Chapter 48 – The Sea and the Distress and the Pairing 
I often wonder why I came here.
I also wonder if I’m dead in the other world. Otherwise, I may be in a coma or am brain dead. I think of such possibilities. I’m so ignorant of the reason I came to this world that I think it’ll be nice if a God-sama, who’s often in those reincarnation tales, appears and tells me “I reincarnated you”.
It seems that the time limit of a year will arrive before an answer does.
According to Subaru, this game will end on the 31st of March next year.
When that day comes, we’ll know if we can return to reality or if there’s more ahead. Either way, it will end.
At first, I absolutely, absolutely wanted to return no matter what. But now, I find returning just a little lonely.
Hey Soutarou, you’re the only one who makes me feel this way. What are you gonna do?
When I raise my head with such thoughts, I see Soutarou looking up at the sky. The beautiful side profile that Subaru’s kindred spirit designed. Short, glossy black hair and gentle, droopy eyes of the same color. His beautiful Adam’s apple and the lines of his collar bones are strangely erotic and smooth to the touch. There are 2 moles, side by side on his left collar bone but are these also from the character design?
“What’s wrong, Mako?”
Nn? Soutarou tilts his head.
“I was just thinking that it’s fun.”
“Eh, what is it, all of a sudden?”
“No idea. Y’know, I really had fun, today. Nah, it’s not just today. It’s really fun being with everyone.”
It’s fun to be with everyone. That’s why I want to always be with everyone. Together always.
But that’s not possible, huh? The world I belong to isn’t here. Therefore, I must return. My heart squeezes in pain when I think of that.
Soutarou seems astonished when he peeks at my face. After which, his eyebrows forms the ハ character.
“Mako, that’s not the face of someone having fun.”
“‘Cause, you look like you’re about to cry.”
Surprised at having my cheek stroked, my shoulders contract. It was only at Soutarou’s words did I realise that I was about to cry.
I see. I was about to cry. Staying here or leaving. Whichever choice I make, I’ll definitely regret it.
Thousands of billions of stars are twinkling in the sky. This starry sky has remained unchanged since the distant past and is connected to the future. This is surely the case for the other world. And for this world too.
“I can’t hide anything from Soutarou, huh.”
“Why are you about to cry?”
Just as usual, Soutarou cries “Kyun~kyun~” sadly.
His tail hangs, swaying weakly while his dog ears droop. Looking at me with upturned eyes, trying to please me. How cute, damn it.
“… I had too much fun?”
By no means could I go “To tell you the truth, I came from another world,” making him think I’ve chuunibyou. Neither could I spout something ridiculous like “To tell you the truth, I’m female”. I can only let my gaze swim as I smile bitterly.
However, Soutarou isn’t convinced. A sad expression flash by.
“I’m not lying.”
“So Mako was a liar all along.”
I subconsciously laugh when he says something so child-like.
I try to pat the head of Soutarou who’s sulking for once. His short, black hair are a little stiff. Pricking my palm.
All of a sudden, Soutarou’s face turns serious and he grabs my hand. Soutarou’s serious look is slightly scary. There’s a fear as though your tame golden retriever turned into a wild wolf or a Siberian husky.
My shoulders subconsciously tremble. The arm in his grip hurts.
“Let go, Soutarou. It hurts.”
I reflexively frown.
Soutarou’s expression changes into wonder and his grip grows increasingly strong. Even though Soutarou gives off a cute feeling like a pet dog, his body is muscular and his strength is absurd; he’s no lightweight. Moreover, he makes beast-like expressions like this sometimes. He could turn out to be the most dangerous person.
“Mako, … cute.”
I remember a sensation as though time had stopped for several seconds.
“… … Eh?”
Could it be, or should I say as expected, Soutarou looks at me that way. I’m fully aware of my conceit but as expected, he likes me. Probably.
I apologise for reacting like an obtuse heroine but I’m an unpopular woman and has never had romantic feelings pointed towards me before. Thus I don’t really get whether I’m liked or disliked. Sorry!
“Mako, you smell good.”
Squeeze, he hugs me, burying his face at my nape. Sniff sniff, he sniffs the back of my ear, giving me a ticklish feeling.
With the momentum from sniffing me, he pushes me onto the sand, securing both my wrists against it. Is this that? The scenario of getting pushed down.
Soutarou straddles me, who’s sprawled on the sand. I look up at Soutarou. He’s illuminated by the stars and moon hanging in the night sky. Don’t tell me this is a CG? Could I have entered Soutarou’s route?
Speaking of Soutarou, he seems to have pushed me down subconsciously; his eyes have become dots. After which, he becomes feverish, such that even his earlobes are red.
“Ah, nah… I don’t really mind.”
Despite his apology, he’s not moving from his position above me.
Move! I unceremoniously rub Soutarou’s thigh with my knee.
Paying that no attention at all, Soutarou tangles his fingers with mine and presses me harder, harder onto the sand. The back of my head’s feeling gritty to the max. This is my pyjamas y’know. I definitely don’t want to sleep in my futon wearing this later on. Thoughts disparate from the current situation cross a corner of my head.
At the same time, I’m also thinking that I’ll be troubled if Soutarou confesses to me now. This is extremely rude to say but, honestly speaking, the current me can only choose to turn it down. Because I still have attachments to the other world and I’m the older brother of the heroine, Mitsuki. What’s the point of me capturing Soutarou?
I like Soutarou. I like him very much. But this is definitely as a friend.
What’s on Soutarou’s mind now?
He’s looking down towards me with a face like he’s about to cry yet laugh at the same time. Unable to gather anything from those eyes, I feel chilly fear run down my spine.
A low, hoarse and teasing tenor reaches my ears.
My cheeks must be red. Not wanting the moonlight to illuminate my red face, I turn my head to the right as much as I can. But that was careless of me. Unexpectedly, Soutarou’s lips touch my exposed neck.
The arm I move to hit Soutarou’s head wouldn’t budge. Soutarou’s strength is absurd after all.
His lips open faintly and he bites my neck. Being bitten on the neck where the skin is thin, I become wide-eyed in shock. I was bitten! My neck got bitten!
It isn’t painful but I’m in shock. What’s with this situation. Isn’t it just like the otome games Subaru makes? Subaru had produced a number of otome games and games till this day. Come to think of it, there was one vampire game with a CG like this.
Wait, that’s not it. This won’t do. Not being able to settle in the frame known as ‘friends’, wouldn’t this be a new genre classified under some sort of ‘lovers’?!
“Don’t get carried away, fool!”
With all my might, I free my right arm that was pressed down and push Soutarou’s shoulder away forcefully. While I’m at it, I lightly kick Soutarou’s stomach with my right leg. The kick may have surprisingly landed on a good spot because Soutarou falls on his butt.
Seeming to finally return to his senses this time, Soutarou’s eyes blink in surprise. Such a Soutarou’s quite cute too but I’m awfully angry. I glare at him fiercely.
I might have lost something important if I didn’t kick Soutarou away right here and now, y’know. Though I already lost the important thing known as my neck!
“What are you doing. Leaving teeth marks on my neck! And even pushing me down. I was frightened!”
“U, …Um, my heart kinda squeezed in pain when I saw Mako and I felt like touching Mako. Because Mako’s cute…”
What rubbish are you spouting, you foolish dog.
When I glare at the fool with an absolute zero look, my eyes meet his, whose dog ears and tail are drooping as he looks at me with upturned eyes, trying to please me. He looks miserable with his eyebrows like the ハ character and his mouth in a pout. I can almost hear a frantic voice saying: “Sorry, I’m sorry”. In any case, it’s cute so I feel like forgiving him.
Perhaps that feeling was conveyed to him; he ingratiates himself, gives an embarrassed smile that seems like it has an “Ehehe?” SFX affixed to it.
I once wondered if this guy acts like this because he has a complete understanding of his own charm: his cuteness, coolness and such. But with this, I’m sure. This kid, although I don’t know if he does it instinctually or intentionally, definitely understands his own charm. Sly. Teacher, this dog is sly as expected.
“I’m sorry for causing you discomfort. But I did it because I like you, Mako.”
“Look here, about that matter—”
I like Soutarou too. However, that’s as a friend.
I’ll absolutely not like Soutarou in that way.
Thinking that it’s time I tell him clearly and cleanly, I open my mouth. Nonetheless, as though to interrupt my words, Soutarou gives a broad smile and grips my hand. He then looks at me with upturned eyes, complete with dog ears. The finishing blow was a head tilt.
“Naturally, it’s because Mako’s an important friend, you know?”
Making his large body small, he peeks at my face.
He then narrows his droopy eyes even more gently and smile,――… this is it. Checkmate, it’s my loss. As expected of a sly doggy.
In any case, the heart of I, who likes cute kids, had subconsciously clenched. Sly or not, cute things are cute.
Still, this, this technique that prevents me from saying words of rejection is amazing.
He confessed, riding on the possibility of becoming lovers with me. However, I was about to refuse so he countered with “because we’re friends”. If he continues to insist “because we’re friends, right?” even in the future, everything will be forgiven.
When my thoughts reach this point, I realise what an appalling two-faced person he is if he said “because you’re an important friend” as a counter.
“Oh, … I see. Friends, you say? Yeah….”
Is Soutarou really a natural two-faced person? Or did he grow to be two-faced?
Judging from the grinning Soutarou, I can’t tell.
 (out of surprise). Like this.