AN: My first posted SM story. I know this chapter's short, but I'm trying to pressure myself into finishing it, and posting it online seems like the best kind of pressure. I'll put the next chapter up as soon as I write it :)
X O X O
Agents are all around us; just everyday, ordinary people who have discovered that their role in life is intertwined with Destiny itself. They follow signs, feelings and instincts, helping people who need them. To contact a local Agent, simply ask for help. (Please ensure that you ask aloud – Fate can't read your mind!)
Chapter One – The New Client
Mamoru stared at the fan of brochures stretched out across the Career Guide's counter. How could there be so many choices? Why was it so hard to decide?
It was all Motoki's fault, really. If the cursed blond hadn't gone and made himself deliriously happy with Reika, then Mamoru wouldn't be in this fix at the moment.
The school counsellor suddenly stuck out her head and smiled at him.
With a heavy sigh, Mamoru got out of his seat and followed the woman into her office. He settled down on the chair provided, while the counsellor perched herself against her desk. She studied him for a moment.
'So… You wanted to talk to me?'
Suddenly Mamoru didn't want to be there anymore. He had never let anyone else help him make decisions before – had he really been desperate enough to schedule this appointment?
'You know what?' he laughed nervously, getting out of his chair. 'My problem's been solved. Thanks for your help, you've been great. Terrific, even –'
'Whoa whoa whoa,' the counsellor chuckled, pushing him back down into his seat. 'We're not even nearly done yet. I've left my entire afternoon free to talk to you.'
Mamoru stared at her. 'You… have?'
'Absolutely. When I heard Chiba-san had changed his mind about wanting to be a doctor, I knew it was going to take more than one measly session to figure out what was wrong.'
Mamoru smiled wryly. 'What makes you think I've changed my mind?'
'Please,' the counsellor snorted. 'Why would you make an appointment with me unless you were starting to doubt your career decision?' Mamoru remained silent. The counsellor's smile slowly faded. 'What made you change your mind?' she asked gently.
Mamoru found himself abruptly intrigued by his fingers. He stared down at his hands fidgeting in his lap, unable to speak up for a long time. The counsellor was patient.
'Ok,' Mamoru said finally. 'Ok, here's the thing. I want to help people, I really do. It's just… I think by becoming a doctor, I'll end up sacrificing a lot of things that I'm not sure I want to give up.'
'Like…?' the counsellor prompted.
Mamoru felt his cheeks grow hot. He didn't raise his eyes, still immersed in the movement of his hands. 'Er…' he murmured. 'Like… maybe… a family?'
'Ah.' She understood. 'You think that if you become a doctor, you won't have time to settle down?'
'Kinda,' Mamoru admitted. This might possibly be the most mortifying confession he'd ever made. 'I know I'm still young, but –'
'Chiba-san, it's perfectly understandable,' the counsellor assured him. 'You were deprived of a family during childhood, and it hardly seems fair to be deprived of one as an adult as well.' She placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. 'It's not a selfish desire.'
'But… I want to help people. If I don't become a doctor, what else could I be?'
'Plenty of things!' the counsellor beamed, jumping to her seat and grabbing a huge reference book filled with occupations from the cabinet behind her. She slammed the book down on her desk and began poring through the index.
They went through jobs, so many jobs. All of the counsellor's suggestions were adequate enough – they just weren't what he was looking for. He rejected idea after idea, until the counsellor slammed the book shut and banged her forehead against the cover.
'Chiba-san, I don't know how else to help you! If you really want to be a doctor, be a doctor! There are plenty of medical professionals that have a family as well!'
Mamoru felt just as defeated. He sighed and got to his feet. 'Yeah, ok. Thanks anyway.'
What a waste of time. He knew seeing the counsellor was a bad idea. He shuffled back into the school corridor as the home bell rung. People filed out from their classes, jostling past him without a second thought. He sighed, reaching his locker and twisting the combination.
'Please just help me,' he muttered, even though he knew no one was listening.
But it was the only thing required to hire an Agent of Fate.
x x x x
Usagi skipped down the busy street, humming her favourite song while thinking of the chocolate-strawberry swirl ice cream she was going to buy. For once in her life, she hadn't gotten detention; her morning had been particularly drama-free. The shocking occasion meant that she was on the lookout for more work, so she followed her instinct – or more like her stomach – and headed for her favourite gelato store.
She wasn't paying particular attention where she was going (did she ever?), so it was no surprise when she collided with someone and staggered backwards.
'Oops!' she giggled, finding her footing. 'Sorry.'
'If you're going to involve yourself in a dangerous form of transport, you could at least watch where you're going Odango Atama,' the pedestrian snapped.
Usagi scowled at the voice. She didn't even have to lift her head to know who was talking. 'I think I'm going to take back that apology, Mamoru-baka,' she snapped.
The dark-haired boy's eyes flashed in irritation. 'Whatever you say.' He pushed past her and continued on his way.
Usagi shook her head in disbelief and was just about to cross the road when the 'don't walk' light began to flash. She stopped dead in her tracks, gasping in shock. It was a sign. She spun back to her arch nemesis, who was disappearing through the crowd.
'No way!' she hissed to what appeared to be no one. 'He's my next client? Oh rats!' She hurried after her quarry, cursing her luck. Why did she have to help out a baka like him?
x x x x
Mamoru cursed his luck as he went into the stationary store. First his pen had burst in Physics class and destroyed his notes, then he'd had that completely useless meeting with the school counsellor, and now he'd had another encounter with Odango.
Sure, she's cute and everything, he mused as he decided on a new pen, but the kid's hyperactive.
Her infinite amount of energy cheered everyone else up, but mostly it just gave him a headache.
'Mamoru-baka?' Mamoru turned in surprise, finding Usagi behind him. Speak of the devil. She smiled sweetly. 'Hi.'
'Er… hello,' Mamoru replied, out of lack of things to say. Did she follow him in from the street?
'Need help?' Usagi asked, still looking eerily cheerful.
'Not from you,' Mamoru said, just a little too sharply. He contemplated apologising, then figured the girl could use a downer or two on occasion, so he simply turned back and continued searching for a new pen.
'So you do need help then?' Usagi concluded. 'Alright, what's up?'
'I said 'not from you',' Mamoru reminded her.
'This may shock you to your very core baka, but you actually don't know everything. I can help, and I will help.'
Mamoru raised his eyebrows and glanced at her. 'Is that so?'
'Yup!' Usagi grinned. 'So why don't you tell your beautiful companion what's going on?'
Mamoru snorted, but was polite enough to refrain from making a comment about her loose use of the word 'beautiful'. Although to be fair, she was quite striking for a child.
'Well, maybe you could help me look for a pen,' he mocked.
'Righto!' Usagi said with perplexing enthusiasm. She trailed her fingers along the lines of biros, felt tips, and markers, before settling on a pink, glittery ballpoint. 'This one!'
Mamoru rolled his eyes. 'Hmm, I don't think that was really what I was going for.'
'Why not?' Usagi laughed, picking it up and waving it at him. 'What's the matter? Scared you'll like it?' She accidentally flourished it a little too hard, and it flew out of her hand and across the store. 'Whoops!'
'Well, you've been a great help,' Mamoru drawled. 'Thanks for dropping by.'
'Hold on, I'll get it!' Usagi exclaimed, bounding down the aisle to pick it up. She tripped up before she could reach it, and staggered into a stand of bumper stickers. 'ARG!' she screamed, covering her head as the display came tumbling down. Stickers flew everywhere, scattering the store.
Mamoru quickly edged away. 'I don't know her,' he insisted to the astonished spectators. 'Never seen her before in my life.'
He stepped on a sticker and bent down to rip it from his shoe. As he flicked it away, he noticed it was the purple one with the stupid feel-good phrase.
'Magic Happens?' he scoffed. He turned and walked out of the store, leaving Usagi to deal with the mess she'd made. 'Yeah, right.'