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Suzuka's Redemption

A little glimpse into Suzuka Akitsuki's past, the final days of the delinquent life she led prior to meeting Kakeru, the man who changed her life. She had told Keiko about the final days of her former life in Chapter 12, but here, from Suzuka's point of view, I'm going to explain it in more detail.

Sunday, March 31, 2030;

Suzuka, still red-haired and with many simple piercings on the left side of her face, was lying naked in the bed of a love hotel with a man she had only met today.

"Did that feel good, little girl?" the man asked as Suzuka tried to light a cigarette

"Don't call me a little girl. Dammit." Suzuka's lighter wasn't working, and the man offered her his "Arigato."

"Can I have your number?"

"What's the point? After tonight, we're never going to see each other again." Suzuka replied

"Cold. I take it you've got plans tomorrow too."

"Sort of. I start high school tomorrow."

"High school? I took you for a dropout."

"No, I did finish middle school. I was going to just skip high, but mom, the good-for-nothing hag, wouldn't have it. I'm only going to shut her up, on the condition that it's in another prefecture, and I get my own place. So now I'm living here in Kamakura, about to start at Enoshima High. What a drag."

"In the face of what's coming tomorrow, I can make this night worth it." said the man as he grabbed Suzuka's breasts from behind

"Another round's gonna cost you extra."

"So cold."

Monday, April 1st;

Suzuka was now walking into Enoshima high for the first time.

"What a drag." Suzuka said to herself as she walked past the club recruitment stalls, her bag over her shoulder and only half glancing at them "Clubs. What's so great about them?"

"Excuse me!" said a voice of an energetic second year from the Light Music Club "You, with the red hair and piercings! Wanna join the Light Music Club? You'd look great as a singer."

"Buzz off, a-hole!" Suzuka shot back, shocking the boy. Suzuka looked at the class assignment board and saw that she was in class 1-E "Sometimes I wonder how I passed the entrance exam. Grades like mine. I only studied halfheartedly too." Suzuka thought

Suzuka soon found her class and was apparently the last to arrive. Once she sat down in the front row seat next to the window, a few people started whispering about her

"Who's that girl? She's scary. Could she have the wrong class? Is she a delinquent?" were a few things Suzuka heard

"Immediately labeled as a delinquent, saw that coming. Maybe I'll just skip the entrance ceremony." Suzuka thought

And sure enough, once it was time for the ceremony, Suzuka let the class go ahead of her and tried to sneak off without anyone noticing. However...

"Hold it!" said a voice behind Suzuka. It was first year Hinako Tsukahara and Miki Hattori, both her classmates this year "Where are you going?" Hinako asked

"Anywhere but the gym." Suzuka replied simply and tried to walk off, but Miki grabbed her

"Don't be silly." said Miki as she pulled Suzuka along "We shouldn't miss the welcome for new students."

"I really couldn't care less!" Suzuka replied as she tried to free herself from Miki's grip

"We'll you're going anyway." said Hinako "I'm the freshman rep. and it would reflect poorly on me if someone from my class missed it. And make sure you take off those piercings and wash out that dye tomorrow. It's against school rules."

"Technically, Hinako-chan, it isn't." said Miki

"Well, it should be!"

"Whatever. Now let's go... uh... Akitsuki-san."

"These two." Suzuka thought irritably

Suzuka reluctantly went to the opening ceremony, but barely listened to a word. The rest of the first day went by fast and Suzuka was only too happy to leave.

"Hey, Akitsuki-san! Wanna walk home together?" Miki asked as they changed their shoes

"Go with your own friends, dammit!" Suzuka replied as she stuffed her feet into her outdoor shoes

"But... no one from my middle school, besides Hinako-chan, goes here." Miko replied awkwardly "And she's filling out forms to join the student council."

"Not my problem." Suzuka started walking off at that

"Hold on! Interested in joining the Girl's Soccer Team?"

Suzuka never answered

"Weirdo." Suzuka thought as she walked to Sakagami "Who does she think she is? Getting all friendly like that, just because no one really close to her goes there. And what was with joining the soccer team? I don't even like sports. Why am I so irritated?"

Suzuka made it to room 401 in Sakagami Apts. soon enough.

"Tadaima." Suzuka said to herself when she walked into her room "Urgh. Why do I keep saying that when I'm the only one here? Damn. I need a new man!" At that moment, Suzuka's phone rang, and the ID showed her mother "What, Mom?"

"How was your first day of high school?" Mrs. Akitsuki asked, and Suzuka hung up without another word. Her mother then sent a text saying "Take care of yourself. I've already paid your rent and deposited your allowance."

"Like I care."

Suzuka then ate dinner, bathed, got herself looking sexy, and went out.

Suzuka spent the next couple weeks doing the same things without any care. She spurned Miki's attempts to befriend her, didn't take her studies seriously, skipped more than half her classes, and seduced men to sleep with every other night.

Friday April 12;

"Hey, Akitsuki-san." said Miki just as school let out "My team has off today since Coach Mai can't make it. Wanna go to a mixer with some Kamakura High students? I can introduce you to some cute boys."

"Leave me alone, maggot!" Suzuka, annoyed, replied.

Just as she left the room, Suzuka heard her classmates say: "You should stop talking with her, Hattori-san. Yeah, that delinquent isn't worth bothering with."

"Cretins." Suzuka said to herself. The instant she got back to Sakagami, Suzuka changed into her most revealing attire and leather jacket, and went to a bar she found last week "One please." She told the bartender, but he just passed her juice. He refused to give Suzuka alcohol since he could see that she was underage "Thanks." Suzuka replied with a sneer. Suzuka only drank a few gulps when a man sat down on the stool to her right. The man was looking very glum.

"The usual, Kakeru-kun?" the bartender asked

"No. Something less heavy." said Kakeru, "I can't get too drunk tonight."

"Coming up. Another fight with Nana-chan?"

"We'll forget about it after a few hours."

"So he's married, and he had a fight with his wife, huh?" Suzuka thought, Kakeru's appearance perking her interest "Maybe I can make him forget faster." Suzuka scooted over to Kakeru as close as she could. "Kakeru-san, was it?"

"Hai."

"Maybe you could forget faster if you spent the night messing around. I'm sure your wife wouldn't care, given that you're fighting right now. I can make your night worthwhile." Suzuka grabbed Kakeru's arm and put it between her breasts "Waddya say?"

There was silence for a moment as the bartender placed Kakeru's order in front of him, and then; "A young lady such as yourself should be looking for real love and enjoying her High School life. Not wasting the best years of her life as a sex object with no control over it." Kakeru said as he pulled his arm away from Suzuka. Kakeru then paid for his undrunk glass and left without another word.

"Did he just... reject me?!" Suzuka thought, bitterness building up inside her "No man's ever rejected me! I won't stand for this. He can't wound my pride like that!" Suzuka then paid her bill and took off after Kakeru "I'm not letting you get away. I'm taking you to a bed." Suzuka followed Kakeru for almost thirty minutes "Where is he going? Does he know I'm following him and is trying to ditch m-" Suzuka's thought was interrupted as she was pulled into an alleyway she just passed by

"Remember me?" asked the man who grabbed her, his hand over her mouth "We slept together the other night, and I must say I enjoyed it. How 'bout another round, on the house." the man forced Suzuka to the ground and began to strip her, despite her efforts to throw him off. As Suzuka tried to fight back, images of the day her father raped her flashed through her mind.

"SOMEONE HELP ME!" Suzuka yelled as she freed her mouth. Just then, the man was pulled back and off of her. Suzuka looked up and saw that Kakeru was beating the man to a pulp.

A few minutes later, the man was unconscious and Kakeru helped Suzuka to her feet. "You... you saved me?" Kakeru then took Suzuka to his favorite park. While Suzuka sat on the bench, Kakeru went to buy some drinks "Arigato." Suzuka said as she took a juice from Kakeru

"No problem." Kakeru replied as he sat down too "You should really be more careful. These streets can be dangerous at night, especially for a young girl."

"Gomen'nasai."

"Don't apologize. Though I would much appreciate it if you told no one about this. Members of the National Soccer Team aren't allowed to get into fights."

"You're a member of the national team?!" Suzuka inquired

"Isn't that what I just said?" Kakeru replied with a slight laugh

"Why did you save me?" Suzuka asked

"Do I need a reason to stop a dirt bag from raping an innocent girl?"

"I'm not as innocent as you think. For two and a half years now, I've been selling my body for pleasure and profit. I don't care about anything, or anyone. And that was the first time a man tried to rape me since my father raped me when I was twelve."

"Your father did that?" Kakeru asked, but Suzuka didn't speak. Instead, Kakeru went over to a bush and pulled out a soccer ball he kept hidden there. He then kicked the ball over to Suzuka's feet

"What?" Suzuka said, and Kakeru beckoned her. Suzuka stood up and kicked the ball back to Kakeru

"No, no. You kick with the side or top of your foot, not your toes." Suzuka spent the next hour learning soccer from Kakeru by mimicking his movements as best she could. Finally she managed to get into some kind of a form. Once Kakeru noticed, he passed her the ball and beckoned her. Suzuka, acting on a new-found instinct, managed, with some difficulty, to run past Kakeru and score. Kakeru clapped.

"Did I just...?"

"You've found your form and you have good intuition." Kakeru commented "You'd be promising as a striker in a two-top formation."

"But... before now, I've never even played soccer before." said Suzuka "And what do you mean I'd work well in a, what was it, 'twin formation'?"

"'Two-top' formation. I say that because you're the romantic type."

"Excuse me?"

"You seek one-on-one relationships, even if they're only temporary. You think like a couple."

"I don't get it."

"And I wouldn't expect you to, at least not right away. But let me say this: A woman should take control of her life. But until now, you've been allowing your trauma from your father haunt you. The reason you do prostitution is because you're trying to wipe away the filth from your father."

"You're.... (sigh) You may be right. I've never really, truly, smiled since that day." Suzuka confessed

"Old sins cast long shadows. Live your own life. Don't run from your past, but don't let the past dictate the rode you take either. You should go home this weekend, but when you do, take a look at yourself in the mirror. Hard."

Suzuka bowed respectfully and left.

Saturday April 13;

Suzuka just got off the train in Shizuoka, Shizuoka. Kakeru's words still repeating themselves in her head, she made her way home.

"Tadaima." said Suzuka when she walked in

"Okaeri. You didn't have to force yourself to come home." Hibiki said spitefully

"Lunch will be ready soon." said their mother from the kitchen

Suzuka looked around at the house and considered for the first time, with the way she was dressed, she didn't look like she belonged here at all.

After lunch, Suzuka went to the bathroom, and looked herself in the mirror like Kakeru said.

"This isn't me." Suzuka said to herself after ten minutes "This isn't who I am." Suzuka then began taking off her piercings one by one. Finally her face was clean, while the holes were still visible Suzuka knew they would close over time. She then went to her sister's room and took a one-piece spring dress.

"What are you doing with one of my dresses?" Hibiki asked as Suzuka went back into the bathroom

"Borrowing." Suzuka replied closing the door

"You could've asked."

Suzuka then began administering a hair dye remover she brought with her to change her hair back to her natural black. She then bathed and showered to remove the makeup and perfume she wore. Once that was done, she put on the dress she borrowed and looked herself in the mirror again

"When was the last time I saw this face?" Suzuka said with a smile "But I really don't think black hair suits me. Maybe I'll dye it a dark blue." Suzuka then left the bathroom and found Hibiki and her mother at the table. Hibiki doing her homework, Mrs. Akisuki looking through some magazines "Um... Mom? Onee-chan?"

"What, Suzu-" Hibiki stopped when they saw Suzuka's appearance

"Suzuka?" their mother said, cautiously

"Tadaima." Suzuka repeated, and was then embraced by her mother and sister

"Oh, what brought this along, little sister?" Hibiki asked

"Let's just say, a wise man I met in Kamakura helped me... look in a mirror. Good-bye delinquent Suzuka, hello real me."

Suzuka had embraced her real self for the first time in three years.

Monday April 15;

The weekend over, Suzuka was returning to school. And instead of feeling pessimistic about it, she was actually looking forward to it.

"I was right." Suzuka said to herself as she stroked a lock of her hair while walking to school. She had indeed dyed it a dark blue "Dark blue suits me best. And I can't wait to see the class's reaction when they realize it's me. Ouf!" She stopped abruptly as a dark-brown-haired middle school girl ran into her

"Sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going." said the middle school girl, who for some reason looked familiar to Suzuka

"It's all good." Suzuka replied "I was in a daze too."

"Kei-chan, let's go! We're gonna be late for morning practice!" exclaimed another middle school girl that ran past them

"Wait for me, Yuki!" the first girl exclaimed as she ran off

"That kid looked familiar." Suzuka said to herself "She looked like.... Nah, couldn't be." Suzuka soon arrived at Enoshima. As soon as she walked though the gates, people started whispering. No one seemed to recognize her. "No one realizes it's me. Good start so far." Suzuka thought as she changed her shoes

Suzuka arrived outside her class, which seemed to be full. She was the last to arrive again. Hesitating a moment, Suzuka pulled open the door and went in.

"Who's that girl? She's cute. Was there a girl like that in our school? Is she a transfer student?" were a few of the things Suzuka heard as she sat in her seat

"Hey!" Hinako exclaimed

"Hai?"

"That's Akitsuki's seat!"

"I know."

"If you're are a transfer student, you should sit where you are assigned, not take another person's seat. Even if her reputation's horrible." Suzuka couldn't help but laugh at this "What's so funny."

"I'm not taking anyone's seat. This is my seat." said Suzuka

"Wait a minute." Miki spoke up "Akitsuki-san?"

"The one and only."

"EEEEEHHHHH!?" the whole class exclaimed

"Is that really you!? I didn't recognize you! Who knew you were really so cute!? What brought this along?" were a few things that Suzuka was asked as the class gathered around her. Eventually the teacher came in and things settled down. At lunch, Suzuka willingly accepted Miki's invitation to lunch on the roof, mainly to avoid the class

"You surprised us." said Miki as they ate "What brought this big change along?"

"Last Friday, I met a really wise man by chance, and he helped me 'look in a mirror', as I told my mom and sis." Suzuka replied "I'm sorry I shunned you so much. I just... well...."

"Apology accepted."

"By the way... what are you doing here?" Suzuka asked Hinako

"What? Is there a problem?" Hinako inquired

"Not really, I just don't like you."

"What was that!?"

"Now, now, now." Miki said pacifyingly "So anyway, what are you gonna do now?"

"Is the soccer team still recruiting?"

Suzuka went to the faculty office and filled out a club recruitment form, and was immediately accepted onto the girls team.

"Beach soccer, beach soccer!" several upperclasswomen exclaimed as they ran onto the sands of Higashihama Beach.

"So this is why I was told to bring a swimsuit." said Suzuka, who was now wearing a dark blue bikini bearing the same shade as her hair

"Beach soccer is fun!" Miki exclaimed as she pulled Suzuka onto the sand.

"Five on five as usual!" Mai called "Akitsuki-san, you're going in first. Show us what you're made of."

"Murasaki-sensei." said a male voice behind them

"Ah, Koishikawa-kun." Mai replied. Suzuka turned around to look at this "Koishikawa-kun", and her first glance at him made her heart skip a beat and had her seeing flowers in the background

"Coach Hyodo asked me to deliver a message." said Koishikawa

"Why didn't he text me?"

"He forgot his phone."

"That man."

Suzuka wasn't taking in a word and was just staring at Koishikawa.

"Akitsuki-san?" said Miki, shaking Suzuka's shoulder slightly

"Wh-who is he?" Suzuka stuttered

"That's Yamato Koishikawa. A first-year member of the boy's team. Why? Love at first sight?" Miki asked slyly

"N-no such thing!" Suzuka exclaimed, her cheeks red. Suzuka got in a forward's position on the attacking side "That girl!" Suzuka kicked off with first-year Tsukasa and took the ball straight to the goal, dodging everyone who blocked her and passing with Tsukasa flawlessly. They put the first goal away in a matter of seconds.

"She's a natural." Miki commented to herself as Suzuka fell to her knees in disbelief

"Did I really just do that?" said Suzuka "I only started playing yesterday."

"Because you're a natural!" exclaimed second-year Maho Inuzuka, putting Suzuka in a headlock and dragging her backwards into the sand "You're our lucky charm this year, that's for sure!"

"Welcome to the team, Akitsuki-san." said Miki, pulling Suzuka out of Maho's grasp

"Call me 'Suzuka'." Suzuka replied

"I see great promise with that recruit." Mai said to herself

Suzuka was redeeming herself bit by bit. Now a member of the Girl's Soccer Team, Suzuka's old self was soon forgotten, and she began making the best of her abilities as a soccer player. Suzuka never forgot what Kakeru did for her, and forever thought of some way to repay him. And two short years later, that chance arrived, in the form of his eldest daughter, Keiko.

Home»Next Chapter: The Confidence of A Striker

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