Izumo stood in front of the classroom's door awkwardly, debating whether she should go in or call in sick. After admitting to herself… that, she wasn't sure she could trust herself to remain indifferent if he would talk to her. Letting out a sharp breath, she slapped herself forcefully on the cheeks with both hands. It's not like he knew anything! She was being stupid. She could simply ignore him throughout class. She's done it before, she could do it again. Besides, ignoring him completely wouldn't be new to anyone. It was the natural flow of her relationship with him. She cringed at the word. As if they had any form of relationship to begin with.
Placing her hand on the knob, Izumo couldn't help but recall the events of the previous day. What if he would pester her about it? What if he would nag her and follow her all over the place just like yesterday? She blushed a million shades of red. No! She would die of embarrassment!
Rethinking her decision, Izumo let go of the knob once again. After tricking Rin into leaving her alone yesterday, she ran and ran and ran until she realized she had circled the entire school grounds. Twice. Getting home late, exhausted, and hungry, she chose to miss dinner to avoid the small risk of seeing the bane of her existence. Settling for a long hot soak in the tub, she ended the day with an uncomfortable sleepless night.
Balling her hands into fists, she gathered up all her courage and reach for the knob. "Izumo Kamiki. Get. Your act. Together." She muttered between clenched teeth. She was acting stupid. She was strong, smart and independent! She was better than this! Better than acting like an idiotic love struck school girl. She could do this. She would do this! She would… Izumo sighed and let go of the knob once again. Who was she kidding?
Giving the door a look of exhaustion, Izumo turned around to leave only to hit her nose onto something hard and black. Grasping her nose with both hands, she raised her head to yell at the inconsiderate idiot who didn't watch where he was going. "You stupid-"
"Izumo-san." Came the polite, composed greeting.
"O-Okumura…" She stuttered embarrassed as she raised her glance from the trademark black exorcist coat to the sharp, erudite black eyes. "Sensei."
Raising an eyebrow as he glanced at the door, Yukio gave the Byakko tamer an intrigued look. "Something the matter with the door, Izumo-san?"
Clearing her throat, Izumo stood tall, as if her now confident stature would change how ridiculous she probably looked just a few seconds earlier. "Nothing. I was simply debating on whether I should go in or head to the rest room first."
Yukio nodded, pretending to acknowledge her excuse as the truth. "I see. However, it looks like I have decided for you. Class is starting."
Izumo simply nodded as she turned around to face the door. Before she could open it, she heard the exorcist prodigy call her name once again.
She turned her head. "Sensei?"
"Perhaps next time instead of debating with yourself for a whole ten minutes on whether to enter class or go to the restroom, you should decide on the rest room." Yukio finished with an innocent smile on his face.
Izumo felt her eye twitch in annoyance as she turned around to open the door. "I'll keep that in mind sensei."
Izumo flinched. There it was again. That feeling. Like someone was looking at her. Observing her. She clicked her tongue silently, fighting the urge to look back and shout profanities at the idiot who dared to stare are her so blatantly. The idiot didn't even have the decency to conceal his intentions.
Izumo glanced to the side with her eyes. Bon was on the opposite row. Konekomaru was beside him. Shima was seated behind them beside Shiemi. And that was all her eyes could see, given the limited motion of her head. Her heart began to pound. There were only two more people left. It was either bunny guy or…
Izumo narrowed her eyes in annoyance. She needed to distract herself. There was no point in trying to figure out who the hell had the audacity to stare at her so intensely. She clicked her tongue once again before focusing all her attention to copying the rest of Okumura-sensei's lecture. With the obvious way he was rushing the lecture, Izumo hypothesized that he was probably assigned an important task after class. Either way she was grateful. With the fast pace of the class, she hardly had any time to think of insignificant things.
"And this is where today's lecture would end." Yukio concluded. "As for your following classes, they are suspended for now. Normal academic activities will continue tomorrow."
"Sensei." Konekomaru raised his hand.
"They say today is the monthly gathering of all ranked exorcists in Japan. Is it true?"
Yukio nodded. "Yes. All those ranked from middle first class exorcist up to paladin are called in."
"What's it for, sensei?" Bon asked out of curiosity.
"It's for the review of demonic activity in the country throughout the past month." Yukio began as he pushed up his glasses. "The results will influence the manner of distribution of exorcists throughout Japan."
All eyes were on the next speaker. "So even you can be stationed at some far away province?"
"I'm afraid I don't fall under those who can easily be re-stationed." Yukio answered with a fake polite tone in response to the initial cheery voice of his demon brother. "I have a duty as a professor here, as you can see."
"Tsk. Too bad." Rin whispered none too silently.
Yukio felt his eye twitch.
Letting out a disappointed sigh, Rin's gaze accidentally fell onto the violet-haired tamer only to see her looking right back at him. Violet and blue eyes mirrored each other in surprise. Izumo immediately snapper her head back up front. With her heart beating frantically, she felt her temperature rise up to a hundred degrees.
"Well. That will be all for today. Dismissed." And without a moment to lose, Yukio was out of the room carrying his books to prepare for the congregation.
"You wanna hang out today Shiemi-chan? We have half a day free! You too, Izumo-chaaaan!"
Izumo snapped out of her initial disorientation and turned a bit to glance in annoyance at the pink-haired boy overflowing with hormones, albeit not the likable ones. "No thanks."
"I have to pass too." Shiemi replied as she hooked her back onto her shoulder, a polite smile never leaving her face. "I promised mother I'd still try to help around the shop even though I'm studying as an exorcist. Now would be a great time for me to do so!"
"That's too bad…" Shima whispered dejectedly before shifting his attention to the Byakko tamer. "Oh come on, Izumo-chan! It'll be fun! All of us out for a day of relaxation! No demons no fighting no studying!" Shima's carefree tone continued. Izumo could only sigh as she placed her books inside her bag. She didn't even think it necessary to give the hormonal boy a reply.
"Why does he even bother?" Bon exasperatedly stated as he glanced at his friend's pathetic attempts to convince the violet-haired ice queen.
"I think he's a masochist." Konekomaru whispered in reply.
"How about you Rin?" Bon asked as he glanced at Rin. He raised an inquiring brow when he saw Satan's son intently watching the scene between Shima and Izumo. "Oi, Okumura!"
"Y-Yeah? Sorry I didn't hear." Rin stood up and grabbed his bag. Bon could only sigh at the lack of academic enthusiasm the boy had. Not a single thing was on his desk to pack away. What was the point of even bringing a bag in the first place?
"Do you want to hang out somewhere?" Konekomaru asked this time.
"I don't mind." Rin replied as he shrugged. "It's not like there's anything to do anyway."
"Oh come on Izumo-chan!" Shima's whine received all attention again. They watched as the pink-haired boy followed the Byakko tamer all the way up to the door. "It'll be fun! I swear! What do you want to do? We could do whatever!"
Shima glanced at the door miserably. "Why does she always turn me down?" He paused to look at the three remaining boys in the room. "Is it the pink hair?! It's the pink hair, isn't it?! Tell me! Is it really the hair?!"
"Oi! Calm down Shima!" Bon's annoyed voice echoed throughout the room. "I doubt it has something to do with your hair."
"Then what is it?" Shima pouted as he sniffed dramatically.
"Perhaps Izumo-san isn't the type that likes to be pursued?" Konekomaru wondered for a moment. "Or maybe… She already has someone she likes."
Rin felt his body temperature rise as his heartbeat rammed through his chest. He looked around the room in panic. Wait. Why the hell was he panicking?
"No way! There's no way Izumo-chan would have someone she likes!" Shima insisted in the same whiny tone.
"How the hell would you know?" Came Bon's exasperated tone as he rolled his eyes.
"There's just no way! No way…" Shima's voice faded slowly until 'no way' became a silent chant.
"What do you think Okumura-kun?" Konekomaru asked innocently.
Rin felt his heart skip a beat. "W-Why the heck would you ask me? I-It's not like we're close or something! Or like I know anything or something. I-" Rin paused as he glanced at the odd looks the three boys were giving him.
"Well, whatever! I… I've got to go."
"Huh?! You're not coming too Okumura?" Shima called out as he watched Rin walk to the door. "But you said not too long ago you'd come!"
"Well I changed my mind!"
"What was that all about?" Bon asked as he raised an eyebrow.
"Everyone seems to be acting weird today." Came Konekomaru's reply as he exhaled tiredly. "Well Shima's the normal Shima."
Both glanced at their childhood friend sitting dejectedly on a chair while chanting 'no way'. Bon could only sigh.
"At least the two of us are still sane."
Rin kicked open the door to the roof as he let out a frustrated growl. Chucking his bag to one side, he ruffled his hair as he stalked towards the edge of the roof, slamming his hands onto the tall woven steel fence. "What the hell, Rin!"
What was wrong with him? Why did he panic when they asked him about Izumo? Sensing his heart beat speed up, he fisted his hand and slammed it a couple of times onto where he assumed his heart would be. Was he afraid that anyone would find out? But it's not like it was his secret or anything! If anyone should panic it should be Izumo, not him! So why the hell was he so nervous?
Sliding down the fence, Rin let out a tired sigh. "Why did I have to find out?" He whined. If only he just minded his own business and left when Izumo asked him to, then he would have continued living in bliss, forever ignorant of the truth. He scratched is head again. He wondered. Would Izumo ever tell him up front? He felt his cheeks burn. If she did, what would he say?
Rin allowed himself to fall backwards, thankful for the clouds and their shade. He narrowed his eyes and sniffed. "Looks like it's going to rain." He sighed. His thoughts inevitably drifting back to the violet-haired ice queen.
He slapped a hand on his forehead. That was definitely something he never saw coming. He knew he wasn't that good at reading people and understanding how they felt but this, he was certainly blindsided. There wasn't even a single clue! It was just like that time when his old man offered to bake Yukio and him some chocolate chip cookies.
"I cleaned the whole place up so we could eat without any disturbance!"
"You're lying old man! You just preheated those cookies!" The eight year old Rin folded his arms onto his chest while giving the old exorcist an accusing glare.
"Oni-san, father would never lie to us." Came Yukio's defending tone.
"Of course I wouldn't!" Shiro's happy tone echoed through the kitchen.
Running towards the garbage bin, Rin opened it only to be greeted by an empty black trash bag. "Then where are all the ingredients?!" There wasn't a single ounce of flour or a drop of milk or a piece of chocolate chip seen scattered around the neat kitchen.
"I threw them all out!" Shiro answered with confidence. "The garbage man came today."
"Liar! The garbage man only comes every Monday and Thursday!" Rin continued his accusation. "Today's a Tuesday!"
"It seems they changed their schedule so I hurried and cleaned up the mess so we wouldn't have to stock up all those trash for days!" Shiro replied as he set up the kitchen and poured some freshly squeezed orange juice into two glasses. "Now come on and eat while the cookies are still hot!"
Yukio gratefully nodded and began to eat his fill. "These are delicious!"
Rin grumbled as he sat beside his twin brother. "I'm still not convinced!"
Shiro laughed merrily. "You never are, little detective!"
"I swear I'll catch you one of these days old man!"
(End of Flashback)
Rin allowed himself to smile at the memory. He never really did figure out if the old man really did bake those cookies or if he just preheated them like he thought. He clicked his tongue when his thoughts went back to the Byakko tamer. Her admission was just like those cookies. They were there but there was no evidence that they would have been there eventually. They just suddenly existed.
Why would Izumo even like him in the first place? He felt his cheeks burn up yet again. It's not like he was particularly nice to her. He seldom even talked to her. And if he did, she'd just yell at him for… well, talking to her! She'd get mad at him for the smallest things like saying 'hello' or walking alongside her or even asking her to join them for lunch, a gesture the pink-haired monk always beat him to. She was just always mad at him! He gave up a long time ago in figuring out why Izumo acted the way she did towards him.
Rin bolted up. "So why the heck would she like me if she hates me so much?"
Lying back onto the ground, Rin ruffled his hair once again. "Argh! This is so confusing!" If you like someone don't you generally act… well, nice to them? Wouldn't you offer to help them? Wouldn't you always want to be with them? Talk to them? Spend time with them? Before he knew it, his thoughts drifted to the other female esquire in his class. This time he wasn't surprised at the burning feeling on his cheeks.
"Shiemi." He found himself whispering. He didn't know when or how he started to like her but he did. It was surprising at first when he found himself wanting to be with the shy blonde more frequently, always scanning the room if she just happened to be there. He found himself fixating on her entirely even amidst a crowded room. She was just… Alluring. And the most attractive part of her charm was her lack of awareness of the effect she had on people, specifically on the male population.
Rin sighed. But of course Shiemi wasn't completely ignorant of the opposite sex. He'd seen how she looked at Yukio. Her eyes always seemed to shine whenever she talked to him. She always had that genuine smile reserved just for him. She offered him things without him even asking. She would notice things about him that sometimes even he himself didn't even notice. Rin let out another sigh. "She loves him."
Grunting, Rin sat up. It was that obvious that even a socially awkward idiot like him could pick up on it. Now if only his stupid workaholic brother would allow himself to see it.
Rin stood up and leaned his forehead onto the steel fence, ignoring the sure mark the woven strips would embed on his skin. He placed both hands into his pockets and let out another sigh. What was wrong with the world? Why did the people you like, like someone else? Why couldn't two people just… fall in love? And everything could end there, happily ever after? Instead of having this weird, diagram of who loves who.
His thoughts drifted back to Izumo once again. What would he do if she did decide to confess to him? Would he accept her feelings? Turn her down? Continue being friends? He ruffled his hair again. Just what exactly did he feel towards her?
He didn't like her the same way he liked Shiemi, that was for sure. But he didn't hate her either. He found her scalding temper as her way of protecting herself. But from what exactly, he didn't know. He thought about it for a while. What was her past like? Was she alone like he was in school? Or did she have many friends? Was she bullied? Nah. It would be more likely that it was the other way around. But then again, what did he know? He was bullied too when he was a kid but people always assumed he was the bully.
His eyes widened in realization. He really didn't know anything about Izumo at all. After all, it's not like Izumo was the talkative type in terms of her life. He doubted anyone in cram school knew what her past was like, except maybe for her friend Pakku. But then she already quit cram school.
He ruffled his hair for the umpteenth time with both hands. His head was hurting from too much thinking! He didn't know how he felt about Izumo exactly and he didn't want to analyze it any further. Besides, he believed Izumo would rather slit her own throat than admit that she… well, whatever that thing was that she felt about him. So thinking about his reply would be pointless.
Tilting his head to the side, Rin narrowed his eyes as he recalled Izumo's screaming form at the forest clearing yesterday. Maybe he just heard incorrectly? Perhaps what Izumo really said was that, she didn't love him and that he was an idiot?
Rin pulled out his right hand from his pocket and slammed it onto the fence. "No idiot. Who'd be stupid enough to say it that way?" He was looking for excuses. He knew he heard it right. He knew Izumo… He sighed feeling his cheeks burn yet again. He knew but he couldn't bring himself to admit it.
"Why say you love me then call me an idiot?! Idiot Kamiki!"
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by his ringing phone. Flipping the device open, he noted it was a message from Yukio. "Get home early. A storm's coming up."
Looking up at the sky, Rin took note of the dark grey clouds drifting silently but lethally overhead. Sighing, he flipped his phone shut and moved to grab his bag. He needed to get back to the dorm quick. Feeling small drops of water onto his skin, Rin cursed silently as he ran towards the door. Of all the days, it just had to rain now when he forgot to bring his umbrella!
Izumo sat in silence as she felt the first few drops of rain splash onto her skin. She was holding her breath for as long as she could remember, exhaling when the sound of a slamming door reached her ears. She'd been sitting like a rock glued onto the wall on the other side of the roof top hugging her knees to her chest tightly when she realized just who it was who came up the roof with her.
It couldn't be. It just couldn't be. Her eyes were wide, not even sparing a split second to blink. Letting out quick, shallow, panicked breaths, Izumo couldn't bring herself to stand even as the droplets of rain felt colder, more punishing.
I felt obliged to add yet another story to this fandom. I checked if any new stories were written much to my chagrin, not much had been. So when I reread my story Unrequited, I thought of making a short sequel. I did my best! Hope you guys like it!
Hope to read some reviews as well!