Chapter 36:

Epilogue ( part 1: The end of a long winter )

The Dusk of Revenge

   This was the second time I got hospitalized in the same week. In the first time was when I got shot. And in the second time, I was obliged to stay for a whole week due to blood loss and to make sure that I get a full recovery.

I am not the type of person who would stay still all that period. It was a fact that the squad knew about it!

They kept visiting me constantly to make sure that I wanted to escape…

Sometimes, when one of them walks into my room, they find me roaming around the bed or stretching…

They knew that I hated staying in bed more than anything, yet I was obliged to follow the doctors’ orders.

During that time, the other squads went investigating the hideout that we found and brought everything that wasn’t destroyed during the escape of the few members of the Red Claws left in Japan.

I wrote the report of the mission and gave it to the commander so that he can send it to the higher ups in the ministry of defense.

The dome rebuild has started already. In a country where the citizens learned to coexist with natural disasters, the rebuilding process won’t take too much before everything returns back to normal.

During the period I stayed in bed, Ai made new friends…

I didn’t notice that she had been acting strangely when I went to attack the Red Claws hideout. She was the one who informed Rin of what I was intending to do.

She also decided that it was time to reveal herself to the other members of the squad.

Asahi was the one who helped her to do all of that.

I knew that the day where Ai would have to reveal herself to the world would eventually come when she was spotted by Asahi, but I didn’t think that it would be that early.

For me, it wasn't something that I had to worry about… I can’t change the reality of what happened.

It did bother me slightly to be honest. After all, it wasn’t like Ai started being the second assistant of the whole team. She will always remain my personal assistant…

It was a title that she liked pretty much.

The days had passed unexpectedly quickly.

The warm sun of the seventh day in the hospital made me feel a bit energetic. As a result, I woke up earlier than usual.

The wind was moving the curtains of the window near my bed slowly shaking some flowers that were beautifully organized in a vase on the table.

Some Japanese plum blossoms’ petals were carried by the wind inside the room. The scene caught my attention.

The petals were dancing harmoniously in the air while moving slowly toward the bed.

Watching them, I felt some warmth inside my chest.

Maybe it was a peaceful scene that I hadn't witnessed in years.

The petals slowly rested on Rin’s cheek who was sleeping on a chair by my side.

Her head was resting on the left side of the bed.

She was using her hands as a pillow. But even so she was having a deep sleep.

She was doing the same thing every night for the past few days.

I didn’t know when she started doing that but on the fourth night in the hospital I woke up in the middle of the night and noticed that she was sleeping there.

I moved my hand slowly to move the petals from her head. As I kept staring at her silently, she started moving a bit.

I pretended that I was asleep as she slowly woke up.

Looking around her, a smile appeared on her face as she enjoyed the overwhelming beautiful scene of that exceptionally warm day.

She lifted her hand slowly to catch some petals of plum blossoms from the air.

“Finally! We’re reaching the end of the winter!” She whispered.

“I still haven’t accepted you yet Kizuna Tomori!” Ai suddenly started talking with Rin.

“Shhh! Don’t raise your voice!”

“I didn’t accept you yet, but at the same time I can’t complain anymore! You’ve earned your place beside him!”

[What the hell are they talking about?!]

As she stood up and stretched a bit, she walked to the window and looked outside.

“We agreed last time that you won’t stop me after all.” Rin replied.

“That’s correct, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t wonder about your motives. Sleeping every night on a chair next to him when he’s ill and sneaking out before he wakes up…”

“That’s to make sure that he’s safe. You know that he’s going to be treated as a hero from now on!” She interrupted her while blushing a bit.

Moving slowly to the exit, she continued talking with a gentle tone: “It’s also for a personal reason…”

“Something that has to do with the kiss you gave him after getting defeated in the Setagaya ward?”


I tried desperately to breathe slowly after the sudden revelation made by Ai.

Rin turned in surprise to the badge that was on the table then smiled. “That’s also a personal reason!”

“I just wanted to know when you are going to confess to him!”

“Oh? Didn’t you just say that you haven’t accepted me yet? Tell me the truth! You’ve actually accepted me…” She started teasing Ai who kept ignoring her.

Reaching the door handle to open the door, She stood silently for a moment then looked at me.

“I think that it's a bit early to do it! Shinji is now focused with all his mind and soul on revenge. I can’t feel that I’m doing anything effective to shift his gaze from that. I want him to really start thinking about himself first. That’s why I won’t say anything that may disturb his slow evolution!”

She sighed as a sad smile appeared on her face: “I’ll just stay with this unrequited love for a bit longer!”

“I think I am changing my point of view about you!” Ai replied after a short moment of silence. “I started to feel really bad for what I just did!”

“Huh?” A puzzled expression was all over her face as she replied: “You did what?”

“Just forget about it!”

Rin kept gazing silently at the table then she opened the door to leave while saying: “We forgot to tell him about tonight’s ceremony. Please do that for me!”

The moment she left the room, I jumped immediately off my bed trying to breathe quickly after realizing that I had been catching my breath for a while after they said those things.

“You heart is beating so fast, Master! Are you okay?”

“Stop it!”

“Your face is red, Master! And you’re sweating! Do you have a fever?”

“Stop it!” I repeated once again as I covered my mouth. “Is that the thing you were talking about when I was in the hospital a week ago?”

“About stealing your first kiss? Yeah! You didn’t know that already?”

“Like hell I would know about such a thing!” I replied as I stood quickly and ran to the window.

“Master, are you okay?”

“How am I going to be okay after what I heard!” I replied as I looked at her leaving the building and walking in the street. “My mind just went blank!!”

“Are you going to the ceremony tonight, Master?”

I leaned my back at the window silently. Trying to think for a moment then replied: “Yeah! Definitely!”

I walked to the chair and sat there. I leaned a bit to the bed trying to mimic the way Rin was sleeping in the past days.

“This actually uncomfortable! How was she able to do it for seven straight nights?!” I murmured quietly as I faced the mattress trying to sniff it.

“Master! Your face is getting red again…”