My Cute Kohai is Actually My Archnemesis?!
Reyna could still feel her heart racing from being hugged out of nowhere. Though she tried to keep cool, Reyna could still feel the electrifying presence of Hoshi’s arms around her. It made her want to lash out at him and scream with all her might, but she knew he hadn’t meant anything by it, and she had already slapped him. In fact, Hoshi had probably saved her from further embarrassment. It didn’t change the fact that she wanted to crawl into a corner and hide after feeling so trapped, even for a moment.
The man they had caught was quickly carried away by the police after Hoshi took their picture. She had learned a few things from this one encounter: That anything could happen when you were looking for trouble, to make the most of every situation, and that Hoshi was unnaturally reactive. She definitely wouldn’t have been able to see that guy running at her so quickly, and she knew he was in the same boat. Undeniably, Reyna was impressed.
Reyna chalked it up to his experience in the field. Six months of being part of a Danger Crew would definitely hone Hoshi’s senses to anything that might happen to him or his partners. Knowing herself, Reyna probably would have noticed him as well if she hadn’t been so focused on what Hoshi was saying to her. This brought her to the topic that led Reyna to her current contemplation.
Just the thought of Hoshi’s blatant disregard for her feelings was enough to make her blush, but she knew it was only as a reaction to everything she herself had said. Reyna cursed herself for being so snarky, but she couldn’t help it. Not being good with people in the first place definitely didn’t help. Add that to a solitary existence since graduating and it was a recipe for social disaster. Reiko was the only good thing to come out of her time studying in college, and even then, it was only because Reyna had been Reiko’s unfortunate roommate.
Thinking on it now, her friendship with Reiko was likely the reason she easily slipped into witty remarks. Making a mental note to talk to her when she had the chance, Reyna returned her focus to the task at hand. More specifically, to the person who was now treating her to an apology visit to a cafe.
They sat across from each other as he wrote something on a notepad and looked at his phone. Finishing whatever he was writing, Hoshi looked up at her and said, “This actually happens a lot. Small-time crime isn’t all that uncommon.”
She nodded her understanding. As Reyna munched on her donut, however, she hummed questioningly. “Did you really need to bring me so close to you?”
Hoshi sighed. “Do you take me for a pervert, Hikaru? I will admit, it was a spur of the moment decision, but I saved you, didn’t I?”
Taking a drink from her iced coffee, Reyna said, “Yes, you did. Thanks, by the way.” While she had her questions about how he was so quick to react and how he did it, there was no doubt she was grateful for him. Reyna toasted the iced coffee to him and smiled. “You’re a real hero.”
While she had expected him to either blush or snark back at her, she hadn’t expected him to pale and begin to stammer. On top of that, Reyna could almost feel the sudden cold that settled on him. “Y-yeah, a hero, heh,” he said. “I try my best, you know?” He then waved his hands as if to placate her. “It’s not as if I can stand up to any of the Powered, though. We were lucky it was just some thief.”
“Some thief you helped apprehend,” Reyna corrected. “And appropriately humiliated, I might add. This working title you’ve got is just mean!”
“Hey! I thought it was funny!” Hoshi cried. Reyna could only giggle at his reaction, to which he shook his head. “I seriously don’t know how to deal with you.” He then raised an eyebrow. “You know, for a kohai, you sure are disrespectful.”
“You were the one who said we were equals out here,” Reyna reminded. “Or do you want me calling you senpai?”
He then grinned, something that gave her a feeling. “If you keep calling me senpai, I’ll keep saying you’re cute.”
Reyna narrowed her eyes as her cheeks pinked. “You wouldn’t dare.”
Hoshi shrugged, finishing his own donut. “Oh, I would. Not just because it’s true, but because it clearly riles you up.”
Reyna’s blush returned in full and she growled. “Fine. No calling you senpai. No calling me cute.”
As he began to pack his notepad and phone away, Hoshi smiled. “Alright. I won’t compliment you anymore. Clearly, you don’t appreciate it.”
For a moment, Reyna nodded her agreement with satisfaction and finished her drink. Then, the reality of his words hit her, and she spluttered as she quickly cleaned her own space up. “Hey! That’s not what I meant! You can compliment me if you want. Just don’t say it so blatantly!”
Reyna’s words fell on deaf ears, however, as Hoshi had already made it to the door. “Come on!” he exclaimed. “We have to make it back to the office to make this article!”
Rushing after him, Reyna cried, “W-wait! You have to wait! I’m still new to all of this! You still have to teach me more!”
She was lucky Hoshi was a gentleman, because he held the door open for her, and she made to step out. A gentle but strong hand clamped down on her shoulder, stopping her. Almost immediately, her instincts blared as her hand began to flicker blue—
A biker whizzed past the entrance to the cafe, one step from where she was currently standing. The hand on her shoulder disappeared, and Reyna suddenly felt all the fatigue from the day crash down on her as she realized it was just Hoshi saving her again. Reyna’s side ached, her emotions were a mess, and her mind was going a mile a minute.
“Sorry for grabbing you again,” Hoshi apologized. “That biker was moving pretty fast.”
Reyna nodded meekly. “Y-yeah,” she muttered. “Thanks.” She then thought of the pins and needles she now felt in her shoulder. That was hardly her prevailing thought, though. There was still the fact that she had almost exposed her power by burning Hoshi, who hadn’t even done anything wrong.
As if sensing her discomfort, and Reyna herself knowing she was uncharacteristically quiet, Hoshi hummed “You look tired.” Reyna looked up at that, but he had already started walking. “Let’s go back and draft this article,” he said. “After that, we have nothing else to really do, so you can go home and get some rest.”
As Reyna moved to follow him, Hoshi turned and smiled softly at her. “And don’t worry. Now that we’re partners, I’ve got your back, alright?”
Something warm stirred in Reyna’s heart, and she wasn’t sure what it was.