Chapter Two - Hollow Intent
The morning after the battle with the Hollow for the boy and the meeting with the Second Squad Shinigami she had taken to calling "Not Important", she awoke late. Very late. A look at her beside clock told her that it was almost ten o'clock, making her just short of two hours late for school. She chose to forgo her usual shower in favour of a wash and throwing on the school uniform she had worn the previous day rather than hunting for a new one in her cupboard. She skipped breakfast entirely, deciding that after fighting Hollows all night, she could do a day at school without sustenance standing on her head. Rather than tempt fate, however, she grabbed a bottle of water and dropped it into her school bag just before jogging out of the door without a goodbye to her mother. The question came to her mind when she was halfway to school why exactly her her mother had not woken her, and she made a mental note to ask why she had not been disturbed when she got home that night. Heh, how immature; it was her who'd overslept, not her mother... To be honest, she supposed it was the sudden release of her Zanpakuto. Taiyouken really takes it out of her, although she managed to hide it well at the time, it had alot to do with the fact that she didn't have a great deal of reiatsu to begin with, and the sudden release of power left her lightheaded and generally drained. She should probably have flash stepped face to face with the Hollow, blocking its approach, and cut it clean in two with her sealed sword.
"Pffft... No point thinking about what I could have done." She muttered to herself as she came into her school's road. "The point is I did it, and I'm-"
"--LATE!" A chalk board rubber smacked her hard in the forehead as she absent mindedly came round the corner. It fell away and clattered to her feet, leaving a solid red mark on her face where it had been a second before. Her whole body twitched with rage as she tried to blink the chalk from her eyes and keep the man who had thrown it in her vision, ready in case he did something else. She took a few seconds, but she regained the use of her voice enough to yell expletives at her teacher while she rubbed her face like a creature possessed.
"What the fuck kind of teacher does that to a student? ASSHOLE!" In the seconds that followed, neither said a word, and the silence in the air was broken only by Liana's heavy breathing as she struggled to keep her temper in check, using everything in her being to hold back from actually lashing out at the man who was supposed to be teaching a class, not hunting down a single latecomer. The tense situation was diffused almost immediately when Mr Wyatt broke a broad grin upon his forty-year old stubbly face, blue eyes seeming to glow with energy.
"You were spaced out. Kiara said she hadn't heard from you, so like a good parent, I came searching for my daughter's friend!!" He struck a super sentai pose, declaring "SUPER PARENT TEACHER!"
"And..." She was once again enraged by her best friend's father's idiocy, "...The board rubber?" He looked at her blankly for a moment before declaring;
"Proving that your reflexes need wo-" He never finished uttering 'work', as Liana had closed the gap between the two of them since he started the sentance, and by the time it was coming to a close was trying with some considerable effort to ram the offending board rubber down her teacher's throat. They fought for a few minutes before she finally gave in; he was a monster...
"Right," He seemed to straighten up and change completely with his utterance, "You are, as I said, you are late. As such, you will spend your lunch break in my office with me, and you will make up the last two hours of your schooling with me after school." He looked at her, as though daring her to challenge his authority. Rather than doing so, however, she walked past him and into the school gates and called back: "Fine, whatever."
She was almost to the main doors when he jogged by her and yelled, as he flew through the double doors and down the corridor: "Well never mind, then. It was supposed to be a punishment, and if you're going to be so casual then it's obviously not doing its job properly..." And he disappeared into the third classroom along, where she would be entering moments later. She sighed and slowed to a walk; he was an idiot, of course, but he did help her forget about the other life she led...
As expected, he once again made a big thing of her turning up late, this time in front of the class. She simply ignored it all and took her seat beside Kiara in the hope that eventually he would shut up. It came all the way to lunch time at one o'clock before he finished babbling about detention this and suspension that, but as they all knew he would, when he dismissed the class to go and eat, Liana was sent off along with everyone else. Kiara and Liana sat on a bench out in the school grounds away from everyone else and began to talk.
"Your dad's a moron. Sorry, he just is." She shrugged as if to emphasise the inevitability of the situation.
"Don't you think I know that? In truth you should be grateful that he's such an idiot or you'd have gotten in some serious trouble by now..." Ever the voice of reason, Kiara was right, of course. Liana was rubbing her forehead while she talked, still blinking constantly where chalk had gone into her eyes; they were bloodshot, the inflammation defiling her usually fairly beautiful green eyes, and her vision was blurry as a result. "He's still an idiot." She spat. They sat in silence for a little while, neither feeling much like eating, even Liana who had forgone eating breakfast. Well, she was hungry, she just couldn't be bothered to move all the way to the cafeteria to get food to eat. Suddenly Kiara clapped her hands and pulled a rather foolish face;
"OH!" The sudden noise made Liana jump, and glare at her; all over again she took in her friends features. She had long, blond hair and innocent-looking blue eyes which made people think she was the stereotypical "dumb blond". This wasn't the case; she was slow, and her thoughts tended to wander, but she was most definitely one of the smartest people she knew, always getting top marks in school exams without any visible effort. Liana spent a great deal of time with her, and she knew she never studied, either. Whether it was the fact that her father was her teacher giving her a reason to prove herself or something else, she was one of the most genuinely natural academic people she had ever met. She was suddenly brought back to conscious thought as her head was poked hard, followed by a whine normally attributed to small dogs;
"HEY. I'M TALKING. PHASE OUT AFTERWARDS." The noise alone would have jolted her back awake, there was no need to poke the newly formed bruise on her forehead as well... one or the other would have- "HEY. YOU'RE DOING IT AGAIN, LIKE... RIGHT AWAY!!" She poked her again. Liana raised her head and bit her finger. Hard. An ear-piercing scream was released from her lungs, and Kiara yanked it free, squealing all the way, head flailing from side to side. She took a few minutes to calm down, with tears streaming down her face and blood dripping from the newly opened wound on her suddenly puffy right index finger. She was about to squeal once again when Liana put her finger to her lips, having gone back to being calm and collected, and lent forward as if to whisper in her ear. Kiara seemed to think for a moment, then lent forward alongside her to listen. Liana breathed in deeply and then shouted:
"YOU WERE GOING TO SAY SOMETHING??"
After a short while, the two had cooled off and the stupidity was over. Kiara remembered what she had wanted to say, and told her friend about the new boy in the class that had transferred that morning. Liana looked at her blankly for a moment before querying what she had just heard;
"Wait, what? If we've got a new guy in the class, then why was your dad paying me so much attention?" She huffed.
"Well... We haven't done any work today. He insisted that Kai, this new guy, tell as everything about himself. Everything. Poor guy." She scratched her head disdainfully.
"Poor guy." She agreed.
"When Dad saw you walking down the road from the window and suddenly bolted out of the classroom, he breathed a sigh of relief and took his seat at the back of the room. He blends in perfectly." Well that's good, she thought in response. If you can't shrug of the old guy's abuse, you wouldn't last long at the school. "Oh I was gonna ask Ardell to come eat with us, but he had plans or something..." She visabley blushed. No wonder, she had swapped calling him 'Kai' to 'Ardell'; sounds like someone's smitten. "So, Kai Ardell..." She started in response, but before they could talk any longer, the bell rang, and they started moving back towards the main building. As the were walking down the corridor, Liana dropped back into the conversation.
"Do you fancy introducing us?" She asked suddenly, wanting to know the guy that had confused her so much she was getting his first and surnames confused.
"Yeah, sure, I'll point him out to you." Was the reply that came. Not quite what I meant, but alright...
She needn't have asked her to point him out for her. "Never mind" She said as she waved in her face as she went to guide her on over to him; she knew which one he was without any direction, he was the only one she didn't recognise in the slightest. She'd never seen him before in her life, so he had to be the one. She went over to the boy, tapped him on the shoulder, and mumbled "Kai, right?"
The boy looked up at her inquisitively, his red hoody and bandanna and weird (almost glowing?) yellow eyes being his most defining features, and shook his head with a strange grin on his face. "Don't be silly, Sorrel-chan; it's me, Ardell." Before she could process her response, (this idiot doesn't know what his name is? Or was it just Kiara actually getting this guy's name wrong?) Kiara came up behind her in the same way as she had to the new kid, tapped her on the shoulder and said "Oh come on, no need to be stupid, is there?" Liana looked back, visably confused now; "Huh? But... New guy?" For a moment Kiara looked as confused as Liana did, and then there looked to be a pang of anger in her eyes. She gripped her shoulder and half guided, half dragged her out of the classroom door. The moment the door swung closed, she started to shout as if insane.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" She didn't wait for a response. "Look, I know you don't particularly like the guy, but he's my boyfriend, you could do me the favour of being at least decent towards him, couldn't you?" Boyfriend? Wow, she didn't waste any time, did she? Liana realised suddenly that something was wrong. If he wasn't the new guy, who the hell was, never mind the fact that she didn't know this 'Ardell' guy either? She waited for Kiara to continue shouting, but she seemed to have calmed down.
"Hey, I'm sorry, I've been under a bit of stress; on second thought do you mind showing me the new guy, please? I'll explain what just happened later." She could see that Kiara had her doubts about this, so she stressed "...Please." Her response was to throw her hands up in the air and walk back into the room, making no gesture for her to follow. Regardless, she did in fact follow.
She was led to the other far corner of the room, to a boy who was silently looking out of the window. She couldn't explain how she felt; she knew the guy wasn't someone she'd spoken to, but she was certain that she'd met him before. That was the only explanation she had for whatever was going o-- She never finished the thought, as all at once she realised where she had seen the boy before. It was the Shinigami she had saved the previous night. So Soul Society and intervened and given him somewhere to stay, under her wing, she supposed. But that didn't explain the other guy; she looked over her shoulder at Ardell and got a sly smile and a wave for her troubles. All of a sudden she understood why Kiara thought she didn't like him. Because she didn't. She had phased out again, and hadn't noticed that Kiara had started talking, so when she jolted awake she simply began to nod at whatever it was she had been saying until she caught on to the conversation.
"...And he doesn't live with his family at the moment, either." The boy, Kai, she corrected herself, looked up at her and smiled awkwardly. He was the complete opposite of that weirdo Ardell, and she took an instant liking to him. She had no intention of bringing up the events of the previous night until they got a moment alone, but was about to share some basic pleasantries when her phone beeped loudly at the same time as Mr. Wyatt came back into the room, presumably to start the day's lessons. She looked at the flip phone as she took it out of her pocket, even though she knew full well what it was going to be. It was a Hollow, not three blocks from the school; there was no way she could ignore this. She had to leave right away. She looked up at Kiara's father and began to plead: "Sir?" "Go." Was his answer. This took her by complete surprise; did he know something, or was he just guessing that she was going to ask to leave, and knew that he couldn't physically stop her? She left without looking anyone in the eye. She was still thinking about Mr. Wyatt's behavior when she ran out of the school gates and began searching her pockets for her Gikongan, and did not notice the figure leaping across the rooftops behind her.
Liana hunts down the Hollow as instructed, but does not notice until too late that she too is being hunted! Next time: Chapter Three - A Cornered Animal.
I've decided to do all of my chapters fairly short, for two reasons: Number one, it's more like a manga series that way, and Number Two, it's easier to write in short bursts and limits the chances of me losing interest in the writing. I really enjoyed writing this bit of the story; I can only apologise for the lack of action in this chapter, though. Those of you that think you know where the story is going, you're probably wrong! (sticks out tongue)