In the sickly light of fluorescent bulbs she managed to ease herself down into a quiet seat in the back of the car before the train started moving. Conductor satisfied with her ticket and cheap excuse of a stomach ache left her alone to clutch her stomach with both hands. The multitude of pains within her from all over were throbbing in tune with her heartbeat. One in her core of particular note from where a steel fire poker heated by flame was cruelly pressed up into her to strike her walls at random. Another coming with a muffled cough that exacerbated what were assuredly broken ribs and bruised lungs.
Arm used to muffle the noise revealed a sleeve speckled with blood when pulled away. Quickly she reached into a pocket on her long coat for a tissue to wipe it away before it stained the immaculately white surface. She was already in enough trouble as it was.
It had been a mistake of the highest order. Years of carefully plotting against and appeasing the vile woman that gave birth to her, claimed to lovingly raise her to the printed media, was almost wrecked with a single misspoken word before construction on the academy was even finished.
She accidentally called her mother by her first name.
To her face.
In public no less.
It had been late in a long day, she had already been exhausted, and they were out at some social function or another who's details were now lost in a fog of extended sleep deprivation now verging on twenty seven hours. She probably hadn't even been heard by anyone else on their way to the limo.
When the train stopped at a station the lurch back to motion caused her to double over and press her forehead into the back of the next seat for a minute. The pain would die down eventually. The midnight trains were always a quiet corner away from the bustle of her life where she could sit and let aches dull. She just needed time.
Nevertheless it had been inexcusable. A lapse in her solid stone facade that brought down a fury she had never once in her life of perpetual torment thought possible. The woman actually hit her. Not slapped, not sexually abused in any way feasible, or even lorded over her inconsequential worth for being just a human. Like normal. No, the second they were behind the doors of the manor a superhuman powered fist buried itself just below her ribs with a crack of the air and sent her skipping across the floor through an ornate table in the hallway. Its pile of gilded contents battered her skull from above in a rain that made up the lightest portion of her punishment for the rogue impolite utterance. From there her hair was grabbed and used to haul her into the air where a knee crashed into her ribs with enough momentum to send her deeper into the house. This pattern of blows continued each and every time she attempted to get to her feet all the way to Ragyo's study where the real punishments began.
During which for the first time in the sixteen years of her life she thought she was going to die.
But her body while burned, broken, and viciously battered inside and out until her skin was more a rainbow of bruises than flesh tones was still marginally functioning. For how long was anyone's guess. She would overcome it as usual. The whole ordeal had been informative at least. Ragyo wasn't just a devoted figurehead representing the enemy, she was an outright living manifestation of them. Infested by them.
The plan to kill her with a simple stab in the back probably wasn't going to work.
The plan had already been adjusted accordingly of course.
The train stopped again. This time the car started to fill with other people. Likely the graveyard shift commuter crowd going to work or home. Forcing her body to work beyond the pains in her spine she eased up in her seat enough to glance out the window to her left. Signs studied and applied to what she knew of the national rail service's map her theory crumbled with a frown. She was on a train bound far north out of the city and not on the Tokyo circuit line like usual.
It was going to make returning arduous in her current condition, but some small part of her was relieved that she was physically moving away from the female shaped monstrosity responsible for that current condition if even for a temporary reprieve. She just needed time to stabilize and start healing, then she would head back to work.
Over the next few stops she managed to sit up in her seat to meditate. Ignoring the small trickle of blood she could feel pooling in her pants and lungs. Until a commotion disrupted her thoughts. Cracking open her eyes she turned to face the noise's direction after the train stopped once again. Rough voice yelling out after something slammed into the train's side.
“Oi now you're running!? I was just getting started on your asses! You fucks are lucky this is my ride or I'd run you down and kill you!”
She could hear a number of people running away and knocking over anything in their rapid flight into the distance with clatters. Still staring toward the car's door a few rows ahead she heard the same female voice rudely answer the conductor demanding her ticket and insulted him for not helping after he walked off. Followed by a sound of something being dragged across the floor toward her.
As the train lurched back into motion the form responsible for the yelling and noise came into view and quiet literally fell into the open seat next to her a disheveled quarter naked mess. It was a girl. And it looked like she just survived a serious mugging.
Hissing in pain as she righted herself forward in the seat there was blood visible on her face and hands. Her black hair was a matted mess save a lone bright red bang swooped to the left. Her nose black, blue, and likely broken was leaking blood onto her lips. Neck bore concentric circular bruises from where a hand crushed against it tried to hold her down, and evidently failed. Left shoulder was bare, her hands moved to find her bra strap snapped with a blush. Persevering she slipped button up shirt back up to match her right side with a pained grunt. Swore when she found most the buttons from collar down to under bust missing.
While the black and white jacket slipped down on her arms went ignored she lifted herself slightly to fix blue and white stripped panties that matched her bra, until the last string holding it together at a point cut by a knife gave. Frustrated rush of air from her nose she attempted to tug short skirt back up to her waist instead that ended in a low string of swears when she found the zipper had been ripped off completely as well.
Spying the girl out of the corner of her eye a small cold realization sunk into her stomach. It hadn't been a mugging, she just fought off an attempted gang rape.
Ragyo wasn't the only monster among the pigs.
The girl shook her first in anger and punched the armrest. Then sighed in a resigned deflation of her mood. Reaching over to her right she pulled a rectangular silver guitar case out of the aisle along the floor and into their row. And hit a white and blue high heel Which sent a pang of pain shooting up the attached leg.
Annoyance at the careless motion ebbed away when the girl turned left and looked at her to politely apologize.
“I'm sorry, didn't realize you were there. My bad.”
Not waiting for any kind of admonishment or answer she pulled the case away back in front of herself and leaned forward to it. Clasps undone quickly she opened it to rummage through the eclectic multitude of items within. Everything from shirts to little bottles of shampoo, but no guitar. It was an armored container just for her luggage. Or was it to protect everything she owned?
Focusing her efforts on getting words out she had an unbearable spontaneous need to talk to this battered waif. A kindred soul in the worst way. Managing to draw in enough air to her lungs to speak.
“Not a problem... You look preoccupied with recent... conflict.”
“Nah, this ain't shit I haven't dealt with before. It's just really fucking annoying. No reason to be zoned out.”
Coming to a sudden stop broken ribs were punished by a jolt that sent her into a coughing fit that drew the girl's full attention. Sleeve once again used to muffle the noise was covered in far more than just a mist of blood this time when lowered. Her condition was getting worse.
“Hey. You're not sounding that okay yourself- Hot damn what the fuck hit you a truck!?”
Pained arm splattered with blood grabbed it was pulled up into the light. Girl's own heavily bruised knuckles visible as she examined the mildly discolored ones in comparison where Ragyo stepped on them. Steeling herself she pulled the arm back. Vocal chords attempting to bark an order to release her failed though when the motion sent a wave of pain ricocheting through her rib-cage causing another blood spitting series of coughs to come out. Caught to her surprise by a clean wad of tissue shoved in front of her mouth.
“Oi, take it easy before you make whatever this is worse. Yer gonna die in like three hours tops at this rate. Police are just a fat load of nothing in the way of help yet again I'm guessing? Fuck the damn useless pigs... Hold on.”
Reaching back down into the case she pulled out a couple safety pins and used them to shoddily hold her clothes together. Content with the temporary repair she pulled out a bottle of rubbing alcohol and more tissues. Working quickly she cleaned up her own face and hands, set her nose straight with nothing more than a grunt after it cracked into place, and then carefully cleaned the blood off the white sleeve to her left.
“Got a nice coat, girl's gotta have something nice to care about. Can't let the stain set and ruin it right?”
By the next station the case was locked, jacket pulled up onto shoulders properly, and she looked toward a light up board above the door announcing what stop they were at. Standing up with purpose she strapped the case to her back and reached over.
With surprisingly strong yet gentle motions the shorter girl carefully pulled her up out of her seat and supported her with a shoulder to move them off the train. Leaving the station behind they were periodically lit up by orange street lights as they moved into the night. Her frustratingly weak physical protests either unnoticed or outright ignored as she was practically dragged four blocks away from the station.
She was such a mess she couldn't even escape the battered girl's grasp.
Along the way her coughs started to get worse. Forcing them to stop more than once for her to splatter dark liquid onto the pavement beneath them from her mouth. The sound of their breathing being the only other noise in the stillness of whatever neighborhood she was being taken through.
Coming to a stop at an intersection her kidnapper was looking around for something when she finally got her voice to work again.
“Let me go... This instant. I'm-”
“Gonna die here like a bitch if I let you go and leave.”
“I'm... not so fragile.”
“Look I know how this works with pride and shit. Been there done that. Don't put up some front and pretend you're invincible! Cause you're not. Know when the fuck you need to cut and run to save your ass... I can tell your ribs are broken from your weight shifting, your lungs are filling with blood from trauma, and it's just a guess but you've got other serious issues elsewhere considering you haven't even tried to take a step since getting off the damn train. Oi... Oi! Don't go to sleep or you won't wake up!”
The yell in her ear made eyes open in annoyance. She didn't remember closing them, and the creeping darkness in the edges of her vision weren't helping. Fingers and toes were going cold. Her breathing becoming more difficult. This was bad.
She was actually dying.
“Hang on I think it's this way. Just keep breathing.”
And she couldn't will her muscles into doing anything about it while this complete stranger half broken herself was dragging her around like a limp sack.
Minutes passed where she was aware of moving through space but otherwise not able to tell in what direction or for how long precisely. Her next jolt into consciousness was when she was completely picked up in the girl's arms and rushed up a set of stairs while her voice rung out for a doctor.
She remembers a woman with a heavy Russian accent responded to the desperate call.
“Who- What happened!?”
“I don't know, think a car hit her or something, found her on the train. Look she's really fucked up and hacking up enough blood to fill a bathtub. Please do something!”
“Someone get a rolling bed! Now what about you, look like you're also in need of-”
“Forget me I just need to change, she's-...”
Looking up in a daze she didn't catch the end of that sentence, her ears were no longer working. What caught her attention though was a pair of hands that gently grabbed her face starting the creation of a clear memory burned into her mind forever. The girl's eyes ringed with worry looking down from above. They were a beautiful bright shiny blue with an otherworldly pattern to them. A face while marred by injury still remained expressive and had a quality to it that made her temporarily forget the pain throbbing all over. Mouth moving but message unheard. Soft lips undecipherable in her mental haze.
The next thing she was aware of was an oxygen line shoved down her windpipe and that the face was gone leaving a sharp pin prick of hollow loss in her chest. View replaced by the orderlies and doctors of the small hospital she had been taken to against her will that became a general blur as she was wheeled on a gurney into an emergency surgery. Her last memory of that night was the bright lights aimed down from the ceiling and the cold numbing feeling that bloomed from her lungs when the air supply changed.
When she woke up surrounded by wires and tubes she spotted her coat somehow in one piece waiting for her on a chair. Enough yen for a train ticket stuffed into a pocket pinned to a note apologizing for not staying, apologizing for pulling the item off her to save it from getting cut apart by the nurses, and a generic get well soon.
In the following days she learned the room and operation had been paid in full, in cash, by her anonymous savior simply going by the name Kanto Drifter from the nurses that came to answer a call button.
In the following months after she returned to her post every attempt to figure out who her mysterious life saver was ended fruitlessly. The existence untraceable by even her talented information specialist became relegated to just a memory of a selfless nameless ghost. Those beautiful eyes, and the gentlest touch she could remember, that appeared in lucid dreams after midnight to embrace her and carry her off to a temporary tranquil escape in deep sleep from the never ending stream of aches and pains she needed to endure for the good of all. Those nights in phantom caring arms were the only ones she truly got any rest.
A little over two years later Student Council President Satsuki Kiryuin was walking down the white stone steps of her castle in Tokyo bay flanked on either side by an honor guard of students when a commotion broke her thoughts. Casually looking down her nose at the disturbance likely mere moments away from being crushed into the dirt by the disciplinary committee her eyes widened at an utterance in a familiar voice aimed at her that died on the familiar lips that spoke them.
“Hey you! You the queen around-... Here?”
In an instant her stone mask faltered and morphed into a look of genuine surprise. Focus squarely on the pair of eyes that looked up at her equally shocked. A pair of very unique eyes that could only belong to her nameless guardian angel. With a wave of her hand the two dozen students preparing to take the girl down stopped before they could tackle her. Walking down to get closer a red sword's tip pointed at her lowered to the ground. Standing facing each other within reach they were both at a loss for words while memories of a cold night came back anew.
Satsuki had redoubled her training since that hospital stay. Had emergency defense systems and tunnels built and installed into her fortress school in case the unforeseen were to occur. In case she were to falter and find herself in need of retreating to live and fight another day. She wasn't one to throw away hard earned wisdom regardless of the source.
She was aware enough to order Gamagori to cease and desist when his regalia burst forth to readiness in a flash of light neither of them payed any particular attention to. His protests shot down by a single commanding shout. Squaring her feet she lightly bowed to the girl before stepping aside to motion her toward the school with a wave of her arm.
“I owe you an incalculably high personal debt. If there is anything I can help you with I would be delighted to discuss it over tea. Would you please join me?”
Cautiously accepting the invitation the very real girl she would learn to be Ryuko Matoi put her half scissor away as they walked back toward the school's doors side by side holding light conversation reminiscing on events following the fateful night. Leaving almost everyone Satsuki had gathered into her army at a complete loss as to what the hell was going on and how some delinquent transfer nobody was on a first name basis with the Queen of Honnouji.
In the following days they became something more than fast friends and confidants. Kindred souls reunited.
In the following months they would fight a war in Kamui as something more than comrades in arms.
Until finally on one bright January morning, when the sun rose where just hours earlier the whole world believed it never would again, they woke up in each others arms as something more than sisters.
Bare skin protected from the morning chill rolling off the bay by a long white coat dutifully cared for ever since it had been saved by her guardian angel.