Chapter 47:

Haruhi is Haruhi

Love, Manga & Blackmail: A Secret Otaku's Countdown To Romance!

“You have disappointed me Ichika…” My father shook his head, pacing up and down our living room. “I trusted you, and you not only disregarded that, you even deceived me for a whole month.” I could feel the anger in his voice as he spoke those words.

Yet for the first time, despite my shaking hands I felt like I could talk. Like I had a voice. It was as though a dam had burst, and the words I had suppressed for so long were now pouring forth. Now that I made the first step, to protect Haruhi, it all felt… right.

I was still afraid, but I didn’t hesitate.

"I'm sorry, father," I began, my voice surprisingly steady despite the storm inside me. "But I couldn't allow you to control my life either."

"Control your life?" His tone was incredulous, but I refused to back down.

"What else would you call it?" I retorted, clenching my fists. "You wanted to marry me off to some acquaintance of yours if I hadn't found a suitable partner!"

The words flew out of my throat, unrestrained.

"I am my own person… You have no right to dictate who I marry and when!"

I stomped my foot on the ground, feeling the weight of my words and emotions reverberating through the room. It was as though I had shattered the chains that had held me captive for so long, and the sensation was liberating. For the first time, I was standing up for myself. And it was all because of Haruhi.

Through him I had found the strength to do what I always wanted, but never couldn’t.

His words played in a loop inside my head.

You’re strong, Ichika.

Tell him off…

The Ichika I know is headstrong…

And when I thought that same person would be held accountable for my mistakes, I didn’t hesitate to lash out. To admit my blame in all this.

There was no going back.

"Ichika!" His voice thundered through the room, his face red.

“No!” I protested, “You were never even here to see me grow up, and now you want me to believe all that crap?!”

“Ichika!!” My father shouted once more “This has gone far enough…” He almost winced at his words.

Unable to take it anymore, I ran past him, and out the door, my face was flushed from anger, hot from the rage. I didn’t look back as I ran out in the dead of the night, and never looked back.

My ties to Haruhi had been severed. He could finally live his life.

I had finally said everything I needed to my father… I was free too. For now.

Then why was my heart so heavy? My body so weary?

Before I knew it, I was dripping with sweat, and I gazed at a single, empty bus.

I needed a place to think, away from here, and so I entered.

My body was heating up, and my head hurt. Yet I didn’t dare go back.

It was already dawn, as I leaned against the window frame.


"Thanks for the ride!" I waved at the taxi driver as I stood before Ichika's doorstep. Her mother emerged, a mixture of worry and relief evident on her face.

“Haruhi-kun! We’ve searched everywhere but we don’t know where Ichika might be! She also came down with a fever last night but she still ran out on us!”

A fever? I thought, remembering the storm from the previous night. It must have taken a toll on her.

I listened intently as Kaori-san recounted the argument Ichika had with her father. It seemed that things had escalated to the point of no return, and Ichika had left home despite her fever.

Kaori-san also informed me of the places they had already searched. That’s when I realized…

"Kaori-san, I think I know where she might be," I said, a growing sense of urgency propelling me forward.

As I rushed down the road once again, I promised Ichika's mother that I would call her with any news. The bus ride was quiet, but my heart raced as I considered the possibilities.

“Ah…” I sighed, as another beach, different from the one I last saw Ichika on, came into view. Alongside a shrine, and a big lot next to it.

I disembarked, and made my way across the shore.

I exhaled, at the sight of a girl, hugging her knees before the sea, her face flushed and her expression lost.

Without a word, I walked up to her, and raised a brow.

“Enjoying the view?”


Her head snapped up in surprise, and her fever-flushed face turned even redder. "Ha...ruhi?".

“You idiot.” I knelt beside her, and gently supported her back. Seeing her like that, and realizing she had faced her father, for my sake, alone, I bit my lip in frustration.

“I’m sorry Ichika…” I gave her a tight hug, as I felt her weight, and lack of it too, on my arms. She was light like a feather, and her grip weak.

“Are you really… here?”

She asked, delirious.

“Yeah, I am. And I’m sorry for being late…”

“But… but why? You don’t have to do anything for me anymore… I… ended our lie.” I could feel her smile, but also the tightness in her grip, as if to suppress something. “You’re free… you can—“

“I don’t care.” I fought the urge to chuckle at her remarks. “I don’t care.”

I repeated, and separated from her.

Clasping her hand tight in mine, I looked into her eyes. Those emerald pools of endless green, those big precious jewels. The way her red cheeks contrasted again them made me want to look at them forever.

“You showed me the way… You showed me who I really am. Even when I was unaware…” I saw her eyes change tone, as her free hand grasped my shoulder. “Without you, I could have never admitted to being who I am.”

“You mean..?”

"I admitted being an otaku, Ichika. Everybody knows, and I couldn't care less." I smiled, and her eyes widened in response.

“But what about your past and…?” She stopped and shook her head. “You wanted to be… honest?”

“Exactly.” I nodded.

“Heh, I can’t believe this.” She shook her head, looking away. “And this?”

Ichika raised our joint hands.

“Ah, yeah…” I recalled the most important thing.

“Well there is no rule to break anymore so…”

“Haruhi?” Ichika eyed me, her face suddenly taking on a new glow.

“I love you Ichika. I love you for everything you’ve done for me. For everything you are. And for everything, that I am, when I’m with you.”

I said it, and felt a weight lift off my shoulders.

She squinted her eyes slightly, tears threatening to spill over. In one quick motion, she hugged me tight, resting her chin on my shoulder.

“Idiot…” She whispered, and I could almost feel the smile in her voice.

"I love you too. And I have for a long time," Ichika said as she separated from the hug, her eyes slightly damp. "I guess you could say I'm more of an idiot."

“We’re both idiots. Who said opposites attract ri—“

Before I could even finish that sentence, Ichika lunged at me once more, this time pressing her lips against mine. It was a light gentle peck, yet the electricity between our lips lingered. Her lips were soft, and sweet unlike anything I ever tasted.

“This is for the one we missed on the infirmary.”

Her endearing words woke up something new within me, and I leaned in, stealing her lips for myself this time.

“And this one, was for back at my place.”

With a smirk, she was the one to kiss me next.

“And this one, was for giving me your shirt!”

She pushed me back onto the sand, as she kissed me again and again. Her lips were moist, and her skin flushed. I loved every inch of her touch.

Finally we pulled apart, resting on the sand like a pair of flushed, love-struck fools.

“Who would have thought a fake relationship would turn… real?” I found it in me to chuckle.

“Idiot…” She smacked me lightly, and then caressed the arm she hit.

“Agh, my head hurts…” She finally cried, wincing. “I can’t believe I was kissing you with a fever…”

“Hey, didn’t you know I have the anti-Ichika virus? You can’t give me anything.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

I chuckled at her grumbling. And stood up.

“Let’s get a certain runaway princess home.”

Despite the pain and discomfort, my fake… no, my girlfriend smiled at me.

And just like that, she caught ahold of my hand, and stood on her own two feet.

Just like I helped her against her dad.

Just like she helped me discover myself.


The atmosphere back at Ichika’s home remained way more tranquil than I would have imagined, after I brought her in. Currently, she was resting in her bedroom, and I had stayed to make sure she was alright.

“She’s running a fever, but she’ll be alright…” Kaori-san exhaled, walking out of her daughter’s bedroom, while her husband and I stood at attention.

“We uh… thank you, Haruhi-kun.” Yuuto-san said, rubbing his temple. It seemed he had a lot on his mind. And yet, I was about to overload him with more of that.

“Yuuto-san, Kaori-san…” I prepared, and made a deep bow. “I’m sorry for being dishonest… but… I am in love with your daughter.”

“Oh my…”

“Not more of this, please…”

Before Yuuto-san could start denying everything and rightfully so, I cut him off.

“No, Yuuto-san. I know it may not be easy to believe, but… This time… I’m honest. I love Ichika, from the bottom of my heart.”

Her parents froze at my declaration. Yuuto-san studied my face.

“I know we didn’t exactly start off on the right foot, but I hope you can accept our relationship.”

“Heh, who are we to object?” Kaori-san spoke for the first time before her husband did. She smiled. “I just wish you kids figured it out sooner!”

“Haruhi-kun.” Ichika’s father studied me still. But ultimately gave me the nod to speak.

“I can’t talk about early marriage. That’s for me and Ichika to decide WHEN the time comes… I know she has been struggling with things all alone, trying to be a good student, a good daughter, and a good doctor in the future. But I want you to know, I won’t let Ichika ever be alone again.”

Those words rung true from the bottom of my heart.

Yuuto-san seemed to sense that too, as he gave a nod.

“It seems I was wrong, about a lot of things after all.” He smiled bitterly, but knowingly. “About you, about my daughter, and about the future she should have.”

“It was high time I apologized too.” He finally said, while Kaori-san clapped her hands animatedly.

“Isn’t it nice when we’re all honest with ourselves?”

She probably didn’t realize how true those words were. Or perhaps, she did?

“Nevertheless, the bride called for you earlier so…”


Yuuto-san and I mused simultaneously.

“The boyfriend, dear.” Ichika’s mother gave a wink, and urged me on to visit Ichika’s bedroom.

When I walked in, I saw her peering up at me from beneath her blanket.

“You called, madam?” I gave a smile, to which she sighed.



“What are we?”

I cocked a brow.

“Is that a trick question?”

“No…” She mumbled, her face red, and not only due to the fever. “I saw a dream where we k-k-kissed and… Ugh…”

Her voice trailed off again. “Probably just the fever…” She concluded.

“Hm?” I grinned at her narrowed eyes, and her small furrowed brows.


Then as if to reassure her, I pulled the blanket away from her face, and kissed her lips.

“Hwah?! Whaz? EJH?!”

“It wasn’t a dream, dummy.” I patted her forehead, and leaned away, while she was about to hyperventilate.

“Then you and… I and you? And I? We? Are? Agh!” She shook her head, her blush burning bright. “You’re a meanie!”

She retreated her face back beneath the blanket.


“What now? Wanna ridicule me some more?”

“I’m glad you blackmailed me that day.”

I felt my lips curl up, despite the weird choice of words. I really was glad.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I heard her suppress a chuckle, as I looked out her window. The very same window I had climbed through to salvage our relationship not too long ago.

A fake relationship that turned to something… real. What started as a game, a façade we both wore, took an unforeseen twist, blooming into something utterly honest, something profound that no treasure in the world could rival.

As emotions turned to feelings, and lies turned to truth, I found myself thanking fate, for having me chance upon this girl.

For giving me… a second chance.

An opportunity to be myself.

And now I knew, that together, we could walk hand in hand. Not as a couple tied by lies, but as one driven by honesty.

“I’m glad it was you…”

Ichika found it in her to smile, and I felt my heart soar through the boundless sky. Our fingers intertwined, a shared laughter bubbled up, a harmonious melody.

Suddenly, I realized that since the very beginning, I was always honest with myself around her. And that was my saving grace.

With emotions running deep and a newfound sense of liberation, I pledged to cherish every chapter, to stand as my true self, alongside the person who illuminated my path.

To be myself.

Just me.

Naruse Haruhi.

Mario Nakano 64