The man who protected the two of us, who had contracted his expanded muscles, walked towards us with a smile.
Having a better view now, I could see that the delinquents were in a miserable state, to say the least. In contrast, the big brother had not suffered even a scratch.
“Big brother!! I’m so sorry… But how did you know that we were in trouble?”
When Todoroki ran up to her brother, he lightly patted her head with a very gentle expression.
“We’re fine now. Sorry for the delay. You see, I received a call from a friend I made here, saying that an Onii-chan was in trouble with some punks. I heard they called the police, but when I heard that a girl matching your description helped the little guy, I had a hunch, so I rushed over. It would have been too late if something happened.”
Apparently, the older brother of the boy who she happened to help and Todoroki’s older brother were acquaintances. It seems that the older brother with considerable strength is relied on.
It’s a great coincidence, but I’m really glad it didn’t turn out to be a big deal. Todoroki explains to her brother what happened. The brother and sister are in a relaxed atmosphere, and I’m a little hesitant to talk to him, but first of all, I want to thank him for saving me.
“Um… Thank you so much for saving us!! You’re the big brother, right? I’m really grateful! But, um, they… they didn’t really die, did they?”
“You’re safe too! Of course not. When they woke up, they will have no memory of what happened, but I planted a primal trauma in them, enough to make them never harm anyone again.”
I didn’t quite understand, but it seemed like he had resolved the issue in his own way, and that was reassuring enough.
“That aside… What’s your name?”
“Uh, I’m Taiga… Taiga Yagami. I’m in the same class as Todoroki.”
“I see… It is you…”
As soon as I mentioned my name, he spread his arms wide. His expression was very serious. Uh oh, did I say something wrong?
I braced myself for whatever might happen next for a moment, but before I knew it, I was enveloped in a firm embrace. Despite his bulging muscles, there was nothing painful about it. In fact, it felt surprisingly warm.
“I’m Ryujiro Todoroki… I’m extremely grateful for helping my little sister. I’ll rely on you to look out for Akane from now on! You’re my dear friend!”
It might have been a bit rough around the edges… well, let’s leave it at that. Nevertheless, it was clear that the Todoroki siblings had a close bond. They were quick to make friends, it seemed.
I truly felt that both of them were straightforward, kind-hearted people who could be trusted. They seemed to be completely unacquainted with betrayal. It was indeed a fact that I felt like I could trust them.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t easily erase the fear of betrayal within me. Even with today’s events, I still believed that my important people were just Mom, Mio, and Yuzuki; that’s enough for me.
While it might be fine with others to increase the number of people they genuinely trusted, I needed a bit more time to evaluate that.
Even now, with my mind clearly starting to deteriorate, I didn’t have confidence that I wouldn’t become even more distorted if I were betrayed by the next important person in my life.
After Ryujiro-san’s hug ended, it was his sister’s turn. She approached me hesitantly with a troubled expression and spoke with great difficulty.
“Yagami… I’m really sorry…? Because of me, you got into a dangerous situation… I’m really sorry…”
Tears streamed down her face as she apologized sincerely without any hint of her usual joking nature. I was at a loss for words in moments like these. I didn’t know what to say. So, I gave her a strong pat on the head without saying a word.
“I’m really sorry. I acted recklessly without thinking. But I’m also sorry for what I said earlier; I went too far.”
“Sob… “Then, does that mean we’re friends?”
“We’re not friends.”
I said it reflexively, but there was no usual retort coming back from her. It seemed like she took my words seriously this time. Well, if it made her calm down a bit, then that’s fine.
While we were in this moment, Ryujiro-san watched us with an amused smile.
“Akane… It seems you’ve found a man quickly.”
Man? Well, I am indeed a man. But what on earth is Ryujiro saying? Todoroki seems to be crying but also smiling a bit, and I have no idea what’s going on.
“Both of you, go ahead! Those guys lying there, waiting for my responsibility, I’ll dispose of them like trash. The rest is up to me!!”
Is everything really going to be okay? What about the police and everything else… Well, he’s like a character from fiction, so if Ryujiro says it’s okay, it probably is. Well, even if we were called in for questioning, both Todoroki and I didn’t do anything, so we’re completely innocent.
Taking Ryujiro’s words to heart, Todoroki and I walked on. It felt strange since the usually noisy one was oddly quiet, making me feel a bit uneasy.
Glancing at me as if she were trying to gauge my reaction, I noticed, but after what happened, both of us kept walking in silence for a long time.
After walking quite a distance, Todoroki suddenly stopped.
“This is my house…”
“I see… Well, see you tomorrow.”
“Yeah… See you tomorrow… Um, you were really cool today. So… thank you.”
Ugh, this is so awkward. I’m getting goosebumps.
“I got goosebumps, I got goosebumps”
“!? !? !?”
“Oh, sorry, sorry. My thoughts just slipped out.”
“That’s mean, isn’t it?! I thought I said it all modestly and cutely!”
“Huh? What did you mean? I have a girlfriend, you know?”
“Are you an airhead? I didn’t mean it that way! I just wanted to express my gratitude! I was holding back a bit because I’ve caused you so much trouble!”
She was panting heavily, and I couldn’t help but chuckle, but I quickly composed myself.
“Oh! This is the first time I’ve seen you laugh in front of me!”
“I’m not laughing.”
She kept insisting that I was laughing, so I silenced her with a light chop again.
Well, yeah. That’s it. She seems to be doing fine, and that’s a relief.
“Well then… With that said, don’t dwell on things too much, okay? Various things. If you look at me like that, it throws me off.”
I waved my hand casually and started walking. I could hear her muttering quietly from behind, “That’s so unfair…”
Well, it’s good to see her in good spirits.
On the way back home, I suddenly realized that even when I touched her, I didn’t get the shaking and seizures that I got when I held hands with Mio or hugged her. And, if I recall well, it also happened when Yuzuki put her arms around me.
I love Mio. There’s no doubt about that. I truly love her from the bottom of my heart. So why do I get these seizures only when I’m in physical contact with her?
On the way home, I pondered this question, but I couldn’t find an answer.