Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko's had a bit of a down day, but a few minutes with the ever-effervescent Ruriko-sensei has cheered her considerably. She faces the afternoon with a brighter outlook.


Volume 2, Issue 5

"Falling Petals"


" 'The paper fell from her hand, to lay on the table among the fallen petals. White paper, white petals. White-hot grief blinded her. She fumbled for something to hold onto and finding nothing, fell to her knees, sobbing her loneliness into the rough carpet. The scratchy material felt too much like him, the stubble on his chin in the morning, the callused hands that would hold her tightly. Muffling her cries in the floor, she screamed wildly, keening for the loss of her innocence, the waste of her youth, the death of her heart.' "

The teacher paused and turned to Yuriko, who cringed in embarrassment. When she had written the essay it had seemed rich and textured, but now, listening to it being read in front of the class it sounded no better than purple.

"Yuriko-san," the teacher was speaking, "this is a very strong piece. I notice you prefer using active verbs to adverbs. It's not bad but," she smiled pleasantly, "the assignment was to use adjectives and adverbs to set the mood."

Yuriko bowed her head. "I'm sorry. I tried, but it always sounds so, erm, superficial, to me."

The teacher cocked her head at the blonde. "Why don't you show the class what you mean?"

Yuriko stood, accepted the chalk from the teacher and stepped up to the board. "Can someone suggest a sentence?"

Sayaka jumped in with, "The first snowfall of winter makes my heart sing."

Yuriko smiled and wrote that on the board. The next few minutes was taken up with an intense grammatical discussion. At last the teacher allowed Yuriko to sit and she did so with relief.

In between classes, Aya poked Yuriko in the back. "You really know your stuff, don't you? Why do you pretend to be so, um, uninterested?"

"I'm not uninterested. I'm very interested, especially in writing." Yuriko turned around in her seat to address the girl.

"Then why do you say you were a bad student?" Sayaka asked.

"Because I was." Yuriko smiled. "I was one of those obnoxious kids who think that they know more than the teacher...sometimes I even did." She laughed. "It made me unbearable in class and the teachers resented it. I resented the fact that they wanted to hold me back and make me do stupid assignments."

"How ironic." Sayaka commented. "Now, years later, you're forced to do it all over again. Maybe there's some karma in there."

Yuriko made a face. "I'm sure there is. But if they had paid me to do it the first time around, maybe I would have been more dedicated."

Aya gave her a long look. "You're getting paid to play a high school senior, right?" She said in an unusual tone of voice. "You're not getting paid to do well, are you?"

Yuriko stared at her. "Well, no - they don't care what my grades are."

A crooked smile crossed Aya's face and a sly look crinkled her eyes. "So you're still an obnoxious student."

Yuriko smiled and nodded. "You're good. You should go into psychology."


Yuriko slipped her notebook into her book bag with a feeling of impending dread. Her stomach had been doing flip-flops all afternoon...what exactly did Sawako-sensei want with her anyway? She looked around for the cameraman. He nodded at her wave and came over, his camera resting on his shoulder.

"I need a favor," she said without apology. Her thoughts were whirling around in her head and she took a deep breath. "Can you just, I don't know, find a reason to stay in the room while Sawako-sensei tears me a new..."

The sound of a throat clearing stopped her mid-sentence. Sawako-sensei slid the door closed and entered the classroom. His hands were clasped behind his back and he seemed, if it were at all possible, at a loss.

Walking over to the pair, Sawako-sensei pinned the cameraman with his basilisk glare. "Will you please excuse us? This matter isn't relevant to your television show. It is a private affair between us."

The cameraman glanced at Yuriko who gave the slightest shake of her head. "I'd prefer he stays," she declared, her voice firmer than she felt.

Sawako-sensei pursed his lips together. "I'm afraid I have to insist."

For a moment, Yuriko and Sawako-sensei locked eyes. She could feel the enormous force of his will - this was a man who expected to be obeyed and it put her shoulders up. "No," she said as resolutely as he had.

Silence fell as two forceful personalities dueled for supremacy. In an unexpected move, Sawako-sensei withdrew. Shrugging, he addressed the cameraman. "Stay. But do not film us - and do not interrupt us." He gave his conditions briskly, and Yuriko wondered if he had been in the military, or just wished he had.

Yuriko nodded at the cameraman, this time obviously, to let Sawako-sensei know who was in charge. The teacher did not appear to notice - or care if he had. The cameraman stepped to the far side of the room, placed the camera on a desk and sat himself down, pulling a magazine out of his back pocket. In moments he was apparently absorbed.

Yuriko turned back to the teacher who now faced the chalkboard, his hands clasped behind his back. His bearing was strong and upright. Yuriko gave extra points to her ex-military guess. She decided to take control of this meeting, just to let him know she wasn't afraid of him.

"So, Sawako-sensei, just what is it that you needed to see me about?" Her voice was casual, maybe just slightly *too* casual. She didn't want to give him anything to run with.

"Your performance in my class," the teacher spun on his heel and addressed her abruptly, "is abominable." His voice was loud, impersonal, reprimanding.

Yuriko blinked in surprise at the assault. Well, sure, yeah, but who cares, she thought. The teacher didn't give her time to broach her opinion on the subject however.

"It was not my idea to allow you into my class under such preposterous circumstances in the first place, but as neither of us seem to have control over the situation, I expect to see an effort from you that equals my own."

Yuriko reeled back. What? "As great as your own?" The words slipped from her lips before she had a chance to stop herself.

"Of course." Sawako-sensei said, with some acerbity. "I am a high school teacher. Each day tests my skills to their limits. At no time do I give less than everything I have to fulfill my duty. I expect no less of you."

"What?" Yuriko asked in some surprise. "I mean why?" She put her hands on the chair back in front of her, took a deep breath and tried once again. "I mean, with no intended disrespect, what *are* you talking about?"

 "I am talking about the youth of today." Sawako-sensei said portentously. "Are you as unaware of your status among the student body as you are about calculus?"

 Yuriko blinked as she digested the intent of the teacher's comment. "Are you saying that I'm popular?" Yuriko shrugged eloquently. "I'm an idol, it's part of the job description."

 Sawako-sensei whirled, slamming his hand onto a desk loudly. "Young lady!" The teacher's voice filled the room and Yuriko jumped despite herself. "Are you truly that self-absorbed? You have a duty, a responsibility to these children - as I do. You, by setting an example, as I set lessons."

 Yuriko could feel her heart beating hard in her chest. She looked a little wildly at the cameraman, who watched them openly, no longer even pretending to read his magazine. 

"S...Sensei," Yuriko began, but she stopped again as the thick man took several steps in her direction.

"Yuriko-san," the math teacher appeared to grind the words out from between unwilling lips, "I need you to not just do well in my class, but to appear interested. These students are impressionable. If you hate math, they will follow your example." He drew himself upright, his hands held stiffly at his side. "If you enjoy math, so will they."

 Yuriko watched him warily, the meaning of his words at last becoming clear. Sawako might be a pompous old fart, but he wasn't stupid or malicious, as she had assumed.

"I understand," she said shortly, giving him a precisely measured bow.

 The teacher appeared to relax marginally. With a rictus-like grin, the teacher gave her a return bow. He shot the blonde a hard look, nodded, then said, "That is all. Thank you for your time." Turning smartly on his heel, Sawako-sensei turned and left the room without a backward glance.

 When the door of the classroom closed, Yuriko and the cameraman both let out loud breaths.

 "Phew," said the cameraman, as he shouldered his burden, "I thought the old guy was going to lose his top, for a sec."

 "Did you?" Yuriko gave him a weak grin. "I'm beginning to think that nothing that man does is without a reason..." And with that, both actress and cameraman left the room.