*In the library*
“Iida.” You gasped with mock concern as you stood on a small step ladder that was placed up against the library book shelf, “come quickly there’s an architecture book in the music history section!”
“Blatant disregard!” Iida cried with horror as he skidded around the corner of the shelves, power walking as fast as he could; with his hands making stiff chopping actions as he bee-lined towards you.
You burst out laughing and stepped down from the small ladder, doubling over with laughter as he took the book from your hand and quickly walked off.
“Dude. You’re taking this way too seriously, I can’t deal.” You cackled, grabbing onto the shelving as you belly laughed.
“This school is filled with such disrespectful students.” Iida grumbled, “I ought to have these books fingerprinted to find the culprits then have them properly disciplined for their paper crimes.”
“Calm down.” You chuckled, wiping a tear from your eye as you straightened up, “it’s not your duty to correct the world.”
“I will not sit back and be a bystander when I know I can do more.” Iida said as he walked over to you and stopped in front of you, forcing you to look up at him.
You stopped laughing, feeling like he was no longer talking about the books.
“I will bring them to justice.” He said in a stern voice, his piercing eyes holding your gaze from behind his glasses.
“You’re not talking about the books anymore are you?” You asked in a whisper- mostly rhetorically.
“You deserve better.” He added.
“Yeah, this is no longer about the books.” You thought as you cleared your throat and looked away. “T-Thanks.” You whispered as you gripped your left arm with your right hand, your heart beating a little faster. “Are you going to need compensation for this? Because I don’t know if I can pay you ba—,”
“I would never dream of asking you to compensate me!” Iida said with surprise, “this is purely from lo-.”
He stopped and cleared his throat before continuing.
“This is purely coming from sincerity.” He said softly.
You looked up at him, the soft blush in his face making him look very vulnerable and showing that he really wanted to reveal his feelings for you but opted to hold back instead.
“Much appreciated.” You said as you looked away again and fiddled with your fingers.
“Y/N?” He asked gently, his voice wavering s little. “May I ask you a question?”
Your heart rate went through the roof, panic setting in as you felt the conversation was starting to veer into a territory you had been trying to avoid for a long time.
“N-No.” You whispered fearfully, “Iida, I don’t want you to ask me something that I can’t answer right now.”
He nodded, almost understanding what you meant.
“My apologies.” He said as he turned and walked back to the book trolley that was sitting in the isle.
“Umm, Iida?” You called after him as you looked to where he was walked. “I…I didn’t say no… ok?” you mumbled meekly.
“Thank you, Y/N.” He said gratefully as he bowed stiffly.
“Don’t bow, you soggy waffle cone.” You berated him, “you know I don’t like the bowing!”
“Apologies!” He yelped again, straightening quickly.
“Accepted, now help me re-arrange the art section.” You said authoritatively, trying to clear the air of the sudden awkward softness, “someone put a whole row of books in alphabetical order… by first name.”
Iida looked mortified and clutched at his scalp as his jaw fell open, a pain stricken look on his face as he let out a silent scream.
“God.” You whisper chuckled in a vexed tone, “it’s as if someone told you they had just burned the library down.”
“Well they may as well do that and start again!” Iida replied emphatically as he reached back and grabbed the trolley handle, pulling the wagon brusquely along behind himself to catch up to you.
“We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it.” You said with a shrug.
“Ah! A Malaphor!” Iida said with a laugh, “you have a surprisingly good sense of humor.” He added with amusement.
“No I thrive on fart noises and dirty jokes.” You deadpanned, giving him a dead stare.
“Well I personally prefer the Malaphors and intelligent humor.” He replied, “you can never be too cultured.”
“The only culture I possess … is bacteria.” You replied, smirking as you said it.
“That was quite the intelligent quip.” Iida replied pushing his glasses up onto his nose a little more.
You shook your head.
“This guy is impossible to dissuade.” You thought as you got to the shelf in question and started pulling books off.
There wasn’t much time left of the buddy program and Mrs Craig had you both under the pump doing all kinds of things together after school hours. From fixing book order to checking dates on packets of food in the canteen to general maintenance of the school yard.
“You know what Iida?” You commented one afternoon as the two of you were watering the school vegetable garden. “You’re a bit of a rebel yourself.”
“I beg your pardon?” He replied in surprise.
“No, I’m not saying it in a bad way, you’re like… a hidden badass.” You said defensively, “I remember when that tiller got away from you that time and ripped up the lawn then got tangled in the fence.” You said with a laugh as you re-enacted the scene with your hands. “You never told Mrs Craig, did you?”
Iida clenched and unclenched his jaw and looked away.
“I saw no reason to have to tell, seeing as I fixed it myself.” He stated.
“And then you gave me a pass for my glasses for uh… no reason.” You added.
Iida remained looking away.
“And you have punched more people than I have and you’re the class rep.” You said with a gentle chuckle. “You’re surprisingly refreshing.” You admitted with a gentle smile.
Iida looked back at you and caught your smile, returning it with his own gentle smile.
“We make a good pair then.” He said softly as he looked your face tenderly.
“Uh… umm… well yeah I guess.” You mumbled, quickly looking away and watering off somewhere else.
Iida watched you go.
“After the court case this weekend I will write her a confession letter.” He thought with determination. “I KNOW I am strong enough to protect her and I KNOW that I can give her the love she needs. She has also indicated that she doesn’t despise me so I need live up to the standards she has set. I need to be that badass she sees.”