“I refuse to go!”
It was early morning and morning light shone on a bed, on which laid a big lump hidden under the blankets. Next to the bed, a humanoid cat, standing on two legs and wearing yellow cloth, sighed.
“Ay. Don’t make it more difficult for both of us Ragna.”
“I refuse!” The lump repeated with even more emphasis.
“I know yer aren’t a brightest bulb out there, but still I want ya to finish high school. Year and a half ain’t so much. It’d be stupid to give up now.”
“I don’t mind finishing the school,” the lump under the blanket interjected with a slightly more polite, but still strained voice. “I just don’t want to go to that one!”
“If ya hadn’t been kicked out from all other schools I wouldn’t have to send ya to this one,” Jubei patiently pointed out. The lump groaned. “And the dojo ain’t moving itself from here just cause ya can’t get along with yer brother.”
Something which sounded like a string of curses escaped from under the blanket.
“Yer both almost adults, ya should finally learn to coexist peacefully.”
Lump groaned yet again.
“I also had a brother, I know that there are times when yer want to murder the lil piece of shit, usually for stupid reasons. But yer ain’t supposed to attempt it all the time.”
“Tell that to Jin,” the lump hissed.
“I’ve seen ya going at it. Yer have as much bloodlust as him when ya fight.”
The lump shifted, but didn’t answer.
“I know yer both have temper problems, but it’s not like ya will be in the same class. Ya can at least manage to learn peacefully,” Jubei pointed out.
“Even if I want, the bastard will be waiting at the school entrance picking a fight with me! It will be exactly the same as in the middle school!”
“It takes you back to the middle school, huh,” a brown haired girl with round animal ears and huge squirrel tail, wearing a school uniform, muttered. She was looking at the blond haired boy, who stood in the centre of road leading to the school gates. He was wearing uniform just like other students passing him on the way to school, but unlike them in his left hand he held a wooden sword. His eyes were transfixed on the road and his whole body swung slightly, as if he was nervously anticipating something. There was a small grin on his face. Since he was pretty famous because of his good grades, beauty and position as student council president, most of people who passed him couldn’t help, but look at him with a confusion. He, on the other hand, completely ignored those stares, clearly lost in his own thoughts.
“Y-yeah, he even has this scary look in his eyes,” a blond girl who stood next to the brown haired one supplied. She looked extremely similar to the boy standing before the gates, which caused them to be often mistaken as his sibling when they ended up in the same school. However, they were not related and she usually ended up having to explain this.
“He’s been standing here since five o’clock. I’ve seen him, when I was jogging,” first girl added.
“He’s surprisingly obstinate, when it comes to his brothe… ah, sorry, I wasn’t trying to insult him,” she corrected himself, realising what she just said.
“’Surprisingly obstinate’ doesn’t even begin to cover it, Noel,” said brown haired girl with a sight. “He has issues and I can’t help worrying about Tsubaki.”
“Because she missed what happened in middle school?” blond girl asked.
For moment there was silence as two girls standing under the tree near the road watched the students walking to the school.
“She didn’t really believe us, you know,” Makoto finally said. “She thought we exaggerated when telling her what has happened.”
“B-but I understand it is hard to believe. I also wouldn’t believe if I hadn’t seen Jin act like that…” Noel muttered more and more dejected with each word.
“She could have at least delegated someone to help with damage control,” Makoto whined. “Us two may not be enough.”
“They may not end up fighting too violently,” Noel tried to cheer her friend up, but she must have realized that didn’t sound to convincing. After all, it was hard to describe the fights between those two brothers as anything other than a pure violence.
Suddenly Makoto moved and Noel immediately realized why. Jin has moved from the spot, where he stood for the last hour and was making his way down the road. The smile on his face could no longer be described as small, he was handling his sword in a way that suggested that he was about to use it and he generated murderous intent so blatant that people around couldn’t help, but notice it.
Makoto jumped from the place where she stood and rushed towards the place, where confrontation was to take place. Meanwhile Noel took the loudspeaker that lay on the ground and turned it on.
“E-everyone there’s going to be a fight, please watch out not to get caught up into it and hurry up to school!” She pledged to fellow students who at first stood confused, but then realizing what was going on moved quickly towards gates.
Ragna sighed deeply, when he reached a road leading to the school. It was quite wide and there were trees on both sides of it. Since it was a beginning of summer everything was beautifully green. Ragna was never one to pay too much attention to scenery, but he wanted to at least try calming himself down. Jubei was probably right after all. He was pretty much an adult now. He should sort it like a mature person, right?
Suddenly someone started talking through a loudspeaker.
“E-everyone there’s going to be a fight, please watch out not to get caught up into it and hurry up to school!”
It was definitely Noel’s voice, seems like he will meet some more acquaintances from his middle school.
“Damn,” he muttered. He didn’t feel like interacting with Noel again. She was so similar to his sister that it was almost disturbing. Then again it may be good that there is someone who is actually attempting to make sure there will be no casualties. Really, he himself should just stop it by refusing to fight. Jin wasn’t stupid enough to pick up a fight with someone who had no intention to confront him. Maybe he could solve this peacefully after all. Noel would also be probably happier then…
Ragna moved his head trying to localize Noel, but instead he noticed a smiling figure of his brother stalking towards him with a wooden sword in his hand. At this moment, Ragna’s pacifistic thoughts died inevitable death overtaken by anger and Ragna readied himself for the fight.
Makoto ran through the crowd. Most of students luckily decided to listen to Noel or their own intuition and scrammed. Some, however, stood in place.
“Move it!” Makoto said, rushing a male student who stood transfixed and without waiting for his answer continued to move. At this point she noticed Ragna, who was standing in the middle of the path. He was wearing the top of school’s uniform, however it was almost completely obscured by the red jacket (Makoto couldn’t comprehend how he could wear so much clothing, when it was so warm) and the uniform trousers were substituted by black tracksuit ones. Just like Jin, he carried a wooden sword, but he propped it on his shoulder in a laidback manner. Shortly after she noticed him, Ragna visibly tensed and swung his sword lightly. Most students who were near him automatically backed away from him afraid. Makoto was now not far from Jin, but she didn’t even consider stopping him. At this point it would only earn her a bruise. Instead she quickly calculated who was in the most danger and while screaming once again at everyone to clear off, she snatched the student, who stood too close and pushed him away.
At this point she didn’t even need to say why people should go away, because it was difficult not to notice two students with wooden swords looking at each other with hostility.
While Ragna felt extremely annoyed at seeing his younger sibling, he still couldn’t help noticing that he grew up. Ragna has last seen him more that year ago. Officially they parted ways, when they both finished the middle school that they attended, however Jin decided to use the free time before high school began to pester him, so it wasn’t until then that he stopped seeing him. Since then Jin gained height, although he was still as lean as he used to be. That last part wasn’t too surprising though, it was obvious to Ragna even before that their body type was different. Even now Jin was visibly shorter than him and Ragna doubted that he will grow much more.
Still, he grew up and that meant he had a better range during fight now. Ragna was well aware that one of his biggest advantages in their fights during middle school was the fact that Jin’s height at that time was average at best and because of that his range was much smaller. However, right now Jin would probably have no problem matching him in this aspect. Moreover, his movement seemed much more fluid and Ragna could already tell that his younger brother got faster.
It would probably be too much to ask for him to not improve his fighting skills…
At the edge of his vision Ragna noticed another familiar figure. A squirrel-girl seemed busy trying to drag away some students, who stopped to watch their face off. She was a friend of Noel, if he remember correctly. But before he could recall anything else, his attention returned to the enemy standing before him.
“Ah, it’s good to see you again,” Jin finally said a wide smile on his face.
Everyone around shivered slightly when Jin finally spoke. It couldn’t be helped, Makoto thought. His voice just sounded so different than the normal controlled tone he used that it was surprising to hear him talking in such… emotional fashion. Not to mention that the tone he used right now was just so goddamn intimate. Makoto was sure he never spoke like that even to Tsubaki. She has heard Jin talk to her and while his voice was always much more gentle than when he talked to other people it never sounded so… passionate. Damn it, it was scary to think what will be Tsubaki’s reaction to this whole mess.
Meanwhile Jin continued undisturbed.
“I really missed you, Nii-san,” his voice sounded childish now. “I haven’t seen you for a year now.”
“Jin,” Ragna growled angrily.
Makoto knew this scene all too well, but other watchers stood shocked trying to process what was happening right now. Have student council president just called transfer student his brother? What was wrong with their relationship? They weren’t really brothers, right? Why were they going to fight? And how was it possible for Jin’s voice to sound so damn alluring? Makoto couldn’t help, but be reminded of the first time she saw brothers confront each other, when she asked the same questions. Unfortunately only the first question found the answer, since Jin later confirmed that indeed they were a biological brothers, who ended up in different families. However, he didn’t share any more information, so Makoto had no idea what exactly happened in their past. The reasons why their relationship was just so wrong right now remained obscured.
And the mystery of why Jin could remain handsome even when succumbing to craziness would most probably never be solved.
Unfortunately she didn’t have time for convenient flashbacks, as the fight between the brothers was taking place on the way to school, meaning that more and more people gathered around confused and curious as to what was happening.
“Everyone, clear out!” Makoto yelled. She could still hear Noel repeating her plead, but some people were ignoring it. “Try to walk around them maintaining a safe distance!” She repeated dragging a female student, who was standing dangerously close to Ragna.
“But really, there isn’t all that much time before the classes start, so how about we begin?” Jin fortunately wasn’t in a mode for longer monologue, since his verbal exchanges with Ragna usually didn’t involve too much of complex or coherent response from the other side. Apparently Ragna was more used to making a point with his sword. Or to be more precise, with violence.
“Nii-san,” Jin repeated the phrase and as if it was a signal, the fight begun.
Jin charged towards Ragna, but it was white haired boy who attacked first, swinging his wooden sword with terrible strength. Younger brother immediately blocked the attack and counterattacked by catching the hilt of his own sword and performing a quick thrust with it. At this point Makoto was extremely happy that she pushed the girl from the spot where she was standing earlier, because otherwise she would have definitely ended up at least grazed. Luckily rest of the crowd had enough survival instinct to back away quickly after they realized just how dangerous the fight was. Most of them decided to avoid being caught into the mess and rushed to the school. Unfortunately, not everyone. Some of the students remained captured by the beauty of the fight taking place before them.
Ragna dodged the strike on instinct, since he hadn’t really seen it coming. Jin didn’t wait for him to recover and released a flurry of attacks. None of them were too strong and it was obvious they were meant to create an opening. Ragna parried most of them, but some connected and it hurt.
Apparently Jin got not only faster, but also stronger. Or he simply learned how to hit so that it would hurt more. Either way, white haired transfer student was pretty sure he couldn’t go easy on his brother in his fight, if he didn’t want to lose. Ragna shouted and charged to break from the defensive, while blocking Jin’s sword with his own. Jin simply sidestepped slightly, while gracefully moving from his brother’s path of attack. Ragna didn’t miss the chance and swung his sword sideway hoping to surprise Jin, but blonde parried without even sparing glance to the weapon and afterwards twisted his body to execute another slash, this time aimed at Ragna’s leg. White haired man was one second too slow and the wooden sword painfully stabbed into his foot. He quickly decided to create some distance expecting another attack to come, but Jin didn’t move from his face and instead looked at him with very disappointed face.
“Is that really all you’ve got brother? It’s boring~” Jin complained with a childish voice. It was obvious that he expected Ragna to perform better in their fight and felt betrayed when his brother feel short of his expectations. It was really selfish of Jin. Ragna felt even bigger wave of anger than before rising in him. However, rather than being angry at his brother he was furious at himself. Why did he actually feel bad about not meeting those expectations? Why was he regretting not training more at dojo, right now? Why was he still attempting to fulfil the role of older brother even when he decided that he could never forgive Jin for what he had done in the past?
Propelled by rage, a pulsating pain in his foot and the pride of older brother Ragna let another howl and charged. Jin looked slightly annoyed at the fact that Ragna insisted on using the same unsuccessful tactic and easily blocked the straightforward swing. What he wasn’t prepared for was that the attack with sword was merely a feint and in the next moment Ragna used the momentum to perform a powerful kick that landed on Jin’s stomach. The blond man feel onto his knees while clutching his stomach, but despite his pain he was smiling.
“Arrkk… ha.. that’s it… That’s….” he had trouble speaking, but even his tone was a mix of pain and actual happiness.
Ragna didn’t try to execute another attack instead putting distance between them. One reason was he really didn’t want to hurt Jin more, especially with all those people as witnesses. As for the second one... his foot seriously hurt. He used the same one that was injured to perform the kick, because he didn’t trust it would support his weight, but the force of impact damaged it more than he expected. Right now he found it problematic to stand and continuing the fight would be suicidal. The smart thing would be to stop this whole scuffle and just go to school and maybe get some treatment in nurse’s office.
There was just one problem.
He was absolutely hopeless at ending his fights with Jin.
Here we go again, Makoto thought as she spotted a familiar look at Ragna’s face. She had seen a numerous confrontations of those two brothers and she knew very well what was happening right now. Ragna finally calmed down enough to want to stop the fight, but had no idea how to do it. It was the trickiest part of the whole ordeal. At this point a third party needed to interfere somehow in order to make the fight look like it was finished. Makoto knew that she was probably the only person that could do it, but she hesitated. She didn’t want Jin to think that she was meddling in his business and facing the wrath of both of the boys was a chilling perspective. Still, she needed to do this.
Steeling herself Makoto took a step forward the unmoving brothers, but then suddenly a sound of a mobile phone reverberated. It was some kind of fast classical music piece, which name she didn’t know, but the melody was certainly familiar and that was because…
“Excuse me, for a moment,” suddenly returning to his normal way of being, Jin said politely. He was already on his feet and he quickly answered the phone. “Ah, good morning Tsubaki. Yes, gaah,” probably still feeling pain he grunted slightly, but immediately corrected himself. “Ah, no, nothing is wrong. I was just having a spar and I’m slightly out of breath.” While saying this he used his free hand (the wooden sword was left lying on the ground) to straighten himself up, completely returning to his student council president mode. Students who ended up witnessing this scene weren’t sure what to think anymore. Most of them seriously considered if they weren’t merely hallucinating and the incident had never in fact took place. Even with the proof that was the trace of Ragna’s boot on student council president’s shirt, the whole situation still seemed unreal. The proof that was becoming less visible, as Jin wiped it off with his hand. “Yes, I understand. Where was it? Yes, I got it. I will check it out. Bye.”
After finishing call, he turned to his brother.
“I’m sorry Nii-san I have an urgent matter to attend to, so we will have to finish this fight later,” Jin explained remorsefully.
“Just scram already,” Ragna hissed.
Jin in response turned to the students surrounding them, acknowledging their presence for the first time.
“I’m really sorry for the sudden obstruction on the route. I hope right now nobody will have any trouble reaching the school,” he said formally. People were so taken aback by this sudden apology that several voices replied something in the lines of “we don’t mind.” After that Makoto almost jumped, when Jin suddenly turned towards her.
“Makoto, could you please help Ragna to the nurse’s office? It’s his first day, so I doubt he knows where it is and he isn’t in the state where excessive walking is advised.”
“Ah, sure,” the brown haired girl replied surprised, not expecting question, but what Jin said actually made sense, so…
“Then I will be counting on you,” Jin nodded and turned to his brother with a light smile. “See you later, Nii-san.”
After that Jin departed radiating the aura of the competent student council president and the crowd started dispersing, moving towards the school.
Makoto glanced at the transfer student.
“By the way, nice to meet you again, Ragna. I see you haven’t changed at all,” she said sighting slightly, obviously tired.
Ragna glared at her, but he quickly returned to his less intimidating expression.
“Right, nice to see you, “ he said, but there wasn’t much heart to it and he sounded even more exhausted than she did. “Um, so where is the nurse’s office.”
“The highest floor,” she answered immediately. Ragna winced visibly and Makoto smiled slightly and added. “Yep, you are still a number one lucky lad. And no, we don’t have any elevators in this building.”