Chapter 4:

Crude Awakening


The whole ordeal took about an hour, with Romeo spending another hour after that tending to his own wounds. They were not very serious, as he managed to make himself presentable again in the school's bathroom in secret.

Romeo rushes back inside the school building, drenched head to toe by the rain, but at least no blood is present on his clothes or body. His bat is back in its hiding place.

With so little time to spare after that bloody battle, he has no chance to hide the gigantic bruise on his face either, but he couldn't worry about that now. It is almost time for his meeting with Yuri!

He rushes by plenty of students that are leaving the building to go home. He nearly slides on his wet shoes on his way to the stairs, and climbs upward until he finally reaches the roof, his destination.

Yuri... Yuri...!!

Her image of that day under the pink sunset is still vividly etched into his memories.

As he stands in front of the rooftop’s door, he reaches for the doorknob, but his hand hovers hesitantly over it. He takes a moment to catch his breath, wondering one last time if this is a good idea after all.

Well. There’s no going back now, is there?

He steels himself with courage, and finally turns the doorknob to open the door.



Nothing but the sound of the rain. No person in sight. No Yuri.

Haha. Of course, she didn't come. Yeah. I should have expected this, huh.

Romeo convinces himself in his head, disappointed and a little heartbroken.

He decided to leave behind the only life he's ever known for the chance at a normal one, where he gets to talk to someone gentle and nice. Someone who he could probably open up to and get to know on a personal level. But that... is not going to happen, huh. Not to someone like him.

He steps down the stairs back to the first floor, his movements sad and devoid of energy, his head as empty as his heart.

When he reaches the locker area, a familiar voice of quiet sobbing catches his attention.

…? Could it be?

He approaches the source of the sound with brisk steps, and standing in front of her locker, there she was... Yuri.


Romeo calls to her with surprise, his one-track mind almost completely missing Nana, Yuri's best friend. She is currently holding Yuri against her big chest, petting her hair as if consoling her. Romeo steps closer with a concerned look.

"What... happened?"

Nana is giving Romeo a cold look.

"Who are you?"

This makes Yuri lift her crying face and turn to look at Romeo, their eyes locking for the second time ever. Romeo can feel his heart beating out of his chest again, just like that day.

Yuri gasps softly, as if she realizes something, and she tries to pull away from Nana, who instead keeps Yuri firmly in place. Yuri doesn't seem to mind. She averts her eyes.

"Romeo... I... got your letter..."


"Oh... yeah?"

Wait, she couldn't possibly be crying because of that, could she!? I didn't even tell her what it was about!!

"Sorry...," she continues quietly, trying to stop her voice from cracking. "I wanted to go... I've been meaning to see you again since that day..."

Ba-dump, ba-dump!!

"But I just got the horrible news that my brother was rushed to the hospital a moment ago..."


Well, that's... something. The immature part of Romeo is relieved she isn't crying because of him, but on the other hand...

"He lives with Yuri's mom on the opposite side of town, but, somehow, he was found unconscious behind our school," Nana interrupts.

Romeo immediately gets a bone-chilling shiver coursing down his spine.


He repeats, as if in a trance.

Yuri nods. "He was attacked by some of those horrible delinquents, too..."

"Too!?" Nana echoes. This is the first she hears about this, holding Yuri by the shoulders to look at her. Yet, Yuri is too busy wiping her tears away to notice Nana's look of scrutiny.

Romeo gulps.

"Y-Yuri. Your brother... Does he go to the school on the opposite side of town, too?"

"Eh? Yes... Yes, he does..."

Ohh no. There's no way. There's just no way, right?



"Uh...Yuri... Could you tell me... your brother's name...?"



"His name is Endo. Why?"

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