Chapter 32:

Just a Couple of Lame Otakus

My Childhood Best Friend is a VTuber! (OsananaV)

We talked.

We talked for what seemed like hours, although I know it couldn’t have actually been that long.

Restaurants have a closing time.

We talked about the past, about our time together as kids and about the anime we like.

Nothing but banter between friends, banter that has been belated – this is the sort of thing that you talk about the moment you catch up after so long, usually.

“Sir, Madam, I trust you have both enjoyed your meals this evening.”

Now I’m just amazed at the level of service once again – all of these pleasantries have been nice. I’ve been going through quite a lot you know, and even if it does seem like it was all towards a worthwhile goal, it has been nice to receive this treatment along the way.

That is not to say my journey is over, of course.

“It was lovely.”

Lovely? Since when did I start using diction like that?

This may be an unforeseen downside to the nobility treatment I’ve been receiving.

Koi chuckles slightly as I utter those words, so polite, yet she knows how out of place they are.

Even when she’s making fun of me, she just looks so freaking cute. Her little cheeks push out and become a nice shade of rosy red; the sight in itself is in stark contrast to her sometimes abrasive nature.

When I see her like this, it’s like she’s never been intimidating. You couldn’t have even imagined her being that way.

Maybe when I think she looks like Mayu, staring at me like a sadist, it’s because I’m projecting just that onto her – Mayu. She’s doing the impersonation and I am connecting the two.

They are quite similar.

Loveable, yet hostile.

The two girls in my life.

Okay, I can’t say that! Chika and god forbid maybe even Sakura have a place somewhere too. Maybe.

A shut-in could use some friends, I think.

The waiter sorts out our plates and the bill as we start to wrap up things at the restaurant.


“You try talking to someone all fancy like that and not say something posh; it’s harder than you’d think!”

“I’m not saying anything…”

“It’s in what you’re not saying that is saying a whole lot.”

“You can’t not say what you’re not saying, that doesn’t make sense.”

She jabs me in the side ever so slightly as she tries to test me in a logic battle. Thankfully her abilities are second to her sister, so nothing too fatal has come of them.

They don’t feel hostile at all anymore; like that jab, they are friendly.

We head through the restaurant; it’s much quieter now – the rows of tables are now left vacant and there is a warm atmosphere overlooking the place.

It’s turned into the sort of comfortable upper-class bar you’d see on television.

As we head out onto the street, I am hit with an overwhelming feeling of dread. Up until now, it was like there was a goal; we talked, we ate, we were within the confines of the restaurant and everything you do in such a place.

Now, it was all up in the air.

Do we go home separately?

Do I walk her home?

Do we go somewhere else?

“You look like you’re struggling with something.”

It would seem as if she can read me like a book - as to be expected of my childhood best friend.

“I’m wondering where we go from here.”

We stand at the entrance of the restaurant, in the exact same spot we met up in to come here.

It feels like it’s been ages since then; the time at the venue was like a fever dream.

She looks up at me with soulful eyes, they are questioning, but also mysterious. Cute but also devilish.

“Are you thinking something dirty again, Aki?”

Again? When did I ever think of something dirty in the first place?

This is not very good for my reputation, you know!

“I-I didn’t mean it in that way. I just don’t know what to do in times like this; believe it or not, I don’t go out on dates very often.”

Koi flusters at the mention of a date, something I’ve come to expect at this point in time – but it never stops melting my heart, either way.

“I definitely believe it.”

That’s rude!

“Because you’re so experienced in this area?”

This has the same energy as shut-ins online calling people who live exactly the same lifestyle as them “virgins” for no reason. Everyone’s in the same boat here, we don’t need to project so much!

She looks down at her feet and twiddles with her thumbs for a moment – that enough is to tell me I am right on the mark.

“Well then, what did we do last time?”

That’s probably a good idea; considering we have done something sort of like this before, but she’s forgetting that isn’t a great point of reference.

“Please don’t do that again! That was not a great way to end the outing in my opinion.”

Terrifying flashbacks emerge of Koi suddenly cutting our time short at the mention of her job and running away. We had a great time, much like we did tonight, so I hope stuff like that doesn’t happen again.

It would seem that Koi remembers this too, as she crouches down and covers her face.

“I’m so sorry!”

Bending over, I grab one of her hands – currently surrounding her line of sight – and pull it up, opening a pathway for her to stand.

“It’s okay; I’m curious but I’m not going to ask questions. You’ve got something you want to tell me about that, but I’m okay with waiting. We’ve been friends for a long time, I’ve put up with you for a long time – I’m not going anywhere now.”

Koi grabs onto my hand and hoists herself up; as her fingers are pried away from her face, it reveals a small tear at the base of her chin.

“I want to tell you. You have no idea how much I want to tell you.”

She holds out her pinky, waiting for me to do the same.

A childish gesture, but also the bulk of our time spent together was as kids. This is something pretty normal for our relationship, thinking back on it.

“Be patient with me.”

There is something so vulnerable about the Koi standing in front of me, something so raw – behind the childish gesture is the person I’ve known for years. It’s as if her heart is quite literally on display, bare for the world to see.

“Of course, you dummy.”

I grab her finger with mine, this is somewhere between the cutest and the lamest thing I’ve done in a long time. I don’t think any kind of gesture could be more fitting for the two of us.

Just a couple of lame otakus.