I heard you (Taiko Tsume)

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I heard you (Taiko Tsume)
Date of Cutscene: 03 April 2018
Location: Infinity High
Synopsis: Someone has a love letter for Taiko!
Cast of Characters: Taiko Tsume

Today was the day, he decided.

Today was the day he was finally going to confess his feelings to Taiko Tsume.

For many long weeks he had thought about her lovely long blue hair, and her pale blue eyes, wondering if maybe her cold demeanor had a warmer side. He wondered what her smile looked like when it was sincere. He wondered what the sound of her laughter was like. He spent more time than he would ever care to admit thinking about her embrace. He didn't know what any of that would feel like, but he really wanted to find out.

The thought of being near her, of getting close to her, froze him in his tracks. He tried many times to say how he felt, only for him to freeze up, his breath stolen by her beauty, and his mind unable to even find the words to describe his passion. That's why he came prepared this time. That's why he wrote his feelings down in a letter, so that when he caught up to her he could say with writing what he couldn't say with words.

The school day was over, and the students who didn't have clubs to go to were leaving. He found her long blue hair in the crowd and followed like a moth approaching a flame. Yet the path of this little moth was not clear and easy. There were so many people in the way, and he was a little too small to effectively push through the crowd. He called out to her, "Tsume-sempai! Tsume-sempai, please wait!" yet he got no response.

She probably couldn't hear him over the din of the crowd, which made calling after her useless. Even so, this wasn't over yet. He was going to confess to her even if it killed him. He tried to force his way through a crowd that almost threatened to trample him, a tiny fish swimming against an overpowering flow. For one fleeting moment, there was a clearing in the crowd, and he saw Taiko board a city bus. He chased after that bus, but he didn't catch it. The doors were closed before he could reach it, and it was already driving away.

His hopes of making his confession started to vanish around the corner, and for a moment he cursed his own weakness. Yet, in desperation to make his case to her, he decided that it was not yet over. Despite the futility of it, he chased after the bus down the busy sidewalks of Tokyo.

... which really was a bad idea in retrospect. Not only did the sidewalk have tons of people on it, but all of them were out shopping. Some of them were carrying way too many bags, and others were carrying tall towers of boxes. Ducking between them was perilous work, but... he had to! He had to reach Taiko! The one mercy he received in all of this was the fact that the streets were also busy and the bus made frequent stops.

It wasn't completely hopeless! ... until suddenly it was. As he moved to avoid a woman carrying a tray of fresh cupcakes with fluffy white icing, he ran right into a table set up right outside a bakery.

The table had cakes on it. The table flipped up into him. Gooey chocolate cake was mooshed right in his face and all over his school uniform, launched both into him and past him, dripping off of him and landing on the concrete, making him look almost like a baked-goods youma. Having cake cover his entire face carried with it one important advantage: it hid his embarrassed blush and the ashamed look on his face.

The clerk behind the table was quick to try to help him with napkins, but the owner/baker was far less generous, berating him loudly and demanding that he pay for the ruined cakes in full. It was a hefty price for his petty allowance, and he could just barely afford it. Regretfully yet dutifully he handed over the money that he was hoping to spend on a date with Taiko, watching the bus leave his sight while he paid the price of his haste.

The bus disappeared, taking all all hope of making his confession with it. Maybe he could do it tomorrow. Maybe it'd be better that way. He didn't really want Taiko to see him like this, walking around looking like a cake catastrophe.

He may as well just go home. Home was in the same direction as that bus route, but Taiko Tsume was long gone and there was no catching up to her now. He walked at a much slower pace, feeling a bit depressed as he tried to convince himself that he could try again tomorrow.

It was then that he turned the corner, and she was there. By some miracle, by some favor of Kami-sama, she was standing right there, at the bus stop, waiting for a connection. The remaining forces of his conviction rallied together for one last push, and he ran to her. For once, there wasn't even a crowd in the way. In fact, this street seemed a little bit empty.

She turned away from the road and started to walk into an alleyway between a convenience store and a karaoke bar. She was leaving, but her pace was slow, so he was sure he could make it. Ducking into an alleyway seemed like a strange thing for her to do, but he didn't have time to think about it. Taiko was right there! He turned the corner and then suddenly stopped in his tracks.

She was facing him, regarding him with pale blue eyes. For once, she wasn't looking past him, she wasn't looking through him, she was aiming her stare at him directly, and for a moment his heart stopped. Words left him, just as they always did, and once again he was frozen in his tracks. He stared at her, dumbfounded, and she stared right back. She was waiting for him.

Maybe half a minute passed before he found the words to say. Maybe they weren't the right words, but they were words nonetheless and they were all that he had.

"I was... I've been trying to catch you since school let out. I called out your name but you didn't hear me."

"I heard you," said Taiko, taking a step towards him. Her steps seemed awfully loud in this suddenly quiet back alley.

"Huh?" She heard him, but she didn't stop? Didn't even turn her head?

She took a few more steps, slowly strolling towards him at a pace that seemed to last forever.

"I heard you call my name. I saw you chase after the bus. I saw you get covered in cake. I saw it all."

Finally she reached him. Her hand cupped his cheek, and he blushed. She drew nearer, and it felt almost intimate the way she whispered into his ear.

"I just didn't care."

His heart sank. After all of his desperation and determination, this is what it leads to? She just didn't care? He wasn't sure what he was expecting, but... it certainly wasn't this. He thought he would get warmth from her... but in the end she didn't seem to have any.

The air started to grow very cold. Taiko changed right before his very eyes. Her hair grew white, her skin turned pale, and her clothes became something far more formal than her Infinity uniform. She was the very spitting image of a Yuki-Onna, and she was very, very close. So close that her breath danced against his skin.

It was unbearably exciting. To be this close to Tsumi Taiko... her words sounded like rejection but he almost thought she was going to kiss him! Yet, her cold breath blew over his lips, and as he hungrily inhaled that frosty air his excitement started to fade.

Taiko was pretty, but so what? There were a lot of cute girls at school, and Taiko was only one of them. In fact, even if there are a lot of pretty girls at Infinity, so what? Romance was dumb anyways, and wasting your time on it was dumb. He spent all that time building up an image of her in his head that wasn't even real. What was the point of all that?

His heart grew cold in his chest, and he didn't even care. The Yuki-Onna pulled away, and he looked down at the love letter in his hands. The envelope that he had once spent so much time decorating now looked so bland, and the heartfelt words he put down on paper just all suddenly seemed so meaningless. Such silly feelings. What did they even matter?

He took one look at the girl whom he had been pursuing relentlessly. He didn't feel anything when he saw her. No dreams, no fantasies, no curiousity or desire to know her. It was all gone.

Moments passed, and then... he bowed slightly to her saying, "I'm sorry for wasting your time.". He turned away from her. His love letter was torn in half and discarded in the first trash can he came across, never to be read by its intended recipient.

It didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore. It was all pointless. He understood that now. Sometimes you chase after a dream relentlessly only to find out that it leads nowhere, and all he had to show for it was an empty feeling. No warmth, only cold.

A few moments later, Taiko Tsume was standing by the bus stop, no longer in her henshin. She didn't even look in the direction of the nearby trash can, despite knowing full well what was in it. He may have been a little cute. He may have even thought that he could make her happy. Yet none of that mattered to her.

She wasn't being mean when she said she didn't care. She was just being honest, and now, with her help, he realized that he really shouldn't care either.

She helped him, really! Taiko Tsume was so helpful.