”I’m home, Sachi.”
“Nn, welcome back.”
Sachi greets me when I came home.
I could smell the good smell wafting from the living room.
It seems that she was waiting for me to come home.
No more tactless questions about whether she should have eaten first. I’m sure that’s not what Sachi is looking for.
“Let’s have dinner for now, shall we?”
We sit down and start eating together.
Nothing special happened. Everything was the same as usual.
But I felt a sense of loneliness.
I thought about the presence of the one who was supposed to be there. I think about it.
I wondered if one day I would be able to regain my original form.
I thought it was a long time in the future.
But for now, it is a matter of the immediate future. I put a lid on my feelings.
Anyway, it happened today.
And I no longer had the option of not telling Sachi about what had happened.
I am not driven by a sense of obligation. I just wanted to do it.
It was undeniably thanks to her own devotion that I was able to think that Sachi should know about it.
”You know, Sachi…”
I began to speak slowly about what had happened.
Sachi simply listened to me in silence.
”—-I was like…”
I told her that Sonoda had betrayed me at that time, that I was the one being bullied, and what had happened today. I explained these things step by step.
Sachi listened without uttering a word.
I’ll keep quiet about the fact that her expression changed in some places, which was a little cute. She would probably sulk.
“Onii-chan, it was really hard for you, wasn’t it? I’m really sorry I put you through such a hard time.”
Sachi hugged me tightly, pressing her face against my chest.
Probably to hide the expression on her face, I thought. Sachi’s face is probably much gloomier than I imagined it to be right now.
Her chest is probably filled with regret.
I stroked Sachi’s head.
“It’s okay, Sachi.”
”…..I’m grateful, too.”
Sachi never says “but” or “because of me.”
We both already know that this conversation is unnecessary.
Just one word of forgiveness and gratitude.
Sachi has built a relationship with me where that is possible.
She is truly a sister who is too good for me.
”Then can I say something to you?”
”Hmm, that’s fine.”
With her face buried in my chest, Sachi began to speak.
“Onii-chan, you didn’t actually feel any ill will toward Sonoda-san at the time?”
In response to Sachi’s words, she give a beautiful whistle back.
”….I was just saying that. You understand Sonoda-san’s thoughts, or rather, you can comprehend them.”
Actually, I know was she was talking. But I wanted to hear it again from Sachi.
”I think that maybe Sonoda-san was threatened or something, and that’s why she bullied Onii-chan.”
“Yeah, that’s something I’ve thought about too.”
Or rather, I was wondering if that was the case.
But I wasn’t mature enough at the time to put it aside as inevitable.
“If she did it behind the scenes and Onii-chan was the target from the beginning, that would be a huge deal, but assuming it wasn’t, then I can understand the process and the feelings behind the betrayal. In other words,Onii-chan knows that from the very beginning?”
It was the first time she verbalized it in this way, but I think she certainly understood it.
“After all, in my mind, Sonoda is a victim…”
”I think so. I got that impression from what you said earlier.”
Then again, what Fukumura said must be true.
”But Onii-chan doesn’t really want to do anything about it, right?”
”That’s… To be frank, it would be best if I didn’t get involved.”
I want to do something about Fukumura this time, not about the relationship between me and Sonoda.
”For better or worse, I’d say you’ve come to an understanding. It should be important for Onii-chan to say that Sonoda “betrayed” you, but you can’t blame her because you understand the logic behind it. you can’t make her the bad guy. That may be a virtue, but in reality, Onii-chan is suffering from it. Non-interference. It’s a matter of staying out of it.”
”… That may be so.”
Sachi’s words have many aspects that make sense to me.
”I think that’s fine. If Onii-chan is fine with it, I don’t think you needs to get involved. Because to Onii-chan, both of you are victims and you have no ill feelings toward Sonoda-san.”
It wasn’t because of any past hatred.
If that was the case, then it’s true.
”But it was the other side that crossed the line this time. That theory is no longer valid.”
”… That’s right.”
If the other side is going to do something to me, I should still resist. If the status quo can be maintained, though, that’s all the better.
Now, unlike before, the cards are all there for me to play with.
”I know it sounds like a maybe-maybe, but I think Onii-chan would have forgiven Sonoda-san if she had apologized.”
What if she had come to me and apologized before I shook her hand off that time?
I don’t know anymore. But I am sure that the future would have been different from now. I am sure of that.
Shirakawa and Shinohara would have never stopped. After going that far, they would not back down.
And if that is the case, Sonoda is no different.
The objective was to protect Fukumura. For the sake of my sister, even though it’s a shameful reason.
There must be something I can do.