Narcissus

by Tollpatsch


"Welcome to the basketball clubroom. These boys here…are our sissy regulars."

Silence.

Sensing her impending doom, Terumi tried to call out her hidden ability: Instant camouflage!

Alas, it remained hidden and a disappointment. Though she could still mentally and spiritually become one with the furniture in the room. There was always that possibility.

Genta coughed to get her attention back. "Now, get one of those sissies to explain the sorting process while I go get a coffee."

The door slid shut obnoxiously as that terrible man of a teacher abandoned her in enemy territory.

She vowed to fail her Japanese History exams on purpose to spite him.

Suddenly, a very energetic (sissy) student jumped up to his feet like his chair was on fire.

"We'(l)e not sissies!" he protested very loudly, based on the winces on everyone's faces.

"Don't yell, Hayakawa!" a stern looking guy reprimanded the loud complainer, who reminded her of her neighbour's excitable labra-doodle.

There was only one way to calm Pochi the labra-doodle.

Terumi held her hands up in an I-surrender position, cautiously walking sideways (without the grace of the crab, which had mastered the sideways walk) towards a potted plant she could mentally merge with. It was very green.

And healthy, by how…erect it was.

"What are you talking about, my dear fellow?" she carefully raised an eyebrow at him. "Of course, basketball is a wonderful sport," she paused as she reverse parked herself in the space between the plant and a large shelf. It was…a tight fit.

"Lots of running balls and…bouncing players." Her slightly muffled voice addressed them all.

She couldn't help it. She had verbal dyslexia at the most inappropriate of times.

According to her ikemen radar, she sensed Ryouta try to cover up a small smile by coughing.

"I mean…running players and bouncing balls—no, lots of balls and boys…I—this is just making the whole thing a lot worse, so I'll just stop talking now." Terumi couldn't bear to see their reaction to her officially making herself an embarrassment of herself, so she stared at the bottom corner of the shelf she was pressing herself against.

Quiet murmuring from the other side, and basketball jargon was thrown around as Terumi remained very, very quiet and crammed herself in the small space even further to diminish her presence. It was gathering dust. And something was shoved between the wall and the back of the shelf.

(The real reason why their attention was taken away was because of a really good play made by some basketball guy on the screen, and that called for analysing-time.)

Just like how basketball players were attracted to basketball like bees and honey, Terumi was attracted to suspicious looking objects that might be interesting.

It was gathering dust, that something shoved between the wall and the back of the shelf.

Closer. Almost there!

She squinted, trying to decipher what the buried treasure could be. Money? Gold? Secret photos? Love letters?

Her hand reached for the object, snagging a corner with her fingers and bringing it up to her face. She tried not to sneeze from the dust mites attacking her poor face.

"Oh my," her tone of voice caught the attention of everyone in the room again.

"Oh…wow. This is-gosh-so shocking. Beyond shocking. I can't believe it."

They tried to see what she was looking at, but fern leaves obscured it.

"I mean, I can believe it because I found this picture book here. Never mind."

A hand broke free of the foliage, and it was…!

…Horikita Mai! On a basketball court! Almost naked, save for those basketballs.

There was also, a cheeky note in the corner in black marker: Kaijou favourite. MWA!

"That girl isn't wea(l)ring any c(r)othes!"

"Mikazuki-san! You shouldn't flip through stuff like that!" Ryouta waved his hands around, trying to stop her from across the room.

Mikazuki Terumi was not a woman that could be stopped. Once she started, she would not just STOP. She would keep going, no matter the consequence.

"It's okay. I have an older brother," she announced, as if it could excuse her from everything.

She would roll with it.

"The limited edition of Horikita Mai's court shots…it's—this is…" the other handsome guy pointed at the magazine in her hands.

Positively scandalous.

As demonstrated by how the stern looking one flushed bright red and buried his face in his hands. He was strangely…not vocal.

Terumi grinned suggestively from her squished position between an indoor plant and a large shelf that housed sinful secrets. "I take everything back. You lot are very manly. True men."

"But, but that's not ours!" Moriyama objected.

Ryouta decided to add his two cents of deduction. "It must have been from the players that graduated already, definitely."

"I have neve(l) seen anything (r)ike this in my (r)ife!"

"…Seriously, Hayakawa?"

"Never, never in your…life?"

Their half-assed excuses fell on deaf ears as Terumi casually leafed through the picture book, wondering which the bare lady had: a Brazilian laser or waxing.


Two: Less space more talk

She had asked for the captain to explain to her the sorting process of the game recordings and books (minus certain picture books). However, the upperclassman introduced to her by the ever-helpful Kise-kun as Kasamatsu-senpai (Kise: This is our captain!) seemed to be very fascinated by the carpet, because he feebly re-allocated the duties to his blonde spokesman as he searched for microscopic bacteria in the weaving.

Another upperclassman, a Moriyama-senpai (Kise: But if it gets tough remembering everyone's names, it's okay just to call them 'senpai') volunteered enthusiastically but was brutally shot down by the captain.

'Kay then. So the stern Kasamatsu-senpai had a split personality. Terumi wasn't one to judge weird people.

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know which Turkish delight you'd get.

(…hate Turkish delights)

"To start off, maybe you should…un-cram yourself? That looks really uncomfortable."

Oh, you thoughtful, angel-faced man.

She shuffled out awkwardly, like a penguin. Ryouta politely smiled, pretending he didn't see her trip over nothing and nearly plant her face onto the floor.

"Now, we put these pile of tapes with the green label in alphabetical order. And those recent ones with white labels in order of schools."

"Okay." That workload…she didn't want even go through them. There were so many.

Simultaneously and totally coincidentally to signal impending frustration (that's just Terumi, because the sexy hair thing was a modelling habit—a natural bonus to the shining being that was Kise Ryouta), both people ran a hand through their hair.

However, she didn't emit any enticing pheromones like Ryouta. Nor did the hair goddess bless her hair to be straight and silky. Her boring brown hair curled up a little at the ends because of the stupid humidity. She also forgot to brush it this morning.

It must be the humidity.

Her hand got stuck at a tangled bit, and it took some effort to get it through.

This isn't FAIR.

She cast an odd look at Ryouta, feeling like she lost a battle.

.

.

.

Videos from last year until now: Rakuzan, Yousen, Shuutoku, Touou are in the top priority list and go…here.

She lined the DVDs with the red markings for 'most important consideration' in the neatest line ever seen in the history of lining up DVDs. Now, for the other schools in the area…

"Excuse me!" came a very loud whisper. It couldn't even be called a whisper, it stretched the limits of whispering and if Hayakawa-senpai was trying to whisper, wasn't he defeating the purpose of whispering in the first place?

Terumi shot him her stare of boredom. Screw vertical hierarchies, screw R-E-S-PECT! (She could hear Aretha Franklin belting out that English chorus if she had a continuous soundtrack to her train of thought)

Like, how cool would it be to have music in the background to my super exciting life to make it even more dramatic.

"What is the matter, senpai."

That Hayakawa dude pointed at her backside. Like, seriously directed his eyes to her wazoo.

That. Was. NOT. Cool.

"Why a(l)e you wea(l)ing a safety pin!" Hayakawa prattled.

Terumi bristled. That subject was still a raw wound!

Ryouta's stifled chuckling didn't help at all. Especially since his laughter sounded…really nice.

No, no, focus.

Turning around to face those heartless people with a face as pink as her undies, she directed her dirtiest glare at them, hissing out a reply.

"It's a new fashion fad. You see, I was going for the rough and tough look (the button fell off) and I ripped my skirt on the way to school because I was fighting evil (Takeuchi-sensei)."

She could see the world 'gullible' imprinted on Hayakawa's forehead. "F-fighting evil?"

Terumi looked meaningfully into the distance, as if recalling her deeds of heroism. "This safety pin was a token for my efforts by the elven folk (Kise Ryouta) that live in our lockers."

He really believed her: hook, line and sinker. Poor guy.

"(L)ea(r)(r)y? They (r)ive there?"

"Yes. The elves are the size of my middle finger. See?" She flipped him the bird.

(guilt rose up but she sealed it all up with self-satisfaction)

It was fully justified.

"…And you, that guy with the silky sparkling blonde hair that I'm not jealous of—STOP. LAUGHING."

.

Most of the conversation between the sissy players went over her head. There was too much basketball jargon for Terumi to understand.

"So we should have Kasamatsu dribble to clear the wing."

"Yeah, Moriyama. You and Kobori can set up a screen under the basket—"

"So I'll just shoot once you pass it to me?"

"Don't cut me off, Kise!"

"Hehe, sorry senpai! Forgive me?" Ryouta winked at his captain, edging closer.

Kasamatsu could feel his disgust rising. "That's gross! Get away from me!"

BAM.

"…that hurt, senpaaaai," he whined, nursing his shoulder dramatically. "My fans would cry if they saw me getting hit."

"Get. Used. To. It."

.

Coach was on a really long coffee break.

Ryouta had half the mind to organise a search and rescue team for the man, but Coach Takeuchi's coffee breaks were always really long, as he had observed in his first week in the club.

Their tactics discussion had ended, and dissipated into broken conversations between members.

Ryouta leaned back in his chair, exhaling. Actual practice was better than strategy meetings, because he didn't need to use the rusty parts of his brain, which corresponded to schoolwork.

He'd never be the brainy type. But that was okay with him, because he was good at all the things he was interested in.

Blowing at a lock of hair in his face, he relaxed.

"Maybe I should cut my hair off," he said to himself.

Moriyama offered his unnecessary input. "Good idea, Kise! Shave yourself bald so girls will avoid you and run into my arms!" He then proceeded to immerse himself into his own reality by hugging himself.

"Well, I wasn't thinking of going completely bald…summer is coming after all, and it's going to get really hot."

Ryouta noticed Kasamatsu reign in his temper, by the telltale twitch of his arm. Oh how he loved to poke fun at his captain.

"Senpai, do you think my fans will like my new hairstyle?"

"I don't care, go die!"

Ryouta grinned, knowing that it would rub Kasamatsu the wrong way and might punch him again. (The fact that he enjoyed it could mean that Ryouta had a slight masochistic streak that was yet to fully surface)

Dum. DUMDUMDUMDUM-landslide-

The sound of many books falling onto the ground was unexpected. Mikazuki slowly spun around to stare at him, her face horrified.

"Is there anything wrong, Mikazuki-san?"

"…Pardon my interruption and clumsiness, but I was just trying to control myself from crying once I imagined you bald."

She was a funny one. Ryouta reflexively had to check whether she was being serious, or sarcastic. And then either stop himself from laughing or feeling guilty for wanting to laugh at her.

Her permanent bed hair had become classic. Maybe if she had time to run a real brush through the brown shock of hair, she could look like everyone else. She had foam green eyes that were imitating a dead fish half the time, seeing how blank she was.

Mikazuki Terumi wasn't ugly. Just…perpetually scruffy. Yes, a little apathetic to her appearance at school, like she just rolled out of bed.

A little.

Also, a quirk of hers was that she was serious to the point of being an airhead. She had made a reputation for herself.

First day of school: she tripped over his desk and did this strange sliding thing, which messed up about six other desks. It looked like a mini tornado had ravaged the area. Then, there were the chemistry class shenanigans, which involved a really bad stench, Bunsen burners and failure to abide safety rules.

…And countless others to come, he predicted.

"So, Kise-kun please, do not cut your hair. I did a search on the Internet, and the majority vote was 'do not cut'. The net is very useful, especially Fuwa-fuwa, for all sorts of advice."

Just as he was about to reply, Moriyama perked up at the mention of—something that held his immense interest.

"Did you say…Fuwa-fuwa? Mikazuki, you consult the net too?"

"Yeah—I mean, sure I do senpai. I like visiting the friendship advice section, because I'm still not experienced enough for the love advice. It's an adult's world."

Ryouta: LOL.

It was hilarious, how she just admitted out loud, so easily what a normal person would do secretly. By the look on her face, she didn't expect what she was saying either.

It was like a live comedy act, but the comedian didn't know they were doing a comedy act.

"ME TOO! Don't you love Rabu Samurai's articles?"

"What you read them too! I'm so glad that other people are interested in this stuff, now I'm not the only person now!"

He stayed quiet, eyes flickering between both people as they raved about some Internet thing that was lost on him. Ryouta was a highly perceptive person. He could literally see both Moriyama and Mikazuki's (skewed) wavelengths meet in the middle.

For example, pressing fast forward to this part of the conversation really showed their common ground.

"I haven't called a girl's name in two months!"

"Me too, I haven't called a boy's name that wasn't my brother's until high school!"

"My soul sister!"

"The brother I wished I had, you are my soul brother. I used to be a one man wolf pack, but now we are a two man wolf pack!"

"AWOOOOO!"

"WOOO-WOOOOOO!"

See? Both seriously needed a fast tracked course in social interaction.

"…I was in an all girls primary school and an all girls middle school. And then my idiot brother told my mum I was getting seriously weird and socially stunted, so she made me go for Kaijou instead of some ladies only school. Like, who does that?"

Your brother, obviously. He would like to meet that guy someday, to see if Mikazuki was an example of a recessive gene resurfacing or whether it ran in the family.

…He was somehow getting a bit meaner. Must be the Kasamatsu influence.

"Ladies only sounds nice. A garden of flowering maidens!" Moriyama threw his hands up in a strange gesture of acceptance.

What Mikazuki said next caused another uncomfortable silence, even making the rest break out of their strategy talk/analysis to stare.

"Not all of them were maidens, senpai." Terumi scratched her head in thought. "If it were a garden, there would be a few flowers, lots of weeds and some wilted flowers past their used-by date—"

"Okay, Mikazuki-san!" Ryouta skilfully interrupted, trying to help. "Do you need any help sorting out the stuff here?"

She seemed to unknowing sidestep his emergency aid.

"I finished an hour ago. I just didn't know if I should leave or not."

Five pairs of eyes were trained on her.

Ryouta retreated. "Oh. Okay."

For the first time in his life, he didn't have anything to say.

.

"I'm back, everyone."

Sullen looks from everyone.

Terumi scowled. "Can I go now?"

Takeuchi Genta scowled back.

"No."

This was worse than detention.

.

.

.

1 NEW MESSAGE:

Ya-hello!

Riko-tan wants Terumin to tell Kaijou's basketball coach that Tora's darling daughter wants a practice game, because he's not answering the cute and wonderful Riko-tan's calls!

If you don't tell him, I'll Boston Crab you.

Teehee!


つづく


end notes

And Terumi finds herself a soul brother.

I laugh to myself as I type. It gets creepy, because I'm laughing at my own jokes. The other reason is because I listen to hilarious songs such as Valentine Kiss (Gintama seiyuu and Hyuuga/Aomine) and Renai Circulation (sung by our favourite Izaya).

Thank you for all your thoughts! I am looking forward to Terumi's failures and her interaction with Kise. I just need to keep creating situations where they'd meet and get to know each other better. Now, please enjoy!

Much Love,

Tollpatsch