My Cute Kohai is Actually My Archnemesis?!
Hoshi had been tired before, but this was something else. It wasn’t so much because of the whole orphanage deal that happened last night; Granted, that was pretty stressful. No, Hoshi had stayed up all night thinking about what Flare’s whole deal was, and who those masked people were. He had then resolved to draft a request form to pursue this article and sent the email first thing in the morning.
Barry had apparently seen it and was still in the process of approving it—On the grounds that Hoshi was a great reporter and had a good track record with hard cases. Ever since Danger Crews became a thing, A-Team reporters had completely sworn off dark topics, and only so they didn’t have to do the hard work. It didn’t bother Hoshi much though: Going further into these topics gave Hoshi insight that he couldn’t get otherwise in his heroism.
When he saw Reyna rush in looking for all the world like a lost kitten, he felt himself re-energize. Seeing her emotional flurry at his mention of pursuing the orphanage fire was even more surprising, and then he was impressed by her resolve…until she called him senpai again. Seeing Reyna flustered was, admittedly, very satisfying and cute.
He felt his face warm up at the thought. “And I thought I was immune after my last female coworker…” he mumbled.
Reyna perked up from her side of the cubicle. “What was that?”
“Oh, nothing,” Hoshi said quickly. “Just wondering about when we’ll be good to go.” He then noticed her sparse desk and quirked an eyebrow. “Is your desk all set up?”
She blushed. “Well, I mean, I don’t really have much in the way of knick-knacks, but I’ve got this…“ She pointed out a keychain on her bag: A worn, comic-style acrylic dragon that still shone in the light.
“A dragon, eh?” Hoshi smiled. “That’s pretty cool. You like dragons, then?”
Reyna shook her head. “Not really,” she said. “But my mom gave it to me a long time ago…”
The keychain jingled and Hoshi watched Reyna grow melancholic. “She did tell me to be strong like a dragon, though.”
Hoshi hummed. “And annoying, too?”
He recoiled with a laugh as she immediately turned on him. “As if you’re one to talk! You’ve barely taught me anything!”
“Relax, it’s your first real day!” argued Hoshi, sweating at her fiery glare. “And yes, all I’ve really done is show you how to do things, but that was then and this is now. You’re still a newborn here—there’s lots of room to grow!”
Reyna scowled. “Now you’re comparing me to a baby, Michiaki-senpai?”
“What—No! And don’t call me senpai!”
“I can call you whatever I want, senpai,” harrumphed Reyna. “You’re so annoying!”
Hoshi smirked. “Fine. Then that means I can say that you’re extra cute when you’re annoyed.”
The space between them instantly dropped into a silence before Reyna’s face turned red. “I-what-you—Argh!” Reyna got to her feet and stomped before jabbing a finger at him. “Why are you like this?!”
At the sound of a light cough, both of them froze. They then craned their necks to see Barry standing there with a little sweat on his forehead. “Sorry…am I interrupting something?”
“No, of course not,” laughed Hoshi. “We were just sorting out how our dynamic would work, right, kohai?”
Hoshi could almost hear the veins in Reyna’s temples snapping. “Yeah, Michiaki-senpai! Of course!”
Barry, to his credit, seemed unable to read the room and smiled with relief. “Ah, good to hear. Anyways…” He turned to Hoshi. “Michiaki, your request has been approved. You’ve reserved this topic.” He grinned. “I expect high things from you, Hikaru! Michiaki, make sure to give her a good experience!”
“Yes, boss!” Hoshi said, snapping a salute…while reclined in his chair. “I’ll make sure my cute kohai will know what it means to be part of a Danger Crew!” After he said that, he began sweating when he could swear there was literal fire pouring over him in droves of anger. When he turned to look at her, the heat disappeared and he blinked in confusion. What…
Barry boomed with a laugh. “Haha! Good!” Suddenly, his expression darkened and he slumped. “Now I have to find someone to fill in DC Eight’s open spot…” Hoshi and Reyna watched him shuffle off dejectedly until he turned the corner and disappeared.
“I’m going to get you back one of these days, senpai,” Reyna growled.
Hoshi chuckled as he began packing up. “I’m sure you will, Hikaru.” Still, he thought, it felt like he was literally getting roasted alive just from Reyna’s glare. He glanced at Reyna who was very aggressively checking her bag and sighed.
“Maybe I should go easier on her,” Hoshi muttered softly. “She’s new, after all…”
“So, senpai, where to? I’m sure you have a lot to teach me, senpai, because you know so much. Are you going to do a lot by yourself, senpai? I hope not! I want to learn, after all! I’m sure my senpai will be very accommodating!”
On second thought…
Hoshi grinned. “Let’s go, cute kohai. I’ll be leaving a lot of this up to you, so you better be ready.”
Her face steamed again and she growled. “Don’t. Call me. Cute!”
“Stop calling me senpai, cute kohai!”
“Ahhhh! I hate you!”
“We’ve barely started working together. I don’t think that’s enough time to gauge one’s level of hate—“
Reyna punched the elevator button and folded her arms at him. “Nope. I’ve decided. I really hate you, Michiaki!”
Hoshi tilted his head in confusion. “Oh? You’re dropping the senpai now, kohai?”
“Don’t call me kohai either! Sheesh!”
Hoshi shrugged as the elevator dinged and they stepped inside. “I thought you wanted me to be the senpai I am and teach you. Why should I stoop down and regard you as my equal?”
“I really do hate you, Michiaki-senpai.”
“Aha! There it is—The Hikaru I know and love!”
“Just die already!”