Chapter 6:

It's Not Like I'm Actually Cool Or Anything!

Somehow, I fell in Love With My School's Biggest Gal!

Sora sipped black coffee as he flipped through the latest edition of Weekly Shonen Jump.He felt surprisingly well rested for someone who had stayed up until 4am watching anime. In his defense, he had just been able to buy the complete My Hero Academia: Season 3 collection, so of course he had to binge his way through it in one night! He’d had to pay an arm and a leg to pre-pre order it, but it was so worth it!Bookmark here

His dad was cooking breakfast in the kitchen as Sora read and watched life unfold outside the wall-length window. His mom had gone in to her office to work on editing her big cover-story that was going to be published next week. It was a bright Saturday and warm sunlight embraced him as he read Bookmark here

“So, what are you going to do today?” His dad asked from his position at the stove. Sora could clearly see him over the counter that separated the kitchen and dining room areas.Bookmark here

 “Eh. Don’t really know.” Sora shrugged, turning back to his magazine. “I'll probably just do my homework and then play video games.” “Ugh, I wish you could do something besides just stare at a screen all day!” His dad groaned. Bookmark here

Sora’s father was a tall and lanky individual. He had black hair that reached his shoulder-blades, which he always tied back in a low ponytail. He had dark brown, almond-shaped eyes. Bookmark here

Sora had clearly inherited his father’s looks. He had the same slight build, slender facial structure, dark hair, and eye color. However, Sora’s hair was shorter and spikier. His hair just touched his shoulders, but unlike his father, he drew the line at it being any longer than that. His eyes were wider and rounder, like his mother’s. Somehow, though, people never seemed to notice his resemblance to his father. Everyone thought that he looked like his mother, even though both of his parents had black hair and brown eyes. Maybe it was because how different he and his father’s mannerisms were. The difference was like night and day.Bookmark here

Sora admitted that he was both boring and odd, but he was more or less a normal middle school boy. His dad, on the other hand, stuck out compared to other men was. He was, for lack of a better term, very effeminate. Not his appearance, although, come to think of it, his long hair did give that impression. Bookmark here

Mr. Kusagi was very gentle and sensitive. He was very empathetic and perceptive to the feelings of others. He was more of an intellectual than anything. He never would have been able to make it as a salaryman or office worker. It would have been too demanding and cut throat for him to bear. In the past, he was harassed and hazed by his fellow professors at the university. It had ended once he had become tenured. While his students teased him, he was one of the most popular professors because of his empathy and kindness. He had also received much praise and was well liked by the administration. None of his cohorts dared mock him openly now, though lots of people still intensely disliked him. Bookmark here

Sora had been subjected to teasing about his father since he was little. His father was looked down by his classmates for not being macho or strong. While everyone else saw something wrong with his father's personality, it had never bothered Sora. Even if his dad was different, he still loved him and didn’t think that there was anything wrong with his soft nature. Sure, it was a little embarrassing for Sora himself to be in public with the guy, sometimes, but being soft didn’t mean that you were stupid or worthless. He actually admired his father a great deal.Bookmark here

Sooooo, when were you planning on telling me about your new girlfriend?” Mr. Kusagi suddenly asked, making a mischievous face.Bookmark here

 “Dad!” Sora yelled, turning bright red. Bookmark here

“What?” his father asked innocently as he chopped vegetables. “My son has his first girlfriend, why wouldn’t I be interested? Besides, I’m shocked as to how someone like you managed to get a girlfriend in the first place, much less one who’s so cute!” Bookmark here

“Oh, shut up!” Sora snarked back. “like you’re one to talk? You are such a boring pointdexter! You were born a couple decades too late! You belong in a historic novel, not the 21st century! I still have no clue how a weirdo like you managed to get a sophisticated, modern lady like mom!”Bookmark here

 “Hey, that’s mean!” His dad pouted.Bookmark here

“Oh, whatever!” Sora rolled his eyes. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m only in 6th grade and I’m still very much single.” Bookmark here

“But then who was that pretty girl that you were with yesterday?” Bookmark here

“Oh, that’s Aki-Chan. We were just hanging out, dad. We got coffee and walked home together. We’re just friends. Wait…how did you know I walked home with her? Were you spying on me?Bookmark here

“…Maaaybe...” Bookmark here

“You jerk!”Bookmark here

“But are you really just friends?” His dad continued to prod. “You two hung out all alone and you call her Aki-Chan. Are you sure there’s nothing going on between the two of you?” Bookmark here

“Geez, I already told you, that’s not how it is, old fart!” Sora yelled in embarrassment, jumping out of his chair.Bookmark here

“Come on! If you don’t take advantage of this, you’ll never get a girlfriend! You two seemed pretty cozy. Weren’t you holding hands?” Mr. Kusagi raised his eyebrows. “I bet you like her! You can just admit it, I’m your father, after all!”Bookmark here

Dad, for the love of God, please stop it already!” Sora yelled, getting even redder by the second.Bookmark here

Suddenly, a knock on their apartment door startled them. Bookmark here

“Were you expecting someone, Sora?” His father asked. “No.” Sora shook his head. “Well, could you please see who that is?” “Sure.” Sora swung himself off of his chair and walked over to the door. He casually flung it open. Bookmark here

“Morning, Sora-Kun!”Bookmark here

“Gah! Aki!” Sora screamed, jumping back a good foot. He was surprised to see his friend standing on his doorstep on the weekend. Bookmark here

“W-w-w-what are you doing here?” Bookmark here

“I was bored and wanted to visit you!” Aki said cheerfully. “You told me which apartment was yours yesterday. Are you busy today?” Bookmark here

“Uhh…noooooo…” Sora answered awkwardly, leaning against the doorframe. The idea of Aki coming into his house was very nerve wracking and it was only made worse by the fact that his dad was home to spy on them and act all creepy.Bookmark here

 ‘Wait…could Aki have overheard us talking? Oh, great!’ Sora panicked. The last thing on earth that he needed was Aki-Chan getting any ideas about how he saw their relationship!Bookmark here

“Ummm…want to…come in and eat breakfast?” Sora asked, staring at the ground. Bookmark here

“Really? Sure! I kinda forgot to eat this morning!” Aki smiled.Bookmark here

 “Come on in.” Sora gestured. Bookmark here

“Thanks!”Bookmark here

As Aki took her shoes off, Sora couldn’t help but stare at her. She looked so different from how she usually looked at school! She had on a shear, soft-looking dress that was mid-calf length. It was pale pink-no surprise there. It also had cut-out sleeves that tied around her upper-arm in bows. Since it was slightly chilly out, she had a long-sleeve, white shirt on underneath it. She was also wearing a white knit scarf with a fringe that buttoned around her neck and carrying a straw tote bag with pink handles and trim. Her hair was pulled back from her face by two small braids fixed in place with a silver butterfly clip. The only jewelry she was wearing was a pair of small silver heart earrings. Bookmark here

While she still was utterly gorgeous, her outfit downplayed her figure and made it look less risqué. She seemed to prefer more modest and casual clothing outside of school, so Sora felt embarrassed thinking about how she normally looked in her school uniform since she probably didn't wear the revealing outfit out of choice. She still was hot, but a different, more attractive kind of hot that what she was at school in her tight, short sailor suit. This just made her even more beautiful in Sora’s eyes.Bookmark here

At this point, he had reluctantly accepted the fact that he found his friend to be attractive. It still felt awkward to admit it, even just internally, but he justified his feelings by saying that they were just ordinary observations. Bookmark here

“Dad’s cooking breakfast.” He explained as he led Aki into the dining room. Bookmark here

“We'll just have to wait a little bit. I think he's almost done, though.” Bookmark here

“Okay! It smells soooo good!” Aki exclaimed as she sat down at the table. Bookmark here

“Hello, Aki-Chan!” Mr. Kusagi cheerfully poked his head out of the kitchen. Bookmark here

“Oh, hello Mr. Kusagi! Thanks for having me in your house!” Aki said politely. Bookmark here

“You’re welcome!” Sora’s father smiled. “I hope you like omurice!” Bookmark here

“Ooh, that sounds yummy!” Aki clapped. Bookmark here

“Hey, Aki-Chan, would you like some coffee?” Sora asked. Bookmark here

“Yes, please!” Bookmark here

Sora walked into the kitchen and grabbed a mug from the hanging rack over the sink. He poured fresh, hot caffeine from the steaming coffee pot. “Do you want sugar or anything?” He yelled out to Aki. Bookmark here

“I’d like some cream and twelve sugars, please!” Bookmark here

“Oka-wait, what?” Sora’s eyeballs nearly popped out of their sockets. “Too much!” Bookmark here

“So I like sweet stuff. Deal with it!” Aki quipped. Bookmark here

‘Well, should’ve seen that coming.’ Sora thought as he reluctantly measured out the excessive amount of sugar from the glass jar. ‘That giant sugar-bomb of a parfait that she had at ACE Games probably should have been a giveaway that she loves sweets!’Bookmark here

After destroying the coffee, Sora handed it to Aki and took his seat next to her. “Thanks!” She sang cheerfully as she sipped the sweet liquid. “Ugh!” Sora shuddered at her high tolerance for sugar. Not that he didn’t like sweets or snack foods, but this was too much! Bookmark here

“So, you’re in Sora’s class, right Aki-Chan?” Asked Mr. Kusagi as he cooked.Bookmark here

 “Yes.” Aki answered as she sipped her coffee.Bookmark here

 “Where do you live?”Bookmark here

“Oh, a little ways out towards the Western Edge of the city.” Bookmark here

“Isn’t that where those more old-fashioned families live in traditional houses?”Bookmark here

“Yep! I live with my grandmother!”Bookmark here

“Then, I gather that your parents aren’ do you say… involved in your life?”Bookmark here

“…yes.” Aki’s smiled flickered. Bookmark here

‘There it is again.’ Sora thought as he rested his head on his hand. ‘That tortured look. Did her parents die? Or did they abandon her? Something bad definitely happened to them, so I better avoid the topic like the plague!’Bookmark here

"What's your family name?"Bookmark here

"Oh, yes! I should have introduced myself! I'm Aki Assagi!"Bookmark here

“I don’t mean to pry, but your grandmother wouldn’t happen to be Haruka Assagi, would she?”Bookmark here

“Y-yes!” Aki sat up strait, trying to look mature. Bookmark here

“Oh, I’ve met her before! I don’t know her well, but she seems like a good woman. I’ve had to visit some of my students at the Akiharra Rural Hospital before. Your grandmother is a nurse there, correct?”Bookmark here

“Yep! Baba was one of the people who lobbied to have the old Akiharra General hospital building turned into a low-income emergency room and clinic! She’s the oldest nurse on staff and she trains in all the younger nurses!”Bookmark here

“So, how did you and Sora meet?” Mr. Kusagi wiggled his eyebrows. Bookmark here

“Dad! Stop it!” Sora snapped. Bookmark here

“Sora, don’t be mean to your dad!” Aki poked his arm. “Oh, we just kind of happened to meet and hit it off since we have the same hobbies.”

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“Oh, so you’re one of those gamer otakus', too? Pity, you’re too cute to be drawn into such a sad and wasteful lifestyle!” Sora's father sighed.Bookmark here

Dad!Bookmark here

“Yep! And I’m proud of it!” Aki grinned and tapped her feet together. Bookmark here

“Oh, Sora-Kun!” She turned to him, suddenly thinking of something.“What do you want to do today?”Bookmark here

 “Ummm…I suppose that we could just…hang out…in my r-room.” He stuttered out, nibbling on his thumbnail and blushing. “Bookmark here

Sounds good! We could play a game or something!” Aki suggested. Bookmark here

“Or…I got some new anime blue-rays, if you want to watch?” Sora suggested. Bookmark here

“Ooh, what ones?” Bookmark here

My Hero Academia Season three.” Bookmark here

Seriously? But it just finished airing! I didn’t even realize that they had started making consumer sets yet, let alone that you could buy them!” Bookmark here

“Oh…I just sort of knew a couple of guys and got people to pull strings…I probably paid waaay too much, but I think it was worth it.” Bookmark here

“I haven’t even watched it on tv yet! I just finished the manga chapters that covered the season!” Bookmark here

“Ugh, you’re one of those people who have to read the source material before you watch it, aren’t you?” sora chuckled. Bookmark here

“Hey! So what if I’m a purist? The story written by the mangaka is always the purest form of the art because it captures how they wanted their story to go! Anime has filler arcs, recap episodes, anime original characters, and even totally different endings!” Aki insisted passionately.Bookmark here

“Well, yeah, I guess.” Sora shrugged. “But the manga isn’t always how the author wanted the story to be, either, you know. Sometimes, jerk-ass publishers or strict deadlines force the mangaka to remove things that they wanted to include. Like the final arc Of Yu-Gi-Oh! In the manga, it was initially planned to be longer arc. Thanks to publishing schedules, whole ancient battles that were mentioned as facts since the beginning of the series were never actually shown! There was actually supposed to be a blatant romantic relationship, too! But the author had to leave out things because of his publishing schedule. The RPG nature of the Ancient Egypt arc was more pronounced in the manga, so he was basically able to give the inconstancies a hand-wave of 'this is a simulation of the past, not the actual exact past that occurred'. Something kind of similar happened to My Hero Academia.”Bookmark here

“What, really?” Aki leaned in closer with wide eyes.Bookmark here

“Uh-huh.” Sora nodded. “You know the sports festival arc? Most of the semi-final match-ups either weren’t shown at all or shown in far less detail. The anime didn’t actually have filler-those were the actual parts that were cut from the manga.”Bookmark here

 “Wow, I didn’t know that! You’re so smart and cool, Sora-kun!” \Bookmark here

He flushed and looked away, “I-It’s not like I’m a genius or anything. I mean, I’m just an average student at school, Aki-Chan. This stuff isn’t going to get me anywhere in life. It’s not like…I’m really not cool at all. I’m just an anti-social loner. That’s all.”Bookmark here

“But you are!” Aki insisted. “So what if it’s anime and games? You’re knowledgeable about something! You know technical facts and intimate workings of how they work! People who have something that they are good at and dedicated to learning about are the best! They have a strong work ethic, at least when it comes to that thing. If there weren’t people dedicated to science, we wouldn’t have better medicine. If there weren’t people obsessed with the past, we wouldn’t have history or most nonfiction books. And if there wasn’t people like you, then no one would either make anime or be interested in it, so it wouldn’t exist!” She looked at Sora questioningly. Bookmark here

“Hey, Sora-Kun? I thought that you thought that people who liked to read things before they watch them were silly? Then why do you know all this stuff?”Bookmark here

Sora’s red flush deepened. “…It’s not like I hate manga or anything…but It’s not like I like it as much as you seem to do, either…” He sulked.Bookmark here

“Here you go!” Mr. Kusagi broke the spell of the moment by setting their food in front of them. “Enjoy!”Bookmark here

“Wow!” Aki exclaimed, eyeing her steaming rice omelet with joy and excitement. “It looks Amazing! Thank you for the food!” Bookmark here

‘Heh! This girl gets way too excited over food!’ Sora smiled to himself. Bookmark here

Aki picked her fork up and cut a chuck out of the fat omelet. She put it in her mouth and sighed in bliss. “Soooooo good!” She gushed dreamily. Sora laughed as he cut up his omelet. Bookmark here

“Oh, Aki!” He said suddenly. “Do you want a picture on yours?” Bookmark here

“Oh, cool, just like in a café! Yeah!” Aki nodded enthusiastically. Bookmark here

“Okay!” Sora grabbed the ketchup bottle that his father had placed on the table. Aki had made him really happy with her praise, so he wanted to make her happy, too. Maybe this wasn’t all that special but, for now, that’s all he could do for her.Bookmark here

He bit his lip for a moment, not sure what to draw. Thinking of his sister, he attempted to draw Hello-Kitty. Very childish, but he remembered how much his sister loved it when she ordered omurice at the Hello-Kitty pop-up café. It came to downtown Akiharra for a few weeks every summer. Uwammi loved that café and would drag Sora, against his will, of course, there every time it came to town. Repeatedly. She still loved the Hello-Kitty Omurice and would order it often, even though she was almost nineteen and a university student. Bookmark here

It didn’t turn out well. Sora’s pathetic attempt was shaky. The eyes took up the whole face, the whiskers were far too long, and her bow looked like an octopus on her head. Aki burst into laughter. Bookmark here

“Oh-my-it’s-it’s…really bad!” she laughed hysterically, clutching her stomach as tears appeared in her eyes.Bookmark here

“Hey!” Sora turned as red as a tomato. “I suck at drawing, so what? Deal with it! I never claimed that it would be cute or anything!” His outburst only made Aki laugh louder.Bookmark here

“Oh, young love, how cute!” Mussed Mr. Kusagi dreamily.Bookmark here

 Aki’s laughter abruptly stopped. “W-w-w-what, sir?” She squeaked. Bookmark here

“You two make such an adorable couple! It’s like a fairy-tale how much you like each other but deny it!”Bookmark here

“W-wha-y-y-y-you think that I…? That we…? That we are…?” Aki stuttered, now even redder than Sora, who looked about ready to pop a vein.Bookmark here

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“That’s not how it is at all!” The two screamed in tandem. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.