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「Yes. There seems to be no problem. You can put your clothes back on.」
After sticking a stethoscope to me a number of times, the doctor hangs it over his neck.
「It does not look like your physical condition has deteriorated and there are no signs of a cold. I am relieved, it’s quite chilly lately.」
「Emm, Ahaha… I am sorry.」
After showing a stiff smile in reaction to the doctor’s sarcastic remark, I sincerely bow my head. Deeply without any reservation.
Yesterday, after I snuck out from the hospital we received a phone call from there right after I got home.
It seems that after a nurse came to check on me and realized that I was gone, the hospital turned into a huge uproar.
After not finding me in the immediate surroundings, they called home right away.
『Sorry for bothering you, did he come home by any chance?』
A voice asked in such panicking and high pitched tone that I was tempted to end the call right there out of sheer awkwardness.
Well, since it obviously would not solve anything, I honestly told them about my escape, then immediately went back to the hospital and earnestly apologized.
Actually, it was quite late already and I was considering that I might as well return to the hospital tomorrow morning, but the whole mood of the situation did not permit it.
It’s that, when adults get seriously angry, it’s quite scary.
「Please, really, really, really!! Make it the last time. For just two days, please don’t do that again. 」
「Yes… I have thoughtfully reflected on my behavior, I am sorry.」
「…If you reflected on it then I won’t say anything anymore. Please refrain from thoughtless actions, I’m not trying to frighten you but when they carried you here, you were in a really bad condition. It won’t be strange at all for an after-effect of such heavy injuries to remain. So please stay in bed and rest.」
「…I will stay in bed and seriously reflect on my attitude」
Aah, really, I can’t take it anymore.
I once again bowed my head to doctor Maeno as he left the room.
「Haa, …Aaahh, two more days in the hospital. That’s depressing.」
Grabbing my knees, I roll around on the bed.
Unless I fool around like this at least when I am alone, I felt like I would be crushed by various factors.
Until I got back to the hospital, I talked with Mai for a bit.
It seems that on the same day as I disappeared, the car with father and mother fell from the cliff by the coast-lands and they died. The car broke through the guardrail and sunk into the storming sea, our parent’s bodies weren’t discovered.
Granny and aunt had disappeared as well and still hadn’t come back.
Looks like Mai was living off the money from our parents inheritance and life insurance, so it seems she had no problems on that account. Since our family had no contacts with relatives, it all went without notorious fights over inheritance, which is a good thing.
No, that was the only good thing in all that that was related to my little sister.
Without a thing to do after becoming alone, I am starting to feel pressured by thoughts about the future.
Without the parent’s concern that I took for granted, can I support my little sister?
Were Mai to know of this she will likely say something along the lines of…
『Mai will care for you like a little piglet. You little sister will praise your cuteness and will keep you for life』.
…It would be one thing if it was in reverse, but I can’t allow my little sister to provide for me.
「I have to get a grip.」
To get some time alone, I even coerced Mai into going back to school instead of staying by my side.
I should get my thoughts in order now, while I have a chance.
「Fua, Fuaai?! I’m not sleeping, I am not!!」
With a rattling sound, the door had opened and the voice calling my name made me reflectively raise up, interrupting my nap.
After the examination was over, I really had nothing to do. To put it bluntly, I was dying from boredom and since I already had the record of offense, they won’t even trust me to take a walk around the hospital.
Doctors and nurses were giving me stares that were saying『He isn’t going to run away? Isn’t he?』. So out of concern for own mental health, I had no choice but to confine myself to my room.
Since then, I was killing time watching a rebroadcast of a soap-opera without much interest, but now all of my sleepiness was blown away.
「Yuuto, Yuuto is that you? Hey, come on, what are you crying for? You are ruining your handsome face… To think that even such face of yours would look handsome, what kind of cheat is that you bastard?」
「Ka, Kaito, ha, ahahahah, it’s really, really you, Kaito.」
The one who stood there was unmistakably my close friend Kanazaki Yuuto.
Still as handsome as always, he still looked good even on the verge of crying.
「Damn, who else do I look like-kuagh?!」
「You idiot, where have you been until now!!」
「Y, you, you think it’s okay to hit a hospitalized person?!」
I raise an objection after being caught off guard and getting hit with a fist in a completely relaxed abdomen.
「Shuddap, can you imagine how I felt this whole year? Of course, I will hit you!」
「Gah?! Hey, You, Guh.」
When I tried to stand up from the bed, a lariat-like move was performed on me which then, was turned into a chokehold.
「Mai-chan was hella worried as well. Even though you are such a siscon, what are you even doing.」
「Uuuuh… Thank god. Really, thank god.」
「Aah, Uuh, …O Yuuto, to start crying, how pathetic of you. We shall bestow another chance on you.」
「Ah, Wa, Give up, I give up!! A jo, it’s a joke.」
Yuuto got seriously angry and I ended up tapping on his hand that was grabbing around my neck until he finally released the hold.
「Phew, finally released. Actually, Yuuto, why are you here? What about the school?」
「This morning I received a message from Mai-chan, saying that you regained consciousness. So I just skipped half of the classes.」
「Mmm? Message from Mai? …Tell me Yuuto, I highly doubt it but could it be that while I wasn’t there, you sank your poisonous fangs into Mai as well? Her big brother would not mind some carnage, do you want to die?」
「Yea, that’s the part you would bite into. Your sister complex clearly worsened, or rather, are you getting defiant?」
「Yea, shut up.」
Considering the events from yesterday, I was aware of it but did not want others to poke there.
「Relax, the only one with whom I am gonna enter into such a relationship in my life is Shiori. I won’t do anything to Mai. You know, right? I am madly in love with my sweetheart.」
His laughing face as if he made a joke for some reason gave me a stiff and heavy impression.
I can guess the reason.
「Aah, I see, you already know who has disappeared.」
「Shiori-san is still missing as well…」
Yuuto’s lover was a lovely person from one grade above.
They knew each other even before we became acquainted and were childhood friends. In middle school, Yuuto decided to confess to her and turned to us for help. So Suehiko, Kenta and I provided him with various forms of assistance.
In truth, we had a secret alliance with Shiori-san that little sister loved so much.
And her name was on the list I saw yesterday.
「Say, Kaito, I heard from Mai-chan that you have no memory about that time you were missing. But how much do you remember about that day?」
「By that day, you mean when disappearance incident occurred?」
「Yes, that day.」
「That day I remember until the point where we were talking dumb stuff with Kenta and Suehiko. We also were making bets on how many minutes will it take you to return from upperclassman’s floor.」
「…Haha, that’s what the three of you were doing then.」
With a nostalgizing face, Yuuto closed his eyes.
「What about what happened after that?」
「…No, I heard the story, but to be honest my memory gets hazy from there.」
「Is that… So… I still remember it clearly. Suddenly it was shining and then Shiori-san was locked inside the magic circle, her face with eyes wide open from surprise was rapidly turning into particles.」
Yuuto’s voice was monotone, I guess the way he talked, suppressing himself, showed the difference between us created by this one year.
「Sorry, Kaito. I understand that it is a cruel thing to ask. When I rushed in here for the first time, you were all tattered and with bandages all over you, I understand that you had to go through something terrible enough to lose memories but…」
With a face like he was embarrassed by himself, Yuuto lowered his head.
「Please, I want you to remember about the time you were missing. Though it might be painful for Kaito, I want something that would allow to get to Suehiko, Kenta, and Shiori, no matter how small that might be.」
「…It’s fine. Even if you didn’t ask me, there is no way I would be content with the current situation. Such a bomb should just be exploded as fast as possible.」
「Like I said, don’t be… Even so, It’s regrettable but it’s going to take some more time though.」
Of course, I was also thinking about getting back those missing memories.
I had plenty of time alone to sort out my thoughts.
But no matter how hard I try to remember, no matter how long I follow that guiding thread into the darkness, it all ends in nothing.
「I tried to recall something many times, but I can’t remember anything no matter what. Sorry.」
「I… See… No, I should be sorry, I was too hasty. It’s not like things are so simple that you can recall it just by wishing hard enough.」
I felt a little wave of guilt washed over me while looking at Yuuto that was shaking his head.
Because I had a bit of reluctance about recovering missing memories.
It is not a lie that I tried to recall something.
And as I saw the depths of the dark void, I was scared of what was surging in there.
If I try to haul something out of there, I might get pulled into the darkness myself instead.
『Next is the featured news. Today, we invited a criminal psychologist, doctor Kuroi.』
A TV echoed in the hospital room as if it were trying to fill an awkward silence.
The TV screen was showing a newscaster that I never saw before and an old man with a balding head.
Looks like the soap opera that I was watching ended without me realizing.
I reached for a remote to change the channel and then stopped.
『Now, this month another incident took place, presumably a group known as『Transference Applicants』was behind it.』
For some reason, those words created a lump of uneasiness in my heart.
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