A/N: Apologies for the extreme delay. School ate up my time, what with January modules and June exams. Here's an update, and I'll see if i can get in a few more before the end of summer.

Episode 6: Enter the Dragon! Kirinketsu Kazushi

Time to get up, Kirinketsu Kazushi. The teenager pulled his pillow over his head, not bothering to respond. You cannot block me out that easily, Kazushi. Irritated that the pillow wasn't muffling the voice, the boy put his hands over his ears, hoping to fall asleep again. You can't silence a voice in your head. Kazushi removed his hands at once, sitting up regally. The pillow fell on the floor as the boy asked,

"Who are you and why are you contacting me in this way?" The voice was impressed.

So you instantly believe me to be another person…you don't suspect that you are asleep and dreaming, or hallucinating, or going mad. How astute. Yet you make an assumption. Why? Kazushi's ebony eyes narrowed.

"One, I am currently in a stable state. Two, if you were no more than a voice in my head…you would most likely either be criticising me or feeding me delusions of grandeur."The voice, stoic and proud, laughed.

Then I shall test your convictions. What if I said that you, Kirinketsu Kazushi, had been chosen to save the world? Kazushi smirked.

"Elaborate." The voice complied,

I know that you know your Chinese myths. Yin and yang, a complete circle. What if it broke- if the two opposite and equal parts separated? Strife and imbalance. Ensuing discord that would sunder the East and tear the West apart. Kazushi got up, going down to breakfast while the voice carried on, The Chinese Zodiac animals exist also. They must co-operate with humans to ensure that balance is restored. So, that's twelve people chosen to save the world. The teenager nodded, helping himself to cereal. Today was an interesting day and it had barely started. Your birthday falls between the beginning of April and May. That is the birth month of the Dragon. Kazushi's smirk grew.

"So, I have been chosen by the Dragon to work with eleven other people to restore the balance." He felt the impression of the voice nodding. Correct. Yin and yang have a physical form- a medallion. It has been split, and the pieces stolen. You are needed to find them and bring them together…and keep them out of the hands of evildoers. You'll need to find the other five yang animals. That would be your first task. Kazushi's smirk faded as he shovelled the cereal into his mouth, swallowing it quickly.

"Will I receive any aid in this task? It seems like a difficult one." The Dragon laughed, an awe-inspiring sound. Of course, although the powers I'll bestow on you are mainly for combat. You receive one passive power, which is permanently in effect, and one active power which is combat-oriented. Kazushi finished the cereal, his attention piqued. A Dragon often finds himself the centre of attention, and your passive power is to automatically divert attention to yourself. Kazushi hummed thoughtfully. Your combat power…now that is more interesting. As one of the most powerful Zodiac signs, naturally this power will augment your fighting abilities. Kazushi, you're already competent in combat, yes? Kazushi nodded.

"I hold a red belt in karate." The Dragon nodded again. Dragons are traditionally fiery creatures. When you activate this power, you will activate a fiery aura. Your strikes and blocks will be suffused with dragonfire. However, I will warn you now; dragonfire is powered by chi- life force. If you use this power for too long, it will drain you. You must be careful with it. Kazushi seemed pleased.

"Useful." The Dragon fell silent, allowing him to get ready for school.

Kazushi walked through the park coolly in his dark red uniform. He noticed Amami Yuki walking at a slightly quicker pace than usual. Breathing in the fresh morning air, he checked his watch.

"Amami-san is two minutes later than usual." He observed, continuing on his way. As he walked, the uniforms of the other large schools in Tokyo passed him by. A thought occurred to him. "Dragon, which animal in the zodiac are you?" I am the fifth. Why? Kazushi used his mind to figure it out- "If you're the fifth and I'm in Tokyo, does that mean that the preceding four are here also?" Luckily for Kazushi, Dragon was the chosen servant of Seiryu, the Azure Dragon and protector of the Wood element, and he'd been in contact with his master. Well, normally they'd end up scattered around the entire East, but at the last meeting of the Element protectors…something happened, and because of that event, you have all been placed in Tokyo. Kazushi grinned. "Perfect!" Dragon didn't dare tell him that it was Suzaku's wings that had altered fate- he would not incriminate the bird by telling everyone. "I'll come up with a way to find them."

He got into school shortly after Amami Yuki. Checking his watch again, he ensured that he had arrived in good time to get everything ready. Kazushi was the class president, of course. Pulling open the sliding door, he observed that the classroom was looking slightly messy, with some paper on the floor…and the board hadn't been completely cleaned. He started to tidy it up immediately. As the first few students filed in, he'd finished the job. The last students to enter the classroom hurried in, just before the teacher. Kazushi couldn't stop himself from frowning. Unfortunately, Tokyo North High School had a fair share of delinquents, and a few of these happened to be in Kazushi's class. As class president, he was responsible for keeping order, and even though some of the delinquents had relations in the yakuza he wouldn't shy away from the task. As the teacher entered, he stood up, his cool voice snapping out orders. "Stand." The class stood, some reluctantly. "Rei!" The class bowed to the teacher. "Sit." Everyone complied and he sat down, a satisfied smile on his face. The morning break came quickly, and Kazushi could sense from the way the delinquents were discussing things with discontented looks on their faces that today would be a troublesome day.

"Hey, Kirinketsu-kun, how's it going?" He was distracted from observing the delinquents by someone who looked equally menacing when their temper was finally roused. He looked up to see the strongest member of the soccer team.

"Kohaku-san." Unamori Kohaku was tall, had muscles and a dazzling smile. This was the reason why he had a fan club among the girls of Tokyo North. Brushing his dark fringe out of his face, he grinned at Kazushi.

"That would be me. Did you happen to watch the game last week?" To tell the truth, Kazushi only watched out of loyalty to the school. He admitted that Shimizu Kaitou, the captain of the team, had some skill. He was tall enough to head the ball, small enough to dodge tackles. He was lightning fast and had a tactical mind. But Kohaku was all for the visual aspect- he'd show off and played to the crowd. Kazushi had no interest in flashy tricks.

"Yes. We won, did we not?" Kohaku nodded. His amber eyes that matched his name (and the girls were smitten by them) sparkled as he spoke,

"Of course! Did you see my goal?" Kazushi was far too self-controlled to roll his eyes, but the urge was a strong one.

"I did." Luckily at that moment, their conversation was interrupted by the loud clattering sound of a desk being knocked to the floor.

"You shut your mouth!" One delinquent, Ito, shouted, clenching his fist and readying a punch at Yuudai. Kazushi frowned, the last thing he needed now was a fight. If only he could stop them from paying so much attention to each other… Everyone's eyes suddenly turned to him, and he blinked, his cool exterior disrupted by the sudden change in the atmosphere.

"Uh…a desk fell over, can you please pick it up?" He asked and Ito shrugged, unclenching his fists and heaving it back to its feet. Soon, everyone was busy doing other things and Kazushi realised that this was the passive power that Dragon had spoken of. Kohaku was still staring at him, and he waved a hand in front of Kohaku's eyes. "Hello, are you there?" Kohaku snapped out of it,

"So was it a good goal?" Kazushi sighed.

"Yes, yes it was." At that moment, the bell signalling the end of break rang. Kohaku went and sat down, leaving a relieved Kazushi.

"Ito, refrain from punching Yuudai. Yuudai, stop provoking Ito." Kazushi's voice cut through the noise like steel. His interjection stopped the delinquents right away. They looked surprised that someone had intervened, and then grew angry.

"Oi! It's not your fight, Kirinketsu, stay out of it!" Yuudai nodded vigorously. Kazushi folded his arms,

"That may be so, but don't fight in school time. You're disrupting everything." Kohaku watched him, glaring. Yuudai answered,

"Get lost, you b-" Kazushi cut him off coolly,

"And don't swear when others are around either." Ito looked meaningfully at his friends, and they surrounded him.

"I think we should take this outside. You'll regret interfering in our fight!" Kazushi, to everyone's chagrin, agreed.

"Fine. Where?" Ito laughed at his courage.

"Sports field. Now." Kazushi followed them out, eager to see the Dragon's combat powers strengthen him. That, and if he beat them, they'd listen to him when he reprimanded them in future. They reached the field at least and Ito's gang fanned out, surrounding him. Yuudai and his friends did the same. Kazushi immediately took a defensive stance. Suddenly, he felt something rushing through his veins, hot and powerful. As the first gang member rushed at him, he sidestepped. The gang member stumbled and Kazushi span round on his left foot, turning to face the gang member and lashing out with his right foot. He caught the gang member in the small of the back, and the member wailed before falling over. To Kazushi's shock, a burn mark appeared where his shoe had struck. Was this the power of the dragonfire? Suddenly, something whizzed past his ear. The group had thrown something at him! He dropped into a crouch, letting them fly past harmlessly. He glanced at Ito, realising that they were throwing stones! Yuudai shouted something at the group and they began to throw the stones all at once, synchronising their actions. Kazushi raised his hands and a bright orange glow enveloped them. As a stone flew at him, he moved quickly, the side of his hand knocking it out the way. Several sparks were given off as he did so, and as they threw more and more stones, his movements sped up. Eventually, he became a blur and Ito hissed,

"Stop throwing stones!" They stopped and Kazushi halted suddenly, panting slightly. His eyes, formerly green, had morphed into an orange hue. Another three people rushed him and he let his instincts guide him, jumping up into the air and split kicking two in the chest. They both cursed as his feet burned them and sent them flying. He landed just as the third aimed a punch at him. He caught it, gripping the gang member by the wrist. Suddenly, he whined,

"Ah, ah! It burns!" Kazushi watched him in confusing before letting go. He clutched his wrist, whining, and sat on the ground. Evidently the delinquents weren't getting anywhere, as Ito and Yuudai rushed into the fray. Kazushi moved with them, fending off punches and kicks, throwing in his own unsuccessful strikes. Ito glanced across to Yuudai and they both smiled evilly. Suddenly they moved at the same time, both punching with their left arm. Kazushi, caught off guard by their uniting, was hit and he slid backwards, breathing heavily. They were beginning to overpower him and he was running out of energy. In a desperate last-ditch attempt to beat them, he summoned his remaining power and leapt at them. He left a trail of fire behind him and crashed into them with all the force of a meteor. Ito and Yuudai flew across the field before rolling to a halt, unconscious. Kazushi landed unsteadily, his breath ragged. The remaining gang members scrambled away, terrified. He grinned and then his eyes rolled back into his head. He collapsed on the field, energy spent.

Kazushi slowly opened his eyes. He ached all over and felt as if a ton of bricks had landed on him. Kazushi, you're awake? He nodded slowly, his head heavy. You used a lot of dragonfire. I warned you that it would drain you. Are you alright? Kazushi breathed out,

"Everything aches…and it's heavy…" The Dragon, reassured, fell silent. Kazushi then realised that he'd collapsed in the middle of the sports field at lunchtime. What time was it now? Where was he? He sat up slowly and the form of Kohaku appeared. Groaning, he lay back down, his head hitting the soft pillow below him.

"Kazushi, you're awake." The class president closed his eyes.

"Yes. Where am I? In the nursery?" Kohaku shook his head, although Kazushi didn't see it.

"Well, yes and no. You're in the physio bay of the sports centre."

"Mm." Kazushi was tired, and he didn't want to be in the company of Kohaku right now.

"I saw you fight Ito and Yuudai's gang." Kazushi opened his eyes in time to see Kohaku's face adopt a very ugly expression. He grabbed Kazushi by the shirt and pulled him towards Kohaku very violently. "If you think that you can steal my fan club, you're very wrong. Showing off doesn't solve anything." He let Kazushi fall back onto the bed, and Kazushi's eyes widened. Kohaku was jealous of him? He'd gained that much attention? He managed a comeback,

"Showing off doesn't solve anything? Maybe you should pay heed to your own words." Kohaku spun round and his fist hurtled towards Kazushi's face. Luckily, Kazushi was alert enough to catch it in his open palm, drudging up what was left of the chi needed to power his dragonfire. Kohaku hissed as his fist began to burn. Kazushi waited for a minute before letting go, and Kohaku massaged his burnt hand. He stormed off and Kazushi laid there for a while. He didn't know that Kohaku had such a jealous side to him. It was difficult to take in- Kohaku had always been the higurashi at his shoulder- all chirping, no substance. He had merely endured his chatter up until now. Wondering how this would affect things, he sat up finally, pushing aside the cover and intending to leave. Suddenly, an adult entered and Kazushi hoped that he wouldn't be scolded too harshly.

"Kirinketsu Kazushi. Fighting on school grounds, inciting a fight, injuring other students…" The man reeled off what he had done. Kazushi grimaced. "How many detentions would that cause? Or maybe even expulsion!" Kazushi had nothing to say, and looked down at his feet. "…but luckily for you, I was the only teacher to witness any of it." The class president looked up at him sharply. Gouzu-sensei was responsible for the school karate team. "Normally I would report you immediately, but I don't see why I should…if you'll hear my condition." Kazushi frowned.

"…What is it, Gouzu-sensei?" He laughed craftily.

"You join the school karate team." Kazushi shook his head disbelievingly,

"But I assaulted lots of other students! Why are you offering me immunity just like that?" Gouzu laughed, his brown eyes shining in the light.

"Well, I'm not stupid. Ito and Yuudai are known to be delinquents, and you taught 'em a lesson. If anything, we can say it was self-defence. Your fighting out there impressed me. So, what's the answer?" Kazushi smirked.

"I'll join." Gouzu laughed heartily, the brawny man shaking as he did so.

"Brilliant. Now go home and get some rest. You overexerted yourself today." Kazushi had made an ally to balance out his enemies.

"Kazu-kun, what's that bruise on your cheek?" Kazushi's mother was always stifling with her care and concern, but Kazushi didn't mind. He looked down at the gorund as if embarrassed.

"Uh...well, kaa-san, it's embarrassing…" He then muttered, "I may have walked into a door while distracted at school today…" Her expression of panic changed immediately, and she dissolved into laughter.

"My little Kazu-kun, still clumsy!" She patted his head and wandered off. Kazushi went up to his bedroom, intending to take a nap and regain energy after expending it in the fight. Have you thought of a way to find the others yet? Kazushi shook his head.

"No. The fight today took up most of my time. By the end of tomorrow I'll have a way."