Kokichi's little heart thwacked as he scurried down the hallway, keeping his gaze pinned to the tiling below. He clutched his bag to his chest with trembling, clammy fingers, breath coming harshly and hissing through the slight chasms amid his teeth. Swimmingly passing through the blurry figures surrounding him till he felt he was on the brink of a hill, he made a dash for the school's exit, where the light from outside was peeking through.
At last, freedom was in sight!
The malnourished boy had managed to avoid all the distasteful teasing and harassment he came up against nearly every day of his school life; hiding into bathroom stalls like a mouse, avoiding the cafeteria at all costs and merely doodling in his turquoise notebook what seemed to fascinate him and catch his attention. Though he was quiet as a phantom, Kokichi was always aware-- of people, of his surroundings, of people's ill will toward him or anyone else. Those big, round eyes watched silently through their clear showcase and made an evaluation of the current environment enclosing around him. He always knew when something was about to go wrong, or so he thought.
That is why he was in such a frenzy when he finally reached his destination and saw sun's rays peer at him from behind thin clouds, seconds before he was hauled by the collar of his uniform and crushed against the school's exterior wall. The boy let out something akin to a strangled squeak, his school bag falling from his grasp, all of its contents scattering on the ground. Kokichi found himself unable to breathe as the physically intimidating boy before him held his neck in a grasp that resembled a lion's maw.
And, oh, how had Kokichi hoped that he would have been able to escape today without being abused by his peers, without being turned blue and purple, without having the same gang that tortured him every day spit on him or rip his drawings apart.
"You've been hiding from us, haven't you, rat?" The blond clutching at Kokichi's doddering throat seethed, grinning wickedly from ear to ear. A girl behind him snickered, and Kokichi recognized her as the one who had ripped his drawing notebook from his grasp and began tearing out each and every sketched page that one time. The smaller boy desperately gripped and scratched at the hand strangulating him, cheeks begging to flush from the sudden lack of oxygen.
"T-Terrence, stop." Kokichi coaxed through a gasp, eyes beginning to abound with tears of horror and despair as he attempted to fight back, yet to no avail. The cement against the back of his cranium had him believing that if Terrence were to use any more force, his skull would crack open and limn grey with scarlet. At this point, the assault was going to leave a cruel aftermath of dark bruising upon Kokichi's milky skin, one he would have to find an excuse for when people began asking. His attempt to cry out for help came out as a muffled gag, the fright hammering within his frantic heart coercing bubble tears to course down his rosy cheeks. Kokichi thrashed around pitifully and his face contorted inhumanly as he sobbed, the lack of air making him delirious and afraid, so very afraid.
"Yeah, Terrence, stop," Taunted a guy's voice, his boisterous laughter indicating that it had to be Vince, Terrence's apprentice and supposed best friend. However, that was of no concern to Kokichi, who couldn't even tell the people trapping him still apart. "Look, he's crying already. Don't make him black out yet; not before we have teach the rat some manners for avoiding us so rudely."
Abruptly, the mesh around his neck was loose, and the small boy slid down the wall in a daze, gasping and wheezing in a panic as oxygen once again ran freely within his clamped airways once again. Bony fingers crawled up his protruding collarbones, which he recognized as his own, fingertips brushing against his reddened skin in a pathetic attempt to soothe the throbbing ache. Kokichi shut his weary eyes momentarily, breathing out heavily and finding some relief, but alas the moment was short-lived.
The tormented soul was seized by his dark tufts and brought up to his feet, legs doddering, heart in his throat as he exuded a shrill shriek of agony, hands involuntarily reaching up to his pained scalp. He was keenly aware of the bystanders dashing by the scene, hands over their mouths and eyes wide with terror as they looked away, not wishing to be part of it in the slightest. He knew, he always knew. Kokichi always had knowledge of the people watching him sadistically as he got beaten to pulp, people he would sometimes exchange greetings with or be paired up in class with for a project. Those people acted like nothing was wrong, like nothing about Kokichi's situation was purely disgusting-- and yet, they never met his gaze, never had the courage to speak to him. They knew they were in the wrong, they knew this was unacceptable, and yet...
No one stood up for him. No one was on his side. No one tried to defend him. They just watched. They watched, only watched. Not once did a single person from the bunch try to put a cease to his endless torture, not one of them even spoke up to the abusers. Kokichi was left all alone, like he always was, trying to defend himself in any way he could; yet failing miserably each time. He felt the palpitations course painfully across his skull, the hair nearly being wrenched by its roots, the excruciation of it all the only thing keeping him awake-- and Kokichi figured that maybe watching was the only thing they were good for.
His eyes blinked open, hazy and pulsing in the cores from the tears still escaping them with no purpose, with no will. A fist collided with his cheek - the left one, the side of his face that had just healed from the beating of the previous week - and it hurt so much he wanted to pass out, but at the same time a part of him could feel nothing as hit after hit came in contact with his frail body. His face, his torso, his stomach, his legs; they all produced a soreness that now seemed so distant when it became so repetitive. But, he wouldn't give up. Perhaps these crude bullies could break his body, but never his mind. Though he cried every day, Kokichi refused to give up. Because his body might be weak, but his spirit is a burning flame.
One day, he would prove them all wrong. One day, he wouldn't be a ragdoll, simply to be toyed with and later destroyed. One day, he would show them he was more, more than all this...
"Could I sit and watch what's happening?"
And then, just like the sun coming out from underneath a blanket of clouds, it all stopped.
Kokichi's eyes opened slowly, tired from clenching shut every few seconds, before they had decided to close all together. He gazed up in slight confusion, viewing as the faces of his abusers were now slightly pallid and their eyes holding a mix of irk and bewilderment. Craning his neck, he looked past them, at the lone figure of a person standing before them, and let out a soft gasp, barely audible to his ears.
A girl stands before them, clad in her school uniform, though the button's of her shirt aren't done all the way up, her black tie is loose around her collar and the black jacket is slung over her shoulder, along with her bag. The vacant eyes and the bright red stockings reaching the tops of her thighs indicate immediately the identity this person possesses.
"Wha..what the fuck is L/N doing here?"
Terrence's fist frees Kokichi's collar and the latter is left lying down on his back, eyes shifting nervously as he tries to take in the situation. Y/n L/n is standing there, right in front of him, in all her infamous sublime. The girl tilts her head in amusement, taking a stride closer. Y/n L/n, one of the most notorious candidates in the school, arrant for skipping multiple classes, having feud with anyone who dares question her morality and well-known for being a member of one of the most famed gangs led by teenagers. Once, Kokichi recalls, she had beaten up Vince so bad he missed a week of school and bruised up Terrence in a recent dispute that had sparked between them. The group of delinquents had deemed Y/n worthy of their mistreatment, but their attempt was shut down quickly the first and last time they thought it was wise to mess with someone like her. They realized themselves, through blood, tears and contusions, that crossing her and her gang's path was anything but smart.
"Are you deaf, you bloated sow?" Her voice comes out brash and unwavering, devoid of all life. Terrence gulps at the comment and shrinks back, eyebrow twitching along with his erratic heartbeat. "I asked you if I could sit here and watch you guys.. going at it. Or am I a distraction?"
It truly is a rare moment, to see the particular group of people share the same feeling of alarm when being in the presence of a certain person. The soles of her shoes tap softly against the asphalt as she ventures closer and puffs out an annoyed sigh, shaking her head. "Honestly, I thought that even a dumb-fuck like you actually had balls. I am repulsed.. though I can't say I didn't expect something like this from a coward like you, Terry."
Kokichi hated to admit it, but seeing a proud egoist like Terrence get a taste of his own medicine and stand like a well-trained dog before her had some kind of placation to it. The boy snorted at the view, turning his head to the side and spitting, making a small gush of blood and a tooth fling from between his lips. His tongue curiously lapped at the place where the tooth was no longer existent, and he gave small exhale of bother at how messed up they had really made him. Kokichi made to look up once more, and his breath hitched at the back of his throat, his heart nearly screeching into a stop when he found Y/n was already fixing him with a prying gaze.
Kokichi was never really frightened by Y/n, though he certainly felt intimidated and knew better than to ever approach her. He knew better than doing anything that would displease her, afraid her wrath would be directed toward him-- and he wanted to avoid that at all costs, so he chose not to even lay his eyes upon her. Though he was aware she was not the kind to prey upon the weak, he deemed that it is better to be safe than sorry, a thing he learnt the hard way throughout his slow, sad life. He swallowed the thorn poised at the confines of his throat when she squinted at him, examining his tattered uniform and battered body. And just as soon as she looked, she pried her attention elsewhere, offering a wide, stretched grin.
Y/n dealt a hard shove at Terrence's shoulder and he recoiled as though he'd been shot, eyes so wide they nearly bulged out from their sockets. The boy's face was so many different shades of angry red; varying from resembling her bright stockings to taking after the blood smeared upon Kokichi's lower lip. And everyone was sure, that if this were any other person, they would have been attacked with bone-crushing strikes at this point, and yet... this was not just anyone.
This was Y/n we are talking about.
Her wish was anyone else's command, and they wouldn't dare refuse it. And so they listened. Left in a humiliating silence, the pitter-patter of their shoes as they shamefully took their leave music to her ears. She ignored Terrence's childish mutter of 'you will pay for this' and sighed in tedium, watching with acute eyes as they slowly disappeared from her sight. She absolutely loathed cowards who would harass small, innocent people, who had little to no means of fighting back. It seemed utterly and awfully useless. What did they get in return, really, she wondered. How can it bring you any satisfaction if the opponent isn't worthy and capable of the fight?
The sound of clattering brought her back to reality, and she blinked slowly as she watched Kokichi's little hands frantically reaching for his belongings and shoving the items into his bag. The boy was now onto his knees, shuddering from the treatment he received earlier, shakily reaching out for his favorite, turquoise notebook, only to realize Y/n had inquisitively picked it up and was examining the colorful contraption. The boy let out a tremulous gasp and flung forward, the words rushing out of the fleshy threshold of his mouth before he was even able to control them.
The strangled plea made Y/n slightly flinch and Kokichi clasped a sweltering palm over his aquiver lips, heart thundering in horror as he abided for her reaction to such a crude demand. Their gazes met and for a long, tense moment, Kokichi really wondered if this is where he would die. Y/n's sharp eyes softened and she took a few steps forward, the action making the cowering boy shrink back into the wall behind him, where his head was being so harshly pressed against a few minutes ago. He shut his eyes tightly, the muscles in his eyelids twitching from the strain, arms going up over his face in a meek attempt to shield himself. Who's to say what she was going to do? Was she going to ram his head against that same wall till his skull became liquid? Was she going to set fire on his pretty little notebook and then put the lighter to his hair and watch him burn alive? Was she going to--
A second went by, then two, then three, then four. Kokichi was overwhelmed by confusion, yet shaking like a leaf underneath the burning orbs staring right at him. Slowly, uncertainly, he lowered his thin arms and peered over his knuckles, his heart skipping a beat when he saw Y/n had only knelt down before him and was offering him his belonging. His lips were ajar and his eyes were broad, beside himself, as he stared at her in a slight shock, chest pounding as he tried to calm his rabid breathing. Reluctantly, he reached out to take it-- desperately attempting to neglect the voice in his head telling him she would simply draw back and laugh at him-- and a wave of relief washed over his pummeled form when the tips of his slender fingers came in contact with the smooth cover of the notebook. Kokichi's throat bobbed as he gulped down all his agitation, lashes batting wearily. He wasn't used to situations that didn't involve his ridicule or mockery.
Y/n said nothing, however, merely standing up and barely sparing him a glance as she began ambling away, toward the school's iron gate. Kokichi found himself staring with separated lips as she strutted confidently, without even sulking once, her coat over her left shoulder as she held her bag over the right. Such pride, such confidence...
He blinked stupidly for a few seconds, before hurriedly shoving his notebook in his bag and scrambling to get up. He nearly lost his balance at first, as his legs felt like they didn't belong to his own body anymore, but clumsily limping forth, trying to catch up to her wide stride.
"H-Hey, hey, wait, please!"
Kokichi found himself sprinting a bit, or as much as he could, anyway, in order to reach her. Why did he want to reach up to her anyway? Is he really asking for it? What does he hope to achieve by calling after her and attempting to speak to her? Y/n whirls around in an instant at the call of the boy's voice, and he nearly collides into her in his hurry. They come chest to chest --even though she is taller than him-- and when Kokichi glowers up into those chaotic, glistening eyes, the words he wanted to utter die upon his lips in an instant. He is left gaping up at them in unmistakable admiration and he unconsciously shivers, finding that they weren't as rough as honed stone, as he had imagined; up close they could even be considered beautiful, like smooth, carved gems that glistened when the sun abounded its rays within them. At least, Kokichi's artistic soul thought so...
"What is it?" Y/n asks in a calm, cold tone, making the boy's shoulder jump and his feet shift nervously. "What do you want?"
"I...I-I wanted to..um.." Kokichi curses at himself for appearing so meek with his stuttering, but he simply can't help it. In one hand, he has his school bag dangling from his tight first, and the other has its fingers tightly clasped over his braying chest, his eyes shyly cast downward. He doesn't have the strength to look her in the eye for long. Not yet, at least. "I-I.. wanted to thank you for, you know, helping me...T-thank you, very much, I can't even begin to tell you how--"
"Don't thank me." Says the girl simply, holding up one hand to put end to the boy's agitated blabber. Kokichi is slightly taken aback, fingers nervously tugging at the brim of his sleeve, and he's staring at her with big, confused eyes and a fluttering stomach, before Y/n speaks up again, a small smile tugging at the corners of her lips. "I don't want you to thank me because I didn't do it to help you."
Kokichi's doe eyes blink dumbly at her words, mouth slowly closing and tense shoulders dropping. His ears flush in embarrassment and his brows slant with bemusement, his breath stopping for a moment as he passively gazes down at his soiled shoes. And for a moment, the poor boy feels stupid. He had clearly misunderstood her intentions, it seemed. Warmth pooled into his rosy cheeks at how silly he must look. Of course, that had to be it; there's no way anyone would ever want to help Kokichi out of the kindness of their heart. He starts to sulk a little, becoming a stuttering, blushing mess, shrinking back into himself and toying with the skin of his fingers in an attempt to soothe his haywire nerves.
He flinches when he feels an inkling of warmth at the top of his head, and his knees nearly give out when he comes to the realization that the one and only Y/n L/n is gently petting his head as though he were a starved kitten mewling on the roadside. And Kokichi looks up at her with wide eyes, hating the fact that he enjoyed some sign of affection from her. But, oh, if the circumstances were any different, he would have nuzzled her palm and cling to her wrist because he craved for more.
"Hey, cheer up, purple-head," Y/n says softly at the cute boy, ruffling his violet locks and making a shudder run down his spinal column-- and he just wants to melt into it. Unfortunately for Kokichi, she withdraws her hand just as fast as she had settle it upon his unkempt hair, and he almost want to take it and bring it right back to coddling him like a small, spoiled animal. The girl sighed softly, seemingly unaware of Kokichi's rosy cheeks and jittery hands, and looked away, shaking her head slightly. "I just don't like these kinds of people."
The girl says nothing more, but Kokichi can hear the waver in her breathing as she begins to turn away. She gives him an even stare and waves, turning her back and commencing her departure. Kokichi can't pry his gaze from the black skirt hugging her waist gracefully, a stark contradiction with the fiery red swathing around her calves and kissing up her thighs. He stands still like a gleaming statue of ice, as though his feet have been nailed in place by some unknown force. He watches as she walks away, his cracked lips smiling shyly and his hands clasping the leather of his bag in excitement. Heat pools in the mounds of his cheeks, and Kokichi finds himself giggling softly as he replays the feeling of her hand through the tangled mess he calls hair.
"Heh.. heh..." Kokichi slowly begins his own outgoing, grinning shyly to himself, his step faltering as he slowly but surely closes the distance between his spot and the gate. The tired boy smile transforms into a frown, however, as he recalls what hellish people await him home, people he has to explain his wounds to, people who won't hesitate to hurt him either. Hopefully, mother will be in a good mood today... and hopefully, she won't lock him in the damp, cold basement again. According to her, he makes a lovely addition to the dark room with the dripping ceiling, as he and the rats dwelling down there are one and the same.
Hopefully, the thought of someone petting his head in the slimy moisture will soothe the aching pain of his heart and dry some of his silent tears. He just has to picture it and everything will be fine. Yes, it will all be fine, as long as someone touches him with care and consideration, and Kokichi will smile brokenly instead of cry. He will lean into the hand caressing his face, his tufts, his hands-- lull him to sleep, even if it is only in his imagination.