School Daze: Chapter Ten
Konpeitou-chan


Through the closed door, some of the sun's light pushed past, brightening the room. Spring was already in full bloom and even though he was lying in bed, he could feel the flowers move and the hear the birds fly. Ren had always been aware of nature, like most shamans should. But there something about Japan that made him particularly aware, despite all the rapid development going on around him.

Was it all this thriving nature that kept him awake? He had hoped that he wouldn't have trouble sleeping through his first night but Ren's eyes were wide open, watching his new room change from moonlight to sun.

Finally, he eyed the clock above his head for the first time. Half past five.

Damn it.

He threw over his covers and sat up, his face in his hands. Shower, he looked up at the thought, that's exactly what I need. Ren looked around him. He counted the many times he visited Yoh and Anna since the Shaman Tournament. He had already grown familiar to the simplicity of Japanese rooms.

Ren pressed his face into his palms, forgetting how he had ended up in Japan.

It was at two that morning, merely hours ago, that Yoh was already waiting for him outside the house gates.

"Your sister called right after Anna fell asleep and told us you already landed," Yoh had said spoken first. They looked at each other almost at eye level. "Did you get taller?"

"You must've gotten shorter."

As expected, Yoh smiled his crooked smile. "Your voice changed, too."

It hadn't taken too long for the boys to bring what little luggage Ren brought. Yoh apologized for the pathetic welcoming and reminded him of the time, as he tried to stifle a yawn.

"One more thing, Ren," Yoh paused by the door and leaned against the door frame. "I'm sure Anna's missed you so make sure you say hi to her in the morning. But she might be a little weird. I changed her vitamins recently."

Ren had stared at the door long after Yoh closed it behind him. Eventually he whisked the thin sheets above his head and waited patiently for sleep to cast its spell. He looked up at the clock and what he thought was an eternity was a mere ten minutes. Sleep must not be paying a visit tonight.

There was a beeping noise above his head and Ren looked up to see that it had just turned six.

"This is ridiculous," he said to himself finally. Ren slid the door open and shut it behind him. He stared at the doors down the hall for a second, listening for breathing, until he crept down the stairs. He decided he'd take a shower. Who would be awake at this ungodly hour, anyway?

The floor squished beneath him. Ren sighed and shook his damp hair with a towel. With another wrapped around his waist, stray beads of water raced down his developed body. The little sunlight coming through the window bounced off him, as if he as glowing.

Adolescence has been quite kind.

He heard his sister's voice in her head, saying something about how brooding, secretive young men with deep voices had a very strange power over young girls. Ren had ignored her.

"I am not brooding," he had simply answered to himself, more or less.

Then, Ren felt something behind him that suddenly made him stop in his track. He flexed his hand into a tight fist.

Killing intent!!

Ren turned around quickly, extending out his hand out in front of him as the strangers hands reached towards Ren's neck. He stood there, with his hand on a boy's neck as he had his on Ren's.

His eyes narrowed as he stared up at what looked like a boy with fox eyes. He, too, has jus ta towel around his waist and his damp hair stuck to his face.

"Who the hell are you?!" They both accused.

"Kitsune," Ren spat. "What kind of stupid burglar breaks into someone's house at this hour to take a shower, huh? Want to wash off after doing your dirt, huh!?"

The boy grip around Ren's neck didn't loosen. "I don't know. Can you tell me, you bastard? 'Cause I'd love to know."

"Does Kitsune have a name or are you too much trash to be asked that?" asked Ren.

"I'll tell ya if the Gaki tells me his."

Ren couldn't believe this guy. Just as he was about to raise his other hand, something caught his eye. The stranger, followed Ren's gaze.

"Anna-sa--" started the boy but before he could finish, Ren's fist blew through his cheek.

"Let your guard down, Kitsune," smirked Ren.

The tall one staggered before he fell, holding his cheek and behind him was Anna, who frowned.

"Anna-san," Ren said.

She walked over towards the two boys.

Immediately, Ren stood between her and the burglar. "No, don't."

"What the hell are you saying?" She pushed past his arms and walked up to the person lying on the floor, holding his cheek. "Geez, how'd this happen? Get up, Uryuu."

"Uryuu?" Ren repeated. "Oh crap. You know this guy?"

"And you just took a shower, too. Go wash up. Your cheeks bruised," Anna said to him. She stood up, followed by Uryuu. "What's that? You're crying?"

"No! He just caught me off guard, is all!" he denied. Uryuu shot Ren a nasty look. "Gaki plays dirty." He was careful to bump shoulders intentionally as he walked past him.

"Well, since you're here. Get the groceries from the front door and meet me at the kitchen," Anna ordered. She held up a plastic bag. "Two percent, right?"

By now Ren's hair was almost completely dry as he brought the five bags of produce from the front door. But as he turned into the kitchen, the harsh sunlight caused him to immediately close his eyes. Ren opened his eyes slowly as he entered and put the bags down, his back to the kitchen windows. In front of him, his shadow appeared.

"Yo."

Ren jumped and turned around, blinded again by the cruel morning sunlight. "Anna!… san?"

Anna's head was nestled on her arms as she sat at the kitchen table. "Quit being so jumpy. It's too early for that."

He stared at her. Anna looked beautiful under the sunlight. Her hair absorbed the light and her white skin glowed. Ren shook his head, hoping because what he saw in front of him looked almost dream-like. "Ohayou," he finally said. Shit, he thought. Looks like ungodly is the right hour for some people.

Ren had hoped he wouldn't cause so much trouble so early in the morning but today it seemed to be the exact opposite.

"When Uryuu heard footsteps he thought you were Yoh," she said. "He wasn't in his room when we came back from the produce." Anna nudged a bottle of milk towards Ren.

Anna eyed him up and down apathetically. She stood up in front of him, her blonde tresses fell by her shoulders; They, too, glowed. Ren stiffened, his head swam, and a warm, peculiar feeling rose from his stomach up to his head.

Ren, Jun's voice sounded in her ear. There are very few women who are just alluring by nature. These are the real masters of the universe. You must be polite and keep eye contact as much as possible. If not, they'll know you're an easy target.

"Thanks," he mumbled. "Markets are opened at six in the morning here?"

She tilted her head, and instead of answering his question, she commented, "You got taller."

"Yes," he answered, his eyes focused somewhere between her two eyes.

"And your hair."

"Grew it out."

Anna smirked. She leaned in, raising her head to meet his eyes. "You look good."

Was it the sunlight that made Ren feel so hot? He felt his cheeks flush. Ren frowned, his eyebrows knit together in alarm and he turned his face away. "What's that supposed to mean?" he blurted out.

But he stopped. Anna's eyes slowly closed and he watched her fall to her side.

He caught her, skinning his bare knees on the kitchen floor. Anna laid limp in his arms. What the hell, he thought to himself. He looked around scanning the room. Ren shook her gently. "Crap, crap, crap. I killed Yoh's fiancée."

Anna's eyes fluttered open at the sound of his name. "Yoh?"

Ren breathed a sigh of relief. "Ren," he corrected. He's heard of this before; of people who spend the first moments of the morning dazed, before they were completely conscious. He used his body to frame her while she floated to the kitchen table again.

"Don't tell Yoh I did that," she said and goes on to explain. Anna sighed loudly with her chin rocking left to right on the palm of her hands.

While he sat and watched her, Ren wondered why Jun's voice spoke up so much more than usual. Of course, nobody else knew about this because how would it look for a boy who, for years, have been known to be hardened by combat and that had a deep lust for supremacy suddenly began to hear his older sister's voice in his head, advising him.

"Do you cook?" Anna asked.

He looked up at her. "No, not really."

"I can't remember why I let you stay here."

Suddenly a faint ticking noise sounded. And as the seconds passed, the louder the ticking grew.

Say something, advised his other conscience.

"Am I brooding?" he blurted before he could catch himself. Ren tried very hard to keep his face still, hoping he hadn't given himself away.

Anna exhaled a laugh. "What're you saying?" She slumped in her seat. "Vitamins," she said.

"Huh?"

"My vitamins," she repeated. "The cupboard behind me. Get them."

Ren immediately got up and took out the vitamins behind Anna. He shook them before placing them in front of her. It sounded like there was a lot left.

Anna cursed under breath when Ren returned to his seat. "What the hell is this?" She knocked the bottle to the side.

Before it rolled off the table, Ren caught it. He read the label. "Diurnal: Women's Daily Vitamins. What's this?"

"Damn, should've picked up some Chippi and Friends while we were out," She clenched her fist and tapped the table, annoyed.

"Chippi? Isn't that a children's vitamin?"

She shot him a look. "What's your point?"

"Nothing."

"Whatever. Hey, there are two other boys here so don't kill any of them." Anna stood up suddenly. "I'm taking a shower. If anyone walks in, heads are going to roll."

Before she left the kitchen, Ren spoke up.

"I'm going to go out later."

"Thanks for sharing but I don't care."

"Who's your favourite Chippi friend?"

Anna stopped by the door. She turned to face him, shielding her eyes from the sun with her palm. "What?"

Ren turned to her in his seat and shook the Women's vitamins in his hand. "I'll pick some up for you."

"Momo," she said. "Momo's my favourite. Nobody ever expects the Giraffe."

He smiled to himself then got up to start putting the grocery away.

"And put some clothes on," she called in the hall. "Nobody wants a show off."


Gaki - kid, brat (in Uryuu's case)
Kitsune - Fox (apparently asians with the more narrow eyes are jokingly referred to foxes.)

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