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Substitute In Flames arc

Salt In My Wound

After the most recent event that threatened Yasuraka Town, Ahatake, Kayla, and Harumi had made a new friend, Gaikou. There were a few things you just can't do without ending up friends.

Destroying a giant eldritch heartless abomination was one of them.

It had been a few months since the Menos had been destroyed, and Harumi was sitting against the wall outside of the school building, looking at her Soul Phone. "Why hasn't the Soul Society taken notice of that Menos?" She thought, closing the flip-phone as she bit her thumb. That was certainly troubling. They couldn't have missed such an event. What was more troubling however, was that Harumi had started to get comfortable in this body. This world, it was peaceful. Her power was returning, slow and steady, she could feel it. But...she didn't seem to care. Was being human dulling her to this extent?

Gaikou, meanwhile, seemed to be doing her best to avoid the trio. After all, it wasn't like she actually liked them or anything. Of course she was lying between her teeth. She found that just going with the flow of this world was actually quite relaxing; like she didn't have a care in the world- superior to working nostop. Unfortunately, that meant that she was neglecting her Quincy duties. "Oi, brownie." She approached Harumi. "What's the deal with that black-haired guy with the fire powers? He's just...something's up with him. I don't know what." Or maybe she was paranoid.

"Ahatake?" Harumi looked up at Gaikou. She hadn't done a good job of avoiding the group, Harumi knew that. "There's nothing 'up with him'. He's performing my duties as a Shinigami, at least until my powers can return. is a bit strange he would manifest flames..." She was remembereing that. Was his spiritual energy elemental?

Gaikou pressed her pointer finger to her lip. "It's odd, it really is. Then again, only truly powerful beings manage to manifest elemental powers, so it could be that he's full of potential. Like a seed that will eventually erupt into a magnificent tree, or a baby bird who would become a falcon and soar to the heavens." It wasn't like her to get all prose-y, but she managed to get her point across.

"T-that's a bit much." Harumi seemed hesitant to think that highly of one human boy. "Besides, the powers should only be temporary. He's running on Shinigami powers borrowed from me, they shouldn't last permanently. When my powers return to me, his powers should fade and he'll go back to being...well...a little less than normal."

The Quincy was rather puzzled by Harumi's choice of words. "What do you mean? That's just....that's impossible. Shouldn't he keep some remnant of spiritual energy?" She really didn't know how Shinigami worked.

"The technique used to transfer powers is never meant to be permanent." Harumi explained, as if it was obvious. "It keeps rogue elements from arising." She backtracked for a second. "Of course, there are special cases...but they're rare, exceedingly rare. Besides..." However, she cut herself off, standing up. "Besides, fighting is what he does best!"

Gaikou nodded, becoming rather suspicious now. "I see....I won't ask any more questions then." Ask Harumi personally? No. Snoop around for information? Yes. Considering she was apparantly an ametur sleuth in her free time, this wasn't surprising.

"Haruuuuumi!" Kayla's loud voice called from across the quad. "We're eating lunch outside today instead of in homeroom, come over here with us! Gaikou, you too!"

"Seems our friends are calling." Harumi replied, smiling. She liked the sound of that. Friends.

Gaikou didn't seem too convinced. "....Huh." Of course, this would prove to be rather amusing; considering that she had a borderline eating disorder; she was worried about just absorbing everything in sight into her mouth like a vacuum. "Of course. I'll be there in a moment." Gaikou used her spiritual energy to change her sense of taste before following Harumi.

As they sat down, they started to pass food around. Harumi saw someone wasn't there. "Where is Saotome?" She asked, surprised to see the loud boy not hanging around Ahatake and Kayla like he usually was.

"He's sick." Kayla explained, poking a hole in a juice box. "Strange, doesn't this country say stupid people can't catch colds?"

Gaikou responded in a matter-of-fact manner, "No, it's just superstition." She inched away slightly from the group, preferring to mind her own business; but even she stayed close- just to let them know that while she was attempting to act distant, she really did appreciate her new friends.

Kayla's plait stretched out, wrapping around Gaikou's wrist and pulling her back towards the circle. "Gaikou, join us! We're all friends, don't try to run away!"

"Maybe she prefers to eat alone, Kayla." Ahatake replied, biting into a sandwich. "Sure, take the food I paid for and go eat alone. Shows real gratitude, that."

Gaikou rolled her eyes. "I'm here and still near you guys. Isn't that gratitude enough? Besides, don't touch me. Don't ever touch me." She shot Kayla an angry glare, before returning to her normal apathetic expression.

"I didn't touch you." Kayla replied, smiling brightly. "Besides, we're friends, and we've grown on you. You wouldn't leave us if you wanted to."

"You give her too much credit." Ahatake told Kayla. "She is a stubborn one."

Harumi chuckled. "We are a nice group though...three humans and a Shinigami. Not your ordinary high school students."

Gaikou couldn't hold back a faint laugh and an actual smile. "...Yeah. Even so we're all so odd and so different, I can't help but be drawn to all three of you."

Everyone laughed, each of them unwlling to outright say it, but grateful for the other three's company. They all had their own problems, and this ragtag bunch of misfits were the strangest, but tightest nit group of friends in the school. When Saotome was around, he was more of a fish out of water, despite still fitting in easy, he was locked out of the loop.

Even so, the air that was around the four was that of awkwardness; none, especially Gaikou, were willing to share their own individual tales of woe that helped shaped their characters into the present day. Gaikou seemed to be shaking subtly; considering that she had very little contact with those her own age, it wasn't too surprising. "Uh, so..."

"Did you know I'm dead?" Kayla just suddenly burst out with it, directing it mainly at Gaikou. She'd decided to break the ice in the most awkward manner possible. Girl was right.

Gaikou then admitted, "Well, I'm a Quincy...obviously. When I was but a small girl, the Shinigami of the Gotei slaughtered my whole race for no apparant reason. I was one of the few surviving members; and I lived in secret around here while my dad taught me how to use spiritual energy as a weapon." She was so damn calm about admitting this. "And let's say that revenge is a dish best served cold." So calm it was frightening.

"You're just a human." Harumi replied, biting into her food. "You can't match well trained Shinigami and expect to live, that's utter foolishness."

Gaikou corrected Harumi. "Ahem. My father was actually...a Shinigami who left your Gotei to be with my mother. I'm pretty sure my genes make me superior to most."

"I don't feel the spiritual pressure of a Shinigami within you." Harumi quipped. "You are human, through and through."

"Oi, oi ladies..." Ahatake groaned. This is why he kept telling Soatome they needed more guy friends. You get even two women close to each other, and they do rip throats out. He groaned with exasperation.

Gaikou pointed at Harumi, hissing in a tone that's not unlike a bratty teenage girl, "She started it, dammit!"

"You're in high school, act like it." Ahatake told her, jabbing a piece of food at her sternly.

"So...Kayla, you said you're dead, right?" Harumi looked at her curiously. "How is this? You're obviously made of matter, I can tell that just from looking at you. How did you die anyway?"

Kayla's eyes glazed over for a moment. just a fraction, as if she was far away. "Well...I used to be human. Althought, with my body now, I technically still am.." She hesitated. "I lived in America, you know. I'm sure you can tell by my name and my accent I'm not from Japan. Long story short, I was kidnapped and raped. It's America, and that kind of stuff happens more than law enforcement can keep up with." She paused in her story, taking a bit of food, slowly chewing before swallowing. Whether for dramatic effect or not, it worked well.

Ahatake wasn't listening. He'd heard the story before, and wasn't keen to hear it again.

"The thugs left me in Alligator Alley, in Florida. True to it's name, alligators frequent the place. My lower body was consumed, and I died from those injuries. I wasn't conscious at the time, and saw my body when I awoke as a spirit. Naturally, my funeral wasn't an open casket. I was there."

Harumi was quiet, and actually regretted asking for the red-head's history.

"I'm able to turn myself from reishi to matter. I can live again." She smiled. "And then I found Ahatake. It was about four years ago, when his parents died, that I found him. With him, I can live as a normal human. I even age appropriately, due to being made of matter again."

"I see..." Harumi looked a bit downcast. "And...have you ever thought about killing the ones who killed you?"

Kayla seemed shocked by the question. "O-of course not! I wouldn't seek revenge, I'm not like that..." This girl was unique, she'd made the best of what could have been a very terrible situation.

Gaikou was actually rather stunned at Kayla's horrific past. "...Oh, wow." Those were the only words she could let escape her delicate lips for a few moments; though she did add on, "...I'm so sorry." Gone was the haughty and tsundere-ish young woman who prided herself in being a Quincy, and here was a solemn and melancholy girl who couldn't display anything but sympathy for Kayla.

Kayla sighed, and leaned back, laying her head against Ahatake's shoulder. He didn't object, and let her use him like an arm rest. "What about you, Ahatake?" She asked, moving her plait up to his face, poking his cheek. He flinched, his eye instictintively closing.

"My parents are dead." Ahatake replied, blandly. "There can't be much more to into than that."

Gaikou didn't seem convinced about this. "Really, now? Are you sure?" She seemed to shuffle a little closer. "Are you absolutely sure? Because I'm not sure that you're sure, I'm sure of that." She was...confusing.

"There's really nothing go into." Ahatake replied irritably. "They're dead. I'm still not sure how it happened." He raised a hand to his head. "I'm not sure if I'm subconciously blocking it out because I just don't want to remember, but...with what I know now, I've always had high reiatsu. It could have very well been a Hollow that killed that came after me." He was beginning to remember something clearer. His parents limp bodies, dead and bleeding on the floor. This memory swam to the surface, but nothing more. He let out a guttural growl. "Whatever it was....if I ever get the chance myself...I'm not as nice as Kayla. I will kill it."

Harumi gaver Ahatake a glance. So this was what was up with the boy. She had been wondering why he'd lived alone, and why he was always so serious. She could see now. He had some issues.

Gaikou was rather shocked by this; it seemed that tragic pasts were coming out of the waterworks here. "...Well, we're all rather miserable people, I see."

Harumi avoided their eyes. What did she have? She wasn't expressly miserable...well, her past wasn't, these stories certainly made her a bit downcast. But, she didn't have anything like everyone else, nothing to really least, nothing they should hear.

Gaikou couldn't help but question this. "Well, is anything wrong?" She was awfully insistent in getting Harumi to spill the beans. "No matter how mundane it would be, I'd be a good listener."

"Well...." Harumi frowned. "It's...I don't have much of anything to tell. It's just your guys' stories are getting to me a bit."

Gaikou sighed and resigned herself to having to find out about Harumi another day. "...Then why don't we just drop this little subject, then? You can talk about it any other time that you wish."

Right when Harumi was about to speak, the bell rang for classes. "Oh look at that!" Harumi said hastily, scrambling up. "It's time for class, we should head back!" She was speaking very fast, as if she was very relieved to have escaped an awkwad situation. Kayla and Ahatake were looking at her like she was someone new. They'd never seen her flustered.

Gaikou felt like she had actually had been at fault here for exposing this cute side of Harumi. "...Huh. That was...odd." Nevertheless, she shrugged in apathy (hiding her worried side) and stood up from the seat rather calmly, flipping her long hair back and shuffling off.

Yasuraka High Festa

They quickly shuffled back to their classroom, and took their seats. It wasn't long before they noticed their teacher wasn't there. Ahatake frowned. "That's odd...where'd he go? He's usually back in the classroom the moment lunch ends..."

Gaikou muttered, "Maybe he went insane and just left...Knowing our class, I wouldn't be surprised." Truth be told, she wouldn't blame him. Either way, maybe he was a little late...

"I hear he won the lottery." A girl whispered from next to Ahatake. "So he quit work and decided to just go splurge."

"Wh-what the?" Ahatake was left dumbfounded. "Who the heck would do that?"

"Sounds like someone from my country." Kayla replied, smirking. This actually drew nods of agreement. Poor America.

Gaikou was tempted to follow it up with a not-so-subtle insult towards Americans; but restrained herself- even though Kayla didn't seem to dislike insulting her own kind, it would still be far beyond proper ettiquete. "Still, that does raise the question of who's gonna teach us...."

As if to answer her question, a woman walked into the room. Instantly, every male in the classroom (bar some, and including a few females), turned to look at her. It was understandable, she was more attractive than should be legal for an adult female at a school.

Ahatake was rather slack-jawed. Who was this woman? Kayla took notice of this, and smacked him in the back of the head.

Gaikou glanced up at this stunning figure, blushing for a moment before staring straight down at the desk to ignore her radiance. A classmate remarked to her, "Hey, what's with that face?"

Gaikou snapped back, "For this semester, I bet all you'll be staring at is two D's and countless F's...!" She was pissed.

"Hello class!" The red-headed woman smiled, and turned to write her name, 如月=水図 on the blackboard. "My name is Mizuzu Jogetsu, and I will be your teacher for the remainer of the semester. As you heard, your former teacher won the lottery and decided to quit..." She frowned. "I never knew the lottery gave one enough money to quit their day job, so your teacher's probably dead now."

Gaikou offhandedly, faking emotions, cried, "...Oh, no. That's so sad. I cannot hold back my tears. Really." It was so clear that she didn't give a damn about what just happened.

Mizuzu ignored her. "So, does anyone have any questions?" She asked, smiling.

" you have a boyfriend?" One of the boys in the back of the classroom asked, admist some laughter and giggles.

Mizuzu's face turned into a bit of a smirk. "A cheeky one I see." She chuckled, and Ahatake thought he caught a green glow out of the corner of his eye. Suddenly the boy who had asked the question yelped in pain, and removed a pin from his ankle. "How did..."

"Any questions not related to my love-life?" She asked, a warning in her voice.

Gaikou raised her hand, remarking to herself, "...Idiots." She blurted out loud, "W-Well! What are your qualifications, anyway?" She was obviously quite flustered; adorable, really.

Mizuzu chuckled. "The fact that I'm standing here mean I'm fit for this job. But if you want a qualification, let's say I'm not a snot-nosed brat like yourself."

Gaikou seemed put-off by Mizuzu's harsh retort. "H-Hey, I was just asking. No reason to go from light-hearted to bitch in three seconds flat...."

"I'm sorry, but that was one too many personal questions." Mizuzu shot a smile in Gaikou's direction. Matching her looks, it was a beautiful smile, almost angelic in a way. This teacher was gonna be a trouble. "Now, let's start class everyone..." As she began to lecture, Ahatake turned to Gaikou.

"Definitely an odd one." He whispered.

Gaikou wasn't impressed. She hissed in an almost antagonistic voice, "...Who!? Me, or her?!"; still, not loud enough for people to hear her, but in a 'just between you and me' that supervillains often used kind of tone. It seemed that all sembelance of eerie calm had departed in this young woman's expression and tone.

"C-calm down, dammit." Ahatake hissed. Kayla giggled.

"You're too worked up." She told Gaikou. "Relax a little. Your question was a personal question right after another personal question, don't dislike the teacher just yet."

Gaikou always had the habit of growing an immense dislike of a teacher in the span of the first day- even if it was because of pure coincedence. She was just, rather hard to get along with even despite her calmness. Needless to say, because of this, she managed to gather a few enemies. "Tch...fine..."

Class passed uneventfully from that point on, despite the group getting more homework than they wanted. Kayla groaned. "We have a new teacher and she piles all of this on..."

"American schools weren't much, were they?" Ahatake asked curiously.

"No, but Californian schools were the worst." Kayla replied, chuckling. "Always behind any school I'd been to in Florida."

Gaikou tapped her fingers on the desk impatiently; rather annoyed at all this work. Lazy by heart, Gaikou rarely, if ever did all her homework. But at least; when she did, she would get high results...At least until now. "It could be worse, when you think about it. This could be one of those private school where we get even more work...and I bet we'd all die from overworking, just like salarymen." She was right.

"A private school?" Harumi looked over at them both, trying to remember what that was as they packed their bags. "I think I read about that once, a true story where the students at private schools can summon beasts depending on their grades and such! I didn't know humans could have those kinds of powers before."

Ahatake looked at her incredulously. "H...Harumi...that was a manga series..."

Gaikou hissed under her breath, "That was a nonsequitir..." She wasn't too happy when people tried to relate manga to life's problems. Even so, it was actually a rather amusing comment. At least she thought so.

"I'm sorry." Harumi as surprised to hear this. Of course, she hadn't yet got a handle on World of the Living literature, and couldn't tell fiction and non-fiction apart yet. There's probably a condition for this.

Gaikou smirked at this; realizing what this actually was- or supposedly it was. "You've got a bad case of Chuunibyou syndrome. It's when kids can't tell the difference between fiction and reality. Maybe you should go to a mental ward, or-" she cut herself off. "Ahahahahahahaha. I can't finish that..."

"She isn't from this dimension." Ahatake frowned at Gaikou as they all walked out of the school building, bags slung over shoulders. "I mean, it's a bit ridiculous, but it's excuseable."

Gaikou swept her long golden locks back; causing that shining hair of hers to flutter about in the wind for a moment. It was surprising how that always happened without any wind being around. "You do raise a good point. I guess I don't think those things into consideration when judging people. It's a helper more than a hinderer at times."

"What's the "Yasuraka High Festa"?" Kayla asked out of nowhere, looking at a notice on the bulletin board in the hallway. The group converged on the girl, looking at the notice. "Yasuraka High....Festa...." Ahatake read it slowly. "Well, this is new. We didn't do this last year."

"Oh, this is a tri-anual event." An upperclassmen walked over to the group, his eyes on the notice. "The festival takes so much preparation, and other kinds of resources that the school can't afford to do it every year." He chuckled. "I'm glad we're doing it on my last year here."

Gaikou's eyes lit up; they appeared to have stars in them as she heard these words. "A school festival...I've never been to one before. It sounds like a lot of fun..." She, for once, wasn't angry or in a state of uncaring. Truly, a rare sight.

"Oh, a festival!" Mizuzu appeared behind the group, her eyes glistening with child-like excitement. "This will be fun, won't it? We'll have to start planning out attractions, I'll bring it up in class tomorrow! Everyone look forward to it!" She said the last thing in sing-song as she walked away.

"Certainly an...energetic teacher." The upperclassman didn't seem sure what to think of Mizuzu.

This actually seemed to redeem Mizuzu in Gaikou's eyes- at least a little. "She seems a little bit...unmedicated. She reminds me of this woman I met once...of course she wasn't as crazy as her. But still!"

"Then this should be something to enjoy." Ahatake chuckled. "A school festival...who'd have thought?" They thanked the upperclassman and turned to walk out of the school. As Ahatake walked, someone rushed right by him. A boy about his age, who didn't stop to even pay recognition that he'd bumped into Ahatake.

Ahatake frowned. "That kid...I'm sure I felt it..."

Harumi looked at Ahatake, and knew with just that glance he'd felt the same thing she did. Spiritual pressure, emanating from the boy he'd been bumped by. She was pleased to see how well Ahatake was maturing, to be able to sense something like that. Gaikou and Kayla didn't seem to notice, they were too excited talking about the festival.

"...and maybe we can do a haunted house!" Kayla said excitedly. "I've heard about school festivals over here, but I never go to see one before!"

Gaikou pressed her finger to her lip, immersed in thought. "Hmm..." she glanced at Ahatake's figure for a mere moment. "Oho, I have a better idea..." To say that the air around them froze and the atmosphere became chilling was an understatement.

Ahatake eyed her warily. "What better idea?"

Gaikou had an expression that was almost perverted; she shambled up to Ahatake with demonic intentions as she quickly took out a measuring tape and swiftly analyzed him. "...How about you get in a cute lil' maid outfit? I think you'd be really popular~" It was like it wasn't Gaikou Ryuusei anymore, but a certain other person...!

"W-w-w-w-wwha!?" Ahatake jumped back, raising his arms as if to put distance between himself and Gaikou. "No way in unholy Hell am I getting into a MAID outfit! Are you insane?!"

Harumi looked him for a second, and seemed to be lost in thought. "'d kinda suit you."

Kayla giggled. "I agree, you should do it."

"HELL NO!" Ahatake shot them glares. "You wouldn't like it if I suggested the class do a no-panties café and had you sign up, would you?"

"I thought those were illegal now." Kayla replied.

Gaikou's eyes fluttered lightly, as she quickly struck out with a snake-like movement of her arms and grabbed Ahatake lightly; but her grip had enough force to ensure that he was completely and utterly helpless. "Three against one here. You have no choice~"

Ahatake growled, and his hand began to heat up, searing like a hot iron, which naturally made Gaikou jump away almost instantly. "I said no!" He was very adamant about this and quickly ran, fast enough so that they couldn't pester him.

Kayla kept giggling. "I think we embarrassed him."

Gaikou was practically in stiches; completely out of character for somebody so relaxed/stoic most of the time. "Bahahahahahahahahahahaha~! That made my day." She looked at Ahatake sprinting off into the distance. "Should we go after him?"

"May as well!" Kayla grinned. "We live with him anyway, so we have to follow him home. Ooooh, why don't you come over?"

A smile dawned upon Gaikou's lips. "Of course. This should be...interesting...." She had a sense of belonging about her; as if she had finally found the thing called "home".

Love of a Friend

As Ahatake ran, he finally reached his out and just collapsed on the ground for a minute, panting. "Tch...those girls...why do they have to be such a nuisance. There is no way in hell I'm trying on a maid outfit."

"That'd be cute, though." A soft, female voice came from behind him. Ahatake recognized it instantly, and let out yet another drawn out sigh. "Kōyuri Hirekidoku..." He groaned, looking up at the strawberry-blonde haired girl from his seat on the cement. "You decided to wait out here for me?"

"You've been ignoring me, lately." She replied, smiling as she extended a hand, which Ahatake took, and helped him up. "Ever since Kayla came around." She sounded hurt. "Am I not worth anymore, Ahatake-kun?"

Ahatake frowned. This girl had been his friend since childhood, but, lately, ever since high school, they'd been growing apart. Or, rather, he'd been pushing Kōyuri away, as she'd been growing exceptionally clingy. "It's not like that..." He placed his hand on her head. "We are still friends, you're just a bit too much to handle." Ahatake turned to open the door knob. "Why don't you come in? Knowing Kayla, she'll be back in a few minutes anyway."

"Of course!" Kōyuri seemed to absolutely light up at the thought of coming into Ahatake's house, and she clung to his arm as he walked into the house.

"And it starts..." He groaned. As they kicked off their shoes, he heard footsteps approaching the house. Certainly, this meant Kayla.

Gaikou listened to the peaceful chirp of birds flying as she gazed at the everlasting azure sky; she noticed that actually tracking Ahatake down was a piece of cake; he was actually rather predictable. Having reached his house, she prepared to walk in...but Kayla barged in, yawning loudly. "Ahatake, we're back! Why'd you run off?"

Ahatake looked up at them from over the couch, Kōyuri clinging to him, her face absolutely blissful. "Took you all long enough. And why wouldn't I run, you tried to put me in a maid outfit."

A sly smirk crossed Gaikou's soft lips. "Of course, now that you're here..." she quickly withdrew another maid outfit from out of nowhere. "We have you right where we want you."

Ahatake scowled, and spewed a bit of fire onto the outfit, causing it to burn and shrivel. "I told you no."

Harumi looked at the girl clinging to Ahatake, who seemed like she could just live there. "Ahatake, who is this?" She asked curiously, looking at Kōyuri like she was a new species.

"That's Kōyuri." Kayla replied, looking at the girl strangely. Perhaps she was jealous? "She's Ahatake's friend from childhood. I thought she'd stopped visiting though...."

Gaikou thought to herself, "Oh, a falling out with a close friend; who's also a girl. ...This can only end...badly." Using her knowledge of manga actually made her savvy about such things. "Anyway, nice to you meet you Yuri-maniac. You remind me of a Belladonna. In Italian, it's a beautiful lady; in English it's a deadly poison."

Ahatake chuckled at this, it seemed Gaikou wasn't a complete idiot, but Kōyuri looked at Gaikou blankly. "Um....thank you, um..." She couldn't finish the sentence, not knowing Gaikou's name.

Gaikou returned to her normal self; of course she was still a little...odd. "Gaikou Ryuusei. Descendant of-" she had to cut herself off. "Er, Gaikou Ryuusei. I'm kinda new...I don't think we've met before. Pleased to make your acquatience." She thought to herself, "Best to remain wary. This could go pear-shaped at any moment." She then straightened up and gave her a goofy-looking smile.

"Gaikou-san then..." She frowned, and looked at the girl. "Nice to meet you!" Her face turned bright. A moodswinger? "So....what's your relationship with Ahatake-kun? I've never seen you around before."

" 'Seen' her around before?" Kayla looked at Kōyuri shrewdly. "What do you mean by that?"

"I live next door." Kōyuri replied, shrugging. "Of course I've noticed the comings and goings of my beloved Ahatake-kun and his...roommates."

Gaikou took notice of this. "....Huh." Noting the inflections in "my beloved", she realized that yes; she was really off her rocker. "I once knew a blonde 'chick' like you...ahh, I'll tell the story some other time. For now, have fun with 'Ahatake-kun' why don't you~?"

Before Kōyuri could even speak, Kayla jumped up. "Nooo!" She all but shrieked. "We can't leave her to have fun with him, no!"

"Why?" Harumi looked at her curiously.

"Because...because of reasons!" Kayla replied quickly. Once again, Ahatake found this entire situation borderline hilarious.

A small smirk formed on Gaikou's lips before she uttered, "Lucky guy he is...He has quite a few admirers." She stretched her arms and began to walk off nonchalantly, finding the whole situation amusing.

"It's actually not funny." Ahatake replied, growling. He slipped out of Kōyuri's "loving" hold. "Look, it's getting late, and our new teacher is a little too pumped for the Festival, so we'll probably be spending homeroom deciding what event our class should do. So let's all just sleep."

"I-." Kōyuri was about to speak up.

"I already know you want to sleep over." Ahatake replied, raising a hand to his head. "And fine, go ahead." Kōyuri was delighted. Kayla, not so much. Harumi merely found it amusing. "What about you, Gaikou? The sun is setting, you may as well stay too."

Gaikou nodded in compliance. "Of course~ I had no plans to go back home anyway. This should be fun~" she put on a fanged smile.

"Good. Let's all go to sleep." He ushered them away and up the stairs, before grabbing a blanket and heading to the couch. "I suppose this Yasuraka Festa could be fun."


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