Chapter 31:

Guilty Video Game War Criminal

My Childhood Best Friend is a VTuber! (OsananaV)


Guilt.

That is all I see in Koiyomi Aizawa’s eyes at this moment.

The soft, teary state of shame.

She starts her sentence multiple times but fails to find the right words to speak her mind.

Despite having tried to keep the question as a joke, it seemed like she really did have another sin to confess.

Something to tell me.

Something that has been weighing on her mind.

Such things are not much of a surprise to me right now. Koi has been relatively tight-lipped about herself since our reunion, and she only just dropped the bomb that she had orchestrated that just a moment ago.

The truth is she wanted to see me, even after all these years.

What is with these girls and their dramatic reveals?

Her head hangs low as she squirms in her seat; whatever it is must be embarrassing for her to share.

There is the chance I know what the topic is; the only secret left unturned for me seems to be why she left so abruptly the last time I saw her and went radio-silent for so long.

It’s not something I felt the need to question before – she’s here with me now.

Our eyes lock as she lifts her head; a fierce determination in her eyes – she has steeled her resolve.

“Sorry, this is hard; when I came out to see you today, I didn’t think that we’d be going into all of this.”

Wait, what was that?

A slip of the tongue, perhaps?

“To be honest, neither of us was expecting this – we both thought we were seeing the little gyaru brat tonight.”

There is it again, that same look of immense guilt.

She looks away from me for a moment, unlocking our eyes and opening a passageway somewhere else.

Somewhere to escape.

“Well, about that…”

There is no end to her sentence as it just trails off into the distance.

No way!

She knew about that too?

Everything down to the clothes she’s wearing, those clothes that accentuate her features, become so much more apparent to me – as if they glow like items in a video game.

Like treasure.

Those things I had assumed she wouldn’t have done for me had she known that I would be her partner for the night and not her younger sister.

Those are things she did because she was seeing me; she came here to see me, for a date.

“You’re the one that’s red in the cheeks now.”

At Koi’s comment, I cover my face slightly with my hand before lowering it; I’m okay with her seeing me like this. For some reason, it’s all okay.

This whole time there has been some invisible wall between the two of us; some strange gap in communication.

But it’s all coming down now.

We’ve been trying desperately to climb the wall, to see each other, to get these meetings in place without ever really communicating properly. It seems that I’m not the only one who has been struggling here.

“All of this and apparently I’m the one who is desperate?”

I try to cut through the atmosphere like a knife on soft butter; it’s hard for me to maintain this level of intensity. We’re friends after all.

Koi smiles.

“You are. It just seems you’re not entirely alone in that either.”

Despite the contents of that sentence being irrevocably sad, there is something about the way she says it that is just so cool.

Like a proper shojo protagonist.

“That’s good to know; it was getting lonely out here.”

It feels nice to know that my wanting to be closer to Koi is reciprocated.

Unreciprocated attention is just… stalking.

“Don’t think I’m going to save you from your loneliness.”

Ouch!

Just like the walls between us that came crumbling down, my self-esteem just shattered into tiny pieces.

Before I can even interject, Koi instantly speaks up again.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that, I take it back.”

“Take it back? But you already said it! This isn’t like loaning out a manga to a friend.”

Koi looks flustered as she scrambles for a response. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen her at a loss for words in our back and forths.

“Load save file. Load save file.”

This isn’t a video game either!

“Your data’s corrupt, you’re going to have to tell me what the problem is.”

“I spilled water on your console.”

“Why my console? This turned from insults to destruction of property!”

“I removed the hard drive without safely ejecting?”

Why is she phrasing that like a question?!

“Now that’s just bad etiquette.”

Talking this way is hurting my soul, can we go back to normal conversation, please? I’m going to run out of gaming metaphors soon!

After every wall I break down, I seem to run into another. Give me another clean break and I’ll be a titan.

That joke I can speak no further on due to copyright issues.

Almost as if hearing my thoughts, or maybe just reading the room - Koi stops squirming and exhales deeply.

“That was a shitty thing for me to say.”

Oh my god, am I getting an apology? You’re catching me off guard here, I don’t really know what to say. This is all so sudden. So out of character.

“It is. You really shouldn’t touch people's devices without asking.”

By the look on Koi’s face, my joke, while she is trying to maintain a level of sincerity, is unwanted.

“I’m talking about the loneliness comment you jackass! You’re making it really hard to be nice to you.”

“Because being nice to me is what has been on the forefront of your mind this whole time…”

That doesn’t seem to have been the case up until now!

“Well, it hasn’t not been on my mind – I don’t want you to get sick of me. For some reason, I actually enjoy your company and would like to see more of it.”

For some reason? Don’t act like it’s some miracle from god that you happen to enjoy being around me. It’s true, I don’t know many others that do, but I’d like to think it’s a practical possibility.

Maybe.

“I couldn’t get sick of you.”

The girl opposite me relaxes slightly and smiles – even if she is looking away in the process, unable to meet my eye. It’s cute, for once this is the sort of gesture you really do only see in anime.

“I’ve been taking cold and flu medicine every day so I don’t catch whatever you have.”

But there I go and ruin it.

Koi grabs a napkin lying on the table and scrunches it up, beginning to throw it at me.

“Cease fire! Cease fire!”

My pleas reach an angry Koi, some might even say war general Koi, but I would lean towards war criminal Koi.

“Tell me one reason I should.”

They say that when you fear for your life, those are the moments where you truly realise what you hold most dear in life. You think about all the little things that you could’ve done, that you could’ve said.

Everything suddenly becomes clear.

I’m not sure if friendly fire between two childhood best friends is exactly what those people were referring to, but I’d say anyone who opposed such notions haven’t met Koi.

Unfortunately for me, or maybe fortunately, I have met her.

It is at this moment that I understand.

“For some god-forsaken, absolutely wild reason, I seem to enjoy your company too. You seem to be embarrassed about the fact you set this all up or you knew you’d be seeing me, but I can’t be anything but glad. Even if your motives are unknown at this time.”

She says nothing, her guard lowers as her hand drops to the table.

“Good answer.”

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