Yuuji – Enter, Kikuri’s Rival!
“ NANAMI!” That young teenage boy ran in a rush right after he heard a ruckus in an apartment room next to his. He opened the door quickly which was unlocked in the first place. He managed to get a breath after he opened the door, only to find a dark corridor and living room. He put off his sandals and came into the living room.
“Na…nanami? You there?” He approached another door which leads to kitchen and dining room. It is clear that he’s familiar with his neighbor’s apartment condo. His hand grabbed the door handle steadily and was about to open it when someone has opened it from the other side of the door before he managed to do it on his own. One young girl at his age appeared, alongside with an old woman beside her. That old woman was smiling, but the boy could see the wrinkling she had at her brows.
“ Yuu…chan,” the long-haired girl smiled awkwardly as she approached Yuuji—the boy in front of her, “w-what’s wrong?”
“Nanami… I-I just heard some noises and I came here to check—,” answered Yuuji.
“Yuuji-kun. Sorry to have made you worried. I was just a bit upset upon seeing Nanami’s delinquent and indelicate act. She wanted to scare me with a dead rat’s doll, which I just threw out… My, my, what a naughty daughter I have!” said the old woman—Nanami’s mother.
“ Then… what’s with Nanami’s cheek? It’s red—as if someone had slapped her…,” Yuuji smiled as he stared at Nanami’s mother with a suspicious look. Nanami’s mother pretended not to notice that look and continued to make a fake smile.
“ Nanami had just fought with her friend, right, Nanami?” She looked at Nanami. Her look was a bit intimidating, and Nanami recognized this.
“Y-yes, Yuu-chan… That’s just… it,” Nanami touched her red cheek gently as she trembled. Yuuji grabbed her hand tightly as he continued to stare at Nanami’s mother. Nanami got a bad feeling if she were to let things as it was now, so she hurriedly pushed Yuuji away as she continued to speak, “ A-anyway, Mom, lemme go out with Yuu-chan!”
Yuuji was dragged out by Nanami, she held his hand tightly, but as if he didn’t understand the situation, Yuuji managed to look back at Nanami’s mother, only to find her mad face and malignant look. That look—Yuuji knew it so well— wasn’t for her, it was for Nanami instead.
“ Nanami? Are you okay?” asked Yuuji.
“ W-well,” Nanami tried to stop trembling.
“ What do you want to order?” asked the maid in the cafe they’re in right now.
“ Ah, 2 cups of warm tea, please,” Yuuji answered hurriedly, he wanted to settle things right away with Nanami, so going out to cafe to eat or drink is not his real intention. It’s just a place where they can be relaxed, that’s it.
“ Ah yeah… Don’t worry… Mom..is right, I am the one at fault here… so please don’t get it wrong…,” Nanami couldn’t see Yuuji in face.
“ Lie,” Yuuji stayed looking at Nanami’s face calmly, “ don’t hide it anymore, Nanami! I know it, she—that person hates you, and punish whatever you do, although you’re innocent!!” Yuuji stood.
“ No, NO!! THAT’S NOT IT!!” Nanami screamed in panic. Everyone’s attention was distracted by them. Yuuji decided to sit down while Nanami lowered her voice.
“ Don’t… ruin my family… please… she’s… my mother,” Nanami whispered, “ she’s just a bit stressed—soon she will be back again, and she will be kind to me…”
Yuuji sighed. That’s it…
“Hee~ So, he’s the client?” asked Kikuri. She looked at them from her seat in the cafe.
“ Hime, please sit properly!” reminded Yamawaro.
“ And he asked us to send that noisy obaa-san, right?” Kikuri ignored Yamawaro’s notice and stayed to watch at them from her cozy seat, “ just hurry up and send her to hell already! Kikuri hates noisy and ugly obaa-san~”
“ Hime, that’s our client’s decision, we can’t take further step until—“
“Hmph, how boring~,” Kikuri turned around and finally she sat properly as she drank her soda.
“ Heeh, look what I’ve found here!” Kikuri and Yamawaro can hear a boy’s voice—loud enough for them to hear. Their attention was drawn by a boy who sat next to their desk. There, they could see an apparently 6 year-old boy with white hair and blue eyes. His gentle face expression doesn’t seem as if he’d say that sentence with a bit humiliating tune in it.
“ Yes, I’m talking to you!” He approached Kikuri.
“ What do you want?” asked Kikuri, she seems to be irritated, “who are you?”
“ Araa? I forgot to introduce myself!” that boy laughed, “ I’m Ken, Heaven Girl’s co-worker! I am her trusty right hand, Ken! Looks like we’re going to meet several times again!”
“ So anyway–,” the little boy—Ken continued, “What’s with that weird appearance of yours, and that boy’s addressing you– ‘Hime’?”
“ Uu—Urusai na!! (Shut up!),” Kikuri grumbled.
“ Eh, you two–,” Yamawaro tried to interrupt them, but they ignored Yamawaro instead.
“ Huh, so my rival is going to be someone like you, eh? I don’t expect that a weird kid like you will be–,” Ken continued.
“ Shut up, quiet!” Kikuri became more irritated. She didn’t know that the more she got angry, the more fun and happy Ken will be, and the more things he’ll do to make fun of her.
“ You, too! Weird! White hair, are you really that old?” Kikuri tried to reply back.
“ Wha—what, hey!!” Ken didn’t expect Kikuri to reply back to him.
“ Like I’m trying to say!!” This time, Yamawaro raised his voice. And his effort has come to fruition. He got the attention of the two naughty kids.
“ Because you and Hime kept debating over a small thing, our target has left this location,” explained Yamawaro, “ you’re that Heaven Girl’s co-worker, which means your target is here, too, right? You’re alone so you’d better take a closer look to your own target to—“
Ken’s face became pale, “ …My target is the same… with you…,” he said in a low voice to Yamawaro. In addition, in the formal way, too, unlike the way he talked to Kikuri.
“ He? What’s with that? How did you become all formal with only Waro-waro?!” Kikuri didn’t comment on Yamawaro’s notice, which indicates that she is not so interested in spying the target from the beginning.
“ Shut up, weirdo. That’s the way I talk! Myeh, I would not even bother being formal with you!” Ken looked down on Kikuri—he’s a bit taller than Kikuri, actually.
“ More importantly, this is all because of you now that we’ve lost our target!” Ken looked so depressed.
“ Look, that boy is going to send that ugly auntie to the hell!” Kikuri pointed, she looked so over-confident.
“ As if he would!” Ken accepted Kikuri’s challenge, it seems.
The moon shines so brightly that night, as if giving hope and happiness to everyone—meanwhile—there sat a boy on his bed, he put his hand on his knees, while his face looking at the two things he’ve got. A black straw doll and a ring. Hard choice between sending someone to hell or sending someone to heaven—or not at all. One chance once in his life. Once he made a choice, he wouldn’t be able to take it back again or change it. So he must think of it carefully.
“ Just ferry that ugly obaa-chan to hell!”
And his mind was interrupted by the voice of the naughty girl, Kikuri. She smiled naughtily with her hands leaning on the bed.
“ Whoa!!” Yuuji became startled, “ w-who are you and h-how did you come in?”
As if it wasn’t enough, he came to realize that there’s a boy in his room too, along with Kikuri.
“ Hey, don’t scare him! And that’s no fair to confront him,” Ken scolded Kikuri and looked at Yuuji with a regretful face, “ are you okay, Onii-chan*?”
“ She’s Hell Girl’s friend and I’m Heaven Girl’s. We’re curious, have you made your mind, Onii-chan?” asked Ken politely.
“ Well… about that…,” Yuuji has overcome his surprise-ness, “ I still haven’t…”
“ Oh…,” Ken still looked so sorry, “ I see…,” and their facial expression became the same, as if Ken felt Yuuji’s confusion, too.
“ AAAAAAH!!! Stop it!!!”
They heard a scream through Yuuji’s wall. Yuuji quickly recognized the owner of the voice.
“ Nanami!!” He jumped from his bed and opened the door in a rush. He rushed to the next door, only to find a man sitting down in front of Nanami’s apartment door.
“ …Nanami’s… father…,” Yuuji looked at him.
“ Yuuji, eh?” he replied calmy.
“ Ojii-san (uncle), listen, haven’t you heard Nanami’s scream—“
“ No,” Nanami’s father replied so quickly, “and even if I heard it, I’ll just pretend that I didn’t hear it,” he continued as he took out a cigarrete.
“ So you knew all along,” Yuuji looked so angry, “ why… WHY DON’T YOU DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT?! Nanami… Nanami has been through a lot and she still tried to smile, she didn’t say anything about the wound she’s got from her mother, and you, as her father, if you know this all along, then why…?! WHY?!”
Nanami’s father sighed as he smoked, “ Why didn’t Nanami say anything about this?”
“ Eh?” Yuuji tried to calm himself down, “…she said she didn’t want to ruin her family.”
“ Then, my reason is the same. I don’t want to ruin my own family,” Nanami’s father stood up heavily as he walked pass Yuuji and leaned his hand and looked at the night’s sky.
“ …What…,” Yuuji was shocked by his answer, “ you’re his real father right, then why…”
“ Listen carefully, kid,” not even looking at Yuuji—Nanami’s father continued to speak, “ She was so kind. She’s just stressed. She’s just married and she got a teenage girl so suddenly as her daughter. She wasn’t prepared and soon she will be—“
“ Tch,” Yuuji looked so pissed, “ Listen! I know that she’s Nanami’s step mother! I also know that Nanami hasn’t done anything! I trusted Nanami, I’ve been looking at Nanami! The one who’s at fault is that woman!”
“ My wife wouldn’t do something like that. Nanami has made something wrong, I know that,” Nanami’s father didn’t care at all. Yuuji knew it was useless to waste his time here, so he smashed in—or entered the room forcefully instead of talking with Nanami’s father who doesn’t even thought of his own daughter well.
“ NANAMI!!” He shouted as he held Nanami’s badly injured body. Nanami cried.
“ You…,” Yuuji looked at Nanami’s step mother angrily.
“ What? What can a child like you do?” Nanami’s step mother asked as if she’d challenge Yuuji. Knowing that the woman is a wicked and sly person, Yuuji didn’t try to speak back.
“ My, my, kids nowadays…,” Nanami’s step mother walked away, she went to the kitchen and she seems to be preparing food there.
“ Yuu…chan…,” Nanami reached out her hand. She touched Yuuji’s cheek gently, “ it’s okay… Yuu…chan… Mom’s just…”
Seeing Nanami’s kind heart, Yuuji’s tears started to flow out. He has made up his mind. He smiled gently at Nanami and grabbed her hand gently, “ Don’t worry, Nanami, it will be over soon—no, now.”
Nanami smiled back while Yuuji took out a black straw doll out of his pouch and put it down. He kissed the ring instead. In instant, Anju, the Heaven Girl came out of nowhere and grabbed Nanami. She smiled gently as she held Nanami, “ Don’t worry, you’ll be happy.” Nanami smiled as the answer of that gentle voice and Yuuji smiled too.
Anju disappeared along with Nanami, and the straw doll, too.
Kikuri and Ken appeared suddenly in front of Yuuji, who’s overflowing with tears now.
“ Why? Why didn’t you choose to ferry that stinky obaa-san to hell?” asked Kikuri.
“ You don’t get it, do you?” Yuuji smiled although tears are still flowing from his eyes, “ even if I sent her to the hell—if that man who doesn’t even care about Nanami’s around, Nanami wouldn’t be happy… so that’s why I decided… to send Nanami to the heaven instead, so she can get eternal happiness…”
“ Eternal…,” Ken murmured, “ happiness…”
“ Aren’t you overjoyed by the fact you’ve got a friend at your age?” asked Anju.
“ Friends?!” Ken looked so surprised, “ you’ve got to be kidding! No, she’s my rival and seeing her behaviour, I can’t help but to make fun of her!”
Ken went away from Anju and went closer to the computer boy, trying to play with him. Anju smiled. That means you two are close friends… Friends…eh? Ken must like her–…speaking of like… This time’s request…
Meanwhile, a short-haired girl is staring at the computer.
…Between hell and heaven—which one will you choose?
*Onii-chan : big brother or a way to call someone who’s young but older than you.