FASH: Reading Week is here and with it is some free time, yay! Alright, this fic takes place when Sena is just about to finish his first year of middle school (Grade Seven) so he would be thirteen. I'm not sure if there's going to be any football later on in this fic, so we'll just say it's slightly AU just in case.
Disclaimer: My name is not Riichiro Inagaki or Yusuke Murata.
Kobayakawa Mihae pursed her lips together tightly as she waited by the door for Sena to come home. She was once again filled with the suspicion that not only would he be back ten minutes or so later than usual, but that he'd have a couple bruises and scrapes that hadn't been there that morning.
"He's just a kid, maybe he's just playing around with his friends." Kobayakawa Shuma said in a calming manner, tensing a bit when his wife turned to face him.
"Shuma, you know as well as I do that Sena hasn't made any real friends in middle school. In elementary school he had Mamori-chan, and for a couple weeks he had Riku-kun. But once they both were gone he's been all alone." She crossed her arms, glaring at the door. "I've gone to school multiple times to speak with his teachers, but they say that they do all they can to stop the other kids from making him run errands for them." She snorted in a very un-lady-like way and Shuma gently placed his hands on her shoulders in an attempt to calm her down.
"I'm sure they are doing everything they can. But if, for instance, someone made Sena do their share of cleanup after school and tell Sena that if the teacher asks, say that he's doing it willingly, what can they do?" "A lot more than they are doing! And once Sena steps off of school property he's no longer a student to be looked after to them, he's just another kid. I know that he hasn't really been physically bullied badly, just pushed around a bit, but..." She turned to face him and rested her head on his shoulder, anger mostly gone and replaced by weariness.
"He needs a friend Shuma, he's such a nice boy too, I can't believe he's almost finished his first year of middle school and he still hasn't made a single friend." "Now now, you don't know that for sure." Mihae sighed. "But for some reason I just feel it, it must be my intuition as a mother. He hardly talks to us about school, let alone about his classmates..." Her head snapped up. "I just thought of something!" Shuma rose an eyebrow. "What." "All we need to do is find him some friends who aren't his classmates! Give him a fresh start!" "And how exactly do you propose we do that?" Shuma asked a bit nervously, there was a strange gleam in his wife's eyes that made him feel rather unsettled.
"I've got plenty of friends from highschool that I've kept in touch with and some of them have children around Sena's age! All I need to do is call them up and-" She paused when the door opened.
"I'm home." Sena said softly, looking at his parents curiously, they hardly ever waited around the front door for him to get home. 'I wonder if today is a special occasion?'
"Welcome home Sena." Mihae said as she walked towards her son, ruffling his hair gently as her eyes keenly searched for any visible sign that Sena had been bullied. "How was school today?" "Oh, the usual." Sena replied, carefully avoiding his mothers eyes and focusing on his feet instead.
Mihae sighed and took a step back. "And how did you do on that math test today?" She questioned, immediately knowing the answer when Sena tensed nervously and paled.
"Study harder for the next one, and in the meantime, go and wash yourself up for supper." She said before strolling away, heading straight for the phone in the kitchen.
'Who should I call up first? Hmmm. Someone fairly close to Sena's age who'd be nice to him and play with him, and maybe if they were intelligent and could help him study...' She bit her lip as she tried to remember all of things her friends had told her about their children. 'Apparently Usagi-chan's boy has been doing very well during his last year of middle school and the last time I saw him he was so polite and sweet, I'm sure he'd be the perfect one to start Sena off with.' She smiled gleefully as she dialed the number.
"Hello Usagi-chan, it's Mihae, I was wondering if I could ask you a favor..."
Sena had noticed something odd in the way his parents had seen him off to school that morning. His mother was brimming with an excited energy that seemed to be rubbing off on his father as she told him to come home quickly after school was over.
'They were acting weird when I came home yesterday to, I wonder what's happening?' He thought to himself as he glanced around the classroom. School was almost over and if he packed up and got out of the classroom quick enough he'd be able to leave before anyone requested his help in cleaning up the classroom.
As soon as the bell rang he shot out of his seat and ran, dodging and running around other students in a way that surely would have made Riku proud if he had been there to see it.
He made it home in record time and burst through the door, half expecting to see the shoes of one of his relatives sitting in the entryway and was slightly surprised to see that only the usual shoes were there.
"Ah Sena, wonderful you're just on time, they should be here any minute!" His mother exclaimed as she walked towards him with a large smile.
"Who's going to be here any minute?" Sena asked, suddenly feel nervous, his mother never smiled that widely unless she was up to something.
"Well, the truth is I set up a play-date for you with one of my friend's children, he's such a nice boy, I'm sure you'll have a whole bunch of fun together!" Mihae said so excitedly and so happily that Sena couldn't help but smile thankfully even though on the inside he was filled with anxiety.
Children always acted nicer around grownups after all...
He tensed a bit when there was a knock on the door and chose to cling to the fabric of his mothers dress as she opened it, hiding himself behind her leg.
"Usagi-chan! It's been to long since I've seen you face to face. And Takami-kun, you've grown so much since I saw you last time." Sena dared to peek out from behind his mother's leg, biting his lip nervously.
The boy in the doorway was very tall, at least a head taller than Sena if not more so, he stood confidently, with his legs planted firmly on the ground and his hands clasped behind his back.
Suddenly his mother's hand was pushing him forward. "Sena, say hello to Usagi-san and Takami-san." She said softly and Sena bowed lowly. "He-hello!"
Usagi, a willowy woman with long dark hair and sparkling eyes laughed a bit before bowing her head, Takami following her lead. "We're very pleased to meet you Sena-kun."
"I'm sorry for asking this so soon before the high school entrance exams." "Oh don't worry, Oujou's an elevator system, Takami just has some end of the year unit tests, but nothing he can't handle." The two women smiled at each other before turning around.
"Sena, Usagi-san and I are going to go out for a while okay?" She crouched down to look into her son's eyes. "And your father should be home in a couple hours, so be on your best behavior for Takami-san okay?" Sena nodded, watching with desperation as his mother walked straight out the door, leaving him alone in his house with a perfect stranger who was taller, bigger, stronger and, apparently, smarter than him.
'Please please please don't be mean.' Sena thought as he turned to nervously look at the tall boy, giving him a small smile and nearly sighing in relief when his smile was returned without any sort of malice.
"So Sena-kun, what would you like to do today?" Takami asked gently as he slowly moved forward, his mother had told him to be extra cautious around Sena for some reason, her exact words were something along the lines of 'treat him like a frightened mouse' he hadn't really understood why at first, but he had a fairly good idea now.
Sena had just turned thirteen in December, usually by that age most children would be trying to prove their independence to their parents. Independent children didn't cling to their mothers when strangers came to visit.
'I wonder if he's just not good around people he hasn't met before.'
"Umm, what would I like to do?" Sena asked shyly and Takami nodded. "Yes, what do you normally do with your friends?"
The older boy inwardly frowned when Sena paused and blushed, apparently at a loss for words.
"Sena-kun, do you..." Takami paused, trying not to make his next words sound too harsh. "Have any friends?"
"Of course I do!" Sena said quickly and although Takami didn't really believe him he nodded in understanding anyways. "Of course, of course. Did you want to play a board game?" Sena shuffled his feet against the floor nervously.
"Takami-san is in his third year, right?" "Yes." "Then, do you think you could help me with my homework? And study for my next math test?" Takami blinked, when his mother had burst into his room last night telling him he had a play-date with the younger son of one of her friends he'd assumed that he'd be stuck playing hide and seek or tag for a couple hours straight.
"Sure, I'd love to help you."He said, smiled widening slightly when Sena happily grabbed his backpack and lead him up to his room.
"Mom and dad keep on promising me that if I ever get a ninety percent on a math test they'll get me a kitty as a present. But I always barely pass... I think they made it so high because neither of them like cats. I try and study hard, but I just don't get it and I don't see Mamori-neechan very much anymore so I can't ask her about it." Sena said sulkily before brightening up. "But maybe Takami-san can help me get my kitty!"
"Well, I'll try and teach you to the best of my ability." Takami replied as both of them sat down on the floor of Sena's room. "But I don't think you're going to get a ninety percent after studying with me just once." "Oh. I guess you're right." Sena sighed a bit and for some reason Takami felt horrible for saying that.
"In any case, I'll help explain some things to you, and as long as you understand and are able to follow along with what goes on in your class, I'm sure you'll start getting better marks."
Sena's smile came back, brighter than ever as he pulled out his notebooks and textbooks. "Math is my worst subject, but my English isn't much better, which one do you wanna help me with first?" He asked excitedly.
"Let's go with English first."
Mihae and Usagi were surprised to come back to a silent house. "Do you think they went to the park?" Usagi asked and Mihae shrugged her shoulders. "Sena! Takami-kun! Are you here?!"
"We're in my room!" Came a muffled yell from upstairs and both women walked towards the direction of the voice.
"Sena, why are you in here when you could be playing outside?" Mihae asked as she opened the door, eyes widening a bit at the sight in front of her.
Sena, willingly doing homework? She had wanted to have someone help him study, but she hadn't expected him to look happy while doing it.
"Takami-san is explaining a bunch of stuff for me mom! Pretty soon you're going to have to get me my kitty at this rate!" Sena exclaimed happily and Mihae smiled. "Oh, is that so? Maybe he'll be a good role model for you now that you don't see Mamori-chan very often." She then directed her smile at Takami. "Takami-kun, would you like to come back and help Sena again sometime?"
"I would love to."
When it was time for the pair to leave Sena had given Takami a hug which both their mothers cooed at. "Thank you for helping me study Takami-san." "No problem Sena-kun, and you don't have to refer to me as 'Takami-san'." The brunette gazed up at him shyly. "Takami... Niichan?" The older boy smiled broadly and nodded. "That's better, but you can call me Ichirou if you like." Sena blsuhed and shook his head and the older boy chuckled a bit. "Takami–niichan it is then. See you later Sena-kun, Kobayakawa-san." He bowed to both of them before following his mother out the door.
"Well, aren't you happy that I set up a play-date for you?" Mihae asked her son who nodded enthusiastically.
"When can I study with Takami-niichan again?" "Well, he's going to have a lot of tests soon, so not for a while I suppose."
Sena visibly deflated.
"But don't worry, tomorrow I'll call up some of my other friends and I'll set up another play-date for the day afterwards, would you like that Sena?" The brunette nodded shyly.
"Good, now I'd better start making supper, you're father should be home any minute, do you want to help?"