Apologies, a Kagerou Project fanfiction.
That's what she says when she sees your exasperated frown, after she says she still doesn't understand what you meant with that last bit in your lecture. Even though you've repeated it three times. Good grief, you'd expect she'd get it that last time. The thought of leaving her to fend for herself strikes you for only a nanosecond before you swat it away, because for some reason you can never think of leaving her alone. She can't do this by herself, no, not just yet. She needs help, and she's getting it. And she's getting the best, from you, no less.
But she can't read your mind, she can't hear your thoughts. And so, when she takes a deep breath and her eyes take on a glint out of a newfound determination, you can still notice the slight shade of dejection in her bright hazel orbs.
The world keeps spinning, and you keep coming to her place or any place she arranges with you beforehand, and you keep tutoring her on whatever topic she needed help in (which turned out to be 85% of the math textbook and half of the science textbook, according to what you've found out so far). She keeps trying to take in all of what you've said, ever so slowly yet ever so surely, and when she shows those signs of improvement you had always hoped for she'd show any time sooner, you can't help but smile. And forgive her.
Although she never did anything wrong.
That's what you say to a flower vase on her desk. You laugh, mocking yourself that you—a genius who's always aced his tests like he does his game matches—are talking to an inanimate object, a representation of that one mistake you never thought you'd make. For someone so smart, you sure are an idiot. A dumbass. An incompetent, insensitive piece of shit who failed to see the signs, to notice that something was wrong. Even as you try to rationalize your stupidity, your indecisiveness, and say that she never let anything show, the image of her slumped on her desk, hands on her face, pained gasps and whimpers resonating like roars in the silent classroom never leaves your head. It stings your hollowed heart, your broken ego, and your dry eyes. When you feel your tear ducts answering that urge your haywire-yet-depressed brain sends them, you stand up (and everyone sees) and you leave the room, thinking of the different ways you could've stopped her from jumping off the rooftop...
...And curse yourself for not trying any one of them.
The sun rises and sets in a routine it's done for years and decades, for centuries and millennia, and for whatever you call tens of thousands of years. And just like that, even for only relatively so short a time, your life revolves in that one room around a routine of wake up-eat-surf the net-eat-surf the net-eat-take a bath-surf the net-work with that one song-peek at that sinful folder-sleep. That's how it's been. Since that day, you locked yourself up in your room, hidden from the world to see. Whether you wanted what little piece of solace you can get, or you just didn't want the world to judge you with daggers for eyes, you closed yourself to embrace a lifestyle that you neither loved nor hated.
Since then, everything had changed drastically. But you.
You had never left that hallway. You still see her now as you lie in bed, in your dreams and in your nightmares. Sometimes you see her crying for your help, pleading with her life and all the strength her throat can muster. Sometimes you see her eyes dry and yet they look at you with barely hidden judgment, lips curled in that same old smile, calling you a weakling and a coward. You were her only good friend, she says. And you weren't there when she needed you the most.
You sigh, and you feel tears welling up.
That's what she says when both of you are back in that old classroom. A lot had happened since then. The Blindfold Gang's words proved far truer than you had ever known possible. You got yourself into a mess that was far larger than you could comprehend. And after all that, you finally figured out why she was crying that summer day. You finally knew the hell she had went through, all the problems she's hidden with a tilt of the head, a giggle, and a smile. Something stings your heart as you feel that old pang of regret—regret that you were none the wiser, that you failed to see the signs.
But now you've come. She's here. You're here. She isn't crying anymore, and a lot of thoughts are running in your mind.
You hear her say sorry, that she passed so soon, that she never told you anything.
You say nothing. Now is the time. You can get her out of this permanent haze. All you need to do is to hold out your hand, and pray that she accepts. Only the thought of her returning to the real world runs in your mind-the thought of spending time (and life) with her, the thought of correcting at least this one mistake, and truly apologizing for all that you've done to make her life hell without you even knowing. When she finally holds your hand, you take a deep breath, and exhale your anxieties out in a gust of relief. When your feet step back out to the corridor, and you could see hers there as well, you can't help but smile.
And that has to be the end to all of this...
That's what you say, one lazy summer day, when she and you are at her place. The world spins on and on, and time is a fickle thing.
But you no longer care, now that she's here, she's back. Even until now, you keep thinking how much a fantasy this all sounds. And you think how lucky both of you are, a guy and a girl your age, going through so much torment and suffering, and finally getting your happily ever after.
She smiles at you as she acknowledges your voice, and you spit everything out.
You're sorry for being such an asshole, you're sorry for not reading between the lines, you're sorry for being a shitty friend, you're sorry you weren't there when she needed you the most, and... and...
You could feel the tears welling up, but you feel a soft, warm hand on your cheek. She's smiling, and you wonder how she can keep smiling even when you're nearing breakdown. She knows a simple "it's okay, it's fine" won't cut it, so instead she takes you in her arms for an embrace, and your tears fall and you start to sob.
But you're not crying because she's gone. You cry because she's finally there. And a weight is lifted from your tired heart as you register the feeling of her arms wrapped around you.
And right now, you feel like you have truly been forgiven.