Nagi was covering me. Her braids hung down, swaying and tickling my cheeks.

“It’s rare. I’m angry at Souta kun.”

“……I guess so. It might have been for the first time.”

It is different from when she puffed out her cheeks as usual or when she was that [Ice Princess].

Her blue eyes were filled with a hint of anger.

“I’m angry at myself, too. But I’ll get to that later.”

Nagi huffed. She exhaled a breath filled with various emotions.

She suddenly put her lips on top of mine. For a moment.

Nagi’s eyes naturally came in front of my eyes.

“Souta kun is wrong.”

Her words were powerful.

“I will never leave Souta kun no matter what. That future will never come. Even if it is in the next life, I will definitely find Souta kun and be with him.”

Her hand caressed my cheek. Her fingers tickled the corner of my eyes as if wiping away tears.

“That’s why, I will never disappear from your life.”

Her face suddenly relaxed and her eyes lit up with a pale light. Her usual smile returned.

“I will not leave you even if you try to push me away.”


“Maybe today was not ! From now on, I’ll be appearing in your dreams a lot !”

“If you come out a lot, I’m going to be in trouble.”

“The more trouble you get, the better.”

Nagi’s face came close again and dropped a kiss. The pain in my head was gradually healed.

Nagi’s eyes were staring at me again, and I shook my head loosely.

Then I got up and sat down next to Nagi.

“Then…can we move on to the story?”

“Yeah, I’m fine now.”

Nagi nodded and sat down so that our bodies were close to each other.

“I recognized you just now, Souta kun.”


“Yes. I recognize you very, very much. ……No.”

Her eyes are looking at the ceiling–no. They seemed to be looking somewhere, but not looking anywhere.

They were looking far away, as if reminiscing.

“Me, that is. The ‘me’, until I met Souta kun.”


“At that time, I wanted to repay my debts to my dad and mom. At the same time, I was also thinking the following.”

Her gaze shifted from far away to me.

“I don’t want to fail them.”


“I’ll ask you again.”

Nagi came close to my face again. I was so that I would not miss the flicker of her emotion.

“Souta kun. Why are you trying so hard?”

I clenched my teeth. It was so strong that I thought it would break my back teeth.

However, it was impossible to hide it any longer. I suddenly relaxed.

Above all, I didn’t want to lie to her.

“I was scared. To be so far away from the [ideal me].”

“Does that have something to do with the dream?”

“Did Eiji tell you that?”

“We had a little exchange around noon. He said that Souta kun can only be trusted to me.”

“…..I see. No, he’s not wrong.”

“I know. It’s because of the fact that I got involved in a lot of things that were not good. I’m partly to blame for that.”

I tried to shake my head, but Nagi’s hand gently held me back.

“I spent some time with my dad talking about Makizaka san and his part-time job. And he said, [I think you’re filling the outer moat.] That there are no expectations, that in itself is a funny thing.”

“That’s true…but I just need to do my best.”

“Have you not been trying hard all along? Souta kun.”

My eyes widened at Nagi’s words.

All I have to do is reply that it’s not like that.

But no words came out of my mouth.

“Do you remember the first time we had a study session? It was the second day.”

“The second day…..ah.”

“Yes. That time. When I was about to go back to being called [Ice Princess] again. You said something.”

[Of course, the attitude of always trying hard is amazing. I think it’s important. But. …I think there will come a time when you’ll get tired. If that happens, performance will drop for everything.]

“I remember every word. Because it helped me change.”

That’s right. That’s what I said.

Right now, I’m….

“You’re just like me. You were trying too hard.”

“I see.”

“Yes. I can understand now. I was trying too hard at that time. I was just trying to exceed my parents’ expectations. I didn’t look at the people around me. I didn’t look at myself.”

I almost choked up. Nagi knew that, too, so she nodded deeply.

“Souta kun is trying [too hard]. If you try too hard, you will break your vessel sooner or later.”

“….I know that. But still.”

“Once a vessel is broken, it can never be restored.”

SHe grabbed my shoulder strongly. It was so painful.

“I will not let Souta kun break himself. Never.”

Her hand was trembling. It was not only because of too much force, I guess.

“I’ll let you rest even if I have to tie you to the bed, okay?”

Nagi smiled a small smile, but her eyes were not smiling. She has serious eyes.

“I’ll watch you all day long to make sure you don’t run away. I’ll be right next to you and take care of you.”

“N-Nagi……? That’s bad in many ways.”

“It’s fun to cause trouble for Souta kun.”

 Her cheeks twitched involuntarily, and Nagi laughed and said, [I’m just kidding] Her eyes aren’t smiling.

“Anyway, I have made up my mind. Even if Souta kun refuses, I will be your [Host].”


“Yes. A place where you can come to rest when you’re tired. I’ll  be a place where you won’t have to strain your shoulders.”

Ah, I almost let my voice slip out. 

“……Yes. I noticed. I finally noticed it just now. I had somehow felt something strange, but I didn’t know it was this.”

Nagi’s expression changed drastically. She was clenching her teeth so hard that I could almost hear a grinding sound.

“I am a fool for not noticing. I’m a big idiot. ….I’m really, really angry.”


Nagi’s eyes were downcast. But it was only for a moment, and then she blinked and looked at me at the same time.

“Why is it?”

Her voice was trembling and her eyes began to blur.

“Why did you try to carry everything on your back? Why didn’t you just lean on me?”

Her face was close to me. Our foreheads almost collided.

“Is it because you don’t trust me?”

“……No !”

“Then ! Do you think I’m so weak that Souta kun can’t lean on me?”

“It’s not. …..You’re wrong.”

After saying that much, ah. I’m convinced.

I was convinced.

“I have a tingle in my chest. I can’t stop thinking about the past when I betrayed you.”

….It’s not something that can be easily forgiven.

“Because of that, I…I’m a fool, and I caused you a lot of trouble, Nagi.”

I said her name. Her eyes were dim and murky like the deep sea.

As if to cut off her words, I put my lips on hers.

I know it’s not fair.

But still. I couldn’t help but put my lips on hers.

Nagi squeezed my hand. I can feel her body heat.

I’m really an idiot. I am. If I saw the person I was back then, I’d want to hit him…no, even right now.

Make Nagi happy?

Who was I to say that?

Why is she crying?

Because I made her feel insecure.

Because I reminded her of the past in the worst way imaginable.

Then there’s only one thing left for me to do.

“……Sorry. I’m sorry, Nagi.”


“I think I’ve done something really stupid. I didn’t look around myself–and at Nagi.”


“I wanted Nagi to only see the cool things about me.”

That was selfish of me.

“I wanted to be cool, and I would make you happy. I wanted to be someone who would make you think that way.”


“At the same time, I was scared. I was afraid that if I showed you something that wasn’t cool, you would be disillusioned.”

Yeah. I was afraid I would wake up from the dream. I was scared.

“More than anything, I was afraid of losing Nagi.”

“……Seriously, what are you talking about, Souta kun?”

This time—maybe I should say again.

Nagi kissed me on the lips. It tasted bitterly sweet.

“Disillusioned? The not-so-cool part? Don’t be afraid. I love all of them. Because you’re Souta kun.”

All the murkiness had been removed from her eyes.

“It’s not like I don’t like the cool Souta kun. I love the cool Souta kun, too. The uncool Sota-kun? That’s fine, show me a lot. I’ll show you that I love you. Even I love the ordinary Souta kun.”

Straight. The words were delivered to my brain through my eyes and to my heart at the same time. 

“I already love you from the bottom of my heart. That’s why.”

Her hand reached out and gently held me in her arms.

“I’m not going to let you go. I want you to tell me all about yourself. ……W-we’ve already seen the other side of each other’s clothes.”

As the words came out of her mouth, her cheeks attached to my cheeks became hotter.

But that’s mutual, so I can’t say anything.

“You don’t have to try hard all at once. It’s okay to do it little by little. I’ll support you.”

“……Yeah. Thank you, Nagi.”

“You’re welcome. I will spoil you a lot from now on when I think Souta kun did his best. Please be prepared.”

When I nodded to her words, Nagi smiled smilingly.

There is still something I have to say.

“From now on, I’ll rely on you a lot, Nagi. Also, what happened back then has nothing to do with me…I’m sorry for making you feel anxious.”

“Yes, I understand. Please rely on me a lot. I will rely on you too.”

After I told her that much, Nagi moved away from me.

“Well, I guess that’s enough from me.”

Nagi was smiling very much. It was a very nice smile. I had a bad feeling somehow.

Nagi got up and I got up too. I thought she was going to the living room…..Nagi sat back down. She was still smiling.

“Souta kun.”

“….What is it?”

“Fufu, don’t try to play dumb. You haven’t rested yet for all the hard work you did this time.”

Nagi said so and spread her arms. In a lower position than usual. It was as if she was telling me to jump into her chest.

“No, you see.”

“Souta kun, do you prefer to pamper than to be pampered after all?”

I don’t seem to have a choice. Considering what happened earlier, that may be natural.

“Besides. We haven’t even started making up yet, right?”

“…..I guess so.”

Compared to yesterday, you could say that they were [fighting] a lot more.

Following those words, I decided to obey her.

“While we’re at it, please show me all the cool things about Souta kun.”

Needless to say, I almost backed away a little at those words, and Nagi caught me.


“Good morning, Souta. Oh, did you feel refreshed?”

“Thanks to you.”

I met Eiji in front of the school gate. He suddenly put his arm around me, and I realize that this is probably an extension of what I said yesterday.

“Are you sure you’re okay? Don’t push yourself too hard?”

“I’m fine now. I’ve decided not to overdo it.”

As I walk away, I glance at Eiji.

“Eiji, don’t beat yourself up either.”

“……Ah. You found out.”

“I can see that. I’m telling you, Eiji, you don’t have to feel responsible for this. It’ll happen sooner or later.”

It happened because of a combination of things. If Eiji were to ask me if it would have been better if he hadn’t said that then, I would probably shake my head.

“I’m in the position of having been saved by you. Consider it a plus minus plus.”

“……Oh, thanks.”

Even so, Eiji’s face did not brighten.

“Also, I’m still not at my best either. If anything happens, I’ll be counting on you.”

 “……Oh ! Leave it to me !”

Apparently, this was the right decision. The light came back into Eiji’s eyes.

No, or maybe he’s just trying to stay the same as usual in front of me,……that is, the same as I was until yesterday.

I’ll believe that Eiji is back to normal too.

Besides, Eiji also has Nishizawa. There’s no need for me to worry.

“I’ll keep an eye on you at school. Just in case you don’t push yourself too hard.”

“I’ll be fine. I won’t do it again. I promise.”


Eiji tilts his head. I looked away.

“Did she do something to you?”

“……She saw a lot of uncool things. Don’t pry any further.”

“Oh. I kind of guessed it.”

I nodded at Eiji’s words and vowed to myself.

I will never do anything unreasonable again. Never.

…Otherwise, it might become a habit.

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