Narcissus

by Tollpatsch


Warning: Some serious plot business.


Today, Terumi woke up to the sound of gentle rain pattering against the window. For the first time in a year, she had slept early last night. It was as if her body remembered the regulated pattern she had followed before, and she was up before the sun rose.

She pulled aside her pastel pink curtains printed with ballet shoes too peer outside at the drab, dark world. It was 5.07am. Terrifying. What has the world come to, when she actually woke up before the sun?

The bitter end, probably.

Banishing her fantasies about a zombie apocalypse, she swiped her phone off her desk and hopped back into bed since bed was her only constant support in life. Bed was also probably her best friend.

1 NEW MESSAGE.

If it's Riko, I'm going to ignore it. Her non-stop 'I'm worried about you but I'm not going to ask you directly but instead pester you about random things' texts would have been left on read if she didn't know where Terumi lived and slept.

Surprisingly, it wasn't. Terumi skimmed over the long message. Then again. And a third time.

"Congratulations," she murmured to herself as she typed back a reply, lying down comfortably on her side. "You've worked for it. You all deserve it."

Maybe if things were different, it could have been me. Terumi patted her right knee. Your fault, bad boy.

Her eyes trailed over to the other side of her room, to the dusty trophies sitting on her shelf. She should polish them soon. Maybe now? Her mother would be so grumpy if she was woken up. Maybe not.

Later, then. It wasn't really that important. What was more important now, in the present, were the yellow dahlias she had been carefully raising in the garden patch near the principal's office. She could clip some for morning class duties. Cheery yellow dahlias would be nice. The white primrose and the little violets were flowering as well. She would have to check.

Her darling dahlia was waiting for her! She must surmount her greatest foe: getting out of bed in the morning.

Terumi lay back down. Five more minutes.

Five minutes became ten and ten became twenty and twenty become – GET UP NOW, YOU SLOTH.

Terumi rolled out of bed, tiptoed to the bathroom and now she stood in front of her dressing table mirror. She stared at the girl. Her (boring) dark brown hair had the growth rate of weeds on fertiliser. Once cut even shorter than Riko's, it now fell limply past her shoulders. She really needed a haircut. She looked like a mess; maybe that was why Riko's spectre was hovering behind her like a worried parent all the time.

Glancing at the time, she sighed. She could afford to have a slow morning. Naturally, her hands moved to her first drawer. Bobby pins, hair elastic, hairspray. All check. The hairnet wasn't needed for school, so she ignored it like she did with basically everything in her life.

Since it wasn't long enough for a proper bun, she decided to go for the fun, braided version. The tiny little bun peeking out from the crown of her head was kind of cute, like the baby snail she found last week chilling under the hydrangeas.

It felt nostalgic.

Slipping her drab, grey, uniform on, Terumi shut the door carelessly behind her. It rattled the frame, and the worn pointe shoes hanging on her cupboard swayed a little.


(She went a little overboard with her dahlia picking. As an apology for scaring her poor classmate with her worm friends the other week, she slipped the extra yellow blooms into Kise Ryouta's indoor shoe locker.)

Unbeknownst to her, it was a pleasant surprise for him. He liked them so much; he took them home. It was not so pleasant when his sister thought they were for her, and took them off his hands.


Five: just roll with it

She was a woman on a mission.

"I need the homework," she intoned quietly, slowly edging her way forward. She needed to be cautious in her approach. The target maintained his distance of about five steps, frozen in his frantic internal deliberation between the basic instinct of fight or flight. If he ran away, she wouldn't be able to follow.

She only ran fast if Riko was chasing her, after all that she-demon had sharp claws.

He smiled, a perfect replication of his cover on the March issue of Zunon Boy. "Following people to the toilet is bad, Mikazuki."

Terumi glanced at the male toilet sign behind him, undeterred. There were greater evils waiting for her if she didn't hand in all of the class's homework than standing outside the male toilets and being labelled as an obsessive stalker.

Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath before unleashing the beastly truth. "This teacher, will hang my rotting, beheaded corpse on a rack if there's even one missing. Don't you know that Maths she-demon was never the same after her divorce? She lives on the misery of calculus and laughs in the face of suffering!" She raised a clenched fist dramatically as a beautiful touch to her monologue.

Ryouta stared at her with lost eyes, once again speechless in her glorious presence. He wasn't really, probably just confused at her wondrous sense of humour.

Her left hand waved his stapled handout in the air with its blank answers sheet like a white flag of surrender.

"I will not lose! Everyone before me perished in Wednesday afternoon detention…but I can not, not under any circumstance, miss the Wednesday reruns of The Love Doctor. This week, we're finding out if the Doctor is Fumi's father and it will be an emotional explosion of betrayal and the inevitable truth that he could not keep it in his pants—"

"Okay!" He coughed in interjection. A few strides, and the abominable teenager stood in front of her. "I have a great idea!"

"No." Terumi knew where this was going.

"Aw, you haven't heard the whole thing? How about—"

"No," she said again.

He pouted.

How dare he. That manipulative, law-breaking abomination.

She gritted her teeth, sneering. "Don't give me that look."

"Come on. Help a classmate out?"

"I'm not helping you, no matter how artistically proportioned your face is."

He took a step forward, suddenly confidant.

She moved back a step, her eyes darting to the worn floor.

That abomination's chuckling made her look up into his law-breaking face. "Didn't you say you needed the handout? I've given it to you, so all you need to do is lend me yours to copy. Don't worry, I'll give you something in return."

"Are you sure you won't regret it? What if my maths grades are bad?"

He raised his eyebrows in shock, as if that possibility didn't occur to him at all. "Oh yeah. You did fail history last time—"

"That was one time!" Terumi was caught up in binge-watching a soap opera with twelve seasons, and completely forgot about that stupid quiz-test.

Ryouta stared at her, trying to evaluate her intelligence. "Maybe not."

"My overall rank is thirtieth in the school, you know. I'm not as dumb as you—" she paused, before tactfully adding another word to change the meaning of her sentence—"erm…think."

He didn't miss her mistake, that observant cutie. Terumi coughed the break the awkward silence. "Anyway."

"…Anyway, Mikazuki. How about my photobook for your help?"

She couldn't help it.

"As a service, I'll sign it for you," Ryouta added. The self-absorbed cutie bean.

She couldn't stop it even if she tried.

Terumi laughed, that sort of sound that came from her belly. For once, it wasn't evil cackling or sarcastic barks.

Mirthfully, she waved his empty handout in the air. "For being funny, I'll cover you."

And with a quick pivot, she trotted away from the male toilets, leaving him confused and unknowingly, a tad annoyed.

"That wasn't a joke though?" He scratched the back of his head, a little confused. Ryouta stayed rooted to his spot in front of the toilets.

Wait, what was I going to do before this again?


Today 12.13pm

CM

Comrade Moriyama

Comrade Mikazuki,

The team has breezed though the Interhigh preliminaries!

(((o(*°▽°*)o)))

VICTORY ヽ(o^▽^o)ノ

Congrats senpai

╰(▔∀▔)╯


Kise Ryouta's motto was 'Be honest with yourself' and he was trying. Honestly. Pun completely intended.

Be honest with yourself. Fine. He may have been a little forgetful today. And even though was a bit of an idiot…that only applied to studying! Since it was boring! If he tried he could top the year—yeah, no, not really. But he would be a star student just like how he was a star basketball player. Indeed.

The chant Moriyama-senpai was singing this afternoon at practice played in his mind, over and over again.

When bad things happen to you, just roll with it.

When you forget things, just roll with it.

Just roll with it, idiot.

Put a lid on it and just roll with it.

Coconut rolls. Healthy vegan alternative. Just roll with it.

"ARHG! Why!" he whined to himself as he stood in the empty changeroom, dripping wet except for the one clean towel that he left behind in his locker the last week. Now it was wrapped around his waist since he didn't really feel like prancing around the changeroom stark naked after practice.

He left his change of clothes in the classroom. Again.

But this time, his phone was in that bag as well. It was a dilemma. Should he put on his sweat-soaked sports clothes even though he just showered? Today's practice was rough, so no. No thanks.

And everyone finished showering in two seconds or just went home dirty, so he was alone. This was a dilemma.

Ryouta decides to take a little risk, and moves the blinds to the tiny window to peek out. Maybe they're still outside? Maybe?

The only person he spots is a girl in a daggy floral tracksuit. Or it could be a guy – judging by build from the bank, he guesses that it's a girl. A wheelbarrow piled with dirt is next to her, and she seems to be deeply engaged with playing around in the flowerbed.

She turns around to pick up a small shovel—wait that's Mikazuki. That awkward classmate? Casual acquaintance? Not a friend, because she likes worms and they're disgusting.

He debated calling out to her to tell her that her floral tracksuit needs to go in the bin. It was a no from him. Well, she didn't seem to be a crazy stalker. It wouldn't hurt to make her his gofer for this afternoon.

"Hey…Mikazuki!" he whisper-yelled. "Pppssssssttt! Mikazuki!"

No reaction.

"Mikazuki-san! Mikazuki Terumi-sama!" He remembered Moriyama senpai again. "Comrade Mikazuki!"

Once again, no reaction. Okay, time to test things.

"Oii! Ugly!" He called out immaturely, wanting to get back at her for ignoring him. Ha! The way that she paused proved to him that she could hear him. A breeze blow in from the slightly opened window and he shivered slightly. Playtime was over.

He tried again. "Heyy, beautiful girl over there—"

"Yes?" She turned around immediately, holding a lavender pot in the air.

Ryouta sighs to himself as she slowly walks over, her face suspicious of him. Seriously… this girl.

"Mikazuki."

"…What."

"Can you help me?"

She nodded, serious again. Somehow he couldn't take her seriously anymore. "One moment."

She ran off, leaving him there.

"W-wait! I'm not finished talking to..." he trailed off as she came jogging back about two seconds later, with Moriyama in tow. Wait, he was still here?

This was not help, he thought to himself as they saluted each other. Did she just drag him here with no explanation? Why do some people live on different mental planes? What is the meaning of life? When can he see Kurokocchi again?

Kise sighed. This was going to take a long time.


つづく


end notes

Anyway. I had this sitting around in my computer and decided to post it before life and work and uni catch up with me again. Have a laugh at these random, funny situations.

Thoughts? Laughs? I may have been a little rusty but hopefully you smiled at least once?

Toodles and love,

Tollpatsch.