Chapter 5 - Shelter From The Storm?Mature

After what seemed like an eternity, Toshi was later found in a disused classroom cowering beneath a desk. Compassionate hands raised him and clothed him. Kocho Yoko Aida had took it upon herself to deal with this seriously; after yesterday, she knew something was up with Toshi. It was in her office, as he drank hot chocolate she had made for him. She awaited him to finish patiently and could see him choosing his words silently. No two students were the same but some were similar. Toshi was a loner, that was a given. But why he wanted to be alone confused her.

"How are you feeling Toshi?" she said, smiling warmly. Kenta Orikasa had not seen this side of her and for good reason. "I trust the clothes we gave you aren't too tight?"

They were not. Toshi was dressed in clothes gracefully bought by Yoko. Such generosity was not a rarity for her; among the staff, she gained a reputation for being kind to students.

"I'm alright, Kocho Aida." he said. His voice was weak. "Thank you for the clothes."

"Think nothing of it. Your Sensei told me you achieved the highest marks in your previous writing assignments. I hear you're quite the writer."

The corner's of Toshi's mouth twitched. Flustered, he looked down at the carpet and hoped it would swallow him whole.

"Now, Toshi. I understand this may be a difficult subject but I have to ask what happened to you this afternoon."

She awaited his response. He looked up like a deer caught in headlights and shook his head.

"He.. I.. nothing." he said. His voice was choked with stress. The last time he tried to snitch on Katsu had not ended well when the Sensei believed a handshake would resolve their problems. It was during his walk home Katsu and his friends cornered him.

"We don't like snitches, Toshi-chan. They lack balls." Katsu had said. He groped Toshi's testicles tightly as though he were to tear them from his body. "Next time, you'll be singing the high notes at the school assembly."

The memory of that made him shrivel in more ways than one. Yoko looked on concerned but could do nothing.

"Has this person threatened you if you decide to tell me or any other member of staff?" she asked. She'd been through this before. Some students had the belief they were above others. It was a cruel world.

Toshi nodded once and resumed his stare at the carpet. His face disappeared behind his hands as though he were trying to hide from the world. Yoko resisted the urge to embrace him as was her nurturing wont. Instead, she employed a different tactic.

"If you won't tell me, will you at least allow me to help you?" she said. Toshi looked between his fingers and nodded once again. His deep brown iris' were drowning in anxiety and guilt. "Trust in me, Toshi. I won't make you confess what happened. But something will be done. Your parents have been notified and you will be taken home early. Make no mistake, you will be returning tomorrow but things will be different. I promise you, you'll not have to worry about your bully no longer."

Toshi did not look up but understood. He did not look forward to being picked up by his parents; what they would ask of him would be a different matter.

The End

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