So, because this particular plot bunny had been enveloping my mind so much, taking up the space and motivation to write more of Song of the Elements...I just HAD to begin this new story. I hope that you'll enjoy and review. Pairings may come in the future.

Akiyama Mio sighed as she walked through the hallways of Sakuragaoka. Alone. In this school, she was always alone. But she had gotten used to it. She was naturally a quiet, shy person so it was hard for her to make friends. When she did make friends, though, it was usually so that they could copy her homework or something of the sort.

People…they were so incredibly fake. They would smile in your face and then let you plunge into the deepest of oceans without a second look. So Mio chose to distance herself from people. When someone asked her or a question or tried to befriend her, she would answer in an uninterested monotone. Mio…had purposely chosen to be an outcast and gained the reputation of being "cold" and "strange." She was most commonly referred to as the girl that was "pretty on the outside and cold on the inside."

Mio, though, did not mind as long as she did not get hurt.

As Mio stopped at her locker, she glanced at a girl that was in her class. She reminded Mio of a porcelain doll with her large, sparkly blue eyes, creamy skin, and long silky blonde hair. Everyone knew Kotobuki Tsumugi, the rich young heiress. Everyone said that Tsumugi was phony…Mio had no reason not to believe them.

Everyone said that Tsumugi thought she was better than her peers. Mio knew for a fact that once, when a group of girls had asked Tsumugi if she would let them ride on her private jet, Tsumugi had denied them access. Mio, unlike the others girls realized though, that perhaps Tsumugi didn't own a private jet…but the girls had not even given Tsumugi a chance to explain herself before they started yelling in her face.

Ever since then, there had just been more and more incidents revolving around Tsumugi. "She asked her father to sue the school!" "Did you hear? Kotobuki owns a private villa." "I heard she treats her servants horribly!"

Mio did not have any evidence that Tsumugi was a bad person, but she did not have any evidence that she was a good person either. So, she was just another person that Mio avoided…

For a split second, grey eyes met blue, and Mio's eyes widened considerably before she slammed her locker shut and scurried away. Tsumugi blinked as she watched the girl with long black hair leave, her mouth slightly open, ready to say "hello."

Mugi sighed and shut her locker gently. It was almost time for classes to start, and she did not want to be late. As she walked, she watched several groups of girls walking with each other, laughing, talking, smiling…she felt like crying all of a sudden. Why? Why was it that she could not make friends? No matter how nice she tried to be, something always hindered others from opening up to her…of course, she knew about the rumors. But no matter how many times she tried to tell people they weren't true, they just wouldn't believe her or somehow another rumor would start up!

Mugi was so caught up in her thoughts, she did not realize that she was not looking where she was going. The petite girl suddenly found her shoulder being pushed so hardly that her body twisted around and she almost fell but- well, Mugi's eyes widened as she looked up into light brown eyes. She felt a hand on the small of her back and a hand gripping her own tightly.

Mugi's face warmed as she blinked, taking in the sight of a girl that she recognized as Tainaka Ritsu, a girl in her class. "G-gomen!" Mugi apologized, finally regaining her senses as she jumped out of Ritsu's arms and bowed deeply.

"I-it's okay," Ritsu held up her hands defensively and laughed nervously.

Mugi observed the girl that she had heard so much about. Mugi had seen the girl in class…she hardly ever paid attention and she was always making random, amusing comments. She was the class clown. But when Ritsu was not cracking jokes, she was staring out of the window with a distant expression on her face that made Mugi want to hug her.

But…rumor was that Ritsu was a party-girl. She was known for going all around tone, searching for parties. The louder and wilder the better. They said that Ritsu did not care if the party was for older people or if she was surrounded by drinking and smoking. The thrill was all Ritsu apparently looked for, which scared a lot of girls at their little all girls school. No one in their right mind wanted to be associated with the party-animal, for fear that they would lose their reputation.

Mugi did not know where these rumors had originated from, but she was not the type of person to listen to them until she saw evidence for herself.

"T-Tainaka-san-" Before Mugi could finish her sentence, the bell signaling that they had five minutes to get to class sounded off.

Ritsu raised her eyebrows and smiled impishly at Mugi. "Guess we better get to class." She turned in the direction of said place and began to walk away. Mugi blinked as she watched Mugi retreat. She sighed and began to walk slowly behind her…Ritsu…like everyone else, probably did not want to be involved with her.

It was not that Ritsu did not want to be associated with the young beauty though, no, Ritsu did not want Mugi to be associated with her. It would cause too much trouble…Ritsu knew what everyone said about her…she knew that it would just bring anyone that close to her grief. No, so until Ritsu could clean everything up, she decided to just stay away from people for awhile.

As Ritsu entered the class, she saw the usual going on. A group of obnoxious, snotty brats were laughing at their usual target- a clumsy brunette that went by the name Hirasawa Yui.

Yui was always made fun of because she was, well, an airhead. The other girls called her a fake because they thought that Yui was just asking for attention and that she was always trying to steal the spotlight.

Ritsu sighed and sat in her seat, watching as that Tsumugi girl walked in behind her, and paled at the sight of the girls teasing Yui.

"Just face it Hirasawa! Nobody buys your cute act so just get off it! You're annoying!" One girl shouted, looking down on the young girl who looked up at them with wide brown eyes.

"I…don't know what you mean but-" Yui gasped when the girl suddenly grabbed hold of the collar of her shirt. Her eyes suddenly filled up with tears. She could not understand why she was always picked on…she always tried to be nice and never made fun of anyone or got in anyone's way! Why was she the one that they chose to torment?

"You know exactly what I mean! You're always doing something stupid like falling all over my desk or pretending not to know the answers when the teacher asks you…yet you somehow manage to ace the tests! You're a fake!"

"Ui helps me study for the tests though!" Yui cried frantically. "Really! I-"

"Just shut up!" The girl shouted, silencing Yui. She glared down at her, narrowing her eyes, intimidating Yui as her friends stood behind her with equally malicious looks on their faces. "You get it together, Hirasawa or I'll-"

Yui did not know what happened, but suddenly the girl with her hair in two long curly ponytails was had released her shirt and was on the floor.

"You're the annoying one."

The class was silent as they all stared at Tainaka Ritsu, the girl that they all knew as the party-girl…she had pushed Ichigo down to the floor!

"Y-you…" Ichigo trembled in fear. "You delinquent!"

Ritsu raised her eyebrows in surprise as the class began to murmur and whisper. "W-what?" Ritsu asked, her eye twitching as she took a step back.

"Ahhh! Sensei! Tainaka! S-she attacked me!"

Everyone's eyes immediately flew to the doorway, where their teacher, a woman with long brown hair and a curvy figure stood. Sawako's eyes took in the situation- Ichigo on the floor shaking like a maraca, Ritsu standing over her… she sighed and shook her head. Really, she found it to be too early in the morning for this!

"Tainaka-san, please go to the office."

"But!" Ritsu turned to her teacher. "I was only-"

"She was only helping me!" Yui yelled, running up to her teacher.

Sawako frowned in a displeased manner and shook her head. "Gomen, Hirasawa-san. But putting hands on another student can't be tolerated no matter what the circumstances."

"Ne, it's alright Hirasawa," Ritsu said, walking past Yui and Sawako. She gave the girl a sad smile before fully exiting the classroom and walking down the long hallway.

Yui, Mugi, and Mio stared as Ritsu exited the scene. Something had been ignited in that moment…something, they hadn't felt in a long time…

Azusa sighed as she wandered through the nearly empty hallways. It was her lunch time, but she chose to go to the library instead of having lunch. She preferred to be in there doing her homework instead of eating alone.

Well, there was those two girls…Ui and Jun…but they looked so happy just by themselves that Azusa did not want to disturb them.

Truthfully, the problem was that Azusa did not know how to make friends. She had always been alone. Back in middle school, the other kids had stayed away from her because she was so studious- they always called her the teachers' pet. So Azusa was naturally a little nervous about making friends. She feared that if she let out her true personality, no one would like her.

Opening the double doors that led to the library, she held her slowly entered. The room was silent, and somehow it was a bit unnerving being that she had just come from the loud yet happy atmosphere that was her classroom.

She walked into the aisles, wanting to see if she could find a good book to keep her occupied. The young girl with her hair in two ponytails ran her small hand across the books. That's when she heard whispers and quiet snickers…

"Oh yeah! And did you hear what Tainaka did this morning?"

Azusa froze, her arm extended out as she was preparing to grab a book. She did not like to eavesdrop, but the stories involving that senpai Tainaka Ritsu were always so…interesting…

"Yeah! She tried to fight Ichigo-chan, right?"

"Yup. Looks like all those drugs are going to her head."

"She does drugs?"

"Well…all those crazy parties…I would think so."

Azusa frowned. Rumors. How she despised them. People were always talking…always fabricating stories from a slither of information…

"I was there though…Tainaka was helping Hirasawa Yui. Y' know. The airhead."

"Ch. Yeah right. Those two are probably in cahoots with each other!"

Eh…who says 'cahoots' anymore anyways? Azusa thought, feeling a bead of sweat tumbled down the side of her face as the girls talked about Yui and Ritsu without shame or remorse. No longer interested in their conversation, Azusa turned to leave. Deciding that she wasn't feeling the library anymore…she thought about going out to the school's garden or something… Hirasawa Yui…Ui-chan's older sister…they say she gets picked on a lot…

Just as her thoughts had settled on the girl she had never met before…she ran smack dab into her. Yui, who had been running, collided into the smaller girl, causing them both to fall onto their bottoms.

"Ow…" Azusa winced, then looked at the older girl.

"Ah! Sorry!" Yui apologized quickly, offering her hand to the younger girl.

"It's alright," Azusa said as she allowed Yui to pull her to her feet. Azusa blinked as Yui blushed slightly, running a hand through her brown locks.

"Ehehheh," the older girl laughed nervously, "I'm really clumsy…I shouldn't have been running."

"I-It's alright," Azusa assure her. "See? I'm fine."

Yui smiled brightly, seeing that Azusa was indeed okay and that she was not going to yell at her.

"Ano…you're Hirasawa Yui-senpai, ne?" Azusa asked curiously.

"Mmm hmm!" Yui grinned and nodded. "Ah! Do I know you?" She squinted and examined Azusa's baby-like, adorable face. "Hmm…I don't remember you though. I would remember someone cute like you," Yui smiled and patted the girl gently on the head, causing Azusa to blush and pull away slightly, but Yui did not seem to mind.

"N-no…you don't know me," Azusa answered, slightly taken aback by Yui coming into her personal space when she did not even know her. "I'm a 2nd year. Nakano Azusa. It's nice to meet you," Azusa explained politely, bowing slightly.

"Azusa-chan, then!" Yui said excitedly. "Ne, ne! Azusa-chan! Is it your lunch time too?"

"H-hai…" Azusa blinked, even more so taken aback by Yui's sudden familiarity; already calling her by her first name.

Yui broke out into another wide grin and Azusa found herself wondering what the girl could have possibly done to be picked on so much. She seemed perfectly nice and fun to Azusa.

"Wanna have lunch with me?"

Before Azusa could answer, or even think about what she had been asked, Yui grabbed her hand and began to lead her away. "W-wait!" Azusa cried, but her voice fell on muted ears as Yui marched her out of the school and into the clearing that was the school's yard. They sat beneath a large Sakura tree, and Yui swung the bag she had been carrying around.

"My sister made me some lunch! Taste it!"

Azusa could do nothing as Yui suddenly stuffed food into her mouth.

How…how is this happening? Azusa thought, casting her gaze to the sky. It was completely clear. Even though I purposely tried to get away from everyone…Hirasawa-senpai is acting like we've been best friends forever…

Ritsu sighed as she exited the office. She had gotten a two hour detention because of that darn Ichigo. Hmm…it's worth it though. Maybe they'll leave that Hirasawa girl alone now.

That's when her eyes spotted a girl from her class staring out of the window. She had long jet black hair and blue-grey eyes. She wore her uniform completely, but Ritsu thought it suited her better. The girl's body was curvaceous but she did not flaunt it…there was something modest and pure about her. Ritsu recognized her as Akiyama Mio; a girl that did not talk at all in class and was known for giving anyone and everyone the cold shoulder…

Ritsu froze when Mio's eyes suddenly met her own. She laughed uneasily, knowing that she had been caught in the embarrassing act of staring. "S-sorry! It's just you looked sort of like an angel like that!"

Mio's eyes wavered and her cheeks reddened a bit as she looked away. Ritsu wondered where the girl had gotten the reputation of being cold from…she just seemed shy in her opinion.

"Uh…well," Ritsu scratched her cheek with her pointer finger, a habit that she did when she did not know what to say or do. "I guess I'll see you in class."

Mio nodded, and Ritsu grinned. "Heh heh…you don't talk much, huh?"

"I…" Mio started, but then looked away and then back at Ritsu. "It was nice of you…to save Hirasawa."

Ritsu waved her hand and shook her head. "It was nothing. It just seemed right. Heh…I'm really not much of a fighter actually…eh…there's really been no reason for me to fight before."

Mio tilted her head to the side. It just didn't add up…Ritsu was so…different than she had imagined her to be. She seemed…genuine….but as a group of girls walked past them, Mio was suddenly reminded of her position and quickly remembered that Ritsu may not be what she seemed to be.

"I have to go," she said quietly.

"Yeah, me too." Ritsu smiled, albeit sadly. That's right… she thought as Mio left her. No one can be involved with me…demo… her gaze stayed on Mio, and she was surprised when the other girl suddenly turned around, their eyes meeting again. "Hey, Akiyama-san."

"H-hai?" Mio asked.

"You don't seem like a cold person to me."

"You don't seem like a crazy party-animal to me."

Ritsu laughed out loud, but it did not make Mio uncomfortable. She laughed as if there was a weight that had been lifted from her shoulders. "Those rumors are…and you- cold?" She burst out into a fit of giggles again, and Mio found herself giggling a bit and then laughing as well.

Meanwhile, a certain girl watched this strange yet endearing scene play out. Mugi could not believe that the Tainaka Ritsu and the Akiyama Mio were laughing together! She had never seen her two classmates look so happy and at ease.

I want…I want to join them

But the young beauty thought better of it. She would have friends to laugh and play with soon enough. She just had to be patient.

Turning to walk in the opposite direction, Kotobuki Tsumugi felt a flutter of emotion in her heart.