Author's Note: Uh, hello. I'm semi back from the dead to bring you this extremely short fic about the manga, LIFE, from Shiba's point of view. This piece takes place after chapter 41: Pride. I will not list what has happened in the chapter for spoiler's sake. If you wish to know, please read the chapter yourself. Thank you and enjoy.

Disclaimer: I do not own any copyrights to LIFE, both the manga and the drama.

"Was this a school?"

This single thought permeated through Ayumu's brain ever since Iwashiro-sensei announced their non-involvement in Manami's bullying. They were going to ignore the problem that has gripped Class 2 by the reins and has given her the hardest ride of her life. None of the faculty were going to help her; it was time to take matters into her own hands.

She knew that Hirose knew something, that much was obvious. But there was a fear that was holding her back. The darkness, the "complete black" that was Manami lingered over her head like a foreboding, threatening cloud. Manami must have done something to Hirose to keep her from talking.

Damn it. Tears stung at her eyes, but she willed them away. It wasn't hopeless; this situation wasn't hopeless, nothing was, not when she has come so far. She wasn't going to back down when she had two amazing people standing by her side. No, she couldn't fall here. There has to be something she could do. If one of Mana's friends talked badly about her, the scales would definitely tip in her favor. But Hirose alone would not be enough to do the job, not when Manami had her father, her loving, doting father on her side. No, to throw away all doubt of her innocence, to release herself from these bullying shackles is to get the truth from Manami herself. can she get Manami to confess her sins? She always seems to be one step ahead of her with her rushing to catch up with Katsumi hot on her heels.

Ayumu closed her eyes, visions of that horrifying day striking against her brain like a tennis serve. Katsumi, too, needed to be dealt with. Like Manami, he hid behind the exterior of the smartest boy in school and the heartthrob to all the girls. He and Manami were like visions of complete innocence, yet beneath their exterior lie such darkness, such an overwhelming evil that threatened her very existence. In that reasoning, hell, the two were completely made for each other. Crazy and fucking crazier, who made up which even Ayumu herself did not know. However, she knew the one thing that Katsumi had that may be her evidence.

That book, the book she had looked at the first time she went over his house. Perhaps if people saw that, maybe even his parents, the true Katsumi could be shown to all.

Ayumu flopped onto her bed dejectedly. Damn it, why did she destroy his cell phone? That was the proof she needed! Even Manami's friends knew about their matching cell phones! If she hadn't thrown that damn cell phone out, then she could have prevented this, all of it. She wouldn't have to face Mana's wrath, she wouldn't have to dread going to school each and every single day.

What about Hatori? Or Sonoda?

That thought made her stop in her tracks. Would she have befriended Hatori and Sonoda if she had still been friends with Mana? Would she have experienced the best friendship she ever had if she had not been bullied?

Huh, funny, Mana actually helped her with something.

Ayumu opened her eyes, and there she was back at school. Her shoes filled with thumbtacks and her desk etched into with the words, 'Die Whore', in sloppy kanji. Her books lay in a pile in the nearest trash bin and there stands Toda-sensei, looking on with an oblivious smile while her eyes screamed regret. But no, she could not do anything. Why should she? Everything was peaceful and happy in Class 2. Even though the boys themselves are yelling at Manami, even though she herself complained about being bullied, even when Hatori backs her up, why should she bother getting involved? She isn't the one being bullied, she isn't the one fearing for her life every day. Because every day, she merely goes in front of the class, reads from a book, and goes home back to her warm apartment, back to the safety of it all.

No, she wasn't going to take it anymore. Somehow, someway, she will have to be two steps ahead of both Katsumi and Manami. She was fucking human, a living being! She was not a toy! And regardless if they don't care, she will force them to care. Ayumu Shiba has had enough. She's suffered so much and survived. She dealt through a shattered friendship and survived. And she will survive this, too, and hopefully, in the future, maybe Manami can experience the same pain she put her through. And there she'll stand watching as it unfolds, watching as Katsumi too is dealt with. Even if Manami did one thing to help her, it doesn't make up for the torture she has to face on a daily basis. And while Ayumu stands and watches the darling couple suffer, the only words that seem to spew from her lips are,

"It's karma, bitch."