[Theo]: If you're gone, I….

[Iris]: Now, wait.
Don't cry!


I hurriedly reached for Theo's face.
My confused mind was on the verge of going crazy.
Whether or not he knew how I felt, tears ran down Theo's white cheeks.
Looking at Theo's face, I felt guilty and self-deprecating about what I had just thought.


'Actually, maybe this feeling is all my illusion? If I hurt Theo with my preconceived notions….'


My head was filled with complicated thoughts that I felt like I was going to explode in no time.
I sighed inwardly, wiping away Theo's tears with my hand.


[Iris]: Calm down.
I'm not going away.
I'll stay by your side.

[Theo]: Really?

[Iris]: Yes.
Why would I disappear?


I smiled awkwardly at Theo, who pathetically grabbed my hand.
In fact, I was hesitating.
I wasn't sure I would keep my word that I wouldn't disappear.


But even so….


[Iris]: I'm sorry I pretended I didn't know.


I couldn't let go of Theo's hand as he spoke stupidly.


'I still want to believe it.'


Theo will get better and better.
I'll be there to help.
If I had given up on him and let go of his hand now, I wouldn't have promised to trust Theo in the first place.
Now he's probably overly obsessed with the friend he made for the first time.


I reacted too sensitively.
If you get rid of your insecurities, your attachment to me will naturally disappear.'


Forcibly clearing my mind, I urged Theo.


[Iris]: Don't do that next time, you know how much I worried about it?

[Theo]: yes, sorry.


Theo apologized to me with his eyes cast downwards.
Then, suddenly, he pulled me in and locked me in a hug.


[Iris]: Theo?


It was useless for me to wriggle in embarrassment.
Theo said, not letting me go.


[Theo]: we already hold hands.
Can't you hug me?


With that, I stopped resisting and blinked blankly.


A child who was ashamed to hold hands suddenly tells me that he loves me.
As if he had become a different person overnight.
Was it so painfully embedded in his heart that we had to break up one day?


I bit my lip.
Then I stared into the air as I was held by Theo, who couldn't let go of me for a long time.




“May the blessings of the goddess be with you.”


Starting with the director, all the children in the nursery school closed their eyes and started praying.
Although the cold wind was blowing fiercely, there was a warm warmth in the prayer room.


I too blended into the children, clasping my hands together and closing my eyes.
Of course, I was not praying sincerely.
I was just going with the flow so I would go unnoticed.


[Iris]: Theo.


I squinted and looked at Theo, who was sitting next to me.
I scolded him, his red eyes open while I'm nudging him with my elbow.
Then those calm eyes closed with discontent.


I really can't live with it.'


It was like this every time, and I couldn't live with anxiety without having him by my side.
The new year dawned, and we had another year to be eleven.


Theo grew up in the meantime, and before I knew it, he was taller than me.


'We eat the same food, but why am I so small?'


He didn't seem to be very athletic, but Theo was growing day by day.
Not only his height, but also his face was becoming more and more boyish, so sometimes when I saw Theo, he felt unfamiliar.


'After all, kids grow fast.'


I nodded a couple of times to myself, thinking like an old man.


“Gentlemen, from today onwards, our priests of the Temple of Hailis have decided to visit the nursery to meet you.
You'll see their face regularly, so make sure to get along.”


'Huh? What is this about?'


I tilted my head.
This was the first time this had happened.
The priests go in and out of the nursery themselves.
Had something special happened?


I scanned the fuses with curious eyes.
But one of them stood out in particular.


[Random Child]: He looks so young.


As if we had the same feeling, I heard the voice of the child sitting in the front row.
Because among the priests in the line was a boy who looked visibly young.


[Random Child]: I thought the priests were all old….


Soon there was a murmur coming from various places.
It wasn't common, so it was fair enough.
With a gentle smile.
I looked at the young priest staring straight ahead.


He had blonde hair similar to mine, blue eyes, and soft, delicately shaped features.




I could quickly feel my heart become tumultuous.
The young priest does not have a very common look.


[Theo]: Iris.
Why do you look like that?

[Iris]: Huh?


I turned my head in bewilderment at the sound of Theo's voice coming from next to me.
Then I caught sight of him, who was looking at me with a sullen look in his eyes.


[Theo]: What are you looking at so hard?

[Iris]: Nope.


'Why am I doing this?'


I wondered for a moment, but I kept my mouth shut.
When Theo was smiling like that, it was because he wasn't in a good mood.


[Theo]: That guy….
Why are you staring him?

[Iris]: Huh?


Theo said in a hostile tone, as if he didn't like something.
I turned my head to follow Theo's gaze.
Then I made eye contact with the young priest I had just been staring at.


[Theo]: Iris?


Blue eyes that looked exactly like mine were looking at me.
When I met those eyes straight, I felt like my head was going blank for some reason.
As if I was strange.
I felt Theo waving my arm next to me.


But I couldn't answer him.
I couldn't take my eyes off him, as if I am possessed.
How much we looked at each other like that, I finally lost my mind at the shape of his mouth moving silently.


'It's you.'


He was telling me so.




'You're finally here.'


A mysterious voice tickled his ears.
His voice seemed to come from far away.


'How many times has it been repeated?'


I listened to her voice silently.


No one told me to do it, but somehow I felt comfortable with my eyes closed and listening to his voice A refreshing breeze blew in, and my hair tickled my forehead.
It was as if there was a fresh smell of grass coming from somewhere.


'You'll never give up either.'


I couldn't see anything because I closed my eyes, but I could feel someone caressing my face with a warm touch.


“Just like I did….”


The benevolent voice couldn't speak to the end and grew farther and farther away.


'But keep that in mind…….'


I tried to hear the voice getting smaller and smaller.
But in the end, I couldn't understand what it was saying.






'I think I was dreaming about something….'


It was so warm.
I couldn't remember any of it, but that one thing was certain.
I opened my eyes thinking so.


“Did you wake up?”


Rubbing his eyes, I pulled himself up when he heard Ms.
Hailey's voice from the side.


“What happened?”


I turned my head to look around, and it was a dim dawn.
I looked at Ms.
Hailey, who was yawning with a tired face.


“It's been a whole day.
I've been terribly harassed by your eccentric friend.”


I looked down and saw Theo asleep on the bed.


“I was just awake to see you open your eyes, but when I woke up, I festered.” Ms.
Hailey added wryly.


“Why did I fall?” I asked, stroking Theo's hair quietly.


I didn't remember feeling particularly sick, but it was a big deal.


Hailey]: Well.
I didn't think there was anything wrong with my body.
If you've been under extreme stress lately, that could be the cause, but…”

[Iris]: Thanks for taking care of me anyway.”

Hailey]: If he wakes up, be sure to explain that you really aren't feeling well.


Hailey shook her head.
I nodded apologetically to Theo, who must have been very surprised.
I touched Theo's hair as he slept and I was lost in thought.


A young priest who looks oddly like me.
And the strange sensation I felt after making eye contact with him.
The feeling that I couldn't define in any words remained uncomfortable.


Why was the priest looking at me? And why did I lose my mind when I saw him? Besides, the dream I had after fainting kept sticking in my mind.
I felt like I had forgotten something I shouldn't have forgotten.


[Theo]: Did you wake up?


As I continued to try to recall a dream I couldn't remember, Theo, who had been asleep, opened his eyes.


[Iris]: Theo?


As soon as Theo opened his eyes, he took me into his arms.
I carefully patted Theo on the back with a hand that had nowhere to go.


[Iris]: Theo, I'm fine.


I said with a smile, but Theo hugged me tighter.

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