As the last bell rang signaling the end of the semester exam, everyone couldn't help but to cheer as they handed their answer sheet to the responsible teachers and tidied their stuff. Among the second years taking engineering course were six students who decided to gather at the club room. They didn't get that much occasion to talk to each others because of the two weeks of hard exam.
The first to arrive at Night Raid's hideout—odd name for a club name—was a young boy with short brown hair and emerald eyes. He held his bag with one hand while a sigh escaped him. The boy didn't waste that much time as he stepped in and put his bag on the conference table. The room wasn't that spacious as there was just a large conference table as well as a whiteboard and a mountain of carton box at the side.
The boy with the name of Tatsumi walked over to the windows and opened them as to air the room. With the glass windows open, the room already seemed livelier but became even livelier as a second individual followed. The newcomer was a taller girl wearing a pair of glasses. She didn't waste time placing her bag on the table and smiled at her classmate. "Hello, Tatsumi-san!"
"Had a hard day, didn't you, Sheere-san?"
The girl by the name of Sheere sighed as she took a seat. She wanted to clean the room but her girlfriend has banned her from ever touching a broom. "Yes. I think I totally goofed at C language."
"Oh." Tatsumi stated as he took the broom and started sweeping around. During exam period, students with the same course were divided around and assigned to random classroom. The brunette was of course assigned only with people he didn't know. "I have no confidence in Fluid Mechanic as well." He continued, feeling a little tired. "How about Mein? Wasn't she with you?"
"She said she wanted to grab some beverage." The pruplenette replied as she took her glasses off and cleaned them with a handkerchief. She has been lucky she ended in the same group as her girlfriend.
Their circle was composed of six members; all of them having different personalities and point of view but they had the same objective. They all wanted to change the world by revolutionizing the sector of industry. That was when they created "Night Raid" as to share each other's knowledge and get a better result.
"Sorry I am late." The door to the clubroom was slid open as a short girl with very long raven hair stepped in. She was followed by a taller blonde whose uniform was revealing some cleavage. The later decided to help Tatsumi with cleaning while the delinquent-looking girl took seat beside Sheere. Akame took her role very seriously and it didn't take them long to get the room nickel. "All done!"
The four of them then gathered around the conference room. "So, it was a hell of exam, wasn't it?" Leone started as she placed both hands on her head and relaxed on her seat. Her uniform was composed of an unbuttoned short-sleeve white shirt and a tank top underneath it as well as some short black shorts and battle boots. Since it was winter, she had a scarf around her neck, but to be honest, she always had it because it was a graduation gift from her girlfriend.
"I totally goofed C language…" Sheere looked down with a sigh. She was wearing a long-sleeved buttoned shirt as well as a long skirt reaching bellow her knees. In addition to that, she had a blue ribbon serving as necktie and wore Chinese design shoes. "I was unable to respond to the second question."
"You mean the one where they ask us to write a code for a program that sorts the elements of two charts?" Akane asked as she took some snacks from her backpack. In contrast to her friends, the stoic girl wore sleeveless black buttoned shirt and a miniskirt as well as Japanese design shoes. "I think I skipped that one as well. I mean I started it but then realized I got something wrong and stopped there to focus on the next exercise."
Tatsumi just remained silent as he thought about his answers. He then rested his neck on the chair's back and looked up at the ceiling. "Well… There is no use thinking back about it. We just need to believe in what we did." His outfit was composed of a white shirt with black pants as well as a pair of sneakers and a dark blue necktie.
"You are right I guess." The meek girl responded with a smile.
"There is no use in being nervous." Leone followed with a grin as she placed her arms on the table. "Now, we need to focus about the holiday. We should definitely do something for New Year."
"Like doing present exchange!" The blonde exclaimed while standing up. "I mean we could organize a party at Tatsumi's place and bring present and snacks—"
"Snacks!" Akame's eyes widened as the conversation got her interest.
"—and drinks. We could play lot of games and it might end up with lot of embarrassing memories for Tatsumi and Lubba."
"Absolutely no way!" The door was slid open as two new people entered the room. The girl had long pink hair attached in pigtail while her uniform was a frillier version of the girl's uniform in addition to a large pink ribbon necktie and long silk stockings with her childish shoes. "Your plans are always bothersome. Last time, it took us a whole day to clean the clubroom."
"Oh. You mean when we decided to light fireflies at the clubroom last summer?" Her girlfriend—Sheere—stated as she stood up and helped the shorter girl with her stuffs. Mein was holding two large plastic bags full of fruit juice in addition to her bag so the airhead has helped her putting the drinks on the table.
The other boy who entered the room had green hair cut above the shoulders and wore a large jacket over the regular uniform. He just quietly took place across from Tatsumi and by Leone's left. "Though I think we definitely need to party for New Year eve. I was thinking we could rent some anime DVDs and watch them at Tatsumi's place."
"Why always my place?"
"Because you are the only one whose parents won't chew even if we do stupid things." The blonde smirked as she moved her right hand as to take her girlfriend in a hug. "The landlord at my place is a total asshole. Also, Kurome is sick so we can't do it at Akame's house."
"Kurome is sick?" Mein asked as she looked at the girl sitting across her. By her left was Sheere while Tatsumi was at her right. "That explain why she felt so weak during the exam."
The sister of the concerned girl nodded, letting Leone continue to hug her. "She caught a cold this Tuesday but still insisted to continue so I didn't stop her."
Lubbock sighed as he heard that. "I admit that having two weeks of exam is a total pain in the ass." He complained. "While deciding to take polytechnic course, I haven't thought about how tough engine studies would be this much troublesome."
"I agree." The pinkette agreed with the pervert for once. "I just didn't want to take Management or Letter or even Medicine course so I went with my second choice."
"You truly like mechanic after all, huh, Mein-chan?"
Mein's face turned pink at her girlfriend's comment but she didn't object. After all, she used to be a proud member of the automobile club back in high school. That was when the two of them met and became friends with each others as Mein always found herself helping her klutzy friend.
"Well… Whatever." The sane man sighed as he relaxed on his seat. "I guess we have no other choice but to do it at my place—"
"Yahoo!" Leone interrupted him as she cheered. By doing so, she stood up and her action made her pick Akame up as well and the stoic girl found herself like a hamster as she was trying to munch her snack takoyaki.
"—however, we need to put limits and rules." Tatsumi continued as a vein popped atop his head from anger. "First, no alcohol!"
"Heeein? But why?" whimpered the blonde.
"Second, I don't want a noise complain so do not even think about bringing a complete DJing material." He eyed at the boy across him. Lubbock just pretended to be whistling as he avoided eye contact. "Third and last, truth and dare is totally banned."
"Whyyyy?" whimpered Leone even louder as she let go of her girlfriend and slammed her hand on the table.
"Because it always turns catastrophic every time." The one to respond was the pinkette sitting across her. "I am always the victim to these games."
"But I think last year was really fun though." The girl sitting beside Mein giggled as she voiced her opinion. "Last Christmas, when we had a party at Akame's place, we made some good memories I will never forget. After all, it was that night that you confessed to me."
As the glasses-wearing girl was beaming a very happy smile, the petite girl felt her face turning beet red out of sheer embarrassment. Every one else—save for Akame who just continued to eat—laughed as they remembered how Mein got a dare from the resident blonde who dared her to confess to the person she loved the most. Since everyone was drunk—Mein being drunk was very bold in contrast to her usual tsundere self—, they all laughed as the petite girl approached the purplenette and made a cliché angsty confession. Of course, her feelings got across and Sheere confessed back that if it was Mein, she didn't mind being in a relationship.
"It was the first time ever someone has confessed to me so I cherish these memories."
As everyone continued to giggle, the petite girl was still avoiding eye contact. Her hand, however, was meekly moving until reaching for Sheere's hand underneath the table, out of everyone else's reach, or so she thought. The purplenette felt surprised at the sudden contact but then as she saw Mein trying to conceal a smile, she also felt happy as she got the message.
Tatsumi, being seated by Mein's right, saw the action and just smiled at it. He was a childhood friend of Mein and the two of them always went to the same school. He never got interested in the bratty girl and when they entered high school, he felt like supporting Sheere when Mein introduced her new friend to their actual group of friend. He just felt like these two would make a couple.
"Whatever." It was Lubbock who brought everyone back to the reason. "It's settled about the party then!"
"Yeah! We'll all meet at Tatsumi's place tomorrow at 7:00PM." Leone concluded before standing up. "Well… I guess it concluded today's meeting. I guess I will be going home for now." She then grabbed Akame who stood up and grabbed their bag.
"Okay! Please tell Kurome that we hope she goes well soon." Sheere added as she also stood up, not letting go of her girlfriend's hand. "Shall we go home as well, Mein?"
The petite girl just nodded as she followed the taller girl, grabbing their bags in the process, leaving Tatsumi and Lubbock alone. As the four girls were out of the room, the green-haired boy grinned as he took his smartphone out of his pocket. "Tatsumi~"
"What?" The sane boy could already guess where this was going. Every time his best friend was using that tone, it never resulted in anything good.
"I have a plan for the party." Lubbock continued as he browsed the phone and showed a picture to the other boy. "We will text the girls later. Also, Bulat and Miss Najenda said they will be there as well."
Tatsumi couldn't help but to smile at that. "Bro is coming?" Looking at the screen, he concluded Lubbock's ideas could be good from time to time. "I guess we could do that."
Leone, Akame, Kurome and a fourth girl were on their way to Tatsumi's place. The last girl had bright orange hair and was taller, especially compared to the younger sister who clung to her. They were clad in more casual clothing and brought several bags containing snacks and drinks. Of course, the resident blonde ignored the boy's protest and brought alcoholic drink anyway.
While walking, they were talking about all kind of stuff. Since Kurome was still feeling tired, not fully recovered yet, her best friend has volunteered to help her. Seryuu was a childhood friend of Kurome's. Despite being one year older than her, the two of them always got along well.
"By the way," the older sister was the one who brought a change of topic, "Miss Esdeath has been acting kind of odd lately, don't you all think?"
"Mistress?" Seryuu questioned. Since she was an orphan, the Cold Technology Teacher has taken care of her. Seryuu's parents were working in the police department and were friends with Esdeath. The woman felt like wanting to take care of the orphan after her parent's accident and so the ginger started calling her mistress. "Now that you mention it," she placed her free hand on her chin as to think. Of course, her other arm was still supporting her friend. "She has acted odd and always avoided talking to me."
Leone just grinned from ear to ear as she had a theory in mind. "I think it has something to do with our teacher of Thermo-Mechanic~"
"Miss Najenda?" it was Kurome who asked that as she looked up at the taller girl. "I don't understand."
The blonde just grinned from ear to ear. "Oh~ You poor and innocent soul~" She teased, earning a punch in the gut from her girlfriend who wasn't please that someone bullied her beloved sister. Leone just chuckled as she didn't even feel the punch. "I will explain you. Esdeath and Najenda were classmates back in college. Both of them like women, yet both of them are single. Got it?"
Seryuu and Kurome both gave a tilt of the head as they still didn't get it. Akame sighed as she decided to just say it. "I think that Miss Najenda and Miss Esdeath are going out."
"What?" The ginger yelped in surprise as her face went a deep red color. "H-how shameless… Where is justice in all that? How could she do that without letting me know?"
Kurome just sighed as she didn't seem like surprised. Of course she was surprised but there was no point in getting too confused about it. "Whatever…"
It didn't take them long before reaching their destination. They just got in as the door was unlocked and were greeted by their friends who were already decorating the living room. In addition to their club members were two boys.
The first new person was a cheerful guy with short wavy blue hair. He wore a jacket over a T-shirt and jean pants. "Hey there!" He greeted the newcomers. "We are almost done with the preparations."
The second boy had bright blonde hair and wore a more formal buttoned shirt and jean pants. "Kurome, are you okay? You're still ill so you should rest for the time being." He voiced his concern as he saw that the girl's face was slightly pink from her cold.
Seryuu took the advice and brought her friend and crush to another room and laid her on a futon. Since the house wasn't that small, the got lot of space for the party and since they all knew that their younger friend was feeling ill but still wanted to take part in the party, the have prepared a bed for her.
The justice lover just continued to look after Kurome and allowed her to sleep some more. Since the party will only officially start in a good hour, they still had time so she took an apple from the plastic bag she brought and started pealing it before feeding her beloved friend.
Meanwhile, Tatsumi and Lubbock were preparing the sound material. The didn't go with too powerful ones as they needed to put a limit of noise. Leone and Akame just started unpacking the snacks and drinks while Mein and Sheere were at the kitchen. Wave and Run were helping with kitchen duty but they were more focused on sweet snacks while the girls' couple was preparing curry and rice.
After a while, it was time for diner. They thought it was better to have something to eat first before doing any party. After all, Tatsumi knew Leone wasn't going to listen to him and bring alcohol anyway so better get stuffed with food first. Mein went to the other room to call for Seryuu and fortunately, Kurome was also feeling well. Together, the three of them walked toward the living room where everyone else was.
Before they started though, four new people entered the room, both of them bringing plastic bags. "Hey there!"
"Bulat?" everyone cheered as they saw their tall Electromagnetism teacher walking in.
"Sorry for the intrusion." The short green-haired newcomer gave a small bow as he took her jacket off and walked in. "I got Miss Esdeath's message and since Honest said he wanted to visit his son for the eve, I decided to tag along this party of yours."
"Welcome in that case, young Emperor." Run joked and she motioned the newcomers in.
"Please do not call me like that." Makoto laughed. "I am not a big fan of that title. And since we are all classmates, let us just call each others by name."
At that comment, Kurome gave a pout. "I feel left out by that comment." She complained as she knew she was the only first year in their circle of friend. True they were all taking engineering course but then Akame, Leone, Tatsumi, Lubbock, Mein, Sheere, Run, Wave, Seryuu and even the young genius Makoto were both second years.
"You need not to worry about it, Kurome." Her sister comforted her, a mouthful of chicken barbeque. "We are all friends and you don't have to feel out of place."
Esdeath laughed at that. "Such cute display of sisterly love. It almost makes me want to torture you."
"Stop it!" The silver-haired woman beside her gave her a teasing punch. Both Najenda and Esdeath had long hair attached in braids and wore matching blue dresses.
Lubbock just whistled as he had a nosebleed. "Wooho! Yuri is here!"
"Yuri?" Tatsumi made a confused look.
"Poor innocent fool." Leone sighed as she took a plate from the table. "Anyway, let us just start the party already!"
And then the party started. They all ate and talked about their project for the New Year. Following that came a karaoke party while the older of them started drinking alongside the blonde girl. Without any of them realizing it, it was almost midnight and so they interrupted the singing contest as to allow Lubbock to express himself.
"We will now play a small game." He announced, taking a microphone. "There is a popular tradition to exchange present with our special person to boost our chance to get a positive result on the test." He announced, getting everyone else's attention.
"So, we are all going to exchange present with the person that matters the most." Tatsumi explained following that.
Leone grinned happily as she heard that. "Sound like a good idea~"
Mein just blushed at that but didn't object as she didn't feel like trying to find excuse. Plus, she wouldn't mind sharing presents with her girlfriend.
With everything ready, they decided to do everything in order. Lubbock brought a bag containing papers with a number each and allowed everyone to grab one. The one who got the first number was Run. The young man smiled as he grabbed the plastic bag he brought and took a small box out of it. He walked toward Wave and handed it to the cheerful wanna be sailor. "Here!"
Wave's face instantly turned red in pure embarrassment as he accepted the present and opened it to find a feather hairclip—the same design as to the one the blonde had. A smile found its way on the boy's face as he took it and placed it on his hair. "Hehe. Thank you, I guess."
"Ha! Gaaaayyy!" Lubbock ruined the mood and got a powerful smash on the head from Leone and Mein.
The second person to offer a gift was Seryuu who offered a box containing a handmade corral bracelet to her beloved friend. "I made this with the corrals we found during our beach trip last summer." She said while offering the gift, some shades of pink on her face.
"Thank you!" Kurome accepted the gift and held it to her chest. "I will cherish this."
Akame felt proud and smiled at her sister. She was next so she took her own gift and handed it to her girlfriend. It was a handmade scarf she did herself. "I won't ask you to throw the last one away. I just felt like you wore that one too much so I made a new one. Now, you can alternate between the two."
The scarf-wearing girl felt like crying but held her tears of happiness as she took the shorter girl in a hug. Akame ended with her face in between Leon's breasts, unable to breathe, but didn't object as she knew her present made her girlfriend very happy.
Next up was Tatsumi. The boy handed an anime design headphone to his best friend. "I am sorry for breaking your last headphone when I borrowed it." He said with an embarrassed smile, remembering when he has dropped the headphone Lubbock has lent him several months prior. "Ieyasu told me about a part-time job as a waiter so I took it."
"Ha! Gaaaayyyy!" It was now Seryuu's time to tease them. Leone would have volunteered to be the one to tease but she was still feeling emotional while hugging her girlfriend.
The one who got the next number was Kurome. The girl offered her gift—a T-shirt with the word "Justice" printed on it—to her best friend who happily accepted it. It was followed by Najenda who offered a coupon of ice cream to Esdeath, who then gave her a book about the evolution of Automobile Mechanic. Both of them were happy about their gift and it ended with everyone else sweatdropping at their odd taste.
The next person to give a gift was Wave. He took a box from his bag and offered it to his best friend. The blonde happily opened the box to find an album containing all kind of fish's picture. With an awkward smile, he just forced a nod. "Thank you I guess…"
"These kinds of fishes are awesome! It took me a year to complete that album and you're the person I believe is worth enough." The cheerful boy bragged. "You are the only open-minded enough person to understand the ream meaning of fishing compared to the others."
'The others' all avoided eye contact as they sweatdropped. Deciding to save Run from an awkward moment, Sheere stepped up with a large box and approached her girlfriend. "For you!"
Mein was very shocked at the size of her present and as she opened it, her eyes brightened as she took the cute frilly pink dress that the taller girl has offered her. "Sheere… this…"
"When the two of us went shopping that one time, you spent some time looking at it so I thought it would make you happy."
"But didn't it cost a lot?"
"That much is no problem." Sheere insisted. "I've managed to talk with the shop manager and she proposed to give it as a gift if I worked as a part-time job for a couple of month." She continued with a smile before feeling a weight on her.
It turned out Mein took her in an embrace, the petite girl's face in Sheere's chest so no one could see her tears. "Idiot…" She muttered. At first, the taller girl was confused but then her smile returned and she returned the embrace, patting the shorter girl's head.
The heartwarming scene got to everyone and they all smiled happily at the display of love from the young couple. It was unusual for Mein to be this emotional but it was worth the hard work, Sheere thought.
While waiting for them to recover, Lubbock decided to hand his present to his best friend. "Here! I heard you are into these ugly things so…" He handed a small statuette of some deity. No need to mention that it was ugly and poorly crafted.
"Did you do it yourself?" Tatsumi accepted the present with awe.
"Well… I had nothing to do the other day so I decided to craft it."
"Thanks…" The brunette slightly smiled while holding an arm up and Lubbock accepted the high five.
The next person on the order was Leon who handed a bag full of handmade chocolate to Akame. "I prepared these yesterday. I hope you will enjoy these."
The shorter girl smiled as she was finally able to breathe again. The two of them has separated from the hug as to allow the blonde to give her present. Akame did appreciate the attention as she knew Leone wasn't very found of baking. The fact of knowing her girlfriend made some efforts for her was enough to make the food lover happy. "Thank you, Leone."
The last person to give her present was Mein who handed a small box to Sheere. Everyone was very interested as the pinkette's face turned beet red. The bookworm accepted the gift and opened it before quickly closing it, giving a smile as some shades of blush appeared on her face—a very unusual scene, everyone stated. "Thank you, Mein! I promise I will."
"Of course…" The tsundere still avoided eye contact as her girlfriend reached for her free hand and intertwined their fingers.
Everyone else was left dumbfooled. Makoto stepped forward with a confused look on his face. "Hein? What was the present? I don't get it?"
"It's a secret~" Sheere chuckled as she took Mein closer.
"Come on!" Leone insisted. "Show it to us!"
"I want to know." Lubbock also joined in, cue for the purplenette to place the small box on her dress' pocket. The boy just sighed. "Party breaker."
Everyone else laughed as they decided to let it be as it was. After all, it was almost midnight. Realizing that, they all gathered in front of the TV as a countdown started.
"It has started!" Wave cheerfully stated as he started counting with the animator on the TV.
Everyone else decided to chorus with him as they stood up and gathered around.
Mein didn't let go of Sheere's hand.
Leone and Akame leaned closer.
Bulat grinned from ear to ear.
Esdeath chuckled as Najenda patted Seryuu's shoulder.
Kurome moved her hand until her pinky finger was touching Seryuu's.
The two young girls held each others' pinky fingers out of everyone else's vision.
However, Makoto saw the two girls' doing and didn't let it bother him.
Run closed his eyes as his smile widened, thinking about the good memories they all had during that year.
Everyone readied themselves for the New Year.
"Happy New Year!" They all cheered at the same time. The girls hugged each others while the boys gave each others high fives.
Following that came the Champaign and snacks. Of course, Mein and Sheere brought a giant cake. Everyone enjoyed the food and continued their karaoke party until it was dawn and so they all got home. Tatsumi, Lubbock and Bulat volunteered to cleaning duty as they wanted to give some free time to the others.
"Let us do our best this year as well, bro!"
As the cheery blossom trees were full of health, decorating the path toward Teikoku University's main campus, a boy stood under one of them, waiting for his friend. After few months of vacation, it was the time of the year when class started again.
The boy raised his head to see a group of people running his direction. All of his friends were together as they approached him. The brunette smiled. "We are third years now."
"And I am a second year." Kurome corrected, wanting to not be left out.
"Yes yes!" Wave chuckled.
Meanwhile, Sheere and Mein were holding hand. Tatsumi couldn't help but to notice a golden ring on the purplenette's ring finger. There was no need to be a genius to understand that it was the gift Mein has offered her during New Year eve.
"All right!" Leone happily grabbed Akame with her left hand and Tatsumi on her other hand. "Let us start this new school year full of hope and despair!"
It was the clue from them to start running until reaching the school gate. Their teachers were all there, overwatching. Najenda and Esdeath seemed like discussing about some restaurant while Bulat smiled at them. Their Management teacher—Honest—just scoffed. "Hurry up or you'll be late for the chairman's speech! Hurry up and gather at the gymnasium I tell you!"
"Yes sir!" Everyone just made an half-hearted reply as they resumed their running. After all, it was just the start of their new school year. Hope, dreams, romance and friendship were ahead and they were all ready to face them. After all, they were Night Raid—an association of students sharing their knowledge whose target was to help revolt the industry domain.