3: Atarashii no Hi~ A New Day
"Nice to meet you. My name is Fuyuki Chitose. Please be good to me." Chitose held the friendly smile on his face as a kind of "screw you" to Koki. He had decided this morning before Yume-basan had brought him to school that he was not going to let Koki get to him any more. He was going to push that part of his life behind him and never let Koki see him cry like that again.
He glanced up and accidentally caught Koki's eye. Chitose's eyes narrowed into a slight glare before he turned away with a quiet "humph".
"Alright, carry on with your lunch. I'll be back in the Teacher's office." Sensei headed back out of the room. "Make sure to make Fuyuki-san feel welcome. Fuyuki-san, you can take the empty desk next to Takashi-san."
Chitose stepped down to the desks and noticed his childhood friend, Takashi Shouta sitting next to Koki and another boy. Shouta was grinning and waving at him. At least someone remembers me.
"Shou-chan! You're in this class, too?"
"Yeah, but I can't believe you're here! I'm sorry about your grandmother."
"Thanks. It's very bitter sweet. I'm glad to be back home, but its still sad that she's gone."
"Well, at least now that we're all together again things can go back to normal." Shou-chan turned back to Koki and said, "You jerk, why didn't you tell me Chi-kun was living with you? You're trying to keep him all to yourself, aren't you?"
Koki suddenly stood up, his palms on the desk. "I'm going to the bathroom."
With that, Koki sauntered out of the room. The boy who had been next to him put down his bento and chased after him. " W-wait up! Koki-kun!"
Chitose squelched down a gasp at that unfamiliar boy calling Koki by his name. He knew that Koki didn't let many people call him by his first name. What was his relationship with Koki?
"What was that about? Are you two fighting?" Shou-kun asked.
"You could say that." Chitose replied. "Kou-chi….He doesn't remember me."
"Koki-kun! Wait!" Akira chased behind Koki. "What's wrong? Koki-kun!"
Koki stopped and turned around to Akira. "Sorry. I just… Something must be wrong with me."
Akira tilted his head as if to say "what?"
"Can we just…go somewhere else for now?"
"Sure. I'll buy you a drink."
Koki stood up on the roof of the school with Akira, each of them holding a can of cold green tea.
"So, are you going to tell me what's got you so upset?" Akira asked.
Koki wasn't used to talking about his personal feelings, so he wasn't quite sure what to say. Usually he was the one who listened to other people's problems rather than talking about his own.
"I think I've lost my mind."
"Huh? You seem just fine to me." Akira said. "Don't people usually say that when they've gone crazy?"
"That's what I mean. I woke up this morning and that guy was there! He claims to be my childhood friend, and he only moved away two years ago, but I can't remember a thing about him! Even my mom treated him like family, and then I come to school to find out that Shouta knew him, too! Something is seriously wrong with me! I can't even remember my best friend!"
Koki relayed the entire morning's events from start to finish, conveniently forgetting to mention the way he had been wrapped in that guy's arms when he woke up and how his mom had said they were engaged.
"...And now he's gone and shown up in my class! He doesn't even look old enough to be a high school student! Heck, I thought he's was a first year in middle school when I saw him! What high school guy looks like that?"
Akira was quiet after that for a long moment. "Maybe you do need to get your head checked out."
"This is serious!"
Akira laughed. "I know, I know. I guess the way you need to look at it is maybe there's a good reason you don't remember that guy."
"Yeah. Like maybe he was a gangster and he beat people up in front of you when you were alone! Then you'd be suppressing the memory to avoid the inner turmoil over the fact that your dear friend was such a violent delinquent." Koki could hear the humor in his friend's voice. Picturing Chitose in his head, he couldn't see him even slapping someone, let alone beating someone up.
"The only delinquent around here is you." Koki laughed, glad his friend had been able to cheer him up again.
Chitose sighed. "Why do you think he can't remember?"
He didn't really want to talk about Koki any more, but at the same time, he wanted answers. He wanted to know where his Kou-chi had gone.
"Hmm…" Shouta rubbed his head a bit. "After you left, it must have been very painful for him. I remember the first two months, when it really sank in that he wouldn't even be able to get a letter to you, he stayed home almost every day. Then when he came to school, he didn't really do much of anything. Whenever anyone even said your name he looked like he was ready to cry, and he probably did when no one was looking. So we all basically stopped talking about you when he was around. We all were really worried about him. But then, after school one day he just disappeared and didn't come back for several hours. The next day it was like he was just suddenly back to normal. All this time I've thought it was an act to seem not so depressed, but from the way he was just now, I think its because he's suppressing your memory to protect himself."
"But now that I'm back shouldn't he remember again?"
"The mind is a mysterious thing, Chi-kun." Shouta finished off his rice. "Here, do you want the hotdog? I'm full. And it's shaped like an octopus. Just the way you like them."
Chitose felt himself tear up. "Shou-kun..."
It was ridiculous to cry over an octopus wiener, but he couldn't help it. He'd missed his friend so much, and he'd never thought it would feel so good to be remembered. He leaned over the desk and practically tackled his friend.
"Nee, Fuyuki-kun, Takashi-kun,"
Chitose looked up. There was a cute girl standing next to his desk. "Hi." He replied.
"I'm Sawada Yuki. Do you mind if I sit with you two?"
Chitose glanced at Shouta. He was blushing and looking particularly nervous. Ah. Chitose thought, He likes this girl.
"Sure." Chitose answered, "We don't mind."
Sawada sat on Shouta's other side. "Its nice to meet you, Fuyuki-san."
"Oh, before I forget, Takashi-kun, did you get the math homework? I missed it."
Chitose knew what had happened. This girl had used the opening to get closer to Shouta. With Koki and the other guy out of the way, and Chitose being new, it was the perfect opportunity to talk to him. Chitose leaned back in her chair, leaving the two be. He supposed he didn't mind being used by her if it meant his friend would be happy.
"Sure, its in my notebook." Shouta said.
"You two seem really close." Sawada-chan mused.
Chitose grinned. "I've known this guy since elementary school. We lived on the same street until I moved to Hokkaido. We kind of lost touch after that though."
"Really? That's so cool! You've known each other for that long? It must be nice to reconnect with childhood friends."
Chitose's smile faltered, but he didn't think Sawada-chan noticed. "Yeah, I guess so."
"Here it is." Shouta pulled his notebook out and flipped to a page. Sawada took out her own note book and copied it down. Chitose glanced down at her page and noticed that she'd already had the homework written down.
So it was just an excuse.
"Oi! Yamato! Suzuki! Come over here!"
Chitose looked up as Koki entered the room and felt a tug in his chest when he realized that Koki and that other boy were laughing. They crossed the room to another boy's desk to see what he had called them for.
It kind of pissed Chitose off that another guy had cheered him up. It used to be his job to do that. Chitose had to stop himself. He was trying to distance himself from Koki. How was Chitose going to get over him if he kept reacting like this? Hadn't he decided that he was starting fresh? Like a new day?
But, despite himself, he found himself asking, "Hey, Shou-kun, who is that guy?"
Shouta glanced over Chitose's shoulder, "You mean with Koki-kun? That's Suzuki Akira. Oh, that's right, you left before we finished middle school. Suzuki sat next to Koki-kun in our first year. He looks like a delinquent, but he's a pretty nice guy. He and Koki-kun really hit it off."
That wasn't exactly what Chitose had wanted to hear, but he tried not to let his irritation show. When he looked back again, he caught Koki's eye. He flipped a strand of hair over his shoulder and jerked his head back to Shouta.
"Fuyuki-kun," Sawada-chan said, "Sensei said you're living with Taku, right? That must mean you're very good friends with him."
"Who?" Chitose was taken aback. Who was Taku? He looked to Shouta for translation.
"She means Koki-kun. Most people know him as Taku around here. Its like a nickname."
"Oh. I am living with his family, yes. Its because when my parents were still around, they were very good friends with his parents."
"Really? So you two are kind of like brothers, then."
"Well," Chitose stole another glance out of the corner of his eye, "we used to be."