Chapter 8 | Scars

Finally, Haruto’s tears had subsided, and over a cup of tea brewed by the maid, he tried to have a little conversation with his grandfather, Shigeto.

However, Haruto is not a sociable person by nature, and it would be difficult for him to talk to an elderly man whom he had just met for the first time, even if he was his grandfather.

Therefore, the conversation mainly proceeded in the form of Shigeto asking Haruto questions about his life to date, and Haruto answering them.

He had probably done a lot of detailed research beforehand, and he cleverly avoided such topics so that Haruto would not have to recall his painful experiences.

He was happy to talk about the things he enjoyed, the people who were kind to him, and the events at the newsstand, even though they were few in number.


“Excuse me. Sir, Miyafuji-sama is calling for you.”

Suddenly, there was a knock on the living room door, and the butler who had guided Haruto as the maid opened the door told Shigeto as he bowed reverently.

“Muh? Ah, it’s that time already. I still want to hear more, but we’ll do that again at dinner. We have plenty of time from now on.

I’ll take the call in the office.

Haruto must be tired, so I’ll let him show you around and you can take a bath.”

After saying this and patting Haruto’s head, Shigeto left the living room.

As a third-year junior high school boy, he felt embarrassed to be patted on the head like a little boy, but Haruto, who was nervous and elated at seeing his grandfather, did not mind so much.

As for the people who were watching him, they could accept him without any discomfort at all because he looked almost like an elementary school student.


Shigeto left, and before he had time to wonder what to do, there was another knock on the door, and this time the door was opened as it was.

“Excuse me, I’d like to show Haruto-sama to the bathroom.”

“Yes, yes, what?”

Haruto responded to the words and froze in surprise.

“Is something wrong?”

Ayane, dressed in a maid’s uniform, smiles mischievously as she asks this.

“What? Shibusawa-san? Oh, um?”

As for Haruto, he was confused because he could not connect Ayane, who first identified herself as a lawyer and looked dashing in a business suit, with Ayane in a maid outfit in front of him.


“I am indeed a lawyer, but I have an exclusive contract with this royal family. But I don’t usually have much work as a lawyer, so I work as a maid in my free time. But that is only about half of the week.”

It is true that if she were employed by one house as an exclusive lawyer, she would not have to work so much. It would be much more problematic if she had to work as a lawyer in a house so often.

Even so, it is not usual for a family to hire a lawyer exclusively, even if they have an advisory contract with some law firm. The scale of the work is very different.


“So please treat me as just a maid when I am wearing this outfit. I will serve you to the best of my ability. And please call me Ayane.”

“Ah, um, yes. ……”

Despite his appearance, Haruto is still a boy his age. It is inevitable that he would be embarrassed if a beautiful young woman said something like that to him.

As Haruto turned his head down in embarrassment, Ayane urged him to go to the bathroom.

The bathroom was at the far end of the hallway.

Opening the large door to the side, there was a large changing room that looked like a public bathhouse.


“Your change of clothes can be found here. Please put your laundry in this basket. All other items are on this shelf. Towels are here. I will show you to your room after you get out of the bath. Do you have any questions?”

“No, no, I’m fine.”

He was surprised to see Ayane in the changing room with him, but it seems that she was simply there to explain the situation to him.

After bowing and seeing Ayane leave the changing room, he exhaled a small breath and took off his clothes.

I had not been aware of it until now, but Haruto was still wearing his school uniform. It was a shabby, tattered school uniform, frayed here and there.

Thinking that he had ridden in a limousine, entered a high-class Chinese restaurant, or boarded a private jet in this state, he felt ashamed even after all this time.


He took out his smartphone and envelope, which he had left in his pocket, and easily folded his jacket, which he had taken off, and put it between them so that it was not visible. He also placed his pants on top of it.

At the same rate, he took off his shirt, undershirt, and underwear, and with them, he opened the door leading to the bathroom.

The bathroom was as large as the changing room.

The bathtub was large enough to accommodate several adults, and there were several places to wash one’s body. It was a bit like a small public bath or hot spring. It was hard to believe that this was a private home.

Haruto looked around and then chose the washing area in the corner and sat down on a chair.

He picked up the shower and twisted the faucet, and the hot water flowed out.

This is something that seems quite ordinary to the average person, but since Haruto was not allowed to use hot water at his home, this alone is a very moving experience.


Impressed by the steam from the hot water flowing from the shower, Haruto fills the basin with it and wets the shirt and underwear he had with him.

(Oh, I don’t have any laundry detergent. (Oh, I don’t have any laundry detergent…can I use some of the body soap?)

He awkwardly took a tiny bit of body soap out of the container that was laid out and dissolved it in the basin’s hot water, soaked the collar, sleeves, and underarms, and began to wash them carefully.

Kara—Kara—Kara—Kara

“Excuse me.”


Suddenly, the bathroom door is opened and someone enters with a voice.

However, Haruto, who was concentrating on washing his clothes while humming a song of joy at being able to use the hot water, was unaware of it.

So he jumped up when he heard the voice again from right behind him at close range.

“What are you doing, Haruto-sama?”

“Uhyah!”

Haruto turns around with a strange voice, startled by the sudden voice.

There stood the man who had greeted him at the head of the line when he arrived at the mansion, and who had led him into the living room where his grandfather was waiting for him when he went inside. Of course, he was not wearing a butler’s uniform.


“Eh, Ah… Ano…”

He was about to say something in a panic, but he couldn’t get the words out.

But of course, the butler would not blame him, and when he noticed the gentle smile on his face, he was startled and tried to suppress his racing heartbeat.

“I seem to have startled you. I apologize.

I haven’t told you my name yet.

My name is Wada, and I am the head butler at the Sumeragi Household. Please make my acquaintance.”


The butler (completely naked), who introduced himself as Wada, adopted an attentive posture toward Haruto, who was frozen in his chair and bowed reverently to him.

“A, ano, It’s my pleasure. Please treat me well.”

Haruto also rushes to stand up and bow his head.

It was impossible for Haruto to remain seated while a man as old as his grandfather, Shigeto, was standing there.

It’s not that he didn’t like the fact that the man was hanging around exactly at his eye level. It should be.

Wada’s smile became even softer because of Haruto’s attitude.

However, with a whiff, he turned his head to look at the side of the chair where Haruto had just been sitting.


“By the way, what was Haruto-sama doing? From the looks of it, he hasn’t washed his body yet.” 

It has been some time since Ayane led Haruto here.

He had expected Haruto to be soaking in the bathtub or to have already started washing his body, but there was no sign of that.

“Um, I was washing my underwear and stuff.”

“What? Um, you washed your own clothes? In the bathroom?”

“Yes, I did.”

Although he had been told to put his laundry in the basket before entering the bathroom, Haruto has never had the idea of having someone else do his laundry for him, and washing his own clothes when he washes his own body has become a natural habit for him. In fact, the mere fact that hot water can be used for washing clothes is enough to make him excited. That is why he did not understand why Wada had an indescribable expression on his face for a moment when he heard Haruto’s words.

Incidentally, he had been taken to a bathhouse several times by people at work, and at those times he had indeed not tried to do his laundry in the bathhouse.


Eventually, he was told to stop washing and leave it to the maid, and Haruto began to wash his body.

After about three washes, the shampoo finally foamed, and Haruto smiled happily at the refreshing feeling he felt for the first time.

When he finished washing his head, Wada said, “Let’s wash your back,” as he was about to wash his body next.

He was too embarrassed to ask someone he had never met before to do such a thing, so he refused, but eventually, Wada just gave him a smile and insisted.

Being gently rubbed with a soft sponge felt good, but at the same time, it was very embarrassing.


After washing and rinsing his body, Haruto was about to leave the bathtub when Wada told him to soak himself properly in the bathtub.

He was embarrassed and had been trying to get out of the bathtub out of habit, but he had no choice but to follow Wada’s advice.

He also wanted to soak in the bathtub since it was a rare occasion.

Hiding his front with a towel, he walked to the bathtub and slowly sank his body into the water.

The bath felt good for the first time in several months, and he stretched out his body, which had been tense in various ways, and exhaled heavily.

Wada, who had finished washing his own body soon after, sat down next to Haruto.


“How do you like our bath here?”

“Well, it feels very nice. It’s kind of like a public bath. Ah, um…”

With his meager experience and knowledge, Haruto had nothing else to compare it with, but he felt it would be rude to compare such a magnificent bathroom with a public bath, so he let his words slip.

“It is certainly a bit large for a private home. However, the master often takes showers only, and the servants have their own bathrooms in their residences, so it was a waste to have them always available.

I would be very happy if Haruto-sama could use the bathtub from now on.”

It is true that it seems quite wasteful to have this many bathtubs constantly filled with hot water, but this residence alone is already quite out of the norm for Haruto.

However, the large bathtub makes Haruto happy and it feels good, so he would like to take a bath from time to time.


“I feel bad about taking you to take a bath with an old man like me.

Actually, when Ayane first started explaining about the bath, she said that she was going to go in with Haruto-sama.

…Perhaps Haruto-sama would prefer it that way?”

“Eh, I, I, I don’t, uh, uh, Ayane-san is a very beautiful person, but, uh…”

Haruto was flustered by Wada’s words and gave a stuttering response.

For a moment, he seemed to have imagined it just a little bit and turned red to the top of his head, which was worrisome to see.

However, when he saw Wada’s mischievous expression, he realized that he was just being teased, so he blushed in a different way and looked away, soaking his face up to the mouth in the hot water.





Knock-Knock

“Come in.”

“Sir, excuse me.”

Wada and Ayane enter Shigeto’s room after receiving permission to enter.

In the living room, beside Shigeto, there was another woman in her 40s standing next to the sofa where Shigeto was sitting.

She was dressed in a similar manner to the other maids, but she had a certain dignity. She is the head maid of this mansion.

“How is Haruto doing?”

“He seems to be tired as expected, and fell asleep as soon as he laid down.”

“I see…”


After taking a bath while being teased by Wada, Haruto and Shigeto had dinner together after taking a rest in the room assigned to him.

He was amazed at the variety of dishes, ranging from the kind of food one can only eat in a restaurant to the more commonplace dishes prepared by the chef, and was relieved to hear that the leftovers would be used to feed the servants. He must have been tired after the day’s events because he showed signs of sleepiness before he could talk with Shigeto after the meal, so the party ended early.

He was so tired from the day’s events that he did not even have time to talk to Shigeto. He tried his best to get Ayane out of the room, even though she insisted on helping him change into his pajamas.


“Let’s hear the report.”

Shigeto urges, and Ayane begins her report, opening the file in her hand.

The general gist of the report is that there were no discrepancies with the prior investigation. Just…”

Saying so, Ayane goes on to tell Shigeto the details of the time she went to pick up Haruto.

As he also told Haruto, Shigeto had Haruto and his surroundings thoroughly investigated immediately after he learned of Haruto’s existence.

This included school officials, employees at his workplace, and even one of the customers whom he had delivered to or solicited.

However, because he avoided contacting Haruto, or rather Akiko Sato, who pretended to be his mother so that she would not be aware of his existence, he was unable to investigate the details of Haruto’s emotional state.


Finally, after completing all the investigations, they were able to take Akiko Sato and the man she was living with into custody and were able to pick up Haruto.

Originally, they would have wanted to protect Haruto as soon as the DNA test results came back, but the Sumeragi family is one of the wealthiest families in Japan or even the world, and it would have been too risky in case they had mistaken Haruto for someone else. The consequences of mistaken identity would be too great, and above all, they could not let Akiko Sato, the person who had kidnapped Haruto, escape, nor could they detain a stranger.

In the end, although he was almost certain that the boy who had been called Tatsuya Inoue was “Haruto Sairenji,” he held out in despair until he had conclusive evidence and could complete his investigation.

Of course, he always kept a watchful eye on Haruto to make sure he was not in any further danger.


“Well, we must reward the managers, employees, etc. of those newsstands in some way. And to the others who treated Haruto so kindly.”

“Yes, I will. I have instructed the local investigators to look into this matter without omission.”

After Ayane finished her report, Wada spoke up next.

“I checked in the bathroom and found countless bruises, injuries, and burn marks all over Haruto’s body. It seems that the daily abuse was more repetitive than reported.

In addition, his body is obviously smaller and skinnier than average. He was probably given very little food on a daily basis considering the amount of food he was eating. Perhaps the only time he was able to eat enough on a daily basis was at school lunches and when people at work occasionally took him out to eat.”

The reason Wada interrupted Haruto’s bathing was to check on Haruto’s body.

Haruto himself had mentioned that he had missed some checkups because of the bruises on his body, and he needed to confirm his current condition.

Of course, he was planning to have a doctor examine him tomorrow, but considering that he had some injuries, it was better to have a look at him even if it was a simple one.


Giri~tsu.

Even Ayane can hear the sound of Shigeto biting his back teeth.

His hand gripping the armrest of the chair has turned white and veins are floating in it.

His face, needless to say, looks as if he’s in the middle of a fight. The face, which looks even stern in anger, looks like an evil demon.

“Of course, we must heal his body, but we must also heal his heart. Tell everyone not to make Haruto sad or lonely. I will not allow him to suffer anymore.”

After a while, Shigeto, who had calmed down, ordered them to do so, and Wada, Ayane, and the head maid nodded their heads firmly.


“Of course. However, Haruto-sama has a very beautiful heart despite the difficult circumstances he went through. He has a really lovely appearance, and those who took care of him as a CA on the plane were already completely charmed by his appearance. I’m sure others will soon follow suit.”

Ayane said that if Haruto himself heard this, he would have a very mixed feeling about it. At the very least, adorable is not an adjective one would normally use to describe a boy in his third year of middle school.

“Yes, he is. He answered my impolite questions politely in the bath, and I think he has an honest and straightforward temperament.

Considering the environment he has been subjected to, I think it is a miracle.”

Wada also gave his assurance with a gentle smile.


“I see. I am sure it is true for Haruto. I couldn’t help but be charmed by him at first sight.”

Despite being one of the wealthiest men in the world, he is already a grandfather and a geezer.

“Oh, and also…”

“Hmm? Is there anything else?”

When Wada muttered with an expression as if he had remembered something, Shigeto immediately asked back only about his cute grandson.

But the head maid, who has known Wada for a long time, let out an exasperated sigh.

“Yes. Although he has such a lovely appearance, he has a rather magnificent thing.

And when I told him that Ayane wanted to take a bath with him, he turned bright red in a very innocent way.”

“I don’t need that information!”

“What? Then I’ll go in with him next time…”

“I’m not going to let you do that!”


Whatever the case, Haruto’s first day was warmly welcomed, it seems.


TOC

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