Ōkami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi Fanfiction: Okami-san and Her Seven Swans - 6. Chapter 6
“Well, well. The great Otogi Bank has arrived.” Hitsujikai’s smooth, malicious voice states from behind his desk. Shiro sits, hands neatly folded in a tepee position, smirking dangerously at them. His sharp eyes glint in the shadows of the dimly lit room.
“Enough talk, Hitsujikai. We didn’t come all this way to entertain feeble threats.” Momo’s words cause Shiro to glare.
“Indeed. There’s only one thing that needs to be said.” The President smiles. The smile does not touch his eyes.
“You’re going to leave Otogibana City. Forever.”
After a short silence, Shiro grins darkly. He chuckles in derision.
“What makes you think I have any intention of doing that? Surely you aren’t that foolish. Speaking of fools…” His violet eyes skirt the group of members.
“Where’s that little boy? I think we have some business to finish.” He spits venomously.
“Yours and Morino-kun’s personal affairs are not the matter at hand. I repeat: you are to vacate this city immediately.”
“And here I thought the infamous Otogi Bank would be a challenge for me. I thought you said involving adults would be too low for you?”
“Make no mistake about it, we don’t need any adults,” Taro replies.
“That’s right. This is between you and us, Hitsujikai. We are placing an official kill order on you, so to speak. We have already taken measures to replace your position as Onigashima Student Council President. If you are still in this city by tomorrow you will be captured, and taken care of. I don’t think we need to explain what that entails.”
“What?” He hisses.
“We are being merciful. You should be turned over to the law for violence, blackmail, sexual and physical harassment, and I’m sure we could find other things you’re guilty of besides the above as well… Instead, we’re just banishing you. Oh, and don’t think you can hide. We have eyes all over this city, including those within Onigashima itself. Assume that nowhere is safe for you.”
Shiro laughs, a panicked edge creeping into his voice.
“You… You really think it will be that easy to defeat me?! You will pay for your idiocy…” Shiro bares his teeth.
The President waves his hand dismissively.
“You have heard our rules. Disobey and you will pay the price.” He motions for the remaining members to exit.
“That is all.” The President turns, and follows the others out of the room, leaving Shiro furious and seething in the darkness.
“Alice, are we being tailed?” Momoko speaks into her earpiece. For the downstairs lab, Alice checks the Onigashima cam system feed before responding.
“Negative. I will contact you immediately should this change.”
Momo nods. “Roger that. We’re coming out.”
*Things sound well so far, but I personally have a creepy feeling that Hitsujikai isn’t finished with Ryoko. Before the rest of the Bank can head over to the hospital, they have one more thing to take care of. But anyways. Let’s see how Ryoko is doing, the poor thing…*
Something, somewhere in the darkness of my mind, pulls at the edges of my consciousness. It is time to wake up.
The harsh light from the ceiling pierces my vision as my eyelids flutter open. Why am I here? Oh, right. The whole concussion thing.
All I can remember is us arriving here, and they put me in a bed because I was blacking out and some nice nurse was telling me that it’s okay now, okay to sleep, and I said no, Ryoshi made me promise. But then I went to sleep anyway. Now that I think about it, this is not my first time awake. I thought I had dreamed it, but between the timeless gaps of sleep, someone would wake me, routinely. So that I wouldn’t go into a coma… I recall the doctor’s instructions.
I struggle to sit up, but the rush of blood from my head pushes me back on the bed.
My hand brushes something soft, and I look down.
Ryoshi is asleep beside me, his upper body leaning on my bed. His hand was resting on my stomach, covering my own. His lips are parted just a little, dark hair pushed awkwardly over his cheeks in sleep. I smile a little because he looks so cute.
I have to do something about these feelings. They hurt in my head, but they hurt even worse in my heart. I turn away from him, blushing and embarrassed. I can’t afford to entertain this stuff now.
You’re going to have to entertain it someday, y’know, a voice in the back of my head says frankly.
Shut up. I snap back. What do you know?!
Ryoshi stirs and slowly sits up. He jumps when he sees me looking at him.
“Tch. What kind of hunter are you.”
“Hey, you startled me!”
I roll my eyes, but smile.
“I’m happy you’re awake, Ryoko. How do you feel?”
“Better than before, anyway. So did they dope me up or what?”
“They gave you some anesthesia, I think. Mostly you’re here to rest. You do have a concussion though.”
“Hm.” I look down.
“So um, thanks… for carrying me.”
“Oh! Yeah, it was no problem at all, really! You’re pretty light.”
I laugh awkwardly.
“Good then. So did you just sleep this whole time?”
“Well no. I had to wake you up every three hours. Plus it was hard to sleep ’cause you talked for a long time.”
“What did I say?” I ask nervously.
“Well… it doesn’t matter. They drugged you, after all…”
“Do I want to know?”
“Maybe not.” We both laugh.
“When can we get out of here?”
“They gave me some instructions on how to take care of you—er, I mean, how you should have Ringo take care of you. But other than that, I think we’re free to go.”
“Ryoko?” Ryoko says suddenly.
“Yeah?” my voice comes out softer than I want.
“About earlier, at Onigashima…? I just wanted to ask you.”
Oh no. Is this about all that embarrassing stuff I said while my head was being all screwed up?
“Please…don’t be my shield. I want you to fight by my side but… please, don’t do that. I don’t want you hurt. If you want to help me, protect yourself above anything. If you’re safe, nothing can be wrong in my world.”
I don’t know what to say.
Tsundere mode kicks in.
“Hey! I, um, I wasn’t trying to protect you! You just looked like you needed saving so, I just, so you know…!” I blush and look down.
Then I feel a prick in my stomach. Something inside me whispers, Aren’t you ashamed? How would you feel if he told you he didn’t care about you; he just saved you ’cause it was the honorable thing? You’d feel shitty. C’mon Ryoko. Look at him. He deserves better. And you’re a liar anyways.
“I mean…,” I sigh.
“I mean, thank you. If it really bothers you that much, I won’t do it again. But to be fair… you shouldn’t be doing it either.” Ryoshi smiles at me. So pleased for even a touch of gentleness from me. That’s because you’re starving him of it, you coward! Now’s your chance—tell him how you feel! The voice shouts.
“I told myself I would do whatever it takes to protect you, no matter what. But if you want me to stop, I will.” This time I’m the one smiling.
Good. Because I love you, and I don’t want you hurt either.
They say that when you have an addiction, the first step to happiness and healing from it is admitting you have a problem, just to yourself. In a weird way, this is what I just did. No one hears it but me, but those words echo through my chest. I’m going to be strong for Ryoshi, and for myself. I love Morino Ryoshi. There. I’ve admitted it to myself, and someday I’ll admit it to him. But I can’t do it now. I’m not strong enough. Even saying it in my own heart makes me feel scared.
I take a deep breath, and move forward, as if my whole world has not just changed forever.