Love Comes in Fifths!
Chapter 1: A New Future
Fuutarou Uesugi opened his eyes to find himself in a completely white space. White was all he saw. Nothing else.
"Where am I?" The scholar asked himself as he looked around. He walked around to see if he could find something, but there was nothing. He just kept walking in an endless void. He was really confused at the moment. The last thing he remembered was going to bed after late night studying. And then he wakes up to find himself in this strange place.
"Is this a dream? I must be dreaming, right? Yeah that explains it." Fuutarou came to that conclusion as it was the only possible explanation to him. He has never heard of endless white voids existing in real life. Although it was a weird dream. He felt like he was awake. He pinched himself to wake up, but it didn't do anything. All he felt was slight pain.
"Wait, so I am awake?" The young man exclaimed in confusion. "Just what in the world is going on? Is this a dream or not?!"
"Yes and no."
Fuutarou heard a voice that sounded ancient and primordial. The voice alone sent a shiver down his spine. As if pure power was laced within it. He turned around to the location he heard the voice from. What he saw made him raise his eyebrows.
There was a person there. That he was certain. But he didn't really see anyone either. The person was a simple white silhouette. With an aura of golden energy. It reminded him of the sun in a way. It was warm and soothing. It made him feel at ease. But it wasn't too hot to the point where he was sweating and burning. His state of confusion and panic from earlier was slowly subsiding due to the aura of the silhouette before him.
"W-Who are you? Where am I? What's going on?!" Fuutarou asked the silhouette as he was still wondering what the hell was going on. The aura made him feel calmer so he didn't shout those questions in panic, but he was still wondering what in the world was happening to him.
"Hello Fuutarou Uesugi, son of Isanari. It's a pleasure to finally meet you." The silhouette replied. Fuutarou swore that he saw the shape of a smile on the person's face.
"How do you know my name? I've never met you before in my life!"
"You may not know me, but I definitely know you. I've been watching you for a long time now."
"Eh? Are you a stalker or something? Why are you watching me? You know that's illegal right?" Fuutarou was weirded out from the way he was speaking. It wasn't exactly normal for a person to say they've been watching you for a long time even though you've never met them. It made him feel like someone was spying on him.
"At ease, young Hero. I mean no harm to you. I haven't been stalking you per say. I've simply been watching your story from afar." He laughed at Fuutarou calling him a stalker. That's the first time he's ever been called that in eons.
"Young Hero? Why did you call me that? I'm not a hero."
"You could be. That depends on your response to my preposition to you. Although some could argue that even without my offer, you will still end up being a Hero to certain people's eyes."
Now Fuutarou was even more confused. Just what was this guy talking about? Hero? Preposition? Who would call him a Hero? He's not heroic in any sense in the word in his eyes. All he does is study and get good grades.
"What are you talking about? Just what the heck is going on here?! You keep confusing me more by the second!"
Fuutarou heard a chuckle, "My apologies, son of Isanari. I suppose I shall start from the beginning. You asked me who I was earlier. I have gone by many names throughout all of time. I've been called Light. I have been called the Traveler. I've also been referred to as the Machine God. But my original name, in a time before time, has long since forgotten. Only a select few know of it. You can call me, The Gardener."
"The Gardener? That's a weird name. But I guess I'll go along with it." Fuutarou has never heard a name like that. He guessed his parents just didn't know what to name him, so they just picked something random.
"I don't have parents."
"What the hell? You can read minds?!"
"Yes, I can hear your every thought and emotion. Before you ask, no I was not an orphan. I simply don't have parents. I existed before the concept of parenthood."
"Huh? Dude, what are you talking about?" Fuutarou was starting to think this Gardener was a nutjob.
The Gardener raised his hand, "Just let me finish, and I'll answer any questions you have. Alright?"
Fuutarou nodded, "Alright that seems fair."
The Gardener continued, "In a time before time itself, before the Omniverse even existed, before even existence itself, there was a Garden. In that Garden were two entities. They were called the Gardener and the Winnower. They played a game in the Garden. In this game, they simulated different potential universes. The Gardener represented the rules that allowed flowers to be placed, to spread, and to sustain themselves over each tick of game time, while the Winnower represented the rules that culled flowers. The Gardener and the Winnower iterated an indeterminate number of potential universes. However, while there could be an infinite number of universes that could be simulated in the flower game, each and every one would inevitably be overcome by the same final shape. No matter what. This would repeat itself endlessly across the board. The Winnower had no problem with this and enjoyed the ruthlessness of the dominant pattern. But the Gardener hated it. It frustrated him so much to see the same fate befall to all of the simulated universes."
"So he proposed a new rule to the flower game. One that would reward difference and complexity, curtailing any one pattern from overtaking the board. The Winnower did not like this. He told his counterpart that this new rule would corrupt the game and ruin its beauty, saying Fate should be the determinant of all. The Gardener strongly disagreed. He believed that Free Will is much more beautiful and more interesting as it leads to unpredictable circumstances. The two continued arguing until the Winnower had enough and attacked the Gardener. As the two fought, they devastated the Garden, and real universes, no longer simple simulations, coalesced out of the damage they inflicted to it. Perturbations in the probability space were translated into big bangs, symmetries, and laws of physics. The final shape, created from the battle of the Gardener and the Winnower, is what the Omniverse is today."
The Gardener finished his story and was now waiting for Fuutarou's response. It took a moment for the high school student to digest all of the information he was just given. It was a lot to take in. He just learned the origins of the universe from a first hand account! While it was exciting, he did have a lingering question in his mind.
"I beg your pardon?"
"You said that the Gardener and the Winnower fought. They had a battle which created everything. But you never mentioned who came out on top."
"Yes, you are right. I did fail to mention that. Well to answer your question, the Winnower defeated the Gardener." He answered Fuutarou which made the young man ask another question.
"So you lost? Then how are you here right now?" He would assume a cosmic battle like that would be to the death. How is he standing before him now?
"Well, with the flower game over, and the cosmos now real, immutable, and irreversible, my defeat in the garden meant little. We have moved our conflict into the Omniverse, to determine its ultimate fate."
Fuutarou widened his eyes, "Wait, did you just say Omniverse? I'm sorry, are you saying there's a multiverse? Because I thought that was just theoretical, I mean that completely changes how we understand the initial singularity. We're talking about an eternal inflation system, but how does that even work with all of the quantum? It's insane-"
Fuutarou then realized what he was doing and immediately apologized, "I'm sorry I nerded out. It's just really cool. I'm a big dork when it comes to stuff like this hehe."
The Gardener laughed, "Don't ever apologize for being intelligent and passionate. But, yes indeed there is a multiverse. Infinite realities and dimensions were created from our battle. There are an endless amount of timelines out there. And that applies to everyone and everything. Back in the Garden, these timelines would all have the same result. The same ending. Absolutely no matter what. But I fought to change that. I wish to free people from the shackles of Fate, so that they have the right to choose their own path!"
Fuutarou hummed, "I see… I believed that time was linear, but if what you say is true, that doesn't seem to be the case. This is just crazy! This changes everything!" He proceeded to go on another muttering spree.
"You would get along with someone really well." The Gardener said as he thought about a certain Green Haired Hero.
"What was that?" Fuutarou stopped mid rambling.
"Never mind that. Now that you understand the context, I need to explain to you why I brought you here."
"Oh yeah, I was wondering that as well. What exactly do you need from a guy like me?" He'll admit, it was nice hearing the story from the Gardener, but what exactly was the point?
"Well, here's the thing. Your story is one of the more interesting ones out of the countless that I have witnessed. And while I believe it is great, I believe you have much more potential. The reason I say this is because you too, like many others, have suffered from the shackles of Fate. You will be forced to make a decision in the future that leads to a bittersweet ending to your story. While you and the one you choose find happiness, the others who were rejected as a result never got over it and instead never found the happiness that you wished you could have given them. So I'm here to offer to change that."
Fuutarou listened to the words of the Primordial entity and only frowned in confusion, "Hold on a second! You're confusing me again! What decision are you talking about? What do you mean by rejection?"
The Gardener sighed, "Of course you don't understand now, because it hasn't happened, yet. But to make this easier, let me show you what I'm talking about."
"What are you going to show me?" Fuutarou asked with curiosity.
"Nothing much, just your past, present, and future."
Fuutarou was cut off as he felt a sting in his brain. He grabbed his head in pain as he began to see his life flash before his eyes. He witnessed his birth and his childhood. His mother's funeral then came into view. He could never forget that day. It was easily the saddest day of his life. He still misses his mother. Things just haven't been the same since she's been gone. Then the trip to Kyoto came into his mind, where he revisited the day that changed his life forever. The red haired girl who motivated him to change his ways and become the man he is today. That memory has stayed in his heart ever since. He longed for the day where he could meet her once again to thank her for changing him.
It then shifted to the present day where he is now a top student. But his family was still poor. He wished he could do something to change that. He took as many part time jobs as he could but it all didn't matter in the end since ultimately his family's financial status never really changed. It's the reason he studies so hard. So that he can make something of himself and hopefully get his family out of this cursed debt. He couldn't even afford a decent meal at lunch. He had to starve throughout the day which made it harder for him to focus on his studies.
Then came the Future.
The images went by fast so he couldn't quite remember every single detail but there was a common theme among them all. In all of the major moments, there were 5 girls with red hair, blue eyes, and with the same face. At first he couldn't tell the difference between them, but as time went on, he was able to. He didn't understand why, but when he saw those girls, he felt love for all 5 of them even if he didn't know them yet. He shared so many moments with them if the visions were anything to go by. Moments of happiness and sadness. From hate to love. It was all divided into fifths.
A wedding came into view. His wedding. The bride was one of the 5 identical girls. But for some reason he couldn't tell which one it was. He tried but it was just blurry and the visions were going too fast. They were happily married. Fuutarou never thought he would ever accomplish something like that since he's never been one for romance. But it seems like he will somehow do it in the future.
He just wished his mother could have attended his wedding.
He knew he would marry one of the 5 identical girls that he's been seeing in his future visions. But the other 4? For some reason all he could feel from them was pure heart ache. As if their hopes and dreams were all crushed. Is this what the Gardener meant by rejection and never getting over it? Thinking about it made Fuutarou's heart ache as well. He didn't wish that kind of pain upon anyone, especially for people he loves and cares for. And from what he can tell, he loves these girls so much.
But he only chose one.
And when you choose something.. You're also not choosing something.
They had to live with Fuutarou's choice and his rejection. Seeing them go through that pain made him want to cry. How could his future self do this? Does he not realize what he's done? How could he reject their feelings like that?!
'No… this is wrong. This is all wrong! I can't handle this! It's too much!'
The Gardener sensed Fuutarou's pain. He sympathized with the young man. Reality is often disappointing. Fate was cruel. But he had to see this. He had to see it for himself. It is the only way he can understand.
The last vision Fuutarou saw was a much older version of himself visiting 5 graves. Each of them had the family name of Nakano engraved on them.
"I'm so happy that I met you all. You sisters changed my life for the better. I don't know what would have become of me if you all were never a part of my life. Thank you for everything.. And goodbye."
In the end, he was left alone.
Fuutarou dropped to knees, panting as he felt sweat dripping down his face and tears in his eyes. He had just gone through a rollercoaster of emotions. It all came at him at once. He couldn't fantham how his brain was able to handle all of the information at once.
"So tell me, what are your thoughts on your future?" The Gardener asked Fuutarou. The young man in question was still trying to recover from the memories and visions. Fuutarou took a minute to wipe his eyes dry of the tears he shed. The sadness and anger in his own self was selling up inside of him. He looked up at the Gardener with a determined expression.
"I can't let that happen."
"I take it you're not satisfied with your Fate."
He grit his teeth, "Of course not! What kind of Fate is that? How could I allow myself to do that to them! They… they loved me. And I just rejected them."
"Correct. But what could you have done? That was simply the hand you were dealt. You had no choice. Someone had to get rejected."
"Bullshit! There's always a choice. Don't give me that crap!" Fuutarou yelled at the Gardener. He was a little taken aback at the boy's outburst, but realized that he must have been experiencing a whirlwind of emotions right now.
"Then tell me what you would have done differently, son of Isanari?"
Fuutarou stayed quiet for a minute. He stared at the floor in defeat as he couldn't come up with an answer.
"I don't know."
The Gardener shook his head, "Fate sure is cruel, isn't it?"
Fuutarou gripped his fists, "Why are you showing me this? Why did you bring me here? What is the point in all of this? If I can't change my fate, why the hell would you show me my future? Is this some sick joke you do? Do gods enjoy seeing a poor mortal in pain?"
The Gardener frowned, "Who said you can't change your Fate?"
"You implied it."
"Did you not listen to the story of the Garden? I literally went against the concept of Fate. That is why the Winnower got angry in the first place."
"But you lost, didn't you? If the god of creation lost against Fate, what chance does a weak little nobody like me have?" Fuutarou asked depressingly. He hated himself for his uselessness. All he was good for was studying. But that isn't helping anybody. His family is still poor. And he's gonna cause heart ache in the future anyway. So what even is the point anymore?
"I lost that first battle, yes. But that doesn't mean I haven't learned and grown stronger. I told you already, that battle in the Garden is irrelevant now. The real war is now in the real world. And I haven't lost yet. There's still hope. Even for you."
Fuutarou looked at the god with a sorrowful gaze, "What are you talking about?"
"And that leads me to why I'm here in the first place. I have a proposition for you, Fuutarou Uesugi. I didn't just show you your future so you can mellow in depression. I did it so that you now understand the cruel Fate that has been laid out before you. Now that you understand, I want to give you the opportunity to craft your own path. To give free will to make your own future. To avoid that pain and heartache."
Fuutarou grew interested in the god's words, "Explain."
The Gardener chuckled, "I will gift you power. Power that will allow you to go against Fate and forge your own future. You will be able to accomplish whatever it is you want, so long as you put your mind to it. All you will need is ambition. Whatever your goal is, you can achieve it with this power. The same power that the greatest Heroes have."
Fuutarou thought about his words in silence for a couple of moments. The Gardener was patient as there was no rush. It is a very important decision.
"What's the catch?" Fuutarou finally spoke up.
"What do you mean?"
"Don't play dumb. Nothing in life is free. There's always a caveat. No matter what it is. Tell me what that is."
"You really wise beyond your years, eh? Alright then, yes there is a catch. If you accept my gift, you will have to become a Warrior of the Light."
Fuutarou squinted his eyes, "Warrior of the Light? What does that mean?"
"There will be times when the Light will need a defender. A protector. A Guardian. I can't fully explain to you everything yet, but just know in time, I and many others will need your help. Your powers and gifts will be necessary for the safety of the multiverse. That won't be for a long time though. You won't have to worry about that for now. You can enjoy yourself and do whatever it is you wish to do in your normal everyday life. But when the time comes, you will receive a call. And you will be expected to answer it."
"I get it now. You give me the power I need to change my Fate and accomplish whatever it is I want to do in my life. But in return I will have to serve you somehow in the distant future. Is that right?"
"Correct! But you won't be serving me. You will be serving humanity."
'Serving humanity…. Interesting. I guess I will find out eventually… that is if I take his offer. If I do, I may actually make something out of myself.' Fuutarou thought as he kept debating with himself on what to do.
"And what happens if I decline?"
"I wipe any and all memory you have of this meeting and of your future. You wake up in the morning as you would and continue on with your life." The Gardener answered bluntly.
"So I will just be living the same life I saw in the vision, but I won't have any knowledge of it beforehand?"
"Yes, it will be as if we never even had this conversation."
"But… then I'll have to go through everything that I see in my future. So I won't be able to escape that Fate." Fuutarou sadly concluded.
Fuutarou thought about the situation and smiled at the ridiculousness of it all. Here he was conversing with a primordial entity who existed in a time before time itself. He was offering him power. What kind of power, he had no idea. The Gardener was pretty vague when describing it. For all he knew, he could be being played right now. But something was telling him to trust the Gardener's words. It may have been his aura, but something about the deity communicated trust and security. He did show him his future without really having to. Even if he did it to sway him into accepting his offer.
"I beg your pardon."
"Why choose me out of all people to be your Warrior of the Light? You understand that the only thing I'm good for is studying right? And even with that, I still can't solve my problems and help my family's debt. I'm a nerd, a loser, a dork, and an anti-social loner. I literally have no friends. So why even waste your time with me, when there could be so many better options?"
He didn't understand what the Gardener saw in him. Or what the point was of this entire meeting. Why worry about a random high schooler? Why did he care about Fuutarou's future. He's a nobody that probably won't really make much of anything out of life. He couldn't help but feel a little underqualified.
A swift chuckle was heard as the Gardener couldn't help but laugh at Fuutraou's question. He honestly expected as much.
Fuutarou grew a tick mark, "Hey what's so funny?!"
"It's funny to me how lowly you perceive yourself, son of Isanari. You have so many gifts but have yet to realize them. On the surface, you don't seem all that special but that's what is so interesting about you! I have seen your future, and trust me you will surprise yourself. But with my offer, I will see to it that you truly realize your potential and help change the lives of so many people. You have no idea what you can and will do. But you shall see. I promise you that if you accept my offer."
Fuutarou marinated on the Gardener's words. What can he truly do? He couldn't help but think he was lying. But why would the Gardener lie? Why would he waste his time with him if he truly didn't have this potential that he spoke of. Fuutarou thought about the future he saw. He had to prevent that. No matter what. Even if he was a useless loner. He could not allow that to happen.
And this may be the only way.
Fuutarou had made his decision.
"Fine. I'll become your Warrior of Light or whatever."
The Gardener clapped his hands together in delight, "Splendid! Trust me Fuutarou-san, this is a decision that you won't regret!"
"It better not be. You made a lot of promises in your offer. This better not be a scam, old man."
"Everything I told you up until now has been the truth and only the truth. I have no reason to deceive you. For that would be out of character and go against everything I represent."
Fuutarou nodded, pleased with his words, "Alright then, I'll take your word for it. Okay so how does this work? How do I receive this almighty power of yours?"
"Hold out your hand."
Fuutarou did as he was told. Immediately, he felt the touch of another hand grabbing his own. Fuutarou gasped at the touch as it was a surreal feeling. He could already sense an abundance of energy from the Gardener.
"Just to warn you, there may be a couple of side effects. Nothing too major. You should be fine. But do be careful. Your life is about to change forever. After this, there will be no going back. Are you sure this is what you want?"
Fuutarou glared at the Gardener with a stern look, "I've already seen what the future has in store for me. If this is the only way in order to prevent that, then so be it. I'll accept any risk or side effect there is in order to create a better future!"
The Gardener smiled in genuine happiness. He knew choosing Fuutarou wasn't a mistake. "Very ambitious and noble of you. So be it, then. Fuutarou Uesugi, from this day forth you are a Warrior of the Light. Accomplish your goals and ambitions, and show Fate who's boss! Your Destiny begins here."
Luminescent blue light enveloped Fuutarou. A surge of adrenaline rushed into his system. He could feel Light itself entering his bloodstream and into his molecules as his whole entire being was changing. The rush was exhilarating that he couldn't help but yell in excitement.
"OH WOW! YEAH!"
Fuutarou had never felt anything like it. He was almost getting addicted to the pure rush. The blue light covered his vision completely. It shot straight out of his eyes as he clutched his head.
"Holy crap! This is unreal!"
Fuutarou opened his eyes to find himself no longer in the white space. Instead he found himself looking up at a ceiling. His house ceiling.
"Onii-chan! Hurry up and get out of bed already! You're going to be late for school!"
Fuutarou widened his eyes in surprise, "Raiha?" He sat up quickly to find himself in his futon. The same place he was right before he met the Gardener.
Fuutarou had woken up in a cold sweat. He was panting heavily, still reeling from that rush of excitement.
"Was it all just an intense dream?"
"It was very real."
"WHO'S THERE?!" Fuutarou yelled in shock as he immediately jumped and frantically looked around for the source of the voice.
"Calm down, it's just me."
It took a second for Fuutarou to recognize the voice as the Gardener. He then relaxed as he wiped the cold sweat from his forehead, "Don't scare me like that, damn it! And why are you talking in my head?!"
"Onii-chan?! Is everything okay? Why are you yelling? Are you not feeling well?"
"No, everything's fine Raiha! I'll get ready now!" Fuutarou voiced back to his concerned sister.
"Okay then, but hurry up! You're running late!"
Fuutarou looked at the clock and sure enough, he was indeed running late. "Damn it, I need to get ready."
"To answer your question, when I grabbed your hand, I formed a mental link with you. Meaning you can call upon me anytime and I will respond. I'm talking to you now to let you know something important. I'll leave you to your business after I'm done."
"Alright but hurry up. I'm about to be late for school."
"Very well. I am here to give you a warning. Beware of the Winnower. You may have great power now, but I have no doubt that he might notice a difference in this universe. And he may come here personally or send someone." The Gardener said in a grave tone.
Fuutarou sputtered, "Wait a minute, are you telling me that a god might come after me?!"
"I did tell you there would be risks. But don't worry. I'm sure that when the time comes, you'll be ready. Fuutarou-san, please understand this. With Great Power, there must also come Great Responsibility. Remember those wise words. If you do, then you will be just fine."
The high schooler frowned, "So you're saying from now on, I'm going to have a big responsibility?"
"Indeed. You will choose how to use the power you have been blessed with. Make sure you use it wisely. Don't forget that you can do anything you put your mind to. Never lose Hope. I wish you good luck."
And with that, the Gardener ended the conversation and vanished.
Fuutarou didn't say anything and simply thought about the Gardener's words. He then realized that he couldn't stand around and had to get ready or he'll be late for school. He went to the bathroom to brush his teeth.
When he stared himself in the mirror he gasped in surprise. Fuutarou was never a guy who was in shape. He never really had time to focus on athletics and so his physical shape wasn't really all that impressive. In fact it was below average. But what he saw in the mirror was a completely different looking man. Broad shoulders, impressively sized biceps and an incredibly muscular frame. He checked himself out in amazement.
"W-What the hell is this? How did this happen? Is this because of the Gardener?"
The transformation was unbelievable. Fuutarou almost didn't recognize himself. He didn't even know how to react. He guessed this is one of the benefits of being a Warrior of the Light. It was a truly big change from his previous self.
Fuutarou looked down and noticed a massive bulge in his pants.
Yup. Big change.
Fuutarou blushed in embarrassment as he proceeded to brush his teeth. He didn't understand why the Gardener would make *that* bigger too!
But he wasn't gonna complain.
Fuutarou changed into his school uniform which merely consists of a short sleeved white shirt tucked in long dark blue trousers and white belt. He put on his black pants and black sneakers and proceeded to head to the diner table where his sister and father were already having breakfast.
He took a seat where his own plate was already settled. He immediately began eating as he didn't want to waste any more time since he was already running pretty late to school.
"It's not like you to oversleep like this. Is everything alright, big bro?" Raiha asked again in concern for her elder brother. He is usually not one for tardiness.
"I told you I'm fine. I just stayed up a bit late studying last night." Fuutarou replied not looking up from his food.
"You need to take it easy some time. I know you want to keep your spot as the number 1 student but it doesn't hurt to give yourself a break sometime you know?" Raiha told her brother. She worries for Fuutaoru's well being sometimes when she sees how hard he studies consistently. She didn't know how he did it, but he would go to school with hardly any sleep at times and still come out with perfect scores on his exams.
"Yeah yeah, don't worry about me. I'm used to this."
Raiha noticed something that was *different* about Fuutarou. She felt a very vibrant aura around her brother. Which was weird considering his nature. He also seemed a bit bigger and muscular. He filled out his shirt way more and it seemed a little tight on him.
"Have you been working out?"
Fuutarou immediately stopped eating his food and sighed mentally, 'Of course someone would notice. I am jacked all of the sudden so it was obvious something changed about me. I'm definitely gonna get some looks today in school.'
Fuutarou laughed lightly, "Maybe a little," he had to lie. He doesn't think his family would believe him if he just said that a primordial god gave him his power and now he was some Warrior of the Light or whatever. He still needs to figure out what that means.
"Really? Wow I never would have thought you would actually exercise for once!"
"What's that supposed to mean?!"
Isanari cleared his throat, "Hey Fuutarou, you're going to get a call later. It's about a new job offer that I hooked up for you."
"Wait really?" Fuutarou was now curious about what this was about.
"Yeah, the employer is an old buddy of mine. He said his daughters are in need of a special tutor. They are in danger of flunking out of high school and they need a long term tutor up until graduation." Isanari explained the job to his son.
Hearing his father's words made Fuutarou raise his eyebrows in interest, "A tutoring job huh? I never would have thought I would do something like that. And I have to tutor up until graduation?"
"Yup! He says that his daughters are not able to understand the material that is taught no matter what, so they need a special tutor that can teach them at their own pace so that they can actually learn and improve their grades. He would do it himself but his job has him so busy that he barely even sees his own daughters. So he needs to hire a tutor in order to help his daughters. He gave me a call telling me that he believes you would be the perfect candidate to be their tutor considering you're the number 1 student."
"That makes sense and all, but tutoring? I don't know if I'm good for a job like that. And multiple students?"
"He said he'll pay you 5 times the normal rate of tutoring. He understands that it may be difficult but his daughters really need help or else they will actually fail. He's an old friend of mine. So I promised him that you will do a good job."
"You promised him before even asking me!" Fuutarou yelled at his father who proceeded to laugh.
"Oh come on son, you can do it! I believe in you. The girls need help and they need you to teach them. Please do this favor for my friend." Isanari tried to get his son to understand why he wanted to go through with this tutoring job. He didn't want to have to tell Maruo that his son declined.
Fuutarou sighed, "It's not like I can really do anything about it anyway since you already told him I would do it. I might as well put my studying skills to good use then and make some money to help us out on our debt."
"That's the spirit! He's gonna call you during your lunch period to give you all of the details on the job. He'll let you know everything you need."
"Wait, so does this mean that Onii-Chan will be able to help us get rid of our debt?" Raiha asked with sparkles in her eyes.
"Yeah, my buddy told me that he will pay in great amounts due to the heavy conditions of the job. It's not gonna be easy tutoring them. So you should be compensated accordingly. He's a rich physician so he can afford to pay you handsomely." Isanari explained as he took bites of his breakfast.
"Still sounds kind of sketchy to me…" Fuutarou muttered as he also took bites of his breakfast.
"I heard people can get by on just one kidney." Raiha commented.
Fuutarou almost choked on his food, "Y-You're telling me to give one up?!" Fuutarou never would have thought he would need to go to those extremes in order to support his family.
Raiha laughed at her older brother's reaction, "I'm just kidding. But think about it big bro. If you take this job and do it well, you will finally be able to afford an actually decent meal."
Fuutarou looked down in sadness. Due to his family's poor financial situation, he had to cut corners when it came to spending money on lunches in school. Everyday, he would order the cheapest meal on the menu. He always got weird looks from everyone in the cafeteria. Even though Fuutarou isn't one to care about what people think about him, it still made him feel bad. He wished his family had been better but alas, it seemed as though Fate wasn't in his favor.
But this was his chance to change all of that. With the power of the Gardener and this new tutoring gig, he may be able to make something of himself and get his family out of this God forsaken poverty!
'Mom… I know you're watching from up there. I promised you I would take care of Dad and Raiha when you died. I intend to keep that promise. And now with this new power of mine, I can do it! I can keep that promise! I won't let you down. Just you wait! Keep watching over us.'
"Yeah, I guess you're right. I didn't think of that. Okay, I'm liking the idea of this tutoring gig a lot more now." Fuutarou replied to his sister.
"Yay! I knew that would change your mind!"
"I never said I wasn't going to take the job! I literally just said I would! I was saying that it sounded a little sketchy, that's all." Fuutarou exclaimed. He's gonna take the gig, he kind of has to, but that doesn't mean he can't be suspicious about it. He still has to see what it's all about.
It wasn't long before he finished his breakfast, "Alright, I have to get going to school now or I'll actually be late. Thanks for the breakfast Raiha! Have a good day at work Dad!"
"Have a good day at school bro! Let me know how it goes with tutoring!" Raiha waved at her brother as he exited through the front door.
"Remember that your boss is calling you at lunch!" Isanari yelled out but it was already too late as his son had already left.
'Good luck Fuutarou. If those girls are anything like their mother… then you're definitely gonna have your hands full!'
On the walk to school, Fuutarou could immediately tell the difference between his old body and his new one. It seemed like all of his senses were amplified greatly. He could see from blocks away. He heard conversations clearly from all the way on the other side of the street as if they were right next to him. He felt that his nose was more sensitive as well as he could smell various scents and actually distinguish the scents of people. It felt like he had the nose of an animal or something. It was both cool and weird.
'What the hell is happening to me? First I wake up freaking jacked. And now I have a sense of smell that can put canines to shame. Did the Gardener change my entire physiology or something? It seems likely but I still feel human. Maybe my body was pushed to its absolute limit and now I can actually use the full potential of the human body. But I don't recall humans having the ability to have senses this crazy. I'm going to need to experiment with these new powers when I have the time.
Fuutarou checked his phone and grimaced, "Speaking of time! I better hurry up or I'm going to be late to school!"
Fuutarou started running. First he went at a nice jogging pace, he then began to pick it up. Soon after, he started full out sprinting. He reached what he believed was his top speed but realized he could go even faster. He increased his speed and was shocked at just how fast he was going. He was going faster than he could have ever imagined. And what was even crazier was that for some reason he didn't feel like he was losing any stamina while going at this speed. Before, Fuutarou could barely sprint for a couple of seconds before breathing hard. But now, he wasn't breaking a sweat!
He was going so fast that the other people who were walking could barely keep up with him with their eyes. He was like a white bolt that you would miss if you blinked. But for Fuutarou, it was the opposite. He was going so fast, that to him, the pedestrians were moving in slow motion. It felt like he was in some sort of video game. But it was real life! This allowed Fuutarou to safely move in between the pedestrians that were in his way. Thank God since he didn't want to accidentally run into someone due to him not being able to control his newfound speed.
In what seemed like a blink in an eye to Fuutarou, he had already made it to the front entrance of his high school. He wasn't even breathing hard. It felt like it had only been a walk in the park for him. Fuutarou looked at his hands and the rest of his body in shock.
'I-Is this what I can do now? The power that the Gardener granted me? It's amazing! If I would have tried that yesterday, I wouldn't have even lasted for 10 seconds. This power is incredible…. But it's also a little scary. It's inhuman. I don't think someone should have this much power. If the wrong person gained access to this, it could be abused.'
The words of the Gardener then rang in his ears.
"With Great Power, there MUST also come Great Responsibility."
Fuutarou began to understand those words, 'So that's what he meant. I have been blessed with Great Power… and now it's my responsibility to use it the right way and to not abuse it. The Gardener put all of his faith into me. I can't disappoint him by misusing this power. I better be careful from now on and try to keep the superhuman feats to a minimum.'
When Fuutarou accepted this power, he never thought he would have to hold such a huge responsibility. But now he understands why that is necessary. He may not know the true extent to his newfound powers yet, but one thing he knows for sure is that he couldn't allow himself to abuse it. Whether he liked it or not, he is a Warrior of the Light now. The Gardener warned him that if he accepted this, then his life would never be the same. The thought was scary at first, but if Fuutarou truly wanted to take his Destiny into his own hands, then he had to take risks and make sacrifices.
And he would sacrifice anything for their happiness.
5 red headed girls popped into his mind. Their smiles and faces engraved into his brain. He had to do whatever it takes to protect all 5 of those smiles. Even if it killed him. And with this power, he believes he can do it.
This time… things will be different.
The sound of the school bell snapped Fuutarou out of his inner musings. He then remembered his current predicament.
"Shit, I'm gonna be late!"
Luckily for Fuutarou, he was able to make it to his class just in time before he was marked late by the teacher. He had to use his Super Speed again, but it was fine since he was protecting his perfect attendance by doing so. He will still try to keep its use to a minimum since he wants to be responsible with it.
As soon as he entered the classroom, he immediately felt all eyes on him. He was confused at first, but then realized that he literally looked completely different compared to before meeting the Gardener. This bothered him since he wasn't one who really liked attention. But it was inevitable, given the nature of high school students. Due to his enhanced hearing, he heard the whispers loud and clear from his peers.
"Is that Uesugi?"
"When did he get so jacked?"
"He looks like a completely different guy now!"
"I won't lie, but he looks kind of cute now."
Fuutarou blushed at the last comment as it had come from one of his female classmates. He knew that he looked more attractive now because of his more muscular frame, but he didn't expect to immediately receive attention from the opposite gender. It was an alien feeling. He doesn't think a girl his age had ever complimented his looks before.
Well besides her of course. The girl that he met on that fateful day 5 years ago.
But that was 5 years ago, and he hadn't seen her since. He doubts that they will see each other again any time soon, but he still remained hopeful. That girl did change his life after all.
Fuutarou sighed as he had to suffer from the gossip and unwanted attention from his peers. It's not like he should've expected anything else, but it was still annoying. Why can't teenagers just mind their own business for once! He came here to learn, not to be a victim of gossip!
It wasn't long before Lunch period came. Fuutarou knew that he was supposed to get a call from his employer during this period, so he made sure to keep his phone notifications on so that he wouldn't miss it.
Once it was his turn to order food, he asked for the usual.
"Barbecue Beef Combo. Without beef."
"Coming right up." The lunch lady said as she prepared Fuutaoru's order. One may think that the cheapest item on the cafeteria's menu would be rice, but no. Subtract 200 yen for the beef from the barbecue beef combo, you will then get rice plus miso soup and pickled veggies for the price of rice.
Yes that is right. Fuutarou had found a way to scam the school cafeteria.
Fuutarou picked up his tray and went to look for his usual seat in the cafeteria. Which happened to be secluded in one spot away from all of the other students.
Fuutarou heard the chatter from a table as he passed through thanks to his Super Hearing.
"Uesugi-kun's on his own again?"
"Does he not have any friends to eat lunch with?"
"I guess even with his new look, he still has social issues."
A tick mark formed on Fuutarou's head. 'Can these people just mind their own business?! Why do you give a shit if I have any friends to eat with or not? Does it have any effect on your life whatsoever? Jesus Christ, these people really need to get hobbies or something. All they do is freaking gossip!'
Usually he wouldn't bother himself with the chatter of the other students, but since he has Super Hearing, he kind of can't really ignore what they're saying. It annoyed the Warrior of Light to the point where he felt like telling them off. He's sure with his new powers, he can teach those bastards a lesson. But he ultimately decided against that as that would obviously be an irresponsible use of his powers. It was pretty tempting though.
Fuutarou finally found the table he was looking for. As he put his plate on it, he failed to realize that another person had the same intention. He must have not noticed due to being distracted by the gossip of his classmates. His plate was slammed right next to another one that belonged to the person who also tried to take the seat.
He was confused as to his knowledge, he is the only one who ever uses this seat since he eats here everyday. And who would want to eat all alone in such a secluded spot. So it made him wonder just who the hell wanted to eat here too all of a sudden.
He turned his head to the owner of the second plate and immediately gasped as soon as they made eye contact.
It was a girl. But not just any girl. It was a girl with long red hair with star shaped hairpins as an accessory. She had a big ahoge on the top of her head. She was wearing a different school uniform, which meant she was probably a brand new transfer student. She had a curvaceous figure which was complimented by her uniform. Her eyes were bright blue. Just like the sky.
Fuutarou recognized those eyes. He had seen them in his visions that the Gardener showed him. It was all clicking now. As soon as he made eye contact with her, a rush of pure energy went through him. It was like a spike of adrenaline that you got during a roller coaster. It was similar to when he grabbed the Gardener's head and received his new powers.
And as he felt that rush of adrenaline, so many memories all went piling into his head at once. He recognized them as some of the visions he saw during his meeting with the Gardener. Only these ones were exclusively with the girl in front of him and not necessarily with her sisters. They were still a lot though as Fuutarou felt another headache approaching. But it quickly subsided. He guessed that the Gardener not only increased his physical attributes, but his mental as well.
All of this happened in the span of 1 second. When he came to, the girl was still staring at him. She looked a little confused as from her perspective, it seemed like Fuutarou spaced out for a second there.
He was doing his best to recover from the mental onslaught he just received. Was this the Gardener's doing? If it was, he could have at least warned him first! Those memories hit him like a train. The crazy part now was that now he remembered each of them pretty clearly and was able to retain most of the information. It must be because of his new powers.
The girl, who he now knew was Itsuki, was still staring at him. It unnerved Fuutarou a bit. His heart started beating fast for some reason. It must have been the anxiety and nervousness he got from seeing one of the girls he was supposed to save from a life of rejection and depression. He had to say something quick to get his mind off that. He said the first thing that came to mind when he laid eyes on her.
Itsuki's eyes widened as a blush began to form on her face.
'WHY WOULD I SAY THAT?! ANYTHING BUT THAT!'
A/N: Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it! I decided to put my own take on a QQ fic and this is what I came up with! I hope it isn't too bad lol.
If you're wondering about Fuutarou's powers, no it ain't just super strength and speed. He actually has a more complex and versatile ability set that he will naturally uncover throughout the story.
REVIEW! Let me know what you guys think and would like to see in the future!
Have a blessed day everyone!
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