For a really faithful BlackCatNeko999! I couldn't have gotten this far without you!
And to the rest of you who really support KukAmu like me :3 This will most likely be the last entry so please enjoy the lovely update! Hopefully it has the right ending (Also note I'm American and I do not understand how the Japanese school days works...someday I will but not now...)
Sayonara! I had fun!
Taking a shaky breath, I entered the school without looking back. My hands were clutched to my bag as if it were a life raft and I was lost amongst the sea of people. I was worried. Worried of what to do. What should I do? Where? Where was my classroom again? Kami, why did you make me get sick at the beginning of the year? Why did you make me miss a third of the school year? Why did you give me such a weak body? Why? Why? Why? I sighed miserably. I knew I shouldn't have come. I actually felt better a couple of weeks ago but due to my lovely social anxiety problem I had I held back for as long as possible.
"Move it kid," I was almost pitched forward as someone moved past me. I realized I was standing in the middle of the corridor, blocking everyone's way.
"Oh," I didn't bother making eye contact with anyone. Great save, Amu. And bravo to you, social phobia, you're totally a great help! I should probably be more careful though. The nurses would worry and so would my family if I had another attack. I practically lived in the hospital, a frequent patient always in need of medication. I rarely went home anymore, always staying in the hospital like the sick child I was. I have a weak immune system, getting sick often as well as having asthma and respiratory problems. (I'm not even going to mention my allergies...)
I glanced at my schedule clenched tightly in my hand. I squared my shoulders and set straight, making a beeline to my classroom: 2-B. I entered after a few other students, getting increasingly nervous. I tried to slow my steadily increasing breaths as the fear set in. I began getting hot, my hands beginning to shake. My eyes flew around the room, looking for possible escape exits or places to hide when I got scared. It may sound ridiculous to you but I calmed down after I was alone for a while, safe from prying eyes. I looked at the blackboard, my eyes roaming the seating arrangement for my name. Ah. Near the window in the back, my name was written in the white square. I quickly shuffled to my seat and sat down hanging my bag to the side where tiny hooks were.
"And so, she was like..."
"Oh, really? I didn't think..."
"And he didn't want it after I went through all that trouble!"
The mindless chatter of students blended together in a mass of pointless noise. I took this peaceful moment to collect myself, calming down ever so slightly. I slowly unwound my knotted stomach as I relaxed my breathing. The class started settling in their seats, the bell ringing moments after. A man entered moments later, clipboard in hand. He smiled at all of us, giving a hearty welcome. He quickly started scanning the checklist. My heart started increasing all over again as it neared my name.
"Ah," he said his brows lifting in surprise. "We have a new student today, don'twe?"
"He or she?"
"I didn't see them yet..."
"Hinamori Amu, is it?" He looked up from his clipboard.
"Eh? She's been gone since forever!"
"She's not new!"
"She practically is since she's been MIA since the beginning of the school year."
That's true...I thought looking around.
"Well, is she here today?"
"Hinamori?" Nikaidou-sensei looked around the room.
Oh yeah, I should probably answer, right? Hesitantly, "H-here."
I swear there was a collective gasp.
"Ah," he smiled in my direction. "Why don't you stand and introduce yourself?"
Reluctantly, I stood. As all eyes were on me, I could already feel myself getting more and more nervous. I've always hated large crowds. It's as if they're scrutinizing your every move and giving mental evaluations on what you say and do. My mother said it's nothing and it's just a psychological hurdle I'll cross one day. Psychological or not, I haven't crossed this hurdle yet.
"Hinamori?" I jumped, my head snapping up to him.
"Yes?" I squeaked nervously.
The class sniggered followed by chuckles and giggles from my fellow classmates. I felt myself grow warm as I slowly lowered my eyes until they focused on the desk. He cleared his throat. "Himamori, I'm your homeroom teacher, Nikaidou-sensei. Would you like to introduce yourself?"
No. "M-my name...Hinamori - "
"Skip your name," a boy interrupted me. "We've heard it enough times already."
Is it possible to get any warmer than I am now? My lips trembled. "Oh...sorry..."
"No need to apologize, Himamori," Nikaidou-sensei said gently. Sternly to someone else, "Souma Kūkai. Don't be rude to our new student."
"Eh? She's not really new, Nikaidou-sensei." This 'Souma Kūkai' continued. "She's just been missing for most of the year is all."
"Well, this is her first day," the teacher argued. "We'll show her how respectful we are and because you're so glad to talk to her, you can show her around the school."
The class laughed at him.
"What? I'm not - "
"That's an order Souma," Nikaidou-sensei said sternly.
I had looked up as they argued; finding the rude culprit as he argued back. He was near the middle, laid back and casual looking. He had unkempt hair that actually looked sorta cool and had deep emerald eyes. He rolled his eyes at the teacher and crossed his arms, looking back at me. I quickly cast my eyes downward, hoping not to meet them again.
"Continue, Himamori," Nikaidou-sensei sighed.
"I...I like to paint." I stammered nervously. I learned to paint well after all those days in the hospital. It was something that kept me occupied. "P-please take c-care of me!"
With that, I sat down quickly. Class resumed normally and I suddenly blended in with the wallpaper. I mean, I disappeared from their line of vision. I took the notes very seriously, already a very focused student. I didn't ask any questions however, not a single peep. When the bell rang, everyone quickly gather their things for the next class. I gathered my own things, waiting for everyone to exit so I wouldn't get in the way. But there was him. He wouldn't leave the room. I waited about five seconds more before finally edging around him.
"Hinamori." I froze.
"Turn around and talk to me," he commanded.
I spun on my heel, looking at everything but him.
"Hinamori?" He seemed puzzled.
"What?" I looked at my shoes.
"Would you quit acting so stupid and look at me?"
Stupid? What? "S-sorry."
"Look at me," he insisted.
Hesitantly, I raised my eyes to his. He sighed.
"That's much better." He nodded to himself. "Anyways, I'll have to how you around since Nikaidou-sensei won't get off my back about it."
"I-It's okay!" I managed. "I can do it by myself. You go along to c-class."
He raised an eyebrow. Oh no. Was I too weird? Did I say something? Did I sound to commanding? Maybe I should've added a polite little 'please' at the end. "Hinamori...do you not want to be with me now?"
"W-what? No!" I became tongue-tied. "I mean, it's fine if y-you want to. You don't have to though!"
"Let's hurry then," he glanced around then looked at me again. "Which class do you have next?"
"Um," I fumbled for the crumpled schedule. I smoothed it out and scanned it over. "A c-cooking class."
"Alright then," Kūkai turned to his right. "Follow me. I'll show you where it is."
"Alright," I folded my schedule and shoved it in my pocket.
He led me down various hallways and up a staircase leading to another hallway. He then led me down the empty corridor and then stopped in front of a room. "This is it."
"T-thanks," I mumbled keeping my eyes downcast.
"Stop looking down," Kūkai commanded.
"Yes!" I shot up, straight as a pin.
Kūkai only gave me an odd look, cocking his head to one side. "Do you always follow orders from a stranger?"
"N-no," I replied shortly.
He sighed then told me to wait here after class so he could show me my next one. He went to his class and I went to mine. I shuffled in to the back, claiming a lone counter to myself. The class went by rather quickly as the teacher helped me with the basic rules, standards and kitchen terms. Everyone was working on a more advanced recipe while I began flipping through the beginner book. I furrowed my brow. I had already made all these and well...they were kind of boring. But I didn't have the nerve to tell my teacher so I went and made simple rice and curry.
"Alright everyone," the teacher clapped her hands. "It's the fifteen minute mark - time to clean up."
I quickly cleaned my things up and put my food into a container so I could give it to my little sister when I got home - she'd love it for sure. I quickly cleaned up my area until it was spotless and looked precisely the way I left it. I then looked at my schedule again, checking and double-checking to make sure I was correct. I then waited for everyone to empty the classroom again. I followed the crowd, peeking out for him. He said to wait and so I did.
"Excuse you," a voice snapped to my right. "You're kind of in the doorway you nimrod."
I shuffled to the side as the wavy haired brunette glared at me. Behind her followed two girls - twins actually; brown-haired and brown-eyed but smiling and each wearing similar outfits but pink versus blue. Each had their hair in a small side pony and giggled between themselves as they passed me. I kept my gaze averted to the tiled floor instead of looking up. I didn't look up again as the crowd passed by, not wanting to meet their eyes and stayed out of the way. When he grabbed my arm I jumped and snapped my head up.
"I called your name!" He sounded kind of annoyed. "Didn't you hear me? Jeez, you're so...whatever, what's your next class?"
"M-mathematics," I stammered.
"This way," he heaved a great sigh and turned back into the crowd. I kept pace behind him focusing on his hair as not to lose sight of him. People passed by and he weaved his way through the crowd silently. I hope he isn't angry. I really don't want to make him mad. He stopped by another classroom. "It's a good thing we're in the same class." He gestured for me to enter. "Just ask the teacher where your seat is."
I nodded and he went to his seat. I swallowed and looked around, my eyes darting back and forth in the room as I tried to locate the teacher. Even as more students entered, I was still standing near the back of the room unsure if what to do. Everyone was chattering and laughing, sharing their notes and sneaking a snack or even texting. I pulled at the edge of my skirt out of habit nervous.
"Oi!" He hit my arm lightly with a rolled up notebook. "Why aren't you sitting yet?"
I bit my lip and tried to come up of some kind of believable answer but failed. He sighed at my silence and took my arm, taking me to an empty seat on the far left near the front. I sat down obediently and didn't meet his gaze, embarrassed. I heard him sigh again and then he went back to his seat on the other side of the room. I quietly brought out my pencil, flipping my notebook to a blank page before writing the date in the corner. I then pulled out my book I had brought, opening it and began silently reading to myself.
"The Heart's Egg."
I jerked my head up in surprise. "E-eh?"
A blond boy with strange eyes smiled at me, pointing to my book. "I read that all the time as a kid."
"R-really? That's nice," I attempted a small smile and returned my attention to the book.
"It is a really nice book," he continued.
"It is," I nodded and turned back to him and attempted to hold eye contact. I seemed to search his face instead as I looked everywhere but his eyes.
"I'm Hotori Tadase," he stuck out his hand.
I let got of the edge of the book and shook it gently. His hand was soft. "I'm H-H-Hinamori Amu."
"You're new, aren't you?" He asked the obvious.
"Uh, well, um, kind of," Even I had no precise clue.
"I hope you like it here," Tadase smiled kindly. "If you need any help, I'm here, okay?"
"Okay," I smiled back.
The rest of the day was uneventful and I had no problems with my schedule. I did see the Brunette and her Twins a few times but they didn't see me and kept going. I was a little unsure how but I knew I upset her earlier and that caused her to snap at me like that. Kūkai did scold me a few times when I seemed unable to respond properly to some situations and was a very good guide. But during my last class, it began pouring outside. After changing shoes, I went to the bathroom to wait for everyone to leave and when the coast was clear, I dialed up my parents. There was no answer and I shrugged; they were really busy people. Ami would still be at daycare and I had to pick her up after I dropped my stuff off...
I exited the bathroom and clenched my hand around the handle of my bag. I guess I'd just have to make a run for it. I glanced around once more and stepped outside where the rain hit the pavement, already creating puddles on the ground that reflected the gray sky. I sighed and lifted my arm to out my bag on top of my head.
An umbrella popped open over my head. "Are you really that stupid?"
I looked up to see a dark blue umbrella and turned. "Eh? Souma - "
He snorted. "Please, call me Kūkai. Everyone else does."
"Okay," I made a mental note. "Um, what're you doing?"
"I'd be a jerk to let you walk home in the rain without an umbrella," he picked up my open hand and placed the hand in it. "Here - take this. I have to get to practice."
He turned, jogging back to the doors. I opened my mouth to say something then shut it. I looked at the umbrella then said as loud as I could muster, "Thank you!"
Kūkai paused with his hand on the door handle and tilted his head to the side, giving me a side glance. I fidgeted unsure of what to do now. Then he grinned at me. I remained dumbstruck and only watched as he went back inside. I exhaled loudly and turned to go home. I tightened my hand around the handle and slowly got home, quickly getting inside and changing into suitable attire. I changed shoes and opened the door to go pick up Ami. I stared at the dark blue umbrella as it sat next to the door, dripping wet. Without thinking, I grabbed it and went outside.
—『 Next Day 』—
It was forecasted to be a sunny day today with warm weather and dry skies. I quickly entered school this time, changing shoes and pulling out all my necessary items. I pinned some of my hair back this time so I could see better and looked around. Everyone was just getting their things ready, meeting up with old friends and chatting together. I turned back to my locker and smiled to myself.
On my wrist dangled the dark blue umbrella.