"It's late, and I'm really tired. Also, your house is closer to this station than mine. And your parents are overseas on a business trip, so it's alright. If they happen to be at your place for whatever reason, I'll say it's for a home visit."
Sure, it's normal for teachers to get some information regarding their students, but I don't think our school lets teachers view students' addresses except on the occasion of a home visit. Ms. Kamiya definitely wasn't the type who would 'want to know, just in case', or anything like that. Also, I never mentioned anything about my parents being away on a business trip to anyone, let alone her. I wondered how she knew.
Having Ms. Kamiya at my place would be a dream come true, but I put aside my feelings for her as well as my hormones to uphold my morals.
"Ms. Kamiya, for a teacher to be out with a student outside of school is already really stretching the line of what a teacher should and shouldn't do, but I think coming over would be a little too far."
"It's not like I'll be drinking or smoking or anything. I don't do any of that anyway. Plus, I'd have to take a bus or train to my house. We could walk to yours. I really enjoyed today as well, and it would be a shame to let it end here."
Dammit! How am I supposed to say no when she says something like that? Especially when she doesn't realize how seductive she sounds! Morals? Never heard of 'em! Ethics? Who cares!
"Okay. Should we go then?"
Ms. Kamiya sat down on my living room couch once we arrived at my home. I put some tea on the stove and sat down next to her. It was more than a bit awkward, but I did my best to act confident, and seem like I knew what I was doing.
The truth was of course that I had no experience with women or bringing guests over.
"Wanna see what's on TV?"
"Not really. I don't watch television much."
It was discouraging that I had shot and missed on the first try. It really lowered the already ground level expectations I had set for myself. My next attempt would need to land perfectly, or I'd spoil the mood before a third chance arose. The air felt thick, and I felt like I was forced into this awkward situation as if it was a form of torture. I prepared a one-liner in my head, which was horrible in hindsight, and was ready to dispatch my final stand, when-
"This is too tense for me to handle. I'm just gonna say this now, because I'll regret it if I don't, and I can't take it any longer. Inotani, look at me."
I turned to look straight into her eyes.
"What is it, Ms. Kamiya?"
"I've had my eye on you for a long time. I've been watching you ever since I first saw you. I just couldn't take my eyes off of you. Every day, my desire to get closer to you grows more and more. My heart pounds whenever I'm around you. That's because..."
I blinked. I heard incredibly revolting squirming noises, followed by wet snapping sounds. It was like I missed six hours of heavy costume and makeup application in the instant that I blinked. But it wasn't fake.
What stood in front of me was a horrifying creature-like woman. Her smooth, silky fuchsia hair turned into a stringy, unkempt silver. Deep, black, hypnotically abysmal eyes seemed to pierce my skin and gaze straight into my soul. Fingernails the length of claws threatened to leave permanent scars. A predatory smile met my shocked and fearful frown. Six ligaments that somewhat resembled mantis legs protruded from her back. The last thing I wanted to do at that moment was accept that the monster in front of me was the Ms. Kamiya I knew.
Or was she a woman-like creature?
"...You look so tasty."
I wasn't even close to being ready to dance with death, yet there she was, now towering over me. Her intimidating aura overwhelmed me, and I completely lost my composure. All I could do was faintly mutter what I was asking myself in my head over and over.
Ms. Kamiya's voice became rougher until her voice was hoarse, like a half-human-half-insect creature.
"Why? Well, I'm a monster, right? Actually, I'm a kaiju, to be precise. And isn't it only natural for a monster to devour prey? Since I'm a monster, I can't miss a golden opportunity to taste such a delectable treat. But to be truthful, I've never eaten prey before. You're my first."
I fell to the floor, bewildered and at a loss of words. Nothing I could say could get me out of this anyway.
"But it's not like I'd eat just anyone. I only want to eat special dishes, and I want my first meal to be extra special. That's exactly why I'm going to eat you- because you're special."
I didn't feel very special. If she told me I was special under normal circumstances, I would've been overjoyed, but at the time I wished I wasn't. Perhaps, if I wasn't, it wouldn't be me who gets eaten. I wasn't at all prepared for death's embrace, but I could find a tiny bit of acceptance for my fate if getting devoured meant that one less person would die by Ms. Kamiya's hands. Still, though, I was fearful and desperate, but I also wanted to get out of this situation. I wasn't finished planning an 'escape route'. I knew it was all pointless, but panic mode had long since activated and I was acting on fight or flight response. Again, I just poured out everything that was on my mind.
"Why? Why me? Why does it have to be me? Why does it have to be you? My life amounts to nothing without you. There's no point in going on if I don't have you with me. I live for the times when I can be around you. I love you so much, but I'm going to be killed by you, the one dearest to me- my one and only love, my reason to live? I..."
I wholeheartedly thought that nothing I could do or say would faze her or save me, or delay the inevitable by even a bit. It turned out that despite adopting the appearance, behavior, and mannerisms of an otherworldly monster, something I said got through to her. Ms. Kamiya flinched backward a tiny bit. I assumed it meant that she was surprised by my words.
"It's okay, Inotani. I'll make it quick and painless." She blurted in an ironically cheerful voice.
"Thanks for the meal."
Ms. Kamiya swiftly leaned in toward me, prepared to take me all in with one bite.
It was the end of Inotani Takuya. The story ends here. That's how things were heading. But something inside me felt very unusual. Resonating in my heart was an intense, burning discomfort, unlike anything I'd ever felt. It was incredibly painful. All the physical, emotional, and mental pain I'd felt throughout my entire life didn't amount to even half of this discomfort. I still haven't figured out exactly what I was feeling then, because that feeling was an amalgamation of many different emotions and pains. Though it's not entirely accurate, I still boil it down to one feeling. The one feeling that was most intense then, and that I remember the most even now- Dissatisfaction.
This isn't right.
This isn't how it's supposed to be.
I'm not supposed to die here.
This isn't all there is.
It can't be.
Ms. Kamiya's face was inches away from mine. I screamed, loudly.
"I won't accept it!"
Something resided within my words. Not the words themselves, but something in them that even I could feel the presence of, halted Ms. Kamiya for a moment. I'd created myself a short opening for me to do something. I cast aside my fear, sadness, and pain, and steeled myself to do the only thing left I had thought of. Despite her intentions, Ms. Kamiya exposed her true nature to me, because she didn't think she'd get another chance to. It was my turn to do the same.
『Should this fail, at least I'll have no regrets.』
In the split second I had stunned Ms. Kamiya, I reached out with both arms and placed my hands on her cheeks. I pulled her closer to me and gave the kaiju woman a deep kiss. Her eyes sprung wide open in shock and remained that way when I retracted my lips. Her jaw dropped in surprise.
"Ms. Kamiya, I love you. Please go out with me."
"I'm in love with you. Please be my girlfriend."
Even though she's a monster, and even after all of that, I couldn't abandon what my heart has been telling me since long ago. I shot my shot, but I didn't have high hopes. I was expecting her to fly into a fit of rage and chomp off my head with ungodly speed, but I was happy to discover several seconds later that I hadn't been eaten yet.
"...You mean it?"
Ms. Kamiya, somehow, even though she was a monster which most people would find revolting, blushed and made a face so cute, my heart couldn't help exploding. I stand firm to this day in my belief that she is the only woman who can do it.
"I mean it. I've loved you for the longest time. I've always held off on showing it because I always knew I never had a chance. Sorry for suddenly kissing you. I wanted you to at least know how I feel about you, so I could die with no regrets."
"I'm so sorry if I upset you. If you're going to eat me, please do it quickly."
"I'll be your girlfriend, Inotani!"
『Wow Takuya, you're on a roll, aren't you?』
I had a chance all this time? What a shocker! I guess my anxiety and heartache were for nothing! But how the hell did she switch gears so fast? The killing intent that was occupying the room dissipated. Who cares! The girl I love agreed to be my girlfriend!
...What now? This is usually where the 'Happily ever after' cliché leaves off. But if it were to end here, then this would be high up in the ranks of the worst stories ever told. Luckily, there's more.
"Are you really okay with someone as old as me? And I'm your teacher, so it would have to be a secret, and it might make things a bit difficult."
"You're not old, you're still in the prime of your youth. Even if you are my teacher, it doesn't matter, because you're still the person I love."
"Then yes, really!"
"Does that mean you're not going to eat me?"
"Of course I won't! I can't eat my boyfriend."
"So, are you going to eat other people then?"
"Probably not. As I said, I only want to eat people that are special. You're the only one, and I can't eat you."
"...Why'd you go from 'I'm gonna eat you' to 'I'm gonna date you' so fast?" I asked.
"Well, I've always loved you before I wanted to eat you."
What happened that caused her desire to consume me to overcome her love for me?
"I guess I should explain my situation to you", she said.
I immediately piqued her interest on my first day in her class. Her interest swiftly turned into a crush, then became love. As time went by, that love only grew. But she despaired because she thought she never had a chance with me, and I was out of her league (lol, please), and society would never accept a relationship between a student and teacher. She was further hurt because she thought she wouldn't be able to be with me after I graduate since I would surely find a girlfriend before then. She then said something about how she realized she just needed to move past her obstacles, and how she decided she would kill anyone who gets in the way of her love, but I kinda spaced out on that part since I was really happy she agreed to date me, and that's all I could think about. Ms. Kamiya had explained that she essentially went through the same feelings of unrequited love that I did. But.
Six months ago, Kamiya Yuriko, age twenty-four, died. She had been on a train car in a fatal crash that left no survivors. There were blood and bodies littered around the scene, and the train car itself had somehow been split into thirds. It was so bad, the accident took the record for the most brutal train crash of all time.
The day after, I read about the incident on my phone as I was sitting in my desk, waiting for the first morning bell to ring. I worried about her since the train had left from the station closest to the school. However, I was relieved of my worries and I figured she wasn't involved in the incident because she came to class on time.
"When a person dies, there's a small chance they become a kaiju. That just so happened to me. Apparently, most people who it happens to go crazy and try to kill themselves because of what they've become, but then accept their new reality. I bet you didn't see any of that coming, did you? Haha."
I didn't see almost getting consumed whole, either.
"Anyway, eventually I found out that kaiju survive by feeding off humans, though we can live off normal food too. It's just that, supposedly, people taste much better than food to a kaiju. Of course, I never wanted to eat someone, and I don't plan to unless they're really special. But you're too special, so I never wanted to eat you."
Fucking excuse me? I do love her with all my heart, but I was eager to give her a piece of my mind after hearing that. It'd probably feel good if I was the one giving the lecture this time. A nice, satisfying role reversal.
Please have a seat, Ms. Kamiya. Class is about to begin. Be sure to take notes, because what I'm about to say is very important.
"THEN WHY DID YOU TRY TO EAT ME?"
"Uh, about that... I had accepted that I became a monster, but then I thought that you really could never love me now that I'm like this, so I concluded that the best way for us to be together forever was for me to eat you. I really didn't think the logic through. I'm so, so, so, sorry. I could've just restained you and taken you back to my place instead. But I'm really glad that what I thought turned out to be not true, and you really do love me, even like this. So we really can be together forever and ever."
"And you never thought that there was a small chance that I shared your feelings? I suffered for the longest time too, crying, despairing, losing all motivation for everything because I thought you would never love me as I love you, and you would never even just like me back. And yet, I still kept going, with the faint hope that maybe you felt the same way about me. I don't know anything about dying or becoming a monster, but I do know this. If I became a kaiju that eats people, it wouldn't stop me from loving you or hoping that you might reciprocate my love. Those feelings are too precious to me, and there's no way in hell I'd let go of them just because I lost my humanity. Also, I wouldn't try to eat you so we could be together forever, because I love you too much to even think of something like that."
"I'm truly sorry. I've never been more disappointed in myself. That was stupid of me to think."
"It's fine. I forgive you. We're together now anyway, so we got what we both wanted."
"Yep. Please take good care of me... Takuya." Ms. Kamiya said with a wide smile and tears in her eyes.
"Of course. And please take good care of me, Yuriko."
"Obviously. But it's Ms. Kamiya at school, okay?", she said playfully.
"You really surprised me though. When you said 'I won't accept it!' all heroically, I really felt it, in a literal sense. Your words delivered an actual shock to my body, and it was kinda painful. But also, it felt like you sent a burning, freezing, and windy sensation all at the same time. It's odd that you'd be able to hurt me like that, let alone lay a scratch on me. There's not much a person can do to harm a kaiju unless they're-"
She suddenly stopped mid-sentence, with a stupefied expression.
"What is it?" I asked.
"There's no way."
--- Several minutes ago ---
"There's no doubt about it. I don't know what caused it, but both sides have begun to flow."
A black-suited man sits in his chair, his feet propped on his desk, his phone up to his ear.
"So my investment has begun to bear fruit, hmm?"
Countries apart from the man, a white-suited woman stands in her office, her left hand on her hip, her right hand holding a phone to her ear.
"So it would seem. I'd know best, I'm his father."
"That you would. I'm sure he'll be very useful."
"What're you planning?"
"I've certainly got plans, and I could make him help me, but I'm quite confident he'll clean up for me on his own."
"Who's more evil between the two of us? Me, who's simply using all the tools at my disposal to remove the trash that's infested my school? Or you, the caster who started a family with a kaiju?"
"Well, who's the one who has doubts about their actions and decisions? It's certainly not me."
"Haha, we'll leave it an open question then. I'm more interested in which side will be dominant over the other. He's the first half-and-half, so who really knows?"
"While it's unfortunate that I'll probably lose that bet with his mother, It's now looking like the kaiju blood will be dominant. I didn't expect that to be the case yesterday, though."
"No one could say, really. There's never been a person whose heart is half kaiju and half caster, let alone human before."
"I trust my son is getting a good education?"
"About that. It's given to him, but it's up to him whether he takes it or not..."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Uh, nothing. He's totally doing fine, yep."
"Well, I hope your academy will keep taking care of him."
"Of course. And I hope your company will keep funding us?"
"Of course... But I know how you are. Don't rope him into anything dangerous."
The man and woman simultaneously hang up.