Translated by Mojo of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
They had already passed Sagano’s villa. As they approached the foot of the mountain the number of villas increased and cars began to appear both in front of them and in the oncoming lane. There was also a traffic light coming up ahead. The station was still a few kilometres away and there were no houses around, it was only an intersection, but the car in front stopped and they were forced to come to a halt as well.
It was the first time they had stopped since they began driving.
Masazumi felt like he heard Yoshihisa’s voice inside his head, as if he were beside him and encouraging him. It was clear, and reassuring. Thinking for a split second that he might be nearby, Masazumi started, and unintentionally looked around him.
In the oncoming lane, also stopped at the traffic lights, there was a regular silver-grey car and his gaze became glued to it.
Was it… the Marquis’ car…?
It was hard to believe, but the coat of arms on the front of the radiator grill was unmistakably the Marquis’. The atmosphere was different to the usual black lacquered luxury car, but it blended in better with the countryside location. Masazumi felt his courage grow a little bit.
He thought he saw some hope of escape, and strength was returned to his body. The voice which had echoed in his head had not been coincidental. Yoshihisa would soon be by his side. Maybe, he was even riding in that car, Masazumi felt instinctively, and all his confusion dissipated.
As soon as the lady decelerated the car, he manually unlocked the door on the side facing the incoming traffic. Luckily, the male companion had sat in the front seat and not in the back with him, though if the man had sat in the back in the first place, Masazumi might have noticed that something was off and declined their offer after all.
Before the car had stopped completely he pulled on the handle and opened the door.
“Ah, hey! What the hell are you doing?! Fuck…” The man shouted with a startled voice, and clicked his tongue in annoyance, but he didn’t draw Masazumi’s attention away from getting out.
Their speed had decreased considerably, but it still took a lot of courage to get out of a moving car. At that moment, images of that time when Nashiba had trapped him in his room and he had to jump from balcony to balcony, flashed across his mind. His level of fear was about the same as then.
This time too, Yoshihisa would save him. As long as he could get out of the car.
‘Protect me please,’ he prayed, then opened the door with his shoulder and used all his body weight to throw himself out of the car. The fear of getting caught up in the wheels of the car, and the fear of hitting the asphalt, disappeared the moment he jumped.
He heard Yoshihisa yelling.
It was not a hallucination. The same voice he had heard in his head earlier, now hit his ears with clarity. He fell against the hard asphalt but his momentum rolled him across to the grass on the other side of the road.
From his upside down position, Masazumi was able to sense the person who dashed towards him and fell to his knees in front of him. Though his eyes were closed he knew it was Yoshihisa.
“Are you alright?!” Yoshihisa, who cared for him, worried about him, and who Masazumi couldn’t stand to be without. He had saved him again.
Ah, this was a bond that nobody could ever tear apart, was all he could think. Masazumi felt that this was some kind of fate, and slowly opened his eyelids to look at Yoshihisa whose face was right near his own.
“Masazumi.” His handsome, masculine front dropped and his expression was contorted.
A strong urge built up inside Masazumi, and he wrapped both arms around Yoshihisa deliriously. Yoshihisa, who seemed to have been hesitating over whether he should move him in case he had hit his head, responded immediately and hugged him with all his might.
Always rational and kind. Masazumi loved his mate so much it overwhelmed him, and he clung to Yoshihisa’s strong chest crying like a child. “I’m scared, I’m scared.”
“You’re okay now.” Yohihisa stroked Masazumi’s head with his large warm hand as he sobbed without embarrassment or worries about his appearance. He also rubbed Masazumi’s back and shoulders, which shook with his weepy breaths. He kissed the top of his head. Then he tilted his head up and pressed kisses all over his wet and swollen face.
“I knew right away that you were in that car. I don’t know why. It was a really strange sensation. Those kinds of miracles must happen to mates.”
“Sorry, I’m sorry.”
“About what? You don’t have anything to apologize for. It’s not your fault.”
It’s not your fault. Those words soothed Masazumi’s heart like a magic spell, loosening his strained nerves and freed him from thinking.
“Yoshihisa-sama.” As he felt like he was about to lose consciousness in Yoshihisa’s arms, someone approached them as if to survey the situation, and spoke in a familiar voice. It was his older classmate, Kase Masamichi.
When Masazumi realized that he had been there, and had seen Masazumi acting so disgracefully, he became embarrassed. That was the last thought he had before he fainted.
When he next woke up, he was lying on his own bed in the Count family villa.
After Masazumi changed clothes and went out onto the terrace, he saw Kodaka taking a walk along the flower beds. There wasn’t that much distance between them so Renji saw him straight away as well and smiled.
“How are you feeling?”
Masazumi responded and began walking down the stone stairs. He had jumped out of the car prepared to be injured, but he had only received some scrapes and bruises. It still hurt a little but he was able to get up and walk around, and when he saw himself in the mirror while changing, it hadn’t been severe enough to make him feel like looking away. He was thankful from the bottom of his heart that he had been this lucky.
“I almost slept through a whole day, didn’t I?”
Renji came up to the terrace and then as they began walking together to the gazebo, he told Masazumi about the events that had unfolded. It was the first time he had spoken to Renji since they met, but the atmosphere he gave off was so friendly that he was easy to get close to. There was no feeling that the conversation would be ruined if Masazumi didn’t maintain the interval between words. His kindness allowed Masazumi to be silent for a little while if wanted. It was relaxing to spend time together.
Since they were all kind like this, there probably wasn’t a reason for him to hide the fact that he was an omega around Takanori’s friends.
Timidly, he said, “… Do you know much about me?” to verify.
Renji gave him an earnest look and nodded, without trying to avoid the question, “You’ve had a terrible experience. We were all shocked when you were carried in here, especially your father. I think he blames himself a little bit, thinking he shouldn’t have let you go after all. That he should have opposed it and said it was unnecessary.”
“Do you know where my father is at the moment?”
“I think he’s out on an important errand with his wife.” Then Renji sucked in air sharply, and looked as if he were watching Masazumi’s reaction as he continued talking. “Mr. Toudou Yoshihisa is doing the same, I believe. Until about thirty minutes ago, he had been by your bedside the whole time.”
Huh? Masazumi opened his eyes wide.
“Yoshihisa-san was worried about you, but he had to go to his appointment at the house of the Prince. I think he intended to go with the Marquis and meet your parents there, but he was at their house so they drove him and the Marquis went by himself.”
“Oh, I see.” He wished he had woken up to see Yoshihisa’s face before he left. Hearing that they had just missed each other made the regret worse. It was unfortunate, but it was probably impossible to reschedule an appointment with the Prince, and it was enough just to know that Yoshihisa had kept watch over him as much as time allowed. His heart was full of gratitude, but he was also apologetic that his situation had forced Yoshihisa to stay here.
“Yoshihisa-san really loves you. I can tell just from watching, and we were all touched by it. It was a happy sight but your brother also let on that he was a little jealous.”
“My brother said that…?”
“Yep. Since he still hasn’t got a partner, or met his fated pair.”
“If it’s my brother, he could get any wonderful person he wanted, but I guess that the ‘meeting’ with your pair is the fated part… that’s what I’ve come to think.”
It was a little embarrassing to have this conversation with Renji, who seemed awkward and unaccustomed to love affairs, but all Masazumi could think about was Yoshihisa, and couldn’t bring himself to change the topic. While thinking that he was definitely being spoiled by Renji’s kindness, he continued talking bashfully.
“I know next to nothing about the world, and my pride is too big. I’m immature and can’t do anything by myself. All I know is that I’m glad I have him as my pair. It’s a constant reminder of how blessed I am.”
The members of that community had been envious, thinking he was treated too specially, and ostracised him. Though Masazumi felt he understood a little where they were coming from.
“I wanted companions, and went to that gathering lightly without understanding their situations. I was forced to understand my own naivety so I think it was educational. My father often says things like that, to be careful of the darkness of people’s hearts. He warned me properly, so it’s not his fault.”
“You seem very mature. I’m happy for you.” Renji gazed at Masazumi, impressed. “I wished I’d told you more clearly. I regret it a little”
“… What are you talking about?” Masazumi cocked his head.
A lovely cool breeze, characteristic of the highlands blew, ruffling Masazumi’s hair. As he held his hair down with one hand, and looked up at Renji who was a little taller than him, he caught a whiff of a scent he hadn’t noticed until now, almost like musk. Then he abruptly realized.
“You get it?” Renji batted his eyes, embarrassed at his shocked face. Since he had a large build and was quite muscular, the thought hadn’t even occurred to Masazumi.
“Renji-san is… like that, as well?”
“Yeah. You can’t tell, right? But I’m genuinely the same as you.”
“I hadn’t noticed,” said Masazumi, truthfully.
“Takanori-san knows as well. I think. That might be why he invited me this year, to meet with you, so that’s how I know he knows. Only it seemed like you were still hiding that you’re an omega so I wasn’t sure how to break the ice. You went to meet with Sagano’s community over something like that, so I really regretted not bringing it up.”
“Did you know that Sagano had a hidden side to him?”
“No, I didn’t know. I only ever played basketball and had no friends in the tennis club. But it seemed like Yoshihisa had heard some bad rumours about him.”
Yoshihisa had been a worker at the school for close to two years. During that time, he had probably come to know the bad attitudes of those who looked down on him for being in a lower class, and he would hear about a lot of those with bad personalities. He would overhear disturbing rumors because of students that thought they were alone, without accounting for his presence. If Masazumi asked him, he would probably tell him all about it.
“The one who told Yoshihisa I had gone out to a gathering, was it my father?”
“Since he’s your fiance, naturally I think he would tell him.”
So he had known what Sagano was really like, had a bad premonition and went to pick up Masazumi. Then they happened to run into each other there.
“It’s strange, but as I was gathering the courage to run away, I heard his voice in my head. Then when I looked around the Marquis car was across from me. Though there was no way that he could know I was riding in a blue car, for some reason, I knew that we were close together in those two cars… like some sort of instinct told me. Yoshihisa-san said the same thing.”
Masazumi had only said that out loud to express how odd it was, but Renji pulled a serious expression and nodded, “I guess that’s how fated pairs are.”
So Renji thought that as well.
“I’m jealous”, he narrowed his eyes and said softly.
“Um. Renji-san. … Would it be alright if we kept talking from now on?”
The comrade of the same gender he had searched for all this time, had actually been quite close to him. Masazumi felt grateful to his brother who had brought them together. So he asked Renji shyly.
Masazumi looked a little surprised that Renji had confirmed that they would be friends.
“Let’s get along well.”
He held out one of his big, reliable hands. Masazumi gripped it tightly and said, “I look forward to it,” bowing his head.