The two dropped to the ground, both of their school bags spilling out their contents.
Taiga landed on the curb, and Ryuuji fell back on his rear-end.
"Ow...!" Ryuuji exclaimed, his eyes closed.
He felt at his lower back, opened his eyes, and looked up.
There, he saw a tiger.
It stared at him sharply, like it was thinking carefully about how to react to this new blue-haired prey.
Ryuuji froze at the sight, and something screamed "RUN!" inside him, like he knew what was about to happen in the next instant.
The tiger lifted her bag silently, but with a penetrating motion, and drove it into the side of Ryuuji's head.
Luckily, most of the contents were left on the floor, so the impact had little force, but it still jarred him.
He fell sideways and stayed there for a moment, still stunned.
He heard the tiger pick herself up and walk away.
"Watch where you're going next time, mutt." It, or she, snarled at Ryuuji.
Ryuuji turned in her direction and watched her walk off a bit.
"W-who was that...?"
He felt the place he'd been hit, picked himself up and began to refill his bag with school supplies when he noticed there were two notebooks of the same kind.
One of them had "Ryuuji Aisaka" on the front, and the other read "Taiga Takasu".
Wait a moment... Don't tell me this is that girl's... Ryuuji cursed himself.
Should I return it? He thought, but that girl was way too violent... She hit a person she just met!
"Maybe I should just leave it here..." Ryuuji thought out loud with an evil tint in his voice.
"... Like I can do that."
He took both of them, stood up, and continued walking to school... until half a minute later, when he realized that he was going to be late.
He began to run so fast, a police car would've flagged him down for speeding.
What a guy, Taiga thought, he didn't even say sorry after dashing straight into me... Now my uniform's all dirty!
She let out an annoyed sigh as she contemplated on how she was going to wash her clothes.
That stupid dog! Who was that guy? It looked like he lived in that dumb apartment.
She turned the corner that led to the school and prepared to put on her blank face.
One of her rules in school was to never show her true emotions on her face.
She acted cold to everyone and was called the Palmtop Tiger.
There was only one person that she could trust with her thoughts, however.
Her name was Minori Kushieda.
The Palmtop Tiger, famous for her dangerous and ferocious attacks in spite of her size, dazed out and began to think about her only best friend.
Suddenly, Taiga was knocked out of her thoughts by a yelling teacher as she entered the school.
"Hey, you! Why are you late? Let me guess, were you-" he stopped and looked in closer, "... Hiii! Don't tell me, you're.. you're the Palmtop Tiger?!"
Taiga shot a threatening glance at him, her eyes glinting.
"What do you want?" she asked coldly.
"Ah... nothing! Just, uh, go along your day... your highness!"
Taiga smiled, liking the title, and continued into the school.
As she headed towards her class, she thought about the boy that ran into her.
Something about him had caught her off guard for a second.
His eyes looked like the eyes of a dead fish, but he exhibited so much feeling into his actions...
He seemed like Taiga's opposite, and what's worse, he was wearing the same uniform as her school's.
If he went to her school...
Taiga wouldn't know what to do.
She walked halfway up a flight of stairs, until she started hearing the pounding of feet behind her.
Suddenly, Ryuuji shot past her like a bullet and sent her spinning out of control.
"Sorry!" he yelled behind him, not realizing who it was that he had flown past.
Taiga, still spinning, slowly regained her balance, but her eyes were still swirling.
"Whaaa...?" she said, "..."
"... Th- That guy..."
Her fist was held up and clenched.
Her eyebrows twitched with anger.
"I..." The words seethed out of her teeth, "I'm going to teach that animal a lesson...!"
The lunch bell rang, signaling the end of Mrs. Koigabuko's depressing rant.
Ryuuji got out of his seat and tapped his friend, Yuusaku Kitamura, on the shoulder.
The people Kitamura had been talking to backed away, practically falling over their seats, scared of Ryuuji's delinquent eyes.
Kitamura turned around and said, "Oh, yo, what's up?"
"Let's go get lunch." Ryuuji said, each word causing a flinch in the spectators' posture.
"Okay, sounds good to me."
He rose up from his seat and the two walked out the door.
"Kitamura, be careful...!" A student whispered from behind them.
"Hahaha, don't worry! Aisaka isn't someone to be worried about!"
"If you say so..."
A moment later, Ryuuji was walking through the halls with Kitamura.
"Nah, I'm sure the misunderstanding will clear up soon."
"I don't know..."
"Trust me! If it doesn't by itself, I'll go and do it."
"Hm... Alright, I'll trust you, I just need a little hope, I guess."
They were talking about Ryuuji's deceased fish eyes that made him look like some menacing hoodlum.
Every time he entered a new school, those eyes that his mother gave him would give the complete wrong first impression; everyone would mark him as a delinquent the moment they saw him.
The pair continued to walk down the hall, other students keeping away from Ryuuji's grasps.
After a few seconds of silence, Ryuuji brought up Taiga.
"So, this morning, I accidentally ran into this girl on my way out of my apartment."
"Yeah? Did you apologize?"
"Well, I tried, but she got really mad and hit me with her bag."
"Hit you? Haha! I would've thought she'd be afraid of you because of your eyes!"
"I don't know, but- hey! That's kind of rude now that I think about it!"
"Okay, okay, sorry, but seriously, you might want to apologize."
"... Alright. I'll do it."
"That's the Aisaka I know."
"So I guess I'll just wait at her apartment and-"
Suddenly, Kitamura gasped and said, "Mi-chan!"
Aisaka looked in front of him and saw two girls.
The first one was Minori Kushieda, a girl he'd rarely seen before, and each time, she was always yelling enthusiastically.
The other one he saw second, because she was so short.
Her rich, golden-brown hair curled down her shoulders and her light almond eyes pointed up at Aisaka with spite.
Taiga stood in front of him.
Slowly, the two recognized each other, but they stayed frozen in eye contact.
"Yuu-chan!" Kushieda said.
Kitamura and Kushieda ran to each other and embraced.
After a couple seconds of awkward silence between Taiga and Ryuuji as well as an over-the-top couple's hug between Kitamura and Kushieda, Kitamura said, "Huh? Aisaka, why are you so quiet? Oh yeah, I didn't tell you, I'm dating Mi-chan now, you know her, right? Minori Kushieda?"
"Aww, it's so embarrassing when you say my full name, candy-pie!" Kushieda said.
Kitamura turned back, "Oh, really? I'm sorry sugary-bumps! I won't next time, then."
"No, but its embarrassing in a good way!"
"Yes, I don't even care what you call me, as long as we're together."
"... I love you so much, chicken-cream!..."
The pair touched foreheads and giggled lightheartedly.
In the background, Taiga and Ryuuji both yelled, "... AH, IT'S YOU!", pointing fingers at each other.
"Wh- what are you doing here?!" Taiga asked frantically.
"You too! Why are you here?!"
"Are you trying to stalk me or something?!"
"Who's would want to stalk you?!"
"Don't decide something like that without my consent!"
"Oh, so you have a consent to be a stalker, huh?!"
"That's not what I meant!"
"Then what did you mean?!"
The two grappled with each other, their hands pushing against one another.
Kushieda leaned in and said, "Um, do you two... know each other?"
"NO!" They both screamed back, then immediately faltered as they saw Kitamura and Kushieda together.
"Wait, Kitamura has a girlfriend?!" Ryuuji said.
"Wait, Minorin has a boyfriend?!" Taiga mimicked him.
The dating couple said excitedly, "Yep! We are lovely dovey~!"
"Also, did I just hear you two call each other 'chicken-cream?'"
"Yeah! Isn't it so romantic and lovely?"
Taiga and Ryuuji looked at them, dumbfounded.
"Oh, that reminds me! We're going to eat together on the roof, right?"
"Ah, I completely forgot! Sorry, Mi-chan!"
"No, it's okay froggy-fighter, we can still go."
"Mi-chan... I love you, tiny-bug!"
They ran off with each other, climbing stairs to the roof.
Taiga and Ryuuji looked at each other in a mutual feeling of bewilderment.
Then, they realized that they'd been fighting a second ago and Taiga reverted back to a hostile stance.
"Heh?... So you're Kitamura's friend, huh?"
"Yeah, what about it?"
"It's just, you're below him."
"Hey! You want to fight, froggy-fighter?!"
The tiger and her new dog scoffed once, and started laughing together.
"B-bring it on, tiny-bug! Haha!"
They laughed until their guts were hurting.
When they stopped, Ryuuji remembered something.
"Oh, Takasu, I have something for you."
Ryuuji reached into his bag and pulled out Taiga's notebook.
"When I crashed into you this morning, this dropped out of your bag."
She quickly reverted back to her wary attitude and snatched the book out of his hands.
"I'm not gonna say thanks, got it? It's your fault I lost it in the first place."
"Yeah, yeah, I didn't expect one. I'm sorry about that crash-"
Suddenly, loud growling noise emitted from one of their stomachs, and they immediately fell silent.
"...W-was that you...?" Ryuuji asked.
"N-no." Taiga turned red.
"Are you sure?"
Ryuuji heard another growl from Taiga's stomach and said, "Do you... want to get something to eat?"
She looked down, her flushed face covered by her hair, and said softly, "Fine."
It was seven o'clock, and Taiga had just finished her microwaveable fishcakes.
She went into her room and changed out of her uniform.
Maybe that Aisaka guy might not be too bad, she thought, at least he treated me to lunch...
Inko-chan, the parakeet, screeched, "Bad! Bad!" as Taiga walked back into the main room.
"Shut up, Inko-chan."
"Shut! Shut! Shut!" It replied.
She walked over to the cage, leaned in menacingly, and pointed her finger at Inko.
Inko didn't talk for the rest of the night.
Still, I wonder if Aisaka lives in that apartment building.
Taiga walked out onto the veranda and looked through the nearest window on the concrete wall in front of her.
The lights were on inside, and she heard a faint humming.
Then, the humming became louder as she heard a door open and footsteps coming closer.
She was about to turn back when Ryuuji, faced away from Taiga, stepped in front of the window, and dried his hair with a small towel.
He'd just taken a shower, and, naturally, he was unclothed from head to toe.
Blood rushed to Taiga's face and she said, "NA... NAH... WHAT IS THIS?!"
Ryuuji jumped and turned to see the girl outside his window that had just picked up a sharp pencil.
She hurled it at Ryuuji's eyes and he ducked just in time.
"How- how d-dare you s-show me t-that unsightly body..."
"Um, Takasu? Taiga Takasu... chan?"
"H-HOW DARE YOU?!"
She fast-balled a pan at him, then chucked a fork.
She continuously threw as many dangerous objects as she could find until Ryuuji's floor was basically a minefield.
"I'm sorry! Okay?!"
"Say that after you get hit by one of these!"
"I'll die before I can say it!"
A fire extinguisher flew by his head.
"Then say it while you're dead!"
Never mind... I hate this guy! Taiga thought.
"Don't call me by my first name!"
"Shut up! A master has every right to call her dog whatever she wants!"
"I'm not your dog! I'm a human being!"
"That's enough jokes now, Ryuuji!"
"IT'S NOT A JOOOKKKKEEE!"