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So Called "Research"

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Hirano Rei was a third-year homeroom teacher at a high school filled with geniuses.

She just recently received the position after her predecessor was accused of sexual harassment and subsequently ended up in the hospital (she’s pretty sure the person who put him there was in her class — Shishio Tsukasa was well known as a successful wrestler, after all — but if anything, she respects this student all the more for what he did).

But it wasn’t just the nationally-renowned wrestling champion who fractured every bone in a fully-grown man’s arms without breaking a sweat. In her class, not two seats away from him was a student who was rarely present and for that she couldn’t be more grateful. He would only show up once a month to challenge Tsukasa to a fight (and then lose, but that’s irrelevant because the faculty is too busy calculating the costs of nearby broken walls).

There are a few less powerful students near them, though not any less lethal. Asagiri Gen seemed harmless at first because he sat right behind Tsukasa, though she quickly realized that he was just as terrifying. Not one word out of his mouth could be trusted, yet he was simultaneously one of the sweetest kids in her class. He could be handing in a test one minute and before Rei could blink she’s suddenly allowing the class to go for lunch early. The worst part was that knowing to look out for him didn’t stop Gen’s terrifying success rate (100%). When she recently discovered that the person topping the psychology books charts was her very own student, she wasn’t even surprised.

Adjacent to Gen was another dangerous one — Ishigami Senku. He couldn’t do anything too lethal, because he’d risk harming his friends in the process, but he also has a 119% in Fujioka’s science class and she can never be too careful around someone who could recite any scientific theorem word-for-word. Not to mention how the science teachers trust him to mix up the demo compounds more than they trust themselves (in return giving him any pure chemicals that he needs at the moment).

In the other class, she’s heard that the rest of their friend group (though it’s more like a gang, if she were to be honest) was less terrifying, but just as intense. One girl, Ogawa Yuzuriha, already designed an entire fashion line that made her renowned even overseas. Her boyfriend, Ooki Taiju, had sprinted all the local marathons and holds unachievable records. Their friend apparently has superhuman hearing and is in training to become a sonar operator for the military. And technically, the owner of this school was just an employee of one of the Nanami Corporation’s branches, of which the heir is in close contact with all of the previously stated students, though he doesn’t go to this school (thank god, Rei thinks).

So all in all, she’s more than a little afraid to assign anything more gruelling than an elementary-level assignment when midterms were so close. They already have a crazy amount of work from other classes, and Rei is not someone who could survive if these people ever got stressed.

“So this is just an easy assignment to do based on interests that you’ve all submitted. They’re to be done in partners, due in, uh, how about two weeks? That works for everyone, right?” Rei pauses, and thankfully nobody raised an argument. “It’ll be based on the topics you all submitted earlier this class about things you wanted to know more about. I put them into a box, and the person who draws the topic may choose their partner.” She smiles. Would her class think of this project as childish? Probably. But did it beat out dying to professional wrestlers and mentalists? Definitely.

A few of the average students began nudging and smiling at each other, probably picking up the fact that their teacher just gave them a dud assignment, but the Genius Gang didn’t look bothered either way.

She clears her throat, “I, er, did have to remove one topic. I won’t say who submitted it, but I’m pretty sure ‘Einstein’s theory on Quantum Entanglement - A.K.A Spooky Action’ is a little too much for a homeroom class.” She pointedly avoids looking at any green-haired students, but the rest of the class didn’t.

She thinks she saw Gen nudge Senku and whisper-hiss a complaint about how that’s too hard, Senku-chan, you know that you only had a 1/15 chance in actually getting that topic, right? followed by a shrug from Senku.

He probably researched it on his own already, Rei reckons. She clears her throat again. “So who wants to draw first?”

After a few draws, Gen skipped up to the stage, and smiled at Rei in such a way that had her hands shaking just a bit. She’s pretty sure Gen noticed, but he didn’t say anything, and at least Rei could hold onto whatever dignity she had left as someone meant to be these kids’ superior.

And before Rei could blink, Gen is smiling and announcing that Senku will be his partner for this project. Senku nods in agreement, though he has an unmistakably conspiring look in his eye.

Rei doesn’t have time to dwell on that though, because before she knows it, she’s cowering from the giant that is Tsukasa.

It’s only later, after the class was dismissed, that she realizes Gen picked out the topic that he himself suggested — a psychology project on attraction.

Best not to think about it too much. She walks over to the teachers’ lounge. It’s probably just a coincidence.

“KOHAKU!!!” An unmistakable voice calls across the yard during lunchtime. “KOHAKU WHERE DID YOU GO?!?”

“Ugh, you’re so loud, Chrome.” Kohaku runs up to him and covers his mouth in the blink of an eye. “We have phones for a reason, you know.”

“I, err, may or may not have forgotten to charge mine this morning?” Chrome smiles sheepishly. “Anyways, I found you, so it all worked out!”

“I think you’re hanging around Taiju too much,” Kohaku ruffles his hair affectionately. They were in the same year (second), but Kohaku had always acted as Chrome’s older sister. “So what did you want?”

“I think,” Chrome lowers his voice to a whisper, looking around for on-lookers (there were many, but Chrome never really cared about that). “Senku and Gen are finally dating.”

“WHAT??” Kohaku shrieked. It’s been a solid two years where they’ve been trying to set them up after seeing the mutual loving glances that they shoot across the table while studying.

Chrome quickly shushes her. “I don’t know if they want it to be public yet, but we’ve got to ask them about it!!”

“I’m already there.” Kohaku picks up Chrome and dashes to Senku and Gen’s regular lunch spot on the roof.

Chrome doesn’t struggle, because the trip somehow takes less than half a minute (he suspects Kohaku might have scaled the walls, but he has no way of proving it because of how blurred the world got from the speed).

He semi-gently lands on the ground with an omph. And looks up to see Senku taking a nap on Gen’s lap with the latter running a hand through Senku’s hair. Kohaku is making incoherent hand gestures while mouthing words that were coming out too fast for Chrome to make out.

Gen simply holds a finger to his lips and quickly texts them a message that read “It’s for an assignment. Also, he only got 3 hours of sleep last night so I’m letting him take a power nap. Please don’t wake him.”

Chrome blinks. “What are the third-year teachers asking them to do?” He whispers to Kohaku.

“Ruri never told me about anything like this,” Kohaku muttered back. Sure, Ruri probably forgot all about high school by now since she’s already gone to university on the other side of the country, but she probably would have mentioned any assignments that required sleeping on others’ lap.

“Text Taiju and Yuzuriha and ask?” Chrome asked.

“They’re not in the same class, remember?”

“It’s all the same curriculum though.”

“I just asked. Apparently their class got a special dud of an assignment and they’re doing a ten-minute research essay in partners.”

“So…” Chrome looks back at Gen, who’s now eating his lunch and watching them with amusement. “They’re just being extra and doing a full experiment instead of going to Wikipedia?”

Kohaku shrugs, “I wouldn’t put it past them.”

“So we don’t need to delete the ‘Get SenGen Together’ group chat?”

“I guess not. But look, Chrome. I’m no psychology expert like Gen is, but I’d assume that nobody would put in this much effort for a throwaway assignment, right?”

“Yeah!” He quickly claps his hands over his mouth, because he spoke a little too loudly. Gen just raises an eyebrow, and Chrome is ushering Kohaku to the staircase so they don’t wake their friend. “That makes sense though. I know they care about their marks a lot, but they wouldn’t spend this much energy on something that’ll barely count towards their final grade.”

“I think there’s more to it.” Kohaku narrows her eyes, suspicious. “Either they’ve set something up to cover the fact that they’re dating, or this somehow really is just an assignment.”

Chrome oooh’d, and looks at Kohaku with shining eyes. “So we’re investigating.”

“Obviously,” Kohaku texts the SenGen group chat, updating them on the new development. “But also, you promised to tutor me on the Equilibrium unit. So, uh, please do that too.”

Chrome gives her a thumbs up and dashes off to build a new charger for his phone — he wants to know about any new developments as soon as the message is sent.

“Alright, you’re going to have to repeat that,” Ryusui says into his phone. He and the rest of the group chat are on a facetime, though he’s had to shut off his camera to deal with a problem for the past five minutes. “Some of the horses got into the mansion.”

“You’ve got horses now?” Yuzuriha asks. She notices that Ryusui looks more dishevelled than usual. “What happened to the tigers?”

Ryusui shrugs. “A lot of people are against owning tigers, apparently, so I bought a jungle and put them there.”

Chrome whistles. “What else do you have in there?”

“I don’t know, jungle animals, I’d assume?” He laughs. “Anyways, what were you guys talking about before that?”

“Have you talked to Senku or Gen lately?” Kohaku asks. She’s painting her nails since they chipped a bit during her training session with Tsukasa. “Something’s… come up recently.”

Ryusui pauses to think. “I went on a Arctic trip last weekend with Senku to check on the icebergs. It was pretty cool — ha, literally” He clears his throat, stifling a laugh. “Uh, anyways. Climate change is still happening and he gave me a neat new fuel source that he’s working on.”

“Did anything seem… different about him?” Yuzuriha gently prods. “Was he behaving weirdly or asking about things like, say date ideas?

“Right! That!” Taiju says. “Um, what’s going on? I think I’m out of the loop.”

“You need to check on the group chat more often,” Ukyo says.

“Says you!” Chrome pulls up his laptop. “You never say anything!”

“That’s because I’m barely at school.” Ukyo points out. “At least I’m on the call though, right?”

“Yeah, Chrome. Don’t be a nag.” Kohaku gave up on her nails, and started mixing some colours for a hair dye. “Ugh, I don’t know how Amaryllis makes this look so good.”

“Do you want me to come over, Kohaku?” Yuzuriha asks. “I have a few colours that would match your eyes really well!”

“Nah, don’t worry.” Kohaku waves her off. “Amaryllis said she’s coming over soon.” She re-arranges herself into a sitting position. “So, Senku and Gen. Anything new on Senku, Ryusui?”

Ryusui has already picked up a game controller and started multitasking. “Uh, not really? I don’t think so, anyways. He seemed pretty normal, if not a bit too excited when we’re looking right at melting ice caps.”

“That’s just regular Senku then,” Chrome sighs. Dead end. “What about Gen? Before today, has anyone seen anything peculiar from Gen?”

“I still don’t know what’s happening here, guys.” Ryusui quickly cuts in.

“Me neither!” Taiju says, but he’s very enthusiastic about his whole situation.

Chrome sighs. “Basically, Senku and Gen have a project or something on attraction, and we can’t tell if anything they’re doing is flirting or just for the sake of school.”

“So whatever leads we had on them possibly liking each other is at a temporary halt right now.” Kohaku says. “Or, this is the breakthrough that we need.”

“Hmm,” Taiju hums, not so much in thought but more so to use the time to make sure his words don’t come across as aggressive. “I mean, I know you guys are just doing this for fun, but are you sure it’s ok? I mean, I love Senku and I love Gen and I love every one of you guys.” He pauses, as if trying to think of how he should phrase his next point. “I just don’t want them to think we’re intruding in any way?”

“Oh, Taiju, were you not there?” Yuzuriha asks. “We asked them once at lunch, and they said that as long as our marks don’t start dropping they have no reason to care.”

“What?” Taiju looks completely baffled. “When was this?”

“No, I remember you were there, because you were freaking out over how good Francois’ sandwiches were.” Ukyo says. “Speaking of, Ryusui! You should tell them thanks for making us food all the time.”

“I literally send them your thanks like every day.” Ryusui laughs, but calls for his butler anyways.

“But if I were there why don’t I remember it??” Taiju asks.

“I think the conversation went something like…” Chrome thought for a second. “‘Hey, you guys think SenGen is a good ship name?’ ‘Yeah, it’s alright’ ‘You guys don’t mind?’ ‘As long as it’s harmless fun and nobody gets hurt, I don’t see any reason to care’ — and then Senku and Gen shrugged, or something — and then they asked us if that was the reason our midterms that year were so low, and… yeah.”

“More or less?” Kohaku seconds it. “I think it was a bit longer than that, but hell if I remember.”

“The important part is that we wouldn’t force anything on them that they wouldn’t want.” Yuzuriha says. “And we don’t need Gen’s mentalist skills to realize that they’re way in love with each other.”

Taiju’s face scrunches up in confusion. “Is… Is that what ‘SenGen’ is? I thought it was some kind of jam.”

“How…? But the group chat name…?” Ukyo starts, then figures that he doesn’t want to ask any more.

“…Himbo.” Kohaku mumbles, smiling.

“Just the truth.” Chrome laughs after Taiju jokingly gets riled up over it. “So, we need some way of determining when their lovey-dovey actions are for school and whenever it’s otherwise.”

“Lovey-dovey, Chrome? Really?” Ryusui asks as the victory music plays from his gaming set. “That’s the most scientific way you could put it?”

“Oh shut up, Ryuu!” Chrome laughs. “The important part of what I just said was that we need a strategy. A plan of action. Whatever you guys want to call it.”

“Honestly, I think it’ll show itself as we go?” Yuzuriha says. “If they’re doing an experiment, they’re going to do a lot of, uh, dating stuff I guess? Anyways, we can probably tell from that. It doesn’t matter how good of a liar Gen is, he won’t be able to cover for how bad Senku is at it.” She reasons. “So if they’re not really into it into it, I’m pretty sure we can call off ‘Operation SenGen’ altogether.”

“That’s fair,” Ukyo says. “They’re pretty obvious already, so now is basically do or die for how they might feel towards each other.”

They all nod in agreement. This is just a fun distraction from school after all, and a way to get their friends to stop dancing around their very obvious feelings for each other. If there’s no real attraction between Senku and Gen, the group wouldn’t try to force them together.

“Oh yeah, that reminds me,” Chrome says. “Kohaku, did Tsukasa tell you what his group was doing?”

“He’s partnered with Hyouga, probably because he’s never here, and he’s doing research on how bees get honey.” Kohaku deadpans. “So, it’s literally a Wikipedia summary. He finished it at lunch yesterday.”

“Obviously, Senku and Gen have not finished theirs so quickly.” Ryusui says. “No wonder you guys are suspicious.”

The doorbell on Kohaku’s end rings. “Oh, Amaryllis is here. I’ll see you guys later!”

“Where are you guys going?” Taiju asks.

“She’s taking me and another friend of hers to a movie.” Kohaku answers, pulls her hair up into its signature ponytail, and waves goodbye before shutting her facetime off.

“She’ll like the movie, probably.” Ryusui takes some fancy dessert from Francois. “All the movies I saw the pre-screenings for were fun. Lots of action movies lately.”

“Oh I think Kohaku hates those the most.” Yuzuriha points out. “She always complains that they’re unrealistic.”

Chrome laughs. “Remember her junior high tirade when Gen sent her a translated version of that American battle royale book? She said that she would have easily won the competition, but we all said that she could never actually kill anyone?”

“I thought that book series was about fighting against an totalitarian government.” Ukyo frowns. “Are we talking about the same book?”

“I don’t remember what it was called, but I remember she didn’t do very well on her book report.” Ryusui says.

“I’m sure she did fine. I couldn’t read, like, most of the books they gave us as options, and I still did fine.” Taiju says.

“Senku wrote your book reports for you because he didn’t want you staying behind a year, and he wasn’t all that good either so you barely passed.” Yuzuriha laughs.

“Oh shit!” Chrome suddenly curses. “I just realized I have a crap-ton of homework I forgot to do ‘cause I went over to babysit Suika!”

“You didn’t do your homework while you were there?” Ukyo asks.

“Have you seen Suika?” Chrome shouts from across his room, digging through his bag for the papers. “She’s too cute. I can’t not play with her.”

“Fair.” Yuzuriha says. “Well, we should leave you to it. Don’t stay up too late!”

“Bye!” Chrome signs off.

“Well, the loud ones are gone,” Ryusui says. “I guess we can call it a night here then?”

Everyone agrees and says their goodbyes before hanging up. Right afterwards, the remaining group members searched up the signs that prove two people are in love. They needed to make sure they wouldn’t miss any signs when they saw them, after all.

Yasui Katsumi wanted out.

He’s just trying to pass his third year and maybe work for his father’s tatami company afterwards. So he’s in the library studying for the upcoming math test that he already knows he’s going to fail.

Seeing the infamous Senku-and-Gen duo in the library does not help matters. He almost wants to go over and ask for help because he knows that they could already ace first-year university’s math course, that is, if he wasn’t so easily intimidated.

But here he is, too afraid to ask his teachers for help and too anxious to go up to the near-silent pair hunched over their textbooks, with only the scraping of flipped pages to fill up the space.

Just go over, coward, he tries to convince himself into moving, because goddamnit, this exam is not going to pass itself, but it just ends up with him standing and sitting back down a few times. It’s awkward and embarrassing and doesn’t do anything to build up his courage.

“I’d just be bothering them anyways,” Katsumi mumbles to himself. They were on the opposite side of this corner, so they were definitely far enough that his voice wouldn’t reach.

But he was not far enough to miss the hand holding.

He blinks, and looks again. No, it was not a trick of the light. It wasn't even concealed behind stacks of textbooks, or in a dark area. In fact, Katsumi’s pretty sure they’re positioned so that the light shines most prominently on their joint hands.

He stares a bit longer. Was this a new studying tactic? Did human contact somehow improve brain performance? But it wasn’t just that, no, they somehow figured out a way to spread their papers right around their hands. Since it was no secret (and no surprise, by that matter) that Gen was ambidextrous, Gen was writing with his left hand onto a very nice-looking notebook, changing colours every so often.

His right hand attached itself to Senku’s left across the table. Senku wasn’t a fan of pencil-and-paper in general, and was typing on his laptop with one hand with just as much speed (possibly even more) than the average student.

They had looked so natural that Katsumi hadn’t even noticed the elephant in the room until Senku’s thumb had begun rubbing circles on the back of Gen’s hand. It seems subconscious, with how mindless the action seemed, but it had succeeded in bringing Katsumi’s attention to the gently intertwined fingers in the middle of their desk.

It was… it was insane.

Everyone knew that their friend group (they had nicknamed them the Perseus Crew after realizing they had connections to the richest and most famous sailing family in the world) was possibly inhuman. They were well versed in all areas of strength — both in mind (Senku, Gen, Chrome), skill (Ryusui, Ukyo, Yuzuriha) and in power (Tsukasa, Kohaku, Taiju) — they were a perfectly-functional machine that ran smoother than any car or threading machine.

And it wasn’t like they hadn’t seen couples among that group before, since people were already wondering if they’d be invited to Yuzuriha and Taiju’s wedding.

It’s just that… Senku. And Gen. Ishigami Senku and Asagiri Gen.

There were no flaws. Had Japan not been so archaic with their views on homosexuality, they could probably take the country by storm as some kind of celebrity couple. They were already famous in the school as the two smartest scientists anyways — one of the Natural and one of the Social Sciences. The strategist and the intellect. The bestselling mentalist and the reincarnated Einstein.

If Katsumi were to call any pair in the whole world a power couple, this would be it. If they wanted to rule the world, take over the government, whatever they wanted, really, Katsumi’s pretty sure there would be no stopping them.

He still remembers that day in their first year when they had a conflict with Tsukasa (nobody can remember what it was about now, but the incident still stuck). Everyone already knew him for being a world-famous wrestling champion, but after summer vacation, Senku and Gen were joking with him as if they had been the best of friends all along. It was… terrifyingly chilling, to be honest. And it cemented Senku and Gen to be a duo worth recognition.

Katsumi was so lost in the memory that he didn’t realize he’s been staring at their locked fingers for the past few minutes (was it minutes? It felt like mere seconds and also years at the same time). Gen turns to him, smiles, and waves.

Katsumi freezes, and rushes to collect whatever papers he could pick up before he ran away. He’d just have to return the math help-books that he borrowed some other day. But he just got caught staring at members of the Perseus Crew and he should really pick a religion right now because only divine intervention could allow him to escape alive — no, not even that, because he —

“Yasui-san!” Gen calls.

Katsumi’s pretty sure he looks like a cartoon character, sprinting for his life to leave the library, papers flying, only to fall flat on his ass after he’s been called.

“…Yeah?” He manages a weak response, trying to maintain whatever dignity he had left while shuffling over to Senku and Gen’s table.

“Have you been waiting for someone?” Gen asks. “You’ve been sitting there for a while, and haven’t pulled out any work.”

“Uh, I. Was not. Uh…” Katsumi changes his mind. He wouldn’t mind if he died right now if that meant he could escape the embarrassment that he was feeling from acting like a complete fool in front of the most renowned people he knew. “…not waiting for anyone.” He finishes, making perfect eye contact with his shoes.

“So what are you doing here?” Gen asks, very innocently. He sounded genuinely curious, though Katsumi’s pretty sure he already knew. But even if he wasn’t, Katsumi already felt his tongue loosening and his mind readily providing it with what to say.

“I needed to study for math, but I can’t figure out for the life of me how reciprocal trig functions are supposed to work,” He says. Immediately, he feels a bit of shame, since these two were nearly world famous and here he was, asking for help on basic math questions.

“You can borrow my notes if you want.” Senku suggests. He just stopped typing for the first time since Katsumi came over. It probably should have been seen as impolite if he didn’t know just how capable Senku was of multitasking.

“Nah, you don’t want his notes, Katsumi-kun, they’re an absolute mess,” Gen gestures to a mass of scribbles sitting by Senku’s side. Katsumi briefly wonders when they were on a first name basis, but finds that he really likes how it sounds. It’s so rare to hear his first name coming from a person who hasn’t been around him his whole life, and Katsumi finds that he enjoys it.

“I’m transcribing his chicken scratch into something actually legible right now,” Gen gestures to his own neatly-coloured journals, which brings Katsumi back into reality. It also brings his attention to his other hand, which was sitting comfortably in Senku’s.

“It’s for an assignment,” Senku says, rushed enough that the words nearly tumble over each other, and Katsumi has to take a second to take it in.

“Yup.” Gen nods. “And since we’re not doing anything else for a while, we could help you with math if you’d like?”

“Uh, yeah! Please!!” Katsumi says, way too enthusiastically, but before he could apologize Gen had already pulled an adjacent chair for him with his free hand.

“Here. Senku’s typing up stuff for homeroom right now, but I’m free to help you work through anything you’re struggling with.”

“Um. Thank you!” Katsumi starts to dip into a bow before he catches himself, because what the fuck? Who even does that anymore? “It’s just that I don’t know why the asymptotes are where they are and I can never calculate them correctly…”

After an hour and a half, Katsumi learns that Gen is a really good teacher (not a surprise) because he remembers more from the last 90 minutes than he does from the entire first half of the trimester. But Katsumi also found his gaze to flicker to the set of joint hands at the table, because while he knows they’re probably not in a relationship, it would be pretty damn perfect if they were.

Ishigami Byakuya was not expecting this. He should have, but it’s already common knowledge in the Ishigami household that he isn’t the brightest one in it.

Senku sent him a picture of a boy.

It took forever, with the security measures on the ISS and the already-sluggish internet speed, but when it loaded Byakuya saw someone who wasn’t Taiju or Yuzuriha (or any of his other friends, of which Byakuya can’t quite place by name but would recognize their faces instantly).

It was a boy with a weird haircut, with one side longer than the other. It might have been a trick of the light, but it seemed like the boy’s roots on one side were white. He was smiling pleasantly enough that Byakuya wouldn’t be surprised if he was revealed as a mafia boss.

And he was out for ice cream with his son.

It was sent in response to Byakuya emailing Senku about “taking breaks from school, Senku. Make sure you don’t overwork yourself or you’ll burn out!”, and now Byakuya is regretting the message altogether.

Who was he? With the limited internet coverage, the mysterious boy sitting beside Senku could be a new celebrity for all he knows.

When Darya floats over and sees the picture, she began saying how lovely how Senku found the time for his scientific experiments and also have a boyfriend at the same time.

It took Byakuya off-guard, because he hadn’t thought of that possibility — just how Senku was picking up friends left and right after Byakuya left, apparently. He finds that he’s not really concerned. Senku never went into anything half-assed, and relationships likely aren’t an exception. Japan was a little behind on the times anyways, and Byakuya wasn’t about to restrict his son’s happiness just because of some outdated ideals.

But then it makes his more upset, because he’s missing his son’s first romance, and that should be a crime.

Obviously, space is great. It’s been his dream for so long, and he gets to email Senku on a regular basis for updates (though he somehow forgot to mention anything about this boy for the last few years??? As a friend or otherwise???), and he probably wouldn’t give up his job for any other, really.

But this doesn’t stop Byakuya from staring at the image for an extra few minutes, as though it would explain what was going on.

What happened to the little boy who couldn’t wait to share any and all of his findings with his dad? Ranging from the forces of the universe to a classmate who had an endless stream of stamina, Senku always found time to introduce Byakuya to whatever new discovery he made.

There had been countless nights where Byakuya would be woken up at 2am, or some similar ungodly hour, and try to coax Senku back to sleep because he’s nine fucking years old and he really doesn’t need to staying up so late when school was effectively free time for him, but then be interrupted by Senku’s excited gushing about some new discovery that he made. Byakuya could never get Senku back into bed afterwards, and he’s gotten too many calls from the school about his son falling asleep in class to count. He always forgave Senku though, because of how much he loved listening to him talk with those shining eyes and the near-tangible energy in the air (and sometimes, when Senku did electricity experiments, it was more than just ‘near’-tangible).

So what changed?

He had updated him on Tsukasa as soon as they became friends, probably because he was involved in experiments that required heavy-lifting, and their projects had always been too crazy for Byakuya to legally ignore (going to space was nice in that Byakuya is no longer liable in anything that happens down on Earth). He said that another friend had helped him find a way to meet in the middle in terms of their moral stances, but Byakuya always assumed it was Ukyo or Yuzuriha or someone, but now he’s pretty sure he can’t trust anything Senku has been sending him the last while. Who knows when this boy came into the picture??

Sure, during the back end of Senku’s junior high schooling, he started being a bit more reserved and secretive, but Byakuya figured it was just that paranoid adolescent need for privacy, even if they had nothing to hide.

He’s starting to think that it was himself that needed to be more paranoid, because this boy was somehow more threatening to him than a 2-meter-tall pro wrestler, mostly because of how normal he looks.

That was it, Byakuya suspects, because he’s fallen for this trap before. Taiju had his endless stamina, and Byakuya had thought that Yuzuriha by comparison would be a very nice, normal girl.

The ‘very nice’ and the ‘girl’ part were correct, but he realized after he saw her talents in action that she was anything but ‘normal’.

Beside Tsukasa, nearly anybody would seem ‘normal’ and ‘harmless’ by comparison, but Byakuya wasn’t going to let it get him this time. He would be prepared for any eventuality, because it’s also common knowledge that Senku was much too trusting.

The boy beside him seemed nice enough, and the picture had a very calming energy to it (even if it was a blurred a bit because of the damn wifi in the space station). That was where Byakuya got suspicious.

He seemed too nice, too perfect. He’s just seeing this now, but looking down past their smiling faces and the ice cream in one hand, he say what made Darya think that they’re dating.

Their fingers are locked together.

Well, barely. It wouldn’t be considered hand-holding by any means, but it was much too close (and, dare he say it… affectionate) to be considered unintentional.

It was the kind of thing that reminded Byakuya of those couples who find it so natural to always be in direct contact that they start doing it subconsciously.

This is ridiculous. Byakuya tries to convince himself he’s just being overly-protective. Senku didn’t need to introduce every new person he met, and he definitely didn’t need to have every picture analyzed like it was a crime photo.

Byakuya barely knows anything about Kohaku and Chrome, some underclassmen in high school, and he was fine with that. Why couldn’t it be the same with this new stranger-or-friend-or-boyfriend of his?

Well, for starters, Senku never sent a picture of him with Kohaku or Chrome at the park in the afternoon while practically holding hands.

That was about the only argument he had.

And as Byakuya shakes his head, because this was stupid and very over-protective, he closes the image to see that in the last 15 minutes of picture-staring, Senku had sent some new emails.

“Sorry, that’s for an assignment, but it’s the only picture I have on me right now.” Senku’s message reads. It’s followed by “Oh, I just realized you don’t know him. He’s Gen, a friend.”

And suddenly Byakuya’s chuckling to himself, because after knowing Senku for the latter’s entire life (well, more or less), he’s surprised his son thought he could lie to him with absolutely zero prior experience. Senku, had this ‘Gen’ been just a friend, would have proceeded to type an essay’s worth of words describing his strengths and detailing how important he is to Senku’s life.

He figures the reason he didn’t receive such an essay this time was because Senku reached the word limit and realized that sending consecutive emails on the one topic would be too suspicious.

“That’s a very nice friend you have there.” Byakuya types out. “You should formally introduce us sometime, maybe during dinner once I get back.”

All was well, Byakuya un-hunches his shoulders, not realizing how tense he was until he relaxed, and decided that he should just enjoy his son’s adorable navigation of his newfound feelings and (as far as Byakuya is aware of), his first boyfriend. An ’assignment’, sure, he snorts. It’s a good thing Senku didn’t have to lie on a regular basis, because he’s absolutely garbage at it.

And then Lillian comes over and points out that Gen is a famous magician with a penchant for psychology, and Byakuya promptly freaks out again.

Handa Chiyo is the Journalism Club's leader, and she remembers the first-year Senku/Gen vs. Tsukasa incident perfectly. So when Gen walks in to their science class wearing Senku’s famous lab coat, she couldn’t give up this opportunity to interview him on the matter.

It was common knowledge by know that those two, even among the elite group that is the Perseus Crew, are a pretty damn powerful pairing. Senku was the logic while Gen was the strategy. Two halves of one genius brain.

They had been unstoppable since high school began, and Chiyo was going to take this time to find out how they did it.

The lab coat was a very interesting clue, because while they weren't too open about their personal lives, it was common speculation that those two must have a deep bond, or else there's no way they could ever work so in sync with each other. Are they childhood best friends? Lovers? Ex-gang members who have to hide their identities from the government by forging new ones using each other as a clutch?

Who knows.

But Chiyo will soon, because this lab coat strongly indicates that they could be lovers. Why else would Senku lend away his precious lab coat? It wasn't even subtle that it was specifically his lab coat that Gen was wearing, since only one person in this school had Einstein's famous equation etched below the collar.

“Hey, Gen! Your lab coat looks new, where’d you get it?” Chiyo asks innocently.

Gen shrugs in response, “Senku,” he responds, abrupt and dismissive. But Chiyo was persistent, and she’s sure that this is a case that she can crack right open.

“Oh wooow,” She says, dragging out the word, hoping that she’ll sound relaxed enough for Gen to start giving away information. “I never realized you and Senku were so close! It feels like he’s never seen without his lab coat! You must be important to him if he’s willing to lend it out!”

“I guess,” Gen says, taking a seat at his desk.

Chiyo knows that Gen is well known for his mentalist skills. But he was a magician, and she was a journalist — the skills required for each job were similar enough. Gen clearly knows what he’s doing with his responses, since a reporter’s worst nightmare is an uncooperative interviewee. He’s probably trying to throw Chiyo off the trail by pretending as though he had nothing to offer.

But Chiyo also had confidence in herself, because those writing competition trophies on her desk didn’t just appear out of thin air.

If Minami was here, what would she do? Chiyo asks herself. Hokutozai Minami had just graduated last year, and Chiyo, as her successor, would not allow the Journalism Club’s reputation go down even one ranking. Minami would probably get him to talk about seemingly unrelated topics first, and warm him up a bit.

She takes the seat next to him. It was science class so the desks were large enough for two people, and they were doing a lab today so it didn’t matter where anyone was seated anyways. Also, Senku and Gen didn’t share this class, so she was free to occupy the space. “Well, how goes your classes? Studying for midterms yet?” She asks.

“Yeah. It’s not good to study too close to the actual exam date.” Gen starts talking. “It’s common knowledge that cramming isn’t good, but the majority of students do it anyways.”

Chiyo laughs, wondering why Gen was so talkative all of a sudden. Maybe it was because she sat down and Gen had decided to face his fate? “Hey! Sometimes it’s just hard to pick up the textbooks when the exams are still so far away! And besides, we get so much homework already!”

“Well, I’m only telling you what I know. The brain doesn’t absorb all the information if you absorb it all at once.”

Ah, she sees what Gen is trying to do now. He’s trying to shift the conversation topic. “Well, sure. But not all of us can be as dedicated to school as you or Senku, you know!”

“Ah, well, I could always give you study pointers if you wanted.” Gen says.

So he’s not giving up yet “Oh! Speaking of which, I heard a rumour that Senku records himself while studying. Is that true?”

“Yeah. He sends them to me so I can multitask.”

The answer throws Chiyo off. She wasn’t prepared for Gen to actually give an answer. “Wait, real—” And she’s cut off, because the bell just rang and the teacher started talking.

Ah, shit. You win for now, Asagiri Gen. Chiyo sulks a little, but then realizes that the lab today would make a perfect opportunity for continuing the interrogation interview.

She had a list of at least 5 questions and about 10 segues into them, and was about to start speaking as Gen pins down the live frog when he manages to talk before she does.

“Don’t you think this is kind of unethical?” He gestures to the frog, struggling against its restraints. “It’s probably not a good way to go, being pinned to a table and painfully dissected. I heard that in some schools they kill and store them beforehand.”

“Oh really?” Chiyo says, because she was caught unprepared on the topic. She thinks about it for a bit. “Um, I guess that would make it less painful for the frog, and probably less messy.”

Gen seems to contemplate something. He’s lost in thought for a moment, and then smiles ever so faintly, in such a way that would almost have Chiyo suspicious if she wasn’t spending so much time trying to figure out how to get into his mind. “Yeah, Senku made the chemical they use for preserving the dead bodies. The formaldehyde smells horrible… way worse then this, honestly.”

Chiyo was caught off-guard again. Minami would not be proud of her if she were here right now, because an interview can never be caught without a response of some kind. “…Yeah?” is all that Chiyo manages to mumble out. Mentally, she facepalms. What are you doing? This is your chance to get your answers!!

“Yeah, he mentioned some other stuff on it too, but I don’t remember because I almost passed out from the chemical odour.” He cuts open the inside. They got a female, so he grabbed a small spoon and started scooping out the eggs. “Ugh, they carry so many of these. Want to switch?” He holds out the spoon, and Chiyo was so surprised at this new info about their relationship that she accepts it wordlessly. It’s only after she reaches the frog that she mentally berates herself for accepting such a nasty job.

“So you and Senku…” She begins, then backtracks. “You make chemicals together?”

“He was doing it for another school, where a bunch of parents were complaining about the live dissections so they had to get preserved frogs instead. We went to the river to catch them, you know, with Tsukasa and Taiju. It was nice.” He smiles, and Chiyo regrets her job all the more because she doesn’t want to miss a single word that’s coming out of his mouth and she forgot to press record on her phone. If she forgets any of this precious info, the club would probably stage an uprising.

“Does that happen often?”

“With the frogs? That just happened once. But in terms of chemicals, there’s rarely a weekend that doesn’t end up with us in Senku’s lab, brewing up something new.”

Chiyo makes good note of this, and wishes all the more that her phone was recording so she could get a quotation in, but alas, there were simply too many eggs in the frog. She starts scooping as fast as she could without damaging the organs.

Gen leans down. “Ooh, isgusting-day. The heart’s still kind of beating.”

And Chiyo, damn it, allows herself to get distracted for just a second.

“So I have something to ask you, Chiyo-chan. It feels like you’re getting to know all this stuff about me and I know nothing about you.” He smiles disarmingly. “How about a rapid-fire round? Tell me the first answer that comes to mind.”

Chiyo nods instinctively, because it was never good to get on an interviewee’s bad side, and his mental image of Chiyo was important to maintain if she wanted answers from him.

“We can start small. Favourite subject?”




“What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend?”

“Watching tv.”

“Is it alright for you to scooch over a bit so I can start drawing the diagram?”

“Wha— uh, sure.”

“Thanks! Favourite show?”

“Whatever’s on.”

“Really! That’s a new one.” He pauses to think, though Chiyo has a gut feelings that he already has his questions planned out. “Are you in a club?”

“I’m the leader of Journalism.” Chiyo stands up a little straighter, proud of the fact.

“Ah, I buy all of the school papers. Which columns do you write for?”

“Gossip. And I’m also an editor.”


“Ah… Student Relations.”

“Oh, I’m a big fan!” He smiles so brightly that Chiyo pauses for a second to take it in. Admittedly, though no journalist would ever admit it, they thrived on praise.

“Really? Thank you!”

Gen smiles even more enthusiastically. “Let’s start with mapping the circulatory system first, since we don’t want to miss the blood flow it while it’s still fresh.”

“Sure.” They switch spots, with Chiyo drawing the diagram and Gen at the cutting board. Chiyo figures it would be even worse if she took out her phone now, since Gen would think that she’s putting all the work on him. But at the very least she would ask a question. She had barely opened her mouth when—

“Oh wait!” Gen exclaims. “Does this mean that you’re the one who thought of all those dating rumours?”

Chiyo freezes. “Um. Well, you know. They’re mostly in good fun, and I always stop publishing on someone if they’re against it, and—”

Gen laughs, carefree and welcoming. “Oh, no, don’t worry. It’s interesting how you think that Senku and I might be dating. Must have been quite a shock to see me walk into class with his lab coat, right?”

“Uh.” Chiyo was caught. She wasn’t subtle to begin with — no interviewer was — but that doesn’t change the fact that she was caught. With what, she doesn’t know. But she’s afraid to ask at this point.

“But may I ask what brought on the assumption?” Gen asks innocently. “I mean, I’d get it if you came up with the idea recently, since we’re doing a class assignment that’s got some people confused, but I feel like you’ve been publishing on us since… hmm. I don’t really remember, but it seems like at least the start of second-year.”

“First year…” Chiyo mumbles, head bowed. What would Minami do in this situation? Chiyo doesn’t know, but she herself is tempted to run away.

“First year?” Gen prods.

“It’s been speculation among the Journalism Club since first year, when you two teamed up against Tsukasa and somehow became his friend over the course of a month.”

“We were just being friendly towards him.” Gen explains. “Turns out that people were just too intimidated to talk to him.”

Chiyo knows there’s more to the story, but that could be next week’s news topic. So she just nods in reply, hoping he’ll continue the story.

“And we’ve known each other for a bit before that,” Gen says, a little slowly, as though he was still contemplating whether he should reveal that information or not.

In Chiyo’s opinion, this piece of news is like a gold mine. “How long?”

“Just a bit of online communication through the last year of junior high.” Gen frowns, as though mentally filtering his next words. “We met on a space forum, and it was a stroke of luck that we ended up in the same high school.”

“Where were you before?”

“Well, I’ve lived here my whole life, but then I moved to America for a bit.” Gen smiles and cuts out the frog’s heart, signifying that he’s done giving away information on this topic.

“That’s cool.” Chiyo, at the very least, knows not to push an interviewee too far, since it’ll cause them to close up even more. She draws the heart after Gen places it onto the napkin.

“…And the Journalism Club is ok with this?” Gen asks.

“What do you mean?”

Gen cuts out the stomach, and opens it to reveal a fly. “Well,” he begins slowly. “It’s not like it’s… common. Two guys in a relationship, that is. Did you not get backlash for writing it?”

“Oh.” Chiyo hoped that Gen wasn’t homophobic. She had enough crap to deal with from her parents about seeing girls, and she wasn’t going to accept it from her classmates too. “Well, times are changing, you know. And I know you and Senku do the research — it’s perfectly natural for people to not be completely straight, or completely identify with their birth genders, or… well, really a lot of things. Anyways, the world is starting to be more accepting of, er, this community.”

“Well obviously it’s natural,” Gen scoffs. “If it wasn’t, how did scientists find it occurring regularly in nature? Animals don’t really care about that kind of thing, yet humans do.” he stabs the intestines a little harder than necessary. “But it’s not the science that I’m asking about. It’s the students. The didn’t find it… gross? Or anything like that? That you were writing about two guys as potential love interests?”

Chiyo shrugs. Maybe Gen just came from a conservative family, she reasons. Maybe he’s just trying to educate himself, or maybe he knows already and just wants Chiyo’s take on the matter. “Nothing like that, for the most part. There’s still some older people who say its not natural, or some younger people who—” Chiyo shudders in disgust “—fetishize the people in that community. Obviously, Japan isn’t great for that. The world is still changing though, and from what I’ve seen at this school the students are generally pretty chill. They don’t want to do anything that’ll get themselves in trouble, and I don’t think our generation is taking after our parents’ ideals anyways.”

“Yeah.” Gen says, more thoughtful than dismissive. They work in silence for a bit, and it’s when they’ve reached the frog’s skeleton that Gen finally speaks up again. “You’re not too bad, Chiyo.”

“Thank you?” What does he mean she’s not too bad, she was the best reporter at this school, though, admittedly, only because Minami graduated.

“We weren’t sure how to ask about your articles, but I’m glad they’re not done in bad taste.”

“Bad taste?” Her writing was exquisite, thank you very much.

“Well it might have been to make fun of us,” he shrugs, “who knows? I always told Senku that it was probably in good fun, but I’ll admit I had some doubts myself.”

“Wha—Oh. Oh hell no, I would never tarnish our newspaper’s reputation by using it as a weapon! We make it very clear that anything in certain columns are just for fun and are completely based on speculation! We’re a very reputable and moral source, I can assure—” And she’s cut off by the bell.

Gen laughs, and washes his hands. “Well, now I can trust that. I’m glad we had this talk, Chiyo!” He wipes his hands and picks up his book bag, while Chiyo was frozen to her spot, wondering how the class passed by so fast. When Gen reaches the door, he makes one last comment for Chiyo to include on her ever-growing mental notebook. “And when you include pictures, please tell your photographer to start getting my good side!”

Ishigami Senku was not scared easily. In fact, he loved the idea of the unknown, since that meant discovery. He didn’t fear anything because it would prevent him from gaining something new.

But yet he finds his hands shaking, and it’s not out of excitement.

“You’re sure about this?”

“You’re really going to start doubting me now?” Gen looks down at their interlocked fingers. “We have all the evidence we need. I don’t love the idea either, but I think they deserve to know.”

Senku runs his hand through Gen’s hair. “The white looks nice. Are you planning on growing it out?”

“Stop trying to steer the conversation away, Senku-chan.”

Senku huffs, “Alright. I’ll just be honest then,” Senku crosses his legs on the couch. “I’m absolutely terrified.”

“I know.”

“Do they really need to know?”

“I didn’t think you were the secretive type. They don’t care. They’d probably be happy if we told them.”

“Or they thought it was a joke and doesn’t want to see it mix with reality.”

“Senku-chan, if you keep going with that I’m gonna start getting scared too.”

“Bullshit, I can feel your hands shaking.”

Gen laughs softly, though more out of nerves than anything. “Well, I talked to the leader of the Journalism Club lately.”

“Ah, letting the news out through a school-wide article. No human confrontation. You’re a genius, babe.”

“Well, no. That’s cheap. If our friends are going to know about us dating, they should at least hear it from us rather than some newspaper. I don’t think any of them reads, anyways.”

“Yuzuriha does. Well, occasionally, at least.”

“Irrelevant.” Gen leans down so that their foreheads are touching. “And besides, my little experiment worked. They don’t have a problem with anything. They’re overly supportive, if anything.”

“Even people like that Journalism leader?”

“She likes girls.” Gen raises an eyebrow at Senku. “She’s definitely not judging.”

“Ah.” Senku replies simply. “Well—”

“Nope. Nope, we’re not having this.” Gen cuts Senku off with a soft kiss. “If you say a worst-case scenario, your luck will probably make sure that it’ll come to pass.”

Senku snorts a laugh, “that’s a very exaggerated and unrealistic statement.”

Gen hums teasingly, and then his face falls serious again. “Well, I already called them for pizza and an best-arc marathon. So even if we lose our nerve, we’ll have to tell them.”

They occasionally gathered on fridays before long weekends to watch their favourite arcs of shows that they don’t have time to fully re-watch. It’s a nice way for their friends to let loose and have a very unhealthy night full of laughter and greasy foods.

Senku sighs. “Ugh. This is idiotic. They’re our friends for fuck’s sake. They’re not worth our time if they can’t stand that we’re dating.”

“Exactly, Senku-chan.” Gen softly presses a kiss to Senku’s forehead. Senku kisses Gen’s cheek in response.

“And we can always run away to the moon,” Senku says. “You know. Just in case.”

Gen laughs. “Sure, if you can bring us there.”

The doorbell rings. Senku and Gen stare at each other for a half-minute, gesturing mutely until Senku gives in and goes to the door.

“Hey!! Ryusui couldn’t make it ‘cause he’s in America and couldn’t make it back in time, but he’ll text. Maybe. I dunno, he said he might also have some kind of business meeting too? We’ll see, I guess,” Chrome enters first, carrying so many boxes of popcorn that his face was barely visible through them.

“Ooh, I’m so happy we’re at Gen’s place today!” Yuzuriha bounces in next, carrying juice and pop. “No offense guys, but he definitely has the best place.”

“We know!” Taiju’s laugh carries through the whole apartment as he walks in with a pie, probably one that Yuzuriha made. “You always mention it, Yuzu.”

“You WHAT??” Kohaku’s voice is heard from outside. Everyone else pauses and looks to see Kohaku talking to Tsukasa. “What do you mean this is your first best-arc marathon!?”

Tsukasa shrugs, “my matches always lined up with your marathon weekends, so this is my first one.”

“Huh, come to think of it, I’ve never seen Tsukasa here,” Chrome says, turning to face him. “It’s probably because we always livestream your fights in the mornings, so we see you anyways.”

“You livestream my matches?”

“Ok this is great and fun and all, but it is absolutely freezing out here. Let’s go inside please.” Kohaku says, pushing Tsukasa through the door with one hand. The other is supporting an incredibly large bag filled with blankets and chip bags.

“Wha— Senku, you didn’t bring any food this time, thank god.” Chrome’s teasing voice is heard from the kitchen. “I don’t think my stomach could handle that again.”

“Or my taste buds.” Kohaku adds. “I don’t think I can look at ramen the same ever again.” She shudders.

“Holy shit you guys.” Senku tries to sound annoyed, but the corners of his mouth twitch upwards. “I already said I’ll bring the store-bought stuff next time. Instead, I brought the DVDs.”

“You don’t stream them?” Ukyo had just stepped in, since he was still learning how to park a car.

“No. Support the creators, damn it.” Senku smiles at Ukyo. “I didn’t realize our Military Man was breaking laws now.”

Ukyo lightly smacks Senku’s shoulder. “I’m not. At least if we don’t have a show on DVD, I’ll still be able to find it.”

“What are we watching first?” Kohaku asks from the living room, where she had finished arranging the couches and blankets.

“One Piece! Water 7/Enies Lobby!!” Chrome responds.

“We did that last month,” Gen says. “We know you like the architecture, but there’s more to One Piece than the architecture.” He glances at Senku, wondering when they should mention the whole dating thing. Senku gives him a deer-in-spotlights look in return, and they both remain silent.

“Then Alabasta!” Yuzuriha says.

“How could we have ever guessed?” Ukyo teases. “You’re not subtle about how much you enjoy the Baroque Works outfits.”

“Alright, what after?” Senku asks, raising his voice to be heard over the popcorn in the microwave.

“I want to see the shipwrecked arc from Saiki K.” Gen says. The looks that he gives Senku was clear. The news comes after the comedy, so they’re already feeling jovial.

“Alright, we’ll start there and we’ll see what we want after!” Yuzuriha claims a spot far away from the table, because Taiju had a tendency to move his limbs a lot while watching shows, and she didn’t want her boyfriend getting a collection of bruises on his calves again.

As the episodes start playing in the dim room, Senku and Gen exchanged nervous looks the whole time. Everyone else was distracted by the scenes on the television, but Senku and Gen found themselves unable to focus.

The whole thing was a setup by Gen, because their most believable excuse for hand-holding and making each other’s lunches was if they did it for school.

He knew what slip he was going to pick out from the box in homeroom. He knew how to approach each situation and how to gauge everyone’s reactions. He knows that their friends wouldn’t bat an eyelash, except maybe to wipe away tears of joy. Hell, they probably know already anyways, or at least suspected.

That doesn’t stop him from being nervous though. It was grossly irrational. They cared about them as people, and that would never change because of their orientation.

And yet.

Gen can see that a similar thought process is happening in Senku’s mind, calculating every possibility, finding that they’re coming up 99.98% positive, and still not having the courage to bring up the topic.

So they blankly stare at the dramatic action sequences occurring in front of them, not really registering anything other than their hearts beating in a sprinting tandem and their slightly shaky fingers.

They’re pretty sure it was noticeable when the objectively funniest show came and went without either of the two even smiling in response.

Kohaku went up and paused the disk. Taiju turns on the light. “Alright, spill. What’s going on with you guys?”

They stare blankly in response, take a deep breath, and respond with overlapping voices

“Well you see we’ve been dating for a while now and it’s not that we ever suspected you guys of being homophobes or anything but also it’s definitely—”

“If you all would ever believe it, which I mean you obviously will, we’ve kind of definitely been together for the last while and we didn’t mean to not say anything but—”

They both cut off at the same time when they realize that the other person was talking.

Of course, the jumble of words that resulted from their overlapping voices didn’t stop their ‘hearing 100’ friends, who both promptly freaked out.

“What do you mean you’ve been dating this whole time?? How long?? Since when?? Were we there for the confession??” Kohaku starts berating them with questions as everyone else starts to register the situation.

“I mean, I always suspected, but I wasn’t going to say anything about it because I thought I was reading into things too much!” Ukyo says.

“Wait, WHAT?” Chrome screeches a bit as he pulls out his phone. “I counted the number of times your guys kissed this past week! It was horrible!”

“Then why did you do it…?” Senku tries to recover and regain his composure.

“I needed to run the numbers by average couple numbers,” Chrome pouts. “They matched, but that’s pointless data now.”

“And… none of you care?” Gen slowly asks.

Yuzuriha and Taiju were too busy hugging Senku to respond, now that they realized what was happening. “Does this mean double dates?” They ask.

“Of course we don’t care,” Tsukasa answers simply. They wait for him to continue with some profound speech, and he just shrugs in response. To them, that means more than any words he could say.

“If anything, you should have told us earlier so that we wouldn’t have tried so hard to set you up!” Kohaku crosses her arms. “I lost so much studying time because of it!”

“That’s the main reason why we didn’t want you to prioritize our relationship over your marks,” Gen says, relaxing into the couch. Senku allows himself a small laugh.

“Well, we wanted to see you guys happy. And we will absolutely beat up anyone who stops that.” Chrome says.

“Yep.” Tsukasa agrees, which gives Chrome’s statement a lot more weight.

“Alright. So we were dumb.” Senku lets out a sigh of relief. “Overthinking sucks sometimes.”

“No kidding.” Gen nods. “And yeah, absolute idiots.”

“Let’s get back to watching Alabasta.” Senku looks at the screen. “Nope, it’s Saiki K. now.”

They laugh as they settle back into their respective positions, though Chrome also took the time to text Ryusui the news. Gen tucks his head into Senku’s chest, and Senku puts his arm around him.

Turns out, it’s a lot easier to enjoy themselves when they don’t have to hide who they are.


Hirano Rei was going to fully quit her job. She’s done being a teacher, especially for this bunch of crazy students.

She assigns what’s meant to be a 10-minute assignment? To be done through Wikipedia research and maybe a decent run through spell-check? So that she can get a nice break before the hectic week that is midterms? And what does she get handed in instead?

80k words. Double spaced. 1-inch margins. Times new roman, 12pt. font, with a works cited page at the end. On the science of attraction, complete with a real life experiment.

She was not going to mark this. She would rather quit.

…Or maybe show it off to the other teachers.