Echoes of her scolding tone still rang in her ears. Slumping on the lounge room couch, Mahiru breathed a long sigh into the lonely air. Weekends were supposed to be relaxing, weren't they?
Mahiru felt her eyes close. Thanks to a certain pair of roommates, there never was a dull day even if it meant leaving her a little exasperated for some of it. A noise outside brought out slate blue, peering out the window to see flashes of red and black blink in the dormitory yard.
After reprimanding both Karen and Hikari on the state of their dorm room, she had sent them out to restore a sense of tidiness amidst the clutter of unfolded clothes and assortment of plush toys. A laborious task that consumed the better parts of the morning, leaving Mahiru drained for the day. A brief glance at the clock showed that it wasn't even noon.
A sigh left her lips. She had her enjoyments, but a chore was still a chore.
"I heard it all the way down the hall this morning," a voice behind her called, a familiar tone that made Mahiru relax further into the couch. "Good job managing the two rascals, Mahiru."
Deep magenta met her gaze, a soft smile crawling up at a sympathetic expression casted her way. "Thanks, Kuro-chan."
Puffs of laughter left her, a lightness in chest as the blonde leaned over the couch at her side. Slender arms draped over the lean adjacent to her seat, flawless skin taking in the noon light.
"You could've asked for help in cleaning up." Claudine dropped her chin against the top of the couch, watching out the window as exuberant sounds filtered through from outside. "Or perhaps, let the two of them clean up after themselves."
Mahiru smiled at the concern in her voice but waved it off with a reassuring shake of the head. "I'm used to it with my younger siblings back home, so it’s fine. Besides..."
She trailed off for a moment, and as if on cue, Karen's shouts resounded all the way in the building. "It would've resulted in an even bigger mess if I did."
"Quite skilled in handling the little scamps, from what you're saying?"
A nod, gaze breaking away to look back up at the ceiling. "Sort of, yeah!"
"Always the big sister," Claudine remarked, her voice still carrying small ounces of worry. Mahiru took notice of the shift in her tone, giving a silent gesture by leaning against her arm. Claudine felt her intentions, shelving quiet thoughts and letting the peaceful moment persist.
That was, until they heard another bout of yelling right outside. "Rather than watching siblings, it feels more like you're taking care of kids."
Mahiru laughed, opening her eyes to meet a gaze of magenta. "Don't be mean, Kuro-chan."
"I respect your struggling life as a single mother, Mahiru," the blonde teased, earning her an amused hum.
The noon air was warm, the pair basking in the lazy moment of the afternoon. Mahiru thought, perhaps, there was still a day for her to enjoy.
But before that, her mind took priority on Claudine's small remark, mulling it over during the following silence.
"Kids, huh?" She stayed quiet, the thought giving her an impossible imagination manifesting through a small smile. "I think as a mom, I'd rather have someone with me for a responsibility as big as kids."
"A spouse, you mean?"
Silently, Mahiru nodded. Her voice went void in her throat, subconscious thoughts beginning to form. That was, until an unexpected sound broke it.
Claudine laughed, a light voice that pulled at Mahiru out of her momentary spell. Anxiety dispelled before it spiraled, leaving her all but confused at the sudden outburst. "What's funny, Kuro-chan?"
"I'm surprised you'd be worried about something like that, Mahiru," Claudine said, leaning over to peer down at her. In response, Mahiru met her gaze, giving an inch closer along the couch.
"Wouldn't you?" Her question floated for a moment, unanswered as Claudine toiled it over in her head. Mahiru watched her bite her lip, a small action that consumed all her attention. She moved just a little closer, bumping her shoulder against the blonde's arm."Kuro-chan?"
"Ah, pardon. "
Claudine lifted her arms away from the backrest of the couch. Mahiru moved in without a second thought, a subconscious action neither stopped to question. In one smooth motion, Mahiru found herself directly below Claudine, the blonde's arms draping over her shoulders. Fingers laced over her stomach, the weight of her head nestled against smooth blue hair.
"If it were me, I'd certainly find it a challenge to ponder the possibility," Claudine answered, a thoughtful weight in every word, each syllable slow and purposeful. Mahiru waited, sighing in comfort at the warm weight on her shoulders. Soft breaths tickled her hair, leaving in quiet puffs between her lips.
Mahiru felt weight leave her head. She craned her neck up, meeting a half-lidded gaze. Below it, a smile as perfect as it was enigmatic, and from it confident words.
"You would make a perfect wife, Mahiru."
The room was quiet, even the noises outside didn't reach Mahiru's ears. Her mind took in nothing but Claudine's remark, her resolute tone, the way her lips spread into a smile when she did.
Her own quivered, throat dry as she squeezed out a small whine. Under an intense gaze of magenta, she found herself unable to look away from the deep hue.
Then, it was all over.
"If both Karen or Hikari are troubling you again, do let someone else help you out, ma chérie ." Claudine moved away, arms sliding away from her body, her view disappearing behind the backrest of the couch. Footsteps went quieter toward the kitchen, the blonde's voice growing quieter.
Alone, Mahiru clutched at the nearby cushion, pushing out pent up breath against the soft pillow. Her thoughts crashed together, leaving her a complete mess she was thankful no one could witness.
Her thoughts snapped back to Claudine's remark. The serious tone sent her mind one way, yet the quick dismissal sent it to another.
Pulled in different directions, she struggled to even keep herself upright on the couch, the cushion gripped tight in her hands.
"...What did she mean by that?"
The wall clock continued to tick, the frequency of the seconds paling in comparison to the thumping in her chest. A pathetic collection of sounds was muffled against the pillow, knees pressed closed toward her body.
As time ticked over to the afternoon, Mahiru doubted if weekends were supposed to be relaxing.