Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
I stared at Amami’s back as he walked ahead of me.
We finally arrived at a small park near the station.
I remembered the time I previously stopped by a ramen shop with Amami on the way home.
At that time, I never would’ve imagined that I would feel this way toward someone.
After the incident, Amami grabbed me and ran away from the English prep room and Hasegawa-sensei.
When I threw Hasegawa-sensei, I thought he would quickly come to his senses since he fell on his back. I don’t think anyone would sue a student for using a throwing technique on someone attacking them, so my act of violence wouldn’t be exposed. Probably.
But his uselessly long limbs bumped into various things during the trip down so there was a possibility that he was covered in bruises.
Glancing between Hasegawa-sensei, who was on the ground, and me, who was just standing there without even needing to say, “I was the one who did it,” Amami immediately pulled me away by the arm.
I opened my mouth to give some excuses, but Amami began to walk faster and faster, so I ended up staying quiet.
We went to the usual park that was always devoid of people hanging around.
Amami sat down on the same bench as last time and gestured at the space next to him. I obediently sat next to him.
“First, let’s hear about the situation.”
Amami with his long legs crossed and smiling elegantly was scary.
Although he looked like he was smiling, I knew that he was not actually smiling.
Additionally, he had never used that kind of questioning tone before, so I made myself as small as possible by shrinking my shoulders.
“…So, I threw him over my back in a way that wouldn’t hit his head. Right after that, you arrived, and now we’re here.”
I gave a gist of what happened earlier.
Honestly, I wasn’t exactly that opposed to telling a close friend, especially Amami, about how a man had assaulted me. But it rather felt like torture.
It was just a skill that was hammered into me when I was young, but I didn’t think that the martial arts I learned in elementary school would be used in this sort of situation.
If I wasn’t able to deter him even with that, then everything could have turned for the worse by the time Amami stepped in.
Though, you could say that I was relieved that he didn’t have to see such a frightening scene.
“A beta contract teacher aiming for a male beta student. Who would’ve thought…”
“I don’t care who he likes, I just wished he wouldn’t involve me in it. Seriously.”
“It’s because Karasawa is way too defenseless. That’s why that bastard took advantage of you.”
“Huh?! Are you saying that I’m also in the wrong?”
I wanted to snap back at him for saying something so outrageous, but was startled seeing his eyes look more serious than expected.
“That’s not it. But Karasawa, how should I say this…? You feel like you would accept anything if they insisted enough.”
“No no, if I really don’t want to do something I’d properly refuse. I’m not that much of a goody-two-shoes.”
“Even though there’s no need for a student to clean up the prep room, you still thoughtlessly followed him there.”
“That was because… he was a teacher I was depending on.”
“That’s exactly what I mean by defenseless.”
Seeing how Amami seemed so immediately irritated also set my nerves aflame.
Even though he called me defenseless, it wasn’t like I did it on purpose. I should always be cautious.
Even in this case, I didn’t go along with him lightly, nor did I take kindly to just anyone.
That’s why, even though he said that people can just act kind to lower my defenses… If I suspected everyone, then who can I trust?
“Then are you saying that I should assume that each and every person has bad intentions? That even you and Kijima are my enemies?”
“I’d much rather you do that than be chased by a man where my eyes can’t see.”
“Are you being serious?”
Amami glared straight ahead of him instead of facing my way, and his irritation even scared me.
Was my so-called mistake this time really that big of a deal?
With the shock of being assaulted by a man adding to Amami’s fierce and cold words resonating in my head, I felt my surroundings spin.
“I… At the very least, I would never suspect you or Kijima…!”
The words I forced out, accidentally came out as a shout.
When I presented as an omega, I thought I would be subjected to a life of constantly being exploited by others.
That’s why I hid my secondary gender.
If I were to live as a beta, I believed that I could at least delude myself into thinking that I could run away from being constantly exploited.
But I was pinned down by a stranger even as a beta. Must I forever be on guard against a life of continuously having something taken away?
Suspecting even my friends?
Was he saying that I was not allowed to be me, regardless of my secondary gender?
With a sharp gasp, Amami looked my way.
Those eyes lost their edge and relieved me a little.
“Sorry, I said too much…”
I must’ve been making an extremely pathetic face, because he suddenly pulled me close to him.
Amami’s collar bones were before my eyes, and I was close enough to smell a cool refreshing scent from his body. It reminded me of high school boys after school.
With this—it was almost as if he was embracing me.
No, he really was.
“Wh– Amami! What’re you doing all of a sudden?!”
“I’m sorry. I was feeling irritated so I took my anger out on you even though you’re the one having a hard time.”
“Well—it was just an attempt anyway, and it’s natural for you to be angry at how pathetic I was being.”
“No, it’s fine. You’re fine the way you are… I’m glad you’re okay.”
I tried to struggle in his hold, but it was useless.
On the contrary, I was drawn closer until there was no distance left between our bodies.
With Amami’s arm wrapped around my back and shoulders, this was the closest he has ever let me be. I was extremely conscious of his handsome profile and blood gradually gathered at my face.
It was completely different from when Hasegawa-sensei embraced me.
No matter the reason, was there anyone who wouldn’t be happy to be embraced by their crush?
No, there wasn’t.
I might as well enjoy this privilege while it lasts. Just as I closed my eyes, Amami whispered into my ear.
“Hey, can we become lovers?”
I tore myself out of Amami’s hold with all my might.
And I grasped Amami’s shoulders with both my hands to stare at the face in front of me.
Huh? Was I hallucinating from my desire?
“Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Can you say it again?”
“Let’s go out with each other.”
I wasn’t hearing things!
What was this guy saying!?
As if what he was saying was completely normal, Amami had his usual expression on—which astounded me.
“Um… Why would you say something like that so suddenly?”
“Well. This isn’t the first time you’ve acted so defenseless, and I’ve realized that there are limits to how much I can protect you as a friend.”
“I’m not so weak as to need protection…”
“You won’t always be up against someone weaker than you like today. If I were too late, I would never forgive myself.”
Because I was shaking his shoulders, he swayed back and forth, but his intonation didn’t go up or down, as if he was just talking about the weather.1
He was so calm that it felt like I was the weird one for being flustered.
After listening to him, I also became more composed.
“From a more practical standpoint… It means that I don’t need to take any action if an alpha takes a liking to you since you’ll be mine. I can give you something like a claiming mark. It’s especially effective against lower-ranked alphas, and betas in general. But it is still effective no matter what the secondary gender of the target is.”
So there was something like that?
Although they said that alphas were an existence that dominated everything, it seemed that there was also a ranking order amongst alphas. It would be difficult for a low-ranked alpha to defy a high-ranked alpha.
It was true that alphas are equals, but when there was a scramble amongst them for things or people, if there was nothing that could stop them, then it might become like a scene from hell.
So that alphas wouldn’t fight and decrease their already diminished population, I understood that there was a seemingly absurd ranking system.
The term “claiming mark” kinda gave off a bad feeling, but… it’s not like your partner can be with you 24/7—so combined with the alpha ranking system, there was nothing more secure than that.
Something like that would be logical between lovers, but just having a mark wouldn’t necessarily mean you’re lovers. As I thought that, Amami continued on.
“If I gave you that marking, then incidents like this would happen less. Like this, I can protect you until graduation.”
With those few words, my head cooled down.
Thoughts like “Maybe I can become lovers with my one-sided crush” floated away.
Amami already has an absolute pair for him.
In this grace period before he became tied to his “fated pair”, he was just offering a way of protecting his close and pitiful male friend from being assaulted.
There was no other meaning to his proposal.
If it held any other meaning, then that would be my problem alone.
If this was the case, then I needed to refuse such a falsehood.
For Amami’s sake, and for Nishikawa, who looked so happy leaning against him.
Though I thought this in my head, what slipped out of my mouth were completely different words.
—Ahh, how wretched am I?
“Really? Great, now I don’t have to worry anymore.”
“I leave myself in your care.”
“No need to be so formal. We’ve become lovers after all.”
Amami shyly made the request with a relieved atmosphere absent of distress.
He embraced me once again as we sat, but this time I also put my arms around his back.
This situation with a time limit might be my biggest windfall yet.
I no longer needed to continue dragging out unnecessary things in my life from now on as a beta.
It was bearable if I thought of this as giving up on my first and last love once and for all, and treating this as something like a rite to continue my life of being buried by the masses.
It was not in my nature to always be afraid of the possibility of losing something.
It would be much easier since I knew from the beginning that it would end.
If I thought about it, my goal was also my studies and raising plants. This was a clear-cut world where you go through various processes to achieve things.
(Since the man himself said that it was fine, he would probably forgive me for at least having a few months of good memories.)
I started thinking that I didn’t actually care about Nishikawa, whom I only knew for a few days, especially since we weren’t even friends.
I’m amazed at myself.
Even though he has always felt like a thorn in my side, I’m being self-centered.
(I’ll give you my body and soul. In exchange, only my future is mine.)
I was my own enemy.
A forcibly pried-open lid, and with the pain came the remnants of overflowing love. There was nothing I could do about it.
Just three more months before we all graduate.
Author’s Note: Next is Kijima’s POV.