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Stuck with Me

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Inui sat down on the bench. He’d considered the odds and decided that Tezuka probably wouldn’t get up just because Inui sat down next to him. Tezuka almost never initiated contact with Inui, but he was also almost always receptive.

It had been a nice day, but it was getting late now. The sun was setting, painting the sky with stripes of pink and red.

Inui guessed right. Tezuka didn’t get up.

“So that’s it,” Inui said. Tezuka didn’t reply, but Inui hadn’t expected that. “Three years together, and then we all resign together, too. I suppose that’s appropriate.” Exams were coming up; Inui’s parents had enrolled him in cram school months ago and his mother kept asking him if he was eating enough fish, since it was brain food. “I don’t think all of the third years in the club will go to the same school next year.”

Tezuka’s head lifted, just a little. He blinked, once. His hair blew in the breeze. If this had been Kaidoh, his head would have jerked up suddenly, his eyes wide with disbelief and his face as red as the setting sun. It was interesting how differently two people could react when they were surprised. Inui found a lot of people interesting.

“You and I, though,” Inui went on, “considering our similar academic achievements and extracurricular interests, I’ve calculated that there’s over an 80% chance of us attending the same high school.”

Tezuka looked at Inui then. His breathing was deep and even, and he had a soft look around his eyes, one that Inui didn’t get to see much. Inui felt honored that he got to see it at all.

“It seems that you’re, as they say, stuck with me,” Inui said and smiled.

“Good,” Tezuka said, and stood up from the bench. He brushed nonexistent dirt from his legs and walked away.