Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
Haruka Sakurai was my childhood friend. Despite that, we haven’t talked in a long, long while. Our houses used to be next to each other, and our parents were close, so it was a given we played a lot together in the old days.
Even after my father ran away from home, that didn’t change. While every single person in my life distanced themselves from me, she was the only one that stood beside me.
But our relationship changed in the fall of my second year in junior high…
There was one boy in that class who hated my guts. At first, I ignored him, but soon he got the whole class involved and pushed me into a corner, relentlessly bullying me.
Sakurai was also on my side at first, but due to her naturally shy personality, joined in on the bullying. Because she turned on me, we’ve been estranged ever since. Even if we’d pass by each other, we wouldn’t speak a word.
She’s the cause of my recurring nightmares, of the trauma I suffered when I was just a kid.
“—Okay, let’s start with introductions, my name is—”
The teacher began by introducing himself. I shot a quick glance at Sakurai while listening to him. She still had that same chestnut hair that barely touched her shoulders as in the past. Though her face and body matured a bit comparatively.
Especially the che—No. What am I looking at?!
I turned my gaze down for a moment as if to escape. But I noticed something else… She wore a pink good-luck bracelet on her wrist. It was shabby and it seemed as if it was there for years.
You’re still wearing it…
It was the proof of a promise we both made long ago, just the two of us.
… That promise doesn’t mean anything to me anymore.
I used to wear one exactly equal to hers, but it’s now gone.
“—Then, I’ll let you guys introduce yourselves. let’s start with attendance number one—”
While the teacher spoke, I recalled the day when the promise was made. It was just after I protected my sister from those bad kids at that park.
“You look like you’re in a bad mood. Is something wrong, Takkun?”
“Yeah… I got into a fight with some bullies, and was abandoned by my sister…”
She abhors me. I don’t know what I looked like when I was fighting those kids since I was too focused on protecting her, but as soon as her eyes met mine, she was terribly frightened and cast me aside.
I’d told everything to Sakurai, whom I called by the nickname Haru-chan at the time.
“Hey, Takkun! I told you before that fighting is bad!”
She put her hands on her hips, puffing up her cheeks like some sort of balloon.
“You couldn’t help it… Wait a sec.”
She then pulled something out of a small bag she’d brought with her.
“Here, I’ll give it to you!” She handed me an object.
“… What’s this?”
It was a somewhat clunky, handmade good-luck charm. Looking closely, I noticed she already had hers wrapped around her wrist.
“It’s an amulet! It matches mine, too! My mom taught me how to make it, so I did.”
“What’s it for?”
“Hmph, you don’t get it? It’s for preventing you from getting into a lot of fights.”
“Hm?” To avoid fights? What does that have anything to do with an amulet?
“If you quarrel and hit someone, the charm will be broken. If that happens, I’ll die!”
“… Okay, I’m not gonna fight anymore. It’s a promise.”
The last thing I wanted was for her to cry. She always smiled when she was with me, and I loved her smile.
“… What’s your charm’s rule, Haru-chan?” I asked her.
“If you’re wearing a charm, it has some condition. What is it?” I pointed to her wrist.
“It doesn’t have on—Oh, yeah! You should decide a condition for me, Takkun!”
“Hm? Is it fine if I do?”
“Yeah! Actually, I want you to choose!” Her smile was sweet.
A promise, huh… I’m not sure. What do I want her bracelet to mean? I mulled it over for a few moments.
“… Then, will you stay with me forever?”
“I don’t have many friends, and my sister hates me now, so I want you to stay with me forever, Haru-chan.”
She turned her head, blushing as she muttered her approval. I noticed she was quite happy with what I chose.
“I’ll stay with you forever! It’s a promise!”
“—Thank you! I’ll also stay by your side forever, Haru-chan!” I was just too excited.
“Then, we’ll be together forever and ever! It’s a promise between us two!”
And so we both made a vow. It was just a small promise between two kids, but for us, it was as precious as the richest treasure…
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