One More Step Series
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Gokusen and Gokusen 2
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer nor do I own Gokusen or Gokusen 2 or any other form of Gokusen. This story was written for my own entertainment and the need to get the idea OUT OF MY HEAD! No profit is being made. Please don't sue me, I am but a poor and humble farmer/homesteader.
A/N: I'm not sure where to put this, on any site as its a crossover with the Drama-verse, and there's no Jdrama category on Twisting the Hellmouth or Fanfiction dot net.
word count: 2,159
She had it recorded, thanks to Shinohara-san and his camcorder, Sawada’s graduation speech that is. She watches the tape from time to time; it always leaves her feeling proud, teary, and ready to face her current students once more. It’s one of her most prized possessions that tape. His words give her courage; give her the strength to keep walking forward. No matter what she has to face.
She also had it recorded, thanks to the media and Sugawara, who finally figured out how to get the VCR to record right. Forever recorded the words spoken by her first students at the Symposium. That one leaves her bawling, happy tears of course. What else would they be, knowing that her students love her that much?
She sees Kuma from time to time. She talks to Uchi every now and then. Noda finally got into the art college he wanted. Minami is going to night school. She's proud, really proud.
So she watches the recordings from time to time...and after a while she hears it, hidden in his speeches. Sawada's confession. And she bangs her head against the table.
Sometimes she really is an idiot.
So now she waits. Waits for him to come back, and tell her straight, face to face, how he feels. Hopefully before she wears out the videos.
Sawada Shin wasn't sure what he was looking for when he went to Africa. He knew, in his heart that he was running away, but he wasn't sure how to take a step in the direction he wanted to go. A step towards her, a step in her direction, he wanted to step into her world in such a way that she would see him as a man, not as her precious student. Yamaguchi Kumiko was a woman who would need a strong man, a man who could keep up with her, probably even out run her. And he couldn't become that man if he was always running behind her.
So Africa. There he would be teaching. Building homes and schools, digging wells, and living out an existence he'd never known before. The physical work was hard, grueling even, but the people were open, friendly and he loved every minute of it.
There were some peculiarities of course. Stories of unbelievable things that existed beyond the border of the villages that he visited. Not to mention the warnings that the elders always gave him. Some were rather obvious, don't go out at night, this part of the world was still wild and there were all sorts of animals that could do him harm. Others...if you hear your name whispered from the shadows, ignore it, pay no attention... that didn't make as much sense to him. Not then anyway.
He'd been in Africa nearly two years when he finally understood the warnings, and they had nothing to do with animals.
It wasn't quite midnight when the screams started.
Xander cursed their luck. They just had to be bat demons...and not the good neutral bat demons...but the kind that liked to conjure up disease and suffering...or on the night of the new moon attack a village and freaking devour everyone.
And tonight was the new moon. Just great.
A scream ripped through the night, silencing the normal sounds of nature that usually filled the air. “Damn.”
He looked over his shoulder at Abrihet. “I know.” He nodded at the others. “Save as many as you can.”
The slayers looked at him, all dark skinned, blending beautifully in the night shadows. These were his girls, the ones he had found, taken in, trained and loved like little sisters. Mosa, the first girl he'd located, gave him a grim smile. “Do what we can.”
And they entered the village.
The screams were unlike anything he'd ever heard, and had Shin up and racing for the door of the hut he shared with two other volunteers. The night was dark, the moon hidden by the earth's shadow, but the stars gave just enough light to create shadows. Silhouettes that swept and glided low over the village.
He gaped as one creature came close enough to the fire in the center of the village for the light to illuminate it. Shin had never seen such a beast...it was...some sort of...demon was the only word he could come up with to describe it. It swept back up into the sky, that horrible scream erupting from its throat again.
A few faces appeared in the doorways of various huts, wide eyes reflecting the firelight. One man, a neighbor and father of three, ventured outside his home and one of the creatures swooped down and snatched him up before Shin could even yell out a warning. There was a hoarse scream, followed by a horrible cracking of bones.
“Everyone stay inside!” Shin finally managed to shout. “Don't leave your homes!” His words were followed by the slamming of a door behind him. Damn bastard roommates had just shut him outside.
“He was a fool.” A deep voice grunted from his left. Shin nearly jumped, and glared at Ngozi, the wise man of the village.
“Don't do that!”
Ngozi gave him a little smirk as he did when he had a secret. “Adunbi will be missed.”
“Ngozi what the hell are those things?”
“They look like giant bats.”
Shin clenched his fists. “Is that all you can say. Our friend was just killed and you...”
“Shin, my friend. I knew that he would die this night, had I interfered many more would have died.”
“You don't know that.”
“I do, just as I know that we will lose no one else this night. Help is here...though you should stop Adunbi's wife.”
“What?” He asked, as he turned toward the late Adunbi's hut. His wife, Oseye, was kneeling out in the open, sobbing for her husband, her hand clutching at her swollen stomach. She was nearing the end of her pregnancy; Adunbi would never get to see his fourth child. “Crap!”
He ran for Oseye, grabbing a torch from the edge of the fire, he got to her just before another creature came into view. Shin screamed in rage, swinging the torch, and catching one of the beast’s wings with it. It went spiraling, missing Oseye, and went crashing to the dirt. Shin stood his ground between it and the mourning woman.
Then the air was filled with...war cries? Women with weapons appeared from the shadows beyond the fire, killing the bat creature with ease. Even when the rest of the flock of demons came swooping down the women, no...They weren't women at all. They were girls. Teenage girls that took on the demons as if they were born to it. He had not seen such a beautiful example of ferocious femininity since watching Yamaguchi fight. One by one the demons swooped down to carry the girls off, and each one was killed for its efforts.
Except for one girl, the smallest, and probably the youngest of them. She was a little thing, probably not even in her teens yet. The demon that swept down for her, actually managed to pick her up, even as she screamed in outrage.
A man's horrified shout joined the girl's, and again Shin was moving, swinging his torch of justice and braining the creature. It hit the ground, the girl flying from its talons, and rolling until she came up in a crouch. She stared at him in shock, distracted and confused. The beast started to rise and Shin hit it again with the torch, and then kicked it. And suddenly it was like the brawls he'd been in during high school. Only much more deadly, which only spurred him to continue until the damn thing was unconscious.
He looked at the girl. “What?”
“It is dead.”
Shin looked back at the unmoving form. “Oh...”
Shin looked up, and blinked in surprise. The voice belonged to a man...a white man. One with long hair that had just enough wave that it would have been stylish if it had been combed. His face was a little gaunt, and tanned from the African sun, much like his own, and there was some scarring around the stranger's left eye. “Not bad?” Shin finally asked.
“Yeah.” The man spoke in the local dialect, like Shin, and he spoke it well. “Most people run away screaming the first time they see a monster.”
“I'm not most people.”
“I can see that. Xander Harris. You have a name or should I call you Torch Boy?”
“Shin. Shin Sawada.”
Shin wasn't speaking to Jacob or Heath the next morning, it was kind of hard to make conversation with the guys who had locked him out of the hut in the middle of a demon attack. Neither of them would even look at him, they were so ashamed of what they had done in their moment of panic and fear.
Though it may be because he hadn’t much time for reflection; because in the early hours of the morning Oseye went into labor. In the excitement it was rather easy to ignore the other male volunteers, there was too much to do for the arrival of the baby, not to mention the injuries among their saviors needed seeing to. However the women volunteers, Stacy and Diana, were suitably vicious and cold to their compatriots.
Oseye had given birth to a healthy baby boy, which everyone was thankful for in the wake of events of the night. Shin had helped Ngozi prepare a tea to help the woman rest, not to mention preparing something for himself to calm his nerves. He was sipping tea and watching the sun rise when Harris found him at the edge of the village.
“So how long have you been in Africa?”
Shin glanced at the American. “Almost two years. I came here right after I graduated high school. You?”
“About a year...maybe a little more.” Harris looked thoughtful. “Actually I'm not even sure what day it is...or month for that matter.” He was silent for a moment. “Usually people ask a ton of questions by now.”
Shin frowned up at him. “Like what?”
He shrugged. “Like, what were those things? Why are those girls so strong? Are you all crazy?”
Shin felt a smile pull at his lips. “The girls surprised me a bit...that so many of them were that strong.”
That made Harris’ stare at him, long and hard. “You've met strong women before then?”
“Huh...has she always been strong?”
Shin nodded. “She was raised by the Yakuza.”
Harris blinked. “Whoa. And you met this chick where?”
Shin smirked at him. “She was my homeroom teacher.”
Harris stared at him in disbelief. “Your teacher was a kick ass Japanese gangster?”
“I wanna hear this story.” Harris was quiet for a moment more. “Things will be awkward for you in this village after the stunt your roommates pulled.”
“Not much I can do about it.”
Harris made a sort of hmm sound. “Maybe there is...you want a job?”
Shin blinked. “What?”
“A job. We could use someone like you, and you'd still be helping people...but you'd get paid for it.”
He thought about it for a minute. He liked the work he was doing...but there was still so much of the world he hadn't seen yet. And... staying in Africa wasn't getting him any closer to Yamaguchi. “When do we leave?”
Harris grinned and they shook hands. “The sooner the better.”
Kumiko didn't get the first letter until she started teaching at Kurogin, and really, it couldn't have come at a better time. Before he'd only ever sent post cards to give her brief updates. But the three page letter that was waiting for her at home was just what she needed.
She was really struggling with this class; they seemed to be even more bitter and hateful towards adults than her students at Shirokin had been. Not to mention the problem with Odagiri...and the lie he'd told her. She'd never been so hurt by a student.
Sawada Shin's first letter saved her. Especially the last words.
“I'm one step closer...wait for me.” – Shin.
Kumiko nodded to herself. She could wait. She'd still be silly and chase after Kujo-sensei, because Shiratori-sensei is her friend its fun giving her a hard time. Besides, Shiratori-sensei expects the competition for the best looking bachelor in their area. But...she won't mean it. Not when she's waiting for Sawada Shin to come home.