By this point it wouldn’t surprise her to find him gone and learn that he was somehow at Brazil. But there was no point in worrying about it on her own, so she just shook her head and opened the door.
“Icchi, are you sleeping properly!? The Sister gave me a bunch of food!”
Myuhi was basically yelling when she said that. If he was gone, then the only response she would get was silence, and if he was there, he would surely send her a suspicious look as he asked her to keep quiet. Yes, that should’ve been the case, but…
He was there. As expected, he wasn’t lying quietly on the bed, but perched on the edge of it. He had his elbows on his knees, with both hands covering his face while his head was down. There was no sign that he noticed her noisy entrance, however.
On the contrary, it seemed as if he were rejecting everything happening around him. The atmosphere was so heavy that Myuhi struggled to find the next words. Despite the room being rather small, with only a bed, a desk, and a bookshelf, the air was so thick that for a moment, she felt as if he were in a place much farther away than the other side of the Earth. Her fox ears and tail stood on end.
“…H-Hello? Icchi? I’m entering.”
When she finally managed to squeeze out a voice, it was surprisingly weak, but she nonetheless steeled herself and took another step forward from the door.
The face that jolted toward her was full of wariness. It was a gaze harsh enough that it put her on guard too, but for some reason, those eyes didn’t seem to reflect her. They seemed out of focus, leading her to suspect something. To test, she took out a bottle from the plastic bag she’d received.
“Here, have some.”
With a firm voice, she threw the bottle towards him and moved a little to the side. The object traced a gentle parabola, flying straight towards Shinichi, but his eyes only started to follow it midway through.
Surprise was written all over his face, and he delivered a quick chop with his hands, stopping only when he’d realized what it was that had come flying. Naturally, the contents spilled onto the floor.
Upon realizing his mistake, he immediately used a skill or something and covered the cut on the bottle with ice, so he was able to prevent most of it from spilling.
He wore a visibly relieved expression as he glanced down at the bottle in his hand. However, he muttered her name with a puzzled look while directing his gaze toward the door. But Myuhi wasn’t there anymore.
“…Yep, it’s Hina-chan, your ever faithful stalker!”
Myuhi approached him, but Shinichi barely reacted. Normally, he would have responded with something alone the lines of ‘So you finally admit it?’ or ‘Are you really saying that yourself!?’
Perhaps his face would have twitched because of how low the tone of her voice was or because of the lack of a smile in her eyes.
Regardless, now that her suspicions have been confirmed, she approached him with intentionally loud footsteps. She peered into his face.
“You can’t see, can you?”
When their eyes met, her smile was reflected entirely. Perhaps, Shinichi noticed the emotions swirling within her that his face twitched.
“What stupid thing are you saying now?”
“Well, you can certainly see at this distance.”
Myuhi brought her face close enough that their noses were almost touching. She was smiling, but it was evidently perfunctory. Shinichi appeared uneasy, not quite meeting her eyes, and his lack of response indicated he wasn’t sure how to handle this situation. Though not overtly obvious, he didn’t seem to be thinking clearly, as if his mind and voice were both paralyzed. Myuhi found that amusing, so she chuckled and pointed.
“How many flowers are in the vase on that table over there?”
She seemed to be saying that he should be able to answer that if he could really see. Of course, he would also be able to answer if he head explored the room earlier, but Myuhi was convinced that he had been in that posture this whole time.
Shinichi too seemed to have realized that he’s been caught no matter how he answered, but perhaps it was the stubbornness of a boy that led him to say something anyway.
“Actually, there isn’t even a vase there in the first place.”
“…I thought so.”
It was the wrong answer that the both of them had expected. Myuhi laughed, while the boy was troubled, but that too didn’t even last for 5 seconds.
“────So, how far can you see?”
“About 1 meter at most. Beyond that is just darkness.”
When she asked that straight up, Shinichi meekly confessed. That wasn’t far off from what she’d calculated based on his reaction to the thrown bottle. The smile on her deepened. For a moment, his face seemed to show a hint of fear, but that might have been just her imagination.
“I-It’s fine, really. My eyes will also get better on their own after 10 minutes.”
“Hmm… Also, huh.”
Myuhi wasn’t sure if he was actually dumb or just too exhausted to hide it properly.
“…Come to think of it, if it was only your eyes, then you should have been able to tell when I came, huh. After all, you can read the movement of the air pretty well.”
His response just now gave him away, but Myuhi actually figured it out since she entered the room.
“Your sense of hearing and touch have dulled too?”
Perhaps because he’d realized that he couldn’t pull the wool over her eyes anymore, or perhaps he simply couldn’t be bothered anymore, Shinichi admitted to it all with a disheartened voice.
“Is that because of her song too?”
“…Yeah, my five senses are a mess right now.”
“You fought in that state?”
“Yeah, but if I spread my consciousness, I can more or less grasp the surrounding area.”
That’s why he could still talk to her. He seemed to be saying that it wasn’t dangerous since he could do that.
“You also only relied on your speed and strength to crush everything that approached you, didn’t you? Just like that bottle I threw.”
She found it terrifying how Shinichi treated Garesto’s weapons and plastic bottles the same. It was something he could do because of how fast his reaction times were, but…
“What would you have done if it were the children who approached you just now out of concern?”
That was a method that only worked when in a place with only enemies, as he would likely respond similarly be it friend or foe. That’s why Myuhi spoke harshly.
“I don’t know if it’s because of your pride or you just didn’t want to reveal the extent of your damage, but you should have said something to allow me cover to for you. You’re pretty good at deceiving people, aren’t you, Icchi?”
Whether he was aware of it himself or not, he understood where she was coming from. He slumped his shoulders and dropped his head.
By this point, Myuhi was sure of it. Shinichi was so tired that he couldn’t come up with something as simple as that right away. For some reason, even though he seemed so depressed, she felt closer to him now than when she’d just entered the room, her cheeks slackening and her tail wagging as a result.
“As long as you understand. I’ll go get a cloth. I’ll ring the foster when I enter, so just wait here.”
Not much water had been spilled since Shinichi reacted quickly, but there was still a small puddle on the floor. She had a feeling that it might turn out like this when she threw that bottle, so she figured she might as well clean it herself. she turned heel, but she couldn’t move.
When she turned around, she found out that Shinichi had grabbed her clothes. He wasn’t saying anything, he wasn’t even looking at her, he just quietly held onto her.
Myuhi had no experience whatsoever in that regard, and before she knew it, she found herself being embraced from in front.
“Ah, uu… Icchi?”
But if he hugged her while she was standing and him sitting, his face would naturally land right in her chest. Above all, he had his hands around her and was hugging her tightly. The strength and warmth coming from him made Myuhi fluster, and she couldn’t even figure out where to put her hands. Her fox ears moved restlessly too.
She couldn’t be faulted for that, however. This was just too different from his usual teasing. There was barely any distance between them. Her cheeks flushed, and of all the places, he just had to do this on the Sister’s bed in a church full of children. Yet while wondering what was happening, she couldn’t help but find her heart racing to the immorality of the situation. She scolded herself for such thoughts, though the situation remained unchanged.