Beneath the Surface
The First Day
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Tsukune Aono rolled over in his bed and groaned.
"Morning already?" he said groggily.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
He opened one eye and squinted at the alarm clock.
6:00am it read.
Ugh... too early.. he thought, but I need to get ready for school...
He reached over and turned the alarm off.
A light knocking on his door made him sit upright.
"Tsukune, dear. Are you up? Breakfast is ready!" said the voice of his loving mother through the door.
"I'm up mom!" Barely. "I'll be down in a sec!" Probably five minutes.
He got out of bed and groaned again, rubbing his face with his right hand as he walked out of his room and to the bathroom. Standing in front of the sink, he looked into the mirror that hung over it and for a short moment observed the young man that stood sleepily before him.
There was nothing really special about Tsukune; there were no memorable features that would make him stand out in a crowd. Black hair that was usually a bit messier in the back, brown eyes that looked just as normal and similar as anyone else who had brown eyes. Thankfully, he had acne-free, flawless skin and a slightly tanned complexion.
At fourteen years old, he looked at himself in the mirror and found himself to be absolutely ordinary. Another average Japanese teenager trying to make his way in the world.
"Oh Tsukune!" called his mother's voice, "Hurry up now dear! You don't want to be late for school!"
He snapped out of his self-inspection at that point. Crap! I need to hurry! he thought as he quickly brushed his teeth and splashed some cold water on his face to help wake him up faster. Quickly getting dressed and grabbing his book bag he hurried downstairs and into the kitchen and dining room. As fast as he possibly could, he sat down at the table and gobbled up the food his mother had prepared for him.
He had an average home. A two bedroom, two bath, townhouse with a living room and kitchen-dining area on the ground floor as well as a basement.
He had an average family. A stay-at-home mom who looked after the household and took care of her only child, Tsukune, and a hardworking businessman of a father who spent most of his time in the office in his efforts to provide for his family.
They lived in an average neighborhood. Nice neighbors, relative safety in terms of crime rate, and a modest average household income.
Tsukune gulped down the entire glass of water and stood up, quickly grabbing his book bag and swinging it over his shoulder he began to head for the door.
"Tsukune! I made your lunch. Don't forget it, dear."
"Thanks mother!" he said with a slightly embarrassed chuckle. How could he forget that? As he got the packed lunch he glanced at the clock on the wall and yelped. "Oh crap! Is that really the time? I'm going to be late! I'm going to be late!" he said in a panic as he rushed to the door.
His mother watched all of this as she began to clear away the remains of his breakfast with a smile and let out a small giggle. "Be safe now, dear! Enjoy your first day at school!" she called out after him as the door was closing.
Completely normal. Yes indeed.
Moka Akashiya opened her eyes slowly and raised her arms above her head to stretch. Her body immediately felt nice and warm as blood rushed around. She smiled and turned over on her side, watching the alarm clock next to her bed change from 5:59 to 6:00am.
She never needed an alarm, always waking up a few minutes before whatever time she needed to. Almost as if her body had its own internal alarm clock. And for the last fourteen years it had not failed her. Not even once. Today was no different.
And yet, today was in fact very different.
She looked up at the ceiling of her room and smiled. "Today is my first day of high school!" she yelled happily.
A quick trip to the bathroom and she was brushing her teeth and getting ready for the day. Her green eyes watched herself in the mirror as her right hand used the toothbrush to clean her teeth while her left hand began to straighten out and fix her pink hair.
The sight of it made her remember all the teasing she had endured throughout junior high. She could never understand why, but her classmates had always made fun of her and played pranks on her. In the end she ended up hating school and having no friends, concentrating solely on her studies. Eventually, she moved again after graduating from junior high.
So here she was today, getting ready for her first day of high school. A fresh start.
Again, she thought but then quickly brushed any such negative thoughts out of her mind. No. She did not want to start such a great day on a bad note. She started to hum happily as she finished getting ready.
Eventually she made her way downstairs and started cooking her breakfast. Or at least tried to.
"Oh! This is so frustrating!" she cried out to no one in particular, pouting as she overcooked and burned the eggs. "Well... I guess I can just..." she said as she held a finger up to her lips in contemplation.
Opening the refrigerator, she grabbed two cans of tomato juice.
"One for breakfast and one for lunch," she said out loud and gave an approving nod.
A moment later and she threw an empty can of juice into the trash. Packing the other can of juice as well as a ham and cheese sandwich she had quickly prepared in case she was a bit hungrier today than usual. Satisfied, she grabbed her packed lunch and looked up at the clock.
It was 6:15am.
She left the house, making sure to lock it and pocket her key, and began to walk to school. But it was only a few minutes later that she realized she forgot something really important.
"My suitcase!" she blurted out all of a sudden, confusing a few passersby.
Oh no! This means I'll be late, she thought miserably as she ran back home.
Things seemed pretty normal for Moka too.
Crap! Crap! Crap! Crap! Craaaaap! I am so late! Tsukune thought as he ran to school.
Turning a corner, he finally caught sight of the gate to the school and started running even faster.
Moka was running as fast as she could, her long pink hair flowing wildly behind her.
This isn't happening! she thought, First day of school and you're late! Imagine what all your classmates will think of you! and your teacher!
Catching sight of the school she ran even harder.
Neither of them noticed the other, so intent were they on getting to class that it was only when they were practically a foot away from each other that they saw one another. And by then it was way too late. Arriving at the gates at exactly the same time, they tried to slow down and avoid each other but their fast-moving bodies eventually slammed into each other. Physics, and more specifically gravity, did the rest.
"Ow!" they yelped in unison as they tumbled into a heap.
For a moment Tsukune felt disoriented and breathing hard. His lungs and legs burned and sweat covered his face. He slowly realized he was on the ground and tried to wipe some of the sweat away from his face when he then realized his right arm was stuck under something. Finally, he noticed the nice pair of pink panties that obstructed his view.
Wait, panties...? he thought as his eyes widened and his face flushed. He realized what had happened.
Moka was pretty much in the same boat in terms of confusion, though not as aware of the awkwardness of the situation as Tsukune was when she realized her predicament. She rubbed her side where something, or someone, had run into her and then rubbed her bum because she seemed to have landed on something.
"Oh no! I'm so sorry!" she suddenly cried as she got off of him and knelt by him.
Blood was coming out from his nose and his face was really flushed. His eyes seemed far off as if he were in a daze.
"Are you alright?" she leaned over him, her green eyes wide as they scrutinized him worriedly.
"I-I'm fine!" he managed to finally say, closing his eyes and rubbing the back of his neck. Upon opening them he realized that her face was right in front of his own, and he could feel the heat coming from his cheeks as his heart beat quickly and loudly in his chest.
What is she doing? Why is she so close? he thought, panicked. And she's so incredibly beautiful too! Who is this girl?
Moka sniffed at him.
Tsukune couldn't believe what he had just seen, and he was not talking about the fact that he saw her underwear. Did she just... sniff me?
Moka sniffed again. His scent... it's so... it's so good. She sniffed one more time, taking it in. And though she tried to fight the urge, she knew she was failing miserably.
"I'm sorry!" she said again before lunging at him and biting his neck.
"Owwww!" he cried again, more from shock than pain really. What the... but before he could recover from the shock and finish his train of thought she had already pulled away from him.
Her green eyes locked with his brown ones. She tilted her head and smiled, her eyes closing and her pink hair shifting from the movement. She found him to be very cute. And on top of that, his blood... it tastes SO good!
Again her beauty took his breath and thoughts away and all he could do was look at her. Man she's so beautiful.
"I'm so so sorry," she spoke, breaking the silence and bringing her two index fingers together in front of her, "I hope you'll forgive me... I couldn't stop myself! Oh, my name is Moka Akashiya! What's... what's yours?"
Her voice is so incredibly cute too! Gosh, is this girl really talking to me? he thought. Wow. Does she go here? I wonder what year she's in..
"Is there something wrong?" she tilted her head the other way this time, eyes filled with concern and... was that fear? he thought, but it disappeared as quickly as it had flashed out.
He finally found his voice again, "N-No! No! Everything's fine! It's okay. Sorry too, I guess," he said, rubbing the back of his neck again and laughing forcefully. Then he turned a bit more serious, "My name... well, my name is Tsukune Aono. Pleased to meet you, Moka!"
She giggled and blushed slightly, though Tsukune didn't catch the blushing.
"Are you... a student here?" she ventured to ask.
He nodded, "Yeah, I'm a first year."
"Hey me too!"
YES! they both thought.
"What class are you in?" she asked.
He thought for a moment, "Oh, I think I'm in 1-E this year."
Another joyous mental celebration occurred for the both of them.
"Oh crap..." Tsukune suddenly remembered.
Moka looked at him just as horrified, "We're late!" She stood up and, gathering her things, she grabbed his hand and ran off.
Neither of them really realized that they were still holding hands when they walked into class late and started apologizing.
"Ah," said the teacher, a middle-aged woman with dark brown hair, "Glad you could join us Mr. Aono and Ms. Akashiya. Please don't be late again."
They apologized one more time.
There was some scattered laughter.
"You'll be glad to know that you'll be sitting next to each other, seeing as how those are the last two seats available since everyone else was on time," she said pointedly, giving them a look.
They both looked away and let go of the other's hand, blushing furiously.
The class laughed.
They took their seats in the back left corner of the class, both of them in the last row. Their eyes met and both quickly looked away as the teacher went on to explain school rules and resources as well as class procedures and scheduling.
"Now before I let you all go, I think it's time we heard from our two lovebirds there in the back," said the teacher.
Again there was more blushing and laughter.
"While I was taking roll and you were conveniently out of the classroom doing god knows what," she grinned, "I had each person stand up, say their name, share a hobby and their favorite food." She looked at Moka. "Miss Akashiya, if you would please? Ladies first after all."
"Oh, o-okay!" she said, her tone of voice clearly conveying she was very nervous. She brought a hand up close to her chin, clenched lightly into a fist, as she spoke. "My name is Moka Akashiya. I... uhh.." she struggled for a second, "I like to... study?"
"Did she just say study?"
"Wow, what a total nerd!"
"Man, she's pretty damn cute though!"
"But what's with the pink hair?"
The class murmured amongst themselves some more.
Tsukune for his part said nothing, though he noticed how Moka's body language had changed from nervousness to outright fear. She was practically shaking as she continued.
"And... and... my favorite food is blood! I mean tomato j-juice!" her voice shook slightly, "Er, I mean steak! I love steak..." she trailed off.
There was more murmuring.
"Did she just say blood?"
"What the hell? Does she think she's some kind of vampire or something?"
"What a weirdo!"
"Those green eyes with her pink hair are kinda strange..."
Moka immediately sat down and Tsukune swore she was going to start bawling. But she never did. She crossed her arms on her desk and put her head down, though before she hid her face completely Tsukune saw her eyes get watery.
"Well, Mr. Aono? It's your turn."
He stood up, "My name is Tsukune Aono. I love to swim and my favorite food happens to be steak too, though I also love the rice balls my mom makes. They're absolutely the best!"
There were a few remarks ("ha! what a dweeb!" and "well, swimming is better than studying", but definitely far fewer than the ones Moka had received when she was introducing herself.
The teacher smiled and nodded, "Thank you to the both of you. Now class, please proceed to the auditorium for the Orientation Ceremony. After which you'll be dismissed..."
The rest of the day was pretty boring and they were let out by noon time since the first day of school was mostly orientation and introductions. Throughout the day Tsukune slowly made a few friends in the class, though he always glanced over to Moka's direction every five minutes. The girl had spoken to very few people, and those that she had talked to he noticed walked away from her. It was as if they wanted nothing to do with her.
Tsukune seemingly was the only one who could see the tears that she tried to carefully hide. The way she lowered her head and seemed to try to blend into the wall, the floor, or even into her seat. The way she would glance up now and then when someone would pass close by to her, hoping perhaps that they would speak to her, but then sinking her head down again as they completely ignored her.
Well, not everyone ignored her.
Tsukune was talking to some guys he was befriending when he glanced over to see three guys surrounding Moka.
"Hey cutie. You must be new around here, I never saw you in middle school..." said one of them.
She nodded, saying nothing.
"Well, we just wanted to let you know that you're really really cute."
She looked up and smiled slightly, "Thank you.."
"Now if you'd just let us..." said one of the guys as he reached a hand towards her, a mischievous smirk on his face.
"Don't!" she squeaked and pushed through them, running away.
Two of the three started to run after her, but the boy who had started it all and seemingly the leader grabbed their shirts. "Forget it, she's not worth it. Besides, she'll be back so it's not worth the effort of running after her right now."
Tsukune excused himself from his newly made friends and ran after her. Nobody really paid attention that he did.
"Moka!" he yelled, "Moka! Hold on!"
He followed her off school grounds and to a small, nearby park. He found her sitting on a swing, tears flowing freely from her eyes, sobbing uncontrollably. He approached her slowly, making sure to not alarm her. But she did not seem to notice him at all. So lost was she in her tears that she didn't even realize he was standing right in front of her.
He crouched lower, having to look up now to see her face.
Her eyes were closed. Tears streamed down her face, her cheeks were all wet, and her skirt was getting a few dark patches. She was gripping the chains that held the swing up so hard that her knuckles were white. Her body was racked with sobs. She looked like a total mess.
"Moka," he said, his voice barely a whisper as he realized how terrible this day had been for her.
He reached out and placed a hand gently on her knee.
She finally realized he was there and looked at him, first with alarm and then... relief? He wasn't sure.
Without warning she launched herself off the swing and into him, toppling the two of them into the thankfully soft ground. Her arms wrapped around him tightly and she cried openly into his chest. Her sobs came less frequently, muffled into his shirt.
"Shhh... shh.." he said, remembering those times when he would be crying and his mother or his cousin, Kyoko, would comfort him. "It's okay, Moka. It's okay... Let it out... You'll be okay..." He wrapped his own arms around her, gently, which elicited a tighter hug from the pink-haired girl.
He breathed in and her scent made itself aware to him. She smells very pleasant, he thought. From then on every breath he took he noticed her scent. It was very pleasant indeed.
He did not know how he had gotten himself into this situation. Who ever thought that a shy young boy like him would, on the first day of high school, suddenly be the one comforting a crying, beautiful young girl he had only met that same day? He honestly had no idea what he was doing, but he had a feeling that what he was doing was the right thing and that's all that mattered.
He did not know how long they lay there on the ground in the middle of a small, thankfully deserted park.
At one point or another her sobs and shaking had stopped, then the crying, and eventually the tightness of the hug lessened. Tsukune could feel the heavy, wet patch in the middle of his shirt. Her tears had soaked through and his skin was also damp. Not that it really mattered to him that his shirt and chest were very wet. After all, there was a crying girl to take care of.
He felt her lips move and heard her mumble something, breaking himself away from his thoughts.
"What was that, Moka?" he asked softly.
She gulped. "I'm sorry.." she whispered.
He did not understand this girl at all. Why was she apologizing to him? She was the victim here after all.
"No need to apologize, Moka. You didn't do anything wrong."
"But I did..."
"No," he stated firmly, "You didn't. Those guys in our class were being jerks."
She said nothing more.
They lay there for another few minutes before she slowly let go of him and got off of him. "Thank you, Tsukune," she whispered to him, grabbing his hand and giving it a squeeze. She realized how much of a mess she was at the moment and it made her feel embarrassed. Especially in front of the only boy who had been nice to me so far! Oh I'm so terrible...
Her skin is so soft, he thought approvingly as her warm hands held one of his own. At least she's not crying anymore.
She suddenly stood up albeit a bit shakily, "I'm so sorry!" she said for what seemed like the umpteenth time that day and ran off.
He sat up and watched her leave, unsure if he should follow or not. He decided on the latter; she seemed like she needed some space now. Besides, he had done enough already comforting her here. He sighed and leaned forward, bringing his legs close to his chest as he ran a hand through his hair and then started rubbing the back of his neck.
As he stood up he took one last look at the swing and spotted something on the ground.
"She forgot her suitcase..." he said out loud, his gaze drifting back to the direction she had run off to.
Moka Akashiya lay in her bed, hugging one of her stuffed animals. It was a big fluffy cat that she loved to hug because it was, well, so damned huggable. She thought she would cry some more but she didn't. Strangely enough she felt a little better already.
Strange... she thought. Usually when she cried like that it would wreck her mood for the rest of the day, with each hour getting progressively worse. She didn't want to admit it but in the back of her mind she knew this was going to happen somehow. She always managed to screw up, or at least that's what other people made her feel or think. It was always something that she did or said that made everyone around her dislike her. And while that went according to plan, one thing did not. Something had happened very differently today.
She had cried. But she had not been alone.
Why? she thought Why would he do that?
The doorbell ringing made her jump from total surprise, elevating her heartbeat and widening her eyes. Her mind began to race. Who could that be? Nobody ever came to see her... this must be bad. This might be father... or maybe..
Ding-dong-ding-dong! chimed the doorbell, a little too happily for her at the moment.
Still hugging her cat doll she slowly made her way to the front door. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes to gather herself before taking the last step towards the door. Unlocking it, she slowly opened, making sure that the chain lock was still on. She opened the door just enough for her to see who it was.
And she was at a loss for words.
"Hey, Moka. Sorry to disturb you, but..." he trailed off and started fake laughing as he rubbed the back of his neck with one arm. His other arm rose to eye-level.
My suitcase! she thought. He came to... to give me back my suitcase! I must have left it at the park...
She could only look in wonder as this young boy made yet another amazingly nice gesture to her. Anyone else would have probably left that suitcase there, or even taken it themselves. At least that's what she thought.
"Tsukune," she managed to say.
There was a rather awkward silence as they stood there separated by the chained door.
"Well, uhhh... hehe... I should get going. I guess I'll leave this here..." he put the suitcase down in front of the door. "Umm... see you tomorrow?" He quickly walked away.
He was no more than roughly a dozen feet away when the door was unchained, opened, and a voice called out to him, "Tsukune?"
He stopped and turned.
Then she was gone, the door slamming shut.
She clutched her cat doll and her suitcase as she walked back upstairs to her room.
What a first day.
Author's notes: I really love this anime and would like to write a few more stories about it. This is my first foray into this though so please be gentle!