Someone to Protect

Kaara Hatake and Yarai Kouichi are two of a kind. Two lone wolves; misjudged by their fellow classmates. After the plane crashes on their way home from Guam, Kaara finds comfort in an unlikely source. I ONLY OWN KAARA HATAKE! DO NOT STEAL! WARNING: I will be using Japanese honorifics! Using phrases like "-chan", "-kun", and "-sensei"
((To rid you all of any confusion, Kaara-chan DOES start out with LONG HAIR! What happens to it? Read to find out!))

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1. The Girl with the Beautiful Hair

"Hatake-chan," Yarai Kouichi opened his eyes to gaze at his teacher, Motoko Kurusu, crossing her arms at the long haired brunette in the seat before her, "I have asked you nicely to change into your school uniform. And yet you still choose to defy me. Why?"

Kaara Hatake, a thin girl of nineteen, glared up at her teacher with a pair of dull gray green eyes. She gave her long chestnut hair a flip over her shoulder. If Yarai remembered correctly, she was very proud of her hair. It went down to her knees and was well cared for. He had heard rumors from the guys around school that it was very soft. Yarai wasn't sure to believe it or not, seeing as how Kaara never let anyone touch her, much less her gorgeous hair.

"Forgive me, Kurusu-sensei," Kaara answered in a curt tone, "I'm not ready to return to that skirt. The boys have been flipping them up to look at our underwear. Especially that horrid Saji-kun. No, I think I'll stick with my shorts and tank top."

Kurusu raised her hands up in defeat and stormed off to the teacher's section of the plane. Giving a smirk of triumph, Kaara returned to her book. Yarai gave the world's smallest smirk and closed his eyes once more. Kaara was like him, she was alone because everyone judged her based on her looks. She was a good fighter, and every automatically thought she was a delinquent. Even the guys around school avoided her, so she never had a boyfriend in her life. She was a lone wolf...and he admired that about her.

"Hey, Hatake-san," Yarai's eyes opened again to see three of his classmates gathered around her, "Can we ask you a favor?"

Yarai recognized the group who had become known as the Three Musketeers at school; Akira Sengoku, Kouhei Arita, and Makoto Morita (but his friends called him Eiken). It was Kouhei who had spoken. Kaara just glared at the trio, especially Kouhei. As the school's male idol, he was used to every girl wanting him. However, Kaara was different. She wanted nothing to do with him!

"What do you want, Arita-kun," she snarled, crossing her arms, "I'm busy."

"I can see that," the tallest Musketeer smiled, his gaze catching the way her arms perked up her breasts, "Like I said, I'd like a favor."

"Well, do I have to guess what it is or can I beat it out of you?"

 "Your hair," Yarai noticed a mischievous glint in his classmate's eyes, "can I touch it?"

"Why would I let you do that?"

"Everyone says it's softer than silk. I'd like to see if that's true."

Kaara stood up, easily reaching Akira in height, "And what do I get out of this?"

"I'll let you kiss me."

Kaara's sarcastic laughter rang out through the cabin of the plane, causing many to turn and fall silent as they watched the scene unfold before them. Even Yarai began to lean forward expectantly.

"I wouldn't dare to kiss your dirty lips," she sneered, her eyes blazing with a certain feral light, "who knows where the hell they've been!"

A few girls gasped, watching and waiting for Kouhei's reaction.

"That was rude," he smirked, "are you afraid that someone might finally find out the truth? That your hair is actually very terrible and feels like sandpaper?"

Yarai felt the tension begin to grow. Everyone knew that to challenge the hair of Kaara Hatake meant certain death. He saw her eyes narrow and her fingers curl into a shaking fist. He knew she was going to hit the idol in the next two seconds. Suddenly, a hand reached out and gently grabbed the long, chestnut strands. A gasp went around the plane as they followed the arms to the owner. Yarai's eyes remained bored as his fingers slid through the strands. It was true; they WERE softer than silk. Kaara froze, her eyes wide in shock.

"You just signed a death warrant," Akira shook and stepped back, pulling on Kouhei's arm, "C'mon Kou-chan! Let's get out of here."

Eiken nodded his head in agreement, holding onto his prized video camera.

"Hold on a second," Kouhei gently removed his friend's hand, "I want to see what happens."

Yarai continued to stroke her hair before turning to Kouhei with a glare, "You're wrong about her hair."

The taller boy's eyebrows raised, "Excuse me?"

"I said you're wrong," he repeated, "about her hair. It is very soft. Almost feels like there is nothing there."

"Hey, Hatake-san," Kouhei smirked, "that guy is just touching your oh so precious hair! Aren't you going to stop him?"

Kaara recovered from her shock and turned to face her taller classmate, "You've got guts, bastard. I'll give you that. But guts just isn't going to cut it anymore! Now you need-"

Suddenly, that plane gave a terrible lurch, sending Kaara crashing into Kouhei's chest. He instinctively wrapped his arms protectively around her. His skin crawled as he felt her hair flow about him.

Holy shit, he thought, Yarai-kun was right! It IS softer than silk!

Screams echoed around the plane as they felt the large craft begin to dive. Kaara, terrified, clung tightly onto Kouhei's jacket. She gave a bloodcurdling scream and passed out.

...................................................................................................................................................

Bright sunshine blinded her momentarily when she opened her eyes next. Closing them quickly, she waited for them to adjust to the brightness before slowly opening them again.

"Hatake-san," she heard a whisper close to her ear, "are you okay?"

She then recalled everything at once; the plane was falling out of the sky. She had landed in Kouhei's arms. Nothing after.

She froze and looked up, but was met with Yarai's gaze instead. She looked confused as she slowly sat up. She was positive that she was caught by Kouhei. Ah well, she was glad it was Yarai who greeted her when she woke up. He was very much like her.

"Yarai-kun," she groaned, looking around the empty cabin, "where are we?"

"Nobody knows," Yarai shrugged, helping her to her feet, "the pilot was able to pull off an emergency landing. But half the passengers are missing. Sengoku-kun is one of them, along with Mariya-kun and the flight attendant."

Kaara's eyes widened, "Mariya-sama is gone?!"

Yarai raised a single eyebrow, "You call him sama?"

"Of course," she said, brushing the dirt off her jean shorts and pale blue tank top, "he's a much better person than you would think. That, and he hates it when I  him Mariya-kun."

Yarai watched her in fascination. Ever since she had awoken, she was not worried about her own safety; rather she was worried about Mariya. He didn't even know the two were friends. Shirou Mariya was the smartest kid in school, and possibly the shortest. Standing beside Kaara, he would have only reached her shoulders. Yarai faintly remembered a short kid with black hair and large glasses known for carrying a laptop wherever he went.

Suddenly, Kaara headed for the emergency exit, "Where are you going?"

"To look for Mariya-sama," she answered curtly, "if he's alive, I am going to find him."

And with that, she was gone. Yarai made a move to follow, but felt a firm hand on his shoulder. He turned to see Kouhei smirking at him.

"Don't bother, Yarai-kun," he said, giving a small chuckle, "word around school is that Mariya-kun and Hatake-san are good friends. He tutors her and in return, she keeps him safe. Before those two met, Mariya-kun was picked on all the time. People made fun of him because of how short he was and how smart he was. Over the years, the teases became physical. That's why Mariya-kun became so anti-social."

Yarai narrowed his eyes, "And I suppose you were one of the ones who gave him a hard time?"

"Sure, I poked fun at him, but I never laid a hand on him like some other guys. Suzuki-kun was the worst though. He stole Mariya-kun's money and made him feel so worthless. Then the day that Hatake-san enrolled at our school, she stood up for Mariya-kun. Kicked the shit out of Suzuki-kun in the process. Sent him to the hospital with a few broken ribs."

Yarai nodded, "I remember that."

Kouhei chuckled, "The two of them are inseparable! Didn't you see him sitting next to her on the plane?"

Yarai tried hard to remember. He wasn't exactly paying attention, so he wasn't sure. But he didn't doubt it, if the stories were true.

"It's only natural for her to be so worried about him," Kouhei said, leading Yarai outside to join the other survivors, "Mariya-kun is such a small kid, after all. And besides," the teenager gave a wary look of the neighboring jungle, "who the hell knows what's out there."

Yarai followed his gaze, instantly thinking of the long haired brunette. He hoped she was okay.

..................................................................................................................................................

"Mariya-sama," she called out once more, shoving a large branch out of her way, "Mariya-sama, can you hear me?!"

Only her echo responded. She slowed down to a steady walk, keeping her eyes peeled the familiar black hair and glasses. 

"Mariya-sama! Mariya-sama!"

Suddenly, some leaves rustled nearby making her jump in surprise. She reached into the boots she bought in Guam (specially made boots which each held a knife sheath, as well as the knife itself) and pulled out her black hilted knives. 

"Mariya-sama? Is that you?"

The bushes rustled again, causing her to back off. Shirou Mariya wasn't the trickster type. He didn't hide to play jokes on people. In fact, Kaara was unsure if he even had a sense of humor. One thing she was sure of; whatever was hiding in those bushes was NOT Mariya.

Suddenly, a giant shadow erupted from the leaves and gave a loud squawk. The bird was 1.75 meters tall with blue feathers and pale yellow wings and back. It had a curved beak and strong looking legs. Kaara ducked beneath a set of razor sharp talons, slicing open one of its toes. The bird squealed in pain before making a wide turn to charge her again.

Can't make sharp turns, she observed, strong legs and talons; watch out for those. Flimsy wings, meaning it probably can't fly. Terribly fast, so running away is out of the question.

The bird opened its beak in an attempt to snatch her up. She ducked beneath the bird and attempted to roll away. She screamed in pain as she felt herself yanked backwards by her hair. Looking up, she nearly screamed again. The bird had caught her by the hair and held her up high so she dangled close to its chest. She attempted to stab it, but the feathers were far too thick. Almost like a lion's mane, it shielded the creature from her blows.

Suddenly, a large talon dragged itself across her left arm, leaving jagged marks. She cried in pain, slashing at the unprotected legs with her knives. The bird was trying to grab her in its talons so it could tear her apart! She beat against its beak, trying to force its mouth open. When that refused to work, she tried to stab it in the throat. However, like the chest, it was protected by thick feathers.

The bird tried to make another grab for her, only to growl as her knife slid across the skin.

"Kaara-chan," she gasped when she heard a worried voice and turned to see a boy standing there with fear clearly etched on his face, "Kaara-chan! Hang on!"

She instantly recognized the thick white glasses and black hair, "No, Mariya-sama! Stay back!"

"That's a Diatryma," he shouted, "one of the greatest hunters after the age of the dinosaurs!"

"So this thing," Kaara's eyes widened when she saw Akira come into view, "is supposed to be extinct?!"

"But why is it here," this time, a tall woman in a flight attendant outfit joined the two boys, "What's going on?"

"I don't know," Akira snarled, "but I have to help Hatake-san!"

"I said stay back, you idiot," she screamed, "Sengoku-kun, you're the only one left who can protect Mariya-sama! I need you to do that for me! Promise me you won't let anything happen to him!"

"You are going to help me with that," Akira shouted, picking up a stick, "Mariya-kun and I need you, Hatake-san!"

"You fool," she kicked at him as he came closer, "my knives couldn't even penetrate it! What chance does your stick have?"

"You had knives on the plane?," the attendant asked dumbly.

"That's Kaara-chan for you," Mariya gave a smirk, "she's not one to follow the rules."

Kaara gasped as the Diatryma gave her a violent shake. One of her knives flew from her hand while the other she kept close to her chest (careful not to stab herself).

"Kaara-chan," she opened her eyes to look at Mariya, "your hair! CUT IT OFF!"

She gazed at him in surprise. Cut off her hair?! The most precious thing she owned? How could he ask her to do something like that?

"It's just hair," he screamed at her, "It will grow back!"

Her shock turning into a glare, she lifted the knife and sliced through the chestnut strands like butter. Falling to the ground, she leaped forward to roll away as the prehistoric bird coughed out the long strands. As she stood up, Mariya took in her new appearance.

Her hair now stopped at her shoulders in uneven chunks, many falling into her left eye. Her arms was bleeding badly, but she didn't seem to notice. Reaching down to pick up the knife she had dropped, she charged the animal once more.

"Hatake-san," Akira screamed, dumbstruck, "what are you doing?!"

The bird saw her coming and lashed out with its beak. At the last second, she threw her legs beneath her and slid under the body of the bird. Using the knives, she stabbed the area where the legs bent backwards. The bird squalled in pain and rage before falling down. Kaara, acting quickly, leaped onto the birds back and held its head still between her knees. Akira, Mariya, and the attendant watched in horror as the blades of the knives were forced into the bird's eyes. It gave one last squawk before falling dead to the ground. Kaara wiped the blood onto her tank and slid the weapons back into her boots. Her hands, still covered in the sticky liquid, kept clenching and unclenching.

"Wow, Hatake-san," Akira finally burst into a smile, "that was incredible! How did you know where to attack?"

She shrugged, "Small eyes and unprotected legs. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out."

Kaara then met Mariya's gaze. The smaller boy glared at her before setting his laptop down and rushing her. She honestly expected him to hit her and call her an idiot for doing something so reckless. Instead, however, he wrapped his arms around her torso and closed his eyes. She looked down at him in shock.

"Mariya-sama?"

"Kaara-chan," she was surprised to hear the sobs escaped his lips, "don't you ever scare me like that again! Don't you ever try to leave me again! You hear me?"

She finally smiled and draped her blood soaked arms around his shoulders, "Yeah...I hear you."

                                                          Shirou Mariya

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