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Text message: Tasuku: Where are you now?
Text message: Azuma: That's a secret.
Text message: Tasuku: Please open the door.
Azuma: Huh?
Azuma: It can't be...
Izumi: Sorry for coming here without telling you first.
Azuma: Tasuku, Izumi...
Asajo: I'll leave Azuma in your hands.
Azuma: Ms. Asajo?
Asajo: You really shouldn't make your friends worry so much, Azuma.
Azuma: ...
Asajo: I'll be taking my leave, then.
Tasuku: Thank you for your help.
Azuma: Well, come on in.
Tasuku: Thanks.
Izumi: Thank you.
---
Azuma: Why did you come here?
Tasuku: We've been wondering why you've been going out at night lately.
Azuma: You asked me this before. The answer hasn't changed. I just wanted some fresh air while I was getting into my character.
Tasuku: If it's role studying you want to do, I can help you with that.
Azuma: Huh?
Tasuku: I brought my script with me.
Izumi: Whoa, it's pretty beat up.
Izumi: (No wonder he needed another copy.)
Azuma: ...Can I take a look at that?
Tasuku: Huh, why? It's really messy.
Azuma: I think looking over your notes would be enlightening.
Tasuku: They're just things I jotted down mindlessly, though...
Izumi: I'd like to see them, too.
Azuma: I might be able to learn a thing or two from them. Please?
Tasuku: ...Fine. Here.
Azuma ...
Izumi: Wow... There are so many notes about blocking and gestures as well as different ways to deliver your lines with Azuma...
Tasuku: I've been trying to figure out what would help Azuma out the most, so the pages go messier and messier.
Azuma: ...You really are an acting junkie.
Azuma: You didn't have to come all the way here for this... I told you I'll be sure to do a good job during our performance, didn't I?
Tasuku: That's not what I was worried about.
Azuma: What is it, then?
Tasuku: We may be able to pull off the play perfectly fine, but are you fine? It seems like something's been bothering you.
Azuma: ...
Azuma: So straightforward as always, Tasuku. I didn't think you'd ask me upfront like this, though.
Tasuku: ...I'm not really good with these kinds of situations.
Azuma: Sorry, I didn't mean to make you feel bad. Thanks for asking. I'll tell you everything.
Azuma: It's a long story, though. Can you call the rest of the Winter Troupe here, please?
Izumi: I'm on it!
---
Tsumugi: Thanks for having us over.
Homare: Indeed, thank you.
Azuma: Welcome.
Tsumugi: Wow, this is such a nice apartment.
Izumi: Our dorm's nothing compared to this. I know there's no point in worrying about it now, but I feel bad that you have to stay in such a small room at Mankai...
Azuma: No worries. I've grown quite fond of my room at the dorm.
Homare: What do you all speak of? This looks like a fitting space for a person living on their own.
Hisoka: ...You're so bougie.
Azuma: Unlike you, I had an average, middle-class upbringing though, Homare.
Azuma: I suppose it's time for me to share some of my past with you all.
---
My parents were civil servants. They were both honest, hardworking people.
I had a brother who was a number of years older than me. He was kind, considerate, and smart, but chose to go to a public college so we could save money.

My dad was a rather impatient man who'd get frustrated at us whenever we had to go out, because we always took our time getting ready, just like our mom.

Even so, we all got along.
When I was still in elementary school, my brother was getting ready to leave for college, so we planned a family vacation before then.

But the day before we were supposed to go, I got sick.

My family wanted to call off the trip, but I told them that I'd be fine on my own and that they should go without me.

My fever was already subsiding, and they had been looking forward to it for so long, after all.

Are you sure you'll be okay by yourself? Maybe I should stay home with you...

Don't be such a worrywart, Mom. I'll be fine, so you go and have fun.

We'll return as soon as we can.

We'll bring back some gifts for you, too.

Thanks. See you later.

Be good.

It was lonely being the only one at home, but it was only going to be a one-day trip. I thought they'd be back in no time.

But that would turn out to be the last time I ever saw my family again.

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