rel: sanada tooru

At age 24, Sanada Tooru is the older brother of Ryuu. He lives in Sapporo and visits his younger brother and father every now and then. He is very fond of Chizu and considers her a younger sister. He'll even [gently] scold her if she happens to talk about herself as someone who is 'distant' from the Sanadas. He cares for her so much, in fact, that he has his own nickname for her: "Chi". In order to make Chizu understand why he calls her this, he has her say it as well. When she does, she finds that saying "Chi" makes her mouth form a smile, whereas that doesn't happen when one says "Chizu". It's quite clear that Tooru loves Chizu a lot.

Chizu also loves Tooru, however, in a different way. She is actually in love with him. Let's go back several years, when Chizu and Ryuu were in the third grade and Tooru was in his second year of high school. The former two were playing when Chizu happened to get hurt and started to cry. Along came Tooru to comfort her, and from that point on, Chizu began to admire him and also, to love him. As a little girl, she would excitedly show bugs to Tooru, always when he was with one of his girlfriends, who were all freaked out by the little creatures Chizu had no problem picking up.

Because he always seemed to be with a different girl, Chizu thought it would be a while before Tooru wanted to settle down and get married. She thought she had time to grow up to be "a good woman" and be someone Tooru could love romantically, even be his bride one day. That was her dream. However, that dream would never come true.

Tooru comes home one weekend with a girl named Haruka, who he introduces as his fiancee. Chizu is shocked, naturally, but does not get emotional over it. She puts up this front for a little while, until she finally gets to vent at Ryuu (on his birthday, no less!). Then she fights with him again at school the next day, and begins to cry in front of Ayane and Sawako after that. They are glad to see she is getting her emotions out, as they had been very worried about her keeping everything pent up inside.

Ryuu calls Tooru up after that, and asks him to come home again. Tooru does, making the 3½ hour ride back just to see Chizu. The two of them take a walk together and talk with each other. Tooru reminisces about their younger days, and Chizu is pleased that he remembers their interactions from years ago.

Chizu realizes that the dream of being Tooru's bride is coming true for someone else, not her. She is finally able to be happy being loved by Tooru as a sister. She can also finally congratulate him on his marriage.

At Tooru and Haruka's wedding, they are photographed together with Chizu and Ryuu. It is Ryuu who gives Chizu a copy of the picture, and Chizu recalls the conversation between her and Tooru at the wedding.
Tooru: "So that I won't lose touch with you, Chi."
Chizu: "Eh? Really?!"
Tooru: "Really! Definitely!"
- chapter 45
They will always care for and love each other, no matter their distance apart or lack of blood relation.

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