Disclaimer: I don't own Assassination Classroom.
Valentine's Day is a war.
It's one that Okajima has been fighting for sixteen years of his life, sixteen years on the planet and not a feather in his cap. The only notches in his belt are the impressive defeats he's strung together over the years that rage on to this day. But that's fine, it's fine. The day he gets that chocolate from someone who isn't his mother, he will have his moment.
Today is not that day.
The insde of his school desk is devoid of any chocolates, the shelf in his shoe locker much the same. He even decided yesterday not to tape a No Chocolate No Life sign over it. Maybe that's where he went wrong?
At the final bell for the day he stomps to his shoe locker. A vortex of nothing stares back at him, like the darkness beneath his bed.
Okajima doesn't know what he even has to do to get chocolate from a girl anymore. Sixteen years. Sixteen bloody years and not a single chocolate from a girl. By some stupid stroke of luck, he was completely forsaken by Yada and Kurahashi last year when they forgot his share of obligatory chocolate but remembered all the other guys in Class E. Even if it was a miscount on their part, the fact they didn't have any chocolate left for him meant he was last on the priority list, right? Right?
One day, he swears, throwing down his tie and blazer when he gets home.
His phone vibrates, a message from the Class E boys' chat, and the contents make Okajima's hands squeeze like a vice around his phone.
"Today's loot," the message reads. Attached is a picture of ornately wrapped boxes with pretty ribbons and little message cards tied to them. Six of them, he counts.
It's Maehara—his fellow connoisseur of gravure magazines—and his stupidly beautiful spoils of war that make Okajima salivate with jealousy. And bitterness. Maehara is a flashy bastard. He would take any opportunity to brag about his popularity with the ladies. The world is so goddamned unfair, Okajima loves girls as much as Maehara does but the Womanizing Scumbag somehow gets all the chocolates. Who does he have to please around here to get some?
"Showoff," types Okajima.
"How many did you get?" The question is fired off quicker than Okajima has time to react; Maehara is coming guns ablazing today.
Okajima gnashes his teeth and mashes his fingers against the screen. "Give me back my magazines, you filthy traitor."
Another ping. "He obviously didn't get any chocolates."
Well fuck you too, Itona.
Another ping. Sugino this time.
"Our manager gave us all store-bought chocolate and then worked us into the ground during practice," says Sugino. Maybe Okajima should take up sports.
"At least you got chocolate! I'd kill to be worked into the ground by a girl if she gave me chocolate," Okajima yells aloud, typing the exact words into his phone. Sugino's relatable normality makes it easy to be honest.
"You can have Hazama's chocolates then," Muramatsu drops in casually.
Terasaka chimes in, as does Yoshida. They always come as a trio, a package deal.
"Take them off my hands, be my fucking guest."
"I'd rather not get any chocolate at all than get these."
They all send pictures of the same eerie checklist attached to their chocolates, written in red scrawl that Okajima swears is blood. If that doesn't make him nope the hell out of the offer, what little of the writing he can make out does:
□ My life has plunged into a downard spiral.
□ I am consumed by a sudden desire to watch the world burn.
□ I feel an irrational compulsion to dig my own grave.
"Don't forget to write a reply," they say.
...Now that's just fucking creepy. No thank you.
His phone vibrates agaain and of all people, this time it's Isogai. Prince Charming class rep is nicer than most, but Okajima's pride can't take much more abuse today.
The photo Isogai sends their way is an embarrassment of riches, bags and boxes of chocolates threatening to spill from the desk on which they sit. Okajima doesn't bat an eye, they just stay widened in rage. This is nothing new but it does nothing to help his sanity.
Isogai is so perfect at everything he does, it's maddening: smart, athletic, handsome, popular, and still humble through it all—it's like he's won the lottery in life, except he hasn't because he's still dirt poor. That does nothing to hurt his popularity though. Conversely, that humble and meager upbringing makes him even more endearing to others.
"Kataoka's haul," adds Isogai, and Okajima falls deeper into despair. Maybe he should have been born a woman.
The thought never materializes beyond outlandish desperation, however, because his phone pings yet again.
Takebayashi is a man of few words and he lets his photos do the talking, which only serves to infuriate Okajima further. There's a pyramid of decorated boxes, something like a dozen of them and then some—Okajima is too pissed off to count properly. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and if there's ever a mic drop from Takebayashi, it's the demolitions expert being surrounded by maids, beautiful, beautiful maids hovering around him in the photo with the perfect chocolate construct erected in front of him.
Okajima just about frisbees his phone across the room and straight into his trash bin. He's just been dunked on by the class otaku.
Does he have to be rich or become a doctor? Wear glasses? Is it the glasses? Do girls actually dig otaku now, or is that just the maid crowd? So many questions, zero answers. The more he knows, the less he understands.
The chat is flooded by the rest of the boys and Okajima wonders why he even bothers to read it all when each new message is like an icy knife thrust mercilessly clean into his soul. Everyone is getting chocolate this year again. Everyone except him.
"What kind of world is this?" The ire flows through his fingertips, each keypress harder than the last. "How does everyone get chocolate but me!"
"Don't hate the player," he reads Maehara's message in his stupid pretty boy voice, "hate the game." Okajima screams at nothing and kicks his desk but ends up stubbing his toe, the bitterness and anger stuffed deeper within him.
Fuck the system.
Again, his phone buzzes, Karma this time. Okajima can already feel the sense of dread nipping at his ankles because the only times Karma speaks up are when it's important or when he has something witty to say. Takebayashi's already taken his soul, he doesn't need Karma pouring acid on his corpse.
Even back in middle school, Okajima has never seen eye-to-eye with Karma. He's too different, unrelatable as a man, but most of all, it's Karma's blatant disregard for all the things Okajima reveres. Okajima looks at erotic magazines and sees perfection. Karma sees them and says, "How many dirty old geezers did she have to spread her legs for to get on those pages?" without a change in expression. They're dirt rags to him.
Okajima treats Valentine's Day with the utmost reverence. Karma treats Valentine's Day like he treats most people: flippantly. Kurahashi and Yada's obligation chocolates were okay in his books, maybe because all the boys in Class E (minus Okajima) got them, but Karma was more than happy to pawn off the chocolates he received from the girls he didn't know. He couldn't have given less of a damn about them and their feelings. Karma gets more kicks out of being feared than adored.
He's never seen a worse mismatch—Karma's good looks are utterly wasted on him. A delinquent doesn't need to be good-looking to punch people in the face or get punched in the face. He'll never question Karma's loyalty to Class E but Okajima would be lying if he doesn't think Karma's personality is about as rotten as a decomposing corpse sometimes.
The worst thing about Karma is that his good looks probably fall far behind his wealth of other talents, namely his intelligence, athleticism, fighting prowess, and his ability to piss off others without lifting a finger. Divine compensation for his god-awful personality, because if Karma wasn't born with a silver spoon lodged in his mouth, then it sure as hell got stuck far up his ass somewhere along the way.
The red demon continues, "If you're that desperate for chocolate, I can ask Okuda-san to make your share too. Guarantee you won't be starved for chocolate after that."
...He has several questions.
If Okajima has learned anything from being in Karma's class for a year, it's that he should never trust the guy when he's playing nice. Karma doesn't do charity—he does mischief and everything is a joke to him, doubly so if the redhead is partnering up with their resident mad scientist. Karma and Okuda are a match made in hell, one that Terasaka can attest to.
"So what filling do you prefer, Victoria Falls or ghost peppers with wasabi paste?"
Eat shit, Karma.
"Neither!" Okajima smashes his fingers into his phone screen. "Fine! I don't need this. I can go anywhere and be insulted!"
Valentine's Day can go to hell and so can the rest of these traitors. Isogai offers to share his chocolate with him but that does nothing to temper Okajima's rage. If anything, it worsens it. Like, it pisses him off that he's so good-looking, and that he's smart and popular, and that he gets chocolate. And it pisses him off that Isogai's so humble about it, which only makes him even more popular. It's a losing cycle that never ends. Nagisa also offers to share the chocolates he received from older women in the neighbourhood but pity is the one party Okajima never wants to host.
He tosses his phone across his bed and burns a hole through his ceiling with his eyes. If he's lucky, maybe the whole thing will collapse on him so he doesn't have to suffer this chocolate-less hell. Or maybe he has to give up something important to get something in return. Does he have to sacrifice his stash of gravure pinups to get chocolate?
Last he's heard, Kimura has become famous at school thanks to his unique name. Even Sugaya and Mimura have received chocolate from their club members. Valentine's Day might be every man for himself, but every year it's the same story of Okajima versus the world.
Camaraderie is dead.
The next day passes as if yesterday has never happened.
Okajima drags himself onto his bed after school wondering which stage of grief he's in, somewhere between anger and bargaining, but also denial. There's a little bit of everything swirling in his mind until the sound of the doorbell wrenches him from his thoughts.
He swings the door open only to have a chocolate bar shoved in his face.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Oka-chin," Kurahashi beams.
Yada smiles apologetically. "Well...think of it as an apology for forgetting your share last year."
Everything slows to a halt.
Okajima is gobsmacked as he takes the chocolates in hand. They're solid, tactile, and cool to the touch. Is this real life? Is this really happening? It's a day late, but he's finally having the moment he's craved for so long.
He's so overcome with emotion he doesn't notice the two girls shifting from the doorway.
Okajima barely has time to register what's happening when all the guys from Class E appear before him, arms behind their backs and all too perfect smiles. He especially doesn't like the shit-eating grin on Karma's face and starts sweating bullets when he sees Sugino wind up in his pitcher's stance as the rest of the boys raise their arms and follow suit.
Oh hell. Camaraderie isn't dead, but he sure is.
Assaulted by a barrage of boxes and chocolate bars, Okajima hears one loud chorus of doom amidst his chocolatey demise:
"Happy Valentine's Day!"
A/N: Be careful what you wish for, Okajima. The truth is I wanted to write KaruMana but I always end up writing dumb shenanigans instead and this time it involved the Class E boys.