Chapter 1: Itsuki I
A rather convenient and useful place for those who wish to use their time effectively, especially so for those who are looking to study in a location where they would not get disturbed whatsoever.
And of course I fall in that description of people.
Staring at the massive library in front of me, I couldn't help but be left in awe at its massive size illuminated by the lights as an orange hue filled the skies above. I walked into the building, letting the chilly breeze of the air conditioner inside to cool down my body after my long walk here. Beautifully arranged shelves of books greeted my sight and I couldn't help but be thankful that they were all free to be used since I'd never be able to get the chance to purchase more than half of the books present, especially with my current salary.
In addition to that, there weren't many people inside, not that I expected there to be considering that it was currently the school holidays and I was sure that many students had plans elsewhere and that the library was the last place they planned in their heads.
Normally I'd choose to remain at home and study the entire day seeing as there was quite a distance between there and here, but the prospect of using the books provided in the library for FREE was too tempting even for me. Not to mention, Raiha had been complaining about me staying indoors for too long and that I needed to go out more often, so in any case, this was practically a win-win situation for me.
"Welcome to the-, oh? Fuutarou, long time no see." A familiar voice rang in my ears and I turned to meet the owner of the voice.
Sitting behind the counter was a middle aged man with short, dishevelled brown hair, a look which completely contrasts to that of what an actual librarian were meant to look like.
"Yo Haruki-senpai. It's nice to see you again." I greeted as he put down the book he was carrying on the counter.
"Come on, what's with the formality? We've been friends with each other for years now!" he complained and I couldn't help but shake my head at him.
Haruki had been the librarian there for as long as I remembered, since I would always come here to study with Takebayashi back in my delinquent days, he'd usually be the one who would watch over us, sometimes even interact with us. So it had been inevitable before we became friends.
"It's been a while since you last came here, so how's it going and how's your family been doing?" he asked with a smile and I couldn't help but grin as well.
"Well, dad has been coming home later from his job now that he got a small promotion and from that we managed to ease up some of the debt we owe, so I'd say that everything's going alright."
"Well that's good to hear and all but-" he then darted his head to the side, as if making sure that no one else was nearby, before gesturing me closer towards him to which I did so.
"I heard from a little birdie that you were now a tutor to five identical sisters…you're such a lucky guy, you know." He said, wagging his eyebrows with a smile on his face, and I silently groaned to myself, already knowing the identity of the mysterious 'little birdie'.
"You wouldn't be saying that if you were the one teaching them." I responded while he could only shrug his shoulders in response as quickly moved back to his seat.
"I really am wondering if you're a bibliomaniac with how you're acting." He sighed, shaking his head in the process and I could feel my eyebrow twitch in annoyance.
Why is everyone saying that?!
"I mean just think about it. You used to hang out with Takebayashi all the time back then, and now you're teaching five, and I'm assuming, beautiful sisters. No normal person wouldn't be interested at all!"
"If you're done speaking bullshit, I'll be off now." I made sure to make him hear my annoyance and I'm sure he did when he chuckled.
"Well in any case, enjoy your time here." He waved before returning to the book he was reading and I couldn't help but shake my head at him.
To think that someone like him was older than me.
However, there were some truth in his words…I would definitely be lying if I said I hadn't once thought that those five were beautiful. Though, in truth I've always thought of them as nothing more than idiots, so I guess that was the reason why? Perhaps I had only been more conscious of them ever since…
I quickly shook my head before any other thoughts plagued my mind. Today would be another day that I would focus on studying and not worry about anything else. Namely, tutoring five idiots.
I quickly got some books off the shelves and decided to search for more and the moment I turned into an aisle, I froze in place after noticing a particular figure with dark red hair-, scratch that, a very familiar figure with dark red hair, who was busy staring at the row of books in front of her. In her hands were some notebooks and some utensils.
That was the moment I recalled that their "new" house was actually nearby and I felt the urge to face palm for the mistake, though I must admit that I didn't expect any one of them to appear here of all places. Especially at a time like this.
I thought of ignoring said redhead and carrying on, but I knew I couldn't do so, not as their tutor anyways.
"Why are you here too?" I called out to her flatly and the redhead immediately stiffened the moment she heard my voice before turning back to face me.
"U-Uesugi-kun, what are you doing here?!" Itsuki called out to me with shock evident on her face and I couldn't restrain the sigh which escaped from my mouth.
And to think I thought I was going to be free from seeing them during my holidays. However, it would appear that fate had other plans for me.
"Probably for the exact reason as you." I responded before pulling out another book from the shelf and I could feel her blue eyes staring at me, or in particular the books I was carrying.
"You're going to be reading all of that?!" I could detect the disbelief in her tone and I flashed a smirk at her direction.
"Of course I am. Now that it's the holidays I need to make sure that I'm keeping up with my studies after all the tutoring I have with you idiots!"
"Hmph, well I'm going to study on my own as well. I don't need you to help me!" she retorted and I couldn't help but roll my eyes at that.
"As if you'd be able to understand everything without my help anyways." She immediately kept quiet and walked ahead of me and from there I knew I was the victor of today's argument.
We proceeded to sit at the same table, but on opposite ends, not that I cared anyways. As long as she didn't disturb me, I would be perfectly fine on my own.
A deafening silence filled the room and while the atmosphere was perfect to study in, that hadn't been the case whatsoever as I looked up from the book I was reading for the umpteenth time throughout the entire session and there I could see the troubled look which was plastered on my student's face which had been present since we first sat down.
I decided to ignore it, going back to the book that I was reading. If anything, she was the one who had said she didn't need my help in the first place.
I could hear another groan coming from her yet again and as I lowered my book, I could see her head lying on the table, and strangely enough there seemed to be some smoke coming out from her head.
Perhaps I had been studying too hard that I was beginning to hallucinate?
Whatever the case, I eventually placed my book down on the table and walked up towards her,
"You've stopped writing for a while now. Is there something which you don't understand?"
"N-no, I'm just trying to figure it out." She said as her head quickly shot back up and I couldn't help but roll my eyes at her.
"Stop being stubborn and let me see it." I got up and read the question she was having a problem with
"You just need to apply the same formula you used before in order to find the x and from there you'll be able to solve it."
"Didn't you say that you wanted to study your own stuff?" she muttered underneath her breath.
"Even if I manage to learn more, I won't be able to feel better of myself if I just leave one of my students here to struggle." I explained and when I turned to face her, I realised she was facing downwards and tints of red dusted across her cheeks.
Was she sick or something? That would definitely explain her inability to answer these questions if that were the case…or maybe she was always this stupid?
She immediately turned to face me with a glare and I recoiled back from this. There was no way she could have read my thoughts…or could she?
I quickly coughed into my hand to compose myself before quickly pointing to another question on the book and told her to answer it when I suddenly realised something.
With everything that had happened after I discovered they had moved apartments, I had always been surrounded by at least three of them every single day. So it was weird to just have one of them be here with me without the others being somewhere around.
Despite meeting Itsuki first, she's probably the sister whom I don't spend much time with a ton, aside from Nino back when she hated my presence, but there were certain moments where the two of us would be alone. And if I recall correctly, one of those times included the time when Raiha dragged the both of us to the arcade, right as I was in the middle of studying as well, before the entire fiasco at the festival happened.
Why is it that every off day I have, I'd have to spend it with them? It was as if fate wouldn't allow me to rest for even a single day.
I turned my attention back to her and realised she was struggling with yet another problem based on how her pen hadn't moved for a while.
Guess she still hadn't fixed that problem of hers where she would spend all her time answering only a single question.
"How's the studying so far?" Haruki's voice resonated in my ears as I turned back to see him walking over towards us, holding a cup in his hand.
"Aren't you supposed to be sitting out in the front?" I asked, raising an eyebrow at him but he waved it off.
"It's only for a little while. Besides, waiting a little never killed anyone did it?" He said as he handed the cup over to me, making me look at it in confusion.
"Aren't drinks disallowed in the library?"
"It's just a single cup, don't be such a worrywart." He said, patting my back with a smile.
"Um, I'm sorry to butt in, but do you two know each other?" Itsuki suddenly voiced out and Haruki instantly turned to face her, before turning back to me, raising an eyebrow as I sighed.
"Haruki, this is Itsuki, one of my students that you've heard about. Itsuki, this is Haruki, his family owns the library and he used to watch over me in the past."
"You also forgot to mention that we're friends." He pouted and I rolled my eyes at his claim, but didn't deny it and Itsuki seemed to have picked up on that fact.
"Wait, you have other friends?!" she exclaimed in shock and I could hear Haruki trying, but ultimately failing, to hide his laughter in as I shot an irritated look at her.
"Well it's nice to meet you Itsuki, I'll head back and get another cup for you." He said as he walked off, but before he left, he sent a wink at my direction.
I'm never going to hear the end of this from him…
As I took a sip from the drink Haruki gave earlier, I couldn't help but stare at my student who was busy looking through some of the reference books that I picked out earlier, her eyes never leaving the book.
Seeing as we weren't doing anything anyways, I decided to question her about something that had been bothering my mind for quite some time.
"So are you still planning on becoming a teacher?" I asked, remembering back to the final exam period when she suddenly expressed her desire of becoming one.
"Yes I am." She responded without any hesitation in her voice, her eyes flaring up with determination and even I was surprised by this.
When I first met them, aside from Ichika, who had a desire of becoming a movie actress, I'm certain that none of the other sisters' had even thought about their future.
These sisters really had grown from the first time I've met them…
"Well if you really want to be a teacher then you need to go to university, and considering your grades right now, that may seem like nothing more but a dream."
"Then Uesugi-kun, may I ask for your opinion on the matter?" I raised my eyebrow at her, letting her know I didn't know what she was implying.
"Do you think that I have a chance of being a teacher?" I looked at her for a bit as she placed her hands together and stared up at the ceiling, a nostalgic look appearing on her face.
"I've always admired my mother and I wanted to be so much like her that I'm even aspiring to be a teacher just like her…so I wanted to know what you think my chances are of being one." Itsuki asked and I thought about her question for a bit before giving my honest opinion.
"Not at all."
"Figures…" I heard her mutter underneath her breath as I sighed.
"At least that's what I would have told you had you asked me when I first started tutoring you." I finished, as I turned my head away from her, yet I knew that her gaze was on me.
"While you may be hard-headed, clumsy and a giant idiot..."
"Are you trying to lift up my spirits or dampen them?" she deadpanned but I ignored her and carried on,
"But I also know that you spent the most time studying among all your sisters. That amount of work that you've been piling up will surely come to fruition one day, and as your tutor I'll make sure of it." I said confidently, looking at her straight in the eye with her blue eyes staring back at me.
We carried on staring at each other before she eventually broke away, staring down at her knees once again.
"Now I can understand why Miku-" She muttered underneath her breath, and while I managed to catch a bit of what she said, the final part was too soft for my ears to catch.
"Hmm, what did you say?"
"N-nothing! Uhh, p-please help me out with this question!" she frantically brought the exercise book to me and while I decided to go along with what she wanted, I couldn't help but wonder what Miku had to do with any of this.
Deciding to shrug it off, I proceeded to carry on with the lesson.
"Are you feeling alright there?" I asked after catching the girl slowly beginning to doze off, for the umpteenth time in the past few minutes, before she quickly shook her head and flashed me a smile.
"O-of course I am!" though not a second later, an exhausted yawn escaped her lips which made me think to myself,
Just how long had they been studying?
Turning towards the clock that was on the wall, I was surprised to see that three hours had already passed since we first started.
I then took my phone, which I had silenced, from my pocket and turned it on and was immediately greeted by the sight of a text message from Raiha.
"Big bro, when are you coming home? I've cooked your favourite meal and it's going to get cold if you're not back soon!"
Upon seeing this message, I slowly got up from my seat, alerting the tired girl who looked at me in confusion, "We should probably head back now. I'm sure your sisters' are going to worry about you if you don't return."
Her stomach immediately growled loudly which caused her to blush in embarrassment as she nodded her head in agreement as we placed the books we borrowed back to their rightful places.
As we walked out of the library, I noticed Haruki flashed a smirk at me knowingly and I rolled my eyes at him in response. It's not as if there was anything between Itsuki and I, we were merely tutor and student.
The moon greeted us upon leaving the library and I told her that I'd walk her home and whether or not she was too tired to refuse, she went along with what I said. The streets, while it wasn't as hectic as it was during the morning hours, there were still a ton of people walking around. Despite all that, we managed to arrive to the apartment without any hassle.
"Are you sure you don't want to come in? I'm sure everyone would like to see you." She asked but I waved it off.
"Raiha already made food for me and I don't want to upset her by coming back later than I already am." I responded and just as I was about to walk off,
"Uesugi-kun, wait!" I immediately stopped as I turned back to face her,
"What is it?"
"T-thanks for your teaching today, I really appreciate it!" She said, and without wasting another second, she immediately took off towards her apartment and all I could do was watch her retreating figure.
I didn't even have the chance to say anything back to her.
I could only shrug before walking off the other direction, with my hands stuffed in my pockets. While I didn't get a chance to get much studying done for my own…in all honesty, it wasn't that bad a day.
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