"Yo." - Person Talking
"Yo." - Person Thinking
Hey, Dom here bringing you something new. Been a real long time, and will probably be next time you see me; life is finally here for real and with it goes my will to write. Don't really know when it will pick back up, but will probably be years before I get a handle on things ya know. So yeah, regular updates are gonna be long, long gone; I'll probably just write and post random chapters here and there, but for all intents and purposes, I'll be MIA essentially for the coming years while I face the world of adults head on. So yeah, hiatus are going to be happening with my stories and that'll be that, unfortunately but still want to post what I drabble here and there. Well, let's a go.
"Ha... Only a few more days left, then my peaceful and relaxing paradise will come to an end..."
Those words left the mouth of a young man with a head of unkept raven hair, his seemingly dead and fish-like eyes impossibly seeming to grow even more despondent and empty as his words echoed though his mind. Currently, Hachiman Hikigaya laid idly on his bed, contemplating the coming days and reviewing the vast accomplishments that were made with his own hands over the course of his summer vacation.
"Though... Besides getting a part time job and saving a surprising amount, my accomplishments are limited to Vita-chan... I don't even think I've seen anyone from Sobu during break, not even Yukinoshita or Yuigahama have attempted to reach out..." Hachiman thought in a slightly somber manner as he stetched his slightly taut muscles, getting up and moving to the bathroom as he let his mind drift back a few weeks to the last day of his life as a second year.
(Flashback - A Few Weeks Ago)
(Scene Change - Sobu High: Service Clubroom)
"Haa! I'm so excited, it's finally break!" Yui Yuigahama exclaimed in a relieved and energetic tone, a bright grin on her face as hugged the arm she was latched onto in a happy manner.
"Y-Yuigahama-san! I understand that you are excited for break, but please don't hug my arm so tightly!" Yukino Yukinoshita admonished the peach headed girl in a tone that lacked any traces of heat, a small but warm smile gracing her features as Yui merely giggled in turn.
"Ah! Before we all go, we should all do something over break, just the three of us!" Yui chirped as she released Yukino and secured her phone, swiftly opening its calendar app and scanning it for all openings.
"I'll have to pass on that, Yuigahama." Hachiman quipped as he closed the book that had attention for the past hour, drawing looks from his club mates as they silently awaited him to continue.
"What?" He questioned them in a slightly flustered manner, a tinge of pink on his cheeks at their silent and attentive gazes.
"Mou! What do you have planned then Hikki! You can spare one day for us, can't you?" Yui asked with a powerful pout on her face, Hachiman wincing as he felt a notable crack form in his mental defenses.
"Ara, Yuigahama-san; you should already know that, that thing is merely trying to avoid seeing us outside of school during our break. If I were to guess, he will no doubt be holed up in his room pleasuring himself with one of those vulgar romance games or novels to delude himself that he is not alone whilst poor Komachi-san slaves away doing his laundry and cooking his meals. Alas, the life of a sister of such a creature truly is a harsh existence." Yukino explained in a sure and solemn tone, dramatically placing the back of her hand against her forehead as Hachiman's brow twitched at the explaination.
"Yukinon! That's not true!" Yui suddenly spoke as she rose to the defense of the accused young man, Hachiman seeing angel wings and a halo appear on the form of the pinkette.
"Hikki will have to get up and go use the bathroom by himself!" Yui added with determined and shining eyes as Hachiman felt a bit of his heart chip, Yukino staring at her for a few seconds before a demure giggle left her mouth.
"Ah, but of course, how could I forget his need to use the restroom. The only act of physical exertion besides those of his hands and fingers on his novels and consoles." Yukino said in a smiling tone, the atmosphere shifting as the two giggled at the expense of the sole male in the room.
"But, are you sure that you are unable to make time during the break, Hikigaya-kun?" Yukino suddenly asked in a soft and hopeful tone, Hachiman's pitiful anger melting when he took note of her tone and expression.
"Yeah, apparently my family is planning something for the break... Sorry..." He replied in regretful tone, drawing soft and understanding smiles from his two club mates.
"That's fine, Hikki. We'll just have to make it up when we all get back!" Yui said in a sure and bright tone, drawing a tiny smile from the raven haired young man as the pinkette and raven haired young lady before him flushed a bit seeing it.
"Yeah, let's do that then. And we still have our phones." He answered as he packed his book away, Yui and Yukino following with packing their own belongings before closing down the room for the summer.
"Well, I guess I'll see you two in a few weeks." Hachiman said as they stopped at the school gate, Yukino and Yui nodding a bit softly as they exchanged glances with each other.
"Mmm, I guess so. I'll do my best not to bother you during break, Hikki, so don't forget about me, ok?" Yui told him in a sure tone, though it turned sad and slightly desperate as Hachiman merely blinked at her.
"Idiot, we'll only be away from each other for a few weeks. Like I could forget you two, especially after all we've been through." He told the pair in a genuine tone, a small smirk marring his face as the two blinked and flushed when they saw his amused expression.
"H-Hmph! L-Let's get going, Yuigahama-san! Apparently Hikirotten-kun finds it amusing to toy with the delicate feelings of young maidens!" Yukino spat out in an attempt to mask her embarrassment, Yui blinking before laughing wryly at her poor cover up.
"A-Alright then, bye bye Hikki! See you!" Yui called out as she waved at him in her usual cute manner, Hachiman watching before offering the departing duo a small wave of his own.
"Yeah, see you. Stay safe." He called out to them, raising his voice an octave to ensure that it was received by the pair.
With that the two jumped slightly, due to the fact he had gone the extra mile to ensure that they heard him, before they turned and watched the form of the raven haired young man growing smaller with fond eyes. Continuing to watch, they soon carried on their own way when he vanished from their view.
(Flashback - End)
(Scene Change - Hikigaya Household: Hachiman's Room)
"Though, it's not like they're obligated to keep tabs on me. Oh well." Hachiman mused as he got out of the shower, ruffling his raven locks to rid it as best he could of the water that still clung to it.
After entering his room, he headed to get changed for the day before moving to the door, pausing and grabbing a small black case that sat on his desk along with his wallet. Making sure that his bed was made, something the Hachiman of old would condemn him for even caring about let alone doing, he closed the door before heading down stairs, sparing a glance to the closed doors that belong to his parents and sister.
In regards to his family, Hachiman was truthful that they were planning a family retreat for the four of them. However, being the hardworking and slightly stressed parents that they were, Hakuto and Kanami Hikigaya had forgotten to purchase tickets for the cruise that they were excitedly awaiting to board until the night before, and to their horror only were able to secure three tickets.
Seeing that it was his fault for failing to prepare, Hakuto offered to stay while the others enjoy the cruise. Unfortunately, Kanami was equally as adamant that he go while she stayed, stating that she was just at fault for forgetting to set a reminder to purchase the tickets. In the end, however, Hachiman, being the responsible and able older sibling he was, told his family that they should all just enjoy their vacation. When questioned, he merely stated that he would be doing exactly the same thing on the ship that he would be doing at home, reading or sleeping. After a bit more persuasion, nearly breaking when Komachi and his mother utilized their 'puppy-dog eyes', he managed to hold strong and the decision was made and he was left to his own devices for the month that they would be gone.
The first few days were like he expected, lovely and a slice of paradise. But once the fourth day arrived, Hachiman was strangely unfulfilled just sitting alone in his home. It was on the fifth day that he did something that he had promised himself he wouldn't do, the life of a house husband being his ultimate goal in life, and secured himself a part time job at a local bookstore that he frequented. The process was surprisingly simple and easy, the 'help wanted' sign on the front of the shop did help immensely he assumed.
"Heh, looking back it was probably because Aisho-san was used to seeing me shop there that I got the job in the first place." Hachiman said with a tiny smirk on his face, shaking his head as he grabbed his backpack before slinging it over his shoulder.
(Time Skip - Half an Hour Later)
(Scene Change - Aisho's Books and Coffee)
"Yo." Hachiman called out as he opened to door to the quaint and warm shop, the bell of the door drawing the attention of the woman setting the chairs of the cafe.
"Oh, Hachi-chan, good morning! Could you be a dear and help me set the tables?" The woman asked with a smile on her face, Hachiman nodding as he placed his backpack behind the counter while pulling out a pair of glasses from a black case and slipping it on his face.
The woman he was helping with his employer and the owner of the bookstore, Shiori Aisho. A woman in her forties, though he never dared ask her age should the advice of his mother prove to be true, she had a slightly plump figure with a head of brown hair done up in a bun and brown eyes. Wearing a simple light blue blouse and a matching brown skirt and shoes, she had a motherly and warm aura that secured and snagged many a customer when she greeted them.
"Is Jiro-san here yet?" Hachiman asked as he relieved the Shiori of picking up and placing chairs, getting a thankful smile as she turned to dust off the shelves and books.
"You know that husband of mine, always has been late no matter what. Why, have I told you of the time when he was late to our wed-" Shiori started in a joyful tone, trailing off when the sound of the door opening reached their ears.
"Oi, finish that story and there'll be hell to pay." A gruff and irked voice called out, the two turning to see an equally irked man staring hard at them.
The older man staring at them was Shiori's beloved husband, Jiro Aisho, the owner of the cafe that was intertwined with the bookstore. A man in his fifties, he had a head of graying black hair that was cut short, he had black eyes that shone with a no nonsense light. Currently, he had a simple blue button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a pair of brown pants and shoes with a beige apron covering his front.
"Oh? And who pray tell would be in trouble, dear? If you're talking about me or Hachi-chan then there really will be trouble." Shiori asked with a syrupy sweet tone, the man grimacing a bit before moving off while muttering.
Giggling at his answer, she quickly moved over towards him before giving him a quick kiss on the cheek, pink flooding his normally stern face while his eyes widened and shone. But he schooled his expression before casting a warning glance towards Hachiman as the young man merely watched the exchange with his usual schooled expression. Seeing that, Jiro nodded in turn before moving to the kitchen to prep for the day. With her husband preparing for the day, Shiori turned to Hachiman and gestured for him to start without her. A nod from the young man greeting her, she smiled before moving to begin her own duties.
(Time Skip - A Few Hours Later)
"Oi, Hikigaya, mind taking this order to that table there? It's the last order for the night." Jiro asked the passing part timer, Hachiman shrugging his shoulders before taking the two trays securely in his hands.
Heading over to the table, he nearly stumbled and dropped the orders when he saw two familiar faces talking and laughing together. His brow twitching a bit in trepidation, he resigned himself and approached the table one Yui Yuigahama and one Yukino Yukinoshita were chatting at. Arriving in a manner of seconds, he caught their attention as they offered him a pair of polite smiles.
"Your orders." He stated in an even and polite tone as he offered the trays to the two, getting a pair of thanks in turn as they stared at him a bit longer then he would have liked.
"Is something the matter?" He asked after a few seconds of awkward silence, his question breaking them from their stares as they flushed heavily when they realized they were staring.
"O-Our apologies! You merely reminded us of someone that we know." Yukino said in a fluster, red beginning to die down to pink as the initial embarrassment faded.
"Mmm! We didn't mean to stare, sorry!" Yui added in an equally flustered tone, Hachiman nodding his head before he excused himself as Jiro was waving him over as he began closing down the cafe.
"So?" The older man asked as Hachiman raised a brow at the question, Jiro chuckling in a good natured manner at his expression.
"One of those two catch your eye?" He added as Hachiman's brow furrowed as he realized what has happened, Jiro smirking at him as the young man sighed in turn.
"Really? That's why you had me bring their trays over, isn't it?" He asked though he knew the answer, the smirk that was growing on Jiro's face being all that he needed to see.
"Heh, can't a man look out for the love life of his lonely and dead-eyed part timer?" The man asked in a sarcastic manner, though his eyes did shone with a bit of truth.
"Ha... It's bad enough I get that from my family, now you too?" Hachiman sighed as Jiro chuckled at his expense, though the narrow eyes of the raven haired youth soon widened when Jiro smirked and pointed towards Shiori who was helping the other employees behind the registers.
"Hey, tell that to Shiori; you think I really wanted to get involved with your love life? I have to admit though, while I couldn't have cared less at the start, after all the work I've put in, I need to see the seeds of my effort bloom." Jiro admitted as Hachiman's eyes widened when the strange happenings that started when he began working started to make sense, Jiro's smirk only growing when he saw the realization appear in the young man's eyes.
"Heh, why else would your new bosses force you to address a your state of dress, appearance and posture? And according to Shiori, she says that you're starting to draw the attention of a few of our regulars, so that's a promising sign." Jiro chuckled in a kind manner as Hachiman's brow twitched a bit in irritation, his look drawing a slightly confused look from the older man.
"So, I was just a little game to help you two pass the time, eh." Hachiman said with a mirthless laugh, getting a startled look and a small frown from the man.
"That's not it at all, Hachiman." Jiro told the young man in an honest tone, his tone startling the part timer from how sincere it was.
"Shiori already told ya, but we weren't able to have kids of our own due to some... complications, so we look at you part timers like your our kids. When you first walked in for this job, you looked like you just wanted something to do to pass the time and keep you busy. It was a lot different from how you looked when you're set on having something at the cafe or looking for a book. I ain't too good with words like Shiori is, but well, you kinda looked lost, like you were looking for somewhere to belong." He started as Hachiman's eyes became a bit somber from the man's words, Jiro studying him a bit before continuing.
"When you started, it was all formalities and even then, they were more distant then anyone would be comfortable with, like you were deliberately putting distance between you and everyone who you talked and worked with. That's why Shiori went ahead and got involved with your social life and making you fix up your hair, clothes and posture. She even got you those glasses after spending hours at the shop since she noticed how you were when people looked at you in the eyes. I know it might not sound sincere or genuine but believe me, Hachiman, we would never do anything to hurt you. We were just looking out for you, and we'll, you know how meddlesome is old folk are." Jiro told the young man in an honest and slightly guilty tone, Hachiman's eyes widening before closing softly with a small smile gracing his features.
"Heh... You guys really are meddlesome, you know that?" He told Jiro in a told that held amusement and warmth, the tone and shine of his eyes drawing an equally large grin to spread across Jiro's face.
"Thanks, you and Shiori-san, for going through the trouble of trying to fix someone as twisted as me." Hachiman whispered in a soft tone, internally cursing himself with how squeaky his voice sounded.
"Ain't no trouble at all my boy, just gotta promise the two of us that you'll still visit, even after your part time job is over." Jiro told Hachiman in a firm and smiling tone, Hachiman chuckling a bit as he returned the older man's grin with a slightly larger smile.
"Yukinon, were you checking out that guy!?" Yui whispered towards her companion in a barely controlled tone of excitement, causing the raven haired beauty beside her to choke slightly on the tea she had ordered.
"W-What are you saying, Yuigahama-san!? I-I was merely surprised that there existed another human being that bore such a strikingly similar appearance to Hikigaya-kun, that's it!" Yukino hissed at Yui in an embarrassed and heated tone, her statement drawing a look of realization to cross the pinkette's eyes as she snapped to see the employee from earlier chatting with the cafe owner.
"Now that you mention it, he kinda did remind me of Hikki. But that's impossible, Yukinon! For starters he was working! The Hikki we know would never work unless it was absolutely necessary!" Yui exclaimed in a sure tone, her words strangely sound as Yukino nodded her head in agreement.
"That is quite true, isn't it? Hikilazy-kun is a sloth-like creature that avoids all means of physical exertion whilst trying to move on through life. Adding onto that, his appearance is much more uncouth and slovenly in terms of character and posture; that employee having a slightly larger build and longer hair whilst also having normal looking eyes in comparison to Hikigaya-kun's eyes which resemble that of the rotting carcass of a fish. Still, it is quite surprising that there would be someone who looks so similar yet different within a train ride's distance." Yukino added as Yui nodded her head in agreement, the two finishing their orders before heading out as they saw the shop beginning to close.
"We should surprise Hikki and bring him here when we see him next week! Komachi-Chan and him haven't texted either of us the entire break, so they must still be with their parents! Though, I wish that tried to contact us. I still feel shy trying to text or call Hikki." Yui admitted with a reddened face, Yukino mirroring it as they exited and headed towards Yukino's apartment.
"Hachi-chan, Jiro! Let's finish closing up shop! I let the others go already, I'm sorry I didn't ask you Hachi-chan but you looked happy talking with my grumpy husband I couldn't bring myself to stop you two. If you want to go, please go right ahead!" Shiori admitted in a slightly guilty tone, Hachiman shaking his head at her in a good natured manner as Jiro chuckled.
"It's no trouble, really. What's an extra ten minutes anyway." Hachiman quipped with a small smile on his face, that smile mirrored and enlarged on the faces of his employers.
Working with speed, accuracy and efficiency; the three were finished with their duties in a manner of minutes. Though, there was an ulterior motive for the store owners to keep Hachiman after the store closed, the two having invited the young man for dinner with them at a nearby restaurant as an impromptu farewell for the soon to be former part timer. With those sentiments, Hachiman would have had to have been the Hachiman of old to decline such pure motivations.
(Scene Change - Chiba: Yatai Family Restaurant)
"Order whatever you want, Hachi-chan, it's the least we can do for all the hard work you've done for us." Shiori said in a fond and proud tone, a sheepish expression crossing Hachiman's face as Jiro grinned at him.
"No need to feel so shy, Hachiman, we do this for everyone who leaves; it's kinda become a farewell celebration for Shiori and me." Jiro said in an effort to ease the young man's nerves, seemingly succeeding as Hachiman left a soft sigh leave his mouth.
"That makes me feel a bit better, it was a bit unnerving if it was a one time thing that showed blantant favoritism towards an exceptional and hard working employee such as me." Hachiman breathed out as Shiori and Jiro chuckled at his self asserting statement, further easing him as they settled into a amiable and warm atmosphere.
(Time Skip - Half an Hour Later)
"Well, guess this is the last time that we'll be seeing you as an employee huh, Hachi-chan?" Shiori asked in a somber and soft tone, Hachiman offering her a small smile as she giggled at his expression drawing a tilt of his head in confusion.
"Keep that smile on your face, Hachiman. I know that you're not one to needlessly smile or act like everything is fine in the world, like those so called 'raijuu' you curse during break, but as long as you can smile like you are now, I know that you'll find happiness in your life." Shiori told him in a sure and warm tone, causing the young man to drop his smile and look down in embarrassment.
"Haha, ain't nothing to be ahshamed of, Hachiman. As long as you keep up that same attitude you had during your time at our shop, you'll have no problem meeting people who you can truly call friends. And who knows, maybe you'll find that special someone while your at it. And when you do, you had better bring her to our shop so we can tell her all about how you used to be a dead-fish looking, pessimistic and grumpy loaf of a man and how we managed to take the loaf outta ya." Jiro added with a deep chuckle, Hachiman snorting a bit before offering the two a smile.
"Yeah, I promise. And thanks, truly thank you both, for all you've done for me. I don't know how I can ever repay either of you for all that you've done for me. But if there's anything I can do, you can just give me a call." Hachiman told the two in a sincere tone of gratitude, the two having warm and fond smiles cross their features as Shiori offered him a hug while Jiro ruffled his hair.
"If you want to repay us, then try and enjoy life to its fullest. You are far too young to be such a cynical and pessimistic person, wait til you're my age before you're lamenting the universe." Jiro said with a chuckle, another snort leaving Hachiman as Shiori giggled in turn.
"While he can be a grumpy lump, Jiro is right, Hachiman. You are far too young to have those thoughts. You told us that you are used to being alone, but we both know that you crave and desire companionship, everyone does. That's why, if you want to repay us, just try and open up just a tiny bit more to those who want to get to know the sweet and extraordinary young man that, that cynical and pessimistic exterior is hiding. I know it was because of our meddling but compared to how you were when we first met to how you are now, you are a completely different person. You are still cynical and pessimistic but you are also smiling and laughing much more then before; keep smiling and laughing and more open and friendly and you'll be fine, my dear." Shiori explained as Hachiman nodded softly, the trio parting as they offered the other a final set of smiles and waves before they moved to part.
"If that's what you're asking for, I'll be honest and say that I don't feel one hundred percent confident that I can pull it off, but I'll give it at least ten percent." Hachiman told the two in a hesitant but honest tone, his answer causing the two to blink before they started laughing.
"Oh, a whole ten percent? That's five percent more then what you offered when you started at our shop! If that was only five percent then I can only imagine what double that effort will be!" Shiori teased as Hachiman flushed slightly, offering them a wry smile as Jiro shook his head.
"That's the spirit, Hachiman. Long as you can joke and smile, that's all we're asking. And remember our shop is always open for you if you need anything." Jiro called out as he wrapped Shiori in his arm, waving one last time as the man received a grin in turn.
With that, the form of Hachiman Hikigaya disappeared into the sea of people as the city's nightlife came to be. Watching him fade away, two sets of fond and warm eyes welled with tears before they were wiped away.
"He really did feel like a part of the family..." Shiori whispered in a soft tone, getting a squeeze in turn as Jiro nodded.
"Yeah, I had always imagined comforting and reassuring our kids like we did for him." He added as Shiori smiles brightly at him, the two heading towards their own home before Shiori felt something on Jiro's back.
Confused, she reached around and pulled a small envelope off of his back as jiro jumped at being stuck with something that might lead them to trouble. Hesitantly, he took it from his beloved wife before slowly opening it. But soon enough, their confused and worried feelings melted to mirth and joy when they saw the photo that laid inside.
"Honestly, that boy is far too cynical for his own good." Shiori lamented with a smile on her face, shaking her head as Jiro chuckled.
"It's not that he's cynical, love, he's just awkwardly shy when it comes to all things concerning affection." Jiro said in a sure tone, drawing a raised brow from his wife.
"And how would you know it's just that, hmm?" She asked in a curious manner, getting a grin in turn as he glanced back at the photo.
"Cause I remember being like that. Being embarrassed over any small thing that had to do with love and affection. It's all part of being a man." Jiro said in a sagely manner, getting a giggle from Shiori as they glanced with fond eyes at the photo of the two of them and Hachiman from when he had finally agreed with have a photo taken as per store tradition.
(Scene Change - Chiba: En Route to the Hikigaya Household)
"Just keep my smile, huh... Ha, looks like it's going to be a hell of a request even for this hardworking and excellent Hachiman." Hachiman said softly in resignation, though the small smile on his face spoke volumes of how he felt inside.
(Time Skip - The Next Day)
(Scene Change - Hikigaya Household)
The sound of a cooking timer could be heard ringing in an increasingly annoying manner as a young man with raven colored hair moved to silence it. Standing in the kitchen of his beloved house, Hachiman was currently getting a small little banquet to celebrate the return of his family members. As for the question that laid on the minds of most, 'Can Hachiman Hikigaya cook?' The answer was a resounding, now he can. Working at a bookstore that was attached to a cafe did mean that he had been asked, coerced, into helping Jiro when it was both slow and busy. With that came the much needed experience points that allowed one Hachiman Hikigaya to level up his culinary skills to a respectable level, cafe and restaurant level if he could be so bold.
"Hmm... Mom likes coconut, Komachi loves caramel and dad prefers coffee; that I know for sure. For the frosting though, that's where it's a problem..." Hachiman mused as he stared at the small cakes that he had prepared in front of him, shrugging as he started to mix together a simple butterscotch syrup.
Grabbing a few sticks of butter, Hachiman began melting it down at medium heat in a saucepan before moving to add the brown sugar, salt and heavy cream. Taking special care while turning up the heat slightly, he began making long scoops in the pot with the rubber spatula in hand, remembering to get the mixture that clung to the sides of the pan. After a few minutes, ensuring that the five minute 'no-go' zone as Jiro dubbed it had not passed, Hachiman quickly removed it from the heat before adding in a few drops of vanilla extract. Once it was properly mixed, he poured it into a small container and set it aside to cool. Whilst the desert was done and cooling, he moved to keep the lunch dishes he made warm; placing them into the cooling oven as he spared a glance at the clock.
"Almost one, huh. They should be home soon." Hachiman quipped as he let a small yawn leave, taking a seat and picking up the book that laid beside him.
Along with being a gift to help ease the sharpness that his eyes possessed, the glasses that Shiori had gotten for him doubled as reading glasses, though their strength was practically zero, they helped ease the glare of the sun and screens of electronics. With those advantages, Hachiman had found himself wearing them as naturally as he would any other article of clothing. His originally short raven locks were now longer and currently tied in a small ponytail to keep it from potentially getting caught during cooking. Apparently his long hair gave him a 'bad boy' look along with his sharp eyes according to the other employees, though the main reason that it was so untamed was that he neglected to get a haircut during the tenure of his break. In addition, he had grown a few inches during the course of the month, a sudden growth spurt forcing Hachiman to update his wardrobe, along with pressure from Shiori and Jiro. Overall, the Hachiman from a month ago was but a fleeting dream, long replaced by the one currently placing the finishing touches on the cakes that he had baked.
"Hmm... Might've boiled it a bit too long, syrup is a bit gooey for my tastes." Hachiman muttered in a slightly irked manner, having gained the heart of a true baker during his time with Jiro.
He was so wrapped up in trying to deconstruct the error of his method that he failed to hear the door to his home open, the simultaneous 'We're home,' having also fallen on deaf ears as his family returned from their cruise.
"Hmm, something smells amazing!" Komachi shouted as a bit of drool began to dribble down the side of her mouth at the tantalizing smell led her towards the kitchen, her feet swiftly moving to see what was the source of such a heavenly aroma only to freeze when she saw a ponytailed young man muttering to himself while looking at a container while a book was held loosely in his left hand.
"Kyaa! Stranger! There's a stranger in the kitchen!" She screamed before running back towards her parents, Hakuto instantly charging through the doors while gathering and releasing the full night of his 'father aura.'
Bursting through the archway, he saw the intruder his daughter had spoken of. About to shout at him, he froze when he felt his father instincts fighting against itself; as of the young man in front of him was no stranger or intruder at all. His confusion being visible to his wife and daughter, who were carefully hiding behind him, they all held their breaths when the stranger turned and made a sound of surprise when he saw them. Then, he unceremoniously raised his free hand in a lazy greeting.
"Yo, you're home. How was the cruise?" He asked in a nonchalant and casual manner, instantly drawing looks of confusion before Komachi's eyes nearly bugged out of their sockets.
"O-O-Onii-Chan!?" She shouted in absolute confusion and disbelief, her realization dawning on her parents as they dropped their jaws at the sight of their eldest.
"Hungry?" Hachiman asked as he removed the dishes that were being stored in the oven, a light rumble leaving the stomach of his sister to her utter mortification and horror.
(Time Skip - Half an Hour Later)
"That was quite the meal, Hachiman. You cooked all of that?" Hakuto asked his eldest in a surprised and curious tone, Hachiman offering him a small smirk as he collected the dishes.
"Yeah, sorry if it wasn't as good as Komachi's or mom's; more used to baking then cooking." Hachiman admitted in a sheepish tone, placing the dishes in the sink as he started washing them to the shock of his family.
"Hachi, are you feeling alright!" Kanami asked in a worried tone, moving to check his temperature as he blinked in turn.
"Ah, right... Must be surprising seeing me act like a productive member of society, eh?" He said with a light laugh, stunning his family even more when it was free of all cynical energy and full of pure amusement.
"W-Who are you and what did you do with my lazy, dead-fish eyed, 'would rather sleep all day then go outside and socialize to be a proper member of society' Gomi-chan!?" Komachi exclaimed as a Hachiman's brow twitched in utter irritation, though he couldn't fault her for her truthful assessment of his character.
"Oi. I don't wanna hear that from my absurdly adorable, cheerful and 'wet her bed until her first year of middle school' imouto. Ah, that must have been worth a ton of Hachiman points." Hachiman quipped with a small smirk on his face, that smirk only growing when the crimson face of Komachi rocketed into view as she tackled him and tried to strangle him.
"Negative points! Negative all of your Hachiman points, stupid Gomi-chan! You promised to never tell anyone that, you promised!" Komachi screamed as she wrapped her thin arms around her brother's neck, desperately and failing to strangle him for breaking the promise that they had sealed with an exchange of candy.
Seeing their eldest so full of life baffled two elder Hikigaya, but once that initial shock ran its course, pride and warmth shone brightly on their faces and in their eyes as they took in everything about their son. How much taller he had gotten, how much deeper his voice was, how he seemed to exude confidence and life that he lacked weeks ago. Seeing all of those changes, they felt that they hadeft their son to grow alone, and that thought stung and hurt them deeply.
"Hachi, do you want to do anything for your last few days of break? We feel awful that we left you alone for most of it." Kanami asked in a guilty tone, Hachiman flinching a bit at how guilty his mother looked before frowning towards her.
"Mom, dad, Komachi." He stared in a firm and stern tone, catching his family off guard at how serious he sounded.
"None of you have anything to feel bad or guilty about. I was the one who volunteered to stay, and if I'm being honest, I'm glad that I did. I know it sounds kinda fake coming from me of all people, but I feel like I've grown up, even if it's just a little bit. I picked up a part time job during the first week and well, I learned a lot of things there. So no need to go out of your way to try and spend time with me, let's just relax and enjoy the rest of our break." Hachiman said with a reddened face, the eyes of his family wide with how open he was with them before they all smiled at his statement.
"Are you sure that you're our Hachiman?" Hakuto asked in a teasing manner, getting an irritated look from his eldest as they laughed at his expense.
With that, his parents headed up to their room to unpack while Komachi rushed to throw her own suitcase into her own room before sprinting to help Hachiman before he finished the dishes. But to her shock and horror, he had already finished washing and drying the used plates, pans and utensils; drying his own hands on a towel as he moved to continue with his book. Seeing her standing in the doorway with a bewildered and lost expression, his 'Onii-chan' instincts flared as he moved towards her with a concerned expression on his face.
"Something bothering you?" He asked in an equally concerned tone, Komachi slowly moving to meet his concerned gaze with a somber and solemn one of her own.
"Hee... Onii-chan really has started growing up, huh... It even seems like Onii-chan doesn't need Komachi to help him anymore..." She whispered in a soft and somber tone, instantly flinching a bit when she saw her brother's gaze harden with the glasses on his face showing how his eyes truly looked when not looking like a dead fish's.
"Oi. Tell me the one who's been telling you those lies." He told her in a stern and slightly intimidating manner, the youngest Hikigaya feeling a strange and foreign feeling of fear enter the pit of her stomach as she shook slightly.
"N-No one, Onii-chan, it was just Komachi saying how she feels inside..." She whispered in a shaky tone, though she felt that fear instantly vanish when the hard look in his eyes disappeared.
"Ha... Did I tell you that I don't need you anymore?" He asked as she flushed a bit and looked down, doing everything to avoid having to face him and look into those eyes that were unveiled by his glasses.
"N-No..." She answered in a meek and embarrassed tone, feeling her body tremble from pure and unfiltered embarrassment.
"Then don't believe those things, alright? I may be a bit more open, but do you honestly think that your Onii-chan, no matter how exceptional or hardworking he is, could be one of those thinking raijuu over the course of a single break?" Hachiman asked Komachi in a mirthful and self-deprecating tone, getting a soft giggle from his sister as she slowly rose her head and shy met his gaze.
"Of course not! My Gomi-chan is a helpless siscon, after all! Komachi will have to give it her all to make sure that all the hard work he did over break doesn't go to waste! Ah, that must have been worth a lot of Komachi points!" Komachi exclaimed in a much lot lively and cheerful manner, her answer drawing a smile from her brother a he chuckled at her.
A bright and warm grin on her face, Komachi instantly latched onto her brother and gave him a long and tight hug. A bit stunned, Hachiman shook his head as he returned it, squeezing her small body as she shivered a bit and snuggled deeper into his embrace. Staying like that for a moment, it was broken when Hachiman released a reluctant Komachi, though her face heated right back up when he pressed his lips to her head and gave her a kiss. Her ears burning red, she quickly excused herself and sprinted towards her room as Hachiman watched with an equal dusting of pink on his face.
"Jiro-san, Shiori-san; this is a lot harder then I expected..." He muttered as embarrassment like no other filled his heart, muttering under his breath as he returned to his book to ease his embarrassed heart.
And that's all she wrote for this chapter, don't know if it'll get another update but eh, time will tell. Thanks for reading and stay awesome.