1a: the act or process of continuing in a state, condition, or course of action
1b: prolongation, duration
The sky was a piercing shade of azure.
Floating serenely against that background, the clouds looked large and swollen.
Naturally, that observation didn't sit well with Sousuke, not after his little episode in class. Only the fact that he ran to the restroom near the end of the last period before break, allowed him to avoid answering Kaname's questions for this long.
There would be questions. He was sure of it. His reaction had been out of the ordinary, and Kaname never let anything like that go without commenting, probing, and making some kind of declaration or decree. For the umpteenth time, a part of him wondered if the Whispered could somehow read minds. Not usually one for prayer, he prayed that they could not.
"Here he is Kaname!" That was Kyouko's voice. It figured! She seemed so quiet and helpful at times; but, she was a terrible gossip. Someone like her would have been shot for giving away secrets, had she been part of a military organization. Her behavior was mystifying, even for a teenage female. One moment, she appeared to be doing whatever it took to further his relationship with Kaname. The next, she was making some kind of observation destined to pull the pin on a potentially explosive moment. "I'll leave you two alone…"
Kaname thanked her pig-tailed friend and hurried over to where Sousuke sat alone, trying not to seem like she was hurrying. She looked more relieved than curious. At least for the moment. "You're still here…good…" She tugged at her hair and let out a long sigh. "I was afraid that you might have left on a mission or something…" She narrowed her eyes, as if wondering about that possibility. She had made him promise never to leave again without letting her know one way or another. While looking for him after class, she had checked every place he was liable to leave a written note, when she didn't see him in the cafeteria.
"Negative," Sousuke replied. I have promised not to do that. Does she doubt my word? Should I feel insulted? No. It is a sign of caring. She wants to be able to put her faith in me. He eyed Kaname critically. It would be good if the conversation stayed on this tack. He should give more than a single word answer. "It was lunch break after class. I thought it made more sense waiting for you here, instead of searching for you through the crowd." That was not entirely a lie. Then again, it had not been his intention to seek her out. The only reason he hadn't chosen a good place to hide was the fact that such an act would only boost her curiosity to an inadvisable level.
"I guess that makes sense." Kaname sat down next to Sousuke. She tossed her hair, just right. The tips of her blue locks brushed across his face. Being who she was… and dealing with who she was dealing with… her mind automatically began thinking of other possibilities for his absence. But, she was not merely assuming there was some kind of trouble. She was not pessimistic in any way. That was her story and she was sticking to it. "That's what has me worried." She smiled, bumping against him. She waited, and then scowled. He was too slow. "Arm…"
Sousuke wrapped an arm around Kaname's waist. He swallowed hard. There was no reason to be shy. This was by no means a burden, or unpleasant task. But, after thinking the things he had before, he worried if his uppity anatomy might choose this moment to assert its independence again. Perhaps there are medications. I will call someone I trust from Mithril.
"So…" Kaname resisted the impulse to lay her head on Sousuke's shoulder. Why? First, she was in her 'fact finding' mode. There could be no distractions, no matter how pleasant they might be. Second, even though the whole class must know that the two of them were dating, she had a thing about public shows of affection. The arm around her waist was not subtle enough to pass muster. "Are you sick? You don't have a fever…" She had placed her hand on his forehead. "You couldn't have needed to go to the bathroom. Kurz and Melissa say you are part camel."
"Kurz is the one who said that." Sousuke replied automatically, his common sense taking a few moments to catch some shut-eye. Kurz Weber had indeed made mention of his ability to go long missions without the need to void his bladder. "Melissa remarked that I was hung like a camel." Why did I say that? It serves no purpose. It is exactly the type of thing that does not need to be mentioned now.
Kaname's eyes went wide. Her mouth opened, but she couldn't find any words. Unable to stop herself, she glanced down at Sousuke's crotch area, her face turning bright red. When she realized that he had followed her glance, she froze.
"Gotcha!" There was a flash. It was Kyouko again. Sousuke wondered how the girl always seemed to show up at precisely the most inopportune moment. Some things were beyond his knowledge. Salmon returned to the place of their birth to spawn. Birds could navigate across the globe, finding precise places without use of a map or compass. Kyouko had a similar skill. He would leave it at that.
"Kyouko!" Kaname turned and shook her fist at her best friend. It was a great way to regain her composure. When the other girl had left, and she turned back to Sousuke again, she instinctively chose to blame him for what happened, without telling him so. "Kurz may be right. But, I don't see any bump." She ran a hand over Sousuke's back. Her playful nature took over, erasing her earlier annoyance. Even though she had yet to be successful, she tried to tickle Sousuke again. It would make her day… no, her year, or even lifetime… if she could get him to react. In the process, she brushed her chest against his arm.
"You were not…" Again, Sousuke had failed to engage the safety on his mouth. It fired without intent. He had been thinking : 'You were not looking at the right place during class.' That had him seizing up. "They are called humps." He coughed. That was not an apt word. I remember what Melissa has said about 'humping like a camel.' I can recall Tessa's reaction when I asked her to explain the phrase to me. "The rugged cold-climate camels have two, while the larger desert dwellers have one." His eyes wandered to the front of Kaname's shirt for some reason.
Despite the duel clothe-covered mounds he saw, he was well aware that she was not Bactrian. He hoped that the fabric of his trousers wouldn't suddenly show him to have a similarity to Dromedary variant of camels. If she caught where I was looking. She did. I must find something to say! He had to head off her reaction. "Camelsdo not store water in their humps as is commonly believed. Their humps are a reservoir of fatty tissue, while water is stored in their blood. However, when this tissue is metabolized, it is not only a source of energy, but yields water through a reaction with air. This allows them to survive without water for about two weeks, and without food for up to a month."
"I think that is more than enough about camels!" Kaname did not want Sousuke to go off on one of his otaku blabber-fests. It was still a point of contention with her. A lot of the time, when she wanted him to open up, he remained silent. But, when she didn't feel like being inundated with useless facts, he developed a case of verbal diarrhea. She blinked rapidly for a moment. "It wasn't… you know…" She obviously was searching for a delicate way to ask something. "You didn't have the … ummm… runs, did you…" Kaname felt an urge to examine her fingernails closely? Why had she asked that? Hopefully he wouldn't answer with too much detail!
"No," Sousuke replied. He forced himself to empty his mind, and to stare straight ahead. His mind was being very perverse. Images from earlier passed before his eyes. There is no reason to relive the day dream! It was inappropriate in class. Here, with Kaname sitting near me, it would be worse. I must not think about such things! "I am not ill. Even though the food you cooked last night tasted somewhat strange, I trust you and your attention to basic food hygiene."
"Strange?" Kaname's eyes narrowed. She clenched one hand into a fist. The other hand clutched at the slate slab they sat on. "Did you say 'strange'?" She had spent a lot of time the night before, preparing a number of new dishes for Sousuke. Cooking was fun. She wanted to break him out of the 'Fresh buttered rolls… MRE packets… or whatever is readily available' routine.
"Affirmative," Sousuke answered. "I believe that is the correct description. Strange. Odd. Mildly unpleasant." He was Specialist. He could read signs of danger by tracks on the ground, by the sounds that concealed enemy machines made, and even by some wondrous sense of intuition. But, he repeatedly missed the signs of danger that showed up in his girlfriend's voice, posture, and hand motions. "However, I did not suffer any of the physical signs of food poisoning that could have resulted from the consumption of a meal contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, toxins, viruses, prions or parasites. Such contamination usually arises from improper handling, preparation, or storage of food."
"Unpleasant?" Kaname was practically growling now. Neither she nor Sousuke noted the absolute look of glee on Kyouko's face. The girl with the camera had somehow proven adept at approaching unnoticed yet again. The flash blinded the two of them momentarily. The bright light did not affect Kaname. She was already seeing red. This wasn't the first time Sousuke had gotten on her bad side after she worked her fingers to the bone. She remembered throwing a base at him, and striking him with it on the back of the head, when he missed that study session she had spent so much time cooking for.
"Mildly," Sousuke said. He looked over at a growing crowd. Ono-D, Shinji, and a gaggle of other students had joined Kyouko. They all looked very expectant for some reason. I hope they did not suspect my reason for leaving class. That might get me in trouble with Kaname. "It was no reason for me to think poorly of you. Your cooking is usually very adequate. At least by my standards." That had been meant as a compliment. She should be happy that I take note of such things.
"Adequate?" To anyone other than Sousuke, it would be obvious that 'adequate' was not a word that a girlfriend wanted to hear. Especially not a girl who had seen her life dramatically changed. Most certainly not Kaname Chidori. "Your standards?" Kaname's eyes flashed. She had forgotten all about Sousuke's behavior in class. At least for the moment. "By your standards, mud probably tastes pretty good!" She looked down at the dirt in the garden behind them, almost as if she might be temped to grab some and let it trickle on his head.
"Why would I eat mud, Kaname?" Sousuke raised one eyebrow. Sometimes, her comments made no sense at all. Perhaps I should inform her that the mujahideen did not eat dirt or rocks, as some Russians used to grudgingly joke.
"Because you won't be getting any more meals from me. Hmmmpppfff!" Kaname folded her arms over her chest and turned her head away. She frowned, seeing how her watching friends all smiled. She slid off of the wall, brushed off the seat of her pants, and began walking towards them. "I might change my mind. If you get rid of our unwanted guests." She looked back at Sousuke. "A pair of stun grenades would probably do it…"
"It appears that intervention will not be necessary." Sousuke had indeed produced two round metallic objects seemingly out of nowhere. Seeing them, Kyouko and the others had wisely decided to head back inside before class. Or so it seemed. There was no reason for him to resort to violence. The threat alone worked greater than ninety percent of the time.
"What am I going to do with you, mister?" Kaname ran a hand through her hair, studying Sousuke from a distance. He really did infuriate her at times. But, she knew he had a good heart. Just the same, her displeasure was a useful tool in getting him to change. Those changes might come at a glacial pace at times, but something was better than nothing.
"Kaname?" Sousuke finally realized why Kaname might be upset.
"Do you remember what we talked about in science class yesterday?" Kaname put her hands on her hips. After Sousuke had made one of his usual verbal faux pas, embarrassing her in the process, she had read him the riot act, using the day's study set as a reference.
"The giant squid?" Sousuke asked. A preserved giant squid axon was available for study. The axon was about one millimeter in diameter, making it more than one thousand times thicker than a comparable human structure. Since action potentials travel faster in a larger axon than a smaller one, the giant axon gives the squid an extremely quick escape response, thanks to its water jet propulsion system. "My ability to escape danger?" Kaname had naturally made just such a comparison.
"No. Not the part about escape. But, that might come in handy." Kaname gave him one of 'those' looks, feeling a small twinge of satisfaction when his eyes darted this way and that, looking for possible escape routes. She wasn't really going to hit him or anything. But, it didn't hurt to keep him guessing.
The teacher had said that estimates put the number of neurons in the central nervous system of a squid at roughly 168 million, in comparison to 100 billion for a human brain. Kaname had said that he was probably closer in count to the cephalopod. Overhearing, the teacher had admonished her for that remark, asking for an apology. Kaname had then apologized to one of the small fresh squid that had been brought in for dissection. When the hubbub in the room settled down, she made it a point to lecture Sousuke about thinking before he spoke.
"What else did I tell you?" Kaname made a face. It was the 'He better not have forgotten!' expression.
"How much you enjoy eating seafood?" Sousuke tried to remember what else Kaname had said. It wasn't always simple to do that, since she gave him more and more 'hints,' 'rules,' and 'commandments' every day. I wasn't joking last week, when I asked if there was a manual for that kind of thing. I do not understand why she got angry, and dumped her soda on my head. It may have been one of those 'time of the month' things that Mao warned me about. Perhaps I should start keeping a chart.
"No!" Kaname clenched both fists this time. When she had mentioned her love of seafood, Sousuke loudly suggested that she control such impulses, since the squid were for study, not eating. He had also brought up the rather embarrassing incident, where she had eaten the rare and endangered clam that a famous professor had brought to Jindai High School last term. "Not that, either." She glowered at him. "Think!" That word ought to help him remember, as well as serving as an order. "Think, Sousuke…"
Sousuke began rubbing his chin, looking deep in thought.
"I think it's the giant axon," a voice called out. Ono-D had made a brave if inadvisable return. He had dragged Shinji with him, just in case he needed a human shield. "She probably wants to know just how big your axon is… if you know what I mean…"
Once again, Kaname felt as if she had been clubbed upside the head with a pole-arm. Her mouth fell open. She turned even redder than before.
"Axon?" Sousuke cocked his head. The teacher had indeed made size comparisons in class. The neurons in Sousuke's brain shouldn't be any larger or smaller than the ones in any other human being.
"The one between your legs…" Ono-D laughed, thinking he had scored a great shot. He didn't pay any attention to Shinji, when the other boy said that they should probably make a run for it.
"Oooo-ooo-oo-oh…" Kaname stomped her foot. Her pride washed away her embarrassment. Did the jerk think that he was going to get away with that kind of comment? This time, it was her turn to act without thinking. She reached inside of Sousuke's pants pocket, wanting to grab one of the grenades.
"See!" Ono-D called out, pointing. A number of girls stepped shyly out of confinement. "Told you!" he went on to graphically describe why Kaname might be reaching into Sousuke's pants.
"BAKA!" Kaname pulled out the grenade, and then pulled out its pin. Her talent as a softball team member came into play then. She placed the grenade at Ono-D's feet just before it exploded.
Sousuke normally would have complimented Kaname on her throw, or scolded her for using one of his weapons. But, he was much too distracted. Her rooting around in his trousers had prompted his natural reaction yet again. He turned away from her so that she couldn't take note of that fact. This is bad. Very bad. It is even stiffer than before. My threshold is diminishing. Were she to do anything more, I would never make it to the restroom facilities in time.
"Sousuke? What's wrong?" Kaname sounded somewhat concerned, the sound of triumph in her voice rapidly evaporating. "You're not angry at me for taking your grenade, are you?" She paid no attention to the number of stunned students stumbling about, falling over the guardrails or ending up face down in the newly mulched landscaping.
"No." Sousuke kept turning away from Kaname. As she made greater and greater efforts to step in front of him and see his face.
"Then why won't you look at me?" A trace of anger returned, but she truly sounded worried. "It's really not a big deal. I wasn't being all that irresponsible. You probably would have done it, if I asked you."
"Uhhh…" Sousuke kept pivoting this way and that. It really is a big deal. One that could not possibly avoid detection. The only saving grace is that Kurz and Melissa are not here. I could never live this down. No, that is not the worst thing that could happen. I would not wish to explain it to the Captain. It would also be bad if Cmdr. Mardukas saw something like this. Why did he have to have that daydream in class? Why were things spiraling out of control? This was the kind of thing that happened in manga and anime!
"Enough already, mister!" Kaname was too busy doing what she was doing to see that a rather miffed looking Ono-D was walking in their direction, angry at the cut that Kyouko had gotten on her knee when he fell on her. Not far behind him, Ryo and Maya were following, having their own gripes with their friend. "Stand still. That… is… an… order…" Her tone of voice did not leave any room for disobedience.
"Affirmative!" Sousuke's conditioned response did him in. He immediately stood at attention, in more ways than one. Luckily, Kaname looked into his eyes when she made her way in front of him. I could knock her unconscious, without causing too much harm. I could leap over the perimeter fence, and make a run for the gym, claiming to need the bathroom again. I could pretend to have convulsions, and then fall on my front. His mind rapidly worked through multiple possibilities; but, his luck ran out before he could implement any of the more practical scenarios.
"HEY!" Ono-D's shout rang out again, louder than before. His face practically glowed, as if he had stumbled upon Eldorado or the Fountain of Youth. "SAGARA'S GOT A STIFFY!"
"Either that, or Kaname put a cucumber in his pocket." Maya quickly turned her head, averting her gaze. She began pulling at loose threads on her blouse.
"He's…" Ryo's eyes goggled. "He's… " She coughed. "He's like a tripod…" Like Maya, she quickly found something else to take interest in, pulling a leaf off of a nearby shrub and examining its vein structure.
Kyouko's flash went off yet again. Even though there was blood dripping slowly down her leg and staining her stocking, she would not be denied this golden opportunity. The resulting photograph would be the kind of thing that she could slide inside Kaname's locker… hide inside her books… or put just about anywhere to get a big rise out of her. She smiled, thinking that an apt choice of words, even though it was Sousuke who had done the rising.
"Does he have a gun in there?" Shinji's mind couldn't quite fathom what he saw. When the truth finally hit him, he stumbled backwards. That proved his undoing, when his flailing arms caused one hand to press against Maya's breast, and the other slapped Ryo hard on the rump. Their demonstration of displeasure did more damage than the grenade had.
"Let's ask Kaname." Ono-D's smile was almost too large for his face. The Cheshire Cat would have slunk away in jealousy. It was worth being blown up, just to be able to claim credit for this coup.
The look on Kaname's face told a tale. She had been face to face with Gauron, on more than one occasion. She had stared death in the face, when Behemoth fired on the truck she and the others were making their escape in. She had been captured by gangsters… carried down from a high cliff by balloon… chased by a pervert with a pony's head… hunted down by assassins… and chased by freaky robots on a cruise ship. She would gladly do each and every one of those things again, rather than be standing at that place, at that given moment.
"MISTER SAGARA!" That irate voice belonged to the Vice Principal. He was accompanied by Mr. Oonuki, since the janitor would need to clean up the damage caused by this most recent detonation. By the looks on their mask-like faces, someone was in for big trouble. Fortunately, the older of the two men was not carrying his chainsaw. "THIS IS THE LAST STRAW!" Behind the shouting official, the school nurse began checking on the assorted bumps and bruises suffered by those members of Class 2 who had been too curious for their own good.
"Sousuke didn't throw the grenade," Kaname said, relieved to have a timely distraction. "I did…"
"A likely story," the Vice Principal said, motioning for the Principal to join them. Ms. Tsuboi had just gotten word of the day's 'excitement.' "Madame Principal… look what Sagara did…" He pointed at the damage. But, the woman's eyes were drawn to something rather different.
"Oh my…" Ms. Tsuboi turned away. The look on her face had the guys all snickering. The girls gave them a look of sufferance and mild loathing. "I don't think you needed to call me out here for that."
"I'm…" Kaname cleared her throat. "I'm the one who's responsible, Ma'am." She bowed to Ms. Tsuboi.
"That isn't surprising, Miss Chidori." The Principal fanned herself with one hand. "But, I do not think it is seemly for you to brag about your effect on your fellow classmate." That had everyone chuckling or whispering amongst themselves.
"That's not what I meant," Kaname said in a rush, turning the color of a fine sunset again. "I was talking about the grenade." She said that at the same time the Vice Principal said "She's talking abouta grenade."
The man frowned, since he did not buy her taking the blame in place of that wild mongrel of a boy. That erection of his must be another planned insult! A way to bring shame to the Vice Principal, when the Principal showed up. Why was the young trouble-maker allowed to stay at that school? Some day the boy would pay!
"That's right!" Ono-D had the ball and intended to run with it. "She's the one who pulled Sagara's pin!" The other boys all gave him a 'V' sign. The girls looked at him as if he was something they had found on the bottom of their shoes.
"I think that will be enough of that, Mister Koutarou." The Principal's voice snapped like the wind-blown flag flying above them all. The boys all razzed Ono-D. "Why don't we talk about this in my office, Mister Sagara." Her suggestion was met with a round of hushed talking and a couple of whistles. "I think you all know what I'm talking about." She looked over at Sousuke, who had gone stiff as a board again. All except for a certain part of him, which had suddenly decided to go limp. "Miss Chidori, you will join us." She eyed the crowd. "Anyone who does not find their way to the appropriate classroom within the next two minutes will be staying after school to assist Mr. Oonuki."
The session in the Principal's office did not last long. Just the same, Kaname had been mortified for so many different reasons. After they had been suitably chastised, she and Sousuke were sent outside to help the janitor. Mr. Oonuki couldn't help smirking the entire time. His smile grew to gargantuan proportions, when another one of his past tormentors showed up. When Tsubaki walked over to find out what Sousuke had done wrong this time… with an unwanted Mizuki hot on his trail… the gleeful man was only too happy to describe things in embarrassing detail. He did a little dance, after seeing the look of shock and anger on the karate club leader's face.
After Sousuke and Kaname cleaned up after the initial damage… and Mizuki and Tsubaki were left to straighten up the mess that the subsequent fighting caused… the two mentally exhausted teenagers headed for safer environs.
"It is good to be headed home," Sousuke remarked to Kaname, as night fell over the busy city. "The day seemed overly long. Longer and harder than I would have expected."
"Owww-ww-w…" Kaname rubbed her forehead. That choice of words had caused her to walk into a street sign.
"Kaname? Are you hurt?" Sousuke asked, watching as his girlfriend picked up her pace. "It might be best that you not rub it." He meant her forehead. "We can put ice on it when we reach your apartment, if you like. That should make the swelling go down."
"Oooph.." Kaname tripped over the curb and landed hard on her rump. She knew what Sousuke was making reference to. Just the same, she couldn't help her reactions.
Sousuke reached his hand down to Kaname and helped her to her feet. He wondered why she was blushing again. She has done that a lot today. Of course, she had reason to, earlier. But not now. "It is not your circulatory problem, is it?"
"No!" Kaname gave a snappish answer. The look on her face said 'Why did the big idiot keep bringing that kind of thing up?' "It has nothing to… do… with…" She ran down. The thing she inadvertently kept thinking about did have to do with blood flow. Sousuke's, not hers.
"Look out!" Sousuke grabbed Kaname with his arm, pulling her close to him. She had been oblivious to the orange plastic cones and yellow warning tape she had walked past. Another two steps, and she would have fallen down an open manhole cover.
"Th-… Th-… Thank you, Sousuke…" Kaname shivered. It wasn't because of the cool breeze tugging at her skirt. Rather, she had once again come very close to injuring herself severely. Desperately wanting to find a subject that would allow her to get her mind off of something she shouldn't be thinking about in the first place, she latched onto one forgotten thought as if she were a lamprey. "You know… you never did tell me why you left class in such a hurry…"
"Uhhh…" It was Sousuke's turn. He ran smack dab into a metal railing, used to hold bicycles. He went cross-eyed, striking a rather sensitive part of his anatomy, one which had been the focus of way too much attention that day. "That… hurt…" He sucked in his breath, and began walking somewhat stiffly. "It was not anything important…" He blinked rapidly, thinking that his fleshy appendage was indeed important. The stars he saw dancing in front of his eyes gave mute testimony to that fact. "My leaving class…"
"Come on Sousuke, you can tell me." Kaname hooked her arm through Sousuke's bumping her hip against him. "Remember? We tell each other everything, now. No secrets!" She slowed down some. "You promised…" She was obviously still unsure about him in some ways. Not about his honesty, but rather about the professional end of his life that could tear still them apart some day.
"It… uhhh… it is nothing weird. Nothing dangerous." Sousuke let out a long breath. Nothing dangerous? That is a matter of definition! How can I tell her? But, she is correct. I promised. We should not keep secrets from one another. Then again, this is not what she was talking about.
"Well, that's a first." Kaname smiled. "Any way, no secrets. Just let it out!" She wondered why Sousuke went stiff. "I can take it."
"Uhhh…" Once again, Kaname's inadvertent choice of words had Sousuke sweating. "I truly do not think this is something you will wish to discuss." He stared at her. Even though she seemed inclined to get the truth from him, he would get all of the blame if he complied. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. He thought back to his daydream again, this time focusing on some of the words. That which does not kill one, makes him stronger. Or her strongerHe also remembered a quote from "Julius Caesar: 'It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience'. "I will tell you, if you insist…"
Kaname stood silently for a moment, her curiosity at war with a sudden sense of foreboding. Tossing her hair, she said "Leonard was a problem, Sousuke. So was Gauron. And Takuma." She nodded her head. "As longs as you're with me, there's nothing I can't handle."
"That…" Sousuke twitched. Handle? Fate must truly have it in for him. "By your command…" He told her about his daydream, and his unwanted physiologic response. She stood like a statue for a number of minutes after he finished, causing the passersby to wonder if she were a manikin or some kind of promotional gimmick placed on the sidewalk by one of the small shops.
Finally, her head still spinning, Kaname began walking without Sousuke. Every time he sped up to keep up with her, she moved even quicker. When she finally brought herself under control, swearing that she would behave in a more mature fashion, she came to a halt, a block away from her apartment building. "Well, Sousuke? Why did you have us walking so fast?" When her boyfriend let out a sigh, she smiled and pointed at his satchel. "We should grab a quick bite to eat, and then do our homework. What's the science chapter for tonight?" Yes. She was Kaname Chidori, class representative and Student Council vice president. Nothing could keep her out of sorts for too long!
"I will see." Sousuke removed his assignment book from the bag. He flipped through a number of pages, and then ran his finger down along the paper, bringing it to a stop at the printed instructions for that day's date. "Biology. Chapter 23…." The book slid from his fingers, landing open on the sidewalk.
"Now what's wrong?" Kaname frowned. Picking up the book, she went through the same motions. She too fumbled the notebook.
Chapter 23 was titled 'Human Reproduction.'
1: marked by readiness to take offense on slight provocation
2a: of a body part acutely sensitive or irritable
2b: of a chemical highly explosive or inflammable
3: calling for tact, care, or caution in treatment, e.g. a touchy situation.