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1. Name

 

“Nagisa,” he said.

 

It had been lifetimes since she had been called that. She whispered his real name back, watched him smile at the sound of a word he never thought he would hear again.

 

“I had almost forgotten that was my name.”

 

She repeated it again, over and over, words that only he could hear, words that only he should hear.

 

They keep this secret to themselves, these names and people they used to be.

2. Third wheel

“Hey, why can’t I call you Nagisa?” Mizuki asked Iris, pouting.

 

Iris blinked in surprise. “What?”

 

“He calls you Nagisa sometimes and you call him by a name which I don’t get to hear and why don’t I get to do that?”

 

Iris chuckled, leaning forward so their foreheads touched. “Because, with you, I am Iris, he is Nagisa, and that is all we need to be.”

3. Failure

 

Nagisa was dead. She was dead and they failed and he was all that remained. He clenched his fist, his nails digging into his skin.

 

They didn’t save her.

 

But “Nagisa” wouldn’t die, not just yet.  Nagisa gritted his teeth and lifted his head. If she couldn’t get her revenge, then he would.

 

If she couldn’t live, then he would. And he would make them regret what they had done.

4. Alive

 

“What are you doing here?”

 

She was dead, she was supposed to be dead. Nagisa stared at her as she entered the dock, at the casual way she looked at him.

 

There was no doubt in his mind. This girl, this ghost, she was Nagisa.

 

“I’m here to save you,” she replied, no hint of recognition in her expression.

 

She was alive and maybe, just maybe, he hadn’t failed after all.

5. Breeze

 

Mizuki was like a fresh breeze. Untainted by his past failures, undeterred by his current attitude, she just pushed past everything and left a mess in her wake.

 

He wasn’t sure what to do about the feelings she stirred, about the possibilities she gave.

 

“Not everything has to be about revenge,” she told him.

 

He might be able to believe that now.

6. Photo

 

“Oh come on, just one photo,” Mizuki demanded, grabbing Iris and Nagisa. Ignoring their shouts of protest, she pulled them closer. “I can’t take a picture otherwise.”

 

“Right now?” Nagisa grumbled, looking back at his paperwork, at the files he so carefully arranged.

 

The files that were now falling to the floor.

 

“Yes, right now.”

 

Iris didn’t say anything, moving quickly into position.

 

“See, Iris understands.” Mizuki affectionately bumped shoulders with Iris, before turning to him. “Now hurry up.”

 

Iris smiled and Nagisa shook his head. “She spoils you.”

7. Lifeline

 

“Come on,” Mizuki said, putting her hand out. “I’ll show it to you.”

 

Iris stared at this outstretched hand. Faintly, she remembered another hand and the colour red. Faintly, but it made her feel cold, cold and scared and—

 

“I promise you’ll like it.”

 

Iris reached out and grabbed it. There was no need for a past she couldn’t remember.

 

If she needed a reason to live, a reason to do anything, it was this girl in front of her.

8. Engineer

 

He shouldn’t have been surprised. In all honesty, spending a few months in a class full of engineers was not enough to learn to physics and maths that Mizuki used daily. It was not enough to even pretend to understand.

 

So when he asked her about her day and she spouted off about core reactors and nuclear fissions and fuel inefficiencies, he shouldn’t have been shocked. As it was, all he could do was stare and nod every now and then.

 

Iris chuckled, patting him on the back after seeing his stunned expression. “Don’t worry about it.”

 

Embarrassed, he flushed and turned away as Iris responded in like, spewing theoretical theories like it was second nature.

 

Really, he was the only one who didn’t understand.

9. Accounting

It was a petty revenge when he started talking about shareholders and stock prices. Iris and Mizuki stared at him as though he were speaking Russian, and for a moment, it was great.

 

But then they thanked him for his efforts and spoke in the language of science and really, where was the point when there was no one to understand him at all?

10. Race

Despite everything that happened, Iris hadn’t lost her racing edge. She was still overly fast, as though she was risking everything in every race. It was frightening, sometimes, watching her race.

 

Reckless. Careless. The words he used when they first met hadn’t changed, not really.

 

“I worry too sometimes,” Mizuki said, leaning against him as they watched her on the screen, zooming through space. “But she always comes home.”

 

And he wished he could have as much faith.

11. Brother

Kaito twitched a little when Mizuki told him the arrangement.

 

“But Nagisa?” That wasn’t the part she expected him to protest over, but then again, her brother always obsessed over the strangest things.

 

“What about him?”

 

“Really? Nagisa?” Kaito frowned, his hands grasping at the air as he tried to show his disappointment. “Does he even know what romance is? Even Iris knows more than him.”

 

Mizuki sighed, not disagreeing. “Don’t badmouth both of them.”

12. Together

When it came down to it, there was never really an surprise to their choice.

 

And as Mizuki grabbed Iris and Nagisa by the hand, pulling them closer, anything else seemed impossible.

 

All she needed was right here.