It's not that Komaeda finds socializing difficult.
It's that he wonders if he's worthy of socializing with his new schoolmates in the first place. Hope's Peak University, living up to its name, is basically a symbol of hope for their whole country. Graduates of Hope's Peak are believed to be extremely capable and talented, and it is said that they are guaranteed success in life. As for Komaeda, he knew that he was neither of those— neither talented nor capable, he only passed Hope's Peak's test because of one reason: luck.
He knew that that was all it was, anyway. It will be really impudent of him to even assume that he passed the test because of another reason. He knew he wasn't intelligent, and any amazing thing that he accomplished is absolutely nothing but pure, unadulterated chance. Putting it that way, it sounds rather pathetic. He himself knows.
That's why, being suddenly mixed with people obviously superior over him, he isn't quite sure how to act. Of course his immediate decision is to not talk to anyone— no one, especially a student of Hope's Peak, should experience the horrible misfortune of sharing a conversation with someone like him, someone like him who's trash, someone like him who wouldn't amount to anything. But then he started getting second thoughts, questions like what if his actions get taken the wrong way and he gets perceived as someone who acts all high and mighty, causing him to refuse socialization, when in reality, he's just trying to help them get away from someone lower than the dirt of their shoes? What if, for some incomprehensible reason, the symbols of hope are interested in conversing with him? In that case, wouldn't it be far more disrespectful if he goes against their wishes?
Ahh, why is this so difficult?
The difficulty of making a decision is actually why he's currently pretty pleased that social media is a thing. The university has created an online group for them freshmen so that they can socialize and receive announcements much easier. The exact reason why Komaeda is pleased is because even without having to talk to his schoolmates, he can learn the important information just by simply scrolling through a virtual news feed.
That's all he does though. He just lurks and lurks, occasionally giving a virtual 'like' for a particular post or comment that he finds impressive, but he never really posted anything himself.
'Hey, guys, what's the Office of Student Affairs Mailing Account? How do I get one? Thanks!'
Komaeda read that post one time while he was lurking in the group. He himself doesn't know the answer to that question, so he curiously clicked on the post to see a full view of the comments for it. Some replied, agreeing that they also want to know the answer, while the others commented a flat 'I don't know'. He continued scrolling down because they're symbols of hope, and he's sure that someone surely already has the answer posted somewhere. He just has to scroll a bit more.
He wasn't mistaken.
'You can register in the university's website. Here's the link.'
That was quite a simple reply, but it received a lot of 'likes' and replies because of its sheer helpfulness. Komaeda clicks on the 'like' button and thinks of typing a short comment of thanks as well just like what everyone else is doing, but he decides against it after almost ten minutes of contemplation. He decides to just go and access the link to finally create whatever that account is.
He answers the empty fields— name, password, student number, phone number— and he presses the enter button when he's done.
'Sorry, registration is now unavailable. Please personally visit the Office of Student Affairs, second floor of the Student Union Building, and request for an account. We apologize for the inconvenience.'
Komaeda frowns at the note, disappointed. Maybe there were limited slots? Maybe the site wasn't able to handle the sudden activity?
Oh, well, he'll just go there tomorrow.
Komaeda's actually really familiar with the Student Union Building.
That's where he usually eats lunch, after all. It's a wide place, so nobody really notices that there's a loser in their midst. They have Wi-Fi in the whole building too, so Komaeda thinks it's a convenient place to be. The note said that the Office of Student Affairs is in the second floor, so he ascends the stairs carefully because he wouldn't want to have to accidentally bump on anyone and bother them with his worthless existence.
There were many people in the second floor. Komaeda has read in one of the threads in the group that some payments are done here instead of the Office of the University Registrar. The people are lined up neatly, each holding a small paper, so he guesses that that information he has received must have been accurate... not to imply that he doubted the symbol of hope who stated it in the first place, ah, how impudent!
He finds the Office of Student Affairs quite easily, and he was glad that trash like him was able to do that at least. He peeks through the glass window to check if anyone's in at the moment, and he sees a young man with long black hair and red eyes— he seems to be a student as well, a year older than Komaeda at most— typing away at a desktop.
Komaeda finds himself suddenly slightly intimidated at the fact that there was a fellow student who looks this responsible, and then there's him who can't even do anything right. He only realizes he has been staring when the boy looks up from the desktop and stares (glares?) back at him. It took almost everything of Komaeda not to jump away in humiliation. It took everything of Komaeda to enter the office after being caught staring.
The room had an air conditioning unit on, and it was loads of cooler in there compared to the crowded hall outside. Komaeda gets the thought that he wants to just stay at this office, but that is until he realizes that the black-haired boy is still glaring at him. There was a girl in the room as well— Komaeda only noticed her when he got in the room— she has strawberry blonde hair tied up in two pigtails, and she dresses up really well.
"Um, I..." Komaeda doesn't know why this is feeling difficult. "...Haha, I just wanted to ask something. I've heard of something called Office of Student Affairs Mailing Account, and I don't have it yet, so I don't know what it is, haha... I just wanted to ask if it's needed..."
The boy looks like he heard something painfully stupid, and Komaeda wonders if he really is being ignorant for not knowing. The people in the online group seems clueless as well, but still... under the piercing eyes of whoever this guy is, Komaeda almost feels like he has committed a mortal sin somehow.
"Are you a freshman?" Instead of directly addressing the question, that was what the boy asked. Komaeda finds himself nodding timidly.
"Ah, ah, freshmen are so smart nowadays!" The girl with twintails comments. Komaeda can't tell if she's serious or sarcastic. "When I was a freshman, I didn't know what the OSAM Account is! I didn't even know where the OSA is!"
"The OSAM Account is required for you to avail numerous services offered by the OSA." The boy replies, ignoring the girl. "For instance, the Student Loan Board... I presume you didn't apply for a loan?"
Komaeda shakes his head.
"The OSA can send you announcements in your phone too if you have an account. I don't think you'd need it yet, but I won't stop you if you want one." The boy pauses. It took Komaeda a full ten seconds before he realized that he should reply.
"Ah, yeah, I'm here now, so..." Komaeda can feel that his smile turned sheepish. "How do I sign up...?"
"Do you memorize your pin number?"
Komaeda sincerely wonders why he doesn't know what the guy is talking about. He also wonders if he really is this stupid. "Pin number...? Ah, I'm sorry I don't know what you're pertaining to, haha..."
"The four digit code written in your admission slip. Do you have your admission slip with you?"
"Ah, no..." Komaeda can clearly remember leaving it in his house— his actual house, not his dorm. Ah, why is he so foolish?
"That's fine." The boy abruptly says, and Komaeda wonders if he misheard. The boy looks like a serious and no-nonsense type of person, and his 'that's fine' didn't match his facial expression at all. "Get one of those papers and fill it out."
Komaeda follows the direction being pointed to him. He sees a box with small papers inside. Reading them, he notices that it asked the questions that he answered last night in the site. He places his hand in his pocket, trying to get his pen, and he feels instantly stupid yet again to see that his pocket is, in fact, empty. He looks up, wondering if he looks like he's panicking at the moment. The red-eyed boy seems to notice his predicament and hands him a pen— Komaeda is infinitely thankful because of that.
He answers the paper quite fast. He wants to get out of there as soon as possible because he feels like he has made fun of himself enough already. He hands the paper to the boy, waiting for his cue to leave.
"What's your college?"
"Ah... College of Arts and Sciences..."
The boy types. Komaeda guesses there are more needed details, after all. "Degree program?"
The boy types again. Komaeda wonders how many questions are in there— "That's all."
"Oh, ah." Komaeda pathetically says. "Oh... I can go now then?"
He asked another stupid question. "Yes. You'll receive a text message shortly after this regarding your account's password."
"Ah, thanks..." Komaeda allows himself to smile. He hopes he doesn't look too stupid. "I'll be going now then."
Apart from his apparent incompetence and the boy's piercing gaze, there also is the fact that the boy actually is quite good-looking, and that just makes Komaeda feel even more self-conscious.
"Ah." Komaeda stares at his hand. "I really am stupid..."
He forgot to return the pen.
"Um, Hagakure-kun..." Komaeda really can't fight his curiosity. "You have been around for a while now, right?"
Komaeda's roommate is a man named Hagakure Yasuhiro. Hagakure told him that he has been delayed from graduating twice now, and if he fails to graduate this year, he'll just drop it and start a career in fortune-telling. Komaeda figured that since Hagakure has been in the university for a while now, he must know about that boy in the OSA...
"Yeah?" Hagakure slightly frowns. "Why d'ya ask, Komaedacchi? I told you Chemical Engineering's even harder than it sounds! Don't judge!"
"Ah, haha... It's not that at all, Hagakure-kun! I asked for a different reason!" Komaeda holds up his hands in front of him. "I just saw this person, see... I wonder if you know about him. It's okay if you don't, but I thought I should try at least."
"Ahh." Hagakure's face immediately lightens up. "Ask away, Komaedacchi! Ask away!"
"I saw this boy with long black hair and..." Komaeda pauses to not seem too interested. "...red eyes. He was in the OSA earlier, and I just wanted to know who he is."
"Oh, oh! Does he look serious? Too serious?"
"Yes!" Komaeda accompanies his reply with a nod. His planned facade of acting only slightly interested immediately got forgotten. "Does Hagakure-kun know him?"
"Everyone does! He's that kid called Kamukura Izuru! Man, if only I've at least a percent of his brain, I woulda graduated on time!"
"Oh..." Komaeda knew he was smart at first sight. It would have been stupid to not notice. But now he feels even more unreachable... not that Komaeda ever thought he was in reach. Not that Komaeda thought he was deserving of reaching anyone. "Kamukura-kun, huh... so he's really intelligent?"
"Nah! Just intelligent isn't enough! He's super duper intelligent!" Hagakure sighs almost exaggeratedly. "I swear that kid isn't even human! I'd believe it if someone claims he's an alien, after all!"
"He competes internationally, and he always takes the prize home, man! Like, what the fuck, who does that, right?" Hagakure scratches his nose. "Just so you know, he competes in sports too, so see, not human at all! I mean, when does he even find the time to study, right? I swear he's an alien..."
"I bet he has this thing called pornographic memory or whatnot."
"...I'm pretty sure that's photographic..."
"Details're just details! Anyway, why're ya even asking about him?"
"Ah... Nothing." Komaeda sincerely hopes he isn't blushing at the moment. "He lent me a pen, so I wanted to return it."
"Oh, s'that so?" Hagakure nods. "What did you do in the OSA anyway?"
"I signed up for an account. I'm not in the mailing list yet."
"Ah, I see, I see! Well, maybe you can just drop the pen in the OSA and tell the guys there that it's for him! I don't really know where he usually is... heard the kid's fickle as hell."
"Well, someone as skilled as Kamukura-kun probably wants to try as many activities as possible."
Hagakure replies, still saying something about how Kamukura most probably is an alien, but Komaeda tunes him out. He can't think of anything but Kamukura's evident greatness compared to someone as insignificant as him and the fact that he was lucky enough to meet someone that great in real life. If there's someone whom Komaeda doesn't even have the right to share oxygen with, it's Kamukura.
He thinks of the simple black pen currently tucked safely in his bag and wonders if it is indeed a good decision to just leave it in the OSA instead of returning it personally.
Komaeda is going to eat lunch in the first floor of the Student Union Building just like the usual, go to the OSA, leave Kamukura's pen, and proceed with his usual boring and good-for-nothing life.
He softly pats his pocket to check for the umpteenth time that the pen is still there as he eats carefully with his other hand. It's just a pen— other people probably won't be too worried about this. But he's Komaeda Nagito, so he just has to find even the easiest tasks difficult. Maybe if he can actually do something properly, he wouldn't have to feel this way...
"Komaedacchi!" He feels his table slightly move, and he looks up, alarmed. Hagakure is there with his usual toothy grin, together with a small boy with brown hair. Komaeda gives a smile out of respect— he knows that everyone here in this academy is above him anyway, so it's only proper that he acts accordingly. The boy smiles back, almost really kindly so.
"Ah, Hagakure-kun." Komaeda watches Hagakure and his companion sit across him. "It's nice to see you in the campus."
"Yeah, we don't usually meet... Ah!" As if only remembering that he has someone with him, Hagakure turns to the small boy beside him. "Naegicchi, this is my roommate, Komaedacchi. Komaedacchi, this is my classmate in Natural Science 4, Naegicchi."
"At least say our names properly..." 'Naegicchi' lets out a sheepish chuckle as he turns to Komaeda. "I'm Naegi Makoto. You are Komaeda...?"
"Oh, ah, Komaeda Nagito..." He hurriedly offers his hand to Naegi, and Naegi shakes it. "Nice to meet you, Naegi-kun."
"It's nice to meet you too, Komaeda-kun." Naegi smiles with the same gentleness all his action seem to carry. "What degree program are you taking?"
"Philosophy." Komaeda returns his smile. He wants to seem gentle and friendly as well, but he probably just looks stupid. "How about you?"
"Economics." Naegi replies. "Do you plan to proceed to Law as well?"
"Yes." Komaeda accompanies his words with a nod. "I take it you are, too?"
Naegi nods as well, his smile going wider. "This is great. Who knows, we'll probably meet in Law school! At least I'd know someone already."
"Ah, yes, likewise..."
"So, Komaedacchi," Hagakure interrupts, reminding them both that he's still around. "Why're you here alone?"
Komaeda doesn't know if it would be proper to say that he usually is alone anyway. "I have a hard time looking for someone who matches my vacant periods." So he says instead. To be fair, that's not really a lie. "Maybe I should have asked Hagakure-kun firsthand since we're both vacant at the moment! Maybe we have more matching vacant times."
Hagakure and Naegi both pull out their schedules and hand them to Komaeda. Komaeda immediately pulls out his, as well. Checking each other's schedules— it's an indirect promise to always be together every vacant time. Komaeda doesn't really want to bind any of the symbols of hope to his useless presence... He's sure that the others are better company compared to him.
"Whoa, Komaedacchi, we've English 1 together every Thursday! How come you never said so!?"
"I didn't know too..." Komaeda nervously chuckles. "The lecture hall is really big, so that must be why we missed each other..."
Hagakure retrieves his schedule. "Sit with me next time! Last time, there was a weirdo with a goatee who kept on talking about how he's a baseball player and how much he hates baseball! Then the other time, there was one who kept on talking about how being late is a cardinal sin punishable by law! I don't know, man!"
"I think I know them..." Komaeda hears Naegi softly murmuring beside Hagakure.
"Anyway, Naegi-kun." Komaeda turns to Naegi this time. "It seems we have Math 1 together every Tuesdays and Thursdays."
"Yeah, I think I remember seeing you actually." Naegi replies with a smile, almost embarrassed. "You kinda stand out because of your hair, so..."
"Ah." Komaeda's hand reaches up to softly touch his hair, feeling a bit conscious. He doesn't really like standing out, and he knew that his hair makes him too visible. He really should have dyed it maybe brown or black, after all... "If it's okay, we can sit next to each other next meeting, maybe..."
Komaeda can't even believe he said that. To a symbol of hope, he impudently offered sitting beside each other during classes. His disrespectfulness really knows no bounds!
"Sure, that would be great!" Naegi was smiling again. "I can introduce you to my friend too, if that will be alright with you. We usually sit together during Math, that's why."
"Ah, I wouldn't want to intrude..."
"No, it's really alright." Naegi nods at him as he replies. "So what's your next class?"
The three of them ended up being companions for the rest of the day that Komaeda had to put off returning the pen.
Komaeda actually is pretty relieved that he now has someone he knows here. It's a comforting feeling— the fact that there is someone he can sit with during classes. Of course he still doesn't think he's deserving of that, but still... He can't help being happy about it.
Hagakure is sitting on his left, sleeping, as the teacher goes to talk about sentence patterns. Komaeda is scribbling on his notebook, copying the important details from the presentation and listening carefully. He can remember learning the same lessons back then when he was still in high school though, so he's pretty relieved because he wouldn't be too much of a fool that way.
"Hey." He feels someone softly patting his right arm, so he turns to the person sitting beside him in that direction. There was a short and stout boy with a brown pompadour, and he was wiggling his eyebrows at Komaeda. Komaeda would have doubted that the boy was indeed talking to him if only he didn't pat Komaeda's arm. "Do you want some?"
Komaeda just knows that he made a confused face. Noticing his confusion, the boy holds up a wrapped bread, but making sure not to hold it up too high. His big backpack is conveniently placed on his desk so no one would see what's in his hand. "Do you want some? It's Fraise au Pain."
Komaeda's pretty sure that that simply translates to strawberry bread, but alright. He wonders which would be ruder— accepting the food or not? He hesitantly takes the wrapped bread, making sure to do it slowly just in case the short boy changes his mind. He was still waiting for an objection even as he already successfully placed the bread on his desk.
"I baked it myself." The boy adds, wiggling his eyebrows again. "You'll taste such goodness that you've never had, and you'll come to me begging for more."
Komaeda gets the feeling that those words have an alternate meaning, but he shakes that thought off. "Thank you, I guess..."
"No problemo. Now, aren't you going to eat it? It's made with the finest strawberries that I grew myself." The boy winks. "Come on, I want to see it inside your mouth..."
"Um..." Komaeda feels his face burning. Now he's pretty sure he didn't imagine that. "Now that I think about it, we shouldn't eat in class, after all..." He gently puts the wrapped bread back on the boy's armchair. "Thanks anyway..."
“Aw, come on.” The boy puts back the bread on Komaeda’s armchair. “Are you the type who wants it to be thrust inside your mouth instead of doing it yourself? I could work with that actually, hm.”
“Wake up.” Komaeda hears a familiar voice, and he instinctively turns to his left. He feels his heart skipping a beat when he sees Kamukura Izuru at the end of the row, softly hitting Hagakure’s head with a rolled paper. He makes eye contact with Komaeda, and Komaeda feels himself freezing on the spot. “And the two of you, eating is forbidden in lecture halls.”
Ahh, Komaeda really can’t do anything right. Because of his actions, he now looks like a bad student in front of Kamukura Izuru. He desperately wants to explain, but should he even? He already looks like an awkward, poorly-behaved fool anyway, and he is one.
“Ah…” Hagakure blinks at Kamukura, obviously still having remnants of sleepiness within him. “This guy… Ah, Komaedacchi, this is the guy you were asking about.” He then rests his head on his armchair again, and Komaeda sees Kamukura visibly frowning as a reaction.
Komaeda, meanwhile, just wants to be swallowed whole by the ground. He sincerely hopes that Kamukura didn’t hear what Hagakure uttered. Against his better judgment, he looks up to check Kamukura’s expression again, and he could have sworn he felt a burning sensation when he sees that Kamukura is curiously looking at him.
Should he say something? Should he apologize?
I'm sorry that someone like me expressed interest in someone like you.
Something like that or—
“Ahh!” Hagakure yells, immediately lifting his head off his armchair. “Kamukura Izuru is here! The alien kid! Why’re you here!?”
Kamukura’s frown deepens, but he replies anyway. “I'm the professor’s student assistant. I went to this row because some students here are clearly misbehaving.”
Komaeda feels shame bubbling within him, and the urge to apologize grows stronger. If only he weren’t stupid enough to not wake up Hagakure, if only he weren’t stupid enough to entertain his other seatmate’s indirect offer of conversation during class—
Ahh, this is his fault.
He just wants to disappear from his chair then and there.
“Okay, that’s all, you're dismissed.”
As soon as those words came out the professor’s mouth, the students started putting on their bags as if in a hurry. Komaeda is torn between doing the same and staying behind to apologize to Kamukura and maybe to the professor as well.
I'm so sorry for being incompetent and misbehaved.
Hagakure pats him on the back with a quick ‘I'm so sorry, Komaedacchi, my next class’s starting so soon, damn this schedule!’ before running to the exit. Even the boy who offered him that so-called Fraise au Pain was nowhere to be found.
Komaeda’s feeling of self-consciousness intensified even more when he realizes that he's the only one left in the lecture hall, and Kamukura Izuru is by the exit, stacking some papers that the professor used during the lecture. To get out, Komaeda would have to pass by there…
Komaeda slings his bag on his arm as quietly as possible as he walks with the same carefulness to the door. Kamukura is still busy with the papers when he got there, and Komaeda starts weighing his choices again. Should he speak? Should he not?
His thought process gets interrupted when Kamukura looks up from the papers and stares at him. Komaeda immediately freezes, unable to think of what to do next. It’s as if his mind completely forgot how to even work, and he knows that he’ll just make a fool of himself again—
“Your name is Komaeda.” Kamukura speaks, and Komaeda doesn’t believe his ears. “Isn't it?”
“Ah…” Komaeda just can’t believe that Kamukura remembered his name. “That’s right… I'm so sorry for earlier… during class.”
Kamukura lifts an eyebrow, looking just slightly confused. That must be the best clueless expression that someone of his caliber will ever have to do. “Are you pertaining to me chastising your row?”
Komaeda nods. The shame that he felt earlier starts resurfacing. “I'm really sorry. I won’t do it again.”
He could have sworn Kamukura frowned for a split-second before replying. “I wasn’t even chastising you. I was watching your seatmates. The person to your left is sleeping, and the person to your right is offering you food.”
“Oh… but those are my fault. I should have been responsible enough to wake up Hagakure-kun when I saw him sleeping… I also shouldn’t even have contemplated accepting the food that was offered to me, knowing that I'm in a lecture hall.”
“You make a fair point, but I still don’t think it’s your fault.”
“Thank you, but…” Komaeda feels his cheeks getting hotter. He looks away as a desperate attempt to save face. “…I’ll still do my best to be more competent next time.”
“I wouldn’t stop you if that’s what you want.” Kamukura puts down the stack of papers neatly on the table. “What's your next class?”
“Um…” Komaeda is ashamed that he still doesn’t memorize his schedule until now. He pulls out his phone from his pocket—he actually has set his schedule as his screensaver so it’d be easier for him. “Math 1… but I have three hours vacant.”
“How do you find Math 1?”
Kamukura was eyeing him with genuine curiosity that Komaeda also sincerely wondered why. Is this a trick question, he wonders? Did Kamukura Izuru find the need to test Komaeda?
Math is notoriously known as a really hard subject, but so far, Komaeda truthfully hasn’t faced difficulty yet. He won’t get ahead of himself though—he's sure that that probably is just him being lucky again.
“It’s alright, I suppose…” Komaeda carefully replies, making sure to observe Kamukura’s facial expression closely. “Why does Kamukura-kun ask?”
Kamukura raises an eyebrow again. “You know my name.”
“Ah, right, I—” Ah, stupid, stupid, stupid. Why isn’t the ground just opening up to claim him then and there? Komaeda unconsciously plays with his fingers as he tries to think of a reply. “I, um, thought you heard. My seatmate earlier—Hagakure-kun—I, uh, asked him about you.”
“Yes, it’s because of…” Komaeda can feel his blush worsening. He shoves a hand to his pocket and desperately searches for the pen. It wasn’t there. “I'm so sorry, please wait for a second.”
He unzips his bag—he feels Kamukura’s observant gaze watching his every actions, and he can swear that he never felt this conscious about himself in his entire life. He reaches for the small pocket inside his bag, and the relief that he felt when his hand met the material of the pen was amazing.
“Here.” Komaeda pushes the pen to Kamukura’s hand. He feels an electric sensation when they touch. “Your pen… I was in the OSA two days ago, I don’t know if you remember—”
Kamukura closes his hand around the pen, the tips of his fingers lightly touching Komaeda’s hand. Komaeda realizes he hasn’t retracted his hand yet, and he quickly fixes that mistake. “I do remember. It’s not every day I see someone with your hair color.”
His hair. It’s his hair again. He really hates his hair. “I'm so sorry for taking it with me. I didn’t do it on purpose.”
“It’s just a pen.” Kamukura pockets it as he speaks. “Since you're vacant right now, come with me if you want.”
“Where are we going?”
“To the SU.” Kamukura pauses. “Or do you have something to do?”
“Not really… What are we going to do there?”
“Oh…” Komaeda’s nervousness seem to have increased even more. “…Is Kamukura-kun asking me to eat lunch with him?”
“Only if you want to. I'm not forcing you.”
“It would be an honor, actually.” Komaeda allows himself to smile. Kamukura returns his smile, and even if his looked way smaller than Komaeda’s, Komaeda noticed it anyway. He feels a pleasant sensation within his chest as he speaks again. “Let’s go, Kamukura-kun?”
“So do you plan to proceed to Law?” Kamukura asks as soon as they're seated at one of tables of the SU. “Philosophy students normally do that… unless you plan to be a priest instead?”
“Ah, no, not a priest… I do plan to be a lawyer.” Komaeda smiles a bit. “What degree program is Kamukura-kun taking?”
“Veterinary Medicine. I plan to shift to Biology next year, however.” Kamukura rests his cheek on his palm. “You don’t have plants to shift?”
“Not yet so far. Philosophy seems alright…” Komaeda pauses, lightly scratching his chin. “I had a thought of maybe transferring to Economics though.”
Kamukura nods. “Economics is a good pre-Law course.”
“Why does Kamukura-kun plan to shift?”
He shrugs. “I lose interest quite fast.”
“Oh…” Of course. Someone as skilled as Kamukura probably wants to be in as many places as possible. He probably can do anything he sets his mind into. “Does that mean you had a different course last year too?”
Kamukura nods. “Applied Mathematics.”
From Math courses to Science ones… He really can do anything. “Well… I hope you find the course that you'd want… Are you thinking of being a doctor? I just noticed that Veterinary Medicine and Biology are both pre-med courses…”
“I don’t rule it out. I'm not really sure what I want though.” Kamukura looks at him. “Are you set on being a lawyer?”
“I think so. It’s not a bad choice, is it?”
“It isn’t. It’s one of my options, actually.”
Komaeda smiles a bit. “Kamukura-kun really wants to do a lot of things, huh…”
“More like I don’t know exactly what I want to do. It’s admirable that you already know your goal.”
“Thank you.” Komaeda feels sincerely flattered. “But it is understandable that you don’t know where to go yet. It’s an important decision, after all… We shouldn’t be hasty.”
“I agree with that.” Kamukura nods. “I have a question.”
“Sure… Ask away, Kamukura-kun.”
Kamukura pauses for a moment, as if thinking carefully if he should proceed. “Are you going out with someone at the moment?”
Komaeda almost choked on his own spit. His entire face suddenly felt warm, and he just knows that his eyes are widened at the moment. “…H-Huh? Where did Kamukura-kun get that idea?”
“I'm just asking.” Kamukura replies. “I apologize if it’s a personal question.”
“Well, no, I am not going out with someone at the moment…” Komaeda speaks softly, his heart still beating fast. “…Why does Kamukura-kun ask?”
“I'm just asking.” He repeats. “Did anyone catch your interest already?”
Why is Kamukura Izuru even asking him this kind of questions? Not like he's complaining—the attention flatters him, but it just makes him feel really flustered too. “No one in particular…” That’s a lie because he knows that Kamukura captured his attention, but he can’t say that out loud.
Kamukura nods. “That’s good.”
“What do you mean…?”
“I meant what I said.” Kamukura gestures behind him. “I think we should start buying our lunch. It’s what we went here for, after all.”
“Ah, right, I'm so sorry…” Komaeda stood up, and Kamukura followed suit. “Are you the type who looks down on students who engage in a romantic relationship while studying, Kamukura-kun?”
“No.” Kamukura replies almost suddenly, but he still keeps that certain coolness in his voice. “That’s not what I meant when I said that you not expressing interest in anyone yet is good.”
“Oh… It seems I misunderstood. I'm sorry.” For Komaeda to assume that he's able to reason in the level of someone like Kamukura—how disrespectful indeed. He should be ashamed. “I shouldn’t have tried anticipating your thoughts.”
Kamukura frowns. Komaeda starts to come up with a million ways to apologize. “You have a tendency to look down on yourself. Why is that?”
Komaeda never received that question before. “I do that…? I think I just know where I stand… I just don’t want to cross any boundaries.”
“I think you're interesting.” Kamukura says in his usual manner of speaking that Komaeda had to make sure that he wasn’t just hearing things. “Even more so than anyone I met in this university.”
“Really…?” Komaeda’s heartbeat quickens. If someone like Kamukura Izuru thinks that way, then is Komaeda in the position to argue? Should he believe it or…? “Um, that means a lot… Thank you, Kamukura-kun.”
“You don’t seem convinced.” Kamukura comments. “Do you doubt me?”
“It’s not that I doubt you, Kamukura-kun… It’s just that…” What should he say? He doesn’t really know exactly. All he knows is that whenever someone compliments him, it sounds like a joke to him. “I should just accept the compliment, huh? Someone like me receiving a compliment from someone like you—I should do nothing but just be thankful.”
Kamukura furrows his eyebrows. “Someone like you? What's wrong with someone like you receiving praise?”
“Haha, isn’t it just weird?” Komaeda tilts his head. “Me? Receiving praise? However you think about it, it’s just really wrong, right?”
Kamukura frowns. “I don’t think I understand.”
If even someone as great as Kamukura didn’t understand his words, Komaeda’s vocabulary must be really poor. He's not even good enough to put his words across effectively… “I just, haha… sorry, my manner of speaking isn’t very good, is it? I'm really sorry.”
“It’s not that.” Kamukura’s frown deepens. “Unbelievable. You seriously can’t see it?”
“…I'm sorry. I'm not very smart, see, so—”
“It’s not that.” Kamukura repeats, slightly firmer than before. “I have another question.”
Komaeda’s almost scared to hear what it is. “Sure… Please ask away.”
“Will you let me spend time with you frequently?” Kamukura looks at him. Komaeda does his best not to blush and look away. “I want to show you what I meant… and I don’t think it’s something that you'll accept as true right away.”
“I still don’t quite get it, but…” Komaeda lets out a really small smile, ignoring the spreading heat in his face. “…Of course. As I said, it’s an honor. And if it’s what Kamukura-kun wants, then—”
“No, I don’t want you to oblige yourself.” Kamukura interrupts. “Only agree if you want to.”
“I do want to…” Komaeda bites his lower lip. “I’d love to.”
Kamukura looks at him intently for a moment, checking if Komaeda’s telling the truth. He seems to look satisfied as he speaks, even nodding a little. “I hope you forgive me, but I do have a copy of your schedule already. I wasn’t able to forget your student number when you wrote it on the paper.”
“Ah… That’s okay.” Or so Komaeda says, but he's feeling really flattered. And surprised. Mostly surprised. “We’ll exchange them anyway… May I see Kamukura-kun’s schedule?”
Kamukura puts a hand in his own pocket, pulling out a phone. He presses a button before handing it to Komaeda. “My schedule isn’t very busy.”
“Oh…” Komaeda blinks. “…We seem to have Psychology 1 together?”
“I know. Not because I already saw your schedule but because…” Kamukura reaches out and places a hand on his head. Komaeda feels frozen on the spot in the best way possible. “…Your hair makes you really stand out.”
At that point, Komaeda isn’t sure anymore if he should continue hating his hair.
Now that he thinks about it, maybe it isn’t that bad, after all?