“Fujimiya, just asking, are you on good terms with Shiina-san?”
Kadowaki organized a simply bonding session at the fast food restaurant, and Kuju was munching at a chicken nugget when he suddenly raised this question, as though he had just thought of it.
Amane did his best to show a stoic look as he stuffed fries into his mouth.
Kadowaki invited the four of them to prepare for the cavalry battle…or just a bonding session. Amane went along, but he never expected someone unrelated to him to ask such a question.
He glanced towards Kadowaki, and saw the latter’s expression was clearly saying I didn’t say anything. It appeared Kuju too was quite the perspective one one.
He assumed he was trying his best not to show any expression.
“Why do you think so?”
“Well, the 5 of you often talk together, including Yuuta. I get the feeling that Shiina-san treats you differently from Itsuki and Yuuta.”
“Really? I didn’t notice it.”
Hiiragi widened his eyes at Amane in surprise. It appeared he was just surprised.
“Well, it’s not like you’re slow, Kazuya…I think I’m the only one who noticed it. The others were just looking jealous.”
“Guess I’m right from your reaction.”
Kuju had a stoic look when he asked, so Amane gave Kadowaki a questioning look of what was going on.
I trust them. They should be fine. Kadowaki answered with a look of his own. Amane scratched his face.
It appeared Kuju was certain of it, but Amane hoped that he would not go about spreading it.
Nevertheless, Kadowaki might really have an eye for people, and Kuju’s question simply seemed to be one of curiosity, rather than gossipy. There was no malice in his question.
“…Well, we’re on good terms.”
“It looks like Shiina-san’s taking care of you. Guess I’m right.”
“…Does it look that way?”
Kuju’s insight was really terrifying.
It might be better for Amane to tell some truth rather than come up with a flimsy excuse, and this would make him more trustworthy if they were to bond.
“Well, our places are close to each other, and I get chances to talk to her. We’re just on better terms.”
“Was that before we’re in our second year?”
“Yeah. We started interacting in school during this second year. Pretended to be strangers before that though.”
Of course, Amane could not say that Mahiru was his neighbor who came to his house every day to cook. That would sound too surreal, so he simply mentioned something that was true to a certain extent.
Upon hearing Amane’s explanation, “You already knew, Yuuta?” Kuju looked towards Kadowaki.
Since the man himself said so, Kadowaki had nothing to hide, so he nodded. Kuju then sighed.
“Well, you really are too kind.”
“Nothing, just a comment to myself…so you’ve been hiding it from us, Yuuta.”
“Of course I won’t say it when Fujimiya won’t. I don’t think you two will go about spreading it.”
“Of course. There’s no way I’ll go out and do such an annoying thing.”
“Your honesty’s a virtue, Kazuya.”
Kadowaki grinned away, and while Hiiragi was praised, he tilted his head. His face was clearly showing no suspicion about other people’s kindness, as though he was saying, why do you have to state the obvious?
Amane felt there was a certain danger to that, but the fact remained that Hiiragi was a good guy.
Hiiragi too was famous for being serious, upright and honest, though in a different manner from Kadowaki. Amane was shocked, and yet he understood in amazement that he was truly Kadowaki’s friend.
Kadowaki had a keen insight of people, and there was nothing wrong with his choice of friends.
“So we just don’t have to tell others.”
“But Kazuya, you can’t really lie. I think it’s best for you to pretend not to know. Anyway, even if anyone suspect that those two are on good terms, they’ll ask guys like Itsuki and Yuuta, not you I guess.”
Kadowaki chuckled, and Amane relaxed.
“Nn, that’ll be of great help. I don’t want her to get into trouble.”
Amane hoped to keep things under wraps, and was grateful that they would not say it out.
“She probably doesn’t wants others to nitpick her choice of friends. I hope you guys can leave her alone for her sake.”
Amane knew that if others learned of these, he would be reproached and envied, and steeled himself of it. There would surely be some who would ask Mahiru, albeit without malice, “Why Fujimiya?”
To the people at school, Mahiru was someone special, even if she was not a celestial being.
Just as how nobles would be criticized for interacting with plebeians, so would questioning voices reach Mahiru.
Such questions were to be expected, but Mahiru would probably feel displeased by it. At the very least, she hoped to have a choice on who she should date.
And…even if it was a guess, Amane had a feeling that Mahiru would be angry for his sake if he was belittled.
He did not want to rattle Mahiru’s heart, and hoped that they would hide this fact.
…I don’t know if it’s just me, but it feels like Mahiru wants an overt relationship.
They had started interacting at school recently, and he felt the distance between them had shortened, but he merely dismissed this thought as him thinking too much.
“What’s with you, Kuju?”
“…Nothing, just that I’m starting to understand. You have it tough.”
Kuju looked towards Amane with a somewhat perturbed look, though it was more dumbfounded. Amane in turn looked confused.
“Yuuta, did you.”
“What, what are you talking about?”
“I don’t think you’ll understand, Kazuya. Don’t mind.”
Even though Kuju stated it so bluntly, “Guess I won’t understand.” Hiiragi did not seem to have his mood dampened. Such a response might be due to their trust and friendship.
Kadowaki and Kuju nodded in seemingly mutual understanding. Amane did not know what those two understood as he ate his fries, looking confused.