Well, see, this idea popped into my head and demanded to be written. I had no idea where it was going, and it just sort of kept coming. And coming.
Disclaimer: I do not own CCD, they belong to the amazingly wonderful CLAMP.
A bright blue sky spread over the Clamp campus. Flowers bloomed everywhere, as they always seemed to in the never-ending spring inside the huge school.
"Kaichou, you still have more paperwork to do!" The voice of Takamura Suoh rang out from the Clamp school elementary division council boardroom.
"But Suoooohh," the elementary division president, Imonoyama Nokoru, whined. He was, once again, surrounded by mountains of paperwork.
The youngest member of the elementary division board, the treasurer, Ijyuin Akira, smiled at the usual antics of his board-mates. "Would you like some snacks? Kaichou, Takamura-senpai," the dark-haired boy asked, smiling.
Nokoru perked up instantly. "Yes, please!"
Akira smiled and hurried out to the kitchen. Almost to the door, he stumbled slightly, just managing to regain his balance before falling.
Suoh and Nokoru looked over at their friend's yelp. "Daijoubu, Akira?" Nokoru asked.
"I'm fine!" Akira replied hurriedly, plastering on his signature smile before hurrying out the door.
"Hmmm…" There was a moment of silence, before Suoh spoke up. "Kaichou, don't you think that Ijyuin has been acting strange the last few days?"
"Yes. I wonder why Akira hasn't said anything," the blonde boy mused. His opened fan, held in front of his face, read "A Mystery."
Soon, Akira returned with tea and cake. "Yaay, cake!" Nokoru cheered as Akira set a plate and cup on his desk.
"Hai. It's Angel Cake, kaichou, your favorite," Akira said, reaching to pick up a plate for Suoh. But before he could reach it, he wobbled, his eyes dark and face pale. Before Suoh or Nokoru could react, he fell back, slumping against Suoh.
Suoh swiftly lifted the younger boy and moved over to gently lay him on the couch. "Is he sick?" Nokoru asked worriedly, coming to stand next to his secretary. Suoh laid a hand on the unconscious boy's forehead. "He's burning up with a fever!"
In no time at all, a doctor had been called to the room and was examining Akira. Suoh and Nokoru hovered behind him anxiously. Finally, the doctor stood up from his position kneeling next to Akira and turned to the older boys.
"Well? How is he?" the heir to the Imonoyama zaibatsu demanded.
"He has a high fever, but he should be alright in a few days. Make sure he gets plenty of rest, and give him this medicine when he wakes up," the doctor replied kindly, pulling out a small bottle of red liquid and writing down a quick prescription.
Suoh took the medicine, setting it on the coffee table, and the doctor left. "We should call his mothers," Nokoru commented, reaching for the phone. Suddenly an explosion shook the ground, making the two boys topple over along with half the things on each desk.
"What was that?!" Suoh shouted, as the rumbling subsided.
Nokoru stood and said, "Perhaps it was a project for one of the clubs, though I can't think what would cause such a racket. Or maybe it was an experiment from the university division?" Now his fan read "Ka-Boom!"
Suoh nodded, but as he did, he caught sight of something white out of the corner of his eye. Turning, he gasped. "Kaichou, look!"
Outside, a snowstorm blew fiercely over the grounds.
"How could this happen?"
"That explosion," Nokoru said calmly, "must have been the central heating and cooling system." The immense heating and cooling system of the Clamp school was powerful enough to keep the campus in a perpetual spring all year long. Evidently, it was also powerful enough to start a snowstorm on campus.
Suoh stepped over to the window. "It doesn't seem we'll be able to leave for a while," the blue-haired boy reported.
"I'll call Akira's mothers and let them know what's happening," said Nokoru, picking up the phone.
A few minutes later, the blonde set the phone back down. "Now what should we do?" the blonde mused. A stack of papers landed on his desk, making him jump. "You still have work to do, kaichou. You can't go outside, so you might as well finish it."
"But… we need to look after Akira!"
"Akira needs sleep, and he'll rest better without any of your crazy antics."
Nokoru slumped against the desk, knowing he was defeated. Soon the boardroom was filled with the rhythmic ticking of computer keys, the rustle of papers, and the thud of kaichou's stamp. The next few hours passed uneventfully, until they were – inevitably – interrupted. Nokoru and Suoh whirled to face their kohai as a groan escaped the unconscious boy. He was twisting and struggling on the couch, eyes closed tightly, breaths coming out in huge gasps. Sounds tore from his throat, as if he were trying to scream but couldn't.
Nokoru and Suoh were by his side in an instant, calling out the dark-haired boy's name. Suoh shook Akira's shoulder gently. "Wake up! Akira!" Nokoru called. Slowly, Akira stopped tossing, and his face slackened back to unconsciousness. But a pained edge remained on the young features.
"…" Nokoru and Suoh glanced at each other, both worried about their friend. Akira was always so cheerful, what could cause him to have such a horrible nightmare? And how had he gotten so sick in the first place?
Suddenly Nokoru noticed the sweat that glistened on his treasurer. "He's sweated a lot. We should change his shirt." So Nokoru slipped off Akira's jacket as Suoh went to find a spare shirt.
Akira's eyes flickered open. "Ka… kaichou…?" he murmured, spotting his blonde senpai.
"Hai, Akira. How are you feeling?"
Akira let out a long breath. Instead of answering, he asked, "What happened?"
"You fainted after bringing tea. Has something been bothering you, Akira?" asked Nokoru.
Akira was quiet, but the look in his eye told the older boy that there was something. He sighed and started to unbutton Akira's shirt. For a moment, the feverish boy didn't respond. Then, suddenly, he jumped backwards, away from kaichou, clutching at the collar of his shirt. A terrified expression filled his innocent face.
"Whwh-wh-what are you d-d-d-doing, k-kaichou?" he stammered, the terror still evident in his eyes, even as dizziness erupted fiercely in his head.
"You're sweaty, so I'm changing your shirt," kaichou stated matter-of-factly just as Suoh returned with another shirt and a blanket.
"I-I-I'm f-fine!" Akira claimed unconvincingly.
"You'll get sicker if you sleep with damp clothes on, Ijyuin," Suoh remarked. He moved forward and gently tugged at the dark-haired boy's hands. The terror in Akira's eyes renewed and he tried, unsuccessfully, to pull away from the ninja boy.
"Tell us what's wrong, Akira," said Nokoru kindly. Something about taking his shirt off obviously terrified the younger boy. But Akira shook his head violently, causing him to become dizzier and more light-headed than he already was.
"Now, Akira…" began kaichou in a slightly stern voice, but before he could finish, Akira fell back, against the arm of the couch. Suoh's grip caused his shirt to come partially open, and both older boys gasped as Akira's neck was exposed. On the youngest boy's neck, just low enough to be hidden by the collar of the school uniform was a raw pink mark.
"Ah… ah…!" Akira tried to cover the mark with his hands, but it was too late; it had been seen.
"Akira… what's going on?" Nokoru spoke gently as tears filled his kohai's eyes. Suoh released his hold on Akira's shirt, but the young boy didn't bother fixing it.
"I… I…" Akira choked. He had desperately tried to hide it from his friends, but there was no escaping now. "I'm… being… threatened."
"What?!" "By who?!"
Akira shook his head. "I don't know… I've never seen his face."
"Why is he threatening you, Akira?" Another head shake. "I don't know that either…"
"But how is he threatening you Ijyuin? Is he holding someone hostage?" Suoh asked. Akira didn't want to move anymore, afraid of the dizziness. He bit his lip before quietly whispering, "No."
The dark-haired boy was silent for a moment. When he spoke, it was so quiet that Nokoru and Suoh had to lean closer to hear it.
"If I don't do what he tells me, he'll reveal my secret."
Nokoru and Suoh stared in confusion. "What secret, Akira?" The sick boy bit his lip again and shook his head the tiniest bit. His black bangs hid his eyes. He didn't want to keep it a secret from his friends. But he had to. He had to. His mind flashed back to the night he had been discovered…
It was raining. Cold and hard, winds whipping the branches of trees so that they tossed around, seeming to reach for and scratch at the sky.
20 Masks leaped into a tree, his cape whipping around him. His heist had been successful, but getting home was becoming a problem. Spying a window, he jumped, landing quietly on the balcony and squeezing under the bit of shelter next to the door. He could wait here until the storm died down.
A soft noise made the thief turn his head to peer into the room. It was incredibly dark, but there didn't seem to be anything moving. He settled back against the wall to wait out the storm.
Suddenly the door to the balcony burst open. Akira jumped, but he was cornered against the wall. A figure swept forward before the young boy could escape and pushed him, pinning him to the ground. Knees pinned the dark-haired boy's arms down, prevented him from fighting back. Fingers tugged at his mask, pulling it off. "No!" Akira twisted, trying vainly to get away. A flashlight flared in his face.
"Well, well. Who would have thought someone like you could be the great thief, 20 Masks," a voice spoke. Akira could not see his face because of the flashlight blinding him.
"Promise me you won't run away, and I'll let you up," hissed the voice. "If you do… well then we'll see if they let you stay on the student council board when they find out you're an infamous thief." Horror coursed through the dark-haired boy. His identity had been discovered!! Panicking slightly, Akira quickly agreed and his captor allowed him to stand, though he forced Akira to turn around so that he couldn't see his face. Shaking slightly, Akira pleaded, "Please don't tell anyone my identity!"
"And why shouldn't I?" The smirk was evident in his voice. "I'm sure I'd get a hefty reward for turning you in, 20 Masks aka Ijyuin Akira."
A chill ran down Akira's spine and he asked desperately, "What do you want?!"
"I'll just have to think about that," the captor said maliciously. "I'll be nice. You do whatever I tell you to, and I won't tell anyone the real identity of 20 Masks." He leaned forward, breathing in Akira's ear. "Deal?"
Akira gulped, still shaking. There was no telling what this man would force him to do if he agreed. But if he didn't… then everyone would find out that he was 20 Masks! Not to mention his poor mothers.
Seeing his hesitation, the man whispered, "Just remember, there's no way they'll let you stay on the board once they find out. You'll probably even be expelled. No one will accept a dirty, rotten thief like you."
"Al-alright…" Akira's head drooped. The captor gave another malicious smile. "Good boy… oh and just so you remember our little deal…"
The young thief froze as hands came around, undoing his tie and the top few buttons of his shirt. He shivered as his captor pulled one side of his shirt down to expose the base of his neck. Then he felt teeth sinking into his flesh.
"Ah… Aaah…!" The young thief gasped, about to scream. But a hand covered his mouth and prevented him from doing so.
"Akira… Akira, are you okay?!" Nokoru shook the younger boy's shoulder a little, snapping him out of his reverie.
"U-un," Akira replied, shrinking back slightly.
Suoh kneeled next to Akira alongside Nokoru. "What does he make you do?"
"He… he makes me… steal stuff… and… and- I th-think he's planning to- to make me give him information." The man had contacted Akira several times after their first meeting.
Nokoru and Suoh's worry deepened. Both were running the information through their heads, trying to figure out what to do to catch this horrible man. Who could do such things to Akira?! Both Suoh and Nokoru glanced at the mark on Akira's neck. He was definitely a dangerous man.
Suddenly Nokoru remembered that as well as being terrified, the boy in front of him was sick. "Come Akira, let's get that sweaty shirt off of you," the blonde kaichou said suddenly, standing up and unbuttoning the rest of his kohai's shirt. Akira seemed too tired to register the sudden change in pace and simply gave a small nod as kaichou pulled off his shirt and replaced it with the spare Suoh had found. Nokoru helped him lower himself back onto the sofa. Suoh threw the blanket over the youngest council member.
"Akira…" Nokoru whispered. "What secret is so big that someone can make you do so much?" And that you won't reveal it to us… But the boy was already asleep.
Waaah, I'm sorry Akira! -hugs- This wasn't my original intent, but it just kept coming. I know they are all so out of character, I'm sorry!! But since I wrote it, I figured I should put it up. Please review! I don't have a definite ending, so tell me what you would like to happen.