Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai! Vol. 1 - Chapter 6

Once again, time fleeted by without me having decided on anything.

Not only did I not discuss the matter with Sora-chan and the rest, but I had not even looked through the documents I received from my aunt.

What came over me that day to have brought the kids from Nee-san's house? I thought as I lost confidence in myself.

However, neither could I imagine that I could let go of those kids who were precious to me.

Even though I knew that all this was just willfulness on my part.

I sent Hina to the nursery, and returned to my apartment without going to the university.

Like always, on returning, I cleaned up what remained of the breakfast that Miu-chan had prepared for us, then stared at the itinerary guide for parents' day.

"The day after tomorrow huh......"

On parents' day, the parents of the other nursery children will probably be attending.

Hina is still waiting for her Dad and Mom.

If parents of other kids do come, she will definitely ask about her parents if she doesn't see them. What should I say to her during then......?

It was not like we had not already told Hina about her parents' death a number of times. She probably understood that her parents would not be coming back, and was bearing with it in her own way.

But even so, it didn't mean that she understood the fact that her Dad and Mom no longer existed somewhere in this world.

"I should just take a leave of absence on the day after tomorrow."

That way, I could at least dissolve her loneliness.

Probably...... no, that was definitely the best way.

When I came back from my part-time job, Hina, who was more cheerful than usual, came out to receive me.

"Oi-tan, welcome back!"

"Orrh, Hina, you are still awake huh?"

I carried my niece who had come flying into my arms and walked up to my apartment entrance.

"You know you know, Mr Rabbit is so great! Papa and Mama are com'in!"


For an instant, I was at a loss for words.

Sora-chan and Miu-chan's faces also became complicated.

"Hina...... what do you mean by that?"

"Well, well, it's cos of visit'in day. On visit'in day, Papa and Mama are com'in to the nursery to see Hina parform. Hina is really good!"

Hina talked rapidly from her excitement.

"Do you know about the parents' visiting day at the nursery on the day after tomorrow?"

Upon saying that, Sora-chan showed me the itinerary guide for visiting day.

"Well...... I'm sorry, I was focused on other things and I only just realized it recently."

I couldn't tell her that it was really thanks to Oba-san cleaning up for me that I realized that. Since I might have to tell her about the rest of our conversation if I did that. I passed Hina to Miu-chan and sat down.

"What should we do? Hina is really looking forward to that."


Hina merrily rehearsed the performance she was going to do on that day while saying, "I'll show this to Papa and Mama". It had been a long while since I saw such a happy Hina.

"Alright. I'll explain it to her...... Hina, Hina!"

"Oi-tan, what's up?"

"I have something important to tell you."

Hina cocked her head as she trotted up to me and sat down.

"You know, Papa and Mama won't be able to come to visiting day."

"...... why? Both Sensei and Hiro-kun said they will, you know?"

"I'm sorry Hina, Papa and Mama won't be able to make it no matter what."

"Why, why!?"

"Well...... that's because Papa and Mama are in a very far, far place."

"Far, far place? Papa and Mama can't come back? Then, Hina will go! I'll go to Papa and Mama! Uwu, sob...... uwu, uwaa~h."

Hina hugged her rabbit plushy and started wailing. This was the first time I saw her cry like that.

I felt a tightness growing in my chest.

But still, right now, I was the stand-in father for this child. I couldn't pass this role to Sora-chan and Miu-chan, who were looking at us with eyes that had turned red.

"That's not possible. It's really a very faraway place...... not just Hina, but even me, Sora-Neechan and Miu-Neechan can't reach it as well."

"Fuweh...... sob...... Papa...... Mama......"

"...... it'll be fine, you'll see them one day. Can you bear with it?"

Hina didn't stop crying. As if she was seeking help, she ran back to her sisters.

Sora-chan and Miu-chan embraced her gently.

She had probably been holding it in all this while.

Children may be more sensitive than we think.

Perhaps, as a consequence of us intentionally not thinking about Nee-san, that child might have picked it up and never asked us about it all this while.

After sobbing in the bosom of Sora-chan for a long time, Hina finally tired out and fell asleep, and by then it was already late into the night.

"I was thinking of having her take leave of absence on visiting day."

I began after Hina had calmed down.

"Yeah...... it'll be heartbreaking for her to see the parents of other kids come watch them."

Miu-chan agreed immediately. But Sora-chan just kept quiet.

"...... is that really ok?"

On hearing Sora-chan's murmur, I rebuked.

"Then, what should we do?"

"I don't know but...... say, if I absent myself from school......"

"No way. You've already been absent a lot...... taking on household chores and fetching Hina is already a big burden on you. I don't want to place any more burden on the two of you."

I didn't want to fail any further as a guardian. Perhaps, she might have realized how I felt, for she turned away angrily.

"No, it's not! It's not a burden at all!"

Sora-chan returned with her cute face beet red. But......

"You resigned from your club activities right?"

"How...... how did you know......"

"Not just that, your grades have also dropped. And Miu-chan as well, you collapsed the other day because of anemia right? I can't place any more burden on you girls."

My knowledge about these seemed to be outside of their expectations, for their gazes started shifting guiltily.

"But...... it can't be helped right. We are family right! I don't see it as any burden!"

"I understand how you feel but......"

But still, Sora-chan did not seem willing to relent.

"Enough of that, I will go to Hina's visiting day. I'll send Hina to nursery!"

"Hey, Sora-chan!"

With that, Sora-chan covered herself up in her futon and went to sleep.

Miu-chan looked at her elder sister in resignation, and before long, as if she was giving up, she glanced at me and lay down as well. I was certain none of us slept well that night.

And so, the following morning, we went to our respective schools without talking much with one another.

"Hina, be good."


I parted ways with Hina at the entrance to the nursery as usual. After what had happened yesterday, Hina was in extremely low spirits. But still, she insisted on going to the nursery.


"Hn? What is it?"

"If I'm good, will Papa and Mama come......?"


I was troubled about what to say.

"They might just come."

After hesitating for a while, I replied in a terribly irresponsible manner.

"Look, go say hello to your friends."


Hina ran into the nursery.

"Er...... Segawa-san, what do you intend to do about tomorrow's visiting day?"

The nursery worker asked me in a concerned tone.

"I wanted her to take a leave of absence, but she wants to come......"

"I see. But...... it's not uncommon for some parents to be unable to come. We'll carry Hina-chan around throughout so don't worry about it."

Looking at the encouraging, cheerful smile of the nursery worker whom I was well acquainted with only made me feel a pain in my heart.

I went straight to university from the nursery.

It was halfway through the second period, and as such, the number of people on the campus was sparse.

As for me, I skipped my own first period and went to the cafeteria to enjoy my teatime leisurely...... no way that could happen, the fact was I was waiting for someone.

"Sorry for the wait."

The ones who came were Nimura and Raika-san. I contacted them via mail in the morning. And told them that there was something I wanted their advice on. After explaining the situation, I took a breath, then took a drink of my sweet can coffee.

Even though it might be a little cheap as a consultation fee, but, in Nimura and Raika-san's hands were the very same beverage.

"...... that's the situation."

I told them about the nursery's parents' visiting day and what my aunt had told me.

As I told them everything unreservedly, they could only nod quietly as they waited for me to finish.

Just from that alone, I calmed down a lot. Even though nothing was resolved, it was a miraculous feeling, I thought. Nimura started to poke fun at me.

"I have a good idea. Yuuta should just take Sora-chan as his wife and she can be Hina-chan's mother......"


Remaining expressionless, Raika-san slapped her harisen onto Nimura.

"It's really a difficult thing. Hina still doesn't understand about death."

It was difficult for us as well. When I muttered that, Raika-san looked at me straight in the eye.

"I think Yuuta did really well."

Raika-san said it a bland but clear manner.

"But I also understand what Oba-san is saying. It's difficult."

Raika-san cocked her head slightly. Nimura folded his arms as well.

"It might be easy for me to say things as an outsider, but I really love those kids. I can't help you much in the money department, but I can at least participate in fetching Hina from the nursery. Or if you like, I can also help in preparing dinner, like on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so how about having me do that?"

Even though he had a handsome face and a frivolous smile...... it was exactly because he would definitely do what I asked that made me feel troubled. Since I didn't attend many lectures, he was always the one who answered a roll call on my behalf. And because of that, the frequency of him coming to our place had reduced a lot.

"Instead of helping you, this is more of a reward to me. I'd like to take care of Hina."

"Then, Oda-senpai, why don't you get married with Yuuta and become the mother of the three sisters?"

"...... I see."

Hey! Nimura being Nimura, but Raika-san, please don't think about that so seriously.

While the topic seemed to be heading into a favorable direction for me, this was not the time to think about that.

"For now, at present, as their guardian...... what do you think I should do?"

I asked my two trusted comrades.

Silence ensued for a while.

Should I really do what Oba-san told me to? Or is there another way out?

The two of them exchanged looks...... and looked at me.

"...... don't you want to see Hina's performance?"

Raika-san's words hit me hard.

She was right. I totally forgot about it. Such an obvious, important thing.

I did want to see Hina's performance.

This was not a problem about my stand, situation or what would happen from here.

I definitely couldn't miss the performance of the cutest niece in the universe.

"Er...... can I get your help?"

The both of them nodded without any hesitation.

After parting with Yuuta and Hina, Sora and Miu rode the train, and upon exiting the ticket barrier, started off in the opposite direction from their schools.

They were heading towards a detached house inside the city area. The house which they previously lived in.

In a familiar fashion, Sora retrieved a hidden duplicate key and opened the door.

Then, she headed straight to a room on the second floor.

That was a room which she definitely wouldn't enter the last time they came.

It was Yuri-san's room.

Upon opening the door, she could still smell the scent of Yuri-san.

She suppressed the tears that welled up just from that and opened Yuri-san's tansu.

"...... I'm sorry, Yuri-san."

"Onee-chan, are you really going to do it?"

Miu-chan, who was following behind, said to her big sister who was engrossed in rummaging the contents of the tansu.

"Obviously right. Hina is our precious little sister."

"Yeah but......"

Miu-chan knew very well that once her stubborn big sister had decided on something, it would be difficult to change it.

But still, she couldn't help but say something as she watched her obstinate figure.

"Found it!"

Upon finding the object of her search at last, Sora lifted it up happily.

Even to the eyes of Miu-chan who loves her big sister very much, it was something she thought unreasonable...... but Sora was not one who would yield even a single step.

The next morning, when I woke up, Sora-chan and the rest were nowhere in sight.

It seemed like she had already brought Hina to the nursery.

But...... for things to turn out as such, Sora-chan sure is also an obstinate one.

Yesterday, even after saying many times that it was fine and she would go to school......

Miu-chan left a note together with toast for my breakfast.

"'There's salad in the fridge' huh......"

Just as what was written, there was a salad wrapped up in film in the fridge.

Well, seeing a bowl of lettuce cut into fine pieces violently, on top which an entire can of tuna appeared to be emptied, made me wonder whether that could be called a salad but...... wait a minute, perhaps this is what Miu-chan likes?

Anyway, I downed the burnt toast and salad as a light meal and headed to the university.

Right in the midst of the first period, the campus was devoid of people.

Around this time, Hina should have already reached the nursery.

Parents' day was in another one hour and thirty minutes.

I hastened to the "Road Research" where Raika-san and Nimura were supposed to wait.

The two of them were already waiting there.

"...... you've come, Yuuta."

"Fufufu, seems like you've made up your resolve."

Even though it seemed like they were part of a secret, evil organization speaking to an innocent passerby who had stumbled unto their lair, I nodded firmly at them.

Since today, I was the father of Hina.

Takanashi Sora was so nervous right now that she could just collapse.

She could feel the gazes from around her, her legs quibbled, and the palm of her hands were full of sweat.

Frankly, she was never this nervous even during competitions of her club activity.

There were a number of reasons for that.

For example, even though she was already aware of it, Yuri-san's suit was too large for her.

The makeup she had put on for the first time did not suit her at all.

The high heels she was wearing to make her look taller were loose fitting, and if she were not careful, she might just fall over herself.

However, much more than that, Sora was nervous about the performance of her precious little sister.

To perform her dance that she had practiced so much in front of so many parents, will she be able to do it well? Or will she fumble and cry?

If she were to fumble and cry, Sora might not be able to stand it and end up running up to her.

And will the absence of her parents make her dejected?

Sora's chest was filled with anxiety.

She might have been too adamant in making the reluctant Miu go to school, thinking that she would be alright on her own.

I seem to be standing out a lot.

"Now everyone, let's dance to the beat of the music. Show your best to your fathers and mothers, alright?"

At the nursery worker's urging, the children who were wearing star-decorated costumes bustled onto the stage.

The parents surrounding Sora started cheering and applauding.

Mothers shouted the names of their children and fathers clicked on the shutters of their cameras.

Sora seemed to be able to see the figures of her parents among them.

Just months ago, that would have been a natural thing.

She had always thought that the lively, cheerful Yuri-san, whom despite not being her real mother, and her clumsy but kind father whom she loved dearly, would always be around her forever.

But Hina only had three years with them. I, who can still remember my father and mother, have to get my act together. Those feelings were the only thing holding Sora up.

But, in this noisy, boisterous place, she felt that it just made her loneliness more pronounced.

"It really feels terrible to be alone......"

Unable to withstand the pain of her parents' death that was brought back after all this while, Sora shut her eyes tightly.

"Now, brace yourself, Sora-chan."

At that time, she heard someone's voice.

At the same time, a large, warm hand stroked Sora's head.

When she looked up, it was as if she was looking at her father.

As I arrived late, the mothers all turned their gazes on me.

Wearing a suit that I was not used to wearing, and having my hair properly set with wax and mousse, I felt kind of uneasy.

However, the strange gazes I received were less than what I expected. Well, I was probably just a rarely seen young father to them.

Or perhaps, it was thanks to Raika-san's efforts. The suit was borrowed from Nimura.

"Now everyone, let's dance to the beat of the music. Go."

Following that, Hina and the rest of the children appeared on the stage one by one.

Hina...... was there. She was right at the front and started swinging her body to the music.

Is she nervous? Her expression seems stiff.

Alright, now's the time I should start calling out like the rest of the parents......

Just at the time I was inhaling in preparation for that, a female wearing familiar clothes came into my view.

...... huh, is that Yuri-Neesan?

Without thinking, I closed in on that lady who was wearing clothing that I was familiar with.


Wait a minute, why is she dressed up like that?

Upon closer look, her clothes were downright familiar to me.

It was a suit that Nee-san had worn when she came to my university entrance ceremony.

It seemed to be too large on Sora's small body, her sleeves were loose, and the tight miniskirt now seemed like a half-baked long skirt.

Her unsuitable makeup halved her original cuteness but...... her feelings reached me.

She was trying her best to dress smartly for Hina's sake, to stand in for her mother.

"That fool......"

Perhaps, due to nervousness, she was trembling with her eyes shut, and I walked closer to her.

"Now, brace yourself, Sora-chan."

I stroked her head briskly.

"Eh...... ah, w-why?"

"Because our cute Hina is performing."

I threw a smile to Sora-chan, who was slightly confused.

"Now. Look at the stage. We are Hina's family. There's nothing to be embarrassed about."


"Oh my oh my, Oji-san, you really came too."

All of a sudden, Miu-chan's face poked out from my side.


Her sudden appearance surprised me but what really drew my attention was her clothes.

Miu-chan, who was clad in what could be called lolita fashion, was radiating an aura of a model or idol. That flashy attire made her stand out even more than the children......

"Miu! What's with those clothes!?"

"Jeez, when I think about how Onee-chan is going to look pretty all by herself, I went to ask Senpai a favor, to prepare the most eye-catching, cutest dress for me."

"Senpai you said, don't tell me...... it's my club president!?"

Why does that guy have this kind of clothes......

"In the end, all of us came."

"Yeah. I just hope that Hina will be pleased about it."

"She will."

Hina who was dancing on the stage noticed us.

"Hina! Do your best!"

Her face became surprised for an instant.

As if she were perplexed, as if she were troubled. It was clear that she would never have thought that I would appear dressed like her Papa and Sora would come in her Mama's clothes. Even though we were neither her father nor mother......

At that time, I took out something which I had brought out from home.

It was the rabbit plushy.

It was something Nee-san bought for Hina. This was a symbol that signified "Everything will be alright".

Seeing me with the rabbit plushy, Hina became all smiles and waved her hand.

I got through to her. Matching to the beat of the cheery music, she started dancing with a more serious expression than anyone else.

We were watching over Hina's performance.

You might say that I was biased, but she was better than any other of the kids and much more cuter than them.

After the performance came to a close, all the kids rushed up to their families.

Hina ran up to us as well.

"Oi-tan, Hina, Hina tried really hard!"

I carried the small body of Hina that had the fragrance of the sun, and rubbed cheeks with her.

"That was awesome...... Hina, you are the best...... no, you are the world's number one."

Reveling in Hina's performance, I was so moved that I quivered.

"Oji-san, you are too exaggerated."

"It's embarrassing so don't talk in such a loud voice. There are parents of other kids too."

The two of them looked at me in amazement.

"Don't worry about it. Since I'm Hina's Papa for today."


Just when the two of them cocked their heads questioningly,

"Alright everyone, wash your hands and eat your bento. Today, you'll be with your guardians."


As the nursery worker gave the instruction, all the children replied in unison.

In a perfect line --- well, not really but, the children followed closely behind the nursery worker like ducklings following a mother duck to the washing area.

"Huh? Bento?"

We exchanged looks with one another involuntarily.

"Wh-What should we do!? I didn't prepare that."

"We were already swamped just with preparing our clothes......"

"Aaaahh!? I-If we leave it like this, then our cute Hina will be the only one to feel lonely!"

"The only thing we can do is to quickly go get one from the convenience store or a bento shop......"

"If we get one from the convenience store, it will just make her look even more pitiful!"

"Erm, Hina-chan didn't bring her bento today? It was written in the printout though."

As a small panic aroused among us, the nursery worker who always received Hina at the entrance in the morning asked us in a concerned manner.

How pathetic. We messed up at the most critical part......

At that moment, the atmosphere in the classroom changed.

Something seemed to have caused a stir in the room.

The parents who were gathered had all turned towards the same direction.

There.... was a tall, slender incredible beauty whom anyone would mistake for a model.

On top of that, her suit was gorgeous, and furthermore, she was wearing sunglasses and carrying a large multi-tiered food box.

That lady saw us, and headed straight to where we were.

W-What's happening?

The lady reached us, and standing before me, her shoulders suddenly drooped.

"...... I'm in shock. I didn't make it."

"W-Who are you?"

Upon asking, the lady calmly made jab at me.

"You are so cruel to forget my face."

"Ah...... aaah!? Ra-Raika-san!?"

I was surprised. Raika-san, who usually hardly put on any makeup, was wearing makeup perfectly and on top of that, she was wearing a suit.

"Wait, Raika-san, why are you here?"

"...... I'm here to stand in for the mother. Seems like it's unnecessary."

Raika-san said as she looked at Sora-chan.

As if she were embarrassed at her baggy clothes, Sora-chan waved her hands in denial.

"E-Er, this is just......"

"...... so cute. Yuuta, just as I thought, you should give her to me."

Raika-san said as she hugged Sora-chan with one hand.

No matter how many times you ask, I won't give them to you.

"Ah, Raika-san, that is......"

The practical Miu-chan pointed at the multi-tiered food box that Raika-san was hodling.

"Aah, it's our bento. I made it together with Nimura. Because of this, I'm late."

Upon saying that, she handed the heavy looking food box to Miu-chan.

"Uwaaah...... Onee-tan, thank you!"

Hina's eyes were sparkling. Raika-san's face turned beet red.

"Eh...... wh-why?"

How did Raika-san know about the bento?

"Because I saw this."

In Raika-san's hand, aside from the bento, was the itinerary guide for visiting day.

"Nimura-kun was the one who noticed it. He is sleeping now, tired from all the preparations since yesterday."

"T-Thank you so much!"

Nimura, I'll definitely treat you to Häagen-Dazs tomorrow.

I was truly grateful to Raika-san and Nimura's thoughtfulness from the bottom of my heart.

After that, we ate our bento together with Hina at the sports ground of the nursery.

Hina, Sora-chan, Miu-chan, Raika-san and me.

As we were the only ones who came to visiting day in such a huge group, we stood out a lot, and some of the parents would look at us curiously from time to time.

But we were not the least bothered by that.

"Oi-tan, why are you wearing those western-style clothes?"

"Eh? They don't suit me? Well I thought so...... I borrowed these from Nimura though, seems like a little flashy, or should I say too stylish......"

"No way. Oji-san, you look really cool."

"R-Really? Am I really cool?"

That's great. I feel a little more confident now.

"It's not that Onii-chan's cool, but Raika-san's dressing up skills are good, isn't it?"

I lost confidence again.

Sora-chan, you are so cruel. You could have praised me a little at least......

"Oi-tan, you're cool!"

"O-Orrhh, Hina! You are a good kid for being honest!"

I carried Hina and hugged her.

As usual, the sensation of hugging Hina was extraordinary, and she was also very warm.

What's this feeling......

I couldn't help but just pour my love into Hina.

Right now, I kind of understood why Nee-san wanted me to form a family quickly.

Nee-san who went through so much hardship just to bring me up.

And she had finally found her happiness, but yet......

She can no longer hug her beloved daughter ever again, what an unreasonable thing this is.

But, I...... can still embrace these kids with my hands.

I don't want to let them go. I don't want to let them go.

"Oi-tan it hurts."

Before I knew it, I was shedding tears.

On top of that, it seemed like I was hugging Hina too strongly.

"I'm sorry. But, I think that if it's your Papa or Mama, they would do the same."


Hina thought for a while, then she broke into a dazzling smile.

"Then, today it's not Oi-tan but Papa right!"

Upon saying that, Hina returned the hug.

"If you are Hina's Papa, then you are also our Papa."

Miu-chan came over to hug us as well.

Some tears had welled up in the eyes of that sweet-smelling girl.

Raika-san who was watching us, gave a push to Sora-chan's back.

"There are some crybabies there. Why don't you go comfort them?"

Raika-san, you are good......

After hesitating for a while, Sora-chan came up to us.

"Papa huh...... well, only for today."

Upon saying that, she fearfully, hesitatingly hugged us.

I used all my strength and embraced all three of them together.

Before we knew it, even Hina, Sora-chan, and Miu-chan as well were all crying.

With smiling faces, tears and mucus streamed down our face.

"...... my. There are other families around as well, so shape up."

A person called out to us while we were still embracing one another.

"...... eh?"

It was my aunt.

She was dressed up in a suit...... her makeup ruined by the tears rolling down.

"Oba-san...... why."

"Why, you say, obviously I'm here to watch Hina-san's performance! In the first place, what are you all doing here when you should be at your own respective schools!"

I was confused as to whether Oba-san was angry, smiling or crying.

When I spotted the bento she was carrying, it seemed like she had also put in a lot of thought into it.

"It's not just me here, you know."

Following my aunt's gaze, I saw a petty official resembling Shingo-san's elder brother, and a few of their relatives. Everyone came huh......

Sora-chan and the rest also noticed it.


"Sora...... please forgive us. Your Oji-sans......"

"No, don't worry about it. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for being willful."

Sora-chan clung to me tightly while she said that.

"...... it's fine. I don't think anyone will separate you all anymore."

Oba-san stroked Sora-chan's back gently.

"After witnessing this, no one will snatch your family away from you anymore."

Even though they had no clue on what was happening, warm gazes from the parents around us fell on us.

This was probably a natural thing.

As family, we will continue living together.

In the strengthening autumn wind, I became the father of these three sisters.

That was really a very, very proud thing for me.


Anonymous said...

that stupid fucking bitch hina must be killed

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