And so March 14th had finally arrived.
“I think we ended up making a lot more different things than we expected.” Basara said, eyeing the various selection of dishes arranged upon the dining table. The pleasant smell of various foods from pizza to chicken, as well as that of quiches and various spices and cheese wafted across the dining room, complemented by a side of a large serving of salad and the refreshing smell of fresh and vividly ripe fruit.
“The meal is specially prepared to be served alongside your White Day sweets, Basara-sama.”
“Looks like we’re eating well tonight.”
Zest and Kurumi stood side by side, holding the marshmallows that Basara had chosen as a gift for the occasion; each of the different types of marshmallows that Basara wanted to gift were gathered and beautifully arranged within a glass container.
“It took a lot of effort, too.” Following the other two girls, Yuki was holding chocolate melted in a bain-marie, accompanied by some cookies.
“To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be satisfied with just these marshmallows, but the fact that we have something as succubus-esque as a set aphrodisiac-laced chocolates puts me at ease.” Maria said, repetitively nodding, “And as proven previously, the aphrodisiac won’t take effect immediately.”
“Still, Maria, while we’re at it, we have to give it to Yuki and Zest, don’t we? I’m glad we consulted them on how we could really enjoy these marshmallows. Who would’ve thought that there’d be so many delicious ways to eat them.”
“Yes,” said Yuki, as she presented some of the marshmallows to Basara; she had pierced them onto a skewer and dipped them into the melted chocolate she had prepared earlier. As the melted chocolate trickled as it stained the delicious marshmallows, Basara took a bite.
The sensation of the signature, fluffy texture and the light sugary taste of the marshmallow first entered his mouth, followed by the rich, sweet flavour of the chocolate that coated it, along with a slight hint of bitterness.
The palatable combination of flavours caused Basara to narrow his eyes in satisfaction.
It was the same day.
Kajiura Rikka was locking her room; after ensuring that it had been locked several times, she sat upon her desk, upon it a beautifully packaged box.
Her outstretched hands were shivering; she had a nervous expression on her face, her arms stiff.
“It’s an obligatory return gift. An obligatory return gift. Don’t get any misunderstandings in your head.” She tried to convince herself as she opened the wrapping.
As she opened it, Rikka realized that a message card had been placed within it; it was as pretty as the box and packaging that contained it, a message written upon it with a pen, although the handwriting paled in comparison to the aesthetic of the decoration.
“Thank you for everything as usual, Kajiura-senpai.” Even the words he had written were too simple.
She stared at the box for a moment, before she finally opened it and took a single marshmallow and placed it in her mouth.
“Jeez…that’s just so like you, Toujou-kun.” She was definitely elated from the bottom of her heart as she murmured thusly.
And her fingers no longer shivered.
Tachibana Nanao was hugging the White Day present that Basara had given her; she remembered how he had acted when he had given it to her.
“Sorry about giving you a return gift as a guy.”
Nanao had never seen Basara so bashful before; it was new to her.
“Still, Toujou-kun—” Affectionately embracing the present that he had given her, Nanao turned to look at the full-length mirror before her—toward her reflection, where her chest had visibly grown to be bigger than usual as she held the gift.
“I still can’t return to being a girl yet.” Nanao said, a faint smile visible on her face despite the fact that her eyebrows sank anxiously.
Nanao had yet to notice her true feelings; she thought that she didn’t notice.
It was still a bit too early for her to accept such a reality.
Hasegawa’s fingers reached toward the photo on the table; it was a photo that decorated her room, one she had taken during her trip with Basara in January.
It was a photo of her and Basara, appearing as if they were intimate lovers as a waterfall flowed in the background.
And right beside it was the gift that Basara had given to her on White Day.
Hasegawa primly tapped on the box that he had shyly given to her with her long fingers.
“Goodness…right after Valentine’s, he now gets to do something with those kids again. I’m being far too generous with him.”
She looked toward the window, her expression darkening from a slight tinge of loneliness.
“You can’t satisfy me with just these marshmallows, Toujou.” She murmured, her breath warm as she called out his name.
Takigawa was walking alone on the streets at night; amidst the hustle and bustle of the shopping district decorated with richly coloured streetlights, he withdrew his cell phone from his pocket.
Raising an eyebrow as he received the message, a moment passed before he spewed in response.
He had opened the image to discover that Leohart was the one who had sent it to him; and beside the Demon Lord as he wore a serious expression was a face he knew all too well.
However, Liala’s arm was crossed around Leohart’s as she snuggled close to him, and she was apparently plopping a marshmallow into her mouth.
It was the return gift that Takigawa had painstakingly and hesitantly chosen for her in the end.
“That was a close one.”
Taking a final glance at the brother-sister pair who seemed to be enjoying themselves in the Demon Realm, he put his phone back into his pocket, before he disappeared among the hustle and bustle of the crowd.
The dining table of the Toujou household was livelier than usual as its members chatted while heartily enjoying their meal.
“Come on, Kurumi-chan. Don’t think about it so much and just eat it!”
“Not a chance! I just know you’ve put something weird in it!”
Kurumi was trying to resist Maria’s efforts of forcing her to eat some chocolate marshmallows.
A certain someone was paying no need to them as they were frolicking around, however.
“Now, I’ll teach you the recipe.”
“Of course. Um…if it’s possible, can you also teach me how to make that stew?”
Yuki, who had really appreciated Zest’s cooking that day, was discussing the topic with her with an earnest expression as she took down notes on her memo.
Basara gave them a sidelong glance and took another taste of a marshmallow.
At first, largely due to the present he had given them—more specifically his concern over it—he had largely eaten his meal without much enthusiasm as the others enjoyed the marshmallows heartily. Much like how he had eaten marshmallows dipped in chocolate earlier, however, he had come to be quite astounded by the various ways he could enjoy them and the different flavours available to him, such as sandwiching them between cookies, and sometimes baking them in the oven or toasting them over a fire.
Maria, Kurumi, Yuki and Zest all seemed to be enjoying themselves; the sight of it elicited a smile from Basara as he went into thought, thinking of how he was witnessing just exactly how happy his family was—a family that included Demons, Heroes and even a member of the Ten Gods.
Basara knew deep down in his heart that he wanted to see such a scene forever.
No, that’s not it. He reconsidered the thought.
To want to see them like that forever would mean that they would go through no struggles; he would, of course, fight for it when need be.
Basara suddenly felt a warm, gentle sensation on the palm of his hand; Mio, who was sitting next to him, had piled her hand atop his.
He knew that she shared his feelings even without exchanging any words; it was likely that the others shared them as well, something that made him happy beyond measure.
And he would cherish this day, this moment as it lasted—if only because he knew that the day would come where he would need to fight again.
“Let’s go have fun.”
The two siblings exchange smiles let out from the bottom of their hearts.