[identity profile] cybersky.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] flybycontact
Originally written in October 2008.

Title: A Rock and a Hard Place
Fandom: Narutaru (Shadow Star)
Character: Hiroko
Rating: R (for disturbing imagery)
Summary: Hiroko's life has been turning into one lose-lose situation after another, but never before has she been faced with one so painful. Spoilers for volume 7 of the manga, episode 11 of the anime.

Disclaimer: I don't own Narutaru or any of its characters, nor do I make any money out of this fanwork.

-

Cursed if I do, cursed if I don't.

Between the pressure from her parents to keep her grades perfect for Banda Academy, and the pressure from Aki and her group to lower her grades lest their bullying got worse than it already was, Hiroko felt that her life was turning into one lose-lose situation after another. What had happened the previous day was proof of that; she'd thought that scoring just slightly less than perfect on her maths test might save her from pain on both sides, but not only had Aki gone through with her punishment game anyway, but her father had berated her as though a three-percent drop in her marks would cripple her future.

It felt so unfair.

At the time she'd promised her father that she'd get a perfect score on the next test for certain, but now, as she was making her way back home from school again, she found herself deeply regretting it.

Finding herself a seat by herself on the bus, away from any other passengers, she unfolded the note Aki had given her today and read it again.

“Hiro-chan, we'd like you to get less than seventy percent on tomorrow's test! Think you can do that, Little Miss Perfect?”

Less than seventy, right after she'd promised a hundred to her parents... but that wasn't even the most disturbing part of the threat to Hiroko. She read on.

“'Cause if you don't, we'll stick a test tube--”

She had to skim that part. The very thought of it made her thighs shake uncomfortably.

“--and kick you in the stomach while it's in there. You sure don't want that, do you?”

Then Aki had signed the note with the same obnoxious love heart she always put on her threats, as though it was all some silly game.

Hiroko, however, wasn't finding it remotely funny. In fact, it was making her feel thoroughly ill.

She had known that Aki had something of a warped imagination; yesterday's worm juice was an example of that, as were some of the things she'd done to her before. Never, however, could she have guessed that she'd come up with something so sick. So extreme. Aki wouldn't be serious about such a thing, would she?

Then again, Hiroko didn't think she'd been serious about the worm juice, either. She wasn't going to doubt that Aki would go through with anything else – even this.

She shuddered.

Now the bus had pulled up at her stop; she'd barely noticed it getting there. She quickly crumpled the note into her pocket and got off, making her way down to the gate of her house.

She really was stuck between a rock and a hard place now. Tomorrow's test... if she got such a low score on it after promising her parents she'd get a perfect result, she knew she'd get more than a stern talking to this time. They'd said Shiina was a bad influence on her; if she bombed the test, she could tell they'd stop her from ever talking to Shiina again. She didn't want that. Shiina was the only friend she had, the only thing that gave her any comfort in going to that school, where so many other girls thought she was just a rich little teacher's pet.

But what if she kept her grade up for her parents' sakes? Aki had gone through with every other threat she'd given her before; she'd somehow managed to deal with the worm juice from yesterday, but the idea of getting – and there was no gentler word for it – raped by her in the way she'd said in the note was simply too much. Doing such a thing just to see her suffer... Hiroko had never thought anyone would try to do it to her at her age, no less one or four of her own classmates, and she certainly didn't want to be subjected to such sadism at all. She couldn't imagine herself even being able to survive such an act, if Aki was intending to kick her at the same time – and even if she did get out of it alive, she could tell she wouldn't be able to stay sane.

So what do I do...?

It was a choice between keeping her parents happy and keeping Aki at bay; a choice between her friendship with Shiina and her own integrity – or indeed her own life. It was the worst lose-lose situation she'd ever been faced with.

Cursed if I do, cursed if I don't, indeed. It's like the whole world has something against me.

In any case, she had to make her decision tonight. If scoring low would cripple her happiness, and scoring perfect would either cripple her sanity or kill her outright, she could only come up with one lifeline: What if I don't take the test at all?

It would be a huge risk to take, she knew. She'd never skipped school before in her life, and she knew exactly how her parents would react to her doing such a thing. But at this point, she almost didn't care. She knew exactly where she'd go while avoiding school, after all.

To Shiina's place.

No matter what happened tomorrow – even if she was doomed to a miserable fate regardless of what she did – she hoped that seeing her friend one more time beforehand would give her a final moment of happiness, at least.

-

As with all the old fic I've reposted, comments and concrit are fine, but bear in mind that I may already be aware of the flaws in these things. In the case of this fic in particular, I basically threw it together one night in an attempt to get rid of writers block, so you can blame that for its problems. >>; I might revisit this at some point, though.

And that's the last of the reposted old!fic. *phew*
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