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.
I’ve always thought fighting was something vain. I mean, you only hit and hurt each other, right? No matter who wins, it’ll still have a bad outcome.
Despite that, after fighting with Hiratsuka, I felt an odd connection with him, but not in a weird way. It was just a strange, wordless feeling. My heart was also lit on fire after my fight with Hirano.
It had been too long since I’d been hit by someone other than my grandpa… Every punch I took made me feel thrilled, like a pump of adrenaline coursed through me.
Grandpa used to say, “If you throw hands with someone, you can communicate only with your fists.” Though I’m still not sure what was going on inside Hirano’s head exactly.
What impressed me though, is that he slept peacefully in Hayakawa’s arms.
A few days have passed since then, and Reika and I went to school without any problems.
“Toshiki’s video is getting a ton of buzz. No one could beat Hirano at boxing. Rather, why did you use boxing? If you had used your usual move-set, you’d win in an instant, right?”
“Well, I did a boxing stance and Hirano-kun looked happy. That’s all.”
“Hmm, if you say so. It was nice either way.”
“Yeah… It was nice.”
After our fight a few days ago, a group of men I’d never seen before took Hirano and drove off with him. Apparently, management from Underground Fighting took him to the hospital.
I knew he was waiting there for me since management sent me a message. Though, I have no idea how they got my mail address in the first place. Hayakawa also sent me a message telling me Hirano was acting strange.
We didn’t talk much, but I knew he wasn’t trying to pick a fight because of Reika.
“You used to fight all the time, Toshiki,” Reika said.
“Huh? Really? I don’t remember that at all…”
“Yeah… I just hope you’ll remember it someday.”
“If it’s a memory of a fight, I’d rather not.”
“Hm? But y’know, you protected me then. I have some fond memories of you. Fufu~ I’ll give you a reward when you do remember!”
She stepped closer, grazing her body against me. Her sweet perfume tickled my nose, soothing every crevice of my heart… I wish these days could go on forev—
—Suddenly, a powerful memory pierces my head like a spear.
Flashes of me putting a toy ring on a crying Reika, as we both kissed and vowed we’d always love each other.
“Hey, Toshiki, you okay? Your face is red… Wanna go to the infirmary?”
It was a scene from my memory, yet I could barely make out any details apart from those. I can’t remember properly, and my mind is fuzzy. Why are my memories from childhood so scrambled?
… How did I fall in love with Mashima so unconditionally?
I’ve always felt I’d been in love with her for as long as I can remember. She was my first love, right? What are these feelings?
Reika’s always played with me when we were kids. We are childhood friends after all, and yet my memories are jumbled and fuzzy, almost like cutouts from an old movie.
We were friends, almost like cousins who see each other once a year. I trusted her with all of my heart, and…
“Reika-chan, don’t leave me again…”
Fear of losing Reika overwhelmed me, and I had no clue why. But to these engulfing emotions, she sighed and gently touched me. That was enough to dispel this unknown worry.
“A long time ago, you… No, it’s nothing. You called me Reika-chan, huh? I’ve missed this… Okay, you’re gonna make up for all the time we lost on our date!”
Her tender touch gradually calmed me down.
A date, huh? I squeezed Reika’s hand in mine, garnering a surprised yelp from her.
“Huh?! Wait, Toshiki, there’s a lot of students around!”
“It’s fine. Hey, Reika, I wanna go to that cat cafe you like. Will you, um… go on a date with me after school today?”
“Ah… Y–Yes. Of course, I’ll go! I’m so happy you asked me out!”
“That’s ‘cause you’re important to me…”
I had no words to name this feeling. It’s as if I could just finally throw away the ten years of unrequited love and move on toward a new love.
But this feeling, it… It seems to have always been there inside me.
I couldn’t remember well, but when I was a kid, I loved Reika. And now, I’m in love with her all over again… This emotion is not a fake one, that I’m certain.
“Hey, Toshiki, say something!”
“I’m looking forward to the cat cafe. Oh, I won’t invite Hayakawa and the others.”
“Toshiki—! W–What the hell is this? E–Eh?!”
I couldn’t help but to wrap my arms around Reika, embracing her in the heat of my own body. Rather, I wanted to hug her.
“T–Toshiki…?” She yelped and called my name.
So this is true love… It made my heart bitter, yet there were tinges of sweet and sour. It was painful, yet a pain I could feel forever. Just being together made me so, so happy.
It never made my heart ache and feel gloomy. This love was completely different from what I’ve experienced over the last ten years of my life.
“Reika, thank you…”
These last words were imbued with many different meanings.
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