This is disclaimer cat.
This is I cat.
This is don't cat.
This is own cat.
This is D cat.
This is N cat.
This is angel cat.
Now read the third word of each line. Thanks! Don't sue!
Lunch was normally a very enjoyable time. I would sit and chat with my friends as we ate, Cindy would write poetry and watch us eat, and I would try to get her to eat. Daisuke would occasionally start to sketch Riku, or anybody who was at our table, as we ate. But today, things were different. Darren had decided to eat with us, and girls were occasionally coming up to our table to flirt with him –or at least, try to. Cindy had put her notebooks away, though she still wasn't eating, and stared down every single person who came to talk to Darren. Riku and Risa and I were deep in discussion about 'the new guy', so I could have ignored Darren and Cindy, I could have left them to their own devices.
However, Cindy's quiet sigh of frustration and a low, accented voice snapped me out of my thoughts and my conversation. It also made me nearly jump out of my skin. I turned, just a bit too quickly, and found Krad standing directly behind me. I assumed Cindy had tried to stare him down, and failed. He blinked. Then I blinked. His hair had fallen out of its ponytail and hung loosely around his shoulders. I noticed, a bit too late, that my mouth was refusing to form coherent words. Luckily, Krad spoke again.
"Do you mind if I sit here?" He asked slowly. I imagined he'd thought I hadn't understood him the first time, which was basically correct. My brain went momentarily blank as I thought of how I could politely refuse, but then Risa kicked me in the shin.
"Ow!" I yelped, and then quickly turning back to the table to hide my blush, I said, "Sure, grab a chair." I'm sure my voice shook, even though I tried my best to feign indifference. I glared daggers at Risa, who looked away innocently. Sighing, I tried to return to our conversation, but it was too strange with Krad sitting two seats away, and I soon lapsed into silence.
Cindy, almost seeming to sense my distress, piped up with a question (or comment, it was hard to tell with her). "So um… Sira, you haven't introduced us… who is this?" The way she was looking at me didn't suggest she wanted to know anything other than his name, and I prayed Darren saw that as well. He could be quite jealous at times.
"Oh," I said, shifting slightly. "Um, guys, this is Krad," I paused, thinking this next step through. "Krad, this is Risa, her sister Riku, Daisuke, Cindy, and Darren." They all smiled briefly, and Darren reached out and offered his hand, which Krad shook.
"It's a pleasure to meet you all," he said coolly, and I briefly wondered where he'd gotten his accent from. It was so strange; I couldn't place it to any one country or state. Maybe his parents traveled or something. That was good; he might not be here for too long.
"So you don't eat either?" Cindy asked suddenly. "That's awesome; I hate it when people stare at me." Krad turned his cool eyes on her for a brief moment; then he seemed to think better of it. It was almost as though he could sense the jealousy and hurt raging visibly in Darren's eyes.
"I've never eaten much," he replied, gazing intently at the table. "But I eat. I am human, despite what my… brother might tell you." His hands, which he had folded on the table, tensed slightly and relaxed. But I thought I might have caught a glimpse of some faint scar on his skin.
Who cares Losi, I asked myself. Not you. You don't care. You want nothing to do with this kid. And I didn't. I really, really didn't. He was wrecking my friends' lives without even being aware of it. There were other things, petty things such as the length of his hair, but I was more worried about Darren and Cindy than that.
"So you and Satoshi are twins?" Daisuke asked after the long moment of awkward silence at our table. Krad didn't answer him, but the blonde's amber eyes grew incredibly sharp. Daisuke, apparently unsure what to say, stayed silent. Soon, the even more awkward silence was interrupted by the ringing of the bell, dismissing us to our next class. Krad was quick to leave, and his hair danced around his ankles like a cape as he walked. Not that I was paying attention.
"I hope I didn't offend him," Daisuke said. Riku murmured something comforting to him, but I was already being dragged along by Cindy.
"C'mon Losi! Time for gym!" I felt a wave of dread swoop through my stomach, but gave Cindy a quick smile nonetheless.
"Don't call me Losi," I growled jokingly. "It's Losira; Sira for short. What do you think of Cinder?" She growled back and gave me a gentle shove, and we laughed the rest of the way to gym class.
We were headed off at the doors of our gymnasium by Mrs. Reiter, who stood by the drinking fountain telling us not to change for this class. Cindy smiled and looked over at me. "I bet you're regretting wearing a turtleneck?" she asked mockingly.
"I've been regretting it since this morning," I replied dryly, remembering my vow to never wear another turtleneck for the rest of the winter. "Guess why…" My words died in my throat, never to be heard by anyone but me. I felt my stomach twist as I quickly scanned other faces in the bleachers, which must have been unfolded from the wall for this purpose. They were my classmates. There was Darren, and Dark, Takeshi and (my heart skipped a beat) Satoshi. I continued surveying the bleachers, and saw that Daisuke, Riku, and Risa had beaten me and Cindy here.
Sitting in the middle of the chaos of these seven, and the ten other guys and girls who made up a class that used to be only nineteen, was none other than Krad Hikari. Cindy gave me a gentle nudge on the shoulder.
"Keep walking Sira," she whispered. "Don't let him get to you. You're fine." I didn't look at her, and I most certainly did not look at Krad. I kept my eyes on my shoes; on the shining wooden floor beneath them, and put one foot in front of the other until Cindy tugged my arm. I looked about, and saw we were on the bleachers now, near the top. Cindy sat down, and indicated that I should probably do likewise. I sighed and allowed myself to sit next to her, trying my absolute hardest not to look around. There was almost no chance of me being paired with Krad anyway, so why was I so worried?
The bell rang, and Mrs. Reiter walked briskly into the gym, to face us in the bleachers. Her choppy brunette hair hung to her shoulders and her violet eyes glittered behind a pair of brown framed glasses. She wore jeans and a gray sweatshirt, with a pair of black running shoes. Like a stereotypical gym teacher, she held a clipboard and there was a whistle around her neck. Unlike a stereotypical gym teacher though, the whistle was bright pink and the clipboard had 'Long Live Theatre' written on the back in glitter.
"Alright," she called out, "Good afternoon class!" Before we even had a chance to reply, she plowed right on with her speech. "Today is the start of my favorite two weeks of this entire course: Our annual dance unit!" I twitched. This could have all been out of a nightmare. Well, maybe not Cindy sitting next to me; if this was a nightmare I'd be all alone.
Mrs. Reiter continued. "This year, since the unit is taking place so close to our also annual talent show, I have decided that I want this unit to be professional!" I wanted to kill someone, or something, or kick a wall. However, I was glad to see I wasn't the only one who looked uncomfortable. Darren looked unnaturally stiff, and Riku and Risa were nervously chatting with each other.
I stopped listening to Mrs. R, figuring Cindy would be happy to fill me in on the details later, and began to scan the bleachers for other classmates' reactions. Takeshi, the ever-snooping reporter, was scribbling something onto a spiral-bound notepad. Dark, curse him, was sitting nonchalantly a few rows down, looking half asleep despite the normal group of girls around him. Or maybe it was because of it? I wondered briefly what would happen if all of the girls that normally surrounded Dark suddenly disappeared. What would he do? The thought of him alone was so ridiculous it made me smile.
Satoshi looked as though he was listening to Mrs. R, but it didn't look like he was very happy with what he was hearing. His eyebrows were drawn together, and his mouth was a thin line. I wondered what he was thinking about, but only for a moment.
"Alright everybody!" Mrs. Reiter called, "I'd like you all to remain seated as I read off names! You will not be required to marry your partner for this unit, so I don't want to hear any complaints about who you're paired with!" I couple of people laughed weakly. I was not among them.
"What's the deal?" I asked Cindy. She sighed.
"Sira, you've got to learn to listen," she smiled. "She's going to list our dancing partners, give us the rest of the class to get 'acquainted' with them, and toward the end of the class she says she'll tell us what kind of dance you'll be learning with whoever you get paired with."
"What kind of dance?" I repeated. Mrs. Reiter started out the list, pairing 'Ables, Thomas' with 'Thornhill, Olivia'.
"Yeah," Cindy replied. "We're only learning one type of dance each, y'see. So this unit's going to involve a lot of 'homework', she says, practicing with your partner, and you'll get two lessons, one each week, with her outside of gym class." I was amazed I had managed to zone far enough out to miss all of that. In the meantime, 'Adrianza, Juliet' was paired with 'Smith, Isaiah'. I knew Darren was up next (this was a rather small class), and I crossed my fingers, hoping he'd end up with Cindy.
"Braddock, Darren," Mrs. R called, "and Draheim, Cindy." I wasn't sure who was smiling more, Darren, or me. Cindy murmured a quiet 'yes!' and I grinned at her.
"Luck of the Irish?" I asked, pointing to her bright orange hair.
"I'm Russian and Polish, mostly," she said, "But, whatever floats your boat!" In the meantime, several other students had been paired up, making five groups of two. This class had quite a few people whose surnames began with 'D'. Meanwhile, ten unpaired students, including me, the Harada's, Takeshi, Daisuke, Dark, Satoshi and Krad, sat nervously.
"Fallen, Drew, and Saehara, Takeshi." I couldn't help but smile at this match. If Darren and Cindy's had been a match made in heaven, Drew and Takeshi's was a match made in hell. Both were headstrong, snoopy, and incredibly annoying. They were also rivals in the newspaper, and constantly competed for the best scoops.
"Harada, Riku," Mrs. Reiter called. There was a moment of silence, and Riku glanced up at Daisuke. "And Niwa, Daisuke. Goodness knows there's enough drama going on without splitting you two up." Daisuke turned a light shade of pink, but Riku laughed. She had always been a favorite of Mrs. R because of her incredible athletic talent. I took a moment to consider that Satoshi had not yet been paired with anybody.
"Harada, Risa, and Hiwatari, Satoshi," were the next words out of my gym teacher's mouth, and hearing them made me want to curl up and die. This meant that the only people who were left without a partner were me, a girl named Storm, Dark, and Krad. Not to mention that, if I remembered correctly, Krad's name would be called next.
I was right. "Hikari, Krad, –"
The gap between his name and the next was just long enough for me to think, if it's him or Dark, I'll be with him. Just please, please don't pair me with Dark! He and I had been friends for a while, but that was half the reason I disliked him so much. I knew how vain and egotistical he was, how he'd flirt with anything that could speak, and how –
"–And Summers, Losira." I breathed a quiet sigh of relief, and then, suddenly, realized exactly what I'd gotten myself into. I would have to dance. With Krad. In front of an audience. With Krad. In front of Satoshi. Cindy was looking at me worriedly, and I gave her a weak smile.
"If I die," I said quietly, "feel free to take anything you want that I own." She grinned back at me, but she still looked concerned.
"I'm sorry about… well, y'know," she said. I shrugged as my stomach did an awkward flip-flop. "At least it's not forever," Cindy continued. "Although… I guess if it were Darren, I wouldn't mind that too much." I felt a wave of bitterness at her words. Why couldn't I be partnered with Satoshi? Why was it that nothing special ever seemed to happen to me?
"Alright class," Mrs. Reiter said, "please get together with your partners. You will have the rest of this class, and anytime outside of it, of course, to get to know your partner. In about twenty-five minutes, I'll be walking around with a hat. You'll be drawing whatever dance you'll perform out of this hat. I'll see you then." She turned around, and as she walked to her office, the rest of the class slowly began shifting around on the bleachers to get to their partners.
"Good luck!" Cindy whispered to me, and then jumped down to where Darren sat. They began chatting with each other almost instantly. I stood, somewhat reluctantly, and began moving over to where Krad was still sitting. As I got close, he glanced up at me, and I sat down. I kept about two feet of distance between us, more for my comfort than anything, but he didn't seem to be offended.
"Well," he said calmly, "this is certainly… interesting, I suppose." His strange voice seemed to grate against my ears, and I wondered why I had wanted to be with him instead of Dark. "First band, now this… must be fate."
"You believe in fate?" I asked him dryly. He shrugged, and glanced over at Takeshi and Drew.
"When there's no other explanation," he replied. "Do they always fight like this?" He nodded at the two reporters, who I thought were being rather civil. Takeshi was waving a camera in front of Drew's face, and Drew was blatantly ignoring it and pointing out something in a notebook.
"Normally it's worse," I replied. "There's been no physical contact between them yet…" Krad looked mildly surprised, but shook his head and sighed to disguise it. We lapsed into an awkward silence, during which I could hear blood pounding in my ears; drowning out the sound of voices around me.
"So…" I said, painfully aware of how strained my voice sounded, "Were there a lot of fights at your old school?" Probably not the best question to ask, but I couldn't think of anything else.
"I wouldn't say a lot," he replied. "It was more that you got shoved around frequently… but I'd rather not talk about that, if it's all the same." I was a bit surprised by his dismissal of the subject, but I realized I didn't really want to hear about it either. Again, we lapsed into silence, but I was relieved to notice it wasn't as awkward as before.
I glanced at the clock, and saw it had only been about two minutes since Mrs. Reiter had finished calling off names. Drew hit Takeshi across the face with her notebook.
"They'll probably be in ISS for the rest of the day," I sighed, "They just don't learn." Krad didn't reply, and I fought with my brain for something to talk to him about. I wanted to ask about Satoshi, but after the brief scene at lunch following Daisuke's question I thought that might be a bad idea. So, my mind turned to band.
"How long have you been playing the violin?" I asked. Krad glanced over at me, and I saw a look of mild surprise in his eyes.
"About ten years," he responded. "I started when I was four, so… actually, a little closer to eleven." I was amazed. "How long have you been playing the piano?"
"Only five years," I replied, "My mom sorta enrolled me in classes against my will, but… I guess it's kinda fun." Krad laughed.
"Well, at least you don't practice until your fingers bleed," he said. "When I first started, I had to learn how to write with my right hand, because it hurt less."
"You're left handed?" I asked.
"Well," he said "I'm ambidextrous now, but I suppose you could still say that." I laughed, surprised that I found his dry explanation amusing.
"That's cool," I replied, "Did it take long to learn?"
We talked like this for the rest of the class period, but I won't bore you with the details. In fact, to be quite truthful I don't remember much of it anyways. My brain sort of kicked most of that half hour out the back door (or possibly one of my ears), when Mrs. Reiter walked past us with a baseball cap full of folded bits of paper. I knew immediately that those paper scraps were all different dances, and I paled with the possibilities. Ballet? Salsa? Tango?
Krad plucked a random bit of paper from the far end of the hat, and held it for a moment before opening it. He glanced at it, and with a perfect poker face, passed it over to me as Mrs. R walked off towards Drew and Takeshi (who were now feigning laughter as Takeshi nursed a black eye).
I looked down at the bit of paper, and my colorless hair fell in front of my face as my heart filled with dread.
One stupid little word was all it took.
AN: I'm so sorry updates for this story are so infrequent. This is the first DN Angel story I've ever tried writing that excludes magic, and it's actually quite difficult for me. However, thank you for your support!