The first day of a new school year; it's both a day of excitement and a day of dread. For Natsume Araki, it should've just been another day. The young woman looked herself in the mirror to get a reassessment of her school uniform. She wasn't a sophomore anymore: she was a High School Junior and she had to present herself with a certain level refinement,. Her black, silk-like hair was long and well groomed and her dark, brown eyes scanned over her spring uniform was in check; said uniform being made up of a simple black sailor-styled blouse and matching, pleated skirt.

Her eyes drifted to her nightstand, a letter waiting for her. She picked it up and give it one last glance. It wasn't addressed to her, and the old, worn paper showed the letter's true age.

Mako Araki.

That was her mother's name, it was the letter that started her tennis career and once Natsume set that letter down, she took in a deep breath.

Natsume began to make the trek down the steps to finally leave her home when a knock at the door got the woman to jump. She should've been use to this, but the two years without this in her regular routine has gotten her to lose that muscle memory. A smile, however, began to linger on her face as she approached the door and her hand pulled it open.

"Yo! Natsume!" Standing there with a wide grin on his face was Matsuba Watanabe, a messy mop of black hair on his head and a thick pair of black glasses resting on his tanned face, contrasting to her own paler complexion. He was draped in a black jacket, with matching pants and shoes, white buttons shining atop it. However, Natusme's eyes leered down at the skull pendant hanging off of his chest.

"Matsuba, do you really need to wear that trinket?" She closed the door behind her as she stood next to Matsuba. She stood two inches taller than him, who stood at 5'6. "You're going to get awful looks from everyone else." The two started walking on their way to school as Matsuba only chuckled along a dirt road, almost completely isolated.

"Oi, don't be a nag on the first day, Natsume." He grinned up at her, "besides, this is practically my insignia! I've had this since Elementary School!" He snatched up Natsume's hand as he smiled, "it's the symbol of how much I love you!"

Natsume's face lit up, turning red as an apple as Matsuba held her hand. She always felt ashamed of her own callused hands, and yet Matsuba had no issue holding them. But before she could properly enjoy this small bit of intimacy, she stole herself from the moment and snatched her hand from Matsuba's. "M-Matsuba, you can't just reckless say things like that..." She tried to cover her face with her opposite hand, but Matsuba just grinned at how flushed she was.

"Ah, but you like it."

"D-do not."

"You're blushing~"

"I-I blush easily."

He chuckled at how she tried to deny it, but quickly noticed how her embarrassed face turned to frustration. Taking two fingers, her index and middle, she gave a hearty 'THWACK' against his forehead, causing Matsuba to recoil and adjust his glasses.


"Oi, oi! I get the point!" Matsuba said with a disarming grin as Natsume sighed, "I still don't why you care so much about what they think though. I mean, does it didn't matter back in Middle School."

"But this isn't Middle School.." Natsume sighed, "please, Matsuba, understand that this is High School now. And-"

"'If a junior was caught dating a freshman, it would ruin my reputation'." Matsuba quoted, watching as Natume nodded to him. "Don't worry, Natsume. I understand completely. I won't do anything to hurt your street cred."

"Thank you, Matsuba." She nodded as she said, "I promise I'll make it up to you after school. So please just bear with it until we both graduate!"

Matsuba smiled at her, "Natsume, for you, I'd wait no matter how long." They gazed into the other's eyes for a brief moment, yet it felt like an eternity. Natsume got ready to lean into Matsuba, who got ready to plant a kiss onto his girlfriend's lips, but before they could have a moment of intimacy, a loud hiss broke the scene, both looking over their shoulders to see the bus doors closing.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Both students shouted as they both ran at their top speed to catch the bus before it took off, knowing that if it drove off into the city without them, they'd never be able to make it to school on time.