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An Auspicious Introduction

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Utsumi stopped a student who had just slung his gym bag over his shoulder. The sound of others reverberated in the open space, so she raised her voice just a little.

"I'm looking for Associate Professor Yukawa Manabu. I was told he's here. Would you point him out to me, please?"

The student resettled his bag, turned, and said, "Look, that's him, coming out."

Utsumi followed his gaze and saw a tall, thin man, not overly muscled but toned, hoist himself out of the swimming pool. He slicked his hair back, water dripping off his body to puddle on the concrete. Utsumi stared, then shook her head to snap herself out of it. She nodded at the student, who went on his way. She took a breath and approached.

She repeated what she'd said to the student, watching as he reached for a towel beside the pool, but trailed off before she could finish saying his name. He'd leaned into her personal space, narrowing his eyes at her, and she stepped back.

He said, "I'm Yukawa. Who are you?"

She hesitated. No wonder Kusanagi had called him strange. Yukawa turned away and started drying off his hair.