Five Trivial Side Effects of the Liar Game

Disclaimer: I certainly do not own Liar Game.

Summary: Five expected (and not so expected) effects of the Liar Game on Kanzaki Nao's life.

Notes: Just something light and fluffy (or as light and fluffy as I can do) written to cheer myself up. Implications of Aki/Nao (at least that she has a crush on him), but no overt romance. Reviews, as always, are encouraged.


1. Coffee or Tea?

Nao's always loved green tea. She's loved preparing it, and she's loved drinking it, and some of her best memories as a child was taking part of a few tea ceremonies with her father.

Green tea always used to be one of those nerve-calming comfort beverages. It's taken her through many anxious days and a few arduous nights.

But then, after the Fake Lawyer keeps coming by again and again, and every time he just stares at her until she puts the water on and prepares the tea, she's started to notice how...grassy, how planty and stuffy green tea really tastes.

Coffee, some say, is an aquired taste, one Nao has not quite grasped for herself.

But when she goes to the grocery store one day to buy some staples, she stops by the coffee display. The scent intrigues her. And when she thinks of Akiyama and what she swears is his caffiene addiction, she grins when she makes the connection.

Perhaps she should make an effort to acquire a liking for coffee.

*

2. Straight "A" Student.

"That was harsh," Nao's classmate Yumi says, showing off her (amazingly low) grade to her friends.

"I know. It stinks that we ended up in Professor Chiba's class." Another whines, showing off another impressively bad grade.

Nao takes a look down at her own paper. Was the midterm more difficult than she thought it was? She figured that she must have taken the remedial statistics course by mistake because her grades have never quite been this good before. Not that she should ever tell anyone that.

"What about you Nao?"

She slowly backs away. "I guess...I did the best I could do..." Nao attempts to hide the paper behind her back, but one of her classmates--Junko--grabs it from her hands.

"96! I'd say you did more than your best."

The three classmates crowd around her paper, like it's some curiosity in a museum.

"Your grades never used to be this good. What's your secret?"

How can Nao answer that?

"Yeah, knowledge of basic statistics is probably one of the few things standing between me and a life of "any means necessary" to pay off a gigantic debt."

Or...

"I'm in a game more mentally taxing than all three years of cram school combined, and I think my brain just had an upgrade."

No.

"I guess..." she says, "I've just been really motivated lately."

That's true enough.

*

3. Her teddy bear gets a new name.

Nao has had her teddy bear since she was born. According to her father--or maybe it was an uncle--her mother won it from an arcade claw game. Maybe that's true, or maybe it's not, but Nao loves the story and the connection it gives her to a woman she doesn't remember.

The bear has remained a constant in her life, from diapers to high-school graduation, except for the few times she's given it to her father to get him through treatment.

His name, however, has changed.

Kuma, Kuma-chan, Kumama, Squeak, Mamo-chan, Kuma-chan (again), Kuma-kun, Kumabaya, and then back to Kuma-chan (the third).

It has a new name now, one that Nao thinks might stick around for awhile, or until a certain someone asks, and she feels the abrupt need to revert to good, safe Kuma-chan.

The Liar Game happens tomorrow, and Nao sits up packing her bag. Along with her favorite dictionary and a pair of sneakers, she tucks in the bear, which makes both a good luck charm and an asset. Much to everyone's disbelief, it's already served a purpose.

"Nee, ready save some more people, Akikuma-san?"

*

4. She found a big sister (well, for 5000 yen an hour).

"Your skin really isn't that bad," Fukunaga sighs, as she dabs Nao's face with something lotion-y. "If you keep using a moisturizer with an SPF, your skin might be almost as nice as mine when you're thirty."

"Is that how old you are, Fukunaga-san?"

Fukunaga shakes her head. "Nao, when it comes to asking people their ages, the women's rules apply to me.'"

"Huh?"

"Never ask a woman her age or her weight."

"Oh."

Fukunaga approaches her with a brush covered in pink colored lipstick, and Nao really can't talk anymore. Which, thinking about it, is why Fukunaga is so insistent on teaching her how to apply make-up.

Actually, Nao finds it amazing that her first real enemy from the Liar Game has turned into a real friend. Nao's never had anything like an older sister before, and it's nice to have someone in her social life who actually knows about the Liar Game.

"All right, all done." Fukunaga hands her a mirror.

Nao stares at a version of her that looks like herself, only perhaps a little more sophisticated. After Nao hands the mirror back and Fukunaga puts it away, Fukunaga's hand is still outstretched.

Nao takes her hand and stands up. "Thank you, Fukunaga-san."

"Actually, I was waiting for my consulting fee."

*

5. Foolisly Honest No More?

100 Yen coins have always been a pitfall for Kanzaki Nao.

On one hand, it's such a small amount of money. Most people who drop the coins don't seem to care about losing it, at least not enough to go back and search for it again.

On the other hand, honesty is honesty, and if Nao just pocketed the coin as part of a "finder-keepers" philosophy, then she really couldn't call herself an honest person, not in good conscience anyway.

But then if the Liar Game taught her anything it's the honesty isn't always the best policy. If she returns the coin to the police box, they'll have to fill out the report and she won't ever know whether the 100 yen gets into the right hands or not. She can't know.

And yet, if she doesn't turn it in, she'll know something about herself and the effect of the Liar Game on her. She likes her honesty. It's always been part of who she is.

And if she gives that up now, even over something trivial, then she knows something else.

The corporation wins.

Nao sighs, picks it up, and goes to the nearest police box.

Some things, she can't let them change about her.