Male Idol V4c22

Volume 4 Chapter 22 Nekoyama Toa, Towards the Future

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 I am a coward…

 Since the day I first met Aqua-kun, I have been continuously betraying him.

 ”Hey… You’re a boy, right?”

 Summoning my courage, I went out to play with Aqua-kun, who had to participate in a magazine photo shoot to help an acquaintance. As I watched Aqua-kun’s sparkling expression through the professional photographer’s lens, it reminded me of my vibrant self from those days.

 I wanted to take a step forward from the current situation, so I agreed to be in the photoshoot with Aqua-kun. However, that decision led to Nobu-san, the photographer, realizing my true identity as a boy. Nobu-san, being kind, didn’t expose my secret to Aqua-kun, and even supported me afterward.

 ”Just staying silent will only make you suffer more, Toa-chan. Besides… I believe Aqua-kun can handle it. I’m sure his compassion is beyond measure.”

 I thought Nobu-san was right.

 But every time I tried to confess my secret, memories of Mayuko-chan overlapped, making my throat dry and cold sweat cascade down my body. If this relationship changed… the image of Mayuko-chan, whom I had considered a friend and a best friend for a long time, transforming into something different haunted my mind like a trauma. Mayuko-chan and Aqua-kun are different genders, yet there’s something indelible that tightens around my heart.

 ”Nekoyama… You don’t have to force yourself. I won’t tell Shirogane either, so there’s no need for you to worry alone.”

 It was my other classmate, Mayuzumi Shintaro-kun, who said that.

 Mayuzumi-kun had looked at the classmates list beforehand, so he quickly noticed my true identity. Kind Mayuzumi-kun not only stayed quiet to Aqua-kun but also offered to apologize together if the secret were to come out. I felt sorry for having made Mayuzumi-kun an accomplice. I’ve tried countless times to tell Aqua-kun that I am a boy, but each time, the flashback of that incident paralyzed me, freezing me in place.

 ”Onii (big brother)… What do you want to do?”

 My little sister, Subaru, looked me in the eye and asked. Subaru, a second-year junior high student, bears a striking resemblance to me, except for her slightly slanted eyes. But unlike my current hesitant self, Subaru has a straightforward personality and speaks her mind clearly.

 ”But, Onii, I want you to remember this. No matter what choices you make, I’m your sister and family… So even if you end up alone, I don’t want you to feel lonely and sad.”

 Subaru’s words motivated me to change.

 I started my activities as a Vtuber because I thought that by donning a virtual identity, I could converse naturally with girls again. To overcome the trauma with Mayuko-chan, I began by interacting with girls as I did before. Once I started streaming, the viewers accepted me warmly. Yet, I know it was all thanks to Aqua-kun and Mayuzumi-kun’s support. Also, Touka-san, who later helped with managing the streams, proved to be incredibly kind and offered me much assistance.

 If things continue like this, I might be able to confess to Aqua-kun about my true self soon. That’s when I received an offer from Moja-san, the renowned music producer, who introduced himself as Shirogane Aqua’s producer, to create a new song for idol Shirogane Aqua.

 This might be the chance to reveal my secret.

 Feeling it was a chance, I immediately composed a song and submitted it to Moja-san. As a result, I met Tenga-senpai, the composer who also created songs for Aqua-kun. Tenga-senpai seemed perceptive, as he noticed during my part-time job at a café that I was a boy.

 ”…Nekoyama, you’re in the same boat as I am.”


 After finishing my part-time job at the café, I found myself alone with Tenga-senpai. On that day, I was able to interact with girls without any flashbacks. So, I had planned to confess my secret to Aqua-kun… But when I tried to speak, Mayuko-chan’s image, which had been absent until now, flashed before my eyes, and my heart raced intensely. Once again, I couldn’t take that step forward.

 ”I am… a much weaker person than you all think. That’s why I can only deceive myself through this approach. I’m just a petty human.”

 Tenga-senpai’s words surprised me.

 As he gazed up at the sky, he slowly turned his face towards me.

 ”I accepted that part of myself. It was easier that way. But… Nekoyama, you’re trying to take that step forward. Otherwise, you wouldn’t feel tormented by keeping this secret from someone dear to you.”


 Tenga-senpai pointed his index finger at me and lightly tapped my chest.

 ”I can only offer one piece of advice. Be true to your feelings. Heh… it might not be the most eloquent thing for someone like me who’s given up on baring their soul.”

 From the spot where Tenga-senpai touched me, warmth spread slowly throughout my body.

 When I thought about what I wanted, about what I wanted to become with Aqua-kun, my answer was simple.

 I want to become real friends with Aqua-kun.

 I no longer wanted to keep lying to Aqua-kun. Even if he might not forgive me, I wanted to confess the deception. I wanted to say sorry. And if possible, I wanted to proudly tell Aqua-kun that I am Nekoyama Toa, his fellow classmate.

 I wanted a genuine friendship where we could laugh together from the bottom of our hearts, not this fake relationship.

 ”Thank you… very much.”

 So, I made up my mind to confess everything to Aqua-kun.

 At that moment, Aqua-kun invited me to visit the set of his Driver shoot.

 I thought it might be a chance. If I spent every day on set, there might be an opportunity to confess. But… but… when I stayed with Aqua-kun on the shoot, having fun and enjoying ourselves, the feeling of not wanting to break this relationship shook my cunning and weak heart time and time again.

 The days of not being able to say anything continued to drag on. And one day, I was called by Director Hongou.

 ”I’m thinking of going with this script, but what do you think? If you don’t like it, I’m open to changing it.”

 I had already confided in Director Hongou about my true gender. Furthermore, she was aware that Aqua-kun thought of me as a girl. Looking at the script she handed me, it was a scene where Kagami, the character I played, revealed that she was a boy.

 ”If you do this scene, it might reveal your true self to Shirogane-kun. So, if you want, I can change the script now. What do you want to do? I want to respect your opinion.”

 Director Hongou is a very kind person. No… not just her. My junior high school teacher who empathized and supported me, Sugita-sensei, my high school teacher, the the president of Beryl, Toooka-san, who handles my streaming management even though we’ve never met, and the girls who come to my streams…

 While I was bound by Mayuko-chan, I didn’t realize that all the girls around me were so kind. Now, I understand that they’re all different from Mayuko-chan just because they’re girls. And the one who made me realize that was none other than Aqua-kun, who knocked on the door to my heart and took my hand, leading me out into the outside world.

 ”Director Hongou… this script is wonderful. Let’s go with this script. So… just give me some time today. I plan to confess everything to Aqua-kun.”

 Director Hongou smiled gently and nodded without saying a word. There’s no turning back now. That’s what I thought.

 But… even now, I still can’t take that one step forward.


 The gentle sound of waves could be heard all around. I stood facing Aqua-kun on the dimly lit beach at night. The darkened sky landscape overlapped with the view I saw from the classroom window on that day, at that moment. The weight of Mayuko-chan straddling my body pressed down on me.

 What are you doing!

 You’re supposed to say it, you have to say it!!

 I tried to motivate myself countless times. But the more I tried to motivate myself, the colder my heart became, and my body stiffened. Watching me like that, Aqua-kun, who had been quietly watching without saying anything, slowly opened his mouth.

 ”You know… I actually have a secret that I haven’t told anyone.”


 Aqua-kun’s words surprised me.

 ”Back then, unlike now, I was nothing. Yeah, from the beginning, I was nothing. I wondered why I was even alive. Why was I born? I had no hope, no goals. I was just living, just being kept alive. In that dim room all alone, all I thought about was when it would all end.”

 As if gazing somewhere far away, Aqua-kun squinted his eyes.

 ”But then, on the TV that was playing in the background, that person… an idol appeared. That person danced with a happy face, sang with such joy… at first, maybe I was mad seeing that person. I thought, why is this person so happy while I’m so miserable?”

 The figure of Aqua-kun, whom I had always thought was strong, strangely overlapped with my own weak self.

 ”Because I wanted to know, I started following that person. But… one day, that person disappeared from TV completely.”


 Aqua-kun shook his body slightly and let out a slow breath.

 ”A few days later, I found out on TV that that person had passed away. I didn’t know, but apparently, they had been suffering from a long illness. Even so, until the very end, that person continued to stand on the stage. They didn’t show any sign of pain to the people watching through the TV. They just desperately tried to send smiles to others, even until the very end.

 In their farewell note, they wrote, truthfully, that they wanted to live more, that they wanted to make more people smile, in fierce letters. When I heard that, I felt really ashamed of myself. Until then, I only thought about myself, never about anyone else.”

 Aqua-kun showed me his smile as usual. But behind that smile, I realized there was deep sorrow.

 ”It might sound simple, but that person was the one who inspired me to become an idol. I wanted to be like that person, to inherit the future that they couldn’t fulfill.”

 Aqua-kun slowly approached me. With his strong gaze, he looked straight into my eyes.

 ”Right now, more than anyone else in this world, I want my friend in front of me to smile from the bottom of their heart.”

 Aqua-kun’s words made my eyes widen.

 ”Trying to confess something takes courage. Overcoming something comes with pain. But… but! I want you to say it on purpose! Break down that thick wall and take my hand with your hands!”

 Aqua-kun spread his palm widely in front of me. Unlike my small hands, his large palm exuded a warmth that seemed to envelop everything. I reached out to grab that hand.

 [Hey! Look over here, Toa!! You’re the one who started this, aren’t you!? You’re the one who deceived me, planning to be happy all by yourself?]

 Mayuko-chan’s voice echoed in my head, and my hand froze just as I was about to reach out. Here we go again, it’s happening again… I want to overcome it, but I can’t. At that moment, I felt someone’s hand gently touch my back.

 [Nekoyama, no matter what happens, I’ll always be your friend]

 It is Mayuzumi, my other friend, who says this to me. I closed my eyes, and as I did, one by one, more hands seemed to overlap on my back. Subaru… and Tenga-senpai too… Ah, right, I’m not alone in that dark room anymore.

 [I’m sorry, Mayuko-chan… I’ll take this hand and go with everyone. Even if this relationship fails again, I want to be by Aqua-kun’s side.]

 As I said that, Mayuko-chan muttered something and dissipated into the air. The pain I felt just moments ago suddenly lightened, and my hand gently overlapped with Aqua-kun’s palm.

 ”1st year… Class A… I’m Nekoyama Toa. Shirogane-kun, will you… will you be my friend?”

 ”Yeah, of course! I’m 1st year Class A, Shirogane Aqua. Nice to meet you, Toa! And you can call me Aqua. Even if you don’t like it, I’ll still call you Toa.”

 Tears welled up naturally. Aqua lent me his chest gently.

 ”Hey, when did you notice?”

 ”I noticed when I delivered some printouts, and I saw your name written as Nekoyama Toa.”


 Right, that’s true. I thought he didn’t notice, but it wouldn’t be strange if he did after all this time. If he was asked by Sugita-sensei, he would know immediately.

 ”Then, why…?”

 ”Well… maybe there was a reason you didn’t want to say it. I mean, at first, you were dressing as a girl, right? So I thought I’d pretend not to know until you told me.”

 After Aqua-kun found out I was a male classmate, he didn’t told Mayuzumi-kun and Tenga-senpai. My mom wanted to tell Aqua-kun everything for both of us, but Aqua-kun said he wanted to hear it from me, so he refused Mom’s suggestion.

 ”That’s too cool, don’t you think?”

 ”Sorry… I should’ve been there for you and listened to everything… Actually, I should’ve realized from the start when I saw you wearing girl’s clothes.”

 ”Yeah, but it can’t be helped. I look cute like Subaru, after all.”

 ”Ugh… Honestly, I want the excitement I had at the beginning back.”


 We walked along the coast, heading to where our bikes were parked. With the silly conversation along the way, smiles naturally bloomed on our faces. I realized my tears had stopped.

 ”Right, I guess I’ll be friends with your sister Subaru-chan. I haven’t met her yet, but if she looks just like you, she must be cute, right?”

 ”Aqua is pervert… I won’t give you Subaru”

 ”Then, it can’t be helped. If that’s the case, would you like to go out with me?”


 Aqua-kun puts me on the back seat of the bike and puts a helmet on my head.

 ”Well, since we’re here, how about grabbing a meal somewhere? How about a parent-child bow (Oyakodon)?”

 ”…Aqua, I know it’s unlikely, but are you also targeting my mom?”

 ”Huh? Oh, no, not like that. You know, there was this commercial on TV about the ‘Thank You Campaign,’ and you can get a parent-child bowl for 390 yen…”

 Seeing Aqua in a rush, I couldn’t help but smile. Nothing has really changed… no, I think we can talk to each other more honestly than before. Maybe, sometime in the future, Mayuko-chan will appear in front of me again.

 Even if that happens, I’ll break through that wall again and move forward. Because I have so many important people now. I know I’m not alone.

 ”Haha, got it. I’m hungry too, so I’ll order the large serving!”

 ”Alright, let’s invite Tenga-senpai and Mayuzumi too. They’re probably wandering around here somewhere.”

 As Aqua spoke, he made a call to their cell phones. Then we heard the sound of a phone call coming from a nearby bush, and to our relief, Mayuzumi and Tenga-senpai emerged from there. It seemed like they had followed us, concerned about our well-being.

 ”Well… you did well.”

 ”Yeah, I’m glad… really glad!”

 There were so many things I wanted to say to them, but the simplest words slipped out naturally, “Thank you, everyone.”

 Once again, I expressed my gratitude to them. They warmly accepted me, and we engaged in lighthearted conversation as we went to have the parent-child bowl, even if it was a bit late.

 That night, when I returned home, my family was waiting for me at the entrance, and they embraced me tightly. Without saying anything, I immediately retreated to my room. Now, I want to convey these words to my mom and Subaru.

 ”I’m home.”

 My mom and Subaru hugged me, repeating the words “welcome back” multiple times. I hugged them back and said “I’m home” over and over.


 Regarding the annotations, it might be helpful to include them. Aqua’s words to Toa were about his past self in his previous world. And Aqua had noticed Toa’s secret for quite some time, probably after the events like the date and the livestream. As for my thoughts on Toa as a heroine, there were some conflicts, but I’m glad I included him in the story. Also, Tenga-senpai’s speech and mannerisms were meant to hide his vulnerable side.

 As for Subaru, she’s planned to make an appearance in the story after autumn at the very least. So, for those expecting her to be the heroine, I apologize. But in this story, whoever is involved with Aqua could become the main character, regardless of gender, even if they are from Earth, space, concepts, or fate.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.

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