Disclaimer: Don't own Oregairu.
Chapter 1 Fools bring flowers
Hiratsuka Shizuka had a lit cigarette between her lips. She had been smoking for the past fifteen minutes and this was her second cigarette of the day. On her day off, she loved to drink and smoke, having nothing better to do in her house all by her own. She would read a shonen manga to stave off her boredom from time to time but nothing elevated her frustration away like a good drag from her cigarette did. Lost in smoke and cloudy thoughts she almost missed the ringing sound of her doorbell and only after repeated knocking did she realise someone was standing outside her door and waiting for her to open up.
She took her cigarette out from her mouth and trapped it between her index and middle finger. Without looking she opened her door and sighed upon seeing the person standing on the other side. He looked as cheerful as she was.
"Don't stand there like an idiot. Come in!"
Hikigaya Hachiman was her student. He was good at literature but he was hopeless in the sciences. Out of the goodness in her heart, Hiratsuka Shizuka decided to tutor him to help his chances of passing in any of his future examinations. Being a responsible teacher was tough and it didn't help that her student walked into her apartment with all the candour of a man approaching the gallows. He had to open his mouth at some point but for now his dead fish eyes was taking in the appearance of her living room.
"Not much to look at Hikigaya. Take a seat."
"Anywhere. Here try the sofa."
Her student followed her instructions and sat himself down comfortably. He placed his school bag on the coffee table before him and then he looked up at his teacher. He said nothing but waited.
"What are you waiting for? Take out your books."
"Aren't you going to finish your cigarette sensei?"
She looked at her cigarette and sighed. Being a responsible teacher meant no smoking before students. Even disillusioned students like him. She found an ashtray from under the coffee table and stubbed out her cigarette.
"Who am I kidding? You are never happy."
"Not true sensei. I will be extremely happy if you didn't make me redo your essays. Those take a lot of effort"
"Then stop writing like an idiot. Be a little more optimistic."
"You have a better chance of getting married than I have of becoming optimistic."
Hiratsuka Shizuka was a good teacher. She was kind to her students and had high hopes for their future. She believed her other students would easily forgive her if she killed only one of her students. If Hikigaya was to be believed than he was so invisible that his fellow classmates would forget all about him and his death after a couple of days.
With these sane thoughts Hiratsuka Shizuka drove her fist straight through Hikigaya Hachiman. Hearing him groan and collapse on her living room floor almost made up for having to teach him mathematics for the next couple of hours.
When he left after his study session Hiratsuka Shizuka lit another cigarette and wallowed all by her lonesome in her empty apartment. She blamed Hikigaya for being insensitive to a woman who was fully aware of her chance of getting married.
After a few days Hiratsuka Shizuka had to call Hikigaya Hachiman for another tutoring session. His marks were becoming a problem. He had no problems in acing modern Japanese but that was because he had such a wonderful teacher like her. She wondered how Hikigaya could be so good in one thing and be a complete idiot in the other. Just like she wondered how he could hurt himself and hurt others without understanding the consequences in the long run. He was satisfied with getting results and felt no shame in employing disgraceful means. His future was troubled and Hiratsuka wanted to help him change his outlook. But with the way things are going even a small change was a lot of hard work.
Even thinking about it made her reach for another cigarette but she changed her mind at the last minute when she heard the doorbell. She sighed but ended up opening her door nonetheless.
"You're late. What took you so long?"
"I was busy buying flowers."
Hiratsuka Shizuka kept her hand firmly planted on the doorframe to keep her balanced and standing on both feet. She must have misheard what he said for it sounded like her student bought flowers. Had it been anyone else she might have believed but not Hikigaya Hachiman.
"I bought flowers. Here take a look"
He opened his school bag and produced a bunch of white lilies. They looked beautiful and smelled wonderful. Her senses became engulfed by their rich fragrance and she almost caught herself before she reached out and touched one of the petals. These are not for her. They are for someone else.
"You didn't have to come all the way here, you know. You could have easily texted me if you wanted to cancel my tutoring session for today. I understand."
Now she was getting angry. He was being especially dumb and she was wondering whether he was doing it on purpose, trying to rub it in. Now even he had someone whereas she had nothing. Nothing except her bad habits. But being a grown woman she would not complain. She understood what was happening, where he was going and decided she would let him off easy. He could study later. Maybe have group study session from now on instead of having tutoring sessions with her. This was all for the best.
"Go on your date Hikigaya. We will talk later."
Hiratsuka told herself she was not being immature when she tried to slam the door on his face. She told herself she had one less thing to worry about. Now all she had to do was have a good smoke and maybe a drink later on. But her future plans got cancelled when her doorbell began to ring. Again. She opened it and found her student staring at her with a dumb expression. She was losing her patience.
"You have something to say?"
"Well aren't we all. Tell me what confuses you? I haven't got all day and neither do you. Don't you know its bad manners to keep your date waiting?"
"…I wouldn't know. I have never been on a date."
Now Hiratsuka felt hurt. She had obviously touched a sore subject. Unfortunately, Hikigaya always looked like he was hurting or was about to hurt somebody. His dead fish eyes made it very difficult to understand what was going through his rotten brain. Hiratsuka was a teacher but she would never be an expert in understanding him. But she decided to try like always and took a tentative approach
"You want to come in?"
He nodded his head.
She stepped to the side and let him in. He stood in the middle of her living room but hesitated from taking a seat before he was told.
"You don't always have to ask, you know. Take the sofa. I will take the chair."
He nodded again but then he lifted his hand up and showed her the flowers he was carrying.
"Um, where do you want to put these?"
She must have heard wrong.
"These flowers. Do you have like an empty vase or something? If I hold them any longer roots will begin to sprout over my fingers."
She wondered whether he was being sarcastic or whether he was this bad in biology. Another thing to look forward to in their tutoring session but for the time being she had only one thing one her mind. He had asked where she wanted to put 'these'. 'These' being the flowers he brought. She became extremely cautious in her approach
"These flowers. Are they for me?"
Well subtlety was not her forte
As expected. She couldn't believe she fell for it. She was really stupid.
"These flowers are for your living room."
As expected. He never made any sense. He was really very stupid.
"Say, Hikigaya. Mind explaining what you just said. How these flowers are not for me but for my living room."
He had the audacity to sigh. She was genuinely trying not to strangle him with her bare hands.
"Well, you smoke a lot sensei. During our last tutoring session my nose got irritated with all this tobacco smell and I thought, wouldn't it be great to have a few flowers around to cancel out this horrible stink. I mean they look good too but I'm no expert. What do you think sensei?"
"…you are saying my house stinks."
Hiratsuka Shizuka would kill him. She had already thought of a way to bury the body. Nothing could save Hikigaya Hachiman today. Unfortunately for him he realised his mistake a lot later.
"Your house doesn't stink sensei. It has a natural aroma."
Keep pushing. They will never find his body. There is nothing he can say that can change her mind and stop him from getting butchered by her hands.
"And well, um, I wanted to apologize."
It is never too late to apologize but his chances of surviving are dwindling. But she decided to humour him
"You know, about last time. When I said what I said and promised never to say again."
Hiratsuka knew what he was saying and she felt thankful to know he would never bring up that stupid subject. But promises like these never last. She will give him a week. Two weeks maximum. Then he will mention something hurtful about her not getting married and she will pummel him to the ground for being an idiot. This was the cycle of life for these two. He would apologize.
"I'm sorry sensei."
She would forgive but never forget.
"Ok, alright. I will letting you off the hook"
But never before had he tried to seek her forgiveness by bringing her flowers. This was not how he did things. This was not how she expected him to do things. But like always Hikigaya Hachiman was tough to read. He was not an open book.
She became uncertain but curiosity made her brave and she pushed one of her hands forward. Without needing any further instructions he gave them to her and afterwards placed his empty hands down to his sides.
Hiratsuka Shizuka ran a hand through the petals like she was wishing to do earlier but she was still hesitant of bringing the flowers closer to her face. He was watching but like always he was not saying anything more than he needed to communicate the only necessary of details.
"I will look for a jug. I might have one in the kitchen"
She hurriedly left him standing in her living room and began heading for her kitchen. She knew he will not take a seat until he was told. Might be some form of outdated etiquette. Might be, he consider himself a stranger at her home. Maybe he considers himself a stranger to everyone. She felt sad for him and tried to hide her sadness through idle chit chat.
"Where did you get these? I hope you didn't spend all your money on them."
He snorted. Better. This was like him. Disillusioned and cynical. This was someone she had experience dealing with. She could handle him when he is like this and not bringing her lilies as a gesture of apology.
"Of course not. I went to a rundown flower shop. They said I was their only customer for days and they gave me a sweet deal."
"Yeah. I mean I can't go to a boutique or a flower shop. A lot of girls go there and they keep looking at me like I'm a creep. Moreover they sell pretty expensive flowers. I would have nothing left if I went there."
"Good thing you didn't"
"Right, anyway, so this rundown flower shop was run by an old lady. She began telling me about how different flowers had different meaning and how they convey hidden feelings and anyway she was really starting to annoy me. So I asked her to give me a flower which says I'm sorry without having me say anything. Figured, I would mess things up again if I tried apologizing using words."
Hiratsuka believed him. But she had one problem with his explanation. She knew what most flowers meant and lilies never stood for apology. She smiled to herself and decided to poke fun at him.
"You got played Hikigaya. Lilies don't mean apology."
"I know. She said something about purple hyacinth to convey feelings of sorrow."
"She told you! Then why did you buy these?"
"Because lilies have a stronger smell-"
Hiratsuka never knew Hikigaya held such a high opinion about lilies. She wondered whether this was his favourite flower. She could definitely ask.
She had found a small vase from inside her kitchen cabinet and while talking to him she had already wiped it clean and filled the inside of it with a little bit of water. She wished she could keep herself busy and spare herself from the indignity of having to listen to him utter the next sentence but as expected she was unlucky.
"-and your house stinks"
She was in the kitchen. She had knife on the top counter and a glass vase in her hands.
She loved choices.
Hikigaya studied silently for a couple of hours. His sensei promised to help him out again and he promised himself to learn to dodge her punches better before taking her up on that offer. His rotten brain made it impossible for him to learn the sciences but with her help he might have a chance of getting better.
He had learnt his lesson. He was unable to stop himself from saying something hurtful and this time around he had surely crossed some imaginary line. He had no business making comments about the state of her house even though her place reeked of tobacco and alcohol like a seedy bar. He had never been to a bar before but he had eavesdropped on enough conversations to know what they smelled like.
Not like he would be telling her that anytime soon. He rubbed a hand gingerly over his stomach remembering the pain he had felt when her fist made contact with his gut. He was thankful she hadn't bludgeoned him to death with the vase that was currently sitting on her coffee table. He could see the contents of the vase from outside the doorway to his sensei's living room.
"Um, sensei you can throw those out if you want. I won't mind"
"What do you mean?"
She sounded genuinely confused.
He sighed. There was no need to play dumb to spare his feelings. He had hurt her worse than he had expected but here she was trying to be a good teacher all over again.
"I was talking about the flowers. I know you kept them because you didn't want to throw them away while I was in your house. You thought my feelings would be hurt but I don't mind. Those flowers did the complete opposite of what I had intended. Sorry again sensei."
Hiratsuka looked back at the flowers. She tried to remember the last time someone gave her flowers. She had a hard time remembering and decided it was better to not drudge up those past memories. These lilies are fresh and she would water them daily to keep them from wilting on her.
"No need to apologize Hikigaya. And what made you think I want to throw them out?"
"Of course not"
He looked puzzled. Like this was another problem from his mathematic textbook. Hadn't he solved enough problems for today? She should really cut him some slack. He already knew those flowers would be thrown out. If not right now then perhaps tomorrow, and if not tomorrow maybe the day after tomorrow. Flowers are meant to die when they are uprooted from a plant. She would forget to take care of them, forget to water them and they will probably dry up. Now that would look horrible and make the smell of her living room far worse. He could already imagine the smell of tobacco, alcohol and rotting plants. He was not looking forward to this nuisance for his nose. He decided to try one last time.
"Are you sure sensei?"
"I can throw you out instead Hikigaya. Do you want that?"
She gently locked the door after she made sure he left her neighbourhood. He had a tendency to loiter around unnecessarily. Or so she had been told from her other students. Those could probably be rumours but she didn't want to take any chance.
The last time he left she had taken up smoking and drinking to comfort her. But this time around thoughts of indulging in those bad habits of hers never crossed her mind.
She decided to lay down on her sofa and closed her eyes resulting in heightening her sense of smell. The vase was within reach and she opened her left eye, just a crack and plucked a single lily from the rest of the floral arrangement neatly kept inside the vase.
She laid there with her back against the soft cushion, her feet slightly curled up and decided to finally have the courage of bringing this exquisite flower close to her nose. She inhaled deeply and got lost in the fragrance. Lost in the comfort of privacy knowing she would be alone and he would be lonely. Maybe for the time being. Maybe forever. These smelled heavenly and that's all that mattered.
She closed her eye but forgot to put the flower back inside the vase. The flower lay over her breast, rising and falling in a steady rhythmic fashion. She breathed calmly and dreamt about significance of white lilies. She heard a foreign exchange student say white lilies stand for innocence and virginity. She felt herself blushing even in her sleep. Then she remembered this student saying something about Madonna. Then she remembered lilies having close association with death
Hiratsuka opened her eyes and resumed a sitting position on her sofa. She placed the lily back into the vase and wondered what was going through Hikigaya and his rotten brain.
At the end she shrugged her shoulders and decided to head to her bedroom. On a whim she decided the vase would look good on her nightstand but she would be sure to put it back on the coffee table before their next tutoring session.
In their next tutoring session Hikigaya found the lilies watered and healthy kept at the same vase and at the same spot on the coffee table. He also noticed that her house smelt less of tobacco and he caught not scent of alcohol.
Must be the flowers, he thought.
A/N: Now this will be a proper drabble series meaning there will be no connection between different chapters. Probably will be a romance. Let's see where this goes.
Leave lots and lots of reviews guys.
Won't betray your dreams.