I’m watching TV. There is a news program on, but I can’t get much of it into my head.

“T-the bath ! It’s ready !”


At those words, I regained consciousness.

When I looked, there was Nagi.

Her fluffy pajamas with a hood and cat ears.

Her dried hair was silky and even shiny.

“Do you want some cocoa?”

“Ah, yes ! Hot, please !”

I asked Nagi to sit on the sofa and prepare myself while brewing my own coffee. I took a bath first, by the way.

“Speaking of which, how long have you been able to drink coffee?”

“……I can’t drink black coffee yet.”

I started drinking coffee because I admired my father. I really want to drink black coffee…..but I haven’t been able to drink it well yet.

However, compared to the first time, I can now taste fine sugar, so that’s good.

“Okay, Nagi. Here’s your cocoa.”

“Thank you.”

If I serve cocoa first, Nagi won’t drink until my coffee is ready.

I put my cup next to hers and sat down next to Nagi. We sit next to each other with about a fistful of space between us.

But. Suddenly. Nagi came closer.

The gap that should have been a fistful of space is now filled. ……It happens all the time.

“By the way, how much sugar is it?”

“Half a stick of sugar, so maybe…..1.5 grams.”

“H-half……? I can’t drink it unless I put two sticks of sugar and milk in it.”

“So you like it sweet, Nagi.”

Cocoa is also full of sugar. Depending on the day, I sometimes put honey instead of sugar in it.

“I’m afraid it might make me a little fat, though.”

“……From my point of view, I’d like you to eat more, but it’s not possible when you’re doing Japanese dance.”

“Right. It’s not only the dressing, but also the balance of the body.”

It is difficult to say, but it is Nagi who will have a hard time if that happens, so I cannot recommend it carelessly.

“I do exercise as well. Fortunately, I don’t have a body that is prone to gain weight. I’ve never felt that much inconvenienced.”

“……You do actually seem to get a lot of exercise.”

Nagi’s body is slender, but it is not just thin. She has supple muscles on her arms and legs.

“However, I am afraid of the future…the time when I quit Japanese dance.”

“Nagi might become a teacher in the future.”

“It is possible. A teacher is a teacher. But……”

Nagi took a sip of cocoa and let out a small sigh.

“I don’t think I want to spend less time with Souta kun. Because I won’t have time for my children.”

I almost dropped the cup.

I close my eyes and put the cup down quietly.

……Nagi. What did you just say?

“That’s right. If you think about children, it will end in your early twenties. Seems a little wasteful.”

Misheard. I must have misheard her, maybe.

“Family time is very important. Right, Souta kun?”

I’m not mishearing.

My face is getting hotter and hotter. I was wondering what kind of face Nagi was making, but I couldn’t even open my eyes when I thought she was watching my face.

“By the way, how many children do you want, Souta kun?”

Think of it as small talk. Apart from that, I don’t think she’s saying it in the sense that it’s with me. Maybe.


Phew, I exhale to let out all the heat from my face.

I drink coffee and try to reset. It didn’t taste bitter at all.

“I hear that it’s been tough financially lately. Ideally, it would be nice with two or three kids.”

“I’m with you ! I knew it. And if possible, I would like to have a baby while I’m still young.”

“While still having the strength. My father was the same way.”

Both my father and mother were in their early twenties when I was born. That’s why my father used to play with me when he was in his prime. ……It seems that there were a lot of difficult things for that.

“Souta kun. I’m sure you’re going to be a good Papa.”

It was an unusual way to call me. I couldn’t help but make eye contact with her.

Her blue eyes and bright red face. I stared at her.

“Fufu. I….used to call that to my real Papa and Mama.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. At some point I started calling them Father and Mother, though.”

Nagi sipped her cocoa and continued speaking.

“Actually, I still like to call them that.”

“…..Just say it.”

Quickly, I replied.

“If you want to call them that, I think you should do it”

“But, I’m already in middle school.”

“You can call them that whatever age you are. …….Maybe it’s embarrassing when you’re outside. Then you can use it differently inside and outside the house.”

Nagi looked a little as if she was lost. She doesn’t look troubled. ……She looks like she really wants to call them that after all.

“They will definitely be happy. Soichiro san and Chie san. I can assure you.”

“You really think so?”

I nodded vigorously to Nagi who tilted her head.


“You see, my father often says that he wants me to call him ‘Papa’.”

“……Come to think of it. Souta kun doesn’t call him that, right?”

“I can see that if I call him that once, he’ll get carried away. My mother also told me not to let him get too carried away.”

Nagi laughed when I said that. And then, with her eyes downcast. Her voice was squeezed out of her throat.

“Do you really think he’ll be pleased?”

“Absolutely. Both Soichiro san and Chie san love Nagi.”

When I said that, Nagi’s eyes widened.

Nagi was taken in by Soichiro san when she was little.

I didn’t know about Soichiro san back then. I have never heard of him.

……However. I can understand when I see Soichiro san and the others now.

I know they love Nagi. I just know it..

“Will they be happy?”

“Yeah. Absolutely.

With Nagi. And sometimes, when I see Soichiro san, I think.

This father and daughter are too clumsy. They don’t realize how much they care for each other.

I don’t know much about Chie san. They don’t realize how much Nagi cares about them. I have the impression that Chie san is also aware that Nagi is at a difficult age, so she is taking a step back.

Whatever the case may be, this is not something I should solve. It is for Nagi to solve.

All I can do is to help. It may seem a bit aggressive.

“Why don’t you call them both that once when you get back?”

Nagi put her hand on her chin when she heard my words.

When Nagi thinks, she puts her hand on her chin. I heard that this is because Soichiro san’s habits are contagious.

So much so that the habit is contagious. Nagi loves and respects Soichiro san.

Then Nagi took her hand from her chin. She nodded.

“You’re right. I’d like to do that.”

“……! I see !”

I couldn’t help but raise my voice. But Nagi didn’t mind and nodded with a soft expression.

“I guess. I envied Souta kun’s family.”

These words came out of nowhere.

But I guess it was not irrelevant. I waited quietly for the next words.

“You’re very close with each other, and I can see how much you love each other.

There was a strong light in her eyes.

“I realized now that envy alone won’t change anything. I realized that now.”


Nagi decided to change herself. I was so happy to hear those words. Dazzling, and.

I just opened my arms. Nagi looked at me for a moment, then jumped in.

I patted her head.

“I think it’s good for you to open up your feelings.”

“Yes ! Thank you, Souta kun.”

I stroked Nagi’s head for a few tens of seconds. After that, Nagi moved away.

“Move with haste, I guess. Because it seems that they will be shocked when I return. I will call them as soon as possible.”

That’s what she said.


[Nagi. What are you doing here at this hour? Souta kun is here too. Good evening.]

“Good evening, Soichiro san.”

“Father……no. I have one thing I want to talk to Father and Mother about.”

We moved to my room to make a phone call.

I had put Nagi’s phone on my desk and started a video call, hoping to talk face to face anyway.

[I’m going to call Chie now. I want you to wait for a moment.]


And within a few minutes, Chie san came over as well.

[Good evening, Nagi, Souta kun. What do you want to talk about?]

“Good evening, Chie san.”

“Mother. I have something to say.”

[Oh my? Is that so?]

Just for a moment. Chie san and Soichiro san rolled their eyes. Had they misunderstood something?

“Erm. I’d like to talk to you, or rather, ask you a favor.”

[……What is it? Ask whatever you want.]

For a moment, Nagi’s eyes shook.

If I look closely, The fist on her knee was shaking.

“It’s all right, Nagi.”

I whispered in a small voice so that the other side could not hear me. I was worried if Nagi could hear me or not, but it seems she did.

I put my palm on her fist. So that the other side cannot see it.


Nagi also murmured in a small voice. And then–

“When we are at home, I want to call you ‘Papa’ and ‘Mama’.”

Soichiro san and Chie san’s eyes widened.

I thought the camera had frozen. But I was wrong. The clock on the other side of the screen was running.

They were the embodiment of ‘freezing up in surprise’. Nagi’s eyes began to moisten. Oh no.

Finally, Soichiro san opened his mouth.

[Is it okay? Will you call me that again?]

His words and expression showed surprise and pleasure, but not disgust.

“I-if it’s alright with you, Father and Mother. I would like to call you Papa and Mama.”

Nagi’s voice trembled. But.

[…..Yeah. If Nagi says she will call us that again. Even as your father—no. As a Papa. I want you to call me that.]

[Yes. Nagi, please call me Mama.]’

Soichiro san and Chie san said so with a smile.

It might be the first time I’ve seen them smile so much.

“Yes ! Papa, Mama !”

–Naturally, Nagi was smiling, too.


“Thank you, Souta kun. Thank you so much.”

“I’d like to say you’re welcome, but Nagi did a great job this time. Isn’t it cramped?”

“It’s a little cramped, but it’s fine.”

Nagi and I were lying on the bed.

Although I was hesitant to say no to Nagi, who asked me if I wanted to sleep with her and seemed to be enjoying herself so much.

After that, the four of us, including Soichiro san, talked about various things.

This is the story of the time when Nagi was taken in. Why did he take her, etc.

It may have been Soichiro san’s confession.

Although the story was full of surprises for me. Nagi was aware of many things about it, but there seemed to be a lot of misunderstandings.

That’s how I cleared up a lot of misunderstandings.

[I hope Nagi will pursue her own happiness. If there is anything necessary for that, I will do anything.]

He said. But Nagi herself also said that Japanese dance and other lessons are what she likes to do. Nagi chose to continue.

“Even so, that surprised me. I was surprised to hear that Nagi might have a fiancée.”

“I was going to tell you about that soon. soon. ……Fortunately, my father also said, [Nagi doesn’t need a fiancée right now].”

That’s the only thing–I was really relieved.

“You could have gone home and talked things over with those two, you know? I’ll walk you home.”

“No. I have to take care of Souta kun.”

I chuckled at Nagi’s words. I thought it would be nice to give priority to her family.

Suddenly, I felt a warm sensation on my arm.

“Souta kun. ……Can I hug you?”


Usually it’s okay. But here we are in the bed.

“I-it might make you feel weird, you know?”

More or less, I’m a healthy middle school boy. As expected, I wouldn’t do anything to frighten Nagi, but――

“But I don’t mind, if it’s Souta kun.”

To the words that came back.. I closed my mouth.

“What if I say that?”

“Y-you…..I’ll get angry.”

“Fufu. It’s very precious, Souta kun’s anger.”

Then, Nagi pinched my arm. She wanted to tell me to let her hug me.



The moment I gave permission, Nagi hugged me tightly. She was like a puppy being told to wait….though she might be offended if I said so.

I’ll be waiting.”


The words were spun in a small voice. I didn’t ask what. Because I knew

“I might keep you waiting. A long time.”

“I will keep waiting. Half a step ahead of Souta kun.”

I closed my eyes on those words.

“……Souta kun.”

I guess she intentionally tried not to be heard. Nagi smiled, muttering the first half of the words in her mouth.

“Good night. ….Have a good dream.”

“Yeah, Nagi too.”

And so—we fell asleep.

I wanted to come to terms with this feeling as soon as possible.

I still thought it was a little difficult.

I–I’m not good enough yet. With everything.

To be able to stand next to each other. I have to work hard.

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