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Realistic or Modern Secrets and Monsters

Sub Genres
  1. School
  2. Slice of Life


Ha-ru Ahn was just your typical, run-of-the-mill teenager. His family was Korean. They've lived in Japan for generations now. He's also somewhat of a local legend for saving people from a burning building. Though that was several years ago. He's currently a junior in high school, though he's the same age as the seniors due to missing a year for recovery purposes. His legend status died down over time, though he's made some new friends because of it. He has also made enemies. Students often tease or even bully him because of his looks.

It was a beautiful day. The cherry blossoms fell from the trees, creating a pink shower that lifted people's spirits. For this reason, Ha-ru decided to go with a short sleeved uniform top with no blazer. His scars didn't bother him quite so much. At least not enough to wear long sleeves or a jacket on a warm day. The school uniform for boys consisted of dark blue blazers and shorts or pants, as well as a white short or long-sleeved button-up top. The uniform had red trim. The look was completed with a long, blue and red striped tie. There were also sweaters and coats for winter, and workout clothes for gym and physical activities.

He was entering the school building when his friend called out to him, "Hey, Haru! You going to play Magic with us at lunch?" called out his friend, Itsuki. Ha-ru waved back excitedly, "Absolutely! I'll come find you!" As his friend walked out of view, another student shoved past Ha-ru, "Freak," came the passing remark. Ha-ru wasn't even sure who that was. He figured there was no reason to pay it any mind. There was no way of telling if the remark was due to his scars, or because he towered over the other students. Ha-ru had hit his growth spurt pretty early.

After homeroom, Ha-ru made his way to his first class. Science. He wasn't particularly fond of the subject. He hasn't struggled, not really, but he still dislikes the subject. He prefers classes that fall within the language arts. He likes poetry and theater. He would love to be an actor one day, even if it's just in local plays.

Mr. Mizutage was a harsh teacher. He was Ha-ru's science teacher. The science classroom was set up with several large tables. Each table sat two students side by side. Each table had everything needed for a science lesson. A sink as well as various tools and safety equipment. Though the latter were stored underneath.

Ha-ru's desk partner was a tall girl, Mina. They didn't know each other very well. You'd think that with the way the class was set up, that they'd be partners, but Mr. Mizutage always assigned new partners for every assignment. It seemed inefficient to Ha-ru. He thought Mina was cute, he wouldn't mind being forced to work with her a bit more.

The class went by rather slowly. The teacher talked about various laws of physics and nature. Mentioned some famous scientists as well. Ha-ru struggled to write everything down. He really just wanted to daydream about acting, or write some poetry instead.

"For our next assignment, you will work with a partner to come up with an experiment. The experiment must be repeatable and prove one of the many laws we've discussed already. Your partners are posted on the board, don't forget to look at it on your way out. This is a big assignment, I expect you to work on it outside of class." Mr. Mizutage was always giving them assignments they had to work on after school. Most students would agree he is the least liked teacher.

Seugi Fukui. It was the name of a girl that sat on the other end of the classroom. He hadn't gotten the chance to work with her before. He didn't know much about her. She seemed popular enough. Ha-ru figured she was deaf. He's seen her using sign language before. He was worried about communication with the girl. He waited outside the classroom for her to exit. When he saw her, he raised his hand in greeting, "Hello Seugi. I'm Ha-ru Ahn, your science partner for this assignment." Ha-ru felt a little silly. He berated himself silently for not preparing a note ahead of time, since he assumed she was deaf.


Bad job, Superstar!
School was hard for Seulgi but she would much rather be there than at home. She was popular, she couldn't really name any enemies she'd made at that school yet, but she was always on edge, especially on days when they had gym class. A lot of the time, she found herself standing by the gates trying to catch her breath. What if today was the day everyone found out? No... her friends were nice, they'd probably understand, right? But the idea of the rest of the school talking about her made her chest tight.

That day, despite the warm weather, she was wearing the school jumper, a skirt and black tights. Even when she had the choice of wearing a blouse, she always chose the jumper. The blouse was white and not exactly opaque, she didn't want to risk anything. She adjusted her satchel on her back before heading onto the campus.

"Seulgi!" She heard a voice call out, spinning around to see her friend, Rika, waving to her. She smiled, eagerly waving back. Her friend ran over and the two embraced as they did almost every morning. Rika was certainly popular, especially with the guys. She was gorgeous, preppy, friendly... but, alas, she had had a long-term boyfriend for years now, an equally as popular male student. He was athletic and had won many tournaments in his time at the school. The two were certainly made for eachother.

"Please let me do your hair in homeroom!" Rika begged as she let go, playing with Seulgi's hair. White hair was certainly a novelty but it seemed to add to Seulgi's charm, her friends were obsessed with plaiting it. Seulgi nodded with a smile as the two headed to homeroom.

Seulgi arrived to science class with two french braids, courtesy of her group of friends. They found homeroom so boring, at least playing hairdresser was interesting. She took her seat and obediently took her notes, only just keeping up with Mr Mizutage's lesson. He worked so quickly and taught so a complicated subject, it was difficult to keep up at times. At least she found some of it interesting. Physics was laborious for her, but anything related to nature was fascinating to her!

Her chest got a little tight as he mentioned a project... Juggling his normal homework load on top of all of her extra-curriculars and sleep was always a chore. Her teachers had suggested she maybe quit some of her after school clubs but... that didn't feel like an option for her.

She packed up her things and headed for the board, now one of the last people to leave the classroom. Ha-Ru Ahn..? It took her a moment to put a name to a face but... oh no. He was one of the only students she hadn't really interacted with. She'd heard plenty of rumours about him, that he was cruel and impossible to get along with, that he hated anyone outside of his friend group, that he even started the fire he had saved those people from. Whether they were true, Seulgi couldn't say, but it still made her a little anxious.

As she stepped outside of the class, Ha-Ru made her jump. She smiled at him as he spoke, pulling a little notepad from her skirt pocket. It was pink and had a little pencil tucked into the rings holding it together.
"It's nice to meet you, Ha-Ru!" She wrote, turning the notepad towards him so he could read it. She was unaware he had assumed she was deaf. In reality, she could hear perfectly well, she was simply selectively mute.


'Ha-ru.' Seulgi had even included the hyphen in his name. Ha-ru was quite impressed. Haru was similar to Ha-ru. Haru was a Japanese name, so when people learned his name, they just assumed he had the Japanese name of Haru. It wasn't a big deal to him, but he still liked the detail. It also seemed as though Seulgi could read lips. He found that to be a relief. He didn't want to have to learn sign language, or have to carry paper and pen with him just to communicate.

"So, it turns out we're partners. I know this is awkward, but we should probably exchange numbers so we can communicate about the project," Ha-ru's voice was a little shaky. He was always nervous around cute girls. Not to mention the way they tended to treat him. He was tall and imposing. That, combined with his scaring, often caused others to recoil. Though it seemed to him that Seulgi was more reserved. He thought that she was perhaps hiding her disgust or fear from him. He quickly added, "We don't have to meet up or anything if you don't want to. We can just, like, text or something." Ha-ru had made suggestions to meet in person with previous work partners. A lot can roll off his shoulders, although having someone say 'ew' in response was particularly hurtful.


Bad job, Superstar!
Seulgi wasn't aware that she had made him happy by spelling his name correctly, she had simply written it as she had seen on the chalkboard. She listened to his request, her eyes lighting up as he mentioned texting. It sounded really shallow but texting was her favourite pass time, she could communicate much easier over text! She pulled her phone from her pocket and started navigating to her contacts as he continued.

She looked up at him as he continued to speak, frowning a little. It sort of sounded like he didn't want to meet up with her, which was fine, but it would make doing their project harder. She pulled up the notes app on her phone.
"That's okay, but I stay behind after school most days anyway so if you want to, we can use the library c:" She typed before turning her phone around to show him. Her mind wasn't exactly buzzing with ideas, it would probably be good to discuss what they wanted to study.
Once she was sure he had read her note, she turned her phone around and opened up her contacts. She added a new one and held it out for him to take, letting him add his own contact details.


From their very first interaction, Ha-ru felt like something was different. It was similar to how his dreams went. He often dreamt of strange things, but in them, people always treated him like they used to. Before his superficial scars. It was surreal. Relief washed over him when Seulgi suggested meeting up at the library. "Yeah! The library is a great idea!" Ha-ru often spoke with his hands, so they would move and sputter about with no real purpose. The papers of his notebook flapped about with the movements of his hands.

As Seulgi handed over her phone, Ha-ru found himself delighted. This part of working with a partner or in groups was always a struggle. Though, with Seulgi, it was a breeze.A welcome bit of nostalgia. Just as he was finishing up the bell rang, signaling the next period was starting soon. Ha-ru quickly handed the phone back to Seulgi as he said, "We can meet after school today to work on our project if you'd like." With a wave, he turned to head to his class. As he did, he bumped into a student by accident, "I'm so sor-" He would be interrupted by a boy, Sentsu, someone who'd started bullying him after his accident, "Watch where you're going Krueger." Of course, this was in reference to Freddy Krueger due to the burns on his arms. Ha-ru paid him no mind as he continued to his next class.


Bad job, Superstar!
Seulgi smiled a little as he seemed to get flustered. His tone had changed a lot since the start of the conversation, she wasn't sure what she'd said to make him so eager to meet up with her. She smiled, nodding in response to his suggestion. Maybe this project would turn out well after all! She jumped a little as the bell rang, taking her phone back from Ha-Ru. She waved to him to say goodbye and turned, heading towards her class.

As she walked, Sentsu nudged her, grinning. He wasn't exactly a close friend of hers but she knew most of the class through her tight-knit friend group, especially if one of them had a crush on them.
"Hey, what were you talking to him for?" He asked, looking genuinely confused. Seulgi pulled her phone out to write in her notes.
"He's my partner for Mr Mizutage's class" She typed, showing him with a small smile. He frowned.
"If I were you, I'd ask to swap," He responded with a scoff. Before she could question him, he continued, "He's a freak, there's a reason he doesn't talk to anyone. Just be careful, I mean, you've been Nightmare on Elm Street."
She frowned, stopping to argue, but he saw a friend further down the corridor and ran ahead. She had, in fact, not seen that movie, but she got the gist of the insult. She was sort of taken aback, unsure how to react or respond. She pulled herself together and headed for class.


Math and Japanese went by fast enough. Ha-ru wasn't a big fan of math, though he didn't mind Japanese too much. He had good grades in that class and the teacher seemed to like him. Then came lunch. It was Ha-ru's favorite part of school. He loved to hang out with his friends and play Magic. He never had to wait in the lunch line, he brought his own lunch. Usually in the form of bento boxes. Today's dish was an assortment of fruits with some rice and pork.

He scarfed down his food. His friends did the same. Not that they didn't enjoy their meals. It was just that Magic was more important. The faster they finished their food, the faster they could start playing and the more time they would have. Everyone in their group was in a game. Ha-ru was playing with Tori, the smallest of the group. They were partway through their game when a cute girl walked up to them. Ha-ru had no idea who she was.

"See? This is why no one likes you guys," said the mean girl.

"Because we play Magic the Gathering?" said Tori quizzically.

"No, because you hang out with this ugly thing," said the girl, pointing at Ha-ru.

This caused him to raise his eyebrows. He looked at the girl, then at his friends, giving a small frown. He was mostly just confused. The girl took one of Tori's cards. "Hey! Give that back!" exclaimed Tori.

"Ew! He's even uglier than this monster!" spat the girl. She tossed the card back on the table and casually walked away. A bit of laughter could be heard from a nearby table of girls.

"Who was that?" asked Tori. The group of friends looked to Ha-ru, hoping he knew what was going on.

"I, uh, have no clue. I've never even seen her," replied Ha-ru.

"That's so fucked up how people treat you sometimes, Haru," said Soto. He was the edgy one of the group.

Ha-ru just shrugged it off. It was certainly hurtful, but he didn't see how fretting over it would do any good. Though his friends certainly couldn't help but worry. It took Ha-ru some prodding to get Tori back in the mood for gaming. Unfortunately, due to the interruption, they weren't able to finish their game this time. Though they mutually decided Tori was the winner.


Bad job, Superstar!
Seulgi had biology and literature before lunch, two of her favourite subjects. She was known to be artistic, she enjoyed the more creative subjects, but she really liked biology, too. They were growing beans in glass jars that week so they could see the progression of their growth. Her bean was a slow grower but she already felt weirdly attached to it. She always made sure it was watered every day and would take it home over the weekend if she could. It made her want her own house plants to look after, but... her house probably wasn't a safe place for anything living.

As she headed to lunch, she struggled to spot any of her friends. She was sure some of them had gym, they were probably just running late... She headed into the lunch queue to buy her food. She did bring some things with her, she typically bought sushi during her walk to school that morning, but the canteen had good snacks and the school made special provisions for her so a lot of her food was prepaid. It was a good way of getting extra food home.

As she left the queue with a tray of various snacks and wrapped food to take home, she overhead some yelling. She frowned, pausing to make sure she didn't walk into something she shouldn't, before spotting Ha-Ru with his friends. Was that girl yelling at him? At first, she thought maybe he'd done something wrong, maybe he bumped into her, but she was just hurling insults at him. She wanted to head over and see if he was okay...

Rika wrapped an arm around her, causing her to jump.
"Hey, what are you waiting for?" She asked with a smile. Seulgi had forgotten she was just stood in the middle of the canteen. She shrugged, smiling back at Rika.
"You're weird sometimes, Seulgi," She told her, though Seulgi knew she didn't mean it. The two headed over to a nearby table, joining the rest of their group to eat.


The next few classes went by without event. He liked to spend his time in his history class, writing poetry. It was a rather easy class. Most students considered it a free class. Throughout the day he wondered about the girl from earlier. He had never met her. He wondered what had possessed her to be so harsh with him. One thing Ha-ru noticed was that students were much more cruel than adults. Adults, though they may not like looking at him, hardly say anything to his face. Despite his ruminations, he found no answers to his questions. And now it was time to head to the library.

Ha-ru hoped Seulgi wasn't like that. Not everyone was cruel. He did have his friends and family. But he has met people before that would string him along. He didn't fully understand it, but he believed that his appearance made some people feel justified in treating him poorly. Well, there was no point in condemning the girl before he even gave her a chance. Then he would be no better than everyone else.

Ha-ru spent some time in the library. He wanted to find some books on science that might help them decide what they wanted to do their project on. There were so many potential topics. Relativity, thermodynamics, conservation of energy and more. The longer he spent roaming the library, the quieter the school got as students left for the day. As he was wandering the isles, he received a text. He took out his phone. It was a number he didn't recognize. He flipped his phone so he could read the message.


Bad job, Superstar!
That afternoon, Seulgi had her least favourite class, gym. There were so many reasons to hate it. If she was sore, heavy exercise wasn't going to help, and changing in front of her fellow classmates was her worst nightmare. As she walked toward the gym, she clutched to the straps of her backpack.
"Why does gym always make you so nervous?" Rika asked with a laugh, nudging her in the ribs. Rika always made comments, though Seulgi knew she was just being friendly. She simply shrugged with a small smile.

She did as she always did during gym and slunk into the women's bathroom, changing in one of the cubicles instead. She wore a long-sleeved white shirt and grey sweatpants, as opposed to the white polo shirt and black shorts the other girls would wear. Even if she felt okay, even if she had mostly healed, she still didn't want to risk any questions about her lingering bruises. She headed to the locker room to meet with Rika, putting her bag away and going into the main hall. She couldn't help but cringe a little as she saw the equipment for netball laid out. It wasn't that she didn't enjoy netball... it was just a lot of moving.

The girls were split into groups, then those groups into teams so they had the right amount of people each and were given vests with their positions on them, picked at random from the box. Seulgi was in a defensive position, taking her spot on the court. It was only gym, not a competition, maybe she would just take it easy.

As the game got going, she tried her best to participate without pulling anything, even blocking a shot or two. She intercepted the ball from the opposite team and, as she turned to pass to a teammate, she was knocked to the ground.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, I tripped!" A girl told her, covering her mouth with her hand. The two had only lightly collided but Seulgi was holding her ribs, completely winded and teary-eyed.
"Hey! What the hell was that for?!" Rika called out, but the girl from the opposing team retorted.
"I didn't even hit her that hard! I just bumped into her!"
Seulgi excused herself, heading to the empty locker room to catch her breath... As she looked up, she met her own eye in the mirror, letting out a soft sigh. She hesitantly lifted her shirt, checking on the multiple bruises and welts spanning her abdomen. She gently touched one of the bruises over one of her ribs, wincing as she did so. It wasn't that girl's fault, she couldn't have known, but boy did it sting. She chose to spend the rest of the class in the locker room, avoiding the teachers like the plague.

Once she was changed and the class was over, she grabbed her bag and headed for the library, checking her phone on the way. Her heart sank as she saw she was running late, quickly opening up her contacts and messaging Ha-ru.
"Hello, it's Seulgi! I'm sorry, I'm running late but I'm on my way! c:" She texted him, picking up the pace so he wouldn't have to wait much longer.


"Hello, it's Seulgi! I'm sorry, I'm running late but I'm on my way! c:" Ha-ru read Seulgi's text message. He smiled when he saw the emoji she sent along with the message. Ha-ru had hardly noticed she was running late. He figured it was for the better, since he had time to pick out a few books that could help them decide what topic to choose for their project. He texted her back, telling her he was picking out books to help them get started.

The library was large. It had all the books one could ever want or need. It certainly had a plethora of introductory books to help them choose a topic. The library was also filled with the hushed tones of other students working on various other projects. The smell of paper suffused throughout the area, mixed with the various scents students may be wearing. Ha-ru found an empty table. He used his time waiting for Seulgi to spread out the books and open them to relevant pages. When Seulgi arrived, she would find him pouring over the books as he worked diligently to lay out the groundwork for them.


Bad job, Superstar!
Seulgi was about to rush into the library when she stopped to compose herself. She couldn't just burst in, it was meant to be quiet in there, she couldn't disturb the peace. She caught her breath and headed inside, smiling politely to the librarian who was so used to her presence by now. She began to silently search the library, occassionally checking her phone to make sure Ha-ru hadn't texted her anything important.

As she put her phone back in her pocket, she spotted Ha-ru at a table absolutely surrounded by books. She smiled, quickly heading over and sitting across from him. She waved cheerfully at him before scanning the table, leaning forward a little to get a better look at the titles of the closed ones. She grabbed her notepad from her bag, setting it on the table to write.
"I'm sorry I'm late! Did you come up with any ideas for our project? c:" She wrote before handing him the notebook to read. She nearly always added little smiley faces with her writing, it was hard to identify tone without them.

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