A/N: Has yet to be proofread, probably a bit disjointed and repetitive, but. Might go back and edit later if I get the itch to do so.

"I'm going to be a doctor," she declared, emerald eyes practically glowing behind thick plastic rims. Her shoulders are squared, her mouth set in a determined line; but nothing stops the words exchanged between poisonous tongues and followed by saccharin giggles.

I heard she slept with the teacher, that's why her exam scores are so high.

She's not even pretty!

She's carrying around a stupid stuffed toy again. What is she, a child?

Seijuuro can hear every whisper from where he sits against the windowed wall, and he knows she can too when she takes her seat in front of him. Shintarou Midorima — an unusual name for a female, but it fits her odd behavior well. She is an abnormality, a rose in a field of wheat, but most do not see her as such.

They lied. She is pretty, and all those who said otherwise know it. Her hair was a striking shade of forest green, long and graceful like her figure. She's developing the curves of a woman already, which is cause for jealousy. Her lashes are long, thick; she wears little makeup, but sometimes her long lashes leave streaks of black mascara against the lenses of her glasses.

She's successful,too. Too taboo for one to be both attractive and intelligent in a cut-throat society. Shintarou is only second to Akashi, which makes her the Head Girl of their class.

She can throw a basketball from anywhere on court, but Akashi doubts any of the simpletons that sit beside him have ever seen her on an empty court after the final school bell has rang. He sees everything.

He sees when she cries, too. When the sharp jabs become too much and her emotional pain boils over. He's seen her clutch her lucky items, obsessively check her horoscope, file the nails of her left hand and wrap them to keep them in perfect condition to ignore the toxic giggles of her classmates.

He's seen her stand at the edge of the bridge and stare down into the water before she shakes her head and continues on her way home.

Seijuuro never intervenes. He never discourages harsh words, or reaches out to take her hand when it looks as though she might jump into the icy water that slithers over jagged rocks. No, she must overcome these things on her own if she wants to survive. If she wants to be a doctor, it is her own will that must keep her on the right path.

He stands before her, just out of reach. He knows it frustrates her. He can see it in her proud eyes. But one day, she might catch up to him, and if she does, she'll be his queen. There are no others able to rise to his level, he knows this; but still he does not protect her from the sharp shards of the world around her. The choice is hers, whether she joins Akashi on his pedestal or she gives in and jumps into the icy abyss to numb her mind.

He hopes she chooses the former, because his pedestal is awfully lonely.