I’m Actually Quite Selfish, You Know?
It seems that I’ve gone and done something quite bold.
In the darkness, while listening to the sleeping Aoyagi-kun’s gentle breathing, I regretted the actions that I had taken. He seemed a little feverish, so I responded in a hurry. I treated Aoyagi like I would usually treat Emma when she would be feverish. But now I realize, this is complete overkill.
It is natural for Aoyagi to be baffled. He is currently sleeping while breathing stably.
It seems that my eyes are starting to get used to the darkness, and I can almost clearly see Aoyagi’s face if I bring myself closer to it. I don’t know why, but I brought my face closer to his.
Looking at him from this close, his eyelashes are… very long… They’re like that of a girl’s. His face is rather stern and nose is sharp. It’s a pity that his hair is a little on the rough side. Wouldn’t he be popular with the girls if he would just take care of his hair?
If he did that, then no one would speak badly of him in class.
Even today, he acted as the villain by his lonesome and took on everyone’s negative remarks. If one were to seriously consider it, Aoyagi is correct, but no one is trying to understand him.
No, Saionji was on Aoyagi’s side, so he must definitely realize. However, he didn’t take either side, remaining effectively neutral.
Therefore, he will not say anything even if he is on Aoyagi’s side. Observing from the sidelines, Aoyagi alone has been made into a bad guy. It’s an extremely sad sight to witness.
I may be thinking about this now, but I belong to the bystander group in the class as well.
I really wanted to tell everyone that he was right, but when I tried to defend Aoyagi, he stopped me by signalling with his eyes. Later, when I pursued the topic when we were alone, he just said, “It’s fine. A solution may have not been possible unless someone became a bad guy. If you were to intervene, your opinion would have split the class and it would have developed into a dispute. Even if I’m blamed at school, you don’t have to defend me. Akira will step in when I am really in some trouble.”
I understood what Aoyagi was trying to say. If some of the others would’ve joined Aoyagi’s side by following me, there was a possibility that the opinions of the class would split into two and an argument would break out. Aoyagi seemed to hate that possibility and tried to get things sorted out comfortably by becoming a bad guy himself.
Everyone was saved at the cost of one person’s sacrifice.
It may sound good on the surface, but it is a very painful way of life. I wouldn’t be able to do the same. How awfully kind he is…
――Suddenly, I remember the exchange I had with Hanazawa-sensei at school today. It was when I asked about Aoyagi’s preferences.
“—Hmm? You’re asking about a manga genre that Aoyagi would enjoy? Why do you want to know about that?”
Hanazawa-sensei questioned me about my intentions when I visited her during the lunch break.
“I’m thinking of recommending manga to him, but I don’t know what he would like, so please let me know.”
“If that’s the case, then you should ask Saionji. He has a longer relationship with Aoyagi than I do, and naturally as his best friend, Saionji is more familiar with Aoyagi’s interests.”
“Is there a reason you can’t ask him?”
I nodded in affirmation at Hanazawa-sensei’s question. Initially, I also thought of asking Saionji. However, I remembered that Aoyagi wanted us to keep our relationship secret, so I reconsidered it. If I were to ask about Aoyagi’s preferences, Saionji would definitely be suspicious of our relationship.
In that respect, Hanazawa-sensei is aware of our relationship, and it seems that she understands Aoyagi to a certain degree. She is the perfect person in this situation.
“Hmm, well… If I were to be honest… I’d recommend not recommending any manga to him.”
“Could I ask the reason?”
“Would it be sufficient if I said that he is a realist to the core? He hates things that are unrealistic. He especially hates stories where happiness is obtained without any effort.”
“…I think that a person would normally prefer a story where the characters were happy…”
“That’s what happens normally… I think I’ve mentioned before, he has a vastly different perspective from the norm. Well, I can’t really elaborate, but many things happened in his past. So, if you really want to recommend him, a manga that is as close to reality as possible would be an optimal choice, preferably one where the result is fruitful because of the characters’ efforts.”
I see, so a manga that is realistic and produces results thanks to efforts? If that’s the case, there are many candidates in my mind. It may be good to recommend a sports manga in particular. There are many sports manga that implement supernatural elements, but there are also many manga that emphasize reality and produce results thanks to the character’s efforts.
“—On the contrary, avoid those manga that have a depiction of a happy family. In the worst case scenario, he would end up avoiding you.”
“No, it’s nothing. Anyway, it’s good to choose a manga that is realistic and produces results through effort.”
While I was confused, Hanazawa-sensei turned her back on me and entered the staff room. The previous phrase seemed to imply Aoyagi hates a happy family. He is a very kind person, so I assumed that he was brought up by kind parents in a happy family. Was that assumption wrong…?
While I was worrying about what Hanazawa-sensei said, I forgot about the passage of time and continued to think about Aoyagi.
“Aoyagi-kun… How many burdens are you taking upon yourself?”
I ask Aoyagi, who is still sleeping with stable breathing, in a small voice. Did I manage to conceal that I was thinking about Aoyagi all day today? All things considered, he didn’t seem to have caught on. It would be painful if he started avoiding me because he noticed.
…No, rather than all that, I should focus on his health for now. Although he looked fine, I was worried when his fever suddenly rose. If it gets worse, he who lives alone can’t be helped by anyone… A message came from Mother saying that she was going to stay overnight at work today as well, so it should be okay if I’m not at home, right…?
Since I don’t have the key to Aoyagi’s house, if I were to go home, Aoyagi’s house would be in a careless state with the door open. Therefore, this is a natural response.
――I made an excuse for someone invisible and decided to put into action what came to my mind.
First of all, I brought a futon for Emma from our apartment home and lay Emma in a separate room so that the cold does not spread. Then, I wrapped a towel around the ice pillow I brought from home and carefully placed it under Aoyagi’s head so as to not wake him up.
In addition, I placed a cooling patch on his forehead to lower the fever so that he could get better as soon as possible. After that, I had planned to wait by his side until he woke up.
…It’s strange. Although it has only been a few days since I met him, I couldn’t leave him be. Adding on to that, being near him makes me feel relieved. Aoyagi sure is a mysterious person.
…That may be the reason. What the hell am I thinking?
“Aoyagi-kun… I respect your decisions. However, if you’re having a hard time, I can’t hold myself back forever. I’m surprisingly selfish, you know?”
The good thing was that he couldn’t hear my voice while he was sleeping, so I was able to put my thoughts into words.