This is a fanfiction by Doughnut Gunso.
Nobody in Cafe Donguri spoke, as they watched Hinagiku crying. Everybody knew that they had just heard about a very serious case of criminal offence – while the parents of their friend were the victims – but they did not know what to do. Usually Hinagiku would be the one to make decisions, but not this time – not when she was in such a state, anyway.
Hinagiku kept on crying. Yukiji placed a hand on Hinagiku’s head, and kept patting her. It had been a very useful way to comfort Hinagiku when she was small, and Yukiji could only hope that it still worked after all these years. It worked – as Hinagiku finally stopped crying after 15 minutes. It seemed that she had fallen asleep – or fallen into deep thoughts.
Kaga offered some hot chocolate to everyone, but they all left it on the table. The drinks kept smoking with steam as everyone awaited a move from Hinagiku.
After another 15 minutes, Hinagiku made an “Emm…” sound, and began to raise her head. Her face was covered in tears, and her eyes and nose had become very red. “I – I am sorry making you worry,” she said hoarsely. “I am better now, I guess.”
Everyone looked relieved. “Go and wash your face, Hina-san,” said Ayumu. “It helps you clear up your mind.”
Hinagiku forced out a smile. “I must be very ugly,” she said as she took away her tears with her hands.
Ayumu shook her head. “No, that is absolutely wrong, Hina-san,” she said gently.
“Thank you, Ayumu.”
As Hinagiku headed towards the washroom, the others began talking.
“Is Hina-chan really alright?” whispered Izumi.
“Well, even if she is not, at least she has regained enough toughness to pretend that she is fine,” said Miki. “She is such a fool, bottling herself up.”
“Well, she hates losing, doesn’t she?” asked Nagi. “I think that’s why.”
Ayumu shook her head. “It is not true, Nagi-chan. Hina-san simply doesn’t want anyone to worry about her,” she paused and sighed. “She thinks she would be a trouble for people if they have to worry about her. She chooses to pretend everything is fine, so that people won’t have to worry about her. Really, Hina-san is just too kind.”
“That is the most likeable and most unlikable part of her,” said Miki. “She needs to trust us more.”
“Well, I think she would, if you girls are a bit more trustworthy,” said Nagi.
“How rude!” said Miki and Ayumu together. Nagi shrugged and did not respond.
A few moments later, Hinagiku came out of the washroom. She sat down by the table, took a breath, and began to speak. “I am very sorry for troubling you with my family business. I – I cried because I did not know what to do, but I will think about it. Please do not worry, as everything will be fine!”
She smiled, in an attempt to reassure her friends and sister. However, they did not look very convinced.
“Hinagiku,” said Nagi. “Whether you like it or not, we are going to worry about you, so don’t face this alone. We are going to help you, even if you say that you don’t need it, so cut all the crap and tell us what to do for you.”
Hinagiku blushed slightly, but she found that she could not reject Nagi’s offer. “Thanks, Nagi,” she said simply. Nagi smiled and turned to Miki and Ayumu, mouthing “See?”
Miki and Ayumu both looked at Nagi, amused.
Hinagiku coughed to hide the slight embarrassment. “I think you already heard me, but I want to ask you once more: Please, do not call the police, at least for now,” she paused. “Do not get me wrong. Fukada-kun is illegally entrapping my parents, along with some other people. I must – we must – rescue them, and turn Fukada-kun and his family to the police. However, it is highly risky to call the police now, so I – we – have to wait.” Everybody smiled as she kept changing the “I”s into “we”s. She was not taking this alone.
“Well, then what are you going to do?” asked Risa.
“I hate to say it myself, but I say patience,” said Hinagiku. “There is something Fukada-kun wants from me, so I am sure that Fukada-kun will come to me again soon. So please, don’t call the police for now, okay?”
Nobody but Nagi knew what “thing” she was referring to, but they did not pursue the subject. They saw determination in Hinagiku’s eyes. They were sure that she knew what she was thinking. It was the Hinagiku whom they had trusted before, and whom they could trust again this time.
“Dad! Dad! Mom!! Where are you? Where are you?!”
“We are here, Hina-chan. Don’t be afraid!”
“Dad! Mom! I thought you were gone! I am so scared!”
“Do not be afraid, Hina-chan. We will always be with you.”
“I love you, Dad and mom!”
“We love you too, Hina-chan. That’s why we will always be together.”
Hinagiku opened her eyes, and found herself lying on her bed. Mr. and Mrs. Kazamis were nowhere to be seen.
“It was a dream, huh?” Hinagiku whispered. She felt a tear running down her cheek.
Hinagiku went to the dining room and found her mother, Mrs. Katsura, was making breakfast.
“Oh, good morning, Hina-chan!” she said cheerfully.
“Good morning, mom,” said Hinagiku. Her mother beamed at her, and resumed cooking. There was a moment of silence.
“Mom,” began Hinagiku.
“What is it, Hina-chan?”
I love you, mom.
I never want to lose you.
Please be always with me.
Never leave me alone.
“I am sorry, mom.”
“No, it isn’t a matter, Hina-chan,” said Mrs. Katsura, a little bit confused.
It was another quiet school day for Hayate. Nagi went to school on time, no kidnapping and assassination, no bleeding, no wrath of Hinagiku… It would mean nothing for any other person, but Hayate was actually grateful for his “good luck”. Indeed, for him, no news was always good news.
His day was so quiet that he could turn his attention to something else. He could sense that there was something wrong between Hinagiku, Yukiji and Fukada Kyosuke. Hinagiku, for one, did not respond when Kyosuke greeted her, and she actually looked angry as he spoke. Yukiji’s eyes became murderous every time she looked at where Kyosuke was sitting – or at least somewhere around there.
Hayate had no idea what had gone wrong between the three. Nagi did not mention anything to him last night, because she knew that Hayate would start firing questions at Hinagiku once he saw her, and the last thing Hinagiku wanted at the moment was Hayate’s insensitive questions.
Hayate’s day became even more empty as he did not have to look after Nagi this afternoon, as Chiharu was taking Nagi to Suirenji Ruka’s signing event today. According to them, Ruka had just released a new album following her most recent concert. “Ruka-san really had a busy schedule,” said Hayate with a sigh. Sometimes he worried about her for the heavy workload.
Without duty with his lady, and without a shift at Cafe Donguri, Hayate found his day horribly long. He had devoted his life – at least, the best years of his life – to serve Nagi, which meant that he did not really have a private life. Once he was discharged of his duties, even for an afternoon, he had nothing to do. Time had come for him to think of something to do on his own.
He did not really know why, but he found himself considerably concerned about Hinagiku. “Well, Hinagiku-san looked strange today,” Hayate thought to himself. “Maybe I should go and ask what had happened between her and Fukada-san.”
It clearly was something Nagi had not considered while deciding not to confide in Hayate anything about “that Fukada guy” and Hinagiku.
Hinagiku was on her way to the Student Council Room. She felt a bit dizzy; Kyosuke had not mention her parents when they met this morning, but she had wasted a lot of energy expecting him to say anything to her. “Maybe it is his idea of toying me,” Hinagiku thought to herself. “He might want to wear me out so that I would agree to exchange Shirosakura for my parents with him. Like I would let that happen!”
But she had started wondering if she really had to insist keeping the sword to herself. “I mean, I am not that special, right? Of course the sword could be used to do bad things, but it doesn’t mean that things would be better if I remain its owner, right?” Just by arguing with herself over such a subject was exhausting as well.
She was not sure if she was in the right mood to handle school business today, but Athena had promised her that she would not have much to do today. She sighed and started to pace up, but then she saw someone she knew. It looked like he was expecting her. “Fu – Fukada-kun!”
It indeed was Fukada Kyosuke. He was wearing the same smile on his face, but now Hinagiku could see that he had cruel and cold eyes. “How could I not noticed his eyes before?” Hinagiku cursed herself.
“You look much better now, Katsura – no, I mean Kazami,” said Kyosuke. No more “-san” suffix. “I suppose it means that you have decided whether to do business with me?”
Hinagiku shook her head. “This is not business. I had never heard of a fair business in which one party negotiates with captives in his hands!” she said furiously.
“Then maybe you should have some lessons on business, Kazami,” said Kyosuke. “Let me assure you that, my own parents’ lives are under threats every other day, just because we do business on weapons. It is a world where the fittest survive, Kazami, so don’t blame me.”
“But it doesn’t mean that you can hold my parents as captives!” shouted Hinagiku, her eyes quickly filling with tears. “We have not done anything wrong to you!”
“I think you have to reconsider what you have just said,” said Kyosuke, his smile suddenly disappeared. “I don’t think you have any idea what your parents had done.”
“What…?” began Hinagiku. She suddenly had a feeling that something was wrong.
“What is going on here?” said a voice. Hinagiku and Kyosuke both turned, and saw Hayate.
“Hayate-kun?” said Hinagiku, who blinked. “Why are you here? Aren’t you with Nagi?”
“Milady is with Chiharu-san,” said Hayate with a smile. “I was looking for you, Hinagiku-san.”
“Oh…” Hinagiku did not really know what to say. She simply blushed.
Hayate smiled at her again, and then he turned to Kyosuke. “What do you want, Fukada-san?” His smiled had disappeared.
“Ayasaki-kun, I suppose?” said Kyosuke, who was smiling. “Honestly, I don’t think I have any business with you. Would you please leave? I am talking to Ka – Katsura.” He intended to call her “Kazami”, but he thought Hayate would not know whom he was referring to, so he forced himself to change to “Katsura”.
“Excuse me, but if your intention is to upset Hinagiku-san, then it is my business!” said Hayate. He had no idea why he said that.
Kyosuke snorted. “I don’t think it is the best time to do that.”
“Do what?” demanded Hayate, frustrated at his ambiguity.
“I mean you shouldn’t pretend to be her Prince Charming if you have never been before!”
“You – ” Hayate was outraged and rushed towards Kyosuke.
“Hayate-kun, NO!!” Hinagiku screamed and took Hayate by his hand.
“Hinagiku-san?” Hayate turned to her, and was shocked to see her sobbing. He could feel her hand in his, trembling and cold.
“Please, don’t,” whispered Hinagiku, lowering her head. “Don’t be silly.”
Kyosuke stared at the holding hands, and barked out a laughter. “You are weak, Kazami. You are so weak that you have to rely on a boy! A Kendo victory over me and a change in your surname hadn’t changed anything in you, I see.”
“Shut up!” shouted Hayate as he wanted to jump at Kyosuke again. Hinagiku squeezed his hand, signaling him not to do anything stupid.
“I guess I should leave you two alone today,” said Kyosuke, who grinned. “But don’t forget about our business, Kazami. You don’t have much time.” He paused as he turned away. “And maybe you would want to know more about your parents’ misgivings. Perhaps I can take your hand and show you your parents again.” With that, he left.
Hayate had no time for him. He turned to Hinagiku, who had not yet let go his hand. He held her hand a little firmer. “Hinagiku-san?” he whispered. “Are you alright?” He took out his handkerchief and took out her tears.
Hinagiku looked up at him. “Hayate-kun,” she whispered. “Could we talk?”