Read at Watashi Wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 14: The Advent of Spring
Rick blinked awake. For some reason, he felt completely refreshed.
He stealthily slipped out from the arms of the still-sleeping Davis and left the bed. Then, stepping on top of the soft carpet, he approached the window.
And when he lightly opened the curtains,
Warm rays of the sun filtered in.
Fresh leaves had begun flourishing on the dead branches of the wintry trees, and young sprouts popped up from the ground underneath. Several birds that came flying from who knows where perched on the branches. Their melodious chirps brought joy to Rick’s ears.
Rick gripped the end of the thick curtain and let out a deep sigh. It was spring. Right, spring has finally come.
The fog in his mind was cleared, and his body felt light. Rick turned to look behind him.
The other was still sleeping soundly on the bed. As Rick stared at him, Davis’ arm slightly twitched. It then felt around the sheets, as if to search for something. After some time, the bear grabbed the pillow by his head, brought it to his chest, and squeezed it tightly. To top it all off, he kindly patted the top of the cushion for some reason.
About to burst into laughter, Rick quickly covered his mouth with both hands.
‘Did he confuse that with me?’
“Pft.” He couldn’t suppress it, and a laugh slipped through the gap of his fingers. He walked away from the window in a panic and exited the room.
While closing the door, Rick caught sight of Davis still preciously holding the cushion and sleeping with a satisfied countenance.
Rick quietly chuckled as he headed to the bathroom. He was often told that he tossed, turned, and talked in his sleep, but it appeared that Davis also had his own sleeping quirks.
Rick found it strangely comical somehow. While humming, high in spirits, he stepped inside the bathroom.
The process of filling the bathtub, undressing, and additionally running the washing machine had already become his daily routine.
Rick washed his body, soaked in the tub, and made sure to properly and thoroughly wash his face and hair. Subsequently, holding the tips of his long hair, he peered into the mirror in the bathroom.
“I’ll need to trim it soon.”
Once it became spring, all the beastmen who had been hibernating would start scurrying about outside as they needed to trim their hair, prepare new spring clothes, and do all that needed to have been done for the winter, in spring as well.
Additionally, spring was the season for breeding. All the beastmen were restless, and those who just woke up from hibernation were no exception.
Much like hibernation, beastmen couldn’t fight against this phenomenon; it was instinctual. Spring was the season of love. This was a fact that applied to all, whether they were animal or beastman.
Rick involuntarily let out another deep sigh.
This had already been weighing heavily on his mind. Right, he was troubled about this since that day in the bathroom when Davis told him that he loved him. Those words were like a tiny thorn that pierced his heart. He has already lost count of how many times that scene had played in his dreams during hibernation.
Rick looked over himself in the mirror once more.
His face wasn’t that bad… was what he wanted to think. It was small, common to the squirrel beastmen. His eyes were often described as looking like acorns, and both his nose and mouth were small. His light brown hair was presently dripping wet but turned fluffy once dried. His skin has become slightly pale due to lack of exposure to sunlight during hibernation, yet the faint specks of freckles over his face were now visible, upon closer inspection. They were so faint that you couldn’t see them unless you carefully looked for them.
‘I wonder if Davis…noticed my freckles.’
They slept close to each other, after all. Maybe Davis had already noticed them. Or maybe he hadn’t. He seemed to be quite level-headed, but he also unexpectedly played quite dumb at times. So if Rick asked, “Did you notice the freckles?” he might ask in return, “Freckles? Whose?” When Rick imagined Davis’ voice clearly saying those words, he ended up chuckling again. He had grown so accustomed to their life together that he could naturally reproduce the bear’s voice in his head.
“…I’ll need to leave this home soon…”
When he thought about going for a haircut, these familiar words unwittingly left his mouth as well. But, the tone of his voice was completely different this time; it oozed with irrepressible melancholy.
Once spring arrives and hibernation ends, Rick would naturally have to leave this place.
With his hibernation over, Rick can move around and go to work. He could even search for a house now. He was well aware that he needed to find a new residence before his hibernation vacation was over.
Moreover, there was also the issue of how he would respond to Davis’ confession. This problem was unrelated to the previous one, but both required a proper answer. It was indeed a problem, one that needed to be handled as soon as possible.
“I’ll need to give a proper answer to Davis… along with searching for a house, calling my work to see when I can return… oh, and trimming my hair…”
He also wanted to thank Davis’ coworker. Without him, Rick wouldn’t have been able to safely pull through the winter at Davis’ place.
“I need to clearly respond to him.”
‘I mean, I did tell Davis to wait until spring. I need to properly and earnestly give him my reply.’
Rick noticed that he was making an anxious face when he looked into the mirror. Placing his hand on his cheek, he lightly stroked it.
Clearly, he was nervous. He was uneasy.
‘ -Davis likes me because… he just happened to take care of me in his home, right?’
When Rick thought about his feelings for Davis, he was always hit with this question.
Davis took care of him because of the fire, but would it be any different if it hadn’t been Rick? What if it was another squirrel beastman, a weasel beastman, or maybe a bear beastman like Davis? Would he fall in love with them in a similar fashion?
In the first place, what would have happened if Rick hadn’t come to this home?
In that case, Rick would have never met Davis. Their paths would have never crossed. Without ever knowing each other’s names, they might not ever even pass by each other on the street.
Rick felt heartbroken. Just imagining someone else cuddling and sleeping in Davis’ arms pained him to no end.
‘…Argh! Right… That’s right.’
The moment he realized this, he had his answer.
He wiped the mist clouding the mirror. Once cleared, Rick saw that his own face was already a magnificent shade of red.
‘I, towards Davis…’
But, how should he respond to Davis? The tangled mess of emotions he felt couldn’t be used as an answer to the confession.
“What should I tell him?”
The Rick in the mirror and the Rick in real life had the corners of their eyebrows pitifully lowered as they tilted their head to the side.
Immediately after leaving the bath, he wandered over to the kitchen. There was nothing better than cooking to settle down his restless heart. The activity allowed him to focus solely on preparing and cooking ingredients. He didn’t need to think of anything else.
Rick let out a long sigh as he entered the pantry.
The once jam-packed pantry now had evident gaps. It was, of course, due to their inability to go out to shop, and in any event, gave off a lonely feeling.
‘From the end of November… December, January, February, and now March… Already three months, huh.’
Still, this didn’t mean that they lacked any ingredients. So, picking out some ingredients, Rick headed further into the pantry.
When he grabbed the dried meat for Davis, Rick suddenly caught sight of the shelf deeper inside. And, at the very top of this splendid shelf in a place which required a stepladder to reach, was a small box.
It held the nuts Rick had brought with him when he first came into the house. They hadn’t been opened once during winter.
But for some reason, it was different from the other objects around it. All the other boxes had a thin layer of dust, while this box remained immaculate even after a couple of months. Obviously, all of the boxes were full, so there was no issue with their food supply.
And yet, Rick hadn’t once brushed off the dust from that box. Ever since the first day, he hadn’t even looked at it for this long.
If it wasn’t Rick who cleaned it, then it had to be…
Rick wondered how many times Davis must have grabbed that box.
He didn’t know what Davis felt when he looked at the box, but he must have had to purposely go to the back of the pantry, climb the stepladder, grab the box, and make sure no dust settled on it.
At this moment, an indescribable feeling tightly squeezed his chest.
Rick couldn’t bear how sweet and lovely Davis was.
He rubbed his thumb over its surface, staring longingly at it before firmly hugging the box.
“He really is… a strange guy.”
To Rick, these nuts were a luxury item. But to Davis, they must have been mediocre at best. And yet, he treated them more valuable than anything else.
Rick was all alone in the pantry. He flopped down to the ground and closed his eyes for some time, holding the box of nuts closely to himself.