Akira Kurusu was a strange person.
With all the talk floating around the school, you’d think he was a serial killer or something. The plain boy with the dull black hair who sat in the back of class 2-D knew his classmates had a tendency for exaggeration- the same had happened with Ann and with him before too.
But boy was the school talking- the gossip sparked anew with the arrival of the new transfer student. It was nearly comical the way some people at Shujin Academy whispered in the corners, crafting a list of faux offenses so long the truth was nearly lost.
It preceded him, and the guy who showed up to class, next to a very exasperated Kawakami, was the antithesis of it all. Calm, reserved, polite. The class broke into a chatter when he introduced himself.
The boy in the back’s ears perked up, though he feigned disinterest in the whole thing. He didn’t know at the time how much this transfer student would matter. Or how much Kawakami seating the curly haired teen in front of him would make this one strange year.
The first on the long list of strange things he now had to deal with was a cat.
He blinked twice, not believing his own eyes.
Is that a cat?!
The plain boy nearly sputtered, breaking into a coughing fit that earned him a serious glare from Ushimaru. He calmed himself, hands gripping the edge of his desk as he leaned awkwardly- because there was no way someone would bring a cat to school.
A tail flicked from inside the desk- black and fluffy. He leaned farther. From the depths of the desk, he could swear he saw a white paw. Was this guy completely bonkers? At the thought, there was a sudden weightlessness and a screech of the feet of his desk as one side tipped too far; and the next thing he knew, he was crashing to the floor. The girl next to him yelped, as he groaned seeing stars in the fluorescent lighting overhead.
A dark curly mop of hair broke into the blinding light, looking down at him with the trademarks of confusion strewn across his face- like he was the weird one!
And the first thing the boy with glasses ever said to him was, “Are you okay?”
Turned out the cat was going to be a recurring theme. The dark-haired boy took to referring to it as Little Bandit- it seemed appropriate given its sneaking into school. Also, its feet looked like little white gloves.
Which he totally didn’t think was cute.
It still perplexed him why a kid who was on probation, whom the teachers were eager to expel, would risk bringing a cat to school every single day. OR how literally no one else seemed to notice when it would break into a stream of chirping meows- with Akira nodding or whispering to it.
Which was a whole new level of weird.
But of course, he would never say anything about it; he wasn’t a snitch. Even though, it made him curious and stayed in his mind well after his metro ride home. He could have asked about it, but he was never able to muster enough courage to talk to Akira.
It was always Akira who would talk to him first.
The boy had his nose stuck in some algebra problems, writing furiously so he could finish the assignment before class was over. His attention was broken by the tapping of fingers against his desk. He jumped slightly, when he raised his head to meet Akira’s face- looking as calm and cool as ever.
Why was he always so damn cool? It was unfair. The transfer student had that casual smirk on his lips and a sly glint in his eyes underneath those thick frames. Like a cat- the realization hit him, and he bit back a laugh.
It came out as a stuttering awkward noise. Akira quirked an eyebrow that made him want to die from embarrassment. Heat rose to his face as he tried to play it cool. “Uh- hey, what’s up?”
Akira leaned on the elbow he placed the boy’s desk. The plain boy sunk farther back in his chair, chased away by the proximity of the transfer student. The look in his eye suddenly made him feel like a mouse. “Ah-“
“Can I borrow a pen? Mine’s out of ink.”
“Oh, yeah. Sure thing-“ The boy breathed a sigh of relief, and he reached for the green case at the edge of his desk, which was way too close to Kurusu’s tapping fingers. The way Akira watched his every movement, with a scrutiny he’d only ever felt from teacher’s who thought he was cheating on a test, made his hand quiver. Luckily, he fished out a pen without spilling the whole case on the floor like a total embarrassment.
He shoved it into Akira’s hand; but the guy didn’t move. Instead, Akira eyed the item, his eyes going round. “Oh cool! Jack Frost. This is collectible, right? I think I’ve seen the set in Akihabara.”
Huh? Was Akira still talking? His mouth was moving, but the plain boy found himself caught up in the subtle transformation- how his eyes twinkled with each fast-paced word- from intimidating and cool to excited and adorable.
Scratch that last thought. He shoved it to the back of his mind and blinked, as he came back to reality. “What?”
“Oh- uh- yeah.” He added lamely, shifting in his seat. His eyes glanced at the window- anywhere that wasn’t Akira’s face. It was making him feel too warm and too strange. The smile on the curly haired boy’s face wasn’t helping. He bit out, strained and breathless. “It was a raffle prize.”
“Neat. If one happens again, would you let me know?”
“Ah, n-no problem.”
If he thought Akira was weird in the spring with his ever present blue-eyed cat, his obsession with collecting every single vending machine drink, or that time he saw the guy finish off the Big Bang Burger challenge in 10 minutes flat (which was frankly terrifying), he was in for a shock come summer.
Kawakami left the class room to give them a free period- something that caught the plain boy off guard. But hey, he wasn’t complaining, doing work in school meant he had plenty of free time after it.
Though he didn’t end up getting much work done, not when the curly-haired boy in front of him set one of his books on edge. Little Bandit started to meow up a storm. He couldn’t help but watch the strange interaction. That is until the cat shot him a pointed glare- if cats could really do that.
He looked back down at his textbook quickly, daring to peek back up a minute later.
What the heck? Akira was carving something out of metal, bending the thin wire to shape. Akira rotated the metal object in his hand thoughtfully before setting it down and starting another one.
Okay. Okay. Curiosity was getting the best of him. He had to know what Akira was doing. He got up, pretending to leave for the bathroom so he could cast a glance onto Akira’s desk in passing. He almost stopped when he realized what Akira was making. Lock picks?? Why would a teenager need lock picks? To sneak around the city? But pretty much everything in Tokyo locked electronically anyways.
This guy was so strange.
When he came back Akira was work on something else. He tried not to let his gaze linger long enough to be suspicious. Akira filled a glass bottle with assorted measured powders, let out a low hum in approval when he capped it.
The dull-haired boy was shook. He sat down, steadying his breath. He couldn’t be- there was no way. But that seemed an awful lot like a bomb. What the heck was with Akira Kurusu?
There were only two explanations that popped into his mind. He was either yakuza or veritably crazy.
The next day, Akira caught him just as the boy was packing his bag to leave school. He tugged on his sneakers when the curly haired teen sauntered up and leaned against the lockers. “I lost it.”
He jumped, almost tipping over. The only thing that held him steady was Akira’s arm on his own. Why did stuff like this keep happening? His surprise resulted in a rather exasperated, “What?”
Akira was unfazed. “Your pen.”
His… pen. Oh, that pen. It was a little irritating, he supposed, but this was Akira. And Akira simultaneously terrified, intrigued, and confused him. “Oh? That’s okay.”
He was about to turn to leave but a hand hit the side of the locker next to his head, blocking his path. He breathed in sharply as Akira leaned a little too close. The strong scent of coffee filled his senses, as the other spoke on. “No way. I feel bad. I’ll make it up to you.”
“N-no. You don’t need to do that.”
Akira’s arm dropped back to his side. “Yeah, I do. Everyone calls me a troublemaker. The last thing I need to be called is a thief.” There was that glint in his eyes again. The one that made his knees weak and his heart hasten.
Akira patted his back lightly, gesturing back into the building- likely going to pick up the Friday special from the student store. The boy shivered as the contact burned a tingling imprint into his skin. “Meet at the station in a few. We’ll go to the diner in Shibuya- I was going to study anyways since it’s raining.”
Akira smiled at him- happy, earnest, and way too pretty. “My treat.”
The boy gulped.