Hey, there! I wrote this quite a while back and decided what the heck--why not post it? Anyway, it's just a simple one-shot that I wrote on a whim. Hope you like it!
Edit: Actually, this chapter can be read as a one-shot, or you can continue the story. :) Take your pick!
I sit down on the cold, stone steps of the Sun Dorm. The last rays of sunlight reflect off the lake water and into my eyes, blinding me and turning everything else vermillion. I can't stay here for very long, I know… it's almost time for the Night Class to come out, and when they do, the rest of my idiotic classmates will be running to see them like the star-crossed freaks they are. Honestly… do they really see nothing more than looks? I mean, there's more to someone than just the outside. They always go on about Hanabusa Aido… makes me sick. He's so freaking pompous!
Now granted, they aren't all bad. Aido's just the most… noticeable, shall we say. No one really notices the one I've got my eyes on (which is a blessing for me)…
His name is Takuma Ichijo.
Ichijo… with his longish, dirty blond hair and those cool green-gray eyes… He's always got a smile on his face and he says "hello" to everyone in this really cheerful tone. He seems pretty nice—and he's cute, which, like I said before, isn't all-important, but is a nice bonus. Not only this, but he likes manga, to boot. Seriously—how amazing is that? I saw him carrying some volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist and Death Note once… those are definitely two of my favorites. Now there's someone I could fall for: sweet, hot, and manga otaku… no, wait—I think I already have fallen for him…
Excuse me. I tend to ramble a bit.
The point of the matter is, I can't go to see him. They say the Night Class is all made up of honors students. Another plus: he's smart. But that's also a bad thing. I know he'll end up figuring out I like him if I go every night to stare at him. I mean, that's not exactly hard to see through—no pun intended.
Anyone could figure that out.
The creak of the door opening behind me made me jump. Time to move… The Day Class is off to watch the Night Parade.
And so, I just head off into the grounds to meander. I hope I don't get caught by the disciplinary committee, this time… Zero's always so PO'd about something or other. Why is he so mad all the time, anyway? And is it such a horrendous crime to walk about the school grounds at night? They always act like it's such a big deal, like our lives are in danger or something. Geez. Lighten up, will ya?
But then… that only makes me think that there's some awful secret about the Night Class that would endanger us… And the thought makes a chill run up and down my spine. What could all of the Night Class students have in common that would threaten us? Is there really something so bad… that even Ichijo…
I just sigh and stop thinking about it. I'm getting paranoid for nothing.
Paranoid! That's all the disciplinary members are… paranoid. They're so dead bent on enforcing the rules that they need to make a big fuss about it.
I hope that's all, anyway.
The leaves crunch as I walk through the grass to my favorite tree. From there, I can see the school building, both dorms, the headmaster's office, and the lake. It's quite a view. If I climb up higher, I can catch a glimpse of town, too… beyond the lake…
By now, the sun has set, and I can see the hordes of Day Class girls flocking to the school's entrance to look at the Night Class as they walk by. I suppress a groan and close my eyes… but I can still hear them. Unfortunately.
But being alone gives me time to think… so I do. Get my mind off my girly-girl "kyaah kyaah" swoon-over-Kaname-Kuran classmates, anyway. If Zero and Yuki are so strict that they have to enforce the rules, then why do they break those rules by falling asleep in class all the time? It doesn't fit. Are they or aren't they obsessed with rules…?
I'd guess they aren't. Which would mean there's a reason why they don't want us to be around the Night Class.
It drives me insane!
I can only sigh and stop thinking about it. Etsuko's always telling me that I think too much, anyway. My gaze drifts out onto the lake, where the moon's reflection can already be seen. I stare at it for so long that I fall asleep…
I am jerked awake by a voice calling below me. I grip the branches of the tree—I almost fall out because I'm taken so off-guard! Below me stands none other than Takuma Ichijo.
I gulp noisily. "Um… hi." Thank goodness I don't blush very often.
"It's not a good idea to fall asleep in trees, you know," he says with that infectious smile of his. "You could fall out and hurt yourself."
"Right," I say with a nervous laugh. "I'll be right down." Within a few seconds, I'm standing on the ground before him. About ready to leave, my eyes are drawn to the books under his arm…
Three manga volumes… each one the latest issue of its series.
Her Majesty's Dog, Bleach, and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle.
"Ohmigosh, I didn't know the next Bleach volume was out!" I say before I can stop myself. "Where'd you get it!?"
He laughs. I love Ichijo's laugh… it sounds so pleasant and genuine, and pretty. That can't be said of every laugh. Most are cackling, guffawing, too breathy, too loud, or too nasal. His laugh is none of these, but rich, light, and meaningful. "I didn't know you were into manga."
"I'm a manga freak," I admit with a grin. "I'm totally hooked."
"What's your favorite series?"
I shrug. "I don't have a favorite, really. Now, I have a top five list…"
He nods, turning to lean against the tree. "What are the top five, then?"
"Bleach, Her Majesty's Dog, FMA, Death Note, and Peacemaker."
His green eyes shine brightly in the moonlight as he stares in open fascination. "That's a little eerie…"
"Those are my top five favorites." Ichijo smiles and sits down, his back still to the tree, and he motions for me to sit next to him. I was going to go back to the dorm, but who am I to deny one of the elite Night Class members the pleasure of my company…? I might not if it was Aido, but this was most certainly not Aido. "What's your name?"
"I'm Hikari Yagari. And you're Takuma Ichijo."
He chuckles. "Yeah… I guess being in the Night Class here automatically means instant infamy, huh?" To my complete and utter surprise, a slight blush creeps into his cheeks.
I would pretend not to notice, but I can't help myself. I giggle and say, "You're ashamed of that?"
"You're blushing, Ichijo-sempai!"
"Am I?" He smiles nonchalantly and looks down at the grass. "I guess I'm just not used to being around pretty girls."
The words flew out of my mouth before I could stop them. "Bull crap! You're in the Night Class! There's Ruka and Seiren and Toya…"
He shakes his head, though, which makes his long blond bangs get into his eyes. He brushes them away. "They're not all that good-looking. Not next to you, anyways." His gentle smile is enough to make my heart melt.
"It's just 'Takuma.'"
"Takuma-sempai, then." I stop. My heart thuds audibly in my chest. Before I can say anything else, I actually look down at my torso, distracted by my own audible heartbeat.
Ichijo laughs at this. "That's cute, Hikari-chan. It's like something out of a manga."
I can't help but laugh. Ichijo makes me feel at ease… except when he's saying something about my looks. "Yeah… you've got me there… And now we've run full circle. What now?"
"I'm not keeping you from anything, am I?"
I shake my head. "Only sleep."
There's a rustle in the grass and he's moving to rise. "I shouldn't keep you up too late. The disciplinary committee will be after us…"
I blow a raspberry and stare off into the distance. "Bah. Who cares about them? And who needs to sleep at night when you've got all day in class to do that?"
He looks a little concerned. "But your grades will hurt if you do that."
"Once won't kill me. I normally don't do that, and all my teachers seem to like me, so if I do, I'll probably just get off with a warning."
"Oh." Ichijo sits back down and hands me the Bleach volume. "Wanna borrow it?"
My eyes light up—I can't help it! "Can I?"
"Just return it to me when you can. I haven't read it quite yet, either."
"Oh, I don't want to make you wait on me!" I say, handing it back. "I don't know when I'm gonna see you next."
"But you don't know when you're going to get another copy, do you?" he presses. I am absolutely stunned by his generosity. We only just met, and he's lending me his unread manga. I feel privileged. As an otaku myself, I know how big a deal something like this can feel like.
After a pause, I come up with an idea. "Let's read it together, now," I suggest. "I mean, you don't have any other plans, do you?"
He shakes his head. "No. Let's do it." Without warning, he scoots up close to me—I freeze up. "Something wrong?" he asks, looking at me with a touch of concern. "Am I making you uncomfortable?"
"On the contrary," I mumble. "It's a little too comfortable." There is a pause and he looks at me strangely. "I'm sorry! I don't mean to make you feel awkward."
"It's not awkward," insists Ichijo. He holds the volume out in front of both of us, but I can't see because of his hand. "Um… you'd see it better if…" and he puts his arm around me to hold it in place.
His arm feels a little cold, I'm surprised to notice, and his hold on the book never wavers once. He doesn't even twitch. It's practically inhuman.
His arm is cold enough that it makes me shiver. He stops and puts down the book, and takes off his white jacket, putting it around my shoulders, and resumes his former position with his arm about me.
And I… I am too stunned to move. I stare at the pages of Bleach, but don't take in any of the information. The smell from his jacket fills my nostrils… it smells so good! And I find myself leaning my head against his shoulder.
"Done?" he asks, ready to turn the page.
"Yeah." I totally wasn't. I couldn't even say what the pages held. Something about the Vizards in the Soul Society, maybe? But Urahara was there, too, only without his hat—and Aizen, who wasn't a captain yet. If I'd read it, it might have made more sense.
Before I knew it, he was asking me if I was done with the next page, and the next. Our pace kept getting quicker and quicker… until I finally shook my head rapidly to clear it, like a dog trying to remove itself of water. Ichijo looks over at me, a question in his eyes.
"Have you any idea what's going on here? Because I definitely don't."
He laughs again. Did I mention how nice his laugh sounds? "I haven't the slightest clue! We're not getting anywhere like this…" I look over, and his green eyes are staring back at mine, full of smiles and good humor. "You look so pretty in the moonlight…"
I blush profusely, but cease to really care as my eye is drawn to his smile… his teeth… They are… pointed… like a…
Like a vampire's. They were far too pointed to belong to anything else. Suddenly, it all made sense: the Disciplinary Committee's unwillingness to let us wander around at night, why they kept our classes apart so fiercely, and why everyone in the Night Class was so talented, beautiful, and nocturnal.
He must have seen the look of alarm on my face, because the spell is broken and he looks at me in surprise. "Is something wrong?"
"Y-you… y-you're a v-v-vamp… a vampire!?"
"Oh, crap." I try to move away, but his arms hold me in place. I can't fight him; he's stronger than iron, and… his gaze holds me more captive than any cage, including that of his arms. "This is what we are… the Night Class," he explains softly, shaking his head to free his line of vision from his hair. "We are vampires. Are you… afraid?"
This is enough to snap me back to reality. "Afraid? Of vampires…? Duh! I'd be an idiot not to!"
Before I know it, he sighs and looks away. I know the expression on his face… self-loathing. I've seen it on Zero, on my best friend Etsuko, on my mom before she went to the institute… and now, on Takuma.
"Are you afraid of me?" he asks softly… so softly, I almost don't hear it.
The look on his face is anything but scary. Vampire or no, it's too genuine to be an act… and I can't stand that look. I wrap my arms around him. "No. I'm not."
I can tell he's stunned. But then, his hand takes hold of my chin and guides it upward… and his lips press gently against mine.
I melt into his arms, and after a few seconds, he pulls back. He brushes my hair from my face, and smiles a little. "That's good to know. I don't want you to be afraid of me."
The piercing shriek of a whistle makes us both jump. "HEY! You know better, Ichijo!" cries Yuki as she races across the grass toward us. "What would Kaname say if he found out?"
"Found out what?" he asks innocently. "I haven't told her any secrets." Under Yuki's quelling glare, he sighs and lets go of me. I take the hint and back away. "It was only a kiss. She just wanted to read some of my manga. I started that part," he admitted. "If you give her any punishment for this… I'll sic Aido on you."
Yuki blinks in surprise and takes a step back, then stares at him mutinously, pulling out her Artemis rod. "You wouldn't dare…"
"Now, now… not in front of Hikari-chan," he says reprovingly, standing up lazily.
"Aren't you supposed to be in class, Ichijo?" snaps Zero as he arrives.
"Aren't you supposed to be in bed?"
"No," says Zero, looking angry and confused at once. "I'm a disciplinary committee member, stupid."
" 'Stupid,' says the one with bad grades," I mutter under my breath as get to my feet.
Zero gives me his infamous death-stare. I stare back boldly. I'm not scared of him. 'Sides, I've got a vampire on my side, whether they know that I know I do or not.
With a sigh, Zero puts his hand on Yuki's rod. It spits and zaps, but he doesn't seem to mind. "Put it away, Yuki. Don't cause a scene."
"But he—and Yagari-chan…" Zero's glare makes her go silent—with some obvious reluctance. "Fine. If he bites her, I'm not responsible."
"He won't," said Zero. In his hand is a silver gun with a chain.
My eyes grow wide. "Is that really necessary, Kiryu?" I ask nervously. "It was only a kiss…"
"No, it's not," comes another voice. Kaname Kuran walks up. "Back, Kiryu."
Zero's challenging glare is finally stared down by Kuran, and Zero actually backs away. I can't help but gawp at this. Kuran actually made Zero obey!
"My apologies, Kaname," says Ichijo hastily. He bends to pick up his books.
But Kaname is looking straight at me. I blink, but hold my ground. "Yes, Kuran-sama?"
"Ichijo's jacket, please," he says in his dark-velvet voice.
Ichijo, however, starts to protest as I reach to remove it. "But she's cold—yes, Kaname."
"It's okay, Ichijo. The dorm's not that far." I hand the jacket back. "Thanks, though." Kuran keeps looking at me, though. "That's not all, is it?" I ask softly.
"No. Ichijo, if you would."
He bites his lip and holds back a sigh. "Yes, Kaname." His eyes are tired, now, and full of reluctance. "I'm sorry, Hikari-chan. I didn't want to have to do this…"
His hand reaches up to my forehead. "When you awaken, you will have no memory of tonight…" My eyes go wide with saddened surprise, which only makes his expression more sorrowful. "Please understand, it was not my choice. I enjoyed our chat."
And everything turns black.
A sharp screech fills my ears. I groan as I feel around the table for my alarm clock. Something else, though, meets my fingers… something slick. Ignoring the clock's cries, I pick up the item. It's a volume of manga. The latest Bleach volume, in fact. I'd been looking forward to this for so long! But whose is it? Who sent it here?
I open the cover of the book. In a thin, crisp, calligraphy, reads the message:
Return it when you can.
I look at it in wonder. But how did I get this…?
A dim memory of the kiss comes back. But it was all a dream… wasn't it? Ichijo and I have never kissed… I've never even said more than three words to him.
"Hey, Yagari! Turn off the freaking alarm!"
My head jerks up to the voice of Etsuko, who looks at me grumpily. Immediately I shut it off.
I shouldn't think about it anymore. I think too much, anyway. Instead, I lay the book down on my bed and go get dressed. I'll read it in class and return it to Ichijo tonight when the Night Class goes to school…
And maybe, I'll get to see his smile. A brief image of Ichijo pops into my head, only he's got vampire fangs. I shake my head. That can't be right…
After all, vampires don't exist.