Excerpt from "Memoirs of a Student", by Shinohara Wakaba:

It's funny. I remember back in high school—no, it was earlier, middle school. In middle school I had really low self-esteem. It seemed like everyone else had their lives all put together, and here I was, just…stagnant.

(It might be strange to imagine someone thinking that in middle school. But it's true! It's the best way I have to describe it, anyway.)

I don't think most people noticed. I was one of those girls who had always been a happy kid on the outside, and so even into middle school I went on doing that. I could take care of myself—it was a boarding school, see—and I kept smiling and laughing. I don't think I knew how to be unhappy then.

What I remember most, from that middle year of middle school, was the scandal when the captain of the kendo team got suspended indefinitely, and no one knew why. Like everyone else I had a crush on him, or thought I did. (I even sent him a love letter once, can you believe it? That's what kids do, I guess.) But what happened was I came across him in the town, and he recognized me.

That's what I'd like to think. In actuality he probably just saw the uniform, and saw that I recognized him. But in any case, we started talking, and somehow the idea came up that…he would stay in my room. I know, it's ridiculous! A high school boy staying in a middle school girl's room. But I didn't even think of that at the time. I just wanted to be part of something special.

Something special. It wasn't even about him, really, although it certainly didn't hurt! It was that I had a secret. It was that I was connected to the captain of the kendo team. It was that I was important. For two weeks I was sailing blissfully around campus, and everything I touched turned to gold. My test scores improved. I had lunch with the other girls from my class outside and we laughed together. Boys blushed when I looked their way.

And then I found out the kendo captain was still in love with his ex, and somehow that made it all come undone. Like I said, in retrospect I don't think I was ever actually into him that way. It was more like a celebrity crush, and that feeling you get when a celebrity descends into your world and notices you. And she shattered that, without ever saying a word.

That day, everything extra I'd been doing that month caught up with me, and I collapsed. I can't remember what happened, actually, but when I recovered and went back home he was gone. A few days later he made his triumphant return to the school, and all his "adoring fans" turned out to cheer for him. Like I used to be.

Author's Note: I have a few chapters of this written already but figured I'd spread out posting them. Once that runs out, though, do not expect frequent updates; there was an interval of about 11 months between writing chapters 3 and 4. I freely admit that I have no idea where this story is going after chapter 6. [EDIT: Story is now complete!]

Accepted canon in this fic: the anime, the Sega Saturn game (yes, really). Definitely not canon: the movie, the recent anniversary manga stories.

Cover art drawn by Mimi the Alpaca! Check her out on Tumblr as theartsyfartsyalpaca.