#5 - Innocence
"Ahh, it's cold today. Maybe I should have worn my warmer uniform."
She shivered slightly, and began to rub her arms in an attempt to warm them up. It was the first she complained to her teacher that day. Wakaouji was a very popular teacher, so she felt like she'd be wasting his time by discussing ordinary things such as feelings. But then again, spending this rare time trying to determine if the rumors of his vast intelligence were true was probably just as wasteful.
"It has been rather cool for Summer. How have you been handling it?"
The warmth of his smile gave her goose bumps. It was a shock to know a teacher that was so personable. It was no wonder that his students loved him, no matter their personality. To be willing to wander around the campus with her for some casual chat was amazing. His charm kept driving the questions she had regarding the rumors out of her mind.
"Not well. I've been feeling under the weather for the past few days. I can't tell if it's allergies or if the weird weather weakened me."
Frustrated with the obvious goose bumps on her arms, she rubbed them more. A huff of an annoyance left her, her tactic not working fast enough for her tastes.
"Would you like to go back inside? It-"
She cut him off. "No. I don't want to go inside when it's nice out."
"Hmm, I see." The gentle looking teacher held his chin and looked up, appearing to ponder a thought. "Here." He shed his lab coat and wrapped it over her in a fluid motion.
It happened so suddenly that it took the student a few moments to realize what the warmth around her was. Seeing her smiling teacher minus the familiar whiteness confirmed that her thoughts were correct. The disconnect was still enough to hinder her speaking capabilities, "What...?"
"You don't want to go inside, so this is what I thought of to keep you warm. You can give it back to me when it's time for us to part."
Still feeling flustered by the action, she didn't trust her voice enough to respond. Her arms slipped through the thick, yet comfortable sleeves. She couldn't help but belittle her nervousness. Trying to control her urge to fidget, she grabbed onto the excess cloth at the end of the sleeves, wrapping her hands in them. "Thanks."
A silence hung in the air as they walked around the immense greenery that was the school's property. Wakaouji seemed at peace with the situation, but the teenager was antsy with the silence. A topic of conversation sprung to mind when she remembered the rumors surrounding him. "Oh! Wakaouji-sensei, I just remembered something I wanted to talk to you about. There have been some rumors about you going around and-"
"Yes... the rumors are true." Sadness glazed his eyes and he looked down at her with a pout.
What a strange reaction, typical of the non-typical teacher. "Uh, Waka-sensei?"
"I really do enjoy the taste of cat food. Some of the cats are stubborn, and won't eat what I offer them unless they see me eating it first. I tried it, and it's delicious. You don't think poorly of sensei, do you?"
"Umm... no, not at all." What were the rumors again? That he had an IQ of at least 200?
"Good. I like trying out different brands for them. It was unanimous that they preferred wet cat food over dry, and I never realized how similar the fish flavor was to canned tuna. Perhaps I should buy the cat food tuna over the normal cans. After all, it also has liver in it, and that can be-"
"Uck! Waka-sensei, just buy human food for yourself!"
"You mean... sensei shouldn't buy cat food for himself?" When he pouted, he hardly looked like an adult, never mind having a position of a teacher. She felt like she was scolding a child.
"Cat food is for cats. I guess it's okay to have a little if you need to entice them to eat, but that's it."
"Then, sensei shouldn't be eating the treats for snacks?"
"Y-You're doing that too?"
He nodded, a guilty look on his face. At that moment, she couldn't imagine the rumors holding any ground. They were already hard to imagine, given how naturally scatterbrained he was; this takes the cake. "Oh, Wakaouji-sensei..."
"You're not laughing."
Confusion was apparent in her voice. "Eh...? Was it a joke?"
"No, it wasn't a joke." He stated somewhat seriously, but then went back to his typical flaky tone. "When I talk about it, I usually get laughter. Why aren't you laughing?"
"I guess... I feel bad that you don't know not to eat cat food."
"From now on I won't. Thanks for advising sensei!" He patted her gently on the head. "Yes, yes, you're a very good student."
She wasn't sure what she was being praised about, and the closeness was frazzling her attempts to figure it out. Instead, she wondered if Wakaouji pet his cats with the same soft affection. His blue eyes seemed to reveal a trickle of amusement in them, which irritated her. "What is it?"
"Oh, sensei just thought of another way to warm you up." He took off running down the grassy slope before them. With his attire of a dress shirt, dress pants, dress shoes, dress everything, it seemed like a foolish activity. His speed was superb despite the possible hindrance of clothing, similar to an energetic child in their Sunday-best. He yelled back to her. "Let's run a few laps. It will warm you up."
"Ah, Waka-sensei!" He already had a good head start on her. Not wanting to lag further behind, she sprinted with all of her might.
He didn't bother to hide a laugh, happy that she was participating. "Keep it up!"
Already feeling fatigued, she tried to negotiate. "Can't you go easy on me instead?"
"Bzzt. If you have the energy to talk, you have the energy to run."
"Ugh, I'm not even in the track and field club! Waka-senseeei!"
After all was said and done she had to admit - running with her teacher did warm her up.
Author's Note: Eh heh, I made a mistake. I said the next chapter was going to be the theme Break Away, but it looks like this is getting published first. You see, I had Break Away partway done when my laptop didn't want to work. In the mean time, I moved onto this theme. Worked out better anyway since I had an idea for Innocence that was easier to write. Maybe I should consider doing the themes in any order, rather than their default numbered order.
Wakaouji was surprisingly easy for me to write despite his unique personality. Maybe his uniqueness makes it easier? Who knows~ All I know is that he's fun to write.
Pearchoco: Thank you! I hope it continues to be enjoyable, and that the series gets even more love!