Confusion was not a foreign emotion to Kwan. Often he struggled when learning the more complicated football plays and making heads or tails of his math teacher's constant blathering about algebra. Even so he never expected to feel as confused as he did right then. His mind wasn't really awake at the time either, the time being much earlier than he'd like to be up and about on a Thursday morning. After all, one of many perks of being on the football team included instant forgiveness for showing up a bit later than the other students.
He was a great believer in the phrase 'everything happens for a reason', although he did wonder what reason there could be for the sudden urge he had to walk Sam Manson to school.
He rang the doorbell of the large house.
A pale goth girl answered the door, looking up at him with apathetic grey eyes.
"Yes? Can I help you?" she asked.
"I, uh, I was wondering if I could, um, walk you to school?" He grinned nervously.
Sam closed the door. More confusion buzzed around the inside of Kwan's head. Rejection wasn't something he was used to, neither was getting up early for the sake of a girl, but she didn't speak at all; she could've said no, or even get lost, at least that way she wouldn't have come across so rude. Just when he was hit by an oddly crestfallen feeling, the door opened again. Sam waltzed out casually wearing Capri pants and a yellow tank top.
"Thank you," She mumbled in his direction.
Polite as it was, her tone was still cold, not that it mattered to him – he was simply glad she hadn't rejected him all together. As they started to walk down the street, Kwan did start to feel a little bit awkward. This was the girl who had gone out with him once before if only for the sake of pity; the girl who'd taken off her shirt and thrown it to him in class, and the girl who had been on his mind constantly since yesterday.
"So…" He nervously began. "I heard you gotta go to counselling this morning because of yesterday…"
"Yeah, but it's not like it matters," She glanced at her manicured nails which her mother insisted she usually had done every morning. "I doubt she'll say anything helpful."
She then turned to watch his cheeks slowly turn pink. Her stomach bubbled again. More feelings threatened her innards, or maybe just indigestion from eating too much toast and low fat cream cheese.
"What are you feeling?"
"Your cheeks are pink and your eyes are showing some kind of feeling."
"Are you serious?"
"I… I don't know, serious isn't a word I understand."
Kwan was stunned. Sam was well known for her good grades and gothic nature, she certainly wasn't stupid, so surely she was kidding about not understanding what 'serious' meant. It seemed that she too had a major case of confusion. He decided to overlook her rather odd behaviour and just enjoy her company, regardless of how blasé it was. Casper High soon appeared on the horizon, leaving the boy disappointed that he didn't seem to connect with this cold unfeeling female.
"Thank you for walking with me," her voice, so indifferent, sent chills up his spine.
She politely offered a single nod of the head in gratitude before waltzing off toward the counsellor's office. His head was spinning and his soul suddenly began teeming with a cold, sinister inkling. He wanted so much to get closer to her, but she was such an impassive and thick skinned individual. Not that he understood the urge to get to know her; after all she was considered one of the many unpopular kids that his team mates – and their girlfriends – were prone to pick on for no other reason than the fact that it was part of their 'job'.
It was here, in the school parking lot, where Kwan decided that being at the top of the teenage food chain sucked. He liked playing football and hanging out with his friends, but he was starting to see things he always saw, but didn't used to notice in great detail. Walking up to the main entrance he saw a freshmen getting wedgied by a couple of seniors. He went through the double doors and browsed the hallway; a member of the chess club was being stuffed into his own locker, slanderous posters (written in Dash's handwriting) had been stuck to the walls mocking the debate team, and now that Fenton guy was approaching him with a very angry look on his face.
"Stay away from Sam!" He growled.
"What? I didn't do anything wrong." Kwan yelled defensively.
"I saw you at her house this morning on my way here," Danny sneered. "I'm warning you to leave her alone!"
"Get over yourself…" He muttered as he pushed the boy aside and carried on to his homeroom.
Danny continued growling even after Kwan disappeared around the corner. He was extremely tempted to go ghost and unleash his own brand of ectoplasmic revenge on the defiant football player.
"Wake up on the wrong side of the bed?"
He turned to see Tucker, half asleep and rubbing his eyes.
"Whoa, you look awful!"
"Thanks a lot," Tucker yawned loudly. "If you must know I've been having hell-scary nightmares."
"Oh you know, a huge green dragon breathing flames everywhere... blah blah blah, smashing buildings with a big staff and starting a huge lightning storm with its evil lizard powers; same old, same old." He answered nonchalantly, rubbing his eyes again before wriggling his fingers to emphasise his lack of enthusiasm.
"Sounds fun," He remarked sarcastically.
"So what provoked you to yell at Kwan?"
"I was on my way to Sam's house, and he got there before me, I don't even know what he was doing there in the first place!" Danny sneered. "Since when does Kwan give half a thought to anyone but himself or his team-mates?"
Tucker shrugged, not particularly bothered about the specifics; he was far too tired. He'd been having this nightmare for several days, though each time it got more graphic and detailed. Looking back, the dream had started to plague him about the same time as when Sam collapsed outside school, and while it hadn't affected him at first, now it was keeping him up at night. Afraid to fall asleep for risk of being scared to death – by a figment of his own imagination no less.
He wasn't in the mood to deal with Danny and his obsessive protectiveness of Sam. Not today at least. Maybe yesterday, or the day before, but right now he needed his space. His half-ghost friend had made a timely disappearance, no doubt wanting to follow Kwan to make sure he kept his distance from their Gothic friend.
He looked to his right and saw an unfamiliar boy.
"Oh, sorry kid, am I in your way?"
"I'm a little lost," He chuckled nervously. "It's my first day and I don't know where the Administration office is."
Tucker glanced over the newbie. He was roughly the same age as himself and his friends – they would no doubt end up in the same homeroom – although age would be the only thing they had in common. He was dressed differently to what was considered the 'teenage style' of clothing. Dark sunglasses, a smart white shirt-and-tie combo that was worn quite messily over black denim jeans adorned with claw-mark slits in the left pant leg, traditional Japanese sandals (a lot like those worn by Samurai Jack) and a gleaming dog tag stating 'Pitbulls need love too'.
"I'll show you," He offered wearily, stifling an impromptu yawn.
"Thanks, I hope I'm not interrupting what you were doing."
"Nah, my friend ran off to see someone and I'm so tired I couldn't go chasing after him," As the walked down the hallway, he watched the newbie's feet walking effortlessly in what was essentially a pair of wooden platform clogs. "Those shoes look painful."
"Not really, but I've always worn these kind of sandals so I'm used to it," He smiled, sensing that the person helping him was curious about his choice of footwear. "I have to put two little rubber strips along the bottom so they don't sound like horse hooves!"
"I'm Tucker by the way," he stopped and offered the newbie a friendly handshake. "Am I right in thinking that you're not from here?"
"My name is Kai, and yes you're right; I came to town just yesterday…"
"Well, this is the Admin office," Tuck gestured to the door next to them. "If you need anything else you can ask the staff, or come find me, whichever is easiest."
"Thank you again," Kai politely nodded and waltzed into the office.
He waved the newbie goodbye but not before doing a double take; he almost swore that he'd seen a glimpse of a long green tail trailing behind from under the newbie's shirt. He shook his head. There was no doubt in his mind that he was officially sleep-deprived and was now hallucinating.
Wandering the corridors like a video game zombie, Tucker headed towards his homeroom, his head racked with strange and unnerving thoughts. Maybe he should stop eating so much meat; it could be clogging his system and preventing his mind from working properly. No, meat wasn't the problem, it was that damn nightmare. Keeping him awake and rendering him uselessly tired during the day. In all fairness, it's not like the lack of sleep was making his grades suffer. In fact, by using one of his less important classes for a powernap, his grades seemed to be improving slightly; not by a great deal mind, just enough so that he didn't get bombarded by his teachers or parents.
He opened the homeroom door and shuffled into his usual seat in the middle row. Not too close to the front, and not too far from the back. That's just how he liked it. Breezily, he looked around the classroom. Danny wasn't there, and neither was Sam. Sam's absence was explainable, the whole taking-her-shirt-off-in-class incident had given her a free trip to the counsellors office. Danny however, was absent for a mystery reason that Tucker had an inkling about, but wasn't entirely sure. What he did know, was that if Danny didn't get there in time for role call, he'd get another tardy – it had to be the tenth one he'd gotten this month.
The sound of the door opening stuck his ears and he looked up. It was Kai. Just as he'd predicted, the newbie had been assigned the same homeroom as he and his friends. Kai waved at Tucker and took the seat next to him. Mr Lancer came in the room seconds later.
"Okay, okay, everyone settle down," He grumbled loudly. Picking up a sheet of paper on his desk, he quickly read it and scanned the room. "Kai Raiden?"
Kai raised his hand.
"Would you like to come up here and introduce yourself to the class?"
Tuck noticed Kai grow nervous. Understandable really, talking in front of a room full of people is one thing, but these were high school students he had to face. If Kai didn't make the right impression straight away, he would be as a lamb to slaughter. As the newbie stood and walked up to Lancer's desk at the front of the room, a few of the girls started giggling. The confident faces of the popular people turned to sly, unwavering grins. The newbie was like prey to them, a target that they swiftly locked onto.
"Hi, I'm Kai Raiden, I was born in Japan but raised in Miami," His voice was slowly sounding more assertive. "I moved to Amity Park yesterday, and that's about it."
"Thank you, Kai, you may take your seat," Lancer said.
The newbie breathed a sigh of relief and slumped into his chair.
"Do you think anyone will bother me?" Kai whispered to Tucker.
"I don't think so; only kids who make fools of themselves on the first day get hassled," He replied. "But the quarterback may still want to make an example of you, so just stay alert okay?"
"Okay." Kai grinned.
Tuck sort of hoped that Dash and his cronies might give Kai some slack, but the chances of that were slim. All new students were considered a threat to his position at the top of the hierarchy, and as the blonde quarterback readied a paper ball to throw, it had become certain that Kai would be treated as any other newbie…
OK, for those of you who don't know, I shall spoil it, mostly because I cannot be bothered to play the guessing game with ya'lls asses. Kai is just Daikirai in human form; he's there to make sure that Cupid didn't mess up and shoot the wrong person.