.
You stayed close, to keep me close. You enjoy the attention and the affection I showed you: you basked and lingered in my presence – reluctant to leave but you still feared what others may think; you feared what it meant; you feared the truth.
You couldn't handle your reality and I wasn't going to force you - everyone have their reasons; their own pace. They were your demons; your life - you had to challenge it when you were ready and willing.
But your fear was killing me.
I love you more than anything but I also grew to hate you. I couldn't take the pain; I couldn't take the bitter and hateful feelings that accompanied what should only bring happiness.
And I, too, was a coward.
"England? But I thought you got into Fuuka U..."
"I did, and they have an exchange programme with a university in England - its open to all students."
"Oh... Well… it is a good opportunity..."
I still recall the struggle in your voice - the ache and reluctance it held - it took every fibre of my being to feign ignorance and turn a blind eye to the agony we both felt.
But I just couldn't handle a confrontation… or to face the truth that I myself dread: that you… that you mayd choose to hide from your fear than to accept me.
We were both cowards.
"Please don't go."
My eyes had widened in shock as your hand struck out and held mine – that was in the midst of filling out the application.
I felt the tremble in your firm grip and the desperation in your voice.
I released my hold on the pen and slipped my hand from yours to sit back and cover my face in silent agony.
We both knew what the student exchange truly was – a way to put this to rest once and for all - but what? What are you doing now?
I started - my voice cracking at her very name. My hand still covering my broken mask as tears spilt through.
We have to end this. We have to.
… But we are both so weak.
You rushed to hold me - prying my hand away to kiss away my tears – and at long last the two of us faced our fears.
My hands found its way to clasp onto the sleeves of your shirt as you repeated to me, between your own sobs:
"I'm sorry, Shizuru. I won't run anymore."
We were always hurt.
A/N: Its a happy ending. Really, trust me it is! (Here's a hint: emphasis on the past tense "were". If you still don't believe me, wait until the later chapter)