Mohammad and the Mountain
By Dragon's Daughter
Warnings: Naru/Mai, Spoilers for the light novels, and Naru's not so SECRET IDENTITY. Un-betaed.
Summary: Lately Naru's father has gained new appreciation for the High School as a method to socialize adolescents.
Mai seethed as her homeroom teacher worked his way through the early morning roll call.
Logically, she knew that Sato-sensei didn't have anything to do with the violation of her last retreat. He'd probably gotten some paperwork just yesterday, shrugged, and rolled with it. How was he supposed to know that by doing so he'd just doubled the stress on his scholarship student?
Fortunately for Mai, or perhaps unfortunately, Sato-sensei was fairly oblivious and so didn't notice that one of his students was trying to figure out a way to kill him before he could finish roll call and announce a new transfer student.
However Mai had already missed her chance. The door slid open just as Sato-sensei droned to a halt to admit a young Japanese man who Mai almost didn't recognize in the school's tan blazer and red tie.
An excited murmur sprang up from the girls and a grudgingly admiring one passed back and forth between the guys who remembered him from when the old school building had collapsed in on itself.
Sato-sensei squinted at the newcomer and smiled as he waved the boy up to the podium. "Good timing, Shibuya-kun. Come up to the front and I'll introduce you."
Naru obeyed while ignoring the sudden increase in classroom noise. Maybe it was Mai's eyes playing a trick on her, but for a second it looked to her as though he'd briefly scanned the room until his gaze came to rest on her. It was ridiculous, of course. Naru's face never moved. Besides, he'd already known which class she was in so why bother to confirm hard data?
"This is Shibuya Kazuya. He's transferring to our school from England. I hope everyone will help him get used to Japan as quickly as possible. Please say a few words to your classmates, Shibuya-kun."
Naru bowed slightly from the waist with his arms properly straight at his sides and Mai suppressed the urge to sigh. 'So he does know how to bow properly and all this time I was cutting him slack for having grown up abroad…'
"My name is Shibuya Kazuya. I look forward to completing the year with everyone. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu*."
Give him credit for at least following the script. Mai had never actually heard Naru use the phrase 'Yoroshiku onegaishimasu' before. He was usually terse in the extreme, but she supposed that even Naru knew better that to alienate the people he was going to be stuck with during the next two trimesters. Maybe his father had been onto something…
"Shibuya-kun please take a seat next to Taniyama." Sato-sensei pointed Mai out with the edge of his grade book. "Taniyama? Share your textbook with Shibuya since he doesn't have one yet. Now everyone will open your books to page 800 and we'll get started with the lesson…"
Naru's poker face was perfect as he sat down next to Mai and scooted his desk over so that she could lay her book down open between them. "Nice to meet you, Taniyama." He said sotto voce and Mai resisted the urge to kick him under the cover of the desk.
"Can it, Naru. Everyone knows I work for you." She hissed and pointedly dropped her gaze to the assigned reading.
Really, there was no point in planning Sato-sensei's death. He was just the principal's dupe in the whole matter and in turn the principal was the helpless dupe of Naru's father, a prominent and well respected professor who felt that his remaining son needed to finally get out of the lab and learn to interact with people his own age –whether he liked it or not.
When Professor Davis laid down the law even his son the eminent prodigy scholar and honorary Doctor Oliver Davis – better known to the Tokyo branch of SPR as Shibuya Kazuya AKA Naru sat up and paid attention.
Mai had been privy to that argument although not intentionally so. The Professor had come to Tokyo in person to make sure his genius son didn't find a way to weasel out of it and she'd been called on to provide a steady stream of tea. Lin and Yasuhara had taken cover by hiding out in the café down the street. Mai had stayed to make sure that no possible clients could wander in and also to make sure that the Father and Son duo didn't kill each other. Neither of them shouted, but at the height of the argument even the normally unflappable Naru was talking in pointy, sharp-edged words.
Evidently, Naru had eventually capitulated but not before dragging some concessions out of his parent. One of those concessions was apparently that if he was going to be forced into the High School system, then at least he'd have his primary flunky readily available … despite being a year older than she was and technically a senior.
It was just as well. Mai was pretty sure she'd choke on it if she was forced to call him 'Senpai'**.
As Sato-sensei settled into a comfortable monotone, Mai noticed more and more glanced being directed towards Naru. Notes were being passed and not an insignificant number of her female classmates were literally tittering behind their hands.
Mai glanced at Naru whose head was bent studiously over the textbook. Only a faint wrinkle between his brows indicated that he was still having trouble with kanji. Otherwise he looked completely oblivious to the havoc he was wreaking on classroom discipline.
Sometimes she forgot just how handsome he was until he caused a stir just by walking into a room and looking bored.
'This is going to be an interesting year…' Mai reflected as she focused her attention back on her schoolwork where it belonged. While she might consider Naru a walking natural disaster, the scholarship committee wouldn't see it that way if she let her grades drop.
Still, Mai wasn't sure who she pitied more. She at least was used to the worst of Naru's antics. She wasn't entirely sure how her school would handle the learning curve.
At least this time no buildings would fall down –hopefully.
I've added some annotated translations here to the end. I'm assuming that most people who are familiar with Anime/Manga already understand what I'm referring to, but I always worry about accidentally alienating a new comer when I add in random Japanese phrases and customs without explaining them. I try to expand on it in the story, but we all know that info-dumps make for clunky prose.
* 'Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu' – This is one of those uniquely Japanese statements that has a lot of different meanings so I decided include it in its original form rather than replacing the phrase with a more recognizable western statement. In this context, Naru is saying something that's a combination of 'Nice to meet you', 'I'm in your care/at your mercy', and 'please take care of me'. I've seen the statement translated as all of these so I'm not sure of the lit. meaning.
** 'Senpai' – lit. meaning 'Senior'. Anyone familiar with Anime/Manga is pretty familiar with the basics of the Senpai/Kouhai system. In this context, 'Senpai' is anyone in a higher grade although it can also mean someone who's a little older or who has been in an organization longer. There's some funny traditions associated with this particular system in Japanese High Schools that can even extend to how you wear your uniform. For example, in a certain school only Seniors can wear their gym jersey's all the way unzipped. Second-years can wear the zipper halfway down and Freshmen have to wear it all the way zipped up. There's also a certain amount of respect that a Senpai must be given, especially if it's a First Year to a Third Year. I've read a lot of articles about how the Senpai system can be abusive in some situations, but there's also a sense of protection and guidance that is bound up in the tradition. For example, a very fast way to pick a fight with someone is to pick on one their favored Kouhai. There is a burden on the Senpai to always provide a good example for their Kouhai and to provide guidance when necessary. In turn, those Kouhai go on to protect and guide the people who come after them. Mai is pretty irreverent when it comes to Naru, although I think part of it is that Naru doesn't really encourage formality. Mai is pretty informal for a Japanese girl. I'm pretty sure that any other person would at least blush if he used her proper name without honorifics, which is pretty forward of him considering the fact that they aren't related, close friends, or dating. However, it says something about Mai that she doesn't even really notice it.