Chapter 40:

My Childhood Best Friend is a VTuber!

My Childhood Best Friend is a VTuber! (OsananaV)

Patiently waiting at the same cafe that Koi and I had visited on our first proper outing together as adults - tapping my foot furiously against the floor.

Okay, maybe not that patiently!

The beautifully modern cafe looks the same as it did on that day.

In spite of that, there’s something different…

As much as my eyes gaze around, there isn’t a single thing in sight that presumes a transformation.

White angular tables that pair nicely with matching stools flood the area in an organised fashion. It’s clean and picturesque, but there’s a homely air about it.

Why am I going through all these descriptions again? It’s the exact same place!

Their staff has kept it exactly the way it was, and I’m presuming the same way it always is.

Is it me that’s changed?

The rhythm of my heart is off and out of sync with my incessant foot tapping.

It almost feels strange for me to be waiting like this, it seems as if in almost every encounter I’ve had recently, I’ve been the last to arrive - this time I’m the first.

After getting off the phone with Koi and receiving her text message, I didn’t make a single stop on my way here.

Mayu ended her stream almost instantly, after making sure that her fans weren’t left with a residual feeling of abandonment.

Her fans.

What an uncomfortable thought.

Am I so far removed from the fandom that I’d describe it as other than myself? Akira, the person who would have sworn they were the most infatuated of them all.

That hasn’t changed.

Like this cafe, my love for Mayu hasn’t changed. It hasn’t diminished.

She just isn’t the only person in my life now.


The jury is still out on that one to be fair! Don’t pull me up on the irony that despite the fact I’ve gained someone I truly care about, it would seem the number of people I feel that level of affection towards hasn’t changed.

Koi and Mayu.

One and the same.

My foot comes to a halt, stopping the endless tapping - ushering in a new period of self-reflection.

In the end, it all makes sense in the most complicated of ways.

Sakura told me that Koi had trouble finding herself after she heard the news about her adoption and it was someone, Mayu, that had helped her discover who she really was - her identity.

This is really all just conjecture at this point, but if this whole thing has been a jigsaw puzzle, it’s like I’ve gotten the final piece at last.

It’s just that upon receiving the final piece, I noticed that it’s not the puzzle that was shown on the box.

Something much more precious is hidden behind the conjoining of these parts…

All in all, it’s kind of funny really.

Koi is the one who helped me get over my lack of Koi and eventually the one who took me away from Koi is well - I don’t need to say the whole thing, it sounds kind of lame when I put it like that.

Summoned by the repetition of her name three times in a row, a friendly and very much welcome face enters the cafe.

She’s so freaking cute.

Her pink highlights, something that I had originally imagined she’d copied from Mayu, bear a whole new meaning for me now.

“You’re staring really weirdly at me, it’s kind of off putting.”

Koi’s jab takes me by surprise and once again, dissolves the colourful world around me and brings reality back into play.

“That one hurt, I’m not even going to pretend that it didn’t…”

I comically latch onto my heart and act as if she had pierced a dagger straight through it.

She stares at me awkwardly for a moment, taking in the whole scene and for that second I feel more judged than I have in a long time.

Taking one step toward me, she reaches over to my chest and pulls out the metaphorical knife.

Our bodies are but inches away and I can feel her breath reverberating through the fabric of my shirt.

Eyes locked, we stare at each other for long enough to become…

Really uncomfortable!

“That was a weird thing to do, wasn’t it?”

Looking away from Koi as she seeks some sort of comfort from her heroic knife pulling, I try to respond as honestly as I possibly can.

“I mean… No worse than me, right?”

As I let out my last words, I turn back to Koi, only to find her eyes are also placed off into the distance.

“Taking the knife out of a wound usually leads to more blood loss and the victim typically dies faster.”

“That’s the angle you’re going with this!?!?”

My foot goes back a step as I gently pat my chest down, rubbing a phantom wound that won’t seem to go away.

That was a real stab to the heart if there ever was one!

Koi notices my slight retreat.

“Where did all that confidence from the phone go earlier?”

It is with those words that I’m reminded of why we are here in the first place. Yet again I am hit with a compendium of things I need to say. My mouth can’t even begin to keep up with a large amount of the information gearing to come out of it.

Yet to even make a noise, Koi pulls out her hand in a gesture telling me to stop - or, at least that’s how I’m taking it.

“Before you say anything, I just need to tell you something… I-I.”

She gets caught up in her words before she can even properly start her speech, mumbling like an idiot.

It’s adorable.

Deciding to save her from despair, I take a step toward her and smile.

“I know.”
That line makes me feel like a shojo love interest, a surge of satisfaction radiates through me as I think about how cool that line sounded.

Looking back at Koi though, her face has gone completely white.

Was the line really that bad?

Almost on the verge of tears, Koi finally responds.

“B-but. W-what?”

In tandem with her last syllable, I do something I know will haunt me and my grandkids to our very last days.

I pray for anyone else observing this, it’s hard to look at.

“Dun! Dun! Dun!”

The sound of my Mayu impression darkens my soul but brings light to Koi’s face as she bursts out into laughter.

“You really haven’t gotten any better at that!”

I’m trying my best here, okay? It’s not like I’m doing this multiple times a day like someone else here!

Composing herself and wiping the tears from her eye - it could be from sadness, it could be from happiness, who knows - she lets out a deep breath.

“Being with me is going to be hard. I can’t even articulate to you how much I want to be with you, but there’s so much to this that doesn’t make dating easy. The secrecy, the fans, the considerable amount of my life it consumes - all of it. I love it, but that doesn’t mean you have to.”

Did I just hear that right?

Want to be with you.

Want to be with you.

Want to be with you.

Now it’s my face that’s getting wet!

A cold tear drops down my eye - again, could be from happiness, could be from sadness, who knows!

After all this time, this is one of the first times I think I’ve ever heard Koi be completely honest with how she’s feeling.

This happens to be the first time for me too.

The cafe feels the same, but we feel irresistibly different.

“Doesn’t change a thing, do you want to be with me?”

Koi smiles, it’s slight at first but widens as she grabs my hand and pulls me up out of my chair.

“Of course I do. Idiot.”

She pulls me closer and with every inch, my thoughts become so incredibly muddled that time itself doesn’t even seem too present.

This is it, this is one of those magical moments they talk about in anime.

No sparks flying, but I can understand why they put them in there - it’s not something so magical as the extraordinary, but it feels like much more than I’ve experienced before.

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