And there it is again, that word; “cool”. He wonders how many times he’s heard it by now, recently. It’s funny. He could have sworn this wasn’t a popular opinion. Not a single person in Gekkoukan High must have thought that of the young man since forever, had they been asked their opinions on the elusive upperclassman. Perhaps a rare few could have told stories about how the young Hierophant had gotten them out of trouble, or lead them home safely after a night of loitering around places they shouldn’t be. But these were usually students (almost) equally as condemned for hanging around bad crowd as Shinjiro himself was - (though in his mind he never belonged) - and the rest of the school must have thought of him as an outcast, a thug or a delinquent at this point. Most people, that was… It would make sense. People in this town were quite quick to pass on their judgments. Not that he cared much, not after all this time. He had better (or rather, worse) things to worry about.
But there it was again, and more than once this time. Who were these “secret admirers” – was it even that? The whole thought felt embarrassing and extremely unnecessary. Someone like him didn’t deserve any such admiration whatsoever, not with all that had happened. What did it even mean to be “cool”- he didn’t exactly understand that either. Sure, he got the concept… but what about him specifically was so “cool” then? He hoped at the very least that they weren’t referencing his lifestyle, mistakenly romanticizing it as some type of teenage rebellion. There was a lot more to it than met the eye, it wasn’t like he had any other choice. That’s how he felt, anyway…
Shinjiro lets out an exasperated sigh, hand rising up to the back of his head in an embarrassed gesture that makes him appear quite modest - his eyes cast downwards as if the ground suddenly got ten times more interesting than just a moment ago.
“Just… stop sayin’ that, alright? Dunno why you would, even. I haven’t done anything. You’re barking up the wrong tree.”
Was it obvious yet that the boy found it quite the arduous task to accept a simple compliment? Yet it was always like this. Not that he did it on purpose, or meant to come across as ungrateful or difficult. It was an automatic response, an instinct fueled by his bashful and humble nature.