I'm really sorry about the delay, but I think I'm getting some kind of viral-flu or something – curse the vile things! I haven't been able to concentrate properly either… Heh, but hopefully, it should go away soon. I'm really glad that people appreciate this fic…and I only hope that I won't let anyone down…
Just want to say thank-you to:
Shenhui: Heh, I know. Poor Joker, having to deal with those girls – I kind of feel bad for him, but…oh well. I made up my mind about the pairing! It sounds good to me…the only problem being I don't know how I can work it into the story properly. Having said that…well, let's just wait and see, shall we? Mustn't reveal too much! Sorry about the delayed chapter, though, and thanks loads for the review!
Facadephazzad: Heheh, I like your name…rolls off nicely… Ahem, anyways, thanks a lot for the review. I know…I'm sure Neon would have loved to watch him being…uh, disturbed by the girls. I only wish I had a teacher like Joker! Hope you enjoy chapter 3!
Chapter Three: He can't be a threat, can he?
His expressionless face was as cold as stone when the door to the classroom finally opened, and as a blur sped through it, stopping at the teacher's desk. Glancing at the clock again, he scowled. That's 17, no, 18 minutes late… The displeased expression still on his face, he turned his eyes onto the man who had just entered, watching distastefully as he noisily dropped the books in his arms on the desk. He's wearing a hat? Is that even allowed? He watched as the man tried to sort his stuff out. Not only is he late, but he's not organized at all. His blue eyes narrowed further. And is he talking to himself…?
It took quite a bit of his resolve to stay in his seat when the man finally turned around; to stay in his seat instead of looking for something sharp to inflict injury on him with. What the…?
"Ohayo!" exclaimed the light-haired man, cheerfully. Although the hat covered his eyes, the rest of his face was quite visible to the now bewildered class. Seeing the lack of enthusiasm, the man's shoulders sagged a bit. "Ano…I know I'm late for the lesson…sorry about that! I just, uh, had a few things to take care of…"
Knowing the man's background, the famous 'A' grade student cringed. He had a few things to take care of? 'School' things or…'Uruha' things? It registered in his head only then that the rest of his class had gone oddly quiet. Taking his eyes off the man in front of him for a moment, he glanced quickly around him. His classmates were just staring open-mouthed at the man.
"Uh…who are you?" asked one of the boys seated in the back of the class, curious. Looking back at the 'teacher', the long-haired student saw that he looked positively relieved that someone had said something.
"Hai! Well, it's actually Joker-sensei, but I like being called J-sensei too!"
"And, er, what are you doing here?" questioned another one of the male students, raising his eyebrows. The man looked startled, before he laughed lightly.
"Ano, isn't it obvious?" he asked, before sighing inwardly at the blank looks he received from the whole class. Sensing a somewhat hostile presence as well as a piercing glare, his eyes fell on who the two were coming from. The light-haired student continued to bore holes into him. Well, well, well…it's Ice-block-han himself… The 'nervous-new-teacher' attitude of his disappeared completely as he stared at the student. "MI-KA-GA-MI-HAN!" The rest of the class jumped, startled at the sudden cheerful exclamation. It registered in their heads what the exclamation had been about, and they turned to stare at the 'A' grade student.
"Ne, Mikagami-han! It's been a loooooooong time, yes? How've you been? Any girl-friends? Hmm? Hmmm?" asked J-sensei, grinning. "Miki-han always talks about you – quite the heart-throb you were, Mikagami-han." Mikagami's classmates sweat-dropped as they saw the look he gave the teacher.
"Ahaha, silent as ever, eh, Mikagami-han? Oh come on, tell me how you've been doing, will ya? I haven't seen ya in ages after all!" He tilted his head to a side as he saw Mikagami's mouth move. "Hmm? Sorry, what was that? I missed it."
"Good," said Mikagami, icily, as he heard his classmates start whispering to each other. He didn't even want to know what theories they were coming up with, about him and the clown standing at the front of the class. Ignoring his classmates, he sent the man one of his deadliest glares ever. It was the glare he used on Mokuren, after rescuing Koganei in the 2nd round of the Urabutousatsujin. To the…clown's credit, he wasn't the slightest bit fazed by it. I guess that's what comes from being one of Kurei's Jyushinshuu?
Pouting, the man turned his attention away from Mikagami, and back to the rest of the class. "Well, minna-han…what exactly do you know about Physics?" He was met with more blank stares. "Um, OK…how about I rephrase that…what's the last unit you covered?" He sweat-dropped as the blank-stares continued. "…What's the last thing you remember learning for Physics?" He was getting a tad bit worried now. "Please tell me you learnt something…?"
"The last thing we learnt about were the Gas Laws," said Mikagami, coldly. As a 'teacher' shouldn't he have researched what we did before?
"Ah, really? That's brilliant!" exclaimed Joker, looking relieved. "I was really worried that I'd have to go through that boring unit with you! Hmm…let's see…" he grabbed a text-book in his hands. "So, that means we should start…"
"The Advanced Unit on Circuits."
"Yes, Mikagami-han, you're quite right." Joker grinned. "No wonder Miki-han and the girls can't stop talking about you!" He dropped the text-book on the ground in alarm as the screaming began.
"Who are they?"
"That's the second time he mention 'Miki-han'…"
"And how do they know our Mikagami-kun?"
"How dare they try and take our Mikagami-kun away from us!"
"Who are those girls? Tell us!"
"Uh…I – I don't know…r-really…I just…uh…" Joker stopped, scratching his head awkwardly, before turning to the ice-block himself. "Quite the popular one, aren't you, 'Kagami-han?"
"…What did you just call me?"
"No? But…I like it!"
"'Kagami-han, it suits you – it really does. Plus, 'Mikagami-han' is way too long…"
"I don't care."
"Please Kagami-han? Pretty please? With an iced cherry on top? Please? Please? Please?"
"I said – "
" – OK, OK, calm down, geez…" grumbled the teacher, looking down at text-book. Mou, I really wonder how he and the rest of the lively Hokage worked together. A smile formed on his lips as he watched the 'A' grade student look somewhat lazily towards the window. Hmm…maybe I should…? Nah…I shouldn't…Oh what the heck, it'll be fun if I -
"Sensei…?" He looked up, and his hidden-eyes fell on the student who was shooting him a raised-eyebrow glance.
"Why are you staring at Mikagami?" Somewhat startled, the teacher fumbled to maintain his grip on the book that had been released from his hands automatically, upon hearing the question.
"Eh!" he shook his head frantically. "I'm not!"
"Yes, you were."
"No, I wasn't."
"You can't call me a baka, baka!"
"Oh I can call you whatever I want – teacher's privilege – baka-han."
"What? Hey – " The loud sound in the classroom effectively stopped the argument. Mikagami was sitting upright in his seat, a clenched fist resting firmly on the table, where it had been brought down with a vengeance. He shot the light-haired teacher an icy look.
"You," he said, "Are supposed to be teaching." Another icy look hurled itself at Joker. "Stop being immature and do your job." Joker could only raise an eyebrow – which wasn't seen, of course, as he heard giggles and sighs coming from the girls in the class.
"Would you just look at him?"
"He knows exactly what he wants, doesn't he?"
"Yeah…mou, I want a man who knows what he wants…"
"And he's just so…so…awesome!"
"Ah, of course, you're right," he said, raising his voice a little to be heard over the giggling girls. (What was up with giggling girls? He shuddered as he remembered the set in his earlier class.) Hmm, maybe I should introduce The Three-Gigglers to Mikagami-han. If I'm lucky, they'll fall for him and leave me alone. When he cleared his throat a moment later, he was surprised to see that he had the attention of the whole class. "Let's being the lesson, shall we?" He was sure he heard a few groans. "Hmm, let's see…Advanced Circuits; it's actually quite an – " He sighed inwardly. "'Kagami-han, does there happen to be some amazing phenomenon that you just can't take your eyes off hovering outside the window, or am I just boring you?"
"What do you think?"
"Mou, 'Kagami-han – " Joker raised his hands defensively in front of him, still holding the textbook, as he saw the stony glare that was being directed at him. "Hai, hai, I get the point; no calling you 'Kagami-han'…" Mikagami inwardly let out a relieved sigh. That had gone easier than he had expected it to. "Now, let's really continue with the lesson…" Joker allowed a small smile to form on his face. "Open your textbook and at least try and look like you're paying attention, will you?" He only received an indifferent glance in reply. "Have it your way, Mikaga – oh! Oh! I just came up with a cutesy nickname!" He looked extremely pleased with himself. "I won't keep you in suspense; Mika-han! Or…do you prefer Toki-han?"
The rest of the class could have sworn that the temperature in the class dropped by a couple of dozen degrees.
Some time later:
The moment the bell – signaling the end of school – rang, students eagerly dashed out of the classrooms they were in; this was nothing unusual. Usually, the former Fuujin-wielder would just follow her classmates out the door, not bothering to zoom out of the room first, as there really was no point. Contrary to popular belief, she didn't really hate school…she just got bored of it at times. This particular day, however, the brown-haired girl forcefully pushed past her classmates, earning protests and not-too-nice grumbles. She ignored them; those didn't matter. She just had to find everyone…and tell them about her Physics lesson.
Reaching the stairs, she groaned aloud when she saw the students cramped on them, taking their own sweet time. Can they go any slowerMuttering under her breath, she turned around, only to see that students had gathered behind her as well. Scowling as she turned forward, her green eyes caught sight of the banister. A grin formed on her face.
Two minutes and sliding down the banister later, she was finally out of the main school building, looking around impatiently for her friends. She clutched her bag tightly in her hands as her frustration grew. "Mou, where are they when I really need them?"
"Talking to yourself now, monkey?" She whirled around, startled.
"Don't sneak up on me like that."
"Excuse-me? Don't think you're worth the time or effort." He was in a foul mood, and really didn't think he would be able to tolerate the loud monkey standing before him.
"Look, I'm not – "
" – As much as I'd love to waste my time and breath speaking to you, I'm not in the mood, so leave me alone." Fuuko gaped at the light-haired male in front of her. What was his problem?
"Firstly," she started, hotly, "It was you who – "
"Fuuko-chan, Mikagami-sempai…" The two turned around at the sound of the familiar soft voice.
"Yanagi-chan, thank goodness!" exclaimed Fuuko, a smile immediately replacing the dark look that had been on her face as she spoke to Mikagami. "What took you so long? And where're Recca and Domon?" Yanagi smiled.
"Gomen," she said, "But our teacher kept us in for an extra minute." She was surprised to see the semi-anxious expression on her friend's face. "Fuuko-chan, is something wrong?"
"Well…I – I'm not sure…" stuttered the brown-haired girl, looking a bit confused. "I mean, well, it doesn't seem like anything bad will come out of this, seeing how we've all lost our madougu and stuff. Plus, the Uruha was disbanded, wasn't it?" As Yanagi glanced at Mikagami while Fuuko continued mumbling to herself, she saw him looking at the girl with a somewhat interested expression on his face.
"Why are you suddenly talking about the Uruha?" asked Mikagami, quietly. Fuuko glanced up at him.
"Uh…well – "
"Oh! That reminds me, you will not believe what happened to me today!" exclaimed Yanagi, clapping her hands together as the mention of the 'Uruha' reminded her of something. Both Fuuko and Mikagami turned to look at the girl.
"What?" asked Fuuko, slowly.
"Well, I had Physics before this…and, well, we were all waiting for Ishida-sensei – " she stopped here as she smiled at Fuuko, remembering their conversation during break. " – but some other teacher walked in, saying that sensei had a small accident and won't be teaching for six months." She paused. "Do you know who the replacement teacher is?"
"Joker." Yanagi stared at her two friends for a moment, wondering why they looked rather disgruntled, before nodding.
"How did you know?"
"How do you think I know?"
"I had Physics with him, monkey."
"He was so good!" interrupted Yanagi, "As a teacher, I mean. I know I reprimanded Recca-kun when he was saying stuff about Ishida-sensei, but J-sensei is a really, really good teacher. And the class loves him…he's just so…so…" her voice trailed off. "Ano…why are you staring at me like that…?"
It was Mikagami who spoke first. "Yanagi-san, don't get too carried away; he is an ex-member of the Uruha after all." Yanagi's face fell.
"Sou…" she said, "But…well, he's not really bad is he? He never really was bad, even during the Urabutousatsujin…"
"Have you forgotten what he did to Saicho?" asked Fuuko, curiously.
"No, Fuuko-chan, I haven't…" said Yanagi, "But – " she stopped, thinking carefully about what she was going to say. "Well, Kaoru-kun didn't hate him…so I'm going to trust his judgment on this. After all, it was him who was affected the most by what Joker did."
"But, we cannot forget the fact that he was a member of the Jyushinshuu…" said Mikagami, giving Yanagi a soft smile. "Do not let his behaviour cover up his for his earlier actions."
"I think you're overreacting a bit, Mi-chan," said Fuuko, surprising herself. "Well, yes, he is linked to the Uruha…but, don't you remember what Kurei said, on that day? He disbanded the Uruha before he went back into the past." She shrugged. "And we haven't been troubled by them all this time, so how can we be sure that they'll start now?"
"…Do you really want to take that risk?"
"It's not a risk, Mi-chan…I mean, he's our Physics teacher – it's not too bad when you actually think about it, right?" questioned Fuuko, her hand fiddling with the choker she wore around her neck, before turning back to Yanagi. "How did he react when he saw you, Yanagi-chan?" Yanagi smiled as she remembered.
"Hello there everyone! Now, before anyone asks; my name's J-sensei, you can call me Joker-sensei if you insist, and I'm going to be your Physics teacher for a while. Until Ishida-han returns." The light-haired man paused and looked at the students seated before him. "Uh…is there something wrong…?"
"You're wearing a hat."
"Oh, right." He paused. "Is that wrong…?" The student snorted.
"You're not allowed to wear hats in school. It's a school rule."
"Oh." He grinned. "Well, that rule doesn't apply to me. Now, to make things – " he paused as he sensed something odd in the class. In all the classes he had been in before, he had sensed a mixture of emotions coming from the students, ranging from pure boredom, eagerness, cheerfulness and, he gulped, attraction. He had never sensed the emotion of fear…and yet, he could feel it clearly in this class. It wasn't too strong, which meant that it was coming only from one or two students. His hidden eyes quickly scanning the classroom, they fell on the person responsible for this foreign emotion; a currently pale and trembling brown-haired girl. He raised an eyebrow. Why is she afraid of me? "Ano…" he started, smiling, "Is something wrong?"
He knew what was wrong as soon as the girl looked up at him, and as he saw the pair of frightened brown-eyes. Sakoshita Yanagi… He grimaced. Were we really that bad? To make her tremble so much as my mere presence? Shaking his head, he gave her one last smile, hoping to appease her a bit, before turning back to the entire class and starting the day's lesson.
Half an hour later as he walked around the class while the students were busy answering two questions, he inconspicuously made his way to the girl's table. He had glanced at her occasionally while he had been explaining the new unit, and had sensed and seen her fear; which didn't please him at all. Even now, as she attempted to answer the questions, he could see her right hand shake slightly. Seeing the shadow on her book, she looked up, her eyes wide.
"S-sensei…" there was a slightly high-pitched tone in her voice. He put on a kind smile.
"Yanagi-han…" This has to be the first time someone's been this afraid of me. Glancing around the class once, to make sure that no-one was listening, he turned his attention back to her. "There's something I need to tell you." He saw her eyes widen more. "Yanagi-han, you have no reason to fear me. I know that you probably won't believe me – and why should you, after what we did in the past? – but…you must understand, I am here, in this school, simply to teach."
He sighed. "The Uruha's not planning anything, concerning you or the rest of the Hokage," he stopped, smiling as he remembered his encounters with two of the Hokage earlier in the day. "Heck, there is no Uruha; it was disbanded, remember?" He looked at her kindly. "I do not mean you any harm, Yanagi-han…I'm just here to teach Physics. Do you believe me?" The girl was silent for a moment, as she chose to stare at him for a moment or two. Then, as though realizing she was staring, she immediately bowed her head.
"Gomen…" she whispered, "It's just…I didn't expect – "
"I understand," said Joker, as she stopped suddenly. "And I understand that you won't feel completely at ease for some time…" He stopped there simply because he didn't know what else to say. If he was being honest, he could handle people like Fuuko and Mikagami any day; they didn't fear him, and they weren't afraid to say what was on their mind. He unconsciously rubbed his head where Fuuko had smashed her elbow earlier. I'd rather deal with Fuuko-han than Yanagi-han any day…even if it means me getting beaten to a pulp.
"I'll do my best, Joker-san – no, Joker-sensei…" said Yanagi, shyly. "It's not like you hurt me in any way…if you really think about it, it was Mori Koran who hurt me." Joker's face darkened at the mention of the vilest man he knew, before it brightened.
"Spoken like a true Hokage member!" he exclaimed, as he patted her head. "Now answer those questions, Yanagi-han…if you fail Physics, I'm sure that Recca-han will be after my hide." Smiling, Yanagi returned to her work, just as he turned and walked around the class again.
End of Flashback
"See? He probably doesn't mean any harm, Mi-chan," said Fuuko, once Yanagi finished. "I think we should stop being paranoid." Mikagami crossed his arms over his chest.
"I say its better being paranoid than regretting our actions later."
"Mi-chan, the whole battle with them is over! There is nothing that they want from us anymore! Yanagi-chan doesn't even have her healing powers…" pointed out Fuuko. "Besides, Yanagi-chan said he's a good teacher…maybe that is all he came here to do." She refrained from adding that he had told her that he'd stay until he grew bored of the job. Knowing Mikagami, he'd take it the wrong way.
"Did you think he was a good teacher too, Fuuko-chan?" Fuuko sweat-dropped.
"Uh…well, I…erm…" Yanagi gave her friend an accusatory look.
"You weren't paying any attention, were you?"
"Ahaha…I guess not…"
"Fuuko-chan! If you don't start listening in class, how do you expect to sit the exams?"
"Oh, I'll manage, don't worry Yanagi-chan…"
"…As if having three monkeys in school wasn't enough, they had to add another one to the mix…" Fuuko's expression darkened again, before she turned to Mikagami.
"Who, Joker?" He nodded as Fuuko snorted. "He's worse than a monkey…" she mused. "He's just stupid…and cheerful…and always has this silly smile on his face, and – "
" – How was your lesson with him, Mikagami-sempai?" asked Yanagi, seeing that he didn't look too pleased. (Well, that was an understatement; he looked as though he'd like to wrap his hands around Joker's neck and give him a slow and painful death).
"He was being an idiot; as usual."
"What did he do?" asked Fuuko, curiously. "Mi-chan?"
"Nothing…" mumbled Mikagami, as he remembered the names he had been given during the lesson. If he calls me Toki-han again, I swear to God I'll chop him up into a thousand pieces and feed what's left of him to some wild animal or the other. Yanagi and Fuuko warily took a step back from the former Ensui-wielder as they sensed the murderous aura around him.
"Uh…maybe we should…go, Yanagi-chan…?"
"H-hai," said Yanagi, nodding. "Ja, Mikagami-sempai…" With a last worried look in his direction, she followed her brown-haired friend.
Phew…I'm glad that's over. Heh, looks like Mi-chan doesn't like being called 'Mika-han' or 'Toki-han'! Btw, I have a question for you; do you want to see Recca and Domon's reactions to the amazing Joker-sensei in the next chapter, or would you like me to just briefly mention it and then move on with the story? I wouldn't mind either...
Well, see ya with the next chapter!