Hearing his dad crying so weakly for the first time as Shinichi was hugged tightly left him at a loss. He was clearly not comfortable with how intense his dad was being, but he couldn’t find it in himself to shake him off.
“…Looks like everything turned out alright,” Rinko’s boss said in a hushed voice from the entrance.
“Kayama-dono,” Rinko muttered.
Normally a relative would have to report to Rinko first, but Nobuhiko just went straight to Shinichi.
“Sorry. I told him the boy needs to ready his heart first, but who would’ve thought your husband would be such a pushy guy?”
No that’s not it, Rinko shook her head and turned to watch at her husband hugging his beloved son.
Her countenance was bright because she knew full well just how much her husband had waited for this moment.
“Oh, sorry, but we’re currently busy, so…”
Unfortunately, Rinko’s bright countenance did not last long, for not long later, a woman accompanied by two children entered into the room, pushing their way through Kayama.
Rinko knew exactly who these people were, and as soon as she saw them, she froze.
“But why? I told them not to inform them yet…”
Unfortunately, although she tried to keep the information from reaching them right away, somewhere along the lengthy process, perhaps because of her own blunder or perhaps simply because of some unfortunate happenstance, word still got to them.
After a second or two, Shinichi finally realized who it was that had entered into the room, and he turned to them while still in his dad’s embrace. This was the first time that Shinichi cursed his remarkable perceptiveness. Why couldn’t he remain dull like he was just a while ago? He knew he wasn’t the one at fault, but he still wanted to curse himself, for as soon as he tried to utter the word ‘mother’, he froze.
“Hmm? Oh, hey. You guys came too!
Look! It’s Shinichi! I told you he was alive!” Nobuhiko said.
Unfortunately, Nobuhiko – Shinichi’s father – was so happy that he failed to see the disturbance in both his wife and Shinichi.
He stepped out toward the newcomers with smiles and joy from embracing his son.
Shinichi couldn’t breathe.
These people were clearly his mother and his siblings. But his mother now looked a lot older than his father even though they were the same age.
Moreover, even his siblings was looking at him with open hostility. Their gaze was sharp and oppressive.
There wasn’t a hint of happiness in his mother’s or his siblings’ faces.
Like that a chill wind had quickly put out the fire left by his dad’s embrace.
Shinichi felt he should say something, but his voice wouldn’t come out.
There was nothing similar about his mother’s and his dad’s expression. There was a heat in her face when she arrived, but it was not a good heat. Whatever emotion it was that brought about that heat, her lips were quivering.
Something was off. Shinichi understood that. And because of that, he couldn’t say anything.
Confused and agitated, he failed to move an inch.
Nobuhiko was shocked and Shinichi was speechless.
Because of that Shinichi ended up hearing those fatal words while standing upright.
“That child couldn’t possibly be Shinichi! That kid died a long time ago!!
Shinichi – my child – couldn’t be possibly be alive!!!”
Her eyes were dark and void of light. And there was a madness hidden behind them as she screamed out those words.
In response, her ex-husband spoke back faster than anyone else could react.
“What did you say!? Are you still spouting that shit!?
Shinichi is here! Right here! Our son has finally come home!!”
“What do you know!? You don’t know a single thing about Shinichi!!
That child drifted off into another world! He’s never coming back!!”
“Take a good look at his face and tell me that! Even the DNA tests say he’s him!
If he’s not Shinichi, then who is he!? You call yourself a mother!?”
“He’s an All D for fuck’s sake! Garesto isn’t some fun place you could just walk in and out of! There’s no way a weak kid like that could have survived it! Do you think we’re stupid!?”
A father who acknowledged the return of his son and a mother who didn’t.
Even though they were once married, not a hint of their once amiable relationship could be seen as they argued with each other.
“Why!? Why can’t you be happy that your kid is alive!?”
“Why can’t you accept that your kid is dead!?”
“Saori-san, please stop—!?”
Although Rinko hadn’t said a word until now, she thought it was too much for them to argue like this in front of Shinichi, so she tried to stop them. Unfortunately, she was stopped—
—By a hand that tugged the cuffs of her jacket from behind.
Tl Note: Baby steps! We’re almost at the finish line!