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First Friend
Miwa walked around the outside of the Academy buildings alone. She carried her shoes, preferring to walk barefoot in the grass. She wandered out into the edges of the woods surrounding the Academy grounds. She smiled as she thought about the things her classmates said about her. She had a bad reputation, but it didn't bother her. She actually found it amusing. The boys tended to think she was out of her mind, and she had to agree with them. The girls hated her, except Kaiki and Rio. Kaiki was as crazy as her, and Rio was a complete bookworm. They were her only and best friends, but they liked it that way.

Standing alone, far apart from the other students, was an obvious pariah- an albino, by obvious first glance. His long silver hair was touching the ground as he inspected something underfoot, seemingly deep in concentration.

Miwa stopped and realized how far she was away from the Academy. She slipped her shoes on and began running back. She tripped over something and landed a few feet in front of it. She sat up and looked back. "Hey.... you're that one kid in my class aren't you?" She asked. "You're so quiet in class no one even really knows you're there."

The kid glanced up, startled by her presence. "Uh-uh... y-yeah. Sorry... I mean... yeah, you're from my class... I'm Ryuujin..." The student had red eyes, which were looking nervously around, anywhere but the girl that had appeared in front of him. He was a picture of awkwardness.

Miwa smiled. "I'm Kisara Miwa, nice to meet you Ryuujin." She crawled over to him. "Whatcha lookin' at?"

Ryuujin tensed up, and quickly covered it with his hands. "u-uh... you don't... really want to see..."

Miwa tilted her head to the side and raised an eyebrow. "Only I can say what I want and do not want to see. What is it? I won't tell anyone. You should know that I have few friends to tell anyways."

He stared at her a moment, hesitant, then uncovered his hands. A squirrel lay there, dead. It had a long cut down it's stomach, and a few of it's entrails were removed- however, it was obviously done with great care and precision. "I-it was dead... when I found it. I didn't kill it, honest..."
Miwa brought her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. "I... guess we're both odd cookies, eh?"

Ryuujin sat back on his folded knees, and wiped the blood from his hands. "I suppose... I just keep to myself... Because everyone rejects me pretty quickly... But i'm used to it... I've never really had a friend before... Sort of..." He looked up tenatively at Miwa. "You... you're usually alone too, aren't you?"

Miwa smiled sadly. "I only have the two friends, and that's because we've known each other since we were babies. Most people reject me because I don't take things seriously enough for them." She shrugged her thin pale shoulder, and lightly coughed into her knees. She looked at Ryuujin, then at the dead animal between them. "You're into the sciences aren't you?"

He smiled weakly. "Yes... Despite my appearance, I'm at the top of our Soul-science classes, even above the senior class. A few of the instructors say i'm a prodigy... But I guess that makes other people hate me all the more. But I'm used to it..."

Miwa giggled slightly. "I'm not to top of any class, mostly because the sensei hates me and I'm always late to class."

"I see..." He looked around the deserted part of the academy buildings. "Although... I find it hard to believe i'm here, now... I don't think, when I was back in the Rokungai, that I would ever live a life as good as this... Relatively speaking, of course... Are you from a noble family?"

Miwa giggled. "Naw, I ain't no noble. Noble families are only noble because they were born here. I died when I was 6, and lived in the Yusajishi district since. That's a pretty low district, now that I think about it."

"So you're from the Rokungai, just like me... I'm glad I got out of there... But it's pretty amazing to remember things from your other life. I don't really recall anything..."

Miwa nodded. "Yea I seem to be the only one who remembers their past life, besides Kaiki and Rio." She leaned against a nearby tree. "When's your birthday?"

Ryuujin thought for a moment, then replied, "Well... since I don't exactly remember when I came into the Rokungai... I don't really have one, I suppose... but I don't think that's abnormal... Perhaps I should make one up?"

Miwa nodded her head, letting her elbow length hair bob around on her back. "It's actually not common for people to remember the day, but I do.. Guess I'm extra weird now, huh? How about you think of a day that's special to you, and let that be your birthday." She smiled at him. "Like when you got out of Rukongai. That's pretty special to be free of such a depressing place."

Ryuujin looked thoughtful again. "I suppose.... But there was one more day that was even more important... I think..."

Miwa's smile widened. "Care to share?"

He looked at her. "Well... It was a time... When..." He looked at her more meekly."You promise... You won't laugh or anything?..."

Miwa looked at him and glanced down at her loose uniform. "I don't think I'll be one to judge, to be honest."

"Well... I once saved this girl... from a hollow... But she was dead... already... but she saved me.... And her soul..." He looked up, a bit embarrassed. "I'm sorry, this probably isn't making sense, is it?"

Miwa frowned and looked in the direction of her room. "Promise you won't tell, but I have a story along those lines." She looked at him. "I received my zanpakuto sword before I came here.... and I've talked to them.... the souls... like the Shikai sensei told us we must achieve, but I can't master it." She rocked forward and coughed a few times. She looked back at Ryuujin. "This is one of my best kept secrets, so please don't tell sensei. He'll be mad."

Kurotsubame's eyes lit up a bit- he had never had someone trust him before. "Alright. I've told you my secret as well, so we're even."

Miwa nodded. "You're my first friend from the academy..." She smiled. "I'm glad it's someone as levelheaded as you. I really don't need anymore lunatic friends." She paused and giggled. "Have you met Kaiki? She has long blonde hair usually braided to the side?"

Ryuujin looked in thought. "I've seen her around... But never talked to her... I don't notice people often..." He looked up at her meekly again. "A... friend? I've never had one.... Are you sure? people usually think i'm too.... weird to be known...."

Miwa laughed. "And I'm to promiscuous to have normal male friends." She sighed and leaned back against the tree. "Kaiki's an odd one. She's a great friend and fighter, but the light's a little dim, if you get my meaning"

He smiled. "I suppose so." He looked up behind him, towards the tall, white towers of the Seiretiei, where the Captains lived. "This might sound foolish, but one day.... One day, I want to live in there. I've heard their lab facilities are great... And the Captains and Lieutenants get treated with the highest respect..." His face fell slightly. "But I doubt i'll ever be strong enough to even make a Seat...."

Miwa laughed and looked at the buildings. "I am going to go there." She leaned towards him. "I hear they have good sake." She stuck out her tongue and laughed again. "Let's go together, Ryuujin."

He looked at her again. "Really?....... Okay then. When we finish school... let's both be Captains. Let's meet again. In the Seireitei. And by then, I promise i'll be a stronger person. One worthy of respect."

Miwa nodded. "And by then, I'll still be the lazy drunkard girl you see now, but I'll have boobs." Miwa smiled and got up. "See ya in class, Ryuujin!" She said before slowly wandering away.

Kurotsubame watched her as she walked away. Still feeling fairly dazed by all that had happened, but still happy at the same time. He had just made a friend.... Somehow, getting into the Seireitei didn't seem so ludicrous a dream after all. He smiled to himself as he got up and wiped the last of the animal blood from his hands. Today was definitely a good day.

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