Disclaimers: I don’t own it.

Koboshi-chaaaan! Yup, her turn and then… well, we’ll see. We’ll see…

000

Chapter Three: Koboshi Uematsu

“Koboshi! Time to wake up!” called her mother.

The blonde-haired girl sighed, dragged out of the peaceful abyss of sleep and she slowly opened one eye, surveying the scenery before her. Being as it was her room, there were an assortment of random stuffed toys and books here and there, but was usually kept in a sort of order that made it easy for her to locate her things. It had a cheery air to it, and a sort of… lightness, that constantly kept her at peace, and that was the way she liked it.

With another sigh, she pushed herself up and rubbed her eyes lightly to dispel the last dregs of sleep. For a moment she just sat there, staring into nothingness and trying to collect her thoughts before getting out of bed.

Once she was sure that she was sufficiently awake, she got out of bed and made her way to the dresser, picking up a brush. Her hair was not in as bad a state that she thought it would be in, but that made the task much more easier. Dragging the rough bristles through her hair, her eyes fell on a headband that had cat ears connected to them.

She couldn’t help but smile at the memories. At the times when she used to wear them all the time, just two years ago. With her friends, with one particular blonde-haired guy who made fun of her height, and the other being the hard worker he’d always been.

And, just somehow, they’d all managed to get into the same high school.

“Koboshi!” her mother called again. Smoothing a stray hair back into place, Koboshi tossed the brush onto the dresser and trotted over to her wardrobe, located her uniform, and changed into it. Then she left for the bathroom, grabbed her school bag, and then made her way downstairs.

“I’m here,” she said, smiling at her parents, both who were seated at the table. Her mother could only shake her head and smile in return, while her father was too engrossed with the morning newspaper to really say anything.

Once breakfast was over – sooner than one would have expected – the young girl called her goodbyes and left for school. Smoothing her skirt out just slightly, she closed the front gate and left, walking at a steady pace. It wasn’t like she was going to be late for school, anyway; she’d been walking in the very same direction since she’d started school, so there was nothing too it.

It was a clear day, promising a – hopefully – good day for them and Koboshi couldn’t wipe the smile on her face. She just felt so peaceful and happy for some reason. Not like she needed a reason to be happy all the time; just being with her friends was enough. But today just had that… extra ring to it, if she could describe it, just that little extra… sparkle in the normal processes that life dragged them through.

And for some reason, this reminded her of a certain, older girl, with long pink hair and bunny hairclips that were always just there. The very same older girl who had been Kotarou’s next door neighbor and an annoyance in a package who constantly glomped onto her friend.

But now that she thought about it, where had Misha gone?

Koboshi frowned at this; she couldn’t place the time, but it must have been sometime around now…

She didn’t have much time to dwell on this, though, seeing as she had just caught sight of one of her friends walking down the very same road, just a bit ahead of her. Smiling again, she raised her voice; “Ten-chan!”

Said blonde boy stopped walking at this and turned smartly, one hand gripping onto the strap of his bag. Without much thought, she ran to catch up to him, and when she was right in front of him, Takashi grinned, “What’s up, Uematsu?” It was his way of greeting someone, so she was used to it. Anything more polite and she would have thought the sky was falling.

Unable to help it, Koboshi cringed just slightly, “I was up all night trying to finish the English homework!” She complained. “It was just so confusing! I can’t believe they’re making us do that!” Of course, being in an elite school would do these sorts of thing, but it didn’t mean that she couldn’t complain if she didn’t want to.

Of course, she was complaining to the wrong guy.

Takashi’s grin widened at this, like it was some kind of joke, “Was it too hard for you?” He wasn’t taunting her in a mean way, but the teasing tone that rang in his voice irritated her just enough to get her… well, angry.

She cringed at her mistake; never talk about homework-related problems with a guy who gets top marks all the time. So, of course, she would just have to find a way to defend her case, which meant that it was time to tell him off, “Well EXCU-SE me, dork! You asked me what was up and I told you!” She pouted to give it extra effect.

The blonde boy shook his head at this and then ruffled her hair lightly, obviously well aware at this point that she really hated it out of place. Then he spoke up, “Geez, Uematsu, lighten up already. I’m not gonna bite.”

Not allowing that to phase her, Koboshi remained pouting and then glared at him, “That’s what you say, Ten-chan.” She wasn’t going to let him off that easily, that’s for sure.

He laughed good naturedly at this and, unable to stop herself, the girl smiled as well, pretty much settling the score between them. Once that was over and done with, they walked to school together in silence, allowing the quiet and their thoughts to run.

Reaching the gates, they were encountered by none other than Hiroshi Mitarai, who had been transferred into the same school so that he could find and encounter the very same person who bested him constantly. As usual, he wore glasses that made him look like a real dork, “Damn you, Ayanokoji! Trying to get to school earlier than me, huh!”

This was just an everyday ritual.

Takashi smiled, “Morning, Poops!” Koboshi smiled at this, as it was the nickname her friend had chosen the boy. As she expected, Hiroshi reacted like a bomb.

“You vile scrounge! How dare you call me th-th-that! The heir to the Mitarai house will not permit it!”

“Dude, it just did.”

“You-you-you---” spluttered the other boy indignantly, unable to string two words together.

Seeing as they were going to get nowhere at the rate they were going, Koboshi stepped in, “Morning, Dai-chan.” But he never did return the greeting, because said boy ended up being knocked out of the way by his younger sister, Kaoru, who smiled winningly at Takashi, obviously trying to impress him with her… charm?

“Good morning, Ayanokoji-sama!”

“Hey, babe. How’s it going?”

Koboshi watched with slight amusement as the girl swooned at this. It was amazing how popular Takashi really was, yet only had a few close friends. He never really showed that much interest in them, so yeah.

Then she looked around, and noticed that a certain someone wasn’t around.

“Kotarou-chan isn’t here,” she muttered casually, although she was definitely worried.

“Really? He isn’t?” Takashi looked surprised at this, obviously wondering why the other boy would be late. Koboshi was more worried that something might have happened to their friend and wasn’t paying any attention to him anymore, until he said decisively, “Guess we’ll just have to wait for him.” It had that decisive ring to his tone and the other two people present left. Koboshi smiled slightly at this, glad that she wouldn’t have to hear Hiroshi complaining about one thing or another, but Takashi seemed too preoccupied to notice any of this. Not that she cared. Instead, she focused her attention on the sky above.

“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” she commented lightly, feeling the need of a light and steady conversation.

“Yeah, definitely,” agreed the blonde-haired boy. The conversation hadn’t lasted long, so they both fell silent. Koboshi felt quite happy and comfortable just standing there, although her worry for Kotarou was getting in the way most of the current time. What happened if he’d… no, no way!

At that very moment, said boy came into the picture and Koboshi was so relieved that… well, she was as cheerful as ever.

“Hey, Kotarou! Morning!” called Takashi.

“Morning Kotarou-chan!” added the blonde, beaming.

Kotarou waved in recognition and ran over to them. When he reached them, he was panting beyond belief and had one hand to his side. He had a tired look in his eyes and his hair was somewhat disheveled and Koboshi inclined her head in time to see Takashi frown.

“Woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I suppose?” he ended up saying. Koboshi hit him hard on the shoulder and he yelped in pain, “Hey, what was that for?”

Could he be anymore dense? Koboshi just couldn’t understand how he could be so smart, yet so dumb, “Ten-chan! No tact at all!” she said in reprimandation. Ignoring the scowl he shot at her, the blonde turned to her other friend, “Are you okay, Kotarou-chan?”

Kotarou seemed grateful at this and pushed a stray hair out of the way before replying, “Yeah, I’m fine. Just woke up a bit late this morning. And I’m trying to work out when Shino learnt how to cook.” At this, he frowned, clearly confused as he said he was, and she could only blink.

Walking past a number of loitering students, there was a good deal of silence, until Takashi suddenly seemed to hit something on the head and he couldn’t help but exclaim and surprise the people around him.

“Oh yeah, guess I forgot to tell you, huh?” Koboshi looked as confuse as Kotarou probably felt. “My uncle has been teaching your cousin a thing or two about how to cook and stuff. He said you never can be too young to learn how to cook, so yeah. Your dad said it was fine and all.” Oh… so that was why.

The blonde girl smiled as she watched Kotarou give the other boy a look that screamed ‘are you insane!’, “… What?”

Takashi looked scandalized at the reaction, “Well, you had to learn about that kinda stuff at a young age as well. And it’s only simple things. We’ve been taking care of her when you were at review and stuff, remember?” Koboshi silently agreed with this. Poor Kotarou had been though so much already, and taking care of an eight-year-old would also put some strain on him.

“Ah… oh, it’s not like I’m angry about it,” the other boy smiled gratefully at him, “Thanks, Ten-chan.”

“No prob.” He grinned back at this. Well, at least that was over and done with, thought the girl. Just then, they heard the school bell ring, “Ah! We’re going to be late! Come on!”

Without another thought, the three charged into the school.

000

The only word that could describe Koboshi’s current predicament was… WHAT THE? That was the biggest problem lately; work was getting harder and harder and the syllabus was leaving them far, far behind. It was just too much to cram into one brain at one time and she felt really confused and agitated, and annoyed, and tired, and…

She yawned.

Both Takashi and Kotarou looked pretty out of it too, she had to admit, seeing as she was at the back of the class and could see them quite clearly. Sometimes she had to wonder what was on the boy’s minds.

It was a thought that could make one dizzy.

Dispelling such a painful and confusing topic, the blonde turned back to the other confusing topic, and went from there.

It was going to be a long day…

000

A soft pink to orange glow could be seen on the horizon, making it incredibly… peaceful could be the only word that could explain it, really. School had been a drag, and now they had to go home and try and complete all the work that they’d been given. It was going to be hell.

But first, it was clear that Takashi had to confirm something from Kotarou.

“So you’ll pick her up from there, then?” he asked, referring to keeping Shino at Café Tricot, where she could be kept watched until after review, which Kotarou still went to. “I’ve got work today, and she’s a nice kid, so uncle will be glad to have her around.”

“I’ll hang around, if that’s okay,” offered Koboshi. Not only that, but maybe she could get some help from him; the work was just so confusing now! He smiled gratefully in her direction and she added, “I know how boring your work gets sometimes.”

“Right, Uematsu, whatever you say.” Takashi rolled his eyes at this and she bristled. What was wrong with this guy! He was always, always, always looking for a way to aggravate her! And it always worked as well!

Koboshi glared at him and he glared right back, making the purple-haired bystander grin. She failed to notice this and continued the glaring contest, even if it wasn’t a serious case. Kotarou pulled the sleeve of his uniform and gasped when he noticed the time. Thanking the two briefly, he waved to them both and left off to review.

Once he was out of sight, the other two made their way to where Shino’s school was, and then it was to Café Tricot.

“So spill it, Uematsu.” Takashi said suddenly.

“What?” Koboshi had no idea what was going on and could only blink, refusing to look at him in the eye.

“You need to catch up on homework again.”

“Wha—I do not!” Damn! He’d hit it right on the head! Sure, she needed help, but why did he need to make her feel like she was so stupid!

“Well, why else would you spend time at the café?”

“Shut up, Ten-chan!”

Takashi laughed.

Koboshi glowered at him, but it went unnoticed.

000

Watching as the last customers filed out for the day, Koboshi turned back to the book opened up in front of her and stared at the notes she’d made in class. Not that any made any sense to her, but… yeah. Ugh, she was going to be so confused in the end…

Takashi had been busy since the beginning to his work shift, so she only managed to get the odd tip off him now and again, but his snide comments flew into the picture, which involved her jabbing him in the stomach when she could.

But now that was over, the blonde boy was outside, and she was left with Kotarou’s cousin, who was sitting on the chair opposite to her.

“Oneechan,” began Shino, “What’s all the work for?”

“It’s something that older people have to do,” explained Koboshi patiently, “And you have to do it too when you’re older.”

“Is it hard?”

“Only if you don’t work.”

“Ah…” Shino frowned at this and it was just so adorable that Koboshi had to laugh. The little girl smiled too, and then trotted off to talk with Takashi’s uncle for one reason or another.

Sighing, she worked on a couple of questions and then gnawed on her pen as she got stuck on one of the more difficult problems. She was considering going outside to ask Takashi, but the phone suddenly rang and, seeing that no one else was going to answer it, she picked it up.

“Café Tricot, how may I help you?” she asked.

The voice on the other end was distressed. Male as well, but she couldn’t place it.

“Ayanokoji-san?”

“Eh? This is Uematsu.” She was about to say more, but the voice cut past her.

“You’re Kotarou’s friend, right?” the voice seemed relieved.

“Yes?” the tone of voice scared her, but the message after that scared her even more.

“It’s about my son--” again, the choked up feel, “He just--”

000

Not really knowing what she was doing, of where she was going, Koboshi burst out of the café, only to run into Takashi, who was taken completely by surprise.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Ten-chan! It’s Kotarou-chan!” she gasped, feeling the tears forming in her eyes, “He-he…” she felt so choked up, so much emotions threatened to take over her and she couldn’t stop herself. “Kotarou-chan was caught in a car crash! We have to go to the hospital!”

000

Do we feel sorry for him? Do we? Yeah, I guess so. XO I can’t believe I did that to him…

 

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