“Do you like it?” Mother asked, removing her hands from my eyes.
I was in my room for the first time since I returned home, and everything was as I left it. My bed had the same pale blue sheets and ice white throw over the top of it, and a thin net veil draped above the head of the bed. My squishy plushes were still rested at the head of the bead along with my fluffy, dozen or so, pillows. The walls of my room were blue was well and the furniture were all white wood with my clutter covering them.
Mother had escorted me to my room with my eyes covered, saying that there was a surprise inside. A new outfit for my graduation.
I nodded enthusiastically as I looked at the outfit lying on my bed.
My outfit consisted of a black cropped vest top with long net sleeves, along with black shorts with white lace along the bottom of the legs. My black sandals had ribbons attached to them, which criss crossed up my legs up to my knees. Finally there was a black choker with a white stone rose at the front, covering the clasp.
"It's amazing..." I gawked, my eyes widening and twinkling, as I stepped forward to touch the top. I picked it up and held to my body to check the size, "It's very different." I added.
"Well...it's been four years. You're a new person. New person, new start." Mother explained shrugging her shoulders, "And now that you have blue hair and blue eyes, I wanted to give you an outfit that could allow those gorgeous features to stand out, and no colour lets anything stand out more than black."
I nodded slowly, my eyebrows raised, "Thank you." I whispered, but I wasn't smiling, I can't believe it has been four years...am I really a new person? I still feel the same. The same old Akemi that I have known all my life.
You are different though...you have me...and you have grown up into a young lady, my dear sweet Akemi. Okami finally spoke for the first time since I left the cursed room, But you are still the same Akemi inside, you are still kind, determined and strong willed. That about you will never change.
That allowed me to smile at last. Trust Okami to make me smile again. She is my rock when Mother is not around
It felt strange entering the academy again. The corridor looked the same as always, there were still all the little wannabe ninjas running around the place, but the smell was different. Just like home. The door to my classroom had a fresh new blue coat and was varnished so it shone in the lights. I took in a deep breath, placed my hands on the door and gently pushed it open. I was ready to face whatever came at me...including two certain people. Tsuyoshi and Mai were already in the classroom sitting together and being as vain as ever, but when they saw me enter the room, their attention immediately turned to me.
“Well, well. The demon's back.” Tsuyoshi grinned, resting his chin in his hands.
“Take cover, Tsuyoshi-senpai, she might go demon on us.” sneered Mai, tossing her black curls behind her shoulders and hiding behind Tsuyoshi's shoulder. Well...look what's happened while I was gone. Doesn't surprise me.
“Come on Akemi. Come sit by us, we need to catch up!” Tsuyoshi grinned, beckoning me over.
I remained silent and bit my lip. I wasn't afraid or worried, I was just trying to maintain myself. I could feel Okami's chakra bubble inside of me.
Calm yourself, Okami. I said to her, I'll play their game...for now.
With confidence, I stepped over to the desk the two were sitting at, shuffled over to them and sat down, wrapping my fingers together and resting my chin on them.
"So...where have you been?" Tsuyoshi asked, "How long it's been...four years, right?"
I nodded, not looking at him, "Glad to see you can count."
Mai and Tsuyoshi exchanged quick glances of exasperation, before looking at me again, their eyes wide.
"A...are you trying to be funny?" Mai clenched her fists and tried to get in my face as much as possible.
I moved my eyes so I was looking at her from the corner of my eye, but I didn't move an inch, "No...I was just stating a fact."
She grabbed one of my arms, "Listen here freak...you ever try and be funny with us again and I..."
"And you'll what?" I retorted, glaring at her with sparking eyes.
She took a deep breath to say something, but then she stopped. She recoiled and let go of my arm, "And you'll pay." was all she could come up with.
Is that the best she could come up with? I snorted and turned to the front again. Tsuyoshi remained silent throughout the whole ordeal, not getting his point across. Instead, he just examined me, with a confused expression, cocking his head to one side every once in a while.
Akuma entered the classroom, clipboard in his arms. He stood behind his podium and cleared his throat.
“Good morning. Welcome back to what is to hopefully be your final day at the academy. Today, you will take part in your exam final and that will determine whether you'll become a fully qualified Genin. Firstly, I will call you next door one at a time, where I and Lord Korikage will examine your justus. For us we would like you to perform a clone jutsu. Now that you are close to graduation, we ask for a minimum of four perfect clones." Akuma nodded to us, wished us good luck and left the room.
"Oooh, your Father's going to be watching you. Let's hope you don't screw up, what with your demon powers and all." Tsuyoshi leaned over and bumped my shoulder encouragingly but patronisingly.
"Yes, let's hope." I muttered, getting a book out of my bag and reading it.
Mai screwed her brow, "Why are you reading? Shouldn't you be preparing? Isn't that what nerds normally do?"
"Why am I reading?" I looked at her, then back at my book, "Because I'm really enjoying this book. Why don't you practise instead?" I suggested.
"Ha! Because I don't need to. I am fully prepped already. All I care about is looking good for when I receive my headband." she tossed her hair back again and grinned sadistically.
"I see..." I replied politely, flicking a page.
"Mai?" Akuma appeared at the door again, "We're ready for you now."
“Woo! Go baby Mai!” cheered Tsuyoshi, fist pumping the air.
Mai did a stupid little twirl before leaving the room, trying to look graceful to impress her 'boyfriend'.
I shook my head before looking back down at my book again, What a joke...
“Hey, Akemi.” hissed Tsuyoshi, leaning in close “Wanna have a knife battle?”
I looked up at him and he was looking smirking. I shrugged.
“Come on. Don’t be a drip.” he whined, giving me a sickly charming grin. I couldn't help noticing how attractive Tsuyoshi was. He had the same pale skin all my village had, dark blue eyes and short, dark blue hair with long bangs which rested on his shoulder blades. He had a peculiarly muscular frame for a twelve year old.
Damn I wish he had a good personality to go with his looks...
“I didn’t say no.” I sneered, getting out of my seat.
Tsuyoshi grinned, “Now that’s what I am talking about.” he gave me a wink, shifting out of his seat again.
We both walked to the front of the class, staring at each other with grinning faces, and drew out our knives. Tsuyoshi glared at me eagerly. He looked really big and strong, but I knew I could handle him.
"This should be good preparations, shouldn't it?" he declared, holding his knife out in front of him.
I nodded, "Didn't really need this, but...why not?" I smiled again, and shrugged.
Tsuyoshi ran forward to and slash me. Quickly, intercepted his attack with one knife, before twisting one of my legs around one of his and pulled. The massive lad was toppled over, landed on his front and grunted loudly. I pinned him down, one hand twisting his arm behind his back, and the other wielding my knife to his throat.
"Looks like I won." I smiled, leaning down and whispering in his ear.
"Tsk..." Tsuyoshi growled, "How...how could I lose...to a loser like you?"
"Maybe I am not as much of a loser as you thought?" I suggested, dropping his arm and lifting my body off of his back, just in time for Mai to return.
She looked down at the two of us and scowled, "I see Akemi cannot keep her hands to herself anymore..." she walked forwards and stood directly in front of me so our chests were almost touching.
"We were having a brawl." Tsuyoshi muttered, clambering to his feet, "Why would I touch her?"
Mai looked up at him, "I didn't say you did. But how do I know she didn't touch you?" she glared at me again.
I shrugged, "How can I win a brawl, without touching him?"
Mai scoffed, rather unladylike, "You? Beat Tsuyoshi-sempai? In your dreams." she moved away and stood next to Tsuyoshi, who wrapped an arm around her waist, "Anyway, sensei wants you to go in next." she pointed to the door, "Break a leg...literally."
I nodded and smiled, "Why thank you Mai-chan. Glad to hear you are supporting me."
"NEVER CALL ME THAT EVER AGAIN, FREAK!" I heard her shout as I left the room, grinning.
As I entered the exam room, I turned to Akuma and Father sitting at a desk in the corner of the room. They did not say anything, but were giving me a small smile as I entered.
"Welcome back, Akemi." Akuma stood and stepped over to me, placing his hands on my shoulder, "It's been too long...and only teaching vains can get rather...I shouldn't say anything." but the corner of his mouth was turned upwards. I could tell what he was thinking, "Anyway, shall we begin? Mai gave us six clones just now. See if you can beat that." he took his seat again and watched closely.
Father hadn't moved from his spot. He gave me a supportive nod and grinned brightly. He definitely looked better. More colourful, but his weight was still appalling.
“Very good, Akemi.” Akuma congratulated me, "I see you have kept to your studying while you were...away.” he tried to use a good choice of words.
I looked proudly at my ten clones which stood beside me, all in battle stances, ready to kick ass.
But that's only the surface of my abilities, I gloated to myself, putting my hands on my hips.
Don't get too cocky, Akemi...Okami warned, It can get the better of you sooner or later.
My lips went into a thin line as I took in the warning. After all, she was correct.
"You are fast on track to graduation, Akemi." Father smiled excitedly, but he made sure to keep it professional, "Now go and join your classmates again."
I bowed to the two before sliding open the door and leaving.
"I think we have an obvious superior in the group, Akuma-san." I heard Father mutter.
I pressed my ear against the door curiously.
"You are definitely lucky, Lord Korikage. After all Akemi has been through, we should be relieved that she is still as determined as before she...left. You should be proud." Akuma replied.
"Mmm." Father murmured, "I am...and I am also relieved I didn't break her. She's been through so much others haven't, but she didn't break like some have. Like Kurai."
"Let's not mention him, my Lord. He been through a more different experience compared to Akemi. We cannot compare them to each other. Apart from the fact they were so close."
My eyes did sparkle after hearing Father mention his pride in me again, but then I froze when his name was mentioned. I haven't thought of him in years...because I do not want to relive that moment again.
Entering the class again, I saw I sight I wished I could forget. Mai and Tsuyoshi were sitting at the desk again, but their lips looked like they were meshed together, and their arms entwined round each other. They stopped when they heard me.
My face twisted into disgust as I shut the door and reopened it again. This time they were separate.
"You saw nothing." Tsuyoshi warned me.
I rolled my eyes, "No...I didn't..." I wish I didn't...
How old are they again? Okami asked. She was clearly disgusted as well, Surely they are a little young for each other.
Like they care, I replied, and Okami snorted.
"Jealous, Ake-freak?" Mai asked, tilting her head to one side so her hair rested on the desk.
"Surprisingly not..." I replied.
"Oh right! Because your love left you for a snake, isn't that right?" Mai retorted, "What's his name again?"
I felt my face go pink, but not with shame or embarrassment, but with rage.
Akemi...calm down...Okami tried to reach me, but it wasn't helping.
I leapt forward so I was crouching on the desk and glaring down at Mai. She looked back up but a whimper escaped her lips, "What...do y-you think you're d-doing??" she tried to square me up again, but it failed.
Tsuyoshi, again, did not get involved, for he was too stunned by my reaction to intervene.
"Never...and I mean NEVER...bring Kurai into any conversation EVER again. You know how I feel about him, but he will never come back, so I need to move on...and I have. But you will never speak poorly of him...in fact...at ALL...in front of me." I threatened her, getting into her face like she normally does to me. But instead, the prey has become the predator, "Do I make myself very clear?"
Mai nodded quickly, "Yes. YES. Jeez. Just get away from me, freak!" when I moved away, she tossed her hair, trying to look confident again, but failed when I realized she was shaking.
Kurai? Okami asked me.
It's a long story, dear Okami...but all I can say is that I am very much in love with him...if that's even possible for a twelve year old...but he left me...after...the incident...
Okami went silent. And that was for the best.