Started: September 19th, 2005
Finished: September 28th, 2005
Revision Finished: May 18th, 2006

Summary: It is the new school year in Odaiba, and Miyako is having a bumpy first year in Middle School. Daisuke catches on to her troubles, and hatches a plan with Ken on how to help.

Bird of Prey

Chapter 3 – Learning to Fly

Daisuke awoke with an early start the following day. It had been a long evening the previous night while he spoke with his friend Ken over the phone. Their topic of discussion took off in three different stages. The first being of Miyako's well-being, and how they each thought she would be affected by this in the long-term. Then Daisuke pushed their conversation forward to his meeting with the Director of Murasuzume Academy and the solution that was proposed to this problem. Once that was cleared, their discussion went straight back to Miyako and her wish for Daisuke to go through with Director Karasu's offer.

The now wide awake boy thought back in more detail about the conversation of last night, knowing he couldn't forget Ken's advice…

However his thoughts were rudely interrupted as he sat up off his bed to meet the view of his sister Jun looking over him from the doorframe of his room. She quirked an eyebrow towards him, a hand on her hip as she voiced a question full of curiosity, "Daisuke, can I talk to you for a second?

Daisuke stared at her, wondering just as much what this was about. "Sure."

"There was a call this morning," she said, awaiting her brother's reaction.

He remained clueless, his thoughts on the previous night, and asked, "Oh? Was it Ken?"

Jun sighed, her shoulders slumping, and told him in a low voice, "No, you dimwit, it was your homeroom teacher."

Realization came upon Daisuke, as he realized he had missed out on yesterday's classes. He cried out in shock, "Oh! What'd he say?"

"He was wondering why you didn't come to school yesterday. You're lucky I was the one that picked up the phone. I told him you were sick."

"Oh," Daisuke said again, and he got off his bed to search for some clothing from his closet. He smiled sheepishly at her. "Thanks, Neechan."

"You're still not off the hook," she said. "I want to know what you did that caused you to miss school."

Daisuke pulled his head out of his closet to meet his sister's gaze, and stuttered with his explanation, "Well… umm…you see… I…"

Seeing his words weren't getting him anywhere, Jun decided to offer a helping hand, her voice a faint whisper only loud enough for Daisuke to hear. "Was there something with that… other world?"

Daisuke frowned. "Something like that."

"Well, tell me already," Jun said, her hands folded over her chest defiantly, awaiting an answer.

"I was with Miyako," he said simply, hoping that would be enough of a reply.

His sister let out a shallow grin. "Oh, you stud! But I thought you liked that other girl - Hikari-chan, was it?"

Daisuke groaned and turned away, "Whatever."

Jun shook her head. "Okay, so that's not it then. Why were you really with her?"

Daisuke sighed, and willfully gave a proper explanation. "She's having some trouble dealing with some schoolmates of hers. I found out only recently and I was trying to look after her yesterday."

She frowned at him in return. "Don't try to be a hero here, Daisuke. You should let the school officials handle it. Do her parents know?"

"They do now," he replied, frowning in thought. "The two girls assaulted her near her place yesterday afternoon."

Jun let out a gasp, "Is she alright?"

"She'll live," Daisuke said plainly. He then continued with a huff, "And the school is useless. I went over there to report the two girls bullying her, and all they're going to do is try to pretend like nothing ever happened."

"That's not right," Jun commented. "Why would they do such a thing?"

Daisuke shrugged. "Apparently those two girls have some sort of connections with the officials or something else along those lines. Even Miyako is now trying to ignore everything."

An explanation followed about the offer that was proposed by Director Karasu and Miyako's reaction to it. Jun then asked, "So you're accepting it?"

His reaction towards his sister was the same scoff from yesterday, "Of course not. I've hatched up a plan to get us out of this."

Jun stared at him in disbelief. "You actually have a plan? I mean, no really… you, with a plan?"

"Of course," her brother said, then added, "I planned it out with Ken last night."

Jun merely blinked.

Daisuke threw both arms up in the air. "Oh alright, it's all Ken's plan. I'm just following along. It seems pretty good, though. I can't see how it could fail."

Jun smiled slightly at the confession. "I figured as much."

Daisuke then moved past his sister. "Now if you'll please leave so I can get ready; I've gotta meet with that Director this morning."

Miyako sat at a small table in a local pastry shop, drowsily drinking some tea early in the morning. She tried to keep her mind clear and her thoughts away from her school, and especially clear of Tori and Yuki. Despite her words the previous day, Miyako was rather worried at the thought of being held back a year. How will my parents take this? She wondered, having not been willing to tell them about the agreement the previous night.

As she was lost in her thoughts, someone came over and sat in the chair opposite her at the table. At first she took no notice, but when she reached for her piece of dango, it was no longer there. She looked up to the other end of the table, and found Daisuke digging away at her pastry.

"Daisuke?" she said, bewildered.

"Good food they've got here," he commented between bites, "I should come more often."

"Shouldn't you be heading to my school by now?" Miyako asked.

Daisuke shrugged. "I figured we'd go there together."

Miyako nodded, before frowning straight at him. "That was my breakfast, you know."

Daisuke didn't seem fazed at the idea of eating her meal, and he simply replied with his observation. "Should start eating healthier, then."

"I wanted some sweets today," she defended, but he simply stifled a laugh at her expense.

"Y'know," Daisuke began, almost as if just remembering something. "Takeru called me this morning."

"Oh?" Miyako queried. "What about?"

"Mostly to ask why I was absent yesterday," Daisuke said. "Anyways, it's not really as cold as it was a few days ago and since I wasn't there for the announcement he told me they are re-opened the soccer season."

Miyako smiled at his enthusiasm. "I'm happy for you."

"I'm pretty thrilled," he said. "He's also going to tell Hikari-chan and Iori about everything that's happened with us lately. I expect them to come visit us as soon as school is out."

Miyako nodded at him, a faint smile over her lips. Seemingly pleased at the reaction he received, Daisuke continued, "Anyways, Takeru also told me our soccer team has an early scrimmage next week against Tamachi."

"So then it'll be you against Ken-kun," Miyako sounded amused.

"Yup," Daisuke said. "Can't wait."

He then asked, "So, interested in coming to see our match-up? I'm trying to get the whole group there."

"Of course I'll be there," Miyako announced, and as an afterthought added. "Wouldn't want to miss out on seeing Ken-kun."

Daisuke rolled his eyes at Miyako, and she glanced away from him towards the store windows. She looked on at the newly bloomed flowers outside.

And then Daisuke's voice interrupted her gaze. "Why're you giving me this for? I didn't order it."

Miyako turned back around to see Daisuke standing up and walking to the store exit, leaving behind a man that presented her with the bill to her meal. She blinked, realizing what Daisuke had been saying. She turned around once again and yelled towards his retreating form, "You may not have ordered it, Daisuke – but you still ate it!"

With a groan, she paid the man and hurried outside where Daisuke waited for her, and they continued on to Murasuzume Academy to settle more serious matters.

Once more Daisuke found himself in the private quarters of Director Karasu. He sat in the seat opposite the Director's desk, awaiting instructions. Miyako was just outside the doors, waiting with the rest of the staff, along with Tori and Yuki.

"What exactly do you want me to do?" Daisuke had to ask.

The Director thought for a moment before replying, "It's really just a small trivial matter, Motomiya-kun. You'll go out, give a slight bow, and then offer a sincere apology to students and staff alike about your behavior towards our students."

"Right. Is that all?"

"Not necessarily," the Director said. "You will also tell our staff that you will be attending our school come next spring and that you look forward to working with them and playing for our school's soccer team."

"Of course," Daisuke said. At least that part wasn't a complete lie – as he really did want to play on their team.

Director Karasu continued, "I've covered what's expected of you. Now go on out and do it."

Daisuke nodded and walked towards the door that led to the main office where the rest of the staff waited. He took a deep breath and opened the door. Immediately over a dozen eyes looked his way.

Daisuke frowned at the crowd, as his own eyes traced through it in search of Miyako. When he finally found her, his eyes then looked elsewhere for a moment, before returning right back to her. The room filled in a dead silence.

"Miyako," Daisuke said, trying to maintain his voice. He took in another deep breath and then continued, bowing down in her direction. His thoughts went back to his conversation with Ken the previous day, and to the strict orders the Director had placed on him just now. He finally spoke, "I'm sorry, Miyako, but I won't do this."

"Daisuke-kun," Miyako said, slightly puzzled, with her voice frail and low.

As Daisuke got back to his feet, the gathered crowd broke into various confused whispers and mutterings.

Behind Daisuke, the Director scolded him in a low tone, "What do you think you're doing?"

Daisuke ignored him and raised his voice in order to still be heard amongst the chattering crowd. It proved not to be necessary, however, as they silenced soon after he spoke again.

"I won't do this," he repeated, with an accusing finger pointing towards Tori and Yuki. "I will not accept your bribery and I will not take any responsibility for what those two over there did to Miyako."

"We didn't do anything," Yuki insisted.

"Yeah!" Tori interjected. "We are the victims here!"

"You two stay quiet!" Daisuke yelled at them. "I don't care if everyone here believes every word you say, because I certainly won't listen to your lies. Even if everyone in the entire school thought you were the ones that were wronged, I'd still stand beside Miyako instead."

"That's enough, Motomiya-kun," Director Karasu interrupted Daisuke, and grabbed him by the shoulders. The collected staff shook their heads at him in disappointment as the Director tried to lead him out of the office doors.

As Daisuke struggled against the older man's grip, he shouted out at Tori and Yuki, "You hurt Miyako. You assaulted her yesterday! Don't think that just because she wishes to ignore it ever happened that her friends will, too!"

"Take him away from here," Yuki said, the innocent pleading look that covered her face was convincing to everyone save for Daisuke.

And as the Director finally managed to bring Daisuke to the office exit, and opened the doorway, both were greeted by the majority of the student body blocking their way. Taking advantage of Director Karasu's momentary shock at the display, Daisuke broke free of his grip and stepped back into the office.

"What's this about an assault?" one student from the gathering asked. His words were echoed from various other students questioning abuse and injuries.

"Troublemakers have no place in this school," another student spoke.

"We're here to help out Miyako," came from several different students. A few cheers amongst them followed.

Daisuke smiled as he regained his composure. "See that, Miyako? That's the entire school out there in your support."

Miyako looked on in disbelief. "Daisuke… how did you…?"

"I brought you a miracle, Miyako," Daisuke said to her. "What you do with it now is up to you. Still want to forget anything ever happened?"

She appeared in thought at the question, and answered uncertainly, "I…"

Her reply came interrupted by the Director, who shouted to the students gathered in the main lobby, looking into the head office. "That's enough! There is no proof whatsoever about this girl's claimed harassment – and as of today she will no longer be one of our students! And as such no longer our responsibility! Now everyone return to your classrooms at once!"

Miyako stood silent as she contemplated the Director's words. "I – I'm expelled," she whispered to herself.

She frowned, for once unsure of what to do. She looked to Daisuke, who seemed almost disappointed by her hesitation. And he was right to be so, she concluded. Daisuke was right, she told herself again more forcefully. Whatever he did, and however he did it – he had brought her a miracle. And how, standing firm and resolved, Miyako had every intention of using this miracle to her fullest ability.

"You asked me where it was," she said to Daisuke, who stood by her side, "Well now I'll show you. I won't try to ignore this anymore. I'll show you exactly where my courage is, Daisuke."

And as Daisuke turned to look at her, she nodded at him and looked around the office. Most of the office staff had gone to try and settle down the students in the lobby and take them back to class, with very little success.

Miyako saw this opportunity and stepped up on a chair in the office. Yuki saw her do so and immediately went to intrude. "What do you think you're doing?" she spat rudely.

"Get away from me," Miyako said, her tone clearly demanding.

When Yuki didn't listen, and dared to take a move forward, Daisuke stepped in between the two girls, his arms folded in defiance. He didn't budge, and Yuki reluctantly backed down, not wishing to make a violent scene in the office.

Daisuke looked backwards with encouragement, "Go on, Miyako."

She climbed from the chair onto a larger desk, so she was high enough to be viewable by all that were present. By standing on the desk alone she received a few odd stares from both student and staff alike, and when she took off her spring jacket and threw it to Daisuke, a few more heads turned her way. Then when she finally lifted her top over her head and let it drop to her feet, every head in both office and lobby turned to look at her upper body dressed in nothing but bare skin.

A few tears of embarrassment stained Miyako's cheeks as she stood there, and she began speaking in-between her silent sobs, "If you really want proof for the abuse and harassment done towards me. Then look no further than the bruises on my body."

Amongst the gasps and mutterings, Daisuke turned to look. He paled at the sight, not having expected such a drastic act. A few tears threatened to escape from him as well. Injuries of all shades of red covered Miyako's back, side and torso. Dark red marks of dried blood could be seen from where nails were dug deeply into her skin, and a swelling in her lower chest area gave the impression that a rib or two were out of alignment.

Daisuke frowned, and stood up behind Miyako and covered her with the spring jacket she had tossed at him. He embraced her in a hug as she fought the urge to weep into his shoulder.

The mutters and gasps ceased amongst the crowd, and Daisuke located the Director. He gave Karasu nothing but ridicule, "You can't ignore this anymore. And don't you dare pretend that expelling Miyako will solve this. What's to stop those two brats from finding someone else after Miyako is out of the picture? Or what if they start bothering her outside of school grounds again just like they did yesterday?"

Tori objected. "That's absurd! We had nothing to do with this! She probably did all that to herself!"

"Still lying to the end," Daisuke hissed.

"You can't possibly believe them, right, Sensei?" Yuki pleaded.

In turn, Director Karasu looked at the two girls with seemingly uncaring eyes. He seemed to carefully think over what to say. He looked over at Daisuke and Miyako, who now both eagerly awaited his reply. Realizing he was out of options save for admitting his error, the Director finally turned back to Yuki and Tori, and spoke, "Get off my campus and immediately go home. Your parents will be notified about this, and as of tomorrow neither of you two are students of this school. If you fail to respond, authorities will be contacted."

Pleased with the outcome and at the shocked looks on Yuki and Tori's faces, Daisuke turned to Miyako, "We're finished here. Come on, let's go."

And as they left through the crowd, a few quiet scattered claps and cheers amongst the gathered students followed them and echoed down the quieting hallways.

"Thanks for waiting, Daisuke-kun," Miyako said as she exited the locker room. On their way out she had stopped for a moment to wash the tears away and to properly dress after their ordeal.

"Not a problem at all," Daisuke said.

They then continued out of the school building. The students and staff had dispersed in the main lobby, and both of them were now free to quietly exit. It had been a rough day and the Director was more than happy to give Miyako a few days off to recuperate.

"You have to tell me, Daisuke, how'd all those students know what was going on?"

During her question, they passed through the main doors, and a voice called out to them from behind, "Miyako-san! Daisuke! Wait up!"

While Miyako stood puzzled as to who would be calling out to them, Daisuke simply chuckled and turned around. "I was wondering when you'd show up, Ken."

"I didn't know you were here, Ken-kun," Miyako told him.

"Oh," he smiled at her. "Well, I helped out from behind the scenes in my own way. I was mainly just listening in on several familiar voices."

"What do you mean by that?" she asked.

Daisuke chuckled. "Ken was controlling the announcing system during my little speech, so pretty much the whole school heard it."

Realization dawned upon Miyako. "So that's why all the students gathered…"

"Yup," Daisuke said. "Ah, gee, you've got no idea how nervous I was, knowing that everything I said was going to be heard by hundreds of students out there. I almost got tongue-tied trying to get all the words down and perfect."

"You did a fine job," Ken said. "It was very convincing in bringing everyone over on your side."

Miyako agreed. "You really did great, Daisuke-kun, I owe a lot to you."

He shrugged it off. "Think nothing of it, Miyako. I was just glad I could help. And yeah, well, the school's pretty good too once you look past that dumb guy that's leading it. The students proved that, since without them we'd still be stuck nowhere. And you know, Ken, this place has some fine history with soccer."

"Is that so?" Ken asked.

"Yup," Daisuke replied. "I think both you and I should take the placement exams here. Would be cool to play on the same team, right?"

Ken laughed, and with a smile, replied. "You're right, Daisuke. We should both try and get accepted here. I think I'd like that a lot."

Miyako stood between them, listening in on their discussion. She thought about Daisuke and Ken attending her school, and then she smiled, too. "Know what, guys? I think I'd like that, too."

She laughed with her two friends and drew them both into a hug in thanks for their help. Miyako decided, at that moment, that she loved this warmth and comfort that being with her friends provided.

Chapter Notes:
- Neechan means, "Older sister," much in the same way that "Oniichan" is "Older brother."
- dango is a Japanese pastry.