This is a fanfiction by Doughnut Gunso.
Athena arrived at the basement of Deep Field Weaponry. She was surprised to find that the basement was not really secured. There were only two guards, both were knocked out by Machina before Athena’s elevator arrived. Athena walked out of the elevator, almost unable to believe that everything went so easily for her.
“I don’t understand, Athena,” said Machina, who also seemed to have noticed something. “If there are secrets down in this place, why is it not properly guarded?”
“Well, there are quite a few possibilities,” responded Athena, as she began looking around the hall for the jail area. “For one, it could be that they are very confident that we wouldn’t find anything here even if we enter.”
Her first assumption seemed to be proven wrong as she located the lock device fairly quickly. “Here, Machina. Hack into this, and open the chamber.”
“Yes, Athena,” said Machina as he approached the device. “And the other reason?”
“They could have moved all the remaining prisoners out of this place already,” said Athena. “If we can’t find anything here, then we cannot accuse them of illegal imprisonment. In fact, it would be them who could turn us to the police.”
“On what charge?” asked Machina as he began examining the lock.
“Burglary,” said Athena simply. “So make it quick, Machina. How long do you need?”
“It is a bit complicated here,” said Machina. “I need 30 minutes.”
“Make it fifteen,” said Athena. “I am counting on you, Machina.”
“Leave it to me,” said Machina.
Hinagiku remained speechless to Kyosuke’s accusation that her parents had stolen money from his family. Kyosuke thought that she felt guilty about what her parents had done, so she was suddenly unable to criticize him for holding her parents as hostages. Kyosuke grinned: He always had the upper hand in psychological battles against Hinagiku, and today was no different – or so he thought.
In fact, Hinagiku had no time feeling guilty or ashamed, as she was having another battle in her mind.
My parents were trying to help us!
But they abandoned me and Onee-chan.
They had no choice. It was too dangerous!
They shouldn’t have stolen the money in the first place.
But that’s the only way to save us from the debt!
We could run together from the debt, couldn’t we?
That wouldn’t do any good!
At least we would be together!
Hinagiku turned to look at her parents, who had become so weak and pale that they were almost like dying. “Dad? Mom?” she asked. She wasn’t really sure what exactly she wanted to ask them, but she wanted them to make a response. If her parents really had stolen the money, at least she wanted them to admit it to her.
Mr. Kazami looked up at Hinagiku and, to her surprise, he smiled.
“Hina-chan,” he began with a very weak voice, “your mother and I… are the worst parents in… the world. Our coffee shop… went out of business, but we… were so frightened… We left the debt… to you and we ran… away.” He paused and took several deep breaths before he could continue. “We knew we had done very.. horrible things to you, so… we tried to think of… a way to help you. We… met the Fukadas, and we… worked for them. One day, we… broke into their… family safe and… took 79 million… yen from it.”
Kyosuke snorted. Hinagiku ignored him.
“We found Yuki-chan… and we knew that she was… working in order to repay the… debt. She was still… angry at us, but we asked her… to take the money… for your sake… to repay most of… the debt.” He took several deep breaths again. “You might not… believe it, Hina-chan, but we… love you. We made… a huge mistake… Very huge mistake. But we love you. We love you…” He began weeping by the end of his words. No matter what he had done, he could be seen deeply sorry about it.
Kyosuke showed no sympathy to him. “Have you finished?” he asked. “No matter how touching your story might be, the thing remains that you have stolen a lot of money from us.” He turned to Hinagiku. “You see, Kazami. The fact is that your parents had put themselves in serious troubles. We haven’t locked your parents here for no reason. Instead, it is very… justifiable.”
Hinagiku said nothing and simply glared at him.
“Now, it is time for you to make some compensation, Kazami,” Kyosuke continued. “What I am asking is simple: you give me the sword, and I give you your parents. You should be responsible for your parents, shouldn’t you?”
Hinagiku still said nothing. She was still trying to accept the fact that her parents had not abandoned her. Instead, they had loved her so much that they could risk their own lives to repay the debt they once left her and Yukiji. They were locked here because they loved her. She wasn’t unloved, after all…
Kyosuke still had no idea what she was thinking. He had been waiting for her to make a very simple and straightforward decision, but she had failed to do so. He did not have much patience – Mikado was watching him closely, so he did not have much time to waste. “Come on, Kazami! Make up your mind!”
Hinagiku looked up. She thought of her own parents, and her foster parents. Mrs. Katsura had told her a few days ago that she would always love her. Mr. Kazami had told her that he had always loved her. “So I am loved,” she thought to herself. “I have always been loved!”
Hinagiku was always worried that she was not loved. Even though she had accepted the Katsuras as her foster parents, she wasn’t entirely sure that the Katsuras really loved her like a daughter, since she was not their daughter anyway. As such, she fought very hard to earn the respect of others – if she was not loved, at least she wanted herself to be respected. As such, the competitive, tough and strive-for-excellence Student Council President was born.
The past few days had given Hinagiku an experience she had not have for a long time: she felt that she was loved. She realized that she was important to some people, that some people valued her. It would mean that no matter what, there was no way she could give away her life easily.
Hayate had asked her to think of the people around her when she told him that she would sacrifice herself. She had answered him that she did not want to leave them, but this night she finally understood what Hayate really had asked her to consider: they did not want her to leave.
Hinagiku smiled. Her mind had become very clear. Her decision of not surrendering Shirosakura remained unchanged, but now for a different reason; she had to live, not because she had to take up her responsibilities, but that she still had too much to live for.
She turned to Kyosuke. “I am sorry, Fukada-kun, but there is no deal. I am not giving you Shirosakura.”
It was a huge surprise for Kyosuke, who had no idea of what she had been thinking. “Why?” he demanded. “What is the problem with you, Kazami?”
Hinagiku pointed at Mikado. “I know too much about the plans of this man,” she said. “What he wants is for me to open the path to the Royal Garden, and by doing that I certainly would die.” She paused and stared at Kyosuke. “You are hiding important information from me, and I have the feeling that I am deceived. As such, there would be no deal.” Actually, she didn’t really care about being deceived by Kyosuke or Mikado. What she was saying was more like an excuse than a reason.
Kyosuke turned to look at Mikado. It was clear that he knew nothing about the path or Royal Garden. “Sir,” he began, “is this true?”
Mikado grinned. “It’s none of your business, Fukada boy,” he said. “Whether it is true or not, you are still doing this for me, or you will not be paid. Did I make myself clear?”
Kyosuke thought for a moment. “Yes, sir,” he said finally, and then turned to Hinagiku again. “Kazami, things have now become a bit more complicated than I thought, but I still need your sword. Give it to me, and your parents will be safe.”
Hinagiku looked straight into his eyes. “But I, your childhood acquaintance, will die.”
“I don’t care, Kazami! I will kill you to get the sword, if I have to.”
Hinagiku shook her head. “So be it,” she said, as she put Wooden Masamune away. “I have something you want, and vice versa. I found your deal unacceptable, and here is mine: Let’s have a duel, Fukada-kun. The winner gets Shirosakura and my parents, while the loser gets nothing. What do you think?”
Kyosuke snorted. “Why do I have to fight you?”
“Because I would never give you the sword otherwise.”
“You seem confident, don’t you?”
“Who do you think I am?” said Hinagiku as she summoned Shirosakura. “I am the Student Council President of Hakuou Academy, and my name is Katsura Hinagiku!”
The sword came into her hands, shining with white light. It was ready for some action.