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Blindfold Gang

Chapter Text

The concrete seemed to flicker under the summer heat, hazing up, smoldering the surroundings. The city landscape seemed like a mirage at times, but it constantly bustled with life and activity. Office workers rushed to their jobs early in the morning, and students ran with youthful energy to catch the subway to their morning classes. Children kissed their parents goodbye as they caught up to their friends in nursery school, living their lives free of worry.

The most activity was not, however, caused by the salarymen working nine-to-five jobs or the ordinary students in school. No, Mekaku City was not so simple. Rumors circled the town like crows around a rotting corpse, all centered around the various delinquents and gangs that plagued the streets. Oh, how the adults hated these teenagers. According to them, these teenagers were the cause of the country’s destruction and the plunging of the economy; anything that went wrong in the world was blamed upon the delinquents, the scapegoats of modern society. 

As expected, the teenagers themselves despised the adults. The constant whispers and disgusted glances usually fell upon one of two groups. AZAMI was a gang of twelve clad in black, the fiercer one of the two. The adults feared them, conjuring rumors of their crimes and prayed day and night for their arrest or their punishment by the law. Although AZAMI was widely despised, the other of the two famous scapegoats didn’t have it much easier either. 

The Blindfold Gang was a group of nine teenagers who grew up enduring the disgusted gazes of the adults. Their trademark red eyes caused a fervor of discrimination amongst not only adults but also their peers. But they learned to bear with the burning hate, just as they learned to bear the scorching summer heat.

“Shintaro Kisaragi!”

The black-haired teenager glanced up from his phone lazily at the teacher’s sudden, frustrated outburst. He surveyed the entire classroom slowly, aware that all eyes were on him, before turning his attention back to his phone screen. 

“Yes? What do you want, Mr. Satou?” he asked, yawning. 

“I don’t care how good you are at your studies, but your attitude in class is simply unacceptable! You can’t just disrupt class by breaking class rules and norms like that! Put away your phone, or I’ll have to confiscate it.”

Shintaro rolled his eyes as he let out a sarcastic laugh. “What else am I going to do when you can’t teach?”

“What did you say?”

“Isn’t it the truth?” Shintaro stood up, swinging his backpack over one shoulder and putting his phone into his pocket. His teacher visibly tensed up as Shintaro studied the math problem on the whiteboard and smiled confidently. “You’re teaching implicit differentiation. Wondering why this problem didn’t work out and you wasted an extra ten minutes of the class’ time on it? You forgot to use the Chain Rule to differentiate the y to get an extra factor dy/dx.”

“What did you—”

“I don’t blame you,” said Shintaro, sighing. “Calculus is hard, and it’s one of the most common mistakes to make. What did I expect from public school education, anyways? Listening in class is meaningless when I can do everything by myself. Thank you, however, for your great service. Keep up the amazing work.”

“Kisaragi, you—”

“This is why I hate adults. They think they’re right in everything and they can never get off their high horse. That’s all the bullshit I’ll take for today.” Lazily, Shintaro stood up and walked towards the door, doing his best to ignore the pleading, puppy-dog eyes of his stupid deskmate and her pleas of “no, Shintaro, please don’t leave.” Slamming the door behind him, he put in his earphones and headed towards the rooftop. 

A gust of wind greeted him as he opened the door to the rooftop area he usually liked to spend his time at. It wasn’t that he skipped class often; in fact, he was one of the few who rarely skipped class out of them . He only did it when the teachers were being a little too… unreasonable .

“Why are you here?”

Ah. That snotty voice belonged to none other than Takane Enomoto. There she was, the ferocious she-devil stuck a petite 5’2’’ body. As always, her electric blue hair burned his eyes with its vibrancy, and her irritated tone made him want to strangle her, despite knowing very well that he was physically weak and she would beat him in seconds. As number 6 of their gang, she was known to be a tech expert and near-professional hacker. 

“I should be asking you that. Unlike me, you actually need your classes,” said Shintaro as he took a seat across from her. Eyeing the shooting game that she focused all her attention on, he sighed as he pulled out his phone once again.

“Shut the fuck up, Kisaragi, I am busy as hell right now.” 

“Yeah, I’m sure PUBG is top priority. What happened to DEAD BULLET? Too good for it now? Didn’t think you’d be one to follow trends blindly.”

Ene looked up once her match was finished (won by her, without a doubt) and kicked him in the shin. “I’m just testing the waters. DEAD BULLET is still the best. Also, we’re literally delinquents. You’re the only ‘good student’ in our gang, and you literally never let us forget about it.”

“It’s funny how society labels us. We’re just doing our own thing here. No need for the adults to get all fussy about it. It’s idiotic,” said Shintaro laughing. It seemed ridiculous that, after growing up as the model student and receiving marks of nothing less than 100 on his exams, he would be a part of a gang of delinquents, holding the code number of 7, which was coincidentally his lucky number. But here he was, united with his friends by a common hatred of adults, the obvious of the world, and harsh, cold reality. 

“Wow, you sound so emo,” said Ene, rolling her eyes, but Shintaro knew she agreed. The two may bicker constantly, but deep down, they had a certain degree of respect for each other. 

“Yeah, well, can’t help it. I’m skipping just because it’s a waste of time. I know all the content already.”

“Agreed. Class is boring as hell.”

“What, even though your precious Haruka is there with you?”

Ene’s face immediately flushed red as the name left Shintaro’s mouth, and Shintaro grinned. Score , he thought. Ene may prevail against him when it came to many arguments, but he knew she had a soft spot for Haruka Kokonose. There was not a single time the girl could conceal her dying love for her best friend, and it was always hilarious to see the headstrong, brash, sharp-tongued Takane Enomoto head over heels in love with his friend. 

“Kisaragi, you are so dead to me,” said Ene, pulling her navy hood up and turning away to cover her face.

“Oh? What’s this party going on here? Please, let us join, too.”

Once again, Shintaro recognized this voice. It was Shuuya Kano, followed by Kousuke Seto. The brothers took a seat next to him as they opened up bags of chips and cookies, offering it to him and Ene.

“You guys are skipping, too?” asked Ene, taking an Oreo from Kano. 

“Totally,” said Kano. He was their gang’s number 3, but he acted like a leader just as much as their number 1 did. With his unfocused, joking personality, he was known to be carefree and mischievous, taking joy in pulling pranks against teachers and other students. Shintaro didn’t necessarily hate the guy (hate was too strong of a word—perhaps ‘strongly dislike’ would be a better choice), but Kano seemed to have some sort of personal grudge against him, so Shintaro was only returning such emotions. 

“Kano got into an argument with another student last class over a group project, so we’re on a strike,” said Seto, laughing. As number 2, Seto served as the gang’s main source of income, working at several part-time jobs in his free time. He was quieter than his brother and a kind-hearted person, often praised by his co-workers. Shintaro personally did not have the closest relationship with him, but he appreciated Seto’s kindness and normality, compared to the others. 

“Ridiculous,” Ene said, rolling her eyes. “Who would willingly pick a fight with us? They know our reputation.”

“That’s what I thought!” said Kano. “But some people have nothing better to do, I guess. Oh well, not a problem. More free time for us. Kido refused to participate in our strike, calling it petty, which I personally would disagree with. Aya-nee’s still in class, too.” He glanced at Shintaro as he mentioned his eldest sister’s name, and Shintaro sighed to himself. Kano was clearly an overprotective brother, but sometimes, Shintaro wondered if he was more than that, bearing possible romantic feelings for his adoptive sister. 

“Haruka’s in class, too,” said Ene, sighing. “Honestly, he’s too good of a student. Don’t know why he joined this gang in the first place.”

“Isn’t the answer obvious?” Shintaro couldn’t help but stare at her. He knew the reason, and so did the rest of the gang. Seeing Ene’s blank, confused gaze at him, Shintaro sighed and shook his head. Both Ene and Konoha were dense as hell, and he was close to giving up his role as Cupid Ayano’s little helper. 

“Hey, let’s forget about those good students and just ditch school altogether,” said Kano, a devilish grin spreading across his face. “Seto, take us home.”

“I can’t,” said Seto. Due to his various jobs, Seto was the only one out of the Tateyama siblings who got his driver’s license as soon as possible; Kido didn’t want to trouble her adoptive parents with the burden of financing a car for her, Kano decided to leech off of Seto, and Ayano was terrified by the idea of standing remotely near a vehicle, ruling her out of the equation.

“Why? You have your car with you,” said Kano. “Come on. The base is much more comfortable than the rooftop.”

“I’m not going to leave Marry here alone,” said Seto. Ever since he and the gang’s number 4 met, the two have been inseparable, partially due to Marry’s timidness and reliance on Seto. The girl barely spoke louder than a mosquito, but when it came to Seto, her shyness melted into the softest smile Shintaro had ever seen. The two have been in a relationship since the beginning of the year, and the lovey-dovey atmosphere that surrounded them made Shintaro sick. 

“Then what are we going to do for another 15 minutes, bored out of our minds?” asked Kano, collapsing onto his back.

“Could you guys quiet down a bit? I’m trying to sleep here.”

A voice from around the corner interrupted their dilemma. The four friends turned towards the direction of the voice, squinting into the shadows to see exactly who it was that dared to speak to them rudely.

“Kuroha,” said Ene, her voice full of spite.

The black-haired teenager emerged from the shadows, towering over them at a height of 6 foot. Kuroha Kokonose was definitely not a friend; he was part of their direct rival gang, and he never seemed to leave the Blindfold Gang alone. His twisted personality was terrible, even terrifying at times, as he was known to be a sadistic bastard. With his reputation and his actions, he could get the title of ‘delinquent’ trademarked, and he sent ordinary teenagers into a frenzy of crying and begging for mercy with a simple mention of his name.

“You say my name as if it’s a slur, Ene. No mercy to your best friend’s twin brother, huh?” he said, smirking. 

“Shut the fuck up. You’re nothing like Haruka. You’re a disgrace.”

“Wow, I’m hurt. Your words are getting sharper by the day. What am I going to do when you constantly break my heart like this?”

“I don’t know, maybe stop bothering us and just leave us alone?”

“I just think it’s interesting to observe you guys,” said Kuroha, circling around the four. “You guys are so… ordinary. And yet it’s interesting. You just go and live on with your petty little lives like insects without accomplishing anything… grand. Humans are always interesting to observe, don’t you think?”

“I’m sorry,” said Kano, cringing as he scooted back. “But that is the most emo thing I’ve ever heard. How old are you? Ten?”

“Exactly. You’re cringy as hell. How are you blood related to Konoha?” asked Shintaro, raising an eyebrow.

“Just leave,” said Kuroha, yawning. “Technically, I came here first. Find something better to do with your time rather than disturbing my nap.” With that, he retreated back into the shadows, leaving the quartet dumbfounded.

“Well, I guess that’s our cue to leave,” said Seto, packing up the snacks they had opened.

“Are you serious?” asked Ene, raising an eyebrow. “We’re just going to do as he said?”

“No use in picking a fight without a purpose,” said Kano as he stood up. “Class is almost over. Let’s go get the others.” Just as they left the rooftop, they spotted a familiar ball of fluff hiding by the stairs. 

“Ah, Seto!” said Marry, her eyes lighting up with joy. She ran over to them and immediately threw herself into Seto’s embrace, smiling to herself. 

Shintaro resisted the urge to show any sign of discomfort. They did nothing wrong, technically, but the sight of couples just made his single-from-birth self involuntarily cringe. Nobody showed any romantic interest towards him, and he certainly wasn’t about to make the first move. He’d rather eat his keyboard while livestreaming it than get rejected and suffer embarrassment for the rest of his life. 

“There you guys are! I knew you skipped class again!” 

Oh, for the love of God, it was her. Shintaro’s cool facade melted immediately as he saw that soft, brown hair, those red hair clips, and that ridiculous red scarf. His heartbeat quickened involuntarily as she stepped closer towards him, a terribly cute ( no, Shintaro, he told himself. Not now. Shut the hell up. ) pout on her face.

Recently, whenever he was with Ayano Tateyama, he wouldn’t be able to remain his cool, composed self. She had been his deskmate since freshman year, and he dealt with her stupid self for years. Really, it was almost unbelievable how incredibly dumb she was, until Shintaro remembered that he had a sister who, whenever report cards were sent home, he wanted his parents to disown. She was the adoptive eldest sister of Kano, Seto, and Kido, their gang’s leader, so she always hung around them despite not being a part of their gang. To the public, she was a well-liked, friendly girl who never had to suffer any sort of discrimination from society. 

Despite her differences with Shintaro in personality and reputation, she had a strange attachment to him that even he himself could not understand. She claimed that she wanted to ‘break down his walls,’ to which he reluctantly tolerated because at this point, there was no use in trying to run away from her. And although he would never admit it, he secretly enjoyed her company. This had to be some sort of mistake , he told himself. He definitely was not going to put himself on the same level as Ene, who would be a completely different person in front of Konoha: flustered, constantly stuttering, and a tomato-red face.

Shintaro Kisaragi definitely was not in love.

“Come on, Seto and I were just protesting against unfair treatment! If this were France, our strike would be completely normal!” said Kano, laughing.

“Okay, I guess,” said Ayano, sighing. “Tsubomi just texted me. She and Konoha are by the snack bar.”

“Momo’s probably looking for the brat,” said Shintaro as the group walked downstairs towards the snack bar. He was hesitant about letting his younger sister join the gang in the beginning; their fight lasted for a week, and in the end, Shintaro gave in. He wanted to be a good brother and protect her from whatever dangers it would present, but in reality, she was the one who introduced everyone to him and joined the gang earlier, earning the code number of 5, so he had no say in such a situation. 

“Come on, don’t be so harsh,” said Ene, sneering. “Hibiya’s a good kid. You sure you don’t have a sister complex?”

“Shut up, Ene,” said Shintaro, rolling his eyes. He admitted he was a little bit overprotective, but he couldn’t brush Hibiya Amamiya off as just another one of Momo’s friends. The kid was a freshman, for god’s sake. Practically a little brat. But he and Momo were extremely close, and Shintaro didn’t know the kid well enough to see the intentions behind his actions. Perhaps I did understand Kano’s dislike of me a little bit , Shintaro thought to himself, laughing dryly. 

As the snack bar came into view, Shintaro immediately saw the tall figure of Haruka Kokonose, member number 9 of their gang. Every time he saw his fellow seniors of the gang, he couldn’t help but marvel at just how much they changed their appearances from their past selves. After joining the gang, the two went by the names of Ene and Konoha respectively and dyed their hair bright blue and snow white as a form of rebellion. Therefore, the two stood out immensely in crowds, and Shintaro admired their courage to complete such an act and pull it off nicely. 

“Eating again, Haruka?” asked Ene, raising an eyebrow at the snacks Konoha cradled in his hands. She and Konoha were the only ones who still referred to each other with their given names; they tried to change towards the beginning, but it was too much of a habit for them, so they simply stuck to it. 

“Leader said she would treat me!” said Konoha, munching on a chip happily. 

Beside him, Kido sighed. “There’s not enough food at home today for the big guy here and I don’t have time for grocery shopping until tomorrow. Gotta keep our fighters fed.” Besides holding the code number of 1 and the role of leader of the gang, Tsubomi Kido was also the main cook, assisted by her apprentice Hibiya. Despite not looking the part with her masculine style and cool aura, Kido was a greatly hospitable person who took care of many of the matters at their base. 

“Ah, there they are! Why are you slow, Hibiya-kun? Hurry up!” Everyone turned their heads towards the direction the energetic voice was coming from. Momo Kisaragi, number 5 of the gang, approached them with a bright smile, followed by Hibiya Amamiya, number 8 of the gang. Although she was Shintaro’s sister, the two looked nothing alike, and she would always be heavily offended when someone remarked that the two acted similarly. 

“Shut up, there’s literally no point in running,” said Hibiya lazily. As the only freshman and youngest member of the gang, he had a maturity that contrasted with his age. Momo often joked about how much of an old man Hibiya was, to which he always retorted, “shut up, old lady.” 

“Well, now that everyone’s here,” said Kano, stepping to the front of the group. “Let’s leave this place. What’s the plan for the after school tea time?”

“Definitely not having a tea party and forming a band,” muttered Shintaro under his breath. He regretted making that reference as soon as the words left his mouth, but no luck; beside him, Ene heard and gave him a look of disgust, mouthing, “you nerdy shut-in.”

“Oh, I know! Let’s get boba!” said Momo excitedly. “I miss The Alley’s Black Sugar Boba so much.”

“You’re so obsessed with boba,” said Hibiya, rolling his eyes. “Stop being a basic ABG.”

“Wait, come to think of it, doesn’t Kisaragi-chan’s outward image seem like the classic ABG?” asked Kano, bursting into laughter. “You’ve got the love for boba, the dyed hair, and the big Instagram platform with, like, hundreds of thousands of followers.”

“Acrylics check, clubbing check, breaking the dress code check… Sounds about right,” said Ene, laughing. 

“Oh, but if everyone else saw what she’s really like at home…” said Shintaro, shaking his head. “You have the weirdest sense of fashion, Momo. Seriously, what’s with that pink ‘Ooedo’ hoodie?”

“Hey! That’s my favorite one!” said Momo, pouting. “I just choose my public image carefully, that’s all. It’s for the better!”

It was true that Momo upheld such an image to the public, and Shintaro knew that in a way, she desperately worked to maintain it, and that he was partly the one to blame for it. He had known about her inferiority complex ever since they were little, and it had manifested simply because his parents never paid attention to her as a child, focusing all their attention on Shintaro’s perfect marks and achievements. He worried about her confidence often and tried to cheer her up in his way, but the damage his parents had done to her was irreversible, and she grew up wishing desperately for others to pay more attention to her. 

Perhaps that was why he started to dislike adults. Their intentions, no matter whether they be of kindness or malice, weren't important; they hurt others with every word, every gaze, every action, and they never take responsibility for the damage they’ve done.

“Okay, what about we get boba first, then we hit the arcade?” suggested Ene. “We haven’t been in a while, and I really want to try that new game they installed.”

“Sounds good,” said Kido. “Let’s go.” 

“Yes, leader.”

The group walked towards the parking lot, laughing amongst themselves and ignoring the bell that signaled for the last class of the day. Around them, other students darted out of their way in fear, staring at their trademark hoodies and red eyes. The gang ignored these stares, having gotten used to them by now.

The three people with cars and driving licenses in the gang sat down in the driver’s seat of their cars, and the rest of the gang split up according to their usual carpool groups. Marry sat in the passenger seat of Seto’s Hyundai, and Kido and Kano sat in the back. Ene’s BMW, which she bought herself with the money she saved up from video game competitions, was one of her most prized possessions, and Shintaro and Ayano sat in the back. Konoha drove Momo and Hibiya in his Lexus that his father was against purchasing but his mother insisted on buying before she passed away.

Please do not throw up in my car,” said Ene, glaring at Shintaro. Such a statement was emphasized every time he was in her car, but it really wasn’t his fault. Besides, that was one time. Just once.

“Well, if you would drive a little safer, then mayb—” Shintaro’s complaints were cut off by his own wails of anguish as Ene pressed the gas pedal and they sped off into the distance. Although they left their parking spot later than both of the other cars, they quickly passed them on the roads.

“Fasten your seatbelts, guys, it’s gonna be a hell of a ride,” said Ene, grinning madly. 

“You’re damn right!” Shintaro yelled. “It’s gonna be hell! Christ, woman, you’re gonna kill us all!”

“Isn’t that the fun of driving?” asked Ene, cackling. 

“Hell to the fuck no, lady!”

As they approached a red light, Ene rolled down her window to look at Konoha’s car next to hers. “Haruka, let’s race!” 

“I think you should drive safely, Takane,” said Haruka, laughing. 

From the back, Momo rolled down her window. “I’ve never seen Konoha-san drive fast before! We should try it!”

“Shut the fuck up, no we shouldn’t!” Hibiya said, frantically pulling Momo back. 

On the other side of their car, Kano rolled down his window. “You wanna race, Ene-chan? Seto, show them what we’ve got.”

From the driver’s seat, Seto laughed. “Driving safe is probably a better choice,” he said.

Ene shrugged as the lights turned green. “Shame,” she said. “Then we’ll be off first!” Following Shintaro’s shrieks of “no, please, please forgive me, don’t do this, please,” she brought her foot down sharply on the gas and took off. 

“See y’all later, suckers!” Ene called into the distance.

“Keep your goddamn eyes on the road, woman!”

After what seemed like an eternity of headaches and heart attacks to Shintaro, they arrived first at the boba shop. Shintaro massaged his temples as Ayano patted his back reassuringly, trying to catch his breath.

Ene turned to look at them. “That was fun!” she said happily. 

“No, it wasn’t!” Shintaro yelled back. “You could’ve killed us! How the hell did you get your license in the first place?”

“Don’t worry!” Ene said, laughing. “I know how to control myself. I won’t actually drive like this on the highway or when it’s dangerous!” 

“You better not,” said Shintaro, taking off his seatbelt and stepping out of the car, praying his legs won’t give up on him. Although he hated Ene’s driving habits, he had to admit that she was the best at driving out of the three, no matter how hypocritical and counterintuitive that sounded. It was true; she drove extremely safely when she needed to, and she had never even scratched her car. After all, she had been driving for the longest amount of time, having gotten her license on her 16th birthday. 

“Oh, look, everyone’s here,” said Ayano. The rest of the group pulled up in the parking spots next to theirs, and they entered the shop as they laughed about Ene’s driving. As soon as they left the shop with their drinks, Shintaro started begging for mercy once again, and Ene laughed as she sat in the driver’s seat, continuously singing “no promises.”

The arcade wasn’t very far, and they reached their destination in no time, so Shintaro was thankful for only five minutes of suffering. They visited this particular arcade often, as it wasn’t far from their base and Ene was a game addict. Shintaro knew that this visit would end up as another of Ene’s challenges to him, who she viewed as her rival in shooting games ever since he beat her in her favorite game years ago. 

As soon as they entered the arcade, Ene dragged Shintaro towards the shooting games, and Shintaro knew better than to protest. In the corner of his eye, he saw the other girls head towards the photo booths, led by Momo, and the other guys walked towards the basketball machines as they teased Hibiya about his height. 

“Kisaragi, I’m going to beat you today,” Ene claimed as she sat down. 

“Sure, sure,” said Shintaro, sighing. Ene wasn’t terrible at games; in fact, she was very good at them, having won many competitions multiple years in a row. She dedicated much of her time and energy to these games, to the point that Shintaro even felt a bit apologetic for beating her. He didn’t play these games as much, but it was simply predictable. Just like life. So he excelled at it. 

As they finished their third game, won by Shintaro just like the previous two, he looked up to see that sweet, angelic face, and immediately, his heart involuntarily skipped a beat.

“Hey, I’m going home right now, so I thought I’d let you guys know,” she said, smiling. 

“Do you need a ride?” asked Ene. The two were extremely close friends, despite the differences in their personalities, and Shintaro could never wrap his head around such a fact.

“No, it’s fine, Seto’s taking me home,” said Ayano, smiling. “He wanted to say hi to Mom and Dad anyways.”

“Alright. See you tomorrow, then.”

“Yep!” She turned to Shintaro and smiled gently. “See you tomorrow, Shintaro,” she said in the sweetest voice.

He looked away immediately and nodded ever so slightly. 

After Ayano was out of earshot, Ene sighed loudly and kicked him in the shin. “You’re a fucking wimp,” she said, rolling her eyes.

“What the hell?”

“Oh, don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, Master ,” said Ene, putting an excessive amount of sarcasm on the title that came as a result of a bet. “You went from basically bullying her with your cold-ass attitude from freshman year to literally not being able to look at her properly now.”

“Shut the hell up, Enomoto, I can do whatever the hell I want.”

“Why don’t you man up and just talk to her? Like a normal person?”

“Wow, that’s rich, coming from you,” said Shintaro, rolling his eyes. “Why don’t you woman up and just confess to Haruka already?”

At this, Ene’s face flushed red. Giving him a glare, she walked off to join the girls at the Dance Dance Revolution machines, where Momo and Kido were having a dance battle. 

Shintaro sighed as he stood up and went to find the guys. Although he and Ene bickered, disagreed, and acted like they hated each other often, they really were similar deep down. 

They were just cowards.

“Wait, guys, what’s all of this?” asked Kano, pointing at the garage beside the back door of the arcade. It was almost dinnertime, and the gang was ready to go back to the base and have some of Kido’s best dishes. The sun was close to setting already, but a collection of spray bottles of paint that lined the garage door caught their attention, and the empty, grey door was too tempting to be left alone. 

“Someone’s trying to paint their garage door, I guess,” said Kido, picking up a purple spray can and examining it. 

“Well, well, well,” said Kano, a devilish grin spreading across his face. “Why don’t we do them a little favor?”

“What are you plotting this time, dumbass?” asked Kido, shooting Kano a look of disapproval. 

“Come on, Leader, don’t be such a goody-two-shoes! These materials are right here in front of us, as if asking us to finish the job! Let’s paint this garage and have some fun; this sort of opportunity isn’t common!” said Kano, picking up a grey can of paint and shaking it. Before anyone could say anything, he set the paint free onto the garage door.

“Looks fun,” said Ene, laughing as she picked up the dark blue can. “Let’s do this, guys!”

Everyone else turned to look at each other, and in silent agreement, grabbed their favorite colors and started their artwork. Within seconds, vibrant colors splashed across the dull garage as well as the teeangers’ faces, as bright as the smiles that spread across their faces. 

“Hey! What do you think you guys are doing?”

A sharp voice interrupted their frenzy as they neared the end of their creative process, and the teenagers looked up from the artwork. A group of adults advanced angrily towards them, hands on hips and all. After exchanging mischievous glances at each other, the gang immediately dropped their painting materials and dashed to their cars, ignoring the yelling and cursing adults. Laughing, Ene turned around stuck out her tongue and flipped them off while Kano took pictures of their artwork. 

“I’m assuming that I can drive as fast as I want this time?” asked Ene, smirking as Shintaro practically dove into the passenger seat. 

“Go ahead,” said Shintaro, sighing. 

Ene didn’t have to be told twice. With a violent kick to the gas, she sped off towards their base, with Konoha’s and Seto’s cars following hers. In the distance, they could hear the adults’ protests and insults, but everyone brushed it off casually, laughing as they drove home. 

As Shintaro leaned back against the cool leather of his seat, he thought about what had just happened and couldn’t help but chuckle. 

Ah, these ordinary days filled with idiocy and laughter. Just how much could he fall in love with this? Stuck in a daze, he looked out the window at the passing scenery, a faint smile tugging at the edge of his lips.

If it’s with them, he could change “loneliness.”