It's lunch, and neither Kirei nor Sauria can find Jo. They went to her class after the bell rang and she wasn't there.
Sauria is worried. "Where do you think she went??" She grabs Kirei's arm, who resists the urge to shrug her off.
"Look, honestly she probably ditched out to avoid us. She'd never admit it but she hates it when she's helpless. She can't stand relying on people… So don't get yer panties in a wad, she'll turn up."
Sauria scowls at her. "But I rely on her all the time! And she wasn't being weird about it yesterday…"
"Look, I know ya love her but ya gotta give her space. Why do you think she still hangs out with me more than Andrew? He's a lot nicer than me."
"I… Because you've known each other longer?"
Kirei scoffs. "No, it's cause when she's hurt, which is always, I treat her the same as normal, instead of either starin at her or givin her a bunch of misguided sympathy. I don't give her that look." She glances at Sauria and raises an eyebrow. "You should know, yer the one that gets pissed when we try ta help you when yer sick."
Sauria opened her mouth to protest, but shut it just as quickly. Kirei was right. Just as they rounded the corner to get to the stairwell for their normal lunch spot on the roof, Sauria's phone vibrates.
"It's Jo." She states, and reads it quickly.
Don't worry, I just had to get out of there and have a minute to myself. I'll be up to the roof in a bit <3
Kirei reads it over her shoulder. "Well see, there ya go. She's fine."
Sauria just sighs as they make their way to the roof.
Jo ditches class as soon as the bell rang, moving as quickly as she could with her injuries. The staring was getting to her, and she needed some time to just be alone.
Bob reaches for her to stop her, but a look from Jo stops her. She might like to get in people's business, but she could sense when she needed to back off. Bob sighs and shrugs, turning down the opposite side of the hall to look for Matthew, hoping to have lunch with the prankster.
Jo was hoping to get out of the building without drawing too much attention, but it was wishful thinking. The stares were impossible to avoid, and she was could only move so fast. Slow enough, in fact, for people to easily stop her.
Jo knew it was directed at her, and sighs, turning to see a girl with bright green eyes and long blonde hair. Jo recognizes her as Aloise Fontaine, a senior and a newer transfer student from France. She also remembered the girl being a tad… forgetful.
"Mo! What happened to you?? Did you get hit by a car or something? I know it took me a while to figure out the red hand meant 'don't walk' and the person meant 'go'! I mean they should really just use words, how are we supposed to know what those little symbols mean??"
Aloise prattles on for several more minutes, her words almost indecipherable through her thick accent. Jo stares at her for part of the ramble before realizing Aloise isn't even looking at her anymore. She takes the opportunity and backs away before spinning on her heel and finally making it to the school's front doors.
Jo pushes them open, but turns to see if she escaped. Aloise is still talking animatedly to the water fountain. Jo chuckles silently and heads outside, sighing in relief at the sight of the practically empty quad.
"Andrew my man!"
Blaze Kagayaku slaps the blonde on the shoulder, which nearly makes him fumble his soda and shoot a glare at Blaze's grinning face. The two boys are sitting at the 'jock' table, surrounded by cheerleaders and preppy girls gossiping loudly around them. Blaze cockily shoves a sophomore out of his way to take his seat next to Andrew.
"Hey Blondie, what's up? You seem a bit distracted today, not even eyein' any of the cheerleaders."
"It's nothing Blaze, forget it." Andrew bites out tersely.
"Man, touchy today? This doesn't have anything to do with that fight, does it?"
Andrew stiffens and glances up at Blaze. "Why would it? How'd you hear about that?"
Blaze opens his mouth to answer when a mass of blonde curls appears in front of them, belonging to Marise Asahina. She stares at Andrew, wide-eyed.
"You weren't a part of that, were you? Because that's just not proper behavior for your social standing!"
"And how could you not hear about it, it's all over school!" Chatters a second blonde, Miki Fuyuno.
Another, shorthaired blonde, Kohaku Katsumoto, nods vigorously in agreement. Andrew vaguely recalls Jo's theory that they were clones before Marise butts in again.
"Andrew," her tone is chastising now, "you aren't hanging around those Yankis are you? Did you see that Jo girl's face? And that giant spiky-headed junior? That's what you get for hanging around people like that!" She brandishes a finger under Andrew's nose to punctuate her words.
"Besides, who needs those freaks when you've got us awesome, popular people to hang out with?" Another cheerleader, Tayuya Aran scoffs as she flicks her long black hair behind her shoulder haughtily. She leaned over Blaze, who grins cheekily at the contact. "They're all violent and weird, you know, and you're treading a thin line hanging out with them!"
Blaze shrugs her off at that. "C'mon, Tayuya, you shouldn't talk about people like that…"
"No, that's enough." Andrew gathers up his lunch and stands, ignoring the disappointed looks from the cheerleaders. "They're my friends too, and I'm not gonna sit here and listen to you badmouth them." He shakes his head in disgust and turns away from the chatty group. "I'll see you at practice Blaze."
"Hey man, wait up!" Blaze takes a minute to untangle himself from the cheerleaders before jogging to catch Andrew. "Come on man, you know those girls just say stuff without thinking."
"Yeah, well maybe you could've been a little more assertive. Some of those 'freaks' are your friends too."
Blaze sighs and looks away. "Alright man, I know and I'm sorry. But you know there's no point trying to convince them otherwise."
Andrew just shakes his head and keeps walking.
"Hey, it's not like you don't usually do the same! Normally you just ignore them too. Something's up. Come on, Andrew tell me what happened. The real story."
They both stop, Andrew glancing over at Blaze for a second before shrugging. "Most of the gossip's accurate… It's all those Goumon High punks. They attacked Jo and Tetsutenki yesterday. Not the other way around."
Blaze whistled. "Well are they all right? I haven't seen either of 'em today."
"Jo got the worst of it. I don't think she's going to be able to practice for a while." He trailed off.
"Damn, and we have a game coming up too! This sucks, our second-string center sucks! Who do those kids think they are, anyway??" Blaze huffs, his temper already worked up. "We should do something about those punks…"
Andrew brightens at Blaze's statement. "You know, I was thinking the same thing… Settle it in a brawl, you know? Those guys might think they're all gangster and tough, but only two of ours took out like ten of them."
"I like the way you think, Blondie!" Blaze grinned. "We should start rallying the troops!"
Andrew grins, which widens when someone approaching casts both boys in shadow.
Daisuke's second period class had gone by in a haze, and he still had a slight dopey grin from his interaction with Nia when he halts in front of Andrew.
"Hey guys." He states with a small wave.
"Daisuke! You came at just the right time, actually." Andrew says, squinting up at Daisuke.
"Oh? You guys talkin about me?" Daisuke shifts on his feet uncomfortably. He was good enough friends with Andrew, but Blaze was one of those typical jocks, and the two rarely talked outside of sports.
Blaze was eying his bruises while he spoke. "Yeah., actually. We were talking about doing something to those punks from Goumen."
Daisuke groaned. "Not you too. Look Kagayaku, it's not a good idea."
"Come on Daisuke, you know it's the best way. No adults, no questions, just a good old-fashioned brawl. That'll show them they can't keep messing with us!" Andrew smirks. "We can take them no problem, you know that."
"Yeah, Tetsutenki," Blaze glares up at Daisuke, "You don't think we're strong enough? Our martial arts team alone would destroy those wannabe gangsters."
"It's not that we aren't strong enough or whatever, it's that those guys don't fight fair!"
"Daisuke, look at the rebel crowd here. You really think they're gonna fight fair?" Andrew chuckles, knowing full well fighting fair was the last thing on his or Kirei's mind.
"I just… ugh, fine." Daisuke finally relents, frowning at the two shorter boys. "But you damn well better keep this from those chatty preps. Marise and her clones'll rat us out right away if they figure this plan out."
Blaze grins and pats Daisuke's shoulder. "You just leave that part to me."