AN: First story on the site, so I want to just say a few words. Firstly, I'm not the best author—as most people themselves know—but I do try. If you get through each chapter, please leave a comment on your thoughts, as it helps a lot and keeps me motivated. Secondly, I'm writing this because it's the 10 year anniversary of AB! this year, and I've had this story in my mind for around four years now. I won't be doing too many of these ANs, so with that out of the way, please, enjoy.

00. Prologue: Another Story




"So what about you?" Otonashi asked, his grip on the boy's shirt still firm.

Otonashi did not tower over the boy, but the few inches he had over him—coupled with his sharp, transfixed gaze—made him quiver in slight fear and dread, and eventually the boy averted his locked gaze away to the ground.

But although he faltered, he did not give up.

He was determined to find out what this place was about . . . this Afterlife, this school. Why he was here. And he was determined to not give in to some self-proclaimed boss of the student body. Not here.

Spitting at his test paper, he gritted his teeth and looked at Otonashi, the repulsiveness in his eyes gleaming red.

"Right now"—the boy said, seizing the Student Council President's hand from his shirt and forcing him off him—"it's the courage to stand against you!"

All of the NPCs in the classroom looked at the scene unfolding, watching both of the participants eagerly. Despite their own wishes to be free of any trouble-making traits, they would not miss any fights and arguments made by humans, for it was in their nature.

Although he did not seriously intend to cause harm to the newcomer, Otonashi gave a look of surprise, and then he closed his eyes and gave a small smile.

"Okay. See? You can do it," he explained. Beginning to slowly turn and walk away, his voice almost echoing like an angel's dream. "You know what to do now. If you ever feel resentful or lost again, come to the Student Council Room. I'll be there waiting for you, for as long as you need."

The room roared in bewilderment and excitement as the fusuma sliding door was quietly shut by the red-haired President.

But the boy was still shocked at how cool and calm he was, despite concerning himself with a delinquent like him. He kept standing, looking out of the windows, seeing him walk down the hallway to the end, where the Student Council Room lay.

His den. Lair.

I've never been there before, he told himself, thinking hard about the words that were told to him. Maybe I should take him up on his offer.

"Oi, oi, keep it down!" the teacher shouted, causing all of the girls causing loud chatter about the President to quickly shut up, and the boys lamenting about how they could never be as cool as him died down in an instant. "Concentrate on the test"—the teacher's busy eyes landed on the most troublesome person in the class—"you too; get back in your seat!"

The demand rang in the boy's head much like the President's words, but he had had enough already. Refusing to sit down, he gritted his teeth once more, and scrunched up his test paper.

"To hell with this!" he shouted at the teacher, and then sprinted out of the class, taking no care with how hard he shoved the fusuma sliding door open and closed.

He couldn't remember his name.

He couldn't remember who he was.

But he couldn't go to him. Not yet. He wasn't ready. He wasn't the one. There's a rumour going around that he's waiting for someone, the others said. But he wasn't the one.

Not yet.

And then, as he ran out of the main school complex, he saw yet another person he didn't recognise, his fiery, spiky hair being the only remarkable thing about his appearance, save for the green hachimaki he wore around his head.

There, he lay on the ground just like how he did on his first day. Confused, but intrigued, he walked towards the unconscious teenager with caution in every step.

Gleaming grey eyes awoke to the sound of his footsteps.