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Fireworks and Snow

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There wasn’t enough time to get adequate sleep the night before your first day, excitement causing you to stay awake a few hours too late. You checked yourself in the mirror and applied a light concealer under your eyes, masking the dark circles. Committing to making a good first impression was hard, you wish you didn’t have to wear any makeup today but you didn’t want to look like a zombie. The last school you went to had a uniform as well, and the deep blue and cream sailor uniform you wore now was quite cute, especially with your hair down. You paired the fall ensemble with black-footed tights and a beige taupe cardigan. You take a picture and send it to your family group chat consisting of you, your best friend, and your parents. 

Leaving your bedroom, you gently close the door behind and make your way down the stairs. You swing by the kitchen and grab your bento, stuffing it into the top of your school bag. You see your aunt and cousin eating in the dining room as you head towards the door. “I’m off Oba-chan, Megu-chan!” You wave. You appreciated your family for allowing you to stay with them.

“Be safe ....., let us know if you need anything!” Ms. Hanajima calls. 

Your cousin Megumi sends a polite nod, continuing to eat his breakfast.

Putting your loafers on, you use the shoehorn to slip them easier. You message Elle and your parents once more and tuck the phone into your sweater’s pocket, letting them know you're on to your first day of school. 

Stepping outside, you’re thankful for the welcoming fall breeze. You are more than excited to attend a new area; moving was a second language to you due to your parents working for the US military. Kaibara Municipal High School would be your tenth school to attend and Mom & Dad decided that it was fine for you to graduate while staying with your auntie. You were close to adulthood, they were fine with you being independent in your last few years of high school. And even with missing your best friend terribly so, you were thankful that your phone was updated enough to stay in touch. You felt a vibration in your pocket already, Elle probably messaging you back with how cute you looked. You giggle at the thought. 

You would have walked your first day with Saki, but you respected that she had her own friends and politely declined. You found it more productive to learn where the school was versus just being led since this won’t be the first time you walk to school as a party of one. 

You’re beyond excited to meet people, and you hope that everyone is friendly to the new girl. 

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You face the gates of Kaibara, naturally nervous at the aspect of being the transfer student again. You continue to grip and release the straps of your backpack as you walk through the entrance, and with each step, you remind yourself to exhale. You can feel the curious glances and wondering stares, but you make your way to the entrance of the building, searching for the locker that should have your name on it already.

You find the door that reads Hanajima with your first name and open it. You'll have to get used to changing shoes when going to school. Already noticing the quieting of conversation in the background, you exchange your brown loafers for the pair of white slippers and gently close the locker door. 

You glance at your phone as you hurriedly make your way through the halls, nervous and aware of everyone around you. Your lock screen kept you company, the picture of you, Elle, Mom & Dad all at the airport before you had to board your plane. You missed your immediate family already, good thing it's not your first time having to navigate around a new school. Get it together, you chide yourself. You walk up the stairs, recalling that the levels were lined up with the school years; being a junior, you make way to the third floor.

You pull your schedule out of your backpack, straining your eyes a little bit at the small print. “3-A, 3-A…” Your eyes follow the signs outside the classrooms. You stop in front of the designated doors, a lump forming in your throat. 

You pull open the sliding doors hesitantly and slowly, peeking inside as it’s halfway open. The other students don’t seem to notice you yet, you sneak past the front row and go unnoticed by the chattering teenagers. 

You look around the room and see if there are any desks with nothing hanging off of them. You see a desk that’s available second last towards the back in the center row, there’s no bag or books on top. You walk over, weaving between the conversations with small excuse me’s and a few head bows. You assess the desk and peek inside, as odd as it looked. Turning to the neighboring classmate, you ask if the desk is taken. 

Large, chocolate eyes filled with warmth stare deep into yours. Her smile makes you tingle and her cheery voice welcomes you. “Not at all! I’m happy to have someone on my right now, are you the new student?” She asks. 

You nod. “I am,” you tell her your name and her eyes brighten at your last name. “Hanajima .....,” You sit down in the vacant seat, facing her. 

“Oh my! You’re Hana-chan’s cousin!” She practically squeals. She takes your hands in hers, eyes gleaming and eager. “She told me about you! You have to tell me what America is like!” Before she continues, the brunette pulls away immediately embarrassed at her excitement. “I haven’t even told you my name!” She’s beet red, causing you to giggle. 

“What’s your name? I think it’s only fair since you know mine,” You grin. 

“Honda Tohru,” she beams. Her energy was blinding, you almost needed sunglasses talking to this girl. You recognized the name from how fondly Saki spoke of her best friend. 

“Ah yes, you’re practically a sister to Saki, aren’t you?” You begin, though interrupted by the bell. 

Everyone ends their conversations and begins shuffling to their seats. You look around and catch Saki as she enters the room with a taller blonde. You catch her eye and the corner of her mouth curls upward, that’s as close to a smile you’ll ever get from your cousin. 

The teacher walks through the front doors, setting her books down and scanning the room. The room naturally quiets down in her presence “We have a new student joining us today,” she begins, turning to write on the chalkboard. “If you don’t mind coming up to the front of the room to introduce yourself, that would help everyone learn your name.” Her eyes land on you, making your adrenaline spike just a bit.

You swallow. She had a point. You stand up from your desk, walking to the front of the room. You turn and your hands naturally fidget with the edges of your sleeves, nerves wracking your mind as you remember how to speak. All eyes were on you, and you were surprised you could formulate a sentence. 

“Hello everyone,” you tell them your name and bow. There were a few awes and whispers, everyone, registering the Hanajima name. “It is nice to meet you all, I hope we can all get along!” You smile, hoping your face is not so flush. 

“You can call me Mayuko-sensei,” The teacher addresses you. “Tell us about yourself.”

You ponder for a split second, looking over the room. Tohru was visibly excited in her seat, making you want to giggle again. Your eyes gaze over the blonde that walked in with Saki, she sat to Tohru’s left and had her feet on the desk. There are a few other faces that catch your attention, though there’s one silver set of hair in particular that has you stop to look. 

The boy’s soft features gazed into you, a polite smile settled on his face. You blink, your words becoming spaghetti in your mind the longer you stare into his platinum orbs. You weren’t sure if you had ever seen someone so delicate and masculine at the same time. 

“I have moved a lot since my parents are working overseas.” You begin, breaking eye contact with the gray-haired boy. “My hobbies are reading, writing, and listening to music, and I also love spending time with people.” You grin. 

Deep down, Saki was pleased to have you in her class. She had never been one to show too much outward expression of happiness, however, she was joyed to attend high school with her cousin. 

You had Yuki’s attention right away. He saw you talking to Tohru before the teacher walked in, intrigued at how easily you spoke with a complete stranger. It was refreshing to see someone new that was open to making friends, Yuki thought to himself. Catching you staring at him, he can’t help but smile in return. 

Tohru was ecstatic to meet a cousin of Hana-chan’s. She was familiar with Megumi-kun and their mother, but making new friends was always on her agenda and what better friend to start with than with her best friend’s cousin?

“And it looks like you’ve already found a seat next to Tohru-san,” Mayuko motions her head. “Everyone, make sure you welcome Hanajima-san, I know there will be two of you now,” She smiles, earning a few amused laughs from the class. 

You walk back to your desk, Tohru sending you an encouraging smile as you sit down. “You did great, Hanajima-san!” She whispers excitedly. 

“Thank you,” You blush. “You’re a sweet girl, Tohru.” Your comment makes her blush.

Saki smiles, seeing you and Tohru start to get along. She leans over to Uotani, whispering. “I’m glad they’re acquainted,”

Uotani nods her head, agreeing with the ravenette. Uotani only knew of you based on how Saki spoke of you, and her picture of you lined up with what she was seeing. As long as you were good to Tohru and as a family to Saki, she didn’t mind you at all. 

You turn away from Tohru to catch eyes with the gray-haired boy again, his gaze curious as he watched you talk. You dart your eyes away, not wanting to be caught staring yet again. 

“Alright everyone, let’s open up to page twenty, where we left off yesterday…” Mayuko begins, opening her teacher’s manuals. 

You look in your desk and find the designated textbook, you’re glad that the school you left had been a few chapters ahead of this section of math. You may even refer to your notebooks once you get home. You pull your supplies out of your backpack and stuff your desk, leaving a notebook, calculator, and some pencils on your desk. You were more than ready to dive in on your first day.