Chapter 2: Family.

Common Honorifics:
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.

“I’m home.”

“Welcome back.”

I opened the door to my home only to find my little sister, Sayu, lounging around on the sofa while reading a manga, giggling uncontrollably.
From the looks of it, she didn’t seem to know anything about what had just gone down.
Well, that’s a given since it literally just happened.
How could she possibly know about it in such a short span of time? Silly me.

Regardless, I couldn’t relax in the living room, so I downed a cup of water and immediately headed to my room.

Ever since I stepped out of school, I racked my brain for a solution but had no idea what to do.
I couldn’t think of a single way to prove my innocence, nor had I any clear proof I didn’t do anything.
Besides, from how the teacher looked at me, most will think I’ve actually tried to do that.

First of all, what’s up with those two? They aren’t like the people I know, at all.

Up until now, I’ve always believed in the goodness of others.
In my short 14 years alive, everyone around me has been good.
Not that they’ve never committed any mistakes, but despite them, I never viewed anyone as truly evil.

Of course, I’ve seen numerous stories about crime on TV and the Internet, but they all seemed so unreal they might as well have been happening in another world.
They would never happen to me, right?

However, malice suddenly bared its fangs toward my life.
Just remembering their faces made me feel frustrated and angry, and I couldn’t help but mock myself for all these years of blissfully ignorant thinking.
How naïve was I until now? Ridiculous.

Her face, their faces were capable of staying composed while their mouths spewed every kind of malice and lie.
These things can’t be seen as anything other than their nature.

I couldn’t come up with a solution, even after spending all this time inside my head.
Suddenly, however, the sound of knocking on my door brought me back to reality.

“Yuu, I got a call from your homeroom teacher.
I’ve got a rough idea, but I want to hear what happened from your mouth.
Come downstairs right away.”


I knew I was going to have this talk with my dad later today, but he came home earlier after receiving a call from school.
After I answered, I went to the living room and found my father talking to Sayu.

“Sayu, I’ll have an important talk with Yuu now, so go upstairs.”

“Whaa? Oh well, fine,” she was reluctant, but eventually started walking away.

“Dad, can’t she stay as well? She’ll probably hear about it at school, and since she’s my sister, I don’t think she can manage to stay uninvolved.
I want to explain this situation with my own words, from my own mouth.”

“I see.”

That was my suggestion.
Sayu’s face then turned from drowsy to serious, and we three sat down by the dinner table as if having dinner with no food.
Then, I started talking about what happened today.

“What’s up with that…”

Sayu, who just learned about this whole incident for the first time, muttered so in disbelief.


Hearing about it from both the teacher and me, my father silently mulled over it as if chewing on especially hard meat.
Then, after a short silence, he finally opened his mouth.

“The teacher thought you did something wrong, so he approached you with the nuance of making you apologize, but you haven’t done anything wrong.
Is this correct?”

I definitely didn’t, and wouldn’t do anything like that, dad.”

I almost let my anger for that selfish teacher heat to a boil but suppressed it, looked straight into the apple of my father’s eyes, and answered so clearly, certainly.

“I understand.”

“I can’t believe it! There’s no way you’d do something like that, Yuu! It’s Toudou and Yamamoto-senpai, right? What kind of grudge do they have against you?!”

I was stunned; while I wanted my family to believe in me, I was also scared of them not.
I didn’t expect my father and my sister to believe in me so undoubtedly.

Oh, I see… It’s not that no one believes in me.
There are people out there, like them, who see me for who I really am and believe my words.
I felt my cracking heart, almost breaking from others’ distrust, being saved from total shattering.

That gave me hope.

Hope that there are others who still believe in me.

Father’s POV.

My phone buzzed and rang inside my pocket.
Pulling it out, I glanced at the unfamiliar number before answering.

“Hello, this is Takasaki.”

“Hello, my name is Watanabe and I’m Yuu Takasaki’s homeroom teacher at Matsunagi Junior High School.
I take it you’re his father?”

“Yes, I am.”

It was a call from school.
Why did they ring me directly? With unease bubbling in my chest, I listened to Mr.
Watanabe’s explanation.
What he told me was so out of pocket, it seemed I had lost my hearing.

In summary, my son’s suspected of ripping a female classmate’s clothes and trying to force her.
Yuu, meanwhile, stubbornly refuses to admit it, but there were even witnesses and they were all sure it was him.
So I, as a parent, was supposed to tell my son the seriousness of the matter and make sure he apologizes to the other party.

…My Yuu attempted r*pe?

After my wife passed away, I tried to raise that boy to the best of my abilities.
I’m not one to talk much, and I had to spend a long time out of home working to support my children.
I know that wasn’t the perfect environment for raising children, but he grew up to be a kind person.
I believe so.

So, did he have some dark side to his heart I’ve never seen before? That thought crossed my mind for a moment.
It’s impossible for one to understand another completely, even if they are a family member after all… That’s why I’ll just have to trust the son I’ve seen up until now and not some tentative image.

First, I’ll go home and ask him what happened.
I couldn’t stay at work any longer, so I asked for permission to leave.

As soon as I got home, I called my son and asked him about the incident.
What he said was completely different from what the teacher had inferred, and I didn’t see any lies in Yuu’s eyes.
My daughter who listened along agreed.

That being the case, I had no other option but to protect my son in my own way.
But what should I do?

I’m supposed to go to his school tomorrow, but there’s nothing I can do to prove his innocence as far as his story is concerned.
At any rate, I will deny my son’s involvement in any of that, but I don’t think they’ll be convinced.
Depending on tomorrow’s discussion, I may have to consult a lawyer.

—All these thoughts ran laps inside my head until the dispute took place.

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