Tenki no Ko: After Story
"We're gonna be alright!"
His words resonated deeply within her soul, echoing throughout her ear drums and finally reaching the deepest crevices of her heart. We're gonna be alright…
Even with half of Tokyo submerged under the great expanse of the ocean, even after being separated for 3 years - everything was going to be alright now that she was back in Hodaka's arms..
"Hodaka, I've missed you so much.." she muffled into the folds of his windbreaker as her close embrace with him only tightened. All those pent up feelings of yearning for him were starting to rise to the surface, pouring out from her soul through the tears trickling down her cheeks.
"I've.. I've missed you too, Hina-san." He could feel the tears welling up in his eyes as his arms pulled her closer to his chest. He rested his head on her hair, breathing and taking in the familiar and comforting scent.
The tranquil sounds of the never-ending drizzle of rain had drowned out anything else in the world, washing them with a sense of peace that they hadn't felt in their lives for what seemed like ages. It was as if those 3 years of sorrow and loneliness from their separation was all just a dream, and this was the reality that they had woken up to.
"How did you find me?" Her gentle voice had broken through the peaceful silence.
Hodaka didn't know how to put it into words. Perhaps it was pure luck that he'd found her here, praying to the Gods for the rain to stop. "I just knew you were here.."
He could hear her letting out a content hum as he felt her head resting on his shoulder. He swore that he heard a few muffled sobs coming from her, which only made him wrap his arms tighter around her body. All he wanted to do was stay like this forever, holding her in his embrace. It was the only thing he'd been wanting to do after all these years apart.
Eventually, they finally parted from their hug, much to their reluctance. And both of their cheeks were glistening with raindrops and tears. The smile that adorned both of their faces were worth all those years without each other. But then, a giggle soon erupted from Hina's lips as a grin broke all over her face.
"W-What's so funny?" Hodaka giggled confusedly as his eyebrows cocked into a puzzled look.
"Hodaka.." she tried to say between her giggles as she wiped away the tears, "..you've really grown."
Now that he thought about it, Hina was about shoulder-level compared to him. 3 years ago, they stood head to head. Now, he was way taller!
"Y-yea.." he chuckled awkwardly as he rubbed the back of his neck.
The smile bubbling all over her lips sent sparks flying in his heart. That smile and that laugh of hers; it was intoxicating. He could never get enough of it.
"Well, where are you going after this?"
His trance on her gorgeous face had been snapped. "Uh, umm..," he stuttered as a mad blush formed all over his cheeks. He hoped she hadn't noticed him staring at her for so long. "I.. I'm not sure. I didn't really plan on anything other than meeting you here.."
He felt an arm sling around his own, pulling him closer towards her direction. "Then c'mon," he heard her chime sweetly, "why don't you come over to my house and I'll make you some lunch." A big and comforting smile curved all over her lips.
She really was the sunshine girl.. That smile on her lips could light up the entire world for all he cared. "Really? I wouldn't want to trouble you with-"
"Hodaka.." She brought her hand to his, intertwining her fingers around his own. "You've waited 3 years to see me again, and you came all the way here to Tokyo.. The least I can do is make lunch for you."
"Unless of course.." her lips began to curve into a little pout, "..you don't like my cooking?"
"W-wait that's not-" The heat rose to Hodaka's cheeks as his mind turned into a flustery mush. "Your cooking is amazing, Hina-san!" he said with the utmost conviction to his voice.
She tried to hide her childish giggles with her free hand. She couldn't help but think Hodaka looked cute when he got flustered like this. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Now c'mon, let's get going."
Hodaka let out a sigh of relief. Even with the eternal gloomy weather, Hina's giggles were like rays of sunshine bursting through the clouds.
Along the walk through the rainy streets, they reminisced about the past, remembering the almost unbelievable things they'd gone through together. Throughout it all, their fingers remained intertwined, neither of them showing signs of breaking their tight hold on each other.
"So what happened to your old home?"
"Oh, it got submerged under the ocean," she replied almost nonchalantly, as if having her entire home getting repossessed by the ocean was just another daily occurrence.
Hina shook her hand to ease Hodaka's worry. "Don't worry, Suga-san helped us rent out a new apartment," she said with a chipper smile.
"Suga-san? Really? He did that for you guys?" He knew that his former 'employer' had grown close to the Amanos, but he didn't realise he'd done something like that.
"Of course. Natsumi-san and him even offered to become me and Nagi's legal guardians until I turned 18 y'know," she said matter-of-factly.
She sighed, remembering those days after she'd come back to the Earth, when child protective services were thinking of taking Nagi away from her.. "If it weren't for them, I don't know what would've happened to me and Nagi.." she said softly.
"Woah.." Suga-san really had done so much for these two.. it was no wonder why the man seemed to show him so many photos of the Amanos along with him and Natsumi together. They'd all grown so close together these past 3 years, almost like they were an actual family now.. And he wasn't around to see any of it. Somehow, somewhere, deep down in his heart... he felt a pang of loss and jealousy.
"Anyway, here we are!"
They stopped in front of a quaint little apartment complex. It looked almost similar to the one they'd lived in 3 years ago.
Hina led him up a flight of stairs and down the hallway. The view of Tokyo was pretty spectacular from the open-air hallway. It had been years since he'd seen the skyline of the city, and this was a far cry from the scenery of green and grass back home.
They finally ended up in front of a door at the far end of the hallway.
"This is it!"
Hina untangled her fingers from Hodaka's, and the absence of that warm feeling of her hand had left him with a little pout on his face, unbeknownst to him. She sifted through the pockets of her school blazer and fished out a bundle of keys. She kicked off her shoes to the side as she opened the door to let Hodaka in.
Hodaka let out a silent gasp as he took in the sight of Hina's home. It wasn't as small as their previous apartment had been and the furnishings looked much better. Heck, they even had a TV! He felt a little jealous thinking about the dump of a one-room apartment he was renting at the moment..
"Oh, Nagi isn't home yet," Hina chimed once she noticed the absence of a pair of shoes near the front door.
Hina silently giggled at the word. How cute of him to still call her little brother 'senpai' even after all these years..
"He's probably still at school.. Oh! Speaking of school, how was going back to school like for you, Hodaka?," Hina casually asked as she took off her blazer, revealing the pink hoodie she'd been wearing under it.
He let out an audible groan. "Ughh.. I don't want to talk about it. I'm just glad I've already graduated."
"So you're gonna live in Tokyo now?" he heard her say with a faint chuckle as she disappeared into the kitchen.
"Yea, that's the plan.." he sighed. "What about you?"
He heard the clicking of the stove followed by a loud sizzle noise from the kitchen. "Well, I've got a year or so left until I graduate. So until then, I'm working part-time at Suga-san's office."
She appeared back into the living room, this time wearing a red apron over her hoodie. A feeling of intense deja vú hit Hodaka all at once. It was just like the first time he went to Hina's home…
"Make yourself at home. I'll be done with lunch in no time," she chippered with a sweet smile.
"Thank you.. Hina-san."
"Hodaka, c'mon. Enough with the honorifics. You can call me Hina y'know.." she shook her head with a smirk all over her lips.
"R-right. Sorry.." he blushed. It felt a little silly, now that he thought about it, to keep using honorifics with someone as close to him as Hina was..
He sat down on the carpet beneath the low table before stretching out his legs. His eyes scanned the room, taking in every little detail of the quaint little apartment that he now sat in. A small smile curved his lips, a feeling of pure relief and happiness slowly seeping into his heart. He couldn't even describe how relieved he was to know that Hina and Nagi lived in a nice little home like this. Hina didn't have to worry too much about the money, and she could live life like a normal schoolgirl, how it was always meant to be.
He chuckled to himself, remembering the stupid words he'd said all those years ago. 'I'll earn enough to support the three of us!' As if a 16 year-old boy like him could've found a job to do something like that..
But back then, he really meant what he said. He'd loved Hina and Nagi like they were family, and he'd have done anything for them..
As Hodaka crossed his legs and leaned his body forwards towards the low table, he felt something poking his abdomen. He rummaged around his coat until he felt something hard in his pocket. He dug his hand around in it until he came across the touch of a round and hard object. He took it out, his eyes widening in surprise once he saw what it was.