Disclaimer: Don't own it.

Summary - The trio had to start somewhere: Makoto, Kousuke, and Chiaki's beginning. Hopefully will include all flashbacks from Makoto's last leap. And more.

Kosuke and his damned Words of the Day were driving Makoto crazy. Malapropos. Unseasonable or inappropriate. Flout. To treat with contempt or disregard. Incongruous. Lacking in harmony. Were words really that much fun? It wasn't that Makoto didn't like to learn, she just didn't particularly enjoy being reminded of how little she actually knew. And Kosuke's ever-expanding vocabulary made her feel as if they were speaking two different languages.

But she had to admit: today's word was actually sort of relevant. Aloof. Not friendly or forthcoming. She hadn't realized it before (since she'd hadn't known the meaning of the word until recently), but cool and distant was a pretty accurate description of a certain orange-headed classmate. He avoided anyone's attempts at a conversation, and his cold charisma wasn't exactly winning him any friends.

Aloof. Aloof. Aloof. Makoto scribbled the word absentmindedly onto her math notes, glancing over at Mamiya. He'd fallen asleep again, his head drooping against his chest and his ridiculously orange hair falling over his eyes. Makoto sighed. He'd probably get better grades asleep than she would awake. Maybe she would start taking Koske's Words of the Day more seriously.

As the class dismissed for lunch, Mamiya snorted awake, and Makoto hid a snicker. Her smirk faded as she caught sight of his wounded lip and bruised cheek - evidence of the fight on his first day of school. Makoto had rushed over to the scene as it was dying down. The boys had already been separated, and the crowd was beginning to disperse. But no one had stayed with Mamiya.

Makoto had no idea what had caused the fight, but even if she had, she'd still have been flooded with sympathy. It was a rough start to a new school, and Makoto was clumsy enough to know that humiliating situations were not forgotten quickly by her classmates. She approached him with determination. No way was Makoto going to treat the new student like an outcast on his first day. That would be too cruel.

"Are you okay?" Makoto had asked, not noticing Kosuke as he walked up beside her.

Mamiya lifted his head slowly, glancing at the intruders with unease. "Who're you?"

"I'm Tsuda, and this is Konno," Kosuke had said good-naturedly.

Makoto held out her hand. "Here. How about a sandwich? I'll pay."

The orange haired boy was silent for a moment before standing and brushing past her outstretched arm. "That's a shitty idea," Mamiya said before walking away. He hadn't even met Makoto's eye.

Kosuke patted Makoto on the back. "I guess he doesn't like sandwiches."

"Yeah. I guess so." Makoto quickly lowered her hand, feeling like an idiot. Whatever that boy's problem was - be it a weird food aversion or an eleventh toe - Makoto wasn't going to give up. She would make the new student feel welcome despite the embarrassment. Because in the few minutes she'd seen his face up close, his expression had betrayed an intense loneliness that Makoto couldn't stand.

Most of the class had left for lunch, and Kosuke waited by the door of the classroom as Makoto haphazardly shoved her schoolwork away. She was about to leave when she turned to the new student. He had readjusted himself and was settling down for another nap - but Makoto wasn't about to let him go hungry.

"Hey," she said, prodding his shoulder. "I know you don't like sandwiches, so I brought something different today."

Mamiya yawned and looked up dazedly. "What are you talking about?"

"I really don't understand why you don't like sandwiches. Is it because of the bread? Or the meat? Or do you not like Western food? Well, it doesn't matter because Kosuke doesn't like pudding and we're still friends." Makoto dragged a very confused Mamiya out of his chair and pulled him over to the door. "Right, Kosuke? It's weird but I don't mind."

"Sure, Makoto. But not liking pudding isn't that abnormal. But everyone likes sandwiches."

As Makoto and Kosuke continued to discuss food preferences, they didn't notice Mamiya's half-hearted attempts at escape or his small smile when Makoto refused to lighten her death grip on his arm. Makoto only knew that aloof meant cold and distant, and that one more person would be joining them for lunch for the rest of the school year.

Author's Note: Review if you'd like. I was struck with inspiration at about four in the morning, which was great for this story, but bad for my dark circles. Oh well. Thanks for reading!