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  1. Public Bookmark 20

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    Summary

    Words can give you a lot of power. It can cause you to have friends, to lose friends, to gain enemies. It can help you to win through a battle, cause you to lose in a battle.

    Words can make someone feel like trash, but words can also make someone feel like they're important.

    Words, can make someone fall in love.

    (OC Reincarnation fic)

    Language:
    English
    Words:
    18,439
    Chapters:
    8/?
    Comments:
    20
    Kudos:
    77
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    20
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    23 May 2018

    Bookmarker's Notes

    As she continues her days in Kunugigaoka, Shiori has to wonder, since when has her life became only consisting of studies? True, the lessons keep her up and about most days, especially with the homework, tests and projects going on as well as club activities but—

    But—

    Grades aren’t everything.

    Other students are busy with tuition, with extra lessons and studies here and there, mostly they only want to go out with her when she offers a group study, but other times they only can spend at most two or three hours a day to hang out and play, sans club activities.

    In Kunugigaoka, grades are everything.

    (If not, you’ll become trash).

    Shiori wonders if this is really what she wants in a school.

    She wonders if this is how she really wants to spend her next three years like.

     

    She sees how sometimes, the teachers and top students will start mocking the 3-E students in a bout of public humiliation, and will frown at it.

    She sees how sometimes, words of fear will pass among the students who fail at a subject, saying how they don’t wish to be moved to class E by the time they get into third year.

    She sees how sometimes that fear motivates students to try harder, to do better.

    She sees how other times that fear simply makes some students get even more pessimistic and afraid, which ends with them failing more and more often.

    She doesn’t know if she likes it, this system.

    It has its merit, of course—she sees how it makes students aim for the top, makes students more diligent and motivated in studying—but there’s a feeling in her chest that tells her that it doesn’t have to be like this, that it shouldn’t be like this.

    She wonders how her upperclassmen in 3-E manage to continue on, how they’re holding up.

    Because surely, to be constantly under this pressure, this discrimination, it can’t be healthy.

    There are, after all, different types of people, and as someone who will probably break down under too much pressure, she sympathizes.

    There’s bound to be 3-E students who are unable to climb back up to the top, who are unable to make themselves motivated.

    It’s just one year, she thinks, after a year, they will be free from this and gets a new start in another high school.

    She has faith her upperclassmen can hold out. And besides, she has never heard of an extreme breakdown coming from previous 3-E students, who had graduated and yodeled away from Kunugigaoka.

    Therefore, she stays silent.

    (And then, one day, she doesn’t).

  2. Public Bookmark *

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    Gakushuu ungrits his teeth with difficulty. “Principal, Akabane isn’t courting me. This isn’t what courting looks like. Courting is the furthest thing from our minds.”

    Language:
    English
    Words:
    4,025
    Chapters:
    1/1
    Comments:
    51
    Kudos:
    969
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    173
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    21 May 2018

    Bookmarker's Notes

    It starts with the cake.

    Actually, no, that’s inaccurate. It actually starts with the principal not knowing when to leave his fifteen year old son to stew in his own rage and comes up, lays a pseudo-understanding hand on his shoulder, and says, with a voice oozing false sympathy, “Asano-kun? Is something the matter?”

    As if he didn’t know. The cake -a spectacle of bright pinks and whites, and the most insulting thing was that it looked pretty good- was sitting right there, mockingly, right in the middle of the dining table.

    “Wouldn’t you like to know,” Gakushuu mumbles from his face-plant into the desk.

    “Now, now,” says the principal; he’s not even trying to hide how much he’s enjoying this. “Asano-kun, as an elite member of society, you must learn not to let trivialities bring you down.”

    Fuck him and his stupid smirky voice. Gakushuu thinks very seriously about flipping the table over, cake and all, but reconsiders grudgingly. It wouldn’t look very good in court, and if there’s anything that’ll appease him right now it’s an avalanche of cash hard-earned through setting his father up.

    “I’m fairly certain it’s neither of our birthdays, however?” The principal’s tone is puzzled and curious. “What a lovely cake.”

    “Isn’t it just,” Gakushuu grits out.

    The principal steps forward to look at it closely, and Gakushuu hears the inhale as he reads the pink icing message. “Ah,” he says cheerfully. “I see that Karma-kun dropped by.”

    Gakushuu finally raises his head and says, in a voice as flat as cardboard, “He baked that thing. He bought the ingredients, took the time and effort to learn the recipe, and made that.” His eyes land on the cake-message again: CONGRATULATIONS ON BEING NUMBER TWO, and a bunch of emojis and exclamation marks everywhere.

    Gakushuu feels like setting something on fire.

    “Ah, but I can’t say I’m surprised,” says the principal. He prods at the pretty strawberry designs and looks pleased. “As the top student of our great school, Karma-kun is quite right to show a diversity of skills."

    Gakushuu honestly can’t tell who seems to enjoy rubbing his face in those three missing points more, the principal or Akabane. He’s never been backed into a corner like this before. He supposes he should treat it like an educational experience and not murder either of them. Even if he couldn’t be convicted -of course he wouldn’t, as if he’d commit a crime unprepared- but the bad publicity was unavoidable and potentially harmful to his budding conglomerate.

    “Nonetheless, I’m not certain how I feel about this whole affair, Asano-kun,” says his father in tones of great confidentiality.

    “What affair, Principal?” he asks.

    The principal looks fond when his voice cracks.

    “This,” he says, glancing at the hellcake. “Our school’s number one courting you.”

    “IT WAS ONE TIME,” Gakushuu growls. “HE HAD THREE STUPID- wait, what?”

    His father -his mentor, his rival- eats bite-sized morsels of decorative strawberry and makes contented noises. “Akabane Karma as a son-in-law is not an unattractive prospect.”

    Gakushuu ungrits his teeth with difficulty. “Principal, Akabane isn’t courting me. This isn’t what courting looks like. Courting is the furthest thing from our minds.”

    “I suppose you have something by way of candlelit dinners and handholding in mind.” He sighs; heavily, as if Gakushuu has just handed him a great burden. “My methods of education have mighty flaws indeed if your approach to romance is so stale, Asano-kun.”

    Gakushuu takes a moment to shut his eyes and think about all the cliffs in the world, all waiting for him to push his father and Akabane over them.

    The principal takes his speechless fury as supplication. “In the act of courting, one must adhere to the broad theories of romance, but be flexible in the execution. When dealing with a specimen as difficult as you, Asano-kun, Karma-kun has surveyed the field and come up with a winning strategy to keep your interest. And I commend him for it. His great aptitude marks him out as the greatest in a school of champions.”

    The last needle barely registers. Gakushuu’s too busy staring at him in a mixture of horror and calculation. “You’ve finally lost it,” he notes. “Unless this is a foundation towards pleading insanity in the upcoming trial. If so, let me tell you right now-”

    “Believe what you will, Asano-kun,” his father hums. He pops a final strawberry in his mouth, and stands up. “Please remember that he’ll have to keep his perfect scores if the two of you wish to receive my blessing.”

    Under Gakushuu’s fingers, the table splinters. The principal walks away whistling.

  3. Public Bookmark 40

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    Summary

    “Ah, but no need to worry. It’s not a scandal or anything. If you do a Google search all you’ll get for his name will be a bunch of research articles and a poem by a four year old boy about how amazing Gakushuu-onii-chan is. The poem’s real. I checked.”

    Series
    Language:
    English
    Words:
    1,689
    Chapters:
    1/1
    Comments:
    14
    Kudos:
    455
    Bookmarks:
    40
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    21 May 2018

    Bookmarker's Notes

    “Wait, Karma-kun!” Now recovered, Sensei steeples his fingers together and looks at him, serious face on. “Is it true that you’ve encountered your soulmate?”

    Karma freezes up for a split second, because dammit, he’s not used to talking about it yet. And it doesn’t seem quite real- Gakushuu isn’t quite real, the way he’s too sharp, too smart, and understands all the important things and uses them for all the wrong reasons. When they were in high school, Nagisa said that the person who could stand being bound by fate to Karma would either be blind with love or an actual evil mastermind. It was obvious which type Nagisa had been fervently hoping it would be; once they’d met Gakushuu, Nagisa had silently walked into his room and hadn’t come out for three days.

    “Hm? And where’d you hear that, stalker sensei?” Karma says and watches his manager’s face go so red steam comes out of his ears, making Sensei cover his face with his hands and make little distressed noises. Karma sings, “Ah, but no need to worry. It’s not a scandal or anything. If you do a Google search all you’ll get for his name will be a bunch of research articles and a poem by a four year old boy about how amazing Gakushuu-onii-chan is. The poem’s real. I checked.”

    He waits for sensei to snap out of his funk. Presently he does, saying, “But that’s not what Sensei was worried about, Karma-kun. I’m told that he has an… interesting… personality.”

    “He made everyone sign a contract to never buy parfaits from anywhere except the café where he works,” Karma says, laughing. “He was going to sue the reporters for some made-up reason but I think he got bored. The café owners are set for life.”

    Less exciting is the way on their second meeting, Gakushuu had eyed him (Karma admits he had been hassling the other waiters quite a bit, but only because he’d wanted to see Gakushuu) and made a quick comment about his abandonment issues that was both terrifyingly accurate and funny. Karma now understands what other people were talking about when they called him a handful.

    “He expects me to keep up with him on his own terms,” Karma says, slow, thoughtful. “Isn’t that the level of selfishness and arrogance you’d expect from someone who can last being my soulmate? And the minimum requirement for a soulmate in general, I think.”

    He looks at sensei. Sensei looks back at him.

    Then, Sensei starts crying.

    “What the-”

    “Karma-kun is leaving the nest!” Sensei blubbers between sobs, reaching for his box of tissues and pulling out about twenty. “My cute protégé is all grown up! He’s found another delinquent to spend the rest of his life with and now he has no need for sensei!”

    Karma grins. He’s got a running joke within the café, for whenever Gakushuu pulls out his mind control bullshit: lurking behind him and whispering, I am simply one hell of a waiter. Gakushuu looks ready to stab each and every person on the planet whenever it happens and it’s really great. “He’s not a delinquent,” he tells sensei. “He’s simply one hell of a waiter.”

    Sensei stops wiping his nose long enough to say, “He’s an Asano, Karma-kun. Do not let whatever that happens between you two make you forget that.”

    Karma gives him a long look. Everybody in the business -and a fair few people besides- knew about the bitter rivalry between the Asano conglomerate and 3E, Sensei’s own small but incredibly successful company. He’s heard rumors that the older Asano keeps pictures of Sensei pinned to a series of dartboards and makes his employees practice on them every morning; Sensei retaliates by being a total fucking scaredy-cat and cowering in his seat whenever Asano Gakuho’s name comes up in conversation.

    Finally he says, “Spare me your sob stories of your breakup with Asano Senior, Koro-sensei.” While sensei splutters, Karma tinkles his fingers in a wave. “See ya.”

  4. Public Bookmark 40

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    Summary

    “Ah, but no need to worry. It’s not a scandal or anything. If you do a Google search all you’ll get for his name will be a bunch of research articles and a poem by a four year old boy about how amazing Gakushuu-onii-chan is. The poem’s real. I checked.”

    Series
    Language:
    English
    Words:
    1,689
    Chapters:
    1/1
    Comments:
    14
    Kudos:
    455
    Bookmarks:
    40
    Hits:
    4317

    21 May 2018

    Bookmarker's Notes

    “Wait, Karma-kun!” Now recovered, Sensei steeples his fingers together and looks at him, serious face on. “Is it true that you’ve encountered your soulmate?”

    Karma freezes up for a split second, because dammit, he’s not used to talking about it yet. And it doesn’t seem quite real- Gakushuu isn’t quite real, the way he’s too sharp, too smart, and understands all the important things and uses them for all the wrong reasons. When they were in high school, Nagisa said that the person who could stand being bound by fate to Karma would either be blind with love or an actual evil mastermind. It was obvious which type Nagisa had been fervently hoping it would be; once they’d met Gakushuu, Nagisa had silently walked into his room and hadn’t come out for three days.

    “Hm? And where’d you hear that, stalker sensei?” Karma says and watches his manager’s face go so red steam comes out of his ears, making Sensei cover his face with his hands and make little distressed noises. Karma sings, “Ah, but no need to worry. It’s not a scandal or anything. If you do a Google search all you’ll get for his name will be a bunch of research articles and a poem by a four year old boy about how amazing Gakushuu-onii-chan is. The poem’s real. I checked.”

    He waits for sensei to snap out of his funk. Presently he does, saying, “But that’s not what Sensei was worried about, Karma-kun. I’m told that he has an… interesting… personality.”

    “He made everyone sign a contract to never buy parfaits from anywhere except the café where he works,” Karma says, laughing. “He was going to sue the reporters for some made-up reason but I think he got bored. The café owners are set for life.”

    Less exciting is the way on their second meeting, Gakushuu had eyed him (Karma admits he had been hassling the other waiters quite a bit, but only because he’d wanted to see Gakushuu) and made a quick comment about his abandonment issues that was both terrifyingly accurate and funny. Karma now understands what other people were talking about when they called him a handful.

    “He expects me to keep up with him on his own terms,” Karma says, slow, thoughtful. “Isn’t that the level of selfishness and arrogance you’d expect from someone who can last being my soulmate? And the minimum requirement for a soulmate in general, I think.”

    He looks at sensei. Sensei looks back at him.

    Then, Sensei starts crying.

    “What the-”

    “Karma-kun is leaving the nest!” Sensei blubbers between sobs, reaching for his box of tissues and pulling out about twenty. “My cute protégé is all grown up! He’s found another delinquent to spend the rest of his life with and now he has no need for sensei!”

    Karma grins. He’s got a running joke within the café, for whenever Gakushuu pulls out his mind control bullshit: lurking behind him and whispering, I am simply one hell of a waiter. Gakushuu looks ready to stab each and every person on the planet whenever it happens and it’s really great. “He’s not a delinquent,” he tells sensei. “He’s simply one hell of a waiter.”

    Sensei stops wiping his nose long enough to say, “He’s an Asano, Karma-kun. Do not let whatever that happens between you two make you forget that.”

    Karma gives him a long look. Everybody in the business -and a fair few people besides- knew about the bitter rivalry between the Asano conglomerate and 3E, Sensei’s own small but incredibly successful company. He’s heard rumors that the older Asano keeps pictures of Sensei pinned to a series of dartboards and makes his employees practice on them every morning; Sensei retaliates by being a total fucking scaredy-cat and cowering in his seat whenever Asano Gakuho’s name comes up in conversation.

    Finally he says, “Spare me your sob stories of your breakup with Asano Senior, Koro-sensei.” While sensei splutters, Karma tinkles his fingers in a wave. “See ya.”

  5. Public Bookmark 54

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    Summary

    Akabane Karma looks both delighted and pissed off by Gakushuu's mere existence, and Gakushuu's glad the feeling's mutual.

    Series
    Language:
    English
    Words:
    2,074
    Chapters:
    1/1
    Comments:
    31
    Kudos:
    517
    Bookmarks:
    54
    Hits:
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    21 May 2018

    Bookmarker's Notes

    As for the fourth, Gakushuu has no idea what a guy like him is doing in an idol group in the first place.

    It’s not that he’s unattractive -he might actually be the most classically handsome of them all. But there’s an edge to his smirk, and those eyes- Gakushuu wasn’t aware that would laugh at others’ misfortune and probably caused it in the first place was an accepted character type in popular culture. The fourth boy -the redhead, whose name is listed as Akabane Karma- looks like he’s ready to cut the photographer and dance around in the pool of blood in all the group shots. There are no single pictures of him.

    “What a good-looking sociopath,” Gakushuu mumbles.

    Yoshioka-san’s eyes take on a dangerous glint. “As expected of Gakushuu-kun! Karma’s my favorite too, isn’t he the coolest?”

    “Um,” says Gakushuu.

    “I mean, look at the way he’s always got his hands in his pockets! He’s totally the little devil type, don’t you think? Ah, but he’s a genius as well, he’s the one who writes all their music. His songs are really in demand, other artists want them too.”

    Gakushuu begins to feel a little sorry for the other members of E for End. “Really.”

    “He’s the one behind that whole scandal with the Chinese lyrics.” Yoshioka-san grips the chair she’s adjusting fervently. Gakushuu reflects that one never really knows a person until they bring up the topic of their favorite idol group. “You must know about that, Gakushuu-kun. One of the songs he wrote for another group had a verse in Mandarin, and apparently no one bothered checking what it meant, so for a while there was this huge summer hit making everyone insult themselves without knowing.” She beams. “Don’t you think that’s amazing?”

    He really doesn’t. What he does think is that society is doomed because one of its elite was a real-life delinquent with a ridiculous sense of humor.

    Before he can voice this, however, their manager calls that they open in ten minutes and that they should get their asses in gear.

     

    Gakushuu doesn’t hear the rest of the lecture. Heat blooms from the side of his neck, spreading like wildfire to the rest of his nerve endings. He grimaces and covers his Mark, trying not to yelp when the contact burns.

    He slowly turns around towards the spot in the corner of his vision that glows bright, demanding attention. His stomach churns. Not all of it is dread.

    He makes out a pair of wide golden eyes before the feeling turns into an electric shock that rings through every cell in his body. He keeps his eyes open somehow, staring, a little overwhelmed despite himself. The boy -who’s covering his neck in a way that’s the mirror-image of Gakushuu- stares back.

    The intensity doesn’t die down, but Gakushuu orients himself on it, like a sailor struggling to his feet in the middle of a storm. He stays frozen on the spot, and Akabane Karma half-stands, wonder written on every beautiful line of his face.

    Then he says, “You’re Asano Gakushuu.”

    Gakushuu -there’s no other word for it- gapes at him.

    Akabane Karma then feels the need to add, “You built that shitty robot.”

    Gakushuu processes this. Then he says -calm, despite the ringing in his ears, the irritation and the feeling in his bones that this was the start of something tremendous and thrillingly unknowable, endless- “And you’re Akabane Karma, fan of ungrammatical insults and subpar writing.”

    Karma’s mouth hikes up in a grin like he can’t help it, even as he tilts his head challengingly. His whole face lights up when he smiles- there’s mischief and a dash of wickedness and so much bright, sharp intelligence it’s breathtaking. Gakushuu feels like he’s walked into a wall. Maybe multiple walls.

    “Yeah, you’re my soulmate alright,” Akabane Karma grins. “Please take care of me, Unoriginal Inventor-san. Why are you here, anyway? Don’t tell me-- you’re here for an autograph. You’re actually my biggest fan, aren’t you?”

    “I work here,” Gakushuu says, annoyed. “And call me Gakushuu."

    Akabane Karma looks both delighted and pissed off by Gakushuu's mere existence, and Gakushuu's glad the feeling's mutual. "Then, I look forward to being soulmates with you, Gakushuu-kun."

    The cutesy way he sings Gakushuu's name is really infuriating.

    Gakushuu grins, razor-sharp and challenging, in a way he hasn't for a long time. "Try to keep up."