I’m Takahashi Mariko, a high school student attending Kashiki High School.
When I, who was ordinary and wasn’t anything special, became a second year student, I heard talks about the new transfer student that moved into the class next door and went with my friends to go check them out.
Just as I stealthily looked at the transfer student from the door, I heard a voice ring in my head from somewhere.
『The game has started, huh–』
A woman’s idiotic voice.
When I heard that monologue-like voice, I asked my friends if they said anything, but it seems they didn’t.
Was it my imagination? I thought, and when I turned back to the transfer student, the voice rang in my head again.
『As expected of the protagonist, so cute–! With this, the love interests won’t be able to stay quiet.』
It’s true that the transfer student is cute.
Despite looking naive, she had good features with fluffy, waist-length blonde hair swaying in the breeze that blew in from the window. That in itself looked otherworldly, like a scene from a movie.
…But I don’t get what they meant by love interests. In the first place, what’s with this voice? Am I mishearing things? Should I even say that even though I heard it so clearly?
When I thought that, I recalled the words from earlier once more, and a large amount of information streamed into my head.
Images swirled around in my head, like a flashback.
Various handsome men.
And there, the transfer student.
An image of her hugging someone with the sunset behind them.
Remembering those images only took one second. But for me, it felt like I watched those images for a very long time.
My head was attacked with a throbbing pain, and I instinctively crouched.
The people around me checked in worry, but I wouldn’t have realized this unreasonable fact if I didn’t hear that voice.
(This is My Springtime With Only You or for short, Your Spring‘s* worldddddddddd!)
Your Spring was an otome game that my previous self, or the me before having been born in this world, loved.
It was the most cliche of the cliched otome games where during the protagonist’s spring as a second-year student, her parents decided to move, and she falls in love with a handsome guy at the high school nearby.
This game was extremely popular for a while. One of the reasons for its popularity was that the protagonist gave off a delicate feeling; emotions the protagonist felt for the love interests. Expressing these fine emotions without explicitly saying the words I love you, it was the game among otome games that made you cry as well as blush along with the protagonist.
While the story and the settings were weren’t anything special, they did it so well that it made me really feel I was reliving the feelings of springtime once more. The story was packed into one year, but from the first meeting to getting together and even until the epilogue, it gave a sense of accomplishment as if you had just read and finished an epic.
And above all else, the CGs were beautiful. Of course the characters and the art assets were beautiful as well, from the background and sky illustrations to the small details on the skirts. Every time the CGs came out, I could only sigh in admiration.
It’s weird to not like such a game.
The past me was extremely obsessed with that game.
If I were asked just how much I loved it, I liked it so much that I dedicated my whole adolescence in high school to that game, and even after graduating high school, I bought all the goods, and for several years, my phone’s wallpaper was my favorite character.
That’s right, I loved it this much because I had a favorite character.
He was one of the love interests, Kurogane Taiga.
When the protagonist was a second-year student, he was advertised as a cool, lone wolf third-year delinquent, a senpai one year above her.
In the character rankings for the game, he was 3rd place out of all 7 love interests, but in my heart, he was No. 1.
I loved him the most. I loved him so much that I’m fine with offering everything. Correction, I do. I still do even now.
When he glared at me with his furrowed eyebrows, like he was always angry, I was done for with just that one look and fell in defeat as I bought the game with him as my target. I had already fallen so splendidly.
I miss my high school life where I would tell my friends with a serious look in my eyes that I want to marry a guy like Taiga…
And right now, I’m in that game world and also in the same year as the protagonist.
Which is exactly what you’re thinking. I’m able to stealthily watch my favorite chara, and if I do it right, I’ll be able to hear his voice as well!
As I resisted going crazy, I apologized to my friends for worrying them and quickly went back to my classroom.
In the game, the protagonist meets the love interests during the entrance ceremony.
Taiga’s meeting is after school, on the rooftop. It’s an extremely short meeting where the protagonist goes to the rooftop by herself and sees Taiga lying down face up, gazing at the sky. He’d snap at her, saying, Who the hell are you? and then she’d leave in haste.
But this isn’t a game.
As for the protagonist going up to the rooftop after school to meet Taiga…
–If I also go up to the rooftop after school, a once-in-a-lifetime chance of worshiping Taiga–
If I decide to do that, I might give in to temptation.
I wanted to curse myself who had wasted the past year without remembering these memories.
Now that I remembered though, I want to burn Taiga’s visage into my memory even if it’s just for one second.
After all, I won’t be able to meet him when he graduates. If so, I have to chase after Taiga as much as I can in the span of this one year in this school life of mine.
I’m not a stalker. I’ll say it one more time. I’m not a stalker.
I’m just going to stealthily pay my respects to him as much as I can every now and then.
I waited by the hour for the moment that classes end as I gave myself excuses.
The school chime that signaled the end of classes rang.
I told my friends I had stuff to do, flew out of the classroom by myself, and secretly hid under the staircase leading to the rooftop to wait for the protagonist.
And after a few minutes, I heard the sound of the protagonist going up the staircase to the rooftop.
After secretly checking, I was certain. The one going up is definitely protagonist-chan. No other person has blonde hair.
After a while, I heard a frantic, running noise from the stairs, much different from earlier.
This noise told me that the protagonist had met Taiga.
My heart pounded.
I stealthily went up the stairs, not making a sound.
(I’m just going to look at him a bit, just a tiny bit.)
I knew that he should be on the roof, but it’s not a matter of if I should go, but when.
I mean, since he’s here, I have to go right? No matter what anyone says, I’m going. Just one peek is enough. It’s just going to be a little bit, I’ll take a peek and pay my respects to him…
I turned the door knob, and when I gently opened the door without making a sound, the door suddenly opened.
At that moment, I couldn’t simply put into words what my mental state was.
I mean, it’s cause the door suddenly opened, you know? Eh, what the hell is this, is this the only automatic door in this school? I thought, but that’s impossible, right? As for why this is the only one that’s an automatic door, how is it an automatic door if it was still closed with me in front of it?
Then that means this door isn’t an automatic door, and as for who opened it, there’s only one other person here on the rooftop.
“You’re in the way.”
With my hunched bank and frozen into a pose with my hand on the doorknob, a deep, earth-shattering voice resounded from above my head. When hearing that overwhelming, king-like voice, a normal student would tremble in fear and instinctively apologize. He had such mysterious authority that you wouldn’t think he’s a high school student.
There’s only one person who that voice belongs to that I’ve heard over and over again, but it’s still unbelievable.
“Hey, didn’t you hear me?”
His voice was filled with much more anger than earlier.
This voice send a shiver down my spine. But because of that, I couldn’t move at all and was completely paralyzed.
I slowly raised my head.
I could only see his feet at first, his shirt, neck, and then when I had raised my head as high up as I could, I saw his face.
At that moment, a lot of emotions went through me even I couldn’t repress, and I went still just like that, staring at him.
But I didn’t know why my body shivered — was it from a different nervousness from earlier, or from extreme joy? And then tears naturally overflowed.
Without blinking, tears ran down my cheeks to my jaw, and because of gravity, they dripped and hit the floor, turning it wet.
The Taiga in front of me, whose face had been displeased, gradually grew shocked seeing my tears. Seeing the change in his expression this close, my eyes flooded with tears from being moved this time.
I have to apologize. I have to quickly remove myself out of the way.
Even though that’s what I was thinking deep down, what came out of my lips was something entirely different.
“I like you.”
Even I’m surprised by what I said. But they came out so naturally, like how you’d say ‘So beautiful’ when you’re looking at something beautiful, and crumble down.
I won’t take back the words I’ve already said. Nor will I take back the emotions I’ve shown.
What surfaced in my mind was my past self.
Even when talking to him, I knew that he can only say the words he’s supposed to.
I could only see him in the game and in illustrations. I only knew the him that was drawn. I only knew the expressions drawn on him. Everything else was from my imagination.
But the one in front of me right now is the real deal, all the expressions he’s showing are all him, all of them is from the actual him–
Ah, I like you. Not just cause he’s my favorite character, but I just really like him, I like him from the bottom of my heart; I love him. Game characters are 2D, so it was impossible for me to confess, but now he’s actually in front of me.
I straightened my trembling body, and looked directly at him.
I won’t think of anything else. Just that I want to tell him everything I feel.
“I have a lifelong wish. Please just hear me out without saying anything.”
Even I think I’ve said something extremely selfish just now.
Because of that, his brows scrunched up.
Even so, I can’t stop my words.
“I’ve always liked you, Taiga-san. Because you’re here, my life has changed, and my memories have become important to me. I like you, Taiga-san, I love you… So everyday was extremely fun for me.”
The memories I was talking about was from my past self.
That’s right, because he’s here– because I really love this game, everyday was fun. I was able to read various novels, saw multiple illustrations; I’ve even written my own novels, and made friends through the game.
All my things naturally began to have Taiga’s image and black color on them, surrounded by merch, and even when I’m asked why do I like him so much that I’ve surrounded by him completely, I was extremely happy, smiling. No matter how tough things got, I did my best devoting myself to him.
“Because you’re alive, I was happy everyday.”
My tears wouldn’t stop. My vision blurred, so I don’t know what kind of expression Taiga-san had on right now.
I want to see that face of his that’s so close even for just one second, but I could only vaguely see black hair, and something flesh-colored.
“Because you’re alive, I came to like this world… Thank you. Thank you for being alive.”
For so long since forever, I’ve always wanted to say that.
I’ve probably been saved by your existence multiple times.
You might think that I’m exaggerating. But his existence is extremely important to me, so it’s not an exaggeration to say that I wished he was alive.
I controlled the huge wail that I wanted to let out from crying to let those words out, so my throat hurt. Besides, if I told him the words that followed, I definitely would have cried like a little kid. I don’t want to go that far. Even though I’m somewhat already troubling him like this, I can’t trouble him even more.
The truth is I still have more things I want to tell him. More, a whole lot more– I want to tell him so much that it’ll take a long time doing so.
But this is enough. I was able to tell him that I like him. I was able to tell him thank you.
I feel so fortunate. Even if it’s an unrequited love, even after confessing my feelings.
Ah, I’m so happy. I’m so glad he’s alive. So glad he’s here.
I noticed that my heart suddenly felt light.
And as my heart felt light, I turned my back to Taiga and ran.
It’s fine even if I fall, even if I fall down the stairs. So that I don’t trouble him more than this, I frantically ran to disappear from his sights.
After that, I waited until I got home before I wailed.
I cried so much I was worried that with how much I’ve already cried, the tears would never stop, crying for the rest of my life.
Halfway through, I forgot that I was crying, and even then, the tears wouldn’t stop.
I wonder just how much time passed by the time my tears stopped.
I suddenly thought back to my actions.
A girl he doesn’t know suddenly cried, confessed out of nowhere, and once she’s said what she wanted to say, ran away.
…Doesn’t that sound like a suspicious person?
If I were in Taiga’s shoes, I’d be creeped out.
Enough to call the police. Man, even though I told him I’ve always liked him… A stalker…? Saying that I’m grateful for him being alive… It gives you the feeling of ‘Why should a woman I don’t know tell me that?’ Scary, you can only really feel fear from that…
(I’ll take a break from school for a bit.)
I rolled into bed, and with my head back to normal, I came to that decision.
*The actual Japanese translates to My Springtime With Only You (君だけの青春を) and the nickname/shortened name is Your Spring (君春).