General POV:

The cryptic brunette known as Izuru had his eyes slightly widened by the middle school principal's sudden remarks initiated to him.

Honestly, he was quite taken aback, more or less. Somehow, he'd thought the school principal for this branch didn't have it in her to say such boisterous things, especially right after spilling all that valuable information to him not long ago-he thought she would have chosen to back out due to Satoshi's inevitable control position to this overall school, and that she would've given up somewhere along by now.

However, much to his surprise, she didn't. In fact, she looked just as if she had nothing to lose out their previous conversation earlier. The fact that she still looks perfectly fine by all this unintentionally made him smirk a bit, a faint smile and a glint of curiosity gradually crossing into those light-marooned eyes of his shortly in response.

Ah, so the junior high principal really does live up to her name…though she may look to be otherwise, she is indeed a courageous, unfazed professional once she sets her mind and goal towards something. Interesting…Satoshi may just have underestimated the wrong person this whole time. The tough competitor is elsewhere, and she may just be one of them, possibly.

At this, his smirk unknowingly widened a bit more, his dark brown hair and maroon eyes reflecting off the shimmering sunlight as he did so with this one very simple change expression shown in the process.

"Very well. I will be sure to send my best regards to her when we get the chance to see each other again. Surely that is all, no? If it is, then I shall take my departure to report back now."

The principal nodded appreciatively towards the brunette before speaking up again.

"Yes, our conversation is over. You are free to leave now, if you wish."

He sent out his last regards towards the principal before respectively bowing and heading out the door, quickly leaving behind a soft "click" sound right after the principal's office afterwards.

Later however, the brunette soon began to recall the principal's words once again.

"Her name is Suzuka Geijiroh."

The brunette idly pondered on about this, but if not so curiously intrigued all the awhile.

Suzuka Geijiroh…how will you deal with your new life from here on out?

-And I wonder, will you and your company manage to cope with the new things to come, or perhaps not-?

Although the brunette smiled briefly to no one in particular, his mesmerizing eyes told words beyond comprehendible for one's understanding-oh, how the message was so clear to him, but to no one else otherwise…

My, how interesting… How very, very, interesting.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see the mystery unravel by itself now, ne-?

***10th Story*** Hakoya Chapter 2: Student Council Introductory Resurfaced Memories

Hakoya's POV:

We were all still gaping at Suzuka even when the intercom from our principal ended.

My eyes, (and I'm sure everyone else's as well) went bulging by the sudden announced news coming from our school principal.

Did Suzuka, the newest newcomer I just befriended, end up being chosen to become a special student council member just now-?

At the back of my head, I was indeed aware for the fact that our branch was the only one whom the principal has not yet confirmed all of our 5 special council members to. However, I almost didn't expect the last council member to be chosen this soon, moreover the member was chosen being still a full-fledged newcomer at that. We received no reports or any advanced information about her becoming one of us whatsoever during this period of time, which was why the news shocked us even more due to these circumstances.

And by Suzuka being chosen, that means she's our last member invited to the middle school branch council as well…

I looked back to Suzuka as I now heard numerous murmurings coming from here and there, most likely made by the other students, but nevertheless ignored them. Our group of company and I were all too solely focused on the light auburn-haired girl here, and she in response looked genuinely confused about all this, innocently cocking her head to the side while we all gazed speechless at her.

-It took me a while to blink before realizing what this all seemed to her by now.

Ah, that's right…she's not familiar about all this "special" council member business yet…this means she probably doesn't even understand what the principal mentioned about earlier, moreover specifically regarding about her at the moment right now.

Being the first one to recover from the shocking news apparently, my smile immediately broadened up to her bewildered reaction in response.

Well now, wouldn't want to leave her out in blue like that, right…?

Quickly strolling towards Suzuka's side, I now whispered a few good words to her in attempt to answer her current puzzlement afterwards.

"Psst, it means you're officially our newest special council member with us from now on-!"

After whispering the short message to her, I flashed back a quick smile towards her as I saw her eyes finally widening in response. Ah, so she partially understood now, didn't she? What adorable reactions this girl has…some part of me wanted to go hug her at that point, but I resisted the urge to nonetheless.

To be honest, I think I might come to like this girl…though I have met her for what only seemed like a mere few minutes, we already have a lot in common with each other. It was quite rare and surprising to find someone whom I felt comfortable to for once, moreover for such a short period of time as well…

So far, the newcomer was extremely sweet, bubbly, and modest-she didn't look at me as if I was someone skeptic or harmful to her, but rather someone welcoming despite my appearance and given "vibe" around others. She genuinely wished to be my friend, and somehow…her angelic smile touched me quite a bit back there.

Usually, I had a reputation of being brave, strong, and unfeminine by personality, despite my given appearance. Hugs and being naturally feminine was something I would almost never do and something I was super uncomfortable just wasn't me, which was why I could never be someone like Kotome to start with, and why out of the 4 members of the special council in our branch was I mostly the one who wasn't so open to the idea of making friends as easily as everyone else.

She may not have known, but I wasn't actually one to make friends so naturally. Though I appeared to be a smooth talker, I was indeed someone who was still insecure and awkward when it came to making stable friends, especially female ones in particular. You see, ever since I was child, I always had trouble making…friends. Maybe it was because of my family background did I always feel so inferior to everyone. Noting that they were all mostly females back then, I had gotten myself into unsuccessful friendships with them all the time. This was also a reason why befriending someone had become such drag and an insecurity to me back when I was still in primary school as the result of it.

Though, despite that I had no close female friends whatsoever, I was still secretly grateful that I had at least Yohru and Koiya making me feel otherwise. I knew that if I didn't find either of them occurring to my life back then, I'd probably still be that stood-out loner I once was back when I was 7. Even now, though I was gradually getting remarkably better on befriending others due to my "special council member" status, I still haven't gotten really close to much of the females around my age…heck, not even Kotome due to our contrasting personalities.

And that told something, since Kotome and I've practically seen and talked countless times before. We were probably very friendly with each other yes, but we weren't particularly close however. I guess it's because we were too different…her being extremely girly, while I was just too tomboy to comprehend her feminine ways. Even now, I was convinced that maybe I just wasn't fit or feminine enough to have any real female friends to relate to in particular, and that maybe that was the reason why I wasn't so close to any of them back in present time.

Though this time however, I somehow felt that Suzuka was different…that she'll be able to get close to me and accept me nonetheless, a reason why I felt so oddly comfortable with the idea of opening up to her, despite the fact that I hardly know much about her yet.

It was probably silly on my part, but I secretly hoped that I could become good friends with the newcomer regardless (And, for once, someone who wasn't male this time either). For some reason, I felt strangely fond of her and there's just this feeling that somehow, we'll get along just fine now that we both understand each other.

It was strange at first, but that previous conversation earlier oddly made me feel as if we've gotten a lot closer to becoming actual friends now…it was as if we were both uncertain to whether we've become friends or not this whole time, but now that the problem was fixed, I was pretty sure now we wouldn't have to worry about that anymore. If we were both comfortable enough to talk to one another about funny topics, then we'd probably have no problem opening up to each other regardless overtime either.

Still looking perplexed as ever, Suzuka now turned back to the 4 of us in search of better clarifications in response.

"What…exactly is this 'special council' Fukoka-sensei mentioned about at first…? And what does me being a member have to do with it…?" she asked hesitantly, her eyebrows gradually furrowing as if looking very uncomfortable with everyone's attention gazing at her right now.

I heard Koiya cough in response (probably from recovering the state of shock as well), before he finally spoke again…which reminds me, I didn't notice this whole time, but he and Suzuka were acting a bit strangely before the announcement came at first...was I the only one who noticed?

"Well…to start things off, it's basically a special role where you attend council meetings to contribute and to perform better guidance for the school. Only the school principal from every grade level branch can personally select them. According to every branch, there are only 5 students who manage to get to this special position, and it's said to be selected randomly-"

Yohru, seeming to also recover by now, immediately brightened up at the news as he casually placed his hand onto Suzuka's shoulder before interrupting Koiya all the while. At the sudden contact, I saw Suzuka flinched slightly as I mentally noted myself to teach that guy a few manners leter after this.

"-Hell, who cares about that, just welcome abroad~! In case you didn't realize, we're also one of those "special" council members you see-! There's 4 of us, so that means you're officially our last member now-!" he flashed back a quick welcoming grin to Suzuka in response, causing me and Koiya to glare in annoyance at his reckless actions-Koiya because he oh-so rudely interrupted him, and me because that guy seriously does not know his boundaries in terms of personal space-

-Ok, on second thought, forget later, I was planning to teach him a lesson now.

No sooner satisfied with my decision, I punched him hard in the stomach with my crooked smile twitching in response. I heard him yelp slightly before pulling back at my sudden impact made on him. Seriously, when will this guy ever learn…? Despite the fact that he's still my childhood friend and all, I will definitely show him no mercy if he ever makes Suzuka feel uncomfortable like that again, even if he himself is unaware of his own habitual actions regardless...

At the sudden impact I gave him, I saw Suzuka momentarily gaping towards my childhood friend's injury afterwards.

Kotome, on the other hand, looked just as confused as Suzuka, but to me it seemed like it was for another reason on the contrary…

-It was then did my brain click after I finally recalled back the circumstances right now.

Ah, Kotome's the only one who isn't familiar with Suzuka yet…well, time for some quick introductions then, in that case.

In no time, I made eye contact with said Kotome before speaking again.

"Ah right, Kotome-chan, before we were interrupted at first, about your previous question earlier…this is Suzuka Geijiroh, and she's the newest newcomer we were talking about until all this happened, so...yeah." I soon gestured towards Suzuka afterwards to show whom I was referring to.

Kotome blinked in response, batting her eyelashes at me and then back at Suzuka until it seemed like she finally understood the circumstances. Out of the 4 of us, she's probably the one most taken aback, more or less. It was a bit strange that we weren't informed ahead of time about this though…in fact; Suzuka's probably the only member who was not informed by us ahead of time among the 4 of us. I mean sure, it's not really a problem and all, but it's still skeptic nonetheless…

My thoughts were soon cut off however when I heard a short feminine squeal afterwards, along with a slight yelp in response. As I quickly averted my eyes to see where the squeal and yelp had been coming from, I immediately sweat dropped when I found the scene that laid ahead of me.

All of a sudden, Kotome had held onto said Suzuka's hands, her eyes gleaming jovially all the while. She soon gave out her "million dollar" smile towards her, while Suzuka on the other hand looked very taken aback by this, her eyes bulging comically in horror at the sight of her. I then raised one of my eyebrows curiously after that.

Well, this is sort of funny…for some reason; this is such a normal thing only Kotome'd do to someone at this situation right now. Just like how Yohru can't have his hands to himself for another good-odd-reason, Kotome was also someone whom would act super casual to first time strangers. Perhaps, they were probably just two of the same kinds of people, even-getting into people's privacy bubble, without even knowing and whatnot...

Regardless though, it's ironic how people don't really mind it when they do that to them…well, almost everyone if you discount Koiya, and me, that is. Suzuka's probably no exception either…she looks too meek to not mind these things after all. Her flinches and uncomforting degree she's showing proves it too, so…

-Buuut it seems to me that Kotome here doesn't mind it however, and continued on regardless. Nothing can really stop that girl once she sets her mind to do something, and it's just…a so very queenly-type of thing she'd do, and pretty much her nonetheless. Hm, maybe that's the reason why Yohru calls her "beauty queen" in the first place…a very fitting nickname, now that I think about it.

Nevertheless, I soon snapped back to reality once again when I heard Kotome's honey-filled voice speaking. She looked as if she was studying Suzuka quizzically at first, but no soon later did she giggle and smile gleefully at her afterwards.

"Ahhh so you're the newcomer~! Kyaa, this is my first time seeing someone so cute before, just like a doll~! I'm Kotome Geijiroh, it's a pleasure meeting you~! I've only met you at first, but gosh, I'm so surprised that you've been chosen as our newest council member now-! Well, since you're our last recruited member, lets get to be good friends ne~?" she casually noted with her bright violet eyes practically gleaming of anticipation all the while.

Suzuka in response remained very taken aback by this, but nevertheless did she shyly manage to nod back somehow. I heard Kotome holding back a girly squeal afterwards, while the other 3 of us just stood there with sweat drops written on our faces.

Aside from that, it was also then did I realize just how much attention we were attracting. All around us, we were practically surrounded with numerous students here and there, all murmuring and chattering about us of the like. I then stopped focusing the current scene temporarily to hear one of the many students talking about us.

"Wahhh, it's them~! The special council members~!"

"Hey, whose the girl with them over there?"

"Maybe she's new around here…? Ah, wait-! Is she possibly the newcomer the principal just talked about at first-!?"

"Oh my gosh, maybe it is-! Wasn't she the last one chosen as the special council member just now-!?"

At this, I slightly furrowed my eyebrows in response-sure, it was natural that we normally attracted other student's attention being special council members and all that, but this was getting just a little bit…too out of hand, here. Suzuka's supposed to be new and all, so she's probably not used to all this attention coming from us, if not for now at the very least…

The bell soon answered us however, as it rung all over the school building indicating that lunch was finally over. Hearing that the grand bell had finally rung, I saw many of the other students moving about now, all reluctantly going back to their respective classrooms while chattering back to their own daily lives afterwards. Inwardly, I had sighed back a relief at this.

Now, it's true that we're going to have to teach Suzuka a lot of things about us, but it's better off first if people weren't around us. Just by observing, I could tell that Suzuka was an introvert, and it would be very difficult and inconvenient if everyone were to constantly watch us half the time…

Another side back to being a special council member was, well, we were quite known among the school. We were "famous" in a way, and whether we liked it or not, were socially privileged in a lot of ways more than one. How it came to be like this, I would never know…even from the very start, I'd realized that we were always treated socially differently by nature for some reason.

But setting yet another minor issue aside for now, back to reality I now heard Koiya's voice speaking back to us. He seemed to look stably composed, as ever…well, that's definitely Koiya for you.

"Ah, so the lunch bell has finally rung…but now, since we have our final member here, I guess it's time we officially welcome Suzuka-chan to the "special" classroom, right everyone?" He said smoothly, eyeing back Suzuka with a warm smile written on his face. Suzuka immediately turned a tad bit redder at this, making me wonder momentarily as I raised an eyebrow again in response. I also noticed that unlike Yohru, Kotome seemed to have noticed this as well…which made me even more curious, frankly.

Though usually I wasn't one to pry much into suspicion before, I was starting to feel myself give in a little now for some reason… Whether I wanted to admit it or not, that scene earlier actually was pretty skeptic when you think about it. Just what happened during the time Suzuka went suddenly scramming away from us back there…? Was she already somehow...familiar with Koiya, possibly…? But then again, that didn't seem to make sense, considering that Suzuka was still a full-fledged newcomer and everything… but if so, what other possible option's are there if that wasn't the case, then…?

Still pondering on about the numerous possibilities here and there, I was once again interrupted when I heard Suzuka's voice speaking again.

"'Special classroom'…?" was all she audibly questioned out to us, though I also noticed how funnily her eyebrows were still furrowing in the process. It was a bit odd seeing her do that…rather than looking suspicious, she looked as if she was pouting instead. I then found myself holding back a small chuckle in response.

Before I could answer her back however, my childhood friend immediately beat me to it as I unexpectedly saw him beside Suzuka shortly afterwards. At the sight, I lightly scowled at this. That idiot, when did he get there so fast…?

"You'll see-! It's an awesome classroom where only the special 5 council members are allowed to go to." He cheerily stated out after flashing back his signature grin at her. I then rolled my eyes in response. Yohru's still the same old idiot…

However after doing so, no sooner did I see Suzuka eyeing him back questioningly afterwards. Taken aback by this, Yohru looked genuinely confused by her peculiar reaction in response. He stared back in awe at her for a split second, when just as if telepathic waves existed that very same moment (which possibly can't by the way), his expression gradually changed to an amused smile afterwards. I then momentarily blinked at this.

By any chance…did he somehow understand her body language just now?

I've known Yohru for god-who-knows how long, and I've rarely ever seen this side of him before. Sure, he was considerate at times, but he wasn't being so…dense, as he usually was. As far as I know, Yohru's not one to think and read people's feelings at first time glances-he always acts first, not giving a care of the world and whatnot. Yet, right now, for the first time (in awhile) he seems to be reading her body language instead-he was actually assessing his situation first, if that was even possible coming from him.

I'm not going to lie. I was pretty…shocked about that, for a second. The last time I've ever seen him this openly considerate of someone was way back in elementary. I was taken aback that he still had that…teensy bit of attentiveness left in him. Heck, I even thought that he was capable enough to be a complete idiot by now. But, right now, he proves to be otherwise…

Did that mean that he was still "conscious" of everything? Even when our faces were in close proximity around the classroom that time…?

I unconsciously blushed furiously at this.

N-No, no, no! Stop thinking of that! Gah, stupid mind-! The main subject isn't even about this-! What the hell-!?


Anyways, putting that aside, the main point is, he hardly even knows Suzuka right now, yet he's already showing signs of his rare attentiveness towards her…and he does not ever do that. Plus, I also was pretty sure that he never liked "reading" others in the first place (He even said so himself).

...But then, why was he suddenly showing it now, if that's the case-?

"Haha! Oh, no wonder you've been looking at me like that. I guess I haven't properly introduced myself to you, eh…?" He then beamed at her. "Well! I'm Yohru Geijiroh, in case you didn't already know that. Like what beauty quee-I mean, what Kotome-chan said earlier, lets get to be good friends alrighties~?" He casually stated out before flashing back yet another one of those showing-my-awesome-teeth grins back at her. Gah, I forgot to mention this, but his smiles can be pretty blinding at times…

Suzuka looked unaffected by his "blinding" effect however, and instead she blinked a couple times (almost like a doll) before seeming to finally register his current message afterwards. After noticing that she had blanked out for a few seconds, she immediately became flustered at her recent behavior before bowing apologetically back to my childhood friend in response.

At this awkwardly formal gesture made on his account, I then heard Yohru surprisingly bursting into laughter before carelessly ruffling her hair afterwards. The scene oddly made a strange "friendly" atmosphere for some reason, on to which Kotome, Koiya, and I preferred staying on the "sidelines" for at the time.

But also, at the scene, I oddly found myself…smiling, for some reason. And that was strange, seeing that I was still confused about my earlier discovery, but the scene did make me momentarily forget the issue for now. The atmosphere just seemed…really "heart-warming", somehow? I wasn't sure what was up with me right then and there, but I just had the slightest nostalgic feeling looking at the two of them…

-And that was when I suddenly felt a flood of memories coming back to me.

I was back in primary school, crying amongst myself. Sitting with arms wrapped around my knees, there was no one around me, as I was currently isolated from everyone else. No one paid any heed or mind about my actions as usual…but quite frankly; I think I could have cared less at the time.

I may have been a girl, and I may have only been 7, but I was tough-I was not crying because I was lonely, or anything like that.

Instead, I was crying tears of frustration because of the stupidity I made that day.

It all started when I thought I had defended an innocent girl just like myself from getting bullied recently. True, she was nice to me at first, but in the end, that one decision was what led me astray. She turned out to be just like the rest of them once she gained popularity and recognition from others. I thought we were once friends, but she directly showed me otherwise…

-However, that was still not the reason why I had been crying though.

Not only did I experience broken friendship and betrayal, but also did she touch a very sensitive topic about my life-about my family background, but more importantly about my parents.

"We weren't ever friends, you got that? Stop acting like you know me so well."

"What are you talking about? How could you-?"

She looked me in the eye with a hint of deep envy and loath seething into them. For some reason, that immediately made me speechless afterwards.

"I would never be friends with you. Your family background is so shady to start with, I wouldn't ever want to be around the likes of you anyways."

Her voice was cold like ice. So harsh, that I instinctively flinched to how different my friend's usual voice sounded like now, the one whom was confronting me. She wasn't like this before, she used to be so vibrant-when did she suddenly become so…unnerving?

Then, those snotty kids just had to butt in the middle of our conversation afterwards.

"Heeyy, what's this now? The known tough girl-or 'guy', actually has a secret kept from us-?"

I rolled my eyes at the mentioning of the word "guy". I was used to this, since the kids back my school always teased about how I was so much like a boy back then. Nevertheless, I didn't really care one way or the other at the time.

Until eventually however, the whole class started chanting along as well.

"Oh, oh, tell us more about her background-!"

"Yeah, we want to know-!"

"We want to know! We want know-!"

My eyes incredulously widened in horror at this.

Oh no. Oh no, no, no, NO, I forgot I actually trusted her with my secret-! She couldn't possibly-

I quickly turned back to look at the girl whom I once knew as my friend, in hopes of seeing any kind of sympathy or faint friendships we might've still had coming from her.

-But my last hopes were immediately shattered the moment I saw her creeping smirk and eerie smile written on her face. My body immediately froze.

At that point, the girl whom I once knew as my friend was so distant and long gone from me, that what replaced it now had been a complete stranger I no longer recognized the identity of anymore.

My heart screamed "NO-!" at this, but her mouth paid no heed to my feelings at this point.

My mind then went blank at these last few seconds.



-It was as if everything went black then.



...It was revealed.

That was the last day I ever trusted a female friend for several years afterwards.

Betrayed, torn, and angry with myself from what she had done to me that day, I instinctively fled out the classroom and hid amongst the most extremely isolated areas around the school nearby. I didn't want to see, hear, or talk to anyone then, and I didn't dare allow myself to look up that time until all that dreadful watery substance was wiped away from my face first.

But suddenly out of nowhere though, an unknown voice soon interrupted my needed privacy afterwards.

"-Hey, are you crying?"

Forgetting momentarily that there were still streaks of tears left on my face, I had looked up and was extremely bewildered to find what was lying ahead of me.

There was a boy around my age, noting the fact that he was still a tad bit taller than me. He had a familiar shade of distinct brown hair with bright sunshine-golden eyes written on his facial features, but his school uniform was worn like everyone else otherwise.

When his eyes widened at the sight of my recognition, that was when I unfortunately recalled that he had been the same boy I had encountered and argued with earlier that day. (That story will go on forever, so we'll skip that one for now.)

Immediately registering whom he was, I angrily snapped back at him in a hopeless attempt to cover my embarrassment for ever showing that I was indeed crying in response. God, of all the people seeing me cry like this…why did it have to be him? To make it worse, he even knows me too…

-But it was good thing that he hadn't been in the same class as I was previously in, however. In that sense, he at least didn't have a clue what I'm crying about yet…

"-Leave me alone! It's none of your business-! Go away before I- I-!"

Unconsciously, I felt more tears streaming down my face. Frustrated that I couldn't even finish my sentence before I started bawling out again, I promptly hid my face back to my knees before silently crying once more. In the blur of my tears, I saw how the boy in front of me had flinched from my sudden outbreak at him, but surprisingly did not move away from the same spot he had been in for a while. Apparently, I had just given up on trying to scare this particular kid away overtime, but nevertheless did I ignore that fact however.

The boy made me even more taken aback though when out of nowhere, I suddenly heard him sitting beside me now. For some reason, I reacted strangely by not doing anything at the time. After several few minutes of ignoring his presence by silently crying or so, I had finally calmed down by then, but no sooner immediately flinched once I heard the boy's voice speaking to me again.

"…Mind me lending an ear?" his words were soft, hesitate, and strangely understanding compared to the other boys I spoken to before, making me so surprised that I almost didn't know how to respond back to him momentarily.

How strange. Right now, he actually seems to…care, for some reason. That greatly confused me though. Why was he even bothering to stay with me right now anyways…? He barely even knows me to start with…!

In the end, I decided to just go with the cold shoulder rather than showing any compliance towards him. After all, he was boy, and as far I know…boys weren't ever nice to girls before. The immature snotty ones especially proved it, so I wasn't going to back down now.

Of course, he was no exception either if that's the case…

"Like I said, it's-! …None of your business. Besides, I never asked you to stay with me." rather than soundly confidently cold and harsh, I unexpectedly found myself muttering while sounding completely off instead. I inwardly cringed and scowled myself for ever sounding so weak in front of this boy afterwards.

However, I impulsively flinched once again when I suddenly found the boy unnervingly laughing in response-and by unnerving, I meant that it had been the least expectant thing I was going to get as his reaction afterwards. Unknowingly, my face grew hot at this. W-Why on earth was he laughing? Was it something that I said-?

"Pfft-! Well, I only thought you were interesting at first, but now you're really something-! Haha-!"

Having the courage to look up to him by now with my eyebrows greatly furrowed up, my eyes widened like never before however when I suddenly found him beaming back at me. Seeing him so vibrant like that, I unconsciously found the heat coming to my face once again and my heart rate rapidly increasing…but why was it doing that?

"-Hey! I know we weren't really in good terms when we first met and all, but let's clear that up now, ok? I like you, so let's be friends-!"

In response, I was now dumbfounded and utterly speechless with this boy. W-What's up with this kid-!? He's kidding right-? How can he just suddenly forget about our argument we've had earlier-? A-And how on earth can say that he likes me so casually like that too-!

Seeing that he hadn't noticed how rosy my cheeks were becoming, he continued speaking on afterwards.

"-Oh, but that reminds me, I never got to ask for your name." He soon flashed back his wide grin towards me, one that showed his white teeth while at it. "My name's Yohru-! What's yours?"

-I soon couldn't help staring in awe at this boy. W-Why was he paying so much attention to me, and why does he suddenly bother to get to know me right now-?

Is he possibly stupid?

In the end, I just decided to ignore the last comment as I reluctantly figured I should just respond back to him nonetheless. Taking a deep breath as I did so, I then began answering back to him afterwards.

"…Hakoya." I barely muffled out, my cheeks now unusually warm as I cast my eyes scowling downwards. Stupid, why was I feeling so shy right now…? Sure, he may not seem like the other boys I've met and he may have a ridiculous goofy smile plastered on his face right now, but it's not like he's so different from them-! …Right? And I was definitely not being kind to him just because he showed sympathy towards me either…

I quickly glanced back to see his innocent radiating eyes blinking back at me in response. Gosh, why were his eyes so bright anyways...?

"…Eh? Did you say something?"

This time, my embarrassment was now consumed with irritation and impatience, as I tried hard not to hit him on back of his neck or something of the like at this point.

"I said my name is Hakoya, you idiot-!"

Seeing that I was back to my usual harsh self, the boy known as Yohru oddly laughed again in response, while I, on the other hand, silently gaped at him. What? Did that not insult him…? He's so weird-!

"-Haha! See? You look so much better when you aren't crying like that. Didn't you ever hear from your parents that girls look way prettier when they aren't crying in front of boys-?" usually, an obnoxious boy around my age would greatly smirk while saying this, but this boy in front of me was strangely not doing anything like that however.

Instead, he flashed back a genuine warm smile towards me, one showing of pure childhood innocence…

-Which made me incredibly red and taken aback in response.

This boy…did he purposely…pretend, that he didn't hear me just now…?

-Just to cheer me up?

He was not like the other boys I've met. He was optimistic, idiotic, and genuine… He was the first to recognize me as a girl, and not like a boy otherwise.

And…he thought of me. He considered my feelings, and did not question why I had been crying, nor did he simply ignore me either…

For a short while, I suddenly found a strange foreign surge of happiness flowing to me right then.

-But almost immediately, embarrassment soon came pouring back at full speed into my nervous system afterwards.

To hide the sudden unusual blush creeping to my face, I stubbornly punched him in the shoulder in response, ignoring the fact that he looked very taken aback to my implusive gesture made on him.

"-Who ever said that I had been crying you idiot, and that I was girly enough to be considered a 'lady' in the first place? Don't you know who I am?" Though I childishly glared and sternly said that flat out to him, I secretly hoped that my hidden smile wasn't showing otherwise. I also noticed that I had stopped crying now...

He then light-heartedly grinned back to me in response.

Even to this day, that very same vision of his beaming smile was long engraved to my memory afterwards.

So to put it short, that's how we met...well, in friendlier terms that is. The real encounter meeting was a whole new story, however...

When we first became "sort-of" friends, that was one of the few rare times he was ever observant about me. After a while when we became better friends however, that tendency eventually faded away, and I never once noticed him not being dense around me after that.

Perhaps, it was because he gradually didn't see me as a girl anymore. When we eventually started hanging out more often, it may have caused him to see me more and more easily like his guy friends he hung out with. Little by little, he took less notice about the fact that I was female, and quite frankly treated me almost like any other guy friend he's had. My unfeminine personality greatly added to that suspicion, and though he teased me about how I wasn't "cute" at all like how a girl should be back then, he eventually stopped doing that overtime as well. My abnormal strength was undeniably equivalent to that of any other guy's; maybe even more so and that of course wasn't helping either…

Idly, I became slightly saddened by this, but ignored the feeling nonetheless. It wasn't going to help sulking like some love-struck fan girl (by which I am definetely not), and it can't help with the way I am anyways…I could never imagine myself being otherwise. Heck, I think I've even forgotten how to act naturally feminine…The only time I was ever like that was when I hadn't came to this school yet…and that was when I was...what, even younger than 6 years old?

I don't remember. But anyways, it was horrible even when I was like that. I still recall a little bit of it-of how I had to be proper, noble, and meekly humble back when I was still with my family. Though my appearance was beautiful just like any other noble children, I remembered just how much I struggled, and how I could never be like myself back then. Only when I went to this school did I truly feel like myself ever since...

Regardless however, my encounter with "him" really did change my life afterwards.

Little by little, I was gradually changing upon socially, physically, and mental-wise. Ever since I had been elected as one of the special council members, everything in my life drastically changed for the better in more ways than one. I eventually recovered from my social problems, and I had managed to open up to people, including females much more efficiently now in present time.

My mind resumed to reality when I suddenly heard a familiar voice calling back.

"Oi, Hako-! What are you doing just standing there? Hurry up and get on to class with us-!" as I suspected as much, the source of the voice had been coming from Yohru, and that wasn't surprising, as usual.

What was surprising though was when I found that Suzuka was still standing beside me throughout the whole time however.

-Just how long did I blank out?

While I turned to look towards Suzuka apologetically, she held on a wondrous look on her face while innocently cocking her head questionably.

"Were you thinking about something?" she now looked worried at this point with her eyebrows furrowed together. This made me unintentionally smile in response. Silly, Suzuka…how does she get her way to make me comfortable, and making me smile back to her so easily like that? It had never happened to me before until now, and to be honest I wasn't quite used to someone (who was not male) making me feel so comfortable...

At that same moment however, the vision of the friend I once knew horridly flashed into my head afterwards. But, for some reason, I was not afraid nor was I panicking this time...

I closed my eyes as these words further processed into my mind later that day.

No. She is not going to be like "her". The times have changed. This girl in front of me, would not turn her back on me like what "she" did before.

As I opened my eyes to her once again, I strangely felt a flood of relief washing over me. It was almost as if I had been "enlightened" by something...

I want to face my insecurites. I want to give a second chance to believe in someone, not only to trust this time.

"Of course, silly." When I said this out to her however, my voice came out unusually affectionate compared to my usual self-it hadn't even been a day, and I already felt like we were close somehow. Perhaps I really was taking an odd fond to her… "But that's not really important right now. We need to get you to the special classroom, am I right?" this time, I arched one my eyebrows to ask my confirmation to her.

She then easily nodded her head back to me in response. Slowly, I could tell that she was getting more comfortable talking to me now. Another minor problem with Suzuka seemed to be with her communicating process, but I'm sure we can fix that later in due time…

I currently glanced back to see how the others were doing. Yohru, Koiya, and Kotome were all pretty much up ahead of us, while Suzuka and I were the last ones falling behind at the moment. Thankfully, none of them seemed to be paying much attention to us however.

As we walked towards the special classroom together along with the others, my mind was once again set back to elsewhere.

Specifically focusing on Yohru, I stared at his retrieving figure for a while before a sudden thought occurred to me.

It was then did I kick my childhood friend lightly in the ankle in response.

"Hey, idiot."

Given that I attacked him, my childhood friend expectantly flinched and turned around before looking towards me in agitation afterwards.

"Hako, what the on earth was that for-"

"-Thanks." I said it so fast; I almost choked if it weren't for the fact I actually heard myself saying it.

"…Eh?" Was all that came his rather "intelligient" short reply afterwards. Debating whether or not he had actually heard me say it, I soon decided to forget the issue however once the butterflies started crawling around my stomach afterwards.

Before I could give away anything else in response, I quickly walked passed him so he wouldn't notice how embarrassingly red my cheeks were becoming by then, all the while with Suzuka trailing along later after that.

Oddly, it felt good finally saying that to him…not that I was ever going to repeat it, though. Mustering all that courage to say a few simple words was already hard enough, especially if that certain someone happened to be a dense idiot such as my childhood friend...

I heaved a sigh at this. Nope, I was probably not going to repeat that to him in a million years…

While doing so, I instinctively looked up to see back my childhood friend and Suzuka once again.

But, even so…

Now, when no one was looking around, I peacefully closed my eyes as I freely let the rare serene smile show up to my face.

-I will be grateful for what I have and treasure this moment as a certain "blessing" for now.

A/N: 10th story done-! Yup, this probably the longest chap I've ever written so far, and it's not actually that relevant to the plot yet…but, oh well. I enjoyed writing a portion about Hakoya's background. Though Suzuka's a bit more of a crybaby, Hakoya's suppose to be a rather strong-hearted female character, inside and out…eventually, I will elaborate on her background and you will get to see the others too, I hope you'll look forward to that ;D This is probably yet another semi-filler chap, but I assure you the next chap we'll deal more about the story plot afterwards. (Originally, this chap was going to advance more into the storyline, but I suddenly got caught up about writing a little more about Hakoya so…this is what came out of it as the result. XD)

Also, I apologize for not being able to update…school is really tough on me this year, and so is laziness…I'll try getting another chap going around the holidays sooner or later, but until then, I hope you'll all bear with me. _" Reviews GREATLY appreciated-! I would like to know who's still following with this story and what you guys think of this chap. Please, help me motivate to write-! I'd really love it if you can drop by a review. Again, thanks for reading, and until then-! ^^