Next Time, Knock
His image was soiled. Spoiled. Ruined. And Tsukimori Len could only think of one person to blame. Hiroto Kanazwa. If only he didn't fall into his trap, he might have still been able to look Hino Kahoko in the eye. But it just wasn't so.
A low but steady breeze slowly hung in the deserted air of Seiso Private Academy as the students – both music and regular – exited the building to start their Golden Week. A Golden Week in which students wouldn't need to worry about school, or work. A week to relax. And that was why Hiroto Kanazawa, or Kanayan, a music teacher in charge of the concours, decided that the six participants needed a break, some time to themelves to loosen up.
Now, Kanayan wasn't stupid. He knew that the participants, or at least most of them, would not relax during the week, but instead practice their chosen instruments. An image of his cerulean-haired violinist immediately came to mind. As a music teacher, of course, he wanted them to practice. But he also wanted them to take breaks. They needed an even balance of both, after all.
The concours was already over, but the seven students had a love for their music. That was why the gray – with a morsel of lilac – haired-teacher had called the five boys and two girls to his room. He had already planned something. He smirked to himself at the thought of joyful looks on their faces when he told them. Digging in his pocket he retrieved a cigarette as a self-reward. He would enjoy it later.
Leaning back on his chair, Kanayan heard fixed footsteps, and the doorknob to the room turned slowly. Kanayan lazily motioned them to come in, before realizing, 'Uh, they can't see me'. So he decided to go with his usual inactive, drowsy voice, "You can come in."
Two mops of sea-green hair, one cherry-red, two pastel indigo, blonde and one dark azure piled themselves in, their looks ranged from the impatient look Tsukimori was giving off, to the oblivious stare on Hino's face. Fuuyumi timidly shut the door behind her, and all eyes were on their sensei, awaiting an explanation.
Yunoki smiled kindly, Hino simply shuddering at his act. "Kanazawa-sensei, exactly why did you call us here?" Hino could see through his smile, but nobody else seemed to as Hihara plainly nodded in agreement with his friend.
Kanayan stretched slothfully, "For Golden Week."
"Golden Week?" The voices asked curiously in perfect synchronization
Tsukimori grunted dubiously, he didn't want to be here. The second-year assumed because it was a music teacher calling them, they would be discussing music. Even though he knew the concours was over, he still wanted to practice. Tsukimori took great pride in his music. He raised both of his eyebrows slowly, as he quickly caught a glimpse of Hino who was on his right.
Her face was just the opposite of his, excited. Her oversized bullion eyes shined with enthusiasm. He couldn't help but smile at the scene. Not that he did. He was emotionless, unless it came to Hino – he'd die before admitting that, though – so that meant no smiling. Especially in front of Tsuchiura, who was his number one enemy. The two did not get along, and it was a well-known fact. Tsukimori knew it was because of Hino.
None of them spoke about it, but they knew that neither of them saw the female prodigy as 'just a friend'.
The fact remained unknown to Hino herself, the thickness of her head blocked off anything obvious the two of them – or even Hihara, who's actions were dead giveaways – did to clue her in. Her density rate was much more than the densest of liquids, and for that the pianist and violinist were grateful.
Instead, Tsukimori gave the smoker his notorious chilly stare, "What does anything have to do with Golden Week? We have no time to waste." Hino gave him a sideways glance; secretly, she wanted time to waste. She loved her violin of course, but it was nice to sometimes get out and do things that weren't related to music. Unfortunately, Tsukimori's mind did not work the same way.
Hino often envied Tsukimori's ability to think of nothing but his violin. She, on the other hand, had many different things, or in this case bishonen, who were more than enough of a distraction. She blushed deeply at the thought of her fellow male participants. Her mind returning to the on-going conversation, the second-year stared blankly back at their teacher, who was confusing her more by the second.
'Geez.' She sighed heavily. 'Kanazawa-sensei is just like Shimizu-kun. Neither of them make any sense.'
Hino brought up her hand, the urge to run it through her hair took over, but accidently it brushed against Tsukimori's hand, who was standing on her left. He quickly moved away his hand, as if Hino's hand was poisonous. Embarrassed and ashamed, the strawberry-haired girl clasped her hand with her other, making sure it was out of her 'friend's' way.
Her large eyes remained fixed on the expensive wooden floor. 'I wonder… are we even friends?' He didn't act like they were, but Hino was sure that he had at least accepted her as a rival. She somewhat frowned at the thought. She didn't want to be considered his rival, at least not after the concours was already over. Reddening, Hino couldn't hear the exchange of words any longer. She wasn't even sure if she wanted to just be Tsukimori's 'friend'.
Kanayan gave a knowing smile, he expected this much of an argument from his male violinist. "That is precisely why." Receiving confused looks, he continued, waveringly getting off of his chair, "Because you have no time to waste, I've decided to waste it for you." Grinning, he ran a finger through his thick mane of hair.
"That makes no sense, Kanayan!" Hihara pouted, while Hino laughed nervously, trying to calm her senpai down. Tsukimori inwardly bristled at the sight, he didn't know why though. Whenever she made any contact with their trumpet playing senpai – physical or verbal – Tsukimori could feel the hairs on his head standing on edge.
Shimizu shook his head in disagreement, "What sensei is… trying to say is…" Groggily he rubbed his eyes together, pausing mid-sentence. "…Sensei is taking us… somewhere to… waste our time." Everyone else unhurriedly looked at Kanayan, wondering if what the flaxen first-year said was true. Approving wholeheartedly, the smoke loving teacher waited idly for the joyful looks he assumed would eagerly take over their perplexed faces.
Tsuchiura sighed, still unable to comprehend the point. From the corner of his eye, he saw Hino's confused look, her ridges of her knees shaking with excitement. He scratched the back of his neck, "So just how are you going to… 'waste our time', sensei?" The question hung in the anxious atmosphere, everyone, asides the oblivious Shimizu, waiting, a little scared of the answer.
Seven pairs of eyes fell upon the lazy Kanayan. "Hot spring?"
He nodded, "Yes. I've reserved a spot at the hot springs for eight people."
The answer took a moment to sink in, everyone still taking in the new information. Hino was the first to speak up. Her face beamed, her knees still shaking. "A h-hot springs?" Her voice was meek, a tone she usually used when speaking formally to an adult. "Kanazawa-senpai! A-Are you sure? I mean, we're suddenly leaving and who's going to pay for all this and what about are parents and–" Her worried rants were cut off by one of Tsukimori's cold hands covering her mouth.
Hino blushed deeply, currently hating herself for having such a fair skin color. A moment of awkwardness passed, Tsukimori quickly retrieving his hand. He simply wanted her to be quiet, and he considered speaking out rude. But right now, he was regretting his decision because he could feel his cheeks steaming with heat. 'Damn it.' He thought, frustrated. He didn't mean to do that. Now he felt an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of his stomach.
"…Anyway," Kanayan continued, hoping to relieve everyone of the awkward atmosphere between the two violinists. "I'll give you the details." He motioned for the seven students to take a seat anywhere in the room, and they did so, awaiting the explanation for their teacher's suddenness.
"The reservations are for the eight of us, and I've already contacted your parents." He paused, receiving sighs of relief, expect for Tsukimori, of course. "We'll be staying there all of Golden Week, so pack up tonight. We leave tomorrow, 10:00am sharp." Tsukimori opened his mouth, ready to decline the offer; unfortunately Kanayan beat him to it. "No objections. If you don't come, you won't get this years credits. That's all." He walked out unresponsively, his craving for his cigarette getting the best of him.
Yunoki smiled pleasantly, gracefully standing up from his position. "A hot spring… how unsuspected." He turned to Hino in a friendly manner, "I'm sure you're very excited, Hino-san." He held out his hand for her as she stood up clumsily. She accepted it, but only because everyone would start suspecting things if she didn't. She couldn't expose Yunoki's true self. No one would believe her, anyway.
"Thank you, Yunoki-senpai." She mumbled automatically, quickly making her way out the door. 'A hot springs!?' Her mind shouted, the endless possibilities running wildly through her head. 'What was Kanazawa-sensei thinking!?'
Hino was already uncomfortable enough with the distant Tsukimori as it was, but seeing him drenched in water… his beautiful cobalt hair draped against his skin… with nothing but a towel wrapped loosely against his… "Iie!!!" She screamed loudly, shutting her eyes tightly, as if that would banish her thoughts. Hino's heart raced inside her, she was sure anyone in the hallways could hear her.
"Hino… are you alright?" The deep but familiar voice that belonged to her beloved friend Tsuchiura awoke Hino from her daydream. Turning around, her face still red from the thoughts of the upcoming trip, Hino met the other general-education student's concerned look.
She smiled back at him, a soft but nervous laugh escaping her lips. "Y-Yeah, I'm fine." She quickly racked her mind for any valid excuse she could come up with. "Just too enthusiastic about tomorrow." She clasped her hands together, intertwining her fingers tensely. 'Please let him believe that lame excuse for a reason, God.'
Her prayers were answered when Tsuchiura gave her an uneasy look, wondering whether he heard Hino scream was real or not. He nodded, giving her his usual wave before heading off in the opposite direction. The girl breathed a sigh of relief, before realizing exactly what she was in for. It just wasn't healthy, Hino concluded. An open bath reserved just for the eight of them. Kanayan had simply lost it. That or he wanted to watch some sort of humorous soap opera unfold. Hino silently cussed at the fact that she thought she was cursed.
'This…' She thought glumly, taking small steps towards the exit. '…is going to be a long week.'
The next morning, a morning that was greatly dreaded by both Tsukimori and Hino, finally arrived as the bullion red sun slowly started to rise in the distance. Unfortunately Tsukimori was already up, not having gotten much sleep the night prior. He could always not come, but his parents – against his own will and knowledge – had already agreed. He combed his sapphire tresses, unable to face the fact that his heart was thudding like a drum. Soon, he'd arrive at his own personal hell. And stay there for seven days.
He gritted his teeth at the fact that Kanayan was probably off somewhere enjoying his misery.
"Good morning, Tsukimori-kun!" Hino smiled shyly in his direction as he arrived at the train station. He nodded in reply, unable to do any more. Everyone asides Kanayan was already there by the time he arrived, his house was the furthest and he was mentally arguing with himself on the way. Otherwise, he would have come first, as usual.
Shimizu yawned, blinking his eyes twice, unable to comprehend his surroundings. Fuuyumi shyly stood next to the other first-year, her face was the darkest shade of red possible. Mainly because Shimizu's sleeping figure was slowly leaning in her direction, the nape of his ashen blonde hair tickling her neck. Yunoki saw this, and he smiled to himself while Hino looked at Yunoki and then back at the two first-years, unable to understand what he was smiling about.
Hihara slumped, not wanting to carry his luggage any longer. "How come he told us to come early and he's not even here?" Hino softly giggled at his lighthearted compaints, Hihara always cheered her up. Actually, the female violinist noticed that it was his presence that she found soothing. She felt relaxed and safe around him – like Tsuchiura – unlike with Tsukimori, whereas she felt nothing but nervous.
"So much for 10:00am sharp." Tsuchiura sighed, everyone else nodded.
The lavender-haired teacher was spotted a few minutes later, leisurely making his way through the congested crowd of faces, a reluctant look on his face, as if he were the one waiting for the others. He smiled a lopsided smile when he neared the restless group of assorted teenagers. "Yo."
"You're late, Kanayan." Hihara grumbled as their sensei made a beeline for the waiting train.
He simply waved it off, as if he did nothing wrong. "I didn't think you'd actually listen."
Tsukimori's eyebrow twitched slightly. "…So you're telling me… if we didn't come we'd still get… our credits?" A terribly cold breeze blew by, the temperature itself dropping several degrees around Tsukimori. Frightfully, Hino and Fuuyumi took a step back, the first-year clinging to her senpai, terrified.
Kanayan looked back at Tsukimori as he, Tsuchiura, Yunoki and Hihara started to carefully load their belongings on to the train. He scratched his head carelessly, "Oh." He said, Tsukimori stiffening. "You actually believed that." He grinned wholeheartedly, making light of the poor boy's situation. "Music teachers don't have enough power to fail you academically. I thought everyone knew that."
Kanayan shrugged as Tsuchiura chucked lowly. Hihara stared at Tsukimori, giving him a 'duh' look. Hino raised an eyebrow, lost, while Fuuyumi bashfully looked over at Shimizu, who remained oblivious to anything going on around him.
Gritting his teeth out of aggravation, Tsukimori swiftly entered the train, a fair distance from where everyone else planned to sit.
There was no turning back now.
He closed his eyes as the train ride started, shutting out the conversations that were easily distinguishable due to his senpai's loud voice, trying to get a little rest. Quite a bit of time passed before the violin player noticed that he couldn't even shut his eyes without being plagued by very… detailed… images of his fellow violinist at the hot springs. Tsukimori tried to rid of them, shutting his eyes tighter until he felt like he was going to pop several veins.
Unfortunately for the unlucky Seiso Academy student, none of that could compete with his pheromones.
Forlornly, he opened his eyes, realizing the presence of Hino in front of him. She gave him a small smile before pointing to the seat next to him. "Is that seat taken, Tsukimori-kun?" A little taken aback from the sudden question, Tsukimori said nothing for a couple seconds. He didn't expect Hino to say something so abruptly. Finally, noticing she was still standing, Tsukimori shook his head. He stared ahead of him, wide-eyed, not wanting any other images to appear and warp in his fragile mind.
'God, why do you hate me?' He thought, sighing.
A moment of discomfited silence passed before Tsukimori decided to fill it, unsure of what to say. "Why are you suddenly sitting here, Hino-san?" He didn't even look at her when he phrased his question.
"Um… well, you see…" Fidgeting in her seat nervously, Hino stumbled over her words. 'Well I can't exactly say that Yunoki-senpai was secretly pressuring me to tell him who I like.' She thought hard for an excuse, blaming herself for coming over so unexpectedly without even a good reason. 'I can't say it's because I like him either, that's just embarrassing…' She smiled, feeling very uneasy. "T-Tsukimori-kun looked lonely by himself!"
He gave her a slightly doubtful look. Hino laughed nervously, blushing while looking at her shoelaces. 'Just great. Not only does he think I'm annoying, now he also thinks I'm weird.' She sighed, lifting her face to look ahead of her. 'Nice going, Kahoko. You just blew any chance you had with him.' Glimpsing at the figure beside her who was looking out the window and at the passing-by scenery, she frowned. 'What chance did you have with him anyway?'
He was gaping for breath, and to Hino it looked like he was trying his best to get his mind off of something. Sorry to say, she didn't know it was somebody, not something. And that the 'somebody' was her.
The air remained polluted with tension around the two violin players, the loud voice that belonged to Hihara in the background doing no good whatsoever to ease the pressure. Slowly, in an attempt to make some sort of conversation with Tsukimori, who looked like he was dying in his seat, Hino turned her gaze in his direction. "Ne, Tsukimori?"
He looked back at her leisurely, trying his best to hide his steaming face. "Yes…?" He tried his best to keep himself composed and calm as he usually would. He just never had to concentrate this much. 'Hino might be trying to confess to me…' The thought filled him with an endless pit in his stomach. He momentarily threw a party in his head. This was the best day ever. 'She may be very dense… but I'm sure that is why she's here.' And Tsukimori Len was never wrong…
"Your nose is bleeding." …Until now.
He looked her in the eye, any pride he had left dropping along with his gaze. "I don't think it is, Hino-san." He breathed numbly, 'After all, it's my nose, I'm sure I'd know whether or not it's bleeding…' He suddenly started to feel a moist scarlet liquid dripping. Tsukimori cursed the world under his breath. Hino was right.
That, and he not only felt, but also looked like an idiot right now.
He turned his head away from Hino, and she dazedly fidgeted in her seat. Yet another eerie stillness fell upon the two, leaving them alone to sort out their own thoughts. But after some time, the silence became deafening and the two, although they said nothing about it, were glad for Fuuyumi's small silhouette approaching them.
"A-Ano… K-Kaho-senpai," The shy first-year walked up to where Hino and the self-mourning Tsukimori sat. Her mere posture gave off the sense of uneasiness, but Hino knew that was because of Tsukimori's intimidating presence. Hino looked up at Fuuyumi curiously. "K-Kaho-senpai, Kanazawa-sensei says we'll be there soon… and eto, he wants to see T-Tsukimori-senpai to talk about the room arrangements…" She finished off hurriedly, seemingly unable to take Tsukimori's unapproachable presence any longer.
Tsukimori nodded, silently thanking Fuuyumi for an escape out of his own personal hell. He got up walking toward Kanayan. Hino looked back at Fuuyumi, whose stare hesitantly overlooked to her. "Kaho-senpai… can I ask you for some… um, advice?" her diminutive voice began slowly.
The female violinist nodded, concern for her friend taking over her facial features. Fuuyumi was not known to speak out much, or seek other's guidance, so Hino knew gathering up enough courage – another thing she was known not to have – must have been very hard for her. She smiled reassuringly, although she was not very sure she'd be able to give proper advice. "Sure, Fuuyumi-chan. What is it?"
The clarinetist self-consciously looked over where the boy's were. "I… um…" She stumbled across her words, unsure of what she wanted to say. "You see… there's s-someone I-I li… lik… like!" Shutting her eyes tightly, the insipid cerulean-haired first-year's face turned red.
"E-E-E-EH!?" Hino's eye widened to the size of plates. Fuuyumi was asking her for love advice? She was asking Hino, the densest person alive, for love advice? The redhead started hyperventilating, uncertain if this was a dream or reality. 'W-Who on Earth could Fuuyumi-chan like?' Untamed thoughts ran wildly through her imaginative mind. This was almost as bad as thinking of Tsukimori draped wet in a towel. The thought caused Hino to blush an unhealthy shade of red.
"Fuuyumi-chan… you like someone?"
"Gomen. It was too much trouble wasn't it?" Her back hunched slightly, sighing. "I'm sorry to have troubled you, Kaho-senpai." She said softly.
Hino quickly shook her head, swaying t fiercely back and forth; she was sure she would receive a headache afterwards. "No! No! No! I mean… I was just surprised because I never would have guessed that Fuuyumi-chan liked someone too–" Quickly, Hino clasped her mouth shut with both her hands. She suddenly had a very bad feeling. It was between an End-of-the-World feeling and a You've-Been-Caught feeling.
"K-Kaho… senpai. Behind… you." Fuuyumi squeaked quietly.
As slowly as possible, Hino crocked her head so she was able to see just past her shoulders. Words couldn't describe Hino's embarrassment as she had overlooked Tsukimori's cold presence at the back of her. 'Why me… God, why me?' Inwardly, Hino died only praying that she could die in reality too. 'This… is the… worst day ever!' She turned back to Fuuyumi in front of her, whose face still looked like was dipped in ketchup.
She was sure no matter how red the shy first-year looked, her face was three times worse.
"Hino-san." Tsukimori's cool but captivating voice began.
'Please, someone, anyone kill me now.' She turned her head back again; Tsukimori hadn't moved an inch, although Hino could see his fingers drumming impatiently against his thigh… not that she was looking there in the first place! Also she could see his face was slightly colored a tickled pink. Suddenly Hino started to wonder whether or not Tsukimori was ticklish. The thought itself lasted only a second before a picture of her tickling him reappeared instead. She could always find out if she just– "Iie!!!"
Startled at her abrupt outburst, Tsukimori and Fuuyumi looked over cautiously at the female second-year sitting in her seat, her face awash of indescribable emotions. Although, embarrassment was clearly the strongest. It was time for Hino to face the music.
"Tsukimori-kun, you see what I meant was–"
"Tsukimori! Hino! If you could stop making out for a minute, you'd know that we've already arrived!" Kanayan's unusually loud voice echoed into the bus, where the two, and a startled Fuuyumi saw that everyone else had long gone. "And stop taking poor, defenseless Fuuyumi as your hostage!" Tsukimori bristled, Fuuyumi flushed and Hino was too shocked to move.
Unfortunately, the real 'fun' was only beginning.
The hot springs were huge, the seven students found out, as they walked through the vast gardens. Hihara gladly accompanied Hino, who was seemingly flustered, Tsukimori walked by himself, away from everyone else, also a fair distance from the other violin player. Tsuchiura and Yunoki walked together, casually chatting away, Fuuyumi lagged behind, embarrassed, although with Shimizu's normally slow pace was able to walk side-by-side the other music student.
"Now," Kanayan announced, glad they had come by mid-afternoon. "The rooms have already been decided. Hino and Fuuyumi in room 78, Yunoki and Hihara in room 91, and Tsukimori, Tsuchiura and Shimizu will be in room 103." He motioned for them too get going. "Go on, unpack. You have the next six days to yourselves."
Hihara's eyes gleamed with enthusiasm as he quickly ran over to the troubled Hino. "Yatta! Hino-chan! Do you want to play ping-pong with me later?" He promptly clasped his hands around hers, his lips curved up into his usual lopsided grin. His cheerfulness made Hino's lips slightly curve upwards. "Kanayan says that they have ping-pong tables, so do you want to play?"
She giggled at the fact that her senpai hardly acted like a senpai. "Sure, Hihara-senpai." From the corner of her eye she could see Tsukimori growl as he headed inside. 'Tsukimori-kun?' Her heart fluttered for a second. "I don't mind but can I play with you later? Right now I want to go inside the hot spring." Hino laughed lightly while Hihara nodded in reply, blushing when he realized his hands were still enclosed in Hino's, he quickly let go, waving while heading inside with a very groggy Shimizu.
Hino headed inside her and Fuuyumi's room, she saw that her roommate was already unpacking. "Fuuyumi-chan. I'm, uh, sorry about earlier. I couldn't help you with your… problem." She laughed nervously, scratching the back of her neck. "I was never good with giving advice." 'Especially love advice.' Hino added mentally.
Fuuyumi quickly shook her head. "No! It's alright senpai, really." The clarinetist bashfully squirmed on her bed. "I'll just tell him how I feel." Her normally pale face grew hotter. She wasn't sure she would be able to talk about her feelings, though, but she would try.
"Fuuyumi-chan, you're so much braver than I am." Hino sighed aloud at her own forwardness. This caught her kouhai's attention, while she continued. "I could never tell the person I like how I feel. It's too embarrassing. That and I'm sure he doesn't like me, anyway." She added with a sad smile. Fuuyumi looked at the general-education student in disbelief.
Hino was never one to be negative about anything, she face her challenges head-on and never gave up no matter how high the odds were stacked against her. That was one of the many qualities the clarinet player admired her for.
"But at least Fuyuumi-chan will have more luck than me, ne?"
Fuuyumi shook her head quickly. "No, Kaho-senpai." She looked over at Hino with her beautiful deep sapphire eyes. Hino waited patiently for Fuuyumi's say, not too sure of what Fuuyumi would say, exactly. The music-student remained silent for a moment before continuing.
"I'm sure Tsukimori-senpai likes you too."
"W-W-WHAT!?!" Hino shouted, the clothes she was unpacking thrown in her haste, fluttering in random directions in the room. Her heart started to pound severely. "W-W-WAS IT THAT OBVIOUS, FUUYUMI-CHAN!?!" She screamed louder, enclosing her hands with Fuuyumi's, her eyes piercing through the scared first-year, desperate for an answer. Fuuyumi sunk in her spot, frightened from Hino's explosion.
Fuuyumi looked away from her friend's sharp glare. "A-Ano… it isn't Tsukimori-senpai?"
"I-It is!" Hino was at a loss for words, she didn't think her enormous crush was obvious enough for her friend to notice. But Fuuyumi was a normally sharp person, Hino concluded, so there was still a tiny, tiny chance that Tsukimori still wasn't aware of her feelings, seeing as he was even sharper than Fuuyumi. "But how did you know!?" She moaned in mortification, letting go of Fuuyumi's small hands.
The azure-haired girl stood silent for a minute. "It, um, you look at him differently than you do with everyone else. You… um, treat him differently. You're always nervous around him too, it was… it… it's hard to explain, really." She looked up at Hino, who was trying to stuff herself in her suitcase. "Kaho-senpai!"
"I'll just be staying here for the next six days, Fuuyumi-chan. Call me when the world ends."
A knock on the door caught the girl's attention, as it slowly started to open on its own. Shimizu's small silhouette stood at the doorway, his frame leaning nonchalantly against the wall. He looked down at Hino, who was struggling to get out of her suitcase. She smiled nervously up at him. "Hino-senpai… loves… suitcases?" He asked, his voice steady but somnolent. He gazed at his fellow first-year who was walking over to her senpai, trying to save her from any further embarrassment by removing her from the case that carried her luggage.
He looked over at Fuuyumi, his voice calm and leveled, "After you save Hino-senpai from her suitcase… do you want to play a game of ping-pong… Fuuyumi-chan?" Hino looked over at Fuuyumi to see her reaction to his offer. She wasn't surprised to see her head seemingly spinning, but at the same time she couldn't help but wonder what the big deal between playing a welcoming game of ping-pong with a friend was.
Blushing furiously, while Hino continued to remain clueless, the clarinetist nodded apprehensively. "O-Okay, Shimizu-kun." She stuttered with a slight nod. Shimizu understood while he walked away, but before he left he turned around to look lazily at Hino.
He scratched his head while continuing to gaze at his general-education student senpai. "Why did Hino-senpai… think she could fit into… a suitcase?" A long, loud moan of humiliation escaped the violinist's lips, as Shimizu unresponsively walked into the hallway.
"Um, Kaho-senpai, I'm going to go play a game with Shimizu-kun." Fuuyumi trailed off as Hino stood up with her help, sore all over. "I know that Kaho-senpai wanted to go to the hot spring as soon as we got here but…" She trailed off again as Hino laughed. She quickly informed Fuuyumi that she needn't feel guilty and that they could go together tomorrow. Fuuyumi thanked her with an immediate bow as she left the room to go find the blonde haired boy.
Hino lightly sighed as she trotted out the room with only a towel in hand. "I guess I'll go in myself today, Fuuyumi-chan should have fun with Shimizu-kun." She thought aloud as she opened the door to the girl's bath. She soon saw it was completely empty. "I wonder why she seemed so flustered though." The Seiso student quickly dismissed the fact; Fuuyumi was equally flustered around everyone, after all.
Hino quickly went to change out of her clothes, left on with nothing but a towel as she entered the soothing water. 'Mmm…' She thought happily, letting herself sink in, only her head above the surface. 'I wonder what Tsukimori's doing right now…' Hino caught her mind's thoughts as they drifted away.
Suddenly, Hino heard the door start to creak slightly. "Fuuyumi-chan?" She asked the heated air, unable to make out the figure from all the steam. Soon enough, she was able to make out the damp blue hair. "T-T-T-Tsukimori-kun!?" She screamed in disbelief, unconsciously clutching her towel tighter.
"H-H-H-Hino-san!?" An equally embarrassed shouted.
'W-What the hell? Kanazwa-sensei told me –' Tsukimori's eyes widened, '– That dirty teacher!'
The girl stared at the doorway in doubt. A very uncomfortable moment passed before Hino slowly began to comprehend the situation. 'Tsukimori-kun. Saw. Me. Half. Naked.' Tsukimori looked back at her, trying his best to get out, unfortunately his feet were too shocked from the sudden sight to move an inch out of place.
'She's calm…' The music-student's heart pounded in his chest.
Hino took a deep breath.
Grabbing the objects nearest to her, Hino hastily started to throw them in his direction. "Tsukimori-kun, you pervert!!" Small towels, large towels, shampoo bottles – both empty and not – were thrown in the poor unknowing student's direction. Unluckily, Hino didn't stop at just that, buckets filled with water, empty buckets even any parts of the floorboard that was coming off were all headed in Tsukimori's direction.
"H-Hino-san, wait, I can explain –" The unknowing boy was cut off by an empty bottle colliding with his perfect, but ruby-red, face.
Hino stood up, her pure pallid towel grasped tightly in her fragile hands. Tsukimori backed up, not admitting the fact that he was terrified – something he never felt – as a very dangerous looking redhead headed closer, her face just as red.
Tsukimori's face immediately turned redder, if that was possible. 'Oh my God… She's wearing nothing but a towel. Hey she has a nice fig–!!Oh God, I did not just think that!' Tsukimori's face was turning a very unhealthy shade of red as he tried to calm himself down to explain what happened to Hino, who seemed just as – if not even more – humiliated than he was.
The general-education student tried to calm herself down as she awaited her crush's explanation. Not that her mind wasn't running wild with ideas at the time. 'This is so embarrassing… Oh my God, Tsukimori is so hot…' She covered her face, discomfited. "Tsukimori-kun what are you… doing in the girl's b-bath!?" She stuttered, stopping a few meters away from the latter.
Backing up further, the cobalt haired student's foot landed on top of a soap bar Hino recently flung, but quickly caught himself from further embarrassment. 'Crap.' He cursed inwardly, this was one of the many reasons he didn't want to take part of this trip. "Tsukimori-kun, you're red, do you have a f-f-fever?" Hino asked, clueless.
'S-She's coming closer! Must remain calm. Must remain calm. You're not Tsukimori Len for nothing. You can do this. Just explain what happened. This is not my fault, anyway!'He cleared his throat, but ended up chocking on his saliva instead, due to his sudden nervousness. He wasn't used to being nervous; it was a waste of time in his eyes.
While walking towards the red statue that we once called the Tsukimori Len, music prodigy, Hino accidently slipped on the bar of soap.
"Watch out!" Our not so solid statue music prodigy quickly reached out and grabbed her hand but Hino ended up dragging them both down.
So now they were in an awkward position here. Hino's gained a red mark on her shoulder when Tsukimori's head smacked right in to her shoulder and her towel gotten a bit loose and was now showing a large portion of her… er, to say… upper body and legs. Tsukimori's towel also got loose and was now threatening to fall off . And to add to all of this he was on top of the no longer oblivious girl. Now wouldn't it be the cherry to top it all off if some one walked in?
"Hino! Is everything alright? I heard you scream…" Kanayan opened his eyes wide, shock showing in his every feature. "…ing." The teacher turned a visible shade of scarlet. "I-I'm sorry… I didn't think I'd be… interrupting something."
"…I-It's not what you think, Kanazawa-sensei!" Of course Tsukimori's frantic words were meaningless to the music teacher, because in his mind, he sees two opposite gender people on top of each other plus what appears to be a hickey plus them being half naked… of course he sees that he's interrupting something. Although, he is the one who started it in the first place…
Kanayan hurriedly rushed out of the room, bumping into the anxious group on his way out. Hihara quickly spoke up, but his concerned words were muffled out from Tsuchiura's, and Yunoki's. Even Fuuyumi's quiet voice was heard through the noise, as well as Shimizu's lethargic one.
"Where's Hino-chan? I heard her scream!" Hihara rushed his words, so they came out jumbled.
Tsuchiura's was a little calmer, but still worried. "Is there something wrong with Hino?" He didn't dare to enter the girl's bath, where the scream was heard from.
"Kaho-senpai… will be alright, right?"
"I do wish for Hino-san's safety."
Kanayan quickly hushed them up, waving his hands tiredly, his face clearly still flushed from the sight of his two violinists. His voice cracked a bit, but other than that, it was leveled and you would never suspect him of hiding anything. "Hino is… busy at the moment and we are required to remain outside that room." He explained as best he could.
"But, Kanayan!" Hihara whined.
"Busy?" The rest chorused.
"Are you disobeying your teacher's orders?"
Yunoki smiled graciously, uplifting the subject, although inside he was still very curious. "There's no need to worry about Hino-san, I'm sure. Although I haven't seen Tsukimori-kun around, it's not like we're going to walk in on her getting laid." He chuckled lightly at the thought, as Hihara turned into a life-size portrait of "The Scream".
"…cough…" The teacher did nothing but let out a nervous cough.
Everyone stared at Kanayan with wide eyes. Hihara was suddenly feeling very light headed and was now being supported by Yunoki and Tsuchiura.
The trumpeter's nose started to bleed uncontrollably as he fainted. Tsuchiura's reflexes returned to him after the instant shock passed before darting toward the door, Yunoki following in suite, the emerald haired boy they were supporting falling to the ground. Fuuyumi's fragile mind couldn't comprehend the newly given information as she fell unconsciously before Shimizu caught her. There was shock written all over his usually aloof face.
"H-Hino!?" Tsuchiura yelled, swinging open the door.
'I've got to see this for myself' Yunoki thought with a smirk. As Yunoki and Tsuchiura quickly rushed past Kanayan all the others, who've returned from their states of sudden paralysis, followed seemingly agreeing with him on the fact that there was no way Tsukimori and Hino were doing that, especially in public.
Meanwhile with Tsukimori and Hino, both parties were too shocked to say anything and too shocked to move.
It seems the rest of the guys had arrived too. Everyone just stared in horror. This was the biggest shock of their lives since Tsukimori getting locked in a closet and getting cheated out of the second round, hell this made that incident seem like nothing! Kanayan just stood there with the 'I told you to listen to me' look on his face. Now the guys kind of wished they had.
Shimizu immediately went over to Fuuyumi covering her eyes and ears.
She blushed, "S-Shimizu-kun?"
"The both of you should be ashamed of yourselves doing that kind of stuff in public! And in front of children too!" Kanayan muttered, motioning to the first-years as he walked off with a cigarette in his hand, mumbling something like, 'Talk about explicit violin romance…'
"We'll just leave you guys alone… Tsukimori-kun, Hino-san." With Yunoki's statement, in which Hino could hear a hint of teasing, everyone else left quickly, stumbling over each other in their haste. Hihara's head was steaming, his face looking deflated as he fainted again, Tsuchiura having to drag him by the collar.
Tsukimori looked down at Hino, whose face was as red as his. Both were still clearly in deep shock.
But finally, Hino spoke up, "Tsukimori-kun… you're crushing me."
"SORRY!" Tsukimori just jumped right off and backed off a good ten feet like Hino has some sort of contagious disease. When Hino got up neither of them would dare look at each other in the eye. Hino slowly made her way to the change room but was limping a bit and Tsukimori cautiously went to help. But they were still not looking at each other in the eye. 'She must have hurt herself when she fell.' He sighed, unsure of what to say.
"Yes?" She continued to avert his gaze.
"Sorry about that back there, Kanazawa-sensei told me this was the men's bath."
"No! No! No! I was so clumsy that I dragged you down when you tried to help me, Tsukimori-kun." She stared down at her wet feet. "And sorry for throwing all those things at you." Hino gave a timid bow. "This is really all my fault."
Tsukimori turned away, clearly ill at ease. "Despite all of this, Hino-san, I… like you." He began to walk away, too ashamed to stick around for the answer.
"I'm really grateful, Tsukimori-kun, and I like you too… but…"
"But next time, can you knock?"
He hastily headed for the exit, an action that wasn't gone unnoticed by the usually unaware Hino. "I just hope that things don't get out of hand." He added, his serious exterior returning as well as his usually pale skin color.
"Please don't worry Tsukimori-kun. I'll explain everything to Kanazawa-sensei and everyone else, I'm sure they'll understand!" Hino gave Tsukimori a quick kiss on his lips. "Um… t-that was a thank you for helping me back there." She quickly ran into the change room. Tsukimori just stood there as he reached up to his cheek to the spot where Hino just kissed him and started to blush. It took him a while to recover and the first thing he said was,
"Oh God. I'm still in the girl's bath."
The rest of the trip went by quite quietly. But no believed their story even after they acted it out for them and explained to them and made diagrams. So when the Golden Week was over word seemed to spread through Seiso about their little incident and some how the story got exaggerated a lot. Needless to say, Tsukimori's reputation went down the drain as well as Hino's. The female violinist was at a loss when even Fuuyumi had a hard time believing her.
She simply said, "K-Kaho-senpai… you… um, move fast." What was worse was how innocently she had phrased it.
So here they are Monday morning and Tsukimori was going to class as he walked into the school nurse. No time in his busy schedule for chitchat, he swiftly walked pass her before she called his name.
"Good morning Tsukimori."
"I noticed Hino was limping a bit this morning. Is everything alright?" She asked, concerned for one of her student's health.
Just then, Tsuchiura walked by.
"Humph. Would have thought you'd be a little more gentle, Tsukimori."
He growled, trying to burry his anger. "I believe I've already informed you, it was all a silly misinterpretation gone out of hand."
"Don't worry, Tsukimori, I believe you." The nurse smiled kindly.
Tsukimori turned to the nurse, horror might as well have been stamped on his face. 'She knows too?' He gulped. Just how many people knew? It might as well been on the news. Well, actually, it was in the school paper. Not to mention those gossip loving student who read the morning announcements had a few words to say this morning…
'Wait… what's more important is that she believes me.' The second-year turned to her with the hopeful eyes of a child.
"Of course I do. And here's some treatment for Hino. It's good for pain after such activ–"
"I will choose to ignore that." Tsukimori stormed off, he didn't care if he was going to be late to class because wasn't worth going through the stares from those curious gossip hordes he called classmates. His image was soiled. Spoiled. Ruined. And Tsukimori Len could only think of one person to blame. Hiroto Kanazwa.
Now if only he can think of a way to thank him for getting a kiss on the lips from Hino.
There. My second Primo Passo story. I hope you all enjoyed it, I think I did. Oh, and thank you so much for all your reviews for Ten Tries to Love; I hope I replied to every reviewer who left their email address. So, what did you think of this story? Good? Bad? Okay? And keep in mind that I do not own Primo Passo or any of the characters; I simply use them for my stories. Hmm… and a big thank you to my lovely makeru, Makeru-san. (You know who you are) She helped me with some of the ideas to this story and rated it before I posted it, even though she only read half… Okay, okay, enough babbling.
Please read and review.