Story Title: Learning To Live.

Warnings: Gender-bender (Fem!Harry), strong violence, gore, past abuse (physical and sexual) ,use of alcohol (underage) and cigarettes (underage), language, possible adult situations, Slytherin!Harry, strong!Harry, Very good tennis playing!Harry, and mild bashing of both light and dark sides.

Story Rating: Somewhere between T and M; may change to fully M.

Chapter Rating: T.

Chapter Title: Nitoryu, And Training.

Words: 7,013

Pages: 15

Song: What The Hell and Warrior by B.A.P

A/N: Sorry for any possible (and probable) spelling mistakes and such! Forgive me!

Last Time: "He never looked back, the ashes of the previously read parchment fluttering in the breeze behind his fast moving form."


[February 27th ;Early Morning.]


Hitomi gritted her teeth, her face set into lines of determination as she sprinted across the courts, the sounds of her feet hitting the ground and her harsh panting reaching her ears. She eyed the green fence coming closer to her fast moving form and her eyes narrowed, lips thinning as she reached the end. Panting, she turned on her heal, a cloud of dust floating around her legs as she pivoted harshly. She leaned down, her hand coming down to touch the white line before she was off again. Her legs pushed off the ground, her body moving quickly into action as she sprinted once again to the other side of the court.

Amber eyes watched in satisfaction, the sharp orbs taking in the sweating girl that was just making her sixty first sprint. Pride lit his eyes as she never stopped; never stopping to take a breather or complain. She simply ran, fire lighting in her eyes at the challenge, her sleek body moving quickly. He smirked a bit, glancing out of the corner of his eyes and catching the shadowed figure of his son watching from his window; his cat-like eyes watching Hitomi's hard working form intensely and determination pooling in his eyes.

He smirked again, satisfied with both of his students as he focused once again on Hitomi. His eyes narrowed; however, as he noticed she slowed down a bit.

"What's this? Slowing down?"

His voice was mocking on purpose, and he watched with immense pride as she gritted her teeth visibly before taking off, faster than even before. He smirked, crossing his arms and leaning back against the building's wall.

It seemed Hitomi's fire and determination was rubbing off on his son as well, he though idly, glancing over to the side of the house as he watched his son sneak out silently, his tennis bag clutched in his hand. He blinked, looking down at his own hands and chuckling a bit, slowly unclenching them.

It seemed she lit his determination as well, he thought fondly as she watched her run, the sky just beginning to color behind the trees.

"Hitomi!" He yelled, watching as she glanced at him from the corner of her eyes, her onyx hair swaying into her face as she continued to run. He hummed in thought before answering her unvoiced question.

"What time was that appointment you had scheduled again?" he asked her lazily, smirking when she glared at him. He knew very well how much she hated to be interrupted in her training, especially being talked to when she was doing so.

"Four." She said sharply through gritted teeth, before ignoring him and making her seventy fifth sprint.

Nanjiro nodded idly, running his hand through his hair before glancing at the watch adorning his wrist. It was only 8:35; perfect. He smirked, rubbing his hands together as he looked at his student. He fought the urge to cackle as he called her over, and she eyed him oddly before finishing her eighty second sprint, her breathing harsh and ragged as she slowed down.

She breathed slowly, trying to control her rapid heart and her labored breath. Slowly, she calmed and she sighed, taking her elastic from her hair and running a hand through the sweaty locks. She idly noticed it had gotten a few inches longer before shrugging it off and walking over to her teacher, wariness settling in as she eyed his sparkling eyes.

She stopped in front of him, giving him a suspicious look. His smile only grew wider.

"Hitomi, by any chance are you ambidextrous?"

She tilted her head to the side, eyeing him carefully before slowly shaking her head, her feelings of weariness doubling as his smile sharpened.

"Really?" he asked, but he didn't seem surprised at all, she thought blankly as she eyed his excited face.

"Wonderful~! Say, have you ever heard of Nitoryu?"

She suddenly felt a bit scared.


She learned two and half hours later exactly what Nitoryu was; she also learned that she did in fact have a reason to be scared.

As it turns out, Nitoryu was more of a technique than an actual tennis move. It was designed by Nanjiro himself to compensate for his weaknesses when concerning tennis, but she soon found out why not everyone could do this style of tennis.

Everyone has a dominant hand that is both stronger and more precise than their other hand, which is the exact opposite. Usually, people try to avoid using this hand because of the fact they have less control of its movements and with no control, a tennis player will perform horribly and will ultimately lose. However, Nanjiro developed a tennis move where both hands were used, and could be switched at any given moment during the game.

She had seen Ryoma use it, so she knew the basics of it and she had also seen the potential of the move. It would be rather useful, but she soon realized what kind of work she would have to put into it in order for it to even be more useful than a burden to her tennis.

She would have to learn tennis all over again.

She sighed warily, eyeing her hand as she slowly flexed it around the tennis racquet. Her left hand, that is.

She sighed again.

Running a hand through her loose hair, she eyed the machine in front of her with sharp eyes before moving over to the small box to the side of the small enclosed area around her. She slipped in some yen easily, turning the dial to the very lowest setting as well as the lowest difficulty level. She eyed the knob in distaste but knew it had to be done.

Breathing deeply she walked back to her spot in front of the machine before taking a few practice swings, wincing when she eyed the rather sloppy form. She breathed deeply once more, bending her knees and staring at the machine carefully as it shot a ball at her. She grunted when she missed the ball completely, a grimace forming on her face as she stared at the ball rolling across the room.

She sighed.

This was going to be a long day, she thought tiredly as she fell into her sloppy form once more.


"Ring. Ring. Rin-"

She threw a sharp glance toward the innocent looking phone before grunting in annoyance, running a hand down her sweaty face and eyeing the dozens of tennis balls surrounding her panting form. She stretched slowly before the obnoxiously loud ringtone interrupted her smooth movements and she growled, stalking over to the phone and her eyebrows lifting. It was already 2:30? She hummed idly, flipping her phone open and lazily bringing it to her ear.

"Yes?" She drawled, wincing and pulling the phone away from her ear as the sharp sounds of an angry Atobe reached her ears.

"Where are you!?"

"Training." She said blankly, blinking when she heard his groans of frustration.

"You are supposed to be here! Ore-sama already told you this yesterday!"

"No," she corrected blankly, shifting the phone to the other hand when she realized her left hand was quite sore. "You said to be there by four."

"… Well, get over here now! Ore-sama is ready and Ore-sama hates waiting."


She slowly took the phone away from her ear to eye it with a deadpan expression before sighing. Stretching lightly, she gathered the balls into the dozen baskets by the side of the metal fence before gathering her own things. She draped the towel over her shoulders and took a sip of water, sighing in bliss when the cool liquid eased her burning throat.

Shrugging her bag over her shoulder, she walked out of the facility, jogging toward her house that was only a few blocks away. She ignored the many people roaming the streets and the flashing lights of nearby shops as she made her way to her street and jogged up her stairs. Glancing to see if anyone was around, she slowly dragged her finger down the door's ridges, following the carved pattern and adding a bit of magic as she did so. She watched in satisfaction as the wards hummed in recognition before informing her that no one had attempted to enter nor had anyone with a magical signature had neared her home. She sighed, slipping her key into the slot and opening the door. She had added the ward a few days prior, thinking it was a good idea. She wanted to be aware of her surroundings after-all.

Hearing a low purr made her smirk and glance at the shadowed corner of the room, eyeing the space. It was empty, at least to the human eye, but if one looked carefully enough you would see the shadow warp a bit at some moments. She smiled, knowing her familiar was watching over her, and ran a hand through her messy hair.

Her magic had slowly been replenished and she was almost at seventy-five percent now, a good fifteen percent more since she had arrived. It hummed contently in her core, and she could almost say it was happy at her new and, quite frankly improved, body. This of course was a comfort to her; she had felt rather empty without the usual hum and vibrancy of her magic that had been rather subdued as it slowly replenished.

Sighing she pushed her thoughts away before dropping her bag by the door and slowly taking her shirt off. She sighed in relief, untying the bandages around her chest and scratching at her back as she stepped into her bathroom. Slipping off the rest of her sweaty clothes she stepped into the shower and hummed in appreciation as the hot water hit her sore muscles.

She breathed deeply, unable to keep the sharp grin off her face.

She was getting stronger, she thought gleefully. The training had been getting even more intense since Ryoma's defeat, and her matches with Nanjiro started again, though today marked the first time in using her left hand. She was slowly getting the hang of it; she could almost feel her body adjusting despite the fact she had only started today. She could feel her left arm strengthening as she trained. Of course, this was not the fact considering it was simply the start, but she had never felt so good in her life. Tennis had done wonders to her body, she pondered idly as she scrubbed at her hair, rinsing thoroughly before washing her body.

As she felt the abs etched into her stomach, she wondered if because she was de-aged then growing up once again, if it would affect her growth the second time around. Would she get a growth spurt? Would she develop normally this time? Probably, she thought with satisfaction as she stepped out the shower and dried herself off with a towel. Making her way to her bathroom, towel wrapped around her body she eyed her wardrobe before sighing deeply and opening the doors, resigning herself to her fate.

Grabbing a pair of knee-length black boots she set them on the bed, socks following shortly after as well as an above the knee emerald dress. Humming idly, she slipped on the socks, the onyx boots following. Pushing her hair behind her ear she slipped the dress on over her head, the silky material hugging her tanned and toned body elegantly. Sitting up from the bed, she made her way over to the bathroom, brushing her hair carefully and gathering it into a side pony tail, that was really only possible because it had grown rather quickly. She curled the shorter pieces to frame her face, lining her eyes in black liner then applying mascara lightly. Gliding clear gloss over her plump lips she sighed again, brushing a piece of hair away from her acid green eyes.

She stared into the mirror intently, nodding in approval before grabbing her usual black bag and slipping on a simple black sweater she set off to Atobe's at an easy pace, smiling softly as the wind played with her hair a bit.

Normally, she wasn't one for dressing up or anything of the sort, but she was friends with Draco Malfoy and with that title came a demand at knowing how to pull one's self together. It had taken a long time for her to be able to make herself up to Malfoy standards, but by the time she was done Narcissa was calling for an engagement. She smiled wryly at the thought. Too bad, she thought darkly, it would never happen considering the woman was dead.

Draco's mother had died early on in the war by her own 'Master'. She had refused to receive the mark, and foolishly thinking the Dark Lord would accept such treachery, said it to his face. Of course, she died for her idiocy, but Draco still felt for her. Perhaps not out of love, but he cared for her enough to be sad over her death. She was never really his mother anyway; she thought before sighing, turning once more before her thoughts were halted as her phone rang obnoxiously.

Groaning, she rummaged around for her phone before taking it out.

"What?" she snapped. Atobe huffed.

"Where are you!?" he screeched, and she refrained from throwing the phone at the ground.

"I am heading over Atobe." She said simply.

"What? No you're not; Felix has said no such thing." He said haughtily.

"What?" She asked, honestly confused.

"I sent a limo to retrieve you."

She sighed, looking over to the sign nearest to her and telling him where she was so that this Felix man could pick her up. She leant against the telephone pole idly, ignoring the birds calling from the sky. She did jump a bit; however, when a surprised voice called her name. Blinking, she turned to face where the voice had come from and raised an eyebrow as emerald eyes met golden.

"Hey." She said simply, raising a hand in greeting. He continued to look at her in a blank expression before surprise pooled into his eyes. She looked at him questing.

"You look… like a girl." He said bluntly, oblivious to the deadpan expression of his companion as she stared at him.

"Yes, that's because I am." She drawled, more amused at his statement than anything. He blinked before shrugging, stifling a yawn as he shouldered his tennis bag. He shot her a look form the corner of his eye.

"What are you doing here?" he asked lazily. Her lips thinned; lines of annoyance marking her face and contorting her normal blank expression. Ryoma blinked, realizing that the annoyance wasn't meant for him and sighed, not entirely sure he wanted her in such a mood while he was around.

"Meeting someone." Was all she said. Ryoma looked at her oddly but shrugged, not really the type to push such things. He blinked suddenly, turning toward her fully with a sudden comprehending expression, though it was tinged with annoyance.

"Ah. I almost forgot. Oyaji said something about wanting to have you over for dinner." Ryoma said simply, eyes half lidded as he yawned once again. Hitomi gave him a searching look.

"And when does he want this dinner to happen?" she asked blankly, not liking the sound of a dinner with their family. It wasn't that she didn't like them, but she couldn't afford for them to find out about her emancipation and her orphan status, at least not this close into the game. They would feel it was their duty to watch over her, and she couldn't afford having them watching her like a hawk when she had things to do that weren't muggle.

Or entirely legal, for that matter.

"No idea; probably sometime tomorrow or something." He said, shrugging. Hitomi hummed before blinking in surprise as a sleek white limo pulled up in front of the two. Sighing, she pushed back a lock of hair and turned to Ryoma.

"I apologize, but I cannot attend diner this week. I am, unfortunately caught up in many things. Perhaps another time." She said evenly, waiting for the cat-eyed boy to nod. Hitomi waved to Ryoma, watching as he waved back slowly, eyeing the limo weirdly before shrugging and walking off. Hitomi slipped into the limo, crossing her legs elegantly as the driver glanced at her in his mirror, surprise in his eyes.

"Hitomi-sama, I presume?" he asked, his accent heavy. She inclined her head, watching as his lips twitched into a smile, brown eyes warm.

"Ah, I see. As I'm sure you know, I am Felix. Atobe-sama is most anxious." He stated easily as he drove off, turning the corner before glancing at her briefly in the mirror. Her blank face never faltered as she hummed a bit.

"Yes, I assumed so." She said simply, and the man smiled at her once more before continuing to drive, an easy silence falling over them.

Hitomi glanced at the window, an almost numb feeling surrounding her as she eyed the blurred city outside the tinted windows. It was odd, but comfortable enough for her to close her eyes for a moment. She never realized that sleep had taken her into its hold for a while until the car slowed. Hitomi blinked open her eyes in surprise when she realized that they had stopped and glanced out the window, eyeing the rather large mansion with an unsurprised face. She rolled her eyes briefly before her face evened out and she followed Felix into the lavish white mansion.

She ignored the wonderfully sculpted statues, gracefully trickling waterfalls, and pristine sparkling floors in favor of simply following Felix down the hall, and soon they were stopped in front of a pair of large double doors. The dark washed wood was carved into, the angels and their wings beautifully detailed as they flew and danced; wispy clouds wrapping around their legs. Felix knocked on the door once, and while his hand was raised for the next, the door flew open reveling an irritated Atobe.

"Where were you? It's already 3:45 and-!" he trailed off, staring at Hitomi oddly before a smirk pulled at his lips, his back resting against the door frame as his eyes trailed along her form.

"Hmm. Ore-sama knew it." He stated smugly, eyes sparkling as he continued to stare. Hitomi was tempted to grab his bait and ask what he knew, but ended up simply ignoring him. Pushing past him she walking gracefully into the room, eyeing the large, white drop-back at the back of the large room, as well as the large metal fans, and elaborate lights surrounding the area she knew they would take the pictures. Hitomi glanced at Atobe sharply, taking satisfaction in his wince.

"And where, exactly, are these picture going Atobe?" she asked, eyeing his face. She inwardly smirked at his frozen expression, enjoying his almost frighten eyes as she pinned him with a look. Of course, she knew exactly where these photos were going. It really wasn't all the hard considering who she was taking them with. Though that didn't stop her from hoping, just the tiniest bit, that they didn't go world-wide or something or the sort. She didn't think she could deal with the whole evil fan-group thing again, she thought with a concealed shudder.

Atobe smiled, though it was tight with a small amount of nervousness, his pompous nature not exactly veiling the emotion from her skilled eyes.

"A few middle school sports magazines; nothing much." He said simply, flipping his hair and making his way to a tall tan man leaning against the wall. They conversed for a bit, Atobe smirking in satisfaction as he returned and pushed her towards a woman with long blonde hair and light blue eyes. They shined gleefully as they met her form, and Hitomi suddenly didn't feel like taking pictures. She clapped her hands, practically vibrating in excitement as she twirled a piece of golden hair around her slender finger.

"Oh yes, I can work with this darling." She purred, smirking. Hitomi remained rather blank. The woman circled her nodding in approval as her eyes narrowed.

"We'll keep your make-up. It's neutral enough for sports photos." She said simply, grabbing her hand and rushing out of the room and into the changing room. Hitomi resigned herself to her fate, easily following the woman and her quick pace.

"So, Atobe-san said something about scars?" she asked, eyeing her. Hitomi stared at her sharply before nodding, face emotionless. The woman nodded thoughtfully, humming to herself.

"Okay, that's fine. It will probably help the image anyway! Any scars on your face?"

Hitomi shook her head, glad she placed a weak glamour on the scar on her forehead, and the woman nodded again. Opening the curtain to a single stall, she shoved Hitomi inside, informing her to put on the outfit hanging on the back of the door. Hitomi sighed, slipping off her boots, before looking at her clothes, her face going pale.

She sighed heavily, slipping off her shirt and the rest of her clothes following. She put on the provided clothes, stepping out and placing her hand on her hip as she stared at the woman evenly. The blonde squealed, causing her to wince.

"Oh my god, you look great!"

"I barely have clothes on." Hitomi deadpanned, and the woman ignored her statement gracefully, dragging her out of the stall and down the hall.

"Details, details darling! Now," she stated, pushing Hitomi onto a chair and spinning her to face a large mirror.

"Let's work with your hair a bit."

Hitomi closed her eyes, allowing the woman to do what she willed as her thoughts consumed her. It was a tough decision; allowing herself to model and have pictures taken, that was. Perhaps, in normal cases bringing attention to one's self when dangerous men are after your blood would be what you should not be doing, but she realized that she could apply the same logic she used when she decided to come to Japan.

When Draco and Hitomi had been running, they had indeed traveled through Japan rather briefly, so it made sense that she wouldn't pick such a place to try to settle in. That was the whole reason they had decided on Japan. If she brought attention to herself, the Death Eaters would not even bother looking at the people who were in the limelight; they would automatically assume, and rightly so, that she would be the mysterious girl next door if anything; the introverted, quite, and most likely, mildly suspicious teen age girl that she was. Of course, the potion used to de-age her didn't technically exist, and the only reason Draco was able to make it was because Severus had left some old notes on the potion that he had worked on before he was killed. This would work in her favor, but as all things, there was a down side.

If she was caught, then yes her absence would be noted. She had not truly wanted to make many connections with others when she moved here, but it seemed as if she didn't really have a choice considering the amount of people she had already interacted with. No, she hadn't meant to have it this way, but it was the way things worked out and she knew that things usually went more smoothly if you just went with the flow of things.

Of course, this was all assuming these pictures caught the eye of someone, but she would be naïve if she thought they wouldn't be known. She knew enough about Atobe to know that when he did things, he did them big. It was only natural (for him at least) to have these pictures be printed in famous tennis and sports magazines alike by noon tomorrow. It was, after-all, why Atobe was so damn useful. He never knew he was indeed manipulated for her sake, but it didn't really matter if he knew or not. He didn't need to know that she steadily and easily turned their short and rather explosive conversations towards jobs, publicity and sports. Then of course came tennis, then came Atobe's "wonderful-ness", and then came fans. It was only a matter of time until they reached this conclusion, at least under her prompting.

She inwardly cackled a bit, happy that she had so much practice with manipulating people due to their strong emotions when she had dealt with Draco in the past. Her thoughts saddened a bit. She missed him, though she would never say it out loud. Draco and she had been unlikely friends, especially with their brief beginning.

His family being a very prominent Dark one, and her's being a prominent Light one. Him being said to be Slytherin's Heir, and she, the Light's Golden Girl. It was unlikely, almost impossible, but it had developed into something that she would never give up for anything.

A small smile pulled at her lips as she thought of their first meeting.

He had been getting fitted in Diagon Alley, and he foolishly displayed his childishness as well as his arrogance. He had flaunted his name, and throwing threats of his Father left and right. She had become so incensed with him she had destroyed the stool he was standing on with accidental magic. She almost snorted at the funny scene they had made, before her thoughts halted when the woman squealed in her ears.


With a blink she looked up and into the mirror, staring in surprise at her own reflection. The woman had let down her hair, letting it fall in waves to a few inches below her shoulders, small pieces curled by her face, and some outlining her elegantly angled cheeks and chin. Her bangs were windswept and curled the tiniest bit, the ends falling into place along her cheeks. The woman seemed to think she wanted to add a bit to her make-up sometime during her adventure with her hair and had outlined her eyes in a smoky black eye-shadow, making her acid green eyes glow.

She was impressed despite herself; the woman knew her profession well.

She stood swiftly, ignoring the woman chatting beside her and complementing her as she walked into the large room, blocking the light with her hand before honing in on Atobe.

He had no shirt on, only a pair of fairly baggy black sweat pants that hung low on his hips, showing a sliver of his boxers. His chest was toned to perfection, the pale skin hard with a six pack and his arms lined with muscle. He looked rather attractive really, but Hitomi ignored her own thoughts as she made her way over to him, smirking when he looked at her and froze.

She was wearing a black sports bra that hugged her chest and matched his pants, showing off her strong toned stomach. She wore short black shorts that showed off her tanned and tones legs nicely, a small line of green going down the sides further adding to the look. Of course, the jagged scar that started at the side of her stomach and circled to her back showed. As well as the other smaller scars that littered her abs, a few on her arms, and the one large one that ran down her left leg.

She put a hand to her hip, raising a brow at the slightly pink teen before her. He coughed, smirking and dragged her to the white back-drop and setting her in the middle before walking back toward the tall man before. He turned to her when he was done, throwing her a small bottle. She caught it with a single hand, bringing it down to her eyes and looking at it with a narrowed gaze.

"Oil?" she asked slowly, glancing at Atobe from the corner of her eye when she saw him smirk. The tall man answered this time; brown eyes twinkling and shaggy brown hair flying as he paced before her. She assumed he was the photographer.

"Yes, yes. Apply that to your body; everywhere that's visible if you please." He said cheerfully, and she twitched before doing so, ignoring the looks from Atobe. When she was done she chucked it at him, the bottle hitting his head. He glared at her, but she simply smirked and said nothing to defend her actions.

She eyed the photographer with hidden wariness, but listened carefully as he handed her a racket. All he told her was to pose, and she had no idea what to do so her first few pictures were rather awkward before she sighed, relaxed her face, and let her eye lids droop. She vaguely heard rapid clicking but she ignored it, trying to think of this as just another challenge. She leaned most of her weight on her left leg, her right hand resting on her hip and her left bringing the racket to rest on her shoulder. She looked at the camera with a blank stare, never noticing the shocked looks of Atobe.

Slowly, the pictures became more natural, and she easily posed as the photographer wished, ignoring the fact that some were a bit… provocative, or at least partially for her "age". She sighed when the happy photographer called a break, brushing stray hairs away from her face and taking a deep sip of water, watching Atobe from the corner of her eyes. He had yet to pose for anything yet, and she idly wondered why the pompous teen would delay being in front of the cameras for so long.

"Atobe." She called, watching a he turned toward her. She gave him a questioning look.

"Am I intimidating you? Decided not to take any pictures?" she asked mockingly, knowing that he would react just as he did.

He huffed, ranted a bit of his prowess, and placed himself in front of the camera. She blinked in surprise when he did very well actually, his face serious as he faced the camera, an occasional smirk gracing his face. She shook her head; she should have expected it really. She watched as he took numerous shots, not one taken of him with his stance awkward or unsure. It seemed he either had lots of practice or was just a natural at this. She guessed a bit of both.

When he finally stopped she sighed in relief, thinking it was the end. Not so much.

"Ah-ah-ah! Where do you think you're going? You still have to take pictures with Ore-sama."

Dread flooded her being.


When everything was done she had quickly gotten into the limo, happy at leaving Atobe's mansion and the camera.

Hitomi sighed tiredly as she stared out the window, the sky dark and the air cool as it danced into her open window and brushed her face. She hummed in enjoyment, happy at the feel of coolness on her tired and drooping face.

Training had taken a lot out of her, and so had the pictures surprisingly, and all she wanted to do now was sleep. She thanked Felix as she closed her door, walking along the path to her front door and quickly running her finger down the door and putting her key into the slot. She dropped her bag loudly, trudging toward her bed and falling face first onto it with a tired sigh.

She buried her face into the silk sheets, happy that she had taken a shower at Atobe's so she could get the make-up and oil off. Now, she could simply fall asleep; she would have been much too tired to take a shower if she hadn't already at Atobe's and would have likely just slept. Ripping off her boots and pulling the dress off, she quickly slipped a long white shirt on and sighed in relief as she rubbed a hand through her hair and down her face.

She climbed under the covers and immediately fell asleep, never noticing the amulet around her neck glowing red or the shadow that darted across her window and into the night.


[March 10st; 13 Days Later; 7:35 a.m.]

"You know, school will be starting soon."

The casual tone to the voice immediately grabbed Hitomi's attention, and she slowed in her stretches, her leg pausing half-way to its straight and pointed position. She eyed her teacher warily, not entirely liking his sparkling eyes yet not feeling inclined enough to question him. He had produced wonderful results in an almost inhuman amount of time, and she certainly wasn't going to start complaining now.

Then again, the last time she had confronted his sparkly eyes was when he had started her on her new training….

Yeah, she wasn't going to ask.

Gracefully dismissing him, and ignoring his pout with ease, she stretched her leg slowly, her hand clasping the top half of her foot and her muscles flexing as she lifted her leg to right next to her face. She ran a hand down the calf muscle, breathing slowly as her leg was brought back down then repeating the processes with the other leg. Strength, stamina, and techniques were all well and good but flexibility proved to be practically invaluable on the court in many of her matches with Nanjiro.

Her thoughts wandered as she sank onto the ground, legs parting in a split. She had, quite honestly, forgotten about school as well as the fact it would start in early April, barely a month away. She winced, knowing that no matter where she went she would be having problems getting in because she waited so long.

There was also the problem of no school papers from grades fourth and fifth, though she doubted it would matter too much considering the files would be invalid in Japan. She had planned to simply say she was home-schooled in her orphanage; money too rare and little for her to get an education at an actually facility. And considering the fact she did indeed have the forms proving her presence in a St. Agatha's Orphanage somewhere in a small town of England, she assumed it would be fine as long as she tested in to the classes that she knew would be for an older age group.

But the question now was which school did she want to go to?

She had considered this rather carefully, but the two places she had narrowed it down to were Rikkaidai and Seigaku. Seigaku would probably be the easiest, considering Nanjiro's recommendation as well as the easy fifteen minute walk to the school. Rikkaidai would be harder to get to (a lot harder), and would take a lot longer time-wise. Though, Akaya went there and they were the top school in terms of the Middle School division.

She sighed, deciding that she would make her decision later. She might even visit the school first. She paused, her arms supporting her hovering figure; legs spread in a split but simply above the ground. Yes, that sounded like a good idea, she decided, slowly balancing and working her muscles to put her legs together behind her and lifted her body into a handstand.

She grunted, slowly bending her arms, watching the ground through narrowed eyes. Sweat traveled down her cheek to her chin, dripping onto the cement and making her concentrate even more. Exhaling slowly, she slowly lifted her right arm away from the ground. Cutting off a gasp that almost forced its way out of her lips she huffed as her left arm shook. Grunting she straightened her arm before bending it once again.

She breathed through her nose, her whole body shaking and quivering. Her left arm was much weaker than her right, but she needed to condition it and the only way to make it stronger was to work it as much as her body allowed.

She repeated her one handed hand-stand push-ups, making sure to go slow to ensure all of her muscles were targeted. Finally, after thirty reps she collapsed, her face digging into the concrete almost painfully. She wheezed, ignoring the concerned voice of her teacher. Sitting up shakily, she cursed when she eyed her quivering hand and clenched it, forcing it to stop. She breathed deeply, glaring at her teacher and silencing his useless questions and concerns.

"I'm fine." She stated coldly, before dragging herself to her feet. She swayed dangerously for a moment before stilling herself quickly.

"Maybe you should take a break…" Nanjiro said unsurely, worry in his golden eyes. Hitomi ignored him and walked purposefully toward her towel and water.

She wouldn't stop, she though fiercely as water sloshed into her mouth before she spit it out. She poured some over her head and closed her eyes for a moment, heavy breathing breaking the otherwise complete silence. She wouldn't stop until she mastered it.

Acid green eyes glared out into the early morning sky.

She would never stop.


"How is that student of yours doing, dear?"

Nanjiro blinked, looking up into his wife's shining brown eyes and suddenly realizing he had been spacing out this whole time. He shot her a sheepish grin, ignoring the knowing look she gave him as he yawned and scratched at his cheek.

"She is improving. That girl sure can train." He uttered, watching as his wife slowly frowned, gently placing his cup of tea in front of him.

"Yes, I have seen her… actually, I'm pretty sure she's still training outside. Won't you stop her? This is a bit much."

Nanjiro sighed warily, rubbing a hand down his tanned face. "I've tried. Really I have. I had forgotten how old she really is and I told her that maybe she should take a break or something; she just won't listen."

His wife fiddled with her napkin, worriedly biting at her lip before facing her bored-looking son. Determination lit her eyes as she stared, and Ryoma inwardly winced at the look.

"Will you invite her in for some diner Ryoma?"

He gave her an annoyed look but quickly left the table as her face steadily got more annoyed and angry. She could be quite scary when she wanted to be, he thought irritably, walking outside and around the temple to the back courts. He paused, peering into sickly yellow eyes as a black cat rubbed along his leg, twisting and turning between the two appendages. He blinked, squatting a bit to pet the beautiful black cat only for the feline to dance away from his hands, its eyes looking into his own, and for some reason he felt… odd…

Blinking slowly, he grabbed the cat gently, lifting it to his shoulder before walking to the courts. He made his way slowly; eyeing the panting form of one of the few people he respected and squinted when his eyes went blurry for a moment. He shook it off, before walking up to her, prompting her to glance at him from her position on the ground. She glared a bit, but said nothing as he told her of his mother's inquiries, and for some reason adding his mother's determination. He started to wonder why he would say such a thing, before the thought swiftly melted away, as if it was never there.

Hitomi looked at him for a long moment before she stood and grabbed her empty water bottle along with her towel. She turned to him for a moment, and Ryoma almost thought he saw amusement flash behind her eyes when they briefly glanced at the cat on his shoulder before they evened out once again. She bid him farewell and he left to go into the house without protest, the cat jumping from his shoulders and disappearing into the bushes.

His mother was rather miffed at him, and it left him wondering why he never tried to convince the girl to stay.

He never thought of the odd cat that had silently slinked away after he had entered his house.

He would never remember.


Note: Bam. Done. Actually, I feel really bad, since this has been on my computer for oh… months… *cough* I apologize, but it is different than the summary I put before because I decided I was going to space out the events a bit more to help with the flow of things. I hope you enjoyed, and please review!

Chapters will be up more frequently now, since I've found myself with a bit of time (yay).

I hope you enjoyed, and thank you for your time.

I appreciate it!

-Loveless xoxo