Kiku stared at the sleeping Greek across the academy table, relatively expressionless but with a hint of disbelief. No wonder his grades were dropping. "Heracles-san? Please wake up."
He didn't want to touch him. But he wouldn't wake up, so Kiku quickly poked him in the side, a method he had discovered usually woke him up with minimal physical contact. Heracles' eyes opened a crack, and something else Kiku had learned from past experience with his friend; he woke up slowly, like a cat, stretching, yawning, then usually just settled back down to sleep. Not this time. "Heracles-san? You really need to do your homework."
The Greek stared blankly. More past experience let Kiku know he had registered what was being said to him, he just thought for a long time before saying anything. "Why?"
"So you can pass your classes."
"Why? I wish I was a cat...cats don't have to do homework," Heracles said slowly. Almost every aspect of his life was slow. Slow and lazy. Like a cat.
"With the way you sleep, you practically are a cat," Kiku said. He blushed as he realized what he had said; he tended to let down his guard around his friend. "G-gomen nasai! I didn't mean to say that!"
Heracles smiled a tiny bit, not much, but enough to recognize. "That means 'I'm sorry' right? It's okay. I think of it as a compliment."
Kiku's blush was fading, but he changed the subject anyway. "S-so, do you have math homework, Heracles-san?" he asked, knowing he had an especially hard time with math.
Heracles had long since given up telling Kiku to drop the honorifics; they were friends. "Yes. Not sure what it is though."
Typical. He was truly lucky he had the same teacher as Kiku, who actually paid attention to school. "We were assigned questions 25-46 on page 837."
"Do you have the textbook?"
Already anticipating his asking, Kiku slid it across the table with a practiced wrist to the Greek. "This will probably take up the rest of the study hall. Do you have any other homework?"
Heracles opened to the bookmarked page (Kiku had prepared), got a piece of slightly bent paper, and shrugged. "Not sure."
Although Kiku liked Heracles, his continued attitude of not caring about school tested even his patience. What would he do if one day, Kiku didn't come to school and Heracles had forgotten his homework as he did every night? Kiku wondered as he found his calculator.
"Kiku, can I borrow your calculator?"
Kiku handed it to him before he finished asking. It was nearing the end of the school year, it was practically routine.
It was hard to tear away from this manga, but Kiku really needed to do homework. He didn't want to fall into Heracules' bad habits. After situating his things on his desk, he opened his calculator and turned it on. It had something on the screen. It read:
I LOVE CATS THEY ARE PERFECT
Only one person could've left that message.
"Did you like the message I left you, on your calculator?" Heracles asked as Kiku sat down across from him.
"Er, it was amusing," Kiku said, not wanting to admit that it had wheedled a tiny laugh out of him.
"Do you know what the homework was last night?"
Having had a long day, Kiku immediately set about doing his homework so he could end his day on a happy note. Perhaps he was spending too much time with Heracles, because he found himself thinking that everything else was a billion more times interesting. Maybe his habits were wearing off. Kiku shuddered at the thought, but at least it motivated him to do it.
Kiku set everything up in his neat way, and opened his calculator to another message. He had come to know the Greek rather well, but he hadn't anticipated this. Tonight's read:
CATS CATS CATS CATS ARE ALL YOU NEED
Kiku didn't know if he should facepalm or laugh. Instead, after doing his math homework, he wrote a message back.
I LOVE CATS THEY WILL MURDER YOU
Pranks were unlike Kiku, but this one seemed too amusing to pass up.
Hiding his inner smile was nothing to Kiku, as it was his normal conduct. Today, Heracles didn't ask about the message he had left the day before, and graciously accepted the calculator and textbook Kiku handed. It took him a minute to react. Anyone else would've decided that he was just being slow, like usual. But there was something different about this. A hint of...something.
He covered it up quickly with a smile, and Kiku didn't have time to decide what was wrong. "Haha, funny, Kiku." It sounded forced.
It was not amusing like Kiku had expected.
Kiku had half-expected Heracles to not leave a message that night, and he had been dreading it, as he had come to look forward to them. What made him act so weird? Kiku had only meant it as a joke. Heracles knew full well that Kiku was his best friend. So why did he look so hurt?
Contradicting his beliefs, Heracles had left a message. It seemed somewhat strange in comparison, less enthused.
IF I ONLY WERE A CAT
Somehow it made Kiku feel very guilty. He decided not to respond this time.
Heracles had been absent on Thursday, which had saddened Kiku, and only deepened his suspicions that he had done something to offend him. To make it up for him, he had started the Greek's homework, but fell asleep halfway through. Oh well, at least he would have to only do the last half.
When Kiku presented it to him, Heracles was indeed very happy that he didn't have to do as much, although it still took him all period. After he put his homework away, he begin typing on Kiku's calculator, throwing it back as the bell rang and walking away faster than anyone had ever seen him move. Naturally, it made Kiku curious, but he decided to wait.
Kiku had forgotten about the calculator by the time he got home, and after closing the cover of yet another manga, he decided to do his homework. He opened his calculator, and...
I LOVE KIKU HE IS PERFECT
KIKU IS ALL I NEED
IF I ONLY WERE KIKU'S
Pangs of guilt rang through Kiku's body. He had been confessing before, in a really weird and very Heracles way; no wonder Kiku's comment hurt. He'd have to make up for it, in a way that was more than doing his homework.
I LOVE HERACLUES HE IS MINE
Never before had Monday been so slow to come.