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Chapter 11

Henry could feel rage tears building up in his eyes as he landed on the street near the school. He had no idea how he was going to get through the day, but he knew he had to try.

He squared his shoulders, wiped his eyes hurriedly, and walked into the school. Science arrived sooner than he wanted it to, and Shyla walked slowly into the room, the apprehension clear on her face. She seated herself nervously next to Henry, who looked away. He didn’t want to continue their fight any more than she did.

Apparently, even in her current mood, Shaun was still willing to provoke her. He turned and looked at them from the front, deciding whether or not to make a rude comment. “Hey, Shyla.” Called Shaun from the front. “Did a rat make a nest on your head? ’Cause it sure looks like it.”

He and his friends laughed, and Shyla bit back her rage. Henry glanced down at her hand, which had closed itself around a test tube. He pried her fingers open and confiscated the tube of fragile glass before she could crush it. “Careful,” whispered Henry, unsure of how Shyla would react in this frame of mind. “Don’t react. Just ignore him.”

Shaun stood up and walked up to her. She was very stiff and still, firmly in control. Shaun bent down. “Didn’t you hear me?” he said loudly into her ear. “I said, did a rat make a nest in you hair? Because it looks like it.”

In a movement so fast even Henry was unable to follow it, Shyla reached up, grabbed Shaun by the hair, and stood up. Her grip began to tighten, and Shaun could feel individual strands being yanked from his head. Henry stood up and calmly released her grip on his hair. Shaun turned to face her, and Shyla unconsciously slipped into a crouch. Shaun stepped forwards and attempted to slap her, but Shyla blocked his arm and retaliated with a kick of her own. Shaun stumbled backwards, gasping for air as Shyla’s foot connected with his chest, and Henry stepped in between them. “Enough.” He said. Shyla slipped into a crouch again, and Henry followed suit.

Henry could clearly see that Shyla wasn’t thinking straight, and that she was ready to attack him. He honestly didn’t blame her, but now wasn’t the time to fight. Especially not in front of the entire class.

As she jumped forwards, he stepped back. She landed in front of him, and bared her teeth at him. As Shyla spun in an attempt to roundhouse kick him into the next century, Henry threw both arms around her, lifted her off of the ground, and carried her kicking and scratching into the hallway. Shaun’s friends stood watching at the door as Shyla bit Henry’s arm. Henry swore under his breath, but his grip held strong. He needed it to, because Shyla wasn’t thinking.

He carried her down the hall to the front door. Shyla had stopped struggling long enough to release a few choice words in Shaun’s direction, and Henry took the opportunity to drag her out the door. As the door closed behind them, Henry saw a teacher emerged from a Biology room to investigate the shouting, but she quickly retreated when she had observed the situation. Henry tightened his grip on Shyla’s struggling body when they were outside, causing her to gasp as he crushed her ribs. “Henry,” she wheezed. “Put me down.”

“Only if you don’t attack me.” Replied Henry, not releasing his grip. “Or Shaun.”

“Fine.” She whispered, struggling to draw in a breath.

He released his grip slightly, but only put her down once they were away from the school. She turned to face him, and he could see the seething anger on her face. “Shyla,” suggested Henry. “Let’s go for a walk.”

He turned down the road and started walking.

Shyla followed, too enraged to speak. As Henry got further away from the school, Shyla could feel her temper slowly dissipating, leaving her slightly confused. After all, Henry had been just as angry with her as she was with him.

Henry eventually stopped at the park, selected a bench, and sat. Shyla stood nervously next to the bench, until Henry motioned for her to be seated. “Shyla,” he began. “Do you enjoy pissing me off? Not to mention the fact that I need to answer to the master if any of this gets out.”

“How could I have been so stupid?” asked Shyla, her head in her hands. “I’m so sorry, Henry. I just blew things completely today.”

“You did not.” Henry said. “All the class saw was a smart fighter who was trying to protect herself. There is nothing to link you to Ginger Ninja.”

Shyla sighed, and rested her head back against the edge of the wooden bench. “Henry,” she said softly. “I’m sorry.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Henry asked, looking down. “As soon as the things happened, you should have told me.”

Shyla rested her head on his shoulder. “I wanted to, but I didn’t know how you would react. If I had known you were a ninja, it would have been so much easier to tell you.”

“Well,” said Henry with a small smile. “You know now. Anything you want to tell me?”

Shyla smacked him lightly on the arm, and he laughed. “I’m sorry I doubted you, Henry.”

Henry grabbed and held her hand. “And I’m sorry I told you I didn’t trust you. I know it hurt you as much as it did me. We were both wrong, and I apologise.”

Shyla looked down at their joined hands. “Where does this leave us now?”

Henry squeezed her hand. “I can promise you that we will work together now, regardless of who we are. Liborio Fragale wants nothing more than to capture a live ninja.”

Shyla sighed. “Well, I don’t know how they plan on doing that, so you shouldn’t really worry too much.”

“I worry anyway.” He grumbled. “You have got to be the boldest ninja ever, fighting with Shaun like that. You’re lucky I dragged you away before it got out of hand.”

Shyla remembered what else happened that night, and glanced down at their hands. Henry clearly also remembered, because he gently slung his arm across her shoulders and held her tight. She snuggled up to him, placing her head against his chest. She felt his heart beating slowly and evenly, and smiled to herself.

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