Disclaimer: All characters © to Square-Enix, Squaresoft, and Disney.

Warning: Strong language and OOC, and dark themes. Don't like, don't read.

.4.

Stigmatized

She didn't know how long she had been in there already. Locking herself in the bathroom, turning the shower head on full blast and stepping in – without bothering to even take off her clothes.

Just standing there. Wet. Wet and ashamed. The sound of the water hitting the sides of the stall thundering in her ears.

Hoping – just hoping, praying, for a small chance that it might take away something. The angry feeling pulling at her insides.

The cliché prospect of washing away one's sins, perhaps.

Or maybe she was just unconsciously trying to drown herself.

The water was slowly beginning to lose its heat. Kairi shivered, reaching out to turn off the shower. Then there was silence, except for the drip-drip sound of water from her soaked clothes.

Slowly, she peeled off her wet uniform, throwing them unceremoniously onto the floor. Wrapping herself with a dry towel, she stepped out and breathed in the damp air.

Everything came rushing back again.

No. No. She couldn't think about that right now. It was too—frustrating? Confusing? So fucking beyond comprehensible?

She stared blankly into the mirror still covered in condensation, at her blurry reflection.

God. Her head was going to explode.

But she knew. Deep down inside, she knew.

She'd have to confront the reality of it all again.

The hordes of assholes she'd have to deal with at school.

Then F4.

And then him.

In less than 48 hours, no doubt.

But for now—just for now, she'd escape.

She wanted to escape—before being forced back again.

But who could she turn to?

Selphie. That was an option. But Selphie wasn't here. It wasn't middle school. No—it was fucked up high school. Fucking Shukumei High School.

Her grandmother...

Her throat clenched at the thought.

Somehow she doubted very much that her grandmother could even remember her own name at the moment.

No.

She couldn't escape. Not even when she tried pushing the nightmarish thoughts of her god forsaken school away.

It wasn't even some banal, fucked up life of a troubled, teenage girl anymore.

The condensation on the mirror had faded. But she'd already left the bathroom before she could glance at the cold reflection.

Afraid to face it all.

Including her own self.

Because just a few hours ago, she'd betrayed herself.

--

The weekend passed by without further ado.

And now, Monday was the beginning of another fucked up school week.

"Look up, you little bitch."

Kairi bit her lip from doing anything to retaliate back. Giggles from the other two of the infamous trio were ringing faintly in her ears. Her shoulder was aching painfully from the hard contact with the wall after Paine shoved her harshly against it.

"What part of 'get out of this school, you god damn whore' do you not get, Akutsu?"

Kairi said nothing, her auburn bangs shielding her eyes from view. Somewhere above her, Paine was laughing sardonically.

"Looks like the little bitch is finally fucking starting to realize her place. Not standing up anymore, are you? Not fighting back?"

Kairi's nails were digging so deep into her palms she was sure they would draw blood soon.

She felt another shove from the right, making her stumble. Rikku was laughing as well.

"Come on, Akutsu! Aren't you gonna do us all in? Hire the next hobo off the street to do the job for you in exchange for your body?"

Another shove. Kairi almost lost her balance this time.

"How sad. Giving up already."

"It's makes me sick, just looking at her!"

"What a pathetic little slut."

More harsh laughter.

"I bet her mother couldn't even stand to look at her! That's why she just a sad little orphan now—"

NO.

Her eyes widened—in sudden fury.

"Shut up."

The laughing stopped suddenly. Kairi was on her feet, breathing hard and her blood boiling. She looked furiously at the three girls in front of her, now with ugly expressions on their faces. The last remark almost made her snap completely. Fucking skanks.

"I've had enough of your shit," spat Kairi. "Now, why don't you do everyone a favor and fuck OFF."

Rikku's face was twisted in fury. As Kairi made to storm off, the blond shoved her so hard it sent her crashing again into another hard wall.

Except, it wasn't a wall.

It was—

"R-Riku!" gasped the offending blond, whose green eyes were widened in apprehension.

Oh, God.

Kairi froze. She could feel the atmosphere around her growing thick already.

"I-I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to—I mean that girl, Akutsu, she was—"

"That," Riku said quietly, his pale green eyes glittering mysteriously. "Wasn't very nice." There was a trace of danger behind his tone.

Rikku's mouth opened and closed like a goldfish's, but no words could come out. Kairi could hardly dare to look up at the silver-haired teenager in the face. She quickly backed off, avoiding eye contact with anyone and breathing harshly.

He helped me again, her mind thought frantically. It's only been four days and he's here, backing me up again—

"You should apologize to Akutsu," finished Riku.

What?

Her ears buzzed. She did not just hear that.

A member of the F4 was actually making someone apologize to her? Her, a low, filthy commoner scorned by everyone in the damn school?

Was he pitying her?

"But—"

"I—We—We—"

"No."

But the words hadn't come from any one of the trio. Kairi was defiant, eyes now blazing. She looked directly at Riku, whose expression was slightly taken aback.

"Thanks," she said in a hard voice, "But I don't want your pity. Especially if I'm forced to accept some pathetic excuse of an apology from those three. I'm better off being beat up."

Snatching up her messenger bag, she stormed off, but not before glancing at the three girls. Rikku and Paine were glaring daggers, but Yuna – who hadn't said anything up to this point – was holding a strange expression. But Kairi was too angry to care.

"If you've got bullshit to throw at me, go ahead. I'll take it and spit it right back at you."

I've had enough.

Turning on her heel, Kairi spun around and walked as quickly and with as much dignity as she could away, her footsteps echoing across the deathly silent hallway. She felt everyone's eyes burning into her, but it only gave her more vindictive pleasure.

As she turned at the corner, she suddenly noticed Naminé hiding herself in the shadows. Kairi looked away awkwardly as she walked on, but heard her name called.

"Kairi!"

The pale blond was behind her, eyes wide.

"I—I just thought—" she stammered diffidently.

That I'm gonna be murdered within the next few days? Yeah, more than likely, Kairi thought numbly.

"—That was brave of you, Kairi," Naminé finished, blushing slightly. "You—you did the right thing, standing up to them."

Kairi stared, at lost for words. Then, for the first time, for as long as she could remember, she smiled. But only a little.

"I'm glad you think so, Naminé."

If only you had the courage to do the same for yourself at that time. Then...

Kairi walked on, unconsciously heading for the emergency stairway she'd used for so long.

...I wouldn't be in this fucked up mess right now.

But she wasn't blaming her. No one wanted to be in her position.

No one.

--

The fresh autumn breeze blew gently in her face as Kairi walked steadily towards the girls' dorm, sometime later. She didn't want to go back to the emergency stairway to vent out her feelings; she was too embarrassed to face Riku at the moment.

But why should she be? She was only defending herself.

But he'd helped her from that particularly tight situation only days ago.

It was partly HIS fault she had been in this chaos in the first place!

He still helped her...and he did it again today, for that matter.

She hadn't even thanked him properly...

Her breath suddenly caught in her throat as the memory of a spiky-haired boy with blazing eyes reappeared in her mind.

The very result of what had happened when she tried to thank him.

"It's not very bright of you to be walking alone nowadays."

Kairi nearly jumped a foot in the air from shock. Whipping around, she came face to face with—

"Seifer," she hissed, narrowing her eyes. "What the hell do you want?"

Smirking, he stepped closer to her, and she stepped back instinctively. His significantly taller figure was not in the least bit welcoming. Neither was the strange fire burning in his eyes. A shock of apprehension shot through her body.

"You know what I want," Seifer said dangerously, his eyes leering at her. "We still haven't finished our little matter from the other day."

He stepped closer again. Kairi backed off as far as possible, but found herself against a wall. Wherever the hell that came from. Trapped.

Shit.

He seemed to notice her increasing fear, though she tried hard to hide it. Tilting her head slightly, she looked back defiantly.

"Don't try anything funny again, Almassy," she said sharply. But he came even closer than ever. Her heart thundered against her chest. "I'll—"

"You'll what?" he replied scathingly. His hands suddenly shot out towards the wall, on either side of her head. "Scream for help? Beg for mercy?"

He leaned in closer.

"Fuck off, you—"

"No Takahashi to help you this time, Akutsu," he breathed, his breath making her cringe. "No one to save you this time, you little whore—"

"I said, fuck OFF—"

His lips crashed brutally down onto hers, and his hands held her forcefully against the wall as she trashed and struggled to get away. The taste was disgusting, making her almost vomit right then and there. She kicked out in desperation but he reacted fast, as though knowing what she'd do. Shoving her hard against the wall, his rough hands were suddenly on her school blouse, tearing the buttons apart. His hands, touching her cruelly, not giving a damn. She screamed was muffled by another brutal kiss, tears beginning to leak out fast from her eyes. Her head pounded, screaming for help, someone, anyone—

In a second the harsh contact was gone, followed by a loud grunt and the sound of a body crashing down on concrete. At once she knew that she'd been saved again, relief spreading through her like a wave of warmth. She knew Riku would come, Riku with his gentle green eyes and mysterious smile, she'd owed her life to him twice now—

Her heart stopped beating. Her eyes widened.

Because for the second time, she was looking into those eyes, eyes that she'd never expected to see at her current situation, eyes that she'd expected to be aquamarine and smiling—

But they were blue.

Hard and blue.

His eyes.

--

Fucking hell.

He knew he shouldn't have done that.

He shouldn't have. It was her fault she deserved it.

She fucking DESERVED it.

But, he was there before he knew it. A black rage tearing through his chest the moment he'd seen Almassy pinning her against the wall, touching her, kissing her—

FUCK. Why was he even thinking about that. Why did he even give a damn, he should've let the damn bastard do whatever the hell he wanted with the little whore.

But he didn't. He couldn't.

Why. WHY?

Seifer was glaring back at him in shock.

FUCK. His heart beat frantically against his rib cage.

He was breathing hard, fist still clenched and standing over the Almassy bastard, who was looking back at him in both anger and shock. Seifer raised a hand to his face, which was now developing a red bruise already.

"Sora, what—?"

"Get," said Sora, slowly and quietly. "The fuck out. Now."

"But—you told us to finish her—"

"I said, get the fuck out."

Sora stared hard at the man on the ground, looking at anywhere but her. Seifer stared back, confusion written over his scarred face.

"I'll deal with this shit from here," said Sora. Of course he would. He should. After all, it was his fucking problem. Not fucking Almassy's. He needed to deal with his own shit now.

Seifer nodded quickly, scrambling up and sprinting away from the scene. Sora watched him sprint away without sparing another glance backwards. Stared at anything just to keep his eyes away from her. Yeah, that's right. Just go run away like the fucking dog you are now—

Shit. He could hear her still gasping in fright, slumped against the wall. He could imagine her looking, for the first time, so frail and helpless he just wanted to take advantage of that moment and ruin her, destroy her, break her—

He turned around slowly.

--

Oh, god.

Kairi knew at that moment she wasn't safe. Standing before her, like a wild animal in rage—she probably would prefer Seifer to Kumasaki at that moment. She was trapped—and he was there, only a few feet away—damn, how could she ever forgive herself for letting him see her so weak—?

Her legs, which had felt like jelly almost moments ago, suddenly found their strength as she forced herself onto her feet, mind buzzing frantically. Only one thought came through:

Get away from him.

"Where do you think you're going?"

She froze on the spot, mind numb with shock—and fear. No, she needed to run away, get away from him, get away—

"Don't think I did it to save you, Akutsu."

A few quick steps and he was only a foot away. She tried not to shrink away, tried not to show her fear, but the feelings, the situation, they were overwhelming her, enough to make her scream her lungs out.

"It meant nothing, Akutsu."

His eyes were so dark they almost lost their original shade of blue. Kairi fought cruelly to regain her composure, anything to stand up to the monster before her.

But she couldn't.

She'd lost everything, at that moment.

Even herself.

Was it because he saved her?

She suddenly felt the instinct of running away, the primal fear. In a second his arm shot out and grasped her upper arm in a tight vice-like hold, making her flinch.

No—that wasn't it. Then why would he be here, she knew that—

"I'm going to finish you myself," he hissed.

Her heart missed a beat at his words.

"NO, stop! You don't want this—"

"Shut up."

Don't tell me what I want or don't want.

She struggled, he held on tight, now gripping both of her wrists as he pushed her against the wall—again.

"Stop—"

Her voice was begging him. Why was she begging him? Stop begging him in that voice, dammit. Stop sounding so much like—

"Mom?"

More screaming. More shouting. He felt frightened, like almost every night at his house.

His father...

"Don't beg me, you little whore."

FUCK.

Sora clenched her wrists harder, making her gasp.

"You know you want this," he growled. He pushed himself against her. She closed her eyes and shook her head wildly, then bit her lip—those lips—

"No, don't, Kumasaki—"

"Don't tell me you didn't enjoy it that last time, Akutsu," he said, leaning in even closer. She froze against his grasp. He suddenly felt sick, but he pretended to grin in her ear.

"Don't you remember?"

Kairi's eyes widened. God, no.

"You kissed me back."

NO.

She tried in vain to hit him with her fists, but he held on fast.

"Shut up! That was you, Kumasaki, stop pretending it's everyone's fault but yours—"

He laughed sardonically.

"Denial, isn't it, Akutsu? You loved it. And that you want it again. Tell me it turned you on—"

"Shut up, Kumasaki!" Kairi almost screamed, breathless.

No, it wasn't true. She didn't want it to be true.

Oh gods, it can't be true.

"Why are you doing this?" she said. Her voice was small, but she couldn't help it. She was vulnerable, and he was here, ready to destroy her.

"Because I hate you," Sora breathed in her ear. She shivered from the heat, the biting words.

"Because I'm not a spoiled, rich little bastard like you, isn't it?"

His grin faded. Kairi felt some of her composure seep back into her.

"Just because you have some extra cash in your damn pocket doesn't mean anything to me."

"Don't bullshit me. Money controls everything in this fucking place. Just like right now. I'm the one in control."

No, you're wrong.

"Let go of me," she said, squirming under his suffocating presence. He remained firm. "I said, let go, Kumasaki!" Her voice rose again in panic.

God, he could taste the panic—

"I'm in control now—"

Someone help her, please, someone, anyone—

Silver hair flashed through her mind. Riku Takahashi.

How ironic. How bloody ironic. Only a few hours ago, she'd said she didn't want his pity.

And now she was silently, desperately begging for his rescue.

She felt a hand release one of her wrists and sensed it approaching her face. She flinched back violently, expecting the worst.

His knuckles grazed the her cheek—gently, softly. Like a caress.

Her breathe froze, both in shock in anticipation. "Kumasaki, what—?"

"Kiss me again."

The words were like ash in his mouth. Suffocating him with the bitterness. But he couldn't help it—it was killing him.

Killing him because he needed it so fucking badly. Her moist, warm lips, open in shock, and ready, ready for him.

"No..." she breathed, but she didn't move away. Not even with one arm left unguarded. Why couldn't she move?

"Kiss me."

Why? Why was he making her feel this way? She hated him. She hated him so much she could burst. She. HATED. Him.

"G-Get off," she managed to say, pushing him away with all the weakened energy she could muster.

She'd expected the powerful hands to stop her from getting away, to seize her and push her against the wall again. She'd expected something, but it wasn't this.

She watched him fall against the wall, his eyes dead and helpless as he slid down like a wounded man. A dying, defeated, wounded man. And as she watched him she felt something wrench out a part of her heart, some distant emotion that was stabbing her chest over and over. She had never seen anything so vulnerable and defeated until that moment.

She stared at him. Sora Kumasaki. Dictator of the school and every little being around him.

It was so wrong. It couldn't be like this.

She couldn't even look at him anymore. She couldn't stay here, suffocating from this atmosphere. This fucked up, chaotic atmosphere.

Turning on her heel, she ran—ran until her legs couldn't move anymore and her chest felt as though it was about to burst.

She wished the pain wouldn't leave her body. Because the shame was infinitely worse—the shame of what could have happened. If he hadn't let her go.

She knew—she knew she would have given in. Given herself to him.

She would have let him kiss her.

She would have let him ravish her, for all the world to see.

She would have given into this war between them, and let him win. Beyond doubt.


Memo: I already have a million ideas planned out for this story but they just need to be put in written word and nice sentences. Please bear with my horrible procrastinating and lack of motivation. -.-

Please review, no flames.