Word Count: 2,114 (excluding AN, date & title)
Of Learning and Cram Schools: A Usagi Tsukino Chronicle
Chapter One: The Fateful Test
Disclaimer: I DO NOT own Sailor Moon or any of the affiliated characters
Usagi Tsukino was in the seventh grade when her life changed forever. It had started with a failing test grade on her thirteenth birthday at that. Ms. H had been less than pleased and a conference had been set up with her parents as soon as they could get to the school. School had let out an hour previously and Usagi was left to clean the classroom by herself, her punishment for such a dismal grade. The fact her parents had even agreed to it was what shocked her, but then again her grade was lower than the entire 2A class had been. It had been embarrassing enough to have to stand in front of her peers with such an embarrassing test paper but to have to clean the classroom by herself was outrageous to the thirteen year old, but the conference was what worried Usagi…Ms. H had never asked her parents for a conference before and she knew she was in some deep trouble because of this. Having to wait outside Ms. H's classroom raked on her nerves but she also knew she would be more nervous once her parents actually got there. Which would be right about now.
'Click' 'Click' 'Click' came the tapping from her mother's heels. Wait, since when did her mother dress up for something as simple as a parent-teacher conference? She was definitely in some trouble.
"I hope you are happy Usagi" her father's voice sounded right from behind her mother, startling poor Usagi half to death. "You have really put yourself in a bind this time young lady."
The fact her father wouldn't say anything more to her than those eighteen words was another reason to worry. Her dad was never that short with her, and he never called her young lady in that tone before, ever. At that precise moment an unnamed god must have heard her pray for escape because Ms. H decided to finally open the door to her classroom, she had more than likely heard her parents approach.
"Mr. and Mrs. Tsukino, please come in." She stated with a warm smile before cutting her eyes to Usagi, "You as well Tsukino-san, as this concerns you're future, dismal as it may be."
Usagi held back, allowing her mother to enter the room before her and upon deciding it was best not to say anything proceeded in before her father at his beckon.
"As you know, Usagi has failed and failed again to show any improvement in her studies in the past two years, getting dismal grades at best, if passing at all. This is not what we want for a student from Juban Jr. High School. I have discussed this with the headmaster and he is in agreement that if Usagi would like to remain a student at Juban High School or have any hope of attending a decent high school, she is required to start attending cram sessions in the afternoon. If not then we will be forced to send her out of the school and at this time of year and with her high school entrance exams coming up in just two short years it would not be the best thing for her."
Her parents were quite for a moment. They had known Usagi's grades were bad, but they had not realized how bad, as she had always somehow managed to pull it up to at least a 'D' before her grade report had come out.
The next words out of her father's mouth shocked her.
"Which cram school would you recommend?" he asked, ignoring the shocked and appalled look Usagi was giving him, silencing that look with a hard look of his own that she knew meant she was not going to win this one.
"I cannot really recommend one over the other but she needs discipline and structure. She must bring her grades up in English, Math, Japanese History, Japanese, P.E. of all things, Home Economics, Art Appreciation, Literature, and Music Appreciation. Basically, every subject, it is mandatory or she will not be at Juban next year."
The finality in her teacher's words hit Usagi like a ton of bricks at one time. She was going to have to attend cram school, there was no way around, above, or below this. Only going through it would ensure her survival from teacher and parents alike.
"Very well Ms. H, we will begin looking for a cram school for Usagi immediately since I am already off work, and young lady, as soon as we are finished finding you one, everything and I do mean everything that is not vital to sleep or study will be removed from your room as soon as we return home. You have bought yourself a one way ticket to deprivation."
The customary bow was exchanged before the Tuskino's made their way to the nearest bookstore. Usagi protesting all the way, saying that she would improve, she would actually study just as long as they didn't send her to cram school, but the entire car knew that her pleas fell on death ears as her father did not answer her once during the entire ride.
When they entered the book store and entered into an area Usagi had never ventured to and she got a look at the size of the preparatory books that where there she knew she was in for a long haul. Her father scanned the books, asking her mother for input occasionally, as she had graduated later than he, and then selected two books, checking out and exiting the store before Usagi had a chance to slip off to the manga department.
Her father directed them not towards the car but towards the coffee shop that was adjacent to the store, ordering a coffee for himself and tea for his daughter and wife before he sat down, pulling out a pad, a pen and a highlighter and began scanning the large tome in front of him.
As he flipped to the Juban District Usagi knew her fate was sealed. As she watched him flip through page after page, making notes on certain ones, highlight some and completely crossing out others she knew that within a short time period all her precious café time would be gone, no more arcade games or a pick me up when she had done poorly on a test. When her father was done he had a list of ten or so *different crams schools, a glance at the clock told him that they could visit most of them today before they closed. Once they were back in the car he finally spoke to her.
"You will go to cram school. You will do your best and you will learn. I will be getting weekly grade reports, book lists and homework lists emailed to me a week in advance and I expect to see you at your desk every night doing said homework. I will also be getting an email from your junior high with the same information. If I do not see an improvement in your grades within a few months, you can expect a one way ticket to a boarding school. Am I clear?"
That was the most her father had spoken to her in a few short hours and it shocked her but she nodded her head mutely, turning her gaze down from his that he held with her in the rearview mirror.
Cherry Hill Seminar was the first on the list. The building was old and lifeless as far as Usagi was concerned but the lady at the front was sure was cheerful enough.
"Welcome to Cherry Hill Seminar, how can I be of assistance today?" she asked in that overly cheerful voice that receptionist where known to use.
"Yes ma'am, I need to enroll my daughter into some remedial courses if possible." Her father said, ignoring the look of sympathy the lady shot her parents, after all who wanted a drop-out or worse a rounin for a child.
"Of course, sir. What courses will she be needing?" she asked, her fingers poised over the computer to input the information.
The look her father gave her could have made her wilt.
He sighed before rattling off the list "Japanese I, Japanese History, English, Mathematics, Biology, as well as Chemistry."
Her eyes widened slightly but she did well in keeping her composer.
"Does she have a recent grade report so I can place her appropriately?" she asked, still poised as ever despite her shock.
He handed her the grade report in silence as she typed for a minute into the computer.
"I'm sorry sir, but all our remedial classes are full. Maybe try again in the spring?"
This happened at Cherry Hill, Crystal Hill, Blossom Seminar, Scholar Seminar and Juban Hill. They were close to the bottom of the list by the time they walked into Juban Elite Seminar. Juban Seminar was privately owned and was one of the best, but it also came with a steppe price tag.
The young lady at the desk was polite this time and non-judgmental as she looked at Usagi's grade report. Usagi could swear her parents where holding their breaths, thinking that this was a long shot for their daughter.
"You're in luck." She said with a bright smile as she glanced up from typing after just a few short minutes. "I can get her in to the courses she needs but there is a catch."
"Which is?" her father asked, knowing he wasn't going to like the sound of this.
"Her courses would be spread out throughout the entire week since she needs so much help, and by the entire week I mean Sunday thru Saturday, she would be here every day as some of the courses she needs overlap others. Would that be too much of an inconvenience for you to arrange transportation for her? If so we could probably drop a class or add one early in the morning if needed and until I can schedule her a placement test her schedule would be temporary."
Mr. Tuskino seemed to breathe a sigh of relief that that was all.
"She will be her seven days a week if that's what it takes to get her grades up to above sub-par levels."
"Very well then. I will add her courses and have you a printed schedule momentarily as well as the book lists and supplement reading lists."
The looks on her parents' faces were enough to scare anyone away as Usagi watched her father effectively sign her life away and scheduling her placement test the next day, a Saturday that was a non-school day of all things!
Usagi watched in bitter silence as her father and mother made quick work of her room. Packing up all her manga's, stuffed animals and toys that she had scattered about before they left again for the bookstore, this time with a list of books in hand, her new study material that she would need for Juban Seminar. Surprisingly it was not just a book list but also a supplies list of different odds and ends needed to get through the year. Right now her father was not focused so much on the books as the odds and ends; he would purchase the books once he knew her placement levels. New blue books, composition notebooks, binders and loose leaf paper were slowly added to the cart, as well as pens, pencils, erasers, highlighters and sticky notes. He scanned the book list again and decided to go ahead and get only the books she needed for her study skills class which she was required to take, something that should help her immensely, or so she hoped. Usagi watched as three very small books were added to the cart as well as a rather large tomb that looked foreboding.
A stop at an office supply store secured them a hutch for her desk as well as a cart on wheels to hold her new books and supplies and a packet of color coded folder files to guarantee her work stayed somewhat organized and a planner and they were set for tomorrow. Her desk was moved to sit by the window and the hutch was added to the top, and the cart was added next to the desk, filled to the brim with new supplies in the hopes it would help her stay focused. By the time the organizational aspect was finished it was time for a late dinner and then Usagi headed to bed, dreading the next day which would come all too soon for the young girl.
It was going to be a long year.
Authoress Note: I actually forgot November was NaNoWri Month! I've never actually written for NaNoWri Month before as it seems like such a large undertaking but while I was waiting on my boyfriend to get off work I started going through old Fan Fiction Ideas and this bug just bit me so I planned out the fan fiction (roughly) and it came out to forty-five or so chapters so I figured why not give it a go but I am estimating three parts to this series… the middle part will not be as long as it covers the Summer Term. I expect the chapters to shrink down some as I actually start working on it…I covered what I thought was going to be two chapters in one. When I post a chapter just know the next Chapter has already been written, my goal is to stay at least one chapter ahead.
THIS WILL BE A LONG FANFICTION! I already have 50 Chapters Outlined so far so be forewarned.