Have you ever spoken up when you saw something going on that was wrong? Were you scared? What ended up happening?
Hushed whispers, the scratching of pencils, and the turning of pages floated through the library. A diminutive young woman sat with legs folded under her as she pored over a notebook, chewing the end of her pencil to a mangled pulp. She twisted the end of the multi-hued braid that hung over her shoulder and frowned at the violet- and black-streaked platinum. She was going to have to fix that once the stress of her exams were past.
Shaking her head, she tossed the braid behind her and set to studying her notes once more. Had she been thorough? Yamada-sensei was tricky in his lectures; there was always a question about some obscure thing he mentioned in passing.
“Scowling at it won’t make it come to you, Ali.” A stack of books appeared in her periphery, a coif of blonde hair peeking up over it, and she smoothed her features. “Mind if I join you?”
“You know I would never say no to you, Yuki” she crooned, standing to take some of his load.
He chuckled, keeping his voice low so that it wouldn’t carry over the stacks to other students hard at work. It had been five years since their reunion but she still went out of her way to make sure he never felt alone. She wasn’t his only friend in the human world, but she was his only friend left from before and that counted for a lot more.
“Lemme guess. Yamada-sensei? You only get that constipated look when it comes to physics,” he teased. He was rewarded with a sharp jab to the arm before she took her seat.
“His tests are insane,” she steamed. “And while the math makes perfect sense, there’s so much they’re missing by not taking into account other forces.”
His blue eyes sparkled with amusement. They’d had this argument many times throughout the semester. “And yet you still managed to ace every test. Aren’t you technically exempt from the final?” Ali rolled her shoulders and resumed her scowl at her notes.
It was a matter of pride and Yuki knew that. She was determined to live a normal life there. His grin faltered. “So this is it then?” he asked quietly. “You really have no intention of returning.”
She blinked in surprise at the longing in his voice and her face softened. She leaned across the table and clasped his hand tightly. “I know you miss it, but it’s too dangerous for me to go back. We may have won the battle, but the War is far from over.”
The War was what had torn them apart ages ago, but it had also brought them back together. They were the last of their kind, a race of powerful demons, wolf spirits, hunted to extinction by those who feared their power, feared her power. There might have been others in hiding or captivity, as he had been, but it was unlikely. Ali felt certain of it, though she had never been able to explain it as anything other than instinct.
“The human realm is the safest place for us. Besides, we have our protectors out there.” She grinned, her cheeks coloring as she thought of the dark swordsman who had stolen her affections.
Ali might have immense power, but they had several powerful allies who would come to their aid should they require it. Yuki chuckled as he refrained from pointing out that she was more than capable of defending all of them from any potential enemies. He was content to stay at her side wherever she decided she wanted to be. If that meant living as a human and studying to get a degree so they could get decent work, so be it.
They turned back to their texts and notes and spent the next hour in relative quiet. Ali gave up on her physics notes and switched to English. After a while, a commotion broke out in the courtyard next to them. Some delinquents were yelling abuses at a student. Yuki did his best to ignore it. The gangs weren’t usually active on campus, but it wasn’t worth it to get involved when they did.
The shouting led to physical abuse, though, and a scuffle broke out. A crowd gathered and began to egg them on. Yuki shook his head. Humans could be so animalistic sometimes. He looked up to say as much to Ali only to see her silver braid flying behind her as she rounded the corner to the door.
“Oh no,” he muttered. Koenma would have both their heads if she did anything reckless. Yuki ran out after her.
“Hey!” she shouted. “Knock it off.” It came out as a snarl, but it got the attention of the small gathering.
The young men with ties and scarves on their arms and heads glanced around in confusion. They were not used to being told what to do. The apparent ringleader, a tall dark-haired man with a sneer, stood up and sauntered over to her. “You got something to say missy?” He towered over her, leering down at her in his confidence.
Ali was not remotely intimidated by a jumped up human boy. She stared straight up into his face, returning his confidence tenfold. “I said: Knock. It. Off.”
His sneer turned into a delighted grin and he whooped in glee. “Well fellas, we got ourselves a fiery one. This pretty little lady here would like us to stop beating on the worm.” His smirk turned into a scowl as he took her chin in a calloused hand. “And why should we? This pathetic excuse for a human your boyfriend or something?” He turned back towards the kid whimpering in the fetal position on the ground. “You so weak you need your girlfriend to fight your battles for you?”
Ali growled and pulled his hand away from her face. “I don’t know this kid, but you’re causing a disruption where people are trying to study. Whatever your grievance, ganging up on a defenseless person is no way to go about it.”
She shoved past him and his cronies and helped the bullied kid to his feet. He had a few cuts and scrapes, and was sure to have a couple bruises in the morning, but otherwise he was unharmed. She glared at the punks before turning her ire back to the ringleader. “You’re the pathetic excuse for a human. It isn’t right to mercilessly attack those who are weaker than you.”
As she led the victim back past the leader, he grabbed her arm. “You’ve got some nerve sweetheart. I like that. Why don’t you and I go back to my place and we’ll see how long that fire lasts.” He smirked as his friends goaded him on.
Ali’s jaw tightened and Yuki feared the worst for this hapless human who was about to face the wrath of a woman who had been living for centuries longer than he. She pushed the battered kid over to Yuki. “I know I just said it’s not right to mercilessly attack those who are weaker than you,” she said, her voice low and full of malice, “but in this case I’ll make an exception.” She turned a hardened stare on the man. “If you don’t release me in the next three seconds I swear you’ll never have any children in your lifetime.” He laughed at her.
“Ali, just let it go,” Yuki pleaded for her soon-to-be-victim’s sake.
Her name rippled through the crowd. Several of the bystanders began to whisper amongst themselves. It wasn’t a common name, but the one they knew had a small reputation. One of the many extracurricular activities Ali partook in was training at a local gym. She taught self-defense and often took on challengers in exhibition fights. She had never lost.
“Be careful, Hokuto!” one of the guys yelled. “If this girl is who I think she is, you’ll never win!”
“Shut up,” he yelled back. “What’s a scrawny chick like her going to do to me?” He turned back just in time to see her fist flying straight at his head. The next thing he knew he was flying back into his gang. “Shit, crazy bitch,” he muttered as he rubbed his jaw and got to his feet to fight back. He looked back to where she had been standing just seconds before only to find her missing. “Where the hell’d she go?” he fumed.
“Hokuto!” One of his allies pointed up and he followed the gesture with only time to watch her flip and drive her leg down through his collarbone. He fell to the ground at the impact and cried out in pain. She landed and leaned over him triumphantly, content in her victory. She nodded satisfaction and turned back to Yuki.
“Geez, you think you could have been a little bit nicer?” he said, still supporting Hokuto’s victim. His sarcasm was not lost on her and she simply shrugged. Yuki had secretly hoped that she would honor her threat of obliterating Hokuto’s male organs, but knew she would settle for breaking a bone or two. It was less than he deserved.
“You three,” she turned back and pointed to several of Hokuto’s group. “Get him to a hospital. He’s going to need that collarbone fixed.” They scrambled to oblige and helped their leader to his feet as they half-dragged, half-carried him away. Ali and Yuki made sure the kid they had rescued got patched up too. He thanked them graciously before they headed back to the library.
The crowd had dispersed and the excitement had died down. No sooner had the two wolf demons sat at their table than did Botan appear. “There you two are,” she said as though she’d been searching for them for hours. “Koenma needs you now. He needs to brief you on a new case.”
Ali groaned. “Now? But I have to study!” Yuki laughed as he grabbed her by the arm and followed Botan. They couldn’t exactly refuse a summons from the prince of the spirit world. After all, he was their boss.
Notes: So this was an interesting prompt because I couldn’t really think of a time I had ever stood up for something. I like to think I did, but I’m incredibly shy and don’t really like drawing attention to myself. My characters don’t have that problem though. I had written a scene in a fanfiction back in the day where my MC did just that. Granted, it was more about the disruption to her studying than the fact that someone was being bullied, but it was a fun little diddy to write. I decided to revisit it for this prompt and rewrite it to my current style.
Ali is my oldest character, both in physical age and time since I first conceived her. I’ve spent over ten years tweaking her story but I lose confidence in it because it’s based in fanfiction of an anime I haven’t watched in years. My interests have evolved, but I always find myself coming back to her for “training.”
So how about you? What does this prompt elicit for you? Have you ever witnessed someone else speak up to injustice? Get out your notebook and start writing! See you tomorrow!