A slightly younger version of myself appeared in front of me. I was supposed to have been fighting with someone earlier, but I found myself in a strange situation where I was having strange hallucinations. As I was puzzled, an anxious-looking boy who looked into my face opened his mouth.

[Why are you fooling yourself? We already know who that girl is, don’t we?]


I frown at his words. I was pretending that I didn’t know who the girl was. I knew in a corner of my mind, but I refused to face the truth of it. As if seeing through it all, the boy grabbed me tightly. His words were weak, but they contained an air of strength that could not be ignored.

[You don’t have the qualifications to face that girl again, so you’re turning away from her.]

“Don’t talk like you know what you’re talking about.”

[I understand. I know what I’m talking about.]

You know everything about me. The boy in front of me would like to say that. The boy tightens his grip on me and closes the distance between me and him as if he is trying to corner me.

[It all started when I asked the vice president for contact information.]


[I’m sure there will be no problem if you throw Yukihana’s matter to that girl.   That’s what you thought, so you hid a piece of paper with her contact information in Yukihana’s room, but you really thought it would be nice to have a chance, right? I was wondering if I could talk to you about this.]

I got that guy’s contact information from Miura that day. I thought I’d throw it all to her because Yukihana’s case was too much of a hassle. I was sure that she would be able to solve Shinya’s problems without a hitch, unlike me.

And as a result…..

“But I’m not qualified to do that.”


The boy who denies my words. The weight of his words was somewhat philosophical about life.

[You already know that, don’t you? Why does she hate us so much? Why does she obsess over us to this extent?]

“……Because I betrayed her.”

[You know that.]

Yes, I betrayed her that day. To myself, the ally of justice that I believed in until now. I think she can’t forgive me for denying and betraying her. I was the ideal hero for her.

[I don’t know why I did what I did that day to break it off with her without saying a word.]

“……Because if she got involved with me any more, I was going to lure her into ruin too.”

It was completely my fault that I was cornered in the middle of the night that day. I don’t want to turn her life around for my convenience any more. Unlike me, I’m sure she has a bright future ahead of her. If I were by her side, things would surely end badly. Because I’m the son of a criminal, and I’m a scumbag beyond help.

“So I closed my mind.”

[And that’s when my weakness and regret were born.]

I finally understand. I finally understood that the headaches were happening every time I was faced with an event that I might regret. If I turned away from it, I would later be tormented by guilt that I would not be able to wipe away.

“…..Ironic, isn’t it?”

I was supposed to have cut everything off, but I still don’t want to lose it, and I can’t believe that I’m showing up like this. But I have nothing to lose now, after I’ve lost everything. The pride that such a man would have would not be worth a shred of anything.

[If you’ve lost it, you can get it back.]

“I say I don’t deserve it.”

I knew it, but in the end we were on a parallel track. I’m the one who wants to just get the minimum amount of revenge without being a part of anything anymore. And the weak me who screams at me that that’s not good enough. There is no need to come here and drag out the old days. That’s why I should have cut it all out.

[I’m a weak person who thinks that I’m not good enough. Why was I helping someone like I was on the side of justice?]

“……There is no reason.”

Somehow, I just assumed that I had to do so out of an obsessive sense of duty. I had just decided that this was my way of life, my way of living. I wasn’t made to do it, but I never wanted to do it. I never had any sense of a cause or mission.

The only thing that I was concerned about was that my grandmother and father had taught me so much. My grandmother trained my mind and my father trained my body. But in the end, it’s meaningless because it doesn’t help anything important.

My own mother abandoned me and I grew up not knowing what love is. And before I knew it, I had developed a kind of fear of “favors from other people,” both men and women. As I grew up, I realized that I should not get involved with other people. So, in middle school, I kept my distance from various people.

[So what does that mean?]


[We’ve helped a lot of people in our lives. And each time we did, they thanked us with dazzling smiles. Where do all those feelings disappear?]


If that is the case, unfortunately, that feeling has disappeared into the void. Even if I was thanked, I would dismiss it lightly because I thought I had done something that was only natural, and I didn’t think it was worth it enough to be burned into my memory. Rather, there were times when I thought I should do something about it myself before I could help.

But…..when was the first time I was thanked?

[You don’t remember? It was when we were still little.]


When I was only about three years old and living at my grandmother’s house. Before she got into night work, my mother worked for a so-called black company and didn’t have much time to talk to me properly. When she was tired from work and asleep with her elbows on the table, I gently covered her with a blanket. Then my mother woke up, patted my head and thanked me. Yes, we were still like a normal family back then.

[There was….a reason.]

The warmth of my mother’s hand stroking my head at that time. It comes back to me vividly now. It’s as if I had been looking for that moment.

“I wanted my….. other to stroke my head.”

As I grew up, the mother I loved changed. And gradually my heart matured early. So maybe I was looking for that feeling somewhere in my heart for someone I didn’t know at the time. It was exhausting, running around like that.

[We already know what love is. We just forgot about it, and we used to be…..]

“I guess so.”

I remember a little bit.

[And now.]

I think back again, my life after being betrayed.

I have a family now.

I got a clumsy, family-oriented sister.

I got a lonely, nerdy girl who sit next to me.

I also had a noisy class president, an athletic and popular girl, an overly bright junior, and a siscon junior.

–Somewhere inside of me, I wished I could be like them.

“It seems that there was a meaning”

“….I see.”


Finally, I think I know who I am. I thought I was a scum with no humanity, but it seems I at least had the humanity of a toddler.

[I’m glad you realized.]

And so the pitch-black space cracks a little. At the same time, the figure of the boy holding my chest gradually disappears through the dark space. I guess that the boy’s presence in front of me is no longer necessary because I have faced and overcome my own “weakness and regret”.

[One last thing.]

“What is it?”

In the collapsing world, the boy finally let go of my chest and looked me straight in the eye. Perhaps this was his last message. And the boy simply said…..

[Do your best.]

“……I’ll try.”

[Yeah !]

And so the former me, who should have been full of sorrow, disappeared into the darkness with a dazzling smile.

The rooftop was covered in gold and a beautiful sunset shone down on me when I returned to reality.


In front of me, I see a girl breathing with her hands on the ground. I didn’t realize it because I was unconscious, but it seems that when I was facing my weakness, my body naturally moved to deal with her. I guess I was able to do this because I had studied martial arts and was always looking at other people. Somehow, my body is lazy, too.

(But I feel so refreshed.)

I don’t hear anyone’s voice ringing in my head anymore. On the contrary, I know exactly what I should do….or even what I want to do. This is where I really need to start facing things.

I step toward her, take a deep unnoticeable breath, and open my mouth.


And so I speak the name of the girl who still wears the mask.

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