I mentioned two of these on plurk. They've been hanging out on my computer for like a year. The third was inspired last night, somehow. Anyways:The Pen
It was sweltering outside and stuffy in the garage, but there was no place Taichi would have rather been. Beads of sweat trickled down the sides of his face, and the back of his shirt was damp from absorbing sweat while facing out of the garage and directly towards the sun. The only remotely cool part of his body was his bottom, as he sat on the floor configuring a wheel of a go-kart. He wasn't really being productive, but keeping his hands occupied helped him keep his mind off things and think mechanically.
Sometimes his hands would quit working because his mind ended up wandering elsewhere. He hadn't been in a happy mood a few days previous, and his classmates definitely caught on. A vacation started shortly after, though, so he was able to have some time off to himself, and hopefully his bad mood would be diluted enough by the time they returned to school.
Whenever he went idle, all he kept seeing were two hands that shouldn't have been holding onto each other, but they were. One was fair, delicate, feminine, the other tan and masculine, a boy's hand. And it wasn't his.
He chewed his dry lip whenever he thought that way. He knew he liked Mami, because she was good company and a nice girl, and she was attractive so why not? And what was so absolutely wrong with Raiden that it bothered him that they were close? He had seen it coming anyway. It was always embarrassing to watch them interact, getting tongue tied and visibly sick as a result of weak nerves.
But in a way, seeing them hold hands caught him way off guard. That had to have been a big step for them. Thinking his eyes may have deceived him, he asked Miyuki about it, and it was confirmed: "Yeah, they're an 'item' now," she said, air-quoting 'item.' Then she added, "Normally I'd be concerned about being sexiled, but we're talking about Mami and Raiden."
He dropped his wrench and stood up, wiping off his butt, deciding he was done for the day. If fixing shit didn't work, maybe Shakespeare would.
That was when subtle click, click, clicks of a bike came up behind him, and he turned to see who is was. His stomach dropped.
"Hey," Mami said, with her bike rolling beside her and the chain dragging on the ground. The foot of a pedal was also broken off, clutched in one of her hands instead. Her body was wet with sweat. She had her hair pulled back into a ponytail, but loose strands of hair stuck to her face. Her skin was a little bit pink from the sun. Her breathing was heavy from exhaustion.
Taichi didn't move immediately; he stood dumbly for a few seconds before figuring out what to do. "Hey, Mami. Broke your bike again, huh?"
"Yeah," she said, smiling sheepishly. "I took a sharp turn and ended up falling sideways instead, and somehow the pedal just broke off. And the chain's messed up again."
He picked up her bike and set it down with some force where he needed to work on it. "You're pretty bad at riding bikes, huh."
"I'm not, I just get careless." Mami had caught her breath by now. She had a hand on one hip and leaned against a wood countertop at the side of his shop.
"Well you need to stop being careless. I've seen this bike too many times."
"Getting sick of me or the bike?" she asked facetiously.
"Both." He was on the ground again, trying to make sense of the bike chain. He didn't hear her say anything. "I should really start charging you for this."
Mami furrowed her eyebrows. "Why bring it up now, Taichi? I always felt pretty welcome in the past. And whenever I do offer to do something for you in return, you always say no."
"Well, I'm changin' my mind. I think I'm gonna charge you now." Taichi stood up and faced her, scratching his chin. "How about for every time I fix your damn bike, why don't you give me your homework to copy?"
"What?" Mami wrinkled her nose. "Where does that come from?"
"You know I can't do that. I can help you with your homework, I can help you study, but I am not letting you cheat off me. Taichi, what is this about?"
"Who's sayin' that this is about something?"
"You're treating me like I've been doing something wrong!" Mami was waving her hands and curling her fingers, flustered at her inability to comprehend the situation. She wasn't in this position often. "What did I do, huh? You can tell me and I'll change it, but you can't just suddenly turn around on me and expect me to bend."
Taichi took a deep breath and slowly walked up to her. He had to step over a few things and almost lost his balance once, so he didn't have the threatening effect that he kind of wanted, but she did take a step back when he reached her anyway. Then he closed the gap again.
For the first time, Taichi saw how Mami's angry face looked up close. With a hurt scowl, she squeezed past him and made for her bike. She gave the kickstand a punctuated kick and began to walk home with it. Taichi watched the back of her head, intent on not going after her, but he could only resist for so long. He made long strides towards her, huffing and puffing the entire way.
"I'm not mad at you," Taichi insisted, which gave Mami reason to stop in her tracks. Slowly, she turned around to face him. "I'm mad at… Raiden."
Mami set the kickstand in place and crossed her arms. "Really?"
"Really." Taichi scratched the back of his head as he tried to mend the situation. "He sort of… took somethin' of mine. Well, it wasn't mine at the time, but I had my eye on it."
Mami seemed a little interested. "What was it?"
He wracked his brain. "A pen."
She suddenly lost interest again, but she didn't say anything.
"I didn't have one, okay? It was on the floor, Raiden had plenty of pens, but he had to have that one too. No, wait, he didn't have any other pens either because he's a dweeb, but I think that makes me more deserving for… the pen."
"I see." Mami observed him, waiting for him to elaborate, but he was stuck. After some consideration, she asked, "Did you make a move for that pen?"
"Course I did. He was just closer to it, I guess. He's a lifeguard, didn't hafta do much."
She let out a snort and awkwardly looked around herself. Then, as if in confidence, she leaned closer in Taichi's direction. "Look, I think Raiden takes pretty good care of his pens. He hasn't had a whole lot, though, so maybe he has a habit of chewing on them, losing them easily, who knows. The point is, things aren't serious with it yet. For now, it's just a pen, and that pen seems kind of cozy in his hand for now."
Taichi's face was red from more than the heat. He looked down at his feet to hopefully avoid embarrassing himself, but when her cool fingers touched his cheek, he impulsively looked at her eyes. His brain was a blur. He nodded to escape her hand, meanwhile words spilled out of his mouth, anything to make him look more in control than he felt:
"Just gimme your bike."
Mami took a step back and looked dumbly between him and the bike, so he took initiative and grabbed the handlebars himself.
"I'll have it ready for you tomorrow, Mami. No charge, no homework."
"Right." Mami smiled awkwardly and nodded graciously at him. She turned in the opposite direction and started her walk home.
When she was a ways away, Taichi mustered the nerve to call after her, "If the pen runs out of ink, just, uh, lemme know, I can refill that for—" he rolled his eyes and shook his head on the way back to his garage. "Forget it, she didn't hear me."Katsue Itsuma and the Love Potion (Unfinished)
Set in Hogwarts
Chie was looking forward to a nice dinner that night. She had just finished cleaning up after a rough session of Quidditch practice, and it left her exhausted and starved. Hogwarts dinners never left anything to be desired, either. Especially for a girl coming from a muggle upbringing in which cooking could be an arduous task, all-you-can-eat gourmet sure hit the spot.
The dining hall was warm and inviting as always. The smell of warm meat and pepper assaulted her senses first, and then the buttered maize, and then the sour cranberry casserole. When she looked over a fellow student's shoulder, she saw a goblet of pumpkin juice. She grinned.
"Oh, hey." She had spotted a fellow Hufflepuff, Koshirou, hunched over his plate. She straightened her skirt and took a seat next to him. Shortly after she sat down, her own meal was presented to her. "Practice was so intense today, wasn't it? You sure are getting tough! You didn't let up either, though, you must be really
"Yeah," Koshirou garbled with his mouth full of chicken breast meat. His eyes had flickered to Chie in acknowledgment, but then something seemed to catch his eye, so he turned his head to look over his shoulder. A piece of chicken meat fell out of his mouth and landed next to a neatly polished shoe, and Chie could have sworn he muttered an expletive. She couldn't blame him; no one's shoes were as polished as Katsue Itsuma's.
"Koshirou, that is filthy
. Please mind your manners when you are at the table," Katsue scolded. Chie half-smiled, just because they happened to look at each other, but she noticed something different about the Ravenclaw girl. She seemed unusually tense.
"What's up, Katsue?"
Katsue furrowed her brows and put her hands on her hips. "I just came here to dine, Chie. This is a dining hall, of course. What else would I be doing here?"
"Okaaay." Chie frowned at her defensiveness, and Katsue hmph'd
as she went back to her seat at the Ravenclaw table, which was linear to Chie's seat. She eyed Katsue for a little longer, noticing how ungraceful she was. In fact, she was a straight-up nervous wreck.
"I'll talk to her later, I guess," Chie thought out loud. She couldn't do it now, she was just way too starving. On that note, she dipped her fork in her cranberry casserole, scooped, and brought it eagerly to her lips...
A sudden movement from across the table made Chie drop her fork. Cranberry sauce spilled all over the table. She looked at the boy who was sitting across from her. He was a short, buck-toothed, pasty boy with a goofy grin on his face. A fourth-year.
"What!?" she demanded impatiently.
"Oh, Katsue!" he exclaimed. "Chie, look at me -- do I look okay to you?"
"Oh, your opinion doesn't matter. Katsue, Katsue!"
"W-what is it!?" Katsue exclaimed from behind Chie.
"Wait, Katsue, don't listen to him. He's only a fourth-year
!" This boy's voice was familiar. Chie caught an eye-full of him as she bent over to pick up her fork. It was Kaito! Since when was he ga-ga over Katsue Itsuma?
"What's going on?" Chie asked Koshirou.
He shrugged his shoulders as he sipped pumpkin juice from his goblet. "Dunno," he said. "S'real weird."
Chie nodded vigorously, but maybe it was all just a prank. Better stay out of it,
she thought to herself.
"Chie," Makoto's voice piped behind her head. Chie impatiently set down her fork and glanced at him. "I have something to tell you. I think I'm in love -- I mean, real love! Katsue Itsuma, I can't believe I didn't realize it earlier, but she's like the sun to me!"
She looked at him incredulously. "Poor Katsue! You boys are being cruel." Makoto bit his lip and turned his attention to the girl in question.
She could hear boys gather behind her. She ate her meal, as if nothing was going on, but the whole parade of love confessions made her uneasy. It almost upset her, the whole cruelty of it all! Even Yuki was in on it. He was the one who was melodramatically swooning from spot to spot of the dining hall. She'd have to confront him later.
First-year boys were wriggling against the waists of the older boys in attempt to get their way to the front of the ever-growing pile. The boys without hope of ever getting to the front were serenading from the middle and the back, vying for Katsue's attention, even though she couldn't see them. The boys who were up front were struggling to make broad, romantic gestures, like getting down on their knees, in order to impress Katsue without toppling over. This parade had turned into a stampede, and Katsue's fruitless shrieks of inappropriateness, and maybe a little pain here and there, were at the top of it all.
"Koshirou, m-maybe we should do something! Poor Katsue, what if she doesn't make it out alive?"
Koshirou looked at Chie with wide, pensive eyes. "Yes..."
"Yeah?" Chie nodded hopefully.
Koshirou stood up so suddenly from the bench that he nearly toppled over, but he caught himself before hitting the ground. He made an arrow with his hands, slid them between two boys, and spread his arms wide to push them out of the way. "Oh, virgin Katsue!" Chie heard him exclaim, and her jaw dropped. Now, something was definitely wrong.
She didn't see Aya briskly making her way to Chie's side. She hunched over close to Chie's ear so she could hear over the commotion: "Hey, what in the hell is up with these guys?"
"No idea, but it looks like the faculty's starting to get involved," Chie said. Sure enough, boys were beginning to fly involuntarily from the pile as a result of professors yelling expelliarmus!
Professor Itsuma, the Potions professor and Katsue's mother, was doubly making the effort, although she was sidetracked in scolding the occasional boy for his very, very inappropriate behavior.
"Let's get her out of there," Chie sighed. "The last thing she needs is professors interrogating her -- at least, not right now."
Chie abandoned her plate for Katsue's sake, and Aya followed her. They squirmed through the crowd until they both reached Katsue, who was frazzled as ever; her red glasses were crooked, her hair was a tangled mess, broken flowers were strewn on her lap and on her feet, and Chie could sense a hint of boy
smell on her. Together, Chie and Aya took her arms and wrestled her out of the pile of boys. A few of them caught on, trailing behind their path once they were out, but most hadn't caught on. They briskly escaped the dining hall and trailed down the corridor until the coast was clear.
"You take care of her," Aya said. "I'll redirect the horde."
Chie nodded and watched Aya jog back towards the dining hall, persuading a boy now and then that Katsue had gone in the opposite direction. She turned her attention to Katsue and started brushing her hair out of her face.
"What in the world was that all about, do you know?" Chie asked.
"I... It certainly was a shock to me."
"Yeah, no kidding. At first I thought it was just a big prank -- no offense -- but then just the most unlikely people got involved. They were all boys, too." Chie snorted. "It's like someone slipped all of them a, like, love potion
Blood rushed immediately from Katsue's face. Chie stared quizzically, but the silence said it all. She couldn't help but laugh behind her hand.
"It wasn't supposed to go to all of them!" Katsue snapped defensively. "Polly must have messed up the instructions."
Katsue looked at her, alarmed.
"Polly's a house-elf, isn't she? Well, she has to be, with a name like that." Chie slumped back against the wall behind her. To her left, and Katsue's right, was the Potions class door. They were standing just before the threshold. Her stomach growled, but Chie was too tired to care at this point.
"I didn't intend for it to happen like this. This is just... I specifically wrote in the instructions, 'Pour love potion in--'" Katsue clamped her hand over her mouth. Chie stared. "Well, that is irrelevant."Hey Kenji
It was a typical morning at school as students trickled into homeroom group by group. Seira was sucking slowly on a juice box at her seat in the back of the classroom, scanning her classmates through bitter, tired eyes. Everyone around here got on her nerves. There wasn't a redeeming quality about any of the students. Hell, even the nice ones were just being fake. Obviously Kiku was covering up the fact that she was a sorry bitch, and Fuuka valued food over a genuinely good relationship. Then there were people like Miki, who were just loud and annoying about how unlikeable they were.
And then there was Kenji. At the moment, he was taking a picture of his friend, Taro. Seira didn't mind Taro as much as the others, but when she was sitting by herself while Akemi was skipping, she didn't much feel like liking him either. Kenji showed Taro the result of his snapshot and they giggled like girls. Seira frowned and continued to stare at him, unable to be uninterested. It was like watching a train wreck or something.
"Look at Kenji, flaunting his stupid gadgets like they're some sort of medals of honor. 'Ooo, I have a camera, let me burn your eyes out with its flash so you only think you're impressed with me!' What a load of crap! That little nerd boy thinks he's so special. How I hate
The scowl in her features suddenly softened as her heart ached at her own words. She reached into her shirt for a picture of Kenji framed in a plastic heart.
"And yet," she choked, "I love
him! The way his jet black hair feathers across his gentle brow takes my breath away. His natural pout is what makes coming into this very classroom day after miserable day worth-it! What I would give to sit directly behind him so that I could smell his soap all the time! His uniform, so crisp, so clean. Kenji Matsuda is perfection. He is a dream!"
Seira sneered at the girl standing next to him, talking to him as if he really cared about what she had to say. Emi Sekiyama.
"What a pity that Emi has to take up all of his time. Doesn't she already have
a boyfriend? What a joke. If only there was some way I could get Kenji's attention away from her…"
Seira looked down at her notebook for ideas, and a good one came to her quickly. She tore off a strip of paper, rolled it in a ball, and wet it in her mouth. She grabbed the straw in her juice box and aimed at the back of Kenji's head. She landed a perfect, practiced, professional-level spitball at him, and after wriggling for a moment he turned and glared at her.
"What are you
looking at, geek boy?" Seira snapped at him.
"You shot a spitball at me, Seira!" Kenji said.
Twirling the straw in her fingers, Seira retorted, "Prove it! Are you going to take DNA swabs out of the spit? Are you some sort of scientist or something, genius?"
Kenji rolled his eyes and returned to his conversation with Emi, appearing much more disgruntled than before.
Seira released a satisfied, lovestruck sigh. Now she could get through the day.