A/N: Here it is, as promised. The Halloween Special, featuring Yukihira Sōma and Kobayashi Rindō. Thank you so much for those of you who voted in the poll. I'm really sorry for posting this a day late…
Also, I need to thank a.k.a. Kusabi for being the bestest beta I could ever have hoped to get for this story. His insight and ideas were truly invaluable. Thank you so, so much.
Also, attention, I have a tumblr blog where I post stuff (ideas and questions and thoughts and more) about this account. So… Follow me? The name is "stygianhazardff"
Disclaimer: I do not own Shokugeki no Sōma. And every time I read this manga, I get hungry.
Breakfast at Tōtsuki's Polar Star Dormitory was always a chaotic situation. Actually, any meal there could easily become a chaotic situation. With all of the different types of students and specialties stocked in the kitchen, everyone rarely ever had the same thing twice per month. And with Fumio around, nothing but the best was ever made and served. Or else.
This morning, Shun and Zenji were in charge of making breakfast for everyone. It became somewhat of a tradition to have people work in pairs to make dishes together. It helped them test ideas out and work on their skills.
"So who here would like to have a Halloween Party at the Polar Star Dorms this year?" Satoshi asked exuberantly from his place at the end of the dining table.
Everybody else just stared at him in confusion after his unexpected outburst. The sun's rays were just beginning to stream in through the window, showering the unnaturally happy 7th Seat of Tōtsuki's Elite 10 with light, giving him an angelic-like presence. A presence that was almost completely nullified by the eerie smirk he was wearing on his face.
"T-that's that one western holiday, right?" Megumi asked hesitantly after no one else spoke up. "I think that it's the one with the costumes at the end of the month. It has become more popular in Japan just recently. Well, I suppose it depends on where you are in Japan though. Still, a lot of people I've heard talking about it seem to enjoy it."
"That is right, Tadokoro-chan!" Satoshi exclaimed, happy that someone had spoken up. He stood up suddenly, causing Daigo and Shōji to choke on their drinks from the view they got since at some point during the conversation Satoshi had changed into his nude apron without anyone noticing. They hit each other on their backs to get each other to stop, only to start punching each other once they stopped choking.
"Oh yeah, I've heard of that too." Yūki mentioned. "There was a really big event a couple of years ago in Tokyo. I wanted to go, but there was a big hunter's event then. It did seem like fun though. Wait, you want to do it here?"
"Mhm," Satoshi nodded at her. "That's correct. Well, we won't be able to do the trick-or-treating portion of it, unfortunately. We're the only people around for miles, after all. Still, we can at least all dress up and make some spooky memories together. Just think about it. All of us will be wearing costumes. We will play party games all night long together. And throughout the night, we will be trying to scare each other. It is truly the perfect Holiday!"
"Doesn't he already scare us enough by appearing above us unexpectedly in the ceiling nearly every morning to wake us up?" Sōma whispered to a shaky Megumi.
"M-mhm." Megumi barely nodded her head, recalling how Satoshi had once again woken her up in just such a manner that morning. Her following scream had then woken up everyone else who roomed around her.
"To make things even better, it'll be in-between the Autumn Leaf Viewing and Moon Banquet Festival." Satoshi smiled benevolently. "That means that none of you will be majorly busy on the 31st of October. It's even on a Saturday this year. That will leave us all of Sunday to recuperate."
Zenji looked down at his plate uneasily at that ominous last statement. Beside him, Shun idly played with his smoked food.
"I think it'll be fun," Ryōko said brightly before turning to look at Yūki and Megumi. "We could totally go shopping together for costumes! I know a great store we can check out over the weekend. Oh, or maybe we could even order online."
"I can think of a few ideas," Yūki said before turning to grin at Megumi. "I know the perfect one for you, Megumi-chan."
"H-huh?" Megumi asked before paling at the matching looks on Ryōko's and Yūki's faces. "You don't need to go to so much trouble on my account though. I-I'll be fine."
"Nope!" Yūki grabbed Megumi's hand and yanked her off of her chair. "Come on, Ryōko-chan! We're wasting time here."
Both girls ran out, pulling a flustered Megumi behind them. Megumi's protests could be heard for a while before the loud sound of a door slamming shut silenced it.
"Will we have to get costumes as well then, Isshiki-senpai?" Shun asked sullenly.
"But of course." Satoshi smiled at Shun.
"Damn…" Shun muttered.
"Now hold on there," Satoshi pointed towards a dour-looking Zenji. "Why don't you take Marui-kun with you? I'm sure it will be fun to shop with friends. The girls are doing it, so why not the boys too?"
"Uh, I'll just go and make my costume Isshiki-senpai." Daigo said as he hastily stood up.
"T-that's right!" Shōji parroted before also getting up and following right behind Daigo. "I'll just go up to my rooms and make my costume."
"Huh?!" Daigo stopped once he reached the door, causing Shōji to run into him. "What did you say, asshole?! Don't copy my genius idea!"
"What?!" Shōji butted his head against Daigo's. "What the Hell are you talking about? You're the one who's probably going to make a lamer costume than mine!"
"You heard me!"
"Try saying that to my face!"
This continued as they yelled at each other all the way up the stairs and until they reached their rooms.
"Hmm…" Sōma hummed thoughtfully once the noise had died down in the dining room.
"Is something the matter, Sōma-kun?" Satoshi asked worriedly.
"Not really," Sōma said after a moment in thought. "I was just wondering if there is special food reserved for Halloween, Isshiki-senpai."
"There are some," Satoshi said. "Although, many things are just color changed to be black and orange, which are the colors that characterize Halloween. Some regular foods are even made to look like scary things such as brains, body parts, or even skeletons."
"Scary, eh…?" Sōma murmured. "I suppose my new dish could qualify…"
"That would definitely be very scary indeed." Satoshi agreed with a happy smile.
"Alright then, I'm in!" Sōma said before standing up. "I'll just be going now then. The Autumn Leaf Viewing is in a few hours, I need to look up a few things beforehand."
"That's fine," Satoshi stood up and started walking towards the door. "I also have some things to prepare for before then with the rest of the Elite 10. I'll see you at the special picnic area, Sōma-kun. Oh, and be sure to go and check on Tadokoro-chan before you come. They may lose track of time while they're shopping online."
"Yeah, no problem." Sōma waved him goodbye before running upstairs to his room. Once he got closer, he stopped at the noises coming out of Megumi's room. He stared at Megumi's door questioningly. From within, he could hear the sound of Megumi overreacting to something. It was hard to tell without listening really hard, but it sort of sounded like something was too much like Mito-chan's taste or something like that. Shrugging, he decided to ignore it and walk into his room.
Once in, Sōma glanced around to make sure that everything was where he had left it. It looked like no one had come in and touched his latest bad cuisine creations. That was good. It would really suck if anything was missing. It wasn't something to really worry about though. No one would ever steal these dishes, not even a starving man on the verge of death. He sat down on his bed and grabbed a spare squid tentacle and stuck it in his mouth, lightly sucking on it before leaning back against the wall.
As it was, there wasn't much he had to do now. He just felt like being alone right until it was time to go to the Autumn Leaf Viewing. Despite what other people thought of him, he really did like to prepare for things. While his definition of preparation may be different from most, he still did it, even if it didn't seem like it. And now, he was finally going to meet the rest of the Elite 10. It was hard to imagine what they were going to be like. He had already seen two very different extremes in Nakiri Erina and Isshiki Satoshi. And, of course, there was that asshole Etsuya Eizan. Now there would be seven others to meet, and he couldn't help but wonder if any of them would have a Shokugeki with him. It would be a long shot, but he was known for being lucky. Just ask Shinomiya Kojirō.
After a minute of absentmindedly thinking about the potential meeting, he angrily bit down on the squid tentacle and swallowed it. He grabbed another and twirled it in his fingers while looking at it closely.
'What else can I stick you in?' Sōma thought as he felt the texture of the squid against his fingers. It was just so elastic. He had already tried it in a lot of different combinations. But there was always something missing. 'Maybe I should skin a snake and wrap the skin around the squid tentacle before frying it. Or maybe I should put something sticky like jelly on the squid first before wrapping it in the snake skin and frying it. Yeah… That sounds good. I can make it look like a finger too, so it'll be great for Halloween. No one will see it coming. Heh heh heh…'
Since he didn't have anything better to do until the Autumn Leaf Viewing, Sōma spent the rest of his free time until then writing down recipes to test out for the Polar Star Dorm's Halloween Party. Throughout the dormitory, everyone shuddered in perfect sync. They felt as if someone was making monstrously horrible food on top of their graves. They were nearly correct in their assumptions.
"Oi, Tadokoro!" Sōma called while knocking on the door of Megumi's room. After a few hours of brainstorming, he had figured that there wasn't much else he could do and it was probably a good time to start out heading to the area where he would finally meet all the members of Tōtsuki's illustrious Elite 10.
"C-coming!" Megumi yelled out.
Crashes and minor curses were heard from within the room for about a minute until eventually a tired and flustered looking Megumi opened the door. Behind her, Sōma could see a grinning Ryōko and a smug Yūki staring at Megumi's back. Meanwhile, Megumi was twiddling her fingers and staring resolutely at the ground, avoiding looking into his or their eyes.
"Eh?" Sōma tilted his head in confusion. "Is everything ok there, Tadokoro?"
Megumi blushed and nodded her head frantically. "U-uh huh! Everything is fine. Nothing is wrong at all! W-what brings you here, Sōma-kun?"
"I came to get you so we can head out to the Autumn Leaf Viewing together." Sōma answered.
"O-oh?" A blushing Megumi checked the clock before paling suddenly. "Oh no! We're going to be late! Let's go, Sōma-kun."
Megumi then rushed past Sōma and ran towards the stairs. Sōma stared after her quizzically before the sound of muffled laughter brought his attention to Ryōko and Yūki. They were both lying on Megumi's bed and were looking at Sōma in what appeared to be mirth. He leaned against the door frame and regarded them carefully.
"Is there something that I missed?" Sōma asked coolly after their laughter had subsided.
"Nope," Yūki grinned at him. "We were just making some jokes earlier. That's all. Right, Ryōko-chan?"
"That's right," Ryōko nodded in agreement. The twitch of her lips showed how true that statement probably was though. "Don't worry about what's going on here though, Sōma-kun. You should hurry and catch up with Megumi-chan. She has a head start on you. You don't want to be late to meet the Elite 10, right?"
"That's true," Sōma nodded and turned to leave before stopping and giving them a curious glance. "By the way, did you all pick your costumes for the party?"
"Yeah, they have all been ordered," Ryōko smirked at Sōma. "I bet that you'll like what Megumi-chan will be wearing."
"Huh?" Sōma scratched his head. "Well, I bet she'll look good in pretty much anything really."
"Do you really think that?" Yūki asked Sōma while trading a heavy look with Ryōko.
"I guess so." Sōma shrugged. It was pretty much true. Megumi tended to always put out a caring vibe anyways. It wouldn't matter what she wore. She would still be the kind and thoughtful Megumi no matter what. Even if she were to dress up like a horror monster or something like that, she wouldn't be scary at all. It was sort of refreshing.
"Hmmm…" Ryōko and Yūki shared another significant look with each other before smirking evilly and turning towards the open laptop between them before rapidly typing and clicking things on it, completely ignoring Sōma's existence. Taking this as his cue to leave, he slowly backed out of the room and shut the door softly. The sound of girly giggles could be heard in the room as he walked away. Shaking his head at the thought of what those two could be up to, he decided to just ignore it and catch up with Megumi. As he passed Zenji's room, he could hear Daigo and Shōji yelling at each other. He decided to ignore them too. That was nothing new at the Polar Star Dorms.
As Sōma neared the stairs he saw Megumi was standing there looking down in thought. She appeared to be less rattled than earlier, but there was still some leftover trepidation in her expression. Sōma was pretty sure that she would go back to worrying as they neared their destination though.
"You didn't have to bother waiting for me," Sōma said conversationally once he was closer to Megumi. "But thanks. Let's go meet our famous senpais."
"Y-yeah." Megumi said softly before dutifully following besides Sōma.
"Are you that nervous?" Sōma asked, pausing at the bottom of the stairs to turn and look back at Megumi. "It'll be fine. We're just going to go and say "hello" to them, right?"
"I doubt it will end up being that simple…" Megumi muttered gloomily.
"Huh?" Sōma couldn't understand why Megumi would think that at all.
"It's nothing." Megumi sighed before motioning that they should leave.
Sōma opened the door for Megumi and they both walked out together. Behind them, the doors slammed shut hard and they both winced. They hoped that Fumio wasn't around to hear that. If she was, they would both be in trouble. Well, mostly Sōma. With that in mind, Sōma quickly started to run towards his moped and jumped on before quickly speeding towards the meeting place. Megumi tried to keep up as well on her bike as best as she could. Luckily, the meeting place wasn't that far. Once they were close enough to see it, they both slowed down until they came to a stop a brief distance away. They left their bikes by a tree before walking quickly towards the others.
As they got closer they could see everyone sitting next to each other. There was a lot of tension in the air though. It was hard to tell what the exact reason was. However, it would be a safe bet to assume it was because of the seating arrangement. Alice was sitting and laughing at something she had said next to an annoyed Arato Hisako. Mimasaka Subaru had ended up next to Takumi Aldini at one end, and was now taunting him. Even worse, Kurokiba Ryō was glaring at an indifferent Hayama Akira at the other end of the row. Megumi seemed to wilt as she got closer. Megumi sullenly took her seat next to Erina and Sōma took his place in-between her and Takumi. Erina had her eyes closed and was expertly ignoring everything going on around her as everyone tried to get more comfortable. It was clear that the Elite 10 would be coming very soon now.
Takumi glanced over at Sōma as soon as he had sat down before focusing on his head. "What's wrong with your hair, Yukihira? A chef should be more concerned about their appearance!"
"Huh?" Sōma ran his fingers through his hair unsurely. "I guess you've got a point. Maybe I should… Well, I haven't really given much thought to it. I've been so focused on cooking, especially after passing my week with Master Shinomiya."
Megumi glanced over at hearing Sōma calling Shinomiya-senpai master before turning back to face the front once Takumi started another tirade. She sighed gloomily, knowing that this wouldn't stop anytime soon from prior experience.
Next to Megumi, Erina was glaring at Sōma unsurely.
"Shouldn't you be thanking him for the shoujo manga now, Erina-sama?" Hisako questioned after seeing Erina wasn't going to say anything. "It's better if you do this sort of thing sooner rather than later."
Alice laughed as Erina started shouting about how she had no reason to do that at all. She kept listening as Erina made excuses, to which Sōma just nodded along in agreement until he started asking why she was on their side of the picnic area. She stopped paying attention again and turned to check on Ryō, who was still glaring angrily at Akira. It didn't look like he would be stopping anytime soon.
Suddenly, a loud and heavy drum beat started filling the air. All at once, every one of them had stopped talking and stared in front of them in anticipation. Well, everyone except for Megumi. She suddenly shrunk down a bit. Slowly, off in the distance, they could make out nine people leisurely walking towards them. The tension rose as they grew closer. Finally, the Elite 10 had arrived.
'So they are the Elite 10,' Sōma thought, his eyes widening as they got close enough for him to get a good look at all of them. 'These guys are the cooks who stand at the top of Tōtsuki.'
Sōma's eyes were immediately drawn to the person confidently striding towards them in the front of the group. She was pretty tall and had red hair just a shade or two darker than his hair. One of her eyes was covered, but the other one was visible and glancing at each of them curiously. Sōma was struck by how cat-like it appeared. As if she had somehow sensed that he was appraising her, she focused her eye on him and grinned sharply, showing off her fanged teeth. Sōma reflexively smirked back in response, which earned him a bigger grin from her.
Immediately behind her was a giant of a student with a chullo hat on his head. It was odd, but it seemed to suit him in a strange way. He looked bored with the whole ordeal though, given his expression. It wasn't quite a disdained expression though; it was more like it was just too much of a hassle to be out and about expression that he had on.
Directly next to him was a green-haired girl with pink eyes and large glasses. Sōma couldn't be sure, but he could swear that he had seen her in the crowd during his Shokugeki with the 2nd years earlier. He wouldn't have noticed her had she not been one of the first people there. She had a decidedly neutral expression on her face. Although from certain angles it looked like a glare. The girl quickly glanced over the whole group before staring resolutely forward again. Apparently she had seen all that she had needed to.
Next to her was what appeared to be a young girl from the middle school section with green eyes and purple hair with part of it styled to look like cat ears. But that couldn't be right. Why would she be walking alongside the Elite 10? There had to be a reasonable explanation for it. The only reason had to be that she was a member, but that couldn't be right. There was no way the academy would allow a middle school student to become a member of the Elite 10. The only other distinguishable feature about her was the giant stuffed cat doll, also purple, that she was holding and the heavy stare she was giving all of the first years.
Behind her, Satoshi was smiling at Sōma and Megumi slightly once he was close enough before sitting down. And behind Satoshi, Etsuya was glaring at Sōma before glancing over at Subaru in disdain. But Sōma wasn't that focused on either of them right now. He was staring at the cat-eyed girl, Kobayashi Rindō, who had decided to sit in front of him. She stared back before slowly blinking. Or did she wink at him? It was hard to tell since her other eye was covered by her hair. Sōma blinked and looked away, deciding to check out the others. Almost immediately, the person sitting in front of Erina caught his attention. A pale, white-haired boy with icy looking eyes. He dressed even more carelessly than Sōma did, but it oddly seemed to suit him very well.
Next to the pale-haired guy sat two boys. The tall one kept his eyes closed and sat down quietly, putting his sword down next to him. Sōma wondered if the guy used it to cut his ingredients. That would honestly be really cool if he did. The other one, the short one, had dark brown hair and blonde bangs. He looked like he didn't really want to be here at all.
"Well now!" The short looking boy, Kuga Terunori, said immediately after sitting down in front of Takumi. "It seems like we've done enough just by showing up today. How about we just end things now and go, ok?"
All of the first years except for Erina stared at Terunori in confusion.
"It's like, a real drag having to do this event…" Terunori continued, sighing in mock distress. "I mean, isn't it just plain meaningless? Well? Don't you think so?"
"We have to do this," The girl with wide circular glasses, Kinokuni Nene, who was sitting in front of Subaru said slowly, as though the guy who had spoken up wouldn't understand otherwise. "We can't just leave things like this when the Director entrusted us to do this event."
Sōma glanced between the two of them as they started to argue. Then Etsuya chimed in with his thoughts and made things worse. Eventually, Satoshi spoke up and cause things to somehow become even worse. Apparently, none of the senpai could get along at all. The kept arguing for another minute or two, during which the rest of the Elite 10 just ignored them completely. It seemed to be a common thing among them, given how the shouting match didn't seem to distract any of them at all.
After a moment, Sōma decided to get in on the conversation. He raised his hand suddenly, regaining the attention of Rindō, who had spent the entire time eating the treats that had been placed in front of them.
"I would like to enter the Elite 10 right now," Sōma said, causing all of the noise to suddenly die down. "Will any one of you senpai maybe have a Shokugeki with me?"
In front of him, Rindō narrowed her eyes in thought while smiling slightly before glancing over at the Terunori. Around Sōma, the other first years just looked at him in varying degrees of shock. Megumi was, of course, completely traumatized that he had went through with asking the Elite 10 that question, although deep down she knew that it was to be expected of him.
"No." Every single one of the Elite 10 who had been arguing said at once.
Sōma narrowed his eyes as Terunori went on to explain why the Shokugeki wasn't feasible. At the point where Terunori had looked at the girl in front of him while mentioning the 3rd years, he looked at her in surprise. If she was a third year, that meant that she had to be one of the top 5 cooks at Tōtsuki. He wondered what rank she was, it had to be high.
Rindō smirked at him while slowly licking the frosting off of her fingers from the cake she had eaten. Sōma raised an eyebrow at her before looking back down at the mini table in-between them, finally noticing that both his and her cake was no longer there. And he hadn't had a bite out of it. He looked back up in slight irritation just to get a false apologetic smile in return.
"Well then…" The pale Elite 10 member in front of Erina, Tsukasa Eishi, said calmly as he picked up his cup. "That's enough, let's have some tea now."
"… Tadokoro," Sōma said quietly while staring at Eishi apprehensively. "Is that guy in front of Nakiri who I think he is…?"
"That depends on who you think he is," Rindō said suddenly, bringing Sōma's attention back to her immediately. "If you think that he's the 1st Seat of the Elite 10, you'd be right."
"Oh?" Sōma stared back at Eishi, seeing him in a new light. It was obvious that he was strong, and now he had the proof. He had never met a weak 1st Seat. Granted, he had only really met two people who were once the 1st Seat at Tōtsuki, but still. That was the pinnacle at the academy. "And what Seat are you then, senpai?"
"What Seat do you think I am?" Rindō asked in reply.
Sōma stared at her for a moment before replying. "Are you the 2nd Seat?"
"What gave it away?" Rindō asked with a smile.
"You seem like you're really strong." Sōma said with a careless shrug.
"You're right." Rindō smirked before grabbing her tea and taking a sip while looking back at Eishi, who had taken notice of Sōma and decided to speak up.
Eishi then went on to completely shatter Sōma's view of him within the span of just a minute. Out of all of the things that Eishi could have said after saying Sōma's name, complaining about him having a Shokugeki during the election was not what he was expecting. It wasn't even his fault. Both times, it was all because of Subaru that it had happened. Still, to hear that the 1st Seat had decided to work behind the scenes instead of watching over it because of stage fright was a bit disheartening.
Quietly, Rindō started snickering at Eishi continued to complain. Even now, after all these years, it was funny to hear. To think that such an amazing cook was so awkward and paranoid that even when he stood on top of Tōtsuki, he would still be incredibly shy. She stopped and looked back at Sōma, who alongside Takumi was just staring blankly at Eishi nonchalantly. She took another sip of her tea while listening to the conversations going on around her. At this point, there wasn't really much else to do. A fire had been lit, and soon the first years would try to go after them. It would be amusing, once it happened.
Sōma sighed sullenly before grabbing some cookies and stuffed one in his mouth. That had gone just about as well as he had expected. Well, he had been hoping that at least one of them would say yes. It was still a letdown though. A quiet giggle in front of him caused him to look back up at Rindō.
"Are you disappointed?" Rindō asked quietly, so she wouldn't be overheard by the other students. Now that the main issues were out of the way, everyone else was talking to each other a bit. The tension was still quite high, but it wasn't as bad as before. Still, the event would be ending in a few minutes, and she wanted to find out more about the transfer student that she'd been hearing so much about lately. He certainly lived up to the rumors; that much was obvious even though she was in his presence for only a short while. But now she wanted to know a bit more. What made him tick? Why was he a chef? What was he thinking right now?
"A little bit," Sōma admitted just as quietly with a rueful expression on his face. "I guess I need to become someone worth beating before any of you will accept my challenge."
"That's certainly one way," Rindō agreed. She looked Sōma up and down before glancing at the other first years. "There are other ways as well. I'm sure that you'll figure it out in time."
Sōma nodded in response. He figured there may have been other ways to go about it, but his way seemed the most practical and fun. He'd become stronger, and someone would fight him. It was a win-win for him no matter what happened. The only issue with that plan was that it would take time to accomplish. All of his food battles against his dad had taught him that becoming stronger would not be quick. After all, after challenging his dad since primary school, he had not even won one match. While the Elite 10 are probably not at his dad's level, they are probably a lot closer than he is. He just had to find out how big the difference is though. The battle he had with Satoshi in the dorms after his welcoming party couldn't count. After finding out more and more about the Elite 10, Sōma was now sure that Satoshi had to have been holding back. He didn't appear to have spent that much time on his dish, and the style of it was too simple to be Satoshi's specialty. It became even more evident after Sōma had faced off against Kojirō at Tōtsuki Resort. Kojirō's dish was just like Satoshi's. It was a dish that was made because it was deemed enough to be used against him, just a simple dish that was made exceptionally well. The reminder of that defeat left a bad taste in Sōma's mouth; he took a sip of his tea to try to distract himself while looking back at Rindō.
"Is everything alright, Sōma-kun?" Satoshi asked Sōma after noting his displeased expression. "Is the tea not to your liking? I can have them send for something better, if you like."
"It's alright, Isshiki-senpai," Sōma waved his suggestion off. "I was just thinking about the Halloween party that we're planning."
"Oh?" Satoshi beamed at Sōma. "That's wonderful to hear! And what exactly were you thinking about?"
"Uh," Sōma floundered for a second before coming up with something to say. "I was just wondering if it would just be us or if other people will show up."
"It's funny that you should mention that," Satoshi said sheepishly before gesturing to the rest of the Elite 10. "I had invited everyone here to come earlier, but they all said no."
"As if I have time for one of your parties, Isshiki." Terunori said in disgust.
"Same here," Etsuya scoffed while pulling out his phone to check for messages. "Time is money; I don't want to waste it on your youthful party, Isshiki. Sorry, but I have much better things to do with my time."
"Like what?" Terunori asked mockingly. "Staying all alone in your room and counting your money?"
"That's better than staying alone in my room and wishing I'd grow at least three feet taller." Etsuya retorted with a smirk.
"YOU ASSHOLE!" Terunori shot up and made to charge Etsuya. Luckily, Satoshi managed get in-between them and calm them both down somehow. At least, he did enough that they sat back down without resorting to fighting each other then and there.
"Well… This is going well." Takumi murmured to Sōma.
"Isn't it?" Sōma murmured back conspiratorially. "Look at us. We're learning things."
Takumi rolled his eyes. "So your dormitory is having a Halloween party, huh?"
"That's right," Sōma nodded. "Have you ever been to one before?"
"Not exactly," Takumi shrugged. "However, our restaurant does have certain specials on that day."
"Do you cook special dishes around Halloween at your restaurant?" Sōma asked, intrigued by how Italians celebrate that day.
"Something like that," Takumi said coolly. "Why do you ask, Yukihira?"
"I'm just curious," Sōma said with a grin. "Hey, maybe you should come to our party. You can bring Isami too, of course. The more the merrier, right?"
"I'll let him know," Takumi said with a slight smile. "Thank you for the invitation. We'll try to make it."
"Great!" Sōma grinned. "I have some special dishes I've thought up for just for that day. Maybe you can try them out."
"I'll bring some dishes as well then," Takumi proclaimed with fire in his eyes. "I'm sure that mine will taste better than yours, Yukihira!"
Megumi sighed internally again. She was pretty sure that Takumi's food would definitely taste better than Sōma's. That was mainly just because Sōma would probably want his food to taste bad. Takumi would be in for a rude awakening once he tasted one of Sōma's Top 10 Worst Foods. She would have to warn Takumi before it happened. It would look bad if someone got food poisoning and died at their dormitory. She didn't want the place to become haunted on top of everything else. Plus, Sōma would probably be expelled. That would be bad too.
"Bring it on." Sōma said confidently.
Megumi could only shake in worry at the thought of what could happen.
"Well now…" Terunori stretched and stood up. "This seems like it's gone on long enough. Let's go. See you later first years~~~"
With that, the rest of the Elite 10 stood up and started to leave. Rindō grabbed a few more snacks and winked at Sōma before getting up and following the rest. No one noticed that action except for Sōma, who quirked an eyebrow at her. After they left, the first years glared at their backs. It was obvious that the meeting had not gone the way the flyer had said it would go. It did, however, go exactly how the Dean had intended it to go though. In the future, they would clash with each other some way and somehow.
Sōma stared after them, noticing that Rindō looked back at him one last time and smiled before entering a waiting limo. Sōma looked away once the limo was out of sight and turned to check on Megumi.
"Well, that could have gone worse," Sōma said with a carefree grin. "What do you think? Are you ready to go?"
"I can't believe you're still here…" Megumi glared at him half-heartedly. "I was so scared that someone would make you risk your expulsion or worse."
"What could be worse than expulsion?" Sōma scratched his nose and sighed. "I was sort of hoping that would happen. But I guess not… Oh well, maybe next time."
"Grrr…" Megumi stared at him angrily. She wasn't at all amused by his response.
"I'm kidding, I'm kidding!" Sōma laughed as he got on his moped. "Now come on, let's ride back to the dorms. I have some dishes to try out, and I need a taste tester."
"O-oh. Y-yeah, I just remembered that I still have to, um, do s-something. M-maybe another time?" Megumi replied hesitantly, turning slightly green at the thought of being used to test Sōma's dishes again.
"Really?" Sōma sighed. "Oh well, you'll taste them at the party anyways."
'Not if I can help it…' Megumi thought determinedly as she followed behind Sōma to the dorms.
A feeling of being poked was the first thing Sōma felt. The second thing he felt was the sunlight hitting his face. Groaning at the wakeup call, he tried to turn away from the poking. It wouldn't stop though. Oddly, it seemed to be coming from directly above him. Slowly, he opened his eyes to see what it was.
Oh, it was a giant spider.
Sōma closed his eyes again for a brief moment before reality hit him and he yelled out in shock and fear. Punching the horrifying creature out of the way, he quickly fell off the bed and was about to make a mad dash for the door before the sound of chuckling caused him to freeze. He recognized that chuckle. Angrily, he glared up at the ceiling.
"Well good morning, Sōma-kun," Satoshi waved at him cheerfully before pulling the fake giant spider up. "Did you enjoy your trick?"
"No." Sōma deadpanned, glaring at the spider resentfully.
"Aw," Satoshi looked momentarily disheartened before brightening up instantly. "Well maybe you'll appreciate the next trick more."
"I doubt it," Sōma sat down in his chair and yawned before looking back at Satoshi sleepily. "Why did you wake me up so early anyways? Is there more garden work to do?"
"Oh no," Satoshi shook his head negatively. "I finished that all by myself earlier. This is for something far more important. We're going to finish decorating the dormitory today. Don't you remember? I could have sworn that I mentioned it last night during dinner."
Sōma thought back. Now that he thought about it, he may have heard something about that last night. Of course, they had all been decorating the dorms over the past few days in preparation for the party. Of course, with classes going on, they couldn't do much. Instead, the worked in small increments, taking care of the small rooms and hallways first before focusing on the entrance way and dining room. Now all that was left was the finishing touches and the food preparation, something that he couldn't wait to start. He had already bought a bunch of squids and snakes as well as sauces and creams to dip or cover them with. It would be the grossest thing he had ever made yet.
"You sure seem like you're ready," Satoshi nodded approvingly. "Well then, shall we get going? I'll meet you down there."
With that, the mysterious 7th Seat of Tōtsuki's Elite 10 quickly covered the hole in Sōma's ceiling and left.
Sōma stared after him in bemusement before shaking his head. He didn't want to know what Satoshi was thinking about. It was in his best interest to just go along with it. Quickly changing into his normal clothes, he made his way downstairs. As he neared the stairs, he could hear the normal hustle and bustle of the Polar Star Dormitory.
"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!"
"I'M HANGING THE BATS, YOU DUMBASS!"
"EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT SPIDERS ARE SCARIER THAN BATS, YOU DUMBASS!"
"WHO DO YOU THINK YOU'RE CALLING A DUMBASS?!"
"ARE YOU SERIOUSLY TOO DUMB TO FIGURE EVEN THAT YOU?"
'It seems like Aoki and Satō might be awake.' Sōma thought positively.
A loud crash was then heard throughout the dorms, following by a yelling Fumio.
'They're definitely awake.' Sōma smirked and made his way down the stairs. "Hey guys, did you get started without me?"
Daigo and Shōji both looked up at him from their place on the floor. They were surrounded on all sides by fake bats and spiders. Sōma glared at the spiders momentarily before turning his attention to his surroundings. It looked like the main hall was all done. The walls were decorated with scary masks and spider webs. The stairs were lined with fake blood and random body parts in-between the banisters. The doors had even been painted black; hopefully they wouldn't get into trouble for that. Sōma had no idea whose idea it was to do something like that. The outside of the dormitory had remained the same though. It was already spooky enough as is, especially with the crows already flocking around the place. There was no need for any changes with that.
"Hey, Yukihira!" Daigo waved, forgetting about Shōji for the moment. "Are you ready for tonight?"
"Oh yeah," Sōma smirked. "I got the food prepared."
Shōji paled, remembering the last time he had eaten Sōma's cooking.
"Well I can't wait to see what it looks like," Daigo laughed. "And how about your costume?"
"Costume?" Sōma's eyes widened. "Uh oh…"
"You do have a costume, don't you?" Shōji asked after Sōma froze.
"Ehehe," Sōma looked away. "I may have forgotten about that part."
"Whaaaaat?" Yūki yelled out in shock. "Are you serious? You need to go out and get a costume right now!"
"Eh?" Sōma looked around. There was still some work that needed to be done. "But I can go after I help you guys with decorating."
"Don't worry," Ryōko waved Sōma off from her place by the windows next to Yūki and Megumi. "We can finish this. You need a costume for tonight. So just go and get yours. Ibusaki-kun and Marui-kun had theirs delivered yesterday. I'm surprised that you didn't get yours sooner, Yukihira-kun."
"Yeah, well…" Sōma laughed awkwardly. "I kind of got distracted thinking about what do about the Moon Banquet Festival."
"Yeah, that would distract anyone," Yūki sighed at the reminder. "I still can't believe you issued a challenge to the 8th Seat like that. Seriously, what were you thinking?"
"I was thinking I would get a Shokugeki with him." Sōma replied.
"I honestly don't know why I bothered asking that…" Yūki turned back and started helping Ryōko with hanging some streamers.
"Speaking of Marui and Ibusaki…" Sōma stared around in confusion. "Where are they anyways? I would have thought they would be helping here too."
"They're working on the special effects." Megumi said.
"Special effects?" Sōma rose an eyebrow. "What special effects?"
"Oh you, the essentials for parties like this," Yūki stated. "Music, dry ice, colored lights, creepy sound effects, etc."
"Really?" Sōma grinned. "Maybe I should go help them."
"It's fine," Yūki walked over and started to push him towards the door. "Forget it, you've done enough. We can manage from here. Really. The important thing is that you're dressed for tonight, so go and get a costume!"
And with one final push, she pushed Sōma out the door and slammed it shut behind him.
"HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU TO STOP LETTING THE DOOR SLAM SHUT BEFORE YOU DO IT?! DO YOU WANT ME TO MAKE YOU INTO DOORSTOPS?!" Fumio yelled at them from the kitchen.
They all winced at the threat and yelled an apology back.
"Yūki-chan…" Ryōko waited a moment before continuing to make sure that Sōma was out of hearing range. "You just did that so he wouldn't make more weird things, didn't you?"
Yūki turned and grinned sheepishly, sticking her tongue out playfully and looking the other way. "I have no idea what you're talking about…"
"Thank you." Megumi said gratefully with a giant sigh of relief. Beside her, Shōji did the same. Their taste buds were saved.
Sōma slowly made his way towards the bus stop so he could catch a ride to the nearby town. He would have used his moped, but he didn't want to risk finding a lot of stuff to buy and being unable to carry it back. With that in mind, he pulled out his wallet to check on his finances. There wasn't as much as he'd like, but it would do. At the very least, he could get a decent costume. The only now question was what to get. There were a lot of options. No matter what, he needed to be original. Or at least, to be the only person dressed like that at the party. He probably should have asked the others what they were going as, but not knowing was also part of the fun. He would just be extra picky about his costume.
As Sōma kept walking, he took some time to look around. Nowadays at Tōtsuki, things were getting rushed around. It was to be expected, with the Moon Banquet Festival coming up. He needed to rush things too. After the party, he would have about a week to get ready to go head-to-head with Kuga Terunori, somewhat. And if he managed to beat him, he would be able to get a Shokugeki for the 8th Seat. That would put him above Erina and that asshole Etsuya. The only downside would be that he would be one below Satoshi, but that would be bearable. Besides, it wouldn't last long. Soon, he would make his way up to become the 1st Seat. Once he was there, he would see something that even his dad wasn't able to.
"You look like you're thinking hard, Yukihira Sōma." A voice said from next to him.
"Huh?!" Sōma jumped back and stared in shock at who he saw standing there.
A fanged smile greeted him as yellow eyes not unlike his own with exception to the slit pupils looked at him with mirth.
"Kobayashi-senpai?!" Sōma stared for a moment before quickly cooling down and laughed. "Wow, I didn't notice you at all."
"That's a rude thing to say to a girl," Rindō pouted and turned away. "And here I came out of my way to say hello to you."
"Did you really?" Sōma bowed his head slightly at his senpai. "I'm sorry, I was thinking about something."
"I figured as much," Rindō nodded in satisfaction. "So what were you thinking about exactly?"
Sōma quirked an eyebrow as the 2nd Seat walked beside him. He shrugged it off and decided to reply. "I was just thinking about the Moon Banquet Festival."
"Oh yeah," Rindō grinned at the reminder. "I saw your page in the Tōtsuki newspaper. That was really gutsy of you, putting your Chinese Stall right next to Kuga's Chinese Restaurant."
"It seemed like my best option," Sōma said. At Rindō's questioning look, he continued. "Well, at the training camp, the main reason I passed was thanks to Nakiri. I stole her customers with my dish. I'm planning on doing the same thing to Kuga-senpai."
"Oh?" Rindō chuckled. "That's a pretty cunning idea. I'm impressed."
"Really?" Sōma smiled. "Thanks, but that's only the beginning. I'm definitely going to surpass him in sales."
"So what are you doing now then?" Rindō asked, motioning in front of them. "Are you heading to town to get ingredients? Wouldn't it be better to have them delivered?"
"Ah, I'm kind of taking a break today." Sōma said nonchalantly.
"So close to the Moon Banquet Festival? But why?" Rindō asked. That was a bad move on Sōma's part. He needed every second if he would have even a small chance to surpass Terunori.
"Well the Polar Star Dorm's Halloween Party is tonight," Sōma explained. "And having a costume is mandatory."
"Oh right," Rindō recalled Satoshi bringing that up at the last meeting, right before the Autumn Leaf Viewing. Obviously, everyone had said no. Rindō was slightly interested, but there wasn't really much of a reason to go. Now, however, she took another look at Sōma. He kept talking, explaining the ideas and plans for tonight. Now, she may be a bit more interested in attending. "That is tonight, isn't it?"
"Huh?" Sōma stopped talking and looked back at her. "Yeah, it is. I was so busy with preparing for the Moon Banquet Festival that I forgot about my costume, so I'm heading down to get one now."
"That's pretty interesting," Rindō hummed thoughtfully, ideas flowing through her had at how she could turn this to her advantage. It shouldn't be too difficult, considering how alike Sōma was to Terunori. Still, it would be best to take things slow. "And no one else from the dorm is going with you, Yukihira Sōma? Maybe I should come with you to keep you company, if you don't mind."
"Ah," Sōma glanced at her before looking down in though. A second later he shrugged and turned to grin at her cheerfully. "Yeah, that sounds good to me. I wouldn't mind, Kobayashi-senpai."
"Awesome!" Rindō grabbed Sōma's hand. "Then let's hurry up!"
With that, Rindō quickened their pace and pulled Sōma behind her all the way to the bus stop. Luckily, in Rindō's case, no other student was around to see them. Of course, that was mainly because most of the other students had been expelled and the ones left on campus were busy preparing for the Moon Banquet Festival. It was an important event to everyone. All students participated. She would be an exception though this year, choosing instead to walk around and eat. As they neared the bus stop, her momentary energy boost quickly dissipated.
"Are you out of breath already?" Sōma asked as Rindō slowed down suddenly to take deep breaths.
"I don't like running," Rindō muttered before laughing. "I guess I shouldn't have done that."
"Well, at least we got here on time," Sōma pointed to the bus. "Let's hurry and get on."
Sōma then grabbed Rindō's hand without thinking and pulled her along to the bus. Rindō was about to complain before realizing that Sōma was squeezing her hand. She stared down at their hands as they got on the bus and only looked away once Sōma finally let go. Although after that she kept her hand clenched by her side and looked away from Sōma.
Sōma looked around for a place to seat. Luckily for them, the whole bus was empty. That was a first. It made sense though; this was the last weekend before the Moon Banquet Festival would start. He looked back at Rindō to get her opinion only to look at her in confusion since she wouldn't look at him.
"Are you ok, Kobayashi-senpai?" Sōma asked.
"Huh?!" Rindō looked at him for an instant before looking back towards the end of the bus. "I'm fine! Come on, let's take a seat."
With that, she all but ran towards the end of the bus and took the seat on the right.
"Ok then." Sōma said with a shrug. He slowly followed after her before sitting on the seat to the left.
The mood suddenly got awkward with Sōma staring idly out of the window and Rindō continuing to take glances at her hand and Sōma. The mood stayed the same until they got into the city limits. Once there, Sōma turned to look at Rindō only for their eyes to meet. Rindō narrowed her eyes at him in thought while Sōma's eyes widened in curiosity. After a moment, Sōma broke the silence first.
"Are you ok?" Sōma asked.
Rindō stared back at him before sighing. "Yeah, I'm fine. I was just thinking about something."
"Oh?" Sōma leaned against the side of the bus and focused on Rindō. "What were you thinking about exactly?"
"Just girl stuff." Rindō said noncommittally.
"I guess I can't really help with that then." Sōma laughed uneasily.
"Maybe…" Rindō murmured, still in thought about earlier.
"Huh?" Sōma asked.
"What costume are you thinking about getting?" Rindō said instead, trying to change the subject.
"I have no idea," Sōma shrugged. He knew she had said something else, but he also knew that it was best not to press the issue. Leaving with Megumi, Ryōko, and Yūki had taught him a lot about girls; mainly about what to avoid when around them. He was sure that a 3rd year would be even more volatile than them. "I guess something creepy would suit me just fine."
"Those are some low expectations," Rindō responded. "How about you get something sexy instead?"
"That's definitely not my style." Sōma laughed.
"I don't know…" Rindō looked him up and down slowly with a smirk. "I think you could pull it off, with some help."
Sōma gulped. That wasn't something he was expecting. He wanted to reply, but the predatory gleam in Rindō's eyes stopped him. It was unlike any other stare he had ever received. With Erina, it was a look of contempt. With Megumi, it was a stare of awe and sometimes distrust depending on what dish he gave her to try. With most other girls, it was a stare of annoyance. The only exception to the last one was Mayumi. All of them aside, he had the feeling like he was lying on a plate when Rindō stared at him like that.
"W-we'll see?" Sōma stammered out in reply.
Rindō looked into his eyes and blinked slowly before smiling. "Great, then I'll help you pick your costume."
"Wait what?" Sōma asked before the bus lurched to a halt.
Rindō got up and started to make her way to the front of the bus without replying.
For a brief instant, as he stared at her back, Sōma had the sudden thought to stay on the bus and go back to Tōtsuki. That thought lasted for less than a second before he decided to just get up and go with it. This ride had gone a lot better than his ride with Erina. So the rest of the day should be just as easy. After all, shopping with the 2nd Seat couldn't possibly be that bad.
'I was wrong,' Sōma thought contritely as they continued their trek through the mall. 'I was so, so very wrong.'
Sōma should have known things would be bad when Rindō had stated that they would be going to the food court first. Sōma had agreed easily because he had skipped breakfast. With Yūki pushing him out of the house to go shopping, he hadn't realized that he had missed breakfast and was hungry until Rindō mentioned getting food.
Now, while that was simple enough and no cause for concern, what happened next should have been a big hint. When they weren't even 10 steps into the mall, Rindō decided to go straight to a pretzel shop that was near the entrance. He figured that she just needed a snack, so he didn't say anything. She ordered two pretzels, and for a foolish second, he had thought that one was meant for him. That vanished as she managed to finish the both of them within a minute. He could only gape at how quickly she had managed to do it. Then, when they moved on, she stopped again at a cookie shop 3 stores down. Then she ordered several types of cookies and a milk shake. With that, they kept going until the came across a candy store. And, well, you get the idea.
The most amazing thing about the situation was that Rindō was always able to finish what she got at the last shop before they reached the new shop. It was hard to believe she could pack away so much food into herself. Sōma half wondered if that was her specialty as an Elite 10 member. It wasn't impossible, to be sure. He wisely decided not to voice that thought out loud. After some time, Rindō smiled and turned to look at Sōma.
"Hey! We're finally at the food court." Rindō cheered.
"Great…" Sōma responded tiredly. They hadn't even entered a clothing store and already he was worn out because of Rindō's love for eating and enthusiasm.
"Huh?" Rindō cocked her head and stared at Sōma. "What's wrong with you? Are you tired already?"
"No," Sōma said, trying to hide how tired he was. "I'm just starving."
"You should have gotten something at some of the shops we visited." Rindō shook her head in disappointment at Sōma for not doing so.
"Sorry Kobayashi-senpai," Sōma rolled his eyes. "I'll be sure to remember and do that next time."
"Oh?" Rindō smirked at Sōma. "Next time, huh?"
Sōma froze. He hadn't meant to say that. It was a bit late to take it back now. But as he thought about it, it wasn't such a bad thing. Well, it wasn't the worst thing in the world. After thinking about it, he nodded. "Well, if you want to I suppose."
"You really…" Rindō trailed off before laughing gently. "Ok, yeah. We can go out and eat again another time."
"Sweet!" Sōma exclaimed before realizing what was wrong with that statement. "Wait! We can't eat! I came here to get my costume. And I still need to go back to help cook."
"Hmm," Rindō looked around before noticing store specializing in costumes. She pointed it out to Sōma. "How about we check out there? Then we can get some food to go and leave. In the meantime…"
She handed him her hot dog, which she had recently gotten.
"Here, have this for now." Rindō said.
"W-wait," Sōma pushed it back gently to make sure it didn't accidently fall. "It's ok! I can buy something."
"I insist." Rindō glared at him.
"W-well then," Sōma hesitantly took it and smiled awkwardly. "Itadakimasu…"
Sōma took a bite out of the hot dog, moaning softly at how good it tasted. It was one of the best hot dogs he had ever eaten.
"Not bad, right?" Rindō asked smugly. "It's not the best hot dog in the world, but it's above average. The guy who made it is a Tōtsuki dropout."
"Really?" Sōma turned back to look at the guy. He would have never guessed.
"Yeah, I was a bit surprised too when I first found out. Still, he did all right. At least he's happy." Rindō said with a nod in the vendor's direction.
"I see," Sōma took another bite. "Well that's good."
"Right?" Rindō started to walk faster towards the Halloween store. "Now let's go find your costume, Yukihira Sōma."
"Right." Sōma said before shoving the rest of the hot dog in his mouth, making quick work of it before following Rindō into the store.
Once inside, they both looked around in curiosity. It was a lot bigger than they had expected. The walls and racks were lined with lots of different costumes. Most of them were very recognizable. Some, however, were impossible to place. The atmosphere was really nice though. There was some weird music in the background, most likely foreign. Kids were running down the aisles and were playing around with fake weapons and props. Sōma eyed some of the fake bloody knives in interest. Rindō took notice of what he was looking at and grinned.
"Do you think we could cook with those?" Rindō asked rhetorically.
"Nah," Sōma grinned. "We could definitely scare some people though. Imagine trying to use those during a Shokugeki."
"That would be amazing." Rindō laughed at the imagery that invoked. She could think of a few students who would get queasy from that. Eishi, especially, would likely have a heart attack if someone replaced his knives with these fake Halloween props. Now that was a fun idea.
"Let's see," Sōma muttered, breaking her out of thoughts. "It seems like there are some good costumes in the back."
Sōma started to walk over with Rindō following behind. Around them, some people glanced over. Rindō took notice, realizing that the other people had noticed their uniforms. She looked away from them, deciding it really didn't matter. These people didn't know her place at Tōtsuki, and they didn't care enough to ask them about Tōtsuki. The local town was obviously well off, with Tōtsuki right next door. The townspeople practically worshipped the students. Luckily, right now it seemed they were more interested in finding costumes than talking to Tōtsuki students.
Meanwhile, Sōma kept looking around the store for some good costumes. So far, none had really caught his eye. A few costumes looked pretty interesting, but they were for kids unfortunately. A bit further into the store were the more adult costumes.
Rindō took notice of some costumes and blushed slightly before walking away from them. There was no way that she would ever wear those.
"Do you see anything that you like?" Sōma asked after walking around the whole store once.
"A few things," Rindō shrugged reservedly before looking back towards a few she had taken notice of. "How about you?"
"Nothing really popped out for me." Sōma sighed in disappointment.
"Well then, I guess I really do have to pick your costume." Rindō grinned at the thought of some things she could make Sōma try out.
Sōma shuddered, but decided to allow it since he couldn't think of any other option. "That's fine; go ahead please."
"Follow me," Rindō demanded, pulling him roughly towards the fitting room. She pushed him inside and ran to get some costumes before tossing them in to him. "Try these far starters."
"For starters?" Sōma echoed incredulously. Nonetheless, he went with it and put on the first costume.
Rindō tapped her foot impatiently outside of the fitting room as she waited for Sōma to come out. After a minute, he did and Rindō covered her mouth in a vain attempt to cover her laughter.
Sōma was dressed as a clown; a costume that she thought fit him very well. It did look hilarious at least. The only thing that was detracting from it was the deadpan look on his face. He stared at her, completely unamused by her costume choice.
"D-don't talk," Rindō chortled before throwing him a new costume. "J-just go b-back and try that one o-on. Hahaha."
Sōma went back into the fitting room and quickly changed into the new costume. It looked like a familiar karate gi.
Rindō stroked her chin thoughtfully as Sōma stepped out uncertainly. "Street Fighter wasn't the way to go. Not enough muscle mass. Try this one."
Sōma grabbed the new costume and obediently went back into the changing room, recognizing a lost cause when he saw one. This one looked like a suit, although it came with a spiky black wig and glasses.
"Huh, so that was a lawyer outfit?" Rindō asked aloud. She approved of the glasses, at least. They made Sōma look a bit more stylish. Still, she preferred his eyes unobstructed. She tossed him another. "Now try this one on."
With one last glare, Sōma went back in and changed. This costume was at least more intimidating than the last, so he wouldn't mind it as much. He pulled the cape across his shoulders and checked the mirror before going back outside.
"How does this one look?" Sōma asked.
"Hm?" Rindō turned to check before stopping. This one was definitely a good choice. She had given him a vampire outfit, which while it may not fit his personality, it certainly fit his build. The cape wrapped around him ominously and the dark clothing contrasted nicely with his hair and eyes. It also came with a pendant with a golden-yellow chain and a fake ruby that matched his hair. The fake fangs were a bit much, but it wasn't a deal breaker in his case. With the calm look on his face, he pulled off the Vampire Lord vibe easily. All in all, it was definitely a good choice. "You look really good, Yukihira Sōma."
"Do you think so?" Sōma smiled. He went back in the changing room to take off the costume. Once he was done, he came out and put everything back in the bag to go and check out. "Alright then, let's go with this one and call it a day then."
"Nuh uh!" Rindō shook her head. "Now I need to get my costume."
"What?" Sōma paused and looked back at her in surprise.
"Well, Isshiki-kun did invite all of the Elite 10 to the party," Rindō explained with a devious smile. "He didn't retract the invitation, so I'll be able to go. That's ok, isn't it?"
"Well, I guess it's fine." Sōma said indifferently. "I'm sure the others would love to see you there."
"Oh?" Rindō walked up to him. "And what about you, Yukihira Sōma? Would you love to see me there?"
"Of course," Sōma said without any thought. "Why wouldn't I?"
"Right," Rindō replied, flustered with how quickly he had responded. "U-uh, thanks."
Sōma sighed and sat down on a chair near the fitting rooms. "I'll wait here for you to try on your costumes then."
"Ok!" Rindō said, a bit more enthusiastically. "I'll be right back."
With that, she quickly entered the fitting rooms. Sōma could briefly make out some choice words and noises coming from the room Rindō had entered. Right when he was about to call to check on her, the door opened and Sōma stopped thinking.
Apparently, vampires were in this year. Rindō had chosen to dress as one too. But where Sōma's costume was sophisticated and intriguing, hers was dangerous and sexy. The outfit wrapped around her form perfectly as she leaned against the door of the fitting room. It was a really simple design, but on her it was hard to believe. With her natural sharp fangs and piercing eyes, he would have thought that she was a vampire before even putting the costume on. Now, however, it was really apparent just how perfect the costume was for her. Once again, Sōma had the feeling that she would be likely to eat him if he made the wrong move.
"What do you think?" Rindō asked. She had wanted to tease him with a few outfits, but she didn't really feel like doing it right then with strangers around. Plus, they would be wasting time. The party would be starting soon enough, and she really wanted to relax before then.
"Um…" Sōma continued to stare in surprise. That outfit was, well, too much. He couldn't think of a proper response. He had to say something though. Anything. "Wow."
Smooth, Yukihira Sōma. Very smooth.
"Heh," Rindō stretched a bit, making sure that Sōma got an eyeful. Given the sound he just made and how quickly he turned away, he did. "Thanks. I'll be buying this then."
"Great," Sōma breathed out. They were done. That was good news. "Let's get going then."
Sōma got up and moved to the register, leaving Rindō behind to change.
"Hmph." Rindō huffed out while staring at Sōma's back. She smirked a second later though, realizing that Sōma had at least recognized her as a woman. That was progress, at least. From what she had seen during the Autumn Leaf Viewing, he wasn't really close with any other girls in his year or anywhere else. Tidbits of conversations that she had overheard from Erina and Satoshi only solidified this. As far as she could tell, she was in the lead when it came to getting noticed by Yukihira Sōma. "That's good enough, for now." Rindō then closed the door to the changing room and changed back into her school outfit.
The trip back to Tōtsuki wasn't as awkward as the trip to the city. By now, they had gotten a bit more comfortable with each other. Right now, they were both sitting together in the back seat with their purchases on the ground between them. The only issue was that Sōma would sometimes blush whenever he looked at the bag containing Rindō's costume. On the other side, Rindō would keep poking or touching Sōma to tease him.
"Do you have to keep doing that?" Sōma complained after being poked once again by a happy Rindō.
"I can't help it," Rindō laughed and poked him again. "You're my cute little kōhai. It's my job to annoy you. I do the same thing to Kuga all the time."
"Really?" Sōma felt a bit of pity for the short 2nd year. Just a bit.
"Really," Rindō nodded deviously. "He's really easy to tease, especially when you mention his height. Then he explodes. Well, you already saw that during the Autumn Leaf Viewing."
"Heh, yeah…" Sōma chuckled at the reminder of what happened when Etsuya had called Terunori a midget. That had been pretty amusing. "I get the point."
"Good," Rindō then decided to up the ante and lean onto Sōma's shoulder.
Sōma froze instantly, being completely new to this territory. "Um, Kobayashi-senpai?"
"Do you have to keep calling me that?" Rindō asked sadly. She was faking, but Sōma probably couldn't tell that.
"W-what?" Sōma asked. That was another new thing. No one had used that tone with him before either.
"You could call me Rindō, you know." Rindō said, leaning further against him, angling her head so that her hair would cover the growing smirk on her face.
"How about Rindō-senpai?" Sōma compromised, pushing himself back against the side of the bus to get some more room. Unfortunately, Rindō kept a firm hold on him and ended up more on top of him. As it was, she was practically straddling him. Luckily, there still weren't any other students on the bus so no one would notice. Unluckily, there still weren't any other students on the bus so no one would try to get her to stop.
Rindō paused her teasing for a moment to give that some thought. It would be ok, for now. After all, it's not like anyone else called her that either. All of the other kōhai would avoid her except for those in the Elite 10. "That's fine."
She then got back up and smiled brightly at Sōma. He smiled back hesitantly and sighed in relief once she was off of him. That was way too close for him, literally.
"Thanks again, by the way." Rindō said, motioning towards the bag containing her costume.
"Hm?" Sōma looked down but then quickly looked away, the image of Rindō in that costume was still burned into his mind. "Don't mention it."
"But you didn't have to buy my costume for me." Rindō countered.
"I just thought it was the fair thing to do," Sōma said after realizing that Rindō might not drop it. It wasn't that big of a deal to Sōma. His spare money was for ingredients, and as it was, he wouldn't be able to cook anything else because this trip took so long. He may as well put the money to good use. Having Rindō around was a nice change of pace for him. Plus, his dad used to tell him that if he was ever out with a girl, he should be paying. He would have done the same with the food, but she bought so much that he wouldn't have been able to. As it was, buying her that costume was the least that he could do for her. "You came out with me today, so I should buy you something at least."
Rindō's face reddened slightly at his remark. "I went out with you? So then… This was a da-?"
"Yeah," Sōma nodded. "I had fun going out with you. We should hang out again sometime again soon."
"Right," Rindō resisted the urge to facepalm. "That's what you meant."
"What else would I mean?" Sōma asked in confusion.
"Oh, nothing." Rindō shrugged and turned back to face the front.
Sōma was about to ask again, but then the bus stopped.
"It looks like we're here," Rindō hopped up and started walking to the exit. "We should hurry and get to the Polar Star Dormitory. They should be starting soon, right?"
"Yeah," Sōma stood up and stretched before following her. "We should have plenty of time."
"We should still hurry up though, don't you think?" Rindō asked.
"I guess," Sōma took a deep breath, enjoying the fresh autumn air. "It's such a nice day out though. How about we take our time anyways?"
Rindō paused and looked around. Autumn at Tōtsuki was always a fun time of year, and not only just because of the Autumn Election. The main reason the Moon Banquet Festival was held during this time of month was because it was the epitome of autumn. It had the perfect scenery, temperature, and smell. The air was fresh and the falling leaves only added to the beauty of the campus. It was a great day to take a walk. And, the company was good too.
"Yeah," Rindō agreed. "You're right. It's too good of a day to be in a hurry."
"Right?" Sōma moved up to walk at the same pace as her. "So I have to ask, since you're here…"
"What?" Rindō asked, curious as to what he would ask her. Based on the time that they had spent together thus for, it was plain to see that she shouldn't get her hopes up for something romantic or the like. That would be too convenient.
"Will you have a Shokugeki with me, Rindō-senpai?" Sōma asked.
She was glad that she didn't get her hopes up.
"No thanks." Rindō said, slightly apologetically.
"Damn," Sōma sighed. "It was worth a shot."
"You should focus on the 2nd years for now I think, Yukihira Sōma." Rindō laughed at his crestfallen expression.
"But I'm more interested in the 2nd Seat." Sōma replied cheekily.
Rindō grinned, showing off her pointy fangs again. She couldn't help but warm up at that interesting response. It wasn't meant like how it could have been meant unfortunately, but it was close enough to affect her.
"Flatterer." Rindō poked him roughly.
"Ouch," Sōma winced and backed away. "I'll bruise from those you know."
"Oh, don't be such a baby," Rindō reprimanded him. "If you're going to become 1st Seat, you should be able to handle at least this much. Eishi does."
"Eh," Sōma said blandly. "It seems to me like you bully all of the guys in the Elite 10."
"Just about." Rindō smiled and nodded in agreement.
'Note to self, join the Elite 10 after Rindō-senpai graduates.' Sōma thought to himself.
"So this is the famous Polar Star Dormitory?" Rindō asked.
Sōma stopped and looked up. Sure enough, they had arrived back home. It was funny, but in just a few months, he now considered this place a home just as much as his own restaurant. Even if it was creepy and loud and filled with weird people, it's perfect. He smiled at the sight of it.
"Yeah, we're here." Sōma grabbed Rindō's hand and started to pull her along to the front door.
This time, Rindō focused on the dorm so she wouldn't get flustered by Sōma holding her hand again. It was clear that he thought nothing of it, but to her, it was an entirely new sensation. Being the 2nd Seat, she had no time to really be around boys unless it was for a class or meeting. And now here comes Sōma, nonchalantly doing whatever he likes without feeling awkward at all.
'Well not always,' Rindō thought, recalling his face when he saw her in her costume. 'He's not completely oblivious.'
She decided to test it by slowly rubbing her thumb over the back of his hand.
Sōma stopped and looked down at their joined hands before his face started to slowly turn red. "Uh, Rindō-senpai. Are you ok?"
"I'm fine," Rindō then maneuvered her fingers so they were interlocked with Sōma's. "Are you ok, Sōma-kun?"
"Y-yeah," Sōma managed to smile back at her. "Just, you know…"
The door in front of them started to open, and quicker than lightning, they both let go of each other and jumped back before the door could fully open.
"Well well," Satoshi smiled cheerfully at the two of them. "Now isn't this a surprise? What brings you here today, Rindō-senpai? I could have sworn that you said you were too busy to come to our Halloween party today."
"Does it matter?" Rindō asked challengingly, narrowing her eyes at Satoshi. She didn't expect that Satoshi would be against her coming here. It didn't matter if he did. If it came down to it, she wouldn't be against having a Shokugeki with him to let her stay.
"Oh no, of course not Rindō-senpai," Satoshi laughed and moved away to allow them both enterance into the dorms. "I was just surprised to see the two of you arriving here together. Did something happen?"
Two voices answered Satoshi at the same time, making him raise an eyebrow at the conflicting answers. "I see…"
"So I'm going to go and get changed," Rindō said, making her way past Satoshi. "Where can I do it?"
"It's up the stairs, 3rd door on the left." Satoshi replied.
"Thanks." Rindō nodded and shot a quick glance at Sōma warningly before running up the stairs.
After she was out of sight, Satoshi turned back to look at Sōma. "So how did the two of you end up coming here together?"
"Um," Sōma recalled the last look Rindō had sent him before she had left. He was pretty sure that that look was meant as a warning to not say too much. It was probably in his best interest to go with it. "We happened to meet at the mall; she helped me choose my costume."
There, that wasn't too bad.
"That still doesn't explain why the two of you showed up back at the dorm together." Satoshi said patiently.
"W-well," Sōma tried to think of something fast. "What happened was-"
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
Luckily, a timely knock on the door interrupted the questioning.
"Oh hey!" Sōma turned around and grabbed the handle of the door. "Will you look at that? Someone's here. I'll just open the door for them."
With a flourish, he pulled open the door.
"He-" Sōma cut himself off, staring at the newcomers.
Standing at the entrance to the dorms were two plumbers. One was wearing a long-sleeved red shirt with while gloves and blue overalls while the other one was wearing the exact same thing except with a green long-sleeved shirt on.
"Sorry, but our toilets are fine." Sōma said with a straight face.
"Damn it, Yukihira!" Takumi yelled. "We're not actual plumbers!"
"Calm down, nii-chan," Isami said evenly. "He's just kidding around."
"Yeah, calm down Takumi," Sōma chuckled. "Your princess is in another castle anyway."
"Hmph," Takumi pushed his way past Sōma into the dorms. "Well whatever. The main reason I came to this party tonight is to show that I can make better Halloween food than you. So don't forget that, Yukihira."
"So why are you Mario anyway, Isami?" Sōma asked, completely ignoring what Takumi had just said. "I thought that the older brother was Mario. And yet…"
"We had a card game last week to see who would be who," Isami explained with a smile. "In the end, I won. So tonight, I'm player one."
"Really?" Sōma nodded approvingly. "Well congrats then, Isami."
"Thank you." Isami said.
"Don't ignore me when I'm challenging you!" Takumi yelled, furious that his archenemy and his younger brother were ignoring him together.
"Relax Takumi-kun," Satoshi said, chiming in finally. "Thank you for coming tonight and bringing food. It's appreciated. I'll take if off of your hands and take it to the kitchen while you get situated, ok?"
"Huh?" Takumi turned and quickly grew flustered when he realized that he had inadvertently ignored the 7th Seat this whole time. "O-oh no! It's no problem at all, Isshiki-senpai. Isami and I can take it there ourselves. It's fine. Let's go, Isami."
"Right." Isami followed behind a retreating Isami as he made a beeline for the kitchen.
"So it looks like we'll have 3 extra people tonight." Sōma said idly after they had left.
"Not quite," Satoshi smiled happily. "Mito is already here and is getting dressed with the rest of the girls."
"Really?" Sōma said, surprised. He didn't expect that Tōtsuki's meat master would be showing up as well.
"Indeed." Satoshi sighed happily. "What a wondrous day, for us dormmates and fellow classmates to be able to come together and feast together. It's a momentous occasion."
"Right." Sōma said simply, being unable to keep up with Satoshi's happiness.
"That aside," Satoshi leveled a stare at Sōma. "You still didn't answer my earlier question, Sōma-kun."
"What question was that exactly?" Rindō asked.
At once, they both turned and looked up to see a slightly out of breath Rindō looking down at them. She had changed back into the costume, and Sōma once again had trouble focusing on her. Satoshi, on the other hand, had no such problems.
"My, you look beautiful Rindō-senpai," Satoshi smiled benevolently before turning to Sōma. "Don't you agree, Sōma-kun?"
Sōma nodded, not trusting himself to talk without his voice cracking.
"Thanks," Rindō said simply to Satoshi. She smiled a bit at Sōma response however. It looks like she did make a good call in coming to the party. Hopefully the rest of the night would be just as entertaining. "So what's the plan for tonight exactly, Satoshi-kun?"
"We're planning on all hanging out and talking for a while. Some people made snacks while others made dinner. We'll have some games going on as well throughout the night. You're free to join whichever one you feel like."
"I'll see what ones you have," Rindō said. "For now, I think I'll take a look around the dormitory."
"By all means," Satoshi opened his arms invitingly. "My home is your home, right? Feel free to explore as much as you like until the party officially starts."
"How about giving me a tour, Sōma-kun?" Rindō asked innocently.
"Sure." Sōma said before turning apologetically towards Satoshi. "Sorry, can we talk later? I also have to change into my costume too."
"Of course," Satoshi laughed. "I'm sure that I'll get my answer sooner or later anyways, whether or not you tell me yourself."
"I-I see." Sōma said, with minor unease at that ambiguous response. Even though he was used to such a thing from his senpai, it always sort of freaked him out how Satoshi could figure out things so easily. He had to remember, there was a good reason that Satoshi was ranked above Etsuya in the Elite 10 Council.
"You shouldn't keep a girl waiting, you know." Rindō sang out after Sōma paused from whatever Satoshi had whispered to him. She narrowed her eyes at Satoshi, wondering what was going through his head. As it was, after the 3rd years left, the 6th Seat would be elevated to the 1st Seat, making Satoshi next year's 2nd Seat. He definitely couldn't be underestimated.
"I'm coming, Rindō-senpai." Sōma called back before sprinting up the steps. He turned around to say goodbye to Satoshi only to look around in confusion. While he was running up the stairs, Satoshi had disappeared. He turned to Rindō. "Did you see where Isshiki-senpai went?"
"What?" Rindō looked back down at the door and blinked in shock. In the second that she had looked away from the door, Satoshi had vanished. "I don't know. That's kind of weird."
"Classic Isshiki-senpai," Sōma sighed. "Oh well, come on. I'll give you the tour."
Rindō stepped up to Sōma and looped her arm around his. "Let's do this."
"R-right," Sōma sweatdropped and started to walk towards the end of the hall. "So this is where Ibusaki smokes food when he isn't supposed to…"
"Hurry up you guys!" Alice complained, urging everyone behind her as she pulled on her skirt to get it into the best possible position. It had been a pain finding the exact dress for her Alice in Wonderland costume, but in the end she had finally found a designer that could recreate the exact dress that was in the movie.
"Huh?!" Erina shouted back. "Don't tell us to hurry up when you're the reason we're late. Why are we even going to a Halloween party anyways? I told you that I was busy."
"Oh?" Alice gasped in mock shock. "You were? But I could have sworn that I had moved all of your appointments for the day."
"That was you, Alice?!" Erina fought not to scream at her meddlesome cousin.
"Well you needed a day off. And Halloween is the perfect time to do it. Wouldn't you agree, Hishoko?" Alice asked.
"I suppose a day off every now and then isn't bad," Hisako conceded while frowning at Alice. "And how many times do I have to tell you that my name is Hisako, not Hishoko!"
"But Hishoko is so much cuter, Hishoko," Alice taunted with a smirk. "Wouldn't you agree, Ryō-kun?"
"Ah." Ryō nodded to simply avoid having to go into details and saying more. He adjusted his ears and tail in irritation. Since Alice decided to dress as Alice from Alice in Wonderland, she had decided that Ryō had to then dress as the Cheshire Cat in order to match her. Now he had no choice but to dress in purple and blue all night long. It wouldn't have been that bad of a costume had he not been forced to look like a cat. He didn't like cats.
Alice smirked wider at Hisako, ignoring Ryō's mental dilemma.
"His opinion doesn't count!" Hisako proclaimed. "He's your aide, he would agree with anything you say."
"I wish," Alice rolled her eyes. "He's not that good of a dog."
"Sorry, Ojou-sama." Ryō said blandly.
"There it is!" Alice pointed excitedly towards the Polar Star Dormitory. "Huh, they really went all out with decorating it just for today."
Sadly, none of them realized that the dorm had always looked like that. Halloween was just the one time of year that it could be considered normal. Every other day of the year, it was severely out of place, especially in Tōtsuki. They wouldn't realize this until the next time they would have to come here, and who know when that would ever be.
"It looks really spooky," Alice stared some more before grinning. "It's the perfect place for a Halloween party. See? It was totally worth coming."
"You're saying that just by looking at the place where it's being held," Erina said dryly. "That's a horrible way to judge something."
"Oh, like you're one to talk, Ms. God's Tongue." Alice shot back.
"Alice…!" Erina glowered at Alice.
"Come on!" Alice ran up to the door and rang the doorbell a few times.
"I'm sorry that I couldn't stop her, Erina-sama." Hisako said apologetically to Erina, bowing slightly in shame. She was forced to reach up and grab her hat to keep it from falling off. Since costumes were apparently mandatory at the Halloween party, she had decided to dress as a white mage. It was a simple design, with the cloth as white as snow. There were red accents around the ends of the sleeves and a cross symbol across her back. The outfit was completed with a shining staff in her hand that she wished she could use to knock some sense into Alice with.
"It's ok, Hisako," Erina sighed. "It is Alice, after all. Nothing you could have done would have been able to stop her."
Erina adjusted the tiara on her head, and Hisako instantly became enthralled by her grace. Erina had, of course, dressed as a princess for the Halloween party. With her stature, it was only natural. The dress she wore was very regal. It was a shimmering golden with silver accents. She even wore golden bracelets and a necklace to further enhance her appearance as a princess. It went without saying that she could easily be mistaken for a real princess with this costume.
All of their attention was immediately drawn the door as it eerily, slowly creaked open. The inside of the manor-styled dormitory was entirely pitch black. Gently, mist started to flow out of the open doorway. Alice took a hesitant step back at this development and quickly motioned for Ryō to move up and stand in front of her as a meat shield. He complied with a bored look on his face. Although as he drew closer towards the door, he focused more on the interior, taking a few sniffs before snorting in derision.
"Come on out," Ryō called out, smelling the scent of someone right behind the door. While his nose wasn't nearly as good as Akira's, it was more than enough to make out the scent of Japanese cooking coming from right behind the door. "I know that you're there, Isshiki-senpai."
"As expected of the 92nd generation's Mad Dog," Satoshi chuckled before making his appearance. "I welcome you all to the Polar Star Dormitory's First Annual Halloween Party. Please, come on in."
"Thanks," Alice smiled deviously and quickly skipped past Ryō into the dormitory.
Ryō slowly followed after her, pausing briefly to nod at Satoshi before continuing on.
"Are you two going to come in?" Satoshi asked Erina and Hisako after they hadn't moved.
They both exchanged a look before walking towards the door.
"S-so…" Hisako started before trailing off. She took a moment to think of how she wanted to phrase her question before asking Satoshi. "U-um, what exactly are you, Isshiki-senpai?"
"Me?" Satoshi pointed to himself unnecessarily. "I'm the Invisible Man."
"But we can see you?" Erina questioned, not understand what the point of such a costume was.
Satoshi was wearing a suit, which was a very rare sight indeed. Even the Elite 10 had rarely seen him wear a suit. But that wasn't the issue though. The issue was that he had covered seemingly every inch of his skin with bandages. To make it even stranger, Satoshi was wearing very dark sunglasses over where his eyes were supposed to be. All in all, it was a costume that neither of them had seen or heard of before.
"Fuhuhu," Satoshi shook his head ruefully. "It's ok if you've never heard of it. I just thought it would be amusing to dress like this. I usually wear so little, so today I decided to wear a lot."
"Well that makes sense," Hisako said, glancing at Erina to see her reaction. Neither of them decided to ask what Satoshi meant when he had said that he usually wore so little. It wasn't any of their business. "In any case, thank you for allowing the both of us to enter your dormitory and be at your Halloween party."
"It's no problem at all, Hisako-chan," Satoshi said, closing the door behind them carefully. Unlike the other students, he always remembered to close the door carefully. "Sōma spoke quite highly of you after the two of you spent a week working together during the Stagiaire Period. It only made sense for you to come as well."
"R-really?" Hisako blushed a color that matched her hair perfectly. "That was kind of him. It was mainly thanks to him that we both passed though."
Beside her, Erina scowled. That was another truth she would have to pry out of Sōma whenever she got a chance.
"You'll see him around somewhere," Satoshi said, gesturing around. "He's with Rindō-senpai right now."
"W-what?" Erina asked, completely shocked with this latest development. "Rindō-senpai is here as well?"
"Mhm," Satoshi said with a smile. "I was shocked as well. Apparently she had met Sōma at the mall and during that time decided to come take place in out Halloween Party."
Erina could kind of see that happening. Rindō was another free spirit in the council. She could recall Rindō saying earlier in the day that she wanted to get something to eat immediately after an Elite 10 meeting. Honestly, for an Elite 10 member, it was really shocking to see how much Rindō preferred to eat food rather than make food.
"Well don't let me keep you," Satoshi pointed out a few tables covered with various types of dishes. "Feel free to have as much food as you like."
With that said, he immediately walked off and made his way over to two girls dressed as what appeared to be a zombified Little Red Riding Hood and a sexy girl version of the Big Bad Wolf. Hisako instantly recognized these figures as Yūki and Ryōko respectively. Beside them were a lumberjack and Professor Layton, Shun and Zenji respectively. They appeared to be finishing setting up the table in preparation for the main event. In the background, foreign music was playing. It seemed familiar, so it was likely that it was music that was made just for this day.
A crash from above the ceiling brought Erina's and Hisako's attention to it.
"What was that?" Erina asked Hisako.
Hisako could only shrug helplessly in response. She was just as lost as Erina.
"That would be Daigo and Shōji, Erina-sama," A timid voice spoke from behind them. "I apologize for their behavior."
Turning, they were both greeted to the sight of a blushing Tadokoro Megumi dressed as a Zashiki-warashi. She wore a red kimono with an intricate golden obi wrapped around her waist. In her hands was a jack-o-lantern with an image of a happy face carved into it.
Hisako stared at it questionably. "Isn't that supposed to be a scary face?"
"Huh?" Megumi looked down at her jack-o-lantern and blushed. "W-well it is… But I thought that that would be mean, so I carved something nicer instead…"
"You made that?" Erina questioned. "It's very well made, Tadokoro-san."
"R-really?" Megumi asked, shocked at the praise before becoming a stuttering mess. "T-thank you v-very much, E-Erina-sama."
"So what were they fighting over?" Hisako asked, pointing towards the ceiling.
"O-oh," Megumi looked up, remembering why she had talked to them in the first place. "Well, you see, those two dressed up as characters from an anime called Fairy Tail, and now they're fighting over who dressed up better. And, of course, who is the stronger one. Daigo says that it's Natsu while Shōji says that it's Gray. Now the fight has spilled into Marui-kun's room."
"I-I see." Hisako sweatdropped at the pointlessness of the fight. 'Is it really that important?'
"What about Yukihira Soma?" Erina questioned coldly. "Where is he right now?"
"I think that he and Kobayashi-senpai were touring the dorms," Megumi replied after a moment of thought. "They should have been here by now… I wonder what they're up to."
"You sure have lot of interesting things here at the Polar Star Dormitory," Rindō said, clearly impressed with what Sōma had shown her. The dormitory was completely self-sustaining. It didn't need help from Tōtsuki at all in order to survive. It was almost like its own entity. The rooms and people in it were very interesting too. She had never seen such diversity within a group of people before outside of the Elite 10. It was no wonder that Satoshi was so enamored with this place. "Maybe I should move in."
"If you want to," Sōma shrugged. "Aren't you in your final year though? It seems odd to move in only to stay a few months."
"Ah," Rindō wilted a bit at that logic. It was true, but still. She had been looking forward to graduating from Tōtsuki for ages, but now she realized that she would be leaving something behind. Talk about bad timing. "You've got a point there. Maybe I shouldn't move in then."
"I think you should move in though, if that's what you really want." Sōma said.
Rindō paused and looked at Sōma in confusion. "What?"
"If you want to move in here, then you should," Sōma explained. "After all, anyone can move in here as long as they pass Fumio-san's test. Obviously, you'll pass no problem and get in. Then we can hang out even more during the next few months until you graduate and leave Tōtsuki."
"That's, like, a really simple way of looking at it you know." Rindō said, smiling slightly at his naïve response.
"Am I wrong though?" Sōma countered.
"I suppose not," Rindō agreed after giving it some thought. "Hey, I hear music coming from downstairs. Has the party already started?"
"Huh?" Sōma listened for a second before realizing that Rindō was right. "Oh crap! We need to get down."
They both started to make their way downstairs. On the way, a door slammed open, hitting Sōma. Both literally and with a sense of déjà vu.
"T-the door knob…" Sōma stammered out in pain as he fell to the floor. "A-again… W-why?"
"Huh?" A familiar blonde head peeked past the door and looked at Sōma in shock. "Y-Y-Yukihira?!"
"Soma-kun!" Rindō cried out.
"Huh?" The newcomer, Mito, glared at the girl standing above Sōma. "And who the Hell do you thi-"
Mito froze suddenly, taking a step back when the girl's frosty eyes turned to glare back at her. Suddenly, she knew who this girl was. Only one person at Tōtsuki had eyes like that.
"Kobayashi Rindō-senpai." Mito breathed out.
"That's right," Rindō replied coldly. "And you're Ikumi Mito, right?"
"Y-yeah." Mito swallowed loudly. The look in Rindō's eyes was starting to creep her out.
"I sho-" Rindō started to say before Sōma grabbed her hand.
"Relax," Sōma wheezed out. "It was just an accident. Trust me. I had worse done to me by Shiomi-sensei."
"How?" Rindō demanded to know.
"Oh," Sōma winced. "Um, she just hit me harder with a door. That's all." It would be best not to mention that the tiny professor had knocked him out with a single punch. He would never live it down if that information got out.
"I'm sorry," Mito apologized. "I didn't know you were there, I was changing and realized I took longer than I thought I would putting on my costume so I decided to rush down."
"It's fine," Sōma winced as he stood up. That would definitely leave a bruise. "I can handle it."
"S-still…" Mito murmured miserably.
"It's really fine," Sōma grinned. "By the way, you have a pretty awesome costume, Nikumi."
"H-huh?" Mito blushed and looked away. "Thanks…"
Mito was wearing a standard cow girl outfit. Although on her, it looked anything but standard. The outfit was on her like second skin, and there was a generous amount of skin showing all over. She made sure to bow down low to check on Sōma, giving him a good view of just how little it covered.
Rindō didn't like her. She made sure to show this by hugging Sōma close, pressing her chest against his back as she rubbed to spot where the door knob had hit him to try to ease the pain.
Mito realized immediately when Rindō was doing. She couldn't call her out on it though, because Rindō would most likely deny it and also because Sōma probably either wouldn't care or wouldn't understand. Instead, she just ground her teeth and glared at Rindō.
Rindō smirked back in satisfaction at seeing Mito's reaction.
"Um, Rindō-senpai?" Sōma said hesitantly. "I'm ok; you can let me up now."
"Oh right," Rindō quickly stood up and helped Sōma up. "Sorry."
"It's ok, thanks." Sōma smiled at Rindō gratefully.
Mito felt something in her crack at the sight of the two of them smiling at each other. In their matching costumes, which she had just now noticed that they were both dressed as vampires. That couldn't be a coincidence.
"Well I should probably go," Mito said awkwardly, walking backwards slowly. "You two seem busy. And I need to see Yūki and the others. So… bye!"
After saying that she made a hasty retreat, quickly getting out of sight and running down the stairs in order to both avoid Sōma and Rindō as well as to go and get some information on why those two people were hanging out. Hopefully, Yūki or Ryōko would have some idea on what was going on. It was plain to see that Rindō was interested in Sōma in some way. The only question was just how much of an interest she was taking, and what kind of interest.
Rindō kept an eye on Mito until she was out of sight before turning her attention back to Sōma. "Are you sure you're ok?"
"Totally," Sōma smiled to try to reassure her. "Now let's go before all the good food is gone. Well, it all going to be good food, but you get the point."
"Right," Rindō grabbed Sōma's hand and started pulling him towards the stairs. "I've been wondering what was going to be served. I'm starving."
"After all that you ate at the mall?" Sōma asked incredulously.
"That?" Rindō scoffed in amusement. "That was just barely a snack for me."
'I sure hope that we have enough for everyone.' Sōma thought suddenly, not realizing just how gluttonous the 2nd Seat was.
The sound of music picked up as they neared the dining area. Tonight, the party was going to be confined to 3 main areas; the entrance hall, the dining room, and the kitchen. All the doors had chairs keeping them open so the music, mist, and smell of food could permeate throughout all of the areas. One would think that all of the different smells would clash, yet Satoshi had set it all up so that different types of foods would be in different areas.
In the dining area were Shun's smoked hotdogs, Zenji's spaghetti, and an assortment of meat courtesy of Mito and Yūki. The special thing about Shun's hotdogs was that they were shaped to look remarkably like human fingers. The ketchup was even splatted on to look like blood splatters. Zenji's spaghetti was made with udon and pressed together in order to make it look like a human brain. Mito and Yūki had prepared different types of animals, and after they were done they shaped the meat to look like the animal if had been made out of. It was pretty gruesome, they looked like they had been charred alive. The inviting smell wafting off of them was the only reason a few of the others would be willing to try to eat it.
There were a few tables in the entrance hall filled with snacks, candies, and a few special items created by the people of the dorm. Daigo and Shōji had once again competed, and both made conflicting dishes. They both made snacks with a different part from the head. Daigo made eyeballs with vegetables and eggs, with tomato juice poured over it to give the image of blood while underneath the egg eyes was a bed of lettuce pulled for the Polar Star Garden to present it as an offering. Shōji made ears with jumbo shrimp. They were pressed and skewered to be a bit more ear-shaped before being dipped in tartar sauce and fried to become crunchy. Off to the side was a plate full of sushi courtesy of Megumi and Ryōko. All of the sushi was really well made and seemed completely normal. The only difference was that the ingredients in the middle were shaped and colored to look like different horror monster. They weren't exactly detailed, but the shape and color were enough that anyone who looked at it would be able to tell what it represented. She had even included several different types of sauces off to the side in case anybody wanted them as well as napkins. Ryō was tasting different ones curiously, apparently satisfied with their taste.
The kitchen was full of different odds and ends in case anybody wanted to prepare something throughout the night. The counters were full of different test dishes that were lying around for people to taste test before they would be tossed at the end of the party. With everything that had been going on all day, the kitchen now had the appearance of a laboratory because of all the different types of foods and variations that were littering it. It hadn't been intentional either; it had just managed to work out that way. Speaking of experiments, Sōma's dish was also in the kitchen. Although it was off in a secluded corner. Takumi, after finding out that the dish was made by Sōma, had decided to taste it. He immediately felt that a giant squid was trying to choke him to death and nearly fainted from the experience. He was currently resting in a guest room.
"This is some party," Rindō laughed after they had both figured out what was going on with everyone. "Somebody is already down for the count."
"Yeah," Sōma chuckled, although he did feel slightly bad about Takumi nearly fainting. No one had even fainted from eating one of his dishes before. His dad needed to eat his latest dish. "That's unfortunate. I'm sure that Takumi will be up and about soon enough. Nothing can keep him down for long."
"Well that's good," Rindō said, taking a bite out of her salad. "I wanted to thank him for bringing this salad. It's pretty interesting, making all of the different vegetables look like different body parts. The sauce is perfect too. It looks and feels like blood, but the taste of it is in perfect harmony with the salad."
"Really?" Sōma eyed the dish in interest. "I'll have to try some then."
"You should do it later, Sōma-kun," Satoshi said from directly behind him.
"Woah!" Sōma jumped back and looked at Satoshi in shock. "Isshiki-senpai, how did you get behind me so fast? I thought you went upstairs to help Takumi find the guest room."
"Ufufu," Satoshi pointed straight up. "I did, but then I decided to come down via the attic."
Sōma and Rindō both looked up, trying to see how Satoshi had managed to sneak up on them again. Unfortunately, there was no answer to be found. They both decided to question it later.
"Anyway, we're getting ready to play some party games now. Will you join us?" Satoshi asked hopefully.
"Sure!" Rindō nodded and tossed her empty bowl into the nearest trash can. "Let's go!"
"Great!" Satoshi clapped his hands together joyfully. "This will be wonderful. Come, everyone is waiting in the entrance hall."
Satoshi then led them towards the entrance hall, where they could hear an argument going on. They glanced at each other unsurely.
"There is no way that Erina-sama would play such a game!" Hisako yelled out.
As they entered the room, they saw that the residents of the Polar Star Dormitory as well as Mito and Isami were standing away from an arguing Alice and Hisako. Erina and Ryō were off to the side, watching the two of them carefully. They knew that they wouldn't come to blows, but they would have to intervene before food would start flying.
"Oh come on, Hoshiko," Alice whined. "This is a teenage party; we should be playing a teenage game!"
"We are not playing 7 minutes in Heaven!" Hisako gritted out.
"Ah." Sōma slapped his forehead. It figures that was what Alice would want to play.
Rindō just laughed, thinking that it would be interesting to see what happened.
"What is that game?" Erina asked, seeing Sōma's and Rindō's response to finding out the name of the game Alice wanted to play. "How do you play?"
Rindō smirked playfully and leaned over to whisper the rules in Erina's ears. Almost immediately, Erina turned bright red and started sputtering. "W-w-w-what? W-what kind of game is that?! T-that's s-so shameless! We are not playing that Alice!"
"Awww," Alice groaned. "Someone told you? I wanted it to be a surprise."
Hisako started to yell at Alice again. Sōma took that time to walk over to Megumi, who was trying to keep the peace but was unable to speak up over the yelling to be heard.
"Are you ok, Tadokoro?" Sōma asked. "I wouldn't bother trying to get in-between them. Anything involving a Nakiri is bound to be difficult."
"I suppose that's true." Megumi sighed.
"Tadokoro Megumi-chan!" Erina called, pointing everyone's attention towards her. "You pick a suitable game for us to play."
"W-w-what?" Megumi stammered out, taking a step behind Sōma when everyone started to look at her. "U-um, maybe someone else should pick."
"Mhm," Satoshi nodded thoughtfully. "I agree with Erina-chan's proposal. You choose the first game of the night. Be mindful that Takumi will be sitting out since he's feeling unwell as well as Isami since he is watching over Takumi. So that leaves... 14 of us."
"How about we play hide-and-seek?" Megumi meekly offered.
Everyone exchanged glances. For a moment, Megumi worried that she had offered a really childish idea.
"That's not bad." Daigo agreed.
"There a good chance we won't make a mess if we play that." Zenji said.
"We've never done that before." Ryōko supported her.
Erina simply nodded in acceptance.
Nobody had any problems with it.
"Wonderful!" Satoshi exclaimed. "Well then, Tadokoro-chan, since you picked the game. You'll be the person finding everyone. Now, turn around and count to 10. We'll hide. As for the rules, the only rule is that we must all stay within the dorm. No cheating."
"O-ok." Megumi turned around and covered her eyes before starting to count.
Everyone started to run away.
Satoshi disappeared first, no one had seen where or when he had left.
Daigo and Shōji ran straight to Zenji's room. They started to fight over who would get to hide in there. The fight continued into the room.
Zenji decided to go to the other end of the dorm and find someplace to hide there.
Mito, Ryōko, and Yūki all went into the same direction before reaching some stairs. They all glanced at each other and nodded before they split up. Mito went up, Ryōko went left, and Yūki went right.
Alice, Erina, Hisako, and Ryō all went in the same direction with Ryō trailing behind them sluggishly. As they passed the bathroom, Ryō decided to slip in and shut the door behind him before going in the tub to take a nap. At the end of the hall, Alice, Erina, and Hisako paused. Alice pouted angrily when she noticed that Ryō had left them. Hisako then motioned for Erina to follow her, leaving Alice alone to find a spot by herself.
Alice walked around, poking her head into rooms until she came across Sōma's room and decided to hide in there.
Rindō ran, looking for a place to hide. She had seen some good places to hide during the tour earlier. Unfortunately, it didn't seem like she'd have enough time to make it to the really good ones.
Nearing a closet that was partially blocked and nearly out of sight, she smirked and opened it before quickly jumping in and closing it behind her.
Feeling something moving behind her, Rindō noticed that she wasn't alone in the closet.
"Ready or not, here I come…" Megumi said uncertainly, picking a random direction to go in.
"W-who's there?!" Rindō whispered frantically at whoever was behind her.
"It's me." A familiar voice said from the darkness.
"Oh…" Rindō sighed thankfully. "I guess we had the same idea."
"It seems that way," Sōma chuckled. "We have to stop meeting like this."
"Aw," Rindō pouted. "But I like running into you."
She pushed back, leaning against him to make a point.
"Y-yeah?" Sōma wished there was more room in the closet. "Well thanks, I think?"
"So… What should we do while we wait in here?" Rindō asked.
"…"Sōma thought hard, trying to figure out what they could do. It had to be something that wouldn't get them found out by Megumi. "How about we play the quiet game?"
"Really?" Rindō asked flatly. "Booooring."
"I don't know!" Sōma whispered loudly. "It's hard to think of a game we can play while playing hide-and-seek."
"Hm…" Rindō's eyes widened, recalling what Alice had said earlier. "Sōma-kuuuun."
"Wha?" Sōma gulped. He wasn't sure that he liked how Rindō had just said his name.
"We're in a closet, aren't we?" Rindō asked rhetorically.
Sōma nodded, missing the fact that Rindō couldn't see that in the darkness.
"What was it that Alice suggested before…?" Rindō sighed in mock befuddlement. "That 7 minutes game."
"Oh," Sōma's face heated up, finally realizing what Rindō was implying. "Isn't that a bad game to play when we're trying to hide?"
"Then I guess we should add being as quiet as possible to the rules." Rindō breathed out, turning around to push herself against Sōma. She let out a sigh, blowing hot air across Sōma neck.
"Or we could have a Shokugeki!" Sōma said frantically, completely unsure on what he should do now.
Rindō froze at that horrible counter suggestion. In the end though, it did snap her out of her mindset and she had to struggle to not laugh at how dumb that had sounded. She managed to stifle her laughter a bit, but Sōma still managed to hear it.
"I guess that's a no?" Sōma asked with a weary grin.
"For now," Rindō amended. "We'll see how things go."
It wouldn't do good to push a man like Sōma. She would have to play her cards right. There were a few more months left before she graduated. After Azami took over, she would convince Sōma to join her faction. That would cement them together. After that, well, she'd think about it later. For now, she just knew that she couldn't let Sōma go.
"Really?" Sōma smiled. "Great! Just let me know when and where."
"Deal," Rindō moved to sit down on the floor. "I can manage that."
"Thanks," Sōma moved to sit down next to her. "I can't wait."
"I bet," Rindō laughed. This wasn't how she had expected to spend her Halloween night, but it wasn't such a bad way to end things. "Say, how abo-"
"U-um…" A voice sounded from outside the door alongside a knock.
They both froze.
"I-I think I found you, Kobayashi-senpai." Megumi said.
"Geez," Rindō groaned and stood up to open the door.
Megumi was outside along with everyone else. Apparently Megumi was really good at finding people. Even Satoshi was out there, off to the side waving at her cheerfully. Rindō shook her head in shame.
"I can't believe you found me so soon." Rindō bemoaned. Although she couldn't be sure if it was because she was found or because her time alone with Sōma got interrupted.
"W-well I heard your voice as I walked by," Megumi explained shyly. "So…"
"Why would you be talking to yourself, Kobayashi-senpai? Were you that bored?" Alice asked.
"Who cares about that?" Shōji interjected. "What about Sōma? Where is he?"
"I'm right here." Sōma said, stepping out from the closet to stand next to Rindō.
There was a moment of silence before pandemonium erupted.
"WHY WERE YOU WITH HER?!"
"YOU LUCKY DOG!"
"I-I don't believe it..."
"WHY IS IT ALWAYS YOU?!"
"Way to go, Kobayashi-senpai!"
Sōma winced as the yelling started. Beside him, Rindō couldn't decide whether she should blush or smirk at what was implied by them being in the closet together. In the end, she did both. She glanced at Sōma to see that he was also blushing slightly while looking worriedly at her. She smiled and shook her head to show that it was ok. He relaxed slightly.
"Oh come on!" Rindō rolled her eyes as they stopped to listen to her. "We managed to find the same spot and wound up together. That's all. It's no big deal."
"It kind of is…" Daigo muttered to Shōji, who nodded in agreement.
Mito looked from Sōma to Rindō to Sōma again suspiciously.
"W-well I guess t-that we're done then?" Megumi hesitantly spoke up.
"With this game," Satoshi corrected. "The murder mystery will be at midnight. For now, let's all go down and eat. I'll go check on Takumi-kun and Isami-kun. And congrats on winning so fast, Tadokoro-chan."
"T-thank you." Megumi bowed unnecessarily towards Satoshi.
"Fine," Shun sighed and started to lead the way downstairs. "I was getting hungry anyways. Marui, you might want to check on your room."
Zenji shot an angry glare at Daigo and Shōji, who whistled innocently and looked away from him.
The others shot a suspicious glance at Sōma and Rindō before following Shun downstairs. Megumi brought up the pack alongside Mito. Sōma and Rindō slowly followed behind them.
Rindō glanced at Sōma uncertainly. It was impossible to tell what he was thinking. Even with spending the whole day together, she couldn't understand him. Eishi was far easier to understand. Sōma, on the other hand, was like a hurricane. He came, made a mess, and then left without a trace. Well, maybe not without a trace. But the principle was that same. He was unpredictable. And she couldn't help but be interested in that.
"Hey Sōma." Rindō whispered conspiratorially.
"Yeah?" Sōma whispered back, mindful that Rindō apparently wanted them to not be overheard.
"If we have a Shokugeki, you want my Seat if you win. Right?" Rindō asked, noting his eyes start to gleam at the reminder.
"Of course." Sōma nodded.
"I accept that," Rindō said, gaining a shocked look from Sōma. Before he could speak up, she continued. "But if I win, you have to marry me."
Rindō smirked as Sōma choked on his spit. It would be fun being around him from now on.
"Just kidding~" Rindō said teasingly. 'Somewhat.'
"So this is the place?" Sōma said to himself as he looked at the next place he would work at during the Stagiaire period. "Weird…"
It was a pizzeria, which was really cool. He had never made a pizza before. Restaurant Yukihira didn't really have a need to make pizza and no one had ever asked for it. Still, it was a neat item that could feed a lot of people. It would be handy to learn how to make it for Restaurant Yukihira. So he had actually gotten sort of lucky with ending up here.
The restaurant seemed kind of old, which was quite odd considering that the restaurant had apparently opened up pretty recently. It had come here from America. From what he had heard, this place even had singing animatronics. He had never seen one before, so this would be another new experience for him.
Sōma pulled out the paper detailing his next assignment. The instructions said that he had to be at the pizzeria before midnight and that his shift would last from then until 6 a.m. It was a weird time to work, but there had to be a good reason for it.
"Hello?" Sōma called. "It's me! The student from Tōtsuki here for training."
No one replied, so Sōma just walked in. Almost immediately, his attention was drawn to the stage where a bunch of figures stood. He could see the shadowy shapes of a bear, bunny, and a chicken. Odd choices, but they seemed pretty interesting, if not really creepy as well. Still, to each their own. Sōma wished he had been there earlier to see them perform. He would have to make sure to come in early tomorrow to see them instead now.
As he continued walking into the pizzeria, he noticed a piece of paper on the wall with an arrow printed on it pointing down the hall. Sōma decided to follow it until it led to an open electronic door. Peering in, he noticed a desk with a huge mess on it. There was a fan, a cupcake, a cup of soda, and a bunch of random papers as well as a bunch of map of the place and a screen showing a camera's view. There was a poster on the wall too, showing the animatronics he had seen on the stage earlier.
A blinking red light on the phone's answering machine drew his attention. He walked over and casually pushed the button before falling into the chair and spinning a few times while waiting for the intro to stop and the message to play.
"Moshi moshi," The phone guy's voice sounded on the speaker. "Is that how you say hello on the phone in Japan? I guess it doesn't really matter… Anyways, hello there new guy. I used to work at the last location, until it closed down. But that's water under the bridge now."
'This guy sure sounds strangely ok with losing his job.' Sōma thought, mildly shocked at the phone guy's blasé behavior over no longer being able to work.
"Well, I'm not too sure about the rules and laws concerning how things operate in Japan, so I won't bore you with the legal mumbo jumbo we had over here in America." The phone guy continued.
"Helpful…" Sōma rolled his eyes before absentmindedly checking the cameras. "What am I doing here if I'm not going to cook?"
"Now I know that you're probably thinking that this is a totally boring job," The phone guy said, as if reading his mind. "And before I started working here, I may have agreed with you. But the thing is, the night shift is actually a lot more heart stopping than the day shift."
"Really?" Sōma asked the message.
"Really," The phone guy said, eerily replying to his question. "Now, the thing you should probably be aware of is that the animatronic characters tend to get a bit, well, quirky at night."
"Quirky?" Sōma quirked an eyebrow and checked the camera to see the animatronics.
"They tend to wander around a bit at night." The phone guy said nonchalantly.
"What?!" Sōma yelled out in shock.
"Uh, they're left in some sort of free roaming mode at night. Apparently their servos will get locked up if they get turned off or something. I'm not too sure about the how and why, but I learned to stop caring a long time ago." The phone guy then sighed.
Sōma felt a cold sweat on his brow and turned to check on the cameras again. The was an empty spot on the stage where the purple rabbit animatronic had been standing. Well, that wasn't completely accurate. The guitar was still there, lying on the ground.
"That said, the only real thing you have to worry about is running into them. That's what the doors are for. Unfortunately, they're run with electricity. So if you run out of power, the animatronics will enter and… it won't be pretty." The phone guy said apologetically.
"Why is that a thing?!" Sōma shouted at the phone. He glanced at the open door uncertainly.
"They probably didn't tell you that when you signed up. So yeah… Good luck." The phone guy laughed awkwardly.
"Screw that!" Sōma stood up in preparation to leave, until he noticed a shadow by the door. Hesitantly, he turned on the light. A second later, he saw the missing animatronic and quickly turned off the light before shutting the door. "Never mind…"
"Relax though; the first day is a breeze usually. I'll chat with you tomorrow if, ah, if nothing goes wrong. Make sure to keep an eye on the cameras. And, uh, don't close the doors unless you have to. You need to conserve power. Alright then, have a good night." A click sounded and the message ended.
Sōma stared at the phone dubiously. It was going to be a very long week at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. This may have been a bad career choice.
A/N: Hope you liked it. I MAY do this again for some other holidays, depending on a bunch of factors. We'll see how things go. This didn't end quite how I wanted it to, but it is close enough that I can be happy with it. There's a chance I'll go with other holidays where they spend time together. A Thanksgiving feast; where they will be thankful for meeting the other. Being stuck at an airport and rooming together around Christmas. Valentine's Day also has limitless possibilities. Who knows?
Do you think the ending was sudden? It didn't quite end up with them coming together, but it was set up in such a way that it will happen. I can't see Sōma being mature enough to agree to go out with her, at least, not at this time.
Again, I'm so sorry that this was a day late.
Once again, thank you to all of you who voted in the poll and looked forward to this. And also again, thank you a.k.a. Kusabi for helping me to improve this to what it is now.
By the way, I chose the title based on their relationship. You can't tell if it's really there or not until you ask. So right now, it can be said that they are both in a relationship and not in a relationship based on the events. Also, I like cats.
As for the OMAKE... Well, I can see Sōma fitting in at Freddy's Pizzeria easily enough.
Again, reminder, please feel free to follow "stygianhazardff" on tumblr for updates/thoughts about my fan-fiction stuff.