hope you all enjoy this latest installment!

"this town really is ass backwards…" Sora sighed as the instructor at the front of the class droned on about some subject that he had no interest in. "they're like a year behind on basically every subject. I could do this stuff in my sleep… *snore*" Sora leaned into folded arms on his desk and put his head down.

"Sora, if you think you know the information well enough to sleep through then by all means, answer the questions on the board." The teacher irritably pointed to a set of earth science questions on the board. Sora, fighting the urge to glare at the teacher, yawned and started rattling off the answers.

"tectonic plates, soil erosion, tidal forces, convection currents." He answered casually. The instructor looked flustered for a moment as he flipped through his textbook.

"all of you should be ashamed. You need to apply yourselves like this young man!" Sora could feel the icy stare of some of the other students barreling down at him as the teacher tried to save face.

"thanks a lot." He lamented as he went back to sleep. He woke up as the lunch bell rang and he headed to the school courtyard. "man…I feel so tired all the time lately. Seshin told me to explore the village but all I could do was sleep and laze around." Sora thought as he nodded off once again.

"ora-s-Sora" Sora opened his eyes slowly as he fought off the fatigue. He felt an irritable sensation as he noticed the pink hair drape over his face. he could smell that perfume again, something flowery. It wasn't a scent he particularly liked, but he much preferred it to the general smell of manure and hay that seemed to choke sotoba. "hey Sora!" he could see a smile start to creep across her face. His heart sank.

"great…now I'm not going to get any sleep…. hey…megumi right?" he replied dryly. She smiled again.

"yup!" she beamed "So, will you tell me more about the city?" she asked, her eyes widening as the sunlight caught her face at an odd angle. Sora gave her a blank stare.

"sure…. I guess…." She waited with eager anticipation. "why are you so obsessed with the city though?" he asked with a yawn. She glanced away.

"I hate sotoba. And I can't stand the people here either. they're all so backwards. They like living in this Podunk town where nothing changes. They laugh at me if I get dressed up to run an errand but they're the ones who look like pathetic slobs." Sora gave her an awkward look and smiled tepidly.

"she's kinda shallow, but then again, I don't like it here either…sorry to hear that." He yawned "megumi, I've gotta go use the bathroom" he said as he abruptly walked away. Sora staggered through the halls of the small school and quickly slipped into the restroom. As he walked towards the mirror he could see how haggard he was becoming. His hair was messy and he could see bags forming under his eyes. His lips were cracked and pale and his skin wasn't looking much better. "it's like I'm wasting away…I look like I did back before the fire..." he checked his arms for bug bites in a quick spurt of paranoia. "I'm fine." He said aloud as he splashed water on his face. He sighed as he looked at himself again. Suddenly he felt an arm on his shoulder.

"hey, you're the one from the bus stop right?" a tired voice called to him. He looked over to see the boy with purple hair washing his hands next to him. Sora jumped in surprise.

"yeah. My name is Sora. You?" the teen didn't even look Sora in the eye as he replied.

"yuuki, or koide. Whatever is fine." He replied blankly. Sora turned his water off and paused as the last drop fell from the faucet.

"parents not married or something?" Sora replied in jest. The teenager gave him a bitter scowl. "sorry if I hit a nerve." Sora replied awkwardly. "it's just, in Tokyo a lot of kids were like that, two last names and all" his expression lightened up.

"not gonna give me a hard time about it like the villagers?" he stared daggers at Sora. Sora gave him an irritable look of his own.

"why would I? can't I just call you by your first name? two names are confusing." Sora tried to smile but felt a wave of weakness and had to steady himself on the sink. Natsuno gave him a concerned look for a brief second before trying to cover it up.

"something wrong?" he said in that same "always irritated" tone.

"I don't know…lately I've just been feeling really weak. Maybe I've got low blood sugar or anemia or something" he said as a migraine hit him full force. He grabbed the sides of his head and groaned. "don't worry about me, I'll be fine. Anyway, what did you want? Your original reason." He stuttered through the pain. Yuuki gave him a tepid look.

"I just wanted to say that you should probably avoid shimizu…she's…. odd" Natsuno sighed.

"I don't know; she just seems kinda lonely to me" Sora groaned as another migraine hit him. Natsuno grabbed Sora's chin and looked him over quickly.

"go to the clinic after school" he said as he abruptly walked away.

A few hours later.

Sora grabbed his leather bag and slowly dragged himself away from the classroom. As he paced through the old building that the village called a school he found the main entrance and stepped back into the bright sunlight. Sora had to squint as his eyes strained in the harsh light. He looked in the direction of the clinic, he shivered and continued to walk. It was only for a few moments before another weak feeling overpowered him, so he walked over to a large pine tree at the side of the road, he looked over the bark and stuck his hands in a place where sap wasn't flowing and took a deep breath.

"Sora!"

"oh god…" he lamented as he heard that voice.

"I didn't see you after lunch, where did you go?" he feigned a polite smile as megumi walked over to him.

"sorry, I didn't know the school had no cafeteria, so I had nothing to eat or drink and I ended up getting a drink in the bathroom sink." He rubbed his head as another headache hit him, megumi looked concerned as he groaned from the pain.

"what's wrong?" she asked softly as she looked his face over. "you look like crap." She retracted her hand when she noticed how unkempt he was becoming. "ew" she thought to herself.

"that's what I'm going to find out…" he sighed.

"what do you mean by that?" she asked innocently.

"I'm going to the clinic…maybe they can figure out what's wrong with me…hey, that's an interesting dress" Sora said. "did you change after we got out of school?" she flashed an embarrassed smile in his direction as she spun around in an elegant pink summer dress with black ruffles.

"oh, I can walk you there, we can talk more about the city!" she smiled excitedly.

"screw that your crazy bitch! fine…" Sora reluctantly agreed.

The two set off on the path to the clinic, megumi all the while asking Sora as many questions she could think of. After each answer she seemed to like, she'd let out a sort of squealy giggling, but as the two got closer to the metro area of sotoba Sora heard megumi ask fewer and fewer questions. And after each response she seemed to get more reserved and quiet, if Sora had to guess she even seemed to get depressed. That's when he noticed the voices. He didn't pay much attention what with with Megumi''s excited inquiry, but now that she was growing quiet he could hear them clearly. All around him he could hear the dissenting whispers and clicking tongues of the villagers.

"she's such a strange girl."

"that girl really likes to show herself off, she's probably shacking up with the new student already."

"slut"

"and that boy, Seshin offered his home to a total stranger? What kind of relationship do they have?"

"I didn't know Seshin was into that kind of thing!"

"wasn't he the victim of some sort of tragedy, he must have so many psychological problems, shame on shimizu for taking advantage of him!"

Sora gritted his teeth and abruptly stopped, megumi didn't notice and in her somber walk accidentally bumped into him.

"when she said they laughed at her I just thought they were teasing her…but this is vicious. She must have very few, if any, friends at all in this village if everyone is talking about her like that." Sora looked back over to megumi who had a sad, yet angry look in her eye. He could see tears begin to pool in the corners of her eyes.

"what did they mean you were the victim of some kind of tragedy?" she asked with a quiver in her voice.

"don't worry about it. Let's just walk faster alright?" she nodded in agreement and the two made a break for the Ozaki clinic. After what seemed like hours of walking, the two finally arrived at the foot of the building. Sora and megumi walked up to the entrance and he knocked on the door. A man with messy brown hair and a thick five o clock shadow walked to the entrance holding a cigarette.

"welcome to the Ozaki clinic. How can I help you." He looked over and saw megumi, a funny smile crept across his face. "megumi…let me guess, you've got a stomach ache again, what test are you trying to avoid this time?" he replied jokingly. Megumi smiled politely.

"actually…I'm the one who wants to see you" Sora replied weakly. The doctor nodded and invited the two in.

"alright Sora, come with me. Let's take a look at you in the exam room." Ozaki led him away from megumi sitting in the lounge.

"how did you know my name?" Sora replied. The doctor took a drag on his cigarette and laughed.

"Seshin told me about you….and what happened." The doctor said more seriously. He put a hand on the teens shoulder. "listen, I wouldn't tell the other villagers, they can be a bit…less understanding…than other people." Sora gave him a straight look.

"yeah. I learned that first hand on the walk over here," he glanced at megumi who was looking at him through the opening. Ozaki nodded knowingly.

"either way, tell me what's wrong. I can see from here you look pretty sick, but I need to hear what you have to say." He told Sora to take off his shirt and started to examine him.

"well…. lately I've been feeling really weak. Blurred vision, fatigue, headaches, trouble standing, and I've been sleeping all the time."

And how long has this been going on?" Ozaki took notes.

"I'd say I started to feel weak about two weeks after my parents…" the doctor shushed him

"I understand"

"and then the other symptoms started to slowly build up over the course of two months. It was only after I got here that they hit this peak…" the doctor took more notes.

"well, you've been through a lot of stress lately, grief from what happened. And then the move... have you been eating enough lately?" the doctor said as he produced a small syringe. Sora's skin went cold as he saw it.

'w-well I'd say maybe not as much as I should be…doc what are you doing with that thing?" Sora stuttered.

"I'm just going to run a quick blood test. What's your blood type Sora?" Sora gulped.

"its…is…. o negative." He said as fear started to build with every inch closer the doctor got with the needle.

"oh, don't worry, Seshin told me about your little phobia. I won't do anything until you tell me to." He laughed as he put the needle behind his back. "here, feel any better now that you can't see it?" the doctor smiled warmly.

"yeah… a bit…. let's keep it that way." Sora stuttered. The doctor gave off a soothing presence and Sora for some reason felt safe around him. Then again Sora never was a very good judge of character. The doctor walked behind him and took hold of one of his arms.

"ready?" Sora nodded and looked away. He shuddered as the doctor drew out a sample of blood. "alright, I'll just run this through our machine" he said as he placed the sample in a test tube. The two sat in silence for a moment until the machine started printing out results. The doctor took a quick look at them. "oh my…looks like you've got some pretty severe anemia. It's a good thing you came here when you did, a few more days of this and you could have been in serious trouble. The good news is; we can fix this today. The bad news is you'll need a blood transfusion, which of course means more needles" Ozaki chuckled. Sora looked over to megumi who was quietly smiling at him.

"all right." Sora lamented as he stared at megumi. "I don't want to give her of all people a reason to make fun of me…" A red haired nurse prepared a bag of blood and a syringe with a small tube attached to it. At first Sora felt an uncomfortable pressure, but as the procedure continued he felt a wave of ecstasy wash over him, in fact he felt something odd, a satisfying feeling that he knew was familiar but couldn't quite place his finger on. "ow!"

"what's wrong Sora?" the doctor asked as he motioned for a nurse.

"nothing…I…just bit my tongue." He said looking down curiously. The doctor nodded and finished up the transfusion. He gave him another quick look over.

"you already look much better. Now I'll need you to come by tomorrow so I can do a follow up exam, just gotta make sure you didn't have any allergic reaction to the blood." Sora nodded and the two walked back into the waiting room. He felt a cold shiver as an old woman walked up to megumi.

"ugh you again? Did you catch something from one of the students you've been seeing?" Sora felt a surge of anger and walked up behind the woman. "this is a reputable clinic, and we don't treat diseases like that." She said matter of factly. Megumi looked like she might burst into tears.

"the hell is your problem lady?!" she turned in surprise to see Sora standing a few feet behind her, seething with rage. She saw the look in his eye and stepped backwards a few feet. She regained her composure and tried to save face.

"don't you dare talk to me like that! I am your elder and you will treat me with the respect I deserve!" she yelled back. Sora simply and calmly walked right up to her face and stared her in the eye.

"kiss. My. Ass." He snarled. He felt a hot wave of pain wash over his face as the woman reared her hand back and smacked him right in the face.

"I know you. You're the one who moved here because Seshin took you in. parents abandoned you because you couldn't behave or something?" she retorted. Sora could feel himself disconnect as he cracked both knuckles and raised a fist.

"MOTHER! Go in the other room, we need to talk!" doctor Ozaki snarled as he held the back of Sora' s arm. After she left he whispered in Sora's ear. "I'm sorry about her… I know she can get under people's skins, but try to keep a lid on your temper, trust me when I say it's not worth it. I'll tell Seshin about this so you won't get in any trouble. God knows she'll spread this all over the village." He nodded a thank you to the doctor and grabbed megumi away.

"let's get out of here megumi. Thanks for treating me doc…. I appreciate it" he said as he handed the doctor money for the exam. Megumi nodded and the two walked out of the clinic.

"Sora…" megumi said quietly.

"yeah?" he looked back as the two walked along.

"thank you…for defending me I mean…his hands are still shaking with rage…. what could have happened to him to make him that angry?" he smiled.

"don't mention it…that's the first time I've ever been tempted to hit a woman…" she hesitated for a moment.

"will you tell me why that last comment of hers got you so pissed though?" she said with a meek frown. Sora kept walking, almost ignoring the question entirely.

"like I said on the bus…. I don't want to go into it okay…not right now. Let's just get you home." She nodded quietly. "though I will say that that blood transfusion seemed to work. I feel fantastic!" he smiled as the sunlight washed over his face.

"you look a lot better too." Megumi thought as her face flushed red.

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