Chapter 39:

I have a question. [Taro's epilogue]

Light of my darkest eve

It’s a cold night, but the chill doesn’t bother me. The blissful silence in my head, devoid of the voices that has tortured me for so long, was more than enough comfort to allow me to disregard the conditions. I'm sure they'll be back, but I'm happy to enjoy the time without them

I glance at my watch. 9:02. She’s late. Not that I haven’t come to expect that.

“I keep you waitin’ long?”
Finally, the voice of the girl I love finds my ears, and I turn to see her walking towards me, wearing a blood red dress that suits her so well it’s criminal.

“Yes, you did. You’re late again.”

“Hey, isn’t it social convention that you always say ‘no, I just got here’ even if it’s not true?”

“You don’t care about social convention.”

“I do when it benefits me.”

I roll my eyes at her characteristically unabashed selfishness, before offering my right hand.

“Shall we?”
“We shall indeed.”

She takes my arm and we begin the short walk to the expensive restaurant we can barely afford to eat at.

“Your graduation’s soon, how you feelin’ about it?” she asks, taking a rare interest in someone else's feelings for once. Or, at least, pretending to.

“Anxious, but good anxious. Won’t be long until we’re entering the world of work.”

“Gah, don’t remind me. I’ve already received a dozen and a half rejections, despite my qualifications.”

While Yosuke and Akane had headed straight into work after getting their masters degrees, I had decided to remain and get my PhD while Hanji qualifies as a psychologist. Now that the better half of a decade that we've spent at university was coming to an end, it was our turn to grapple with the tedium of job searching.

“Can you believe it’s over already? That all these years of studying have just come to an end?” It still doesn’t feel real to me. It’s been some eight or nine years since that day, when I met the crazy girl in the sports bra in the room next door. Now we’re both doctors in our respective fields, looking for work.

“It’s certainly gone fast. Feels like just yesterday I was saving your ass from that Akihiko bastard.”

“Really had to bring that one up, did you, Hanji?”

“Hehe, sorry.”

Reminiscing on days of the past… fuck, am I really that old already? Looking back on my late teens like they happened in the distant past? So much happened that feels so recent, and yet, it happened so long ago.

Falling in love with Hanji. Getting concussed and ending up in bed for a week. Leaving and going on our first real date, and making that promise. Was it… really all those years ago? Has it been that long since she taught me how to live? How to forgive myself?

As I fiddle with the small box in my left pocket, I realise there’s no better time than now. I stop, just a thirty second walk from the restaurant.

“Do you remember what I told you, that day? The day of our first real date?”
“Hmmm… you mean about you killing those guys?”
“That’s… not what I was referring to.”

I sigh, a little worried that she’s forgotten. And also a little prickly that that chapter of my life still hasn't left me.

“I promised you then, that I would marry you one day.”

“Oh, I haven’t forgotten. I’m still waiting for you to make good on that promise.”

“Well, does today work?”

I get down one knee and take the box out of my pocket, opening it to reveal the brilliant diamond ring that I'd spent over a year saving to buy.

“Will you marry me?”

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon