It’s not me.
If someone were to ask what wasn’t me, then it just wasn’t.
I have to be calm. Nothing will get solved if I were to panic.
No matter how much something seems and appears both difficult and like an unsolvable problem, as long as you put some time into it and follow procedures, you’re destined to find the answer in the end. Everything in the world has a single answer after all.
Let’s organize the situation in order.
People say that you should recall who you are first when trying to confirm the contents of your memory. Name, Jin Jaro. A genius scientist of this age who’s in his second year of high school and also possesses a name that’s, whether it was done maliciously or as a joke, filled to the brim with a definition that means to live truthfully at all times. Okay, there’s no problem up to here.
The thing I had to confirm next was whether I could perceive the situation that was happening before me.
The person directly in front of me was Ja Saeyeon.
My childhood friend who lived next door to me since pre-school.
Large, sparkling eyes. Soft cheeks that were perfect to pull. Her smooth lips drew a delicate curve and her long, straight hair, which had a hairpin in it, waved around.
A charming girl with a cute, child-like appearance that made her look more like a ‘beautiful girl’ than a ‘beautiful woman’.
However, her figure didn’t fit that face of hers.
Arms and legs that were long and smooth. Breasts that weren’t too big or too small but a size that made one think that this was the perfect volume to be considered beautiful. That model-like body was enough to make something like a normal school uniform shine as if it were something that was on the cover of a fashion magazine.
Childhood friend, that was the very symbol of romanticism.
You’re able to witness your childhood friend in all sorts of appearances since a very young age, and among the times you played house, there was probably an event where you both promised to marry one another. As you grow up, you continue to stick together, and when a sudden thought like ‘Was this girl always this pretty?’ pops up in your head, everything would proceed at a lightning fast pace since, of course, your childhood friend would have already fallen for you at that point. In the scene where you’re both confirming each other’s feelings, effects like having the splendid glow of the setting sun in the background are like one of the various services from a Chinese restaurant like when they give out free fried dumplings.
However, this sort of romance is called romance because it’s difficult to see in reality.
For starters, the chance of having a childhood friend is already astronomical. Even if luck is on your side and you have something similar to a childhood friend, you’ll only get along during pre-school and elementary school. Once you go through puberty and enter middle school, you’ll become negligent. Their existence would simply turn into someone who lives next door around the time you’re in high school. University? Who are you again?
Nevertheless, my relationship with Saeyeon wasn’t like that.
Quite the ideal childhood friend in terms of romanticizing. In other words, things like going to wake them up in the morning, wearing an apron and making them food, showing them your homework, and occasionally sleeping together. We had that kind of relationship.
It was just that sort of relationship, but.
Just, why exactly?
“Dad, hug me!”
Once I quickly avoided the kid, who was running at me with her arms spread open and smiling brightly, there was a ‘bang!’ and the kid collided against the wall.
“Uuu······. Dad, why did you dodge······?”
The kid looked up at me with teary eyes while sitting on the floor and rubbing her red nose.
“I’m not your dad! I’m not!”
I shouted at the kid and quickly created a bigger gap between us.
I see. So that’s how it is. I understand now.
I turned my head and yelled while facing those despicable untaught masses.
“This must be your plot to slander me, right?! Regardless, I won’t be taken down by something like this! If you thought that you could obstruct this great me with this sort of scandal, then you’ve made a grave mistake, you untaught masses!”
“Don’t look at me with eyes that look like a hen that’s staring at scrambled eggs!”
My composure almost faltered for a moment, you know!
Several of the kids who were standing at the front of the encirclement shook their heads in reaction to my shout and spoke considerately while looking at me with pitying eyes.
“Jaro······. We won’t say anything bad, so obediently admit your crime.”
“Yeah. If you let everything out, then you’ll definitely feel lighter.”
“Surely you don’t think we’d do something to our fellow classmate, right?”
“······You know you aren’t persuasive when you’re saying that while licking the blade of your box cutter, right? Rather than that, that’s seriously terrifying so stop it. You’ll hurt yourself, you know? Tetanus is scary, you know?”
Why are you licking that in the first place? Is it tasty?
“Stop it, everyone. Jjaro is feeling embarrassed because you guys keep doing that.”
“Like hell I’m embarrassed! This is all your fault!”
I glared at Saeyeon, who was furtively trying to ride along the atmosphere, and shouted.
“In the first place, how is that girl, my daughter? Tell them the truth!”
“But it’s the truth, isn’t it?”
As if she didn’t understand what I was trying to say, Saeyeon spoke while tilting her head.
“Babies are made if you sleep together while holding hands, right?”
Sorry. It took me a moment since my thoughts ran away from home for a second so I had to bring them back. Right, it’s Saeyeon. It’s Saeyeon.
Saeyeon is, um, how should I say it.
That’s right. She has flowers in her head.
······No, this might cause a bit of a misunderstanding. She does have a flower hairpin attached to her hair.
Should I say that her head is like a flowerbed with a fairy playing around in it? Or should I say that she’s still like an elementary schooler? Her body was the only thing to grow up, it was like dealing with a kid who had yet to go through puberty.
More than anything else, she was a girl who said those sorts of things wholeheartedly.
That’s why, take a deep breath. Getting worked up isn’t good. Relax, relax.
Inhale deeply, exhale deeply. Inhale deeply once more and,
“How can you believe in something like that when you’re already in high school?!”
I shouted as loud as I could.
“Jjaro you said it yourself, didn’t you? That babies are made if you sleep while holding hands.”
“You shouldn’t still believe in something that I said back in pre-school! Fine, I’ll re-educate you! Babies, you see, when a male’s phallus goes inside a female’s genital and ejaculates, the sperm fertilizes the ovum and······.”
“Ow! Ow! All I did was tell her the truth, didn’t I?!”
I was hit enthusiastically. The person who threw the dictionary, I’ll get you back later, I’ve memorized your face. All right. I’ll explain it again, but in a way that even these uneducated masses can understand as well.
“Y-Yeah! Babies can only be made between two adults!”
“But I’m also an adult, you know?”
“Hah. How are you an adult?”
“I’m properly struck with magic every month and······.”
“Ow! Hey! Why do I have to get hit for this as well?!”
The people who threw those desks, I’ll get you back later, I’m memorizing your faces······ there were too many of you so I probably can’t remember you all, but just you wait.
“Back in middle school, when I woke up and saw blood, mom told me that I was an adult now, mon. On that day, when I told Jjaro the news on our way to school, Jjaro even laughed and congratulated me······.”
“Oow! Ouch! Don’t wrap me up in a sheet and hit me!”
Was it wrong of me to congratulate Saeyeon for becoming an adult? I even properly bought her a rose!
Even after seeing me get beat up, Saeyeon spoke while giggling.
“Right? I’m an adult, right? I was even able to have a child like this!”
Theory – One becomes pregnant after the sperm fertilizes the ovum and nidates.
Experience – We held hands and slept and a child was born.
Conclusion – Therefore, according to my experience, you become pregnant if you sleep while holding hands.
I see. She’s our daughter that was born after Saeyeon and I slept while holding hands.
I see. It was like that. Saeyeon was an adult.
“······There’s no way that’s the case!”
Yeah! Don’t panic! Don’t be caught in something like cognitive dissonance!
Saeyeon tilted her head once and giggled.
“We’re adults, and since we love each other, if we sleep while holding hands······.”
“What do you mean love?! That’s just my job! It’s a business relationship! You even said okay to that as well!”
“Really, Jjaro. Even if you make up excuses like that, I already know all of Jjaro’s feelings.”
“Like hell you do!”
“Eei, really. Jjaro likes me as well, right? Right?”
Saeyeon smiled brightly, making it seem like she understood everything.
“Isn’t that why Jjaro suggested we should sleep while holding hands?”
“I’m happy that I was able to become a real adult last night ♡”
“I said that you’re wrong! Listen to me! That isn’t the case!”
“Since our first child came out as a girl, it’d be good if our second child came out as a boy who resembles Jjaro.”
“Hello? Are you listening to me?”
“Let’s work hard together so we can live in a 2-floor house with a garden!”
“Aaah! This is driving me crazy!”
How am I supposed to explain this? The moment I pulled at my hair and shouted that out, I felt something pull on my sleeve so I turned my head.
“M-Mom, Dad, you two are fighting, aren’t you······?”
The instant that voice was heard, everyone’s gazes were gathered to one spot.
At some point, the kid, who had an anxious expression on her face since earlier, had approached me and was tugging on my sleeve while her large eyes were filled to the brim with tears.
“Mom, Dad, you two are fighting, aren’t you······? You are, aren’t you?”
“Like I said, kid. We’re not your mom and dad, and we aren’t fighti······.”
“Fighting isn’t okay! Mom and Dad, you can’t fight!”
She must have not been able to hear my words as the kid shook her head and shouted in a voice that was loud enough for everyone to hear.
“You can’t fight! Instead of fighting, quickly unite! Unite!”
“What dead man’s unite is that supposed to be?!”
“Dad, you’re the one who told me that reconciling after a fight is called uniting, you know?”
“I never said that before! I’ve never said that in my life!”
“But, I came here so Mom and Dad could unite······.”
“There’s no way that would happen! Go ask your parents to do that!”
“That’s why I’m asking you, Dad.”
“I told you I’m not your dad! You should listen to what people say as well!”
“You guys as well, didn’t I tell you to stop looking at me like that?!”
That gaze which reminded me of a hen that was staring at some scrambled eggs, it’s incredibly discomforting, you know?
One of the members of the untaught mob, who was standing at the front, placed his hand against his forehead as if my words were hurting his head and fumbled with his words as he asked me a question.
“Eh, in any case, Jaro······. Did you really, sleep, while only holding hands?”
“I’ve said that several times already! Have you forgotten Korean as well now?”
In response to my words,
My classmates all sighed at the same time as if they were of one mind.
“Why are you guys sighing?!”
What about my current situation do I deserve to receive this sort of treatment?
It appeared as if everyone had received even more of a headache because of my exclamation since they all either covered their faces or placed their hands against their foreheads before letting out another sigh and mumbling among one another.
“I thought that Jaro had finally given up on being a human······.”
“There’s a limit to shotgun marriages. Isn’t this too much?”
What are these bastards saying?
“Yeah. How could you make a child first without even uniting?”
“Don’t you feel sorry for Saeyeon?”
“How many things did you guys leave behind when you came out of your mothers’ wombs? Do you want me to give you some A/S?”
Just what are these uneducated people thinking?
Similarly, Saeyeon was tilting her head as though she had no idea what was going on. Our classmates patted that Saeyeon’s shoulder and nodded like they understood everything now.
“Saeyeon, do your best. We’re on your side after all.
“Yeah. One day, Jaro will notice your feelings as well.”
“Still, if Jaro was able to suggest that you should sleep together, then doesn’t that mean you’ve progressed?!”
“······I see you untaught masses are ignoring me as if it were obvious.”
However, Saeyeon laughed and shook her head towards the encouragement our classmates were giving her.
“Mm, it’s fine. I’m already overjoyed since my dream has been fulfilled now!”
“······Wait. Stop right there.”
Saeyeon was making an expression that made it seem as if she were the happiest girl in the world.
“Yup! Jjaro’s wife! Now we’ll live happily as the three of us! Starting from today, we’re a family after all!”
Saeyeon smiled while her eyes sparkled, displaying her sincere happiness.
Beside her, the kid was looking at Saeyeon with a moved gaze.
In ones and twos, our classmates started to clap in a way that made it feel as if we were in a wedding hall.
······Yeah, it was like that.
Saeyeon was the star of our class.
A cute face and a nice body. A girl whose smile was never lost from her face. Her grades were, well, obviously terrible.
In any case, with her unsullied innocence, she was a girl who boldly wrote ‘I want to marry Jjaro and become his wife’ on her future career survey sheet.
It was a clear fact that I knew, my classmates knew, the entire school body knew, and also the teachers knew.
Guys who liked her as the opposite sex all went away and the girls, who were cautious because they thought Saeyeon was just be pretending to be cute, were able to relax after it became certain who Saeyeon belonged to.
At this point, it wasn’t just one or two people who had come up to me and told me to ‘make Saeyeon happy’.
Our classmates were probably applauding her selflessly since that very girl’s dream was finally fulfilled.
“J-Jeez! It’s embarrassing if you keep doing that······. Isn’t that right, Jjaro?”
Although Saeyeon’s cheeks became red due to the applause from our classmates, the smile on her face wasn’t showing any signs of disappearing anytime soon.
And as the other target of the applause, I······.
“I beg of you, so please go away. I’ll give you as much money as you want.”
I bowed deeply towards the kid.
“Ow! Oow! You’re stepping on me? Are you stepping on me, Saeyeon?!”
Saeyeon, who was firmly stepping on the top of my head which I had lowered, narrowed her round and adorable eyes, making it apparent that she was really upset before speaking.
“Jjaro, if you keep talking like that, then I’m going to break up with you! No matter how embarrassed you are, how could you say something like that to your daughter?! I’m disappointed!”
Then, as if Saeyeon’s words were a signal of some sort, our classmates took out their lethal weapons all at once.
According to rumors, among foreign traditional cultures, there’s a tradition where the father of a girl would shove a shotgun in the face of the man who had shotgun married his daughter and would ask the man ‘marriage or death, you decide’.
This was exactly like that.
There was only a single solution I could select right now.
“Wait a second, time out.”
I requested for a time out towards the untaught masses who were closing in on me,
picked up the kid who was standing beside Saeyeon,
“I’ll be a bit late.”
opened the door,
and ran away as fast as possible.
I am well aware of the reason why Saeyeon fantasizes about the idea of having a family of her own.
It most likely couldn’t be helped. Even her parents, at this very moment, behaved as if they were still on their honeymoon even though their daughter had grown up this much.
Since they’re a family that immediately marks the day of their family anniversary first whenever they buy a new calendar.
However, those sorts of happy families weren’t the only things that existed in the world.
For example, there was my household. Different from Saeyeon who was born in a happy family and was able to monopolize her parents’ love, my family wasn’t capable of being like that.
It wasn’t anything impressive. My double-income parents put their all into their own respective jobs and, after awhile, that seriousness became severe and they ended up marrying their own jobs.
They said that something like getting a divorce would just interfere with their work so they didn’t do it, and after being dispatched to a branch in a foreign country, they never came back.
Of course, they had completely forgotten about me who was a middle schooler at the time.
I had thought that it would be okay since I, in truth, lived by myself anyway ever since I was little, but because I didn’t even have any money for living expenses, it was incredibly hard on me for a while.
It was Saeyeon’s parents who had offered that me a job.
⎯⎯⎯Since it’s Jaro, who’s like a son to us, we’ll help you if you look after Saeyeon.
Saeyeon’s parents normally weren’t home that often.
And whenever they weren’t, sticking next to Saeyeon and looking after her was my job. Wake her up in the morning, make her food, make her study, help her with her homework, etc etc. I had led Saeyeon around since pre-school and looked after her throughout elementary school, middle school, high school, and even now, during my 2nd year of high school, so it wasn’t a difficult job. I received my pay properly as well.
Within that context, it’s about what happened yesterday.
Sunday had arrived, so I was spending my time working on the improvements of ‘Maid Robot Mk. III Multi’ throughout the day.
“What’s the problem······.”
Of course, it wasn’t working out well.
“Move, Multi! Why aren’t you moving?!”
Due to my frustration, I shouted with a voice that contained the sadness of a scientist.
I had thought that it was a fated meeting.
During the start of the previous winter break, on a snowy day, Multi was lying down in a pitiful state within a pile of trash.
While looking at me with a sad gaze that was saying ‘Someone pick me up, please. I don’t want to be thrown away like this.’.
⎯⎯⎯This is honestly, really bad······.
At that time, Multi was in a state that I couldn’t bear to look at with opened eyes. The previous owner must have used Multi quite roughly as there were barely any undamaged spots. Even Multi’s pretty appearance was dirtied. Multi was quite literally in a condition that could only be thrown out.
However, that gaze which was pleading for help, I didn’t have the heart to ignore it.
I was also in the need of some new research material.
Thus, from that day forth, our days together started.
I bought all sorts of parts, pulled all-nighters for her, and after using my head to the point of possibly going bald, I used up all of my free time throughout the entirety of my winter and spring break in order to pour every ounce of my energy into fixing the broken Multi.
Regrettably, the results weren’t good.
If things had gone according to my plans, then she should have returned to her original state and be smiling brightly at me right now.
“Oh, you don’t have to show such sad eyes, Multi.”
In response to her gaze that appeared as if she were worried that I was disappointed in her, I spoke thoughtfully.
“It’s okay. It’s all my fault for lacking in skill. But don’t worry. I’ll definitely fix you······.”
That’s right, as a scientist, there’s no such thing as failure. Everything is merely a step towards success. Scientists are people who do not fall because of reality but instead overcome it with the strength of their rationality. As my life teacher, Edison had once said, geniuses are 99% hard work and 1% inspiration.
“Jjaro······. Are you not going to sleep yet?”
While I was in the middle of my thoughts, Saeyeon appeared at the doorway of my room while rubbing her eyes. I was coincidentally starting to feel stiff anyway, so I answered her while stretching.
“I’m not. Why? Are you planning to sleep now?”
“All right, then go back and properly brush your teeth and take a bath before you go to sleep. I’ll come and wake you up in the morning tomorrow. Ah, make sure you sleep under your blanket.”
Since she had a weak constitution, even when she was little, she’d always catch a cold whenever she’d go to sleep with her stomach revealed. If that happens, then it’d only be bothersome for me.
“Um, hey······. Jjaro······.”
As I was thinking about that and was about to return back to my work, Saeyeon’s hand carefully grabbed onto the edge of my clothes.
“······Can, can we sleep together?”
I let out a sigh and turned around.
“Ja Saeyeon, you’re a high schooler now, right? Can’t you sleep by yourself?”
Saeyeon looked at me with a pressing gaze. I let out another sigh, grabbed Saeyeon’s shoulder, and spoke.
“You’re going to have to sleep by yourself for a month. I’ll properly go and wake you up in the morning tomorrow, so go to sleep. If you have a scary dream and let out a scream, then I’ll go to you. Okay?”
In response to my words, Saeyeon spoke in a whimpering tone.
“I-If something happens, then if you’re already with me, I wouldn’t have to call out to you······.”
For this girl to give this sort of logical request. I was a bit surprised.
“A-And······ Jjaro, you said that you’ll take responsibility······.”
No, if you say it like that, then doesn’t the meaning seem a bit weird? When I said that I was going to take responsibility, I meant that I was going to properly look after you for a month.
Saeyeon spoke in a whimpering and charmingly whining voice.
The hand that was grabbing the edge of my clothes was fidgeting.
The gaze that was directed towards me was vaguely trembling.
Well, she’ll probably fretfully call out to me over and over again until she eventually gets tired and falls asleep. I also don’t want to keep going back and forth.
Therefore, I let out a last sigh and nodded my head.
“Fine. It’s just for today, okay?”
Saeyeon smiled brightly.
Yeah, it’s Saeyeon after all. Since it’s Saeyeon, a girl who sleeps early in order to be a good kid that receives presents from Santa Claus, as long as I go along with her adequately, she’ll fall asleep quickly. I’ll go back home when she does.
With that thought in mind, I laid down next to Saeyeon.
“Y-You’re there, right?”
“Jjaro, y-you’re there, aren’t you?”
“Are you there?”
······But why isn’t she sleeping.
“Yeah, I’m here! I’m here! Go to sleep!”
In response to my annoyed shout, Saeyeon lifted her blanket up to her face.
However, before even 5 minutes could pass, Saeyeon’s eyes shot back open.
“Jjaro, you’re really there, right?”
Even a saint like myself would have no other choice but to blow up in annoyance at this point. I roughly turned my body around and faced Saeyeon.
“Stop messing around and go to sleep! Why do you keep calling out to me?!”
After raising her blanket up so only her eyes could be seen, she spoke in a whimpering voice.
“I-If I close my eyes, it feels like you’re going to go home, Jjaro······.”
······This girl, only her instincts are sharp. No matter how you look at it, it seems she had read my mind completely.
Regardless, Saeyeon is a high schooler as well. She’s been able to sleep by herself well until now, but what’s up with her today? With that thought in mind, I was about to say something to Saeyeon, but after seeing her gaze, I swallowed down my words.
······Yeah, her parents weren’t going to be home for an entire month, this is the first time that this has ever happened.
Should I say that it’s as expected of the parents that gave birth to Saeyeon or should I say that they still emit the aura of newly weds? They go on trips together whenever they feel like it. With the mentality of ‘Play, play, play. Play since we’re still young’.
This time, they went on a trip to Europe for a month. Under the pretext that it was their 10 year wedding anniversary.
Since Saeyeon was my job, they left her with me since I had said that I would take care of her.
Because their daughter was this Saeyeon, they usually never left home for longer than a week. So it’s not like I don’t understand why she’s afraid.
Ah, was it perhaps because of that? Did they want Saeyeon to get used to being by herself a bit?
What should I do? I unconsciously licked my lips. This meant that I was feeling troubled. Don’t misunderstand.
Saeyeon is also a high schooler. If you look at it from another perspective, then it’s the perfect time for her to get used to being by herself. Although it’s honestly late. No, it’s really late.
Although I’m uncertain whether Saeyeon’s parents were thinking along these lines or not, if that were indeed the case, then cold-heartedly ending it here and going back home to sleep would be the correct decision. I can’t possibly sleep together with her for an entire month, and I can’t possibly stick together with her at all times either.
However, despite that, if I leave this kid, who’s only a high schooler on the outside, by herself and just go home to sleep, then I’d end up feeling bad.
Thus, I came to a conclusion. Just for today. Today only.
“Then we just have to sleep while holding hands.”
And then, in reaction to my words that I had uttered without much thought, Saeyeon’s cheeks became so red that they were visible even in this dark room, and felt as if they might start glowing soon.
“H-Hold hands and sleep?!”
Wow, so radiant. She was so bright that it felt like the entire room was glowing red. Rather, for the human body to be capable of emitting light, just what kind of body structure does she have? What’s her energy source? It’s to the point that I want to try analyzing her.
However, more than that,
“J-Jjaro, you’re serious, right? Right? I’m not hearing things, right?!”
What’s up with her all of a sudden?
“Yeah. If we do that then you’d be able to know if I’m beside you or not. Do you not want to?”
“N-Nononono! I-It’s not like I don’t want to······.”
Saeyeon flailed her hands after hearing my suggestion before bringing the blanket back up to below her eyes and muttering in a small voice.
“But, isn’t it too soon for that······?”
What’s too soon? The moment I gazed at Saeyeon with a sour look, I came to a realization.
Moist eyes and voluptuous lips were directed towards me.
Moreover, underneath that thin layer of pajamas, her slowly heaving bosom.
“Are we really, seriously······ going to sleep while, holding hands······?”
Saeyeon was looking at me with eyes that were filled to the brim with a certain type of expectation.
Question. Describe what the boy and girl will do after the following conversation.
A: Hey, I’m scared······.
B: It’s okay. You trust me, right? Let’s hold hands and sleep, just hold hands. Okay?
I grabbed onto Saeyeon’s cheeks and shouted as loudly as I could.
“Really! I swear on my name! We’re only going to sleep while holding hands!”
A man like me, a prodigy scientist who was born in this age.
A neighbor who parents could trust and leave their daughter in the hands of for a month.
A guy who had watched over Saeyeon’s growth since pre-school.
The girl who was lying down beside me······ was not a mature high schooler who was only in her pajamas.
I have thrown away something pitiful like sexual desire, an emotion of the untaught masses.
I’m not sensing Saeyeon with my sense of touch and vision.
If I look through the eyes of my mind, then the person lying down next to me was just a trembling child.
More than anything else, Saeyeon trusts me.
“N-No, but······. Uu, uuuu, uuu······.”
Saeyeon groaned for a while before she eventually nodded her head as if she had made her resolve.
“O-Okay. If Jjaro, wants to, then······. I was also actually waiting for this day to arrive······.”
“Wait. Why are you lighting candles?”
“T-That’s because······. If it’s dark, then it’d be scary······.”
“Why are you also turning on music? Rather, have you always liked this sort of cheesy songs? Are you still scared even though I’m going to be holding your hand while you sleep?”
“I, I also need time to ready my heart. As I thought, I think the mood is important for this sort of thing······.”
Ready her heart? Mood?
“Hoo~. Haa~. Okay. I-I’m all ready, so!”
While her face was still bright red to the point that it seemed as if she still intended to light up the room with it, Saeyeon muttered in a barely audible voice while only showing her eyes from underneath her covers.
“So······. I-I’ll be······ in your care.”
What the heck kind of care is this girl talking about?
It was that sort of ‘in your care’.
Thus, the result of that incident was that some random, adorable little girl was found sleeping in the same bed as us. Claiming to be our daughter.
Even though we slept while only holding hands.
However, I won’t lose here.
Real man, Jin Jaro, the genius scientist of this age. Although I’ve been denying reality until now, I’ve come to the realization that that wasn’t the right stance to take.
If you’re a scientist, then you must accept reality and come to a rational explanation and analysis that befits that reality. A man like me, an outstanding man who uses his failures as stepping stones.
That’s right, I shouted a line that belonged in the ‘Top 10 lines that scientists want to shout at least once in their lives’.
“I knew something like this would happen, so I’ve come prepared!”
“······Dad, what is this?”
The kid poked at the headband that had cat ears attached to it as if it were uncomfortable, but I pretended to not notice. The design······. Whatever. I’ll just say that it’s a mistake that was committed by my younger self.
“Kid, do you know what a lie detector is?”
I gave an explanation as I also tuned the lie detector which I had painstakingly dragged all the way here.
“That device is designed to detect the brainwaves of its wearer and react to it. Therefore, if you lie, then I’ll know immediately.”
“Wow, were you the one who made this, Dad?”
“The technical prowess that this body is capable of is the greatest in the world after all.”
“But there sure are a lot of interesting things here~!”
This girly just cooly ignored me.
The kid must have found the club room, which was filled with all sorts of devices, to be interesting as she was looking around the room with sparkling eyes. Well, it probably does look intriguing in the eyes of a kid.
A half-neglected warehouse that was located outside of the school building.
The club room of the ‘Creative Science Club’. My hideout.
In consideration of spies, the inside of the room was dark since I had blocked the windows with curtains. Various tools, parts, and pieces of equipment were organized in an orderly manner on the racks that were completely covering the wall. The countless number of inventions that I had invented up until this point were all lying dormant here as they waited for the day that they’d be used for the sake of developing humanity.
“Good, the circuits are alive.”
Although I’ll probably get in trouble if I get caught skipping class here, that wasn’t a problem. At this rate, my life was already going to end.
There was only a single solution.
I had no other choice but to definitize the fact that this little girl wasn’t my daughter.
······What? This is a rational explanation and analysis, isn’t it? It is.
“Okay, kid. Let’s begin.”
The little girl pouted and stuck out her lips in response to my words. She was being uncooperative.
“What, are you dissatisfied with something?”
“······ It’s ‘Jaim’.”
How fussy. That’s probably a name that Saeyeon just stuck on you at random.
“All right, then, Jaim. Let’s begin.”
I just have to endure for a bit longer. That’s it. For starters, let’s make sure it’s working properly. If she lies, then the ears will react by twitching and perking up.
“Try telling a lie.”
“You’re handsome, Dad!”
(TL note: Sound effect for when the cat ears perk up)
“Out of all the lies you could have said, why’d you pick that?!”
“You look young, Dad!”
“I am young, you know? I’m an active high school student!”
“I love you, Dad!”
“This kid, how could you say such cruel words with such an innocent smile on your face?!”
My life gauge is already at 0! She’s picking a fight with me right now, isn’t she? That’s right, isn’t it? Okay, then let’s try asking a straightforward question.
“Who are you?!”
The cat ears, didn’t react.
Since she lied the ears should have reacted and perked up.
Who knew that despair would feel this heavy.
No, there’s no way that’s possible. If perhaps, although as a scientist I don’t want to make this sort of absurd assumption, if she really was my daughter who was born because I slept while holding hands with Saeyeon last night, this girl was an elementary schooler. Even if you ignore the fact that the initial 10 months were skipped, if she grew up this much within a single morning, then the field of infant care would have ceased to exist a long time ago. The world would be at peace, too.
“As expected, I have no other choice but to judge that this device is broken······.”
Talking to yourself is a privilege of scientists. I’m not crazy.
“It’s okay, cheer up, Dad.”
Tap, Jaim placed her hand on top of my shoulder. Yeah, I have to cheer up. The evil hand of the world may encroach me······.”
I twisted that hand!
“Be quiet, kid! How dare you try to ride along with the atmosphere!”
I grabbed the shouting kid’s shoulder and unleashed the emotions that I had held inside me ever since we discovered this girl in the morning.
“Who are you?! What’s your goal?! What organization are you a spy for?! Tell me right this instant! If it’s now, then there’s still room for negotiation!”
“D-Dad! It hurts! It hurts!”
I let go of her hand and shouted while looking straight at her.
“Tell me everything straight out!”
“Uu······. Dad, my arm hurts······. Blow on it······.”
“Shut it. You only need to apply spit for something like that and it’ll get better. That’s why! Answer my questions!”
“Then, Dad······, you didn’t believe that I was your daughter······?”
She mumbled in a low voice that was seeping with disappointment.
“Even if Dad told me to get out earlier, even if Dad said you’d pay me to leave, I still believed in you, Dad······. But did Dad not believe in me?”
“Thinking logically, do you think I’d believe you?”
“Then you won’t unite with Mom?”
“······Like hell we will!”
I slammed my hand down on the table and spoke while making the most intimidating face that I could.
“Stop with the lies and tell me the truth!”
“But it is the truth. I came here so that you would unite with mom.”
Jaim muttered while pouting.
······Wait, came here?
“Haa. As I thought, does it not work on people who know······?”
As if she had a headache, no, as if she were upset that things didn’t go as how she had planned, Jaim muttered while placing her hand on her forehead.
That’s why I couldn’t help but turn my head towards Jaim.
It wasn’t because of those words. Jaim, no, this kid’s way of speech······.
“What? Did you think I was an innocent and adorable daughter? That’s too bad.”
Her tone was no longer charming and slightly coquettish······.
“There’s no way you’d have that kind of daughter, right?”
As if she were teasing me, mocking me, a strange feeling of superiority and enjoyment was now mixed into her tone.
By that voice which barely felt as if it belonged to a little girl who looked as if she were merely in elementary school, I had even forgotten that I was the one standing above her until now.
Rather, fear had crept up on me.
Even though we only slept while holding hands, the kid who was sleeping in the same bed as us in the morning.
The unknown kid who claimed to be Saeyeon and my daughter.
If you think about it again, she might not be a person I should have freely harassed and shouted at. If anything, she was someone I should have been afraid of.
“Who are you exactly?”
After hearing my voice which had faltered unintentionally, Jaim smiled.
“If Dad wants the truth, then I’ll tell you the truth.”
However, that smile was different from any of the previous smiles she had shown until now.
If the smiles she had shown before were the smile of a dog that was wagging its tail, then her current smile was that of a cat that was slowly waving its long tail.
With a peculiar smile that couldn’t be read on her face, Jaim spoke.
“I’m your daughter from the future, and if mom and dad don’t unite, then the future will be in danger.”
Even now, the cat ears weren’t reacting.
“······Let me get this straight.”
As a result of squeezing my head which had been busy buffering, I was barely able to follow along. I placed my palm against my forehead and spoke.
“In the future, I end up marrying Saeyeon and having a kid with her. Since Saeyeon kept crying and making a fuss about your name, we named you Jin Jaim. Then, although we were living happily, I had a big fight with Saeyeon one day and Saeyeon ended up leaving. And the reason behind her leaving was me?”
“Yup. That’s right.”
Jaim nodded her head while grinning widely.
Throughout the entire time she was explaining this to me, the lie detector that Jaim was wearing didn’t react even once.
“Then all of the times you acted like an adorable child until now, it was all a trick?”
“I didn’t really want to do that in front of you, but······. I can’t show this attitude in front of my kind and gentle mom, now can I?”
Don’t make a cute face and wink at me. It’s contemptible.
“In any case, you said the future would be in danger but is it only to this extent?”
“What do you mean ‘only to this extent’?!”
“It is, isn’t it? I had some hopes since you said that the future was in danger.”
Something like another world war breaking out because of a time machine, annihilating a kid who’s destined to become the leader of the resistance in the future, it should be things like that.
“At any rate, I’m not simple enough to be taken in by such a small scale issue······.”
“You get fired.”
“······Why are you telling me this now?!”
Isn’t the scale crazy huge?!
“Um, well······. Yeah! After breaking up with mom, you fall into a state of despair and aren’t able to work properly, so you end up getting fired. Afterward, Dad, you said ‘What’s the point when my life is already like this’ and you start a world war. So in order to stop you who had become like that, I, who had constantly been waiting in an orphanage for the day that Mom and Dad would come and pick me up, came to the past like this in order to change the future.”
“What do I have to do in order to prevent that crisis? I’ll do anything! Anything I say!”
Once I shook Jaim by the shoulder and shouted at her, Jaim smiled broadly and spoke.
“Then I’ll tell you the method, so you have to do exactly as I tell you to, okay?”
“All right! Tell me the method!”
“You have to unite with mom.”
The cat ears were perked up. They’ve been perking up since earlier.
“You tricked me, huh?! You lied to me, kid?!”
Jaim’s eyes shined for a moment.
She bit me?! She’s even chewing?!
“Aaaaaack! At least let go before you talk! Don’t talk while you’re biting me! Hiyaack! Don’t grind your teeth either!”
Jaim spat on the ground as if she had just put something really dirty in her mouth.
“You’re a dummy, Dad! You said that an issue where our family is on the line was ‘only to this extent’, and yet you got fooled by this kind of lie! Do you have no sense of responsibility, Dad?”
“Something pitiable like a sense of responsibility is a value of the untaught masses. It doesn’t suit me. ······Wait, don’t bite me. It was my mistake.”
“In any case, you have to act properly, Dad!”
Act properly? What am I doing?
No, rather than that······.
Although Jaim was narrowing her eyes like an angry cat, the cat ears weren’t reacting at all.
That’s right. Finding a random kid sleeping in the same bed as you after waking up, logically speaking, this wasn’t possible. Since she was quite literally there the instant we woke up. There’s no way that my perfect device was broken either.
“Then, in the small chance, the itsy bitsy, tiny chance······.”
Although I couldn’t believe it.
“Did you really······ come from the future?”
Once I asked her that in a trembling voice, Jaim displayed a smile that was so bright that it was incomparable to anything she had shown before and spoke.
“Yup! I’m Mom and Dad’s daughter from the future!”
Deeply moved tears were sparkling in her hope-filled eyes. That’s right, our daughter. I was wrong. Let’s get along well from now on.
“In any case, Jaim, can I ask you one thing?”
“Yeah? What is it? Ask me anything!”
After seeing Jaim hit her chest proudly, I asked her a question while filled with expectations.
“What’s this week’s lottery number?”
“I don’t know!”
Okay. Once more.
“Then did you bring anything from the future?”
I grabbed Jaim’s cheeks with both of my hands and shouted.
“You fooooool! If you came from the future, then you should have brought something profitaaaaaaable!”
All right, fine. Putting those aside for now.
“Where’s your time machine?! By what principles does it operate with?! Quantum mechanics? Gravity distortion phenomena? Top dimension? Wormholes? Does it use the twin paradox? Tell me now! No, that’s not right. Hand me the time machine!”
“Ubu, aa, aa! ii hurs, ii hurs!”
What is ‘ii hurs, ii hurs’ supposed to be? Let’s let her go for now so she can talk.
After rubbing her cheeks and glaring at me with tear-filled eyes, Jaim spoke.
“Uu······. That’s not what’s important! Thinking about what you should do in order to not break up with mom is more important!”
“I don’t care about something trivial like that.”
I coolly spoke towards Jaim whose mouth was hanging agape. I’m a cold city scientist after all.
“What kind of person wouldn’t get excited when they find out that time machines exist?! That’s every scientist’s dream!”
Although the majority of theories until now claimed that time travel was impossible, the fact that the lie detector wasn’t reacting right now meant that it was possible. It’s something I made after all. There’s no way that there’d be a mistake. If there was, then the theory was wrong. If that’s the case,
“If I’m able to create a time machine, then my name would be written down in history! No, I could control the entire world!”
If that happens, then even my ambitions would become a reality!
“Now then, my daughter, hurry up and tell me! If I’m able to control the world, then I shall be generous and give you half. Take your father’s hand and let us rule the world, my daughter!”
While displaying a smile that befitted a man who was going to soon rule the world, I stuck out my hand. Jaim looked at that hand and slowly extended her own.
Good. That’s right. That’s what you should do if you’re my daughter.
Jaim grabbed my hand.
She then put it straight into her mouth.
“Didn’t I tell you to not bite me, kiiiiiiiaaaaaaaaaaack!”
“You’re not worried about how you’re going to unite with mom, but you’re more concerned about something weird! No matter how bad you are, I didn’t expect dad to be this kind of person!”
“Quiet you! There’s no way that Saeyeon and I would end up like that in the first place!”
That’s right. Saeyeon was still a child who didn’t understand the meaning behind the words ‘I like you’. Her words were at the level of a pre-schooler shouting ‘I’m going to marry him when I grow up!’. I wasn’t foolish enough to be tricked by something that’s usually said at least once to a friendly oppa that lives next door.
In response to my shout, Jaim pushed her thumb against her cheek and winked.
“Don’t people normally say that oppas become appas?”
(TL note: ‘Oppa’ is the term used when a female is referring to a boy who’s slightly older than them. ‘Appa’ means dad.)
“Don’t say something so dreadful with such an innocent expression on your face.”
Her true nature was scary. There’s nothing this girl’s incapable of saying, sheesh.
“But in the end, Dad, you said that kind of line because you wanted to commit the no.1 method of ‘virginity escape’ with mom, right? You even made up an excuse like sleeping while only holding hands. It’s okay. As your daughter, I’ll approve of it. I’ll go to sleep early today, so don’t worry and go as far as you want. How about Hong Kong?”
While grabbing onto the edge of my clothes while I was turning off the lie detector and starting to clean up, Jaim peered up at me with sparkling eyes and spoke.
“Dad, don’t be like that. It’s your daughter’s one and only wish. Hm?”
“Whether you’re my daughter or not, if it doesn’t help me, then I don’t care.”
Every minute and second was already precious when it came to achieving my ambitions.
“In other words, if it’s something that’s helpful to me, then I don’t have any particular reason to not help you. The condition is simple. Does it help me or not? If you’re my daughter, then shouldn’t you help your father a bit? Hm?”
“So, what you’re saying is······.”
Towards Jaim who had spoken after her sparkling eyes had settled down, I showed an amazing smile that befitted the man who had the ambition to rule the world and answered her.
“Yes. If you give me your time machine, then I’m capable of treating you like my daughter. How is it? Isn’t that a good deal?”
Jaim glared at me with cold eyes.
“You’re completely awful.”
“If you don’t want to, then that’s fine. I have nothing to lose.”
“If that’s too difficult, then you can just hand me the information regarding what principle the time machine operates with. It’s one of the principles I mentioned earlier, isn’t it? I’m right, aren’t I?”
Jaim looked at me with a pitying gaze in response to my words.
“······Dad, think about it.”
“How would I know something like that?”
Now that I think about it, how would a girl, who looks like she’s still in elementary school, know something like that?
“······So you’re useless.”
“W-What do you mean by useless!”
“If something isn’t helpful to me, then it’s useless!”
After hearing my shout, Jaim asked a question while blinking her clear eyes.
“Then, are you not going to unite?”
“I already said I wouldn’t!”
“B-But······. You, have to······.”
Eventually, I was able to hear her start sniffling. All right, I made her cry. When in an argument, you lose if you cry, kid.
“T-Then······ my, happy family planning, won’t be, able to succeed······. Mom and Dad, will end up splitting apart······.”
Family planning doesn’t refer to things like that, kid. Things like planning on how many kids you want are what family planning is.
“Dad······ sniff, you have, to help, if you don’t, then······ if Dad, doesn’t help······ then I have no more options······.”
“Cry all you want, kid. My mind won’t change even if you do.”
“Hu, uuk, hii, uu, uuuuaaaaa! Huaaaaaaaang!!”
I told her to cry all she wants, but she really is crying as if the country is going to be destroyed.
There’s no need to turn around. There isn’t. Whether she cries or not, I just don’t have to pay attention to her. Something like an unhelpful kid, it’s over as long as I just leave her alone.
This is why I don’t like kids. They think everything will be solved if they start crying. If they’re left alone, then my side would end up being the villians.
I ended up turning around.
And I made eye contact with Jaim who was applying tear drops.
“Ehehe☆, my ass, you kiiiiiid!”
“Ubububu! B-But, Mom told me that a girl’s tears were weapons······.”
“My foolish child! You were deceived by that! Thank you for the tip! From this day forth, I won’t trust a woman’s tears!”
I wonder if it was because she was young, but her cheeks were so soft that they went beyond feeling like rice cakes and were quite pleasant to the touch. I might get addicted. That’s why I’m going to pull on them until I get bored, little missy!
“I-It hurs, daa! M-My cheeks are going to stretch! Ububububu!”
“I’m pulling on them so that they would!”
For this clever kid to be my daughter, that sort of future, I’ll fix it! Like this! Like this kid’s cheeks!
“In the first place, you should take this problem to your Mom and Dad! Not the me right now! But the me of the future!”
“B-But what am I supposed to do when dad doesn’t listen to me?!”
Indeed. There’s no way that the future me would do something bothersome like that. The very fact that I had united with Saeyeon was already suspicious.
There’s absolutely no way that the current me would do something like that.
“Even Dad from the future said ‘go ask the past me’!”
How dare that pathetic human, who failed at conquering the world and got fired from his job, do that!
“Wait, then there’s no need for it to be the current me, right? Go more into the future!”
Yeah! There’s no reason for it to be the me right now. I’ll believe in the me of the future and leave it in his hands. I trust you, future me. Delay today’s task to tomorrow.
“I originally planned to go a bit more in the future, around the time after Mom and Dad got married.”
Jaim, who was rubbing her cheeks which had become red due to my pulling, gave me a wink and spoke.
“But there must have been some sort of problem since I was sent here. So, since I’m already here anyway, I have no other choice but to make you two unite at a young age and give birth to me, right? Dad who committed a shotgun marriage has to properly take responsibility☆!”
“You trying to ruin someone’s life completely?!”
Do you know how horrid and terrifying this is? I don’t know. What is this girl? She isn’t clever, she’s just scary.
“That’s why you have to do it, Dad. Just close your eyes and go wild. Okay? It isn’t even difficult. You don’t need any technique, you just have to make it an established fact with your vigorous youth. You can think after you’ve done it!”
“How many times do I have to tell you that I won’t do something that isn’t helpful to me?! Why do I have to do something so bothersome? Why me?!”
“Because it’s something that I must do.”
Jam stuck out her chest boldly and spoke.
“The daughter has to protect the peace of the family!”
Peace of the family, my ass. You’re a little devil who’s harming my peace.
TL note: Thanks for reading the first chapter of Handholding. There’ll constantly be these diary pages at the end of chapters, so enjoy ’em. I already said everything I wanted to in Chapter 0’s TL note, so I’ll see you guys in the next chapter.