Band-Aid

Chikage's child mode was still activated as she helped Kenichi with the gardening club. Izumi was absent for the day so it was only them both.

"Careful with those bags, Chikage-san!" called out behind him, unaware that Chikage was pushing more than her child mode could take.

"Hai," Chikage called.

The wheelbarrow twisted to the side and fell with a crash, pulling the little girl to the ground. "Chikage-san," Kenichi exclaimed, at her side within the second, "Daijoubu?"

"Uh... uh..." the girl whimpered trying to deactivate her child mode but couldn't, her eyes were starting to fill with tears. Kenichi was confused, normally Chikage would brush off the injury. Kenichi looked into her eyes and saw the child in her coming out. He realised then that while her upbringing was similar to Miu's, it did not have the sensei / guardian switch. Chikage only ever knew the instruction of a master and not the love of a guardian.

"Yosh, yosh," Kenichi soothed, ruffling her hair, "It's just a scratch... easily mended..." he took a strip of band-aid out of his pocket and placed it on her knee. "There," he murmured, "better?"

"Yes..." Chikage said quietly.

Kenichi laid a hand on her head. "Why don't we finish up and get some ice-cream?"

"Hai!" Chikage squealed, holding her hands up to him. Kenichi was confused at first until he remembered Honoka making the same gesture when she wanted a picky back ride. "Oh, you want a picky back ride?"

Chikage nodded her head cutely, making Kenichi laugh. "Sure."

"Can I have strawberry?"

"Of course you can," Kenichi laughed.

They talked more about gardening as Kenichi cleaned up and they made their way to the sweetshop, unaware of the stares their schoolmates who were at awe on how good Kenichi was to her, and not the big bully Niijima spread out ealier the past year.