The next morning, Amane woke up to none of the daily sounds.
The house was so quiet, the bird could be heard chirping outside, and Mahiru, sleeping in Amane’s room, showed no signs of waking up.
It was long past dawn, but she might be sleeping soundly as she was too tired the previous day.
Amane himself had fallen asleep, but he could not sleep well as he remembered Mahiru was on his bed, and woke up from the light sleep at this time.
His body was not feeling uncomfortable, but he was suffering in another way.
Haa, he sighed, and made a deep sigh, stretching as his body had turned stiff from sleeping on the sofa, before he slowly got up.
For the time being, he would check on Mahiru first. His main objective was to get a change of clothes, but he thought he should check on her while doing so.
Ssss, he opened the door to his room.
It was completely quiet inside, and Mahiru was still sleeping soundly on the bed.
The only difference was that she had flipped a few times in her sleep, and was lying sideways, her hair flowing on the bed like a river.
Kuu, kuu, she was making such an adorable sleeping sound as he knelt down to look.
She really looked adorable sleeping like that.
She had a cool facade most of the time, probably because she was being so tense…but her sleeping face was a lot relaxed, and so adorable, he had the urge to caress her.
…She’s really cute when she’s sleeping.
Of course, she was a pretty girl, adorable even when awake, but at this point, his feelings were more akin to one observing a pet.
He wanted to pet at the silky hair, and to poke at the fluffy cheeks. Usually, she would never let her guard down, but since she had become this defenseless, he had the urge to tease her.
Without thinking, he reached his hand towards her soft cheek, touching it.
The smooth cheek was as soft as the previous day. So fluffy it was, he wanted to keep touching, and he started poking with his finger.
He was touching her as softly as he could, but while he caressed her cute cheek softly, “Nnn…” Mahiru, who had been sleeping silently, let out a sweet sound.
And before he could move his hand aside, she slowly began to open her eyes.
The moist, unfocused caramel-colored eyes were staring at Amane…or to be precise, in his direction.
Her fluffy expression showed some traces of a young, sleepy face, and showed much innocence. He sleepy eyes had some consciousness despite being in a daze, and she looked more immature than when she was sleepy.
She gave a careless, completely vulnerable expression, and then lowered her eyelids, closing her eyes again.
He wanted to retract his fingers, but she brought her face onto his fingers, and rolled her cheeks on it, her thin throat making a sweet sound. Please do not leave me, so she appeared to say as she rubbed her cheeks on him.
He knew very well that she was half-asleep.
There was no reason for Mahiru to fawn at Amane, and usually, she would not show such a relaxed face and gesture.
Despite that—she was acting like a fawning kitten, and Amane’s heart and sanity were put to the test early in the morning.
Should he retract his hand, or go with the flow and poke her in the cheek dotingly?
Emotionally, he was leaning towards the latter.
It was not often that he would get to see such a fluffy Mahiru, and he was interested to know how much she would fawn around.
But he had a feeling that once he did so, Mahiru would start pouting away and give him the cold shoulder the moment her consciousness returned. He knew she would be utterly embarrassed, and did not know what to do.
In any case, she was really adorable, so he decided to stop at merely staring at her.
Her consciousness had mostly returned, but as she was a little groggy, or that she never noticed Amane’s hand, she brought her head close to his fingers.
Amane only intended to check on her and get a change of clothes, but for some reason, there was such body contact. His heart was filled with unspeakable itch, and heat started to gather on his cheeks.
After a short while, Mahiru finally opened her eyes, seemingly awake this time….
Their eyes met. She turned her eyes towards Amane who was up close, along with the finger her cheek was touching, and she froze.
The next moment, Mahiru leapt.
“…Go-good morning, to you…”
“You fell asleep in my house, so I moved you here. Nothing else. Thought I should have you thank me for not doing anything.”
Amane seized the moment to explain why she was on the bed; she did not pout, and instead listened obediently.
However, the fact that she slept on a boy’s bed caused her face to redden, and she pinched at the blanket, pulling it to her lips.
That gesture too was strange adorable, and he averted his eyes.
What’s with this situation?
He was merely lending his bed, but for some reason, he felt he was the one at fault.
He was sorry for poking her cheek, but just a little, and he had no intention of doing anything more.
His heart was beating because of how adorable Mahiru was, and aching because of guilt. He felt really conflicted within. He looked towards Mahiru, and found her still blushing, a little displeased…not too bad by itself, but it appeared she had something to say as she looked back at him.
“…Amane-kun, do you like touching the cheek?”
“Well, you did the same on Christmas, and before I slept last night.”
“…You were awake?”
He did so the previous day when she was supposedly fast asleep, so she should be unconscious then.
Since she knew that however, it showed she was awake back then.
“…Ac-actually, well…I was awake when you put me on the bed…what else could I do other than to pretend to sleep?”
“You didn’t think I was going to do anything?”
“…I do not think you will do such a thing, Amane-kun…and I pretended to sleep, to make sure, of that.”
It appeared he was tested on his trustworthiness.
Luckily, it appeared he was found trustworthy, but he really hoped that in future, she would not act so carelessly to actually sleep in front of a boy.
Even Amane did not think it would end at merely a poke on the cheek the next time it happens. He would be troubled if she was not wary in the slightest.
“…Well, glad that I got trusted, but don’t do this again. I’m a boy.”
“Uu, I-I know that, yes.”
“Or you want something more from me?”
“No way is that possible.”
Mahiru denied that with a completely flushed face, and hid under the futon. Hey, that’s my bed, Amane wanted to retort, only to swallow back his words.
She remained rolled up in the coop, shivering away until her shame subsided, and Amane decided to leave her be.