Chapter 1:

The Otaku Is Exposed

Love, Manga & Blackmail: A Secret Otaku's Countdown To Romance!


School for the day was finally up and the hour where I would get to obtain the newest volume of my manga, and hug it close was nearing closer.

After masterfully making my escape from my curious group of friends, I headed straight home. Why, someone might ask?

One can never be too careful, dear person who asked. Never.

“Where you off to?” A short, equally silver-haired as me, little rascal asked, as she walked up to me getting ready in front of the mirror.

“That’s none of your concern, dear Kotone… Onii-chan has very important business to attend to…” I replied all smug, while fastening the black cap over my unruly hair, completing an outfit consisting of black sunglasses to cover my distinguishable purple eyes, and a surgical mask for my sharp features. That was my ultimate disguise. Nobody could ever recognize me where they to see me buying some manga while dressed like that.

Ah, sometimes my brilliance surprises even myself!

“Excuse me, 119? Yes, my brother is dressed like he’s about to rob a bank while he’s satanically laughing to himself…”

“Oye, don’t call the cops on me, Kotone!”

Distancing the house phone from her ear, my sister turned to look at me once more, her brows raised to high heaven.

“Onii-chan?”

“Look, I’m gonna get that thing we talked about, ‘kay?” I replied in between gritted teeth, hoping she gets the hint.

“If you’re doing drugs, I’m telling mum and dad.”

“I’m NOT doing drugs, Kotone!” 

“That’s what they all say…” Kotone sighed, picking up the phone once more. “Yes mum? Onii-chan is about to take some dr—“

Hey!

With a swift thrust of my arm, I take ahold of the phone in her hands just in time before she says anything outrageous and causes irreversible turmoil within the household.

“Everything is under control, mum—“

I swiftly try to explain before I realize the long buzzing sound on the other end indicates she hasn’t even called anyone yet.

With a glare I turn back to my little sister, who in response just holds up her nose all high and mighty.

For a brief moment, I sigh.

Seriously where does a primary school kid find all that sass?

“Look, I’m gonna buy the new volume of Lilia-chan, okay?”

“Oh! Is it out already?!” Upon the mention of her favorite magical girl, Kotone smiles giddily in anticipation.

“Yeah, that’s why I’m dressed like a thug… I can’t risk someone seeing me buy a manga about magical girls! Manga are a no-go and even more so if there are sparsely dressed magical girls on it to boot!”

“Can’t you just say you’re getting it for your little sister?” Kotone said, as she threw herself over the sofa and swung her legs.

“Urgh…”

While she does raise a valid point… Like I said before, one can never be too careful. And I, Naruse Haruhi intend to be ultra careful!

“Says the person who’s wearing a Lilia-chan bracelet…” My sister suddenly scoffed, as she glanced at my exposed wrist beneath my black hoodie’s sleeve.

“Oye!” I hissed. “I just bought it on impulse and I want to wear it just once, okay?!” Clutching my arm like a kid that was just told off, I aim for the door. “It’s not like anyone will recognize me, anyway…”

With a grumble I slip on my shoes, and look back at the giggling, mischievous little devil I call a sister.

“I’m off…”

“I shall be awaiting Lilia-chan’s return…”

Leaving a drooling Kotone behind, I make my way out the house and towards probably the most valuable place on earth for an otaku.

The manga store!

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In my disguise, and with expectation levels high, it’s not long until I find my way inside the store, and slip into the treasury area of the new releases.

With a quick survey, I find the corner exclusively labeled as Magical Girl Lilia-chan! Which of course is none other than the title of the manga I’m searching for, and quickly pick up a copy of the newest volume.

Ah…

Such a sweet, sweet feeling. Paperback supremacy. Paperbacks shall rule the world!

With the sensation of the cover dancing against my fingertips, and the pink exterior of Lilia-chan’s uniform at the corner of my eye, I make a beeline for the register and pay up.

Only an otaku would probably feel so happy giving up his allowance like that…

With that thought, and a paper bag full of a treasure within, I march out of the shop and make my way back home.

I can’t wait to read it… I really am a die-hard otaku.

I can’t imagine the look on everyone’s face if they saw me acting all excited about a magical girl manga… They’d probably be mortified.

Despite that however, I don’t really understand WHY can’t a high school student like myself indulge in whatever manga and anime he likes? Sure, some look childish, and some ARE made for kids, but not all are one and the same. If you push through the Moe exterior, there’s plenty of story and emotion hidden within!

“Haah…”

I sigh, as I feel sweat forming beneath my mask, and realize just how much that powerful monologue of mine has made my temperature rise.

Well of course, wearing a hat, glasses, a tight mask and a hoodie will make anyone sweat at such a windless day in June.

Just as I’m thinking that though, I notice movement from the corner of my eye, and fail to avoid that same motion from colliding against me.

For the second time today, I failed to scan my surroundings properly, and have crushed against yet another person while walking.

“Woah!” This time though, I’m the one to lose my balance, and trip over myself as I fall across the pavement like a ragdoll of some sort.

The fall is so random however, that everything from my manga copy, to my glasses and hat jumps off its rightful place as I’m left completely exposed.

“Lillia-chan!” All I can think about however, is my precious paperback that I’ve spent all my remaining pocket money on. As I reach out and grab it, a sense of relief washes over me.

“Phew…” With my heart leaping back in place, I finally raise my head towards the person that I collided with. I need to apologize and make sure they never see me again… It would be bad if—

As I rest my gaze upon that mysterious person, I realize that those same emerald green eyes staring back at me, belong to the very same girl I bumped into this morning too.

You have to be kidding me…

I’m struck completely speechless, as the short blonde girl with glasses before me looks down at me in silence.

My heart is racing a mile a minute, as I realize that my identity is most definitely in danger of being exposed after so many years of avoiding it.

Calm down, calm down, I’ll just ask her to keep it a secret! If push comes to shove, I can just say she’s batshit crazy! I mean she doesn’t have any—

Click

Evidence.

The soft clicking sound of her phone’s camera ensues, as its lens is aimed straight at me.

In a split second, I see my whole life flash before me.

“Eh?”

Katsuhito
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