Notes: Major spoilers. Set before the series.
Sayaka stumbles to the cafeteria, hoping she has time for a cup of tea before the transport to the studio arrives. It's so early in the morning that even Ishimaru is still asleep.
There's a orange-and-white blob on the cafeteria table. Sayaka blearily rubs her eyes, hoping that it isn't a hallucination from sleep deprivation.
The orange blob lets out a whistling snore.
"Leon? What are you doing? Wake up, Leon!"
Leon groggily hoists himself off the table and stretches. "Heh, I managed to catch you before you left. Awesome." He stifles a yawn, and passes her a jewel case. There's a drawing of a long-haired girl on the cover, her eyes closed, headphones pressed to her ears. She flips it over, and the back insert has a list of artists she's never heard of - "The Blue Hearts", "Boredoms", "Ellegarden", "Guitar Wolf".
"Y'know, you kept talking about how much morning rehearsal sucks, so I kinda...made you another mix CD. Put more J-punk in it too, so it's not just The Clash and stuff." He laughs nervously. "Maybe you can listen to it on the way to your studio? It'll get ya all pumped up!"
"You idiot," Sayaka says. "You got up early to give me this? You don't even have practice today!"
"Hey, hey, don't call it idiocy! It's all strategy! The sooner I convert you, the sooner you can help plan my music career, and I can quit baseball for good!"
"Dream on, punk," she says, reaching up to ruffle his hair.
"They've left the cafeteria," Kirigiri says, motioning to Togami. "It's clear. Come on."
"I don't appreciate being ordered around," Togami mutters. "This delay is entirely due to your incompetence."
Kirigiri opens the cafeteria doors quietly, and pads into the kitchen. She sets a metal pot on the countertop, then rummages around in the cupboards.
"I left the grounds in the third cupboard to the left," Togami says, arms crossed. "Surely a super-high-school-level detective should have deduced that."
"Surely a super-high-school-level heir shouldn't depend on a detective to brew his coffee."
"Your hands are already hideously scarred. You clearly have less at stake when using the stove."
"Would you like to rephrase that?" Kirigiri asks, pouring hot water into the pot's base, and fixing the metal filter funnel to the pot. "Before I ruin your kopi luwak with my incompetence?"
"You wouldn't dare."
Kirigiri measures out the coffee grounds, and places them in the filter, levelling them off. She screws the upper portion of the pot onto the lower half, methodically, deliberately. "Try me."
"Keh. Your fine motor skills are...slightly better than mine."
"How many cups of kopi luwak are my fine motor skills worth?"
Kirigiri sets the pot on the stove. "I believe two is the standard price."
"One and a half."
"Fair enough," Kirigiri says, turning on the burner.
Naegi gathers his courage, and presses the button on Fukawa's intercom. She might not even be up, but it's worth a shot.
After waiting for a while, the door creaks open. Fukawa peers out from the tiny crack.
"W...what are you here for? Did you wake me up early just to tell me...how unpleasant I am?"
"No, I actually wanted to give you something," Naegi says. He takes a step back from the door, so Fukawa doesn't feel too intimidated. "I won it in the school lucky draw, but...it's expiring tomorrow, and I don't really need it that much."
"It's expired food, isn't it," Fukawa mutters. "Y-you're trying to give me rotten food...because I'm such a rotten person...I know it, you just want me to stop existing..."
"Uh, no," Naegi says, holding up an envelope. "They're book vouchers, but they're not valid for manga. I thought maybe you could use them to buy some research material."
Fukawa's door opens a little more, and she sticks her hand out. Naegi passes her the envelope, careful not to touch her hand with his. She snatches it, and there's a rustling sound as she rifles through its contents.
"Kinokuniya, expiring tomorrow...you're a real idiot to give these things to me, aren't you? Someone as gloomy as myself would never be able to push through the weekend crowds on her own..."
"It'll get more crowded if we go near lunchtime," Naegi says. "I'll meet you at the main gate in an hour?"
"D-don't think that...bribery...will make me trust you," Fukawa stammers. "T-this won't make us friends."
"I know," Naegi says. "But I'll go with you anyway."
"Why couldn't we have gone to the nearer restaurant? This one doesn't even serve cola."
"Shut up, fatty! I'm not letting anyone from our class see me dressed like this! Especially without my makeup!" Celes glares at Yamada, but it doesn't have the usual chilling vampiric effect without the wig and the outfit. It just makes her look like a normal teenage girl acting tsundere. Not that Yamada will ever tell her that.
"Yes, of course," Yamada says obediently. "Shall I order for us both?"
"Do as you like."
"Over here, miss waitress! Three plates of fried gyoza!"
As they tuck into the crispy dumplings, Yamada gathers his nerve to broach a conversational topic.
"Miss Ludenberg - "
"God, how many times do I have to tell you, moron? Don't call me by my name while I'm going incognito! Call me Taeko! Ta-e-ko!"
"Would you mind accompanying me to the manga store after lunch, Miss Yasuhiro Taeko? Your graceful ladylike company would be greatly appreciated."
She rolls her eyes. "Whatever, pig-boy, if you insist."
But she slips an extra gyoza onto his plate when she thinks he isn't looking, and looks strangely happy throughout their meal.
Definitely a tsundere.
"Mondo! Mondo, over here!" Chihiro's standing in front of the popcorn stand, hopping up and down so that Mondo can spot him in the crowd.
Chihiro isn't wearing his usual stuff, that's the first thing Mondo notices, and holy shit, what is he wearing? What happened to the dresses and the skirts?
"Fuck, I almost didn't recognise you with those shorts. And the...vest. And the socks."
"Um, Celes told me that it's called boy-style. I thought I c-could try it. It's sort of manly, right?" Chihiro turns around to show Mondo his outfit, ruffled shirt and short shorts and stripey socks and all, and Mondo isn't sure about the manly part, but it definitely works on Chihiro. Definitely.
"Mondo? Are you all right? Ah, your face is all pink, do you have a fever?" Chihiro goes on tiptoe, reaching up to pat Mondo's cheek, and Mondo can feel his face turning even redder.
"N-no, shit, stop that, I'm fine! So, how about that movie?"
Ishimaru is determined to make sure Hagakure doesn't end up spending his thirties in high school. It would be highly improper to have a student older than some of the teachers.
Hagakure, on the other hand, seems keen on remaining in school for the rest of his life. Or at least making sure that Ishimaru spends the rest of his Saturday afternoon tutoring him.
Just as Ishimaru is contemplating the daunting prospect of explaining the difference between equilateral triangles and Egyptian pyramids, Mondo bursts into the study area with Chihiro clinging to him. Chihiro is sobbing into Mondo's jacket, and Ishimaru's eyes narrow in irritation as he prepares to chide Mondo for interrupting his tuition session and offending Chihiro.
Then he realises that tears are streaming from Mondo's eyes too, and the situation instantly becomes more complicated.
"What is the matter? What could have driven both of you to such despair?!"
"How could they...how could they just leave their dog," Chihiro wails, utterly inconsolable. "It was supposed to be a happy movie!"
"It ain't happy! It ain't fuckin' happy at all!"
After fetching two packets of tissues and a few cups of tea, Ishimaru learns that "Taro-kun: A Dog's Story" is not actually a comedy about raising a puppy, but is instead a tale of an abandoned puppy fending for itself.
Sadly, Ishimaru's loud exclamations about deceptive advertising don't seem to be cheering Mondo and Chihiro up at all. He stares at Hagakure in a silent, desperate plea for help.
"Did I ever tell you guys the story of the time I had to tell a dog's fortune? Man, his owner was just dying to know if he was ever going to find love..."
"W-what breed was the dog," Chihiro asks, sniffling into a tissue.
"He was one of those small white fluffy dogs, the ones that look like clouds...what are they called?"
"...Maltese," Mondo says, looking vaguely less miserable.
Hagakure grins at Ishimaru, and continues the tale, all three of them hanging on his every word.
"I do not understand why a sleepover is meant to be a significant event," Sakura says, munching on a chocolate doughnut.
"What d'you mean, Sakura," Asahina says, grabbing a cream doughnut from the box. "Of course sleepovers are special! It's the thing girls do when they're in the prime of their youth!"
"Consuming doughnuts, drinking coffee and conversing...we undertake these activities all the time. What distinguishes a sleepover from our everyday interaction?"
"Yeah, but it's happening at night in my room, so that makes this our first official sleepover! Besides, I have loads of fun activities planned!"
"I have already done enough training for the day. More exercise would overtax my muscles."
"No, not training! Painting our nails! Gossiping! Talking about crushes! Curling our hair!" Asahina whips out an array of nail polish bottles. They're arranged in a gradient from pastel pink to maroon. "Pick one, Sakura! I asked Junko and Celes, so there's lots to choose from!"
Sakura selects the shade of pink which seeems the most appealing, and attempts to unscrew its cap. The usual amount of force seems insufficient, so she applies a bit more strength.
The nail polish bottle rockets from her grip, bounces against the wall, and hits Asahina's floor. The neon pink liquid flows out of the bottle in a viscous puddle, and the smell of acrid chemicals fills the room. The bottle, despite all odds, is still intact.
Before Sakura can apologise profusely and gracefully exit the room, Asahina grabs the bottle, sets it upright, and dips a brush into the puddle of pink nail polish.
"Come on, Sakura! Once we're done with your nails, you can help me with mine! Then I've got all sorts of fun quizzes lined up, and we can figure out our love languages!"
Sakura crouches down next to Asahina, holds her hand out, and prepares herself for a night of extreme friendship.
"Our school should have a logo," Junko says, flopping down to occupy most of Mukuro's bed.
Mukuro perches on the edge of her dresser. "We already have one. It's on our school flag."
"No, no, not this school. Our school, you know, when we renovate," Junko says, studying her nail polish, waiting for Mukuro to get the hint."Don't you think we should have a waay cuter logo than some boring old crest?"
"Perhaps a wolf?"
"Wolves, wolves, wolves, you're so obsessed with wolves it's boooring! Just because you have one wolf tattoo doesn't mean you have to like them forever!"
"Dogs are basically wolves! Come on, show some creativity!"
Mukuro casts her eyes around her own room, looking for inspiration. Junko picks at the rhinestones on her nails. She could easily think of ten billion potential logos while waiting for Mukuro to process the concept of creativity, but she likes to give Mukuro a chance from time to time.
"How about a bear? They're easy to draw."
"That's...that's actually not terrible, Mukuro! Good job!"
Junko grabs a sheaf of paper and a black marker from Mukuro's desk, and begins to scribble bears on it in a burst of inspiration. After five aborted sketches over Mukuro's meticulously handwritten notes, Junko finally comes up with a bear that she'd be proud to be associated with.
"What do you think of this little guy?" Junko flaps the final drawing in front of Mukuro's face. It's a sign of Mukuro's tight self-control that she doesn't visibly react to Junko's defacing of her notes. Or maybe it's a sign of the sheer brilliance of Junko's design - good and evil, hope and despair, white and black, and it's simple enough for even Mukuro to draw. "Isn't he adorable? Isn't he fantastic? Isn't he just despairlicious?"
Mukuro nods in mute approval.
"I think I'll call him Monobear!"