How Yuu Became the Coolest Kid in School
Disclaimer: The author rightfully respects the genius of Tachibana Higuchi, creator of Gakuen Alice.
Author's Note: Set after My Best Friend's Girlfriend. The gang is fourteen years old. If you've read Natsume Nullified, you'll recognize the reference at the end of the story. Ü
This is a story I'm going to tell my grandchildren one day. They'll be flipping through one of my yearbooks and the question would come up. How did you become the coolest kid in school? And I would say, Two of my friends said so.
"Define transitivity," Mikan said out loud, looking up from her notebook.
"Transitivity describes the relationship between terms such that if it exists between 'a' and 'b' and between 'b' and 'c', then it also exists between 'a' and 'c'," I said in one breath before anyone else could answer. Immediately, I gestured with the paper in my hand. "Now somebody nominate someone for 'Best Dressed'."
"Hang on," Anna answered, sliding over me. "If that's transitivity, what's equivocation?"
"It's an invalid conclusion based on statements," I defined. I turned to my right. "How about you, Sumire? Do you have anyone in mind for 'Best Dressed'?"
"Natsume Hyuuga, one million times," she said without thought. "And me for the female category."
"He's taking down nominations, Sumire," Koko snickered. "Not dreams."
"Oh, shut up."
"What's logical positivism?" Mochu wanted to know. "I thought it was what you said just now but you called that equivocation…"
I raised my voice and my frustration came through, "It's a theory that holds that in order for a sentence to be cognitively meaningful, it has to be verifiable! Now, who am I supposed to nominate for 'Best School Spirit'?"
They blinked back at me. Kitsuneme cleared his throat. "I'd say you, but just now, you're not very peppy."
"Lighten up Yuu," Wakako agreed. "It's only yearbook polls. We've got an exam in the next period. Not everyone has your brain."
After that, they returned to studying and I just stood there holding the ballot that was still mostly blank in a tight fist.
I'm the Class Representative. I always have been for as long as anyone can remember. The job isn't easy because I'm surrounded by gifted students. It's hard to lead that kind of class. I'm used to the fact that it fell upon me to finish mundane tasks like yearbook polls, which is what I'm doing now. Winners are taken from every year level and I'm tasked to conduct the vote for my batch. It was due in the next hour but no one was paying attention.
I don't even know why the Yearbook Committee bothers with these polls. Half the categories are typically won by one student and the rest are given to random people. Who's that one student?
"Natsume, what's logical consequence?"
"Go ask someone else."
"Natsume…" Mikan wheedled and he answered with a weary sigh.
Yup, Natsume Hyuuga. The guy who had nearly every category tied up without even trying. He's won Most Handsome, Most Popular and Most Likely to Succeed three years in a row. They keep changing the category names but it always resulted to the same thing. Natsume Hyuuga would be the default answer for any affirmative category there is. You'd think I'd win Smartest Kid in Class but he got that one too because he was a genius and with a fan club of at least 300 members, he's not easy to beat. I'm not saying I want to win. It's just that it would be nice sometimes. After all, I was the only one bothering with the polls.
By now the racket in the study hall was at its peak. I knew it was stupid to try to finish this now when everyone was busy reviewing, but I had a deadline.
"Guys, please…" I tried to call over the din but nobody took notice. On a whim, I glanced at Natsume and mouthed, Help. It was one of those rare times that he obliged.
"Hey," he called out sharply and the whole room just grew quiet. Cool, right?
"Thanks," I muttered then began calling out categories while the noise level began to steadily rise again. For each category, a group of girls from Natsume's fan club would shout his name and I automatically wrote it on the ballot. When you think about it, this nomination process is just a formality.
I like Natsume. As far as popular guys go, he's really a good person. Sure, he's arrogant and he can be incredibly obnoxious but he's a good friend and if it ever came to choosing sides, I'd be on his. But sometimes, I just wish he wasn't so good at everything. Or at least that he wasn't so good at something I was supposed to be good at, like getting people to listen.
"If you shout 'Natsume Hyuuga' one more time, I will obliterate your French braid, your fancy coif and that fake designer bag you're carrying around with you."
I turned and had to laugh because it was Hotaru Imai who had uttered that steady, perfectly controlled threat, pointing at each fan girl in succession. The girls glowered at her but inched away. Hotaru must have found their incessant shouting really annoying to have snapped at them like that. Anyway, she darted a look towards me and shrugged as a minor apology for getting rid of the only people who were paying attention to me. Still, I couldn't get mad at Hotaru either. She was one of my best friends and she's pretty cool too.
Hotaru Imai would be Natsume Hyuuga's counterpart. They weren't equals. They were on different levels and it would be foolhardy to compare. But whatever criteria used, for sure, these two would end up sitting at the very top of the food chain. Hotaru also won these polls constantly, but like Natsume she never really bothered with them. The two of them were pretty amazing that way. They just took everything in stride and somehow everything fell into place for them.
"You almost done?"
I was startled to realize it was Natsume who had spoken. Unlike the others, he wasn't bothering to study and he sat in his chair, lazily observing the room.
I scanned the paper. "Not quite. Besides, people still have to actually vote before these nominations can mean anything."
"Just list down anyone," he said. "It's not like it's that important."
"True," I agreed. "But it would be nice for it to have some semblance of truth and Academy consensus. That's in the spirit of taking a vote."
"You care too much, Yuu."
"Does that make me a loser?" I asked without thinking. It was Natsume's turn to be startled. I guess my exasperation was on the surface.
Anyway, he shook his head. "That's not what I'd call it."
"What would you call it?"
He shrugged then just waved me off before heading for the water dispenser at the back of the room. I weaved my way between tables, working hard to finish the list. The noise level was escalating. I answered a couple of more test questions while trying to get in a few categories from the polls. After a while, nobody was heeding me again. I knew I would need the Black Cat's, 'Hey', at this point. This was such a useless job.
"How about 'Coolest Kid'?" I called out but nobody answered. I repeated the lame category. "Does anyone have a nomination for 'Coolest Kid'?"
The groupies started to chorus again, "Natsume Hyu—"
"Yuu Tobita," Natsume interrupted. Needless to say, I nearly fell over. The noise level dropped considerably and people turned to him as though seeking an explanation. He didn't offer one. He simply looked at me with amused nonchalance.
I laughed nervously. "Come on. Stop kidding around, Natsume."
Everyone was surprised when he walked to the front of the room. He grabbed a ballot and wrote it in front of me. It was the only category he filled out. He said out loud, "Coolest Kid— Yuu Tobita. You've got my vote."
Then he smirked at the rest of the class and left the room. Really, sometimes he just loved shaking things up. The class was silent after he was gone, as though they couldn't decide what would be the right response. Typical, Natsume just left me to handle the fallout.
What am I supposed to do now?
Then suddenly Mikan cried, "I get it!" She wrote rapidly in her notebook. "Everyone thinks Natsume is the coolest kid in school. Natsume says Yuu is the coolest kid in school. Therefore, everyone should know that Yuu actually is the coolest kid in school."
Koko applauded. "It's transitivity."
"Right on," Mochu said and they high-fived.
"You've got my vote too, Yuu," Hotaru suddenly announced. Then she walked to the front of the room and grabbed a ballot. Unlike Natsume, she filled out every category. Then she also left just as the rest of my friends approached the table.
After Natsume and Hotaru cast their votes, well, it was only natural that everyone else would fall in. That's how I got the job done. That's why I know the two of them really are the coolest people in the Academy. People looked up to them and because they voted for me, in the end, my picture was splashed in the yearbook under the Coolest Kid category, glasses, neat uniform and all.
When the results first came out, I was fixing the layout with Natsume at the same table. I shook my head. "This is ridiculous. You're the coolest kid, not me. Everyone listens to you."
He shrugged. "But I listen to you." I snorted but was grateful to him for saying so.
Being a Class Representative is difficult when you're surrounded by gifted students. But if you have someone like Natsume and Hotaru on your side, it's not so bad. The two of them are good and decent people and more than the popularity, the good looks and the brains, I think that's what makes them cool.
Natsume picked up my picture then leaned back on his chair, as though he was scrutinizing it. At length, he said, "You're cool Yuu. Just… get some contacts." I laughed. To date, I think that would be the only advice Natsume had ever given me. So I took it.
Anyway, that's how this story ends and if anyone asked, in disbelief or not, this would be my answer. How did I become the coolest kid in school? Easy. Two of my friends said so.
This is a story I'm going to tell my grandchildren one day. Definitely.
Additional Note: Definitions were mostly taken from the Encarta Dictionary. The subject the class is studying for is Philosophy, specifically Logical Reasoning.