This is a fanfiction by Doughnut Gunso.
Nagi remained skeptical about Athena’s theory.
“I may agree that this theory makes some senses,” she said. “But I still doubt if this is enough to prove that the people who attacked Hinagiku were our men. Nobody saw their faces, remember?”
“As I have already said, this is just a theory, and I have no proof,” said Athena. “In fact, if I had any real proof that Sanzen’in Mikado was behind the attacks, then we could do much more than just sitting here.”
She turned to Hinagiku. “The most important thing now is to warn Hinagiku on a very possible plan that aims at her. She has the right and the necessity to know.”
With that, Nagi raised no further argument.
Hinagiku left the Student Council Room shortly after the conversation. She did not intend to leave school – she still had work to do – but she did want a quick walk around the campus. She needed some time to consider what Athena had just told her.
Hayate was worried and had suggested to go after her, but the other girls had told him that it would be better to leave her alone for a while.
“She would be safe for now,” said Athena. “At least for today.”
“And in any case, we have to go as well, Hayate,” said Nagi. “Kayura is waiting for me.”
Hinagiku’s mind was running as she walked by the biggest pond in the campus.
“Athena has the theory but she has no proof, and without that proof I cannot do anything against anybody.”
Suddenly she stopped and turned to the pond.
“But the fact is that I have just been attacked, and I actually agree with Athena that there would be more to come, whether it is from Director Sanzen’in or not.”
She grabbed a small piece of rock from the ground, and spun it into the water.
“In the end, I could not do anything even though I know that something is going wrong for me, and I hate it.”
The rock hit the water surface and jumped 6 times before it finally sank.
“This is just so like old times…”
“Wow! Nice one, Kazami!” someone let out a small cheer. Hinagiku turned her head to the voice and saw Fukada Kyosuke.
“Oh, hello, Fukada-kun,” said Hinagiku. “Sorry that I wasn’t with you when you were sent to the hospital wing. How do you feel?”
Kyosuke smiled. “I am fine, thanks. Luckily that bastard did not hit me that hard.”
“That would be good,” said Hinagiku, and she let out a sigh of relief. “I am very sorry about the attack. It was my fault that those people came and hurt you and the others.”
Kyosuke shook his head. “But you protected us, single-handed. I never knew that you are such a great Kendo practitioner now, Kazami.”
“Well, I train very hard,” said Hinagiku, laughing.
“And now I am falling behind,” said Kyosuke, also laughing. “I have a lot to do to catch up.”
“Then you should come to our club every time we have practice,” said Hinagiku.
“I certainly will,” said Kyosuke.
He turned to the pond, took a small rock from the ground, and spun it into the water. It jumped up twice before sinking.
“The other boys had told me that,” he began, “I should have called you Katsura, not Kazami.”
Hinagiku chuckled. “Well, they all know me by Katsura now. In fact, I think you are the only one in the world who would still call me Kazami.”
“I thought of calling you Katsura, but you told me to keep calling you Kazami.”
“Yes I did.”
“But why?” said Kyosuke, a bit confused. “I thought you gave up the surname Kazami after you have taken up Katsura.”
Hinagiku turned to the pond. “I never gave up. I love the Katsuras so much that I am very proud to be a family member, but it doesn’t mean that I have to give up on my own parents.”
She picked up a small rock from the ground. “I asked you to keep calling me Kazami, because I feared that someday I would start forgetting about my parents. I was small and I missed them, and the best way I thought of to remind myself of my parents, was to have someone to remind me of my original surname.”
She spun the rock into the water. “Of course, it wouldn’t be fair for you alone to call me Kazami while the whole school call me Katsura. So, please call me Katsura from now on, Fukada-kun.”
She smiled at Kyosuke as the rock finally sank into the water after jumping up 7 times.
“So, Katsura… san?” said Kyosuke, naturally feeling awkward as he addressed Hinagiku in this particular way for the first time.
“Could you show me how to do it?” asked Kyosuke, pointing at the pond. “I never made the rock jump up more than two times.”
Hinagiku giggled. “Well, there is a special trick in it,” she said as she placed a small rock in his hand. “Let me show you.”
Nagi began leaving the school for Cafe Douguri. She had agreed to go monster-hunting with Kayura at the coffee shop.
“To be honest, I am a bit worried about Hinagiku-san,” said Hayate suddenly. “She must be feeling the pressure of the Old Master’s plans against her.”
Nagi didn’t answer.
“I hope we can do something for her – I mean, before anything happens,” said Hayate. “We are members of the Sanzen’in family, after all, so maybe we can – ”
“No, we can’t, Hayate,” Nagi interrupted him before could finish his sentence. “We have no proof that the old man was behind the attack on Hinagiku, or that he has any future plans with her, so we cannot even question him about anything.”
Hayate knew that she was right. “But…” he began, but he did not really know what he wanted to say.
“Don’t worry about her, Hayate,” said Nagi. “Hinagiku is more than capable to defend herself, and she is tough enough to stand up against any challenges. She will be fine.”
Hayate did not know what to say, and turned to look at the pond. To his surprise, he saw a pink-haired girl standing by the pond with a blonde boy. He only knew one such combination: Hinagiku and Kyosuke.
Hayate had a closer look at them, his heart beating hard. He could see that Hinagiku and Kyosuke were having fun by the pond, her hand touching his as she showed him how to spin rocks into the water. He could see that Hinagiku was smiling and laughing.
“What’s up, Hayate?” asked Nagi, as she saw that Hayate had stopped walking.
“You are right, milady,” said Hayate, who returned to Nagi. “Hinagiku-san will be fine.”
“Here comes two chocolate milkshakes, Nagi-chan, Kayura-chan!” said Nishizawa Ayumu cheerfully. She was an ordinary High School girl who served as an ordinary part-time waitress at Cafe Donguri.
“We did not order these, idiot Hamster,” said Nagi, her eyes on the screen of her PSP as she was busy hunting. “If you make too many mistakes, you are going to be fired!”
“It is not a mistake from me!” said Ayumu, her hands on her hips. “The Master gives you these, so make sure you say thank you!”
“I will pay for them, Master” said Hayate at once.
“Thank you for the offer, Hayate-kun, but you don’t need to pay for the drinks,” said Kaga Hokuto, the Master of Cafe Donguri. “Nagi-chan has been very helpful, so take these free drinks as my gratitude.”
“Thank you very much, Master,” said Hayate with a smile.
“I should be the one to say thank you. As you well know, we don’t have many customers, so I often feel lonely here…” Kaga sighed as he suddenly became moody. “It is so good seeing that you bring a friend here.”
“I see…” said Hayate.
Kaga looked over Nagi and Kayura. “This really reminds me of the old times. Hinagiku-chan used to visit my coffee shop every day when she was small, and I watched over her when she was doing assignment,” he said suddenly.
“You said before that you were an old friend of Hinagiku-san,” said Hayate. “So you have known Hinagiku-san for many years?”
“I have known her since she was three, actually,” Kaga chuckled. “I used to be an apprentice at their coffee shop. Her parents taught me how to brew coffee, and I often babysat Hinagiku-chan. She was pretty hard to handle, as she was too energetic for me.”
“I see,” said Hayate, smiling at the thought that a very small Hinagiku running all over the place, making troubles.
“To be honest, their business was bad, so I left them two years later and set up my own coffee shop,” said Kaga. “I hadn’t seen them for some time, until one day Yukiji-chan turned up here, and asked me if I could look after Hinagiku-chan during the day.”
“What happened?” asked Hayate.
“Their coffee shop went out of business, and their parents were gone, leaving a huge debt to their children,” said Kaga. “To make things worse, Hinagiku-chan did not have a school to go to because there was no parental consent, so there was no one to look after her while Yukiji-chan was busy working to earn a living. I agreed, and as Hinagiku-chan had nothing to do during the day, I set up assignments for her. You could say that I was the only teacher for her first year.”
He paused and sighed. “It had been a very hard time for them,” he went on. “It was most fortunate that they managed to repay the debt in less than a year – I still have no idea how they managed to do so – and were adopted by the Katsura household.”
He turned to the coffee brewer. “Interestingly, Hinagiku-chan’s childhood life – as I perceive – could be summed up by the special recipe of their family cafe.” With those words, he began making coffee.
“The special recipe?” asked Hayate, as he watched the Master working.
“Yes, I’ll show you,” said Kaga. He did not speak for a few minutes, as he was busy brewing coffee. “Try this,” he said finally, and handed Hayate a cup of coffee.
Hayate took a sip, and coughed immediately. “Man, it is so bitter!” he exclaimed, but as he finished the line, sweetness began to surface, and in about two seconds he was enjoying the warmth and sweetness of the coffee. It could be the most bitter but yet the sweetest coffee he had ever tasted.
“Well, this is… special,” said Hayate, as he felt he needed to give the coffee a fairer assessment. “What is this called?”
“‘The Wind Sees Daisy’,” said Kaga. “The English translation for Kazami Hinagiku (風見 ヒナギク) – the original name of Hinagiku-chan. Hinagiku-chan loves this recipe very much, and asks me to make her this every time she comes as a customer.”
Hayate said nothing. He reflected on the bitterness-sweetness combination of the coffee, on the story about Hinagiku he had heard so far, and…
“Master,” he said after a moment. “Please show me how to make this blend of coffee.”