Neku stared at the envelope, looking at the crest in the corner opposite the stamp, a first class stamp at that. Not that it surprised him, it was one of the best schools in Japan. Definitely one of the most expensive.
He sighed, falling backwards onto his bed. He didn't know if he wanted to look at the response yet.
"Stupid Shiki… She had to notice my grades…"
Neku looked to his left, once again seeing the crest of Ouran Academy. He had applied for a scholarship, and this letter had been the only contact he'd had with the school other than that. It would take him away from the familiar streets of Shibuya, from the Game. Even from Shiki, and Joshua, and Beat and Rhyme. Even from their friends, who he couldn't deny he had grown to like.
It was Shiki who suggested it. Of course it was. She had found out his grades, consistently high, and that he was among the best in his class. He didn't know how, of the schools in Shibuya he went to a different one to the other Players. Maybe Joshua had told her, or maybe she'd found one of his grade sheets.
After a few minutes of staring at the crest, Neku eventually turned onto his stomach, bringing the envelope closer to his face. Below the level of his shorts, his legs rubbed against the tatami mats beneath him.
With one last sigh, he turned around the envelope and undid the flap.
"So you got in?" Rhyme spoke, reading through the letter.
Shiki looked up from her double chocolate cappuccino – on the house at 720 yen – and stared at Neku, her eyes reminding him of the bet the two of them had made when he applied. "I told you you'd get in." She spoke, smirking just slightly. Neku reached into his pocket, pulling out a 1000 yen note and passing it to Shiki.
"Yo, man! I knew you'd get it!" Beat cried from next to Rhyme. "You grow up so fast!"
"We're the same age, Daisu…" Beat cried, smothering the rest of what Neku said. Shiki and Rhyme chuckled, the former taking a dip of her cappuccino.
"Congrats Phones!" The group were startled by the appearance of Mr. Hanekoma at the table, a decaf coffee in his hand, which he put down in front of Rhyme. "We'll have to give you a goodbye bash." He said, grinning. "I'll invite Joshua for you, if I can find him."
"He has been busy lately…" Shiki muttered. "Well, he does need to give that new Conductor of his their training." She added.
"Why we talking about Rainbow?" Beat asked. "We should be talkin' 'bout Phones."
"When will you guys stop calling me that?" Neku asked, clenching his fist and crushing the empty cup in his hand.
"When it stops annoying you." Hanekoma said. "And I'm closin' up in five guys. Got some official UG business to take care of. A couple of Support Reapers don't seem to like their jobs."
"Anyone we know playing?" Rhyme asked, taking a large drink of her coffee.
"Nope, just some strangers. One American on holiday, and a few random people."
"Joshua has made the game a little easier this time." Hanekoma added. "He's running it, so he's set a Noise for the last day. And there's none of that stuff that happened on your first game, Neku. You know, one person replaying." He looked at the clock mounted at the back of WildKat. "Gotta close up guys, so move it."
"See you later, Hanekoma." Shiki waved her goodbye as the group stood, the four of them walking to the exit, finishing their drinks as they went.
Neku's departure came sooner than he would have liked. He'd already read all of the information that came with the letter, who he'd be staying with, their contact details, club recommendations, timetables, an extensive map, and more things he didn't even bother to look at. He sat there at on the platform. It wasn't long until his train was due, and he was off.
"Nervous Neku?" Shiki asked, her smile slightly sad.
"A little." Neku admitted, looking down at the fair-sized bag that was what he was taking to his new home away from home.
"Don't worry." Rhyme said comfortingly.
"Yeah, Phones!" Beat was trying to stay upbeat, but they could all see the tears in his eyes.
"How did Joshua look?" Shiki asked. Joshua had stopped by in Neku's room earlier, saying his own goodbyes. He didn't have much time, so it was brief, but Neku knew Joshua wanted to extend goodbyes.
"He was fine. Sad, but fine." Neku replied. There was a brief sound of stifled blubbering from Beat, which the other three pointedly ignored as much as they could. They still smiled at each other, managing not to look at the secretly blubbering teen.
Rhyme stood and walked to the edge of the platform, looking out briefly before returning to her seat. "The train's nearly here." She sighed. "I guess we wont be seeing you for a long time."
"Looks like it." Neku sighed, standing up, looking to his three friends. He was about to say more, but was knocked back as Shiki grabbed him in a hug.
"Promise you'll call us, right?"
"I promise..." Neku looked away from her, embarrassed.
After a few seconds, Shiki let go, and Rhyme took her place. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." She smiled. "So when you get to visit, we'll make sure you'll have a great time." She stood back, smiling.
Neku looked to Beat, who was still blubbering. "No hugs." He said, wearing a slight smirk as Beat looked up.
"Nah, man. I've just had something in my eye, I'm not gonna miss you." Beat said, rubbing at his eyes as the train pulled into the station and stopped, the doors opening and passengers leaving.
Neku chuckled, then picked up his bag. "See you guys later." He said as he climbed aboard the train, smiling as the others called their farewells.
"See you soon Neku!"
"Don't do anythin' reckless Phones!"
"Aim for the stars Neku!"
Neku stepped onto the train, and the doors closed, behind him. He turned, looking out of the window, and waved.
As the train pulled out of the station, he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He pulled it out, opening his new text, read it, and laughed.
Have fun at Ouran Neku! And don't forget to call!