Rating/Warnings: Content PG / Language R
Summary: Kouji and Ayato run into Shozo at the bookstore! What fun! XD And by fun, I mean they all hate each other! Whee!
Terada Ayato felt much better, now that practice was over for the day and he'd managed to beat his roommate home so he could shower. He emerged from the bathroom to see that Takayama-kun had finally returned, however, but the other boy pointedly ignored him as he went to his bed and began digging around his backpack for his wallet. "Um," he said, looking up at his seemingly-oblivious roommate. "I was… gonna go to the bookstore. I… dunno if you still wanted to come with, but if you did…"
Kouji turned in his desk chair to face Terada. They'd discussed the plans to go into town for some time, and he wasn't sure if the plans would still hold now that things had … changed. His roommate didn't look any different, though, even knowing what he did, and Kouji issued a sigh. "I guess so," he said. He didn't have anything better to do, and a day with Terada wouldn't exactly kill him, he hoped. But he took his time in putting his shoes back on.
Ayato smiled, feeling somewhat relieved, to tell the truth. "Great." He waited patiently as his roommate put his shoes on, then led the way out of the dorm and off the grounds, somewhat tentatively. He wasn't really sure if Takayama-kun would want to really talk. He supposed he didn't mind either way, and led the way down the street in silence as he tried to remember which turns to take to get to the bookstore.
Kouji had thought that Terada would have remembered how to get to the store by now. They'd gone often enough that neither of them would get lost, but the other still went the wrong way sometimes. He sighed and pulled his roommate out of the street. "This way," he insisted, then quickly pulled his hands back to himself. "Sorry," he mumbled, facing the proper direction himself and taking the lead.
Taoka Shozo, unaware of his former friend’s predicament, had thought to stop and smell the roses. However, due to his accident several years prior, this was purely a figure of speech. He dragged his fingers through his greased-back hair as he stood staring into the window of the bookshop, head slowly tilting to the side upon noticing an almost intriguing book and its sale price.
However, Shozo’s eyes narrowed and he let out a short grunt, the sound of sneakers scuffing against pavement drawing his reveries from how much he’d like to read that book, to how much he’d enjoy sending this annoying person through the window. His surprise knew no bounds upon seeing Hyoutei’s former bastard, seemingly flinchy towards some little shortie with brown hair.
Kouji nearly paused in his tracks. Was that Shozo, standing outside the bookstore window? It couldn't be. Kouji wasn't even sure that Shozo read recreationally. He hoped he hadn't been seen with Terada, that would be just his luck, to be thought of as … soft. Or worse, brainwashed.
He willed his feet to keep moving as he pushed the door to the store open and ushered his roommate inside, not saying anything to his former classmate just yet. Kouji was certain that Ayato would take off for some section or another once they'd cleared the doors, and then he'd be able to go hide around the magazines or something.
"Eh?" Ayato glanced at Takayama, confused, as he was all but shoved into the store. "Are you okay?" He looked around, wondering what could have caused such behavior - his roommate certainly wouldn't be in such a hurry to get into the bookstore on his own. He caught sight of someone looking in their direction, maybe someone Takayama knew? He flushed a little, realizing that the last thing Takayama-kun probably wanted was to be seen with himself.
Arcing an eyebrow as Kouji and his short friend shuffled their way past, Shozo smiled and sauntered his way in, hand pressing to the glass of the door as he surveyed the area now laid out before him. It wasn’t any different than any bookstore he'd been in before; stacks of books, magazines, newspapers - and oh, a young man with oddly colored hair. Heavily, he laid his hand on his friend’s shoulder before speaking slowly, "You’re pretty rude, huh. That what you been learning at that school, how to rush into bookstores with little kids? Creepy."
Ayato flushed a little more, though he supposed that by now he ought to be used to being mistaken for a little kid. He looked up at the boy who'd spoken to Takayama-kun, wondering if he was an old friend from Hyoutei. Or an old enemy… he wasn't really sure how to take the boy's question - or the tone of voice in which it was asked.
Well, shit. This was just going to get worse, wasn't it? He should have expected that. Kouji shrugged his shoulder, pushing Shozo's hand away. "Lay off," he said. "Don't see what the hell you're doing in a bookstore, anyway." He didn't want to explain himself, and he didn't want to explain Terada, and he didn't understand why all of this had to start happening to him now.
"I enjoy reading. However, I entered the bookstore purely to harass you. Otherwise I would have just gazed, forlorn, at the books in the window before carrying on my merry way to see if you were surviving," Shozo muttered as he scratched at the area under the wristband of his watch, speaking to Kouji but his eyes locked on Ayato, obviously confused and trying to establish if this boy was worth the attention he was currently giving to him.
"Yeah, well, I'm alive," Kouji said. It sounded like Shozo was actually planning on visiting him, if he'd heard correctly. "Nice to know you care."
"Um. Are you a friend of Takayama-kun's, then?" Ayato asked carefully, glancing quickly at his roommate. The boy in front of them was… hard to read, for starters - he couldn't tell whether he was being intentionally rude or not - and Takayama was the same.
"Excuse my excessive rudeness. I’m Taoka Shozo." Shozo sneered slowly, the ends of his mouth twisting the sneer into a grin, his hand extending to the midget. "Let me guess. You’re Kouji’s girlfriend."
Ayato felt his face grow even hotter; he didn't dare glance at Takayama as he stared at the hand in front of him. "Terada Ayato," he said slowly, emphasizing the name, trying to keep his voice steady. "I'm his roommate."
Shozo’s hand dropped to simply rub under the Hyoutei patch upon his shirt, smiling ever so sweetly down upon Terada’s head, listening to his words before daring to speak with a sugary sweetness only so far found in Disney movies, " O~ Dear Kouji-kun’s roommate, you say!" The back of Shozo’s hand drew up to his forehead, his mouth an ‘O’ shape as he feigned surprise, and turned his attention upon Hyoutei’s finest. "Why Kouji! Hyoutei would’ve understood if you had dipped so low as to reach to waste such as this. We could have found you a nice girlfriend, too. A boyish one. You appear to enjoy those ones." Shozo’s eyes closed, but that mocking smile stayed put, a finger raising to tap his chin lightly.
"Fuck off, Shozo, you know it wasn't my choice to leave." Kouji also wanted Shozo to quit picking on Terada, already, because it wasn't like he'd done anything offensive – or anything at all – to Shozo to warrant being picked on. But he didn't dare say anything about that. "And sh -- and I'm not gay," he added.
Ayato was getting angry. He may be a pushover, as Takayama-kun had pointed out last week, but… He could have overlooked being called a little kid - sure, everyone did that; he could have maybe forgiven being mistaken for a girl if he tried really hard. But this… this was a little too far. He felt his hands clenching into fists and start to rise before he realized that they were in the middle of a bookstore.
"It’s not my fault that you look insanely girly with your hair up, Kou." Shozo swept back his hair and seemed amused at Ayato’s attempt to seem intimidating, his own head tilting back with a sneer that showed his perfectly set, bright white perfect Hyouteian teeth. "Boy, you look like a god damn Pomeranian when you get angry." He hummed and, pleased with how his hair curled in the back, softly added to himself, "I should have brought my cell phone."
Ayato dropped his hands to his sides, still glaring at this Shozo boy. He wondered idly if he was a second-year or third, but decided it would do no good to try and pull seniority even if the other boy was younger - it didn't work with Takayama-kun, so why should it work on someone twice as rude? "I see Hyoutei's reputation for being stuck-up bastards is well-deserved. Or are you going to take that as a compliment?" he asked levelly.
Shozo smoothly adjusted the collar of his shirt, believing this little SeiRu boy to be nothing more than an irritating lump of something-bad that he had the unfortunate luck to step in by accident. "Well, we prefer to call ourselves ‘privileged’. However, I see that Saint Rudolph’s reputation for having angry young men is still intact. Oh, I was so worried it wouldn’t survive the last captain."
"Guys," Kouji said brusquely, hoping to quiet them. The last thing he wanted was to be the mediator, but Terada was really taking offense at what Shozo was saying – and there was no doubt Shozo meant it offensively. "Terada, go find whatever it was you were looking for, okay?"
Ayato sighed, more than happy to take the opportunity to leave. "Fine. I'll be back in a while," he said, turning on his heel and storming off toward the science fiction books. He sincerely hoped that by the time he returned, Shozo would have gone away. Far away. The shelves of books surrounding him did a little to soothe his raw nerves, and he sighed again. He wondered idly if Takayama-kun had used to be that rude. If so, his current disposition was an astounding improvement, to say the least.
Kouji watched Terada go, if only to make sure his roommate was out of earshot when he turned back to Shozo. "Alright, so what d'you really want?" he asked. "Or are you really just in the area to harrass people?"
Watching the retreating back of Ayato, Shozo frowned to himself and turned an ear to Kouji. "Fuck you. I was all, ‘Kouji is probably bored as hell in that shitty place, so maybe I should bring him something’, but I dropped the milk tea on the bus and it exploded. Thought it was common courtesy to visit."
Alright, so he had to give Shozo some credit, at least where it was due. "Thanks," he said quickly, fast enough for it to be glossed over. "But you don't have to be such an ass about it. Terada's not that bad." He wondered why the hell he was still covering for him, after what had happened this week, but didn't go back and correct his statement.
"Whatever. He seemed weak, so why shouldn’t I have the ability to pick him apart." Shozo waved his hand, as if waving off the conversation, before continuing in an entirely different vein. "Why’d you feel the need to so urgently run into a bookstore anyway. This is dull." And it was, Shozo realized as his fingers pinched the bridge of his nose to keep a headache at bay, adding to his seasonal allergies.
"Wasn't my idea," Kouji said, shrugging casually. He wasn't sure what to say about Terada being weak – he knew that his roommate was, and he knew just why, but couldn't think of a good excuse to counter Shozo's reasoning. Maybe he was getting weak, too – maybe St Rudolph really was brainwashing him, and they were doing it so subtlely that he didn't even see it happening. "We were gonna go to the arcade afterwards, though," Kouji explained, but damn, that really did make it sound like they were hanging out – or worse, on a date -- and not like a proper justification for going to the bookstore. He wasn't even sure he wanted to go to the arcade anymore.
Shozo shrugged, mimicking Kouji as his hands slid into his pockets. Okay. Apparently, his good friend had caught that little bug called "The Gay", of which he had heard so much of. There was a large infestation at SeiRu not one year ago, but it was contained, and so the thought had never occurred that perhaps the virus had lay dormant in many of the students, only to spread to his former good friend. Fear crawled swiftly up his spine, and his hands tangled out of his pockets to latch onto Kouji’s shoulders, shaking the boy roughly whilst his voice rose, "What the hell has happened to you?!" Shozo then bowed his head low, and sneezed.
Ayato, having wandered back towards the front of the store, arms laden with five books apiece, heard an outburst that sounded an awful lot like Shozo. He peered around the corner of the nearest bookshelf to see him shaking Takayama-kun - though it didn't really look like he meant any harm, and he doubted there was much he could do even if he did mean to.
Kouji pushed Shozo's hands off his shoulders. "Quit touching me," he growled, trying to keep his voice low and not cause a damn scene in the bookstore. "Look, I don't know, okay? I'm fine."
Shozo regained his calm and cool composure, hands instantly shooting up to keep his hair slicked back. "Yeah, whatever. What a stupid excuse. That’s like saying, ‘oh yeah I’m fine, except for having this giant steel rod shoved through my skull’. You can’t not know, and then say you’re fine. But whatever. Pussy."
Ayato had seen more than enough. Coming back from the register, he shifted both bags to his left side arm and snagged his roommate's wrist, giving it a good yank before letting go. "Oy, Takayama-kun, I'm done," he said calmly, gaze flicking up to Shozo before settling back on his friend. "I'm leaving. Are you coming?"
Kouji pulled his hand away from Terada sharply. "What the hell is with everyone trying to fucking touch me today? Geez!" He glared at Shozo, but couldn't bring himself to meet Terada's eyes, which just proved how fucking weak he was, and he hated it.
His temper was shorter than it had been since… since his last big argument with his mother, really. And it had been pretty short then. "Get over yourself, Takayama. Are you coming, or are you going to spend more time with him?" Ayato snapped.
and Kouji looked from one to the other, feeling pressed to make a decision. Terada … well, he'd arrived with Terada, however sullenly, and it'd make sense to leave when he did. But he hadn't planned on running into Shozo, and still felt some sense of loyalty to Hyoutei, to hang out with his old friend.
But Terada was weird, and Shozo was pissing him off. "Fuck both of you," Kouji muttered, then turned and pushed his way out of the bookstore, heading down the street, hoping he might be lost in the afternoon rush of pedestrians on the sidewalks.
Ayato sighed, far past frustrated now, and mostly at himself. Why was he acting so stupid? Takayama-kun was likely to ignore him for the rest of the week at this rate. And he couldn't think of one way to blame him for it. He glared up at Shozo, who seemed to be standing there impassively. "Thanks. A lot. I owe you one," he all but growled, then turned and left the store none-too-leisurely. It wasn't worth it to try to catch up with Takayama-kun now; he'd see him eventually, and for now, Ayato needed to walk off some of his steam, even if most of it ended up being directed at himself. Though, he had to admit, he did not like that Shozo one bit.