?

Log in

No account? Create an account

At least you'll never be a vegetable

Even artichokes have hearts.

Chapter 18 - 戻るべき場所、行くべき場所 The Place You Must Return to, the Place You Must Go
koyatego
9kinds
After all the interviews have finished, Kouta has three unofficial job offers and one rejection. Three weeks have passed since his interview with AIDA, but he hasn’t heard anything. Though he knows it’s unlikely they’d hire him, since he heard back from DDL right away when he was rejected, he can’t let it go yet.

Mitsuko has been busy at work and Kouta is busy preparing to leave Tuberose, so they haven’t seen each other since the day of the interview. Though he had planned on working there until right before beginning work, because he said he would quit when he got an offer, he’s trying to quit as early as possible so as to not break his promise if he gets it. However, he knows Mizutani and the other hosts won’t make it easy, especially for a popular host.

At the end of August, Kota pays a visit to Inarikio shrine when Mizutani is visiting. Mizutani spots him after praying and Kota tells him he has something he wants to talk to him about. Mizutani seems to guess what Kouta wants to discuss, and motions that they should continue the conversation inside Tuberose. Once inside, Mizutani suggests they talk in the staff room, but Kouta insists on talking at one of the tables out front wanting to stay within the eyesight of others.

Kouta gathers his courage and tells asks Mizutani to let him quit, telling him that he was only planning on working there until he found work. Mizutani stays silent for a moment, seemingly disinterested before telling Kouta that he doesn’t mind if he leaves, but there are conditions. He can quit if he can get three people who exceed his highest monthly sales numbers, warning him that he knows what will happen if he doesn’t.

Though he speaks softly, his voice is threatening like that of a demon king, but Kouta’s already decided that he won’t accept any conditions and tells him so. Mizutani lights a cigar and asks him if he’s suddenly become a hot shot while job searching, telling him that if he’ll make it so he can never work again. Kouta doesn’t bend, and Mizutani raises his voice getting the attention of the other hosts.

Kouta brings up Amu, accusing Mizutani of using him to stop Shizuku from quitting. Kouta’s voice shakes with nerves, but he confronts Mizutani who begins to look angrier and angrier. Mizutani grabs Kouta by the front of his shirt and drags him close to his face, and Kouta can feel the heat of the cigar on his cheek. However, he’s able to pull out his smart phone in his pocket and play the recording of his and Amu’s conversation at the university. In the recording, Amu explains what Mizutani made him do to set up Shizuku, and that Shizuku, who made him money, was more important to him than Amu.

Kouta explains that Amu came to see him and told him the truth, and Mizutani calls him a liar. He puts out his cigar and steps back to calm down, asking Kouta if he thinks he can take him down with this. Seeing Mizutani act cocky gets on Kouta’s nerves and he loses control grabbing Mizutani by the front of his shirt. He asks him what it is he wanted to protect. If it was Shizuku, and how that turned out.

Mizutani slaps him across the face, but he refuses to let go. He yells about how Amu trusted him, and he used him. Even if his mother was only his mistress, he’s still his son. Kouta continues even after Mizutani tells him to be quiet and slaps him again, asking how Tuberose is doing after Shizuku left, if the sales have increased. Nobody has managed to surpass Shizuku’s record yet.

Kouta yells at him to return the Shizuku that he looked up to, to return his friend Amu. Mizutani slaps him even harder and Kouta falls out of his chair to the floor. Mizutani climbs on top of him and shouts in his face. Kouta continues to yell at him to admit he messed up while all the other hosts watch, but on one interferes. Mizutani yells that he’ll show him what happens to people who defy him and begins swinging punches. Kouta begins to find it hard to even breathe, and wonders what’s taking so long. He wonders if it’s to get back at him for when he punched him earlier.

Suddenly Mizutani stills, and the other hosts' gasps alert Kouta to the fact that the person he’s expecting has arrived. Mizutani stands up from Kouta, smooths back his hair to look at the new comer, asking him who he is.

Shizuku approaches Mizutani, looking as he had before- the result of dieting and exercise. Shizuku is the first to move, bowing down to the floor and asks Mizutani to forgive him and let him work at Tuberose again. He says it’s thanks to ‘Papa’ that he was able to become number one, he has no where else to go.

When Kouta had told Shizuku about Amu at the soba restaurant, he thought he would want revenge, but instead he had cried quietly and said he wanted to go back. Shizuku continues to beg Mizutani, but he tells him he’s not cut out to work at Tuberose and to go somewhere else.

Kouta regrets that part of him thought Mizutani was a good person- wished he was. There’s a pause where neither Kouta nor Shizuku can move, and then one of the other hosts gets bows down on the floor as well, asking Mizutani to take Shizuku back, saying that he’s needed there. The host sounds terrified, and Shizuku looks surprised and pleased.

Slowly more and more hosts follow suit, until they’re all down on the floor bowing asking for Mizutani to forgive Shizuku. Mizutani’s anger reaches a breaking point and he yells at them that it doesn’t matter what they say and goes to leave Tuberose.

Kouta panics and yells after him if that means that Shizuku can go start his own place, and Mizutani says he’d like to see him try. As Mizutani goes to leave again, Kouta shouts out to the other hosts asking them if they would follow Shizuku. That stops Mizutani in his tracks. At first there’s silence, but then first one and eventually every host raises their hand to say that they’ll follow him. Shizuku looks unsure and like he hasn’t fully digested the situation yet, but then slowly nods and says he’ll do it.

Mizutani glares at Kouta and Shizuku, and then tells Kouta he has to work for him until March, help make it so Shizuku can come back. Help the less experienced hosts and handle things with Shizuku’s kid and Misaki. Those are the new conditions for him to quit. There are shouts of joy from the other hosts, and Shizuku hides his face in his arm. Kouta goes over and rubs his shoulder. As Mizutani leaves, Kouta doesn’t feel a trace of the demon king in him, but instead he reminds him of his father.

That night they hold a sudden welcome party for Shizuku and many customers come to celebrate. Kouta ends up drinking more than usual, and it’s not until 8am that he starts to head home. He’s throwing up and on his way to Shinjuku Station when his cellphone rings. It’s AIDA, calling to tell him that they’re offering him the job.