The scissors were blunt.
Alright, granted, that's not a very interesting fact, isn't it? The scissors are blunt, Jiya! Sharpen them then, Misao-chan. Heh, I can hear your querulous half joking voice in my head, even as you gaze at me with shocked eyes. Well. Perhaps this will convince you of my determination. My hair...I've grown this long braid of hair all of my life, perhaps my one attempt at doing something girly, to appease Jiya's occasional complaints in that direction.
Feh, how many times have I cursed it while doing a flip, or even a simple spin, and have it whack me in the face? But now, I've actually done it. I've cut it off, with these annoyingly blunt scissors that had trouble shearing through my darn hair. I can feel the ragged ends settle against the curve of my oddly bare neck. The length of my plait lies warm in my hand for one moment; and then I fling it down before you. Your eyes widen further, Jiya - do you finally understand?
"I don't care what I have to do to go!" I tell you. "No matter what, I will get into Meiji High's kenpo club!"
Part 1: Masaru
Meiji High. Possibly one of the most prestigious schools in Tokyo - heck, even in all of Japan, I suppose. It's renowned not only for it's high level of academics, but also because of it's high level of everything else. School clubs included.
Kenpo club included.
Yeah, everyone says that kenpo is outdated and old fashioned. Why don't I take up something like karate, or tae kwon do? But I - I have done kenpo for a very long time, and I'm not going to give it up just because it isn't widely popular. Kenpo has been something I've loved all my life; the subtle movements, the varied sub-styles, and just...well, everything really.
Jiya has trained me for all these years, but despite still kicking my ass every now and then, he is getting old. Besides, he's always specialized in the tonfa; and despite my predilection for my kunai, I want to begin learning how to use the kodachi. Such an elegant understated weapon! Old fashioned, but, there's something so cool about it anyway. I've always rather liked things from around the Meiji Era. I must have watched too many samurai movies when I was younger.
Oh yeah, I was supposed to tell you what cutting my hair has to do with Meiji High. Sorry.
Right, I love kenpo. Just so you're sure. I really love kenpo. But the problem is, no one wants to fight me. Not only am I a girl, I'm a skinny short one. Despite being in first year senior high this year, most people would place me in being first year junior high. Even after making it into Meiji, the instructor would take one look at this little girl in a short skirt, and laugh his head off at the thought of my joining their elite team. Besides, even when I fight guys, they always tend to go easier on me. Oh well, I've only got about ten gazillion years of evolution working against my chances of a fair fight.
But if I were a boy...Well, I can pass as a boy if I have to. Long hair aside (and I've taken care of that now haven't I?) I'm not exactly bursting with womanly attributes. But as a boy, even a short one, once I showed my capabilities...I would have more chance as a boy then a girl, wouldn't I?
So here we are, me with my blunt scissors in hand, and Jiya with my lopped off braid at his feet, spluttering.
"Misao-chan...b-but, a BOY? They'd let you on, do you know how awkward things would be boarding as a BOY?"
Eh...One detail I neglected to think about. Meiji is actually some distance out of Tokyo and it's incessant distractions; about a half hour drive from the outskirts of the vast city. So, it's a boarding school, but most students go back on the weekends, and holidays. Boarding would be a problem...but I was sure I could work it out.
"It'll work out, Jiya!"
He spluttered a bit more. "What about baths!? Getting changed!? You'd be discovered within the first day! Going swimming? A male room mate!?? How are you going to get around it, Misao?"
I thought fast. Swimming, showers (public showers) getting changed, a -
A male room mate? Eep.
Receding into the distance was the kenpo club, buried under a mound of day to day practicalities.
"Ano...Uh...I'll just get up early, and change! Um...showers, showers...I'll have my shower later or earlier as well...Swimming..."
I was out of inspiration when utter genius struck. I clapped my hands together. "To pass as a boy, I just have to make sure no one sees me naked, or with a bare chest! So, Jiya can just write me a note saying I've got scars or burns or warts or something, and I don't want to gross everyone out! Yeah, that could work!"
"Misao..." Jiya was at a total loss for words. I grinned at him. He had been defeated.
"So, I can go?"
My name is now Makimachi Masaru. If anyone makes any connection to Jiya or the actual me (it is a small world you know) I'm a cousin. I've studied kenpo under Jiya. I want to learn the kodachi. It had taken a lot longer then I had thought for Jiya to be convinced that I would be able to pull off being a boy, so I was now transferring in in the middle of Term 1. I had yet to meet my room mate. He was a senior, and had one of the few double rooms that only had one occupant. I could only hope that he wouldn't be too annoyed at having a roomie now.
Ah! Mou! The guy I had asked had told me the gym was two left turns, then right, past the bridge and then the next right turn! Club would over by the time I got there! The only thing I could see around here was the administrative offices I had been to just before going to my room. I scratched irritably at my sweaty neck; I was much too hot, wearing not only the boys high collared coat, and white shirt, but also a sleeveless top and the bandages that bound my chest. So annoying! I could have passed for a boy without them, but Jiya insisted. If I saw that spiky haired chicken head that had misdirected me I would kick him all the way to Kyoto. At least I knew what he had found so funny now.
"-I'm sorry for the inconvenience Shinomori-kun, but the boy is quite insistent on wanting to be on the kenpo club, and his grandfather is quite influential. I do hope the kenpo club will not suffer as a consequence. As captain, you'll simply have to take up any slack."
"I'm sure you see the faculty's predicament. I sent him off to your room - he said he would be going straight to the gym afterwards."
"A~a. You said his name was Makimachi, sir?"
I turned a sharp one-eighty degrees at the sound of my name. Jiya had done WHAT? The idiot! The moron! How could he, he knew I wanted to get in by myself! I was frozen in fury for a moment, longing to wring the neck of a certain old man. Mou! I began to storm down the hallway to where the phones were, and set some things straight.
Of course, I crashed right into the mysterious kenpo captain.
It was like heading straight into a brick wall. He wasn't moved at all, but I fell down, to sprawl at his feet wondering what the hell had just happened to me. Did the walls move in this school? My gym bag holding my kenpo uniform slid from my grip, and went sliding down the corridor. I groaned in vexation. What an incredible impression to make on the captain! Well, yes sempai, my grandfather used his influence to get me on the team, and I'm the girl - uh, guy who crashed into you the other day, but I'm going to be a real asset to the team! I was doomed before I had started.
"Are you alright?"
His voice surprised me. Yes, incredibly, I had managed to forget he was there. My idiocy had struck yet again. "I'm fine," I hastily reassured him, getting to my feet, and dusting myself off. Meanwhile, he quietly retrieved my bag.
"Makimachi?" He read off my bag, sounding slightly startled.
"Ah!" I exclaimed. "Eh...I'm Makimachi Masaru. Pleased to meet you, sempai." Ahhhh, he already knew who I was! Doomed...
"Shinomori Aoshi. Here." He handed me my bag as I rose out of my bow.
And I got my first good look at him.
He was tall.
Okay, my brilliant powers of description have failed me once again. He was tall. He was good looking.
Ah! That just doesn't describe him properly you know? I don't know how to capture the way he looked at me; sizing me up, the blue grey depths cool and distant, strands of black hair shielding his face. I don't know how to describe how small I felt, looking waaaay up at him. I only came up to about his ribs! His eyes were blue, or grey, or green, his hair was black, and he had fair skin. There, that takes care of his colouring. I could tell there was nothing but slender bone and muscle underneath his uniform; he was well muscled, but one of those more leanly built types. He had nice shoulders. Heh.
Of course, at this sight, my heart beat began to pound. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I was MASARU! A boy! I couldn't afford to react like stupid Misao at the moment!
"So, you want to join the Oniwabanshuu?" His tone was utterly neutral.
Oniwabanshuu...that must be the name of the kenpo club. Cool...
What could I say? It was probably best to get it out in the open. It was pretty obvious I had heard their conversation; I had been right next to the door. Besides, that annoying look in his eyes was starting to get to me. He didn't know me of course, but just that...It was like, ugh, a little spoilt rich boy, forcing his way in on who he knows, not what he knows. It made me mad. Jiya was rich. It didn't really impact on me that much usually. Money was good, and a necessity, but it wasn't important. But the way those cool blue eyes looked at me...Well, I lost my head, in typical fashion.
"I didn't ask my grandfather to clear the way for me. Part of the reason-" All of the reason "-why I came to this school was the challenge of getting into the kenpo team! Nothing will happen to the school, or you if I don't get on! I want to earn my way fairly!"
I realized I had been shouting. I lowered my voice, as my cheeks reddened. "Shinomori-sempai."
He gave me another of those considering looks while I scowled at my feet. Then he shrugged. "Let's go to the gym." He passed me in the direction I had just come from.
My head jerked up. Was this...Was I going to finally get a chance to prove my skills? I ran after him.
The mats were spongy and soft underneath my feet. I sized him up, noting the easy balance, and the powerful upper body strength. With him being so much taller then I was, I would have to be careful. I would have to be either in his range - but then he would be able to grab me - or completely out. I would have to weave in and out, and that could get very tiring. I would have to play on my small size, and (hopefully) superior speed.
He was waiting for me, so I began.
What can I say? I showed off. To be fair, I was cautious at first, but he was so obviously expecting me to be soft! The way our heights were, I couldn't help, so instead I either stayed down low, or jumped. I had been able to jump to a height others seemed to find remarkable, so I used that skill now, managing to get my kicks about level or above his head. Yes, at first he simply used the most basic blocks, but I took glee in making him use increasingly sophisticated ones. He wasn't attacking though - that was a very bad sign. Was he that good?
It was when I was using one of my more showy difficult moves for the second time that he struck. I admit, I was showing off. I already said so! The move required me to be on my hands, then arc off them straight into my opponent's chin. It required upper body strength, flexibility, and great timing. I was already tired - it felt like I had been trying to beat up on Shinomori for eternity, with absolutely nothing to show for all my stunning moves, and I could feel the tell-tale tremble in my arms as I launched myself. Instead of hitting him, he caught me neatly by the ankles.
Not a good feeling.
Hanging upside down brought all my belligerence back up, and I nearly arched myself in a complete circle trying to get a fist or my head in his belly. But my ankles were narrow enough - or his hands were big enough - to hold my ankles in one hand, and catch my wrists in the other.
Spontaneous applause made me twist my neck around painfully to see the far wall, and to my dismay I saw a sizable crowd had just witnessed my crushing defeat. Crap. Shinomori dropped me none-too-gently, and I hit the mats with a loud groan.
"Oi, oi!" I heard a loud obnoxious voice exclaim. "Not too bad, not too bad at all! And you managed to find your way to the gym..."
I knew it! I knew it had to be him! Anger and frustration, with a good dose of humiliation churned in my stomach, and gave me a good shot of energy. I knew in my gut that there would be no way I would be let on the team after being beaten so pathetically. I rolled to my feet. "YOU!"
He grinned. "I didn't expect that the next time I'd see you you'd be trussed up like a weasel!"
"A-a-a weasel??" I spluttered.
"Hmm," a boy nearby said, long dark hair confined by green headband. "I thought more like a rabbit myself."
"No way, Katsu," the rooster head said firmly. "Definitely a weasel."
I could feel my blood pressure escalating. "Better a weasel then a chicken, rooster head!" I spat. "KECHO GIRI!!!!" I launched myself into the air, and connected with his head before landing solidly on my stomach half on and half off the mats. Ouch. Moving before the pain properly registered on Misao yelping scale, I surged to my feet, ready to kick him the groin, punch him in the gut, hell, even bite him. Anything to wipe off that smug look on his face. A weasel! A ferret! Argh!
However, before I could launch an attack, strong arms had already pinned mine back. I struggled, and wind milled my legs, but to no avail.
I immediately stopped struggling at the note of command in that quiet voice. Oh crap.
"I will not have any members of the Oniwabanshuu making a scene by brawling with Sagara. Understood?"
I went slack in his arms from surprise and utter joy, and he let me drop to my feet. I could feel a wide, utterly well...genki...grin stretching the corners of my mouth to their fullest. "Sempai! Thank you! Thank you so much! I'm going to try my very best!" I would have flung my arms around him out of sheer gratitude (And no, not for other reasons) but remembered that I was supposed to be a boy. I settled for grinning even more idiotically.
Shinomori-sempai looked a little uncomfortable at my display of delirious joy- I could see it from the way his eyes dropped and narrowed slightly. "A~a." He turned to the other curious people in the gym, although only about six others wore the kenpo uniform. "Everyone, this is Makimachi Masaru."
Author's Note: Yes, this fic is like a storyline from a typical shoujo sports manga. Hehehe. Pairings will be fairly canon, though I may meddle if I feel like it. It won't be just A/M. But it will centre mainly on Misao-chan. Umm...this might be a bit off the wall, because I was kind of in a weird mood when I wrote it but...all I can say is "SUMIMASEN! GOOOOMEN NASAI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" in Fruits Basket Okami style. Well, next chapter will probably be from Aoshi-sama's perspective.