Prologue to despair

The sound of the bells brought about the end of the entrance ceremony, some new students stood up and began to talk among themselves, others were already walking outside of the gymnasium, whether to head home or to hang out with their friends.

A twelve years old boy with brown spiky hair, black eyes and a uniform which clearly wasn’t Kato High’s, stood still as he leaned on the school’s main gate, waiting. He appeared calm and arrogant on the outside, but in reality every glance toward him made him feel awkward, thus, so as to maintain his “calm,” he decided to listen to some music through his cellphone.

He wondered whether his friend would arrive before every single student was gone, but he still waited for him because he wanted to see it, he wanted to see that sad smile of him. The boy knew what was going on in that place, and as he repeatedly asked his friend if everything was alright, he always got the same, weary answer along with a sorrowful smile:

“Really, I’m fine.”

At first there was nothing but, as time passed, the boy started to feel some kind of sick pleasure from that expression, especially after he witnessed a few episodes of how his senpai handled his friend.

The boy really liked that smile of him, that fake smile which concealed his bottomless sadness, that forced smile he used to fake “normality,” to hide his insecurities while thinking that nobody would notice. Sometimes, he barely restrained himself from grinning pervertedly at that sight.

However, the boy restrained those feelings as much as possible, after all, he didn’t swing that way. He felt a kind of sadistic attraction toward his friend’s downhearted smile, but that was it. In his head there weren’t any carnal desires toward his friend.

‘If only he wasn’t a male… Humph, whatever. I’ll simply relieve my stress after our tour through town with the toy senpai gifted me. Come to think of it, did I feed her yesterd–’

The boy was seemingly lost in his own thoughts until he caught a glimpse of the person who was probably the last remaining freshman. His mind blanked, his thoughts halted, his eyes kept staring at that perfect figure walking toward him.

The last freshman was a twelve years old girl, she was still a little bit flat-chested however as she was young it didn’t mean much; she also wore the brand new uniform of Kato High: a black skirt without patterns, paired with a blazer that would have been completely black, if not for the emblem of the school donned on the side, on the right arm, sporting the colours blue and gold, lastly there were a modest white shirt with long sleeves and a simple pale blue bow tie.

While she was walking excitedly toward the boy, he could hear that the girl was speaking somewhat loudly but his mind was too shocked to register what she exactly said. At the same time, the boy’s appearance visually and gradually changed from showing the expression “Why the hell don’t you just leave me alone” to a totally confused and shocked “What… the…” kind of face as the girl neared him, allowing the boy to clearly see her looks.

Her right eye was of a clear blue shade whereas her left eye had a crystalline amber-like colour; those colours stood out even more with her pitch black hair that perfectly framed her face and seemed to be able to absorb the light near them. But like a light shining in the darkness, a snow white hairpin on her forehead interrupted her hair’s “devouring ability.” The white hairpin had the shape of gears with beads of coloured glass in the center of each gear: red, purple and black.

‘The gears of fate…’

The girl finally arrived in front of the boy and as he continued to blankly observe her and her hairpin, she just couldn’t take it anymore as she started to forcibly shook him by grabbing him by the shoulders while saying:

“Ei-kun! Ei-kun! I’ve been calling you since forever, snap out of it already! Ei-kun!”

“K… Ki-kun? Why, why are you dressed like… that?”

Eichirou’s mind couldn’t quite catch up with the realization he just had, to him it felt the same as that time his awe-inspiring senpai poured a bucket of ice-cold water on his head. Zoning out, he even started to see light spots dancing around in his vision, and, swaying, he hurriedly leaned on the school gate nearby.

“Ei-kun are you alright? Do you have a fever?”

Ame was about to reach out to him but she stopped herself, biting her lower lip. If it had been before, she wouldn’t have thought about it too much, but since a couple months ago their relationship became awkward. Some of it was because they ended up in two different schools, but the most important part was that Ame was ever so slightly wary of him.

The first time she only saw a fleeting shadow, too distracted to pay it any mind, but as the times increased she realized that someone was observing her when Kazumo tortured her. The observer stood enough of a distance away that she couldn’t recognize them, but…

“And what do you mean ‘dressed like that’? Do I look bad wearing a skirt?”

Said Ame as she casted a glance at the boy’s spiky brown hair while twirling around a bit.

“…Eh? Ah, n-no… no, you absolutely don’t look bad at all. Sorry, I just came to say that I’m busy today so let’s see each other tomorrow, Okay?”

Eichirou’s mind had spun rapidly to think up some kind of reasonable response before turning around and quickly walking away. He knew he couldn’t stay there any longer, or else he wouldn’t be able to contain it anymore. He would be unable to restrain all the glee and sexual excitement he was feeling at the moment. He needed to go home and vent all of this energy on someone.

Just like his senpai had taught him.

Ame stood still, looking in his direction. She was bewildered by his sudden change in emotions. Why was he confused before? Why did he seem so happy all of a sudden now?

“Hey, where are you going?! …Didn’t you say we’d go play in together…”

~~~

Seated nearly at the center of the class, Ame felt the pressure of a new start even more. The other times, in elementary school, she always had a few people she knew even when they changed the classes around, but this time she was utterly alone. But, along with this pressure also came a kind of joy. Here, once again, nobody knew about the dark and dirty side of her life and, she also didn’t need to worry about her eyepatch dropping or someone asking questions about it. After all, she wasn’t wearing one.

‘It’s not the first time, but people’s stares sure hurt, uh…’

Sighing, she quietly lowered her head until it touched the desk, and then placed her arms over her head; after all, Ame didn’t want to let strangers see her insecurity.

The cause of such was obvious, she was mulling about the other day, when her only friend left her at the school gate with such a weird attitude, and how their relationship had gotten so… strained, lately.

What’s more, Eichirou’s perplexed face at the sight of her wearing a skirt for the very first time, really annoyed Ame. It was not what she had expected and his behavior simply made even more of a mess inside her mind. Her feelings were all to complicated at the moment.

‘What’s up with that… True, I had never worn one before but still… was there a need to react like he saw a guy dressed as a girl?’

“Notsuki. Ame. San.”

The seething anger coming over from the voice of the teacher almost made Ame jump from her seat as she broke out of her reverie. She instantly understood, from the total silence in the class, that she had screwed up. Standing up, Ame bowed as deep as possible as she hurriedly replied:

“Y-yes, sensei, I’m here! I-I’m sorry I was distracted…”

“It’s good that you finally woke up. Next time you should answer faster when called by a teacher.”

“Yes, I’m sorry.”

Such a miserable scene, and at the first day of school, induced everyone into a fit of subdued laughs and sneers.

Seated once again, the poor girl just looked down with a bright red face while her pearl-colored hands were tightly gripping her skirt. Inside her mind, she kept scolding herself for such a blunder, but not too much, afraid to lose herself in her thoughts once again.

~~~

“Phew, it’s finally lunch break…”

Saying so, Ame brought a hand to her stomach to gently pat it, actually trying to subdue its sonorous protest, while the other took out a large bento she had prepared the night before. Although some of her classmates chose to go to the school cafeteria, that wasn’t what attracted Ame’s attention, what did intrigue her instead was this one approaching boy with short, side-fringe hair.

Blue hair.

“Notsuki… san, right? Why so much food? Did you want to share it with someone you like? Ahaha~”

“Ah… uhm, you should be Kunieda… -kun?”

“Go ahead.”

He answered her with an impish grin and a small nod, and thus Ame continued saying:

“Un. About my lunch, it’s just that, well, I was kinda nervous since I don’t know anyone here, which kept me from sleeping normally, and in turn led me to make… this, to pass the time.”

She concluded with a small gesture to direct the boy’s attention over to the food on her desk. He nodded again, with a hand under his chin and trying to look pensive, while failing seeing that he was about to burst out laughing.

“I… I see. Ahah– Ahem, yes, I understand. I guess I- ahaha! …Cough, I should sacrifice myself and help you with this ordeal, both the friend and food part, yes. Oh and my name’s Kikuchi by the way, ahahahah!”

Hearing the word “friend”, Eichirou and Houtarou’s faces popped up in her mind, but she had only thought: ‘This thief is here for my food!’

This boy clearly had the air one of those sociable people that went around trying to make friends with everyone, and this was his endeavor on trying to open her up. Ame considered the options she had, but they all boiled down to two: she could reject him, thus probably making her future attempts at making new friends in this class harder; or she could “play along,” thus acting a bit out of her normal behavior and make him her first friend in this class, or something along those lines, at least.

“So Kuzen-kun, what did you want?”

“It’s Kikuchi” he nonchalantly said as he took and ate some of her food as he sat down in front of her.

“I was wondering, are you wearing some contact lenses? Or I guess, contact lens, seeing as only one of your eyes is different?”

Kikuchi indicated his own left eye as he spoke his second sentence. Ame stiffed slightly, but she soon relaxed. She had already made up her mind when she had decided to come here to Kato High with Eichirou a long time ago. That’s why, with a strained smile and a slightly fearful gaze she told him, and the other people in the classroom that had begun to listen in on their conversation, the truth:

“… No, I’m not wearing any lenses. It… it’s called ‘heterochromia,’ I was born like this. Unlike someone else…”

The more she said, the better she felt, not feeling the same pressure heaving down on her all the time she felt during elementary school. She even ended up trying to joke, pointing out the clearly unnatural blue-coloured hair Kikuchi was sporting.

A small blush appeared on the young boy, and while Ame thought that it was born out of embarrassment, it was actually her own budding charisma and figure that touched Kikuchi’s mind. It’s not like it was a particularly special moment, he would later realize, it was Ame who was special.

“That’s so cool!” “Yeah! I’ve never heard of something like that!” “Let me see too!”

“Wha–!”

The sudden and loud words of admiration coming from her classmates startled Ame, who hadn’t noticed when they had neared so much as to crowd around her and Kikuchi, but more than anything it was their voice devoid of disgust and malice that made her mind go blank, not even stopping the seated boy from stealing even more food.

~~~

Four weeks passed since the start of the school and everyone in class B is now accustomed to the acts of the Otenba-hime (tomboy princess), also know as Notsuki Ame..

“  Every day she eats a large homemade bento, sleep during one or two lesson and once a week for an hour she stays on the rooftop after lunch. She reads manga and plays video games, has no problem telling dirty jokes and talks like a boy; that said, Ame is still a girl, so whenever she acts like one or smiles, everyone’s face goes red.

A lot of people knows of her because every time she sees students bullying someone on campus she steps in and begins bullying the bullies; when she’s asked why she does it, her response is always the same:

‹ I just love bullying the bullies.. seeing their faces when they beg me for stopping always makes me excited ›

Just like that, she got recruited from the track and field club, the kendo club and the martial arts club..  “

Really now, what a slightly cute and peaceful life that is! Too bad that was only the boy’s side of the story. What is the girl’s view on this matter?

“  Every day she eats like a pig, fakes sleeping during class to attract the boys’ attention and skips to look tough. She’s a vulgar otaku who goes on beating students up on campus to satisfy her sadistic nature and to show off to the boys! We should put an end to that slut. “

Now, now, that’s a serious problem we have there, but Ame is able to defend herself ..right?

Some afternoon later, in the back of the gym..

‹ So what do you girls want? Calling me all the way here and stuff.. just to warn you, I’m stronger than any of you ›

Strangely enough, this time the bullies were with the shoulders on the wall from the beginning..

“ Why? Why would they put themselves there? And to begin with, they know I’m stronger and still try to bully me? ..wait. “I’m stronger”? I see, if I strike back, they will say I bullied them.. in this case, I can only defend.. “

Without Ame noticing, new girls appeared and closed in on her, leaving Ame at the center of the circle recently formed.

‹ ..Eh? ›

Just as she snapped out of her line of thought and realized the grave situation she was in, a bat came rushing towards her.

After years of being bullied, it wouldn’t be all that unnatural to develop some sense of danger, which was greatly useful for Ame.

Returning to reality, so disregarding the fact that a girl with a bat was a little extreme, you couldn’t say this time that “sixth sense” was really useful, because as Ame quickly evaded the apparent metal bat to the side, she found herself unconscious on the ground just as quickly.

‹ Cool. Can’t believe it went just as she said it would.. even so, were did you find the stun gun? ›

‹ I told my dad I was followed by a suspicious guy, teehee ›

‹ You sure are malicious, uh.. anyway, let’s have fun, but remember, “not in visible spots” ’kay? ›

After agreeing, the girls took turns in kicking Ame, mainly in the stomach and the chest.

To commemorate such a happy event, subsequent to pouring water on Ame, they took photos of her while she had blazer and shirt wide open.

Such details were clearly understandable through the photos emailed to her phone.

You could say she was lucky to already have short hair.

‹ A.. Ame-san! What happened?! ›

Ame, still completely wet, was currently in front of the school infirmary with some bruises on the face. It seems the girls couldn’t help themselves.

‹ Could I have something to wipe with? ›

‹ Y-yes.. sit wherever you like, there’s only us two at the moment ›

Kanegawa Yui. The health committee member from class B was now drying Ame’s hair with a towel.

‹ You don’t have to.. I can perfectly do it on my own ›

Kanegawa had dark-brown (almost black) hair and black eyes, but she regularly used purple-colored contact lenses. Her skin was a light shade of pink and was 170cm tall. Kanegawa had such a overflowing feminine aura that made Ame jealous of not having ever acted like a girl before.

So with such a new and confusing feeling, she was never really eager to speak with this classmate of her, but.. she couldn’t stand the awkward silence that filled the room.

‹ It seems that our female peers mistook me for their partner in their SM plays ›

‹ Uuh.. Ame-san. That was a little funny, but you shouldn’t joke about such things! ›

‹ ..Good. I don’t think I’d ever have talked to you again, if you had laughed at that lame joke ›

Like this, the discovery of her first female friend in middle school “cancelled out”, or so Ame thought, the start of this new hell.


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