parently assuming that Koutarou could in fact do it.
Normally, Koutarou would have been suspicious as to why he was being asked such questions, for instance how did this man know Koutarou was good with foreign languages? But the questions seemed to fit a pattern, like the man was confirming a prior hypothesis, so Koutarou again answered with the bare facts.
“English and German don’t give me much trouble…”
Koutarou wasn’t boasting, he wasn’t being humble either, he only meant that he’d needed it and so he could do it.
It was best to read the details of overseas papers and things in the language of the country they’d originally been written in, so that he didn’t feel like things were out of place.
So he’d learned the appropriate languages on his own.
Not just reading and writing, either.
He wanted to avoid having trouble in conversations with overseas researchers, and so Koutarou had made his self-study a success.
“Perfect.
You’ve got some time until you find another job then.
How about some part time work?”
“Part-time work?”
That was a proposal he hadn’t expected, and Koutarou’s suspicions grew stronger.
This was the first time he’d ever met Nagasaki.
And unlike Nagasaki, who’d identified himself as a physician right away, Koutarou had tried not to reveal anything about himself.
He hadn’t even given his name yet.
No matter how unfamiliar Koutarou was with the world, the offer of a part time job wasn’t going to wipe away how unnatural this conversation was.
“Yeah, listen.” In the face of Koutarou’s obvious suspicions, Nagasaki started explaining the part time job in detail.
“It’s true that I came looking for you because I was curious, but I have also been looking for someone who can speak German.”
It was an unnatural excuse, and Koutarou’s suspicions didn’t lessen.
“There’s this professor who’s helped me out, and he asked me if I couldn’t read through some papers for him.
Or at least, he tried to ask me, but I don’t have any spare time myself.”


Obviously, as an actively practicing physician, he wouldn’t have time to read other people’s papers.
But he couldn’t turn the professor down flat, so apparently, the conversation had turned to finding someone else.
“English isn’t that bad, but it’s hard to find someone who can handle German.
Plus, these papers are full of technical jargon, so it’s even harder.”
“That probably is true.” Koutarou nodded, indicating he understood.
Koutarou had no interest in anything outside of research, but even he had often seen fellow researchers suffer through eight circles of hell for overseas papers.
“Given all that, if a guy shows up with medical knowledge, and he can speak German, of course I’m gonna ask him.
Why don’t you just give it a try for a while, see if you can do it?” Nagasaki said, putting his hands together in front of his face like he was praying.
It was a convenient situation for Koutarou.
This was something that would use his knowledge, and he wouldn’t have to interact with people.
But he shook his head.
“I’m sorry you’re in a tight spot, but it’s impossible.”
“You’re looking for a job though, aren’t you?”
“I wasn’t really looking for a part time job…”
After all, if he did get a full-time offer, he’d have to turn it down because he wouldn’t be able to start right away, since he’d be busy with a part time gig.
“It’s fine, just until you find steady work.”
Maybe there really wasn’t anyone else capable of doing it, because Nagasaki wasn’t giving up.
“From what I can see, you don’t seem to be living a particularly extravagant life.
I’m sure you need some money to get you along until you find a suitable position?”
“That is true, but…”
With the contents of his shopping cart perfectly visible, he couldn’t deny that his budget didn’t leave much room to work with.
He didn’t have a single high-priced item in there, it was obvious at a glance that he was only buying the cheap stuff.
“I think it’s a far better option than some kind of day labor.
It’ll be about a hundred thousand per paper.2 If you finish one a week, that would be more than a thousand a day.
Sounds pretty good, huh?”
Presented with concrete sums, Koutarou’s feelings wavered.
Being told so bluntly that he was living on a pretty thin margin had stuck his heart like a thorn.
If it was just him, he would have been fine.
But the fact that Shuuji had to live like this too now, and that it was all his fault, weighed heavily on him.
If he could take on even one paper, maybe that would lessen Shuuji’s workload by one book.
Once he’d had that thought, his mind was made up.
“Maybe as a trial, just one–”


“That’s plenty.”
Nagasaki didn’t even let Koutarou finish his sentence.
It was like he was trying to extract a promise quickly, before Koutarou changed his mind.
“Great.
Looks like coming out to look for you was all worth it.”
“It’s just a trial, right?” Koutarou said, trying to make sure, and Nagasaki nodded like it was all perfectly natural.
“Oh yeah.
For me too.
You might not turn out to be of any use to me, but I can’t keep asking around forever.
So we need a trial period.”
Nagasaki wasn’t shy about saying things directly, and even Koutarou had to give a wry smile.
But he might be useful to Shuuji like this.
Besides, even Shuuji would probably agree to this job.
He always looked at Koutarou like he wanted to apologize for making him do all the housework.
But Shuuji hadn’t done anything wrong.
It was just that he was overly worried about Koutarou, he didn’t want to make Koutarou compromise on his choice of job.
But as a result, Koutarou had ended up stuck at home.
“Well then, thanks very much for the opportunity.”
Koutarou bowed to Nagasaki, picturing how happy Shuuji would look.
“No, thank you.
What did you say your name was?”
He said it like he’d asked and only forgotten, but the truth was Koutarou had never actually told him.
Nagasaki had tried to introduce a job to a person he didn’t even know the name of, and Koutarou wondered if they were similar somehow.
“Koutarou Sakurai.”
Without hesitating, Koutarou gave the name he’d been using since he’d first started living in this town.
There hadn’t been any opportunity to introduce himself to anyone, but he’d practiced it with Shuuji plenty of times, so it didn’t come off as artificial.
Koutarou Seno had died.
There was still a risk to using that name even now that they’d left Tokyo.
So the two of them had thought up a new name.
They’d only changed his surname, though, so Shuuji wouldn’t call him the wrong thing in public.
They spent almost every day together, and even during the short times they were apart, his mind was still filled with Shuuji.
Realizing it about himself, the corners of Koutarou’s mouth pulled up gently.

長 naga, long; 崎saki, slope; 吾 go, (first person pronoun, usually for older men, usually pronounced ware); 郎 rou, boy (this is the same rou as Koutarou, it’s a really common part of masculine names). like US$1000 per paper.

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