Disclaimers: Kingdom Hearts does not belong to me, but quite obviously, this fic is for my own grim pleasure.

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Chapter Four: An Ordinary Girl

I was supposed to be normal.

I walk down the hallways, ignoring the whispering of the girls and boys around me, each of them thinking that I couldn't hear them. "Little freak-" "Smacked in the face with a ball, what a loser-" "I hope she's okay, she was bleeding a lot yesterday-" "Stupid bitch-" Some of the voices are sympathetic, others are not. They either were worried that I was some hemophiliac that had gotten a nasty break yesterday or I was some spaz.

Personally, I could live with either one as long as they left me alone. The voices continue, buzzing in my head like flies buzzing inside of an empty jar. They never seemed to stop, those voices, just as my classmates never seemed to close their mouths. I wonder how they even breath sometimes.

"Stupid freak-"

"If I was her, I would have stayed home-"

I close my eyes for a moment as I reach my locker, automatically spinning the combination lock to the three numbers that would open it up. I needed my textbook, my biology notebook, and a bunch of other stuff for my next class. It was a distraction really, a way of speeding up the time until I had to meet up with my friends.




I rub at my temples, feeling them throb slightly beneath my fingers. Despite how much aspirin that Axel had filled me up with, despite how much he put into my healing yesterday, my head still hurt like crazy. All day I had been seeing spots, the kind of spots that someone would get from a concussion or whiplash. If only I was able to take some stronger medicine, if only I wasn't allergic to just about every kind of medication except aspirin that had ever existed.

I shake my head again, trying to knock the random thoughts that kept going through my mind into some sort of order again. Head injuries apparently made you loopy. My fingers curls around the edge of the locker door as I start to open it. It begins to vibrate in my hand, buzzing like a giant bee in warning. And for once, I know exactly what the buzzing meant. Not this again. I sigh before pulling it open completely, quickly side-stepping to the locker besides mine. A huge bucket of water, one that shouldn't even been able to fit in my locker, tumbles from the top shelf and drops heavily to the floor, the water splattering everywhere. Kids around me shriek in surprise and back away from the bright red water that was spreading everywhere.

Blood. It was supposed to look like blood.

I peek into my locker and see that my books are all the way in the back, safe and sound from the attack of the water bucket vandal. Heck, they weren't even wet. That's some bully, making sure that my stuff doesn't get messed up before messing with me. So generous. I scoop them up and tuck them under my arm, glancing briefly to the overturned bucket beside me. "Thanks." I say out loud, feeling a sudden cold pressure on my arm. I look down to my shoulder and I see a small see-through hand clinging to my sleeve, gently smoothing it back into shipshape condition rather than the normal rolled up slob way I wore it. Yup, she was definitely back.

The cold fingers on my arm squeeze tightly though it doesn't hurt. She was probably trying to reassure me, though I think that her warning was a heck of a lot more useful than her making me feel better. I just give her a friendly smile before rescuing the rest of my stuff from my locker. As I work, several of the books helpfully jump into my hand, like they had been pushed from behind by an invisible hand.

In the 1950s, a girl had committed suicide at my school. The reason? She had been bullied to the point that she couldn't take it anymore. All because she loved to read. It's been said that sometimes, if you're alone here at night, you can see a shadowy image of a girl walking in the library and if you stay long enough, books will fly off the shelves, onto one of the work tables, and start flipping through their pages all by themselves. Like someone had pulled them from their places and had started to read them. When the books got all the way to the end, they would fly right back to where they had come from.

The girl had always been a kind soul, she hadn't deserved what had happened to her.

"Thanks, Belle." I say again as I start to close the locker, having put all of my stuff safely into my backpack. It was going to weigh a ton but it was better than risk my homework being ruined. Again. The locker door buzzes in my hand again before going still, another sign that she was listening. Sometimes she tried to remain hidden from me, like she was shy. But it didn't exactly work, considering I could always find her.

Lost in my thoughts, I barely heard the shouts from the people around me complaining about the water and so I continued trying to zip up my bag. The backpack is now fully extended, fat and bulgy from the amount of books and notebooks I had put in there. It was going to take one heck of an effort to lift the thing, let alone carry it. It was at times like this that I knew I should have been a boy; more upper body strength sounded nice.

Either way, I still manage to get the slightly wet backpack onto my back and start waddling to class.

Belle's presence follows me through the hallways, since I could hear a few of the opening lockers buzzing as I walked past them. Maybe she wanted to make sure I could get to class on time even with my heavy pack. It was comforting to know I had someone at my back right now, even if she was a restless soul that hadn't moved on to the Other Place already. One buzz, two buzz, the noises she made are soothing as I waddle to my next class, history with Ms. Gainsborough. I was almost there, almost to the little room where that very nice teacher taught all about the history of all of the different towns in the world. Room 105, almost to Room 105!

The hand lands heavily on my shoulder, making me freeze in the middle of walking. I was at Room 104. Dammit.

I look up to see one of my classmates, a guy called Raijin but Rai for short, staring at me and giving me a cheerful grin as the big lummox is prone to do. "Hiya, Sion!" He says as he pats my shoulder, nearly knocking me into one of the lockers in the process. I immediately put on a fake smile. I've told this guy about a million times that it wasn't an 'S', but a 'Sh' in my name but he never paid attention. I think it was his way of teasing me, but I was never one hundred sure. "What does Seifer want this time, Rai?" I ask bluntly, enjoying the way that his face suddenly fell. He scratches at his throat before shrugging. Instead of answering, he suddenly grabs one of my backpack straps and rips it completely off, despite me actually being in them. Dammit, Rai! I try to swipe the backpack out of his hand but he holds it up above my head and began walking towards my classroom. "He asked me to carry your stuff for you, Sion! He said you'd need it, y'know? After all, your backpack's real heavy, y'know." Rai comments, even though he was able to lift the pack with virtually no trouble.

I groan. I don't know how he knows my schedule, how he knew my locker combination, but as friendly as Rai was being, he was acting strictly on orders. Wait, actually, I know exactly how Rai knows where and how to find me no matter where I go at school.

My stalker is the head of the Disciplinary Committee.

I open the door for him as he walks into Ms. Gainsborough's room, ignoring the squeals from the other girls in my class as my escort takes his sweet time getting to my desk to drop off my giant backpack. But when he does, he very gently puts it on my desk and bows deeply to me, like I was some sort of princess. Jeez. I just stroll in quick and throw myself into the chair, burying my burning face in my hands. I rarely blush, and when I do, it looks I've caught on fire.

God, this was embarrassing!

I burrow deeper into my hands as the girls gossip around me, each and everyone of them giggling excitedly as Rai pats the top of my head and walks off to his own class. "Oooh, did you see that, a personal escort!" I hear from somewhere behind me as a classmate claps her hands eagerly. Somehow, I think they'd be less friendly and eager to set me up if they knew that Rai was acting on orders. The orders of the most popular boy at school and the one that had personally whooped me more times than I can count.

I freakin' hate Seifer.

I feel a hand plop onto my shoulder, patting it gently. "Well, I knew you'd be here," Olette's voice says in an amused way, making me peek up at her from between my fingers. She grins at me, winking conspiratorially at me. "After all, Rai just left and Seifer's in here already!" She teases, reaching up to ruffle my hair playfully. I jerk away from her touch, slamming my head onto the desk.

"Well," I say flatly, sick and tired of all of the pairing jokes that everyone kept doing about me, "I wish they'd leave me alone."

Olette sighs before opening her mouth, no doubt to say that a lot of girls at school would be happy to be in my situation and/or to tell Seifer that I wasn't interested again. But then she frowns, looking troubled and simply opens her science textbook instead. I stare at her in confusion. What the? Was she okay? I start to reach for her, to grab her shoulder and ask her what was wrong but then she bursts into tears.

Aw, crap!

She rubs at her eyes, sobbing silently into her hands as I stare at her, completely frozen and unable to think of a single thing to do to make her stop. I hate tears, I hate them, and I grew up with a guy. I don't know how to make my gal friends stop crying!

"I thought..." Olette says in a quiet voice, hiccuping her words slightly from the sheer amount of tears that were streaming down her face. I didn't know people could cry so much so fast. "That... you were... going to die yesterday... you were bleeding so much..." Oh. She was talking about when I got hit in the face. She had been scared for me. A warm feeling goes through my body, making me smile. Nobody's ever cared this much about me, only Axel. It was a strange feeling knowing that someone else cared about me.

I soften a little before pulling Olette into a hug, patting her head soothingly the way that Axel would have done to me if I was crying. "I have..." I pause, trying to think on how to make it sound like I had a medical condition rather than a seeing ghosts condition that might get me locked up in an asylum. "I've got... something... a little like... hemophilia..." I babble, knowing that just about anyone would be able to tell that I was lying. But Olette just looks up at me with bright green eyes, obviously listening and believing me. I wince, this only makes me feel worse. "And... sometimes cuts just appear on my body. So my blood acts weird. It's hard to get it to clot." At least that part was true.

And I didn't even mention that it was ghosts making the cuts.

"R-Really?" Olette asks before pulling herself out of my arms, studying my nose seriously. "Then shouldn't you be in the hospital?" My face immediately loses all color, and I feel like I've been punched in the face. The hospital. I had been in the hospital, Olette probably would have gone looking for me sometime today to go see me with the rest of her friends. And they would have found out about the fire.

"My family doesn't like hospitals, we believe in healing on our own!"

The lie comes out easily, since it was basically the truth. Axel had drilled it into my head from the start, telling me that if I told people about what he could do, they would think I'm crazy. I already saw ghosts, I didn't need anything else to incriminate me.

Olette stares hard at me, looking like she wanted to catch me in the lie but she didn't know enough about my non-existent folks to say it. But she just nods before hugging me again, holding me close for a few minutes. I just lean into her shoulder, glad to know I had such a good friend. She spends a few minutes calming down, at least til the teacher came back in.

Most of the rest of the class – including Olette's two guy friends called Pence and Hayner, who had wisely chosen to stay out of her cry-fest – let out cheers when the teacher wrote on the blackboard that we would be having a study period. Olette just sniffles and smiles at me before pulling her desk next to mine and waving the boys over.

"Alright," She says eagerly, obviously getting over her freak out. "Let's get started on our history project!" I roll my eyes, hiding a smile as I start pulling out my notebook and a pencil pouch from the depths of Tartarus, AKA my backpack. This girl sure was serious about her homework.

As if on cue, the two boys that pulled up desks beside ours let out a unified groan. "Aw, come on, Olette!" Hayner, a blond guy that I knew was going to end up dating Olette at some point but didn't know that well personally, says irritably. "We've got a whole month to come up with ideas for that! We don't need to turn it in yet!" They begin to glare at each other, slacker vs hard worker.

Geez, get a room already.

I look over at Pence, the second of Olette's guy friends and the shyest little guy I've ever met. Giving him a shrug, I start twirling a pencil around my fingers and open my art book. Might as well finish up that sketch that Highwind gave us, before he starts yelling that we weren't living up to our full potential.

Ignoring the yelling future couple in front of me, I scratch in a few lines of the church steeple in the town I was working on. Highwind had told us to draw an image that came to us in a dream, and since I don't dream, I just started winging it. Somehow, the outline of a very familiar island town is taking shape beneath my pencil, a place that I could have sworn that I've been to before...

"W-Wow," A quiet voice says in amazement, "You're really good! Are you an artist?" I look up to see Pence staring at me in excitement. The chubby little guy was speaking more than I had ever heard him say before, and it was obvious that he wanted to talk to me for some reason. I shake my head shyly and keep sketching, blushing slightly. "Well, um, what do you want to do the project on?" Pence asks next as he pulls out a few books of his own. He stacks them up neatly on the desk, not noticing my halfhearted shrug as I sketch.

Then I look up and have a heart attack.

My jaw drops at the titles of the books and I know immediately that I'm in trouble. 'Sea Phantasms,' 'Wayward Spirits,' 'Earthbound Deaths,' 'Sky Ghosts.' Feeling my body beginning to tremble in fear, I grab the top book and read the back of it, praying that maybe these were mystery novels and not how to catch ghost books. … Within reading a few sentences, I know that this guy is an avid ghost fan.

"You like ghost stories? I love them!" Pence tells me as he opens up another book and starts taking notes on it, humming happily to himself as he scribbles. I shake my head stiffly, remembering just a few of the bad memories that I had with ghosts. The little ghost girl that kept trying to kill me, finding out that one of my teachers was dead by seeing their ghost when I was ten, seeing animals get hit by cars and their lonely spirits going back to find their owners... my little guardian.

A few tears prickle in my eyes as I hand the book quickly and focus back on my island. This was no time to get emotional about the whole thing, I was completely normal. Normal and not weird at all.

Then I hear Pence's announcement. "Then it's decided! Xion and I want to do our history report on the Haunted Mansion!"

Say what?