A Romance of Errors

A/N: Sorry this took so long. Also, it was mistimed. It's no longer White Day (the day after Valentines Day in Japan and Korea) in my part of the world. I know that Azumanga Daioh has such a declining following, something not apparent when I joined up eight years ago, practically at the beginning at end of a decade where anime like AD had pioneered and flourished. This is my belated Valentines Day special and my first published work for this year. Hope you like it.

Chapter 4: Coffee and Homeroom

Kaorin remained glum for the rest of the day. She watched all the girls flock towards Yasunubo, deluging him with requests and questions. This teacher became an instant hit for the girls, she thought. He's certainly a breath of fresh air as the boys like Kimura. Her friend Chihiro was there, asking many questions. Strangely though, the only people who have not thronged him were what was best termed as the "Gang": Yomi, Tomo, Chiyo, Osaka, Sakaki and Kagura.

Sakaki! She thought. She hasn't fallen for his charms yet. That seemed like a good sign. She hoped the tall, majestic beauty hadn't been taken in the young new teacher. It won't help her if she...

"Oh, thank you so much," said a girl eagerly with a bow.

"Ah, you're welcome, miss," he replied. As soon as she left off giggling, another took her place, asking him another question.

"Man, someone's on a roll," Tomo noted of the girls coming to him.

"Probably the best thing since Chiyo came," Kagura said. She then went back to her Attack on Titan manga.

"More like the best thing since Kimura showed up," the wildcat pointed. "All the girls around here are pining for this clown."

"Yeah, but hey, we all deserve a break from Kimura. The guys liked him so much."

Just as she said that Kimura was in another classroom, with boys flocking around him. The girls swooning over the the new teacher had the boys worried over their prospects of getting girlfriends; they turned to him for advice on girls.

"Uh, Kimura-sensei," one of them asked. "If there's a guy who gets all the girls like a magnet, what would you do?"

All they got was Kimura staring back open-mouthed, ready to land flies, and a hollow sound came from his throat like he was trying to comprehend a lecture by Stephen Hawking, not that the world-acclaimed physicist would attract any interest in him. His glasses give the impression of an absent stare.

"How about ordering a hamburger shake," he answered, confused. The boys sweatdropped at that non-sequitur.

Back at the classroom the discussion of the girls continued. "He's a breath of fresh air here in this school," Yomi noted, "he's young sure but he's clearly doing a good job for his first day."

"Define good job, Yomi," asked Tomo with a suspicious tone, "is it he's good at teaching or being a girl magnet?"

Yomi knew Tomo would ask that sort of question. "He's clearly a nice guy, he hasn't done anything to the girls yet. Plus he's quite relatable in a way, not for removed from the rest of us in age."

"Which is why ah though we ha'd ah new student," Osaka noted slowly, "not everyday yah getta young guy teacher."

"Man, I bet Nyamo and Yukari are fighting over him too," Tomo pointed out, haughty like it she thought it first. "I mean that was stalker-level up in that tree."

Yomi could not believe that sight of Yukari hastily climbing that tree after being caught by the PE teacher with binoculars. "I had nothing to say for what I saw."

"Gotta tap that booty~," she sang.

"Huh?" It was Chiyo.

"Booty?" Osaka asked. "Like pirate loot?"

Knowing where this was going, Yomi said to Chiyo, "You don't wanna find out." She covered her ears and they left. Back to those two...

"No, no, no, Osaka," Tomo scolded, wagging her finger. "Yasunubo's gotta great ass. Perfect for tapping."

"Whaddya you mehn by tap?" The airhead was puzzled. "Like ah drum?"

"No, Osaka," Tomo continued, "tap means they want to ride his ass and being in his early twenties means he has the perfect ridable ass, very perky, enough to bounce a ten-yen coin."

"Ohhhh~" She was astounded. "But Kurosawa-sensei and Yukari-sensei ar'e older' than him. Won' dat that be like Kimura?"

Tomo's mouth formed into a cat-like smile. "Osaka," she said in a smoky voice, "age doesn't matter if you're like them. Yukari would tap that fresh young booty and Nyamo won't want be left behind."

"So they' like 'im like beer~," the airhead said astounded. "But if the'y do that, won' his butt leak out somethin' that isn-"

"NO THANK YOU!" Tomo snapped, suddenly realizing where Osaka's meandering thought on the matter was going. Such imagery shook her stout heart. "How the crap did you come with something like that?"

Osaka simply said, "It's notta happi' thought but sum'one's gotta look aht the possibilities." Tomo had a confused, blank expression.

Outside Yomi and Chiyo were standing outside. "Uh, Yomi," the short girl finally said, "what was it I wasn't supposed to hear?"

"Trust me, Chiyo," she answered, "some stuff you're not supposed to know until you get older."

"Like what, Yomi?" Yomi was taken aback by that as she looked at the genius's wide curious eyes. Oh crap! she sweated. How the hell I'm gonna explain it to her?

She added, "I'm high school now so I think I should at least know what I shouldn't know just a bit." Those two shining orbs of childlike innocence won't stay innocent for long if Yomi blurt it out the wrong way.

"Uh..." She was thinking of the proper answer. "The birds and the bees...?"

Chiyo sweatdropped. "Huh? I thought they were talking about dating boys."

"Uh, that too." She smiled awkwardly. Chiyo sweatdropped some more.

Back at the faculty room Nyamo crossed her arms as she looked at Yukari. Yukari simply lazed on her chair. "Yukari, do you want to get fired?" she asked pointedly.

"Nah, nah," the slacker teacher said dismissively. "As long as I have you you I'll never get fired."

Nyamo looked very irritated. "That assumes I'm gonna cover your ass for just about anything."

"Of course," she said unhelpfully in a relaxed, smug tone, "I got your love letter."

Nyamo's eyes went blank at the mention of the love letter which she so desperately. Why was she so careless back then? But she shook her head and got back to business. "You barged into Yasunubo's class while it was in session and after you were put out you spied on him from a tree?"

Now it was Yukari's turn to be awkward. She chuckled nervously. "I just want to get a measure of the new teacher replacing me, hehe. Gotta know if he can fill up my shoes."

"Yeah, like he wants to" Nyamo said dryly. "You're behavior constitutes stalking, possibly sexual harassment."

Yukari, eyes white with rage, stomped both hands on her messy and overcrowded table with her things threatening to drop to the floor. "How can you be so high and mighty to say that?"

"Yukari, you interrupted his class with all your usual antics, followed by observing him from a distance. And let's not forget that first impression you made when we met him."

She laid back on her chair. "Come on, can't I have a little fun?" she whined like she was just reprimanded for stealing a cookie.

"I'm not stupid about your intentions Yukari," Nyamo said seriously. "That behavior can land you a court order."

"Sheesh! You're such a stick in the ass, you know. Lighten up." Yukari was exasperated by that hint of a legal threat.

"And there's an age disparity between both of you. He's in his early twenties. What are you? Like twelve or twenty-six?"

Yukari slammed her hands back on the table again, causing her stuff to quiver. "He is an adult! Age is just a number. Screw social norms that can dictate at what age I should meet up. He's an adult that needs an adult!"

Nyamo blinked her eyes twice, resisting the urge to bang her head against the table. "An adult who needs an adult?" she repeated nonplussed.

"That's right" she said proudly. "I'm the perfect woman who can help him transition into the exciting and dangerous world into adult life. I'm perfectly qualified."

The PE teacher scoffed. "Perfectly qualified to scar him for life with your antics. Don't you feel old?"

"Old!?" She snapped at that jab towards her youth. "How dare a jealous lovelorn hawk like you question my age? Your failure to get a boyfriend says otherwise."

"Don't you dare bring up middle school!" Nyamo snapped back. And they're off. As they recall in angry nostalgia (ironic, right?) Yasunubo entered the faculty room. He could not help but wonder how did these two get along. He went to the corner where hot drinks are available. He went for the tea kettle but a note said "No tea."

"Oh, man," he said, "I thought I can get a relaxing refreshment." He decided against going to the canteen since it meant taking a long walk. He settled for coffee instead. He poured himself a cup and drank it on his way to the desk. It was smooth and soothing. "Wow, this coffee's great! I wonder what brand this is?" And he remembered something from yesterday. This was supposed to be a special blend. Who said that?

Then she noticed Ayumu Kasuga tidying things up at the corner. "Oh, hello there, Miss Kasuga," he greeted. "What are you doing here?"

"Just tidyin' up he're, Yasu-senpai," she replied slowly, eyes ever wide as always.

"Ah, I'm a little flattered with being addressed as senpai," he said humbly. "You fix the snacks here?"

"Nah, Ah just help around a'bit, especially when making my special blend." Her voice was meek like a lamb's and warm.

But he remembered now, Osaka was one who provided that mystery coffee to him. He looked at his cup with some mild curiosity, with a dash of discomfort. "Oh yeah, you're the one who gave me the coffee."

"How'd yah like it?" She looked at him with those warm wide eyes, which only increased his unease.

"It's great, actually," he replied honestly. "Never had such a smooth coffee, it didn't give me an upset stomach."

"That's 'cause it's mah special blend." It sent a slight shudder on his spine.

"Really?" He looked at his cup again. "Is it this... some sort of family recipe?"

"It is." Her usual smile went wider. "But it'sa's secret. That's why it's'a special blend."

"You supply this to the faculty?" He wanted to know how it made its way here.

"Sorta. I let Yukari try and she approved."

"You mean Miss Tanizaki?" So that's how Kasuga's coffee made it here?

She nodded slowly. "Yup, she liked it. Pulled a' few strings to get it here."

"Oh, I see." He looked over to see Yukari and Nyamo grappling comically with each other like it's grade school. "Uh, thanks for the coffee, Miss Kasuga."

"Yo're welcome, senpai," she responded airily.

"Uh, I don't think there's any need to call me that, Miss Kasuga."

"Well, every'wun's callin' meh Osaka since ah transferred here," she pointed out, "Tomo gave meh dat name. Also, yah remind meh of Chiyo-chan. She's a' genius who got bumped oop ta high school 'cause she's really smart. I hope it was good advice I gave yah."

"Advise...?" What was she talking about.

"Yah might hav' to get used to people here callin' yah senpai here. Almost every'wun here calls meh Osaka all the tahm."

"Okay. Th-that's really good advice." Now Yasunubo got a sneak peek to Osaka's logic course.

"Glad ah help, senpai. See yah." She slowly turned and out of the faculty. Yasunubo wondered if they're were anymore interesting and quirky encounters like this in this school. It looks like it's gonna be a regular occurrence in his tenure here for years to come. He went back to checking his papers, now oblivious to two tired-teachers laying their backs on the floor, exhausted from yet another skirmish.

Back at the homeroom, everyone settled down to know how their day went. Also, Yasunubo was telling a little about himself to the class, which revealed he came from Gifu Prefecture, his life in a small country town before he moved to Tokyo, his days in middle school and high school.

"I sorta turned down a job offer, choosing a teaching course in college," he said at length. "I don't exactly see myself driving a desk out of some high-end office."

So that's why you choose teaching? Kaorin thought curiously. You threw away an opportunity to make a lot of dough for this dump?

"Why did you choose social studies?" Chiyo asked.

"Well, lots of people enter the real world woefully unprepared for everyday realities they face," he explained. "Might as well pitch in to help you."

"Ah see now," Osaka proclaimed, "so we don' end up like Miss Yukari. She drives a banged-up car to school and makes bets."

Wait, that badly-dented Corolla was hers? He was shocked to know that. He remembered how much he shuddered at a car that looked like it took a cross-country trip across every conflict zone of the world. Yasunubo swore the back fender looked ready to fall off at any time. He also wondered how it didn't get any tickets.

"I don't think I'll be quick to judge. She seems like a really interesting person."

"Interesting?" Tomo exclaimed. "She's a teacher you could party to, Yasi-senpai! Sometimes she creates study halls when she feels too lazy to teach a new lesson. And we get to play against Nyamo."

"You mean Miss Kurosawa?"

"Yeah, they also used to school here too." Then Tomo had a look of inquiry. "Is she gonna get fired?"

"I don't think so," he replied. "If anything her casualness is a good thing for your class. I can see you're all rather relaxed on your demeanor. Might actually help me get to know you guys more."

"Hah!" The wildcat accosted Kagura. "See, Yukari's not getting fired. You owe me lunch tomorrow."

"Oh man," Kagura sighed in defeat.

Now this sort of behavior stunned him. "But I don't think making bets should be a regular thing."

Kaorin noticed Sakaki staring out of the window like always. She always seemed so distant, so aloof from the everyday going-ons around her. She was just so cool. But it pained her to know that she attracted the eyes of this new teacher! How could that be so? She hoped it was just an academic thing. The talk of how well they look good together was simply too much for her. Just keep professional there, man!

The raven-haired lady simply looked heavenly in repose. But why him?

The bell rung, signalling the end of class.

"Okay, class dismissed. Don't forget your homework," he announced as everyone thronged out. Yasunubo went out, followed by Sakaki.

Good grief! she thought as she tried to follow her but Chiyo tugged her sleeve.

"Miss Aida," she said.

"What is it, Chiyo-chan?" she asked.

"You have cleaning duty today." Her voice chirped of innocent reminder.

Her mind screamed, NO! Because of her scheduled day, she can't keep follow to see the truth about her love, if she really has feelings for Yasunubo.

At the girls' locker room, Kagura stopped midway of tying her running shoes. "Man, sounds like someone's dying inside." She want back to tying.

A/N: I'm sorry this was shorter than my previous chapters, maybe a bit rushed as well but I really needed something to get me going, with my upcoming chapter for Wolfenstein: The Rising Sun still in delay and my usual backlog of works in my Publish section. I hope to work harder this year. Also, I've taken in a few fics from Doki Doki Literature Club. Never felt anything like it since my interest in Higurashi and Haruhi Suzumiya.