Chapter Two: What An Idiot


It had already been a month since the run-in with Hino Rei, and Minako had the feeling she would never have the chance to talk to her again.

Of course, that was partially her fault.

Aino Minako was what one could call a social butterfly. Meaning, she saw no social boundaries. She fluttered and floated around as she goddamn pleased. To Minako, it didn't matter whether anyone lacked in money, smarts, or looks. Chances were, she was going to invade their personal space without relent until they could mutually call each other good friends, or at the very least, acquaintances. Aino Minako avoided no one.

..Except a certain raven-haired girl who possessed all three. With emphasis on the looks.

Something about Hino Rei set off alarms all throughout Minako's subconscious. It wasn't that she found herself particularly driven away by Hino's infamous distant nature (she hadn't seemed all that distant when Minako had finally met her), but something told her that if she were to get any closer, she would find herself in a world of hurt.

Still, that didn't mean she didn't want to get to know the other girl. Minako had this strong desire to protect Hino Rei. A strong attachment had been formed that fateful night, even though she had assisted dozens of other people as Sailor V since. She needed to be sure that this Hino Rei was always safe, and she guessed that being able to see her everyday in class was enough for her.

Although she would never admit it, she sometimes followed the other girl home. Yes, it was pretty damn crazy, but Minako didn't want a repeat of that night. She only had to do it a few times, however. Fortunately for her, Hino had taken to traveling a different route, which included a bus ride midway. It steered clear of that certain alley, and Sailor V never once had to show herself again.

It was on this particular day that Minako supposed she should stop worrying about Hino Rei. The other girl was going to be fine; it made no sense to fix something that wasn't broken.

It was dangerous to form attachments anyways.


"Aino Minako-san from Class 1-B, please report to Shibazaki in the staff room. I repeat, Aino Minako-san from Class 1-B, please report to Shibazaki in the staff room."

Minako was immediately pulled from her daydream at the mention of her name.

This particular day was starting to suck.

The class good-naturedly ooh'd, but Minako just laughed and exited the classroom, thankful for the distraction.

However, she made sure to avoid eye contact with her other distraction, who was seated near the door.


"Aino!" The headmaster, Shibazaki, boomed.

Minako almost wished she were back in the classroom. She had no problem dealing with Yamanaka or Hanimoto, but Headmaster Shibazaki still scared the crap out of her.

As if answering her unspoken question, he scooted his swivel chair to a steel cabinet and pulled out a dossier, laying it flat out on his desk.

"It has come to my attention that your exam scores have been.. less than favorable."

Well shit. "Um.."

"I've bent a lot of rules for your parents in order to get you enrolled here, but that does not mean you are exempt from the periodic exams as well."

"Hai. I promise to do better next ti"

"Not so fast. I have also heard from Yamanaka-sensei that you lack.. focus."

Damn Yamanaka. Damn him to hell. Actually, once my parents find out about my grades, I'll drag him there with me. "Um.."

"So we're going to assign you a student tutor. You will meet with them after school for a couple of hours every day until the exams next month are over. Fortunately, none of them have been assigned yet, so you get first pick." Oh, joy. "Would you like to be tutored by the first, second, or third in the class?"

Shit. Minako needed a way out of this, and fast. "Wait a minute, would that not be a little counterproductive? Won't the extensive tutoring cause their grades to drop?"

"Here at TA Girls Academy, the top three in the class have the privilege of opting to tutor another student. If that other student can achieve an average of at least seventy-percent on their exams, then their own scores will be nullified and will receive full credit instead."

"..oh." This school can be really shady sometimes.

"So, who would you like?" Shibazaki said, folding his hands.

"Uh.. Number Three, I guess." The less intelligent she is, the better we'll get along, I suppose.

"I'll let her know then. Be sure to report to the library straight after class is over for the day. You don't have any club activities, do you?"

"No, sir. Volleyball activities ended last week." She wished she could lie.

"Great. Don't forget then."

The moment Minako exited the staff room, she pinched the bridge of her nose. She normally used her after school time for going to the arcade and patrolling the area for criminals. What was she going to do now?


She should have known.

She really, really should have known.

For sitting there, the only person occupying one of the library's numerous mahogany tables, was the one and only Hino Rei. Who was already beginning to stack textbooks and arrange writing utensils into perfect ninety-degree angles.

Ignoring the the cuteness, Minako swallowed hard and accepted her fate. Hesitantly, as if she had been shot in the kneecap, she slowly shuffled to a stop in front of Hino's table. She cleared her throat, causing the other girl to look up.

"You wouldn't happen to be.. number three in the class, would you?"

Violet eyes widened imperceptibly. "I am. Are you the 'desperately failing student' Shibazaki mentioned?"

"I.. am."

"Well then.. I guess we should get started?" Hino tried awkwardly.

This wasn't good. This wasn't good at all. Not only was her patrolling time cut, but now she had to spend time with the girl her senses were practically bending over backwards to warn her to stay away from?

She would have none of this, Minako decided. Squaring her shoulders, she went on the offensive.

"Hino-san, are you volunteering for the full marks?"

"Ah, no. More like my father and Shibazaki are good friends, so there's a bit of pressure. I need to be in good standing with the both of them."

"But you could definitely get good scores whether or not I actually pass, correct?"

"Hopefully. Why are you"

"Because I don't want your help." Even Minako didn't know why she was acting so haughty. Hino was being nice, wasn't she?

"Look, I'll tell Shibazaki that you've done all you could, but I was just a lost cause. Until the exams are over, you can use the one or two hours you're supposed to spend tutoring me for whatever you want. For all Shibazaki will know, we were studying."

Hino's eyes narrowed, but Minako could tell she was containing her anger due to the fact that they were in a library.

"Just what is your problem? Rude, yes, but I don't ever recalling you being this mean."

"My problem?" Minako repeated, irritated.

"My problem is that I have more important things to do."


The hour was over.

Rei closed the textbook she had been poring over with a sigh. Just what was Aino's problem? Bubbly and friendly, my ass, she thought.

It would be okay, though. Aino's refusal to study with her would be fine, as Rei figured it would be best to utilize the would-be study time for herself. It would be possible to achieve a perfect score, with or without that dumb blonde. She'd show Aino. She stood up and glanced at her watch.

"The bus left already.." She mumbled to herself.

Gathering all of her supplies, she exited the building, waving goodbye to the librarian.

"But I think it'd be okay to walk."

She pointedly ignored the fact that she would have to walk past that alley again, if she wanted to be home before dark.

She opened her briefcase to briefly wrap her hand around a plastic red pen, the one she had been bringing to school everyday for the past three months.


Notes!

There's not much I want to say about this chapter. Sorry for the late update, everyone? :) I had severe writer's block until I started writing those one-shots. Expect a sequel to Just Admit It soon!