(A/N: Ok, so I recently stumbled across My Neighbor Seki on the Anime Network. It was a really cute series that keeps you smiling. And, apparently, I'm not the only one who thought Rumi and Seki are really cute together and should become something more. I know that wasn't the point of the show, but there did seem to be some signs that they may have liked each other. Maybe something will happen in the manga by the end. In any case, I got the idea for this fic. I hope it brings a smile to your face. I don't usually use honorifics like "chan", "kun", "san", or "sama" in my stories, but I did this time because it felt right.)
Disclaimer: I own nothing
It was very anxiety provoking, sitting here waiting for her name to be called. Normally, she wouldn't be this nervous, but the test had been rather difficult. Add in the fact that she had failed to copy down all the information needed to study for it due to certain… distractions, and getting a good grade hadn't exactly been in her favor.
But that had actually been the norm for a while now, yet she somehow managed to get by. This last test though, it had been extra hard. This was why, as the teacher stood at the front of the classroom, calling out the names of the students to come up and get their tests, she was feeling extra nervous.
"Yokoi, Rumi," the teacher called.
Rumi immediately jumped to her feet and sprang to attention. "Yes, sir!"
Almost mechanically, she walked to the front of the classroom. The teacher handed her back her test, and she returned to her seat, returning the wave her friend Tomoka Hashino sent her way.
Back in her seat, she took a deep breath and looked at the test. She let out a relieved sigh when she saw that she had gotten a 76%. Not the greatest score, but still better than what she expected.
Grinning almost evilly, she glanced at the boy sitting to her left, glaring daggers at him. 'How do you like that, Seki-kun? Even without having copied a lot of the notes, I still got a decent grade. Just how did you do?'
Her gaze drifted lower to the test on his desk. Her air of arrogance disappeared completely as she saw his score. 'What the hell?! You got a 98?!' She crushed her own test in her fist.'How the hell did you manage to get a 98? You never take notes or pay attention in class, so how did you even study for the test?'
It had been going on now for what felt like forever. The boy sitting next to her, Toshinari Seki, would always be playing with something in class. Whether it be toys, games, arts and crafts, school supplies, or even cats, he always spent the period ignoring whatever lesson the teacher was giving and amuse himself in his own way. Regardless of that, he always seemed to get good grades.
'How?' Rumi thought in aggravation. 'How does he do it?'
She shouldn't care; she knew she shouldn't. Regardless of the fact that it was incredibly rude to the teacher, who had spent who knew how long making lesson plans, as long as Seki got good grades, it shouldn't matter to her. Heck, even if he didn't get good grades, she shouldn't have cared. That wasn't the problem. The real issue was that she would always get distracted by whatever it was he was doing.
She knew she should ignore him, and she tried, she tried so very hard. Yet, somehow, she would always get drawn in to his antics. Whether that meant simply watching, scolding him for not paying attention, letting her own imagination get carried away, or even joining in, be it with Seki's permission or not, her attention always shifted to him and what he was doing rather than what lesson the teacher was giving, regardless of what class they were in.
'Curse you, Seki-kun!'
He glanced at her, noting her angry look and fiery aura. A startled look crossed his face, and he slowly looked away, shaking slightly. Rumi wanted to continue to be angry, but suddenly felt her anger drain away, and she sighed. If that's how he wanted to do things, then that should be fine.
'No!' she thought. 'It's not fine! It's rude and distracting. And I'm the one who usually gets in trouble for not paying attention. How does that work?'
Yet there seemed to be no escaping him. It was as if Fate itself was pushing them together, placing their seats next to each other in every class. Even when they changed seats, they still always ended up together.
'God must have a sick sense of humor,' she thought in dismay. 'How else can Seki-kun be as good as he is without even paying attention in class?'
It wasn't all bad though. Under different circumstances, watching Seki could be very amusing and entertaining. At times he could even be pretty cute, like the time he went on a cleaning spree, or how he played with his robot family, or knitted that cactus plushy; she swore she was going to get him to make another one of those for her. If only he wouldn't do these things during class.
The bell rang, signaling the end of the period. The students got up and bowed before heading off to their next period, where, once again, Rumi and Seki took their seats next to each other in the back of the room. A few minutes later, the teacher had begun the lesson.
Not two minutes into the class, Rumi saw out of the corner of her eye Seki reaching into his bag. She sighed; it looked like he was at it again. Why wouldn't he just pay attention and take notes like a normal person?
'So, what's on the agenda for today? More Shogi? The robot family again? Or maybe something new and even more elaborate?'
To her surprise, he took out his Japanese to English dictionary, followed by a piece of paper he tore out of his notebook and a pencil. Rumi did a double-take as he began going through the dictionary and writing English sentences on the paper.
'You're kidding? Seki-kun is actually studying? I mean, sure, it's the wrong class, but at least he's doing actual schoolwork.'
He appeared to be in deep concentration as he flipped through the dictionary to find the right English words to write out more sentences on his paper. Rumi couldn't see what he was writing since he seemed to be hiding it, but she managed to catch sight of and recognize a few English words.
"Hey, Seki-kun," she whispered to him, "it's great that you're studying, but we're in History class right now. Do whatever you're doing in English class."
Instead of heeding her, he cut his eyes at her and placed a finger to his lips. "Shh."
Rumi puffed her cheeks out, openly pouting. She didn't know why she bothered; he never listened to her anyway. 'Well, if he's only making translations, I guess it shouldn't bother me. I can actually study today.'
Or so she thought. But as Seki continued writing out his sentences in English, she became curious as to what he was writing and why. It must have been something pretty important if he was doing this instead of fooling around.
'No, don't even think about it. It doesn't matter what he's writing. Just pay attention.'
Or so she told herself. Yet she still found her attention drawn to him regardless, wondering what he was translating. As she watched, she noticed that he kept stealing glances at her, and he appeared to be nervous. Was that because she glared at him angrily last period?
No, now that she thought about it, he'd seemed a little off all day. Not only that, but he also seemed to be watching for her reaction a lot today too. That was strange. Usually, as long as he didn't get into any trouble, he didn't care what she, or anyone else for that matter, thought about what he was doing.
"I'm erasing the board now," the teacher announced.
Rumi squeaked and quickly scrambled to copy down as much as she could before the teacher erased everything. Her notes were sloppy and all over the place, but at least she managed to scribble down the basic information.
Sighing, she glanced at Seki to see what he was doing now. It looked like he was finished with his sentences, and was now rummaging around in his bag again. Rumi took the opportunity to look at what he had written. She saw that he had written and numbered 18 sentences, 9 on the left side and 9 more on the right. And they weren't sentences; they were questions.
'But why did he write them in the middle of the paper instead of at the top?'
Seki sat up, having found what it was he had been searching for, and Rumi quickly looked away. He was now holding a ruler. Rumi raised an eyebrow at it. What was he going to use a ruler for?
But Seki didn't use it. He set it down and picked up his pencil. A look of deep concentration appeared on his face as he stared at the paper. Rumi's curiosity began to turn to annoyance as she wondered what he could possibly be concentrating on.
After a few moments, Seki began making little dots on the top of the paper above the questions. A few times he would pause and seem to be concentrating again. His mouth would move soundlessly from time to time, and Rumi realized that he was counting.
'What could you possibly be counting over and over again? Those dots you're making? What's the point?'
The teacher interrupted her thoughts. "This will be on the test."
Rumi's attention returned to the board. The teacher had already written a bunch of notes and was now erasing them. Just how much had she missed?
A cry of despair escaped her that drew the class' attention. The teacher looked back at her with a disapproving frown. "Yokoi, is there a problem?"
Feeling like a deer caught in the headlights, she stared at all the faces looking at her. Turning red, her eyes darted to Seki, but everything on his desk had mysteriously disappeared; he was very good at hiding what he was doing.
She considered pointing the finger at him, but decided against it. She had long since given up on trying to report his antics to the teacher since he was a master at hiding the evidence and remaining inconspicuous. All it did was make it look like she was trying to place the blame on someone else.
With a groan, she hung her head. "No, sir, I'm sorry."
The lesson resumed, but Rumi simply lay with her head on the desk. It was times like this, when she wanted Seki to get caught, that made her wonder what she had been thinking those times she helped him hide his play things. It seemed like she faced contradictions quite a bit, both wanting Seki to get caught, and not wanting him to, or the times when she wanted him not to play around, yet wanting to watch him do so. It was all very frustrating and confusing.
Lifting her head, she glanced at him again. He was now using the ruler to connect the dots he had made. Rumi raised an eyebrow at this, wondering what he was doing. 'Is he making a connect the dots game?'
After drawing everything in pencil, he switched over to a black pen and went over the lines he drew. Then he colored in certain areas and wrote small numbers in certain parts.
Rumi's eyes widened as what he was doing began to take form. 'That's not connect the dots. He's making a crossword puzzle.' She cut her eyes at him. 'What's the point of making a crossword puzzle for yourself? You obviously know what the answers are, and where they go in the puzzle. Talk about a waste of time. And why write them out in English?'
Finished, Seki smiled to himself and nodded in satisfaction. He looked quite proud of himself, and quickly used his ruler to trace some more lines beneath the questions. He then wrote something beneath the lines at the bottom of the paper, then circled a few of the spaces in the puzzle.
Rumi watched with hooded eyes. 'Ok, Seki-kun, just what are you up to? Nothing is ever quite so simple with you.'
It seemed that the writing and drawing portion of his project was done, and he put away his ruler. Rumi fully expected him to solve the crossword puzzle he had just created, but instead he began folding it up. He folded it into a triangle, then made it smaller and smaller, until it was only an inch long.
'A paper football?!' Rumi silently exclaimed. 'He made it into a paper football?' Then what had been the point of making a crossword puzzle on it if he was just going to fold it up like that?'Ok, Seki-kun, what are you planning?'
Once again, Seki began rummaging through his bag, pulling out an eraser and a small plastic case. He placed the latter object on his desk and slipped off the paper binding of the eraser. Rumi watched with a raised eyebrow as he pulled the eraser apart to reveal something inside.
Rumi's mouth dropped open. 'An eraser stamp?! He made another eraser stamp? When did he do that? Why? Is it to replace the one that Uzawa-kun broke?'
Opening up the plastic case, Rumi saw that her suspicions were right in it being a stamp pad. Using his eraser stamp, he gathered ink on the end, and made a stamp on the paper football. Smiling, he nodded in satisfaction and closed the stamp pad. He the put his eraser stamp back inside its eraser holding case, and put everything except for his now stamped paper football back in his bag.
Rumi continued watching with interest. 'What was the point of that? Why put a stamp on a paper football? To mark that it's yours in case you lose it? Or were you just trying to show off that you made a replacement eraser stamp?'
Not for the first time, Rumi wondered if sometimes Seki's activities were supposed to be amazing spectacles specifically meant to get and hold her attention. True, he would still do whatever he wanted, whether she watched or not, but sometimes it seemed like he was actually trying to get her attention. And, truthfully, she didn't mind watching him. She actuallyliked watching him, just not in school when they were supposed to be working and taking notes.
'Taking notes! Ah! I need to take notes!'
She quickly scribbled down what the teacher had written since she last looked at the board. Fortunately, the teacher wasn't finished, so there was no race to jot everything down before the board was erased.
Sighing again, she made yet another promise to herself to ignore Seki and focus on the teacher. Yet no more than 30 seconds passed before she felt her head turn almost mechanically towards her desk's neighbor. Seki was now playing with a protractor. No, not playing with it, he was determining an angle, or so it seemed. An angle of what, Rumi had no idea, but he was now drawing lines for that angle on his desk.
"Seki-kun," she whispered to him, "you're not supposed to write on the desk; you're going to get in trouble."
As expected, he ignored her. He also seemed to be finished drawing his coordinates; at least that's what they looked like. He then took his paper football, balanced it on its end with one finger, and closed one eye as he took aim. Rumi noted that the paper football was at the vertex of the angle he had drawn. If he flicked it from there, it would hit the back of Takahiro Maeda's head.
"Seki-kun, what are you doing?!" she whispered fiercely. "Don't bother Maeda-kun! You're going to get caught!"
She didn't know why she bothered. He hardly ever listened to her. It seemed like this would be another one of those times. He ignored her warning and flicked the paper football.
A horrified look crossed Rumi's face as the small triangle of paper flew through the air, seemingly in slow motion to her. It bounced off the back of Maeda's head, then flew at an angle, landing right on Rumi's desk. She covered her mouth to stifle a shocked yelp as Maeda turned around.
"Hey, what was that?" he demanded as Rumi grabbed the paper football and hid it inside her desk.
"Is there a problem?" the teacher demanded. "Please pay attention, this is very important."
Grumbling, Maeda returned his attention to the front of the class. Rumi sighed, glad to have avoided any unpleasant confrontations. She glared accusingly at Seki, but he was nonchalantly watching the teacher. This just ticked Rumi off all the more. 'Don't act like nothing happened! What in the world were you thinking?'
Well, at least she had the paper football. Now maybe he would pay attention. It was unlikely since he could simply make another one, but maybe this act of defiance on her part would help him get the message.
She rolled her eyes. 'Yeah right. Who am I kidding?'
Surprisingly though, it did seem to do the trick. For the next several minutes, Seki did nothing to draw her attention. He seemed to be just sitting there. It felt very… unusual. Having Seki play with something all the time had become the norm, so that now that he wasn't, things didn't feel quite right.
When she couldn't take it anymore, she glanced at him. She started as she found him staring at her with hooded eyes. Slowly, he pointed to her desk, undoubtedly motioning towards the paper football inside it.
Rumi shook her head, trying to convey her message with her eyes. 'Forget it. I'm not going to allow you to go flicking this at peoples' heads.'
He motioned towards it again, but she ignored him. Or she tried to. When she refused to look at him, a low grumble emitted from him. Rumi's eye began to twitch in annoyance. If he wanted a paper football so badly, then he could just make another one. But if that was the case, then why was she refusing to just give him back the one he had already made?
With a sigh, she reached into her desk and grabbed the paper football. 'Fine, take it. But if you get into trouble, don't come crying to me.'
She handed it back to him, but, to her surprise, he held up his hand and shook his head, indicating that he didn't want it. Rumi blinked in surprised, not understanding. He pointed at the paper football, then at her. She cocked her head to the side, confused. Why didn't he just tell her what he wanted; he was perfectly capable of talking. Was he afraid that Maeda would hear?
He tapped his desk where he had drawn the angle, pointed to the back of Maeda's head, then to Rumi's desk. Suddenly it clicked, and her mouth dropped open in shock. 'He planned that?! He wanted it to land on my desk, and that's why he drew that angle, to find out the trajectory? But why? I don't want this thing.'
He seemed to realize that she had figured it out and nodded. He then pointed to the paper football, then at her again, and mimed unfolding it. That's when Rumi remembered the crossword puzzle of his own making on the inside. Was there something else inside she had missed? 'Then why didn't he just hand it to me normally?'
Unfolding the paper, she looked at what he had written and drawn. It was indeed a crossword puzzle. The 18 questions for it were written in English beneath the puzzle. And beneath the questions were 18 lines with a question mark at the end. And beneath these lines were two boxes, one with the word YES written next to it, the other with the word NO.
Rumi stared, her eyes going up to the 18 lines. Her gaze then went to the unfilled crossword puzzle. There were 18 circled spaces. Had they been filled in, Rumi surmised that each circled letter would have been written on the lines, spelling out a question, to which Rumi would have to answer YES or NO to. And he had written it all out in English so she would need to translate everything.
'He made this… for me?'
It was surprising, but now it made sense. He wouldn't make a crossword puzzle for himself. But what made him think she would play this game with him? School was a time to study. True, she sometimes got involved with his activities, sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly, and there were even times where he tried to get her involved with what he was doing, but this was certainly new.
She slapped the crossword puzzle down on her desk and stubbornly looked away, silently telling him that she wasn't going to play his games. She then returned her attention to the front of the class and tried to focus on what the teacher was telling them. Yet out of the corner of her eye, she saw him waving to her, trying to get her attention.
'What?!' she though furiously, fixing him with a glare. He pointed to the crossword puzzle, then at her again, indicating that he wanted her to solve it. 'No means no!'
She shook her head, and he reached into his bag and pulled out his Japanese to English dictionary and handed it to her. 'I have my own dictionary! That's not the problem here!'
Why was it so hard for him to understand that school was a place for learning? Not for the first time, she wondered if he had A.D.D. That would at least explain why he always had to be doing something. But why couldn't that something be studying? And how did he manage to get his good grades in the first place? There was no doubt that he was very skilled in many areas; his activities alone indicated that much. He would make a fabulous architect, or craftsman, or, most likely, an event planner since he seemed to have no end of ideas.
Be that as it may, even if he didn't need to study, he should still show the proper respect and pay attention, or at the least pretend to. No, the least he could do was let her study. 'I'll solve your crossword puzzle and answer your question later.'
Eventually, Seki seemed to realize that she wasn't going to do his crossword puzzle. He rested his head down on his desk and began tracing imaginary patterns along it with his finger, sighing every few seconds before looking at Rumi with pleading puppy-dog eyes.
A vein pulsed in Rumi's temple. His sighs were distracting, and his gloominess was annoying. If anyone had the right to be upset, it was her. 'Later,' she told herself. 'I'll do it later.'
But her curiosity was getting the better of her. What type of crossword puzzle did he make? What were the questions? Were they hard? And what about the unknown question at the bottom? What did she have to answer YES or NO to?
She glanced at the questions. A few of the English words she recognized, but she would need her Japanese to English dictionary to translate the whole thing. She wracked her brain, trying to remember what the English words translated to in Japanese, but drew a blank for most of them.
"Does everyone have this copied down?" the teacher asked, preparing to erase the board.
Rumi did a double-take. He was erasing it again? Already? Hadn't he just erased it, like, 30 seconds ago? Apparently not, because it was once again filled up with notes. When had that happened? Was she really that prone to distraction? Did she simply have a short attention span?
She glanced at Seki, somehow convinced that this was all his fault. But was it really? He'd been absent-mindedly tracing patterns on his desk with a dejected look on his face. She had been the one trying to remember what the English words on the paper meant instead of paying attention.
Sighing again, she had been doing a lot of that, she reached into her bag and pulled out her Japanese to English dictionary. She would never get any studying done if she kept getting distracted like this. Maybe if she did the crossword puzzle quickly, she could focus on class again.
Glancing at Seki, she saw that he was sitting up now and watching her, his eyes shining. Rumi sweat-dropped. 'All right, you don't need to be that happy about it. Sheesh. I'm only doing this so I can get it out of the way and get back to studying.'
Using her Japanese to English dictionary, she translated the first question. What is the coldest of the four seasons? She made a face at the question. It was 'winter', obviously. She looked up how to translate and spell 'winter' in English, and wrote it in the number-one-across spot. The W ended up being the circled letter for this one, and she wrote it on the number-one-across line on the bottom of the paper.
A gasp came from Seki, and he suddenly snatched away the paper from her. He erased the W she had written in before handing it back to her and pointing at the crossword puzzle.
She gave him a questioning look. 'What? You want me to do the whole crossword puzzle before filling in the letters for the question?' He seemed to understand her unspoken question and nodded. Once again, she sighed. 'All right, fine. You could have just said so though; there was no need to get all dramatic.'
She went to the next question. What activity are we currently playing in Gym class? 'Swimming' of course. She wrote the answer in the number-two-across spot. The letter I was circled this time, but she ignored it for now and glanced at Seki. He gave her a smile and a thumbs up.
And so it went on. The questions were simple and easy to answer once she translated them. She finished twelve of them and was currently on number-two-down when the bell rang. Her mouth dropped open and the pencil fell from her hand when she realized that she had just spent the entire period doing Seki's crossword puzzle instead of taking notes.
"Remember," said the teacher as the students prepared to head to what would be the last period of the day, "everything we went over today will be on the exam."
Rumi felt the ground drop beneath her and fixed Seki with a furious glare. He cringed beneath her angry gaze and causally looked away. This only angered Rumi further, and she crumbled up the crossword puzzle. A horrified look appeared on Seki's face as she turned and stormed out of the room.
Later that night, Rumi spent a great deal of time on the phone with Sakurako Gotō, having her go over the notes she had missed in class. She was very happy to have a friend like her, and wondered why they hadn't become friends sooner.
"Thanks, Sakurako-san. I really appreciate this."
"Happy to help," the pigtailed girl replied from the other end of the line. "So… um… is there anything else you need help with?"
Rumi blinked. "Anything else? Mmm… no, I don't think so. Why?"
"Oh, well, it's just… things seemed a little off with Seki-kun today."
She blinked again. "What do you mean?"
"He just seemed kind of depressed last period."
Frowning, Rumi thought back to last period. Truth be told, he had seemed rather down. Even his activity had consisted of growing mushrooms. Had that been a coincidence, or was it symbolic?
"Are you two having a lover's quarrel?" Gotō asked suddenly.
Rumi considered this. Seki's depression seemed to begin after she crumbled up his crossword puzzle. Had that been the cause of it? He'd gotten upset or angry with her in the past when she interrupted or ruined his activities, but nothing like this. She wouldn't exactly call it a lover's quarrel, but she…
Gotō's words suddenly registered to her. "We are not having a lover's quarrel!" she snapped.
"Oh, good. The last time you guys fought, Seki-kun was really upset. He spent an entire class period symbolically beating himself up in a game of paper sumo."
Confusion twisted Rumi's face. "When was this?"
"That time you were out 'sick'. I don't know what it was you guys fought about, but it must have been pretty bad if you stayed home because of it."
"Sakurako-san…" Rumi whimpered in despair, openly weeping. It seemed her friend was misunderstanding things. She really had been sick with a cold that day.
"You know I'm always here if you want to talk, Rumi-san. All couples fight from time to time, but I'm sure everything will work out."
Rumi wanted to scream. This was all due to that stupid rumor. She supposed she was partly responsible for that though. She should have known better than to place a letter in Seki's shoe case. Anyone who saw it would have assumed she was slipping him a love letter.
"I'm telling you," she insisted, "that's not it! We're not even really fighting. He was just trying to get me to do something inappropriate in class."
There was a squeak from Gotō as she blushed furiously on the other end of the line. If Rumi had had any idea of what was going through her friend's head, she would have blushed too. Unfortunately, she didn't realize just how out of context what she had said was, nor did she realize that Gotō was taking it the wrong way.
"I know he wanted me to do it right away," she continued, referring to the crossword puzzle, still completely oblivious to her friend's dirty imagination, "but the classroom isn't the place for something like that. So I decided to do it later so I can take my time and enjoy it."
Gotō squeaked in embarrassment again. "Wow, Rumi-san, I'm really impressed. You're so far ahead of me. I feel really out of your league."
Rumi had no idea what that meant and wasn't sure how to respond. "Um, thanks…?"
"But I'm glad things are ok between you two."
Rumi sighed and glanced at her bag. The crumbled up crossword puzzle was still inside. "I was just about to do it now actually. I'm sure that will make Seki-kun happy. I've been secretly wanting to all day. I just wanted to get all the notes I missed today first."
There was a strange sound from the other end of the line. If Rumi didn't know any better, she would have thought that Gotō had dropped the phone. "Sakurako-san?"
"Y-You're going to do that now?! S-S-Sorry to bother you so much! I won't tell anyone! See you tomorrow! Say hello to Seki-kun for me! Bye!"
The line went dead. Rumi gave it a confused look, not really sure what had just happened. Did Gotō think that she and Seki were doing the crossword puzzle together? 'That must be it.'
Snapping her cellphone shut, she reached into her bag and pulled out the crumbled up piece of paper. Maybe she shouldn't have crumbled it up. Seki may have given it to her to do, and he may have wanted her to do it in class, but she didn't have to go that far.
She sighed. 'I should apologize to him tomorrow. But still, he didn't have to get that upset over it.'
She un-crumbled the piece of paper and smoothed it out. She still had six more questions to answer before she could figure out what the mystery YES or NO question was. She had to admit, she was very curious as to what it was. After she finished, then she would study the notes Gotō had given her.
Getting to work, she went through the remaining questions. She finished the last one and looked at the completed crossword puzzle, smiling to herself. Now all she had to do was take the circled letters and write them on the lines below, then translate the question so she could select YES or NO.
Thanks to her trusty Japanese to English dictionary, she managed to translate the question, writing it out on a separate piece of paper. When she finished and read it over, the pencil dropped from her hand. Her eyes darted back and forth from the Japanese translation to the English translation, but the question remained the same.
WILL YOU GO OUT WITH ME?
Rumi was stunned, her eyes blank, her mouth hanging open. 'What? What?! WHAT?!'
Seki wanted to go out with her? Toshinari Seki wanted to go out with her? Did that mean that he liked her? That had to mean he liked her, right? When had that started? Was this a joke? A mistake?
Rumi's brain felt fried as she tried to process this. When she had started the crossword puzzle, this had not been what she had expected. No wonder Seki had seemed anxious earlier in the day; he had been nervous about his confession. It also explained why he had been so crushed when she had crumbled up the crossword puzzle. She had essentially been crumbling up his confession. She would have been devastated had the person she liked done that.
She shook her head. 'No, it's not my fault. Who confesses through a crossword puzzle? Why couldn't he just say it to my face, or leave me a normal love letter like everyone else?'
Then again, now that she thought about it, this was exactly like something Seki would do. She shouldn't have expected anything less from a confession from him. Still, when did he start to like her?
'Oh my gosh, Seki-kun likes me!'
Her brain experienced a malfunction, and she fell sideways out of her chair. She wasn't sure how long she laid there in a daze before there was a knock at her door. It was her mother. "Rumi, are you ok?"
Rumi jumped up. "I'm fine, Mom. I just… tripped."
"Oh, ok… You sure you're alright?"
"Yup, I'm good. No problem."
She hoped her mother would go away after that, and was relieved when she did. She sat down again and tried to wrap her head around this revelation. Ok, so Seki liked her. Now came the real question. How did she feel about him?
Looking at the paper, the YES and NO boxes seemed to stand out so much more than before. Or maybe it only felt that way now that she knew the meaning behind them. It was strange how one's perception could change.
But how did she feel about him? Truthfully, she had never thought about it. And not just with Seki, she had never really looked at anyone as a potential love interest. Any boys she knew had been just that, boys that she knew, and she never considered them to be boyfriend material. Not because she didn't want a boyfriend or found any of them unappealing, it just never occurred to her to date any of them.
But what about Seki? Did she want him for a boyfriend? There were both good things and bad things about him. He was smart, amusing, creative, resourceful, and fun. But then he was also stubborn, annoying, rude, infuriating, and a little too carefree. And, in some of his games, he came across as a little sadistic, like with the way he ate his octopus hotdogs, or had the Gold General Shogi piece beat up the King piece, or when he had attempted to "drown" the snow rabbit he had built.
Then again, that was all just pretend. Boys would be boys after all. Seki was actually pretty nice, even in his games, like with the robot family, or the way he had given her that fish; even though it had been one of the cats he had been playing with that she had wanted.
Rumi smiled. Seki could really be cute at times. He made her smile a lot too, even when she was ticked off by his antics. If she hadn't been annoyed about him acting up in class, she would have been perfectly happy to watch him.
With a sigh, she tapped her pencil against her desk, trying to decide what to do, trying to sort out her feelings. Her gaze drifted across the room to the picture he had made of himself as the "demon king" when he was a kid. She chuckled. Seki really was adorable at times. Like with the way he had happily stared at her when she defended him from their classmates when they were unknowingly making fun of the little kid Seki's creations.
Had that been when he had started to like her, or had it been before that? Was this why he had cared about her opinion when he was choosing what type of glasses to wear, even though he didn't wear or even need glasses? What had been up with that anyway? Seki truly was the master of killing time.
She shook her head. That didn't matter. She knew his feelings, now she had to sort out her own. Did she want Seki for a boyfriend? YES or NO. She stared at the paper, lifted her pencil, and…
Rumi walked into her first period class the next day. Her eyes immediately sought out Seki. He would normally be conversing with his friends until the teacher arrived, but not today. Today he was sitting at his desk with his head down, a gloomy, dark aura surrounding him.
Rumi sweat-dropped. 'He's still sulking?' Well, she supposed she would be too if she were in his position. He had obviously put a lot of thought and effort into his confession, just like he did in all things, and, as far as he knew, she had thrown away his letter of confession without actually having read it.
A feeling of guilt crept up in Rumi's gut. 'I was too harsh.'
Taking a deep breath, she began heading to her seat, but was cut off by a nervous looking Gotō. "G-Good morning, Rumi-san."
"Oh, Sakurako-san. Good morning."
The pigtailed girl fidgeted uneasily. "So… how was it last night? Did you really 'do it'?"
Rumi was confused at first, but then she remembered their conversation. 'Oh, the crossword puzzle.' She smiled nervously, thinking about the YES or NO question at the end. "Yeah, it was fun. I really didn't think Seki-kun wanted to do that though."
Gotō blushed hard. "T-That?!"
Rumi nodded, remembering how long and hard she had thought about it before answering the YES or NO question. She had actually spent so long thinking about it that she hadn't had time to study. "Yeah, it took a lot longer than I thought it would, so I didn't get a chance to go over the notes you gave me. Sorry, Sakurako-san."
Gotō's face was growing redder and redder. "It… it really took that long?"
Sighing, Rumi nodded. "I guess I'm just going to have to accept that things are always going to be this way between Seki-kun and me. I just can't resist his antics." She noticed that Gotō looked like she was going to pass out from overheating. "Hey, Sakurako-san, are you ok?"
Gotō's nodded bashfully. "I-I'm fine! I'm happy for you, Rumi-san. I… I hope when it happens for me that I can rely on you for your help."
Rumi was confused at first, but then thought she understood. 'She must mean ask me for notes if she ever misses any.' She gave her friend a thumbs up. "Sure, you can count on me, Sakurako-san. I'll be sure to go over everything with you in great detail."
"Yeah, maybe we can even go over everything together."
"Together?! You mean together together?"
Rumi nodded, thinking that maybe they could even invite their friends over for a big study group/sleepover. "Yeah, we can have all us girls join in too. We'll have a big slumber party and can practice with each other."
Gotō's face was now redder than ever. "P-Practice? With other girls? S-Sorry, Rumi-san, but… I… I don't swing that way!" She gave her friend a pleading look. "I hope we can still be friends though."
Rumi cocked her head to the side in confusion. 'I guess she likes to study alone. Maybe she can concentrate better that way.' She gave her a reassuring smile. "It's fine. A lot of people are like that. Don't worry about it; of course we'll still be friends."
Before any further misunderstandings could be made, the teacher walked in. "Ok, everyone, take your seats. We've got a lot to go over today."
Shyly, Gotō took her seat with all kinds of thoughts running through her head. Rumi was completely oblivious to just how differently she and her friend had viewed their conversation. She sat down at her desk and glanced at Seki. He was still lying down with his head on his desk.
Reaching into her bag, she pulled out a small puzzle box she had bought at the store. It had only cost 100 yen ($1.00), but she felt that it was suitable for this. "Here, Seki-kun, this is for you," she whispered, handing it out to him, a blush staining her cheeks.
Seki reached out and took it. He sat up, staring at the puzzle box curiously. He glanced at Rumi, but she was looking away from him, willing the warmth out of her cheeks.
Returning his attention to the puzzle box, he set to work on solving it while the teacher began the lesson. Rumi watched out of the corner of her eye, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. For some reason, she was feeling very nervous. No, not for some reason, she knew exactly why, and it made butterflies appear in her stomach. She didn't even realize that she was, yet again, missing the lesson.
Seki continued turning the puzzle, clicking the pieces into the right place. Rumi was growing impatient, and each time he twisted the puzzle the wrong way, her impatience and nervousness grew. She began to emit growls each time Seki started to twist the wrong way, causing him to pause and turn it in a different direction.
Finally, the last piece lined up in the right place, and the puzzle box clicked pen. Seki opened it, and a paper football fell out. It had the seal on it he had placed with his eraser stamp. He gasped and turned to Rumi, but she was looking anywhere but at him.
Slowly, almost hesitantly, he unfolded the paper. It was indeed the crossword puzzle he had made, now completely filled in. The question was written in at the bottom. WILL YOU GO OUT WITH ME? And beneath that, Rumi's answer had been checked.
Seki looked at Rumi, his eyes shining. Rumi just continued to face the front of the classroom, a happy smile on her face and a noticeable pink tint in her cheeks. A light chuckle escaped her as she saw Seki clench his fist in triumph. 'I guess I'll have to get used to calling him Toshinari-kun.'
"I'm erasing the board now," the teacher told the class.
A horrified look appeared on Rumi's face as she realized she had just spent the entire period watching Seki solve the puzzle box and hadn't taken even a single note. 'NOOOOO!' she internally wailed, dropping her head on the desk in despair.
Announcer: "And so, in answering YES to Seki's question, Rumi ended up getting involved with Seki's antics for the rest of her life."
(A/N: I'll say it gain, Rumi and Seki are so cute together. They really seem to have a real connection, and, as opposite as they are when it comes to school, they really seem a lot alike and can relate to each other. It'd be interesting to see how there relationship would change with them as a couple. Sorry to say that we won't be finding out in this story. I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted though. Looking forward to your reviews. Hint, hint.)