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"There's no way she'll take over my body when I feel so great!" Izumiko sing-songed as she twirled a little, losing her footing and ending up on the deck.

“Suzuhara!” Miyuki yelped, surprised at her sudden fall.

Why hadn’t they been paying attention to how oddly she had been acting before now?

A minor panic surged through him, but he tamped it down quickly as Mayura fretted over Izumiko, checking her for signs of injury from the fall.

“Is she all right?” Mr. Souda asked, stepping over to them cautiously.

“She’s fine,” Mayura sighed. “She just slipped. I don’t see any bruises.”

“What were you thinking, letting her near that spiked punch?!” Miyuki cried, staring hard at Manatsu, who winced.

“I didn’t think she’d stand here and eat all of it!” he defended, arms up in a half-shrug.

“Well you thought wrong, didn’t you?” Miyuki groaned, flinching as Mayura slapped his hand.

“Help me with her, Sagara,” she requested as he looked over to find her trying to lift Izumiko from the deck.

“Here, I’ll get her,” he sighed, squatting down to lift Izumiko more easily than Mayura.

She was surprisingly light for basically being dead weight, but he wasn’t going to complain.

Mayura shooed her father back to his guests, insisting that they continue the party and that Izumiko just needed rest.

Miyuki followed her into the house, pausing mid-step when Izumiko shifted and mumbled something in her daze.

“Go back to sleep, Izumiko,” Mayura whispered, smiling gently, and Miyuki wondered if she had understood the babbling.

“Did you hear what she said?” he asked as they made their way to the stairs.

Mayura just waved a hand dismissively as she asked, “Will you be able to carry her up to my room?”

He paused and shifted Izumiko a little, then nodded.

“I’ve got her.”

Mayura nodded, taking the steps two at a time as Miyuki followed slowly, careful not to jostle Izumiko too much.

When they reached Mayura’s room, she bustled about quickly, putting together a spot on the floor for Izumiko.

Miyuki briefly wished that this had been set up before the party, but he leaned against Mayura’s bed at her insistence, shifting Izumiko yet again to relieve the pain in his arms.

“Here,” Mayura said eventually, gesturing to the bed on the floor, and Miyuki set Izumiko down as gently as he dared, hoping she stayed asleep.

“She should be okay after a good night’s rest,” Mayura said fondly, settling the blankets over Izumiko carefully as Miyuki leaned against the doorframe.

“I hope so,” he sighed, relaxing a little now that Izumiko was fully asleep.

“Let’s go back to the party for a little while,” Mayura suggested, smiling as she preceded him out the door.

Miyuki glanced back at Izumiko and Mayura tugged at his wrist.

“She’ll be fine,” she assured him, smiling slightly.

“Yeah, you’re right,” he sighed, following her and pulling the door closed behind them.

They returned to the barbeque for a little while, though Mayura nudged him any time he glanced toward her bedroom window.

Manatsu gave him a funny look a couple of times, but no one else paid them much attention for the remainder of the party.

When the guests had gone and Mr. and Mrs. Souda had insisted they head to bed, Manatsu lead the way up the stairs, yawning as he said good night to Mayura.

Miyuki paused for a moment outside her door, and Mayura smiled good-naturedly as she opened the door enough for him to be sure that Izumiko was still sound asleep.

“Thanks,” he said quietly, nodding as Mayura headed into her room, an annoying smile on her face that he tried to ignore as he found his way back to Manatsu’s room and got ready for bed.

“I really am sorry,” Manatsu offered as he crawled into bed, glancing down at him.

Miyuki sighed. “It wasn’t your fault. I should have paid more attention to what she was doing all night.”

“We all should have,” Manatsu replied, raising an eyebrow. “She’s your partner, sure, but we’re all friends. We should all be watching out for each other. Don’t beat yourself up.”

Miyuki sighed again, settling further into his pillow.

“Good night, Manatsu.”

Manatsu yawned and then silence fell around them, broken only by Manatsu’s snoring.

Miyuki stared at the ceiling for a while, too absorbed in thoughts to sleep.

Certainly Izumiko wasn’t solely his responsibility, especially when they were someone else’s guests.

But it certainly seemed like if he was going to protect her, he needed to pay better attention to what she was doing.

It was all so frustrating, he decided before finally falling asleep.