Most did not know how draining the use of magic was - and yet Koyomi was painfully aware of it.
She was the one who always saw how tired Haruto would be at the end of every fight, being the one who always welcomed him home. For some reason, he always put up a brave face around Rinko, Shunpei, even Kousuke - he would smile and laugh and act like everything was fine, like the fight was easy on him.
And yet the brave face would readily melt as soon as it was only Haruto and her.
Always she would put aside everything she was doing, just so she could ask, “Haruto? Are you all right?”
And always he would nod and even do a small salute and say, “Of course. Don’t worry, all right?”
But his eyes were tired and his movements a little careless, a little less fluid. The latest fight had been brutal, after all, and if it weren’t for his newest ring the Phantom might have won.
Using new rings meant consuming mana, and using his upgrades meant utilizing even more mana than usual. Sometimes she wondered how Haruto could keep up. Sometimes she wondered for how long he’d still be able to do it.
Koyomi loathed the feeling that she couldn’t help him. That what she could only do was assist him on the way to his bed, and ensure that he was comfortable. That she could only clasp her hands together and watch over him as he drifted into a fitful sleep.
It was already late, but she was awake - Koyomi never needed sleep, just like she didn’t need to eat. So she stood there, behind the counter, wiping her crystal ball and trying to see if there were any Phantoms in the area. Hoping there wouldn’t be, for quite some time. Haruto needed his rest, after all.
But then she heard a slight rustling behind her, and before she could even turn a pair of arms had engulfed her in an almost choking grip. And he was warm - so warm - and she sighed because she knew, even craved that warmth. She could feel his breath on her nape and she closed her eyes, then clutched on the hands surrounding her.
“Haruto,” she admonished gently, “you should be resting.”
“…I am,” he said, and she could almost feel his mouth on her skin. It ought to tickle, but it never did. “Just–" Let me hold you. "Just for a while.”
And she smiled because always, always, it felt good to be needed like this. “All right.” For as long as you need to.