it's been almost two years now. she's been gone, dead, for nearly two full years.
sometimes, it felt like his fault. of course, he knew it wasn't, but he could've done something. should've done something. he should've been there to stop her. to make her come back to her senses. if he had, she would be here right now.
but she isn't. she's dead, and it's because he wasn't with her that day.
he still reminisces, really. he'll think back on how she used to be so kind to him. how, whenever he had one of his more depressive moments where he couldn't move from bed and would just curl up in a blanket, she always knew to come over. she always knew to check on him and would bring him a cola if he signalled he wanted one. she would only stay if he said she could, but .. he never said so often enough.
too often, he said the words that would again lead to her leaving him alone in his room, curtains drawn and door shut tight.
it would be dark and suck him in and as he drank his cola, he would always regret saying no. he would wish he had told her to stay.
so he did, eventually. when he'd have those moments, and she'd somehow just know to check on him, she'd bring the cola as he asked. then she would say the same words she always had.
" do you want me to leave ? "
but he started to shake his head at that question, and she'd smile down at him, but stay by his side nonetheless.
it was so much less lonely when he finally began to let her stay. it would be silent mostly, but he could curl up with his cola and the knowledge that she would always be on the floor right by his bed if he needed her. she wouldn't leave, either. not until he told her to, or her father or siblings called her to come home.
but .. those days are gone. he would never have her there to show up at the perfect times to bring him a cola and sit right where he could see her.
instead, whenever he'd get depressive, he always felt that stupid thing's eyes on him. it always seemed like she could tell at the last minute when he wasn't doing too hot. that annoying cyber girl would go to open her mouth, but watch as he curled further in on himself in bed, then close it. sometimes, if he rolled over to look at her, it would look like she understood. like she knew why he was even more depressed than before, knew what he longed for.
and sometimes he thought, maybe she did know.
he persevered though, kept moving forward. it only got harder, especially when that day came around. but .. in the days approaching august 15th, shintaro kisaragi couldn't get himself out of bed.
on the 11th, he left his room for a cola, then went back into his room, sat in his chair, and didn't move for hours except to take a drink of said cola. ene would pester him throughout the day, slowly becoming less and less persistent and annoying. there was a point throughout the day where she just seemed like she was mourning over the same person.
but she wasn't. she was just some stupid girl in his computer who rarely shut up.
on the 12th, momo had to bring a cola to him. he could barely get out of bed, and when he did ? all he did was sit in his chair and stare at his computer. he asked ene to play some random movie marathon, something to pass the time. to distract him.
on the 13th, he snapped himself out of it and went back to his normal routine. cola, gaming, repeat. but of course add being annoyed by ene to that list. he just .. didn't think he could handle having those depressive moments again. not without her here to make it all bearable.
on the 14th, he woke up in a cold sweat, jolting from his bed. the nightmares never went away, they just .. got worse the days surrounding the 15th. he had stared at his blanket with wide eyes, shaking still. at some point, he had realized his face was damp, and scowled in disgust at himself. he was quick to wipe his face dry before he moved to get, only to stop.
his computer was already on, and ene was staring at him. he stared back for a moment, before looking away and at the ground. god, she was creepy sometimes.
" goshujiiiiin ! nightmares again ? "
there was no response from him at first, but eventually, he sighed, looking back at those blue eyes that he'd always known from somewhere. his gaze was as cold and seemingly uncaring as ever, which made ene smile briefly.
" none of your business. now come on, move outta the way. "
and so the day went on like normal. or .. as normal as it could be.
and then it was the 15th again. he hadn't wanted to go to sleep that night, but momo came in at some point and insisted he did. said he needed it. said she knew he had been losing sleep these past few days. said she saw him from the 11th to the 13th, never really falling asleep whenever he got into bed. so he had sighed, climbed into bed, and laid there with his eyes shut tight until he eventually drifted off into sleep.
it was officially two years since she died.
exactly two years ago, ayano tateyama had killed herself.
it took a while for shintaro to get out of bed that morning. he woke up and immediately knew what day it was. he sat there, and he stared at the wall for a while. for a moment, his eyes even decided to trick him, and he reached out for an ayano that wasn't there. he reached out to brush his hand against her cheek, to finally hold her, but when his hand just fell against his bed, he had curled in on himself. he did his best to keep his eyes dry, but he felt himself tearing up at one point. when the tears fell, he just made sure there was no chance of ene seeing.
once he got himself out of bed, he forced himself to go on with life like normal. he pushed her out of his brain and traversed his life as a shut-in like he would any other day.
but then things started to change. he had to leave the house for the first time in years, so he did. he made his way to the mall like he needed to, ene yapping in his ear the entire walk.
then there was the attack, where he nearly got himself killed, but was saved unexpectedly. where he finally allowed ene to be genuinely useful.
then he was brought to apartment 107, introduced to the group of kids who called themselves the mekakushi dan.
later in the day he stumbled upon konoha, who would try to save two kids he had been looking for, only to successfully save one.
the day would go on with him departed from everyone else, even ene. the others would all be curious as to where he had disappeared, but would deal with the issue at hand either way.
and when the time came, shintaro would make his return, but he would have ayano with him. ayano, who he hadn't gotten to see in years. who had become his very own eye power. who he had planned to never let go of if they succeeded in this battle and survived.
and they did. everything was okay. ene had been revealed to have been takane, same with konoha having been haruka. ayano was finally back again, and so were the other two who died that day two years ago. everyone was alive and okay. shintaro himself, ayano, takane, haruka, momo, kido, kano, seto, mary, and hibiya had all made it out alive.
ages had gone by in what felt like seconds after that night. ayano moved into the apartment with her siblings and mary for the time being, same with takane and haruka, while everything else seemed to go back to normal. though .. this was definitely a new normal.
the normal now was much more like it had been two years prior.
shintaro still had his depressive days, and ayano still knew just when to come over, except it was different now. those days were worse for him after her death and it had been taking him a while to fully accept that she was back and wasn't going anywhere. they were also able to communicate things with ayano being his eye ability now rather than verbally, which made it a tad easier on shintaro.
but .. it also meant ayano finally understood how much he wished he could've just held her. meaning there was much more affection than there was before.
it was a few months later, and it was one of those days for shintaro. he couldn't move. didn't want to get out of bed. part of him wished ayano could be there, but his brain tried to remind him she was gone. she died over two years ago.
so when she knocked on his bedroom door a little while later, he was beyond relieved to remember that she wasn't gone. she had made her return months ago and she'd be here for a long time.
" shintaro ? "
" you can come in. "
and so she did, and when she saw him bundled in his blankets, still laying bed, she simply smiled softly. she left the room for a moment, and he almost begged her to stay, but she came back a minute later with a cola and he immediately calmed down. he forced himself to sit up as she walked over to sir on the bed next to him. he still had all his blankets, keeping himself buried in them.
" im not leaving, shintaro. not again. "
he looked up at her as he opened the cola, only able to stare for a moment.
she was really there. ayano was there, right in front of him, and it wasn't just some illusion or hallucination, or even kano faking it. it was really, seriously her.
he took a sip of his cola for a second before setting it down, and a moment later he was holding open the blankets, inviting her to join him.
" .. please. "
she complied without a word, a soft smile on her face as she moved carefully into his lap and allowed him to close the blankets around them both. he was quick to cling to her, nuzzling his face in the crook of her neck. they both knew neither would comment on how he began shaking slightly, his hold on her turning into a vice-like grip as her shoulder was slowly dampened where his face lay. shintaro knew ayano wouldn't judge him for breaking down, either. she knew he was still recovering, and that he had never gotten over her death in the first place. she knew he would need a lot of time to get better.
and she was more than willing to stay by his side as he did, and to encourage him along the way. she would ensure that he was healthy and doing well but also managed to pick himself back up again.
while she could finally call herself his girlfriend, she could also call herself his support system once again and that would never make her complain.