Read at Watashi Wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 22: A Dream?
[Note: The story comes back to Neji’s perspective.]
I felt the light through my eyelids, causing me to open them slightly. When I did, I saw Heath’s face peering at me.
‘The ceiling doesn’t look familiar.’ I thought absentmindedly as I tried to sit up, Heath supporting me.
“Huh, I…? Where am I?”
“This is my house. You have nothing to worry about.”
I was surprised, scurrying my gaze around. This was the first time I had ever been to Heath’s house. I knew that Heath was a whale,1
and I knew that he used the house function, but I had never been to his house before till now.
“Why am I at your house, Heath? Huh? Wasn’t I at the cafe?”
Heath had summoned me by a letter, so I was sure I had gone to Lewis’ Cafe. I remembered that much, but the next thing I’m in Heath’s house. Huh?
“How much do you remember?”
“Hmm? Well, you sent me a letter, didn’t you? You said you had something important to talk about.”
“Oh, yeah! Was Mao okay?!”
I vaguely remembered, so I asked. But for some reason, Heath looked conflicted and bit his lip.
“I’m glad to hear that. But is it really okay for you not to stay with him? Did you find out who the culprit was after all?”
“-Neji, there’s nothing to worry about.”
As Heath said this, he then suddenly hugged me. I was surprised by the sudden warmth when Heath put his chin on my shoulder. I felt my heart skip a beat as he hugged me more gently and tightly than usual.
“…I can only remember the part where I was drinking a latte. Huh? Why am I here?”
“Just stay here for a while.”
“Eh? But I’ve got to distribute the food and serve rice balls to the guild members…”
“I told the Nachi I’d borrow you for a while, so don’t worry about it.”
‘As I thought, was it something related to me?’ While thinking about this, I hesitantly put my arm around Heath’s back. Although I was embarrassed that we were hugging, I was happy. I seemed to like Heath, after all. I wish Heath liked me, too.
Just when I thought that-
“Neji, I love you.”
“I like you. Always stay by my side, please.”
When Heath suddenly confessed to me, my eyes widened.
I stared at Heath’s face in surprise, seeing that he was also looking at me. Then he tilted his face, planted a brief kiss on my lips, and hugged me tightly again.
I wondered what was with him all of a sudden. It was the sweetest thing he had ever said to me. My heart rate went into overdrive, and my cheeks were hot.
“I-I, too… umm… s-so… I like you too, Heath.”
Heath laughed softly at my words. It was really strange. This was the second time I’d seen such a precious expression on his face. Did something happen? There must have been a reason why he’s suddenly being sweet.
“What on earth is going on all of a sudden?”
“All of a sudden? I’ve always liked you.”
I was pretty sure I was totally blushing; I felt so embarrassed that I covered my face with my hands. Heath stroked my head with one hand and hugged my waist with the other.
“When did you start liking me, Neji?”
“I just made the realization recently… but I’m positive I like you more than you like me!”
“That’s not true. I’ve always loved you; you know.”
“W-w-why are you so suddenly…”
“I realized that I hadn’t really conveyed my feelings to you. Neji, will you be my lover?”
“Yeah… Eh? WHAT?! Is it really okay if it’s me?”
What the hell was that? How embarrassing. It might not be appropriate to get worked up over this during the whole “can’t log out” situation. But it was such a pleasant feeling to know that my feelings were being understood and reciprocated.
“I’ll always be there for you from now on.”
Umm. Was this a dream? I could not wrap my head around what was happening. He seemed to have completely turned 180. He seemed different from the usual Heath. What on earth could have happened to make him act like this?
I stiffened, still beet red, and glanced fleetingly around the room. There was a bed, a couch, a table and a small kitchenette; It was closer to a real studio than my room, the house was decorated with ornamental plants and smelled vaguely nice.
“You must be tired.”
“No? I was in charge of the cooking today but couldn’t do it, so not really. You’re the tired one, aren’t you, Heath?”
“…Maybe. I need some rest. Come on.”
Heath urged me to get up. He sat down on the bed and rolled over with me in his arms. When I looked at him with a slight shock in my eyes, he wrapped his arms around me and gazed into my face.
Have I ever had a normal night’s sleep with Heath before? No, I hadn’t. However, this night, Heath just hugged me like a pillow and lowered his eyes.
That was the beginning, and since then, three days have passed. Heath was sweet.
Currently, he was giving me a good morning kiss. I was in Heath’s arms, thrilled to have my tongue entwined with his.
“I like you, Neji.”
“Ah… ah… ngh, me too…”
Heath caressed my cheek, and my eyes welled up involuntarily. Heath had been whispering endearing words to me for the past three days, and I’ve been getting spoiled.
However, it was about time. I was a Guild master, after all. I couldn’t just leave Mashed Potato2 unattended, and neither could Heath with his Genesis.
“Hey, Heath. I’ll be returning today.”
“I’m leaving. Let me go.”
Having said that, I tried to push against his chest, but he strengthened his arms more. I was baffled by the hug. Although I was too happy when Heath told me he liked me, our situation was still currently like this.
“Everyone got to be worried, even about you, Heath, right?”
“–I’ve quit being a Guild master.”
My eyes widened in shock at his abrupt words.
“You quit… Why?”
“Neji. I’m going to ask again, how much do you really remember about what happened at Lewis’ Cafe?
“Hmm? Well… I believe someone tapped me on the shoulder, and… I don’t remember anything after that. The next thing I know, I opened my eyes and here I was.”
Heath shut his eyes, a complicated expression was on his face, and when he opened them, he looked somewhat pained.
“The blackmailer’s target was you, Neji. Because of me.”
“He went after you because you like me.”
“What do you mean? Eh?”
“The summoning letter was a setup.”
“Even so… Normally, external manipulation like this… Unless they were one of the administrators, the sender of the message can’t be faked, so it’s not your fault.”
I kept listening till my sense of reality was no more.
“The culprit– Ruki– who targeted and summoned you, knocked you out and kidnapped you.”
“Ruki was the culprit?! What? I was kidnapped… I don’t remember anything like that happening…”
“You seemed to have been unconscious the whole time. It’s a blessing in disguise. I’m glad that you didn’t experience anything scary.”
“…B-but, I’m here now… is it because you helped me? Did I burden you in any way?”
“You’ve done nothing wrong. You didn’t trouble me at all.”
“What were Ruki’s demands? If I remember correctly, the blackmail letter demanded Genesis to be dissolved- …Hm? You, quitting from being the Guild master… Don’t tell me that…?”
“It’s nothing if it’s to save you.”
I looked at Heath, who smiled faintly, and I gulped.
“Did you quit being a Guild master to save me?”
“–Ruki seemed to have lost interest and scoffed at me, saying there is no need to dissolve it.”
“…I’m sorry. Because of me…”
“I’m telling you Neji, it’s not your fault.”
With that, Heath hugged me closer. He then kissed me on my cheek and quietly said, “I’ll never leave your side ever from now on. I will always protect you.”
“But then… The logout, we’d all be in trouble without you. I will… I’ll be obedient! I’m not going to bother you anymore, so…!”
“I won’t be able to do anything because I’ll be too worried, and in the end, it’ll all be the same. So, please. Stay with me, Neji.”
I ended up not knowing what to say anymore.