Taiyou, Aoba, Akiha, and Ruri were on the roof at midday. Taiyou was sitting in front of the fence doing level grinding, while Aoba was sitting at a slant next to him. A bit away from them Ruri and Akiha were gesturing to each other about something.
“I wonder if Akiha will actually take it seriously.”
“I think so.”
Aoba immediately affirmed this.
“When Akiha decides on something, she goes through with it all the way. Yeah, her attitude is still her same whimsical self, but boy does she become stubborn.”
“Yeah, like I don’t know that aspect of her by now.”
Taiyou said, moving his hand.
“Seriously, the combination of her wild and stubborn nature have got to be the worst.”
He looked at Aoba, who seemed to remember something. Her cheeks were red for some reason.
“If I were to tell her to stop…she might actually do that.”
(Ah, is that what it is?) thought Taiyou as he listened. He chuckled, giving her a light kiss before speaking.
“You don’t have to make her stop or anything. Looks fun, and I bet she’d learn a lot.”
Taiyou thought of something this time around, calling Ruri over with a wave of his hand.
One of Ruri’s apparitions came over.
“You sure you haven’t been making one too many shadow clones lately?”
“But it…feels good.”
Taiyou frowned. What in the world did she mean by that?
“I like…splitting in front of you.”
“Right? I totally get it, Ruri-chan.”
Aoba affirmed Ruri’s statement.
“Yeah? Well if it’s fine then I guess that’s that.”
Taiyou didn’t want to stop her in the first place, so he readily agreed. Regaining his composure, he asked Ruri the question he had meant to say.
“So I know you’re teaching Akiha all sorts of things, but would you classify that as military arts?”
“Yes, but…an extremely rudimentary version.”
“Rudimentary? I see.”
“An explanation on shadow clones…that even a monkey can do.”
“That’d be some crazy stuff alright if a monkey could manage that!”
Taiyou blurted out.
Surely, that whole “monkey” phrase was a meme of some sort.
“…You got that from somewhere…right?”
But this was Ruri that he was talking about, so you couldn’t be too sure…
Ruri tilted her head, thinking a bit before responding.
“No, they can…make clones.”
“That’s pretty much what you said earlier!”
“The difficulty…is a bit higher.”
“Yeah, but the way you said it still makes it sound really easy.”
“I’ll take responsibility…and teach them till they learn.”
“Don’t overdo yourself, kay?”
Aoba said, but Akiha replied from far away.
“I’m good, I’m good.”
“Where does that confidence of hers come from…”
Ruri erased the other clone and got back to teaching Akiha, while Taiyou got back to his repetitive activity. Aoba watched them.
The four of them were all doing something different under the blue sky. Although they weren’t chatting or anything (unless you count Ruri instructing Akiha), Taiyou felt very close to them at this moment.
“Y’know, I read this in a book once…”
Aoba tilted her head.
“Something about family. They appear to be disorganized on the surface but are actually tightly connected. And because of that, they’re safe in all directions.”
“That sounds pretty cool.”
“What about your house, Aoba?”
“Yeah, we’re the same way. Mom, Mother, and Mama. Even when everyone was together, it wasn’t unusual to go the whole day without talking.”
“Sounds about right. I’m jealous. I don’t think I’d ever be able to accomplish something like that.”
Taiyou nodded, taking Aoba’s hand before speaking again.
“Cause if we have nothing else to do, I’d love to just talk and get cuddly. Heck–”
He gave her another smooch.
“I’d like to do stuff like this too.”
“H-Hey. Not in a place like this…it’s embarrassing.”
“Ahaha, sorry sorry. We can do more of this later.”
Aoba nodded bashfully.
“But really, I am jealous. I wonder if we can get that way too.”
“I think so.”
Aoba nodded timidly.
“I think that’s probably because my mothers all take each other for granted, like the water you drink or the air you breathe.”
“I get it.”
“So I’m sure we’ll also get close to that someday.”
“I hope it’s sooner rather than later.”
“Darling…you’re acting a little strange.”
Taiyou was taken aback when he saw Ruri’s double suddenly appear in front of him.
“Could you not appear suddenly in front of me like that? And what do you mean by strange?”
“You’re usually…more lively.”
“Nah c’mon, I am lively right now aren’t I?”
“Boys in their first year of high school…usually live in the moment.”
“I think so too.”
Akiha approached them, taking part in the conversation.
“Saying things like ‘Let’s do this or this or this when we get old’ ain’t something a high schooler would come up with. Right?”
“But Natsuno-kun, you’re still…uhh…”
Aoba slightly hesitated. Her face showed her confliction in what to say.
“You wanna say he’s lively enough as is, right?”
Akiha stated without blinking. This was truly where their personalities diverged.
“Hmm, well that could be the case, yeah.”
“Darling…you’re a sex fiend.”
Akiha and Ruri, who had been negative a second ago, suddenly changed their opinions and chimed in with Aoba.
“You know, that would sound wrong if other people overheard this.”
“But it’s true!”
Akiha said, grinning.
“Taiyou, have you even been alone in a room for one night recently?”
“You’re always…helping yourself to seconds.”
“Right? Not like it’s better for us, cause we can’t even satisfy him.”
Taiyou nodded vaguely. He got what they were saying, but it was just a bit difficult to agree.
“Well, it isn’t like there aren’t ways to solve this.”
Aoba asked Akiha.
“Just get everyone in the same room. Easy, right?”
Aoba and Ruri murmured, and their faces grew redder and redder by the moment. All of them, including Akiha, gazed at Taiyou. Their eyes were filled with expectation and desire. Taiyou felt an itch as he gazed back at them.
“Jajajaaan. What is it, Taiyou-chan?”
“Tell everyone to get back to the house as quickly as they can.”
Hera said, flying off.
Taiyou knew he had to answer to their expectations.