My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Fanfiction: Hikigaya Hachiman's Path to Reformation - 27. Inner Turmoil
Still no reply…? Is he ignoring me…? He has been staring off into space for some time now, ever since that girl that sat with him went on her merry way, skipping with glee and all that holding what appeared to be a small book in her hand. I have seen her speak with him before, and I saw them once in the library together a while ago while I was doing an errand as a Class Rep. They seem to be comfortable in each other’s presence. He had a blank look on his face, and if you are close enough, his eyes looked visibly empty. I have commented many times before on his eyes, but now they look truly empty, as if those were pools of the abyss itself. If I don’t call his attention, he might stay here for the rest of the afternoon like that. If it were any other student, I would have cared less. But since it was him, then I can at least make sure my fellow Class Representative comes to class on time.
With a sigh, I reach out and lightly tap his shoulder. That must have greatly startled him since he nearly jumped from his seat. He turned while clutching his heart with his right hand, and I saw first hand those eyes of his, before they turned to normal upon recognizing me.
“Y-Yukinoshita, you startled me…” He said.
I hummed in reply, and added “Apologies, if I had left you in your previous state, you may have stayed here until classes ended. You were quite deep in thought, and my early attempts to call your attention was futile.”
He blinked twice at my response, and grimaced. “Is that how it looked like? Well, I can’t say that you’re wrong though…” I sat across him and continued nibbling on my sandwich since I did not have enough time this morning to properly make lunch for myself. I had to compromise and make a sandwich instead.
“By the way,” I say “the invitation letter that you gave me, why did you refuse it?” I ask. The envelope that he gave me during the field trip was an invitation letter at one of the prestigious hotels in Chiba. I was honestly surprised that he turned down such an invitation. A few members of the Student Council were there, but I did not know them personally. So I opted to sit at the farthest side of the table away from them to avoid any unnecessary awkwardness and conversations with them.
If he was there with me, more specifically beside me, it would have certainly eased the tension at the table and made me feel more at ease.
The event was a seminar about leadership and human behavioral patterns under stress, it gave me much insight and many of the speakers were businessmen in the city. Owners of restaurants big and small, directors of some schools, Heads of some Chiba-based companies and hotels and also some local government people in-charge of the different districts.
It included his Father of course, and some of my Father’s associates were there too…
He shrugged his shoulders and casually sipped on his tea. “I didn’t feel like it since it was during the weekend and all. I wanted to laze around at home. My Father also records the entire event for safekeeping and future use, so I can just watch it at home.” He said simply.
I sighed and gave him a deadpan expression after hearing his first reason. Honestly, this boy has such a complicated way of thinking. Sometimes, it’s either his way of thinking is quite complex and difficult to predict or its so simple that I failed to acknowledge it as a possibility because of its simplicity. I can’t understand him at times…
“Why are you looking at me in disappointment…?” He asked.
“Nothing…” I say and finished my lunch. He shrugged again and after finishing his food and returning it to be cleaned and washed, we got up and started walking back to the classroom.
“Is something on your mind? You seem troubled.” I say. Even though we walked, I could see that he had a hard look on his face, his eyes once again were unfocused, which led me to believe that his mind is wandering elsewhere.
“Alot.” he finished with a small mirthless self-loathing smile and shook his head. His sigh sounded like it came from a mentally stressed and exhausted person. I frowned at his action, and it unnerved me on how he was acting very strangely.
While we were walking, a group of female First-Years walked in front of us from the hallway from the right. They spared us a small glance and continued walking, though when their eyes rested on me, I slightly felt hostility emanate from them. At the center was most likely the “leader” of their group since she had an air of authority around her. She was undoubtedly beautiful, even I had to admit. They were chatting, but not enough to cause public disturbance to their fellow students around them. Hikigaya-kun on the other hand, eyed the one of the girls with an unreadable expression. Hoh, did one of them catch his eye, I wonder? Perhaps the blonde-haired leader of the group is to his liking?
He suddenly knelt down and picked up a piece of paper and put it in his pocket. I just ignored him, and a few minutes later, we stood in front of the door to our classroom.
I felt the air around him change.
He straightened his back and, and flexed his shoulders causing some of his joints to pop. He audibly exhaled once and closed his eyes, and then slid the door open. To my surprise, he stepped aside and opened the door for me and I thanked him. Many of our classmates saw this and I was quite embarrassed, so I quickly headed to my seat. Most of the girls nodded at his act in approval, while a small number rolled their eyes and resumed to what they were doing. His head turned once to the chalkboard and called the boy who was on duty today to clean it again. The boy obeyed and dutifully stood up from where he was talking with his friends and several minutes after the chalkboard was cleaned once more, Sensei arrived and classes resumed.
During class, he had a far-away look in his eyes and when he is not staring blankly in front of him, he looks down on his armrest tapping his finger and sometimes scratching his head in frustration, as if the conclusion that he arrived after thinking for a while was wrong and completely not what he expected.
I daresay he looked quite sad and frustrated at himself.
Meet me behind the tennis court. You know, the place where we played for the first time?
Truly, I, did not expect Miura-san to give this to me in such a discreet and manner. How very, as millennials say these days, “lowkey”. Our eyes met for just a fraction of a moment at the hallway, but she managed to somehow get the message across. When she was walking in front of us in her own little group, I eyed her every movement, keen to finding out if she was trying to tell me something, and my intuition proved correct once again. When she took something from her pocket, a small piece of paper fell out. She emphasized it very well since it took her a few moments to do so because she fiddled inside her pocket a bit. I just casually picked it up, and Yukinoshita beside me didn’t seem to care.
I walked to the destination on the letter, the place brings back memories every time I think about it. I finished quickly at the StuCo room and said my goodbyes to the others. There was still some time before sunset, an hour at most, and there were still a number of students loitering around the campus going to their clubs and all.
She was sitting on the bench facing the tennis court, since the bench was facing the court, her back was to me. She seemed getting impatient, since her left foot was tapping the ground. To make her aware of my presence, and not to scare her like last time, I made my footsteps more audible, and I noticed her perk at the sound. I sat on the far side of the bench with our bags between us.
I sighed at the silence and decided to make the first move. “…you could have just told me straight away, what if I didn’t get your message earlier?”
“…you were always so busy with the StuCo and being a Class Rep, I couldn’t find time to approach you…”
“Hmm…” I hummed in reply. True, I was getting busy these days and I can feel the physical exhaustion taxing on me. I can see what she’s getting at. Classes are going to end a few days from now, and another day or two after that would be the Third Year graduation. I’ll tell Senpai that I’ll have a day off tomorrow so I can at least rest a bit…
“So, any particular reason why wanted my presence?” I ask and turn to her. Instead of the proud and confident girl that I always see, I saw shame and guilt on her face as she refused to make eye contact. She gripped the hem of her skirt tightly and her legs were squeezed together.
“I’m really sorry for yelling at you during the field trip! That was a really childish thing for me to do and I really regret it!” She exclaimed and bowed her head to me in apology. Uwahh, if someone saw us from a distance, it might look like she’s confessing to me…and another rumour to add to my already large pile of false rumours in the school…
“Apology accepted.” I reply quickly and motion for her to raise her head.
“EH?!” She looked at me as if I had said that I was going to sell my kidney to fund my addiction to gacha games. Which definitely hasn’t crossed my my before! Also, I have a debit card, and if it comes to it, I can borrow my parent’s credit card.
“What?” I ask, confusion evident in my voice.
“Just like that!? You’re not gonna yell at me or get mad?!” She said exclaimed once more, fueling the confusion within me. She had a mixture of relief, confusion and frustration on her face, which I can’t exactly describe how she made it.
“Umm, why would I get mad at you?” I shrugged and continued. “All you did was yell at me and leave me confused, and that’s not something I’d honestly get worked up about. I get yelled at by Hiratsuka-sensei alot when I make a sarcastic reply or make fun of her. At most, you made Tania-chan cry when you left. You must have scared the poor thing…”
“Oh, and I’m not one to hold on to grudges so…yeah…” I added as I trailed off. Miura-san finally remembered to close her mouth and slowly nodded. “But I’m curious, what made you mad at me in the first place?” I was genuinely curious and wanted to hear her answer. She laughed awkwardly at my question and looked to the side while scratching her head.
“W-Well…hehehe, it may sound really petty and I won’t blame you if you’ll think less of me. Remember when you were helping me carry Ino-sensei’s daughter…?” She played with the tips of her hair by twirling them around her finger.
“Umm…how do I say this…I…?” With every word she said, her face seemed to get redder, and I was starting to get anxious by the second. The suspense is killing me, and I subconsciously scooted closer to hear her properly since the volume of her voice was going down with every word she uttered. Just say it damnit! Don’t make me bring out [ ] and skip this nonsense!
“I-I thought you…t-touched me i-inappropriately when you helped me carry Tania-chan, but after thinking a bit, it was probably just her leg when she moved it…yeah…” Ooooooh, so that’s what she was mad about. Hmm, I see…But I think I did brush against them by accident when Tania-chan suddenly squirmed…She looked to the side with a frustrated blush, and after a few moments, my eyes wandered on their own downwards. It was definitely a mistake.
“So basically,” I started not thinking too deeply on my words with my eyes still glued to her tatas “you thought that I deliberately touched your boo-“
“SHUT UP PERV!”
Her hand flew towards my cheek, and I caught it just in time. (Thank you Tatsumi-sensei for being especially thorough when teaching us how to block!) She must have anticipated my action since her other hand followed, and I caught it again. I was about to make a victorious grin, but she was somehow pushing me back.
“Hey hey hey I just did that by reflex!” I explain to her. For some reason, either my arms failed me or she suddenly had a boost of strength. Yikes, a Berserker!? At point-blank range-?! I’m about to get overpowered and I’m slowly leaning back! She’s going to pin me on the bench! She even has a maniacal grin on her face and steam was going out from her nostrils!
I’m going to end up as a bottom!
And I absolutely refuse being so!
*Hikigaya, we think being a bottom should be the least of your concerns right now…*
“Brutish Gorilla-! Stop this and get off of me!”
“Who are you calling a Gorilla?!”
Her hands were an inch away from my face as I desperately tried to push her back. It was to no avail since she’s putting her upper body weight against me. I don’t know what she plans to do to my face once her hands reach them. Slap them? Maybe. Pinch them? Perhaps. Rip them to shreds? I don’t know. At this point, I am literally on my back on the bench and she was on top of me, in other words, she was straddling me. I felt her supple thighs through the fabric of my pants when I tried to squirm away from her.
This is totally unfair!
Is she doing this on purpose?!
She is, isn’t she!?
Mongrel! How dare she lay her filthy barbaric hands on-!
“That overly-formal way of talking always pissed me off! Looks like Yukisomething’s talking habits finally rubbed off on you huh?! I never liked that upstart bitch one bit!” She hissed as my final defenses broke and her hands reached their target. Time seemed to slow down as I saw random moments from my life flash before me, akin to the ones you see before your death moments later.
The first time I got called Hikigerma-kun…
That one time I expected to be invited at a house party during middle-school, only to end up disappointed…
When I pulled my first SSR Servant…
Keika jumping on my sleeping form while I was taking a nap on the couch…
The day I got my Rolex watch…
When Tania-chan pulled on my lip yesterday…
When I accidentally walked in on my Mother taking a bath…man that was super embarrassing I wanted to die…
Wait, those moments were totally random and didn’t make any sense!
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” I scream like I never screamed before, perhaps even enough to bring a banshee to shame.
*Somewhere in the campus, two girls were walking home together when they heard our poor main Protagonist’s ear splitting scream*
“Ebina, did you hear that?” Girl A said stopped and looked around for the source of the sound. Girl B did the same before laughing to herself after relating the sound to something she read before.
“Yeah I heard that. It sounded like a guy being dominated by a girl! I bet he’s an M and the girl is an S!” Girl B exclaimed and laughed even harder. Girl A did not quite understand Girl B’s joke, but laughed together with her all the same.
*Back to the aftermath of the Hero’s humiliating defeat.*
My cheeks, my poor cheeks…I can’t feel them and I bet they’re beet red. I rub them to ease the pain that they went through.
“There there, Hikio. The pain will go away in a few minutes.” Miura-san said as she patted my other cheek in an attempt to cheer me up. After making her way with me, she lifted herself from my defeated form with a victorious cackle. And then, she pulled me up by the shoulders and started violently shaking me, all the while yelling at me to “Man up wuss!”.
I rolled my eyes and looked at her without turning my head. “And whose fault do you think that is?”. Her response was a devilish smile. Tch, look at that ridiculous smile, right after she pinched my cheeks until I felt they were gonna rip. I will have my revenge!
“I still want payback.” I said in a tone that might have sounded too serious since I saw her twitch at my reply. “F-Fiiiiine, I’ll do whatever you want. Fire away.” She crossed her legs and rolled her eyes at my reply. I might be mistaken, but I think she is doing a terrible job at masking her amusement from the current situation. Her lip was painfully trying to twitch upwards, but she’s barely managing to suppress it. She must be secretly enjoying our exchange.
“By the way, when I said, “I’ll do whatever you want.”, I didn’t mean it to be taken literally. I can volunteer at the StuCo or something, or I could introduce you to some of my girl friends if any of them catch your eye. Of course, I still have to pick out the ones who are interested, for that matter. If you want, we can go to the mall together and shop for clothes or watch a movie, your call. But you have to hurry and make up your mind, classes are gonna end y’know. I’m a woman of my word after a-“
I lightly karate chopped her head which caused her to yelp and stop mid-sentence.
“There, we’re even.” I say and got up from the bench while holding my bag. My parents were busy today so they couldn’t pick me up and I have to walk home. When I turned to her, she had an initial look of surprise, before beaming at me and getting her bag. Woah! That smile was dangerous, it made my heart skip a beat damnit! That was definitely a sneak attack.
“What’re you gonna do this break?” She asked out of the blue.
I put a hand over my chin and pondered on her question. “Once I get the green light from my Doctor, I’ll go back to my part-time job and resume Taekwondo, I guess.” I reply after a few moments of thinking. Her mouth formed into an “O” at my reply.
“Hooooh, that sounds really like you Hikio, and Taekwondo? I didn’t know that you knew martial arts. And come to think of it, I heard from a few of my classmates that you part-timed at a bookstore in the shopping district.”
I nodded “I just picked it up along the way since it was offered to me. I’m a cashier and a staff member at a bookstore in the shopping district. My boss is awesome and really cool, she gives me discounts on the books that I buy there and snacks too.” Uwaah, reminiscing about my part-time job and Taekwondo really makes me heart long for them even harder. Don’t worry Boss Yuuka and Maya-sensei! I’ll go back as soon as possible!
“Is that so, well, I don’t think I’m ready for a part-time job yet. But I have thought about it a few times…” She said. Its not uncommon for people my age to start looking for part-time jobs, it serves as a work experience for the future and also to get some extra cash of course. I immediately deposited my first paycheck, and saved it for the next few months to give my family their Christmas present last December.
She gave me an opening, and I immediately went for it. If there’s a hole, its a man’s job to thrust into it! “True, you’ll probably strangle any customer that you have the tiniest disagreement with.” I say cheekily.
A tick formed on her forehead, but the slap that I was expecting didn’t come. “S-Something like that, probably.” I matched my pace with her’s, so we took our time walking to the school gates and most students were going home. We must have taken more time than I thought since the sky already had some streaks of orange. If I didn’t catch her message during lunch, I should be at home right about now. Several minutes went by with not a word between us and she opened her mouth to speak once more.
“Sooo…we’re good, right…?” She slightly turned to me and asked from the corner of her eye. Good grief, what a stubborn girl. I already told her that there’s nothing for me to forgive her for.
She pouted and looked disappointed at my reply. “Can’t you think of saying anything else? It’s like you think otherwise.”
I can’t blame her for thinking that way since I’m physically and mentally exhausted today and I want to go home as soon as possible where my poor lonely imotou is eagerly awaiting my arrival at the door. But before that, I want to make her feel at ease with the way things are, at least. I don’t want things leaving unsaid and I have the perfect idea to remedy that.
“I’m sorry if I sounded unconvincing, I’m just really tired, that’s all. Today was a long day for me. Do you want to go to a convenience store? I’ll buy you whatever you want.” I offered helpfully.
She scoffed with amusement at my reply and had a smug grin. “Heeeeeeeh, are you treating me like a little girl and bribing me with snacks now…? That’s like, suuuuuper creepy Hikio. I hope you don’t say that to younger girls…” She used my own tactic against me. This used to work on Komachi and Kei-chan, but it proves to be ineffective at girls my age…
“Fine, suit yourself. I’m getting ice-cream.” I say and run past her, leaving her in the dust.
“H-Hey! I didn’t say no! Wait for me damnit!” She said and started running after me. A tiny grin found itself to my face as I deliberately slowed my pace so she can catch up to me.
For the moment, my thoughts of existential crisis and fear for the future from earlier today hid themselves at the very depths of my mind. Those thoughts will unfortunately stay with me for me remaining years here in Sobu High, and I hope I have the mental strength and resolve to do what I feel is right when the time comes. If I make the wrong choices, I might end up going back to square one. I still feel like I’m being dishonest to myself, but thinking like that won’t do me any good. Regardless, it will always be at some dark tiny corner in my mind until I convince myself otherwise. Doing the correct thing doesn’t necessarily mean its the right thing to do, especially when your “other” self is saying otherwise.
At least for now, I found myself smiling and enjoying at the present.
“Rocky Road! I want Rocky Road!” The voice of a certain fiery blonde-haired Riajuu reached my ears as she tried to catch up to me and I couldn’t help but softly chuckle.
The graduation ceremony went great, there were no problems during the event, and the minor complications that popped up were swiftly taken care of by Chisako-Senpai and our Secretary. As for our two outgoing members, namely the Head of Sports and Head of Finance, we congratulated and took pictures with them. Today was the first event that I used my position as the Head of The Events Committee, and with the help of the rest of the Council, the members of the different clubs at school that I requested to volunteer and the helpful advice of our teachers, I can confidently say that today was resounding success. The auditorium was packed with the families and friends of those who would be leaving this institution with their hard-earned diplomas in hand. Hiratsuka-sensei was a bit teary eyed while watching the ceremony and I couldn’t resist teasing her. In revenge for my cheekiness, she twisted my ear until it got red while Shiromeguri-senpai and the others laughed from the sideline.
Currently, I was helping out the documentation team by using their camera and taking pictures. All of a sudden, a slender feminine finger poked my cheek, just as I was about to take a shot of the venue from the stage.
I turn to the side, and saw my self-proclaimed Onee-sama grinning at me from ear-to-ear.
“Haruno-san, I didn’t expect to see you tonight.” I say, with surprise evident in my voice.
“Yup, a kouhai of mine invited me see, and I couldn’t possibly reject her invitation!” She exclaimed and showed me a bundle of flowers that she hid behind her back. “I brought these for her, beautiful, aren’t they?”
I’m no botanist, nor have I ever had an interest to flowers, but they looked pretty from my perspective. “Yeah, they look nice.” I nod lamely and agree.
“Riiiight?!” She in turn, nodded vigorously to my reply. Her smile never wavered once, and it was getting contagious. Woah there, I nearly started smiling like her. Get a hold of yourself Hachiman, if you don’t, you’ll make a fool out of yourself in-front of thiss SS-ranked Danger Beast!
“Did anything interesting happen with you lately? You seem in a very good mood.” I ask.
“Of course! I’m happy to see that Yukino-chan was well taken care of during your field trip! She was really cold and stingy when I asked her about it, so I went and asked Shiromeguri instead. I was right to leave her in your hands.” She happily declared.
I shrugged at her and snapped a photo. “I didn’t do anything. She seemed fine on her own as always. If I suddenly started getting too close to her while following your request, she might think I’m a creep.” We didn’t interact much during the field trip, well for me at least. Aside from that morning with Tania-chan and at the awarding, we basically kept to ourselves. It didn’t help that the groups were divided by gender too. I had no interest nor reason to seek her out when we were there.
“You have my thanks regardless Hikigaya-kun! Now its my turn to honour my part in the deal. If you have trouble with anything, or just want to hang out and stuff, just give me a call and I’ll see what I can do!” She said and produced her phone from her pocket, most likely so we can exchange contact information. I just nodded and brought out my phone, and after a moment or two, my phone rang and notified my of a message from an unknown number.
First message~! Hello Hikigaya-kun! You better save this number!
“Got it.” I say.
“Great! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and give these to my kouhai. Keep up the good work, Hikigaya-kun!” She said and went on her way. “Oh! I almost forgot!” She exclaimed and quickly came back to me. “If its not too much trouble for you, would you care to join me for dinner? A new restaurant opened at the shopping district yesterday, and I really wanted to try eating there.” Her offer was very tempting. My Father always said that “Food always tastes better when its free!” and I always kept his words to heart. But on the other hand, I was really tired and I bet I look really haggard-looking right now. Not to mention me and the rest of the StuCo will be having dinner in light of the success of the event, and it also serves as a small party dedicated to us for completing the school year.
“We have a dinner after we finish up wrapping this event.” I say.
“Aww, that’s a shame then. But no worries! Your break starts tomorrow right? There’s plenty of time for this Onee-san to spoil you rotten as thanks~!” She said and started playfully hitting my rib, trying to get a reaction from me.
“If you say it like that, Yukinoshita might get jealous of me. You shouldn’t forget about her y’know. She’s your real sibling after all.” My words must have took her aback and she stiffened for a moment at my words, and I regretted it immediately. I knew that there was some tension between those two, it’s just that the elder was the one who hid it very well. And I also didn’t bother knowing more about it from them, since it was none of my business, so I have no idea how much my words weighed on her.
“I’m sorry, I said something that I shouldn’t have. I’ll refrain from spea-“
She held up her hand before I could finish and softly shook her head with a sad look. The pain in her eyes right now was like a stab to my gut. Seeing someone who is always happy and cheerful, suddenly making that expression and knowing that you’re the cause of it, is extremely painful. I felt guilty, and I clenched my fists at my own carelessness and stupidity.
She gulped before sporting resigned-look on her face, she tried to smile, but it ended up being a grimace. “Now now Hikigaya-kun, we both know that you don’t mean it and there’s no malice in your words.” I didn’t know what expression I had on my face, but I can’t look her in the eye. I felt her soft hand pat my shoulder, and I reluctantly laid my eyes on her.
“Shhhh, I said it’s fine. Don’t worry about it.” She softly said and I slowly nodded at her words. She smiled and patted my head.
“Well then, I gotta go! My kouhai is waiting for me. I’ll be waiting for your call one of these days Hikigaya-kun~!” She quickly stepped down from the stage and crisscrossed through the crowd. The smile that she had as she excused herself was definitely forced, and I have a feeling that she’ll linger on my words for the remainder of the evening. I shouldn’t have said that, seriously.
Damnit, I feel really bad.
I have to make it up to her somehow…
Sup y’all, its me!
Reading your reviews from the previous chapter was really entertaining, since it literally went downhill at the 2nd half. I bet you lot were surprised at how the chapter took an unexpected turn! Idk why, but after finishing that particular chapter and rereading it innumerable times, it made me feel depressed for a while lol. Maybe I’ll start replying to some of your reviews and put them here on the next chapter, idk tho.
As always, reviews and PM’s are welcome and I’ll gladly read all of them!