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Suki Kirai - Volume 1 - Chapter 12


That Hatsune Miku is going to America–––.

The day after Rin and I heard it directly from the person herself, Aisaka was in an incredible uproar after hearing the official announcement. 
No, it wasn’t just us. It was getting a lot of publicity on TV and online as well, in the flow of it, talk of the concert at the cultural festival was brought up, too.
Even though the tickets were sold out long ago, apparently the phone in the teacher’s room is constantly ringing. In the first place, since it’s been decided that you can’t even enter the academy’s grounds without an invitation card, dangerous writings are being caught sight of.

(They should’ve known that it would turn into an uproar, so why did they announce it with this timing?)
The answer is probably in Megurine-san’s words.

When I came back from going out shopping with Kanata, Rin wasn’t in the AV room. 
Just when I thought it was strange, Megurine-san gave me a call.

“Hah? On a date with Miku?”
“It’s fine, Miku’s wearing a disguise.”
“No, that’s not the prob…… Though there aren’t any days left until the cultural festival, what are they doing?” 
“That’s exactly why. After the cultural festival, long-term work is waiting for her. Before that, I wanted to let her freely walk around in her hometown, and more than anything, her father is……”

I already know that Miku’s parents’ divorce is pending in court because a variety show reported it.
Just when I thought that the divorce was finally decided, an unexpected reality was thrown at me.

“He’s hospitalized now, his days are already numbered in his condition.”

*****

“…..i, oi…… oi! Len, can you hear me?”

The sounds suddenly came back, as if I had gotten out of a pool.
Shaking the chair with a bang, I look at the owner of the voice.

“……Ah, it’s Kanata……”
“What’s with that stupid look? Were you spacing out from sleep deprivation?”
“It’s the day before the performance. There’s a guest this time, too, so there’s a handful of things I’m nervous about.”
“Hey, tell it to me straight. In these circumstances, you’re thinking we’re in quite the pinch?”

The program songs were perfect. 
We had plenty of rehearsals with the members up until today, I can say I’m satisfied.

(The problem is the new song, huh……)

To conclude, Rin dropped out.

The day before yesterday, on the way home from the hotel Miku’s staying at.
“Let’s walk our own paths.”

Then yesterday, right before we perform the new song.
“I want to watch Miku-san and Len-kun singing from the audience.”

According to me, it was too much of a one-sided declaration.
No matter how much we tried to keep her from leaving, she wouldn’t nod in agreement.

“There’s nothing to be done, I guess.”
“Dude, are you seriously saying that?”
“But, well–. Even if she looks cute, Rin’s unexpectedly stubborn?”
“Are you an idiot or what!”
“That huuuuuurts!?”

Alongside the abusive language, he hit my head with his fist. 
Isn’t this bad? My eyes are flickering……
“Think about Otosaki’s feelings, too. The rumours have even reached me.”
As I scowl at Kanata with teary eyes, an even scarier expression was looking back at me.

I know the source of the rumour Kanata is talking about.
It’s the self-proclaimed Kagami Len Fan Club that severely bullied Rin.
Hearing that I’ll be doing the concert together with Miku, apparently they went ahead and fabricated a story. 
To say, we reconciled or something like that.

“Couldn’t Otosaki be intending to back out like this? Is that okay?”
“……That’s not it.”
“Did she herself say that? Either way, go and bring her back. ”

I understand why Kanata is worried.
Of course, it’s not that I’m not thinking anything of this situation, either. 
(But, I……)

“I believe in Rin.”
“Yeah, no, I wasn’t doubting that. But, the situation is still the same? Even if it’s Otosaki, I think it’s hard for her to take back something she said already.”
“Then it’s no good like that.”

To me saying that decisively, Kanata dubiously knits his eyebrows. 
“To the bitter end, you want Otosaki to say that she’s coming?”
“It’s easy to say kind words, but I think it’d be meaningless like that. Unless we overcome this, we’ll surely…… Afterwards, it’ll be no good again.”

If we both go and face our own dreams, we’ll drift away from each other before long.
This is the turning point, if that’ll only be a physical distance, or if our hearts will end up drifting away as well.

“Oh, I see. I poked my nose into your business and lost.”
Cracking his neck, my best friend quickly stands up from his seat. 
“…….It’s the kind of thing I shouldn’t be saying, but are you going to be satisfied with how things are now?”
“If I properly think about what’s ahead, it won’t end up bad, right?”
“Oh wow, that bragging face really pisses me off.”
“Whatever you say, idiot.”

After laughing together for a while, Kanata picks up the case with his bass in it. 
“Then, I’m off.”
“……hey, thanks.”
In a volume that he may or may not have heard, I whispered it as his back goes off into the distance.
Though he didn’t turn around, he lightly waved his hand.

Alone, I took a deep breath. 
(….. I guess I’ll do the tuning for the guitar.)

*crash*

The moment I made up my mind, the door was thrown open like it was aimed at.
When I turned around by reflex, Miku was standing there alone with a panicked expression.

“Where’s Megurine-san? Going incognito on your own again?”
“Rin-chan’s not going to sing the new song?”

As expected of an Aisaka ex-student. Miku knew her way around thoroughly and all that, she came into the AV room without hesitation. 
Coming straight up to me, she looks up at me with a sharp gaze.
“I heard about it just now from Tsurumaki-kun. ……Why?”
“Sorry for reporting it late. Just, let me explain.”
“You’re saying that you want to wait for Rin-chan until the day of the concert, right? That’s okay, I feel the same.”

Seeing through my train of thought, it wasn’t necessary for me to say anything else to Miku.
(I was always spoiled by that comfort, huh……)
Even without putting it into words, even without showing an attitude, she understands.
Though it could be thought of as an ideal relationship, if you make one false step, it can be a double-edged sword.

“With Rin-chan, did something happen……?”
“ Rin’s fine.”
“Really……?”
“…… That aside, there’s something, that I want to ask from Miku.”
Seemingly having noticed the change in the tone of my voice, Miku blinked. 
A bewildered color floats in her eyes.

I’ve been thinking ever since I heard about Miku’s dad from Megurine-san.
What would be the best thing to do for Miku, what can I do. 
Three years ago and now as well, Miku hasn’t told me at all about her circumstances at home. 
I’m not such a child anymore that I don’t understand the meaning behind her choice.
That’s why I’m not going to force her to tell me.
Still, if I could help her somehow…….

“Hey, Miku…… Are you okay? You’re not straining yourself?”
“…… What’s the matter, all of a sudden.”
To Miku who didn’t reply with yes or no, I internally sigh that that’s how it is after all.
Once you end up noticing, a lot of things can be clearly seen at once.
(Miku always strained herself like this.)

“I’m not the same as I was back then, so rely on me a little.”

She didn’t say anything, though.
To my words, Miku’s clear eyes wavered. 
When I intently stare back at her without averting my eyes, I realized that the waves are rising more and more.
It also looks as if she’s trying to hold back tears.

“––– Three years ago, Len-kun was the one who supported my music.”

Choosing her words, Miku says it plentifully.
No kidding, the unexpected answer made me gasp. 

“I myself looked older on the outside….. On the inside, I unknowingly leaned on you.”
“…… Miku, that’s not how it was.”
“Yes it was.”
Finishing by saying that decisively, Miku laughed on account of putting an end to this conversation.
Then, she breathed in to take a deep breath.
“Len-kun, what if…… just what if, Luka were to officially propose that she wants to bring you to America…… what would you think?” 
Miku said that staring straight at me.

“I’d be really delighted.”

Miku is looking at me intently, as if she’s searching for my true intention.
Those eyes were wavering a little.

Miku, who’s never shaken.
Miku, who’s strong.
For some reason, that Miku seems a little childlike now.

“I’d be really delighted, but…… I can’t go now.”
“Why?”
“I don’t want to be separated from Rin. Because Rin is the one who supports my music.”

I heard the tiny sound of Miku swallowing her breath.
Perhaps her clear eyes had found what she was looking for inside me, she softly took off her gaze at last.

“Incredible…… It’s really incredible. Len-kun and Rin-chan too, you’re both too dazzling.” 
For a moment, I thought Miku was crying.
But when she raised her head again, Miku wore a smile as bright as the sun.

“We’re disagreeing a little right now, I think that the me from before would have shamefully made a fuss. But, I believe in her. I believe that she’ll surely understand my feelings.”

“Me too, I believe in you two.”

I don’t think there was a deep meaning to it.
To the point that even Miku isn’t aware of it. 
But, she was certainly spinning her long hair around her finger.

(That habit of hers hasn’t changed either, huh…….)
Beside the crybaby me, Miku always smiled without making complaints.
Even so, when she’s uneasy or feeling down, signs show up a little bit.

As Miku was looking down now, filled with all sorts of feelings, I drew her close to me.

“……Len-kun?”
I can hear Miku’s voice from real close.

“I was always spoiled by Miku, always supported…… That’s why I thought that I liked Miku, that this is what admiration was.”
“……Yeah.”
“But after all, I think that was my first love.”
“……Yeah.”
“From now on, I’ll cheer for you not as a crybaby boyfriend, but as an important friend.”

Miku took a deep breath several times.
With a smile, she spoke.

“Thank you.”

*****

(…… I wonder…… am I troubling Len-kun……)
Not accepting Len-kun’s persuasion until the very end, it’s been an hour since I left the AV room.
In that time, I showed my face at the Home Ec Club, but I got driven out after accidentally mixing up the salt and sugar.

Wearily walking across the hallway, I think about what’s ahead.
We had completed the preparations for the class’s display ages ago, all that’s left is welcoming the day of the festival itself.
The same goes for club activities, at least for now there isn’t anything I could do.

I don’t want to trouble Len-kun.
But, Len-kun’s and Miku-san’s performance, I want to listen to it from the audience––.
I wanted him to understand these feelings.

I mustn’t stick close to Len-kun always and forever. 
If I really care for Len-kun, I want to think of Len-kun’s dream first. 
I wanted to properly prepare for that in advance.
Listening to their music from the audience, that was my ‘resolve’.

But, I’m fully realizing that the situation turned into this.
(I loved music more than I thought, huh……)
Going further, it can’t be helped that I had fun in the band with Len-kun and the others.
I’m much, much more elated now than when I played the piano alone in the music room.

“So it ends with this, I won’t cry.”

Weaving through the atmosphere that has gotten busy with preparations for the cultural festival, the clear voice shook my eardrums.
At a volume that was kind of like whistling, kind of like secret talk. 
Even so, it certainly reached me.

When I surveyed my surroundings, Miku-san was standing in a corner of the courtyard.
Since she was hidden behind the flowerbeds, it looks like she wanted to avoid attracting people’s attention, though……
(After hearing that she’s going to America, everyone’s Miku-san-fever seems to have heated up.)
Megurine-san wasn’t beside her either, if the current students were to find her, tomorrow’s concert is out of the question.

“Miku-san, let’s go somewhere else.”
Rushing over to her as inconspicuously as possible, I took her hand.
Half pulling her by force, we make an emergency escape to the teacher’s room.

“Rin-chan, can we talk a bit?”
Facing me with a slightly stiff expression, I’m startled.
Probably, I mean, without a doubt, it’s about the new song.

When I nod deeply, Miku-san went to consult the teachers about something.
In less than five minutes, I was guided to the reception room that had its curtains closed.

So that I wouldn’t sink deep into the sofa, I sat down on its edge. 
In front of me, Miku-san shallowly takes a seat in a similar manner.

“At tomorrow’s concert, is it true that you won’t sing the new song?”
“……Yes.”
I did think that I have to tell Miku-san directly, but I had no way to contact her. 
I also thought that she’d probably hear about it from Len-kun or Meiko-sensei. 
Nothing but excuses coming to mind, I couldn’t stand it and dropped my gaze.

“Hey Rin-chan, I didn’t come to press you for an answer, you know. Just….. I wanted you to listen to what I have to say.”
To the unexpected words, I slightly nodded.

“Before, Rin-chan asked why we broke up, right?”
“Ah……. I’m sorry about that.”
Shaking her head, Miku-san moderates me, who asked a rude question.
 “Long ago, I left Len-kun behind. What’s more, one-sidedly. But even so, Len-kun said ‘thank you’ and saw me off.”
“Thank you––……”
“At that time I was really delighted…… But after reuniting, I thought it over again. It would’ve made far happier if he had said that he believes in me.”

In an instant, it synchronized with Len-kun’s words. 
The words that Len-kun conveyed to me.
The words that I couldn’t digest yet in my heart.

“Going to Tokyo to make a debut…… Throwing away something to gain something, that’s how the me from that time thought. Or rather, I ended up overstepping.”

It was a deep, deep sound.
All sorts of emotions melting together, it shook my heartbeat.  
In my heart, I can feel something coming loose. 
Miku-san’s words are conveying something precious to me––.

“I believe in Rin. So Rin, too, believe in me.”

Len-kun’s words from then sink into my heart for the first time now.
Glaring at the floor, I desperately try to force down the tears that are welling up.

That’s why I don’t know what sort of expression Miku-san is making now.
But, the voice that I heard was endlessly gentle. 
Just as if she put only her true feelings onto it.

“It’s difficult to believe in someone. Because it’s something that’s accompanied by agonizing things and bitter things as well, sometimes even pain.”

“But you know, I just realized something. That deciding to walk together today, tomorrow, and always after that, persisting through it, it’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it. So that’s why, if I were to fall in love again…… I’ll have the courage to believe.”

“Like how there’s the saying ‘treasure every meeting for it will never reoccur’, aren’t meetings and farewells something that come with life? Because of that, saying goodbye is what people end up focusing on all the time, though…… there’s something to be learned from goodbyes, too, right?”

When I realized it, I had raised my head.
I was staring intently at Miku-san.

Miku-san was staring back at me, too. 
In the end, the usual smile was on her lips.

“Just now, I decided on a title for the new song.”
To the voice that was quiet yet the determination could be felt in it, I naturally straighten my back.

What Miku-san crafted was a wonderful ‘true feeling’.

“What do you think? Calling it ‘Beginning’s Goodbye’.”

*****

From the reception room on the first floor to the AV room on the highest floor.
I fervently rushed upstairs.

Though I probably should’ve sent a text or made a call, saying don’t go home yet.
As fast as possible without wasting a second, I wanted to convey my feelings as they are in my own voice.

When I threw open the door with great force, Len-kun was still there. 
Laying eyes on me, he smiles as bright as the sun.

“I believed that Rin would come.”

“……Sorry…… Len-kun, sorry.”
Since I’m breathing heavily, it ends up coming out at intervals.
Even so, I properly conveyed it to Len-kun.
Brimming with a bright light, his eyes smile at me.

One step at a time, Len-kun comes closer.
One step at a time, I went ahead, too.

The distance between us shortened until he was right in front of me……
Hands unintentionally stretching out, we embraced each other.

“Just now, I made a promise with Miku-san.”
“……Yeah.”
“To please let me sing the new song together with you.”
“……Yeah.”

While feeling the sound of each other’s heart, I reveal my determination. 
Hugging me tighter and tighter, Len-kun nods in a trembling voice.

“With that song, let’s see Miku-san off?”

 

Not for the sake of saying goodbye.
For the sake of promising to meet again.


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