YOUKO

“Izumi.”

 

That was all she said when you asked. This quiet girl who sat in the corner of the classroom all day, quietly keeping to herself.

A name was no complex thing, but she did tell you that much.

 

You had always found her to be so alluring. Those big eyes of hers were so dark and sharp, but they rarely looked at you. They rarely looked at anyone. They didn't even seem inclined to lift themselves from the floor.

 

Maybe other people were scared off by her placidity and how she never seemed to talk much. You though...you didn't feel that way. If anything, her refusal to engage with people drew you in, akin to some swirling black whirlpool, with her right at the center of it.

 

No wonder you wanted to speak to her.

 

Yet there was a slight spanner in the works. Attempting to do so usually had a particular effect, that being that she would just immediately run away, escaping your presence for another private spot. She never looked upset to you, but she did keep her head down the whole time so it was hard to really tell how she was feeling.

 

It certainly made you curious thinking about what she was really like behind all those walls she had put up around herself. Maybe she was actually super friendly and warm?

...Okay...that didn't seem all too likely, but nothing was impossible really.

 

Perhaps it was a matter of just playing the game for now and seeing what ended up happening. It was worth trying, right?

 

Yet...what game was this, even? Trying to force someone from their shell was never a good nor fair strategy...and you didn't know what she was like, really. Even if it ultimately drew you apart...it was better to give it a go rather than regret never having done so.

If you didn't...you'd always be left wondering what might have happened.

 

To approach a girl like that felt like cornering some timid deer, and your nerves only amplified more and more as you came closer to where she was sitting in the corner of the room.

“Um...”

 

That was how it started. Any conversation with an opener like that seemed doomed to fail, and yet she had actually stayed in place, and even told you as much about herself.

Her name. It felt precious to even learn it personally, despite knowing already.

 

In turn, you told her yours, almost certain she wouldn't have any idea.

 

Little did you know, she did.

Much like you'd been watching her, she had been watching you. Although a difficult past had left her with a defensive shell, she wished to open up to somebody. In many ways, Izumi was tired of always being locked in, she yearned to be close to somebody else.

 

Of all people, you the most. You had a kind face, and you were always shooting her smiles from across the room. At first she was suspicious, wondering skeptically about your motivations.

Eventually though, the dark haired girl came to realize that you were being sincere. You wanted the same thing she did.

 

It was just a case of tearing down that barrier, together if you could.

 

Though it may not happen immediately, the two of you had faith it would be worth the perseverance. Already there was something. Some...connection, lingering, albeit tentatively.

You only had to try and make it stronger.

 

So you smiled at her. You stood there, and smiled. Warmly, genuinely, and it seemed to be enough to make her startled. Like she'd never seen such a thing before. Those already big eyes of hers widened further, awed.

 

One day though, she hoped she'd be able to show it in return. That smile of yours.

To 'open up' like she wished to.

 

One day...you might even learn it too.

 

Her real name.

I'm Vanille!

 

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