I was rewatching the OVA (yet again), when I remembered this tradition; it also gives me an excuse to write about the rest of the Elite Four, as well. ;)
Kill la Kill fanfic:
"What's interesting?" asked Iori, as he glanced up from browsing Inumuta's phone. He followed the taller boy's gaze, to see it focused in the direction of the gathered members of the Athletic Clubs. As he craned his neck, Iori could barely make out Fukuroda of the Boxing Club, furtively handing something to Hakodate of the Tennis Club, both of them blushing, as they did so.
"Oh, them," said Iori dismissively. "They've been a couple for months; practically everyone at the school knew that."
"Oh, I know," replied Inumuta. "In fact, it was my job to know. And yet, Fukuroda still felt the need to give Hakodate the button off his uniform. Why is that?"
"It's traditional, isn't it?"
"But like you said, they've been together for months; why would he need to?"
Iori shrugged. "To reaffirm their relationship, I suppose."
Inumuta gave Iori a sidelong glance. "Then that also begs the question why there are buttons on our graduation uniforms, in the first place... Don't they just zip up, in the front?"
Iori pushed up his glasses. "What exactly are you implying?" he asked, slowly.
"Nothing, really... I was just wondering if you were interested in this." Inumuta casually held up a silver button, which suspiciously matched the trim on his uniform.
Iori sighed. He pulled off his glasses, and polished them with the edge of his lab coat.
"So, how long have you noticed?" he asked.
"Immediately, I'm afraid. It's hard not to notice buttons that have no real purpose, and would ruin the lines of the coat if you hadn't sewn them in so expertly."
Iori sighed again, as he put his glasses back on. "All right, so now you know I'm just a big old softie at heart... Just hand it over, already." He held out his hand.
"Hmmm?" asked Inumuta, radiating innocence. "I don't know what your talking about."
Iori's eyes narrowed. "Houka..."
"All right, no need to get so testy," said the taller boy, with a playful smirk. "Here."
Inumuta placed the silver button in Iori's hand. Iori's brow wrinkled slightly at the touch of it.
"This feels... Strange," he commented, and held it up to the light. As Iori inspected it, his eyes widened.
"Did you engrave this?"
"IH + IS... With a heart around it," Iori read out loud, and raised an eyebrow. "And you accuse me of being sappy?"
Inumuta frowned. "You're the one who said that, not I. And did you have to say that out loud?"
"Sorry." Iori pocketed the button with a smile, despite himself.
Inumuta cleared his throat nonchalantly. "So tell me, did you sew buttons into all of the Elite Four's uniform jackets?"
Iori pushed up his glasses, hiding his expression. "Wouldn't you like to know?"
Gamagori rolled the uniform button he held between his massive fingers. As the Disciplinary Chair, he wasn't one to indulge in such frivolous traditions; in fact, he was supposed to discourage such overtly romantic displays among students. But considering this was a graduation ceremony, and the closing of Honnouji Academy, he felt he could allow himself such a display, just this once.
Blushing furiously, he glanced over at the object of his affections. Mustering up his courage, he woodenly walked up towards her, as the other students hastily got out of his way.
"Ma-Mankanshouku!" he began, trying to control the volume of his voice.
Mako whirled around. "Oh, hey Gamagori-sempai!" she said brightly. "What's up?"
"Isn't this graduation ceremony cool? I never thought I'd be able to graduate... Well, I suppose that it's everyone else that said I wouldn't be able to graduate... And I guess I'm not really graduating high school yet, since I'm not in my last year, and the school is just shutting down and everything, and-"
Gamagori felt himself growing redder, as Mako's stream of consciousness babbling washed over him. If he didn't get a word in edgewise soon, he knew he'd never be able to be able to build up the courage to confess to her...
"Mankanshouku!" he barked out suddenly.
Mako stopped talking and blinked. "Gamagori-sempai?"
"I- I-" Unable to take it anymore, Gamagori turned away as he held out the button in his enormous hand. "Here! I want you to have this!" he blurted out.
There was silence. After what felt like an eternity, Gamagori finally managed to gather up the courage to turn back around.
"Mankanshouku?" he asked, in dismay. There was a distinct lack of bubbly, bob-cutted brunettes in the immediate vicinity.
As he looked around desperately, he finally saw Mako in the distance, eagerly diving towards Ryuko, and he felt his heart sink at the missed opportunity.
Sanageyama glanced down at his uniform coat; the second button on the underside of his lapel was hanging off by a thread. He plucked it off, and glanced at it curiously.
"What was it again?" he murmured to himself. "Oh, yeah..."
Sanageyama strolled over to Jakuzure, and tapped her on the shoulder.
She turned around irritably. "What?"
"Hey, Jakuzure. Do you want this?" He held up the button.
Her eyes widened slightly, then narrowed.
"What for?" asked Jakuzure suspiciously.
"At graduation, aren't you supposed to give the button on your uniform to a friend, or something?" asked Sanageyama.
"A... Friend?" Jakuzure glared at the expression on Sanageyama's face, but read nothing on it but honest comraderie. She buried her face in her hand.
"You're absolutely clueless, you know that, you stupid monkey..."
Sanageyama's face fell. "Huh? Did I get it wrong, then?"
He really doesn't know, does he? thought Jakuzure, in exasperation. Then she remembered that Sanageyama spent most of his youth with the other guys in his gang, and really didn't start attracting the attention of other girls until his growth spurt in high school.
It was then that Jakuzure also noticed that their interaction was attracting some unwanted attention from some of Sanageyama's female Athletic Club members.
"Oh... Is Sanageyama-sempai giving her his button?"
"Really? Aw, I wanted his button!"
Immediately, Jakuzure snatched the button out of Sanageyama's hand. "Gimme that!" she snapped, then stomped off towards her own club members.
Sanageyama looked startled as she walked away, but then grinned to himself.
As Jakuzure stomped past the assembled Sewing Club members, a murmured conversation was occurring between Inumuta and Iori.
"Shouldn't you give me your button, too?"
"You know very well I don't wear a uniform jacket."
"No, but your lab coat has buttons, doesn't it?"
"You want me to remove one of the buttons for that? But then I'll have to sew a new one on!"
"Hey, it's only fair. I gave you one of mine, didn't I?"
"At least it doesn't show!"
"Aw, c'mon... Iorin."
"...You're just trying to annoy me now, aren't you?"
I don't usually indulge in being so sappy, but I guess once in a while isn't bad. ;)
And for the record, my shipping preferences are pretty open, apart from the obvious pair; I did try not to favour one over the other in this...