The door to the school rooftops slammed shut, causing Itsuo to jump in his shoes. He whirled around to see Aya standing in front of the door, blocking it. There was a frown tainting her pretty face, and her eyes no longer held its usual radiant warmth.
Aya began speaking, taking a step towards Itsuo and suddenly he felt more on edge than he had been facing Kenzou and his three lackeys.
It was as though he had followed a different person up the rooftops, and the Aya that he had been with whom radiated like an angel was but a figment of his imagination.
"Tell me, Itsuo..." Aya said, standing between Itsuo and the only door that led into and out of the school rooftops. "What is your relationship with Hikaru?"
'What on earth is going on here...?' Itsuo tried to process the situation calmly, but no rational answers came to his mind.
"I, I only know Hikaru because our mothers are friends... that is all..."
'Does she think I am harrassing Hikaru?' Itsuo was scrambling his brain hard, but it was like trying to solve a puzzle with missing pieces. 'Maybe she's just worried about her friend...?'
"Itsuo Tanaka. 17 years old. Born on March 18th, 2002. Before you transferred here, you used to go to Takayama Nishi High School, didn't you?"
Itsuo's brain stopped working and he glanced at Aya slowly, staring at her with a pale face.
"How... do you know that...?"
"Come on, Itsuo. Takayama's not a very big place." Aya smiled at him, but it wasn't the same angelic smile that she had shown in class. "These days, you can find anything on the net."
"Of course, sometimes you have to bypass a private server to gain access to certain types of undisclosed information, but Takayama Nishi High School's network security is really poor, huh?" Aya stiffled a polite laugh with a delicate hand to her lips and Itsuo felt his heart drop as he realised the direction this conversation was heading. "I mean, if I can get into the staff server with my phone in the middle of class, who knows what someone else with not-so-pure intentions could do?"
"Th, this is a mistake, Aya...!" Itsuo spoke up quickly. "I'm not doing anything to Hika--"
"So how is he?" Aya interrupted, still smiling. "The boy that you beated into a coma?"
Itsuo's jaw slammed shut and his arms hung rigidly by his side as the cool wind from the tall heights of the school rooftops blew past them, seemingly to be the only sound he could hear amidst the quietness of the rooftops.
"It happened when you were in year 9th, right?" Aya asked innocently, then crossed her arms, appearing as though she was thinking. "Hmm... that poor boy... so that must mean he has been in a coma for 2 years now... wow. That's a looong time to be asleep for."
"No wonder you were trying to fight those other boys in the morning today," Aya laughed, then started walking closer to Itsuo like a lion and her prey. "To be honest, I was a little surprised when I found out about the incident. I would had thought something like that would make a person want to avoid fighting, but it seems like you don't really care, huh?"
"Th... that's not true..." Itsuo flinched, glancing up at Aya, his voice weak. "The truth is..."
"The truth is that in addition to lying about what happened in the incident to the school so that it wouldn't go in your record, your parents also paid out the other boy's parents to keep the whole thing quiet." Aya cutted in and Itsuo's breath stopped. "And in the two years that Koji was in a coma, you never paid him a visit in the hospital. Not even once."
Itsuo fell to his knees, losing all strength in his legs, and Aya's shadow fell over him as she stood idly in front of his collapsed form, glancing down without a trace of pity in her hazel eyes as though she was looking down at an insect.
"Don't you dare do anything to Hikaru, got it?" Aya said, all signs of fake friendliness was now gone in her voice, replaced by a tone that was cold enough to cut steel. "I don't mind if you two are friends, but as soon as I think that you might even do something that I don't like to her, do not think that I will hesitate to expose you."
Itsuo stared blankly at Aya's feet, her words echoing inside his mind.
"You don't want to have to leave the Hibiya High that your parents had so desperately wanted you to get into on your very first day of transferring here, right?" Aya asked rhetorically, then turned around, heading for the door.
"Oh, and one more thing..." Aya stopped at the door, then turned to glance at Itsuo who was still kneeling on the ground.
"Stay out of my way."
The door slammed shut, and Itsuo was left alone at the rooftops.
'Fufufu... that should be the end of Itsuo's chapter!'
Aya was strolling back to the classroom, smiling amiably to students that greeted her on her way.
It wasn't often that she would psychologically attack someone like how she had dealt with Itsuo in such a direct way since it was often risky if word got around the school, but the threat of Hikaru being taken away was a big enough threat to warrant such actions. Well, at least in Aya's lovestruck mind.
“Good afternoon, Aya!”
Aya waved back enthusiastically, but inside, she was giving a second thought to her actions back at the school rooftops.
Did I go too far there…? I just wanted to scare him off a little bit, but it ended up being like I was threatening his life...! Ugh, if only there was some other smaller black marks on Itsuo's record to use against him... That incident was the only thing I could find... I mean, why am I thinking so much about this? I did the right thing! Considering what Itsuo did to that boy in Takayama, he deserved what I had dished out to him...! Right...?
Shaking her head, Aya re-entered the classroom, giving the conundrum a little more thought.
“Oh, you’re back!” Fumiko greeted, but her smile fell when she saw the look on Aya’s face. “Aya, is something wrong?!”
Sana glanced up, her expression also changing to one of concern.
“It’s nothing…” Aya sighed, sitting down on the desk.
“You don’t look so well…” Mika commented. She was sitting next to Hikaru besides Aya’s desk, along with Fumiko and Sana.
“Did something happen?” Hikaru asked in a worried voice.
“Do-don’t tell me…!” Fumiko got up from her desk. “Did that new kid do something to you?!”
“It-it’s fine, Fumiko…” Aya laughed, trying to gesture at Fumiko to sit back down. “Nothing happened. Really. I’m just tired, that's all…”
“Really…?” Fumiko slid back in her chair with a doubtful look.
“You should tell us, Aya…” Sana said. “If there is something on your mind…”
"Honestly, it's nothing..."
Aya turned her chair closer to Hikaru, trying to avoid Fumiko and Sana's questioning stares. “Anyways, how is everything going with the schoolwork, Hikaru?” She asked with a smile.
“Um…” Hikaru jumped slightly at the mention of ‘schoolwork’. “It’s going…” She glanced around at the eyes of everyone that had now turned to her. “…okay…”
“What the hell?!” Fumiko snapped. “That obviously means it’s not going okay!”
“He-hey,” Sana laughed anxiously, trying to mediate between the two of them. "Come on, Fumiko... I'm sure Hikaru is trying her best."
“You’re really going to end up dragging down the whole class at this rate!” Fumiko ignored Sana, continuing to snap away at Hikaru. “How did you even pass the entrance exam for Hibiya High?!”
“You’re one to talk…” Mika said nonchalantly from the side, staring at her nails that were painted a shade of pink.
“You…” Fumiko turned to Mika with a clenched smile, a vein popping up on her forehead.
“Stop it now, Fumiko.” Aya said. “Don’t talk about Hikaru like that…”
“Grrr…” Fumiko turned back to Aya with a frown. She held her tongue from saying more.
Aya returned her attention to Hikaru. “I said I would help you with your schoolwork, Hikaru.” She smiled brightly, her usual angelic smile. “Remember what I said at your room?”
Hikaru thought back to what happened yesterday at her house, but all she could remember was Aya leaning into her to what she had thought was going to be a kiss. Blushing, she muttered, “yes…”
“We’re all here to help you, Hikaru.” Sana added with a polite smile. “You should treat everyone in the classroom as your friends.”
Mika let out a stifled chortle, and Fumiko flashed a deathly glare at her.
“What?” Fumiko said. “What’s so funny? Care to share it with the rest of us?”
“No-nothing…” Mika waved a hand in front of her, holding her laughter in. “Continue. Don’t mind me.”
“We will.” Fumiko said. “We don’t need your permission. And why the hell are you sitting with us anyways?”
“Ah, I just want to get along better with Aya!” Mika said with an innocent face, then turned to Aya with a puppy look. “Aya, is it okay…?”
“Um…” Aya wanted to say no. In fact, she wanted everyone to get the hell away from her so that she could talk to Hikaru alone. But sadly, she had a reputation to maintain. “Of course, Mika…” Aya smiled.
“Really?” Mika said with an ecstatic look. “Thank you, Aya!!”
“I-it’s okay…” Aya laughed.
From the side, Fumiko was staring at Mika as though she was a cockroach. “Disgusting…”
“What did you say?!” Mika’s eyes twitched as she turned to Fumiko.
“I said you’re disgusting!”
The two of them stood up from their desks, exchanging insults, drawing eyes around the classroom.
While the two of them were arguing, Aya tried to move her chair away from them, taking Hikaru along with her.
“Hikaru, do you want to come out with me after school today?” Aya asked. “I think I should help you prepare for the exam at the end of this week.”
“That would be great, Aya…” Hikaru said, glancing over at Fumiko and Mika with a worried look. Aya didn’t seem to be concerned at all.
“Maybe we could also go out somewhere together.” Aya added. “Like the arcades or cinemas.”
“Um…” Hikaru wasn’t sure about that. Ever since that moment at the limousine where Aya had tickled her, she was beginning to doubt Aya’s intentions.
“I mean, we will have lots of time anyways.” Aya laughed. “We don’t have to study all the time. It’s good to take breaks!”
“R-right…” Hikaru laughed back.
Fumiko glanced away from Mika, realising Aya was having a conversation with Hikaru without her.
“You’re such a…”
But Mika didn’t get to finish her sentence, instead she trailed off as Fumiko walked away, heading over to Aya and Hikaru.
“Aya!” Fumiko placed her hand down on Hikaru’s desk where Aya had moved over to. Her hand hit the surface with a soft thud.
“Yes…?” Aya turned her eyes away from Hikaru, glancing up at Fumiko politely, but inside she was irritated that her conversation with Hikaru was being disturbed.
Fumiko stared down at Aya deeply, pausing. “…Why are you being so close to Hikaru…?”
“What…?” Aya said. “I’m just being friendly.”
“You haven’t acted this way with any other classmate before.” Fumiko said. “This is…” She paused, “weird…”
“Fumiko…” Sana said from the side.
“I just want to know why.” Fumiko said.
“I’m not acting weird.” Aya said. “Hikaru’s my friend.”
“Well, we’re your friends too!” Fumiko said. “And we’ve known you for longer!”
Aya was scrambling her brain for something that would appease Fumiko.
“Why do you care so much?” Mika shrugged from the back. “Are you her mother, Fumiko?”
“No…” Fumiko shot a glare behind her at Mika. “And this is none of your business.”
“And it isn’t yours who Aya chooses to get close to.” Mika said. “Jeez, you’re acting like some lily or something.”
“A what?!” Fumiko spun around, furious.
“A lily!” Mika repeated, then her face turned into a teasing look. “Are you in love with Aya, Fumiko?”
“He-hey, stop it!” Sana cried, as Fumiko stomped over to Mika, grabbing her by her hair. Mika yelped, then responded by throwing her hand forward, cutting Fumiko on her cheeks with her nails.
Fumiko pushed Mika down on the ground, being stronger than her, and they landed on the floor, their bodies colliding against one another.
“L-let go of me!” Mika cried.
“You bitch!” Fumiko had one hand grabbing onto Mika’s hair, and with the other, she pushed it down on Mika’s cheeks, pushing her face against the ground. “You cut my face!!”
“Fumiko!” Aya got up from her chair, along with Hikaru who didn’t know what to do.
The whole classroom was now watching, the ones that were sitting, quickly stood up, closing in to watch the fight.
Mika’s head was pushed against the ground, and her shoulder-lengthed crimson red hair was messily sprawled over her face, covering it. Her hands were reaching out blindly in front of her, pushing at Fumiko.
A small amount of blood was trickling from the side of Fumiko’s cheeks where she had a small cut. Her tawny brown eyes were furious with anger.
“Try saying what you said earlier again!” Fumiko was on top of Mika, keeping her down on the ground. Mika’s legs were swinging wildly.
“Go Fumiko!” More than half of the class yelled.
A smaller portion was in support of Mika, representing their different levels of popularity.
“Don’t lose, Mika!”
“Cut her face again!”
Aya didn’t know whether she should get involved. She had already caused a huge commotion in the morning with her interference in Kenzou’s fight. She didn’t want that type of attention again.
Standing on the sidelines, thinking for a moment, Aya was broken out of her thoughts with Hikaru’s voice by her side.
“Aya!” Hikaru cried. “D-do something…!”
And with that, it was settled what she would do.
Sighing, Aya walked over to Fumiko and Mika hesitantly, watching their tangled bodies squirming on the floor.
Mika had somehow found Fumiko’s face despite being unable to see anything due to her cheeks being stuck to the ground and her hair being in the way, and was now pushing against Fumiko’s face with one hand, and pushing at Fumiko’s chest with her other.
Enraged that Mika was touching her breast, but not wanting to let go of the hand that was keeping Mika’s head down, Fumiko used her other hand to pull down at the top of Mika’s collared school shirt, ripping the buttons down to her stomach.
“L-let’s show the class your naked body!” Fumiko said, her words slightly muffled since Mika was pushing at her cheeks. “I’m sure the boys would love to see that!”
Hearing that, the boys around the room began to howl in laughter, their voices signalling their approval. Hikaru was in disbelief at what was happening, inside her mind, she was thinking that it would be a good idea to never get on Fumiko’s bad side.
Fumiko tug at Mika’s clothes with her free hand, trying to get her naked. She managed to rip off all the buttons from the front of Mika’s shirt, and also pulling her skirt down slightly, revealing the top of her panties before Aya pulled Fumiko up from the ground hard, lifting her off Mika.
Fumiko spun around with a scowl, preparing to punch the person that pulled her up in the face, but stopped, seeing Aya.
“Please, Fumiko! Stop this nonsense!” Aya said.
Mika, who’s head was finally free from the ground, was now crying on the floor, one cheek swollen, and was trying to scramble up to her feet. Her hands were clutching onto her body shakily, trying to pull her shirt together and also lift her skirt back up.
A girl with brown hair walked over to Mika, holding her and taking her out of the classroom. It was one of Mika’s friends. Some other girls followed, who were also part of Mika’s group. The class moved out of the way silently, allowing them to leave.
Everyone was quiet now, seeing that Aya didn’t approve of the situation.
There was a pause in the room. Aya was staring at Fumiko with a disappointed look, while Fumiko was averting her gaze, feeling the stare of the whole classroom on her.
"I-I did nothing wrong…” Fumiko muttered. “She started it, Aya…”
Aya stared at Fumiko, thinking about what to say. To be honest, she didn’t really care about what Fumiko did. But she had to maintain her reputation in the school. Most importantly, she had to make herself look good in front of Hikaru.
Sighing, Aya placed her index finger and thumb at her forehead as though troubled. “Just don’t do it again, Fumiko…”
Fumiko glanced up at Aya, happy that she let her off with a warning. “I-I won’t!”
With that, the classroom gradually began resuming activity again. Some disappointed that the drama was ending so soon, and others relieved that it was finally over.
Itsuo was at his desk next to Hikaru. His mind stuck on his encounter with Aya at the school rooftops. Lunch had ended, and class has resumed for a long time now, but he couldn’t get his mind off what happened.
Did that really happen...? Was I imagining things...? I can’t believe it…
Itsuo peered to his side, past Hikaru, and over at Aya who was sitting collectedly, her long dark eyelashes pointing downwards as she scanned the notes at her desk, a pen sitting idly in her hand.
The teacher’s voice was droning on about something in the background but Itsuo wasn’t listening.
Looking at Aya’s serene face that radiated with elegance and beauty, Itsuo couldn’t help but think that he must had blacked out and imagined the whole scenario of what happened at the school rooftops.
What the heck is going on...?!
He shook his head vigorously, turning his eyes back down at his desk.
D, don’t let her appearance fool you, Itsuo! What happened at the rooftops was real! That girl… she’s dangerous!
Glancing down at his desk, Itsuo was thinking about what to do.
At that moment, the bell rang but Itsuo was still stuck in his thoughts.
The sound of students getting out of their desks and collecting their belongings filled the room.
A voice called out to Itsuo.
“…Itsuo, are you okay…?”
Breaking out of his thoughts, Itsuo glanced up to see Hikaru at the side of his desk, her school bag on her back.
“School’s over now…” Hikaru said, staring down at him with a confused look.
Itsuo got up quickly, getting his things, then glanced past Hikaru to see Aya staring at him.
He jumped slightly, then averted his gaze, hurriedly throwing his things into his bag and swinging it over his shoulder.
S-shit… there’s no way I misinterpreted what happened at the rooftops. I need to warn Hikaru…
A second voice called out to Itsuo, belonging to someone with an elegant tone. Itsuo already knew who it was. He glanced at Aya, who was now standing next to Hikaru’s side with a polite smile -- radiating like an angel as usual.
“Yes… Aya…?” Itsuo said slowly.
“I’m going to be borrowing Hikaru after school. We’re going out with Fumiko and Sana, and I’m going to be helping Hikaru study, so you will have to go home alone today. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Eh?” Hikaru turned to Aya. “But, Itsuo can join us too—”
“N-no, it’s fine, Hikaru.” Itsuo said, feeling Aya’s unnerving stare on him. “I don’t feel well today anyways. I’m going to go home first and rest it off. You go have fun with Aya and the rest of the girls.”
He smiled weakly at a confused Hikaru, before turning to leave. He needed to go home to have some time alone, think about the whole situation and then decide his next steps.
“See you, Hikaru… and see you too, Aya…”
Aya watched as Itsuo followed the rest of the students out of the classroom, a content look on her face.
That’s one down… Aya thought to herself, then glanced behind her, seeing Fumiko and Sana coming over. Two more to go…