First off I want to thank KazeNoSakura for putting the idea of this story into my head and inspiring me to write it. (Bows) Arigatou gozaimashita.
Basically, this story takes place immediately after the events of my previous story, "Conditions of the Heart". I just wanted to try my hand at a one-shot story. Also, since it's a back to school story and because it's that time of year, it just seemed appropriate. So, here it is. Hope you all enjoy it.
Takumi's Other Partner
Fuka Academy. For most it was the start of a new school year, and would be for Akira and Takumi as well. However, a few things would be different for them this year. For one thing, the secret was now out about Akira being a girl, which meant that they could no longer share the same dorm room. And secondly, they were now officially engaged, but would not be married until their eighteenth birthday. Outside of Akira's family, only two of her closest friends as well as Takumi's sister, Mai, and her boyfriend, Yuichi Tate, knew of their engagement. Keeping the secret didn't seem to be much of a problem considering that no one would probably believe it anyway due to their young age. Regardless of their unusual circumstances, they still wished to experience the joys of being boyfriend and girlfriend before that of husband and wife. So, they had agreed to begin dating one another, which in turn would allow their romance to blossom all the more.
Waiting patiently outside of the girl's dorm, Takumi was becoming a bit anxious since Akira had not yet shown up.
"Don't worry, she'll be here," his sister, Mai, was heard saying as she approached her younger brother.
"Hey, sis. What do you suppose is keeping her?"
"Well, if I had to guess, and, knowing Akira, I would say that considering that this will be the first time for her in a girl's uniform that… ah, speak of the devil."
Wearing the traditional Fuka Academy middle school girl's uniform, Akira sported a blue pleated skirt along with a white blouse that was accented with a blue and white collar and connected to a back flap.
"Stupid uniform," Akira could be heard grumbling under her breath. "I can't believe they're making me wear this. I look ridiculous."
"You look good in it, Akira," Takumi complimented.
"He's right," Mai replied, "and besides, it helps to accentuate your girlish figure." Coming up from behind and fondling Akira's breasts she added, "You're coming along rather nicely, wouldn't you agree, Takumi?"
Turning beat red at the mention of the subject, Takumi just turned his head off to the side in embarrassment as Akira managed to break free from Mai's clutching hands.
"Come on, Takumi," Akira forcefully ordered, still red in the face. "We're going to be late!"
"Uh, coming, Akira."
"Bye, you two lovebirds," Mai cheerfully called after them. "Have a good day."
Sitting by himself at his desk, Takumi was just finishing his bento lunch while he waited for Akira to return from the restroom. Watching him from a few desks over, the newly elected class rep decided to take this opportunity and began to approach him.
"Hello, Takumi-kun," the attractive dark-haired girl greeted him.
"Miyuki-san, hi. How are you doing?"
"I'm doing good."
"By the way, congratulations on being elected class rep."
"Thank you. Listen, I made some manju last night and brought some in with me today and just wondered if you might like some?"
"Oh, that's very kind of you. Thank you very much," he graciously accepted as she handed him a small bag filled with the sweet delicacy.
"Try one," she anxiously insisted.
"Don't mind if I do," he said, now taking a bite of one of the sweet bean-filled cakes.
"How is it?"
"It's delicious. Thank you."
"Really?" she was relieved to hear. "Oh I'm so glad you like it."
Now re-entering the classroom, Akira immediately caught site of the two being rather jovial. Spying her out of the corner of her eye, Miyuki quickly excused herself and returned to her desk as Akira now came back over to Takumi.
"What did she want?" Akira demanded to know.
"Huh? Oh she just brought me over some manju that she had made. It's quite good actually. Here, try one."
"Um, no thanks. So is that all she wanted?"
"Pretty much, yeah. Akira, why do you seem so suspicious of her?"
"I'm not. I… I just don't like the way she looks at you."
"Hmmm, I think someone's jealous."
"Jeal… don't be ridiculous," she adamantly denied, turning her head to try and hide the redness.
Taking one of the manju from the bag, Takumi offered it to her once more, this time begrudgingly accepting it as she quickly snatched it out of his hand. Takumi just smiled as she turned aside and scarfed it down, trying to hide the fact that she actually enjoyed it.
"101 degrees. That settles it; you're staying in bed and you're not going to school tomorrow either." Takumi insisted, examining the thermometer he had just removed from Akira's mouth.
"I'll be fine by then," she weakly protested as she lay in her bed and began to cough.
"Oh, yeah, you'll be just fine. You're the picture of health," Takumi sarcastically retorted. "Stop being so stubborn, Akira. Maybe if you had waited for me we could have walked back to the dorms together and you could have shared my umbrella. But it was just a little rain, you said. Now look where that stubbornness of yours has gotten you."
"Shut up and stop lecturing me. If you wouldn't have joined that stupid cooking club I wouldn't have to wait. Why did you join anyway? You do realize that you're the only guy in the entire club."
"So, I can't help it if most guys think that cooking is a feminine thing or are too embarrassed to join. Anyway, you should really think about joining a club too. We've only been back at school for a week so there's still time to join one. I know the Kendo club would love to have you."
"Forget it!" she angrily shot back. Then, after another coughing fit, her demeanor changed to a softer tone. "Look, I'm sorry. But I'm just not club material."
"It's okay. I didn't mean to pressure you. I just thought it might do you some good because, let's face it, your social skills aren't exactly exemplary. And joining a club just seems like a good first step to help you improve them. So, just think about it."
Akira couldn't argue with him because she knew that he was right, so, she just nodded in agreement.
"Thank you. Anyway, I'm going to make you some tea and some soup right now; that should help you sleep. Then tomorrow I'll stop by early before school to see how you're doing and make you something to eat."
"You… you don't have to do that."
"I know. But I want to, and, I like taking care of you. Besides, you spent all those days visiting with me in the hospital, so this is the least that I can do."
"Just lie back and relax. I'll let you know when it's ready."
Complying with his wishes, Akira laid back on her bed then turned on her side, facing away from Takumi. At that moment, as she dabbed her eyes with a tissue, Akira felt extremely blessed to have someone as loving and kind-hearted as Takumi.
Takumi kept his promise and came to visit with her the following morning as well as making sure that she had something to eat. Later that afternoon he returned and brought her her homework and once again prepared dinner for her. Even though she was now feeling better, he still insisted that she stay home from school for at least one more day. Again, not wishing to argue with him, she agreed.
"Akira," Takumi knocked at her door the following afternoon.
As she opened it to let him in, Akira was surprised to see Miyuki standing alongside Takumi.
"Class rep?" she said somewhat stunned. "Wha… what are you doing here?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Miyuki replied. "I came to bring you today's assignments. It is my job after all as class representative."
"I told her she didn't have to and that I would have done it," Takumi said, "but she insisted."
"Uh, thank you," Akira hesitantly acknowledged as she accepted the assignments from her.
"How are you feeling, Akira?" Takumi inquired.
"Oh, ah, much better. I'll definitely be back in class tomorrow."
"Glad to hear it," Miyuki replied. "Well, if there's nothing else that you need then I guess we'll be on our way."
"But, I was going to make her something to eat first," Takumi informed her.
"Oh, she'll be able to manage on her own now. She said she was feeling better, right, Akira-san?"
"Uh, yeah. Don't worry, Takumi, I'll be fine. I'm sure I can whip something up to eat by myself."
"There, you see," Miyuki reassured him, "she's fine. Come on, we have a science project to start working on."
"Science project?" Akira curiously asked.
"Yeah," Takumi began to explain. "Miyamoto-sensei assigned us a project and wants us to work in teams of two. But since you weren't there I…"
"He got paired up with me," Miyuki jumped in, sounding rather pleased. "You'll be working with Wataru-san. You have all the information there so make sure you read it over. I also gave you his phone number in case you want to call and discuss the project with him. Come on, Takumi-kun. Bye, Akira-san."
"See ya, Akira," Takumi called after her as Miyuki began to drag him away by the arm. "I'll stop by later this evening."
"Uh, sure. Later," Akira said rather despondently.
The next day Akira was glad to be back in class. At least now she could keep an eye on the class rep to make sure she didn't try anything funny with Takumi. Akira stayed by his side that morning and during lunch as well because she still remained suspicious of Miyuki.
"Hey, Tokiha-san," one of the male students called to Takumi as class had ended.
"Oh, Higuchi-san. What can I…"
"I hear that you joined the cooking club. Is that true?"
"Uh, yeah. It's true."
"Hahahaha. I can't believe it. That's a girly club. So I guess that makes you…"
"You got a problem with that?" Akira stepped in front of him with a fist placed under his chin.
"Well I think it's rather admirable of him," Miyuki interjected, taking Takumi by the arm and pulling him close to her side.
"Uh, class rep?" Higuchi was startled to see.
"I think any boy who can overcome these sexist stereotypes is number one in my book. Right girls?"
A large group of attractive girls had now gathered behind him in support, all members of the cooking club. As the girls then left the room along with Takumi, Higuchi just stared at them, dumbfounded, along with a group of other boys.
"Man, that Tokiha is lucky," one of the other boys commented. "Having all those cute girls hanging around him. Maybe we should think about joining the cooking club, huh, Higuchi-san?"
As the remainder of the boys left, Akira was now alone in the classroom.
"As if the science project wasn't enough," she thought to herself, "but she's also in the same club as Takumi?"
Akira was now at a loss and didn't know what to do anymore.
Over the next few days, Akira didn't get to see much of Takumi outside of class due to him spending so much time with Miyuki on their project in addition to his meetings with the cooking club. She tried not to let it bother her and instead tried to focus on her own project with Wataru. Still, her feelings of jealousy returned when she went to the library with Wataru to work on their project. There she could see Takumi and Miyuki a few tables over working on theirs. Akira thought that she was sitting too close to Takumi but he seemed to remain oblivious to her true intentions.
"Akira-san? Did you hear what I said?" Wataru tried to get her attention.
"Huh? Oh, sorry, guess I wasn't paying attention."
"Who are you looking at?" He curiously asked, glancing over to where she was looking as he then observed, "Oh, it's the class rep and Tokiha-san. Boy, I sure envy them. They make a cute couple though, don't you think?"
Akira just buried her face in her hands as he mentioned that and began to shake her head.
"Uh, Akira-san? Are you alright?"
Walking home alone that afternoon, Akira had the misfortune of running into Mai, Yuichi and Mikoto, seeing as how she was in no mood for small talk.
"How's it going, Akira?" Mai greeted her. "Why are you by yourself today? Where's Takumi?"
"Why don't you try asking our class rep that question seeing as how she's always hanging around with him."
"Akira is jealous!" Mikoto began to chant, dancing around her. "Akira is jealous! Akira is jealous!"
"Would one of you please shut her off," Akira began to fume, "before I have to use force to do it?"
"Mikoto, please," Mai pleaded, then turned to Yuichi. "Could you take her…"
"I got her," Yuichi offered as he began to lead her away. "See you later, Akira."
"Now, what's this all about?" Mai inquired with great concern. "Did you two have a fight?"
"It's nothing like that. It just seems that he's been spending an awful lot of time with our class rep. At first it was just a science project that they were teamed up to do. So once we turn that in tomorrow I thought that would be the end of it. But then I find out that she's also in his cooking club."
"You think she likes him?"
"I know so. I can tell just by the way that she looks at him."
"And do you think Takumi knows that?"
"Probably not. You know how he is around girls."
"That's true," Mai replied. "He always was a bit clueless when it came to girls. I suppose a lot of guys are like that. So what are you going to do?"
"That's just it, I don't know what I should do."
"Well, why don't you tell him how you feel?"
"I can't do that. If he suspects that I'm the least bit suspicious then he'll think that I don't trust him."
"Of course I do. He's proven his trust to me time and again."
"Well then, what are you worried about? Look, Akira, do you honestly believe deep down that Takumi has feelings for this girl? That he would even think about cheating on you?"
"No, I suppose not."
"Then stop worrying and just talk to him. Tell him how uncomfortable this has all made you feel. He'll understand. Trust me, I know my brother. And I know that all he cares about is your happiness."
Managing to crack a smile she acknowledged, "Thanks, Mai."
As Akira began to leave she turned back around, and, in a more threatening tone added, "Oh, and if you ever tell him that we had this conversation…"
"My lips are sealed," Mai motioned with two fingers across her lips.
As lunch rolled around the following day, Akira was able to breathe a sigh of relief, having just turned in her project during the previous period along with the rest of the class.
"Well I'm certainly glad that's over," Akira expressed to Takumi as they prepared to eat their lunch.
"Oh it couldn't have been all that bad," Takumi countered.
"You have no idea."
"What, you mean you had trouble understanding the material?"
"Not exactly. Let's just say that I worried unnecessarily for nothing."
"Oh. Well I wish we could have worked together on this project. Maybe I could have helped you to understand some things better."
"It's okay, really. Wataru-san was a big help and we managed just fine."
"Well that's good. Anyway, I'm going to get some juice, would you like some?"
"Actually, that sounds good right now, thank you."
"Okay, I'll be right back."
Walking over to the entrance to the classroom, Takumi slid open the door and happened to run into Miyuki on the way out.
"Oh, hey, Takumi-kun. So how do you think we did on the project?"
"I feel pretty confident that we did alright, so I'm not worried."
"Yeah, me too. I think it's because we make a great team and…"
Noticing the two chatting, Akira decided to come over to them.
"Akira," Takumi reacted, "I was just on my way to the vending…"
"Don't bother. I'll get them," she said sounding a bit disgruntled. "You two look like you have something important to discuss."
As she left the room, closing the door behind her, Takumi had a look of concern about him.
"Well that was rude," Miyuki commented.
"Yeah, well, she's… she's been under a lot of stress lately," Takumi replied sounding somewhat confused, then uttered under his breath as he realized, "And I think it may have been my fault."
"Huh? Oh, well who cares about her? Anyway, what I was saying was that we make a great team and that maybe we should team up together again for future projects."
"Um, yeah, about that. Look, Miyuki-san, I enjoyed working together with you…"
"You did? Oh I'm so happy."
"However, I think it may have made Akira feel a bit uncomfortable."
"Well that's her problem. Wait, don't tell me that you actually have feelings for her?"
"As a matter of fact, I do."
"What, that tomboy? How can you…"
"That tomboy, as you call her, happens to be my girlfriend."
"Your girlfriend? Are you serious?"
"Very much so. And I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't talk about her like that. Now if you'll excuse me I'm gonna go make sure that she's alright."
Taking his leave of her, Takumi slid open the door only to see Akira standing on the opposite side holding two juice boxes in her hand. Observing the redness in her eyes, he could tell that she had been crying.
"Akira, how long have you been…"
"Long enough," she weakly replied yet managed to flash a smile at Takumi.
Miyuki just turned her nose up at her when Akira glanced over in her direction. "Humph."
Heading back over to their desks, Takumi and Akira positioned them so that they were facing each other before sitting down to lunch.
"Thank you for saying that," Akira gratefully replied.
"You know you didn't have to tell her that we were…"
"I know. But I thought that she should know."
"It's funny. I think that's the first time I've heard you refer to us as boyfriend and girlfriend."
"I think you're right. It's strange how we went from being just friends and then all the way to being engaged. Somewhere in between we lost something, kind of like a book with all the pages in the middle torn out. But at least now we can make up for that and fill in those missing pages. Akira, I'm sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable by working on this project with Miyuki-san."
"It's alright, really. I mean, it's not like you had a choice in the matter."
"True, but I should have considered your feelings. After all, Miyuki-san was being rather clingy at times and I'm sure that must have bothered you. Heck, even I felt uncomfortable when she started acting like that. I should have talked to you about it and simply reassured you that it meant nothing to me. Although I guess if I had told you what she was doing, you might have seen to it that she spent the remainder of the week working on the project from a hospital bed."
"You got that right," she amusingly replied.
"I guess you probably already know that she's also in the cooking club with me."
"Yeah, I know."
"If it bothers you I could just quit the club and…"
"No, don't be ridiculous. I'd never ask you to do that. Besides, I kind of overreacted and was worried for nothing. So honestly, I have no problem with you being in that club."
"Even though I'm the only guy in it and am surrounded by all those beautiful girls?" Takumi began to egg her on.
"Don't push it, Takumi."
"Of course, all their beauty combined couldn't hold a candle to you, Akira."
"Hmmm, nice save, Casanova. But you know, now that you've revealed to her that we're boyfriend and girlfriend, how long do you think it'll be before the entire school finds out?"
"I don't mind. It's not like they're going to find out that we're engaged. I mean, I know I said that we should start slowly and keep our relationship low key, but, a situation arose that required that we let the cat out of the bag a bit prematurely. It couldn't be helped. It's just as well really. At least now I don't have to hold back any longer."
Leaning across the desk, Takumi planted his lips directly atop Akira's prompting the majority of the class to take notice and even caused a few girls to squeal in delight.
"Ta…kumi," Akira said in astonishment, then realized, "Uh, Takumi, everyone's staring at us."
"So, let them," he boldly announced, reaching across the desk and taking hold of her hand. "I'm not ashamed. In fact, I'm very proud to be able to call you… my girlfriend."
"Likewise," she reciprocated. "You know, I can't get over how much you've changed. You used to be so weak and timid. Now look at you. You're more able-bodied, you're very outspoken, plus, you have a lot more confidence in yourself."
"Well, I have you to thank for that," he graciously acknowledged. "Anyway, you've come a long way yourself as well. You used to be very withdrawn but you've finally come out of your shell. Of course we still need to work a little on your social skills. I mean, you can't pick a fight with someone just because some girl starts making eyes at me."
"Why not?" she lightheartedly responded as he gave her a disapproving look. "Oh relax, I'm just kidding. By the way, you'll be happy to know that I decided to take your advice and join the Kendo club."
"Really? Oh that's wonderful, Akira. You won't regret it, you'll see."
"I'm glad you feel that way because I think you should know that I'm the only girl in the entire club."
"You… you are?"
"Yup. Just me and ten rather handsome and muscular guys."
"Uh, that's… that's fine. I don't have a problem with it."
"Good, glad to hear it."
"Um, just out of curiosity," he hesitantly began to inquire, "exactly how handsome and muscular are we talking?"