Students walked around me while I paced outside the classroom, I clenched my fist and mumbled under my breath, "I can do this!"
I slid open the classroom door before I could change my mind. I had to tell Ichigo about him being in the wrong gang before things got out of hand. I scanned the room and was disappointed to not find that familiar carrot anywhere. Maybe he had already gone home.
"Hey," I called to a nearby student who jumped and looked at me nervously.
"Where's the car- I mean, Kurosaki Ichigo?"
"I don't know," he shook his head. "I'm sorry."
"I see," I clicked my tongue and exited the classroom.
Did Ichigo even go to school today? I searched my memory and realised I hadn't seen him all day or the previous day or, in fact, the whole week.
Why was I paying so much attention to him?
Resuming my walk home, I continued to ask myself that question but I couldn't find an answer.
"Oi, what did you say, you f*cking retard?"
I rolled my eyes while walking in the direction the voice came from – a little space between two school buildings. Typical.
School fights always happened in places like those. Peering into the alley I was surprised to see that the majority of students there came from another school from the neighbouring suburb.
Ten students against one?
Wait… I glared at the tuft of familiar orange hair and clicked my tongue. What was he doing?
I was about to intervene when someone spoke and… I guess I had a teeny interest in a bit of drama and action.
I repeat – a TEENY interest.
"Are you listening to me?" a low voice growled. I stepped further into the alley and had a clear view of him leaning against the wall with his face battered beyond recognition. He stared at the students around him but remained silent.
"You're not so tough without your friends, are ya?" the owner of the voice, a boy with blonde streaks, sneered.
Ichigo spat in blonde-steak's face in response and received a punch that made me wince. But Ichigo wasn't fazed as he continued to glare at the other so fiercely it made his attacker take an involuntary step back. Streaky roared angrily to cover up his falter, "What are you all waiting for? Christmas? Get him!"
Sh*t he's gonna get bashed to a pulp! Panicking I whistled so loudly I'm sure everyone in the neighbourhood could hear me. All heads swivelled to see a petite girl with a ponytail and black rimmed glasses standing with her hands on her hips – me.
Student president mode: on.
"What do you think you people are doing?" I pushed my glasses up the bridge of my nose with my middle finger. "Leave before I report you all to the police!"
"Who's that midget?" I heard someone whisper.
Bastard, if I get my hands on you…
"Shh, you see that badge? She's the president of Karakura High," someone answered.
Another gasped, "You mean that school president?"
"What no way," the first voice answered back. "She looks like a first year."
Ichigo watched me, quietly amused, and I tried not to slap that idiot.
Straky studied me for a moment and said, "Let's go guys." He sent a dangerous look to anyone who dared to complain. The group sauntered past me and I glared daggers at the baseball bats in their hands. What were they trying to do to Ichigo? Kill him?
Ichigo slumped to the ground with a groan. I rushed to his side and shook his shoulder, "Oi!"
"Oi, wake up!" I shook his shoulder harder. "Carrot!"
His eyes opened slowly and stared at me groggily.
I gently helped him up. "You OK?"
"I'm feeling fine," he said but he winced.
"How'd you end up in that situation? They had baseball bats! They could've hurt you really badly. You could've d-"
"They were messing in my territory," was his answer.
I rolled my eyes and jabbed his side, making him wince. "Don't talk as if you own this place."
"Well, Kings owns this place so technically I have the right to say that."
"You…" I sighed in exasperation. "Tell me seriously, why were they beating you up? And what happened to those 'underlings' you had at our school? I thought you were the leader of our school's delinquents or something."
"None of your business," he mumbled.
I stopped walking and stared at him in disbelief. "You…" Noticing my surroundings for the first time, I realised we were standing underneath a sign that said 'Kurosaki Clinic'.
"I'll see you at school," Ichigo said and limped to the door.
"Oi, wait! I want an explanation!"
"Go home, Usagi-Kaichou. You took me home, your job is done." With that he slammed the door shut.
What was wrong with him? I was trying to help him! What if those students come back again? Or was it some 'inside' trouble? Or-
I massaged my temples before making up my mind.
Stuff him! I decided. I don't care if I lose my position as school president. People like him who fight mindlessly don't deserve to be in our school!
I stomped away, silently fuming.
A week passed before Ichigo returned to school. I saw him at the end of the corridor, talking to his delinquent friends. His arm was in a sling, a giant bandage covered half his face and bruises dotted his arms and probably all over his body, too. He saw me and waved but I scoffed and stalked away.
That continued to happen for a few more days. Every time he saw me or called my name I would quickly walk away. It was stupid, but I was still angry at him for fighting – without reason, as well! Maybe it was the way I grew up, but I hated it when people let themselves get hurt like that. Fights weren't fought for fun!
"Um… excuse me," a small voice asked.
I swivelled around to see a boy with chin-length brown hair staring nervously back at me. Several boys I've seen hanging around Ichigo were standing behind him. "Yes?" I asked feeling a bit impatient.
"My name is Yamada Hanatarou," he said while fidgeting. "Please listen to what I have to say. You see, Ichigo-aniki…"
I raced through the crowd of students heading home. If my memory served me right, Ichigo always lingered around the school with his friends…
There! Zeroing in on his signature orange hair I sprinted toward him at full speed. "Ichigo!"
"Wha-?!" He gasped in surprise when I ran into him and pushed him against the wall. "Holy sh*t, How'd you suddenly appear like that? I swear you midgets can teleport…"
I ignored the wide-eyed gazes I received from Ichigo's friends and looked straight into his chocolate brown eyes, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"About?" he asked. His friends filed away after receiving a glance from him.
"Don't act stupid," I clicked my tongue. "A guy called Hanatarou came to me and told me everything!"
He cursed under his breath and cut me off, "So, what? I'm still the stupid delinquent who fights for no reason, aren't I?"
"I'm sorry, ok? I called you that even when I didn't know what was happening… "
"Woah, the great Usagi-Kaichou is apologizing to me? What is happening to this world?"
"Fine, be that way," I glared daggers at him before turning to walk away.
He grabbed my arm. "Hey, wait! We haven't talked for nearly 2 weeks and you're just gonna leave it like this?"
"Well, why didn't you tell me?" I repeated my question. "I don't get why you have to keep it a secret."
"I just didn't want you to get dragged into this," he rubbed his neck. "It was only a small problem that was easily fixed. Letting them beat me up in exchange for leaving Hanatarou alone... Leaders gotta take care of his followers, right…"
"Idiot carrot! What kind of trade is that?" I threw my hands up.
"See," he exclaimed back. "This is also why I didn't want to tell you!"
I shut my mouth and crossed my arms.
"Hey, it's ok now," He ruffled my head. "My injuries have gotten better and Hanatarou isn't being picked on anymore. And we all lived happily ever after."
"Don't do that sort of deal ever again," I grumbled.
"Yes, mother," he sighed dramatically before holding out his hand. "So, friends? It was a quiet week without you blabbering on about studying."
"Whatever," I rolled my eyes.
"No more grudges?"
I shook my head and shook his hand but, truth was… I was still very troubled.
Why did I care about him so much?