Eraser suds scattered across the page, decorating the unfinished sketch. He pursed his lips, and a steady stream of wind blew them away. Using only two fingers, he turned the pencil over until the point was once again touching the surface of the paper. The rhythmic tapping of the teacher's chalk timed with his sketching. A line there, a curve here… He pictured his sketch firmly and clearly in his mind. The desire to see the finished product loomed over him.
Quickly he picked up the pencil again, after erasing a significantly large part of the upper part he was drawing, the hair, and resumed his work, this time with more zeal. His eyes flashed. His hand made swooping, fluid motions. Yet he remained calm, and concentrated on the one model he was copying. It was always like this - a slow, almost lazy start, then a rapid rush to the finish line. Very rare for him to start his sketches with a bang.
//And don't forget that tiny lock on his forehead…// He grinned.
"On whose forehead, Kiyota?" A nasal voice suddenly broke his thoughts. The teacher was just right behind him, breathing down his neck.
Kiyota jumped almost two feet in the air upon seeing him. "Ah…sensei!" He started to sweat nervously.
The teacher was already trembling in anger, his face almost purple. He was a dragon ready to breathe fire, and the conspicuous lock on his forehead was still as curly as ever. But Kiyota wasn't a good ball-handler for nothing - he skillfully moved the paper, and his newest caricature under a thick Algebra book.
The teacher circled behind his seat to stop in front of him. Kiyota placed his arms on the desk instantly.
"We're about to have a quiz. Why don't you have a sheet--" The teacher suspiciously eyed him, when he saw it.
"--AH, ANOTHER ONE!?"
The class looked up at the teacher's high-pitched shriek. Kiyota swallowed.
"What is that paper!?" The teacher's finger trembled as he pointed at the exposed part of his notebook. "Another sketch? Another…another monstrosity!?" he demanded wildly.
Kiyota's laugh became high-pitched too, as he started piling more things out of his bag onto his desk to cover it. "Chigau yo, sensei! It's nothing, it's nothing!" He had gotten up from his seat, almost tripping over his feet.
"Give me that!"
"Ah, I tell you sensei, it's nothing!"
The two looked like they were dancing - Kiyota trying to hide his desk, while the teacher was trying to look over his shoulder. Everyone in the room stared at them, eyes wide with growing incredulity. Many of the male students were snickering; some were even laughing outright.
The scene was actually commonplace in the classroom - more often than not, Kiyota Nobunaga failed NOT to irritate the teachers with his infamous caricatures, which some of these he even shared with his classmates.
"Kiyota Nobunaga! You sit down and give me that paper at once! If you don't I shall send you out and give you a zero for the quiz!"
The rookie was at a loss. If he complied and showed his sketch, he knew the teacher would do the exact same thing.
"Psst…Kiyota." One of his seatmates winked and reached out towards his desk while Kiyota was busy 'entertaining' the teacher. His seatmate had plucked the mischievous drawing and replaced it with a clean piece of paper.
Kiyota sighed. Good thing his classmates were always nice to him. He stopped moving around. "See, I told you sensei. It's nothing." He explained as he showed him the desk.
"Where is it? Where did you hide it!?" Kiyota winced as the teacher screamed once, threw his things out of the desk, and started flipping his Algebra book's pages.
The moment of judgment finished, the teacher clenched his fists, trying to control his temper. Kiyota stood there, almost shrinking at the intensity of the teacher's glare.
"Nobunaga Kiyota! You're not getting away with this! I'm telling the Principal!" The teacher stalked off, letting the door slam. When it was quiet once more, the air filled with the class giggling with suppressed mirth.
"That's your best sketch yet, Kiyota-kun." His seatmate wiped a tear out of his eye.
Kiyota flashed out a weak smile. "Thanks." He plopped down on his seat and began to gather his fallen things on the floor, stuffing them in his bookbag. "And thanks for the cover-up earlier. Where's the sketch?" He asked, holding out his hand.
"Oh, I passed it around. Everyone's got to see it."
Kiyota looked up in surprise, craning his neck to see where the sketch had spread. Following the trail of assorted grins, he tracked the sketch until he saw it clutched between a pair of small hands.
She didn't laugh out loud like the others, but if he wasn't sitting rows behind her, he would have seen her smile.
Shiori passed the sketch to her right like she was holding a hot potato. Her face had a disapproving countenance when she looked over her shoulder. Their eyes met.
//What'd ya think?// His eyes reflected.
She colored faintly and quickly turned her eyes back to the front.
"You were called into the office again? This is your second time for this term, am I right?" Jin asked Kiyota, a knowing look on his youthful face. It was the after-school hours, and time for club activities. They were walking across the school courtyard towards the school gym.
"It's sensei's fault, anyway! He's so boring anyone would want to draw instead of listening to his boring lectures!"
"I didn't think he was boring when I had him…"
The rookie waved a hand, saying, "That's because you're bor--" He caught Jin's stern look and laughed a bit nervously instead. "Uh, I meant that's because you have the same wavelength when it comes to Math, Jin-san. Poor little me doesn't have the same kind of ability like yours."
"I do?" asked Jin, pointing to himself.
Kiyota nodded enthusiastically. Jin let out a grateful, yet unbelieving smile, and the rookie sighed in relief.
People passed them by and waved, some only to Jin, some only to Kiyota, but most knew both of them. Jin was gracious enough to greet them back. The freshman, however, had quite a few things running through his mind, and didn't notice the group of girls that had just fluttered their eyelashes towards his way.
"Where's the drawing? Did the principal confiscate it?"
Kiyota's train of thought broke and he turned to Jin with a pleading look, groaning. "Don't remind me. He gave it to Sensei. Sensei threw it in the trashcan. How mean can he be?" He threw his arms up exasperatedly. "And it was one of my best yet!" He kicked the ground with one foot, sending clouds of dust into the air.
Jin patted his teammate's shoulder. "With the teacher that mad…" The three-pointer shook his head, sympathetic.
They walked a few more meters in silence, before Jin pulled on his shirt sleeve.
"Hey, Nobunaga…" Jin called.
Kiyota turned, making a face. "I'm telling you Jin-san, it was accurate. I just capture whatever he shows us on paper. It's not my fault if he likes to open his mouth really really wide and if his nose wrinkles whenever--"
"Nobu-chan!" A voice suddenly yelled out. A very familiar voice. Kiyota raised his head and looked around wildly.
"What the--?" asked Kiyota.
"That's what." Jin answered, shrugging his shoulders helplessly.
"Over here!" The voice continued. Kiyota's head swung towards the direction. His jaw dropped.
"ONEESAN?" He burst out.
Hikaru and Yukime were standing before the Kainan gates. Hikaru motioned to Kiyota, waving her arm like a flag. Yukime, the maturer twin, leaned against a wall, looking bored as usual.
"Hey, who are those girls? They're not wearing our uniforms." Some guys nearby were murmuring to each other.
"Yeah, but they look hot. Do you suppose we could…"
Kiyota glared at them, then he glared at his attention-grabbing sisters. He had no choice but to march towards and face them. Jin followed, trying to keep up with the freshman's furious pace.
"What are you two doing here!" Kiyota demanded, trying to sound older.
Yukime shot him a 'watch-your-mouth' look. "We just passed by on our way home, Nobunaga." Her icy voice replied. Kiyota flinched. She flipped her hair over one shoulder, looking around. "It's been a while since I've seen Kainan University." She shielded her eyes with a hand as she studied the tops of the buildings. He cleared his throat angrily.
"Well this can be your last. Now go home."
His breath suddenly got knocked out of his lungs. Staggering, he fell to the ground because of the weight Hikaru was adding by clinging onto him.
"NOBU-CHAAAAN!" she wailed happily.
Kiyota let out a scream of shock and embarrassment. He kicked and punched out, struggling out of his sister's death embrace.
"Oww!!!" Hikaru's wail turned to one of pain. She disentangled herself from her brother. "Nobu-chan! How can you do this to me, your own sister!" Sitting on the ground, she looked helpless, a little girl lost. But to Kiyota she was only making a scene. Heads swerved to their direction, and fingers pointed. Kiyota covered his face as he stood up.
"You'll be the death of me! Is there no shelter for battered sisters…?"
"Stop hugging me in public then! Or better yet, stop hugging me!"
"What's wrong with hugging your little brother?!"
"I'm not little! And you're only one year older than me!"
Jin cleared his throat. Yukime's eyebrows raised as she noticed the soft-spoken young man.
"Nobunaga, that's not very nice." Jin reprimanded.
Kiyota glowered at Hikaru, who pouted back. "Che, she's just my sister." He looked away.
Jin sighed like all the problems of the world had been given to him. He slung his bag over his shoulder and went down on one knee. Full of concern, the three-pointer asked the weeping Hikaru, "Are you alright, ojou-san?"
Hikaru stopped sniffing for a moment to look at her knight. Slack-jawed and wide-eyed, she breathed out, "Why yes, I'm perfectly fine, thank you."
Jin gave her the full effect of his earnest smile, showing dimples that could melt any young woman's heart. "That's nice to hear. Let's get up from there now, shall we? We don't want to make a scene."
"'We' already did." Yukime blandly informed them.
Hikaru didn't hear her twin, and instead took the three-pointer's hand in hers and let him pull her up. She didn't take her eyes off him. Kiyota rolled his eyes.
"Could you two just, you know, leave?" He shooed them rudely. Yukime's eyes narrowed. "We're about to go to the gym now, for practice." He crossed his arms and waited.
"I love strawberries too!" Hikaru gushed beside Jin.
Jin smiled, half-surprised. "Really, Kiyota-san? How did you ever know…"
"Oh, but I just noticed the very cute sticker on your bag…"
"You have fast eyes." Yukime murmured, her tone respectful.
Kiyota gave up all hopes of turning them away, now that Jin had been caught in the trap. He nudged his remaining sister. "Wasn't she allergic…"
"Shhh, don't disturb her Nobunaga, if you value your life."
"And it's Hikaru." The vivacious twin supplied, batting her eyelashes. She tucked a loose lock behind her ear and smiled. The three-pointer remarkably blushed.
"Oh, um, I'm Soichiro Jin. I'm Nobunaga's--"
"Teammate, yes, I know that much. What, you're surprised? Well a cute guy like you…"
Kiyota gagged. "This is not happening." He pinched himself. "I am not being an audience to a sickening session such as this…"
Yukime pushed her gold-rimmed glasses up the bridge of her nose. She studied Hikaru and Jin, before turning her sharp eyes to her brother. "Really, Nobunaga, you should get used to this. What about your girlfriend then? Ah, I remember. We came here to see her."
The rookie froze in utter disbelief. Hikaru stopped mid-chat. Jin's eyebrows raised.
Shiori sneezed as she fumbled for the code of her locker.
"Bless you." A random voice floated from the other corner of the locker room.
"Thanks…" she muttered, embarrassed.
// Who could have remembered me? // She sniffed. Finally, she got the correct code. The lock opened with a small click. She gathered her books inside, arranging them neatly into her bag.
// I hope I'm not coming down with anything… //
"Oh yes, that was the whole point of this visit, Yuki? But then again I found…" Hikaru grinned mischievously at Jin's direction. Jin scratched his head.
"Kiyota-kun has a girlfriend?" he repeated, his eyes mirroring his wonder. He turned to the freshman whose jaw was left hanging. "Since when?"
Kiyota snapped out of his frozen state. "I DO NOT HAVE A GIRLFRIEND!" He raged.
"Calm down, Kiyota-kun…"
Hikaru cocked her head and scrutinized him. "Now, I do think you're right, isn't he, Yuki?"
Kiyota noticed the change of tone and dropped his temper a few notches. "What are you two up to?" He asked suspiciously. Yukime didn't say anything but arched an eyebrow.
Hikaru laughed. "Of course," she continued gaily, "no girl would fall for someone whose hair is soooo messy like yours." She patted Kiyota's head to prove her point.
Kiyota lunged at her, but she ran behind Jin, giggling all the way.
"I have a comb." Jin offered helpfully.
"Argh! Jin-san, stop it! Stop siding with these two…witches!" He growled and tried to chase his sister around the confused three-pointer. Yukime sighed.
"Okay, okay, now stop that already. I'm tired of this. Can't you two keep this at home?" She marched from her place against the wall and planted herself between her siblings.
"She started it!" Kiyota cried out at the injustice of it all.
"Well, why can't you keep your hair like Jin-san has?" commented Hikaru, reaching out to pat the three-pointer's close-cropped hair. He bit his lip, abashed by her actions.
"That's beside the point! And stop being a flirt!"
"Stop acting so childish!"
"Um…help?" Jin asked hopefully. The two siblings were using him as a wall of defense, exchanging insults from both sides.
Yukime shrugged and went over to rap the side of Kiyota's head.
"Ow!" He rubbed the side and glared daggers at his sister.
"Now lead the way. We want to meet her." She curtly ordered, hands on her hips. Hikaru tried hard not to smile.
"I don't even know who you're talking about!"
"The one who put all those notes--" answered Hikaru, but Yukime shushed her.
Kiyota's eyes widened as realization hit him. "No way! SHE'S NOT MY GIRLFRIEND!" He howled.
Jin looked at Hikaru, who was still clutching his bag and hiding behind him, for confirmation. "You mean he really does have one?" He asked, all innocence.
chigau yo!- you're wrong!
Happy New Year, minna. My resolution is to finish all these fanfics I've been writing. Let's just hope I can do it. *crosses fingers* Please take your time to review, I appreciate all of them ('cept for anonymous flames, that is - I hate those). Just a simple 'Nice!' would do. Thanks for continuing to read. This chapter wasn't really what I expected. I think I got carried away with the dialogue. I'll make up for it at the next chapter…I hope.