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SPEC GAME

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Nao Kanzaki could hear the doorbell ring from her kitchen. She had only expected Shinichi Akiyama to pass by, but she had not expected him to come so soon.

“Coming!” She called out as she washed her hands before running towards the front door and opening it.

“Akiyama-san, why-“

Her sentence was cut short upon seeing a woman who looked exactly like her. Her smile turned into her mouth opening wide.

“Yo.” Her mirror image replied. Unlike Nao, her hair was all disheveled and she looked like she hardly had any make-up on. She was dressed in a gray business suit usually worn by Japanese when going to interviews only it was just as unorganized as her hair. She wore black school shoes instead of what should have been heels and her left arm was wrapped in bandages and supported by a sling.

“Touma-san!” Nao managed to state. “It has been a long time…”

The woman named Touma tilted her head and gave a lopsided grin. “Yo, Nao-san. The department is temporarily suspended, so I decided to stay here for a while. Maybe for a week or so.”

“Eh?!”

Touma didn’t even bother to wait for Nao to invite her in. With her right hand she pulled her red luggage into the apartment. In about two steps she stopped, and then she started sniffing the air.

“Oh! Nao-san is making something really good.” Touma turned to face Nao and grinned. “I’m not surprised. I had a feeling you’d be a great cook.”

Touma placed her luggage by the dining table. Nao shut the door and tried to assess her situation.

“Touma-san, how did you find where I live? I haven’t seen you in ages.”

She didn’t seem to have noticed Nao saying something. Touma observed that Nao had arranged table settings for two. “Ah! You were expecting someone?”  She moved closer and nudged Nao with her left elbow. “Let me guess, you have a boyfriend?”

All the heat went to Nao’s face. “Um…I…”

“Now that I think about it, when I entered you called me Akiyama right? How interesting. Ah anyway, I hope you guys don’t mind I join you for dinner? I’m SUPER hungry!”

“Uh…”

Touma pulled her luggage to the living room and sat down on the couch. “I think you’re still preparing, so I’ll just wait here. You go finish the cooking, okay?”

She gave her cute grin smile and winked as she saluted with her right hand. Nao didn’t fully understand what was going on, but extra company couldn’t hurt. She also hadn’t seen Saya Touma in about six years and while her personality had been the same as ever her physical appearance was definitely something that alarmed Nao. The most distinct feature was her left arm, and Nao deeply wanted to know how this happened to her.

Nao returned her smile with her own and said. “Just a little more, okay?”

~*~

Shinichi Akiyama went into the apartment building like he did many times. As he promised Nao, he would pass by for dinner after his work at the University. Even after the Liar Game had ended, he still somehow managed to keep in touch with his old ally. To be fair, most of the effort was from her and he just couldn’t find reasons to say no. What started out as something he did every few weeks became more frequent, and he realized that he did indeed enjoy being with her. After all, in a world full of liars and cheaters she was the only person he could trust, and he felt that this was mutual on her part.

When Nao’s father had passed away, Akiyama felt more obliged to keep in touch. Despite all the things they both had gone through, losing her father was what really tore Nao apart. All the tears she shed during the course of the Liar Game were not even close from the crying she had done after he died. Since she had no other family and no close friends, it was only he who had stayed by her side and comforted her.

He originally believed that his reason for comforting her was because he had understood the loss of losing a parent and what it could cause a person to do; he knew that in those dark times a person would be capable of doing anything. Somewhere during his visits (and other nights he had stayed over) he realized that another reason was because he had long ago had feelings for her.

Akiyama had thought of telling her, but he was never the sort of person to speak up. Instead, he had hoped his actions would speak for themselves.

For example, coming to see her for dinner

He stood in front of her apartment door and rang the doorbell.

“Coming!” She heard her yell. She was probably in the kitchen, he guessed. Akiyama couldn’t help but crack a small smile at the sound of her voice.

He heard a set of footsteps toward the door, and the door opened revealing Nao...

…or at least, that’s what he thought.

“Yo.” She said.

Her entire aura and stance threw Akiyama off.  His eyes narrowed and he looked her up from head to toe. She had smelled strongly of garlic, and she looked like she had slept in the clothes she wore the night before. To top it all off, her left arm was held by a sling.

This woman looked like Nao, but he knew even when she was in mourning she never looked like this.

 “Who are you?”

She tilted her head and pursed her lips. “Ah? You didn’t call me Nao.”

“Akiyama-san!” Nao interrupted, rushing to the door. “Thanks for coming! This is Saya Touma.”

Saya saluted with her free hand. “Yo!” she repeated.

“Ah…” Akiyama stated, his tone indicating that he was confused. It was probably one of the rare times that Nao had ever seen him this way.

“Touma-san, this is Akiyama-san. Akiyama-san, I’ll explain everything over dinner.”

“Oh! Finally!” Touma rushed to the dining table. She sat and looked giddy as if it were Christmas morning. Akiyama slowly went inside as Nao shut the door. Nao could see that he was slowly sizing this woman up, a million questions running through his mind.

“You never mentioned…you had a twin.” He started. He placed his hands into the pockets of his pants.

“Well, Touma-san and I are sisters, but we didn’t grow up together to feel like we were twins.” Nao replied. “You realized it wasn’t me?”

He made a tsk sound, as if he was a little offended. “Of course; she’s nothing like you.” He replied.

Akiyama realized this sounded a little too cheesy – which was not his intention- but he noticed that Nao didn’t pick up on that.

“Come on let’s eat. Touma-san has a big appetite so the food will run out fast.” She took his wrist and pulled him to the table.