This is a fanfiction by Doughnut Gunso.
For a very long moment, neither Hayate nor Hinagiku knew what had happened in the school cafe, from where they fled. Hayate kept on running, as he was not sure if they were safe from Aika – or whoever she had become. Hinagiku had stopped struggling to get loose of Hayate’s hug, but started crying in his shoulder. The eye-contact with Izumi had completely broken her heart.
Fifteen minutes into their run, Hayate retreated into the woods as he finally slowed down and looked back. There was no one coming after them, and they could no longer see the school cafe. Hayate let out a long breath, and put Hinagiku down. She did not stand on her feet, however, as she slumped to the ground.
“Hinagiku-san!” called Hayate as he took her hand, intending to pull her up. Usually she would give him some response – either a compliance by standing up, or a rejection by taking her hand back – but not this time. She sat on the ground with her head down, as if totally unaware that Hayate was trying to help her up. Hayate could feel that her hand was very cold – he knew from before that this would be a very bad sign of her emotional status.
“Hinagiku-san,” said Hayate soothingly as he sat down besides Hinagiku, still holding her hand. “What is it?”
Hinagiku did not respond for a long moment. Hayate decided that he would not rush her, but rather to wait for her to at least say something first. Time was almost frozen as neither of them spoke.
Finally, Hinagiku looked up. “Hayate-kun,” she said very quietly – Hayate could see that her eyes were filled with tears – “Why?”
Hayate did not understand what she was asking. “Why what, Hinagiku-san?” he asked.
“Why save me?” asked Hinagiku, speaking with a louder but trembling voice.
“W – why?” repeated Hayate, confused. “You were in danger, Hinagiku-san. I had to save you.”
“Izumi and the others were also in danger,” said Hinagiku. “Why didn’t you save them?”
Hayate sighed. “You know full well that I could only save one of you,” he said. “So I decided that – ”
“Why did you decide to save me?” asked Hinagiku shortly, interrupting Hayate, as she finally took her hand back. “You could have saved Izumi or Chiharu or Masumi, but why did you choose to save me?”
“I – I thought it was the best choice to make!” replied Hayate as he desperately tried to understand what made Hinagiku so angry. Surely there was nothing wrong saving her instead of the others? “You are the most important person in the restaurant, so – ”
“No, I am not!” shouted Hinagiku. “I am just one of the students inside the cafe, that’s all! And as Student Council President, I should have made sure that everyone was safe before leaving!”
“But your position as Student Council President is what makes you most important, Hinagiku-san!” exclaimed Hayate. “As Student Council President, you are the symbol of this school! Do you have any idea what it would mean to the other students if they learn that the Student Council President has been held hostage?”
Hinagiku shook her head. “No, no, Hayate-kun, you don’t understand…”
“No, it is you who does not understand, Hinagiku-san!” shouted Hayate as he grabbed her shoulders. “You simply do not understand just how important you are to us!”
“But…” Hinagiku began weakly. Why was it so difficult for him to understand that he had saved the wrong person?
“And even if you think that you are only one of the other students,” said Hayate firmly, “what’s wrong with me deciding that you were the one I wanted to save most in that situation? What’s wrong with me thinking that you are more important than the others?”
Hinagiku’s heart skipped a beat. She then began to blush furiously, but she did not speak.
Hayate watched her closely. He could feel that her irrational anger was already gone. Apparently she had regained some senses. He did not speak either, but he smiled at her.
A moment later, Hinagiku decided to stand up. Hayate came to her aid at once, taking her hand again. He was glad to know that her hand had become much warmer.
“I am sorry, Hayate-kun,” said Hinagiku, blushing slightly as she felt slightly embarrassed that he was holding her hand, “for saying all those bad things.”
“No, Hinagiku-san,” said Hayate gently. “You do not have to apologise.”
Hinagiku sighed. “Now I just want to know if Chiharu and the others are safe,” she said. “What do we do now?”
“You know, Hinagiku-san,” said Hayate, “maybe we should talk to A-tan first.”
“I see. That’d explain.”
Those were the words from Athena after she had heard Hayate and Hinagiku telling her the whole story. Neither Hayate nor Hinagiku had any idea what she was talking about, though.
“Explain what, A-tan?” asked Hayate.
Athena stood up and sighed. “King Midas has returned,” she said, “and he has possessed Aika.”
“What?” asked Hayate and Hinagiku together, but for different reasons.
“King Midas… I thought I defeated him in Athens!” exclaimed Hayate.
“So this ‘King Midas’ is real? I – I heard Saginomiya-san saying the name once, but I thought she was only joking!” exclaimed Hinagiku.
Athena glared at them.
“Let’s deal with your reactions one by one,” she said calmly. “Yes, it is for real, Hinagiku. And by the way… are you telling me you fought him without even knowing who he was?”
Hinagiku shrugged. “Well, technically I did not fight him, as I was caught by him before I could do anything to him. But his identity isn’t important, is it? I mean, Hayate-kun was in danger…”
“Well, well…” said Athena with a sigh. At this rate, she thought, Hinagiku could stand against the whole world just to help Hayate. “And yes, you defeated him, Hayate. But no, you did not kill him. So now he comes back for revenge.”
“I thought I have finished him off!” said Hayate. “I turned him into pieces, didn’t I?”
“Yes, but King Midas has the ability to regenerate,” said Athena. “In fact, only the Shirosakura has enough power to kill him. Your brother Ikusa (Athena blushed slightly when mentioning his name) fought him with that sword once, but he had no intention to kill him, so he regenerated. You could have intended to kill him, but the sword you used did not have enough power, so he regenerated again. Now that Shirosakura has been destroyed…”
Athena glared at Hinagiku, who looked alarmed.
“W – what? I didn’t mean to destroy Shirosakura!” she said defensively.
“No, I am just saying that you would have a very difficult task fighting him this time,” said Athena reasonably.
“‘You’?” asked Hayate. “Are you not fighting him with us, A-tan?”
Athena shook her head. “No, I can’t, and I have my own reason which I cannot explain to you. All you need to know now is that, if you have to fight King Midas, you have to do it without me.”
“I am not interested in fighting him,” said Hinagiku. “I just want to save my friends, so what are we going to do?”
“Not to worry, Hinagiku,” said Athena as she sat down again. “It appears to me that King Midas has been targeting you, not your friends. Soon enough he would…”
Athena’s television suddenly turned itself on, showing the Clock Tower of Hakuou Academy.
“… come for you,” Athena finished her line, ignoring the television.
“This is a warning to the man known as Silver Red,” said a very deep male voice with echoing effect. “The Student Council members of Hakuou Academy are being held hostage. If you want them alive, come to the top of this Clock Tower at 11 o’clock tonight, alone.”
The television then turned itself off.
“Clever…” muttered Athena. She looked at Hinagiku, who was still staring at the now blank television, with the kind of determination that Athena knew she was going to do something stupid. She opened her mouth to speak, but Hayate was ahead of her.
“Not to worry, Hinagiku-san,” he said. “I am sure that Mr. Silver Red would take care of everything. There is nothing to worry about.”
Hinagiku smiled at him. “I know, Hayate-kun,” she said.
Athena sighed. So Hinagiku would indeed be doing something stupid, and it was already too late to stop her…
It was 22:30 at the Katsura household.
Hinagiku took out her Silver Red costume and stared at it thoughtfully. She had been wearing this costume quite a few times, but she knew that she had never been very fond of it. Suddenly, she felt sorry about it – after all, this suit offered her a role to do justice, which she could not do so as Katsura Hinagiku…
Suddenly, she heard someone knocking on the door. Hinagiku quickly threw her costume into the closet, and answered: “Yes?”
“Hina-chan?” asked Mrs. Katsura on the other side of the door. “Can I come in?”
“Y -yes, mom.”
Mrs. Katsura entered the room with a smile on her face. Hinagiku smiled back, determined not to let her mother know that she was going out tonight. She would sneak out later, somehow…
“Why are you still here, Hina-chan?” asked Mrs. Katsura. “I thought you were going to the Clock Tower.”
Hinagiku’s face went pale.
“W – what are you talking about, mom?” she asked. “I – I am not…”
“Come on, Hina-chan,” said Mrs. Katsura, smiling. “Have you ever been able to lie to me?”
Hinagiku opened her mouth, but she indeed was not able to hide herself. “How do you know, mom?”
“The evening news suggested that the police could not go near the Clock Tower, so we can’t leave the matter to them,” said Mrs. Katsura. “Whoever is holding your friends in the Clock Tower asks for Silver Red, and Silver Red is my daughter. My daughter always helps her friends when they are in trouble. So, I figured that you would be going.”
“I am sorry, mom,” said Hinagiku, lowering her head, “for being such a reckless girl. I know that I make you worry…”
“It’s fine, Hina-chan, it’s fine,” said Mrs. Katsura as she patted Hinagiku’s head. “I am actually glad that my little daughter is doing all these great things, being a hero of other people.”
Hinagiku did not speak. She had never wished to become a hero…
“What I do not understand is why you are doing all the heroics in a hero suit,” said Mrs. Katsura as she sat on Hinagiku’s bed. “You could have done them as yourself.”
Hinagiku sat next to her mother. “You know, mom,” she said. “There are things that could only be done by a hero.”
“No, I disagree, Hina-chan,” said Mrs. Katsura as she shook her head. “Do you remember what I have told you about how weird it is for people to think that there is a problem for cute girls to beat up bad guys, but there is none for masked people in suits?”
“I do, mom,” replied Hinagiku.
“What I have wanted to say is that, we honestly do not need all those ‘heroes’,” said Mrs. Katsura, taking Hinagiku’s hand. “If it is the right thing to do, everyone should be allowed to do it. If everyone can do the right thing – the heroics, so we say – there is no need to have masked heroes.”
“I understand what you mean, mom,” she said, “but tonight is all about Silver Red. Please trust me: I have a feeling that it would be the final outing for this masked hero.”