This is the bonus short story booklet if you purchase Ken ga Kimi for V from Stellaworth. Similarly to the one for the PC version, the booklet contains six short stories—one for each main character. The stories, however, take place after the Kimi endings and therefore will contain spoilers for those who haven’t seen those yet. As usual, special thanks to Mitsu for scanning the booklet for me.
“Hey, Tsuzuramaru-san. Got a minute?”
The sun has set and it is almost time to close the restaurant. I was called by two elderly regular customers who had been talking to her for quite a while.
“Yes, is it a drink refill?”
“No, not a refill… Well, just come here.”
I give them a confused reply as I move to stand beside her. It seems like she doesn’t know why they called me either, and we glance at each other.
“Sorry for calling you so suddenly. There’s just something we’ve been curious about.”
Following this remark, the other customer clears his throat.
“We’ve been meaning to ask this for a while, but… Are the two of you married now?”
The unexpected question leaves me taken aback. Her cheeks are flushing red from embarrassment as we exchange looks, and then I firmly nod.
“She’s… my wife, my pride and joy.”
It’s embarrassing to say it myself, but there is no lie in those words. Even as I feel heat creeping up my face, I confidently look straight back at the customers. They both nod upon hearing my answer.
“Ooh, so it is true! That’s great news. Did you hold the wedding ceremony already?”
“…Uh, no… That’s…”
The term ‘wedding ceremony’ puts me at a loss for words. It feels like they hit me where it hurts, and it instantly makes me feel uncomfortable. Before I can figure out how to answer, she speaks up from where she stands at my side.
“We haven’t held it yet. A wedding ceremony requires a lot of preparations after all… Still, we are happy with our current condition.”
She answers their question, smiling as if there’s nothing wrong. The customers call us a lovebird and give us a teasing laugh in return.
“You two sure know how to show off, don’t you?”
When they slap me in the back, a dry, pathetic laugh escapes my lips. After sending them off as they leave, I quietly let out a sigh. Beside me, she’s fanning herself with her hands—like she’s trying to cool her burning face. Realizing that I’m watching her, she smiles as if to conceal her embarrassment.
“Um… About what you said earlier…”
Unable to look at that expression of hers, I start talking in spite of myself. She seems curious as she lifts her head, but has to leave when another customer calls for her. Left alone, I let out another sigh as I clean up the bowls on the table.
(To be honest, I want to hold a wedding ceremony right here and now…)
Of course that’s how I really feel. Earlier, she said that a wedding ceremony would require a lot of preparations… and that she’s already happy with how we are right now. But for me, it’s an issue that’s been bothering me the most.
Just as she said, it’s not that I’m unsatisfied with our current condition. To spend my days with her like this, with the two of us running the restaurant together—I don’t have any complaints about that. However, a wedding only happens once in a lifetime. I heard that it’s a joyous occasion for a woman, so as her husband, it’s only obvious for me to want to hold one for her. Above all else, I want to see her in a shiromuku.
The image of her, wrapped in the outfit she wore during the wedding parade, crosses my mind. She looked really good in it—not paling in comparison to the gorgeous bride attire prepared by the shogunate. She was a fake bride back then, but it’s different now. It’s only natural that I want to see her wearing a shiromuku as my wife.
(But even if I want it… I can’t just say ‘I want it so let’s buy one’ so lightly…)
Wiping the table, I feel like I’m about to sigh again.
I lift my head at the sudden voice to find her peering at me.
“You’ve been sighing all this time. What’s wrong?”
Feeling awkward, I look around to avoid eye contact. Then she quietly smiles, as if she can tell what’s on my mind.
“If this is about what the customers said, you don’t have to worry. I really am happy with our current life.”
After saying that, she takes the empty bowls away in my place. Once again, I am hit with the realization of how hardworking and observant she is. She’s too good—so much that I feel like I don’t deserve her.
(…I’m the one who’s happy.)
She always makes me happy. With her kindness, with her strength, with how lovable she is. And yet I…
The determination comes in a sudden, if I do say so myself. Still, I’ve made a resolution. I’m going to prepare a shiromuku for her after all. The reason is simple.
“Hey. We came to get some drink~”
The door slides open along with a carefree voice. It’s almost time to close the restaurant, but when I turn towards the entrance, I find two familiar faces standing there. An idea comes to my mind upon seeing them, and so after leading them to a table, I bring up a certain matter to be discussed.
Late at night, I start sneaking out of the room—making sure not to cause any sound. I wryly laugh at the fact that I’m acting like a thief, but I still move with extreme caution so she won’t find out. Sadly, failures tend to happen at times like this…
A voice calling my name, followed by the sound of the hallway’s floor creaking behind my back. I don’t even have to turn around to see what’s happening. In my mind, I’m already wrapping my hands around my head in frustration.
The voice, of course, belongs to her. When I hastily answer, my own voice sounds shrill and nervous.
“Where are you going at this hour?”
I can’t think up of a good excuse. I’ve never been good at lying to begin with. It doesn’t help that she knows me really well, so making up a lie to get out of this situation would probably be meaningless. As I mumble my words, the one who comes to my rescue turns out to be none other than my wife herself.
“Ah, I see. Kei-san asked you to help with patrols, didn’t he?”
“He begged for your help because they’re short-handed, right? Kei-san told me too, and yet… I’m sorry, I forgot.”
I probably have never felt this thankful to anyone before. The image of the two people who came to the restaurant a few days ago—Enishi and Kei—comes to my mind.
The thing we discussed that day was a negotiation request with a tailor Enishi knows. It was a request for the tailor to make a shiromuku for a price that even I can afford. I knew it was unreasonable, but Enishi agreed immediately. And in order to earn the necessary funds, Kei introduced me to daily bodyguard works. Both of them asked me for the same thing… which was to keep it a secret from her up until the end. They believe that would make her even happier. I gratefully took their advice.
“But you have to work in the restaurant during the day… Don’t push yourself too hard, okay?”
Seeing her worried expression hurts my heart. Even though the part about helping Kei out isn’t a lie, I am undeniably deceiving her.
Giving her a nod, I mutter a faint ‘sorry’ and leave the restaurant.
Just like that, I continue leading a double life for a while. During the day I help out in the restaurant, and at night I walk out into the city for bodyguard works. I space out a lot due to lack of sleep, often causing her to worry as the result. I constantly fall asleep in the middle of a meal, and every time that happens, I pull myself together with the thought that I need to do my best at times like this. It’s all for her. Keeping that in mind, I continue spurring myself.
I’m not working myself to the bone to fulfill my duty as a husband or to make myself look nice.
I only want to see her happy.
The long-awaited shiromuku is finally done on a sunny day.
(Finally… Finally I can show her…!)
How long have I been waiting for this day to come? I feel my excitement running high.
I gently set the outfit I just received in our room and immediately run out to search for her in the house. I find her in the kitchen, looking both surprised and confused when she sees me flying in.
“Tsuzuramaru? Why are you in such a rush?”
“Will you come with me!?”
Without waiting for an answer, I take her hand and bolt out of the kitchen.
“Eh!? Tsuzuramaru, wait!”
We arrive in front of our room. I slide the door open with full force, showing her the bundle waiting on the other side.
“I want you to see… what’s inside.”
Hearing my meek voice, she nods without asking any questions and lays her hands on the bundle. Maybe it’s because she can sense my nervousness, but I notice that her fingers are slightly trembling too as she carefully unwraps the cloth.
“Tsuzuramaru, this is…!”
Upon seeing the white bridal outfit inside the bundle, she freezes in surprise.
“You said you’re happy with the way we are now, but… I really want to see you in a shiromuku. That’s how I feel, so… Please wear this and hold a wedding ceremony with me.”
For an instant I get worried that it’s a very self-centered request, but it quickly fades away. Because after hearing my words, tears immediately start welling up in her eyes.
She’s about to hug the shiromuku, but then she pulls her hands away from it. She probably thinks that she shouldn’t stain it. Instead, she comes over and swiftly clings onto me. I wrap my arms around her.
“Thank you, Tsuzuramaru…”
Her voice is small, but clearly filled with joy. After staying with her for so long, I’ve learned to notice this sort of thing as well.
It makes her happy. That alone is enough to lift the hardships of leading a double life—that’s why being husband and wife is such a wonder.
(It’s been a while since I asked her to marry me under that cherry blossom tree, but…)
With the help of many, we can have a wedding ceremony. The realization is sinking in. Still hugging my beloved wife, I glance at the shiromuku. When I imagine her wearing the pure white outfit, I naturally break into a smile.
“On the day of the ceremony… please be the first to come and see me, Tsuzuramaru.”
“…Yes, I’m looking forward to it.”
When she wears this shiromuku, I will proudly, confidently stand beside her. As her husband, and as the one who loves her the most.
“We don’t seem to have any problems today…”
I mutter as I make my rounds inside the castle.
Lately the number of oni who visit Kinojou has increased, so whenever I find the time, I’d go on patrols inside the castle like this. Thanks to that I don’t have too much free time to kill, and while saying I have no complaints would be a lie, I understand that this is also a part of my duty.
It’s about time to go back, I whisper to myself and turn on my heel. Just then I notice a figure coming from the other side. …It’s her.
“Good work, Kei.”
As soon as she sees me, she quickly comes over to my side. She’s holding something in her hands.
“Ah, this? It’s nearly time for lunch, so I thought we could eat together.”
She opens the bundle in her hands, revealing some delicious-looking rice balls. My stomach growls on the spot, reminding me that I didn’t eat breakfast due to the busy schedule.
“You seem to be hungry.”
She chuckles. I poke her head to hide the embarrassment.
“Don’t laugh. We’re gonna eat together, right…? Let’s go find some place to sit.”
We obviously can’t just sit down and eat in the middle of the hallway. Deciding to go back to our room, I put my arm around her shoulder and start walking. I feel like it’s been so long since the last time we walked side by side like this.
“Sorry. I can’t seem to make any time for you lately.”
“Oh no, don’t worry about it. Don’t push yourself too hard, Kei.”
She snuggles up to me, looking worried.
I think about this as I hold her shoulder tighter.
I have something that I need to do. I have to build a world where oni and humans can live together in peace, as soon as possible. In order to do that, I need to get through this current situation—even if there are things I’m not happy about. Not only for the country, but also for a happy future with her.
“…Sorry, I keep making you worry.”
She quietly shakes her head. I let out a wry laugh in my mind. I’ve caused her so much trouble, and yet she’s always so nice. There must be a lot of inconveniences for her after she came to Kinojou, but she’s supporting me without making any complaints. Do you even know how much that helped me?
“It’s… about the day after tomorrow…”
It’s unusual for her to mumble her words like this. As I wait for her to continue, a voice calls me from behind.
“Excuse me, Kei-sama.”
When I turn around, I find an oni standing there. His mouth twitches the moment he sees my face, most likely noticing that my mood has taken a nosedive. Realizing that I’m not behaving properly as their leader, I take a deep breath to calm myself down.
“…What’s the matter?”
“A guest has arrived. They seem to be a messenger from a human village…”
“Alright, I’ll be there soon. …Sorry, I’ll listen to the rest next time.”
The moment I turn away, I feel that her expression slightly darkened. But when I turn to take another look, I only see her smiling and waving her hand. Must be my imagination. After convincing myself that I was just seeing things, I walk away and leave.
—Not knowing that two days later, I’d come to regret this horribly.
Two days later. I finish work as usual and go back to my room to find something strange. She’s supposed to here, but she’s nowhere to be seen.
Is she taking a bath or something? Even as I casually think about this, I can’t wipe off the sense that something is wrong.
…I have a bad feeling. I feel like I’m forgetting something important. I look around the room, which appears larger than usual. When I think about how quiet it is to be alone in here, I suddenly remember. Today is the day she was born.
The very next moment, I dash out of the room. I run through the castle, paying no attention to other people in the hallway.
(How could I forgot this day out of all things… !)
I want to celebrate our birthdays. Those words first came from me. So that we can look back on how she came to birth, how I was born as an oni, how I met her… and then be happy for these things.
As I call her name, my mind goes back to what happened two days ago. She said ‘the day after tomorrow’, and now those words are sinking deep into my mind. This must be what she wanted to say.
(I am her husband before I am the oni clan’s leader…!)
Even if I was busy, I shouldn’t have forgotten such an important day. My head is filled with self-blame. But despite my frustration, I can’t find her anywhere in the castle.
“Did she… go outside…?”
The possibility comes to my mind as I approach the gate. Is she angry because I forgot about today, so she left the castle? I grow more and more terrified at the thought.
There’s no time to hesitate. In any case, I have to look for her. I put my hands on the gate. I need to find her as quickly as possible, and then apologize—but before I could open the gate, someone opens it from the other side.
“Ah, I’m sorry—oh, Kei? What are you doing here?”
The one standing on the other side of the gate is none other than her. Her eyes widen upon seeing her sweaty, panting husband. Not giving her a chance to say anything, I pull her over and lock her in my arms.
Maybe the sudden action surprises her, or maybe she’s worried about where we are now, but she twists around and tries to run away. Still, I keep holding her tightly. Behind her I did see an attendant who probably went out with her as a companion, but I don’t care.
“Where did you go…?”
I ask as I bury my face onto her neck. She answers with apology in her voice.
“I went to buy some sweets for you. I thought they might relieve your fatigue…”
“…*sigh* You’re unbelievable…”
On a day like today, she should prioritize herself instead of others. My wife is seriously too nice for her own good.
(But… That’s what I love from her.)
When I let her go, she seems embarrassed and looks away from me. It makes her look really lovely in my eyes.
There’s something I need to tell her as quickly as possible. Pulling her hand, I lead us to walk away at a brisk pace. At the same time, I tell myself that the heat enclosed in my palm is caused by her warm hand—an excuse to hide my embarrassment.
“What do you think? Is it good?”
“Yeah, it’s delicious.”
Once we’re back in our room, we sit down with some tea and the sweets she bought. She bought them in the hope of relieving my fatigue. There’s no way they wouldn’t taste good.
After washing down the sweets in the mouth with some tea, I take a deep breath. And then I open my mouth.
“…I owe you a lot of apologies for today.”
“Eh? What are you talking about?”
“…You were born on this joyous day, and yet I didn’t prepare anything for you… and I even had doubts about how you went out to shop for my sake.”
She chuckles upon hearing my gloomy voice.
“You don’t have to worry about that. Just being by your side like this is already enough to make me happy.”
She holds my hands with her own as she says that, and it feels really warm. It’s me who feels happiness just by staying by her side.
“…Thank you for coming to this world. …For meeting me… for loving me.”
“Hehe. You’re being really honest today, Kei.”
“Shut up. Don’t make fun of me.”
Even as I hurl out those harsh words, I wrap my arms around her and pull her into a hug. As if to convey the feelings in my heart through these arms instead of words.
“…Hey, do you want to go out tomorrow? It’s been a while. Just the two of us, of course.”
“Is it okay?”
“Yeah. Let’s celebrate your birthday, to make up for what we couldn’t do today.”
At my words, a gentle smile blooms on her face. Up until now, this smile has saved me many, many times. And I want to protect it from now on. As her husband who loves her more than anyone else, I want to protect her—no matter what kind of hardships lie ahead of us. I want to make her happy. That’s how I truly feel.
I gently tighten my arms around her.
“…I love you.”
Secretly, I make a brand new vow to give these words to my dearest wife if she wishes for it—over and over again.
In the morning, I open my eyes to the chirping of birds. Getting up from the bed, I curl up upon feeling the chilly air wrapping my surroundings.
(Speaking of which, it’s been snowing since last night.)
It seems like the early morning helps lowering the temperature too. In this cold weather, the snow will definitely pile up without melting away. As I mull over this, I notice that the warmth which supposed to be here at my side has disappeared. My beloved, who was supposed to be sleeping with me, is nowhere to be seen. Where has she gone off to?
There’s a sound beyond the door. It’s the sound of someone walking through the snowy garden. It reminds me that last night when she saw the snow falling, she happily said that it might pile up in the morning.
After putting on a coat, I open the door and walk onto the porch. In front of it lies the garden, blanketed in pure white snow. The snowy landscape is shining, reflecting the radiant morning sun. In the middle of such a scenery, I find her figure.
(—Ah, thank goodness.)
Even though it’s impossible for her to disappear in a sudden, I find myself feeling deeply relieved. I am aware that I’m worrying too much, but that’s just how important she is to me.
Speaking of her, she’s currently crouching on the ground, looking happy as she plays with the snow. From where I am, I can only see her face from the side. Still, I can tell that she’s smiling like a child who just touched snow for the very first time. Her smile is radiant like sunshine, so lovely that I can’t help but smile too upon seeing her.
(From now on, too, my love for her would never change.)
I think about it as I watch the white trail of my breath.
While she shows an adorable side like this every now and then, there are also times when she shows a gallant expression as she wields her naginata. Her expression when she’s embarrassed, when she gets angry at times—they have captured my heart and won’t let go.
In the past, I have done something to hurt her. Even so, she believed in me and came with me to where we are now.
(And towards you, I—)
It seems that I have taken a step forward subconsciously, and the porch floorboards creak under my feet. Her shoulders jerk in surprise at the sound. Then she turns around, and looking relieved upon seeing me, she calls out to me.
“So you’re awake. You should have called me.”
“You look like you’re really enjoying yourself, I couldn’t take my eyes off you.”
Recalling how she was playing with the snow, a smile naturally shows on my face.
After putting on a pair of sandals lying nearby, I step into the garden. One of my feet drowns into the snow, and I make my way towards where she is.
Her cheeks are red. Maybe she’s embarrassed about being seen, or maybe it’s because of the cold. She greets me good morning with the same smile she had earlier, and I answer.
“You weren’t at my side when I woke up, I was surprised.”
“Hehe, I’m sorry. I woke up early, so…”
She stands up and rubs her hands together, as if to warm her cold fingers. She touched the snow with her bare hands, so it’s only obvious for them to turn cold.
I take her hands and put them on my cheeks.
“Are you not cold? Your fingers are freezing.”
Despite my worry, she cheerfully reassures me that she’s alright.
“Your cheeks are warm, Saneaki-san.”
She smiles, keeping her eyes straight back at me. Her hands leave a cold sensation on my cheeks, but a comfortable warmth is spreading in my chest.
(—This must be… what bliss feels like.)
Closing my eyes, I relish the happiness within me. I used to think that I would never have anything to do with it for the rest of my life, but right now my life is filled with joy. It’s all because of her.
She calls my name, seemingly confused about my sudden silence. Even that short word alone gives me happiness.
“Ah, I’m sorry. I was lost in thought for a moment.”
Even though I feel reluctant, I let go of her hands once they regain their warmth.
“But still, what were you doing here?”
“Ah, that’s right. You should see it too, Saneaki-san!”
She says ‘I made this’ as she moves to the side, showing what was concealed from my vision. Behind her, enshrined on a stone that’s been cleaned of snow, is an adorable snow rabbit with red eyes and green ears.
“I saw the snow piling up, so I wanted to make one.”
As she crouches beside the snow rabbit again, happily commenting about how cute it is, I look back and forth between her and the snow rabbit… and then it comes to my mind.
“Somehow, it resembles you.”
“This snow rabbit?”
She tilts her head. I don’t really understand why I find them similar either, but it might be because of these adorable gestures she makes. They remind me of small animals.
Maybe it’s because I see a resemblance between her and the snow rabbit, but somehow it looks lonely as it sits on the top of the stone.
“It seems lonely by itself. …I’ll make another one.”
Her face brightens upon hearing this, and she gives me the nandina fruits and leaves to make the eyes and ears. Taking a handful of snow, I shape it into a round form and gently set it onto the stone. Then I put the eyes and ears into place.
“Ah… It’s snowing again.”
At her words, I look up at the sky to see that snow has started falling again.
“If we leave them here, the snow rabbits we made will get buried.”
Agreeing with her idea to move them, we carry the two snow rabbits onto the porch. Seeing them sitting side by side, she chuckles.
“Somehow they look like us, don’t they?”
“You’re right. I was just thinking of the same thing.”
The difference in our hand size means we inevitably scoop different amount of snow as well. The snow rabbit I made is about a size larger than the one she created. The two snow rabbits—different in size—do resemble us as they sit side by side on the porch.
“It’d be a waste if they melt away.”
She sadly mutters. They won’t be buried under the snow here, but they might not last until tomorrow. Even if they survive the night, they will eventually melt away.
“If they melt, we can make more together. Even if there’s no snow, we can use something else.”
When I smile at her, she gently nods and agrees.
Setting ourselves down beside the snow rabbits, the two of us watch the snowy sky for a while.
“Snow isn’t uncommon even in Edo though… Why did you seem so happy about it last night?”
I decide to ask what has left me curious since last night. The answer she gives me is just like something she would say.
“You’re right, but… It’s my first time seeing it with you in this land, Saneaki-san.”
Turning back to the snowy landscape, she happily smiles. Seeing her from the side fills me with love, and I find myself pulling her into an embrace. Surprised by the sudden hug, she looks up at me with my arms still wrapped around her.
“…Can we stay like this for a while?”
She answers with a small nod. I hug her tightly, as if not to let go of the warmth held in my arms. A fleck of snow flutters down onto her cheek, slowly melting away from her body warmth.
How I met her, and how we will spend the rest of our lives together… It all feels like a miracle. I have been given so much happiness, and yet how could I not pray to God for it?
Eventually, I realize that her skin has gotten cold. I don’t want to let go. That’s how I truly feel, but I loosen my arms and softly call her.
“…It’s gotten cold. Let’s go inside.”
“Yes. Ah, we received nice tea leaves from the neighbor next door. Let’s brew some.”
With quick steps, she goes inside ahead of me. I follow her into the room, and when I turn around to close the door, my eyes land on the snow rabbits—facing outside as they sit together on the porch.
(May the two of us always live together, side by side… just like these snow rabbits.)
Beyond the room, a lovely voice is calling for me.
I quietly pray to God for this happiness to last forever.
“Heeey, I’m going out for a bit!”
One morning, after I’m done with preparations by the front door, I shout loudly so my beloved wife can hear me. She soon comes over from the inner room and asks if she should go with me, but I refuse with the excuse that I’m only meeting an acquaintance who happens to have business around here.
(That Juubei… I’ve been telling him not to worry.)
The acquaintance I’m meeting up with is the swordsmanship teacher for the Tokugawa family, as well as someone I’ve known for a long time—Yagyuu Mitsuyoshi. Even though it’s been a while since I left Edo, he’s still sending me letters from time to time, asking for the permission to visit. I told him not to worry, but kept receiving persistent letters in return until I eventually gave in. Since we’re just going to see each other, I called Juubei to a nearby teahouse.
I know the reason behind his visit. I am well aware that even the preachy Juubei can’t go against my father and brother.
“Alright. Well then, I’ll be waiting so please be careful.”
“Yeah, I’m going now. I’ll be back at noon.”
Leaving her to send me off with a smile, I walk out of the house with a wide grin on my face.
By the time I thank the teahouse’s owner and leave the place, the air has gotten chilly.
(*sigh* …It’s really late.)
Letting out a sigh, I open my umbrella and quickly walk my way home in the rain. As I feel the cold air caressing my cheeks, her face comes to my mind.
I told her I’ll be back at noon, but it’s already four in the afternoon—when the sun has begun to set. Juubei and I had a lot to talk about, and it’s gotten late before we knew it. If it didn’t rain, maybe we’d still be talking by now.
(But still, that guy is just as caring as always.)
He noticed that the weather didn’t look good, so he bought umbrellas along the way. He even bought one for me—that guy never changes. He handed one to me by force, asking me to take it with me, and that’s how I ended up in this situation.
She must be worried that her husband is coming home late. I should go back as quickly as possible to ease her worry, so I walk even faster.
When I lift my head, I find a familiar figure under the trees ahead. Why, if it isn’t my beloved—the one I was thinking of just now.
It seems like she has noticed me too, as I hear her calling my name.
“You surprised me. What are you doing here?”
“You’re taking so long, so I thought I’d go and pick you up. But then it started raining…”
So she had to take shelter here. She got worried simply because I was late and decided to pick me up. Her kindness brings warmth to my heart.
“Sorry I’m late. I was planning to return earlier.”
“It’s alright, I’m relieved now that I see you.”
She gently smiles after saying that.
—’I’m relieved. You really are leading a happy life.’
Suddenly I recall Juubei’s words from our meeting today.
(I told you, didn’t I? No need to worry.)
As long as I have her, I will live on no matter where it might be. And be exceptionally happy too. He should be on the way back to Edo now as I talk to him in my mind.
“My acquaintance lent me an umbrella. Will you join me, young lady?”
She softly chuckles at my joke. When she says ‘please’, I hold her close and take her under the umbrella.
The sound of falling rain quietly fills my ears. We chat about trivial things as we walk, until she eventually notices something up ahead and tugs on my sleeve.
Her eyes are fixed on a mother and child who are taking shelter from the rain on the side of the road. The child is standing while hugging himself, while the mother is wrapping her arms around her child’s shoulder. Something seems to be wrong with them.
“Is something troubling them… ?”
My kind wife is looking at them with worry in her eyes. Following her good intention, I decide to talk to the mother and child.
“Hey, the two of you over there. Are you alright?”
The mother is surprised by the sudden call, but she doesn’t seem to find us suspicious and opens her mouth to answer.
“We got drenched in the rain… I’m alright, but my child…”
Upon taking a closer look, I see that the child’s kimono is pretty much soaked from the rain. Knowing that her child is cold, the mother put her arms around the child’s shoulders in order to keep him warm.
“In that case, please use this. This too.”
I put my coat on the child and gives the umbrella in my hands to the mother. She tries to refuse, but my wife takes a step forward and reassures her that it’s alright.
“Please accept. The sun is setting, and your child might catch a cold if you don’t return home soon.”
The mother seems to be more at ease after hearing her words. She repeatedly bows her head to thank us before accepting the umbrella.
“Please go home as quickly as possible and keep your child warm.”
“I’m sorry… Thank you very much.”
The mother holds her child’s hand, and we watch over their backs as they walk away. After a while, the child turns towards us as waves his hand.
“Thank you, big sister! Old man!”
“Old ma—!? I’m not that old!”
She chuckles beside me. It’s so heartwarming to see the mother quickly bowing her head in apology and the child’s carefree smile, and we wave back at them.
“Be careful on the way home!”
We keep waving our hands until the two of them disappear in the distance.
“Sorry I gave them our umbrella.”
I knew she wouldn’t get angry, but since we ended up getting drenched as the result, I apologize. And just as I predicted, she smiles and shakes her head.
“Please don’t worry about it. I was worried about the child too.”
“Still, that boy was smart—he thanked us properly.”
It’s unacceptable how he called me an old man though! I add, still remembering what just happened.
“Hehe. You really are kind, Enishi-san.”
“Did you fall in love with me all over again?”
It was supposed to be a joke. That’s why I thought she’d get appalled and give a harsh reply as usual, but… she answers with a faint voice.
“Yes. It reminded me that my husband… is so kind and wonderful.”
Her ears turn red, most likely from embarrassment, and her voice grows smaller and smaller towards the end. For a moment, the sudden confession leaves me at a loss for words.
(—Oh man. That was supposed to be my line.)
I pull those words back into my chest before they come out, looking closely at her.
“O-Oh, right! What should we do now? Should we stay here for a while to take shelter—”
She suggests an idea cheerfully to brush the embarrassment away, but I cut her off.
“No, let’s go home.”
“Eh…? But how…”
She looks surprised as I move closer. After whispering ‘I have an idea’ into her ear, I lift her up and carry her in my arms.
“The sun will go down if we wait here, so let’s run back home! Or rather, I’m just in the mood of doing that right now!”
She looks astonished at my erratic behavior, but I pay her no mind and dash out into the rain. Fortunately, the rain is getting lighter.
“Um, this posture is really embarrassing…!”
“No one is looking, so don’t worry. Besides, we have to get home before it gets dark, right?”
She mutters ‘you’re right, but…’ before suddenly falling into silence. It seems like she’s given up on asking me to let her down, and she stays quiet with a blush on her face.
“You know, I thought about it after seeing that boy we met earlier.”
Her glance stops drifting about as she looks up at me.
“I thought having kids would be nice too. What do you think?”
Those words seem to have delivered the final blow to her embarrassment, as her face turns even redder than before. I can’t stop myself from laughing at her obvious reaction.
“Haha, my wife is really cute.”
“I can’t believe you…!”
Still, today she seems different from usual and refuses to lose. Grabbing me by the collar, she learns forward—and lightly kisses me on the cheek.
“This is my answer.”
She whispers and goes back into my arms. Surprised by what happened in that brief moment, I end up stopping in my tracks. She asks ‘aren’t you turning red?’ as if to tease me, a payback for what I usually do to her.
“…I think it’s unfair to do that without warning.”
“I don’t want to hear that from you, Enishi-san.”
When I laugh at how cute she looks when she’s all bitter, she laughs along with me.
(I don’t really like rainy days since I’m worried about what they might do to my field, but… it’s nice to have them every once in a while.)
Holding my beloved tightly in my arms, I start running once again.
Whenever morning comes, I would be enveloped in bliss. I believe it must be because I’m staying in the light, unlike before. And now that I’ve found out how comfortable it is to bask in the morning sunlight, I don’t think I could ever let go of this warmth anymore.
That morning, too, I was preparing for writing lesson as usual. That’s when I hear a knock on the door, which is also the same as always. Thinking about her on the other side of the door, I slide it open.
“Good morning, Sakyou-san.”
Her blossoming smile reminds me of the warm sunlight. After returning her greeting, I invite her into the room.
“Shall I help with the preparations?”
She asks while gazing at the stationery lining up inside. I shake my head.
“No, it’s nearly done—…!”
My vision sways before I could finish answering. I seem to have touched the tools in that moment, sending several brushes on the desk to fall onto the floor with clattering sounds.
I blink several times, not understanding what just happened, until I eventually meet her eyes. She looks surprised. Then finally, I realize that I just experienced dizziness.
She frowns in worry as she peers at me, gently putting a hand on my forehead.
“Sakyou-san, you look pale. Are you alright…?”
“Yes, it’s probably due to lack of sleep… It’s nothing much, don’t worry.”
Even though I answer with a smile, her concerned expression doesn’t change.
I do have to admit that in the last few days, my body has been feeling a little heavy—most likely due to fatigue. However, I’ve been dismissing it as mere sleep deprivation. I wonder if I have to pay for it now.
Still, the dizziness only lasted for an instant. When I try to brush it aside and resume the preparations, a figure stands before me and blocks my way. Her face is scary somehow.
“Sakyou-san, please rest for today.”
“But the children will be here soon. I have to go…”
“If you’re that exhausted, they will only get worried. I’ll prepare the bed now, so please get some rest here.”
Immediately after saying that, she starts making the bed I just cleaned up earlier this morning. Taken aback, I can only watch as she quickly sets the bed into place.
“Please leave the school to me. You always let me help, so I remember the procedure.”
She says that as she smooths out the bed on the floor. She’s quite stubborn when this happens. I can’t help but smile. It seems that it would be better for me to accept her kindness.
“Well then… I shall take your offer and rest for today.”
I lie down on the bed she has prepared for me. Seeing me like that, she looks relieved as she puts a blanket over me.
“Please rest well. If you get sick, I and everyone else would be too worried to study.”
“That wouldn’t be good. I have to get well soon and return in a healthy state then.”
Her expression has finally softened and I smile at her. Just then we hear voices in the distance. The children must have come for school.
“Well then, I’ll be going.”
Despite myself, a whisper escapes my lips when I see her standing up. Finding myself wishing for her to stay with me for a little longer, I shake my head. Maybe I really am in a weak state to think of such things.
Stopped by my voice, she looks at me with a confused expression. Hiding how I truly feel behind a smile, I say something else as if to patch it up.
“Please tell me if anything happens. I’ll be there in a second.”
She nods at my words and closes the door behind her.
Left alone in the room, I listen closely to her footsteps walking away. From a narrow gap in the door, the warm sunlight is trickling in.
Peaceful days. Before meeting her, I never even thought of such a thing. And yet it lies so close to me right now—it feels strange.
My mind works as I entrust my body to the bed. The voices coming from the children and her in the distance feel so pleasant.
To my joy, the amount of children attending this private school has increased—so much that it feels a little cramped in here. It really makes me feel that opening this school, teaching the children while watching them grow, is the most blissful way possible for me to live my life. That’s why I feel that I want to do everything I can for this happiness, even if I have to push myself a bit too hard.
(…Maybe I got a bit too enthusiastic.)
I’m not used to happiness, so I don’t know the limits—it’s something I can’t deny.
(If I cause her and the children to worry, then I’ll have to reconsider it a little.)
Unlike before, I am no longer alone. I have a lot of children who love me as their teacher, and I also have someone important. From now on, I need to take care of myself so they wouldn’t worry. That must be what it means to live with others.
Quietly, I close my eyes. Lulled by the voices in the distance, I eventually fall into deep slumber.
I wonder how long I’ve been resting. After opening my eyes, it doesn’t take long for me to grasp my own condition.
I was worried that I slept too soundly, but I quietly breathe in relief upon noticing the voices of children still heard beyond the door. The relief only lasts for a second though, replaced by a different concern.
(Is she doing alright?)
Fear is often worse than danger itself. After fixing my appearance, I move to open the door—thinking of going to where the children are. However, at that moment, my mind recalls the words she said. She wanted me to rest. …It’s probably not a good idea to come out now.
(…But it should be alright to watch them secretly.)
With that self-justification, I end up quietly leaving the room.
As I move closer to the classroom, I hear a lot of voices calling her name. Hiding in the shadow of the door, I take a look inside—and what I see there triggers an urge for me to walk into the classroom at once.
The children, holding brush and paper in their hands, are surrounding her in front of the class. Maybe they want her to see how much they have improved in writing.
(I think I should help after all…)
I touch the door, but a voice inside stops me in my tracks.
“I’ll check your work in order, so can you line up over here and wait for a while?”
The children give her a loud answer and start lining up neatly in a row. She corrects the letters they wrote and praises them one by one, turning the words she said—’please leave the school to me’—into reality.
When I see the children smiling at the praises she gave them, I find myself feeling relieved as well.
(…By the look of things, she seems to be doing fine.)
I let out a sigh. I can leave and go back to bed, but for some reason it makes me feel lonely. After hesitating for a while, I decide to stay here for a little longer. In my mind, I laugh at myself for behaving like a child.
(Ever since I met you… I have changed.)
The most significant change is probably how I’ve come to realize that I am not alone. I quietly think about this as I watch over her, still holding a red-ink correction brush in her hand—that’s when it happens.
Yanohiko, who is standing in the line, meets my eyes. Immediately after noticing me, Yanohiko goes to whisper something into her ear. When I realize that I’ve been caught, it’s already too late. She looks surprised when our gaze collide.
“Sakyou-san! Is it okay for you to be up?”
I sigh and open the door, giving up.
“Thanks to you. I’m sorry for making you worry.”
As I bow my head, the children quickly gather around me. I pat their heads as they give me words of care and concern, until she finally comes over. She looks sincerely relieved. Noticing her expression, I apologize to her once again—this time in my heart.
“I ended up coming here to check up on you, but… you make a great teacher, don’t you?”
I pat her head, similarly to what I did to the children. She turns red and lowers her gaze to the ground. Every gesture she makes is adorable, driving me with the urge of hugging her. But unfortunately, I am a teacher right now.
“Everyone, I see that you’ve been behaving well. Will you let me see the letters you’ve written too?”
My question receives energetic answers, along with many sheets of paper handed over to me. It seems difficult to see everything by myself, but it’s alright. After all, there is someone beside me who is willing to help.
“I’m sorry, can you help me for a little longer?”
As I give her a concerned smile, she nods and says ‘of course’.
“Be careful on the way home.”
When the tinge of orange has started to show in the western sky, the two of us send the children home.
After returning to the silent classroom, I hug her from behind. I sense her surprise and hesitation through my arms, but they disappear after a while.
“Thank you for today. It was so sudden, so it must have been hard for you, right?”
“No, it was really fun.”
Seeing her answer with a smile, I feel relieved.
It’s the same as when she saved me from the darkness of revenge. You are always supporting me like this. The warmth coming from my arms brings that thought to my mind.
“Being able to living with you like this, while watching the children grow… I truly am happy.”
“I’m happy too to be able to live with you like this, Sakyou-san.”
“…From now on, let’s live a happy life together.”
I hug my beloved even tighter, as if to lock her smile in my arms.
“Please let me thank you for your hard work today.”
She seems confused as she looks up. I lay a kiss on her forehead, putting my gratitude and all of my feelings into it.
The reason why I thought of saying it was because I felt lonely whenever she has to leave the clinic at night.
It’s been quite a while since I opened a clinic in Edo. I’ve gotten used to living here, and her coming to help out in the clinic has become an everyday routine. It’s in one of those days that said feeling swelled up in me.
I wish to spend more time with her, and I never want to be apart from her. This strange emotion is overflowing in my heart, and before I knew it, I found myself calling her.
“Hey, let’s stay together for the whole day today.”
It was only a moment ago that I said those words to her.
“What are you doing there?”
I throw a question at her, who is now sitting in a corner of the room. Ever since we decided that she’s going to spend the night here, she’s been acting terribly uneasy.
When she lifts her head, her cheeks are slightly red. It doesn’t seem to be an illness, but it leaves me wondering why. Worried about her, I sit straight in front of her and stare closely at her wide eyes.
“Are you not feeling well? Or are you tired because we had a lot of patients today?”
“I-I’m fine… Aren’t you the one who’s tired, Suzukake?”
“I’m okay! After all, my fatigue would fly away whenever I’m with you.”
When I say that with a smile, for some reason she gets flustered and looks away. For a moment I feel a bit worried, but after hesitating for a while, she turns her gaze back to me. Then she mutters ‘I feel the same way’ in a small voice and smiles.
My worry instantly vanishes at her words and smile, replaced by an overflowing feeling of love for her. I can’t stop myself from leaning closer.
“I love you!”
As I follow my urge to hug her tight, she turns bright red and freezes in place. Finding this side of her adorable, my lips naturally curl up into a smile. She seems to notice this, as her tense body starts relaxing in my arms.
How should I express this overflowing feeling in my heart into words? It feels like our small room is enveloped by the pleasant air of early spring.
Being able to spend a whole night with her makes me really happy. I feel like talking to her for a bit longer, but looking at the strange behavior she showed earlier, maybe we should rest early.
“It’s a bit early, but let’s go to bed. Today was tiring after all.”
“Ah… Yes, you’re right.”
She nervously nods at my suggestion. I guess she is tired after all. With that in mind, I start preparing for bed right away.
“I’ll change before making the beds, okay? My kimono got dirty too today… Let’s take it off.”
Just as I was about to take my kimono off, she suddenly calls me in a loud voice. She quickly backs away in a panic and slides the door closed behind her. Not understanding why she did that, I stare at the door and tilt my head.
“What’s wrong? You don’t have to be that surprised.”
“But you took off your kimono so suddenly…!”
It seems like she’s still flustered on the other side of the door. Upon hearing her agitated answer, I take another look at my own appearance.
“Um… but if I don’t take it off, I can’t change.”
“You’re right, but you shouldn’t strip in front of people, uh… how should I put it…”
At her seemingly troubled words, I realize that she has moved away from me. It seems like changing in front of her wasn’t a good idea.
“Sorry. I did this all the time back in Mount Takao, so…”
She seems to understand, but even after hearing my explanation, she doesn’t open the door. Unsure about what to do, I decide to finish changing first before calling out to her. Living in Edo still offers a lot of difficulties for me.
“Sorry to keep you waiting. I’m done now.”
“…Did you change properly?”
“Yeah, it’s all good. So please come in.”
When she finally slides the door open, for some reason her face has gotten even redder than before. We start preparing for bed together, and when I open the storage to bring out the bed, I come to realize something.
“There’s only one bed…”
Oh no. I should’ve prepared a spare bed for her. If the clinic is full of patients, she would have to spend the night here at some point. But still, it’s no use saying that now—it’s too late.
“I can sleep on the floor. Don’t worry about me, Suzukake.”
“That’s no good! What would you do if you get cold and sick!?”
She’s the kind of person who would prioritize others before herself. But I… I don’t want her to hold back towards me of all people. If I try to sleep on the floor though, she’ll definitely do that.
After thinking about this for a while, I eventually reach a conclusion.
“It’ll be a bit cramped, but… let’s sleep on the same bed!”
Her eyes widen into perfect circles as she lets out a funny shriek. I know she’s surprised, but I can’t think of a reason why she would be so startled, so I tilt my head again.
(Is this also something the people of Edo don’t do?)
But at the same time, I don’t want to give up on it either. I don’t want her to get all cold, and the suggestion also brought me to another realization. Now that we have the chance to be together, I don’t want us to be apart. After all, she’s staying here because I want to be with her—I want to stay by her side. I want to feel her beside me even when we’re asleep.
“I want to sleep with you. …Please.”
I beg, leaning in to peer at her. Then just like that, I gently wrap my arms around her. Her slightly rapid heartbeat reaches my chest, and I find this side of her precious as well.
“Can we stay like this for the whole night?”
As I draw closer to make sure, her heart beats even faster and louder. She hesitates for a while, blushing up to her ears. When I beg one more time, she finally gives me a slow nod.
“Ehehe, thank you.”
“No… Staying by your side makes me… um… really happy too, Suzukake.”
Even as she tries to find the right words to say, she does her best to tell me how she feels. Happy that the two of us share the same joy, I feel a lump in my throat. As I try to figure out what to do with this always-overflowing feeling in my heart, I find myself holding her even tighter.
“S-Suzukake. It hurts.”
“Ah, sorry. Hehe, shall we sleep then?”
Letting her go, I invite her to get into bed. When I bring the andon closer to us, it casts its faint orange light onto her face. Somehow, her expression looks different from usual. This time, I feel my own heart pounding loudly.
“It’s a bit cold, isn’t it? I wonder if it’s because we just got in.”
Thinking that she might hear the sound of my heartbeat, I end up saying those words. My hand brushes hers as I lightly stir, and she flinches at the touch. Before she could pull away, I stop her and grab her hand.
“Is it cold? Are you okay?”
“Y-Yes. You’re warm, Suzukake… so it’s alright.”
When she smiles, her cheeks look even more flushed than usual—maybe because of the andon’s light. Driven by the affection welling up in me, I hold her hand with my own. As I feel her hand rising up in temperature, I also feel warmth spreading in my heart.
The words ‘I love you’ come to my mind without reason, and I find myself looking at her. Maybe she feels the same way, as our gaze collide. As we look into each other’s eyes in silence—
Loud voices suddenly come out of nowhere. Not only one or two, but a lot of them. They’re all calling for the doctor—for me.
“Are they patients? Why did they come at this hour…? Is it an emergency?”
“Maybe they ran out of medicines? In that case, we should give them the ones you’ve made…”
She tries to get up out of worry, but I stop her and get myself out of bed.
“I’ll go check. I’m coming!”
Putting on a coat as I leave the room, I open the clinic’s door. The thought of something happening puts me in a panic, but what lies before my eyes—
The patients I just treated not too long ago are smiling brightly. Each of them is carrying a bottle of sake or a plate of homemade dish. I can only blink in surprise at the unexpected sight.
“Why is everyone gathering here? How about your condition—”
“We’re all healed up thanks to you, Doctor!”
“Today, we came to thank you for that! Come now, let’s have a drink!”
Before I could finish asking, my question is interrupted by their lively voices. It’s hard to pick up what they’re saying since they’re talking all at once, but it seems like they came to show their gratitude for the clinic.
Feeling bewildered, I decide to thank them first. That’s when I hear footsteps slowly approaching from behind. When I turn around, I find her standing there—wrapped in a coat like I am.
“…What should we do?”
She smiles at my question, with her brows drooping down.
“Since they’re all here, why don’t we invite them in?”
“…Hehe, you’re right.”
I laugh along with her, somehow finding this funny.
And so delightful laughter echoes in the clinic through the night.
Deeper into the night, I sneak out of the feast and head to the kitchen.
“Good work. Should I help?”
Upon hearing my voice, she stops in her tracks and turns around to see me.
“It’s alright. I just have to take the bowls and wash them. You can stay with everyone—”
Before she could finish speaking, I hug her from behind.
“Let’s stay like this, just for a bit. …It’s okay, right?”
She shifts in my arms, her soft hair tickling my cheeks.
“Just for a moment… please let me stay like this.”
After giving me a small nod, she slowly leans against my chest. I feel happiness overflowing in my heart.
The moon is peeking in from the small window, casting its quiet light onto the kitchen. The faint moonlight is shining upon the two of us.
“The moon is beautiful tonight. I wonder why… We see it everyday, and yet it looks even more beautiful than usual.”
I was about to add ‘maybe it’s because I’m with you’, but for some reason my voice doesn’t come out. Instead, I wrap my arms slightly tighter around her and gently whisper the words I said before into her ear.
“…I love you.”
My feelings for her have grown even stronger. As if to answer that, she also puts her hands on my arms.
All the things I see with you, everything I experience with you—they’re all turning into a precious treasure for me.
These happy days will always last, now and forever.