It was another day for school. Some students were enthusiastic for different reasons or feeling lazy or crestfallen for school lessons. Kochou Shinobu, a senior high school, felt neutral about going to school today.
As usual, the spartan P.E. teacher, Tomioka Giyuu was present near the school gate to monitor who wears a proper uniform or obeying the school rules about dress code even though there’s already a morals officer. The delinquents who often was safe to pass the school because the morals officer was afraid to speak up, this time they weren’t able to pass, completely fearing the spartan teacher.
She was able to pass, of course. She wasn’t violating the school’s dress code. She heard a lot of students whispering or chattering about the demonic teacher, complaining that every time they pass on the school gate, the P.E. teacher would notice even a minor details.
The P.E. teacher wasn’t popular in terms of being chummy compared to the Art teacher or History teacher who’s popular in boy’s or girl’s radar, but he was popular mostly in girl’s radar because of his talent in different sports, calmness, and mysteriousness. She didn’t care about the popularity of these teachers. Regardless, she deemed Giyuu as a puzzle, peculiar, even interesting than the rest of the teachers.
When she arrived at her classroom, the first thing she heard was her classmates talking about the research paper in their General Science subject. It was her close friend, Morioka Akane, together with her two classmates. They didn’t seem to notice she arrived.
“Have you finished doing your research paper about climate change?”
“No luck here, Akane.”
“We’re completely stuck at the title page.”
The classroom’s sliding door was loudly opened, which gained attention from her other classmates.
“Good morning, Shinobu-chan!” It was Kanroji Mitsuri, her best friend, waving her arms to greet her cheerily.
“Good morning, Mitsuri.”
Mitsuri closed the classroom’s sliding door and proceeded to go at her respective desk. She hooked her bag on the desk’s hook, located at the right side.
“Are you done at Douma-sensei’s project about the research paper?” Mitsuri asked, curious if she was done or not.
“Ah, yes. In fact, I’ll print it tomorrow so I can pass it.”
“That’s impressive! As for me, only few finishing touch, I’ll also finish the report as well.”
“That’s good to hear.”
And they talked about what happened in their respective home a while ago or what they had for breakfast. The whole classroom paid attention when their first subject teacher entered inside, checking the students’ attendance.
The time passed shortly after the class’ three subjects and lunch came. After washing her hands in the school’s lavatory, she went outside. She almost jumped in surprise when someone called her name.
“Shinobu-chan! Please help me with the research paper!” It was Akane who clasped her hands, pleading her.
“Sure, how can I help you?”
“Please pass me the file of your research paper!”
“You know I can’t do that, Akane.”
She didn’t want anyone to have her file because she made an effort to finish her research paper. It’s not that she distrusted her, but still, it could be possible that their teacher would notice similarities between their work once Akane used her work as a reference.
“Please I’m begging you!” Akane held her hands. “It’s just for reference! Don’t worry about it.”
She sighed, giving up. “Alright fine, I’ll give you my file, but don’t share it to anyone. As much as possible, rephrase some words.”
Akane gave her a tight hug which she couldn’t breathe. “Thank you so much, Shinobu-chan!”
“Welcome home, Shinobu, Kanao.” Kochou Kanae, her and Kanao’s elder sister, greeted warmly.
She could smell a tasty aroma. She assumed that her elder sister was cooking a burger steak as for their dinner. She suddenly got excited along with Kanao because they wanted to fill their empty stomach.
She and Kanao went upstairs to their respective bedrooms to change their attire. She was about to go downstairs when her phone vibrated. She wondered why did it vibrated.
What?! Why did she share my file?!
She unlocked her phone immediately to look at their class group chat as she saw the notification that Akane sent a file. She deeply sighed as it was all too late because her other classmates also thanked Akane for sharing her file. She threw herself on the bed and rolled over because of her rage.
Her phone rang. Without looking who was calling, she answered.
“Shi-Shinobu-chan? Are you alright?!”
“Oh, Mitsuri. Of course, I’m okay.”
“Well, I wanted to check if you’re really okay with what Akane did in our group chat.”
“Of course, I’m not okay with that. I said she should not share it, but she did.”
“She should apologize to you, Shinobu-chan!”
She heard a knock from her bedroom’s door.
“Onee-sama? Aren’t you going to eat?” It was Tsuyuri Kanao, her and Kanae’s little sister.
“I will, wait for a sec.” She yelled. “Oh, I’m hanging up, Mitsuri. I have to eat dinner.”
“Oh, I see! Enjoy! And good night.”
“Good night too.” That was where the call ended.
She locked her phone and left it on her desk. Not wanting to see the group chat or she would really lose her cool. She wanted to confront Akane about the matter tomorrow.
She went downstairs to sit on the dining table’s partner, the dining chair. The sisters thanked for the food before eating. While eating their elder sister asked them about school and answered everything’s fine.
After eating and cleaning the table, Shinobu proceeded to go back to her bedroom. She turned her desktop’s printer to print her research paper. She could only pray for the best that a raging storm wouldn’t come tomorrow.
“See you tomorrow, class.” Douma Fumie* held each student’s test paper to shake it in order to align the paper. “And Kochou-san? I believe we have something to discuss, please proceed to my faculty office.”
This is definitely about the research paper. Why am I the one who’s being called?
She stepped out from her desk to follow Fumie to his faculty office. Mitsuri looked worried about her, but she assured that it’s going to be okay. But that didn’t seem to be the case for Mitsuri.
When they got inside of the faculty office, he offered her a seat in front of his office’s desk.
“The research paper that Morioka-san did are the same with your research paper. Did you plagiarize her research paper?” He showed Akane and her research paper on his desk.
She wanted to scream that she didn’t, but tried to suppress her deep anger with a graceful smile. Wanting to remain calm and respectful.
“Of course not. I did that research paper all by myself. Akane pleaded me to share my file which I did so, but she shared the file to our classroom group chat.”
“Do you have proof?”
“I have.” She fished her phone in her skirt's pocket. And started to unlock her phone to tap the group chat app. “They deleted their messages...?” Her eyes widened in shock.
“You don’t have any proof of your accusation, Kochou-san.”
“But I’m the one who did it! And how come I was the only one who got called, but not Akane? Do you also have a proof that she did it?”
“That’s because Akane raised this concern first. She passed her research paper first before you did. I also asked her about this and proved herself to be the original one because she explained it like she own the research paper.”
That explanation doesn’t make any sense!
“But Douma-sensei that doesn’t—“
“I’m giving you a chance to revise it within two days.”
She could tell for herself that her patience for her teacher is losing.
I can’t possibly do that! Especially if I start from the scratch!
“That isn’t enough?” Fumie snorted. “Well, let’s have some coffee shall we?” He two cups of coffee on his desk, offering her to drink.
“Thank you, Douma-sensei, but I’m not in the mood for coffee.” She found the coffee suspicious and it was out of their topic.
“I’m going to be frank, if you want an extension or high grades, date with me.” He stood up from his swivel chair and placed his hands on her shoulders. “Shinobu-chan.”
“Please get your hands off of me.” She warned, almost sounding like a bee insect ready to sting someone.
“Oh~ scary.” He pretended to be scared in an exaggerated manner. “If you don’t agree, well, you only have a one day to revise your research paper.”
She was aware that something’s off with their General Science teacher, but she finally saw her teacher’s true nature.
“You’re a scum that doesn’t deserve the title of a teacher.” She smiled, but the seeping anger was present.
“Date with me or finish the research paper for one day?” He asked. “If you failed to decide which one, I’ll spread the information that you plagiarized and make sure you’ll be expelled, Shinobu-chan.”
“I’ll prove you wrong, you scum.” She didn’t want to regard him as a teacher. “I will absolutely finish my research paper for one day.” She declared, before leaving his faculty office.
If nothing worked out for tomorrow, I’m going to call the Police as soon as possible.
“Why did you do that, Akane?” She confronted Akane after the school classes ended. “Like twisting the story about me plagiarizing your work? Isn’t that the way around?”
“What are you talking about, Shinobu-chan?”
“Douma-sensei said you raised this concern.” It was actually hard for her to regard Fumie as teacher anymore, but she managed somehow. “His explanation doesn’t make any sense. How come you proved that the research paper is yours when I can also explain the research paper to him.”
“So, what? You’re the one who’s at fault though. You could have refused, but you fell for my cute face.” Akane’s innocent facade fell down as she revealed her true colors. “It really wouldn’t make sense because Douma-sensei favors me.”
So that’s how it is. I can’t believe Akane stoop so low to gain that scum’s favor.
She tried to believe in Akane although she knew that there’s something odd about her. But Akane didn’t change. Akane was still an ambitious student who will do anything for her own satisfaction.
“I see what a pity.” She was curling her fists, ready to punch Akane’s face.
“It’s already pass 5PM, why are you still here?”
Shinobu was brought back to her senses when she heard a voice that could only belong to—
“Tomioka-sensei!” Akane exclaimed. “I was just trying to help my dear friend, but she was fighting me!”
If Giyuu didn’t speak, maybe she could have punched Akane. And the worse thing if she did, Akane or Fumie would take advantage of it, adding it as a reason why should she get expelled.
“Sort that out, it has nothing to do with me.” Giyuu dismissed Akane’s statement. “Students should go home at this hour, unless you have an extra club activity, which I presume you don’t have.” Giyuu proceeded to walk away near them.
“But Tomioka-sensei—!” Akane protested, but then she considered thinking about it. “Hmm... fine. Let’s go? Shinobu-chan? To sort out things.”
“No, thank you. I will wait for Mitsuri.”
She lied although Mitsuri had already informed her she should go home first because of her club activity. It was just she didn’t want to come along with Akane especially when people weren’t looking behind.
“Okay! Then let’s see each other tomorrow!” Akane waved her right hand.
What a two-faced bitch.
She missed the sunset as the day with carefree clouds and sun was painted night with glowing stars and moon. She was looking intently at the train’s large window. Her eyes widened when she saw someone familiar to her at the faded reflection.
He waved to her when he noticed.
“It’s nice to see you here, Shinobu-chan!” It was none other than Fumie. “Don’t you find the moon lovely tonight?”
Not that you’re here.
And what the hell is he doing here? Of all people, why it has to be him?
“I’m hurt!” He placed his right hand on his chest, pretending to be hurt. “But I’m very, very glad to see you here.” He placed his hands on her shoulders again.
“Can you please—“ She was trailed off when that voice again—!
“Stop your advances, Douma-sensei.” Giyuu gripped Fumie’s left hand.
He flinched at the slight pain and pulled it off from Giyuu’s grip. And he also pulled his hand off on Shinobu’s shoulder.
“Oh, what a coincidence, Tomioka-sensei!” Fumie smiled. “I was just being friendly with Kochou-san here.”
“That seems unlikely.” Giyuu remarked without holding back of what he sees or thinks about Shinobu and Fumie’s situation.
His expression was unrelenting from anything. It remained dead, more like calm, unpredictable.
“Oh no! No! That’s not it!” Fumie said, dismissing what Giyuu said. “Isn’t that right, Kochou-san?”
Fumie was smiling at her, but she could tell that behind that smile he was warning her. Warning her she should agree with him or else something will happen for sure. And it will be bad for her.
“Stop warning me, you scum.” She wasn’t scared. “You’re literally taking advances on me.”
Go ahead and try, scum.
“Why you—!” He received her eyes’ message, daring him if he could try.
“You heard her, so leave her alone.” Giyuu said.
“How cruel of you to your teacher! Believe me, I was just being friendly to her!”
Shinobu couldn’t believe how desperate Fumie is with his terrible acting. It was an obvious crocodile tears.
“Next station: Akasaka.”
Thank heavens that it’s finally where I should go down!
After the train paused at Akasaka station, Shinobu quickly hopped down. She was a little surprised that Giyuu also hopped down. She started to wonder if the P.E. teacher is somewhere near around her neighborhood as well.
Before she could proceed to walk outside Akasaka’s platform, she talked to him.
“Thanks that you interfered there, Tomioka-sensei. Or else I couldn’t control myself for punching that scum.”
Giyuu wasn’t even their class’ P.E. teacher, but she knew he was a P.E. teacher in some other class. His reputation of being a spartan grew a lot, so it’s no question why she was familiar of him. But it was a pleasant surprise that a teacher like him who looks unfriendly or cold helped her to get out from the Fumie situation a while ago.
I wonder if I can voice out my concern to Tomioka-sensei even though I’m not his student?
Better find out myself!
“I know you need to go home as well, Tomioka-sensei... but can you please hear me out?”
Giyuu was about to ask her if she had some concern, but he didn’t expect she will ask him first. Usually, if he asked some students about it, they will just say nothing’s wrong or completely avoid him. He admitted that he is glad that someone will voice their concern.
“If it’s about a student’s concern about the school premises then I’m willing to listen.”
“That’s wonderful! Then let us go at the Kamado Bakery.”
“Welcome to Kamado Bakery!” Kamado Tanjirou who was assigned to work as a cashier for today, greeted who entered their bakery. “Woah! Tomioka-sensei and... Shinobu-senpai!”
“Oh my, you’re so hard-working, Tanjirou-kun.” Shinobu didn’t expect that the young boy would work at this hour.
“Hehe! This is nothing! Well then, what’s your order?”
“I’d like to have two glazed donuts and two cups of café au lait please.”
“Understood.” Tanjirou punched Shinobu’s order at the cash register machine. “That’ll be 1200¥.”
Before Shinobu could pay for it, Giyuu stopped her by blocking her using his left arm. “I’ll pay for this.”
“You don’t have to do that, Tomioka-sensei.”
She quickly placed the payment on the counter although she was blocked. Giyuu was surprised she was fast, that was because he is still reaching for his wallet.
“I could say the same for you, Kochou.”
He knows my surname? Is it because of the uniform’s name tag or from the others?
“Well, it’s a win-win situation. You saved me back then and I’m just returning the favor.”
Giyuu didn’t respond. But for sure, he needed to return this treat after he listened to the student’s concern. They agreed to seat down near the window.
“What’s your concern?”
“I thought you wouldn’t hear me out, I’m surprised you did.”
“A while ago, you said to Akane that our fight has nothing to do with you.”
“It doesn’t really have nothing to do with me especially when that student is trying her hardest to pretend she’s pitiful.”
Tomioka-sensei knows she’s pretending?
“How did you...?”
“It’s quite simple, I was listening to the whole thing.” He answered. “So? What’s this concern? Does it have anything to do with Douma-sensei?”
“I apologize that I asked can you hear me out, but I have a question before I can say my concern.” She felt that there’s something more than that. “It seems like you know something. Why do you like to hear my concern?”
“Because I’m a teacher who should do what a teacher must do and I need to expose him, because I’m doing my former co-worker a favor.”
“A favor? Former co-worker?”
“Yes, you haven’t heard and mostly do, but I’m a retired cop. And my former co-worker, Himejima-san, is my senior.”
Tomioka-sensei is a former cop...? No wonder why he’s assigned to teach P.E. subject.
“What does it have to do with that scum?” Her left eyebrow raised in wonder, but then a realization came out of her. “Don’t tell me...”
“What you think may be correct, but yes, Douma-sensei is suspected of assaulting his previous student in another school before he transferred at Kimetsu Academy.”
“Assaulting, huh... well, I shouldn’t be surprised about that.” She remembered how chilling it was to be held on shoulders. “How disgusting...”
“I believe I managed to answer your question. Let’s go back your concern.”
“Oh, yes, definitely.”
She told Giyuu about what happened. After dozen of minutes, she finally finished explaining.
“I don’t know what to do, Tomioka-sensei.” She exasperatedly sighed. “But I will try to finish that research paper. If it won’t work, I’ll call the police.”
“Just defy him and leave me the rest for tomorrow.”
“H-Huh? How will you pull it off, Tomioka-sensei?” She was confused.
“Don’t worry about it and see what will unfold.”
“Now that’s a cliffhanger.” She giggled.
“About your research paper, if you don’t mind I can help you. Though I’m a P.E. teacher.”
“A little help would be wonderful, Tomioka-sensei. I’m just going to improve my research better, that is all.”
She opened her laptop to start revising her work to improve it further. She asked him several questions and took note of his opinions on it. She was rephrasing some of Giyuu’s opinion.
“You’re really staying all night, Shinobu-senpai? Tomioka-sensei?” Tanjirou asked while he placed a small plate containing six cookies.
“Oh, just a few more time, and I’ll finish this research.” Shinobu stretched her body, taking a little break from typing.
“Don’t push yourself too hard, Shinobu-senpai.”
“Thank you for the free cookies, Tanjirou-kun. The glazed donuts and café au lait are also good.”
“Oh no, I should thank you for visiting the Bakery! Competition in business is rough too.”
“You really think mature, Tanjirou-kun.”
“W-Well... I’m the eldest son after all.” He rubbed his nape.
“It’s no question why she fell for you.” She remembered her little sister, Kanao, for blushing a lot whenever Tanjirou’s name is mentioned.
“F-Fell?!” Tanjirou wondered what does she mean by ‘fell’?
“Oho~ it’s nothing.”
The young boy was now curious what did Shinobu mean by those words. But asking her again would be futile.
She was thankful that she managed to revise her research paper with the help of Giyuu. Before leaving the bakery, Tanjirou told them to comeback again and be careful on their way.
“Thank you for helping and listening to me, Tomioka-sensei.” She was honestly glad someone listened and helped her to worries.
“It’s nothing.” He looked his wrist watch. “I should accompany you back to your home since it’s late.”
“Then, I’ll be in your care again.”
They sauntered together on the walkway. Silence enveloped the atmosphere, she felt awkward or was it both of them? She was certain she wanted to break the silence.
There was a question in her mind that she wanted to ask, but before she could ask—
“Did you informed your parents or guardian that you’re going home late?”
“Ah, yes, I did.”
“Tomioka-sensei?” She paused her tracks, which made him pause his tracks as well. “I’m curious how did you manage to know my surname?”
“Douma-sensei would always tell your an ace student that he is proud of. That’s why.”
“If you don’t mind, can we exchange our contact? Just in case of emergency.” Giyuu showed his phone.
Giyuu and Shinobu swapped phones and saved their contacts once they typed their I.D. And they resumed walking towards Shinobu’s home.
After 25 minutes, they were near to the Kochou residence. She noticed that her elder sister was standing outside, probably anticipating her arrival.
“Shinobu!” Her elder sister called when she looked around and saw Shinobu. “Oh my, who’s that handsome, fine young man? Your boyfriend?”
“That’s not it, nee-san!” Shinobu denied. “He’s a teacher from Kanao and I’s school! He’s Tomioka Giyuu-sensei.”
“Really? He looks like a student and you two look good together though.”
“Hehe, I’m just joking.” Kanae chuckled and turned around to look at Giyuu. “Would you like some tea inside, Tomioka-sensei?”
“That’s a good offer, but I have to refuse.” He needed to do something at all costs. “There’s something I need to do, but maybe in another time.”
Shinobu thanked the heavens that Kanae finally stopped asking a lot of question between her and Giyuu. She rested on her bed, staring at the ceiling in wonder.
“I wonder what will Tomioka-sensei do tomorrow?”
She asked although she didn’t know the answer. She was about to sleep when her phone rang. She looked who was calling and saw it was Mitsuri.
“Shinobu-chan? Did you managed to finish your research paper?”
“Yes, it’s thanks to Tom—“ She almost slipped dropping Giyuu’s name.
If she would tell Mitsuri, she would be bombarded by lots of questions. It was for the best that she wouldn’t tell for now, but in the right time.
“Tom?” Mitsuri knitted her eyebrow, but gasped afterwards. “Could it be that’s your special someone, Shinobu-chan?!”
“N-No that’s not it! I mean it’s thanks to my elder sister who helped me.”
“Ehhh? Okay, but that’s a relief you finished it.” Mitsuri sounded disappointed on the ‘ehhh’ part. “If that teacher will not accept your work, I’ll beat his ass for you.”
“Thanks, Mitsuri.” She snickered.
“That’s what are friends for, Shinobu-chan!”
“Good night, Mitsuri.”
“Good night to you as well!”
“Did you finish your work, Kochou-san?”
“I did, Douma-sensei.”
She presented her research paper on his desk. Fumie checked the papers if it was indeed revised, and it was, after checking for three times.
I-Impossible...! How did she—?!
“Th-That’s really impressive of you, Kochou-san. It looks like I need to congratulate you, why not drink a cup of coffee as a warm gift?”
“No thanks.” She refused immediately. “I’ve come here to pass the research paper, not for an idle chat.”
“You’re no fun, Shinobu-chan.”
His expression changed to cold and the intimidation was unrelenting. He came close to her as she continued to back herself. He grabbed her left hand, making her flinch at the sudden pain.
“You scum—!” She was about to push him away by targeting his private part—
“You’re weak against me, little girl.” But he was prepared.
“Stay away from—!“
She trailed off when the faculty office’s door slammed open. The team immediately rushed to seize Fumie before he could take her as a hostage. They were holding pistols and rifles (AR-15).
“I’m Himejima Gyoumei from NPA, Chief Inspector. You’re under arrest Douma Fumie for sexual assault of your previous students in Hikari Academy and sexual harassment of your current students in Kimetsu Academy.” A very tall man stood out near the faculty office’s door.
“Wait! What does this mean—?!” Fumie tried to resist, but he groaned in ache as he felt his back being crushed.
“We have a warrant arrest against you, Douma Fumie. Please do not resist any further.” Gyoumei held a paper that pertains to arrest warrant.
The police cuffed Fumie’s wrists. A police investigator interviewed her about what happened. And she answered her story. The police investigator thanked her for her cooperation.
She was completely at loss of words of what just happened. It happened like a lightning that had passed by.
The campus announced a class suspension due to the ongoing investigation revolving around the the school’s adminstration. Shinobu and Mitsuri walked at the school’s hallway, going down to the ground floor.
“I didn’t expect that he will be arrested sooner.”
“Glad that he was arrested. It was what he deserves.”
“You spoke with the authority, Shinobu-chan?”
“You can say that. If this doesn’t end, there will be more silenced victim, but I’m not one of those.”
“Shinobu-chan you’re really cool!
When they got outside of the school’s premises, Shinobu and Mitsuri exchanged their goodbyes.
Since she had a contact of Giyuu, she decided to message him first to start their conversation.
SHINOBU: Tomioka-sensei... is this the meaning of tomorrow?
SHINOBU: The action was fast. (。･o･｡)
GIYUU: Police should be fast.
SHINOBU: Hey, Tomioka-sensei? Would you mind meeting me at Kamado Bakery again?
GIYUU: I don’t. 👍
“Thank you for what you did, Tomioka-sensei.” She torn the cookie apart and ate the other half. “Will the news come out?”
“I heard our Principal handled the media. It will no doubt.”
“It will? But you said our Principal handled it.”
“That didn’t mean he silenced them, rather, he apologized that he hired such a criminal in the school and would be careful of hiring a teacher next time.”
“Oh... it will damage the school’s image.”
“That may be true, but that’s for the best.”
“Thank you for that tomorrow, Tomioka-sensei. I know I said thank you earlier, but it felt that wasn’t enough.”
“That’s what a teacher should do, Kochou.” She looked at him straight in the eye. “Do what they can to support, educate, and correct their students on their own path even if it’s not a relative to them.”
Others see him as a scary, annoying, spartan teacher, but she saw him in another light. A kind, passionate, serious teacher.
It was really heartwarming... her heart’s rate felt different. But maybe this was the word called crush. She was certain that she wants to know more about him.
But she was a student and he was a teacher. This relationship is weird for others, but she still wanted to inform him if she confirmed her feelings is more than a crush and would wait for years until it becomes proper.