“Y/N! Oi! Y/N! Listen to me when I talk to you, dumbass!”
Your best friend smacked you on the head, almost sending the headphones placed on your ears flying. A few seconds of fleeting silence passed between you when you saw his muscles twitch in regret. You playfully rolled your eyes at him to signal it was fine and you could see him visibly relax. You glared at him as he just flicked a strand of white hair out of his face. Itsuki fixed the cap on his head as he turned to look at you with a wide smile gracing his lips. His red eyes sparkled as your e/c ones flashed at him while meeting gazes. You sighed, removed the headphones from your ears and placed them around your neck.
“Itsuki. You know I especially put these on just to block you out,” you said as you shoved your hands into your pocket.
“Ouch!” he cried. He placed a hand on his chest “Oh how you wound me!”
“Shut up,” you laughed, socking him in the shoulder.
‘This is fine. We’re fine.’
He chuckled as he opened the door to the convenience store. Immediately upon entrance, you trailed off and grabbed a bag of chips which you frequented every once in a while to save money. At the thought, you bitterly laughed under your breath. You just stared at your friend as he bought a stack of energy drinks.
“Don’t tell me,” you told him as he turned to face you, cans in hand. “Did you procrastinate on your homework again? You get those every day we come here. Those aren’t good for you...”
“Can’t help it when you’re a busy college student,” he chuckled while lifting a single can up and down.
“Busy my ass,” you snorted just as you began to make your way to the front. “You literally spent three days working on a painting for one of your side classes.”
“At least I did something!” he squawked as he began to walk after you.
“You literally drew a dick and called it ‘realistic art’,” you shot back.
“I drew the veins and everything!” he protested as if he had done nothing wrong.
You choked on your laughter, “That’s not the point!”
You noticed the clerk working the counter snort, but pretend to scroll his phone like every millenial nowadays. Grazing your eyes over him, your eyebrows creased a bit. Something about him seemed so familiar to you, but you could never find out what.
“You need anything else?” Itsuki asked, being preoccupied with some drink options despite wanting to purchase cans of energy drinks.
Your gaze scanned the aisle as you hesitantly grabbed a box of apple juice. Putting back on your headphones, you turned on your phone and scanned for anything else you needed. You decided that was all you needed as you turned back to look at Itsuki. You just stared at the mass amount of coffee bottles he was trying to hold. That and the energy drinks, you swore your friend was going to die to caffeination of some kind.
“Are you gonna drink all that tonight?” you asked while raising a brow.
“You know that all the water in my body is replaced by caffeine,” he told you as he put the bottles on the ground and looked around for a basket. “No, of course not. I’ll save some.”
You grabbed a basket and held it out to him, “Dump that shit in here. This better not go beyond my budget.”
“We’ll see,” he laughed, but then nodded and agreed.
You stopped, but then snagged some pocky and headed towards the register. The man at the register looked up at you, yeah something about him felt so familiar to you. He was there literally every day Itsuki and you were shopping there. You squinted to see his name tag, but it was concealed by his polka-dotted scarf.
‘An interesting touch,’ you thought as you scratched your head.
He had teal hair and eyes, pale skin, a dotted scarf, purple sweater, and a green beanie. You slid over the basket of items as he began to scan the items. You didn’t know how the clerk put up with your friend and your shenanigans. One time, Itsuki and you knocked over a stack of magazines.
“Oh crap!” you shouted as you rolled into the door.
You steadied your legs as the roller skates wobbled underneath your feet. Should you really have done this? Itsuki laughed as he opened the door and slid inside gracefully. The clerk looked up at the two of you as he then doubled over. You tripped over inside as you wobbled over to the nearest shelf to lean on it.
“Look, look!” you friend cried as he did a spin in the middle of the store. “The floors in here are perfect for roller skating.”
You slid the kendo sword off of your back, hesitant. “Hold on this is a bit hard…”
“I don’t understand why you lug that around with you everywhere,” he said while putting his hands on his hips and looking at the bag.
“Because I’m the club leader of the kendo club?” you told him in a questioning manner.
“Wanna hear a joke?” he asked, spinning around once again. “What’s the similarity between a human and a tree?”
You watched him do a pirouette while looking longingly at an ice cream bar in the freezer.
“What?” you asked while looking back at him.
“When you hit them with an axe, they both fall--!” he started to say but then he slammed into a spinning rack.
The rack fell over as the magazines scattered all over the ground. Itsuki followed as he landed on his bottom.
“--over…” Itsuki said as he stared at the fallen magazines.
“Oh shit,” you cursed while scanning the wreckage the other had caused.
‘This is awkward…’ you thought as you saw Itsuki laugh awkwardly.
“Aw, dammit, and it’s my favorite clerk that’s on duty!” Itsuki grumbled as he struggled to stand up.
The clerk had left the counter and came to look at the mess. He just stared at it blankly as you helped Itsuki up.
“Hey man,” Itsuki said, rubbing his bottom. “When does your shift end?”
“Right now,” the man replied.
You noted that the man looked older than the two of you. Probably in his twenties, while the two of you were in highschool.
“Fuck,” Itsuki hissed as he began to unstrap his roller skates. “The other guy is such a prick, I can’t stand him. Quick. We’ll clean this up.”
“But--” the man began to say.
“Please, sir,” you interrupted as you held out your hands. “We’ll take care of it. Don’t press charges.”
“I wasn’t,” the man said, shrugging.
Itsuki pulled the stand back up as you kicked off your roller skates and began to pick up the magazines. The clerk didn’t say anything, but he began to help you as well.
“Sorry, I made that awkward, didn’t I?”
...Yeah, the guy was pretty cool to be around.
‘I hope that never happens ever again,’ you thought, embarrassed while rubbing your head.
The man pointed at his ears, gesturing for you to remove your headphones, so you did.
“I recommend you grab this too,” the clerk said, sliding you a tube across the counter.
You picked it up and looked at it. Your eye bugged out and your stomach jumped up to your chest. Doing a double take, you almost choked. Your hands grew clammy for a second and you brushed the oncoming thought off.
“What the fuck?” you asked, voice pitching higher than usual. “This is lube .”
“Then what else are the condoms for?” he inquired, looking at the items you were paying for.
You peered into the basket to see a pack of condoms sitting inside. Whirling around, you looked at your friend.
“You’re gonna make condom water balloons again?” you asked while staring at him judgmentally as he put down his phone..
“Hey! That one bastard from my math class egged my car!” Itsuki protested while crossing his arms.
“That was only because you farted in his face as he bent down to pick up his books!” you argued back, making sure your voice didn’t sound too harsh.
“Hey, I fart when I need to and you need to respect that,” he told you, his voice full of sass. “My body, my choice.”
“ Oh wow ,” you replied drily as you tore your gaze away from him.
You turned back to the clerk to see him laughing quietly beneath his scarf. You smiled and bowed towards him apologetically. Did the two of you look that close?
“Sorry that this happens every week,” you apologized while shooting a gaze at Itsuki who just looked at his phone.
“It’s fine,” the cashier reassured, his voice smooth with a touch of raspiness. “It’s entertaining.”
The man took the lube back and threw it behind him as if nothing ever happened between you, him and the lube (out of context that sounded strange). You purchased the items and left the store while bidding the man farewell with a wave and a smile.
“Bye, mister! Hope to see you soon!” Itsuki shouted as he raced out of the store first.
You glanced at your wallet, but decided fuck it and placed a couple yen on the counter. “Bye!”
Following suit after the other, you caught up to Itsuki. Your friend hovered near you, then bumped against your shoulder.
“He’s so cool,” Itsuki said in awe, clasping his hands together with stars in his eyes.
“Yeah, he’s chill,” you said, poking your straw into the juice box.
“I should just drop out of college and be like him,” Itsuki sighed while glancing over his shoulder back to the store. “Drinking energy drinks and coffee everyday just isn’t doing it for me.”
You laughed, knowing it was a different story for you. “Go for it, I support your dreams.”
“Hey, didn’t you used to tell that to your underclassmen?” he asked with a large smile that made you want to hug him tight.
You grinned. “Ah, my favorite underclassmen.”
“Who’s your favorite?” Itsuki asked with a cheeky grin. “Joe is my favorite.”
You playfully slapped him on the shoulder. “I don’t play favorites.”
“Is it Sara?” he continued to say. “Or Ryoko? Maybe Joe?”
“Quit it,” you laughed while waving at him.
“Wanna visit them tomorrow?” he asked, looking at you straight in the eye.
It went quiet again and you thought about it.
The two of you began to walk down the street as you listened to Itsuki complain about all his classes.
“Honestly, the only decent teacher I have is Professor Mishima,” he sighed while deflating a bit. “He’s not even full time. He only comes by once in a while.”
“The one that everyone thinks is weird?” you asked while checking what song was playing on your playlist..
“He’s not weird!” Itsuki defended, wildly shaking his head to show how wrong you were. “He’s unique. Eccentric. Whimsical. Informative. And I consider that a compliment.”
“Oh yeah,” you said, “And there’s that one time he brought over that girl who made that fuss over some people talking bad about him right? What was her name?”
You recalled the big event where a couple of freshmen got into a fight with an unfamiliar girl you had never seen before. You feared for the girl lecturing the other students, glaring menacingly at her. Itsuki told you he would step in, but Professor Mishima saved the girl. Apparently they knew each other. You were fearful of the escalation of the situation, especially with Itsuki stepping in because something in your gut told you that an angry Itsuki was not a good one.
“Yeah, Professor talked about her once. Her name was… No?” Itsuki asked, “Nao? I think it was Nao. Nao… Ekokoro? Yeah, that’s it.”
You sipped your apple juice, “Wow, surprised you remember.”
“I know, right?” he asked, putting his hands behind his head. “She’s pretty nice though.”
“Hm,” you hummed.
“Anyway, about the trio of your favorite underclassmen,” Itsuki said with another sneaky smile. “Who do you think owns the most money?”
You stared at him and slightly shifted. His face fell and he began to speak, but you shook your head. “What does that have to do with anything?”
He stared at you and shrugged. “I don’t know. I just remembered the fact that our little Chidouin has a housekeeper. Huh.”
“That’s normal,” you told Itsuki, remembering all the books you had read over the years.
“Really now?” he asked.
“Like a babysitter,” you said for instance. You then looked at him. “How do you know this?”
“Ah, when we went over to her house one time, I saw someone with black hair,” Itsuki said, then gesturing wildly, “Like, super long. I asked Sara’s dad, and he said that it was their housekeeper.”
“Really? I’ve never seen someone with extremely long hair,” you told him while raising a skeptical brow.
“I’m positive I saw it!” he exclaimed..
“Uh huh,” you said, glancing at some sports posters, “Huh? People still play baseball”
“Baseball?” Itsuki asked, touching his cap and looking at a baseball poster, “I think so. Or players are pretty small. Have you seen other teams from different prefectures? They’ve got really big players. Even the ones on the bench are humongous.”
You laughed at Itsuki’s wild expressions.
“You’re hilarious,” you chuckled as you snatched off his signature hat.
A few days later, the two of you were in the park, watching over a child. Right now, you were babysitting a kid for some of the extra cash you needed to live on. Since he had less homework than usual, Itsuki decided to tag along and watch you take care of Gin.
“He’s a cute kid,” Itsuki commented with a small smile tugging at his lips.
You thought you heard him wrong as you pulled off your headphones. You gave him the strangest look as he smacked you. He patted you a few times where he hit you.
“Not in that way, you idiot!” he cried, his face slightly flushed. “It’s just adorable how he wears that cat hoodie thing and everything.”
You smiled brightly and stared tenderly at the boy looking up the tree. “I guess. Gin’s very existence is cute… Aren’t you tutoring that one girl today?”
“Me?” he asked while shaking his head. “No. I only tutor Kanna on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.”
‘Her name is Kanna, huh. Never knew.’
You watched as Gin began to play in the dirt.
“Hey Gin?” you called out which made the boy turn around to look back at you. “Careful! You might get your clothes dirty!”
“I’m okay, w...!” he shouted, not finishing his sentence due to Itsuki’s presence. “Uh, how long are we staying?”
“As long as you want,” you answered with a smile. “Maybe we can grab some ice cream after this?”
You smiled and leaned back. Itsuki looked at Gin and frowned.
“You told me about his dad, right?” Itsuki asked in a hushed whisper.
Your smiled faded and you sighed. “Yeah. I try to keep him out of the house as long as possible. His dad isn’t that much of a good influence.”
“Heh, I bet he calls you ‘Mom’,” Itsuki teased while pointing at you.
“Actually, he does,” you told him nonchalantly.
“Wait, seriously?” Itsuki asked.
“As a joke,” you said as you shrugged. Endearing. “But yeah, he does.”
“Hey Ibushi!” Itsuki shouted, grabbing Gin’s attention. You looked at your friend. “Can you come here for a second?!”
You watched as Gin started to come over. You nudged Itsuki’s foot with a confused expression, causing you two to look at each other in stagnant silence for a moment.
“What was that for?” you finally asked, watching as Gin approached.
“Wait…” Itsuki told you as Gin arrived.
“Yeah?” the brunette boy asked as he hid behind his cat plush.
“You call Y/N ‘Mom’, right?” Itsuki asked.
“Yeah…” Gin murmured, “Why?”
“You gonna call me ‘Dad’?” Itsuki continued with a smile.
Your stomach leapt and did flips and a spread of heat exploded on your face. You frowned and smacked him.
“Excuse me,” you spoke quietly to some girl with mascara. “Are you lost?”
You were trying to get to the police station because somebody landed themselves into some trouble again, but some girl kept staring at the building like it was God or something. You grew concerned and had to ask.
“Me?” she squeaked as you looked at all her jewelry and bangles dangling from her neck, wrists, and earrings as they clinked against each other every time she moved. “No, I’m not. Just… thinking.”
“Good, you always should be,” you told her, giving her a thumbs up.
“Huh?” she asked while watching you walk into the station.
“Nothing, I’m gonna go inside,” you blurted as you made your way in.
You went to the counter to see a man with glasses working at his computer and another woman at his side, black hair and red eyes. The two of them looked up at you as the noticed you had just walked in.
“I’m here to pay a bail for Itsuki Nakamura?” you informed the two, smiling awkwardly.
The woman looked at you and nodded. “This way.”
When you got there, you looked at your friend behind bars. You crossed your arms as a moment of silence passed again.
“What are you doing here?” you finally asked as you looked at Itsuki straight in the eyes. “Weren’t we babysitting Gin about an hour ago? Was this what the ‘dire situation’ was about? What did you do?”
“Um… vandalism?” he asked while shrugging like he didn’t know.
“We are literally in a police station,” you deadpanned. “You might get kicked out of college.”
“You worry more about that stuff even though you’re a year early on it. Well I guess I now can achieve my dream as a freelance job worker,” Itsuki joked while you facepalmed at his jokes.
“You’re lucky I’m not beating you up right now,” you said drily while tapping your foot restlessly.
‘And the fine…’
“It’s not my fault that that one guy picked a fight!” he shouted, gripping the bars of the cell. “He’s asking for it if he insults my friends!”
“I know you feel that way, but--”
“Is this the man you’re picking up?” the woman man asked you tersely, interrupting the conversation.
“Yep,” you replied, your personality flipping like a switch. “How much is the bail?”
“A couple hundred,” the woman replied, probably wanting for you to hurry things up.
You turned and pointed at your friend. “I’m beating you up after I pay this bail.”
He laughed at your threat and pointed to an empty spot next to him. “Careful, you might end up in jail too.”
“Itsuki Nakamura,” you grunted, wanting to throw the headphones on your neck at him. “Be careful of what you say.”
“So, can you pay?” the policeman asked, her face set in a frown at your antics.
“Yes, Ms... Sashahara?” you said, looking at her name tag.
The woman chuckled. “Yes?”
After signing your paperwork, Ms. Sashahara began to unlock the cell.
“Wait!” Itsuki shouted, waving his arms. “Before you open the cell, take a picture first.”
“That’s it,” you grumbled, rolling up the cuffs of your sleeves. “I wasn’t the club leader of the kendo club for nothing.”
Months passed by and Itsuki decided that you and him should officially go straight to Sonobeno after class ended.
“Ugh, never thought I would walk back into the same place I dreaded to go into everyday,” Itsuki commented with a fearful expression.
“You think this was worth leaving school early?” you asked.
“Yep,” Itsuki said with pure confidence, pounding his chest. “100 percent positive. I know you want to visit your precious underclassmen. And see how the club is doing.”
“Fine. You right,” you grumbled while shrugging.
He laughed as the two of you trudged towards the building.
“Think the teachers will lecture us?” you asked, looking around with a smile.
“Nah,” Itsuki said while pointing at himself and then you. “I’m twenty, you’re nineteen. What’s more cool is that you graduated a year early.”
You chuckled, “Sure. It’s important to me, but education isn’t my everything anymore.”
Itsuki stared at you and ruffled your head. You hid a smile from him as he rubbed your hair.
“Oi!” you cried.
“Come on,” he said, “We don’t have all day, y’know.”
You smiled, “Yeah.”
You felt a little empty inside.
The two of you headed into the school, sticking out because of the lack of uniform the two of you were wearing. It was after school, so it was around the time clubs were still ongoing. As the two of you strolled down the halls, you spotted a boy with wild brown hair.
“Is that my favorite underclassmen?” I asked while stretching open my arms.
The boy turned around as a smile broke across his face. “Y/N! Itsuki!”
He still wore the same untucked uniform with his multiple bracelets, a dog keychain (which you remembered you saw Ryoko win somewhere), and his signature clip.
“What are you two doing here?” Joe asked as he ran up to the two of you.
“Just wanted to visit the three of you guys,” you replied. “Where’s Sara? You’re usually with her.”
“Am not!” Joe protested while crossing his arms. “I’m actually waiting for Ryoko right now…”
Itsuki eagerly shoved you aside with a smile. “Ryoko? Why?”
“We’re, um… going somewhere,” Joe coughed.
“Just the two of you?”
“Ah… yeah?” Joe asked.
Itsuki whirled towards you with an outstretched hand, “Fork it over.”
“I thought it would be Sara!” you exclaimed, smiling.
“Huh?” Joe asked.
“Nothing,” you said, smiling, “You and Ryoko go have fun and--”
You turned to see Ryoko wearing the school uniform and looking at the three of you.
“‘Sup?” you asked as she ran down the hallway.
“I can’t believe it!” she exclaimed, “It’s been a while!”
“I see you and Tazuna here got a little somethin’ somethin’?” Itsuki asked in a questioning manner.
You elbowed the white haired boy.
“Ignore him,” you said, “It’s nice to see you two again! Anyway, we should probably go before we interrupt your guys’s thing, so do you know where Sara is?”
“Sara?” Ryoko asked, “In the club right now.”
“Thanks!” you exclaimed, “See you!”
Ryoko smiled, “You too!”
Itsuki and you started to walk up the familiar stairs to the old kendo club room. You were less excited about being back at school, but at least you could see your underclassmen again.
“...hey, you alright?” Itsuki asked as you saw him looking back at you, gazing carefully.
You nodded and muttered. “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”
He didn’t say anything as you two walked through the halls, not saying a word.
“Ah, remember when Sara got those Valentines?” you asked, trying to break the silence.
“My girl is such a charmer,” Itsuki added as he wiped a fake tear away from his eye.
You laughed, adjusting your headphone wire. You walked towards the familiar kendo club room and opened it.
“Hello?” you asked as you observed and saw some people inside practicing.
“Itsuki?! Y/N?!” a familiar voice asked from afar.
You saw the lopsided bangs and purple eyes of Sara Chidouin. She leapt towards you as you embraced her. You wrapped your arms tight around her and laughed. She turned and hugged Itsuki. He hugged her tightly and he released her.
“What are you two doing here?” she asked breathlessly as she gripped your sleeve.
“Visiting my favorite underclassmen, of course,” you said as if it was obvious.
She smiled. “You know you shouldn’t play favorites.”
“I can’t help it,” you teased with a smile.
‘Although, I don’t really enjoy being back in school…’
“Hey! I heard my boy Tazuna is going out with Ryoko?” Itsuki asked with a casual smile.
Sara’s eyes glinted with recognition as your hopes sank. During all the elementary, middle,and high school years the five of you all spent together, you always thought Sara and Joe made a cute pair. You constantly teased them about it.
“That’s right,” Sara said, nodding as she looked out at the windows where the sunlight poured into the hallways. “They’re going somewhere together right now.”
“What about you?” you asked, staring at the girl.
“Kendo club,” Sara replied while looking at you with a small smile.
You grinned. “I know I can trust the club with you.”
Sara laughed, her voice tickling you to the bone.
Itsuki and Sara began to engage themselves in a conversation while you went off to go explore the school. You reached a window which peered out into a courtyard with a tree, green and devoid of sakura petals. Placing your palm on the window, you sighed.
“I never knew Sara was so strong…” Itsuki groaned, rubbing his back. The two of you had given your goodbyes and had left as the sun began to set.
“I told you that you shouldn’t have jumped her,” you just told him while leaning back to see any visible bruises his shirt wasn’t covering.
“Still… I didn’t know she would flip me!” he winced as he reached behind him.
You stared in concern and looked around.
“Want me to run by the convenience store and grab some bandages or something?” you asked.
“Sure,” Itsuki said as he touched the reachable ends of his back. “That would be great. Wait, actually I’ll get them at home since we gotta go--”
You jumped up a bit and slapped the hat off his head. You caught it before it hit the ground and put it on.
“I’ll see you then,” you said quietly and began to turn around.
You started to run in the direction of the convenience store.
“You better give that back later!” Itsuki shouted in the distance which made a small smile slip onto your face.
You began to pick up the pace and left him in the dust. You laughed as you slipped on your headphones.
When you arrived at the convenience store, your gaze turned towards the counter. There was no one there.
“...hello?” you asked as you made your way around the store. “I guess… no one’s here.”
You grabbed a pack of bandages and walked towards the register.
‘I could just… leave some money here…’ you glanced towards the back room. ‘Should I go inside?’
You decided no, it was none of your business. You looked towards the back end of the shop and decided it would be a good idea to get some juice. You walked towards the back and tripped, landing on your knees.
‘Ow, fuckaroo!’ you thought as you turned to see what item you tripped over. No, it was a person.
In fact, in the middle of the store, you saw the figure of the teal haired clerk on the ground. You took off your headphones and put them on your neck.
“Are you okay?” you shouted as you ran towards his sprawled out body. You touched him and felt that he was limp.
Before you could flip him over, you felt something hit your head, hard. Pain exploded on the back of your head and you felt yourself fall forward, vision fading into pitch black.
“Fuck, what?” you mumbled as you blacked out and landed on the ground.
Your vision turned dark as you passed out.