After school, he went to Sarasa’s classroom at first with Takumi.
When they called for her, Sarasa walked towards them with a frown plainly shown on her face.
“What are the both of you here for?”
“Please listen to what I have to say.”
“………….Let’s change place.”
Maybe because a part of the class are curious and their ears are pricked. At the suggestion of Sarasa, they were taken to the Student Council’s Room
“There isn’t any meeting today, so no one would probably come. Please keep it short.”
“I have something to tell you.”
“I heard that just now. But I have nothing to say.”
“Did we do something to you, senpai? I don’t think there is any reason for you to be so harsh towards us. Even if it is just for a short time, didn’t we play together as friends?”
“Gotanda, don’t tell me you are together with him because of Shizuka.”
“That is about right. I decided to help because of the nostalgia.”
“Shocking. If you can afford to lost behind in the past, focus on the future. This is a warning from your senior.”
Sarasa bend over her petite and slim body, and scowled at them.
“You said yesterday that you have forgotten about Shizuka. Is that true?”
“If you mean physically, I obviously still remember. My memory is not poor. But that is completely in the past. The character past (過去) is written as pass by (過ぎ去る). Do you know? What is over is the same as forgetting.
“The more you emphasized it, the more it sounds like you haven’t forgotten though, senpai.”
“…………..It is true that we might have played together in the past. But now is different. That is something you should know, both of you. The friends that you make at this age are people who shares the same hobbies and personalities. It is strange for us to be together forever because I am simply a childhood friend who lives nearby. Time changes everything and I don’t have to look back at the past.”
“Does that include Shi-chan?”
“I told you yesterday. I was especially close to Shizuka. I felt miserable about that accident. But that is a thing of the past. It is over. It is finish.
What are going to about Shizuka? A story of the past? A reminiscent talk? How ridiculous. It has been over a year since you entered the school, so why are you now coming into contact with me?”
“I have the reason to do that. Do you want to meet Shizuka for one more time, senpai?”
For the first time, Sarasa’s grim expression caused confusion.
“Yesterday and today as well, what on Earth do you want? Shizuka, Shizuka this, Shizuka there. Stop disturbing me. I don’t have the time. Stop confusing me! Stop tormenting me!”
A heartbreaking voice gushed out of her.
When Sarasa immediately became emotional and turned away as if she was ashamed,
“If you are done talking, I am leaving.”
“Wait. I want you to answer my questions. All you have to do is say yes or no.”
“The answer is no. Didn’t you hear me the conversation so far? I clearly understand nothing is more empty than answering a question with an impossible condition.
Well then, goodbye. Don’t ask for me anymore. You too, Gotonda. You and I were once friends. But now and from now on, it is different.”
After saying so, Sarasa tries to leave the room.
“I……..loved Shi-chan. That is why I want to help her.”
Takumi stood besides him muttered: “How daring.”
“That is right. Although it was unfortunate, that girl that you loved is no longer here. Get a grip.”
Sarasa stopped walking without turning around.
Her final farewell words was intense. Why is she trying to keep them away from her so much?
If she was being hated, then there isn’t a need for them to approach her.
Keeping a distance from the person that you are bad with. Keito also knew that it is the best way to strive for mental stability.
At the same time, Keito also know that right now is not the time.
“Is that what they called Tsundere?”
“That is true. This is only ‘tsun’. I couldn’t find any trace of ‘dere’. If she shut up, she would as cute as before, what a waste.”
“That felt utterly helpless.”
“That’s a line I wanted to say once in my lifetime. I envy you for using that line right now, Keito.”
“…………The hell is that?”
Leaving the school alongside with Takumi, he got on his bicycle and headed back home.
When he just enrolled and didn’t have any acquaintance, they went home together several times, but they are in different classes and club activity and as each of their life rhythm are made, they were alienated from each other as more than one year have passed.
He sometimes also felt the barrier, but once they lined up next to each other, they are able to continued their conversation just like in the past, surprisingly.
While they head towards Junichi’s place, they talked about various things such as their club activities, class, time during middle school and childhood.
“I hope Jun-nii would be willing to meet us though.”
“Is he even at home?”
“He has quit his club and his school is closer compared to ours. It is not strange for him to be at home, but there is a good chance that he took a detour on the way back.”
“Sorry, it is all random guesses.”
“You are exactly right. Oh well.”
Takumi took out his cellphone and sent a mail.
“I don’t know his number.”
I gave my own phone number to Junichi’s mother, but what happened after that?
“It has been a while since I mailed to him, but it is being longer since I met him.”
In the end, they reached Junichi’s home without receiving any reply. After the chime was rung, Junichi appeared after a while. He glared at Keito while still wearing his uniform.
“So you are with him huh.”
Apparently, Takumi didn’t write in the email that Keito would be accompanying him.
Keito was feeling depressed after continued seeing Sarasa’s annoyed face yesterday and today Junichi’s as expected.
“Long time no see. Are you in good health?”
“Do I look healthy?”
“Well, you don’t. It is not that you are unfit, it is more like you feel unfit. In other words, unhealthy.”
“I can understand without you rephrasing it. Don’t tell me the mail that you sent got something to do with what Keito is talking about yesterday. If so, I don’t need to hear it then.”
“There is a place I want to bring you right now.”
Before Junichi could turned around and head back into his house, Keito made the first move.
“I want the both of you to meet Shizuka. So please come with me.”
The roundabout is over. Keito is bad at giving up. Negotiations is not his forte. So he threw his demand earnestly, frankly and personally.
It worked well against Takumi. Keito knows that both Takumi and Junichi are worthy opponents.
“Huh? Are you kidding me? Again with Takamori. I only came out because I thought Takumi came here alone. If Keito here, like hell I am going.”
“Please lend me your strength, Jun-nii. You too, Takumi.”
“Lend my strength? Me?”
Junichi turned around and fixated his gaze on Keito. Even though he has stopped playing baseball, his body was firm and intimidating.
“That is right. I need it in order to save Shi-chan.”
“Takamori, Takamori, Takamori. Is that some sort of game? A make-believe like the kids play? If so then the game is damn boring.”
“It doesn’t matter what you say now. If you are not going to help me no matter what, I will do alone. But if everyone doesn’t come together, it won’t work. Please give me another chance to start over.”
“Chance?………Hey, I will tell you something nice. We humans will never get another chance once we made a mistake. It ends there.”
“Are you going to give up everything just because you had a bad shoulder. That is too feeble, is that our Jun-nii?”
“Geez, what do you know about me?………No, you should know. Without baseball, I can’t do anything. I can’t study, there is nothing I can do. I am no longer your Jun-nii, so leave me alone.
Even if I can really meet Takamori, I don’t want her to see me in such a pathetic state. Isn’t it miserable? I………..wasn’t able to meet her expectations.”
Juichi’s voice gotten frail and hang his head.
“Shi-chan won’t laugh at you just because you are uncool. I don’t think you are miserable. You should what kind of person Shizuka was. If you think that you are inferior, then I am sure you are going to be fine, Jun-nii.
So can you come with me? All you have to do is follow me. I will prove to you that I can reclaim the past. I will take back the past. I want you to witness it. I am begging you.”
“………If it fails, I am going to laugh looking at you.”
“You can laugh if you want. In return, I want you to see it with your own eyes till the end.”
“……….I am only going to follow. That is all.”
Junichi followed the both of them later on by riding his bicycle in silence. There wasn’t any conversation between Keito and Takumi. When was the last time the three of them have assembled? It is hard to tell.
The evening breeze was cool and it is easy to forget that they are still in the middle of the rainy season. Getting struck by the setting sun that is filled by the clouds from the west, they were dyed in orange. There was a time the three of them have definitely run alongside each other as the sun is about to set. Even if they can’t remember the specific time and date anymore.