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Twin Love Panic

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Hazawa Residence

Morning light filtered through the thin curtains of the windows around Tsugumi’s bedroom. The covers over her felt strange, though Tsugumi couldn’t place why as she came to.

There was a stirring beside her, and Tsugumi’s eyes snapped open. She was naked. She always slept in pajamas. Sayo was naked as well, arms draped over her.

Her girlfriend, Tsugumi idly thought, feeling where skin touched upon skin. Unless last night had all been some bizarre fever dream—which Tsugumi refused to consider, given how she woke up—Sayo was hers now, same as Hina.

Hina. Tsugumi’s eyes shot to the floor of her bedroom, but nothing looked out of place from how things were usually arranged. Which was odd, since Tsugumi definitely remembered moving that table out of the way last night, to lay out the futon for Sayo and Hina. And also remembered Sayo falling asleep with Hina, not in her bed.

No futon, no small mountain of discarded clothing, no Hina. Tsugumi wasn’t awake enough to guess at what it all might mean, but a sense of dread was building. Not the terrible, heart-wrenching kind she’d known all too well, this past week. No, this was the old, familiar, Hina kind of dread.

It felt nice, in a peculiar way. To worry about whatever the hell Hina was doing, but letting Sayo snuggle up against her, breasts curving around Tsugumi’s arm. No matter where Hina might have snuck off to or what trouble she might be causing, Tsugumi knew they would still be—all three of them—together and happy at the end of it.

The feeling died after only moments, as the doorknob of Tsugumi’s room twisted from the outside, and Tsugumi belatedly realized that her parents must have come home at some point, late last night.

The door swung open, and Tsugumi was relieved to see Hina on the other side. She dropped the bags she had been carrying onto the floor, before taking a bit more care to lay out a pair of folded school uniforms on the table in the middle of Tsugumi’s room.

“Good morning, Onee-chan, Tsugu-chan,” Hina chirped, Sayo blinking sleepily as she woke to the sound of her sister’s voice, “Your mom said breakfast would be ready soon, Tsugu-chan, so you two need to get dressed and out of bed. Or, I guess, maybe reverse that order…”

Sayo’s eyes shot open, pushing against Tsugumi’s chest for support as she sat up, “Hina! We only have our clothes from last night! What time is it? We can’t possibly make it back home—”

Hina laughed, letting her sister take a better look at her surroundings, “Don’t worry so much, Onee-chan. I needed to drop off my telescope at home this morning anyway, so I grabbed a uniform from your closet. And our school bags, too.”

“Ah, that’s a relief, thanks Hina,” Sayo let out a breath, before looking down at where her hands had landed, “Wait, Tsugumi? Why am I in your bed? I thought we decided it was too small.”

As an afterthought, Sayo slid her hands off Tsugumi’s chest. The sudden skin on skin contact had helped wake her up more, but unfortunately Tsugumi had no better answer. Though, glancing over at Hina, she could make a confident guess as to who might have an idea.

“Well—you see,” Hina chafed under the gazes of both girls, “Onee-chan looked cold once I got up, okay? And Mei-chan said to make sure we put the futon and blankets away when we were done with them… so I figured it would be easiest to just move Onee-chan over and let her sleep with Tsugu-chan.”

The explanation quite nearly made sense. They had to get to school soon, and if Hina already needed to wake up early to make a trip back home, it wouldn’t have been too much extra work to clean up on her own, and let Tsugumi and Sayo sleep a bit longer. But one thing was tripping her up…

Mei-chan?” Tsugumi repeated, cautiously, “As in, um, Mom?”

“Ah, yeah,” Hina nodded back, “she said I could call her that too! She was really impressed by my telescope, even when it was just in its carrying case.”

Of all the ways Tsugumi’s mother might have come across Hina this morning, she had to admit it was far from the most disastrous. But without knowing exactly what Hina might have said, the sense of doom didn’t leave entirely. It made her nervous, thinking of Hina talking to her mother like that. Without Tsugumi there to stop her from saying anything she really shouldn’t.

Deciding it was best to find out sooner than later, Tsugumi untangled herself from the bedcovers and Sayo’s limbs, slightly hunched over as she walked to her dresser. Sayo and Hina had seen plenty of her last night, but in the early morning light, without any pretenses of the night, it was a lot more embarrassing to have her naked body on display. And it had already been embarrassing enough then.

“Here, Onee-chan, I brought yours too,” Hina said, carelessly tossing a set of bra and panties at her sister. Tsugumi finished putting on her own, grabbing the Haneoka uniform Hina must have found in her closet.

—Unless this was actually one of Hina’s spare uniforms, a stray thought of Tsugumi’s suggested. It shouldn’t matter either way, assuming they wore the same size, but putting on your girlfriend’s clothing after a night like that felt a lot different nonetheless. At least Tsugumi had picked out the underwear herself, from her own dresser, and wouldn’t have to spend the day wondering about that part.

With the three of them fully dressed once more, there were no excuses left. Even if Tsugumi had been so inclined as to try to sneak the twins out of her room without her parents knowing, Hina had already spoken to her mother this morning. No point in trying to hide them… just the more incriminating details.

She led Sayo and Hina from her bedroom, through the hallway, finding her father already seated at the kitchen table, coffee in hand, looking through something on his laptop.

“Oh, good morning Tsugumi,” her father said, looking up at the girls, “I see we have some guests for breakfast.”

“Honey!” he tilted his head toward the kitchen, “Looks like Sayo-chan really is here, didn’t I tell you? Now get out here and say hello!”

Huh? Her father was expecting Sayo? Tsugumi hadn’t even expected Sayo to be here, when she headed out for the train station yesterday. He didn’t seem to recognize Hina by anything other than Tsugumi’s own description of her president, but then that left the question of who possibly could have told him. And if he knew that much…

“Hmm?” a voice called back from the kitchen, before her mother’s head poked out from behind the divider wall, “Ah, good morning, Tsugumi, Hina-chan… Sayo-chan? Oh, wow, she is… I mean—it’s nice to properly meet you, Sayo-chan. I take it you had to reign in these two last night?”

Her mother too… Tsugumi was fairly certain her parents weren’t secretly Roselia fans. They might go to Tsugumi’s concerts on occasion, but she had no reason to believe that her parents would otherwise seek out the sort of music a teenage girl would listen to.

Did they recognize her from the café? That sounded slightly more plausible, even if Sayo was only an occasional customer. Her parents tended to pay a bit more attention to anyone they thought might be one of her friends… but their attitude was all off. They couldn’t possibly know, could they?

How could they? Even Tsugumi hadn’t known she was dating Sayo, not when she had last talked to her parents about going stargazing.

Sayo knew, though. And so had Hina. Hina, who had spoken to her mother without her, on multiple occasions, apparently. But Hina had to know not to mention that sort of thing. Right? Ignoring that Tsugumi had already worried if Hina had done exactly that, even before she had seen how weird her parents were acting…

“I only found out last night, okay?” Tsugumi said, defensively, “I promise I wasn’t trying to hide anything. I just—I just—it was hard enough when I only needed to tell you about Hina-senpai!”

Behind her, Tsugumi’s girlfriends stared at her. In front of her, her parents stared with them. Perhaps that outburst seemed a bit unprompted, but they had to know. Right?

Her parents shared a look Tsugumi couldn’t quite place, before her father decided to speak up.

“Tsugumi, dear,” he said, trying to maintain an even tone as he looked between Sayo and Hina, “is there something we should know?”

Tsugumi considered curling up and dying. It would be a lot simpler. Of all the ways to tell her parents she had more than one girlfriend, accidentally didn’t strike her as the ideal approach. But she was cornered now, and running away would only abandon her girlfriends to who knows what fate.

“But—I mean—” Tsugumi stuttered, “You had to have known! Why would you be paying such special attention to Sayo unless you already knew we were dating too?”

The way her father’s eyes widened as she finished her sentence gave perhaps another hint that, no, her parents hadn’t known. Her mother burst out laughing, forced to lean onto the kitchen counter for support. Her father kept a straight face for a moment longer, before joining her.

Yes, it wasn’t too late to curl up and die. Or at least run away. Sayo and Hina were closer to the door than her, she could grab them as she escaped.

“Wait a minute,” Tsugumi’s mother said, recovering before her husband, “If Tsugumi is dating both of them… and they all spent the night last night…”

Her mother was putting things together. Not that it was particularly difficult, when Tsugumi had taken the time to all but spell it out for them. She couldn’t meet her mothers eyes… but she wasn’t looking at Tsugumi.

“What, no!” her father said, more shouted before he caught himself, “That—that—”

“Yes!” her mother said, with a bit more enthusiasm than Tsugumi entirely appreciated, given the subject at hand, “Tsugumi and Hina-chan didn’t lie about Sayo-chan coming along to steal away some time alone. Sayo-chan came along because they wanted to have some time alone—all three of them!”

Her mother started cackling again, more triumphantly than before. Tsugumi’s eyes darted back and forth between her mother and father, trying to make sense of the exchange. Based on the looks she was getting from her girlfriends, they were just as lost as she was.

“Possibly…” Tsugumi’s father frowned, but then shook his head, “irrelevant, though. Sayo-chan did go with them, and unless Hina-chan only brought her telescope along to appear particularly convincing, they really did go stargazing. Just admit it.”

“‘Admit’ nothing!” Tsugumi’s mother shot back, “Don’t be naive—as if they really spent all night stargazing while we were out. I recall a certain Hikawa sister warning us away from our daughter’s super messy room this morning—because we both know how much of a mess Tsugumi’s room usually is…”

Tsugumi slowly backed away from the table, as her mother approached her father, more worked up than she could ever recall seeing her before. She hadn’t exactly expected her parents finding out to go well, but it was quite another thing to see their argument actually play out like this. Even if she couldn’t quite place what they were arguing about…

And, really, Hina? That was all but admitting what they did last night. Though, she had never held Hina to be a particularly skilled liar.

“It’s not naive,” Tsugumi’s father said, sipping his coffee with a flat expression, “it’s the truth. Sayo was there, and anything beyond that doesn’t matter. You lost, end of story. Maybe next time you’ll choose your terms more carefully…”

Tsugumi’s mother wore an expression that screamed “this isn’t over yet”, but then let out a sigh of defeat. Behind her, she could hear Sayo and Hina letting out breaths of their own.

“Wait,” Tsugumi said, breaking out of her stupor, “you two made a bet on me? That I, what—?”

“Tsugumi, dear,” her mother said, in a soft but firm tone she usually reserved for talks of sex, drugs, and rock & roll, “let’s be honest for a minute. If your daughter’s new girlfriend tells you about her plans to go out ‘stargazing’ together, would you believe her in the slightest if she assured you that her sister was ‘definitely coming along too’?”

Tsugumi had to concede the point there. When framed like that, Sayo coming along sounded a lot more like a cover than something that would ever actually happen. Tsugumi had certainly been surprised herself to see Sayo at the train station.

“But that’s just it, isn’t it,” her father cut in, “they really did go stargazing, all three of them. And if you listened to our daughter, she, um, hadn’t… figured out? She didn’t think she was dating Sayo-chan at the time, but agreed anyway. Hard to be planning an illicit getaway with your girlfriend if you’re expecting her sister to be there the whole time. Stop trying to make everything fit your theories, and just accept you don’t understand Tsugumi quite as well as I do.”

Tsugumi couldn’t believe it. She had been terrified, confused, wondering if her life was falling apart completely. And this was what her parents had been arguing about? Some stupid bet!

…Though, if she had already admitted to this much, she might as well make one last, minor correction.

“Um, Dad,” Tsugumi began, “I’m really glad you believed in me, and all that… but I didn’t actually know Sayo would be coming along. I, um—I sort of thought it would just be Hina-senpai and I going up alone…”

Her father’s victorious grin faltered, and his eyes darted back to his wife.

“Ha! You hear that?” Tsugumi’s mother shouted with glee, snatching a set of keys from off the kitchen counter, “I may have lost the bet—on a technicality, to be clear—but never claim that I don’t know our daughter. Now, if you all will excuse me, it looks like I’m stuck opening the café today after all. Enjoy your breakfast, girls.”

And with that, Tsugumi let her mother push past her, headed for the front door. For a moment, no one knew quite what to do next.

“—Well,” Sayo coughed once, “it was nice meeting you, Hazawa-san. But, uh, I have Student Council activities that I really should be getting to.”

Tsugumi quickly nodded along, “Um, yeah, us too—”

Placing a hand over Hina’s mouth to stifle a confused “wait, really?”, Tsugumi led her girlfriends to the entryway, trailing behind her mother’s footsteps. It was a shame to leave the breakfast her mother had cooked behind, but nothing in the world could convince Tsugumi to stay in that room a minute longer than she had to.

This morning had been a disaster, no doubt, but a disaster that Tsugumi felt she could deal with. At least, with Sayo and Hina helping her along.


Haneoka Girls’ Academy

Sayo went her separate ways from Tsugumi and Hina, as the girls all headed off to school. If a bit early, for a Monday.

This past day had been a fittingly wild end to a crazy past week. And even now, Tsugumi couldn’t claim her life was entirely back to normal. But she felt she was finally on the other end of things, and much happier for it.

“Tsugu! Hina-senpai!” a voice called out to her, “over here!”

Tomoe waved at them, standing next to her sister and Moca. Tsugumi had never gotten the chance to discuss with Sayo and Hina exactly who should know about their… relationship. Either those who had already been told, or were alright for Tsugumi to tell. She also wasn’t sure herself, how much she wanted to tell.

She couldn’t leave her friends completely in the dark, though. Still worried about what Sayo might do to her. Tsugumi had to tell them something. And Hina was there, to stop her from saying anything she shouldn’t. Theoretically, at least. In practice, she couldn’t imagine Hina really giving any of this too much thought.

“Oh ho,” Moca laughed, as the girls joined into a small circle, “showing up together with Hina-senpai, eh Tsugu? We really won’t be able to stop the rumors from spreading, at this point. But I have to imagine that means the night went… well for you.”

Tsugumi blushed, certain Moca didn’t realize quite how well the night had gone—even putting aside everything with Sayo. Which was fair, since Tsugumi hadn’t expected the night to end like that either, not until everything was actually happening.

“Yeah,” Ako piped up, “Sayo-san is always a bit hard to read, but it was clear she was pretty excited about it! What happened?”

“Eh?” Tsugumi said, forgetting for a moment that Sayo might have mentioned their plans to other people, at some point.

“Eh?” Tomoe echoed, staring at her sister, “What do you mean, Ako? What’s Sayo-san got to do with any of this? …She wasn’t planning anything, was she?”

“Tomoe-chan, wait!” Tsugumi said, not quite sure what she should share, but knowing she had to defend Sayo somehow—if only to make up for accidentally getting Tomoe mad at her, “It’s—um, it’s hard to explain…”

“Don’t worry, Tsugu, Moca-chan’s got this,” Moca flashed Tsugumi a thumbs up, and far too smug a grin, “You see, Tomo-chin, our little Tsugu here never realized she was supposed to be dating Sayo-san too—not until last night, that is. Hina here, before she first confessed, apparently came to some arrangement with her sister… what do the French call it again…?”

“—What? Really, Tsugu-chin? You didn’t know?” Ako said, “But she kissed you, didn’t she? Lisa-nee was absolutely sure of it, no matter how much Sayo-san tried to deny it…”

Tsugumi took a small step towards Hina. If her friends already knew this much, it was pointless trying to pretend otherwise. But it was embarrassing… both explaining her mistake about Sayo, and enduring who knew how many jokes Moca was going to make about sleeping with twins. Not that Tsugumi was going to give her any hint that things had already gone that far. Not for at least… a decade. A decade sounded good.

Though, if Moca had found out what happened last night at the park so quickly, Tsugumi didn’t have much hope for keeping the rest of the night a secret, even through the end of the week.

“Oh,” Tomoe said, letting Moca’s words fully sink in, “...oh, Tsugu. Wait, then Sayo—!”

“Moca-chan!” Tsugumi finally shouted, cutting off any questions she absolutely did not want to answer in front of the school like this, “Did you have to say it like that? Have a bit more tact! How the hell did you find that out anyway?”

As soon as the words left Tsugumi’s lips, it struck her just how truly odd it was. Tsugumi herself hadn’t known at all until last night, and Hina was standing right next to her. Unless Sayo decided to shout it from the rooftops as soon as she got to Hanasakigawa this morning, and it had already spread over here by texts, where could Moca possibly have learned it from?

“Ah, Tsugu,” Moca lamented, “Rumors move in mysterious ways, you know. Who can say, really?”

Tsugumi shook her head. It was useless trying to get anything out of Moca. Regardless, she was right. Rumors spread quickly, and pinning down their source was largely an exercise in futility. Word had gotten out, one way or another, and maybe that’s the most Tsugumi would ever know.

“—Ah! Really, Kaoru-senpai? Both of them, together?” Tsugumi caught a voice from down the hall. Himari?

“Indeed, Himari-chan, it’s truly a tumultuous tale, though that is but the start of things…” Kaoru waxed on, before she noticed Tsugumi staring at her, and stiffened, “—But alas, sweet kitten, the rest must wait for a more opportune moment. I bid thee well! Alarum! Exeunt!

Kaoru shouted her goodbyes to Himari over one shoulder, taking off in what was not quite a sprint. Tsugumi could do nothing but oblige, giving chase after her.

“Seta-senpai, if you don’t get your Shakespearean ass back here this second,” Tsugumi yelled, “I don’t even know what I’m going to do to you!”

As Hina followed up behind her—confused but eager to help—Tsugumi couldn’t seem to fight back a smile. Maybe her life would never quite get back to normal, but she didn’t mind the chaos.