You see, the thing was. Jotaro wasn’t a hero. Sure, he’d beaten up a few (hundred) bullies in his time, but that was about beating something up, not about rescuing nerds. He wasn’t the heroic protagonist of a manga, he was just a kid who liked picking on assholes who liked to pick on the weak. It was the food chain, really. (Plus, he had it on good authority that his dad was a nerd when he was in school, and really, Jotaro just didn’t want any future kids to have to deal with that embarrassment like Jotaro did.)
The point was, Jotaro wasn’t a hero. He couldn’t care less about rescuing other people, especially when physical violence wasn’t involved.
The day started out alright. He woke up before his alarm, turned it off, let his mother come in to wake him up a grand total of five times before actually getting up. Got to school precisely one minute late. Hopped the fence while eating toast. Slept through morning classes. Nearly punched a guy in the face because he tried to wake Jotaro up. Turned out the guy was a teacher but Jotaro just stared him down and the teacher let him off the hook. Perfectly normal. Average. Boring, in fact.
And then lunch rolled around.
As usual, Jotaro stuck his bento under his arm and sauntered out the door with his hands in his pockets. As usual, he stopped by a classroom a few doors down (to mooch notes off a particularly grateful and terrified nerd) and his favourite vending machine (sometimes two banana milks would drop!) before heading for that one stairwell in the creepy old building everyone claimed to be haunted. (Jotaro himself had contributed to the rumours, back when he was a first year, when he learnt it would keep people away. He’d enjoyed peace and quiet during lunch break ever since.)
He was halfway across the school when he saw a boy and a girl standing under the sakura tree behind the school, the gentle breeze tousling their hair and showering the scene with pale pink petals. It was like something straight out of a shoujo. It made Jotaro feel sick to his stomach.
Normally, Jotaro would just walk right past them. He’d ruin the moment, probably, given the limited amount of space between the tree and the wall, but honestly? He didn’t give a shit. If they really wanted privacy they should have invented a sakura tree ghost or something. Not that it would have deterred Jotaro, but he would have respected the effort.
So, you ask, what was it that made Jotaro bite back a curse and desperately duck out of sight?
Even though he could only see her from the back, Jotaro could tell exactly who the girl was: Miyakawa Yui, third-year, student council president and scariest person in the world. Not many people could intimidate Kujo Jotaro, but this tiny girl who stood a full 50cm shorter than him stood on par with Great-Grandma Elisabeth. Miyakawa was a fan of Jotaro’s– her words, not his– and was almost guaranteed to be carrying out some plan to trick Jotaro into falling in love with her at any given moment. Her commitment was admirable, in some ways, but mostly it was just creepy. He’d turned her down several times before, but she seemed convinced that persistence would yield different results. Jotaro felt like a heroine in one of those trashy afternoon dramas his mother liked to watch. (He wondered how much the actresses must be paid, to pretend like a man refusing to take no for an answer was at all attractive. If Jotaro had written the script, the heroine would have beaten the guy up with her bare fists, like, ten episodes ago.)
“So, what did you want to meet about?” Miyakawa asked, polite and formal as she always was when she wasn’t trying to shoehorn Jotaro into a date. “Do you have a particular concern about the school–?”
“N-No!” the boy cut her off hurriedly, obviously flustered. “U-Uh, no. I just… uh, here!” There was a rustle of plastic. “F-For you, senpai! My family o-owns a flower shop, so…”
Wait, was this an actual confession? Jotaro felt baffled. Everyone knew Miyakawa was (unfortunately) obsessed with Jotaro. Was this guy a first-year or something?
“Thank you?” Miyakawa said, sounding just as confused as Jotaro. “It’s, um, lovely, but why did you want to meet with me?”
The boy took a deep breath.
Oh no, thought Jotaro, bracing himself for impact. This guy was for real. He was going to do it. He was really going to confess to her.
“Miyakawa-senpai,” the boy gasped. “I-I really like you, please go out with me!”
He did it, thought Jotaro, feeling a little surreal. Poor bastard.
“You… like me?” Miyakawa repeated slowly, like she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “What… What about me do you like?”
The question obviously took the kid by surprise. “U-Uh, well,” he began, fumbling. “O-Of course, you’re, uh, very pretty, but, um, w-what I like the most about you is your determination. You never give up on something once you’ve set your mind to it, even if the whole world tells you it’s impossible! I… I could never be so confident in myself, so it’s something I really admire about you, senpai.”
Man, this guy was in deep. Jotaro felt bad for the guy. He had no idea the girl he was crushing so hard on was actually the spawn of the devil. Ignorance truly was bliss.
“My determination, huh?” Miyakawa said absently, almost like she was talking to herself. “Perhaps that’s the key.”
Jotaro froze. That sounded ominous.
“…The key to what?” the boy asked, nervous.
“Jotaro-kun,” Miyakawa sighed, and Jotaro felt a chill run up his spine. “I’ve tried flirting, making him chocolates, going to all his baseball games to cheer him on– but he doesn’t respond to anything! I thought it’d be like in manga, you know, and the strength of my feelings would reach him, but…” She sighed again. “I just don’t know what to do anymore…”
“Oh,” was all the boy said, softly, but Jotaro could hear the poor kid’s heart breaking.
“Yes,” Miyakawa said decisively, somehow oblivious to the damage she’d caused. “I think I’ll showcase my determination, next. It’s gotten one boy to confess to me already, hasn’t it?”
The boy didn’t answer. Jotaro was legitimately appalled. He had the social skills of a hermit crab, but even he knew what she’d done was just downright cruel. The poor sod had bared his heart to her, and she’d just driven a stake right through it.
“Oh, yes, your answer,” Miyakawa added, like it was an afterthought. “I’m sorry, but it’s a no. I’m far too in love with Jotaro-kun to even consider anyone else. It’s not that you’re unattractive! It’s just, well, how could you compare to Jotaro-kun?”
That was it. Jotaro just saw red. It was like she didn’t even realise what a heartless bitch she was being. Well, Jotaro thought furiously as he stepped out from his hiding place, it was time someone destroyed her.
“Hey,” Jotaro called, striding up to the pair like a man on a mission. Miyakawa whirled around immediately, eyes sparkling as she cried, “Jotaro-kun!” but Jotaro kept his eyes fixed on the red-haired boy who was staring at him with wide eyes.
“Jotaro-kun, you know–” Miyakawa started babbling, but Jotaro shoved her aside.
“You,” Jotaro said once he was right in front of the boy, pointing at him to make sure they both knew exactly who he was talking to. “You’re the most attractive person I’ve ever seen, date me.”
The boy’s mouth dropped open in shock. Somewhere to Jotaro’s left, Miyakawa let out a horrified squeak.
Without waiting for an answer, Jotaro turned on his heel and plucked the single red rose (really, kid? Way to come on too strong) from Miyakawa’s hands. “You don’t deserve this,” he snarled at her. “It’s mine now.”
He grabbed the still-gaping boy’s wrist and dragged him away. The kid didn’t even protest, just followed along with that dumb look on his face. The one time Jotaro looked back to glare, Miyakawa was staring after them, absolutely bewildered. Good.
“Um,” the kid said timidly, when they finally came to a halt, “aren’t there ghosts in this building?”
Jotaro snorted. He fished his banana milk out of his pocket and tossed it at the boy. “Sorry,” he grunted, feeling embarrassment start to creep up on him now that the rage was dying down.
The boy laughed, though it sounded hollow. He fiddled with the banana milk, poking the straw in and taking a sip. “It’s not your fault it’s haunted,” he said lightly, leaning against the wall.
Well, it kind of was, but Jotaro wasn’t about to tell him that. “She was a real dickhead,” he offered instead. And then, because he felt like he should at least try to be comforting, “You can do better.”
“Well, you’re proof of that,” the boy said, still using that light, joking tone. “You did just scream at me to date you.”
Jotaro felt his face start to burn. “I didn’t scream,” he mumbled, mortified. Had he really said something so embarrassing? Where had his brain-to-mouth filter gone?
“Hey,” the boy said, jolting Jotaro out of his pit of shame. His eyes flicked up to meet Jotaro’s, violet and piercing. “Thanks. I owe you one.”
“You don’t owe me anything,” Jotaro grunted, because it was true. The poor bastard had suffered enough.
The boy eyed him a little longer, but didn’t argue. He heaved a great sigh and pushed off the wall, brushing the dust from his uniform. “I have to go before the shop runs out of bread,” he told Jotaro. “I’ll see you around.”
“Are you okay?” Jotaro found himself blurting out, feeling oddly concerned.
The kid didn’t even turn around, just saluted Jotaro with two fingers and continued walking. Jotaro watched him sip his banana milk as he walked away, strides even and calm, like nothing had even happened.
It wasn’t until he disappeared around a corner that Jotaro realised he never got the boy’s name.
The next day, Jotaro found a note in his shoe locker, weighted down by a little bottle of banana milk.
Now we’re even.
– The most attractive person you’ve ever seen ;)