Hellping

It was late in the morning when Amane woke up, as he was either fatigued from the journey, or his parents’ words. To be precise, it would be noon in an hour.

 

He picked up the blanket that fell off without him knowing, and folded it as he yawned.

 

…We still haven’t made plans for today.

 

Mahiru suggested that the four of them would go out together, but Amane had not informed his parents of that. He intended to rest up days after they returned home.

He felt it was fine for him to wake up even though it was almost noon, but he felt it was lazy of him even though it was summer vacation.

 

He slowly got up, got changed, tidied himself, and went to the living room. Of course, Mahiru was already in the living room, gathered around the table with Shihoko and Shuuto.

They appeared to be looking at a large book, and Mahiru’s eyes were sparkling as she looked on.

 

“Morning. What are you looking at?”

“Ah, morning.”

 

Mahiru’s expression was devoid of fatigue, and once she greeted him, she continued to look at that thing.

Amane wondered what it was, and looked over, only to cover his own face.

 

“…Say, why are you looking at my photo album when I’m not around…?”

 

Amane muttered once he spotted a familiar looking child covered in dirt.

 

His parents really treasured memories, and would take photos to commemorate. It was not strange to have an album. The problem was that they showed it to Mahiru.

 

Depicted in the opened album was himself during his childhood, and most of the photos showed him being more adorable, innocent, and reckless than he was at this point.

 

Amane had the urge to click his tongue, and glare at Shihoko who was proudly and happily displaying the album that showed images of himself covered in mud, on the verge of tears.

 

“Eh, you want to see yourself in cute photos? Why didn’t you say so earlier?”

“I’m not. I’m saying, don’t show them to her on your own.”

“…May I not?”

“Not that you can’t, but well, I’m embarrassed.”

“These are adorable.”

“Calling a boy adorable isn’t really a praise.”

 

He was fine with her calling him cool, but it was not flattering to be called adorable.

He knew she meant that he was adorable as a child, but he could not be happy about it.

He turned his head aside, and sensed the trio laughing.

 

“Isn’t it good though? Mahiru-chan looks so mesmerized here.”

“She definitely wants to laugh.”

“B-because we have you here, Amane-kun…”

“Shiina-san really likes you. As a parent, I’m glad to see someone so reliable next to you, Amane.”

 

Amane spotted Mahiru close her eyes and shrivel once Shuuto said so.

She probably was embarrassed to be praised. Nevertheless, Amane was the one who felt more shame, for his black history was revealed without him knowing, and his embarrassing photos were shown to her.

 

He plopped onto the sofa, showing his unhappiness, and his parents smiled at him.

 

“Stop kicking a fuss. You do have a good child who will accept you unconditionally, no?”

“…That is true.”

“But we’re a little sad that you didn’t inform us, Amane.”

“Ugh.”

 

It appeared Shuuto too knew that Amane and Mahiru started dating. One had to wonder if he heard from Shihoko, or that Mahiru informed him directly.”

 

“…Isn’t it shameful to report that we’re dating?”

“You should have told us beforehand. Well, I noticed it already.”

“You brought a girl back home after all, Amane. You two are so easy to read.”

“Shut up we’re dating already alright?”

“How dishonest you are. Mahiru-chan, are you fine with that kind of child?”

“Erm, Amane-kun gets embarrassed easily…but I like that about him.”

“Oh my.”

“I’ve relieved to see you two on such good terms.”

 

Amane’s parents looked towards Mahiru, looking encouraged as they then gave Amane a similar look, resulting in Amane’s fatigue levels increased. Amane really did not want to bother answering.

 

…It’s my house, but I really don’t want to stay.

 

Amane knew this would happen given his parents’ personalities, but as a son, he felt it awkward and unnerving. Mentally, he was restless about how Mahiru was more popular and more adapted to this household, rather than the actual son.

 

He sighed, gave up, and put the album on his lap, flipping through it.

 

The photos Mahiru had happily seen mostly contained Amane’s failures. Some were taken to commemorate, but most of them were photos of a child messing up.

He was peeved that there was a photo of him crossdressing.

 

Amane had a late development, and looked really childish even midway through his middle school. Once, Shihoko had him crossdress for fun.

It was in his second year that Amane’s height shot up, and that did not happen. It was a painful memory for him to eavesdrop that others said he had a feminine face though.

 

…That’s nostalgic.

 

Naturally, he thought of those he once got close, and then split from.

He left this land to hide from them, but at this point, for good or bad, he had a clean break, and was no longer side.

The most he felt was a slight unwillingness at the prospect of meeting them, who had graduated at this land.

 

He quickly closed the album, seemingly discarding his frustrations, and found Mahiru looking at him.

 

“…Er-erm, are you angry, Amane-kun…?”

“Why do you think so? I’m just feeling nostalgic.”

 

It seemed Mahiru was worried about Amane clearly looking displeased. The latter shrugged, and put the album back onto the table.

He could not let her worry. While he did not want to suffer the warm expressions from his parents, he reached out and patted her head.

 

Mahiru widened her eyes, but soon she narrowed them, and relaxed.

As expected, Shihoko clearly looked elated. Amane ignored her as he continued to coax the uneasy looking Mahiru.

 

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