Hellping

Before the new semester started, Amane and Mahiru came to see the cherry blossoms. Amane left his seat to go to the bathroom, but when he returned, he saw that Mahiru was pestered by an unfamiliar man.

This man is a few years older than Amane, probably a member of society or a college student. He was red-faced and a little wobbly, very drunk.

Not too far away, under another cherry blossom tree, was a group of people laughing and pointing at him. It seemed he was one of them.

(What a bother.)

Amane was genuinely disgusted by the sight of people losing control of themselves because of the mood or stupor. He would not deny the excitement of drinking, but he would never want to become the kind of person who causes trouble to others after a stupor.

There were two things people should not be led astray by. The first was alcohol, and the second, the mood, especially in a public place.

Amane did his best to hide the disdain disgust from appearing on his face while walking towards a very embarrassed Mahiru.

Anyone could see that Mahiru was emitting an unapproachable aura at this moment, but he did not expect this person to try to woo Mahiru. In a sense, this was remarkable, but Mahiru’s embarrassed smile had taken on a troubled tinge, and it was not the time for him to feel impressed by the man.

The man reached his hand out, presumably to forcibly drag Mahiru over to enjoy the flowers with them. Amane had first put his hands on Mahiru’s shoulders from behind and pulled her back to his side.

The sudden pull seemed to startle Mahiru, but her eyes appeared reassured once she saw Amane’s figure. It seems that the situation just now was really difficult for her.

Usually, she would have rejected the other party cleanly, but this might anger the drunkard, and Amane might not be able to find her if she left this spot. Perhaps this was why Mahiru tried to calm him down.

“Sorry to keep you waiting.”

“It was a long wait.”

“I’m sorry.

Mahiru was peeved because Amange left her, and he really did not intend to defend himself at this point.

She seemed really upset just now, and immediately snuggled up to Amane, which caused Amane’s heart to beat a little faster. He turned his eyes to the drunkard, who stood there even after his hand swung empty.

Sure enough, that man’s face was unnaturally red, and he clearly reeked of alcohol up close. This man was drunk.

As an observer, it would be more prudent to leave than to use forceful words, and Amane did not think he could reason with a person who reeked of alcohol.

Not to mention, the fact that the woman he adored had just been pestered by this man was too unpleasant.

“Sorry. This girl is mine, and underage. Goodbye.”

Amane smiled as kindly as he could, and after clearly conveying the message, he quickly pulled Mahiru away from the man.

Fortunately, the retreat was completed before the dumbfounded man could react, and did not  give chase.

They reached a place where the man was no longer visible, and Amane stopped to look at Mahiru, whose face was red, as if she had been infected by the man’s red face just now.

The expression was sort of natural, but her cheeks were bloodshot.

The somewhat hazy caramel eyes looked upward at Amane, as if glaring at him, which made Amane flinch a little.

Although Mahiru showed such an expression, she took Amane’s hand, implying that he should not try to escape. The soft touch and fragrance could not be ignored, and Amane’s heart pounded more restlessly.

“……Wh-when did I become your thing?”

She questioned in a shaky voice. It took a while before Amane understood what Mahiru was shy about.

Amane did not think much of it back then, and just wanted to act like Mahiru’s boyfriend as possible. It seemed that line made Mahiru bashful

“I-I just said it in the heat of the moment, sorry. If I didn’t take you away quickly, that crazy guy would get carried away.

Amane’s goal was to take Mahiru out of trouble in as flexible a way as possible, and he succeeded only in looking at the result, but it seems that the lines should have been carefully thought out again.

In the final analysis, that kind of line may be unnecessary …… but the desire for exclusivity that subtly seeps into his heart when he sees Mahiru being approached by another man makes Amane subconsciously speak that line out.

Now he himself was in no position to whine to the man. Despite this thought, Amane explained the situation to Mahiru – who was looking at herself with an expression that looked like she was having a fight, angry, or shy, and trying to find out something from Amane’s answer. As a result, Mahiru frowned slightly again.

“…… I understand this, but Amane-kun, you do need to consider your words.”

“I was wrong.”

“It is bad for my heart. Please do not do this again.”

“I know, I know. I won’t say that again. I’m sorry.”

It happened in the heat of the moment, but nobody would feel good to be called someone else’s possession. Amane apologized frankly, but Mahiru frowned even more than before.

“…You are really careless, Amane-kun.”

“I said I’m sorry.”

“Baka.”

Mahiru looked like she was pouting as she murmured and jabbed at Amane’s flank. Amane squealed exaggeratingly “Ouch, Ouch, Ouch” as he let her do whatever she wanted, and gently put her down while she clung onto him.

If she continued to be so close, his sanity will be in danger.

Mahiru was wearing thin clothes in the warm spring, and worse, whenever she pounded with her fists, Amane would become aware of the things that clung onto him, and his face nearly flushed.

Amane gently disengaged from Mahiru, then stroked her head to coax her.

It was not good to touch a woman’s hair without permission, but Mahiru had said before that she did not mind it. Though still a bit apprehensive, Amane touched her head, and just by doing so, Mahiru quieted down. It seemed she enjoyed being touched in this way.

Mahiru seemed to have finally calmed down,f or although her expression remained the same, she no longer pounded Amane with her fists.

Watching Mahiru let herself be touched, Amane thought to himself, “Is it really good to be so defenseless, but he felt happy. This represents both her trust and the closeness of the girl Amane likes to him.

Amidst the dancing cherry blossoms, Amane and Mahiru enjoyed this peaceful time together. He thought to himself that it was a luxury to be able to be with Mahiru like this, and looked towards her, only to find some petals stuck to her hair.

The petals clung easily, and if they remained under the tree for a long time, it seemed the petals would become a veil on the hair.

“Never thought the petals would cling that easily. See, I just took these off.”

Amane pinched a few petals from her hair and placed them in her hand. Her translucent caramel eyes blinked.

“Your dreamy temperament matches the dancing cherry blossoms, but it’s troublesome when there’s so many clinging onto you. Look, here’s another.”

Look, there’s another one.” And with that, another cherry blossom petal fell on her long flaxen hair.

The fair-skinned, dreamy beauty Mahiru matched the similarly light-toned and ethereal cherry blossoms so well, but Mahiru certainly does not want to be wrapped in petals all over.

Seeing her hair being blown by the wind, Amane placed another petal on Mahiru’s hand, and Mahiru’s face turned red.

“…Goodness, Amane-kun.”

“Hey, why are you berating me again?”

“No, it is a compliment. …… Thank you.

After saying that, she smiled coyly., took out a white lace handkerchief from her pocket, andwrapped the cherry blossoms petals.

Mahiru’s movements were gentle, as if she was treating them as precious treasures. It was a plain and ordinary gesture, but they appeared so mesmerizing and sacred to Amane’s eyes, as if he had witnessed something he should not have seen.

“This, what are you going to do with them?”

“…I shall make it into an embossed flower and use them as a bookmark.”

“…… Didn’t you say you don’t like cherry blossoms that much?”

“It is weird of you to ask such a question”

Amane has been called weird by Mahiru several times today, but since Mahiru said so, perhaps that was the case.

Amane thought it would be better not to ask more questions. He looked at Mahiru and found her gazing lovingly at the cherry blossom petals in her handkerchief. A short time later, Mahiru seemed to notice his stare, and her cheeks flushed redder than before.

Even so, she did not run away or look away this time but looked shyly at Amane’s face.

“…… I said earlier that I do not have any memories of cherry blossoms.”.

“Hey, well, that’s what you said”

“…… But, today is different.”

Mahiru showed a happy and childish smile. This smile made Amane shy and fond of her. Various emotions swelled in him, and he could not help but gasp, nearly crying out.

He himself was just walking with her, but Mahiru took it as a memory of treasured feelings.

Did she not want to preserve these cherry blossoms so that she could commemorate this moment?

Amane, who noticed this, naturally blushed.

“…… Amane-kun, what is wrong with you?”

“…… Nothing, nothing at all.”

“I don’t think it is like nothing.”

The more Amane turned his face to the side, the more Mahiru wanted to see his expression. Amane kept twisting his body to try to escape Mahiru’s sight.

 

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