〇 Past


“Yo, Kouki.”

A person who unlocked the door of the house and suddenly entered the living room. It was my best friend, Ushijima Midori.

“Why are you at my house…..?”

“I was a little worried because you said you were going to live alone and quit your part-time job, but am I…… interrupting you?”

“No, you’re not……but what happened to the key…?”

“Shinobu gave it to me. Even though I’m a girl. I don’t know if it’s because she trusts me or she doesn’t see me as one.”

Shinobu… it’s Shinobu……Surely it’s impossible for Shinobu to lend the key to my house to a girl, but it’s different when it comes to Midori. Absolutely, without a doubt, we won’t have a relationship as a man and woman even in another timeline. That’s the relationship between me and Midori.

“I mean, I think we haven’t talked that much lately, Kouki. Well, not like it’s a big deal. That kind of thing won’t change our relationship.”

“Well, if it’s with you. You’re my best friend even though I haven’t seen you in years.”

Well, I don’t mind. It doesn’t change the relationship between you and me.

“Well, not with you. Even though we haven’t seen each other in years, you’re still my best friend.

“In fact, I’m sure we won’t see each other when we grow up.”

“Well, this kind of distance with you is for the best. Well, let’s just sit down anyway.”

Midori sat down next to me while randomly shaking the bag from the convenience store.

Hikari, who had been staring at the situation, spoke up.

“Come to think of it, were these two supposed to be this close?”

Although she meant to talk to herself, but perhaps her voice was louder than she thought it would be, and it reached us. HikarI noticed this and asked again.

“Well….I’m just a junior, so I don’t really know, but are you guys always this close? Well, I don’t get the impression that you spend much time together,……,but you talk a lot when you meet once in a while. I’ve never heard that you’ve been together for a long time.”

“I’ve only started talking to you recently, right?”

It’s been a while since Hikari started working in the kitchen, but before that, she had been working in the same place with her. I can’t help but wonder.

“There’s no big reason for it, though.”

“That’s right. Well you could say we just clicked? Well, our personalities are the exact opposite.”

It’s not that I have a really good reason, or that the time we’ve spent together has been intense.  It just so happened that we worked at the same part-time job and went to the same school. It was a normal relationship like that.

“I’m sorry. I couldn’t tell you a touching story about my past.”

“No,……I think that kind of relationship is the best. After all, when you grow up you won’t see each other again like this. The best thing is that when you meet once in a while, you can be in a relationship that won’t change……I envy you.”

Hikaru sipped her tea as she talked like that. There was so much melancholy in her appearance that I thought she might’ve been drinking alcohol, even though she shouldn’t.

“Well, whatever.”

In contrast to Hikari, Midori was drinking a soda of some unknown flavor that she had probably bought at a convenience store.

“Something happened a while ago……what was it again? Kouki’s brother. I saw him around here.”

A while ago……when was that a while ago……? Well, it doesn’t matter.

“I think so too. I saw him today before I went to work.”

“We need to take proper countermeasures…..”

“Countermeasures? What countermeasures?”

Hikari is a bit excessive, but Midori also seems to be uninterested in me.

“My goal is to beat Daiki. I won’t take on the challenge without any countermeasures.”

“Huh? I never thought you were losing to him.”

Midori said those words in a normal way. That gave the silence for a while in this time and space when there’s only the three of us.

“……Eh? Did I say something strange?

“You did. I don’t know how to say it myself, but there isn’t a single place where I’m currently ahead of Daiki.”

“I won’t say there aren’t any….. but if you look at it objectively, you’re outclassed him in terms of personality.”

Sure I got stabbed while I was protecting Daiki. That’s my victory……but, that’s the end of the result. His face, his skill, ability to communicate…’s frustrating, but I have to say that I’m inferior to Daiki in every way.

“Honestly, I can’t beat Daiki at the moment. That’s why I’m working so hard.”

“So once you’ve done that, you’ve won, right? I’m pretty sure he was just playing around, right? Someday in the future, you’ll definitely win.”

“It would be nice if that was the case. But somehow, he was loved by…..gods. No matter how hard I try, I don’t know why, but I can’t win.”

“That’s why it’s about the present. We won’t know what the future holds. You’re the one who can work hard and he’s the one who lives only with his talent. I don’t know which one is going to be better in the future. 10 years from now, even if he wins, 30 years, 50 years from now. I don’t believe that your brother is going to be the winner forever.”

……Midori has a point. Certainly no one knows what will happen in the future. But somehow,…… I know.

“From here, probably. No matter how hard I try, I can’t beat Daiki.”

That’s how much I’ve accumulated. For 16 years since he was born. That’s more than enough time to give up.

“Then why are you trying when you know you’re going to lose?”

“Because I want to……win.”

“That’s the answer. Talent and personality are just a part of a person. I’m more interested in your ability to work hard, or the fact that you protect people you don’t like, than those visible abilities. I think those hard-to-see qualities are more important.”


“It’s an old tale, right? The naive and honest person wins over the cunning and successful person. I don’t think you’re losing to your brother at all. Well, maybe it’s just me.”

“……I’m glad even though it’s just you.”

It’s the first time in my life that someone has said that to me. For the first time in my life. Maybe that’s why I pretend not to see it.

“I wonder if I……should stay the same.”

“It’s fine, even if you don’t have to force yourself to change. Don’t think too much, just do your best to win over your brother as you have always done. If you do that, you will win someday in the future, I’m sure.”

Midori’s statement was terribly irresponsible. Her words are vague and personal, and her logic is based on the standards of old stories. If an adult were to hear them, they would probably laugh it off. But still,

“If you say so, I believe you. Because you’re my best friend.”

It was more than enough to move my heart.

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