(It's only 30 seconds. Reading the fic would take longer.)
They don't even have names. So, obviously: nicknames! I actually wondered if anyone would be able to tell who was who from them. I think I blew my fangirl Japanese tokens for the past five years on this fic. :P
Sempai = polite way to address upperclassman
Niko = sound effect of a smile
Ganbare = 'go for it' or 'do your best,' basically.
Shotacon = someone attracted to young boys (though more commonly used to describe a genre of manga about such) I blame fandom for this one.
Genki = energetic, happy (often a super-cute main female character type in shoujo manga...) This one was my friend slr2moons's idea, which I thought was perfect!
Since Aka not only means red (noun), but could be aka-chan (baby) my brain keeps insisting there's some backstory there.
Shut up, brain.
Also I kinda ship Cutie/Stoic. Not because of actual interaction, just because I was working on the Max/Kai fic right before/after watching, so... *headkeys* Again: Shut up, brain.
I wouldn’t want to lose any of my teammates for anything. We need four people minimum for a school club, after all.
I have to confess, I do get along with them. Even if one of my upperclassmen completely ignores the concept of personal space. I wouldn’t say it to his face, but I think of him as ‘Niko-sempai,’ because he always has a smile on his face. He could probably hold his breath for longer than he can drop that friendly smile.
The other upperclassman on the swim team is ‘Ganbare-sempai,’ because that’s what he’s always saying. He goes out of his way to encourage everyone and make sure we’re getting along. He acts like he’s going to turn swimming into a team sport, and not just the relay.
As for my last teammate. . . ‘Cutie,’ keeps coming to mind, but it wasn’t my idea. I refuse to call my blond teammate that, even in my own head. Even if it is accurate. No, especially if it’s accurate.
The Cutie is waiting for me outside my last class, but I definitely wasn’t thinking of him that way. He’s like this every day, talking cheerfully as he falls into step beside me. I’m only half listening because I’m trying to think of something to eclipse the inappropriate nickname that keeps popping up. Things like ‘absurdly-friendly-all-the-time’ and ‘why-are-you-so-optimistic-anyway?’ apply to any of them.
In the locker room I keep my back to him while I change into my suit. At least until Niko-sempai pounces.
“Aka-sempai, that tickles!”
I sneak a peek at our redheaded sempai, already in his training suit with one arm slung around my giggling peer. He picked up that nickname from Ganbare-sempai, but I don’t want to use it. If it’s the same name I keep hearing from everyone else it I’ll probably slip and start saying it too.
Before I can get out of range he throws an arm around my shoulders too and pulls me into a group hug. At least the Cutie still has his shirt on this time.
“What are you two up to today, hey?”
“. . . Nothing.”
“Let’s go, everyone! Aka, stop messing with the freshmen.” It takes our unspoken leader to restore order. Or at least free us from unnecessary hugs.
“Aye-aye, sir! Hurry up, kids!” And just like that, he takes off running out to the pool.
It’s annoying how he practically glows under attention from our upperclassmen. He hurries to pull off his shirt, shaking out his ruffled hair, when. . .
“Shotacon bait.” It just slipped out.
His shirt hits me in the face. I won’t deny I deserved that.
“What did you call me? Jerkass!”
He shoves his stuff in his locker before fixing me with the strongest glare he can muster. “Maybe I’ll just call you: Mister Grumpy-Trunks. Forever.”
This is what I have to deal with every day. I can’t blame him for being stupidly popular, even among the older students, when even his frown makes you want to be friends with him.
“Fine, Grumpy!” He grabs his windbreaker and steps around me to leave. He always takes it, since the minute he gets out of the outside pool he ends up covered in goosebumps. Just another point to that too-cute image. “I’m not talking to you anymore. You already use my last name like you’re saying ‘I don’t want to be friends with you.’ You don’t have to call me names, too.”
“Sorry.” That same stupid word is cycling around in my head still, over and over. ‘Cutie.’ Just this once, maybe it’s better to go with the flow and call him, “Sunny.”
He hesitates at the door, looking back at me with wide eyes before his face softens with a smile. “Come on, Genki.”
I would like to pretend I don’t know he’s talking to me. “What did you call me?”
“It suits you! Gen-ki-kun!” he calls, drawing it out.
Why do I find myself dreading that name spreading among the others?
All the same, I still wouldn’t get rid of my teammates for anything. Even if they are weirdly close and friendly. I’ll put up with whatever nickname they give me, even if I’m still keeping the ones in my own head private for now.