Chapter 1:

Everyone Seems to Know Me, Apparently

My Life is an Isekai, I think

Katsuo woke with a start, bolting upright in his bed panting. He felt around his body, finding no wounds, he let out a big sigh and flopped back down on his bed. What a crazy dream. It seemed so real. He shivered a little before climbing out of bed and heading to the bathroom. He began his usual routine of washing his face and brushing his teeth. He put on his uniform and then headed for the stairs. On his way down he realized he could hear people.Bookmark here

“Thanks mom! It’s delicious!”Bookmark here

”You’re welcome sweety, now eat up. I don’t want you to be late for class. Now where is your brother?”Bookmark here

Late for class? What was she talking about? And why was his mother still home, she should have already left for work? He reached the bottom of the stairs and turned towards the table. Someone was at the far end of the table holding a newspaper up, presumably his father. Bookmark here

His mother was leaning over the table, setting something down in front of a girl he didn’t immediately recognize. At least he was pretty sure that was his mother. Her hair was short and brown now, not the black he’d always remembered. She turned and smiled at him.Bookmark here

“Good morning, Katsuo, I was wondering when you’d get up.”Bookmark here

“Uh, good morning mom.”Bookmark here

He paused.Bookmark here

“Did you do something with your hair?”Bookmark here

His mother got all excited and a big smile spread across her face as she began bouncing the ends of her hair on her hand.Bookmark here

“Why yes I did, I got it cut yesterday.”Bookmark here

His father lowered the newspaper giving him a thumbs up and sharp smile. As if telling him good job on noticing. Wait, was he wearing glasses!? Okay, something was definitely going on here.Bookmark here

“Katsuo hurry up and eat, we’re gonna be late for school.”Bookmark here

This drew his attention back to the girl at the table. She had brown hair, similar to his own, cut medium length and pulled back to the left side with a small X-shaped barrette. She was probably in her second year of junior high if he had to guess, and she looked kind of like..Bookmark here

“Kanna!?” Bookmark here

He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. This all had to be some kind of elaborate prank, right?Bookmark here

“What? Are you okay big brother? You look kind of sick.”Bookmark here

Everyone turned to look at him. His mother looked mildly concerned as she rushed over to him, cupping his cheek in one hand and touching his forehead. Bookmark here

“Oh, Katsuo are you okay? Are you not feeling well?”Bookmark here

He took an involuntary step back. Bookmark here

“No no, I’m fine mom. Just, slept weird I suppose.” Bookmark here

If this was a prank, he was just going to pretend like everything was normal. Who knew how far they were willing to take this after all? For the first time in a while, he sat down and had breakfast with his family. Despite being rushed by this alleged Kanna, it was nice to see his parents at the start of the day. Even if they were acting a little strange. His dad was still his good-natured self, but somehow a little goofier. Maybe it was supposed to be some kind of act to go along with the glasses. Bookmark here

His mother seemed to be her normal self as well, maybe a little sweeter? Not that she wasn’t already nice, but just a little more ‘mushy’ than normal. Now this alleged Kanna on the other hand. He had to admit, she played an impressive imitation of a younger version of his sister. Right down to that pouty face she would always make. Bookmark here

What he couldn’t figure out is why they would bother to go this far with it? Why not just have Kanna change her hair or wear some glasses as well? Why bring in someone else’s kid to go along with this charade? And whose kid was she anyway? Katsuo had never seen her before, that he was certain of. Bookmark here

Before he had finished his breakfast, the fake Kanna had gotten up, collected her bag and put on her shoes. Then she stood waiting at the door. Bookmark here

“Come on Katsuo, we’re gonna be late!”Bookmark here

He glanced at the clock on the wall, which was still the same, and took note of the time. What was she in such a hurry for? Granted he wasn’t going to be able to make his usual convenience store and park stop today, but they would still be pretty early if they left right then. Maybe the Junior High starts earlier or something. He sighed, thanked his mom for the food, said farewell to his parents, and then headed for the door. Fake Kanna made that pouty face as he ever so casually put on his shoes. She harrumphed as she opened the door and went outside, giving a final goodbye to his parents as she did so.Bookmark here

He tried to ignore her as they headed for the schools, he knew that he walked right by one of the junior high schools on his own way to school. And since she hadn’t said otherwise and was heading in the same direction as him, whoever this girl was must attend that one. Bookmark here

“Big brother, are you okay? You seem, kind of out of it this morning?”Bookmark here

He sighed, rolling his eyes inwardly, and kept looking forward as he responded. Bookmark here

“So if we’re going to keep at this, what should I call you?”Bookmark here

She seemed shocked, and then made that classic Kanna pouty face.Bookmark here

“What do you mean? Do you not like my name? Oh I get it, it’s because I call you big brother right? Would you rather I just called you onii-chan instead?”Bookmark here

And pouty face again. Her cheeks were looking a bit flushed, and she also wasn’t making eye contact with him now. He sighed again, not breaking his stride.Bookmark here

“Yeah sure, I guess that’s fine.” Bookmark here

She let out a sharp gasp, faltering as she did so, before racing after him to catch back up.Bookmark here

“Oh really, you mean it?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, sure.”Bookmark here

“I mean I always wanted to be closer with my big bro- err, onii-chan?” Bookmark here

She said it like it was new to her. He supposed it might be, maybe this girl didn’t have a big brother at home. After he didn’t respond she grew more flustered, her cheeks kept getting brighter. She kept rambling about one thing or another as they walked, he barely paid attention to what she was saying. Soon, they reached the front of the junior high building. She gave a quick bow.Bookmark here

“Thanks for walking me to school, onii-chan.”Bookmark here

She turned and headed for the school. Just as he took his first step he felt her crash into his side, giving him a big hug. He sighed, patting her on the head. Bookmark here

“You’re welcome, now get going or we’ll both be late.”Bookmark here

She let go of him, gave another quick bow and took off. He watched her run until she got about halfway across the yard, then turned continuing his own way towards school. He shook his head, still in disbelief of the whole thing. He had originally thought that they would all just start laughing at breakfast or something. But maybe he’d get home, and everything would be back to normal, and they would reveal it all then. So weird.Bookmark here

As he approached the school, he couldn’t help but feel that something was off. He just lumped it in with the weird prank his family was pulling. He reached the shoe locker, opened his cubby and stopped. Someone must have taken his shoes, because there was someone else’s already here. He began opening the others around it, stopping at the one just to the right of the initial one he opened. Bookmark here

“I could’ve sworn mine was the third from the right.” Bookmark here

He sighed, pulling them out and swapping them with the pair he wore in. They were his alright, they looked and fit right. After slipping on his uwabaki, he headed for class. He couldn’t help but feel like everything looked a little brighter, maybe cleaner? He guessed they could have done a deep clean yesterday. Hopefully he wasn’t supposed to be present for that.Bookmark here

As he approached his classroom, he couldn’t help but to notice all the voices coming from up ahead. Come to think of it, he had seen several people in the halls. This day just kept getting weirder. He reached the Class 2 – 2 room and went through the door. The class was practically full, almost every desk taken, including his usual seat in the back corner. A few people stopped talking and looked up at him, he didn’t recognize any of them. Bookmark here

“Hey Nakajima, right? Aren’t you in Class 2 -1?”Bookmark here

He looked at the girl that spoke, her and her two friends were looking at him quizzically. He just stared for a second before slowly nodding.Bookmark here

“Oh, right. Thanks.”Bookmark here

As he turned to go, he could hear them giggling and whispering.Bookmark here

“What was that all about?” Bookmark here

“Someone didn’t sleep well.”Bookmark here

“Right? He looked like a zombie.”Bookmark here

He walked down the hall to the next classroom, 2 – 1. Either his parents somehow got the whole school involved or, well he didn’t know what. But he definitely didn’t recognize any of the kids in what should have been his classroom. He reached the Class 2 – 1 door, holding his breath, he entered. This class was also mostly full, but as he looked around, he noticed his usual seat was empty here. Still not recognizing anyone, he headed for the seat in the corner. When he sat down, a few of the kids around him looked at him strangely but didn’t say anything. Bookmark here

“Good morning, Nakajima.” Bookmark here

It was a girl, sitting in the row to his left but up one. She was only barely glancing at him from behind her glasses. Her long chestnut hair hiding part of her face. He finally stammered.Bookmark here

“Uhh, good morning.”Bookmark here

“Why are you in Kimura’s seat? Don’t you normally sit in front of Kimiko?’Bookmark here

Katsuo stared in bewilderment. The girl in glasses started to turn pink and gestured behind her. Bookmark here

“You know, over there. By the window.”Bookmark here

Katsuo followed her gesture, and sure enough, there was an empty seat at the front of the class next to the window. Behind that seat, was a girl with long black hair, and sharp features. Was she glaring at him? She quickly turned away. Must have been his imagination. Bookmark here

“Yeah, right. Uh, thanks by the way.”Bookmark here

She gave a little embarrassed nod but didn’t meet his eyes. He got up and moved over to the other seat in front of the black-haired girl, Kimiko, apparently. A few of the others in his original corner were giving him strange looks and giggling about something. Bookmark here

“Hey Nakajima, you alright?”Bookmark here

As he reached his desk, he looked over to see who was talking to him. Some guy with brown hair, and a pretty realistic look of concern on his face. He also looked like the athletic type. Katsuo set his bag down and took a seat, letting out a breath.Bookmark here

“Yeah, just tired, that’s all.”Bookmark here

“Okay good but try and get some more sleep man. It’s super important for your health.”Bookmark here

The guy gave him a big genuine smile and a thumbs up. Yep, definitely the athletic type. He noticed out of the corner of his eye that Kimiko had watched his short exchange with Athletic-Guy and was frowning again. What was up with this girl? Maybe she was supposed to play a mean role or something in this little skit? Though admittedly, as the day carried on, Katsuo was becoming less certain that this was all some kind of prank. After all, he didn’t recognize anyone, not a single person. But so far, it seemed like everyone else knew him. And for reasons unknown, this Kimiko seemed to already dislike him. Bookmark here

“Nakajima, why do you look like you were hit by a truck?”Bookmark here

Katsuo looked up at the woman striding into the classroom, she was obviously a teacher, with long dark brown hair, and one of those small moles to the left side of her mouth that he knew were sometimes called beauty marks. She herself was actually quite pretty, but of course, just like everyone else, he had never seen her before. But what she said had reminded him of something. That weird dream he’d had, right before he woke up. Before he could think twice about it, he put voice to his thought.Bookmark here

“Uh yeah, I think I did actually. On the way to school.”Bookmark here

Several of his classmates laughed, one of the girls rolled her eyes, and he could feel the glare of Kimiko behind him. The teacher crossed her arms as she stood behind her desk, hip cocked to one side. Bookmark here

“Apparently it did more to your head than just mess up your hair, it turned you into a smart ass as well.”Bookmark here

The class laughed some more at his expense.Bookmark here

“Miss Nakajima, are you sure you two aren’t related?”Bookmark here

“I assure you we are not, even though Mr. Nakajima here and I share the same surname, this doesn’t mean he gets to take such a casual tone with me.”Bookmark here

She gave him a half serious glare, a few more giggles could be heard. Well, at least he knew the teacher’s name now.Bookmark here

“Now, if Mr. Nakajima is done interrupting, we will get started with class.”Bookmark here

She looked him over once, almost as if she was daring him to respond. When he didn’t, she nodded and turned to the board. She didn’t strike him as mean, more sarcastic and playful. A much better alternative to what he was used to. His home room teacher after all was a middle-aged man with a horrible monotone voice that just droned on the whole time. Not a younger woman that could be fun to be around, and not to mention good to look at.Bookmark here

Class carried on pretty normally after that. With no notable interruptions to the day until lunch. Katsuo grabbed his box and headed for his usual spot behind the school. He managed to make it there without anyone stopping him and was able to enjoy his lunch in relative silence. He took a seat on the step and began thinking over the day’s events. With everything at home, he felt like it could be summed up to a weird prank. But that was only if he ignored school. He recognized absolutely no one. But somehow, they all knew him, or at least pretended to. It was like he had been dropped into a huge set. Maybe it was all a prank, but instead of his family messing with him, he was on some kind reality tv show. Bookmark here

If so, he had to admit they were doing one hell of a job at it. But they probably weren’t getting the reaction they had hoped for. But Katsuo wasn’t sure how to react. He felt like he should be freaking out, at least a little. But everything just seemed so, normal. As if nothing was out of the ordinary to anyone else but him. Bookmark here

“Hey, Nakajima right?”Bookmark here

He turned around on his step-made seat to find the girl with the long black hair standing there, Kimiko. She had her arms crossed and was giving him a meaningful glare. She was actually kind of cute, even with that angry look and stern posture.Bookmark here

“You’ve got some explaining to do. Meet me on the roof after school, because I want answers.”Bookmark here

She what? He stared at her dumbfounded, with his mouth full he couldn’t respond. He tried to swallow. But before he could get a word out, she turned, hair flared out behind her, and walked back inside. He stared on after her for a minute and swallowed his food.Bookmark here

“Yeah, sure thing.”Bookmark here

If only she had given him the time to answer. Oh well, he was going to talk to her anyway he supposed. Maybe he was experiencing some kind of amnesia, and this girl was his girlfriend. If so, he was going to apologize for anything he did or didn’t do. He’d never had a girlfriend before. But no, the way she had spoken to him. Using his name like she was confirming that was him. Almost as if she didn’t know him. If he did nothing else, he had to meet this girl after school. So far, she might be the only person that doesn’t know who he is. Bookmark here

He couldn’t help but see the irony in that. The only person who didn’t know him, might be the only person who could help him understand what was going on. Unless of course, it was all part of the act. He sighed, well tv show or no tv show, he needed to talk to this girl.Bookmark here

He finished his lunch and then headed back to class. On his way a few of the other students stopped him in the hall.Bookmark here

“Nakajima, how come you didn’t join us for lunch today?”Bookmark here

“Yeah man, where were you?”Bookmark here

“I heard someone say they saw him with Kimiko behind the school.”Bookmark here

Uh oh. The first two gasped.Bookmark here

“Bro, tell us about it.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, are you two like dating?”Bookmark here

Katsuo had no idea what to say to this. He didn’t even know who she was, let alone what she was to him. But what if he said yes and they weren’t, or worse, what if he said no and they were. Bookmark here

“I’m going to talk to her after school today.”Bookmark here

There, that should do it.Bookmark here

“Ooh, Nakajima and Kimiko.”Bookmark here

“The Cold Princess, eh?”Bookmark here

“The what?”Bookmark here

They looked at him like he just asked what color the wall was. Bookmark here

“You know, The Cold Princess?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, because she’s always so serious and dignified.”Bookmark here

“Sshh, guys. Let’s not speak poorly of Nakajima’s new girlfriend.”Bookmark here

He must have seen the look on Katsuo’s face because he held up a hand and corrected himself. Sliding an arm around Katsuo’s shoulder as he did so. Bookmark here

“Soon to be girlfriend, let us remain positive my dear friend.”Bookmark here

The others nodded vigorously in agreement. Bookmark here

“So what if she is the Cold Princess.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, seriously. You’ll be the only one here to have a girlfriend.”Bookmark here

Katsuo had no idea what to say to all this. Not only did he not know who any of these guys were, but he had no idea why Kimiko even wanted to talk to him, let alone who she was to him. But he had a feeling he’d soon be finding out. Bookmark here

Before he could decide on what to say, lunch ended, and it was time to get back to class. His three friends, he supposed, headed back to class waving at him as they did so. Bookmark here

“We’ll be looking forward to the results, Nakajima.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, and it better be good!”Bookmark here

He noted that they went to Class 2 – 2. Just as they reached their door, black hair flashed in his peripheral. He turned, just in time to see the bearer of said hair come to a stop. Kimiko. He noticed the last two of his three friends stop and watch, one pulling the third back through the door to watch as well.Bookmark here

“And what results would those be, Nakajima?”Bookmark here

“Uh, on our test?”Bookmark here

It was weak, and he knew it. And she could too, it was written on her face as plain as the walls around them. He stammered, looking up as he did so, as if that would somehow help him come up with a better answer. Bookmark here

“So now we’re lying in word as well as action I see.”Bookmark here

He was stuck, nowhere to run, and no one to save him.Bookmark here

“Nakajima, Kimiko, I believe lunchtime is over?”Bookmark here

If there is a God, he must act through female teachers in their late twenties, Katsuo thought. Miss Nakajima was standing before them, gesturing to the door impatiently. Kimiko turned up her nose and strode through, but not before giving him another one of those corner of the eye glares. Katsuo gave a quick bow and followed in after. Miss Nakajima could be heard outside the classroom shortly after. Bookmark here

“And don’t think I missed you three, I’ll be sure to have a word with Mr. Iwao if you’re not seated in the next 3 seconds.”Bookmark here

“Yes ma’am!”Bookmark here

“Right away!”Bookmark here

“Of course, Miss Nakajima!”Bookmark here

All three of them responding on top of one another and turning to run back into their class with barely a bow. She shook her head as she came into the classroom, and closed the door on the way in. Bookmark here

When the chime sounded, Katsuo began to sweat. Before he had even grabbed his bag, Kimiko slid past him without a glance. Once he collected himself, he headed off in that direction. He realized on his way to the roof that he didn’t know where it was. Or at least he shouldn’t, he was fortunate that this school had the exact same layout to his own, if it was a different place at all. Reaching the top of the stairwell, he stopped at the door, his hand resting on the handle. He took a deep breath, exhaled heavily, and opened the door. Bookmark here

She stood in the middle of the roof, back turned to him, wind pulling at her hair. He had to admit, she made that uniform look good. With that dark blue jacket and grey plaid skirt. Just as he was thinking this, she turned to face him. Catching her hair in one hand and propping the other on her cocked hip.Bookmark here

“Katsuo Nakajima.”Bookmark here

She said it with such finality, like she was passing judgement over him.Bookmark here

“Who are you?”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.