This is a fanfiction by Doughnut Gunso.
“Please tell us more, Hanabishi-san!” demanded Hayate after the day’s lesson. It was 15:00, and everyone was walking around the campus.
“About what?” said Miki. Of course, she knew the answer to that question, but sometimes – all the times – she enjoyed making fun of Hayate.
“About the past of Hinagiku-san! Please tell us all what you know about!” Hayate did not know he had just fallen into Miki’s trap, and gave his honest answer straight away. He used the word “us”, as Nagi, Izumi and Risa were joining in.
“You seemed to have known Hinagiku-san for a long time, right?” he added.
Miki stared at him and thought for a moment. “It does me no harm telling you the story, but it does me no good either,” she said.
“What do you mean?” asked Hayate, suddenly alarmed.
“Just answer me one question,” Miki paused and looked into his eyes. “Why do you want to know?”
Hayate gaped. Indeed, Hinagiku’s past should have nothing to do with him. It was none of his business, so he did not have any right to know. But then, seeing Hinagiku meeting someone from her past, whom he knew nothing about, was not very comfortable. He wanted to know something about the past of Hinagiku and Kyosuke, because…
“Well, Hinagiku-san and Fukada-san reconciled after so long, right? I think I… am not sure about them. I want to know something more about them, so that… when it is necessary, I could… help,” said Hayate, with the least certainly he had ever managed.
Everybody around him thought that he wanted to aid Kyosuke and Hinagiku together. Nobody knew that Hayate didn’t mean this.
“So you wanted to help Hina? You are such a nice person, Hayata-kun,” said Miki with a smile.
“Thank you very much,” said Hayate. The misunderstanding was complete.
Miki looked up at the sky, took a deep breath, and began her story:
It was nine years ago when I first met Hina. I went to Hakuou Elementary Section with these two (She pointed at Izumi and Risa). It was only the first week of my second year, but on my eighth birthday, my father received a call from the school, saying that I was falling behind of studies. (“That quick?!” exclaimed Hayate. “Yep, she had been bad all along,” said Risa with a nod.) AH!! Shut up, don’t interrupt! Anyway, my father thought that I embarrassed the family. “The grand-daughter of the former Prime Minister should do much better than this!” he said. He then sent me to a private tutorial school.
Well, as I have said before, if we had any motivation to study, we would not end up having study groups or tutorial lessons. It was the same with the tutorial school that I went. Nobody in the tutorial school ever listened to the tutors. All, except one.
It might be luck, or it might be fate (Miki blushed a little), but I was assigned to sit next to Hina, our model student. She always listened to the tutors attentively, she always handed in homework in time, and she always got the best result in tests. The tutors definitely liked her.
The other kids did not like her, though. She always wore an angry face. She did not talk, and she did not play around with the others. Even I, who sat next to her, never talked to her. It seems that she was isolated, but she did not look like she cared at all.
And then something happened. Something which would fundamentally change our relationship happened.
I wasn’t sure why, but one day the three boys sitting behind us made fun of me by spitting gums onto my hair. The kids were all laughing, but I was crying like mad. Then, Hina stood up and punched one of the boys in the face.
“Apologize,” she said. It was the first time I heard her talking with the kids.
“Apologize for what?” retorted one of the boys.
“Apologize for making fun of your classmate! She is a girl, by the way!” yelled Hina.
“Yeah, and you punched me, Katsura! You are a girl, by the way!” said the boy who was punched by Hina. The other two kids laughed at her, but Hina’s face was stonier than ever.
“I said, apologize!”
“Then you have to apologize to me as well!”
“Not until you apologize!”
“Damn it, I have had enough of you! Take her down!!!”
And then a fight broke out. Hina sent two more punches to the boy she punched already, took one hit on her right cheek, then knocked out the second boy; she took another punch on her left cheek, and then knocked out the third boy. The three boys were all lying on the floor, while Hina kicked their butts while kept saying “Apologize! Apologize!” I thought that it was too much, so I tried to grab her from behind, saying things like “Enough! That is enough!” and simply prayed that she would finally stop.
The tutors arrived and separated the four kids. Hina’s parents – to be exact, foster parents – arrived later at the school and apologized for Hina’s behaviours. As the daughter of politicians, I managed to overhear them. The tutor gave a lengthy telling off to Hina, who remained silent until the tutor said “You have to listen to your parents, understood?”
“They are not my parents!” yelled Hina.
“What did you say?” the tutor, who remained calm and patient all the afternoon, started to become angry.
“I said, they are not my parents! I am not a Katsura household member! I am Kazami! Kazami Hinagiku!”
I did not know why back then, but Hina’s parents were not angry at her. In fact, they looked as if they sympathized with her.
“I am sorry, sensei, but this child did have a horrible time earlier,” said Mr. Katsura. “Please don’t be so mean with her on family issues.”
The tutor was not convinced, until he saw when Mrs. Katsura urged Hina to go home, Hina struggled and said, “It is not – my – home!”
Hina then received a penalty for fighting with three boys, although she actually had become a living legend among the girls. I mean, a girl who could win against three boys in one fight! Isn’t that amazing?
Nobody had the courage to talk with her, though. The girls then asked me to start a conversation with Hina, as I sat next to her. More importantly, she fought with the boys to protect me, so I owed her one.
So, in an evening when the lessons had ended, and I was alone in the classroom with Hina, I approached her and started talking.
“Hmmm… Katsura-san?” This was the first line I ever said to her.
“KAZAMI!” and I knew that my first line went wrong.
“Fine, fine, please don’t yell. I just wanted to say thank you, Kat – Kazami-san.”
“Call me Hinagiku,” she said. “I see that nobody wants to call me Kazami. So call me Hinagiku.”
“Hinagiku… isn’t this name too long? Can I call you Hina?”
Hina, who was doing extra writing exercise as her penalty, stopped writing and stood up.
“I don’t understand,” she said. “They all call me Hina – my sister, the teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Katsura, and… my parents.” She lowered her head for a few seconds, and then she looked up. “Why? Is it that fun calling me ‘little’?”
“It is a nickname, and people call you by nickname to express that they love you,” I said.
Hina did not really believe me. “If they loved me, they wouldn’t abandon me,” as she finished the line, I could see her eyes watering in an instant. I didn’t say anything, as I was afraid that I might make her cry.
There was a long pause. I couldn’t stand the silence in the end, so I tried very hard to think of another question to ask her.
“You are very good at studying. How come someone as bright as you ends up in this tutorial school?”
To my surprise, Hina answered this question. “I did not attend first year last year, but my sister doesn’t want me to waste a year to resit first year. My school said that I could join second year, but I have to pass the first year exams before Christmas, so Mr. and Mrs. Katsura wanted me to do extra studies here.”
“Could you teach me? I am in second year, but you are doing a better job than I do already!” I asked eagerly.
“You won’t need me to teach you. You just have to work hard.”
“Come on, Kat – I mean, Kazami-san!”
Hina giggled. It was the first time I saw her smile, but it was the best smile I had ever seen. “Call me Hinagiku. Or Hina, if you insist.”
“I tell you want, Hina,” I said, after some thoughts. “Try to smile more, and behave more like a girl.”
“Is anything wrong with me?” Obviously she was not convinced.
I sighed as she apparently didn’t understand something. “In that case, you would need some lesson as well. So let us make a fair exchange: You teach me studying, I teach you manners of a true lady.”
I took her hand before she could answer. Her hand was so small, soft but warm. Nobody could have imagined that she hit three kids with this hand just days ago.