Yanagi is standing near a railing – whether it’s a bridge or a building, I can’t tell – with Kujou, reflecting on the good fortune of his background, brains, looks, and charm and how, despite that, he has not been able to ‘win’ on any sort of competition against her in the last 10 years. “Let’s play a game,” he tells her. The last game, he thinks.
– 10 years ago, 5th grade –
Yanagi was quite the star of his class. He’s the son of a resort company president, gets top grades, is the most athletic, and is constantly getting scouted. He’s like the king of his class… until Kujou Mikoto transfers in. She soon unseats him, beating him in tests and sports. He finally cracks and yells at her one day, asking if she knows who he is – the next-in-line to Yanagi Resort. She’s not impressed – it just means that his father is impressive, not that he is.
Incensed, he increases his studying to beat her…. so much that he collapses on the road one day. He wakes up to find himself at Kujou’s house. That’s where he learns that she lives alone with her mother after her father died from an accident, that her mother often comes home late so she mostly has to take care of herself, that they do not have enough money so she studies on her own and takes care of the house, and, most importantly, that she’s studying so much so she can take care of her mother some day. He finally admits to himself that he has lost to her. He was even embarrassed when his mother and their maid came to pick him up. So, ever since that day, he quit the tutor and cram school, thinking that he’ll beat her with his own efforts.
He applies to and is accepted by an elite middle school, looking forward to beating Kujou. When he finds that she is only going to public school, however, he confronts her about it. She tells him that she can’t afford it. He notes that he is elite, after all. “I guess it’ll be lonely then,” she notes (while thinking of what to do about dinner that night).
He enrolls into her school, where they end up in different classes for all 3 years. She continues to be at the top, while he’s trailing at the number 2 spot. They haven’t had much chance to interact, but he never forgot her. Apparently, she also earned the name, “Iron Woman” during that time. On the other hand, Yanagi is quite the ladies’ man, but all she could say to him the one time they crossed paths was, “…Oh, Yanagi. Been a while” before she continued on her way.
Angry that she may have forgotten him while a day hasn’t passed when he hasn’t thought about [competing with] her, he can’t keep his eyes off when her P.E. class can be seen out his classroom window. The guys take note of the cute girl, and wonder why he won’t date any of the girls. They ask him who his type is, and he answers, “Somebody who’s not smarter than me, or better than me in sports; a girl who isn’t cheeky, doesn’t forget me, and doesn’t wear braids.” Well, we all wonder who that could be [/sarcasm]. Kujou, of course, comes to mind for the guys, and notes how she’s dark, how old-fashioned her braids are, how she goes straight home even if you ask her to hang out, how she doesn’t go to the cafeteria for lunch and eats her homemade lunch instead. They wonder if she’s looking down on them. Yanagi silently but smugly agrees with them at first, but grows more offended and agitated with their comments.
Later, he wonders why he stood up for her. Heading to the library, he finds her asleep there. He sits across from her, and thinks about how he’s made some kind of an impression on all the people he’s met so far, except for her. She only looks ahead. “…Look my way,” he silently beseeches. “Let me win against you, and see myself reflected in your eyes.” He plays with her braid, bringing it up near his face. He then reaches for her cheek and leans in.. but she suddenly jerks up, hitting his chin, yelling about the time sale.
Of course, this just puts him back into wanting to defeating her… and making her cry. XD; Just then, he hears a couple of guys talking about how one of them is giving into his girlfriend with something she wants. “It’s just like they say, after all. The one who falls in love is the one who loses.”
Commence genius idea: “Make Kujou fall in love with me -> I’d casually turn her down -> Kujou cries. I win.”