Author's Note: Yay! We get to see some characters that haven't appeared for a while! :p
[Ayano Aishi x Mujo Kina]
Ayano was upset. Very upset.
The cause of her distress was currently sitting on the white linen covers that adorned a small hospital bed, trying not to look too contrite at her obvious agitation.
Damn it! Ayano thought angrily, pacing around the classroom-sized nurse's office. Why do you have to be so stubborn Osano-Kun? If only you had listened to me, we wouldn't even be here!
The incessant clacking sound of her shoes against the tile was enough to drive anyone mad, but the pumpkin-haired boy really didn't want to irritate his best friend any more than he already had. Instead, he crossed his arms and grumbled incoherently and let her stir. Surely, she'd wear herself out eventually.
Meanwhile, Ayano was having trouble keeping to herself. She really really wanted to scream at her best friend for making her worry so much about his wellbeing.
What did Osano Najimi do to royally piss off his best friend? He insisted on going to school with a fever, and had thus fallen down some stairs due to a near-fainting spell caused by his chronic headaches! Needless to say, the only thing he'd gained from his pig-headedness was a broken hand.
He had been getting better when she went to visit him over on Saturday, but after Ayano stormed out after a petty fight they'd had regarding her choice in friends, she had been regrettably absent during his weekend relapse.
What a jerk, Oko was not a weirdo and the Occult Club isn't full of freaks!
Finally, the silence got to them both as they spoke at the same time.
Osano hung his head in shame and sighed. "If you're going to yell at me, go ahead, I won't stop you. I get that I was wrong, I should've stayed at home longer..."
Ayano gave a slightly rueful grin, knowing that their recent discord was not entirely his fault, but regardless, she let him finish.
"And...?" She trailed off hopefully.
Her sanguine query was met with incoherent grumbling.
"Come on, just say it already. Please?" An unusual teasing lilt to her normally flat voice made him look up sharply.
Hopefully, he hadn't caught on to the fact that she knew he had a weakness for that word.
Osano groaned. "Fine! I promise to listen to you from now on! There, you happy?"
She bounded toward him, throwing his arms around her shoulders, and it seemed the tighter she hugged him, the more the tension leaked out of the atmosphere.
"I hated fighting with you, Osano-Kun. We're never doing it again."
Ayano pulled her head back, staring at her best friend as she said this; their faces only inches apart.
Osano spluttered, face burning up, and pushed her back onto the parallel nursing mattress.
"Q-quit it! You're going to get sick to when you're so close..."
"Sorry, I forgot for a second," she sheepishly admitted.
A comfortable silence settled upon the two teenagers, but before either of them could say another word, a pink-haired man wearing a white nurse's uniform beat them to it.
"Here it is! Wow this school is big..." He whispered to himself as he entered the room from the farther set of doors on the left, oblivious to their presence.
"It's about time! We're already late for class!" Osano proclaimed, glaring daggers at the late arrival.
Ayano rolled her eyes. "You won't be allowed to go anywhere with a fever, Osano."
He sharply turned his attention back to his friend. "Nevertheless, the least he could do is give me a splint for my hand!"
The ebony-haired girl slapped his shoulder. "Be nice, he's obviously new here, baka."
"That's my line!"
Unbeknownst to the two students, their bickering that had slowly but steadily increased in volume caught the attention of the naïve caregiver.
"Oh gosh, I've gone and done it again! That's the third time yet someone's come in for help and I failed to notice..." The man quietly admonished to himself. He approached them hurriedly, interrupting what looked to be a heated discussion. "Hello! So sorry for the wait, I'm Nurse Kina, how can I help you?"
"Nice to meet you Nurse Kina, my friend here has a broken hand a-"
-and fever is what she would have said had her exasperating best friend not just decided to discreetly pinch her leg.
"A broken hand! Just a broken hand!"
Unfortunately, Ayano had been too busy trying not to look like a weirdo by randomly cutting herself off in the middle of a sentence that she let Osano lie about his condition. She gritted her teeth. Did they not just have a talk about how he would listen to her from now on? Gosh, out of everyone at Akademi why did she have to get a best friend that was so stubborn? Did he not care about his health at all?!
"Alright, I'll have a splint made for you in no time!" Nurse Kina said with a smile.
Suddenly, the pretty, happy-go-lucky nurse turned towards her. "And can I get you anything? Perhaps a glass of water?"
Stunned, Ayano agreed. She'd thought that he'd ask her to leave, go back to class since he was here now. Oh well, no matter now. She'd stay if allowed. Ayano wanted to give her companion an earful for not getting treatment.
Contemplating what words to say whilst berating Osano, Ayano began to pace once more. She didn't feel comfortable just standing around, not right now. Not when she could have moved instead of freezing up when he stumbled... God, was this her fault? Maybe if she hadn't insisted on leaving then she could have looked after him better. Maybe if she hadn't distracted him with her nagging, he could've caught the railing in time! Maybe-
Why was she looking at the ceiling? And why was she shirt wet?
At that moment, time appeared to pause. At that moment Ayano stopped chastising herself for Osano's injuries. Because at that moment Nurse Kina was laying on top of her, paper cup splayed horizontally across her chest.
"I'm so sorry! How did we end up like this? Here! Let me help you up!"
Taking his proffered hand as a silent gesture of forgiveness, Ayano shrugged. "I can just change into my gym uniform." In all honesty, she was just glad that it hadn't been enough water to make her shirt go transparent. Flashing her best friend and the new cute nurse was in no way on her to-do list.
Still not satisfied with her acceptance, Nurse Kina dug into one of his shirt pockets and held out a red lollipop, the color not too far off from his face.
Huh, this medic seems to be full of surprises. Ayano mused.
At her amused/baffled expression he quickly explained. "I work part-time at an elementary school..."
The stoic girl grinned, grasping at the candy. "Well you should start handing out these things here too, I'll just have to stop by more often if you do."
Neither of them noticed Osano silently fuming just a few feet away.
As Nurse Kina finished applying the brace to Osano's hand and left to go find the restroom, the doors to the Nurse's office breached, staying that way as another person entered; plowing towards the atypically silent boy, swathing her arms around his neck like a boa constrictor.
"Osano-Kun! I'm so glad you're alright! If you were with me this wouldn't have happened..."
Now, if she hadn't been paying attention she wouldn't have noticed, but Ayano could've sworn that she'd seen this girl before.
Once it became clear that the girl wouldn't be letting go anytime soon, Osano grabbed her shoulders and abruptly removed the girl's hands from his torso. Ayano would never admit this, but she felt slightly smug when he didn't come up blushing like he did when she hugged him.
The lack of a suffix didn't escape either girls' notice.
"So you're Raibaru huh? It's nice to meet one of Osano-Kun's friends."
Raibaru startled at the mention of her name and turned toward Ayano as if noticing her for the first time.
Her smile turned disingenuous, only slightly faltering.
"Ah, you must be the infamous Ayano...Osano-Kun talks about you all the time." Raibaru grit out, teeth clenched.
"Hm, can't say the same about you," She chuckled, smirking internally whilst watching the other girl's eye twitch.
"Oh, we've known each other since we were kids! In fact, I'd even go as far as to say that we're best friends."
Hell no, this bitch did not just insinuate-
"Funny we've never met before today then, although it is understandable since he spends most of his time with me nowadays."
Throughout the entire exchange, Osano looked on silently from the metaphorical sidelines, extremely bewildered that his best and oldest friend were (fighting over him?) oh what he'd give for that to be the case with Ayano (trying to assert dominance as alpha female?) being a bit possessive if he was correct.
He'd expect this from Raibaru, ever since they were little she had always been a tad more clingy than normal, which had sadly caused them to grow apart over the years, amongst other factors, but Ayano? She didn't seem like the type...but what did he know? She was the most aloof person he knew...
...did he dare hope that there was even the slightest chance that she could feel something for him too?
Meanwhile, Ayano was thinking about the same thing. The sudden protectiveness (at least that's what she thought it was) for Osano hit her like a baseball bat to the back of the head. Frankly, she didn't care that Osano had other friends, but there was something...off about this girl. Her intuition had never failed her before, and thus the persona switch. And in all honesty, Osano was her first friend, and the Aishi girl abhorred the possibility of him being taken away by the gender-bent, much more migraine-inducing version of himself.
Slate gray eyes met tangerine orange in an intense staredown, every second that passed felt like an hour. The tension in the antiseptic-smelling room nearly palpable enough to cut with a scalpel.
The two female students seemed to have an entire barter with just their body language for communication, all the while not even blinking.
Osano is mine kisama yariman, back the eff off! The Fumetsu scion narrowed her eyes imperceptibly.
There is no fucking way I'm letting this Osano rip-off surpass me in anything, let alone a staring contest... Ayano casually leaned her head against Osano's shoulder, mentally celebrating when Raibaru's fists clenched ivory.
I can do this all day. Raibaru seemed to convene.
So can I. Ayano mused.
Much to the chagrin of the clashing females, neither of them lost, as another person joined them, breaking their focus.
Never thought I'd be this relieved to see him. On the plus side, I can finally blink...
The garish pink and orange color scheme started to hurt her eyes. (It suited Osano, but for some reason, it was like gazing into the sun with her.)
Amao Odayaka strode confidently into the room teeming with turbulent estrogen, carrying a plate of dango, making his usual lunchtime rounds of giving away samples of his cooking. He swept his gaze from Ayano, whom he gave a small, though very friendly close-mouthed smile, to Raibaru, and that grin faded, morphing into a small frown. His eyebrows furrowed in understanding. He discreetly took out a napkin and put one of the stick-holding sweets in his pocket. The other sibling looking students were too distracted to notice the new addition completely.
Sooner than it left his easygoing smile was once again present.
"Greetings Yan-Chan, it's been quite some time since we've last seen each other. Would you like some dango?
Ayano's lips quirked upwards in a thankful manner. "I'd love some Amao-Kun, thanks."
During the transaction of handing the dumplings off to her, Amao took hold of her wrist, pulling her close. "I made them especially for you, Yan-Chan, I know they're your favorite," he whispered.
She colored similarly to the red shiso dyed rice flour as she responded, "How did you know that?"
He pulled away from a tad and chuckled slightly. "Saki-Chan stopped by earlier and helped me prepare them. Apparently Kokona told her it was your favorite. She claimed she wanted to help me impress you, being my 'girlfriend' and all."
Ayano failed to notice how Osano's head snapped up during his until-then subtle eavesdropping of their conversation.
She'd forgotten about that, with everything else that happened last week. As her purple-haired friend told her, Saki had refused to move on from her revelation about her club leader and his new girlfriend's 'budding romance'.
Damn social butterflies, always so...nice.
Well, she supposed she couldn't fault Kokona for this. She probably didn't know the extent of Saki's intentions when she filled her in on Ayano's dessert preference. After all, she really needed it after the way her day was going.
Speaking of Kokona, she hadn't heard much from her after Ayano gave her the finished maid costume, aside from the few texts they'd sent over the weekend. Even then she seemed a bit distant. Ayano made a mental note to find her later that day and catch up with her; see what was going on in her life. Ayano committed to being more social after befriending Osano-baka, it was only fitting she be there if her new friend was going through something.
A minute clearing of a throat caught Ayano and Amao's attention. They both turned towards the other occupants with recognition.
"When you two are done making eyes at each other, we'd like some dango please," Osano grumbled out.
Regaining her bearings, Ayano noticed once again that she and the Odayaka male were in each other's personal bubble.
Unperturbed, Amao responded. "Of course, sorry about that! I just completely lose myself when I'm with Yan-Chan."
At this admission, Osano appeared to be a bit ticked off and was badly trying to hide it. On the other hand, Raibaru looked positively giddy at the prospect of having Osano-Kun all to herself now that this brunet boy had shown up.
Reaching down on the tray, Amao pretended to look surprised with convincing execution. "Oh dear, it looks like there's only one left! Hm, we shouldn't let it go to waste, here you go!" He gave away the outwardly last stick of dessert to Osano, leaving a put-out Raibaru pouting. She displayed a pleading look on her reluctant companion.
"Fine! You can share mine..." Osano exclaimed.
Raibaru let out a shrill shriek reminiscent of a reply. "Thank you! You're so nice Osano-Kun!"
While Raibaru busied herself with fussing over her friend, Amao clutched Ayano's arm and turned her around so that they faced the opposite wall. The girl in question raised an eyebrow at him for his actions but was pleasantly startled when he pulled out another serviette encased stake of dango was presented to her.
"I figured you deserve it more." Amao winked.
"Oh...thank you Amao-Kun." Ayano smiled shyly.
At first, nothing seemed amiss as she took a few bites of the sweet; Amao looked on hopefully, awaiting her verdict of his performance. But when she swallowed her stomach twisted something fierce. Small rumbling sounds arose from within her abdomen. Ayano resisted the urge to gag as saliva filled her mouth. She clutched both arms to her middle, letting the dango drop to the floor.
"Yan-chan what's wrong?!" Amao exclaimed nervously.
"What did you do to her!?" Osano screamed.
Nearly doubling over, Ayano trudged her way over to the nearest trash can before succumbing to the buckling of her knees. Her fingers grasped at the cheap plastic, sliding along the material at having nothing to latch onto. She emptied the contents of her insides, which wasn't that much to begin with. Feeling lightheaded, Ayano reprimanded herself on not eating more that day. Desperately trying to stay conscious, she could just make out the sound of voices surrounding her. Eventually, it all faded into white noise.
"My goodness what happened here?!" Said a voice that sounded like Mujo.
Out of nowhere a strong pair of arms went around her knees, lifted her up, and began carrying her across the room. The last thing she saw prior to blacking out were halos of pink, orange and brown.
To Be Continued...
Author's Note: wOaH what's going to happen?! I hope that was fun to read about! I tried to make Mujo seem as innocent as possible since he and Mido are pretty controversial rivals. (Not sure what I'll do about the latter tbh) Also, Mujo is the one who picked her up but I purposefully left it vague so you can imagine any of the three came to her rescue :)
Side note: I decided to make this chapter a bit longer to make up for my lack of updates... Maybe I should do that once in a while, since it would just screw up my schedule even more, making me take even longer haha...
Kisama: The rude Japanese pronoun to 'you'.
Yariman: The crude Japanese way of saying slut. Only used to describe girls.
Dango: A Japanese dumpling sweet made from mochiko, related to mochi. Usually served with green tea. (The ones Amao hand out are specifically Hanami dango.)