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Except Me (Multiple Hikari shippings - Rated T)

Mel-Girl can't resist polls so... Do you like the way this fic is progressing?

  • Yeah! It's all been great! Loved every chapter!

    Votes: 25 59.5%
  • Alright/Bad/Good to begin with, getting better as it progresses

    Votes: 6 14.3%
  • Great to begin with but I don't like this as much (care to tell me why? XD)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Psh, it's okay. It's just an average fic, don't really care.

    Votes: 2 4.8%
  • This fic sucks. My pet cat can write better.

    Votes: 1 2.4%
  • Mel-Girl should stop making polls and update.

    Votes: 8 19.0%

  • Total voters
    42

Chelc

Well-Known Member
@___@ I AM SO LATE. I AM SO SORRY. ISLU, MEL.

This chapter was so sad. I'm PMSing, which makes it even more depressing, lmao. KENGO. ;____; Haha, I wonder if there will be some sort of brawl between Kengo and Shinji. I'm still torn between which shipping I want this to end with, sadly.

Ew, wtf is Shuu doing. He made me angry in this chapter. I want Haruka and Saori to team up and get him back or something.

Kimi is kind of annoying now. Her whole obsession with being perfect. I hope she gets over herself sometime soon.

lol loved the IronWillshipping scene. <3 So cute.

LMAO SATOSHI IS TURNING INTO A PLAYER WHAT. This makes me laugh so much. XD I can't wait until he asks out Kasumi.

Like Gazmof said, I think this was your best chapter yet. There was so much going on, but you weaved it all in together perfectly. Good job! :D
 
Wow! This fic is amazing! =)
I love, love, love Penguinshipping! ;)
Poke & Contest are cool to! 8D

I liked how you put old charcters like Giselle and Macey in there! :)
And I'm not trying to be rude or anything, but I know Misty likes Ash, but I doubt she's that obsessed! =P

Anyway this is one of the best fics I've ever read! :]
No lie! ;]
 

Mel-Girl

left. right.
Omfg moar review repliez is it possible 4 her to do anymoar?

Yeah, doing more review replies and like, yuh.

Chelc - ILU2 Chelc <3 Yes, there will be something going on with Kengo and Shinji in time. Fun, fun stuff. 8D And it seems PMS is making you sad for Kengo and angry at Shuu, lol. Kimi will eventually get over her perfection complex and we will learn about why she has it in the first place and all that too. XD Satoshi is a player in the shipping fandom too... XDDD Thankiez for the review! <3

Ashtyn - Wow, I keep getting new reviewers all the time. <33 It's always good to find other Penguinshippers. I think I'm the only person who writes Penguinshipping these days, lol. And ha, Kasumi probably isn't, but she'll be more mature about how to handle things as time passes. She's just a girl in love who's prolly going through puberty... XD; Best fics you've ever read? I'm flattered, really. Thanks for your review!

And yeah, currently writing the next chapter to Except Me and sometime after that update, the winner of the competition will be announced, ftw!
 

Jason-Kun

Well-Known Member
I told you I'd eventually get around to reviewing, so here I am. Satoshi's a player now? That's...that's just awesome and full of win. And Kimi's cool too, what with her putting Shinji in his place. Keep up the good work! ^_^
 
Awesome chapter as always Mel, though this one seems a bit shorter but whatever. I like that you included Denji, if Gen leaves, he's the one that's gonna pick her up ( prolly , though don't really see a Beaconshippig happening. And I'm looking forward to Momi ;)

Kimi was totally unexpected, that was so not like her. Yelling, in front of a crowd at a person she doesn't know, I mean, what set her off? Now if that was Kasumi.....

Hikari's obsessed with Gen, now more than ever, I wonder if Gen will be irritated by that. Arguments, fights, break up ( Nah that's too harsh, Ironwillshipping needs love, lots of it. )

Haruka's assumption of them making out was hilarious...
IthoughtHarukawasgonnakissDrew!?! You really hyped me up with that charity stand Mel, you evil person you xp. Hallelujah! Kanata (FINALLY) gave up on Haruka, so now, Nozomi has playmate :)

Shigeru and Seiyo are starting to **ss me off. I just want to burn them, or something like that. Wonder who's obssesing over Shigeru.

I feel that Gen's part in this chapter was a little short-lived. And I barely see Kengo and kasumi anymore.

Shinji is definitely showing that he likes Hikari, he's practically screaming:" HIKARIYOURHOTILOVEYOUSCREWGEN!!"

all in all, I find it an average chappie, maybe because it's still short, but if it were longer then awesome XD. Can't wait for the next chapter

gtg!
 

csisps_26

Roark <3
“Would you shut the hell up about Gen already?!” Shinji interrupted, clenching his fists, looking like he would totally punch the living daylights out of me. I took a few steps back, unsure what to say. “Seriously, is Gen all you ever think about? He’s not some god! He’s not perfect the way you seem to think he is! He’s no better than you or me!”

I gritted my teeth. Okay, maybe I exaggerated but Shinji hasn’t the right to say such things. “Who was the first guy who had the courage to just go for it and ask me out? Gen! Who always knew what to say when I was down? Gen! Who, when Kengo completely shut me out was there for me to comfort me and didn’t leave until I was better again? Gen! Who is the great guy that practically everyone wants to be like? Gen! And tell me Shinji, why are me and Gen the couple that everyone envies?!”
Paul, I know what you're thinking. Not to forget, your jealous, aren't you? ~Aww... Don't worry, Dawn's still your friend, right? Or more than just a friend. I'm sure you'll get some attention later on. Mel-Girl loves you. :eek:

“...Not. Interested,” Shinji and Kimi responded in unison.
Now, to contradict that: "Interesting!". I see their relationship building up. OK, I just don't know what to say...

[spoil]
Shigeru and Seiyo are starting to **ss me off. I just want to burn them, or something like that. Wonder who's obsessing over Shigeru.
CN88 (you don't mind being called that, do you?)... that would be me. KIDDING 8D. In that case, Seiyo. Seriously. ;)[/spoil]

This chapter seems shorter than the others normally are, but it's still good. I liked it a lot, since it did focus on IronWillShipping, uh... slight Contest, etc. Well, I'm not good at reviewing, all I can do is say "Keep writing and you'll improve." It's going pretty good, seeing that you were busy and all, it's understandable that it's short. ;492;

EDIT:

The girl who talks to Haruka near the end of Haruka's POV - She's a secret for now and she is one of the 7 who is going to date Satoshi. More about her will be revealed later! 8D Though as far as we know, she's quite the fangirly airhead.
OK... that's the winner of the contest, I think? Or would there be another 'secret agent' in the making? 8)
 
Last edited:
Wow! Great chapter!

About the whole 'not listening & making the teacher mad thing'
did I mis-read it or something or did it say that is was Ash,Drew,&Kenny's plan!?

Man, I feel bad for Dawn :(
 

ChloboShoka

Writer
Hehe fun chapter.
Loved the ironwillness and Harley nominated as president made me go lol wtf. It's nice that Shuu is trying to clear up his attitude a little. Hikari's rather icconcent and happy and it's really annoying Shinji; that's some nice tension there. Shigeru looks like he's up to no good; in a cheeky way. XD Satoshi looks like he's in a bit of a mess. XDD It's a great and fun chapter.

Favorite part.

Satoshi sighed and began to explain. Basically in short, Satoshi felt like dating and asked all these girls out and next week, he’s decided to date them – a different girl a day, making Satoshi one messed up player. I think it would be best not to tell him this. Got to stay on the safe side with Gen.

“…Satoshi-san, do these girls all know that you’re dating well… more than one girl. As in, they’re aware that you’re just trying out different people or do they all think they’re the only girl?” Gen asked, bringing up a valid point. I turned to Satoshi and I could sense the hesitation. …He is so dead.
Womaniser! Womaniser! Oh he's a womaniser!
XD Sorry couldn't resist. Satoshi's in a mess. Love Gen's attitude.
 

crystal hikari

Aura or Knowledge?
Hmm is it just me or is the story awesomely insane?
Nice, chapter, shorter, but awe who cares, it's still awesome!
Hmm, Kengo actually did something bad. Lol Shinji and Kimi they're acting so much the same it's almost creepy. *Sighs* Satoshi, should just quit before going ahead of himself.
*Shakes Head* Either Shinji's getting jealous, it's the ned of the world, or all of them have p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c lives [sorry, I had to say that]
For Seiyo and Shegirus' sakes I hope that girl didn't take that seriously.
Wonder what will happen, after Gen's gone will Hikari be Denji's or will a fight break out?
Oh and thanks for the consideration[ no need to worry, it's your story, though!]
Hmm, I can't say did Haruka act more mature or less... then usually? Lucky for her she got it, finally.
Though, Harley for "president" *shudders, I'd rather not think about it, let's hope some who's sane and non-freaky dressed will win- for everyone's sake, that is.
 

Tom Nook

Feel free to browse
So I decided to look at this again, only to find I'd missed a chapter (how I have no idea...). And then I see another one has been posted, and it's very good all the way through and at the end...

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

Orangeshipping <3 Tracey appearing is excellent in itself, but Misty's desire to be with him? Fantastic. I very much look forward to the next chapter :D

The chapters themselves were excellent, with the Kelly storyline resolving nicely and the Kimi/Paul pairing gaining some ground. Volkner looks to be an intersting character, as would Flint who has mysteriously not applied for the SBP. Perhaps Buck has more skills of sabotage than first realised :p

I'm guessing Ash's mystery girl number 1 would be the new OC, but I wouldn't be suprised to learn otherwise. With Misty out of the picture (Yay! Or not, for Ash I suppose), will Ash gain another girl to fill his scheldule? Is Macey desperate enough to still go out with him? Time will tell.

On a random note, has Brock not shown up yet or have I completly forgotten early events in the story? I thought of this after Kenny said "Hey where's Ritchie?" and instantly thought "...there was a Ritchie?". Looks like rereading earlier chapters is in order :D

To end my ramblings, I enjoyed both the new chapters and especially look forward to the next one Mel :)

PS: Here is the review I believe I promised you 4 months ago XD
 

csisps_26

Roark <3
Hi-ya there, Mel-Girl! So... here's my boring plain review. =D Nothing like a true review and the quotes are out of order, though. ^.^;;

Damn her. Damn Hikari. I never thought she could annoy me so much. What the hell is wrong with her? But why am I so angry? If it was Kasumi, I wouldn’t care less. If it was Haruka, I wouldn’t care less. And Kimi... I don’t see her behaving like that but if she did, I’m sure I wouldn’t care less. Maybe I’d be weirded out by her acting like that in the first place.
Like what I said earlier, he's jealous. And of course Mel loves her Shinjikins. Quoted from you :D.

She looked up at me at last, her eyes ever so complicated. “It can’t be more important than what’s going through my mind at the moment. I’ve never felt like this before. Full of thoughts, emotions, knowledge, it’s weird but there’s too much going on.” She ran her fingers through her hair and her other hand was clinging to her vest. “Can I vent at you, please?”

I raised an eyebrow. “...Uh... Fine.”
I raised an eyebrow, too. Shinji doing that is... odd. But this is Shinji in "Except Me", so why not? It's a nice touch to his personality. ;)

And when Kasumi laid eyes on Kenji, a smirk spread across her face.
OrangeShipping has arrived! Masato appears, at last. I'm interested in his character here. .. Kenji, too.

As for this chapter being less comedic, it's fine, really. Seeing it's not just focusing on comedy. So... good luck in the next chapter! I'm sure the readers here can't wait for it, too! Sayonara!
 

Mel-Girl

left. right.
Ahaha, review replies! ^^

Tom Nook - Yeah, SPPF fails at letting me posts chapters for some reason so I had to upload them somewhere else and link them. It's incredibly messed up, not to mention VERY annoying. ;____;

Yup, you got your Orangeshipping. :D I felt that Kenji was overdue an appearance and well, with Kasumi's confession done and she's decided to date some guy to prove that she can 'do better than this', Kenji coming along is convenient stuff, wouldn't you think? XDDD

So I decided to look at this again, only to find I'd missed a chapter (how I have no idea...). And then I see another one has been posted, and it's very good all the way through and at the end...

Yup, I felt the need to resolve Kanata's storyline cuz I could sense Kanata getting in the way of things inconveniently (for me to write) so well... that got sorted. XD Yup, Kimi and Shinji are getting along well, as friends anyway. And ohoho, Denji will be fun stuff, fun stuff. Plus he gets to be one of the select few that actually get a pairing by the end of the fic - oh no spoiler?

Oba, Takeshi and Hiroshi need to appear. Hiroshi has been mentioned, but like Nozomi, he hasn't really been caught up in the drama. Plus Shigeru ignores his roommates and thinks that Kengo's dormitory roommates are more fun. XD Also Kengo didn't notice but... OBA DIDN'T GET CALLED AS A STUDENT PRESIDENT NOMINEE! ROFL I did that on purpose too. Ahaha. XD

It's a good guess. XD Kasumi's not compeltely out of the picture, Pokeshipping isn't over yet... ;P And yes, Moe is still desperate enough. XD She knows that Kasumi isn't dating Satoshi, but she has no clue who else is! XDDD

Dude, read over chapters. XP *shot* Yeah, Takeshi hasn't appeared yet. Haven't found a spot to introduce him yet. XD

Glad you enjoy the fic so far and rofl, 4 months late? XD Thanks for the review!

csisps_26 - They're not boring and plain. ;; I find like, all my reviews to be interesting! And rofl, out of order quotes, it's fine. XD Just shows which parts you remember more than others, or something, idk. XD

Everyone shall know that while I love my Shinjikins, I love my Kibakins more. XDDD And yup, Shinji's definitely jealous.

Shinji doesn't really mind Kimi at this stage and is also intrigued by her in a way because she's different to most people he knows. He so wouldn't miss the chance of Kimi venting. XDDD *shot* Nah, nah, but yeah, Shinji's kinda growing into a more open person, plus his own pride's just been damaged recently, so I think knowing that he's not the only one is a relief. Idk? XD

Ohoho, it has. :D Pokeshipping isn't out of the picture though but yeah, it was high time more Kasumi pairings arrived to the scene, y/y?

Ah good, you're an udnerstanding person, indeed. Thanks for reviewing!
 

Gazmof

Zephyr Trainer
WOAH SO MUCH DRAMA!

I SEE ORANGESHIPPING! This can only mean AWESOME.

Speaking of Takeshi; I realised how amazing it is that we haven't seen him yet, and then BAM you mention him right there at the end.

Well, these were two good, solid chapters. I preferred chapter 15 to 14, since it had more stuff going on, and more plot development, as opposed to Hikari glomping Gen and Shinji getting ****** off about it.

As always, your characters are all so diverse and often at times bizarre - I'm starting to think the school is gonna need some kind of therapist's office with all the craziness going around right now. I think it's a good thing that you're giving Kasumi some more spotlight, as she's had to take a backseat to the others, and we all know Kasumi can be as messed up as the rest of them if she's just given a chance :D

I'm probably reiterating myself, but I don't care - MORE SEIYO! I'm tired of seeing her as the backstabbing girl everyone hates. Let's see her more vulnerable side. Does she even have one? I don't know; maybe I just fanboy her too much, but I just know that if she started to fall for someone it would definitely make for an interesting read. The heartless girl has a heart? Who'd have thought?

I'm still a little confused about the whole Haruka/Shuu/Saori love triangle thing. Will it be resolved before Saori leaves the school? And what about Gen and Hikari? Surely this can't last!

Well, whatever. These were good chapters Mel, particularly 15 because it incorporated more characters which interested me more, but really there's not much to comment on improvement-wise. Just keep on going on that path and update soon! :D
 

Nightlingbolt

AKA Nightlingbolt
Before you wrote Kelly not pursuing May anymore, I had a really kickass plan to get May out of the relationship and make Kelly seem like the bad guy. It doesn't matter now, but I will say it involved Zoey. So you can probably imagine I wouldn't mind seeing something materialize between Kelly and Zoey.

And hey, maybe toss in a third lesbian. I don't care who. It'd probably shake things up a little, but the way you've been writing lately, things seem shaken up enough as it is.
 
What can I say? Bravo for the drama!!!!

XD...Shinji was sure ******. ROFL at Baku for getting in Shinji's way when he was like that. But when Shinji found Kimi, he was so...calm and collected...maybe Kimi's the pacifier for this whining baby lol. Maybe they do have a chance of being together.

And Shinji finally admitted his feelings of Hikari to someone....and to Gen no less. <3

I think you may have unconsciously dropped a few hints of Bishieshipping. Or maybe I misinterpreted admiration...eh whatever d:

I find Kimi sorta random here again(Maybe that's why Denji is in to her.)..hehe, I guess all girls have mood swings.


XD Orangeshipping FTW!!!
This will be awesome.

I look forward for the next chappies
 

Chelc

Well-Known Member
LOL, I'm late again. I don't know why I chose today to read the chapter I missed. XD Regardless, no bumping rule here, so oh well, right?

I seriously feel like I've read this chapter before. I'm not sure why I didn't review it, but...whatever. I'm posting now. :p

Poor Kanata, lol, still trying to make Minamoshipping happen. I feel kind of bad for her, because she really does like Haruka. I wonder if she'll continue to hang around her since Haruka pretty much told her off.

I enjoyed the Haruka character development. I'm glad she feels like she can be more independent and doesn't need a guy in her life. I'm interested to see what happens with her in future chapters, whenever those will be. ;) *shot*

Lolwut @ Shuu. Charity is good, but not the kind he's doing, especially if he wants to be with Haruka.

Denji acts pretty much how I think he would. Denji without the emo is good for me.

I feel bad for Ayako. =S That was just really rude. I understand why they don't like her, but wow.

Now I kind of like Kimi and Shinji together. They really hit it off, and I think it'd be interesting if they were in a relationship. At the same time, I love the Ikarishipping. =P It's funny how jealous Shinji gets over Hikari talking about Gen.

I think that's it for my review. Sorry I couldn't really be helpful, but I just don't see any mistakes or anything much that you have to fix. I know it's been months since the last chapter, but I hope you do plan on updating this in the future! It's definitely my favorite fic here at the forums, and I love it too much for it to die. ;_;
 

Mel-Girl

left. right.
Oh my! I haven’t updated in a while! But squeeeeeeee! Wanna know why there’s squee! Shipper’s Oscars and ‘Except Me’ has won some prizes! And the Shipping fanfic contest too! I’ll put the banners up on the first page when I can. Thanks for all your support!

It’s about high time I updated this, lol. I blame Pokémon anime for not getting me motivated enough. :p And heehee, I’ve got a new character confirmed for the Summer Vacation arc. Nyahaha! >3

Erm, anywho... Review replies, yes yes!

Gazmof – XDD Nice response for the Orangeshipping. Yes, Takeshi needs to bop up sometime. He’s been too busy studying/flirting with older students/insert random duties here? XD Actually, I can see him in a club of some sort. Cooking club? After all, he’s got that cooking talent and all. XD I can imagine the therapist’s office right now. Of course, most of these characters probably don’t think their problems require counselling. XD;; And lol, Seiyo fanboy. She’s not done yet. In fact, I have a snazzy plan for her. Got two words for ya. Graduation Day. Thanks for reviewing!

Darth Osiris – XDD Maybe something will happen with Kanata and Nozomi, maybe not. We’ll have to see. :p And um, there probably won’t be a third lesbian but there’ll be a gay guy coming up in future chapters? XD I never really much opinion on the story, but thanks anyway! XD

ContestNoir888 – Drama is how we roll, yo. >D Yes, Shinji’s a little angstbrat at times. He and Baku will have a bit of a rivalry, yes yes. Mostly from Baku’s side though cuz Shinji doesn’t really give a damn, plus Baku’s Shinji and Denji’s fun fun victim to their teasing! X3 Yeah, Shinji and Denji will have an odd friendship. Lulz, Bishieshipping <3 XD Shinji finds Gen to be a decent person except he finds Gen to also be a bit too perfect, also the jealousy factor with Hikari and all. 8D Lol even Kimi cracks at times. Beware of her during the mini exams arc. Thanks for reviewing!

Chelc – LOL better late than never? XD I’m sure Kanata will still want to be Haruka’s friend. I just hope Haruka will be comfortable with that, things may be slightly awkward between the two for a while, methinks. XD Yeah, I kinda wanted one of the girls to not need a man at all. So there will be some of them remaining solo. As to who those girls are, I’m not saying. ;D Decided I’d write Denji as if he’s out of that emo phase. He’ll get some backstory, I suppose. XD Thanks a bunch for reviewing!

Now for um, chapter. XD Oh yeah, listen to the song ‘Silky Heart’ by Yui Horie. Also take a look at the lyrics. Looking through ‘em, I kinda thought ‘Hey, this kinda fits my fic!’ so I guess, in a way, I see it as the ‘Except Me’ theme song. XD

Shippings in this chapter include: IronWillshipping, implied Bishieshipping, Orangeshipping, whatever the devil’s Kengo x Kasumi is called, Baku x Kimi, Kimi x Shinji, Kimi x Denji, Penguinshipping and uh... yeah that’s all I can think of at the moment. X3;

Read on!


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter Sixteen: You’re Kidding Me, Right?

Kengo’s POV

“You’ll help me, right?”

I shook my head, sweating nervously. It was after assembly and Kasumi seems to have it in her head that I’d love to help her with asking this guy out. Though it was kinda cute to see her behaving this way and being all, “How do you ask a guy out? You’re a guy, how do girls ask you out?”

Maybe now wasn’t the right time to remind her that girls don’t ask me out. Ever. Though I did approve of Kasumi’s choice in who she wants to ask out. Kenji Seki. He’s a good person, isn’t one of those obnoxious types and he isn’t so good looking that Kasumi will be public enemy number one for going after him.

Even though I know she’s just doing this to prove that she can do better. Kenji may not be as popular as Satoshi but Kenji’s probably got better qualities. Occasionally, I’d hear girls say that Kenji’s really nice and talented and now that he’s on the student council, he’s bound to get mote notice. If you date a member of the student council, that tends to up your rep.

It’s all about reputation and status these days. That’s why I’d never stand a chance. I’m only an average student with an average personality and looks that are probably below average. I always end up being the guy that girls wouldn’t mind having as a friend but that’s it. Just a friend.

Anyway, so yet another girl seeks out my advice about what to do with such and such a guy. Why is it me they always bug to sort them out? I better make use of this and study to become a therapist, like seriously.

“Please! I’ve never asked a guy out!” Kasumi pleaded, ignoring the looks some girls gave her. Kasumi was sure brainy asking for my help like right outside the assembly hall after assembly where students were piling out of the school hall. Hn.

I raised an eyebrow. “I heard that when you were eleven, you tried to get this guy named Dan to go out with you and-”

She slapped my shoulder, preventing me from finishing my sentence. Kasumi blushed furiously, telling that it never happened. Do I have to take her word for it? I’ll just... go along with it. With Kasumi, it’s a matter of choosing two sides of the coin. One side of the coin says to go along with what she wants you to do. The other says, “You don’t want to go along with what she wants? Don’t even try it, man! Just go along with what she wants!” Hn... Unreliable coin.

“Look, let’s just go find him! As we find him, give me your best tips! What do guys like?” Kasumi seems to really expect the best from me, doesn’t she? Indeed, indeed. Sigh.

With a shrug, I mumbled, “For starters, it is a lot easier for the guys when girls ask them out instead of vice versa... Guys really prefer that...”

Kasumi raised an eyebrow. “But girls don’t like to have to do the job either!”

Oh. Good point. I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. “You really think Kenji would come and ask you out!”

“Of course! It’s just that I have to do it first because I have to get him as soon as possible!”

“You’re talking like he’s a prize.”

“Of course, he’s a prize!”

Facepalm moment inserted here.

Though I do get what Kasumi’s doing, I just hope Kenji won’t get hurt by this deal. No, Kasumi’s smarter than that. Unlike say, Hikari, she is a lot more caring for the person involved when she does stuff. I’m not saying Hikari doesn’t care, but Kasumi does show a lot more common sense with these sorts of things. I’ll trust her for now.

We went around the school, Kasumi barely listening when I kept telling her the likely places to find Kenji. After a while, we went past Baku and Oba, which gave Kasumi an idea. She told me that she’s seen Oba approach Kenji about stuff, so they might have a clue.

It seems they’re in the middle of a discussion, so we decided to wait and listen before approaching.

“...You know that I only pulled out because it would be a major bother to go up against my younger brother and best friend? I told Oka-chan that I would look out for ya, squirt!” Oba grinned, patting his younger brother on the head. That’s right, he was going to apply but for some reason he pulled out of the running for Student President. I suppose having his best friend and younger brother running for it also put him off. Shame, really. I liked Oba. He had a likeable personality and is a well-liked guy without having to be all crazy over his appearance and stuff.

Baku smirked. “I know, I know. But I heard that student president candidates are allowed helpers and they don’t necessarily have to be in the student council and well, these helpers are supposed to help the candidate with preparing their speeches and whatnot!” I saw his facial expression changing to a more serious expression.

I don’t really know Baku and from what I’ve heard, he’s got a lot of Shigeru in him, which immediately put me off the guy. But seeing him interact with his brother, he didn’t need that side. I guess around those you call family, there are certain sides that you don’t need to show and other sides come up instead.

I used to consider me and Hikari to be like family though the thing was... I never really was my true self around her. And we will never feel like family as long as it stays like this.

“You came to me, huh? I assumed Denji would come to me fir-”

Baku shook his head, causing his older brother to stop abruptly in his words. “Oba-nii, Denji already said that he’s found someone he wants to ask because he wanted someone who would be on-task, is smart, will be useful to him and also just to see how I’d react.”

Oba stared for a moment before cracking up. “Denji, that evil devil! He’s going to ask Kurozaki-chan, isn’t he? Baku, asking me to help you isn’t going to spite him either!”

“Well... I could ask Denji’s ex-girlfriend Mikan but I doubt she’d say yes to helping me out when we don’t even know each other!” Baku replied sourly. Kasumi poked my shoulder and whispered that we’ve definitely encountered quite the interesting conversation.

“If Kimi knew two guys were going for her, I wonder how she’d react,” she whispered to me, slapping a hand over my mouth before I could respond in the fear that I’d reply too loudly. Interesting thought there. How would she react? I wonder if she knows what it’s liked to be liked. From what I know, she clearly isn’t social so it would probably be hard for anyone to want to pay attention to her in particular. I wonder what Baku’s reasoning is. To liking Kimi, I mean. Unless me and Kasumi are reading this conversation all wrong?

The red afro guy flicked his brother’s ponytail before baring his teeth at him in a grin. “I’ll be your helper, bro. As for Denji, leave him to me,” he reassured Baku, who returned the grin, which was equally as big.

Baku seems strangely vulnerable here. I dunno. Or maybe sensitive would’ve been a better word. From what I’d seen of the guy, I can only assume that he puts up a front. Only my front tends to come up when Hikari is around. Fronts, I can understand.

“This conversation is sure interesting!” Kasumi whispered excitedly, taking me off guard. She was leaning against me too much as we tried to crowd round without being seen. Eventually my own two feet gave way and we slammed onto the ground. Sadly, Baku and Oba heard us and they came over. Kasumi managed to get up immediately and dash off. I tried to get up but obviously not fast enough. They’d spotted me and so I felt that running at this point was not the right option.

“What did you hear?” Baku asked, glaring at me while Oba hauled me to my feet by pulling on my arm.

I shook my head, pretending that I was merely passing by when I tripped over. Oba seemed to believe me but Baku looked suspicious of me. I repeated my story to him, trying to drill it into his mind as the truth but he just snapped, saying he heard me the first time.

Oba told Baku to let it go before he announced his leave. Baku remained with me, probably wanting to talk some more.

“What did you hear?” Baku repeated his question. Should I make up some lie? Should I tell the truth? What should I do? “Answer me! You heard our conversation! You’re Kengo, aren’t you? Help me out.” First I have to help Kasumi who has inconveniently done a runner on me and now Baku expects me, someone he’d only just talked to for the first time to want to help him out. “I’m running for president, if you help me now I’ll promote you to Hikari-sempai’s Dream Boy status.”

I went bright red. “What?”

“Come on, even I can tell love in someone’s eyes. I used to check Hikari-sempai out too; nobody can deny that she’s incredibly good looking. One time me and some friends followed her and some of her girl pals to the pool and-” Suddenly, out of my own accord, I pulled Baku into a headlock. “Oi! I used to check out your woman, I don’t give a crap now!”

I refused to let Baku go from the headlock; amazed at what I just did. Never had I overpowered someone like that. Somehow it doesn’t feel so special once I begin to realise that this guy’s a year younger than me; therefore the novelty dies down immediately. Maybe if I got Shigeru into a headlock would I feel superior again.

“Let go, Kengo!” I heard a yell. Instinct told me to back off and so I did. The next thing I knew was that then came the bird kick of doom to Baku’s head. Okay, not quite. But Kasumi did make quite an entrance there. She grabbed Baku by his shirt collar. “Did you say that you checked Hikari, Haruka, Nozomi and I at the pool one time? And you failed to notice that I clearly look better in a swimsuit than Hikari does? I have more boob than she does for crying out loud!”

Baku and I both went pink at this comment. Does Kasumi have to shoot off comments like that without thinking them through? Baku smirked. “Won’t believe it until I see it.” He received a classic Kasumi whack for that comment. If I was Kasumi, I would’ve hit him for that too. The male redhead sighed. “Hikari and Haruka have you beat though. You may have good legs and decent chest size but Hikari’s got killer legs and have you ever taken a look at Haruka’s rack? Bloody hell, her boobs are the size of two first year students!”

Kasumi and I began sweating at these comments. I wasn’t particularly surprised that Baku’s a pervert but does he have to fire off bad statements and stuff too? But Kasumi should probably take the blame. She started it after all.

“I agree on the comment of Hikari having killer legs though.” The other two looked at me funny. Crap, I just had to say it out loud.

The female redhead’s expression changed to one of an evil villain plotting some devious scheme. “I got it. Baku, Kengo and I know about you having a crush on Kimi and we also have our own students that we desire, right? So I think we should all team up!”

Baku shrugged. “I don’t want to help you. I just want Kengo to help me and then I promised him Hikari-sempai.”

“How the hell are you going to get Hikari to go out with Kengo?” Kasumi asked with a look of disbelief. She does have a point. I seriously doubt Baku’s matchmaking abilities too.

“I don’t know; I’ll work it out in time!”

“Right, I’ve got it! Kengo and Baku, from this point onward, you two are my henchmen.” Here I always thought Kasumi had some more common sense. But it appears that when she clashes with Baku and has something she wants, she can have moments of going insanely determined, even spouting out the most random stuff. Seriously, I know that I’m easy to make one’s henchman but Baku? Baku’s just a mini Shigeru who clearly knows a bit too much about Hikari and Haruka’s assets.

“Henchmen? No, no! I’m running for student president, I can’t be another person’s henchmen!” Baku protested. Kasumi grinned at him; an evil glint in her eyes. Oh save me, someone please. How do I always end up in awkward situations but the other people present think nothing weird of it?

“I’ll tell everyone about your crush on Kimi and she’ll look at you and think ‘tch! Who’s that person? Why do they like me when we haven’t even talked before?’ and she’ll never ever like you because she’ll think you are one heck of a weirdo! A freak even!” Ah Kasumi, you’re harsh. But your words clearly struck the right chords. Baku seems unable to form a proper reply there.

“How do you know about me and Kimi-sempai anyway? I don’t think I made it that obvious!” Baku tried to shift the conversation elsewhere, obviously not liking the idea of Kimi thinking of him as a freak.

“Jealousy’s a *****, isn’t it? I know the feeling incredibly well and just listening to you reminded me of how frustrated I felt at times...” Kasumi replied. I could see a flicker of sadness in her eyes for just a second at the last few words of that sentence. Then I realised that us three were all on the same boat. We all liked somebody, we all feel like we’re getting nowhere with that somebody, we know jealousy, we’re vulnerable one way or another and we all recognise what it means to put up a front.

Kasumi, Baku, I think I can tell that your fierce personalities are what you put on display for everyone else so that they don’t see the sensitive side of your personality.

“Right, let’s all team up! We’ll all team up!” I declared, holding out my hand. Kasumi grinned, placing her hand on top of mine. We both looked at Baku expectantly.

“...If you vote for me-”

“Fine, fine, just join in!” Kasumi snapped; the male redhead immediately placing his hand on top of ours at the female redhead’s command. “Right, here’s how things will go. Baku, you have to set up opportunities between me and Kenji. He’s going to be working with the council and so you’ll be encountering him quite often I imagine. If you do this Baku, we will not only vote for you but also give you a chance with Kimi!”

Yes, I want Baku to succeed with Kimi. If she falls for him, then we can use that to break the damn arrangement off. I find the two to be unlikely though but at this stage, I’m desperate for anything to work. Truly.

“So why Kimi?” I asked Baku, surprised Kasumi hadn’t asked that yet.

Baku blushed as he grinned at me. “She’s hot! She’s kind of like, the unnoticed beauty, don’t you think? But she’s quiet and she never seems satisfied with life. When I first saw her, I was like, ‘whoa, is she new?’ and when I learned that she’d been at the school since the beginning of her first year. I was shocked to learn this. And I became intrigued too so I kept my eye on her. I want to get to know her, I guess. And break her out of that shell that seems to be making her distant from everyone else.”

“Honourable reasoning!” Kasumi replied with a thumb up but I watched her for part of the time when Baku was speaking and it was slightly obvious that she wasn’t really listening. Probably zoned out on the fact that she has recruited two losers in love to do her bidding and now she can carry out her plan and prove that she can do better than Satoshi.

Baku smirked. “Right, everyone’s mostly getting ready for class but the student council people will be preparing for a meeting. So Kasumi, Kengo, you’ll follow me with uh... what’s a good excuse? Oh, Kasumi, you’re in the same dorm as Kimi-sempai so act like Kimi-sempai forgot something and act like you’re delivering something that she forgot!”

She nodded, saying that could work. I said that I’d do the same only with Shinji. We discussed our plan a little more and then proceeded to follow Baku to the student council headquarters. Sakura joined us along the way and Baku began talking to her about candidates for the student president election. He was shamelessly promoting himself and Sakura seemed to go along with his words too. That or she didn’t have the heart to tell him to shut his trap.

We arrived at the student council room and as Sakura happily entered it, Baku stopped and nodded at us, asking if we memorized what we were going to do. The two of us said we were ready and he trusted us on those words as he opened the door.

Not all the council members had arrived and I wanted to groan at how Shinji hadn’t arrived yet. But success, Kenji and Kimi were there! As were Gen, Sakura, Denji and Kouhei. Baku raised his arms and gave them a loud, hearty “Hellooooo~!” as a greeting. Gen and Kenji were the only ones to respond and the current student president noticed me and Kasumi’s presence and asked what our business was.

Damn, I always feel nervous around Gen. No, now’s not the time to think about that! I’m trying to help Kasumi and Baku here, not worry about my own problems. Kasumi was the first to speak and she tried to do the sweet, semi-shy girl act.

“Um... Kimi’s my dormitory roommate and I couldn’t help but notice that she forgot something very important of hers!”

Kimi looked a bit surprised as she averted her eyes from her book to Kasumi. “...Did I?”

“Uh-huh!” Kasumi held out a chocolate milk bottle towards the raven haired girl. Denji started chuckling at this as Kimi stared at the redhead without any sign of emotion. “Everyone needs their daily intake of calcium!”

Gen smiled nervously. “Um... we serve hot chocola-”

Baku cut Gen off as he placed an arm on Kenji’s shoulder. “Well, would you look at that! Hey Kenji-sempai, Isn’t it so good of Kasu-sempai to bring Kimi-sempai her chocolate milk?”

Kenji looked up with a confused expression. Yeah, I have no idea what the logic was in bringing him into the conversation like that either. It wasn’t exactly very subtle. He nodded and then went back to sussing out some papers and writing notes in his notebook.

“Oh! Speaking of which, Kenji, can I take you aside for a minute? I need to ask you something!” Kasumi asked. Before he could respond, she already dragged him off to talk and Baku casually shifted Kenji’s things out of the way so he could steal his seat, which was blatantly beside Kimi.

Now’s my chance! “Hey Kimi, isn’t it great of Baku to show Kasumi and I the way here? Without Baku’s help, you’d have never received your chocolate milk!” Denji burst out laughing at this. Damn, I think he can tell what’s going on.

Kimi glanced at Denji. “Inazuma-san, why are you so amused at this?”

“What, you can’t tell? It’s so blatant though. Oh Baku, I admire your efforts. You’ve dragged Kasumi and Kengo here to aid to your plan, haven’t you?”
Gack, Denji’s perceptive. I’m pretty sure that means he’s aware of Baku’s crush. Oh yeah, Denji was going to ask Kimi to be his helper for the student president elections. Probably for the sole reason of irritating Baku, I bet. The blonde turned to the raven-haired girl and smirked. “Kimi, you’re smart and know how to stay on task. Wanna be a candidate helper?”

Baku’s jaw dropped. Damn, Denji’s deliberately asking her in front of Baku!

He’s good, he knows how to pull off his evil yet brilliant plans. If I remember correctly, Denji used to be a bit of an emo kid who would watch everything with boredom. Then I heard that he went out with some of the pretty girls at our school and befriended Oba. Since then, he’s appeared to have lightened up considerably. What an interesting student president he would make.
But I suppose I’ll be forced to vote for Baku now anyway.

Kimi mulled over the idea of being a candidate helper. “...What does it involve?”

“Making me look good.”

“In that case, no.”

I could see Baku out of the corner of my eye doing a small sigh of relief.

Denji faked a sigh. “Damn, I really hoped I’d have an attractive helper...”

Kimi’s cheeks flushed pink at this. Wow, I guess she isn’t used to compliments like that. And especially from a guy who’s considered one of the most handsome guys in school.

Again, I should take this opportunity to try and boost things. “You should be Baku’s candidate helper! He doesn’t care about looks, he likes women with brains!” I blurted out. So long as Kimi doesn’t know about the comments Baku made about Haruka’s breasts, then she should believe this!

...I forgot that Denji was here. “Oh yeah, that explains all the blonde jokes he told us the other day,” he commented with a mischievous grin.

“Blonde jokes? Do tell.” Oh crap, I recognised that voice. We all swivelled round and saw that the teenager at the door was none other than Shinji. Surely things will improve, not. I could see Baku’s expression darken and Kimi acknowledging the lavender-haired boy’s entrance with a nod before going back to her book. “So what’s going on anyway? Somebody explain why Kasumi’s harassing Kenji outside and why the heck Kengo’s in the council room and why Denji and Baku are discussing blonde jokes.”

“Why hello there, Shinji-san!” Kouhei greeted him, adjusting his glasses. The light hit the glasses, completing the creepy otaku effect that Kouhei seems to have fully mastered. “I don’t know what’s going on except both Baku-san and Denji-san want Kimi-san to be their candidate helper.”

“Is that so?” Shinji took the seat directly across from the emerald-eyed girl who tried to ignore the situation by keeping her attention to her book. “Oi Kimi, which student president candidate do you want to win?”

I watched as his voice commanded her attention. She slowly put the book down but she avoided making eye contact. It was interesting to watch, really. She seemed compelled to answer him but she also wanted to avoid him as well.

“...I don’t know...”

“Who do you prefer out of Denji and Baka?”

“Hey!” Baku protested while Denji’s expression was one of approval. I get the feeling these two like to pick on Baku at council meetings. Poor kid. The thing is, in front of people like Shinji and Denji, putting up an attitude doesn’t work because these two have even more of an attitude and will be able to knock down fronts like those. That’s why I’m hopeless in front of people like them. I don’t have the confidence.

“...I don’t know...” Kimi repeated.

“I’m going to vote for Denji,” Shinji replied with a smirk. He stared her down and I could tell she was aware of it. I wonder if he noticed how influential he appears to be over her. Didn’t it all start with her approaching him first?

...Ah. I think I get it. Her response will confirm my theory.

“I suppose then that I’ll be... Inazuma-san’s candidate helper then...” Kimi mumbled shyly. I knew it. Denji looked satisfied and exchanged some kind of meaningful glance with Shinji. Baku on the other hand, slumped back in his chair, totally defeated.

I understand now. I understand. Baku, you have a rival. I think you’re aware of it. People may think that because she was choosing between him and Denji, that Denji is the rival. But no, that’s not the real case. Here she was deciding between going along with what Shinji says or not. His opinion is probably the only opinion in this school that Kimi values. At the very least, I get that feeling that she is somewhat attracted to him, crazy as it may be.

But Shinji, I can never tell with him. His behaviour is difficult to predict. He doesn’t seem to be attracted to her at all but it’s pretty obvious that she holds some kind of importance to him. Yes, I see. He’s made a friend. While Shinji doesn’t tend to associate himself with such a term, it’s undeniable in my eyes.

The next thing I knew, a red haired girl and a spikey-haired guy burst into the room, Kenji following the two into the room with a shy smile. Kasumi yanked at my shirt collar and whispered that Kenji said yes. Before I could properly react, Shigeru was already making himself comfortable and began rubbing out things off the whiteboard.

Gen started to panic. “Wait, I only just finished writing all that up in preparation for the meeting!”

Shigeru beamed at everyone, ignoring Gen altogether. He started drawing up a new brainstorm on the whiteboard and then made everyone choose their favourite fairytale from the list. Wait, what? Fairytale? Hang on, hang on!

Shinji frowned. “Does it have to be off the list? When it comes to fairytales, I only tolerate the gruesome original versions...”

“I like Hansel and Gretel!” Sakura replied with a warm smile.

“...I like Little Red Riding Hood best,” Baku chose his favourite; I got the feeling it was because he’s a redhead himself.

With a sigh, Shinji chose Puss in Boots. Kimi chose the same. Shigeru then ignored the opinions of everyone else and announced that it had been decided now. We waited for him to say Puss in Boots when he declared, “Gen, Kimi, Shinji and I will be doing an awesome rendition of Sleeping Beauty!”

Everyone’s jaws dropped to the floor. Wait, what the hell? He asked for an opinion and chose a completely different result to what the rest of us said! Shinji did a head-desk and Baku’s expression... Oh, I know exactly what conclusion he’s coming to.

His conclusion must be that Kimi’s the only girl in that group. Sleeping Beauty gets awakened with a kiss. Someone in the group the Shigeru listed is going to kiss Kimi. Crap, crap, crap! I whispered this hastily to Kasumi who said she was just thinking that as well.

Gen raised a hand. “Shigeru-san, the majority that you allowed to vote all chose Puss in Boots. Why did you decide on Sleeping Beauty, the option that nobody went for?”

Shigeru held up a booklet. “Sleeping Beauty is the only one I bothered writing a script for.”

Shinji shot up to his feet. “Then what the hell was the point in voting?”

“Well, it increased suspense, didn’t it?”

“...I was on the edge of my seat during that vote... Real nail biter there...”

“See? Knew it would be a thriller! Guess you can’t wait to do the performance, huh?”

“I never said I was going to take part!”

“But I signed you all up and it got accepted and everything!”

“Well, I’d be willing to take part,” Gen spoke up, interrupting their argument. Everyone’s mouths continued to gape in shock. Gen, you shouldn’t be saying that. You will regret saying that! This is Shigeru you’re talking to! Take part in one of his activities and you’ll be scarred for life!

Shigeru slapped Gen on the back and told him that this was the exact reason why he got voted as this year’s student president. I raised an eyebrow at this. No, Shigeru, I doubt people were voting with the thought of ‘I vote for Gen because one day he will agree to perform in a stupid play that Shigeru made up!’ in mind.

“...I suppose I’ll take part though I’ve never acted before...” Kimi said. Crap, it’s one shock after another! What the hell is with these people? Kimi, you should definitely not go along with Shigeru’s plans either!

“Ugh! Fine, I’ll take part too!” Oh man, even Shinji’s caved. “I’m only doing this to make sure you don’t taint Kimi or Gen with whatever you’re plotting!”

Ah, I see. The Shinji of half a year ago probably wouldn’t have given two hoots about other people. I see that even he’s developed a heart. Maybe I wouldn’t feel so bad when I finally let things go. I remember thinking about how Hikari and Shinji may suit each other better than I initially thought. Perhaps he’s making himself more worthy of Hikari than I’m willing to acknowledge.

“Great! Freaking sweet!” Shigeru exclaimed. I was the next to raise a hand. “Yes, Kengo?”

I have to confirm this, mostly for Baku’s sake. “Who’s playing which character?”

“Oh goddamn it, Kengo!” That was Shinji who clearly didn’t want to know the answer to that question.

“Very good question! I am the narrator and the King! Gen is the Good Fairy and the Prince! Kimi holds up signboards and is the Wicked Fairy! Do you know what that leaves Shinji as?”

“Don’t say it, don’t say it...” Shinji muttered. Oh, I think he knows what role Shigeru has cast him as.

Baku on the other hand, looked extremely delighted. “Shinji’s Sleeping Beauty!” Shinji cursed out loud at this. My, my, Shinji, watch your language... Heh. Now this is actually genuinely amusing. “So if Gen’s the Prince, does that mean he has to kiss Shinji awake?”

Shinji looked like he wanted to gag. Shigeru nodded and Gen didn’t seem to be properly paying attention. Poor guy; he just wants to get the meeting started.

"Okay, that’s all, return to your meeting! Kasumi, Kengo, come along now, we got to get to class!” And with that, Shigeru left the meeting room and the rest of us looked ready to lie down with exhaustion.

“...Well, that’s one... interesting person...” Denji, that’s probably the best way to sum up a first impression of the guy. You have no idea what Shigeru’s really like. He’s one of those people where you have to see to believe.

“Gen, why did you say yes?” Shinji asked.

“It got him to leave faster, didn’t it?” was Gen’s response. Oh. He is a wise
man after all.

“...Touché.”

Hikari’s POV

“Kengo, what’s wrong? You can tell me!”

“I’ll tell you in time... Maybe... But I think we should hang out less... I’ll help you out with making Ayako-sensei leave her job but after that, I plan to distance myself from you. I have my reasons but I feel the more we hang out, the worse it will be. I don’t want things to go bad between us... I don’t want to trouble you; I don’t want to burden you. I just want you to be happy. I want you to go and see Gen-san too. I want things to work out for you-”

“Are you out of your mind? What’s happened to you?”

“It’s not about what happened to me. It’s about what will happen to me and what will happen to us. I can’t really explain. You wouldn’t believe me anyway. I just need some time out.”

-

“Damn it, why are you guys always backing away from admitting stuff, never opening up? I’m sick of not knowing stuff! I swear there are secrets that everyone knows except me!”

-

“Hikari, I’m glad I got this scholarship. It means I can follow my dream and maybe even become a great film director in future. And yet at the same time, I want to stay here and be here with you...”

“Gen, don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. You take the scholarship. Anyway, graduation still has a way to go. So until you leave, we should make the most of the time we have.”

“But afterwards, won’t leaving be harder?”

-

“So you are slipping away, after all...”

-

“If it were up to everyone, they’d want Gen to stay. After all, he’s got it all. He’s popular, got the looks girls go crazy for; he’s smart and made a great leader this year!”

-

“Class, were you listening? Turn around now, I am not asking again!”

-

“I’m just pathetic, aren’t I? I didn’t do anything to stop the others.”

-

“Ah, Satoshi announced to the class about how you didn’t like having her as a teacher so he said that he, Kengo and Shuu devised a plan that will make Ayako-sensei dislike teaching as a job and thus, leave.”

-

“Would you shut the hell up about Gen already?! Seriously, is Gen all you ever think about? He’s not some god! He’s not perfect the way you seem to think he is! He’s no better than you or me!”

“Who was the first guy who had the courage to just go for it and ask me out? Gen! Who always knew what to say when I was down? Gen! Who, when Kengo completely shut me out was there for me to comfort me and didn’t leave until I was better again? Gen! Who is the great guy that practically everyone wants to be like? Gen! And tell me Shinji, why are me and Gen the couple that everyone envies?!”

“...”

“It’s because of Gen! Never mind me, it’s all Gen! Not a single girl hasn’t thought that it would be cool to have Gen as their boyfriend! They don’t envy him having me! They envy me having him! And to think that he would choose me of all people! I must be really lucky, right?!”

“How can you know that for sure? Stop throwing out comments you think are correct! You’re completely biased, you know that? Well, at least stop talking about him like he’s some kind of prize.”


0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

What on earth am I doing? Everyone’s got me all wrong. I thought people could understand. I thought I could understand. But people keep misinterpreting my steps and I don’t even know what I’m doing. Not anymore.

I thought it could be easy. I thought that if I could love Gen and Gen would love me, until he leaves, everything would be okay. But I’m so ignorant. I’m such a child. No wonder my mom teaches at this school. She doesn’t see me as responsible at all. I cling to others and forget how my actions make them feel. I’m like a little girl who doesn’t understand why that person reacted like that to what she said only to realise when she’s older that she’s so unbelievably... ugly.

Why do people keep saying I’m so pretty? I’m not pretty nor beautiful, I just am!

Can’t anyone see my flaws at all? Is there someone who knows that I’m just a stupid girl? Deep in my heart, I know why I love Gen. At his side; I don’t have to feel so bad. I can feel pretty, I can be beautiful. As if his perfection can cover everything up. He makes me so happy, he really does. Gen’s everything I could ever ask for. But I can just have him to be the mask for my inner demons.

Shinji gets it. He gets it. Gen is a prize. He’s some kind of novelty to all those girls that feel like they’re the lowest and he makes them believe they’re like a Disney princess, that they can have a shot at happiness and find their prince.
Not even having someone like Gen can cover up everything though. People got me wrong. I wanted my mom to leave but I didn’t want her to be chased out of the school and made to look like the villain. It’s my fault. I ran to Kengo and hoped he would help and the whole thing got out of hand.

I have to talk with my mom. There’s some time before class. I have to do it.
So I turned on my heel and made a dash for the teacher’s lounge. Hopefully a teacher can direct me to her. When I got there, I found my mom was just leaving. “Hikari-chan?”

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

“I’m sorry for what happened. It’s all entirely my fault,” I told her as we walked around the school, talking to one another. I explained to her why the class did that and she could only swallow and take everything in.

“I see. No, no, Kengo-kun explained a lot too. He said you felt pressured and coming here was your way of breaking free and letting you be yourself. It made me think and I guess well, we’ve all been hard on you, haven’t we?” my mother replied with a warm smile. My mouth gaped open in shock. I was expecting her to yell at me or be in a horrible mood. “I should be the one apologising.”

“Wait, no-” I felt her arms pull me into a hug and I stopped speaking.
Students were around but I didn’t care. My mother doesn’t hate me. I’m so relieved. I hugged her back and whispered a “thank you” in her ear.

“I’ve resigned from the job.”

I yanked myself out of the hug and my eyes went wide as I took a couple of steps back. “You WHAT?!”

“I initially wanted to keep an eye on you but teaching’s really annoying. You’re mature enough to get by without me,” she told me, while I was still trying to take it in. She’s leaving? Quitting her job? Wait, but, um, ah, eh? “Oh my, you look surprised. You don’t want me to leave?”

I waved my hands around frantically. “No, I’m fine, I’m fine! No need to worry!”

She smiled and I knew the exact words she was going to say. “And that’s when I worry the most.”

We grinned at each other though I was still waving my arms around like a madwoman. “But I never expected you to leave just like that! Isn’t that just running away?”

She shook her head. “I’m not the one who has things to face up to. I’m giving you your freedom.”

Freedom... I see. There’s a lot of things we could say but the both of us know what the conclusion is. We’ve reached an understanding. Both of us know that the words can be left unsaid. And with one last hug, we both turned different directions. She had her own path to walk and I still have my rollercoaster ride to complete. All that was brief but there was no need to lengthen everything unnecessarily.

I’m happy. She told me I am mature enough. I think that alone can restore my faith. I can suss out things, I can get things done. I’m sick of relying on people. I’m sick of being a child. With this faith, perhaps I can continue being an idiot teenage girl for a little while longer. And when Gen leaves, I will wish him luck for the future. I will not break down in tears. Not before him. Not ever.

Instead of thinking of it as the end of Gen and I, it is the new beginning of our lives. He’ll be brilliant and maybe I can too. I’ll fall in love with someone who I can see as equal. I won’t be such a screw-up. People wouldn’t take me the wrong way. Someone will understand.

And with these beliefs, I can walk headstrong into the exams.

That reminds me. Oh no! I haven’t been studying! I’m so stupid! I better rush to my textbooks now. Oh snap, oh snap, oh snap!

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

So Kasumi, Nozomi, Kimi and I spent most of the night in silence. We were all studying like crazy. Well, three of us were. It was odd because I thought Kimi was going to study the most but she was just sitting on her bed, reading her book. I wonder if Kasumi or Nozomi noticed.

“Hey Kimi, have you done enough studying for the end of year exams?” Ah, Kasumi did notice.

Kimi looked up from her book, which I gazed at more carefully to see that it was a collection of fairytales. Weird. I didn’t think Kimi would read stuff like that. She seemed like the type to read all this non-fiction stuff or real adult novels with large words and complicated plots. “Oh. I’ve studied a lot. Ookido realised that I didn’t know the story of Sleeping Beauty very well and so he’s gotten me to read it.”

“Say,” I spoke up, “you’ve been hanging around Shinji a lot and sitting around reading less. Are you sure that-”

“I’m sure.”

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Time can never sit still. No matter what, it’ll pass. That’s something I hear often but does it ever get anywhere? What does it mean to get to the next day? Once a minute has passed, where has it gone? What did that minute mean? What was its significance?

Studying for exams always makes me ponder things. Perhaps that means I’m ready. I’ll be a thinker. My emotional doubts can’t get in the way of me. Exams have a way of pushing life aside. I can do this.

Every student in the school was awake. There were always students who overslept but during exam week, no one can be caught dozing off. We all have our own goals to accomplish. Things we want to achieve. Whether they be academic or something as simple as ‘I remembered the correct formula to this problem in math!’ People say the exams are the toughest part of school but to me, going to high school and getting through its ups and downs... That’s the real test.

Your first kiss, your first boyfriend, your first perfect grade, your first friends, your first argument, your first injury, your first mistake... The first twenty years of your life contain all your firsts in life. Living through all of this in your childhood, when you’re a teenager... that’s the real exam.

You may study all you want and still feel like you fail at life itself. I don’t care for grades, I don’t care for praise, I don’t care if I keep being called a pretty girl, I don’t care if I have ups or downs in my life. To pass the exam is to be able to feel like you’ve really lived.

I cannot tell who will truly pass the exam with flying colours but I don’t care. All this study for superficial grades. I do not care if someone gets a higher score than I do. Just to pass is enough. To put it bluntly, I don’t want to fret over stupid exams or else I’ll fail at life!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I’ve had exams recently and in a way, I kinda thought about it and said to myself, ‘so long as I pass something, so long as I pass something...’ And then I thought that these exams aren’t the real thing. The real NCEA exams are at the end of the year for me. And then I thought to myself that in a way, school was one big test in itself. That’s why I felt like making Hikari have that thought train. I felt it worked for her.

Hn, next chapter~

- The exams are underway! Some people struggle more than others...
- First date for Satoshi! Yoshika’s introduction!
- Oh my, what couple do we have at the same restaurant as Satoshi?
- Getting some results back! Here’s where things don’t look too good...
- Oh no! Hikari catches a cold! Who will take care of her?

And with those points now on your brain, I shall ditch! Hope you enjoyed the chapter! And what’s this? A trailer for the Summer Arc! Let’s go!


My name is Kengo. I thought school as the only place for all my dramas and hassles. Yeah, stupid thoughts they were. Anyway, I thought that when the holidays came and Gen was gone, I would go back to my hometown with Hikari and things would be sweet. I’d finally have a chance.

“Guess what, everyone? My grandfather’s given me a heap of money and if you guys all pitch in a bit, we could stay at this awesome summer resort! Isn’t that exciting?”

Yeah, that was Shigeru’s announcement. Everyone seemed keen and before I knew it, instead of going home for the summer, we’d spend the time going to a beach resort. We’d be staying in luxury apartments but quite frankly, it’s all too much for me.

Why? Here’s why. I’ll make a list.

Satoshi’s coming. He’s easily misled, that fool. And so Shigeru will lead him down a bad path. It won’t be pretty.

Kasumi’s coming. She’s rather two-sided. I don’t know, I can’t keep up with her. She can be all sensitive and stuff or she’s hella determined. Apparently, she wants to make this a summer to remember.

Nozomi isn’t coming. Her parents wouldn’t let her. I am running out of sane people to hang out with.

Shuu’s coming. His good looks will charm everybody and people will start getting jealous. Tensions shall rise.

Haruka’s coming. Refer to Shuu’s paragraph.

Kimi’s coming. She has no idea how to spend summer the fun way. And it seems even the summer heat will get to her too.

Shinji’s coming. He’s a total killjoy. But things get even more weird when... what the hell? He has an ex-girlfriend? She’s arriving on the scene? Now things are just getting weird as hell...

Shigeru’s coming. Well, he organised the thing. But he, like Kasumi, wants to make this summer memorable. He will drag everyone to do as many activities as possible. That includes trying to hit it off with all these girls, causing scandals and heck, I’ll blame him for getting some of us stuck on a freaking island!

Hikari’s coming. That’s the big factor. Drama seems to just follow her. I swear I’ll never get a chance.

It seems we’ll be making new acquaintances too! I just hope like mad that
they aren’t as troublesome as my friends. People often try to make their summer vacations unforgettable. I don’t try to care too much. But hey, this summer will include:

- Ex-girlfriends making their return!
- Jealousy and tensions rising!
- Vandalism!
- Getting stranded on an island!
- Matchmaking gone wrong!
- Hikari in awesome swimsuits!
- Childhood friends bopping up!
- Walking in at the wrong time!
- Summer festivals! Which leads me to my next point...
- Hikari in a yukata! Sounds good to me!
- It’s official. Shigeru is one heck of a jerk.

I’d say this summer will be one to remember! Some parts I want to remember and other memories will bring me a headache! I better watch out! I’m not kidding!

Haha, felt like plonking in a bit of a preview as to what’s to come. Loads of summer fun and more, more dramas coming ahead! But before the summer arc, we’ve got plenty of plots to resolve before graduation! So ‘Except Me’ has got some fun stuff in store!

My main task is to update this and see this fic through to the end! >3

Enough ramble! Adios!

Mel-Girl.
 
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