Hairo stretched his arms as he took the scenic route back to class after lunch. They were slightly stiff from the push-ups he had been doing while he had worked on his homework the evening before. The subject matter had been a little harder than he had been expecting, so the entire session had taken longer as a result. But it had been worth the effort. He had pushed through in the end and it had felt great.
His muscles were still sore though, so he had decided to focus his energy on lower body exercises today instead. The three hundred lunges he had done earlier had caused him to run up quite a sweat. Though, that could also have just been the heat. The past few days had been unexpectedly hot, especially for this early into summer. The news report had said the heatwave would last the entire week. Hairo didn't mind it overly much as it made exercising more of a challenge. But he had opted out of wearing his uniform to don his gym clothes instead, even though they didn't even have gym class today.
Thankfully, none of the teachers had seemed to mind. Mr. Matzusaki himself had forsaken the jacket of his usual sweatshirt and had even rolled up the legs of his pants. Dire straits indeed.
Hairo's thoughts were interrupted as he spotted a small gaggle of students up ahead. They were sitting on the steps that lead down to the school courtyard below and looked in no hurry to get back to class even though it was only a matter of minutes before the bell rang.
Feeling it was his prerogative as the Class Three representative to suggest to them to break it up and to get to class on time, he walked over. As he moved closer, he recognized the faces. They were mostly boys from his class with the exception of the purple-haired boy, whom Hairo knew as that transfer student from Class Two.
He was surprised to see the lot of them together actually, especially bunched up as they were on the steps like that, he hadn't expected them to be such close friends. As he continued moving towards them, he started to wonder what they were up to. They didn't seem to be talking, but something must have drawn their collective attention, because not a single one of them noticed him as he approached.
Not until he spoke, at least.
“Hey, what are you guys doing here? Lunch break is almost over.”
Startled badly by the unexpected greeting, the boy closest to him spun around, face reddening immediately at the notion of having been caught off guard.
“Nothing! We're not doing anything!” the blue-haired boy said hastily in – what was even for him – a squeakily high pitch of voice.
Hairo blinked at the boy, who in turn instantly dodged his gaze and started to whistle to himself in a manner that was probably supposed to seem casual. Well, he tried to whistle anyway.
Right, Hairo thought to himself. Nothing suspicious here.
Hairo pulled his gaze from Kaidou to look over to the boy's companions – none of whom had even glanced in their direction at their friend's outburst.
On the farthest end of the steps sat Nendou. The teen was staring into the distance with a blank expression. Now, that wasn't unusual in and of itself. What was strange however was the way he was emitting a low, grumbling sound, which Hairo thought bore a striking similarity to that of a landline's dial tone.
What? Had his brain been put on hold?
Next to him sat Kuboyasu. Looking suspiciously red-faced himself, the former delinquent was staring down at the courtyard with an iron focus. Slightly behind the two of them, causally leaning against the wall on the other side stood Saiko. He was fanning himself with a wad of cash, which – while gratuitous on the surface – Hairo could completely understand, because what was he wearing a fur coat in the middle of summer for anyway?!
With varying degrees of intensity, all the boys were looking down at the courtyard, which – Hairo assumed – must have been presenting quite a sight for all of them to be taken in by it, but which he couldn't see himself as the concrete wall next to him blocked his view.
Teruhashi must be down there, Hairo concluded as he took in the boy's awe-struck expressions. In which case he could understand their yearning to stay. He himself was certainly not immune to the girl's charms either, but still. This was no time for them to be fawning over her.
“Come on guys, the bell's going to ring any minute now, we should best head back to-” Hairo started, but was interrupted as Toritsuka shushed him.
“Just quiet down, man, and enjoy the view with us.”
Toritsuka's arm shot out from where he sat on the step in front of Kaidou and somewhat ungainly – seeing as the boy's sight was still fixed down below – grabbed hold of Hairo and dragged him closer.
Any protest the redhead had died on his lips as soon as he was pulled past the wall and saw the sight that had joined the gang of the boys together in unexpected – if temporary – harmony.
“Yeah,” someone agreed dreamily with the boy's utterance. Hairo's wasn't sure who it was, but his mind was currently otherwise occupied and not available for questioning.
He swallowed past the sudden dryness in this throat and took a step forward on wobbly knees.
Must be the lunges from earlier catching up to him, Hairo thought as he sank down onto the step next to Toritsuka. He should probably sit down for a bit. Right here would be good. They still had a few minutes before break was over anyway.
Sitting a bench on the other side of the courtyard, Saiki rolled his eyes.
Good grief. Can't a man just enjoy his ice-cream in peace any more?