The first thing that I did upon waking up was go an get the mail.
Really domestic, I know, but during the break, I had just gotten really used to it. After exams and talking with the cram class, I proceeded to spend practically the entire break either at my apartment or in the back at Purgatory under the careful watch of Class E. I may have enhanced healing due to my biology, but for some unknown reason, Mary’s wounds still lingered.
The pain and the fatigue that I’d pointedly ignored up until leaving True Cross Academy lingered and with those came certain complications. I had to take thing slowly while my body decided just how much it was planning on healing and how many scars it wanted to leave behind.
I head to my door and quickly scoop up the pile of envelopes that sat just inside my door. For some unknown reason, Izumo still preferred sending letters instead of emails (even though emails were much more efficient - texts even more so!) so of fucking course that’s the only other letter I get besides sensitive info packets (the shit that we can’t afford to have in a system and have to do on paper) and bills.
Dumping the rest on the coffee table I sit down to read through her note while I wait for water to boil so that I can make a morning cup of tea. I was still learning how, but Kayano was determined to teach me. I had been awfully bored while I was waiting for my body to heal. Tea making was an exact science and required a lot patience to do.
I had a lot of time on my hands.
Who knew how long my healing would take after all. I might not even be fully healed yet, but it would seem that everything was as healed as it would get. At the end of everything, I was left with quite a few additions to my abuse and self harm scars. My back was sort of a mess after the beating with the damn crowbar.
None of the scar tissue actually hindered my movement - it was just surface scaring - but it wasn’t exactly pretty to look at either. Later today I had an appointment with Sai to fix that actually. Well not fix it, but you know, hide them a little.
What’s one more tattoo?
I rip open the top of Izumo’s envelope and pull out a folded piece of fancy stationary. Two pens fell out of the envelope as I tossed it to the side and picked them up to have a look. Why did Izumo include pens? A quick look at the side of the pen revealed that one had the True Cross logo while he other one was a cram class one. What?
Confused, I unfolded the paper and began to read.
I hope you liked the SWAG I sent you, but I figured that you can never have enough pens! And hey… school pride. Gotta show off to those rich brats okay? Show ‘em up!
Anyways, are you excited to start school again? I know you secretly like it. And hey, it’s a chance for you to start fresh – get away from all this crazy. Honestly, I don’t blame you for leaving.
What I do blame you for is NOT TELLING US THAT YOU WERE A PALADIN? What the fuck??? Seriously, we found out from Yukio when some Vatican guy referred to him as being lucky for having met the new paladin. We had no idea there even was a new paladin, let alone that it was you. You better write back, mister! You have lots to explain.
(But we all hope that you’re feeling better. The others miss you too, so stop the radio silence okay?)
Love Your Friend
Oh. Shit. That’s what I’d forgotten to tell them. Oops.
I’d really have to write her back at some point. I had sort of been keeping a distance though, although that was mainly due to the fact that it had simply slipped my mind and I was decently busy. Well, not really busy, but more like avoiding? Yeah… that sounds about right.
Speaking of avoiding, I have an appointment in an hour, so I should head out and do that instead of other stuff. I’m great at planning.
I dumped the letter and pens on the table beside the bills and went over to put the files in a safe before grabbing my coat and keys and heading out of the apartment. It’s been a while since I’ve actually been out.
The walk to Purgatory went quickly. It was nice just walking around in he fresh air again. I had trained as best as I could to make sure I kept in shape, but there was nothing quite like walking around in the city. I like nature as much as the next guy, but I’ll always be a city person.
I slipped into the back of the tattoo parlour Sai ran about a half an hour before I was supposed to be there, but that’s okay. Konoha Ink didn’t look to be all that busy. I’m sure he’d be okay with me being early. So as the bell at the door echoed through the small parlour I loudly announced my presence.
“Hey Sai! I’m here a little early - I hope that that’s okay!” I yell, waltzing into the main room and taking a look around the room. Last time I had gotten a tattoo from Sai, it had just been in the back room of the club. During the year we’d expanded a bit, working on Isogai and Maehara’s little cafe and getting Sai his own tattoo shop so that he could expand his business sector past members of our organization. As far as I know the business had been doing well - today must have just been an off day where no one but me booked a session.
Probably for the best too, the cover up for my scars is gonna be extensive.
I shoot off a text to Izumo while I wait in the front for Sai to come out.
You know you can just text me right? Sending letters is just inefficient
Who is this??? How did you get this number?
Excuse you I like writing letters!!!
I let out a laugh at her response, quickly texting her back.
It’s Karma :P
Don’t use emoticons
I can’t look at you the same way ugh
Awww Izumo-chan~ you know you love me
You still write letters
First of all ew
Second of all
Respond to my fucking letters asshat
I’m responding now
So what’s new with the cram school crew? It’s been like what? A week or so since the summer school/boot camp has started
Don’t even get me fucking started
Your brother sucks. He’s really showing that he’s also a son of Satan. It’s like he’s determined to get us to your level in a week
Speaking of your level WHY DIDNT YOU TELL ME EARLIER??? I thought I was ur friend. Why did i have to find out from the party pooper?
I just didn’t think it was that important
So what’s four-eyes doing rn?
Don’t think you can get away from this mister. But all in all we’ve been good. Finding out who you are has actually given the guys a motivator
Well more than before i guess.
He looked up from reading the texts as he heard footsteps coming from one of the back rooms.
Hey I have a meeting rn so i g2g srry
Ew never use text speak again you old man
Sai walked out of the back room, brushing his hair out of his eyes and securing it by tying a black strip of cloth around his forehead as a makeshift headband. “Hey Karma, I just finished up with a client. You’re welcome to come back.” And then he turned back to go to his room.
I hurried to follow him, shrugging off my coat as I went and shoving my phone in a pocket.
Upon getting into Sai’s back room, I sat down and let my eyes wander while he grabbed whatever he needed to grab. The room was small, but it wasn’t claustrophobia inducing. The walls were painted a nice dark grey - not a clinical white - and they were covered in framed paintings that Sai had done. Over on a counter there were inks and tools and other materials that were needed to do tattoo work.
“Well Boss, let me see those scars. I need to see what I’m working with. Is there anything in particular that you had in mind?” He asked me, breaking me from my thoughts.
I pull off my shirt and turn around so that Sai could examine my back. “Nah, I just want the worst of them covered up if possible. Something got rammed through my shoulder and it’s not exactly nice to look at. I kinda just want something to distract from them.” I explain, shivering slightly as cool finger reach out to touch the scars lightly.
“It’s just surface scaring?” He asks, gently turning my shoulder this way and that. I nod, tensing slightly at the foreign feeling. No one had really touched me since-
“Yeah.” I murmur, my voice thick. I close my eyes and breath calmly, trying really hard to just focus on what was happening right now.
Sai hums contemplatively. “I can’t promise anything, but I think I can make the worst of it less noticeable. Unfortunately, unless you want some full body ink, I can only do something about that shoulder blade and shoulder. It’s not on the side with the sleeve, so I have a bit more room.” He mused in that emotionless way that he does. He spins around on his chair and pulls out a pen to immediately begin sketching and within 5 minutes, he’s pressing the transfer paper onto my shoulder and pulling out his tools.
“If you’ll just lie down for me I’ll get started,” Sai instructed. “You’re lucky I have no other clients for today. This might take a while.”
And he was right. It took hours for him to finish and I was very glad for the fact that healing time wasn’t needed for me. Woo science!
I groaned slightly as I sat up, accepting the cup of water from Sai. He nudged me into a standing position before leading me over to a full length mirror that he had on one of his walls. “I wasn’t able to completely hide the scars, but I think the ones that I was able to cover are now significantly less noticeable.” He informs me as he leaves me in front of the mirror.
I place the now empty cup of water and turn so that my back and some of my left side are facing the mirror. I crane my head to the side so that I can see what Sai did, and I damn near gasp in shock. I knew Sai was a good tattoo artist but this… this was phenomenal. He’d done a lot for me with my roses, but this was a whole new level of detail and scale.
He had tattooed a single angle’s wing on the left side of my spine. The wing protruded from my back and then spread so that it went down nearly to my tail bone and extended somewhat over my shoulder. You could tell that the feathers were meant to continue long past what was there because of the way the wing was structured (and it was proportional to my body too) but it looked as if someone had burnt off the feathers and flesh so that the wings only extended so far as my hip and didn’t go past the summoners tattoo I had on my upper arm. Up along the wing there was protruding bone and burnt feathers. The feathers themselves (or what was left of them) were on the grayscale with black charred marks and ashes.
It was not only beautiful - in a morbid way - but the way that the wings were broken and burnt managed to interweave the scars so that they looked like they belonged there. “Sai, this is magnificent. Thank you.” He nods, smiling brightly and holding up a camera.
“You’re welcome. Now let me get a picture as an example for future clients.”
I had had Kyoya set up the paperwork for me with the school so that wasn’t an issue that I would have to deal with any of it. Entrance exams were a pain in the butt to do, but I passed them with flying colours and then aced their placement exams too. Kyoya handled my transcript and they were incredibly happy with having another certified genius attend their school.
They were very accommodating with my situation - kidnapped from True Cross school grounds and tortured for days before being rescued - and offered me any help that I would need. I had skipped a grade after all, and I would only be staying a year at Ouran before graduating.
My transcript was pretty nice after all, and with recommendations from some of their best students (I had to laugh when I remembered the disgruntled expression on the principal’s face at receiving the email from Kyoya, Kayano, and Nagisa) they couldn’t even entertain the idea of turning me down.
And so, I would be attending Ouran Academy as soon as classes began in September. They had wanted to let me have some more time to heal from my trauma, but Kyoya argued that I needed something to do with my time and being held back was pointless. Since he was friends with the principal’s son, it was pretty easy for him to strong arm me the best position that I could possibly get. As long as my grades remained phenomenal, I wouldn’t have to pay tuition.
It’s not like I was low on funds (quite the opposite actually) but I still thought cheaply. Why pay when you don’t have to? I could invest those funds in some of my employees instead of paying for classes that I don’t really need.
And so, I grabbed all of my papers and packed a school bag. I had just enough time to get ready before I would have to leave for school. My schedule was to mirror that of Kyoya’s except for certain electives that I picked out myself. Kyoya had been a dear and dropped off everything I would need for my first day, so it was a simple matter of putting on my suit and I was ready to go.
With my bag filled with pens, blank black notebooks and my transcript, resume & transfer information, I finish tying my tie and swing my back over my shoulder and locking the door to my apartment. Ouran Academy wasn’t too far from my apartment, and unlike True Cross Academy, they weren’t a boarding school. So that means no dorm rooms for me! Yay.
However that also meant that I had to register my address as well as find transportation to school. I didn’t want to get someone to drive me, and the bus had next to no appeal to me - I could admit that even though I was all healed, I still had some issues with proximity to people. Hypervigilance. I mean, I was hypervigilant before all of this, but Mary’s appearance and my subsequent torture did nothing to help that.
It actually made it a whole lot worse.
I don’t really know how I’ll deal with this new environment to be completely honest. I just… Ouran was going to be a completely different world than True Cross.
True Cross Academy had been a school for rich kids yes, but it had a large population of smart kids and scholarship students. Plus, there was the cram class exception that made the school unique.
Ouran Academy was nothing like that. Sure it was a prestigious school (Kyoya wouldn’t stay there if it wasn’t) but that didn’t seem to be the main aspect of the school. It had a slightly better ranking than True Cross did, but that was due to the teachers. They were the best that money could buy after all. But the downfall of all of this was that the students were the richest that Japan had to offer. If your parents were rich as fuck, there was a good chance that you were going to Ouran Academy. It’s the ‘best of the best’ while still not making the kids work for it.
Or at least that’s what Kyoya assured me. We were on a similar intelligence level due to my IQ making up for the time the spent studying. Still Kyoya found the classes entertaining but also useless in the way that he had either already taught himself that already or he was able to pick up the material after a single lesson and wished to be done with it.
I was much the same, but I was just planning on going to Ouran because I would have part of my support system there and I needed to get away from the supernatural world. Kyoya promised that the only paranormal shit that happened at this school was the stuff that their resident occult club played with. Apparently some rich brat got obsessed with dark magic and a club worshiping a dark cat puppet was the result.
It didn’t seem like something that I had to be all that worried about. It was just the rich brats that would be the problem for me.
You see, I didn’t grow up into money. I had to work to get it. For the first six years of my life, I grew up in a poor monastery as an orphan before being shoved into a sketchy private orphanage for a year. Then I was adopted by shitty parents who literally only wanted me for the government money. The first time I actually had enough money for food, I was already deep into building my own personal empire, and that was because Kyoya is a gift.
Kyoya is different than your typical rich brat despite how he acts sometimes. As the third son, he gets the feeling of neglect and inadequacy. All the same, he doesn’t get the monetary struggles. Plenty of True Cross students were struggling just as much as I had been. There was that small understanding amongst students and a bit of added respect. It simply just was.
I don’t exactly handle arrogant pricks well. The way I see it, if you have the skill to back it up, then you can be arrogant. I don’t like it and it’s a different kind of dick move from the dick moves that I personally pull, but not something that I’ll pick a fight with someone for unless provoked.
However, the problem with dumbasses that lack talent is that they don’t want to admit that they fucking suck. Then there were those rich assholes who didn’t have a care in the world and thought that they could get away with anything as long as they had money. Newsflash kiddies, money could get you far, but never far enough when it mattered.
And with me literally looking like some good for nothing, I highly doubt that they’ll respect me from the beginning. They’re all going to end up like Shiratori Reiji - I can just feel it.
They probably got driven to school in limos. They better have actual parking spots though, Kyoya assured me that it would be fine if I drove my motorcycle to school. It was a rich school, so it wasn’t like anyone would steal my bike, but I still didn’t like the idea of leaving it on a sidewalk or something.
Oh well, I’ll figure it out when I get there. I carefully get on my motorcycle - only careful because the stupid uniform those weird black pants and it wouldn’t do to show up looking like a slob. I wasn’t even wearing my leather jacket or anything. Nope. Instead, I had on the powder blue blazer that the school prided itself on. God the male uniform sucked, but not as much as the female uniform. That gaudy yellow dress was awful and you wouldn’t catch me dead wearing something like that.
I really pity Nagisa and Kayano. Nagisa has chosen to go with his more androgynous appearance and since he didn’t really give a shit about the gender binary, decided that he preferred wearing dresses. Maybe the girl’s uniform was more comfortable? I didn’t get it personally, I would always be more comfortable in slacks. It’s just so much harder to kick ass in a poofy skirt and corset.
After making sure I didn’t scuff any of my uniform on my sleek black vehicle (y’all don’t even know how proud of that beauty I am, like) I slipped on my matching helmet. It would give me a wicked case of helmet hair, but my red locks were untameable on a good day, so it didn’t really make that much of a difference. It’s not like I was exactly collaborating with the school’s dress code anyways.
I have piercings, tattoos, and wildly coloured hair. There was no way that I was blending in even if I tried.
But the helmet would do the job of concealing my identity until I could make an entrance. Always loved a good dramatic entrance. I’m just that kind of guy.
First impressions were everything after all!