The concept of Nakama has always been a staple of many, if not all, shounen mangas out the in the mainstream. It is synonymous with "allies" or "companions" or whatever similar words. However, unlike in most western fiction where the protagonist's companions are just a bunch of nobodies who are only used as a contrast to the main characters, Nakamas are basically another protagonist of the same series, each with their own personalities and background story.

However, as a loner up until now, I don't understand much about this whole Nakama thing. No, those school cliques do not count as a reference for the understanding of the topic.

Although if I really have to define what Nakama is, I think the Sobu High student council fits the definition I'm looking for. Wow, cheesy much.

At last, after a convenient time skip that consisted of just mundane events of yesterday, me and the student council are now at the gate of Kaihin-Sougou High. As expected, there are a few stares of the students aimed at us outsiders.

Well, my team actually stands out not for good reasons. I as the president is slouching and has a dead fish eyes. The vice president is an obvious chuuni on how he behaves. The secretary, although is dressed up a bit more appropriately this time, totally looked like a delinquent with her facial expression. And our treasurer who looked like a western definition of nerd.

"Make haste, brave soldiers of mine, for we will be infiltrating the enemy territory!" I don't have to tell you who said that.

Kawasaki, who's already uncomfortable with the stares given to her by the Kaihin students, sent a glare towards the chuuni vice president who immediately curled down in fear.

Now it's time for me to act all president-like. I mean, out of all people here, I'm actually the one with the highest communication skills. Well, not that my communication skills are high, in fact they are at the lowest, it's just that they unfortunately have it worse.

"Let's go to the meeting room and get this over with."

Luckily, the three of them agreed without any sort of backlash. Not like anyone here actually questioned my leadership at all. That is because I know how to deal with all of them that they somehow felt comfortable with me leading them.

I took a deep breath as I grab hold of the door, preparing to slide it open for us to enter. It was not a surprise that my companions here are nervous because as far as I remember, all of us here are inexperienced when it comes to representing something as big as the whole school.

As I slid the door open, a sudden burst of riajuu spirit slapped the whole Sobu High student council in the face. Just by a single glance, one can easily tell that their own student council is build around camaraderie, friendship, and well, riajuu stuff.

My eyes are roaming around the room, trying to analyze anyone and try to formulate some sort of plan on how to deal with them.

Then suddenly, my gaze stopped at a certain someone. One of the faces of the past that I could never forget even if I want to. She's one of those persons who made a significant impact on my life, for better or for worse.

Before the girl could even look back to me, I immediately averted my gaze towards the person in front of me who I assume to be their student council president. Instead of the customary bow of the Japanese people, he instead extended a hand which is clearly a gesture for a handshake.

"Greetings. I'm Tamanawa, president of Kaihin High student council. You must be Hikigaya-san, president of Sobu High student council, yes? "

In response, I took his hand for a handshake and responded. "Yes. It's a pleasure to meet you." Well, not really a pleasure...

"I must say... I'm ecstatic that we are able to reach out to Sobu High. I expect the emerging synergy from our partnersip, based on mutual respect, will be the game changer for this event to succeed."

Wow, I've never heard of such excessive usage of English words in a Japanese conversation before. My natural ahoge antenna just received a terrible signal from this guy.

"Um, ok... Let's do our best." was the only reply I could muster.

Meanwhile, my companions were speechless about the other president's choice of vocabulary. As the ever responsible leader that I am (lol), I urged them to take their seats while I will go talk to the president for some initial discussions.

"Tamanawa," I called the president.

"Yes, Hikigaya-san?"

"I just want to ask what will be the structure of this meeting."

"Of course it will be a completely interactive brainstorming where no idea will be completely rejected. Instead, we will find a way to integrate those ideas to create a perfect collaborative event for everyone to enjoy."

Although it's kinda unrealistic, I'm a bit glad that he is open to suggestions. Usually in this kind of setting, the one at the home advantage always has the last say and people like us only serve as an extra manpower.

"Glad to know that."

"Although, I would like to ask for you permission to be the presiding officer of this meeting. Do you mind?"

To be honest, I'm not so confident with his leadership skills. I got the idea when he said about accommodating all of the ideas thrown at the meeting. Although that could be a good thing, that also shows one's indecisiveness and refusal to take responsibility.

However, I'm just kinda relieved that he wants to take leadership. Well, let's be honest here. Even though I'm already a president, I still don't have enough social skills to lead some random people I just met.

"I have no objections. Let's start the meeting in five minutes."

"Got it."

Just when I'm about to go back to where Zaimokuza and the others are seated, a very familiar voice of a nice girl called me. "Hikigaya, is that you?"

And all of a sudden, my imaginary ability Stealth Hikki was once again proven to be just an imagination. I turned towards the girl who called me.

"Good afternoon, Orimoto."

"Color me surprised, you're actually on the student council!"

Back then, I would have been a stuttering mess on this kind of situation. I mean, Orimoto is objectively a pretty girl.

"Uh, ok. Get back to your group, the meeting is about to start."

That's right, I dismissed her just like that. It's one of the lessons I've learned from Hiratsuka-sensei, to live with them and not necessarily befriend them. Because what I came here for the meeting, then I'll conduct myself accordingly and not let my actions be messed up just because a girl who rejected me in the past is here.

...

That was... terrible. I don't know where to start about the significant flaws of the meeting. Both the two schools are at fault for that disaster because I foolishly tried to just observe the opposite party.

However, the Kaihin student council was really milking their home court advantage. What's worse is that although everyone from their team suggested something to the meeting, they were all just some empty or vague words with some random English phrases to sound intelligent and cool.

And thus, the meeting ended with the only progress we've made being the emptying of our snacks.

We walked towards the gate of this cursed school and went on our separate ways. As it's already late in the evening, I decided to go to some random fastfood I could find to have some dinner there.

After I crossed the pedestrian lane, I saw a rather cute girl waving at me. Not wanting to be rude, I walked towards her and returned the greeting.

"Good evening, Meguri-senpai." I still find it hard to use someone's given name other than my sister.

"Hello, Hachiman. So... How's the meeting?" I thought I was talking to Totsuka for a moment there.

"If I'll be honest, it's a total bomb. The Kaihin student council are utilizing their home court advantage way too much, only to come up with nothing of significance."

Hearing that, Meguri-senpai just let out a sheepish laugh. "Ehehe, so Tamanawa-san was still like that. We had some meetings before and all I remember are his excessive hand gestures."

Maybe he's just way too energetic that he needs to move constantly. Either that or he just wanted to look like an intellectual.

"So... How about you, senpai? It's already late at night."

"I just went to the public library. You know, studying for exams and stuff." With a short pause, she looked around the area. "Since you're here, why don't we have dinner?"

Calm down, this is just dinner. If I was asked like this even just a couple of years ago, I would instantly jump out of joy and disgust the one who invited me. Now that I've known "better", I can now respond without hinting that excessive joy. I can't help but grin a little though.

"Sure, I was about to get one myself anyway."

...

After a short walk, we found a fastfood restaurant which name I didn't bother reading. I'm also lucky that the crowd here wasn't all that thick, or else I'm going to lose my appetite.

While eating, me and Meguri-senpai haven't really talked that much, only a bit about council stuffs and her vague advices for my current position. I appreciate that she didn't give me full advices because this is one of the few times that I wanted to understand my work mostly on my own.

"So, Hachiman, we haven't really talked about personal stuff, have we?"

"Uh yeah?"

"I think we should change that. We're meeting on a regular basis yet I still don't know anything about your personal life. For starters, do you have any siblings?" she asked.

I was actually surprised that she's even a bit interested in my personal life. She's even the first to ask me about it because no one cares enough to do so nor I'm willing to tell them about it. But with this recent closeness that I've acquired from senpai, I found myself slowly opening up to her.

"Why the interest?" I asked back.

"Of course I want to know you better. Is there any problem with it?"

"Nothing, it's just that you're the first one to ask me about it."

"Well... I'm glad to be your first."

A phrase like that could mean many things. Some are not worth noting while some are extremely suggestive. As for a teenager such as myself, I would unconsciously lean towards the latter meaning even if the one who told me didn't mean it like that.

I dazed for a moment until Meguri-senpai flicked my forehead, snapping me back to reality.

"Hey, what's wrong with you? Why did you spaced out like that?" she asked.

"Just a random memory. Sorry about that."

Although I don't believe that Meguri-senpai is completely innocent, this may only be a case of her forgetting the other implications of certain phrases. I mean, the word "wet" is not inherently lewd but people still find it like so during their teenage years when the hormones are most active.

"So you're ready to tell me?"

"Sure, I could share some. For starters, I have a little sister and I think she will be studying here at Sobu next year."

...

We stayed at the table for about an hour, just talking about random things about ourselves.

Remember when I said that Meguri-senpai was the most natural girl I've seen in my whole life? Now, it seems that even our interactions are starting to feel more natural. Maybe it's because of her being natural and my distaste for facades and lies blending together in some way that I can't explain.

So... I think what I need to do is to tackle these things happening to me right now like so. Natural, without lies and deceit. Genuine.