Chapter 5:

Those Who Declined

Where The Sky Meets The Land

I've been straightening the book for him. It kept falling due to unsteadiness, yet I haven't given up. It was the least I could do as his neighbour at class though it was truly wrong. I understood that it was unpredictably uncontrollable, hence I must not reveal him to the teacher. I doubted anyone beside me was aware of his health condition, thus I chose to back him up all by myself.

Nevertheless, several of our classmates have noticed his deed - Our deed, to be exact. Some of them glared in dissatisfaction, while a few just turned to deaf ear and focused on the lesson. I realized I was doing a wrong thing, but I didn't want to expose him.

We've previously agreed to be friends but with one condition - Treat each other just casually. I refused to be served expensive food or attire. I just preferred being friends, and that was it. He said that he had less experience in befriending people compared to me, hence he decided to learn from me.

But this was an exception.

"E- Hem!" The teacher in front of our class interrupted us.

Almost the entire class kept on glancing at us. If it was me alone, I would just brush it off. It was what I always did whenever I felt I've become an attention. But not for Sora. He disliked concentrated recognition by our classmates, especially the girls. He was fully aware that those girls were into him, therefore he tried not to nicely accept them in his range.

"What are you guys doing, hmm?" The teacher knocked her chalk against the blackboard. "Have you known what x added to y mean?"

The class shifted back affront, attempting on neglecting the proof of Sora's truancy to her lesson. However, there were a few of them around us chirped in dissatisfaction. For sure they would – Sora was sleeping in the class but the teacher did nothing regarding it.

It would be different if any of us slept. Normally, student would be punished by standing at the corridor. I was perplexed over the different treatment the teacher implied on us and Sora.

Then, I had the idea. Maybe she was well informed about Sora's narcolepsy, hence she was just being considerate. Well, it couldn't be helped. Sora's timing was always inappropriate. He was just fine minutes ago, nodding in understanding while the teacher taught Mathematics. Out of the blue, I heard a slam. He has knocked his head to the table, fallen asleep without a warning.

It has been a month since the day Sora arrived at this school. At first, everyone wanted to befriend him. I would understand if the girls always accosted him wherever he went, but I couldn't get it why the boys tended to get close to him too.

However, I noticed the treatment changed ever since our classmates realized one thing – None of the teachers scolded Sora for sleeping during class. This day was one of the example. Lesser girls and boys approached him. Nevertheless, one thing I liked about Sora was that he didn't even care.

I breathed in relax. The teacher saw us – Sora nodding off comfortably while me trying hard to cover him. Still, she continued her lesson without mentioning anything about her observation. I didn't mean to ignore her, I was still paying attention to her class. It was just that my focus was split into two.

The Mathematics class has ended. It was recess time – the most awaited time for everyone. I was hungry, and I knew Sora too. I should wake him up so that I wouldn't leave him to eat, and he wouldn't starve either.


A high pitched voice. It was a girl. If I wasn't mistaken, she was one of our girl classmates (I could barely memorize their faces. They all looked the same to me) named Mio. Mio was said as one of the cutest girls in the school. Having her accosting me like this must enrage her fans, so I wanted to ignore her.

"Hey, Riku!"

Her raised tone told me that there was something bothering her. I shifted my view from Sora to her, showing the least interest in her topic by drooping my eyes. She hissed in irritation.

"Can you not help Sora after this? Everyone is mad at you!" She complained.

She sounded cute but annoying. That kind of personality didn't suit her face at all. It felt like I was confronting a villain, or maybe a witch. If only Sora was awake, I would secretly mock her and he would support my deed.

"What's with me?" Holding in the urge to laugh, I tried acting cool and untouchable.

The Mio girl crossed her arms in displeasure. "That!" She snobbishly pointed at the sleeping Sora. "He's transparently sleeping through the whole class, and he didn't get scolded because you covered him!"

I rolled my eyes, purposely portraying my annoyance. Not enough with pointlessly flaunting her rage on me, she even accused me things I didn't do. Well, I did back Sora up, but it wasn't because he intentionally slept. Her incrimination was futile, I must say.

If only I didn't promise Sora about his syndrome, I would gladly spurt it out right at her face.

"Why are you getting mad at me over petty matter? It doesn't bother me at all," I didn't even peep at her. I tapped on Sora's shoulder to wake him up.

"It doesn't bother you, but it does bother us!" Mio really raised her tone as loud as she could. It must be to oppose me. "Don't you notice how everyone hate you and Sora?"

"I do. Then what should I do?"

The Mio girl gritted her teeth in resentment. "Please be fair and report to the teacher each time Sora falls asleep! It's the easiest thing you can do for all of us!"

No way! Yet I didn't blurt it out. We saw Sora fidgeting from his sleep. Probably he would wake up in no time, thus I should not let Mio stay. She was hurting Sora indirectly verbally. I guessed she purposely said it out loud so that Sora could hear her despite being in slumber or drowsiness.

Our classmates just didn't understand Sora's situation. They didn't know what narcolepsy was. All they did was mocking without learning. If only I didn't make promise with Sora, I would make a special announcement, telling everyone about Sora's condition so that they too would be tolerable like our Math teacher.

"The teacher has already seen him, even if I was to back him up. Her position was much higher than all of us, so she had better view than us over there," I directed my thumb towards the front part of our class where there was a platform on the floor. "If the teachers didn't say anything about Sora, why are you messing your mind about it?"

"I hate the fact that all teachers turn to blind eye every single time!" The Mio girl bellowed until a few pairs of eyes shifted towards us. She was indeed irritated over the matter that the teachers never scolded Sora or I for such fault. "It's a discrimination between us and you guys! What's so special about you that the teachers always let you go? Especially you, Riku!"

I flinched at her rootless accusation. "What's with me?"

"I could understand if the teachers prioritize Sora because he comes from a very rich family," The Mio girl was cute, but her smirking tarnished her image too much, "But I don't get it why they let you slip. You have nothing to give, and nothing to lose either."

Should I throw tantrum like this Mio girl too? She basically taunted me for being less rich. Honestly I didn't mind about being poorer than Sora. Plus, I was living just comfortably without having any difficulty, thanks to my father's concern.

Nevertheless, I could somehow perceive milliseconds faster than the current timing on how this topic would lead too. And what I've predicted really occurred.

"You're befriending Sora because he's rich, right? So that you can bully him, take his money, conquer everything about him! You aren't the type to get close to people too! Everyone could say that you're like a parasite, attaching yourself to him so that you'll get all the benefits for yourself!"

I heavily let a sigh. This Mio girl really got on my nerve, but it has been a while since the last time I was blamed like this. I've already forgotten how I enraged at people, therefore I couldn't lash my fury at her. She was a girl, my classmate, who was supposed to not say such thing about me. She knew me way earlier than Sora. How could she do that to me?

"All right girl. You really piss me off," I cracked my fingers, still holding in the ferocious side of me. I didn't want other people to see me getting furious, but this Mio girl has crossed the line. "For your information, I've never had such ill intention in befriending Sora. If I was that nasty, I should have gotten close to you instead. You're rich yourself, aren't you?"

The Mio girl was petrified at my response. I was saying the truth though. Besides being one of the cutest in school, she was also a daughter of a rich family even though I didn't know how big her mansion was. I've only visited Sora's, and I didn't intend to visit again even if it wasn't his.

"One thing I want to make you clear," My widened eyes predictably shivered her, "You guys have nothing to do with us, or the teachers. You can't blame me if the teachers never scold Sora for what happened. It's their choice, and I or Sora can't control that. Do you get it? Or should I make it clearer?"

My patience has almost reached the limit. I tried my best in refraining myself, but it if was my male classmate, I might've already landed a punch or two. I didn't want anyone to talk bad about Sora because he was innocent in this case. I repeatedly reminded myself – These people didn't know about Sora.

Apparently, I began to hate myself for not being able to protect Sora. I didn't want him to be the source of attention for the matter which actually could be solved just by revealing what he has been enduring. I loathed my ineffectiveness in avoiding miser.

"Actually, I'm sick."

Both of us never realized since when Sora has fully awoken from his sleep. I gaped in panic, while the Mio girl shuddered much vigorous than before. Sora was looking at both of us, but he stared into my eyes earnestly.

No. That expression! The expression I never wanted to see on Sora's clean and clear face. The sorrowful emotion it brought tormented my heart. The kind of countenance Sora wore whenever he had something on his mind. Something unresolved. Something unutterable.


"I'm sick. The medication causes me sleepiness. So that's why."

I doubted Sora would tell her the truth. I've never seen Sora eating any medicine to handle his sleeping disorder. I analysed Sora's serious face, attempting on figuring out whether he would mention anything about narcolepsy or not.

The Mio girl rolled her eyes, turning around and leaving us in stomps. I watched her chattering with her small group of girlfriends, definitely beginning to gossip about Sora or me. A long sigh escaped from me, then I shifted to Sora who was throwing his view out of the window.


"I'm not cool, huh?"

My face couldn't control the curiosity I sensed by Sora's soft murmur. I drew myself closer to him, gaining a much clearer quality of sound. He was confessing his heart out, therefore I must listen to him. He might get hurt by that Mio girl.

"I should wake up earlier, shouldn't I? By that, that girl wouldn't jeer at you."

The guilt in me disappointed me so much, but I couldn't find out how much Sora's regret has built up. This gentle side of Sora was one of his good points, yet I didn't want him to feel bad over small matter like that Mio girl has brought up. It wasn't anyone's fault. It would be much better if they just ignored us.

"Please don't say it like that, Sora. You're not wrong." Mind block came at the worst time. I failed to construct the best encouraging words, hence I chose to hinder him from self-blaming instead. "I never thought you would butt in just to say that. You were way cooler than me today."

"Was I?" His mood switched real fast. His beaming smile lit the gloomy face he wore just now. "Then, what's the coolest thing about me, Riku?"

Along with his question, I breathed in relief. I was contented to see his delight. "Everything about you is charming, Sora."