Chapter 14:

Minami is Too Handsy

Hanako won’t Grant my Wish!

“Let’s do it! I bet we could! If we summoned a succubus and it really worked, wouldn’t that be sick as hell?”

“I- I don’t know Noboru…”

You’re probably wondering how I found myself in this situation.

Or at least, that’s a phrase I’ve always wanted to say, but now I’m realizing that for such a cliche line to come about in the real world, the situation had to be bad enough to warrant it.

And well, that defeated the point entirely.

And besides, there wasn’t even really much context to give. There was a news report that Saito had seen the night before about some no-name salaryman who was found dead in his own bed from some sort of unexplainable cause. There were signs of him being a large follower of the occult, and even remnants of attempted rituals around his house.

A bunch of nonsense–is what I would say if my best friend wasn’t a literal man-eating demon from the depths of Hell itself.

Of course, not that Hanako was really like that, but still the point stands.

Kobayashi got a little too curious and did some research of his own.

And well…

He dug up what could be considered my worst nightmare of a scenario.

“That’s ridiculous. Why would you think a forum post online could in any way be related to this incident?”

“Who cares!? The important part is the post. Isn’t it super crazy!? I mean, I’m just itching to try it.”

“Noboru, you’re gullible. Too gullible. You know that, right? And this fixation on demon summoning rituals is just a result of that.”

“I know… I know, but…!”

Hiroshi was blunt. I knew he didn’t hesitate to shut Noboru down whenever he had a stupid idea, and I was thankful for it.

But even so, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if our resident pervert really tried to do it. Would it work for him as well? Surely if my scuffed, fourth rate setup did the job, he could do just as well if not better.

It sounded a little nice having somebody I could talk to about the occult; and of course, about succubi. Maybe our Hanako could get along with his summon as well. That way she wouldn’t be limited to just talking to Koyuki and I.

Well, the real pressing issue wasn’t if it would work, but more so that it would definitely work. And that the subject here was Noboru. He would become a sex demon in his own right if I let something like this come to pass.

“I… I think it’s dangerous. What if this weird website really was related to the death on the news, and the same thing happened to you?”

Hiroshi looked right at me at that moment. My cheesy explanation must have clicked with him.

“Shoutarou’s right. You may have gotten away with some stupid ideas before, but this one is just too dangerous. I don’t even have an interest in the occult to begin with.”

Damn. I would have to ride this wave, huh?

“M-me neither.”


“It’s a stupid idea Noboru. Give it up.”

“Ugh. You’re no fun man. My ideas are always just stupid to you.”

“Would I really be this brash about it if I wasn’t worried about you?”

He didn’t have a response to that one. Just a rosy pout and a ruffle of the hair.

“Oh! Uhm… by the way! My sister said she’d buy it for me! The PZ5, I mean.”

I did my best to change the subject.

“Really? Really really??”

Hook, line, and sinker.

And then just like that, the bell rang, signaling the start of class.

“Ugh, Dammit! This discussion continues at lunch! You hear me Shoutarou!?”


“Y-yeah. Sure.”

Well, it wasn’t a big deal. It was technically true, right? Koyuki did say she would.

Under certain conditions that is.

As Saito quickly scurried to his desk as if he were a squirrel running from cars, Kobayashi leaned into to whisper something to me.

“Don’t worry about him; he’s always like this. Give it a day or two and he’ll have some new crazy idea that we’ll have to shoot down.”

He gave me a wink.

A real, actual wink.

And a smile, even.

Kobayashi, strangely enough, looked like he was having fun with the whole ordeal. At that moment I felt like I understood the dynamic between the two just a little better.


The three of us were eating lunch with our desks all linked in a big group with some other students. Or really, Kobayashi and Saito were eating lunch with me, but I just really wanted to say it like that.

Among them was the girl who sat directly to my left, with her desk pushed right up against mine. Apparently she was acquainted with the two of them. Or really, she was just gunning for Kobayashi. It was painfully obvious, but honestly I was just thankful that she had her eyes on him to the point where she didn’t even know I existed.

Regardless, I was in a troublesome situation. It was hard to even focus on my words with her only half a desk away, but as long as I didn’t make eye contact and focused on keeping up a conversation with Saito, things would probably maybe be okay.

“Though, she said she won’t buy it unless I pass all of my midterms…”

“AGH, YOU LIAR! It’s hopeless then! You should have said that to begin with!”

“Wow, that was blunt.”

What the hell! Rude!

He wasn’t wrong, but rude!

“M-maybe you’re right.”

“Come on Noboru, bad test scores aren’t anything a little studying can’t fix. Even I used to be below average, but once I got serious about my grades they shot right up.”

“Yeah Saito, get a hint dude.”

A chime in from the girl. Oh god, what was her name? Was she going to keep echoing Kobayashi like that? He clearly didn’t think much of it either.

“Wait, h-how do you guys know I’m a bad student?”

“You’re a delinquent, duh. Plus, Hiroshi happened to point you out on the scoreboard a while back.”

I knew that it was supposed to be a compliment coming from Saito, who thought delinquents were cool, but the comment didn’t feel any better because of it. And even worse was them looking me up on the scoreboard. Maybe they used to point me out to make fun of me?

Or maybe they still do behind my back?

An intrusive thought that I pushed to the back of my mind.

“Well… I was thinking, uh, maybe-”

I wasn’t able to get the words out. Somehow it was so much more embarrassing asking to have a group study session with these other people around. And what if this girl tried to invite herself? Wouldn’t that be a horrible enough outcome on its own?

“What if we had a group study session? I have cram school on Saturdays, but I’m free on Sundays.”

“Oh, that’s a great idea!”

Immediately, the girl pounced at the opportunity. She even almost jumped out of her chair, which in turn startled the living hell out of me.

…startled the Nether out of me? Is that more proper?

Usually I’d be glad when Kobayashi came in to save me (as he’s been doing pretty often), but this time it actually worked to my disadvantage. He had been doing it often since we talked in the hallway before.

“That’s–uh, yeah! That!”

I still gave in anyway. I didn’t know what else to do.

“So then how about this Sunday? You could use a bit of a score bump yourself, Noboru.”

“But we were supposed to game this Sunday!”

“This is obviously more important. And besides, we’ll get to game plenty when Shoutarou gets his PZ5.”

“Agh, true! This is so hard!”

Saito looked visibly frustrated, ruffling his already displaced hair as if he had already done it several times today. Which he had. It was funny how his hair slowly became more and more disheveled throughout the day because he messed with it so much.

“Yeah, we’ll get plenty of chances to hang out later. But school comes first, right Shoutarou?”

Don’t just use my first name like that, you lecherous woman.

“Uh… uhm… I-”

“Stay out of this, slut! Boys only! And besides, your grades are only slightly better than mine, what good would you do?”

D- did he just call her a slut? Just, out in the open like that? Uh, besides that, good save I guess?

“Nobody’s asking the pervert! All of us here have better grades than you, so I’d be just fine as a tutor!”

“Actually, Shoutarou’s are way worse than yours, so you’re way off, slutty slut slut slutterson!"

Kobayashi gave Saito a nasty glare at the comment that really made me laugh more than anything else, but clearly he thought less of it. He recoiled a bit, realizing he messed up.

“Anyway, boys only! No girls allowed!”

She was about ready to blow her top, but just barely held things together to save face. Though right now Saito looked a bit like a villain if I was being honest.

Could be tell that she wouldn't be able to lash out at him? Or was he really just this bold when talking to girls?

The rest of the grouped up tablemates were having their own separate conversation, but stopped to have a laugh at the ridiculous tension between the two.

I didn’t really know if I even had a place in this conversation anymore.

Suddenly the girl shifted her eyes at me and I could tell something horrible was about to happen.

You could say my Shoutarou senses were tingling.

…Actually, don't say that.

She started to say something, and I jumped out of my seat as her hand reached over to grab my shoulder. I had gotten used to avoiding the touch of others, but I had already been so nervous that I couldn't help but panic at the split-second situation.

I fell backwards towards the ground and caused a loud, alarming crash from the metal rods of my chair and the desk, causing the entire class to fix their eyes on our little group-meet.

I didn't have to look, either. I could hear the sudden silence that gave it away.

I was horrified.

Immediately, my mind went back to a few weeks ago where I drew the same level of attention.

Why was I so bad at this? At social interaction. Why was I so abnormal? Were there any other pubescent boys or girls out there who could possibly be dealing with this kind of humiliation because of such a stupid condition?

Or was it just me? Was I just that inept at being normal?

I was getting wrapped up in my own head again. I wanted to run. Like last time.

But there was no secluded room for me to go back to in this place. If I could just get out through the back gate like I did before, then-

"Dude, are you okay!? What's your deal, why'd you push him!"

"What the hell!? I- I didn't-"

"It's fine, guys. Let's all just calm down. Shoutarou, are you okay?"

Was I… okay?

I looked up at Kobayashi, who had made eyes all around the room before turning his head back towards me and reaching a hand out. As if he had casted some sort of magic spell, everybody else in class went back to their idle chatter and dropped interest in my royal fumble.

The noise in my head began to fade. Despite the fact that I clearly was acting abnormal, the two of them still rushed to my aid.

There wasn’t even a moment of hesitation. Not a moment of thinking twice about the situation before trying to help me. These two weren’t calculating. They weren’t judgemental like I was.

Did that make me feel good? I wanted to think so, but some other emotion seemed to overtake me regardless.


I was stupid to doubt their integrity towards me to begin with. Stupid, but even now I couldn’t help but do it.

What was your intention, helping me like this?

Was that because I had a good read of character? Or was I just paranoid?

Well regardless, I could manage. For now.

"Y- yeah, I'm okay. She didn't push me, I just- uh… I lost my balance."

I couldn't bear to make eye contact. Such a stupid, flimsy lie wouldn't fly with Kobayashi, but hopefully he would understand.

I got up on my own, and fixed my seat which had been knocked sideways.

"Minami, you can get a little touchy sometimes. Shoutarou doesn't really like to be touched."

"Yeah, hands off the merchandise, lady! Our boy is taken!"



She looked like she had more to say, but seemed to settle on just the one word. Though, it didn't look ingenuine either. I could see in her face that she really did feel a bit bad.

Did she even do anything wrong though? I couldn't help but feel at fault anyway.

"It's fine."

I avoided eye contact. I must have been giving off a horrible first impression. It felt even worse that after this lunch period, we would be sitting next to each other again.

"I don't think I properly introduced myself. I'm Minami Asami. Nice to meet you."

"I'm Suzuki Shoutarou… N-nice to meet you too."

Where did all this formalness come from? After Kobayashi defused the situation, the mood suddenly flipped. Was this the power of a group setting?

"Trying to cozy up to Shoutarou now too, slut? I'll have you know that he already has a girlfriend, and she's way beyond your league. Your charms won't work on him."

"I am not- wait, you? A girlfriend? No way."

Shit shit shit. Saito just had to go and run his big mouth. Was he trying to tease me? No, maybe he was just this dense.

It didn’t really matter much either way though. It was clearly a bad situation.

Would Kobayashi say something?

No… it would be bad for me to fall into a habit of relying on him anyway. Hanako wasn’t here to save me either.

I dug myself into this hole, didn’t I?

I was the only one who could say something.

“Yeah… her name is Hanako…”

“The picture! Show her the picture!”

SAITO! You’re killing me!

“Well… It’s embarrassing…”

I took another glance at Kobayashi. He was waiting patiently for me to continue.


“M-maybe some other time…”

“Well, not like it matters to me either way. Just kinda funny seeing you so talkative after half a year of silence. You’re an interesting guy, as it turns out.”

Huh? Was it that easy? I was bombarded with a soft look that caught me off guard.

“I’ll be in your care from now on, deskmate.”

A smile.

Eh? What?

I was talking to a girl, wasn’t I? That’s right, this was a girl in front of me. I had been talking to a girl this whole time…

Wait, could you even call that a conversation? It felt more like a battle for my sanity. And I had only really been saved by Kobayashi and Saito as per usual.

Though Saito didn’t make things much easier for me either…

She was really cute when she smiled. It took me this long to notice I guess.

I felt my face heat up and get tense.

Shit, I was blushing.

Ahh, I must have been making such a gross face.

Well, she was a girl after all.

I was talking to a girl after all…

“Ahh, there it is… The slut’s charms… Shoutarou, you’re better than this, man. You have a girlfriend, remember?”

Low blow, Saito…

Well, despite the loud, uncomfortable atmosphere that could have been compared to the eruption of Fuji itself, I could tell that these two were actually quite good friends.

Just, in a weird sense.

I think?

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