Takao always booked out his Sundays with video games but this time he found himself walking towards the warm bookstore that he got so used to. His mother was suspicious when he asked for some extra money to go visit the same store for some more books. She reluctantly passed the money over and the moment he received it Takao dashed out of his house.
He was glad that there was no practice today. The Shuutoku team often organized practices on their days off, often resulting in dead tired players the next day. Takao usually survived overnight but it was a real pain getting up in the morning knowing that other people were just laying around doing nothing whilst he was training to death.
It was rather cold today too and the raven haired teen shivered a bit as some wind gushed over him. The moment 'Hino Books' came into view, he jogged in and took shelter in the perfectly warm store. He heard a greeting from one of the male employees and he smiled at them in reply. Takao then proceeded to wander off back to the manga section and found Haruyama already there stacking shelves.
The brunette hadn't noticed him there and focused completely on her task. He slid over to the other side and ran his hand across the bookshelf in search of something interesting to check out. Takao was able to recognize some familiar titles, some being famous series that had traveled overseas. Some of his teammates read a lot of shonen manga and would constantly bug him to read them but he always shrugged them off. It was kind of funny now that he was starting to use manga as a way to entertain himself.
Takao paused for a minute when he heard shuffling near him and turned towards the noise. Haruyama had picked up some empty boxes and walked the opposite way, missing the raven haired male totally. Takao returned to the shelf and peeled a book out of the shelf, humming to himself slightly disappointed that he wasn't able to crack up a conversation with the girl.
Though, he did have more opportunities in the future so he gave up and just went to reading his newly found graphic novel. Silver eyes scanned over the page, taking in the scenes and the characters playing in the story. From time to time he would glance up from the novel to observe the busy teen dashed back and forth from aisles. The brunette was busy restocking the shelves since the weekend was already finishing up.
It was only her job yet she looked so determined. Did she really enjoy working here that much? Was she some bookworm or something? In the past, no matter how hard he tried he could never get that into books as Haruyama looked.
"So, are you really into books?" Takao ran the line through his head, building different sentences to start up a conversation with the brunette teen. Despite himself, Takao found it hard to start up a conversation with her. She was probably going to think he was weird if he asked about whether or not she liked books, and he couldn't exactly reply with 'I noticed because I was watching you work.' without getting arrested.
Lost in his thoughts, he was almost caught by the girl herself staring. He ducked his head behind a book and prayed to the heavens that no one had noticed. Haruyama from what it looked like was only checking on some displays behind him and moved right afterwards. His hand moved to rest on his breast, feeling the beat of his heart accelerate with the thought of getting embarrassed in public. Sure, he was used to getting embarrassed in public at times but that usually had Midorima and a rickshaw involved so it was a different case.
Takao sighed in relief and pushed the book back into place before checking around if anyone saw him. His heart almost stopped as he noticed an older man around his late twenties wearing the same store apron as Haruyama looking at him was a strange expression. He quickly dashed out of the store before anyone else decided to judge him.
The damn store manager had caught him watching Haruyama.
The thought of bumping into that store manager today made him want to hide away in the corner and never come out. Just thinking about how he would explain the other day was destroying him internally. So when he came in he took baby steps and discreetly shot glances from side to side so he could avoid the manager if he was around. Thankfully, Takao hadn't found a single sign on the man and let a breath out that he didn't know he was holding. His sister better be thankful when she got her present since he came all the way there for the her.
"Shuu-san, the boxes have arrived for Sawamura-sensei's new books." Takao's ears took in the familiar voice and recognized it to be Haruyama's. Her voice was coming from a different section of the store from usual though Takao didn't mind it and made his way to the shonen manga department. He came pretty early so there weren't many customers around the large store. It was kind of peaceful compared to all the other times he came.
"Haruyama-san, I just got a message from the manager." Takao assumed that was an employee.
"Isn't he in a meeting?" She responded calmly.
"Ah, well it looks like he forgot to tell you about some members of Marukawa Shoten's marketing department will be visiting today to talk about some of the stock." The male employee said.
"Of course he'd wait until the last minute to tell me. Don't worry about it. If they come in just call me over." Takao was pleasantly shocked by how cool she was. Yeah, he was eavesdropping but there really was no helping it since there was no one else to help block it out. Haruyama from what he guessed was the same age as him yet the other older employees put so much trust in her. It somewhat reminded him of how it was on his basketball team. Being the point-guard was a stressful task which required the trust of all teammates both in game and out of it.
But the thing bothering him the most was the fact he was completely lost as to what kind of manga he sister liked. At times she would complain loudly over the fact that shoujo manga was to boring but at the same time she also found shonen manga repetitive. The only thing she didn't have any problems with was BL and there was no way Takao was going into that aisle.
That was when Haruyama appeared and before she could walk completely past him, Takao called out to her. "Excuse me!" He quickly got her attention. The girl whipped her head in his direction, brown pony tail following the movement in the air. He noticed her bright green eyes widen at surprise before relaxing on him. She had recognized him from before from what it seemed.
"Do you need any help?" She kindly asked him, her hands moving to her sides as she stepped closer to him in respect. "Ah, well, I was looking for a present for my little sister and I was wondering if you got any recommendations?" Takao was actually surprised he was able to say it so smoothly especially since the memory of him staring at her yesterday was constantly appearing in his mind.
Haruyama cocked her head to the side slightly and looked around the shop. "Do you know if she likes anything particular?" She asked as she motioned to follow her. Takao nodded, trailing behind her with his hands shoved into the pockets of his pants. "Well, she really isn't into really cheesy stories, I guess." He replied as easily as he could. If he had to explain the whole thing to the brunette she would surely get confused or give him some strange look just like her manager.
Nodding, the girl brought him into the shoujo manga department and walked all the way to the back, grabbing a manga volume from a rather small display. That was what it looked like to Takao since compared to the rest of the other extravagant displays for other manga, this one was more simple and bland with the calming color scheme of white and blue.
"It's not as popular as our other series but this one really did get me hooked," Haruyama passed the book over to him which he gladly took. "Ah, well, it may be a little too realistic depending on your sister's age. Do you mind if I ask how old she is?"
Takao shook his head with a small smile. He was happy that she was doing all this to help him out. "She's fourteen." He answered and earned a bright smile from the smaller teen. "Then this one will be totally fine!" Haruyama assured him as she gazed back at the manga display. "It's a real shame that it's not getting the attention it deserves." Takao heard her mutter quietly and found himself also turning to check out the display. Haruyama liked the manga that much? He spared a glance at the book in his hands and after some thought he returned his attention back to the worker next to him.
"Thanks for the help! I'll get this one, if you don't mind."
It wasn't an over exaggeration that his sister had practically exploded in praise and sparkles when he presented her with the manga volume that Haruyama had recommended to him. When he vaguely mentioned the assistance he received from the brunette, his younger sister had told him that he should at least thank her again because Haruyama had apparently told him to buy a 'masterpiece' for his sister.
That was why he was back in the same store, searching for the brunette again. When he found her, she was just fixing up some shelves and Takao quickly made his way too her. It was much easier to strike up a conversation with her now that they actually had something proper to talk about. Haruyama also noticed his presence and after a few seconds she recognized him, bowing her head in greeting as he did the same.
"Haruyama-san, thanks for the help the other day. My sister really went crazy over it!" Takao grinned, rubbing the back of his neck. The corner of her lips went up, "I'm glad it was okay, I was actually a bit worried that she might not like it."
"Nah, she even demanded for me to come here again to thank you again!" He laughed curtly as the girl chuckled in response. "Really, it was no problem at all." Haruyama said with her bright smile still on her face before an expression appeared on her face as if she remembered something. "Ah, since you're here, is there anything you need help with?" She asked politely, letting her hand fall back to her side from the shelf.
Takao was stuck in his thoughts for a bit before he remembered that he didn't have any other series to read. He was updated with the one he already had but he was longing for something else to read especially since he found himself constantly bored nowadays.
"Any shonen manga you know that's good?" The raven haired male asked her. Takao noticed her green eyes brighten a bit at the question. So, she really did work more in the shonen manga department then the rest of the store. It was kind of cool, her being a girl and having a passion about what girls in his school called 'non-stop fighting' manga.
He followed her to the middle of the aisle and she pulled out the first volume of what it looked to be a newly started manga series. The cover looked interesting enough, with a high school student floating and a ton of swords surrounding him. Haruyama had one of her cute smiles on again as she admired the book in her hands before turning to him, "Currently, this is my favorite manga at the moment!"
Wow. Favorite manga. Then it must be good if she was able to recommend a book that made his otaku sister dance around the house. Taking it from her hands, he turning it around and read the blurb. It was interesting; the protagonist was a descendant from a legendary heroic figure whom he inherited the powers of and was now forced to participate in a huge battle that was explained vaguely.
That was the moment Takao realized that he had been spending most of his money at the store. That was fine but it was the fact that it was manga that got him a bit concerned. What if people started to think if he was some hardcore otaku or something? Because he was totally not that. At all. That was his sister's job.
"Does it sound like something you'd like?" Haruyama's voice rang through his ears and Takao snapped out of his thoughts and met her enthusiastic gaze. It was as if all the things he had just been thinking of completely disappeared from his mind and he found himself grinning at the girl.
"Yeah, I'll be getting this!"
He was getting pulled into this and Haruyama wasn't even really doing anything.
The brunette chuckled and motioned for him to follow her to the register with her hand. "Then follow me… uh…"
Noticing the opportunity, Takao chuckled and helped her out.
"Takao Kazunari," he said and she nodded.
"Then, Takao-kun follow me." Haruyama completed her sentence and faced the front again. Takao had to be honest here. He really liked how her voice said his name. It was a calming and gentle to listen to.
Though, Takao really began to wonder if he was an idiot when he had just finished purchasing the volume and exited the building. Not only did he just use up more money on a manga volume again, but he also forgot to ask her for her full name.
"'Hino Books', huh?"
Takao almost spat out the water he was drinking when Miyaji decided to sit beside him during a break at practice. He somehow swallowed the substance but had to ease the damage on his body by repeatedly hitting his chest with his fist. Miyaji looked at him with suspicion but continued anyway, "Didn't think you were the book type."
The underclassman responded with a strained laugh, waving his hand in the air as if the whole thing was joke. "Miyaji-san, what are you talking about? I'm only going there to get manga!" He continued to laugh. He had no idea why he was getting all nervous about the whole thing but he had to make sure everything went smoothly or something troublesome was going to happen. Takao wasn't sure what but he just knew.
"Midorima told me you've been disappearing right at the end of practices to run to some bookstore." Miyaji called out the green haired teen and Takao groaned mentally. "And you've been a bit distracted lately. What, you got too into some manga or something?" Miyaji was looking straight ahead at the courts but Takao could hear the sadistic amusement in his tone.
"No way! It's just something I do to pass the time!" That was when Takao stood up and gave Miyaji a cheerful farewell before running off to the other side of the gym. Miyaji's eyes narrowed at the raven haired teen and went over to Midorima who was wiping his face with a towel.
"Oi, Midorima, he's your partner right? What the hell's up with him?"
"I'm not sure myself. All I know is that he keeps going to that bookstore nearby."
The upperclassman clicked his tongue in annoyance. It wasn't good that their point-guard was getting distracted, especially with inter-high happening soon.
"If no one knows then I'm gonna find out myself."
A/N: yo im back. i updated. yay takao. reviews are nice. and thanks for all the support and stuff! but miyaji tho