Suki in a Shell

Chapter 2: Shock

"WHAT!" I gasped, completely awe struck by Izzi's previous statement.

"It's because I love you... silly."

"What did he mean by that. Was he serious? Was he kidding? He didn't say it like he was kidding. What could possibly possess him to say something like that!"

"Um..." I stuttered, not sure of what to say in response, I felt my head pounding, struggling and rushing to think of something that I could say to either ignore that statement or redirect it somehow. There was no luck. Izzi tilted his head slightly, finally letting go of my arm and sitting himself up straight right next to my sleeping bag.

"Are you alright Tahei? You look really pale right now."

"I FEEL pale."

"And don't call me Tahei." I sighed, finally managing to get out from my coverings to reveal my gym clothes. I had slept in my gym clothes of a white t-shirt and shorts because I didn't feel like sleeping in my uniform, and Izzi didn't have any spare pajamas. Izzi on the other hand was dressed head to toe in dark green Pjs with several thick, black stripes around where your joints normally are.

"Aww, but Tahei is such a cute nickname though. What reason is there not to like it." Izzi replied, slightly leaning on me as he sat up along side me. He wouldn't stop until he was completely leaning on my shoulder. With his head resting against my side and totally relaxed. It sent another chill up my spine.

"It's because it's cute that I don't like it... and get off me!" I growled, immediately dashing to the side and bashing my head into Izzi's desk not to far back. I grasped the back of my head as a sharp sting of pain ran through my skull. Rubbing my new wound with a painful moan, Izzi picked up on this and inched a little closer.

"Are you ok?" he casually asked. There went another chill up my spine. What spooked me the most was that not only was he saying all this weird stuff with a straight face, but he was acting totally sincere. It was like he genuinely meant what he was stating. When you're around girls that give you sarcastic remarks every day, you tend to pick up on the things that people do when they lie or when they're joking. "Do you want me to kiss it?" As I looked over to Izzi after he said this, I examined his expression thoroughly to look for any sign that he was kidding, playing with me, joking, something to give me comfort that he wasn't acting nor was he serious. Izzi was showing no signs of such. Either he was an incredible actor or something was wrong here.

"NO!" I choked, trying to keep my cool to no avail. "Are you ok? Are you sick or something? You're acting weird."

"Weird how?" Izzi questioned, tilting his head to the side. Was this new to him? Did he not know what was going on? Something told me that this wasn't quite the case.

"Weird as in you say weird stuff in the morning. Like that one thing you said to excuse you hugging my arm!" I reminded. I was suddenly bombarded with those five words back into my brain burning a crevice in it.

"It's because I love you!"

"Who says that even when they're joking?"

"Oh, that? I only said it because it's true." Izzi cheerfully answered inching a little more towards me. He crawled on his hands and knees to right about the point where I was leaning on the side of Izzi's desk. He had this odd stare in his eye that I faintly recognized from somewhere. Where was it though? I couldn't quite remember. As I analyzed his expression a little further, I noticed a few subtle details. The faint blankness in a half open-eyed stare, the penetrating grin he had and the blank feeling he gave off.

"Oh my god. He's staring at me like Nanami stares at him from math class!"

In case none of you know, that's not a good sign.

"What is his deal? He's acting all attached to me and clingy. Hell, it's almost like he's..."

Before I could finish that thought I realized what was going on here. It was obvious to me now and I didn't get why I didn't notice it sooner. I guess I should have figured since it was Izzi was talking about.

"Ok, I get it now. Drop the act Izzi, I get what you're trying to tell me." I sighed, finally able to relax and lean myself more gently against the desk behind me. I felt a little more relieved knowing what was going on, but Izzi didn't seem to agree.

"Trying to tell you what?" he quirked, arching his eyebrow and sitting down only inches away from me. His legs bent off to the side and his hands between his thighs holding himself up.

"Well it's obvious that you overheard me last night when I was making a wish on that stupid amulet you gave me. You're either trying to make fun of me or you're trying to teach me a lesson saying that true love can't come from something like that." I rationalized. It was the only explanation I could think of. Even though Izumi was a cool guy, he wouldn't let that stop him from getting his point across. He tosses me a few hi-jinks every now and again, so this probably wasn't an exception. Even though this thesis was clear in my head, it didn't seem to show on Izzi's expression. He could only tilt his head in confusion and give me a black look on his face. Either he didn't quite understand what I was getting at, or he was a great actor.

"Amu-... what?" he questioned, inching his face a little closer towards mine giving me a hard gaze. He was surveying me intensely like he was trying to figure something out. Did I have something on my face? I might as well have, because that's the kind of look I was getting. "Are you feeling alright Tahei? Did you have a bad dream?" Izzi double questioned as he picked up one of his hands and put it against my forehead.

"Don't call me Tahei!"

He was checking for a fever while I was checking to see if I was dreaming. Was he still playing dumb? I wasn't sure anymore. Izzi normally doesn't keep this up for this long. I slapped the hand Izumi was using to check if I was sick and managed to stand up. Izzi could only watch as I did so.

"Stop playing dumb! That one amulet of av-... a-... abnormally stupid names!" I insisted, starting to inform him about yesterday after school. "Yesterday was my birthday? Right?"

"Yeah, your 16th one."

"Well instead of getting me a car or something you gave me this weird piece of paper on a string. You called it by a weird name and you said it would grant any wish I wanted on a full moon. I did that last night, you must have heard me, and now you're making fun of me!" I finished, creating a new tone with that last sentence and turned it into a yell. Izumi flinched as I did so, shutting his eyes slightly and leaning back. After I had finished my borderline psychotic rant, Izzi cleared his throat slightly and spoke with a confused tone.

"What are you talking about? I never gave you anything like that." Izumi protested, crossing his arms and putting on a pout. "Tahei deserves so much more than that. That's why I could only give you one thing for your birthday."

"Don't call me Tahei!"

"So what was it then." I argued, trying to mimic the same atmosphere that Izzi was giving off. This was mainly a childly-protestant attitude and a hit of denial. Izumi reacted to this last question I had with a suddenly renewed smile. He inched a little closer on his knees and looked up to me with a half open-eyed stare and a blushful expression.

"My heart."

I think I heard something snap; it might have been my mind. I proceeded to pound the bottom of my fist into Izumi's skull, and knock him to the floor.

"Don't say stuff like that!" I scolded, looking at my now injured friend for such an outrageous statement. "You're really starting to freak me out!" Izzi started to pick himself up and rub the top of his skull which I impulsively smashed in.

"Jeez Tahei, you're so aggressive sometimes." he moaned. His dismal vibe didn't last long though. He easily recovered from this blow and stared back up at me. "But that's what I love about you!" He put a little too much emphasis on the word "love".

"Will you stop using that word!" I growled, raising my fist for another punch. I was usually like this. When I had nothing to say I would usually resort to strength. I had little of it, so it didn't do much harm to Izumi if none at all.

"Come on kids, get up and get ready for school!" I heard a smooth, high voice say from downstairs. Izzi's room was on the second floor, and the kitchen was directly below us much to his mother's convenience. She could just speak normally or maybe a little higher and we could easily hear her from up here.

"You heard her Iz, lets get dressed... and quit acting weird!" I sighed with a hint of depression. Needless to say I wasn't happy about school, and just hearing that I had to go was enough to get me down. Oh well, it's not like today would be any worse than yesterday.

"You lucked out this time Asakawa, believe that I'll be back tomorrow."

"Or will it."

"Lets go then!" I heard Izzi say enthusiastically. Izzi proceeded to stand up and commit the strangest act he could do to this date. He prepared his stance for a lung forward, eyed my body directly ahead of him, and jumped.

This of course caused me to inevitably topple over. I nearly had whiplash as this happened forcing my head to jet backwards and away from my friend. We both landed with a loud thud and crashed onto the wooden floor. I groaned in pain slightly at this seemingly violent, spontaneous act. Izzi was on top of me while I was completely dazed on the bottom. The loud thud that could be heard after this act was still booming and I thought I heard my eardrums ringing. I could feel a slight tug on the bottom of my shirt, and I looked down.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" I gasped. Izzi could be clearly seen pulling my gym shirt up to reveal an exposed chest. I should have counted my lucky stars he didn't go for the shorts. "Are you insane?"

"What? We both need to undress to get in our uniforms." Izzi obliviously uttered. He was totally convinced what he was doing right now wasn't wrong.

"I can undress myself!"

"But it's more fun this way."

"Get off me!"

I struggled with bending my right leg and maneuvering it underneath Izzi's arm. This allowed me to position it at Izumi's face and kick him off my body. I sat up afterwards, pulling down my shirt furiously at my friend's behavior. I stood up and dusted myself off, promptly reaching over for my backpack with my uniform folded inside it.

"I'm going on ahead. I'll just... put my uniform on over my gym clothes." I growled, promptly beginning to exit the room.

In the end, that's exactly what I did. I went to the bathroom and put my gym clothes on over my uniform. The reason I just didn't take my gym clothes off and put my uniform on was because I could see Izzi peeking slightly from the bathroom door. His eye barely visible as he sneakily tried to get a peek. I ended up slamming the door on his face, leaving the house soon after.

As I walked to school I couldn't help but think that Izzi was sick or something. Was he for real about what he said?

"It's because I love you... silly."

That sent another chill up my spine, just the shear thought of such a thing kind of made me sick. Stuff like that should be kept in manga... and anime... and late night television shows. I couldn't be sure if he was sick or still playing his little joke on me, but oddly, I couldn't help but think that there was something more to it than a simple illness or perhaps a mental instability. What could it be though?

My mind instantly went to that stupid charm I wished on last night. There was no possible way that's the case though, right? Of course not, magic doesn't work nor does it exist. There should be some other form of explanation, right?

My mind continued to ponder this as I walked over to my next class with a newfound bruise on my arm. A couple of girls took the liberty of punching it as they walked by and knocked me to the ground. Don't judge me, those girls hit hard. They've had practice on me for months now. It happens nearly every morning so I was used to it though, I always went to school fully prepared to take a few new injures. It only gave me an excuse to visit the school nurse Ms. Mohara. She's pretty cool. I developed a friendly relationship with her due to my constant visits to her office. You know, due to my everyday injures. We play checkers on Wednesdays after school after the seniors toss me off the staircase in the junior hallway. That thing isn't so high so I never end up with anything more than a bump to my head.

Anyway, my first class was history, and as I entered I couldn't help but feel a slightly different atmosphere in the air. It was less malefic and you couldn't feel the instant change from casual to awkward as I entered. I looked around the room to see nobody was staring at me. Why was this? That's normally what they do as I walk over to my seat. Was I more quiet than usual entering? I don't think so. Was it because I was in the wrong class. No, this was definitely Mr. Takahata's classroom. I could tell because of all the weird posters of those jokes about the middle ages. One of the posters had a picture of two knights standing next to a horse. One the knights had a dialog box above his head saying "Which end of this thing is the on button?"

I immediately took my seat as the bell chimed through my ear. I normally sat in the back because it gave me the best chance of avoiding everyone's gaze. Mr. Takahata would definitely notice if all of his students were looking behind themselves rather than in front of him. Mr. Takahata began to take role.

"Suzuki?"

"Here!"

"Takahashi?"

"Here sir."

"Yamamoto?"

"Present."

"Kamanari?" Mr. Takahata asked. It was normally the time when someone was suppose to say "Here!' and move on. However, the name that our teacher spoke didn't speak up, and I knew why. "Kamanari?" Mr. Takahata uttered once more, taking a moment to look up from his attendance sheet to scan the area. He adjusted his square glasses slightly and arched one of his eyebrows. "Has anyone seen Izumi Kamanari?"

"Must have stayed home. Who knows, maybe he really was sick after all."

"Here sir!" I heard a familiar voice call as I heard the sudden and abrupt opening of the classroom's door. Izumi was on the other side with a slightly-broken look about him. His blood-red tie was crocked and loosely tied, the white shirt underneath his blazer was untucked on one end, and his hair was a little matted.

"It's clear he rushed to get to school."

"Excellent Kamanari, please take a seat." Mr. Takahata instructed. Izzi promptly did so with a bow and jogged over to his seat. Our classroom was divided into eleven tables where at each table sat two students. Izzi, being the only person in the whole school who wouldn't rather kill themselves than sit next to me is of course my seat partner. He took his seat at the chair beside me to my right leaving me free to look out the window next to me. Usually Izzi had the window seat and we always had this "You snooze you lose" kind of deal with it. Whoever got the classroom first got the window seat. Well guess who had it today. I wasn't all to busy looking outside it, however, since I was staring over at Izumi who was taking out his notebook for some notes we were suppose to jot down.

"Feeling any better?" I asked with a slightly sarcastic tone. I didn't mean to come across so rude, but how could I help it when the guy tried to strip me an hour ago.

"Much, thanks." he simply replied as he grabbed a pencil from the table's built-in cubby near the bottom of it. All you really had to do was slide out slightly to access it. It was right about at your stomach level. I could tell that Izzi's answer was only half-hearted though, he was more focused on writing down what he needed to in class. That was Izzi for you, he was always serious about his schoolwork. I, on the other hand, am what you call an "academic delinquent" and don't quite fit the character description to take notes. I prefer to use the term "lazy genius" but the school board won't let me.

Anyway, I spent this period looking out the window to my side instead of writing down important information. The girls were actually having gym class outside today on the track. Thankfully, Mr. Takahata's classroom faces this way and I got to see it all. They were running laps and I could just watch as they made circles around the yard. To most it sounds boring, but to me, it was rather entertaining. Occasionally one of the girls in the class trips on her own feet. Afterwards, I laugh once I recognize that girl to be one of them who pick on me. Oh, who am I kidding, every girl picks on me.

However, there was still hope, out in the wasteland where all the poisonous and wicked flowers bloom, a single blossom protruded from the mossy ground. I recognized her from anywhere. That dark-brown, waving hair just rustling about in the air as she sprinted. That amazingly positive smile as she conversed with her fellow class, her angelic eyes of sympathy and kindness radiating to me all the way from down there. There was no doubt about it.

"That's Ayaka, the girl from yesterday!"

There was no doubt in my mind, she was the one who came to my rescue out of all the other girls in this school. That has to count for something, right? I mean come on, all the girls in this school want me dead. All except her, the flower that grows highest amongst them all.

"I'm a poet and didn't know it."

To be honest I spent most of my time staring at her as the girls played volleyball the entire period. I wasn't even paying attention to Mr. Takahata's lecture on the... well I really don't know what it was about hence me not paying attention. But that was ok, I had an ace up my sleeve.

"Damn." I uttered, silently cursing to myself as I heard the bell chime. I had just realized by this point that I was zoned for the entire class. My attention immediately fell over to my ace in the hole, my card up my sleeve, my... you get the idea. "Izzi! Did you take any notes? I need them!" Izzi looked over to me with a tilted head, slightly confused by what I just said.

"You didn't take any notes? What have you been doing this whole time?" Izzi curiously questioned, he was about to take his notebook back into his backpack where his notes were kept.

"Staring at girls."

"Contemplating the theory of relativity." I lied. What was I suppose to tell him? He'd chew me out if he knew I had my head in the clouds this entire time. Even though he's my friend and all, Izzi is the one responsible for my passing grades. If it weren't for him, I'd still be in the 8h grade... Ok ok, 7th grade.

"You were staring at girls weren't you." he glared. Izzi's fierce tone with this statement made it all the more piercing. I held my chest at the metaphorical stab that was so horrible I could physically feel it.

"How much more accurate can you get?"

"Ok ok, I admit it. Can I just see your notes?" I begged, no, pleaded as I placed my hands in a praying gesture and shut my eyes in pure beseech of my friend. He sighed, and pulled his notebook out once more to hand it to me.

"Fine, just give it back before school ends, I still need to write some stuff down." he grumbled, slightly annoyed by the fact I was using his notes. I immediately donned a joyful expression and snatched the notebook away. I would take a quick peak at it to see a relative idea of what I missed.

"Let's see... chapter nine, chapter ten... chapter ele-..."

I turned the page and my eye twitched, my jaw slightly dropped, and my vision slightly blurred indicating a near-faint. What I was looking at were not notes, they were not pieces of information, hell, no human being should even call them markings in general.

On the paper were sketches of myself in an anime drawing-style in a bunch of strange and random positions. One of them depicted me sitting in a chair backwards so my front was leaning on the back of the chair, staring up at the artist with a wink of the eye. Another portrayed me in a bed with a rustled-up bed covering underneath me and my school uniform still on me. However, my blazer was unbuttoned, the white shirt underneath it pulled up about half-way to expose my belly-button. The tie loosely undone and hanging around to the side. The expression on my face made it look like I was asleep. I would go on, but I'm scaring myself just re-living those things. I'm sure you all are asking a question such as "How do you know it was you?", well, allow me to answer. At the bottom right hand of the page was written the word "Tahei" with one heart on each side of the name. The hearts greatly detailed to give it a three-dimensional look.

"What in the hell!"

"Izzi..." I flinched, trying to contain the amount of awkward and creepy energy that was emitting from these drawings.

"Yes?" he asked, zipping up his backpack like nothing was wrong or out of the ordinary.

"What exactly are these..."

"Huh?" Izzi quirked as he seemed to realize what I was getting at. He stopped for a second and slung on his backpack to walk over and look at his notebook. "Oh those. Those are just some drawings of you."

That's when I socked the stomach of Izzi. I drew back my fist and pounded it into the front of his lower-chest, forcing him backwards towards the ground. It took him only a moment to get at least to his knees, and me to get furious.

"Don't say that like it's no big deal!" I yelled, instantly closing the evil notebook and tossing it Izzi's way. This ended up with it colliding against his face when Izzi tried to turn and face me. "Why the hell do you have so many drawings of me in weird positions!"

"What exactly is so weird about the chair one." Izzi questioned as he picked his notebook from off the floor and began to flip through it. An arched eyebrow about him as he finally reached the page with his sketches.

"Well, nothing, but I'm guessing you only did that as a practice sketch."

"Is it really that obvious?"

"That's it!"

I definitely remember what happened next. I grabbed Izumi's arm and started to drag him out of the classroom and out into the hallway. I knew exactly what to do with this. I used an iron grip to haul Izzi to the one person who I thought could tell me what was going on. "I'm taking you to Ms. Mohara! I've had enough of this, if you're sick, she'll tell me what's wrong with you. If you got a concussion she'll tell me where. If you got the sense knocked out of you she'll tell me how."

"The school nurse?" Izzi questioned, tilting his head slightly. Once he realized where I was heaving him, his expression turned dark, his eyes turned fearful, and his mouth glued shut. He immediately yanked himself from my grip. Tears started to form in his eyes and a whimper escaped this throat. I hastily responded to this with a dive for Izzi's feet, grabbing one of his sneakers and pulling it out from under him. This caused him to collapse on the floor leaving me free to pull his body.

"I can't believe he's making me do this."

"Noooo Tahei please! I hate Ms. Mohara! She's a physician, she's a nurse, and worst of all she has a bachelor's degree in modern medicine!" Izzi uttered clawing at the tile floor for dear life. He was acting like I was taking him to the gallows. I think I even saw some tears come out of his eyes on the way.

"I'm pretty sure that just means she's a doctor." I sighed. I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but Izumi is terrified of doctors, nurses, really anyone who practices medicine. He's had a bad history with them.

It mostly flared up in the third grade when Izzi was sick at home with a bad flu. The doctors prescribed him some penicillin to help with the virus. Unfortunately, the doctors had no idea that Izzi was allergic to penicillin and neither did his parents. He had to be taken to the hospital to respond to his reaction and ended up bedridden for two days. His flu was gone, but the new problem were his meds. That's not all either. When Izzi was about to get vaccinated for the swine flu in the sixth grade, he was originally going to receive the shot from a local doctor in the hospital. However, after he received the shot, the spot where he was vaccinated became infected and Izzi received an unhealthy dose of tetanus. Which, of course, also had to be vaccinated. Have you ever gotten a shot to treat something you got from another shot? I wouldn't want to, It'd scare the hell out of me.

Needless to say Izzi has been staying clear of doctors ever since then. Whenever he's sick he toughs it out at school, whenever he's taking medication he always does background checks on the doctor who prescribed them to him along with research as to what chemicals and minerals the medication contains. It's a bit of a hassle, but hey, Izzi hasn't received any deadly medication or infectious shots since then, so who knows; maybe he isn't totally crazy after all.

At the present moment though, I was completely convinced Izzi was crazy. Or at least sick, one or the two. There's got to be some kind of sickness that alters your thought process or clouds your mind or something. There's got to be a reason why Izzi is acting like this. No longer was I convinced this was a joke. Oh no, this was something more. Something was legitimately wrong with my best friend and I wanted to find out what. I approached the nurses office quite disgruntled. This was mostly because I had to be seen dragging Izzi by his feet down the hall the entire way. People were giving us stares, and some of them were whispering to each other. Meanwhile, Izzi was begging and pleading me to let go and continued to attempt to bargain with me. He offered to do my homework for a week, he offered to carry me to school on his back, he even offered to put butter all over his body and allow me to lick it off. I hit him for that last one.

"Ms. Mohara!" I yelled, kicking open the nurse office's door with a powerful thrust of my leg. I had to do so because my hands were full with Izumi's ankles. If you looked behind me you could still see him mindlessly and instinctively clawing at the tiles, making small, noticeable indentations in the chrome surface with his pathetic excuses for fingernails. A horrified and terrorized expression covering his face. He looked like he was being sent to his death and he was trying to fight back. I looked back at this and my eye twitched. I wasn't completely sure, but I think I might have just given him an emotional scar.

Ms. Mohara, as I said before, was the school nurse. I knew her personally due to my constant visits with her due to daily injuries from my fellow classmates. We were more friends than anything else, but I tried to maintain my distance from her due to our occupations. I didn't want this to turn into a "forbidden love" scenario like you sometimes see in soup operas or bad romantic comedies. Ms. Mohara seemed to flinch as I kicked the door down and barged right in. She was working at her desk writing up an injury report from a patient that she apparently recently treated. I knew what the sheet was because she fills out at least one for me every week. I remember in the month of November I actually had to help her with them by filling in a few myself. Ms. Mohara gently turned around lifting down her glasses in a reading style. Her arched eyebrow barely showed in the blonde bangs that came down covering them just barely. The rest of her hair was fairly short, and gave off a tomboyish atmosphere. In a puzzled manner, she precariously turned around in her swivel chair and tried to act as calm as possible to what I had just done. She adjusted her white lab coat's collar slightly and placed one of her legs to cross it with the other.

"Taruhei? What do we have here?" she asked untroubled with only a hint of perplexity. She looked down on the person I was dragging as she adjusted her clear-framed glasses back to her eyes level and tilted her head slightly. "Is he dead?"

"He might as well be."

"No he's not dead!" I growled. Ms. Mohara was one to jump to conclusions. To her, the first answer to a situation you come up with is always the correct one. Although I was actually surprised that she asked me before actually proclaiming that Izumi was dead. That was a new one for her. This of course meant that one talk I had with her about it two weeks ago was starting to sink through. I had spoken with her about this "jumping to conclusions" thing that long ago when I came to her with a lump on my chest from when the seniors tossed footballs at me. She assumed it was a severe case of lung cancer and threatened to quarantine the school. Man, was that an interesting week. "I think he's sick. Could you examine him, Ms. Mohara?"

"Well as long as he's not dead. You have no idea how much paperwork I have to go through if a student dies on campus." she uttered, turning back towards her desk to situate a few papers into a neat stack. It seemed like there were only ten or twenty sheets, so it was easy to do so. Once this was done, she got up from her desk and walked across the room where a bed was located. This was for students who needed to lie down and rest in case of light-headedness or possibly a muscular injury. "Set him down."

"Mark my words Tahei, you shall never drag me into hell!" Izzi proclaimed as he proceeded to grasp the edge of the nurse office's door and hook onto it for dear life. His terrorized expression turned to shear rage as he attempted to anchor himself onto the door's edge.

"Stop talking about Ms. Mohara like she's the devil!"

"Who's to say she isn't!"

I strained my expression and pulled harder away from the door, trying to get Izzi inside the office at the very least. However, as I squinted my eyes in struggle, I heard a loud thud. It was the sound of something blunt impacting a hard surface such as a wall or possibly... a person? Yeah, I recognize that sound anywhere from when someone punches me. There was always a distinct sound to it and that was the sound. Where was it coming from though? I opened my eyes and gasped, in horror and what was before me.