Shizuma stands outside Miyuki's room. For the past few days, the former Student Council President had not been seen in class. The irony of standing outside Miyuki's locked door, for a change, does not escape the former Etoile.
"Go away, Shizuma."
Judging by the quality of the sound, Shizuma guesses, accurately, that Miyuki is sitting on the floor, on the door's other side. The silver-haired woman sighs and seats herself by the door as well.
"I never thought we would ever swap places. Especially this close to graduation."
"It hardly matters now whether I graduate or not. My future is assured." All of Miyuki's bitterness comes out in the way she says the word "assured".
Shizuma sighs again. Long moments of silence pass. Then finally, Miyuki's quiet voice carries through the door.
A short pause ensues.
"Will you...Will you write and tell me what it's like? Life in university I mean?" From the other side of the door comes the sound of deep, heart-rending sobs.
"Oh, Miyuki..." Shizuma listens in pain as her roommate, her only friend in the world, weeps alone. This time, she cannot bring herself to call Miyuki a crybaby. Instead, she makes soothing noises through the door - and hopes fervently that Tamao's plan works.
A few more days pass. Miyuki is attending her classes again. The pain she had seen in Tamao's eyes when Tamao had seen her sorry condition had given her strength enough to rally. The younger girl was going through tremendous grief as well. Miyuki had no intention of adding to her burden by allowing her to witness her own lover's self-pity. But the sheer effort of pretending that nothing was amiss had been simply exhausting.
That first night after attending class, she had collapsed into bed, into Tamao's comforting arms. She had looked up into the younger girl's gray eyes - those eyes that had only ever looked at her with respect, admiration, affection and love. She had reached out and stroked the younger girl's cheek, and in a voice brimming with pain, softly asked:
"Will you forgive me, Tamao-chan?"
Tamao had smiled at her ever so gently, eyes bright with unshed tears.
"Whatever for, Miyuki-sama?"
"For...falling in love with you. For letting you fall in love with me. I had no right, being promised to another..." Miyuki had begun to cry then.
Tamao had held her close then, had stroked her hair, had kissed her eyes.
"Miyuki-sama, I'd do it all over again if I had to."
They had held each other that way until dawn.