This is Chapter 5 from Volume 2 of the Kanon light novel series.
The text is from Baka-tsuki.
“Good morning, Yuichi.”
The morning started as usual.
Having greeted Akiko, I went to the dining table for breakfast.
Beside me, Nayuki was in total slumber: only her hands moved by themselves, spreading jam on her toast.
I only hit her softly on the head, but she fell all the way on the table.
“If you sleep here, the jam would stick to your hair.”
“No problem…I love jam.”
After our meaningless conversation, Nayuki snored again, “Kuing.”
“Let her sleep today, Yuichi.”
Akiko said gently while tying Nayuki’s hair.
“She was very worried you wouldn’t come back yesterday. So she had been waiting for you and didn’t go to sleep.”
Yesterday I had been staying with Shiori and returned after I sent Shiori home. It must have been very difficult for Nayuki who slept usually at nine. Speaking of which, my schoolbag I left at school was in my room when I came back. Nayuki must have brought it back.
“But she slept while waiting for you.”
Nayuki and Akiko who waited for me would never push their worries on me. They would always support me unnoticeably.
“I’ll call her up in a while. You can go to school first.”
It was already eight. I’m off, then, I said, and took my schoolbag.
In gratitude to Akiko and Nayuki who treated me like a real family member, I left home.
It was a bright day I had long seen. The sun glimmered with light.
Ice stacked on two sides of the road. Through the bridge and two stations, I could see students in the uniform I had got accustomed to.
I waved to familiar people. I had already overcome the reluctance of coming to this town over these several weeks.
It was another morning.
Yet one thing was different.
Something bumped into me from behind. Turing around, I saw a girl standing there, smiling in embarrassment.
“Eh…sorry. I got all excited and bumped into you.”
A dark red one piece, a white cape, and a big green ribbon near the chest. Shiori wore this uniform with pride. It was so dazzling I had to squint my eyes.
“Yes, I came. I’ll start working hard today. I will!”
Shiori held her whole-new bag, walking along with me.
“I have a request, Yuichi-senpai.”
It was what Shiori said when we parted yesterday.
“One week will do. Please treat me like a normal girl.”
This should be equivalent to the time Shiori had left.
“Yes. In this week, I will go to school. I will study with others, I will eat lunch with others…I will go out with the person I like on the weekends…”
If I return too late, my parents would get angry, and my sister would pamper me.
Only for this short time, Shiori added.
“Only this week. Let me make this wish come true.”
Shiori’s eyes were dazzling when she thought of her dream. But she moved those eyes down and continued, “Only a week, though. For if it’s longer, it would only produce sorrowful memories, for me, and also for you, Yuichi-senpai.”
“A week later, the first of February, I will disappear from your world.”
Disappear—When I heard this word from her mouth, I was still shocked.
“…Are there any other ways?”
Shiori kept silent.
“Really, are there really no other ways?”
It was probably a sad question to Shiori. But I couldn’t restrain myself from not asking.
“Well, if a miracle happens, there may be a way, but…” Shiori added quietly with a smile, “It’s called a miracle because it doesn’t happen.”
We could still dream even if a miracle doesn’t happen.
So, for this week…
“Can you accept my request for this week, Yuichi-senpai?”
“Thank you,” Shiori said happily, her eyes gleaming.
Shiori and I had to part at the entrance because we were in different grades.
“Can we have lunch together today?”
“I don’t have anything to do anyway.”
“Then let me wait at your class after the fourth lesson…”
Shiori stuttered, and corrected her saying.
“Well, let’s meet at the cafeteria.”
“That’s good too.”
There were people in Yuichi’s classroom whom Shiori didn’t know how to treat.
Even in this dreamy week, there was just something that couldn’t be changed.
“Then I’m off.”
“I’ll be waiting for you at lunch,” Shiori said, waving her hand, heading to the entrance for juniors.
I saw her small body off.
To be honest, I wasn’t a mentally strong person.
So even I wouldn’t know what I would become after this week.
Still, I wouldn’t want Shiori to be alone now, and I didn’t want to leave her.
Whether it be a dream or a soap opera she likes, I just hoped I could enjoy this time with her.
The lesson overran a bit, so I ran to the cafeteria.
She was already waiting there.
She stood beside the entrance on the wall, looking at the wave of people in surprise.
When she heard my call, she turned to me with a soothed expression.
“It’s fine to sit down.”
“It’s my first time here, so I’m a bit nervous.”
“Is there a seat?”
Shiori and I walked into the cafeteria. The cafeteria, spacious and with a good scenery, was popular in the winter. We looked around and found two seats opposite to each other.
“I’ll go and buy something for you. What do you want, Shiori?”
“The same as you, Yuichi-senpia.”
“…I’m going to get curry.”
Shiori suddenly fell silent.
“Is there a problem?”
“Eh, well, nothing.”
“Okay, take care of the seats.”
I bought two sets of curry rice, one for Shiori and one for me.
Speaking of which, this was the first time I saw Shiori eating something other than ice cream.
With a bit of expectation, I settle the plate of curry rice before Shiori.
“It looks delicious.”
Shiori took a spoon and stared at the curry seriously.
“The curry here is pretty traditional.”
This was one of the recommendations by Kitagawa, who calls himself as the all-knowing master of the school cafeteria.
“You don’t have to be so nervous though.”
I quickly took a bite. “Thanks for the food,” Shiori said, and ate a spoon of rice. Then she took another spoon of rice.
“You’re not even eating the curry!”
“I’m eating now.”
Shiori sent a red pickled vegetable beside the rice into her mouth. Then she got another spoon of that pickled vegetable and ate it.
“It’s some nice chewy curry.”
“Are you then going to proceed into eating the shallot and say it’s some nice sour curry?”
“I hate people who talk like that.”
It was a rare to see Shiori show a helpless expression.
“If you can’t eat curry, let’s have something else.”
“No. I can.”
With a push, Shiori sent another spoon of curry in her mouth. Then she froze.
Her eyes gradually became wet, her nose becoming red. Even so, she managed to chunk it in, followed by huge amounts of water.
“Sorry, actually, I’m terrible at hot stuff.”
“This is just average spicy. So you can’t eat curry, can you?”
“I’ve eaten some at home, but they’re made for kids…”
It seemed to be those brands called prince curry or princesses curry.
“If you’re bad at spicy stuff, what about wasabi?”
“I hate it when I see it.”
“I hate it when I hear it.”
“It’s human’s enemy!”
“I love it.”
Shiori’s voice softened, and she continued with a smile, “Let’s have some ice cream, shall we?”
I heaved a sigh and rose to my feet.
“I’m going to get it for you.”
After several minutes, I was eating two servings of curry, while Shiori, sitting opposite to me, was only eating ice cream. The students passing by shot weird glances at us.
It didn’t matter. Even if it was awkward to them, it was great for Shiori and me.
Because we were lovers.
Shiori looked distracted to my sudden call.
“…I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you,” she said, smiling, “but I think so too.”
This should be a lover’s conversation, I guess. I ate my curry with confidence.
“Next time, I’ll make packed lunch. I’ll make yours too, Yuichi-senpai.”
“I look forward to it.”
“I hate people who talk like that!”
I smiled happily at Shiori’s tantrum.
During the afternoon lessons, when I had to change classrooms for the next lesson, I came across Shiori in the corridor.
Beside Shiori who was waving her hand energetically was a girl I seemed to have met before.
“Hey, I remember you’re that cleaning committee member.”
“Discipline committee member?”
“Well, you kept insisting I’m a committee member, so I joined the library committee.”
She exchanged glances with Shiori and both of them smiled. The girl who became a library committee member then said to me, “Just like you said, senpai, Misaka-san is back to school. I’m glad.”
Only for a week, though.
Suddenly I felt I was being pulled from a dream to reality. But I thought, ‘What we’re having now is the true reality’, and suppressed that feeling.
“What’s wrong, Yuichi-senpai?” Shiori asked with her head tilted.
Shiori put her finger on her lips. She looked up at me with a kind of detective look.
“Really. Listen, the bell is ringing. We have to hurry.”
I softly pushed Shiori’s back. Shiori walked away with her friend, chatting happily about something.
I couldn’t sense from her any sad emotion that this situation could only last for these few days. I have to pull myself together too, I made up my mind. Turning around, I happen to see Kaori at the corner of the corridor.
Nayuki quickly came to her side, and the two continued walking.
Was Kaori waiting for Nayuki? Or was she looking at us?
The following day, I quickly finished lunch with Shiori and went to the court with her.
The person originally here was Shiori wearing her cape. Now it was Shiori in her uniform.
This small change was enough to create a refreshing feeling.
“Today I had an arts lesson.”
In Shiori’s hand was an aqua-blue sketchbook.
“And I remembered you wanted to have a look at my drawings.”
“If it’s fine with you, do you mind me writing a portrait of you, Yuichi-senpai? I have the tools needed with me.”
“I’ll have to give my all, then,” Shiori said, opening her sketchbook.
She looked at me and the sketchbook seriously. Whoosh, whoosh, she swung her sketching pen.
“I feel a little embarrassed…”
When I wanted to scratch my cheeks…
“Please don’t move.”
Shiori immediately spoke with a tone sharper than usual.
“Isn’t this a portrait? It’s not a sketch anyway. I think even if I move a bit…”
The hand moving to my cheeks stopped. I thought I saw this posture somewhere. Right, this was what Akiko usually do. This was why I was a bit embarrassed.
“Is it done yet?”
When Shiori finally looked away from her sketchbook, it was already the end of the lunch break.
After I removed myself from Akiko’s posture that I had got used to, I twitched my wrist and decided to have a look at the drawing, but Shiori covered it with her hands.
“You can’t get angry after you see it.”
Smiling, I removed her hand. Then , I was stunned.
How was it?
It was a child-like drawing. It was almost, no completely the same style as the drawing Kaori gave me. She had made no progress.
The weak, artistic image of Shiori in my heart was quickly blown into pieces.
I patted her shoulders.
“To be honest, I don’t think you should draw.”
“As you say,” Shiori said to herself softly, as if she had first known the answer already. I regret for being a little too direct.
“But can you give me this portrait?”
“You really want this?”
“Yeah. It’s because you drew it for me. I’m happy no matter what it is.”
“You sound too flattery, but I like it.”
Smiling, Shiori tore the paper and gave it to me.
The bell for the end of the lunch break rang at the same time.
Having parted with Shiori, I walked back to the classroom, holding the portrait, which Kitagawa caught sharply.
“What are you holding? A portrait, I see.”
He quickly took the paper from my hand and looked at it. He was stunned, certainly, at the spot.
Nayuki and some other students, standing beside him, took a look too after being intrigued by our conversation. Then they fell silent too.
“…What an unorthodox drawing.”
Nayuki forced herself to make a comment. “It isn’t unorthodox, it’s just plain bad,” someone said, and others laughed.
Nayuki looked at me with a face that was asking me whether she should laugh. Fury was massing in me. It was bad, sure, but Shiori did her best to drew it.
“But even primary students cannot draw something like that.”
“What the hell are you saying?”
Someone pulled me from behind, stopping me from bursting out.
“Isn’t this a good drawing?”
A person with long wavy hair chipped into the crowd.
“The skills aren’t good, but it contained the drawer’s warmth.”
Kaori took the drawing that was almost publicly displayed, rolled it carefully, and handed it to me.
“…yeah, you’re right.”
Kitagawa immediately agreed with Kaori. Others seemed to be inclining to Kaori’s opinion, and apologised to me.
They apologised, but I couldn’t just forget what rude things they had spat. Even more worrying was Kaori’s attitude towards this incident.
The teacher then came into the classroom, and the students returned to their seats.
I stole a peek at Kaori sitting at the back diagonally from me.
Did she knew it was Shiori who drew the drawing? Or was it that she could tell it was her drawing from its distinctive features?
If that was the case, there was something I had to do this week.
With that in mind, I turned to Nayuki who sat in front of Kaori.
I wrote a memo, poked Nayuki besdie me, and gave it to her.
Nayuki seemed to have fallen into afternoon slumber, and made a soft squeak when I poked her. The teacher almost found out about the memo.
After school, I met with Shiori again.
On the way home, walking with her here and there was also Shiori’s important dream.
“Let’s go, Yuichi-senpai.”
“How about the shopping district? Today I’m going to treat you something you like to eat.”
“But I have to choose the restaurant.”
“I can’t wait.”
Shiori walked to the shopping district with a light jumping pace.
“Here it is.”
Many pots and flowers were growing out of the window and the wall. As the name ‘A Hundred Flowers’ gives, it is said that flowers grow in this shop in all four seasons.
“My cousin told me the strawberry parfait here is delicious.”
I pushed the dark brown door.
“What a beautiful shop…”
The floor was the same colour as the door; silk crosses were hung on the table, while wreaths made with dry flowers on the wall.
This indeed seemed a shop girls would like. In this period, it was filled with female students and lovers. The air was stuffed with noise, coffee aroma, and other desserts and sweets.
“This place is great. I’ve always dreamed of coming to a place like this.”
Shiori praised with awe. We lucked out and had a seat near the window.
Having received the menu, Shiori examined one item after the other.
“Yuichi-senpai, you’re treating me, right?”
“You can think it like that.”
“Can I pick whatever I want?”
The shop assistant then came over to ask what we wanted to order.
“I want this, the Giga Deluxe Assorted Buffet.”
The shop assistant took her menu and walked away.
While wiping my hand with a towel, I asked the smiling girl.
“What food is that thing you called with that strange name?”
“It’s a buffet.”
“You said giga or something. I guess it’d be huge.”
“Yes. Because it costs 3500 yen.”
I stopped. This price could get me an album with two CDs.
“I can’t wait.”
No, I couldn’t say it. It was I who said she could pick anything.
The doorbell rang and new customers came in.
“I think I’m going to retreat….”
“Woah, don’t suddenly go outside!”
“I don’t feel like going to this place today.”
They came. I looked at the two people standing at the door.
“I’m treating you today. The strawberry parfait here is delicious.”
“I know. I’ve come several times.”
“Didn’t you skip lunch lately? You have to eat, otherwise its’ bad for your body.”
“…Okay, if you say so, Nayuki…”
She stopped halfway.
The girl sitting to the same table as me called her in a voice as if no one could possibly hear.
“Hey, isn’t that Nayuki and Kaori? These seats are still vacant, why don’t they come and sit with us?”
I called to the two of them who walked in at last.
Although I made a face at Nayuki, she didn’t seem to notice and was preoccupied with looking at the blackboard written ‘Today’s Special’.
I guess it was fine.
The four of us sat around the table.
Shiori showed a stiff smile. Kaori looked down blankly.
Nayuki broke the ice, “Well, it’s the first time we met, right?”
“Oh, it’s nice to meet you. Hello.”
“I’m not speaking to you, Yuichi…”
“Hello. Nice to meet you.”
Shiori spoke with a polite and distancing attitude, lightly lowering her head.
“I’m Nayuki Minase, Yuichi’s cousin. This is my friend, Misaka Kaori.”
Shoiri didn’t tell her her surname. Nayuki didn’t ask her what it was.
A female shop assistant in an apron came to take the order.
“A strawberry parfait, please.”
“Weren’t you looking at the Specials?”
“I thought about it, and decided to have a strawberry parfait. What about you, Kaori?”
Nayuki looked very worried that Nayuki didn’t pick anything to eat, but the shop assistant just said, “Thank you for your order,” and walked to the counter.
The sunlight shone through the windows onto the flowers and the girls. Yet the atmosphere was sullen.
“What did you order, Shiori?”
The one to start the conversation was still Nayuki. It seemed she wanted to kill the silence, or perhaps she was just talking, being unaffected by the atmosphere.
“I ordered the Giga Deluxe Assorted Buffet.
“Woah. I have always wanted to try that one.”
“Then why don’t we share?”
“Yes. Because Yuichi-senpai is treating us.”
“…Yuichi, you’re rich…”
Nayuki looked at me enviously.
“I don’t have that much, really…”
“Yuichi-senpai said we can order whatever we want.”
“Really? I think I want to order a strawberry crepe.”
“That sounds delicious too.”
Nayuki and Shiori laughed softly at my irritated face. The tension was successfully resolved, but Kaori was still looking down.
“Here is your order. Thanks for waiting.”
In the end, on the table were a normal cup of coffee, orange juice, a strawberry parfait in a triangular glass vessel, and something like a glass washing bowl.
“…Hey, is this the big guy?”
In the glass washing bowl were vast amounts of ice cream, topped with fruits and flooding cream. Pretzels and biscuits splashed with bright syrup were inserted in it artistically.
Shiori looked impressed. But would she be able to finish it, given her usual small appetite?
“We have to eat this together.”
I guess it was made to be shared anyway. Four spoons were now stuck on that massive thing.
“I’m still worrying whether we can finish it even if we all eat this…”
Nayuki and I took our spoons. Only Kaori drank her juice silently.
Shiori showed a bit of loneliness, but it was quickly changed to a smile. “Thanks for the food,” she said, getting her first spoon of ice cream.
“Some shops mix watery ice cream in their assorted buffet, but ‘A Hundred Flowers’ uses quality ice cream even at the bottom. That’s why it’s so good.”
I calmly shoved my spoon to Kaori.
“Aren’t you eating too, Kaori?”
She didn’t even respond.
If I had to experience the pain of losing her, it would have been better if I hadn’t had a sister in the first place.
On that day, in the snow, Kaori cried in front of my chest. What now is she thinking?
It was painful for her. She should be enveloped in fury to see Shiori sitting in the same table as me.
But if she really were angry, she shouldn’t have stayed here.
The afternoon sunlight gently shone on Shiori, Nayuki, and Kaori.
“Eat more, Yuichi…”
Nayuki spoke, dismayed. A closer look revealed that even though Shiori and Nayuki worked so hard, they couldn't manage the assorted buffet.
Smiling, Shiori encouraged me to eat more. Still her lowered left shoulder betrayed her depression.
“Can you still do it, Shiori?”
“It’s a bit sad, but…”
“It’s fine. You can stop eating if you want, Shiori.”
“I can still manage.”
Shiori insisted she should work hard to finish it because she was the one who ordered it. I thought her reason adorable.
“You don’t need to force yourself. Nayuki, you’re also full from the parfait you ordered for yourself, right? Let me take on the rest.”
“Don’t you know I’m called the Dessert King Yuichi Aizawa?”
Of course, no one would believe, but it was just the striking line for what I was going to do. I took the glass bowl to myself and started wolfing down chunks of ice cream and fruits. When it got too sweet, I gulped some coffee to relieve it with its bitterness.
“It really shrank…”
Nayuki’s and Shiori’s eyes were glued to what I was doing.
The sweetness was slowly going away, replaced by the plain numbness of swallowing icy solids. Still I pushed myself to continue. It occurred to me somehow that the curry before and the assorted deluxe now would make me fat if I got along with Shiori.
Fatness meant nothing, but ‘that day’ would really come.
“Two bites to go.”
“One bite only.”
I threw myself on the table like a marathon runner touching the finishing line.
“Yuichi, you’re incredible.”
I looked up upon hearing the two praising voices, showing off with a haughty look.
But when my head was lifted, Nayuki and Shiori spurted out laughter.
“Yuichi, cream is on your face…”
“And two colours of syrup…”
“D-Don’t mind the details.”
I looked at Kaori with astonishment. Her expressionless face was turned to laughter upon seeing my face.
Kaori laughed out loud. Her softened look made Shiori happy from the inside.
The sisters were smiling in the same place.
My chest was getting hot. I forgot the pain from the coldness in my stomach.
“It was fun today.”
Nayuki and Shiori was still standing around talking after we left the shop.
“Yeah. Why don’t we have lunch at school together next time?”
“Of course, because you are an important person to Yuichi, Shiori.”
Shoiri looked down as her face reddened.
“Hey, what do you mean by that?”
It was embarrassing for her to speak of this important person in front of others.
“Aren’t you Yuichi’s girlfriend? Even though it’s a bit sad you’re given to Yuichi…”
“Mind your own business.”
I stood beside Shiori who was getting more and more flustered and said deliberately in a crude tone.
Kaori who had been silent till now murmured in an even more crude voice.
“It is my business.”
Kaori looked gently at Shiori.
“Because Shiori is my sister.”
Kaori said it out of the blue. It stunned Shiori, who opened her eyes wide.
“I’m heading back.”
Kaori turned away, in a bit of shame.
“I’m done with spending time with Nayuki.”
And so she left. I gave a push to Shiori, who was still stunned.
Shiori nodded and chased Kaori.
“…Hey wait, sister.”
Then she turned around and flashed a smile at me.
“See you tomorrow, Yuichi-senpai.”
Shiori gave a bow with her head lowered, and vanished along the direction of the setting sun.
On our way home, while we were leaving the shopping district in the evening, Nayuki spoke.
“When you gave me that memo on the lesson, I wondered what it was.”
Nayuki took the memo from her pocket.
“Nayuki, you’re Kaori’s best friend, right? Can you bring Kaori to ‘A Hundred Flowers’ today? Thanks.”
“You don’t have to take it out.”
I wanted to snatch away the memo, but Nayuki evaded.
“Do you know what’s going on with Kaori and Shiori?”
Nayuki shook her head.
“Kaori don’t really talk about herself.”
“I can tell.”
“But I know something is bothering her. And since you asked her about her sister, I thought it would be related to the memo you gave me. I trusted you and did what you told me to.”
“Incredible. Even though you look to be spacing off most of the time. You’re my cousin all right.”
“You can leave out that spacing off aspect of me,” Nayuki said, pouting.
“It would be great if they could get along with each other.”
“If they could, yeah.”
Problems and tension in people’s hearts wouldn’t be solved with a snap.
Probably, Kaori would hate me afterwards.
But her acknowledgement of her sister was good enough.
“Yuichi, you treasure Shiori very much.”
What I did today wasn’t really for Kaori, but for Shiori. In Shiori’s dream, there was something that couldn’t become true. Still, I thrive to make it true.
“By the way, can you still eat dinner tonight?”
“I have another stomach for desserts. No problem.”
“Yuichi, you sound like a girl…”
We had almost arrived at the end of the shopping district when I saw something yellow at the edge of my view. I quickly looked to the other side.
Ayu was beside the shop selling kid stuff. She seemed looking for something, or waiting for someone, prying into the shop, looking at the wave of people in and out.
But when I wanted to call her, she had run off from my field of view.
Nayuki seemed to follow my gaze and caught sight of a winged backpack.
“What, do you know Ayu?”
“Is she called…Ayu?”
“What do you know about her?”
I was uneasy about Nayuki’s rare stammer.
“Forget about it. I must have been thinking too much. I’m sorry,” Nayuki said, and continued advancing.
Letting that question hang around in my mind, I followed her.