After she was aware of how Sousuke’s situation had worsened, the fluke of keeping the letter of resignation in her desk was Eri Kagurazaka’s way of doing things.
“...I don’t know what happened,” she said in the staff room, “but you know because of your irresponsibility, I ended up covering for you as well?”
“Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry,” Sousuke answered, standing at attention.
“Because you’re a serious young man, I’ve done it up till now.”
“Yes, ma’am. That’s been very kind of you.”
“If you understand, then change your behavior a little bit. The incident with the car and such. Why... why do you always, always cause these kinds of problems? Really, with that way you are- ah, ahhhhh!!” Eri screamed when Sousuke suddenly pushed her over.
“Wh-what!? What are you doing!? Don’t, Sagara, people are looking...!!”
“There’s a laser sight aimed at you, Mrs. Kagurazaka! Don’t move!!”
There was Eri, laying on the floor, baffled. There was Sousuke, who had taken out his gun and was cautiously looking around the area. And then there was Kaname, who came flying in yelling at the top of her lungs.
“Sousuke!! Are you at it again!?”
“No, there was a laser sight-”
Kaname then kicked and punched Sousuke, flinging him into the floor.
♦ ♦ ♦
In the quadruple magnification scope, Uruz 7 struggled wildly.
It was a pathetic sight. This was the man they said argued down the frightening President of the Intelligence Department, General Amit?
“Hmph...” Wraith snorted as he*2 put away his Belgian-made submachine gun with laser sight attached. Using his specialty of disguise, he was impersonating a housewife who looked like someone from around the neighborhood. He was able to see various areas of Jindai High School from a building several hundred meters away.
He looked at the sky.
Black clouds were slowly covering the sky overhead.
He was listening to the weather report. It was supposed to rain soon, as well as turn very cold tonight.
He should have gone ahead and bought a hot pack from the neighborhood convenience store. With her consent, Kaname continued to wear the transmitter, but that didn’t mean he could take his eyes off of her. No matter how imperfect the preparations at the Tokyo Intelligence Bureau-
Why do I have to get drenched all the time...?
Wraith thought, becoming depressed. There was a little bit of roof over there. However, he had to respond unconditionally if Kaname Chidori called from now on. You see, he owed her because of his weakness. There was no helping it.
Wraith looked through his binoculars. In the far away staff room, Uruz 7 and Kaname Chidori were bowing apologetically to the homeroom teacher.
Serves them right. They should have to feel at least a little of my suffering.
...he thought this, but it didn’t do anything for the cold that was biting at his body. After a small sneeze, Wraith pulled the coat he was wearing closer to himself.
“Good grief...” he mumbled in a dismal voice.
♦ ♦ ♦
“Right now! Why did you do that!?” Kaname Chidori yelled out as they left the staff room. “After everything she and I did for you, what were you thinking? Don’t tell me you thought that was reasonable!?”
“No, I really wasn’t-”
“Shut up! You... you haven’t made one bit of progress at all! Why don’t you think about what you’re doing for a second!? You always, always, ALWAYS...!”
Kaname took a stack of copy paper from out of nowhere and threw it up in the air.
“You always, always...”
Ordinarily, she would be burning mad, but for some reason this time, the hand in which Kaname gripped the paper fell limply to her side.
She released the paper and mumbled in a cracked voice, “Always... this... this is like always, isn’t it...?”
“Finally... it finally feels like usual... uh.”
Unable to control herself any longer, she pushed her forehead into Sousuke’s chest.
“It’s finally back to the way it was... the way it always is...”
“Leaving me like that... why did you do it? I can’t forgive you.”
She had been composed since the time they left Hong Kong. Her sudden change just now took Sousuke completely by surprise.
“It’s not ‘I’m sorry.’ Idiot... stupid stupid stupid. I can’t forgive you, okay? I really can’t... absolutely can’t forgive you...!”
Kaname weakly hit Sousuke’s chest over and over again.
“I was scared. I was really scared. I hated it, okay!? Don’t do it again, ever!”
The students coming and going through the corridor watched the two with great interest.
“It’s alright now. Um... Chidori? Can we possibly go to another place...?”
“No... I can’t do that...”
Kaname sobbed without any shame or embarrassment, clinging to Sousuke’s chest. Her shoulders shook like a little girl’s. Sousuke was panicked, and didn’t know what else do except pat her on the back soothingly.
Just then, Kyouko Tokiwa, who had been passing by, plowed her way through the crowd of people, poking her head through by chance.
“What is it, what’s going on? ...ah, Kaname?”
“Hey, are you alright? Hey, Kaname! Are you hurt?”
“U- u... Kyouko... Sousuke is... Sousuke is...”
Kaname blew her nose on a handkerchief. She didn’t manage to say anymore after that.
“Sagara!? What did you do to Kaname!? Did you tell her something like ‘There’s a bomb’ or do something outrageous again!?”
“What? No, it’s just-”
“I think making up excuses is pathetic! Apologize to Kaname, right now!”
Kyouko put her hands on her hips and scowled at Sousuke.
“That’s right, that’s right!”
“Really, already on the day you come back...!”
Everyone in the gallery around them nodded in agreement, vehemently criticizing Sousuke.
“It’s just that... well...”
“Well, what!?” everyone said in unison.
He was definitely back. But when he really, really thought about it-
His problems at school hadn’t changed after all, had they...?
“...no. I’m sorry.”
While wondering about her irrational sadness, Sousuke bowed deeply, and everyone there said “That’s better,” in approval.
But it was still a long time until Kaname stopped crying.
1. Kanji are the Chinese characters used in Japanese, but the meanings and readings from Chinese to Japanese are not the same.
2. As I have stated before, I don’t know Chinese, so these Cantonese romanizations may not be correct. Sorry.
3. Here we have something rather tricky – this is a play on the name Yang Shangkun (the President of the People’s Republic of China from 1988 to 1993), because the Chinese characters used for his name have the same pronunciation in Japanese, but one of the characters is not the same. A little hard to explain, but I hope I get the point across.
4. This is also a play on the name of another character in Chinese History, Zhang Heng (a Chinese astronomer, geographer, and mathematician who lived from 78-139).
5. Probably Farsi
6. Formerly known as ‘Gauln’. ADV uses ‘Gauron’, so we will too.
7. ‘Kalium’ is actually the element potassium, but since the Japanese got these loan words from German, it’s pronounced Kalium.
8. Even though the sex of Wraith is unknown, I am using ‘he’ here for continuity and simplicity’s sake.