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Neko Fukuta's 'Normal' School Life

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    Nearly a year had passed since Neko Fukuta joined Mori Mori Academy. While she was currently back home resting for a while, she couldn’t get her mind off of school.

 

    Neko was enrolled in a school for magical animals. A school where those animals learn to become human. She wasn’t supposed to really be there, but quite a few events lead to her enrolling and staying. She’d thought once in a while about maybe going to a real high school, but those thoughts left as quickly as they came. Even if any diploma she gets from Mori Mori is a bit strange, she would appreciate it just the same. Plus, she would never want to leave her friends there. And there’s always a chance that-

 

    Neko was abruptly woken from her sleep and was greeted with a face full of alarm clock. She groaned as she picked it up and set it back on the table beside her. She rubbed her forehead and checked the time. Like how clocks are supposed to be used. It was 9:46 am. She could still sleep for a few more minutes… then she remembered that today was the day she went back. She had arranged to stay at home for a few days so that her parents wouldn’t worry. She groggily sat up in bed, and tried to wake up to the best of her ability. It didn’t work too well though.

 

    “I was supposed to get up early today…” she mumbled while heading to the kitchen.

 

    Her mother was already up and making her ways around the house doing various things. Her brother was in the living room watching TV, and her father was presumably at work. Neko yawned as she made toast. She rustled around in the fridge for jam, and her mother came up to her.

 

    “Neko, today’s the day you’re going back right?” She asked.

 

    “Yeah, it’ll still be a while before I leave though,” she replied. Her toast popped out of the toaster, startling her slightly.

 

    As Neko ate her breakfast, her mind kept running throughout all the possibilities of the new school year. Her mind ran through how she’d meet new friends, have underclassmen, wake up to such a beautiful sky each morning. It ran through the foods she’d eat, the sights she’d see. And as a certain thought popped into her head, she set her toast down and sighed. She wondered if she’d ever see him again. It bugged her more than she’d like to admit.

 

    Neko was busy packing her bags when her phone vibrated. She heaved her bag over her shoulders and checked her phone. It was a text from a middle school friend. She smiled bitterly.

 

    “Good luck at school! I know today’s your first day back,” it read. She texted back a quick ‘thank you’ and set her phone in her pocket. She looked around her room. It was still only 10:30am, but she had a long train ride ahead of her. She stood there silently for a moment, taking in her surroundings. She felt like she was submerged in the ocean, a deep and calming feeling. But something was itching her, telling her she needed to stay. Was it homesickness? Was it anxiety? Her uneasiness kept calling to her, right up until the moment she stepped out the door.

Chapter Text

    Neko awoke to light shuffling sounds and various voices. She looked around. She was on the train to Mori Mori. 

 

    “I must have fallen asleep…” she thought out loud. She carefully looked around some more, searching for any students like her. The occasional tail popped out into view, but Neko didn’t have the courage to start talking to a random person. Animal? Person? With how her life had been lately, she wasn’t sure what to think anymore. 

 

    The train ride was peaceful. It let Neko rest her head from any worries she had piled up. It let Neko think of things in a more clear way. She rested her head against the window, eyes trailing every sight that flew past. While she found herself anxious to go back, something about being there was also calming. She called herself an anomaly as she closed her eyes and fell back asleep.

 

    “This stop, _ Station! This stop, _ Station!” the train announcement came on, waking Neko from her nap. She quickly gathered her things, rushing out the doors. A large assembly of students were suddenly out and about, crowding the station. As soon as they appeared, they left, leaving Neko behind.

 

    “It happened again…”

 

    The wind blew in her face, causing her to squint. The sun was shining brightly, patches of grass littering the sidewalk. She walked on out of the station, and onto the path to Mori Mori. Before she left last time, she made a more concrete map so she wouldn’t get lost on the way back. She only managed to get there the first time because of Miiko.

 

    “Miiko…” Neko mumbled aloud. She hadn’t been able to keep in touch with her friends on her break, and while the break itself was short, she felt like she had been gone for ages. A small voice called up from behind her.

 

    “U-um, is it this way to Mori Mori?” the voice asked. Neko turned around, spotting no one. A small pat on her leg caused her to look down. A small, frizzy, white tanuki stood right beside her, fiddling its thumbs. It pointed at her map. “You… that map… Mori Mori?” Neko stood there for a second, adjusting to seeing animals talk again.

 

    “Oh! Yeah, it’s this way,” she started, “I think,” she ended. She pointed vaguely in a direction that she wasn’t so sure of what it was. The raccoon stared in that direction for a moment, before trotting off into it. Neko sighed and began following it.

 

    The two walked in silence, the raccoon occasionally pointing out various small details on the path. A purple violet, a weird stick, the small creek that led to a pond. They eventually got to the gates of Mori Mori. Neko wiped her forehead with her arm, wheezing.

 

    “Even after all this time, I’m still not used to climbing up that hill…” she cursed her lack of latent ability. 

 

    “Thank you very much!” the small raccoon beamed, before running into the academy. Neko smiled.

 

    “It’s this way… right? I’m already a student, so I just show my ID…” Neko said to no one in particular. The rooms were dark, and she supposed that since anyone that comes here is an animal, they might have night vision and are fine. 

 

    “You! Stop there. Do you have an ID?” a voice bellowed from in front of her. Neko squeaked, not noticing there was someone there at all.

 

    “Oh, um, yes! Here it is!” she yanked her ID out of her pocket and shoved it into the direction of the voice. It was then gone. The voice grumbled and gave back the ID. Neko sighed in relief.

 

    “Go ahead,” it said, creaking a door open. Neko nodded in the direction of the voice, not too keen on seeing who it was.

 

    The sky was just as clear and blue as she remembered it. She bonked herself on the head lightly, thinking about how she hadn’t even been gone that long. Carp streamers beamed from various directions, colourful and swaying in the wind. Various voices and the occasional yell echoed through the courtyard. Neko looked around, bewildered. Even with her starting second year, everything felt so fresh and new. She sighed and readjusted her backpack. Making her way around the school grounds was easy this time around. She was told she’d be in the Red Class this year, so she looked around until she found the teacher in charge of it. She was a tall lady, with purple hair and glasses. She called out “Red Class, this is the Red Class!” with a dainty hand cupped to her mouth. Neko stood in the group by her, fumbling with the trim on her skirt. She looked around, eyes darting for any sign of curly blue hair. 

 

    Miiko didn’t seem to be in this class. Neko pouted slightly. A tap from her shoulder shook her out of her thoughts. A short girl, brown eyes and white hair stood beside her. Neko blinked.

 

    “Um… this is Red Class?” The girl asked.

 

    “Oh- yep! It… it is,” Neko responded, her gloom starting to sink in. The shorter girl noticed this and reached up to pat her head.

 

    “My name’s Ayumi,” the girl smiled gently. Neko couldn’t help but smile back. The teacher went up to them.

 

    “Are you a first year?” She asked, going through the notebook she held.

 

    “Oh… I am, yes,” Ayumi said, eyes lost in thought. The teacher pointed farther in the distance. 

 

    “Red Class 1 is over there, I’m afraid.”

 

    “Oh…” 

 

    Ayumi nodded at Neko and the Teacher and ran off, leaving Neko to her thoughts again.

 

    Soon enough, it seemed like the entire class was gathered around in the right place. The teacher spoke up.

 

    “Alright, I’m your teacher for this year, Nishihara. You’re second years now, do you know what that means?”

 

    The students looked around themselves, a few simply blurting out “No.” Nishihara sighed. “It means your classes will be tougher, so get your acts together and make sure to study.” The students groaned at this. Neko laughed softly.

 

    An arm wrapped around Neko’s shoulder, startling her.

 

    “Hey! What’s up, guess we’re in the same class this year huh?” Neko turned to see Yusuke grinning at her.

 

    Great.