Thanks again to kiohates! And thanks if you reviewed Chapter 1!
I don't think I mentioned this is an AU, but only slightly. They don't engage in avatar battles- their high school is just a regular high school. The song for this chapter is "There's a Class For This" ~ Cute Is What We Aim For. Now without further ado, here is chapter 2!
Chapter 2: There's a Class for This
Voyeur is standing in front of me in nothing more than his underwear. No, I'm not dreaming. If I was, there would be no need for the underwear.
Before you get carried away with guesses as to why I'm in this situation (you pervert) I'll tell you we're in the locker room after gym. Now, it may be slightly wrong and sort of unfair for me to be in this situation but trust me, it has very few perks. Because this is the real world, and there are other people around. I mean, its not like he's likely to jump me, and I can't stare even though I want to, because that would just be weird. Not to mention that if I get carried away, everyone will notice. And wouldn't that be hard to explain.
My friends don't exactly know about me. Well, about my orientation. Its not like I'm worried about what they'd say. Okay, maybe a little. Which doesn't make sense, you could argue, because Minami is obviously out (see chapter 1) to everyone and she didn't lose any sleep over it. And…well Aki doesn't catch on too quick but I think Yuji kinda knows. But it's different with guys. They worry about their masculinity and stuff. So imagine telling them that, in their eyes, you have no masculinity and are apparently turned on by theirs. The thought makes me shudder. Voyeur- Voyeur would most definitely not be able to get over that.
Thinking about it makes me exhausted.
Everyone is already exhausted. We all went through a rigorous obstacle course we're supposed to clear before graduation. It serves as our Health and Fitness final and let me just say, I'm not entirely sure I prefer it to a written exam.
I'm in the midst of changing out of my shorts when the locker room door opens, Yuji wandering in after putting away most of the mats and stuff from our trials. "Hello Hideyoshi. I see you're looking quite ravishable - I mean, ravishing –today," he says cracking a smile.
"Why thank you kind sir," I respond, playing right along. "I must say, though, it is rather warm in here." I begin fanning myself with my hands, panting slightly, as Yuji circles me to get to his locker. Aki and Voyeur are trying not to laugh. "If you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to slip into something cooler." I grab the hem of my shirt to pull it over my head.
I sort of get stuck in it, and my arms are tangled up over my head, leaving my chest all exposed.
"Click!" Voyeur jumps in front of me, his hands to his face like he's taking my picture with an invisible camera.
"Oh no!" I shriek, sounding ridiculously like my sister, which actually doesn't mean I sound too feminine. I pull my shirt off finally and clutch it to my chest, blocking the 'photographer's' view.
"Look out, it's a pervert!" Akihisa yells, pointing in mock horror.
Voyeur winks. "Don't be shy, baby," he practically purrs. God he has no idea what he's doing to me.
Its probably his tone that possesses me to do what I do next. "Well, in that case," I say trying to sound coy. I flip my shirt over my shoulder like a model would her jacket and strike a pose.
Voyeur stares at me for a moment before breaking into a fit of laughter.
It feels good to be joking around like this now. Voyeur accepted the whole me being a boy thing after that second summer. That time I wore a much more masculine bathing suit than I had the last summer. I didn't think I'd changed much, but at first, Voyeur hadn't even recognized me. I'm proud to say I still maintain a somewhat feminine physique. I'm not ashamed of my body in that way. But being a gender-bender has its frustrations.
Things had been a little awkward between us after that, but I figured he just needed time getting over realizing he'd been trying to inappropriately photograph another guy this whole time. (Not that I'd mind something like that.) He started acting normal by the time school started. And by normal I don't mean he continued creeping around trying to photograph parts of my body that didn't exist. He started treating me, well, more like one of they guys. The whole photography thing became more of a joke, once we were allowed to mention it. It was easier after Voyeur outgrew his outer pervy phase. Though no one knows how his inner pervert is. But anyway, after all that normal conversations between us would go something like what you just heard.
"You know Hideyoshi, you should consider modeling."
I flash Yuji one of my "you're kidding me, right?" looks.
"Not necessarily as a career, princess, but you know what's coming up soon, right? It involves pretty dresses and annoying photographer. Just your scene, Hideyoshi."
What the hell is he talking about? All of us just blink at him helplessly for a few minutes.
"Wow are you clueless…Prom, guys, prom!" he shouts, shaking Aki by the shoulders because he is closest.
We utter a collective "oooooh." Prom. Yeah. That big dance we get to go to this year because we're all seniors. We totally couldn't forget that.
"Yiji, you're part of the student council. Do you think you'd remember prom if not for that?" Voyeur asks.
"Hehe…no." Yuji shrugs, smiling again. "You should be glad I reminded you," he says, looking straight at Aki.
The brunette blushes and realizes this makes him look absolutely adorable, so he tries to put on a manly pout. "Why me?"
"Honestly," Yuji groans as if we are the stupidest people in the universe- which, we might be, but that's beside the point. "Aren't you going to ask Himeji?" Yuji asks, putting Akihisa in a headlock and giving him a super noogie.
"Get offa me you big jerk!" Aki's fists fly as he tries to break free, but his efforts are futile. It's near impossible to escape from Yuji's arms of steel. I've been in their grip twice. And never ever again do I desire to be there.
Voyeur and I laugh along, when my blue-haired friend suddenly stops. "Oh shit."
"What is it?" I ask over the mini brawl that just broke out on the other side of our row of lockers.
"I'm going to need a date."
I would very much like to tell him that I will fill all his dating needs for prom, or the rest of eternity, when Akihisa calls out, "You're gonna try to ask Aiko, aren't you?" from his place latching on to Yuji's back.
I swear, if I didn't know better, I'd think those two were total fuck buddies. Sure, two guys can be best friends, who happen to have their hands all over each other all the time, and not even be slightly aware of the sexuality of their actions. But, come on. It's the reason Himeji won't even try to flirt with Akihisa; she thinks he's already been claimed, despite Shoko's claim to Yuji.
Voyeur chews on his lip for a moment in thought and I'm so distracted by the action I don't remember who he's thinking about until he asks, "Do you think I even have a chance with her?'
Oh, Aiko. The whore. Yeah, I'm gonna go bang my head on a locker right now.
"Psh." Yuji drops Aki, who was, up until that point, slung over one of Yuji's broad shoulders. "Everyone is going to ask her. You have a better chance of being struck by lightning."
Voyeur's face is guarded, like he doesn't know if he should laugh or frown. It almost makes me mad at Yuji for crushing his hopes.
Yuji pauses and starts checking me out. This is not a good sign. It makes me mildly uncomfortable but whatever. My mind is preoccupied.
"There's always Hideyoshi in a dress."
If I hadn't just been considering the same thing myself I would've punched that shit eating grin right off his face. But there was some merit to the idea…I cautiously stare at Voyeur, hoping his face will reveal something.
He is staring blankly into space, his face slowly contorting into a frown. He glances at me and my heart sinks. Then crumbles. And now little fish are eating the pieces with their freaky "blubby" little fish lips. He doesn't even smile or laugh it off as a joke. Yuji, I will kill you for providing this opportunity to crush my spirits.
Finally, Voyeur smiles at me. It's a nice friendly little gesture, but I can't help but feel like it takes effort- more effort than it should. "Nah, Hideyoshi would probably look better in a tux anyway."
"I don't know," Aki muses, stroking his chin. "He did look quite convincing in that cheerleader uniform…and again in that dress with the parasol…"
Okay, so clearly the number of times I've cross-dressed isn't going to stay a secret. There was that one time I wore a girl's bathing suit. But that really was an accident. I got stuck without one since we don't have a pool and I hadn't really thought it through very well, but since everyone thought I was a girl anyway, I just wore a girl's bathing suit. And, for the record, they were going to force me into that cheerleader uniform, but it was for one of Voyeur's games, so how could I say no? The parasol thing was just a photo op for Voyeur…and now I'm just sounding pathetic, aren't I?
Anyway, its not like I did it so many times because it feels better that way or anything, but sometimes I can't help but wonder if it would be. Better, I mean. That was one of the reasons I'd done it on purpose. If he likes girls, I may not be one but I sure can look like one. As for the rest….well it could be cured by lots of alcohol and a little persuasion, right? And it totally wouldn't count as rape. Not if he likes it.
Taking pity on me, as he rightfully should for starting this, Yuji hits Akihisa on the back of the head. "Let Hideyoshi worry about his own wardrobe; he's a big boy. As for dates…well I'm covered, but you best get to it."
The air around Yuji changes, his face serious and his eyes mysteriously dark and narrowed. He does this sometimes when he talks to Aki. Voyeur and I have dubbed it ninja mode. "Youshii, you know what you must do, don't you?"
Aki nods while glaring and rubbing the back of his head where Yuji hit him. "I do. But some help and a plan of action might be nice."
Laughter fills the room again and I realize I should probably be joining then. But even though I try, I find I'm all out of laughs for the moment.
"Excellent essay again Miss Himeji. Good work." Ms. Takahashi smiles in appreciation as she hands back my paper. "You should consider going to university for literature," she continues.
I think I'd rather study history, but I don't say anything as the teacher, and probably most of the class, beams at me. I just know my face is heating up. And the thought of my face matching my hair is enough to make me blush harder. "Th-thank you," I stammer. I really, really dislike being the center of attention like this. But it would be rude of me not to acknowledge and thank her for the compliment. Still, I wish teachers would stop drawing so much attention to me. Especially today, since I know I must look awful. I didn't have time to fix my hair right and my summer uniform shirt got lost in the wash so I have to wear my winter uniform jacket. I am already prone to blushing so much I overheat, so with the addition of this jacket I'm sure I must be looking as sweaty and disgusting as I feel. Actually...I'm feeling a tad faint...
"Mizuki, you okay?" I feel Shoko's hand on my arm. I stare dazedly at her for a moment, my head swimming.
"Oi, Kaninchen?" Minami's green eyes squint at my face as she waves her hand in front of my eyes. "Hellooo?"
"I'm fine," I squeak, and even I know I'm not very convincing.
Shoko sighs, something she does often. There are many different kinds of Shoko sighs. This one probably (roughly) translates to "Okay Himeji, I'll let you pretend you're all right for now, but don't come crying to me after you pass out."
I don't really have the energy to respond to her sigh, so I rest my chin in my hands and try imagining myself in the midst of a blizzard.
I must have actually fallen asleep, which is something I never do, because I hear a "Kaninchen, you have to move or we're going to leave you here."
I start upon recognizing Minami's nickname for me. Kaninchen, which is German for rabbit, a name derived from my favorite hair clips. It alternates between that and the Japanese-German hybrid 'Hase-chan' because she thinks the Japanese word for rabbit is ugly. I can't say I agree, but I don't mind the nicknames at all. It's very sweet of Minami. She's nicknamed most of us, though I can't say her nickname for Yuji is exactly sweet. But you can judge when you hear it; it will come up eventually I'm sure.
"We could always slop her."
My eyes widen considerably at Shoko and she smirks wickedly at me, pleased her suggestion has shocked me into wakefulness.
I know she would never actually do most of the things she says...at least I'm fairly certain she wouldn't. She isn't really the kind of person I envisioned myself being friends with. In fact, when we first met I was fairly certain she hated me. At one point she did tackle me to the ground. It was a misunderstanding about Yuji and bathing suits... But once we stared seeing more of each other due to our classes and our friends, we got a little closer. I was shocked to find that Shoko had been jealous of me. She thought I was prettier than her and, um, more...well endowed, but she realized she was just being melodramatic. She is very sarcastic and can be a bit blunt and, er, violent, but she does care deeply about her friends underneath all that. Even so, I know I best get up quickly, so I do, and my head is dizzy.
Minami hooks her arm in mine and leads me out into the hallway. Its our free period now, and I'm thankful my schedule for senior year isn't as full as it was junior year. That, combined with my college entrance exam prep courses, was somewhat of a nightmare in terms of disrupting my sleep habits.
The student lounge is just up ahead. Shoko pushes her way through the crowd, but not to get there faster. Her indigo eyes are searching for her boyfriend. I can see a bit of spiky red hair looming above the crowd, headed in our direction. Shoko does too, because she takes off to land in his arms. He gives her a quick but tight hug and a flicker of a smile flashes across her face. That's the happiest her face ever looks.
Kota and Hideyoshi, who have been walking silently behind Yuji, nod at us in unison.
I'll admit I pay little attention to them after that, since Minami nudges me in Akihisa's direction. My face must be pink again, but I'm smiling because Akihisa is smiling at me. "Hey Himeji."
I lean more heavily into Minami and I'm pretty sure she swears in German under her breath, but I make a point not to learn any swears in any languages so I'm not certain. Essentially all I really care about right now is the fact that the smile is gone. "You don't look so good. Are you okay?"
I nod, not trusting myself to speak since I'm such a terrible liar.
"Maybe you should take that jacket off," Kota suggests. "Your body is going to overheat. You should probably get some water, too." He hooks his arm through the one Minami isn't already occupying and I'm lead away from Akihisa and Hideyoshi, who both look rather peeved, so I can be placed on one of the slightly overused chairs in the student lounge.
Kota stands over me and I'm feeling slightly uncomfortable. He doesn't have a very intimidating look, at all really. Most of the time he looks incredibly bored and indifferent. Unless he is talking about health, photography, (sometimes) baseball, and I think he looks less bored when he's talking to Kota. But that last one might just be my imagination. But I feel very dizzy, so occasionally it looks like there are two Kotas. And to me, two is a crowd.
"Hase-chan! Take off your jacket!" Minami barks. She swings a hip into one of Kota's. He stumbles to the side into Hideyoshi, who I didn't see join us. I can't see if everyone (Akihisa) followed us, though. Minami passes me a cold water bottle and I drink, not caring to wonder where it came from, while she starts to unbutton my jacket. It's a sight that, up until a few years ago, would have given Kota a nosebleed. It barely even fazes him now.
The plain t-shirt I put on under my jacket is rather soaked, but I'm not given much time to worry about that as Minami shoves the water bottle at my lips like I'm a baby and Kota is pressing his hand into my forehead.
"Don't move much. And finish that water," he orders. I give a squeak of assent; nodding my head is certainly not a good idea right now.
Akihisa bends down on one knee in front of me and places a hand on my clammy one. I want to pull away, this is so embarrassing, because as my head clears I'm more and more conscious of how awful I must look.
"Are you feeling better?"
"Hmmm," I would feel better if the floor would open up and send me through a tunnel straight to the other side of the earth. It's so unfortunate that it can't happen, so I have to answer yes.
"I'm glad." He smiles.
"Unfortunately we have class now. Hey lover boy, lets get going or Nishimura will have our asses. In a very bad way." Yuji looms over us, his finger poised to poke Akihisa.
"Okay, okay!" he answers, jumping up. Nishimura is always so hard on Akihisa. It makes me feel so sad for him. It's hardly fair for him to torment Aki just because he isn't the brightest. He tries his best, after all.
"You feel better, okay?" Aki adds, turning to smile at me again.
"Shoko will take good care of her," Yuji states with a wink, his tone riddled with innuendo, as most of his speech is.
"Sure, now go!" Shoko says, shooing them so they won't notice her slight blush.
Kota nods at me, his way of saying 'feel better,' before Hideyoshi drags him away by the arm. "Bye Himeji."
They all scurry off to class and I sigh.
"Well, it looks like someone wanted to make you feel better," Minami cackles, her giddiness making her seem as if she isn't in her right mind. It could also be due to the pounding in my temples, making every sound seem magnified and echoed.
"Voyeur was just using his knowledge to helpful," I respond. I take another sip of water, hoping she will drop the subject. I don't really want to think about Kota right now. He is nice and a good friend, but I don't like him in that way – teasing me will only make me worry. But Voyeur couldn't possibly like me. Could he?
"I was talking about Akihisa! He practically dove in front of you, getting down on his knees to cater to his damsel in distress!" Minami dramatizes her actions in a recreation of what she thinks Akihisa did when he realized I was about to faint. She looks like a prince from one of those movies I used to watch a little girl.
"Oh…" My face grows hot again as I realize Akihisa did kind of look like that before. I didn't think it was possible for me to blush than I have in the past few minutes.
Shoko purses her lips, as if she is deliberating making a comment. She will. She always does. "Voyeur did seem quite interested," she says off-handedly. "You might have some competition going."
"Competition for what?" I try to keep the concern out of my voice, but it doesn't work, making me wonder why I bother trying anymore, making Minami glare at Shoko for causing me distress.
"Well, prom is coming up, and you know Himeji is going to get a few offers…" Shoko trails off, crossing her arms.
Oh dear. I completely forgot about prom. The student council meeting for it is coming up soon, how could I not remember! This instantly fills me with more dread than almost fainting. Surely Shoko doesn't think Akihisa and Kota will try to ask me. What if Kota asks me first? And I can't say no, and then Akihisa asks me? Or what if Kota is the only one who asks me and I turn him down because I'm waiting for Akihisa but he never asks me at all? What if neither of them ask me?
Paralyzed by fear, I almost miss Minami's reassurances. "Don't worry, Kaninchen." She pats my arm in a warm, motherly fashion. "I'm sure Aki will ask you, and it will all be ok."
I feel a lot like Shoko as I sigh for the second time. That's quite easy for her to say. She already has a date…granted she is going. I'm not certain how school officials would handle Minami and her one-grade younger girlfriend at the prom together.
"Why don't you take a nap again?" Minami asks. "We'll wake you again before the bell rings."
"Okay," I squeak. I curl up into a little ball on the chair.
I try to fall asleep peacefully, but as I drift off, I realize I'm being chased by a giant corsage. So much for sweet dreams, I suppose.