Chapter 1:

Chapter 1: Decisions

Solus: The Pairing of Fate

“Let’s go Izuya.”Bookmark here

“Why are you the one worked up?”Bookmark here

“I just can’t stand the way they are treating this! Not even giving a heads up and simply handing it over to some other person.”Bookmark here

After the welcoming ceremony was done, Ikuro and I headed to our class - 1A - and settled down. Most of the students in this class seemed to know each other. They were gathered in groups similar to their parent’s relations. Meanwhile, the more prestigious ones were alone and admired by others around them. Ikuro was one of them, he was playing games on his mobile phone while others were whispering among themselves. Bookmark here

Another such example was the person who sat next to me. Mikase Suzuha, the freshmen representative. The youngest daughter of Mikase Technology Corporation, an elite of the elite and one of the few families that believed in the Solus pairing for relationships.Bookmark here

“Hey. You are Hikaru Izuya right? The top scorer for the exams.”Bookmark here

Hearing Mikase suddenly calling me out surprised me. During the ceremony, my attention was on the principal and wondering what happened. I wasn’t really paying attention to who the representative was at the time and how she looked.Bookmark here

She had a soft, mellow voice. Her straight black hair went down to her waist - her figure that could make most girls jealous, paired with her coral blue eyes. The epitome of beauty if I should say.Bookmark here

“Y-yea. And you are Mikase-san, right? The freshmen representative.”Bookmark here

She had seemed to flinch at the mention of the word representative. Her eyebrows frowned a little as she jerked her head over towards my direction.Bookmark here

“In case you were wondering. I do not believe that I deserved the representative position, considering how I wasn’t the top scorer. I was only informed two days ago about my role and had to prepare for it.”Bookmark here

“Two days ago? Truth be told, I didn’t even know that the representative was going to be changed until today.” I chuckled a little as I answered.Bookmark here

“What? Were you not informed about it?” She began to lean towards me as she questioned it.Bookmark here

Being so close to someone as pretty as her, was a first for me, prompting me to back off and face away from her.Bookmark here

“All right everyone. Settle down, homeroom is about to start.”Bookmark here

Being saved by the teacher coming in, I let out a sigh of relief.Bookmark here

XXXBookmark here

As soon as homeroom concluded, I went ahead of Ikuro and headed to the teacher’s lounge, wanting to clarify what happened this morning. Bookmark here

“I apologize. This was completely my mistake.”Bookmark here

What was supposed to be a trip to the teacher’s lounge ended in me being in the principal’s office.Bookmark here

“You were supposed to be informed of this two days earlier, I had planned to send out a letter to you but…” Principal Senagi timidly hides a letter that was buried under a mountain of documents.Bookmark here

Senagi Akisa, a highly influential person in the world of the elites, took over as the Principal after her father had retired. According to her, I was removed from the position due to opposition from various sponsors of the school. Bookmark here

Most of them were not keen on the fact that someone, who was not considered an elite. Someone who belongs on the middle to the lower end of the hierarchy would be the representative for the freshmen when there are more qualified people regardless of the results.Bookmark here

“I hope you don’t take it to heart on this matter. Regarding Mikase-san, she was rather opposed to this as well. After receiving notice of the change, she barged in here in opposition. Despite her looks, she is a rather impulsive person.”Bookmark here

Impulsive...Sure enough, looking at her, she looked to be the definition of elegance. Was that the reason why she decided to clarify it with me earlier on? Bookmark here

After a short talk with the Principal, I was sent on my way. As I headed out the door, Ikuro was right outside waiting for me.Bookmark here

“Yo, Izuya. How did it go?”Bookmark here

After explaining to him about what went through, and how it was a mistake that my notice was left out, Ikuro seemed rather ticked off.Bookmark here

“Strong opposition...Must be the sore losers who can’t accept that they lost to someone lower than them.”Bookmark here

“I guess you could look at it that way. Well, no getting around it...except by crushing them more.” I casually laughed it off with a sinister smile on my face.”Bookmark here

Ikuro responded by smiling along with me.Bookmark here

“What a coincidence, I was thinking the same thing. “Bookmark here

As we got our bags from class and slowly made our way onto the field and towards the exit. Ikuro leaned closer and whispered.Bookmark here

“Don’t look now, but stalker, seven o’clock.”Bookmark here

Despite him telling me not to look, my apparent stalker was attracting the attention of everybody else around us. Hiding behind the tree with her head slightly peaking out, was a familiar face, one with long black hair.Bookmark here

“Man, what did you talk to her about in class today? She’s been following you since homeroom ended.”Bookmark here

“We barely even spoke to each other. Should I pretend I didn’t notice?”Bookmark here

“How about we turn the corner, and…”Bookmark here

“RUN!”Bookmark here

As soon as we turned the corner at the entrance, we ran away.Bookmark here

“Come to think of it, Ikuro. Why are we running again?”Bookmark here

“I don’t really know myself, but nothing good comes from interacting with someone of her status for you.”Bookmark here

We made a stop in front of the shopping district, panting heavily while we wiped off our sweat. Bookmark here

“Agh! What the hell?!”Bookmark here

“What’s wrong?” I asked Ikuro as he let out a shout of pain.Bookmark here

“It feels as if I got cut around my calf.”Bookmark here

“D-Don’t tell me...Your Solus partner got injured?”Bookmark here

“Haha, real funny. Don’t even joke about it. You know how Solus families work, they will attempt to find their Solus partners until the age of 18 and if not found, they would be free to pursue who they want.”Bookmark here

“Yeah yeah, your heart was already taken long ago. Any luck there with Madoka?”Bookmark here

“If you mean being ignored, then I have great luck.”Bookmark here

Solus families. As the name says, those are families who have strong beliefs in Solus pairings. Solus Partners begin to start feeling the shared sensation of pain starting at the age of 15.Bookmark here

As the pairings could be with anyone from anywhere in the world, most families would generally attempt to find their Solus partners for 3 years before giving free rein. The Amagami household was one such family. Bookmark here

“Still, I can’t believe that your unrequited love has already lasted for seven years now.”Bookmark here

“Leave it.” Ikuro frowned at the thought of it.Bookmark here

“Still, even if you get to the age of 18 and could pursue her, you got to start working on her first you know?”Bookmark here

The current Ikuro was the type of person who did not like to flaunt his wealth, he developed a habit of at least taking public transport back home after being forced by his family to ride a car to school. The both of us reminisced about the past before we went our separate ways.Bookmark here

The following day, we were back in class, waiting for lessons to begin. It was still rather awkward, sitting next to Mikase after practically fleeing from her the previous day.Bookmark here

“Hm? Suzuha, did you injure your leg?”Bookmark here

“Oh, this...I accidentally scratched it on a tree branch yesterday, it did hurt at first but it’s nothing serious.” Mikase responded as she stroked the calf of her leg that had a patch on itBookmark here

A group of girls had surrounded Mikase’s table as they were engrossed in their conversation. Out of curiosity, I sneaked a peek at her injury, from the size of the patch, it must have been a rather big cut on her calf.Bookmark here

Wait...Calf..? Didn’t Ikuro complain about feeling a sharp pain on his calf yesterday? Could it just have been a coincidence? I thought to myself. Mikase’s cut was on her left leg while I can’t seem to recall which leg did Ikuro feel the pain from.Bookmark here

As I was deep in thought, I had completely forgotten about the fact that I was still blatantly staring at her injury.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“Hey, you!”Bookmark here

“W-what?”Bookmark here

“Could you maybe stop being so obvious in staring at her legs? Gross.” One of the groupies said as the others snickered.Bookmark here

The conversation had attracted the attention of the entire class. Mikase shyly tucked her legs inwards while slightly blushing.Bookmark here

“Ah ah. This is why they shouldn’t allow non-elites to enroll here, they have no sense of class.” Another one of the groupies shrugged her head while she said that rather loudly.Bookmark here

“Hah? What’s that got to do with this? I was just lost in thought.”Bookmark here

“Sure. Lost in thought while staring at another’s leg, what a pathetic excuse.”Bookmark here

Despite the nonsensical claim, I couldn’t find any way to retort them. Although I honestly didn’t notice I was staring, it doesn’t change the fact that I did. Bookmark here

“Even if he was staring, what’s that got to do with you? It’s not as if he was staring at your leg.” Bookmark here

“W-what? And who do you think you ar…” Anger flaring in her eyes, she jerked around only to face straight towards Ikuro.Bookmark here

“Besides, staring at a person’s leg is one thing, it’s at least better than some other actions.” He glanced over to Mikase who caught his gaze. Bookmark here

Ikuro must be referring to how Mikase was sneakily following me around the school yesterday and peeking at me.Bookmark here

“That’s enough, Mizumi-san. I believe he honestly didn’t mean it.”Bookmark here

“W-well, if you say so…” Groupie number 1, Mizumi-san, finally backed off after Mikase intervened. Bookmark here

As the others got back to their seats, Ikuro stuck his tongue out towards Mizumi while walking over to my desk.Bookmark here

“Thanks, dude. You saved me.”Bookmark here

“Uwah...What a pervert, gawking at someone’s legs in the middle of the class.” Bookmark here

“Shut it.” I punched him in the stomach as he began to tease me.Bookmark here

XXXBookmark here

“Hey Ikuro, I have something to ask you.”Bookmark here

“Hikaru-kun. Do you perhaps have some time after this?”Bookmark here

As class ended, Mikase called out to me as I was about to ask Ikuro about yesterday.Bookmark here

“If so, do you mind accompanying me for a short while?”Bookmark here

“Mikase-san is asking him out?” One guy murmuredBookmark here

“She’s probably inviting him out of kindness”Bookmark here

I couldn’t seem to find words to reply to her and simply stared blankly.Bookmark here

“U-um.”Bookmark here

“Sure, he’s free!”Bookmark here

“And why the heck are you answering for me?”Bookmark here

“Am I wrong? I’m pretty much your only other friend and we didn’t make plans today.”Bookmark here

Annoyed by his response, I glared at Ikuro. He simply responded with a smug look on his face. I could tell that this was his revenge against me for teasing him about Madoka yesterday.Bookmark here

“About the day before…”Bookmark here

“The day before?”Bookmark here

After leaving the school, we made our way to a nearby cafe. Ikuro sent us off with a grin on his face while our classmates were talking amongst themselves.Bookmark here

“Oh, you mean what Ikuro was talking about?” She seemed to flinch a little as I mentioned what Ikuro said this morning.Bookmark here

“I wasn’t following you around. I wanted to continue our conversation that was cut off the previous morning but you seemed to be rather busy that I didn’t have the chance to catch you.”Bookmark here

Come to think of it, I was with Ikuro the whole time yesterday apart from when I went to the Principal’s office.Bookmark here

“Amagami-san and you seemed pretty close.”Bookmark here

“Oh, yeah. We had known each other since elementary school till now.”Bookmark here

She was rather interested in my history with Ikuro and probed about it as I blabbered it to her. Before I realized it, I was telling her everything she asked. Was I...entranced? Sure enough, other customers in the cafe were sneaking glances at Mikase that I felt awkward sitting across from her.Bookmark here

“Come to think of it, if I may ask. How did you get that injury?”Bookmark here

“This? Hm...I got cut by a tree branch as I was chasing after both you and Amagami-san.”Bookmark here

“T-that...I’m kind of sorry for that, we didn’t know why we ran either.” I lowered my head close to the table as I apologized.Bookmark here

“N-no. This was my own fault rather than yours. I could have simply called you out like today rather than give chase.”Bookmark here

My phone lit up with a text message while we both drank our ordered drinks. Bookmark here

‘Having fun?’ It was a text from Ikuro, making fun of me seeing as he sent it with a sticker of a snickering cat.Bookmark here

I looked around in an attempt to spot him. Is he looking from somewhere right now?Bookmark here

‘You probably won’t be able to find me, just concentrate on your ‘date’.’ Bookmark here

‘It isn’t a date.’ I swore in my heart that I was going to hit him the next time I saw him.Bookmark here

“Hikaru-kun.”Bookmark here

“ W-What is it?”Bookmark here

“Do you perhaps remember me?”Bookmark here

Remember her? Have we met before yesterday? No, I was positive that I didn’t know of her before today. Besides, there was no way that I could forget if I had known the striking beauty that she is. Bookmark here

“Have...we met before?” I cautiously asked, afraid that we might have crossed paths but I had forgotten.Bookmark here

She remained silent for a brief moment before looking downwards.Bookmark here

“...Perhaps not. Let’s call it a day shall we? I have to return home by sunset.”Bookmark here

Mikase seemed rather dejected as she packed her belongings and stood up. As she left the restaurant, there was a lady that was dressed in a suit awaiting her, guiding her to the car. Bookmark here

As she closed the door, she scowled at me before getting into the front seat of the car herself and drove off. Seeing how she had, presumably - a guard waiting for her with a car. It really drove home that we lived in totally different worlds.Bookmark here

XXXBookmark here

As I was on my way home, I texted Ikuro, asking about which calf he felt the pain from. Bookmark here

‘Don’t tell me, it wasn’t enough to look at a girl’s leg, now you want a boy’s one too?’ Bookmark here

I was busily typing a retort while I ducked my head to avoid a tree branch.Bookmark here

“Ow.” I felt a pain as if my hair was pulled by something.Bookmark here

Did I not duck enough and got my hair caught on the branch? Bookmark here

It’s the left one, why?’ Ikuro had replied to me as I rubbed my head in pain.Bookmark here

The left leg too...and at the exact same spot as well. It couldn’t be...could it? What were the chances that his Solus partner was not just in the same country but also the same class?Bookmark here

Most Solus pairings were rarely people near each other. It may be from another region of the country, or even across the world. Ikuro’s long-time crush, Madoka was a product of a Solus pairing as well. Her father was Japanese through and through while her mother was from Russia, making her a half-Russian beauty.Bookmark here

I couldn’t simply tell Ikuro that I suspected his Solus partner might be Mikase, he had his hopes on never finding her so as to pursue Madoka.Bookmark here

‘Nothing much, I just felt a pain on my head all of a sudden too’ I decided to use my hair being caught in a tree as an excuse.Bookmark here

‘Maybe it’s your Solus too. Wwww’ Bookmark here

‘Yea sure, they are so common.’ Bookmark here

Maybe it was due to the recent lack of sleep. I did just pull an all-nighter practicing my now redundant speech. As I was about to open the door to my home, it burst open with my mom dragging a suitcase behind her.Bookmark here

“Oh, Izuya.”Bookmark here

“Mom? Where are you going?”Bookmark here

“To your father, of course. He is in need of assistance in the U.S. “Bookmark here

“So sudden? How long will you be gone?”Bookmark here

“Well, you know how it is with business. I will probably be gone for a few weeks, if not months.”Bookmark here

She was hastily dragging her belongings down the steps, dressed in a fancy purple business suit.Bookmark here

“If you need anything, feel free to contact me or your father.” she said as she loaded her bags into her car and drove off.Bookmark here

“Well, that was…”Bookmark here

The following day, as I arrived in class, I noticed Ikuro’s bag was at his desk but he was nowhere to be seen.Bookmark here

Must have gone off to Madoka again, I thought to myself. Nanaho Madoka, the youngest daughter of the Nanaho Kenji, a famous politician. She was the only one of her sisters that inherited most of her mother’s genes. Despite her sisters having chestnut hair like their father, Madoka was born with platinum blonde hair. She had been known to be a real beauty even during our early childhood and we had used to hang out together with the three of us.Bookmark here

Madoka used to be rather outgoing but had since become rather closed off to others. From what I heard from Ikuro, she has a bad relationship with her siblings who treated her as an outcast out of jealousy.Bookmark here

Madoka also attended Kazekono Private but was placed in another class. She should have been placed in the same class as us considering how her studies were on par with mine. Bookmark here

Whether she made a mistake during her exams or purposely dropped her grades to avoid being in the same class as Ikuro would be something we would never know.Bookmark here

Ikuro had been trying to get her attention ever since he realized his feelings for her seven years ago. At first, seeing the relationship between them, I had thought they would have started going out during middle school, but recently it seems as if they were drifting further and further apart.Bookmark here

It wasn’t until the bell rang did Ikuro come back to class, with a scowl on his face.Bookmark here

Debrishi Kar
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