Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Part 3 – Tarte Tatin Secret
Chapter 10 – Someday
Kasa accompanied Sui to the entrance of Akebi where Red was waiting, and together, the two went back home.
“I need to be able to come here alone,” Sui muttered, and Red patted him on the head with his warm hand.
“It’s ok to slowly learn the way. There’s no reason to rush it.”
This person is too kind. I’ll end up being spoiled by that kindness.
“I don’t find it bothersome.”
Of course, Sui didn’t want to become a nuisance, but there was another thought that overpowered that feeling.
After having the dinner Red had prepared together, as usual, Red said, “You’re tired, right?” and let Sui get into the bath first. When he refused, Red argued that he shouldn’t hold back, and, in the end, Sui lost the argument.
Even if he doesn’t mean to do it, he ends up spoiling me. Sui sat in the bath holding his head.
He had wanted to get used to living here, but it seemed he’d gotten too used to it.
Even though, someday, I’ll have to go back.
When Kasa and Sui had talked earlier, he had remembered what would happen after he fulfills his grandmother’s wish.
Sui had come all the way here to deliver his grandmother’s pendant. It was the reason why he had been allowed to freeload at Red’s house. He’d have to leave this place once he fulfills his grandmother’s wish.
At his grandmother’s funeral, Sui had met distant relatives of his. Apparently, he had met them before when he was young, but he couldn’t really remember. They had invited him to come to their house and live with them after he had sorted his feelings out. He had felt very grateful towards them. It would have been difficult for the 16-year-old Sui to live on his own, and he knew he should have accepted their offer. But he had felt that if he went to their house, if he left that town, then proof of the time he had spent with his grandmother would disappear.
Instead of something like that, Sui would rather live in Akebi.
He hadn’t found any yet, but there still might be traces of his grandmother in Akebi. At the very least, she had been here, and a friend of hers that had left a lasting impression was here.
Also, Red was here.
As Sui kept spending time with Red, he was slowly being healed; he came to know of a new form of happiness and gained a new vitality in his life. But if he were to be separated from Red, wouldn’t a gaping hole open in his heart again? Wouldn’t he have to walk by himself again?
That’s how much Sui had come to cherish his days with Red.
He knew it was a thoughtless wish, but he couldn’t help thinking about it. If I am forced to leave that town no matter what, then I want to be here.
“It’s no good…”
He thought he had changed after meeting Red, but he hadn’t. He was still very weak.
If I know I will lose my support one day and, from now on, wean myself off it little by little, wouldn’t I become able to walk by myself?
To leave both Akebi and that town, to stand on my own and continue walking.
I have to learn to be able to live even if Red isn’t there. Because someday the two of us will be separated.
“…I don’t want that.”
Sui knew. Even though he knew, he didn’t want to lose things. Neither the proof of the time he had spent with his grandmother nor the greetings he had exchanged with Red, the times they had sat around the table together, the casual conversations and meaningless talks. All of them were precious, irreplaceable – he didn’t want to lose them.
It seemed Sui had become quite selfish since coming here.
I wonder what Red thinks about it.
He imagined Red’s face as if he were clinging on to that image.
Red had said that he liked spending mealtimes with Sui. Did that mean that he liked living with him? Did he also consider those moments as irreplaceable?
Those thoughts, wanting him to feel that way, were they just a form of self-deceit born out of too much expectation?
A mixture of anticipation and anxiety spread in Sui’s heart. He sank under the water to clear those thoughts away. He released bubbles and rose to the surface, but even then, other than his hair being soaking wet, nothing changed; he didn’t feel any better.
Getting out of the bath, Sui headed towards the living room where Red, as always, had a book in one hand and was sipping coffee with the other.
All of a sudden Red’s face turned Sui’s way. With a click, his eyes met Red’s cloth-covered ones, or so it felt.
“Your hair, it’s still wet. Come here.”
At his urging, Sui went to him. Red took the towel from around Sui’s neck and used it to rub his hair dry.
“What is it?”
“Did something happen?”
“You know,” even though he let out a breath of exasperation, the hand wiping Sui’s hair did not stop moving, “the same way you could tell I was restless, I can also tell that you’ve been acting weird. I have also been looking at you properly. You’ve been acting weird since we came back, so I thought that Kasa might have said something to you.”
“He didn’t say anything.”
“Then what happened? Did a customer tell you something?”
“Oh, come on, what is it then? Something happened.”
Though Red was pressing Sui for an answer, it felt like he was very worried about him, and Sui realized that he actually was. Red was kind-hearted and had a tendency to worry. He would always be concerned and think about Kasa. Though they were not family, they were like one.
“Red-san, how come you’re so kind?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Even though you just met me by chance in the forest, you let me stay in your house. Red-san is always kind… I guess that’s your personality,” Sui said with the slightest intake of breath.
After that, there was a second of silence and then a voice responded.
“…It’s not like I’m kind to anyone,” Red told him carefully. “I thought there was a demon.”
“It’s said that if you don’t close the strong and heavy door, a demon will appear and show its horns. But that demon was defeated by a single piece of candy.”
This is some kind of fairytale, isn’t it?
Red let out a small laugh and the hand wiping Sui’s hair stopped abruptly.
“But I… in the end, I move only for myself. I’m selfish. So you better fulfill your goal quickly and leave this forest. Or else a demon’s going to eat you.”
Those whispered, cut-off words made Sui’s throat – Sui’s chest – hurt.
“If Red-san’s here, then I’m not afraid of any demon.”
“Even if I tell you that that demon is me?”
“Then wouldn’t I be even less scared? There are no demons that are this kind.”
“You– you have too much faith in me. Always, since the beginning.” Red put those words together painfully, almost like he was struggling.
“I’d rather ask you. Why do you have so much faith in me? I don’t think there’s a chance that I enticed you. Didn’t it occur to you that I might take you out into the middle of the forest and kill you? Doubt me more. Be vigilant.”
“Then,” Sui vigorously tried to straighten up and his head hit Red’s chin. It hurt. Red was also leaning back slightly.1
Rubbing his head, Sui turned to face Red.
“Then he can eat me, that demon. I have no doubts, and I can’t be vigilant. I mean, I have faith in Red-san. Because I believe in the me who has faith in the kind, worrywart, and slightly strange Red-san. If that belief is betrayed, then I’m just reaping what I sowed. Anyway, if I get eaten, then I don’t have to worry about any of that,” he said, then added in a fluster, “Ah, of course, you can’t eat me until I finish fulfilling my grandmother’s requests. Otherwise, she’ll yell at me from the afterlife, saying that I didn’t fulfill any of her two wishes and that she’s an unhappy grandmother.”
“There were two requests in my grandmother’s will – to deliver the pendant and for me to live happily.”
“I didn’t know about there being two or about the second one…” Red said, looking downwards, a hand on his chin.
When he had first talked about the will, Sui and Red were complete strangers. Red hadn’t asked and Sui didn’t think there was any need to talk about it.
Of course, for Sui currently, Red was a special existence. An important person that gave him comfort and happiness.
“…Thinking about it, if living your life in happiness means to reach the end of your life happy, then I might have already fulfilled that wish?”
If Sui’s life were to be taken by Red, who he cherished, he felt like that would be a good thing. He felt that it would be a kind of happy ending.2
At the very least, if I were to die like that, grandmother would scold me less than if I were to die a dog’s death in the forest… probably.
When Sui nodded his head in agreement, Red let out a big sigh.
“…In the first place, I think you’ve misunderstood something. No, did I say something to make you misunderstand? …By eating you, I didn’t mean it like that.”
“I’m not saying that I particularly want to kill you.”
“Then what did you mean?”
Sui tilted his head at Red, who was hesitant to speak.
His eyes made two, three rounds around the room, and then he spat the words out as if he’d gotten irritated.
“From here. That I wouldn’t want you to leave… I mean that I don’t want you to go back!”
Sui opened his eyes wide.
What did Red just say?
When he said he doesn’t want me to go back, does that mean? Can I think of it as him wanting to live together?
If it’s like that. If that’s what he means.
“Go ahead. Eat me,” Sui said, opening his arms wide.
I also want to be with you. He wanted to properly and clearly deliver that feeling to Red, even if only just a little bit of it.
Red’s mouth twisted like he’d eaten something bitter.
“You– you really…” He opened and closed his mouth like he wanted to say something but let out a deep and heavy sigh soon after as if he’d given up.
“…This conversation, let’s temporarily put it on hold. There are all kinds of things that I need to check too… especially things like your understanding. Do you or don’t you understand…?”
He’s right. Sui too had things he needed to do in order to live here. He needed to notify the relatives that had invited him to stay with them and there was the house where he’d lived with his grandmother as well.
Red, who was grumbling about everything, let out numerous sighs.
“At any rate, finding your grandmother’s friend comes first. We’ll continue this after that’s finished.”
“Alright,” Sui nodded at Red’s suggestion.
Anyway, I’m glad. We might be able to live together after this as well.3
Sui didn’t currently know how that would come about, but since he had that hope, Sui decided to devote himself, in the meantime, to getting used to working in Kasa’s store and finding his grandmother’s friend.
“You– you’re the same as ever,” Red chuckled. “No matter what dirt or secrets I have… you, it feels like you’d definitely forgive me and spoil me.”
“I think I’m the one getting spoiled though,” Sui replied, and Red shook his head slightly.
“No… Look, you’re going to Kasa’s tomorrow as well, right? Turn in for today.”
“What about Red-san?”
“I’ll go to sleep after I have one more cup.”
“You won’t be able to fall asleep.”
“I’m strong to caffeine.”
“…It’s not a caffeine addiction, is it?”
“Whatever you say,” Red snorted.
“Then, good night.”
After they exchanged their greetings, Sui headed to his own room.