By far the worst part of high school is the inability to nap. Futaba almost got used to it during her first year, but the break before second year gave her time to become nocturnal again.
At least Sojiro packed her a bento, so she doesn't have to give up naps and lunchtime curry simultaneously. She stays at her desk to eat, preferring her phone to her classmates. She used to eat with Ann and Ryuji, but they graduated at the end of last year.
She swipes through her lock screen after a brief moment spent admiring it. It's a picture of Akira from their last trip to Akihabara, in the same ridiculous pose as a figurine on the shelf behind him. His face, utterly serious, is what really makes it.
She has a whole bunch of messages, but most of them are from the ex-thieves chat. Yusuke and Ryuji are in the middle of a spirited debate about where to eat at their next group dinner. There's a 50-50 shot they'll end up at Leblanc regardless of how the matter is settled, so Futaba doesn't really care.
Kana sent her a text complaining about her class' mandatory swimming lessons, so Futaba sends one back to sympathize. She’s glad Shujin doesn’t have a pool. Wearing a swimsuit was embarrassing even with her team around to tank most of the damage, it would be impossible on her own.
She saves Akira’s texts to open last. It’s just two of them, but opening them opens up their chat history from that morning as well.
Akira: Good luck at school today. I’ll be cheering you on!
Futaba: There’s still time for me to drop out and make my fortune hacking bank accounts.
Akira: Sounds fun but illegal.
Futaba: :\ Spoilsport.
Futaba: Guess I have to put up with school then.
Akira: I know you can do it! I’ll be around if you want to text me during lunch.
Futaba: I will! Don’t forget to check your phone!
[ unread ]
Akira: Are you free this afternoon?
Akira: I have a present for you.
Oh, he’s good. Akira has the best timing with his surprises, always saving them for when she most needs the boost. The first week of the school year is absolutely one of those times.
Futaba: I’m sure I can push the ‘nothing’ I had scheduled until tomorrow!
Futaba: What did you get me? :D
Akira: It’s a surprise.
Futaba: Will you tell me if I guess it?
Akira: That would still ruin the surprise!
Futaba: Is it a pony?
Akira: If you want a pony, you’ll have to ask Haru. I can’t afford one.
Futaba: Nah, that’s okay. I wouldn’t know where to put it anyways.
Futaba: Can you imagine Sojiro’s face if I tried to keep it in my room?
Akira: Maybe we could keep it in Leblanc.
Futaba: Cat cafes are so passé. Horse cafes are where it’s at.
Futaba: Can I get a sugar cube for my coffee?
Futaba: No, sorry, the horse ate them all.
Akira: If we put an apron on it, maybe we can disguise it as a part-timer.
Akira: I heard a rumor that the leader of the Phantom Thieves used that tactic.
Futaba: Did this rumor happen to include his brilliant, beautiful girlfriend controlling everything from behind the scenes?
Akira: You know, funnily enough, it did. I hear she was the real brains behind the operation.
Futaba: Damn right she was!
Futaba resists the urge to hug her phone and just grins at it like an idiot instead. Akira is such a dork. He’s totally perfect for her.
“Hey, Sakura-san, what’re you smiling about?”
Futaba jumps and squeaks. She’d completely forgotten that there were other students in the room with her. Critical mistake. The girl addressing her, Yamamoto, isn’t a high level enemy, but it’s never good to let your guard down.
“O-oh! Um! M-my boyfriend! He says he has a surprise for me after school,” She stammers, pulling herself together towards the end. She and Akira have been dating for well over a year and even her dad knows about it. It shouldn’t still be embarrassing to talk about it, dammit. If only all of her classmates were as easy to talk to as Kana or the thieves.
“Woah, Sakura-san, you have a boyfriend? What’s he like?” Another girl chimes in, leaning over Futaba’s shoulder to try to get a look at her phone. Futaba’s pretty sure her name is Nakamura. She sounds friendly enough but Futaba clutches her phone to her chest anyways. Phantom Thieves secrets must be protected!
“Yeah, is he cute?” Yamamoto asks, almost bouncing on her heels with excitement.
“Does he go to our school?” Nakamura asks before Futaba has time to answer the previous questions. Well, that’s the easiest answer of the bunch, so she decides to go with that one.
“N-no, he’s a college student.”
That sets off an uproar of epic proportions. Futaba ends up spending the rest of lunch answering excited questions and exchanging contact information with both girls so they can pester her with more questions later. The rest of the day passes in somewhat of a daze.
Akira is waiting for her outside the school gate, which is a huge relief. He’s a safe point in this weird, weird day. She runs to meet him.
“Thank god you’re here, come on, let’s go, they’re coming—“
“Wha— Futaba, who’s coming?”
“The girls,” She whispers, dragging Akira away from the gate.
“Some of my classmates saw me texting you and now they think I can hook them up with college guys,” Futaba hurriedly explains, which makes Akira laugh.
“Yeah, Mishima and Ryuji.”
“Nobody wants to date Mishima and Ryuji, Akira.”
That makes Akira laugh even harder, but he does come with her as she drags him off to a bench a good ways away from the school.
“Okay. Okay, I think we’re safe. I’m ready for my present!”
“Right to the point, huh?” Akira says, grinning as he fishes something out of his bag. It’s a blue cellophane bag tied with a ribbon.
“Oooh, fancy!” Futaba says as she takes it from him. Akira watches quietly as she undoes the ribbon to examine the contents.
The bag contains the entire set of Phoenix Ranger Featherman R phone charms she’s been drooling over online for the past month. Futaba gasps and grabs one of them to examine in the sunlight. It’s Black Condor, the rarest of the bunch.
“A flawless set… They’re so beautiful…”
“I got a few doubles when I was opening the blind boxes, so I put them on my phone so we could match.”
Akira holds up his cell phone to show her. Sure enough, Blue Swan and Yellow Owl are hanging there.
“Akira, I love them,” Futaba coos, hugging the bag of charms to her chest. “My beautiful children.”
“You don’t have to tell the girls they’re from me,” Akira says, grinning.
“Are you kidding? I’m telling everyone! I have the best boyfriend ever and the world deserves to know!”
Akira laughs and kisses her on the cheek. It’s totally perfect.