Source

https://kakuyomu.jp/works/16817139558660048790/episodes/16817330653376172780

It was too close.
My heart was beating so wildly that I felt as if I was about to spit it out.
I was nervous, not only because I had run as fast as I could, but also because I knew that if I had been even one second later, I would have been right where I wanted to be.
And then a burning pain hit me. 

I was determined to skip school tomorrow and go to bed.

I made such a decision and grabbed the arm of the man in the raincoat who was screaming in front of me – Asagiri’s younger brother – and twisted his wrist.

“Ugh!”

Asagiri’s brother let out a light scream and restrained his hand.
With a clang, I hear the knife drop to the ground. I immediately kick it far away.

“W-What the hell! Who the hell are you? You interfered! you’re in my way!”

Asagiri’s brother stared at me menacingly.
I also adjust my breathing a little before asking a question.

“You’re Asagiri’s brother, right? Why are you doing this?”
“Shut up! You’re the one who was with that woman! You interrupted me again! Damn you, damn you!”

Asagiri’s brother repeated the dirty words, unable to hide his irritation.
Again, he said, but I don’t remember.

“Anything is shit. and I don’t give a shit. It’s that person’s fault. My grades are down, I’m not doing well in school, …… it’s all her fault because she’s a failure.”

I can’t seem to talk calmly. I can’t decide whether it is because he is hot-tempered or because of his natural disposition.
Asagiri was looking at her brother with a bewildered expression on her face.

“W-What did I do ……?”

The voice of Asagiri asked her brother in a muffled voice. The sad face was so painful to look at.

“I don’t think you understand, do you, nee chan? Unlike nee chan, I’m expected by my parents, and they expect a lot of me.”
“─ ─ ─”

Asagiri wanted to be expected by her parents, but they had no interest in her at all. That is too cruel a word for such a girl.

“What do you think will happen if I don’t get the results they want? When they open their mouths, they say that if I get first place in the next mock exam, I’ll be fine.”

Asagiri’s brother’s words pour out of him as if he had been dammed up.

“At the end of the day, they say I can go to Tokyo University or become a doctor, but they can’t see reality. It’s hilarious, isn’t it, that I can count from the bottom faster than they can. I’m getting tired……. My parents who expect too much of me, my classmates who seem to be enjoying themselves over trivial things, my sister who seems to be enjoying herself because she’s inferior to me even though I’m suffering so much. Fuck all of it.”

The younger brother, who has let it all out, is breathing hard.
Asagiri behind him is shocked. It’s only natural. Even though she was attacked by her own brother, what she heard was the twisted nature of her brother.

Asagiri said that her parents raised both sisters and brother as superior and inferior.
When things went wrong because of this, the younger brother’s bloated pride went out of control. Most likely, he found out that someone he thought was inferior to him was having fun without his knowledge, and he turned his attention to that person.

But why? Certainly, Asagiri’s brother’s argument is a mess. He stabbed his only sister because things didn’t go his way?
I’m not sure that would be acceptable.
But …… I could not help but understand his feelings.

I’m sure he’s learned his lesson from Asagiri, but I still couldn’t stop feeling sorry for him.

He is another victim of his parents’ upbringing.

“W-What the hell, don’t look at me like that!”
“I feel sorry for you”
“You don’t know anything about me!”
“I do. How many times have you tried to kill your parents?”
“!!”
“—tss”

“Every time you did, you thought to yourself. What’s the point of doing that? Where is the need to waste your life for them? You did it for your sister, …… most of all.”
“…… So what was I supposed to do ……?”
“Well, you’re on your own. I don’t know about you, but at least until just now, your sister cared about you.”

Cracks that have been made cannot be undone.
Still, with time, it is possible to keep the cracks from spreading. It should even be possible to add a new coat of paint on top of it.

“I am ……”

Asagiri’s brother wept quietly.

“Yuto!?”
“!? W-Why ……?”

Then a woman in a suit gets out of the car and runs to Asagiri’s brother.
The woman looked alternately at the raincoat-clad brother and the fallen knife, and was dismayed for a moment, but quickly switched her expression to one of calm.
The brother froze in place, his earlier bravado completely dissipated.

…… Apparently, I made it in time

The woman in the suit is saying something to Asagiri’s brother. I could see the harsh words being thrown at him in places.
Asagiri’s brother was listening to her without saying a word.
Then, when the woman in the suit finished talking, she came toward him.

“It’s you, isn’t it? Mother was talking about.”
“Yes. I’m glad you found your daughter.”
“Yes, I am. I’d like to thank you for your help.”

The woman in the suit – Asagiri’s mother – said this without changing her expression.

When I left Kurase, I saw another future.
It was a future where Asagiri’s grandmother would conveniently fall down in the rain.
I heard that she was worried about Asagiri and was looking for her. Then she received a phone call from Asagiri’s mother.

But that doesn’t matter now.

“…… Is that all you have to say?”

It is not that I am asking you to give me a thank-you gift.
This situation is clearly not normal. I am not asking you to give me a thank-you gift.

I said that, and Asagiri’s mother sighed deeply and opened her mouth.

Cracks that have been made cannot be undone.
Still, with time, it is possible to keep the cracks from spreading. It should even be possible to add a new coat of paint on top of it.

“I am ……”

Asagiri’s brother wept quietly.

“Yuto!?”
“!? W-Why ……?”

Then a woman in a suit gets out of the car and runs to Asagiri’s brother.
The woman looked alternately at the raincoat-clad brother and the fallen knife, and was dismayed for a moment, but quickly switched her expression to one of calm.
The brother froze in place, his earlier bravado completely dissipated.

…… Apparently, I made it in time

The woman in the suit is saying something to Asagiri’s brother. I could see the harsh words being thrown at him in places.
Asagiri’s brother was listening to her without saying a word.
Then, when the woman in the suit finished talking, she came toward him.

“It’s you, isn’t it? Mother was talking about.”
“Yes. I’m glad you found your daughter.”
“Yes, I am. I’d like to thank you for your help.”

The woman in the suit – Asagiri’s mother – said this without changing her expression.

When I left Kurase, I saw another future.
It was a future where Asagiri’s grandmother would conveniently fall down in the rain.
I heard that she was worried about Asagiri and was looking for her. Then she received a phone call from Asagiri’s mother.

But that doesn’t matter now.

“…… Is that all you have to say?”

It is not that I am asking you to give me a thank-you gift.
This situation is clearly not normal. I am not asking you to give me a thank-you gift.

I said that, and Asagiri’s mother sighed deeply and opened her mouth.

“Well, I’ll pay you a gratuity. So, could you please keep quiet about this? This is a very important time for him. If you’ve ever taken an exam, you know what I’m talking about. I can’t let this ruin his life. He has a responsibility to succeed his father’s hospital and become a great person.”
“…… What is that?”

After saying something self-serving, Asagiri’s mother immediately tries to return to the younger brother.
My mutterings were drowned out, and I could only stand there stunned.

A word of shit below the belt.
I realized that this is what “gut-wrenching” means.

What I wanted to hear was not such meaningless words. She said it as if it was so obvious that for a moment I thought I had seriously lost my mind.

“That’s what you say when you see this situation?”

And in an instant, I reached a boiling point. Asagiri’s mother pauses at my words.

“The one who was attacked was also your daughter, remember? And it was your son who attacked her. Are you really going to let that be the end of it?”

Anger seeps out. A swell of emotion that I thought I would never be able to produce again overflows unstoppably.
I realize that I’m not even using honorifics anymore, but that doesn’t matter.

“………… this has nothing to do with you. This is between parent and child. The girl will understand that it’s for her brother’s sake.”

For a moment, I thought I caught a glimpse of Asagiri standing behind me, and then she coldly dismissed me again.

“What’s the problem between parent and child? What he did is just a criminal act. Do you understand that?”

I looked at Asagiri’s face behind me.
The expression on Asagiri’s face was a mixture of fear, astonishment, confusion, and grief. Her brother, on the other hand, had a blank look on his face.

“Why don’t you ask the boy why he did that?”
“What’s the use of asking. The boy is tired. That’s all.”

No, I can’t. Really. This person…

“You people are always like that. You’re blind.”
“What–“
“Children are not instruments of your parental ideals!
“!!”

The Asagiri siblings are the victims. The parents’ education.
I heard Asagiri sniffing from behind me.

“You’ve never raised a child before, what do you know? A child who knows nothing ……. You may not understand, but the adult world is tough. There is a tougher, more competitive world awaiting us. And for that reason…”
“If that’s what you’re going to do, I’ve got an idea.”

I don’t want to hear excuses. I was confident that I was the most angry person in the room, even though I was a complete outsider to Asagiri and her parents.

I said as I showed my right hand to the other person. Blood dripped from my right hand.

“…… hey, that’s …… hand ……!!!!”

Asagiri suddenly saw my hand and ran up to me screaming. In an instant, she looked like she was about to cry, and a look of worry could be seen on her face.

A liquid like bright red tomato juice is dripping from my hand.
It was a little unexpected that Asagiri would come to worry about me at this timing. I had been trying not to look like I was worrying him earlier, but it turned out to be a bad thing.

“Ah, no, I was a little …… when I intervened earlier.”
“Are you all right?!”

“Well, it’s just a little bit of thin skin, and there’s some blood, but it’s nothing serious. So, just step away from me.”

I said in a voice that only Asagiri could hear.

It’s a lie. To be honest, it hurts so much that I want to cry.
Because I can’t look directly at my hand. Not knowing what’s going on is really scary.

But ignoring this fact, I turned to Asagiri’s mother and said

“I’m going to call the police right now. That knife has his fingerprints all over it, right? My blood is on it, too. Then you know what will happen.”
“!?”

Asagiri’s mother showed an obvious look of irritation. The younger brother did not react. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to call the police after all the preachy things she said. But I had to do something to make this mother understand.

“No, don’t do that! You can’t do that.”
“I don’t care.”

I ignore her and pull out my phone. It’s hard on one hand.

“Okay, okay. I apologize. You want me to apologize?”
“Not to me. You know what I mean.”
“!! I-I understand.”

As she said this, Asagiri’s mother turned to Asagiri.

“I-I’m sorry.”

That’s all she said, and bowed her head lightly.
she said and bowed her head lightly. You should hide it a little more.

This is not worth the cost of the right hand, is it?
I’m pretty sure I’m making a bad face right now.

“That’s it?”
“W-What more do you want from me?”
“Japanese people have a certain style when apologizing sincerely, don’t they?”

I half forced her to do something reckless.
I am sorry to speak for Asagiri’s feelings, but it would not have been refreshing if I had not done this. (I’ll do it.)

“Y-you want me to get down on my knees here!?”

It was raining until a few minutes ago. The ground was soaking wet and dirty, as it should be.

“Well? 110 is easy to put up, isn’t it?”
“…..”

I said that while operating the phone, she stared at me sharply and kneeled down on the spot, as if he had made up his mind.
And then she looked at Asagiri once more and bowed deeply.

“I-I’m sorry. ……”

As for Asagiri’s reaction to this, she was puzzled at first. Then her eyes met mine. As soon as I nodded, her expression changed.
And then…

“…that’s enough! Don’t ever get involved with me again! Go home !!!”

She shouted.
And just like that, Asagiri’s mother and brother ran away and got in their car and left.
When the younger brother got into the car, he looked at us and made a small bail. I hope something has changed in that boy’s way.

After seeing them off, Asagiri breathed on my shoulder.
It was a farewell to the past that had tormented her until now. It must have been a half-hearted decision.
I called out to her

“Are you okay?”
“…………”

I don’t know why I’m asking her, but I don’t think she’s okay. Too many things have happened at this moment. Like being betrayed by her brother, whom she trusted, and having to break up with her mother. The mental burden may be more than when I was abandoned by my parents.

“I’m sorry ……. It was you who got hurt and …… I sent her home …… on my own.”

“No, don’t worry about it. If it had stayed like that, I would have called the cops too. If Asagiri was okay with that, I don’t care anymore.”

Frankly, I’m hurt, too, and I might as well have turned him in to the police, no questions asked. I thought I would have had to do that to get rid of that paranoid mindset.

Still, they are Asagiri’s family.
I know better than anyone what it means for a family member to commit a crime.
I don’t want Asagiri to go down that path. It may be naive, but if I am the only one who can get away with it, then so be it. Hopefully, Asagiri’s brother will not go down that road in the future.

“So I’m going to ask you one more time, are you okay?”
“I don’t know…………… right now. My head’s a mess,…… but I feel a little better.”
“I see.”

Asagiri finally smiled. A strong fellow, I thought.

“Hey, are you sure you’re okay with that? The blood……”

Then she immediately went back to her anxious face and pointed to my right hand.
Seeing the amount of blood, the color of her face became more and more clouded.

“Look, it’s okay! You see, this is …… puch…… ah…….”

When I tried to appeal that I was fine, I dug my grave.
Asagiri is about to start crying at any moment.

“You’re an idiot,……, why did you ……? Why did you cover for me! I said terrible things …….”

And then she immediately started crying again, citing the argument with me and shedding big tears.

……When she cries, I don’t know what to do. The tears of a woman are often called the ultimate weapon.

To protect you, I’d even use my right hand to …… protect you.
Oh, no. It’s too stinky.
I can’t get a witty line out of my mouth.

I mean, I don’t even remember …… saying anything bad to you.

“Idiot. I can’t just stand there and watch you get stabbed for saying something horrible. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t sleep for three days if I was shown a shocking image of one of my classmates being punched in the stomach right in front of me.”

I did it for my own sake. That’s all. It was the same when I saved Asagiri the first time.

“I’m sorry,………”

Asagiri apologized in a small voice. I didn’t know what she was apologizing for, but I’ll accept it for now.

“You’re welcome. Thank you if you say so.”
“Thank you……”

Then I went to the hospital for the time being.
When I was finally released from the treatment, the round moon was already floating in the sky.
It had stopped raining completely and was peeking through the clouds.

“Are you all right, Asagiri?”

I feel so tired. During the treatment, Asagiri waited for me for a long time.
I said the same words to her once again. Now that she is calm, she must have had a lot more things to think about than she did then.

“……Yes. It’s a strange feeling.”
“…I see. Don’t keep it to yourself.”
“…… yeah.”

I’m not sure what I’m saying is convincing, but Asagiri, who doesn’t know that, nodded.

“Yuri chan!!”

Then I heard Kurase’s voice.

Kurase rushed toward us with a worried look on her face and hugged Asagiri.

“N-Nanami!”
“Yurii chan! I’m so glad……I heard from Ito-kun and flew over……”
“…yeah. I’m so sorry I worried you.”
“……It’s true,……Uuu,……”
“Wait, Nanami!? Why is Nanami crying?!”
“I’m sorry …… for not being able to help you when you’re worried about your parents,……Yuri chan,…….”
“…………I’m the one who’s sorry for making you worry …… uu…….”

Friends are great. I’m glad I contacted her.
I looked at the two of them and thought deeply.

I’ll tell you another story about Kurase almost having a stroke when she saw my bandage-covered right hand after that.

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thatguy
thatguy
1 year ago

Finally, some catharsis.

Some parts were repeated. There was a lot of them but it was near this part:

“…… Is that all you have to say?”

Thank you for the chapter.

Itigz
Itigz
11 months ago

Thanks for the chapter!
This was very satisfying.