“In other words, to Toushirou, I’m an absolute being, something equivalent to a god. So you could say, for him to work in my stead is his natural duty.”
“I wonder if you could still say the same thing in the Soviet Union.”
“The, the Soviet Union is gone now isn’t it?”
Originally, the phrase “If any would not work, neither shall he eat” came from a paragraph in the Holy Bible, but the spread of this phrase around the world was largely due to the old Soviet Union’s communistic propaganda.
Although he was thankful for being taken under Shuuya’s wing, as to be expected, there were things that irritated him which he could not stand.
“Ahaha, my brother said that it’s easy to acquire Soviet guns.”
“……Man I really wished you stopped going there.”
Whilst they were talking about such, the plates had become empty.
Gathering the cutlery and standing up, Toushirou called out to Flika.
“Flika, I’m going to make some coffee, so please remember how I do it.”
The unexpected explosion of customers today was attended to by Flika. As a result, he wasn’t really able to teach her about the work in the kitchen.
Flika lay flat on the table and let out a listless voice.
“Ehh—…… Isn’t work already over?”
“It’s because you’ll be making it too.”
“I see. When a man says he’s doing his best for you, it would be inconsiderate to reject. Please allow me to carefully observe how you would satisfy me.”
“I’m telling you to study. This logic is just like Shuuya’s. Do you want to become like him?”
“……Ahaha. I’m sorry. I’ll apologize. It was my bad.”
Seeing Flika lowering her head with a serious look on her face, Shuuya teared up.
“You guys, haven’t you forgotten that I’m your guardian?”
Letting out a sigh, Shuuya added.
“Putting that aside, please make me one.”
Another good thing about working here was that you could drink coffee whenever you liked.
It was so that they could come up with an original blend.
Carrying the cutlery, Toushirou moved towards the sink.
As he was putting the kettle over the fire while washing the cutlery, Flika was beside him lending a hand.
A sweet fragrance gentle tickled his nose. Even though Toushirou was the one who was enticed, he was conscious of the fact that the young girl just came out from a bath.
—She’s not, a bad girl, right?
Being together for a whole day today, he more or less knew.
However, she had amnesia and he honestly felt that she wasn’t very well acquainted with what was common sense. Even though she smiles forcefully in a very obvious manner, it could very well have been a defensive mechanism to protect herself.
When the water had finally been brought to a boil, the dishes were washed.
“Coffee first begins from the grinding of the beans. For starters, please separate and make it individually for each and every customer. Well, but this time we’ll be making enough for three people.”
Choosing the beans that have all but a tinge of bitterness, Toushirou poured them into the coffee mill.
A crunching sound could be heard as he ground the beans, and Flika face was filled with curiosity.
—This expression, it really didn’t change.
Three years ago, when he was brewing coffee in the ward, “she” too made the same expression as she took a peek.
It was so nostalgic, so adorable that he had to desperately resist the urge to reach out and touch her face.
“That’s a nice smell.”
“Right? That’s why it’s important to brew it before the aroma dissipates.”
As he answered cheerfully, Flika stared at Toushirou’s face fixatedly.
“Toushirou kun, you really like coffee don’t you?”
“That… well, I’m a barista after all.”
“If that’s the case then I’ll try my best to remember.”
“What do you mean by “if that’s the case”?”
Even as he tilted his head in confusion, he proceeded to place a coffee dripper on the pot and laid out a paper filter.
“There’s a siphon at the counter, but here we’ll be making it by paper drip.”
“Even though there’s the fact that it’s inexpensive, the dripper requires more technique. It’s ideal for practice.”
Removing the coffee beans from the mill’s saucer, Toushirou continued.
“Personally, I prefer the drip as it gives a stronger aroma.”
He then dropped the ground beans onto the filter and then finally poured the hot water over it.
“In the beginning, please do not forget to steam the beans like this. Because if you don’t the flavor will not come out at all, and if you do it badly, its taste will lose to even that of instant coffee.”
After about thirty seconds, all the coffee beans were colored with a damp black. In the meantime, he did not forget to pour hot water into the cup to warm it up beforehand.
Then, he poured the hot water as if he was slowly drawing a circle.
Black liquid started dripping into the pot, and a fragrant aroma wafted across the kitchen.
Flika closed her eyes like she was taking it in.
Her cheeks blushed faintly.
He suddenly felt a burning desire. Looking at her face from the side, Toushirou became charmed unconsciously.
“The smell feels somewhat nostalgic.”
Those words brought him back to reality, and Toushirou tilted the pot once more.
“Nostalgic? Is your brother also someone who drinks coffee?”
“Not particularly. But somehow I feel that I’ve smelt this aroma somewhere before……” said Flika as she touched her nose irritably.
Upon hearing that reply, Toushirou was stunned.
—Speaking of which, Flika seems to be the type that reacts strongly to smell.
Although it could be seen that she reacted to the smell of the cocoa and panino in the afternoon, she even said that the smell of the coffee was nostalgic.
—Could it be that even if her mind forgets, her body still remembers?
He felt like he saw hope.
However, it was a fleeting one, where it would disappear immediately if he were to grab at it desperately, so Toushirou held back his desire of wanting to pry further.
For now, just the fact that she said that coffee was nostalgic was good enough.
After stabilizing his breathing covertly, Toushirou proceeded with his explanation.
“The flavor of the bean to really comes out only up to about the third time. For anything more than that, think of it as adjusting the flavor.”
As the pot finally became full, he removed the dripper and poured away the hot water in the cup.
The coffee for three was done.
Letting out a somewhat deeply interested voice, Flika held one of the cups in her hands. Then, she proceeded to move her peach colored lips toward it.
“Drink it after giving it out. It’s bad manners you know?”
“Fufu, it’s a reward for working after hours. What’s the harm with drinking it first?”
“Even though you were just looking on.”
Ignoring Toushirou who had a look of disgust on his face, Flika put her lips on the cup.
Suddenly, her face contorted in agony.
“Ugh, it’s bitter……”
Upon hearing that voice, Toushirou’s heart started to pound wildly.
—Ugh, it’s bitter—
On that day, when Toushirou first brewed coffee in the hospital ward, “she” too made the same face, and said the exact same thing.
Regarding that, Toushirou—
“If you’re bad with bitter stuff, how about adding some milk to it……?”
He had supposedly recommended milk in that manner.
And then “she” refused it with a pissed off look on her face.
—You can’t. Using milk for such purposes is a defilement of milk itself—
While talking about her obsession with milk to great detail.
His heart kept pounding repeatedly.
What will Flika reply? Would she say the same thing as what “she” did, or would she show a different reaction?
The few seconds until she opened her mouth felt like an eternity, and his throat became dry.
In the meantime, a troubled looked appeared across Flika’s face and she shook her head.
“No—…… I’ll oblige.”
Flika refused the milk.
“Well, wouldn’t pouring something like milk into it change its flavor? So I thought that would be kinda bad…”
As though he was relieved, as though he was disappointed, Toushirou let out an obscured sigh.
Thought they weren’t exactly the same, she replied with an expectedly similar answer.
Her not having her memories was not an important thing right now.
It was proof that “she” who disappeared on that very day had returned.
It was proof that even though she had forgotten all about Toushirou, she had lived on for his sake.
Proof that it was alright for him to believe so.
He wanted proof.
He wanted it so badly.
—If I were to find Flika’s brother, will I be able to obtain it?
After she finished drinking the coffee, Flika returned to her room.
Seeing her go, Toushirou got up.