Cat's Hour ~猫の時間~
“H-Haibara-kun… I’m begging you… don’t do this to me! Anything but that!”
“Sorry, senpai. It was inevitable.”
“Noo! Don’t come closer!”
I let out a shriek of fear when Haibara-kun took another step forward and coming closer to me. On his hands are some white thing and a bottle of cursed liquid that I hate the most.
“Don’t run away, senpai! I promise, I’ll be gentle.”
“That’s not the point!! You’re lying, aren’t you?! It will hurt!”
“Hmm…” he stopped for a moment and fell in deep thought.
On the other hand, I took a step back and prepared myself for my escape.
“I don’t want to do this but you left me with no other choice,” he mumbled with a dark expression on his face.
W-what is he going to do?! He looks scary!
“H-Haibara-kun… d-don’t do something bad…” I stuttered in fear.
The way he looks at me right now made it seem like I was a fugitive being cornered in a dark alleyway.
Then, lights will be flashed to my direction and officers will take me into custody. Uuu, why did it turn out like this?!
“Tsuki-senpai, Asahi-kun, please hold Terushima-senpai!”
Mashiro-senpai grabbed my left arm and Toujo-kun held the right.
“Stop resisting, Terushima-san.” Mashiro-senpai said while showing his disinterest.
“Sorry, Senpai-chan~! No hard feelings~” Toujo-kun playfully said with a wink.
“AAAAAH! LET ME GOOO! KUROKAWA-SENPAI! HELP ME!”
I yelled and begged Kurokawa-senpai who was also there. He was frantically trying to stop Haibara-kun in what he plans to do to me.
“A-Aoi-kun, we shouldn’t force Terushima-san… s-she looks afraid… can we think of other way?”
That’s right! That’s right! Please convince them, Kurokawa-senpai! You’re my only hope!
“That’s no good, Kaichou!” Haibara-kun rebutted.
“B-but…” Kurokawa-senpai looks down and fiddled with his fingers in anxiety.
Nooo! Don’t lose, Kurokawa-senpai!
“Kaichou, listen, if we leave her be, it will become more threatening. The worst case scenario is that she could die,” Haibara-kun seriously said.
“WHY ARE YOU EXAGGERATING A SIMPLE SCRATCH?! I WON’T DIE FROM THIS!” I snapped at him.
To make this situation clear, they are tending to the wounds on my neck that I got back on the last case. When the ghost strangled me, I struggled with everything I got and scratched myself which ended up with me being injured.
And Haibara-kun was the person in-charge of fixing my wounds. I was fine with it at first but…
It was a different talk if he will use THAT.
“S-sorry, Terushima-san… just bear with it please… you can’t die… okay…?” Kurokawa-senpai cried as he stared at me in concern.
Haibara-kun smiled confidently as if he was satisfied that he managed to convince Kurokawa-senpai that they will corner me like this.
I squinted my eyes at him.
I won’t die with a scratch!
I glared to the direction of the person who laughed and saw Mikejima-kun trying to hold his laughter.
“What are you laughing there, Mikejima-kun?!”
“You just laughed!”
“Pwahahahaha! What are you, a kid?! You’re still afraid of alcohol at your age?!” He pointed me while laughing out loud as if he’s enjoying himself insulting me.
“I don’t want to hear that from you of all people!” I retorted back.
Uuuu, please let me live. Anything but putting alcohol on my wounds. It stings like hell! It was more painful than the wound itself!
“Alright! Here we go!”
I was held on both arms and no matter how much I struggled, they won’t budge an inch. Of course, there was a difference in strength.
Kurokawa-senpai was nervously watching at us, his conscience might be bothering him for abandoning me like this.
Mikejima-kun is leaning on the wall farther away and laughing at me with everything he got. That guy!
After what seemed like an endless hell of screams and suffering, they let me go. I flopped to the floor right away out of exhaustion.
Damn it, I’ll be careful not to get injured again. The people here make small things like this a big deal, I better keep that in mind.
“Senpai-chan, are you still alive?” Toujo-kun poked my cheeks while I still feel soulless from what I just suffered.
“I hate alcohol, don’t let me see that bottle again or I’ll pour everything out.” I emotionlessly mumbled.
“You must not waste like that, senpai-chan!” Toujo-kun pouted.
I feel horrible… Haibara-kun treated my wounds but compared to how he do it, the process is particularly draining.
Uuuu, I want to cry.
“A-are you o-okay, Terushima-san…?”
I was out of it to pay attention to the person who asked that so I just answered whatever comes to my mind.
“Do I look okay to you?” I said bountly.
In the blink of an eye, the atmosphere suddenly became suffocating as I felt hostility aimed to me.
Hmm? What’s going on?
I lifted my glance and saw Kurokawa-senpai, he was looking away with tears forming on the side of his eyes. He was trying to hold back his tears as he pressed his lips tightly to prevent a sob from escaping.
My eyes widened with the sudden realization.
Crap… I messed up! I spoke bluntly to Kurokawa-senpai!
“S-sorry for asking… I… I’m just an insensitive senpai, right…? Uuu, I’m horrible…” he mumbled continuously as he started sulking in the corner of the room.
It completely slipped from my mind! I didn’t mean to put it that way! I mean… I may be blunt but… I don’t mean to be harsh to him!
“Hikari Terushima. Anything to say in your defense?”
F-full name!! It came again!
Mashiro-senpai gave threats while smiling making it twice more frightening. I shivered in fear as I wished to shrink away peacefully.
Please don’t make it painful.
“I-it was a slip of tongue… I didn’t realize that it was Kurokawa-senpai!” I admitted.
“I see.” Mashiro-senpai casted a sharp glance to me as I feel like he’s looking down on me.
W-what is this pressure? It made me drench in sweat as if liters of water has been poured on me.
The way everyone looks on me as if saying, ‘any last words, Terushima?’ made me cry inside my mind.
In the middle of being pressured, the door opened as if a gift from heaven was sent to me. It was Irosaki-sensei.
“Alright, gather up. Save the chatters for later, we’ll have our meeting for the Sports Festival. We only have few weeks left.”
Oh… that’s right! We still need to prepare for festival. Also…
I glanced towards Kurokawa-senpai’s direction.
We need to do something about the phenomenon that mostly affected him. For some reasons, I really have a strange feeling about this.
Everyone decided to let me off the hook for now. Kurokawa-senpai also recovered over the time. And with that, we held our meeting in preparation for the festival.
“Here’s what we agreed upon, the third years are in-charge of hosting the whole festival, they will be leading the opening ceremony and all other events,” Irosaki-sensei stated. “Any objections from the third years?”
It was a favorable choice. If the third years will lead the festival, their popularity will surely rise and we can do something about the recognition loss phenomenon around the school.
“Next, Mikejima-kun and Haibara-kun will be in-charge of gathering the list of participants in each classes. The two of you will also promote all over the school to make the event known to everyone.”
“Lastly, Toujo-kun and Terushima-san will be in-charge of technicalities. Part of your work also includes buying equipment, decorations, and preparing the prizes for the winners. You two will make a financial report of this event. Is it clear?”
“Yaaay!~ I’ll be working with senpai-chan! Let’s do our best!” Toujo-kun exclaimed happily.
I just deadpanned at him. It’s not like we’re going to play around. Moreover, I’d rather work with the serious one if it was an official duty like this.
“If there are no other questions, that sums up our meeting.” Irosaki-sensei said as she dismissed us. “Also, Kurokawa-kun, follow me to principal’s office, we have something important to discuss.”
As the two left, the rest of us remained silent and exchange glances among ourselves. The atmosphere in the room suddenly became serious.
Everyone definitely has an idea of what’s going on here.
The fact that sensei calls Kurokawa-senpai frequently said it all, they are talking about something that shouldn’t be spoken inside the office.
Most likely, about Kurokawa-senpai’s condition that he doesn’t want to disclose to anyone.
And still, whatever it is remains a mystery to us. We still don’t have the true details of his circumstances.
‘When will you lean on others, Kurokawa-senpai?’
“Haah… I’m tired…”
I just returned to the office after asking help from the Art Club. Fortunately, they agreed to help so I’m thankful for that. Not to mention that they are also hyped for the event, our promotion seems to be working.
I entered the office and noticed that there’s no one here.
I wonder where the others went. Normally, I would meet one or two people here. Of course, one of them is Kurokawa-senpai working continuously as always.
However, he was nowhere to be found here. They might be outside since we started to get busy from preparing for the event.
Looking at the deserted student council office… feels a little lonely.
I got used to see others whenever I arrive from doing my duties outside, they would then greet me when I returned.
But now… there’s no one here.
Pull yourself together, Hikari! The student council will not disappear! We’ll do everything to keep things right!
I pinched my cheeks to wake me up from my dramatic daydreaming. It’s not like me to get emotional like that!
I walked over my table and put my things there. Just when I was about to take a seat, I noticed a paper on the floor.
Because the office is normally tidy, thanks to Haibara-kun, it must be a paper that fell from one of the desks.
I made my way to it and picked it up. If I’m right, it’s from the table closer to it.
Hmm? It’s from Mashiro-senpai’s desk…?
I stared at the paper, there was something written on it. I squinted my eyes on it, there was a drawing of a lily flower and a crescent moon on it.
“A lily and a moon…”
When I flipped it over, I found out that it was a photo.
“Oh! Is this Mashiro-senpai?”
It was a photo taken in a field of white carnation flowers. There was a young boy with a small smile on his face, his eyes has the bright light of childish innocence.
Oh! He looks cute! Compared to how he smiled at present, this innocent smile was so pretty.
Iyaa, he really looks beautiful even from his childhood. It will really hit you hard that you’re just a commoner compared to this boy.
“Hmm… there’s also a girl with him. Is this a childhood friend of his?”
There was a younger girl with brown hair holding his hand and smiling brightly. On her other hand, she was holding a carnation flower as she raised it up.
Un, she’s also cute, but maybe I just got too much intrigued about the young Mashiro-senpai that I didn’t notice the girl earlier.
Of course, even if I stood beside Mashiro-senpai, I will also be overshadowed. I can see it happening to me as well.
Anyway, he looks genuinely happy in this picture. Is this girl perhaps her first love? Hmm… suspicious.
Out of nowhere, the door opened.
I turned around, only to see Mashiro-senpai standing there, his eyes widened when he saw what I was holding.
“A-ah! I didn’t—”
I was just about to explain my side when he marched towards me with his brows furrowed, he was definitely angry.
I was caught off guard since I never saw him this angry before. I thought his normal angry face was when he was smiling and giving a cold look.
This time, his anger was like that of a flame. He was seething in rage.
He grabbed the photo on my possession forcefully and crumpled it on his hand.
My mouth agape as I saw the photo being wrinkled when he crumpled it.
“It’s fine. You don’t have to say anything, just don’t do anything unnecessary again. This better be the last time.” He coldly spoke. Despite that emotionless voice of his, I ironically heard feelings from what he said.
He was angry… and yet…
He was lonely.
I dropped the idea of reasoning with him that I didn’t touch it on purpose, it’s not like I was admitting my guilt.
I just felt like I shouldn’t pry further.
“Sorry…” I apologized sincerely.
He froze for a second when he realized what he just did.
“A-ah… I didn’t mean it that way. How should I put this…”
“It’s fine. It was my bad to touch other people’s things. Don’t worry, Mashiro-senpai has the right to be angry.”
In the middle of talking, we were interrupted when Toujo-kun barged in shamelessly.
When he noticed that Mashiro-senpai is here, he blinked in confusion. “Did I interrupt you in the middle of something?”
“No. Go ahead, Asahi. I just dropped by to get something.”
He grabbed some papers in his desk and nonchalantly left us. I just stood there as I watched him go out of the room.
Still, that photo was in a bad condition now. I don’t know if he’s angry that I touched it or something. What was that photo anyway? I thought it was important, and yet, he crumpled it without a second thought.
“Tsuki-senpai seems like he’s in a bad mood,” Toujo-kun commented. “Did you do something, Senpai-chan?”
“I did not… haha…” I said and looked away.
“You did something,” he squinted his eyes at me as he leaned closer.
“Fine! I admit! I might’ve touched a sensitive topic! You’re too close, Toujo-kun!”
He took a step back and stared at me suspiciously. I also deadpanned because he seemed like he’s planning something.
“Senpai-chan, go on a date with me.”
“What do you think, senpai?”
Is he hitting on me?
That was too fast!
“Thank you for the thought but I refuse.” I nonchalantly said and turn my back on him.
“Hmm? Is that so…? I don’t have a chance at all, senpai-chan?”
I turn around and faced him again.
“As I said, I refu–“
I stopped in an instant when I saw his cat ears slightly lowered, his tail is also wagging and he looks at me as if begging for affection.
W-what is this? My heart skipped a beat! It’s so cute! Aaaaah!
“Senpai-chan?” He tilted his head slightly and said to me with a pout.
“C-can I touch them?”
“Un! Would you go on a date with me just this once?”
And that was how I was baited to go on a date because of the cat ears. I have no regrets. I got to touch cat ears before I go.
Toujo-kun said that this is a date but we just went to buy some materials needed for the school festival.
It’s not like I’m disappointed that this doesn’t seem like a date, it was actually on my favor.
Still, Toujo-kun really treats this as a date. That was more than enough.
“Say, Toujo-kun, I didn’t know that you could go out of school.”
We went to a 100-yen shop outside of the school, and I just found the fact that he can freely go out of school as he wants.
“Un. We could go out during the day but we must go back before the cat’s hour starts. It was part of the contract.”
“Cat’s hour? Isn’t that the term for the alarm that went off when a human met a supernatural within the school vicinity?”
“That was another way to put it for normal people to understand. But for us contracted by the god, it meant differently. That was the time where we are bound to school and not allowed to leave. It was just every night so we could still go out during the day.” He explained in a surprisingly easy to understand way. “By the way, what do you think about this baton, this one or this one?”
He showed two different baton to me, a red and a white one. We’re choosing a baton for the relay tournament, one of the events in the festival.
“I think the white one will do.”
“I think so too! Let’s go with this then!”
He put the baton on the cart and we walked to our next destination.
“By the way, when you said you can’t go out during the night, the others are also the same, right?”
“Un. It was the same, if I remember right, the third years never went on the class trip during their second year. This year, Tsukasa-senpai will also have to skip it… Ah! But don’t let it bother you! Senpai-chan could still go to the class trip if you want!” he frantically said.
“It’s okay. I’m not really interested in class trip. I never went to one as well, around those times, I will be transferred to another school again back in my middle school.” I said to reassure him.
“Oh… everyone is on the same boat then.” He smiled at me and pushed the cart. “Let’s make every school events great to compensate for what we didn’t get to experience, okay?”
I smiled back to him, “Yes!”
We finished buying everything we need there. Toujo-kun is the one carrying the shopping bags. He might be a playboy but at least he’s not a jerk to make me carry something heavy.
“We should head back now.”
“Let’s take a detour, senpai.” He said with a wink.
By now, I feel like I already build up resistance towards his advances that the wink doesn’t have any effect on me. But if there are cat ears, that was different. He’s using my weakness against me.
Sighing in defeat, I just nodded my head. “Fine, but let’s go back quickly, okay?”
“Yay! Our date is just starting!~”
Hmm? What does he mean by that?
Just as he said, it wasn’t over yet.
We went to a street near the school. There were all sorts of food and things being sold there. Street foods, fruits, vegetables, accessories, it was as if there was a festival.
“What are we doing here, Toujo-kun?”
“Hehe. We’ll have our date!”
Despite my opposition, Toujo-kun dragged me into all sorts of stalls.
Strange enough, almost all people here knows him. With a little fanservice of his, the aunties and uncles gave us all sorts of things as a gift.
And before I know it, I was carrying a bag of fruits, vegetables and other street foods.
He was actually using his charm to get free foods! Not a bad idea!
“Here you go, Asa-kun, you look handsome as always.” The auntie praised him with a dreamy look and gave us a bag of oranges.
“Hehe! Arigatou, onee-san!~”
“My, Asa-kun, you’re flattering me, I’m not that young~ You’re making me blush~”
“Why not? You’re beautiful as well, onee-san!”
I just deadpanned at the two of them. I can’t believe that he’s flirting with an auntie in front of his senpai.
They just continued talking while I look around the area. This is such a nice place, it might not be bustling with people but everyone is approachable, not to mention that the warm light of the lanterns in the street gives off a cozy feeling.
In the middle of looking around, a particular billboard got my attention.
[KOMORI MALL SOON TO RISE!
Sponsored by: Takami Business Group]
“Are you curious, ojou-san?” the auntie asked which made me glance over her.
“Well, some good-for-nothing businesspeople are planning to build a mall around here. Of course, this street will also be affected once they start the construction, some land poachers are also pressuring us.”
“Right? They have been spreading lies on the internet and destroying our reputation so we will lose customers and be forced to give up on this place.” She said hatefully.
It was horrible! Why would those businessmen go so far to harass small scale vendors like the people here?! Just go find some other place!
I glanced over the billboard again, and I somehow got a glimpse of Toujo-kun looking at the same direction.
However, his expression darkened as he was staring at it.
“Ah! Sorry? Are you saying something senpai?”
What was that reaction? He was looking at it with remorse, did it reminded of something bad?
On our way back, Toujo-kun started a conversation that I’m not expecting to come from him.
“Terushima-senpai, what do you think is the reason why a child is raised?”
I perked up with the way he addressed me. Is he the serious Toujo-kun now? But he’s not wearing his glasses, how could that be?
I just shrugged that for now.
“Isn’t it obvious? It was because the parents love their child.” I answered without hesitation.
“Hmm… must be nice if it was like that.”
He smiled solemnly, as the sun sets, its light casted a shadow on him.
“Thank you for going on a date with me, senpai-chan! Let’s go together again!” he beamed brightly as if he was a different person from earlier.
The anxiety that builds up inside my heart dissipated when he smiled at me brightly.
I smiled to him in return. “Sure! Let’s do that!”
“Hehe, how about–“
“No. I won’t be your girlfriend.”
It was my first trip on the town where I leisurely spent with a friend. To be honest, I also enjoyed the shopping date with Toujo-kun.
I wonder if we could get everyone on a trip together someday.