My Friend is a Harem Protagonist
My name is Riku Sawai, some would say I'm relatively attractive but I never understood the viewpoint. I'm pretty average, I read manga, play games, hang out with friends, all the standard stuff you expect from a hard working third year. Yet even with that, my life is far from ordinary. This would be on account of my friend Daichi Saito. I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, let's start from the third year, the third season in this strange rom com I find myself in.
April 15th, A Friday
My morning routine was the same as any other school day. I awoke an hour earlier than any other reasonable student would. After a brief stretch I got to my feet and did a quick morning work out. After my brief bit of exercise I took my quick shower. I got on my school uniform, a blue jacket over a tan shirt and gray pants, and headed for the kitchen. I was awake far earlier than my parents, so I usually prepared food for them.
I sat at the kitchen table and pulled out my notebook from my school bag, munching on the omurice I made for myself. I never got the use of ketchup on omurice, though I usually like things more vanilla. I looked over the flags for the day, then looked at my phone clock. It was about time.
The phone rang for a while, six rings, one more and it would go to voicemail. It was at the end of the ring that the line was picked up. A tired girl spoke form the other side.
“Hello” The voice said, not an ounce of cuteness. She sounded annoyed, like she wanted another ten minutes. That was Aoi Shima, a friend that me and Daichi grew up with, but she won't make a full appearance just yet.
“Oh Aoi.” I said, We were on a first name basis for years. “Are you still in bed? If you don't hurry it up you'll be late.”
I heard her pull the phone away from her ear, look at the clock, and gasp in shock. “Crap! Thank you Riku I owe ya!” and with that, the line went dead.
Setting the phone back down on the kitchen table I took another spoon full of the ricey eggs, or was it eggy rice? That crossed off one flag, should be on schedule like usual.
I said farewell to my parents and left my house, right on time for Daichi to do the same from next door. Daichi is a nice guy, his messy black hair was charming alongside his happy go lucky face. He looks pretty standard for a japanese student, a slim form, average height, no discernable markings, the perfect person for someone to self insert onto. Poor guy.
“Oh Riku!” Daichi said, waving happily to me. I made my way out of my front gate and headed for his.
“Morning Daichi.” I said casually. “You see the latest episode last night?”
“Of course!” Daichi said, placing his right fist to his chest, the other folded behind his back. “I can't believe how it's going! We don't have many episodes left in the series right?”
“I think it was like five more.” I said, thinking back on the article I read. We began to walk along as we talked. “Hey mind coming with me tomorrow to get manga? I got a lot of pick ups.”
“Sure I got a few I wanna get, let's pick up this week's jump while we're at it.” Daichi said with a laugh. He had a nice laugh, easy on the ears.
“Heard a new series was starting.” I said, peeking at my phone. The clock was set to show the milliseconds, timing was important. I stopped abruptly, Daichi took a few steps forward before turning to me. “Sorry gotta tie my shoe.” I bent down and tightened the laces that I loosened earlier and right on cue the flag was raised.
Aoi came flying around a corner, a piece of toast with jam in her teeth. She was rushing so fast that she did not even notice Daichi there till she slammed right into him. Now you may think when two people make contact as these two had that physics would force the two back in opposite directions. However, Daichi had this talent for defying logic and reason.
Aoi did a flip in the air, Daichi falling back on his back like a normal person. Aoi spun for a whole heartbeat before landing right on Daichi’s crotch, sitting there as if something R rated was happening below her short skirt. Oh the toast? It flew off, grabbed mid air by a passing bird, wasn't needed for the scene anyways.
I guess I should describe Aoi. she was shorter, not enough to have a complex but enough to where you could say she is short. Her hair was cut short, tied into a side ponytail, was there a term for those? She wore our standard winter uniform,blue jacket, tan vest, and white shirt with a gray skirt, however she added an orange necktie as the school allowed those. She had a very round face, with large joyful eyes. It should go without saying that she was thin, and her bust was alright, I rate it a B.
“I'm so sorry Daichi!” Aoi said, not removing herself right away, just putting her hands to her mouth in shock.
“No worries Aoi, are you okay?” Daichi said, of course, that was his first response. Such a good guy.
Aoi’s face flushed. “Yeah thanks to you.” They lingered in that pose for a few awkward moments before they both realized where they were then separated faster than the eye could process. After several moments of rushed apologies they both got to their feet, finally realizing the time. “Ohayo Riku” Aoi said cheerfully. She did that alot, used random English words to make herself sound cuter. English wasnt that cute of a word, just say good morning like the rest of us.
“Morning Aoi.” I said.
“Thank you for calling me this morning, I would have been so late if you didn't.” Aoi said, a stupid grin on her face.
“Oh he called you again?” Daichi said as they began to walk again. “Riku you will make a fantastic husband someday, have you considered being an alarm clock professionally?”
“Competition is really stiff.” I responded. “You gotta have three years of experience to even apply for entry level positions, luckily thanks to Aoi here by graduation I should meet my requirements.”
“Hey that sounds like a stab at me.” Aoi said. She was walking on the opposite side of Daichi as me.
“If I was taking a stab it would be far deeper than that.” I joked. “Like saying I wouldn't let you copy my notes for last night's homework that you didn't do.”
Aoi’s face expanded in shock, her jaw far wider than what should be possible. “How did you know!”
It's like clockwork.
“You can copy mine.” Daichi said to Aoi. “Though you should focus up, it's our last year, we gotta be on top of things.”
Aoi’s face went flush again, some say that if you do that too long it will stay that way. “Sure Daichi.” She said it looking low and pressing her index fingers together. “Thank you.”
Good I didn't want to share anyways. Now the next flag should be soon. We were not far from the school at this point, other students with less recognizable faces passing us by. I began to scope around quickly, where was she? There! Hiding in the alley way, as if she wasnt super obvious.
Saki Yoshikawa, the quiet school librarian. She almost looked reserved with her small frame, long hair that stretched to her shoulders, her pretty glasses, and soft face. She almost blended in wherever she was, except for that blue hair, it was light, almost black, but was unmistakably blue. Oh I should mention Aoi had brown hair, it was pretty standard so I didnt even think of it till now.
I stopped the group for a minute, talking about how I was missing something and began to dig through my school bag for the book that I knew was in fact there. It did not take long for the flag to trigger.
“Hey Yoshikawa!” Daichi yelled out, noticing the girl who suddenly grew flushed and pretending she wasn't there. “Come walk with us!”
She approached quickly and skittishly, almost a shuffle. “G-Good Morning morning Saito. What lovely weather we have today.”
“Yeah its finally starting to get nice out, we might even be able to change to summer uniforms early.” Daichi said as I found my lost book that was not in fact lost.
“Morning Saki.” Aoi said cheerfully. Yoshikawa almost jumped out of her skin at the addressment. How does a person like that work in the real world?
“Good morning Aoi.” Yoshikawa said sheepishly.
I did my introduction, very similar to Aoi’s, but addressing her last name. We continued on, alright two to go. The next one should be fast. And there they were.
The softball team had practice early in the morning and rounded it off with a jog around the area. About this time every day they would pass by our group, at their head was Toshi Nakaya. She was sporty, with a physique that made olympic gold medalists jealous. Her purple hair was tied back into a ponytail, a true sign of her sportiness. Her face was always set to resolve, and her skin was a shade tanner then ours from her time in the sun. I had a theory that she had some insane tan lines, though I did not know for sure.
“Oh Daichi-san!” Toshi called out, her voice far too energetic for this early in the morning. Her energy clashed with Aoi’s a bit too much for my liking, but whatever. “Good Morning!”
“Morning,” Daichi said as the team passed.
Daichi seemed to not notice the whispers from the rest of the team, but I heard them. They wondered how long it would take for their senpai (Toshi in this instance) to admit her feelings. I agreed with those Kohais (The whispering juniors in this instance).
We entered the main gate of the school quickly and switched to our school shoes. Normally in these types of stories during the third year the best friend character, me, would be in a separate class from the main protagonist, Daichi, but no we somehow managed to stay together all throughout our high school years. Aoi and Saki were in class 3-C, so they headed off. We made our way to class 3-A, and Daichi took his spot in the back next to the window, the perfect seat for him. I took the seat in front of him, the luck of random draw. As we sat, the final flag triggered, one I didn't need to raise due to convenience.
“Oh look, its Saito and Sawai.” Came a condescending voice from next to Daichi. Sitting next to him was our staple. Maeko Fueki, blonde, twin tails, short, breast in a range that I dare not rate, and an attitude of superiority. Speaking of breasts, Toshi is in the D range, not the best score but most people want to fail this test.
“Morning Fueki.” Daichi said happily, he was used to her tone, as was I but could she stop at this point? We were all friends, I think?
“I heard a rumor that you were quite taken by a new show lately, would you like to discuss it with me? I believe I have seen it as well.” Fueki said.
I immediately shivered. My cringe was well deserved as when Daichi began to talk about the series that changes its name every season, she began to talk about a series with a similar name scheme about a large man dating a teeny tiny girl. She looked defeated almost immediately at the realization.
If you did not notice yet, all of the girls we have interacted with are madly in love with Daichi. It's strange, it wasn't until high school that these things began to happen. Before then we just kind of existed, but as soon as high school hit it was like he became a magnet for these girls. Even Aoi shifted from close friend to falling head over heels. But there is a problem.
This was the third year, we needed to resolve this Rom Com before this year ends. Why? Because if we do not, the world shall end. We need a resolution, he needs to pick one damnit! Now, I would never push my friend, its actually why it has gone on so long. I feel he deserves to develop his relationships naturally, if I went out and said these girls love him it would ruin it for him.
However, I need to push just a tad. Not enough to tip things in one girls favor over the other, just enough to trigger events. Daichi is dense when it comes to love, but he will come around at some point, and I pray for that day. The day he asks me for advice and I can respond whole heartily and support him in whoever he loves. I am excited to see my friend end up with the perfect girl for him, thinking about it almost brings a tear to my eye. Look I'm sappy, it's been two years of these Rom Com shenanigans.
But, as I said, its been two years with little to no real progress. Yes, there was the time I found Daichi and Saki nose to nose next to the river, huddled together. However that was just because they both fell in and were huddling for warmth, the nose to nose part was just them turning too sharply at the same time.
You could also say there was progress when Toshi and him went on a date, but it went terribly as they kept running into me everywhere and eventually just invited me to join them. I didn't do it on purpose, I was just trying to do some shopping.
Oh and there was when him and Maeko got lost during the test of courage in our first year. I was on the scare team, and it worked, except she ended up running off without him when I popped out of a bush. Oh god and the time him and Aoi went to the waterpark together, My mom just so happened to have a coupon that was expiring that day so I took it and went alone. Looked like they were making progress, it's just that they kept a distance from each other because they were both too embarrassed to look at each other.
Do you see what I am getting at? Two years of random encounters and they all are stagnant, it's like they aren't even trying! No, it's like the Rom Com gods were forcing them to not express their emotions fully till sales were beginning to drop. The point is, Daichi needs to pick one by graduation, and the real final moment is the school cultural festival. Ours takes place at the beginning of March, only a few weeks before graduation. It was not normal for a school to do it, but since most schools in the area had theirs during the better time periods they decided to put it to the end of the school year. It was like a terrible writer was setting it up for a big finale.
There was another issue holding back these groups of lovers. That issue came about at lunch time. I shifted my chair around to face Daichi and pulled out the packed lunch that I had made that day. Daichi followed suit, his looking shabby compared to mine, I gotta teach him to cook better. Seriously, this dude's nutritional values were so low! Where were the veggies? It's just meat and rice!
The door to our classroom slide open, revealing three of the four girls, the last was still sitting next to Daichi. Aoi, Saki, and Toshi walked into the classroom. They pulled up empty seats next to Maeko’s and began to chat over lunch. Yes the other big issue had come. They were friends.
After two years of following around the same guy it made sense they would begin to interact. It was actually kinda nice to see how they talked, well Saki didn't talk too much but she tried. Sadly though, there was a greater issue. Since they were friends, if Daichi picked one it could cause issues with their friendship, something he would avoid. More things to hold him back, it was great wasn't it? Perfect for a long form comedy.
Aoi’s phone chimed from a text message. She looked at it and laughed, showing the group. “Look what Kioko sent me.” She said, laughing.
Kioko? Who is Kioko? This was too late in the game to add another girl to this mix. Everyone knew that if you added another character this late she had no chance so it was almost a waste of screen time.
Daichi seemed to catch my thoughts. It was rare but he seemed as if he could read my emotions at that moment. “Who is Kioko?” He asked, pulling the two of us into their conversation.
The four turned as if someone just shocked the backs of their necks. They all looked with such joy that I began to feel sick. Toshi was the one to speak up. “She is a friend of ours, she goes to that all girls private school nearby. We met her over the winter break, she is so nice you'd love her.”
Those last few words broke off and left a chill in the air. Even Toshi realized her mistake and her eyes widened in horror. Luckily, the rest of her statement was good. Since she didn't go to our school that meant she was unlikely to be a romantic option for Daichi, he probably would never meet her even. Sad for that girl though, good luck having a high school romance in an all girls school.
Moving on, we all began to chat about nothing in particular. I needed to move things along a little, and I had the perfect plan that I have been saving.
“Hey Daichi.” I began. “Have you picked a college yet?”
Daichi’s face became flushed in embarrassment. “Not quite yet, I'm still looking,” he said.
He wasn't known for his decisiveness, even though he had some great talents. I personally believe he should go to school for Civil Engineering based on his interests. However I was not finished just because Daichi didn't have an answer. “Toshi I heard you were offered scholarships from several schools across the country, right?” She was a softball and baseball prodigy, the mens baseball team even used her as a sub sometimes. The girl was talented.
Toshi puffed out her chest and slammed her fist to it proudly. “Yep, I got so many options my head spins! I'm a shoe in to go pro if I keep this up.”
“That's incredible!” Daichi said. “I'll be rooting for you the whole way!”
Yes Daichi! Praise her more please! Her face is getting red, I feel bad for the other girls but please!
No, the comment was missed by the others. It didn't take Toshi long to match their mood. They were all realizing that the future was coming fast. This was our last year, they were wondering if they had a chance after graduation. They all then realized the answer was no, they would all go their separate ways. If they wanted their love, they needed to act. It was perfect! It wasn't much but it was a start!
During the next class break I snuck off to get a drink from one of the many vending machines. I counted down from ten, Which one would try to kidnap me?
It was Toshi, that's refreshing. Normally it's Maeko or Aoi that tried to pull me into the empty classroom to ask for advice, but instead it was Toshi.
“What is it?” I asked as we stood in the empty room. I quietly locked the door behind us, making my way to the other entrance on the other side of the room. A rule I learned is to always hide these secret meetings because if that door wasn't locked Daichi would inevitably walk in and get the wrong idea.
“I wanted your advice, for a friend!” Toshi chimed in, she tried to step towards me. I took two steps away. If I wasn't careful she would trip like she always did when she thought about Daichi. Last thing I wanted was for her to fall on me and knock me into the door, smashing through and creating a scene of her on top of me for Daichi to see. Not to mention paying the bill for a broken door was no fun.
“Is this friend asking about love advice?” I asked, now locking the room and quickly moving to a solid wall where no misunderstandings could occur.
“How did you know!” Toshi said, shocked.
I didn't tell her that the other three had asked before, in fact she had already asked me before last year. Instead I just said it was a lucky guess, I even used that new girl's name for some deniability. What was it, Kioko?
“Oh um, yes her!” Toshi said, her eyes darting around wildly. “But don't mention it okay.”
“Never.” I promised. “So what does Kioko need?”
“So she likes this guy.” Toshi began, you can replace ‘she’ with anything referring to Toshi. “And she realized that after this year she was going to be separated from him.” Seems like my plan worked well. “She doesn't know if she should tell him how she feels or not, like what if she rejects her. Wouldn't it make it awkward between them?”
I sighed, she was a bit off in how she was handling this. “Well first, if they were going to be separated, does it matter if she gets rejected? However, that being said I think she should ask herself a different question. One, does she want to keep those emotions secret forever, and two, what if he says yes?”
Toshi looked off sad for a moment, it was clear she was thinking about it. “Thank you Riku, I appreciate it.”
“I hope Kioko does too.” I said, letting her use the cover. I wondered what Toshi would say if I ever met this Kioko?
Toshi straightened quickly. “Yes, I will let her know, thank you, I owe you big time! Anyways see ya!” and with that she was off. She didn't notice the door was locked at first and fumbled it before escaping. I waited for several minutes, I knew Daichi had spotted her coming out of the room so I had to give ample time for him to move on. This was the kind of thing you just had to deal with when you're in my position.
There was another thing that is a little bit of a pain being the friend of a Harem Protagonist. Today’s took place after school. It was after all the clubs had let out, I was going to meet Daichi at the front gate in a few but had to stop by the library first.
Oh I should mention, I'm a member of the Literature club. A senior member, but I didn't take the leadership role. No, that role belongs to a second year I just enjoyed being there.
Anyways I walked to the library where I was going to return a book I borrowed. I took a deep breath as I opened the sliding door. Yep it was exactly what I thought.
Saki was on top of Daichi, both on the ground as if they fell. Their faces were flushed and close, they probably could taste each other's breath. Saki had taken off her jacket and from Daichi’s perspective I'm sure he could see down her shirt. Books were scattered amongst them, having cascaded from a top shelf.
When I opened the door there was a moment before they turned towards me. A normal person would have closed the door and walked away, ignoring whatever happened. For me this was the usual so I just walked in, placed my book in the return pile, signed my name on the turn in sheet, and began to turn to leave.
Daichi and Saki stood in my way, wildly waving their arms around. Their voices were overlapping each other trying to explain the situation. I let out a deep sigh.
“Let me guess.” I began, waving my index finger like I was checking off a list. “You came to return a book, I can see your name on the sign in sheet, and you saw Saki trying to reach for a book. You went to help her grab it since she was too short to reach the top shelf, but as you got there she had gotten the book loose and your sudden appearance made her flustered and caused the shelf to spill over and that led to you two ontop of eachother. Am I about right.”
I wished Daichi said I was wrong and they were in fact having a lovers moment, but no. I was right. I scolded Saki for letting the top shelf get so cramped that one book being moved caused an attack, and left.
Yes, this was what I had to deal with, all the time. But ya know what? My friend is happy, and he's going to bloom into romance soon enough, I just want to help him along.
“Thanks for waiting.” Daichi said, rushing to my side at the school gate.
“You had to help Saki clean up the mess.” I said, turning to walk alongside him.
Daichi laughed. “Yeah, hey so wanna go early tomorrow for manga? Then we can hang out at your place.”
“Why my place?” I asked.
“Cause you got the best snacks.” Daichi joked.
“Don't be a mooch!” I exclaimed. “How about after we get manga we get some food and I teach ya how to make a proper meal.”
“You know I suck at cooking.” Daichi said with his big stupid grin.
“You're better than Maeko.” I said with a sigh.
We both shivered, the memories of last summer haunting us.
“Got me there.” Daichi said. “But then if I learn to cook I can't convince you to make my bento.”
I made a note in my head. Text the girls that Daichi wasn't eating right, let's see how that goes. “Fine, then chip in for some pizza, I could use a change of pace.”
“Deal.” He said happily. I liked these moments, the times when it was just me and Daichi talking were great.
“Daichi.” I began, then stopped. “Nevermind, I ain't getting sappy with you.”
“Oh come on get sappy! I won't call you a maple tree!” Daichi said encouragingly.
“You kinda already did.” I said in shock, so dense. “But still, no not yet.”
Daichi looked me over curiously. “Then I'll ask you something.” I gave him a look to continue. “I know you read all those Romance stories, are you interested in someone?”
That son of a bitch! Yes okay I read alot of Romance manga, mostly for research at how to help this dumb ass, but did he have to jump to this conclusion. Can he just focus on his romance!
“Not even.” I waved him off.
“Why not?” Daichi asked.
A curve ball that one. “I just haven't met anyone like that.” I said sheepishly. “What about you?” I deflected perfectly.
Daichi’s eyes widened at the deflection then looked low. “I dont know yet, maybe?”
My heart almost burst in joy. This was progress I tell ya! “Who tell me tell me!” I was bouncing like a stereotypical school girl.
“No one yet.” Daichi laughed it off. “But when I figure it out, you'll be the first to know.”
I smiled widely. Thank you gods above for this blessing. “Daichi, I hope you know I support you all the way. Unless you love me romantically, I don't swing that way.”
“What! But you're everything I could ever want!” Daichi joked. “Now what will I do, guess I will find a new love.”
“Oh shut it.” I jabbed him with my elbow. He was laughing now.
“I think I could do better than you anyways.” Daichi laughed.
“Now you're pushing your luck.” I rebuked. “And I think I could do a thousand times better than you!”
We joked on for a while as we made our way home. This was the start of the last chapters of this strange Rom com that I am the observer of. I can only hope for things to go well from here on out, let us hope these romantically inept teenagers can pull it together for a satisfying ending.