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Unnecessary Worry

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Even Rika had to cringe as she saw Satoko's domineering figure over her, arms crossed and eyes glaring. She almost fell back, but soon finished taking off her shoes and stood up. Satoko could get angry, that was certain, but such obvious rage had never been directed toward Rika before. Rika entered their home, unsure how to react. "What is it?" she asked.

"What is it? Where have you been? I expect you home at a certain time, and you're late! I was so worried."

"I'm sorry. I got caught up with some work with Hanyuu," Rika explained. She really should have told Satoko that she was going to be late, but she hadn't known that it was going to take so long, and besides, then Satoko may have wanted to come along with them, or even asked what they were doing, leading to an awkward conversation.

"You've never worried me so much, not ever, even since we lived together. What kind of conclusion was I supposed to draw from such carelessness?"

"I'm sorry," Rika repeated calmly, feeling a little guilty. Maybe Satoko was just angry at being left out of the loop, but perhaps something like this could have stirred up something in Satoko's subconscious about what had happened in previous Hinamizawas before this one.

"It doesn't work as simply as an apology Rika. Honestly, I thought you were more mature than this. I thought you were..." Satoko stopped herself.

"Maybe you thought I'd left you, like Satoshi?" Rika asked. It could even be a misfortune from the current world.

"No!" Satoko exclaimed. "There's no need to address that topic."

"Satoko..." Rika began, reaching out to embrace her.

"Never mind. Just leave me alone, Rika."

"I won't," Rika said firmly, now hugging Satoko from behind, firmly with her eyes closed. "You'll never wait for me for years, Satoko. If I ever disappear, I promise you'll hardly have to wait anytime at all."

"Rika... We're not children anymore, for goodness sake," Satoko said, chastising her, although now sounding a bit amused. "How can you promise something like that?"

Rika smiled assuringly, knowing that unlike most people, for her it could be a promise. After all, even if something outside her control happened, Satoko along with the rest of the citizens of Hinamizawa weren't likely to survive long without her.

"But, I do feel lucky to have someone so devoted to me," Satoko said, turning her head to face Rika's. "Someone who would never leave if she could help it..." Satoko said happily. "Which is why you have to tell me if you're not going to be around. Dinner got cold and everything," she muttered, moving her face away from Rika right before they touched.

Rika smiled calmly, gently placing a hand on the side of Satoko's face. "I understand," Rika said, all qualms forgotten as she pulled Satoko closer until they kissed.