I don't own OreGaIru. All characters are the intellectual property of Wataru Watari, the author of the light novel series.

A saying I've heard goes along the lines of "fathers are the pillars upon which the house stands." [1]

In the literal sense, it means that the patriarch works through much of his days in order to earn what would become the living expenses of the family. Ultimately, his working status dictates as well the comforts, conveniences, and services enjoyed by the family, as well as (somehow) the social status they rank in.

However, suffice to say, the literal application of such a saying only goes so far to become one of the father's significant roles in life.

In a less utilitarian sense, the father provides guidance to the children—just as the mother would do, too. But as it was dictated by history since time immemorial that men would come to understand other men in a far more elaborate way that dwarfs connections with those of the opposite gender, perhaps the relegation of the task of guiding the son would belong better to the father.

Why so?

Maybe it's the way fathers serve early on as inspirations of what the son wishes to be in the future.

Maybe it's the way fathers show affection with their spouse that the son wishes to experience finding such love (read: disappointment) in the future.

Or maybe it's just that deep-seated connection between all men that each is bound to do something stupid later on, and that we as the triumphant male species that we are ought to watch out for one another.

I'm not sure, to be perfectly honest.

I mean, my father, as the corporate slave that he is, works around the clock (alongside my mother) and performs with efficiency the utilitarian side of the patriarchy. And because work (read: office leash) keeps him and my mother busy, the time we spend together as a family is quite sparse. Not to say that my and my little sister's relationship with them was bad; it wasn't good either. Perhaps awkward would be suffice to describe it? Or the cliched "distant"? Either way, they don't spend much time at home, and what little conversations we had discussed nothing else but how well we were at home, and how we did in school.

With such a relationship, even I was sure that I was a loner well away from my parents—they've become people who I would only interact with when I needed to, and I wasn't exactly sure how to feel about that. Then again, parents becoming distant with their children is not an all-too uncommon phenomenon amongst families; it does happen well and truly in reality. Problem was that from such a kind of relationship born was the strain and stress within both parent and child—and such a thing could not end so well, if so much of it was pent up behind a dam which had been constructed for a long time already.

But, I digress.

Being a loner even to my parents meant that they knew me only superficially. To them, the person that was Hikigaya Hachiman cared about school as much as his average grades and test scores; spent his free time reading books, playing with his beloved Vita-chan, or watching anime (worship the almighty PreCure, dammit!); was doting on his sister; and was socially awkward.

The Hachiman they knew as a son was but a mask that hid something else behind it. Could it be sinister, and unacceptable to the eyes of many? The answer to that was up to whoever was being asked. Frankly speaking, it's not even an issue to begin with, because behind the veneer of going through the everyday routine that was required of me in society was something so staggeringly simple that it made me a little embarrassed to admit it:

Hikigaya Hachiman is lonely.

I know, I know. Sappy. Cliched. But who was I to deny the truth? If there was one thing I hated, it was lies and people who spoke them, and so I would never outright lie—half-truths were the closest that I could muster with my wits, and that was with me following my creed against falsification of words of any kind.

How lonely was I? Surely, I had my sister, but spending time with her was a given—we were siblings, after all.

Maybe it's just the immaturity in me seeking acceptance and attention. After all, I never did quite receive those from my parents. Food, clothes, shelter, materials, and education—as much as I was thankful to be given the bare essentials of getting through the early legs of my life, the selfish child within me was still seeking that which I never quite got, either from the heads of my family or from others.


Whatever led me to the rumination of such things?

Thinking about it, I could say with complete and utter confidence that the "me" of middle school was quite the naive and troublesome individual. For the sake of this line of thought, I would like to present my former self as "M8man," while the me of the present as "H8man."

I know—the names sound like a very bad joke, but please bear with me; humor was the furthest thing from my imagination just now!

Now, M8man is someone who would seek to at least be recognized as an existing human being—complete with the needed basic features, but non-inclusive of:

a) academic excellence, barring knowledge of humanities (I do have something I don't suck at);

b) devilishly charming good looks;

c) a clique of friends (is that something you eat…?); and

d) social skills worthy of a harem anime protagonist.

M8man is also fond of Nice Girls—a species that he believes to be worth falling head over heels for, and the only other subcategory of females that would dare interact with a lowly third-rate magus such as himself. [2] However, though his interactions with such a kind would be akin to hitting the jackpot with the Masuda method [3], his experience nonetheless makes his heart skip beats with just the thought of Nice Girls; most especially if the encounters feature the rumored "Mail Address Exchange Event," the "I'll Help You Out Event," or the illustrious "I'm Sort Of Hinting that I Like You Flag."

Thus, M8man had thought to himself that experiences that encompass the riajuu wouldn't be so bad, and that Nice Girls especially would be more forthcoming as targets of effort, infatuation, kindness, and attention.

—Utterly laughable, isn't it? It was exactly from this naivety, this idiotic way of thinking, that M8man was killed and cast into the fiery pits of Hell. Dante and Vergil might as well have passed him by and laughed at him [4].

No, no. Such a statement, to be honest, would be giving away incomplete information—M8man's behavior was only a part of that transformation (albeit an important factor, wholly speaking). What had turned such an idiot away from an equally idiotic belief was an eye-opening experience, one that H8man is eternally thankful for having come across with in his life:

H8man's creation was spurned forth by his father.

The memory of that day could be said as one I could recall as easily as the fact that I loved MAXX Coffee.

The Hikigaya matriarch, in what I had construed back then as her abusing her position and ruining my early trip home, had commanded me to deliver some documents my father had left behind. I might have grumbled as I rode my trusty steed off into the sunset (read: I rode my bike into the late afternoon), but nonetheless it was a job well done—I made it to my dad's office in record time, and I was even blessed with a can of the finest nectar made to be tasted by gods. Before I could hurry back home, however, my father had stopped me in my tracks with a spur-of-the-moment idea.

"Why not stay and watch what your old man does for a living?"

I wanted to sneer, snark, and laugh at such a proposition—even when I was M8man, I've already painted a bad picture for corporate slaves in my mind. But maybe it was because I saw something lie behind my father's eyes, something that to this day I could not properly describe, that I had agreed to the idea and set aside the one of going home.

I was honestly surprised—deeply fascinated, even—with what my dad actually did for a living.

I had always alluded to his work as an ordinary salaryman; partly because I never asked my parents in particular what they did (they'd always worn what salarymen and office workers did, so I've always assumed), and partly because of what papers I would see sometimes strewn all over the dinner table.

What my father did was sit in a room with three job applicants across him, separated by distance and a table in front of him. From what little I knew of these kinds of procedures, the numbers would usually be in reverse: three interviewees, and one applicant. Aside from that, only the resume would be the document with the interviewees.

"Now, I want you to list down their names, and write a prediction on whether or not I'll hire them or not."

Applicant #1: Kiryuu Kouhei.

The blonde was as young as the other two that followed him into the room. There was something to his gait that I found pompous, and the way his eyes glossed over me was nothing short of condescending. His posture radiated confidence, and you could tell that his suit was quite expensive.

My 8 Sense is tingling! [5] My brain has come to the conclusion that dad would be dealing with a person of high ranking in terms of the Hikigaya Classification of Riajuus.

This was tier 4: Pretentious Dick. Not necessarily a risk, but if his mind and talent backs up his talk, he'll be insufferable.

Well, at least the company would profit from him then—attitude notwithstanding.

Applicant #2: Asakura Yuuto

The beads of sweat pooling on his temples and the way his eyes roamed the room spoke of uncertainty and anxiety. Perhaps this was his first interview? If it was, then this was basically the stepping stone to conquering the next few ones he has. With how his nerves are just messing him up, I could confidently say that this would not be the last job interview he has—it may be the first, but it'll be sure to teach him a few tips and tricks he'd ought to use for the next ones.

Of course, I could also be completely wrong, and underneath all that bundle of jitteriness was an unpolished gem that could end up a diamond in the rough.

But not everyone is as lucky on the first try, anyway. If he was, a monochrome bear might just be waiting to abduct him somewhere. [6]

Applicant #3: Tanikawa Mari

… If I wasn't unnerved by the way her eyes just seemed to shine with ice, I'd give her a 123455432345676567 out of 10 for looking the way she did for the interview. I mean, good Lord, doesn't her attire just seem a little tight?!

Looking as well as she did should be a crime. But if it was, then I'd naturally be in prison for looking just as good!

… Ahem.

She seemed relax, though. Not quite exuding confidence like Malfoy [7] beside her, but she carried herself with an assured grace. No tension littered her face, nor did her eyes betray any sort of anxiety. Mari-san, to sum it up, was like the calm before the storm—the serenity that you appreciate briefly, before Hell is unleashed upon your poor soul.

Now, Hachiman's predictions:

Kiryuu – IN (ugh, I think my fingers died when I wrote this)

Asakura – OUT (he'll be lucky to make it out rejected without an aneurism)

Tanikawa – IN (hear me out; it's not just the looks! I mean, there are anime with great plot under their already great plots!)

"Good afternoon. I am Hikigaya Nanashi, and I will be assessing you today to see whether or not we'll see each other soon at work, or I'll be asking you to vacate this room."

The dull tone and one-dimensional delivery sounded so practiced that it made dad look so disinterested with them. However, the look he sent their way was anything but such—and the three actually flinched.

"Shall we begin?"

My father, as a human resource specialist, was tasked with hiring only the most capable and needed assets for their company—no more, no less. He'd only been doing this for the past six years, but within those six years the company had no one but the best of the best working for them, and such a thing has led to a corporate success wherein my dad was probably MVP without having needed to score the most points in the court.

He was trusted enough by the company president to be the only interviewee. He grilled these applicants as if they were witnesses to the crime, and he was their judge, jury, and executioner. He did not only know them through documents they submitted, he'd gather a list of them prior to the interview, and have the company do an extensive backgrounding about them—essentially, he possessed more information about them than even themselves. Everything they said and did during the interview were scrutinized without failure, and used to determine their potential and value right then and their. And if they were passable enough, he would hire them on the spot.

For me? It was a frightening, fascinating, and entertaining spectacle.

Dad's eyes had a scary glint reminiscent of a predator in his dead-fish, Hikigaya eyes. His words were sharp, concise, and brutally truthful. He knew when the poor idiots were lying, and knew enough when to bait them slipping up a well-made lie into a tangled mess. He could read their body language like a poorly written novel, and wring them out like a rapidly spinning washing machine.

By the end of an hour and a half, he had finished a seven batches of three—21 applicants all in all.

"So, Hachiman. Let me see what you've thought of these people."

With my 21 predictions written on a scrap sheet of paper, I was a bit disappointed in myself—none of my predictions were right, at all.

"None, huh. Well, goes to show what a fool you are."

The man might not have been there for me much of my life to know how much of a person I was turning out to be, but there was something pulling me back from snapping at him, and instead made me feel a little bad about what so little I thought to giving away my trust to people.

"… Mind telling me why you did this?"

He swirled his can of MAXX Coffee in hand (probably the only similarity he and I had aside from devilishly handsome looks and alluring eyes) and chuckled a bit, before meeting my eyes and replying.

"I haven't been there for you and Komachi as much as I would've wanted to, and I know that there are… tensions when it comes to our parent-child relations."

Well, that was putting the issue mildly, but it wasn't incorrect per se.

"I admit that today was just a sudden idea, and that I myself don't understand mostly why I did what I did and showed you what I actually do here." Another sip of coffee, and a playful look graced his face. "Mind you, it isn't to disillusion you in your belief with corporate slavery—I understand your belief in it, and would go far enough to say that I agree with you in some ways."

I raised a brow at him, actually surprised that he knew my opinion on such a system. Then again, if he could read these applicants as if they were some inconsequential footnotes in a book, then why not his children for that matter?

"Perhaps it was just because I can see some of my past in you, and if there is one thing I would perhaps come to regret when it comes to raising my children is that it would be to see them reach the same naive conclusions as I did in my youth, and change completely for the worse.

"Well, there's nothing wrong with making mistakes—these are the best teachers in life, after all. Paradoxically, there are mistakes not worth making. At all. Because these are the ones that can pull the wool over your eyes, and make you see nothing else but the selfish notions that you would stubbornly follow without hesitation.

"What I'm saying is that I at least want you to get rid of your youthful naiveté, and look at things from a different perspective. Learn to look between the lines, but not too much. Learn to accept things for what they are, but never be too trusting."

I wanted to tell him to screw himself over, feeling a little annoyed with how he could easily say that I was a naive idiot who would be screwing himself with the same mistakes done by his old man. I wanted to get angry and tell him to bend over and stick his advice where the sun didn't shine. I wanted to throw my can of coffee (no matter how sacrilegious the action was) at him and shout all the indignities I could for actually, and only trying, to be a father now when in before he couldn't.

But all I could do then, was see the logic and the sense his words made, and the fact that he did—and does—care about me to an extent, despite the situation that we were quite the distant pair. But for me to have been read so easily by this man, by my father, and for him to take action that was for my benefit, even with a little self-gratification on his part, I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't touched at the very least.

A small smile cracked on my expression. "Well, at least you've confessed to something."

Confusion grows on his face. "And that is?"

"For a corporate slave who seems a little cool, you were a naive idiot back then."

"Well, we idiots are the byproduct of one another. Just as much as we don't need an extra amount of greenhouse gases, the world could do much better with less of us—don't you think so?"

I smirk. "Who knows?"

He smirks back. "Well, I for one, did not crush on a Nice Girl, who I might've planned to confess to tomorrow because she's been nice to me for a few months now—isn't that right?"

My mouth went slack, and I could feel the blood rush to my face.

How?! How could he know?!

The smug expression on Hikigaya Nanashi's face turns teasing, but the weight of his words and what followed brought some sort of grim finality to me that would transform me (hopefully) for the better.

"There's a certain rule my kind says when it comes to dealing with annoyingly Nice Girls…"


[1] This is a common saying in the regular Filipino households. Not sure if it holds the same with other cultures or countries (well, I guess it does in a way), but perhaps the contention is nevertheless truthful.

[2] Fate Stay/Night reference. Rin loves to rub into Shirou's face the fact that he is one, for having subpar ineptitude in thaumaturgy.

[3] In Pokemon games, a method used to up the chances of finding a shiny Pokemon is through such a method, wherein you breed two Pokemons from different regions (ie., a Japanese Ditto with a female US Charmander).

[4] Dante Alighieri's Inferno.

[5] Spider Man. Shame on you if you don't get it. Go educate yourself.

[6] Upupupupupupu~

[7] Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series, written by J. K. Rowling. The bloke's a real insufferable git.

Hello, hello! Debut work here, ladies and gents. An idea that's been playing around the playground in my brain, and I hope to polish it here along with my writing.

I'm new, so your comments and feedback would be appreciated. Leave a review, drop a line—I'll see you soon.