nobody’s forgotten about you.
They’re all waiting for you, so hurry on me.
Hurry up…and open your eyes.”
Sou-chan held my hand again.
He would do so again and again.
Day after day—Even though I showed no reaction each time.
“Kazuhi, I came to visit again today.
What should we talk about? All you do is sleep, after all.
I wish I could have something exciting to tell you every day…Can you hear me? C’mon, tell me.”
His voice was kind.
Always kind, always warm.
It was my sole guiding light in this darkness.
And yet, I couldn’t do anything.
I couldn’t give anything back to him.
Nothing at all—and it hurt.
“Just kidding…I know that you’re the one who’s suffering the most.
I can’t make you worry about me, too.
It’s fine, Kazuhi.
You’ll get better…You will…right…?”
He kept saying that it’ll be fine.
Again and again.
Each time he came to the hospital room, he repeated it like a chant.
Almost like…he was trying to convince himself.
How many times…how many tens of times has he called my name now?
“I can’t do anything…”
His voice was…exhausted.
I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry, I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry.
Ever since the day of the accident, Shou-chan’s been filled with nothing but regret, apologizing to me.
But, I should be the one to do so.
And yet, no voice would leave my lips.
My feelings simply vanished inside this darkness, not reaching a single soul.
I can’t do anything.
Why…I always feel like this.
Why are you so kind? Your kindness…it hurts me.
You call out to me, hold my hand, no matter how mad it makes you.
No matter how profound the darkness you find yourself in…Move.
Please, my hand.
Just one second.
One moment is fine.
If I can’t speak, then at least let me hold his hand.
Telling him that he has no reason to suffer like this.
Move! Move move move! Move move move move move move!! Ahhhhhh?! Why?! It’s my hand! My body! So why won’t you listen to me?! But…no miracle arrived.
Quite literally, I couldn’t do a thing.
I feel like throwing up, even though I wouldn’t be able to anyway.
I can’t even make him feel better.
Instead…I’m just hurting him.
And yet, he’ll come again tomorrow.
“I want to talk with you again.
I want to see your smile.”
…Me too, Sou-chan.
“Kazuhi.” He called my name in a warm voice.
“Please…Smile for me again, Kazuhi…”
Some time passed after that.
Granted, I had no clock or calendar to check, so I didn’t know exactly how much time had passed.
But, without anything changing in my condition, a certain day arrived.
“…Are you crying, Haruoka-kun?”
Sou-chan was by my side as always, when Suzuya-san came to visit us.
“…Are you okay? Are you getting enough sleep? You look exhausted.”
“…I’m not okay, but I don’t want to sleep.”
Sou-chan’s voice was ridden with pain, but he seemed to have accepted that.
Like he wished to suffer more.
Like this was the punishment bestowed upon him.
“…Suzuya, I’m powerless.”
“That’s not true, and you know it.”
“She can’t even open her eyes…and yet, I can’t do a damn thing.
Why…am I even here? Kazuhi’s just laying there, and yet I’m still alive.
If she can’t come back, then…I might as well just…”
Hearing Sou-chan’s words must have agitated Suzuya-san, as she spoke up with an oddly desperate voice.
“…During spring…in our third year…”
“During spring in our third year, I became friends with you two.
Because you realized…that I was lonely all by myself.”
That’s how we met.
When we were in our third year, Sou-chan called out to Suzuya-san, who didn’t make any friends.
And then she joined our circle, becoming friends with the two of us, as well as Yousuke-kun.
“I’m sure that maybe the other people in my class may have liked me.
But, they treated me like a being from a different world.
I felt a wall…and this distance between us.
And I thought that I’ll graduate high school without ever having someone I could call a friend.
And then, you called out to me.
I was…so, so happy.”
The starting point was something small.
But to Suzuya-san, it was such a detrimental encounter, and something she probably treasured deeply.
“And…by spending time with you, I realized something.
Amagase-san was always smiling gently like that…Because you were with her, Haruoka-kun.”
That’s exactly it.
“Haruoka-kun…You’re not powerless.
Amagase-san is happy because you’re with her.”
Yeah…Suzuya-san really is amazing.
She told him exactly what I’d been dying to say.
And she was able to support him…I’m a bit jealous.
Even just because she can talk to Sou-chan.
Despite her saying it for both our sakes.
Despite her supporting Sou-chan, who’s on the verge of collapsing.
She did what I couldn’t do.
And yet…it hurt.
Hearing her speak to Sou-chan hurt me…and I hated myself for that.
Miracles do exist.
And you can create one, as long as you never give up.”
I want to tell Sou-chan how I feel.
I want to talk to him.
Just one word is enough—Because if I can’t even do that, then I wish I wouldn’t have been able to hear in the first place.
I can’t even say a thing, and yet I have to listen to Sou-chan suffer day after day.
He’s suffering because of me.
Another girl is by his side.
It all hurts so much, I think I’m going crazy.
God…Why did you do this to me? Please, let me wake up soon.
Let me become able to stand in front of him again…I kept on praying as hard as I could.
Every single moment.
And yet…time simply passed like a cruel avalanche, as my wish remained unanswered.
I don’t even know how much time passed since then.
How many days, months, and years passed since that accident? I don’t know.
I don’t know anything.
I may be alive, but that’s all.
I can’t do anything.
Am I…even alive?
And even so, Sou-chan comes to meet me.
“Kazuhi, I have a present for you today.”
Sou-chan took my hand, placing something on my finger.
“It’s your birthday present.”
I still can’t open my eyes, but I can tell he put it on my ring finger.
“I’ve got the same one, even…Well, I doubt you can see that.”
Stop…Stop stop stop stop stop stop! Giving me something like this…It’s only going to tie you up…like chains…
It’s not okay.
How could this be okay? Why are you like this? You get hurt because you’re kind.
You suffer because you’re kind.
You can’t let go of me…because you’re so kind.
“I’ll always be by your side.
I won’t forget you.
I won’t go anywhere without you.
All his warm words stabbed into my heart like knives.
It’s weird that I haven’t started bleeding yet.
I don’t want to hear any more of this.
I want to cover my ears, but my hands won’t move.
And on my hand was the ring…that robbed Sou-chan of his freedom.
This is…too much.
Sou-chan deserves to be happy.
He should forget about me and find happiness somewhere else.
“…will wait for you.
Always wait for you.”
Don’t wait for me.
The more you wait for me, the deeper into hell you’ll fall.
If you can just forget about me…you can be happy.
“It really hurts…that I can’t do anything for you except wait.”
It doesn’t have to be God.
Just please, somebody make Sou-chan happy.
For that, I don’t mind giving my life.
I’ll give you all of my life…If my body had been able to move, I probably would have been rubbing my forehead on the ground.
And then—a strong light appeared, paired with a severe headache.
At the same time, a voice spoke up inside of me.
‘Are you…truly wishing for that?’
At first, I thought it was a hallucination.
That I had gone mad, simply imagining this voice.
But, I didn’t care.
I wanted something to believe in.
That’s why, even though my head wouldn’t move, I nodded several times in my mind.
To show clear agreement.
I want Sou-chan to be happy.
But, it has to be different from the current me.
He has to be with someone who can truly make him smile.
‘If that is your wish, then I shall grant it.’
BADUMP BADUMP, my heart started beating, as if to match the speaking voice.
‘I shall grant you time.
The time I can give you…is one month.
However, your wish…is something I cannot grant directly.
You have to accomplish this yourself.
Within the time I have given to you.’
That voice…was like a voice, but also not quite.
It’s like thoughts were directly conveyed into my head.
The moment I started hearing it, it felt like it was about to break apart…and I couldn’t tell if it was male, female…or even human.
But, that’s fine.
I don’t care who this voice belongs to.
If it helps me make Sou-chan, I don’t mind selling my soul to the devil.
‘I see…What I have given you is nothing but a chance.
It depends on you two if you can grant that wish or not.’
Even though I should have been inside my hospital room, a strong wind hit me, and the air around me changed.
‘…Lastly, there are two things I must tell you.
First, if your chance does not work out, you are given a final attempt by sharing your emotions up to this point with him.
Through that, he will have the right to choose his own future.
However, that will also end the timespan given to you, and you will throw away your last chance.
And finally, the second…Though, it is more like a warning.’
I could feel the world contorting and twisting around me.
A storm was brewing inside the darkness I found myself in, as I was sucked inside this maelstrom.
‘You said that you were willing to offer your life for his sake.
Please, don’t forget that…’
It felt like my body was torn to shreds.
I was scared.
And even though I wanted to scream for help, nobody would be there to save me.
There was no saving me.
The voice might be a saving grace.
However, there is nothing in this world without compensation.
And just like the voice said, the price for this second chance may very well be my own life.
But…I don’t care.
Whatever I may have to sacrifice, it’s none of my concern.
Because I will make Sou-chan happy—and if it’s the last thing I do.
The world around me wasn’t dark.
On the contrary, it was bristling with color.
I could see…with my own eyes.
I could look at the world around me.
It wasn’t the hospital room, either.
It was my own room.
The one I had lived in before that accident.
Such a rush of nostalgia filled me—
“H-How am I…?”
I looked at my own hands, but there was no ring.
I opened and closed my hands, controlling them freely.
And I realized I could open my mouth to speak.
What’s going on? It’s like that accident I had was just a bad dream.
How wonderful that could be, but…it wasn’t, I could tell.
Then that means…this is the chance that voice spoke of.
I left my room and rushed down the stairs.
Present there were the people I had been dying to see this whole time, just as much as Sou-chan.
The two seemed surprised at me practically screaming like that, as their eyes turned toward me.
And then…they smiled.
“Good morning, Kazuhi.
What’s got you screaming this loud so early?” Mom was busy placing fried eggs on the dining table.
Meanwhile, Dad was wearing his beloved glasses and reading the newspaper.
It was the morning scenery I had seen all my life.
The people I had wanted to see all this time were now right in front of me.
Smiling, no less.
That was just too much for me, as my chest burned hot, tears streaming down my cheeks.
“Wah, Kazuhi!? Why are you crying?!” Dad was utterly bewildered, as he voiced his concern.
That voice made me realize, so I wiped my tears.
“S-Sorry, I was still half-asleep! I’ll go wash my face!” I rushed to the bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror, and realized yet another fact.
My face looked a tad bit younger than what I remembered.
Just like the voice said, time was turned back to the past.
I went to check the date in the newspaper and was absolutely certain.
I was back in high school.
Or rather, my memories from after the accident has remained, but they went into my high school body.
I’ve seen this in movies before, it’s one of those time-leap scenarios.
I don’t know how this even happened, and I still struggle to accept it.
But…I was given a chance to redo it.
My hands and legs were shaking.
This isn’t the time to be happy.
I have only one month, and there are too many things for me to do.
That voice…accepted my wish, and returned time to allow me and make Sou-chan happy.
But…if this was just about not getting wrapped up in that accident, then I wouldn’t have needed these extra three years.
The voice would have just put me back to right before the accident…And I think that’s because…just avoiding the accident isn’t enough.
In order to make Sou-chan truly happy…he has to get together with someone other than me.
I changed into my uniform and stepped out of the house.
The sky was blue, with some clouds in the sky.
The summer heat went on strong, too.
And wearing this uniform, everything felt so nostalgic.
Indulging in this, I waited in front of Sou-chan’s house.
My heart is racing.
Soon, I can see him.
I’ve wanted to see him for so long.
The person I love the most in the entire world.
Then, the door opened, and I could see him.
He also wore his high school uniform.
I struggled to hold back the tears.
I even forgot to breathe.
If I wasn’t careful, I might just break down completely.
How do I—tell him about my memories and my feelings? I’ve heard his voice this entire time, but I died to see him.
My beloved one…I don’t have the ring right now, but he placed it on my finger when I couldn’t do it myself.
I wanted to leap at him.
Jump into his arms.
Hug him tightly and never let go.
And then I wanted him to rub my head.
I wanted to feel his big hand and long fingers on my body.
However, I knew I didn’t possess the right to ask for that.
After all, I couldn’t make him happy.
Someone else should be by his side.
That’s why I held back the urge to hug him.
I’ll sacrifice my future, my life, and even that time we had together—to offer him a girl who could make him smile, and bring him happiness.
And after that, my one and only final month began.
How many times have I considered the possibility that this was a dream? That I actually died, and that God was showing me a kind dream as I was in heaven.
After all, I was caught up in that accident.
And yet, now that I was in high school again, I was allowed to be by Sou-chan’s side, talk to him, see his smile, his displeased face, his sleepy face, his panicked face, his flustered face…all of it with my own eyes.
That alone was bliss…And yet, this kind dream hurt even more.
In order to make sure that Sou-chan would be happy, I decided to try and get him together with Suzuya-san.
She should be the one to stay at his side.
That’s why I tried really hard.
Normally, we only talked once at that sweets store and had no further conversation after that until the day Sou-chan called out to her…But this time, I took her to buy croquettes, which became her favorite food in the timeline I came from, rate lunch with her and tried my best to have the distance between her and Sou-chan shrink.
And yet, each other Sou-chan smiled at Suzuya-san, it hurt.
That smile should have been mine.
I wanted to be the girl who was the most important to Sou-chan.
Don’t fall in love with another girl—But instead, love me.
If I relaxed for even a moment, that wish filled my mind.
And I truly hated myself for that.
I like Sou-chan.
I want him all for myself.
But hearing his voice, about to break in pieces, all that time…could I really tell him to love me?
Closing my eyes, I vividly remembered the sensation of being locked up inside that darkness.
I’m scared of sleeping.
I’m scared that I might wake up and end up in that darkness again.
That, while the world is moving forward, I’ll be stuck there all alone.
I don’t…want to be alone…in the dark…But at the same time, I can’t forget.
I was given this one final month.
Once that is done, I’ll probably go back there…No, I swore that I’d offer my own life, so I might die for real.
But…that honestly would be better than what I experienced before.
In reality, I’m terrified.
So, so scared.
Afraid of the future.
I like him more than anybody else.
I like him the most in the entire world.
And I don’t want anybody else to have him…and yet…
That day, when they held the water gun battle at school.
Sou-chan and Suzuya-san both smiled, as they offered their hands to me.
“Let’s play together!”
Their smiles and palms looked as radiant as the sun.
My world was filled with light, turning everything white.
I was really happy…almost like they were there to save me from the darkness.
It almost made me wish to stay here forever, if that was a wish I’d be granted…But even so, what I have to do…what I can do is to make Sou-chan happy.
Because I cannot drag him down to hell with me.
And those…were my memories.
Because you’ve seen them, my time here will end.
I was originally given a month, but that voice said it’d be over once I show you what I experienced.
That’s why…This is goodbye, Shou-chan.
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