"We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves."
There was a book of curses rested on his lap, as always, notes scribbled in the corner, and pages worn and yellow from overuse. Megumi Hanajima certainly got some strange glances from people, but I decided a long, long time ago that he was different - in a good way. Yes, he was attractive, with black hair in a style that was nothing special, and eyes that were filled with passion, and longing to find something in the little books he was never without. Megumi was smart too, and although sports wasn't one of his favourite subject, he even excelled in that lesson. But there was one fault that lay underneath all that, a problem that only someone in a similar position would understand - he was lonely, and all he was really ever asking for was a friend, not another admirer.
As I sat in the tree, watching him from afar, I wondered what Megumi was really like. He had a tendency to wear black, and often scared people if they were talking about him behind his back, which they often were.
"I heard his sister sees waves or something," I overheard one of the upperclassmen saying in the library once when I was researching. "And he's not all that normal either. He cursed my sister's friend once, and she was attacked by the wave-girl."
At first I had no idea who they were talking about, until my mind wandered to the boy all the girl gossiped about because of his good looks, and all the boys gossiped about because of his strangeness. Suddenly, I longed for Megumi Hanajima, who I had never really noticed before, to be my friend, although everything I knew about to him was thanks to my good hearing.
"He's so cool!" first-years whispered as he passed.
Of course, the boys in the school didn't enjoy it much. "What are they? Idiots? He's so weird - why would they like him?"
I sighed, and averted my gaze from the reading boy, and instead focused it on a crowd of third-years below who were playing Da Hin Min
"Kagami-chan? Come down from there, you'll end up hurting yourself!"
I jumped, and almost lost my balance, but grasped hold of a branch before I was about to fall, and landed gracefully in front of my best friend - Mai Yamashita. She grabbed hold of one of my black curls, and began to tug on it violently.
"Don't. You. Ever. Climb. A. Tree. Again! Got it?"
I winced, and pulled by long hair up into a ponytail, pieces of it spilling out from the sides. "Why? What's the problem?"
"Don't you see, Kagami-chan? People are treating you like a Yankee! You're never there for half of the classes, you're always climbing trees and you're always in a bad mood around people!"
I half-heartedly flattened down my short brown skirt, adjusted my jumper, and re-tied the ribbon around my neck, just so she'd be pleased with how I looked at least. I didn't bother pulling down my socks, which were pulled as high above my knees as they would go, nor did I even make an attempt to fix my hair, but Mai looked pleased enough, took my hand and dragged me off.
Little did I know, the word 'Yankee' had attracted the attention of a certain someone, who had stopped reading about curses for a second, just to see what was going on.
"Where are you taking me?" I asked innocently, using my free hand to catch the hair tie that just fell out my hair. "Did you know I was doing something very important up in tree. I was making sure that none of the first-years were in danger. You know, hide-and-seek is a very vicious game."
"Sure, sure - because first-years play hide-and-seek, right? For God's sake, Kagami-chan, I know what you were doing up there. You don't have to hide it from me, OK?"
We were now sitting on a bench in a secluded area of the school. I looked at my best friend with a slightly raised eyebrow, and began to eat the muffin she had offered me, half-heartedly. "Hide what?" I asked her. "Stop being ridiculous."
"Oh come on - you have a crush on Megumi Hanajima, don't you? I saw you watching him - it was written all over your face." Mai slouched a little and played around with her neat brown hair as she ate a sandwich, unknowst to the bewildered, almost angry expression on my face.
What did she just say?
"No - no freakin' way," I answered in a small voice. "I told you - I don't want a boyfriend, I don't need a boyfriend, and even if I did have one, what makes you think I would choose him?"
"Hmph." Mai tilted her head. "Well - he's good-looking, smart, good at sports - everything a Yankee girl like you desires but will never have."
"What? You seriously aren't considering it?"
"It was you who starting calling me that - and I've never considered being a Yankee - not now, not ever! How can you say something like that to your best friend? That's awful - it's just... I can't put into words how horrible that sounds coming from you. Aren't you supposed to be my best friend?"
"Hm, I am? Really..."
"Don't play dumb with me, idiot. First you surprise me by saying I have a crush on Megumi Hanajima, and then you call me a Yankee? What the hell?"
"It's that attitude that will-"
"I dare you to finish that sentence, Mai, I dare you."
"Don't you threaten me! What are you doing when you skip class? Huh? I bet your burning down buildings, or running around with a gang. You look innocent enough, but I don't even know you that well. You call me your best friend, but you never invite me to your house, and we never go out with each other or anything like that."
"If that's how you feel, then you can just have your muffin back!"
I threw the chocolate muffin that I had only just taken a bite out of at Mai. It hit her, even though she held up her arm. For a second or two, she sat there in shock, as crumbs rolled out of her hair, and then she stood up abruptly, grasping the sandwich in her left hand.
"That shot was pretty good for someone who claims not to fight!"
Mai threw the sandwich, which hit the side of my head. Butter, lettuce and cucumber clung to my curls, as I very slowly lowered my hands which her protecting the front of my face. She looked livid, and apparently, so did I. More so than I sounded.
"I don't care anymore!" I screamed at her. Grabbing my bag, I darted towards the girl's bathroom to fix my hair. I had to pass a few classrooms on the way there, and I got a few scared and confused glances from people. Was my reputation really that bad? Did people really think I was a-
"Yankee? Hm... I don't know... maybe..."
I froze, and took small steps back, so I was hidden behind the corner.
"To be honest? I don't think she'd have the nerve. I mean, she does her homework, and doesn't say much, but that's when she's in class. The thing is, even she doesn't see that people are scared of her. Mai-san is saying things about her, even though their supposed to be best friends, and, well, all the Yankee rumours come from Mai and Mai alone. I think it's just jealousy, really. Kagami-san is a pretty good looking girl, right? And she got a high score on her exams last year, second only to you, even if she wasn't in class half the time. But Mai-san is right. No one really knows what Kagami-san does out of school. And her hair might be shiny and black, but that doesn't make her innocent, does it? Why did you ask?"
"Hm. No reason."
I knew that voice!
"Isn't your sister friends with a girl who used to be a Yankee?"
"Yes, but she and Kagami-san are completely different."
I didn't want to hear anything else. This was the first time I'd heard people gossiping about me, and one of the people doing it was Megumi Hanajima. I brushed my hair with my fingers, and made sure all the salad was out. Of course, the butter wouldn't come out unless I washed it, and if I was going to do that now, I'd have to pass those two. I knew who the second boy was - one of Megumi's only friends, but I still couldn't believe he would even dare to...
I decided to go the long way. It meant I would have to miss the beginning to class, but it wasn't like I was even considering to go anyway.
Damn him! And to think – I wanted to be his friend!
A/N: Because I didn't introduce you to 'Time to Fly' at the beginning of the chapter, and instead gave you a quote: welcome! Some of my favourite characters are only secondary characters, so my stories are mostly about them, and Megumi is just the first. I hope you enjoy, and remember to review. And by the way – 'change' is one of the main factors in this story, so the quote is suitable and not just random, 'kay?