Chapter 1: Prologue - The Bargain
The thing is with Rei was that he was one of my best friends. Well, I saw him as a best friend. He listened to me, he cared for me a lot, but he made me happy all the time just by being there. He tried so hard to keep up with the rest of us, that he threw himself into swimming. He wanted to be beautiful. He never listened to me when I told him that he was beautiful. I wasn’t saying that just to make him feel better; he really was beautiful to me. But Rei wanted to be beautiful like Haru. It hurt me, really. I loved Rei. I really did.
So why did he have to die?
I still think that it’s my fault. Makoto keeps telling me that it wasn’t my fault at all, that I didn’t force Rei to swim in the storm. But I didn’t see why Makoto thought that he was the reason for Rei dying. He tried to save him. He really did try. He went into the ocean, the thing that scares him the most, the thing that was so deadly to him. He risked his life for Rei. Even Haru went to rescue them. And all I did was stand there and cry out to them to come back. I was useless.
Makoto came back first. His skin was really white, and he was shaking like crazy, but I knew that he wasn’t cold. His clothes and hair were plastered to his skin. His eyes were tired but scared. He looked a little bit broken. When I went to him and asked if he was alright, he just looked at me, as if he let me down, as if he did something so terrible that I’d hate him forever. But I could never hate Makoto.
It seemed like forever when I saw Haru and Rei in my sights. I was thanking God for protecting them. But my relief was quickly destroyed. Haru looked at us, his blank expression replaced with an urgent and panicked tone. He was dragging Rei out of the water by his upper body.
Rei was white, as in he was a corpse white. Everything about him looked dead. His hair didn’t seem as blue, he wasn’t moving at all, and his eyes were tightly shut. It was like his life was drained from his body. He was definitely dead. Everything was going too slow. I felt my chest tighten. When Haru and Rei reached the shore, I remember Haru began performing CPR on Rei. Makoto began calling for help. I think Gou and Ama-chan was there, but my memory’s still hazy. I just remember collapsing to my knees, taking Rei’s head and resting it on my lap, asking him to wake up, that he wasn’t looking beautiful. As tears fell from my eyes and landed on his face, as Haru looked at me pityingly, and as help finally arrived, Rei never did wake up. And then the horrid truth dawned on me. He really was gone. I would never be able to be with him again.
And everything around me fell apart.
I never did regret making the deal with that voice. I still don’t.
I was walking along the shore of one of the deserted islands, furthest away from the island where we had camped. It had been two days or so since Rei was confirmed dead. Cause of death: drowning. It was expected from the weather conditions, the doctor said. I actually refused to believe them at the time. Rei’s funeral was two or three weeks from the day I made the deal. I stood on the shore for a moment, feeling the oncoming tide touch my feet and retreating back into the ocean. The scenery was beautiful, like a dream or a romantic movie. Rei would have loved this, I thought. But he was dead so he couldn’t see what I saw.
I felt tears in my eyes and rubbed them away harshly, and absentmindedly reached for my phone, until I realised that I left it at the other island. I knew that by the time I got back I would have had a few missed calls. A lot of people were worrying over me for some reason. I think it was because of how Rei and I were in the same class as each other and how I had pursued to convince him to join the swimming club. I suddenly remembered how he said that he expected me to be responsible for him. More tears fell from my face suddenly and into the tide. And I just stood there, crying and quietly wailing to myself.
“P-Please, Rei-chan… d-don’t be dead… please…” I whimpered to myself, sitting on the sand and hugging my knees, more tears falling. I just wanted Rei to come over to me and sit next to me and tell me that everything was alright, and that he was really alive and how he didn’t mean to make us all so sad. But he couldn’t. After a long while I lifted my head. I was still alone on the island, which was really good to be fair, seeing that I didn’t want people to ask me if I was OK when I clearly wasn’t. I got to my feet slowly, took a deep breath, and almost turned around to swim back to the other island. But something suddenly caught my eye.
There was something glittering at me in the ocean, in a space that was the centre of all the islands. But there was something about the light that drew me in, and it wasn’t long until I found myself waist deep in the water. As I swam towards the light, it grew more intense so that it was even more blinding when I had my goggles on. But I carried on swimming, because a part of me wanted to see what it was. But as soon as I was able to reach the source, the light was oddly gone. I frowned as I was keeping myself afloat. Maybe it was a trick. Maybe it was just the sun’s light catching on the waves. Maybe it was just me slowly going mad.
A felt a sudden tug on my leg. I cried out in shock as I was dragged under. I was surrounded by turquoise blue, desperately trying to kick my leg away so that I could resurface. But the thing grabbing my leg dragged me deeper. The blue grew darker the deeper I found myself in the ocean. I was panicking, and tried pulling my leg with my hands. But I was being pulled under. I couldn’t breathe. Everything was dark. My lungs were screaming. And then I was surrounded by black.
It was too dark for me to see anything at all whatsoever. So when the voice called out to me, I didn’t know where it was coming from.
“You poor creature.” The voice said. I couldn’t make out if the voice sounded like a man or a woman, but it was a soothing but strong voice. The voice made the hairs on the back of my neck stand. I felt my senses sharpen slightly.
“H-Hello?” I called out.
“You helpless soul, you. You lost someone so dear to you so quickly.” The voice cooed to me in a pitying tone.
“W-Who are you? What are you?” I asked, confusion engulfing my thoughts.
“I’m the one thing that can bring Rei Ryuugazaki back to you.” The voice cooed. My heart almost stopped.
“Y-You can do what?” I asked nervously. The voice laughed at me mockingly.
“I am a being of many wonders, all powerful, all knowing. I can awake the dead, give people second chances in life. I can bring back your precious person.” The voice said in a boastful tone. I felt my hopes build up at the thought of seeing Rei again, seeing Rei alive and well and happy and safe. But then reality struck me like thunder.
“But Rei… he’s…” I muttered softly, my hopes slightly dimming, as I remembered how Rei didn’t respond to me asking him to wake up.
“Tell me, you loved Rei, did you not?” The voice asked me. I was thrown slightly off-guard by its question. But as the image of Rei filled my mind in all of his glory, my heart raced.
“Ah yes, your tears were proof enough. So bitter, so sorrowful. If I had a heart, it would most definitely break.” The voice said in a fake compassionate voice. I felt my temper fizz slightly. I couldn’t believe them. There was no way to bring back the dead.
“You do not believe me, do you, Nagisa Hazuki.” The voice suspected. I was shocked.
“How did you-?” I asked.
“I know everything. I can perform any trick, any miracle, grant any wish. Do you not have a simple wish?”
“I…” I said, my voice trailing away. My logic was screaming at me not to do any stupid, not to believe this voice. But for some reason, a small part of me was telling me to ignore my voice of reason.
“You wish to bring back your beloved Rei, do you not?” The voice asked again. I didn’t reply. There was a low chuckle.
“Your silence will be taken as a yes. But there is a very heavy price to pay.” I frowned.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth;’ I am sure you have heard this phrase before. Of course, this particular wish applies to such a saying. A life for a life. A simple exchange, but with great sacrifice.” The voice replied. It took a moment for the voice to be processed in my mind. But when it was, I was mortified.
“So… if I wanted to bring back Rei-chan, I-I would have to die?” I asked.
“It is a heavy price to pay.” The voice replied. Fear swallowed my heart.
“I… I don’t want to die…” I stammered.
“Do you not want to see your beloved again?” The voice asked harshly.
“I do! I mean, yes, I do want to see my friend again. But the thought of dying had never really come across to me.” I said thoughtfully. I never thought of giving up my life so easily.
“Life is about sacrifices, Nagisa Hazuki. Your sacrifice would be the result of another’s second chance at a life they were stolen from.” The voice said in a righteous voice.
“Would I die immediately? Would I die right now if I made that wish?” I asked.
“You would have seven days left of your life. And when you die, your soul will be mine.” The voice added in a dark tone. I swallowed miserably.
“Sounds pretty morbid, really.” I chuckled nervously.
“But the wish is worth it all in the end.” The voice cooed. I froze for a moment, engulfed in my thoughts. I didn’t want to die just before I lived. I wanted to grown up and live my life and make new friends and be happy. But at the time, I was just so desperate to see Rei again, I didn’t think of the consequences. So I went ahead with the wish.
“OK… I mean, yes, I’ll make the wish… I wish… I wish that Rei-chan will come back.” I called out loudly.
There was a no reply from the odd voice after that. Just as I thought that I really was going insane, I felt a sudden tear at my heart, as if someone was really physically ripping it in half. I cried out in pain and grabbed my chest, scratching at my chest desperately, me nails digging into my skin. It felt like my entire chest was burning me painfully. I felt like I was dying right there. I screamed at the top of my lungs. Then everything went silent.
“Hey, are you alright, kid?” A voice asked. I couldn’t open my eyes for a moment, but slowly the darkness faded away and a middle-aged man was looming over me, shaking my shoulders lightly. I squinted at the light and shielded my eyes with my hands from the sun. The man breathed out in relief.
“I thought you were dead for a second there. You’ve been out for a while.” The man said. I sat up slowly, rubbing my head hard, my memory fuzzy, and my head whirling.
“What… happened to me?” I asked, looking around. I wasn’t in the ocean anymore, but I was on the main island. I turned my head to see my stuff not too far from me. I guessed that I washed up on the shore close to my belongings. The man shrugged his shoulders.
“I don’t know, I just found you here as if you were washed up by the tide. You’ve been out for at least an hour.” The man replied. I nodded absentmindedly, reaching out for my stuff, which was a collection made up of a bag and a yellow jacket. I opened my bag and rummaged through it to find my phone. I had twenty missed calls and a text from Makoto. I flipped my phone open and opened the text. My blood ran cold as my eyes widened in shock.
XX/XX/2013; 13:25 PM
Nagisa, I need to see ASAP!! I just received a call from Rei’s parents!! He’s ALIVE!!!! It’s crazy, isn’t it? He’s coming into school tomorrow surprisingly, so we’re going to meet up with him at lunch, ok? Reply soon.
I suddenly remembered what happened to me before I was awake at that time. I remembered being dragged into the ocean, and I remembered the voice casting temptation on me to wish my life away for Rei. I thought that it was all in my head, but then I remembered the pain in my chest, and the fact that Makoto had texted me telling me that Rei was somehow alive, I realised two things:
The first thing was that my wish had come true.
The second thing was that I was going to die.
Chapter 2: Day One – Back Again
Nagisa sees his beloved again.
Usually getting me out of my bed was my mom’s greatest challenge at the start of the day. So when she came into my room to wake me up at seven o’clock, and saw me dressed in my school uniform whilst putting my shoes on, I left her awe-struck, her jaw hitting the floor and looking at me as I had gone insane. And then she started giggling at me when I realised that I had put my shoes on the wrong way around.
“You do try your best, don’t you?” Mom asked, coming into my room and taking off my shoes elegantly and swapping their positions. I laughed a little, slightly embarrassed. I was just glad that my mom was used to seeing this in the early morning. I was never in the zone at that time. I smiled at her gratefully, and put on my shoes on the right foot and grabbed my school bag.
“I’ll make you breakfast, OK?” Mom suggested, leaving my room as soon as I was getting my school stuff together.
“Thanks, mom.” I called back, hearing her humming as she closed the door behind her. I threw all my school stuff together in my bag, and whilst doing so I caught a glimpse of my reflection in my bedroom mirror.
As I stared at myself, I was glad that I didn’t look like I was immediately dying. I didn’t even look remotely ill. I looked normal and healthy and not looked like I just bargained my life away in order to see my friend alive again. I took a very deep breath, patted my hair slightly, grabbed my bag and left my room. I walked down the stair and into the kitchen to find my mom buttering up some toast whilst humming. I think she sensed me at that moment, because she stopped humming.
“Breakfast will be ready in a minute, sweetie. I’m making bacon and toast.” Mom called out to me as I sat at the kitchen table.
“That’s great, mom. I bet Haru-chan will be eating mackerel right now.” I said with a smile, as I could suddenly smell bacon being fried. Mom laughed lightly.
“It’s like he’s a dolphin, isn’t he?” She asked, placing a plate covered in her delicious, typical-mom food that made my stomach ache. I laughed as I shovelled a piece of bacon in my mouth.
“That’s what I say!” I exclaimed, as my mom thought it was necessary to wipe a spot of grease from my cheek before washing the frying pan that was in the sink. As I watched her wash the other dishes, the sudden realisation that one day my mother will have to bury me when she really shouldn’t. I looked down at my breakfast, no longer hunger and suddenly feeling guilty.
“Nagisa, are you alright?” Mom asked. I blinked at her in surprise.
“Huh?” I asked. My mom turned to face me with a worried expression on her face.
“You look a little bit down, sweetheart. Is something wrong?” She asked. I smiled at her, got up from my seat and went to hug her tightly, the smell of fried food and sweet perfume mixing a little bit.
“Erm, no, it’s just that… I love you, mom. I love you a lot.” I muttered. My mom just laughed as she ruffled my hair and kissed me on the cheek.
“What do you want, huh? More bacon?” She asked in a joking tone. I chuckled softly as I hugged her a little bit tighter. I glanced up at the clock. It was already seven thirty-five?!
“Ah, I have to go! I need to catch the train to school!” I said in a rushed tone, grabbing a slice of toast from my plate and slinging my bag over my shoulder. As I rushed out of the house with a slice of toast in my mouth, I could hear my mom calling out to me from our house.
“Nagisa, sit down and eat your toast! You’re not an anime character running to school with food in your mouth!”
I got to the train station ten minutes before the train got there. As I quickly ate my piece of cold toast and brushed the crumbs off of my uniform, I checked my watch to see what time it is.
“Right, it’s nearly ten-to-eight, so the train should be here soon…” I muttered to myself. I noticed that a lot of people from my school were crowding around a particular spot, making awestruck noises and gasping. I frowned, obviously wondering what it was. I made my way towards the surprisingly large crowd and pushed through it.
I dropped my bag absentmindedly. I didn’t even pick up my stuff that rolled out.
Rei was standing in the centre of crowd, looking obviously uncomfortable and slightly irritated in his school uniform. There was no doubt about it that that was Rei, with his dark blue hair and violet-blue eyes behind red-framed glasses. I could tell that I was unnaturally pale due to the fact that some people were asking if I was ill. But I just stared at Rei. He was alive. He was really living and breathing. My body turned cold. I was trembling slightly.
He died. I saw him. He was dead in my lap. Haru and Makoto tried to save him, but they failed. He was dead, he was dead, he was dead, he was dead.
Rei turned his head in my general direction, and then did a double take. He looked relieved at the sight of me and approached me, a small smile on his face. I felt my heart racing painfully; I thought that I was going to have a heart attack. I felt dizzy. I couldn’t breathe and I didn’t know why. Was I dying already?
“Nagisa, there you are. I was wondering if I had to catch the train to school on my own.” Rei said with a sigh of relief. I just stared at him, my vision suddenly hazy. Why was everything spinning? Rei’s smile fell.
“Nagisa?” He asked. And then I responded in the most natural way you would if a dead person came back from the dead.
“… and then I fainted right there and then! It was pretty embarrassing.” I laughed, rubbing the back of my head. It was lunch when Rei, Haru, Makoto, Gou and I were eating next to the pool. I thought it would be funny to retell the tale of how I fainted at the sight of Rei. Makoto chuckled softly, Gou laughed a little bit, Haru was busy eating his lunch (mackerel as usual, of course). But Rei looked at me with a slight pout.
“Why are you laughing?! You fainting on me wasn’t even funny at all!” He exclaimed, looking slightly annoyed.
“It’s funny now.” I pointed out.
“Well it wasn’t funny at the time! You had me worrying like I was your mother!” Rei cried at me, folding his arms stubbornly.
“Come on, Rei-chan, you need to lighten up! I’m fine now. You don’t need to worry.” I laughed, surprised by how worried he was. Makoto looked at me with a tender, I-don’t-believe-you look on his face.
“Well, Rei does have a point. You fainting is very unusual, Nagisa. You’re not ill, are you?” He asked softly. I folded my arms stubbornly, my stomach churning as I had to act hyper-active and bouncy and how I used to act before I had sold my life away.
“I’m telling you guys, I’m fine! Stop worrying over me, I’m not a baby!” I pouted, looking at them miserably. Gou scoffed at me lightly.
“You tend to act like one.” She snickered.
“Gou, what was that for?! That was really mean!” I cried out. She tapped me on the head sharply with the handle of her fork.
“I told you to call me Kou!” She snapped. I stuck my tongue out at her, which made her more annoyed which made Rei tell me to be nice to her and to which Makoto simply said that he was glad that all of us were good friends.
“Can we swim, yet?” Haru asked suddenly. Gou looked up at him with slightly red cheeks, looking a bit flustered and surprised that he actually spoke and not concentrate on eating his mackerel.
“A-Ah, not yet, Haruka-senpai. Rei said that the doctor told not to swim for a few days.” Gou said.
“We can swim without him.” Haru said coldly.
“H-Haru, I know you want to swim, but don’t you think you’re being a bit too harsh?” Makoto asked in a slightly nervous tone. Haru seemed to ignore him and just carried on eating like normal.
“We can wait for Rei-chan to get better. How long can you not swim for, Rei-chan?” I asked. Rei looked surprised that I asked him that, and blushed a little bit.
“I should be able to swim three days from today.” Rei replied, pushing up his glasses. Haru suddenly stood up. We all stared at him as he was stood still. Makoto looked a little bit worried and mainly confused.
“Haru?” Makoto asked. Suddenly a shirt was flung into his face as Haru started unbuckling his belt and slipped off his trousers so that he was just in his swimsuit. Makoto jumped to his feet and started dragging Haru away from the pool.
“H-Haru, what are you doing?!” He asked in pure shock. Gou and I laughed at the sight as Haru effortless broke free from Makoto’s grip and dived straight into the pool with Makoto yelling at him to get out because he still had his socks and shoes. But I could feel Rei’s eyes on the back of my head.
The train ride home was rather peaceful really, seeing that Rei and I had left school late after Makoto, Haru and I did some practise. As the sun was setting and everything was a soft orange colour, Rei turned his head and looked at me with a questioning look in his eyes.
“Are you alright, Nagisa?” He asked. I was zoning out at the time, so I blinked at him tiredly.
“Huh? Oh, yeah, I’m fine.” I replied hastily, chuckling afterwards. Rei didn’t look at all convinced but he looked at me as if he wasn’t going to bother try and talk back to me. We were silent for a while, so I was watching the moving scenery through the window. It was really beautiful.
“Nagisa, can I ask you something?” Rei asked me in a quiet tone. I turned my head to him, giving him a confused frown.
“Um, sure.” I replied, slightly worried that he was going to ask me if I was ill like how Makoto was all day. Rei looked slightly uncomfortable, straightening his tie slightly as he cleared his throat thoroughly.
“Did you visit me? Before I woke up?” He asked after a long while. I stared at him in disbelief and confusion.
“W-Why do you say that?” I asked. Why would I visit his dead body? It was bad enough having him close to me when he was dead during that storm. I couldn’t face anyone after his death. Rei cleared his throat again, this time a little more firmly.
“Before I woke up, I… I heard this voice. And it was weird, because at first I thought it was an angel. But as the voice got clearer, the more it sounded… the more it sounded like you, actually.” Rei said in a thoughtful tone. My eyes widened in shock.
“Me?” I asked. I was slightly honoured that he thought that my voice was a voice of an angel, but I didn’t understand how he could hear my voice in the afterlife.
“Yes. You were telling me that you were sorry for something. You said that you just wanted me to wake up. You said that it was the only way to wake me up.” Rei added. I felt my heart stop painfully. I didn’t remember saying any of that at all whatsoever, and even if I did, I would never have told him what I did to bring him here.
“Well, I thought you woke up in the morgue.” I pointed out. Rei looked as if he was reliving a traumatising flashback and shivered in horror which made me snicker slightly.
“Don’t remind me. But knowing you, you could have manipulated the security to let you in.” Rei added in a sly tone. I punched his arm very lightly. I ignored the slight pain in my arm that followed it by scoffing at him in shock, smiling at him as I laughed.
“I don’t manipulate people at all!” I exclaimed with a slight chuckle to my voice, as I started tickling him. Rei never saw it coming. Rei laughed back, throwing his head back as he laughed softly but uncontrollably. I started laughing too, because you know how laughter is contagious. I watched him calm down with a smile on my face. It was then I realised that I really didn’t regret giving my life for him, because I was really in love with him. I leaned against his shoulder and closed my eyes for a while because my body felt oddly heavy and sleepy. After a few minutes I opened my eyes and realised that Rei was staring at me.
“Nagisa, please be honest with me: are you definitely alright?” Rei asked. He looked surprisingly worried about me. I felt a little bit sad because of how he was looking at me so tenderly and scared and worried about me as if he knew that something was wrong. I part of me wanted to tell him that I wasn’t really alright, that I was scared, that I was dying because I didn’t want to think about life without him. But I knew if I did tell him that he could hate me for what I had done. So I lied to him by saying,
Chapter 3: Day Two – Deep Sleep
Perhaps Nagisa should sleep more often.
I woke up surprisingly early that day. It was around about six o’clock, and despite the fact that I was being casually plagued by nightmares of being buried alive in a tiny coffin and feeling everything collapse on top of me, I was wide awake, and had tried to get back to sleep but I was unable to. So I decided to get up and get ready for school and packed my bag and prepare myself, yet still got my shoes on the wrong way around. There was a reason why I was never meant to wake up early in the morning.
“I really hate you, feet.” I muttered to my feet as I put on my shoes properly and stood up. I lightly brushed my hair to try and tame it, put after ten seconds I gave up. I left my rooms, walked down the stairs, waltz into the kitchen and grabbed an apple and left the house quietly at quarter-to seven. I walked down my street towards the train station and boarded the deserted train that was on the same route to my school. The bus was nearly deserted except for the few early birds consisting of businessmen and businesswomen looking in their journals and making notes and making phone calls to clients and co-workers.
I caught my reflection in the window opposite, and noticed that I was slightly pale and that my eyes looked slightly tired. I rubbed my eyes a little bit and let out a little yawn, to which a man gave me a look as if to say ‘I swear if you yawn again I will tape your mouth shut.’ I looked through the window and watched the scenery pass me by, the sun becoming more visible. It was a nice view to see, to be honest.
After a while I got to school safely, with a slight pain in my head. As I walked along the corridors of the school so I could get to my classroom to try and sleep for a little bit longer, I could hear someone humming from one of the classrooms. As I followed the source of the humming and peeked my head around the corner I realised that it was Ama-chan, whipping the chalkboard clean from any leftover chalk-written notes from the day before.
“Good morning, Ama-chan!” I said in a happy tone. I made her jumpy suddenly as she dropped the chalkboard cleaner onto the floor. She turned to me in shock, but then her face softened at the sight at me and she smiled at me.
“Ah, good morning to you too, Nagisa-kun! You’re up early.” She pointed out, picking up the cleaner from the ground and placing it on her desk, looking at me in surprise and as if she was mildly impressed. I laughed nervously and shrugged my shoulders lightly.
“Aha, well, I couldn’t sleep well last night, and I woke up earlier than usual, so I thought that I’d get to school whilst I was awake.” I replied. Ama-chan looked at me as if I was trying to get something from her.
“Well, as what Terri Guillemets once said: ‘The time just before dawn contains the most energy of all hours of the day. This has helped me become an early riser and an early doer.... When I wake to see that it's light out already, I feel the world has started without me.’” She said in a thoughtful tone, looking as if she was in a world of her own.
“Erm… I get it. Thanks, Ama-chan. I’m gonna go to my classroom and just wait for everyone.” I said, completely confused at what she said. I waved at her and she waved back at me as I left the room and wandered into my classroom, which was completely deserted. I was suddenly exhausted, so I took my seat and sat down and closed my eyes and suddenly fell asleep.
“Nagisa… Nagisa…” A voice called out to me. I groaned tiredly, swatting away whoever it was that voice belonged to.
“Mhm… five more minutes, mom…” I mumbled. I could hear snickers from around me. My eyes were suddenly wide open. I could see Rei in his seat, looking at me with wide eyes as if to tell me to not be asleep in class even though it wasn’t class yet. But then, I saw my other classmates snickering and giggling at me. I sat up gingerly. I saw my teacher glaring at me with arms crossed.
As Makoto, Haru, Rei, Gou and I walked alongside the beach, I could see Haru staring at the ocean longingly, as if he didn’t go into the water he was going to scream. Makoto seemed like he was worrying about him, and Gou was talking about how we had to prepare for the tournament. Rei and I were silent, which was odd because usually Rei would be talking about how to improve his skills. But then I noticed that he was looking at the ocean with a slightly distrustful and slightly scared glance. That was when I realised something.
He was remembering how he died.
He was remembering drowning.
He was remembering everything.
“Rei.” Haru said suddenly as we were walking. Rei looked at him in surprise, especially as it was suddenly out of the blue. We all turned to look at Haru as we carried on walking, who didn’t turn his head to face Rei at all.
“What is it, Haru?” Rei asked nervously.
“Are you comfortable with this?” Haru asked. Rei frowned.
“Hmm?” He asked in return.
“The ocean. Being so close to you.” Haru replied. We all stopped in our tracks, turning our heads to Rei. He looked slightly shocked and uncomfortable.
“Haruka-senpai… why are you asking this now?” Gou asked in confusion, looking uneasy. I let out a strained chuckle. I didn’t like where this is was going at all.
“H-Hey, Haru-chan, I don’t think Rei’s fine with talking about… you know.” I let myself trail away, looking back and forth from both Rei and Haru. Makoto nodded in agreement.
“Nagisa’s right, Haru. Perhaps another time.” Makoto said in a kind tone, looking a little bit uncomfortable himself. But Haru ignored him, and turned around to face Rei with piercing eyes. Even I felt uncomfortable and I wasn’t even in his line of direction.
“Rei, are you afraid?” Haru asked more firmly. Rei shifted on the spot, rubbing his arm nervously.
“I-I…” Rei seemed to lose his cool and started stammering fearfully, looking away from all of us. I looked at him worriedly. I didn’t like how he was so scared. I could feel my temper rising suddenly. I set my bag down because my shoulder was hurting and looked at Haru.
“Haru, you need to stop.” I said in a low voice. He glanced at me as if I was butting in and then looked away from me nonchalantly. He looked at Rei again, who still looked uncomfortable. I didn’t like the expression on Rei’s face. He looked scared. It was like he was remembering a bad memory.
“Rei, answer me now: are you afraid-?” Haru asked, his voice more demanding. Something snapped inside of me. I felt like an exploded firework. I wanted Haru to shut up about the whole thing so that I didn’t have to think about it myself.
“Just SHUT UP HARUKA!” I yelled. Haru looked very mildly surprised. Makoto was naturally very surprised. Gou even let out a small shocked squeak. But Rei just looked at me again, his eyes shocked, surprised, intrigued and for some reason worried again. I could feel my cheeks being suddenly wet and touched them lightly. I was crying. But why?
“N-Nagisa?” Rei asked. I kept my eyes to the floor, head aching and suddenly exhausted both in body and in mind and the urge to throw up was now present. And so, in order to get away from everyone and to give me an excuse to fall asleep as soon as possible, I ran away from them all. I could hear everyone calling at me to come back, but I still carried on running. I just wanted everything to stop.
When I got home I closed the door behind me with a bang and leaned against the wall with my hand over my eyes, my head whirling and hurting and my body now suddenly aching. I was breathing heavily from running from the beach to the train station and from the train station back to my home. I just wanted to get away from everybody and just lock myself away and just die quickly because the pain that I was feeling all over was just too much for me to bear.
“Nagisa, is that you? You’re home late – honey, what’s wrong?” My mom asked, the sound of her rushing down the stair becoming louder with each step until she got to me and placed her hands on my shoulders and looking at me with a worried expression. I looked at her and felt myself sinking down so that I was on the floor with my head in my eyes.
“I’m sorry.” I mumbled. I could feel the tears again. Mom started stroking my hair in a soothing way.
“Nagisa, look at me. What happened?” Mom asked softly. I sniffed and rubbed the tears away from my eyes and looked at her.
“I-It’s just that, I’m just so tired, and then Haru-chan kept asking Rei-chan how he felt about the ocean even though he nearly died there and I could tell that Rei-chan was uncomfortable about it and we kept telling Haru to stop but he wouldn’t listen to us when we told him to stop, and then I lost my temper at him and I thought that I was going to throw up, so I-” I babbled. Mom frowned as she looked at my shoulders.
“Where’s your bag?” She asked. It suddenly dawned on me that I didn’t have my bag causing me more pain than I should have been in. I groaned in annoyance at how stupid I was to leave it where everyone was to yell at Haru who would most definitely hate me forever.
“I must have left it at the beach. I-I’ll go get it.” I said, trying to stand up. Mom helped me up gradually, but stopped me from moving around her.
“Sweetie, it seems to me like you have the flu. I don’t want you to get worked up.” My mom said in a stern tone, leading me up the stairs gradually.
“I-I need to get my bag-” I started. Mom gave me a typical mom look and began trying to push me up the first step of the stairs.
“Nagisa, if someone was a decent person, they would have returned your bag to either your school or here. You need to rest.” Mom said calmly.
“But mom, I-” I started. There was a knock on the door. Mom and I turned our heads to the door at the same time in surprise. I didn’t know who would be knocking right now all of a sudden.
“I’ll get it.” I said, slipping past my mom when she was distracted. Before my mom could even protest, I was already opening the door to reveal, to my surprise, Rei, holding my school bag in his hand. I blinked at him in surprised.
“Rei-chan?” I asked in awe. Rei looked as if he was glad that he was at the right house and sighed lightly before he started talking.
“Ah, Nagisa, you left your bag back there. I thought that I’d return it now, seeing that your address was in your bag.” Rei added nervously, handing to me my school bag. I looked at it with a blush across my face and took it off of his hands. I looked up at him with a smile on my face, touched by the fact he went through the trouble of bringing it to me.
“T-Thank you.” I said, my heart fluttering. Rei seemed to be taken aback by my blushing and how I felt and probably seemed unnaturally shy, as both of his cheeks went a dark red. I found myself giggling at his blushing face, to which Rei looked offended. But then he looked at me with a concerned expression.
“Nagisa, are you sure that-?” Rei asked.
“I’m fine. A little bit tired, but really, Rei-chan. I’m fine.” I said firmly, smiling at him brightly. Rei still looked unconvinced, but he nodded at me as if he had no choice to believe me.
“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Rei said, waving a little at me and turned around and started walking away from me.
“Be safe, Rei-chan!” I called out to him, to which he replied something about him always being careful. I waved him off as he disappeared from my sight. I could hear my mom softly chuckling at me as I closed the front door and let out a sigh. She looked at me with a teasing grin on her face.
“So, who’s your boyfriend, sweetie? He seems nice. What base have you gotten to with him?” She asked. I felt my face flush red.
“Mom!” I cried out to her in horror. She simply laughed my reddened face and my terrified reaction to her questions. I found myself ignoring the pain all over my body. I was really going to miss my mom. Probably as much as I’d miss Rei.
Chapter 4: Day Three – First Kiss
Nagisa and Rei share their first kiss.
My mom had decided that day that I wasn’t going to school, which was weird because usually she would be against me not going to school and want me to get the best out of my education. The reasons were because I woke up at eight, which was a lot later than usual, and when I got downstairs for breakfast, I was ready to fall back asleep again and almost face-planted my breakfast, plus I was feeling uncomfortable in my school uniform seeing that it didn’t feel like it was on properly. When I sat down at the table and tried to reach out for a knife and fork and for some reason picking up two spoons and frowned at them, my mom turned around and gave me a stern look.
“What do you think you’re doing young man?” My mom asked me, looking crossed at me. I frowned at her and pointed at my plate with a spoon.
“I’m… eating breakfast? I’m gonna be late for school so I have to-” I started, standing up to leave the kitchen. My mom looked at me with a raised eyebrow.
“You’re not going to school today.” Mom said to me in a matter of fact tone. I looked at her in shock. I blinked at her in surprise. I was frozen to the spot in awe. This was definitely unexpected. This wasn’t my mom acting normal at all whatsoever. Maybe she was kidnapped and replaced by an evil version of her like in that one movie.
“I’m sorry, what?” I asked. My mom rolled her eyes at me.
“You heard me young man, you are not going anywhere today at all with that nasty flu of yours.” My mom added in a matter of fact tone. I groaned loudly, because it wasn’t the right moment to have her nag me about my health. I was dying anyway.
“M-Mom, I’m a hundred per cent OK. I can go to school just fine today.” I said calmly. My mom placed an unconvinced hand on her hip and looked at me up and down with a look of disbelief and a look as if to say ‘are you really that stupid child?’
“Sweetheart, you’re wearing your school tie as your belt.” She said, nodding towards my belt, which was most definitely my school tie that was loosely wrapped around my hips instead of my belt. That would explain why I couldn’t actually find my tie.
“Huh. I was wondering why it wasn’t holding up my trousers properly.” I said tiredly, pulling my trousers up so that they wouldn’t slide off my hips. My mom sighed at me with a slight chuckled as she started pushing me out of the kitchen and up the stairs back to my bedroom. She quickly changed me out of my uniform and into my pyjamas.
“It’s time for bed, now.” My mom said sternly, casually putting me to bed and pulling the bedcover over me and tucking me in securely.
“Ok then…” I mumbled, eyelids heavy. Mom smiled at me sympathetically and kissed me on the forehead gently and ruffled my hair fondly. I found myself sinking too deep into my bed, and as I let out a yawn, I found myself falling asleep. I slept peacefully for a while, until I dreamt of Rei drowning again, except I was the one that dived in for him. And yet no matter how hard I swam, I couldn’t reach him at all, and I was too late and everyone was saying that it was my fault that he was dead. I woke up with a jolt, covered in sweat and subconsciously crying. I wiped my tears away and reached out for my phone. I had one text from Rei, of all people.
XX/XX/2013; 8:55 AM
Are you at school yet? You should be here by now.
I found myself happy that he was worrying over me for not being in school right now. I started typing a reply to him, trying to not take too long so that he wouldn’t start worrying even more than he clearly was.
XX/XX/2013; 8:57 AM
Ah, sorry, my mom told me to stay in bed today because I’m not that well (>_<) hopefully I should be well by tomorrow
I pressed the send button and set my phone down on the side to rub my aching head and sighed heavily because I really hated having these sudden nightmares attacking me when I was ill. I had a reply from Rei almost immediately. I grabbed my phone again and read his latest text.
XX/XX/2013; 9:00 AM
What do you mean you’re not well?? It’s not serious, is it? Do you want me to drop off the work from today to your house? You’re failing enough at it is!
I chuckled at his reply. It was sweet of him to ask how severe it was and to worry about me failing slightly. But the fact that these were just symptoms of me dying slowly and not actual flu symptoms lingered in the back of my mind, and for a split second I was considering telling him everything. But I knew what his reply could have been.
Stop messing around, honestly.
No one can just sell their life away.
Are you alright? Did you hit your head?
I was stupid to think that he would be calm and fine with what I had done. Even if he did believe me, what if he hated himself for dying and for me to give up my life for him that he went and did something stupid and then it would have been my fault again. I shook my head as it was beginning to hurt and quickly texted him a reply.
XX/XX/2013; 9:03 AM
I only have the flu, don’t worry about me! But if you don’t mind doing that for me, thank you, Rei-chan~! (^.^)
I hit the send button weakly, and I could hear my phone hitting the floor. I didn’t really remember much after that, because I found myself drifting off into the unknown darkness that was called sleep again. But I was still plagued by nightmares regardless.
I basically stayed asleep for the rest of the day. My mom had woke me up at lunch time and made me soup and fed it to me like I was a baby, which was a little bit annoying because I didn’t think that I was that badly ill. At times I could feel something ice cold on my forehead, and I would wake up to see my mom dabbing my head with a cold cloth to cool down my temperature. She was really worried about me. She even found my old stuffed penguin from my closet.
“Flippers came out to say hello!” Mom said in a soft voice, passing Flippers the Penguin to me. I smiled as I sat upright and took him off of her and hugged him as tight as I could. I’ve had Flippers ever since I was a kid. My mom had brought him for me when I was ill as a kid during the winter, and it’s always been a kind of tradition for me to have him when I was ill or when I was feeling sad. He was a big as my hand and soft and easy to sleep with if I had to honest.
“I haven’t seen him in a long time!” I said in surprise, cuddling him fondly. Mom ruffled my hair again and chuckled at me softly.
“I just thought that you needed cheering up is all.” She said kindly, giving me a one-armed hug. I gave her a tight hug back. She really was a wonderful person.
“Thanks, mom. For everything.” I added softly, trying my best not to cry. Mom kissed me on the cheek and ruffled my hair. There was a sudden knock on the door. Mom frowned.
“Hmm? Who’s that?” She asked. I checked my phone and saw that it was half-past three.
“Oh, Rei-chan said he’d drop off my school work for me.” I replied. Mom looked at me with a raised eyebrow and a devilish smirk on her face as she folded her arms at me.
“Oh? So you’re little boyfriend is here?” Mom asked me in a teasing tone. I felt my cheek go pink as I gave her a glare to tell her that she was embarrassing me too much for me to handle.
“Mom, he’s not my boyfriend!” I said in a low tone. My mom giggled at me peevishly.
“But you want him to be, though, don’t you~?” She asked. I threw one of my pillows at her to which she dodged whilst laughing her head off. I felt my face go bright red.
“Mom!” I exclaimed. I watched my mom gradually calm down and take deep breaths and wipe the tears of laughter away from her eyes.
“At least you’re getting better. You wouldn’t throw a pillow at me if you didn’t have the strength.” She said in a matter of fact tone, as she stood up and walked out of my room. I laid my head on my pillow and sighed heavily. Why was it my mom was so damn embarrassing?
“Here he is, just resting now.” I heard my mom say from behind the door as she opened it slowly. Rei was standing there, holding a set of notes in one hand and his other gripping his backpack strap. I smiled at him as I pulled the bed cover off of me and moved myself so that I was still sitting on the bed.
“Hello, Rei-chan!” I said cheerily. Rei looked at me as if somewhat dazed. My mom looked at him with an understanding smile on her face for some reason.
“I’ll leave the two of you alone. I’m going out Nagisa, so I won’t be back until late. Don’t get up to mischief while I’m gone~.” Mom added. I gave her a look to tell her to get out of my room, to which she simply giggled at me slyly and slinked out of my room and closed the door behind me. Rei looked a little bit embarrassed with slightly pink cheeks and handed my notes.
“This was all we learnt today. We have a test next week, so it would be best to prepare yourself.” Rei said in a stern tone, avoiding my lower body seeing that I was wearing pyjama shorts. I smiled at him and took the large wad of notes from him.
“Thank you again, Rei-chan. I really appreciate what you did.” I said gratefully. Rei smiled at me kindly. My heart stopped for a moment.
“Oh, it’s fine, don’t worry about it. Everyone’s worried about you. Even Haru got worried when he didn’t see you at practise.” Rei said, sitting down next to me and placing his bag on the floor. I was surprised that Haru still wanted to know me after my outburst.
“So he doesn’t hate me?” I asked. Rei shook his head.
“Why should he? We all thought that you were just tired, so he wasn’t really surprised about you yelling at him. He said he expected worse.” Rei added with a slight chuckle.
“Oh.” I said in surprise, shocked and very relieved by the fact that Haru didn’t actually hold some feelings for resentment.
“You said that you’d be in tomorrow, right?” Rei asked. I nodded at him with a smile on my face.
“Yeah, it’s only a little flu, nothing serious. I feel better now, I promise.” I replied. Rei nodded at me, a look of relief on his face as he sighed.
“Good. I was worried if it was more severe than what you were saying.” Rei said in a nervous tone, looking at me kindly. I found myself blushing again and looked down onto the floor in embarrassment. Silence fell between us.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Life.” Rei added. I looked at him as he was staring out of the window with a distant gaze in his eyes.
“What makes you say that?” I asked. Rei shrugged his shoulders, his eyes still on the window.
“Well, with my condition, I realised that I need to appreciate life’s beauty rather than certain parts.” Rei said in a distant voice.
“Oh, I see what you mean.” I said thoughtfully, because I could understand the need to embrace life whilst you had it in your reach and to make the most of it. But I wasn’t able to live my life anymore. I kept my head down and stared at Flippers in silence. It was a while until one of us broke the silence.
“Nagisa?” Rei said softly.
“Hmm?” I answered.
“I’m sorry.” Rei whispered. I frowned at him.
“Sorry for what?” I asked. Rei looked at me for a second before he looked down onto his knees.
“I’m sorry for putting you through what you went through after my incident. I mean, if it was the other way around and that was you... I don’t know what I’d do.” Rei said, his words choking near the end. I looked at him, as in I really looked at him. He looked as if he was scared of the thought of me dying, or at least to have suffered his fate. It broke my heart.
“Rei?” I asked. Rei kept his head down for a while, and for a moment I was worried that he was upset. But then he threw me off guard.
He quickly turned his body and kissed me on my lips both tenderly and heavily. His eyes were screwed shut in contrast with my eyes being wide open in shock. We stayed still for a while, lips pressed together in an awkward silence. It was a while until Rei pulled away, red in the face and his glasses steamed up and with me pink in the cheeks.
“D-Did you just…?” I asked. Rei looked slightly horrified at what just happened and looked as if he was going to have a breakdown and started waving his arms around as my heart fluttered.
“I-I-I am so sorry I didn’t know what came over me I swear on my life I never meant to-” Rei stammered, looking at me apologetically. I didn’t want to hear him talking anymore; at that time I just wanted to kiss him and hold him and savour the moment whilst I still had it. So I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled his lips to mine and kissed him heavily. He seemed surprised at first, but then I found him kissing me back long and hard, setting his glasses to the side.
I suppose you could say we lost ourselves in each other. I ran my hands through his hair whilst his hands played with my lower back. I could feel myself becoming aroused, but at the time, I just embraced it. We were too busy melting into each to care about anything anymore. I forgot everything in that moment. As we stripped our clothes off of each other heatedly, I forgot about how tired and ill I felt. As Rei entered me and I felt everything flare up inside and clawed at his back, I forgot about how I was already three days in on my last week. And as Rei brought me to my peak and whilst I cried out at the top of my lungs for him to do so much more to me, I forgot that I was actually dying. And when we reached our limit and climaxed, and when Rei collapsed beside and kissed my sweaty forehead and hold my body close to him, I realised that he loved me just as much as I loved him.
And I hadn’t felt so alive in my entire life.
Chapter 5: Day Four – Bitter Tears
Nagisa starts to have second thoughts
I woke up the next morning to find that Rei was already long gone and that my entire body was aching, particularly the lower half. I winced as I got out of bed slowly, and stood upright. My body was exhausted as I made my way to the bathroom and washed my body from mine and Rei’s sweat. I sponged my body lightly as I noticed a few love bites all over me. I felt myself blush as I giggled. I supposed we had gone a little bit overboard. But then I found myself coughing suddenly, a sharp pain in my chest as if someone was stabbing me. I covered my mouth with my hand as I was coughing up my guts. I placed my hand on the wall as I carried on coughing. I was coughing for a while, but finally it came to a halt. But something was wrong. My hand felt far too wet. I pulled my hand away and looked down at it. I felt tears falling down my cheeks as I covered my mouth with my other hand.
I was coughing up blood. As in actual, dark scarlet blood was splattered across my hands and running off with the water. I found myself sinking onto the shower floor and found myself shaking despite the fact that the water was rather hot. I think I was in shock. I just started crying silently to myself as I slowly washed the blood off of my hands, the bloody water trickling down my wrist and swirling down the drain. I didn’t want to think about the blood. I just wanted to start my day and get it over with.
I left the bathroom and got changed into my school uniform slowly. I was even able to get my shoes on the right feet, which was rather a huge achievement. It was around about quarter-past seven. But I could feel a coughing fit emerging up my throat and swallowed it quickly. I stood up, grabbed my school bag and looked at myself in the mirror. I was a startling pale colour, my eyes standing out drastically. I actually looked as if I was dying now, which would probably result to stares that I would have to ignore and remarks for me to laugh off.
I walked down the stairs and into the kitchen to find my mom eating her breakfast, with my breakfast on the table prepared for me. My mom looked up at me and smiled at me. I smiled back and sat opposite her and started eating my breakfast and held back the urge to throw up.
“Have a good night sleep?” Mom asked. I nodded at her as I swallowed my food and bile down my throat sharply.
“Yeah, actually I did. I feel a lot better too.” I added in a certain tone, giving her my best smile. She looked at me as if she was a little bit unconvinced by my claim of being better and stretched her arm across the table and felt my forehead.
“You’re too pale for my liking, you are. But you sound a lot better.” Mom added. I smiled at her again, relieved that she would let me go to school. I suddenly remembered how Rei was able to swim now, so that would mean that we would probably be practising today, which also meant I would be revealing my love bites to the others and be slightly humiliated for the rest of my short life. I watched my mom as she ate and checked her watch. A wild idea crossed my mind.
“Mom, can I ask you something?” I asked. My mom looked at me curiously.
“Hmm? What is it?” She asked in return. I cleared my throat a little bit.
“Say if someone you cared for died, and you didn’t want to live without them. But… one day you were given a chance to bring them back-” I started, slowly twiddling my thumbs.
“I wouldn’t die for them.” My mom said sharply and boldly, standing up suddenly and putting her plate in the sink. I felt my body froze in shock. She had heard about this before? How? When? How come I hadn’t heard about it before?
“H-How did you know that…?” I asked.
“I’ve heard the legend before. It’s like The Little Mermaid but with no happy ending. You fall in love and you die to give your loved on a chance with life that you can never have.”
“But, for example, what if I died and you could bring me back? Wouldn’t you-?”
“No.” My mom said loudly, turning around to face me with a soft glare in her eyes. I looked at her, lost. She wouldn’t do that? If I died, she wouldn’t brign me back?
“N-No?” I stammered. My mom sighed heavily and looked out of the kitchen window, hugging herself tightly.
“People who make the deal are forbidden to move on to the afterlife. If you had died and I did that, when I would die, I would never see you again. The weight of death is supposed to drag you down onto the earth for eternity, forced to watch your loved ones grow and die and move on in peace. You would never move on. Ever.” She added in a dark voice, turning her head to me.
“Really?” I asked. My mom looked at me, as if she was confused to why this had suddenly had been a topic on my mind. She crossed her arms at me and looked at me as if she was searching my show.
“Why are you asking, anyway? It’s not like you’d do something like that.” She added with a chuckle. I strained a laugh.
“Yeah, of course not.” I said softly, pushing my dish away from me, no longer hungry. My mom’s smile fell slightly so that she looked worried and scared. She approached me slowly and crouched so that she was the same eye level as me. She looked absolutely terrified at me.
“Sweetie, you wouldn’t do anything like that. Would you?” She asked again, her voice sterner and slightly desperate for me to say that I would never do anything so stupid in my life. But I turned my head to my knees, my fist clenching tightly. My mom started shaking my shoulder slightly.
“Nagisa?” She asked, sounding more fearful. I stoop up sharply and grabbed my bag.
“I have to go.” I grumbled. And with that I quickly left the house with my mom frozen in her spot, a look of dawning horror on her face.
Watching Haru practise was like watching a dolphin in its natural habitat. He glided through the water with ease, a lot quicker and agile and more fantastic at swimming than ever. When he finished his laps, he seemed a little bit reluctant to come out of the pool, until Makoto said that it was his laps. When Makoto swam, he reminded me of a killer whale for some reason. But he still swam with as much grace and speed as Haru. But my breath was taken away when Rei dived into the water. In one word, he was beautiful. Even though he could only swim butterfly, and that he was drowned in water, he was still beautiful. I fell in love with him all over again.
“Nagisa, are you well enough to swim today?” Makoto asked me as Rei climbed out of the pool, breathing heavily. I nodded at him as I stood up and walked towards the pool.
“I think so. Don’t worry about me, Mako-chan!” I said in a cheery tone, readying myself to dive into the pool. In all fairness I felt terrible, I still had coughed up blood at the odd times that day, and I had to make sure not to collapse on the spot.
“Be careful!” Rei called out to me. I felt a small, content smile grace my face. He really was sweet when he worried about me. But then I concentrated on my stance in order to get ready.
“Ready?” Makoto asked. I nodded. There was the sound of a whistle blowing and the sensation of meeting the cold water. The next thing I knew, I was doing my usual breaststroke. I felt a little bit better in the water. As I swam I felt a little bit tired, but I had thought that it was because of how fast I was swimming. I could see Rei watching me intently as if to definitely make sure to keep an eye on me. And then it happened.
My body seized up in the water, and then I lost control of it. I could see my arms and legs flailing around in the water. I felt electricity travel from my feet to my head. I had tried to stay afloat, but I felt as if the water was still trying to such me under. I could hear everyone panicking, but for some reason they sounded so far away.
“Nagisa!” Rei yelled. His voice rang out the loudest. I wanted to reach out to him, wanted him to help me and save me and tell me that everything was going to be OK. I felt a sudden moment of losing my breath, as if my lungs had suddenly turned into hundreds of thousands of butterflies and floated away. I blacked out after that.
I didn’t know how long it was until I woke up, but when I did I found myself in the recovery position. I lifted my head up slowly to see the others crowding around me, all of them at first looking terrified, but then looking relieved. Gou was the first to react to me waking up.
“Nagisa, are you alright?” Gou asked me worriedly. I blinked at her. My mind was hazy and confused.
“W-What…?” I asked back. Makoto helped me sit upright and crouched right next to me, a gentle expression on his face.
“You were doing rather well, but then something went wrong; it looked like you were having a seizure in the water. We kept calling out to you, but then you just sank under. It was a good thing that Haru dived straight in and pulled you out.” Makoto said in a relieved tone. I could only blink at him. My mind was now totally blank. I didn’t even remember diving into the pool.
“Nagisa, are you alright?” Rei asked me urgently. He reached out to me, and I took his hand on impulse as he pulled me up to my feet and helped me gain my balance.
“I-I…” I stammered. Makoto laughed very softly, as if to make the atmosphere a little bit lighter.
“It seems that you’re still in shock. Do you need to sit on the side?” Makoto suggested. I shook my head at him stiffly, my body shaking at the memory of being dragged down into the darkness and how I couldn’t breathe and how I thought that everything was collapsing on me.
“I-I’m…” I stammered. Haru looked at me, his expression now stony and cold.
“Why did you dive in if you weren’t well enough to swim? That was stupid.” Haru added harshly. Gou looked at him, looking as if she was slightly nervous to say anything to him.
“Haruka-senpai.” She said in a soft tone. I kept my eyes to the floor. He was right. He wasn’t saying it to even belittle me; I could tell that he was worried about me. I was stupid to force myself to swim. I was stupid for even leaving out of my house and insisted that I was fine. I caught my deathly reflection from the pool and felt absolutely horrified. I was really dying. I wiped the tears that were forming in my eyes.
“I’m sorry.” I muttered. I turned around and quickly made my way to the locker room, leaving the others in silence. When I entered the locker room, I sat on one of the benches, placed my head on my hands and found myself crying. Why? Why was it that today was the turning point? Why couldn’t I have been given OK health and just peacefully die on the day I was supposed to die? Why was I so naïve and desperate to sell my wish and just die like a fool?
“Nagisa, are still you in here?” Rei asked. I lifted my head to see Rei turn around the corner. I rubbed the tears away hastily.
“R-Rei-chan.” I hiccupped. Rei looked at me as if in disbelief.
“Are… Are you crying?” He asked in surprise. He looked upset. I felt the tears roll down my cheeks again.
“I’m sorry. I can’t believe that I…” I couldn’t say anything else because my sobs had choked my words. Rei sighed softly, pulled me up to my feet gently and pulled me into a hug, holding my head lovingly.
“It’s alright, Nagisa. You’re still not well. You need to recover. We still have time before the tournament. It’ll be alright.” Rei said softly. I wrapped my arms around him, more tears spilling down my cheeks.
“I’m sorry.” I whimpered into his chest, holding onto him tightly.
“Don’t be. You have nothing to be sorry for.” Rei said, kissing me on the top of my head. As he calmed me down and had tried to cheer me up by trying to push up his goggles and realise that they weren’t his goggles, I found myself suddenly understanding why I did what I did. I did it to give Rei a chance to live, to see life’s beauty.
And although I wouldn’t be able to, I knew he would live life for me. And that had put me at ease.
Chapter 6: Day Five – Tainted Blood
Where everything goes wrong.
That day was the most painful day I had experienced in my entire life, both physically and mentally. I woke up panicking seeing that I couldn’t breathe at all, hacking and wheezing in my room as I got ready in my room that seemed far too dark for my liking. I coughed up blood non-stop as I was trying to pull up my trousers, and I almost choked on said blood when I was buttoning up my white shirt. I felt like I was being tortured for doing nothing wrong. The agony was just eating me away, slowly but all in one go so that I knew that the pain was there.
Another thing was that I was seeing things. When I looked through my bedroom window, I could see little white orbs floating around in different places around people. I thought that it was just the trick of the light, or that it was just my eyes playing tricks on me, but even throughout the day I could still see those little white orbs everywhere. It got to the point that I was scared of the possibility that they could have been ghosts. But then I thought that what if those orbs had died like I would die and were trapped on earth forever?
But I think my mom knew exactly what I did because when I came downstairs for breakfast, she was dressed as if she was going out with no breakfast being laid out on the table. She stared at me with wide eyes and marched towards me slowly with a pained smile on her face. I was confused and slightly nervous to why she was dressed the way she was; she was wearing a long sleeved white blouse with a matching skirt with fancy white slip on shoes. She was like a guardian angel in a way.
“Hello, sweetie. You ready to go see the doctor?” My mom asked me. I frowned at her. Doctor? What doctor was going to see me now of all times? There was no point of me seeing the doctor because I was dying.
“You never said that I was going to see the doctor at all.” I pointed. Mom brushed it aside airily, as if to say that that wasn’t important right now and that it could be saved for later.
“Well, I was a little bit worried about you, and have been for a while, so I’m gonna take you to the doctor.” My mom said in a cheery tone, smiling at me dazzlingly. I knew that at that moment that my mom suspected that something was up with me. She wanted to get to the bottom of it.
“I’m fine.” I said in a nonchalant tone. My mom’s eye flashed at me dangerously. She knew I was lying right there on the spot. That’s one of the most fascinating things about moms; they know nearly everything about their child from their eyes to their body tone to the tone of their voice. I wish I had inherited that off of her.
“No you’re not, sweetie. I’m your mother, I know when my child’s ill or not.” My mom said in a matter of fact tone, her voice going higher alongside with her temper. I rolled my eyes at her, acting as if she was overreacting about everything when she actually wasn’t overreacting at all.
“Well, maybe you’re wrong this time, mom.” I said in a slightly irritated tone. My mom gave me a stern look as if to tell me not to backchat her.
“Nagisa, I’m taking you to the doctor today whether you-” She started. I rolled my eyes at her again and left the kitchen quickly after.
“I’m not going.” I said loudly, heading back upstairs when I realised that I didn’t have my schoolbag with me. I could hear my mom yelling at me when I reached my room and grabbed my bag. I quickly made my way down the stairs and was about to open the front door until my mom grabbed my arm tightly.
“Nagisa Hazuki, get back here this instant!” My mom barked at me.
“Mom, get off of me!” I asked in fury, tugging at my arm. My mom shook her head at me fervently and tugged at my arm to pull me away from the front door.
“Nagisa, I’m trying to help you here! Listen to me, I know something’s wrong!” My mom said loudly in an angry tone, looking at me as if I was being a naughty little kid who was having a temper tantrum.
“Mom, I’m pretty sure that I’m fine!” I retorted back acidly. My mom scoffed at me in disbelief.
“I saw you coughing up all that blood last night in the bathroom!” Mom exclaimed at the top of her lungs. I tried to shake my arm away from her grip, but she had a tight clutch around my arm.
“I bit my tongue, alright?!” I said loudly back at her, trying to not look as if I made the excuse up on the spot and that she really was freaking out over nothing.
“Don’t you lie to me! I want to help you-!” My mom cried out, her eyes fiery yet wet. I found myself snapping at her.
“THEN STOP HELPING ME! STOP CARING ABOUT ME BECAUSE THERE’S NO POINT IN CARING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO ME ANYMORE BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO!” I bellowed at her. My voice echoed around us and bounced off the walls and back into my head. My mom was frozen to the spot. Tears spilled out of her eyes as her grip slackened. I snatched my arm away from her and turned around and left her where she stood like the day before.
That was the last time I was at home.
Sitting in the classroom after lunch, I felt like I was going to die there and then. I kept my head to my desk because everything was spinning around too much and the lights were too bright and everything about anything was just causing me more pain than it actually should. As the teacher droned on, I could hear people snickering around me like before, obviously assuming that I was either sleeping or just bored and not dying at all whatsoever. I could tell that Rei was worried; I could feel his piercing eyes me worryingly as I clutched my head with one hand and my chest with the other. The teacher stopped talking and I could hear footsteps approaching me. I lifted my head up to see my teacher staring down at me indifferently.
“Not feeling up to the task, Hazuki? You definitely don’t look like it.” The teacher added in a cold tone as I noticed that I was as white as a sheet. More giggles. More snickers; and more of a piercing headache for me. I shook my head at the teacher slowly.
“U-Um, actually, may I go to the toilet, please?” I asked in a low grumbling voice, the blood and vomit rushing up my throat. The teacher looked at me as if unconvinced by what I had said, but then they shrugged their shoulders at me and walked towards the blackboard.
“Well, you did have lunch a few minutes ago. But I suppose if you have to, I can let it slide.” The teacher replied to me, their back turned to me. I mumbled a quick thank you, got out of my seat and stumbled out of classroom with Rei watching me as I left the room. I felt bad for making him worry, but as the urge to vomit grew more intense, I rushed to the bathroom, locked myself in a cubicle and started violently vomiting blood mixed with vomit. I was throwing up for a long while; it felt like it went on forever, but it was probably twenty minutes at the most. I wiped the blood away from my mouth and flushed the toilet and cleaned up the blotches of blood from the floor with some toilet paper. I stood up slowly, feeling hazy and dizzy as I dragged my feet out of the cubicle and washed my hands. I looked at my reflection and felt my stomach churn.
I was too pale to be alive; I had dark rings around my eyes. My shirt was suddenly too big for me. My eyes were a darker hue than usual. My hair looked dead and oily. I stared at myself in horror as I reached up to touch my face, hoping that I was just seeing things and that I was just hallucinating about everything and that I was really just fine and there was nothing to worry about at all. But as I felt my icy skin, and as I combed my fingers through my hair, I realised that it was all real. I saw tears roll down my cheeks suddenly to my surprise and wiped them away quickly. I made my way towards the toilets door. And then it happened again.
I felt my body just collapse on the floor, and I could feel that same flow of electricity like from when I was in the pool the day before. I tried to stop my body by telling myself to stay calm and that I was going to be just fine, but my body seemed to have ignored me and carried on the way it was. I could feel the blood rushing up my throat and I found myself coughing up blood all over my shirt with some of it still on my face. I tried to sit upright for some reason, but then my body flung me into the wall with my head colliding with it first. I could see flashing lights everywhere. My hearing was both muffled and had a slight echo to it as there was a piercing sound ringing in my head, and for a second I thought that I was going to just pass out and wake up without anyone noticing. I felt my head hang and my chin resting on my chest ready to just fall asleep.
But then the toilet door opened.
“Nagisa, are you alright? You’ve been in here for a while and – W-WHAT THE HELL?!” Rei cried out in a horrified shock. My body had calmed down, but I must have looked like a sight, blood all over my shirt and my head down whilst being held up by the wall. I raised my head up weakly and saw Rei, pale-faced and terrified where he stood, his body trembling madly. I tried my best to smile at him and gave him a pained laugh.
“H-Hey there Rei-chan.” I stuttered, trying to make myself stand. My arm gave way and I collapsed onto the floor again and groaned in pain. Rei rushed to my side quickly and crouched so that he was only a little bit higher up than me, looking at me as if he was terrified for me.
“What happened to you?! Is that blood?! Of course that’s blood, that’s a stupid question to ask. But what the hell happened to you?!” Rei asked in a loud voice, his voice too loud for me to cope. I screwed my eyes shut for a moment and found myself unable to open them again because it was just that much easier for me to do.
“I-I’m fine, Rei-chan… really, I’m just…” I mumbled, my body too heavy to do anything. I was exhausted, tired, and I just wanted to just fall asleep. I could feel Rei’s hand suddenly grasping my hand and I was shocked by how warm he was.
“Nagisa? Hey! Stay awake for me, alright?” Rei asked, shaking me gently until I opened my eyes at him slowly. I nodded at him slightly, eyelids drooping.
“Uh-huh…” I muttered. Rei cupped my face in his hands, stroking a thumb across my cheek both affectionately and tenderly as if I would be in pain. I burrowed my face in one of his hands and a tear rolled down my cheek again and onto his hands. He wiped the tear away with his thumb and kissed me on my forehead.
“I can’t leave you here. I-I need to get the school nurse, now. I need to tell her that-” Rei babbled, making his way to stand up. I felt myself panic and grabbed his sleeve sharply. I tugged at him weakly to stay with me because I was just scared to be on my own.
“I’m fine, Rei-chan. Please, you have to believe m-” I was cut off as another cough erupted from my throat. I released Rei and clasped a hand around my mouth and cough deeply.
“Nagisa!” Rei said, holding me and rubbing my back as if to ease me, when really I was just in more pain. As the coughing slowed down and came to a halt, I slowly pulled my hand away. My blood was so dark that it almost looked black. Rei’s face went paler than he was before.
“Oh God…” He said in a hushed tone. He pulled me towards him and gave me a warm and tender hug.
“Nagisa, stay here, I-I’ll get the nurse, alright? And then she’ll get you all sorted out and then you’ll be fine.” Rei said in a gentle nervous tone, patting my hair softly. I could feel the tears coming again as I clung onto his shirt tightly.
“I’m sorry… I’m so… sorry…” I whispered in his ear, tears streaming down my eyes and onto my face. I could feel Rei tensing up nervously.
“N-Nagisa?” He asked, his voice cracking worryingly. I let out a shuddering breath. Everything was getting so much darker now.
“I… I had to do it… I just… I just wanted you to… to wake… wake…up…” I didn’t really know what I was saying; I just felt like I had to say it. I felt myself sinking into the darkness. I could hear Rei calling my name out urgently. I felt myself being pulled under. I kissed Rei on the cheek tiredly. And then everything was gone.
Chapter 7: Day Six – Last Kiss
Nagisa prepares himself.
I was never a fan of hospitals, because usually they’re both boring and dull and full of whining patients, or looming with doom and misfortune with patients who are on their last legs and with their dying breath. I never liked the thought that I could walk back in there and never come out, or at least not come out alive. I always felt trapped in a hospital, even when some doctors and nurses were trying to get you out as soon as possible. To me, hospitals were both the beginning of your life and the end of it. And I didn’t want my end to be on a cold hospital bed.
I woke up with an oxygen mask on and to the sound of rhythmic bleeps. I blinked slowly as I took in my surroundings. I was in my own room, the beeping coming from a heart rate monitor with an oxygen tank close to my bed. The room had a pale blue theme to it. The sun was shining brightly which caused me to squint. I tried to raise my hand to shield my eyes, but I felt as if something was weighing it down. I looked down at my hand to see a fairer and gentle looking hand holding my hand. I looked at the owner and saw my mom sitting next to my bed, all in white and grey and sound asleep, breathing softly with damp and reddened cheeks.
“Mom?” I whispered, not wanting to wake her up. Her eyes were suddenly wide open and alert as she raised her head to look at me. She smiled at me as if there was just a shred of hope left for her to have.
“Good morning, Nagisa.” She said softly, kissing me on the top of my head. She squeezed my hand tightly and I found myself squeezing her hand back. She sat back down in her chair and smiled at me again, wiping the tears from her cheeks.
“What happened to me? Where am I?” I asked. My mom's smile failed slightly, but she still managed to hold it.
“You’re at the hospital, sweetie. I got a call from a school saying that you were rushed in. I came straight here as they wheeled you in and were giving oxygen, yelling at each other to keep you alive. Rei was there too.” She added. My eyebrows were raised in surprise.
“Rei-chan was there?” I asked. My mom nodded at me.
“He was hysterical. He had blood on his shirt and he kept trying to push past the nurse to get to you and punched the wall in frustration because no one was telling him if you were OK. I haven’t seen someone that worked up before.” She said in awe with a small smile. I was definitely surprised. This didn't sound like Rei at all. But I knew that she would never lie to me.
“He punched the wall?” I asked in pure shock, my mouth wide open. My mom nodded at me with a slight chuckle.
“He really cares for you, sweetie. He was in tears after that, saying that he didn’t want to… saying that he didn’t want to see you like this.” My mom said in a soft tone.
“Or see me die.” I suggested bluntly whilst shrugging my shoulders. My mom flinched at the tone of my voice. She looked a little bit wounded by my remark. She nodded hesitantly.
“Yes, that too.” She admitted softly. A long silence stretched between us, my mom looking down onto her knees. I looked through the window on the door and saw a man and a woman dressed in white talking to each other whilst slightly gesturing at my room.
“What did the doctor say to you?” I asked. My mom didn’t reply after a while. I think she was trying to make something up to make me feel a lot more secure.
“T-The doctor? Well, you see, he-” She stammered.
“How long do I have left?” I asked loudly, looking straight into her eyes boldly. My mom looked surprised, then hurt and then devastated. Her eyes started watering slightly and she grabbed both of my hands comfortingly.
“I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry, sweetheart. I-I begged them to give you treatment, but they said that they couldn’t do anything for you because your body was just shutting down on itself. T-The doctor only… he only… he only gave you until tomorrow.” She replied in a hush tone, raising my hand up to her face with shaking shoulders. I closed my eyes as I heard my mom choke back sobs. It was definite. I was going to die no matter what happened to me. It was the end for me.
And I was OK with that.
“OK.” I replied. My mom raised her head at me with a shocked expression and wet eyes.
“OK? You’re dying and there’s nothing I can do to make you healthy again, how can you be so calm about it all?” She asked with a croak. I shrugged my shoulders at her again, surprisingly calm about everything.
“I’m OK about death.” I replied. My mom looked at me, lost.
“What?” She asked. I smiled at her softly and held her hands gently. My mom looked so scared and confused that it was gut wrenching and too heartbreaking for me to stand.
“I told you yesterday, remember? I told you not to care because there was nothing that you could do for me.” I replied softly. My mom looked as if reality was dawning on her as tears spilled over as she suddenly reached over to hug me.
“I’m so sorry, Nagisa. I’m so sorry.” She whimpered into my shoulder as she sobbed. I hugged her back tightly as I took in her flowery scent and tried my best to comfort her.
“Don’t be sorry, mom. At least I’ll leave knowing that I had the best mom in the world.” I said in a happy tone, holding onto her securely. I could feel my shoulder getting damper by the second, but I still held my mom tightly and she held me just as tightly as she cried.
"Why?" My mom asked herself softly.
"Hmm?" I asked in response, not sure if the question was aimed at me or not.
"Why you and not someone who deserves to die? Why does this have to happen to you?" My mom said between sobs as she trembled. I started stroking her hair softly like she did with me.
"It's gonna be OK, mom. You're gonna be strong and pull through and you're gonna be OK without me." I replied softly. As my mom cried I felt my heart break.
A mother should never really bury their child.
The sun was setting when I woke up for the second time that day. After my mom visited me I found myself dragged under the darkness and stayed there, but I could hear people murmuring, my mom crying and pleading to them. I felt frustrated for not being able to wake up and make her feel that everything was going to be alright, but I just... couldn't. It was as if my body wouldn't let me wake up, but in a way as if to say that it was time to rest myself and that I was putting myself through enough stress as it was.
When I woke up, I saw Rei sitting next to me all in white with tired eyes as if he just woke up and his hair slightly messy, but he still looked beautiful to me regardless. He smiled at me sweetly and took my hand as his eyes were adjusting to the change of the lighting in the room. It looked as if he was in my room for a while.
"Hey there, Nagisa." He said softly. I smiled at him.
"Rei-chan. You're actually here." I said joyfully surprised. Rei chuckled at me softly.
"Of course I am, silly. I was worried about you." He said in a soft matter of fact tone. I looked down at his hands. One was bandaged up carefully as he propped it gently on the bed.
"How's your hand? From punching the wall I mean." I added when Rei frowned at me. Rei looked at me as if he was overwhelmed and then glanced at his hand.
"How did you know about... your mom told you, didn't she?" He asked in a sheepish tone as his cheeks went pink from embarrassment. I giggled softly at him.
"She said that you must really care for me." I replied. Rei looked at me as if I said something bizarre and insane and shook his head at me slowly.
"Nagisa, of course I care for you; you almost gave me a heart attack. I thought you were going to die there and then. I was terrified." Rei added softly, his skin slowly going pale. A wave of guilt came over me and swallowed me whole at the expression on his face.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for putting you through this." I said softly, my heart sinking. Rei ignored me, leaned forward and kissed me on the forehead.
"Stop apologizing for something that's not your fault, OK?" He whispered into my hair. I took in his scent, which was surprisingly sweet like cherries.
"OK." I replied softly. Rei pulled away from me with a heartbroken smile on his face. I realised that he wasn’t wearing his school uniform, which obviously meant that it wasn’t a weekday. But with the tournament not too far away, I would have thought that he would have been practising with Makoto and Haruka.
"Where're the others?" I asked for some reason, the thought of them spontaneously crossing my mind. Rei froze for a split second and then gave me a more pained smile.
"They said that they'll visit you tomorrow. That way we'll be able to give you some company." He replied. I closed my eyes for a moment and then looked at him apologetically. I really didn’t want to tell him about my death sentence. But if I had to, I would rather tell him now than keep it hidden.
"Rei, I'm-" I started.
"I know." Rei said softly. He looked at me with a torn expression as I stared at him in surprise.
"I know. I know about what's happening tomorrow. That's why we want to be there. We... we want to say goodbye." He added, looking down as I felt him grip my hand tighter. I raised my hand up to his face and placed it on his cheek and felt him burrow his face in my hand.
"Please don't cry." I begged softly. Rei placed a hand over my hand that was on his cheek and squeezed it gently.
"I'm sorry, Nagisa. I'm so sorry." He whispered with closed eyes, as if trying not to cry in front of me. I chuckled at him quietly.
"Stop apologizing for something that's not your fault." I demanded quietly. I felt a tear on my hand as Rei let out a shuddering breath as if he was trying his best to laugh and not cry at the same time.
"Oh, Nagisa, what am I going to do without you? What’s going to happen to me?" He asked sounding scared and broken and lost, still keeping his eyes closed as he started trembling. I shrugged my shoulders, and realised that I was shrugging my shoulders a lot lately.
"You're going to live. You're going to swim and live and fall in love and have a happy family and grow old and then you'll die happy and old, and then we'll see each other again. I promise." I added reassuringly. Rei shook his head whilst breathing out a shaky laugh, taking off his glasses quickly and rubbing them hard.
"I can't fall in love again. It's just you; I think it's always been you." Rei choked, looking at me with glistening eyes. I reached up to touch his face, pulled him down and kissed him softly. It wasn't like that one night where we lost ourselves whilst being driven by lust. I wanted to savour this moment. I wanted this moment to be the last thing that I could remember. I wanted this memory to be carried on with me even when I was forced to walk the world forever to make the pain more bearable. I could feel Rei's tears dropping on my cheeks softly. We pulled away after a while. Rei looked at me as he silently sobbed, and he pulled me in for a tight hug.
"Wait for me, Nagisa. Promise you'll wait for me." Rei whispered. I found myself chuckling at him softly.
"I will." I replied. We were still hugging each other for a while. I knew that Rei was scared to leave me alone, as if I would die as soon as he set foot out of the room, so I started stroking his hair and cooing at him telling him that he was going to be just fine and be happy and move on and forget all about me, to which he protested. But soon after I felt myself being pulled under again as I closed my eyes and felt myself collapse onto the bed limply. I could hear him calling out to me in a slight panic and shaking my shoulders, but then I felt his lips on my forehead and on my cheeks and on my lips again for the final time.
And that was all.
Chapter 8: Day Seven – Farewell Beloved
Nagisa says goodbye.
It was dark. I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face. I could hear the bleeping of the heart monitor. I could sense the nurse checking me over and I could feel her patting my head sympathetically and hear her pity me. But I was surrounded by darkness. And I was like that for a long while. I got scared after a while, and for a second I thought that I was actually dead. But then I found myself in the middle of my room. It didn’t take me long to realise that I was standing, which was weird because I should I have been in bed resting.
I turned around and I screamed at the top of my lungs. I saw myself lying in my bed, as pale as the bed sheets and still. As dumb as it sounds, I really just looked like I was sleeping. It was weird, seeing myself in my dying moments. I almost felt pity for myself. But then I realised how dumb I was to even consider that. But I was also fascinated by the fact that I was having an out of body experience. It was fascinating.
The door opened to reveal a doctor and a nurse, and they walked in the room whilst taking some notes whilst glancing at my body. I was still trying to get used to the fact that I was casually out of my body watching everything happening. The doctor murmured something to the nurse and she murmured something back to him and they both had a look as if to say that there could be some hope for me after all. I watched the nurse put an oxygen mask on me, and then the next thing I knew, I found myself staring up at her. She smiled at me.
“Good morning, Nagisa. Did you sleep well?” She asked. I nodded at her slowly, now freaking out internally over the fact that I was in my body again and surprisingly still alive. The nurse leaned over me and started messing around with my pillow and making my bed move up and down so that I was slouching slightly, my back bent and surprisingly screaming in pain.
“What are you doing?” I asked, the mask making my voice muffled. The nurse sat me up gently as she fixed my bed sheets and made sure that I was rather comfortable, which she was able to do much to my surprise.
“Just making you a little bit more comfortable.” She replied, smiling at me sweetly. She was very similar to my mom, except the fact that my mom wasn’t a nurse and when my mom made me comfortable she would make jokes about how I was acting like a drama queen and assumed that I just didn’t study for a test. The doctor turned to me with a light smile on his face.
“We had no complications last night, which is fantastic really. We thought you would have died by now, but as you’ve pulled through… we might be able to turn this around.” The doctor said in a slightly upbeat tone, as if he was trying to make me get worked up about the possibility that I could actually live to see another day and another month and another year.
But I knew that it was far too good to be true.
“But you’re not a hundred per cent sure of that though, are you?” I asked in a low voice, turning my head away from the doctor and looking through the window. I could tell that the doctor knew that I wasn’t falling for it. I was ready to embrace death, because what would be the point of life if you didn’t accept things for the way they are? The nurse patted me on the shoulder fondly.
“The pain will be over soon, Nagisa. You’ll be fine at the end of the day.” She added kindly. I carried on looking at the window, and I knew that she meant what I was thinking: it doesn’t matter anymore, because I was going to die and that would be the only way for me to be rid of the pain that I was in. I heard the door open and close, but I could tell that the nurse was still in the room. After a while, the nurse made her way to the door. She stopped and turned her head to me.
“Is there anything I can get you?” She asked me. I frowned at her for a second, wondering if I actually needed anything at all. And then I was struck with an idea.
“There are a few things that I need.” I replied slowly.
“What’s that?” The nurse asked.
“A pen and some paper. I need to write something.” I added when the nurse frowned at me. The nurse looked as if she was understanding why I needed the pen and paper, and left the room quickly. A few moments after, she came back with a pen, a few sheets of paper and a little envelope. She passed me the bundle, told me that if I needed her I was to press the buzzer on my bed, and then left my room.
And then I started writing.
It was around about lunch time when Haruka, Makoto and Gou came to visit me. I opened my eyes slowly to see the nurse open the door for them as they entered my room one by one. I smiled at them as the nurse got them seats to sit on as they gathered around me whist the nurse sat me up. Makoto and Gou were smiling at me kindly yet bravely, as if they were trying not to cry at the sight. But Haruka was as calm and expressionless as usual. Gou turned her head to me, beaming brightly.
“Good afternoon, Nagisa-kun.” Gou said softly. I smiled at her.
“Good afternoon, Kou.” I said. Gou looked at me, looking shocked, scared and confused all in one facial expression.
“Huh?” She asked. I shrugged my shoulders at her.
“I thought you wanted me to call you Kou.” I pointed out. Gou let out a choked chuckle and shook her head at me as if I was just being stupid and messing around with her as usual.
“You can still call me Gou, Nagisa-kun. It is my name after all.” Gou added in a matter of fact tone. I laughed softly at her and nodded.
“OK then, Gou-chan.” I said fondly, smiling at her warmly. Gou returned the smile to me, her eyes watering just a little bit, but quickly dried up. I looked at them all, happy that all of my friends were there with me by my side. But then I realised that not everyone was there.
“Where’s Rei-chan?” I asked. Makoto smiled at me reassuringly.
“Rei went to get something. He said that he’d see you later on today anyway.” Makoto replied. I nodded at him, glad that Rei was going to try and visit me before I was going to die.
“Rin said that he wished that he could be here.” Gou said quietly. All of our head turned to Gou to shock, especially me.
“Rin-chan? Really?” I asked in disbelief. Gou nodded at me fervently.
“Mhm. But he was forced to do training today until late this evening.” Gou said, sounding irritated with herself for not being able to use her sex appeal on that swimming captain that really liked her. I looked at Gou.
“Does he know?” I asked. Gou turned her head away in shame. I nodded at her knowingly. Rin didn’t know at all.
“When you see him, tell him that I’m sorry that I couldn’t see him before this.” I asked softly. Gou nodded, avoiding looking at me in the eye.
“I will.” She murmured. I turned my head to Makoto, as my mind was being bothered by a particular thought.
“The swimming club won’t disband, will it?” I asked. Makoto chuckled at me softly, shaking his head at me reassuringly.
“We’ll start recruiting soon. But given the circumstances, the school doesn’t want us to disband.” He replied. I let out a sigh of relief.
“I’m sorry. I feel like I’ve left you down.” I said in a quiet voice. Gou looked at me and grabbed me hands and squeezed them tightly.
“It’s not your fault, Nagisa-kun.” Gou said in a firm voice. Makoto nodded in agreement.
“Gou’s right, Nagisa. We didn’t know this would happen. You shouldn’t feel that it’s your fault. We’ll figure something out before the tournament. And we’ll make sure to win for you as well.” Makoto said in a determined voice, looking at Haruka, who nodded at me curtly. I smiled at them again. I was really happy that they were here beside me. It put me a lot more at ease.
“Thank you, everyone. That really means…” I felt myself be plunged into a brief darkness, and then the next thing I knew I was standing next to Gou, who was standing up slightly and grabbing my shoulder and shaking it in a panic, a terrified expression on her face. My heart sank at the sight of her reaction as she tried to wake me up.
“Nagisa-kun!” She cried out. Makoto pulled her away firmly but gently, rubbing his hands up and down her arms comfortingly.
“It’s alright, Gou. He’s just sleeping. He needs his rest.” He said in a soft tone, looking at my body with sorrowful eyes. I could see Gou’s eyes getting wetter and wetter until tears started spilling over and down her cheeks as she tried to quieten her sobs.
“I can’t believe it. How one minute he was fine, and now he’s… he’s…” Gou wept, trembling and pale faced and tear ridden, looking absolutely torn. Haruka looked at her blankly, and then turned his attention to Makoto, who was now hugging her tightly whilst cooing to her like how my mom would be like towards me.
“Makoto, I think you need to take Gou outside.” Haruka said sharply. Makoto looked at Haruka in surprise, then down at Gou who was still sobbing into his chest. He nodded at Haruka uncertainly.
“A-Alright then.” Makoto said softly, gently leading Gou out of the room so that I was just me and Haruka alone. For a moment I was confused. He just stared at my body with an expressionless face. There was a long moment of silence as he just stared at me with a stony glare, looking as if he was wondering what to say to me.
“I know you’re worried about Rei.” He said suddenly. I was thrown off guard by what he had just said. He closed his eyes for a moment, and then opened them again, a pitying look in his eyes.
“We’ll take good care of him. We’ll keep him safe and sound for you. I promise you that.” Haruka said, placing a hand on his heart and giving me a slight bow. He was still for a moment, staring at me, his expression softening just a little bit. And with that he turned towards the door and left the room and left me dumbstruck.
The sun was setting when I next woke up. My thoughts were oddly hazy, my heart was beating quickly, and the building sounded far too quiet. I sat up in my bed slowly and climbed out of it and walked towards the window. I felt like I was being suffocated and opened the window wide open and tried to take a deep breath to help my breathing. It helped a little bit, but my chest was still tight and painful. I was suddenly tired, my head was heavy and my heart was racing for too quickly and feeling as if my heart was going to jump out of my chest. It was then I realised that there was a good chance that I was dying.
I found myself trying to reach the buzzer that was on my bed to get help, but then my legs gave up on me and I found myself meet the ground far too quickly and handing on my side. I couldn’t breathe at all, and as I clawed at my chest, I tried to scream for someone to help me or at least put me down and put me at peace. But my voice had failed on me as I simply found myself squeaking weakly.
This was really the end.
I was going to die.
The moment I was preparing for had finally arrived.
And I realised that…
I didn’t want to die at all.
“N-No… please… come on, don’t do this to me…” I pleaded with my body desperately, trying to stand up and climbed onto my bed. But I simply collapsed onto the floor again, bruising my side. At that moment I just lied on the floor, quietly crying the pain away and just wishing that someone would check up on me and ask me if I was fine and then get a doctor to help me. I could feel everything slipping away from me, my vision getting darker and my heart going slower. I could hear my heart monitor bleeping at a slower pace.
But then the door opened.
“Nagisa, it’s me- Nagisa?” Rei called out to me in a terrified voice. I heard a scream afterwards as something dropped on the floor. I looked up to see Rei all in white and my mom beside him all in grey, both of them pale faced and terrified as I was lying on the floor feeling colder than usual. I couldn’t say anything again for some reason and just reached out to Rei desperately.
“Rei…” I mouthed to him, tears rolling down my cheeks. Rei collapsed onto his knees next to me and cradled me in his arms, looking at me desperately, trying to keep me awake by stroking my cheeks softly and speaking to me even though I couldn’t hear him anymore. I saw my mom rush out of the room as Rei was saying something to me desperately. He was probably asking me to hold on and try not to let go.
I reached up to him and grabbed him by his shirt and clung onto him tightly as I closed my eyes. It was just so much easier. I felt Rei shake me madly. I was replaying the last kiss we had in my mind, the warmth of his lips against mine and the glow in my chest that I had felt in my chest. I opened my eyes slowly and looked up at Rei with tired eyes and my heart slowing down even more.
“I love you.” I croaked, looking him in the eyes.
Everything went dark suddenly. I felt myself let go of his shirt and my hand hit the floor with a weak thud. The last thing I heard was the dragged on bleep from the heart monitor.
And then I died.
Chapter 9: Epilogue - Nagisa's Letter
Rei starts to cope.
Good morning, Nagisa. Hope you had a good night sleep. I had a dream about you. You looked happy and healthy. It really made me glad to see you that way.
Hope you're doing well, Nagisa. It's a beautiful day today. We're all fine, don't worry about us. We'd save you some mackerel, but you know Haruka. Thinking about you.
We had a test today in class about the Antartic. There was a whole page dedicated to penguins. You would have passed that with flying colours. I love you.
We bumped into Rin today. He asked how you were, so we told him what happened. I don’t think he believed us at first, but then Gou confirmed it. I think that was the first time I saw him cry. Hope you’re doing well.
I can see you from the window, you know. You're the most beautiful star in the sky. I miss you so much. Do you miss me too?
I can’t sleep knowing that I can’t hold you anymore. Knowing that you aren’t here anymore and that I won’t hear you or see you again tears me apart.
Why did it have to be you? Why couldn’t it have been me?
Why can’t you reply to me anymore?
Why can’t I stop crying?
Why aren’t you here for me?
I’m so sorry, Nagisa. I don’t want you to worry about me. I want you to be at peace. Just promise me that you’ll wait for me. Just… just promise me that we can have our together forever one day.
I love you.
The days were much slower than they should have been. The beauty of the world seemed to have dimmed drastically. There was nothing for me to marvel over, nothing for me to be in awe of anymore. It was as if everything that made the world beautiful was taken away in such a sudden moment of time. Even as I watched Haruka swimming, I wasn’t fascinated by how he moved and how he glided through the water or how he seemed as if he was one with the water. He just looked like he was swimming like any normal person would swim. It was boring. It was dull. It wasn’t the same. It was amazing how someone’s death could change everything for you.
"Rei, how are you coping?" Makoto asked softly, sitting next to me as we watched Haruka swim. I blinked myself into reality and looked at him. I found it inspiring how strong he was being for all of us, trying to lighten the mood and trying to cheer us up. He was looking at me with comforting eyes, as if trying to console me in silence. But I was confused to why they were more concerned about me than anyone else.
"Why are you asking me this? You knew him much longer than I did-" I started in a low tone.
“You haven’t spoken to anyone for days now.” Gou said in a soft tone. I looked at her. She seemed to be effected by Nagisa’s death greatly. There were times where she would just stare off into space, looking lost and confused. She was a lot less organized with us. I remembered how Rin had decided to visit her when school was finished and stay with her to keep her company. According to Makoto, Rin says that all Gou did was either sleep or suddenly start crying.
“Gou’s right, Rei. We’re just worried for you, that’s all.” Makoto said kindly, putting a reassuring hand on my shoulder. I looked at him in surprise. I didn’t understand why they were so worried about me.
“But, you shouldn’t be worried about me; you and Haruka knew Nagisa better than me anyway, so it would be obvious to be concerned about you-” I started in a matter of fact tone, pushing my glasses up further towards my face.
“You got that wrong.” Haruka said from behind me. I turned my head to see him drying his hair with his towel, his usual blank expression portraying a hint of either sympathy or pity as he looked down at me. Makoto looked at him with a slightly nervous expression on his face.
“H-Haru?” Makoto asked. Haruka sat down next to me, looking at me with his piercing eyes. He looked as if he was trying his best to comfort me.
"We knew who Nagisa was. But we didn't know Nagisa like you did." Haruka said in a soft tone, his eyes softening drastically. He looked as if he was trying to tell me that he understood my pain even though he was going through a completely different pain that I was feeling. To be honest, it threw me off guard, but it made me feel a lot better.
"H-Haruka..." I said in surprise. Haruka’s gaze became sharp again as he looked at me expectantly.
"The best question to ask would be this: how much did Nagisa mean to you?" He asked. My eyes widened in surprise. The question wasn’t what I was expecting from him.
"How much he meant to me? He... he..." I felt my voice trail away as I looked down. On my wrist was a plain gold bracelet with Nagisa’s name engraved into it on the inside. I remembered how I bought one for him with my own name, how the woman cooed at me for getting such a thoughtful gift; and then I remembered dropping it on the floor to hold Nagisa in my arms.
"He meant everything to me." I replied softly. Makoto and Gou frowned at me, probably because they didn’t hear what I had said. But Haruka simply nodded at me, patted my shoulder comfortingly, and stood up before making a running dive into the pool with Makoto telling him that practise was over.
And that was all.
At the end of the day, I felt that it was necessary to visit Miss Hazuki. I thought that it was only proper to see her through her dark moments. On the way to her home, I felt myself grow nervous, worried if she would turn me away, and then decided that it wasn’t bad to just check up on her. I knocked on the front door a few times and waited for a few minutes. But after ten minutes, I found myself knocking again, harder and louder than the first time.
"Miss Hazuki? Are you here? It's me, Rei." I added in a loud tone. After a few moments, the door opened to reveal Miss Hazuki all in black, pale faced with dull blonde hair and hollow pink eyes. She looked up at me, slightly alarmed and surprised at the sight of me.
"Rei?" She asked in shock. I cleared my throat nervously.
"I-I hope I'm not intruding or anything-" I started babbling. She shook her head at me, and opened the door wide to let me in.
"No, no, it's fine, don't worry. Please, come in." She said in a distant voice, stepping to the side. I hesitated for a moment, but then nodded at her in thanks. I entered the house and took off my shoes at the front door.
"I just need to do something upstairs." Miss Hazuki said, heading up the stairs slowly. I nodded at her respectfully as she left me in the hallway. I noticed that there was a photo of her and Nagisa when Nagisa was a lot younger, roughly five or six years old. They were at the beach, playing in the sand building a sand castle. It was then I realised that Nagisa looked just like his mother. Next to that photo there was another photo of just Nagisa, sitting on his bed with a beaming smile on his and his hair ruffled and reddened cheeks. He looked healthy. He looked alive.
I found myself picking up the photo frame of Nagisa and looking at it more closely. I saw my reflection in the glass of the frame. I found myself smiling at the photo. It made me happy, seeing him happy and healthy in that photo. It would have been a nice way to remember him by. I checked my watched, and was surprised that I was staring that I was staring at that photo for a good twenty minutes. Suddenly, I heard soft thuds coming from upstairs. I looked up to the ceiling with a frown.
"Miss Hazuki?" I asked loudly, heading up the stairs. At first I was wondering if she was just getting something out of her room and that it would have been best to leave her on her own. But I turned my head to the side. It didn’t take me long to realise that Nagisa’s bedroom door was open. I approached the doorway slowly and caught a glimpse of her in his room.
"Miss Hazuki...?" I called out to her nervously. She didn’t reply to me at all, but just simply stared into space as she sat at the end of Nagisa’s bed. I took a deep breath and entered the room. The last time I had been in there was that night where we actually had gone over the borderline between friends and lovers. I sat on the bed next to her and saw her holding a small penguin in her arms, which she stroked with her thumb tenderly.
"Flippers came to say hello, but he doesn't understand why Nagisa isn't here anymore. He wanted to make Nagisa feel better, b-but he just couldn’t do it." Miss Hazuki choked, before suddenly breaking down into tears. I was a little bit thrown off guard, but then I found myself putting an arm around her shoulder as she started crying into mine.
"I'm sorry. I didn't want you to see me like this." She hiccupped. I patted her on the shoulder comfortingly.
"It's alright, Miss Hazuki. There's nothing wrong with crying. This is normal." I added in a soft tone. Miss Hazuki let out a shuddering breath as I felt her tears seep through my sleeve.
"H-He was my baby, m-my little boy. I remember holding him in my arms. He was so small too, but he was my little angel, and I loved him so much. He was my world. And now he’s gone, and I feel so lost without him." He whimpered softly, clutching my sleeve tightly. I sighed softly.
"I know, ma'am. I know how you feel." I murmured quietly. I felt her body tense up suddenly. He raised her head to me slightly, her eyes dark and thunderous.
"How?" She asked coldly. I frowned at her.
"Huh?" I asked in return. She stood up suddenly, glaring down at me with a sharp glare, her grip on the stuffed penguin tightening.
"How could you even understand what I'm going through? He was my son!" She added in a loud tone, furious tears rolling down her cheeks. I felt suddenly scared by her gaze.
"I understand that-" I started nervously.
"HOW?! HOW COULD YOU KNOW WHAT ITS LIKE TO LOSE A CHILD?! HOW?!" She shrieked. I was stunned silent. I was expecting her to be as calm as she could. I didn’t expect her to react so harshly towards me. She pointed a finger at me and pointed at me acidly.
"You don't do you? You could never understand losing someone so precious to you-" She snarled, her voice getting louder with every stressed word. I felt my temper boil. I didn’t understand? I didn’t know what it was like to lose a precious person? Didn’t I? As soon as I thought of Nagisa, I saw his smile light up my thoughts, hear his bubbly laugh. I loved him.
"I loved him." I said softly, my eyes on the ground. There was a sudden silence between the two of us.
"... I'm sorry?" Miss Hazuki asked in a slightly shocked tone. I looked up at her darkly. She looked mildly surprised by my bold statement. I took a deep breath in.
"I loved him, ma'am. He meant everything to me. It's funny, I... I thought that it was wrong to love him, that it was... ugly. I thought that there was something wrong with me. But Nagisa, he... he made it beautiful; he made it feel right." I said in a shaky voice, my hands trembling as I felt my anger increase. Miss Hazuki’s expression suddenly looked reproachful.
"R-Rei-" She stammered. I stood up slowly which silenced her immediately.
"I know what you feel is different; I know that he was your son, your pride and joy, the one thing in your life that can't be replaced. I know. But when the one that you love more than anything dies in your arms-" I found myself in a cold looking room, holding a cold looking Nagisa in my arms as he clung onto me weakly. I remembered how he told me that he loved me with his dying breath, how after that he gave up and left us. Left me. I took off my glasses and started rubbing the tears away from my eyes.
"Rei, I-" Miss Hazuki started.
"Don't say that you understand what it's like for that to happen, you didn't see him let go and you didn’t have to see him slip away. But do you think that you're the only one who's suffering? Have you ever thought about considering Makoto's feelings about this? Haruka's? Gou's? Mine?" I added with a torn voice, jabbing at my chest where my heart was. Miss Hazuki didn’t reply.
"I-I died, Miss Hazuki. I know I did; hell, I even remembered drowning! If it was fate, then I was meant to die. And yet, God decides to bring me back and take Nagisa instead?! You think that I don't feel like I've been robbed, that I’ve been conned?! Do you?!" I asked in a loud and furious voice. Miss Hazuki reached out to me, as if worried if I was going to bite her.
"Rei, please, you need to-" Miss Hazuki started pleadingly. I let out a broken howl.
"I DON'T CARE ANYMORE!" I screamed, throwing my glasses against the wall. I watched the glass shatter as it scratched my cheek and my hand. I heard Miss Hazuki let out a surprised yelp. There was silence after that. I felt a breeze on my shoulder, as if someone was placing their hand on it. But as the tears rolled down my cheeks and as I sat back down on Nagisa’s bed slowly, it hit me again that I would never see Nagisa again.
"I just... I don't want to be here anymore. He made me promise to move on with my life and be happy and just get over like it was nothing and ... I can't do that... I just… I can't..." I whimpered, my head in my hands as I found myself sobbing. I felt someone pulling me downwards, and realised that it was Miss Hazuki pulling me into an embrace.
"Come here." She said softly. I clung onto her tightly, crying into her shirt as I felt my heart ache me again.
"I didn't mean to yell at you-" I started in an apologetic tone. Miss Hazuki hushed me softly, holding me tighter.
"You just needed to get it off of your chest is all. It's alright, Rei." She cooed, stroking my hair softly. The way she did that made me think of how Nagisa had once stroked my hair.
"The fact that I’ll never be able to hold him again… it kills me. I don't want to wait to see him. I just want end it all." I said softly.
"Don't you dare say that. You made a promise to Nagisa to like. I know my son. If you break a promise to him, he'd never forgive you, no matter who you were. He made me promise to move on, and it’s going to be hard. I don’t think I will. But… I just need to be strong. It’s what he wanted." Miss Hazuki said in a calm but stern voice, still stroking my hair. I think I cried for a good hour. I looked up slightly and whilst rubbing my eyes, I noticed a white envelope tucked underneath the pillow. I reached towards it with a confused frown.
"What's this?" I asked, grabbing the envelope. Miss Hazuki looked at the envelope with a slightly pained expression.
"The nurse gave it to me before Nagisa... before he left us. She said that he wanted you to have it." Miss Hazuki said in a soft tone, looking at me with a pained smile. I nodded at her and slipped it into my bag.
"I-I have to go." I said numbly, standing up slowly. I made my way towards the door, picking up my shattered glasses and placing them in my shirt pocket.
"Text Nagisa when you get home." Miss Hazuki commanded firmly. I frowned at her.
"But, Nagisa’s-" I started. She pulled out Nagisa’s phone from her pocket slowly and magically.
"I’ve read your texts to him. I want you to text his number when you get home, and only when you get hone. At least then I'll know that you wouldn’t have done anything stupid on the way." She added in a stern tone. I found myself laughing at her remark.
"I won't do anything stupid. I promise." I added reassuringly.
My parents didn’t ask me why I had come home so late, nor did they ask about my cut cheek or my broken glasses. Although, I didn’t give them a chance to ask me any questions, seeing that I slipped my shoes off quickly and rushed up the stairs to my room. I could hear my father calling my name, but I had already closed the bedroom door behind me loudly, signalling that I wasn’t in the mood to talk to them. I texted Nagisa’s number saying that I was at home safe and sound. I flung myself onto my bed heavily and found myself drifting off to sleep.
Then I found myself dreaming, sitting in a field of white flowers and the sun beaming down on my face but not blinding. I heard a soft giggle beside me. I turned my head. My heart stopped. Nagisa was sitting next to me, all in white looking at something on his wrist, until I realised that it was the bracelet that I had bought for him. He was looking at it fondly, his smile dazzling.
“Nagisa?” I said in shock, reaching towards him. I felt his skin under my touch. He looked startled by me. He turned his head to me with wide and curious eyes. He gave me a wider smile. He reached up to touch my cheek.
And then I woke up.
I groaned into my pillow, annoyed at the fact that I was so close to him, only to have been taken away from me again. But in all fairness, I felt better. I sat up slowly and realised that it was dark outside, rolled off of my bed and closed my bedroom curtains. When I turned around, I saw the envelope on top of my school bag. I froze for a moment, and then reached out for it and opened it carefully. Seeing Nagisa’s surprisingly neat handwriting almost had me crying again. But instead I took a deep breath, and started reading the letter.
Once upon a time, there were two boys, who were in love with each other very much. The two of them didn’t really know, but they cared for each other deeply. They were happy in each other’s company. One day however, the one of the boys died. The other boy felt lost, heartbroken, confused. He missed his loved one very much. And so he decided to sell his life for his loved one, and had seven days with him until he had to meet his end. The boys fell deeper in love. They were happy again. But then the doomed boy died. The other was left all alone.
And now I guess I have to start the actual letter.
I’m so sorry for everything that you’re going through. But seeing that you’re reading this, I can guess that you’re still alive and well, and that all that matters to me. I didn’t want to leave you so soon, but when you gamble with life, you have to pay the forfeit.
I just want you to keep your promise to me. You remember, don’t you? To move on and be happy without me. I know that it’s hard to do that. I know that you don’t really want to move one. I know that you think it’ll be hard to do that. And it will be. It will be hard to move on. It will hurt. But just know that no matter what you do, as long as it helps you move on, then I will be happy regardless.
Also, I wanted to say one thing that I had been planning to say for a while: I love you. I love you so much, Rei. You mean the world to me. I wanted to tell you about what I had done. But I knew that you wouldn’t have believed me. I wouldn’t have believed me.
Now you have no excuse to not want to move on. You know what I did for you. You know that if you ended it all now, my death would have been in vain. Promise me that it wasn’t a pointless death. Make it worthwhile.
I wanted to make sure that you didn’t have to be left alone thinking that it was life being cruel. I was in a lot of pain. I felt like I was going to die at different times. In a way, life was good to me. I probably died with you by my side. And if I did, then I regret nothing.
It was weird, knowing that I was dying and not telling anyone. I never even told my mom, and, I don’t think I ever want her to know. I already left a scar on both you and mom. I know you can cope with this. My mom can’t. I hurt the both of you, even Makoto and Haruka, and even Gou and Rin. But I only want you to know the truth. That way there’s no secret between us.
I don’t regret making my choice. And I don’t regret falling in love with you. I just hope that you love me as much as I love you, Rei. Just promise me to live on. And promise me, as selfish as I sound, that you won’t stop loving me. Promise me now, Rei. Promise me that I’ll always be yours.
I’ll always love you, Nagisa.