Half a step ahead of her on the sidewalk, Nagata’s shoulders slumped. If they’d been in ALO instead of a city street, Suguha knew she would have seen Recon’s pointed ears droop. “Are you going to follow me all the way home?”
“Yes!” Suguha skipped a step to match him stride for stride, dark eyes glaring. “You say magic’s real. You say there really is a Lady Stheno, she’s not just an NPC, my brother’s telling the truth about everything and he’s turning into a youkai? You wiggled out of details last night, but you know my mom’s going to come looking for you for more answers after she can’t get good ones from the doctors. And you think I’m going to let you out of my sight?”
Glasses flinched away from her gaze, as her classmate reddened. “That… c-could get awkward….”
Suguha felt a hot blush rush over her face, and swallowed hard. “Well – I mean it!” Oh boy, this is such a bad idea… but it’s for oniichan, and I said I would, so there! “So we’re going to go get whatever you need from your parents’ house to show my family, and I’m going to be right there, so you might as well let me help you carry it-”
“They’re… not my parents.”
Eep. “You’re adopted?” Suguha blurted out. Like oniichan. But Kazuto never looks so sad.
“Not really.” He shrugged, brown hair falling into his glasses to hide his eyes. “Back where I come from, you’re an adult when you’re thirteen. I’ve been taking care of myself for years.” Another shrug. “We knew before we came here that I couldn’t look like I was on my own. So the Nagatas offered to show up as my ‘parents’.” His fingers sketched the air quotes; he blinked at them, and chuckled, just a little rueful. “Better be careful doing that when I go back. Somebody will think I’m spellcasting, and that could just get messy.”