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[…We probably wouldn’t have met if we weren’t idols.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Iori didn’t know if he was that good or the person that he tailed was that dumb, but he was grateful that his target hadn’t noticed him yet.

His target—Yotsuba Tamaki, a truant who was always late to school. It’s not Iori’s concern at first, but when he received the report he knew he had to get himself involved. As the new student council president, he had to make sure there were no troubles. For that reason, he woke up earlier than usual to find out what made Yotsuba late.

First of all, he left for school too late. To get there on time, Yotsuba—and now Iori—rushed to get to the train station. At least he realizes that he is late.  

Iori stopped to a halt when Yotsuba suddenly took a wrong turn to get into… a park?! What is he thinking?!

The student council president crouched low as he watched Tamaki kneeled next to a crying child.

That person! He’s going to be late if he stopped at a time like this!

“What’s wrong?” The child’s wail softened into sobs. Iori didn’t quite hear what the child said, but he heard Yotsuba’s reply loud and clear.

“Don’t worry! Tamaki-oniichan will help you look for your mom!”

This person… If this is what happened on his way to school, no wonder he is always late. Iori sighed as he made himself known.

“What seems to be the problem here?”

Yotsuba looked blankly at Iori, so was the child. “Who’re you?”

Suffice to say, Iori had his first black mark on his attendance report.

And a person who he walked to school with nearly every day.

 

2

Yamato groaned as his skull felt like it was being drilled repeatedly by a jackhammer. He sluggishly massaged his right temple as he tried to remember what the hell happened last night. He could hear someone bustling around, a clear evidence that he was not in his own apartment.

He remembered that one of his ass of a father’s ‘acquaintances’ approached him again. After that he went to a bar to drink his frustration away.

Shit, I don’t remember anything after my seventh glass. Yamato grimaced as he opened his eyes. The room was dark, but it was obvious it was already morning. His wallet, his phone, a bottle of aspirin, and a glass of water was left for him on a bedside table. Geez, what a hospitable guy... or girl.

He hoped he didn’t do anything morally questionable to whoever was cooking breakfast now.

After downing a pill, still with a raging headache, Yamato stood up from the bed. A younger man—no, a boy, he’s probably still in school—didn’t notice Yamato’s movement as he was busy putting two plates of breakfast on the table. Red hair, red eyes… Nope, Yamato didn’t know who the hell this kid was.

The boy glanced up and smiled warmly at Yamato. “Thank goodness, you’re already up! Are you feeling better?”

Yamato rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. “Yeah, thanks for the aspirin and letting me stay the night. Can you tell me how I ended up at your home?”

“Actually, this is my dorm,” yup, a student, “And last night…” The boy tilted his head. “You grabbed me on the street and started to yell at me.”

“Wait, what?! And you actually brought me to your dorm?!” No matter how Yamato looked at it, what he did last night sounded more like a crime. Why did this boy bring a drunk, aggressive stranger into his dorm?!

The boy’s expression turned into that of a worry. “You look like you’re having a lot on your mind, and I don’t know where you live, so I brought you here so you can rest. You’re feeling better right? I can only make omurice if it’s okay with you, or if you just want to leave right away you can do that too. Ah, but I already made two portions…”

Yamato groaned. Nope, there’s no way Yamato could leave this place without doing anything. Kids like these are too dangerous to be left alone. “Omurice is fine. My name’s Nikaido Yamato. You?”

Somehow, the boy’s smile managed to soothe Yamato’s migraine. “I’m Nanase Riku! Take a seat, Nikaido-san!”

 

3

As usual, Mitsuki was cleaning the shop around closing hour when he heard the bell of Fonté Chocolat’s front door. Huh, that’s weird. Customers rarely came when it was already this late in the evening. Mitsuki quickly went to the counter. “Welcome to Fonté Chocolat! What can we help you with?”

A tall high-schooler was looking at the display with drool hanging from his mouth. That’s Iori’s school uniform, isn’t it? Mitsuki cleared his throat. The boy snapped out from his daze. “What can I help you with?”

“I wanna buy something.”

“Of course you wanna buy something. What kind?”

The boy rummaged through his bag and put down some crumpled yen and a few coins. “I want a delicious cake.”

“Hm…” Mitsuki looked at the cakes they have left. The boy was now rummaging his uniform’s pocket. “What for?”

“It’s Aya’s birthday, and I wanna celebrate it with the other kids so I saved up my money. Dunno how much cake costs though. Is this enough?” The boy put down a few more coins on the counter.

Mitsuki took out a cake box. “What kind of cake this Aya likes? And for how many people?” 

“She’s my lil sister, and… I don’t know. Eighteen kids maybe?”

“That’s a lot!”

“Cause it’s an orphanage, duh.”

Mitsuki tried to hide his wince. Even though judging from his tone, the boy wasn’t bothered by it. “Well, this is Fonté Chocolat, so how about a chocolate cheesecake?”

The boy blinked as Mitsuki wrapped the cake and put it in a plastic bag. “Isn’t that big cake expensive?”

“Nah,” Mitsuki put the money on the counter inside the bag and gave it to the boy. “Last customer gets to have a cake for free.”

The boy’s eyes brightened. “For real?! Thanks a lot! I definitely go here again next time!”

Mitsuki laughed. He could cover the expenses from his own pocket, so no harm done. “Yeah! Next time bring your sister okay?” Mitsuki leaned on the counter. “Oh yeah, do you know Iori, Izumi Iori?”

 

4

There’s a blond guy kneeling on the ground.

Tamaki crouched and peered at the guy’s face. He’s definitely not from here. Does he speak English? Hey. You. OK?

The blond guy raised his head. Tears streaming from his face. “NO! I just lost my chance to draw the limited UR card! This means I have to wait for the revival gacha which might not even appear until next year!”

“What, you can speak Japanese.” That’s a surprise, thought Tamaki.

“Of course! To even call myself a lover of Japanese animated culture without knowing Japanese is wrong! A controversy! Blastpheme!”

“Huh.” Tamaki totally lost him there. “So, you ok?”

The annoying guy’s face softened. Huh, he looked less annoying like this. “I’m fine, thank you for asking. You are…?”

“Yotsuba Tamaki.”

“Yotsuba-shi, let me say my thanks with a meal. What do you think?”

Free meal?! “I want it! I want 10 Ousama Purin!”

“I think Ousama Purin is not a meal, but…” The not-annoying guy sighed. “How about we eat at famifami something?”

“You mean famires?”

Yes! I want to go there, but being by myself is quite lonely. I was hoping you’d accompany me.”

Famires real nice. I know one near here.”

“Great! Let’s go!” The really-kind-foreigner who already went ahead of Tamaki stopped walking before he turned around with a flourish. “Oh, where are my manners? I haven’t introduced myself! I am Rokuya Nagi, pleasure to meet you, Tamaki!”

 

5

Sogo’s concentration was broken when heard a soft cough next to him.

“I’m so sorry.” The person next to him whispered. Sogo glanced at him. Red eyes, red hair, looking quite young—he’s not someone that Sogo recognized. Maybe someone from another faculty or from another year.

Sogo smiled politely, “It’s okay. Do you need water?”

The young man looked a bit sheepish. “No, it’s okay. Sorry again.”

Sogo turned his concentration back to the lecture. Even though this is an open lecture, this lecture is important to one of his main courses. He couldn’t let himself be distracted or his grade will suffer for it.

A series of rough coughs made Sogo turned to the boy next to him in alarm. The boy had started to rise from his seat, but looking at the boy’s rapid change in complexion and breathing, the business undergrad student knew the boy needed help.

“You look bad! Here, let me help you!” Sogo helped the red-haired boy walked slowly. The boy took out an inhaler from his bag and breathed into it. As they were outside the lecture hall, Sogo sat the boy and rubbed his back gently.

“There, took a deep breath.” The boy nodded and did exactly as that. They sat next to each other in silence, Sogo’s hand never left the boy’s back, until the red-haired boy’s breathing started to sound normal. “Are you fine now? Do you need to go to the clinic?”

The boy shook his head and smiled brightly at Sogo. “No, I’m really okay now. Thank you for helping me!”

“No, it’s not a problem at all. I’m just glad you’re alright.”

If even possible, the boy’s smile got even brighter. “You’re really kind! Um…”

Sogo blushed at the compliment. “I don’t think what I did was particularly kind, but thank you. My name is Osaka, Osaka Sogo.”

“I’m Nanase Riku! Nice to meet you!”

 

6

Yamato was nursing a glass of beer when the seat next to him was taken by someone. “Old-Fashioned, please.”

The glasses-wearing male looked at the person from the corner of his eyes. The person next to him was tense, his eyes roaming around the bar as if he never set foot in one before. Yamato felt his tongue loosen from the alcohol, so he spoke without much thought. “First time in a bar?”

The young man jumped slightly and turned to Yamato. “Is it obvious?”

“Alone?” Yamato shook his head. Man, this is so sad. “Someone needs to teach you the manners of bar.”

“Manners of—?”

“You clearly lack experience in alcohol life. First of all, have you ever had beer?”

“I’ve had wine before, does it count?”

Yamato raised his hand. “Bartender-san, two beers!”

“Wait, you don’t have to!”

The bartender quirked an eyebrow. “And who’s paying?”

“Nikaido Yamato.” “Osaka Sogo.” Both of them looked at each other.

Yamato grinned. “You know what, you’ll pay this time. Next time, it’ll be on me. What do you say?”

Osaka put a hand on his chin. “Is this the famous ‘drinking buddy’ I’ve heard about? So this is one manner of the bar…”

“You still have lots to learn, Osaka.”

 

7

Nagi watched another street performer played their guitar on the park and sighed. “No, it’s not her either.

For the last few days, Nagi had wandered all around Tokyo looking for that spark. The voice that could bring Haruki’s songs came to life. A person—or people that he could entrust his dear friend’s mementos unto. And maybe, just maybe, companions for himself. People that he could genuinely call his friends too.

Of course he didn’t forget to hunt for Kokona goods.

While his search for his dear Kokona was successful, he could not said the same for his other objective.

Well, at least I have a friend.” Nagi chuckled. He walked around the park, feeling the breeze and just enjoying the laidback atmosphere.

—owaranai niji no hou e nobotte iku” Nagi’s feet came to a halt. The source was a bit far, but the wind carried the voice perfectly to his ears. Nagi started to move.

“kurikaesu kisetsu e to nokosarete mo” There was a spring in it, joyfulness and youth perfectly captured for a cheerful song.

hajimari no neiro ga kikoete kuru” But oddly enough, it also sounded… warm and gentle. It evoked the same feelings when he was surrounded by those that he loved. The feeling of being home.

dakara sotto kao wo agete kimi ni tsugeta…” That voice… It was perfect for Haruki’s song. Fleetingly, he thought that it would be better if there were more people singing it together with him. But with that voice—

“Tsugeta…” He could see the person that voice belonged to now. A red-haired, red-eyed younger male who was wearing headphones and was busy writing something in his book.

Nagi didn’t waste any time. He quickly kneeled in front of the voice’s owner and grabbed his arm. “Excuse me! May I know your name?”

The young man raised his head and took off his headphones. He looked confused, but he didn’t bat Nagi’s hands away. “I’m Nanase Riku though… and you are?”

“My name is Rokuya Nagi. Please… will you sing with me?”

 

8

[Due to an accident on rail number 9, the train will be delayed for thirty minutes. We are very sorry for this inconvenience. I repeat, due to—]

Yamato clicked his tongue. “Seriously? And just when I need to hurry…”

Well, not as hurried as the guy next to me though. Yamato glanced at the person next to him. Or the student next to him. The student tried to appear calm, but it was obvious that he was anything but that. He tapped his foot rapidly and checked his watch every three minutes.

Just looking at the guy’s anxious energy made Yamato anxious.

“Oi—” The student glared at Yamato. He reflexively raised his hands. Wow, scary. “Geez, calm down. Why the hurry?”

“I need to go to the cultural center at 9, and now it’s 8.16. Even if I run, it’s impossible to get there on time. And it’s imperative for me to be there on time.”

“Huh, what do you know, I also need to get there at 9.” Yamato mused. “Are you one of the volunteers for the Green Day Exhibition?”

“Yes, how do you know?”

Yamato smirked. “Luckily for you, I’m in the committee for the exhibition. Tell you what, I’ll vouch for you.”

The student visibly relaxed. “Thank you very much.”

“No problem. We can go there together too, you know. What’s your name again?”

“I haven’t introduced myself yet.” The boy smiled in gratitude. “Izumi Iori. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Nikaido-san.”

“Wait, how do you—right, I’m wearing my nametag.” Yamato rolled his eyes. Figures the kid was a smartass, unlike that one sweet kid that he know of. “And you don’t even bother to read it the first time we talk.”

“I—I was—” Yamato cackled. “Nikaido-san!”

 

9

This is it. The battle of a lifetime.

Sogo gripped the brim of his hat tightly. In just a few minutes, his pride and his meaning of existence will be put on the line. So were the people around him. For many of them, this was their only chance to come out victorious in life. All they needed were determination, tenaciousness, and a truckload of luck.

He just hoped that being far from the front of the line didn’t diminish his chance.

“Merchandise shop opened! Everyone, please line in order!”

“This is it! Ah, excuse me, I’m sorry, excuse me!” Sogo squished and was squished by the sea of people all around him. He didn’t know how long he was there, or even how he was still alive, but he figured that questioning miracle was useless.

And that miracle wasn’t enough to net him TRIGGER’s valentine live limited edition merchandise.

Sogo sighed. “Am I just not dedicated enough as their fan?”

“Sigh… I can’t even compete against those girls, they’re a persistent bunch.”

“I agree.” Sogo turned to look at the male next to him. The young-looking male was also looking at him. “You didn’t get the limited edition either?”

The man sighed and put his hands on his hips. “Nope. I guess you don’t either huh? You’re not the only one, so don’t be so glum!”

Sogo laughed quietly. The man grinned at him. “I’m Mitsuki, do you want to look around with me? Who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky and find a merchandise we haven’t had yet!”

“Of course, Mitsuki-san. You can call me Sogo.”

 

10

“Mitsuki-san, sorry we’re late!”

Mitsuki raised his head from his phone and waved his hand. “Sogo!” He stood up from the bench he’s been sitting on for 10 minutes to greet the newcomer that Sogo brought. “You must be Nanase! Nice to meet you!”

Nanase bowed slightly. Somehow, his face looked familiar to Mitsuki. Maybe they’d passed each other before. “And you must be Mitsuki-san! Thank you for meeting me today!”

“When I said to Mitsuki-san that this is the first time you’re going to a TRIGGER’s live, he insisted to give you the full experience, Nanase-kun.”

Mitsuki nodded. “That’s right! Going to a live concert isn’t just about watching the idols perform, but also the time to hunt for merchandises and other fans! You can befriend all kinds of people that look up to the same idols, you know!”

Sogo chuckled. “Mitsuki-san is really passionate about idols.”

“Sogo’s reviews after every live are super passionate too!”

Nanase’s eyes brightened. “Amazing…! Please take care of me today!”

“Course! First of all…” Mitsuki lowered his voice. This is an important question that every fans had the answer to, so he was curious about Nanase’s answer. “Who’s your oshi?

“Yaotome Gaku-san!” Nanase’s reply was quick. Mitsuki could even see sparkles in his eyes. “He’s really really cool, and I want to be that cool someday!”

Mitsuki blinked. “Huh, I thought it’ll be Kujou Tenn. Your taste is as surprising as Sogo’s.”

Sogo blushed and ducked his head. “Mi-Mitsuki-san’s oshi is also Tsunashi-san, so please don’t judge me!”

“Tsunashi-san is also really cool, but he leans more towards sexy, right?”

“I know!” Mitsuki pumped his fists. Nanase totally gets it! “That sexiness is dangerous! Especially when he gave a sideway glance! Ugh, looking at it in real life is amazing!”

“Let’s continue the conversation while we walked. Nanase-kun, the venue will get really crowded, so don’t get separated from us, okay?”

Nanase puffed his cheeks. “I’m not that bad, Osaka-san!”

“Oh, what’s that about?”

Sogo’s smile turned a little bit teasing, “Well, when we went to the CD shop together a few days ago—”

“Osaka-san!”

 

11

Tamaki thought that Nagi’s ‘good friend’ was a foreigner like him.

“Rikkun’s a Japanese too.”

“I thought Tamaki-kun is way younger than me.”

Nagi clapped his hands together. “This is fantastic! I’ve always wanted to introduce my friends to each other like this! Let’s celebrate this joyful encounter by eating at famires! To the famires!” The blonde marched with energy.

“Nagicchi really likes famires.”

Riku laughed. “I know! I was surprised when he asked me to go to one. He said that Tamaki-kun’s the first person he ate with at famires.

“And Nagicchi said that Rikkun’s his savior or something weird like that.”

Riku’s face pinched. “It’s not something grand like that. Nagi-san asks me to help him with making lyrics and singing a song that his friend writes. Well, it’s the first time I’m writing a lyric though, so I’m not sure I can be of help.”

Tamaki nodded sagely. “I know. Nagicchi asked me the same thing. Then I said I can dance, so he asked me to dance. He took a video too. Dunno why though.”

“Nagi-san… Is there something that he wants to achieve?”

“Maybe he wants to make us into idols.” Singing and dancing definitely fit the bills.

“No way!”

“Tamaki, Riku!” They look back at Nagi who was already ahead of them. “Hurry up! Our strategy meeting will start at 1!”

“I don’t know there’s a meeting!” Tamaki whined. What the heck is a strategy meeting anyway?

“Let’s go before we’re late!”

 

12

The living room was lively when Iori just came back from school. He could hear the familiar voices of a famous male idol group, Re:vale, and Mitsuki’s voice. Although there was an unknown male voice joining Mitsuki’s excited chatter today. Iori walked towards the living room.

“I’m home.”

“Welcome back!” Mitsuki greeted Iori warmly. True enough, a young man was sitting next to Mitsuki on the floor. Both of them were holding a penlight in each of their hand.

Mitsuki paused the video on the TV as the young man smiled at Iori. “I’m Mitsuki-san’s friend, Osaka Sogo. I’ve heard a lot about you from Mitsuki-san, Iori-kun.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Osaka-san.” So he’s one of Mitsuki’s fellow idol fans. This was not the first time Mitsuki brought a friend home, but this was a first he heard Mitsuki ‘talking a lot’ about him.

Mitsuki grinned. “Sogo’s a second year business management undergrad student. Iori, you want to apply to the same course, right? So I’ve been asking Sogo about a lot of stuffs.”

“I don’t know if I can help out that much, but I’m willing to answer any questions Iori-kun has.”

Iori immediately took a seat. After all, it’s not only for his future education, but also for his brother and their family. “Please.”

 

13

When Yotsuba said that he knew a person that could teach Iori ‘super legit English’, Iori was understandably skeptical. Sure, there was a significant jump in Yotsuba’s English grade, but so were his grades in other subjects. Iori was the one that tutored Yotsuba, so the improvement was a given.

Imagine Iori’s surprise that Yotsuba’s astonishing growth in English was not because of Iori’s tutelage, but another friend of his.

A friend which was as weird as Yotsuba was.

Hello, you must be Iorin! I’m Rokuya Nagi, your English, and if you wish, other foreign languages teacher as of today!”

Iori questioned Yotsuba who was enjoying his Ousama Purin next to him. “Yotsuba-san, are you sure he’s the one?” His Japanese already sounded weird, or maybe it was his accent slipping through.

“Nagicchi is a legit foreigner.”

He sighed. Well, he was the one that asked for it, so he should bear it. “My name is Izumi Iori, not Iorin. As for the payment—”

Rokuya raised both of his hands and shook his head. “There’s no need! Helping a friend of a friend is a given, so no money will be involved. Although, I request another thing…”

“What is it?”

“Can you sing?”

 

14

Tamaki asked Iori if Fonté Chocolat was looking for a part-time worker. Iori said no, but he also said that he knew someone that could help Tamaki, so Tamaki was okay with that.

After school, Iori introduced him to a glasses-wearing guy. “Yotsuba-san, this is Nikaido Yamato-san. He’s the person that I’ve told you about.”

“Sup.”

“So… Yotsuba, huh? Izumi told me the gist of your problem. So, what kind of part-time job a kid like you want?”

“The one that pays a lot.”

Yamato barked a laugh. Iori’s face soured. “I know that!”

“What Nikaido-san means is there a job you would like to have or things along those lines.”

Tamaki hummed. He wanted a part-time job involving Ousama Purin, but Iori would scold him again. He wanted a part-time job that would make him famous or at least made him appear on TV, but the matron said there was no part-time job like that. So… “One where I don’t think a lot.”

“As I thought.”

Yamato grinned. “Well, I think I can offer you a few. You’re in luck, kid.”

“Really? Awesome! Thanks, Nikaidocchi!”

 

15

Nagi hummed the tune of Haruki’s music. His progress to bring his dear friend’s music came to life was smooth sailing ever since he met Tamaki and Riku. From Tamaki’s upbeat and energetic dances, he could imagine the choreography for the song. The lyrics that he and Riku made were almost done as well.

The only thing left to do was making the music, and he was waiting for Riku at the latter’s campus’ student center to bring the person the younger man said could help with it.

Not only that, Riku also offered to write the amazing idea that Nagi had in mind. Even though Riku looked lost when Nagi told him that the rookie policeman was actually the descendant of an alien with a hidden enormous power, he still brainstormed the story with Nagi. Not only that, it looked like Riku was also became invested in Nagi’s secondary project.

Yes! It will be the next hit, best-selling light novel ever to exist! The only thing missing is an illustrator! Oh, speaking of the person!” He could see Riku talking with a young man with a kind face. That must be the musician. “Riku, over here!”

“Nagi-san!” Riku jogged lightly to Nagi’s waiting spot, the other man following behind. “I brought Osaka-san!”

“Oh, so this is the infamous Osaka-san, is it? Nice to meet you!”

Sogo blinked. “Infamous?” He shook his head. “I’m Osaka Sogo, nice to meet you as well. Rokuya-san, is it? Nanase-kun said that you need my help with making music.”

Nagi smiled. “Yes, not only that, but I also need another person to sing with!”

 

 16

Riku, Sogo, and Nagi were too immersed in making the song that they stayed at the student center until it was closed. Nagi then said he knew a soba shop that he knew Riku and Sogo would like.

Now Riku understood why.

“Ya-Yaotome Gaku?!”

Yaotome Gaku(?) shook one hand. “No, I’m not him. There’s no way a nation-wide idol like him become a soba shop worker, right?”

“You-You’re right. We’re so sorry.” Sogo bowed.

“It’s okay, people said that a lot.”

Riku and Sogo glanced at a very smug Nagi. “Give us three portions of your best soba, Yamamura-shi!”

“Comin’ right up!” Yamamura went to the back of the counter while the three of them took a seat at a nearby table for 4.

“I’m shocked… to think there’s someone with a face and voice like the Number 1 Most Desirable Man working here…” Sogo shook his head weakly. Maybe meeting with a Yaotome Gaku(!) look-alike was too much for his senpai.

Well, it was definitely too much for Riku. “He’s so cool! Even though he’s not the real one, he definitely feels like Gaku-san! I want to be that cool too!”

No, this Riku is the best Riku!”

“Yaotome, two of your best soba!” Riku looked up when he heard a familiar voice.

“Nikaido-san, Tamaki-kun!”

From the back of the shop, Yamamura retorted. “I told you, my name’s Yamamura!”

Both newcomers looked at their direction. He didn’t know that they know each other. “Yo, Rikkun, Nagicchi.”

As the two approach Riku’s table, Riku was surprised when Sogo greeted the older man. “Osaka-san, do you know Nikaido-san?”

“He’s my drinking buddy… But how do you know Nikaido-san?”

Drinking buddy? As for his question… “It’s complicated?” Yamato said not to tell anyone about their first meeting, so Riku should respect that. Judging from his senior's expression, Riku made him worried again. Oh no.

Tamaki sat down on a seat next to Nagi while Yamato dragged a chair from another table. “Nikaidocchi said he’ll treat me ‘cause I did a great job.”

“Yotsuba’s part-timing on my place, y’see.” Yamato commented. So that’s why they know each other. “I don’t know you’re friends with Osaka.”

“Osaka-san helps me a lot!”

Nagi leaned in interest. “I’ve never meet this glasses-wearing gentleman that three of my friends know of.”

“And I don’t remember Osaka telling me about a foreigner friend. Or Nanase.”

“We just meet today too.”

Riku scratched his cheek. “It never came up. Let me introduce you both! Nikaido Yamato-san, this is Rokuya Nagi-san. Nagi-san, this is Nikaido Yamato-san!”

“Yeah, you don’t need to introduce me now.”

“Who’re you?”

“I’m Osaka Sogo. Yotsuba Tamaki-kun, right? Nice to meet you.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Yamato!”

Yamato sighed and muttered something under his breath. Before Riku could ask what’s wrong, another familiar voice entered the shop. “—really looks like the guy himself!”

“If Nii-san says so, I’ll believe you.”

“Mikki, Iorin.” “Mitsuki-san, Iori-kun!” Tamaki and Sogo said at the same time. Both of them also looked at each other with mild surprise in sync.

“Everyone!” Mitsuki jogged to their table. An unknown guy was following him on a more sedated pace. “I can’t believe you guys gathered here without me. Though, I don’t know think I’ve met the two of you?” He pointed the question to Yamato and Nagi. Wait, did that mean he knew Tamaki too?

“My name is Rokuya Nagi, you must be Iori’s beloved older brother!”

“Eh? That guy is Mitsuki-san’s younger brother?” Riku thought he was Mitsuki’s older brother. Iori showed an unpleasant expression.

“Do you have a problem with that?”

Riku narrowed his eyes. What’s his problem? “Mitsuki-san looks young, so I thought you’re older than him!”

The guy ignored him. How rude! “First of all, I don’t know Nikaido-san knows one of Nii-san’s friends.” Mitsuki dragged two chairs so both of them can sit together with them. The air felt a bit stuffier, but Riku was happy that it became lively.

Yamato groaned. “Don’t tell me… almost all of us know each other?”

“Amazing, what are the odds of this happening?” Sogo’s eyes sparkled.

“Heh, now all of us know everyone.” Tamaki grinned.

Mitsuki laughed. “Ahaha! You’re right!”

Yes, seven is our lucky number!” Nagi stood up and clapped his hands loudly. “Everyone, may I please have your attention!”

A tap on Riku’s hand made him averted his eyes from Nagi. It was Iori. “I don’t think I’ve catch your name before.”

Riku smiled. Maybe they just got on the wrong foot. “I’m Nanase Riku, I hope we get along, Iori-kun!”

As Nagi expressed his intention to make a song and asked them to sing it with him, Riku felt warmth in his chest. Especially when everyone have no qualms about singing it together as seven.

With seven of them, he hoped that everyone’s wish would come true.

He hoped that his voice could reach more people.

And maybe, just maybe—it would reach Tenn someday.

 

17

Takanashi Tsumugi took a deep breath. Tomorrow would be the first time she met the tenants of her father’s new apartment, so she was understandably nervous. Even though she already had her job at a publishing company, she couldn’t object her father when he asked her to take care of the apartment.

“Tsumugi-chan, relax.” Banri, her coworker and another new tenant, patted her shoulder.

She released a deep breath. “I already know you, Oogami-san, so it’s not that much of a trouble. It’s just, will I be a good landlady?”

“You will. I have faith in you, Tsumugi-chan, so does your father.” Banri smiled teasingly. “And it’s next to a cake shop, Fonté Chocolat, so I know you’ll be there almost every day.”

“Geez, don’t tease me like that!” Tsumugi huffed. She pulled out the folder with the new tenants lease. “Nikaido Yamato-san, Yotsuba Tamaki-kun, Osaka Sogo-san, Rokuya Nagi-san, and Nanase Riku-san… I can’t wait to meet them.”