Whoa. I added another chapter to this fic. That's cool. Anyway, enjoy guys.
I apologize for any grammatical errors though.
DISCLAIMER - I DO NOT OWN AMAGAMI NOR AM I AFFILIATED WITH IT. I AM ONLY A GUY... WHO LIKES DR. PEPPER.
"I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!"
"Please. Darling, calm down."
Why did this happen?
"Calm down, Tachibana-san. Please, understand this. We have grown tired of your son's actions. Because of hi-"
"It's JUST RUMORS! Sir, have you ever considered the thought of actually asking our son about this?"
I didn't want this to happen. All I wanted was to try. Try to turn my life around.
"That's why we are having this meeting concerning your son, Tachibana-san. Have you ever considered our current standing right now? If any of these troubling incidents got out to the public, our school shall be looked down upon. In return, we've been trying to protect your son by keeping all of these incidents a secret."
"PROTECT?! WHAT KIND OF BULLSHIT IS THIS?!"
I was tired of beating myself up.
"I will repeat myself. Your son will be suspended for the rest of the week. This is what the staff has decided. Consider himself lucky since he's an above-average student. If he wasn't, we would have expelled him."
"Fine. I understand."
I never thought this was the outcome for trying.
"Come on, Junichi. Let's go home now. Tch."
"Darling… Everything is going to be fine. Please don't worry about this. Junichi-kun is strong. He does have his father's willpower."
I wonder about that…
Chapter 2 – Willpower
School was finally finished for today and everyone was shuffling out of the classroom. Tachibana, however, sat in his desk. He waited for everyone to be gone, as if he was trying to avoid any encounters with certain people. With his chin resting on his palm, he looked up to see Umehara's grin.
"You free today, Boss?" he asked with his trademark smile.
"Heh. I wish. Unfortunately, I need to go to a meeting about the Founder's Festival," Tachibana replied with a smile.
"Ehhh? Seriously? Man! I totally wanted to show you this new vid too!"
"Umehara… You know I'm done with all that," Tachibana frowned.
"Oh come on, Boss! Just skip the meeting. It's not like you're needed for anything."
"Thanks for the encouragement…"
"Heh. Welcome, Boss."
"Unfortunately, Ayatsuji-san would chew me out if I ever skipped a meeting."
"Oh yeah. Haha. Especially since you are basically second-in-command."
With a sigh, Tachibana scratched the back of his head. As he was about to get up from his chair, he stopped and hesitated.
"Um…" Tachibana said, barely audible, "C-Can you check if there's anyone outside the classroom?"
"Huh?" Umehara looked at him as his smile ceased, "Yeah. Just hold on."
As Umehara left, Tachibana sighed and laid his head on the cool desk. Ever since he came back from school, he was only welcomed with cold stares and audible whispers. Girls stay away from him. Guys don't even interact with him (save for Umehara) since they know their reputation will plunge to the depths of hell if they were seen with him. Umehara is one of the only individuals who still talk him. Yet Tachibana feels distant around him ever since the pornography incident.
"Boss!" Umehara called out as he walked inside the classroom, "It's clear!"
Tachibana looked at Umehara and nodded. As he walked out, Umehara patted him on the shoulder with a grin.
"Thanks again, Umehara," he mumbled.
"No worries! I'll talk to you later!"
As Tachibana stared at Umehara's disappearing figure, he scratched his head and wondered how he would talk to everyone in the Founder's Festival committee.
Each step he took toward his destination caused his hands to feel clammy. The dread within his mind persisted, telling him to run away. He doesn't want to face anyone. He knows that his whole existence is an abomination in everyone's eyes.
However, he doesn't stop walking to his destination for some reason. It's irrational. He knows that, but he volunteered to take care of the Founder's Festival along with Ayatsuji. He believes that he got to see this to the end, whether he likes it or not.
He opens the door to the meeting room. He is met with wary eyes.
"Why is he here?"
"I thought he was removed from the committee?"
"Should Ecchibana really be here now?"
Tachibana twitched at his new nickname. After the 'infamous' pornography incident from last week, students began to call him all sorts of names: Ero-Monster, Fetish Boy, and everyone's personal favorite, Ecchibana.
He walked toward his normal seat, which was next to Ayatsuji. As usual, she had an air of confidence and calmness unlike her actual self, which was sinister and domineering. Luckily, his seat wasn't tampered with since it seemed like the whole committee thought he was removed.
As he sat down, he nervously smiled toward Ayatsuji. "Ah… Hey Ayatsuji-san. Um… Sorry I'm late."
"Hm…?" she looked him and blinked, "You're not late. The appointed time was 15 minutes after school was done. Everyone only got here early, Tachibana-kun."
"O-Oh really?" he forced a chuckle out of his system.
"Mhm. You arrived right on the dot. Any later and I would have to deal with this situation personally."
That smile didn't look right on her face. It gave Tachibana the creeps.
"Hey. Why is Ecchibana here?"
A brown-haired committee member decided to voice his thoughts, "Don't you think he'll only make the whole festival a disgrace? He might even do something weird, like bribe the photography club to sell pictures of girls in their swimsuits."
Everyone began to whisper about what 'Ecchibana' is capable of. Tachibana clenched his fists. He knew it. He knew he shouldn't have come. What kind of individual can take this sort of-
"That'll be enough, Sato-kun. Why would you think Tachibana-kun would do that?" Ayatsuji-san started, "Unless you wanted to do that, using Tachibana-kun as a scapegoat for your antics."
"Wh-What?! Of course not!" Sato stood up in defense, "I'm only thinking what's best for the festival!"
"It doesn't look like it. You are only discriminating against Tachibana-kun because of all of the rumors that are circulating through the school. Should a member really concern him or herself with rumors? You say you want what's best for the festival, but you are only making yourself sound corrupted by sprouting strange ideas."
Sato was taken aback. He felt the full force of Ayatsuji's wrath by listening to her venom-laced words.
"Sato-kun. I will not allow rumors in this committee. We are here because we want to this festival to be better than last year's. Isn't that true? Tachibana-kun is here because he wants to be here, unlike you who were forced by his own class to participate in this. See the difference? Tachibana-kun's not here because of ill intentions unlike the lot of you believe. He is here to make everyone happy. Isn't that right, Tachibana-kun?"
Tachibana was astonished. He couldn't believe it. He wanted to hug Ayatsuji with all his might, but he held himself back. Instead, he gave one of his most sincere smiles to her.
After the meeting, Tachibana laid his head on the cool table in front of him. Budgets. Clubs. Decorations. Approvals. All of it tired him out. Throughout the whole meeting, he decided to listen what everyone had to say. He didn't even want to give his own thoughts because everything they said went over his head. Unfortunately, a certain class president forced him to talk by asking for his personal opinion.
Once the last person was out, Ayatsuji-san reverted back to her sadist mode.
"Really. The lot of them have the gall to say that useless crap in front of me. I can't believe I needed to waste my time making a pseudo-speech about you," Ayatsuji sighed as she overlooked the paperwork given by the members.
"Haha. Sorry about that," Tachibana scratched his head as he responded, "You didn't need to do that though."
"And what? Hear that nonsensical bull again? I need to deal with it every day since you're in my class. Sheesh. Stop being so passive and inattentive, especially in class!"
"Sorry, sorry. I'll try to pay attention more."
"The teachers will be watching you like a hawk now so be careful, Tachibana-kun…"
For the first time in a while, Ayatsuji sounded concern about Tachibana's standing in the school.
"D-Do you not want me to be expelled, Ayatsuji-san?"
"W-What?! What are you trying to insinuate?! I-I just don't want to lose one of my lackeys! That's all! Wh-Why are you just sitting there smiling at me?! HERE! Do some paperwork NOW!"
"Haha. Yeah, yeah."
It was past seven when they were finished with the paperwork. Ayatsuji invited Tachibana to eat with her.
"It's not like I wanted to invite you! I just don't have any money! So you're going to pay for me," she blushed.
"Eh? Then, what's the point of you inviting me somewhere if I got to pay for you? Do I get anything from this?" he sighed.
Nonetheless, he accepted her invitation, knowing that he'll pay for her. Fortunately, it was at some beef bowl house.
"Beef? Doesn't it give you more pounds than most food?" he pondered aloud.
"Hey. Are you asking me to hit you?"
As they sat in the restaurant, the sound of beef simmering in the frying pan caused the pair's stomachs to rumble.
"Hey, can't you control your stomach?" Ayatsuji asked in a dry tone.
"You don't have the right to say that…" Tachibana mumbled.
The waitress arrived to their table with a smile, asking if they are ready to order.
"Oh. No, not yet," Ayatsuji smiled back.
"Same for me as well," Tachibana said as he copied Ayatsuji's action.
"Oh! I know the perfect order for the both of you," the waitress started, "Why don't you get the Lover's Bowl Special?!"
"Eh?" the both of them stared dumbly at her.
"It contains all the hearty goodness the both of you need to complete your consummate love! Complete with enough meat to feed a family, it'll make your boyfriend strong and muscular so he can protect you from all sorts of threats! Whether it'll be thugs, jealous rivals, flying vending machines, or speeding bullets, he'll be the Adonis of your life!"
"Vending machines… Seriously?" Ayatsuji frowned.
"Yep! It's even at a cheap price for 2500 yen!"
"We'll take it then!" Ayatsuji jumped with a smile.
"Wh-What?!" Tachibana paled.
"Great! I'll be back with your food shortly, lovebirds!"
Within a few moments, the waitress comes in with a bowl the size of Godzilla's fist.
"I can't believe you ordered this for the both of us…" Tachibana sweat dropped.
"What? It was cheap, Tachibana-kun," Ayatsuji smiled, "Plus, this won't put a toll of your poor wallet."
"But this? This is huge!"
"If we don't finish it, we split it and put it in a take-out box."
"Food doesn't taste good if you microwave it though!"
"Oh stop complaining! Let's eat! Thank you for the food!"
"Bye bye! Hope you come again!" the waitress smiled as she waved to Tachibana and Ayatsuji, who were both walking down the street to a nearby park.
"I… I can't believe we finished it," Tachibana said as if he was going to puke.
"Eh? What's wrong with you?" Ayatsuji asked as she tilted her head.
"I ate over five pounds of meat and rice! I have the right to feel sick!"
"Hehe… That's your fault."
As they entered the park, Tachibana stopped walking all of a sudden. Ayatsuji kept going, not noticing Tachibana's still figure.
When she finally noticed, someone immediately held her. Feeling the warmth radiating from his chest to her back, Ayatsuji began to blush. She knew who it was, but she was surprised by his action. Tachibana breathed and whispered something in her ear, "Thank you for today, Ayatsuji-san."
Her blush began to increase in intensity as she felt his warm breath tickle her ear. "Sheesh. Don't get so clingy just because I protected you from some idiot,"Ayatsuji retorted as she reluctantly leaned into his arms, welcoming his warmth.
"You helped me so much in the past two weeks, Ayatsuji-san. To me, I don't think there was no other way to pay you back. Not even a thank you can express how grateful I am." He released her from his arms and smiled, "Thank you… Tsukasa."
She blushed even harder because she heard her own name come out his mouth for the first time. She turned around to try to face him, only to avoid meeting his eyes. "What are you trying to do, Tachibana-kun? Be a Casanova? It's going to take more than a simple hug and thank you to make me fall for you."
"I was only thanking you, Ayatsuji-san," he smiled again, "I just thought that doing this was better than nothing."
"Sheesh… You didn't need to overdo it."
"Haha. Sorry, sorry. I'll try to control myself next time."
"Idiot… Why do you need to feel so warm…?"
"What was that?"
After the whole thing, the pair walked through the park and enjoyed the illuminated lights and the quiet scenery. Tachibana tried to make a conversation, but it led to Ayatsuji stumbling upon her words. Thinking it was unusual for her to act like that, he wondered whether or not to ask her if something was bothering her. In the end, he thought that she was thinking deeply about something, so he decided to leave it at that. The silence felt comforting. They might as well enjoy it while they can. Once they were out, the two of them both said their goodbyes and went their separate ways. Almost forgetting, Ayatsuji screamed to him that there's another meeting tomorrow. He screamed back with a grin planted on his face.
With a stupid grin on his face, he walked around the city aimlessly, looking as if he was searching for another hope spot. With nothing in mind, his grin dissipated and he sat on a nearby bench with slouched shoulders.
He wondered what time it was, but he couldn't care less about going home yet. Rather, he wanted to stay out as long as possible.
He didn't want to stay there any longer. It was suffocating. Even though his parents coaxed him that everything will be alright, they felt so distant to him. To him, he felt like a disgrace. He shamed his whole family only because of one stupid rejection.
The thought of her made his blood boil. What was her name again? Risa Kamizaki? He couldn't believe she had the ability to do this much damage to another individual. Wait. Was it her that caused all those rumors to happen? He couldn't carelessly throw the blame at someone because he or she looked suspicious.
Tachibana's head began to spin wildly at the thought of her being the actual culprit. Oh how he wanted to do something horrid to her. Even he has his moments when he gets angry. But thinking about this will only worsen his wellbeing. He sat up and walked to nowhere in order to clear his tumultuous mind.
He knew being mad won't do any good nor would blaming anyone would bring any happiness. As he walked, he stared at the flashing lights. To him, they were a sign of fleeting escapism that could bring his mind at peace. They looked so beautiful. Staring at them absently, he kept following the street. Then, he felt a bump.
"Ah! I apologize," he said automatically as he bowed his head in front of the individual he bumped into.
"Oh. Why hello there big boy."
"Huh?" He looked up to see a woman.
"Isn't it time for you to go to bed, naughty boy?"
"Eh? O-Oh. I guess… Haha," Tachibana laughed nervously.
He couldn't help but stare at the woman's revealing outfit since it showed a considerable amount of cleavage. Not only that but her long slender legs seemed like a feast to his eyes. It's not surprising since she was wearing hot pants. Wasn't she cold?
"Hm…? Like what you see?" she asked seductively as she put her face closer to his.
He couldn't make a coherent response since her face was so close to his. Her long black hair framed her face. Even with all the foundation and eyeshadow, he couldn't help but stare, especially at her dark brown eyes. A light lavender smell drifted towards his nose, causing him to gulp.
"What's wrong, boy? Cat got your tongue?" She smiled and tilted her head innocently, as if she was purposely making herself look cute.
He gulped again. What is he going to do? Is this another challenge sent from the God of manhood? He done a number of things with the girls he interacted – used to interact with. This might be the biggest challenge he faced yet. He was being hit on a lightly clothed, big bosomed, lavender smelling, wide-eyed beauty.
"Ahhh… A-Ah… I l-like your eyes," he stuttered dumbly.
"Eh?" she asked with a surprised look on her face.
"Y-Yeah! Your eyes are amazing! Like… Wow! They sparkle like a… Uh… Like a," he paused for a second, "Like a chocolate malt ball!"
There was a sound of silence among them until the woman began to laugh.
"Haha! S-Seriously? A chocolate malt ball? Hahah! Oh my, boy," she paused to look at him, "Hahaha! That dumb look on your face!"
"H-Hey… Aren't you being a bit mean?" he sighed.
"Sorry, sorry, boy. I just can't believe you would compare someone with a ball of chocolate."
Tachibana thought back on what he said and chuckled, "Haha. I guess it was dumb."
"If you're going to make an impression on a girl, don't make it sound so stupid. Haha. You stuttered too much, but then again… That earned you some cute points. Hehe," she smirked.
"But you were hitting on me! I didn't know what I could do, especially since I don't know you at all."
"Eh? Don't you know where you are?"
"What? Where am I…" He looked around his surroundings and felt all the color drain from his face.
"Eh?! Seriously? You didn't even know where you were?! And I thought you were trying to act cute so you can get a discount…"
"D-Discount?! Ahhhh…" he blushed a deep red as he scratched his head, "Umm… L-Later!"
He ran off like the speed of light.
"H-Hey! Wait!" the woman called to him only to see him gone, "Sheesh… At least he was cute. Hehe."
He couldn't believe he was in the red-light district nor could he believe he was being hit on by a prostitute.
He decided to go home, drained from all the running and the encounter with the woman. He removed his shoes lazily, dropping them at the doorstep. As he went upstairs, he saw his sister, Miya, come out the bathroom.
"I'm home," Tachibana mumbled as he turned his head away from his sister.
"W-Welcome home, Nii-nii…" she stuttered.
He ignored her after she greeted him and went to his room. He collapse on his bed and sighed deeply on his mattress. Removing his school uniform, he carelessly threw his clothes on the floor. He walked toward his personal planetarium without putting on his pajamas. Deciding to sleep in his boxers, he entered his planetarium and curled into a ball.
Thinking about today's events, he knew he was loathed by almost the whole school body. The looks they have in their eyes tell him everything. It was like they were blaming him for all of the world's problems. Their stares made him feel small and weak.
He is thankful Umehara is there for him. He doesn't know for how long, but he's grateful for what he done. Umehara is like his second pair of eyes. He keeps watch from anyone Tachibana may encounter, especially if those encounters relate to the girls. Nonetheless, he wondered about his relationship with his best friend. Does Umehara help him out of pity or does he do it because he needs to? Is his friendship with him strained with only a thin string holding it together?
He shivered. It might be cold, but Tachibana's thoughts hit the very core of his heart. The girls he love… All but one stopped talking to him.
Kaoru can't stand the sight of him.
Rihoko avoids him completely.
Sae has a pained look whenever she sees him.
Nanasaki ignores his presence.
Morishima… Tachibana doesn't even know how she would react. He barely moves from his desk when he's at school, scared that their eyes will make him breakdown. As a result, he never sees her.
But she's the one girl he didn't want to hurt.
Morishima-senpai, don't worry. I won't betray your feelings.
Especially after saying that to her, how could he not feel ashamed of himself.
Holding his legs closer to his chest, he wanted to end it. He wanted to find some way to fix this problem. Closing his eyes tightly, he breathed deeply to calm himself down.
Tachibana was in his planetarium for a reason. He wanted to be at peace because this is the only safe place he could be in. Disconnected from the outside world, he could stare at the stars embedded in the surrounding walls. However, his thoughts kept coming back, as if they were mocking him for his decisions.
Miya… It was as if she died inside when she heard about all the things her beloved brother apparently done. During his suspension, she decided to confront him about the whole thing.
"Nii-nii…The rumors… Why? Why are you doing this?"
"What am I doing, Miya?"
"You know what you are doing!"
"What? Stealing panties? Publically showing my own porn stash? Having sex with other girls? Miya. What do you take me for?"
"Do you believe those rumors then?"
"I… I d-don't know."
"I DON'T KNOW!"
It was then that Tachibana's sanity broke down.
Not even his own sister believed in him anymore.
Out of all the people, he thought Miya – his own sister – would believe that all of those rumors were lies.
"Yes. All of them were true."
"I fucked girls. I loved stealing panties so I can sell them for money. In return, I use that money to buy pornography. Shit, those girls at school were great fucks too. Hehe… Haha! What do you think of me now, Miya?! Am I still your fucking Nii-nii?!"
He wondered why. Why was he doing this? Just because Miya was skeptical of all this… Did she deserve this? Did she actually deserve being yelled at? Did she really deserve her own brother's accumulated anger…?
"DO YOU THINK THAT CONFRONTING ME WILL CHANGE ANYTHING? WILL IT CHANGE ME?! NO!"
"What are you going to do, Miya? Add fuel to the fire? Make my reputation worse? I know that everyone at school despises me. Are you one of them too? Are you going to despise your own Nii-nii?"
He couldn't stop himself. The more he restrained himself; the more he wanted to let it all out.
"Haha. Yeah. You fucking hate me, huh? Go ahead. Call me the scum of the world. Call me a perverted bastard. I know you want to. Go. Haha. Haha! You fucking bi-"
"NII-NII STOP! JUST STOP IT!"
The sight of her tears made Tachibana's anger go away. All he felt was disgust.
"N-Nii-nii. Why? W-Why do you do this? This i-isn't right…"
"Get the fuck out."
"Get the FUCK OUT!"
Miya backed off and silently left his room, leaving him to his thoughts. He couldn't believe this was happening. This wasn't a dream. This was reality.
He stared at the closed door and felt the tears run down his face too. Did his anger actually do all this damage? Or… Did he purposely pushed Miya away so she didn't need to deal with the same experience he's dealing with at school? Whatever he wanted to do… He prayed for her happiness one last time.
Pushing away the horrid memory in the back of his head, his thoughts turned to Ayatsuji, the only girl who still believed in him. Unconsciously smiling at what happened today, he mentally thanked her for all she done for him. Out of everyone, she's the one who protected him from the onslaught of insults during class. During his suspension, he pondered whether or not their relationship was severed now. When he came back, he mentally tried to prepare himself for the worse when it came to Ayatsuji… Only to avoid her on his first day back.
He was relieved that she freely talked him like before all this happened. It was like nothing ever happened. Even though she is a sadistic demon, she is the hope spot Tachibana was searching for.
Smiling, Tachibana extended his legs and stretched. Laying his head on the flat surface, he fell asleep. With a single promise in mind, he spoke aloud.
"I'll be stronger."
This is the longest chapter I have ever wrote for any of my fics. I wonder why. I guess it's because I'm still fleshing out the whole plot and things.
Anyway, I apologize for any grammatical errors once again.
I hope you enjoyed this and LATER!