Mending a Heart
Yui had told herself she was okay.
During the first year of high school, when Ayano had finally gotten her act together and confessed to Kyouko, Yui had told herself it was okay.
When Kyouko and Ayano started dating, Yui had told herself she was okay.
She had missed her chance, that was all. She had been too late. Nothing to do about that now. Yui had told herself it was okay.
Yui had told herself she was okay.
But Yui wasn’t okay.
How could Kyouko not have seen it? They’d been together for so long. Surely she must have known. It should have been so obvious. There’s no way Kyouko could have missed it.
But Yui had never said anything. And neither had Kyouko. Yui hadn’t acted in time, and she was not okay.
Seeing the two of them together still made her heart ache. Ayano was in a different class, but she came over to eat lunch with them. Yui would occasionally manage to come up with some excuse to get out of it, without seeming suspicious. But a lot of the time she had to sit there. She didn’t want to make Kyouko worry. So she told herself she was okay.
Then second year of high school came, and Akari started at the school. Yui would never forget the first time she came to see them during lunch break.
“Kyouko-chan! Yui-chan! Oh, hi Sugiura-senpai!” Akari didn’t know yet, of course. In many ways she hadn’t changed at all. In other ways she had changed a lot.
In the year from Yui and the others had graduated, to when they were reunited now, Akari had grown. She looked an eerily lot like a brighter version of her sister now. She had shot into the air, nearly catching up to Yui’s current height. She had grown out her hair too, so her two hair buns were now small twin-tails instead. She had certainly… grown out noticeably in other ways as well. Yui had mainly gotten taller, so she felt a little envious.
But it seemed like on the inside she was much the same. Cheerful, kind, and giving. Pure and innocent. Though you couldn’t really say she lit up the room. She was still lacking in presence a bit, but not as much as before. People noticed her more. Yui certainly did.
Akari still had a tendency to zone out a bit, be it with a book or whatever, and at those times it was like she just became very easy to miss. Even though people were more aware of her now, she could still be easy to overlook. Except to Yui.
For whatever reason, Yui’s eyes were drawn to Akari now. And Akari was the first to notice that Yui was not okay. She hadn’t seemed sure at first, considering the way she gently started probing Yui with questions. Offering her kindness. Offering her shoulder. Yui had denied it. Rejected it. She had told herself she was okay, so she told Akari she was okay.
Akari tried to be respectful, but she was also clearly worried. She patiently refused to give up. Yui dodged the questions. She tried to avoid Akari. She got angry and tried to chase her off. Told her to mind her own business.
Yui felt guilty, and apologised the next day. The thought of losing Akari too was too scary, too heart-rending. Akari forgave her.
With her kindness and caring, Akari had slowly worn Yui down. Until one day, when Akari was over to visit, Yui’s dam finally burst. Akari hadn’t even said anything about it that day, but her mere presence was enough. Yui broke down and cried her eyes out while Akari held her. So much for being a cool, reliable senpai. She was not okay.
She ended up telling Akari everything. She couldn’t hold it in any longer. Akari might have seemed a little surprised, but far from shocked. She had had her suspicions, but seeing as she didn’t know a lot about such things, she hadn’t voiced any of them. For a brief moment Yui wondered if things might have different had Akari said something. There was a slight stab of pain in her heart as she wanted to push the blame onto Akari, but she couldn’t.
For the first time in a year, Yui felt a little more okay. Akari’s kindness and warmth was healing her, and Yui wasn’t sure how she felt about that.
Slowly Yui started recovering. Regaining her composure. Reclaiming herself.
Seeing Kyouko and Ayano together was hurting less and less. Yui could become the supportive friend she had pretended she was. If Kyouko noticed anything, she didn’t say.
Now it was Akari that Yui’s heart ached for. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that to begin with. But she became more sure as time went on. She decided she wasn’t going to miss her chance this time.
When she finally told Akari about her feelings, the younger girl seemed confused. Even after all of this, was she still too innocent? But Akari spoke up, and she just wanted to make sure that Yui was saying what Akari thought she was saying. She wanted Yui to explain.
Yui had a moment’s thought to back out of it. Akari had just given her that option. But she repeated her feelings, trying to make them more clear this time. Akari hugged her, and Yui thought she might melt.
Yui told herself she was okay now, and finally it didn’t feel like a lie.