"Has he chosen somebody yet?"
Itsuki Nakano was waiting patiently as she sat on a chair inside of a classroom at Asahiyama High School. She and her sister had given Fuutarou a daunting task. He must choose one of the Quintessential Quintuplets to take as his lover. Each of the Quints had been assigned to wait in separate locations. The location that Fuutarou chooses to go will be the Quint he chooses and will be declared the winner.
At first, Itsuki did not like the idea since she didn't believe it would be fair to force their tutor to make such a decision like that. Especially when they were in the middle of a school festival. But she realized that the longer Fuutarou takes to choose, the worse it will be for all of them. It needs to be resolved quickly or else they will run into conflicts like what happened during the Kyoto Trip. It shouldn't be necessary for her sisters to be fighting for his attention. That will only cause fights and arguments between them. It could even split them apart.
So, Fuutarou Uesugi had no choice but to make a choice.
The only problem being that it's been over an hour and no one has been chosen yet…
Itsuki picked up her phone and proceeded to text her sisters asking if Fuutarou had gone to see any of them. They each responded with no. Itsuki frowned in confusion. Surely it wouldn't take him that long. Even though they did put him on the spot and pretty much gave him little to no time to prepare, Fuutarou should already have an idea as to who he prefers among them.
If Itsuki was being honest with herself, she was not expecting for Fuutarou to show up at her classroom at all. Out of all of her sisters, she has made the least amount of effort to create a romantic dynamic between her and the raven haired genius. Not because she wouldn't want him as a boyfriend, but similar to Yotsuba, Itsuki did not feel like it was her place to get in the way of the other Nakano sisters who have made way more efforts to win over Fuutarou's heart.
She also wasn't sure what her feelings were. If someone were to ask her what is her relationship with Fuutarou Uesugi, she would say they were good friends. But deep inside, even she knew they were way more than friends. It goes without saying that her tutor had completely changed the Nakano daughters' lives and that was without question. Without him, she doesn't know if her and her sisters would have the drive to each accomplish their goals and dreams as much as they did now. It was because of him that she was confident she could become a teacher just like her late mother. It was because of him, that she was able to stand up to her biological father and defend her mother's honor.
And that's just Itsuki. That's not even including what he's been able to do for her 4 sisters. She has seen what Fuutarou has been able to awaken in each of them. And to think that she once didn't want anything to do with him.
Itsuki smiled as she thought of all of the memories Fuutarou and her shared along with her sisters.
"Who knew that the anti-social, egotistical, and insensitive genius would turn out to be the man who has won each of our hearts?"
There. She admitted it. Fuutarou Uesugi had stolen her heart just like he did with her siblings. At first she wasn't sure, but after thinking about it, there was no doubt about it.
But, it was too late for her. If she wanted to have a chance, she should've done more to win his heart in the beginning. But thanks to her stubbornness, she refused to accept his teaching until much later. And even after that, their dynamic never really went past a platonic one. She didn't confess to him like how Nino and Miku did. She didn't meet him 6 years ago like Yotsuba. And she wasn't as determined as Ichika was who was willing to use unfair tactics to win over Fuutarou.
No, she was simply the girl he met at the lunch table on that fateful day.
Fuutarou probably didn't even suspect she had feelings for him. He most likely just saw Itsuki as a really close friend. That wouldn't be the fault of his dense nature. It would be on her for not making a move on him earlier.
And to make him choose now? That pretty much threw away any chance she had.
Itsuki sighed, "I really am an idiot. Well, there's no use in complaining about it now. All we can do is just wait for Uesugi-kun's decision.
And wait they did… for 2 more hours.
"Okay, enough of this! It's getting late and I'm hungry!"
Itsuki went to her contacts list on her cell phone and clicked on Fuutarou's number. She heard the number ring once before it sent her to voicemail.
"Eh? Is he doing something?"
Itsuki called again, but she was just sent to voicemail. She called him 5 more times before she gave up. She sent him a text asking him if he was alright. She got no response. It didn't even say that he read the message.
"Did something happen to him? Why isn't he answering his phone…"
She walked outside the classroom to find the fourth Quintuplet.
"Yotsuba! Have you seen Uesugi-kun?"
The ribbon wearing girl shook her head, "I just went to where the others were and asked the same thing. They all said no. I guessed that he came to you, but it seems like that's not the case…"
"I've been calling and texting him nonstop but he's not responding at all. I'm worried that something may have happened to him."
"Maybe he couldn't come to a decision and just went home?" Yotsuba suggested with a shrug.
"That is a possibility... " Itsuki went into her contacts list again, "I'm going to call Raiha-chan and ask her if he's home."
"Good thinking, Itsuki!"
It didn't take long for the younger sister of Fuutarou to pick up. When Itsuki asked Raiha if Fuutarou was home, she said that she thought he was with the quints. He wasn't home and Raiha had also tried calling her brother. Just like with Itsuki, he didn't respond at all.
"This isn't good…" Itsuki had gotten off the phone with Raiha. Just then, the 3 remaining Quintuplets joined Itsuki and Yotsuba.
"What's going on? Why hasn't Fuu-kun made a decision yet?" Nino asked hastily. After waiting for over an hour, she was worried that she had lost. But there was a spark of relief when she found out that Fuutarou still had not made a decision. But it's been over 3 hours and their tutor was nowhere to be seen. Something was going on, and she wanted to get to the bottom of it immediately.
"We don't know. I've tried calling him but he hasn't answered. I just got off the phone with Raiha and she said that he isn't home and hasn't been answering her calls either."
Miku frowned, "I knew it was a bad idea to force him to make a choice just like that. He probably needs space and time to think."
"But Miku, Itsuki-chan just said that he's not even home and isn't responding to any calls or texts. Why would he ignore his own sister calling him? I think something happened to him."
Even though Ichika knew that Fuutarou wasn't gonna choose him, she still loved and cared for him. And the fact that he was nowhere to be seen after all of these hours made her worry. She hoped he was okay.
"But where is he? What could have happened to him? He was right here at the festival. There's no way he can just up and disappear like that!" Yotsuba had similar thinking as the older Quint. She was extremely worried for Fuutarou and didn't want to think that anything bad happened to him. But it wasn't looking good.
"So what do we do?" Nino asked.
"We split up. Let's look for him at spots where we think he could have gone. If anyone finds anything, then let us know. If we can't find him, then we meet back up at home."
The Quintessential Quintuplets began their search. They first looked around all over the school. When that didn't work, they each went into different parts of town to see if they could find their beloved tutor. They searched long and hard, but even with the combined strength of the Quints, it wasn't enough to find Fuutarou.
They had met back up in their apartment with solemn faces.
"W-Where is he…" Nino was doing her best to hold back tears. She was getting anxious for Fuutarou's safety. She couldn't help but to think about all of the bad things that could have happened to him.
"We looked everywhere…" Ichika was exhausted. She tried but it was no use. The oldest sister couldn't even find a clue as to where Fuutarou was.
"Fuutarou…" Miku was also tired as she prepared to look all around town. She was the weakest among her sisters, so such an exercise took a toll on her.
"I-I-I can still look for him!" Yotsuba shouted. She wanted to continue searching for the man she loves. The longer he went missing, the more worried she got.
"No, Yotsuba, it's fine. We did our best. We have no choice but to ask the authorities for help. They will have a much better chance of finding him than we will." Itsuki told her sister.
"But what if-"
"We looked everywhere where we thought he could be. If we still couldn't find him then that's the limit of our power. Don't worry, we can leave it to the professionals. They will find him." Itsuki reassured her sister with a smile.
Yotsuba wanted to go against it, but she relented. Itsuki had a point. She could be searching all night but she'll probably still not find him. If Fuutarou doesn't want to be found yet, then he won't be found.
The next day, the police had begun a search for Fuutarou Uesugi. They had told his family they will do their very best to make sure he comes back home safely. Fuutarou at that point still had not responded to his phone. They had concluded that he either lost it or it was out of battery. But it was weird because if that was the case, then why didn't he just come back home? Or at the very least ask a stranger to borrow their phone to call and let his family know where he was?
A couple of days passed, and there was still no sign of Fuutarou. His family and the quints were now extremely worried. The only reasonable explanation for this was that he had gone missing. There was no way that he would intentionally not show up to home, school, or work for multiple days intentionally and without letting anyone know why.
The police had said that they did what they could, but they couldn't seem to find the young man. Maruo Nakano, the adoptive father of the quints, angrily told them to look harder. He used his money and influence to extend the search for Fuutarou and to make it more widespread. It wasn't long until all of Japan was informed of the missing boy.
Months passed and Fuutarou Uesugi was still nowhere to be found. Even with police from all over the country looking for him, it still wasn't enough. They had tried their very best. If he was still alive, then he wasn't in Japan.
After about a year, the search was discontinued. Even though there was no body found, many presumed him to be dead. The quints refused to accept that and continued to have hope he was still alive out there. He had to be. He still had a bright future ahead of him. The quints needed him. He's the reason they graduated. They were all supposed to walk across the stage together. It just felt wrong to do it without him. The Nakanos could not imagine a life without Fuutarou Uesugi. So he had to be alive. He still had to make a choice. And they will wait however long they need to…
'5 years huh?' Itsuki Nakano thought to herself as she entered her favorite burger joint. She comes here often to relax and enjoy the fresh hamburgers that they serve. After a long day of teaching, it is surely a good way to wind down. The taste of the burgers always managed to put her at ease.
It has been over 5 whole years since the last time she had seen Fuutarou Uesugi. No matter how hard she tried, Itsuki always thought back to the day he disappeared. She couldn't have expected that the last conversation she would have with him was on a flight of school stairs. Thinking back on it, she should have used that opportunity to kiss him. It was the perfect moment too. But her lack of confidence with herself prevented her from doing so. She believed it was best for him to make his own choice instead at the end of the day.
That turned out great didn't it?
She and the others did their best to continue on with their lives. But life felt so null, without him. He was a missing vital piece. It just felt wrong without him. Like it wasn't meant to be that way. They were supposed to graduate together with him. Have fun, and go places with him. He was meant to be there for when she accomplished her dream. She wanted to see the smile on his face when she told him that she was able to become a teacher. A dream that was only possible thanks to his guidance and her perseverance.
She wanted to, no she needed to see him again. Not even to know what his choice was, but just to be able to spend time with Fuutarou once again. The popular saying of, "you don't know the value of something until you lose it," holds true.
Itsuki had lost her mother and she had lost the man she loved.
Right as Itsuki was about to place her order of food down on a table she found, she felt the tray of someone else's food colliding with hers. At first she was confused since she didn't think anyone would choose the table, but she was so lost in her own thoughts that she didn't even notice that someone else had placed their food down at the table at the exact same time as she did.
When she made eye contact with the person, her breath hitched. Itsuki's eyes widened to the size of plates as she gazed at the face of the person she had just bumped into.
"Oh, hey Itsuki! Didn't think I would run into you here. Wait a minute, why are you wearing your glasses outside of school? And is it just me but do you look a little taller?"
"Are you okay? Why are you stuttering like that? You look like you've seen a ghost. Why are you so surprised to see me? You don't think I enjoy hamburgers too?"
In front of her was none other than Fuutarou Uesugi. Safe and sound. He didn't look a day different than the last time she saw him over 5 years ago.
Tears began to stream down Itsuki's face as the man she has been missing for years had finally appeared before her. It was as if some god had finally decided to throw her a bone and answer her prayers.
"Y-You're crying! What's wrong? Did I say something wrong?"
Fuutarou had absolutely no idea what was up with his student. It's not like this was the first time they've bumped into each other. So what was different about this time?
Itsuki caught Fuutarou in a giant hug. Her tears were still pouring down. Some of them got on his shirt. Fuutarou widened his eyes in shock at the sudden act of affection by the red head. He was confused as he still had no idea what was going on. To his knowledge, he had done nothing to incite Itsuki to act this way. So what was up with her?
With strength she didn't know she had, she was able to drag Fuutarou's head down to her chest, unintentionally glomping with her enormous breasts. Fuutarou was having trouble breathing as he tried to get out of the position.
"Itsuki, calm down! You're making a scene!"
"You think I care? You go missing like that and expect me to just shrug it off?!"
"Missing? What are you talking about?! It's only been 5 days since we last saw each other! You're acting like I was dead or something!"
"They did say you died since you just disappeared without a trac- wait a minute. What did you just say?"
Fuutarou's lungs were thankful as they were finally able to breathe properly since Itsuki had let him go. She wiped her tears and looked at him with suspicion.
"Huh? Nothing, I just said you're acting like I was dead-"
"No, before that!"
"Uhhh… it's only been 5 days since I last saw you?"
Itsuki raised her eyebrows, "What? I don't remember seeing you 5 days ago. Where did you see me?"
"What are you talking about? We were at the school festival. You had just told me about how you were talking to your biological dad or whatever."
Itsuki gasped, 'No that can't be right. Is he messing with me. That wasn't 5 days ago… that was…'
"Uesugi-kun… that was not 5 days ago."
"What do you mean? Then when was it?" Fuutarou could've sworn that he and Itsuki talked at the school festival.
"Uesugi-kun… what year is it?"
"Is this a trick question-"
"Just answer it!"
Fuutarou was not expecting Itsuki to raise her voice at him. There was definitely something going on with her.
"Okay fine! It's 2021, duh."
Itsuki couldn't believe it.
"No… no it's not."
Fuutarou sucked his teeth, "Hey are you and your sisters trying to pull a prank on me or something?"
"No I'm not. I'm telling you the truth. The current year is not 2021."
"Then what is it?"
"Uesugi-kun, the year is 2026."
"Itsuki, what are you talking about, you are 5 years ahead!"
"No, I think you're actually 5 years behind."
Fuutarou looked at Itsuki as if she grew a second head. How could he be 5 years behind? The year was definitely 2021!
"Uesugi-kun, how old are you?" Itsuki had to make sure this wasn't just some sort of sick joke that Fuutarou was playing on him. What he says next will be the determinant factor.
"I'm 18 years old, just like you."
Itsuki shook her head, "No, I am not 18. I am 23 years old."
"Huh? That makes no sense, we're the same age-"
"We're supposed to be the same age. But that doesn't seem to be the case anymore…"
"Itsuki, you're not making any sense at all."
"When you saw me, you said I looked a little taller. Take a good look at me. Do I look exactly the same as you remember?"
Fuutarou studied Itsuki. Now that he actually took a better look at her, he realized that she looked quite different. Yes, she had the same face and body type, but she looked a lot more… mature. She looked like an adult. Everything from her figure, hips, demeanor, and assets. They were all bigger, better, and more mature. Her glasses definitely helped complete that picture.
"Well now that you mention it… yeah you do look different. But how? How can you look so different in such a short amount of time?"
"That's the thing. It hasn't been a short amount of time. At least not for me."
Itsuki pulled out her phone. After some digging, she found what she was looking for.
"Do you remember receiving this text from me?"
Fuutarou looked at the screen to see a message from Itsuki sent from him. The phone said that it was sent 5 years ago.
"No, I don't think I even got the notification for that."
Itsuki pulled out his own phone only to see a bunch of missed calls and texts. Most of them were from Itsuki, but some were from Raiha and the other quints. And they all had one thing in common.
They were all sent 5 years ago.
The year on Fuutarou's phone read 2026.
Fuutarou took a step back to take it all in.
"No way… this can;t be happening. This isn't real…"
Itsuki shook her head, "It's the truth. You see it with your own eyes."
Itsuki proceeded to hug Fuutarou again, only this time she was more gentle and soft.
"I was so worried about you… we all were. I'm glad that you're back, Uesugi-kun."
Fuutarou was still in a state of denial, "B-B-But how? I was never gone."
Itsuki didn't respond as she knew it was a lot to take in. She simply continued to hug him as he was beginning to grasp the situation.
No matter how much he wanted to deny it…
Fuutarou Uesugi had been robbed 5 years of his life.
A/N: I wrote this idea 3 days ago. At first I just thought of it as a fun concept. Then I started to give it more thought, and I decided that I like this idea A LOT, and actually want to make it into a story. I couldn't get it out of my mind so I decided to just do it. Fuutarou now has to live in a world that has moved on without him. How will he survive?
The Tribal Chief will be awaiting your reviews.