Note: I apologize for the delays, truly... but chapter 5 is finally out... it's longer than the usual chapter so that makes up for it... at least I hope so... Hope you enjoy reading this one, if you did please like it :) please..? :'(
It was a sunny Saturday morning. Yuugo was working part-time in a Convenience Store located near Samija High School. With him was a young lady slightly shorter than him, with shoulder-length purple hair, and wore glasses. She was Nishimiya Yukino, Yuugo's co-worker and a high school student in Samija HS from Class 1-3. She's relatively new and inexperienced with the job as this was only her 3rd Week, meager compared to Yuugo who has been working there for 5 months and spent every single day of his summer vacation working.
"I always appreciate both of you working here during the weekends, Yuugo-kun and Nishimiya-san." A man thanked the two teenagers that stood in front of him and patted their shoulders with both of his hands. That man was Watanabe Shigeo, the store manager, and their employer. He had black hair and seemed like an average person with not many distinct facial features and overall his appearance is quite forgettable.
"No, we should be the one thanking you. Thanks for everything as always, old man." Yuugo smirked.
"Y-Yeah... I'm thankful too." Yukino nodded in agreement.
"It's not a probl— H-Hey! Did you just call me an old man? I'm 32 damn it! Do I really look old to you? I still have my life ahead of me, okay?"
"Whatever you say, manager." Yuugo snarked.
"That definitely sounded like sarcasm... anyway." Shigeo cleared his throat.
"Kawashima-san will be here to switch shifts with you two later this afternoon as usual, alright? Work hard youngsters."
"Yes sir." They both replied at the same time. Their shifts usually last for 6 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Starting from 6 AM to 12 PM.
"For starters, Yuugo-kun can you go restock? And Nishimiya-san, you can stay here at the counter. If you need anything I'll be in the staff room."
"Yes," Yukino said.
"Aye-Aye." Yuugo replied and gave a saluting gesture then made his way to the Storage Room.
A few minutes passed. Yuugo was just finishing up restocking when a group of noisy boys came into the store, their voices overwhelmed the silent and desolate store.
"W-Welcome, please come in..." Yukino greeted the customers with a quiet voice and a strained smile that looked more like a mocking smirk rather than a warm smile intended to greet customers. Her fingers fidgeted and her gaze shifted frequently.
The receiver of the greeting, that is the group of boys however paid no heed to her, or perhaps they just didn't quite catch what she had said. The boys were Yuugo's friends. Yukino cast her gaze downwards, embarrassed, her face reddened.
She briefly snuck a glance at the boys and instantly recognized a particular person with them, her emerald green eyes locked on Takuya. She widened her eyes and quickly ducked under the counter. Takuya noticed her from the corner of his blue eyes but quickly shrugged it off.
Yuugo finished up restocking and returned to the counter when he noticed Yukino sitting on the floor with her head between her legs.
"Is there anything wrong? Are you feeling sick?" He asked her in a tender and soft voice.
"Y-Yeah, I'm sorry for troubling you Katsuragi-san, but c-can you keep an eye on the counter for me...?" She stuttered.
"Yeah sure, you can go rest up in the back." Yuugo pointed at the door on the back of the counter.
Yukino crawled on the floor to reach the door that leads to the staff room. Yuugo opened the door for her and promptly closed it once she had entered. He returned to the front of the counter where he noticed his friends had now gathered.
"Welcome, what do you want?" He asked in a stoic voice.
"You!!" They all shouted in unison, then followed by laughter.
"That's kind of gross." Yuugo narrowed his eyes and gave them a sneer.
"Ugh, c'mon Boss. Let's hang out.
"Can't you guys see I'm working right now?! Just wait for my shift to end."
"Work this, work that. Why don't you just relax? You've already worked your ass off over summer vacation." Tetsuya snarled and slammed the counter with his fist.
"Now, now, why don't we calm down for a moment. Yuugo-kun is busy with his part-time job, let's not force him if he can't." Daisuke placed his hands on Takuya and Tetsuya's shoulders and interjected as he attempted to defuse the situation.
Yuugo sighed and shifted his gaze to a certain golden-haired boy. Yuugo furrowed his brow and narrowed his eyes. He was prepared to ask him about the situation that occurred the day before as he had suspected that he might have had a hand in the situation between him and Alice in the Filming Club Room. Kyousuke noticed his stare and reached out for his pocket.
"Ah that's right, I have a question Yuugo," Kyousuke took out his phone and showed it to Yuugo. He bent his body forward to take a good look.
"This is you... isn't it?" Yuugo's eyes widened in absolute horror when he saw the picture displayed on Kyousuke's phone. It was a picture of him and Alice walking together from the day before.
"W-Where the hell did you get that?!" Yuugo raised his voice and attempted to take Kyousuke's phone. Kyousuke swiftly raised his phone high in the air, out of Yuugo's reach with a smirk on his face. His other friends were curious as they seemed to be rather clueless with question marks hovering over their heads. They immediately tried to sneak a peek, however Kyousuke, with no hesitation, showed them the image.
"Hah. Didn't know you were so slick, Boss. Hahaha"
"Fuckin' stupid Yuu... lucky ass bastard, walking together with such a cute girl."
"Kyou you..!" Yuugo lunged his body forward and grabbed Kyousuke by the collar of his shirt then shook him furiously.
"Delete that... now!" Yuugo insisted then began to climb on top of the counter.
"I get it... I get it... so let go of me—"
Kyousuke's foot slipped on the floor which caused him to begin falling on his backside bringing Yuugo along with him. Fortunately, Daisuke was able to catch both of them before they had landed on the hard concrete floor.
"Be more careful next time you two! You nearly hurt yourselves." Daisuke scolded them.
"I'm sorry!" They placed their hands together, forming a prayer gesture, and apologized at the same time.
"Just delete it... that's all I'm asking..." Yuugo begged.
"Why the hell not?! Also, you were the one who set me up yesterday weren't you?"
"I've no idea what you're talking about."
"Cut that crap out, I know it was you..." Yuugo headlocked Kyousuke and demanded an answer out of him. He felt frustrated because that situation caused him all sorts of trouble.
"Alright, I give up, I admit it. If it makes you happier then I'll also delete the picture." Kyousuke took his phone and deleted the picture in front of Yuugo.
"There, done." Yuugo released him from his grasps which caused Kyousuke to land on the floor on his butt. He patted his bottom to rid it of any dirt then stood up.
"Who knows, you might have it saved somewhere else..."
"I didn't, so stop suspecting me already!"
"The hell's all the ruckus about?" A voice yelled from out of nowhere. The voice came from Shigeo who just came out of the staff room. He covered his mouth with his hand and yawned loudly.
"What's this? You have your friends over Yuugo-kun? That's great but it might disturb other customers."
"Sorry to burst your bubble but there's nobody else here..."
"So just a normal day like always huh?"
"Just want to confirm but is Nishimiya-san alright?" Takuya flinched slightly when he heard that name and cast Yuugo a sidelong glance.
"Ah yeah, she's resting up. Apparently has a bad stomachache."
"Nishimiya..?" Takuya wondered.
"Nishimiya Yukino from Class 1-3, do you know her?" Yuugo turned around to face him and answered.
"So you know her then?"
"Uh, I..." Takuya lay his gaze downwards, lowered his head, and hesitated for a moment.
"The name just sounded familiar... but I don't know her..." He continued.
"Is that so?"
Yuugo doubted his answer and gave him a suspicious look, he felt like he was lying. He suspected that there must have been a reason he's trying to hide the truth but decided to just let it be and not question it further.
Suddenly, the sound of the convenience store door opening rudely interrupted the tense situation. Four girls entered the store and Yuugo hurriedly made his way back to the counter to tend to the customers.
"Welcome, please come in!" Yuugo greeted them with his customary smile however that smile soon faded as quickly as it came, and was replaced with a look of shock and confusion when he noticed a familiar young lady amongst the group. It was Takahashi Alice, and with her were her friends, Himiko, Shiori, and Sayuri.
Yuugo ducked behind the covers to escape from their view similar to what Yukino did before. The other boys turn their attention to the group of girls.
"Finally some actual customers..." Shigeo rubbed the back of his head and sighed.
"Ohoho, isn't that Takahashi-chan? She looks a lot cuter than I thought!"
"Stop it you pervert, she's Yuugo's." Takuya covered Tetsuya's eyes from behind with his hands.
"Ah hey! It's a surprise to see you here, good morning, Shinomiya-san, Takahashi-san, Ueno-san, and Shimizu-san!" Daisuke waved his arm in the air and greeted his classmates.
The girls noticed him and waved back.
"Sup," Shiori said while she chewed bubblegum.
"Good day to you too, Okamoto-san" Sayuri bowed slightly.
"Hello." Alice waved her hand slowly.
"Yoo-hoo! Mornin' boys!" Himiko energetically greeted them and waved her arms in a repetitive motion in the air.
"Ugh Takahashi-chan is cute but so are the rest of the girls! Am I in heaven?!" Tetsuya ogled at the girls.
"Has anyone seen Boss? He just disappeared all of a sudden." Takuya looked around then asked.
"Good question, I wonder where he is..." Kyousuke placed his hands on his pockets and began to whistle.
"Kyou you better not say anything stupid, I swear..." Yuugo cursed under his breath.
"Hey, Yuugo where are you!" Kyousuke shouted.
"Yuugo! Oh, Yuugo! Katsuragi Yuugo!" He continued shouting, his voice loud enough to be heard in the entire store. Alice laid her eyes on Kyousuke, the subject of his continuous shouting piqued her interest.
Yuugo slowly got up and revealed himself from behind the counter. He lowered his eyebrows and grinded his teeth whilst looking at Kyousuke.
"Oh, it's you!" Suddenly, Alice shouted and had her fingers pointed at Yuugo.
"Do ya know dat weirdo or something Alichi?"
"Yeah, we walked home together yesterday."
"Ya wat?!" Shiori wore a shocked expression. Sayuri also seemed to have been taken aback by her revelation as she had her eyebrows raised and eyes opened wide. Himiko on the other hand possessed a cunning smile.
"How could you just easily admit to that?!" Yuugo yelled.
"I mean, it's not like we were keeping it a secret." Yuugo froze at her response with a reddened face.
Shiori calmed down and blew her bubblegum and made a large popping sound. She approached the counter where Yuugo was and held out her hand.
"I'm Shinomiya Shiori, nice to meet ya." Yuugo hesitated for a moment when she made her introduction. His body trembled, then he gulped and took Shiori's hand.
"I'm Katsuragi Yuugo, it's a ple—" Shiori tightened her grip on Yuugo's hand until she was practically crushing it. Yuugo screamed in pain and desperately tried to shook off his hand, yet Shiori just continued to tighten her grip.
"So yer the vice prez's younger bro rite? Cuz ya don't seem like it. Yer weak as hell and like an ant compared to him." She remarked.
"Please stop! Oww, oww, oww, it hurts..!"
"Huh..?" Yuugo successfully escaped from her grasps. Shiori's face seemed to wonder, "How?" as she stood dumbfounded.
"Ya were actually..? Yer a lot stronger than I thought."
"What's wrong with you..? Owww, nobody does that to someone they just met!" Yuugo's face twisted in agony, teeth gritted and he gently compressed his nearly crushed right hand with his left hand.
He was furious, and understandably so. A person he just met had intentionally attempted to break his hand, it was unreasonable and illogical to him. He was furious, yet at the same time curious. He was surprised that a young lady like her possessed such tremendous strength, it was unbelievable. He wondered if she took up any martial arts or anything similar.
"Hahaha, sorry bout dat! Just wanted to test ya and all dat."
"That doesn't exactly fix things..."
"Just forget bout it alrite? If ya don't yer gonna be an old man before ya know it." Shiori laughed as she slapped Yuugo's back with tremendous force, and caused Yuugo to squeal.
"Good grief, is this what kids do these days? Well if you'll excuse me I'll be in the staff room." Shigeo sighed, placed a hand on his brow, and shook his head.
"You know manager, you really do sound like an old man when you say that." Kyousuke joked.
"Shut up, not you too!" Shigeo clicked his tongue, he shouted and mumbled inaudibly as he opened the staff room door and returned inside.
"Anyway, aren't you going to buy anything?" Yuugo asked the group of girls that question.
"Ah no actually, we're here to see Yukino-chan. She said she recently started to work in this place so we wanted to check it out." Himiko said.
"Nishimiya-san? Oh, she's in the staff room resting, she apparently has a stomachache."
"Is she okay?" Alice asked.
"I'll ask her so wait, let me get her real quick for you."
Yuugo ran to the staff room, opened the door, and went in. Inside, he saw Yukino sitting on one of the white monobloc chairs.
"Hey, Nishimiya-san. How are you feeling?" He approached her and asked.
"I feel a lot better now... thank you for worrying about me... and... sorry for troubling you..."
"It's fine, anyway, you're friends are here looking for you."
"Takahashi-san and the others."
"Ah I see, I'll come right away." She stood up from her seat and stepped out of the room, Yuugo followed her shortly after.
"Yukino-chan!" Himiko ran and hugged her.
"Your face is real cute and soft as always." Himiko rubbed her face against Yukino's.
"Ueno-san, s-stop it please, it's embarrassing, and my glasses are..."
"Himiko, I told you to call me Himiko."
For a split second, Yukino and Takuya's eyes met with one another. However, they almost immediately averted their gaze. Takuya turned around and even began to leave the store.
"Ah Takuya, where are you going?" This was the second time he saw Takuya acting weird today. He reached out his hand and asked him.
"Uh, s-sorry Boss, I think I need some fresh air."
"Alright..." The other girls began to approach Himiko and Yukino, Yuugo walked away and went to the counter with his friends, and left the girls to their own devices.
After some time, Takuya came back to the store and joined the rest of the boys. Himiko approached the boys and beckoned the girls to follow her.
"Here's an idea! Since Yukino-chan and Katsuragi-kun's shift ends at 12, wouldn't it be a good idea if we all hang out? How does Akihabara sound?" Himiko suggested and raised a single finger.
"I don't go there much but eh, why not. I have nothin' else to do anyway." Shiori decided
"Sure, I don't mind either," Alice said.
"Akiba? I'm down," Kyousuke responded.
"Hanging out with girls? How can I say no to that offer?? Don't worry girls, you can count on me when you need anything." Tetsuya said eagerly and gave the girls a wink. The girls could only twist their faces in disgust at him in response.
"Why are you staring at me like that?!"
"Sounds great, I'm not against it," Daisuke replied.
"If everyone's onboard then I guess I'm coming as well... How about you Takuya?" Yuugo said then turned his attention to Takuya who has been silent and refused to give the girls a look ever since he came back in the store.
"Takuya?" He asked him again. He placed a hand on his shoulder and wore a worried expression. Something seemed to have been bothering Takuya, even though Takuya was frequently absent-minded he thought that the situation today was very different and is probably connected with Yukino.
"Huh? Oh yeah... sure."
"It's decided then! Akihabara it is!" Himiko proclaimed and pointed a finger to the sky, in this case, the ceiling.
"But let's first tackle this issue, since some of us don't know each other, why don't we begin by properly introducing ourselves? I'll start... I'm Ueno Himiko, it's nice to meet you all, boys!" Himiko started and gave her name, then the rest of them all took turns introducing themselves.
When it eventually came to Takuya's turn, he simpled stood in silence, looking dejected. Yuugo gently shook his body and he came back to his senses. He simply gave a brief introduction, his eyes were not even looking at anyone, just the floor.
After a few hours, Yuugo and Yukino finished their shift and prepared to leave. Kawashima Inori, the person who was going to replace their shift arrived shortly after.
"Take care y'all. I hope you have fun, Yuugo-kun, and Nishimiya-san."
"Thanks, manager, oh and Kawashima-san, please make sure he doesn't forget to lock the store.
"Got it." Kawashima Inori responded. A woman in her late 20s with long blonde hair. She was about the same height as Yuugo and her defining feature was her noticeable large breasts.
"I'm not an old man!"
Tetsuya indecently stared at Inori's chest. She noticed him and punched the top of his head.
"Oww, what'd you do that for??"
"You were looking at me like a creep again. Manager can we just ban this guy or something?"
"What?? No! I wasn't staring, I swear!"
"Did you say something..?" She furiously grinned and held up a fist.
"N-Nothing ma'am! I'm sorry!"
"Heeeeey! Can we get going already? I'm getting hungry." Himiko called out.
"Yeah, Himiko-chan's right, let's go. Also, Tetsuya, behave yourself."
The 10-person group then began to head off to Shibuya Station to take a train to Akihabara. They passed by Samija High School on their way. Eventually, after 20 minutes they reached the Shibuya Station.
"It's already 12:23, why don't we go eat lunch at a nearby family restaurant?" Daisuke suggested.
"Yes please, I'm starving..." Himiko said as she clutched her stomach. The group settled for Gusto Shibuya Station Restaurant located near the station and after 30 minutes or so they finished up and returned to the station.
They arrived back at Shibuya Station and rode on one of the local trains en route to Akihabara. The group sat at a distance from each other, apart from Kyousuke and Himiko who were sitting together the rest were separated between the boy's group and the girl's group.
Kyousuke and Himiko were a couple while the rest viewed each other as complete strangers and have not built up proper relationships yet. The two groups immersed themselves in idle chatter during the ride, and after a 30-minute train ride, they arrived at Akihabara.
They stepped out of the station. Fortunately, the weather was cloudy and thus the group was not mercilessly hit by an unbearable afternoon heat.
"Akiba! It's been too long! And by too long I mean a month." Himiko stretched her arms wide open as she welcomed the sight of Akihabara.
"I dun come here often, iz too nerdy. Otaku personally ain't for me." Shiori said.
"Now that I think of it, I've never been here much at all despite being close to school." Yuugo shared.
"What are y'all waiting for? Let's go!" Tetsuya eagerly said.
"What are you so excited for all of a sudden?" Yuugo asked.
"Are you seriously asking that Yuu?"
"Is it to bolster up your anime figure collection?"
"That's nice and all but no... Maid Cafes of course!"
"Are you... serious..?" Yuugo looked at him dumbfounded. Kyousuke and Daisuke laughed while the girls looked at him with disgust.
"Weirdo." The girls all quietly judged him.
"Of course I'm serious. I've been waiting for this moment my entire life. I've saved up enough money for a whole day's worth of only Maid Cafes." He proudly bragged.
"You're going to use up your entire allowance for Maid Cafes??"
"Tsk, tsk, tsk, not only my allowance my dear Yuu-kun but also my entire savings." He repeatedly clicked his tongue while he raised his index finger and shaking it from side to side as he openly admitted that like it was an achievement.
"Uh, why?" Yuugo could not understand his thought process and reasoning. He always knew Tetsuya was huge in the whole anime and manga thing, and admittedly he was too. He frequently watches a lot of anime on his free time but that wasn't the problem.
"Did you know that Akihabara is the birthplace of Maid Cafes, my dear Yuu-kun?"
"No, but I didn't need to know that!"
"As a fine connoisseur of otaku culture it is my responsibility to experience it to the fullest and how better can I do just that than go to Akihabara the haven for anything otaku culture related? Maid Cafes are the epitome of otaku culture, it combines everything from anime, cute girls, cosplay, maid outfits, cat ears, and especially their signature nyaa~. To experience Maid Cafes in the place where it was created. It is the ultimate dream. I even have enough money for another person to come along, of course, my treat. So if you truly wish for it I might allow you to tag along with me."
Tetsuya went on a long-winded speech about his obsession with otaku culture. The rest of the group just stood in silence and gave him a blank and awkward stare. Yuugo cleared his throat to break the deafening silence.
"Sorry but I'm not going with your weird afternoon adventure, but..." He paused then looked at Takuya.
"If you don't mind, can you take Takuya with you instead?"
"Taku-kun?" He looked at Takuya that was located at the back of the group, just standing still.
"He's been gloomy ever since this morning, maybe your wacky Maid Cafe binge trip is enough to make him snap out of it."
"Don't worry, the maids will take good care of him."
"Takuya!" Yuugo called out.
"Hmmm?" Takuya looked at Yuugo with his head tilted.
"Do you want to go with Tetsuya?"
"Sure... I don't really care."
"Sweet! Come Taku-kun, I'll teach you about the ways. We're gonna have the best day of our lives."
Takuya and Tetsuya set off to their Maid Cafe Adventure leaving the rest of the group. Yuugo hoped that it would be enough to lift his spirits.
"So should we split up too? Yuugo and Takahashi-san, you can come with me and Himiko. Which only leaves the rest of the girls and... Daisuke." Kyousuke suggested.
"Wait why do I have to tag along with you?" Yuugo complained. Kyousuke took Yuugo by his arm and dragged him to a secluded area and the two discussed privately.
"Come on dude just tag along, this is your chance," Kyousuke whispered.
"I'm done with this, don't pull any of your shit again."
"If I didn't do what I did yesterday you would've probably not made a single inch of progress closer to Takahashi-san for the entire year, you should be grateful. You got nothing but good things out of it."
Although Yuugo felt it caused him a lot of trouble, he never looked at the benefits he gained from it. Objectively speaking, the outcomes of yesterday were more than desirable for him. He got what he wanted; he started talking with Alice and even became acquainted with her, though it has not reached friendship yet.
"Yeah but still..."
"Whatever just do it, c'mon."
"Fine, just fine!"
The two returned to the group and they decided to divide each other into two smaller groups. The first group with Yuugo, Alice, Kyousuke, and Himiko, and then the second group with Daisuke and the remaining girls, Shiori, Sayuri, and Yukino.
With that, the two groups went their separate ways. Yuugo's group was first heading to Atre Akihabara 1 to shop and look around. While Daisuke's group was heading to Akihabara Radio Kaikan. From the Akihabara Station, it would only take Yuugo's group a minute to reach Atre Akihabara 1.
Yuugo's group entered Atre. Kyousuke and Himiko were walking together with Yuugo and Alice together right behind them. Although the former two were busy noisily chatting, the latter two were dead silent in comparison.
Their movements were stiff like they were robots following Kyousuke and Himiko. Even their footsteps made no sounds, their faces were tense. They felt like they were third and fourth wheels, getting in the way of their date. Though from an outsider's perspective it might seem like a double date.
"It's pretty awkward huh?" Alice tried to break the awkward silence and asked.
"Yeah, I feel like we're just getting in the way..."
"I know right." They simpled continued to follow them. Making small talk here and there but it was usually to comment on the awkwardness of the situation.
"Hey hey, let's get some ice cream!" Himiko's eyes light up in excitement as she pointed a finger at an ice cream store.
"Of course," Kyousuke replied. Yuugo and Alice follow them to the store. They ordered one large ice cream then Kyousuke and Himiko began licking both sides of the ice cream. Yuugo and Alice lay in silence, frozen with shocked expressions.
"Is this what..." Yuugo said.
"Couples do..?" Alice asked.
"What are you two staring for? Aren't you two getting one too?" Kyousuke asked the both of them who were rudely staring at himself and Himiko as if what they had done was completely normal, or perhaps Yuugo and Alice were just that hopeless at love.
"No thanks, I'll take the normal size." Yuugo turned down their suggestion.
"Same for me." Alice agreed. Yuugo bought green tea ice cream while Alice got standard vanilla.
"You only got vanilla flavor Alice?" Himiko asked.
"Sometimes simple is best."
"I can't argue with that."
The group continued to wander around. Himiko and Alice were just window shopping most of the time. They were going through and trying out new outfits and dresses, while Kyousuke and Yuugo simply followed them around. They never understood the fun of trying on clothes that they wouldn't buy in the first place, seemed like a waste of time.
The group continued to stroll around the Mall. The girls were the ones in charge during their entire time in Atre while the boys only ever followed their lead. Boys were never really the type to enjoy shopping as much as girls did.
Yuugo in particular actually disliked malls since it's usually crowded, bustling with people and noises. He far peaceful and quieter places like the Libary or simply just home. However, Atre wasn't like other malls, since it was located in Akiba, a place mainly catering to people who are into otaku culture and electronics, Atre felt out of place and is usually not as crowded as other malls like the ones back in Shibuya.
"It's getting boring now... Kyou, what time is it." Himiko slouched on one of the benches and yawned. Kyousuke took out his phone and checked. 2:43 PM. They hadn't really planned about meeting back with the rest of the group later.
"Why don't we do some cosplaying?" Kyousuke suggested.
"Kyou, that's a little... embarrassing."
"Since we're here in Akihabara we might as well." Kyousuke insisted.
"Kay, fine..." Himiko gave it some thought and though she was initially reluctant she eventually gave in.
"How bout you two?" Himiko asked the pair; Yuugo who was leaning on the wall and Alice beside him playing with her phone.
"Sure." Yuugo complied.
"I haven't cosplayed before I think I'd like to try out." Alice turned her attention away from her phone and agreed with the plan.
"Alright then." Himiko promptly stood up and the group went back down to the ground floor then exited the building. They headed west to Akiba Culture Zone, as they walked they passed by Takuya and Tetsuya.
"Yo, Tetsuya. How are things going for you two so far?" Daisuke asked them.
"Great! We're no our way to our third Maid Cafe in fact." Tetsuya placed his hands on his waist and puffed up his chest.
"Third already??" Yuugo's yellow pupils shifted focused on Takuya. A slight smile showed on the boy's face, Yuugo felt relieved when he saw that face.
"Your face looks much better Takuya." He commented.
"Y-Yeah, I'm feeling better now, sorry for worrying ya Boss, and everyone."
"Well anyway, we have to get going now, let's meet up again maybe at 5 later," Yuugo said.
"Aight, I'll text you guys later," Tetsuya responded.
"Got it." They separated then Yuugo and co. continued to Akiba Culture Zone. They walked for a few more minutes then finally arrived at their destination.
"ACOS is on the 5th floor, right? Himiko asked Kyousuke to confirm. Kyousuke nodded and they entered the elevator and pressed the 5th floor. ACOS Akihabara is a cosplay shop on the 5th Floor of Akiba Culture Zone.
The elevator door opened and the group stepped foot on the 5th Floor. Rows upon rows of cosplay costumes and accessories greeted them.
"Wow, there's a lot of costumes here!" Himiko's eyes light up in enthusiasm as she went through the various costumes displayed.
"Of course, it's the best cosplay shop in Akiba," Kyousuke said.
"I think I want to try it out... though it's a bit embarrassing."
"Don't worry about that Himiko-chan, we won't judge you harshly." Kyousuke placed a hand on her shoulder.
"That's not the problem... well whatever." Himiko took one of the costumes on the rack. It was the standard white and pink magical girl costume, the type you'd see in any magical girl anime. It was complete with even a wand, and a pink wig. Himiko went to one of the fitting rooms, cosplay accessories in hand.
"T-Ta dah..!" Himiko finished changing into her magical girl cosplay and came out of the fitting room. She swung her wand in a horizontal motion then raised it and finally swung it back down, pointing at them.
"C...C-Cute! That costume fits you really well, Himiko-chan!" Kyousuke folded his hands together and rested them on the sides of his cheek and praised Himiko.
"It does look cute." Alice agreed.
"Would you like to try it out too Alice?" Himiko asked.
"Sure." She replied. Himiko gave a smile with her eyes shut then went on one of the racks then took a costume. She grabbed Alice by her wrist and together they went inside the fitting room.
"W-Wait a minute Himiko, this is..." Alice protested but Himiko pushed her out of the fitting room. She was wearing a maid outfit, with cat ears and even a cat tail. She was looking away from the boys, her entire face was red. She pulled the outfit's short skirt downwards. She was not used to wearing really short skirts and felt slightly embarrassed to be wearing such revealing clothing.
"Come on Alice, say something at least." Himiko urged her.
"L-Like what exactly..?"
"How about a cute Meow~?"
"Come on, come on, oh, and don't forget to face the boys. Don't look away." Himiko placed her hand under Alice's chin and turned her face so that it could look straight at Yuugo and Kyousuke. She resisted but was kind of curious as to what they would think of it, at the same time she felt nervous because this was her first time cosplaying.
She gave in and faced the boys. Kyousuke's eyes widened and his mouth opened seeing Alice's costume. Yuugo's body seemed stiff and he simply stared at her. However, his muscles twitched frequently, his fingers shivered constantly, and his eyes blinked repeatedly. Sweat trickled down his entire face as he pursed his lips.
In truth, he was desperately trying to not freak out. To him, Alice was always a beautiful young lady but her Maid cosplay took that beauty to another level, despite being clad in a maid costume, he thought she was a goddess. He told himself to calm down but it had the opposite effect. His breathing hastened and his heartbeat quickened.
That was the last straw that broke the camel's back. Yuugo began quietly laughing to himself like a maniac. He covered his blushing face with his hands. Alice's eyes narrowed and twitched seeing his reaction, she looked away and frowned.
"If you don't like you don't have to laugh..." She muttered
"A-Alice..? Look what you did Katsuragi-kun, you're gonna make her cry!" Himiko placed her hand on Alice's back and tried to comfort her, then reprimanded Yuugo.
"H-Huh?! No that's! I wasn't laughing because of that! It was the opposite! You were... you were too cute, I just couldn't look..."
"Stop it, you're stuttering, I know you're lying..."
"No it's the truth, you really were cute!" He tried desperately to convince her. It's just that his failed attempts at holding back his feelings caused Alice to misunderstood and rub his reaction the wrong way.
"Hmmm... okay..." Alice approached him, grabbed his wrist, and forcibly dragged him to the fitting room.
"Wait a minute, I don't even have a—" Yuugo tried to protest but Alice violently pushed him inside the room.
"It's fine. I got us costumes right here." Kyousuke appeared out of nowhere with two sets of cosplay costumes in his hands.
"Kyou?!" Yuugo looked at Alice who had her head turned away from him, eyes closed and arms crossed.
"Ugh fine..." Yuugo reluctantly complied.
Yuugo and Kyousuke got out of the fitting after a few minutes with their cosplay. Yuugo wore a butler costume similar to the butler outfit in Black Butler while Kyousuke on the other hand...
"Pfft..! What's with the cross-dressing?!" Himiko tried to hold back her laughter upon seeing Kyousuke's ridiculous magical girl outfit.
"Well... I couldn't find any magical boy ones so I had to settle for this..." Kyousuke raised the hem of the yellow and white dress slightly and waved his wand around.
"Hi-ya! Take that! Tiro Volley! Tiro Finale!" Himiko's eyes widened, and her mouth began to drool.
"C-Crap, wait a minute. That's actually kind of hot." Himiko wiped off the saliva that began dripping down her mouth.
"What do you think of mine?" Yuugo asked.
"It's... fine... I guess..." Alice responded with a pouting face. She felt inclined to make fun of him a little as a payback for what he did to her before but she didn't have the guts to do so and ended up complimenting him albeit in the lowest form of praise. Though in truth she thought the outfit looked really good on him.
"You like it..? Really?" Yuugo grinned while he looked at the ceiling, his eyes closed, seemingly satisfied with even the tiniest bit of praise from Alice. He clenched his fist and raised it in the air as if to signify his victory.
The 4-person group had matching costumes. It was as if Kyousuke had intentionally set it up that way, he and Himiko had matching magical girl outfits albeit it was a bit disturbing and creepy whilst Yuugo and Alice wore similar servant-type costumes.
"Cosplaying isn't so bad after all," Himiko admitted.
"Same, this was my first time but it wasn't a bad experience at all." Alice agreed.
"Anyway..." Himiko stretched her arms and yawned.
"I think I'm a little tired now..." She continued.
"Should we get going then? It's already 3:23, and Daisuke just messaged me saying to meet up with them in Fukurou." Kyousuke scrolled through his phone and informed them.
"Fukurou? The Owl Cafe?" Himiko tilted her head to the side.
"Ah. Well, I think we should get going, don't wanna make them wait." Himiko said, and the others nodded in agreement. They changed out of their cosplays back to their casual clothing and proceeded to leave ACOS. They walked 500 meters to Fukurou where they meet up with Daisuke and the girls playing with... the owls.
Daisuke greeted Yuugo's group, and Himiko and Alice joined the rest of the girls playing with the owls. They spent 30 minutes in the cafe until Tetsuya and Takuya arrived. They spent an extra 15 minutes then left the cafe at around 4:15.
The entire group had now gathered back in front of Akihabara Station. The group stood around just talking to each other. Takuya and Tetsuya in particular seemed like they were in heaven, their faces wore a big grin like they have experienced the best day of their lives.
"This is where we'll split off, I have to go on ahead. Sorry guys!" Himiko pressed her hands together and apologized, she waved her friends goodbye.
"Kyou! See you, bye!" She called out to him and waved her arm in the air. Kyousuke noticed her and waved back.
"Now that I remember, Ueno-san lives pretty far right?" Yuugo asked.
"Yeah, Kamagaya in Chiba Prefecture," Kyousuke replied.
"I wonder why she chose to study at Samija High School... I mean... isn't it exhausting spending 4 hours each day traveling to and from school?"
"Yeah it really is tough, she... she told me she's doing it for Alice."
"For... Alice?" Yuugo wondered.
"Hey, ya two! Whatcha still doin'? We're gonna leave ya behind." Shiori shouted at Yuugo and Kyousuke who were still standing around while the rest of the group was already inside the station.
Yuugo was curious about Himiko's circumstances, and why she would travel such a far distance to the same school as Alice, however, he was interrupted before he could ask any more. And he was glad he was stopped because otherwise, he might have said something stupid, at the end of the day he has no business meddling with Himiko's life.
They said curiosity killed the cat, and so he doesn't have the right to step a foot into other's personal borders and meddle in things he had no right to be part of, yet he just can't help but wonder.
They quickly ran inside and joined back with the group. They bought their tickets and waited for the next train to Shibuya Station.
"Pssst!" Kyouske called out to Yuugo. He approached him and Kyousuke whispered something in his ear.
"The day's almost done and you've done no moves with Alice, are you fine with that?"
"What do you think I should do then?"
"Maybe you should think about it yourself for once."
"T-That..." Kyousuke placed a hand on Yuugo's back and pushed him towards Alice.
"Just do it, man," Yuugo mumbled to himself and approached Alice who was with her friends.
"C-Can I t-talk to you, Takahashi-san?" He stuttered as he spoke, Alice gave a simple "Sure" in response and they moved to a more isolated area.
"So what is it that you want to talk to me about Katsuragi-san?"
"Ah, it's actually, uh..." He twiddled his index fingers together and his body slightly trembled as he stood. He looked for the right words to say, no, rather, he looked for the confidence to tell her. He inhaled then exhaled.
"C-Can, w-we e-exchange LINE IDs..?" He quavered as he asked her that question.
"Yes! Line! You know, the messaging app."
"Yes, I'm aware of it. Here, I'll give you mine."
Alice took out her phone from her sling bag. She opened the app and showed him a QR Code, Yuugo took his phone then scanned the code and they added each other as friends.
"T-Thanks a lot!"
"No problem. Well, if you'll excuse me."
"Y-Yeah." Alice excused herself and regrouped with her friends. Kyousuke suddenly appeared and wrapped his arm around Yuugo's neck.
"See? It wasn't that hard now was it?"
"I mean, I guess." Yuugo tried to push away Kyousuke's arm that wrapped around him.
"That's ma boy! I raised you well!" Kyousuke rubs Yuugo's head vigorously.
"Would you stop that? That's a creepy thing to say." Kyousuke only laughed.
"Hey, ya two! Ya comin' or wat?" Shiori called out to them. Kyosuke took his arms off Yuugo and they both went inside the train.
"We're heading this way, today was fun, thanks and bye!" Alice said.
"Yeah, you girls take care as well alright?" Kyousuke replied.
"Yes, you too." The boys and girls waved each other goodbye as they went their separate ways.
"Hey, hey, let's go to the arcade!" Tetsuya suggested. The rest of the young men agreed.
Then, from the corner of Yuugo's eye— A man with a large and muscular build, slightly taller than Yuugo passed by the group of boys, Yuugo turned around, he felt like he had seen that person before. The man continued to walk down the streets of Shibuya, the man stopped when the traffic light turned green, his back still facing Yuugo.
Yuugo knew him, he did, yet he can't quite put his finger on it. He was familiar, he has seen him before but where? He racked his brain trying to remember.
"Yuugo? What's wrong?" Daisuke asked him.
"H-Huh? Uh it's nothing." He decided to not think anything of it, it could very well just have been a stranger. He continued walking the opposite way. Yet the identity of the man continued to bug him. Eventually, he had walked far enough to the point that the husky man could no longer be seen, hidden away in the Shibuya crowd.
The traffic light turned red yet the man did not move an inch from his initial position. He only turned his head around slightly and saw the backs of the group of boys.
He made a sinister grin and began to laugh. The surrounding bystanders and people walking around thought he was insane and moved away from him and if you add his large body composition they obviously didn't want anything to do with him or else it would end badly for them.
"I found you..." He muttered.
"Katsuragi Yuugo..." He added and continued his eerie laughter, loud enough that it stood out in the midst of the noises of cars that passed by and the busy crowds that roamed the streets. That man, just who was he?