Orihime in Hiding Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – New Girl

The early sun stretched across the wooden floor of the rose colored room, bringing with it the sounds of robins from the window. Orihime stood at the full length mirror at one wall, appraising her appearance.

Not exactly American, but definitely not Japanese school uniform, either. She straightened the eyelet color of the mild yellow sweater. It was a short sleeved sweater, but maybe too warm for the day. She looked at the window where the sun was inching higher in the sky. She’d decided on a pair of cropped jeans and Mary Janes, which Matsumoto had told her was all she needed. No gym class clothes beneath her uniform; this wasn’t Japan.

Which was partly why Orihime had decided against a skirt. She turned, looking at her outfit from behind, then touched the spot at the nape of her neck. Beneath the mane of reddish-brown hair was the tender area, no larger than a, well, a dime.

She wasn’t sure why it was a bit irritated. Maybe she hadn’t rinsed all the conditioner out of her hair one day. She hadn’t gotten a good look at it, because there was no hand-held mirror in the bathroom. Renji had promised they’d go to the Happy Dollar soon, which served as Brooklyn’s quick-pick store in absence of a department store.

Her first day of American school. She wished there would be a friendly face to meet her. Or at least one to go with her. Renji was escorting her there, but he wasn’t staying.

She turned to face the mirror, tucking a strand of hair flatter into her navy headband behind her ear. Besides, Renji’s presence anywhere wasn’t exactly an affable situation. Bodyguard, hell yes, she thought, but he was about as sociable as a chainsaw sometimes.

She bounded into the kitchen five minutes later to find him already at the coffee pot, eking out the last of the coffee. “Good morning!”

He turned, leaning against the counter, the coffee mug tight in his hand. “Morning. You look nice.”

“Thank you.” She met him at the counter and looked into the mug of coffee with the cat face on it — one of the few non-food items they’d gotten at Busch’s. “You saved me a cup. Thanks.”

“Yeah, well, I would’ve saved more, but I’ve been up for a while.”

She added a spoonful of the powdered creamer to the cup, relieved the coffee was still hot enough to dissolve it, and stirred. Maybe tomorrow they’d attempt tea again.

“Did you eat?”

He nodded, intent on his fifth cup of coffee. “Yup. There’s cereal and waffles.”

She made a face at the selections. He chuckled.

“That’s what they eat here, Inoue.”

She groaned. “But do we have to?”

He shrugged, looking over her sweater. “We’ve got to give at least a pretense of normality.” He cleared has throat. “It’s a little warm for a sweater. Have you got something on underneath it?”

Her cheeks tinted pink and she looked to him quickly.

“Hell, I meant another … Like a…” He shook his head, sighing. “I just meant it might get warm today. That’s all.”

“Oh. Oh.” She giggled nervously. “Of course.” She put the spoon in the sink and went to the cupboard to look for cereal. “Is anyone else coming this week?”

It took him a moment to realize what she was talking about. “No. Not until next week at least. Maybe not even then, seeing as Captain Hitsugaya was just here. Soul Society is trying to limit contact.”

She found a box of cereal and brought out a bowl. “I’m sorry you got stuck with a human body, Renji.” She sighed, thinking how odd it was to call him that. It had taken the whole plane trip to sink in. “I know you don’t like it.”

He finished his coffee. “It’s just so limiting. Confining.”

She nodded, pouring herself a bowl of cereal, fingering the sore spot beneath her hair at the nape of her neck.

He watched her fingers move beneath her hair. “Sleep wrong?”

Her hand dropped. “No. It’s nothing.” She put the cereal box away and opened the drawer to get a spoon.

He sat down at the table as she took a seat with her bowl and coffee. “Do you remember your history?”

“Hai.”

“English.”

“Yup.”

For a moment she just ate the cereal, dry, and he waited. When he realized she wasn’t going to expound, he nodded. “Let’s hear it.”

She took a drink of the coffee and sat straighter. “My name is Inoue Moriyama, from Osaka, Japan, and I’m a foreign exchange student from United Youth Exchange Programs. I’m transferring from a host family in Akron, Ohio, due to a family emergency.” She smiled. “Is that right?”

He nodded. “Very good.” He sat back in the chair, one hand rubbing over his head rag, which he’d opted for despite the baseball cap. He saw her look at it. “What?”

“Is that all you’re wearing to school?”

He held his arms out, displaying the black graphic t-shirt. “This is it, Orihime. I’m not slathering on that cream shit everyday to walk half a mile for a bunch –”

“Okay, I get it.” She took a bite of the cereal.

He lowered his hands, one resting on the table edge as she ate, fingers drumming. “I think you’re supposed to put milk in that.”

She made a disagreeable face.

He grinned. “Yeah.”

—-

Brooklyn High School was a single level building of nearly five hundred students in four grades. They milled around the circular drive where the buses were emptying at the front entrance at the school, a buzz of girls squealing and laughing and of boys changing tones from boy to man. It made Renji’s skin crawl.

Orihime stood at his side, her fingers clutching her binder, her hunter green book bag over her shoulder. She stood still, her eyes going over the horde of students hurrying and walking in clumps toward the building in the morning sun’s warming spread.

Already a widening circle of emptiness had formed around them, and Orihime was wondering if Renji’s sphere of influence was going to drive away everyone. Some of the younger students were staring at them until they walked into each other. A few clusters of older grades were standing around, challenges exchanging among the tougher guys. Renji’s attention settled on a few of them.

He looked to Orihime. “Do you have your schedule?”

“Hai. Oops. Yes, Renji.”

“Don’t be too friendly. Don’t get too chatty with these moron human guys. They don’t have to know everything about you.”

“Uh-huh.” She watched him survey the students and few of the school faculty swarming the school yard, knowing if there was anything amiss, he’d find it. “You’re not bringing the sword with us?”

He grimaced at the mention of the katana. It wasn’t a bad sword, but it was no zanpaku-tô, and certainly not his zabimaru. “No edged weapons or firearms on school property. That was in the school’s handbook.”

“Oh,” she said, a brief flicker of worry crossing her eyes. She looked to his ring and breathed a sigh of relief. “But you can still change, right?”

He nodded. “If need be, but Captain Hitsugaya said to remain in human form, and only change as a last resort, and for no more than fifteen minutes.”

A bell rang inside the school.

She smiled and looked to him. “See you after school.”

He pointed to a cluster of trees across the school street where parents were dropping off students. “I’ll be there. Ganbare.”

“Hai!” she said with a quick salute, and turned on the sidewalk.

Renji watched her joining the throng of students moving in shifts into the school’s double doors, her slender form dissolving into the mass of bodies in a moment, until only the back of her hair was to be seen.

He glanced back to the group of guys hanging back near a cross path in the sidewalk, returning their collective attention.

His hands itched for the hilt of a sword.

Orihime looked at her class schedule, then glanced to the bottom of the paper where her locker number and combination were written in Japanese. That had been Matsumoto’s idea.

“Seven-ninety-six,” she said to herself, her eyes going over the lockers lining the main hall as student bodies brushed and bumped into her as they hurried past. The hall was loud and vulgar, and slobberingly affectionate in spots. She looked with horror at one boy and girl pushed up against a locker near a classroom doorway, hands and heads pressed up to each other tightly.

Orihime’s cheek’s colored and she hastened on down the hall. There were rules against that kind of stuff. She knew it. Renji had read the handbook to her over the weekend.

After a moment she found a second hall, and eventually, her locker. She hitched her bag higher over one shoulder, feeling lost in the taller population of students. She twisted the locker combination. After a few exasperated tries, she pulled on the latch and it opened.

She smiled.

She carefully hung her book bag on the hook inside and set her binder on the small shelf. She looked to her schedule. Geometry. As lovely as the word sounded in English, she hadn’t any idea where the classroom was. She turned the paper over to see the line drawn map. She was still studying it when the locker next to her banged open, slamming the door of hers.

“Hey. Whoa,” a deep voice said as a tall dark haired boy looked down at her, grinning immediately as he saw her. “Hi, there.”

“Hi,” she returned, smiling only a little, recalling Renji’s words from earlier.

He crowded closer. “You’re new here?”

She nodded, pulling her schedule to her chin as he leaned down.

“I could show you around.”

Her spine bristled. The last time she’d heard words similar to those…

“Back off, Scott.”

Orihime looked past the boy to a girl who was closing her locker on the other side of his.

“Just trying to help her out.” Scott shut his locker, giving Orihime a quick smile — at her chest — before leaving down the hall.

“Hi, I’m Leah,” the brunette girl said, extending a hand to Orihime. “New here?”

“Yup.” Orihime shook her hand. “Today.”

Leah looked to her schedule Orihime had lowered. “Do you know where you’re going?”

Orihime lifted one shoulder, looking to the nearest classroom. “No.”

Leah stepped closer, eyes on the schedule. “What do you have first hour?”

Orihime showed her the paper. “Geometry. Mrs. Coffey.” She looked again at the name. She hadn’t said the name out loud before. “Coffee?”

Leah chuckled. “Yeah, just like it sounds. That’s farther down this hall, on your left. Fourth door.”

“Ari– Thank you.”

Leah nodded as the bell rang. “That’s the five minute bell. You’ve got five minutes to get to your next class.” She looked Orihime over for a moment. “This is your first day?”

Orihime nodded. “Yes.”

“Well, you’ll want to watch out for Scott. He’s kind of grabby.”

Orihime frowned, and Leah shrugged.

“Just keep the locker door between you and him, and under no circumstance answer the question ‘Can I show you something?’ with a yes. You’ll be okay.”

Orihime nodded slowly, then made a slight bow. “I’m Inoue Moriyama, exchange student.”

“Oh? Kind of late in the year for that,” Leah said. “Well, I’m going the other way, so good luck.”

“Thank you!” Orihime called as Leah headed down the opposite side of the hall.

The view from the top of the high school was unspectacular. Renji hadn’t expected anything fascinating, but the sheer dullness of chimneys and vent stacks, coupled with uneven tar and shingle patch jobs, and assorted balls, brought to a new light the jarring reality that this was how he was going to be spending his days while Orihime was in class

Hell, the un-magnificence of the spring was daunting. Maybe a Hollow would show up, and break what promised to be utter tedium.

He’d accessed the rooftop by a series of palates stacked near the cafeteria delivery door, where the stench of has-been provisions had made him pause before he realized it was food. Orihime would definably be bringing her lunch from home after all. There was no way he was going to subject her to eating whatever produced that smell.

He squatted near one of the stouter looking chimneys and leaned back in the growing sunshine. A sweltering day was promised, according the giddy-sounding weatherman on the kitchen radio earlier that morning. He looked to his watch. Eight-thirty-five.

The high school had an open campus policy for lunch. Maybe he could pick a fight with one of those bigger males with the matching varsity jackets he’d seen that morning. Lift some of the boredom.

It wouldn’t be anti-social; just a break in the monotony he was being promised.

Renji sighed, wondering how many fingers he’d be willing to cut off his hand to trade places with Ikkaku for this assignment.

Next Chapter

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~ by Miranda on November 7, 2009.

6 Responses to “Orihime in Hiding Chapter 6”

  1. FIRST!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Great story Renji’s Girll

  3. 2nd!!!! YES!!

    I know that your comment originally said “1st” but Painttheclown’s comment was actually there just in moderation, so I changed your comment up a little so you didn’t look dumb. ^(0_0)^

    -Super

  4. I want to see Renji in action. Maybe with Orihime?

  5. Um… Trek, my name is Pain, not Paint. God, I’m tired of everyone thinking it is… >.<

  6. @Paintheclown: Lol, sorry about that dude. XD

    @Renji’s Girl: If I had a girl like Orihime in my school she’d be the most popular girl by the end of the day. With assets like those, her grades, mannerisms, and being a foreign exchange student? Yeah, I’d be friends with her I wouldn’t even try to date her though. -_-

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