Together with House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 10 (Interval 1-2) – Even If You Do Follow.
“First (ichi) is the famous local shrine (ichi no miya)!”
“Second (ni) is the Toushougu shrine in Nikkou!”
“Third (san) is Mt. (san) Yoshino and all the cherry blossoms!”
“Fourth (shi) is, um, Zenkouji, on the Shinano line!”
“F-, fifth (itsutsu) is, Izumo’s, umm, Aoya-, aahhh!”
On the fifth round, the thrown beanbag fell to the bed.
“….Huh, that’s weird… Why did I mess up there?”
“Practice makes perfect, eh heh heh.”
It was night.
Since I had slept past noon, my eyes were clear, and I couldn’t sleep; Sakura and I played with the beanbag on top of the bed. We’d combined the beanbag and the counting song, and we’d been playing with the rules that said a mistake meant losing, but ten was basically impossible this way. We had played before, but Sakura was ridiculously good at this, and I always lost around the fourth or fifth turn.
“You’re always so slow, Sakura, but you’re so good at this kinda stuff!”
“Hmph! ‘Slow’ is uncalled for! If you just keep trying, you’ll better too, Nee-san.”
“Hmm. I guess you need to try hard like that, huh…”
“That’s right. I’m doing my best. Eh heh heh.”
“I see, I see… I see a gap! There!”
“Aaaah! What are you doing, Nee-san!?”
Like I’d let Sakura brag any more than that! The bed springs creaked as I jumped and pinned Sakura down. The world operates on survival of the fittest. Sheer power is more important than ability! You learn that with your body!
“Bwah hah hah! You’re getting cocky, Sakura! Take that!”
“Nooo! My pajamas are getting all wrinkled! This is sexual harassment!”
*Wham! Shout! Crash!*
We were making a clamor like that, when-
Archer suddenly appeared, and struck both of our heads with his fist.
“Honestly… What time do you think it is? It’s already past ten at night. Hurry up and get to bed.”
“A-, at least knock when you enter a lady’s room!”
While I rubbed my punched head, I glared at Archer, my eyes full of bitterness.
“I don’t think ladies go squawking about in the middle of the night. Think of the neighbors!”
“I don’t think there’s much of a neighborhood on a mountain like this one…”
“Fool. The point is that it’s a problem of moderation. Moderation!”
“Even if you live on a mountain. You two can’t live on your own, right?”
“Ye-… Yeah…” “…Yes.”
“Then no matter where you are or what you’re doing, strive to be a person you can be proud to be. That’s if you want to be the sort of refined young lady whom people whisper about, going ‘Wow, I wonder where that magnificent young woman is from!?’, that is.”
Watching the slightly guilty Archer imitate a young girl’s voice made Sakura and I burst into peals of laughter.
“Yeah, I’ll be a graceful lady!” “I’ll do my best!”
Archer nodded in satisfaction at our answers and then lightly raised us both up and laid us in bed, spreading out a blanket over us.
“Goodnight then, Masters.”
Archer’s turned off the light and patted our heads once. He stood up.
He stood… up.
Somehow, the figure of Archer about to leave brought back the lonely feelings from during the day… I stopped him unconsciously.
“…Hm? What is it?”
Archer turned his head, a curious look on his face. Ugh. Well, I didn’t really have a reason to call out to him, so, umm, well, hmm. Seeing me looking lost, Sakura giggled and stuck her head out from under the sheets and beckoned Archer over.
I stammered “Uh, umm, well, we were just playing around a bunch, so… I can’t sleep. So, would you, umm… Sing us a lullaby?”
After Archer had drawn closer, Sakura and I stared at him fixedly, determined not to let him get away. Archer’s mind raced, his face displaying his complete confusion over whether he was embarrassed, shy, or reluctant. Soon, he let out a single sigh. Seeming to understand that we wouldn’t let him go unless he sang, he brought a chair out from the writing desk across from the bed and took a seat.
“…Honestly. You’d better make sure to fall asleep after you hear it, because I’m only going to do this once.”
“I feel like you’re misunderstanding something about what a lullaby is…”
“It’s fine! Let him sing. Come on, go for it!”
“…Geez. What whimsical masters. …Well then.”
Archer took a breath, and slowly began to sing.
Even if to me, it’s a small turtle…
Small is how an ant would feel.
Everyone lives the same… living each of our precious lives.
“…This is a nice song…”
Even if to me, it’s a Mansion…
From the top of a mountain, it looks like it was meant for children.
Everyone on this Earth is family, living each of our precious lives.
He sounded a little awkward, but the song was full of a gentleness… Somehow, it didn’t seem like Archer’s voice…
Even if to me, it’s East and West…
From that star, you can’t guess.
Everyone’s friends in this universe, living each of our precious lives.
“…Hey… What… kind of song is…?”
If you slap your cheeks with your hands…
You’ll feel the warmth you hold in them.
Ah, well, that’s life…
As we heard the final phrase, our eyelids closed shut. Aware we were dozing off, Archer kept watch, his face full of kindness. He had the smile of someone who understood, more than anyone, the preciousness of this happiness… It was a smiling face no different than it had once been.
But, then why was it…?
The dream I had seen that day. Even when I chased it, I could catch up with Archer’s still back. He just went farther away from me every time I got near… It felt like that dream.
Together With House Husband Part 2, Chapter 10. Interlude 1-2.
Because I don’t want to let go of that hand, I wish desperately to be close to you.
The song is Iruka’s “Ah, Well, That’s Life”, from the 1980’s.
It is a song of an ideal world, to be sung to children and make everyone think, “Ah, how nice”.
That’s exactly why it’s precious. And that’s exactly why it’s ephemeral. He was a man who had a wish that would not come true, even if he pursued it.
Even still, he was right there.
Notes after the Jump
Unfortunately, this is pretty much untranslatable as is. Sakura and Rin play a game where they sing a famous song, “temari uta”, and bounce a ball between them, naming famous figure, shrine, or god in between each pass. This site has one version of the song; there are numerous regional editions.
A link to a performance of “Ah. Well, That’s Life”: