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When Hahn Meets Saya
by Philip Greaves


In many ways, Viky Jones was the ideal girlfriend. Very attractive, with a mop of jet black hair which that alone made her absolutely gorgeous, a gaze that gave you the impression that she could read your mind ("And damm sexy too", said many students) and a witty sense of humor that came quite unexpectedly. Though a few months older, she was, like Hahn, a twenty year-old biology student at Piata Academy. The proffesors at the Academy saw her as a rather quiet student, even a bit of a bookworm, but they had all noticed how positive a person she was, with a kind word for (almost) everyone, and a heart of gold. Yup, the ideal girlfriend… Too bad Hahn didn't feel that way about her.

Two years ago, Hahn had moved from his rural hometown of Krup to study at Piata Academy, despite his father's refusal. He'd arrived at the Academy, quite nervous and very intimidated. Even the principal, a rather unpleasant man, barely glanced at him, asked him a few questions, and told him which classrom to go to. On entering his first lesson, he was almost at the point of nervous breakdown and felt like returning to Krup to take care of the family's armoury. Before he could seriously consider that idea, a cute eighteen year-old girl offered him the empty seat next to her. After the lesson (and a bit during it), they started talking. Hahn learnt that she was called Viky Jones, born and bred in Piata, and that she hoped afterwards to go and study sandworms near Monsen. It was also her first year, but as she'd lived in Piata all her life, she already knew the town and the Academy pretty well. They became friends almost instantly, sharing the same interests, enjoying each other's company, and over the few next months, their relationship deepened and became best friends. However, after a while, Hahn felt that something was wrong and it didn't take him too long to figure it out. Ther was every reason in the world for him to be strongly attracted to Viky: beautiful, sophisticated, funny, they got on really well, but somehow, he just didn't fell that way about her. One night, when they were both in Hahn's dorm room, chatting and writing their biology essays (The modus operandi of the Locusta), Hahn confronted Viky about it, posing it more like a complex math problem that he'd failed to solve, instead of a best friend/girlfriend condrunum. He'd anticipated many varied reactions from Viky, but certainly not a fit of laughter:

"Jeez Hahn, you sure know how to talk to girls, don't you?"

"Well, I'm…bothered about it. Just doesn't feel normal…"

"What? That I don't turn you on?", she asked, giggling.

"Well, that's one way to put it…"

"Hahn, I can't answer that one for you. If you don't feel that way, stop puzzling about it. If you don't, you just don't. End of story."

Hahn wasn't really sure how to react. After a short pause, he decided to do as Viky: laugh about it.

Around a year later, on one of his's visits to his family in Krup, Hahn fell in love. Her name was Saya and she was the new teacher at the local school. The old teacher, Mrs Thomon, had turned seventy and had just retired. Hahn met Saya for the first time, entering her classroom, expecting to visit Mrs Thomon. Instead, he saw a pretty twenty year-old helping young Durm Bress with his painting. Saya looked up and saw him, standing in the doorway. She greeted him with a warm smile:

"Can I help you?"

Strangely nervous, Hahn found himself stammering:

"Oh…err, I was looking for Mrs Thomon…"

"Oh, you must be Hahn! Am I right?"

Err…yes. How did you know?"

She told me you might drop by. She's very fond of you. She retired around two months ago and I replaced her. I'm Saya, by the way. Pleased to met you."

"Pleased to meet you too."

"Say, do you fancy some coffee? We could get to know each other a bit better. The children don't really need much supervision."

"Of course. Sounds great."

She led Hahn into the kitchen and started making coffee.

"I haven't seen you around before, and Krup's a pretty small town. How come?"

"Oh, I'm a student at Piata Academy. It's been around a year now."

"And what brings a Piata scholar to a small town like Krup?"

"My parents hold the local armoury. My dad wanted me to stay and continue the family buisness but I wanted to study. So I left and my dad disinherited me."

"Oh my…"

"Yup. And what about you? Where do you come from?"

"Nayla. It was a nice town, but the population was what you'd call lazy. Seemed to think they didn't have to work for a living. My parents both worked in Aiedo. My mum worked at the marketplace and my dad was a hunter. He died during a mission, protecting the trading caravans between Mile and Zema, when I was fourteen.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked…"

"That's O.K.", she said, smiling warmly at him, handing him a mug of coffee. "Anyway, Mrs Thomon is a family friend (I think that my mum was one of her students back then.) and she told us once over lunch that she was retiring. I remember blurting out that I wanted to be a teacher."

"Why?"

Saya shifted a bit in her chair and said " I wanted to do something…well, good with my life, something that when I would be Mrs Thomon's age and retired, I'd be able to truthfully say that I haven't wasted my life and that I'd have done something worthwhile. I also saw it as a battle between me and Nayla, that I could prove that everyone from that town was not doomed to a life of lazyiness. Plus, I adore kids. So Mrs Thomon laughed and, during the year preceeding her retirement, she trained as a teacher. And here I am today.", she finshed.

"So…you're not very fond of Nayla, are you?"

"Not really, no…", she laughed.

3 o'clock chimed on the clock.

Oh gosh, I'd better get back to the children!" exclaimed Saya.

"And me to Piata. Got a lecture in a hour…"

"Well, it was very nice meeting you, Hahn. See you again soon?"

"Of course, I'd love to. Shall I pass by on Friday'"

"Great. See you then. Bye."

"Bye."

Leaving Saya's home, Hahn knew, withoit a doubt, that he'd fallen in love.

Over the year, Hahn made many more visits to Krup than usual, spending far more time with Saya than with his family. As far as he was concerned, Saya was the one for him. However, though they became excellent friends, Hahn never saw any signs that Saya felt the same way towards him as he did for her. Every time they were alone, he was about to bring up the subject, but his courage failed him. And now, aged twenty, he was in the same spot that he was when he first met her: deeply in love with a woman who hadn't a clue about his feelings. So, instead of asking Saya, he would ask Viky.

Lunchtime at Motavia Academy. Hahn and Viky had just found a quiet table in the corner of the cafeteria. No sooner had they put their trays on the table, Hahn pleaded for help.

"Viky, you've got to help me here…"

Viky smiled, amused. "Hahn, you're not fifteen anymore, you're twenty, remember?"

"Couldn't you talk to her?"

"And what would I say? "By the way Saya, remember the cute scholar from Piata? Well, he fancies you!""

They both started laughing at how accurate the mimic was.

"Come on Hahn, you're twenty now. It's time you gained confidence in talking to girls."

"Well, I need a confidence boost. You've met her a few times. What did she say?"

It was true, Viky had met Saya a couple of times, four to be precise, but only once without Hahn being present.

"What, you want the inside "girl talk" info? Why, I'd be breaking a sacred rule!"

"Don't mock me, Viky…"

Viky sighed, pushed aside her bowl of crawler stew, and put her hand of Hahn's shoulder.

"With the powers that are hereby bestowed upon me, Viky Jones…"

"Shut up."

"Sorry, sorry… Look, she likes you. I'm sure that even you've noticed that much. I'm no fortune-teller, so I can't read into the long distance future, but there's definitevely something serious going on here. Full speed ahead, I say."

"Really?"

"Really really. Female's psychology infallible…"

Hahn decided to follow Viky's advice, and reassured by her encouraging words, he headed to Krup later on in the day to see Saya. He just hoped that Viky's intuition was correct…

He arrived in Krup by nightfall, as the moon was rising. In those days, monsters were few and resided mostly in caves, so that it was safe to travel in the open. As he approached Saya's house, he felt as if his heart was about to leap out of his stomach. His breathing was heavy and he was shaking all over. Before he could knock on the door, it was suddenly opened, and there stood Saya, smiling at him. Before he could react, she took him in her arms and kissed him.

And with that one kiss, Hahn no longer felt himself shaking or trembling or scared, juste a sentiment of floating and that time had stopped just for them. As Saya gently pulled herself away, she whispered:

"Hello stranger."

"Sa…Saya…How…What…How…?"

"Ah sorry, I'm to blame.", said Viky, stepping out of the kitchen. "After lunch, I thought a lot and ending up coming here to tell Saya everything. Maybe that there is something to say about the teenage way of asking out, after all…

Hahn was torn between relief and the desire to throttle Viky.

"Anyway, I'll let myself out now. Bye."

Hahn stood there, dumbstruck, for a while, until Saya's soft voice brought him down to earth.

"Imagine that, Hahn. We both felt exactly the same way, and neither of us knew it."

"Yeah…Been going on for a year. So…have we been dating without realising it?"

"Seems so, doesn't it? By the way, you're very lucky to have a friend like Viky, you know.

"Well, sometimes I wonder, but I guess you're right.

There was an awkward paus during which neither knew what to say.

"So… what do we do now?", asked Saya.

Three years later, Hahn had become a proffesor at the Academy and an assistant to the eminent Proffesor Holt. Viky had moved to Monsen to fufill her dream of studying sandworms. Hahn and Saya had got engaged.

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