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Be not Defeated by the Rain

Be not defeated by the rain, Nor let the wind prove your better.
Succumb not to the snows of winter. Nor be bested by the heat of summer.

Be strong in body. Unfettered by desire. Not enticed to anger. Cultivate a quiet joy.
Count yourself last in everything. Put others before you.
Watch well and listen closely. Hold the learned lessons dear.

A thatch-roof house, in a meadow, nestled in a pine grove's shade.

A handful of rice, some miso, and a few vegetables to suffice for the day.

If, to the East, a child lies sick: Go forth and nurse him to health.
If, to the West, an old lady stands exhausted: Go forth, and relieve her of burden.
If, to the South, a man lies dying: Go forth with words of courage to dispel his fear.
If, to the North, an argument or fight ensues:
Go forth and beg them stop such a waste of effort and of spirit.

In times of drought, shed tears of sympathy.
In summers cold, walk in concern and empathy.

Stand aloof of the unknowing masses:
Better dismissed as useless than flattered as a "Great Man".

This is my goal, the person I strive to become.




Where It Always Rains

湖のほとりの街


Hidden 7 mos ago Post by Hero
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April 7th, 20xx
8:45 a.m.
Weather: Cloudy with a Chance of Light Rain

The clouds loomed over the town of Utsubyo, though the threat of rain was questionable at best. Most of the elders believed it would come at night in a light drizzle. The more paranoid residents of the town made sure to clutch an umbrella as they began their day. The town buzzed a little more than usual today as parents readied their children for the first day of school. A few tears were shed with younger students on their first day, while the middle school was surprisingly chipper, likely eager to see their friends again.

The students of Utsubyo High School were not nearly as enthusiastic as their middle school counterparts. Polite greetings were exchanged every so often, though the faculty may as well have been dragged along to the dentist with their apathy. The opening ceremony went on without a hitch, leaving the mood of the school neutral at best. A few exceptions came in the form of one pair of teachers: Yokoyama Iwao and Touga Aki.

"I don't know why I let you drag me to Kagoshima before every new year starts," Yokoyama complained, punctuating his sentence with a yawn.

Touga let out a gasp, her hand flying to her mouth. "It's tradition!" She insisted, albeit she visibly deflated a few seconds afterward. "Actually...maybe we should come up with a new tradition."

"Ya think?"

The school's bell rang through the halls, interrupting any chance Touga had to respond. "Ah, we can talk about it later," She told him with a wave, hurrying over to her class. After double checking her notebook, she slid the door open to classroom 2-C. The speaking came to a halt, most watching her as she approached the podium.

"All rise," She instructed them as she placed her notebooks down, watching as the students rose. "Be seated."

Waiting until the class fell to silence, Touga pulled out a sheet of paper she had picked up from the office earlier. "Good morning everyone! My name is Touga Aki, and I'll be your homeroom and Literature teacher this year. Today, we'll be choosing a class representative and dive into the novel we'll be studying, The Dancing Girl. Before that, however, a couple of introductions are due!"

Glancing down at her paper, she scanned the faces of her students. "I'd very much like Shimizu-san and Totsuka-san to introduce themselves, please,"

At the mention of her name, Ichika perked up immediately. Without waiting to see if the other person was ready, she stood from her seat, bouncing over to the front of the class. She scribbled her name on the chalkboard and turned to the rest of the class, beaming. "My name is Shimizu Ichika. I like shopping, dressing up, and volleyball. It's nice to meet you!"

Touga couldn't help but admire Ichika's enthusiasm. "Thank you, Shimizu-san," She watched Ichika bounce back to her seat.



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TOTSUKA RYUSEI


April 7th, 20pickafuckingyearhero
8:45am



There was scarcely better weather to demonstrate Ryusei's ambivalence towards the coming day—the entire sky was covered in a thick layer of clouds, threatening to pour all over the town of Utsubyo at any moment. Everything about the little municipality seemed to be choked with an unmistakably dour feeling. Perhaps it was a simple projection of his circumstances, although in the few days he had been in town, he couldn't remember spotting the sun even once. The perpetual overcast just worked to worsen his already poor situation; things had been terse around his new home as the existing order found itself torn asunder in favor of a new arrival. His grandfather, to his credit, had worked hard for most of his life, so the traditional abode up in the hills of the Sakuraba neighborhood was certainly leagues better than most of the other homes the youth biked passed on his way into town. He had stayed there plenty a summer as a boy, back when his grandmother was still alive, and had a nice enough time. His grandparents always had time for him, and made sure to make him feel welcome. Maybe it was her absence that made things feel so chilly. Maybe grandpa just didn't know how to welcome him after living alone for so long.

The circumstances just felt... strange. Like they didn't belong. Like he didn't belong.

By the time he acknowledged that thought was certainly a projection, Ryusei's destination had finally come within viewing distance. Utsubyo High wasn't anything to be impressed by, certainly not compared to his previous school, but the sight of it certainly beat ruminating over his exile to gods-forsaken Kyushu, or how he had come to miss that empty apartment way back in Kobe already. Finding a place to lock his bike up was mercifully easy, and it certainly needed to be, because his morning left him in no mood to ask any of the students or faculty milling about the courtyard how to do so. Not that his intentions to slip under their radars would do him any good. He had always stuck out like a sore thumb—he was a hulking, angry looking thug of a transfer student, and his usual, resting grimace almost certainly looked worse with his mood darkened.

But it didn't matter. He just had to make it through the first day. Ignore the stares. Ignore the whispers. Don't think about their asinine theories. Shoo them off when the dumb ones come up to ask. Just get through the day. That mantra carried him through the opening ceremony, as the administrators prattled on, and through the halls as his fellow students rushed to find their homerooms and settle in for some brief morning chatter.

Antisocial as he tended to be, he had little enough interest in that. Homeroom would bring some respite, hopefully, and if he was lucky, he could spend the majority of the introductory session gazing out the window. More lamentation to brighten up his spirit. Unfortunately, the annoyingly proactive teacher arrived in short order not much longer after he had settled himself into the second seat from the back. Of course, introductions were necessary. How quaint. The only solace he found in the request was that there seemed to be another unfortunate soul who was folded into the current year. One who must have been having a much better day than he. He almost felt his gaze sharpen as she carelessly bounced her way to the front of the classroom and introduced herself with such vigor. If they expected that much from him, they were sure to be disappointed.

With a sigh, the delinquent pushed himself up out of his chair, carefully maneuvering his way to the front of the classroom on the heels of his fellow transfer. A stick of pearly white chalk found its way between his long fingers, and he scratched a rough set of kanji onto the board beside Shimizu's.

"Name's Totsuka Ryusei. I like sports, and not being here in front of you all, if I'm honest," He gingerly set the chalk back where it had been, turning to the teacher, "So if that's all?"

It wasn't much of a question; he had already decided that was all he had to say on the matter, and soon made his way back to his desk, wiping the residue of the talc-like powder from between his digits as he did.

"God, I need a smoke today."

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April 7th, first day of school. Boo.
8:47ish am



Like waves crashing on to the shore, the start of the new school semester was unfortunately inevitable. The metaphorical similarities didn't just stop there though. Just like intently gazing into the ocean waters breaking on the sand and retracting back to the sea, having to sit through classes was going to put Yun in a hypnotic daze. This concern meant nothing to his parents though as boredom was not a valid reason to skip school unless he wanted to get kicked out of the house. But could you blame Yun for trying to reason that out? He's been through this same song and dance for years now and nothing ever really changed in Utsubyo or for the people that lived there even if they graduate as far as he could remember. Then again, he could really only remember as far back as the 2nd grade as everything else before that was a blurry brain soup that had gone way past its expiry date.

Weird food analogies spurned on by skipping breakfast aside, there was the minor consolation prize of the new students introductions to break up the first homeroom session's monotony. Yun had chosen a seat on the second row from the front but the energy from Shimizu could easily be felt even from that distance. She spoke few words but that's all she needed to do really, he had thought. Definitely needed to get to know her better, Yun had decided.

"Whoa." Yun whispered to himself as Totsuka stood up to the front though. There was no way this guy was a student their age. He had to be one of those undercover police agents sent to infiltrate the school, just like in those Hollywood movies!.. Or a dropout that kept getting held back but now leads his own gang of delinquents like in those 80s shounen manga everyone online raves about!

See where a wandering mind leads to in its prison of languor? Though this second transfer student's introduction was certainly the same length or even shorter than the first, it felt way longer for Yun. Still, his gaze was simply transfixed on to Totsuka even as the large lad returned to his seat. This would go on for a few more seconds before he caught himself being certifiably creepy and snapped out of it.

Bringing his attention back to the board at the front, he had realized one thing. Whatever Totsuka had just said completely went in one ear and out the other. Now how would Yun know if his new classmate was a secret superhero looking to lead a double life while trying to find a plucky sidekick?!
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Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Mcmolly
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April 7th, 20XX
8:45am

graffiti behind Mr. Pumpkin Pachinko
sakura flavors at Ariyoshi Café?—confirm/ask for samples
like twenty weasels behind Familymart
idk something shady going on at the hotel I bet
Nakanishi probably has something worth looking into don’t start year w/gossip


Kanna stared down at her notebook, tapping her pen against the cast on her forearm, trying to ignore the itch near her wrist, too far down to reach. She squinted at each tick on the list, trying to piece together how any of them could fit into the first issue of this year’s school newspaper, and at the same time, entirely giving up on all of them and trying to think of something new.

There was jack shit. Utsubyo could be like that, sometimes.

The bell rang. Ah, well. The deadline wasn’t today or anything, she still had time to find something worth the ink. Like the others, Kanna stood and sat again, and like the others, quietly paid attention as the new students introduced themselves. Shimizu was cheery, energetic, and, Kanna hoped, talkative. Newcomers always had good stories. Whoever this ‘Totsuka-San’ was probably—

Holy shit.

Totsuka made it to the front. Full-stop, he looked like an ogre, and seemed to have all of the same manners. Big, broad, with a giant ‘Keep-Out’ sign nailed to his forehead and an aura of insularity so pungent that Axe probably sold it as a spray. She physically recoiled at his introduction, and wouldn't have been surprised to look around and see rows of other guarded, surprised faces. The first word that came to Kanna’s mind when she saw him was ‘danger.’

But the next words were: ‘Front Page.’
Hidden 6 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by TGM
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April 7th, Year 1


The two introductions couldn’t have been any more different.

Not that Sakaguchi Akari cared. At all. Her disinterest aside, even Akari could admit Utsubyo wasn’t known for many transfer students. It was the dead-end of dead-end’s, so she supposed the influx of students from out-of-town was going to fascinate a few handful of the students in class; the kind of students who could only think about getting out and going to a big city like Kagoshima or Tokyo, the kind of students who liked to gab and imagine other people’s lives. The kind of people who read way too much manga. The kind of people Akari hated, the kind of people she had known since, well, forever.

The taller girl crossed her arms from her seat at the back of the class as the first of the newcomers spoke their piece. Shimizu Ichika. At least she liked a sport, not that it helped. Liking sports meant that Akari was going to have to deal with her and if there was one thing she liked less than people it was people she had to deal with. She internally sighed at the thought as the girl’s peppiness seemed to insult her very being. Utsubyo would squelch it, eventually, like a damp rag on an open flame. Few people were happy in this rainy, middle-of-nowhere town, and Ichika would have to learn the reality sooner or later. If she persevered like Yun had done all these years then she would be surprised and even more annoyed.

And then came Totsuka Ryusei. A big guy who didn’t really want to be here. Despite being an outsider, he definitely fit the mold of the average person from Utsubyo, or at least personality-wise. Akari was still the tallest girl in the class but Ryusei certainly made it clear she wasn’t the tallest person in class, which was a bit of a relief. Maybe all of the questions about height would be deflected to him instead of her? A good premise to the start of her school year if it turned out to be true.

Akari looked back to their instructor as the two sat down, eager to get this day over with.
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The day just started and Shiori wanted it to be over.

Admittedly, the cause of such a feeling sat next to her, happily humming to herself after making a positive impression on a majority of the class. Shiori rested her chin on her hands, leveling an entirely unamused look at the girl. Part of her recognized that she should be glad; Ichika's bubbly personality would surely net her an array of other people to annoy with her endless amount of energy and cheeriness. Not too surprising, either, considering she was apparently popular back in her old school.

The other part, however, was still annoyed with their morning shenanigans to be properly reasonable. Her aunt had warned her that the girl was sheltered, but Shiori had underestimated the extent of it. Ichika refused to wake up at her alarm, resulting in a minor scuffle where Shiori ended up physically dragging her out of bed. After that, while she was in the bathroom, the fire alarm went off. Apparently, Ichika wanted to cook breakfast. She did not, however, consider that she had never so much as cracked an egg in her life, resulting in a mess and a fire--how exactly did one burn butter in a pan was beyond her.

The worst part was that all the time wasted resulted in Shiori going without her morning cigarette. She anticipated Hatsu riding her ass about smoking on campus, so she figured having one before classes would last her the day. But no, there she was, annoyed with the world first thing in the morning with a whopping seven something hours to go until the end of the day. She told herself she'd be fine, but she fully expected to break and give in by lunch.

Her eyes eventually trailed up to the second transfer student--because this was apparently going to be an exciting year. To his credit, he didn't seem enthused. Poor guy, he really got the short end of the stick transferring out here of all places. The buzz around her picked up once he finished speaking, with a majority of people staring as he returned to his seat.

Ichika was one of them, though she seemed more curious than wary. "Is he really a student?" She asked Shiori quietly.

"I can't think of any adult who would be here willingly, so probably," Shiori replied as she rested her head on the desk.

She certainly wouldn't be here if it was up to her.




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The numerous murmurs picked up in volume once Ryusei finished speaking. Touga let out a tiny sigh; she had thought that the class would be a little more excited, but it seemed Totsuka made quite the impression. Whether it was good or bad was yet to be seen, and she would rather give the benefit of the doubt before making any snap judgments. Whatever the case was, however, it was time to start. She clapped her hands together twice, gathering everyone's attention.

"Thank you for your introductions Shimizu and Totsuka," She started, though she didn't fail to notice some whispers popping up after the latter's name. "Now, I'll go ahead and take attendance, and then we can go ahead and start the day."

The period was mostly going over the syllabus and fielding questions. There was a mini-election as students voted for their class representative, but otherwise, it seemed like a typical class. The novel they would be reading was handed out, and eventually, the bell would free them of the class. The next class, mathematics, was taught by the ever-exhausted Yokoyama. He seemed low energy, but at the very least knew what he was doing, answering most questions with ease and explaining himself carefully. After that came the rigid Sugimoto Katsumi. She seemed to take no prisoners, scolding those who answered wrong and expressed her disappointment with the youth multiple times. The last class before their break was physical education, and while the first day seemed typical, several murmurs would let those in the know that getting Eto Mitsuo as their instructor meant they were in for a rough time.

But once all that was said and done, it was on to...

Break Time

Most students opted to bring their own lunches, visiting their friends in different classrooms to eat together. While the school had no designated area for the lunch store, instead there was a lunch cart that was pushed through the halls, stopping to sell students sandwiches, bread, soup, or an assortment of fruit. If anyone missed the cart, they only needed to wait until it came back, as each floor had its own that went back and forth until it had nothing left to sell.

Once the bell signaled the start of their break, the clouds rumbled in the distance. It really looked like the universe was doing whatever it would take to rob Shiori of her cigarette. Fortunately, she was well aware that thunder didn't mean it was going to rain right away, and if she just grabbed something quick, she could stuff her face and get a smoke before it rained. Her leg had gotten a little jittery. Well, she hadn't had a smoke in a few days now, so some withdrawal was probably expected. Maybe?

Shiori rummaged through her bag, her eyes darting up to make sure Hatsu wasn't watching her as she stuffed both her pack and lighter into her pocket. "Go ahead and eat without me, I need to take care of some stuff," She told Ichika, ignoring her puppy-dog look as she walked past her and out of the classroom with a single book in hand. She made sure no one was watching before descending the stairs, pushing the door open and stepping outside.

Taking out her pack, she hummed to herself as she placed a cigarette between her lips. Flicking her lighter open, she covered the flame with one hand and inhaled, pocketing both lighter and pack before exhaling. Finally.


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TOTSUKA RYUSEI


June 28, 1998
I don't fucking know am



Classes didn't help quell the discontent that had punctuated every step of Ryusei's morning, not that he expected them to in the first place. He wasn't the type who could lose himself in academia like some people, and even if he could, the first week of school wouldn't offer anything challenging enough to occupy the mind of even a dumb hoodlum like himself. Instead of focusing on the light schoolwork, he pondered on his exit strategy—there would inevitably be those just curious enough to come up and talk to him, no matter how much he glowered or sulked. It was only natural; he was an oddity, a new fish added to what seemed like an already pretty small pond. Most would be content to simply whisper behind his back as they paired off with their friends and stuffed their faces, but somehow that was just as bad. He couldn't stay in the classroom when break began.

It wasn't as if he had much of a reason to do so anyway. He hadn't found the time in the few days since his arrival to hit the market, so he had no offerings from home to sate his appetite. There would probably be some kind of cafeteria or a lunch station, but he didn't feel like burning his pocket money on the food at school, not least of which because his heavy appetite would only further stoke the rumor mills his classmates would take to operating. There was a foulness to his expression as the chimes alerted the student body to their temporary freedom, and Ryusei took advantage of it to quickly lift himself from his desk and begin the shuffle out of the classroom. If there was one advantage to being a freakish tall punk of a kid, it was the assured right of way in crowds.

Of course, what he had in freedom of movement, he lacked in knowledge of the school's layout. There had to be somewhere relatively isolated on the school grounds. The roof, maybe, but people tended to congregate up there so they could compete for the title of most dramatic loner. A courtyard would probably work better, since he could use the foliage as cover to escape any would-be pursuers.

It only took him a little longer than he'd have liked to find the stairs leading down to the first floor's exit, and the moment he pressed the door open he was immediately hit with a cocktail of scents that irritated and invigorated him in equal parts. First, the rain. He could practically smell it approaching, especially out in the countryside without the odor of petroleum and smog to hinder the fresh air. With his luck, it would probably start to drizzle while he attempted respite away from his fellows, to say nothing of the bike ride back home. But the second scent, that one was distinctly one he remembered from back in the city. The acrid, pungent smell, smokey and languorous. He remembered his first time lighting one up, puffing down on the thin cylinder of paper and plant matter and trying hard to make it look natural and smooth. How many had he smoked back home, just to do it? Just to feel like he was doing something wrong. Just to make himself look that extra bit cool.

Perhaps, most importantly, when did he become so sentimental for something as stupid as a little cigarette smoke? Maybe it was just the addiction talking—he hadn't smoked since he left Shin-Kobe Station. It had been a few days without, and they were nerve-wracking days. A quick smoke sounded... nice. Comforting, even. A little slice of normalcy. He let his nose guide his eyes, turning towards the right until his pale blues caught the wispy trail billowing from between a redheaded girl's fingers.

"Oi," He said, gruff in his manner despite his intention to inconvenience her, "Give me one of those, would you? I haven't smoked in days."

If nothing else, the nostalgia had softened his grimace just the slightest bit, and his aura of disdain too crumbled with the desire to taste that ashy, familiar flavor.

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April 7th, moments before the assassination of 16th US President, Abraham Lincoln

The bell rang, and Kanna knew that her first order of business should have been to grab something from the cart, and start making her rounds to the classrooms of the more adventurous students to drudge up any good stories. She did the first bit, claiming a small katsu sandwich before they were all gone, but as the other students exploded into the halls to siege the cart and find their friends, Kanna lingered. She already had a lead, all she had to do was follow it.

So she followed it.

Totsuka trudged out of class 2-C. The bright side of his frankly alarming stature, aside from him being hard to miss, was that Kanna didn’t need to stick particularly close to keep track of him. He made his way down to the first floor’s exit, at which point she split off. No good to just trail him one-for-one, too easy to notice. Picking up the pace, she skirted the halls to a side exit and slunk outside.

“Beautiful day.” she mumbled. She kept close to the wall, ducking windows and lunging foliage until she came to a corner. Stealth, she thought. I am stealth.

“Oi, give me one of those, would you? I haven't smoked in days.”

Kanna crouched low and peeked. Sure enough there he was, the Utsubyo Ogre himself, and—ah, was that Himawari Shiori? The smell of cigarette smoke assailed Kanna’s nose and her face twisted up. Yep, that was Shiori alright.

Holding the sandwich in her mouth, Kanna slipped a little notebook from her pocket, as well as a pen, and flipped to her list of ideas. She scratched out the ones that hadn’t been nixed yet, and started a new line.

big
smoker—dead at 40
knows shiori? ask shiori scary
ask shiori


This was good. A start. Maybe he was a delinquent, like Shiori, or maybe he was worse. That felt a bit harsh, but Kanna tried to press that down. Be objective, she thought. She didn’t hate Shiori—didn’t hate anyone, particularly—and it was entirely possible that Totsuka was just a normal-ass dude. But maybe he wasn’t.

Balancing her notebook and sandwich on her knees, Kanna continued to listen.
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April 7th, still
Break Time™ A.M.



The small oasis in the vast oppressive desert known as school, the brief break period was a double-edged sword for Yun. Obviously he appreciated being given what little autonomy he could get in this institution but this just made him drowsier when it was time to return back to their regularly scheduled curriculum. Being famished probably didn't help matters much either so it was off to the snack cart before he actually collapsed from either low blood sugar or boredom. Whatever got him first, really.

It was simple enough to hail the cart to a halt. Yun's been buying from this school lunchlady for as long as he could remember. Though, if you were to ask him what this staffer's name was, Yun could only answer with a shrug and say "Obasan Lunchlady?" He had, in fact, used that same quizzical tone to grab her attention just now in order to buy off a freshly baked melon pan from her.

"At least I hope it's baked on this day", he said to himself after unwrapping the baking paper. The fluffy texture adorned with criss-cross patterns was a nutritional nightmare if one were to figure out what ingredients go into this yellow bun of deliciousness. Yun knew this fact but simply chose to ignore it anyway. This was going to be a problem for future him, not currently-starving-for-sugar him.

After his first bite of this caloric bomb, Yun confirmed two things: the state of his surroundings now that he wasn't hyperfocused on his thoughts and the fact that the somewhat warm filling of faux fruit meant it was at least made this morning. While the latter eased some of his worries, the former piqued his curiosity as he saw the new guy being trailed by a curious student reporter. It was sort of hard to miss Totsuka but, if one were to blink, it would be easy to miss Kanna. She blended well into the background if she wanted to, Yun figured due to the nature of her hobby.

It wasn't often that he'd go out of his way to do something but Yun really did want to know whether they had an undercover banchou vigilante for a classmate. Making sure to take light steps while trailing the pair, he would casually stroll up to Kanna as she had finished writing down her observations.

"Whatcha got there, miss ace reporter?" Yun stated in a hush tone before taking a bite of his melon pan, causing some of the filling to smear across his mouth.
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The first drag was like a nice shower washing away all the grime and filth of the day, cleansing and soothing. The sensation was probably one of many reasons she did it, but it was definitely her favorite thing in the world. Unfortunately, where relief and a tiny rush of satisfaction should have been, instead it was snatched away with the arrival of...actually, being interrupted period was enough to ruin her mood. She did recognize that she was a little more irritable than usual at the moment, so she did her best to stay as neutral as possible.

She did, however, lift her gaze from her cigarette to look at whoever decided to talk to her. And she lifted that gaze up high--Mr. Transfer had been the one that decided to talk to her. Outside. And was asking for a cigarette. He definitely followed her and she was definitely not as careful as she should have been. Well, at least he wasn't looking to narc on her, so that was good.

That did, however, leave her in a weird position. Her eyes flickered from her cigarette to his eyes as she deliberated. She wasn't exactly the sharing type in the first place, but these things were hard to come by considering she had little funds and could only pilfer so much from her father's stash before he would notice. Still, she did feel a little bad for the guy; he was stuck here of all places and apparently hadn't had a smoke for days. Days! She almost lost it over a few hours. Though that did say more about her than anything, but that wasn't the point.

Oh, fine, she could give him one. She could be nice sometimes.

Once her mind was made up, she placed her own cigarette between her lips for a second as she opened up the little box again. Thumbing up another one, she plucked it out and stuffed the pack back into her pocket. "Here," She offered the cigarette. "I can't guarantee you'll have too long with it, it's probably gonna start pouring any second now."

A bad attempt at conversation? Sure. But it was better than just standing around awkwardly, right?




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April 7th, Minutes to Midnight(tm)

"Whatcha got th—”

It was through sheer force of will alone that Kanna did not reflexively fastball her notebook into the shadow realm. She had the heart of a rabbit, and its urge to suddenly sprint until that heart exploded, but that same willpower managed to keep her anchored to the grass.

She almost shrieked, too, which was stopped less by will, and more by her attempt to clap her casted hand to her mouth. Fiberglass wasn’t as gentle as flesh, and rather than smother her shout it simply replaced it with a muffled: “ow—fuck!” but, hey, close enough. She almost bloodied her own lip but whatever. Not the real problem.

The problem was Yun. Trouble. Not like Shiori and Ogre-san, or some of the other more enterprising students in their class, but trouble nonetheless, and especially now.

“Nothing. Notes—nothing. I’m eating my lunch,” she said. The remains of her sandwich had not been as lucky as her notebook, and were now scattered on the dirt. Was eating my lunch. What are you even doing here, did you follow me?"

She peeked back around the corner in time to see Shiori cave and fork over one of her cigarettes. That was…surprising. Almost surprising enough to write down, until she remembered she had company.

“God—look, just be quiet and don’t blow my cover...not that I’m doing anything that needs cover.”
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April 7th
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH A.M


Sakaguchi Kenzo tore across the front lot of Utsubyo High School atop his skateboard. Its old, battered frame bounced and jostled against the uneven pavement, threatening to toss Ken off its back at any moment. He gave its protests little mind. Bending his knees he kicked his back foot forward, letting its momentum build and build just before throwing it back into the ground, rocketing him forward even faster. This was about his top-speed on a flat surface, he waged. A ghost of a grin crept across his face. This was where the fun began.

Tossing the remaining chunk of taiyaki into his mouth, Ken lowered himself even closer to the ground- close enough he could trace his fingers against the asphalt. He moved his foot to the back end of the board. Kicking down, he jumped. Time slowed to a crawl. He bent his head toward the sky. It looked like there'd be rain today. He pondered how he felt about that as he hung in the air, instinct dragging his forward foot along the front right side of the board. Rain meant he'd have to spend the day indoors, which was a shame. But it could be so beautiful, too.

Ken hooked his foot underneath the lip of the board and flipped it. It wobbled in the air as it spun, rotating thrice before Ken brought his feet down atop it. It was nearly a perfect kickflip. Nearly. The skateboard's distracted rider tried to land a moment too soon, catching its side with the bottom of his feet and knocking him off balance. "Oh you've got to be-" Ken tumbled, flailing his arms in an effort to keep from eating complete shit on the pavement.

It worked, in the sense that Ken kept all his teeth as he smashed his face into the ground. A dull, ringing pain filled his head as he lay there, staring up at the gloomy sky. "What a bother," he sighed. The rain was definitely a bad thing, he decided. It was to blame for his misfortune more than anything else.

Unbeknownst to him, his skateboard had continued to skid across the lot, shooting off toward a group of ne'er-do-wells.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by TGM
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April 7th, Year 1


Akari liked sitting alone. As the other students minded their own business and some got way too involved, Akari sat with the food she had made as she contemplated how explicitly disappointed she was with her brother for deciding to, in his own words, “not show up”.

He had been doing a lot of that lately; not literally with school given the school year was still rather fresh, but in general. She couldn’t blame him completely. Akari wasn’t sure why she felt like she should try in anything and wasn’t exactly concerned with her own future. But she still did what she had to. Kenzo needed to be reminded of that. She was bigger than him and smarter–and he was going to get an earful the next time he pulled something like this. If she had to drag him to school tomorrow by his neck she would do it.

“Stupid idiot moron.” She muttered, as she dug into the food she had prepared. “If I have to, he has to. That’s the rule. That’s the promise.”

Her eyes moved back to the people around her and she let out a sigh. This year was going to suck.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Asura
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TOTSUKA RYUSEI


June 28, 1998
I don't fucking know am



There seemed a terse few moments between his asking and the redhead's response, but ultimately she acquiesced to his request. Ryusei readily accepted the offered cigarette, bringing it to rest between his lips while he fished about in his pocket. He hadn't bothered to bring a pack to the old man's place on account of the smell, but he had kept his lighter with him for the journey on the off chance he decided to scrounge up a couple at some point. As he flicked back the cap and struck away at the igniter, the teen cupped his hand over the burgeoning flame. He puffed a few times to ensure a good light, eyes drifting towards the girl as he listened to her warning about the weather.

"That's fine," The delinquent muttered on his exhale, trails of smoke already billowing from his mouth, "The rain never bothered me anyway."

A proper drag followed that comment, and he could feel himself relax almost immediately as he savored the familiarity of the taste and the subtle, numbing rush that punctuated the draw. A long, wispy trail of smoke followed his next exhale, drifting up to join the grey clouds that hung oppressively above. It wasn't exactly gorgeous scenery, but there was a serenity to the overcast skies, a subdued vibe that helped put his otherwise irritable mind at ease. He'd always found the office workers on their smoke breaks pathetic, crowding outside their little cubicle hells for a few minutes of carcinogenic relief, but standing outside the back of the school and indulging in his own little vapor vacation, he couldn't help but relate. He made a note to do this again.

Of course, he wasn't alone in his reprieve, and seeing as though she was nice enough to share her pack with him, Ryusei felt the need to at least make some polite conversation. An introduction, at the very least.

"Thanks for this," He began, his expression softening to the closest thing to neutrality since he had arrived on campus, "I'm Ryusei, by the way-"

He didn't get much further than that before a sudden impact brought his attention from his fellow smoker to the ground beneath his feet. More specifically, to the skateboard that had just careened into his ankle, sending an unwelcome jolt of pain up his leg. From the skateboard he traced a line across the courtyard, until his icy blues settled on another student, laying face down on the pavement.

"The fuck do you think you're doing? Do you not know how to watch where your dumb ass board ends up?"

All the good that was done by his brief foray with nicotine had been undone in that moment. Irate as he was, having his momentary escape interrupted by some punk ass skater was all it took to bring the days of aggression and stress prior bubbling back to the surface. He stomped down on the board's lip, causing it to jump up off the pavement into his waiting hand. A hand which promptly raised it up over his shoulder as he lumbered towards the downed boy, looking every bit the villain of a campy delinquent manga between the way he wielded it and the cancer stick dangling from the corner of his mouth.

"C'mere. I'm gonna make sure you don't lose it again."

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Shiori enjoyed her cigarette in peace, though she raised her eyebrows at the rain comment. She didn't have much to say about it, usually not being a fan of rain due to the sheer amount of times she ended up getting caught out in it. She assumed tall people wouldn't like it either, but maybe that was just a weird assumption. Her eyebrow raised at his thanks, her hand already moving to wave him off. He stopped abruptly, though she wasn't surprised to see the cause. If he wasn't busy selling his goodies, Sakaguchi was more likely to be found on a skateboard.

As new kid started stomping off--likely to break the board over Sakaguchi's head--Shiori had to bite back a grin. Clearly, the correct decision was to watch since he was twice her height and if she was being honest, watching Sakachuchi get what was coming to him would be comical. As she leaned back, however, she caught onto some hushed voices. She immediately pushed herself off the building, looking around for the source.

"What the--?" She cut herself off as she spotted a sandwich on the floor. Someone was watching? Ah shit, probably Nakano or Sayaka or--ugh, if it was Takano, that was just going to ruin her day.

She almost took off before remembering the new kid, turning after her first step and running up to him, grabbing him by the sleeve. "It's getting too crowded, come on," She said, gesturing to the fallen sandwich.




Why'd Shiori have to leave her all alone for lunchtime?!

Ichika pouted in her seat, resting her chin in her hands. Her mom did warn her that Shiori could be anti-social at times, but she figured lunch was a given. They had dinner just fine, even if it was kinda...quiet. Well, she didn't complain since she wasn't used to eating alone, and getting to watch TV while they ate was nice. But she wasn't expecting to get ditched on the first day, either!

Letting out a sigh, she reached into her bag and pulled out her lunch slowly as she looked around. People scattered pretty quickly, all things considered; some of them seemed to trip over one another to run out, others quickly started putting their desks together. There was a not-so-subtle pang of jealousy that hit her as she watched them for a little, and she started to miss her old friends. Well, most of them, she was glad to be free of the clingy Kyoko.

Her eyes trailed off and landed on one of the few that sat alone. She looked disappointed--or annoyed? Dark hair, red eyes, a scowl--but her little sidetail was cute! Before Ichika realized what she was doing, she had grabbed her lunch and stood up, practically bouncing over to the girl.

"Hiya! I'm Shimuzu Ichika--the new girl, remember?" Ichika decided to go for a friendly, cheerful greeting. "I noticed you were by yourself, too. Wanna have lunch together?"




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April 7th, Year 1


“Hm?”

The dark-haired girl blinked as another student–the transfer new to town–approached her and asked if she wanted to have lunch together. It was that bubbly, friendly, super energetic personality that Akari found exhausting, though she simply shrugged. She wasn’t going to tell her to leave her alone or anything. It was just a seat. Even Akari needed to socialize now and again; couldn’t isolate herself completely. She wasn’t that anti-social. She played team sports, after all.

Then again, so did Ichika. She had introduced herself to class as someone who liked volleyball. Was she going to join the school team this year? How good was she? Could she handle the members in that club? If the subject came up she would be prepared. Shopping? Akari didn’t have much for Yen so what could they even talk about? How pretty a dress was? She was nearly dirt poor and her mother’s habit didn’t make anything easier for the family.

“Sakaguchi Akari.” She said, introducing herself with indifference. “Sit if you want to.”

She wasn’t too good at small talk anymore, but newcomers to the town were rare so even Akari was a little curious what brought her to Utsubyo.

“So what did you do? Must’ve messed up pretty bad to be sent here.”
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Asura
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Asura bitch you almost got blood on my timbs

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TOTSUKA RYUSEI


June 28, 1998
I don't fucking know am



Ryusei carried on with his menacing march, too caught up in his desire to brain his fellow student with the board in his hand to pay heed to the poor guy's responses. He looked the slippery type, probably used to talking his way out of situations like this. Fortunately, the towering delinquent had long since learned to tune out the yapping of both authority figures and would-be victims alike. Unfortunately for him, someone worth at least a modicum of his attention span came hurrying over to stop his advance before he could get more than half-way across the courtyard. He paused at the feeling of fingers on his sleeve, turning around to see what in the world his brief companion wanted. Was she really going to come to this guy's defense?

Her words only baffled him. Too crowded? How in the world was it too crowded? It was just the three of them, as far as he was aware, and her gesturing only befuddled him more. A sandwich? Why the hell would he care about somebody's discarded sandwich? It was only a few seconds later that it clicked for him—sandwiches didn't just manifest out of thin air. Somebody had to have dropped that sandwich. Maybe there had been someone watching that he hadn't noticed, so caught up in his nicotine fueled nostalgia. They must have abandoned their lunch when hostilities began, and ran off to get a teacher or something. That wouldn't do at all. While he couldn't exactly do anything about the now missing witness, he could at least follow the redhead's suggestion and disappear before this became more of a headache than it already was.

"Yeah... Yeah, sure. Getting kind of fed up being here anyway," He replied, letting the skateboard drop to his side as he acknowledged her desire to leave, "Just one thing before we head off."

No sooner than the aggression had left his posture did it immediately return. He spun on his heel, fast as he could manage, and hefted the board back behind his head. Then, as if a lightning bolt from Zeus himself, he launched it through the air, javelin-like, directly into the face of the unsuspecting skateboarder who had the misfortune of earning both his ire and a second head injury for the day.

Content that justice for his interrupted smoke break had been served, Ryusei didn't even bother watching the poor lad tumble back to the ground. He instead turned to face his partner in crime, fingers finding their way back to the cigarette dangling from his mouth. After a quick draw from the carcinogenic delight, he blew a quick stream of the numbing smoke before speaking again.

"Right, so, where to next?"
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Maybe it was the amount of car accident fails or something, but Shiori found that she wasn't nearly as horrified at the sudden act of violence as she should have been. It was almost incredible--day one and this guy was determined to make enemies. Or maybe he was just that petty and didn't want anyone messing up his shoes. Or maybe this is why he was banished to the far ends of bumfuck nowhere after having a violent outburst at his old school. Not that she was one to talk as her own record showed, but she wasn't looking to get expelled day one. At minimum, she usually waited for the first week to be over before causing trouble.

To be fair, Sakaguchi deserved it, but not for the reasons most thought.

Recovering from her initial shock, Shiori let out a sigh. "Away from there, c'mon," She beckoned him to follow her, taking an exasperated puff. Hiding in her usual place would've normally been her first step, but with the clouds looming over, she'd have to keep them close to the building.

The old sports' team shed was nearby, mostly empty except for some outdated equipment that had yet to be thrown out. While she was sure it was unlocked, the trees nearby provided some good enough cover--and more importantly, was away from prying eyes.

While normally Shiori would be content to smoke in silence, she figured she may as well address...that whole thing, lest she find herself needing to study some martial arts to take down someone twice her size. "You got a vendetta against skateboards or do you just hate meeting new people?" She couldn't help but ask, raising an eyebrow.




She said she could sit! And her name was so cute! Ichika happily took up the dark-haired girl's offer, plopping down onto an empty seat and dragging it over. Ah, there was solace in companionship after all! She gently placed her lunch on the desk, opening up the bento box Shiori had made for her. Thankfully, despite her cousin's grumpiness, her cooking was actually good. She didn't make it look cute at all, but everything was cooked nicely and would likely be as appetizing as her dinners.

Before she would dig in, however, Sakaguchi asked her a weird question. Ichika slowly blinked, trying to think of what to say. Oh, was it because of Shiori? She did hear some weird things from her parents. "No, no, I don't really get into fights like Shi-shi does," She decided to clear the air as quickly as possible. "Mama just thought it'd be good to get a taste of the countryside before I go off to university. Or something like that...But I haven't done anything bad! I make sure to follow all the rules."




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April 7th, Year 1


“Right.” Akari responded after taking a bite of her food. It seemed like the new girl’s pep and cheerful out-of-towner thing was for real. Seemed like the only reason she had moved to the worst possible town in Japan was because family lived in it; she couldn’t have been any more unlucky.

All the rules?” Akari remarked, trying to see how the girl would react. “You don’t break any of them? Not even a little bit? How boring.”
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