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Translator: TranslationChicken

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Editor: TranslationChicken

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Previous Part 1/3: https://translationchicken.com/2017/02/11/rezero-arc-4-chapter-17-love-story-part-13/

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[Dad: Here. Cool delicious cola filled with love. Shaken well for extra deliciousness…… or wanted to say that anyway, looks like that wasn’t the right place for it though]

[Subaru: ..….Love-filled scenes don’t come out of vending machines. But thanks]

Receiving the can, and tasting its coolness within his palms, Subaru brought a finger to the pull-tab. Then, with some consideration, he closed his eyes, pointed the can away from anyone present, and pulled the tab with his finger―― when foam and liquid alike came exploding out of the opening with incredible force. Instantly the can in his hand lost a third of its weight.

[Dad: Oyoy, what’s with that, fall for it damnit. I even especially said something about shaking it beforehand to give off the impression that I didn’t shake it when in fact I did for a TWO-STEP-DECEPTION TECHNIQUE ー you know]

[Subaru: I’ve already seen that pattern before, how many years have we known each other, dad. Knowing there’s no way you wouldn’t shake it is also a kind of trust in itself. Oh, hands’re sticky]

Shaking off the overflowing cola that was spilling over his hands, Subaru lightly tilted the cola to his lips. The taste of expanding carbon passed through his mouth, splashing and quenching the thirst in the depths of his throat.
If only the sickness deep within his chest could be washed away as well, but unfortunately, the heaviness still remained there.

[Dad: So, have you settled down?]

[Subaru: ……Hard to say]

Answering the question, Subaru plopped himself down on the bench, and let out a long sigh as he dropped down his shoulders. Standing in front of Subaru, also delivering cola to his lips, Kenichi closed one of his eyes as if he was thinking about something.

After having ran away from the conversation on the embankment, Subaru and his father came to a children’s playground not far from the river. Of course, there was no one here either, nor were there any fathers who suddenly got plunged into long summer vacations languishing on the swings or anything like that.

[Dad: In a way, I feel like even if I ride on the swings now I wouldn’t be able to laugh like I used to. What would you do, Subaru. If dad took a ride on the swings on the way back from the convenience store]

[Subaru: I’d take a photo on my phone and spread it around on Twitter. The Tweet would be “My father has been released from gravity”]

[Dad: Oooh, Twitter. Dad’s on Twitter too you know. I followed and got followed by too many people though, the screen’s all a mess now]

Hearing him say this happily, Subaru sent Kenichi a side glance, before spilling out a languorous sigh as he searched for a topic. Anything, as long as it was something other than what happened on the riverbank―― if he went through that again, his skull would scream.
The shorter and shorter intervals in between the headaches worried him, but just like the way he’d react to his weakness, he could only repress and ignore the feeling as obstinately as he could.

[Subaru: ……It was just buying drinks from a vending machine, what took you so long?]

[Dad: Oh? Nothing really. There was just this highschool girl who skipped school hanging out in front of the vending machine. I gave her a lecture about getting back to school, bought her a drink, swapped email addresses, and sent her off]

[Subaru: I seriously can’t believe how you can get a girl’s email address that fast]

Getting a highschool girl’s email as casually as going to the bathroom and back, he really had no words to describe that ability. Seeing Subaru like this, Kenichi tilted his head, [Really?]

[Dad: Email addresses, they just hand them right over don’t they? The number of highschool girls in my contacts list must be in the 3 digits already]

[Subaru: Even if I add all my contacts together I don’t know if it’ll be in the double digits, and you have 3 digits just from highschool girls, do we have different definitions for the word “digits” here or something…… and dad, you didn’t do anything inappropriate to any of the highschool girls that we’d end up seeing you on the news for, right?]

[Dad: What’re you talking about, you]

Kenichi held up both hands at Subaru’s suspicion, and shrugged up his shoulders to demonstrate his astonishment.

[Dad: It’s not like I’d get any ideas about little brats like highschool girls. The target of my love has already been determined a long time ago, my sensual passions are reserved for my family alone!]

[Subaru: If you categorize it like that I’d be a target too!]

[Dad: ……Well, ’cause I love ya. We only get to live ONE-CHANCE, no?]

[Subaru: God no! What are you even saying!!]

“HA-HAHA”, Kenichi laughed as Subaru blurted this out.
Although the way he laughs was vulgar and hard on the ears, it did not give off a bad feeling. In fact, the same goes for anything Kenichi does.
His behaviors were unconventional, over-the-top, over-dramatic, the kind that makes people want to cringe, but everyone receives them favorably for some reason.

Today, walking with his father for the first time in a while, Subaru got a real sense of this.
Just walking along the street, there had been more people stopping to chat with Kenichi than could be counted on a single hand. No matter where he went, there was someone to share old reminiscences with, and even if he had only just met the other person for the very first time, they would soon get along thick-as-thieves, thanks to his easy-going air. And he didn’t hide any of it, either.

Throbbing, the pain returned to his temples, and Subaru’s breathing grow ragged with every breath.
The intervals in between the scathing aches were no longer shrinking, instead, it was now arriving in fits.
As if the inside of his skull was being jabbed by needles, it was no longer something that could be cured by leaving it alone. But, it was not like the hospital would know what to do with it either.

Even if he didn’t understand the reasons for his pain, he knew its cause.
What else could it be, except the emotions weighing upon his chest, and the choking, suffocating sensation accompanying it.

[Dad: You look ill, Subaru. Want me to piggyback you back to the house?]

[Subaru: I don’t need to be piggybacked, or to go home…… it’d be the same even if I go back]

Rather, if he saw his mother Naoko at home, Subaru’s condition would only grow worse.
He was beginning to understand what that pain was, and what was making it worse. If what he imagined was correct, then when he does return Kenichi and Naoko again, the pain will rise to its extremes. In other words,

[Subaru: Finally, even my own body is giving me a lecture]

Endlessly running away from his guilt, perhaps his body was finally screaming back at him.

The terror of the time spent holding his knees inside his room, staring at the second-hand of the clock. The unrelenting anxiety and the acute, rending aches that lingered even after the threshold had passed.
The sickening malaise, like someone raving loudly in the interior of his skull, screaming accusations at what Subaru had become.
――Who and where did you come from, and what do you know about me, anyway.

[Dad: So um, Subaru. ――Is there, a girl that you like?]

The silent Subaru was suddenly tossed this topic out of the blue.
It was the same question he had been asked in his room, the beginning of that same, unfunny joke. The first time, he had smiled wryly and refuted it, but now, this second time, somehow it was getting on his nerves.
Helped along by the merciless ache in his head, he irritatedly tried to return the same answer when――

{――Subaru}

Suddenly, from somewhere, he thought he heard a voice like a silver chime, sending his heart astir.

[Subaru: ――?]

Lifting up his face, he searched for the source of the whisper. But even so, his eyes could not find the owner of the voice, and the only other person in the park besides Subaru, was Kenichi, standing in front of him.
Kenichi, seeing Subaru’s sudden movement, also raised his brows in surprise,

[Dad: What is it? You look like you just heard a beautiful girl who’s not there suddenly call your name]

[Subaru: Even if that’s the case, I don’t really have an answer to that…… Just now, did anyone call my name? Dad, you didn’t learn to make your voice sound like beautiful girls while I wasn’t looking, did you?]

[Dad: Your dad knows all kinds of little tricks, but not that one. OK, I’ll start practicing it and show it off next time, I’ll let you hear it in a month or so]

[Subaru: I’m not asking you to learn that…… Gees, what’s with you]

Putting a stop to his father’s words, Subaru looked away, and played back that voice he heard over and over again in his mind. The voice like a silver chime was gentle, yet its sound made Subaru heat up as it struck him, and in that instant, he was allowed to forget about the throbbing pain in his head.

From a place he did not know, came that voice of salvation――like the melodious song of a Goddess, it tended to Subaru’s suffering, and calmed his expression a little,  his breathing grew slightly more even.

[Dad: So uh, my question from before. Is there, a girl you like?]

[Subaru: ……what’s gotten into you lately. What would you do with the answer anyway. Even if there is one and I tell you her name it’s not like you’d know her]

[Dad: You never know, right? There’s a chance I have the email address of the girl you like in my cell phone you know?]

[Subaru: If the girl I have a crush on gave her email address to my dad, even a love of a hundred years will grow cold]

Being tossed with that statement, Kenichi pouted up his lips with a [What’s that supposed to mean]. Watching the gesture that really didn’t suit a middle aged man, Subaru drank up the last of his cola,

[Subaru: You don’t have to be so indirect about it, you know. Why not just ask me directly. ……Like, why don’t I go to school]

[Dad: Well here I am trying to be considerate for once, you really are a kid who can’t read the mood]

Smiling wryly at Subaru’s words, Kenichi continued with [Well,]

[Dad: I did want to ask that, so you’re not wrong about that]

[Subaru: I was thinking too……I shouldn’t be like this]

[Dad: Thinking isn’t always necessary. The things that we think of are only empty ideas, and one way or another, there will always be something we couldn’t think of, something we overlooked]

Seeing Subaru averting his eyes and making that quiet excuse, Kenichi drank up his cola as well, and sat down beside him. The wooden bench creaked, and a gust of wind flew past between them.
And so, they both looked on toward the same direction, neither seeing each other’s faces.

[Dad: I don’t really know what everyone else in the world believes, but I don’t think school is everything. Mostly, because I’m saying that as someone who didn’t really go to school seriously in the first place. I even skipped my own high school graduation ceremony you know, my sister had to bring me my graduation certificate back for me afterwards]

[Subaru: I heard that story so many times. Auntie who’s 2 years younger than dad went to the same school, so when she graduated, they just gave dad’s certificate to her as well. There’re octopuses growing in my ears already] (*Japanese expression that they’ve heard too much of the same thing, タコ, “Octopus” is a homonym of “Callus” in Japanese -TC)

[Dad: Well you’ll keep hearing it until you get cuttlefish. So, since I was like that, I think it’s alright if you don’t go to school if you don’t want to. But, at my age, I do feel like I lost out on something by not going to school seriously, although it’s not something you could understand yet]

Kenichi looked like he was staring into some far off place as he said this. Stealing a glance at the side of his serious expression, Subaru got the feeling that his father was really unfair, after all.
Usually only showing the side of him pretending to be an idiot, and then in a place like this, he suddenly makes you wonder where all that clowning had gone.

[Dad: It’s alright though… isn’t it? Nowadays people can live to about 80 years old on average. Out of 80 years, wasting one or two slacking around isn’t that big of a deal. Getting back on track while you’re young is easy too. Good thing my salary’s still intact]

Circling his finger around, Kenichi made a dirty-looking smile.
Without looking at Subaru, who had not made a sound since he had begun, he crossed his arms and nodded his head,

[Dad: Being alive means that occasionally you’ll get problems that you couldn’t find the answers to. When I get problems like that, I’d run around like a headless chicken looking for a solution, but it’s also possible to find answers by rolling around in a room, I guess. I won’t blame you while you’re still contemplating. But if you’re beginning to give up, then I’ll say a thing or two]

[Subaru: ……Why]

[Dad: Hm?]

[Subaru: Why, did you suddenly feel like telling me all this today…… There’s nothing different, it’s not a special day or anything. Today’s just, green-peas memorial day]

[Dad: There was a lot on that plate… huh]

In insides of his mouth that had just recently drank cola was quickly drying up.
Taking gasping breaths, Subaru anxiously waited for the answer to his question. Noticing Subaru’s fretfulness from the side, Kenichi gave his neck a stretch with [Hm~~m],

[Dad: I wonder why. Maybe it was because I happened to have a day off, or because I inadvertently thought of it while doing my morning dry-towel rub-down, or because the horoscopes for Aquarius this morning said “PERFECTLY TUNED”, or because the look on your face this morning seemed…… it’s just a lil’bit, but it seemed like it had become better somehow]

[Subaru: My face, got better?]

[Dad: I’m talking about the look here. The face’s still the same, it’s still that scary-face with your mom’s eyes and all]

Kenichi made a scary face by pulling up the corners of his eyes with his fingers, and then, saying [Not only that], he pointed the same fingers at Subaru,

[Dad: I don’t know what happened, but you don’t look like a guy who’s been holed up in a room. Judging from what your mom said, you didn’t go out yesterday either, so you should’ve been a guy who’s been holed up in a room, right?]

[Subaru: …….Uh, I guess so. I’ve also been surfing in the grand ocean of the internet, though]

[Dad: If people can grow up that way, the number of lostlambgirl-chans coming to confide in me on Twitter should be decreasing instead of increasing……]

[Subaru: So you’ve even been doing that kind of……]

While astonished by the extent of his father’s dealings, Subaru didn’t want to let Kenichi get away from the main subject.
On the other hand, Subaru really had no idea what Kenichi meant by that.
The truth is, just as his mother provided in her testimony, yesterday’s Subaru, same as the Subarus even earlier before that, only wasted his time in slothful indulgence.
In only the span of a single day, to say that all of a sudden today, the atmosphere about him changed…

[Subaru: Dad you must have gotten it wrong, or you just didn’t properly look at me before]

[Dad: That last part really stung! You know I’m still using that “Lovely-Devil-Smile” picture of you when you were little as my cell phone screensaver right?]

[Subaru: The lovely part aside, the devil part makes me realize how scary-looking my eyes must have been even when I was little]

Either way, there was no doubt that Kenichi got it wrong.
Yesterday was still yesterday, today was still today. Subaru still spent his time without changing anything at all.
It would be alright to be like this, he thought, and he intended it to be this way. If he just continued on like this, surely, one day, Kenichi and Naoko would realize it as well.
――What Subaru really wanted, that is.

[Subaru: ――Dddagh!]

The moment he thought this, pain struck him again like fiery sparks scattering in front of his eyes.
A shock as if someone actually punched him, like his brain was protruding out of his skull, his cranium creaked and his eyes spun, and Subaru’s seated body crumbled.

The pounding of his heart once again sped up like an alarm bell, and he could hear the sound of his pulse from the blood throbbing through in his ears. His eyes grew murky, the world turned into two, then three.
The sense of nausea surged up, and deep in his chest an incomprehensible heat source asserted its presence.

Each in their own ways they tormented his very existence, like seething accusations they shrieked and wailed.

[Dad: Oyoy, it looks really serious this time. Are you alright, Subaru?]

Unable to ignore the terrible condition he was in, Kenichi placed his hand on Subaru’s shoulder with a worried look on his face. Sensing that touch, Subaru finally lifted up his face, as sweat was emerging on his forehead,

[Subaru: Aah……no, it’s alright. I was just a little, dizzy, that’s all……]

{――It’s been rough, hasn’t it}

[Subaru: ――!?]

Once again, every hair of Subaru’s body stood on end as the voice like the sound of silver chimes rang upon his earlobes.
Kind and tender, the voice was filled with affection and concern. His tensed heart melted at the sound, and as it tended to his suffering, the pain, the creaking, the heat and thier chorus of screams subsided.

What was this voice. Why was the pain and agony retreating from it.
It felt, like a voice he knew. Like one he had been longing for. Yearning and yearning, pursuing and pursuing, clinging onto it, losing it, then regaining it once more――

{Thank you, Subaru}

[Subaru: You’re……]

The sight of her silver hair dancing in the wind branded itself into the back of his eyelids. The light of her amethyst eyes stared straight into Subaru’s face, and every sound weaved from her lips filled him with love and longing.

{For helping me}

What’s going on, what’s going on, what’s going on, what’s going on, what’s going on?
Who is it, who is it, who is it, who is it, who is it, who is it, who is it, who is it, who is it?

――Could she be the cause of his agony? His pain, torment, feelings so bitter that he wanted to puke, could they all be because of her?

{――Subaru}

He couldn’t breathe. His throat is hot. Something was building up in the back of his eyes.

{It can’t be helped, so}

The tips of his fingers trembled. There was no strength left in his legs. His throat cramped up as though his lungs were convulsing.

{Subaru always tries to cover it up like that}

Covering his face with his trembling hands, holding back the sobs from his clogged up throat, surging heat spilling from his eyes, Subaru――

{Why, did you help me?}

――The answer, was already in his heart.

The moment he saw it, all the unease swirling inside him vanished.
The creaking of his skull, the rising nausea, the dizziness turning the world vague, the frantic pounding of his heart, all came to a stop as if clearing the path for Natsuki Subaru.

Lifting up his face, he wiped away the tears that were about to fall.
Staring fixedly at his wetted sleeves, the only trace that remained of his tears, as if flinging it aside, he turned his wrist and held his hand tight into a fist. And,

[Subaru: Sorry I made you worry. I’m alright now]

[Dad: Really? Well it’s good you calmed down, don’t keep making people worry, gees]

[Subaru: En, my bad. So um, about the question you asked earlier]

Releasing his father’s hand on his shoulder, Subaru turned to face him.
Sitting side-by-side on the bench, Subaru looked straight into his father’s face. Come to think of it, after all their conversations today, this was the first time he truly looked at his father’s face, he thought.
Running away even in place like this, he couldn’t help but smile wryly at his own weakness inside his heart. Then, turning to his father, who now had a question mark above his head, Subaru,

[Subaru: ――There is, someone I like. So, I’m already alright now]

Sketching out the face that was burned into the back of his eyelids, Natsuki Subaru’s resolve to face his past was sealed.

-=Chapter 17 End=-

Next Chapter: https://translationchicken.com/2017/02/26/rezero-arc-4-chapter-18-parent-and-child-part-14/

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Thank you everyone for being so patient! I had a busy week this week, there was work, my mother’s birthday, studying, and I’ll have an exam coming on Wednesday as well. 

But releasing a chapter at the end of it all is still one thing I look forward to the most :3

Thank you for reading, I’ll get started on the next one!

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Next Chapter: https://translationchicken.com/2017/02/26/rezero-arc-4-chapter-18-parent-and-child-part-14/