Happy Birthday

chapter two: listen

"Kenya, are you okay?" I gave a worried look to him; all he's done since we met up to walk together was yawn. "All you've been doing is yawning and rubbing your eyes. You didn't even try to make a grand entrance into school."

"I've just been tired lately, that's all." Kenya yawned again.

"You have the most free time ever." I raised an eyebrow. "How do you ever feel sleepy?"

Kenya shut his eyes tightly to try to get the sleep out. "I'm not sure. How did sleep manage to catch up to me?"

I rolled my eyes when I heard the genuine confusion and amazement in his voice. "I guess not even you can beat Sandman."

He scrunched his nose. "Hm, that can't be right. I should be unstoppable."

"You can make up for it when practice starts." I pulled my bag's strap farther onto my shoulder. "Then you can yell, 'No speed, no life!' all morning."

"!" Kenya grabbed my shoulders violently.

I gasped and gave him the most shocked look ever. "What, Kenya?" My voice sounded like a whisper.

He looked me intently in the eyes and in the most serious voice ever, he said, "That was a close call. If Sandman had enough time, he could have shut my eyes closed then I'd really have no life because I couldn't outrun him!"

I facepalmed violently and sent him to practice when we reached the club room.

I shook my head and turned back to go to the school's entrance. As president of the library committee, I had to open the library and check that everything was orderly for the public.

I dragged my feet across the dirt. I loved to do that because it made me feel like I was skating on very resistant ice; it's the most athletic I'd ever feel. Well, second to tennis, anyways.

"!" I turned to see one of my friends, . "Where's Oshitari-san?"

I raised an eyebrow. "Why?"

She held up her sketchbook and shyly fiddled with the binding. "I wanted to ask him if he could be my model for an art project.."

"Oh! He predicted this would happen, so he told me to deliver this." I handed a lighter Shiraishi asked me to bring for his science class. I liked Oshitari; there was no way I'd let keep his body all to herself for who knows how many hours. What can I say? I'm selfish. "He said he needs it back by fifth period, though."

"Why would he give me a lighter...?" I guess already accepted the fact Kenya's now a psychic. slowly rolled the lighter between her fingers to inspect all of its sides. I whipped out my phone to tell Shiraishi I'd give him his lighter at the end of lunch.

I shrugged. "I don't know, ask Kenya. What are you even doing here this early? You do realize school doesn't start for another one hour and thirty, right?"

just shrugged. "Well, why not? Anyways, I guess I'll just draw this lighter if Oshitari-san wants me to."

"I think it would look best with a table cloth."

"And a wine stain, because we all know how artistic and deep wine stains make everything look." snorted and pocketed the lighter. "Well, when you see Oshitari-san, could you ask him if he could reconsider being my model? I'd really love to paint him naked in my bedroom."

I looked up from my phone. "What?"

"What?" gave me wide eyes.

"No, , what did you just say?"

"I said there has been a slight change in weather." slowly put her hands up. "Can't you feel it? Within the next month, there will be rain."

"It's July, . It'll probably rain tomorrow." I decided to drop whatever had said, it probably wasn't very important. When did ever say anything important?


"Well, I got to go somewhere . I'll talk to you later, okay? We should have lunch together." Since I need to get that lighter back.

"Okay! I'm meeting and on the rooftop later, so we'll meet up there."

"Oh, sorry I'll be intruding." I felt a little awkward since I only met them both so many times.

"No worries, they'll be glad to see you. They thought you were really nice the times they met you." slowly hopped backwards. "Anyways, I'll leave you be. I actually have somewhere I need to go, too. Bye!"

"See you in a few hours!" I casually turned away to head for the library. It's too bad I came face-to-face with Shiraishi instead.

"!" He sounded almost panicky.

"Shiraishi!" I sounded almost ecstatic.

"Your lighter!" He beckoned to 's retreating figure.

"Lunch!" I beckoned to my wristwatch.

"My broken crayons!" Shiraishi took out his 24-pack crayon box.

I rolled my eyes. "They will be melted, don't worry. What kind of experiment are you guys even doing in Chemistry if it involves broken crayons?"

"Huh?" Shiraishi blinked at me. "The lighter has nothing to do with Chemistry. I just wanted to borrow it so I could melt them in the clubroom."

"You guys are ridiculous."

"My crayons need to be perfect." Shiraishi gave me an almost offended look.

I rolled my eyes. "Aren't there those crayon sharpeners?"

"Yes, but mine broke."

"Speaking of sucking-"

"We weren't discussing anything related to sucking."

I waved Shiraishi's comment away. "Do you know what's up with Kenya? He's been acting like a zombie."

"One: He's been taking up a job of cleaning glass windows covered in grime. Two: That was completely unrelated to sucking and broken things."

"One: That's an oddly specific job. Two: That doesn't matter."

Shiraishi shrugged it off. "Anyways, where are you going, ?"

"Well...I was going to the library until you stopped me." Shiraishi gave me a sheepish grin. "Anyways, shouldn't you be going to tennis practice?"

He shook his head. "No, I told Osamu-chan I had to skip today. I need to see a mechanic to fix a frayed cord near the botanical garden. I have to get that fixed—what if water touches it, causes it to spark, and starts a fire? My poor flowers could get burnt!"

Shiraishi shivered in fear and stroked his bandaged arm. "Sorry, , I have to go."

I couldn't help but wonder why a mechanic had to do the job, but I let it go. "Okay, bye Shiraishi. Good luck with your frayed cord."

He nodded and started to speed walk into the school. I followed suit after a while. I looked through the window and saw part of the gates that lead to the tennis courts. I wondered how Kenya was coping—was he sleeping on the benches or did he manage to run of his sleepiness? I frowned as I remembered his tired face. I saw that look on a lot of people's faces, but it really bothered me seeing it on his.

I frowned even deeper when the library door wouldn't open no matter how hard I pushed, pulled, and turned the handle. I rolled my eyes and ruffled through my bag for my copy of the key.

I raised an eyebrow when I found a piece of scrap paper in my bag. It looked like it was a page torn out of a notebook.

Hi ! Here's a greeting to brighten your day. When you're not busy, stop by and visit my iguana and me. Hurry! This invitation expires at the end of July. No speed, no life!
- Kenya

I smiled and left it in my textbook to use as a bookmark. Kenya could do the cutest things ever.

I unlocked the door and immediately started straightening out the chairs. I liked to watch Kenya practice tennis after school, so I normally didn't stop by the library to clean after everyone. It was sort of a win-win situation. I'd compensate by coming early in the morning and Kenya and I would walk to school and home together.


I turned around to face Zaizen Hikaru. I smiled. "Zaizen-kun, good morning. Why are you here though? Surely you couldn't have chosen to work for the committee instead of practicing right now."

"Kenya-san fell asleep during a match, so Osamu-chan had me take him to the infirmary to sleep. I decided I'd stop by and tell you. If you want you can call his parents to pick him up or stop by to take him home after school."

I sighed and shook my head. "He looked dead tired this morning. I should've sent him home."

Zaizen shrugged in response. "Well, he's resting now."

I nodded and went back to straightening my chairs. "Thanks, Zaizen-kun. I'll check up on him before class starts."

I heard the door shut a few seconds later. It was typical of Zaizen to leave without a parting, but I didn't mind. What reason was there when I'd see him later on?

I chewed my lip and looked back at the door—did Zaizen leave yet? I quietly snuck to the door even though nobody would notice me even if I walked normal. I cracked the door open to check if anybody was around. I jumped back in surprise when my eyes met Zaizen's.

"Zaizen-kun! Why are you still here?!"

Zaizen cracked a smile and quickly turned around. I could hear his quiet laughs.

"Zaizen-kun, stop laughing." I whined.

"Sorry, -senpai." Zaizen turned back around with just the slightest bit of joy showing. "Knowing you, I thought you'd still be worried and come right out after I left to check on him."

"That doesn't mean you have to wait right out the door to scare me." I gave a hurt expression to make him feel guilty. It didn't work. I should have known.

Zaizen shrugged. "I figured you'd want to walk with someone."

I wasn't very partial to walking with Zaizen after his stunt, but I let it go. "Well, since you're here, I'll accept. Let's go."

I came out from behind the library door and linked our arms.

"-senpai, this isn't what I had in mind when I said I'd walk with you."

"It's okay, Zaizen. Let's pretend we're a couple who're walking to a jazz club with a nice view of the city skyline. Doesn't that make everything sound way fancier?"

Zaizen rolled his eyes. "Let me guess, we're famous and the paparazzi are after us. Then they're going to try to make everything look scandalous with camera angles and Photoshop."

I nodded vigorously. "Wow, Zaizen-kun. You're making this exactly how I would have. I didn't know you were a person who listened to others."

Zaizen sighed. "I'm not sure what gave you that impression, but we're here."

Zaizen opened the infirmary door and gestured me to go in first. "Unfortunately, we're having technical difficulties and our jazz band is unable to perform at this time."

"That's all right, Zaizen-kun. I changed my mind. We're a doctor couple who believe in running and walking only."

Zaizen stayed quiet as I sat next to Kenya. I brushed his stray hair away and switched to a comfier position. "Kenya~ what are you dreaming of? It better be me~"

"Senpai, please stop being so creepy."

"At least I'm not leaving him weird mementos like his crushes."

Zaizen sat on the stool opposite of me. "You mean his fangirls?"

I gave some thought to the term. "No. If we say fangirls, it makes Kenya sound ten times more popular. I'd only ever use that word for Hyoutei's captain and that really good player in Seigaku."

"Atobe Keigo and Echizen Ryouma, -senpai."

I shrugged. "Well why should I remember? I'm not the one going against them."

Zaizen didn't reply. He was playing with his phone.

"Zaizen-kun, don't you have to go back to practice?"

He didn't reply again. Instead, he looked up at me and snapped a picture. More buttons were pressed before he said a thing. "I'm updating my blog."

"Oh." I didn't know what else to say, so I went back to attending the little things on Kenya's bed. I smoothed out his blanket, fluffed out the corners of his pillow, etc.

"Zaizen-kun, Shiraishi told me Kenya took up a job. Do you know anything about this?"

Zaizen's answer was delayed. "Yeah, and I'm not allowed to give you the details. Kenya-san's orders."

I felt my heart drop. Why would Kenya hide something from me when he told everyone else? "Zaizen-kun, I'm going to write a heart-filled letter full of hate for Kenya when he wakes up."

"No you won't." Zaizen snapped his phone shut.

"I know I won't." I straightened out my skirt and looked back at Zaizen. "Do you know if Kenya's job is affecting his grades?"

"No. Kenya-san does everything last minute, so nothing changed."

I pulled at the edges of Kenya's blanket. "Just wait, Kenya's going to end up as a jailbird because he can't get his shit together."

"Calm yourself." Zaizen got off his stool and made his way to the nurse's mini fridge. "Here, peel him an apple."

"Okay, first of all, are you allowed to take food from there? Second, he won't even eat the apple. He's sleeping."

"Don't worry over the small details."

"Maybe you'll become the jailbird instead, Zaizen."

"Why would I become the jailbird? I do all my stuff." Zaizen drew back when I didn't take the apple. He examined the apple and took a bite.

"Well, for one thing, you're taking the nurse's food." I looked over Zaizen. "Not to mention you style your hair quite flamboyantly and you have piercings. They look like signs of a rebel."

"Looks don't define a jailbird. Besides, Kenya-san bleaches his hair."

"What about the nurse's food?"

"This fridge is for her patients anyways," Zaizen said while shrugging and taking another bite. "I'm just eating it in place of Kenya-san."

"I should move elsewhere so I don't look like I'm associating with a criminal." I scooted my stool closer to Kenya and farther from Zaizen.

He shrugged. "Are you sure you're not using me as an excuse to get closer to Kenya-san? You're pretty possessive, Senpai."

"I am not!" I yelled in embarrassment. Whether it was true or not, I wasn't sure. Maybe I was. Maybe I wasn't.

"Really? Because—well, don't tell him I said this—but he's pretty possessive over you." Zaizen threw his apple core away. "I think he likes you."

I think he likes you.

I heard it echo in my head. I blankly stared at Zaizen.

Zaizen looked at me like nothing even happened. "-senpai, let me guess. You're in a museum of the sorts. A really weird museum. The first thing you see is a whole hall of mirrors and let me guess—it's the kind that impairs your vision. Am I right?"

I stared back blankly.

"Then let me guess. Then the art gallery comes and it's all paintings of sporting grounds."

I concentrated my mind on the present. "You're wrong, Zaizen-kun. All I see is grass."

Zaizen looked away. "Maybe I'm not the kind of person to listen after all."

- x -
From, Princo
December 2 5, 2012.

Whilst writing the parts where Zaizen and come up with their scenarios, I couldn't help but notice how I could annotate them. HAHAH. Especially the last one. I'm really lagging behind. It's November 24. ;A; GOTTA GET MY SHYT TOGETHUH.
Anyways, one day away from Ribbon's birthday in her time. ♥
Dear Bo, your 60 Things list is a bitch to include in this DN. That's why I had Zaizen and say the randomest things ever. ;-;
Sorry for this being late Ribbon lol. I should have looked for an alternative uploader sooner.
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