... So apparently I had this on my computer and completely forgot to upload it. For five years. Hi?

wordcount: 741
posted: 07.30.21
prompt #19, protection

If anyone would bother to pay attention, they could see that Ruki Makino was not in a good mood. At all. One might argue that Ruki is rarely ever in a good mood, but one would be wrong. She's always in a good mood, she just doesn't like people, especially people her own age. Ruki also doesn't like going outside "for fun." Like right now. Here was Ruki, at a park, outside, full of people her own age, when what she wanted to do was stay at home in her own bedroom and read a book.

"Oh, Ruki, don't be like this!" her mother said. "When I was your age I was running around everywhere! I was always surrounded by friends too. Look, there are so many children out today!" Ruki rolled her eyes. Her mother always went on about when I was a kid! She didn't care that Ruki didn't like her stories and didn't like being compared to anyone, but especially her mother.

"I don't like other kids."

"You keep telling yourself that, sweetie," Rumiko pet her daughter on the head and Ruki's frown grew deeper. She hated that tone, that condescending tone that told Ruki she was being ignored, not that she needed a tone to figure that out. Uninterested in arguing, Ruki stalked to the other side of the park, where she could probably hide in a tree or something. A really big one. So big that her mother will get scared.

It was on her way to this tree when Ruki spotted him, Motomiya, playing with some pretty, brown-haired girl in the grass. They were kicking a soccer ball around, so Ruki was relieved to know he wouldn't bother her any time soon. Probably. Motomiya had a bad habit of finding Ruki when she didn't want to be bothered, and he just wouldn't stop being nice. It was annoying. Even more annoying was when Ruki found herself being nice back. She didn't like him. Motomiya was dumb, useless, annoying and way too hyper... but Ruki could tolerate him.

Some days.


It was while Ruki passed the field to get to that really tall tree she'd spotted, across the park from her stupid mother, when Motomiya shouted. The pretty girl he was playing with screamed a note that made Ruki's head hurt. She glanced over and watched as a scrawny middle schooler, still in his uniform, bounced the soccer ball Motomiya and his friend had been playing with between his ankles. He was probably talented at the sport, Ruki considered passively. She also considered that middle schoolers might be more annoying than kids their own age, mostly because a lot of them picked on the elementary school kids, like Ruki, Motomiya, and his friend.

She watched the boys argue, Motomiya charging the older boy for his ball back, and the older boy dodging him every time. Motomiya was losing his temper, Ruki could tell, but he clearly wasn't skilled at fighting in the first place. Finally, the older boy grew bored and tossed the ball back at Motomiya… and hit the other girl in the face. Hard.

Ruki's glare turned intense, but even as the middle schooler started laughing she stood her ground. Ruki didn't like bullies, she hated them, but she didn't like to interfere in things she had nothing to do with. Motomiya wasn't her friend, and she didn't even know who the other girl was.

But Ruki really wanted the middle school boy to hurt for what he did to that girl.

And then -

Motomiya ran at the boy again, the middle schooler too distracted by his own laughter to notice. Only, instead of tackling like Motomiya tried to do before, he lifted his foot and kicked the boy between the legs. The boy screamed. Ruki might have smiled, just a little tiny bit. And Motomiya was smart, instead of sticking around and taunting the kid, like Ruki thought he might, he took the hand of the other girl and ran towards the swingset, where the adults sat clustered on benches.

Okay, so Motomiya wasn't completely useless. Or dumb. And Ruki might dislike him a little bit less than she did five minutes ago. Not that she was going to tell him that. She still had a tree to climb.