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Troublesome in a Whole New Way

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The thing hanging in Gamagoori Ira's locker was offensive to him for several reasons.

Mainly, however, it was because the school lockers of the upperclassmen were on one of the topmost levels of the school, and upperclassmen with a three-star Goku uniform had a special room separate to the lesser students with bolstered security, yet someone had obviously had access to his locker nonetheless and had gotten into it. The thing inside his locker was a glaring admission of that.

'WHAT,' he boomed in a voice only suited to the head of the disciplinary committee, a tremor of indignation to his tone, 'IS THE MEANING OF THIS?'

Unfortunately for him—or perhaps fortunately, as Jakuzure would have had a field day with this discovery—there was no one else around to answer the question; the room was empty. The student council were the only ones with access to the private locker room, and it seemed everyone else was busy elsewhere.

Snatching the item from his locker and holding it in a clenched fist, his temples thudding as his blood pressure rose, the disciplinary committee leader charged out of the room and headed for the student council meeting room; he knew for a fact Inumuta was there, the technician was rarely anywhere else unless it was in the sewing room exchanging information with the head of the sewing club.

'I DEMAND TO SEE CAMERA FOOTAGE OF THE LOCKER ROOM THIS INSTANT.'

Inumuta Houka barely even twitched as Gamagoori's bulk slammed its way through the door, though he did look up from the computer screen's glow with the faintest hint of disdain at the command. 'From when?' he had learned long ago that arguing with the disciplinary chairman was generally pointless and would lead you in circles until you just complied with his requests. That was if you were a three-star. If you were any rung below him, you didn't argue, ever.

'TODAY.' the chairman sounded a little more agitated than usual, observed the intelligence expert. Gamagoori drew himself to his full, rather impressive height and seemed to regain some control. 'This morning I visited my locker at exactly six-fifty, leaving ample time to make it to the morning club-president meeting. I need the footage of the locker room since then.'

'What is that you're holding?'

'THIS INSTANT, IF YOU PLEASE, HEAD OF INTELLIGENCE INUMUTA.'

With a resigned sigh, Inumuta drew up the camera feeds with only a couple of keystrokes, rewound the footage as comman--as requested, set it at a higher speed so hours of footage would only take a short while to get through and then pushed himself back away from the desk just in time to get out of Gamagoori's way as he seized the laptop in both hands, glaring accusingly at the screen.

For a while nothing happened as Inumuta watched Gamagoori stand hunched over the laptop, the little machine dwarfed in the older student's fists, before suddenly every muscle in the disciplinary chair's body tensed. He slammed the laptop back down on the desk with such force a webbed crack instantly shot across the screen and again, Inumuta barely even blinked. This wasn't the first computer Gamagoori had unintentionally broken and it wouldn't be the last.

'There will be consequences.' muttered the chairman irritably, before he stormed from the room just  as quickly as he'd come.

Inumuta quietly swept the laptop off the desk into the trash receptacle beneath and pulled out another.


'SECOND-YEAR, CLASS K, MANKANSHOKU MAKO.' The sound carried all the way across the academy's courtyard and froze many students in place before the sighs of relief came that it was not their name being called.

He had not forgotten the second-year student, not since the last No-Late Day on which she had lectured him on the safety of pyjama-wearing. People did not talk back to the student council, so when it did happen, Gamagoori remembered. He took pride in remembering.

Students tripped over themselves (and each other) to get out of his way as he strode purposefully through the courtyard. Anyone who did not get out of the way fast enough got a… friendly nudge out of the way with the chairman’s spiked gauntlets. He knew where to find the student he was after, there were cameras that covered every inch of the school, and Mako ate lunch in the same place every day.

She looked up at him with wide eyes when his shadow fell across her and her lunchbox of unidentifiable food. ‘Gamagoori-senpai!’ came the exclamation, somewhat bewildered, mostly inexhaustible enthusiasm. ‘Have you finished your lunch already? If you eat too fast you’ll get a stomach-ache.’

The disciplinary chair visibly bristled. ‘I will eat later, I have more pressing issues at hand. Namely, this—‘ he thrust the item in his hand out in front of him, right in Mako’s face. ‘—and what it was doing in my locker. And its purpose.’

She stared, first at his face, then down to his hand, then back up to his face. ‘Senpai, that is an apron.’ Her tone was careful now, as if she were explaining something to a child. ‘You know, for cooking? I heard from a classmate you were taking home economics now and that you didn’t even wear an apron over your Goku uniform. It’s white, Gamagoori-senpai, what if you spill something on it? It might stain.’

‘I know what it is, underclassman.’ He said through gritted teeth.

‘But you just—‘

‘—it is, however, entirely impractical! Where on earth did you get this?’

‘I made it in sewing club.’ She beamed so brightly he nearly dropped his gaze. ‘In the initiation session but in the end Shirou-senpai wouldn’t let me join officially, because I’m not good enough. It’s okay though, isn’t it?’

‘There are ruffles.’ He was losing steam, quickly, and he knew it. He was finding it difficult to maintain even a fragment of the indignant rage he had initially felt upon discovery on the apron in his locker. ‘There is no need for ruffles on an article of clothing used in cookery. It is also pink. Pink is not the uniform colour of this school!’

‘But it’s a cute colour!’ she declared brightly, reaching up and taking the sides of the apron in her hands to stretch it wide and admire her handy-work. ‘And there is a pocket, too. Pockets are practical. I had to use a lot of fabric to make it in your size, senpai. Shirou-senpai kept telling me my measurements must have been wrong.’

‘There is a heart on the pocket.’

Big eyes met his. ‘Because I think you have a big heart, senpai.’

Something inside Gamagoori’s mind broke and the fire in him was instantly snuffed out. Coming from anyone else, the words would have carried condescension and he’d heard enough of that from Sanageyama or Jakuzure to be wary of it, but there was nothing but pure honesty in Mako’s voice. This was not something he was accustomed to. He didn’t know how to handle innocent, open kindness because he was the disciplinary chairman and the only students he was meant to deal with were the troublesome ones.

Mankanshoku Mako was troublesome, but in a way entirely foreign to him.

‘You broke into the upperclassmen locker room.’ He was floundering now and he knew it. ‘That is a punishable offense.’

‘Did I?!’ Mako looked honestly shocked and her eyes got even bigger, which Gamagoori hadn’t thought possible. ‘Wow I didn’t realise I was capable of that! That’s pretty amazing, right?’ She shot to her feet and stood firm, feet planted apart, one fist in the air. ‘I’m capable of a lot of things you know! I even surprise myself! I didn’t even think I could sew until I made your apron. You’ll wear it, right? If you spill food on your uniform and have to put it in the wash, what will you wear to school? I know you’re a busy man, senpai, but you have to think of these things. Think.’

Gamagoori didn’t want to admit that Mako hadn’t exactly broken in to the locker room… that on the cameras he’d seen her simply walk in after Sanageyama had neglected to lock it properly behind him. He would have words with Sanageyama about that later. It would certainly be a lot easier than this.

Holding up the apron, he scrutinised it for a long moment. He supposed it was honestly not that bad… and perhaps she had a point. Maintaining the white Goku uniforms could be a pain, and while he would never openly admit it, home economics was hardly a strong point of his. It was one of those difficult classes that couldn’t be conquered solely through pure determination.

‘I’m not supposed to accept gifts from other students.’ He grumbled, turning the garment over in his hands. ‘But as this is a useful item associated—albeit loosely—with the school curriculum, I suppose it is acceptable to do so in this case.’

‘Hurray!’ clapping her hands together in glee, Mako plopped herself back down on her seat and snatched up her lunchbox, stuffing a suspicious looking croquette in her mouth and spraying crumbs as she spoke. ‘It’s all very good and well to have you looking out for the safety of the academy and it’s students, Gamagoori-senpai, but you sometimes also need someone to look after you.’ Looking down at her lunch and then up at him, she held out the lunchbox. ‘Would you like some?’

‘No, thank you.’ He replied stiffly, crossing his arms over his chest. ‘I will leave you to your lunch, Mankanshoku Mako, with a verbal warning not to trespass on three-star property again. And I thank you for your gift. It will be most useful in future.’

He moved away at a swift pace, trying to ignore the way she yelled ‘Byyyeeee senpaaaai!’ after him, or the way he didn’t even have to look back over his shoulder to know that she was probably waving enthusiastically after him as well.

He had a home economics lesson in the afternoon and no student dared to so much as smirk in his direction at Gamagoori’s choice of outfit, because the glower they would be met with in return could probably have melted steel.