Hellping

Amane’s mother, Shihoko, was quite interested in Mahiru.

She, who was very fond of cute things, desired a daughter, and there was none cuter than Amane’s neighbor, Mahiru. Whenever she contacted Amane, she would often ask how things were going with Mahiru, what kinds of food she liked, and so on.

He answered that she could eat just about anything and had no particular preferences, and in response to his ambiguous answers, a package was delivered to him.

“…What is in that box?”

Mahiru arrived at Amane’s house after shopping, and gave a curious look at the box on the living room table.

“Just some stuff I received from mom. Maybe she sent it as an apology for the trouble she caused you, Mahiru …or us, I guess?”

He did not know was inside, but he knew it was not an appropriate thing to send to high school students. Both Amane and Mahiru would probably be glad about it. In fact, Amane himself was glad.

“Apology…what is she apologizing for?”

“Well, I’d also like to apologize for whatever trouble my mom caused, but don’t worry about that. Right now, just think of this as an allowance.”

He could have described it as an apology if it contained sweets, but that did not seem to be the case. He did not expect his mom to deliver half-cooked food.

Mahiru gave a questioning look as Amane, upon being prompted, opened the package.

Inside were vacuum packed fish that were preserved in various boxes. Mirin-zuke, Saikyo-zuke, Kasu-zuke, and various pickle fish.

It seems that Amane’s mom had delivered the stuff he liked to eat.

“Wow, are these not from that famous shop?”

“My family buys these often since I really like them. It’s been a while since I last ate these.”

“That is something to be grateful for. I suppose I shall not go out shopping today. Shall we have this as our main dish for dinner?”

Mahiru appeared to be more delighted than terrified of these half-cooked snacks. High school students nowadays…so Amane thought, but as he too was one, he dared not to voice out, and remained silent.

While troubled by how Shihoko would do unnecessary things like these, he was grateful for the care she showed.

He decided to send a message thanking her later after enjoying the grilled fish for dinner.

 

(How is this happening?)

While sensing warmth and a sweet fragrance rising up his left arm, Amane ensured that his cheeks remained normal.

Doh, doh, for some reason, his heart was beating loudly, and the culprit for that irregularity, Mahiru, was leaning onto Amane.

The only explanation as to why this happened would likely be the Kasu-zuke they had for dinner. While he had Mahiru choose however she preferred to cook it, perhaps the alcohol might not have been burned off completely as it was cooked under a low fire.

They finished eating, and as they were taking a break,Mahiru had quietly snuggled onto him.

He quickly kept his body still as she did so, and she rubbed her cheeks on his shoulders.

It was an unbelievable moment, one very unlikely, and Amane was trying his best not to groan as he gave Mahiru a terrified look.

Mahiru’s caramel-colored eyes fluttered as she looked up at Amane forcefully. Her cheeks were turning red from within.

“…M-Mahiru-san?”

“…It is hot.”

“W-well, if it’s hot, it would be better to not cling onto me.”

“It is hot, and also cold.”

Saying that, Mahiru pressed her weight onto Amane.

She was not heavy, but the act left him really perturbed. It was not to the point that he was going to go insane from it, but there was no way he was not getting shaken up if someone of the opposite gender had clung onto him.

Overwhelmed by the sweet smell and the softness, Amane felt his cheeks heat up.

“…I’d be happy if you could move away from me now…erm, why are you sticking onto me?

“…It is warm.”

Her words were incoherent; she most definitely was drunk. It did not matter whether she was hot, cold, or warm, her thought process had clearly declined, and she was not thinking straight.

“…Am I, warm?”

“…Yes, very, very warm.”

“I think it’s just that you’re very cold to begin with, Mahiru.”

He tried touching her, but his body was really hot because of the alcohol.

In response to Amane’s words, Mahiru shook her head, and buried her face into Amane’s head.

“…I am just, jealous of the warmth, I do not have…I want you to share some with me.”

Once she said that, Mahiru quieted down, and after some thought, Amane patted her head with his right hand.

She lifted her head and was slightly shocked by the gentle look on Amane’s face, who continued to pat her head once again, unaware of the face he was currently sporting.

Mahiru maintained that look for a little while, and buried her face into his arms once more.

He would let Mahiru do as she pleased until she sobered up.

 

“…P-please, forget about that.”

The alcohol’s effects soon wore out, and Mahiru pulled away from Amane, her face completely beet red as she begged. Amane chuckled, not realizing how shaken he was.

It appeared Amane, not Mahiru, might have been the most shaken, but he pretended not to know, and did not dare voice it out. He was very conscious of this matter, but for some reason, did not mention this to Mahiru. To him, it was better to keep the mood dry than to be consciously awkward.

Trying to convince himself, Amane ended things off with a shrug.

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