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Aoki, the Unique One

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September 9, 2005

"Aoki! Time to wake up!"

Aoki was suddenly awaken by the sound of a voice. His mother's voice. He glared over at his alarm clock. 6:30. Why was his mom making him wake up at 6:30 during the summer?

"Wait..." Aoki said, looking over at his calendar. Sure enough, in bright red ink, on September 9th was the label "First day of 3rd grade! :)"

"AOKI!"

"I'm coming, mother!" Aoki yelled, running down the stairs, almost tripping on his own night slippers. On the table was a stack of pancakes with some whipped cream on them. "Yes! I love first day of school breakfast!"

Aoki quickly began to devour his breakfast as his mother walked into the room, laughing.

"Chew your food, son." Aoki's mom said, still continuing to laugh. "We've got time."

"Yes, Mom."

Aoki slowed down a little bit but he was still devouring the breakfast. He was done by 6:42 - likely a new record - and went into the bathroom and began brushing his teeth.

He slowed down a bit at this part, because in all honesty, he was scared. 3rd grade was in a whole new building, and he was told there would be no more cute smiley-faces on homework, but actual letters. No longer would report cards be about how he could wipe on his own and play well with others - they cared about how he did with subjects now.

And Aoki wasn't exactly an expert on subjects. Times tables? Pfft. Why would he ever need those? He didn't like reading books with a lot of chapters - he liked books to be short so he could just finish them and go play. No big words either. Aoki didn't like those.

Aoki finished his breakfast and went to the bathroom to brush his teeth, slowing down a bit this time. Maybe he didn't really want to go to school. Maybe he could drop out. No, there's no way his mom would let him do that...

After brushing his teeth very slowly, he went to his room and began to put his clothes his mother had set on his bed for him on. He knew he was supposed to kiss his mom goodbye and go to the bus next. But he didn't want to. He was too scared.

"Come on, Aoki!" Aoki's mom yelled. "You're going to miss the bus if you don't hurry up!"

So Aoki peeked out of his room, gave his mom a kiss, and sat by the bus stop. There was another kid already there - his best friend, Kuro.

"Hey, Kuro." Aoki said. "How was your morning?"

Kuro was in a pretty pink dress, looking angry by the bus stop, and Aoki knew exactly why - she hated pink.

"It was awful!" Kuro said. "First the power went out while I was sleeping so my alarm clock didn't go off in time, so I couldn't have breakfast, so my mom got out this pink dress and told me to hurry, and when I told her I didn't want to wear it and wanted to wear my black dress with my neko ears, she spanked me!"

"Ah, that stinks, Kuro."

"I know it does! There's no way school is going to be any better, though. You heard the rumors from the older kids, right?"

"Yeah. I'm a little scared too. Letter grades seem a bit complicated."

"And you actually have to take more schoolwork home this year! And it's not just quizzes anymore, but full-blown tests!"

"I know, it sounds pretty scary."

Just as Aoki was about to run back to his house in fear from all this scary stuff Kuro was telling him and the stuff he was remembering from the older kids, the bus pulled up.

"Well, there's no backing out now." Kuro said, getting on the bus. Aoki followed behind her.

There were a lot of different kids on there from last year - Kuro and Aoki were used to riding with the kindergarten through second graders, but on this bus, there were third through fifth graders. Some of them were big and muscular, too. The two sat together at one of the few remaining empty spots.

"We're doomed." Kuro whispered to Aoki, gesturing towards the chaos going on around them - school buses weren't typically quiet, but this was just crazy!

Aoki nodded his head to her in agreement.


At school, Aoki and Kuro walked together to their classroom - they both were in Class B, which was good. They would be able to look out for each other in sticky situations, and they had the same lunch and recess period. Maybe third grade would be just fine.

Aoki opened the door, and inside was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. Kuro also saw the sight, and made a face.

"She has way too much makeup on!" Kuro whispered to Aoki. "How trashy! Aoki? Aoki?"

Aoki couldn't stop staring.

"Come on in, you two." The woman said. "I'm Rin Kokonoe, but all of you can call me Kokonoe-sensei. I'll be your third grade teacher."

It was certain now. Aoki was definitely not backing out of third grade. Not if he had this wonderful sight to be with all day. Maybe he'd be able to confess to her and despite their age difference, they could run off on an island together and get married.

Yeah. He'd do that. He saw that on a movie once.

"I think I'm in love." Aoki whispered to Kuro as the two sat down in their assigned seats across from each other. Kuro turned to him in disgust.

"You idiot!" Kuro whispered to him. "How could you be in love with some ugly girl like her?!"

"Shush." Aoki whispered back to her. "She's about to start talking about the rules."