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Dumb and Tragic

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There is something about Yankumi that makes a deeply hidden, very nicely buried part of Sawada Shin want to well up and spill all over everything.

It is a deeply uncool part of himself, and Shin would really rather forget all about it.

He liked his life of sleeping through class, getting into the occasional fight, and hanging out with his class. Really, he thinks to himself wistfully sometimes - usually when he's chasing his teacher down the street or saving a puppy or cleaning up the river - he misses that life a lot.

But, then the boys get in trouble, or the school is raided, or Yankumi has some bright idea that involves her dangling upside down from the gym ceiling or dressing up like Sherlock Holmes, and he realizes - generally as he's furiously dialing his phone, or sitting in a tree outside the school watching for likely suspects, or dressing up like Watson - this is really a lot more fun.

He does manage to keep that part of himself under control most of the time, on a day to day basis. It wouldn't do to have the other boys in his class see this part of him every single day.

After all, it's not every day that Yankumi signs the entire class up to volunteer at a day care center and Shin discovers yet another embarrassing part of himself bubbling up that ends up with him parading two adorable pigtailed girls around on his shoulders for the better part of an hour.

And it's not every day that he finds himself sitting at her family's table and getting into chopstick fights with Tetsu over the last piece of pork in the hot pot.

Those things only happen once in a while. Once or twice a week, at the most. So it's not like Shin needs to be concerned with his image.

Except..he finds himself doing the dorkiest things at the strangest times imaginable, lately.

Yesterday, he rather abruptly realized he was standing on top of his desk with his fist in the air.

He remembered rolling his eyes at Yankumi when she got all fired up about whatever her pet project for the day was. He remembered that very clearly. After that, things got a bit hazy. He maybe remembered agreeing that the head teacher was being very unfair in not letting the wrestling team practice on campus. He maybe recalled calling the head teacher an orangutan. How that translated into conning the head teacher into boasting that if the wrestling team won, he would personally wrestle a monkey in front of the entire school, Shin had no idea. And based on the sinking feeling in his heart and the beaming smile Yankumi was aiming at him, it was entirely possible he had just volunteered to find a monkey. Or maybe dress up like one.

Shin was secretly convinced that Yankumi knew about the well of uncoolness that he kept pushed down as far as possible, because she seemed intent on unearthing it and making Shin do the dumbest things. With a smile on his face.

He sighed in frustration. This woman was going to be the death of him.

He groaned as he realized he had just admitted that to the plant she had forced him to take back to his place (Water it, Sawada! And talk to it! It's very important to talk to it. This one likes to watch television on Tuesdays!).

He was so deeply, horribly, tragically uncool.

Especially because his traitorously dorky mind liked to replay her smile from the last time she was there, a smile that took over her whole face slowly - a different smile than the one she gave her homeroom everyday - when she saw the plant on the table. Where it could see the television.

He could still see her face as she reached one hand out to touch one of the leaves. Her eyes had darted to his face and away again, and that smile crept up her face and hit him over the back of the head.

He did manage to throttle the impulse to tug one of her pigtails, leaving his hand tangled in her hair, making her look up at him with that smile - and managed to roll his eyes and shrug, instead.

Shin is fairly certain that any day now, that deep well of dorky uncoolness will come spilling out all over everything at the very worst time.

And chances are, he'll be standing right beside Yankumi when it happens.

Right now, he's just hoping he doesn't do something tragically embarrassing at the time. Like, kiss her in front of the entire class or run his fingers over the tiny sliver of stomach he can see when she wears that stupid cheerleader uniform.

After all, there's nothing more dorky than having a crush on your homeroom teacher. Especially when it's someone as weird as Yankumi.