A/N: This fanfic is a shoutout to SOzuken, Ohmer, Bantam, Zodiacers, MusashiKen, and the rest of the good peeps on the Wannabe Fansubs crew. Their work on School Rumble is of very high quality and their dedication is superhuman. Even after the majority of their exposure was taken from them in Media Factory's smackdown threat, they kept on rumbling on and I, like many others, have been following their work. Mad love going out to you all.

The week of March 2nd to March 9th, I was out of work and really, really bored. My right shoulder was injured and I couldn't work a conventional keyboard and mouse. It was my laptop that kept me sane, but it was three—THREE—episodes of School Rumble released that week that kept me happy. I'm writing this as a thank-you gift for all the time, energy, and effort they've put into School Rumble. Wannabe Fansubs, thank you for doing what you do.

Anyway, this takes place after episode 17, and it is mild YakumoxHarima. It's just my take on it. This story isn't as comedic as School Rumble usually is, mostly because I'm a lousy comedy writer. If someone's got the abilities to write good comedy, please come out and make with the writing!

On with the show!

Background Noise

I've always tried not to get bored in class... really, I have.

I never had a problem with school, and I still don't. I guess it was just the vacation that really got me. We had a lot of fun in the time off from school. I already knew my sister's friends from whenever they were over to study or just hang out, and they gave me a chance to at least spend time with someone when Sarah wasn't around. She does have the Tea Club, after all, and me... well, I never really could settle into one...

"... and then during the Sengoku period, the Sanada clan rose to prominence in their battles with the rival factions and clans in the Kanto and Kansai regions. Let's see... Minase, maybe you know the answer to this question."


Shiunji Minase... he's always like this, always eager to answer the question when the teacher calls on her. I envy his energy, but then again, there's always the usual...

Oh wow, I think she's looking at me! I knew that if I got smarter, I'd get her attention!

Stupid Shiunji. He knows I like Yakumo! I'll bet he's just being all like this because of that. She probably drools over all the geeks like that. Even Hanai-sempai's got a chance because he's at least smart.

This is boring... aw man, Yakumo-chan looks so cute sitting by the window...

The usual.

I've dealt with this for some time... I don't really know how long. I can hear them, read them... how it happens, I don't know. Maybe it's not even real. I know I'm not insane, because it's not all the time.

I don't understand it, to tell the truth. Why do I hear what so many people are thinking when I'm involved? It's not like I want to eavesdrop on them. I really don't. Their thoughts are so rough around the edges, so blunt and forceful. I hear the entire range... from sweet to... not sweet.

That's what's intimidating to me. The parts that aren't sweet, that they'd probably never say... the ideas and visions I've seen haven't always been good. I don't want to see some of the things they've planned. After too many fantasies that guys have had involving me, I've just learned to tune them out, ignore them, or simply be wary of them. There are some very, very sick guys in our school.

That's why I tend to avoid them, and that's why I get marked as distant, cold, too mature for my own good... somewhere along the line, I guess it stuck, and now people think that I'm the older sister.


"Yes, sir." I stood up by reflex. It's not too often I get called upon. I guess I get surprised by this... Fujiwara-sensei doesn't seem to think of me like all these other guys do.

"Perhaps you can tell us where the Date clan defeated the Ashina forces during the Sengoku period?"

"Suriagehara, on June 5th, 1589."

"Very good."

Ah, Tsukamoto. You really know what you're doing. I have high hopes for you.

Well... I guess sometimes I don't hear bad thoughts. The rest of the time, though, I'd rather not hear what's being said.

Teacher's pet.

Maaan, Tsukamoto is too cute to be that nerdy. Bet she'd hang out with me and the guys, read some manga, terrorize some grade-school kids. Nah, she's not into that sorta thing.

See? See! Yakumo-chan is smart... I've got a chance, I really do!

The school's electronic bell played out Westminster Chimes, signifying the end of class. We stood and bowed, just like always, and everyone went their own ways for lunch. Finally, some respite for the day.

At least, I thought.

"She did it again..." I said with a sigh, staring down at two bento boxes filled with the curry I had made last night. The rice was nowhere to be found.

"At least it's your curry, Yakumo-chan," my friend Sarah tried to reassure me. Just as I was marked as cold and mature, she was marked as a dumb blonde foreigner. Never mind that her Japanese is more literate than most of them, and never mind that nobody ever says that about Sawachika-sempai...

"It's just no good without rice," I shook my head. "Sarah, do you want this one?"

"I don't have any rice either..." Sarah blushed and smiled apologetically, opening her bento box and revealing asparagus with bacon, rolled egg omelets, and pickled daikon radish and nappa cabbage. Not exactly conducive to soaking up the saucy curry.

"Okay..." I sighed again. "I'll go see if I can catch my sister..."

"Do you want some backup?" Sarah pulled her chair back and started to get up. "That is, just so Hanai-sempai doesn't drool all over you."

I shook my head. "I'll be fine... maybe he won't even be in the classroom this time..."

I got up and headed for the door, only peppered by a few thoughts of how cute I was, my hair dancing in the wind... it's nothing I haven't heard before, nothing I haven't tuned out yet.

Maybe some girls would want to know what guys think of when they think of them... usually the guy has to vocalize it, he has to express it.

I guess I don't need a guy to express something. I know what he's thinking as soon as my name comes up. Because of that, I act accordingly... I tune the thoughts out, I avoid the guy, and sooner or later, it all goes back to the normal background noise. Almost every guy I meet or encounter, I read their mind, except for the one guy from my sister's class. The one with the mustache and the sunglasses, the one who was on the other side of the door when I opened it, reaching out as if he was about to open it himself...

"Oh! Harima-kun..."

"Yo." Kenji Harima held up his hand half in greeting, half to present a familiar handkerchief-wrapped bento box. "Your sister suddenly exclaimed 'Crap, I mixed them up again!' and started making a fuss about having onigiri for lunch again."

I smiled at him. "Yes, sometimes she does mix them up... a little too often, but at least we're only a floor apart."

Harima-kun is quiet as always... I can't read a single thing about him, not his thoughts or his expression under those sunglasses of his. Unfortunately, I hear everyone else as well as always...

Hey, who's that delinquent? What's he doing with Yakumo-chan?

I can't compete against someone with a mustache... stupid punk, he probably beats up old ladies and steals their purses.

A guy who looks like that is nothing but trouble! Get the hell away from Yakumo-chan!

"Come in; I'll go get my sister's curry."

"Sure," Harima nodded, following me into the classroom. "I think this is my first time in a first-year classroom in this school."

"Really?" I turned to him. "You didn't go to this school last year?"

Harima shook his head. "Nah, I was sorta out of school last year. It was a miracle they let me in as a second-year."

I met Sarah's eyes as we walked back to our desks, and I could see the question mark in them. "Sarah, this is Kenji Harima; he's in my sister's class. Harima-kun, this is Sarah Adiemus. She's from England, but she's studying in Japan."

"It's nice to meet you," Sarah said as she stood and bowed formally.

"Oh! Um, nice to meet you," Harima flustered, stretching his hand behind his neck before he bowed in reply. "Sorry, I'm not too good with formal introductions."

Weasel! Stay away from Yakumo!

Oh man, if I was stronger and bigger, maybe Yakumo might talk to me, too...

He's just out to break your heart, Yakumo!

Here it goes again... I especially don't want to drown Harima-kun out, so we should get out of here...

"Um, Harima-kun... why don't you eat lunch with us?" I asked, a little more shyly than I normally do. It's not like I can't approach him, but for some reason... I just don't want to be cold to him...

"Eh?" His eyebrows went up. "Me?"

"We usually eat up on the roof when it's nice out, so we can wait for you while you drop off the curry to my sister... since you brought me this rice, I can at least make you an onigiri to say thanks..."

"You don't have to do that," he flustered, holding up his hands in supplication. "I mean, I don't want to be any trouble..."

This is the only guy I know who went so far out of the way to help the animals he was taking care of. He helped my cat. He doesn't drool over me, he doesn't spill into my thoughts... he doesn't think of me as an object, as a goal... for all I can read, I can't get anything off of him.

Maybe if I'm lucky, he'd express something... he'd say something I couldn't read off of him already, and then I'd get to understand how things actually work between boys and girls.

Harima-kun is a nice person, I know it. Even if I can't confirm what he's thinking... I know he's someone I want to know better.

"You wouldn't be any trouble," Sarah chimed in before I could speak up. "It's usually just Yakumo and myself. Company is always good to have."

"Sure." He shrugged. "I usually just eat on my own, and that damn four-eyed fuhrer is yelling at me for some reason or another. I wouldn't mind getting out of the classroom for a little while."

I couldn't tell if he could see the smile on my face. I could swear that I was blushing a little bit, too. To be able to spend time out of the background noise, out of hearing the thoughts of the boys in my class... I can't remember when I last had to wonder what someone was thinking about me. I have to make guesses with him, I have to take risks... I have to find out what he's thinking.

In all the noise, he stands out in his quiet...

I stacked the boxes of curry and smoothed down the pleats of my skirt. Harima-kun wasn't looking at me, but I smiled at him anyway as we left the classroom, myself, Harima, and Sarah.