3. Yankumi's Ojou-Glare
I'm so sorry this took so long; this fic, strangely enough, was not on my harddrive, so I had no old material to work with and I had to retrieve the fic from ffnet itself. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was ever going to finish this, but I was looking through my fic archives and started rereading my old stuff, so I figured I'd tie up whatever ends I could.
Also, in the midst of writing this chapter, I realized the original tense I wrote it didn't quite work for this chapter, so I went back and changed everything to present tense (this is for those of you who might be wondering if there's something different).
"…Well? Who is it?"
Eight pairs of eyes look at Ami expectantly; one usually bespectacled gaze is especially panicked and accompanied by wild hand gesturing.
Ami laughs, amusement crinkling the corners of her eyes. "I don't think Yamaguchi-sensei wants me to say…"
Yankumi releases a very audible sigh of relief.
"…so why don't you ask her yourself?"
The Ojou-glare, Yankumi reflects, seems to have much less impact on females than males. Ami is still her cheery (and thankfully tight-lipped) self.
On the upside, the Ojou-glare is doing wonders in keeping at bay the boys she has the misfortune to call students (and Kuma, who is looking decidedly put out at his wife's lack of cooperation).
It is an odd sort of impasse; everyone knows she is cornered, but damn if she isn't going to make someone pay.
As her aura darkens and her irritation surfaces, the survival instinct of the group comes to the fore and they start giving her a wider berth.
Hayato's weight, however, remains heavy on her shoulders, an insistent pressure accompanying his cajoling voice.
That boy has never learnt how to sense danger; then and now, he has always rushed headlong into trouble.
(Curiosity killed the cat.)
The Akado gang inch as close to each other as possible without leaving their seats. Strength in numbers, and all that.
"Oh hell, the dragon has awakened." Yamato murmurs.
"Is there a back exit? Yankumi's blocking the entrance."
"Where's Kuma? We need an adult here!"
"Don't make sudden movements, but be prepared to run."
"Oh God I can't believe that guy is still hanging on the dragon's back."
"He's going to get roasted."
"Why so secretive? Is it a scandalous affair? A student? Oh my God. Is it Ryu? There's something going on between you two, right? Him becoming a teacher and all… I knew there was something more going on!"
Silence. (There is a flurry of whispers in the background, but Hayato ignores it in his single-minded pursuit of the truth.)
"Silence means consent, y'know. Is it really Ryu? I'm going to kill that guy – he hasn't told me anything!"
Strong fingers encircle his wrist.
A belated sense of doom.
"Yamaguchi-sensei, please be more aware of your public behavior and your reputation! And boys, respect your sensei's privacy!"
Ami, battle-hardened mother of a child in his terrible twos, saves the day. Yankumi even looks a little shamefaced, a look none of them have seen on her before. Kuma stares at his wife with increased awe and respect.
Ami continues; her audience is already paying rapt attention. "Yamaguchi-sensei, I understand if you wish to keep your private affairs – well, private. But I personally think it would be best to tell them; it's not something you can keep hidden forever, especially given your degree of involvement with your students. Wouldn't it be better to tell them yourself than to have them pry on their own? Because they will pry, no matter how you threaten them."
Yankumi sees the logic in Ami's argument, but is still not quite willing to concede defeat. She glares at the boys, taking satisfaction in the way each one flinches when they meet her gaze. "I don't think they will be prying any time soon."
Ami goes for the death blow: "That may be so, but you should know… he's on his way here now."
What happened to that sweet, simple girl from high school? Yankumi muses bitterly, the sulking of a person who knows when she is thoroughly beaten.
More importantly, how is she going to tell them? What is she going to tell them? This is, bar none, the most awkward situation she has been in her entire life. That includes being caught hiding behind Kuma by Kyoto-sensei.
She doesn't have much time; he's on his way (and damn if the thought doesn't simultaneously fill her with joy and dread). Best to pretend it isn't a big deal.
(She doesn't realize she has already made it an irreversibly big deal.)
"It's… it's not a big deal. You guys… you guys don't even know him, actually." Her face flushes and her voice is unnaturally high, even though it's not a lie – only Kuma really knows him, even Ami only knows him in passing.
"He's… he's an old acquaintance! An old acquaintance!" She stumbles triumphantly upon what she thinks is the perfect ambiguous statement, not realizing that she is just opening herself up to more questions by not being specific. (Not realizing things is a very large part of Yankumi's social interactions.)
"Then why all the secrecy?" Hayato and Ren are oddly in sync, despite never having met before.
"You… surprised me!"
"Wait, I'm confused. So are you together with this guy?"
(That's a yes.)
The entrance to the shop swings open, and Kuma automatically shouts "Irrashaimase!".
Only he stops at irrashai, because he recognizes the person, and that person is holding Yankumi's glasses.
Actually, this was supposed to be the last chapter, but I couldn't quite add the last part in here for various reasons (because anticlimactic/I love cliffhangers/I haven't written that last bit yet). But the next chapter should be the last, though heaven knows when that will get written. The writing of this chapter was totally a single sitting, spur of the moment thing (I couldn't sleep and started looking through old fics).