That’s What You Call a Hardcore Gamer!
Read at Watashi Wa Sugoi Desu!
[Extra] afterwards ⑨ – Your Beloved Things
“Where are you going?” Heath asked.
As I walked to the door with the scarf he had given me around my neck, he stopped me by grabbing my hand.
I replied, “When I was riding the monorail, I saw a park brightened with lights, and I suddenly felt like going there. Well… it’s kinda rare to find places for sightseeing in a rural area like this.”
I chuckled as I resumed my steps. Heath was still watching me.
Heath said, “I didn’t expect you to remember that it’s Christmas, since you’re always busy with gaming.”
“I do,” I affirmed. “I celebrated Christmas with Nachi last year, before logging in for the event.”
At the mention of Nachi, Heath commented, “Both of you are always together, huh.”
“The same can be said for you and Mao, right?” I retorted.
Suddenly feeling nostalgic, my lips curled into a smile. Heath tilted his head slightly and sighed.
“Mao wanted to spend the event with Nachi last year.” Heath informed. “Just like how I wanted to spend it with you.”
“Oh?” I was surprised.
I began to wonder if Mao had been in love with Nachi at that time. Come to think of it, I just realized – I also didn’t know when Heath fell for me.
Heath added, “But then, the boss of the event arrived, which was keeping us busy. The casual players were chatting while Mao and I were focused on fighting. Still, we talked about seeing you guys, so we went to the tavern, and headed to the guild hall where you guys were at. It was a joint effort with the other guilds.”
“I see. But, I don’t remember both of you coming over.” I said, probing through my memory. “If you guys actually did, then it should’ve been a big deal, and I would clearly remember it.”
“We’d already made enough scenes along the way, so we gave up and went back to fighting,” Heath explained.
I had no idea. I only nodded a little in response. Though, there was something I still wanted to know.
“Heath, how long have you been in love with me?” I asked, straight to the point.
Heath immediately replied, “It started from when you saved me for the first time. Then, every time I saw you helping someone out, my feelings for you grew… I was also jealous of the beginners that you helped.”
I almost couldn’t believe it. “You’ve been longing for me for that long?”
“Well, yes. I don’t know how many times I’ve cursed myself for not exchanging contacts with you.”
I turned my head away from Heath. My cheeks were getting hot and I didn’t want him to see how embarrassed I was. However, his hand was still clasped around mine, not letting me go. In the end, I decided to change the subject.
“Then, how long has Mao liked Nachi?” I asked. “And do you know the reason why?”
Heath answered, “Nachi often used his skills as a priest to heal the wounded, right? That even includes strangers. I don’t think Nachi remembers, but he’s healed Mao several times. So Mao remembered Nachi’s name and planned to thank him someday, but after seeing him for a while, Mao said it was love at first sight.”
’So that’s what happened’, I thought to myself. It was true that Nachi often healed players with low HP when fighting bosses. He used a support-type skill that will carry out group healing.
“Although you’d call me and Mao as the ‘pros’, you and Nachi are still veterans compared to us. Both of you have helped us a lot.”
“I see,” was the only thing I could say.
“Now, it’s my turn to ask,” Heath said menacingly. “How long have you been in love with me, Neji?”
I couldn’t back away. So I answered, “I… I’ve heard about how hard it is to become a skilled player like you… So I ended up admiring you, and… I thought about how awesome it is to have worked so hard that you made it that far. Then, whenever you saved me from when we were unable to log out, my feelings of admiration for you had turned into love.”
It was an honest response from me. In return, I was entrapped in Heath’s intense gaze.
“Have you ever thought of doing sexual things with me after that?” Heath asked, while still staring at me.
“Oh, no.” I was flustered. “I was completely head over heels for you that I thought it would be bad if I thought of you in that way.”
Remembering those days, I let out a sigh. Thick, white puffs of breath escaped from my mouth.
“I always think of doing that with you,” Heath confessed. “How naughty of me.”
“Now, all I want is to drink hot cocoa with you,” I said.
I was currently feeling nostalgic. The time when we were unable to log out was difficult, but now we had started seeing each other in real life thanks to it. It was a chance for us to get together, hence it became a historical memory for me. Heath sighed a little in response to my words. Seeing his sulky expression, it brought a smile to my face.
We ended up going to the park together. Once we arrived, the trees were mainly decorated with blue-colored lights, emitted from projectors. We walked and looked around while holding each others’ hands, after we were done we headed to a cafe located in the park, which was decorated with flowers.
While it was fun to create new memories, I wanted to talk to Heath more, and we were supposed to have lunch by now, since it was getting late.
“They make delicious sandwiches here, we even get to eat them hot.” I recommended.
“Which one would you order?” Heath asked.
“I think I’ll go for this one with shrimp.” I pointed to the menu.
“Then, I want the same, too.”
As he said that, Heath looked at me with a kind smile.
“I want to know everything you like,” Heath added.
I was embarrassed. “I want to know the things you like too.”
“There’s only one thing that I like,” Heath declared.
“Hmm? What is it?”
I alternated between looking at the menu and Heath. He propped his elbows on the table and rested his chin on his crossed fingers.
“What?” I thought I was hearing it wrong.
“I only like you,” Heath repeated. “Nothing else.”
At first, I thought he was only joking around. However, as soon as he spelt it out loud and clear to me, blood rushed to my face which made me feel hot all over. I might’ve looked like a boiled octopus to him.
“The meals have been decided. Then, what would you like to drink?” Heath asked.
I replied, “The one you’d order…”
“You want the same as me?” Heath asked again to confirm.
“I want to know what you like, too. Since… the one I like, is you.” I stuttered.
I was embarrassed to say it out loud. But I really wanted to tell him that I did harbor the same feelings for him. My voice was unexpectedly quiet, but Heath still heard me clearly. He looked as if he had been caught off guard, then a wide smile broke into his face.
Afterwards, we settled with hot sandwiches and coffee.
“Sorry for having a boring taste,” Heath said while laughing.
I didn’t mind- I was happy enough to see his smile.
It appeared that the lights looked better when the sky was dark. The sun went down early, so we stayed in the cafe and chatted until dusk.
“I can’t play games that much these days because I have exams,” I sighed. “I miss Night of Grand Guignol. I want to play VRMMORPGs all day, even doing nothing but chatting would be good enough for me.”
I couldn’t help but vent. In addition, my parents had asked me not to do it again, as they were afraid the attack would happen again. It was painfully obvious that I was making them worried.
“While me and Mao are starting on a new game.”
I sprang up. “Huh!? Really!? What game is it?”
“It’s a VRMMORPG called ‘Schwartz’s Dawn’, Genesis had a group on social media to recruit those who are interested to play it. Even my own guild asked me if I would like to join as well.”
“Is there anyone who’s against you playing it? Like, your family or something.” I asked.
Heath replied, “The guild was fine with it. In fact, lots of them are playing it too, like me and Mao.”
When I heard that, I rolled my eyes. It’s not like I haven’t heard of it, I had seen it from a video commercial before. It was a new game that was released half a month ago. Like Night of Grand Guignol, I believe it was only open to men. Suddenly, two worries arose in my mind.
“Heath, if an attack happens and you don’t wake up… I’m gonna cry,” I voiced my concern.
Heath brushed it off, “Certainly I’ve never been caught by a rookie before this.”
“I know. Then… If you love me because I’ve been supporting you in-game…” I addressed another concern of mine. “And now you’re going to play a different game…”
Heath would meet someone, of course. That person might be much better than me, which was making me anxious.
Heath opened his mouth, “Do you think someone else could steal my heart the way you did?”
“Neji, don’t you believe in my love for you?”
“It’s not like… I don’t trust you. But I’m still worried,” I explained.
“If you don’t want me to, then I’ll just quit right away,” Heath proclaimed.
I was taken aback. “But you want to play it, right? Since you’re a hardcore gamer, I don’t think you won’t be interested to try it. You really love gaming after all.”
“But I still love you more. I only wanted to try it because I thought it would impress you. There’s no way I would be interested in a game that you won’t play. It only happened because I had some free time.”
Having said so, Heath crossed his arms and looked at me.
“Besides, I’ll be busy from now on,” Heath informed. “I wouldn’t have much time to play games after this.”
“Huh? Is it about school?” I asked.
“No. I’m going to meet you during breaks so we can study together. Don’t you remember?” Heath reminded.
“Yeah,” I nodded.
Heath added, “If it’s possible, I want to see you every day. It’d be great if we could live together soon, since I don’t think I could bear with just texting you. When I met you in real life for the first time, I found myself wanting to see your face more and more in the future, and it made me want to be by your side even more, to the point it hurts.”
Hearing his words, my heart was warmed.
“I wish I could see you every day too, Heath.”
After passing the time with this exchange, we left the cafe. We walked around hand in hand, as we observed the lights shining under the night sky, just like when we arrived- but with different feelings this time.