That hard and weighty ceremony is over, Yuuki thought. Returning home from the temple, he sat in the living room at twilight as the sun set, at last letting out a sigh. He was grateful for Hirosawa's soothing but right then Yuuki didn't have the composure to accept it.
Yuuki's parents who had hurried in as soon as they'd received word of the death blamed him. He kidnapped their grandson far away where they couldn't reach him, then let him die they said. His parents greived that they couldn't see him when he had been on the brink of death. Why didn't they take him to the doctor when he was sick, why didn't he tell them right away, his parents swore at him, implicitly blaming Azusa as well. The question of why he didn't take him to the doctor pierced his chest more coldly than Yuuki's parents realized.
Really, why hadn't he contacted the doctor right away? Even if he'd called it wasn't something that the doctor could do anything about Yuuki reasoned earnestly with himself, but he couldn't escape the nagging doubt that said that if a doctor had seen him maybe he would have been saved. Indeed maybe Ozaki Toshio couldn't have done anything. But what about the University Hospital fitted with all its equipment? If he'd lived somewhere where he could have brought him there immediately. No, to start with if he hadn't moved to the village, if he'd stayed in the city, Natsuno likely wouldn't have died would he? Yuuki himself couldn't help but think that, and so he couldn't bear to hear his parents say as much against him too.
Azusa's parents had come quickly too but Azusa's parents didn't get on well with Yuuki's. Azusa's parents had always shunned Yuuki to start with, and in their own way the seemed to be condemning her asking why she attached herself to a man like Yuuki. That antagonism came to ahead at the funeral, and funerals were hard enough even without that, making for an unbearably painful time. Both families restrained themselves, and both left the village without staying over, the only salvation to the situation being that they'd both left quickly.
The people who came put on an ostentatious show of compassion only to give reproachful eyes at the parents, asking silently why they didn't save him. The Tanaka siblings didn't say a word during the funeral, looking at Yuuki from far away with blame in their eyes.
---It's wretched for a parent to lose a child.
Yuuki thought that with a deep sigh.
Azusa watched Yuuki in that state. Sitting at the dining room watching Yuuki hang his head in shame, no particularly strong feelings welled up. Beyond feeling uneasy with herself in whom no emotions rose up, no other thoughts or feelings arose.
Azusa remained silent as she turned away towards the bedroom. It was lonely in the house, a very tangible hole, something missing. Her gait was uneasy. She felt terribly, dangerously exhausted. Bearing the dizziness to return to the bedroom, Azusa took out her travel suitcase. She packed minimal clothing and a minimal amount of daily necessities. She had prepared it last night. Looking it over she thought that it was somewhat underprepared.
Her checkbook and her seal, a voice whispered to her. Azusa couldn't call to mind why she would need them but she remembered that she would need them.
Her checkbook and seal, her credit cards, her insurance card, her driver's license. Half staggering, Azusa returned to the living room, returning to the bedroom with those. She stuffed them into the bag. And at the desk she wrote a letter. There wasn't anything she particularly wanted to write but she had accepted the fact that she had to write one.
With glazed eyes she drug the pen over the paper. The letters were well written but Azusa herself couldn't draw together the focus to take in the things she had written.
I can't take it in this village.
You and the village, I can't put up with them anymore.
You and the village, I can't put up with them anymore.
Placing the pen above the pad she had written on, Azusa took her travel bag. When she left her room and went past Natsuno's room, a deep sadness she couldn't grasp the reason behind rose in her chest. For some reason she was sad. So much she felt displaced. And in walking away from the house, she was touched by a mysterious sense of pity towards somebody.
Feeling that way without any sense of emotion towards herself, Azusa left the house. The creaking of the door was slight but piercing, while the chilly touch of the low gate was merely bleak.
She walked along the pitch dark night road. Gradually her footsteps became more unsteady, melancholy. Walking just a little further ahead, there was a single car waiting in a place without any people. Azusa's feet came to a dazed stop near the car. The passenger side door opened to her.
"Come on," Tatsumi called out, holding the steering wheel, as Azusa entered the car. Why did she have to be there clutching her bag in the passenger's seat?
"Did you make all your preparations?"
When asked she nodded. With no reason, tears overflowed onto the back of her hand clutching her bag.
Tatsumi caught sight of that at the corner of his vision and smiled faintly. Without letting out much noise the car went off. Where? a mumbling voice was heard asking when they had been driving a bit.
"We're going to Mizobe. You have to do the paperwork to transfer your son from school."
Aa, Azusa murmured. That was right. Tomorrow she would have to go to the high school to turn in the transfer notice.
(......And where after that?)
As if spoken to by Azusa's thoughts, Tatsumi laughed lowly.
"After that you will be following after your son. ......Isn't that right?"
Azusa blinked, then nodded.
Yuuki at last noticed the fact that Azusa had disappeared that next day.
Sitting dumbfounded in the dinning room, he'd fallen asleep dead drunk in the living room and when he'd awoken on the sofa, the house was dead silent, leaving Yuuki with the feeling that he'd been left behind alone. That that was in fact the case, Yuuki at last realized when he peered into his bedroom.
There was a single page letter forsaking him. He hurried to look here and there but all of their valuables had disappeared. Come to think of it, Yuuki thought. Azusa's parents had stayed in Mizobe last night, and hadn't they said they'd be leaving early this morning? He didn't ask where they were staying but they must have intended to bring Azusa back with them, he realized, in a daze.
He wasn't shocked. Yuuki no longer had it in him to be all that hurt anymore.