Author's note: Chapter 3 focuses on Megan and a little bit from her past. Slight Sora/Yukito/OC. Don't worry! I will try to put more Sora/Yukito/Misuzu. Please review at the end! :)
Chapter 3: Feather
When she finishes, she gazes at the stegosaurus wind chimes and roars. "Maybe it isn't so bad that I remember everything about us. I just have to always remember the good times that we had, so I won't turn into a bitter old woman. Ne, Misuzu?" Haruko turns off the light and heads to bed for a good night's rest.
Megan and Haruko were eating breakfast in the kitchen while Sora sat on Megan's lap. A long yawn escapes from her mouth.
"That's the third one kid."
"I'm sorry. I'm usually a morning person." She rubs the sleep away from her eyes.
"It might be the time difference," Haruko munches on some more rice. Then, she slams her chopsticks on the table, "You know what you need? An alarm clock!"
The young girl stares sleepily at her, "But, Haruko-san. I don't have enough money for one."
"Who said that you were buying it? Leave it to me; I will buy one."
Megan gasps, "Oh, no! Please don't! I don't want you wasting your money on me!"
Haruko grabs their dirty dishes, "It is no problem. Besides, if I don't buy you a new alarm clock, I'd have more money for sake. Which is something that I need to stop buying." She gives Megan a mischievous grin. "Now, you better go or you'll be late for school."
After grabbing her school bag and adjusting the feather in her hair, Megan walks out the door and heads down the street. Sora follows her and lands on her shoulder. She pets the bird and places him on the ground. "I can't bring you to school, Sora." The bird doesn't obey and returns back on her shoulder. Megan sighs in defeat and lets the crow stay there.
Minagi meets Megan at the end of her street and both girls walk to school together. Upon arriving at the building, several students are already entering their classrooms. Minagi went ahead to her classroom, while the other girl says goodbye to Sora. "I can't bring you inside, Sora. So, fly back home to Haruko-san." The bird cocks his head to the side confused. Megan mentally slaps her forehead. "You know, fly? Flap your wings?" She bends her elbows and puts her hands in her armpits to communicate. Sora just caws at her. Now, she literally slaps herself. Megan drops her bag and lunch and walks in front of Sora. She bends at her waist and stretches both arms behind her back. "Like this," she exclaims, "Flap, flap!" Megan hops forward two steps.
Three girls walking around school notice the thin brunette teaching the crow. "Hey, is that the transfer student?" one of them asks.
"Uh-huh," replies another, "I heard that she was here on a scholars program…she is supposed to be really smart."
"And now she is talking to birds," says the last girl. After that statement, they hear Megan cawing at the crow. Three anime sweat drops form on the girls.
"She is so weird," a blue haired girl with glasses remarks.
"Yeah," a dark haired girl agrees, "Did you see what happened yesterday with that dog?"
"I bet that she is even weirder than that Misuzu girl," retorts an auburn haired girl. Her two friends join with her cruel laughter as they head to class. Megan stops moving when the echo of their teasing reaches her. She fixes the white feather in her hair, picks up her things, and sadly leaves the crow behind.
Kano and Megan eat lunch again on top of the school building. While she is eating and trying to stop Potato from eating her lunch, a few black feathers fall on her lunch box. Megan gazes up at the sky and catches a glimpse of Sora gliding down towards her. He regains his rightful place on her shoulder.
"Wow!" Kano exclaims, "It's that crow again! I haven't seen him in a while."
Megan's eyes widen, "Wait! You know Sora?"
"Sora…," Kano whispers, "That name suits him. But, no, I don't know him personally. I have just seen him around."
Once Potato spots Sora, he begins to sniff him. Sora squawks and tries to get away from the fluffy puppy. The two animals chase each other around the roof. The girls giggle at their pets.
"Well, it looks like you two are having fun."
Kano and Megan turn their eyes towards another girl.
"Oh, hey Tohno-san!" Megan waves the girl over to the bench where they were sitting. Minagi places her boxed lunch on her lap and the three girls share their meals with one another. The dog and crow finally stop chasing each other and pant by their owners.
"By the way, Megan, I have been wondering why you wear that feather in your hair."
Minagi nods her head, "I have been pondering about that also."
Megan glances at both the girls and strokes her feather embarrassedly. "Well, it is kind of a long story."
Then, the three girls from earlier open the roof door and smirk at the group. "Hey, look at that you guys. The three biggest misfits of the whole school all eating together!"
The dark haired girl laughs and points at Potato and Sora, "And look at their weird pets!"
"Just ignore them," Kano whispers, "They always pick on us."
The auburn girl with the basketball interrupts her, "Oy! Kirishima! Where's that bandana that you always wore? Got tired of dressing like a clown?"
Kano pouts while the girl with the glasses moves towards Minagi. "So, Tohno, I guess you know who you are sitting by, ne? She is from the United States and speaks fluent Japanese! Heck, I bet that she is even smarter than you, the class president!" Minagi glances down at her lap and folds her hands together.
Megan speaks up, "Hey, leave us alone. We are trying to enjoy our meals in peace. And we don't want any problems disturbing us!"
"Problems? I'll tell you what the problem is," the leader yells, "A Yankee who talks to birds and tries to act like them. She even thinks she is a bird!" The girl tugs at the feather in Megan's hair as she burst out laughing. The other two girls' cackles match hers. Then, Sora jumps off the ground and pecks the jock in her eye. "Owww!" She backs up in pain while her minions stare at her in shock. When the girl is done massaging her wound, she throws the basketball at Megan, but instead, it lands on their lunches. Rice, sausage, fish, and other toppings scatter on the ground. "Come on girls. Let's go!"
"Enjoy eating your lunch in the dirt, losers!" shrieks the dark haired girl as they all dash away laughing.
"Well, that was interesting." Minagi replies as she wipes her dress.
Kano picks some plums off her shirt, "Yeah. I don't know why those girls pick on us. But, they aren't worth getting upset over. Are you okay, Megan?"
Megan's light brown bangs cover her face as she gets up, "I have to go now. I need to go to my class."
"But the bell hasn't rung yet!" Megan didn't hear that last bit, because she was already off the roof.
In the girls' bathroom, she splashes cold water on her face repeatedly. She takes a quick glance in the mirror before grabbing some paper napkins.
"Just calm down, Megan. It is nothing to get upset about." She takes a couple of deep breaths to soothe her heart. "They are just a couple of girls that don't know anything about you. They don't know-"A flashback creeps its way out of the dust of forgetfulness. Similar scenarios play in her mind. Children in circles laughing, pointing, and tormenting her. Another cold spray of water drowns her face. She grabs more napkins and locks herself in the bathroom stall. Her hands clutch fistfuls of hair as she tries to erase the painful memories from surfacing. She squeezes her eyes shut to stop the tears from flowing. Biting her lips, she doesn't want her cries to be heard. "I have to be strong. I have to-"
Megan opens her tear filled sky blue eyes. Again, another caw echoes in the bathroom. Shaking, she opens the stall and searches to find where the sounds are coming from. A few raps on the window above her finally show her. "Sora," Megan smiles happily, "How did you find me here?" The black crow still taps on the window and caws again. The girl stretches on her tiptoes and opens the window pane. Sora swoops down to her open hands. "You know, you are a very naughty boy. You shouldn't be in the girls' bathroom." Megan giggles while he flaps in protest. Then, she displays another frown. The bird's head leans to the side as if wondering what is wrong. "Oh, Sora," Megan gasps as she falls to the floor. The tears come pouring down again. He flaps around her face to find out why she is crying. "No. I mustn't cry. Stop it, Megan! Good girls don't cry. Good girls don't get upset. You have to be good. You have to be good." She keeps repeating the words until the bell rings. Then, she wipes her tear stained face and heads off to class. Sora caws sadly and flies out the window.
School ends for the day and the crow is waiting in the same spot as yesterday. Megan's face still has the same frown as before when she crouches down to greet him. "Hey, Sora. Thanks for waiting for me again." She gets up and exits the school with Sora on her back. They walk for hours it seems. Megan's feet drag slowly with each step. Then, she stops in place. "You know, Sora, there was this place that Haruko-san showed me when I first came that I want to see again."
"Creak, creak" Each motion on the swing set uttered a low groan. Megan rocks herself steadily on the swing while Sora hangs on the other seat. It is already dusk, but it doesn't look like the girl knows. "I know I shouldn't let what those girls said bother me, Sora, but it does. Words hurt." Her feet stop the swing. "For as long as I can remember, I have always been picked on. You think that the teasing would stop or come less often as I got older, but it hasn't." She faces the bird with a sad smile. "You know, Sora, I used to have a bird like you. Well, he wasn't exactly like you; he was an owl. Even so, he was the first pet that I had owned." Megan closes her eyes as she drifts back into nostalgia. "I was only six at the time. My mother didn't care for animals, and my father was always working, so I didn't have any pets. One day when I was playing in our yard, a baby owl fell into my sandbox. It had a broken wing. I looked around and tried to find its nest, but there were none at my house. So, I placed him in my shoebox and tended to his injury. I fed him, washed him, and gave him a name. His name was Shikoba, and he was a Barn Owl. When my parents arrived home from work, my mother practically fainted. But, Dad thought that it would be good for me to learn some responsibility, so he allowed me to keep it. They bought me a bird cage, some feed, and rats. Mom wasn't happy with that one either."
Megan chuckles at the memory. "Over time, Shikoba got bigger and stronger. His wing had finally healed, and he trusted me enough to take care of him. I trained him to fly and return to me. Though, my parents always told me to keep him in the cage, but Shikoba hated being locked up." Her eyes open slowly and sadly, "One day, I was leaving the house to go to school. Shikoba looked so gloomy all alone in that prison. So, I unlocked the hatch to set him free. I knew that he would always come back to me. When I got back to the house, the cage was still empty. I waited a whole day before begging my parents to help me look for him. We did finally find him. He was laying in our neighbor's yard. It seems like their cat had gotten a hold of him." A grim smile tugs at the ends of her mouth. "I cried for days on end. When my parents told me to go clean out his cage, I came across something." Now, she tugs at the object in her hair. "It was a pure white feather. I believed that it must have been a goodbye present from Shikoba, and I have worn it ever since. Kids have always picked on me because of it. And it took a while for my mom to get used to it, but I can't get rid of it. It contains all sorts of memories."
Finally, she gets off the swing and stares at the starry sky. "It's late, and Haruko-san is probably worried about us." Sora flies and rests on her shoulder as they head back to the house.
When they open the front door, they hear Haruko desperately calling on the phone. "What do you mean she already left the school? She isn't here! I'm telling you that she is lost and there's no way that she'll find this place on her own. She's-"
Haruko stops mid-sentence and turns to look at the girl and the crow. She stares at the telephone, apologizes, and hangs up in embarrassment.
"Now, where were you, young lady? I was worried sick!"
Megan chuckles, "I could tell."
"This isn't funny. You could have been hurt or something!"
She goes up to the woman and gives her a big hug. "I know. I'm sorry. I promise I won't stay out late again."
Haruko was speechless for a moment. Then, she returns the hug and forgives her. "What's wrong? Your eyes are red."
The young girl touches her face and tries to cover up her crimson-rimmed eyes, but Haruko can tell that she has been crying. She goes into the kitchen and brings out three bowls of ramen. Halfway through her second one, Megan confesses to what happened at school.
"Girls. Haven't changed since I was in school." She pats Megan's hand in a reassured manner, "It'll be alright. Tomorrow's a brand new day."
Megan gives her a half-hearted smile.
"And if they do cause you more trouble," Haruko evilly grins, "Just leave that to me!" Her arm displays a gang symbol and she pulls out a bat with a curse written in black ink.
"N-no! We don't need to get violent here, Haruko-san!"
Sora stares at the two women interacting.
"When I saw her crying, "he thinks, "I didn't want her to be upset. I wanted to see her smile again." The bird turns his attention to Megan. "I wished for her life to be filled with happy memories. Last time, I didn't save "her". But, I swear that this time is going to be different." With a flutter of his wings, he lands on the girl's shoulder. She leans into him and smiles as she strokes his chin. "I promise to always be by your side."
(Phew! That's over. I hope that it wasn't too bad. Oh, and those three girl bullies? They are the same girls in the movie. We will be seeing them again. I enjoyed writing about them, and I want to give them more life in another chapter. :))