he doctors under him, to say nothing of the associate professors, all seemed to be having trouble making progress with their papers thanks to problems of language competence.
He knew the job wouldn’t last forever, but that was exactly why he wanted to earn money while he still could.
Basically no one else came into the conference room while Koutarou was using it.
But as evening approached, the door opened without even a knock.
“Ah, still working, huh,” Nagasaki said in a jovial tone, appearing unexpectedly.
He was wearing his white lab coat today again, so he must still have been on duty.
“There’s no rush, you know, you don’t have to work yourself so hard, Seno.”
Nagasaki said it in a completely natural tone of voice.
But Koutarou didn’t miss it, even with his nerves stretched as thin as they were.
“Seno? I’m Sakurai…”
It had been a while since Koutarou had been called by that name, and he didn’t respond.
But if he hadn’t been vigilant about Nagasaki already, he might not have been able to answer so calmly.
“Not going to fall for something so rudimentary, huh.”
Nagasaki’s smile stayed bright.
It seemed to have been just a diversionary tactic after all.
Koutarou watched Nagasaki’s attitude calmly.
He had no intention of giving himself away.
“You look exactly like this other researcher, so I wondered if there was any connection, that’s all.
Koutarou Seno.
The surnames are different, but you’ve got the same given names, huh.”
Nagasaki wasn’t boasting about anything, he spoke the facts as disinterestedly as always.
So the time had finally come.
Koutarou had every intention of resigning himself to it, but now that the moment was here a hopelessness he’d never felt before attacked him.
How had Nagasaki found him? He wanted to know, but there was no way he could ask.
Doing something like that would only wrap him in further suspicion.
Koutarou’s name and photograph had been published in industry magazines.
So it wouldn’t have been that unusual for Koutarou’s photo to be circulating on the internet, and if that’s what Nagasaki had found, maybe there was nothing to be done.
“You have any connection to Koutarou Seno?”
“I don’t,” Koutarou answered at once, with no hesitation.
It wasn’t outside the scope of questions he’d anticipated.
Koutarou didn’t falter in his responses.
“Well, have you heard of Koutarou Seno?”
Nagasaki’s questions continued.
But no matter what he asked, Koutarou would never admit it.
Even if this was a pointless exchange, he had no choice but to keep it up until Nagasaki was convinced, in order to clear up his doubts.
“No I don’t.”

“I mean okay, but you’re not worried about it? Somebody’s out there with the same name as you, looking exactly like you.
I’d be worried about it if it were me.”
Even with it pointed out that his disinterested reaction was strange, Koutarou didn’t waver.
That wasn’t something that had started just recently.
“I’ve never really been interested in other people, so…”
“Besides your lover?”
“That’s true.”
Even Nagasaki’s cool attitude, Koutarou accepted with a smile.
Shuuji was the best lover, and he wanted to boast about him no matter the situation.
“Koutarou Seno was apparently researching regenerative medicine at a pharmaceutical company.
Although he’s since passed away.”
Koutarou hadn’t asked, but Nagasaki started talking about the results of his investigation.
“He seems to have been an excellent researcher.”
“And so what? What kind of answer are you expecting from me, Mr Nagasaki?” Koutarou interrupted, wondering how long this conversation was going to go on.
“No, I just thought, if you have a connection to that researcher, that alone might give me a taste of how great he was.”
“Ah, I see.
My apologies for disappointing you,” Koutarou bowed his head like it was somebody else’s problem.
“You are a weird one, you know.”
Something about it must have been weird at any rate, because Nagasaki let out a laugh, and then, “Sorry for interrupting you.
Keep working.”
And with that, he left.
Koutarou had just decided that he should try and continue in this job as long as he could, but that wasn’t a possibility now.
Things had gone too far.
Nagasaki had to believe that Koutarou Sakurai had some connection with Koutarou Seno.
He didn’t have any proof yet, but if Nagasaki investigated and found out the truth, he might be able to uncover the relationship between Shuuji and Koutarou Seno.
They had to leave this town before that happened.
But Koutarou had just started this paper, there was no way he could finish it today.
If it was just the translation, he could’ve done it, but if he was going to bring it up to the same level as his previous work, that would take time.
And if he just abandoned it, that would only deepen Nagasaki’s suspicions further.
How was he going to cut his way out of this situation? Koutarou mulled over the problem, but his hands never stopped working.

– – –

“You’re awfully late.”
When Koutarou got home, he was greeted by a worried Shuuji.
“I wanted to finish this paper quickly…”
Obsessed with that idea, he’d been working in a trance, and had completely forgotten the time.
By the time he realized it, it was already past seven in the evening.
If Koutarou had owned a cell phone, he’d have contacted Shuuji, but he couldn’t use the same one he’d had before, and he couldn’t sign a new contract.
Shuuji had said that they could get another one under his name, but Koutarou had refused, saying it wasn’t necessary, since they were almost always together.
“They’re in that much of a rush for this paper?” Shuuji asked, to which Koutarou shook his head.
“Mr Nagasaki called me Seno today.”
Koutarou’s words left Shuuji speechless.
If they were going to have to leave town, he couldn’t hide it from Shuuji any more.
Koutarou explained the details of what had happened when he was called out.
“He was fooled by those kind of lies?”
“He backed down right away, but I’m sure he doesn’t believe we’re unrelated.”
“Yeah, true.
With the same face, and the same given name.
It’s only natural that he wouldn’t believe that kind of coincidence.” Shuuji bit his lip, and closed his eyes, pained.
“It’s because we were so particular about your name.”

“So that you didn’t call me the wrong thing–”
“No it wasn’t.” Shuuji interrupted Koutarou, an echo of grief in his words.
“I know I said you’re a separate person from the previous Koutarou, but I didn’t want to just toss out Koutarou’s name.
I wanted to keep saying that name forever.”
Whether human being or object, a name was just something used to denote an individual.
That was all Koutarou had ever thought about it.
But hearing Shuuji’s thoughts, he saw for the first time the value in his own name.
“Thank you.”
“What are you thanking me for?” Shuuji smiled, dumbfounded.
But his smile said he definitely understood the meaning behind Koutarou’s gratitude.
“I couldn’t do it today, but next time I’ll finish the paper they gave me today, and then I’ll try not to meet with Mr Nagasaki again.”
After Koutarou had made that decision, he immediately rethought it.
“Wait no, that’s no good.
As long as we’re living here, I won’t be able to stay away from him.
We’ll have to leave town…”
“Wait a minute.”
Koutarou had started muttering his thoughts out loud to himself, but Shuuji quickly stopped him.
“Wait for what? We don’t have any time to wait.
We have to leave town quickly, or he’ll find out who I really am.”
“I understand that, calm down a minute.”
Grabbing both Koutarou’s shoulders, Shuuji stared him right in the face.
“This isn’t like you.”
“Aren’t you normally calmer than this? It’s the first time I’ve ever seen you this agitated,” Shuuji said calmly, trying to sooth Koutarou.
“So even Koutarou can get flustered, huh.”
There was no hint of reproach in Shuuji’s voice.
Rather, Koutarou could hear something like joy at a new discovery.
“That’s true.
It’s the first time I’ve felt like this.”
Shuuji’s calm attitude brought Koutarou back to a cool head.
He hadn’t realized until it was pointed out to him, but Koutarou had never been flustered.
It wasn’t that he set out not to be, it was probably just because he’d been lacking in human emotions since he was a child.
It had all seemed normal to him, so he’d never noticed it.
What had gotten him agitated wasn’t that his true identity had been revealed to Nagasaki.
It was that his life here with Shuuji might be taken away.
Koutarou couldn’t imagine a life without Shuuji.
The sense of impending danger that he might have to give it all up put Koutarou in such a panic he’d forgotten himself.
“You calmed down?”
Sorry.” Koutarou bowed his head with an embarrassed grin.
“This situation with Mr Nagasaki,” Shuuji said, “let’s watch it for a while.
Any sudden changes will just make him more suspicious.”
Maybe Shuuji’s suggestion was correct, but they wouldn’t be able to avoid a dangerous situation like that.
“It’ll be fine if we stay confident.
There’s no proof that you’re Koutarou Seno.
Besides, Koutarou Seno is already…” Shuuji’s words stuck in his throat.
Koutarou didn’t prompt him to continue, but instead nodded to say that he understood.
He didn’t want to make Shuuji put Koutarou’s death into words ever again.
“For now, I’ll complete the paper I’m working on without any slip in quality right to the end.” Koutarou accepted Shuuji’s suggestion, and put it into words in his own way.
“And after that?”
“I’ll look for another job.
If I say I’ve found another job, even Mr Nagasaki will probably agree.”
“That’s all we can do, huh.” But even as he said it, Shuuji didn’t seem entirely convinced.
He was probably thinking about how they’d finally managed to find a job that was a perfect fit for Koutarou.
But he didn’t oppose it, because he hated to lose Koutarou.
And now that he’d been able to reconfirm Shuuji’s thoughts, Koutarou vowed again to protect their life together until his last breath.

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like