Recently (about two weeks ago), Takayama Kouji had decided that he wasn't going to be staying in the dorms at St Rudolph anymore, and with the aid of Keipi (thursdayschild_), Shozo (misuta_kuriipi) and Kazuto (fubukikazuto, managed to escape the watchful eyes of the many nuns prowling the campus. (There is a log for this, but as it's a four-person log, it's been kind of tricky to try and finish.)
In the meantime, Kouji's been staying with Keipi. (There's at least one log detailing a somewhat typical day during his stay, but, you know, that procrastination thing hits.)
Guess it got to be too much, or something started getting to him -- Kouji's decided maybe he ought to go back to St Rudolph, and so, tonight, under the cover of night, stealthily breaks back into the dorm rooms like some kind of reverse-ninja. His roommate, Terada Ayato (seiru_ricochet) has some words for him.
St Rudolph dorms
Mild warning for Kouji's cursing.
Takayama Kouji had already left a note for Keipi on his journal, but he left a handwritten one by his school stuff just in case he didn't get onto the computer before leaving for class tomorrow. Kouji hoped he'd at least find that; you never knew with someone like Keipi …
He didn't have too much of his own stuff with him, thankfully, which meant it was easier to try not to make too much noise sneaking out of the small apartment and down the steep steps. The night air was warm enough for April – nice, because he'd be walking all the way back to school. Busses didn't run this late, and he'd begun to run out of pocket money.
Just another reason to have to go back to St Rudoph … Kouji sighed, and shifted the bag on his shoulder midway through his journey back. It wasn't so bad, he supposed. It was calm enough, and not really all that cold.
But after he had actually arrived at his new school and stared at the back of the dormitory building, he realized he hadn't really put too much thought on exactly how he was going to sneak back in. Thankfully his room was on the first floor, so he wouldn't have to try and get up to the second, but the doors were still locked. So was the window.
He could try and get his roommate's attention – the lights were still on, after all. Kid probably wouldn't care, if he was still awake. Kouji rapped lightly, steadily on the windowpane, not letting up til he got an answer.
Terada Ayato settled back against the pillows, trying to find a good position in which his neck didn't get such a crick from prolonged reading. He glanced at the clock, noted that it wasn't *quite* late enough that he had to go to bed just yet, and sighed, wondering for what seemed like the hundredth time just where it was that his roommate went at night, and whether he was safe. But there was nothing he could do now, what with the hour, so he turned to his book and proceeded to fall back into the fantasy world within its pages.
That was, until there was a noise outside. Ayato froze, looking up, realizing that there was someone tapping on the window. Who the hell could *that* be? He couldn't see who it was, what with the window being backlit, so he did the first thing that came to mind - he pulled the flashlight off his windowsill and proceeded to blind whoever it was outside.
Until he realized it was his roommate, ducking the flashlight's glare in his eyes. Ayato dropped the flashlight on the bed and pulled the window open, staring at his stunned kohai. "Takayama-kun?"
Kouji turned his head in lieu of raising a hand to his face when the bright light shone in his eyes. "Shit," he cursed softly. "Yeah, it's me, lemme in." He hoisted his bag to the window ledge, shoving it over and into the dorm room, hoping he wouldn't break anything in the process. "Get that thing outta my face."
Ayato felt an embarrassed flush color his cheeks as he stuck a hand out the window to help the boy over the sill. "Yeah, sorry, but what on earth are you doing out *there*? They have these handy things called doors nowadays, you know."
"Door's locked," Kouji replied. As if that wasn't obvious. Terada should know that they locked them after 10, shouldn't he? No matter. He took his roommate's hand to be pulled inside.
Ayato braced himself against the wall and helped pull his roommate into the room and onto his bed, trying self-consciously to keep Takayama at arms-length. "Well, yeah, I suppose that's because it's after curfew," he said, hoping to prompt some sort of response out of the boy - like *why* he was coming in through the window in the middle of the night. It hardly seemed like a well thought-out plan.
So Terada wasn't stupid after all. Good. Kouji brought his bag back to his own bed and started unpacking his stuff, tossing most of it into the laundry basket inside his closet.
Ayato picked his book back up, realizing that Takayama wasn't going to offer information without more obvious prompting. After scanning a few paragraphs and turning the questions he wanted to ask over in his head, he finally decided for the direct approach. He felt he did have *some* right to know where his roommate had been as of late. After all, he'd been covering for him all this time. It was only fair.
"So… are you going to be staying, or are you leaving again?" he asked, not lifting his eyes from his book, listening to the sounds of laundry being thrown into the basket.
"Probably going to stay," Kouji admitted, though he hated to. He still didn't want to be at St Rudolph, but he didn't really have much other choice. Keipi's place was crowded and Shozo probably would've killed him in his sleep or something. "For a while."
"Mm," Ayato murmured, not looking up from the page. "So where were you, then? Not far, I'm assuming, since you were here during the day."
"Somewhere." Terada wouldn't even know what he meant if Kouji told him, so he didn't bother. "Why d'you care, anyway?"
"Your family called. Multiple times. And there were some bed checks. I covered for you," was all Ayato said.
"Thanks," Kouji said casually, and, having finished unpacking, flopped lazily on his bed. Not very soft, he observed, but at least it didn't have a pile of crap on it like everything at Keipi's did. "What'd you tell 'em?"
"I said you were in the shower once or twice. I also told them you were studying at the library. That made them pretty happy." Ayato smiled - a bittersweet expression, really, because Takayama's parents *had* been so glad to hear their son was studying… and it had been a lie.
"You know, if the school found out you'd been gone, you'd be expelled. Really - where were you? Friends or something?"
Kouji shrugged. "Yeah." He turned onto his side and looked at the wall. "Don't worry, I was safe enough. Back now, though, so you don't have to try and make up stuff for me anymore. Thanks for covering. I'll buy you lunch or something."
Darnit, his roommate knew his weaknesses. But no, this time the promise of food was *not* going to placate Ayato. He finally looked up from the book, fixing his gaze on his roommate's back. "You're welcome, but I'd still like to know what you were doing. I mean… I guess I don't really have to be your friend or anything, but we are supposed to be roommates. And not only do I not know anything about you, you haven't been here for a sizable chunk of time and we both could have gotten into major trouble for it." Ayato cringed - trouble was not something he wanted to be in at this school. Ever.
Kouji turned to face Terada. "What would you have gotten in trouble for?" That didn't make any sense. And besides, if he showed up to classes, it shouldn't matter where he went at night, right?
Ayato hunched back against his pillow, drawing his knees and the book up to his chest. "For not telling them you were gone. For lying to a whole slew of people, no few of which were the dorm officers conducting curfew checks. I don't mind lying," Ayato admitted, "but I generally like to know why I'm doing it."
"Coz you're a decent guy?" Kouji suggested. It seemed to be true enough, judging from Terada's responses so far. Even if he also seemed to take his dad's suggestions to heart – he really didn't need to keep checking up on him like this.
Ayato laughed softly. "Well, that's good to hear," he said quietly, shaking his head just a little. "I guess I was just a little… well, confused, since you were coming to school and all, and it seemed like you were only half-bent on rebelling." He shrugged. "Never mind, then, I guess. I shouldn't pry…" He glanced at his socked feet against the bedspread. "It's not like I can stop you, but if you do leave again, I'd appreciate some notice."
Kouji sat up abruptly. "Half-bent?" he repeated. He was not only halfway rebelling, he was completely rebelling! There was no halfway with him and this – this kid wasn't about to suggest any different. "What do you know?"
Ayato cast him a slightly condescending look, wondering if he really wanted to get into this argument. "I know that if you'd really meant it, you wouldn't have been going to classes or tennis practice," he said dryly. "I know plenty - how would *you* know, you know just as little about me as I do about you."
"So tell me something," Kouji countered. "And maybe I would've stopped going to class eventually." He'd been considering starting to skip some classes, maybe slowly working down until he wasn't going to any anymore … even if he knew that he couldn't really do that, because he wasn't sure what kind of action his parents might take.
He hated to admit it, but he was still scared of what they could do.
"I'll tell you I wouldn't have covered for you if you did that," Ayato said. "And I'll tell you that I think you're being stupid, because you obviously don't understand that you can't keep the privileges you want without having to do a few things you might not like. And… I'd rather not see you be stupid like that."
"Look, nobody forced you to come here. You're here because you want to be, for whatever dumb reason that is. I didn't ask you to like me and I didn't ask for you to cover for me. I'm glad you did, but geez, there's no reason you've got to start acting like my mom. Lighten the hell up, wouldja?"
Ayato stared for a moment. "Fine. *I* came here to play tennis. I thought at least you'd understand that. I covered for you because I think you're a decent person; you're quickly proving me wrong." He sighed. "Sorry. Forget it." He turned back to his book, still hunched against the pillow, glancing at Takayama out of the corner of his eye.
"And you know, if you skip classes, you won't be eligible to play," he said quietly, after a few page turns.
Kouji felt the anger bubbling up inside of him. How could Terada be so freaking calm about all of this? Was he trying to provoke him? "Don't think I don't fucking know that," he replied sharply. "Why the hell d'you think I *didn't* skip classes? Shit." He sighed heavily, in lieu of punching something that might wind up hurting him, tried to calm down. "But you sure picked one hell of a school if you're just here for the tennis. You coulda gone anywhere. Why this place? Full of losers."
Why had he chosen this place? That was a very, very good question - one Ayato asked himself daily. So many places would have been… well, *easier*. But easy had not been what he'd looked for when he moved to Tokyo. "They're not losers. They're damn good. And I want to be good too." He laughed shortly. "Wasn't gonna be good back in Osaka on my old team." He case a sideways glance at Takayama. "You're just bitter. This is a good team, and you know it. Or you *would've* skipped class."
The truth was that it was all Kouji had left. "It's a mediocre team," he said. "It's nothing compared to Hyotei. Or hell, any of the other schools that made it to Nationals. I think this one was ranked – what, stuck at districts? It's crap." Of course he was bitter. He had every right to be, if he could've been somewhere else, even if he was the crappiest player on the best team it would've been better than this shit.
Ayato sighed. Maybe St. Rudolph wasn't the *best*, but it was the only school his parents would agree to, because it was a boarding school. The only other had been Seigaku, because his uncle lived near that school... and he'd *never* have gotten a spot on the Seigaku team. St. Rudolph, "mediocre" as it may be, was still much, much better than his position back in Osaka.
"They're still good," he replied, turning back to his book. "And I know they're not the best. Why aren't you somewhere else then, hm? Like you said, *I'm* here because I want to be. If you don't want to be here, then get your parents to let you go somewhere else." He was pretty sure this was a completely impossible option, but maybe if Takayama realized his situation, he'd stop getting so worked up about things he couldn't have.
"They *won't* let me go anywhere else. They *hate* me, I've told you this already. And you met my dad, he was all, you'd better call me, you'd better talk, do this do that, whatever. I swear, they just want me to be miserable. Believe me, if I could have gone anywhere else I would have." If he could have just stayed at Hyotei he wouldn't have this problem.
"Well, obviously you can't, so why are you trying so hard to ruin your chances here?" Ayato sighed. "Your parents *don't* hate you, either, but you're not going to believe me about that, are you." It wasn't a question, because Ayato had seen this before, and it looked like no amount of reasoning was going to convince Takayama that the world *wasn't* against him "Fine, be miserable, but if you're going to start cutting classes, don't expect me to stick up for you," he said quietly, resting his eyes on the pages of his book once more, but not really reading the words there.
He knew he really had no right to try and get involved like this - it was more than likely a bad idea - but he knew his roommate was a good player, and a decent kid, and it just seemed like if he'd change his attitude a little a lot of his problems would go away.
"I'm not gonna cut classes," Kouji muttered. Terada was saying a lot of the same things that Haru-sempai had said – that it was better to make the best of a crappy situation instead of bitching about it – but in a sort of different way. He wasn't sure why Terada made him feel like he had to defend himself.
"Good, 'cause I'd rather not be a jerk and have to tell on you or something." Now Ayato finally began reading again, half his mind on the novel as he turned the page a moment later. "And you know, I wouldn't mind *actually* being your friend. Unless you'd rather not."
Kouji shrugged. "Fine with me," he said. Terada was kind of protective, and definitely a goody two-shoes, but he had covered for Kouji while he was gone, and that was worth at least some trust. "Did say I'd buy you lunch, didn't I?"
Ayato cast him a lopsided grin. "That, you did. You might regret it."
Kouji raised an eyebrow. "… why?"
That was right - Takayama really didn't know just how dangerous his proposal had been. "Why don't you ask someone who sits with me at lunch?" Ayato asked innocently. The truth was, he could out-eat most of his classmates, though whether that was really something to be proud of was still questionable. At least he trained daily outside of the regular tennis practices, or the amount of food he consumed would start to show. "Just 'cause I'm short doesn't mean I can't eat three times as much as you."
"But since you're offering, I'll be good." Ayato cast him a genuine smile this time.
"Appreciate that," Kouji said, finally relaxing a little. "Maybe this weekend or something."
"Sure, that'd be fine." Ayato turned another page. "I'm gonna go to bed in a few, when I finish this chapter. You can leave the lights on if you want."
"Alright. 'M gonna surf the net, so it'll just be the monitor light." He walked to the desk to do just that. He wanted to check if Keipi had gotten the message on his journal, at least, and maybe see if anyone else was around so he could tell them that he'd gone back to SeiRu … he almost kind of regretted going back so soon after they'd helped him break out, as though going back was kind of like letting them down, but … but maybe it was the right thing to do after all.
And Terada might be as dorky as the rest of them, but Kouji figured he could at least deal with that for a while. It'd have to do.