Episode 2: Cherry Blossoms and Peaches

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Tomo stared into his wardrobe. Most of his clothes were pastels or grey shades. He could see lots of bunnies and puppies and some floral patterns. Even when he didn't buy anything not passable himself, he kept getting these types of clothing. Accessories, stationery, plush toys, bedsheets... Anything he could possibly be given.

Why did his family keep giving him things that would out him to the world?

Well, Chiyo didn't. She had resorted to giving him black pencils instead. And Shouji gave him jewellery. So it was just Sawa and Chika. But they did it a lot.

He preferred his uniform because wearing it meant he wouldn't stand out. He was just another student. Getting dressed casually was much harder. He started digging among the things he had thrown on the wardrobe floor and found a dark green zipped hoodie. He had bought it because of the dog theme a while ago. It had a white and black puppy around the heart area, and the hood was shaped to look a bit like dog ears when worn. It was cute but passable.

Probably.

And it wasn't too small. Yet.

He managed to find a pair of dark grey jeans, and then took a basic light green long-sleeved shirt from a hanger.

Why was socks the only thing he had no problem with?

Once he was wearing it, he looked at himself in the mirror. He was inspecting himself in detail, making sure it would be alright. He did this every day.

Were the glasses right? Or did he need his contacts? Was he wearing earrings or studs that looked too feminine? Were there any frills? Were there any floral prints? Was it all too cute together? Was he wearing his clothes in a boyish manner?

This... would work. Maybe.

He took off the pink glasses he had been wearing to wear his light green pair. Then he walked out of his room.

***

Tomo was leaning against the wall by the entrance at the very back of the small theatre. He could see Ken crossing swords with someone wearing a hooded jacket on the stage, and Ken was loudly asking who killed some woman named Mirande. But it looked just a bit off.

The scene stopped with the hooded figure pointing the sword at Ken's chest.

"Hah! Yama-senpai, you're dead."

Hanakawa Sakura removed the hood as she said that. Her braids fell out of the hood and down her back. Tomo's hair had been long, but he had kept it just above his waist. Sakura had been growing it since the first grade – before he had even started growing it out.

Not because she wanted to, but because the expectations on her were to be a young woman who'd marry a successful man. She was aware she wasn't much like the image of a beautiful Japanese woman, so she had kept growing her hair, keeping it in two braids.

Her smile was triumphant, like she had won a duel for real.

"Sakkun, that's not what happens and you know it," Ken wiped the sweat from his face with his shirt. They had gone over the scene close to ten times, and while Sakura didn't need to move a whole lot, Ken dodged swings and stabs. And he did it in a very showy way, which was pretty tiring to keep up.

"Hanakawa! Kenta! Take the fighting scene again."

"Eeeeh?!" Sakura exclaimed. "I'm tired of this. Give a hint of what Yama-senpai's doing that needs improvement already."

Ken smirked. Tomo had seen it too.

It wasn't Ken.

Sakura stepped back every time she knew Ken would swing or stab, even before he had done so. It ended up looking like Ken was overpowering Sakura, despite the fact that Ken was supposed to lose the battle and be captured. It wasn't the first time something like this happened with Sakura when she was acting. She needed to get comfortable with the situation, which was why Hayashi Niko kept asking them to do the scene.

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