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the curious case of raibaru fumetsu

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Ayano clutches her schoolbag tightly.

She'd arrived at school, hoping to get a glimpse of her Senpai. Unfortunately, she saw that girl, Osana Najimi. Her rival for Senpai's heart. She's not going to get it, not if she has anything to say or do about it.

Taro looks amazing today. Ayano couldn't help but smile at how adorable and awkward he looked while talking to Osana.

Ayano walked slower, trying to make it seem like she's just passing by slowly, not staring.

She knows she needs to be at least somewhat stealthy, if she's going to get away with whatever she's planning to do. She doesn't know what her plans are exactly, but it's going to be manipulative and messy, and bloody, perhaps, if it gets to that point.

Taro smiles one last time, waving as he turns around. The conversation is over, it seems, which means that Osana is going to be left alone. As long as Senpai doesn't turn around, then she might be able to get away with this.

Surprisingly, Osana didn't follow Taro into the school. Instead, she turned around and...

Ayano glanced over to her left.

Oh.

Raibaru Femetsu.

Ayano almost stopped in her tracks.

She'd almost forgotten about the former club president of the Martial Arts Club. She's Osana's best friend, judging on how much they've been talking since she dropped the club. She was the Indestructible Rival, and she was always with Osana. Ayano can't even think of a single moment in time when the two girls are separated and alone. Osana was either with her, or with other people.

There's no way she can get them alone.

Ayano steps to the side, pretending to be messing around on her phone.

Thank god for a cover-up.

She can't really hear the conversation from here, but she can hear Osana saying something about Taro-senpai. Raibaru is acting like a good friend, which, she is, now that Ayano thinks about it. She's listening and offering advice, of some sort.

Soon enough, the two of them walk into the school together.

Ayano curses, muttering under her breath as she finally makes her way inside the school gates.

There's got to be some way to get them alone.

-

Ayano rushes out of her class, holding her bag tightly. She power-walks down the hallway, trying to catch a glimpse of -

Ah. There she is.

Ayano slows down, walking down the hallway, a few feet behind Osana. She's walking towards the staircase. Students are bustling, and Ayano's trying her hardest to keep an eye on her rival while also trying not to run over everyone in her way.

Whatever, it's their fault that they happened to be in her way anyway.

Ayano follows her up towards the roof, continuing to follow her until...

There's Raibaru. She should have known.

Raibaru smiles widely, and they walk off to a bench to eat. Cautiously, Ayano sits on the other side's bench and watches them closely. Well, as closely as she possibly can without being suspicious, of course.

She's not going to try to fight Raibaru. She's already decided this. There's no way she could beat someone like her -- the one who could never be taken down, not even by the delinquent leader. Raibaru is scary and deadly, and Ayano's not going to risk trying anything against her.

Ayano also knows from rumors around school that Raibaru is protective and focused. She's not someone who's going to fall for cheap distractions and the such.

Ayano bites her lip. There's got to be something.

Before she knows it, the lunch bell rings to signal the ending of lunch soon. In a couple of minutes, they'll have to go back to class.

Dammit. She wasn't listening to the conversation, instead drowning in her own thoughts. If she doesn't get rid of them by the end of this week, then Senpai is not -

Wait.

"I'll see you later, Rai!"

"Of course, Osana. Love you."

"Love you too!"

They hug, and Osana walks away.

Instead of following her, Ayano feels compelled to watch Raibaru standing there. She's watching her best friend leave, in such a melancholy way. It's as if she doesn't want to leave her side ever. Almost as if...

Almost as if Raibaru Femetsu was in love with Osana.

Holy shit.

-

Ayano doesn't pay attention in class. Instead, the plot is brewing within her mind, slowly piecing itself together.

-

The next day, Ayano lingers, aiming to watch Raibaru and Osana's early morning conversation.

It's true. Oh my god.

Raibaru's eyes are so damn wide and filled with love. It would typically make Ayano feel sick, but she knows she probably looks like that whenever Taro-senpai is nearby.

How is Osana so dense that she can't even see Raibaru right in front of her, just smitten with love? She must be blind or something, or maybe too focused on Senpai. How can Raibaru handle the love of her life talking about her crush on someone else so freely in front of her?

Her plan is simple: make Osana Najimi fall in love with Raibaru Femetsu.

It helps her out since Senpai will be all hers. Plus, she does think they look kind of cute together. There's no harm here, she thinks. She just needs to make sure that Raibaru knows that she has feelings and make sure that Osana realizes that and feels the same way.

Sounds simple enough.

At least no blood's being shed.

-

Ayano slips a note in Raibaru's locker.

-

Hello Raibaru. I wanted to speak to you about your feelings for a certain Osana Najimi. Meet me on the school rooftop at the beginning of lunchtime.

-Anonymous

-

Ayano watches as Raibaru apologizes to Osana and rushes off.

Raibaru evidently didn't see Osana's face fall in disappointment at not being able to hang out with her. Ayano's sure Osana is going to run off to see Senpai now, though.

Ayano's getting the idea that Osana's crush on Taro is something that she fabricated and convinced herself that she had.

She's biased, for sure, but the signs are there. Even she can't deny them.

Now, time to run up to meet Raibaru on the rooftop.

-

"Oh, hello. You are...?"

"Aishi. Uh. Ayano Aishi."

"Hello. I'm Raibaru. But I'm sure you know that already... are you the one who wrote this note?"

"Yes, I... you see, I wanted to-"

"How did you know?"

"How did I know... what?"

"How did you know that I liked Osana?"

"It's pretty obvious, you know."

"It... is?"

"Yeah. Your face when you see her. It's basically heart eyes."

"Oh..."

"Yeah, and I wanted to see if you wanted help."

"Help? With what?"

"Help with getting you two together, of course."

"With... with..."

"Yes. It may seem like otherwise, but she definitely likes you."

"Really?"

"Yeah, she just hasn't noticed it yet. But she really does."

"Oh..."

"Raibaru, I'll help you. You'll be together in no time. By the end of this week, even."

"It's... already Tuesday."

"Let's just say I have my ways."

"Hm. Perhaps... tell me this first."

"Hm?"

"Why are you helping me? What's your motivation?"

"Hm... well, let's just say... I think you'll be cute together. Gay rights, yeah?"

-

To be quite honest, she didn't think it'd be this easy. They're already friends - there wasn't much else to do.

They're just both pining idiots that need a push in the right direction, that's all.

It's not even close to manipulation at this point.

Ayano presses her lips together. She just hopes they kiss already, gosh.

-

Ayano has Raibaru write Osana a love letter on Thursday.

Osana reads it, shows it to Raibaru, and won't stop talking about her secret admirer. Raibaru blushed the entire day, and everyone probably knows what's up. Except for Osana, somehow. How is she this dense?

Ayano is baffled at how easy this is.

-

On Friday, Raibaru takes the initiative to ask Osana in an anonymous note to meet her under the cherry tree behind school.

Ayano tries not to think too much about it.

-

Ayano watches Osana run up to the cherry tree. It takes her a while to notice that it's Raibaru there. Once she does, she almost reels back in shock.

After a bit of conversation, Raibaru gets closer and places her lips upon Osana's.

Osana doesn't push her away.

Instead, she does the opposite, pulling her closer.

-

Ayano wonders if this makes her an official matchmaker.

Now, she just has to match Senpai with herself.

(Plus, there's a lesbian couple at school now. Progressive as hell. Ayano's pretty satisfied with herself.)