I don’t know how many times it has happened now, but once again, the time leap activated and I returned to my high school years.
I’ve changed the future multiple times now through trial and error, but the fact that Hiiragi-chan and I break up has remained unchanged.
Does that mean it’s something that’s inevitable just like how Sana is determined to work at a game company in the future?
As I was in a daze, Natsumi-chan, who was in the seat next to me wearing a headset called out to me.
This is my last part-time day of the year for the HRG company.
“Today is the end of the year party, are you going?”
“I’m not going. I don’t really like being around a drinking party like that.”
“You don’t have to drink, you know?”
“I’m sorry, but I’ll pass.”
“Really, that sucks.”
I looked at the clock, and there was less than 10 minutes left on my part time shift.
“I feel like I’m not being cared for at all.”
“It’s because of your older sister.”
As expected, knowing that we break up in a few months makes me worried, sad, and pained. Even now, I don’t know what to do, and I can only do my best to respond.
That isn’t all.
“Eh? Did something happen!?”
Stop it with those shining eyes. It’s like you’re begging for people to tell you about their troubles.
“For now, nothing at all.”
That’s right, for now.
“Then, how about we have an end of the year party with just us? Haru-chan, Sana-chan, Ii-san, and the kid as well.”
“Well… I wonder.”
“Hmm? Normally, you would be pretty on board, but your response today is pretty negative.”
“It seems that Sana and Kanata noticed my relationship with Haruka-san.”
I told Natsumi-chan about what happened after the Christmas party.
“Aaah, I see. I guess you guys were caught off guard… But, if things don’t take a turn for the worse, then isn’t it fine?”
“Is that really how it is?”
“We’re off work now, Thief-kun.”
“…You’re pretty unenergetic today.”
Since it’s the last day of work for the year, I did a little bit of cleaning around my desk. Natsumi-chan as well, followed along with me and did a bit of organizing.
“If Haruka-san were to say that she wanted to break up with me, what would be the reason?”
“Shishishi, is that supposed to be a joke?”
“It must be. She loves you way too much!”
“I guess? 10 points!”
We had a light exchange as we finished our cleaning, and after giving our parting greetings to people that were still around, we got into the elevator.
“There isn’t a need for a greeting like that.”
“Of course it’s necessary, we’re proper adults. Even if it’s just a formality, we have to say it.”
Natsumi-chan grumbled and complained.
“Do you still have time today?”
“Of course, it’s not like I’m going to the end of the year party.”
“I see. Then, you want to go out on a short drive?”
It had become quite dark by the time I noticed, as our car proceeded down the highway.
“I’ve always wanted to try getting a hitchhiker one time.”
Natsumi-chan spoke jokingly while gripping the steering wheel. The day after her birthday, she went to driving school, and soon got her driver’s license after.
“I get it, I get it. I really get it when you feel like driving for no reason after getting a license.”
“You’re just acting like you know.”
Just like Hiiragi-chan, Natsumi-chan is also a safe driver. I feel no anxiety as I watch her driving.
The Hiiragi family driver that had lent the car was very troubled. He was worried in case something were to happen if he were to let her drive.
Natsumi-chan forced it through by insisting that everything would be okay. Quite the delinquent young lady. There is Hiiragi-chan as a precedent so they may have been a little more lenient.
The driver ended up calling another car and taking that one home.
“This is my first drive. I gave my first to you. Are you happy?”
“Yeah, very happy.”
“There’s no feeling in that statement.”
Natsumi-chan laughed happily.
“For my car, it seems that Papa will give his car to me, but it seems like a car that an old man would have. A sedan, you see, and it isn’t cute at all.”
As she pursed her lips, she spoke luxuriously about her complaints.
“Isn’t just getting your own car something to be thankful for?”
“Well, that’s true.”
The high school version of Natsumi-chan seems strangely mature after watching her drive a car like this.
“If you’re fine with me, you can talk with me. You seem to be worried over something.”
If I were to talk about my time leaping, she would definitely burst out laughing, so I guess I’ll tell her while avoiding that.
“There was this super accurate fortune telling. It’s enough to call it a prophecy, maybe?”
She urged me to go on.
“Hiiragi-chan and I will supposedly break up in March of next year based off of it.”
“Aaaah, so that’s what you’re worried about?”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
That’s unexpected, for you to believe in fortune telling, Natsumi-chan said.
“However, why would you break up? For what reason? Ah, is that why you threw out that joke earlier?”
“I didn’t mean to just throw it out, I just thought that if it was you, you might have a vague idea. I just can’t seem to figure out a reason.”
Natsumi-chan began to seriously think it over. I thought that she would laugh it off saying that it was just fortune telling and that it was super sketchy, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“If… if it were to come to that, would Thief-kun just say bye and leave forever?”
“How should I put this…? If she ends up not liking you anymore, would you not be able to like Haru-chan anymore?”
Being questioned from an angle I never thought about before, I had to think for a little bit.
A Hiiragi-chan that doesn’t like me anymore? That means that my currently requited feelings would become one sided. Would I then end up not liking her?
“I don’t think that would be the case.”
“Yeah. The Thief-kun that I know would say that.”
“…However, with how much that would hurt, I feel like I would just want to be a clam in my next life.”
“Wow!? That’s such a predictable amount of depression!?”
Even now, just by imagining it, it feels like the shock of being hit in the back of my head with a blunt weapon with an uncomfortable feeling in my chest beginning to rise.
If Hiiragi-chan were to bring up our breakup, the reason for it would have to be something that the two of us would accept.
However, Sana said that she didn’t accept it even in the present time.
“Haaah… I also want a boyfriend like Thief-kun…”
Natsumi-chan said quietly.
“—J-just someone like you! I’m not saying that you’re the one, okay!?”
“I haven’t said anything yet though.”
Kohon, Natsumi-chan, who was unusually shaken, clears her throat.
“A-anyways. It’s not like it’s the end of your relationship with her after breaking up, right?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve already greeted Mama, the last boss of the Hiiragi family, right? The future for the two of you is all green. Even if you break up, if you end up together in the end, then it’s still a victory.”
She spoke in a light tone.
“W-well… if even if you do end up breaking up… y-you would be m-married to m-me… Mama was interested in that. She d-did talk about t-that as well.”
Her voice turned into a quiet whisper.
“Thanks.” I spoke in reply.
Until now, I have only thought of clearing the challenges that have come up in the present day. That was all done in order to marry Hiiragi-chan.
If that is the goal, then even if we broke up once or twice, it would still be a success if we were to end up together in the end.
There are many couples in the world that breakup and come back together.
Thinking about that, I feel just a little bit more at ease.
“Hmm? What’s wrong?”
“Can I shake your hand?”
“Eh? No. I’ll tell Haru-chan about this.”
“Is shaking hands really such a bad thing!?”
Fufu, Natsumi-chan let out a breath and then laughed.
“You’ve cheered up a bit, so let’s go home. Ah, treat me to a drink or something.”
Natsumi-chan ended up asking me to treat her to something in a very unladylike manner.
“It can’t be helped.”
We stopped by a vending machine on the way and I bought her orange juice. I bought a cola as well.
“Good work this year.”
Inside the car, illuminated by street lights, the two of us bumped our small cans together.