When lunch time finally arrived I made my way to walking to KoiBane-Sensei's science room after grabbing my bento and the rest of my usual items for lunch. The same as last time the instant I left the classroom I saw Shina Hayashi enter to grab her own bento. However, although she grabbed her bento the same distress appeared in her eyes. Although I wanted to say something I don't have the time, so I head on my way to KoiBane-Sensei's room.
Arriving at the science room's door, I open the door and enter. Inside of the classroom is KoiBane-Sensei in the corner who seems to be playing with chemicals on one of the science desks. His back is turned to me so he doesn't really turn around to greet me, but I'm sure he heard me enter.
"Oh?" KoiBane-Sensei turns around and sees me. He gives me a big grin, which suddenly pissed me off for some reason. I think he is mocking me. "What brings you here, Yukimura-kun?"
"I want some information" I tell him while moving my eyes to look towards the left. I wanted at all possible points to avoid his gaze.
"Oh? Information? How rare! What kind of information are you looking for?" asks KoiBane-Sensei. He is making an even bigger smile and is twirling around the flask that he has in his left hand. He seems to be having fun making a mockery of me.
KoiBane-Sensei pauses. He stops twirling around the flask in his hand and suddenly the atmosphere of the quiet science room becomes cold. His eyes narrow into a dark glare as he studies me. I can feel the pressure within his glare as he stares intensely at me. I can't avoid my eyes.
"Shina Hayashi? Why would you want to know about her?" he asks.
"...I have my reasons" I answer him while gripping my chest.
"Hmm..." KoiBane-Sensei's eyes glower lower as they study me. Suddenly, he spins around in delight and twirls the flask in his left hand while whistling. A total 180 from the previous atmosphere he was creating. I wonder, is there something he doesn't want me to know about Shina Hayashi? The mystery is getting bigger.
"Alright, I'll tell you about Shina Hayashi seeing as how you're in love with her."
"W-wha... W-What are you talking about?!"
My face becomes dyed in the color red as I blurt out in shock at his words. Love? I'm in love with Shina Hayashi? But if that is true then it explains all my strange actions lately that were totally unlike me. It couldn't be helped that I didn't know though, after all, this is my first time falling in love.
"Isn't it obvious? Don't tell me you didn't know it yourself?"
KoiBane-Sensei stares at me and his grin becomes even bigger.
"Alright! Yukimura-kun, I'll tell you about Shina Hayashi. However, what I tell you, you must keep it to yourself and never tell anyone."
"That's fine." I didn't understand where he was getting at, but for now I agreed.
"Alright then. The truth is Shina Hayashi has quite a few problems already surrounding her."
"I know. Its bullying, but that's not what I want to know. I want to know why she is being bullied."
"Calm down, I'll get to that. Don't show such a scary face."
A scary face? Was I showing such a scary face? I touch my face and without realizing it I was squinting and furrowing my brows. Hm? My hands are starting to hurt as well. When I turn my hands over and look at them I realize I had been gripping them so tightly that there were red markings. Was I angry?
"Anyway, like I was saying she is indeed being bullied, but she also has some home problems as well. Although I can't fully tell you the extent of her home problems I can at least humor you about the problems surrounding her school life."
"That's fine, I just want to know why she's being bullied."
"Its simple really. I'm sure you've already realized it as well. She's being bullied because the girls are jealous of her. Shina Hayashi, you know... She's a kind girl, but she's afraid of human relations. Every male in this school is practically infatuated by her but whether that's a good thing or not is well...as you can see."
"I get that, but you're not fully explaining it! There's something more, isn't there?"
"Yes... Shina is very reserved so when it came to interacting with her classmates during freshmen year, it didn't go well. The girls of the class had approached her because they wanted to be friends with her, however because Shina is very good at reading behind their intentions, she blurted out harsh words. The girls who tried to befriend her became angry and ever since, they ordered the majority of the girls to ignore Shina. Shina didn't really care, however, which led to an escalation of her bullying. Its not like she was at particular fault though as the girls were clearly aiming to be her friends solely because of her popularity with the male faction of the school."
"I see... What about the male faction?" I asked contemplating the info inside my head.
"Their relation to Shina? The male faction is indeed quite intrigued by Shina, but they only see her as an object of desire nothing more. Even Shina, herself, understands that in the eyes of the male faction they only want her for her looks and to fulfill their desires, which is why she tries not to associate with the male faction. The male faction also doesn't want to be involved in the bullying so they tend to stay away and admire her from afar."
I get it now, the reason why Shina was being bullied. The female faction of the school didn't take it kindly to being rejected as friends, they must've thought that Shina was mocking them which led to them bullying her. Also because Shina didn't retaliate they felt that they were winning in terms of mob power. The male faction of the school was also infatuated with Shina as an idol, but there was nothing more than that. However, because the male faction of the school liked Shina the female faction thought that they would all aim for her so they tried to befriend her. Shina saw through the intentions of the female faction in the school and rejected them, which led to the current situation. The male faction also didn't find it in themselves to help Shina as they only looked upon her with lust and nothing more, Shina also didn't associate well with them.
I understood her reasons for being bullied, but it just doesn't add up in my head as to why she decided to associate with me. Was there something different about me that caught her attention?
"Sensei, why didn't anyone notice?"
"Notice? Ah... We noticed alright, but humans are creatures that tend to stay away from things that might bring trouble, so that might be a reason why no one helped her. As a cynical loner, you should know this as well..."
I knew it. I couldn't help but know it. I doubted people and never trusted them, which is why I loved to indulge myself in the fantasies and knowledge of books.
I glowered down as I thought about such dark thoughts.
"Sensei, why didn't you help her?"
"I couldn't" KoiBane-Sensei replies with a dark look on his face.
"Because she didn't ask for my help." KoiBane-Sensei begins to display a sad expression on his face. "I had asked her one time if she was being bullied, but she told me she was fine, even though it was obvious. Every night the janitor would release her from the storage closet and report to me the happenings everytime it happened during freshmen year. But because she didn't tell me the truth, I had no proof to help her. It couldn't be helped, after all, the school can only interfere if the student seeks help herself."
I could understand KoiBane-Sensei's reasoning, but it was indeed cruel to not help a student even though you could see it happening. However, that is human society, it is how humans created a functioning network of government. There were no complaints. If Shina Hayashi didn't seek help from KoiBane-Sensei then there was nothing he could do to help her, it was already a set boundary between student and teacher. So if Shina Hayashi couldn't seek help, then she continued to endure it. Why did she go so far? There was something she was hiding isn't that why she didn't say anything? My head is spinning. I can't seem to help but feel these emotions for her.
"However, I think she'll be fine" KoiBane-Sensei suddenly speaks out. He sends me a smile, which gives me shivers up my spine but I pretend that it didn't happen.
"What do you mean?" I ask.
"Because you're here."
I gasp in surprise. What the hell is he talking about?
"Because you're here. I'm sure, Shina chose you for that reason."
"W-what the hell are you talking about, Sensei?!"
"You'll save her. You'll save, Shina Hayashi. Otherwise, she wouldn't have sat next to you in your class. It was the first time I've seen her sit next to anyone since her bullying started, which means she chose you to save her. That's why, you'll save her, Yukimura-kun. Plus you're in love with her."
KoiBane-Sensei is smiling as he says this to me. He looks at me with a huge grin as if to say, "you're a winner". He walked up to me and patted my back in an encouraging manner. Don't do that, Sensei... Otherwise, I might be convinced that you have good intentions.
To save her? I am to save her? A person like me? I don't get it. Shina wants me to save her, which is why she talked to me and smiled at me? Ah... I don't understand why but my heart is beating faster. My face feels like its burning up. Why do I feel so happy?
"Yukimura-kun" KoiBane-Sensei calls my name. I turn my eyes from facing the ground to look at him. "Humans are fickle creatures. We're weak so we tend to build barriers to protect ourselves when we've been scarred. However, no matter how much we build a barrier... We can't live alone. We need someone to support us even if we believe we can live alone. That includes you as well, Yukimura-kun. Its time to stop being a loner and open up a bit, don't you think? Also I believe you can help Shina. You two are similar after all."
KoiBane-Sensei smiles at me and after saying that he pushes me out the door. After pushing me out before he locks the door he says his final words to me. "Also keep it a secret. Our conversation. It'll be troublesome if something were to happen to you and Shina." Afterwords, I hear the clicking sound of the science room being locked.
I couldn't say anything to retort back to KoiBane-Sensei. I had no words to explain the confusion in my head. No, I wasn't confused. I knew what KoiBane-Sensei was saying was right, but I couldn't bring myself to accept it. I can't possibly be the only one to help Shina and even if I am... Why do I feel so happy hearing that I'm the one who can? What is this twinging feeling in my chest?
"...as how you're in love with her."
KoiBane-Sensei's words flash into my head. I'm in love with Shina... I'm in love with her. Realizing such a fact more clearly now than before I blushed furiously in the hallway full of other students in the school eatting and chatting with their friends. I cover my face with my left hand to hide my blushing self.
"I'm in love with Shina Hayashi..."