A/N: Italics are thoughts or memories!
Sawako knew she was not refreshing and she knew that she looked scary. She didn't need to be told that and she definitely didn't want to be talked about like that behind her back. It hurt her to hear words such as 'scary' and 'cursed'. She did not ask to be like that. All she wanted was to be friends with everyone and to get along with them. She wished she was something more; that she could do more to show her true intentions. However, even with the help of her friend, Imai Shino, she couldn't seem to get her feelings across.
Though she grew up with the name Sadako, which clung to her like moss, it did not mean she was like that. She could still get hurt by that name even if it's been years. She believed it was because they were unable to understand her feelings. The people around her seem to not even to consider there could be a bright and lively side of her. They all think that there is only 'Sadako' once they meet her, but there isn't an ounce of that character within Sawako. They would not notice that she tried everything she could to appear sweet and refreshing. They didn't notice she tried to bring happiness to those around her. While all of this continued to happen though, she noticed the one person who sparked her life. That person was Kazehaya Shouta. She could tell with one look that he treated everyone with equality. He was kind, refreshing and cheerful, and everything else she wanted to be. It took only seconds for her to admire him like a guru in getting along with people. She knew that her meeting with him would make her life change forever.
"Hey, isn't that 'Sadako'?" a girl intended to be quiet by whispering.
The murmur was not as discreet as they thought. Two girls sat behind Sawako and she could hear every single word they said and it hurt. It hurt a lot. The more she heard her name mentioned by people she didn't know yet, the more she grew cautious and worried she wouldn't be able to fix their thoughts on her.
"Yeah," another girl replied, "I heard that she was the girl that could see evil spirits."
That isn't true; I'm sorry to disappoint you! Sawako thought, but could never say that out loud so she listened mutely to their conversation while she sat in her desk and nervously fidgeted with her fingers.
"Huh? No way!" the first girl exclaimed.
Sawako felt their gazes on her back for a moment before they huddled back together and continued to talk about her. She let out a small sigh. That's alright! Sometime I'll be able to tell them clearly! She quickly regained her confidence and clenched her hands into small fists in the air which was a common pose to her. Yes! The girls looked at her a little frightened, however, Sawako never noticed; she was too engrossed in a memory that came to her suddenly.
She walked along the path towards the school. The wind billowed through the branches of the trees, making them come alive. Cherry petals danced at her feet with each step she took. She stared intently with fascinated eyes as they pirouetted on the ground. She thought the sun made them look beautiful. She glanced up remembering that this was where the path parted and noticed a boy standing between the two paths whom looked quite puzzled. She suddenly took note of the uniform he wore and realized he was from her school. He looked from left to right at the paths, clearly confused. She couldn't help but want to do something even if she thought he was going to ignore her. Although, that was something she expected.
Still, she had to try, so she lifted a shaky finger, "Um… if you're looking for Kitahara High School, it's over there," she said so quietly she was afraid he might've not heard her.
He turned around, surprised, "Eh?"
Great! He heard me, but now he's going to ... she thought he was going to realize how eerie she looked and run away, but what happened next was nothing like that.
He tilted his head and gave her a giant smile, "Thank you!"
She widened her eyes and suddenly felt herself being greatly influenced by the simple gesture. She surprised herself when she smiled back at the boy. The wind tossed her hair along with all the swarming petals and a soft aura enveloped them. The boy widened his eyes at her but then he quickly realized he must be going and shook his head. He gave a small bow and took off speedily down the path. Sawako could feel her heart fluttering in her chest and thought that this was what it must feel like to help someone out successfully. She clenched her fists in the air.
I was able to be of some use!
She looked over at that person she met a couple days ago. She found out what his name was: Kazehaya Shouta; also known as: Her Idol. Shortly after admiring him for a while, the school bell chimed. Everybody filed into their seats and grew quiet as the teacher walked in. Sawako saw the nervous tension in his eyes as he nervously made his way to the front of the class.
"W-Welcome students, to c-classroom 1-D. I'm your homeroom t-teacher, Yoshiyuki Arai, you may call me Zen if you'd l-like."
She saw him glance in her direction before averting his eyes from hers. She straightened her back while she clasped her hands in front of her on her desk. She couldn't evade the remembrance of a rumour that haunted her since middle school. "Don't hold your gaze for more than three seconds or else you will be cursed!" She shifted in her desk uncomfortably and looked around.It's alright, she thought, and nodded, I'll be able to fix this!
Lunchtime came too slowly. It was tough being new to the school without any friends to comfort her in the class. Student's voices buzzed in her ears as she silently sat in her own seat and she began eating her homemade bento. Suddenly, a voice broke out in the classroom.
Her face lit up when she recognized the voice, "Shino-San!" she exclaimed and rushed over to her by the door without another thought.
Shino smiled and lowered her voice, "Hey, how are you doing in your new class?"
Sawako stared at her briefly before replying in a whisper as well, "It's pleasant."
Nothing happened that she had not expected besides meeting Shouta.
"Well, that's good. I was afraid the same thing that happened in middle school was going to happen."
Her friend laughed a little unnervingly which Sawako noticed. She nodded quietly without mentioning it. Disappointment quickly washed over her and her face saddened.
"I won't be able to see you as much," she said, remembering it would be suffocating without her.
Shino pulled her into a tight hug. Sawako basked in her friend's comfort. Though it was soon disturbed when the room got quiet.
Someone stepped forward, "Aren't you afraid of being cursed?" Their voice was high-pitched and Sawako quickly realized it was one of the girls from earlier.
Sawako froze and Shino slowly unwound her arms.
Shino took a few steps in front of Sawako and raised her eyebrows in disbelief, "Excuse me?" she placed a hand on her popped hip.
Sawako stared at the class with flickering eyes.
"Ghosts ..." the girl stated, "she can see ghosts and summon them to haunt you. In fact, isn't she a ghost herself?" -she laughed and looked around at the supporting crowd- "Was there anything you were even hugging or ...were you embracing yourself?"
Some people laughed.
"You don't even know her, so what are you saying? If that was even true, which it isn't, wouldn't that mean you could see ghosts?" Shino snapped.
The girl looked taken aback, "Shut up! She's probably possessing you."
Meanwhile, Sawako noticed movement amongst the students who had gathered at the scene. She quickly recognized Shouta's head poking out from the crowd revealing his black, messy hair. Her eyes gleamed and a slight smile crept on her face. A moment later, he stepped out between Shino and the other girl. He turned back around to face the girl and the crowd. Everyone stared as he held a hand out a hand in a protective way in front of Shino and Sawako.
Shouta's eyes were intense while his opinion remained resolved, "Kuronuma-san is very pleasant. She is not a ghost."
Sawako's ears turned bright red. He thinks I'm pleasant and he knows my name?! she thought excitedly.
Another girl jumped in at the new development, "What, standing up for the girl you like?" Obvious jealousy was leaked through her sneer.
Sawako completely forgot what was at stake for a moment. Wait, what am I thinking? Kazehaya-Kun is standing up for me and I'm letting them misunderstand! I have to tell them what's right. Sawako gave herself a little nod and stepped out from behind Shino with a clenched fist firmly planted against her chest.
"It's a misunderstanding," she said, and the room tensed.
Everyone, excluding Shino and Shouta, stared at her like she was some kind of mutant. Their eyes told her they were looking at something horrific, something that shouldn't be there. She looked around with her quivering eyes and began again, pressing her true feelings onto them.
"It's true that he was just standing up for me, but I'm not …" she tried to find the right words. She looked over at Shino who gave her an encouraging nod and then turned back to the crowd, "anything ...special. It's because, as everyone knows, Kazehaya-Kun's a person who treats everyone equally without discrimination," she said finally. Their mouths gaped at her with awe. I still need to tell them one more thing, Sawako thought, determined. "I'm just… Truly captivated by Kazehaya-kun's kindness ...and cheerfulness …and brilliance," she told them, "That is the truth. There are no misunderstandings about that."
Shouta felt his ears go red and Sawako exhaled a shaky breath.I said it, she thought and realized she had closed her eyes and opened them quickly, finding out they were all still staring at her with eyes that looked like they would pop out of their heads.
"Ah! E-Excuse me," she said softly and quickly bowed her head. She scurried out of the classroom towards the bathroom.
"Do you think we went too far?" Someone asked from the quiet room.
Sawako splashed water on her face and glanced at herself through the mirror.That's it, she began gently wiping her face dry with a paper-towel. She jumped with surprise when the bathroom door opened.
Sawako knew who it was without even having to guess.Shino-San. She looked through the mirror to see her come up behind.
"Everyone apologized," Shino told her, "and they want to tell you personally when you come back." She looked down at her feet and shifted from foot to foot. Sawako noticed sadness in her eyes.
"Shino-San?" Shino looked her straight in the face. Sawako noticed tears brimming her eyes and took a teetering step back, "Shi-"
"Sawako!" she wailed, and threw herself on Sawako to give her a hug. She clung onto her for a moment while the Sawako stood stiff in her arms. Sawako flushed and started to relax. She wound her arms around her for only seconds. "It's only the first day and you already are being rejected by the class -why didn't you tell me?" Shino asked, obviously upset.
Sawako's eyes widened and she pulled back enough to look at her. "I-I didn't want to worry you." Her eyes dampened and her voice got quieter as she looked away, "It was like this for years; what's so different this y-"
She stopped abruptly when Shino grabbed her arms tightly, "Because even if you say that you don't want me to worry, I still worry," she told her desperately, "I know from last year. I know how people treat you. Don't tell me to not worry over this when that's all I can do. It's my fault you get treated badly. You want to know what's different about this year?" -Sawako shook her head- "I'm still your friend and I will help you. Nothing is going to change that. I know that everyone in the past has left you, but I'm. Not. Like. That! I know you the best."
Her grip was threatening. Sawako never knew she was worried this much about her. She couldn't believe it. She barely even believed that they were friends. She really cared for Shino, she really did, she just didn't believe she had the right to call her her friend.
Tears fell from Shino's eyes, "I want you to have more friends, because with friends you can experience new things that you can't with only one!"
Sawako was speechless, I'm so sorry, Shino, she wanted to say, although Shino could already tell. Sawako slowly opened her arms and brought herself closer into her for another hug. "And thank you," she said quietly.
Shino hugged her back, "Don't mention it."
They were interrupted by the bathroom door opening, revealing another student. They quickly jumped away from each other and stared at the new arrival for a moment before the student headed into a stall. They both looked at each other and giggled. Shino brought out a handkerchief and wiped her tears. Then, she took Sawako's hand and looked at her.
"Ready to go back?"
When they got back to the classroom, surprisingly to Sawako although Shino said they would, everyone apologized.
A/N: Hey everyone! This is my first fanfic! Hope you will enjoy :)