Summary: A foreign exchange student befriends Ritsuka, and they have something significant in common. (You'll like it, I promise).

*I apologize for mistakes, which I fixed. I was so excited about posting this one I didn't re-check a dozen+ times like I usually do.*

Disclaimer: I don't own Loveless, but some aspects mentioned are mine.

A/N: This fic is a personal challenge and I'm glad I went ahead with it :-)

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Chap 1: "Nice to meet you"

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Ritsuka walked through the front doors of the middle school, rays of early morning sunlight at his back. Immediately Yuiko saw him and waved. He walked to his friend, glancing to his sides as the other students were buzzing and chattering about the same thing, a new student.

"Ritsuka-kun did you hear? There's a new foreign exchange student from America! I think she's in your class."

"So that's what everyone's talking about? That's cool" he said, though it didn't make much difference to him. "I wonder if she's nice" Yuiko continued. The bell rang then she waved and ran to her classroom across the hall.

When the students were seated, Shinonomi-sensei stood at the front of the room and clapped her hands, "We have another new student class!" It was difficult to miss the skinny, pale, freckled, red-haired girl in glasses sitting in the front row.

Youji and Natsuo whispered a joke between them then looked at Ritsuka who shook his head. They turned back to the front of the room. "Come up and introduce yourself Smith-chan" Shinonomi-sensei said, directing a smile at the girl.

She was nervous enough already and hated standing in front of a group of people, no matter how small. Her red cat ears drooped as she reluctantly stood and limped to the front of the room.

Adjusting her glasses then grasping her tail she slowly said "Hi everyone I'm from the USA like Shinonomi-sensei said. My name is Annabelle Smith- I I mean Smith Annabelle" she cleared her throat a bit then nodded.

Shinonomi said "What a pretty name, thank you Smith-chan". The girl smiled slightly then limped to her seat beside Ritsuka.

She couldn't wait for this day to be over, but then there was the next day of school, and the next. Annabelle was so nervous she wished to disappear.

Ritsuka briefly regarded her out of the corner of his eye as the Zero boys spoke to her, ignoring the fact that class had started.

Youji touched her long red hair "Fake or natural?"

"Natural" she quietly responded grabbing it away, then without a word pointed to their sensei who was writing on the chalkboard. "Psh like we care. We're smarter than everyone here, even Hitomi" Natsuo responded with a smirk.

"Guys how 'bout you leave her alone" Ritsuka whispered. Youji grinned then whispered something to his fighter, and they giggled then turned to face the board. Youji returned to the doodle of him and Natsuo.

Annabelle gently smiled at Ritsuka and whispered "Thanks". She hoped she found a friend.

The school day dragged on slowly and Annabelle thought she'd faint after so many anxious introductions. School is school no matter the country, but reminding herself of this fact did not help at all. She had enough trouble at school in America, and knew the schools overseas were "no joke" so-to-speak.

Thankfully her locker opened after only three tries. She did not remove any text books from her backpack, but grabbed her jacket.

As she proceeded down the hall, her limp was more severe with the extra weight on her back. Ritsuka saw his new classmate walk past as Yuiko asked about her. He pointed and Yuiko smiled then ran to her.

Annabelle was astonished she didn't fall down when the pink-haired girl stopped in front of her. "Hi Smith-chan hm weird nameā€¦ Do you live nearby?" She looked up and saw her cute black haired "rescuer" beside the girl.

The red haired girl grabbed the straps of her heavy book bag and answered strained "Hi, um I'm pretty sure I live a few blocks that way" she pointed. "Hey Ritsuka-kun she's going the same direction as you" she turned and called loudly to her friend. He put a hand to his human ear and grimaced, "Cool Yuiko". She smiled then looked at the wall clock "Ahh I better get home and finish my homework so I can clean up before my parents get home! See you tomorrow Ritsuka-kun, nice meeting you Smith-chan".

Annabelle waved weakly. She needed to get this heavy thing off her back. Ritsuka was confused by what he did next "Smith-chan I can help with your backpack".

"Thanks um"

"Aoyagi Ritsuka"

"Nice to meet you R- Aoyagi-kun, I'm still getting used to the last-name-first thing. Hopefully it won't um insult you if I only remember your first name. I'd rather just be called Annabelle like I'm used to. Crap I'm rambling" she stopped talking before making more of a fool of herself.

"It's okay if you call me Ritsuka" he said, reaching for her book bag. "I-if it's too heavy I can carry it". "It's fine" he replied as they exited the building and went down the stairs.

As they neared the gate Annabelle saw the back a tall figure with long blonde hair in a trench coat. Smoke rose to the air then he threw a cigarette to the ground and stomped on it. He turned around and the lovely hair was matched by deep blue eyes under glasses. Annabelle forced herself to blink to stop staring.

Ritsuka quickened his pace and went to the man. "Soubi, didn't I tell you to stop smoking in front of my school?"

"I apologize Ritsuka, it won't happen again. I was beginning to worry when the other students came out but you weren't among them. Yuiko hurried past me and said you were helping a new student, who I can see is this girl behind you."

Ritsuka turned to her "Yeah this is Smith Annabelle, this is my friend Soubi".

Soubi smiled and Annabelle hoped she did not blush when looked upon by those amazing eyes. "Hello Annabelle-chan." "Hello Agatsuma-san, it's nice to meet you" she said, remembering the importance of manners.

"I was helping her carry her bag since she's going in the same direction as me."

Soubi looked at the stuffed book bag and took it from his sacrifice's hands, then grabbed the boy's bag as well, and walked down the sidewalk.

Ritsuka let out a sigh and followed. Annabelle limped quickly to catch up.

Perhaps morbid fascinationā€¦ Soubi assured himself.

"Annabelle-chan, would your parents be cross if you visit a stranger's home?" Soubi asked. She scoffed "Not really". "Then you may visit my apartment, and I'll cook us all dinner tonight" he said facing Ritsuka.

If it was a few months earlier, Ritsuka would have wanted to pinch his fighter for sticking his nose into his business again. Now though, he nodded smiling.

Soubi was curious, Ritsuka was not usually social so what was it about this girl? He needed to learn more about each person who his sacrifice invited into his life.

"Okay" she agreed, putting her jacket on. Awareness that she trusted people too easily clashed with the lonely desire to gain friends in this strange new place.

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End of chapter 1

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Hope you liked it, please review.

A/N: She's a mixture of reality and fiction in regards to yours truly. That's not my actual name. Just wait my dears, this one is good and gets even better. Watch for more chapters.