Chapter 20:

Episode 20- Pity Chocolate

My Friend is a Harem Protagonist [Short]

February 14th, a Standard Tuesday

Valentines day. A pivotal moment in any Rom Com. Well, not it really isn't. It's kind of weird how little the day celebrating love is so little in most Mangas. Like usually it's used to highlight one girl but nothing really changes from it. Considering Valentines is so late in the school year you would assume it would have a bit more value to a story, like a big climax? Maybe it's because everyone associates Valentines with romance so they try to do something different?

I was wondering about this as I called Aoi. she awoke in a start, nothing changed with that girl. After that was my tradition of breakfast and thinking over the day. There wasn't much left to this year, after today it was the Cultural Festival and then Graduation. If Daichi is going to make up his mind it has to be soon. I hoped that our story was one that would take advantage of Valentines and maybe have a girl confess.

Yeah, big hopes there.

“Morning Daichi.” I said as I walked outside.

We began walking to school as per usual. It would only be a few minutes till Aoi popped up. I had talked to Kioko, the girls were up late making chocolates at Saki’s house apparently. I knew that Aoi had some to give, however I did not make myself scarce for her to give it first thing in the morning.

Why am I not doing that? Cause how am I supposed to. Assuming that Aoi was willing to give Daichi the chocolates outright, she should do it in a better place than on the way to school. Plus I didn't want to make some excuse to leave him today.

Luckily when Aoi joined us she didn't even try. She probably was waiting for a moment at school. Saki met us shortly after and we arrived at the school gates.

I opened my shoe locker and noticed it empty of anything but shoes. Why was I looking for something?

Ren arrived next to me, Toshi leaving his side to put her shoes on.

“Is that chocolate I see?” Daichi said to Ren.

“Yeah Toshi caught me on my way to school and gave them to me, isn't that awesome!” Ren said happily. “Hey Riku, you know how to make chocolate, right? I gotta make some for White day that will blow her away!”

“Sure we can all get together to make some.” I said to the two.

“Me too?” Daichi asked.

“You're getting at least pity chocolate.” I said, knowing full well he wasn't getting anything close to pity chocolate.

“I guess that is true.” Daichi said, sliding his shoes on.

White day took place on March 14th, two days after our cultural festival. It was also four days before Koshien.

Toshi came around the corner of the shoe locker with a concerned look. “Looks like Izumi is running late.” She said.

I titled my head at that, Izumi wasn't big on being late I give her credit for that. I decided to give her a call just in case.

“Hey Riku.” Izumi said on the other line. I could hear in her voice how awful she felt. “Im stuck at home today, the winter weather has crippled me under a mighty curse.”

“Even your explanation sounds weak.” I stated. “Hope you feel better.”

“Thanks for the concern, I have the priestess bringing my homework so you don't have to offer to bring it.” Izumi said.

“No worries, I had no intention of offering.” I said before hanging up. I heard a loud ‘Huh?’ before I ended the call. “She's sick with the flu.”

“Sad.” Toshi said. Lately everyone has been getting along great, even Himiko was showing her true colors to the rest of the group.

“Man, what's the point of this last semester?” Ren sighed. “We already got into our schools, why can't we just take a vacation.”

“That is why they pushed our cultural festival to march, so the seniors had a reason to stick around.” I said.

“I'm not even going to be able to participate.” Ren sighed.

“Right you guys gotta train for Koshien like crazy.” Daichi said.

“Well be there, just can't do whatever our class plans to do.” Toshi explained.

We all walked together before splitting off to go to our classes. Maeko seemed embarrassed as Daichi entered the room. I hoped to all the gods above that she managed to give it to him without degrading him in the process.

During our first break I decided to make myself scarce. I had a special hiding spot for times like this. Okay it wasn't well hidden but it worked. It was the school roof. Yeah it was colder but it was actually warming up a bit this year. I just wanted to give Daichi and the girls a chance. I of course returned before class began.

I noticed a box of chocolates in Daichi’s desk, and a red face on Maeko. Good on her. Wonder if I will get any pity chocolates?

Lunch came around so I told Daichi to go get a drink for me. I had purposely left my bottle at home. Saki followed Daichi and I noticed when they returned he had a box on top of my drink.

I decided to stretch my legs a bit before class started so I went to get a drink for Daichi as a thank you. It was on the way that I spotted our student council president with her hands behind her back.

“What's up Himi-Himi.” I said with a wave.

“Don't call me that!” Himiko said sharply.

“But I already did, they say that once you say something you can't take it back.” I said.

Himiko sighed. “Fine, just don't call me it again.”

“I make no promises Himi-Himi.”

“Riku!” Himiko said.

“Fine, InuHara.” I quipped.

“Not better!” Himiko said, ripping off the dog costume I mentally put on her. Luckily my mental image of her wore her uniform under the dog costume.

Himiko looked nervous about something. “So.” she began, but was stopped quickly.

“Ah Hara, can I get your help in the teachers lounge?” A teacher, I think he was a science teacher, said.

“Huh? Oh sure.” Himiko said, returning to her Student council persona.

“Great, please come along.”

“Huh?” Himiko said, eyes darting between me and the teacher. “Uh, sure.” And so, she walked backwards, hands still behind her. Weird.

Aoi’s came last, and it came at the end of the day. With all the chocolates received we all were about to split up for clubs. For some reason, I couldn't shake this nagging feeling in the back of my mind. It felt like the haze was coming on again. Great.

“Ill see ya later.” I told them. “I'm going to head home a bit early so don't wait for me okay?”

“Okay, see ya tomorrow Riku.” They all said.

And with that, I found myself on that foot bridge. The snow had already started to melt, thus the river was higher than normal. If it was cold, I couldn't tell.

I guess I am being a little stupid. I think I am a little disappointed that I hadn't gotten even pity chocolates. It was stupid, I am glad they focused so hard on making chocolate for Daichi, but still.

Jeez, the person in the water looked so lame. I sighed. It feels like back then, back before I met Kioko. Back when I felt like I didn't matter to them. It's just a small thing, so why does it bother me so much?

“Riku?” I heard from behind me.

I turned sharply, it was Kioko. She was on her bike and was panting as if she had run a marathon.

“Kioko? What are you doing here?” I asked.

“You first.” Kioko said.

This felt oddly familiar. Right, back in April. It's been almost a year hasn't it. We met here on this bridge, back then we were almost strangers. We talked about her art. It felt like so long ago.

“I was just on my way home.” I said, trying to remove my bummed out face.

Kioko tilted her head. “Don't you have club today?”

“Yeah, don't you too?” I asked.

“Yeah, but I skipped today.” Kioko said. “I heard you left early.”

“Oh the girls told you huh?” I said.

“Yep, how'd it go today?” Kioko asked.

“Success, they all gave their chocolate to Daichi. Toshi gave hers to Ren of course.” I said.

“That's great, they all worked so hard on it.” Kioko said. “Even Saki made something edible.”

“I am happy for that, I think if she gets one more strike the UN has to arrest her.” I laughed, it felt only a little forced.

Kioko gave me a look as if she was dissecting me.

“I think I am going to head home.” I said, my haze wasn't going away.

“Hm? Oh before you leave” Kioko said, digging into her school bag. “Here.” She pulled out a bag tied at the top with a string.

“What are these?” I asked.

“Chocolates?” Kioko said as if it was obvious. “Its Valentines isn't it?”

I took the bag gently. I felt everything clear. Somehow, this little bag was like a treasure to me.

“Thank you.” I said, looking down at the bag as if it was glowing.

“Of course. Though I expect some bomb choclates on white day. Not Saki kind of bomb but like, taste good bomb.” Kioko said.

I felt tears well in my eyes, dammit I was lame! “It means alot.” I choked out.

Kioko gave me a look. “You know, I think you underestimate those girls.” Kioko said. “Wanna walk home together?”

“Sure.” I said, eating one of the chocolates. It was amazing.

February 15th, A less gloomy day

When I arrived at my shoe locker, I found it filled with chocolates. They were store bought, but they were there. They all were signed by someone different. Toshi, Saki, Maeko, Aoi. I was an idiot for worrying. I forgot, these were my friends after all.

“Riku! I got you chocolates!” Izumi yelled.

“Hey hold on.” Himiko said, being pulled along by Izumi.

“Don't hold back, give him the chocolates too.” Izumi laughed. “Sorry we were late.”

I smiled. This felt nice, maybe it was a little much. That night I partook in all the chocolates, but none matched Kioko’s.

When was it? Was it that day on the bridge almost a year ago? No, maybe at her house? Maybe.

Valentines was over, and the only big event left before graduation was the Cultural Festival. The final arc of this Romantic Comedy was about to begin, am I ready for it?

Hello, Kioko here for the next episode preview. Huh? The chocolates? Oh well I made them with everyone else. It was a lot of fun, though I didn't really do anything all that fancy. Well, I put in one secret ingredient but it shouldn't have changed the flavor much. Anyways, the next Episode. The Cultural Festival begins, I cant wait to see what everyone does. Next Time, Cultural Festival Part 1.