So lately, been wondering
Who will be there to take my place
When I'm gone, you'll need love
To light the shadows on your face
If a great wave shall fall
It'd fall upon us all
And between the sand and stone
Could you make it on your own?
- Wherever You Will Go; The Calling.
"Kiyomi! Wake up, sleepyhead!"
A half-hearted mumble was the response. At the start of every school year, Kiyomi's mother brought her an early breakfast in bed. It was both a well done for the previous year's achievements, and a good luck for the coming year. The room flooded with light and a tray was lowered onto the patterned duvet, laden with food. Each year, it was the same - rice porridge and a rolled omelette. However, Kiyomi's mother always sweetened the porridge with honey and added a handful of berries to the mix. She'd decided to go with raspberries, apparently. It smelled fantastic. Kiyomi sat up with a yawn and pulled the tray towards her as her mother sat down at the edge of the bed.
"Ohayou, Kiyomi," she grinned, embracing her daughter.
Breakfast passed with the two chatting about their hopes for the year before it was time to get up and get ready for the day. Kiyomi wandered into the bathroom, yawning, as she washed and brushed her teeth. Dressing in the distinctive Academy uniform, she went downstairs to find her bag and make her lunch before kissing her mum goodbye.
School had never been Kiyomi's favourite place, but, as her mum was constantly reminding her, it was a necessary evil if she wanted to go to a decent college and make something of herself. Besides, she encouraged herself, it cost a lot of money to attend her high school, and she only had one year left.
Up until ten years ago, Domino only had one high school. Seto Kaiba - backed by Pegasus J. Crawford - had, however, set up another one; the Academy. It was pretty expensive to go there, but the students were given a much broader education, and greater job opportunities after graduation. It was sheer luck that she'd managed to pass the entrance exam, Kiyomi mused, and gotten in. It'd been an amazing two years. A hand landed on her shoulder and she jumped, before relaxing.
"Honestly Jou, you nearly gave me a heart-attack," she scolded lightly, poking her boyfriend in the ribs.
"Sorry Kiyo, I thought you'd heard me calling you," the blonde said sheepishly. Kiyomi grinned up at him.
"It's fine," she replied. "How's Shizuka?"
"She's doing really well," Jounouchi said happily. "My ma said she can attend our school this semester."
"Jou, that's great!" Kiyomi exclaimed, grabbing his hand and pulling him along. "Come on, we have to tell the others!"
"Okay, Okay!" he laughed, easily keeping up with her as they made their way towards the school gates.
After the usual first-day routine of greeting some of their classmates and pointing the new first years on their way, Jounouchi and Kiyomi made their way to their classroom together. Homeroom hadn't started yet, so they were able to find a couple of seats near the window and sit down without much fuss.
"It's too early for school," Jounouchi grumbled.
"That's because your brain isn't turned on yet," a voice sang from behind them before Jounouchi face-planted into his desk, a blue-haired girl giggling as she practically sat on his shoulders.
Kiyomi laughed. "Ohayou, Emiko. Bit early to be abusing my boy, isn't it?"
"It is never too early to mess with Jounouchi!" Emiko declared. "Now, what's this I hear about my adorable Shizuka coming to school?" she questioned, pulling on one of Jou's cheeks.
Jounouchi grumbled and Kiyomi laughed. "Just tell her Jou, she'll make it worse, otherwise."
"Indeed I will!" Emiko grinned evilly.
"All right, leave off!" Jounouchi snapped, flailing his hands. "My ma says that she can start attending school here - we found out last night. Happy?"
"Stupid question, Jou," Kiyomi laughed. Emiko's face was split into a huge grin as she squished Jounouchi's cheeks.
"Yay! Don't worry I'll keep her away from all the boys! No one will touch my Shizuka!"
"She's not your Shizuka!" Jounouchi snarled. Kiyomi waved her hands.
"Calm down, Jou! " she said a tad frantically as Emiko tsked.
"I'm her best friend and as such, it is my duty to keep her from nasty, icky boys. She's pretty and I warn you, the minute she walks in that door, she's going to be surrounded. Besides all the boys in school won't mess with her if I'm around."
"You do know she's a first year, right Emiko? So you won't be in the same class..." Kiyomi clarified.
"Trifles, my dear Kiki. Once they know I'm her best friend, they'll leave off," Emiko smirked evilly.
"I really hate when you call me that," Kiyomi grumbled, a finger tapping on the desk irritably.
"Welcome to my world," Jounouchi muttered, raising his hand and waving. "Hey! Yuugi, Honda, Ryou - over here!"
"Ohayou, Ryou-kun. Please, save my boyfriend from your girlfriend, I think a blood vessel's going to pop," Kiyomi giggled as she spotted the white-haired boy behind Honda."Ohayou, Honda-kun."
"Ohayou," the pointy-haired boy yawned back.
"Ryou! There you are!" Emiko beamed as she saw her long time boyfriend. She hopped off of Jou and dashed over to Ryou, planting a kiss on his pale cheek.
"Ohayou, Yuugi-kun," Kiyomi greeted as the small boy took a desk in front of hers. "Have a nice break?"
"Mmn, yeah," he responded, turning around in his chair. "I mostly helped Jii-chan out in the shop."
Emiko reached over and ruffled the small boy's hair as she plopped into a desk next to him, Ryou taking the seat next to her.
"I'll have to come over and say hi - I haven't seen him in a while," Kiyomi mused, watching as Honda noogied her boyfriend. Jounouchi never learns, she thought in amusement.
"Hey Yuugi! Still as cute and short as ever I see!" Emiko teased. Yuugi blushed.
"Can't you take me seriously now I'm a third year?" he protested half-heartedly.
"Okay Emiko, that's enough for the morning," Kiyomi interjected, holding up a finger. "Karma'll come back to bite you soon enough."
"Not soon enough," Jounouchi grumbled, letting out a yelp when a fist connected with his skull.
"Karma affects everyone, Jou-nou-chi," Anzu Mazaki said in annoyance, dropping her bag on the desk beside Yugi. "Ohayou, everyone."
"Ohayou Anzu," her friends chorused back, most of them exchanging grins at Yuugi's reddening face.
"How did your audition go last week?" Kiyomi asked as Anzu sat down. Anzu scowled.
"They said I needed more experience," she huffed, sitting down in her chair. "I know that, but honestly, how do they expect me to get experience when no-one give me a part - even a little one?"
Kiyomi blinked. "Wow, sorry I asked."
"Teacher's here," Honda muttered. The class stood as one, chorusing a 'Ohayou Miasaki-sensei' as their homeroom teacher took her place at the top of the room.
"Good morning, class," she smiled. "And welcome to the start of another school year. I look forward to working with you all. I have here-" she held up a sheaf of papers. "-your schedules for the year. Please note that there have been a few faculty changes, but it is nothing to worry about. Kito-san, please hand these out." Ms. Miasaki handed over the papers to a tall, lanky boy in front before she continued. "I assure you, they are well up to the task, and I ask that you both make them feel welcome in our school and set an example to the younger years to do the same."
A resounding "Yes, sensei!" was her answer and she smiled as the door slid open once more and she left. The class immediately dissolved into whispers, huddling in groups around their schedules. Kiyomi's group was no different.
"Math first," Jounouchi groaned, running a hand through his messy bangs. "Typical."
"Who've you got?" Honda asked, peering over his shoulder.
"Ootori," was the miserable response. The group shuddered. Honda clapped him on the shoulder.
"Tough luck, Jounouchi," he said solemnly. "You should've tried harder in the exams."
"Eh, Honda-kun, you didn't score so well either," Yuugi said, smiling sheepishly. Honda gaped before scanning his schedule again. His face dropped.
"You've got Ootori too, huh?" Kiyomi giggled. He nodded, looking as shell-shocked as her boyfriend. "Well Honda-kun, it could be worse. At least you're in the same class as Miho-chan now."
Honda's face lit up, and he sped out of the room. His friends blinked in astonishment.
"I'd better go after him," Jounouchi said with a groan, standing and taking a spare schedule. "Will you text Miho and tell her where she's supposed to be?"
"Sure," Kiyomi replied, grinning when she got a kiss on the forehead.
"Thanks Kiyo." He shouldered his bag. "See you at lunch."
"See you," she called, eyeballing Emiko. "I believe yourself and Anzu are down the hall, Em."
"Yeah, yeah. Joy." Emiko grumbled before speaking louder. "How long do you think it will take for Honda-kun to realize that Miho-chan isn't interested in anyone? I'm going to tell him."
"Don't you dare," Kiyomi warned as the bell rang. "And you might want to run. Anzu's gone."
Emiko booked it out of there, laughing madly as she did.
The remaining three looked after her.
"Ryou, you have my heartfelt sympathies," Kiyomi muttered as the door slid open and the teacher came in.
"Is it weird that I actually liked my classes?" Kiyomi asked, leaning back against Jounouchi's legs. The morning had passed by quickly enough, and the group were relaxing on the roof, as was the norm for them. Jounouchi shrugged, one of his hands playing with a lock of Kiyomi's hair.
"You chose your classes, so s'not really surprising that you like them," he replied, taking the poffered lunch box his girlfriend handed back to him."Bleh. Speak for yourself. I think my brain fried," Emiko whined as she rubbed her head. She leaned against her boyfriend, mumbling under her breath. "I don't get why the hell my parents feel the need to butt into my schedule.""They want you to do well, you know," Yuugi piped up, earning a smile from the grumpy girl."I'm just happy I passed my exams and got into my classes," Miho confessed, fiddling with the large bow in her hair. Honda was practically squealing at her cuteness."Well we did help you study, so there was no way you'd fail," Emiko mumbled, feeling a headache coming on."Pardon?" Miho asked sweetly. "I wasn't paying attention, sorry.""It's nothing Miho-chan, she's just talking to herself," Yuugi said hastily, slapping a hand on Emiko’s mouth as she started to repeat herself. "What has everyone got next?""Eh..." Kiyomi glanced at her schedule. "I'm in Japanese History with...one of the new teachers, I think.""Me too," Anzu piped up. Kiyomi groaned, and she felt, rather then heard, Jounouchi snicker at her. She pinched his leg, smirking when he yelped."Me too," Yuugi smiled."You too, huh, Jounouchi?" Kiyomi grinned, leaning her head back. A stuck-out tongue was her response."I've got Art. Can I go home already?" Emiko mumbled as she fished out her own schedule."No," Kiyomi said flatly, pointing a finger at her. She huffed and stuck her tongue out at the blonde.
"So's life." The pair grinned at each other.
"So cute," Anzu sighed dreamily.
"Who was, Anzu?" Yuugi asked curiously.
"Dartz-sensei," she answered, her eyes fluttering.
"One word, Anzu. Teacher," Honda said, rolling his eyes as the bell rang. "Come on, we've got class." The groups gathered their things and made their way towards their respective classrooms.
Yami felt a change in the school's atmosphere. It was subtle, but noticeable to anyone with half a brain and a sliver of Shadow Magic. He turned when the door opened and fixed his gazed on the two figures that entered his office.
"Any luck?" he asked tiredly. "Dartz?"
The teal-haired man paused thoughtfully, long fingers working at loosening his tie. "I...have had a few classes and I strongly believe that at least one is in the school which means they might live close by. I do not have a person pinpointed but I just need a little more time to figure out who it is."
"Good," Yami sighed, shrugging on his jacket. "I can also sense a...presence in the school, but I hope that soon we can find at least one of them. The search is getting tiresome."
"Indeed," the woman said thoughtfully. "I will pass on your findings to Seto this evening."
"Thank you, Keiko," Yami said wearily. "I don't believe I am suited to teaching."
A sharp crack from outside the window followed by the screams of female students reached their ears.
"What was that?" Keiko said incredulously as Dartz went over to the window to investigate. A lone student stood on the court, Miss Yamanaka on the ground surrounded by her students as they chattered in concern.
"One of the student appears to have killed Miss Yamanaka," he reported dully, watching as the student rocked back and forth on her feet, tennis racket in her hands behind her back.
The student didn't react much when Miss Yamanaka pushed herself up from the ground and started yelling at her, before stomping off to take care of the rather large bump on her head.
"Oh. False alarm. She's still alive."
Yami swore. Keiko giggled and Dartz grinned, amber eyes scanning the scene below.
The student stuck her tongue at the retreating teacher's back, earning giggles from her classmates before she turned on her toes, flinging the racket up in the air before catching it by the handle.
"MISS FUJIOKA!" A very familiar voice shrieked, and the class turned to see their year head, Ms. Hisano storming towards them. "WHAT'S THIS I HEAR ABOUT ASSAULTING A MEMBER OF FACULTY?"
"Humans. Their little dramas are so amusing."
"Don't belittle them - you're human too, don't forget," Yami reminded his friend.
"Who attacked Miss Yamanaka?" Keiko asked.
"A third year," Dartz reported, turning away.
"Come on," Yami groaned. "Another few classes and the day is over."
"We may need to speed up the pace, gentlemen," Keiko murmured, "Time is of the essence, after all."