turmoil.

I’m so worried about Haruno.

“What’s wrong, Kuromine-kun?”

“Haruno hasn’t gone home yet.
She’s not at her friend’s place either.”

“That’s a lie……It’s raining hard outside.”

“…Sorry, I’m going out for a bit.”

“Are you going to look for Harukaze-san?”

“Un.
I don’t think I’ll be able to find her even if I run around alone…”

“…Okay.
I know I should really stop you, but…You can use the umbrella at the front door.
Be careful.”

I answer, “Thank you” and hurry to the front door.

I picked up the umbrella and ran out the door, leaving it open.

It was darker than I expected, and it was difficult to see the intensity of the rain.

However, the sound of rain hitting the roof of the bicycle parking lot was echoing.

“It’s raining like this.
I don’t think she’s outside, as expected……”

Is she in a store somewhere, or at a friend’s house that her mother doesn’t know about?

Worst case scenario, she might be involved in some kind of crime———

“…….!”

It’s probably because I was thinking about the stalker earlier.

I can’t wipe away the bad thoughts.

If, if…something happens to Haruno…!

Unable to suppress my feelings, I run down the stairs of my apartment with the force of a leap.

I put up an umbrella and started running without worrying about getting my legs wet.

My shoes were wet and water was soaking through to my socks.

But none of that mattered.

First, let’s get on the train and go to a place near Haruno’s house.

Then, I’ll take turns in going to places where she might be―――

“…eh?”

It was when I was running on this narrow road, stepping through a puddle of water.

I saw a strange sight.

Someone was sitting perched under a streetlight with a burnt-out bulb.

The light was poor, so I could not see the figure clearly.

The presence was so weak that it made me think, “Is that a ghost?”

It is unusual to sit alone on a rainy night like this.

Normally I would have at least tried to talk to them, but right now I’m putting Haruno first.

I kept running, without stopping and when I saw the person while glancing, I tangled my legs and almost fell down.

“Ha, Haruno!?”

“……Riku-chan?”

The person sitting under the lamppost, unprotected and exposed to the rain…was my childhood friend.

Her entire body was soaking wet, as if she had entered a swimming pool with her clothes on.
Her hair sticking to her head, her waterlogged uniform is transparent to the point that one can see her underwear.

Above all, her eyes.

Her eyes, which did not hold light, were like murky glass balls, making you think she was dead.

“What….are you doing here, Haruno!? What are you doing here!?”

“…I wonder what I’m doing here…”

She dropped her gaze from me and smiled a thinly veiled self-deprecating smile.

“Haruno!”

I knelt down in front of Haruno and grabbed her right shoulder.

It was very cold and was trembling slightly.

I put the umbrella in my left hand above her hand.

The rain was pouring down on me like a shotgun, but I can’t be bothered.

“…Riku-chan, you’re getting wet?”

“It’s okay! Haruno is the one…What are you doing here!?”

“What am I……doing here……?”

“What’s going on!?”

“…If I were to say…it’s…..”

“…Haruno!?”

Haruno looks at me carefully and begins to talk with her blue-purple stained lips.

“Today, I realized a lot of things…I thought about a lot of things…”

“Alright, alright, so…First, we need to take shelter――――”

“Are you happy, Riku-chan?”

“…eh?”

“Are you happy…with Ayana?”

“Wh, what do you mean?”

I really didn’t know what she meant.

And the meaning and intent of that question.

There are so many things I don’t understand.

“…At first I thought, if Riku-chan…I figured if you still like me……But that’s ignoring Riku-chan’s wishes…”

“What are you talking about……”

“I’m sorry for the horrible things I’ve said……That I don’t see you as someone of the opposite sex……It’s awful…….If I was in Riku-chan’s shoes….I would have died….”

“――――”

What powerless and realistic words.

Are the drops from Haruno’s eyes rain dripping from her forehead or tears?

“…If, you’re happy with Ayana……forget about me……okay?”

Saying this in a fragile voice, Haruno slowly closed her eyelids.

And then, as if her consciousness had been cut off, she sagged helplessly.

“…Haruno? Pull yourself together! Haruno!”

“…….”

Haruno did not reply.

The only sound I could hear was the rain beating against the umbrella.

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