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Pen Your Pride

“You know, we could have taken you back to school.”

Tomomi glanced over at Mami and promptly shook her head at the blonde’s suggestion. Mami had made the same suggestion of sneaking Tomomi back into school after they had left Omar’s house and as much as Tomomi did think it would be best to be in school, how could she explain the morning absence? Lying to her teachers was never something Tomomi was good at and she doubted she would be very convincing even now. For the brunette, it was a lose-lose situation. If she didn’t go to school, she risked her parents being called but if she did go after not attending morning classes, she risked having to lie about her whereabouts and still risk having her parents called.

“I’m not sure if it would make much of a difference, Mami,” Tomomi responded carefully. She looked down when she saw Mami glance over at her just before she heard the chuckle from the blonde. Beside her, Mami ruffled her hair and looked up at the sky. She did feel a bit bad for dragging Tomomi along like that when she had already gotten the innocent girl into enough trouble.

“I should never have drug you along in the first place,” Mami admitted, “I wasn’t thinking very clearly at all. It was irresponsible of me.” Mami felt a heavy weight pull at her heart as she admitted what she had done wrong.

Was this how Haruna felt? When her plans didn’t work out or when she failed to think clearly, did she feel this heavy with guilt? Mami didn’t know but she had a strong feeling that Haruna did feel the heaviness, even if the hardheaded brunette would always deny it. Mami couldn’t stop the guilt that ate at her for dragging Tomomi along. She was their temporary leader; it was her job to keep them safe now and on the first day as leader, she had put Tomomi at risk of getting into more trouble with her parents. It wasn’t as bad as some of the risks Haruna made them take but it was still enough to cause the dosage of guilt in the blonde.

“Don’t worry about it,” Tomomi’s soft voice interrupted Mami’s inner struggle. “What’s done is done. Besides, I know you were simply focusing on getting to Rina. I don’t blame you for dragging me along or for the harsh tone you used.” Mami cringed at the words; she had forgotten how harshly she had snapped at Tomomi when the brunette had attempted to talk them out of ditching school as they headed to Omar’s… Although, Tomomi hadn’t gotten farther than a few words in that attempt before Mami had quieted her down with words and a tone she wished she could take back.

“Right… I did that too…” Mami muttered under her breath. Tomomi could hear the grumbling from the blonde but chose not to address it. She felt it would be better if she didn’t try to push Mami’s buttons too much; Mami’s buttons had already been pushed enough as it was today.

Despite everything that had happened, there was a part of Tomomi that wanted to feel a bit of happiness. They knew Rina was safe and, during this walk, Tomomi was also seeing a softer side of Mami again. It wasn’t much but for the girl who acted so harshly, it was enough to put even a small smile on Tomomi’s face. She wanted to believe that Mami was softening her behaviors and thoughts. Just the thought of Mami softening and becoming a better person was enough to make Tomomi feel even a little bit happy.

“So… What are you going to do now? I-I mean about Rina and everything…” Tomomi’s sentence trailed off and she kept her eyes down, not daring to look up at Mami in worry about what sort of expression she would see for such a sensitive question. Instead of hearing a grunt or huff from behind her, Tomomi simply heard a small sigh leave her companion. Still, she refused the urge to look over at the teenager.

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