Disclaimer: I don't own Free!~
"How'd you feel about that career questionnaire?"
Akihiko rolled her eyes, glancing over to Bunko beside her. "They started to talk to me about all the scholarships I could get from band. I think Kuhn-sensei got into their head." she said, and Allen gave a loud groan that echoed off the walls surrounding them.
"You too?! They said that to me! I don't want to play my saxophone in college! How will that help me be a counselor?!" he barked, dark eyebrows pushed together, and Bunko laughed.
"You've already figured out what you want to do, Allen?" she asked, looking over to him, and he nodded his head.
"A marriage counselor." he said, and then paused, looking back to Bunko. "You haven't?"
Bunko hesitated, and her hair frizzed up as the eyes went to her; she hesitated, obviously scrambling for words though appearing to be collected. "Oh, well... Not really. I have ideas, but..."
Akihiko smiled, nodding her head to reassure the blonde. "No, don't worry! I'm the same way." she insisted, and Kameyo, once again, came to Bunko's rescue.
"Hey, what about you two?" she asked, moving the light of attention to Touya and Junna, who exchanged looks. "What do you have in plan for the band's golden couple's future?"
Touya began, shrugging his shoulders, while Junna's cheeks grew a soft pink at being called apart of the Golden Couple. "We don't really know for sure, but - we've talked about keeping up with the music thing."
Allen laughed, pointing to Junna. "You don't even like band!" he guffawed, and her brief blush was quickly forgotten.
"If you got a scholarship, I don't see why you wouldn't take it!" she snapped at him, though Allen's laugh was only cut short by Touya's next words.
"We could, like, open up a music store-"
The laughing followed suit, joyous tears streaming down Allen's face. "You guys are so-" he began, and Bunko gave his shoulder a shove; he stumbled back into the wall, falling against it dramatically, sliding down it and wiping away his tears, still laughing.
"They're the Golden Couple, Allen, what do you expect?!" said Kameyo as Akihiko went to go help the boy up.
"I think that's cute." assured Bunko, and Kameyo nodded.
"Yeah! I hope Ryou and I can do something cute like that!" she said, and Touya gave an annoyed sound as he went to the band door, opening it without a response.
They were met with chaos, a cluster of students standing in front of the door - seeing them wearing the ribbons of first-years, he barked at them to get out of their way, their teacher waving them over once he saw them.
"This many people want to join band?" asked Allen, still rubbing at tear-stained cheeks, and, at the nod, Bunko and Akihiko took the initiative, Bunko climbing onto a chair and Akihiko following after her with the blonde's help.
At Bunko's loud bark, the chattering soon faded, and the two girls clapped their hands together.
"Welcome to band!" said Akihiko, smiling that familiar sweet smile, and she rose a hand high in the air. "In case you guys don't remember, I'm the section leader of the clarinets, so, once we're done with this, I need all of the clarinets around me, alright?" she said, and, at seeing the few nods she got, she motioned down to Touya below her - she swayed slightly on her feet, and Touya reached out, settling her.
"Okay, thanks, Touya - this boy right here is in charge of the trumpets, and the girl beside him is Junna, section leader for the rest of the brass!"
Kameyo waved her hand in the air, finding her way atop a chair as well. "Me and Allen are for the saxophones, alright!"
And Bunko was the last one, looking down to the first-years below. "I'm the flutes' section leader, Bunko." she greeted, giving a small smile, and Akihiko joined in, giving her own applause.
"Alright, alright!" she began, her voice a high-pitched hum that those veterans of band were accustomed to. "Everyone can go find their section leaders now, and we'll talk to you about this year for band and get you instruments if you need to borrow one!"
"But don't let her trick you," began Touya loudly, his arms crossed over his chest, "this won't be all fun and games! We have plenty of stuff to talk about, like festival - we're not gonna have that awful performance we had last year!"
A few first-years shrank away from his loud voice and narrowed, discriminating eyes as he scanned over those specifically who held a trumpet case in their hands.
"Hey, hey, no need for that! We won't start worrying about that right off the bat, everyone." Akihiko quickly said, and Bunko added in on that.
"Don't let Touya scare you, guys!" she said, and Kameyo flapped her hand in the air.
"Touya's actually kind of a loser." she said, and Junna snickered, earning herself a glare from her boyfriend and a few chuckles from the band.
"Okay, okay, stop harassing Touya." the teacher began, stepping in front of the taunting girls. "Get down from the chairs. Everyone find your section leaders! Today will just be getting instruments and getting acquainted. Don't start panicking about festival." he said, and there were a few nods as the girls hopped down of their chairs, and the rest of the band dispersed.
Akihiko stood on the podium and pushed off Touya when he attempted to join her - her hand shot up in the air and she cried out, "Little clarinets, baby clarinets, come to Mama!"; Touya and Junna stood beside each other, and, when some boy came to speak to Junna, Touya glowered down to the first-year before noticing the trombone case he carried - and, even then, he gave brief glares to him, having flashbacks to an Eiji Akiyama; Bunko waved to those holding onto flute cases, smiling at them, though her hair was much more wavy than it had been a moment before; Kameyo seemed the most ecstatic of all of them, greeting saxophonists left and right, while Allen brushed each one that tried to talk to him off, tossing them in the girl's direction.
A dark-haired second-year stood aside Akihiko, alongside the podium - her curly, chocolate colored hair framed her oval-shaped face, bangs held back from her face by a red headband. She glanced around at the first-years that were gathering around her, giving a brief look of her fellow second-years beside her, and she parted her lips to speak to them, when, from above, her senior spoke.
"So, Mari-chan," began Akihiko without looking away from the tag attached to case she was writing a name on, "how's it feel to be a second-year, now?"
The girl hesitated, looking up to her section leader, shrugging her shoulders. "Honestly, it kind of feels the same. Except my math teacher's really mean, now." she said, and Akihiko laughed, handing off the case to the first-year in front of her.
"Maaka?" she asked, and, at the nod, Akihiko's nose scrunched up in distaste. "Run and get your teacher's switched to Hammy, alright? Trust me. Don't wait." she said, and Mari laughed at that, nodding her head.
"Alright, Hazuki-senpai." she agreed, and the two exchanged smiles before the taller of the two turned back to her section with a clap of her hands.
"Hi, everyone! I'm Akihiko Hazuki - um, alright. I've been playing the clarinet since I was in fifth grade, and my clarinet's name is Alexander. He's over in that cubby." she said, pointing to her and Allen's conjoined one, and they all glanced over their shoulders before turning back to her. "In case anybody's interested, I will be doing tutoring, but, as a warning, I currently am about to start my job-"
From across the room, Touya gave an indignant room, and appeared as if he wanted to pick up the music stand in front of him and toss it towards the clarinet section. "What?!" he barked out, hands going to his hips. "But - clarinet! Where have you gotten a job at? Why have we not heard about this?!"
She waved him off. "Ignore him, baby clarinets, ignore him." she said, and, after a moment, she'd managed to corral their attention back to her. "When it gets closer to solo ensemble season, though, I'll make sure I have enough room for you guys, too, so don't worry!" she insisted, stepping down from the podium, going towards a first-year.
"I'll give everyone my phone number and email address, so you guys can contact me if you have any questions. Even if it's something simple, like to ask how to finger a note, don't worry! I'll answer. You can add me on Facebook, too." she said, stopping in front of the girl, and she hesitated, attempting to take a step back, though another clarinetist stopped her.
"What's your name?" she asked, and the redhead muttered out a meek, "N-Naomi."
"Nice to meet you, Naomi-chan! Don't be so nervous around me. I'm a third-year, but that doesn't really mean anything aside from the fact that I'm going to need to decide what I'm going to do for the rest of my life." she said, and, though her words were cryptic, her tone was upbeat, and she moved down the line to another first-year, getting each and every name, occasionally repeating it several times over to confirm she had it stored in memory.
"Alright, baby clarinets! These right here are my little clarinets." she said, motioning towards the second-years beside her, before holding out her hand to a skinny brunette, pulling her forward.
"This is Kumiko, the only other third-year! She's probably the best clarinetist I've ever met, so, if I don't answer your question, go ahead and ask her." she said, and Kumiko rose her hand and waved to them, large blue eyes looking over the first-years with a smile.
"You seem really happy about this," remarked one first-year, and pink eyes searched through the line of them until she found the one who had spoken up.
"I'm not!" she said, and the second-years gave a surprised sound, before covering their mouth as they giggled and snickered, "I just have to sound like this so everybody doesn't leave and we only have, like, two first-years!" she clapped her hands to her hips, and moved towards the boy. "But, seriously, you should stay. If, for nothing else, the soft sweatshirts we get every year."
"Oh, yeah!" cooed out Mari, "They're really nice. We've been talking about getting some new sweatpants this year, too." she continued, and Akihiko nodded.
"If the only problem you have with this is how happy she is, you won't have to worry about that for too long." called Bunko, and Kameyo joined in.
"Especially if she has a date on a day we have to practice!" she said, and the girls all laughed.
"Don't worry, though." she said, turning towards her first-years with outstretched arms, as if she was waiting for a hug. "I'll just bring him with me to practice."
Mari hopped forward in front of her section leader, interrupting whatever embrace Akihiko had been attempting to initiate. "You should see her boyfriend, though! He has teeth just like a shark, I swear!" she said, her hands waving around in the air, and another second-year bounded forward to stand beside Mari.
"Her boyfriend is on another school's swim team, so maybe he could bring some friends!" she said, and Mari and this other girl clasped hands, exaggerating their swooning.
"Swimmer friends!" Mari cried out, and the two girls laughed loudly.
"He probably won't bring any friends." whispered Akihiko to the first-years, appearing as if she didn't want to ruin the fun of the second-years.
"That's too bad." muttered one, and she flushed at the glances cast her way.
"If you want to meet some swimmer boys," began Akihiko, hands to her hips, "go to our swim team's relays! The new swim club just opened back up in town, too."
"The relays are actually really fun to watch!" called Bunko, nodding her head, "You should give them a chance! But, as of right now, all our swim team's taken. Sorry!" she laughed, and a first-year stepped out towards her, looking briefly like a pup taking tentative steps towards its mother.
"Are you dating someone on the swim team, Suzuki-senpai?" she asked, her words quiet, and Bunko gave a, 'Hmm?' as she turned back towards the flutist.
"Oh? Yeah, I am. Rei Ryugazaki." she said, smiling, and, though the girl hesitated, she did not speak up once more.
"... The one that pirouetted onto the stage?" deadpanned another, and, though Akihiko and Kameyo burst into loud, obnoxious laughter, Bunko's face turned red.
"It was a very nice pirouette!" said Bunko quickly, and the first-year backed up a step, and then two as her hair frizzed.
"It was pretty nice." agreed Kameyo, though was still holding her snickers back with her hand, jumping when Bunko suddenly wheeled on her.
"Oh! Haru-chan, Mako-chan, good morning!"
Leaning against the counter, Lando clicked her tongue. "Well, you can hear him from a mile away." she chuckled, though, at seeing the attention staying adverted, she turned towards the girl behind her desk, and reached over, tapping the program she was thumbing through, ordering her carnation colored eyes to turn up towards her.
"Ah, what, Lando? I'm supposed to be working." she said, reaching up and hurriedly brushing a fall bang back into place behind her ear.
Lando whined loudly at that, shaking her head. "I don't even see why Sasabe-san bothered to hire you." she said, falling against the desk and pushing the program out of her hands; it fluttered its way to the floor, and the two girls watched as it did.
Akihiko gave an annoyed sound from the back of her throat, sliding her chair back and leaning to the side, swooping the program back up. "Because-"
Akihiko jumped in her chair and Lando glanced over her shoulder - at seeing Makoto, she hopped up, heading over towards him while Nagisa pushed through her.
"Onee-chan, what're you doing here?! You can't be working, right?! Sasabe-san said he didn't rebuild this place to give us jobs, though! Is that the program for the day?!"
Abuzz behind the desk, Nagisa reached across his sister and attempted to snatch the program from her hands, though she slid out of way quickly, the wheels of her chair skidding across the floor.
"Go talk to Kou and Ama-chan, they have a program for you guys!" she snapped, attempting to wheel away as Nagisa approached once more.
"Uwah, you should be nicer to customers, Onee-chan!" he said, about to trap her in a corner when she suddenly stood from her chair, sliding around her brother just barely.
"I am nice, just don't snatch things out of my hands-"
Akihiko hesitated at the voice, and almost immediately turned towards it, brightening up - however, she held the program high above her head, standing on her toes when Nagisa grabbed at it.
"Hey, Nitori!" she called towards the approaching boys, shouldering Nagisa off of her - Lando approached from behind and picked the boy up by his hips, turning him around to Makoto, and the blond giggled the whole while. "Lando-kun, Lando-kun, that tickles!"
Nitori jogged towards her, and she handed off the program into his hands. "Ah, thank you, Hazuki-senpai-"
Akihiko hesitated, glancing over the younger boy's shoulder, cocking her head at the auburn-haired boy Rin was dragging along with him. "Who's that-" she began to ask, turning back towards Nitori, though stopped herself with an awkward chuckle at seeing the look in his eyes.
"You said you were taking me some place with lots of cute girls!"
"Quit whining! There are plenty here! See, cute girls!"
"I've been tricked, Nii-chan!"
From beside Akihiko, Lando tapped her hand, and she turned towards her. "Who's that?" she whispered, and Akihiko responded with a shrug.
"Looks like a first-year." she said, and Lando rolled her eyes, grumbling out, "Lovely."
After a moment of glancing around, Lando's hand shot out and hit Nitori's shoulder - the second-year jumped, before looking away to her, cocking his head.
"A-ah, yes, Layton-senpai?" he asked, and she waved her hand, motioning for him to come closer.
"Come here." she said, and he hesitated, though, after a pause and shifting from foot to foot, he took a step towards her, and Akihiko moved aside for him.
"What's his name?" she asked, crossing her arms over her chest, nodding her chin in the direction of the flailing boy.
"Momotarou Mikoshiba." said Nitori, and Lando laughed, causing the boy to cock his head at her.
"Yeah. Thought he was a Mikoshiba." she said, and Akihiko hesitated, though, as she watched the boy fawn over Gou, she too laughed, shrugging her shoulders.
"I can see the resemblance." she nodded to Lando, though, at seeing the girl staring ahead, she paused, too turning her line of vision towards the doors.
As they watched the boy approach, Nitori glanced at them out of the corner of his eyes - they looked up to him through eyelashes, Akihiko's just a slight bit thicker than Lando's while Lando's were a slight bit longer. Their eyes seemed judgmental and calculating, as if attempting to place him to a certain category, whether friend or foe, though Nitori was unable to decide if that was truly what they were doing or not, for their focus was broken as Gou dashed towards him.
Lando nudged Akihiko with her elbow, though neither turned away from the dark-haired man. "Do you know him, either?" she whispered, and the girl gave a small shake of her head, which urged Lando to continue. "He gives me a bad vibe." she muttered, and Akihiko paused, unsure what to say about that, as if she were attempting to decide for herself.
"Ask Nagisa." she chose to say, and Lando nodded, glancing over her shoulder before taking a step back into him, leaning down to speak into his ear. She returned a moment later, muttering to Akihiko.
"It's Rin's best friend from Sano." she said, and shoved Akihiko's shoulder - though it was playful, the girl had to steel herself as to not stumble. "You have fun with that."
The girl jumped at the ordering tone, and turned towards Rin as Lando took a step back - he motioned her over and she obeyed, watching the younger Mikoshiba in an attempt to avoid Sousuke.
"Yeah, Rin?" she asked, finally looking up towards the boy when Momotarou finally turned towards her, and she hesitated at the arm that he slung around her waist, spinning her around to face the tall, tall boy.
"Akihiko, this is Sousuke Yamazaki-"
Akihiko cut him off with a shake of her head, and finally made eye contact with him - she commented inside her head that her eyes were a pretty shake of teal, before she opened her mouth and spoke, ignoring Lando's snickering that was only put to an end by Makoto.
"No, no, I know who he is." she assured with a smile, brushing off Rin's words, and he glanced to her. "It's nice to meet you. I'm Akihiko Hazuki, Rin's girlfriend."
The man stared down at her, and, though inside she was screaming, she maintained eye contact. She was beginning to worry if perhaps she'd seemed too much like a busybody by saying she already had heard of a Sousuke Yamazaki, or maybe had made herself much too straightforward by just announcing her and Rin's relationship status, when he cracked a smile, and her lips parted just barely in shock.
"It's nice to meet you, too." he said, and she was too surprised to do anything aside from dumbly nodding her head.
From behind her, Momotarou whined. "How did you get such a nice girlfriend when you're such a jerk?!" he cried out, and Akihiko broke the eye contact to glance over her shoulder, watching as Rin put the boy into a headlock.
"You should be nicer to your first-years." remarked Akihiko as Momotarou choked, and Rin hesitated, glancing to her and loosening his grip just enough for the boy to slip through.
"Yeah!" Momotarou barked out in agreement, standing a step behind the girl as if he expected her to protect him, pointing an accusing finger to the Captain, before turned Akihiko around, clasping the dizzy girl's hands.
"Hazuki-senpai!" Momotarou exclaimed, and it took her a moment, though, once she could no longer see three of him, she nodded, waiting for him to continue. "You're too nice for someone like him! Tell me if he makes you cry, and I'll get my big brother to come beat him up, okay-"
He was yanked away from her, and he waved vigorously to the girl - she watched him pounce towards Gou as they attempted to walk pass her, and did not know Lando was beside her until she was speaking in her ear.
"How'd that go?" she asked, and Akihiko jumped, turning towards her.
"Oh... It wasn't bad." Akihiko assured, waving the question away. "He actually seems pretty nice."
"Really?" said Lando, and Akihiko hesitated at her tone, her hand falling back down to her side. "Because, when you turned towards that Momo kid and Rin, that guy was, like, staring you down."
"And now it's time for today's main event, the 200m medley relay between Team Dolphin and Team Shark!"
The clipboard was knocked from navy blue nails, and Akihiko hesitated, watching it clatter to the floor and her pen bounce away.
"Sorry." Lando muttered, though did not help her friend pick up her belongings. "You said you'd hurry! Come on, the boys are about to swim, and I wanna see that Sousuke guy swim." she said, and Akihiko glanced up, clicking her pen.
"Ah... Yeah, alright." she agreed after a moment, standing from her desk, leaving her clipboard at the request of Lando - however, she continued clicking away on her pen until Lando snatched it from her, throwing it back in the direction of the desk.
An echo of a whistle shot through the hallway, and Lando gasped, beginning to jog - Akihiko gave a soft sound, shuffling to keep up, though never moved faster than anything that couldn't be categorized as speed-walking.
"You go, Mako, baby!"
Finally managing to catch up, Akihiko huffed beside Lando, and she glanced over to her.
"Isn't Mako swimming against Seijuro's little brother?" asked Akihiko, and Lando nodded. Akihiko took a deep breath before she finally collected herself, watching, clapping her hands together.
"Ah, wow!" she said, and Lando hesitated. "Momotarou's really graceful looking in the water, isn't he-"
"But Makoto's better!" Lando interrupted as Nagisa jumped off, and she cheered loudly over Akihiko's laughter.
"Who're you rooting for?" asked Lando, nudging Akihiko with her elbow, and the girl shrugged, glancing over to her.
"Ah, there's no need to think about stuff like that now." she said, looking as if she was attempting to brush the question off, though her voice faltered just barely. "It's not a real competition or anything."
Lando nodded slowly. "That's understandable." she said, though she was glancing at her out of the corner of her eyes as she whooped for Rei and Rin.
Lando marveled as Rei finished first, though that was quickly forgotten when she saw the blur of movement beside her team - she suddenly quieted, her hand going to her chest, until-
"Haruka! Come on, come on, Haru!" she screamed out, and Akihiko shrank back from her, smiling however.
When they both stretched out and hit the wall, Lando did not stand in awe this time - she jogged around the pool though Akihiko scolded her for it, attempting to see who had finished first.
"You did it, Haru!"
Lando paused, watching as the noirette climbed from the pool, and had let out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding.
"Hey, hey, you okay?"
Lando glanced towards Akihiko as the girl slowly made her way over, and, after she'd gotten closer, she slowly nodded.
"Yeah, I'm fine." said Lando, placing her hands to her hips, glancing back to the two teams, her hair swaying in its bun atop her head as it moved. "That guy, though. He just gives me a bad vibe." she said, and Akihiko blinked, turning towards them as well.
"I'm sure he's fine, Lando." she said softly, pressing her fingertips together. "Maybe we just need to get used to him. You didn't like Rin when you first met him, either."
Lando turned back towards Akihiko, frowning. "I'm still not very fond of him." she said, and Akihiko sputtered.
"C-come on, Lando, there's no need for that!"
Hey, everyone! Sorry this took so long to get out~