Disclaimer: I do not own Kaguya: Love is War. Please do not sue me.
Hayasaka: Love is a Mission!
Operation LINE'em Up!
"You haven't even gotten his phone number yet?"
"That is correct, Lady Kaguya."
"And it's been a week since you've last spoken to him…"
"Also correct, Lady Kaguya."
Lady Kaguya's lips formed an icy frown. "You were even late to school for him and you didn't think to ask for his phone number then? And he ate that delicious bento the chefs cooked up? Isn't communication the most basic step to making someone fall for you?"
"Yes, Lady Kaguya…"
It took all of Hayasaka Ai's willpower to not rip off Lady Kaguya's head. With Hayasaka's training, she could easily hide the body and make sure it wouldn't be found for forty years, buried in a steel drum beneath several meters of concrete below a new residential complex.
Instead, Hayasaka continued brushing her mistress' long silky hair gently with the skill only a lifetime of practice could afford. The heiress to the Shinomiya Conglomerate was better left alive with her head still attached to her neck instead of dumped into a shallow river with all identifiable body parts removed with prejudice.
It was nearing bedtime, but Lady Kaguya had taken a liking to listening to Hayasaka's progress with Shirogane Miyuki. So as Hayasaka assisted Lady Kaguya with preparing for the night, she would relay her reports.
"So what is your next step to 'woo' that pest?"
"Must you use such an outdated term, Lady Kaguya?"
"Is 'wooing' not the appropriate term? That is what you are doing, is it not?"
"I- Nevermind. Lady Kaguya, please do not use that term in public."
"As you wish… but I must ask… Why don't you just walk up to him and ask him?"
'You can't just ask a guy for his phone number!', Hayasaka cried internally. 'It's sooo embarrassing!'
If a guy gets asked for his number by a cute girl, his ego would shoot through the roof. Any relationship from that point on would be built around the guy in a dominant position over the girl! If Hayasaka were to make Shirogane fall in love with her so she could break his heart, he needed to be the one to approach her - not the other way around!
"It would put me at a disadvantage, Lady Kaguya," Hayasaka said finally. "It would make it as though I am in love with him, instead of making him fall for me."
"I see. That makes sense. If you asked for his number, it would come off as excessively needy. Hm… I suppose I never considered how similar business negotiations are to romance." Lady Kaguya placed the files on the side of her dresser and motioned for the reports to be taken away. "In any case, your next mission should be to exchange phone numbers with him."
Hayasaka nodded. "I agree, Lady Kaguya. I have a plan to do so. However, I will require funding."
"My apologies Lady Kaguya. Forgive me for my poor progress."
"Nevermind the cost. Take what you need. Fufu… I look forward to your next report. Soon you'll have him wrapped around your finger… Aaah. I wonder what kind of face he will make when his heart is shredded into a million little pieces."
Lady Kaguya's eyes glowed with a sadistic light.
Hayasaka Ai kept her head bowed, partly out of respect and her job description but mostly because he couldn't bear the shame. Excusing herself, Hayasaka left Lady Kaguya for the night. As she wandered the hallways back to her own quarters, Hayasaka pulled her hair in frustration.
'Ugh! Why can't she understand how difficult it is to make someone fall in love and have them confess their feelings to you!? I'd really like to see her try to get Shirogane to confess his feelings... She'd probably spend years not getting anywhere! Stupid, sheltered, spoiled Lady Kaguya… ARGH!'
Hayasaka brooded over the objective of her next operation:
Yes! Since ancient times, communication was vital to success. Whether by courier, pigeon, or e-mail, the ability to transfer information from Point A to Point B was an invaluable power. By establishing a line of communications, one could instantaneously relay information and build stronger relationships. The feudal age gave way to the age of mercantile empires which itself gave way to modern digital empires by virtue of faster communications.
If Hayasaka doesn't get Shirogane's number soon… then… then…!
Lady Kaguya would look down upon her with bemused condescension and… and…
She'd say those damned words!
'Good grief… how disappointing.'
Finally returning to her room, Hayasaka skulked into her bed. She had claimed to Lady Kaguya she had a plan, but in truth, Hayasaka had nothing. Her time was consumed by keeping surveillance and tabs on Shirogane, who went through a revolving door of various jobs like he was some idol on a variety show. Her last mission, Operation Bento Fury, was derailed partly due to Shirogane having an unexpected job change.
But mostly it was Lady Kaguya's fault.
Hayasaka went to bed angry that night.
The next day, Hayasaka put her plan into motion…
Like a game of chess, Hayasaka first had to develop the board. The pawns had to be moved into place and the pieces set in position. But this was impossible if there weren't any opportunities to actually speak to Shirogane alone!
As General Affairs Officer, Shirogane was incredibly busy.
Other than that first day of school the bento fiasco, Hayasaka had not spoken to Shirogane Miyuki. Although she did keep tabs on him - but not because she liked him or anything! It was solely because it was her job as Lady Kaguya's maid. She had to keep tabs on all students, whether they were relevant or not. The only thing that made Shirogane Miyuki special was that he was the focus of Lady Kaguya's ire. And thus it fell on Hayasaka to force Shirogane to fall in love with her, confess, all so Hayasaka could break his heart!
But Shirogane was constantly scurrying about campus, like a human-mallet playing whack-a-mole with the problems of various clubs hammering away at their problems.
And the solution to this problem was…
Operation LINE'em Up!
Named after the popular communication app, Hayasaka's goal was to modernize Shirogane Miyuki. The poverty-stricken General Affairs Officer was still using an ancient (by teenage standards) phone that was unable to text or even take pictures. Hayasaka needed to develop a friendship with Shirogane and acquire his number without her classmates knowing. If her classmates knew, rumors would develop, and it would weaken her position in forcing Shirogane to fall in love with her.
And if Hayasaka was to get Shirogane's contact information and text all night with him, she needed him to get a smartphone!
Despite the rapid advancement in tech, driving down costs, phones were still a big ticket purchase for many families. And Shirogane was no exception. If anything, due to the state of his family's finances, Shirogane would need an immense incentive in order to purchase a new smartphone.
Thus was Phase 1: Get Shirogane to buy a damn smartphone!
Thus, Hayasaka had achieve the following:
(1) Hayasaka hacked Shirogane's phone provider and sent an excessive amount of scam calls. Shirogane's phone was so old, it didn't even have caller ID or the ability to block numbers.
(2) Numerous flyers promoting an electronics sale were mailed to everyone in Shirogane's apartment block for Shonimayi Best Tech Club in the Downtown Shopping District. It made sure to highlight its anti-scam call technology.
(3) And lastly, Hayasaka prepared all the 'workers' of Shonimayi Best Tech Club herself. She drafted the mansion's gardeners, cooks, cleaning staff (both day and night), to pose as workers. Their job was to make sure Shirogane exited Shonimayi's with a smartphone…
Hayasaka watched from across the street. Perched on the second floor, sitting on a window-viewing booth, gave Hayasaka a hawk's eye view of the Downtown Shopping District.
She sipped an elegant cup of specialty coffee with a quadruple shot of espresso. She even drank it with her pinky held out, like how rich spoiled ojou-samas like to do.
"Another," she demanded of the waiter.
"Er. That's your third one. That's a lot of caffeine for a-"
Hayasaka shot the waiter a death glare.
"R-right away ma'am!"
Hayasaka swirled the precious little amount of coffee left in her cup.
Sadly, this amount of caffeine only got Hayasaka to normal.
Across the street was Shonimayi's Best Tech Club. The chauffeur was standing out front acting as a human billboard, advertising the generous deals for new subscribers. With her binoculars, she watched as Shirogane raced down the street on his bike, eager to snatch up a phone.
The flier, after all, said it was a limited time only.
"Miss Hayasaka," said the Chief Operations Officer. "Target S has entered."
Hayasaka took another sip of her quadruple shot mocha. She inhaled gently. Then exhaled. The plan was going smoothly. Shirogane was walking through, examining the products. He walked up and down the aisles, looking at each offering.
Finally, a store attendant (the Shinomiya Manor Auto Mechanic) walked up to him.
"Good… Goood," Hayasaka muttered. The attendant was dressed well, in a modest apron. She also had a charming smile, the sort that could make any red-blooded male commit terrible financial decisions.
Hayasaka could see the attendant's face brimming bright with a smile. Slowly, the poor attendant's smile withered, and withered. Sweat was running down from her temples.
At last, the attendant ran away, hands covering her face, in tears.
"Chief Operations Officer! Sitrep!"
"Er. Many apologies, Miss Hayasaka but…"
"Target S keeps asking questions."
"What do you mean he keeps 'asking questions'?
"He doesn't believe this is the best deal we're offering! He started asking about rebates and monthly subscriptions and add-ons. He asked to see a copy of the phone service contract so he can get a chance to review it."
"What did he say to make the attendant run away in tears?"
"He asked to see the manager!"
Hayasaka put down the phone.
Hayasaka had made a grave mistake…
And that was that Shirogane was a paranoid penny pincher!
Hayasaka had originally believed that by providing an optimal discount, Shirogane would feel compelled to buy a smartphone. However, this was a mistake! Because Shirogane had such little experience with smartphones, he simply didn't believe this was the best deal he could get! Being naturally suspect of any deals too good to be true, Shirogane automatically assumed there were some hidden fees that may apply!
"W-what do we do, Miss Hayasaka?"
"Wait for me. I'm going in."
Grabbing her bag, Hayasaka kicked the window of the restaurant and leaped out, landing with a three point landing. Shattered pieces of glass splattered around her like rain, miraculously avoiding cutting her. Breaking out into a sprint, an angry restaurant owner screamed after her.
"That's my window you just broke!"
"Bill it to the Shinomiya Household!" Hayasaka yelled back.
Hayasaka slowed her pace to a crawl. She sucked in a deep breath. It took only an instant, but she composed herself. Hayasaka's full Gal persona was on overdrive. She entered the store. Slowly, and methodically like a cougar she stalked her prey through the jungle-aisles of electronics.
Hayasaka sniffed the air.
Discount strawberry-hazelnut shampoo scent was anywhere, but concentrated at the back. He was waiting, tapping his foot, his eyes scanning the various assortment of phones hanging in brand new packaging on the wall.
"Hm… everything's so new… maybe this place just opened up and is trying to build up a clientele?" Shirogane muttered to himself. "But how do they make a profit…?"
"Heya heya, Shirogane-eya!"
"Eh? Oh. Hayasaka. What brings-Oh! You're here to get a new phone too, right?"
Hayaaka responded with a 1000-watt smile.
"Yup yup! Got it in one!" Hayasaka was obviously not here to get a new phone, but she needed to keep up the act. She playfully punched Shirogane in the arm. "You too?"
"Yeah. But something about this place seems shady…"
Hayasaka tilted her head cutely. "Shady? How so?"
Shirogane scratched his chin.
"I don't know… everything just seems too good to be true, you know?"
"Tehehe. Sometimes good things happen to good people!"
Shirogane's glare hardened. "That only makes me more suspicious…"
'Does this guy think he's Conan solving some case file or something!?'
Then Shirogane spun around, and popped the question.
"Hayasaka, will you be my girlfriend?"
'Shirogane just totally confessed!'
"I need you to pretend to be my girlfriend so I take advantage of this Lover's Discount!"
'Oh.' And thus, Hayasaka Ai crashed back to reality. 'Of course that would be it.'
Hayasaka glanced down at the brochure. She did remember approving that dumb promotion into the catalog! Every other major electronics retailer was doing it!
Hayasaka quickly did the math in her head.
A ding! sounded in Hayasaka's head as she computed just how much the Lover's Discount would save Shirogane on his new smartphone (after all other promotional offers and specials were applied).
'He's making me pretend to be his girlfriend just to save 170 yen!?'
That was absolutely it!
"So would you be willing to pretend? If not, I completely understand."
"Oh. Haha! Sure sure, playa!" Hayasaka looped her arm through Shirogane's. "Gotta let you know, I'm pretty high maintenance. But next time, be careful with how you treat a maiden's heart, ya know?"
Shirogane laughed nervously. "Got it."
When the attendant returned, with the manager (actually the Chief Operations Officer) in tow.
"Er. Sir. Madam. Is everything to your liking?"
"Yes!" Shirogane answered vigorously. "I just happened to run into my beloved girlfriend"
The manager looked at Hayasaka Ai.
Hayasaka's body temperature rose by several degrees Celsius.
+3 degrees Celsius!
"Yes! She is my absolute treasure!"
+5 degrees Celsius!
+8 degrees Celsius!
+17 degrees Celsius!
Hayasaka's flushed cheeks could hardly stand it.
"Y-yes! He is m-my most beloved darling, i-isn't that right dear?"
Shirogane grabbed Hayasaka's arm and pulled her closer to him.
+29 degrees Celsius!
"Yes! Absolutely!" Hayasaka could feel Shirogane's warm body pressed against him. His strawberry hazelnut scent was overpowering. "She is my most beloved! She is my dearest treasure! I will never let her go! Not ever!"
+10000 degrees Celsius!
The manager (actually Shinomiya Manor's Operations Director) scratched his chin. "Hm… I'm not really convinced that you two are in love-"
"W-wait! I can explain-"
Hayasaka's face darkened.
"I'm convinced that you two are in ULTRA ROMANTIC love!"
Hayasaka nearly fainted from heatstroke and bloodrush. At least the 170 yen discount was earned. Shirogane would surely have no reason to refuse the absolutely best offer around right? Right!?
Then Shirogane took out his old phone. He sighed. He didn't want to part with it.
"I don't know if I should get a new one."
Hayasaka's eye twitched.
The phone was ancient. It was definitely an antique that belonged in a museum. The thing was a brick. It could only call. The screen had only two pixel colors!
"That's your phone...?" Hayasaka began.
"What about it."
"Nothing… just… how cute."
And thus Shirogane screamed into oblivion.
With his manhood righteously cut down, Shirogane resolved to buy a new phone. A few moments later, Shirogane and Hayasaka walked out of the not!Shinomiya front of an electronics store. A brand new, freshly activated cell phone was in Shirogane's pocket.
As Shirogane walked a triumphant strut, satisfied that his manhood was salvage and he had gotten the best possible deal available, Hayasaka stalked her prey.
She steeled herself.
Now was time for Phase 2: Get Shirogane to ask Hayasaka for her number!
Hayasaka steeled her resolve.
'Shirogane Miyuki, ask me for my number, and commit an act of love!'
Shirogane turned around to face Hayasaka.
"Oh, Hayaska. Can I have your number?"
Shirogane Miyuki blinked.
The ignorant boy who had taken a vow to never fall in love in high school to the President. After all, it was Ryuju Momo, the Student Council Treasurer, who kept bugging him for having a crappy old brick of a phone. Shirogane already had Ryuju Momo's number, so he didn't think simply asking for a number was anything romantic at all!
Shirogane gave a soft but understanding smile.
"I get it. It's a bit weird and creepy for someone you barely know to ask for your number, huh? I get it." Shirogane rubbed the back of his head. "Well, if you need me. I'm also General Affairs Officer so you can always find me in the-"
Shirogane raised an eyebrow. "No?"
"I mean- My number… I'll let you have it… i-if you give me yours."
Shirogane laughed and gave a 10,000-watt smile.
"Your profile picture looks really cute!" Shirogane noted.
Hayasaka glanced at her profile picture. It was her face with Gal mode fully engaged in TRANS-AM, Super Sayian God Super Sayian Limit Break mode, complete with filters and cutesy hand gestures.
Before Hayasaka would reply, Shirogane checked the time on his new phone.
"Oh dammit! I gotta get back to work. I'll text ya later, Hayasaka!"
Shirogane mounted his bike and pedaled to the metal, leaving Hayasaka in the dust.
Behind her, several Shonimayi (actually Shinomiya manor workers) walked out.
"Er. Miss Hayasaka? Should we close up shop now?"
It took a moment before Hayasaka started screaming orders.
That evening, Lady Kaguya was soaking in a delightful bath. Hayasaka had been summoned to give her daily report on any progress. Hayasaka was kneeling beside the bathtub.
"I have Shirogane Miyuki's number."
"Oh?" Lady Kaguya sank deeper into the bathwater. "Excellent… Have you contacted him?"
"As per traditional courtship rituals, it is only proper that the man texts me first."
"Ah. I see." Lady Kaguya sank deeper into the bath under her mouth below the waterline. She opened her mouth, bubbling the water. Then she exited the bath. Hayasaka was waiting with a towel and a robe. "Then continue."
After finishing the post-bath rituals, Hayasaka returned to her own quarters.
Hayasaka plopped onto bed. Her entire body ached from over exerting herself by leaping off a two story building. She should hit the gym more often. After a glance at her phone, Hayasaka frowned. It had been hours since they had last seen each other, so why the hell wasn't Shirogane messag-
Instantly, the dopamine struck.
Like an addict, Hayasaka quickly opened the message. She scanned it. A smile crept on her face.
[SHIROGANE MIYUKI] (23:02): Good evening, Miss Hayasaka. My apologies for not texting you earlier. I had to finish up my shift. Thank you for helping me pick out a phone and getting a great deal. I am in your care.
[Hiii-ya SOCK-YA] (23:06): Np! Likin' ur new fone OwO?
[SHIROGANE MIYUKI] (23:06): Yes. It is great.
[Hiii-ya SOCK-YA] (23:11): U dont got 2 b so formal with me ya kno? O:
[SHIROGANE MIYUKI] (23:11): I apprciate it.
[SHIROGANE MIYUKI] (23:11): I apreciate it.
[SHIROGANE MIYUKI] (23:11): I appreciate it.
[SHIROGANE MIYUKI] (23:11): Thank you again, I will continue studying. I will speak to you again sometime soon. Goodnight.
[Hiii-ya SOCK-YA] (23:13): G'nite! Sleep tite! :D
"Huh," Hayasaka said as she flipped through another hydraulic press video. As Hayasaka watched a bowling ball turn to jelly, she had a sudden realization: Shirogane Miyuki was the first boy she had ever exchanged numbers with. Of course, she had access to the entire student population's phone numbers - both personal and home - as well as their parents through highly-illegal-but-who's-gonna-stop-the-Shinomiya-family? access to the student registry databases.
Maybe she'd have long late night texting talks…
After all, modern romantic relationships are said to be mostly through text anyways.
As Hayasaka rolled into bed another message arrived.
[SHIROGANE MIYUKI] (00:01): Thank you again for today. I had a lot of fun. Goodnight.
She reread the messages over and over again.
There will come a time when all her schemes come to fruition.
And Shirogane will be hers.
'He'll be mine, and mine alone…'
It's true. Lady Kaguya had commanded Hayasaka to do a difficult, but not impossible, task. And Hayasaka, like the loyal and devoted valet that she is, will perform her duties.
Because in the end, Hayasaka Ai would have to crush Shirogane Miyuki's heart.
But the last thoughts swirling in Lady Kaguya's most trusted valet's mind wasn't schemes or stratagems, but rather a few simple phrases from today:
'She is my most beloved!'
'She is my dearest treasure!'
'I will never let her go! Not ever!'
Deep down, Hayasaka knew Shirogane only said those things for the Lover's Discount. But still, none of the touchstone words affected heart so much as the most genuine of them:
'Your profile picture looks really cute!'
The mere thought sent Hayasaka's heart racing, even as she laid curled up in bed. She clutched her heart. Shirogane said her profile picture was cute. Her face was cute… but Hayasaka knew the only cute-side of her was false. It wasn't real. It wasn't genuine. Shirogane thought a pleasant lie was cute.
And the thought made Hayasaka feel uneasy.
At the same time as Hayasaka was battling with her inner demons, Shirogane was furiously studying.
To keep up with such an elite student body as Shuchi'in, Shirogane needed to devote every spare fiber of his being not consumed by the Student Council or his part-time jobs to the business of studying. His detour today extracted a heavy roll, and Shirogane was paying the price.
His sleep debt would make the US public debt blush.
In between problems, Shirogane took time to reflect on the day. He reviewed all his day's actions, thinking of how to best optimize himself for tomorrow.
His thoughts trailed to his detour to buy a new phone. It was amusing and entertaining. Shirogane enjoyed himself and thought Hayasaka was a very nice girl.
"Maybe… Hayasaka likes me?"
"No… haha… that's impossible."
"I won't fall in love!"
Shirogane had, after all, made a man's promise to the President.
And every inch of his walls and ceilings were covered in promises to himself. Calligraphy slogans stared back at him, eternally judging.
'FIGHT EVERY BATTLE! WIN EVERY WAR'
'HARD WORK BEATS TALENT EVERY TIME!'
'SLEEP IS CHEAP AND FOR THE WEAK!'
Shirogane could not let up, not for a second. Or else he would drown.
To drown, was to lose, and admit those rich bastards of Shuchi'in Academy were better than him. It means he wasn't cut out for it. It would mean his mother was-
Shirogane ran his fingers through his hair.
He was still a red-blooded young male eager to taste love for the first time. In a moment of weakness, he withdrew his phone. He had already sent a goodnight text to Hayasaka an hour ago. He had already wasted several minutes with an unnecessary distraction. Regardless, Shirogane began typing and re-typing one final message.
Shirogane looked at it for a moment.
Then he looked at all of his promises watching his progress.
Shirogane sighed and pressed delete.
Result of Today's Mission: HAYASAKA FAILURE! Hayasaka couldn't sleep because she got a boy's phone number (through completely normal means and not just hacking the phone company records) for the first time ever!