Yeah...this is more a chapter to tell you guys I'm still here more than anything else, really. More notes at the end.
Three dead voices respond to my equally dead greeting. It looks like something decided to affect us four guys at the same time.
"Wait wait wait, why the hell are you three dead to begin with?" I inquire.
"Mom thought the uber-hot tabasco was the ketchup. Only found that out after I took a bite of my burger. And don't even get me started on the rest of the food."
"I got caught taking pictures inside the girl's locker room."
"Uuuu, ane-ue kept me up with fist related tutoring last night."
I receive three simultaneous responses from Yuuji, Muttsulini, and Hideyoshi, respectively.
"What about you, Akihisa? What's gotten you down in the dumps?" Yuuji asks.
"Oh, well I had to run to the grocery store to return all the stupid non-edible stuff nee-san confused for groceries. Than I find out that she found even more of my hiding spots for my ero...reference books."
"You've got it rough."
Yuuji replies, Muttsulini nodding in agreement.
"Not to mention Shouko being all over you. I heard she came over your place yesterday."
"Ehh? Who told you that?"
"She did. Ran across her at the shoelockers. I think I'm starting to get used to having Shouko as just friend friends. Only had the urge to run away for a second this time."
"Tell us the specifics of her over your house."
"No, Muttsulini, nothing perverted happened."
"...(Droops in disappointment)"
"So what happened?"
"Nothing really, she was talking to nee-san when I arrived. Than we talked for a bit and she made me dinner before leaving."
"That sounds horri-wait what? You didn't experience pain at least once?"
"Nope. Her cooking's good as always."
"Damn it! Why did she lose her homicidal tendencies right when she's going after Akihisa now?!"
"Maybe because she actually likes Akihisa?"
Hideyoshi drops his conclusion from yesterday into the conversation.
"What? Shouko liking Akihisa? That can't be possible...can it?"
Yuuji scratches his head in confusion.
"Well, that's what Hideyoshi came up with. I ran across him while getting groceries yesterday and told him the gist of what happened."
"Can you be more specific in what you and Kirishima talked about though? That guess was just the first thing that came into mind."
"Sure. Umm...well Kirishima-san asked me why I was so shy around her. Then I was like 'Everything's all sudden'. Then she asked what I meant. Then I said that I didn't know that the whole swap thingy meant that she'd still actually like her target, me obviously. Then she gave me a funny look and told me that while I complimented her and doted on Mizuki and Minami, Yuuji gave zero craps about her."
On a side note, that entire summary came out in one breath.
"Wow, well everything's a bit clearer now. Yeah, she definitely likes you."
Hideyoshi spoke out first.
"Yeah...that's really weird! I only did that because I know Shouko can do better though! I guess because I didn't pay attention to her, Shouko turned to someone who actually did look at her. Still doesn't explain why she didn't take at least one of your lives though."
"Well how am I not going to look at her? It's not like I can turn away every time she's around. She's pretty attractive, y'know."
"No...Yuuji didn't mean that literally..."
Both Hideyoshi and Muttsulini sigh for some reason.
I'm confused now.
"Ugh, I'll dumb it down so even you can understand it Akihisa. Shouko. Actually. Likes. You."
"Muu...I feel sorry for Kirishima. Now she has to deal with what Shimada and Himeji go through on a daily basis."
Before I can clarify what Yuuji said, Minami, Mizuki, and finally Ironman walk in. With a curt nod to the three of them, they nod back, understanding that this isn't a subject we can broach upon around the two girls.
At lunch time, we reconvene again at the rooftop, this time including Mizuki and Minami.
"Hello, everyone. It's strange to see all four of you in the morning at the same time." Mizuki points out.
"Well, there are days we just happen to arrive at the same time." Hideyoshi reasons out. "Anyways, let's eat."
Everyone starts to produce bentos from their bags. Rummaging through mines, it seems I can't find it! Damn, must've forgotten to take it out of the fridge before I left today!
"...Yoshii, I made you a bento."
"WOAH! Where did you come from, Kirishima-san?!"
Hideyoshi and Yuuji, who were next to me, recoil a bit at the sight of Kirishima-san next to me. No matter how many times this happens, none of us will ever get used to the ninja-like capacities of Kirishima Shouko.
"Aki...why is Kirishima making you bentos?!"
"Akihisa-kun, you have some explaining to do..."
Killing intent! I jump and take a defensive stance, ready to flee at any moment. Jeez, I might as well explain things to them if they're going to act like this.
"Oy, guys. We might as well tell them now. It's already obvious anyways."
"Yeah, you're right I guess. Himeji and Shimada would've pieced together what happened between me, you and Shouko anyways."
"Wait, what's going on Aki?"
Little question marks start appearing around Minami and Mizuki.
"Ehh...it's a long story, but..."
Yuuji and I flank the two girls and wrap our arms around their shoulders, leading them towards the stairs.
"We're going to get drinks!"
I yell to the three remaining people.
5 minutes and change later
""YOU SWITCHED PLACES WITH SAKOMOTO(-kun)"" (Mizuki added the -kun)
""Oyyy, not so loud!""
Yuuji and I berate Mizuki and Minami, as their loud voices attract a couple of stares from passersby. Under the pretense of getting drinks, Yuuji and I led the two girls to the vending machines while explaining our story.
"I didn't realize Shouko-chan had feelings for Akihisa-kun..."
"Yeah, things just got a lot harder for us...but really Sakomoto? Nakabayashi actually likes YOU?"
"Don't ask me how, but she just does. But yep, Shouko likes Akihisa. Maybe not as intense as she liked me, but still, it's there."
"And don't even ask me how Kirishima-san started liking me to begin with. I had no idea back when I offered to do the whole swap thingy."
It doesn't seem like Mizuki and Minami heard what I said, as they speed up their pace a bit and huddle, talking among themselves. I can make out bits and pieces of their conversation though.
"...can't believe Kirishima fell for Aki..."
"...I won't let Shouko-chan beat me..."
Yuuji takes this opportunity to talk to me alone in the meantime.
"Oy, Akihisa, you know things are only going to get harder for you now, right?"
"What do you mean?"
"Come on man, even a dullard like you should've figured out now that Himeji and Shimada like you."
"Obviously. We're friends, right?"
"No, that's not what I meant! Agh, you're bound to find out anyways so I won't bother explaining it to you. Anyways, I might as well tell you this now: Even though you're an idiot, you're a good kid. I'm sure my years of holding off Shouko will pay off if you pick her."
"Wait...so you're telling me to go out with...Kirishima-san?!"
"Yep.. Before that incident, I was rooting for you to go pick someone else, but I just can't ignore this turn of events, as Shouko's childhood friend."
"Well, I wanted you to hook up with Kirishima-san! Why do you think we went through all that trouble at that amusement park?"
"Look, I just know things wouldn't work out between Shouko and me. Yandere tendencies aside, I can't return her feelings. A simple act of bravado led her to waste years going after me. I'd feel horrible if I did go out with her and prolong the facade."
Yuuji's words give me pause, as I try to figure out what his words mean.
"So basically, you won't get together with Kirishima-san no matter what?"
"I'm looking forward to a relationship where I won't get tased on a daily basis as well."
"Great. What a waste of a trip to the amusement park than."
"Oy...I still remember you telling that guy to tase me..."
"Wha...? That wasn't me!"
"He said "Mr. Yoshii Akihisa"..."
"Must've been some other Yoshii Akihisa! Oh hey look, we're back on the roof! Let's meet up with the rest of the group!"
I quickly divert Yuuji's attention before he decides he needs to get back at me AGAIN for that amusement park matchmaking thingy we did. Mizuki and Minami are already ahead of us, handing out the drinks we bought from the machines. This would be a normal lunch if everything didn't get all mixed up. Even though it's the same people eating together, the atmosphere is different. Yuuji isn't being tortured by Kirishima while Mizuki and Minami are talking amongst themselves instead of trying to steal my attention like they usually do. Strangely enough, Muttsurini and Hideyoshi were holding a lively conversation with Kirishima as we walked in. While it's a strange sight, it's good to see everyone getting along.
Well, I suppose my everyday school life was bound to experience some changes at one point. Too bad it was myself who caused all this change, but what's done is done. I just have to figure out what to do about Kirishima. Wonder what he meant about that comment with Mizuki and Minami though.
WHAT A TWIST! OK not really, but after watching that Robot Chicken segment that gunned M. Night Shyamalan, I think that's the appropriate phrase to use once I employ the figurative ICBM into this story. Found myself drifting away from my original purpose of this story, so expect something different next update...when I get around to it.
Oh, and I kinda slipped in some Light Novel bits into what was supposed to be only-anime canon. Welp.