Author notes: I have a lot of feelings for this series right now, so I decided to do a little short about Shishio's thoughts as he approached Suzume during Chapter 56. I felt that there was a lot left unsaid, and unexpressed in Shishio's POV. :) Hope you enjoy! (Maybe I'll do some more shorts like this, or a continuation - I just felt especially inspired for this ^^;;)
"Let's just go back to how it was before. More than anything, a normal relationship as a student and teacher."
The memory of that day pierced the surface of Satsuki Shishio's thoughts. His fresh cigarette slipped through his fingers and hit the floor with the silence of a pin drop. With a ragged sigh, he ran his long fingers through his tousled black hair in frustration. The memory of his own harsh words directed towards his student Suzume Yosano had risen up to the surface of his clouded thoughts for the umpteenth time. Time and time again he had wished that he could erase the memory, draw a clean slate. That was all he had ever intended to do in the first place. He ended up hurting her, the very thing he didn't want to do.
With a sigh, Satsuki withdrew his cigarette pack and finally took a long-awaited drag out of a fresh one. The swirling cigarette smoke was oddly comforting for him. The smoke embraced his feelings of melancholy regret and the guilt clouding his conscience since that very day he broke Suzume Yosano's heart.
"I'm sure there is someone else you love, and that person is not me."
A flash of blond hair and brilliant violet eyes entered the corners of Satsuki's memory. A ghost of a smile haunted the teacher's face. Mamura was a good looking, honest guy. A viable option for Suzume. Mamura had already displayed his affection for the girl plenty of times. Satsuki grimaced. There were times while he was teaching, away from the watchful eye of students, when he had stolen a glance towards the very corner of the classroom where Suzume Yosano sat. It was difficult not to notice how Mamura sitting at the neighbouring desk looked at her with a gaze of pure adoration. During these times Suzume was always looking outside the window; searching the cloudless skies for her daytime shooting stars. It was a chain of unspoken feelings, Satsuki watching the pair of them, Mamura watching Suzume, and Suzume looking for the stars in her skies.
"Didn't you say I'm your shooting star?"
He recalled the fragile breaking of her voice as she asked that question. Satsuki's eyes clouded with dark feelings threatening to pierce the surface of his inner walls.
"Yes, yes you are."
"Excuse me, Sensei?"
Suddenly he was thrown back into the present with a jolt. The crisp spring time breeze hit him in an instant, and his surroundings were flooded with a splash of high contrast colour. He was sat on a bench outside the school building, underneath a tree in full bloom. A fellow teaching fellow was standing before him, peering at him in curiosity. She was holding a binder file with a pack of sticky labels balanced on top.
"I said, I brought you the materials you wanted."
Satsuki quickly smiled and gingerly took the materials out of her hands.
"Thank you, Mrs Kinoshita."
She paused, her eyes flickering to the left and right, full of uncertainty.
"Is there something else?"
"No, it's just that - recently you're quite strange. It took a while for me to get you back to the present. Sometimes your eyes hold something stronger than regret, something dark and haunted. Quite frankly, it scares me sometimes."
Satsuki laughed in response.
"You're thinking too much. I'm just the same as always. Honest."
Unsatisfied yet knowing a sufficient answer would not be delivered, she left. With a sigh, the 26 year old teacher gathered the materials and returned to his classroom. The classroom was bustling with students chatting and laughing, trying to enjoy their brief spell of freedom before class began again.
Though, it did not feel the same without seeing the naive young girl sat in the corner, with her unfashionable twin tails and loose black socks. He remembered the day he got his new freshmen student list from his superiors for the new school year. His eyes had vaguely scanned the list of his new students in the faint hope that somehow Suzume would be in his class again. Yeah right. Despite her astoundingly poor grades Suzume had somehow managed to continue onto her second year of high school. Yet, Satsuki couldn't surpress the feeling of disappointment nonetheless. He was a fool, a complete dork - he knew it well.
The brief period before and between classes were the only times Satsuki allowed himself to delve into the past to such degree. It was an addiction, a craving, to think of the past times with her.
He glanced out of the window. A black whip of hair obscured his vision for the briefest of seconds. His eyes widened in surprise as he saw the brilliant figure of Suzume Yosano march up towards two freshmen girls and snatch one of their phones away. Without thinking twice, he felt his feet move on their own and gradually break into a brisk stride as he marched out of the classroom.
"Sensei? Isn't the lesson going to start?!"
Ignoring his own student, he propelled down the flight of stairs and into the open. The courtyard was almost deserted by the time Satsuki reached them.
"You should respect people's privacy!" Suzume's voice was bold and brave. There was strength blooming from the surface that Satsuki had never noticed before. Perhaps, because it was never there when she was with him. Satsuki's gaze drifted down to the ground, the little fringe he had, casting a dark veil of shadow over his eyes. Gathering strength from within, he called out.
"You there, why are you quarelling? The lesson is about to start."
Startled, the freshmen girls looked at him in fear. Only one person did not turn round. Satsuki fixed his gaze on the two freshmen girls gazing at him, his own heart beating fast.
"Hurry up and go back to class."
The freshmen girls quickly hurried away, leaving Suzume and Satsuki alone in the empty courtyard. A brisk breeze whipped around their ankles, the fallen cherry blossom petals dancing around their feet. Finally, Suzume turned round. Satsuki's lips upturned into the most neutral, professional smile he could muster. His heart raced with an excitement he tried his hardest to suppress. He tilted his head, maintaining his fixed smile.
"Its been a while. How are you doing?"
Suzume's eyes glazed over. What was she feeling right now? Hate? Regret? Sadness? She could not even muster a smile for him. More than anything, Satsuki felt like she was asking him that question again. Over and over.
"Sensei, do you love me?"
"Same as always." Suzume's answer was brief. Her eyes lowered. No longer was there a trace of strength in her words, only trembling uncertainty.
"That's... good to hear." Satsuki could not say more. Her eyes spoke louder than her words.
"Sensei, do you love me?"
Suzume's words from that time pierced the surface of his thoughts once again. Satsuki's eyes glazed over. Yes, yes he did. He did love her. Could he possibly erase the memory, draw out a clean slate, start over? If he answered her question once again, honestly - would things be better?
"Sensei, do you love me?"
"Chun chun I -"
He wanted to apologise. He wanted to say he loved her dearly, that he was wrong, and the entire world's preconceived notions of what was right and wrong were complete crap, how they could make it work - a real relationship, despite the barriers they faced and a society that would scorn them to hell and back. He wanted-
Satsuki quickly looked up, everything he had ever wanted to say was lost in that instant. The gentle breeze whipped 16 year old Daiki Mamura's soft blond hair as he approached. His violet eyes were full of determination. He boldly grabbed Suzume's shoulders, maintaining eye contact with Satsuki the entire time.
"You don't need to worry about her anymore. We're dating now."
The world suddenly enveloped itself in thick swirling smoke. It was awfully hard for Satsuki to breathe all of a sudden. A second passed in an excruciating moment that lasted an eternity. Gradually, he allowed himself to respond.
"I see, congratulations."
A smile, the warmest he could muster. The swirling smoke clouding his surroundings and restricting his breath threatened to destroy him and send his walls crumbling to an oblivion. But yet, he kept them up. He was a teacher after all, he wasn't allowed to feel this way towards his students. Jealousy? Hatred? Love? These were taboo. Yet he could not stop the feelings being there. They were definitely there.
Satsuki turned his back to them and walked away at a careful pace. It was probably better it turned out this way. Right? The feelings threatening to burst his heart into a million pieces told him otherwise, though.
"Sensei, do you love me?"
Her voice echoed through Satsuki's memory with a painful resonance. He drew a sharp intake of breath.
"Yes, yes I do, did and always will. I'm sorry I never trusted myself to love you, to tell you the truth. I'm so sorry."