Story 3-13『First Contact』
Me calling out that name caused them to pause and a silent atmosphere hung over the classroom.
Everyone’s line of sight in this confined space were on me. It was 100% in astonishment.
“… Tamaki? What happened?” (Samejima)
“… What is it?” (Tamaki)
I carefully made sure that my voice didn’t sound hollow, but was only able to say a few words.
“Calling out this brat’s name… that’s unusual…” (Samejima)
…Eh? I frantically endured it and leaked out a voice.
I forgot that I had used Katsuragi’s name so few times.
I’ve now been using Katsuragi’s name on a daily basis. I had gotten used to the warm sensation from every time I used it.
I want to protect that feeling.
“No, I had forgotten that Katsuragi had been called to the homeroom teacher a little while ago. I was told to bring… him.” (Tamaki)
A lie. I made something up.
It’s fine. I deceived him. If I can make it out of this place I don’t care.
Samjima was silent for a short while before clicking his tongue.
“Just as it was getting interesting… hey! Go!” (Samejima)
He kicked the belly of the fallen Katsuragi and left the classroom with his bag.
Probably because there was no longer a reason to be here. Classmates began to leave in groups.
Because they were spectators for the bullying by Samejima.
“Tama-chan, bye-bye.” (Nanami)
“Yui-chan, be careful okay? That guy, there’s no telling what he’ll do.” (Shuri)
“… …” (Tamaki)
It saddened me to hear Shuri-chan’s advice.
You’re wrong, Shuri-chan.
Katsuragi is gentle and has a strong heart.
He’s the person you came to like, he’s the one who loves you more than anyone.
“… Yeah, thanks. Bye-bye.” (Tamaki)
Shuri-chan and Nanami-chan cheerfully waved their hands and left down the hallway.
Probably to go to Samejima. The Shuri-chan of this time told me that she liked Samejima.
He looked good and had both brains and brawn. He was a friendly guy, Katsuragi excepted… that is what Shuri-chan told me.
However, I knew that was just a disguise… Though it was too late now, I wanted to talk to her.
Fuu… I took a long breath. It became just Katsuragi and me left in the classroom.
He was still groveling on the floor in pain.
Right now, I was one of his main bullies… So I think, when viewing it objectively.
If such a person were to try and say comforting words, what kind of things would Katsuragi feel?
That he was being looked down on? Would he be thankful?
I wasn’t sure. Unfortunately I couldn’t predict it because I had no experience in it, I couldn’t even consider.
I could only deal with the outcome.
“… Alright.” (Tamaki)
I tried to encourage myself with a small voice.
Then, here I go.
“… Katsuragi.” (Tamaki)
“… … …” (Daichi)
“… … Are you okay?” (Tamaki)
“… … -!?” (Daichi)
Katsuragi didn’t believe what he was seeing and opened his eyes wide. However, he instantly started glaring.
“… What are you… did you hit your head?” (Daichi)
“Ah, yeah. Earlier this morning, I woke up after hitting the wall.” (Tamaki)
“… What are you talking about?” (Daichi)
“Can’t you see that a maiden is trying to cover up her embarrassment?” (Tamaki)
“… And now you are being bossy.” (Daichi)
“Ah, sorry. I didn’t mean it like that…” (Tamaki)
I attempted to retrieve a towel from my pouch, but noticed that my clothes had changed.
… Well, it would have been comical to be in clothes like that at school.
I was instead wearing the academy assigned skirt and sailor blouse.
Though I didn’t have a towel, I brought a handkerchief in my skirt every day.
Taking the light-blue checkered cloth from my pocket, I applied It to where his mouth was bleeding due to it being forcibly rubbed against the floor.
“Are you alright, Katsuragi? Does it hurt?” (Tamaki)
“… …” (Daichi)
“… Katsuragi?” (Tamaki)
Because I expected him to not respond, I called out his name again. With that, Katsuragi came back to reality and brushed my hand away.
“… What are you doing?” (Daichi)
“Treating Katsuragi’s injury.” (Tamaki)
“That’s what I mean! Why are you doing that!?” (Daichi) [TN: I feel that I should note, the raw has all of his lines so far more so as statements than as questions. Ending most lines with ‘… , omae’.]
That yell clearly held anger. Though, I wasn’t going to run away.
“I’m sorry. For everything I’ve done until now, I apologize. I’m so sorry.” (Tamaki)
I took several steps back and bowed.
“–!? What are yo-! Why are you suddenly apologizing!!” (Daichi)
“Because I noticed. The sins that I’ve been committing.” (Tamaki)
“What you are saying… I don’t get it…!” (Daichi)
“That’s fine. You don’t need to forgive me. But, let me treat you. I’ll be worried if that festers.” (Tamaki)
I moved to put the handkerchief that Katsuragi brushed away back to his mouth. However, he took it and wiped the blood off himself.
“… … Tch…” (Daichi)
Katsuragi put the handkerchief into his pocket as it was.
“… Don’t think that I am indebted now.” (Daichi)
“I don’t mind. I had no such intention.” (Tamaki)
“… …” (Daichi)
Katsuragi sent me an apathetic look.
“Hey, you.” (Daichi)
“Tamaki Yuina. Call me what you want.” (Tamaki)
“… Were you serious about feeling bad for what you did to me?” (Daichi)
“Yeah, that’s right. How many times do you want me to apologize until you are satisfied?” (Tamaki)
“Then, let me hit you one time.” (Daichi)
Katsuragi spread his mouth in a smirk and smiled vulgarly. If it was the other one, since his looks are good, I’d end up charmed by the nihilistic smile, but here, due to him being a pudgy blob of fat, it wasn’t handsome in the least. That gap between the two made me unconsciously smile bitterly.
“Are you looking down at me?” (Daichi)
“No. However, I was thinking that you weren’t cool at all.” (Tamaki)
“You were looking down at me after all!” (Daichi)
For a moment I recalled pleasantly talking to him in Rostalgia. The indignant Katsuragi stuck out his fist and entrusted it to his emotions.
Compared to Katsuragi’s punches from the experience we gained in Rostalgia these punches were very dull. I think that I could pierce it if there were a knife in my hand.
It would also be easy to dodge.
However, evading was no good.
His fist hit my face and made a dull sound. Abandoning all attempts to brace for it, I was struck and my body was vigorously knocked onto a row of desks.
Mild pain ran through my back. My right cheek too… it seemed as though it wasn’t cracked though. It just throbbed.
“… … Ah-” (Daichi)
Katsuragi let a single sound escape his mouth.
I wondered if he was regretting it? Or was he feeling pleasure? Perhaps it was the former.
Katsuragi clenched his teeth. I heard the sound of his teeth grinding together.
“Why didn’t you avoid it…? If it’s you, you could have easily done that.” (Daichi)
“Because… Katsuragi said he wanted one hit.” (Tamaki)
“… Wouldn’t I think you were lying!? Why! Answer me!” (Daichi)
“Because I couldn’t convey my feelings to Katsuragi. I truly meant my apology.” (Tamaki)
“Even if you suddenly said something like that… I know that you are teasing me!” (Daichi)
… I wonder what kind of emotions are swirling inside of him to shout like that.
Just before this I was treating him like garbage. Even if the attitude of the hateful person who was bullying you did a 180… I wouldn’t believe it. I would absolutely suspect there was some underlying reason.
Katsuragi surely thought that as well.
Bewilderment. Suspicion. Hatred. I think those sorts of things were running rampant in him.
I want to rid him of those negative emotions. I want to restore the Katsuragi from before I came to this place.
“… Yeah, that’s why I don’t mind. Even if you don’t for now, I want you to come to believe in me little by little.” (Tamaki)
“Annoying! Don’t talk to me anymore!” (Daichi)
“I won’t stop. I want Katsuragi to enjoy his school life.” (Tamaki)
“Enjoy it? My school life? I don’t want to hear that from you! Abusing me to the point of violence… now you want me to have fun?” (Daichi)
He drew close to me and grasped my collar, pulling me into a falling state.
“Don’t f*cking joke around!” (Daichi)
“I’m not joking.” (Tamaki)
“Never do something like this again. I want nothing to do with you.” (Daichi)
“Don’t wanna.” (Tamaki)
“I got it. I forgive you. It’s fine with that. Stop talking to me already.” (Daichi)
“That’s not it. I didn’t apologize because I wanted forgiveness. I apologized to you so that we could smile together.” (Tamaki)
“—!! Enough already!!” (Daichi)
Katsuragi grew impatient at the repeated answer, took his hand off of me, pushed me, and picked up his bag to leave in a rush.
“Hang on!” (Tamaki)
“… …” (Daichi)
Katsuragi stopped moving at my statement.
“… Katsuragi. You don’t have to hold it in if it’s painful you know? You can open up to me.” (Tamaki)
“… …” (Daichi)
Without giving any particular response, Katsuragi began moving again and left the classroom.
Checking that I could no longer hear his footsteps, I looked up towards the ceiling.
“… I wonder if the first contact went… reasonably?” (Tamaki)
『Yes, reasonably』was the impression I got from that. Because right now, I think that Katsuragi was also surely troubled.
I won’t aim too high. Because someday, Katsuragi will definitely understand me.
… Well, the simple analysis is over…
“… Hey, they didn’t put anything away…” (Tamaki)
Looking at the disorganized desks and chairs, I sighed.
I think I should probably fulfill my duties as the committee chairman now.