H X E 17


Hana blankly turned around at the sound of Keiji-san’s voice. Eh. She shook her head slightly to snap out of all that had just happened. “Hai…” Oops. She as supposed to not use that word again. “Minako just sent me the address.” She held her phone out to him. Hana anxiously allowing herself to follow him towards the B train. It’s not like she could argue. Hana didn’t know the city well at all. She allowed herself to linger a few steps behind him till they reached the station. The crowd of people pushing her forward into his back. She quickly walked in front of him and into the train before she could see his response. Hana taking a seat quickly. The sound of young boys snickering causing her to turn her head to the right. An old woman was trying to wrap her hand in the hanging straps. Hana stood up and approached the old woman. “Obaa-san, why don’t you take my seat?” The old woman silently nodded her head and allowed Hana to help her to the seat. “This should feel better.” The old woman reached up and pat her head. Eh. Was this becoming a trend? How could she refuse an obaasan though? “Good child.” Hana smiling. Finding herself being turned around by one of the boys. Eh! Why was today so hectic. “Standing up on the train isn’t the smartest idea for a girl like you.” The boy decides him leaning down slightly as if to imply he was going to try and look up her skirt. In furry she went to punch the guy who spoke, but found her arm stopped by the old woman’s cane. To bad for the old woman, Hana had pivoted slightly to kick the leaning boy. The poor boy fell sideways into the door. As the train doors started to close and the crowd pushed him heavily against it. The boy went to slap Hana, but found his arm now stopped by the old woman’s cane. “Children shouldn’t be fighting.” The old woman smiled. She moved her cane to point at all the spectators. “Especially, in front of everyone.” Hana’s face turned red. She just realized she had caused yet another scene. Eh. Today really sucked. She bowed her head and apologized to the old woman she just met. The student besides her ignoring to heed the wise advice went to swing another punch. Hana putting her arms up to shield her face. “Eh.” Would she ever get to karaoke?


Keiji’s hand shot out, catching the boys hand in the palm of his hand. He watched as the idiot went from staring at his hand in shock to slowly looking up to see Keiji staring right back at him.

“H-hey. What the hell are you doing!?” The other guys kicked up a fuss to which Keiji simply leaned in closer to the one who’d been caught, twisting the captive arm in warning to the other guys.

“Didn’t Obasaan say children shouldn’t be fighting?” Keiji’s expression flashed from its usual dull expression to that of someone who was slightly unhinged. He turned to look at the other guys, smirking slightly at their reactions to his sudden switch. “Didn’t she?” He didn’t wait for their response and simply pushed the ballsy idiot into his idiotic friends. When he turned back to Kobayashi-san and Obaasan his expression was normal again. “Pardon Chibi-chan, she tends to be feisty. Even today she gave me a concussion.” He bowed to Obaasan before draping his arm around Chibi-chan so as to warn off any other guys who got any ideas. Did he bother looking at Chibi-chan to see her expression? Not a chance. This girl was just a magnet for trouble both in school and out. How did she even survive?

The monotone rumbling of the train was a pleasant white noise that he could focus on to drown out the idle prattle of fellow passengers. Resting his head against the bar he wasn’t even aware that his eyes were starting to close… His grip on Kobayashi-san didn’t loosen however and he was soon in a light sleep.


Minako stood frozen where she had been placed like a doll. Amber hues stared up at Haru as embarrassment turned to shear mortification when he squirted milk at the older men. She could feel her temper starting to spike up. First, he picks her up like she’s nothing and just puts her wherever he pleases. THEN, he squirts milk at those men causing an even bigger seen! As Baka-chan and Haru-san talked her free hand gripped the strap of her bag so hard she could feel her nails digging into her palm. Baka-chan and Haru-san’s attempt to change the topic was the final straw. “BAKA!!!” Releasing her hand strap she whacked Baka-chan hard over the back of the head. “Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I have to be in the middle.” She flicked him on the head. There was so much more she could say, but she didn’t want to cause too much more of a scene- Haru had done a good job at that already. Speaking of Haru, she quickly twisted around to face the leading culprit. “As for yo-” The train made a turn into a tumble, jostling Minako so that she fell forward into his chest. Once the train stabilized she looked up to find herself staring directly at Haru-san. Dammit. Her cheeks began to feel hot at such close contact, but she refocused on being mad. Taking hold of his tie she pulled him down so they were eye level. “I can handle myself, Haru-san. You don’t need to try to protect me like Yuri-san.” She shot Baka-chan a look so that he knew that was directed at him as well. Turning back to Haru-san she jabbed him hard in the gut. “None of those guys were even looking at me.” Minako added before turning her back to him and retaking the hand strap he’d stolen from her in the first place.

Tetsuo looked from Haru and Minako to the few people trying to eavesdrop on the sight before looking at Yamato. He didn’t know whether to be impressed or dumbfounded. He cleared his throat before trying to get Minako’s attention. “Minako-san.”
The irritation that was clear on Minako’s face only faded slightly when Tesuo called for her. “Hai?” The look in her eye gave him a clear warning: do not mention anything that just happened lest his head be chewed off.

“How many more stops is it again?” That was not Tetsuo’s original question, but better safe than sorry. Although he certainly wouldn’t have minded being in Haru’s position a few minutes ago. Maybe he shouldn’t have been so lazy. Eh, at least he learned something from the show.

“Two.” Her voice was chipper but curt. Stupid boys and their stupid need to be stupid and macho like stupid idiots!


Haru noticing the tension build in Minako slightly leaned forward towards Tetsuo. Not so surprised to see Yamato slapped. poor, baka-chan. He watched her completely ignorant and dense tiered continue. When she turned to confront him, who had excellently been avoiding being involved at this point in the conflict, Haru felt relief at the rumble of the train. He gladly, caught Minako in his arms. He held her close as the passengers rearranged themselves. He smiled down at her cockily. A part of him loosing the urge to continue with his interference. He couldn’t change someone’s completely dense nature. He wasn’t actually a god. He just looked like one. Too bad for everyone on board the second Minako pulled him forward by his neck tie, Haru gained even more interest. He enjoyed the red blush across her cheeks. The natural simple kawaiiness rushing over him in waves. Perhaps, there was something attractive about this girl. She was not painstankily cute like her friend Chibi. He let her get away with the punch. His hand easily keeping a grip on the strap. Their position changing to him holding two straps as his front side pressed against her backside. It was interesting to see how she thought she could win this. Still, as much as he tried the irritation of her naivety kept coming back to him. How could someone truly be that dense? He deserved a thank you at least. When Tetsuo asked her how many stops left he lost it. It was no longer endearing and interesting. It was annoying. This girl was fighting the age old societal rules of Japanese trains. How could she not see this or her own stupid gender. That’s when his irritation started to creep over his extreme measures line. As the doors to the last stop opened he grabbed Minako’s arm and forcefully dragged her out of the train. He needed to teach her lesson. One she would never regret. Ignoring all the struggles and eyes he dragged her over to the bathroom and kicked it open. He might as well fully commit. The one girl fixing her makeup quickly exiting the room. He pulled her to the front of the mirror and let go of her arm. He pointed to the reflection. “From what everyone can see, except you apparently, is that you are a female.” His voice slowly rising as the irritation he had somehow been suppressing started to flow out. He pointed down at her skirt. “Not only are you attractive, but you are wearing a high school girl uniform. How oblivious can you be!” He turned his head for a moment. Catching her expression in the mirror. That’s it. All his attempts and managing his annoyance with her flew out the window. His right hand hit the mirror. Glass shards falling in one spot as his hands started to bleed a little. “You cannot put every issue in this world slowly on the friends around you. You are a female. You will always attract unwanted attention from men. No matter how much you argue with us. Those men were staring at your skirt. OF COURSE I SQUIRTED THEM IN THE FACE. OF COURSE YAMATO IMPLIED YOU SHOULD BE MORE CAREFUL.” He turned away to take a moment to collect himself. For the life of him, he could not understand what was driving him to punch a mirror so hard. He turned back to Minako and leaned forward over her, his hands on the sink behind her. “Cut the crap, Minako-san. If you are going to have friends. They are going to protect you.” He leaned forward and hovered his lips by her ears. “You were in the wrong.” He leaned back and gave one final look. “I’ll be outside. Take your time to collect yourself.” He turned and exited the bathroom. Finding a place to lean on the wall right by the door. She was not escaping that room until she learned her lesson.


Hana let her arms drop as she Keiji’s hand shoot out. Eh. He was already injured. Baka. Hana appreciating the smoothness in which he pulled him into a hold. He was certainly better then her at transitions at the very least. She also agreed with his reiteration of Obaasan’s statement. BUT she had to fight ok, Keiji-san! He was trying to look up her skirt. Hana was not that dense or shy. A chill running down her spine at the change of his look. Yabai. No woner he was friends with Haru. Both seemed to have a COMPLETELY DERANGED SIDE to them. Forcing her frustration down to enjoy the sitr of the gang of idiots stumble about the train. It resurrecting like a glorious pheonix when he apologized for her! and not himself! he had technically caused more damage then her. HEr’s was at least confined in a tinier area. All ability to respond lost when he’s arm drapped around her. She stood their for a few moments silent. Obaa-san chuckling to herself. “It seems he’s fallen asleep.” Hana took a deep breath and turned her head. Senpai had fallen asleep standing. What an idiot. She took the two newly available seats and, as smoothly as she could, get him to one of the seats. Hana pulling out her phone. The two of them were already forty minutes late to karaoke. Minako may never forgive her. Sighing Hana pulled out a tiny notebook from her back pack and begin to scribble away. The old woman watching her write ferociously. “What are you writing?” Hana blinked a few times and turned. She had forgotten where she was. The world of fantasy had called to her. “A short story.” The old woman leaned forward in her seat. “Can I know what it’s about?” Hana turned to look at the notebook anxiously before stashing it back in her bag. Why would she ever think she was safe. “It’s about Japan if peoples were pigs, rats or dogs.” The old woman shook her head as if she could understand. “You kids write the strangest things these days.” Hana, not being able to help herself, laughed. “We probably do.” The old woman pulled out a card from her pocket as she reached her stop. The bolded tittle on the card was Fukushima Industry. A well known mid level company in Japanese media. Hana smiled at her. Thankful to be waving her off. Sinking deaper into her chair her eyes closed. This had been such an exhausting day.



Keiji woke up, his eyes opening to find himself sitting and still on the train. He blinked a few times and sat upright to realize he’d been resting his head on a sleeping Chibi-chan and that his arm had somehow still ended up around her. Well someone had to make sure she didn’t get harassed while she was sleeping. He chuckled a bit at the idea of Chibi-chan falling asleep. Heh. She must have gotten tuckered out from her scuffle earlier. Pulling out his phone with his free hand he saw several missed messages from Tetsuo. Did he dare open them? No. They still weren’t at the right stop yet.
He idly wondered how she had even gotten him over here to sit. He had to weigh a significant amount more than her. Maybe she used to the movement of the train like a physics wizard or maybe she actually managed on will power alone. Turning his attention to what was going on around them he immediately noticed a pair of giggling middle school girls watching them. It took him a moment to piece together what it was they were pointing their phones at and then it hit him. They were taking pictures of himself and Chibi-chan. He didn’t remember being this intrusive on other people’s privacy when he was in middle school. When they realized he was staring right back at them he watched them put away their phones in embarrassment and turn their backs on him. He actually chuckled at that. Middle school girls were something else. Actually, just girls in general because if Chibi-chan had taught him anything today it was to always been on guard around girls. One minute you’re walking and the next they are just falling out of the sky in an attempt to kill you. He smiled slightly at the thoughts in his head while resting his head on hers again. She really was a good size.

When Keiji woke up again the train had emptied out for the most part. //There must be a festival going on somewhere.// Looking at the time he almost stood upright. They had been sleeping for at least thirty minutes.

“We will be reaching our final stop shortly. Thank you for taking the metropolitan train and enjoy your evening.” The intercom calling out was the most humbling thing he’d heard all day. Not only was he well out of his own district, but he was late for karaoke, and still felt sluggish from his head injury.

“Chibi-chan.” He murmured against her ear while gently jostling her. Across from them was a pair of two old ladies who looked like they had been observing the two students for quite some time. “We missed our stop.” He added, refocusing his attention on the kawaii thing next to him. So many eyes on him today- well, them if he was being honest. He knew what was drawing attention and it certainly wasn’t him at this point. Chibi-chan.” He let his voice go a bit louder this time, ignoring the glances in his direction. “Chibi-chan…” He gave her a light squeeze on her waist and pulled her closer. From this angle it was painstakingly obvious how large her bust was…Eh. No. Not time for that line of thinking. He was definitely going to need to sleep long and hard tonight. Maybe even take tomorrow off until he was back in good condition!



“H-hey!” Minako attempted to pull her hand back, but he was pulling too fast and hard for her to even steady herself. Whipping her head around she hoped Baka-chan and Tetsuo were coming to stop this craziness. Too bad by the time she made eye contact with one of them, the train doors were sliding closed. When Haru kicked the bathroom door open her eyes went wide.

//What in the world was he doing?!//

She barely had time to register another girl had been in restroom when Haru started lecturing her. It was too much. Who did he think he was? Her brows knit together, her expression growing more irritated at his voice rose. A switch went off in her brain when he called her oblivious. Her oblivious? He was the one who had brought them in a women’s restroom in the middle of the afternoon!! Minako was just about to speak with his hand broke the mirror. Just like that her demeanor shifted from anger to pure shock. She was glued to the spot, staring at him through the mirror. By the time he told her to collect herself, Minako’s gaze was cast down so her bangs covered her eyes.

It wasn’t until the door closed shut that Minako released a heavy breath. What made him think he could talk to her like that. She didn’t ask him to act on her behalf! Any of his ideals that compelled him to protect her were not her problem. He wasn’t even her friend. He only deigned to be around her in the first place because of circumstance! She wanted nothing more than to freak out on him, but she had already had one outburst today and considering how freaking stubborn this boy was… She sighed. Pulling her hair out of her pony tail she took the time to redo it. If he was going to be such a jerk then she would take her time. Her gaze drifted to the area of the mirror that was now broken. What could she possibly have done to set him off that much? But then again… He had said she was attractive, didn’t he? She appraised herself in the mirror while replaying his rant in her head. And just like that she went back to being mildly irritated. Looking at the sink she noted a bit of red on the glass shards. Baka…

Minako emerged from bathroom about ten minutes later to find Haru standing right outside the door. Without a word she immediately took hold of his hands and looked them over without looking at him. “No good.” Shifting through her bag she pulled a mini first aid kit and went to work tending his wounds. Being an athlete really came in hand when people got hurt. She always had a small first aid kit just in case she got hurt during practice and needed to keep going. “Cut the crap, Haru-san. If you are going to have friends. They are going to protect you even if it’s only from an infection because you broke a mirror.” She looked up at him and gave a smile once she was finished. “Let’s get going before everyone misses us.” Instead of leading him to the train she took him outside onto the pavement. “I figured it would be better to avoid the train.” She explained after a few moments of silence. It had already been decided; when she was by herself she would ride the trains for everything, but if Haru was around then she would walk in the streets no matter what the distance. To be honest she was somewhere between irritated and resigned which she showed by keeping a bit of distance between the two of them. A part or her wanted to leave him in the dust, but she didn’t need another rant.

“So…you think I’m attractive?” There was a coy smile gracing her features as she peeked up at him. Arguing with him in public would be no good, so she resorted to punishing him the only way she could think of: embarrassing conversation.

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