Hi guys! *gets a tomato in my face*
Yeah... I probably deserve that one... it's been five months, and the first thing I decide to do is write another one-shot instead of... ya know... actually writing the thing I'm supposed to be doing...
Honestly, I don't have any defense for myself here... while I have been writing in this period, it's not nearly enough, and it's seemingly never for the stories I actually have here... but still, I'm going to post this up in hopes that you still enjoy some Chihiro and Keima goodness, and I will take all the tomatoes you guys may have for me.
So yeah... gonna run to the bottom Author's Note...
Keima was a galgamer… even within real life, he had routes for everything, including how he'd traverse his noisy classroom during lunch time so to avoid the scrunched up paper balls and shouting matches between his classmates, which he sometimes got dragged into.
Luckily, the worst of the bunch would be crowded by the balcony, so he could easily avoid them if he came in from the front door and walked directly down his line. The issue came right at his desk.
If Chihiro seemed to be in the mood to chat with him, she definitely would, and that was the last thing Keima wanted. While she wouldn't throw airplanes at him (though he was fairly certain she had something to do with the little balled up pieces of paper that was in his hair last week), she did talk a lot… loudly… regardless whether it was with him or someone else by her desk.
All he wanted to do was play his games in peace, but it seemed like most of his life conspired to make sure that he didn't.
You see, Keima's life was uneventful till about five months ago, when he replied to a really unfair email which contracted him to capture Loose Spirits. In one foul swoop, his thoughts were forced to go someplace other than his galge heroines… he actually had to think about real girls! And how to romance them! If he couldn't do that, he'd lose his head!
Even outside them, the appearance of his sister, Elsie (actually the devil who recruited him into this shitty business) just brought more attention onto him, now reaching the point that Elsie's friends and bandmates felt comfortable with chatting with him as well, even outside of his conquests… Keima wasn't particularly fond of that development, so he just tried to keep as low a profile as he could.
It really wasn't helped that Chihiro sat diagonally behind him, however.
Luckily, as he turned the corner to enter the classroom, he could see that Chihiro was already involved in a conversation with Miyako at her desk, so he was basically in the clear. With that, he walked to his seat, eyes pasted on his PFP screen.
"You know this isn't real, right?" Miyako said tersely, her hand sounding against the paper of Chihiro's magazine as she hit it.
"It might not be scientific, but it is credible," Chihiro responded, a frustrated edge to her voice. Even though Keima didn't care, he did find himself a little concerned at the change to Chihiro's usually cheerful voice.
It was never a good thing when friends fought. Keima continued his gaming, but he did focus a little attention towards the two girls to see that it didn't get more heated or problematic.
"Those things are written to be vague, just like horoscopes and fortune cookies are… there's no specific truth in that."
"Say what you want, but it read you perfectly," Chihiro retorted, flapping the pages in Miyako's face, "maybe we don't understand the truth in Palmistry, but it doesn't mean that everything is a coincidence…"
With that, Keima understood what the issue was. It was another battle between logic and feeling, and once again, Chihiro took side against reason. He highly doubted this would escalate, so he decided to put his full attention to his game 'Love, Tears and other Fears'… he had no place in weighing in on that, considering he'd automatically be on Miyako's side, even if he didn't know the full scope of what Palmistry could do.
For a blissful few minutes, Keima tuned out the real girls. However, that peace could only last so long… though surprisingly, it was Miyako who started drumming her fingers on Keima's desk impatiently.
"Katsuragi, tell Chihiro that there's no logic behind reading palms," Miyako spoke pointedly. Keima just raised an eyebrow as he looked at her, "she keeps going on about how you can tell the truth with Palmistry, which is obviously complete bullshit."
"I'm not saying it's logical," the other normal girl raised up a magazine to show some double-spread she was reading, "I'm just saying there's truth to it, even if we don't understand why…"
"Would you consider it infallible?" Miyako placed a hand on her hip. Chihiro's eyes narrowed at the challenge.
"Considering Ellie's, Ayumi's and your results, I'm fairly certain it's accurate…" she replied smugly. Miyako smiled, but the motion was more threatening than anything.
"If you're so confident, how about you check on one last hand?" she smirked, "and I'm talking about Katsuragi here."
Chihiro and Keima glanced at each other, before looks of equal outrage came onto their faces. Keima because he didn't ask to get involved with this, and Chihiro coz… well, it was Keima's hand she'd have to read.
"What about his gamer cooties!?" Chihiro asked childishly.
"Says the one who actually believes in fortunes," Keima retorted back. For a moment, Chihiro's face fell, before she got her smirk back.
"Says the one who obsesses over the same thing all the freaking time," she turned her head to Miyako, "seriously, could you not ask any other person!?"
"I could," Miyako agreed, "but I chose Katsuragi because he's different from the rest of our classmates, so if you can actually read his fortune properly, I will believe you that there's truth to that."
"Look, the faster it goes for me, the better," Keima sighed, standing up, "so are you going to prove her wrong, Chihiro?"
Why Keima decided to agree… honestly, he couldn't really explain what it was, but he had a feeling that this was something Chihiro considered important… though Chihiro was the type to change her interests every few days. In any case, if Chihiro thought it was reliable, it was better if she found out the truth on her own.
On the other hand, Chihiro could feel her heart thumping in her chest with that last question. It almost made it seem like Katsuragi wanted to support her… what the hell was even up with that subtly smooth line!?
Keima walked the few steps to her desk and put his hand on her lap, to her utter surprise. She hadn't even agreed to this, let alone prepared herself for the warm weight which she could feel through her skirt… for the life of her, she couldn't decide if she liked that feeling or not…
Damn, why hadn't she sat down in her desk like a normal person, rather than on it?
"So," Keima asked with an even expression that was still focussed on his PFP, which was held in his other hand, "are you going to read my fortune or what?"
She gave Miyako a look, who shot her a pointed smile back, motioning to take his hand. She tried her hardest to not blush at the very obvious implication.
"Okay," she cautiously inspected his upturned hand before sliding her hand underneath his to move it closer. Maybe his hand was off her thighs now, but her mind had completely blanked out about what she was supposed to be doing. Honestly, while it was only the back of his slender fingers she was barely supporting, she couldn't deny how nice and warm it felt… while she couldn't call them soft, it certainly wasn't uncomfortable…
Oh God, if this was how it was going to be when she was only cupping the back of his hand to hold it up, how the hell could she hope to concentrate when she was supposed to be reading his palms?
"Umm, Chihiro…" Miyako spoke, and she looked up, "you're going to have to breathe if you want to do this…" she teased, her voice only a little above a whisper so that Keima couldn't listen.
"I'm breathing…" Chihiro retorted with some difficulty, finally noting that her lungs were under stress because she did forget to breathe… stupid her…
She shut her eyes for a moment to compose herself… the guy whose hand she was now holding was just some ordinary guy… no… he was the creeps of creeps… the only thing she should be thinking about is how not to get his gamer cooties. With a deep breath, she opened her eyes, her brain clearer than it was before.
By this point, her nerves had calmed enough so she could see the lines on his hands which she was supposed to read, and while she couldn't say why, that brought her an insane amount of comfort. At least with this little link to what she knew, she wasn't fretting so much about the fact that she was touching Keima.
"Okay," she raised his hand closer so she could inspect it, "so I see your heart line… and your head line… and your life line… and your fate line," she ran her fore finger across each of the folds as she called them out, and Keima's neck prickled each time, his eyes shot off his PFP to look at the normal girl, but she didn't seem to notice his discomfort at being touched.
"So… what are those supposed to do?" Keima tried to hurry it along.
"Basically I need to look at the shapes of each of those lines, then I'll be able to tell more about you in those aspects I mentioned," she responded. Keima found his body tensing up again at her warm breath on his palm. She ran her finger in the shape of one of the lines (thankfully, not on his skin), before turning to her magazine, probably to reference it. She briefly nodded, before sitting up straight.
"So your heart line speaks more of your emotional health and romantic perspectives," she picked up the magazine to inspect the shapes more closely, "and from this, it seems like 'you will have many relationships and lovers, without any of them becoming serious'…"
Miyako laughed, but Keima was sombre… that had to be a coincidence, right?
"Wait," Chihiro paused, which sparked up Keima's hope that she'd read his hand wrong or something, "for guys, the left hand is what's currently happening, so this is actually in the present tense," she corrected herself, and Keima pulled a face. That did the exact opposite thing.
"What, so Katsuragi's actually a Ladies Man!?" Miyako came in beside the girl so he could read the magazine as well.
"That's what the wavy line means," Chihiro nodded, stroking that line on Keima's palm, noting that his hand felt warmer now, "oh, there's actually some cuts across it," she quickly grabbed the magazine again.
"W-what does that mean?" Keima asked, though his jaw was clenched.
"It means that you've faced some emotional trauma," Chihiro responded, "maybe as a result of your many romantic affairs…"
Between the words and the image, Chihiro had to laugh as well… this reading could not have been more wrong.
For Keima, he had a somewhat different view on Chihiro's readings… if they were referring to his many conquests, that was creepily accurate… he did have a lot of short romances under his belt, and one was even with the girl who was currently reading his palm while laughing… but she, just like the other twelve girls, didn't remember a thing, so he was the one who held onto those memories…
He hadn't really considered the girls losing their memory to be trauma for him, and he knew it was better for everyone if the girls didn't remember… but he still did…
Did he miss them?
For a few more minutes, Chihiro continued reading his palm, while Keima struggled to get back to his game. During those brief conquests, he did get the feeling that they cared for him, and that feeling was snatched alongside their memories. Maybe he wasn't in love with them, but they were still special to him, and it did hurt that they could never feel that way again… most of them wouldn't even get to see him again.
In a miniscule way, he was at least happy that Chihiro and Ayumi were still in his life, even if the conversations weren't always civil. It was certainly more than his encounters with the other girls.
"Katsuragi," Chihiro called, and Keima snapped out of his daze, "Were you even listening to what I told you?"
For a moment, he just gave her an unreadably look as her words reminded him why he was even involved with the Loose Spirit Squad in the first place… it was true he'd been forced into it, and he'd lose his heads if he failed… but it was also true that it made him happy to see the girls change after the spirit was gone.
When he'd first talked to her, he'd always gotten the impression that she was a normal girl who was content spending her life blabbering about guys, while insulting him with every opportunity she got, but that mask fell at some point, showing a normal girl who was depressed that she'd never be anything more than that, and the only way she could become more exciting was to aim for exciting guys.
But this girl who was in front of him now was quite different… true, she still insulted him whenever she could, and her interests in guys had only abated so much… but she was more vibrant and she became interested in a lot more things… in forming a band… in other music… in whatever brief thing which struck her fancy, really…
Keima could usually tell with each of the girls where their true interests lay, and where they might go in the future… Chihiro didn't have anything like that, and he could tell that it didn't bother her anymore. She would just live as she always did, and she'd be happy…
Honestly, the only thing Keima wanted was for each of his conquests to be happy… and not to be called a cockroach by them…
"W-why are you looking at me like that?" Chihiro asked, averting her eyes. The small smile in his face fell to his usual poker face, and he shrugged. Now that Chihiro seemed to be done, he took his hand back to play his PFP more easily.
"So…" he said with a bored tone, "what did you get after that heart line thing?"
"Your thinking is clear and focused, you are cautious in your relationships, and you've had to give up some of your interests for others' sakes…" she summed up.
While Keima's face didn't change, the PFP in his hands started feeling hot, reminding him of how often he'd had to abandon it in favour of capturing Loose Spirits… honestly, this reading was a little creepy… just the fact that some non-scientific nonsense had brought up such specific truths was kind of amazing…
"So…" Chihiro turned back to face him, "if you add on your many supposed relationships, do you think this reading was truthful?"
With that question, Keima found himself at a crossroad… his answer here would decide if Chihiro could still believe in fortune telling… he could say that it was bull(which honestly would be the easier option, considering how Miyako and Chihiro had laughed at his first reading), but that would mean that Chihiro would never be able to believe in it the same way… but if he did agree with the reading, he'd have a lot more to explain, and he wasn't even dealing with a Denpakei that he could just brush it off.
Whenever you lose faith, I will come and save you…
With his promise echoing in his ears, he put down his PFP and pushed up his glasses.
"It's completely truthful," he said simply, the cogs in his head started whirring in overtime as he tried to think of what to say to the question that was guaranteed to follow.
The answer floated in the air for a few seconds.
"WHAT!?" both Miyako and Chihiro yelled, the latter getting to her feet, "even the relationships part?"
"Even the relationships part," Keima agreed solemnly, trying to stand his ground as both girls leaned towards him, eyes now burning with curiosity.
"SPILL…" they spoke with no ambiguity in that command, and Keima knew there was absolutely no dodging this question… however, this had been the choice he had made. With a deep breath, he replied.
"I couldn't help it, okay?!" he yelped, his hand going to his black collar, "I got a stupid email and when I tried to reply, this black collar came on my neck, and this devil named Elucia came from Hell and said I had to get rid of these Loose Spirits which were inside girls, and because all I do is play romance games, the only way I knew how to chase them out was to make them fall in love with me, but after I kissed them, they all forgot and I had to keep doing it over and over again!"
His words got faster and faster, culminating in Keima sounded near hysterical by the end, earning him a few weirded out gazes… on the other hand, this was kind of what he wanted.
Chihiro and Miyako blinked, before looking at each other… then the laughter began… Keima then knew that his split-second decision had reaped a result that he liked.
He'd told the truth, and there was no way anyone would ever believe it.
"Sure that happened," Miyako slapped her knee raucously, "humans made contact with the underworld, and the first thing they asked was for some guy to romance girls…" Chihiro was a bit more composed, but there were tears of laughter forming at her eyes.
"I think the most convenient thing is that all the girls forgot…" Chihiro grinned, "I think if any girl was to get with Katsuragi, they'd knock themselves out so they never remember it again!"
"I'm telling the truth," Keima said indignantly, "After I kissed each girl, some other demon came to clean their memories…" Miyako fell back into mirth, but Chihiro had a serious look on her face.
"Pray tell… which girls did you kiss then?" she asked, her eyes narrowed, as if she'd gotten tired of the act now. Just the fact that she was asking follow-up questions threw Keima off, and his act stuttered for a moment.
"You, for one…" he answered, his eyes becoming serious for a moment, before switching back to the goofy role he'd been playing, "then there was also Ayumi and Asami and Kan-"
"So you've basically kissed half the girls in the class…" Chihiro said in an unamused voice.
"Not just girls," Keima rubbed his hands together as if he was proud of himself, "there was also Nagase-sensei…"
"All we're missing is Nikaidou and you've got Delusional Bingo," Chihiro clicked her tongue.
"What's so delusional about me, Kosaka?" a voice drawled from one desk over, and Chihiro gulped.
"N-nothing, Nikaidou-sensei," she balled her palms up at her side, "K-katsuragi is just blathering about something…"
"Well, there's nothing new there," the teacher shrugged, "now how about you three sit down and stop drawing attention to whatever nonsense is being discussed here."
It was lucky that the class was as noisy as it was, seeing that it was approaching the end of lunch. After Keima was back in his seat, he had a glance around, and it didn't seem like anyone was watching him… and thankfully Elsie wasn't around to hear that and give the game away… the truth was stranger than fiction, and Keima was certain it would pass by without either of them considering his words further.
Still, there was some feeling he couldn't quite shake off… he had been speaking the truth, but why did he feel that urge to tell Chihiro about their kiss? Miyako had enough common sense to not feed into Keima's weird story, but Chihiro had a flippant view of logic, and she was perceptive to boot… it wasn't possible that Chihiro did believe his story… or that she could believe him if she knew a bit more?
How would she react knowing that she'd kissed the boy who had "gamer cooties"?
"Katsuragi…" Chihiro called him again, and Keima turned around reluctantly, holding his breath, "from your story, I think it may be possible that someone has a crush on you…" she smirked. Keima gave her a disbelieving look… it really felt like she was trying to bait him or something.
"Fine then," he sighed, "who has a crush on me?"
"Me, for one," her face was serious, and Keima's body froze… What the!?
Suddenly, a large smile came on her face, and she seemingly continued, resuming Keima's stopped heart as well.
"Though it could also be Ayumi or Asami or Kanon or Nagase-sensei," she raised her hand up in the universal 'I don't know' motion, "how about we add Nikaidou in for shits and giggles…"
He groaned… she was just trolling him!
Suddenly, a big figure appeared behind Chihiro, and a shiver of awareness went through her.
"And she's right behind me, isn't she?" Chihiro asked in a strangled voice, and Keima nodded. He smiled as she nervously turned around…
With that, the whole situation stopped being Keima's business, so he turned back to his PFP, trying to get his thoughts back to normal… Chihiro had gotten her just desserts, and Keima… well, he probably shouldn't think about his conquest girls for a while…
Though why was Chihiro even so fixated with shipping him and Nikaidou? For a normal girl, she was weird…
Chihiro was in detention when she allowed herself to think about how she got there… how does just reading someone's palms escalate so far?
Still, she glanced at the hand which had been holding Keima's a few hours ago and smiled… it really had felt nice, and she'd finally said the words out loud that she'd barely been able to think before… it was actually surprisingly easy speaking the truth when you know it's going to be taken as a lie…
She thought back to Keima's BS story, wondering why he'd even go through that trouble when it would have been easier to tell the truth and say that her Palmistry wasn't reliable… could it be possible that he didn't want her to give up on it because people said it wasn't something to be believed? Please, as if she'd stop herself from liking something coz someone said it was stupid.
Maybe liking Katsuragi was stupid, but she doubted she'd stop that anytime soon, especially now that he'd given her even more reason…
With that, sheleant onto her desk, a content smile on her face… Katsuragi's story was pretty funny… she imagined it would make a pretty decent manga…
And there you have it, folks... honestly, I'm not really sure what the purpose of this story was... I just wanted to write a ficlet, and while running through 101 different ideas, this was the one that stuck with me... a kind of scene with some introspection on both sides, as well as my ever-favourite battle of logic vs feelings... and so much dramatic irony...
Honestly speaking, I wasn't even going to post this... I've been writing short Kaminomi stuff here and there for the last few months, and after showing this to some friends yesterday, they bullied me into posting this... are you guys happy now!?
Though sometimes posting is the kick I need to write other stories, so who knows... maybe there is some good in this.
If anyone is wondering about the title, it's actually a reference to a TV Trope, which is a term for when you speak the truth while knowing it will never be taken seriously... there's a couple of TV Tropes and Kaminomi references from the novel, but I know that it's not everyone's cup of tea... however, I would actually recommend the first Kaminomi Light Novel... the translations suck, but how the content comes together was actually really nice, and the girls actually feel really realistic... some of those moments hit very close to home.
Also, the Palmistry Chihiro was doing in this chapter is actually from this Wikihow article I'd been reading this week... if you guys are ever bored enough to willingly stare at your palm for 20 odd minutes, I'd recommend doing that. It's quite a lot of fun.
I'd ask you to read and review, but I've kind of lost the right to do that... just do whatever you want, and I hope you enjoyed this.