As declared, the relationship between Amane and Mahiru remained that of passing strangers.
He recovered the day after he was cared for, and just so happened to bump into Mahiru while shopping at the convenience store, but they did not truly interact. It appeared Mahiru was a little relieved to see Amane looking fine however.
Class started on Monday, and nothing changed. Same for the others.
But if there was a tiny change, it was that when he went to school, he would lower his head while greeting others.
“Ohh, you’re looking great there, Amane.”
“Thanks to your care.”
Itsuki was worried to see Amane half-dead the previous week when they were headed home. He had waited for Amane at the school building entrance, wanting to check on him. Over the weekend, he sent Amane a message, “You ain’t dead right?”
Amane messaged back, saying he was fine, but Itsuki remained skeptical. It was only after seeing Amane all lively did he sigh in an exaggerated gesture.
“Well, even I would be worried seeing you like that. You’re better now, but you should pay more attention to how you live. Start from cleaning up.”
“Sounds like what someone else said.”
“Ah, it’s nothing… I knew that over the weekend. Will be cleaning up these days.”
No, you get down to it now, went the retort, but Amane ignored that.
That probably could not be done within half a day.
So he shook his head, and Itsuki did not pursue the matter further, instead looking dumbfounded.
“Well, it’s your house, so do as you please. Make sure there’s enough space to step on the next time I go there.”
“… I’ll see how it goes.”
While Amane frowned as he changed into the indoor shoes, he heard a commotion in the neighboring classroom, and inadvertently looked over.
He looked through the window, and found Mahiru showcasing her usual beauty, surrounded by both boys and girls.
She was smiling calmly as she responded to them, yet she looked a completely different Mahiru from several days ago, so he thought with a wry smile.
And Itsuki, having seen Amane’s expression, looked over as well, understanding once he caught sight of Mahiru.
“Ahh, Shiina-san? Still as popular as before. She’s a pretty girl after all.”
“Well, she’s the angel after all…you find Shiina cute too, Itsuki?”
“Of course. I have Chii around, so she’s just there to be marveled at.”
“Stop flexing already.”
To be precise, the ‘Chii’ Itsuki spoke of was his girlfriend, Chitose Shirakawa.
Those two were a lovey-dovey couple, and whenever they were together, it was just too bright for Amane’s eyes.
Stop flexing over here, Amane gestured towards Itsuki, but the latter did not look unhappy. After all, it was normal for them after all. “This guy’s hopeless,” he laughed.
“What about you, Amane? Don’t you find Shiina cute?”
“She’s a beauty. That’s all.”
“Well, she’s a flower on a peak we can’t reach. There’s no reason for us to get involved with her; all we can do is look.”
“You’re not wrong.”
Due to some coincidence, Mahiru took care of him days ago, but they were living in different worlds after all.
Amane did not foresee a future where he would get along well with Mahiru. Outstanding humans would only mesh well with other outstanding humans.
And Amane, painfully self-aware of how useless he was, could not possibly have anything to do with Mahiru, so cute and capable she was.
Yes, Amane himself assumed he would have nothing to do with her anymore.
“…What are you eating?”
And that notion was turned upside down when Amane was at the veranda, sipping his jelly juice as he looked outside.