"Oi, Kayashima!" I turned around but the smile I was wearing slid off my face when I picked up on their auras. Four of my classmates were coming my way and none of them seemed too happy to see me. I frowned trying to remember if I had done something wrong. I didn't think I had. After all, this was a new school and I had tried so hard to fit in…I blinked slowly as they circled around me, backing up until I hit the wall. I put my hands up cautiously, trying to get a better understanding of what it was they were feeling. Anger, hate, fear…Fear? Were they…afraid of me? One of my classmates knocked my hand away.

"What do you think you're doing, Ghost Boy?" He spat the name like it was a curse.

"Why are you such a freak?" Another jeered. I bit my lip and lowered my gaze. I had tried so hard to be good.

"We don't need any creeps like you in this school," the first boy, who seemed to be the leader, taunted.

"But I…I haven't done anything to you," I said, my voice barely louder than a whisper. I was afraid. At my last school I was bullied almost every day. It got to the point where my parents transferred me here, to this new middle school. I was so sure things would be different…my heart sank as I realized it was just more of the same.

"You exist, don't you?" The leader hissed, grabbing my shirtfront. "That's already inexcusable."

I stared down at the hand under my chin with something akin to curiosity. Why? Why were they afraid of me? I had never hurt them, so why…? My thoughts were interrupted when the boy holding me gave me a rough shake, my head slamming into the wall. I winced; I could already feel a bruise forming.

"You just don't get it, do you?" I looked up at him and his eyes were dark with vainly hidden fury. "You don't belong here." He shook me again. "And until you leave," he paused, leaning in close, "We'll be here to make sure you get the message." He released me, taking a step back. "Alright, boys. Do what you will."

The remaining three closed in on me. My eyes darted around wildly looking for an escape, but there was none. I glanced at them each in turn silently begging them for mercy, but their auras were dark and unyielding. Not knowing what else to do, I crouched down, hands over my head in an effort to protect myself. A foot jumped out of nowhere, kicking me in the side before a hand reached down and fisted itself in my hair. I cried out as I was pulled to my feet and then a fist buried itself deep into my stomach and I couldn't breathe.

I dropped to the floor, curling up on my side as their hatred and fear were expressed through physical violence. I just laid there and breathed trying my best not to cry out. Finally, finally they stopped. I glanced up slowly only to find the leader of the group leering down at me. I swallowed thickly and lowered my gaze again.

"Go home, Kayashima. You're not wanted here." I waited until they were gone before I let the tears fall.

Four Years Later:

"Oi, Kayashima!" I looked up to find a few of my classmates leaning over my lunch table where, as usual, I was sitting alone.

"See any ghosts lately?" The burst into a chorus of laughter and I lowered my gaze feeling the familiar sting of pain run through me.

"Hey, leave him alone!" I turned towards the new voice and noticed Nakatsu striding towards us, arms crossed and a stern expression on his face.

"Nakatsu, what do you care?"

"Yeah, he's a freak!"

"Shut up!" Nakatsu barked, placing a hand on my shoulder. I gazed up at him in shock. "He's my friend." The others walked away laughing, but they left without another word. I blinked up at my roommate, not quite sure what to say. He peered down at me. "Are you okay?"

"Uh, un." He patted my shoulder, taking the spare seat beside me.

"Don't let them get to you. They're just being idiots." He glanced at me sideways for a moment. "If they pick on you again just tell me. I'll sort them out." My eyes widened in surprise. It took me a moment to find my voice.

"Nakatsu…" He just chuckled.

"Hey, what are friends for?"

A/N: Thanks so much to Kameko'sAquaTurtle for that wonderful review! I've fixed this up a little and I think it flows much better this way.