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to every bird, his own nest is most beautiful

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It’s been a day since that night-long call, where Kanade and Mafuyu told the lonely story of how they met one another. While unspoken between them, they agreed not to hide any of their history. A somewhat intense resolution, their pasts being riddled with self-loathing, destructive behavior, and suicidal ideation. Mafuyu’s no stranger to laying bare her mental state to the others, but Kanade rarely speaks about her past, her delirious fervor to compose with even less regard for her own health. It hurt to hear. It hurt Kanade to revisit. But they’re both past that now, and they aren’t alone anymore.

After the emotional unloading of that night’s call, Mafuyu actually does feel better. It made her appreciate having met Kanade even more, so much that it was hard to breathe. And she hasn’t felt that strongly for as long as she can remember.

Blinking, Mafuyu finds herself in the present, alone with Ena in their server voice chat. Kanade and Mizuki checked out way earlier. She must have been zoning out for a while, because she barely remembers them leaving. Whatever… Mafuyu gets back to work on Kanade’s song. She and Ena both work in silence for a short while, until:

“Hey, Ena.”

“Oh, what’s up, Mafuyu?”

“What does it mean to have a warm feeling in your chest when you’re around someone?”

Ena’s sigh is audible through her mic. “Ugh, why do you wait until it’s just us two to ask these things?” she huffs. “I guess it can’t be helped. Can you tell me more about what it’s like? Because it could be love, happiness, gratitude…There’s a lot of positive emotions, you know.”

Mafuyu tilts her head. “The feeling of being warm and safe…glad that they’re with you. Like they lessen your suffering. …What’s that feeling called?”

Ena let out an exaggerated gasp. “Seriously… Mafuyu…It sounds to me like you’ve got a crush on somebody! I never thought of you as a romantic at all, but I’m happy for you if you really do feel that way towards someone.”

“But why is it happening?”

“Oh, please. I mean, it could be that you think they’re pretty, you like spending time with them, you’re already good friends… Which one does it sound like?”

“I think… it’s that they make the darkness lighter, just by being with me… that’s the reason. It’s gotten stronger over time, I think. Especially today.”

Then Ena knows. “Oh, Mafuyu, you’re in love with Kanade…?”

Mafuyu nods. “If that’s what this means… I think I want to tell her.”

“Mm! Do you know how you’re gonna do it? Last night, you were pretty lovey-dovey with her… Stuff like saying you’re glad you met her… That can be super romantic, y’know?”

“…I want to talk to her. It should be too late tonight, so I’ll wait until tomorrow at 25.”

“You sure you don’t want some more privacy? If you want, I’ll tell Mizuki to give you two some time alone as well…”

“Oh. I don’t want to distract you from our group stuff, though. …Maybe I’ll take her to SEKAI. I think… I feel like that’s the right choice. My chest feels warm, thinking about it.”

Ena shook her head, smiling. “God, you’re being so sappy out of nowhere! It’s really nice hearing you sound so passionate, though… You better do your best out there, you got it?”

“Mm. I will. …Thank you for answering me, Ena. It was helpful.”

“‘Course. I really do wish you guys the best of luck, okay?”

Mafuyu hums in agreement.

“Goodnight, Enanan.”

“Goodnight, Yuki.”