Chapter 16:

President Target

Heartless Overclock

 A man clears his throat in the middle of an empty school cafeteria as he silently pushes away the seat as he stands. He takes another glance at the table in front of him as he tightens his necktie. After doing all these, he leaves the school cafeteria through the fire exit leaving behind a black envelope on the table he was previously standing next to.

A door creaks and echoes as a bewildered student silently walks out and cautiously closes the door behind him. They stayed in the restroom as they heard the glasses shatter and sounds of thunder reverberating in the cafeteria. They finally decide that it was silent enough to be safe. Then they notice the conspicuous and suspicious black envelope on the table.

They walk toward it cautiously as they turn their head around to see if anyone would enter at an untimely moment. They arrive at the table where the envelope rests. Looking around the empty and eerily silent cafeteria, they open the unsealed envelope and pull out a black paper with white letters printed on it. It read, “Kill Juusaki Hachiko.”

The student who holds the paper stands motionless and shock. Then they flip over the black paper and see some kind of pattern of numbers. They quickly fold the paper and place it back into its envelope and pocket it.

Nana meets with Juusaki as he is getting discharged from the nearby hospital, the same one he was admitted to last time, at night.

Nana runs over to Juusaki, “How are you doing?”

“I’m doing fine,” Juusaki answers oddly nonchalantly.

“How could you say that as if nothing happened?”

“No, I am very fine,” Juusaki rolls his shoulders and bends his back to emphasize, and a slight crunching noise sounds.

“That doesn’t sound good, and you are still not fine. You landed on your back while I was on top of you!”

“Pain Ignorance Protocol,” Juusaki whispers before he responds to Nana’s concern. “What leads you here?”

“What kind of question is that? I came here worried for you.”

“How’s Denji?”

“Your situation doesn’t allow you to worry for anyone else but yourself! Don’t worry about him. Actually, he is more worried about you!”

“You told him what happened?”

“Of course I di— wait, was I not supposed to do that?”

“No, that’s alright. It was good that you did.”

“Don’t worry. Only I and Denji knows what happened earlier. All the students thought there was an actual fire.” Nana locks her eyes onto his, “So are you going to sc— actually, no. You are forbidden to attend school tomorrow. If I see you there—”

Juusaki places his hand on her shoulders, “I told you, I’m fine. I’ll be going to school tomorrow.” A limousine rolls up in front of him, “Good night, Kawamoto-san.”

The driver talks to his passenger, “You would have died if you weren’t wearing that special coat, but then it wouldn’t protect you from bullets.”

“I am aware. I’m sorry for my imprudence,” Juusaki replies.

“Well, you did not have a lot of choices back there. But jumping from a building? That’s a big no-no. Even if that school coat of yours can be turned into a glider, you should have asked for help. We could have taken down that chopper, you know? Trust us a little. Actually, I’m sure you trust us that much. Rely on your company a little.”

“I apologize. I will do so next time.”

“That’s my agent.”

It’s another school day in the ‘School Of The Sky,’ but nothing has changed or caused an uproar among the students. And it’s lunchtime, and the group of boys except Denji resides at their usual table. Then Juusaki arrives.

“Denji-san—” Juusaki calls out.

Denji quickly stands up, “I’m sorry. I’ve got a council meeting today. I might not be able to meet you guys later before or after class,” he briskly walks to the elevators as its doors open. He disappears behind the closing doors.

Juusaki freezes in place surprised at this sudden departure.

“Don’t worry about him! Come sit with us! We are friends, aren’t we?” Daichi beckons him to sit. “I think we are all friends, except you, Daichi,” Hibiki coldly says.

“You are horrible!” Daichi responds.

“Not as horrible as your jokes!” Hibiki retorts.

“Slight burn right there,” Akio hands a cup of water to Daichi, “pour it on the burned area.” Hibiki guffaws while Kyou slightly grins as Juusaki takes a seat on the table.

“So, I’ve heard from Daichi,” Hibiki turns to Juusaki, “you have been going swimming this week?” Juusaki nods, “Yes, I have been.”

“Hey, hey! Why is that?” Hibiki slightly smirks, “Is it to sightsee?”

“No! No!” Daichi shakes his head and points at Juusaki, “he wasn’t there for that. In fact, he attended a solo swimming session with me, only me!”

“Ah? Really? Boring…” Hibiki comments.

“Are you sure there was no one with Juusaki other than you?” Akio asks.

“Why are you guys— come on, Juusaki likes my guts, so of course he would like me… as a friend, of course!”

“Ew, how gay,” Hibiki teases.

“You shouldn’t be joking about gay jokes. There are males dating males at this age,” Akio states.

“Well, at any case,” Hibiki leans forward from his chair, “Juusaki will be joining the Swimming Club.”

“Wait, really?” Akio quickly asks.

“I think so. Will you, Juusaki? I would be glad if you do,” Daichi says.

“No, I already have chosen my extracurricular activities,” Juusaki states.

“Wait, it isn’t the Swimming Club?” the three boys exclaim in unison.

“Yes, it isn’t.”

“Wait, you said extracurricular quite specifically. So you aren’t joining a club?” Akio asks.

“That is correct,” Juusaki answers.

“Then, what is it?”

“I’ll be a librarian.”

Silence falls and is maintained for a few moments.

“S—seriously? A librarian?” Daichi scoffs.

“Daichi, you shouldn’t be like that. You would be insulting the librarians in the whole world,” Akio scolds.

“But, I kinda agree with Daichi here—” Hibiki gets cut off.

“Agree with him on what!?” Akio interrupts.

“Like, look, Juusaki could be more fitting to be in the Music Club—”

“Oh, what a way to shill!” Akio blurts out.

“If it’s his choice, then leave him alone,” Kyou raises his voice joining the conversation.

“Oh, he talks! The silent man!” Daichi jokes but no one laughs. “Oh, come on! I put effort into it!” Hibiki makes a fake laugh that hurts Daichi’s soul more, “Very funny. Ten out of ten. Best joke ever. Much more explosive than a nuclea—”

“S—stop! I get it! For joke’s sake…” Sinking into his chair, Daichi cowers his presence.

School is over, but Denji stays in overtime in the Autonomous Council’s office as he reads some paperwork and occasionally returning his hands to type on a grey laptop.

“President, are you alright with all this paperwork?” A concerned member asks.

“It wouldn’t be alright if this report doesn’t get finished. Don’t worry about me. I’ll get it all done. You guys have a rest now.”

“As you say, President,” the member steps out of the door and passes by another student entering in.

“Denji-san,” Juusaki walks in front of Denji’s desk.

Denji’s head tilts up from the pile of papers, and his face turns into a pleasant surprise, “Oh, Juusaki, what are you doing here?”

“I would like to apply for a position in the library. Student librarian to be exact.”

“O—oh? Librarian, huh?” Denji says in slight disappointment as he wished that he joined as a secretary for him instead. But he didn’t let that disappointment show on his face. “Sure,” Denji stands up to head over to a cabinet, “I’ll just need you to read and sign this paper. It’s just rules and agreements— and stuff. There is not really a qualification, but your grades should be well-maintained.”

“I understand. This is no problem to me, Denji-san— or should I call you now, President?”Denji weakly laughs, “N—no need! I just want to stay things as they are…” His voice trails off.

“As they are?”

“Never mind that! Never mind that!” Denji then pulls out a sheet of paper and hands it to Juusaki, “Here, just fill the application form, and give it to me.”

“Will do.”

Moments later, Juusaki passes the form to Denji who is again buried under the piles of paper in front and at the side of his desk. Denji’s head struggles to keep itself straight up.

“Denji-san, do you need help around here?”

But Juusaki doesn’t receive a response and analyzes Denji’s face and notices a drool coming out from his mouth. Juusaki slightly nudges Denji, “Denji-san, please wake up.”

“Ah… oh! I—!” Denji quickly wipes the drool off his mouth, “I—I—I—I am awake! You see!” Denji laughs, “Awake! You see working, yes!”

“Here is the application form,” Juusaki hands the form over. “Do you need help around here?”Denji takes the form on the table and starts to sign it, “No need for that. I will have this signed soon.”

“Why the piles of paper? Is there some kind of event?”

“Yes,” Denji stops moving his pen, “we are going to have a school festival. We are going to place the posters tomorrow, but we are planning earlier so it would be easier to prepare for the event.”

“I see. Are you sure you don’t want me to help?”

“No need. Don’t worry about me. I’m fine.”

“You seem to be taking the work all by yourself.”

“That’s not the case. Don’t worry.”

“But please, let me help with the paperwork at least,” Juusaki walks over to Denji’s side.“Don’t trouble yourself with this. Here, I signed this paper—” Denji looks down to the paper that has his signature in the middle. And the signature isn’t fully written out, and his pen has disappeared from his hands. “W—what!? Where is the pen? Ah! How could I sign it in the middle!?”

“It is hard, isn’t it? Please, let me help you. It would be more efficient and error-free if you let me help you.”

“A—ah…” Denji groans, “fiiiine… but… will you please answer another form again?”

Juusaki’s voluntary work has started, but something is unusual in front of his seating.

“J—juusaki? Why do you have two laptops? You only need one!”

“I’m ambidextrous, Denji-san. Don’t worry. I’ll finish faster than you expected.”

“W—what!? Juusaki is taking all the work away from me!!” Denji exclaims as papers go flying around Juusaki as he snatches the paper while simultaneously typing at both laptops with each of his hands at seemingly light speed.

“T—thanks for the good work… The work ended faster than expected, right?” Denji weakly laughs.

“I told you, it would be faster than you expected.”

“Why won’t you be my secretary instead?”

“I’m sorry, but I’ve firmly decided.”

“And why did you decide to be a librarian?”

“I thought it was the best choice. I would be learning massive amounts of knowledge while I get to contribute to society.”

“O—of course! Right!?” Denji weakly laughs yet again while Juusaki slightly smirks as his expression starts to shine prideful confidence.

Joe Gold
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