Baka to Tesuto to Syokanju:Volume9.5 Me and Himeji-san and A Certain Afternoon Time

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Me and Himeji-san and A Certain Afternoon Time[edit]

Me and Himeji-san and A Certain Afternoon Time

Himeji-san’s parents can’t return back from overseas, so she has to stay at my house for the time being. The next day, after finishing the cleaning and the laundry, we started making breakfast.

“Akihisa-kun, what are you making?”

“I’m thinking of making some simple fried rice. Is there anything you dislike, Himeji-san?”

“None. Don’t look at me this way, you know? I’m not picky.”

“Really? That’s great.”

“I’ll take the vegetables out from the fridge then.”

“Un, thanks.”

“I’ll wash the vegetables then.”

“Un, thanks.”

“I’ll make salad as well then.”

“No, I’ll do that.”

“…”

Now, what should I put inside the fried rice?

“Akihisa-kun, is the plate big enough?”

“Un, I guess that’s alright.”

“I’ll shred the vegetables, okay?”

“Un, thanks.”

“I’ll make soup in the meantime too.”

“No, I’ll do that.”

“…”

Eh, the ingredients are onions, eggs and green pepper…

“Akihisa-kun, can I use this frying pan?”

“Un, that’s the one I use the most.”

“Can I use this low-calories oil?”

“Okay. That’s good for the body too.”

“I’ll make dessert then.”

“No, I’ll do that.”

“…”

“…”


“Why won’t you allow me to do anything!”

“Even if it’s you, I can’t allow that, Himeji-san!”


An intense battle is happening at the preparatory stage as we get ready for the lunch anniversary of Himeji-san staying at my house.



“Hot blooded, Ping-Pong!”

The shrill title sound effect rang, and the television screen showed the option menu.

“Akihisa-kun, if I win this time, you must let me make lunch!”

“Un, I’m fine with that if you don’t mind, Himeji-san…”

Himeji-san and I stood in front of the television, each holding onto the remote control in our hands.

We’re playing a motion game, which means that we have to actually move our bodies to play. The game is table tennis, and to be honest, I don’t think I will lose.

“Fufufu…Akihisa-kun, I will work hard when it’s time for me to do so.”

Himeji-san gave off an inexplicable pressure. Speaking of which, she was the one who said to have a showdown. I guess she’s confident in such a game as well.

“Ready—start!”

I serve the ball. I move the controller to the ball on the screen, and the ball let out a light crisp sound as it flies into Himeji-san’s court.

“Ehh!”

Himeji-san moved the controller in response to the ball. The ball I served out is hit hard at a tight angle just above the next. Nice shot!

“Ku…”

I barely managed to use bring the bat to the ball and hit it across. However, I hit the ball too high accidentally, and now it’s a perfect chance for Himeji-san to smash the ball.

“Actually, I bought this game before.”

Himeji-san forcefully swings the bat,

“Because I heard that it can help in slimming…nee!”

Swoosh! The ball quickly flies into my court. Himeji-san’s smash has power, direction and angle, so it’ll be very difficult to hit it back.

That,

“Tya!”

I redirected Himeji-san’s sharp smash back into the other court.

“…Yes?”

Himeji-san didn’t respond to my counter, perhaps because she was confident that the smash just now could get the point, and just stood there.

The ball on the screen appears on the court ‘ko, ko…’ as it bounces, and I got 1 point.

“A, Akihisa-kun…aren’t you too good at it?”

Himeji-san stared at me in a shocked manner. It’s a little too late for me to say it, but actually…

“Actually, I often play this game against Yuuji.”

“How, how is that…”

Actually, Yuuji and I used smashes to win, but as we were trying our best to win, we started to determine the trajectory of the ball by reading the opposing controllers to hit it back. Therefore, normal smash attacks aren’t much of a threat to us now.

“Eh, Akihisa-kun.”

“Nn? What is it, Himeji-san?”

“I know I was the one who requested for a showdown, but…can you please hold back?”

Himeji-san said sheepishly.

“Ahaha. You don’t have to worry, Himeji-san. Since you asked for it, I’ll do so.”

“Okay!”


Player 1 (Me), 11 points

Vs

Player 2 (Himeji-san), 0 points.


“Erm, Akihisa-kun, didn’t you say that you will hold back?”

Of course I didn’t. Since the right to cook is at stake, I have to take this seriously. Besides, this is a bet on my life.

“Uuu— again, one more time!”

Himeji-san grabbed onto the controller tightly as she said so. Her response is a little shocking to me. Since she has always been so kind, I thought that she wouldn’t fuss too much about this. Maybe she really doesn’t like to lose.

“I must get a point next!”

It looks like she has already forgotten the bet. Speaking of which, it seems like those who get good grades are those who normally won’t give up, whether it’s sports or studying. In other words, Himeji-san and Kirishima-san may look very calm, but they don’t like to lose either.

“Ara…? Aki-kun, Mizuki-san. What are you doing?”

As we pressed the replay button to play the game again, nee-san arrived in the living room. She was working in her bedroom just now, so maybe she came out to take a breather.

“We’re playing games.”

“Game, huh? Looks fun.”

“How about you play too, Akira-san?”

“Well…then, I’ll play if I won’t be disturbing you.”

It’s rare for nee-san to agree to such an invitation. In that case, perfect!

“Then, nee-san, please take over from me. I need to make lunch.”

“Okay, I got it.”

“Akihisa-kun, call me if you need my help.”

“Un. Thanks.”

I handed over the controller to nee-san and proceeded to the kitchen. As I heat the frying pan and chop the onions, Himeji-san and nee-san can be heard from the living room.

“Akira-san, you can do this to hit the ball hard.”

“I see, so it’s like this.”

“Feeh!?”

“Un? Did I do something wrong?”

“No, that’s not it…you’re amazing, Akira-san. It doesn’t look like you played this for the first time…”


Nee-san hasn’t played any other game before, including this. But in contrast, her sporting sense is really good. Maybe she might even be an even match for Himeji-san who played this game before.


“Just like this?”

“I won’t lose!”


Cheery voices can be heard from the living room while I’m cooking. For some reason…it feels fine. Living alone has its own perks, but such a feeling now is rather nice too. Also, I won’t be motivated to cook if no one is eating.

I continue to prepare lunch while nee-san and Himeji-san’s voices act as BGM. 3 people’s worth of fried rice and consommé soup to go with seafood salad. Un. My food does taste good even if I say do so myself.

“Nee-san, Himeji-san, lunch is ready.”

I took off the apron and called them over. However, both of them are focusing on the screen and didn’t notice me.


Player 1 (Sister), 9 points

Vs

Player 2 (Himeji-san), 9 points.


Leaving aside what round it is now, it will be really troubling to interrupt them when they’re tied. The match will end once it reaches 11 points. Better wait for the outcome then.

“Ehh!”

“Hai!”

Himeji-san hit a sharp shot out, and nee-san received it and hit the ball back at an angle. Himeji-san then turned around to hit it. There’s an intense match happening on the screen now.

“Yahh!”

“Hai!”

Both of them got more and more focused as they played, and their actions became more intense. Leaving aside nee-san, Himeji-san’s body isn’t very fit. Is this really alright to be that tired?

Just when I was worrying as I watched the battle, both of them use their hands to hold their chests. Un? This is…

“Okay, stop it now, both of you. Stop stop!”

I walked forward and stretch my arm out to block the screen. No matter how intense they’re playing, they can’t continue if they can’t see the screen, so both of them can only stop their game.

“Is there something wrong, Akihisa-kun?”

“What’s the matter?”

Both of them give blaming looks at me, and I start to explain to them in a warning manner,

“You two are really too into it. if you’re not feeling well, you should rest a bit.”

““Eh?””

Both of them looked like they didn’t know what I was saying.

“No, aren’t you two having difficulties in breathing? It’s best to rest for now.”

““???””

Both of them tilted their heads in a puzzled manner. Un? Why are they showing such expressions?

“We’re into it, but it’s not to the extent that we’re having difficulties breathing.”

“You really love to worry too much, Aki-kun.”

On hearing their response, I realize that both of them aren’t breathing too hard. Huh?

“But didn’t both of you try to hold onto your chests awkwardly?”

I asked. Himeji-san was stunned for a while, and then frantically shook her head to deny it,

“Ah…no, it’s not like this! Thats, erm…it’s not because I have difficulty breathing, but…how to put it…”

“It will hurt when our breasts keep swinging like that, so we used our hands to hold them in, Aki-kun.”

“…Yes?”

For an instant, I really couldn’t comprehend what nee-san was saying.

Breasts swinging…hurt?

“Th, that, well…sometimes…such things happen…”

Himeji-san looks really embarrassed as she lowers her flushed face. Gaa…there’s such a thing too?

“So, sorry! I didn’t intend for any sexual harassment!”

“Tha, that’s not it. Why…you’re just worried about us, Akihisa-kun. There’s no need to apologize! I should even say that I’m too careless.”

“Really, Aki-kun. You’re so unaware of the woman’s body and so slow in personality. I really worry about you being sued because of such a thing when you come out to society.”

It was really unexpected for nee-san to say such a thing, but I really can’t argue with that.

“You already have so many photo books of big breasted girls. What in the world were you reading all this while?”

“NO~~~~~~~~~~~~~~oooo!!!”

Nee-san took out the numerous bibles (Ero-books) that were confiscated during the baseball tournament. What about sexual harassment now! Isn’t that one example already!”

“Listen up, Aki-kun. For girls, it’s not exactly a good thing to have huge breasts. It’s troublesome when playing sports, and the waist will ache when we shake. If we shake too much, the bra strap and hook may even break.”

“Even if you’re saying about what’s bad about having huge breasts, I don’t know what to say about that at all…”

I’m starting to feel that nee-san is already breaking away from the topic of not sexually harassing someone accidentally.

“Well…Akira-san, I think you should stop here…”

Even Himeji-san is starting to feel awkward.

“Also, it will get even worse for Mizuki-san when she gets to F.”

“Akira-san—!”

That might be the case. It will be really heartbreaking for Himeji-san to endure her school life with the damned stinky guys from F class.

“A, Akira-san, aren’t you like this too?”

“Nope. I’m only at E.”

“That’s because you didn’t measure properly!”

“I did measure it well when I was studying at university in America.”

“That should have grown as well!”

For some reason, it feels like this conversation is getting more dangerous. Looks like E and F aren’t referring to the classes in school. Looks like it will be trouble if I continue to think too hard into this. I better forget about this.

“An, anyway, you two don’t have to endure your pain and play game! Forget about that and come have lunch!”

“That’s right. It’ll be troublesome if Aki-kun faints from over-excitement. Maybe we should stop here?”

“Okay, I understand—ah!”

Himeji-san was about to put down the controller as she jerked up all of a sudden. Un, what’s with her?

“Is there something wrong, Himeji-san?”

“Eh? It, it’s nothing, nothing at all!”

“????”

“It, erm…well, I need to buy something later…”

“Buy something?”

“To put…I have to buy something all of a sudden…”

Himeji-san was rather calm up till up, so the situation is really sudden. Did she think of something when she was playing?

Well, let’s leave that aside for now.

“In that case, I need to buy something in the afternoon too. I need to prepare ingredients for dinner too.”

“Eh? You’re going too, Akihisa-kun?”

“Un. Can I come along with you too, Himeji-san?”

Actually, there’s something I want to buy. If I go and buy it myself, nee-san may find out, but if I go along with Himeji-san, the chances of it being seen through will decrease by a lot. Also, I’ll be in big trouble if I let Himeji-san go shopping only for her to say something like ‘I’ll buy the ingredients for dinner, so leave dinner to me’.

“Mizuki-san, if the stuff you’re going to carry is going to be very heavy, you just need to get Aki-kun to help. Don’t see him this way, you know. He is a man after all.”


“The ‘after all’ is unnecessary.”

“Ah, that’s not it. Of course I know that Akihisa-kun’s a boy.”

Perhaps Himeji-san feels awkward about me helping her to carry stuff as she doesn’t know how to respond. But this little hassle itself isn’t hard.

“Let’s go together then, Himeji-san.”

“…Then, I guess it’s okay if Akihisa-kun says so…”


Looking somewhat troubled, Himeji-san nodded in agreement. Of course, I have no reason to object. I really have to go out, and most importantly, I’m very delighted that I’m going out with a girl during a holiday. Of course, it’s better because Himeji-san is going out with me.

“Let’s have lunch then. I have some work to deal with in the afternoon.”

Nee-san said as she kept the controller. She then walks over to the kitchen, and whispers to me,

“I suppose you should know about this, Aki-kun.”

“Un? What is it, nee-san?”

For some reason, I feel that I know what nee-san is going to say. She’s probably going to say something like no illicit relationships like usual.

“Don’t do something stupid that removes the eligibility to be a bride.”

I really can’t tell whether this bride is Himeji-san or me here…



After lunch, we got ready to leave. About 30 minutes later, Himeji-san and I are in the shopping center in town.

“What do you want to buy, Himeji-san?”

I asked Himeji-san while we’re at the entrance.

“Eh, I want to buy some clothes…what about you, Akihisa-kun?”

“Me? Ah, it’s nothing big. I can just buy it little when I have the time.”

I said a painlessly vague thing.

Actually, the reason why I came here is to buy a game that was recently released.

Recently, nee-san has been keeping a close eye on me, so I’ve been enduring up till now, but I can’t hold on now. That’s a rather hotly discussed new work, and I have to buy it no matter what.

“Speaking of which, I heard that there’s a cute part-timer working in this shopping center’s gaming shop…”

“??? Himeji-san, what are you talking about?”

“No, it’s nothing. Oh yes, Akihisa-kun.”

“Nn?”

“If it’s alright, can I come along?”

I’ll be very troubled if this happens.

“No no no, you don’t have to follow me to such an extent! It’s really something ordinary!”

I tried to sneak through with a smile.

Let alone nee-san, if possible, I really don’t want to let Himeji-san know what I’m going to buy. Himeji-san herself can’t lie very well, so even if I tell her not to tell nee-san, it’s still possible for nee-san to see through it.

“…It seems suspicious for some reason…”

“Wha, what’s suspicious about it?”

Himeji-san narrows her eyes as she stares at me. She normally looks rather dull, but will occasionally sharpen up. This is bad.

“Can I come along with you to go buy it too?”

“No no no! You have something else you want to do right, Himeji-san? You don’t have to worry about me at all!”

“You don’t have to worry about me, Akihisa-kun. I can accompany you no matter how long it is.”

“You really don’t have to worry about it!”

“Akihisa-kun, it’s suspicious that you’ve been trying to shake me off!”

“Not at all! That’s how I normally am!”

Himeji-san’s interrogation is really becoming harder for me to take on. This is really bad…

“You really want to go to the gaming shop, right, Akihisa-kun!?”

“No, I’m going to buy an ero-book.”

“EHHH!?”

This is the so-called desperately clinging onto survival at this point. I can only let my reputation be ruined. Nee-san has already exposed me already, so it’s too late to cover it up anyway.

This unexpected answer from me seems to cause Himeji-san to widen her eyes and show a shocked expression. Looks like this battle is mine.

“Then, do you still want to come along with me, Himeji-san?”

I gave a proud look of a victor as I asked. Even though I feel that this victory is based on something a human definitely can’t lose over, I decided not to think too much or I will feel very sad in lots of ways.

“Uu…I, I understand! If that’s really the case, I’ll come along and choose with you, Akihisa-kun!”

“WHAT DID YOU SAY!?”

This is really an unexpected development! What should I do? If this keeps up, I’ll end up having a scary experience of shopping Ero-books with my female classmate!

But right now, I can’t back off. Since she’s already shocked by my unexpected answer, I’ll feel pain as she feels pain as well. This is a duel!

“Is this really alright, Himeji-san? I intend to buy a really erotic ero-book!”

Come on! Be terrified! Give up then!

“Uu…tha, that’s definitely a lie! Akihisa-kun only collects albums of naked women!”

Why is she not backing away? This isn’t a situation to mess around!

“I, I have a new fetish recently!”

“The, then, please explain the contents!”

“Explain? Ku…! Ehh, who’s scared here! I’ll show it to you! Don’t think that I’m the type who’ll just talk!”

“(Pi) is (Dogonk) into (Sugiuun) to (Zapan~)!”

“(Pi) is (Dogonk) into (Sugiuun) to (Zapan~)? No, you can’t! Even I’ll feel troubled if that’s true!”

This is really effective. Alright, now for the finishing blow!

“That’s not all. I also like (broadcast error) and (inspection deletion) and (automatic censors) as well!”

“Ha, haa…! Erm, Akihisa-kun…”

“Nn? What is it, Himeji-san?”

“I just want it to be normal. If possible, I hope that you don’t have such interests…”

Eh, why are we talking about Himeji-san’s interests?

Leaving this aside, the winner’s decided now. I probably can go buy my games now.

As I thought this way, a voice suddenly came from behind.

“You’re high school students, right? Come over and tell me your guardians’ contact.”

“Let’s go buy what we need to buy then! What’s over there?”

“Eh! Akihisa-kun?”

“Hold it right there!”

I pulled Himeji-san’s hand and started to run. It seemed that the security guard uncle lost us on the way. As I turned around, he disappeared.

“Really…things got so complicated again…”

“Leaving aside that, Akihisa-kun. If you don’t admit that those were lies…”

“Un?”

“—I’ll feel uneasy about the future…”

Is she worried about my future? Looks like I did go overboard there.

“We, well, those things were all lies. What I wanted to buy isn’t something big.”

“Really?”

Himeji-san stared at my with teary eyes. Uu…why is there such a strong guilt…can’t be helped then. I better tell her the truth.

“Sorry. I was actually planning to go out and buy a game.”

“Eh? Game?”

“Un. A new game’s released today.”

“Wha, what…so that’s it?”

Himeji-san sighed as if a burden was lifted from her. Eh? Didn’t she guess that I was going to buy games?

“I thought you would be interested in that onee-san at the game shop…”

“Eh? What do you mean by that?”

“No, it’s alright if you don’t know. Please don’t mind.”

I don’t actually understand why, but Himeji-san just placed her hand at her chest to heave a sigh of relief.

Speaking of which, I remember that when I went over to that game shop to buy a game, I did not have enough money, so I worked there for a short while. It would be bad if nee-san found out that I went to buy games, so I put on a wig and glasses to disguise myself. If the shop keeper let slip of some unnecessary things, I will be rather troubled. Thus it’s better not to let Himeji-san come along to buy games with me.

I’ll go over to the game shop later then. Right now, I’ll accompany Himeji-san to shop.

“Erm, how about we go to the second level first? You want to shop for clothes, don’t you, Himeji-san?”

“Ah. You’re fine with accompanying me?”

“Un. I can buy the thing I want whenever I want to.”

The first level of this shopping center has a food court, a sports equipment stall, a food market and other stuff. On the second level, there are shops selling CDs, books and games, and there’s also a shop for clothing and little accessories. It will be better for Himeji-san to go to the second level if she wants to shop for clothes.

We take the upgoing escalator to the second level, but while we’re on the way, Himeji-san tugged at my sleeve lightly.

“Akihisa-kun, Akihisa-kun.”

“Nn? What is it, Himeji-san?”

“Can we go play for a while before we start shopping?”

Himeji-san was staring at the amusement area in front of her.

“Do you normally play such things, Himeji-san?”

“No, I don’t often go to such places. But it’s special today, and this is revenge for the ping pong game just now.”

“Is that so? I accept your challenge then.”

Himeji-san really doesn’t like to lose. I know that she works hard, but I didn’t know that she had such a side to her.

“It’s decided then.”

“Okay then. But you don’t have to be so anxious, do you, Himeji-san?”

“Nope. There’s a limit to a day’s worth of time.”

Himeji-san pulls my arm and walks into the amusement area. There are all sorts of games, including the crane games at the entrance, gun shooting games, medal games, racing games, fighting games, and all sorts of them.

“Ah…this doll is so cute…”

“Nn? Lemme see.”

Himeji-san stopped in front of a crane game. There’s a white rabbit portable strap. It is designed in a 2-headed size deformed figure, and it looks just like a kid born between a kitty and a rabbit. Un, it looks good.

“Let me try and get it!”

“Ah, Himeji-san.”

Before I could even stop her, Himeji-san threw a 100 yen coin. She cautiously presses the button and moves the crane.

“Ah…”

But the crane arm got a panda strap that’s 2 dolls away.

GOTO, GOTONK, the strap let out a sound as it falls to the exit. Leaving aside what she wanted to get, she did get a prize.

“You’re amazing to succeed once, Himeji-san.”

“Uu…are you saying that on purpose, Akihisa-kun?”

“Ahaha. It’s one thing if it’s just beside it, so in a certain sense, getting it 2 dolls away is rather amazing.”

“You’re too much, Akihisa-kun. You’re thinking that I’m rather slow, right?”

“No—un, that, about that…”

“You should be denying it here!”

“What do you want to play next, Himeji-san?”

“You definitely feel that I’m slow, Akihisa-kun…changing the topic like that so casually…I understand. In that case, I’ll play some other game to make you change your impression on me!”

“Alright. Let’s have a showdown then, Himeji-san.”

“I’ll definitely win this time. It’s not my intention to let that Akihisa-kun call me slow!”

“Ahaha. I don’t know whether you’ll be saying that once the winner’s decided, Himeji-san.”

As we talked, I suddenly realized something. Unknowingly, the relationship between Himeji-san and me may have developed to the point where we can joke with each other. In other words—

“Maybe the distance between us has shrunk somewhat…”

“Un?”

“What is it?”

I inadvertently exchange looks with Himeji-san. Did Himeji-san…

“What did you just say?”

“Is, is that something? Aha, ahaha!”

Did I mistake a game sound or something for Himeji-san’s voice? Or is it the voice of somebody else nearby? Un…

“Forget about that. What should we play next?”

“Ah, that’s right. As for a game where we can decide the winner…”

I see an air hockey game in front of me. That should be easy for us to settle things. However…

“You just mentioned that shaking will hurt…”

“It’ll be troublesome if it breaks too…”

“Un?”

“What is it?”

Himeji-san and I exchange looks again. She did say something this time, right?

“Eh, erm, Akihisa-kun. How about we use that to decide the winner?”

Himeji-san’s finger pointed at a quiz game. I see. If it’s that kind of game, we can use the speed of pressing buttons to tell whether we’re slow or not, and there’s no need to move our bodies too much. That’s perfect for the two of us.

“Okay. I’ll show you that I know lots of trivia too.”

“Fufu. If it’s a quiz on knowledge, I won’t lose.”

We sit down on a chair each and put in 100 yen coin. We press the start button, enter our names, and arrive at the quiz genre choice screen.

“I choose ‘social’.”

“Nn…I’ll choose ‘sports’ then.”

We choose our genres and press the button. The machine starts to ask a question, and first, it’ll be Himeji-san with her social question.


“First question, social.”


The machine lets out a reciting voice.


“Which year did Japan sign the International treaty that forbids killing of sea otters and fur seals?[1] Please state your answer in Western calendar terms.”


Who knows about such a thing!!?

“Erm. It’s signed in 1911.”

“WHY DO YOU KNOW OF SUCH A THING!?”

Himeji-san entered the number, and the screen shows a large ‘correct!’ word on it. Now she leads me by 1 point.

I start to worry about Himeji-san’s vast knowledge as I prepare for the next question. This time, it’s a question from the sports genre I chose from. What kind of question will appear next?

“Second question, sports.”

The machine let out a reciting tone again,


“In football, what is the only position that can use hands.”


Isn’t the difficulty way too different from the one before!


“Eh…I remember, it’s the catcher, right?”

But the knowledge level of the one who answered fell off quite a lot as well. If that’s the case, I might have a chance.

“It’s the goalkeeper, Himeji-san.”

I answered as I entered ‘goalkeeper’. Now my score increased, and both of us have the same score. Looks like this game won’t deduct scores when we make a mistake.

“Muu…I won’t lose, Akihisa-kun.”

“Same here, Himeji-san.”

We can only get points from the genres we’re good at as we continue this battle.

And then, we take on the last question with the same score. During the short time the machine reads the question, Himeji-san suddenly asks,

“Akihisa-kun.”

“Un?”

“It feels like we’re on a date when we come out to play like this. I’m so happy.”

“What!”

“You’re shaken up~”

Using this chance, Himeji-san answered the question, and the answer’s correct. The outcome now is that I lost.

“It’s my win then, Akihisa-kun.”

“Uu…you actually made me hesitate with such words.”

“Fufu, you’re the one at fault here.”

I was careless. I didn’t think that Himeji-san would use such a method.

“And there’s something I’m unhappy about, Akihisa-kun.”

“Eh? What are you unhappy about?”

She’s still unhappy even though she won. What does that mean?

“You actually hesitated because of those words I said. That means you never realized anything before I said this, did you, Akihisa-kun?”

“Eh?”

“I was already so tense since just now. That’s so unfair.”

Himeji-san pouts as she puffs her cheeks.

What does this mean? Just when I’m feeling bothered—

(—!!)

My sixth sense detected a certain person’s presence.

I didn’t see it, but I understand it…the atmosphere that’s coming here, the instinct that helped me overcome several crisis, all these tell me something—

(It’s the presence of an enemy…!)

Most likely, it’s someone from F class. It may be Yuuji or Sugawa-kun or even Fukumura-kun. Anyway, there’s no need to imagine what kind of outcome there’ll be if Himeji-san and I get discovered here.

“What’s wrong, Akihisa-kun?”

“Over here, Himeji-san.”

“Eh? Ah, yes.”

Anyway, let’s hide for me. I hold Himeji-san’s hand and move away from the presence. There’s some sort of a game machine in front of my eyes, and we hide behind it. Now nobody can see our faces from the outside.

“Ah…this game…”

Himeji-san muttered. I peer outside to check whether the owner of that presence discovered us.

(That’s weird…that presence isn’t closing in on us. It’s even moving away…)

If it’s discovered by me, I guess the chances of the enemy discovering us are very high too. But the enemy isn’t coming after us. What’s going on? Am I being too alert here?

“Ah, never mind. We’re safe for now.”

I relax and turn to face Himeji-san again. Himeji-san is staring at the game with a serious expression. Un? What now?

“Erm…21st December, type A…”

Himeji-san had already put in a coin as she started to enter data on the screen.

“Alright, it’s your turn then, Akihisa-kun.”

“???”

I’m not too sure of what’s going on here, but I proceed to stand in front of the screen. The screen shows a line that reads ‘please enter your birthday and blood type. Eh? This is…ah, I see. It’s a fortune telling machine.

“Then, mine’s 18th October, blood type is…erm.”

Pon pon. I enter my birthday and blood type. Speaking of which, this might be my first time playing a fortune telling game.

“Then, both parties are to touch the crystal ball in the middle.”

I follow the instruction and put my hand on the crystal ball in the middle.

“…”

Right beside me, Himeji-san showed a tense expression as she placed her hand on the crystal ball. Eh, Himeji-san, I know that you will do your best for everything, but there’s no need to be so serious, right?

“Fortune results are being printed. Please wait.”

There’s a printing sound coming from near the receipt slow, and a piece of paper with words that feels like a ticket drops out. Himeji-san picks it up and reads it in a focused manner.

“Himeji-san, is there something nice written on it?”

“…”

Himeji-san continues to read the slip to such an extent that she’s not listening to me. Uu, but I can’t see anything from here.

Can’t be helped then. I can only remain where I am. After a while, Himeji-san has finished reading, and suddenly lifts her face.

“♪♪♪”

She’s showing such a happy smile that I had never seen before.

“I guess something good’s written on it given your response, right?”

“Yes, it’s really good.”

She said with a dazzling smile on her face.

“I’m happy about what’s written on the paper, but what makes me most happy is that you came to play this game with me, Akihisa-kun.”

I came here to play with her…oh yeah. I did bring her inside this machine. In that case, I’ll have to apologize to her.

“Sorry for that just now, Himeji-san.”

“Eh? About what?”

“I dragged you here just now. Isn’t your arm hurting?”

“Fufu. You made me happier when you did that.”

??? Made her happy?

“Looks like you don’t know what I’m talking about, Akihisa-kun.”

“Eh, no…”

“You’re really slow-witted, Akihisa-kun.”

Uu…I really can’t argue with that. I just lost that quiz game after all.

“Oh yeah, Akihisa-kun, can I keep this paper?”

“Un. I’m fine with that.”

“Thank you. I’ll really treasure it.”

After saying that, Himeji-san folds that piece of paper properly and keeps it in her purse.

Though I don’t mind her doing that…

“Then, it’s about time to go buy our stuff. Akira-san will worry if we return late.”

“Ah, wait, Himeji-san.”

I don’t mind her doing this…but let alone the results of the fortune telling, she never told me what kind of fortune telling we were doing just now…



“You’re going to buy games, Akihisa-kun?”

“Un, that’s what I planned.”

“Really…don’t spend too much, you know? Akira-san will get angry, right?”

“Okay~”

Even though Himeji-san said so, she basically let me off by turning a blind eye to this. She’s really kind.

“Oh yeah, what kind of shop are you going to, Himeji-san?”

“Eh! Me, me? I…I’m just shopping around.”

“???”

Himeji-san panicked as she answered my question. Huh, is there something secretive she wants to buy?

“Himeji-san, are you buying…”

“I, it’s nothing! I have nothing to buy! I’m just going to walk around!”

Himeji-san’s actions are really not natural. What does she want to hide?

Speaking of which, I’m sneaking out to buy games here, so I do understand the feeling of sneaking out to buy stuff. And if it’s Himeji-san, she definitely won’t buy something weird, so I guess I don’t have to worry.

“Really? Then, how about I look for you after I’m done with my shopping, Himeji-san?”

“O, okay. Anyway, Akihisa-kun, can you please call me after you’re done shopping? I’ll be glad if you can do so.”

“Nn. Okay.”

After checking that both of us are holding our phones, I break off from Himeji-san as I head to the shop selling games.

“Then. Game, game time!”

I start to look around as I walk towards the game shop.

At this moment, I discover a guy standing in front of me.

A hairstyle that’s like a lion’s mane.

A face that’s full of wildness.

A presence that looks really stupid.

I can’t be mistaken here. That’s—

“Yu, Yuuji!?”

I’m definitely not mistaken here. That’s my arch-nemesis, Sakamoto Yuuji.

“Why that heck is he here…?”

I can’t help but mutter.

It’s not weird for that guy to appear here. It’s a holiday today, so there’s nothing strange about meeting the people around us even in this shopping center. The problem is—

“Why at such a moment…”

The problem is that I just met a guy who might think that I’m dating Himeji-san here. Then, was the enemy’s presence I detected coming out from that guy?

If the fact that Himeji-san and I are living together is exposed, there’s no need to talk about what kind of consequences there will be. That guy’s a member of F class too, an enemy of justice who will work hard to prevent the happiness of others even if it means working overnight.

Since I met that guy in such a situation now—

“…I can only kill him now.”

Take the initiative. Kill enemies on sight. I must kill the enemy before I get killed.

Since I’ve decided what I want to do, there’s no time to hesitate. I hide my presence and move from one shadow to another, sneaking behind that kid’s back. As for the target…very good. He never discovered me. Now I can kill him!

As I unleash my momentum, I proceed to let out a killing blow.

“GO TO HELL, YUUJI!”

“Oops, my shoelaces…”

Swoosh

Yuuji suddenly bent down. The kick I unleashed with all my strength went right above that guy.

“…”

“…”

I remain in my kicking position while Yuuji remains bent down as we continue to stare at each other for several seconds.

“…Oi, you…”

“You kept your life there, Yuuji! But don’t think there’s a next time now!”

“Ah! Hey! Hold it!”

The ambush failed, so I decided to leave the battlefield immediately. I will be at a disadvantage no matter what when I take on this guy. In this situation, I should retreat and regroup.

I run away from the battlefield as I think.

That Yuuji was shocked by my sudden attack, but he probably won’t chase after me. If he saw me with Himeji-san, it’ll be another thing altogether, but if he didn’t, there’s no need for him to chase after me in front of everyone. I’ll wait for tomorrow to take my revenge. That’ll be better.

That should be the case—

“Akihisa, you bastard! Hold it right there!”

“WHY!?”

For some reason, Yuuji’s chasing after me.

What’s this now? Why must he deliberately chase after me?



~Yuuji’s side~

Damn it! Why do I just have to meet Akihisa of all people at such a moment here!? Is the fact that Shouko and I are going out exposed now? Is this why I was attacked? So that stupid presence I detected came out from this guy?

“And why must I be the one attacked here…”

I’m going with Shouko like this, but that’s because Shouko wrecked my phone when she went to check if I was cheating on her. I just came here to repair my phone. Even if Akihisa or the other idiots see me, there’s no reason for them to attack me.

Even so, but—

“…Those guys definitely won’t think of such things…!”

Going out with a girl on a holiday—they will attack me for that reason alone, and I have no way to argue back or defend myself.

In that case…

“—Better kill him.”

I must take the initiative before he finds allies. This will be the most appropriate.



“AKIHIIIISSSAAAAA!!!!”


The voice can be heard from behind. Tch! I can’t shake him off!

“This will be bad if this keeps up…”

The plan to regroup myself and ambush him when he’s careless is slowly becoming a failure. Damn it. I have to find a way to shake him off here!

We continue to run, but the distance between us is shortening. We’re running at the same speed now, but the enemy has the definite advantage of making cuts, so it’s a matter of time before he catches up to me.

In that case—

“I’ll bet on this!”

I turn around a corner and immediately dart into a shop to escape from that guy.

“That damned bastard! Where did he go!”

It seems that that idiot Yuuji immediately lost me, so he’s looking at the entrance of the shop. Alright, success!

I adjust my panting as I hide my presence. If I’m careless by the slightest bit, I’ll be discovered by that guy. I have to find a way to hide inside the shop.”

“Oh yeah. What does this shop sell?”

I try not to make my posture too weird as I slowly investigate my surroundings.

White.

Waterblue.

Pink.

Beige,

And all sorts of colors are around me.

Fm fm. I see. This is—

(--A female underwear shop.)

The shop displays all sorts of bra and underwear.

Now then,

(HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO HIDE IN HERE!)

I’VE NEVER FACED SUCH A CRISIS IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. A MALE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT RUNNING INTO AN UNDERWEAR SHOP WILL DEFINITELY STAND OUT NO MATTER HOW I HIDE IN SUCH A SITUATION! THERE’S STILL A REASON IF I’M WITH A GIRL, BUT I’M ALONE HERE! I CAN’T EXPLAIN MYSELF HERE!

From inside the shop, I peer out at Yuuji. That guy’s about to turn his head here as well! That’s was close!

I immediately pull my neck back and hide behind the mannequin in underwear.

At this moment, the shop attendant probably finds me very suspicious as she stares at me with a shocked expression.

Ku…! In that case, I can only force it!

I endure the shop attendant’s stare as I raise the underwear on the hanger. I then try to convince myself while trying to look naturally.

(I’m a perverted underwear maniac here. Mix in here! Stay inside this women underwear shop with a matter-of fact expression! Mix into the surroundings!)

I give a serious look as I watch the underwear. Don’t blush! Lose yourself! I have to be an underwear expert of sorts and proudly choose one!

I continue to convince myself. However, this is all futile as the shop attendant seems determined as she asks me,

“Erm, dear customer…?’

The shop attendant onee-san asked with a suspicious and nervous tone.

Ugh…that won’t work too…with such lousy acting, I can’t pretend to be an underwear lover…?

As I get corrupted by despair, my knees weaken.

But at this moment, a teacher’s words rang in my heart.

A deep, gruff, forceful voice replayed in my mind.


“NO MATTER WHAT, IF YOU WANT TO DO IT, MAKE SURE YOU FINISH THE JOB!”[2]


“—!!”

At this moment, my wilting strength is recovered.

That’s right. It’s still too early to give up. We learned something important from Ironman during the baseball summoned beast tournament!

I exert my strength back into the limp legs and straight my back.

“De, dear customer?”

The shop attendant let out a worried voice, but I ignored her as I proceed with the next action.

I slowly take a piece of underwear from the display, pry it out and put it on my head. At this moment, I say something cool to the shop attendant onee-san.

“Fm…it’s a little okay to wear it…”

“CUSTOMMMEEERRRRS!!!”

Hold on a minute! Why is that shop attendant yelling out so loudly!? What if Yuuji hears it from outside?

“Be quiet!”

“THE, THERE’S A PER—MGH”

It’s a critical situation now, so I use my hand to cover the shop attendant’s mouth. Damn it, don’t I look like some underwear weirdo even at this point?

I cautiously look outside the shop. Luckily, Yuuji’s looking for me at the other shops and has no intention of coming in.

“…(Limp).”

The shop attendant with her mouth covered by me falls limp. I proceed to look forward, and find that she fainted from lack of oxygen. Eh? This doesn’t seem good!

After checking that she’s still breathing, I again wonder about how to get away from this predicament of despair.

Yuuji’s still watching outside the shop savagely. The only way to actually deal with him is…

After thinking for a while, I made a conclusion. There’s only that way to deal with that guy most effectively.

Let’s call Kirishima-san then.

Once I call Kirishima-san and tell her that ‘I saw Yuuji with another girl on the second level of the shopping center’, that guy’s life will be extinguished in less than 2 seconds. This plan will not only ensure my own life, it can keep my secret of living with Himeji-san safe. That’s perfect.

“In that case…”

I take out my phone and search out Kirishima-san’s phone number from the phone book.

I press the button and wait for the ring.

And then, the sound of a phone speaker lets out a sound.

Prrrrr.

For some reason, it seems that a phone rang in the changing room nearby. Huh?

“…Hello?”

Kirishima-san’s voice enters my ear. However, this voice isn’t just coming from the phone, but also from the changing room right behind me as well. Do, don’t tell me…

“Erm, Kirishima-san?”

“…Un. What is it, Yoshii?”

Kirishima-san’s voice can be heard clearly from the changing room behind me. Don’t tell me she’s in this shop too!?

I subconsciously check what this shop is about. This is a female underwear shop, and Kirishima-san’s voice is coming out from the changing room. In other words…

“So, sorry! Nothing at all!”

I inadvertently panicked the moment I thought about Kirishima-san changing in the changing room. It can’t be helped anyway! How can I calm down when a girl of my age is changing while I’m around!?

Such an unexpected situation happened, and I panicked. The voice that was let out seem to be louder than before, so Kirishima-san in the changing room seemed to have heard my voice.

“???…Yoshii, are you on the second level of the shopping center?”

“Heh? Ah, erm!”

“…Let’s talk face to face then. I really can’t talk well.”

“…Yes?”

Swoosh. A sound came from behind. It should be the sound of Kirishima-san pulling aside the curtain. Then, Kirishima-san won’t come out in underwear only, will she?

My self-restraint that’s telling me not to look triumphed over my urge to look, so I immediately escape from the scene.

Basically, I choose to run into another changing room nearby.


“…??? Yoshii?”


Kirishima-san’s voice came from the other side of the curtain. That was really close. I was nearly viewed as a pervert there.

“Fuu…that’s great…”

I use my hand to wipe away my sweat, and slowly lift my head.

And I’m looking at Himeji-san with her bare skin, rooted to the spot.

BTS vol 09.5 113.jpg

“Erm…erm…Akihisa-kun?”

Himeji-san used the clothes she took off to cover her body as she asked me with a timid voice.

“Un? What is it, Himeji-san?”

In contrast to her response, I’m not panicking at all as I’m coolly thinking of how to respond. If I panic in such a moment, she’ll feel worried, so I have to calm down.

“Erm…what are you doing here?”

Then, I’ll just answer confidently so that she won’t feel worried.

“Haha. Is it really weird for me to be here?”

“Ah, no, that…”

No, to be honest, it’s really weird for me to be here.

“I’m looking for a cap here, trying to look around for something nice~”

I said as I pointed at the underwear on my hear.

Don’t worry. Himeji-san is all confused now. Once I simply insist that it’s a hat, I’ll definitely be able to pull through!

“Eh? Ha…t…?”

Himeji-san’s mind is severely slowing down, but there’s still something about my words she find weird. Argh, I’ll just bluff through with momentum!

“That’s right. It’s a hat. Doesn’t it suit me?”

“No, not at all. It suits you!”

I can’t help but feel really complicated.

But leaving aside my personal feelings, let’s talk about something else. This topic is too dangerous.

“What about you, Himeji-san? What are you doing here?”

“Eh, erm…the hook on my bra was spoilt this morning, so I came here to buy it…”

Spoilt this morning…don’t tell me it was during the ping-pong game? I see, so that’s why she said that she had something to buy.

“W, well, it’s not like that! I’m wearing one different from usual! This…that…I want to say, since there’s a chance, I wanted to take a little risk. I just met Shouko-chan just now, and she recommended this kind of underwear to me for a decisive victory. I don’t normally go for this style…”

Himeji-san started to defend herself blankly. However, I’ll be bothered if she describes the details of a girl choosing underwear to me.

“Ahaha, calm down, Himeji-san. I can’t understand what you’re talking about.”

“Erm, well, that…sorry…”

Himeji-san lowered her head, blushing.

Anyway, Kirishima-san probably returned back to the changing room.

“It’s about time for me to go.”

“Okay. See you later.”

I put my hand on the changing room’s curtain and get ready to slip out.

But before that—

“Oh yeah, Himeji-san.”

“Un?”

“For you.”

I let Himeji-san hold onto something that’s been in my hand.

“Ye, yes. This…”

Himeji-san slowly opened her hand the moment she received it to see what it is.

That’s the underwear I put on my head.

“WHAT WERE YOU DOING, AKIHISA-KUN!”

“DAMN IT! I’M BACK TO NORMAL!”

I continue to endure the surge of nosebleed as I dash out of the underwear shop in an embarrassed manner.



“Really…how unbelievable!”

“So, sorry…”

As we walk back home from the shopping center, I continued to hear out Himeji-san’s lecture.

“Why must you always start such…erm, somewhat vulgar trouble, Akihisa-kun?”

“No, I wasn’t being perverted there. It’s more like it was out of unfortunate circumstances.”

“Don’t find an excuse now!”

“Yes, sorry.”

I immediately straightened my back once I was lectured by her.

On a side note, Yuuji endured Kirishima-san’s hug (to put it lightly) for quite a while and fell limp onto the floor before being dragged away. I guess his chances of living are at most around 50%.

“Do you understand, Akihisa-kun? Bad things will happen when you run into a changing room like that—and a female underwear shop at that!”

“Yes…”

“What do you intend to do if it’s other females instead of me?”

Himeji-san puffed her cheeks. Eh, that’s true. She’s right here…

“And I wasn’t mentally prepared yet…but that might be better than letting you look at other girls in a pervy manner…”

Himeji-san muttered. I can’t actually tell what she’s talking about, but she does look really angry. What should I do now? I must definitely find a way to apologize…it’s not easy to erase away the sight of her in lingerie, so I should at least compensate. Is there something I can do…

“Something I can definitely do…something I can definitely do…”

In this case, there’s only cooking. Himeji-san’s living at my house now. I’ll just make something she likes and apologize to her earnestly.

“Himeji-san.”

“What is it?”

I look over at her eyes sincerely,

“Wh, what is it, Akihisa-kun? Why is your expression so serious?”

“This might not be considered an apology, but, if you don’t mind, please let me—”

“Eh? O, okay!”

“—Please let me make something you like to eat, Himeji-san!”

“……Yes?”

I said with utmost sincerity.

I did something bad, so I’ll show off my culinary skills and make a good meal. Hopefully, this will ease up on my guilt.

“So…well…Himeji-san, can you name some things you like to eat?”

“…”

“Even if it’s a little difficult, I’ll try my best to do it!”

“…(Unhappy)”

“Himeji-san?”

“I don’t know!”

Himeji-san scowled and looked away.

Eh? Did I say something wrong?

I ponder for a short while. Eh…ah, of course! I’m actually trying to bribe a girl of young girl with food. There has to be a limit to how slow I am! Of course I would make her angry the way I do this!

“So, sorry! I really don’t mean anything else. It’s simply because I only know how to cook, so…”

“I thought you would say something like taking responsibility…”

“What?”

“Nothing!”

Himeji-san’s angrier now. What can I do now? It seems that I made her even angrier. In this case, I can only use my ultimate move, kneeling down with my head down in the middle of the road to expression my sincerity!

“I’m really sorry! At least allow me to use my own way to—”

“…Pae…lla.”

“—finish things here…eh?”

I stop myself from kneeling down and lift my face. What did Himeji-san just say?

“Paella.”

I heard it clearly this time.

Paella? Why is she saying that all of a sudden?

“You can make paella for dinner…it was really nice the last time.”

Himeji-san said with an unhappy look still on her face. Ah, the paella is referring to what I asked her what she wanted to have, right? In other words…

“You’re willing to forgive me, Himeji-san?”

“No second time after this. I won’t forgive you if you do something like that again, Akihisa-kun.”

“Affirmative! I’ll remember it with all my heart!”

“Again…really, Akihisa-kun, it’s because you’re so useless…”

Himeji-san said as she gave a relaxed expression.

Great. It seems that she’s willing to forgive me for saying that at the wrong time. She’s really kind. I should repay her expectations and make a nice dinner.

Oh yeah, I can make an apple pie as dessert to go with the paella. Let’s put a large amount of apples in the pie and add cinnamon to it, add a nice apricot jam to the top lightly and bake it until it’s slightly charred. It’ll definitely be delicious. Un, that’s not bad.

As I wondered about all those things, Himeji-san continues,

“Then, I’ll make dessert. I won’t allow you to say that!”

“…Ma, maybe…”

“Why are you talking with a kansai accent?”

“No no no, I should do everything from the preparing to the cooking and everything after that to make up for all the trouble I cause! No, please allow me do so!”

I’m sorry to Himeji-san about this, but thanks to how I barged into the changing room accidentally, I managed to ensure an excuse of me being able to make dinner safely.



We safely passed the trial of dinner, and we had already washed the plates (in the end, Himeji-san did help me out with that). Right now, it’s past 8pm, and Himeji-san and I are in my room, at the table with our books and stationery laid out.

“Then, let’s start studying, Akihisa-kun.”

“Yeah…”

That’s right, studying.

Looks like Himeji-san has been studying and revising her homework here every day. Nee-san actually gave such an unreasonable order ‘in that case, Aki-kun, study with her’ the moment she heard that. Of course, I have no right to refuse, and since Himeji-san said ‘let’s do our best’ as she agreed heartily to that, so things ended up like this.

“Eh, where should we start studying from? Are there any subjects you’re good at, Akihisa-kun?”

“None at all.”

“Let’s study them all then.”

“I want to study Japanese history!”

“I understand. Let’s focus on Japanese History, we’ll focus less on the other subjects.”

You’re not going to stop with studying all the subjects?

“Hi, Himeji-san! There won’t be enough time, right?’

“Don’t worry, you can study a lot in 4 hours.”

“4 hours!?”

Wait a sec! Is there some special exam tomorrow?

“I couldn’t study during the day, so I have to study hard at night.”

Himeji-san said calmly as if it’s something minor. Let, let me check with her again.

“Well…Himeji-san, do you know?”

“Un? Know what?”

“There’s only 24 hours per day.”

“I don’t think there are many high school students who don’t know this…”

No no no! That’s not what I’m trying to say! What I want to say is that there’s only 24 hours a day, but using 4 hours to study is really a waste!

“Then, let’s begin, Akihisa-kun.”

“…”

Himeji-san is completely motivated. She’s serious!

“Himeji-san, don’t you feel tired? We’ve walked so much in the day, and you can’t sleep well on a futon you’re not used to, right?”

“Well…I’m a little tired…”

“Right, that’s right!”

“That’s why I have to hurry up and study before I fall asleep.”

Not good. We’re thinking differently here.

I know Himeji-san is working hard, but I didn’t know that she was so passionate about studying. No wonder her grades are outstanding.

“Ah, before we study ahead, let’s check our answers of the homework from two days ago.”

Hoho, the answers of the homework…

“Huh? Akihisa-kun, you still haven’t done your homework?”

Of course I haven’t! But if I answer this proudly, Himeji-san will be angry with me, so I have to find an excuse.

“Ah, erm…well, I left my English-Japanese dictionary in school!”

“The homework was maths.”

“…”

I really have no way to make an excuse that’s convincing.

“Really, Akihisa-kun…good thing I checked first.”

“Aha…hahaha…”

“If there’s anything you don’t know, I’ll teach you. Do your best.”

“Okay…”

Himeji-san flips open the textbook and instruct me on the topics included in this assignment. Ugh…there’s a lot of them…

“There are example questions here. You will be fine if you answer them according to how it is done.”

Himeji-san pointed at the boxed portion on the textbook as she said. Can’t be helped then. Since Himeji-san is teaching me so seriously, I’ll try to work hard then!

I roll my sleeves up and start to solve the questions.

To be honest, the homework’s far more than what I can handle, but thanks to Himeji-san teaching me, I can still barely solve the questions.

While I’m doing my homework—

Gok gok.

A knock can be heard on the door.

“Please come in.”

Himeji-san answered, and the door opened. Nee-san appears from behind.

“The bathroom’s filled with hot water. If you don’t mind, you can take a bath.”

I instinctively look over at the clock, and find that it’s already 11. I was grumbling a lot just now, but it seemed that I was rather focused just now.

“Thank you, Akira-san. Akihisa-kun, do you want to…”

“I’m only left with these. I’ll have a bath later once I’m done. You can have a bath first, Himeji-san.”

“Really? I won’t mind then.”

Himeji-san leaves the room.

Then, since she has basically taught me everything, I’ll do my best within my abilities then.


—Taking on the homework—


“Akihisa-kun, the bathroom’s empty.”

Himeji-san’s voice could be heard from behind.

“Okay, I’m done here too.”

I close my textbook and stretch my back. Fuu…it’s really tiring to deal with a subject I’m not good at. But speaking of which, I’m basically bad at every subject.

I move my shoulders and stand up to prepare my change of clothes. Alright, time to bath, time to bath.

Klak, the sound of the door opening behind me echoed.

“It’s good that you finished your work.”

“Un, that’s thanks to you, Himeji-san. Thank you ver—”

At this point, the words suddenly stopped in my mouth.

“Un? What is it?”

“Ah, no, it’s nothing at all!”

“???”

Himeji-san tilted her head and gave a puzzled look. As she just bathed, her face was flushed red, and she’s in her pajamas. Un…well, pajamas have the charm that will make anyone defenseless.

Himeji-san undid her hair as the rabbit hairclip she normally wears was in her hand.

Ah, speaking of which, I forgot,

“Ah, Himeji-san, here. For you.”

I took out something I forgot from my shirt pocket and put it in Himeji-san’s hand.

“Eh? This is…”

“You wanted this today, right?”

The thing I handed over to Himeji-san was the rabbit strap she wanted to get from the crane game in the shopping center. I wanted to surprise her after that, so I went away from her to take that strap first.

“…”

“? Himeji-san?”

She stares at the rabbit strap.

“The snow rabbit…Akihisa-kun gave me…”

Himeji-san muttered.

Snow rabbit? If I have to say it, I feel that’s more like a cat rabbit.

“What’s wrong, Himeji-san? Did you bath too much?”

“Ah, no, it’s nothing!”

Then, did she mix up the cat rabbit and the snow rabbit? Himeji-san’s rather ditzy too, so it’s possible for her to make such a mistake.

“Thank you, Akihisa-kun.”

“Eh, this thing isn’t so expensive for a need to do that.”

Himeji-san bowed to thank me, and that caused me to panic.

That’s because this isn’t something big, and I only got it in one try.

“I’ll treasure this well too.”

Even so, Himeji-san said with a happy look. I feel that giving her this gift is worth it after seeing her being so happy.

But I’m somewhat embarrassed as well. Better leave for now.

“I’ll go and bathe then.”

“Un, take your time.”

Himeji-san and I cross each other as if it were a swap while I leave the room for the bathroom.

Perhaps it was because I felt nervous when I was with her that I couldn’t help but sigh loudly the moment I sat in the bathtub.

(Feels strange for some reason…)

My mind start to have this thought while I’m in the bathtub.

Himeji-san and I have known each other since young, but there didn’t seem to be any interactions between us before this year, and even so, she’s living in the same house as me now.

(…Which one is more natural?)

Becoming friends and not talking to each other.

A classmate who I only got to know better in the past half year, now living in my house.

(Un…I really don’t know.)

After knowing each other better, I started to see the hidden side of Himeji-san recently, like how she’s unexpectedly determined to win, and how she’s determined to persist until the end once she decides or something.

On the other hand, regarding primary school, there are only two things I have an impression on Himeji-san. The first is that her body was weaker than now.

(And the other thing is…)

As I was thinking about this, my mind started to feel fuzzy. Not good. Looks like I soaked in for too long too.

I stand up from the bathtub, take a shower, and walk out of the bathroom. I wipe my body, put on shorts and T-shirt and use the towel to wipe my hair on the corridor. I’ll skip the hair drying as I find it troublesome.

“Fuaa…so sleepy…”

Maybe it’s because I soaked in for so long that a sleepy feeling struck me. It was really intense today, and I’m tired because I ran around, so it’s to be expected that I want to sleep now.

Speaking of which, is Himeji-san still studying?

“Or is she asleep?”

Himeji-san doesn’t have much health, and this house is unfamiliar to her, so the fatigue she built up might be more than mine by a lot.

I stood in front of the door, being careful not to disturb her.

Then, the sight of Himeji-san studying seriously appeared in front of me.

The thing I thought of just now suddenly appeared in my mind.

The other impression she gave me was,


(—She works harder than anyone.)


That was the impression I had of Himeji-san during primary school.

Of course, I don’t have the time to talk about this. However, Himeji-san actually wasn’t the kind of person who could study well. The reason why she’s able to get top–class grades in the promotional school Fumitzuki Gakuen has to be because she continues to work hard.

“Ah, Akihisa-kun, you’re done bathing.”

Himeji-san noticed me and lifted her face.

“Ah…”

And she stared at my face blankly.

“Un? What is it?”

“Nothing. It’s just that I find it rare for you to comb your fringe back, Akihisa-kun.”

“Eh? Really?”

“Un, it looks refreshing.”

“Speaking of which, it’s refreshing to see you like this, Himeji-san.”

“Ah…maybe.”

To add on, she looks rather bewitching right now as the pajamas is very thin and the collar is very loose…

“Oh yeah, Akihisa-kun. Since you’re done with your homework, how about we check the answers?”

“Un, I was planning to do so in the first place.”

But instead of checking answers, it’s more like correcting my mistakes.

“I’ll sit here then.”

Himeji-san takes her book to sit beside me, probably because it’s not a good reading position,

“Color is emptiness…emptiness is color…”[3]

“What’s wrong, Akihisa-kun?”

“It’s nothing. This is just something of a chant that will seal off my sight, hearing, touch and smell to focus.”

“How are you going to study hard with only tastes?”

Humans can’t control their own senses at will…

Leaving aside this, we started to check each other’s answers. Or rather, just as I predicted, the problems I solved have lots of errors.

Himeji-san corrected the parts I was wrong at one after another, and I again try to solve them.

“Himeji-san, this is—”

“…(Nods).”

Looking over, I see Himeji-san dozing off there.

“……Mu, muu……”

Looks like she’s definitely tired. I’ll let her sleep like this. She’s in her pajamas, and I can carry her to the bed. It’ll be pitiful if I wake her up.

With that thought, I put my pen aside and get up.

However…

“I’ll end up touching Himeji-san like this in this situation…”

Is this really alright? Is carrying a girl who’s defenseless with thin pajamas and putting her on the bed allowed?

“No no no, I’m not having illicit thoughts, and I don’t intend to do anything vulgar. Such a minor thing should be alright…”

I breathe in and out several times and shake my head. I then cautious reach my hands towards Himeji-san.

At this moment, Himeji-san suddenly opens her eyes in a dazed manner.

“Nu? Mnn…”

“Ah, Hi, Himeji-san. That’s it for today. You should be sleeping now, okay?”

“Ah, okay. That’s…right…”

Himeji-san is all sleepy as she’s already getting ready to sleep.

“Are you alright, Himeji-san? Can you go to bed yourself?”

“Uun…”

She rubs her eyes, giving a sleepy response.

“I’ll be happy if you can bring me over…”

After that, Himeji-san opened her arms wide to give a hugging pose. Are you kidding me?

“Oo-o-okay! Please allow your subject Yoshii Akihisa to carry—”

“That’s enough, Aki-kun.”

“…Un?”

But just when I was about to reach my hands out, I hear a sheer cold voice.

“Nee-san will help Mizuki-san get to bed. As for you, Aki-kun, go there…”

“Yes.”

“—And think of how to write your will.”

“YOU’RE NOT GOING ASK ME WHAT HAPPENED!?’

Nee-san carried the sleepy Himeji-san away from my room.

Really…looks like this is going to be a long night…



The next day.

“Yoshii, come over.”

“Okay, what is it?”

“This is the homework you handed in. All the answers are correct. Please do it again.”

“Hold on a second, sensei. Your Japanese is really weird.”

“What I mean is that copying other people’s work doesn’t count.”

“Ehhh!? That’s not true! I really wrote it on my own!”

“Don’t lie! You, who won’t normally hand in your homework, just handed in your homework all of a sudden with all the questions answered correctly. There has to be a limit to weirdness here!”

“Hold on a moment! This is…but now that you mention it, sensei, it really is weird.”

“Good that you understand.”

“But it’s not like this! There're many reasons…”

In the end, I’m forced to spend 15 minutes answering the questions before the teacher would even believe me.


Notes[edit]

  1. The actual name is North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911.
  2. Ironman's quote from the Baseball tournament when he hit a homerun off Akihisa.
  3. Buddhist quote. 色即是空。空即是色。Denying matter, in this case.