[[[First of all, I'd like to thank Catyz101 for the words of encouragement I needed to keep going! You really helped! On another note, this chapter has a lot less to do with my OC (he doesn't even show up). So now, on with the show!]]]
"Where'd he go?" Tsukune wondered, before Kurumu brought him back to reality.
"Forget it, Tsukune! He obviously didn't feel like talking." she said. "Besides, we're in the News Club! That means we gotta get to work on finding things for our 'Welcome Back' edition!" She pumped her fist in the air excitedly, and emphasized it with her trademark 'Yahoo-hoo!'.
"Hey, that's right! That's right!" Yukari giggled.
Mizore popped up out of a bush.
"Incoming." She stated in her monotone voice.
"ONEE-SAMAAAAA!" They heard a shriek of joy as, in a flash, a hammer swung down, barely missing Moka. Everyone jumped and prepared for a counterattack.
The hammer was picked up by a red-headed girl with pigtails who then joyfully started swinging it in arcs at Moka, giggling and laughing like a child. Everyone else sighed and dropped their guard, except for Moka, who was being chased by the red-headed girl.
"Kokoa!" Moka cried. "Can't you attack me once I'm done eating lunch?!"
"Aw, come on, Sis!" Kokoa whined, still swinging her hammer. "Attacking here is where you'd least expect it! And if I don't attack you when you least expect it, it can hardly be called a surprise attack!"
The others sweat-dropped and simultaneously thought, You can't call it a surprise attack if you announce your presence beforehand, either.
Moka was still dodging the barrage of blows coming from Kokoa, who was now going on about her sister releasing her power and putting up a real fight.
"How'd you even find us, Kokoa?! We only got our schedules this morning!" At this question, the swinging hammer stopped.
"Well," she said, a little bit calmer, "I was walking around looking for you when I bumped into this blond guy with a scar on his face." The others paled a little.
"I asked him if he had seen a pink-haired girl anywhere. He didn't really say much, he just pointed in this direction and continued on his way." She huffed indignantly. "He barely made eye contact either. Rude!"
She appeared to have forgotten about fighting, as she was oblivious to the fact that her 'hammer' shifted back into the form of a bat and perched on her shoulder.
Tsukune sighed in defeat. That guy was probably already at his next class. Besides, Kurumu was right. He needed to think of topics for the new edition of the Youkai Times. Sometimes he really wished Gin was here. Well, he wished Gin was around to help organize a little bit, instead of flirting with anything that had a skirt. Tsukune had asked Gin last year if all werewolves were perverts or if it was just him, to which the only reply he received was a hearty laugh while he scratched near his headband and gave a dismissive wave.
But Gin had moved on, hadn't he? He was a senior here last year. It kind of sucked, because Tsukune had started to develop a kind of brotherly feeling towards him.
Tsukune looked up, startled. He had gotten lost in thought again.
Moka looked worried. "Is something wrong?"
Tsukune laughed nervously and rubbed the back of his neck, like he usually did.
"No," he laughed, "Nothing at all. I was just wondering how we were going to manage the club without Gin this year."
Everyone's mood slightly dropped. They hadn't considered that. Who was going to help supervise the club now? Ms. Nekonome was out. She always got distracted. Besides, when it came down to journalism and photography, and not to mention fighting, Gin was a bad-ass, and they all had to admit it. No one could replace his skills, even if he did use them primarily to take snapshots of girls. Kurumu didn't want to say it, but she actually missed him quite a bit. He may have been a major perv, but he had helped her through a lot. He was like the big brother of the entire group. When someone needed help or advice, they usually came to Gin.
"Gin? You mean that perverted dog who groped half of you all the time?" Kokoa's remark brought them all back to their senses. "You guys actually miss that affront to women!?"
"O-of course not!" Kurumu stammered defensively, blushing.
"Whatever! You simpletons make me sick!" she spat, stomping off. Everyone sighed at the same time.
"Your sister's a handful, Moka." Kurumu stated, before munching on another cookie.
Moka just nodded. She actually knew how much of a nightmare it was to have Kokoa chasing her.
The group was silent for the rest of the lunch period.
Tsukune couldn't believe it. Not only was this the first class he had that he didn't share with at least one of his friends, he had his crazy math teacher from last year, Ms. Ririko. He hoped to any higher power that would listen that he didn't fail her class. He really didn't want to have to go to tutoring with her again.
He also really wished he had someone he knew in this class with him. He preferred if it were Moka, because she was really good at math, but he would settle with any of his friends, really.
Tsukune was alert enough to answer the role, and catch a couple of absent students' names; "Rikishi", "Huang", and "Katsutoshi". He didn't know the third name, but the other two were all too familiar.
Chopper Rikishi was a troll who was on the wrestling team. He was also the second monster Tsukune fought with an injection of Moka's blood. He really didn't want to be in the same class as Rikishi, for a couple of reasons. One, Rikishi had a tendency to throw attacks at people for no apparent reason. Two, he was sure that Rikishi still had a grudge from the last time they fought.
He knew the name Huang better though. That was the last name of two exchange students from Hong Kong that he had met last year, Fang Fang and his older sister Ling Ling. Fang Fang always went on about Tsukune joining his mafia family. No matter how many different ways he flat out said 'no', Fang Fang wouldn't give up.
He guessed he kind of owed it to Fang Fang for him being as strong as he was now. If it weren't for Fang Fang, Tsukune wouldn't have met one of the Three Dark Lords, Tohofuhai, and wouldn't have gone under the body alteration spell that would make him into a modified-human sorcerer so he could be able take on Moka's eldest sister Akuha, and save Moka from an organization called Fairy Tale.
Fairy Tale's main goal was to shatter the fragile peace between humans and monsters… and completely wipe the humans out. They also had very strong members, many of which Tsukune had met before, Including Hokuto Kaneshiro, Kiria Yoshi, and Kuyou. The leader also happened to be Gyokuro Shuzen, the wife of Moka's father, Issa Shuzen. They had captured Moka and tried to use her to wake up Alucard, the all-powerful first ancestor of Moka's family, who had once tried to destroy all humans. In the end, they failed, Tsukune got Moka back, and everything turned out alright in the end.
Yet, after all of this, he was still too nervous to confess his love for Moka. And this was his last year to try, wasn't it? At the end of this year, he was going to have to make quite a few choices, none of them easy.
He sighed and brushed his worries away so he could focus on understanding the notes he was taking.
Moka was deep in thought while she was taking notes in her English class. For some reason she couldn't stop thinking of Tsukune. Last year, he not only saved her from a powerful organization, headed by her father's wife, but he had also gone under such severe training to do it.
To top everything off, he fought toe-to-toe with her eldest sister, and one of the strongest members of the Shuzen family, Akuha. He even learned techniques so he could survive against her most ruthless attack, the Dimension Sword.
All to save her.
Moka tried her best to hide her blush. If that didn't show that someone loved her, then what did? Yet he didn't say it to her. How desperately she wished he'd just say something. That would make things so much easier. After all, she loved him. Right?
Of course, Ura (her inner self) would have none of it, although she got defensive whenever the subject came up. It was obvious that she loved him, too. But she was a vampire, an elite S-class monster, and she had far too much pride to just give in and admit it.
'He's nothing more than a blood bank to me!' she'd state. 'A foolish, idiotic, womanizing, loyal, selfless, caring…' she'd trail off there.
Ura loved him for many things, not just for his blood (although that was a definite plus). She loved his dark hair, his honey-brown eyes, the way he talked, the way he laughed, the way he looked… she loved everything about the human. But what she really admired most were his loyalty and courage. He stuck with her through situations where many others would have run for the opposite direction.
She hated to admit it, but he had saved her skin on many occasions. During the fight with the monstrels, the fight that she almost lost Tsukune in, he had taken several mortal blows in her place, no matter how many times she tried to convince him that she didn't need him.
'You idiot! I told you that I don't need help! Least of all from you!' she had snapped at him, but what she really meant was 'You're too precious for me to lose'.
He had only given her a smile, the smile that always melted her resolve, as he told her that he wasn't going to leave her, no matter how many times she told him to go back to the human world. He said he just couldn't do it, because that meant he'd never see her again. She almost pointed out that if he died, then he really wouldn't see her again, but time was of the essence. She had given him that final, fateful injection.
He had already lost the internal struggle at that point, and that last injection was all Tsukune's inner ghoul needed to assert complete control. She would have ended his misery, if the headmaster had not stepped in and sealed his powers. She was severely thankful that he did.
It had hurt so badly when she had to almost kill him. It tore her apart when thought she had to leave him.
She had realized then that his fate and her fate were eternally and inseparably intertwined. She was filled with feelings she had never felt and that she didn't understand. Feelings she thought she'd never feel, feelings she didn't even know existed.
'Hey, Omote!' Ura scolded her outer self, trying regain her composure. 'Wake up and focus on the lesson! I don't want to get any grades lower than an A!'
Finally, after what seemed like an age, the last bell rang and ended the school day. Everyone was exhausted. The first day of their senior year, and they already had several homework assignments! This may be a breeze for some, namely Moka and Yukari, but everyone else wasn't feeling so hot about it, especially Kurumu, who sucked at a lot of subjects, but mainly in math.
And they still had to go to the News Club meeting.
Ms. Nekonome noted how everyone seemed kind of down, and said not to worry, because she had a surprise for them. They didn't seem excited, but they wondered what it could be. They hoped it wasn't more sashimi. Ms. Nekonome tended to eat it all before they got there, anyways.
Everyone sighed as they walked toward the club meeting room. They opened the door, only to be surprised by a familiar, gravelly voice:
"Y'all kept me waiting, ya know! What, did yer sense of punctuality ditch ya over the break?"
Everyone just stared, mouths hanging open. Kurumu dropped her books.
"Well, ya just gonna stand there gapin'?"
"YOU!" Kokoa exclaimed angrily, sharply pointing an accusing finger towards the figure at the front of the room, who just gave a hearty laugh.
There, reclining in the chair with his feet propped up on the desk and resting his hands behind his head, was Gin.
[[[[Finally, another chapter down! I hope that those of you who asked 'what about Tsukune's fight with Fairy Tale and going through the body alteration spell' and 'What about Kokoa, Fang Fang, Ling Ling, and Gin?' have your questions sufficiently answered. Because it took forever to work those in…This one had a lot less to do with 'the scar-faced boy'. I hope that was to your liking, because it's most likely going to be a chapter or more before we see him again. We have other things to discuss, like why is Gin here? I've also got to think of a new title. Anyways, I'm out for now guys! Peace!]]]