A short, angsty piece. Takes place after the Carnival, in the Student Council Room, sometime shortly after episode 26. Shizuru first-person POV, one-shot, complete.
The student council room was always our hideaway, wasn't it? A smuggled lead, usually, or sometimes you just wanted a place where people would leave you alone. People didn't come here often, at least not after meetings. Of course you could have always gone home, to the peace and quiet of your small penthouse apartment. But that never offered you the understated companionship that this single classroom did.
I open the final drawer with a soft click. All that remains are some pens, and a battery-powered calculator. There wasn't anything to say, so it went unsaid; I take them out and place them into my laptop bag silently. The flap clinks slightly as I flip it over. Not until I have it secured, do I look over to your direction.
You've taken my old post. The window, it's such a lonely place. It seemed perfect to me at the time - that time, so close to the end, just before you knew who I really was, when I indulged by running my fingers lightly through your hair; entirely appropriate for someone able to only brush lightly against something they cared for so completely.
You saw me there, and never noticed. For all your cunning, you aren't the best with common sense. That's all right. It wouldn't matter in the end; it doesn't matter right now.
"Natsuki," I lilt out, picking up my laptop case from its position on the desk. I know very well that you can hear me.
With a sleeve covering half the palm, you raise your hand to touch the window lightly. Your face is so suddenly resolute. "Shizuru."
I smile. I always smile when you say my name, even if it is only internally. But suddenly, I dread what you're about to say. Still, keep the smile - "You'll have to write to me to tell me how well Kikukawa-san does as the new student council president, Natsuki."
Your hand closes reflexively. It takes you a moment to swallow the lump in your throat, and then you say, "It won't be the same." I wish I could say that I was only imagining the shaking in your voice.
Carefully, I consider my own response. "It won't be any different, either Natsuki."
Shoulders slump ever-so-slightly, and you seem lost in your own world. Smiling, again, I turn and begin walking towards the doorway. "Thank you, Natsuki." I can only trust myself to say without looking back.
A stiff, sudden breeze stops me. Staring at the floor, I hadn't notice your sudden motion. In front of me now, those sneakers of yours shift tensely. My eyes dart straight up to your face, not trusting themselves. A deep breath later, "Why would you thank me? I-" your beautiful green eyes scan the floor briefly before returning to my face, "I've caused you nothing, but... trouble."
More smiles. You hesitated on that last word. We both know you had intended to say
"Because, Natsuki, you mean everything to me," comes the soft whisper as I lean in to your ear; my nose tickles at the sensation of your hair brushing up against my nose. "Absolutely."
The choke was expected, but its suddenness not quite as much. I shy my face to one direction as you pull backwards slightly. You don't want to run, but the fear is still there.
One last, this time I tell myself it has to be, smile and here it was; my moment had arrived. I gather up the bag into my arms, and place it solidly into your own. "So that Natsuki can write to me, if she ever feels the need to do so."
Bowing slightly, I take my leave. Sliding the door closed proved harder than opening it, which is a feat of its own. My hand refuses to detach itself from the handle; the sudden weakness is too much.
There is a sudden small thump against the door. I start, but somehow I know that it is you. That you are standing right here, on the other side of this door, face burning with indecision, embarrassment; I can feel it creeping through and press my own forehead against the door where yours should be.
You fear my conviction towards you.
Slowly, I pick through the pocket of my uniform, removing myself from the post I'd made for myself. A pair of frayed airline tickets, bought only yesterday, stare back at me. On a whim, I walk towards the nearby trashcan. One of them falls quietly into the nest of trash. The other I grip with a force that could only come from the beyond.
Don't worry, Natsuki. I do, too.