Chapter 17:

My Mom Isn't Herself (But She Still Loves Me).

My Dad is an Otaku, My Mom is a Fujoshi, and I Wish I Was Dead

Out of the shadows between the school building and the club building, the Karate Team second-years begin to emerge. One, two, three- there's five of them in total. They're the last people I wanted to see, or that I needed to see, right now.

The one with the earrings laughs. "Man, what the hell have you got on? That's fucking weird, dude!" They all join him in laughing like a pack of hyenas.

I won't deny, they're right.

"What is it? I'm in a hurry." I hope my bluff worked, but something tells me that it didn’t.

"You're busy, huh?" the one with the dyed hair sneers. "Not busy enough to come to the team's demonstration?"

"Nobody said anything about it. If I'd known, I would have been there."

The one with the dyed hair is getting closer, and the bald one is following right behind him, menacingly. "Nobody told you because that's for you first-years to fucking figure out," the one with the dyed hair growls. "What the hell, man? We're busting our asses at the demonstration and you're out fooling around with your girlfriend?"

"Girlfriend? I don't have a girlfriend."

"Don't bullshit us, man," the one with the earrings spits. He's closing in from the other direction. They've started to fan out like a pack of wolves cornering their prey, and I’m getting tense. "Cocky-ass freshmen who think that they get to slack off because they have a girlfriend make me sick. You think you get to ditch the team to hang out with Shiritori?"

"I'm not dating Ayame-" Crap.

I just called her by her first name with no honorifics in front of all of the senpai. Obviously, anyone who heard this would think we were dating!

The one with the earrings laughs so hard that he throws his head back, and the others follow suit, whooping. "Bullshit! My girl's a freshman and she told me everything! That's the best you can do? That fucking weirdo? The one who's got no friends and won't shut up about weird anime shit? Did she make that fucking dress for you? A crossdresser and an two are the perfect couple!" He cackles again and the rest of them follow suit.

On the outside, my expression hasn't changed. On the inside, the blood is starting to go to my head. I clench my fists.

"You can say what you want about me, but you better not say anything else about Ayame."

"Oh look, he's mad!" the one with the tan sneers, and the rest follow suit with that awful chorus of hyena laughs.

"You about to defend your chick's honor or something? You gonna go 'this is unforgivable?'" the one with the dyed hair says.

"Hey, you think they've fucked yet?" the bald one calls out.

"No way!"

"Kouga's probably never even seen her tits!"

"I bet Shiritori's a dead fish!" the one with the earrings roars, and the other ones laugh their assent.

And that's the end of my rope.

"I already said. Shut up about Ayame. NOW."

"Are you serious?" he says with leering disdain. He's so close to me that I can smell his breath. "What the fuck are you going to do, you little shit?"

I know exactly what I'm going to do. I learned it from training with these guys.

Choku-zuki, straight punch, the very first one that all karate beginners learn. The one they had us practice until our arms felt like they were going to fall off.

I hit him so hard in the solar plexus that he topples to the ground, gasping for breath.


As I start to come to, a high-pitched, frightened voice calls out to me, growing louder and louder. "-ichan? Niichan? Niichan, wake up!"


There's something soft under me. As I start to gain my consciousness back, I realize that it's a bed. My sister’s distressed face, leaning over me, fills my field of vision. The soft green curtain behind her makes me realize that this is the nurse's office.

"What's...going on..." Every bit of my body is starting to scream out in pain. Oh, right. They must have beat me up good. It was 5 versus 1, of course that was going to happen. But I stood and I fought them like a man and maybe that will finally make them back off of me.

"Oh my God, Niichan, what happened? You were passed out, and you're all bruised and bloody..."

"I must have overworked myself so hard that I passed out or something..." That's an obvious lie and she knows it. You don't overwork yourself into a black eye and a bloody lip. But instead of pushing back, she just looks down and away with a guilty expression.

My dad is seated next to her. "Come on, we'll take you home. The nurse said you had no major injuries, but you need to rest."

...Someone's missing.

"Where's Mom?"

My dad and Kaede both look to their left and jolt in surprise, simultaneously. "She was here just a second ago..." my dad says, a hint of panic in his voice.

And then, I hear it.

The familiar voice of my mother, coming from outside, roaring with such a rage that I can hear it clear as day all the way in here. "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, DOING THAT TO MY HARUTO?!"

Instantly, I bolt up from the bed and sprint out of the room, ignoring both my aching body and Kaede's frantic, "Niichan, wait! You need to lie down!"

God, my head is pounding. Shit.

The nurse's office is close enough to the front doors of the school that I'm able to get there in less than fifteen seconds. Outside, in the courtyard, which is filled with tons of stalls from every club selling almost anything you can imagine- food, crafts, and so on, a small crowd of onlookers are starting to form a circle around just a handful of people: the karate team captain Takeno, still in his gi, with the senpai with the earrings and the one with the dyed hair nervously standing behind him. On the other side is my mother, all 135 cm of her, backing him down with such intensity that I can almost see flames erupting from around her.

I think you're going after the wrong guy, Mom. Takeno-senpai wasn't there.


"What?" Takeno-senpai replies, dumbfounded.


Kaede pulls to a halt right next to me and her jaw drops as soon as she sees what's going on. Dad follows a couple seconds later, hands on his knees, panting.

Flustered, Takeno-senpai blurts out, "I mean, yes, I'm their club captain-"

Mom swings to slap him with all her might. Or she would have, but she's so short that her hand flies harmlessly under his chin.

"What's going on-" Takeno says, and Mom swings with her other hand. She whiffs on that one, too.

Please stop this, Mom. You're embarrassing yourself.

Takeno-senpai can't get anything out- he looks genuinely baffled. I don’t blame him. There's a tiny, furious woman attacking him, which is strange enough on its own, but he has absolutely no idea why.

The other two senpai do know what’s going on, though. And they look a bit...scared.

My mom draws her knee back, and instantly I take off. Before her knee can reach where she was aiming, I’ve already wrapped her up in a bear hug, bringing her down to the ground as gently as I can. I must have covered the distance from the school doors to the center of the courtyard in a single second.

I'm sorry, Mom. As a man I can't let you connect with your target. Not on Takeno-senpai, not on anyone.

I'm lying on top of her, restraining her with all my weight, but something is shifting beneath me. She's starting to struggle to her feet. She, who weighs less than half of what I do, is throwing me off. She’s got one knee up. Now she’s got two. Now a foot.

She's lifting me! She's on her feet and she's starting to drag me!

As I struggle to hold her back, I can just barely hear frantic footsteps fading away into the distance, and Takeno-senpai calling out, "Hey, Nakamura! Get back here! What did you do?!"

It only takes one panicked look from me for my father and sister to come rushing to my aid, Kaede quickly, Dad not so much.

Kaede grabs her by the waist in an attempt to slow her down. "Mom! Stop it!"

At the same time, Dad restrains her from the front. "Chisato! Calm down!"

She's still moving! All three of us are trying to stop her and she's still pushing us! As she starts to move toward the school, all we can do is hang on.

Where is she taking us?!

The growl that comes out of her mouth sounds nothing like my mother. "I saw it...I saw it all...I'm going to the principal...I'm going to get those bastards, I'm getting them arrested..."

I never would have imagined that she would say anything like that. Not in my lifetime, not in a million years.

"Mom!" Kaede yells, but it has no effect. She's still forcing all three of us toward the school.

Imagine if the principal saw me like this? I'd want to crawl in a hole and never come out!

As we hold on for dear life, we pass by a blue canvas booth, and there's a familiar face- Ayame, manning the Manga Research Club's booth, is staring at us in shock, blankly holding a stack of papers.

All I can choke out is "Help us!"

She immediately vaults herself over the booth counter and positions herself in front of Mom, pushing her back like a sumo wrestler. "Chisato-san, what's gotten into you?!"

Mom's not listening. Ayame is starting to get pushed back, too. There are four people attempting to restrain my tiny mother and combined we must weigh as much as a motorcycle, or at least a scooter, and she's still moving.

We're inside the school now. I'm still desperately holding on. None of us can stop her…the principal's office is just around the corner.

"I'll make him regret ever accepting those kids in the first place..." my mom growls.

That voice isn’t her.

I only have one, last, desperate option. It has to work.

"Mom, stop it! I asked you not to embarrass me! You've done enough today!"

Less than a meter from the door to the principal's office, she stops. All the tension in her body goes away. She's not trying to fight anymore. All of us tumble off her in a heap.

I look down and I realize I'm still wearing that damn maid outfit.

I have been dragged, along with my father, sister, and childhood friend, almost twenty meters by my mother who is small enough to be a child, all while I was wearing a maid costume. I fought the karate team senpai dressed like a maid. And how many people saw this?

Kill me. Kill me now.

Then again, I am a little grateful. My mom must have seen me fight my seniors, because she went right after them. She charged fearlessly after them for my sake and she got them to back down despite the height, weight, age, gender- you name it- differences.

She's surprisingly devious. She backed the senpai into a corner that they couldn't get out of. They fight back against someone who looks like a little girl and beat her up in front of a crowd of onlookers? They're going straight to jail. Throw away the key. They fight back and she beats them? They're still going to jail, but everyone will treat them like a joke, too. They picked the self-preservation option. They ran away from someone who looks like a small child, and now they're not going to end up in prison, but no one will ever be scared of them again.

She got the angriest I've ever seen her for my sake, because she loves me.

Her face is starting to turn back to normal, and the light is returning to her eyes.

"Thanks, Mom.” 

I really mean it. Honestly.

Pope Evaristus
Steward McOy