White Album 2 Omake/Story03/Chapter 1
"You don't to put in so much power. Just pull it from the side slowly."
It was December.
The trees had given up their leaves, and in return, a large tree was placed in front of the station for a particular occasion. It was a sign that the winter season had started.
"Ah, don't pull from the edge of the sprout, pull over there instead."
"Where the hell is there...?"
The last glimmer of their student lives, the school festival, had ended, and all that was left were the days counting down their remaining four months.
"Ah~, you're peeling too deep. There won't be anything left to eat then."
Having said that, in truth only two of those months would be colored as such. The students had already decided on their career choices, so for a school affiliated to a university, these remaining days might either be a strong or weak point.
But within all of this, there were also students who were recommended to other universities or didn't make it. With the exception of those who went into the workforce, this left hundreds who were stranded.
"Yeah, for now this should do."
"Well then, there's five potatoes left. And then two carrots..."
They were people picked in the minority, in such a feverish, hopeless situation...
"Ahhhhhhhhh~, like I'm gonna peel anything like this~!"
"Ah~, wait, don't stop now, Kazusa!"
It was a race... well, it should have been. Thirty minutes ago.
"Cooking is so boring."
"We only just started..."
Touma Kazusa, the girl with long black hair. She started relaxing, taking a seat in the kitchen soon after abandoning her potato peeler.
She was in class 3-E of the School of Houjou University. She would always be in the corner of the classroom indulging herself in her hobbies. But with only three months left until graduation, her future was quite uncertain, not having decided on her career path or any kind of direction.
"Besides, I'm not into small work like this. You know the words, the right person in the right place, right?"
"Those aren't the words of such an extremely delicate pianist, you know..."
A young girl by the name of Ogiso Setsuna also stood there, her long hair tied into two ponytails. She'd been cutting with a kitchen knife in a rhythm. Her accurate interjections into Kazusa's words were also unforgettable.
She was in class 3-A of the School of Houjou University. Whether she liked it or not, she already had admirers. After some perseverance in order to protect that cute image already built of her, she was content with the prosperous future of being eligible to immediately go into Houjou University.
"That's right, I'm a pianist. What do you expect me to do if I cut my fingertips with cutlery?"
"But Kazusa, you were the one who said, "A girl who can't make even curry is finished"."
"Setsuna, you're the one who came up with the idea of making curry. Besides, didn't we gather to cram for exams...?"
"I wonder who it was that came in here with such a desperate look on their face..."
Again... it was December.
In preparation for the term exams starting tomorrow, they should have been spending their last days delicately, though in a direction they wouldn't have liked.
And yet, although all of them had gathered at the Ogiso residence to help the lazy pianist whose graduation was in doubt, everyone was in the kitchen making dinner. With the exception of one guy.
"Hey, is it okay if I don't help?"
"Don't come. You just stay in that room and study alone."
"... okay, who was it that needed to study again today?"
The guy that came into the hallway not looking rather presentable or having any kind of hairdo was named Kitahara Haruki.
"Anyways, you can just leave dinner to us."
"To us......... huh."
"It'll be faster if the three of us work together. Then we can finish eating, and continue studies again. Besides, you didn't even finish a single subject here."
He was in class 3-E of the School of Houjou University. He did things by the book, taking care of everyone, and even lecturing people regardless of what division of the school they were in. Thanks to all that, he was recommended to Houjou University, only needing to wait for the all but guaranteed reply at the graduation ceremony.
"Shut up, besides you'd just complain about each and every single thing if you helped us anyway. And you've never cooked even once."
"Even if I haven't, anyone can at least peel potatoes."
"You're right~, if you're patient, yup."
"Setsuna... just be quiet if you have anything to say."
Kazusa stopped slacking off thanks to Haruki stepping in, once again standing beside Setsuna and taking the relatively easier task of cutting carrots.
"A, anyways! ... don't listen to whatever he has to say, okay?"
... she seemed to be whispering into Setsuna's ears.
"L, look, that whole "A girl who can't make even curry is finished" thing."
"That you can't make curry, Kazusa? Or maybe you mean that you could almost die from being so worried that he might hate you?"
"Wah~, wah~, waaaaah~!"
"The latter, huh? Got it."
"... Setsuna, you really do have a good personality."
Once again, it was December.
It'd been two weeks... two weeks since Kazusa and Haruki became lovers.
Two weeks ago.
The great success of the stage performance at the school festival came to an end.
The praise and calls for an encore didn't let up towards Setsuna, who was as pure as expected but put on far more of a show with her singing than anyone could imagine. This also carrid to Kazusa, who played the keyboard, saxphone and bass perfectly. And Haruki, who played the guitar as much as he could, was given quite the applause.
"H, how is it?"
"How, you ask...? Seems like Ja■■■ curry to me."
"... your choice of words are horrible. Did you mean that, or is it plain, or is it spicy?"
"Haruki-kun, what's the flavor like? Give us your impressions!"
"Well, you see... it just feels like Ja■■■ curry."
"Oh whatever! We should never have fed someone who didn't recognize how hard we worked."
"K, Kazusa... and come on, Haruki-kun..."
"I do like Ja■■■ curry. I've been fine with spicy food since middle school because of this."
"This is good. Like it always is."
Two hours after the best fifteen minutes of their lives...
The two in the support band who gave it their all for the idol headed to the second music room as a substitute for the change room in the evening. And it was there that the two confirmed their feelings for one another.
"! Y, yeah... Setsuna?"
"I want seconds too, Kazusa!"
"Y, yeah... I'll go get some then."
"Ah, that's quite a large serving you're dealing with."
"I know that!"
Which was why now, the guy and girl in the support band had such unfriendly, blunt compliments for one another, reacting so nervously like this.
"Heh, hehe... ahahaha..."
"... what's so funny?"
"Because Kazusa, your face changed so many times!"
Which was why now, the idol girl couldn't contain her laughter for the girl in the support band, overreacting as she took curry dishes in excitement and left the room.
"Did I do something bad?"
"Maybe you didn't qu~ite get what was going on. You only needed to say it was delicious after taking one bite!"
"But that was obviously just Ja■■■ curry... well, you're right, sorry."
"Well, thanks to that I got to see Kazusa sorta half-crying, so I'm totally OK with that."
"... I've been thinking before, but you certainly have a good personality, Setsuna."
The three never stepped down from that stage after the festival ended, this flow of events indicating that they continued to watch that dream.
As the three of them, with two as lovers, and a cupid to hold them together.
Two hours later.
"Look, I did say it was delicious."
"Yeah, Ja■■■ curry is delicious. It's the same flavor no matter who makes it."
Eating dinner, the three took a break and had a lively chat for some time, and as Haruki moved to bring them back to their study session, it had become increasingly late at night.
"I did ask for three dishes. Even you were happy about it."
"I was just fooling you. My standards would be far too low if I indulged myself in those faithful words of yours."
In the end, they didn't really get to study all that much, but they did manage to get much nourishment, leaving the Ogiso residence with oranges as their spoils of today's efforts.
"I'm telling you, don't be like that... I was really happy."
"Ah~, that's right, it's your favorite Ja■■■ curry anyway..."
"That's because... it had a "mother's flavor", see."
And they ended up talking about when they were eating curry in the cold weather.
"At least once a month my mother would have this big pot, see... I'd warm it myself and eat some..."
"She'd always have side-dishes ready to go on the table, though."
"My mother would make the curry herself, though it wasn't exactly perfect... well, in any event it was still Ja■■■ curry."
"We never really ate together, in the morning, noon, or evening..."
"Even then, my kitchen would smell like curry for a day, so compared to that I was a bit happy with yours."
Haruki also looked up at the stars that had turned into ice grains in the cold weather.
His breathing directed towards the sky came out in white, covering the stars like a cloud would.
That expression of his was certainly happy, nostalgic, and perhaps a little bit sad...
"Which was why, I was really..."
"... you're still trying to fool me. Just putting up some suitable excuses."
"... ah, you could tell?"
... this attitude that Kazusa displayed was proof that her title as a "girl" from two weeks ago was no longer there.
"Don't run away into such painful memories. My mother's only ever made me toast."
"Well... I guess that's Touma Youko for you."
"I told you before, it doesn't matter if your past isn't all that great. Besides..."
"Ah, in that case..."
"How about I make curry next time?"
That was why Kazusa would eventually give a frowning expression whenever Haruki made such suggestions...
"As thanks for today. Like maybe when the tests end."
"........................... what, are you...?"
"But I can't make much other than Ja■■■ curry. Hmm, maybe I'll try putting seafood instead?"
"Instead of curry......... I like pudding..."
The moment she accepted such suggestions, it was already too late for her to make any kind of grand reaction.
"Pudding, huh...? Then what about h■■se pudding? The one you make with just milk."
"Then get three bags and make it in a bowl."
"It'll get messed up if I did that..."
"Don't worry. I'll just eat from the bowl with a spoon."
"... correct me if I'm wrong, but you're not gonna eat all that in one shot are you?"
"Well, you had three dishes worth of curry today. That amount makes us about even."
"The nutrition's completely off the scale! There's too much sugar and fat!"
Which was why in this cold weather, the two contemplated what should be pudding as a prize after the tests. They walked in an empty neighborhood making such a fuss they could be a nuisance.
And, thirty-five minutes later.
It took fifteen minutes to get from the Ogiso residence to the Minamisuetsugu station, ten minutes by train to get to Iwazuchou station, and then they walked for another ten minutes.
At some point, the two lost words to share, walking in a neighborhood where a white wall stretched out on their left.
And the reason they became silent, that white wall happens to belong to the mansion of a world-acclaimed pianist, which meant that as soon as they turn the corner...
"... what is it?"
"I, it's nothing... sorry..."
The two were soon on the verge of losing any reason to be walking side by side only after several steps...
With a timid face, the boy held the girl's hand, as the two held oranges in the other.
"Why now, of all times?"
The girl... Kazusa's upturned, resentful eyes, glittered when the faint street light illuminated upon her.
The words and gaze she had were quite delicate, whether they condemned Haruki for his sudden urges, or how she had been holding back up until now.
"You, don't want to?"
"Yeah, I don't."
"I, I see, I'm sor..."
"I don't want you to step away from me."
In between those short words, the two's hands touched and separated, and then entangled themselves with one another.
"My hands aren't that of a girl's."
"They're fingers that are much harder and rugged than yours, or even a man's."
Attacking, rejecting, hesitating, and turning around.
"Like I'd do that."
"Because these are the hands of my teacher."
And then the boy finally mustered up his courage, and cut off her retreat...
Finally entangling his own fingers with her rugged fingers.
"I told you that I like these marks showing your effort... and that I like your piano, right?"
Her fingers really were tough.
They were tempered since she was a child that they wouldn't let up even when she skipped out on training for the two years since enrolling.
Well, perhaps she only claimed that she was. Perhaps, actually, she could never let go of the piano, and her fingertips were full of that pride and willpower.
"Why do you make such a face with embarrassing words that don't even fit? You really are a painful guy."
"Because it's just the two of us, isn't it?"
"Even now when these hands could frost over, you say such cold words that could make me freeze..."
"That's why I'll warm you up, like this..."
The bags holding the oranges in their hands dropped, and soon both their hands clasped against one another.
It wasn't just the palms of their hands that were touching. Each of their fingers were intertwined.
The two directly faced each other, no longer walking or making any kind of excuses.
"... it's because you said you wanted to be like this, you know?"
"Because you wanted everything, you know?"
"So, so... I won't let go of you."
"Until you tell me to "let go", I'll remain like this with you."
"Don't let go, Kazusa."
Two weeks since the two became lovers.
Two weeks since the two started calling each other by name.
"... even though I say that, why are you making such a face?"
Touma Kazusa was a girl who had a hard time looking at others.
"Because I feel like I'm about to cry..."
But that was because these weren't the eyes of a lonely wolf that rejected everything. It was more like, they were that of an abandoned dog, who was fed the forbidden fruit bait ...
"We're dating, aren't we? We're flirting, aren't we?"
"Why is it every single thing you say is painful?"
"Look now, all you have to do is smile for just a bit."
"That's... if I feel like it..."
"But you know..."
"Will I lose you one day? Will I part ways with you one day? Will I awaken from my dream one day...?"
"That's what I've felt like doing all this time, only thinking of just that..."
Touma Kazusa, was no longer lonely.
"You won't go anywhere will you, Haruki?"
But, she was cowardly.
"You won't go anywhere like my mother, will you...?"
She hesitated, even though she fell in love with someone.
She kept imagining being betrayed.
As a girl, it was an overreaction that she kept imagining of her loved one.
"Let's see... close your eyes, okay?"
"... why do you have to close your eyes so hard all of a sudden?"
"Because, because......... you're gonna, aren't you?"
"So hurry... just finish it already..."
"Why do you have to say such things that kill the atmosphere?"
"Because, because......... it, it's embarrassing!"
But, little by little...
It was that transition period right now, where she'd take back her own honesty, even if it was just a little bit.
"I like those mixed up words of yours..."
"Y, you idiot... angh, mmm, mmm..."
They were almost two steps away from the entrance of the Touma household.
Kazusa knew that the moment she got in it'd be warm, but she could no longer move.
Not until her master dispelled the magic that told her to "wait".
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