Bet you guys never thought you were getting another one of these huh? (Neither did I, to be honest.) It's lacking some polish but I think it's decent and I figured, hey why not put it up? So I did.


He had known how she was—all her little quirks and habits. Had known she was an optimist who mercilessly teased everyone and could sweet-talk her way out of an execution. He knew that she was something you couldn't pin down nor predict. But there would come times when he was reminded all over again that there was truly no way to completely understand the oddity that was Riichi Arisato.

"Is there a reason you're carrying that around?"

The girl looked up at him, wide red eyes alert with curiosity and smiles. She turned her gaze on the object in her hand before returning it to him. "Well, protection I guess?"

Shinjirou found himself sighing. "For one thing, we're going to the grocery store. And another, is that supposed to be a jab meaning you don't trust me to protect you?"

Riichi allowed a sly smile to dance across her lips. "I hadn't intended it to be a blow to your masculinity Senpai," she chirped, ignoring his twitch of irritation. "You just never can tell these days though. What if we get attacked by a whole gang, and while you're fending off five or so of them, I end up being cornered by a few? Whatever shall I do if I don't have this for protection?" She sounded so sure of herself, with a raise of her nose and a jump in her step.

The boy took a moment to soak this in before responding. "You're carrying around a lacrosse stick, and you're telling me it's so you can fight off a gang?"

She nodded curtly. "Exactly."

He was unable to grasp her logic, and it took him a few moments of silence before he was finally able to form a response. "You didn't join a team did you?" The thought of her devoting time to something else made him exhausted. It shouldn't have been possible for someone with such a tiny frame to be involved in as much as she was.

Riichi gave a light laugh, regarding him with a bright smile. "That's silly, you know I don't have time for that. Plus, we don't have a lacrosse team for over a hundred miles." She laughed again, seeming to find the whole thing far more amusing than he thought it really was.

Shinjirou wasn't sure how to respond to this either, but rather than getting mocked again he decided this time to leave it at that. They walked in silence for a few more blocks. It wasn't unusual for them, though he had to admit it had been a while since Riichi had kept her mouth shut for a long period of time. He really would have liked to keep it that way (it wasn't that he didn't like hearing her talk, but honestly it was nice to have her run out of things to babble about for once; especially because the majority of topics that she introduced were stranger than strange) but the curiosity was eating him up inside. And not being accustomed to being curious, the boy was at a loss at how to squash it before it could grow anymore.

"So where the hell did you find that?" he asked. He certainly had it bad if he was acting this idiotically because of a girl and her choice of sports gear.

Riichi cocked her head lightly, seeming to think this sudden desire to talk as strange as he did. "Well," she said, focusing her gaze back in front of her. "It was a gift from a friend."

The boy eyed her carefully. "A friend?" he tested, not really sure if he should believe her. After all what kind of friend gave lacrosse sticks as gifts to people who didn't even play the sport?

She nodded once, bright smile engulfing her face again. "Yup. It's the same friend who gave me that bat. You know, the one with all those nails drilled into it." Shinjirou began wondering if maybe he should pay closer attention to who she was hanging around with. The damn girl was going to get herself into trouble. "Oh he also gave me the Jack gloves I gave to Akihiko-senpai" Her smile brightened and she giggled lightly. "I thought they were really cute, so I made sure to ask for them first."

"And he just gives these things to you?"

This time she shook her head. "Of course not," she snipped through pursed lips. "I'm not someone who just takes things. I'm the one who runs errands for him first."

Was she pouting now? By the sharp look in her eyes he was pretty sure she was. This thought made him smirk a little in amusement before he realized what he had just said. "You run errands?"

Another nod. "Nothing big really. Normally it's just things like 'bring back the hair of this monster'. Stuff like that. Oh! Sometimes he asks me for odd things though." He didn't miss the fact that she was basically saying wanting a shadow's hair wasn't odd. "I got him a model from the science classroom once. It was creepy looking, I have to say."

Shinjirou found himself unsure of whether he was irritated or curious. She was speaking so animatedly about whoever 'he' was. It was kind of unnerving to know he had no name or face to the guy. "So," he started, treading carefully over the matter. "Do I know this guy?" It wouldn't be good to appear too interested. She'd take it the wrong way and start teasing him about some imagined jealousy.

Riichi paused, placed a finger to her lips, and seemed to be deep in thought. "I don't think so," she finally said. "Does the name Theodore ring a bell?"

He gave her a strange look before giving a blunt, "No."

The girl held up her hand and shook her index finger twice. "There you have it then," she stated. "Though, I'm not entirely sure about Theo myself."

Well this was certainly reassuring. Not only was this 'Theo' guy giving her strange objects (Really? A nail-ridden bat? Why the hell had she even agreed to take it?) but she had just admitted to not even really knowing him. Had she always been this naïve?

"We're almost out of pickled radish aren't we?" Riichi's voice brought him out of his thoughts. "And we're probably going to need some more rice. Mitsuru-senpai commented on it earlier today. I think it was a veiled request to get some."

"I don't know about request," he muttered. "Knowing that woman it was probably an order."

Riichi let out a laugh. "She does it out of love," she chided lightly. "You know, maybe that's her problem."

Shinjirou focused skeptical eyes on her. "What?"

"Senpai doesn't have anyone to love." He gave her a look that clearly stated he thought anything but, one of which she ignored without even batting an eye. "We should find her a nice boy," the girl continued. "Someone up to her standards. Who can hold his own against her."

"Is that even possible?" he snorted. She ignored him.

"I'd say Hidetoshi-kun, but they don't seem to really like each other. Respect yeah, whole lotta that, but love on the other hand. Besides he's already confessed to…." she trailed off, and he swore she was looking rather green now. Before he had any chance to comment on it Riichi jabbed her not-really-a-weapon-weapon in front of her and shouted, "We're going to be late getting back! We gotta hurry now Senpai!"

Shinjirou was taken aback for a moment. Really, this girl would never stop surprising him. It had taken him until this moment for it to occur to him how off-topic her whole Mitsuru-spiel had been, and the fact that it had taken him that long meant that he really was becoming used to her general foolishness. It probably didn't help that she herself didn't seem to notice how random she was being now. The point was driven home when the girl twirled the lacrosse stick in her hand before raising it in front of her and scrutinizing it with narrowed and laughing eyes. Then again, perhaps it was a good thing her strangeness wasn't that strange anymore. It saved him a host of headaches.

"Hey, we'll stop by the convenience store on the way home. I'll treat you to some ice cream."

The girl looked up at him with confused eyes. "Senpai, you're really strange," she finally settled on. Though she made no attempt to try and talk him out of his proposal.

Shinjirou couldn't help the chuckle that escaped. "You're one to talk."