It would be so easy, Yano decided, watching in unabashed amusement as Kazehaya's face turned an unhealthy shade of crimson, to make Kazehaya fall in love with her. If he's not in love with her yet. She abruptly covered her lips with one hand and averted her eyes, careful to contain the loud snickers inside her mind. It wouldn't be good to be caught openly laughing at the two. Not, she noted, that they would notice. They're too busy making goo-goo eyes at each other to pay any attention.
Yoshida leaned close to Yano and nudged her with an arm. "What's with those two?" she half-whispered in askance. "They look like they're the only two people in the world."
"That's very cliché, Chizu, even for you. And stop with the elbow thing. You underestimate its athletic prowess in digging into my side," Yano grumbled.
"Sorry," came the distracted reply from the other. With a little pause to consider Kazehaya's current predicament, she commented, "Man, a little more and he's gonna explode."
They turned back into spectator mode. They didn't know what happened prior to this interesting exchange, but that didn't mean they couldn't enjoy watching the charming pair pussy-footing around each other. They only barely managed to smother the chortle passing from the other's mouth when Kazehaya seemingly deflated in embarrassment, looking nearly ready to pass out. His arms hung limply on his sides, eyes intently staring on the floor. There was no way he could lower his head more without force-burying it into the ground.
Sawako wasn't in any better shape. Her innocent dark eyes were wide, her already pale face becoming even paler, her entire form visibly trembling. It was not until she expelled a long breath moments later that her color normalized (and placated both Yano and Yoshida, who were beginning to worry). Yano saw her sneak a glance at the suddenly self-conscious Kazehaya (Kazehaya, self-conscious? HA!) just as Kazehaya was peeking at Sawako. Their gazes met, prompting them both to look away quickly. Sawako looked flustered, awkward, and very, very confused.
Yano could only sympathize with the girl. Sawako's got it bad, and it's such a shame she didn't even know it. Perhaps her naivety was keeping her from realizing that there were different kinds of love, and the one she felt for Kazehaya was far from platonic. Lately, despite obvious efforts on her part to act normal, Sawako was clearly distracted. There were times when she would suddenly stare off to space (some people speculated that she was seeing and talking telepathically with a spirit), mutter a few dark words (Yano could understand the fear that went around whenever Sawako entered this phase; she really sounded like she was chanting a curse), furiously shake her head (a few students would take a step back, thinking that Sawako was being possessed), and release a long-suffering sigh (this was the part where everybody would sigh with her, somehow comforted that whatever it was Sawako was going through, it had come to pass). There were also those times when the blanking out was followed with a twitch of her lips (as if trying to hold back a smile), a sudden glow on her countenance (which made her look peaceful, but scared the others more thinking that it was a bad omen), and then again would come the dark words (a creepy feeling), the shaking head (a step back), and the long-suffering sigh (a relieved sigh). It was enough to break Yano's heart. The poor girl was just so clueless; sometimes Yano needed to try hard to resist the urge to give it to her straight. And truly, she wanted to help Sawako by giving her a little friendly advice (by literally knocking some sense into her, preferably), she really did, but…
Yano was not above using her good friend to entertain herself. She was having too much fun to pass up on the interesting developments since the end of last term. Who knew "everybody's Kazehaya" was such a twit? And over a girl, at that! His reactions were just too precious! One long look at Sawako and he melts. What an adorable dork, Yano gleefully concluded. Her palm dug into Yoshida's face harder to stop her shaking shoulders and regain her composure. That, and the latter was having the hardest time holding back the cackle threatening to let out. She opened her mouth to calm Yoshida down, but it turned out she didn't need to.
A large shadow loomed over them and effectively sucked out all the amusement from their bodies. Even without looking over her shoulder, Yano knew who the twerp was. There was only one person who could turn something fun like this into a "sea of irrelevancy," as she'd like to call it.
"Well, this is interesting! What the hell's so funny? C'mon, count me in!" Pin exclaimed cheerfully. Yano didn't miss the subtle edge in his voice. The perverse smirk on his face didn't help his image either. The student idly wondered how in the world he became a teacher, twitching slightly when the so-called educator threw an arm each on her and Yoshida's shoulder.
"Nothing," she deadpanned. Pin was synonymous to mood-killer. She glared at him when she saw that Kazehaya and Sawako were back to normal. Missed chance! She had half the mind to strangle Pin and--
Pin threw his head back and laughed. He was about to speak (about something irrelevant, Yano was sure) when the bell rang. How Yano loved that bell right that moment. It saved her the effort of keeping Pin away from her.
When class ended later, Yano was among the people circled around Sawako as she taught Yoshida and the others tips in preparation for the exams the following week. It was not as if she didn't understand the lessons herself; it was just amazing to watch Sawako interact with people without having any sort of miscommunication between the two parties. She was happy that Kazehaya brought this kind of change to Sawako. If he didn't talk with her, didn't befriend her, perhaps Sawako would still be misunderstood and alone. Yano knew she was one of those who used to judge Sawako unfairly and make fun of her, but everything changed that one afternoon when Sawako approached her and Yoshida with the proposition to play a ghost (the memory never failed to fascinate her. Sawako? Expectations? A ghost? No sixth sense at all? Crap!). Since then, she'd somehow learned how to understand Sawako and her motivations. Maybe not completely, but enough to grow attached to her and feel fiercely protective of her well-being (a fleeting image of Kurumi sprang into mind, which Yano quickly swatted away).
Recently, most everyone in the class started warming up to Sawako. Some feeling of apprehension would, perhaps, never go away, but people now took initiative to smile to or talk with her. For others, those actions might not mean much, but Yano knew it meant everything to Sawako, and, consequently, as Sawako's friend, to her. She gave a small satisfied smile when Sawako looked around amidst everyone's murmurs of approval and enlightenment ("So that's how to solve that problem!" or "I never knew it was so easy!" or "Wish the teacher explained the lesson that way."). It would take a while for people to open up, but Yano would take anything as long as it could make Sawako this contented and happy.
And speaking of happiness, there was the little prince Kazehaya in the corner, looking like he was everything but happy. Want to be alone with her but can't, huh? Yano chuckled. She really needed to give him a break, but he never made it easy when he acted like this. She initially deduced only a fool would miss the delicious tension between Kazehaya and Sawako, but had to later amend the assumption when she realized that it was only her (and maybe the bored-looking boy behind Sawako) who was perceptive enough to catch on what was happening. Other people were probably too occupied reading the lines to notice what was between them to begin with.
Yoshida was none the wiser. Yano couldn't blame her. She had been that way since they met, ignorant even of her own feelings. Every once in a while , Yano would catch a certain someone without his usual indifferent expression, replaced instead with something akin to fondness, and only around Yoshida. It couldn't be easy to entertain the thought of being lovers when you've been friends for so long, Yano considered as she eyed Ryuu's unguarded look of longing at their oblivious friend. At least Ryuu seemed to have admitted his feelings to himself, but again, everybody else was in the dark.
Yano sighed. Honestly, they needed to get a clue.
But in retrospect, and not for the first time, Yano was grateful that things happened the way they did. She let herself chuckle a bit at the irony of it. After all these months, all it took was a regular customary change of seats to set things in motion: a pick of a number dictated by chance that was ignored for acceptance to earn, for appreciation to give, and for love to share. This class was just so damn interesting. She only had to wait and see to know where things would go from here on.