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m - stony silence

chemistryisfun in ghostsugar_rp

Trouble [closed to Chiaki]

[takes place right after Chance of a Lifetime]

Counseling Room 2 had ridiculous, brightly flowered curtains. Orange and yellow chrysanthemums with furling green leaves burst into bloom against the paned windows. Yuzuya felt it was incongruous. No one was summoned to a school counseling room for a happy reason. Ever.

Seated at a little round table beside those silly designer curtains, Yuzuya was at a loss for words. He opened his mouth as if to say something, then changed his mind, closing it again and leaned his elbow on the table, resting his chin on his hand. A brand-new manila folder from Student Records was lying open on the table before him. The tab of the folder had been neatly labeled not three weeks ago, "1st Year C Class - Aoki Chiaki"

Not three weeks ago this folder had been made, just as it had been made for each and every first year student. The surprising thing was that a mere month into the academic year, this folder already had the yellow and white copy of a disciplinary write-up in it. The slanted, perfect handwriting of one Samuel Kramer explained the offense in perfect detail. But that didn't mean that it was any easier for Yuzuya to believe.

Yuzuya took a moment to read through the report again. This was all rather surreal, and it was making him feel rather old and tired. He cleared his throat, took a sip of coffee to wash down a stubborn bit of phlegm or something that was irritating in his windpipe. Finally he exhaled and glanced up at the diminuitive boy seated opposite him. "Well. Aoki-san. I assume you know why we are here."
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Getting scolded by Kramer-sensei had been awful, but this was infinitely worse. Chiaki usually tried so hard to stay out of trouble, and he'd gotten along so well with Shibata-sensei...to have disappointed him at all -- like this -- he felt awful. Chiaki was normally such a well-behaved student -- but when Matsuzaki-senpai had told him to go up to the roof... Well, why hadn't he just said no?

There was really nothing left but to take responsibility for his actions. Even if he really hadn't wanted to look at those girls.

He sat in the chair opposite Yuzuya with his hands folded on his lap, his eyes fixed on the table. This was so nerve-wracking and uncomfortable -- he wasn't sure he'd ever been in a situation room like this before. He tried to swallow, but his mouth was suddenly so dry. "Yes," he said, quietly and politely.
The ticking of the clock seemed especially loud in the silent room. Outside, Yuzuya could hear the baseball team counting off their warm-up exercises over at the baseball field. "Then suppose you could fill me in," Yuzuya sighed, looking over Kramer's write-up again. "Because I'm completely... baffled, as to why you did this."

Cutting class to climb up on a roof and peek at girls getting a medical exam? This was indeed up there on the list of weird.
Me too, Chiaki wanted to say, but he refrained. He tried to swallow again, barely suppressing the dry cough that was struggling to crawl out of his throat. "I-i-it wasn't my idea," he said, unable to control the nervous stammer. His face was tinged a slight pink with embarrassment and shame. "It was M-Matsuzaki-senpai's idea. I d-didn't know why he wanted me to come up to the roof; he j-just t-t-told me to."
Yuzuya folded his hands and considered this. "Aoki-san. I would rather you were honest about this," he said, his voice grave. He exhaled and picked up his pencil, tapped it on his finger. He gazed at the curtains for a moment, then turned his eyes back to Chiaki. He tried to keep his tone calm and soothing as he spoke.

"Look, I was your age, too, once. I know how it is. Your....um, body is going through a lot of changes. It can be very confusing." Last week he'd suspected that Chiaki had a different kind of confusion going on, from how chummy the boy seemed with his classmate Chiba Yadoru. Bit of a boy-crush, perhaps? But now here the kid was getting caught peeking at half-dressed girls. Yuzuya frowned and scratched his head, perplexed and embarrassed. The boy had an awful lot on his plate, from the looks of things.
"N-no!" Chiaki burst out, lifting his head to look up at Yuzuya with wide, protesting eyes. "Th -- that's not it! I-I promise, I'm not lying, sensei! As soon as Matsuzaki-senpai told me why he'd called me up there, I w-w-wanted us to leave! I t-tried telling him that it was wrong, but h-he wouldn't listen, a-and -- then Kramer-sensei came, and..." Chiaki's breathing was less even now; it was clear he was upset. He just wanted Shibata-sensei to believe him. He'd accept responsibility for his actions, but those intentions had been Suguru's, not his.
Yuzuya regarded Chiaki solemnly for a few silent moments. He leaned back against the back of his chair. "You had to have known the girls' health checks were going on in the gym. It was announced more than once during the morning and afternoon announcements. The boys went yesterday. You must have been examined by the doctors. Yes, or no?"
Chiaki could feel his face burning. He felt trapped. He didn't care if he was punished; he just wanted Shibata-sensei to believe him! He could feel his mind spinning, threatening to shut down altogether under the uncomfortable pressure. He tried swallowing again, and this time he couldn't stop from coughing a little.

"I was," he mumbled, back to staring at the table as if in a quiet panic. "B-but, please, sensei, believe me...I d-d-didn't know why he wanted me there, and it wasn't my idea. I didn't even th-think he'd want to -- d-do something like that, or..." Chiaki cringed slightly, and his hands tightened on his lap. "I d-don't have any interest in -- in -- in anything like that. I promise, sensei, I'm n-not lying."
Yuzuya turned to the sink and drew Chiaki a cup of water, and passed it to him. "Okay," he relented, with a sigh. "I believe you. Why did you cut class, though? Did he pressure you into it?"
Chiaki dared to lift his eyes only to watch Yuzuya place the glass in front of him. "I-I -- no," he said. A different person would have lied, would have convinced himself he'd been pressured, but Chiaki knew better. "H-he just -- told me to come. M-Matsuzaki-senpai is, u-um, one of the only people wh-who's been nice to me at this school. I j-just...I wanted him to l-like me." It was a pitiful explanation, even if it was the truth. Chiaki felt self-contempt burning hot in the pit of his chest. "It was a stupid decision. I'm s-sorry I did it."
Yuzuya steepled his hands and rested his lips against his forefingers. "Hmm."

He processed this for a moment, looking on Chiaki with sympathy. "Okay. I've done dumb things before, too. I know how it is. Don't cut class, all right?" he advised. "You should know right away that that means trouble. I don't think your friend Matsuzaki should have asked you to do such a thing. But maybe he's just troubled. I don't know." Thanks be to the universe that Matsuzaki wasn't in Yuzuya's homeroom.

"In any case," Yuzuya said quietly, "He's got Kramer-sensei to deal with now, and I'm sure he'll be writing you a sincere apology for getting you into trouble. Possibly in English. Ha!" he couldn't help a chuckle here. Then he remembered himself and cleared his throat. "Um, yeah."

He reached out and patted Chiaki's shoulder. "Hey. It's all right, Aoki-san. What you did was wrong, and stupid. But everyone does stupid things sometimes. Don't beat yourself up about it. All right? That would be really counter-productive."
Chiaki lifted his head to look up at Yuzuya. His face was flushed in embarrassment, and if it weren't for his glasses, it would have been easier to see the red edging around his eyes. But Yuzuya believed him -- at last -- and that made him a little more relieved. "I'm s-s-sorry, sensei," he mumbled again, but this apology seemed somehow more personal.
Yuzuya nodded, squeezed Chiaki's shoulder. Then he sat back in his chair and twirled his pencil around his thumb. "It's okay. You're a good kid, I think. I know you'll try to stay out of trouble from now on," he replied. There was a sneaky, passive command in that sentence. Yuzuya didn't like to order kids around right out unless it was absolutely necessary. He smiled wanly and waited for Chiaki to collect himself.
The gentle gesture went a long way with Chiaki. He sniffed and reached for the glass of water, taking a tentative sip. "Th-th-thank you, sensei," he said, and his sincerity was genuine. "I p-promise, it w-won't happen again."
Yuzuya smiled faintly and scratched the back of his head. "You're bringing back memories of myself," he admitted, his volume soft. "Hehe." Then he pushed his glasses up his nose and changed the subject as quickly as possible. "Anyway. We'd better get to the next order of business. Your punishment."
Chiaki nodded solemnly, trying to keep his shoulders square. He'd been stupid enough to cut class -- he deserved whatever was coming to him. "Yes, sensei," he said, keeping his voice steady as he could. "W-whatever it is, I d-deserve it."
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