Hello people. This is something I've wanted to do for quite some time. We all know the fate that awaits any male main character in a harem anime. It's funny for a while then gets old and annoying. Common sense would tell them to leave, but all those hits to the head would affect their brain functions. So this is my take on this on how being in a harem anime affect someone. Infinite Stratos was the easiest for me to do. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the story.
Also, check out For His Own Sake by karndragon to get the story.
Disclaimer: I don't own Infinite Stratos.
It was spring vacation in Japan signaling the end of the school year. Students throughout the country rejoiced at their freedom. Friends and family were crafting plans and activities together, such as traveling, go to the beach, or simply relaxing. They were going to make to the most of it until they must return to their prison while dreading every second as it draws near. Ichika personifies this. Why? He's living the life males would only dream of. He's the first and only confirmed male IS pilot in the world and attends the prestigious IS academy. The younger brother of Chifuyu Orimura one of if not the best IS pilot even in her retirement and now teaching at IS academy. He has everything someone asks for. Prestige. Status. Influence. Ichika will forever be remembered in history books along with countless figures.
However, if something too good to be true. It probably is. Ichika experienced it numerous times in his first year of IS academy and his life in general. He had a price on his head for as long as he could remember. A popular target for bitter rivals and kidnappers for Chifuyu's piloting skills. She was able to save him, but it caused her the title at the second Mondo Grosso. Ichika felt ashamed. Weak. Pathetic. He apologized even years after the event despite her telling him that it wasn't his fault. Once the knowledge of him successfully piloting an IS emerged. The target on his head grew broader and brighter now as the Japanese government and the world were on his tail.
Several significant countries were offering their entire budgets to study Ichika. He was an anomaly in the science of IS. The creator, the IS system herself, was baffled at how Ichika was able to use an IS as NO males before he was able to. Whether he likes it or not. He was a symbol. An icon or omen in some cases. Men virtually dominated the world before the introduction of IS. Now the table has turned with females controlling the world, but some are oppressing the male population. Ichika can shift the scale once again.
IS academy being a sanctuary from government inference as it was a joint government project with each country's government sending a representative. Attack the academy. You attack the world. He was safe from government threats but not from ones in the school. His classmates. Again why? Guys would literally kill to be in an elite all-girl school like the academy. His close friend Dan called it a paradise. Overall it was, but many times its nightmare. He was grateful that they treated him well, but he felt that they were examining a rare specimen instead of a person as majority of the girls scarcely interacted with a boy before due to coming from all-girl schools. The only knowledge they had with boys is from Yaoi or Boys Love manga. He still shudders at the art people made of him and Charolette when she was known as Charles. A moment of peace was searching for the holy grail.
His … friends were another story. They're adorable and precious one moment then relentless attacker another. Ichika was aware that he was at fault as he should've knocked on their doors in some instances. Although the other 95% of the time. It was an accident or something out of his control. He still remembers his first night at school when he discovered Houki was his roommate. She viciously assaulted him even though he explained himself upon she came out of the shower wearing nothing but a towel. Ichika called her out when she used her bokken to attack him while using enough force to pierce the door as he shut it behind him to escape her wrath.
Another time was when crashed into him while flying her IS, which resulted in him groping her breast. He concluded that Yamada must have turned over at the last second to break the collision. She wasn't mad at the situation instead was talking about if something this continues. She and Chifuyu would be sisters in law. Ichika still blushes at that incident. Lingyin and Cecilia weren't so understanding despite seeing it for themselves. Cecilia shot at him, claiming she misfired. She's a fuck mothering sniper. They don't miss it. Lingyin took her massive dual scimitars, turn it into a double-bladed staff and tossed it at his head. Yamada saved him by sniping it to the ground.
This was the cycle for the past year. Ichika does something that was an accident or not his fault, typically with another female. The girl herself or his friends attack him without listening for an explanation even they saw everything their own eyes. Ichika remembers every punch, shot either laser or bullet, slash, strike or whatever method of attack his "friends" thrown at him. They favored use is their IS's but tend to forget that their Infinite Stratos are military weapons that can outspeed fighter jets, enough firepower to obliterate a company of armored vehicles even heavy tanks and can withstand said attacks. All of this in one machine. They were supposed to be friends, yet why did they treat him like a punching bag or stress ball.
"Yo Ichika you feeling alright man?" Dans spoke up interrupting Ichika's thoughts. The red hair grew concerned regarding his friend. Dan observed Ichika's behavior since he came over to their family restaurant. Ichika didn't smile if so then it was one of those fake ones. He may be a black hole, but his smile is a star. "You zoned out for quite a bit."
"Oh, don't worry about it." Ichika smiled, attempting to wave off attention. Dan glared him.
"That's bullshit, and you know it. You're stressed or pissed off about something," Dan addressed. Ichika was shocked. Was he really that obvious? "Hell, in fact, you broke like 2 pairs of chopsticks and damn near about to break that glass." Ichika checked his hands, and his eyes widened. The glass he was holding had noticeable cracks due to him tightly grasping it. He gently set the cup down muttering apologies. Dan's eyes softened." It's a fine man, but you're rarely like this. Only when insults your sister or something like that."
"Yeah, Ichika, you can tell us," Ran come by sat next to Ichika. She too observed his facial expression. Ichika scowled deeply when he was in his thoughts. Never in her life has she ever saw him glowered with such intensity. Ran feared him but was more scared for him. What happened over the last few months? Ichika pondered for a bit. Should he tell them? Granted he trusted them as they were the closest, he had to family besides his sister. He sighed. Might as well get it over with.
"Dan. You know you keep calling my school a paradise even I told you it's not?" Ichika asked. Dan nodded. The IS academy was a five-star island resort disguised as a school, and Ichika was the only male for literal miles in a school filled with beauties from all over the world. Dan and other guys from middle school expressed envy at Ichika's luck. Dan began to wonder was it what it seems given his friend's mood. "Let me what happen in my first year."
Ichika revealed his adventures at the school. The chaotic nature of his friends using him for primarily target practice for their weapons. The refusal to listen to him whenever he's in a suspicious situation with another girl. He took to a bullet which left him bedridden for a while for Houki his oldest friend after she became reckless once receiving her custom-made IS. How he had to get a bodyguard to protect him from a terrorist organization while his friends were more concerned with him for more personal interest instead of his safety. Ichika feared that Ran would hop on the bandwagon as she passed the entrance exam.
Dan grew enraged and disgusted, scowling and gritting his teeth at each tale while Ran grew horrified covering her mouth as tears threatened to drop. The red-headed siblings shared a thought about what was wrong with these girls. Who uses military-grade weapons against someone over something petty or not their fault?
"Fucking bitches" Dan snarled slamming his fist on the table thankful that the restaurant was empty. To think these were the National Representatives of their respective countries and his childhood friends doing it to him. Ran tightly embraced him. "Ichika man. I'm sorry. I didn't know you went through that hell."
"It's alright, Dan," Ichika responded.
"You don't think I'll honestly become like them, don't you" Ran pleaded. She knows that Houki and Lingyin has a crush on Ichika but given they treated him. She feared that she might follow the same path.
"To be honest Ran. I don't know. You're not as aggressive as them, which is a good thing," Ichika answered. Ran's heart slightly broke that he thought of her potentially becoming like them.
"Can't you just fight back in some way or get Chifuyu involved getting them to stop this crap" Dan addressed wondering why his sister put an end this. It's a known fact that Chifuyu was fiercely protective of her younger brother.
"She's a teacher at the school so there are limits of what she can and can't do. Plus it's an all-girl school, and I'm the only boy. The odds aren't my favor. She put me in the academy for my protection as any student enrolled belongs to no country. You know how the government was after me to understand how I'm able to use an IS. At least Tatenashi can keep them in check" Ichika explained.
"Who's Tatenashi?" Ran questioned as this Tatenashi person must be powerful enough to earn Chifuyu respect to be his bodyguard.
"She's the representative of Russia. The student president, along with being the strongest student. Also, she's my bodyguard and instructor," Ichika added. Dan whistled at the girl's qualifications. No wonder Chifuyu chose her.
"She isn't like the others, is she?" Dan pondered for a second.
"Not really. She just teases me. A lot. Apparently, she finds my reactions adorable." Ichika said. The Gotanda siblings released a sigh of relief. Ichika checked his watch. It was half-past four. "I need to get going. Chifuyu is coming home soon, and I need to get dinner started." He was about to pay for his meal, but they said it was on the house. He said his goodbyes as he walked out the door. The two groaned when he left.
"You think he's going to okay?" Ran asked her older brother concerned about their friend.
"I hope so. I really hope so. What he told us seems like something out of a comedy harem anime. It's funny and okay in the anime but do that in the real world. It's fucked up." Dan said with a somber expression while holding his forehead. He's aware that males get abused. It was rare but not unheard of before the release of IS. The number skyrocketed over the last few years. Dan knows it isn't the sole blame for, but it was a factor. Over half of the world population is female, and they're the only ones if you can remove Ichika out of the equation that can use such advanced machines. That power can quickly go to their heads.
Dan vaguely remembers that a group of IS pilots who dubbed themselves the "Amazons" emerged during either the first or second generation of IS. They originally had noble goals as they liberated settlements ruled by dictators or terrorist organizations. Soon some of the members became corrupt or disillusioned and told citizens that they rescued to rise and take revenge. Their target was anyone with an XY chromosome. This was dubbed the "Amazonian Atrocity." It lasted for weeks before the world stopped them. Those members were arrested, trialed, and convicted. They were adamant that they did nothing wrong. Their reason for doing it? Giving men a taste of their own medicine. They were locked up in a maximum-security prison. Dan couldn't remember the sentence, but he does know that they going to die and rot in jail. The Amazons were disbanded, and countries improved regulations and background checks.
The horrifying thing is that some people viewed the rogue Amazons as heroes. Thankfully the support has diminished to the point of nonexistence. Yet who? In their right mind would view those type of people as heroes? Those who slaughter or harm others for something they have no control over. The world has already seen enough of that crap, yet it seems to be a constant.
Dan fears of what his friend is thinking and experiencing. News reports of people committing or attempting suicide due to grief and wanting to be free from abuse rushed through his mind. He wants to help Ichika, but his options were limited. Ran can help, but there are a few things she can do. It was still better than nothing. They'll be damned if they allow Ichika to become another statistic
"Kami please help Ichika before it's too late."
Ichika was strolling through the district and again in his thoughts. Should he stand his ground and tell them to stop? But how? Chifuyu raised(trained) him to be polite to females. Besides, are they even going to listen to him? Charlotte, Cecilia, and maybe Laura might consider it. One on one will be best, but once they were in the group. It's a waste of time. For once, can they listen to him or give him some peace? They're probably at his house without any notice now at that its spring vacation. Cecilia had the decency to bring food, and Charlotte asked prior if he was going to be home during the summer. Both waited for him to answer the door after they rang the doorbell. The others didn't even wait. Lingyin had the gall to accuse of him of doing something perverted in his own house if they didn't call. No, it's common courtesy. They often barged into his room without warning. It's okay, yet when he goes into their room after he knocked. It's a bad thing. Fucking hypocrites.
"Woah where did that come from?" Ichika muttered to himself, shocked at what he thought. He shook his head to get those thoughts out. Stay positive Ichika. Things can always get better. Ichika accidentally bumped into a plain-looking man with glasses. "Oh, I'm sorry."
"It's okay," the man said, picking up his glasses. "Hey. You're Ichika Orimura," Ichika nodded. He was world-famous overall, yet he had to remain on guard. Who knows who could be after him? "By the look on your face. The academy isn't what it seems isn't?" He nodded again. "You also have a group of girls on your case with your childhood friend being one of them. They also tend to unnecessary amounts of force when something isn't your fault, right?" Ichika slowly nodded again. How did he know of all this? "I've been in the same boat too, and I bet you're wondering how to get them to stop." Ichika was stunned. Was this guy a mind reader or something? The man urged to Ichika to follow him. They sat down on a bench in a nearby park after getting a drink from a vending machine.
"You said that you went through something similar, right?" Ichika questioned. The man nodded. "What did you do to escape Mr….?"
"Let's start from the beginning, but I'll summarize, and my name is Keitaro Urashima," The man told him. Keitaro recounted his tales when he went to work at his grandmother's inn, unaware that she turned it into a girls dormitory until he arrived while she was on a world trip with his sister. Ichika was baffled at how Keitaro survived any of that and terrified. Was that his potential fate? "That all lasted for three whole years. I kept thinking it was going to get better. It didn't. I finally grew a spine and left to go live at a family friends' apartment."
"What happened to the girls? I know that didn't take it lightly from what you told me," Ichika gulped.
"Without me as a punching bag and to save their asses. They turned on each other and destroyed themselves." Keitaro addressed casually taking a sip. He told the teenager what events unfolded with the former residents of the Hina Inn. Bonds and family ties were broken beyond. Redemption and reject. Government intervention, illegal devices, and arrests.
"Man you sure went through a lot Keitaro." Ichika declared trying to process everything that heard. He's astonished that Keitaro survived a quarter of the things experienced without any scars or permanent injuries.
"Thankfully, they matured and improved themselves for better expect one. Naru Narusegawa. She was an entitled hypocritical brat who never took responsibility for any of her actions. Always blaming others and claiming we won't understand. She even tried to blame me when she got expelled for punching a teacher because she thought he was a pervert when he just talking to his wife saying that I caused that reflex." Ichika cringed hearing about this Naru person. What was her deal? "After being re-released from prison due to kidnapping me with help from Mutsumi, Chisato, and Kagura. She had the audacity, arrogance, entitlement to come to me to start all over without even apologizing for all the shit she did to me. Mitsune, Motoko, Shinobu and I called her out especially with nobody else to turn after she burned all her bridges. Her mother accurately predicted herself. Last I heard she was in the USA."
"What happened to Mutsumi, Chisato, and Kagura?" Ichika stuttered.
"Mutsumi got expelled from Tokyo U, but she accepted it gracefully and acknowledged her role in the kidnapping. She left without saying goodbye. She can't face me again after she has done. I agreed with her. Mutsumi sacrificed everything in being a Love Martyr and was left with nothing. How can anyone who's truly remorseful immediately confront the person they've harm?" Keitaro signed at how his friend has fallen. Her heart was in the right place, but it was all for nothing. "The good news is that she's good for herself now. She's a doctor's assistant." Ichika smiled at the happy ending. "Chisato still in jail for over ten years now. As for Kagura. She's dead, and I'm glad for it." Ichika spat his drink and coughed slightly.
"Wait, what?!" Ichika startled how casually Keitaro said that he was glad that was someone was dead. "How can you say that" Keitaro sighed.
"Allow me to explain before you judge. My wife Nagisa told me that she had a childhood friend named Takeru. He and I were quite similar according to her" Keitaro spoke
"What was he like" Ichika replied.
"I don't know. He was murdered years before I could meet him" Keitaro somberly responded.
"By… by who?" Ichika questioned.
"Kagura" Keitaro stated. Ichika dropped in his drink, and his blood ran cold. His two friends willfully worked with a murderer?! "Long story short. Kagura was like Naru. She saw him with a girl named Akemi. Akemi made a false claim that Takeru was sexually harassing her all because he didn't respond to her advance. Kagura believed her and beat Takeru to death. Akemi said that it was a joke despite knowing how Kagura would act. Kagura received no punishment thanks to who her father was. Both got away with murder for years" Keitaro removed his glasses to rub his eyes. Ichika stomach turned, his heart dropped, and blood reached sub-zero but quickly morphed into an inferno.
A joke? A JOKE?! Who in their right mind would think sexual harassment is an acceptable joke?! All because he didn't respond to your romantic advances and Akemi stayed silent despite, she instigated the whole incident. Wait does that mean the girls liked him. That explains their frustration with him sometimes. But if they liked him, then why do you hurt him?
"You said Kagura died but what happened to Akemi" Ichika quietly addressed. Keitaro put back on his glasses.
"I was getting to that. After the kidnap attempted failed. Kagura left her team to the wolves," Keitaro resumed." She even had a getaway car probably planned from the start. What she didn't expect was Mayako, Takeru's sister taking revenge. Mayako disguised herself as Kagura's driver then she revealed who she was and that she had Akemi in the car as well. The duo tried to pin the blame on each other. It was far too late. Mayako drove the car off a cliff. None of them survived." Ichika was silent. A murder-suicide. Both him and Chifuyu would distraught if either one of them died. Chifuyu was fiercely protective of him and Visa Versa. Would she ever go that route that happened him or worse?
"Wait if they were in a car crash. How do you what happened to them while they were in the car?" Ichika realized.
"Oh. Mayako has a recording device installed in the car. It was surprisingly durable given the state of the crash. I guess she had it to made sure that Kagura or Akemi went to jail if either one of them survived. That's my story." Keitaro finished. Ichika sat there, trying to process what he learned.
"Why did you tell me all of that?" Ichika asked as this seemed too personal information to tell a stranger.
"As I said before. I was in the same situation as you. I had the same look. Probably even the same thoughts. This was years before Infinite Stratos. I can only imagine what you must go through. The least I can do is offer some advice." Keitaro offered. "Set boundaries. Tell them what's okay and not okay. If they don't listen. Distance yourself from them. If need be to find new friends." Keitaro patted Ichika's shoulder. "Good luck, Orimura. Hopefully, things go better for you than for me," Keitaro left, leaving Ichika in his thoughts once again. Will things go that horrible? He already had a terrorist group on his chase and doesn't need any more problems.
"Crap I need to get home." Ichika rushed and tossed his drink in a bin upon seeing the time. He arrived home minutes before Chifuyu and was able to make some refreshing iced tea. The Orimura siblings had a relaxing evening and dinner, which both appreciated after the chaotic events of the second semester. Both went to their rooms as it was getting late. Ichika laid there in his bed grateful for a tranquil day. The optimistic part of him told him that this is was the start of a better beginning. The pessimist, however, argued you that don't get your hopes up and enjoy it while it lasts as the peace won't last forever. He ignored those parts of him and went sleep wondering who'll be right.
The winner is
The girls came to his house either early in the morning or the afternoon and proceeded to drag him to whatever thing they have planned without informing him. Come on its 2019, and they've known one another for at least a year. It's not that hard to pick up the phone to text or Ichika to ask if he's free given how brazen they can be. Nooooo just barge in and take him where you want to go regardless if he wants to or not. It was clockwork throughout the spring vacation.
One of them comes to his house. Takes him somewhere. Has a relatively lovely time together. Other girls interrupt them. An altercation happens with him getting attacked in some way. They were put on several watchlists due to their disruptive behavior. He resorted to sleeping and hiding over at the Gotanda residence on a few occasions to collect himself and grateful to Gotanda's for covering him when they came looking for him. Ichika had to climb out his window on said occasions. Ichika tried to take it in stride, but he could only hold for so long. Each week broke him down. Bit. By. Bit. Ichika tried talking. He tried hiding. He tried standing up for himself. It worked with varying degrees of success, but still, nothing yielded any real results as they revert to their previous behavior. He gave up. He stopped trying anymore as what's the point anymore.
Ichika's attitude continued into the new school year. The hordes of shrieking new students. Indifferent. Quiet and lack of motivation. Whatever. Frowning and tired most of the time. Who cares? Low appetite. Doesn't matter. His teachers and sister asked him what was going on. He just shrugged.
It was lunchtime again. Ichika was in one of his hiding places on top of one of the buildings just to get some rest. He calmly ate his sandwich pondering on what to do in his situation. He recalled Keitaro's words.
'Cut them off.'
'Find new friends'
That's easier said than done. But could he though? He can't avoid them since they were all in his classroom now along with them frequently trying to spend time with him. He stared into the sky, allowing his thoughts to drift.
"Hey Ichika" He frowned upon hearing his name. A guy can't have a moment of peace or something?! Ichika's mood improved upon realizing it was Ran who called him. She was covering a lunch box with her. "I was looking for you and was wondering if you wanted to um spent lunch with me." Ichika just shrugged. She sat on down in front. "I also brought extra as I noticed you weren't eating much lately."
"I would like that thanks," Ichika faintly smiled. Ran blushed upon seeing his smile again. Ichika was upon to take a bite until a laser fired near them
"ICHIKA!" The serene atmosphere was interrupted by Ichika's classmates. They, too, were looking for Ichika. They just happened to be in their IS armor hovering above them. Ran ducked in fear and Ichika just sighed. Aw shit. Here we go again.
"What is the meaning of this Ichika dear" Cecilia demanded. The group had similar ideas. They knew who Ran was from Houki and Lingyin thus didn't appreciate another rival. The girls already had each other, Tatenashi and his own sister to worry about.
"YOU'RE DEAD ICHIKA!" Lingyin charged with her blades out. Ran stood up with her arms stretched out, attempting to protect Ichika. Ichika intersected the assault by summoning his sword. Lingyin shocked at how swift Ichika moved. She experienced emotions that she never thought Ichika can invoke in her. Fear and Intimidation. Ichika's face was stoic. His eyes cold yet held a hidden fury daring her to try again. The rest of them wondered how he did that as he rarely accomplished such feats and wondering about Ichika's sudden transformation.
Lingyin backed down and deactivated her IS, and the others followed suit. Ran collapsed, taking deep breathes to ease the drumming in her ears at what just happened. Did Ichika had to go through this every day? Ichika turned to Ran.
"Ran, are you alright?" Ichika asked, concerned about her wellbeing. She nodded as he helped her up. He turned back to the girls, and they flinched at his glare." I CAN'T BE BY MYSELF EVERY ONCE IN WHILE OR SOMETHING" They all shuddered to hear him yell. "I'm sorry Ran. I've lost my appetite." He walked off. Houki walked to Ran. Ran gathered her things and left before Houki can utter a syllable leaving Houki and the rest of them to reflect on their actions.
"Ichika wait up" Ran gasped for air. Ichika stopped for her to catch up. "Was that normal for you" Ichika avoided her gaze and gave a swift nod. When Ichika told her about this. She thought he was exaggerating, but Ichika wasn't the type of person who would lie. Now that she saw it with her own eyes. Her heart ached at the confirmation and raged at they were supposed to be his friends.
"It was worse before the summer, but Tatenashi keeps at bay," Ichika admitted. Ran tried to argue but he stopped her. "Ran can we please not talk about this now." Ran agreed upon seeing the solemn expression. They both went to their respective classes. The rest of the day was uneventful.
Ichika went to his room and was greeted by Tatenashi in an outfit majority of men can only dream of. A playboy bunny. Ichika had to admit that Tatenshi was a gorgeous lady. She was aware of that thus her favorite pastime was making Ichika blush as his reactions were according to her are 'adorable.'
"Hey, Ichika, is there a carrot in your pants or you just happy to see me?" Tatenashi purred, pushing her chest forward, making her breast appear more abundant. Ichika scanned her body. Creamy and smooth thighs. Tight waist. Impressive cleavage. Spectacular scarlet eyes. A Fantastic face. Stunning sky-blue hair. She had a figure that girls and some adult women prayed for and the girl that men wished that can come home to. Usually, Ichika would be a stuttering mess and turned into a new shade of pink. Now he has a blank expression. He became desensitized to this image thanks to her frequent teases after months of being roommates.
"Not in the mood for your crap Tatenashi," Ichika said while walking straight pass her barely acknowledging her and laid down on his bed. Tatenashi's brain had to load to process what just occurred.
"WAIT A SEC!" Tatenashi yelled, feeling insulted that he brushed her off, marching over to his bed. "What?!"
"Did I stutter?! I. Am. Tired. I don't have the time or energy to deal with you or when Houki, Lingyin or the others barged in and having to explain myself. Again." He responded with a deadpan expression and rolling over to face away from her. "Also, if you're not trying to hippity-hop on my crotch then leave me alone. Thank you very much."
Tatenashi was flabbergasted Ichika's actions. He ignored her outfit and walked past her as if she wasn't even there. Not even a single blush or stutter. Insulted that Ichika ignored her. Impressed that he ignored meaning that she can step her game up. Intrigued about his current opinion on his group of friends. Tatenashi can understand his frustration as you think after a dozen or so times, they'll get the picture that she's the aggressor, not Ichika. She shrugged and went to change.
Nighttime arrived where the majority of the school is asleep. Ran is video chatting with her brother retelling what occurred earlier in the day.
"Wait. Wait. Wait. They did what?!" Dan hoping, he heard his younger sister correctly.
"You heard me. They saw me alone, eating lunch with Ichika. They came out of nowhere in their armor. Cecilia fired her laser at us. I ducked while he didn't react. Lingyin, the freaking psycho, charged at us. I jumped in front of Ichika to get her to stop, but she didn't. I thought she was slice through me. Ichika stopped her. He looked so cool." Ran blushed at Ichika saving her. Dan just rolled her eyes. "I fell to the ground. I thought I was going to die. Ichika told them off and left. I followed and asked if that was normal. He just nodded." Ran gripped her shoulders to comfort herself.
"Holy crap" Dan replied, running a hand through his hair now that his own sister witnessed Ichika's school life. "How's Ichika holding up?" Ran shifted in her bed. Dan knew the look on her face. "Not good isn't it" Ran nodded.
"He's not eating. He's tired. He's barely putting any effort in assignments. I mean he's not failing, but it's below what he usually gets. He's the student council vice president after all. I'm worried about him." Ran whispered.
"Listen. You're doing the best you can now. That's the important thing" Dan comforted upon seeing his distressed younger sister. "It's getting late, so get some rest okay." Ran realized that it was almost midnight. They said their goodbyes. Ran laid down on her bed staring at the ceiling thinking about how to help Ichika while attempting to ignore her roommate's loud snoring.
Weeks went by. Ichika's resolve is crumbling away. Sloppy appearance. Late to class. Absent or forgotten assignments. Dull eyes. It's been days since anyone saw Ichika smile or laugh. Some students reported that they heard him cry, but Ichika denies it. He became annoyed and irritable yet indifferent, which started to affect his IS training. He's still maintaining progress, however becoming reckless and aggressive. Ignoring damage to himself and Byakushiki. It won him in some mock battles, but Chifuyu and Tatenshi scolded him for his behavior. He only shrugged and offered one-word responses.
The IS Academy annual Duo tournament draws near and like the previous year. Ichika is on everyone's radar, and he knows it. Ichika avoids the crowd by walking through while debating whether to go solo or find a partner. Charlotte would be his preferred partner as they can cover each other's weaknesses. Same with Cecilia, but she has better range capabilities and can focus on multiple targets with her drones. Lingyin is an excellent melee combatant. Laura has the best military training and a shield. Finally, Houki has the most advanced IS. However, he doesn't want to deal with them right now.
"Ichika!" A voice called out for him. He facepalmed muttering Goddamit. Ran came running towards him with a form in her hands. She stopped in front of him with her hands in her knees, trying to catch her breath.
"Do you have a partner for the tournament" Ran asked gasping for air. He shook his head. He also considered not participating and be a judge or referee instead to avoid all the commotion. She smiled and hands out the form to him while lightly blushing. "Do you want to be my partner if you want too that is?" Ichika was stunned silent. Someone asked him if he wanted to do something. He's either forced, demanded into doing something during most of his time at the academy. The only time he ever chose was Charlette who was Charles at the time as his partner in the last tournament although it was just to get the swarm of females off him. Ichika reflects on the proposition. Ran would get slaughtered if she was against a personal IS user. Teaming up won't be a bad idea plus it can give her some experience. A patter of rushing footsteps interrupted and knocked Ran out of the way before he can utter an answer. Several registration forms were pushed into his face. What a surprise. It was his good friends
"Ichika let's team again S'il Vous plait," Charlotte said before Cecilia bumped her to the side.
"Out of the way, Charlotte, you had your chance. Ichika dear would you like to accompany me in the tournament?" Cecilia sweetly requested.
"Ichika, you are my bride. We've both neglected in our marriable duties thus let us become partners to make up for it" Laura ordered straightforwardly
"Move over ya pirate. Come on Ichika lets partner up." Ran smiled
"Let's cut to chase. I want us to be teammates." Houki stated.
"Well before you guys rudely interrupted. Ran was asking the same thing," Ichika replied as his blood pressure soar. He walked over to Ran and picked up the dropped sheet. "I'm thinking about signing up with her."
"WHAT?!" They yelled, rushing in.
"Ichika dear please reconsider" Cecilia pleaded clutching one of his arms.
"Yeah. You want to win, right? Then pair up with me not some amateur" Lingyin retorted grabbing his other arm.
"Hey!" Ran shouted feeling insulted but annoyed that was true. Charlotte, Houki, and Laura grabbed one of Ichika's arms as well. They proceed to play tug of war with him being the rope. Ichika tried to pull his arms free, but these girls had a grip that made constrictors jealous. Each time he pulled they back harder. The strain in his arms and shoulders became painful. He reverted to his old tactics of pleading to get them to stop. They ignored him again many times before.
That echoed in the throughout the pathway. Ichika yelled in pain. The girls released their grips and Ichika fell on the ground tightly grabbing his shoulder. Horror and guilt marked their faces. They crowded around him to try and help him.
"Ichika dear, are you alright" Cecila worried about him and attempt to raise him to his feet. Ichika roughly smacked her hand away. She paused in disbelief at Ichika's reaction as she clutched her stinging hand "Ichika."
"DON'T YOU FUCKING TOUCHING ME!" Ichika snarled. The girls, including Ran, took a step back from Ichika's outburst. He stood back up. The girls received an intense glare. His eyes were pin needles, gritted his teeth and veins were pulsing in his head. He was a furious animal. "Is this a game to you?!" The girls were silent. "WELL IS IT?!" They only offered mutters and whispers as their answers. "I thought you were my friends, but I was too fucking dense to realize how horrible you guys are. You attacked me. Belittle me. Insult me. Forced me into things without my input. You guys are so selfish and inconsiderate that you don't care that terrorists were trying to kill me only what you want to do with me."
"But we do care" Charlotte responded as they nodded in agreed.
"Bull. Shit. If you cared about me. You've been okay with Tatenshi being my bodyguard. If you cared about me. You won't have used your IS or assaulted me on whatever chance you get. If you cared about me. You've taken my words into consideration and respect my choices, but you didn't. You believed what you wanted to believe and forced me to do whatever you wanted" Ichika retorted. His sentences were bullets. They flinched as his words hit their mark. It caused deep wounds. One of them uttered an apology. "NO! NO MORE SAYING I'M SORRY! Each time you do. You just reverted to the previous behavior, causing an endless cycle."
"Ichika please" Charlotte desperately pleaded as she stepped towards Ichika. Ichika summoned his blade and held the tip mere centimeters from Charlotte's face stopping her in her tracks. Time slowed down for Charlotte and the others. Charlotte turned pale, her knees wobbled and raised her hands in surrender. Was this how Ichika felt on when they draw on their weapons onto him?
"Don't. You. Move." Ichika sternly ordered. His faced hardened as he did with Lingyin on the rooftop yet holds a degree of remorse and fear. He didn't want to resort this option of threatening someone he holds dear as his hand and blade slightly trembled. "I am NOT falling for that trap again Charlotte. I am NOT going to some toy you guys can use, abuse, and fight over. I am NOT going to be another Takeru" Charlotte's heart shattered upon hearing her actual name. She was no longer Charl. Ichika was sobbing at this moment if the girls didn't feel like the scum of the earth then. They do now. "I thought you were different Charlotte. I guess I was wrong," He deactivated blade. "I'm done. I'm done" Ichika turned around and walked off with his head hanging, making his way to the infirmary.
Silence. Nobody said a word. Charlotte's legs gave up. She sat there on the ground with a defeated expression, and tears stained her face. Shame marked their faces. They did more harm to him than the terrorists that they were sworn to protect him from. Laura came over and hugged her to ease her pain. Not even the battle-hardened Laura was immune to the sorrowful atmosphere. She began to sob as well. The group looked at one another on what to do. Nothing. There's nothing they can do at this moment. They dispersed going back to their rooms. Some of tossed the form in the trash. Ran was a bystander witnessed the whole ordeal.
"They actually did it" Ran stated to herself hoping that it didn't have to come to this conclusion. She only sighed, believing that it was inevitable. Ran strolled to her room instead of going to dinner. She lost her appetite. Now she anxiously wonders what the future hold for Ichika and his classmates will.
The next day people asked Ichika what happened to his shoulder as he was wearing a sling upon arriving to class. Training was his only reply. Those knew the truth made themselves tiny. Ichika remained respectful towards his friends, yet to them, it was frigid like how you would talk to a stranger or coworker. Over the next few days. Ichika somber demeanor got worst. Now he refers to his friends by their family names and only associates with when necessary such as class or mock battle. Otherwise, he avoided them at any chance he gets or finds an excuse to reduce his time being with. The girls tried to apologize but to no avail. The damage was done. They can only blame themselves. Ran was the only person now who receives a remnant of Ichika's former personality. Some realized it while some refused to acknowledge it yet they're still going to try.
"Hey, Ichika," Houki said upon seeing him in the hallway.
"Oh, hello, Shinanono." Ichika formally greeted. Houki's heart frowned but she couldn't give up now
"Um, I was wondering if you were free later today. We can you know do some training." Houki blushed.
"I'm busy," Ichika coldly spoke.
"With what exactly?!" Houki demanded getting tired of his attitude.
"Important things like student council and other things that don't concern you." Ichika retorted. He turned his back on her and resumed walking.
"Now, you wait here!" Houki growled as she forcibly turns him around by grabbing his shoulder.
"Or what?" Ichika glared at her harshly grabbing her wrist, removing her hand off his shoulder." You'll put me in a coma again? Better yet slice me into pieces with your katana." Houki had no reply. "I thought so." He released his grip and went on with his business. Houki sulked tending to her sore wrist.
Ichika entered his surprisingly empty room. Tatenashi did say she had something to do earlier this morning. Whatever he didn't care right now, He stripped out of his uniform and put on casual clothes. He plopped down his bed and blankly stared at the ceiling.
"It's all your fault."
"Nobody likes you."
"You allowed all of this to happen."
"You should just die. Finally, you'll be of some use."
These thoughts stormed in his mind. The storm grew in savagery and intensity by the second, the minute and soon by the hour. Memories emerged. Bullets grazing him. Laser burns. Sore jaws. Bruises throughout his body.
"Face it you're nothing more than a toy to them. They're never going stop hurting you, belittling you and apologizing to do it all over again. What are you going to do it?"
Ichika slowly got up from his bed. His body was on autopilot. No emotion. No expression. He went to the bathroom. He found a set of razor blades. He stared at it for a few moments.
Tatenashi finished her meeting and was on her way to her room. She's thinking of new ways to tease Ichika. His nonchalant attitude made it difficult, but she didn't became become Russia's representative, student council president, and the IS academy's strongest by being a quitter.
"Ichika should be in the room right now and probably sleeping again," Tatenshi spoke to herself. She smirked thinking that'll be an opportune time to strike. She stealthily entered the room in search of her prey only to find him gone. His uniform was there, so he was here or didn't go far. Ichika is the only person with an XY chromosome on this island. Few places he can go. "Did I leave the bathroom light on?" What she found in the bathroom shocked her to her soul. It was Ichika curled on the ground with several deep cuts on his arms. She covered her mouth in horror. Tatenashi noticed on the bloody razor on the edge of the sink. Was he trying … to?! Her body sprung into action, grabbing towels to stop the bleeding. Tatenashi observed the wounds and crimson flowing on his arms, staining his clothes. These were fresh.
"Are you okay?" Tatenashi stuttered. "Why did do you this?" The floodgates busted in her eyes. Ichika gazed blankly into space. Tears can be seen in his eyes as well.
"I just wanted it to stop." Ichika repeatedly told. It was a mantra. Tatenashi knew what he was talking about. She cursed at herself for ignoring the signs of his distress. She was his protector for all threats. It was her duty, yet she couldn't save him from himself. He kept repeating that sentence. He stopped.
"Ichika? Ichika?!" Tatenashi tried slapping him awake, but he won't respond. Fearing the worst. She activated Mysterious Lady carrying Ichika in her arms, ignoring the damage she caused to the bathroom and Ichika's blood on her. Tatenashi maxed out her thrusters barging through the window, making a beeline to the infirmary. A nurse casually minded her own business when Tatenshi crashed through the wall like the Kool-Aid man.
"Tatenashi what is the meaning of thi-OH GOOD HEAVENS! WHAT HAPPENED?!" The orange-haired nurse scolded before swapping to concern upon seeing Tatenshi and Ichika bloody.
"Please, he needs help," Tatenshi pleaded. The nurse radioed for help soon two other nurses came by with a stretcher. Tatenashi gently Ichika placed on the stretcher and watched as they took him for treatment. She shut down her IS and walked to the nurse with a concerned expression "Is he going to be okay?"
"You got him here quickly, so that increased his chances. We'll have him patched up soon" The orange hair nurse confessed. Tatenashi released the breath she was holding. "However, his mental state is the next issue to combat. Has he recently gone through a major change?" Tatenashi nodded, telling the nurse about Ichika's personality changes, his interactions with his classmates and other things. "I guess his friends had a major part in all of this" She took Tatenshi's silence for an answer. "Take a seat to calm yourself down. I need to make a call" Tatenshi sat in a nearby chair as the nurse went to the reception desk and dialing a number. She knew who the nurse was about to call and didn't know what event is about to erupt.
"Ichika please stay strong." Tatenashi prayed as she anxiously waits for the results. What will she tell Chifuyu? How will the students react to this news? Is Ichika ever going to recover from this? All she does know is that Ichika Orimura the Blackhole finally collapsed.
Man, that was a wild ride. This was my first time writing about rather serious topics. If not sure who's reading this but you have or know someone who's experiencing something like this. Get help. There's absolutely no shame in it.
Thanks for reading. Review. Followed and favorite if you enjoyed the story.