Chapter 27:

I’m a fucking idiot.

Light of my darkest eve

“Taro boy fell for the psycho bitch”
“I always knew the nutcases were made for each other”
“Crazy belongs with crazy.”
“Scum falling in love with scum. How romantic.”

Yes, that’s right.

“But she’ll never love him back”

“She can’t love in the first place.”
“What sort of idiot falls for someone that unobtainable?”
“He set himself up for pain.”

They’re telling the truth.

“He can keep lying to himself that she might one day return his feelings”
“But It’ll never happen.”
“It’s like expecting a fish to fly.”
“It will always be unrequited.”

The ghosts aren’t lying.

“He’s stupid”
“He’s naive”
“He’s desperate”
“He’s weak”

Every word is a truth I was too scared to confront.

“She’s cold”
“She’s numb”
“She’s cruel”
“She’s manipulative”

They were never goading me.

“Neither deserves to live”
“Neither deserves to love”
“Both deserve pain”
“Both deserve death”

They were just telling me the ugly truth I so desperately tried to avoid.

“He can never be happy now.”
“He’s infatuated with a sociopath.”
“Head over heels for someone who doesn’t care about him at all.”
“He’s unrecoverable now.”

It’s not them that’s the problem.

“She did this on purpose.”
“She doesn’t care if she hurts him.”
“She feels nothing.”
“She’s a shell of a person.”

It’s me. It’s always been me.

“He should die.”
“She should die.”
“He should kill her.”
“He should kill himself.”

I’m not a person worthy of life.

I’m dangerous. I’m a ticking time bomb. Every day I’m more and more of a hazard to other people.

I was told to avoid situations that could make my emotions run high. I fell in love with a sociopath. I’m too stupid to be allowed to live.

It would be best if I died here and now.

“Both must die.”
“Both must die.”
“Both must die.”
“Both must die.”

But… I don’t want Hanji to die. Even if she doesn’t care about hurting me, I love her. I love her so much. I love her so desperately. I won’t hurt her. I can’t hurt her. She can’t die while I’m still alive.

““Both must die.”
“Both must die.”
“Both must die.”
“Both must die.”

No. It’s not her fault that she is who she is. She can’t help it. She doesn’t deserve to die. Only I do.

“Both must die.”
“Both must die.”
“Both must die.”

“Both must die.”

I refuse. I can’t hurt Hanji. She’s good to me. She’s kind. She gave me what I wanted the most.

I have to die. To stop myself from hurting her, I have to die. I have to die I have to die I have to die I have to die I have to die I have to die I have to die I have to die I have to die I have to die I have to die I have to die

I… have to… breathe…


I wake up to a splintering headache. Concussion, by the feel of it. I don’t remember a damn thing.

Who am I? Right, I’m the idiot who fell in love with a girl who can’t love

Where am I? Right, I’m in my room, right next door to hers, I came here after our date.

So, who’s here with me right now? I guess it must be…

“Stupid fucking idiot moron! What the fuck was that you crazy fuck!”
“No, shut the fuck up, I’m talking. I hear banging and shit from the wall so I come to check up on you, and what do I find? You slamming your head into the fucking wall muttering to yourself about having to die. What the fuck, Taro? Ten minutes earlier we were having fun on our date, what the actual fuck could have happened in that time to make you pull that shit?”

She’s standing above me, an expression on her face that I’ve never even seen before

She’s pissed. No, pissed doesn’t cover it. She sounds utterly livid. If she hadn’t just saved my life, I’d be convinced she was gonna kill me herself.

Even with Akihiko, her anger was mostly in the form of quiet hatred. This time, she’s completely enraged.

“Nothing to say for yourself, you absolute fuckwit? No excuses?”

I’m racking my brains to try to remember that ten minutes or so after she and I parted ways, but it’s not really coming back to me. I guess repeated head trauma will do that.

“I… sorry… I’m trying to remember…”
“Well you better remember quick so I know how hard to beat your ass.”

I’m trying to repiece it all together, bit by bit.

Let’s see… I think… After I left Hanji, that hollow feeling I’d been trying to ignore came back in full swing. Was it… the ghosts? No, they were there, but it was me. At some point my thoughts and their words seemed to become indistinguishable from each other.

What was it they were saying? They… called Hanji a psycho again, they… insulted me for falling for her… they told me to kill the both of us. Yes, that was it.

“I… I think I know what happened…”
“Then you better start explaining.”

“R-Right. I think… I think the ghosts were telling me to kill you. And I think I was starting to listen…”
“Then why the hell were you slamming your own head into the wall?”
“Because I didn’t want to do it.”

Yes, that’s right. As it became harder and harder to tell my own thoughts apart from theirs, I knew I didn’t want to hurt Hanji. I guess the last thing I decided before I stopped being able to tell the difference was that I’d kill myself, so I couldn’t hurt her.

“I guess… I had just enough of my own will left to know I didn’t want to hurt you. In my fear that I’d lose control, I think I tried to kill myself. I judged it better to die than to risk killing you.”

The silence between us is deafening. Still looking down at me, Hanji’s expression changes to one of shock, then to a new type of anger, one that makes her almost shake with rage. She leans down and grabs just under the neck of my shirt, which I’ve just now realised is covered in my own blood, and pulls me up until our faces are a mere few inches apart. Something tells me she’s not gonna kiss me this time.

“You think I need you protecting me, huh? You think I can’t defend myself against you? Hanji, the damsel in distress, needs her knight in blood stained armour? Listen to me now and listen to me close, you fucking cretin. If you ever, ever need to choose between your own life and mine, you choose your own every time, every fucking time, you understand me? I don’t need your protection. Least of all protection from yourself.”
“I can’t promise you that.”
“Why the hell not?”
“Because I love you.”

Her grip slackens a bit, and her expression softens slightly, but she doesn’t seem surprised. Of course she’s not. She probably realised it at the same time I did, when I kissed her in the Photo Booth.

“…I don’t feel the same way.”
“I know.”
“I was only showing you so much affection to manipulate you into staying around.”
“I know.”
“I’m keeping you close for selfish reasons and not because I care about you.”
“I know.”
“Then what the fuck, Taro? How can you love someone who can never love you back? How can you fall for someone you know is using you? How can you care about someone who can’t care about you?”
“Because I don’t care.”

She finally lets go of my shirt, leaving me sat up looking her in the eye.

“I don’t care if you were just interested in what was wrong with me. When everything was bottled up, you gave me a chance to confide in someone. I don’t care if you just wanted to collect me. When I was at my loneliest point, you gave me a place to belong. I don’t care if you just wanted to keep me close for your own entertainment. When I was feeling my most depressed, you made me enjoy life. And I don’t care if you can never love me. When I felt hated by the world, you showered me in the affection I needed the most, and never used it to hurt me. It doesn’t matter that you’re selfish. It doesn’t matter that you’re manipulative. It doesn’t matter that you don’t care. You’re my hope in a hopeless environment. The beauty in my ugly world. The light in my darkness. I love you.”

This time, ‘taken aback’ doesn’t even begin to describe her expression. She looks like her entire worldview has been contradicted. As if every word I just said was incomprehensibly stupid. She’s right of course. Frankly, none of what I feel towards her makes any form of sense. But that doesn’t matter. Yosuke was right. We don’t choose who we fall for.

“Fucking idiot.”

With those two words, she stands up and walks for the door. This is probably the end for us. Hanji doesn’t like it when people develop feelings for her after all. But maybe I’ll be able to do what Saki did and make up sometime down the li-

“We’re eating lunch together on the roof again tomorrow. Don’t invite anyone else.”

She slams the door behind herself as she says this.

I guess I should think about tomorrow’s lunch.

…after I go to the on-site doctor to make sure I haven’t given myself brain damage.

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