Description: ANOTHER unwelcome guest at Gorin?! Okay, Haru's from Justice High and not Gedo, so he's able to avoid most of Natsu's wrath. First impressions matter, okay!?
It all started on a weekend visit to Justice High from a bunch of belligerent students, dressed in Gorin High uniforms. As far as anyone can tell, they had an axe to grind with Justice's snooty rich privileged students, and decided to display it kind of prominently in the form of vandalism and such. This isn't entirely unexpected, though. Justice IS a school for rich kids and the 'social elite' and as a result, it doesn't always have a good reputation, especially with schools like Taiyo and maybe even Gorin. Vandalism is maybe a little out of character for Gorin, but as far as some thinking in Southtown goes right now: they're a bunch of jocks. Is it too big a surprise to think that a few of them might decide to get a little rowdy?
What most people who weren't there don't know, however, is that the vandalism was only part of the equation. The OTHER part was the violence: Athena Asamiya, one of Justice's own, was attacked by a hulking, intimidating mountain of a man who put her flat on the ground before leaving. Haru Sakuraba, a classmate of hers, arrived just in time to see it go down, but not in time to do anything about it other than help her recover after the fact.
It's the violence that really piques Haru's interest. He doesn't know a lot about Gorin, other than that they're really into sports and the name and school crest are a bit of a pun ('five rings' for the Olympic logo). What he does know, though, suggests that them being violent doesn't seem in character. If anything, the school's motto seems to encourage sportsmanship and fair play over a 'win at all costs' logic. So why would anyone from Gorin decide to beat up Athena Asamiya for catching them in the act... or try to beat up Haru for the same reason, for that matter? Athena is a known fighting quantity, a rising star. Haru is a nobody, comparatively speaking. Someone MAY have arrived to 'challenge' her, but not him.
It just... seems wrong.
That's why, as the school day ends, the yoyo-using fighter has arrived at Gorin's front doors, dressed per normal in his grey shirt and uniform slacks, the only spark of color his gold Justice uniform jacket tied around his waist. He looks... decidedly out of place on Gorin's campus, and more to the point, he's NOT a confrontational sort. He's not here to fight. But he had to really talk himself into doing this, and the expression of resolve not to panic and run on his face could certainly be misinterpreted as ill intent. How will the students react...?
Saturday, Natsu Ayuhara was on top of the world. She'd had a very, very rough week, all begun when students from Gedo High stormed onto campus; when the dust had settled, Gorin uniforms had been stolen, and Natsu and her volleyball team captain found themselves in the hospital's intensive care ward. By the time Kiyoko Miyazawa had been cleared for release, Natsu had not only enrolled in the new Neo League, but fully immersed herself, engaging in two matches against people much more adept at martial arts than she.
It wasn't until a brief conversation with Brett, a fellow Gorin student, that she was able to finally clear her head of the demons inciting her to rage.
And then she'd heard from her classmates that 'Gorin High' was responsible for a heinous attack on Justice High. The freshman -- newly promoted to take her sempai's role as volleyball team captain -- was forced to confront her fears once more: the threat of invasion to her school.
So when she looked down to her cellphone, and heard the voice of a classmate she barely knew... she already knew the reason for the call. And was already on her way over.
Natsu Ayuhara is not used to getting breaks. But she is used to shouting at people.
"What do you want?!" she cries out, upon seeing the student. He may not be hostile, but that doesn't mean his intentions are pure. The super-tall Gorin girl raises her fist threateningly as she strides over: "I suppose you want to start trouble here too!? Well, I've got news for you, kid -- Gorin's had enough of outsiders telling us what to do!"
The other students about the courtyard, even the one who had placed the call just a minute prior, keep to themselves. Acting as if they hadn't heard the volleyball captain's booming voice echoing off the bricks and buildings. Maybe they're not as determined as Natsu wants them to be.
"So what's it gonna be, huh?" she shouts -- not quite -towering- over Haru, but the height differential is enough to look threatening when combined with her aggressive stance. She's wearing her white uniform shirt and skirt -- it may be another couple days before the replacement athletic uniforms can be put into rotation, after all.
We'll set aside for the moment that Natsu Ayuhara more or less towers over Haru (no matter what she says), who is average height at best. The real take-back moment here is that Natsu is twice as tall in spirit as she is in physicality. The volleyball captain's aura burns with all the intense emotions she's feeling: pride, righteous anger, confusion, annoyance, defiance. That, more than her shouted demands, hits Haru full in the face to the extent that he actually flinches. It's a bit like staring at a desk lamp with night vision goggles on.
It takes a moment, but Haru manages to rally by keeping the memory of what he's here for fresh in his mind. He's very specifically NOT looking for a fight, and that knowledge gives him a boost of needed confidence to stand up to Natsu's intense, if understandable, barrage of questions.
"I... I'm not here to start anything!" he bursts out, the words pouring out quick and a little loud in his attempt to actually make them heard before this all goes south. He meets Natsu's gaze with his own grey-eyed glance and tries his damndest to put on The Sincere Face so she'll believe him. "I just... want some answers. There's so much about what happened that I don't get! And someone got hurt, really hurt. I want to find out why. Wouldn't you?!"
Haru is not a "kid," But it's easy for Natsu to assume as much, from his posture, his poise, and the adorable way in which he shrinks back from the amazonesque Gorin student's confrontational assault. Once she gets closer, she realizes... he's probably older than she is.
But that only gives her pause for a short moment. He stands up to her -- which wins bonus points -- and he adequately addresses the points she's raised -- which wins more. Her temper runs hot, but... met with a rational response, it's imperative that Natsu respond in kind.
Nostrils flare as Natsu rises to her full height -- a welcome change from her having been leaning forward into Haru's personal space just now. "Someone =did= get hurt, and the number's growing! I don't like it either!" Hotheaded, the new volleyball captain folds her arms. "Okay. Fine. I'm listening, so ask. You might want to talk fast, though!"
Well she didn't just spike him on to the concrete. That's a start.
"Y-yes! Thank you," Haru says, clearing his throat. Just in the everyday world, Haru's powers occasionally make him feel like he's being swallowed up by other people, especially passionate, intense auras like Natsu's. It's not as if the Justice student is swimming in self-confidence and has, to this point, been a bit of a loner. The fact that he's even standing here right now is signs of quick growth over the past few weeks, not that he'd know that. Haru's still grappling with it all.
"M-my name is Haru," he starts, and for a FRACTION of a second is about to extend his hand for a handshake when he thinks better of it and sketches a swift and formal bow instead. "Haru Sakuraba. I'm a second year at Justice Academy. I... I was there when the students attacked our school this weekend. I saw one of th--"
He suddenly stops, then blinks and tilts his head at Natsu, wearing an expression of surprise. "Wait. Did someone attack *your* school too?"
Natsu is not psychic, but she's generally pretty receptive of other people's emotions. She has a tendency to start conversations by charging out of the gate, so she's not exactly unfamiliar with responses like Haru's -- though it's been a while since she's seen someone start for a handshake and then withdraw. Having glanced away for that moment, her eyes scan back up to meet Haru's. Her lips part, as she's about to say her name, but then Haru abruptly changes his thought.
"... Yes," she states, the anger slowly fading from her tone. She indicates the Gorin monument with a shrugged shoulder: "First, some skater girl from Gedo tagged our monument with paint. Took the v-ball team the better part of a week to clean that up."
She draws in breath, forehead creasing with the memory of what happened, as she tries to distill it down into concise, non-charged language. "And then our team captain got attacked. One week ago. Wrong place at the wrong time. If I wasn't there..."
Natsu draws in another long breath, closing her eyes as she traces one hand up to rub at her face.
But it only lasts a moment, as Natsu seems to remember her manners. She bows stiffly at the waist. "Ayuhara Natsu. It's... good to meet you." In that, it's good to TALK with you instead of having to defend Gorin turf.
That knowledge definitely takes Haru by surprise. Gorin high was attacked? Vandalized, too. And a student was attacked... so was the attack on Justice High a retaliation? He seems about to immediately proceed with questions along those lines when some inner voice gets the better of him and he stops, lips slightly parted to speak, before coughing and heading in a different direction. "I'm sorry to hear about the attack, Ayuhara-san," the dusky-skinned youth says quietly. "And it's nice to meet you, too."
This is all really confusing, however, and it shows as Haru brings a hand up to his mouth in a gesture of contemplation, shifting his weight a bit off one foot to the other idly. He then looks back at Natsu, having had his head bowed in thought for a second. "Was it someone from Justice that did it? I promise you, we would never do something like that!" Haru sounds confident... mostly. The truth is he doesn't know his fellow students as well as he'd like. But he could never believe the people he spends every day with would deface Gorin High and attack its students! What purpose would that serve?
"I guess if they did, some Gorin students might want to retaliate, but..." He pauses, then smiles absently. "I don't know your school very well. But it seems more like you'd want to challenge us to a sporting match to settle things than try to beat up Asamiya-san with a baseball bat."
Ayuhara is -usually- the one with the warm heart, so when Haru is the one to apologize first, a pink tinge crosses her cheeks. "Asa....Asamiya-san, was it? I am sorry to hear about what happened." She did hear -- that's confirmed now. But differentiating rumor from fact has been... difficult as of late.
"... No, it was Gedo High. A skater, first, then..." She scratches the nape of her neck for a moment, and adds, "I heard the shorter brush-haired one call the bigger guy 'Boss' but I never caught the name. Was too busy stealing our clothes from the racks -- I guess Gedo's really poor, but that doesn't really excuse them from petty theft!"
Still... Natsu is a bit intrigued by Haru's musing aloud. She rests her knuckles on her hips, squaring off her shoulder as she looks back at Haru - one eyelid higher than the other as he speaks. "... Are you making fun of us? Do you think we're all dumb as rocks or something?"
She realizes she's raising her voice again, and lets her arms fall by her sides. "... Anyway, Justice wasn't here, as far as I know... why would we need to retaliate?" She thinks for a moment -- and realizes Haru's not being purely hypothetical.
"Wait. I want you to be crystal clear with me... You're saying -Gorin- students did this?"
"N-no!" is Haru's immediate response to Natsu's asking if he's making fun of them. "That's not it at all. But everyone here plays sports! I would think Gorin students would be all about fair play and honor. Isn't that the way of life for an athlete?" This isn't Legend of the Five Rings, Sakuraba. They're not ronin, for god's sake.
Then Natsu asks if he's saying Gorin students were responsible. Haru gets most of the way through the word "Ye--" and then suddenly comes to a halt, stopping immediately and widening both eyes in surprise. He was so sure it was Gorin students. After all, they were wearing Gorin uniforms, weren't they? And one of them had a baseball bat. That's a sportsball thing, isn't it?! They had to be from Gorin! And then Haru puts that brain of his to work and says: "Actually, I don't know. I know they were wearing Gorin *uniforms*." That much is true. They were dressed as Gorin students...
"I don't really remember most of them, other than the uniforms," Haru says. "And baseball bats. But there was... the man who fought Asamiya-san," he adds. For a moment, and probably to Natsu's surprise, Haru actually *shudders*. His memory of Daigo is laced with memories of the man's intense, almost overpowering aura. Shaking his head a second, he continues. "He was different. Huge and powerful and... really intimidating. Once he'd beaten her, he left with the others. Do you have any students like that here?"
Natsu's temper subsides soon after Haru responds in the negative, but she still keeps a frown of concern upon her face. "... It's... well, listen! Just because we play sports here, it's rude to assume all of us think like one really singleminded person!" Her pitch may raise, but really... she's more upset at Haru's implications than his words, now that she sees how he actually =is=. Does she expect him to know that? Well...
The v-ball captain pays close attention to Haru's face, gauging what the Justice student -does- know. "... Gorin... uniforms." This should be important, Natsu considers. She starts to raise a bandaged finger, but lowers it as Haru continues upon his train of thought, not wanting to interrupt.
Which is good, because he then mentions a really big and really intense guy. So when she raises her finger, it's not simply to emphasize a point, but to trace a line across one of her eyes -- and shuts an eyelid to match. "Would this... man... happen to have had a scar... right here?"
It's worth noting that Natsu's hand is starting to tremble.
"... Because if so... " Ayuhara clenches her fist to control the tremors. Setting her jaw, she continues: "I think we might know what happened to the uniforms that got stolen."
A scar? "I... honestly don't remember," Haru says, seeming really disconsolate over the fact that he CAN'T remember. The tan-skinned Justice student looks away, not meeting Natsu's gaze and letting his body sag a bit, tension draining out of him in a long sigh. "While he was fighting Asamiya-san, the... people with the bats and uniforms were attacking me. I had my hands full and didn't really get a good look at him." The clear unspoken rider here, at least in terms of Haru's feelings, is: 'but I should have.'
Looking back up at Natsu, Haru seems to rally, regaining a bit of his resolve and trying not to beat himself up over things he can't change. "I don't really think Gorin students did it! That's why I'm here! It... doesn't seem like something you would do. But I don't know who they were, and I guess you don't either." With a glum sigh, he looks down at the ground again, running a hand through his hair. Anxiety became resolve became frustration.
"Why would someone steal your uniforms and pretend to be Gorin students, though? That doesn't make any sense," Haru continues, shifting from looking at the ground, to Natsu, to up at the sky. "The man who fought Athena-san... for a while they talked about a lot of complicated things. Social justice and not looking down on others. Does that sound familiar to you at all?" he asks, swiveling his gaze back to Natsu, genuinely curious. "We.. -I- thought they might have been upset because we won a game against Gorin, or something like that, but that couldn't have been it, if the uniforms were *stolen*..."
A no on the scar? Natsu frowns, then. It's hard to really encapsulate what Daigo is without knowing his name. He's just this, dude, right, and he's big. "... Asamiya-san is pretty talented, ne..." she states, folding her arms behind her back.
The other Gorin students seem to be following Natsu's lead, relaxing now that the Justice student does not appear to be a threat at present. They go on about their business, chatting and texting away as students are wont to do.
"You got attacked by -several- students? You must be quite formidable to... be standing here, actually." She offers a brief, mirthless laugh, to soften the blow or possibly apologize for poor wording.
"... But yeah. The, uh... timeline doesn't match up for it being a Gorin attack. Our uniforms were stolen Monday, this thing happened after I got back, on the weekend..."
The acting volleyball captain, shuffles her weight from one foot to the other. Puzzling through this isn't exactly something she'd planned on, and Haru's frustration seems to be contagious. "I'm... I mean, I would -guess- it was Gedo that attacked us, since the people made a big deal about being from Gedo, but... " She shakes her head, a helpless look flitting across her face for a moment. "They stole our uniforms so they could pretend to be Gorin students, so who's to say they didn't pretend to be Gedo when they came here... right?"
She pounds her fist into a palm, frowning. "I... I should ask around, I guess. But no, it wasn't Gorin who attacked you. This is a private school, social justice... gosh. I hate to paint us with broad strokes or anything, but social justice is... "
Natsu finds herself laughing slightly, despite her frustration. "... Heh. I can't see any of the guys I know -here- starting a fight over it."
Now it's Haru's turn to rub the back of his neck in embarassment. Formidable? "N-not really," he admits. It's true that he got out of things unscathed, but it doesn't seem like the crowd of Gedo(?) or Gorin(?) students he fought were really fighters, just guys armed with baseball bats and bad attitudes. "I'm only just starting out. I must have gotten lucky." Ah, Japanese modesty. Seriously not even good for anyone.
Looking back up at the sky again, Haru's grey eyes seem to mirror the color of the afternoon winter sky. Maybe the gesture helps him to think? "I don't know a lot about Gedo High. I know about Gorin, and Taiyo... and Pacific, where exchange students go, and Seijyun, the girls' school..." He pauses, then shakes his head and gives Natsu a rueful smile. "To be honest, sometimes I'm not even sure I know all that much about Justice, either. I've spent a lot of my time so far keeping my head down and focusing on my studies..."
There's a pause, and then Haru shakes his head, giving Natsu a determined look, clenching his fists, too. It's all very adorably... shounen anime, which given Haru's nerdy look is probably pretty funny to observe. "I'll try to tell people! That your uniforms were stolen, I mean. I don't want anyone else to get hurt, and it seems like there's a lot we don't know. I don't want to just sit by and do nothing."
The acting v-ball captain finds it increasingly easy to smile around this new arrival to the Gorin campus. Much better than the last few, that's for sure. "Oh, really...? I... I'm just getting into fighting, myself..." She leaves off the part where she entered Neo League as a direct result of Daigo's and Edge's involvement here, not wanting to kill her good mood.
When Haru looks up, Natsu does too. Is there an airplane up there, or maybe a drone spying on them? She'd noticed Haru looking up before, but after scanning the sky, realizes it may have just been a little habit of his. Looking back down, she nods slowly: "... Gedo is... well, it's gotten a bad reputation over the years. It's a public school, but it's in a really rough part of town, unlike say... Taiyo."
Two students in plain white t-shirts walk up to Natsu, looking like they want her ear for something or other. Nervously, they glance over to Haru; one gives him a cheerful wave. Natsu turns to them with a brief nod, holding up one finger in sign.
... The determined look Haru gives her, though? That breaks her mood completely away from the hostile edge that she'd started the conversation with. Cracking a smile, she nods in approval with Haru: "Please do! You know, the prom's coming up soon, and it'll be at the Gorin Dome to the south, so... if people are still thinking that Gorin students attacked your school that could be problematic!" She blinks for a moment, and raises an open hand to Haru: "But... I don't mean to put -you- in the hotseat or anything, I'll be telling people too!"
She smiles broadly, bowing once more at the waist. "Though... I think practice is about to start up -- we've got a lot of catching up to do before our game tomorrow. It really was a pleasure meeting you, Haru -- if you have anything, else, er... well, we might be a few minutes getting ready, but we can talk more in a little bit?" She wouldn't -normally- be so accomodating, but after Haru's display... how can she not trust -that- show of emotion?
For a second, Haru's head tilts to the side in a curious way, as he thinks about the mass of conflicting senses that is Natsu Ayuhara. Hovering somewhere between self-conscious and determined, to his eye, anyway. But it's clear that she cares a lot for her fellow students and would go to great lengths to protect them. "Ah. I see. That's... sad," he says, of her description of Gedo. "It's so easy to say 'well let's forget about them', I guess." He grimaces, wondering what his famously mercenary parents would say about him being soft on the Bad Side of Town. He imagines they wouldn't like it.
That thought, for whatever reason, makes him feel good about saying it.
And then she's got to ruin the mood by bringing up the PROM. A moment of wide-eyed surprise that he'd forgotten about it becomes a swift and too-obvious tone change, his body turning away from Natsu slightly. "Y-yeah! We, uh. You wouldn't want anything to happen then, right." He doesn't have a date for the prom. He might as well be wearing a shirt that says 'HARU DOESN'T HAVE A DATE TO THE PROM'.
He's also well aware that the Gorin high v-ball captain has a lot on her plate and MAYBE doesn't want to stand around outside in the winter cold talking to a mostly-a-stranger all day. "That'd be nice. Let's keep in touch about this. And, ah... maybe we can have a bout sometime? Since we're both just starting out, I mean." Smooth, Haru.
There's a moment of awkward silence after that, and then Haru swings his arms around behind his back and clasps his hands together, giving Natsu that too-bright smile of 'okay this got weird time to leave'. "It was, ah, a pleasure! Ayuhara-san. I'll keep in touch." And with a little wave, he turns and dashes off. Even smoother, Haru. Good work. Still, today he made a potential ally, if not a friend. And he learned some interesting things about what's going on as well...
Log created on 21:24:43 12/03/2014 by Natsu, and last modified on 01:04:34 12/04/2014.