Hiya! Glad I didn't take too long this time hehe. This is it! The bonus chapter of the WHOLE part 2 that I had planned. This is a really short, summarized version of how it all played out in my head back in the day, so some details were set aside and some character development hadn't been completely thought of, but I just gave it a shot. In honor too of 15-year old me's deepest wishes for the official completion story.
It's been real fun, you guys! This is finally FINALLY it! Thanks for the ride again. Really had a wonderful time getting this out. I can now look back at this story and feel I could smile a bit wider now. Hope you enjoy! Leave a review of your thoughts, things you liked or didn't, things you want to say, anything! Just remember to be nice please hehe. Thank you all so much!
TW btw! There's an arc that has to do with self-harm and suicide. Please read at your own discretion.
The Mikami Erina Arc – the combat club's worst nightmare
;;Mikami Erina is now the club supervisor
"I'll be fine~ I'm sure I can handle this bunch!" she said when Mai asked her if she will be okay with leaving her now.
When she was alone with combat club, she said, "But I'm glad to hear you do nothing harmful with your skills like maybe try to kill your teacher while you're at it."
Her smile was as sweet as it was deceptive and menacing. "I'm sure you've done things like that before, right?"
Rio could barely make a coherent thought. "…Who…"
"Oh, my time's up. Guess I'll be seeing you all tomorrow. I look forward to working with you 'til then~"
;;Karma apologizes to Mai after what he did to her last Christmas
"I don't remember that." Mai looked genuinely clueless.
"Angry? Oh no, no, that's much too scary for me! So…" she smiled. "I don't remember such a thing happening."
Karma was thankful.
;;Yuzuki, Rio, and Rinka congratulate Manami on her relationship status. Yuzuki and Rio are a bit bitter about theirs and how she managed to graduate from singlehood first but that aside they're really happy for her. They asked her if he'd already taken her out on any dates, to their utter horror, she said no.
"What even counts as a date?"
Oh boy. This was going to be one heck of a ride all over again.
Rio vowed to take vengeance on Karma for her.
Yuzuki tried to stop her.
Rinka was the only one who gave real relationship advice – which was listen to everyone but those two.
But first, there's a very, very pesky little demon girl they have to deal with, which may just ruin their relationship altogether. And it just started. Yuzuki especially hated her, to everyone's surprise. Their wavelengths were just so far off tangent that their personalities were immediately at war. They thought Rio would be the one to call her the bane of her existence, but towards all that Erina is, she was actually just, in a word, exasperated. Like she was just a try-hard version of Bitch-sensei. Rinka agreed, and found her a pain – like the fake beauty pageant winners she would roll her eyes at. Manami sighed, feeling rather helpless. She thought they were going to sail smoothly this year but now yet another blast from the past has come back to literally haunt them. But now she can't help but have a few questions – who really is Mikami Erina, and what the heck is her problem with her?
;;Karma and Mai talk about Erina – on why she's so diabolical
While they observe Erina toy with all the people around her during the sports fest, they have a conversation.
"They're all like dogs ogling at their master," Karma snidely said.
"Mhm. Erina has a complete grasp on how to win people's hearts – she's mastered it so much I'd commend it to be amazing but…" Mai frowned. "What she's doing to herself is far from good."
Karma sighed. "Is that why you assigned her to us?"
"I'm counting on you~"
;;Manami was embarrassed that the girls told Karma off about the whole 'never been on a date' issue, but how could they? It's only been a little over a month since they started, and she already enjoyed the simple walks, juicebox lunches, and the occasional dinner with her and Inari. Karma admitted to her that he was never one for arranging that stuff given that – and he was so embarrassed when he said it – he's never dated anyone as seriously as her. Manami and Karma promise and plan for many things for the school excursion – call it an official first date, and one with a bunch of surprises from his end.
;;Manami gets framed for stealing from the hot guy in her class
"N-No! It's not what you think! This is just probably a coincidence!"
"Okuda-san, I appreciate that you may have feelings for me, but it's disappointing for you to have to create this mischievous plan for my attention…"
"W-Wha—N-No it's not like that! It's not like that at all!"
"Hahh~" Manami turned around. Erina was on her seat, looking all sassy and condescending. "I didn't think you were the type to cheat, O-ku-da-san~ And to think you'd stoop this low just for the attention."
"That's not—" Manami cut herself off, hearing the whispers among the other girls.
"Yeah! Isn't she already dating that Akabane guy?"
"How much more selfish can she get?"
"So there are those who just play innocent after all."
"To think it's her of all people."
Manami got serious déjà vu, when faces like Mimura Naoki's came to mind.
"Oh," Erina smirked, "looks like you're busted."
;;The incident made the combat club members realize that Mikami Erina wanted only one thing – to sabotage combat club and take them out of business. The question was, why? Manami's incident with her in first year couldn't possibly be enough. Because even then, she already knew about 3-E. But how?
Who even is Mikami Erina?
;;Fed up with how she was being treated, Manami fought Erina back when they got into a fight in the chemistry lab after school. Manami had all the advantages, and eventually won when Erina's hair had been singed once again.
Both of them got caught. They were excluded from the field trip and forced to go on a 'get along' retreat while the rest of the students went to have fun.
;;Karma is lonely on his 2nd year field trip. All their plans now for nothing, he was sulky the whole trip. Okajima tried to cheer him up, and it turned out, harassing the hell out of that pervert did cheer him up. Reminded him that he was Karma, not just boyfriend like all this pressure he'd been getting from the girls of his club. Being Karma didn't mean he loved Manami less.
;;Yuzuki and Sugino have a fun time making fun of the PDA couples during the field trip. Red flags waved in Yuzuki's mind, but she didn't care. She was having a great time.
;;Manami vs Erina happens many times during their 'get along' retreat, but they eventually have a heart to heart, and the real story of Mikami Erina comes out.
She had met Korosensei before. During summer while all the students were out.
Mikami Erina was once a middle school outcast – because her pretty looks made her hated by every girl. All the boys naturally flocked to her even if she wasn't interested, and had more tasteful interests like social science, mathematics, and education. She hardly cared, but the rest of them did. They made her life hell. Fed up of it all one day, she climbed up a mountain, and found a strange, run-down building, where there was an even stranger creature – an alien octopus, he had said.
After he got her to talk about her problems and in return she asked about him, he told her all about how if his students don't assassinate him by the end of the year, the world would be destroyed.
Hearing about him dying was appalling, because this was the first time any adult – anyone for that matter – didn't blame her for her problems. He didn't tell her to get along better with others. Didn't tell her that she had to adjust in any way possible. He said everything she wanted – don't waste your time on them. It is why, hearing about what 3-E will do to him, she said,
"It's okay if the world gets destroyed."
Korosensei told her that the envy from others breeds contempt in us. He understood that it also wasn't her fault for feeling the way she did. But cruel as this world is, it is not worth destroying. Because people like her give him hope. He can see in her eyes that she could be greater than a pretty face, even if her personality's a little rotten, the things she can do can be great. Rise above and you will see, the envy they feel is nothing but a small itch on your back once you see yourself for who you are. Embrace that self, be that self, and nothing will ever shake you.
"How do I find her?"
"By being honest," he said, "but also, by being kind."
Then, with a wide mischievous grin, he followed it up with, "and of course, by being just a little bit clever."
Erina ended her story, and said one thing led to another, still struggled to really fit in in school until she used his advice to become clever. She still got angry at 3-E for taking away the one person she thought that mattered in this world. He said that everything would be fine after the year but he lied. She wasn't fine. She missed him so.
Manami said they all do.
More than she could ever imagine. So much that thinking about him always, always makes her cry at night, thinking about what could have been if they didn't do it. But there was no point in it anymore. He died with a smile on his face. He told them to be happy, so Manami won't let even Erina, no matter what Korosensei meant to her, take that away from her.
Erina found a new respect for 3-E after her time with Manami. She got to know their side of the story, and eventually came to find peace after these past years of wanting nothing but revenge.
Manami had to ask, if she was desperate for revenge, why did she transfer?
"Family stuff. Mai never talks about them, right? That's because it's pretty bad. But that's all I'm gonna say. Don't stick your nose into it."
It was the rocky start of a new, peculiar friendship.
;;Manami got sick after the retreat. Karma came by everyday to take care of her – they like this first date better, because it was a first date where they were always close and it lasted for days. He helped her eat, they talked a lot, they watched movies, and had the best time doing the most domestic things together the better she got, like getting the laundry, cooking for each other, and answering each other's phone calls. It was delightful.
Inari witnessed it all and saw in her mind an image in the far future, that may look just like this one.
;;Inari and Karma's talk about the dedication it takes being in a relationship.
"Do you understand where I'm going with this talk?" she asked.
"It only means that you should be prepared for the painful things that are gonna be coming your way. But right now, things are different; from here on out you and Manami are supposed to support each other through all the hardships that lie ahead of you – neither of you should leave the other if you want to overcome them. That's what it means to be together."
;;Karma catches Manami talking to Asano Gakushuu outside the train station. The bastard left before he could even give him a Karma-induced headache. Tch.
But there were other matters.
"Oh, you mean that? Gakushuu-kun was just –"
"Eh – yes. Gakushuu-kun helpe—"
"Er—Mm. He just helped me find my way out of the store…" She blinked at Karma's annoyed face. "Is something the matter?"
"Why are you calling that guy by his first name?"
"Eh—Well…we were classmates before and he once asked me something about science. He was also a little nice to me when he helped me with Japanese after I did too." In Karma's view, she was full of roses and sparkles as she talked about him. His eye twitched as she continued.
"And while we were studying together he told me that I could call him by his first name since he said I was nice and that he enjoyed my company. Of course I wasn't so sure about that before but…N?"
Karma couldn't believe it, but as much as he knew he was being petty, he felt righteously so.
Manami laughed and kissed him on the cheek. Startled, his shoulders jumped, and he recoiled.
"Were you jealous of Gakushuu-kun?"
He stuttered an excuse, and cursed that it ruined his usual image. Manami laughed again. The longer they were together, the more she was finding things about Karma that were not just cool and handsome, but also...cute, boyish, shy, and just plain genuine. It made her fall for him more and more, and she didn't think that was possible. Though Karma normally led their relationship so far, it felt refreshing to switch roles.
"Maybe I should just start calling you Karma."
His blush was even more furious. Then, he laughed too, put his arm around her and pulled her close. "That does make me feel better."
Briefly after this, Gakushuu ran into a girl who he did not know was Mai-senpai.
A very broody, cold, almost corpse-like Mai-senpai.
;;Karma and Manami got part-time jobs for fun. They worked for Okimura tailoring.
Once, he copied how she spoke.
"Thank you very much. We're deeply sorry for having caused you trouble."
Manami squeaked upon hearing it, and it was clear Karma was making fun of her in some way – that was only proven when he winked at her. Not that she thought it rude – she loved him for that kind of thing either way.
Even better, their customer that day was Mikami Erina – who nearly recoiled and broke the glass door upon seeing them. Karma had the time of his life teasing her about her probably crush on Korosensei. Even tried feeding her takoyaki to see how much she really likes it. She was close to murdering him. Manami intervened. She was the one teasing Erina this time by serving her, and Erina was flustered. Just daily life with Combat club in their 2nd year.
But then, they noticed Erina wasn't her usual self. She looked like something deeply troubled her.
She said stay out of it.
;;Mai-senpai is overworking herself and looks sick everyday. No one had been able to have a proper conversation with her and all of her smiles were forced. Something was very, very wrong.
;;One rainy day, Rinka and Chiba found Mai kneeling before something.
When she turned, her eyes were dead, even as they were full of tears.
Omo-chan had died in an accident.
;;After Omo-chan's death officially made Mai stop smiling, it was high-time they knew what was up. The combat club members later find out that Mai's mother killed herself. She was a victim of substance abuse and one day couldn't handle herself or her family of three children anymore. Erina tells the rest of the story.
They learned that Mai's family was rich and owned many Japanese businesses, but that also came with the pressures of succeeding these businesses, and pressures on their chosen partners. Mai's mother was one of the rejected people in her family, but her family went ahead and married her for the sake of their love. That didn't save her from all the scorn she received for decades because she was substandard. Her father could no longer do much to protect her because he died early in their childhood. When her mother took over the business, the prejudice became even worse.
Because of the pressure and their family situation, Mai's older brother had also become problematic, and ran off from their home at an early age, became an alcoholic, and joined gangs. They hadn't heard from him in a long time, but that was until the news of her mother's death broke out. He only came to see her in the funeral, but the rest of his family used that time to convince him to come back and take over the business because he was the only one he could. He cursed them all and stormed out, but he now lives with Mai until Mai could become old enough to take it over herself. He never asked her what she wanted.
Mai was also having trouble with her younger sister, who started to act out drastically since the incident, because she saw it happen. She kept telling Mai to go away and die just like mom.
Mai could now barely able to hold it together.
Erina said normally they shouldn't be having anything to do with it, but now she was the one begging.
Stop and help Mai before she too starts wanting to kill herself.
;;Combat club helped sort things out with the business side, especially with their strong connections to powerful families of their own, and the Japanese military itself. They freed Mai from the burden by convincing the family-run business to take a leader from their well-trained employees and end the dynasty. It was surreal by all Japanese standards, but Mai was now allowed to be anything she wanted to be. The problem now, though, was her brother still not making himself straight, and her little sister, who is still struck by trauma.
;;Mai's little sister went missing on the day of the cultural festival, when Mai was most busy. The one event she looked forward to before her graduation. She was panicky and freaking out when she called Karma and the club about, blaming herself for it all. She should've been strong enough and should've been there. She just wasn't enough.
Karma, while he and the others already made their run towards their main lead on where she could be, told her,
"You're wrong, senpai. Calm down; we'll definitely find her. Right now, you have to focus on what's in front of you – and that's the beloved student body you're about to say goodbye to."
Mai looked at the students cheering before her band performance, her eyes glimmering with tears. Next to her, Erina took her shoulder, handed her her guitar, and assured her with a nod. They will be fine.
Back with Karma and the others, at his show of confidence, Manami found it in herself to step up too, and ran next to him.
"Well then, Club pres. What should we do?"
Slightly startled, Karma nodded to her. He laid out instructions for each of them, and then, "and Okuda Manami."
"Don't do anything reckless."
Manami nodded. "Yes, sir."
;;Their lead was Akiko, Mai's sister, was taken by her brother, Taro – to live with his gang, where she'll be away from future pressures, he argues. But there, she was surrounded by men of illegal dealings. There was no way she could grow up in that kind of environment, they argued. But Taro refused, no matter what they said, and even resorted to violence to get his way. Akiko was terrified, and had no idea what she was allowed to do, and who she should trust – her family she hadn't seen in years, or strangers that said they were friends of her sister?
That was when Karma grit his teeth and made a dangerous deal with him.
He proposed that only he and Karma would fight. The outcome decides who Akiko will go with.
The rest of the club members couldn't believe he was serious. Manami paled at the resolution, when Taro said yes.
If Karma won, Akiko would leave with them, Taro had to help his family out, and do whatever Mai told him to do. If Karma lost – "As if that's gonna happen," he commented – then Akiko stays there, they never have anything to do with their family again, and Karma joins their gang.
Manami wanted to scream 'No!' but it was too late. They were off to fight one another.
;;Meanwhile, Erina was making sure Mai had it together, to make this cultural festival one heck of a blast, so that this at least would not end up as one of her regrets in the future. So the both of them sang for the student body, bowed at their applause, and offered their neverending thanks. Erina helped Mai keep strong by dropping her whole clever act on stage and being the image of sheer, raw, honesty – making biting remarks, witty side comments, and being the embodiment of sass that she was. The crowds loved it. Mai found the boost in her own confidence and had fun the rest of the time.
(Song suggestion: Hello Alone)
;;Karma wasn't sure how strong his opponent was, but this indeed proved to be a challenge. Karma was rusty from real combat and this guy was big and more experienced with street fighting than he was, he had to admit. And he was so close to losing consciousness and losing, because this guy did not pull his punches (or kicks, for that matter). There was half a decade age difference between them, but it felt like this man was twenty years older. Karma was close to blacking out, until he heard,
He opened his eyes and whacked Taro with another punch.
;;Mai later finds out what happened, and rushed to where the fight went on. By the time she got there, Manami was on her knees, her face in her hands as she was being comforted by Rinka. Karma was there, bruised and battered against her brother, who towered over him, and looked ready to give him the last hit that might just kill him.
The moment she intervened, she got caught in the fray, and her brother mistakenly punched her instead.
She fell to the ground.
Taro was still.
Karma rushed to her side and so did the rest.
The gang knew her, and were struck dumb by what had just happened.
That was when Mai finally burst out in fury, screaming about how why it had to be this way, why Taro always needs to resort to something that hurts someone, why Akiko just couldn't understand, and why Mai just wasn't enough for any of them. She could try her best to be her best but why is it never enough? She does everything to be good, to be flawless, to be happy, to be someone anyone could rely on but what was the point? Nothing changed and she hates everything and herself for it.
Taro tried to say, "N-No… that's not –"
"You idiot!" Karma had finally snapped too, and punched him until he too was down on his knees like the rest of them.
"How do you expect her to know that?! How do you know that?!" He slammed his fist into the soil. The rest could only watch. Manami was at his side immediately.
Karma yelled that he was fed up with this worthless bullshit he said was a family. This gang he called was just another prison for the worthless like him. Stop playing good samaritan and prodigal son – you were selfish, neglectful, and was just too late to the party. He lost his chance to get back to his family because their mother had to die before he realized where he went wrong.
"Live with that regret forever and stop trying to convince yourself you can make it better because it won't."
Mai wept from next to him.
"I just want my family back…" she sobbed. "I just want my family back…"
Akiko was crying, when she went to her sister's side, and sobbed into her shoulder. "I want to go home, nee-chan..."
;;Manami patched up Karma's wounds. She was upset with him. She then promised if he ever got into a fight again, she'd fight with him whether he liked it or not. Karma knew she was being impossible. But with the way she seemed extra serious (even tightened his bandages just to spite him), he needed to take this seriously.
He promised he'll never let her get into fights with him. Karma now vows to be a pacifist.
;;Mai-senpai arc resolution: After the drama, Taro finally made his first step towards being a better citizen and brother, and disbanded the gang. He cut his ties off from shady organizations and was guaranteed protection thanks to 3-E's connections. He was going to get rehabilitated to take his place as the legal guardian of Mai and Akiko. Mai was grateful, and told him so when he was on his knees saying sorry. They reconciled.
Akiko herself was also putting more effort into being able to take care of herself. Mai was helping her get better day by day, and thanks to some savings from her part-time jobs, got to get a personal caretaker and therapist for Akiko to deal with her traumatic experiences.
As for Mai, she was helped by the whole student council with whatever she still needed. And the student body, along with her beloved Combat club, gave her flowers, and gave her all the love and support she deserved. Mai could now feel like she could move from this.
With a month or so left in this school that she loved, she would spend each day in gratitude. She vowed so, as she looked up to the sky, finding a cloud that looked just like Omo-chan, shed a few tears and smiled. She made one of her final walks up that hill going to school. After all, when you hit the bottom, there's nowhere else to go but up.
Winter arc: Akabane family issues
;;Erina runs for student council president. Manami and Karma talk about it.
Manami said, "I'm sure that if Erina becomes student council president, she'll be the greatest president the school's ever seen – she may even improve Kimii itself to be of higher rank than Kunugigaoka."
Karma shrugged, though mentally he agreed.
Yuzuki was also running for Vice President – her character development had sure become massive.
Karma said it's also partly because she wants to ruin Erina's life while she's there too.
;;Manami meets the reason that Karma didn't stay in Kunugigaoka – Akabane Krista, his American mother. She was back for the winter break, out of nowhere, without telling Karma. He was all but pleased.
Manami gets invited to a very awkward dinner with the Akabanes. The distance between mother and son was so great that Karma wasn't even trying to hide how much he didn't want her here. Manami was concerned.
Later, she talked to him about how it would be better if he got along with his family a bit more. Not just for her, but maybe for himself too. The conversation took a wrong turn, and Karma ended up hurting her.
"What do you know? You don't even have parents."
Heartbroken, Manami left him alone. Karma instantly regretted it.
;;Inari comforts a crying Manami.
Karma comes over later that night, to properly apologize, get his face beaten in by a spatula, and bring them some of the gifts his mom brought from America.
He apologizes to Manami, but says that he can't force himself to do what she wants. There just isn't anything worth doing when it comes to them – at least, growing up, he never felt like they were there. Manami admits she's far from understanding his situation, and decides to no longer pry. If he can't ever feel like he has a family, perhaps she can try to make him feel his family is with her instead.
;;Erina and Yuzuki win the presidential elections.
Mai graduates with a speech that brought everyone to tears. She makes a special acknowledgment to her student council, combat club, and her favorite redheaded junior.
Third year and what comes after
;;Combat club has paranoia issues on what will happen to them this year when they have their hands full with post-graduation planning.
Eventually they're amazed that nothing much happened throughout the spring, sports fest, or school excursion. For once things were normal for them. Well finally.
Seemed everyone else was also busy with their futures.
Manami and Karma too. They seemed to be doing a whole lot better with being in a relationship now. It made everyone around them a little jealous.
Yuzuki and Sugino have gotten along better as friends over the years, but now, Yuzuki was starting to get jealous of them too.
What if I…
She looked at Sugino.
Can have that kind of ending too?
;;Over the summer, both Manami and Karma got new part-time jobs in a bakery. There they met old faces like the bully Takeo, who had now apparently gone to therapy, started doing self-help, and found a new direction in his life. He did a full dramatic spectacle of his journey from gruesome loser to model citizen.
Manami was amazed by his story, and even got teary-eyed. Karma didn't care and told him to go back to work.
Nagisa had passed by and was really surprised to see the drastic change in Karma. He was now a more gentle, open soul. Doing his job diligently, barely making any teasing side comments. He was growing up.
Nagisa told Manami how she changed him. She said she did no such thing. He's his own person. Nagisa said while that may be true, there's still some credit due to her. Meeting her inspired him to become the person he is today. Nagisa understood that feeling fully, and knows Karma enough for it to be true.
Manami was bashful but flattered, as she recalled all they've been through together. A pressing concern came though – what about what comes next?
And then she realized, Karma had barely been talking about that. She had her own plans, but what were his?
;;"At the rate I'm going, I'll get any job I shoot for, no problem. So for now, I'm just thinking of kicking back and enjoying my battles."
Was what I said before but…
"Karma-kun…you should think about your future more…"
"Life after high school…huh…" he muttered to himself as he skipped class once more. He recalled the words of Manami and his homeroom teacher.
"I want you to be happy with your future, that's why…I want to…take care of you too, you know…"
"Everyone's deciding what they're gonna do from here on out. Where are you?"
Now I have to do some serious thinking.
Things like 'what job should I take for the rest of my lifetime?'
He thinks about Manami.
And will it ever be able to support her and make her happy?
;;Inari ends up singing in the cultural festival of Manami's final year – the only reason why she always avoided it was because somewhere deep down she was afraid of becoming the person she once was if she did. But that was easily forgotten the second she went up on stage once again after a long, long time. It was a sobering, freeing experience. It felt like she finally got to shed a brilliant light over her past, and smile at it with gratitude. Her broken heart felt full and ready to go on full throttle – loving the world just as her Hanako and her little girl did. Loving it just as Inari's mother and father loved her.
(Song suggestion: Hot meal by Girls dead Monster)
;;In a rainy fall afternoon, Yuzuki had decided to finally confess her feelings for Sugino. But then, he also had something to say to her too, apparently. She found him in the train station, just before she was going to see him at school. He also had somewhere to go.
He thanked her for all the things she said to him that inspired him to make this decision and step forward. So he wanted her to know….
"That's why…" He grinned. "I'm not giving up on Kanzaki-san."
If Yuzuki didn't know what it felt like for your heart to break into a million tiny pieces, she did now.
What a plot twist indeed.
She laughed uncontrollably, if only to cover up the reason for her equally uncontrollable tears. Sugino asked if she was okay.
She said, "I-if that's so then...it's now or never!"
She pushed him off into the standby train. He stumbled in, confused with her actions.
"Man up and stop being a wimp! I didn't fall in love with someone who's not brave enough to face a challenge with a smile! No, the one that made my heart skip a beat was a really cool guy that beat the crap out of his enemies nobly like the hero I'd always admired in manga! Now go! Kanzaki-san won't be single forever! Go on and make her happy before someone snatches her away!"
Before Sugino could respond, struck dumb with sheer disbelief – she had just confessed to him – the train doors closed, and he was on his way.
Yuzuki was left there, smiling at the post-rain sky. Little did she know, Rinka and Manami were there to witness the scene.
Yuzuki took it lightly. Tried to wave it off. Tried to say it was for the best and smiled all the way, even if Manami and Rinka knew better.
When she saw that they did, Yuzuki could no longer keep up her smile, and bawled into her friends' arms.
Manami held onto her tight. "You've…worked really hard! Yuzuki-chan! You've pulled through harder than anyone else!"
But no. They were the worst people to be with her on that day.
That was because the people that they loved, loved them right back. Rio was the one she needed, but she was having her international test that would get her to London. The person who could sympathize with her was gone.
So the two whole hearts stayed with her all day, to help ease Yuzuki's broken, beaten one.
;;Sugino and Kanzaki had become a couple weeks later. Sugino and Yuzuki's relationship had become strained since that rainy night.
Erina became nicer to Yuzuki, and told her she was going to help her get over her heartbreak by showing her the finer things in this life – being a woman of her own power. She had boys kneeling all over her feet but she never once entertained them. Teased, but never gave them what they wanted. So Yuzuki should just do whatever she wants without relying on anyone. Ever.
Yuzuki rolled her eyes. Why should she listen to the girl that had a crush on Korosensei? (It was just a running joke though. It wasn't actually true). Yuzuki said there was no way she was going to become anything like Erina wants, but the talk did cheer her up.
;;In the winter, Mai ran into Karma again – she looked fresh as ever. Now a college student, she had cut her hair but still kept her signature bowtie. She even had a little customized keychain of a little animal he hadn't seen in a while. It made him smile.
They talked about how their lives were going now. Mai had gone to take a course in social work, with plans of becoming a family social worker. She was dedicated to ensuring the future of children and parents in tight places. When she asked about him, he hesitated to respond.
Then, they passed by a lot with construction.
"Oh? They're gonna turn this place into a mall! Isn't that convenient?"
It was the convenience store where he and Manami shared drinks all the time. He couldn't deny he felt a little crushed.
Later he finds out that the dry field where he and Manami had an argument in will have a preschool on it. And that soon, Kimii will have a new building replace their old one with the clubroom. It would stay up until they graduate, but because they never got new members, there was no need for the building anymore.
They would lose that place where their most beloved high school memories.
Karma thought he'd shrug off these naturally occurring mundane things, but he just couldn't.
;;In the school-wide party before Christmas break, Yuzuki and Erina performed a Christmas song (Song suggestion: Holy Night from Toradora). Sugino was among the crowd who watched – drawn to Yuzuki. He hadn't actually processed or cleared the fact that she once liked him. He hadn't properly addressed it, unsure how to go about it. But now, seeing her, he was fed up with being afraid of the consequences of talking to her.
So after her performance, he came backstage to pull her for a talk. When Yuzuki hesitated, Erina pushed her forward and left her.
The two of them have a talk outside of the building to finally clear things up. Yuzuki admitted that she did like him, for a long time. But she also admitted she was so happy seeing him and Kanzaki finally together – it was a very strange, heartwrenching feeling of freedom. It was like she didn't need to hide anymore. Didn't need to be so conscious anymore. Didn't have to feel lost in a haze of decision making and actions. She still thinks about the could-haves, but what else can a mangaka freak do than fantasize? Yuzuki has finally felt more decisive with things – nothing's holding her back anymore, she realized. All the more freeing was the realization that she was also in love with the Sugino that was very in love with someone else. So, there's nothing more to say. Yuzuki is happy for them. Sugino had no idea, but he still wanted to apologize...for being stupid and never even noticing. Yuzuki laughed and punched him in the arm. She said it was certainly annoying, but also it was what saved her from any premature heartbreak.
They both shook on it, becoming friends again. Yuzuki pulled him into a hug, if only to know how it felt like, just for a small fleeting moment, to be in his arms.
"Thank you for being my first love. It made me happy to know I could feel this way. Please, please make her happy."
Sugino closed his eyes and held her tighter. "I'm sorry."
;;Manami and Karma finally get to properly celebrate his birthday. They went to a lake that would hold a lantern festival. They both remembered the fireflies they saw in Nagoya that was equally as beautiful as what they were seeing now.
Karma admitted he remembered more clearly how beautiful she was, not exactly the fireflies.
Manami's heart skipped a beat. He'd loved her even then. Many things now starting to make so much sense, Manami started to cry.
Karma was startled when she sobbed out of nowhere. When he asked, all she said was, "I just...I just love you." With the warmest, teary-eyed gaze, she said, "I love you."
They share their official first kiss that night.
;;Karma found out later on that his mom had already arranged his future for him, and applied him to go to school abroad. She had texted him to tell him when he was to leave. Karma was pissed.
He was fed-up with the world just surprising him with all its change.
Fed-up that he was just flowing in the currents of time.
Fed-up with everything moving while he couldn't.
And fed-up with his family that can't understand that.
He went as far as slamming the wall of the convenience store. Manami jumped. He stormed out of the store. Manami followed, calling his name, but he was lost in his steaming rage.
Though he didn't hate his parents, he couldn't love people who weren't around most of the time either. If he just went with it, he knew his parents would not make time to visit often and that would mean he wouldn't be able to go back for years. He'd leave Manami behind. Everything else he wanted to do was gonna be left behind for his so-called brighter future and 'smart' decision. After everything that's happened, he had things he wanted to cherish now. He had things he actually planned on keeping and doing like going to College together, staying with Manami in Okimura Bakery, continuously bashing Erina and finally hanging out with his 3-E companions. But no. His mother said it was the best way. He was going to give her a piece of his mind.
If she got to text him, that meant she was back.
He encountered his mom and got into a major feud with her. It ended with him declaring that he no longer wants to do anything with her, and would storm out of this house to get that sorted out right now. She no longer has a son. He could live on rent and loans in some shoddy apartment in Tokyo for all he cared, scrap the name Akabane, and live a pitiful life, but if his freedom took that cost, then he'd gladly pay it.
Krista called for him, but he slammed the door shut. Manami followed him out.
He trudged away on the street, fuming – his mother never brought him joy anyway.
"Karma, wait!" He had to stop himself from letting out anger on her, so he crushed the can he had in his hand until his hand bled. He smashed it on the floor. His blood dripped from his hands.
Manami watched in horror. She dropped her bag and went to him before he could hurt himself more.
He brushed her away and attempted to do it again, but she wrapped him in her arms from behind. "You can't do that! You'll hurt yourself!"
"Let go…" the words were acidic.
"No! I'm not going to let you go!"
He struggled to get her away before he could end up hurting her, but her grip was iron. "Karma! Karma! KARMA!"
She got him to face her and buried her face in her chest. She sobbed, and Karma realized he had just hurt her again. She pushed him until he was against the wall, and they slid down to the ground.
They talk it out, and Manami convinces him to talk to his mother. Because when he left, Manami was sure she saw real hurt in her eyes.
;;They eventually do reach an understanding after weeks of Krista staying home. They come to an agreement not to push each other this way anymore. She can cancel it if he really didn't want it. She'd just rather not see her son in the streets. There's talk, Krista tells him all the reasons why they did the things they did, and the costs it took on their end. His parents were actually part of secret services, and it never allowed them to be just parents. She wasn't trying to make excuses. She just wanted him to know. She apologizes if he ever felt neglected. They tried making him feel like they still cared about him by sending him gifts, but who was she kidding. It wasn't enough. She thought she was being a responsible parent by choosing his future for him, but what did she know. There's no forgiveness she could expect given she has to leave again in a few days, but she just hoped Karma could stay around. He can choose for himself, but she wanted him to call her if he ever needed their help. Call even if he didn't. Just...let her know he's still okay from time to time.
;;Karma saw Krista off in the airport. Manami asked how their talk went. He said it was a secret, and winked. Something told her it was sorted out only in a way the Akabane family could.
Pleased, she invited him for dinner like usual. He said that would be great. He even had some new salts from the Himalayas to offer.
;;It was the day club activities ended. With all of them set on their courses after this, there was a bittersweet surge of nostalgia flowing through each member. They relished in the cleaning up – finding the objects tied to past incidents, past cultural festival celebrations, past dramas, and comedic moments. They all shared laughs and wistful sighs. When it was over, they were all out the door, staring into the room. This would be the last of the clubroom they would see. The building would be replaced, for the betterment of future students but… how they will truly miss it.
The tarpaulin of Korosensei was the last thing they wanted to take away. They dedicated their gratitude for this whole club's existence to him, and they bowed.
They sang their special song – Tabidachi no uta – before they let it go, and kissed it goodbye.
;;On the way home, now that things were officially coming to a close, Karma had a lot going on in his mind. He'd already decided on a university, finally had something in mind for the rest of his life, and their friends were on their way as well. True, he'd had a graduation before, but this one…mattered a little but more. There was a strange feeling that made him think that this was the right time, the right place, and his next words were the right ones to say.
"Hey, you know…" he said as they were going home, stopping along the path by the river, lined with the cherry blossom trees that let their petals fly into the wind like the birds. This was the very same spot where he waited for her back in 1st year. Where all the things that began their journey together happened. This spot meant everything to the both of then, so there was something pushing him to say it.
Manami stopped as well, looking at him curiously. Yet his eyes were on the river – flowing and flowing forward – as he said,
"Let's get married."
Manami drew in a sharp breath. Normal men ask in years' time. But this was no question. This was Karma deciding a future…with her.
Surprised that she actually gave a serious answer, Karma glared. "You idiot! Don't just say 'yes' to important decisions like this!"
Manami shook her head. "I have thought about it. The answer is yes."
Karma couldn't believe it. "I'm extremely selfish."
"I know." She nodded.
"I can't promise I won't hurt you."
"Manami. It isn't enough that you love me."
"I've already decided. I want my future to be with you."
He was still unsure. Although part of him knows he meant it, he'd only said it in the heat of the moment, expected some mere banter between them, but she took it as seriously as he did in his head. She knew him beyond what once was between them anymore.
"I've...known that since the first Christmas I spent with you. That you're the person I want spend the rest of my life with. It didn't matter how, I just knew I wanted that."
With him still so unsure, she took his hand in that same way he always took hers and led her way, took his face in with the other, hoping to quell the rest of his doubts.
Giggling, she said, "Akabane Manami has a nice ring to it, don't you think?"
He smiled, taking her face in his hand too, and let her face up to meet his lips.
When they pulled away, he said, "I think so too."
My name was once Okuda Manami.
I was once shy, socially awkward, introverted, and very bad with words.
Right now, I'm passing through a new set of gates.
With a new name and a bold heart that I share completely with him.
I don't know what comes next, but I'll never believe I'm alone again.
Because as long as you're true to the words you speak and the feelings they bring, they will reach someone.
They will always reach someone, right?
Of course. Because I got to reach you.
15-year old me really had it going for that ender paragraph haha. IT'S A LOVE STORY BABY JUST SAY YES 3
Well. There you have it! It's officially over. Sorry it isn't the full fledged thing again, but hey! Happy we finally made it to this point!
It's all just summary so some quality had to be sacrificed. Nonetheless, I'm forever grateful once more. If you ever want to see more work from me, I'll be in ao3 with the username: VanillaHoneyMarchMallow.
It's been a wild ride, friends. Hope you enjoy your day wherever you are! Here's to the end of an age.
Always with love,