Chapter 7 - Droit du Sensei

A/N: I've taken risks with this fic and I'm not gonna back down now. This would featured the last "tender" scene I would devote several long paragraphs to. Also, in the future I want to balance the characters' voices and "read time." I feel I didn't give the girls enough attention to write them well and quicken the narrative pace as well. This fic has been going on for a while, longer than many of my friends from my days starting out lasted. From its heyday during the last decade, maybe a tiny half a handful of writers still write and post in the AzuDai archive, catering to a roughly-equal small number of readers. The Mature section is probably even less. I set out to try my hand in by using a premise different from the standard M-fare, just as I set out to write my stories differently from others. If any of you kept to my story I'm thankful for taking the time to read it.

Disclaimer: Azumanga Daioh is the property of Kiyohiko Azuma and J.C. Staff.

He never thought they'd make it all the way through. Kimura sat at the edge of the bed while Kagura lay behind him, relaxing. It had been a tricky introduction, getting the wary, reluctant tomboy to stand down. No easy task, he realized since with her athletic fitness can help her physically dissuade his overtures. And he'll be going home in bruises and black eyes.

But after being introduced by Sakaki and Yomi, the bewildered Kagura was calmed down somewhat after she was "let in" on the take by the girls. It broke just one hurdle but it was a first step, which made everything slightly easier. Those were relative terms. She had confided to him about her less than spectacular academic performance, especially in his area of expertise and about how she would remedy it. Of course he would not go for that option. All he did was suggest to Kagura was that she should take her lessons seriously, balance her athletics while he thought of a way to help her grades like remedial work.

"That's not gonna help," he recalled her utter those words. "I'm in serious trouble."

"Kagura, you can't ask me to something drastic," he remembered his reply. "I can't just do that."

She sat defeated. She really went for it and her only choice, her only approach really, was her last card left. "What would it take to improve my grades?"

The seemingly simple question caught him offguard because to repeat the usual answer of studying would seem like he was brushing her off in annoyance. And then he shuddered as he considered the possibility that she might suspect him of what he was actually doing, or actually did. A teacher and now three teenage girls together in a house is a huge magnet for questions if not handled carefully.

He had said something to that effect but he could not recall what was said. Kagura felt absolutely despondent, muttering about feeling less like coming back home. Now it felt like he hit rock bottom with her.

He did not realize how he moved a little closer to her. What came next was his arm around her shoulder. He half-expected her to bolt in alarm and half-scream in outrage but she got got was a suprised, awkward look instead. He said, "Kagura, worry no more."

He expected a fist for that kiss but she made no protest. Her lips were soft and warm and had the taste of honey. After the clumsy start, she got on board and that kiss took on a life of its own as they both grabbed each other tightly. A fire stirred between them causing them to fall on the floor, they writhed but they only have enough sense two check the other two occupants of the house. They assured them they hold nothing against and then guided them to the bedroom, Sakaki's bedroom, where he had claimed their womanhood. Once the door closed, it was he who had to put a brake before Kagura's eagerness to the bed dragged them down.

He told the tomboy, pouting at being halted, about how to take it slow, how to appreciate and that they did. What followed was nothing short of exciting and fulfilling. She did undid her blouse, slowly from the top. One by one, they parted, revealing her black sports bra and taught belly. His eyes wandered to the cleavage. He had not noticed Kagura hitting the final button and letting her blouse partially slide off her shoulders. He found it inviting. Kagura smiled, more in awkwardness rather than looking free and taking her time. One more tug and the blouse slid off her body to the floor.

She proceeded to her skirt, her hands moving along the hem to the spot to undo it. His eyes followed her hands as it found release of the band of cloth clasped around her waist. Undoing it she let it loose, the skirt joining the blouse, now stripped only to her underwear, after an awkard pose and chuckled. He appreciated the beautifully-toned body of hers in the moonlight, both in sight and touch. Her athletics sculpted her into a Juno of the Renaissance, her figure bespoke of beauty unfettered and vitality without bounds. His hands felt her toned muscles, culmination of Kagura's physical regimen acting as hammer and chisel. Her short hair crowned her head and framed her temples, making her look like the goddess of the wilds than of the hearth. He had to force himself from staring at her nicely- formed bust for too long, least he stalled and minds changed and regrets formed.

Sports Illustrated, he thought. A body worthy of a cover... He also stripped but he knew his form was far from exceptional. He didn't pretend to do so with style. Yet, he did it slowly, the second time he shed clothes in front of a teenage girl. As he finished undoing his clothing and neatly putting them away, he felt the tomboy staring at him curiously as he stood in front in his boxers.

Her gleaming, gleeful eyes mesmerized him, quite expressive as he taught her some finer points of their intimate exercise. She wasn't raised like a usual girl, he thought, so she had little idea about boys and relationships - and what they did. He approached and brought her against him with his arm around her waist. Both faces red, it was awkward a bit, which he found refreshing. Then she caught on, kissing him again, his hands feeling her taut waist and fabric of her panties. She grasped him with both arms, locking him in place and the kissing became more passionate, which was better than expected. Her skin felt pleasantly soft and smooth against his and the strong muscles beneath it felt firm.

In a few seconds the kissing and grasping led to both of them droppig onto the where he lain with his two previous lovers. And how they loved together with fiery abandon, where all their cares and humdrum melted away. Such grace and subtlety he felt in his hands! They moved by their own going to places he thought were forbidden. His hands felt for bosom and thoughs and he felt Kagura's hands on his groin, eagerly coping them as well as the thigh. Now they peeled off the rest of Kagura's clothes, who made no protest and obliged. He pulled up the sports bra, allowing her breasts freedom and a majestic view. She took removed her bra and tossed it aside. Then the matching panties came, they disengaged and she guided his hands to them and he pulled them down. His hands went cold and his heart beat against its restraints as her clothes slide off the marble likeness of her body from underneath him. Kagura hunched up to pull them further until they came to her ankles. She tossed them away with a flick of the foot.

Now he got was a magnificent Venusian view of the tomboy in bed. He started to sweat cold as he contemplated action that led him further astray to the forbidden. He couldn't help scanning her from head to toe.

"Kimura-sensei," she asked sheepishly, "how do I look?"

He realized it was useless to think it all away and he took off the boxers, much to her surprise. He then sheathed himself in full view of the tomboy, whose eyes tracked his movement. "You look beautiful," he answered as he began to touch and stroke here and there. She was enjoying herself, responding well to him as he to her, her moans of approval encouraging him. Then he slowly positioned himself for the main act. She reluctantly did the same, knowing this was it! And it all began. First he cupped her breasts, kneading them, thumbs flicking her nipples. Kagura tingled visibly as the literature teacher began his opening act. Then he let go and his hands caressed down her flat, tight belly, down to the thighs.

"Can I make love to you?" He was asking permission from his lover, knowing there was no turning back.

"Yes..." she said softly, smiling in mirth. "You can. Make love to me, please."

He earned her permission, her consent - as much as an underaged girl can give to an older man. He spread her legs slowly, opening her up. He heard a gasp and he caressed her face to reassure her of his "gentle" intentions. She clasped her hand and carressed it, a tacit agreement and perhaps not wanting to let go. Then went down, deep, slow, and hard. He went to the furthest extent in her, and felt himself clasped from within. They were enjoined! Her scrunched expression confirmed the taking of her virginity. Then her smiled returned, a brave one telling she's fine, that she can take it. She was ready.

It began with slow bumps and grinds so as not hurt her too much, as presented by her moans, sighs, and gasps. It also built momentum as well helping her get used to it. It did its job as Kagura started to dance as well. Things were heating down there as Kimura lowered himself and began to taste her bosom. He felt her arms tighten on his body, clinging to him, it seemed, for fear of abandonment. The dancers raised their tempo, with Kimura moving from her breasts to her mouth. The frenzied kissing began, with mouths clashing for control. The dance's pace ascended, now they grabbed each other hungrily, devouring themselves away. Faster, harder, they wear tearing themselves apart! It was coming to the zenith...

Kagura was free! He can see it in her face, her posture, her rhythm, all aflame. And so was he. By now all contours of their bodies had been explored and their sensous voices were music. It would be a matter of time, nothing would hold them back...

It went out with a bang, followed by the silence slowly reclaiming the room. The room seem to glow softly. Reality returned but neither lover wanted to let go. Only in reluctance did they separate to contemplate what transpired. He looked over his shoulder to see her lying as though for a painting. She enjoyed everything, he could see. That meant he had done it right, everything to please her.

Kimura did not feel any guilt, even as he expected it. Was it because of the high? If so he knew it would wear off soon, perhaps without him knowing it.

"I thought for a moment you were some creep," she said to him rather absently. "And I was desperate and foolish to try that stunt on you."

Her breaking the silence was to be expected, it was always to be in the aftermath. Couples chat away as their minds recover from their trysts, attempting rationality after their emotional twining. It need not be answered, not right away and times not at all.

With a sigh she continued, "I never expected you to be so... tender." The word she used got his attention. It wasn't everyday a tomboy says that you. "Gentle even. You weren't trying to grab me and grope me. At least at the start." He saw on the corners of her mouth the beginning of a smile.

"I see..." he finally said. Kagura lying down possessed a feminity that combined with her boyish attributes he found her intoxicatingly desirable.

"It feels strange... my first time... being with a guy..." She stared up the ceiling. "And the least likely person in the world I go with." She turned to him. "What are the odds?"

He looked into those shining, enchanting orbs. She lain beside him in an alluring pose. "You actually seem nice." He smiled at that. Then she looked away. "It wasn't your first time, was it? With high school girls."

Now that question deserved his full attention.

"It's a dumb question, I know," she continued. "The answer seems rather obvious unless I..."

"It's true," he admitted softly. "Both of them... together."

Wide eyes turned to him. "What? No way!"

"Yes," he admitted reluctantly. "I laid with Mizuhara and Sakaki. Right here in this bedroom." He breathed. He felt dirty with his confession of his escapade. He felt like he threw away whatever rapport he had with Kagura.

He heard a sigh. He noticed he was facing away from her. "I'm not judging or anything. Why they went for you is not for me to say." She just sat up, sullen like a statue. "I just..."

"You are right," he said candidly, "I slept with them but just them." He breathed as he steeled his nerves for his confession. "No one else."

She remained silent, looking out the window. "Did... you like it?"

"Why yes, I did. It was pretty exciting in spite of the awkward-" It came out proudly but he halted his tongue at shock of his candid utterance, quickly closing his mouth.

She laugh softly at his stopping. It refreshed the mood in the room. "You sounded rather funny."

Uh... yes. It just came out too... bluntly. "Oh, I see..."

The tomboy turned to him. "I think I wanted more than just grades, Kimura-sensei..."

"What are you saying?" He noted her voice taking a sad turn.

"I feel more at... away from home."

Now he realized why she was so eager with him.

Her face turned pale at dropping that tiny hint about her motives for her tryst, split-second realization and regret. "Oh, I'm sorry, sensei. I shouldn't have said that! I-I-I-"

He placed his hand on her shoulder. "You don't have to tell about, just take your time." Damn it! he cursed himself for his weakness. Those words in these moments are the seeds of relationships. In his case he would not want any of that, any escalation for his now were not normal, they were illicit, they contain the seeds of his ruin- No! - their ruin! His hands and forehead broke into cold sweat he felt his body freeze as the enormity of his sin dawned on his mind. "Better yet, the less said the better."

Kagura flinched at the cold sweat on her shoulders from his mind. He knew immediately she thought of the whole thing. "Ah-I see." Then she immediately got up. "How could I be so stupid!?" She started gathering her things, her thoughts frayed as she muttered regrets and all possible consequences, half stuttering, half whimpering. He has take action before how the night's end would spell the end for all of them.

"Kagura-san, calm down," he said, "let's not get hasty."

"Hasty?" she snapped. "I should never done this!" She hurriedly put her panties back on, followed by her bra.

"Kagura, please! You're acting like-"

"Acting!?" She looked him, her eyes lit like headlights, troubled and glistening. "It wasn't acting, it happened!" She lowered her voice, thinking of her outburst attracting the neighbors. "I just had sex with a teacher. And it's you of all people." Her eyes watered again. She looked away and wiped her eyes with her arms. She said to herself, "What was I thinking, I should never have done this..." he heard her utter less pleasant words about herself like slut and whore, profusely apologizing to her mother, and how much trouble it would be for her. Dear God, he had to do something or she'll crack up. He can't let her damn herself!

Still in underclothes she was about to get to the door when he got in front of her. "Kagura, y-you're not th-thinking s-straight. I w-want y-you to stop and think." He tried to muster what scraps of authority to make her stand down.

"Out of my way," she demanded in her more familiar tomboy tone, not convinced. "You already had your go with me." She stepped aside and tried to reach the doorknob when Kimura placed his hand on the door.

"No, I want you to sit down and take a breath." He did not stutter this time but he was out on a limb here. Kagura was strong and he did not know how to handle a physical confrontation. How would he act? Would he hurt her too just to stop her?

"Damn you! Unlike Sakaki and Yomi I want no part of this! We're not in school anymore, you're not the boss of me here!" He tried to shove him aside but Kimura grabbed her instead, gripping her in a bearhug.

"Let go!" She struggled against his gripped. Kimura's strength was not up to the task and he gritted his teeth as he tried to control the stronger tomboy.

"Listen to me!" he strained to speak. "Look at me, Kagura!"

"No!" Her eyes now loosed tears.

"STOP IT!" His shout had the desired effect, much depressingly so. Kagura stopped writhing from his grip and he loosed her. The door opened to see Yomi and Sakaki looking in to see the ruckus. The proud tomboy now sank to her knees and cried. He crouched over and wrapped his arms around her again.

He turned to the two. "Sakaki-san, Mizuhara-san, get me some water and tissues." They said their "hais," bowed slightly and went downstairs. Alone, he turned to his sobbing burden.

"I'm sorry..." she said, "I'm sorry..."

"This was not your fault," he said, trying to comfort her. "It's mine."

"No... I've done a disgusting thing." She cried into his shoulders.

"We," he corrected soflty. "We. And I should've known better than to take advantage of you..." Of course, the blatant hypocrisy in his statement was not lost to him. He kept silent.

The two girls returned with water and tissues. "Are you alright?" Yomi asked, concerned of what had happened.

"Is Kagura alright?" Sakaki asked, covering her mouth.

"We're fine," he replied. He noticed they were wearing yutaka-like bathrobes. They look like they had put them on hastily in response of the commotion, looking like they're threatening to come apart at the front. Are they getting into...? He put that away from his mind, they were exploring other "angles." He was never fully aware of any of his students but suffice to say, he knew Yomi regularly goes with Tomo and Sakaki goes either alone or with anyone else. Such a spicy speculation was not what he needed to be thinking right now. A poor, forlorn Kagura needed his help.

"Kagura... a-are you alright?" he asked her softly. He offered her some tissues, which she took and wiped her face clean. She reluctantly sat up next to him.

"I'm not... I don't know..." She sunk her head on her knees, arms clasped around her legs. "What did I just do..."

How would he say it? He can't be blunt about it but he needs to find a way to defuse the situation. "Nothing to regret about."

She stared blankly, unmollified. "But..."

"You just took the first into a bold new direction, Kagura," he continued. "

"But I-I," she choked on her words, "I-I did it with you. You're a forty-year old man, not some teenage boy."

He nodded. "I know that. I also know that I creep out every girl in school... until now, that is."

She relaxed a bit. "Yeah, I noticed... but it still doesn't change anything about what we did."

"If you're wrong I don't want to be right... This 'thing' we did..." His voice is a soft whisper. "It's our little secret, our little special something. No one else needs to know." He slowly, hesitantly brought his arm around her shoulders, anticipating of being pushed off. He wasn't, she didn't swat him away.

Kagura nodded in the affirmative. "I'm just worried about this spilling over at school. People will know... They'll figure it all out."

"Then we don't. I don't think the school would care about what people do outside of it as long as people keep their business under wraps. I think it's people who we should worry about, especially if they sense something's different about us." This was the first time he spoken of anything at length since his first time here. What struck him more was the use of the term us. "It's fine as long as discretion is practiced by everyone."

She sighed wearily. "I'm sorry for the way I acted. It just felt..."

"Surreal?" he supplied the term.

"Yeah." She was more composed, she just came to terms with what transpired.

His mind was coming up what to say next. He's at the point where saying the right words can help end this impasse and end it well for everyone. Of course the opposite can do ruin everything and everyone.

"Kagura, I like your dedication to your athletics," he finally said. "You clearly love what you do. Perhaps studying anything isn't your cup of tea but don't neglect it." He tapped his head for emphasis. "Your mind is a precious thing, learning feeds it, helps you get beyond horizons. Being able to train both your mind and body is a great asset, a virtually unstoppable combination that make waves wherever you go."

Kagura nodded, satisfactorially. There was a slight glow in her now. "I think, I'll give it a go. Looks like I got a second coach now." That tone and smile, that's the confident tomboy making a comeback.

He chuckled at that. "I know it's not my place to say it," he added, some obvious discomfort in his voice, "but if you don't want go home right away, I can make arrangments with Sakaki and Yomi for you to come here, stay if necessary."

Her eyes brightened up and she turned to him. "That's too much. I don't think I deserve any of this but still, thank you." She went into a kneeling position and gave a bow of respect and gratitude.

This suddenly caused him more discomfort. "It's too early at this moment but you're welcome."

She got up from her bow and squatted. "But Yomi and Sakaki... you think you can trust them with this - this our secret after all," she pointed out.

Of course they can, he wanted to say but Kagura was an initiate into this secret, a novice into this affair. An affair, he realized too late, he already committed to. Not just one partner but three at the same time! "You can count on them." He looked at her. "Can we count on you?"

"I will," she responded firmly. But she minded herself again. "Man, it feels strange that we all talked about this just after sex - with you."

"I think you're handling yourself better than I thought," he commended sincerely.

"And strange too," her subdued voice returned. "You're not thinking about how this all means, do you? Like next level?"

He put a reasurring hand on her shoulder. "We need not to overthink our relationship. Let's just keep things simple. Keep it secret, and perhaps keep it a distant memory when it's over."

"Like not brag about?" Her eyes looked back blankly at the wall.


"I understand. Yet, I can't help but think you're trying to take advantage of us, a small part of me anyway."

That nagging worry, he thought. Understandable about, girls growing in this phase. "Well, Kagura. I'm not gonna use you, or Sakaki, and Yomi, then throw you away in the dirt. I'm not like that and will have no intention of being so. I'm not here to have my fill or rate a score card, I want to savor all of you, however briefly, and in secret, mind, body and soul." His heart skipped a beat, he sweated in shivers, he drew breath. That was perhaps the creepiest he ever sounded like. Moreover, he just dug the final foot of sod in his grave in the matter! He was now a greater presence in these girls' lives. Dear Lord forgive me...

Kagura suddenly threw herself on him, arms grappling around him in a tight embrace. It was warm, it was sincere. It was also carnal and scaring the hell out of him! Yet, he wanted held her as well, felt reassured, welcomed.

"Thank you," she said soflty. It took a while to let go of her awkwardly and readying himself to leave. The tomboy had a warmer glow than he first met her, as did his two other.. "lovers". He's late again. If he's gonna make it work, he'll have to be more discreet. He is his own weakest link in the chain he created. He'll damn everyone, his wife and his daughter. Those and a myriad of thoughts plagued him as he went home.

Sakaki was slowly waking up, her vision hazy from having waken up. She rubbed her eyes and looked around her darkened room. She turned on the light and saw nothing. Then clicked it off to and felt something beside her, she stiffened and gasp.

Kimura was sitting beside her bed, smiling.

She opened her mouth wordlessly, not quite believing her eyes.

The scant, pale light from the window barely lit his face. The light shone on his glasses, baring a look into his eyes. It made her skin crawl, pulling her blanket forward and unconsciously closing her legs.

"Hi there," he breathed.

In terror she bolted out of bed and leaped for the door. She frantically turned a knob that refused to budge. Realizing this she started pounding the door with her fist, calling for her mother and father to her rescue. The screaming and knocking had not brought them to her, causing her to turn the knob in desperation. He strong gust of wind threw her off the door and back on her bed. She felt the tightening of cloth bands around her wrists. It was silk, smooth and soft, she noticed. then they tightened, almost squeezing her wrists, causing her pain. Wincing, she squirmed in his bounds, grunting. Her mind was spinning at the whirlwind of events that assailed her. This can't be, she thought. She looked at the foot of the bed to see Kimura standing before her. She gasped as he stooped to take a closer look.

"Don't be scared," he said softly. "I'm nothing to be afraid of."

No! She shook her head in refutation. Kimura she was afraid of. Her forced confinement to her bed she was afraid off. The next turn of events she feared the worst. Tears welled at the corner of her eyes as she cringed and whimpered, muttering what seemed like prayers.

"Please relax," he breathed slowly. "And take a deep breath." He got on bed and down on his knees.

"NO!" she cried. "Don't!" She wished to wake up.

He bent over, hands clasping the collar of her pajama shirt.

"Just lie back and enjoy."

Fear brought a scream yet it came out choke, almost as though she lost her voice, leaving bewildered, helpless. A seconds later her body went limp and tearing of clothe followed.

She woke up, relieved. Then she trembled, tears out of her eyes as the imagery burned in her head. She was safe but she felt violated. Curled up in her bed, shame, confusion, and insecurity causing her to tremble in her bed. Why did she dreamed of it!?

At the breakfast table it was all normal at the Kimura household as the family of three had breakfast together. Or it seemed so.

The breakfast topics were the usual gamut of what each of them did yesterday. Their daughter described how their arts class went.

"I made a drawing of a pink bunny with yellow flowers and green grass," spouted their daughter proudly as she dug into her breakfast.

"Oh, that's wonderful," his lovely wife chimed.

He looked at his food, seeming like what would have been a full ten seconds the whole time.

"Hey, Daddy," his daughter asked, looking up at him with her eyes laden with wonder and innocence. It gave him a jolt. "What do you think of my drawing?"

"It's actually wonderful," he replied, "you're a real artist."

"Really, Daddy?" she questioned. "You haven't seen my picture yet." She took out a paper from her picture and unfolded for her father to see. Her little masterpiece in Crayola, depicting everything she said. Yet, there was some genuine talent as they were far from crude, clumsy caricatures one would expect of elementary children but still far from the level of an artist.

"Oh, I see, my little girl." His voice rang with a cheerful chime "This is really good. Why don't you put it on the refrigerator for the entire world to see?"

"Yay, Daddy!" His daughter jumped up from sit in excitement and made for the magnetic holders at the kitchen table.

"Hana, don't jump, please!" Her mother cried out worriedly over their daughter's horseplay and stood up to follow her, fearing her horseplay will break items or hurt herself.

The hustle and bustle of his wife and daughter felt rather calming as he watched them at the table. Normalcy, just the way he liked it-


He felt a jolt at that word. Did he heard it? His eyes discreetly swept the room, trying to find the source of the sound.


He swore he heard it again, just under a whisper. A little startled, he cleaned his ears with his pinky finger, wanring to be sure his hearing was clear. Satisfied he can hear clearly, he kept them perked as he wiped his pinky on the table clothe. His wife and daughter were reduced to echoes as he waited for another one to pop, just to see if he's hearing it or just imagining things.

Honey, are you listening to me?

There it goes again, this time it's more clear. What is happening to me? The question flared in his mind.

"Daisuke? What are you doing?"

Now that was real loud. It sounded like it came to his front. It was his wife, giving him a quizzical look. "You're food is getting cold."

He went to his food and started eating. The rice and fish were lukewarm, the tsukemono, salt-pickled cabbage, was soggy from the steamy rice.

"Honey, is something bothering you?" she asked. Her concerned eyes bore deep into his. He felt like quivering at that gaze of those beautiful brown orbs.

"No, nothing's bothering me. I'm just fine."

She blinked her eyes. "You spaced out during the whole time you were here."

"Oh, I see. I'm sorry if I didn't eat your delicious food while it's nice and hot." He chuckled.

Her look remained. "You've acting a little off lately. You've came home late twice." His wife really picked up on what's going on.

"I've been at school doing some extra work like I told you."

"I know but why did you have extra work?"

"I had to check my records and everything." He hoped she wasn't curious enough to go to school and ask any of his colleagues. "Tedious chore, really. I had been neglecting them for a while." He took a mouthful of his rice, a bite of fish, and washed it down with tepid tea.

"So that's what kept you." She blinked her eyes. "You know, I was worried about the first time you came home late, seeing that you spent time there at the house of one of your female students."

His rice-laden chopsticks stopped midway from his mouth. "Honey, like I told you the other night, nothing happened between me and them."

"I know. I'm just worried since nothing like that ever happened before." She knew her husband was telling the truth, yet said otherwise, something that fueled her suspicious about her precious Daisuke and it whispered to her in spite being pushed back far from her mind.

"Look, I know you're worried about it," Kimura replied, keeping a normal expression as possible, "but nothing happened at all. Except of course falling on my head on the sidewalk." He grinned in good humor, hoping to ease down this discussion, which made him inwardly nervous. "They were quite nice for that."

She sighed. "I supposed so. Since the girls helped you with your head two days ago so they really meant well." Then her eyes widened as if she realized something. "How' is your head, by the way?"

"My head's alright," he replied, remembering the bad bump on his head. "I felt light as rain after being patched up." He suddenly felt very cold as he realized that for the first time. He never knew his head bump would heal that fast, not with the way his forehead connected with the sidewalk. That sort of thing would require some painkillers and rest, and a trip to the doctor for good measure if it warranted it.

"Are you sure? You need something for that," she voiced her concern. "Maybe something for the pain."

"I'll be sure to pick up some along the way." So they continued their breakfast in silence. Their daughter was away readying herself for school. Since she wasn't around to listen in on their talk he thanked God for that.

After cleaning himself up, getting a new suit, and unceremoniously stuffing his paperwork into his briefcase he was off ready for work. He made sure to grab some pills at his wife's urging in case his wounded forehead flared up anew in pain. "Watch yourself while walking, okay, honey?" Those sweet last words before he departed ringed his ears. He was now more careful as he made his way to school.

Chiyo was happily preparing breakfast for the day. What makes normally makes this so unusual was that a child her age would prepare breakfast for her entire family. But to Chiyo it was quite normal. As a child she displayed intelligence and curiosity early on in her life and her parents gave her every odpportunity to explore new horizons. This begin soon after her seventh birthday and she learned how to cook from her mother and from TV cooking shows after her first shrine visit during Shichi-Go-San. She remembered how that holiday is thanksgiving for the well-being of all children in Japan. She remembered from her history lessons that high rates of infant mortality in the past made being able to live past seven an achievement and for the ancient Greeks, manhood starts at seven. Those facts often sobered her as to the nature of her first shrine visit that day. She couldn't imagine what it's like if she didn't make it passed seven, what it's like for her parents. It's why she always looked forward to a new day and ever since she skipped grade school to attend high school, everyday was full of surprises with her friends.

Everything was ready, the rice was cooked, the tables were set, all the food was already served in plates, her lunch was packed, and all the cooking ware was washed. All she needed to do now was to wake up her parents.

"Finally, breakfast is ready," she said with satisfaction. Mr. Tadakichi barked as though with approval. "You wanna wake up Mommy and Daddy?" He wagged his tail in excitement, tongue lolling out. "Okay, let's go."

She marched upstairs with Mr. Tadakichi at her side. She reached her parents' room, opening the door to greet them a beautiful morning while the Great Pyrenees gave his sloppy, cheerful, good-morning kiss. Soon everything the usual rounds of talk and breakfast began and minutes later, Chiyo cleaned herself up and got ready for school, ready to face a new day.

"Good mornin', Chiyo-chan~," drawled Osaka as she rounded a corner to join the pint-sized high-schooler.

"Oh, good morning to you, Osaka," she replied. "You look fine today."

"Ah look fine as eva'. Feels good ta be awake after another we'ed dream ah had."

Oh yes. How could she forget. The Osakan confided to her that dream, that surreal dream, that horrifying dream. She had goosebumps whenever she thought of it. Ayumu's description of the was far from the usual Osakan fare, the horrific apocalyptic vision, the voice urging her to fly, and something... something about those visions brimming with meaning made obscure. Chiyo felt disturbed thinking about them.

"So, you had another dream?" she asked.

"Yea, dis time, just anotha' variation of da theme," she replied.

"Tell me, Osaka, you seem to have all these weird dreams lately."

"Ah know. I don' know wai' the're happen' to me but it did like twa days ago."

"Two days ago?"

Osaka nodded gravely. Before Chiyo could get to the bottom of it Tomo and Yomi joined them in the next intersection.

"Morning Musume, you two," Tomo chimed.

"That bad joke's overused," Yomi cut in, annoyed with Tomo using a girl band's name for a greeting.

"Oh, Tomo, Yomi," the genius greeted.

"Hi, y'all," Osaka chimed, waving to the them.

A few greetings and pleasantries exchanged. The first hot topic for the day, however, was Osaka's dreams. Osaka gave a summary for their new fellow travelers about the dreams she had.

"Man, Osaka," Tomo noted, " have you been watching horror movies?"

"Nah, I cannae teyk those kinda movies." The normally airheaded girl winced. "Can't sleep at nigh't if Ah watch Ring an' Carrie."

"You watched Ring? I didn't expect that movie to be in your bucket list. And what's Carrie?"

"It's sum American movie aboot ah' psychic girl and every'wun's bullyin' her. Dang, don' those people know that pokin' a hornest's nest upsets them hornets?"

"It's an adaptation of a novel by horror writer Stephen King," Chiyo said, remembering Carrie. "The first movie based on his first novel."

"I didn't take you for the kind watching horror movies, Chiyo-chan," Yomi noted. "You look like you could be scared half to death in the first half-hour."

"It's actually my first, Yomi. It really scared me." She shivered visibly. "Back when I was eight. It's about a psychic girl in high school and everybody bullies her. I feel bad for her."

"Did it give you nightmares?" Tomo asked.

"Yes, it did." Chiyo shivered thinking back of seeing Carrie. "Though I didn't tell Mother and Father about why I was scared."

"Man, Chiyo-chan, looks like you're scarred for life. I bet a lot flew over your head while you're scared watching."

Yomi grunted in annoyance. "Tomo, she's eight. Of course she wouldn't fully grasp the film."

Tomo looked at smallest girl of the group. "Hey Chiyo, do you remember anything from Carrie at all?"

Chiyo's world suddenly took a downward spiral images from the movie played in her mind. She can remembered any particular details, only a seamless montage of scary images that made her lose sleep a few times. To her friends she became stiff and blank as a statue.

The genius stared blankly, comically pale and small. "Great going, Tomo. Now Chiyo is having flashbacks from Carrie's scariest moments."

"Is it lyke ah 'Nam flashback?" Osaka mused. "Those guys in Viet'nam tend to stare outta intah space having der own head movies, replaying the worst parts of their tour, wonderin' whaat whent wrawng."

Yomi blinked her eyes. "Yeah, Osaka. It's sort of like that, only without the guns and explosion and the humidity."

Tomo smirked. "It'll only be a matter of time before Chiyo spouts something like 'Charlie in the treeline!'"

"Help!" Chiyo chirped in fear. "The hose is flying!" She scampered behind Osaka covering the top of her head with her hands.

Yomi came over to the small girl. "Chiyo, don't worry, it's just an old movie. It's in the past."

"But it was so scary!" She quivered like jelly in a hot summer. "She lit everyone on fire. GYAAH!"

They had yet to catch up with their friends. Sakaki and Kagura had met up together but throughout their walk it was silent. Neither girl talked. Normally, Sakaki would not have minded Kagura talking, in fact actually welcomed it even if the conversation was one-sided, concerning topics she remotely had interest in like sports, bikes, and the like. The silence between the two was eerie, a little tense. Kagura had not said anything up to this point. It felt like she was holding back something, something she refused to share. The taller girl felt some strong feeling from the tomboy, her silence radiating something that was keeping her from talking.

Sakaki felt like an unwelcome hanger-on. She felt that the tomboy loathed her. She did not turned her head to her the whole time. Her head was set forward, no attempt of eye contact was made. This worried her. Why was Kagura silent all of a sudden, refusing to talk to her?

"Hey, uh, Sakaki..." she finally spoke. They both stopped The tomboy turned and regarded her. She had a tentative look on her face, like she was torn whether to say deep things she has to say or not, fearing she might poke a raw nerve whichever fork she would take on the road.

"Yes." Her response came out softly, wondering why. She was rather relieved that Kagura finally talked.

"Well, it's about yesterday, you see..." She thought up about what she should say next. "Yomi... she told me about you and Kimura."

At that point Sakaki paled, her eyes dilated, her skin went cold and damp. Kimura tried to corner her in the classroom yesterday. And he appeared again, this time in her dreams. Only this time, he succeeded! That repulsive man was on top of her and she was thankful her nightmare ended there.

"Are you alright...?"

Kagura looked at how the life drained out of her taller rival. She just hit stepped on a mine on this one. Her friend looked unsure what to do.

"I am... No." She shook her head. "I just don't know..."

"She said he had you trapped in the classroom during PE," the tomboy continued. "And Yomi came just in time to put a stop to whatever he was trying to do with you."

She nodded reluctantly, acknowledging Mizuhara's rescue. "Yes, she did." Now the fear of that afternoon returned to her, mixed with the nightmare, creating a disturbing feeling that crawled in her skin. Her nightmare was the logical outcome, the worst thing that would have happened to her had Yomi come too late. She gripped her bag as cold hands rubbed all over her body. Cold, damp hands. His. "She did save me."

"It must be scary being cornered by that guy." She nodded again, acknowledging once again that feeling of being trapped with no way out. She looked at Kagura, who seem to be studying her, concerned over the matter. Why was she asking about being trapped with that pervert? Can't she just let her be! She doesn't want to talk about it, that near-rape and that dream-rape.

"H-he said I-I did things with him the other night," she replied rapidly, hesitantly. "H-he said it was in-incredible and he wanted to do it again with me then tonight too, that I know. I-I don't even know what he meant!" The snap in her voice was shrill, angry, fearful. She was breathing. She felt hot with shame.

"Hey, hey," she said, gesturing to placate her. "I'm didn't mean to pry-"

"Why are you even asking me, Kagura?" she snapped angrily. It echoed in the morning air and a silence hung over between. Neither girl moved where they were. The look she got from the tomboy was surprise, complete surprise at her outburst.

Sakaki put her hand on her mouth and gasped. She didn't mean to snap at Kagura. Her questions where just too much. Why did she care about what happened two days ago?

"A-ah - I'm sorry." She started to walk away rapidly, leaving the tomboy in the quite alley.

What the hell! It was the sentiment in Kagura's mind at the moment. Sakaki just shouted at her and left her in the dust. All she wanted was...

To help her. The realization hit her in the head. How could I be so stupid? She handled the situation in the worst manner possible at the time. She couldn't think straight the whole time. Ever since she left her house... no, the moment she woke up, that incident at the locker room burned in her mind. It was hard to put away such disgusting imagery from her head. She hadn't resolved that problem when she met Sakaki at the usual street corner. The familiar meeting had became sudden and alien, unreal. Since the locker room, she never saw Sakaki the same way she did back at the start of high school. Kagura had no way of breaking the silence. What was she going to ask? Hey, Sakaki, I saw you have sex with that creeper, Mr. Kimura? Are you off your rocker or something? Yeah, like that was a good conversation starter.

She was silent. Not the usual kind of silence but a silence like a forgotten graveyard. The raging white rapids of her thoughts and her apprehension of Sakaki kept her from starting a chat. The tall girl loomed behind her during their walk, putting the shorter one ill at ease with her companion. She knew Sakaki was oblivious, believing no witnesses where around that time. Yet, a small part of her felt like Sakaki knew what was on her mind and would be ready to pounce her at the wrong moment. It was such an irrational thought, she realized.

The pressure of her thoughts, like that of kettle, could not be bottled up. She had to say something. She was her friend after all. Friends look after one another, they owe each other, thus Sakaki owed her an explanation over the inconsistent happenings and hearings she had with Kimura. She decided to hear it from her at once, handling the questions as best as she could along the way.

She didn't expect Sakaki to make such an outburst, like she was guilty or regretful, like it pained her that much. She noted the way Sakaki turned pale and damp. Clearly what she said was an understatement. She just wanted to hear from her. Not asking her about the locker room incident, that was jumping the shark right there. She only wanted to know how she reacted to Kimura's unwelcome and positively unwholesome advances on her at the classroom. The whole time she did not broach the topic of the locker room. She only reacted to her to what Yomi confided to her, about that afternoon at the classroom.

Starting to walk after her she then thought of the things she mentioned. Sakaki said Kimura about doing something last night being incredible and wanting to do it again. Yomi said that when she encountered them, she said Kimura invited her to join in. Sick! And Sakaki blurted she didn't even know what he meant.

Kagura, considered to be one of the Bonkuras, along with Tomo and Osaka, realized that her questions weren't entirely fruitless, she took stock of a difficult situation she made and thought it apart, and brought it back together again, finding some nuggets of relevant insight. That was something to giver herself a pat on the back over. But that was something for a later time. Right now she had to catch up with a friend, not just in speed but in thought.

Last she looked Sakaki's eyes looked like they watered. She hoped it wasn't too late to make up to her.

A/N: The title refers to the Droit du seigneur (French: the lord's right), where a lord can bed women of lower station, mostly on their wedding nights, and if you read, you see its outcome here. About the part of manhood starting at seven, this pertains to the Spartan practice of agoge, when boys at the age of seven are taken from their families to begin an extensive military training regimen for ten years, culminating at the Krypteia, a rite that's a matter of debate among historians but believed by many to involve the killing of helots, the slaves of Spartan society. Also, in Shichi-Go-San, which is celebrated annually in November 15, seven considered a lucky number, in line with East Asian numerology stating odd numbers are lucky. Carrie, is the first Stephen King work to be given a cinematic adaptation, which in turn was based on his debut novel. I thought Osaka would watch something like that.