(Title – 双生児 – Sōseiji – The Twins)
“Aniki! How was your weekend?” Naoki gleefully asked as he sat beside Kichirō in the classroom.
Kichirō was staring blankly outside the window and did not pay any attention to anything around him. He was deep in his thoughts, thinking about what had happened in the last couple of days. It turned out that he felt that the heavens really indulged in making his heart and mind suffer. His once clear and resolute mind suddenly dwindled down to sheer confusion — to the point that he was confused on what decision he should be making — was there really anything to think about? Was it not that he committed to being with Ryū for now and forever? Yet he was reminded of that vow he made with Shirō, a few years ago…
Naoki noticed that Kichirō was in a daze. He knew right away that his friend was thinking about something important. “Did… by any chance… did anything happen last weekend?” He reached out his hand and grasped Kichirō’s arm.
Kichirō, who seemingly was checking out the swaying tree branches along with the wind, was suddenly startled by Naoki’s touch. His body jerked, and he immediately looked back at Naoki, who was also startled by his friend’s sudden action. “Oh,” he said. “Sorry, Ki-kun. I was thinking about something…” he listlessly said.
The other boy knitted his brows. With a concerned look, he did not hesitate to ask: “What’s wrong?”
Kichirō heaved a deep sigh and also held onto Naoki’s hand that was holding his own arm. He looked into Naoki’s eyes and, with a low and soft voice, he said: “You see… we went to Osaka last Saturday. I accidentally bumped into Shi-kun.”
Naoki’s eyes opened wide. He was shocked by this revelation. He exclaimed: “No way! Were you also with Ueno-senpai? How did he react? Did you talk with Morioka-san? Did they fight over you?!”
Kichirō patted Naoki’s hand and hurriedly said: “Chotto matte. One question at a time Ki-kun.”
“Aniki, gomen nasai. I was just excited to know the details, that’s all,” Naoki chuckled.
“Whoa, whatever happened to the composed Ki-kun that I know. Since you started dating Ken, you’ve become a bit different,” Kichirō smiled and also chuckled.
Naoki was speechless for a moment. He then blushed and frowned at Kichirō.
“Ha ha, okay. Let me tell you what happened…”
Just when Kichirō was about to reach the part where his father, together with the two boys, went back to the kōban to find him, Ken suddenly popped out nowhere. He silently tip-toed toward Naoki’s back while he was immersed in Kichirō’s narration of what happened. When he drew very near to Naoki’s back, he forcefully tapped on Naoki’s shoulders with his two hands. Along with the loud patting sound came out Naoki’s scream: “Waaah…!!!” Naoki looked back and saw it was Ken. His face was painted red as he frowned at Ken. He looked as if he was ready to go all out to kill the one who did that. “Why you…!!!” He growled at Ken then hurriedly rapped Ken’s head.
“Ouch!!! Hey, that hurts, babe!” Ken rubbed the part that Naoki slapped. He was obviously in pain as he helplessly squinted and frowned. Then he laughed and tried his best to coax his wife: “Dear Madame, your husband sincerely wants to apologize. Please accept his deepest apologies,” his face was wooden but there was an obvious sign of ridicule on his tone of voice.
“Do you honestly believe I won’t knock your head again if you won’t stop saying shameless things in front of Aniki?!” Naoki harrumphed and gave him a cold shoulder.
“He he, sorry,” Ken chuckled but his face immediately became serious when his eyes landed on Kichirō, who was silently chuckling on the side. “Kichi, what happened to you and my best bud? Why is he staying in my place? He won’t even say anything to me. I don’t want to force him to speak. You know his temper. I’m just worried about the guy.”
Kichirō and Naoki both sighed but Kichirō went on telling Ken what happened.
That night, when Akihiko, Ryū and Shirō went back to pick Kichirō up from the kōban, Kichirō was already sober, but his eyes were still red from all the tears he cried earlier.
Akihiko looked at Gosho. The two bowed at each other. “I’m Kichirō’s father. Thank you for helping my son, Mr. Officer,” Akihiko said.
Gosho waived his hand and smiled at Akihiko: “Oh, I’m just doing my job Ishikawa-san. Besides, he’s my cousin’s friend. I’d be happy to be of help in any way. In fact, why not stay at our place for the night. It’s already late. Our house is open for you guys.”
Akihiko smiled. This was something that he did not expect. It was a relief since he no longer needed to let Shirō ask for Gosho’s approval about staying in their place for the night. “Oh, are you sure that’s okay? We can just stay at an inn for the night. We don’t want to trouble your family.”
Gosho smiled, too. “Oh, not at all. Our house is spacious. Besides, the parents aren’t home anyway. I’ll be on duty for the entire night. It’s only Shirō and his twin brother Yuichi who’s at home. Feel free to stay in our place. I insist.”
Akihiko looked at Ryū and Kichirō. He noticed Kichirō was hesitant but Ryū had an indifferent look on his face. One could not tell what he was thinking, but Akihiko could tell that Kichirō did not want to stay at Shirō’s place for the night.
“Otōsan, I think it’d be better for us to just go home. I don’t want to bother them,” Kichirō tugged on the tip of his father’s jacket.
Akihiko looked at him and then looked back at Ryū: “What do you say, Ryū-kun?”
Without any hesitation, Ryū nodded in agreement: “It’s okay, Otōsan.”
“Eh?!? Are you sure, Ryū?!?” Kichirō was astonished. He was expecting that Ryū would refute or turn this offer down. This was something that he never expected, but just like an obedient wife, he had no choice but to agree with Ryū. “Okay, fine.”
Shirō’s face brightened up and radiantly smiled at Kichirō. “Thanks for agreeing, Ki-chan~”
“Ano~ please don’t call me that,” Kichirō shyly said. He glanced at Ryū to see how he reacted but Ryū was really indifferent, as if he did not care at all.
Shirō was not disheartened and still continued to smile radiantly at Kichirō: “Oh, sorry. I was just really used to calling you that. Kichirō-kun.”
“Wait, you have a twin brother?” Kichirō suddenly remembered this detail.
“Yeah, I do. I forgot to mention that to you before. He’s a few minutes younger than me. You have to be careful though. My brother has the same temperament as your boyfriend, heh.”
Ryū rolled his eyes and sighed. ‘Don’t tell me I will have another rival?’ he said to himself.
“Okay, let’s go then. I don’t want to disturb my cousin here any longer and it’s already late. Our place is just around the block so it’s just a few-minutes’ walk,” Shirō clapped his hands and happily escorted them out of the kōban. He then waved his hand toward his cousin Gosho. Kichirō and Akihiko bowed at Gosho while Ryū just nodded at him.
Shirō walked ahead. He stopped midway and turned around to ask their guests: “By the way, what do you guys want to eat? I can cook anything for you as long as it’s not something expensive, ha ha.”
Ryū sneered and said: “Let me do the cooking.”
“No, you’re the guest so I’ll cook,” Shirō refuted.
“No. We’re troubling you, so I’ll cook. I can tell I’m better than you.”
Akihiko stood in between the two boys and tried his best to intervene: “Stop it kids. Let’s say you both cook.”
Shirō and Ryū did not want to agree at first but when they saw that Kichirō’s eyes were brimming with brilliance, as if he was looking forward to their dishes, they nodded at each other in agreement. They had an inkling that this would be considered as a part of their competition in winning Kichirō’s heart.
They dropped by the nearest grocery store to purchase ingredients for their meal that night, then headed forth to the Morioka’s residence.
The streetlights along with the city’s nightlights shone brightly, yet these man-made wonders could not compete with the moonlight that radiated from the silver waning half-moon. There were only a few hundred stars in the night sky, which was rather different as compared with the thousands of tiny glimmering stars that could be seen in Kichirō’s hometown’s night sky. As they walked along the sidewalk, they finally reached their destination in a matter of minutes.
Shirō opened their gate and entered. He beckoned on the others and invited them to come in. The others followed after. As soon as Shirō was about to open the door with his key, the door instantly opened from the inside. Kichirō, who was standing behind Shirō clearly saw the countenance of the one who opened the door. It was the face of another boy, who looked much like Shirō, but had a clean-cut hairstyle. Shirō stood there in front of his replica, as if he was standing in front of the mirror.
“Onīchan, what took you so long? I’ve been starving,” the Shirō replica sulked.
Shirō smiled at him and said: “Sorry, Yuichi. I met an old friend of mine. We have visitors tonight.” After saying that, he looked back at Kichirō and the others.
Yuichi also looked at them and immediately frowned when he saw Kichirō. “This shorty is that Kichirō, right?”
“You know me?” Kichirō was surprised.
To be continued…