Haley sat on the long bumpy bus ride, touching her hair and muttering angrily to herself. That must have been the WORST stylist ever. All she wanted was a little trim! Just a bit past the shoulders! And now her hair was almost as short as Elan's…

Haley felt like burying her head in her hands as she walked into school. No way she could face them with this haircut. She could already feel everyone watching…Staring…The eyes…

It was now biology class, and at least Haley had found something to be thankful about with this hair debacle; she had no trouble keeping it out of her eyes while they did this rat dissection. Ggh, but they were forced to pair up and Elan was sick, so she was forced to work with that Tsukiko creep who always dressed in black and doodled skeletons in her notebook…

She mentally slapped herself. Remember that Dark Mistress Shadowgale phase?!

Unfortunately, yes. You realize how ashamed I am about the "MUSIC" I listened to?!

Then stop complaining, especially about Tsukiko. She'll turn around in a few years.

And if she doesn't?

Then she'll make a damn good forensic pathologist.

Yeah, assuming she doesn't discover other…Applications for a long, bloodied femur.

…Oh! Look, we've got to finish this before the end of the period! Why don't we work with her and talk about this later, okay?

With a heavy sigh, Haley walked over to Tsukiko and forced a smile. Odd…The girl, usually so morose in the hallways, seemed to almost beem as she cut apart the rat with extreme deftness and care, handling the rat's body in a respectful manner as she carefully removed each organ and explained its function in detail, then writing it down. Haley found this a very refreshing change from Belkar's behavior at the next table over; he had just decided to eviscerate the dead rat, rip out its spine, then use its skull as some macabre finger puppet before crushing it with his pen while giggling.

"So how long before he decides to take that scalpel and mutilate the rat's—Ah."

Tsukiko's expression darkened as she muttered to himself, "He's disgusting. He really should learn to treat the dead with more dignity and respect."

Haley looked at Tsukiko. "Hm. Didn't really expect that coming from you."

"Then apparently you don't know me at all…Haley, is it?"

"Yeah." Haley groaned to herself. And here comes the inevitable hair remark…

"Nice hair."

"…Wait. Huh? Nice hair? …This isn't some kind of sick joke, is it? Did Belkar throw some organ in my hair? Because this wouldn't be the first time."

"No. I just think it looks nice on you."

"…Oh. Thanks." Haley couldn't help but blush a bit. She would never admit this, but in her "Dark Mistress" phase, she found Tsukiko more than a bit cute.

…She still felt a bit like that, but she pushed those thoughts deep down inside where she could forget about them. Except now they were starting to peek out…

"Uhm…Haley?" Tsukiko looked curiously at Haley as the two of them finished their notes and cleaned up the lab station.


"Uhm, well, we're in the same English class, and I'm having a bit of trouble, and I know you're good in English, but I'm better than you in Bio, so… Uh, would you…Could you, uh…"

Haley smiled. "Sure thing, Tsukiko! I'd be glad to come over later tonight! We can both help study together."

Oh come on. That's not what the two of you will be doing tonight and you both know it.

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