| This article contains HEAVY spoilers. Please view at your own risk.
"It's all your fault!" she said monotonously, yet in a tone dripping with displeasure, causing her low voice to pierce through the quiet corridors of the nighttime emergency room.
"It's all your fault! You're the one who's in the wrong!"
As if to emphasize her point, Aisaka Taiga, sitting alone on the rightmost edge of the sofa, muttered under her breath again.
On the same sofa, sitting as far left as possible, Takasu Ryūji looked down at his own fingernails with his vicious, upturned, razor-sharp eyes. He had arrived early on the conclusion that no matter what he said, he would be wasting his time. Moreover, he didn't have the strength to argue anymore, nor was this the time to do so anyway.
An ambulance drove past the window, the sudden, piercing siren causing Ryūji to jump. The deafening siren cut off abruptly, as if stifled. Only the revolving red light remained; its flashes dragging Ryūji's and Taiga's silhouettes across the linoleum floor. It seemed like the attached emergency department of the University Hospital was busier than ever, even on weeknights.
"...What time is it?"
Tacking on "I forgot my watch," as if talking to herself, Taiga turned towards Ryūji, her face pale white even in the dark. However, she refused to meet his gaze. Not letting it bother him, Ryūji flipped open his cell phone,
"Just before ten."
He replied curtly. That is to say, it had been nearly an hour already since they had rushed here by taxi. Feeling depressed and unbearably weary, Ryūji subconsciously sighed to himself. Next to him, Taiga sighed as well, and started to twirl her waist-long hair.
Seeing her like this, Ryūji told her, "You should go home first."
He had said this out of concern, as she looked tired, but...
"...needing a dog to be worried about me, I've really fallen far, haven't I? What I want to do is my business, not yours! If you try to order me around again..."
...as her low growl crept along the ground, their surroundings instantly transformed into a jungle that reeked of blood. In the center of this world that she ruled, Taiga cracked her right knuckles noisily. Her eyes that had avoided Ryūji's for nearly an hour now looked straight at him, filled with terrible killing intent and overflowing contempt.
In terms of appearance, Ryūji was her equal - mostly black eyes with a hint of blue, his eyes gave off a knife-like glint as he met Taiga’s stare head on... or so it seemed. In truth, they were nothing more than a physical hereditary trait.
"What’s with that...? Fine, do whatever you want."
Ryūji replied in a small voice. Unable to bear sitting on the same sofa with the wild beast any longer, Ryūji quickly stood up while pretending to remain indifferent.
Taiga arrogantly snorted then slid with her bottom towards the center of the monopolized sofa. And then, puffing out her small chest like a king, she coldly thrust her chin upwards.
Even at a time like this, she was the king of the carnivores, the atrocious wild tiger.
With a small, temptingly beautiful face and a delicate body that was so small she didn’t seem like a second-year high schooler, she was wearing a flower-patterned one-piece dress that was puffed up with lace and frills, over which her light chestnut brown hair spilled gently down her back. Every aspect of Taiga’s being looked so delicate that it was almost too much; her loveliness that resembled a French doll had the elegance of a rose bud. It was unfortunate, but that rose bud was concealing a lethal dose of poison. No, not concealing, but scattering into all directions.
So, this cruel, brutal, and ferocious girl was called the Palmtop Tiger.
After a bunch of stuff happened, the one who had by some miracle been living peacefully with that Palmtop Tiger would be Ryūji, however...
Stooping down, he rubbed his eyes with both hands. Things had taken a serious turn for the worse.
Ryūji, who normally was calm, was horribly tense right now. After rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night, he could do nothing as he stood around, only able to watch the closed door to the examination room. Keeping them waiting in the dark hallway, the doctor hadn’t shown up yet. While not being informed of what sort of treatment was being carried out inside the examination room or how serious the situation was, nor really, anything at all, they waited as time passed. In the still atmosphere that was only disturbed by the two of them breathing, the anxiety filling Ryūji’s gut continued to get worse.
"...I...I wonder what’s going on..."
Even Taiga’s voice that finally broke the silence quickly fell silent again. Making no move to leave despite her displeasure, maybe Taiga felt some of the same anxiety that Ryūji did. Perhaps contrary to her saying "It’s all your fault" earlier, she might have felt that she was partly responsible.
I wonder what’s going on. Seriously.
If worse comes to worst ... No. He didn’t even want to think about it. He subconsciously closed his eyes, and started shaking his head, as if trying to chase out the worst scenarios from his thoughts when,
"Takasu-san, please come in."
The door to the examination room opened up, and the beckoning voice made him look up hurriedly.
"D-Doctor! How is he, what’s his condition?!"
"At any rate, come in."
Stepping quickly into the examination room as he was told, he was blinded for a moment by the strong lights. When his vision that had been blurred white by the brightness could finally distinguish color again, he saw the figure of his feeble family member lying in front of him.
He was unable to feel even a shred of warmth or any other signs of life from that silent body.
Behind him, Taiga also held her breath, falling silent. She took a step back towards the wall.
Laying a hand on the trembling Ryūji, the doctor pointed at the figure lying down peacefully.
"...It’s making quite an ugly face, don’t you think?"
He poked at the darkened beak with his fingertip.
The tongue that stuck out was a hideous gray tinted with blue that was unbecoming for a parakeet.
"It’s still alive."
There was a moment of silence between the two.
"No way! This thing is definitely dead, isn’t it!?"
After Taiga spoke, the doctor, rather, the veterinarian, slowly shook his head. "He’s alive. There isn’t a thing wrong with his body."
Timidly and with disbelief, Ryūji slowly approached the Takasu residence’s most important pet Inko-chan. Inko-chan had been laid down on the table face up, his twig-like legs were entangled sloppily, and he was completely out of it. His mouth, as previously described, probably warranted a mosaic as it hung open, and both of his opened eyes were completely white. His wings had been somewhat ruffled and, because it was partially open, some unknown juice was oozing out from the tip of his beak. And even though he had been shedding feathers like crazy when they had brought him in, his feathers were still thick, although the odd patch here and there gave him an ugly spotted pattern.
"In...Inko-chan...? It’s me. Can you hear me?"
"Inko-chan! If you’re alive, please say something! Answer me, please!"
Inko-chan, who only looked like a grotesque corpse, was nevertheless rolling around strangely and not replying. The tension in the air seemed to indicate it might be rigor mortis.
"Doctor! He’s not responding!"
"...parakeets don’t really respond all that much, usually."
"Our Inko-chan does though!"
When Ryūji desperately looked to him with dangerous-looking eyes, the veterinarian silently averted his gaze. He then took three big steps back, to distance himself... Why is he like this? Moreover, he had actually gone and called his house pet ugly.
Just as the usually gentle Ryūji was about to lose it,
"Wait a minute, move aside."
Pushing aside Ryūji’s shoulder, Taiga briskly stepped up to the medical treatment table.
"If there’s no problem with his body then......in other words, it was a feigned sickness?"
Leaning over the sleeping Inko-chan and looking down at his grotesqueness, Taiga silently looked for confirmation. He couldn’t see her face as it was hidden by her drooping hair, but,
"T-Taiga? Wait a minute. What are you trying to do?"
"A feigned illness. It’s a feigned illness. Making us worry like this, making us spend two-thousand yen on a taxi, and we find out he’s faking it...how funny. Hey, Ryūji...It’s funny, isn’t it?"
Except there wasn’t a shred of joviality on her face.
"Fuh...If you plan on insisting that you’re sick, why don’t you just act the part properly? Eh? You ugly bird."
Just then Ryūji saw it.
Inko-chan, who had definitely been motionless before, suddenly batted an eyelid, seemingly out of fear...Taiga should also have seen it.
"...Birds, do they have spines?"
It seemed Inko-chan planned to play dead till the end. As her overly ominous words dissipated,
"Well, even if I say there’s no physical problem, it’s not necessarily a feigned illness. It could be a problem of the mental nature."
"It came from the top. Or else it came from the bottom."
Taking to heart the veterinarian’s words, it meant that this had been continuing for a while. Stopping, Ryūji’s eyes saw drops of water, perspiring faintly from Inko-chan’s beak.
This bird species actually perspired.
"Inko-chan! Open your eyes right now!"
"Ryūji back off! It’s because you’re always spoiling this little parrot’s willpower, that he's like this."
The owner’s frantic voice cut through Taiga’s hands vainly trying to stop the extreme noise, when suddenly,
"I caaan flyyy!"
"Ah, it flew."
......That said, 'jumped' was more like it. Anyway, it was a mystery of life. Expecting Inko-chan’s death, the small voice was startling. PAAN! Inko had also jumped up quite high. Oh! The owner, upon seeing the opened eyes, witnessed the energy that almost hit the ceiling,
Inko came clumsily crashing back to the sick bed.
Hastily, the veterinarian rushed over, almost squishing Inko-chan, and picked him up to check him for any injuries.
He again saw the immature face turn his away. Ryūji’s gaze reached a blaming mood; the veterinarian's face quickly returned back to Inko-chan’s body to check him over to make sure nothing was wrong.
"It’s alright, there doesn’t appear to be any special injury... However... he does seem to have an ugly form, this Inko... Just where did you buy him? Such a thing was sold? ... Inko, just what is he?"
When he had finally finished,
"Wait! Is it alright if I take a picture? My daughter at home would love it very much... This incident... She’s still six years old so she’s gathering up grotesque images."
"...Uhh, wouldn’t it be dangerous?"
The dear pet was snatched away from the veterinarian’s hands; Ryūji softly embraced Inko to his chest. Certainly he was pretty homely. Even so, it wasn’t very nice to talk about him that way. But treating him as a gross image was too much. He wasn’t going to bring Inko-chan back to this veterinarian again.
The Advanced Emergency Center was part of the university’s hospital. Actually, it was next to it.
Ryūji had frantically searched the yellow-pages, made a great deal of phone calls, and finally found a place with nightly medical treatment, which happened to be one of the very few large-scale animal hospitals.
"Well, anyway... It’s good that it’s not a bad illness. ... Hey, Inko-chan."
Ryūji was, similar to how one would treat a "trophy", softly stroking the top of Inko-chan’s head. It didn’t seem possible to stomach holding the ugly bird so close. But he was precious.
"Nko-cha nko-cha nko-cha nko......n......u......nko"
"Mm, mm, that’s right."
He whispered into Inko-chan’s ear, treating him like a spoiled child. Without realizing it, his lips were touching the side of Inko-chan’s head, cooing.
"That was close. In the end you weren't hurt from when Taiga almost killed you. ...Geez, she really likes to yell out in anger."
She hadn’t heard clearly because the words to the bird were said in a small voice.
"I heard. Whose outburst of anger?"
The insane sense of hearing Taiga possessed was very irritating! She then struck the examining table with her fist,
"...Wh-Wh-Wh, Wha, What’s with this."
With her aberrant blunder of clumsiness, as usual, the force of the strike turned over the tray of medical examination utensils, causing any and everything to spread out over the sick bed.
"Aah, aah! I just disinfected those... You two, just how long are you going to stand there now that Inko doesn’t have an illness? You’re starting to really stress me out."
Taiga started to collect and organize the spilled utensils. The appearance of the tired veterinarian on duty was comparable with Ryūji and Taiga’s own countenances.
"You guys must quarrel like this a lot, huh? Pets are surprisingly receptive, so that’s why when the owners become cranky, the pet will pick up on it and suffer as well."
From beside Ryūji, who acknowledged those words and was turning himself around,
"What do you mean, quarreling?"
With a "Hah!" Taiga shrugged her shoulders, spread both her hands out like a foreigner, and laughed from the tip of her nose at the veterinarian’s words.
"It’s just that this perverted dog's brain is controlled by his body's lower half, so he goes around making trouble based on his impossible delusions, thus needing 'correction' on what is okay to think about. Most people would pretend to not know, but I myself cannot stand someone constantly making an idiot of themselves. Hohoho."
Being insulted to that extent, Ryūji was unable to remain silent.
"...Huh? Don’t say whatever suits you. Geez, it’s because of your screaming and yelling that this weak guy is unable to take it."
But, Ryūji's actions were exactly what people would call "impulsive", or maybe "foolhardy". Although to put it more bluntly, perhaps he had "said too much".
"Ehhh, so you aren’t listening to my kind 'correction' at all! Ohhh... in that case, why don't we say everything clearly? Explain why you think I am venting my anger on Inko! Just what am I so angry with? I have no idea at all! If it’s convenient, would you mind telling me!?"
The Palmtop Tiger’s advancing inner eyes, which held a strong killing intent, continued to creep forward bit by bit. Ryūji fearfully held his breath, but only for a moment; if he was going to die anyway, he might as well let it all out.
"You too, if you have something to say, then say it! To have that kind of bad expression is irritating and really odious!"
There was a moment of silence.
Within the stillness, Taiga slowly lifted her right hand to her right ear, leaned her body in towards Ryūji’s mouth, tilted her chin and placed her left hand on her waist.
The response was a single word.
I couldn't hear, I didn't understand, and moreover I have no interest in anything you want to say... In this wide, wide world, who else could be so incredible as to be able to express so many thoughts with just a tilt of the chin?
Unable to respond properly, Ryūji slumped his shoulders. Even in this situation, Taiga wouldn't let him off easy, and with a snort Taiga lifted her jaw, completely ignoring the thirty centimeter height difference as she looked down on Ryūji. She then opened her mouth with the air of a king,
"You know Ryūji, I'll take this chance to tell you clearly, I'm just clearly stating the circumstances but, I don’t have the time to keep company with an idling dog like you. From now on, when you're going to open your mouth to me, think carefully about these three things. One, is it necessary information? Two, is it good news? Three, is it something worth hearing? ...do you understand?"
"U—understand stupid! What’s with that wild idea!? Speaking of your cruel words, it’s a fact that you’re the one who pouts and blows up!"
"...Is that so."
Taiga’s voice hid her feelings. The two pupils that were suspended in the corner of her eyes were giving off a bizarre glare, and having lost all circular reason, the pupils narrowed swiftly. Dangerous, with the typical instinct of fear, Ryūji’s stomach twisted in knots. To the spirits of small, righteous men and women, the eyes of Taiga could send them on to Ascension. However, the dreadful thing was that her voice remained as calm as a ripple on a pond.
"You’ve said way too much. You’ve done nothing but make me upset."
And the like.
Like a dead person coming forth from the house’s door striking their fairy’s hands, Taiga’s hands were dancing about. 'Gakki!' With unbelievable force, Ryūji’s lower lip gripped a finger.
"But you know, the reason why I don’t see this as funny... There's just one. You always have stupid ideas. I am sick of you constantly making these indecipherable reckless remarks."
"Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! GET OFF!"
"JUST GET OFF!"
Identifying with Ryūji, who was being swung all about while held by his lower lip, Inko-chan began to shed feathers again. Speaking with a tired moan, the veterinarian told them both,
"Just go home".
You’re in a bad mood.
No, I'm not.
Then why do you look so irritated?
Because you're saying stupid things like "You’re in a bad mood."
It was unknown how many times this loop had continued from its beginning. Let's jump back five hours.
Basically, he was being teased by Ami.
Ryūji wasn't such a naive guy that he wouldn't understand that much at the very least. So, while he was surprised, he went along with it and the scene which unfolded under the quietly encroaching twilight in the 2DK apartment was a part of their bad joke.
Between Takasu Ryūji and Kawashima Ami, from the trifling sequence of events, a little distance had closed between them... It might be from the two holding each other, over by the window. To say more, it looked like a position where one had been pushed down onto the tatami mats.
However, the first eyewitness was Ryūji’s mother Yasuko, who hadn't thought that it was a joke. Dropping the shopping bag she had been holding in both hands, she lectured her son; however, most of it never reached Ryūji’s ears.
It came from behind Yasuko.
From the doorway, supported by Ryūji’s close friend Kitamura, who was covered in mud, Taiga’s clear voice showed her mind processing the situation.
Taiga and Ami were natural enemies, so the combination of Ami and the misunderstanding unalterably caused them to look bad, thought Ryūji. And so the Tiger’s wrath exploded.
A simple chastising was not enough as Taiga had reached the limit of her outrage. There was no doubt the apartment would be destroyed. Rather, it was quite possible that this time she really would kill. At any rate, Taiga was the Palmtop Tiger, so something like that would be easy to accomplish with her potential.
"T-This is...not what it looks like."
Pushing off Ami’s body, he had detached himself and was sitting Japanese style when his words had exited miserably from his throat. This fickle guy however, shouldn’t have spoken.
Taiga opened her eyes wide, taking in the sight of Ryūji and Ami. Of course, at that time, rather than thinking up a good explanation on Ryūji's behalf,
"Ara? Is something wrong? Ami-chan, could this be really bad timing?"
Ami whispered and went "hehe Toradora vol02 heart.png" as if nothing was wrong... She was smiling.
Desperately trying to understand the situation, Yasuko was continuously twisting her fingers around,
She was still repeating this in confusion. Subconsciously scratching her head, she still hadn’t figured it out.
With an unreadable expression on his face, Kitamura backed away without a word... He retreated just like that. Taiga let him carry her on his back as he wished. He was dripping of mud from having fallen in the drain, and his glasses were bent out of shape. Continuing to retreat, he emerged outside, leaving Ryūji’s field of vision and giving him only a moment to think when,
Letting go of Kitamura’s shoulders, Taiga grabbed the top of the entrance hall doorway with both hands. With both feet entwined around his lower back like the claw of a crane game machine, Kitamura’s body was suspended in order to stop his movement.
"A, Aisaka! What the...!"
"...Kitamura-kun, why are you trying to escape? You were going to borrow Ryūji’s shower, right? There's no need to run away."
Even so perhaps Taiga’s greatest concern was that Kitamura’s body would twist out and seize the door frame, so Taiga was exhibiting inhuman strength in holding onto the door frame and suspending Kitamura’s body in the air. Clamping with a great force, blood from the knees was pumping through the two beautiful legs.
"...Uhm, excuse me, Taiga-chan, according to Ya-chan’s calculations, well, Ryū-chan, let me see...ah, ah, ah..."
Yasuko lightly shook her breasts, which were not contained in a bra, unsure of what she wanted to say. Taiga quickly passed by Yasuko's side, walking towards Ami and Ryūji who were seated next to each other. Ryūji held his breath. The mud from the ditch was stuck all over her hair and face, and from a crack in the mud, an eye peeked out like a glass sphere. Surely, staring at Ryūji and Ami was the glare of a calm, robot murderer.
As Taiga stopped right in front of the two, Ryūji watched her face that seemed to be stiffly shaking.
"Takasu Ryūji is mine! Don’t touch as you please!"
The unbelievable outcry took everyone’s breath away. However it was only for a moment. Under the glass eye’s scrutiny, everything seemed to melt away.
"...Did you think I was going to say something like that?"
From beside the speechless Ryūji, maybe he should have expected it or something, but,
"Hmm? You're not saying that~? How funny~, n-o-t."
Commenting as such in this circumstance, Ami pouted cutely while looking genuinely unafraid.
"Hunn... I don't need to say anything like that, do I? You must be disappointed, Ami Kawashima. Sorry, but I really don't care who this perverted dog tries to get it on with."
Kukuku. ...She turned a bitter smile in Ami’s direction but wasn’t willing to turn her contemptuous glance towards Ryūji. Taiga turned her body around,
"By all means proceed at your leisure. Because I’m going back home. Kitamura-kun, I wasn't able to tell you earlier, but my apartment is very close to here. Even though you took the trouble to bring me here, I'm going to go take a shower at my house."
After speaking in such a relaxed and disinterested manner to Kitamura, Taiga briskly headed out of the Takasu residence.
Finally after everything had ended, Ami said, "My contact lens came off but Takasu-kun found it." Lying, Ami blinked her eyes, and Yasuko and Kitamura came to an understanding. After finishing his shower, Kitamura took Ami back home, and somehow, a peaceful mood had been restored.
Taiga had "as always," returned to pick up a meal, which was when the situation began to fall apart at the seams.
This was Yasuko’s chance.
"This is great, Taiga-chan! Just now, I was wondering if you were still bothered and not coming over for dinner." Yasuko gave a small smile as she chatted while preparing to go to work, like she usually did. Taiga laughed. Except that she laughed while facing only the TV. "Of course I'd come over. Why would you think I wasn't coming? That's too strange, that's so funny, this joke's really not bad. What would anyone think I would be bothered by?"
She held her temper while she talked to Yasuko, on account of her being the head of the house. However... "Oh, that's right. How annoying, I totally forgot! Ryūji, looks like you got all horny today? Haha! Do whatever you want. By the way, what are we eating tonight? Jambalaya? Why not red bean rice? Ohohohoho!" Taiga laughed with one hand on her waist and the other by her mouth. There was no laughter in her eyes, however. They were opened wide, killing intent emanating impatiently.
This meant, after all, that some explanation had to be given. This was what Ryūji thought while preparing dinner in the kitchen. Of course, somewhere in his head, he was thinking, Why do I have to explain myself to her? Taiga doesn’t need a reason to run off. As this ran through his head,
This and that were two different things.
Taiga was a girl under normal circumstances, but when she turned into the Palmtop Tiger, the majority of this world wouldn’t be able to stand up to her anger. Loathing having to make friends with Kawashima Ami, she was probably feeling guilty. She could see her appearance best.
"Ah... Ah... Ah, you seem rather relaxed. Don'tcha, you ugly bird! Hohoho!"
Taiga was squatting on the floor and holding Inko-chan’s cage with both hands, while from her back a murderous intent could be seen flashing like blue sparks. It seemed Taiga was spitting mad.
For the sake of an amiable living atmosphere, it is sometimes necessary to apologize, even when you’ve done nothing wrong. So Ryūji opened his mouth once again.
"...What do you want?"
Ryūji walked up to her and lightly poked her back. Taiga’s "Hohoho" 'laughter' immediately stopped, and the only sound left in the Takasu residence was the hair dryer that Yasuko was using.
"How should I say this? About the situation this afternoon..."
"‘Situation?’ What situation? I have no idea what you’re talking about."
Taiga coldly stood with her back towards him. Confronted with this, Ryūji seemed to back away a little.
"I was mocked by Kawashima. I’m sure you could tell, it's just that... How should I say this, for putting you in a bad mood, I am sorry."
Inko-chan suddenly whimpered. He lifted his head and stared at that which Ryūji could not see – Taiga’s expression. He started to back away, only to lose his grip and fall from his wooden perch.
"Why do you need to apologize? Oh, that’s right! Today I’m going to eat while watching this ugly bird. Hand me my rice bowl."
With her back still towards Ryūji, Taiga stretched out a hand, asking for her bowl. Her expression only visible to Inko-chan.
"What about the side dishes...? We have roast fish today... Alfonsino ..."
"Put them on the rice. Don’t use a normal rice bowl. Use an extra large one. Also sprinkle some vinegar on it."
Thus Taiga silently ate with her back facing towards the dining table. Yasuko and Ryūji didn’t dare to speak, and so just ate quietly.
"Ya, Ya-chan, needs to go to work now~"
Today, Yasuko left earlier than normal. That was to say, she ran away.
Left behind was Ryūji, and one who planned to act as if "everything was normal" and lazily kill time in the Takasu’s residence, Taiga. Inside the house, the only sound was the empty echo from the television. Taiga stared at Inko-chan, still as a statue.
Ryūji grit his teeth and stood up, lightly picking up the birdcage from the side into his arms.
Flash! Taiga’s beautiful eyes glinted, and stared silently at Ryūji.
"I think... it’s almost time to cover up Inko-chan’s cage, to let him sleep."
"Why? Don’t you usually do it later?"
"No reason... just... look, Inko-chan looks really tired."
"I want to keep watching him, put him down here."
Taiga extended her snow white hand and grabbed the birdcage from below. The birdcage swayed a bit and the water inside spilled a little.
"Why? You don’t usually have special interest in Inko-chan, right?"
"Why can’t I? Is it bad? Strange? Or bothersome?"
Neither of them spoke, each trying to pull the birdcage towards themselves.
"Fine! I get it. I understand what you mean, just give Inko-chan to me first!"
Taiga’s eyes narrowed even further.
"Get what? What do you mean you 'understand'? What have you understood? What exactly are you trying to say?"
Inko-chan’s birdcage was still stuck between them, and the air in the house swiftly fell to the freezing point.
"Um, that is... I already know you’re angry..."
"I’m angry? You’re talking about me? Do I look angry? Why would I be angry!? Probably because you think I saw you and Kawashima Ami flirting, and so as a result, I became irritated, jealous, angry, and so you wanted to apologize. Was that what you wanted to say? That I’m a tragic girl, and you’re extremely popular among the ladies, worthy of my jealousy. Was that what you wanted to say?"
Taiga said all she wanted to say in one breath, then slowly stood up and stepped forward. Ryūji hugged the birdcage to his chest and subconsciously stepped back, but behind him was the wall... This was the trouble of 38 square meters.
"C-calm down, that wasn’t what I meant. I just wanted a peaceful, tranquil life..."
"Didn’t you say it just now, that I was angry? You said I was ‘unhappy’? That’s what you’ve been saying all this time, right? I’m obviously the same as usual. It’s just that you keep saying I must be angry, right? If you want me to be angry so much, then I’ll show you angry! It’s not easy to be angry! Because I fell in a ditch, injured my knee, wanted to cry my heart out and also stank so badly, and then my horrible appearance was seen by Kitamura-kun, and I even had him carry me on his back... and in the end, when I was like this, you were actually f-f-flirting with that repugnant female...!"
Taiga stepped forward again, wrinkled up her nose, and stared at Ryūji fiercely, like a bloodthirsty predator. A pair of eyes shone with the light of anger, and the corner of her pale lips twisted in such a way that it seemed to be smiling sweetly.
"But the thing that angers me the most, is that you thought so highly of yourself as to imagine that you could form conclusions on what I was thinking! You’ve insulted me! Hey, are you listening?!"
Taiga stood on tiptoe, and lifted her chin, almost as if she was kissing with her lover. Her voice however, was filled with previously unknown cold malice.
"Why do I have to be angry over who you get together with? Whoever you choose to wag your tail to doesn’t concern me one bit!"
You really are angry. If he said that, he’d most likely have been killed. So even if he had more things he wanted to say, Ryūji kept his mouth shut. This choice was probably best.
"Starting from now, you’re not allowed to say these meaningless things. This is also for your own good!"
Taiga once again looked at Ryūji with contempt in her eyes, drew back from him, and said while turning around,
"Originally I didn’t really care about what happened today, but because of your idiotic words, I am now irritated. I’m going home."
Just when she had put on her socks and stepped across the tatami mats towards to entrance,
Who said that? 119... Shibuya? No, that’s 109... Actually, whose voice was that...? Could it possibly be, Inko-chan? In a tear-jerking bid to escape from this painful reality, Ryūji quickly looked at the birdcage in his hands.
Ryūji couldn’t help yelling, and at the same time realized 119, that’s the emergency ambulance number!
Hearing Ryūji’s holler, Taiga, who had jumped and turned round abruptly also released a surprised sound.
She quickly ran to Ryūji to look at the birdcage.
"No way! It couldn’t be because of the shaking earlier, could it?"
Inside the birdcage, the pitiable victim earlier used as an arguing tool had already started shedding feathers. It was unclear if the reason was because its whole body had seized up and fell off its perch, or if it was because of a sudden lapse in judgment. Anyway, Inko-chan’s head was now stuck in between the bars of the cage.
Taiga’s nearly sobbing sounds of "It’s over, it’s over, what do we do?!" and Ryūji’s stricken shrieking of "Call an ambulance! No wait, a vet!" mixed to form a funeral march.
Takasu Inko, lived a full 6 years... It can’t be, right?
"Hey! What the hell... That taxi just now was obviously empty..."
Ryūji stared menacingly at the taillights of the taxi that had failed to stop, and before he realized it, he had made a gesture saying "You bastard!". That was already the second taxi that didn't pick them up
Since the two of them left the animal hospital and reached the taxi-void main road, it had already been 10 minutes.
"It's not because we’re high school students, right?
"Wouldn’t it be because your face is too scary?"
Taiga sat on the safety railings while holding Inko-chan, who had just returned from a near-death experience. She watched with boredom at the speeding traffic.
"Forget it. Let’s just walk a little until we get to the crossroads over there! I think there should be more taxis over there just leaving the train station..."
"Fuh..." After Taiga gloomily exhaled a puff of air and prepared to jump off, she unexpectedly let out a startled sound. "Uwah!" It turns out that a frill from her one-piece dress had gotten caught in the crevice of the railings.
"Really... What are you doing?!"
Taiga frowned, and seemed ready to rip the dress away. Ryūji from the side yelled out frantically,
"Hey hey, the dress will tear! Pull lightly!"
Ryūji knelt at the roadside, and prepared to gently pull out the frill of the 100,000 yen dress when,
Accompanied by a sharp ripping sound, the thin fabric of the dress tore in the direction of Taiga’s yanking. She then stuffed the box holding the birdcage into Ryūji’s hands, and turned her angry face away.
"I can’t stand this..."
"Hm... Certainly, there are a few points that deserve our reflection... In the end, it was all because of our pointless argument that Inko-chan became like this. Hey, Ryūji, it’s partly your fault as well. It’s all because of your wild imagination, thinking stupid things like 'Taiga is angry' and whatnot."
Taiga hadn’t turned round, so her self-mumbling wasn’t understandable. Ryūji ran up and walked parallel to her, stealing glances at Taiga’s facial expressions.
"It’s true I haven’t been compassionate..."
Hear hear, Ryūji nodded.
"I just thought it was funny, and definitely didn’t lose my temper. I’m serious here, from the bottom of my hea~rt! Since your business has nothing to do with me."
At that moment in Ryūji’s heart, weariness presided over anger; he had no more strength to complain, and just gazed at Taiga’s face. Taiga brushed away the hair in her way and smiled faintly at Ryūji.
"Then I’ll be leaving first. I, for one, don’t want to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with a perverted dog!"
... That was a cruel thing to say...
That most probably phony smile turned away, and Taiga silently walked slowly into the dark night’s mist. Her retreating back’s body language sent a clear message - whoever dares to block me, I’ll stare him to death.
In the end, Taiga did manage to flag down a taxi. Even though they were neighbors, Ryūji didn’t want to sit in the same car, but a loud "Stop dawdling and get in the taxi!" swiftly dashed his hopes. With heavy footsteps, as if he was walking towards his execution, Ryūji uneasily sat beside Taiga. Taiga kept silent the whole drive, until the taxi arrived exactly between the Takasu residence and the Taiga residence.
Taiga automatically paid the fare without even a glance at Ryūji, and walked into the apartment building’s entrance. Ryūji had planned to pay himself...
It had already been 5 hours since that incident, and the situation was getting worse and worse.
- * *
Argh, I can’t stand it! It’s maddening!
What exactly did I do wrong, why did the situation turn to this? I can’t stand it, can’t stand it, can’t stand it! Once it’s morning, I’ll definitely fall victim to Taiga’s irritation, and once we’re at school, Taiga and Ami will definitely meet, and her anger will be blown up to even larger proportions, right?
I don’t want this. I don’t want this. I don’t want this. Maybe because he couldn’t sleep well, Ryūji spent the whole night moaning.
"...Eh...Eh? Ehh!?" Ryūji wondered why he couldn’t hear his alarm clock, and slowly opened his eyes to look at the clock.
Foomph! The covers flew up. The numbers "8:05" made it past his eyelids, and his brain awoke in an instant. The cold, cruel reality circulated non-stop in Ryūji’s head.
"Shit, shit, shit..."
Oversleeping for an hour, at this rate my attendance is in trouble! First, the toilet...But while trying to take off his T-shirt at the same time, Ryūji fell into a mess. What to do? What to do? What to do?
"Oh no! Taiga!"
Ryūji remembered Taiga—that person would never be up unless Ryūji woke her. If he had to go over to wake her, by the time she changed, they would definitely be late.
There was no other choice. It was finally time to use his secret weapon. Ryūji had been prepared a long time ago for a situation like this. He took from the cupboard the scarcely used broom — if he had this, he could awake Taiga.
Ryūji opened the window of the room, trying not to look down while stepping onto the window sill with one foot, and stepped onto the separating wall between the buildings with his other. He then extended the hand holding the brush, and began smacking the window.
"Taiga! Wake up! We’ve overslept!"
On the other side of the window was Taiga’s bedroom. Thump-thump-thump-thump! But there was no sign of Taiga waking up. She wouldn’t have left me alone and gone to school herself, right? It was possible. At this point Ryūji started to waver. After we went head to head yesterday, if I woke her up today as normal, what would her reaction be? Or should I not wake her, and let her continue sleeping... No no no, if I don’t wake her, the situation will become even worse...
I’ll try one more time! If she isn’t here, then there’s nothing I can do. This is the last time. Ryūji once again thrust the long brush.
"What the heck... do you... Ah!"
The apartment’s window suddenly flew open without warning, and the handle of the brush loudly made contact on the forehead of an annoyed face. As if she was in a manga, Taiga fell backwards like a domino, disappearing from Ryūji’s field of vision.
"Tai, Taiga!!! Get a hold of yourself!"
After a while...
"It hurts like... like hell..."
Pulling herself up using the window sill, Taiga looked like she was about to cry. Even though her whimpering face was cute, this wasn’t the time to think about this.
"S, sorry! I overslept, it’s already past eight!"
"Eh...? Huh? Why? It hurts... a lot..."
The half-asleep Taiga rubbed her eyes and sniffed like a little child. She wiped her hands, wet with her directly onto her pure white summer pajamas.
She hadn't seem to have grasped the situation yet, and stuck her face into her messy hair.
"What’s for breakfast...? Why did you wake me up like this today...?"
She seemed to have forgotten that she was angry. She hadn’t lost her temper yet, either... Was this luck?
"Neither breakfast nor the bentous have been prepared! Go wash your face, brush your teeth, and get changed! It’s an emergency! If we don’t leave in five minutes we’re going to be late!"
It was unclear whether she understood or not. Taiga blinked again.
She nodded. Then I’ll treat that as if she understood. Ryūji safely returned to his room.
"Hey, faster! Shut the window! That’s right! Close, and lock! Just like that!"
Ryūji confirmed that Taiga had closed the window, and started to change... Speaking of which, he realized that he had stepped out to speak with Taiga just wearing his boxers.
"Lucky she wasn’t fully awake yet... More importantly, lucky no one else saw. I was probably half-asleep myself, right?"
Ryūji quickly jumped into his summer uniform trousers, and buttoned up his short-sleeved shirt... Teeth should be properly brushed, but the face just needs a quick splash of water.
Just when he was flipping through his drawers for his socks,
"Oh, Inko-chan’s and Yasuko’s birdfeed, food and water... but there’s no time!"
He could only leave behind a note asking his mother to take care of Inko-chan and herself. Next was to uncover the cage.
After Inko-chan had gotten back from the veterinarian, the parakeet had been so tired that he had wobbled from side to side, and was now sleeping obliviously. Balancing on his perch, just barely fluffing his few remaining feathers, he slept in his normal position, as his white eyes stared blankly up from out of his ugly sleeping face.
"I’m really sorry about yesterday. Sleep well..."
Just when Ryūji couldn’t help but putting his palms together.
"Inko-chan... died...? Uwah~~!"
Beside the birdcage was Yasuko, originally sleeping soundly in her alcohol-induced stupor. She had suddenly woken up, started crying, and was now rolling on the floor towards the corner of the room.
Reaching the bottom of the cupboard, she once again started peacefully snoring.
"N, nonsense... He’s not dead yet!"
Yasuko probably couldn’t hear him, but Ryūji still answered honestly, and lightly covered her up with a blanket. He then hurriedly put on his socks, grabbed his bag, and flew out the door.
Even though the street was blanketed by a light cover of fog, the sunlight was still shining brightly. Ryūji squinted his pair of vicious eyes and ran towards the neighboring apartment building entrance.
He pressed repeatedly on the numbers "201" on the automatic lock, but there was no response. Just when Ryūji was becoming as panicky as an ant on a frying pan,
The glass door opened silently, and a grumbling Taiga came out.
"You’re already awake!"
"Wasn’t it you who woke me up!? My forehead hurts like hell...!"
Snap! With unbelievable speed Taiga whipped her head around to face Ryūji. That fleeting glance was full of fury and contempt.
"Uwah..." Even though she wasn’t fully awake, she still remembered what happened. Ryūji felt a cold shiver run down his spine as he exited the building alongside Taiga.
It was the middle of the rainy season and the grass was fragrant, as the two dashed under a grove of trees.
"Taiga, we have to first go to a convenience store or there’ll be no lunch!"
"T, Taiga? Did you hear me?"
"Ow...don’t kick me there!"
"We're not aligned! Lowlife of a perverted dog! I heard you say convenience store!"
Ryūji understood. It seemed as though if one wanted to communicate with Taiga today, one would either have to yell really loudly, or completely ignore her attitude.
Taiga’s bad mood and her venomous attitude towards him was a normal everyday thing, but he still felt that her attitude today was a few times more violent than usual. Was it because of the way he had woken her up this morning? Or because he overslept? Ryūji tried to make sense of it all, but it felt like he was tricking himself... As expected, however he thought about it, he still felt that Taiga was still angry about what happened yesterday.
Hmph! Taiga once again turned her head, biting the inside of her cheek, avoiding Ryūji’s eyes. Ah.. Ah...Will I have to suffer her irritation outbursts again, like yesterday? Ryūji started to feel depressed.
In the midst of sprinting haphazardly, Ryūji thought he could hear the sound of Taiga muttering through her grinding teeth,
"Your black nipples are still stuck in my retina. How infuriating...!"
That was to say, the reason behind Taiga’s irritation today was Ryūji’s nipples. It had absolutely nothing to do with what happened yesterday. "Because your business is none of my business anyway", simple as that.
"They weren’t... weren’t that black, right...?"
"Black! My eyeballs have been invaded by your nipples! Pitch black!"
Yeah, it was unbelievable but during his 16th summer, Takasu Ryūji discovered a new reason to feel ashamed of his body.
They reached the crossroads where Minori usually waited. But with only a few minutes before the bell, even Ryūji’s heartwarming goddess had left already.
"Ah, you're finally here~~! Thanks for your help yesterday!"
They made it safely into the classroom in the nick of time.
"Oh my, you know your hair still looks like you slept on it? Did you oversleep today?"
Standing before Ryūji was, an archangel who forgot to bring her wings, shining with a clear brilliance - on the outside that is. In actuality, she's a chihuahua with a really bad personality. "She" was none other than Kawashima Ami. Her large, watery eyes shone like jewels. Using her snow-white arms, she flicked Ryūji's cowlick, which had formed while he slept last night.
"So Takasu-kun oversleeps too!"
Ami used her perfect smile she uses specifically for modeling shots (pouting, then widening her eyes and leaning slightly forward to place emphasis on her cleavage), and said: "How cute!Toradora vol02 heart.png"
"Oh? What's the matter~?"
Even if you ask me "What is the matter~?", what can I say! Ryūji felt very subtle and chose not reply to her morning greeting. It looks like Ami intends to mess around with me with that angel mask today as well. Even though she gave herself away long ago, and showed others her dark side, does she think that putting on that artificial front will still work? What a joke! While thinking this, Ryūji tried to figure out how he should reply to Ami.
"Ah, don't misunderstand please. Of course I did not mean that Takasu-kun is cute, but I mean myself, Ami-chan! Takasu-kun is still like normal, the type that one would know just by looking at his face!"
"The, the type that one would know just by looking at his face!"
Ami used her hand to form a V, placed at the side of her eyes:
"110Toradora vol02 heart.png"
"Sigh..." Rushing to school had sapped most of his energy, so Ryūji couldn't help but sigh heavily. What to do? I have the looks of a wanted criminal!
"Ohoho? What's the matter~~?"
Behind Ami's smiling eyes were her true intentions. It seemed to Ryūji that she was a black-hearted chihuahua with a bad personality.
"Acting up so early in the morning... Take care not to get a face cramp."
"I am a professional, I am not that dumb~~"
Ami's masked slipped for a brief moment, as she stuck her tongue out at Ryūji, but immediately recovered the smiling mask of a beautiful, helpless girl.
"You were in the way, stupid chihuahua."
Behind Ryūji was the Palmtop Tiger, who caused the beautiful female to moan helplessly. It seemed that she had used slightly more force than a passing greeting would require to hit Ami's stomach with the corner of her bag.
"Argh... Aisaka-san, you seem to be in a really bad mood this morning...?"
"Morning, Kawashima-san. To start having heats so early in the morning, it must be tough for you."
Taiga's eyes darted between Ami and Ryūji. She then turned around, leaving behind a cold stare.
"Oh! That's right!"
Ami clapped and shouted,
"Aisaka-san, sorry but are you still bothered by what happened yesterday? So sorry, but that is just a misunderstanding! Aisaka-san just made a mistake! But, just that and you are so jealous? Oh my! Jealousy, and envy, this is so unlike Aisaka-san! Ah ah~~ What a headache... All because I am so scatterbrained. That is why I always do things that may cause misunderstandings..."
Taiga stopped in her tracks. Turning around slowly,
"So you don’t get it either, do you woman?"
Her lips were twisted into a vicious smile, tinged with the stench of blood and full of murderous intent. Just like the message from the Grim Reaper, her speech drew in a whirling mass of dark clouds to the area, creating a maleficent atmosphere. Then,
"That whole thing, I’m not even the slightest bit bo..."
Suddenly, Taiga floated into the air. It was like she’d mastered levitation... As Ryūji stood dumbfounded with his mouth open, out from beside Taiga’s uplifted slender frame popped a brilliant face with a genuinely sunny smile.
"Mo~~rning! Taiga and Takasu-kun both just barely made it on time~!"
"Mi, Minorin... Put me down."
Grasping the diminutive Taiga from behind by her underarms, the one who easily lifted her overhead...
"You know Taiga, you’re rather light, aren’t you? I wonder why that is? Even though you eat all the same things I do~."
"Stop using me as a free-weight."
...was none other than Kushieda Minori. Mumbling "But then my arms might get weak" while lifting Taiga up and down, her smiling face was the embodiment of perfect health, the very light of the sun, and in Ryūji’s opinion, the most perfect girl in the world.
The switch to the summer uniform was readily revealing her supple figure, so Ryūji was stuck instinctively averting his gaze. After suffering Taiga’s vile treatment ever since yesterday night, Ryūji found Minori’s utter sweetness to be almost too much to bear. In a panic trying to slow his racing heart, he glanced off to the side. It wasn't that he had gone berserk or anything, just that he was overwhelmed.
Minori, on the other hand, wasn’t paying attention to Ryūji’s odd behavior,
"Actually, Kawashima-san is also quite slender, right? Have you still been running recently?"
She was just quickly searching out other people’s arm fat. This sort of situation, it’s what people called ‘unrequited love’.
"Phew..." Ryūji secretly let out a sad sigh. He wondered when, if ever, Minori would take notice of his feelings for her. That he’d been thoroughly admiring her all this time...
"For some reason, you two don’t look so well. Ah, could it be, Taiga and Takasu-kun overslept, so you didn’t eat breakfast? In that case, you’re in luck because I brought some snacks. Here, eat these."
It was hard to tell if she was dense or actually well in tune with others, but Minori pulled a small zip-lock bag from her pocket, dug into it and declared,
"THE black nipple!"
Holding a raisin in each hand, she brought them up to her own bust top.
"I’ve got plenty, so eat all you want!... Huh? Takasu-kun, why’re you so depressed?"
Placing a firm hand on Minori’s shoulder, the one to answer her was Taiga.
"Right now, Ryūji’s ego has become a mapless wanderer stuck between his projected self-image and cold hard reality."
"Ho~! That’s quite something. Good luck Takasu-kun! Swing hard and bring it home! Or something!"
Gently handing over the right black nipple to the shoulder-slumped Ryūji, Minori turned about and made Ami take the left one.
"Kawashima-san, I really want to apologize for yesterday! I reflected on my actions! I was even the one who offered the idea, but I really had no choice but to leave for my part-time job... I’m sorry. Are you okay? I heard from Kitamura just a while ago that you guys succeeded in taking care of the stalker, right?"
"There’s no need to apologize! Yeah, at least for now, I’m doing all right! I should be thanking you, I’m really grateful for all that Minori-chan’s done for me. I’ll accept this black nipple too!"
Continuing on, Minori once again faced Taiga and Ryūji,
"I want to apologize to Taiga and Takasu-kun too."
"Don’t worry about it Minorin, you couldn’t help it after all."
"I really am sorry."
Bending her slender back, she bowed her head repeatedly. Her brow that was furrowed in a sincere heartfelt apology and her pure eyes that were looking up at him immediately rescued Ryūji from his nipple worries. He was too nervous to speak, but discreetly looking up at Minori’s face, Ryūji waved his hand. He was trying to say, "Don’t worry about it." Understandingly, Taiga followed up with an interpretation for him.
"Ryūji’s also saying you don’t need to worry. Right, Ryūji?"
As he nodded, he was thinking that for her to help out at a time like this even though they were fighting, Taiga really was a good person... At least for a little while, he had such a favorable opinion of her.
"Hey, Minorin. It was really a stroke of luck for Ryūji that you left in the middle of things. Kitamura and I fell into a ditch and we called off the mission, but because of that, Ryūji ended up alone with Kawashima, and he brought her to his house, and..."
What the heck is she saying?!! Practically on instinct, Ryūji quickly leaped to cover her mouth, but it wasn’t enough as she pulled his fingers away from her mouth to escape,
"Last night at the Takasu house, the two of them were getting all close and,"
Hyuppah! In a desperate effort to shut her up, he thrust his hands to grasp Taiga by her warm underarms and just like Minori had done earlier, lifted her up with all his strength. The light Taiga quickly rose into the air,
"Gyaaah?! Let me go, you perverted dog!"
"Like I’d let go with you yelling so loudly!"
And so moving about, when they turned around,
"Oh, morning Aisaka-san!"
Practically nose-to-nose with Taiga, Kitamura Yūsaku raised one hand in a congenial greeting, and just like that, all the fight went out of Taiga’s body. She even forgot about belittling Ryūji.
"M, mor, mor, mor,"
In a small voice inaudible to anyone, it was like she was doing an imitation of a broken record. Ryūji could’ve sworn that he felt the temperature of Taiga’s underarms suddenly go up as much as two degrees.
"So what’s this? Are you guys playing around like always? You guys have such a good relationship, don’t you?"
Patting both Taiga, who was now finally back on the ground, and Ryūji on the shoulder, Kitamura was looking at Taiga.
"Okay. Here, I forgot to give this back yesterday, and I accidentally took it home with me."
"... Ah... Yeah..."
"There were some splinters in a few places, so I took the liberty of filing it down some.... Is that okay?"
"... Yeah... Thanks..."
There was Taiga, who was completely red, pursing her lips into a small triangle, trembling, and there was the class representative, who was also her unrequited love. That scene as he returned her missing possession back to her was just like something out of a girls' comic.
"Now, don’t go waving that around too much, since it’s dangerous."
Changing hands from the dashing hero to the flushed heroine was a well-used wooden sword. Ryūji, who has actually been on the receiving end of its strikes, had mixed feelings as he watched the seemingly beautiful scene. Then,
"... Just now, what was that conversation about?"
Without thinking, Ryūji turned around. Minori was standing with her head tilted, staring at him with her clear brown eyes.
"I’m asking, what did Taiga say just now? Takasu-kun?"
"N... Nothing, really..."
Completely opposite of his cold response, he was of course just about to burst on the inside, like a detonator quickly counting down. Searching for help, he tried looking casually in Ami’s direction, but she was already gone. "Ehh, where did you buy that, it’s so cute~!" "At the second floor of the train station. It was really cheap too!" "No way! I want one too!" "Me too!" Immediately after she had gone off on her own, she had formed another group with the peppy girls, Maya and Nanako. She just wasn’t someone he could count on. No wait, maybe he was actually lucky in this case? She might not be as bad as Taiga, but even Ami's words were plenty explosive.
Minori was looking at Ryūji with upturned eyes,
"Well, if Takasu-kun says so, then I guess I’ll take your word for it... It’s just like I told you before. If you make Taiga unhappy, Minori will show no mercy... Just kidding."
Swoosh. She gave a playful execution-style chop. Being told that by one’s unrequited love, he wondered if there were any words painful enough to describe what he was feeling. Then, in a twist of fate, at the very same time,
"Hey, Aisaka. About the thing with Takasu and Ami yesterday, it seems like that was just Takasu helping her find her contact lens that had fallen out. So, you don’t need to worry about that, okay? And please don’t get angry at Takasu either. I hope you two continue to get along! Bye!"
Taiga was also being assaulted by a flurry of Kitamura’s own brand of misplaced concern.
They just wanted to bury their head in their arms... Ever since their first meeting in spring, it seemed like neither Taiga nor Ryūji had managed to change their relationships with their respective loves even one bit. Actually, if it was about something that had changed, there was at least one thing.
"... It’s your fault... It’s all your fault... Kitamura is cheering for a relationship between me and youuuu~~...!"
"That should be my line! You were trying to sabotage me earlier, so you incurred the wrath of divine punishment!"
Stepping on each other’s feet, elbowing one another, and glaring back and forth in an intense staring match, they lashed out with stinging barbs. The only thing changing was that the relationship between Taiga and Ryūji was getting rougher.
- * *
This is probably Koigakubo Yuri's (29, single) lucky day.
"Good morning everyone!"
The swollen eyes that swept across the entire class with a smile, the double-eyelids that she is so proud of are swollen like cod roes. No one in class 2-C is dumb enough to ask the reason for that...... Yet there is a newbie teacher in charge of a first-year class (27, has a boyfriend, claims that "my boyfriend proposed to me, but i am still very hesitant, it is best to remain like this for now. The earliest that I will get married will be a year later.") in the teachers' office that asked: "Koigakubo-sensei, what happened to your eyes? I think maybe you should cover them up." What the hell are you talking about!? Just what do you know!
"Even though today is not a fine day, but I have something good to announce~~!"
It happened last night------
She went to a family restaurant alone for dinner (So what if I am alone? Is there something wrong with that?)and drank a bottle of beer she bought at a convenience store. Suddenly, she began thinking about her old friends......
Speaking of which, these days I rarely hang out with my friends from back when I was a student. It is still not too late now, I guess it would be fine to call them? So she called to Risa whom she was very close with. Risa picked up the phone very soon: "No way! Yuri!? Its been a while! Huh? Really? Sure, let's get together and have some fun! This saturday? Ah, sorry, I am not free that day. Actually, I am getting engaged on that day------ That's right, that's right, it is that officeholder. Oh my------ It can be considered unavoidable fate! If not for my parents' constant nagging...... Oh yeah, I heard that Saiya gave birth! Let's go see the baby together next time! Ever since Miyu's wedding, we stopped getting together...... By the way, how have you been recently? Didn't you say that there is a promising guy who is younger than you? You even said that you were going out with him during the Golden Week, so how did it go in the end? How far have you two progressed~~? Huh? Hello? Hello------ Hello------?" How did it go in the end? What how! What am I supposed to say when there is nothing? Why is she so slow at catching on... Please!
She drank three cans of beer in one go. But feeling that it wasnt enough, she opened another bottle of red wine and even made some dishes that go with alchohol filled with salt and ultra high calories (Fried pork with pickled vegetables at two in the morning), and finally slept after a ridiculous and long cry.
The following morning, at eight thirty AM, meaning now:
"The swimming pool is open starting this week! Everyone is very excited right? Don't forget to take care of your body, and be prepared to take on all challenges!"
The pure and innocent senior high school students gave off "Yay------!" & "Yuck------!" duet------ The innocent guys laughed out happily; the girls on the other hand were complaining about "Stomach~~" "Thighs~~" "Arms~~" "The swimsuit cannot be worn~~"
The currently single teacher sighed quietly: What a bunch of idiots...... You are still senior high students, what's wrong with that......You people are still young anyway, just what is wrong with that!
"Huh~~? We have to swim with guys in this school------? I don't want that, it is so embarassing------!"
Kawashima Ami! Aren't you super thin, super cute? And aren't you a model? What are you embarassed about? Just, just what are you embarassed about......
"Sensei! Let's end the morning session for the day!"
Leaving everything else to the overly capable class representative Kitamura, the homeroom teacher stood on the dais looking blankly at the students below the platform. "Stand up! Bow!" Everyone bows in coordination with Kitamura's verbal commands.
At this moment, the homeroom teacher incidentally noticed------ That's right, why do I feel a little lucky today?
The problematic child that scares the hell out of her, known as the palmtop tiger by the teaching staff, Aisaka Taiga is actually not grumbling impatiently, but remained silent...... Even though she is as usual, not greeting her, but only staring emptily outside the window.
From those enviable rosy smooth cheeks she doesn't seem to be sick, maybe she just didn't notice the homeroom teacher at the dais and is too preoccupied looking at the skies!
It went peacefully this morning. To not have any loss of blood from the palmtop tiger's attacks------ Just this is enough to make the homeroom teacher feel lucky.
Maybe I am a little cute like this, and maybe with a little luck, maybe my marriage fortune will go up slightly...... The currently single homeroom teacher showed a small winning signal, and gained the strength to face up to tomorrow.
Yet she failed to notice, her class is about to be dragged into a mysterious realm filled with love and hate very soon------ To not even notice something so minor, looks like it would be very difficult for her to work hardworkingly and wholeheartedly.
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Spin-off|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6|
|Prologue • Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Chapter 7|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6|
|Prologue • Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5|
|Prologue • Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Epilogue|