Welcome to my Assassination Classroom fic! Any important message will be placed in the end-of-chapter author's note.
I will only do this once: I do not own Assassination Classroom. I only own Ame, my other OCs and any additionnal content to the orignal plot.
Warning: Language, mild violence (for the entirety of the story)
Ame sighed, an hand in her pocket and the other holding her bag. Just ahead was the trail leading to the top of the mountain, where the campus for the E-Class could be found.
Away from the main campus.
Far, far away, so as to properly separate the good crop from the bad one.
She didn't really care about ending up amongst the losers and the misfits, but she could tell climbing up and down that damn mountain each day would get really old, really fast.
Well, it's not like I have a choice in the matter anyway.
She pulled out her watch to check the time. It was an old thing, scratched and rusted all over, but she never bothered finding another one.
I'm going to be late, she mused. She cracked her neck a little, before starting her ascension. Though I doubt whatever teacher I ended up with will care.
And on that joyous thought began her first day of school.
She had been walking for about fifteen minutes when loud footsteps suddenly echoed behind her, the breaking of twigs and leafs too loud to be made by anything other than another fellow human.
Surely another student who's late…
A feminine yelp drew her attention, followed by the distinct sound of something hitting the ground. Curious despite herself, the teen stopped in her tracks and looked back to the person who had obviously fallen. She raised an eyebrow when realizing that it actually was a woman, who was rubbing her sore butt.
"Are you sure you're not lost, lady?" she called, the words rolling off her tongue before she could stop them.
The woman 'eeped' and looked up to her, apparently surprised to find someone. A deep blush spread on her cheeks and she quickly rose back to her feet.
"I- I'm fine! And I'm not lost, don't worry! My name is Yukimura Aguri, I'm the teacher of Class 3-E!" she answered, beaming at the young girl. "And you are—"
"Late," deadpanned the teen. "And so are you."
Her sensei blinked once. Twice. Then, she paled dramatically. Next thing Ame knew, the woman had grabbed her wrist and was now running, forcefully dragging her along. The black-haired girl's eyes widened with a mix of wonder and fright.
When was the last time someone had taken her by surprise?
"Hurry, hurry!" pressed her teacher, grinning her way as she pulled her along. "We don't want to lose any more of the day, right?"
Ame didn't answer, simply following.
Maybe this year wouldn't be as boring as she first thought it'd be.
Yukimura burst into the classroom, panting and already profusely apologizing to her startled students. She had been planning on getting there before any of them so as to welcome them, but her boss (husband, future husband) had made her work late the night before and so she had slept in the following morning. Adding to that that she spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect shirt, and also the unexpected difficulty that was reaching the classroom itself, well…
"… can you let go now?"
The woman gasped, instantly releasing the young girl she had basically abducted earlier. When learning she would be late, she hadn't thought twice about dragging the poor teen around like a ragdoll.
"I'm terribly sorry for manhandling you of the sort!" she bowed deeply, flustered.
"No harm done," shrugged her student. Yukimura couldn't help but notice how she didn't seem phased in the slightest by their sudden run. "Though maybe you should start class, now."
Nodding, the senior leisurely made her way to one of the desks in the back, where a blonde girl instantly greeted her. They bumped fists, the blonde offering a grin while the black-haired one's lips twitched into a smirk.
"I deeply apologize for running late!" The teacher bowed yet again, this time to the whole class. "But please, let us waste no more time. I will start with the roll call. When I call your name, please stand up and present yourself. That way, we'll all get to know each other!"
"What exactly should we say, sensei?" inquired a black-haired boy at the front.
"Hmm… How about your age, your favorite hobby, and your worst subject?" The students didn't seem all that convinced by her suggestion, but she didn't let them ponder over it. "Alright! Let's start with… Isogai-kun!"
The same black-haired boy who had just questioned her rose from his seat.
"I'm Isogai Yuma. I am sixteen years old, I enjoy playing tennis, and my worst subject is biology."
"It's very nice to meet you!" beamed Yukimura-sensei as he sat back down. "Okajima-kun?"
A boy with his hair almost all shaved rose. "I'm Okajima Taiga, I'm fifteen, I like collecting books, and I'm the worst at math."
"Collecting books? Wow, what kind?" wondered the teacher, curious.
A heavy blush spread on his cheeks, and he instantly sat back down, mumbling under his breath.
She chuckled a little, before following with the roll call. All of the students were unique, with different interests and different obstacles to overcome. However, it didn't take her long to realize that most (for not saying all of them) had already given up on their grades or their school life in general.
The blonde girl with the blue eyes she had noticed earlier jumped to her feet, apparently full of energy.
"I'm Nakamura Rio! I'm fifteen, I really like spending time with my friends, and I'm no good at civics."
"Well, we'll simply have to work on that, then," smiled the teacher. "Now… Naoki-kun?"
The black-haired girl she had met in the mountain lazily got up. Her orange eyes were somewhat dull, and she couldn't help but notice the ring the girl was wearing on the middle finger of her left hand as it caught the light.
Arms crossed over her chest, she seemed rather annoyed at the whole situation.
"The name's Naoki Ame. I'm fifteen. I have difficulties with math, and my hobbies are… well, I like sports, I guess. Who cares, really?"
"W- well…" Yukimura then pursued with the roll call, somewhat taken aback by the nonchalant attitude of the young girl.
Once she made sure everyone was present, she started her first class of the day. She tried her best to make it interesting and to get closer to her precious students. However, this was not an easy task, considering a grand majority wasn't paying attention, a few were trying but obviously had difficulties following, and rare were those who actually participated.
Well, she sighed internally. This is going to be a difficult year.
The bell rang, signaling the start of lunchtime. All of the students were quiet as they ate, though, and Yukimura felt a painful pang in her heart at the sight. Students were supposed to be full of life, rambunctious, loud… but they were all stuck in those depressed mindsets of theirs.
I need to do something, she frowned, thinking hard. But what?
Ame was relaxing outside, enjoying the soft rays of the sun through the leaves of the tree she was perched in. The class had been rather boring, if she was to be honest, though she had to give her new teacher some props for actually trying. From what she'd heard, the usual teachers of the End Class were all convinced their students were losers and so didn't bother with actually teaching.
Ugh, I hate school…
If she was given the choice, she simply wouldn't come. It was boring, she felt like she was wasting her time, and she didn't understand half the stuff they were shown. So, frankly, she was annoyed to no end with it. However, her late parents had paid a lot of money so that she could get into the best school there was even if they wouldn't be there to actually force her to go, and she didn't want it to go to waste.
Well, that and her family would kick her ass back in school if she ever tried to get out.
They want me to have an actual education but couldn't care less about making me miss some classes for the missions, she snorted. Hypocrites.
"You should be careful, you know?"
The black-haired girl cracked an eye open, glancing down from the branch she was lazily lying on. Below was a boy from her class. The official class representative of 3-E, right?
"I never fall," she simply replied, closing her eyes again. "And even if I did, I'd probably break my neck and die on the spot, so I wouldn't feel the pain anyway."
The boy sweatdropped a little. "That's… not exactly better."
"Meh. That would depend on one's point of view," she shrugged. Then, realizing she wouldn't be able to relax anymore, she sighed heavily. "Great, now I'm fully awake."
Clicking her tongue in annoyance, she simply rolled off the branch. There was a startled gasp from the boy, but she simply ignored it and flipped in midair, thus easily catching her fall and landing on her feet with practiced ease.
"Isogai-kun, was it?" she remarked, ignoring how he gaped at her. "Thanks for waking me up. How nice, really."
"O- oh! You're very welcome, Naoki-san!"
That was sarcasm, she grunted internally. However, she couldn't help but notice how he genuinely believed her helped her out, and she suddenly didn't feel like crushing his hopes. So innocent… Too bad this world will end up breaking him. People like him are the most easily crushed and tossed aside.
"Let's go," he proposed, gesturing for the classroom farther away. "Class is about to start again—"
Her phone suddenly started ringing. Not bothering with an apology or any other politeness, she accepted the call and turned her back to him.
"We've got a big fish. Feeling up for the usual?"
"Hell yes," sighed gratefully the girl. "Where?"
"The maid café near your school. We'll send you a picture plus the rest of the info, and our client set the deadline to tomorrow evening."
"He'll have the results by tonight, then," mused the girl. "I'll be there in a sec."
"Happy to skip, uh?"
"You know me too well. See you later."
"Later. Be careful."
The teen then hung up, and finally reported her attention to her class President.
"Sorry, Isogai-kun," she grinned a little, a pointy fang showing. "Looks like I'm gonna have to skip class today. Mind passing on the word to Yukimura-san?"
"Thank you~!" Only too happy to leave, Ame wasted no time in vanishing in the forest.
Isogai stared at her quickly retreating back, simply wondering what the hell had just happened.
Target: Sasahito Mamoru. Head of the Yatsuba Phone Company.
Mission: Retrieve the plans for the next phone to be released by the company.
Mission deadline: Two days.
Ame rolled her eyes when reading over the information she had received—if she could call that information, really. Trust Karasu to be thorough with his explanations, seriously.
Well, whatever. It's not like I need anything more.
As told, she found her target at the maid café, staring dreamily at one of the girls' ample chest. Scoffing at the sight, she simply went to take a seat just in front, so as to keep the man in view. As she waited for him to leave, she read through a few articles about her target and his company. Soon enough, she found the name of an important competitor coming up.
So that's our client, uh? It was a rather easy guess, honestly. Go figures.
Suddenly, her target moved. She narrowed her eyes when realizing he was finally leaving and made her move as soon as he stepped out of the maid café. Moving into his path as soon as he finished crossing the street, she accidentally stumbled into him. The man grunted at the impact, and she instantly took a step back.
"I'm so sorry!" she bowed deeply. "I wasn't looking where I was going, I deeply apologize…" She then trailed off, on purpose of course. "Wait, might you be… Uwah! Sasahito-sama! I can't believe it, it's really you!"
"S- sama…?" His eyes widened slightly at the honorific, and a faint blush spread on his cheek as he took in the appearance of the young girl before him. "I…"
Dude, you're like, forty years older than me! "Why, of course! You are one of the greatest genii this world has ever known! I've read the biography you wrote, and watched all of your interviews, and researched all of your work… I'm honored to meet you, truly!"
"Why, such heavy praises…" He rubbed the back of his head bashfully, though obviously pleased by what he was hearing.
A big fish indeed. Hook, line, and sinker.
"Do you mind giving me an autograph? Oh, and taking a picture with me?" she wondered.
"W- well, I don't see any problem with it…"
She pulled out a pen and a paper, prepared. He signed it, all the while glancing at her chest not-so-subtly. Ignoring the urge to punch him in the face –she had chosen that shirt for a reason, after all-, she then pulled out her phone to take the picture. He passed an arm around her shoulders while she passed her own around his waist, and made a peace sign, grinning all along. Then, she pulled away and bowed once again, before scurrying off with a wave and the excuse of "I'll be late to school!".
As soon as he was out of sight, she pulled out from her pocket the wallet she had stolen from the man as they took the picture and quickly went through it. Shoving the money in her pocket, she then quickly took pictures of all of his personal information and grabbed the magnetic card that was inside.
Once she was done, she threw it on the sidewalk and simply walked away.
First phase: complete.
She had been waiting at his house for hours, mapping out the area. The house wasn't anything fancy, but the security around was top-notch. There were many cameras hidden around, a few guards keeping watch, and all of the doors required some passwords or special codes to open. As for the windows, well, they were tightly locked and apparently bullet-resistant. However, if Ame was good at one thing, it was breaking through impregnable defenses. Stealing and break-ins had been a part of her life since she was seven years old, and she had only honed her skills through the years. Obviously, the equipment provided by her… special friends helped out a lot, but she was always the one doing most of the work.
Of course, she couldn't really complain. It was good money, after all.
The man had come back later, and she had watched with great amusement as he cursed his lost wallet. Of course, he could still get into the house, but it only helped her even more.
This is going to be a piece of cake.
Night had finally fallen. Now that she had the cover of the darkness, she could move freely. So, without further hesitation, she climbed into the tree just outside of the fence and easily jumped onto it. She was careful not to jump on the other side, considering she had spotted an alarm hidden in the bushes below.
So, like a professional tightrope walker, she made her way on the fence and easily reached the house. Once there, she placed the copying lenses developed by Usagi over the two cameras placed at the entrance. As soon as she activated them, she swiftly landed before the door. The copying lenses worked kind of like mirrors, reflecting back the previous sights seen by the cameras they were used on.
Using the magnetic card she had stolen earlier, she then entered the house, careful not make a noise. She reached the stairs and made her way upstairs. She stopped two stairs before reaching the top, wary of any other surveillance cameras. However, she only found one at the door of the study, where she would more than likely find what she was looking for.
She readjusted the hood over her head and the mask covering the lower half of her face. Then, she pressed herself against the wall and started advancing. However, as soon as she did so, the camera moved. She froze in place, internally cursing her mistake. Had she taken a better look, she would have noticed that the camera was actually one to detect movements. Taking a few, deep breaths, a smirk then stretched her lips.
All the easier for me.
She grabbed a small marble in her pocket. Then, she threw it in the opposite way. The movement of the object was in the camera's range and so it instantly followed the movement. Ame used the opportunity to slip inside the study. She frowned when she closed the door, though, realizing that there hadn't been any other security measures taken to protect it. Maybe the plans weren't there after all?
Well, I'll just take a look first. Who knows? I might find something interesting.
She started going through the numerous papers scattered over the desk. After reading over a few of them, she realized that they were all scams. Or rather, decoys. Obviously, Sasahito had been expecting that someone would try to steal his precious documents, and so had prepared numerous fakes.
Where are the real ones, then?
Leaving the desk, she took a look around the room. There was a small bookcase, a few shelves, and a painting as well… Snorting, she headed for the painting. Without hesitation, she lifted it from the wall, and barely managed to refrain from laughing out loud.
A safe behind a painting? A classic! Damn, people are so unimaginative…
Unfortunately, the code for getting in was not as easy as using a magnetic card. It required a fourteen digits code, and she had no lead whatsoever on it.
Well, guess it's time to call for some support.
She pulled out her phone and quickly dialed the number. After a few seconds, a familiar voice echoed.
"Hey, Usagi. I've got a fourteen digits code before me. Can you crack it for me?"
"Sure. You've got a key?"
Pulling out the said key, or rather the chip, she then placed it over the lock. Instantly, a green light started beeping on it, sign it was activated.
"Ah, I see… Don't worry, I'll be done in two minutes."
A voice suddenly echoed further down the hallway, and she cursed internally.
"You've got thirty seconds," she warned in the lowest possible tone.
"Don't press a genius, brat."
But he was done exactly twenty-one seconds later. She hung up, promising him some dango for his service, and then opened the safe. Inside were the documents she was obviously looking for and she wasted no time in taking some pictures. Once she was done, she closed the safe and took back the chip. Instantly, it locked tight once again.
The voice was closer now, though.
She threw a business card on his desk, and then disappeared behind the door, just as it opened. In walked Sasahito, obviously annoyed with the person he was talking to on his phone. She passed in his back and escaped the room before the door could fully close, escaping the camera in the same second.
Once she was safe, her eyes wandered over to the now opened door of her target's room, and an idea popped into her head.
Well, if I can make some extra money…
So she went inside. The young girl instantly found the secret stash of bills hidden under the bed and put it all away in her bag. As she was about to leave, though, angry footsteps followed.
Crap, he's coming back!
Without hesitation, she dashed at the window. Breaking the lock as quietly as possible, she then slipped outside. She easily pulled herself up on the roof and, considering her job done, she started running.
"Welcome back!" called Usagi, suddenly appearing before her. "The mission went well?"
"As per usual," she shrugged, pulling down her mask. She handed him over her phone so that he could get the info, along with a small bag of dango she had gotten along the way. "Thanks for the support."
He grinned, before going to sit at his desk.
"Well, I'm no good when it comes to field missions," he shrugged, taping on his computer too quickly for her eyes to follow properly. "I've got to be of some use, right?"
Usagi was one of the first members who had joined their group. With white hair tied in a bun and sparkling blue eyes, he was always eager to help his fellow members in however way he could. Hacking was his specialty, and he used his talents with technology to make up for his lack of physical abilities. He was a very close friend, even though she didn't know his real name.
Shaking her head, the black-haired teen pulled out the autograph she had received earlier, placing it next to the phone.
"Give them to the client, as a bonus," she shrugged. "They'll surely be able to use it to forge the guy's signature or something of the sort."
"Ah, Ame-chan, always going beyond expectations," he grinned. He then handed her back her phone. "But do you have to take a picture with each of your targets?"
"It's funny," she admitted, unashamed. "And my photo album is fantastic."
"Just knowing you have a whole album of said pictures gives me the chills," he rolled his eyes.
She simply laughed at that, stretching her arms a little. "Anyway, I'll head back now. See you around."
"Later. Oh, and Kitsune?" She tilted her head back to listen, and the man grinned. "Otsukaresama."
Ame finally got home. She was tired, and hungry too, so she couldn't wait to get some rest and have breakfast in the morning.
"Oh, welcome back, Ame-chan!"
"Obaa-san," greeted the teen. "You shouldn't stay up so late, you know?"
"I just wanted to make sure you get home safe, sweetie," answered the old woman, her wrinkled face splitting into a soft smile. "How was work?"
"Good, good. I'll receive my payment tomorrow at the latest," answered the teen, before pulling out the money she had stolen earlier. "And I got some great tip too! I think I'll buy the kids some candy when coming back from school tomorrow."
"You shouldn't push yourself so hard, Ame-chan," remarked gently the grey-haired woman. "You know you're allowed to have some fun, right? You don't have to work all of the time…"
Ame grabbed her hands and held them in reassurance.
"Don't worry, Obaa-san. I work because I can and because I want to help. It's no problem at all, alright?"
"Well, if you're certain… But don't let this affect your own chance at a better future, Ame-chan," she warned more seriously. "You have such a great potential… Please, don't let it go to waste. That's not what your parents would have wanted."
She was talking about her ending up in the E-Class, that much was obvious.
"I know," she simply assured, her grip tightening a little on the woman's hands. "Don't worry yourself about it, I've got everything under control."
"I know you do."
Biding her caretaker goodnight, the teen then quietly made her upstairs, to her bedroom. By now, she knew the whole place by heart, and so easily avoided all of the creaky parts and the cracked slats. Once she reached the room, she made her way to her bed, and let herself fall on it.
Startled, the girl bolted upright as the mattress under her moved. In the blink of an eye, she had turned on the light… only to find one of the children rubbing his eyes tiredly.
"Oh, Jackie…" She sighed. She should have expected it, really. "I told you to stop sleeping in my bed, didn't I?"
"But I had a nightmare…" The nine-years-old boy mumbled, lowering his gaze.
The quivering of his lips got the best of her, and she grunted in defeat.
"Fine, fine. You can sleep with me tonight, alright? But only tonight," she warned, grabbing her things to get changed.
The blond boy nodded mutely, already falling asleep again. She turned off the lights, easily changing as her vision adapted to the darkness, and soon found herself under her covers, holding the little boy.
A few seconds later, she let sleep take over without a fight.
The next morning, Sasahito Masaru discovered his money missing. The only sign of a break-in was the full-black business card on his desk, with the white drawing of a fox and a simple word written under it.
Someone was shaking her. Groaning in annoyance, she forced her eyes open, only to find Jackie earnestly trying to wake her up. Seeing her finally react, he let out a small cheer and jumped off the bed. Without any warning, he pushed apart the curtains, and she hissed when the sunlight harshly hit her eyes.
"Jackie…" She growled, now fully awake. "Do you have any idea of how late I came home last night?"
"But Obaa-san told me to wake you up, 'cause otherwise you'll end up being late to school," he chirped without mercy.
Ame wanted to tell him to get lost and let her sleep. Who cared if she was late to school again? Not her, that was for sure. However, if there was one thing the young teen hoped with all of her might, it was that none of the kids ended up like her. She didn't want to set the example, to have them believe it was okay to mess up in school and then mess up their whole lives.
She made her choices by herself, and she didn't want others to make theirs because of her. She wasn't the kind of person people should look up to or try to imitate.
"Ugh, I'm getting up, just get out already," she gave in. The blond cheered yet again, running out of her room with a laugh. "Brat…"
She quickly changed into her uniform, passed a brush through her hair, and grabbed her bag and her phone. She then left her room. Passing by the kitchen, she took a hold of a few loaves of bread with cheese, kissed her caretaker on the cheek and ruffled all of the kids' hair, before heading out. As she enjoyed her breakfast, she checked her phone to see if she had another mission. Other than the text informing her that the money had been delivered, there was nothing. Shrugging, she simply kept on walking towards the school.
Yukimura Aguri stared at her student, startled. The day before, when Isogai had come in class and informed her of her student's sudden leave, she had been somewhat worried, even though she clearly simply did it to skip the lessons. Seeing her now, though, all the worry washed away and, without hesitation, she lightly slapped her book over the teen's head.
The teen instantly backed away with a hiss of pain. "Ouch! What was that for?"
"For leaving the class in the middle of the day," replied firmly the woman. "How can you expect your grades to get better if you miss all of the lessons?"
"Err, I don't?" She really didn't. However, she was still a little grumpy thanks to the lack of sleep and having this woman she only met yesterday sermon her wasn't how she wished to start the day. "Look, I know what I'm doin', 'kay? I don't need someone I barely know ta scold me like a kid, so just give yer classes and leave me da hell alone."
Flabbergasted, the woman could only stare as the orange-eyed girl walked passed her to head for the classroom. Of all things, she hadn't expected the teen to answer in such a way. Obviously, the girl had placed her studies as the last of her priorities. The woman sighed, before shaking her head. Naoki Ame was a difficult student, but Yukimura Aguri wouldn't give up so easily. She was her student, and herself was her teacher.
It was a teacher's job to help out their students, whether they wanted it or not.
During the lunch break, Yukimura read over all of her students' files, though paid particular attention to Ame's. All of her grades were average, she was failing rather badly in Math, Science, and History, but she held the highest overall scores in English and in Physical Education. She scored third place in English, and second in Physical Education.
That's not a mix you'll see often, she mused. Though a simple look at her can tell how athletic she is. I wouldn't have guessed about her English, though…
And she knew just the right way to put this newly found information to good use.
"Naoki-kun?" A new period had started, and the teen was still in class. She lifted her head at the teacher's call. "Would you mind translating what I have just written on the board?"
Ame read over the few lines, and read it in a bored tone.
"A single effort can get you through the day. A constant effort will get you through life."
There was no hesitation in her tone, her accent top-notch and not a stumble in her words. She was obviously used to this kind of thing, and Yukimura couldn't help but wonder about her true skills in the second language.
"You read that so easily…" then mused Maehara, gaining her attention. "Do you have a family member that speaks English or something?"
"Kind of," she shrugged. "I've been learning since I was seven, so I'm practically fluent now."
So she's good, but not because she studied it per se, understood her teacher, letting her students chat a little more. It was good for the class's moral. Basically, she's a student who never bothered to work for anything that doesn't interest her. English is easy for her, so she doesn't care about getting better, and she simply enjoys physical activities. If she's not interested enough, then she won't bother trying.
Yes, Naoki Ame truly was a difficult student. But no matter! Yukimura always enjoyed overcoming challenges, after all.
A week passed. On the five days of school, Ame skipped three, including the first one. On the two days she was present, she was late both times, fell asleep more than once during class, and never bothered with her homework unless it was some English assignment, and even then it was done without many efforts.
Yukimura wasn't ready to give up and kept on strictly scolding her despite being blown off the first day. Naoki had already gotten used to her sermons and no longer bothered with answering or even storming off, simply passing through each of her teacher's rants without paying it any attention.
To be honest, though, the woman didn't really know what more she could do.
"You seem bothered today."
She jumped a little, tilting her head to the man on the other side of the glass. For months now, they had passed hours together, as scientist and guinea pig, and she had grown very fond of the assassin known as the Reaper.
"One of my students is giving me a hard time," she admitted without shame, always open to the conversation. "She's talented and full of potential but stops making any effort as soon as she loses interest. How am I supposed to teach someone who doesn't want to learn?"
The man hummed, understanding her plight. If someone wasn't ready to help themselves, then they wouldn't let others help them either. However, to hear about someone so young being so demotivated made him curious.
"Why don't you try keeping her interest, then?" he proposed, his tone even but with a faint touch of amusement. "Someone disinterested is someone who lacks purpose. If you give her such a purpose, then maybe she will be more open to learning."
Understanding dawned on the teacher, who gasped. "I can't believe I hadn't thought of that! It should work, and I know—"
The door suddenly slammed open, letting enter a very angry Yanagisawa.
"What the hell is taking you so long!? Stop wasting my time already!"
He roughly grabbed her hair, shaking her like a ragdoll. She simply let him, knowing she wasn't strong enough to fight back and also aware that there would be much worst consequences if she ever tried to stand up for herself. He'd find a way to make her lose her job as a teacher, and what would happen to her precious students, then?
She couldn't risk it. She couldn't risk them.
The first day of the second week, Yukimura was glad when Ame finally deigned to join the class, even though it was already the second period. She now understood her mistake and intended to change things. She had been scolding Ame as if she was like any other student and as if herself was like any other teacher. In the girl's eyes, Yukimura was no more than another annoying adult wasting her time telling her things she already heard before.
Well, time to change this, nodded internally the woman.
"Naoki-san," she called. "Come see me at my office during the lunch break, please."
The teen rolled her eyes and went to sit at her desk, and she exchanged quiet greetings with Nakamura. The blonde was obviously used to her friend's antics and lateness, though.
"Anyhow, as I was saying…"
Soon enough, it was the lunch break. By some miracle, Naoki had yet to receive one of the mysterious phone calls that always made her leave the school without another look back. And, without much of a fuss, she headed to her teacher's office, readying herself for yet another boring lecture.
Wonder when she'll realize she's wasting her time.
She knocked at the door. After a few seconds, a muffled 'enter' was heard, and she did as told… only to freeze at the sight that greeted her.
"Yukimura-sensei… Do you need some help?"
"I- I'm fine!" assured the woman, struggling to hold the weight of all the books she had picked up at once. "I'm—whoa!"
Sure enough, she lost her balance and hit the ground with a 'THUD'. The books scattered over the floor as she whimpered pitifully, and Ame sighed.
"Seriously," she grunted, crouching down to pick up the books. "You ought to be less clumsy, Yukimura-sensei. Next thing we know, we'll find your body in a ditch or something."
"R- right…" Such dark humor, she sweatdropped. She then got up, before blinking in surprise as the girl easily picked all of the books and placed them on the desk. "Oh, thank you! You sure are stronger than you look, uh?"
"I train a lot," offered vaguely the teen. "What did you want to talk about?"
"O- oh! Right, take a seat, please!"
The woman pushed aside the papers covering her desk and sat down, while the blue-eyed girl did the same. Then, she offered her a smile.
"I've come to realize that always lecturing you would only waste both of our time," she stated. The student startled a little, not expecting it. "Hence why I've decided to take a new approach to the situation."
Oh, she's suspending me? Well, it might be better—
"A reward system!" beamed the teacher.
"… what?" Ame truly was at lost.
"For each homework completed perfectly, I'll give you a candy," grinned Yukimura. "And for each test with an above average score, I'll treat you to dinner."
"I'm not some stray dog you can tame with food," huffed the girl, crossing her arms over her chest. "And candies, really? I'm not a kid either."
She easily caught the projectile suddenly flying her way. Curious, she opened her hand, only to find a candy wrapped in a red and blue paper. Her eyes widened as a familiar scent hit her.
"For each homework completed perfectly, I'll give you one of those," repeated her teacher, taking great pride in the look of genuine surprise she had managed to inspire. "So, do we call it a deal?"
If I want to complete the homework, that means I'll have to attend all of the classes without sleeping through and actually paying attention, though, she bit her lower lip, thinking hard over it. She's crafty, I'll give her that. Though, when was the last time I ate chocolate? I always keep my money for more important things… But is it really worth it? I could—
"Or maybe you're not feeling up to the challenge?" Yukimura suddenly stated, making her stiffen. "It's okay to feel unable to achieve something, you know? I guess we can simply forget about it—"
Yukimura had simply wanted to taunt the girl a little. She hadn't expected the teen to jump to her feet, her chair loudly scrapping the wooden floor, and glare at her.
"I ain't backing down from this," she warned angrily. "I'll take ya up on that dumbass deal, but ya better pay up when da time comes!"
And on that, she stormed out of the office, slamming the door behind her. The teacher gaped for a few seconds, before realizing Ame had accepted. She pumped her fist in victory.
Things were bound to change, now.
In the following three days, Ame showed up late still but stopped skipping her classes. She was paying attention, even though her eyes wandered outside more often than note, and she caught her taking notes a few times too. Then, Friday morning, Yukimura was surprised to discover that Ame not only wasn't late but was actually in advance. As soon as she saw her teacher, she rose to her feet and waved a paper in the woman's face.
It was the homework she had given her the day before.
"Oh, you've done it?" she remarked, surprised.
"Obviously," muttered the girl, looking away. "So, is it perfect or not?"
Yukimura settled at her desk and instantly started correcting. It was a Math homework, she had purposely chosen the girl's hardest subject, but she had done less badly than she first thought she would.
Probably because she actually listened, for once, she mused.
After two minutes, she was done correcting the homework. On the ten exercises, the orange-eyed girl had missed four of them. When realizing it, she cursed under her breath. Something then hit her head and fell on her desk. Surprised, she looked down at the wrapped chocolate now before her, before lifting her eyes to the woman.
"I didn't make a perfect score," she scowled, clenching her fists a little. "I don't need pity, nor a consolation prize."
"Whoever said anything about a perfect score?" replied Yukimura, amused despite all. "I said 'completed perfectly'. Considering you made an actual effort for it, you thus fulfilled your part of the deal. From now on, though, only better results will get you your reward. Feeling up to the challenge?"
Ame stared at her for a few seconds, gaping like a fish out of water. Then, of all things, she burst in laughter.
"You know…" A grin stretched on the girl's lips. "I thought you were like all of the other teachers, someone who doesn't give a rat's ass about their students. But you're not bad, Yukimura-sensei." She grabbed the chocolate, twirling it between her fingers. "Not bad at all."
"At first, I thought you were simply a difficult student who didn't understand the importance of education," admitted the teacher. "But you have talent, Naoki-san. Potential. I came to understand that you can do so much more than you do now if you simply have the motivation to do so."
"You're a crafty sensei, I'll give you that," snorted the teen. "Though you're right on point. One way or another, though, I'm not one who easily ignores a challenge. Bring it on, Yukimura-sensei! I'm ready to win."
The teacher and the student exchanged a matching grin, both unaware that this day would be their last together.
"Yukimura Aguri was a scientist working on a secret project of the government. Something went haywire, but they're incredibly thorough about keeping the information off the files. Anyway, the whole base imploded a week ago or something, and many lost their lives, including that woman."
Ame fell silent.
"… I'm sorry, Kitsune."
"Thanks for the help, Usagi."
Before he could answer, she hung up. Then, she lifted her eyes to the moon shining in the sky, a lump in her throat and her guts churning painfully. She was feeling sick, angry, sad… but the tears simply wouldn't come out. Sighing heavily, she grabbed a cigarette in her pocket. Lighting the tip, she then brought it to her lips and breathed in the smoke, allowing it to numb her senses, if only for a little while.
And then, just before her eyes… the moon exploded.