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To Asougi,

I promised that I’d write letters to you, didn’t I? Although, I don’t think any of us could have foreseen it turning out this way. I doubt that these words can ever reach you. But I can only hope that you’re watching over us. It’s the least I could do, keeping at least one pathetic promise alive. I’ll tell you all about our adventures in London. I’ll write out all the details the best that I can.

Do you remember that strange detective? Apparently, he’s more famous than we thought. You should’ve mentioned him to Susato-san; she turned out to be a big fan that followed his novel series, or something like that. But something about his deductions is really off, it’s hard to believe that that’s what made him famous. Nevertheless, he’s played a big role alongside Detective Hosonaga to allow our voyage to continue. I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing him in London. I suppose it’s nice to have someone familiar to greet in that country, despite how eccentric he may be.

We’ll be arriving in England in just a few days. Susato-san has been absolutely amazing at tutoring me in everything I need to know about law. These were the most intense cram sessions I’ve ever experienced. It’s no wonder you spoke so highly of her before. I can see you and her making an unstoppable team together. I just wish I could’ve seen the two of you in action, just once.

Your shoes will be so difficult to fill. I don’t think I could ever compare to you, even if I worked hard for the rest of my entire life. But for the sake of your dreams and Susato-san’s, I’ve decided, I’ll give it my all. I’ll keep them alive, no matter that. You’ve always inspired me, after all. I won’t allow everything that you’ve worked for go to waste.

I know that there were things that you never got to tell me. I decided to be patient, to wait until you were ready. Now, I regret that dearly. When I think of you, my heart aches so much that I can hardly breathe. It hasn’t gotten any easier. I still think about what would’ve happened if I did better if I were a better things turned out differently. If you were still with us. Maybe I could have prevented If only I

There are a lot of things that I could wish for, but they’ll never come true. All we can do now is keep pushing forward. That’s what you would say, right? I have to believe that everything will turn out alright. I hope I can make you proud. I miss you so much I’ll write to you again soon.

Sincerely,

Naruhodou

 

The once deafening cacophony of cicadas outside now only felt like a buzz at the back of his head. The man frowned, lightly running his fingertips over the aging paper. Rough, misshapen spots dotted its surface - traces of teardrops. Even now, years later, he could feel the scars of that incident radiating from this piece of writing. The grief, the rawness of it all. He closed his eyes and breathed a short sigh.

“…Ryuunosuke…”

Down the hall, the front door slid open.

“We’re home!!”

Ah, speak of the devil. The man didn’t look up, setting the letter aside and fetching the next in the stack.

“Welcome back,” he called, casually, eyes already scanning the next entry.

“Ahhh, it’s so hot today,” Ryuunosuke complained as he walked by, down the hall, hands full of groceries, blissfully unaware. But the woman behind him stopped in front of the room and gave a polite bow.

“Kazuma-sama, we’ve picked up your medicine - I’ll go prepare some tea momentarily.”

“Much obliged, Mikotoba.” Kazuma nodded gratefully at her. Before she could go about her business, however, she spotted the letters.

“Oh? What do you have there?”

“Something interesting,” he answered simply, knowing how to pique her interest. He grinned, beckoning her over with a wave of the paper in his hand. Susato tilted her head, making her way over to his side. She sat gracefully on her legs as Kazuma was, taking a closer look.

“Ah!! These are-! Naruhodou-sama’s letters to you, back then…how nostalgic. I haven’t seen these in years.”

“You’ve read them?” Kazuma eyed her eagerly, but she shook her head.

“I’ve only caught glances. Naruhodou-sama treated them more as a journal than anything else, I felt it rude to pry. Plus…” She frowned thoughtfully, tapping her chin. “I do remember him growing increasingly flustered with each entry, whenever I happened to walk in on him writing one.” Kazuma’s eyebrows shot up.

“Oh? What an interesting observation you’ve got there, Mikotoba.”

“I wonder if it’s alright to read them now.”

“Well, they’re addressed to me, after all. And I say that you’re allowed,” Kazuma said. Susato giggled softly.

“I’m not sure if Naruhodou-sama would agree…”

“Huh? Are you two talking about me?” Ryuunosuke’s head poked into view, at last. Kazuma didn’t even try to hide the letters, continuing to read.

“Yeah.”

“What do you mean, ‘yeah’? What about-? WAIT? KAZUMA, WHAT IS THAT?!”

“You tell me, partner.” Kazuma was doing his best to keep a straight face, while also reading through the rest of the letter as quickly as possible.

“Where did you find those?! A-actually, nevermind that question!! Stop reading them!!!”

“Why? They’re mine. They clearly say ‘To Asougi’.”

“B-but!! S-Susato-san, please help me out!!” Susato rose to her feet.

“My sincerest apologies, Naruhodou-sama, I must go prepare the tea. I believe a fascinating read such as this requires adequate refreshments.”

“Susato-san!!”

Kazuma couldn’t help a loud snort at that. Ah, the ever dependable Mikotoba. She darted off, slipping past Ryuunosuke. Kazuma picked up the next letter.

“Kazuma, seriously, please!! Don’t make me come over there!”

“And do what?” He shot a bored look over. “You promised me these letters, didn’t you? You said it yourself back then, and it’s even here, in writing.” He gestured at the first letter.

“W-well, it’s not like I wrote these thinking that you’d read them in the future!! For obvious reasons!!”

“That just makes them even more heartfelt.” He genuinely wanted to read more of these. It was already clear that Ryuunosuke poured his heart and soul into them. Kazuma was touched, even after reading just the first two. Though that didn’t mean that he was done joking around. “I don’t get how you can be so embarrassed by something so old. Honestly, how bad can they be? Is there a sappy love confession in here?” A pause. Then Ryuunosuke’s face turned increasingly vibrant shades of red. Kazuma’s eyes lit up. It was a careless little educated guess, but now he was just delighted . “There is?!”

Clearly, that was the last straw. Ryuunosuke rushed into the room, but Kazuma readily snatched the whole stack of papers up before he could reach him.

“Hand them over!!”

“Make me.”

“Kazuma!!”

Ryuunosuke had failed to build up any bulk in the past few years. And with Kazuma’s practical training in England, he didn’t stand a chance. The poor skinny defence attorney was easily pinned to the ground. All Kazuma had to do was lay his broad back on top of him.

“Shall I read them aloud, Ryuunosuke?” Kazuma asked, smugly. Ryuunosuke groaned loudly, burying his burning face against his partner’s shoulder.

“I will die. I’m dying. You’re killing me.”

“A ha ha ha!! Don’t be so dramatic!”

“I can’t believe you’d do this when we still have a case to go over…”

“I’m willing to spare an hour just for this. So? Which one is it?” He started flipping through the papers, skimming them.

“L-like I’d tell you!!”

“Hmm. ‘To Asougi; I’ve had far too much time to think, lately. As always, my thoughts keep drifting back to you’-” Ryuunosuke interrupted him with a terrified yell.

“NOOO!!”

Kazuma couldn’t help his loud laughter. It was almost like reading a cheesy poem written by a secret admirer. And yet, he absolutely loved that about it. “You’re so sweet.” Ryuunosuke sounded like he wanted to cry. He lay limp, in total defeat. Kazuma decided to show mercy, getting off of him, though not before neatly storing the stack of letters into his sleeve. “I am going to read through all of these, partner. You can’t stop me.”

“As long as we never speak of them again…”

“I can’t promise that.”

Ryuunosuke groaned, grudgingly accepting Kazuma’s helping hand to climb back to his feet. “It’s so embarrassing though…probably really weird too.”

“You’re saying I haven’t seen you at your weirdest yet?” Kazuma grinned, ruffling his partner’s hair. "You already wear your heart on your sleeve. There's nothing to be embarrassed about around me." Ryuunosuke made a face.

“Even if you say that, it’s still embarrassing.”

Kazuma just shook his head. He leaned against his partner, snaking his arm around his waist, hand resting comfortably on his hip. He gently urged him toward the door.

"Come on, let's discuss the case over lunch." Ryuunosuke eyed him cautiously.

"Really?"

"I've decided, I'm not cruel enough to read them in front of you. So I'll save them for later!"

"Ugh …well, that's the best I can hope for, I guess." He pouted against Kazuma's shoulder before pulling away, making his way down the hall. Kazuma followed close behind. "Ah, I'm hungry…"

"Did you manage to get some beef this time?"

"No, only chicken."

"Hey."

Ryuunosuke's laugh was like a crystal bell. Kazuma couldn't help but crack a fond smile. It was just another day in their peaceful household, and even their bleakest of memories brought forth a certain loving warmth.

 

To Asougi,

I’ve had far too much time to think, lately. As always, my thoughts keep drifting back to you. I often have dreams about that first year we spent together. If only I knew I had so little time to spend with you. Our friendship blossomed so quickly, it honestly made my head spin. Being around you made me feel so happy. I felt like I've never had a bond quite like the one I had with you. My dearest friend.

But thinking back, I’ve started to realise some things. Maybe, losing you is what it took for me to understand my own feelings. I’m such a fool. But, after all this time, I might finally be able to articulate it. My love for you was something more than admiration, and more than mere friendship. I think I truly adored you was smitten loved you. fell in love with you, somewhere along the way. And now I can’t help but wonder, did you feel the same for me? Would you have? Would you be disgusted?

I wish everyday that I could just speak to you again, if only once. There is still so much left unsaid between us. I want to sit next to you and laugh about pointless things together. I want to hold your hand, one more time. But I guess the best I could hope for is meeting up with you in my dreams.

I can’t believe I wrote all of this out. I might throw this entry away later, or burn it. I don’t know. But I think I just had to finally admit it, somewhere, before I imploded.

I miss you dearly, as always. But please don’t worry about me; I’m doing just fine these days. There are loads of paperwork sitting on my desk, so I should stop daydreaming and work on them. You already know how it is. I’m sorry that I don’t have many interesting events to report on recently, so you’ll just get my useless ramblings for now. But I made a promise. I would keep writing letters to you until we meet again, even if it has to be in another world. Maybe then, I can finally admit my feelings to you boldly, without any hesitation. I’ll write again soon, as always.

Sincerely, Love, Sincerely,

Naruhodou