Kindergarten is a menagerie: small creatures running around screaming their lungs out. From the outset, the children are adorable–chubby cheeks and tiny hands and cute little uniforms–but as a student it’s a strange and scary prison.
Before this day, Tetsuki has never seen so many people, much less been expected to interact with them. It’s frightening. She can’t help but freeze up, keeping her distance from everyone with her back to the wall. She’s not going to cry, but her hands are clutching the front of her uniform for comfort.
She hopes there won’t be any wrinkles in the cloth–Okaa-san would be so disappointed.
The day passes in a haze of befuddlement and anxiety, but it ends soon enough. Fortunately, the parents of her classmates are quick to come and pick up their children and the school steadily empties. Unfortunately, Tetsuki can’t find her house keys.
The teachers look at her in concern, even though she’s not even crying or anything, but her searching has become more and more frantic. Her keys aren’t in the pockets of her uniform or in her sedate black school bag. Did she forget them at home? Or worse–did she lose them?
“Why are you crying? Are you sad?” a voice pipes up beside her, and Tetsuki startles away. One of the loudest boys in her class has breached her personal space and she hadn’t even notice.
“I’m not sad!” she says, because she’s frustrated and confused and frightened and, “and I’m not crying!” she adds.
Except she totally is.
The teachers, with less charges to keep track of, come near, uncertain as to the situation. They see a little girl crying and a little boy beside her and they are ready to interfere with what they perceive to be a fight.
Until, in the face of Tetsuki’s obvious upset state, the boy reaches over and grabs her.
“It’s a hug!” The boy corrects, “Hugs make everything better.”
Tetsuki is uncertain, but she hugs him back. The teachers leave them to it, though they do keep an eye out.
The boy keeps his hold on her the entire time and doesn’t say anything about the damp patch of tears undoubtedly forming on his uniform.
“Ryohei!” a woman’s voice calls out, and without letting go, the boy hugging Tetsuki calls back, “Here!”
It takes both Sasagawa-san and the teachers to make the two of them let go–and Ryohei only agrees after his mother promises that Tetsuki can come home with them. It doesn’t take much convincing, once Tetsuki admits that neither of her parents are in the country this week.
And this is how Tetsuki and Ryohei become best friends for life.
A/N: I’m going back to my roots in honor of the end of the year 🙂
I also realized that even though I have many Tetsuki Kaiza posts, I have very few Trailblazer posts even though that’s where she’s originally from.