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The Weakest Link (Part 4: Noriko)

Yukan Club
The Weakest Link
Part 4, Noriko

Noriko’s unique trait was that she thought things through. One might think that Seishiro also did this, but the fact was, Seishiro just knew everything. He rarely had to think about things, unless it was how great it was to have the world figured out. But she never called him on being just as headstrong as the rest of the gang, since he was a good man, and cared about them all very much. Except for when he terrorized Yuri and nearly married her to chase his own ambitions. And when he tried to beat up Miroku. Or forgot a plethora of things pertaining to her. And when he made fun of Karen and insulted her boyfriend of the day. And when he called Bido a twit.

But, to be truthful, Noriko was silent on a lot of things when it came to her friends. The two girls, while kind-hearted, (deep down,) were slightly moronic, bordering on barbaric. And the boys were, well, such boys.

But, there were things about all of them that endeared them to her, and as Noriko could hardly escape them, being in the Student Union together, she learned to accept their vulgar points as quaint oddities. And with that attitude, she would have been happy to spend all of her days ignoring/tolerating them. But that’s not how it worked out.

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She watched her way through life. Things happened around her, but she was unaffected. She couldn’t trouble herself to become involved, almost couldn’t trouble herself to care.

But now, she started to find it harder to sit and watch. There were things she wanted to say, things she wanted to do. There were days she wanted to set her teacup down, improperly, if need be, stand, walk over to one of her friends and just say something. Whether or not it was important, whether or not it would matter. But she never did.

She spent her life sitting off to the side, letting life go by while she watched, bored and disenchanted with it all.

But the thing about Yukan Club was that they wouldn’t let her sit and watch. If she was on the sidelines, they brought life into the sidelines. And life was troublesome, but they kept coming. Now, she sat in the middle of life... and found herself wanting to do things.

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She wondered why she didn’t hate Bido. He was a flirt, which she despised. He had a long string of girlfriends, rumored with many women, but, for some reason she couldn’t see him as just another man.

In hindsight, it was probably the dresses. Thanks to Seishiro, she’d seen all three boys wearing a wide variety of women’s clothing, and while the other two wore it well, (even she had to admit that Seishiro had very nice legs,) Bido looked like nothing less than a girl.

Even when wearing men’s clothes, he acted like a girl. He was the poor man’s Karen, flirting and squealing and sparkling his way through life. Waltzing around through yours as if the world was his playground and yet...

And yet, Noriko suspected he was very timid. So she never raised her voice to him. She’d yell at Seishiro, Yuri, Miroku, Karen but never Bido, because he seemed the type to be hurt by it.

She despised this, almost as much as she despised those confident men who were arrogant and filthy. She didn’t want someone to rule over her, but she couldn’t respect someone who couldn’t protect her or himself in the slightest. So, she was kind to him, out of pity.

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“It’s so awesome to be the center of attention.” No it wasn’t. Noriko was content to not have people looking at her, fawning over her all day, constantly talking about nothing, just to impress her. It was so troublesome.

But Bido loved it. In fact, he lived for it. But he seemed happier in the Clubroom, where no one paid much attention to him, (in fact, they tended to ignore him) unless it was Karen, wanting to practice in Ballroom Dancing Club. He seemed happier in that place, where nobody thought he was special in the slightest, they were constantly telling him how useless he was...

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He struck up friendships with women quickly, making them feel so special, important, wanted. He paid attention to each girl’s interests, each girl’s features, and complimented them all accordingly. For all one could call Bido a voyeur, no one could doubt that he paid attention to each and every girl on his string.

She wondered why he didn’t want to get married, like Karen. She didn’t know why someone who devoted his whole life to love (even if it wasn’t serious,) wouldn’t want to have someone who loved him back?

But she would confess, she envied his ability to love so freely, to strike up a friendship so quickly, and be so devoted to progressing it further. Why couldn’t she be more like that, she often wondered. She had no end to boys vying for her, and there were one or two boys that she didn’t utterly despise. And yet, she couldn’t bring herself to go looking for such relationships.

Bido and Karen did it so easily. Bido spoke of love as if it were the only important thing in life, and it was Karen’s life-long dream to be married. “On certain levels, I think that goal is amazing,” she’d said once. But... what good could come out of that kind of life?

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She never did anything about it, and that was her shame. She was a friend, so she knew when he was unhappy. She knew when he was happy. She knew what it would take to make him be happy, and therefore, be more like himself. She, of everyone in Yukan Club, had Bido figured out first. She knew exactly why he was everything he was.

But she never did anything about it. She was in Yukan Club, after all. She couldn’t be bothered.

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They were all such very strange people, but they protected her. In her eyes, that’s how she knew they were friends. They took care of Noriko, all were able to protect her in some way, shape or form.

Except Bido. He really couldn’t do anything, and was almost too scared to try. But, for some reason, even as cowardly as he was, as reluctant as he was to get hurt and experience pain, he always came.

When someone was in trouble, Bido came. True, he whined, got scared, whimpered and usually got beat up and declared that the next time something happened, he’d stay in the truck. Nevertheless, when trouble arose, regardless of whether he could help or whether he could get hurt, he ran straight into it with everybody else. Because even if he couldn’t protect Noriko like everyone else could, he had to come and be there for her.

And to her, that was really brave, and why they were friends.

She wasn’t brave at all. She didn’t know how to be. But she tried; being with this crowd gave her little choice. She became stronger, she became braver, she became softer and after awhile, she even became a little silly. (Just a little.)

For the first time, she realized what it was like to go through life without sitting on the sidelines. To participate, instead of watch. To go through troublesome things and enjoy them.

To love people you hated. To do stupid things. To enjoy every second of it.

To be able to actively affect her own life, it was a beautiful thing. Perhaps her next goal would be to start affecting the others, on purpose, this time. Because she had a place in their heart, that was most definitely not off to the side.

And so, she stopped sitting. She stood up, with her dysfunctional group of friends to save themselves, their club, their school and all the things that she couldn’t bear to let disappear. Even if she was weak and cowardly, she couldn’t sit and watch, when her friends were being so brave for her.

 

 

 

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