Dirt Under the Killer Rabbit’s Paw
an Infinite Stratos fanfiction by The Overlord Bear
Summary: Ichika Orimura was already an icon, and then he became even more of one. Not like everyone looked up to him, though. For example: the Shimagawas.
“That’s not sudden. That was planned.”
Dad declared that as he stared down the television news report on Ichika Orimura, the young man said to be the very first male pilot of the Infinite Stratos. Arika and I were also watching, as we were schoolmates with the one we called “The Boy,” who already had a reputation at school and in the neighborhood even before this particular development.
“Nepotism and cronyism…Some things never change, huh?” Dad continued. “All just a game to that psycho, while everyone else pretends that she’s so deep. Well, she is, but more like in shit.”
That, too. Arika and I giggled.
“As usual, he looks like a sissy,” my younger sister commented, going back to her tactical RPG.
“He’s also going to be stuck in a school full of hormonal girls.”
“I bet they’ll have taxidermy night classes on him,” Dad quipped.
“Like you aren’t hormonal yourself,” I told Arika, though I had also chuckled at Dad’s joke.
“Maybe, but at least I have good taste,” she responded, still looking at her animated map of units. “What about you, Rou-nii?”
“Haven’t found one yet, Arika,” I answered. “If there’s a blonde girl who isn’t some raging cow, then please inform me. That aside, I found some interesting news: Houki Shinonono’s gonna enroll in IS Academy, too.”
“Even better!” Dad yelled with a clap above his head. “Stop stating the obvious, Routarou.”
“How about the British Representative Candidate Cecilia Alcott?” I asked with a tab switch. “She’s also been reported as an IS Academy enrollee. Not my type of blonde, though.”
“Cecilia who?” Dad half-parroted. “You know I don’t spend time creeping on teenage girls, son.”
“I think Rou-nii’s trying to ask about how she’ll end up dealing with The Boy, Dad,” Arika clarified. “Gossip material, y’know?”
“Well, either she’s a slut or she hates his guts,” Dad replied with blunt force. “Most likely the latter.”
I then showed him a picture of the girl in question.
“Definitely the latter,” Dad amended. “And then secretly the former.”
“How did Mom even put up with you?” I shook my head with another chuckle.
“She was a real soldier, son,” the old man gave me that answer again.
We didn’t say another word after that. Turning off the TV, we all had another gathering around old photos of Mom and our family.
“Yo, you heard about Rin-chan, Shimagawa-kun?”
“Lingyin Huang, one of The Boy’s old classmates?”
“That’s the one! We got reports that she just transferred to IS Academy! It’s gotta be ’cause of The Boy!”
I was gossiping with a classmate about The Boy again. Everyone in our school did, including the teachers. Like it or not, one of the school’s first reactions to The Boy’s discovery as an IS pilot and subsequent transfer to the Academy was to set up betting pools about his love life. And even before he became an IS pilot, we already called him “The Boy,” as in “The Boy Who Accidentally Makes and Breaks a Thousand Girls’ Love Confessions Everyday,” “The Boy Who’s Practically Tourist Candy,” “The Boy Who Filled In for Too Small Clubs,” “The Boy Who Was Probably a Siscon,” and so on. We had a lot of ridiculous titles for him, and there was even a list of them maintained by the Student Council.
As for what my classmate and I were talking about just now, we had caught wind of another old schoolmate having transferred to IS Academy. She was a Chinese girl who lived in Japan and then moved out, and now she’s back in the country. We also knew about how hard she pined for The Boy and how she was quite stubborn in both charging forward and holding back in really dumb ways. They seemed like a good match, but it would probably be really so if those two were, say, cruder jokers or something. How the Gotandas put up with them, well…Ran was also into The Boy, and Dan was probably a sadist.
“That makes three,” I continued, “Shinonono, Alcott, and Rin.”
“I hope your parents trained you well, ’cause war’s already brewing, Shimagawa-kun!”
“The Boy’s stupidity and his sister’s violence. Such wondrous things.”
“Still, his girls are pretty hot. His older sister included.”
“Hey, Shimagawa-kun,” the dude continued, “Who are you betting on?”
“If I have to, I’ll probably check for someone taking bets for more complicated endings.”
“Eh, you’re no fun.” And then the dude walked away.
Finally, peaceful silence.
“BOYS SHALL REIGN AGAIN, THOTS!”
“SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU LOSERS!”
And then more of that shit happened.
“What do you wanna have as a career, Rou-nii?”
“I…haven’t thought much about that yet, Arika.”
“You can nerd out over games with Arika, Routarou!”
“How many times have you asked me that, Dad?” I asked with a grin. “Then again, I hope you all don’t mind me holding off on tertiary education until Arika’s my senpai. I’m all for putting up with stupid math and science if it means being closer to family, but I still got some pride that’s hard to shake off.”
My family and I laughed. We were eating in a restaurant, as Dad had a particularly chill and fulfilling week with technician work. Pasta was our order, and we finished it quick. We could order and eat more, but Dad would harp on us about money and fitness, so we spent our post-eating time with more talking instead.
“Speaking of which,” Dad continued, “I hope you kids are getting enough sleep.”
“Games are love, games are life, Dad,” Arika smirked. “Thanks for being annoying, though.”
“I’d take that thanks if you help me out with those stupid games you drag me into, kid,” Dad smirked back.
“Not my fault you’re an old coot.”
“Hey, we also have those Shimagawa Family heirlooms!”
“You mean those eroge? Please.”
It was another amusing family bonding scene, but I didn’t have much to say at the moment, so I let my sight wander further out of our table.
And then the restaurant’s door chime rang, signaling the entry of…
One was a boyish blonde on a sighing trudge, while the other was an eye-patched silverette on a stiff march. Even as they wore more casual outfits, we could recognize two of The Boy’s…close associates, for lack of a better phrase at the moment.
“Ah, our guilty favorites,” Dad nodded as he took in the sight of Charlotte Dunois and Laura Bodewig. They reminded us of Mom, and, of course, the “guilty” part came from their association with The Boy. “Again, I can’t help feeling like I should adopt them or something.”
“You hadn’t even burned the Shimagawa Family heirlooms like you promised yet,” I responded with a smirk.
“I told you, I’m still trying to move on, kid,” Dad grumbled with a blush, but he still kept an eye on those two girls. Arika and I stayed quiet as he did so.
“You know what, maybe I’ll take this rare chance,” I said as I stood up after feeling the staring stretch a little too long for my liking.
“Heh, that’s more like it!” Dad praised.
“I’ll get the camera out, then,” Arika declared.
So I walked to them right after they asked a waiter for their orders, and even as Laura swung a sharp glare at me early on, I still decided to command their attention by placing my palms upon their table.
“Miss Dunois,” I called out loud, loud enough for my family or maybe even everyone to hear, with a right turn of my head. “Will you go out with me?”
Jaw-dropped silence, of course. I then walked back to my family’s table before Miss Bodewig could twist my arm.
There, us three Shimagawas did a fist pump.
Author’s Note: I was an IS fanboy with the hots for Charl when I was younger. Also, a Beneath the Tangles throwback post which mentioned IS and an IS promotional event recording clip centered on Kouki Uchiyama (Ichika’s Japanese voice actor) got me motivated to write this.
Next Part: “Dirt Under the Killer Rabbit’s Nose”