Wuxiaworld > To My Sunflower > 9 Tadaima

Hinata expelled a thankful sigh when he entered his home and meticulously paired his getas at the genken, so he was ready to jump into them the next day. His eyes caught the edge of a smaller set of shoes nearby. Of course, Aiyama-san and Miki-chan would still be around.

"Okaerinasai, Chikafuji-san." Aiyama-san greeted Hinata.

It took a while for him to register that someone else was welcoming him home.

"Tadaima." He awkwardly replied and gingerly stepped into the hallway to met her.

They stood staring at each other. Hinata took note of her soft dimple cheeks, pleasant thin smile, the warmth from her dark round eyes and the gentleness of her face made pretty by her simplistic bob with her fringe trimmed short on her forehead.

She had changed into a linen-green kormon kimono that made him frown with a though if she was married. Of course, she would have to be travelling with a child. It wasn't strange for women to be raising their children single-handedly whilst their men fought the war.

His frown deepened, resurfacing the fact that he wasn't considered man enough to go to war. One that lead to a lot of the old timers in the village crudely labelling him the okama when they thought he wasn't in ear-shot. It made him curious to know if this woman thought of him this way as well.

"Are you hungry? I made dinner with what I could find in the kitchen." Aiyama-san's was overly courteous.

Hinata relaxed his frown and faced her with a cordial smile. Now wasn't the time for testing societal impressions.

"That would be nice." He followed her into the main room and was about to fuss about the table, but she insisted he take a seat and wait.
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"Please don't be polite. Sit how you like, I'll bring everything to you." She reassured him and hurried off into the kitchen.

Hinata sat in seiza on a zabuton, feeling strange about the one being served. His heart skipped a beat when he heard a loud bang and thud from the kitchen; he instinctively rose to see what he needed to fix. She re-entered the room, with Miki-chan trailing behind her, carrying a tray of steaming bowls of vegetables and one small bowl of rice garnished with seasoning. It was a simple meal. Considering the strict 1793 calories per day government rationing, it was also one fit for a king.

He sat back down in crossed leg position, appreciating Aiyama-san's hard work. His mind fell into an awkward disarray when she began serving him the choice pieces like he usually did for Akira or Eiji. He was being treated as a man of the house. It was a first.

"Let's eat." He politely declared that stirred all of them into eating.

He noticed that Miki-chan's bowl wasn't as high as his.

"You need to eat your vegetables to grow health and strong." He said to the girl as he added to her shortfall. "Then you can be a big girl to help your mother."

The girl shyly nodded her thanks and tucked into her food with greedy mouthfuls. It was a pleasant sight in Hinata's eyes and made him sigh with longing, knowing that a child was something he could never have given Eiji.

"You're very lucky to have a precious daughter." He said wistfully.

"Oh, so you're not married." Aiyama-san carefully prodded.

Hinata ate a few mouthfuls of his dinner before he solemnly answered with a no. He was grateful when she changed the topic of their conversation to general affairs and questions about the area. He had decided to properly introduce her to Akira and his business the next day, hoping she would be a reliable resource for the store. She seemed happy with this idea.

The three of them cleaned up and spent a few more hours becoming more familiar with each other before they all turned in for the night.

Hinata spent some time thinking on what life would've been like if he wasn't in a relationship with Eiji, and was normal like all the other guys. Would he have found himself a nice wife like Aiyama-san and had a child or two? Would he be the Hinata he was today?

He probably would've been seen as a man fit for war despite his heart disorder. How much of a man would he end up being on the battle field?

Eiji never said about what he faced or did during battle, but he could tell that it had troubled his mind a lot. Sometimes Eiji had woken up shouting madly with fear before eventually realising where he was and returning to sleep. It was those times he was grateful for being a man with the strength to restrain Eiji from harming himself and being able to soothe him back to sleep.

"War is a troublesome thing." He exhaled into the night before closing his eyes and mind to his reality.