Arc 5, Interlude III – “Name of Warmth”

 

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  • Phantaminum

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No matter what, in the end, his nature had not been corrected.

Even if he knew a problem stood in front of him, he would shy away from it. Even if he knew a solution existed, because he was aware it would be accompanied by pain, he would shy away from it.

Garfiel wondered if he was facing the same problem he had encountered in Sanctuary, if he was still the same person as back then.

Had he really changed at all, compared to those times he spent confidently boasting inside the confinements of his old home?

???: “Ah! Gorgeous Tiger!”

Garfiel: “Oi… that’s dangerous!”

The boy’s expression lit up upon laying his gaze on Garfiel visiting his home. As the boy ran up to him with all his might, Garfiel simultaneously felt a sense of danger and relief at his sudden appearance.

Garfiel: “Don’t want’cha fallin’ ‘n hurtin’ yerself. If ya fall down ‘n get hurt, ya’ll look like an idiot.”

Mimi: “Ohhh~, it hurts when you fall, doesn’t it? Mimi used to fall down when she was a little girl too! And as soon as Mimi did, Hetaro looked like he was in paaain~. But Mimi was fine. Strange!”

Mimi laughed innocently, but that her younger brother had taken on her pain and wounds was a no-brainer. As a result of being overly pampered, someone clumsy even after growing up, or that is, a careless sister, was created.

Regardless――

Garfiel: “Things settled down at home since then?”

???: “Yes, it’s okay. Mom and nee-chan have calmed down too, haven’t they?”

Garfiel: “…That’s right.”

Patting the boy’s head―― the one who was presumably his brother, Garfiel looked up at the large mansion.

For Garfiel, it was a place that brought mixed emotions alongside.

In the Thompson mansion, the family’s mainstay, Garek Thompson, was long absent.

It would have been a relief, were he merely working at the City Hall, too busy with the reconstruction efforts to go home, but unfortunately, that was not the case.

Garek Thompson had lost his human body, his appearance now mutated into that of a black dragon. That fact had already been confirmed by Garfiel himself.

Although Garek was now a dragon, he was still capable of speech, as his vocal organs were still intact. In this respect alone, he was much more fortunate than the other victims in the Town Hall. As for those, the people who had been turned into flies, they had been rendered unable to communicate, let alone speak. However, many people felt as if that was a blessing.

It was easy to imagine what thoughts the people who were turned into flies would utter while despairing about their transformation, if one could communicate with them.

Fred: “Hey, Gorgeous Tiger. I wonder when Dad will be back…”

Garfiel: “――――”

Fred: “He’ll be back, won’t he?”

Again, Garfiel stroked his brother’s anxious head with his rough palm.

It would be easy to utter words of encouragement devoid of any basis, but even if he did, they would lack any warmth. Upon considering what kind of scars those unhopeful words would leave on the boy, Garfiel adjudged it to be something that he could not do lightly.

If the boy were a person with whom he had little to no connection, would Garfiel have encouraged him irresponsibly? Was their connection the reason as to why Garfiel did not do that? He himself, did not know.

???: “Fred? How long will you stay outside…?”

Garfiel: “…Yo.”

While he was talking to the boy, a blonde girl showed her face from inside the house.

She was the boy’s sister, and presumably Garfiel’s sister too.

When the girl noticed Garfiel, her expression brightened, and then immediately reverted to her previous awkward face. The change in expression would normally be described as cute, but now, catching a glimpse of her complicated emotions was just painful.

Sister: “Well, you came all the way to our house again? Gorgeous Tiger sure has a lot of free time on his hands, doesn’t he?”

Garfiel: “Ah, just restin’ now, ya know. Been wantin’ to see yer faces. But if I ain’t welcomed, I’ll just leave immediately… Oi!”

Mimi: “Garf, look at people in the face when you’re talking to them!”

Garfiel was reluctant to talk to his sister too, as he noticed her turning away weakly. As he announced his intention to not force it, he was pinched on the waist by Mimi, who was standing behind him.

He reluctantly turned to the girl, and sure enough, his sister looked somewhat tearful.

At least, he now felt that he had not been rejected by his family.

Garfiel: “Supportin’ Mom and takin’ care of yer little brother… Pretty hard-workin’ sister.”

Sister: “――! Yes, yes. So, hm, I don’t mind having a little chat with you. One more person to talk to won’t change anything.”

Mimi: “There are two people, not one!”

Sister: “Two more people won’t change that!”

As the young girl turned red and shouted at them, Mimi and Fred looked at Garfiel with an expectant look on their faces. Garfiel was not a bad enough person to be able to disregard their request.

Rather, Garfiel loved to respond to such looks in the first place, despite his current state of mind being one of being unwilling to talk. Especially if it were about his younger siblings.

Garfiel: “Well, lemme in for a moment. If I’m botherin’ your Mom, I’ll just go away.”

Fred: “That sort of thing…”

Sister: “Mom wouldn’t do that.”

The two siblings looked at each other and smiled confidently.

And yet, in fact, they were right.

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???: “I’m sorry. You came a long way, but I wasn’t properly prepared for your visit… I just wish I had done a little better.”

Garfiel: “No problem. We’re the ones who popped up all of a sudden in the first place.”

???: “You don’t have to look so anxious, you’re not being a bother. It’s very encouraging that you found the time to visit us.”

Garfiel: “――Hk.”

Garfiel’s throat froze as his secretive inner thoughts were unintentionally revealed.

However, the one who had done it, Reala, possessed no ill intent. Of course. Reala―― she was a person who was truly free from malice.

The more Garfiel interacted with her, the more he felt that even though she had lost her memory, that part of her was still the exact same.

Garfiel: “…But even so, the house’s strangely deserted.”

Mimi: “Hmmm, that’s how it feels? When we came here earlier, it was kind of messy, but now it feels like it’s clean and tidy.”

Mimi, who was bouncing on the sofa, looked around the house unhappily while agreeing with Garfiel.

Once again, Garfiel and Mimi had been invited into the family’s living room, and on Reala, serving tea at the table, giggled at their impressions of her home.

Reala: “Fufu, I’m surprised that you noticed. Maybe it’s because it’s the house I spend every day in, but it doesn’t feel too different…”

Sister: “No way. I have a very strange feeling about it too. Mom just doesn’t care about it.”

Fred: “Onee-chan, you’re so annoying.”

Sister: “What was that!?”

The sister angrily chased after her younger brother, after the piercing stab that escaped his lips.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw them noisily running around the house, then turning his gaze to Reala, silently asking her about the meaning of their last exchange.

Reala: “――?”

Garfiel: “Ah, no, what do ya mean by that? What’s goin’ on?”

It was useless to ask his question with merely a gaze, so Garfiel queried again, this time properly, with words. In response, Reala clapped her hands, prefacing with an “Oh”,

Reala: “Oh, it’s nothing so big. Now is the time when everyone in the city needs to work together to support each other… We can give away some of our household goods to those in need, or donate some of our savings, and so on. That’s all there is.”

Garfiel: “…So, you’re missin’ a lotta stuff.”

Reala: “There was a lot of stuff in this house to begin with. It’s not so much that we had tons of stuff, it’s just that I’m not one to throw things away.”

Reala playfully stuck her tongue out at him, but it was not all that simple.

Of course, there was the principle that people should help each other. The Thompson family, however, was a little different. After all, the family now went without one of its main pillars―― the father.

So rather, in this environment, if they decided to help others, they would soon become the ones in need.

Reala: “My husband… Garek will be back soon. I believe in that, so you don’t have to worry about me like that.”

Garfiel: “――Tch! But…”

Reala: “I’ve… been thinking about this for a long time. The more anxious you are, the more happiness will slip away. This is something from a long time ago, just over a decade. I don’t remember anything from those days… Oh, did I scare you?”

Garfiel: “…Might be a joke that always gets people, but this villain here’s already heard it from yer husband.”

Reala: “Oh, I see… Hmph, that guy.”

It seemed that amnesia was an easy way to surprise others, so Reala looked a little disappointed with the fact that it had not worked this time around. He believed it to be a very optimistic use of amnesia, but had it been said back when he was unaware of her condition, it would have devastated Garfiel.

It felt like he was taking it a little bit better now, but it was because he had taken time to process his thoughts, and had received a lot of help from many people.

And most surprisingly, what struck him more than the subject of amnesia was the fact that his mother’s thoughts, the very foundation of her being, had not changed despite having lost her memories.

――Because that was the origin of his mother’s actions, that tomorrow may be better.

Reala: “It was Garek who gave me these ten or so wonderful years, at a time when I had nothing. He made me, an empty person, what I am today and gave me the opportunity to have a lovely daughter and a lovely son… So what would I do if I didn’t believe in Garek?”

Garfiel: “――――”

Reala: “So you don’t have to be more concerned about it than you should be. I’m not trying to be tough or anything, but I believe in Garek… If Garek didn’t mind, I would’ve been happy with him coming back in that form.”

Garfiel: “No, that guy, it’s just that even if yer husband said it’s aight, the others’d stop him.”

Reala: “Really? I thought it was cool…”

Reala put faith in her husband, whose form had been morphed into that of a black dragon, while gazing towards tomorrow.

However, as it was only a change in appearance, Garek still had the faculties to exchange words. Nevertheless, the couple had debated it, and their joint decision was for him to sleep in ice.

Garfiel was not as tactless as to try and listen in on that, nor had he witnessed the actual freezing.

It was due to none other than Reala, that Reala’s heart had steeled itself.

Garfiel: “…You’re strong, ain’t’cha?”

Reala: “Yes, of course. Because I’m a mother of two children”.

Reala smiled as she said it, throwing out her chest.

The fact that she was not the mother of two, but the mother of four, only lent proof to the statement of her strength.

It was a different kind of strength, from the fighting strength that Garfiel was knowledgeable about. That which was present in Subaru and Otto, was the same that was present in his amnestic mother.

Surely, that part of Garfiel, that untrained strength of his, laid right in front of him.

Reala: “Oh, yes, I actually have a question for you too, Gorgeous Tiger-san.”

When Garfiel gave her a distant look, Reala suddenly clapped her hands. Listening to her unchanging tone and manner of speech, Garfiel nodded casually, letting an “Ah” escape through his lips.

Garfiel: “Ah, say whatever ya want. To be honest tho’, the important part of the discussion doesn’t really concern my amazin’ self. Don’t think I’d have much to say too.”

Reala: “Nono, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about you, Gorgeous Tiger-san.”

Garfiel: “‘Bout my amazin’ self?”

Reala: “Yes―― Gorgeous Tiger-san, why do you care so much about us? That’s what I’m curious about.”

The sudden and unexpected blow hit him at a moment he had put his guard down.

His fangs literally trembled, and the resolve that he was supposed to possess, cracked.

Garfiel: “――――”

Reala, in front of him, and Mimi, beside him, were silently waiting for Garfiel’s response. As he watched them, Garfiel’s thoughts spun.

When Mimi brought him here, he should have been prepared to a certain extent. However, now he was now being reminded that, in the end, his resolve was vague.

Did he wish to tell Reala about her lost memories? Did he wish to come forward and tell his two younger siblings that he was their brother, at least? Or did he intend to leave quickly, only relaying them his concern for Garek?

Now, even remembering was something he was incapable of doing.

Garfiel: “The reason that my amazin’ self’s comin’ to yer home’s that my amazin’ self’s got a bit of a relationship with ya guys, ‘n I’m anxious, so I wanna keep an eye on ya. Y’all’re missin’ somethin’, yeah?”

Reala: “Well, it’s pretty hard indeed. You’re right, so I can’t say anything about that.”

Mimi: “Oh, you’re out of it? What’s missing? Ah, hair? You know, when it’s Fire Season, Mimi also loses a lot of hair and stuff! But in the Ice Season, she gets a little fluffy! Mamechishiki[1]!”

To the unclear wording, Reala and Mimi reacted in a typical way.

Seeing this, a blatant sense of relief swept over Garfiel’s chest. Given the personalities of the two, they should not press him for any clarification. Garfiel could now leave this place, without expressing the indescribable emotion in his chest. He thought it was a subject a matter that required time. Yes, time.

This was the kind of thing that should be done calmly, and with time, to seek the right answer. That was exactly what he was going to do, he was going to ask Frederica, he was going to check with his sister, and then――

Garfiel: “――Uh.”

Reala: “Is everything alright? Gorgeous Tiger-san?”

Garfiel: “Why…?”

Reala: “I don’t know why, but you look like such a fragile, little child.”

Garfiel was shocked, thin white fingers in contact with his head.

Reala had leaned over, stroking his head. The softness of her touch was terribly gentle, full of compassion, as if he were her own beloved child.

Reala’s memories, which were supposed to be lost, and Garfiel’s memories, which he had started to forget, overlapped.

It must have been like this someday, being held and having his head patted, in the arms of Reala―― Reshia Tinzel.

At this moment, the physical memory of that time had been revived, coming back to haunt Garfiel’s heart. And without having been given a moment to think about it, to endure it, his feelings broke down.

Garfiel: “…Mom.”

Reala: “――――”

Garfiel: “Mom… Mom, Mom… Hk!”

With her caressing fingertips still touching his hair, Garfiel called out to Reala in front of him. His eyes were teary, his voice trembled, and Garfiel looked so thin and frail that his petite body seemed to get smaller and smaller.

No wonder. No matter how strong he is, no matter how hard he tries, everyone is a child in front of their mother. No matter how brash he can be, he is just a stubborn child.

Garfiel: “My amazin’ self’s… My amazin’ self’s, Mom… Hk!”

He had so many things to say. He had as many things to say as there were stars.

The many thoughts that he had given up on thinking, the ones that he had not been able to communicate, shone brilliantly in Garfiel’s mind, and he rejoiced at the opportunity that had presented itself to him.

He wished to be held in his mother’s arms, to be forgiven, and to cry out in peace.

???: “…Garfiel, right?”

Garfiel: “――――”

Teary-eyed and downcast, Garfiel’s voice was strangled.

Next to him, Mimi suddenly spoke Garfiel’s name. Garfiel did not know to whom it was addressed. But then he heard the sound of a gasp in front of him, and the sensation of fingertips leaving his head.

Garfiel: “――Ah.”

Her fingers moved away, his mother’s precious warmth was lost, and Garfiel’s throat rumbled weakly.

But that sentiment was soon replaced by another one.

Reala: “Garfiel, come here.”

In front of Garfiel’s raised face, Reala spread her arms and smiled. The gesture and the words froze over Garfiel’s thoughts.

But even though his brain had stopped, his body, his soul, knew what to do.

Garfiel: “I’m sorry, Mom… I’m sorry…!”

Sobbing like a kid, just like a child, Garfiel jumped towards Reala―― towards Reshia, burying his head in her chest, and shouted.

A gentle, soft palm stroked the weeping Garfiel’s head.

Reala: “Okay, okay… Garf, good boy, good boy. You’ve been working so hard all this time.”

Garfiel: “――Kh! That’s right! My amazin self’s been trying so hard! But I made so many mistakes, and still… everyone is… Hk!”

Unable to speak properly, Garfiel continued his incoherent speech in Reshia’s arms.

What overflowed now, were all fifteen years that encompassed Garfiel’s life.

He had lost his mother, been separated from his sister, resolved himself to not lose any more family members, and then had the next decade of his life shattered by Subaru and the others.

In that period of time, how many times had he almost been crushed by the very things he was holding on to? How many times had he grieved?

How many times had he trampled upon feelings, in his desperation to regain the love he had lost, to not let it go?

Back when he was much younger, he had taken advantage of his father and mother, clinging onto them while leaving the walls confining his heart intact, something which he should have overcome.

Knowing that the walls were there, he got used to slipping through the side streets to avoid them, while taking notice of that high wall looming behind him.

Garfiel: “…Mom, hk!”

Reala: “It’s okay, Garf. Mom’s here for you.”

Being comforted by her kind words and compassion, entrusting his heart to his mother’s love, which he had asked for, but had not been given.

He remembered being loved by his family. Garfiel knew that he was loved by his sister and his grandmother both. He also was aware that his mother loved him.

However, Garfiel, who had felt the love of his sister and his grandmother, for the first time in his life, at this juncture, now felt his mother’s love. Now that he was getting what he had sought, Garfiel sobbed.

He had not learned the answer to the feelings that welled up in his chest.

Their name had yet to be made known to Garfiel.

But the very thing he felt right now, that which made his heart tremble, his fangs snap, and his soul quake, was the answer.

He was sure everyone already knew the answer, but only now, Garfiel finally had it at his fingertips.

――This passionate feeling as it was, was the answer.

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Mimi: “Ohhh~, Garf, did you stop crying? Did you cry a lot? Garf’s such a crybabyyy~!”

As Garfiel’s fretful, sobbing rage settled down and Garfiel frowned in embarrassment, Mimi opened the door, returning with his younger siblings.

It seemed that she had left the sobbing Garfiel alone with Reala while he was in his mother’s arms, which made Garfiel feel even more uncomfortable. How much time had passed since he had left his seat?

Fred: “Gorgeous Tiger, are you alright?”

Sister: “I can’t believe that you’d cry out in public even though you’re a man. You’re just like Fred.”

Even though he had not been directly in sight, he had been crying out, loud enough to be heard throughout the house. Mimi had taken his younger siblings outside, but the effort would be in vain.

Garfiel: “Sorry ‘bout…”

Mimi: “Hmm, what? No matter what, Mimi is wondering if Garf’s happy. Also, she’s wondering if there will be anything sweet for snacks!”

Garfiel: “Oh, yeah. Damnit.”

As Mimi laughed with a gleeful, natural look on her face, he wondered just how much thought she had put into that action.

Garfiel pondered if it had been an instinctive actions from her after laying her eyes on him. If so, her instinct was not something to be scoffed at.

Mimi: “Hmmm~? What’s up? Have you fallen in love? Did you fall in love?”

Garfiel: “Ain’t fallen in love.”

Mimi: “Is that sooo~.”

It was hard to believe that he was actually thinking about it, but the fact was that Mimi had saved his life many times.

Not only his heart, of course, had been saved, but his very life had too been saved by Mimi. And as a result, by complete chance, Mimi ended up not expiring. Garfiel should have been the one to come out victorious from that battle, but the credit for that achievement went to Wilhelm. And so, he had nothing to do with Mimi’s salvation.

He was borrowing and borrowing, but he had yet to be able to do anything to pay his debt back.

Mimi: “So, how was Garf?”

Reala: “Well, you’ll have to check with him. I’m sure he’s okay now… I think you’re Gorgeous Mimi-san’s favorite, Gorgeous Tiger-san.”

Mimi: “Weeell~, maybe. Garf, Mimi’ll do it if Mimi has to.”

Garfiel could not help being struck by that embarrassing conversation. To take his mind off things, he just stroked the heads of his younger brother, who was giving him a worried look, and his younger sister, who was glancing at him.

Upon touching his brother and sister, he felt even more love for them than before. Perhaps it was because of the fact that they are siblings. He had not really felt or understood love as an emotion before, but now it had become a reality.

Garfiel: “――――”

As soon as he realized that, another wave of anxiety arose.

This time it was a straightforward concern, a very straightforward concern. It was whether he possessed the qualifications to be recognized as an elder brother by these two, his younger siblings, or not.

Fred: “Gorgeous Tiger?”

Sister: “Hey, why are you frozen? Ehh, it’s not like you have some weird disease or something, is it?”

Comparing the gaze of his siblings, Garfiel’s thought whirled.

They probably didn’t hate him. It was easy to understand the favoritism of the younger brother, and the younger sister was hard to understand, but despite that, she likely wasn’t malicious.

And besides, he had used his strength in battle in front of them as Gorgeous Tiger―― To be honest, his display had been less-than-impressive at times, and he could not renege the feeling that he would have lost if not for the supporters, but he would put that aside for the moment.

Mimi: “Garf?”

Garfiel: “Shut up. Come on, do somethin’.”

Feeling like Mimi could be of assistance to him, Garfiel bit his fangs and took the lead in restraining her. When Mimi pulled away from him, a grin plastered on her face due to his words, Garfiel’s brain began turning at high speed and blowing heat.

Coming forward, that in itself was possible at this very juncture. Of course, “possible” here meant that it was “an action that was feasibly achievable”, and with emotional conditions involved, it would be a little different.

He was not scared, not by any means, but everything required preparation. When tackling a strong opponent head-on, he would not be victorious if the enemy were challenged, and he lacked the preparations to win. No matter what the situation, no matter how difficult the enemy, he needed to practice and train his body every day. And that was exactly what was required for him to win here.

In other words, being prepared was still required of him for this challenge. And if he were to be sincere, he could not say with certainty that he was ready for that right now. If that were the case, he should just back off for now――

Sister: “Wait wait, are you sure you’re okay…? Your eyes are flitting here and there, and your face is turning red…?”

Fred: “Gorgeous Tiger?”

Garfiel: “I’m fine, of course. Gao.”

Mimi: “Mimi’s never heard Garf make a «gao» sound or anything like that before!!”

Mimi teased him, but Garfiel did not boast the energy to riposte verbally.

And so, with his younger siblings worrying about him, Garfiel’s brain churned in circles with his confused thoughts――

Reala: “You can’t do that, Garfiel. You’ve been holding everything in, and that’s what you’re doing right now.”

Garfiel: “Oh, Mom…”

Reala reminded him of this, as she saw Garfiel averting his eyes. With those words spilling out of his mouth, his younger siblings looked at him with a shocked expression.

Fred: “What? Why is Mom Gorgeous Tiger’s?”

Sister: “No, no, no! This is mine and Fred’s Mom, not yours…”

Reala: “――It’s okay. Both of you, it’s okay?”

Reala spoke softly to his surprised brother and snappy sister. Perhaps vulnerable to their mother’s words, the younger siblings reluctantly fell silent. Then, looking at Garfiel, whose mind was not yet prepared, let alone his heart, Reala spoke.

Yes, she spoke.

Reala: “I’m sure Garfiel’s been separated from his mother. And maybe I’m like his mother. I guess that’s why he got lonely like that.”

Garfiel: “――Ah?”

Sister: “Huh, your Mom and our Mom look alike?”

Garfiel: “Uh, what’s that… Shit, that’s embarrassin’.”

When Reala gave her explanation, each of her three children reacted differently. Garfiel was taken aback, but Reala’s confident demeanor did not show any signs of lying or deception.

In other words――

Mimi: “Garf, haven’t you said enough?”

Garfiel: “――――”

Figures that Mimi had summed it up pretty nicely.

In spite of all his shameful, pathetic, and emotional crying and screaming, ultimately, Reala was not aware of any part of the truth.

Such a brave thing to do, wasn’t it?

Garfiel: “It’s natural, it’s natural.”

If she had no memory, that means she had no idea. In such a state, there was no way she could realize the truth by simply listening to Garfiel’s incomprehensible string of words.

Immediately after that, he lost his strength. From his fangs, from his body.

Garfiel: “What the hell… Haa, what the hell.”

He wondered if the words that spilled out were words of relief or disappointment.

Probably a bit of both, only Garfiel realized.

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He was disappointed in many ways, whether it had resulted in anything was dubious, but he figured it was time to move on.

With that decision made, Garfiel and Mimi left the Thompson residence.

Reala: “Sorry I couldn’t do anything for you yet again.”

Mimi: “It’s okaaay~! Mimi’s sorry, like, Mimi’s sorry Garf cried a lot? Something like that!”

Garfiel: “Shut up, don’t bring it up again!”

As Mimi replied to Reala seeing them off, Garfiel grabbed Mimi by the scruff of her neck. He lifted Mimi’s light body with a “Nyah” and looking at Reala and the siblings, who clung to their mother with a sigh.

Garfiel: “Ya don’t hafta worry ‘bout me takin’ yer Mom.”

Fred: “I think so too, but…”

Sister: “Don’t let your guard down, Fred. After all, you’ve got Mom to look out for. Just because Dad’s gone for a while, doesn’t mean you can have Mom being full of openings!”

Garfiel: “Can’t’cha see there’s a lot of openings?”

On the contrary, Garfiel titled his head toward his younger siblings, who were now on MAX alert. As a result of Reala’s strange explanation, his younger siblings seemed to have mistakenly thought that Garfiel had come to steal their mother.

He did not mean to do that―― but even if he did, if his mother actually remembered him, he would like her to give him a little retrospect. Upon pondering about it, he did not feel it was something he could reject outright.

Sister: “Hey, hey, let’s get the bad guys out of here.”

Reala: “Please come back anytime. Whenever you want to cry, I will lend you my chest.”

Garfiel: “Don’t want’cha to see me in such a pathetic way.”

Reala: “Only for me then… just like your mother?”

Garfiel: “Hm, tsk… Tch.”

At a loss for words, Garfiel decided to walk away.

With Mimi hanging, Garfiel turned his back to the three of them, to the family that he had not been able to call a family so far.

Seeing Garfiel turn to walk away, Reala clapped her hands. Then, with the children clinging to herself, she pushes the children’s backs moving them forward.

Reala: “Come on you two, say a proper goodbye.”

Fred: “Gorgeous Tiger, see you later.”

Sister: “…”

His younger brother obeyed his mother’s words, but his younger sister remained silent.

Can’t be helped, Garfiel thinks. However, Reala’s thoughts were not the same.

Reala: “We have to see our guests off, right?”

Sister: “Hmph.”

When Reala, who was surprisingly stubborn, spoke, his sister still did not nod. Reala looked a little troubled by her daughter’s obstinate attitude.

Sister: “No, you don’t have to worry about that.”

Reala: “That’s not going to happen. Come on, sister. Already, Rafi! Rafiel!”

Rafiel: “――――”

With a frustrated look on her face, Reala finally called out her daughter’s name. The moment he heard the name, the sound of that name, Garfiel twitched as if struck by a bolt of lightning, and was rendered unable to move.

Garfiel: “Ra… fiel?”

Reala: “Yes, Rafiel. Come to think of it, have I never introduced you? This is the name of this child. My two children are Rafiel Thompson and Fred Thompson.”

Rafiel and Fred.

He had heard his brother’s name a few times before in the past. He had not paid much attention to it, probably because Garfiel did not care much. Or rather, was it because he was afraid of noticing it?

Rafiel and Garfiel. Fred and Frederica.

Reala’s two children, and Reshia’s two children. They sounded somewhat similar, for whatever reason.

Rafiel: “You think it’s a strange name because it doesn’t sound like a girl’s. I’m aware of that, too!”

Misunderstanding the reason for his silence, his sister―― Rafiel, spoke with a pouting face.

In response, Garfiel, who had been overwhelmed for a while, shook his head and prefaced his answer with a “No”.

Garfiel: “My amazin’ self thinks it’s a good name.”

Rafiel: “Even if you’re flattering me like that…”

Garfiel: “――Serious. Totally serious, yeah. Think it’s a good name.”

Rafiel: “That’s right!”

When Garfiel spoke from his heart, Rafiel felt a little overwhelmed. And then Reala interrupted, beaming,

Reala: “I named them both. For some reason, I wanted to use this name… So yeah.”

Garfiel: “Both of them? You?”

Reala: “Yes. They’re nice names, aren’t they? ― ―I’ve always wanted to give my beloved children these names.”

Garfiel: “――――”

It was the best proof of love that he could ever have.

A mother who had lost her memory, who remembered nothing of her past, but who had never lost her kindness and generosity, who had bestowed her love for her child that should have been there, on her newborn children.

Garfiel: “――――”

Garfiel could have been angry about this. He could have hated it, he could have yelled at it with all his heart, he could have sunk his fangs into it unreasonably.

But such a thought never crossed his mind. With this, Garfiel was thoroughly overwhelmed.

By the love of his own mother, Reshia Tinzel. By the love of Reala Thompson, the mother of his brother and sister.

――So that was enough.

Garfiel: “Ha, haha! Hahahaha!!”

He laughed.

The sense of weakness that had lingered in his heart until just a moment ago disappeared.

The shame he felt for not being able to say what he needed to say, for not being able to convey what he needed to convey, for not being able to say it fully, for ending it halfway, disappeared.

That was all he needed for now. Because he could feel that they were all connected.

Garfiel: “So long, Rafiel, Fred. See ya again.”

Fred: “――! Yeah, Gorgeous Tiger!”

Rafiel: “Try not to cry this time.”

Garfiel patted roughly his younger siblings’ heads. This time, his palm was filled with a different kind of love. He did not think it was half-hearted.

Then finally, Garfiel raised his hand to Reala. To his mother.

Garfiel: “Thanks, Mom. Gonna come to bother ya again.”

――He’d be there a few times while he remained in the city.

――――And once that was done and dusted, he’d come back after returning to the Roswaal residence.

Once that was done, he was sure he would bring my sister and grandmother along. Once that was done, they could talk about the past decade.

Unlike before, he remained quiet about it, because this time he felt positive. Family talk was for family members, that was what he believed in.

Garfiel: “Until then, take care!”

Garfiel shouted emphatically and raised his hand.

※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

Fred: “Mom, I’m glad Gorgeous Tiger’s feeling better.”

Reala: “Yeah, you’re right. I’m… really glad.”

Rafiel: “… Mom, don’t you look kind of lonely? Do you really not want him to leave that badly?”

Reala: “I’m not sure. It’s not that I don’t want him to leave. It’s not that I don’t want to leave him, it’s just that I’m sad to see him go.”

Fred: “When do you think Dad’ll be back home?”

Reala: “I don’t know. But, I know he’ll be back.”

Rafiel: “…Mom, why are you crying?”

Reala: “――Maybe it’s because I found something I forgot.”

Reala: “I’m sorry, but thank you―― I love you, Garf.”

※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

Grabbing Mimi by one hand, they entered a small rest room in the treatment center.

Amidst the numerous beds, Otto’s bunk was placed at the far end of the room, near the window. While walking towards that place,

???: “Oops!”

???: “Ah! I’m sorry, bro! Hey, Tina, wait for me!”

Tina: “I’m not going to let you catch me just because you said that. Come on, Lusbel!”

Two noisy children, a boy and a girl, ran through the hospital room. The girl was dressed in hospital clothes, and the boy was apparently visiting her. The girl looked full of energy, and given her condition, she soon would be able to leave the hospital. Normally, Garfiel would have warned them not to make noise in the hospital room, but,

???: “Sometimes a child’s frolicking voice can be a lifesaver. That is why no one pays attention to those two when they are like that.”

Garfiel: “Well, ain’t’cha sayin’ somethin’ carefree, Ottobro.”

Garfiel saw the children off and headed to the back, where he was greeted by Otto. Upon seeing Garfiel with Mimi, Otto, who still had the same painfully bandaged leg, raised an eyebrow, synchronized with an “Oh”.

Otto: “You look a little sunny, somehow. Did something good happen to you?”

Garfiel: “Ah… it’s difficult to know if it’s a good thing or not.”

He could not shake his head in agreement to Otto’s question with honesty.

It had been a series of complex, complicated, and convoluted attacks on his values. However, he was sure that every word and every encounter had turned out to be positive in the end.

Otto: “But you must have been happy about it?”

Garfiel: “Hmmm…”

Mimi: “Garf, you’re looking better! Something happy and something like that happened, happi! That’s all right, Mimi thought to herself! She did!”

Mimi laughed childishly, her face brimming as she dangled. The volume of her voice drew the attention of the entire hospital room, but they soon dismissed their gaze.

The reason was the same as the one for the commotion of the boy and girl from earlier. There was no way they could interrupt the emotions of someone who was smiling happily and sincerely, from the bottom of their heart.

Garfiel: “I dunno, man.”

Mimi: “Ohhh~, Garf smiled too! Have you fallen in love? Did you fall in love?”

Garfiel: “Ain’t fallen in love.”

Mimi: “Is that sooo~.”

Garfiel: “Ain’t fallen in love… But.”

The exchange had repeated several times. But finally, Garfiel appended a few words to his statement.

Mimi rounded her eyes, and Otto witnessed the conversation.

To his mother, his sister, his brother, and to Subaru, who was not here.

Garfiel: “――Thanks!”

He felt like he had moved on, just a little bit.

Garfiel displayed his fangs and smiled at that.

 

 

Translation notes:

[1] Mamechishiki, «マメチシキ», as said by Mimi, but usually «まめちしき», roughly translates to “knowledge beans”, it’s a metaphor for small bits of trivia.

17 thoughts on “Arc 5, Interlude III – “Name of Warmth””

  1. That was an amazing chapter, I haven’t even read this until now, but we’ll probably not going to see this in season 3 as I don’t know if this chapter is in the LN or not, such a shame.

  2. Garfiel’s and mimi’s banter about falling in love is a lot like the one Wilhelm and Theresa had about roses, doubt they actually become a couple but it is a nice parallel.

  3. Garfiel got me cryin at work, that bastard. Garfiel and Wilhelm are the best characters in this series (as of time of writing)

    1. Aaaayyy glad to see a comment so close in line with when I’m reading, been awkward thinking of replies to all these comments from 2018 and 2019 and never posting em LOL. But yes, Garfiel has made me cry numerous times in Arcs 4 & 5

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