Chapter 3:

Chapter 3: Moving, yet again

Solus: The Pairing of Fate


“About yesterday, when you asked me if I remembered you…”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“Were you perhaps...my dance partner at the gala ball three years ago?”Bookmark here

Despite my question, I was faced with silence. Peaking upwards, I saw Mikase, who now was staring blankly at me, with a tear down her eye. Bookmark here

“What’s wrong?! Are you alright?”Bookmark here

“Ah...I’m fine...Sorry, it’s just...I didn’t think you had remembered…”Bookmark here

To be really honest, I had felt that our meeting wasn’t special in any way. I don’t really recall doing anything special besides what was the norm at the ball. Seeing how Mikase teared up simply by me remembering her, it must have been an important memory.Bookmark here

Wait...That means, what I said yesterday...Wasn’t that really bad?!Bookmark here

“Somehow...Sorry!”Bookmark here

“Eh? No, it’s really fine. I’m glad you even remember at all.” She said as she wiped her tears with a napkin.Bookmark here

“Truth be told…”Bookmark here

I truthfully told her how I was with Ikuro and Madoka at my house yesterday and it was thanks to Madoka that I even remember the events at all. As she was listening to me, it seemed as if her face was getting stiffer by the second.Bookmark here

“...and so, I barely remembered the events that night, hence my apologies...Um, Mikase-san?”Bookmark here

“Well, it was partially my fault as well, seeing how I never gave you my name.”Bookmark here

“Well, there’s that. But you changed so much since then that I couldn’t recognize you.”Bookmark here

“Changed?”Bookmark here

“Yeah. The current you looked way prettier than I could remember, almost like a different person.”Bookmark here

I wasn’t able to see it, but Mikase was blushing beneath her hair as she faced downwards.Bookmark here

“Then again, if Madoka didn’t point it out, I wouldn’t have recalled it.”Bookmark here

“...You seem pretty close with Nanaho-san too considering she was at your house talking till late at night.”Bookmark here

“Oh yeah, we are childhood friends and she is currently living at…” I closed my mouth shut as I spoke out.Bookmark here

Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that… Looking towards Mikase, her eyes were shut and she was wearing a smile on her face. To the others around her, it must have seemed as if she was having a good time, however…Bookmark here

What was this pressure I was feeling?Bookmark here

“Did I perhaps misheard it? That she was living with you..?”Bookmark here

“A-Ah, well. N-No...That’s right…” Despite my attempt to refute it, it seems that I cracked under the pressure.Bookmark here

“Heh...So Nanaho-san is living with you?”Bookmark here

Oh shit...Did I just screw things up big time?Bookmark here

“W-Well, there is a really good reason for that.”Bookmark here

“Of course there is. There is no way she would be living there for no reason, now would she?”Bookmark here

The pressure was slowly building up as I sank lower down my seat. How she was able to still keep smiling gracefully while being upright terrifying, would be something I could never understand.Bookmark here

Women are...scary.Bookmark here

What followed next was her very kindly convincing me that she would follow me home to meet Madoka. For once, I was rather glad that I had work tonight, giving me a legitimate excuse to avoid the incoming disaster.Bookmark here

“Well, that can’t be helped I suppose. How about tomor...Ah!”Bookmark here

“Mikase-san?”Bookmark here

“Mikase-sama!” A woman who was seated nearby us stood up as she shouted.Bookmark here

She rushed over from her table and helped up Mikase, who was clutching her head in pain. Bookmark here

“Are you alright, Mikase-san?”Bookmark here

“Ah. I’m fine, my head just started to hurt all of a sudden. I think I will head home for the day, see you tomorrow, Izuya-kun.”Bookmark here

“A-Ah, yeah.”Bookmark here

The woman slowly escorted Mikase out of the cafe and into their car. Although I was worried about her sudden headache, I was more relieved about the fact that our conversation got cut short.Bookmark here

“Ah! I’m going to be late!.” I paid the bill as I left for work.Bookmark here

Despite my desperate attempt in rushing to work, I inevitably arrived a tad late. Opening the doors to the office, I saw that everyone was already in the room, ready to begin and waiting for me.Bookmark here

“Isn’t that rare? The demonic tutor who is ever so strict about punctuality, being late himself.”Bookmark here

“Affirmative. 10 minutes late. Punishment guaranteed.” Bookmark here

4 girls were seated inside the private room, books on the table with paper scattered all over. The purple-haired girl who selectively mentioned my nickname here was Ayaka Chitose, the band’s lead vocalist, Alvus. Bookmark here

The pale, white-haired one who confirmed my tardiness in a rather monotonous voice was Yusaka Saya, the bassist of the band. Jirou Kana, the orange-haired drummer of the band, and Utsuya Lena, the main guitarist were locked in an argument among themselves as Lena was aggressively pointing to the book she held in her hands while Kana was clutching her head.Bookmark here

“Like - I - Said! What part of this did you not get? You take the formula written here and use it in the equation here!” Bookmark here

“Arghhhh! No more!!!” Bookmark here

It seems as though Lena had taken charge as the tutor while I was not here and was struggling to get the point across to Kana. They were rather engrossed in it to the point they didn’t notice me come in.Bookmark here

“Ah! Izu-chan!!!! Save me from the tyrant!”Bookmark here

“Who’re you calling a tyrant!”Bookmark here

As unbelievable as it may seem, I work as a tutor for these 4 girls from Alvus. It seemed that they were falling behind in their studies due to increasing work and were seeking a tutor. They selected one from the list of available, and capable, tutors their manager gave them and landed on me.Bookmark here

“It seems you finally arrived, Izuya-kun.” A woman’s voice came from behind me.Bookmark here

“O-Ochiai-san”Bookmark here

Ochiai Itsuka, the manager of the popular band, Alvus. She was the one who handpicked the list of tutors from a site and ultimately hired me. She looked to be a force to reckon with a classic suit on and hair tied up in a bun, paired with the round, clear glasses. Bookmark here

“Tardiness wasn’t part of your contract, the girls are rather busy and have a limited time to undergo your tutoring. I hope you understand what I mean.” Bookmark here

Her glasses seemed to glimmer as she looked down towards me.Bookmark here

“Sigh...then again, you had been doing a great job for the past 9 months and was punctual the whole time. I will let you off just this once.”Bookmark here

“T-Thanks. It won’t happen again.”Bookmark here

“It had better not.” She said with a devious grin on her face.Bookmark here

I breathed a sigh of relief as she left the room and closed the door behind her. Placing down my bag, I took out the materials I had prepared the previous night after talking with Madoka and sat down.Bookmark here

“Ah~Ah. Izuya got scolded” Lena seemed to be having a fun time poking at where it hurts.Bookmark here

“Well~ Seeing that I’m late and all, I guess I should increase the intensity today.” I said irritablyBookmark here

“Warning. Sensing danger. Escape?”Bookmark here

“H-Hey, Lena! Why would you go and poke at it!” Chitose panicked and shouted at Lena.Bookmark here

“Ah...Even Izu-chan is being a tyrant today.” Kana slumped back into her chair as she commented.Bookmark here

I was only able to work before high school after getting help from Ikuro and getting a special permit. To think that the four of them, who were a year younger than me were busier than the average adult didn’t sink in that well.Bookmark here

Despite their busy schedule, they were making an attempt to study in between as they wanted to further their studies as well. Teaching them wasn’t as hard as I initially thought due to the fact that they were rather adept at picking up what I teach them.Bookmark here

The job wasn’t particularly new to me either as I had to tutor Ikuro and my other classmates during middle school. I had simply thought that it would be an efficient way to earn my keep.Bookmark here

Had they been normal students instead of a famous band, they might have swiped the top spots during exams. Although, not every one of them could pick things up fast. Lena was the smartest among the four, understanding what I teach immediately and studying on her own. Chitose and Saya were both similar in terms of studies, they are able to understand the topics but were not really strong in applying them.Bookmark here

The problem among those four was Kana. I could tell Kana was eager to learn as she pays attention the most whenever I say anything. She was slower than the other 3 but by no means any less smart. It just seems that Kana feels as if she was below the rest, resulting in her falling behind.Bookmark here

Although I would like to seclude her out and teach her slower or in another method, out of the fear that she might feel even more down if I had done that, I felt that teaching them as a group would work better.Bookmark here

“...and that should be it. It’s getting rather late, so let’s call it a day. Try your best on the topics I mentioned, the 9th Grade is usually testing the same topics all year round, so use this to your advantage.”Bookmark here

“It's...finally over…” Chitose had laid her head flat on the table as she sighed.Bookmark here

“Head, in circles. Need, rest.” Bookmark here

“Awawawa…” Kana was still scrambling around her notes as she slowly Bookmark here

Ochiai was waiting outside as I left through the door. She seemed to have been waiting for us after finishing her own work. Looking at the time again, it was almost eight in the evening after all. The time went by rather quickly, considering I started at five.Bookmark here

“The girls will be sent home via our drivers, do you need a lift as well?”Bookmark here

My phone’s screen lit up as Ochiai had offered me a ride. It was a text from Madoka, ‘Ikuro’s in the hospital, XXXX Hospital, nothing serious, don’t worry.’ Bookmark here

“!”Bookmark here

No no, saying that all of a sudden would worry me even more! The hospital doesn’t seem too far from here, I could probably get there within half an hour.Bookmark here

“What’s wrong?”Bookmark here

“Ah, nothing at all. I think I will pass on the ride, I have somewhere to head after this.” Bookmark here

I rushed out the door as I said my goodbyes to them. Ikuro won’t just go to the hospital for nothing serious, something must have happened. Bookmark here

Arriving at the hospital, I immediately went to the reception counter, asking for directions to where Ikuro was. Luckily, it seemed that Ikuro was on the floor treatment area, meaning that he wasn’t admitted. Bookmark here

If he is there, he probably won't be injured too badly.Bookmark here

As I opened the curtains in the Hospital, after being guided by a nurse to Ikuro. Madoka was sitting beside him, while Ikuro’s head was being bandaged up by another nurse.Bookmark here

“Ikuro!”Bookmark here

“W-Woah! Izuya, what are you doing here?”Bookmark here

“Told you he would come.”Bookmark here

“A-hem!” An angry-sounding voice sounded from behind me.Bookmark here

The nurse who had guided me here was looking at me furiously. That was to be expected, running in the hospital and opening a curtain without a care in the world was rather disrespectful.Bookmark here

“So, what happened today?”Bookmark here

“As Madoka told you, man, nothing seriously bad happened. I was shopping with Madoka after lunch and was on the way to your house. As we were nearing, a neighbor’s potted plant fell on me.”Bookmark here

“It was hilarious. The pot wasn’t that high so it wasn’t anything serious. When Ikuro told his sister about it, she was rather adamant in coming over and driving him to the hospital.”Bookmark here

“Ayane-san is here? Where?” I looked around, trying to find her.Bookmark here

Amagami Ayane, Ikuro’s older sister. She was a rather exceptional beauty as well and was very competent in her work for the company, despite still being a college student.Bookmark here

“And why do you seem to be more curious about my sister while I am the one here with an injury?” Ikuro squinted his eyes at me.Bookmark here

“Didn’t you say it yourself? That it wasn’t anything serious.”Bookmark here

I could hear Ikuro clicking his tongue while Madoka was holding in her laughter. Bookmark here

“So, when did you hit your head?”Bookmark here

“Sometime after school, we went shopping after lunch, so maybe around four to five in the afternoon.”Bookmark here

“I’m more surprised Ayane only took you here this late.”Bookmark here

“That’s because he only contacted Ayane about an hour or two ago.” Madoka responded.Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

Wait...around four to five in the afternoon? That would be around the time I left the cafe…Bookmark here

Recalling the events from this afternoon, I definitely remember Mikase suddenly felt a rather severe headache, before leaving with her guard. The more I thought about it, the more definite it seemed.Bookmark here

Mikase was definitely Ikuro’s Solus… Problem was, how would I break the news to him? I knew that his wish was that he would never find his Solus, hoping that it would last till he turns 18. But seeing as their Solus Synchronisation is increasing, it will definitely hint to Mikase’s family that her Solus pairing had appeared and was rather close by.Bookmark here

“Oh. Who do we have here?” Ayane appeared behind me after handing in the necessary documents to the receptionist.Bookmark here

“Ayane-san!”Bookmark here

“Isn’t this Izuya! It’s been a long while!” She ruffled my hair as she spoke out.Bookmark here

As a kid, I had a one-sided crush on Ayane a whole lot, following her everywhere and trying to mimic her actions. She was essentially my first love. As I grew up and started to see her less, those feelings started to dissipate, and now I simply admired her very much for her capabilities.Bookmark here

“Come on, Ikuro. We are going home. You two hop on as well, I will give you a lift.”Bookmark here

As expected of a child of the Amagami house. Ayane had been very particular about having someone do her tasks for her. As soon as she got her license, she decided to drive herself everywhere.Bookmark here

“So Izuya is going back to your house and Madoka to the Nanaho household right?”Bookmark here

“Ah…”Bookmark here

“Um...Both to Izuya's place…” Madoka quietly whispered.Bookmark here

We had totally forgotten about the fact that no one else besides Madoka’s Grandfather and parents knew where she was currently residing.Bookmark here

“Both to Izuyas’? What, are you guys living together now? Did our poor Ikuro get rejected?”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“...Eh? DON’T TELL ME IT’S TRUE?!” Ayane had turned her head around, looking in shock.Bookmark here

“Ah! Aya-nee! In front, in front!”Bookmark here

Barely swerving out of the way of another vehicle, we avoided a collision. Ayane then proceeds to drive into a gas station before coming to a stop.Bookmark here

“So...mind telling me what was going on?”Bookmark here

XXXBookmark here

“HUH?!”Bookmark here

“C-Calm down, Aya-nee.”Bookmark here

“Does the Nanaho family have a screw loose?! Why would they even allow her to stay at a guy’s house, with no parents around to boot.”Bookmark here

“G-Grandfather did give permission.”Bookmark here

“And Society doesn’t!” It looked as if Ayane had fumes steaming out as she complained.Bookmark here

“But we won’t want her at the Nanaho household currently, and she was fine with staying at mine.”Bookmark here

“Sigh...What.Are.You.Doing.With.That.Brain.Of.Yours! It’s times like these that you rely on the adults. Get in the car, we are going to Izuya’s house.” Ayane had hit my head while shouting.Bookmark here

“Am I...going home?” Madoka seemed to cower in front of Ayane.Bookmark here

“No. You have your reasons for not going home. That said, you can’t just stay at Izuyas’ either.”Bookmark here

“We can’t make her stay at a hotel, Aya-nee.” Ikuro tried to pleadBookmark here

“Sigh...How are you this dumb? Use your family connections! We are packing Madoka’s stuff and moving it to the Amagami Household.”Bookmark here

“~Eh!~” The three of us said as she told us her idea.Bookmark here

Come to think of it...It does make more sense for Madoka to stay at the Amagami Household. They would have better security there, a guest room for Madoka, and possibly provide the same level of service as the Nanaho household, or even better.Bookmark here

Why didn’t we think of that in the first place? Why didn’t I think of sending Madoka to Ikuro’s place anyways? Was I too preoccupied with finding a way to get her out of the elite Nanaho family? I just needed to get her out of the Nanaho’s house, but not necessarily into my place.Bookmark here

“Ayane-san.”Bookmark here

“Hmm?”Bookmark here

“I’m all in support of the idea of Madoka moving into the Amagami household, but could we do that tomorrow?”Bookmark here

“Why?”Bookmark here

“Well...It’s a Wednesday, and it’s almost midnight.”Bookmark here

“Ah. Right...You guys are still in high school…Fine, but Madoka will grab her bare minimum of belongings and head home with me.”Bookmark here

I had thought the idea of Madoka staying with the Amagami would have Ikuro in joy, jumping about, but he seemed surprisingly calm. Taking another look, he was in fact blushing behind his ears.Bookmark here

Didn’t it just get harder to tell Ikuro about it? He will think that with Madoka at the Amagami Household, he would be able to somewhat prevent her from finding her Solus and possibly getting closer with her.Bookmark here

“Oh~ What’s this? Is our dear Ikuro blushing behind his ears?”Bookmark here

“S-Shut it! It’s nothing to do with you!”Bookmark here

“Ah~ Youth, how I miss it.”Bookmark here

“You are pretty young yourself too, Ayane-san” I tried to retortBookmark here

“Well, don’t you have a way with words? But too bad, you can’t fall for me, Izuya-kun.”Bookmark here

I wondered how Madoka was feeling about this.Bookmark here

If I wasn’t wrong, Madoka was also in love with Ikuro. Looking over, I could see her slightly blushing as well, although she didn’t make a fuss or was as obvious as Ikuro. I guess she wasn’t happy about the news of her Solus as well. Bookmark here

It was rather obvious that they had liked each other, but to think that they would be denied this due to their Solus. Three years...Just three years and they could be true to themselves. I will try my best to slow down the search for Madoka’s Solus in any way I can. I feel sorry for Mikase, but regarding her Solus, Ikuro, I can’t afford to break their relationship.Bookmark here

I guess I will keep it to myself, for now…Bookmark here

Debrishi Kar
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Rui
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