A moment of silence passed between them, and the person who broke it first was Takeshi after he concluded his conversation with the deceased.
“Were she still alive, I’m sure she’d be ferociously patting you on the head right now while crying and grumbling.”
“Quit trying to imagine it… But yeah, and afterwards she’d say, ‘This calls for a celebration! I’ll treat you brats to some yakiniku, so stuff yourselves full, alright?”
“Ahahaha, yeah that sounds like mom alright! She’s always been generous and hearty in that regard…”
Did they remember the past?
Or did they imagine what could have been?
But regardless, the two men shared a nostalgic laugh.
“I gotta say, though. You’ve really made something of yourself. To think the neighborhood’s troublemaker is now the hope of Earth and Garesto’s engineering world. I hear you specialize at adapting and improving Garesto’s technologies for Earth.”
“It’s just some magazines hyping needlessly… Well, it is true that I’m one of the few top geniuses of Earth, though.”
Takeshi chuckled proudly and lifted the edge of his glasses with a satisfied expression.
“Hah, I suppose just the fact that you’re not claiming yourself to be number one is already praiseworthy enough?”
Unlike what Shinichi was saying, however, he was looking at him coldly with a snort.
“Geh, you… Don’t look at a normal person like that! A gaze like that could seriously kill someone, you know.”
“So noisy… You’ve been flaunting your looks for no reason too. Thanks to that I had a good laugh when I saw you striking poses for women’s magazines.”
“Hmph, most women out there will sing praises about you as long as you’re a good looking man that acts the part. They’re easy pickings. It always makes me laugh seeing them dance on the palm of my hands cheering for me.”
“Uwaah… I guess your dislike for people hasn’t changed, huh. I wonder how many people you’ve fooled with that sweet mask of yours.”
“How can you even say that? You’re the one with a face that says ‘look at me! I’m a sweet and innocent kid!’ All the while saying things that could make me and Daigo recoil from shock, not to mention cornering adults with a smile.”
“…Huh? Did I do that in the past too?”
“You’re not even conscious of it. Though from the way you’re talking, I take it you must have been pulling off your usual antics in your two years away, huh.”
“Hmph, leave me alone. I’m still just some kid anyway.”
“Ha ha, the way you pout is so nostalgic too… Hmm… When I think about you calmly, you really were a nasty kid, huh.”
Shinichi might have looked like a good person on the surface, but his imagination and words were terrible.
“He was definitely the worst”, Takeshi muttered to himself with a laugh, then a smile appeared on him as he remembered something.
“Wait, are you even really still a kid?”
He placed his hands on the boy’s shoulders, then he whispered by his ears while pointing to to the woman behind him.
“I mean you’re sleeping with her every night anyway, aren’t you? If so, then you’re a full-fledged adult already.”
The woman behind Shinichi may have been dressed in mourning attire, but there was no denying the assertiveness of the contours of her body.
Veiled her face may be, there was no denying how beautiful she must have been.
Such a person was Shinichi’s exclusive servant. There was no way that such imaginations wouldn’t come to mind.
But Shinichi just had one word to say in response as he brushed aside his childhood friend’s hand.
“Ahaha, isn’t it fine? I mean mine is a guy, but even I would have preferred a beauty.”
“Well, I can agree with you there.”
Shinichi was a guy too, so he could more or less understand.
Meanwhile, Takeshi’s servant let out a pained cry, saying, ‘Master, how could you!?’
While the woman behind the boy just snorted at the plight of her kin while making a small guts pose.
Despite how beautiful these two appeared on the surface, they had this unfortunate part to them that both Takeshi and Shinichi have long understood after spending many years with them, so they both just ignored them.
“If you’re in that relationship, then you must be expecting soon, right? Or are you not expecting anything yet? But if you are, then let me know. I’ll be sure to wrap a big wad of cash to celebrate it.”
“Why are you acting like an uncle of mine? …In the first place, we haven’t done it.”
“We haven’t done anything… yet.”
No way. Takeshi was shocked.
But then he realized the ‘yet’ and laughed.
“Well, since her ears are still showing, I guess she’s yet to hit 400, huh. Either way, it’s you, so you’re probably fussing over something weird in that head of yours again. What a waste, though. If it were me, I wouldn’t even bother to wait. You should invite her tonight,” Takeshi said jokingly with a poke. He seemed to savor her voluptuous figure as he eyed her, but then his face suddenly turned to the other direction.
It was Shinichi who had turned his face, and there was even a frown on him now.
‘Oho?’ Takeshi thought, then with a grin, the look on his face collapsed.
───Huh. He actually likes her, doesn’t he?
“Tch, enough of me. I’m sure a handsome guy like you has countless tales of conquest, don’t you? I bet you get to pick whoever you want, huh.”
Eyes spoke louder than words. And with how long Shinichi and Takeshi have known each other, it was all too easy for Shinichi to realize what the latter was thinking about, so he blatantly rolled his eyes, let out an audible sigh, and turned the conversation down that direction.
Similarly, Takeshi understood that it would be bad to poke at him any further, so he decided to just play along.
“Unfortunately, I haven’t been blessed in connecting with other people, including women. I get turned down even for one-night stands— Wait a moment!”
But then Takeshi seemed to remember something and exploded.
He grabbed Shinichi by his collars and with a face full of jealousy shook him violently.
“What tales of conquest? What pick whoever I want! I investigated you just a little, you know, and what did I find? A boy surrounded by four beauties, serving him hand and foot. Are you the protagonist of a harem light novel, huh! Damn it all! Why can’t I be you!?”
“S-Stop it! And shut up, it’s not like I asked for this!”
“So you are aware!”
“As if I could remain unaware when they look at me like that! If I did that, then I’d really be one of those dense protagonists!”
“How dare you be defiant, you playboy! You had a date with a kemonomimi girl in Osaka! You came back home in the morning with a beauty with spiritual powers! Walked with the princess of another world at an amusement park! Then to top it all off, a clandestine meeting in the dead of the night with your hot teacher, after which, by the way you both disappeared into the hotel district!?”
“We just went back to our lodging! More importantly, where were you watching all that from, you peeping tom!”
“Ow! Dont pull my hair! Damn it! Don’t think you’re the only one good at gathering information!”
“What!? I won’t acknowledge peeping! And I see your head is as hard as ever!”
“A fiend like you has no right to say that— Gyaah!? You stomped me!? I can’t believe you stomped me that hard!”
“Be glad that wasn’t your balls, you wicked four-eyes! It doesn’t suit you at all! Trying to be all fashionable…”
“I wore this for the sake of the atmosphere, you know! I put so much effort into this reunion, I can’t believe you’re putting all that to waste. Since when did you become someone like that!? This big brother certainly doesn’t remember raising you like that!”
“Who’s my big brother!? Since when was I raised by someone like you!? Don’t try and put on airs here just because you’re older now! Especially, not when you’re just the neighborhood thug!”
They pushed each other, pulled at their hair, butted heads, stomped feet, and threw insults at each other.
It was a fight of such low class – so low in fact that not even elementary students would be caught dead doing it – that was taking place in the cemetery, a place that should have originally been solemn.
Their servants wore wry smiles but neither tried to intervene.
They just watched over them with narrowed eyes as though they were watching something painful.
Though they couldn’t understand the other party, they could understand their own master.
Tl Note: Dark mode is back. You should be able to see a button below the navigation bar when viewing a post, or a floating button on the lower right that will let you toggle between light and dark mode. I’ve also changed the default theme to a white theme from the previous sepia.