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My Shoulder's A Bit Numb But I'll Let This Slide

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Are the stars aligned today?

Was an octuplet of royal babies born today?

Did someone finally found the cure for the common cold?

Those are just some of the ridiculous thoughts that swam in my head at the moment. Hey I know my thoughts can go a bit… far and weird and even disturbing but maybe this time they’re justified?

Because right now, at this exact moment, in the usual bus I get on every time I want to visit my aunt and say hi a bit, there is this total stranger that is sleeping beside me.

And no, don’t get me wrong. I don’t hold grudges towards people that sleep on the bus, that is quite normal if I were to say. I mean, I slept like 5 times on different buses in my whole life and missed some stops and maybe wasted money my parents really worked hard to earn—it’s an unfortunate thing okay! But the thing is, this guy’s leaning on my shoulder as he is soundly snoozing.

Which is not really an issue to be quite honest. I won’t be a total jerk who’ll purposely shake him awake and act all disgusted around him. I, Nagachika Hideyoshi, swear on all the times I treated my friends’ lunch, that I am a nice person.  So of course I would whole heartedly let him sleep on my shoulder, heck even for 5 hours if he really needs it.

But the thing is, this person, this raven haired guy, is probably the cutest person I have seen in the entire 18 years of my life. And yes, I have seen international stars and even the most well designed anime characters to have ever existed on this planet.

Yet here I am, falling head over heels towards a stranger sleeping on my shoulder.

He is very cute. He’s probably the same age as me, even if he’s a bit shorter and more fragile looking. His black locks of hair really contrast his pale white skin. He’s wearing an oversized gray sweater and black jeans and is softly cradling a (is that horror?) book.

I know every inch of his appearance is screaming ‘I am someone who prefers to read books huddled up in my bedroom all day 24/7 and social interactions make me anxious.’ (I know myself that’s a bit judgmental and rude of me but trust me on these things okay I’m quite proud of my own detective skills) but something about him just allures me.

Before things get more sidetracked, in conclusion, I want to hit myself in the face (without waking him up of course) very hard, for checking out this poor being asleep on my shoulder and turning the reddest hue my face could ever make up. (And the fact that I blush up to my neck is really inconvenient) Also just what is this whole thing about me fidgeting like there’s no tomorrow when I’m really nervous none of this is helping me--

“Hmm…,” oh gosh did I accidentally wake him up.

Breaking news everyone I actually did. Good job me.

“Wha--!” the guy squeaked, immediately distancing his head from my shoulder and jumping to his side. His face turns red incredibly fast and there’s this utter look of terror on his face and he just started to sweat bullets.

“O-Oh my gosh I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry I can’t believe I fell asleep while reading Ican’tbelivethatIsleptonyourshoulderI’msosorrydoesitfeelnumb or anything maybe Ican helpyouwithanythingohmygoshletmepayyoubacksomehow.”

Good thing I know how to understand jumbles of words. I feel very bad for this guy though… he just looks so scared. Like if I pinch him or something he’ll explode.

“Calm down, calm down it’s completely fine! It’s totally fine don’t mind it. I just hope you didn’t missed your stop or anything,” I tried to reassure him.

I’m glad that eased his mind. He let out a small sigh and looked away bashfully heck stop being so cute stranger.

“T-thank you then. And umm no I didn’t miss my stop…,” his voice was almost a whisper but I can still hear him well.

I flashed him a smile (to reassure him of course not that I’m purposely trying to show my most complimented aspects or something), “No problem man and it’s nice to know that you didn’t miss your stop. I’m Nagachika Hideyoshi by the way, but please call me Hide.” And with my introduction I extended out my hand as an offer to handshake with him.

He shyly takes my hand to shake, gosh are those hands soft, “I’m Kaneki Ken… nice to meet you Hide,” he (finally) gave out a small smile to me and man that angelic smile just let out hordes of butterflies in my stomach.

I must have been red as a tomato because he just gave me a face of full of worry. I scratched the back of my neck with one of my hands, a thing I usually do when nervous, and tried to pursue the conversation, “So… if you don’t mind where are you going?”

He looked hesitant to answer first, I can tell how much this is making him uneasy so I took back my words, “Er don’t worry it’s okay if you don’t want to tell me hahaha.” Good going Hideyoshi you just scared him away you creeper.

“N-no..! It’s… it’s okay I’m just on my way to a book signing event…,” he said in a hushed voice while fidgeting with the book in his hands. “The author’s Takatsuki Sen and I really enjoy their writing… Have you heard of the Black Goat’s Egg?” he sweetly asked, and I’m pretty sure those are stars shining in those eyes. Looks like I really fell hard for a giant book nerd, huh.

“Sadly I’m not that much into literature… though I do read manga! Hey do you think manga can be accepted as a part of literature?” I inquired in a rather loud voice, “What do you think?”

“Yes… I think, its stories are still captivating and are full of lessons but I prefer novels more,” he softly smiled, “They’re what’s kept me going for all my life.”

I think my stomach just did a somersault

“T-that’s… that’s pretty sweet then,” I managed to mutter out, calm down there butterflies you can’t ruin my smooth groove, “Anyways I’m guessing you’re at university already?”

He looks a bit surprised at my guess, “I am… most people mistake me for a high school student most of the time, but yeah... I’m studying Japanese Literature at Kamii…”

“Woah Kamii? As in Kamii University? Dude I study there too!” I beamed, which sort of startled Kaneki (oops) my enthusiasm just gets out of hand sometimes.

“That’s nice..! What are you taking in Kami, Hide?” Holy macaroni he just called me by my nickname I think I’m ascending, “I—I take International Studies,” I managed to choke out. I think both of us knew that I just stammered for completely no reason. I am already regretting half of my life as a heavy silence fell upon us, with him fidgeting nervously in his seat while I held a crooked smile.

Is it too late to hit myself in the face or…?

“My… my stop’s coming by soon. Thank you so much for taking care of me,” he turned to me and bowed slightly. Oh no that means he’s going to exit the bus soon right? I’m stuck on this bus until its last stop at my aunt’s.

I knew things would boil down to this! This is why I regretted falling so damn hard for this cutie… because I know fate will inevitably tear us apart…! Okay I know it isn’t really that grave, I can just ask for his number and maybe meet up at the university for lunch or some coffee at the nearby café.

But as time passed by I am currently contemplating if I really am the suave university student I proudly called myself back then because heck I can’t even look at him without having my face burn up how am I even supposed to ask for his number won’t that make things more awkward between us oh gosh I want to restart again please.


“If… if you don’t mind may I ask for your number…?”

I stared at Kaneki in utter shock. I’m not hearing things am I…? Look, I am desperate, but not to the point where I’ll hallucinate him asking for my phone number so…

Like the rational being I am I slapped myself in the face. Hard. Finally!

“W-what’s wrong ohmygosh are you okay?!” Kaneki said in a rather louder tone than normal, voice evidently laced with concern. “I’m… I’m okay Kaneki just making sure I’m still in touch with reality,” I tried to reason out. In turn he gave me this perplexed look and I just can’t help but laugh at his cute face.

“You know, be thankful that you’re really cute so I’ll let everything slide,” I stated, “So sure, let’s exchange phone numbers.” I wanted to give off a wink as an extra when I said those words but oh my gosh his previously pale skin is now so red and I swear I could see smoke coming from his ears.

“W-WhatareyoutryingtosayHidepleasestopitohmygosh,” he spat, I’m surprised at how he hasn’t bitten his tongue at how fast he talks sometimes but that’s a relief anyways. “I… I just want to know your number so that I can pay you back for the whole shoulder thing…,” he murmured and looked down as he fumbled on in his pockets for his phone.

How can someone this cute exist?

“Sure, sure now I hope you don’t mind going out for lunch together on Monday as payback?” I offered as we exchanged number, “I-If you’re free.” I looked at his face searching for any positive reaction but all I can see are big grey eyes and his mouth forming a little ‘o’.

He then smiled his sweetest smile for the ride, “Sure, I’m free at that time.” I’m sure I could have died right at that moment, but luckily I was still able to flash a smile in reply. He then pressed the stop button and made his way out of the vehicle waving a little good bye.

I took a deep breath and slumped on my seat. When I woke up today I didn’t even think something like this would happen and boy am I glad it did. I looked out the window as I replayed the earlier events with a big dopey smile plastered on my face.