Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from Figure 17, I'm just borrowing them for awhile.

Figure 17: Echoes

Tsubasa Shiina paused, the brown haired teen taking a deep breath as she stopped by the gate of the school. She was a bit scared, even though she had been going to school in Tokyo for nearly a year, but she still strived to beat her habit of shyness.

'At least I'm doing well in class,' Tsubasa mused as she took her seat, her short hair falling around her face. The brown eyed young woman was slim and athletic, already being courted by a few of the sports clubs, and she worked hard to maintain a good average grade. 'I just wish I had more to do out of class,' she admitted.

For most of her life Tsubasa had been haunted by a indescribable longing... the sensation of having lost something incredibly precious. She tried to ignore it or put it out of her mind, but it always lingered in the back of her mind. What was strange was that she couldn't even say what had been lost... just that it had been incredibly dear to her.

"Shiina-san?" the voice murmured quietly behind her.

Tsubasa turned to look at Yuko Okawa, the black haired girl who sat behind her. A nice, responsible girl Yuko often found herself saddled with class duties that she carried out with a cheerful air. "Yes?" Tsubasa asked quietly.

Yuko looked a bit sheepish as she asked, "I didn't get all the math homework... could you go over it with me?"

Tsubasa smiled slightly as she softly answered, "Sure."

Both girls had their heads bent over the book as Tsubasa ran over last day's work once again, Yuko listening eagerly. The other girl would look up and smile at Tsubasa as they worked, reaching out to touch her hand as she understood a certain point.

"Good morning class," the teacher briskly said as he entered, the two girls reluctantly seperating and turning to face forward once more.

As the classes continued Tsubasa focused on her work, but she also found her thoughts turning to the past. 'Was it a friend I lost?' she wondered as one teacher left and another arrived, 'Is that what I still feel?'

As lunch break arrived Yuko sat across from Tsubasa, sighing in relief. "Thanks for helping me," she smiled, "I was so scared I'd get called on and not be able to answer."

"You'd do all right," Tsubasa said firmly.

"Maybe," Yuko reached out to squeeze Tsubasa's hand, "but I'm glad you were there to help me."

Tsubasa blushed slightly, "I was glad to help."

"Look at the lezzies!" a boy cried, laughing, his voice overriding the usual buzz of classroom conversation..

Tsubasa found herself jerking to her feet, looking around fiercely, so much so everyone around her was cowed. "Who...?" she said fiercely.

"Easy," the class president stood up, the young woman's longer brown hair swinging as she moved, "no fighting."

Yuko put her hand on Tsubasa's arm, "She's right."

Tsubasa subsided, sitting back down as she said firmly, "He didn't have the right to say that about you."

Yuko gave her a thoughtful look, "Thank you." Tsubasa smiled back, both girls finishing their lunches before classes began once more.

Occasionally, Tsubasa wondered how her shy, introverted younger self might react to meeting her more outgoing self, now. She knew she had changed a lot as she grew into her teens, a process helped by her father finally settling to run his own bakery here in Tokyo. Once they stayed in one place for awhile Tsubasa began to make friends, and with roots came more confidence to stand up for herself.

'I wonder if I should have done something about that guy?' Tsubasa wondered as she exchanged smiled and nodded at friends and members of her club as they walked out of the gates to the school.

"Yo!" a boy's voice barked and Tsubasa sighed, turning around to face the boy from her class. Shinji Ito wasn't much taller than Tsubasa, and his normally pleasant features were twisted by a sneer.

Tsubasa met his eyes calmly, "Yes?"

Shinji seemed a bit thrown by her calm reaction. "What do you think you were doing, carrying on in class?" he demanded.

"I wasn't doing anything," Tsubasa replied honestly, keeping a wary eye on him.

"Ha!" Shinji replied, "Everyone knows about you and Yuko."

Tsubasa met his eyes calmly as she answered, "Then they'd better tell me, because I haven't heard anything."

Shinji grit his teeth as he growled, "Don't mock me!"

'Oh great,' Tsubasa mentally sighed as Shinji snapped. With a roar he charged at her, hands extended. Waiting until nearly the last moment she dodged, stepping aside as she thrust a leg out. Shinji tripped, unable to dodge at the speed he was going and crashed to the ground as students began to laugh at him.

"Why you...!" Shinji pulled himself up, eyes glittering with rage.

Despite knowing it probably wouldn't help Tsubasa offered, "This doesn't have to go any farther, you know. You can just walk away."

Shinji glared as he stood, rubbing his hands together. "The only one going away," he growled out, "is you on a stretcher." Obviously feeling the first time was a fluke Shinji charged again, relying on nothing but guts and fury.

Sadly, one of the things being picked on as a little girl had caused in Tsubasa was a burning desire not to let it happen again. And while she wasn't a black belt in anything she had attended more than one self defense class, rather unlike the enraged Shinji. Smoothly she grabbed his arm and shifted her weight, redirecting him right towards the wall surrounding the school.

"Oww!" Shinji yelped, staggering backwards right into several boy's arms.

"That's it," one said firmly as the other helped hold him up, "you're done."

"Bu' I c'n," Shinji slurred, shaking his head to clear the spots in his eyes.

"Stop it," the second guy said, "you're just looking like a idiot."

Shinji digested that then looked around him, realizing that most of the students were frowning disapprovingly at him, NOT at Tsubasa. He straightened up, catching a trickle of blood running down from his nose as he tried to say in a dignified way, "You're lucky I went easy on you." With that he stomped off, not waiting for a answer.

"Thanks," she sighed to the students who had helped even as the watching crowd began to finally disperse.

"Tsubasa!" Yuko cried as she hurried out the school and up the sidewalk towards them, nearly throwing herself in her arms. "I came as soon as I heard...."

'This is really going to help the rumors,' Tsubasa thought to herself wryly. "Everything turned out okay," she answered as the crowd once more fixed interested eyes on them.

Yuko didn't seem inclined to let go as she looked Tsubasa over and softly asked, "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, really," Tsubasa tried a smile, "if anyone was hurt it was him."

Yuko drew back a bit, taking Tsubasa's hands in hers as she murmured, "If you had been hurt, I don't know what I'd do."

Keeping Yuko's hand in her's Tsubasa started them walking home, the other students clearing the way as they walked together. 'I think we have some things to talk about,' she thought as she felt the cold, empty place within her begin to warm at last. "Wanna walk home with me" she asked softly.

"I'd love too, Yuka purred.


Note: Based on thinking about how Tsubasa might have reacted to the death of her 'sister' Hikaru, even if she did get erased from her memory. All characters other than Tsubasa are Ocs, names based on mixing character and voice actor names from Figure 17 cast.