Okee, so fourth chapter! Sorry if they get OOC here! I wanted to sort of spice things up in this one :DD


I slide into my bed and try to go to sleep. I thought about the marks on my body, how sacrificed it had gotten from this stupid mission. And this was only my first one.

Wait.

I think now I realize what Persona meant by 'paying with my body'… It was sacrificed by marks. I paid him with the work and cuts I received. So pain is like money to him.

Sick person. Using children to do dirty work. I'm seeing the real light of this school. It wasn't just a school that forced me to come here. The school also makes children injure themselves and risk their lives.

I wake up earlier today so I can do something about the scars. It's near the end of spring so I don't want to wear my long-sleeved uniform, and I'd probably sweat to death. If I put too many Band-Aids on, it'll be just as noticeable. Make-up? Why on Earth would I have make-up. I guess I have no choice but to school this way. I'll try my best to hide the scars. There isn't really much of another choice.

I slide into my uniform and head out. I don't see any girls out yet, probably because it's still kind of early and they're getting ready. Probably extra pretty for the crimson boy, especially that permy girl. I can't believe that annoying kid actually has a fan club. He's just annoying. And cheerful.

I reach the classroom and peek to see if anyone was inside. I saw only two people that I didn't know their names- A straight faced kid with black hair and round glasses, and a girl with wavy beige hair. I sat in the back with my usual position and stare at the ceiling. I cross my arms horizontally so that I try to cover at least the scars on my arm. Wait. I forgot about my legs. If I'm like this they'll definitely see them. I quickly swing off the table and cross my arms on it so I can rest my head to cover the marks. Although I don't sit like this a lot so people will probably think something's wrong.

As I stare at the board in front of me, I hear distant laughing. And it gets louder and louder. I shift my gaze to the door and see four people walk in. First is of course, crimson boy. Second is bunny boy who is laughing next to him, third is ice girl and fourth is the four-eyed coward. I quickly turn back to the board so the crimson can't see me looking at me. A few seconds later, I see Permy walk in waving her hand and laughing awkwardly with about five other girls behind her.

"Oh, Natsume, you're so funny!" she laughed awkwardly, obviously trying to get him to notice her. A smile crept up on my face because it was funny how he completely ignored her. He walked down the aisle towards here while still talking to bunny boy. He turns around and faces me.

"…Mikan…" he said with a joking distaste in his voice. I just make a quick glance at him. It feels so strange to be in this position. But it's how I'll manage without everyone making an enormous scene of it. Crimson-boy slides into his seat and lays back. I feel him look over at me.

"Hey… is something wrong?" he asks leaning forward, but I don't respond. Maybe he'll leave me alone. "Did something happen with you and Persona?" he asked with his voice rising. I shoot him a glare to shut up and look back at the board. "Well I wanted to ask if you wanted to come with me, Ruka, Hotaru and Iinchou to Central Town tomorrow." He sighed. Central Town?

"…What's that?" I mutter into my arm.

"Oh, so you might come?" excitement rising in his voice. "Well, it's basically a place for the students at Alice Academy to shop at. You use the Rabbits you're your allowances to pay. Do you have any?"

Rabbits? That's what they call the currency here? Such a stupid name. Though I think I got some when I came here. Ten, I think.

"…Ten." I mutter.

"Oh, then you'll be able to buy something! Like maybe…-"

"Howalon." I heard a voice interrupt. I look over and see bunny boy smiling at me. I nod slightly. Maybe because I didn't care or I needed to concentrate on hiding my marks.

"Hey, but really, are you ok?" he repeats.

"Yes I'm fine, now leave me alone."

He sighs and leans back. "Geez I'm just asking."

I don't say anything and wait tediously wait for Narumi to come in. He finally waltzes into class wearing some weird purple leopard print shirt and a matching boa scarf. What in the world goes on in his head? He twirls around the room and blows kisses. Oh… please just stop… I shut my eyes to ignore the horror before my eyes.

"Sakura, what's wrong?" he asked annoyingly. No. Don't talk to me. I hate you and all the other teachers here. "Well, I guess she's just being herself." I dart my eyes open and see him making a teasing wink at me. I can't take it anymore so I storm out of class from the back exit. I have no idea where I'm walking but I just go anywhere. I think I'm heading towards the girls dorm.

"Sakura!" I hear his annoying voice call but I just roll my eyes and keep walking. He catches up to me and grips my arm. I whip it away.

"Don't touch me!" I scream. That was probably too loud. I saw some people start to peek out the door past Narumi. I grunt and turn back around.

"Sakura!" I don't stop. "What happened to your arms? And face…" his voice fades.

I stop but don't turn around. "As if you don't know what this school makes us do!" I turn around and look him straight in the eye. "You're part of them so I'd think you would know." My voice deepened. I glare at him for a few more seconds but I can't take him anymore so I storm back around. I don't hear anything more from him. Good.

"…Except I do know." He finally speaks up but I don't stop at all. I kept tapping down the stone hall. I don't care what teachers or anyone in this school thinks of me. Because I don't care about them. And also for putting me in this hell.

::~ Natsume P.O.V. ~::

I leaned my head against the wall next to the door so that I could try to hear something. Mikan screamed at Narumi and said something about him not knowing. Then he said that he did know, and walked back into class. I rushed out of class to catch up to her.

"Mikan!" I'm trying to catch up to her but she already made it towards the end of the hall. I'm running faster and then I see her turn left angrily with her hair flying back. I was glad that at least she wasn't telling me to go away. I reach my hand out, yeah, as if that would help. I'm starting to breathe very heavily but I'm still running. I turn left and see her standing vertically to the wall, nearly touching it. Her fists are clenched very tightly and she's shaking. I approached her slowly in the silent hallway. Her bangs are covering her face while her mouth is quivering. She actually looks like she might break down and cry right there.

I take a very slow step forward and the tap of my boot echoes. I approach her even closer this time and now I'm about two feet in front of her.

"Mikan…?" I ask lowering my head a bit. She just stands there then takes a small step forward with her mouth still quivering. As a reflex, I take a half step back with my left foot, thinking she might punch me or something. She takes a larger step and throws her arms around my neck. Eh? What? I'm standing teetering on my legs and my arms are thrown at the sides in confusion. I can feel… Her heart beating… It was very fast but it's actually… slowing down… Mikan…? Her arms feel strong and warm. Shaking. I can't hear her cry, but I feel her neck straining to hold back tears. Her hands around my neck…? What do I feel right now? I think I'm actually happy she's opened up a bit to me. Let herself trust me. Even if it's just a bit. She takes a sharp breath and thrusts my shoulders back then rushes to the girls' dorms. I watch her walk away angrily and wipe a tear from her right eye with a fist. I stand there completely awestruck of what she just did. What should I think of that? I still feel her heart pounding. Her arms around my neck. Her chin… on my shoulder…

I finally snap out of it and turn back around. I rush back hoping that no one saw that little… scene. As I walk down the hallway, Iinchou is running towards me frantically.

"Natsume-kun! Is everything alright with Sakura?" he asked worriedly. I nod and try to move past him. He turns on his heel and follows me. "What's wrong? You're face is red." I freeze. Is it really red? I slowly turn around, trying to calm down.

"It's because I was running really fast." I say calmly.

"Oh yeah, that's right!" he walks next to me and smiles. "Sorry, I forgot!"

"It's fine."

::~ Saturday~:: ::~ Natsume P.O.V. ~::

I gathered my Rabbits and shoved them into my pocket. I wonder if Mikan's coming. Although I probably won't be able to face her after yesterday. I probably shouldn't think too much about it, since right now I'm probably the closest thing she has to a friend. Not including that little evil spirit boy.

I exit my room and walk towards Ruka's. I'm still probably blushing so I try to relax and fan off. I stop in front of Ruka's room, take a deep breath and knock.

"Ruka! It's me! We're gonna start going now." I turn my ear towards the door.

"Ok! I'm coming." He shouts back.

I step away from the door so he can come out. I lean against the wall and wait. I finally hear the door open and push myself off the wall. To my amazement, I see Imai come out first and Ruka follows her.

"Umm…?" I question completely unaware that Imai would come out of his room.

"Don't freak out. I just needed to talk to him." she said with her usual emotionless expression and stoic voice.

"Uh…ok." I manage to say. Ruka turns and shuts the door. He faces me.

"Did you bring your Rabbits?" he asked trying to change the subject, obviously nervous.

"Yeah. And Iinchou said he couldn't come. He said something important came up." I shrug.

"Is Mikan coming?" Imai asks and we all turn to her. Oh no, why did she need to ask. I felt my face immediately turn red. She stares at me waiting for an answer but it really feels like she's staring in my soul to figure out why I'm red.

"Uh, I don't know. She might," I quickly turn around and start walking so they don't notice my face. "C'mon let's go."

I hear them jog to me. Ruka is to my left and Imai is next to him. Good because it's like she detect anything.

"Hey…" said Ruka. I look over to him and his head is bowed down a bit. "Did you guys notice the marks on her? They were everywhere. It's like someone tried to beat her." His voice softened.

I just sigh and keep walking.

We finally come outside to see the bus idling. We step up towards the stairs and search for some seats through the aisle. Ruka and I slide into the seats and Imai sits in front of us. We watch as more and more people fill up the seats laughing loudly with their friends. I'm glad they're having fun. I try peering over the seats if Mikan comes. So far in the crowd of people I don't see her. After a while I see a little boy. Floating? Wait no… Mikan's holding him! Oh no. Blush. Stop blushing. She should, because she's the one that hugged me. Yes. I have nothing to worry about. I watch her head turn to check each seat with Youichi (I learned his name from someone) acting innocent as ever. What if she sat next to Hotaru? Probably not. She's coming closer and closer. Oh no, why couldn't I get the window seat. She finds a seat diagonally from me and slides into it with Youichi. Wait, did Mikan see me? Maybe she did and tried to avoid eye contact with me.

Ugh, stop thinking about her! She's just a girl that's violent and mean and can't socialize well and… has a soft side. I see Youichi's back and hair peer out of the seat. I can hear them pretty well, but then again they are only about two feet away from me.

The bus finally moves and we sway a bit. After a while of just sitting, Youichi clutches Mikan's right arm hard and I see him stare at it.

"Onee-chan, what happened to youw arm?" he asked frantically.

I don't hear her respond but she takes her arm away calmly.

"No! It is something! Wook at youw knees! And youw face! Its allw red! What happened?" he yelled.

Most people on the bus got quiet including me and Ruka. Youichi seemed very serious, even though he's a three year old. Now that I think about it, when Mikan was trembling, I saw her knee red but I didn't think about it too much. Is that why she was sitting like that in class? To cover the cuts on her arms? I tried to listen for anything she might say and watch for sudden changes in Youichi's behavior if it reveals anything that Mikan might say. Youichi is staring intently at Mikan then turns around with his arms crossed and making a 'hmph'. She either told him to not make a scene and he got mad and embarrassed, or she said that he shouldn't worry and it's fine, so he got mad because it really is a big deal.

We sway forward a bit as the bus stopped. People started crowding the walkway as they stood up which made it really hard to get off. I waited with Ruka until everyone got off. We stood up and apparently only one person was left. It had to be Mikan, of course. I rushed off the bus leaving Ruka, Imai and Mikan on the bus. I'm surrounded by many people and don't know where to go. I find a bench across the sea of people and try to make my way through. I make it and plop down. Hm, where are they? Wait… what if they ask her to talk with us? No, no, no, no I cannot face her. But at the same time what happened to her arms? And… everything else.

I see Imai and Ruka coming, but I see Youichi behind them. Oh no. Ruka pushes through the group with Imai shooting her baka gun at strangers. They make it in front of me, and Ruka gestures behind him.

"I asked Mikan to come with us-."

"You forced me."

"And she agreed." He replied with a nervous smile. I watch as Imai fixes up her baka gun and reloads it. "I mainly wanted to ask her because me and Imai needed to talk about something important so we didn't want you to be alone!" he said nervously, but Imai still looks as emotionless as always. What? Alone with Mikan?

"Let's go Imai." He grabs her hand and rushes into the crowd. I watch as she was just about ready to shoot him.

I turn back to Mikan and she's staring into blank space in front of me. I sigh and stand up.

"Ok! So where do you wanna go?" I ask with a smile. We start walking slowly towards random stores.

"I don't know. Why are you asking me? This is my first time here." She said looking bored as ever. Does she not care at all for what she did yesterday?

"Hmm…" why does she have to be so difficult? "Oh! I got it. Let's try some Howalon!"

She shrugs, but I guess it's better than insulting me.

"Ok, let's go!" I beam and instinctively grab her hand. I push through the crowd and try to find the store. Wait. I'm still holding her hand. Why didn't she pull away? Why did I grab it in the first place? I look behind me only to see that her head is down with her bangs covering her face, and Youichi is of course scowling at me.

I turn back around and see the long line to the Howalon shop. I stop in front of it then slowly walk to the back of the line. When we stop, she jerks her hand away from mine. I'm not really surprised though. There's a really weird and awkward silence as we wait so I try to break it.

I turn to face her. "Is there anything you want to buy? There's many strange things here that you won't be able to buy anywhere else." I ask smiling.

She doesn't look up. "That's why I don't want anything from here. I don't want anything that comes from the school."

Woah… she really hates this school. I sigh and turn back around where the line is still pretty long.

"Thank you!" I smile at the employee and slide my box off the table to face Mikan. Except she wasn't there. I darted my head left and right to see where she is in the crowd of people, but I didn't see her small figure.

"If you're looking for the girl, she went that way." I turned to see a lady with short but wavy brown hair and a bit on the chubby side point behind her towards where the sakura trees are.

"Thank you!" I nod to her then run in the direction her hand was pointing. I slow down and walk towards the sakura trees hoping to see her laid back on one or maybe even on it. I slow down when I reach the grassy area and start looking for her. I walk deeper into it and see outstretched crossed legs behind a tree. I smile and walk towards her.

"Surprise!" I pop out behind her and place the box next to her. Her arms are resting her head against the tree with her eyes closed. She didn't budge when I popped out. I sit on the opposite side of the tree and stare at the sky bordered with pink petals.

"Hey…" I hesitate whether I should ask her this or not. "Can you tell me where you got the marks on your body."

"…Why were you looking at me? Besides, it's nothing you should concern yourself with."

I walk over to her and yank her arm. She opens her eyes and glares at me. "No, I should be concerned! This is not ok! What are they making you do?" she yanked her arm out.

"Leave me alone."

"No I can't because you're my partner!"

"That has nothing to do with my personal problems."

"So you admit you do have problems!"

She grunts and doesn't say anything after. I plop back on the opposite side of the tree and sigh. "You shouldn't get hurt like that."

After a while of silence, I hear the hollow sound of the box opening. Is she going to try them? Well she better after I just bought them. I crawl on my hands and move towards her, right next to her face while she holds one in her hand.

"…Get away from me. Or else I won't eat it."

"But I wanna see your reaction when you take a bite," I push myself up from the ground and now I'm standing on my knees. "C'mon, eat it!"

"Leave me alone."

"No, I wanna see your reaction up close!" I yelled. She stared at me in distaste while I just smiled.

Then I felt something hit the back of my head. Something soft, but firm hit my head and I lost my balance, falling forward towards Mikan. I tried to grab her for balance, but she only fell down with me. I close my eyes to brace the impact. Except when I open them, the only things I see are two chocolate orbs.

And something soft on my lips.


WWOOOOAAAAHHHHHH CLIFFIE! TEEHHEHE

Btw, i'm fine for suggestions :D cuz I'm not exactly sure how to continue this (as in what sort of climax)