Disclaimer: I don't own anything in this story but the plot. Feels bad to say that though…
Without further ado, let's get started.
Logic is My Sword
Prologue – In the End, Hikigaya Hachiman Becomes a Loner Again
No Trouble, no life.
One might think that whenever something goes wrong, there's a solution. However, life, as variable as it is, has always reminded me that those who hold such thoughts were wrong.
Troubles are a part of life, generated from many kinds of circumstances, which when grouped, cause certain consequences. Whether they pertain to the economy, politics, love even… Either one could very well lead a human being to become, most of the time, delusional or an irascible bastard.
Naturally, human beings strive to avoid trouble due to their cowardice and refusal to face their realities and overcome them. Which, in fact, turns out to be one of the main reasons why problems are born in the first place. It is ironic, and most of the time, annoying.
The result of how problems can affect the current behavior of people depends on their personality of course, and the complexity of the problem itself. Some of them make people better citizens, contributors or supporters of human society. While others simply turn them into the scourge that society rejects.
I, Hikigaya Hachiman, was that scourge, though it wasn't of my own volition.
I once sought to be a productive member of society, and no one can deny that I tried my hardest, but rejection, contempt, disappointment, ignorance and stupidity always got in my way. An additional hurdle being that I wasn't exactly the most social, much less an easily approachable sort of person. Then I came to the realization that it wasn't my fault, but everyone else's. This flawed world was at fault, moreover youth was at fault.
Human society and their shallow search for understanding was at fault. I believed that and the world showed me as much, so the only way I could continue living on was to not be part of it. I didn't hurt anyone, and in exchange, no one hurt me. It was a fine trade if you ask me. Both parties win.
However, things started to change, a minuscule light of hope began to well within me. Something I hadn't allowed to happen ever since I missed Sobu's entrance ceremony. I never meant for it to happen, but that slipped out of my control, and before I knew it, I had changed…
I wasn't the loner I was before as I had many… acquaintances now. I wouldn't call them friends, but that was certainly something more than I've had in the past.
A certain essay I wrote some time ago started me on this new path, as it led me to join a certain club, where I met certain people. There my life changed, and there my route towards my new goal would eventually begin.
I wanted something genuine.
It may be embarrassing, but that is what I truly desired to find… no matter what it turned out to be in the end.
Now, I thought I'd seen it all during this whole experience, coming to be aware of the true nature of the people I knew, and even those I didn't. I came to think that my perception of the world was correct despite my initial method of solving problems. I've tried to change that, realizing that I was hurting the people I had begun to care about. However, not even that calculating and selfish Hachiman of old would have been able to handle the current dilemma I was currently facing.
Actually, my dilemma was more than just that.
This, to put it frankly, was an insane situation.
Current time: 7:23 p.m.
Not only was my cell phone filled with strange messages that contained death threats from people I didn't know, but I had a couple of messages filled with content that would make a hentai lover blush deeply, coming from the person I least expected.
And yet that was the least of my worries right now.
My room was a total mess, but not the mess one would expect to find in the room of a regular teenager. Instead of manga, videogames and… research materials splattered across the ground and shattered bed, the mess was due to an unknown flying object had crashed into my bedroom. Thus punching a large hole where my window should have been and leaving pieces of my bed scattered everywhere.
Actually, I wasn't any better. My body was killing me and my head hurt from when I got hit by the shockwave.
But surprisingly enough, that wasn't completely to blame for my facial expression sporting utter shock. Maybe I was dreaming… No, I had to be dreaming. There was just no way that I could accept what was happening before me as reality.
A girl, who came out from the strange machine, was standing before me. She went on to greet me casually, as if she didn't just destroy a portion of my home.
I quickly limped away my destroyed room of course, panicking at the very abnormal events that had started occurring since this morning.
Despite all that's happened in my life since I joined the Service Club, today that meant nothing. Every student hated me at Sobu, even those that I held in high regard. I couldn't recall doing anything wrong after the outing I owed Yuigahama, who, for some reason, brought along Yukinoshita. In fact, they seemed to be in good enough spirits once I left the two for their impromptu sleepover.
I was always sure that any problem could be solved if one was to look into it closely enough, but I dumbly ignored the fact that a solution would only be feasible if one knew the very variables that caused it.
Think of it as a basic arithmetic operation: Two plus two, would obviously equal four. However, the fact that I could solve the equation was only possible as I was aware of the values to solve it. However if the operation had no numbers to work with, how would one complete it?
Even in equations that only give one certain variable, they allow you to discover the missing information. This could be applied to problems that people tend to face on a daily basis. Such as finding yourself late for work or school, having caused any sort of crime, misunderstandings and fights with other people, and so on.
If one knew how a problem originated as well as the facts that caused it, examining that information would most likely help craft a viable solution for it. But if one knew nothing, how would anyone proceed? How could I proceed?
The situation must have been very serious if I was able to disregard the fact that I was able to recall a mathematical subject and apply it appropriately to my analogy.
All I could think of in that moment was to get away from this absurd problem, but to do so was not an option unless I brought my little sister with me, Komachi. As her older brother, it was my obligation to take care of her well-being.
How naive it was of me to think that the surprises would end solely after that spaceship crashed into my room. I mean, that was pretty messed up to begin with, but what I witnessed upon entering Komachi's room was more than shocking. It was impossible, yet I couldn't discredit what my eyes were seeing before me. Or perhaps I can regard it as an after effect of my possible concussion?
Komachi turned to me while blinking in confusion when I entered her living space. Another set of eyes zeroed in on my arrival, ones that belonged to another girl I wasn't familiar with. The kicker? This particular girl was coming out from the wall, just suddenly materializing through a solid structure… Seriously?
I couldn't recall if technology had abruptly advanced so much as to allow people to practically ignore an object's space and existence, allowing them to pass through them like nothing.
Yes, I must be dreaming. Despite the fact that I was told countless times that I wasn't, I had to be. Despite that it was proven that all this madness wasn't a dream, my mind wasn't accepting of such ludicrous things.
[Idiot, that face of yours only shows denial… How pathetic.]
My gaze briefly diverts to the desk at my left, where a tiny mirror idly sat along the surface. I would dare say that things started to go bad since he started talking to me. And there, within that tiny mirror, he spoke to me again, mocking me in a way only I could.
[Why are you looking at yourself with that face? It's simply the truth, so… why don't you focus back on our 'cute little sister' again?]
"O-onii-chan!? W-what was that tremor…?" She exclaimed before she turned to see our recent intruder, "Oh, look! A goddess has come to grant me a wish!"
She was young, and anyone, myself included could have taken that as the delusion from a little girl. This time though, I witnessed how the young woman coming out of the wall finally stood inside the room in its entirety, the shiny door-like light that once covered the wall gone.
It was purely because of my protective nature over Komachi that I pulled her behind me as this intruder stepped towards us. It was then that an incessant sound registered in my mind amidst the chaos. I pinned it as the doorbell ringing multiple times, enough to call it worrisome, much like my cell phone was doing. Everything was wrong, I didn't know how to solve my current dilemma, and I didn't have any variables to work with.
This was bad, really bad…
12 hours earlier. Current Time: 7:31 a.m.
"Ah, Onii-chan? Um, it's time to wake up."
I slowly opened my eyes, the familiar cute voice of my lovely sister taking me out from my slumber. I seriously had to admit that this is a good way to wake up. I'm not a sis-con, it's just that a cute voice is better than those annoying alarms.
Hah… My natural-born NEET qualities are trying to keep me from getting up.
As my awareness slowly came back to me, I began to recall what happened yesterday. Yuigahama's words about her being selfish, greedy and wanting to claim everything if she manages to win the contest that Hiratsuka-sensei came up with when I joined the Service Club. How she presented Yukinoshita an offer to keep things between the three of us the same, while also helping her reach a decision. But that wouldn't have solved anything, it would have left things vague and superficial. With no room for anything genuine…
I used to strive to maintain the status quo, just to keep trouble from arising. However, after seeing Hayama's desperation for it, I then realized that it wasn't the best course for us three. I couldn't accept that, what Yuigahama had offered during our group outing, and I was probably being a hypocrite as that was once my goal before realizing I was wrong. I wanted something genuine, but trying to hide our feelings was far from being productive in reaching that new wish of mine.
What was the answer to this then?
I didn't have the slightest clue. All we could do was to keep searching for an answer, no matter how long it takes us to do it, no matter the consequences.
Then there's Yukinoshita's request. She wanted to finally take control of her life and start making decisions for herself for once. She wanted to confront her mother about her future, and prove that she was indeed capable of handling herself and not just existing in her sister's shadow shadow. Honestly, it was still a shock that Haruno-san offered to help, though seeing who their mother is, I guess it doesn't come as that much of a surprise. They both admitted the possible failure on their parts as well, just goes to show how terrifying the matriarch of the Yukinoshita household is.
There's no use thinking this now though. It's out of my hands, I can only honor her request and see her through her final decision.
I prepared myself mentally before leaving the comfort of my bed. A normal room greeted me as was usual, though I don't remember it being such a stark white. While it had all the accommodations that a teen such as myself needed, it simply gave me a detached feeling that wasn't here yesterday.
Was my room like that before? Wait, where's my TV? And my Gamecube? They're gone! Wait!? Where's Vita-chan!? Even my bookshelf with my manga and light novels! I searched around the room, desperately trying to find my treasures. Maybe Komachi took them, or my parents…
There was nothing. Then my gaze focused on the closet. Opening it, my soul returned to my body. I was glad to see the large amounts of manga, video games, even my TV inside. Wait, I didn't have this much… I had to frown though as half of the games were eroge, and as for the mangas and light novels… Er…
They made my typical… research material… look like children's books.
"What the heck…? I didn't buy any of this…"
"Um, Onii-chan? Isn't it… getting late for you?"
Late? Today was supposed to be a day off for the students in Sobu while the entrance exams are going on. Komachi should be the one rushing off to make it in time. So what does she mean about me being late? I didn't have any plans today, I think. Unless, someone made them for me without my consent…
I guess she just wanted the routine in order to feel less stressed about her tests? If that's the case, then Onii-chan will be happy to oblige his dearest imouto.
With a shrug, I ignored the odd state of my room before walking out and towards the bathroom, my slight confusion removing whatever fatigue remained. It didn't look like Komachi stuck around either, making things even more weird and confusing. I didn't need a bath so I rinse my face, brush my teeth and fix my hair to at least appear presentable.
It only took me four minutes to get dressed in the winter uniform of Sobu High School before returning to my room. Picking up my cell phone, I turned it on. I blinked as the picture of Yukinoshita Haruno was set as my lock screen wallpaper. If I had been an idiot, the surprise may have loosened my grip causing me to drop this phone in shock and wind up pointlessly damaging it when it landed.
There was nothing in particular to note about the picture on my locked screen. It just showed Haruno-san smiling normally, dressed in what appeared to be a black cardigan over a white blouse. Is this a joke? I know she was 'drunk' last night and that she was acting erratically because of it, but I can't recall for the life of me seeing her snatch my phone even once in order to pull this prank.
Did that witch drag Komachi into some cheap practical joke? I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case, that's how she got in touch when recruiting me for that disastrous double date with Hayama after all. Did she somehow know about Komachi's stress over Sobu's entrance exams, and manipulated her relief at my cost?
Don't worry Komachi! Onii-chan knows you were only relieving your stress! He forgives you!
That's when I noticed it.
"What the hell?"
Ignoring the picture taking up my phone screen, I stare at the date.
Was my phone on the fritz? Yesterday was Valentine's Day, so why the hell is my phone four months in the past? Komachi's little prank was becoming a bit too convoluted now. It's one thing to jumpscare me with Haruno-san's face being one of the first things I saw in the morning, but I'm not so gullible as to believe I woke up in the past.
Oh great, what else did she change? Onii-chan is becoming disappointed now...
Browsing the menu, I came to see I had three new messages. Wait, three? What three people would be bothered to contact me? Well, I can actually see Hiratsuka-sensei doing so. Someone please marry her already… But who are the other two?
The first one was from someone called… Ms. Annoying Bitch?
What the heck is with this contact? Who the hell is this?
- Hikio, good morning! I hope you had a healthy breakfast!
Who the hell is Hikio? Hold on… 'Hikio?' Isn't that…?
Yeah, that 'nickname' is what Sobu High's Residential Fire Queen: Miura Yumiko calls me. How on earth do I have her contact information?
I looked back at the simple message for several more seconds in pure confusion. I couldn't grasp what it entailed at all. I was never close to the Fire Queen for her to send me something like that, let alone was I close enough that we would swap contacts. At best, we were neutral towards one another. Am I missing something? And that's not my name, dammit.
The next message was from someone called… Sakurai Aoi?
- It's me again, Hikigaya. Just how much more are you planning to neglect your duties with the Railway office? Stop being a coward and bring your ass over here already!
I have no idea what this message means either… And who is this anyway? As a loner, even as that status of mine gradually declines, I cannot recall ever interacting with someone with that name. That's even more weird.
The last new message displayed yet another unfamiliar name.
Kasumigaoka Utaha… Who is this now?
- Hachiman, I'm just letting you know that my next book will be complete soon. I will need your opinion about it as always. Anyhow, I hope you have a good morning. Don't be late for school.
Okay, this was another strange message from another unknown person. Since when was I the sort to receive these sort of messages? I mean, while I have made some acquaintances in the past few months, I never exchanged contacts with many of them, with the exception of Zaimokuza, Yuigahama, Hiratsuka-sensei, and Totsuka. Oh, Haruno-san also has it, though I have no idea who gave it to her. Probably Hayama, damn fake.
Opening my contact list, I come to see many numbers and names I couldn't recall adding to my list, let alone recognize. When you have, like, five to six contacts, one obviously can notice when something has changed, and the fact that I had so many contacts in my list is startling.
Maybe I was in some sort of dream. It could be that my brain was futilely trying to give me a dream (delusion) where I was part of the normal youth. Hmph, this is more of a nightmare for me though. Maybe I shouldn't have eaten those sweets last night… My overactive mind is making this scenario weird. Either way, it explains a lot of the oddities I came across.
And why was it so specific to take place in the past? I don't think anything bad happened 'today,' heck, the Sports Festival just took place too.
What made it worse was the fact the only names I could recognize from my previous list was Haruno-san and Komachi. Where are Yuigahama and Isshiki? Wait… where is Totsuka's number!? Oh no! I don't have it anymore! Ah… This really was a nightmare… Just put me out of my misery already…
I searched for old messages just in case. There was nothing, but remarkably aggressive messages towards me from unlisted email addresses. What?
"Onii-chan?" I hear my precious sister directly outside of my door. Then, for some reason she softly knocks on it. I raise an eyebrow, since when did she not just burst into my room to drag me out of bed?
Shrugging to myself at her unexpected restraint, I walk towards the door and open it. As expected, there stood Komachi, who for some reason jumped at my room's barrier opening. Odd.
It seems she was ready to leave as she carried her book bag. "Ah, um, your breakfast is getting cold, Onii-chan. I have to leave, so be sure to eat what I left, okay?"
This is getting weirder. She was acting uncharacteristically timid and reclusive. Why was she reluctant about meeting my eyes? Were they especially 'dead-fishy' today?
"Ah," I nod at her, "Sure thing."
She looks up at me with a small smile, as if unsure if she should be doing so. What the? But then she blinks at me, confused at whatever she could have noticed. Was there something weird behind me?
"Onii-chan…" Now it was my turn to gaze at her in confusion. Why's she so different in this dream? This isn't my ideal imouto. I wouldn't have changed anything about her at all, even if I had the choice. Aah~! That probably scored me plenty of Hachiman points!
"What is it?" I ask her.
"A-ah, n-no… I-It's just that…" She stutters out, "Your eyes… They look sort of d-different…"
"What?" My puzzlement was further increased, "What do you mean? I've always had these eyes, Komachi; you know that. Don't say such cruel jokes to your Onii-chan so early in the morning."
She jumped in place, seemingly intimidated at my attempt at humor, "N-no! I-it's not a joke… Y-your eyes really look different, I-I don't think you'll like them. U-um, but I think they l-look f-fine…"
That didn't make sense at all. I wondered if she was teasing me or something. But why go through this submissive and timid role just for that? Hmm, maybe it's my worry for her tests and so it's projecting onto this Dream Komachi? I never was that interested when it came to dreams and how to handle them. As a good Onii-chan, I put a hand over her head in a show of fondness. I still knew what to do for the imaginative version of my precious sister. She looked at me uncertainly, her cheeks reddening a bit at the sudden touch.
Really cute if you ask me, but then again she's my sister, she already gets bonus points for being cute. Hah! That ought to score me some Hachiman points!
"Whatever you say." I pat her gently before removing my hand, "But, isn't it getting late for you too Komachi?"
The ahoge on her hair moved, realization rushing into her. What are you an anime character now? She glanced at her pink watch and let out a yelp.
"A-ah, that's right! I didn't realize! I need to get going then!" She spun around, going down the stairs as she said, "Ah, Onii-chan. Rito-san is waiting for you outside already. Bye Onii-chan!"
I waved my farewells to Komachi. 'Rito-san'? Another unfamiliar name.
Picking up my school bag, I walk towards the stairs hearing the door slam indicating Komachi's departure. Good grief, that girl… I understand you're nervous about how you did in your exams but that's no need to go slamming all of our doors.
Plus if you damage one, I'll probably take the blame.
Entering the main room within the first floor, I look around. Not only was this the living room, with a bookshelf, a glass cabinet, a large TV in front of a lilac multi-piece sofa, but on the other half of the room was the dining room, with a table and four chairs at the side of the kitchen. Unlike my room, it looked just the same as usual.
My attention was piqued at the TV that was currently on. Honestly, that empty-headed sister of mine…
"…n other news. Drivers caught using handheld mobile phones will face tougher penalties from today on throughout the prefectures. The fine has doubled to 28,000 yen, and the number of penalty points has also doubled to six. This means that new drivers could potentially lose their license after one sole offense. The law enforcements within each prefecture have pledged to put in an increased focus on catching offenders. Kumiko Morita reports…"
Then I lost interest, my new focus directed at the plate of fried pork, a bowl of rice and miso soup over the table. I quickly dig in, rushing as the doorbell continues to ring. I usually go by myself to the school, so whoever that 'Rito-san' fellow is, he or she can wait. Or leave, I'd prefer that.
With my breakfast finished, I leave the dishes by the kitchen sink, picking up my school bag from the chair. I walk towards the TV to turn it off, yet before I do so, the current news once again catches my attention, the female reporter speaking.
"…fter many tests, Prime Minister Sugayama has authorized the use of Shinkansen 2.0, which will be distributed to the main stations of Tokyo, Chiba, Sendai, Osaka and Nagoya. After the cabinet had finally voted in favor of the project developed by the Tenjouin Enterprises, the prime minis…"
Hold on a minute, wasn't the Railway System privatized? It's not like I care about it that much, but it was a matter of interest to the populace that had no means of traveling, such as almost every student in Japan with no driver's license. Sadly, I fall on that list when I can't ride my bike, which means that I depend on the government that much more now. My stomach begins to writhe in disgust at the fact that I've gotten closer to becoming a corporate slave. I'll be damned if I become like my parents though.
Why am I thinking about this? There's no use getting pointlessly depressed over the future. I still have hope in becoming a househusband after all. Now if only I can find a non-smoking, non-drinking, non-violent, and not gradually-aging potential partner to support me.
"…After the press conference held about Mishima Zaibatsu's future, the new CEO, Kazama Jin, has announced that he has great plans for the future of the Mishima Industries. The new CEO has also refused to give an interview about his new position after the last tournam…"
No idea what they were talking about. I never had any interest in politics or economy, so I finally turned off the TV. This dream sure is weird, it's way too specific isn't it? Well, whatever, let's go through it so I can wake up faster.
I head towards the entrance of my house, and open the door. Where I'm promptly greeted by a pair of golden brown eyes, kind and honestly unnerving with how bright they looked.
"Yo, Hachiman," The boy, whose hair was brown and spiky, and wore a lemon colored blazer, a green tie and trousers with a yellow cross-hatched pattern, waved his hand at me. "What took you so long? Koo-chan just left a couple of minutes ago with Mikan."
Did he just call me by my given nam- Wait… Koo-chan? Who the hell are you calling that!? Oi, just because this is a dream doesn't mean I'm going to accept you giving Komachi a nickname. Know your place!
"Oi, that's my sister you're talking about," I glare at him, and he blinks in surprise. "Don't act that familiar with her."
The guy scratches his head in puzzlement. Ignoring the annoying way he called my sister, he gets on my nerves for some reason... He just seems the sort of kind hearted guy that doesn't want to cause trouble, which is honestly annoying. It reminds me of a certain blonde riajuu.
"Eh? Um… It's Mikan's fault, you know?" He responded, laughing nervously. Quit it asshole, that doesn't mean Komachi should be called by a nickname, more so when it comes from unknown pests like you. "I think you allowed me to call her that, but if it bothers you, I'll stop."
I observe him closely, "Who are you again?"
He laughs awkwardly, though this time he seems confused, "Wow, I know you're dry, but to feign you don't know me? That's a little too much, don't you think?"
What does that mean? I don't recall ever seeing this guy. He knows Komachi somehow, but why does she know this guy? She's never spoken of him until now, plus he looks to be closer to my age than hers. And now that I think about it, what uniform is that? It's not from Sobu or even from the Kaihin Sougou High School that Orimoto Kaori goes to.
I sigh, before gazing at my phone. It was getting late.
"Whatever, I'll be on my way."
I turn towards the bike leaning at the side of the entrance door. Nothing to say much about it other than I take Komachi sometimes with it to her school, though it is still my trusty steed.
"The campus is not that far, so why take a bike? The weather is really nice today," He smiles again, creeping me out. "We should enjoy it, you know?"
I sigh, "Seriously, mind your own damned business… whoever you are."
"I'm beginning to think you're not joking… I'm your friend, Yuuki Rito… We're neighbors, remember? We've known each other for more than two years."
Like hell I'd willingly interact with someone like you for two years! I looked at both sides of the street, trying to see any hidden camera. There was the chance that I was currently the victim of one of those disgusting TV shows that pulled public pranks on people. If this did wind up being a nightmare, I might be forced to experience a self-esteem destroying encounter because of it. Geez… That brain of mine sure is twisted…
There was nothing suspicious. These bastards were doing a great job at hiding. It was just absurd that I would have a neighborhood "friend" after all, I've never had anything of the sort growing up. I'm sure that this was all just an elaborate prank by now.
"I don't know you, and I'm not interested in anything you might say. So spare me the discomfort and go away already."
The annoying person, Yuuki Rito, sighs, then, scratching his head he states, "As cold as always…"
That comment seems to show that I usually act like that, and that he knows it and probably puts up with it. Familiarity is written all over that comment, and that is certainly startling. I mean, I could admit that Yukinoshita, even Yuigahama and Isshiki know a bit of me, if only a bit, but this unknown guy comes and talks to me so casually, even referring to Komachi by that idiotic nickname?
It pisses me off.
I leave my bike where it was before. After that, I walk to the street on my left, my destination, Sobu High School, and as I move forward, I hear the unmistakable sound of steps behind me. It was that boy again.
I take some more steps, and again, I look over my shoulder. The guy was at the exact same distance…Was he following me now? Is he some sort of creepy stalker?
I seriously wouldn't mind if it was Totsuka, but this was beginning to get more aggravating. Either way, I just continued to ignore him the rest of the journey to school.
"What the…? Was this here before?"
I was some blocks away from my destination before I began to wonder why this area seemed different than it was before. I just couldn't even imagine how I could possibly disregard that this area was a shopping district. I've taken this path multiple times and I could have sworn that this place wasn't here before.
Some minutes ago, I noticed a large board with the kanjis displaying: Chibadōri Shopping District. And right now, I was staring at a Japanese-styled restaurant, which seemed to be closed. It was a two story building with a lilac awning, displaying the name of the establishment.
"Yeah…? We usually come here to eat whenever it's open," Responds Yuuki, who stood nearby, "You're acting really weird this morning. Did you forget that this restaurant is famous around here due to its excellent food? Doesn't Sou-?"
"A famous restaurant?" I mutter to myself, cutting him off mid-question. I would definitely know if there was a restaurant with such a great reputation located this close to my home, "I walked across this street yesterday and this restaurant wasn't here, or all these stores for that matter. What kind of sick joke was this? This is getting really weird now, I'd never have thought my brain could be this hyperactive.
"Hey, Hachiman. Are you sure you're okay?" Yuuki asked, looking concerned. Cut that out already.
"Stop calling me by my first name. We're not friends, it's gross." Hey, just because I'm not a lucid dreamer, it doesn't mean I'm going to just put up with this unwanted familiarity.
Despite my words, he chuckled, "Haha, well, I'm used to hearing that from you. I know you don't mean it."
"I know you don't," He argued, stupidly smiling. He really pisses me off.
"I do. Stop saying I don't."
I sigh, before gazing once more at the traditional-styled sliding door of Restaurant Yukihira. I was never interested in eating anywhere else other than Saize, besides, there was always food at home, whether Komachi or mom prepared it.
And, one of my 108 Hachiman skills is actually cooking. Of course I'm not a professional, but I can defend myself at the very least. Komachi enjoys my homemade food, so that's a test of my ability. Though, she is the only one that has ever tasted my food… maybe she's just being complacent with her dear Onii-chan… meh.
"Hey, it's already late."
Oh crap, Hiratsuka-sensei is going to use her infamous Terminating Last Bullet on me for being late. It has been some time since she's punched me now that I think about it… Such unpleasant memories…
I visibly shudder, and the guy called Yuuki Rito at my side notices it.
"Mmm? What's wrong?"
"None of your business…" I manage to say, "Oi, shouldn't you be getting to your school rather than following me around like an idiot?"
"Haha… good one, Hachiman. This is obviously the way to get to my school too."
It is? I can only assume that if he had chosen to walk to school, then it must be as close as mine, but that wouldn't make any sense. I always observe my surroundings, and I'm pretty sure I would notice if there was another-
What in the world…? There are so many students wearing the same uniform as this guy. Actually, there were two other uniforms besides the one fitted on Yuuki. What school do these uniforms belong to? The students were all apparently walking towards school as we did. Were there more schools around? I always used this route to get to Sobu and I've never seen these uniforms before.
I turn towards Yuuki, glaring at him. There was something fishy here and I have to figure out what it is.
"Oi, where's your school? Take me there."
That demand generated a frown. Scratching the back of his head, he nodded reluctantly.
"Man, you're honestly worrying me now," My glare intensifies and he takes a step back in surprise. "Geez, I don't know what's with you, but if that's what you want, I'll take you."
Yuuki walks towards the direction of my school. I raise an eyebrow before following him.
Go to profile, LISTEN: Link in Logic Is My Sword: Prologue Section: Song 01
I blink. Then I blink again, my mouth agape.
I was in the middle of the street gazing at the entrance of the school of the brown-haired dude, which was apparently called Chiba Sainan Municipal High School. Many students of varied ages, male and female, entered through its gates, some of them gazing at me and gossiping.
Then, I turned 180 degrees, and before me was the entrance to Sobu High School. Many students disappearing inside the entrance just as the bells rang from afar. This was so messed up! Why is there another school just in front of mine? Since when? How? This was impossible! And urbanistically speaking, what kind of idiot would put one school in front of another?
"Well, there you go…" Yuuki states, somewhat puzzled by my expression, "Are you satisfied? This act is getting sort of dumb. You were always dry, but dumb, never. What's gotten into you? It's not like you to act like this."
"You don't know me, so drop that pretentious crap," I walk around, trying not to bump into anyone. I look around in a semi-panicked fashion. This shouldn't be happening. "What the hell is going on?"
A hand grip my shoulder. "C-calm down, Hachiman. You're really scaring me." Yuuki seems awfully concerned. I roughly pull my shoulder away from his hand as if it were diseased. Don't touch me.
"I'm the one who should be scared here," I spat, before noticing the multiple gazes being directed at me. Tch, I was drawing a crowd. Unease was beginning to bleed into my composure, my heart rate was beginning to rise out of sheer alarm at my current situation. Can't I wake up already?
My eyes quickly scanned the surroundings, a familiar face finally coming to sight. It was Yuigahama Yui, sporting the Sobu High uniform for girls, composed of a black blazer with a white blouse underneath it with two buttons undone, a red ribbon, a school skirt and black stocking and shoes.
As she noticed my focused gaze, she stepped back. Her shoulder-lengthed coral-dyed hair bouncing slightly, even the locks coiled into a bun perched on the top of her head. I walked to her with hurried steps, Yuigahama's peach eyes darting from left to right nervously.
"Hey, Yuigahama, do you see all this…?" Wait… why does she look so scared? I blink at her teary eyes, murmurs erupting in the sea of students from both schools around us. "Yuigahama, what's with you? Why are-"
"Hikitani-kun, drop it. You're scaring her."
That voice was annoyingly familiar, so I looked at my left to see a blond sporting the same uniform as me. His blue eyes scrutinized me with disapproval as Yuigahama stepped towards him, as if to put distance between us.
"I'm scaring her?" No matter how I look at it, she does seem afraid of me, "Yuigahama, why are you acting like this?"
"Eh? Well, I was, like, surprised when you approached me out of nowhere," She fidgeted under my inquisitive gaze. "You know, we've never really talked before, so it was, like, totes weird. I mean, you don't like anyone, so I thought that you were, like, going to insult me or something. Ehehe…" She forces a laugh, nervous as it was, it made her fear all the more apparent.
I narrow my gaze, "Is that how you see me?"
"I-I… well… haha… I…"
"Don't push it," The guy I knew as Hayama Hayato took a step forward, trying to cover Yuigahama from my sight. What the hell do you want you damn fake?
"Whatever you're trying to pull in here, just drop it. I don't want any problems, much less with you. We agreed that you would never try to harass anyone in the school again. Hiratsuka-sensei made you promise that, so I hope you behave yourself."
What does that mean? I have no recollection of harassing anyone, not even by misunderstanding… at least not in Sobu. Though Yukinoshita would say that my mere presence could be harassment enough.
I take a step back, which is taken as the cue of my yielding about the matter. Hayama puts a hand on her shoulder and the two walk inside the school's perimeter, disappearing within the rest of the students. I stood there, lost and confused.
To begin with, why was she afraid of me? Even if this dream took place in October, we were fine at this point, right? The Kyoto trip was when I screwed things up with the club (and I only antagonized Yukinoshita)... But just after the Sports Festival? No, I hadn't done anything at this point. Especially not something to make her scared of me.
Could it be that this was my subconscious telling me that I didn't want to lose Yuigahama by having me imagine her not liking me? After everything that happened between the three of us yesterday, maybe I was instilled with the anxiety that my quest for the genuine thing could cost me whatever relationship I had with her?
Then there was the fact of how Hayama rested a hand on her shoulder, and how Yuigahama took cover from me by hiding behind him.
They seemed close, and not just as the group that hangs out once in a while. Yuigahama was always part of Hayama's clique, but never have I seen them act like… that. I can't really establish my thoughts now, something is wrong today and I have no idea what's going on. But I do know that I don't like someone as pathetically desperate for the status-quo as Hayama to be so close to Yuigahama.
"Eh, well… let's talk later, Hachiman," Yuuki's uneasy voice comes from behind me, "I don't want to be punish-"
I turned around to face the idiot, and as I did, a girl bumped into me. A small yelp abruptly escaped her mouth in her surprise. While I manage to keep my balance, barely, I couldn't say the same for the stranger. The girl, wearing the uniform for girls of Sainan High which was practically identical to the males', save for the skirt with the same cross-hatched pattern, falls to the ground.
Another yelp erupted, though it was from Yuuki this time. I turned to him to see his face was red, his eyes as widened as could be possible. He stares at the girl of his school with hopeful eyes. What's with that exaggerated reaction?
I would say that she was pretty. Her hair had an unusual color, as it was blue, and it looked surprisingly good, probably a high quality dye. Her oddly purple eyes matched quite nicely with it and her complexion.
Now, her pretty qualities aren't what caught my immediate attention. I have long since grown out of such superficial attraction, but the fact that her panties were visible unintentionally drew my gaze on her, and was probably why Yuuki looked even more like an idiot. White as the clouds of the sky, I must say.
Blood began to drip from Yuuki's nose before he fell to the ground, as comically as one would expect from the protagonist of one of those senseless Harem mangas. Get a grip on yourself you pervert.
For my part, I only averted my gaze, my cheeks burning slightly.
I'm still a male teenager that has never… wait… I was forgetting about Black Lace and Miura's pink, unexpected- Stop it Hachiman!
Anyhow, male teens rarely get an occasion when they manage to contemplate female undergarments with a live example. Even for a loner such as myself, that's a given. I just hope that my face doesn't look as perverted as this bleeding idiot's does. I don't need everyone thinking of me as one alongside him.
"Are… you okay?" I ask her.
"I think I'm fine," Responds Yuuki desperately holding his nose..
"I didn't ask you." I retort to him, deadpanning.
The girl finally notices the embarrassing position she is displaying and stands up in a blink. Her face was flushing red, tears appearing in the corners of her eyes. I have to do something before this escalates into something unfixable.
"So… are you alright?" I ask again, "I didn't, uh, mean to…"
"D-don't worry! It's fine!" She replies, bowing to me. She subtly eyed Yuuki for some seconds before resuming her attention on me, "I was running late and I was in a rush. I'm sorry."
As she says it, her eyes trail once more to the nervous wreck named Yuuki Rito. Girls are so obvious sometimes, it's easy to see that she is fairly interested in the guy at my side, and it's pretty much the same with him. I can tell, he completely overreacted upon seeing her underwear after all.
Go to profile, SEE: Link in Logic Is My Sword: Prologue Section: Picture 01
"So… are you really okay?" I ask again.
"…" She lowers her head, looking a little embarrassed. Then finally, she nods her head.
I nod in response, and she bows again. Giving one last glance at Yuuki, she turns around and dashes away. It was then that I noticed that almost all the students were already gone, and the gates of both schools are about to be closed.
"That was too close… geez…" Yuuki sighs in resignation, "Why can't I ever say a word to Haruna-chan…?"
"That's her first name, right? Are you two close?" I ask, and he obviously panics, "If not, that's really creepy."
"Quit it, dude. You know she's a sensitive subject to me…" He sighs again, before staring at the distance, "Well, laters Hachiman. Hurry before you're left outside."
As he ran into Sainan High's perimeter, I can't help but feel that he reminds me slightly of myself from middle school. Though, I was much more of a gentleman than that nosebleeding pervert was. I turn around and dash beyond the gates just in time, reflecting a bit. They like each other, but it's easy to assume they have yet to confess their feelings considering what I witnessed. Great, this Yuuki guy I'm apparently "friends" with is part of the youth I hate. Whatever, it doesn't matter to me.
That aside, I should concentrate on the matter at hand, which is, uncovering the reason for this school being located in front of Sobu out of nowhere. Yuigahama has proven to not be an available source of information for the time being, for whatever reason.
I can't jump to conclusions about her attitude towards me yet.
Finally inside the school, I move towards the lockers. I was the only one around, so I guess classes were about to start. I opened my locker, and to my surprise, there were many letters inside. What the hell?
Could this be!? The situation where a boy receives the infamous so-called love letter!?
Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Knowing me, this might be a trap, or more likely a prank. Damn, I almost succumbed to temptation and my own naivete. This dream almost got me. Good grief. Who would dare to play with the honest feelings of a pure-hearted male such as myself? Oh, right, my own head…
Wait, what does that say about me!?
I scan my surroundings before gazing at the letters. Sucking in a much needed deep breath, I grab the first one on top, opening it to read the contents. I narrow my gaze, every word written in it destroying my silly hopes as I read on.
- Hey Hiki-mushi, still coming to school despite our warnings? You better watch your step asshole, cuz we're gonna fuck you up!
I expected as much, though it still came as a surprise. What's with this stereotypical delinquent writing? Wait, how was a delinquent able to enter a private school like Sobu anyway? And who the hell is 'Hiki-mushi'?
Anyhow, I've never done anything to hurt anyone despite that most of them deserved it. And while I was rejected by almost every person I've met, I never became the target of any hostility. Actually, only Hayama has ever threatened me, but that was only due to the incident with Sagami Minami. He just wanted to defuse the situation from getting worse and keep his appearance up.
Another love letter, huh…? I open it, reviewing it's contents.
- I hope you die!
Hoh… The love is even more palpable with this one. I opened up another one.
The sentiment keeps getting shorter, I see. Show some originality at least.
- Disgusting Hikiyaya! I can't believe that I have to keep attending this school with a creep like you! Just seeing you makes me want to vomit. Not only are you ugly, but you are a spineless bastard. You don't deserve to live!
Oh, this one was longer, and it even has drawings of my face with disgusting expressions. I have to admit that my hairstyle was accurately drawn, but the face… can I even call it a face?
If you're going to bother drawing me with such a level of detail then go all in, dammit! Apologize to all struggling artists everywhere! And get my name right while you're at it.
I can only assume the three additional letters left contain similar messages. This reminds me of elementary and middle school, where I became the target of mockery from my peers. I was never intimidated physically, much less attacked, but many times my possessions were the indirect targets. I can recall the occasional times when I found my bag filled with insects, or my books destroyed and my folders full of insulting drawings.
Most of the time I was the focus of cruel jokes and rumors.
Humans can be so disgusting sometimes, and I'm sure as hell no one can deny it. Certain individuals often use force, threats, and coercion to abuse with the goal of dominating others. Any uninvolved bystanders observing such actions, without making any sort of interference, aren't any better. Using disinterest or fear as an excuse to remain out of the problem makes them, to me, just as bad as the others. I would even call them accomplices.
Bullies often act as they do, due to their envy and resentment. A complex of inferiority that mentally forces them to try to show their false sense of superiority with aggressive means, in order to conceal their own shame and anxiety. It was ironic as these bullies demeaned others with the intention of boosting their low self-esteem. Pathetic if you ask me.
Others were simply narcissistic and arrogant.
Whatever, the fact that bullying existed was the solid proof of how rotten people can be, no matter the reason. No exception.
I grab the rest of the letters, tearing them in half, before tossing them to the nearest trash container. Having put on my shoes for school, I finally go to my class.
"Late? You? Hikigaya…? And what the hell is wrong with your eyes? Did you spend all night watching hentai again?"
Oi, oi… That was seriously inappropriate, not to mention intentionally humiliating, Sensei. Is this what a teacher should say to a student in class when greeting him? And what is with that surprised expression? I only arrive late to school occasionally. And pay for it dearly each time…
"Woman, what kind of degenerate do you take me for?" I sneer, folding my arms as I stand by my teacher's desk.
I glare at Hiratsuka Shizuka, the fairly tall, busty woman who is the homeroom teacher of my class, 2F. She also happens to be my self-proclaimed guidance counselor and the one responsible for me joining the Service club. She was not a member of the club, just simply the advisor.
"You tell me. I wasn't the one carrying questionable manga inside my book bag some days ago…" She pointed out, smiling evilly. "…was I?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," I stated with conviction. I admit in having a couple of those, but such… things… were nothing but morbid curiosity on my part. Although, I still wonder why I have so much of those H-class belongings in my closet.
I honestly fear it has something to do with Komachi. I'm not going to find out that she's a closet pervert who enjoys trashy eroges when I get home, right? This dream isn't going to go that far, is it? I really didn't enjoy that particular series after the main character horribly chose the wrong girl.
"Then why are you late?" Hiratsuka-sensei pressed.
Heh, I was ready to answer that question, though I hope she has forgotten that I've already used this reply, "You're wrong, sensei. I'm not late. This is what you call executive work hours."
I blink already expecting her Megaton Fists to have greeted my gut, "Er, yeah, as one of the elite in society, it is only natural that I would have a different entry hour. Those lesser than me-"
"'Lesser…'? Your point better be good," Her frown became a glare, her eyes piercing straight to my soul. That wasn't a good sign, she was getting mad.
"Y-you see, society misunderstands what tardiness truly is, taking it as something wrong. I can assure you that isn't the case, in fact, the mere thought of such a thing is a sin. I think someone as intelligent as me would have told you this before."
That someone is me, from some months ago. It's obvious, considering that only two people are as smart as me. Yukinoshita, and of course… me, heh… Oh right, there's also that Haya-something Haya-whatever guy.
After fixing her long black hair, the woman leisurely folds her arms. As always, she wears a lab coat over a dress shirt, a loosely worn tie, and a black vest, with black pants and a brown belt completing her attire. She looks at me with a raised eyebrow.
"I don't believe I've heard something that nonsensical before, and I'm surprised you now bother to give an excuse as ridiculous as that."
She forgot! Then I'll proceed as planned.
"To consider it ridiculous is in fact the problem. You see, those with higher intellect can't simply be treated with the same rules as the rest. And so, I can't abide by the default schedule implanted by the school."
I honestly expected a punch, a glare and some harsh words, however, I received none of those.
She smiles, and then giggles, "That has to be the dumbest excuse I've ever heard in a long time, and I can't believe it came from you, Hikigaya. What's with you today?"
I hear murmurs from my classmates behind me, multiple gazes being shot at me. Curiosity sparks and fades instantly, which is fine because I don't like the attention anyway. They never meant any good as far as I know, so being the center of attention right now was something I was uncomfortable with.
I must be dreaming, I concluded. Since I woke up, I have seen many aspects of my daily life with changes that aren't possible. A new shopping district that was situated in a street I knew far too well from one day to another. Train transportation still belonged to the government. There was another school in front of mine which hadn't been there before.
A new 'friendly,' but nonetheless annoying neighbor. Messages from people unfamiliar to me, or from those I never expected. H-class stuff was stocked inside my closet, which I can't recall having bought. All those letters filled with contempt inside my locker. And this woman didn't hit me!
Yeah… This has to be a dream. With nightmarish qualities…
"Nothing really…" I scratch my head, "I guess..."
"Well, go take your seat," I nod silently and walk to my desk, which was already occupied by… Miura?
"Oi, that's my…"
Her face suddenly flushes red, green eyes averting from my own as she fixated on her hair. What the hell was with that reaction?
"H-Hikio…" She stammers, fidgeting under my gaze, "W-what is it…?"
"You're… in my seat."
She blinks, her eyes darting frenetically. Hold on a minute, is this really the fearsome Fire Queen? Did Hayama somehow level up his effect on her that he doesn't even need to be talking to her for this to happen? Why on earth is she looking… so defenseless? This dream of mine keeps getting weirder and weirder.
"I am…?" She mutters. For some reason she isn't raising her gaze, "Is this another one of your jokes… like, the one from yesterday…? I…I don't get why you tease me so much…"
I can hear the continuous murmurs as these unexpected events unfolds. I look around, spotting Yuigahama, Hayama, Ebina, Tobe and… Totsuka… he looks sort of fearful. Why do I feel like everyone sees me as some sort of delinquent?
Hold up! Don't confuse delinquent with creep! I have never behaved violently. To be honest, even if I wanted to, I wouldn't have been capable of it. I'm the kind of guy whose strength lies in the brain, not in the muscle. Wait, did I just insult myself right now!?
"Hikitani-kun," Hayama butts in again. The nerve of this guy and that false hero complex of his. He's still as meddlesome as he is irritating. "Your seat's right there," He points at the empty seat behind his, "Don't bother her."
I sigh with hands in my pockets, walking towards my supposed desk. I catch some trash stuffed inside the storage part of the table. Yep, this is my desk alright. Well, at least the trashcan's right behind me.
While my gaze is only focused forward, I can tell many eyes were locked on my body. The tension was almost palpable.
Finally desk-bound, I rest an elbow over the table. And at last, class begins.
The ringing of the bell marks the start of break.
Forty minutes given to students after the first four classes of the day. Forty minutes used to have lunch, relax, study and engage in socializing. In my humble opinion, it was simply the time of the day in school to slack off. Depending on one's interests and social reputation, every student spent this time in a different way.
Well, I usually ate my homemade bento at my quiet hangout by the tennis courts. As of now though, I was peacefully enjoying my solitude while putting my belongings back into my bag. I didn't bring a bento today, so this sweet roll filled with red bean paste will have to suffice. Nutritious? No. Filling? Totally.
Some steps echo in the somewhat empty class, with very few students around.
"Yuigah-" I look at my left, and I was greeted by a person I didn't expect. Why do I keep forgetting that Yuigahama is acting weird around me today? I have to admit I sort of got accustomed to her presence. "Uh, Miura…san?"
Miura bites her lip, "-san?" Her gaze wavers, cheeks somewhat red, "You're so mean…"
The faint accent of a poppy fragrance reaches my nostrils as I gaze at her frowning expression. I just can't grasp what could have happened for her to act like this with me, to speak and look at me the way she is. It was as if she was expecting something, and that's pretty messed up if you ask me.
People don't tend to expect anything of me, and while both Isshiki and Yuigahama sort of did sometimes, that might no longer be the case if Yuigahama keeps acting differently. Now Miura seems hopeful about something… Wait, maybe she wants me to help her get Hayama's attention.
That should be it, right? I have no recollection of having accepted that kind of request though.
"I'm not being mean… If anything, I'm being polite," I retort, deliberately averting my gaze from Miura. "Also, I can only take requests in the clubroom after school."
Silence came, she was still standing at the side of my desk.
"What are you talking about?" She asked, and I finally looked at her. She yelped slightly, averting her eyes, "I-I me-mean…"
"The Service Club, obviously." I confirm, tapping my foot in impatience.
Her frown deepened, "You always leave early so I assumed that you didn't have a club. Besides, aren't the only members of the Service Club, Yukinoshita, Yui and Hayato?"
My eyes widen at the revelation, my calm demeanor shattered into pieces at this revelation.
"Hayama? In the Service Club?" I couldn't believe it, for more than obvious reasons. This was a dream so anything was possible, though it's getting too long, and more unpleasant as it drags on.
"H-Hikio…" She stutters, eyes unfocused, "I-is something wrong? You seem, like, sort of lost… I heard you tried to talk to Yui… Can you… can you tell me why?"
"Nothing's wrong," I mutter, "I was just asking her about homework. Even if we… don't talk, she's still a classmate. Actually, why do you care? What I do is my business. It's not like we're friends or anything."
Because I may believe we are, and then deception would come once reality hits me in the face. People shouldn't be unconditionally kind to others, as it always creates misunderstandings and uncomfortable moments for the parties involved. I don't mind if no one was nice to me, I've long since stopped caring about that sort of thing. At least this way I wouldn't hope, and I wouldn't be hurt. A clean win in my opinion.
My doubt now was: Why was Miura Yumiko acting nice towards me when she was never a nice girl? With the exception of Hayama being present of course.
"Y'know… I… I hate the fact that I'm like this now, having to put up with that rotten personality of yours…" I had to blink, my mouth agape as the Fire Queen in front of me was nothing more than a fragile girl, with tears in her eyes, "I… I… never did anything for you to hate me."
I've never been comfortable with a crying girl in front of me. Typically, I appreciated a strong-willed girl finally showing her weaknesses she's hidden as in the cases of Isshiki and Yukinoshita. But seeing Miura like this reminded me of Yuigahama, who would cry because she was hurt, and like then, I felt a severe amount of guilt and found myself helpless to do anything.
My mind frantically wanders to any interaction I can recall having with her that could have possibly led to this situation.
"I'm… not that sure…" I scratched my cheek. I can't really say that she did anything against me, nor I her for that matter. Despite that, I could always tell Miura didn't see me in a good light whenever we were in each others' presence.
"I didn't!" She insisted, "I just want us to be friends, like, to hang out and do stuff together, y'know? Unlike everyone else, I don't hate you. Why can't you understand that, Hikio?"
"'Friends'? With you?" I repeat, disbelieving. I look at both my sides, "Look, I think you've got the wrong idea here. We don't like each other, remember?"
Her hands became fists, she was biting her lower lip.
"Why won't you stop treating me like an idiot!?" She spat, finally the traits I knew appearing. "Despite the fact that you're a creep, I-"
I sigh. I can tell where she's going with this.
"Look, it doesn't matter. Spare me the pity and drop it. Go back to your group of friends, I'm not interested."
Without another word, I stand up and leave the classroom, not sparing her a glance. I wasn't about to stand there and endure the insults of a girl who forces her will on others, then becomes obnoxious and irrational should she find opposition to her ideals.
Hayama was the one who took it upon himself to reel Muira in, it might be in the worst way possible, but it's not my place to object. Though I wonder, why wasn't he around with his clique? It was odd to see the herd without its shepherd. Heh… Herd. Nice one Hachiman.
"His smile's really scary…"
"He must be planning something again…"
"Get away from that creep…"
I notice boys and girls alike talking behind my back as I make my way towards the Service Club, but as per usual, they are flawlessly ignored by me. Ignoring others is another one of my 108 Hachiman Skills after all. Though, this level of attention was surprising, even my situation after the Cultural Festival wasn't this overt. Everyone would joke amongst themselves about me, but they weren't as vocal about it, or scared for that matter. Well, it doesn't really matter right now anyway.
My mind was more interested in what Miura had said, and I needed confirmation about the fact that Hayama joined my club. Knowing what I know about the past he shared with Yukinoshita, I can't rule out the possibility of it happening. And… I don't like him being involved in her request. I don't know why, but I just don't.
Turning on a corner, I bump with another face that was familiar to me. Brown, shoulder-length bobbed hair, and eyes, as honey in hue as I can recall. The girl wore the Sobu High uniform with a pink cardigan under the blazer.
Isshiki Iroha… my underclassman and the 'second most rotten person in the world' I personally refer to her as.
While I expected her trademark phrase: 'Senpai!' I was greeted in a way that further elevated my confusion about everything going on today. She glared daggers at me, her previous smile evaporating. Had I not been so confused, surely I would have been intimidated to see such a hostile expression come from Isshiki.
"Leave me alone!" She cut me off and growled, "I told you to never speak to me again!"
I take a step back, shocked at her venomous reaction. Before I could even open my mouth, she walked past me, looking disgusted for even talking to me. She clearly hates me for whatever reason, and I'm seriously getting sick of this treatment already. I haven't done anything as far as I recall.
Great, a friendly reminder of my past…
I proceed towards my destination, within the special building in the school. I'll have to look into these matters later, if I don't wake up from this dream-turned-nightmare first.
Finally, here I am…
I stood just in front of the door of the Service Club.
According to the paperwork, this was a volunteer organization that provided help to every student within Sobu High. It was funny to think I was forced to join it as punishment for my essay. I can't say I regret it, actually. I seriously consider this club as a part of me now. It has become important to me. They have become important to me.
Many things have happened since I became one of its members.
I looked at the door plate, where some stickers were stuck right under the classroom number… I could've sworn there were more on it as Yuigahama took it upon herself to add one for each request we solved. While I know this is still a dream, I mentally prepared myself just in case.
I grab the door handle, yet before I could open the sliding door, I hear some voices. I blink, taking in a deep breath before finally swinging it to the side.
"See!? I told you we'd have a new request tod-" The voice of Yuigahama suddenly comes to a stop as I enter the room. "Eh… it's…"
Silence follows. I observe the room. Just as I presumed it to be a store room of sorts the first day I came here, chairs, boxes and tables were piled up in cluttered stacks along the edges of the room. There was a tea kettle, a drinking water heater, snack packs, food cover, straws and tea leaves over a student table. It was a familiar room yet foreign at the same time.
I instantly noticed that by the 'guest' plastic cups, there were three porcelain cups that stood alongside each other. They obviously belonged to each member of the club. The plain, yet high class tea cup was for Yukinoshita, the long one with a dog image from Yuigahama and the third one was… different…
Instead of the cup with a Pan-san image that had recently been given to me, there was a short, yet wide blue cup. I have a faint idea of who might be the owner as dread welled up within me. I wanted to look away yet I couldn't stop staring at the cup that shouldn't be there. I don't like that he has one on that table.
Now… how is it that I told myself that I would be prepared, yet now I can't say a single word?
"Hikitani-kun," Hayama stands up from his seat at the middle of the table and hastily approaches me, gaining my attention. "What are you doing here? Are you here to make a request? If not, then you should probably leave."
I narrow my gaze, ignoring him as I walk past him, yet I feel his hand clamp down on my shoulder tightly. I roughly pulled myself out of his grip and looked forward, at the two pairs of eyes currently focused on me.
One was of course Yuigahama's, who looked hesitant, most likely at the possible outcome of this meeting. At her side, holding a book, was none other than…
Waist-length black hair tied with two red ribbons by each shoulder, angular blue eyes, fair skin and… a flat chest. Yeah, definitely Yukinoshita. Just as Yuigahama, she wore the school uniform for girls with her additional knee high stockings. Even I could see that she was beautiful, well, if I were to remove her cold and overall unpleasant personality.
Right now, those cold, impassive eyes observed me with contempt. A far cry from the beautiful smile she showed yesterday evening when assuring us about her request.
"Well if it isn't Hiki-horrible-kun…" She began. Heh, she seems to be similar to the one I'm used to so far, but I can't afford to relax yet, "Could it be that the most hated student in Sobu requires our assistance?"
Now, I have to think about what I'm going to say first. She was treating me as if I were a patron, which confirms that I'm no longer considered a member of this club for some reason. I suspect this dream of mine will last much longer, so I'll have to keep dealing with it until I wake up.
Go to profile, LISTEN: Link in Logic Is My Sword: Prologue Section: Song 02
"Sure, I guess I have a request…" I responded lazily, with my hands inside my pants pockets. "Even if I'm hated, I'm still part of the Sobu's student body, so I can still make a request, right?"
Yukinoshita smiles coldly, Yuigahama looking at her uneasily, "Unfortunately that is still true, though I will make it clear that we will refuse the request if it brings harm in any way to the other students. Don't hesitate to leave if this troubles you."
Hoh… Already inviting me to leave without even hearing out my request? I honestly have none, but I have to investigate what is going on. Just follow the waves, as they say.
"Would it harm the students if I said that I don't want to be hated anymore?"
Hayama, already seated at Yuigahama's side, frowns. You got something to say?
"How can you ever hope for that after all you've done?" He scrutinizes me harshly, but I just smirk, making him narrow his gaze.
"Whatever. The past is the past, and those that dwell on it fail to advance," Was my response. Which not only made him angry, but Yuigahama now glared at me as well. I feign indifference when in fact I do not like being subjected to it. "I'm definitely sure this request isn't going to hurt anything, not even a fly."
Yukinoshita tilts her head cooly, "I wouldn't be so sure, Hiki-Unpleasant-kun. Every student despises you as far as I know, and trying to convince them to like you would be too cruel on our part. Who knows what you would do to them? Perhaps you have a plan to destroy the reputation of Sobu, and you want to gain the trust of the student body to pull off your scheme."
Since when did I become a cliché super villain? Even if I was one, I wouldn't waste my time doing something like that. Making Chiba be seen as a great city would be better. Wait… that doesn't even sound villainous. And Chiba's already great in the first place.
"Hoh… so you're basically saying that there's something fishy under my sleeve?" I inquire mockingly, knowing well which buttons to push, "The way I see it, it just seems that this club can't complete my request."
Her brow twitches as expected, and I cock an eyebrow in victory. Looks like she's still as competitive as I remember.
"I'm afraid that…" Her voice fades as she exchanges glances with both Yuigahama and Hayama. "We won't accept your request after all. I admit it would be hard to accomplish, but nothing beyond impossible. However, helping you would only cause discomfort among the students. And I cannot, in good conscience, allow that."
"I see…" I look at her blankly. So that's it then?
"Would that be all?"
I nod my head, turning around. There was no need to say anything else, it was clear they never meant to help me, even if I truly requested it. I can't tell why I'm having such a dream, but I won't question it. I won't question them. In any case, I got as much information as I could here.
"Do take care that the door does not hit you on your way out," Yukinoshita adds, her gaze directed at her book. Hoh…? It's a sliding door, you know? You disappoint me Ice Queen, your tongue is usually sharper than that.
I smirk darkly, "They say there is a certain sort of hope that a loner can receive only by having company over.
Yukinoshita frowns slightly, "Oh, and that is...?"
"The hope that they will soon leave," I turn towards the door, "Thanks for your time."
"I'm sorry we couldn't help you," The irritating blonde says insincerely.
I don't need you to say it, bastard! I would have never asked you for help in the first place. I only meant it for Yuigahama and Yukinoshita. The social butterfly of the group was strangely silent now that I think about it.
I walk out of the room and close it. I hear Yuigahama saying something but I can't make out her words as she's most likely whispering them. It's probably something about feeling relieved now that I was gone. Feels sort of bad honestly, having all my acquaintances giving me their back.
I release a heavy breath and begin to walk away.
I just hope this stupid dreams ends soon.
Oh, my shoes were stuffed with natto. Great, now they stink like hell.
It was 4:12 pm, classes had just ended. I was right in front of my locker by the lobby of the school, cursing whoever pulled this prank to me. Damn it, I need to wash them or else my bag will stink too. I'll have to use my school shoes to get back.
I head towards the nearest bathroom, but on my way there, I run into Hiratsuka-sensei. She seems sort of worried. If it isn't about her age or the fact she's still single, then I have no idea what else it can be. I decide to approach her to ask her a couple of questions.
"Yo." I wave my hand to her, and she blinks in shock.
"What is this? There's something really wrong with you today. You've never spoken a word to me before, and now it's been twice today," With a hand on her hip, she continues. "Anyhow, what is it?"
I won't even question what she just said, it's the dream's fault.
"Sensei, why's it seem that everyone hates me?" I inquire. As my homeroom teacher and advisor, she must be aware of the reasons behind the hatred I'm receiving in this dream… I hope.
Hiratsuka-sensei seems surprised at first, then she frowns visibly as she prepares her answer. However, instead of a reply, I found myself before an inquiry.
"Are you kidding?" I cock an eyebrow at her disbelieving tone, "You more than anyone else know what happened in the Cultural Festival a couple of days ago."
Wait, what? I did something worse in the dream version of the Cultural Festival? If it was bad enough that the conjured up versions of my clubmates hate and fear me for it, I don't think I want to know what I inherited from Dream-Hikki.
I narrow my gaze, "I know what happened, woman, I was there. I feel your senility is starting to show if you think I for-"
A dark, oppressive aura suddenly engulfs the hallway. Drops of sweat trail down my forehead as I gaze at the cause of this phenomenon. Oh man, I did it this time…
"Hikigaya…" Her icy voice sears my body, her hand extending towards my face.
I flinched, trying to step back as her hand finally fell on my shoulder. To my surprise, I didn't receive a hit or anything like that. It was then that I noticed her fond expression.
"Those dead fish eyes look better on you," She smiled honestly, "I have this feeling… that I'm talking to someone totally different. I prefer it."
"…is that right?" I snorted. My fish eyes garnered an honest compliment? This truly is a dream.
However, what I feared occurred. Her grip on my shoulder tightened, her eyes assuming a deadly glint, "But… I won't allow you to joke about my age again… am I clear?"
"…!" I nod frantically. This woman's still as terrifying as I remember at least.
She seems satisfied with my quick reply, and turns around, "We'll talk later, Hikigaya."
And with that she left, leaving me more confused than ever. At least answer my question before leaving dammit! All I could do was massage my aching shoulder and head to the bathroom to clean my shoes.
I better not have a bruise on my abused shoulder when I wake up.
After spending six minutes washing my shoes, I put them in the plastic bag of the long gone anpan. You've fulfilled your role of filling the empty stomach of a decent-looking loner such as myself. I will always remember you, anpan!
I wouldn't want to get my book bag all wet for putting my shoes in there, so that's a plus to the awesomeness of the anpan. It even lent me its cover. Thank you, anpan!
Anyhow, I prepare to leave the bathroom when I notice something strange before me.
It was the mirror.
I look at it, blinking, yet I don't see the response I was expecting to see in it. If I recall correctly, mirrors reflect light in a way that, for instance light in some range of wavelengths, the reflected light preserves many or most of the detailed physical characteristics of the original light… or something like that. I'm actually surprised I recalled that much, sciences have never been my strongest subject.
However, while the mirror reflected the bathroom with utmost detail, there was something within it ignoring the optical effect.
That anomaly was my own reflection. I call it that, but it was more like a literal shadow figure of myself instead. Still, with it placed in the mirror I decide to refer to it as a reflection.
My 'shadow in the mirror' (I internally cringed at the title) was staring at me like I was probably doing, but while I carried my school bag and the plastic one filled with my wet shoes, it simply had both hands inside its pockets. That couldn't be right. I couldn't see either of the items I carried within the reflective glass. Hell, I didn't see anything except for two dimensional shapes of eyes and a mouth.
Geez, it's not going to attack the next person that enters via their reflection, is it? I don't have two right hands, dammit.
And putting that side, I could swear I was sporting a confused expression considering what I was witnessing. However, my reflection looked at me with what I would call, an evil smirk. I have only seen those in anime and one on me as I role played my character during my chuunibyou period. I cringe at the reminder of the phase I went through. The past is the past Hachiman! You're better now compared to your past self! Wait. Focus, focus.
I leave both bags over the sink, and walk from one side to the other, all while gazing at the large mirror, and yet, my own reflection didn't move at all, only kept that strange expression plastered on his face, my face… I can't tell.
Go to profile, LISTEN: Link in Logic Is My Sword: Prologue Section: Song 03
[I bet you already figured it by now, so stop acting dumb. It's a pain to see myself hold that ridiculous expression.]
I stopped abruptly, mouth agape and eyes blinking. My reflection had spoken on its own, without me moving my mouth at all. How could I hear myself if I hadn't even spoken? I narrow my gaze and touch the mirror, trying to feel if the glass was a fake. This had to be a joke, as tasteless as it was.
[Stop that. It's disgusting to see myself trying to touch me… us, I mean… me.]
I take a step back, realizing that I've had enough. It was time to wake up from this shitty dream. And there was one sure way, that's been said to be effective in doing so.
Clenching a fist, I punch the mirror, right in the face of my strange reflection. I can feel my wrist twist in pain due to the force behind it, the glass cracking, if only slightly. I cry out in pain, quickly pulling back my hand as I massage my aching wrist. Blood trailed from my knuckles with tiny pieces of glass stuck to it.
[That wasn't a very smart idea, moron…]
Shit, that hurt like hell… Wasn't that supposed to wake me up?
"Why am I…?" I mutter in disbelief, opening the sink to remove the particles of glass in my hand. Water and blood become one for several seconds until I turn off the faucet. With a piece of paper, I cover my hand, blood in minimal quantity staining it.
[That's what you thought? That you were dreaming? Are you really me? That Monster of Logic Haruno used to call me?]
I ignore the way that my reflection familiarly refers to Yukinoshita's sister, and grit my teeth.
"If this isn't a dream… then what is it?" I stand straight, still holding my aching wrist, "What are you supposed to be? A doppelganger?"
My reflection makes an amused expression, pocketing out a hand and pointing his index at me.
[Well, I'm you of course, the real you.] The doppelganger responds, [I'm here to greet you in your new life.]
"…'My new life,' huh? …You see, I'm fairly positive about this whole thing being a dream," I stare blankly back at him, "Why should I believe any of this? Just because you say so? A dream is normally a recollection of various events, which are stored in the consciousness of the human being. This is most likely that," I release a breath, closing my eyes. "Whoever you are, I can tell you're lying, because… I'm the biggest liar, and if you're anything like me, then you're probably trying to deceive me."
[I won't argue with you, because that's exactly what I'd have thought in your place. Anyhow, all I want to do is let you know that as your TRUE self, I'll watch you. No matter what you do, where you go, let me assure you that I will always be here to remind you what kind of piece of shit you truly are. Your new life will be hell on earth, bastard. As your inner and true you, that I can promise.]
I continue to stare at him, before I scratch my head with a smile on my face, "Talking a lot of garbage that doesn't make any sense. You sound like Zaimokuza, you creep." That earned me a glare, courtesy of my 'evil counterpart', "Whether you're my conscience, or if this thing turns out to be a dream or not, I won't let it bother me. I've experienced enough things in my life to let some wannabe doppelganger interfere with me now."
Picking up my school bag and the plastic bag with one hand, my other injured hand hidden inside my pants' pocket so as to not attract attention, I walk towards the door.
[Time will tell, 'Hachiman.' Just you wait.]
"Find a seat then, pal, because you're going to be waiting there for a while." I raise my hand in farewell as I fully turn my back on him.
It was now 4:57 pm.
As in the morning, many students from many unknown schools walked down the street. That wasn't my concern though as I had a much greater worry. I refused to believe this was not a dream, but it was lasting too long, and the pain in my wrist felt too damn real.
Did the guy in the mirror tell the truth?
Then what happened to my previous life?
What's with this new life my doppelganger mentioned?
According to the date on my phone, the sports festival just ended two days ago, and the trip to Kyoto was a few weeks away, which meant that I've somehow traveled to the past. It was impossible.
Who was that guy anyway? He looked like me, though his eyes didn't seem to be like mine. I could clearly hear the sharpness in his tone, and even the hatred he displayed towards me. However, he was supposed to be my reflection in the mirror, not an identical 'me' that wanted to screw with my life. How could I explain that?
It was obvious actually. There was no actual explanation.
Either way, I guess I'll get back home for today. Maybe if I sleep, I'll wake up with everything back to normal? Weird logic, but considering everything that's happened so far, anything is possible.
And so as I'm walking back to my home sweet home, I hear some shouts in the distance. Turning around, I spot the annoying pest from the morning, Yuuki Rito, straining to catch up to me. What the hell does he want?
"Hey Hachiman, why'd you ditch me!?"
I stare silently before proceeding to walk forward. It wasn't like I knew him, or even cared enough to bother waiting for him to walk together. He was just some unknown idiot after all. And after this morning's events, a pervert too.
I could hear his steps quickening as he finally reached my side. I heave a sigh, glancing at Yuuki as if I just noticed him. I had treated him poorly the entire morning, and despite that, he didn't seem at all bothered.
Did he also suffer from the Hayama Hayato syndrome? Wanting to please everyone to keep a status quo? Great… Like I needed something like that around me outside of school too.
The possibility of giving this guy a chance wasn't a tempting choice. He was friendly, but his entire personality rubbed me the wrong way. Plus that friendly act of his could be just that, an act. Though I have to admit, he was among the few people who hadn't treated me like I was the Demon King himself. That girl called Haruna and Hiratsuka-sensei too, but I had no idea who the former was. Maybe Miura, though after that lunch break she may no longer be an option. I'll have to do something about that if this winds up being real.
"So, how was your day?"
"…Why?" Seriously, what's with that familiarity?
Yuuki makes a humming sound as if expecting that sort of reaction from me, "Can't I ask?"
I don't reply, which doesn't seem to offend him. I really don't like this, and I bet no one else would either. What kind of person would enjoy interacting with some stranger that already knows your mannerisms?
After several minutes, having already passed the street where that Yukihira Restaurant was located and full of people now from what I could see, we both came to a stop. The reason was nothing more and nothing less than the presence of a large bear. Seriously!? What on earth is a bear doing here? We're in Chiba dammit! Go back north to where you belong!
It was too late to move, as the bear was dangerously close. Wait, if I remember correctly, they say bears attack those that show fear or something like that. They can smell it I think… and the time has arrived it seems to prove if that theory is true.
The bear stood on its feet, its large stature shadowing the last rays of light from the sunset. I gulped but managed to retain my composure, however, what I hadn't taken into account was Yuuki's reaction. That idiot was shaking like a blender. I couldn't blame him, but at least try not to look so scared, dumbass!
"W-why the hell is there a bear in the middle of the street!?" Yuuki stuttered.
Despite this absurd situation, I think it could be explained. While there was no zoo around here as far as I recall, maybe now there was one with all this new stuff popping out of nowhere around Chiba district. Maybe the ferocious animal had escaped from captivity and was roaming the streets.
I didn't feel like explaining any of this though.
"Just don't move" I advise him, though if he gets mauled I may just be able to escape safely.
The bear looked at us, before leaning its head menacingly forward. This was the end, I was about to get eaten by a bear. This must be a nightmare, and I hope to wake up in my bed with Vita-chan right next to me. Maybe it was because of video games that my dream is so chaotic, I should lay off of them. Suddenly, the sound of a zipper opening came within earshot. I understand that you might have a loose bladder, Yuuki, given this absurd situation. But if we're about to die, at least have the courtesy to keep that evacuation in your pants! Have some shame dammit!
Go to profile, SEE: Link in Logic Is My Sword: Prologue Section: Picture 02
However, the front part of the bear suddenly fell limply to the ground, just before us. We look on in shock at the animal, until something far more incredible happens. Suddenly from the back half of the bear, two large b… hold on, breasts? A girl?
"Puff!" The girl lets out a short gasp before she takes her legs out of the bear's body… "Geez… It was too hot in there!"
A costume! It was a costume! It looked abnormally real for a costume…
"Hey, ya two!"
After witnessing such an event, we both stood straight, nodding our heads at her call. She had a Kansai accent from what I could tell.
"Y-yes miss!?" / "…What?"
I studied her. She wore a light blue sleeveless leather jumpsuit and shorts with a blue sports bra underneath. Purple boots with blue protectors adorned on her feet and long white gloves with blue elbow and hand protectors covered from the tips of her fingers to mid arm. Finally, around her waist was a belt with three green star emblems. We're in public lady, at least have the decency to dress appropriately!
Her eyes were brown, her short shoulder-length hair displaying the same color.
"Have ya seen a group of troublemakers aroun'?" She asked, approaching us.
I couldn't help but notice how well-endowed she was, her chest is even bigger than Yuigahama's… But I'm not a pervert, honestly, she's the one with the lack of decency here.
"N-no we h-haven't…" Responded a nervously blushing Yuuki Rito, while scratching his head. His eyes, however, weren't on her face. Seriously, how shameless is this pervert? At least try to be subtle.
She scrutinizes him before focusing on me. It makes me nervous, her gaze is quite sharp after all, much like the Fire Queen's. The one I knew at least, not the one I've seen today.
I only shook my head silently, which caused her to sigh.
"Darn, dose punks got away again… Damn it!" She starts to whine as she gazes behind her, which becomes the cue for us to leave. Looks like Yuuki caught on to my intention since he looked to semi-snap out of his staring. Quit following me.
As we both took our first step away, her voice shot out again.
"Hol' up!" We stopped, turning slowly.
With hands on her hip, the girl growled at us, "Ya're not hidin' them, are ya? If dey're threatenin' ya, I'll give 'em what dey deserve, so just tell me."
"We haven't seen anyone," I reply, assuming a more relaxed posture. This is getting troublesome to deal with. "You shouldn't waste your time with us. Whatever you're planning to do with whoever you're talking about, they must be somewhere else, so I suggest you ask someone else."
She frowns, folding her arms over her chest. Now that I think about it, she actually seems like a troublemaker herself. I just couldn't imagine what this girl would do if she found the guys she was looking for, clearly the gloves and protectors she used would allow her to fight, but her… assets… did look like hindrances. This isn't an anime you know? You can't just fight with them in the way.
"Yer face looks suspicious… Kinda creepy… Are ya sure ya haven't seen 'em?"
That was rude. You don't call someone you just met creepy, at least wait for the second meeting, dammit. Tch, why do I get the feeling she's doing this because of my eyes? It wouldn't be the first time but…
"No, we didn't," I confirm, irritated.
She approaches me, leaning her face towards mine as if to discover if I was lying. She was pretty, although her somewhat brusque expressions made her a little unattractive. She reminded me a bit of, uh… Kawa-something, somewhat of a tomboy, but not that much if I took in consideration the fact that Kawa-something was a skilled tailor.
"Really…?" Her gaze hardens, you're too close! "Ya don't sound sincere… suspicious…"
I just can't help getting a bit intimidated, so I avert my gaze.
"Why are you assuming that? I'm telling the truth," I manage to speak, backing a bit away. "If you're going to decide by yourself that I'm lying, then I can't do anything but assure you I'm not."
"Yer face is suspicious."
That repeated comment irks me a great deal and I turn back with a bit of a glare, "Well excuse me, but this is the only face I have so you're going to have to deal with it."
"Okay, okay. Don't get all grumpy on me."
Yuuki suddenly steps forward, blushing madly at her proximity, and I suspected that was because of this girl's attractiveness. I can't completely blame him, but I do believe he's overreacting. It's not that hard to speak to a girl, at least not for me anymore. For someone that has lived a life of rejection from society, I learned to not care for such trivialities. My problem is mostly, whether I should bother speaking to others in the first place. Seriously, get a grip you idiot.
To exchange words was never something that meant getting close to another individual, in fact, most of the time these were simple formalities and pretty much the only way of communicating ideas and information between human beings. Obligatory if you ask me.
"Ehrm… Who are you?" Yuuki asks with uncertainty, while scratching his head.
She blinks, before pointing a finger at herself, all while grinning, "Kazama Asuka! Ya two can call me Asuka, I don't mind." Yuuki blushes and laughs awkwardly.
"A-ahaha, w-we just met, Kazama-san. I don't think we should refer to our elders so casually…" Seriously, I'll think you're a friend if I do that.
"Hey, I ain't old! I'm still seventeen, but whatever rocks yer socks," She grins again before waving a hand. "Well, laters!" She stops mid-way as she leaves, "Hold up! What're yer names? It's sorta disrespectful fer ya ta have heard my name without me hearin' yers."
"Yuuki Rito!" He bows to her frantically, "Nice to meet you… Kazama-san!"
That was too quick! Don't you think that telling this random stranger your name will cause you headaches in the future? Yuuki, you're going to suffer a lot in this cruel world if you are this naive with others! Just look what's happened to me, and these rotten eyes of mine!
She turns to me, expectant. To that, I only avert my gaze aside. I'm not the one who asked for your name you know?
"Mm?" With hands over her hip, she glares at me… probably. Well, that was at least what I could feel as I deliberately avoided facing her. "What's yer name?"
I don't respond. I only hoped she would notice my clear refusal to answer her question. I should feel happy for having a girl as attractive as her asking my name and actually talking to me, but I have learned that when such events occurred, there was usually an ulterior motive behind it.
Besides, being cautious won't kill me, right? She was seriously wearing a bear costume and searching for 'troublemakers', so how can I even consider just casually telling her my name?
I suddenly felt like I couldn't breathe, the reason for it was the girl called Kazama Asuka. She pulled me by my shirt with such strength that I couldn't offer any resistance. Her grip tightened the neck of the shirt so much that I felt that I was being strangled by the material.
"I asked yer name…" She shakes me, her face absurdly close to mine. I can't even get embarrassed due to the increasing suffocation, "Dat behavior is wrong, y'know? Be polite."
I tried to push her arm away but it was futile. Whoever she is, I could only call her a monster for possessing such abnormal strength. Hayama's grip was nothing compared to this girl's.
"C-c-c… Ca-can't br-breathe…" I manage to wheeze out… barely.
"K-Kazama-san! Stop it! You're hurting him!" Yuuki states desperately, waving his arms frenetically. At least try to pull her off of me dammit.
She blinks as her grip loosens. I stumble back, gasping for breath. My neck feels sore and I swear I could have died should she have continued. Was a girl supposed to have this strength? Even if she looked sort of athletic, the force behind the grip of that girl was just insane!
This had to be a dream! But the pain on my neck felt as real as the dull ache of my wrist, not to mention the minor wounds on my knuckles.
"Hey man, you alright?" Yuuki asks, displaying concern on his face.
Idiot… how am I supposed to reply after almost being suffocated? Besides, it's obvious that I'm not alright, dumbass.
I feel a hand on my back, patting me slightly. I immediately jerk away from the touch. "Oh, sorry… I didn't mean ta…" The girl sighs, "Ya're sort of weak, ya know? I never imagined dat pulling ya from yer shirt would shock ya." Good grief, not only did she choke me but she also gave a half-assed apology, as if it were my fault that I nearly died.
I clear my throat, as painfully as it is for its current weakened state, "W-whatever… Just leave me alone already…"
I raised my glare at her, she was frowning. Alright, I know she didn't do it on purpose from what I see of her reaction, but I don't care. She seriously could have killed me, so as a measure of self-preservation, I concluded it was for the best to not create any sort of ties with her. Who knows where she acquired such strength. While Kazama doesn't seem to be a bad person, she easily managed to destroy whatever possible good impression I may have had of her.
As I massage my aching neck, and now shoulders, I walk past her, silently treading away. Some hurried steps caught up to me, which belonged to Yuuki. I briefly glance over my shoulder, noting her stare as the distance grows between us.
"G-goodbye, Kazama-san! I'm sorry we couldn't help you," I hear Yuuki say out loud.
"No probs Yuuki, and I'm sorry, whoever ya are!" She shouted at me, but I feigned having not heard her and proceeded to walk away.
I don't need some careless girl with such monstrous strength making my life miserable… More miserable than it's been throughout the day at least. The fact that she used that bear costume was the clear proof that she was someone to steer clear from.
After a couple of minutes of walking…
"That was interesting…" Came a comment from Yuuki.
I don't bother answering the attempt at small talk. I've never liked something as shallow as that.
Some seconds pass.
"Mmm… now that I think about it, what happened to your hand?"
I glance at him blankly, "I punched a mirror," And replied honestly, though my intention was to sound sarcastic so he would think I wasn't going to give him a straight answer.
"Hachiman, did you get in a fight again?"
Hmm… does that mean that I've gotten in a fight before… multiple times? I never was the type who would get physically violent, and as far as I recall, I've never actually fought anybody. I was only rejected and ignored, but to be hated so much as to earn physical abuse, not really.
"No… although, last time, when was it?"
Yuuki was thoughtful for a brief moment, "Two weeks ago I think? Why ask something you already know? I mean, it was you who told me about that."
I frown at the new information, "I forgot. I've been rather busy lately."
"Ah…" He fixates his book bag across his chest, "I know you're sort of… you…" He sweat drops, forcing a smile. What kind of wishy-washy description of me was that? "But I think you've been acting weird since the morning. Weirder…"
That was insulting, but I'll ignore it, "And?"
"Nothing I guess…" If you're not going to say anything afterwards then why bring it up?
After that, we walked in silence once again. I observed the orange sky, honestly enjoying the silence from Yuuki. Only the sound of our steps and the noise from vehicles filled the environment. Though it would be better if I wasn't being followed by him.
That is until…
"Hey, isn't that Yukinoshita-san?"
I blink. She may not like me right now but I could appreciate a familiar face, so I directed my gaze to the side of the street. Only, it wasn't the Yukinoshita I preferred to see but rather, the one I never felt like seeing at any time of the day.
Now that I think about it, I still don't know why I had a picture of her in my cell phone, but it matters not, her image was replaced by the default cover that came with the phone. It looks better already if I do say so myself.
I wasn't in the mood to deal with her teasing, so I stepped back and took the street at the left. Such evasive maneuvers were pretty much a necessity and they were very compatible with my Stealth Hikki ability. Yuuki called out to me, and if I was to guess, he would follow after me. Doesn't he have someone else to shadow?
As I advanced, he caught up to me, "Oi, Hachiman. Yukinoshita-san was waving at us. Why are you avoiding her?"
"I have my fair share of reasons. I'm leaving."
Yuuki made a sound of disapproval and sighed. I was curious as to how he knew her, but wrote it off. Whatever, I wasn't about to let that distract me.
And as soon as we reached the corner, the aforementioned girl suddenly appeared before us, panting and looking exhausted. Haruno-san supported herself on her knees as she caught her breath. That's… Not something I'd ever expect to see from her. Though, I honestly don't know that much about her. She was 'drunk' yesterday and did have the smell of previous company on her clothes.
She seemed to be the same as always though. The elder of the Yukinoshita sisters wore triangular earrings, blue jeans with a purple shoulderless blouse all stylish and sophisticated. Over her shoulder hung a brown leather purse. Her bobbed hair, which reached her shoulders, was jet black with a purple dye on the lower section. I couldn't see her purple angular eyes due to her head's lowered position.
As she finally stands straight, I can hear the soft jingling of the jewelry hooked in her earlobes. She looks at me with irritation, an expression that didn't suit her and it was the first time I'd seen such a look on her face.
"Hikigaya-kuuuunnnn~ Why did you try to ditch me!? That was so mean~!" She complains, her voice sounding childish. Though for some reason, it didn't seem as fake as the previous times… wait, everything is different today, so maybe she truly means to act like this? "I was so hurt to see you walk off like that, I had to run through this whole street to intercept you."
Oh dear, that sounded too creepy and stalkerish. And coming from her, even more terrifying.
"What do you want?" I ask sharply.
There was something she wanted, always. Every action, every word, there was always an ulterior motive behind it, I could tell that much about her. Whether she sought to meddle in my life or her sister's, I knew she wanted to discover something, using us as her lab rats to uncover what she meant to find. Whatever that is, I could only try to keep her as far from me as possible.
Yukinoshita Haruno-san was never sincere, and used people to achieve her self-centered goals.
I wouldn't be one of her marionettes.
She blinks, seemingly startled before smiling, "Oh, I see…" She glances at Yuuki before gazing back at me, "Yuuki-kun, would you mind if I steal him for a bit?"
"Ah… haha, be my guest, I guess?" He replies with a nervous smile, reddening and scratching his head.
It's easy to see he is being intimidated by her cold gaze, despite that she's smiling. Not to mention that Yuuki seems to be an utter shy idiot with the opposite sex, even more with someone as beautiful and well-endowed as Haruno-san. But seriously, does he have to blush with every female we've run into? Aren't you supposed to like that 'Haruna' girl?
"This guy doesn't have a say in what entails the use of my time," I retort, glaring at them. "And I mind. Shouldn't you be asking me that?"
"T-then I'll be going… Talk to you later," He waves at me despite the fact that it was never decided that he was dismissed.
As the idiot leaves, much to my discomfort given my current situation, I feel my arm being pulled and enveloped by another. Soon my limb is grazing something soft and big. I turned to see Haruno-san clutching my arm so close to her that I could smell her intoxicating perfume and feel her ample chest… Damn it, woman! Don't do something so irresponsible without a care! I could die of a heart attack!
"Shall we go?" She asks me, smiling slyly.
I breathe deeply, finally getting a hold of myself, "It's not like you're giving me much of a choice." She stares at me, unblinking. I had to avert my gaze. Having our faces so close to one another was too embarrassing, "Where to?"
"Your eyes seem weird today…though I just love your embarrassed face…" She pokes at my cheek, pressing herself even more to me. Cut it out. "How about we go to the usual place?"
That word means commonly encountered, experienced, observed, or in this case, visited. I have only seen Haruno-san a few times, and those only happened by chance. I can't recall purposefully meeting with her or going anywhere regularly other than answering her inquiry about Yukinoshita's career path. Whatever, if I'm no longer a member of the Service Club, then there's the probability that I hang out with her now. She seems unusually closer and uncomfortably different. Honestly, I'm starting to prefer her being 'drunk'. At least she had an excuse for acting differently.
"Yep! Or do you have some other place in mind?" She tilts her head, looking annoyingly cute. C'mon Hachiman, you're better than this. Don't just fall for her tricks! "Or maybe…" Her face becomes soft, almost seductive. "You don't want to wait…"
She giggles and pulls me with her across the street. Why am I letting her pull me along? Call it morbid curiosity of my current relationship with her in this dream. Or maybe I'm just as stupid as Yuuki, actually no, that guy's a lost cause. Whatever the case, I'll see what she's planning so I can create counter measures for future occurrences down the road.
As we advanced, I came to see we were nearing a café. Oh, she wanted to eat and talk probably. This should be a good chance to find more as to why she is friendly to me while Yukinoshita isn't. Maybe it'll be like those scenes in anime when the character faces his conscience and finds out more about himself.
We enter the café, somewhat empty and sort of plain. There were tables lined up across the room, customers being attended to by girls, pretty waitresses as far as I can see. This establishment was the sort to not only offer dinner but to give the customers a quiet place to spend their time. There were plenty of couples around.
It's not like I ever experienced that though, only in dating sim games at most. Though I suppose that Isshiki's fake dates could count too. Just, without the romantic implications.
While I first thought that we were going to take a table to order something to eat, that soon changed as Haruno-san approached a maid, whispering some words to her. The maid visibly pales and nods her head. Then, Haruno-san approaches and leads me to a door, looking around warily as if to avoid drawing attention. Once we entered, I couldn't see a thing as it was dark. I felt the grip on my arm loosening until it was gone.
"Huh? What's going on?" I asked but I only received a giggle as her reply, "Oi, this isn't funny. We shouldn't intrude in areas devoid of customers without authorization. We're pretty much breaking the law right now."
"Silly, I just asked my good friend to let us in~" Her voice echoes, "She said the manager is not around so don't worry about it."
I stood there in the dark, tensing in anticipation. Suddenly, a light was turned on, and I finally took into my surroundings. This was some sort of basement, holding piles of boxes and unused furniture. Tables, chairs and even a couple of dusty washing machines lined the walls.
Within the room was Yukinoshita Haruno-san, sitting on top of what seemed to be a large box.
"Come…" She says, almost quietly.
Go to profile, LISTEN: Link in Logic Is My Sword: Prologue Section: Song 04
I narrow my gaze at her strange behavior. Her voice conveyed something far more sinister than the usual teasing. I approach her, warily, glancing around me as I did.
"Why are we here?" Every word of mine was filled with distrust, and I meant it.
Couldn't we discuss somewhere else if you wanted some privacy? Huh, are you finally showing me your true colors without a care? I can only think that you're planning to kill me by bringing me to this secluded area. I always knew there was something deeply wrong with you.
Her almost shadowed face displayed confusion, if only for a mere second. The dim light did little to illuminate her features, so I could barely distinguish her face. What followed was a laugh, one of amusement, though one I still found eerie.
"Seriously, you're acting so coy today…" She finally adds huskily after her laughter ended, "…and I love it."
Haruno-san stands up, taking one slow step after another, every motion of her void spilling seduction. It was an incredible sight, her face becoming more visible to me as she neared. Her curves were impressive, her chest too damn entrancing, her long slender legs simply captivating.
And her face, flushing deep red, while those eyes were looking at me as if I was her prey. Her teeth bit into her lip slightly at the mere thought of something I couldn't describe or imagine. It was mesmerizing, but terrifying all the same. I stared at her, mouth agape. And when she was just about to close the distance that was already too little to be simply called uncomfortable, I raised my arms instinctively.
"Hold on…" She stops at my words, "Just… what are you doing?"
Haruno-san blinked, seemingly startled at my actions, "What do you mean?"
Wait, that isn't the reaction I'm expecting. Heck, this whole situation is crazy enough for me to expect anything in the first place. Having a woman such as Haruno-san, who by my standards is far above most of the beautiful females I have seen, looking at me with such a flushed face makes me nervous, incredulous, but mostly… disturbed.
"Just what I said. What are you doing?"
"Are… are we roleplaying something new today?" She said, still stepping closer to me. Her scent reaches my nose. "Then what do you want me to do? Act like a naughty girl, a tsundere maybe?" Her palms fall on my chest, her sly smile displaying something I've never seen in my life, "I'll be whateeeeever you want me to be, you know?"
I still think that I'm dreaming regardless of what my doppelganger told me. This is an impossible situation, that's why I can't buy it. I simply can't. I've had enough of girls playing with my heart like it was some sort of expendable toy to be used and then be discarded when they're bored. In a teasing manner or otherwise. But this was on another level.
"Stop messing with me," Yeah, stop it! I know she enjoys teasing me, but this is going too far! Even for someone like her, this is just wrong! "I'd rather have your sister calling me the worst piece of trash on the planet than having to withstand more of your twisted sense of humor."
Even now, I can still recall the looks of disdain that Yukinoshita and Isshiki shot at me, the fear Yuigahama held towards me. I don't know what I did, but having those three suddenly loathe me wasn't something I was prepared for and it wasn't something I enjoyed experiencing. I always lived my life peacefully and unnoticed by society, I never hurt anyone, and I wasn't hurt by others. It worked for me.
Things are different now, having my locker filled with letters that contained threats to my life, insults and so. Everyone at my school didn't ignore me, but they hated me, and I don't fucking know why! And just when I thought Haruno-san didn't completely change, she crosses the line with her teasing, past the point I would ever expect of her.
"Hachi-kun~" She started, and my incredulity increased. She's never called me that, in fact, no one has ever called me that. It seemed as it was some playful way of addressing me, even using my first name as if we were lovers or something. The nerve of this woman. "You're scaring me, Hachi-kun… Quit the act already. I'm horny and this isn't helping."
"…What?" I blinked, my jaw almost falling, "What did you say?"
She huffed as she stepped back, looking rather irritated, "I said that I'm horny!" She did look scary when mad, despite what she was stating, "I want your dick in my a-"
"Whoa! Whoa! H-hold on!" This had gone through the roof. Was she now talking about sex? This was past just teasing already, this was just a sick joke now. "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Her glare intensifies as she steps up to me again, the sound of her foot tapping the ground, which echoed inside the room. That scared me a bit so I had to step back in instinct. I soon found myself lying on the ground after Haruno-san pushed herself onto me. I looked up before I froze in shock. Her face showcased all of the lust she was currently holding with one seductive smile.
The elder sister of the Yukinoshita family was taking off her clothes. I could see clearly her black bra, hiding her generous proportions. My face became hot for obvious reasons as she removed her skirt, black panties being revealed. It didn't stop there though as she reduced the gap between us, her large chest bouncing over me before the sound of something unfastening confirmed that she was planning to get naked… for real.
"Is this where you wanna do it then…?" Her bra was released, the whole glorious form of her chest being displayed right to my face.
I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. Haruno-san's nipples were pink, a color that I manage to distinguish despite the shadows, or maybe my brain wasn't thinking logically anymore with it going haywire at this escalating situation. I could only stare at her, frozen solid, sweat falling across my pale face. My rapid beating heart being the only thing that reminded me that I was indeed still conscious.
"What is it, Hachi-kun~" She smiled slyly, letting her body fall over mine, her breasts leaning on my chest, the sight becoming far more racy. "Did you miss them…?" Haruno-san giggled, "Did you miss me?"
I have to be insane to be thinking that. Any heterosexual male in my shoes would have long since let themselves go with the tides, but I couldn't. Not because I wasn't prepared, not because I was inexperienced, but because…
"Save me someday, okay?"
No matter her reasons, no matter the circumstances, no matter if Haruno-san was taking her pranks beyond anything she did before, or if she truly meant it. I just couldn't do this to her and especially not to her sister.
This was not genuine. This was a lie.
It wasn't possible. I refuse to accept this…
"No!" I pushed her away and stood on my feet. I felt abnormally exhausted and I was panting, yet that didn't matter. Haruno-san gazed at me in shock, as if news of a deceased parent came to her. That wasn't the case, and the fact that she was pulling such a face put me at unease.
"Don't… do this…" I say between pants, stepping back. "Please… don't…"
"H-Hachi-kun…?" She stayed on the floor, unblinking. "What are you doing…? This isn't funny anymore… You're ruining this…"
"I… I have to leave…"
I spun around, and ran out of the room, not even caring to close it behind me. I simply wanted to get out of there, as far away as I could. The implanted memory of her naked upper body wasn't a memory I'm going to forget anytime soon… probably…
This was the first time I saw a woman's breasts in all their natural glory… And they were indeed beautiful…
But this wasn't an experience I may really rejoice in either.
No, it was more of a trauma.
Ah, they really looked soft though.
Ack, stop it Hachiman. You almost tripped.
I shook my head, having already left the café, having already crossed the street. I came to a stop when my legs gave in, and I fell on my knees just before a store. I fought to catch my breath, which was nothing short of erratic.
The passing people observed me with worried expressions, and while I first believed they were concerned about my well-being, it didn't take much to notice their concern was only directed toward themselves. They walked past me, as far as the road would let them, as far as they could so I wouldn't harm them. Because right now, I was the sight of those individuals that society rejected, a possible hooligan, a delinquent. They feared me.
Kindness and understanding, my ass.
People only look after themselves and those they think care, but nothing beyond that. I was just, to them, another unknown and creepy student that anyone would reject and ignore. Someone that would possibly cause them the troubles they strived to avoid.
That wasn't the case, yet, ignorance was their solution.
"H-hey…" I blink, a voice speaking. "Are you okay…?"
It wasn't until now that I noticed the shadow of someone at my side, who was knelt down as if to check on me. Was I wrong just now or was it someone I knew?
I turn my gaze at the person, who surprisingly was a cute girl. Long brown hair with a pink clip in her fringes, orange eyes and soft-looking skin… yeah definitely cute. Also, her uniform was one I couldn't recognize. It was composed of brown shoes, long black socks that almost reached her knees. As well as a red skirt striped with white and brown lines paired with a white shirt over a brown blazer, and finally, a red ribbon on her chest.
I stare at her and she averts her gaze, seemingly intimidated. Geez… just what are you doing Hachiman? Scaring the only person that had the decency of offering assistance. And while I didn't really need it, it was good to know that my previous monologue about all people being cold bastards was proven wrong. Good going Stranger-san, you turned 'all' to 'most.'
I clear my dry throat and nod my head, "Y-yeah… I was just in a rush to reach my station. As you can imagine, I'm not the athletic type of guy. To work is to lose, and doing sports isn't within my line of interests." Lies, upon a half truth, upon some truth, I know. But I need an alibi for looking as exhausted as I do in broad public.
Surprisingly, she giggled, "I wouldn't call doing sports as a student a job, though I still see your point." Her orange orbs examined me for a few seconds. "Your personality hasn't changed at all, though your eyes seem rather creepy, more like, rotten?" Oh great…
So I know her too? Give me back my thanks! I admitted that my monologue was wrong, yet she probably knows me too! In the end, people really don't help strangers to them. Now why does she know me? Yet another mystery to add to the list that had been becoming longer by the minute. And stop talking about my eyes already!
"Do I know you?" I asked, finally in control of my breathing I stood up. She was shorter than me, probably Yuigahama's height.
She frowns but shakes her head, "Not anymore I think. It's not surprising… considering that we haven't talked since middle school… or since you confessed to Orimoto-san to be specific." The revelation made me almost bite my tongue, "You're not mad at me anymore are you?"
Hold on a minute. She knows Orimoto Kaori, so this girl must have been a classmate of mine during middle school. However, I'm definitely sure I didn't talk to any girl besides Orimoto, as she was the only girl that was 'nice' to me… at least until I got rejected.
I can't jump to any conclusions though, this is probably another one of the many changes I have been experiencing today.
"Huh, I don't bother holding grudges. Even with those who deserve it." I would have destroyed the world a long time ago if that was the case.
She smiles nervously, and sighs, "I felt really bad… like really bad after that. I was afraid that you would insult me or something… Someone told me that you talked trash about me since we stopped talking, so for my part, I didn't feel like apologizing either. You made it difficult."
Well, whatever happened in middle school, it was in the past. I don't dwell on it… My bitter social life during that time had left a mark on me if I'm to be honest, but it helped make me who I am today. Orimoto herself was the catalyst that led me to hate nice girls, or anyone nice for that matter.
Although I say that was all in the past, unpleasant memories always find a way to remain imprinted on one's mind as if they were permanent scars. No matter how much time passes, you will always see and remember that mark whether you like it or not.
If I stopped talking to this girl, there must have been a good reason for it, and I felt I shouldn't ignore it.
"Why did you bother to talk to me after all this time then?" I inquired, finally relaxed, "Eh… I think I even forgot your name."
The girl pouted, "Nibutani! Nibutani Shinka! How fragile is your brain? I could understand you didn't recognize me physically as we grew and changed slightly. I mean, you didn't have those awful eyes before… But… how could you forget my name?" There's another dig at my eyes I see…
Nibutani Shinka. As per usual that name doesn't ring a bell, so I have to assume that she is a new element to my life, but from somewhere in my past. Whatever the case, I'll deal with it in the best way I can.
"Things happen. The human brain always replaces unwanted memories with those that will most likely serve a purpose, or simply those that are nice, fuzzy and all that crap," I say flatly, "It's some sort of auto defense mechanism if you think about it."
Nibutani deadpans, "I can't disagree with you, but somehow, that doesn't sound good. It's like you're saying that recalling my name is an unpleasant memory…"
I stare at her blankly, "It probably was… Why don't you ask yourself that?" She gazes at me, her brows displaying that my question hurt her. I didn't mean it, but knowing me, I probably wasn't the cause of us avoiding one another. "So as I asked you before, why bother talking to me now?"
She averts her gaze, "…I don't know… I just saw you there, looking like a wreck."
I think I may have become a bit more of an airhead during these last few months… probably Yuigahama's fault. I snickered insincerely, earning a confused frown from her. "I should have figured it was pity."
That made her react, her eyes widening, her stance shaking, "No, no, no! I didn't mean that! I just never had the courage to speak to you as you always seemed so cold every time I ran into you… Yet I saw you so weak some moments ago… I was worried that-"
"Isn't that pity? A feeling of sympathy for someone else's unhappiness or difficult situation?" She opened her mouth to retort, yet it was closed instantly. Silence ensued so I spoke again after sighing, I was being unfair to her. "Sorry… I've had an awful day tod-"
"Oh?" A familiar voice cut me off, "Who is this… lovely girl?"
I pale, looking over my shoulder as Yukinoshita Haruno-san stands just behind me. Her smile exuded a strange aura. One in which I can recognize restrained ire, amusement and something else I couldn't put my finger on. Scary, her smile is scary!
Though, at least she wasn't half-naked anymore. Stop it Hachiman!
I step back, and cough twice, facing both of them, "S-she is… a classmate from middle school…"
"Nibutani Shinka," She bows to her and smiles. "Nice to meet you."
Haruno-san's gaze studies her from what I can see, her eyes looking at her from bottom to top. Nibutani fidgets under her scrutiny, even I would, her cold empty eyes were nothing like I've seen before. Piercingly fearsome would be the description I'd use.
"It's my pleasure…" Haruno-san says insincerely. She isn't even trying to hide her true personality. I mean, she is smiling but her entire being is conveying contempt. "I'm… Hikigaya-kun's girlfriend."
…Huh? Who was? Me? When was this decided?
Even I couldn't see that one coming. I only stood there, immobile while she clutched my arm in a deadlock grip again. She even dared to lean her head on me! The nerve of this devil! She has no limits! Cut that out!
Nibutani was as shocked as me, her eyes blinking several times. I shifted my center of attention to her briefly due to that reaction. I could only imagine that I meant something to her as she now looked hurt. Just what the hell is going on?
"I-I see…" She stares at Haruno-san, then at me, blankly, "I'm actually surprised that you managed to get in a relationship… with someone as pretty as her…"
That comment irked me even if she had a point. Despite that Haruno-san's statement was an utter lie, it still bothered me. You're talking to her, so why am I the one getting insulted?
"Why, thank you, Somethingtani-san. We're very happy together!" She held me closer. Nibutani's eye twitches at Haruno-san's rudeness and her proximity to me. Seriously, get off of me!
"That's a lie," I try to pull away from the older girl's grip, "She's just teasing."
Haruno-san turns to me, our faces absurdly close, "You're right… but I think it's time for us to get serious. We've been playing a lot so far, and I like it but… I want it to be official. I don't care what my mother says anyway, so Hachi-kun, make me your girlfriend… now."
What nonsense was she spewing? Our relationship was close to non-existent, and anything that might have been romantic was just her teasing. She was manipulative and a schemer. There was no way she would mean this despite what she tried to do in the storeroom of that café.
How far will Yukinoshita Haruno-san go for her own entertainment? In the end this is all just a game for her, and we are her toys.
I'm sick of that, honestly.
And if you're going to ask me out at least try to be cute about it, dammit! What's with that demanding tone!?
I turned my gaze back at Nibutani, who looked sort of irritated. Now that was something else I wasn't expecting.
"Well it seems she is asking you for something, Hikigaya-kun." Her expression had become serious, so anticlimactic, "Why won't you just do it?"
I can't do anything. How could I when I'm being the receptor of such gazes? Of such expectations? It's too much pressure for something I'm not even aware of. Who is this Nibutani Shinka girl anyway? What was she to me?
The answer is quite simple: A stranger.
I sigh, not saying anything in return. A minute passes and Nibutani narrows her gaze, while Haruno-san poked my cheek repeatedly. Stop that. Yet, I have no plans to respond. Soon, a glare was being directed at me, but I remained silent all the same.
I didn't owe her an explanation, nor an excuse. Whatever I did was my business, and mine alone. In the end, I wasn't better as I didn't care for what a stranger thought of me. I hated not reprimanding Haruno-san for her behavior, but the fact that this Nibutani looked at me so demandingly annoyed me.
Even if I did know her, even if we did once talk during middle school, something happened that made us strangers to one another. I don't need to have consideration for someone that's judging me as she's currently doing.
"Hachi-kuuuuunnn~ What are you thinking about? Another one of your monologues?"
I ignored the elder Yukinoshita and remained quiet.
"Fine then, you're still mad. Do whatever you want, I don't care," Nibutani growls, giving us her back.
And as she walks away, Haruno-san states, "You don't care, yet you seem upset? So cute… and rather…" Her eyes became cold, even with a seemingly triumphant expression painted on her face. "…boring… I hoped for something different but in the end, it was just lame, ordinary."
That's more of the Yukinoshita Haruno-san I know at least.
The brown-haired girl stopped for mere seconds, then turned around towards us. Nibutani now sported a cocky smile and I couldn't help getting tense at it.
Go to profile, SEE: Link in Logic Is My Sword: Prologue Section: Picture 03
"Ordinary you say?" She raised a hand, motioning it in a dismissive manner, "Do you think me calling you a slut is ordinary as well? I'm sure you are quite familiar with that term."
Yikes, that was pretty rough, but I can't really say anything about that.
Raising a finger while smiling bashfully and stepping forward, Haruno-san responded, "Oh, really…?" Despite the rather friendly face she displayed, her tone was as cold as a glacier in the Arctic.
"But it doesn't really matter. Whoever Hikigaya-kun decides to date is none of my concern," Nibutani states as she began to walk away, and soon enough, she was gone from my sight when she turned on a corner.
I released a breath before noticing the grip on my arm was no more.
"Hachi-kun… I'm mad, so I'm leaving too…" Haruno-san said with a pout, "Whatever is wrong with you, deal with it. I was so hot and ready before and you wasted it. That hurt, you know?"
"Quit your stupid teasing. You're going too far," I mutter lowly, significantly annoyed.
"Then stop acting like an idiot," She responds in kind, exporting the same expression. "We have something nice going, so don't screw it up." She begins to depart, although she seems cheerful again. "Goodbye, Hachi-kun! Next time I won't wait…" The sly smirk she suddenly gives me is too damn intimidating, it was like seeing a grenade about to explode in my face, far more scary than her emotionless side. "I'll rip off your clothes if necessary… with my teeth."
With one final wink, she walks away.
My brain couldn't process a single logical thought to explain what I was experiencing. I can only hope to return home, get some good sleep and wake up like nothing about this nightmare had actually happened. That is… if I really am dreaming.
This is looking less and less like a dream though.
I was just about to reach home when I noticed two boys standing near the entrance of my home. One I recognized as Yuuki Rito, while the other was unknown, and he wore a plain school uniform composed of a shirt and pants. They turned to me as I neared. Perfect…
"Yo," The unknown boy snickers, waving a hand at me. "Already done with Yukinoshita-san? Took less time than usual," That earned a chuckle from Yuuki, much to my irritation. "As you normally stay until late night when you go out with her…"
I'm beginning to suspect something fishy here. I need confirmation about it though, I just can't jump to any conclusion without proof.
"Really?" I asked in fake amusement, "You're exaggerating."
"I've seen you come back late many times now that I think about it," Yuuki adds, scratching his head. "Like three days ago, when I went out to buy some stuff for Mikan's homework at the store. I saw you arriving at your house. It was night… like a quarter to ten, you know?"
"Why do you keep denying it, man?" Asked the other dude, who now that I looked at him, had hair that was greyish white. It was an odd color to have, although his hairstyle was short… rather simple. "Don't you remember what happened two months ago? I haven't forgotten it, dude."
Yuuki seems surprised, and for my part, I just feel annoyed. I can only assume that I know this guy from somewhere, too, though as usual I have no recollection of it. His uniform was different from Yuuki's, although, with the cooling weather, I just can't help but wonder why he was just wearing a shirt. If the sport festival truly ended a couple of days ago, then fall had already started.
Seriously, nothing makes sense anymore.
"Two months ago?" Yuuki repeats. He seems curious, "What? What? Something happened then? What do you know, Ayumu?"
The guy called Ayumu smirks eerily, giving me a bad feeling, "Well, my, my… Should I tell him, Hachiman? You made me swear I would never speak about it, but now that Rito has noticed it…"
Why do I have the feeling that I don't want to know? Still, this may very well be the reason why Haruno-san was so bold before. There is no knowledge that has no power, and learning more about that devilish girl could come in handy for me in the long run.
"Aaw, c'mon. We're friends, right!?" Whines Yuuki, folding his arms, "You can trust me, Hachiman. I told you everything about Haruna-chan!"
Did he? Maybe so, who knows? I'm probably being a hypocrite, but the way Yuuki seems to act when the subject, 'Haruna,' comes into the conversation is pathetic. He just seems to be one of those random mindless harem protagonists that can't do a single thing on their own. Unable to face their reality and change it, whether if it's for the right path or the wrong one. Why the hell is this type of idiot my 'friend'?
"He's spacing out, isn't he?"
I blink, noticing the focused gazes of Yuuki Rito and…?
"Who is this?"
Yuuki rolls his eyes, "Here we go again…" He sighs, "This is what I told you before, Ayumu. He's been acting weird all day."
I raise an eyebrow as the unknown boy observes me. This guy's eyes seemed tired, and he even yawned before speaking. It's not that late for someone to be tired already. "I can see that… how troublesome. Are you really gonna make me play along with your act? Did you hit your head or something?"
I simply stare blankly at him, Yuuki groaned.
"Man, I'm Aikawa Ayumu, dude," Aikawa states. "Your neighbor and good-looking friend, remember?"
"Another neighbor?" I ask, bewildered.
"Yep, that's my nice, peaceful home." He raises a hand, pointing his thumb over his shoulder, towards his rear view. There was a white house, adjoining mine from the left. Huh…
Before I could even make a comment, the annoyingly, seemingly kind-hearted Yuuki Rito points his index finger at another house, just at the right side of my own home. "And that's my house. See? Neighborhood friends."
This is ridiculous! Yuuki Rito at one side, and this, Aikawa Ayumu? At the other? While I shouldn't really mind these two living at both sides of my house, the fact that Aikawa also talked to me as if we were all established friends was the vexing part.
"So because we're neighbors, you talk to me?" I inquire, walking past them, hands on my pockets. Then I stop, realizing the sudden silence. I turned to them, both gazing at me in utter seriousness. "…what is it?"
"Don't treat it like that," Aikawa states monotonously. I wasn't joking though, "Us becoming friends was a lot more than that, idiot."
I narrow my gaze at his words. Looks like he took offense to me simplifying our supposed relationship. But I slowly nod back at him anyway.
"Oh, yeah! We were talking about you and Yukinoshita-san!" Suddenly, Aikawa grins mockingly, patting my shoulder. I twitch an eyebrow at the action as he continues, "Trying to divert our attention? Nice try, Hachiman, but I think it's time for you to tell him everything."
"Yeah! Are you going to tell me, man? What happened with Yukinoshita-san two months ago?" Yuuki asks with genuine interest, but why does he care? "What did you see, Ayumu?"
As the two went ahead and bickered amongst themselves about this story, I was able to fully see the eager curiosity that Yuuki held about this subject.
Actually, I have a possible theory about his curiosity. Yuuki Rito is overly shy with women. As demonstrated by his behavior with his crush, that girl called Haruna, that scary Kazama Asuka brute who we just met today, and of course, Haruno-san.
Basically, having no experience on how to interact with the opposite sex is Yuuki's main problem, and I'm pretty sure that his nervousness is probably attributed to the fear of rejection. I wouldn't call myself a veteran in this subject, but my sarcasm and the fact that I didn't care what others thought of me helped me break that barrier. Enduring constant rejection was well within my field of expertise after all.
And so, Yuuki Rito sought to find someone that could accomplish what he couldn't, in order to learn and then practice himself. As Haruno-san is attractive, it isn't a surprise that he would hold me in a position of admiration. As in his eyes, I had no problem speaking to women in general.
I actually had that problem before, but that's all in the past. I'm far too rational to let that cloud my mind now. Besides, he should be the one to solve his own problem, right? So whatever his troubles really are about girls, it has nothing to do with me.
"Oi, just go ahead already," I say to him, feigning a disinterested expression. "Feel free to tell him all you know."
I watch as Aikawa muses, "Hoh… You sure?"
"Humor me." Comes my instant reply.
"Well, if you say so," He turns towards Yuuki, who gulps in anticipation. "So, like, two months ago, remember when Tomoya invited us for a Videogame Night at his house?"
The brown-haired boy nods frenetically, "Tomoya?" Yuuki raises his head, apparently recalling the past event, "Oh! Of course! How could I forget? I've not only got an autograph of Kasumi Utako, but I also learned her true name! And don't forget that she even promised to present us to Maizono Sayaka."
I cocked an eyebrow, as I have no idea of what he was talking about. Being so ignorant to almost everything is really irritating. I feel like I've lost control of my life. Aikawa notices my confused expression and growls.
"Seriously, dude? Kasumi Utako, the famous light novel author?" I stare blankly at him, which causes both Aikawa and Yuuki to exchange glances of disbelief. "You made us read her light novels, remember? You even said she was one of the few authors you respected."
Wow, I said that? Whoever Kasumi Utako is, that writer must have been very impressive for me to say something like that. While I've read plenty of light novels, I can't really say I know that name. Though I'm not really eager to learn about her if my surprising amount of eroge was anything to go by.
"At least you know who Maizono Sayaka is, right?" Yuuki butts in and I casually shrug in response, "Oh, c'mon! The famous Idol that has started becoming popular recently?"
"This guy have amnesia all of a sudden? He doesn't recall anything at all," Aikawa points out.
Well, I was never too much of an Idol follower, so I have no knowledge about this theme. Though, now that I think about it, I wonder why I didn't. Maybe becoming one of those fervent fans would have allowed me to meet and befriend people… maybe not… those are the type of people that are even worse than Zaimokuza could be, probably as bad as Ebina though. Gross.
"ANYWAY!" Yuuki raises his voice, earning our attention, "Why are we deviating from the juicy subject!? I remember that day in Tomoya's house as if it happened yesterday. So what happened that I don't know?"
Aikawa Ayumu smirks, "After Kasumigaoka-senpai left, we all stayed playing video games 'till very late and we fell asleep without noticing, right?"
Yuuki nods his head, "Yeah… Hachiman, Souma and Tomoya were the first ones to fall asleep. Then I followed. So what?" Ugh, so many names… Just get to the point already.
"I was the last one to fall asleep, but I woke up during that night because of some noise. It was then that I noticed that this dude…" Aikawa points his thumb at me as he continues, "…was missing from the room."
I have a bad feeling about this. Something tells me to stop this story, but this is related to me and Haruno-san, I have to know what it was.
Am I only curious? Or maybe I have another motive behind this need for knowing the truth? Is it because it's Haruno-san, Yukinoshita's sister, that's involved? I don't know… And I cannot explain why I'm so edgy about hearing this.
Was I looking for the reason why I didn't belong to the Service Club? Was Haruno-san involved? Maybe I just wanted to know why this was happening, why everything was so different. If this turned out not to be a dream, then what am I supposed to do? I just… i don't know.
"Hey, Hachiman… Ignoring your eyes, you don't look so good," Yuuki speaks to me. What sort of face was I putting for him to tell me that? This is affecting me more than I had anticipated. Get yourself together Hachiman, you're better than this. "You okay? If you don't want me to know, then I'll understand. I don't want you to feel bad or uncomfortable."
I observe him in bewilderment. This might not just be a farce at this point, Yuuki might actually be a nice guy. I would even compare him to Yuigahama, who is always thoughtful of everyone, and always try to keep the peace and balance between all parties involved because she truly values them. Doesn't mean I dislike him any less, but I am bitterly reminded of that airhead I'm more familiar with.
"It's nothing, let Aikawa continue," I grumble, fearing what was about to come. I sort of suspected something, but I've learned to not make conclusions based purely on suspicions. And besides, I was about to get confirmation about the matter. Let's just let this guy speak.
After clearing his throat, Aikawa continues, "Are you sure, Hachiman? I can still stop, or maybe you can tell him yourself later on if you feel like it."
Not that I can as I haven't the slightest idea of what happened two months ago involving them, Haruno-san, or those persons he mentioned. I shook my head, letting out my command even as my voice was sort of dry… I'm thirsty…
"Just do it."
Aikawa looks at me for some seconds, and finally nods. Here we go Hachiman, there's no going back. It couldn't be that bad, could it?
"I went to the kitchen to see if Hachiman was there…" He stops briefly, a short time he probably uses to choose his words, "And I found him… but he wasn't… alone."
"Was Yukinoshita-san there? That late in the night?" Yuuki voices his doubt, which is quickly responded. "Why was she there?"
"I had no idea at the time until he told me, but I wasn't really concerned about it considering what I saw," He suddenly seems nervous. Hmm… what is it? The suspense is killing me! "I thought I was dreaming, but ehrm… well… what I saw in Tomoya's kitchen… eh…"
"Say it already," I grunt in irritation. I just couldn't help it.
Aikawa seems surprised, if only a little, and clears his throat again, assuming a really serious expression. Man, this moment felt like this certain part of a movie where the ultimate secret is revealed, creating a plot twist so great that changes the course of the story to a path no one ever expected. I was probably exaggerating though. Yuuki gulps in expectation.
"What I saw was… Hachiman doing it…"
Silence came and reigned.
I blink, several times. I must have misheard him. I turned towards Yuuki, and he was gazing at me in utter surprise, his jaw almost dropping. Why are you putting on that dumb face?
"…Hachiman was having sex with Yukinoshita Haruno-san, Yuuki," He repeats what I thought was unthinkable. "He had her in a doggy-sty-"
"S-SERIOUSLY!?" Yuuki asks in disbelief, completely shocked.
And as for myself, I looked at him, mouth agape. Was that true? Was any of this true? Did I really do… that? I've never even thought about having sex with anyone before. I mean, how was I even supposed to think about that if I barely talked to anyone?
'Sex' was pretty much a word that barely crossed my mind.
Honestly, the only times when I thought of that sort of thing was when I was engaged in my, er... 'research'. Even with Haruno-san and Yuigahama, and something about black lace, all I would mostly feel was embarrassment. However, having sexual intercourse was simply not within my list of possible actions. Such an act normally occurred between couples, and I just had a few acquaintances.
Friends? Possibly, but not anymore if all this turns out to be real.
To have any sort of sexual activity wasn't within my line of possibilities, not even the anticipation as I knew there was no one that would even think of doing that with me. I mean, I haven't even had my first kiss yet!
Not to mention the fact that I was the 'lucky bastard' in this story. How could I possibly have sex with Haruno-san of all people? What sort of supernatural circumstances could have led us to that moment of carnal need? Someone as beautiful as her could most likely get anyone better than me, and I'm not joking about that. And while I do admit that she is certainly attractive, my fear and hatred of her triumphs over that. So then… how? …Why?
All I could think of was that Aikawa was lying, but was he really?
"Hachiman? Did you really do it? With Yukinoshita-san?" Yuuki began his tantrum of questions, his shock replaced by interest and… respect? Stop that, I don't want to be admired for this absurd reason.
Now, I couldn't respond because I was doubtful. Thinking this through, if everything I had witnessed during this day was anything to go by, then I couldn't really deny that something such as having sex with Haruno was somehow possible. A lot of impossible stuff was occurring anyway. Besides, this could very well explain the boldness she displayed to me in that café. She did show me her 'assets' after all, and that may be proof to corroborate Aikawa's revelation.
Yuuki stared at me with a focused expression as he waited for my reply. Unexpectedly, or rather expectedly, Aikawa answered for me.
"Actually, these two lovebirds do that sort of thing occasionally," He nudges my arm, smiling slyly. I cocked an eyebrow at such an irritating face. He has no idea what he is saying, he doesn't understand the implications of this information. "I can't even imagine how many times you had already banged her before the day I found out about it. She turned out to be quite the slut, eh?"
"Oi, shut up, Ayumu," Growls Yuuki, his ever kind-hearted personality popping up, "Don't talk like that about Yukinoshita-san. They're probably in a relationship so this is normal… right?" His face suddenly is covered by depression, "It's not like I ever had a girlfriend, so I have no idea about that though… geez…"
What the hell do you have to be so depressed about Yuuki? I'm the one going through an existential crisis here. Ignoring all that's happened to me in the course of this day, before things started becoming weird, I easily can say that I have no conception of what entails being in a relationship. Much less into themes that require one to be sentimentally close to another person, such as having sexual activity or any stuff that only a couple would do.
"She is not my girlfriend," I state with conviction.
No matter who I'd choose, I would never be in a relationship with Haruno. Simply because she wouldn't have me as her boyfriend, nor would I have her as my girlfriend. Knowing her cold and honestly rotten personality hidden behind that fake smile and usual facade, she would never hold anyone in such high regard.
Not Hayama, nor me for that matter.
The perfect, beautiful princess with no prince capable of saving her, who held within herself the deadliest dragon no one could ever hope to manage to control.
That's how Yukinoshita Haruno-san is. She may be the carrier of the next Alien Queen from that old western film.
"She isn't your girlfriend?" Yuuki asks in shock, though I find it far more shocking the fact that he truly believed that someone like Haruno-san would date a loner as myself.
Aikawa folds his arms, "So you two are just friends with benefits then?"
I pinch the bridge of my nose. Was he referring to friends that didn't need to be in a romantic relationship for them to have sexual intercourse? That's both absurd and disgusting! We're not even the 'friends' part! And I don't even want to share 'benefits' with her in the first place either!
"Why would anyone get intimate with someone you don't share feelings for?"
Aikawa shrugs his shoulders, "Maybe just because sex feels good?" We both look at him inquisitively, "Hold it! Don't jump to any conclusions! I've never had sex! It's just common sense! In all the porn I've seen, the chicks always seem to enjoy it. That's why they make those lewd noises!" What the hell is this guy saying?
But I have to admit though, he may be right, but even so, this is still too hard to believe. I glanced at my lower body. Did I really do that with Haruno-san? Am I really not a virgin anymore? Damn it! If that really happened, it sucks that I don't recall it! Wait! I'm losing focus on what's important here.
I know I'm being a hypocrite, but I'm still a heterosexual man after all. And men are hypocrites.
Men are usually hypocritical when it comes to stuff related to the opposite sex. They lie to them, they act differently with them, if only to appeal to them to gain their trust, to make women like them. Even I did, a couple of times, trying to act as someone I wasn't, if only to get their acceptance.
That didn't work well for me though.
"Well, I have to agree with Hachiman," Yuuki states, and I have the feeling what he's going to say next. "I would only have sex with Haruna-chan! Only her!" And there it is… Dear me, he does like bringing the focus back to himself. At least learn how to talk to her before spouting out that type of crap.
"But at this rate, someone else is going to take her first! How are you supposed to get laid if you can't even spit out a word in front of her!?" Aikawa retorts, and that is undeniably true. "You're finally in the same class as her, and you have yet to do a single thing!"
Yuuki seems stunned, a drop of sweat trailing across his cheek. He drops his gaze, as if realization hit him… hard. Hoh… That was a depressing sight to behold, it reminded me of my own failures during middle school. I at least tried, unlike this undecided fool who is letting his opportunity slip through his fingers.
"That's…" He sighs and slumps his shoulders. "That's a low blow, dude…"
Aikawa approaches Yuuki, putting an arm over his back in a friendly manner. These two must be good friends, but are they mine? I don't know them, so I can't consider them at all. I don't even think I like them at all that much. "I know dude, don't get all weepy on me. You'll just have to work on that, just as Hachiman did. Just look at him, despite that he is dry, cynical and crafty, he knows plenty of girls and he even scored with a hot babe."
"Really? Are we still talking about me?" I ask, befuddled and pointing a finger at myself. Practically, everyone hates me in Sobu High. Given that, what girls is he referring to? Oh I see. Aikawa, the fact that many girls loathe me doesn't mean that I 'know' them, not in the way you're making Yuuki think at least. As for the sex part… I can't really tell. If I did do things with Haruno-san, hopefully I kept it with just her. I shudder at the thought of others.
"Don't give us that, dude!" Aikawa growls, gaze narrowed as he spoke. "I've seen you many times talking to girls apart from Yukinoshita-san! You two even met a hot girl today, isn't that right?"
"Idiot, did Yuuki tell you how?" I retort, annoyed, "She approached us in the first place, and let me point out that she was crazy. I don't think a normal person would use a bear costume in the street for any logical reason."
Aikawa smirks, walking to me, and by that, forcing Yuuki along with him, "But she was hot, isn't that right? She even asked your names… how could you be so stupid and not give her your name?"
I grunt in response, "Only an idiot can be stupid enough to give their name to a possible lunatic."
"Ehehe… You're usually meant to say 'No offense' after insulting others like that, you know?" Yuuki sweat drops, chuckling nervously, "So, did you really have sex with Yukinoshita-san?"
"I saw them with my own eyes." Aikawa suddenly glares at me, pulling my body by the collar of my shirt towards him rather aggressively. He was gritting his teeth, "Hachiman! You already admitted before what happened! Don't try to deny it now! As our friend, we deserve to know! Yuuki deserves to know!"
I narrow my gaze, why are so many people touching me today? I can't believe his words, his sudden conviction about our friendship, and the fact that such implies that I had to tell them my secrets. My patience was really thin now, and I was about to become seriously angry.
"We're not friends, so you don't deserve a damn thing," I growl poisonously, "At least not from me. Whatever I did or didn't do with her doesn't concern either of you. I don't seek you believing me, nor will I put up with your stupid curiosity. Whatever you speak of is a matter that I'll handle myself. I don't need you, either of you, sticking your noses into my personal life."
Aikawa looks at me in shock, his grip loosening. I step back before fixing my shirt as silence reigns the surroundings. Now the two look at me with disappointment, little signs of sadness within their faces. I was the cause of it, saying what I said. I refuse to take it back though. I meant it.
"You know what? I've had enough of your shitty attitude today." Aikawa says with scorn, "You were always a pain in the ass, but today you're acting even worse than normal. If you think that way, then I won't bother you anymore." Aikawa looks over his shoulders, "Rito, talk to you later."
Saying that, the almost white-haired guy walks past me, heading to what is apparently his home as he just mentioned some minutes ago. Whatever, get lost then. Then Yuuki sighs, looking troubled.
"Man, something's really wrong with you today. If you'd rather be alone… if you really mean what you said, then I won't question your decision. It's your call in the end."
Then, the apparently friendly Yuuki Rito turns around and walks towards his own house. Before entering the door, he glances at me once more before retreating inside, the door swinging shut behind him. I remain silent as my eyes drift to the distance, the dark blue sky covering the horizon.
Go to profile, LISTEN: Link in Logic Is My Sword: Prologue Section: Song 05
For some reason, I can't picture it. What are friends anyway? People you talk to? People that talk to you? Those that you spend time with, or those that waste their time being with you? I honestly have no idea what a friend is as I've never had one.
However, if I was to really think about it, isn't a friend someone that understands you? Somebody you share experiences with? Whether they are happy or sad? Whether they are true or false? Someone you can fight and argue with, someone you can laugh with?
Then again, weren't we trying to understand? Didn't we share experiences, both happy and sad? True or false? Haven't we fought and argued, didn't we share laughs?
I bitterly remember a peaceful afternoon in the Service Club, where I felt strangely close to that. Yuigahama rapidly tapped on her phone, humming songs, while Yukinoshita simply kept her eyes locked on her book, silently reading. I practically did the same. And if I was sincere, I felt at peace, I felt well and comfortable.
Were they my friends? I don't know… We don't actually know anything about our personal lives, which is why we can't solve our personal problems.
But… I like to believe that we knew each other well enough to not dismiss each other.
I couldn't bring myself to be so greedy and bold as to call them my friends. Maybe I feared that they didn't think the same, but I honestly cherished those memories.
Memories that wouldn't return if this nightmare turns out to be my new reality.
Did I make a mistake? I didn't care about either of the two neighbors of mine, but they were one of the few willing sources of information in this insane place I find myself in. Then again, they were too meddlesome in business that didn't concern them. Even if it was true or not, they were getting too demanding about it.
Haruno-san having sex with me? What a sick joke…
I just want to hit the sack, and hope everything will be back to normal once I wake up. I feel abnormally tired, which isn't really surprising after enduring so many weird circumstances during the day. I'm sure Komachi will nag me to no end once I… shit! I completely forgot about her. Great, now she'll nag me for sure.
Before having to deal with her, I think I'll stay here for a while. Silence is always soothing for me, it gives me time to think about what was going on. I've already antagonized everyone today and I don't want to do that to Komachi.
To think that all I had, such as the club, my acquaintances, everything, could be gone so easily. Yukinoshita, Yuigahama, Isshiki, and the others... they were all strangers to me now. It was worse than that actually, they despised me, they feared me. And the fact that I had no idea what caused this mess made this ordeal all the more difficult. How am I supposed to deal with any of this if I was practically wandering in the dark?
Now, people I truly consider strangers spoke to me like friends would, and being who I was, I wasn't going to reciprocate their intentions. It didn't matter who acted friendly, the fact that they were unknown to me was the reason I couldn't trust them. I didn't share anything with them, not memories, not tears nor laughs, nothing at all. All I have is Komachi, yet I feel that even she'll wind up different in some way or another. A bitter feeling welled within me, it was as if I was back in Middle School. I felt alone. No, I was alone again…
I guess I pretty much am just a lone wolf in life. I say I don't like people at all but, to tell you the truth, I can only decide whether I like them or not if I have a chance to look deep into their hearts and their minds.
Let me say this: If you ever meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it's not because they enjoy their solitude. It's because they have tried to blend into the world before them, and people continue to disappoint them. Leading them to convince themselves that they're just better off alone. I guess that fits my case just fine, I failed to be part of the world where I existed, and the only ray of light that gave me another chance was cruelly snuffed out. The Service Club was no longer a part of me, but it belonged to that hateful guy.
What am I supposed to do now? I lost what little I had that I truly valued.
I observed the bright stars in the clear night sky with not a cloud in sight, trying to find the answer, yet nothing came.
All I know was that... in the end, I wound up becoming a loner once again. And I lost everything I had in the process without a clear reason.
I sigh shakily and stare upwards. It was a horrible night for rain.
GTO, the Host
A man with short blond hair, who wore black pants and a green shirt stood up from his comfy chair inside a class, with a lit cigar in his hand and a book in the other. He observes the readers with a lazy posture before speaking.
"Hello, visitors!" He began, dropping the book onto the chair, "A pleasure to see you here. I am Onizuka Eikichi, 22-years-old, still single. Nice to meet you!" He smokes his cigar and sighs, "Anyway, I was told to do a 'Dramatis Personae' for this story, but personally I think it won't work. Instead of that, I guess I'll introduce each significant character not related to the show's main protagonist, so you won't get lost or confused in the story. So let's begin!"
At his words the door at the left is opened, and a brown-haired boy enters the classroom.
"H-hello," The boy said, smiling nervously as he scratches the back of his head. "I'm Yuuki Rito, main protagonist of the manga series: To Love Ru. My show has four seasons and many ovas you can watch aside from reading the original manga. The genres include Harem, Romantic Comedy and Science fiction. I'm-"
"Okay, that's enough," Onizuka waves his hand dismissively. "Basically, the story revolves around his school life and the fact that Yuuki can't confess to the girls he likes… pfft… HAHAHAHAHAHA! THAT IS SO STUPID! HAHAHAHA!"
"Hey, bastard!" Yuuki screams in retaliation, "You're not one to talk! You're old and single!"
"WHAT DID YOU SAY STUPID BRAT! I'LL THROW YOU FROM THE ROOFTOP!" The blond man blinks before he coughs to cover his outburst. "...Then a sexy alien girl appears in his bathtub and who cares anymore… lucky bastard. Just another ecchi comedy."
Yuuki growls, and points a finger at him, "That's rude! How is someone like you a teacher anyway?"
Then a girl with shoulder-length blue hair enters the room, fidgeting as she stands at Yuuki's side, "Hello, good day to you all," She bows. "I'm Sairenji Haruna, the second female protagonist in To Love Ru. It's a pleasure to meet you…"
"T-t-t-t-t-t-t-kkkkk" Yuuki begins to choke due to her presence, and is unable to speak properly. "Eh…I-I-I-"
"Whatever!" Onizuka's tone cut through his stutter, "Let's go with the next one."
A girl with rather short brown hair enters the room, standing at the side of Sairenji, "I'm Kazama Azuka, I'm the gang mediator and one of the selectable characters in the fightin' game Tekken since Tekken 5 and onward." Raising a fist upward, she states. "I'm here to bring the fist of Justice to this here story!"
"Damn! How are these kids so well-endowed these days…?" Mutters Onizuka.
"'Scuse me?" Azuka asks, narrowing her gaze.
"Ehhhh... Her game is about some Tournament that happens to occur in every single game. Lacking originality I guess," Onizuka ignores her and waves a hand again, smoking his cigar. "Next!"
Yuuki sweat drops, "Wait a minute! You shouldn't be smoking in the class!"
Steps are heard and another girl, with long brown hair and a pink clip on it makes her way towards the others. She nods at them and smiles before gazing at the readers, "Hi! I'm Nibutani Shinka, one of the female leads in the light novel series and anime, Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! (Love, Chūnibyō & Other Delusions) Nice to meet you!"
"Tch… another typical character…" Mutters Onizuka while still sitting.
A tick mark pops up in the forehead of Nibutani, and she turns to glare at him, "Shut up! Some old creep of a man like you should keep his mouth shut! No wonder you're single."
The others are taken aback by her outburst.
"Whoa… this girl sure packs a punch, if only with her words though," Comments Azuka.
Onizuka's brow twitch but he sighs, "Brats these days, they don't respect their elders. Not that I'm one to talk, haha. Anyway, her anime is about brats that suffered Chūnibyō and now try to leave their embarrassing pasts buried. Then some other crazy kid appears and whatever."
"You're not explaining anything at all!" Shinka spat in disbelief, "Anyway, the genre of my show is drama and romantic comedy."
Everyone nods and Onizuka speaks up, "Okay, missy. Then for today, the last character. Come on, don't be shy!"
"I'm not shy!" Comes a voice that belongs to a boy that just walked inside the class, whose hair was grayish, "I just fell asleep during the time in which I had to wait for my presentation! Why do I need to be presented anyway? Can't I just be left alone so I can live peacefully?"
Onizuka grabs the boy by his head, smiling eerily, "Do this fast and it'll be over that much sooner…" His tone was dark.
The boy nods frantically, "Okay, okay! I'm Ayumu Aikawa, The main character of the light novel series called Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? (Is This a Zombie?). My anime also has two anime seasons you can watch if you feel like it, but I suggest you don't. Leave peacefully and forget about this stupid story."
Azuka punches Aikawa, hard, the blow sending him away and towards the wall, "Don't say such things, would ya?"
"His show is about some girl making him a zombie and then with other girls with super powers, they fight demons called Megamans," Explains Onizuka lazily.
"Megalos, perverted idiot!" Spat Shinka, and Haruna blinks in surprise.
"How do you know?"
She gazes at her, "I have no idea, but what I do know is that Megaman is a game."
Onizuka stands up, throwing his cigar, "Okay, that's enough for today. See you readers in the next installment: GTO, the Host! This is Onizuka Eikichi, 22-years-old, single."
"No one cares about that!" The others shout in unison.
"Tch! Shut up or I'll punish you lot!" Onizuka turns to the readers, "See you soon!"
I know I should have put this story in the crossover category, but considering the many participating shows, I have no idea how to do it. However, this story will be Hachiman-centric, and the narrative will be his POV, so the story will progress in a way that he will learn together with you, the readers, about the alternate world he is in.
What I'm basically saying is that, if you don't know about the non-Oregairu characters, you'll get to know them via Hachiman's narrative and the extras.
What was I thinking when I started this? It's simple. I have sort of grown bored of seeing the typical protagonists on those many harem comedies and whatnot. Also, the fact that none of those shows develop in depth the plot and the characters for the sake of fanservice and comedy leaves me with a bad taste. Most of you won't agree with me, I'm sure, but after reading and seeing Oregairu, I came to the conclusion that these various shows hold an incredible potential.
However, there's only one capable man of showing us that potential, and that is:
Hachiman Hikigaya, the one who sees beyond facades, actions and superficial personalities.
Not all participating shows are harem though, but their plot could be further explored. Besides, who is better than Hachiman to deal with some of those typical characters and make them grow into something they're truly meant to be.
That is what Hayato Hayama envies of him, the fact that Hachiman has the ability to change the people around him for the good of themselves without asking anything in return.
Hachiman's alter ego is the most important plot point in the story, and of course, the main villain. There will be others, too, but as the title of this story, the only weapons Hachiman will possess are his mind and self-control. No power-ups, magic abilities, or fighting skills whatsoever, because this is basically the canon Hachiman drawn to another world by the end of the second season and current light novels.
You know, during plenty of anime shows I watched, I just couldn't help but wonder… What if Hachiman was in this situation? What would he do and think? So, I ended up putting this idea on paper.
Anyway, read and review! It is for you people that I write, to entertain you and give you people a good time. Let me hear your thoughts. I'll post all my responses to all inquiries and reviews in each chapter before the actual chapter as some other writers do.
This got way too long, so here I say good-bye and see you soon.