In the Shadow of Competence

"Remind me again, whose bright idea was it to send the entire student council on an exchange program?"

In which Binan High School's staff didn't know how good they had it…


It should be said that pride in one's work is love.

Since arriving on Earth, I, Wombat, have come into a position that had allowed me to observe human interactions at a very intimate level. It is through such interactions that I found myself gaining a deeper understanding of these creatures and the different ways in which they love. As is known, the majority of my time is spent in the company of the Earth Defense Club, but due to the unique circumstances of my continuing stay on Earth (the ones unrelated to the activities of the Battle Lovers), I am able to gain deeper insights that go beyond the lives of the five young men in my employ.

It is these circumstances under which I found myself in the faculty room that day, in the lap of Mangan Tawarayama-san, who had once again fallen into my care as my companions back home sought a new life for him. I did not mind this though. In the months I had already spent possessing him, I have come to understand the beauty of Chinese poetry and motorcycles, and the love a teacher had for his craft. The faculty room was normally full of this love, as Binan High School's teachers lovingly crafted lesson plans and exchanged small talk in-between their classes.

The faculty room was a place I spent little time during the first semester of the school year, opting to remain in the clubroom. This was because, despite my absolute confidence in my understanding of Tawarayama-san's character and lifestyle, it was recommended by Kinugawa-san that I avoid unnecessary engagements to protect my identity. Zaou-san also added emphatically that they would not come to my aid if I were to be dissected by the ones called the men in black, whom I understand to have notably less tolerance for extraterrestrial visitors. This sort of emphatic insistence is the form of love known as "tsundere." Though I am sure my highly advanced technology would protect me if the need arose, out of respect for Zaou-san's concern, I chose to heed their recommendations, and maintained my distance from the others teachers.

Such distance, however, could no longer be maintained in this new season, as the departure of the student council turned the once pleasant faculty room into a place overflowing with paper and barbed comments. Such a turnabout was understandable, of course. With the student council's departure, there was no one left to carry on the work they had been dutifully doing up to that point. The principal had shrugged and told the teachers to handle it so now that was what we did between classes.

It is to this experience that I apply the phrase "you never know what you've got till it's gone." Since the student council trio's work has been distributed among us teachers, I have come to truly feel how much love the student council commanded.

And how irritating their absence made faculty meetings.

"Remind me again, whose bright idea was it to send the entire student council on an exchange program?"

This was how these post-departure meetings began. Leading it off this time was one of the math teachers.

"You ask, and I remind. The principal's." The Japanese teacher said sharply.

From my understanding, what occurred was that a certain school at a certain location approached Binan High School's headmaster with the idea of this exchange program, and they had already selected their participating students. The headmaster's love for all things beautiful made him accept the offer on the spot and in a show of good faith, he approached the top students of his own school, the three from the student council.

"But did he have to send all three of them? Aren't these exchange programs normally a body for a body?" the health teacher grumbled.

"He could have at least left behind Kusatsu-kun," the biology teacher lamented.

In hindsight, exchanging the ones who effectively ran the school for those extremely suspicious characters was quite the foolish move. If Kusatsu-san had been left behind, then at least someone could tell us how we were supposed to deal with all of this paperwork.

(I wish to confess that I held a somewhat low opinion of the ones who had let themselves be so easily manipulated by the whispers of the twitchy hedgehog. That opinion has now been replaced with utmost reverence.)

"Tawarayama-san, you seem to have been staring at that stack of papers this whole time," Kurou Hara, the school doctor, and one of the few staff members whose name remained in my memory, suddenly looked my way, "Are you feeling all right?"

"This stuff is enough to make anyone's eyes glaze over," the English teacher said, "Club management, event planning, potential rule changes, monster sightings, community service… we should really just consider appointing a new council."

"Wasn't the whole point of a student council to teach students to govern themselves?" the history teacher said, "If we're doing everything, that defeats the purpose!" The others made various sounds of agreement throwing in comments such as "I have my hands full enough as it is!" and "Let's have the exchange students do this!" I, Wombat, elected to remain silent at these moments and simply observe. It could be seen that the faculty did not possess any love for the work unjustly thrown upon them. Without love, it just piling up until these meetings were called to sort through some of it. This time an agenda had been drafted by the civics teacher at least.

"The other day, it seems the two exchange students gained the titles of "Eternal Pretty Boys". Perhaps we can use this opportunity to suspend the Pretty Boy Contests for a while?" the civics teacher offered, a small voice eager to just move things along already.

"I have been at this school over twenty years and I can tell you that every single student council president we've had made it his personal mission to see those contests suspended. Every single one of them failed," the chemistry teacher, whom I believe to be the most senior teacher after Tawarayama-san, snorted, "Tawarayama-san, you probably have even more experience with those things?"

I must confess that I had no idea.

"Indeed," Tawarayama-san spoke, "The Pretty Boy Contest is an important event at this school."

"This is one topic the principal will not budge on," another math teacher sighed.

"Can we not convince him to handle preparations of it then?" I offered. This brought forth a chorus of chuckles and weary smiles, and my instincts immediately told me that this line of reasoning was futile.

"Tawarayama-san, you should know the answer to that better than anyone," the chemistry teacher laughed.

"Perhaps we should just move on to the next topic," the civics teacher muttered, "Reading to the kindergartners."

My ears perked up as soon as I heard this. I had no idea that the student council was involved in work such as this as well!

"That time of the year, is it?" the biology teacher said with a fond smile, "how nice."

I agreed. Reading to children was an activity brimming with love. A lovetivity, so to speak.

"We should find someone to fill this role quickly," the English teacher said, "should we open signups to anyone interested?"

"Isn't there a Speaking Poets Society among the clubs?" the civics teacher spoke up again, "Perhaps this is something they might be interested in."

"What if we ask the exchange students to do it? It'd be a good experience for them."

As I have said before, I preferred to remain silent at these meetings, aside from the occasional comment to assure the faculty that Tawarayama-san was alive awake, but this was something that I could not keep quiet at.

"I volunteer the Earth Defense Club for this role!"

Immediately after saying it, the unhappy faces of Yufuin-san, Naruko-san, and Zaou-san flashed in my mind, but I did not regret speaking. My outburst immediately drew the other teachers' attention. They looked at Tawarayama-san for a moment, before voicing their approval.

"That's the club you manage, isn't it?" the health teacher asked.

"Yes, I'm sure Kinugawa-kun and the others would enjoy something like this," Hara-san smiled.

"Tawarayama-san, we'll leave it to you to ask them then," another voice said.

It was this that gave me pause. While I am firmly of the belief that the Earth Defense Club must always participate in lovetivities such as this, and that the young men in the club were kind, understanding souls, I was not so naïve as to think that they would listen to me.

Perhaps this hesitation somehow showed on Tawarayama-san's face, because the Japanese teacher suddenly said, "I have Hakone coming in for supplementary classes tomorrow morning. I'll tell him about it then."

"Thank you, I appreciate that," I made Tawarayama-san bow his head. Yumoto-san was the only one who shared my passion for spreading love. He would certainly have much better luck at convincing the others as well.

"That's settled then," the civics teacher looked at the next item on his agenda, "What should we do about the monster sightings around the school?


AN: I...am...BACK!

It feels so good to be able to write on my laptop again (even if said laptop is effectively a ship of Theseus now) and just be able to finish something in general... that said this story kinda went places ^^" Wombat's POV is really fun to write, Season 2 is fun to watch, and more importantly, I just don't think it was a good idea to send the entire student council away! I mean they were always supposedly busy, so who is doing their work now lol ^^"
(Also I like to think Kurotori-sensei's presence derails these meetings significantly, so he's not allowed to participate. That's why he's absent. Not because I completely forgot about him until I was halfway done or anything!)

But, um, yeah, thanks for reading! I hope you liked it :)