*Pushes bowl of sliced bananas over to the Taku-neko-chan* H..here
FINALLY ! .. "jumping while throwing pillow"
*burns all pillow in the world for no reason* :P
Howls at darkman
I AM THE SPIRIT THAT LIVES IN ALL
HOWLS at all here like a lonely wolf looking for her friend
I AM THE SPIRIT THAT LIVES IN ALL
When you're really tired and have had a few drinks, sometimes strange things happen...
No offense intended to anyone mentioned (or not mentioned); hopefully this comes across as a funny little story to smile over without any implied real-world intention.
Hey there, my name's LastVanguard. I'm a completely ordinary second-year highschool student at Otaku Streamers Academy. I've made a few new friends there, and do fairly well in my grades. My parents are divorced, and after being juggled between them for a few years, they're now paying for a small apartment for me in the city for school, while living on opposite ends of Japan themselves. My family situation is... complicated, at best.
I invited a few friends from school over tonight for a study group; Skipachu-sensei's math finals are brutal, and we're trying to get some last-minute cramming in before the test tomorrow. On that note....
"That's obviously not the answer to number 18."
I rubbed my hand over my eyes; I was getting weary of Reika-chan's better understanding of the practice test questions. Don't get me wrong, she's smart, but she has a bit of a "kindness gap" when demonstrating it.
"Alright, then. What is the correct answer to 18, and how did you arrive at it?"
Reika folded her arms in front of her, looking somewhat annoyed in the process. "Well, I carried over all the math in my head, so it'd be a pain to explain it all. But the answer's 436."
Doing all the math in your head without showing your work doesn't help anyone here, dummy!
Meanwhile, Prudii finished the last of the tea that I'd bought for us on the way over to my place. Looking around, he commented: "Oops.. I didn't realize that was the last of it".
I fished a couple hundred yen out of my pocket and passed the coins over to him. "I probably should have got more earlier, so it's my bad. Want to run back to the convenience store down the street and get some more drinks for us?"
Martindude and System Message put some money on the table as well. Martin spoke for both of them, "Oolong tea is fine with me. Can't have too much caffeine at this time of night."
Reika looked down at the top of the kotatsu dejectedly. A knowing glance passed between everyone else. Reika might be smart, but she's usually broke as a bum.
In the silence that followed. Prudii spoke up. "I'll get some for you too, Reika. You can pay me back by helping me ace this test."
The speed at which Reika perked up was almost.. alarming. "Thanks, Prudes!! You're the best!"
I leaned over at Prudii as he headed for the door, and mentioned, "say 'hello' to Purple for me, will you? I think he's working down there tonight."
Prudii turned around for a minute in disbelief. "I didn't know PurpleDrank worked down at the convenience shop. How long has he done that for?"
I shrugged, "A few months now; you know how he's always looking for cash for more video games and such."
I swear, that guy plays more games than everyone in our group tonight put together. Well, at least he knows what he wants in life.
After Prudii had taken the money, put on his jacket and left, I looked back at the mock exam questions on the table. "Alright, so we were on 18, if I remember correctly..."
A half hour later, Prudii returned with the fruits of our offerings. Taking my tea from him, I brought him up to speed on what we'd done in his absence; he's my best friend, after all. "We're up to about here on the test. Here's the answers from 18 to 34, and how we got them."
A big grin plastered itself across his face as he replied, "Thanks for getting tonight's group together, man. It's no secret that I struggle with this stuff, so it's just the thing I needed to get things in gear."
He might be the captain of the kendo team, but I'll be the first to admit that his grades tend to suffer. Sometimes I wonder if he's only going to school just to swing that bamboo sword around, and classes aren't as big of a deal to him..
Contrast that with Martin, who does pretty well in his grades and is the assistant captain of the archery team. They did pretty well in the last tournament, and he was a huge part of that success. Speaking of Martin...
"Hey, Vanguard. The right side of your equation on number 36 has a digit carried over to the wrong column."
Looking down at the papers in front of me, I noticed he was right. "Thanks for catching that, I'll get it fixed."
At the same time, System Message pulled on my sleeve. Well, her name is System Message, but everyone just calls her "Sys-chan". "How did you solve number 35? I tried using the formula that everyone was talking about earlier, but I got a different answer than you did."
I looked over at her work, and found the problem fairly quickly. "Looks like you did the addition in that problem before the multiplication. Remember the order for these? Multiplication and division come before addition and subtraction in multi-part problems. If you correct it, you now have the same answer as me. Simple, right?"
She looked up at me, her face beaming. "Awesome! Good to know it was just an easy mistake, and I'm otherwise understanding the process!"
I could feel my face turning slightly red at her praise. Gosh, I'm a sucker for that smile.
After another hour, we finished the practice test, and started comparing answers. Thankfully, with the coordinated effort of everyone involved, we were almost completely consistent on our tests, with a few slight exceptions from Prudii. I took a sip of the tea in front of me, while leaning back and stretching in the process. "And that wraps it up, folks. Hopefully we'll be ready for tomorrow."
I saw Martin glancing at the clock on my wall, and followed his gaze. 10:36PM, it's getting late.
"You guys had probably better head home for today. I know you've probably got things around the house to do before hitting the hay, and we've got to be at school on time tomorrow for the test."
Martin nodded, and pulled out his cell phone. "I'll set my alarm for 7:00AM tomorrow. You guys set yours as well. First person to wake up calls the others, and makes sure we're all up and on time for class."
I could see Prudii visibly strain at his words. "This is a terrible idea.. but it'll probably work."
As we started walked to the door of my apartment, I saw Martin whisper to Reika, "Hey, your house is a few blocks down the street from mine, right? I'll walk you home, if that's fine."
I could be mistaken, but I thought I saw her blush slightly before nodding her approval. Prudii slapped me on the back, snapping me out of my reverie. "Thanks for having us out tonight, V. It's a huge favor."
"No problem, Prudes. God knows you needed it."
He looked aghast at my words. "Needed it? Ehh... I could have gotten by without it. But still, thanks."
"No problem, man."
We both stood at the doorway silently for a minute, watching Martin and Reika walking down the street together. Prudii spoke up.
"Ten thousand yen says they get hitched someday."
I struggled not to laugh at his comment, but somewhat in vain. "Married? Those two? You're kidding, right? They're pretty much polar opposites!"
He didn't seem to find it funny in the least. "They're pretty different, yeah. But that curious mix of serious and easy-going is what makes them a good match for each other. So, back to our bet.. you in?"
"Yea, I'll bet you ten thousand on that. No chance that'll ever happen."
"We'll see, mate. We'll see."
After Martin and Reika disappeared out of sight around the street corner, I noticed that Sys-chan hadn't left yet. "Hey, Prudii - did Sys-chan already leave? I must have missed her."
"No, I haven't seen her go. She must still be here."
Closing the door, we went back inside to find Sys-chan fast asleep, slumped down on the kotatsu. I leaned down to take a closer look. "She must have fallen asleep once we got done; I guess studying really tired her out."
Prudii brought his cell phone out. "I'll call her house and let them know, so they can come pick her up. Hang on for a minute."
While Prudii walked into the other room to make the call, I focused back on Sys-chan for a moment. She's the leader of the light music club at school, and they play live on a regular basis, so I'm sure she has some pretty long days here and there. Her grades are roughly the same as mine, so she's doing alright at school, too.
Still, there's something seemingly magical about this girl to me. Maybe...
Prudii stepped back inside. "Her folks will come and pick her up in a few minutes."
We both silently looked at the sleeping form of Sys-chan for a minute, before I spoke out. "You know, like this, she seems really cu..... gentle."
Prudii glanced at me, unfazed. "You were going to say she was "cute", weren't you?"
My eyes dropped to look at the floor. "Not really.. Well, maybe."
Prudii crossed his arms, before turning to look at me. "You never change, Vanguard. I guess that's what we both have in common."
I sighed heavily. This is the one point of contention between myself and my best friend.
"Let's face it, Prudes. At the end of the day, we're both in love with the same girl. Someone's heart is inevitably going to get crushed, here."
"I know, V. And someday, we're both going to have to put those feelings in front of Sys-chan, and let her decide what she does with them. Until then, I suppose we'll have to be content with watching her sleep here, right?"
We both fell silent for a while, until we heard a knock on my door. We went to answer it, and found Jimmy Bluey waiting outside. "Evening, boys. I hope she wasn't too much trouble for you tonight."
I shook my head. "No, sir. It's always a good time having her here. Our study group went really well; I'm sure she'll do great on the test tomorrow."
"That's good to hear."
Jim scooped the still-sleeping Sys-chan up in his arms, and carried her outside to his car. Dudette was waiting in the passenger seat, and rolled the window down. "How's our little angel tonight?"
Jim opened up the back seat door of his sedan, and gently laid Sys-chan inside. "She's fine, just fell asleep after a long day. The boys made sure she was alright."
Since I'd walked outside, Dudette looked up at me, and said, "Thanks for taking care of her, Vanguard. It's good that she has friends like you and Prudii to look out for her."
"No problem, ma'am."
Prudii tapped me on the shoulder. "I'm going to take off. See you at school tomorrow, Vanguard."
I extended my arm, and we did a "knight's handshake". "Take it easy, Prudes." (Something we learned at school, where medieval-era knights would shake hands using their forearm instead of the wrist, to prove that they didn't have concealed weapons up their sleeves. It was only done among those who trusted each other.)
As Jim got back in the car, Dudette looked up at me again. "Maybe she'll be able to take care of you someday, too. OK?"
As I was left wondering what she meant by that, the car started down the road, disappearing into the cool night air. As I lost sight of them, I silently mouthed the words that I wished I'd someday have the courage to tell her.
Goodnight, Sys-chan. I love you.