"So this is one of those things where the parts all get switched around and it doesn't matter who's playing who, because it's just a giant joke anyway, right? ... Right?!"
Omi arrived early to school, having woken up early from nightmares of facing Schwarz down in dresses. He'd wandered around his apartment for the better half of an hour, and then finally decided that leaving fourty five minutes early wouldn't hurt anyone too much.
It was early on a Friday, and he was looking forward to the weekend; it was his weekend off in the shop, and he'd have an entire two days to do nothing but whatever he wanted. God willing, even Manx would stay away this weekend. Parking his bike in the student parking lot, Omi made his way into the building.
The principal, a strange man hailing from America, had been promising a terrific surprise all week, and the majority of the students were hoping for something like dress-down Fridays or something, in which the uniform could be abandoned one day out of every week. There were flyers in the main hall that announced that the surprise would be leaked in home room. Omi wondered how anyone could have kept something as big as this was meant to be under wraps for such a long time. The principal was a maniacal man who would have enjoyed torturing his students if it were legal.
I can deal with torture, Omi thought to himself, sitting down in his home-room class and pulling out a book to occupy him until the rest of his classmates arrived. But I don't know how anyone can deal with the crazy stuff he puts us through.
The principal was a man of his own beliefs, and had decided to implement as many American school-isms as he could; they had spirit week, and home-coming dances, and various other reasons for him to run amok through school rules and regulations.
Time passed quickly with his book, and he was nearing the end when the last of his class trickled in through the door, followed by the teacher. She cleared her throat, and automatically all eyes went to her.
"I'm sorry, kids," she said. "I tried to talk the man out of it, but he's not hearing it. A selected number of students will be participating in a play, a re-enactment of Romeo and Juliet by the English play-write, Shakespeare."
Excited whispers broke out all over the class as everyone wondered what part they'd like to play, and who wouldn't get chosen. The teacher raised a weary hand and the whispers stopped. "It's not as good as you think. It's not the drama club putting the play on, it's Principal Lowe."
The class groaned, almost as one. The teacher nodded. "Names will be drawn from a hat." She looked horrified at the prospect, wanting to protect her class from the vagaries of medically insane school leaders. "The only way out of the play if your name is drawn is if you are physically incapable of performing. Broken bones, terminal illness, that sort of thing. Parts will also be drawn, and I don't think there's any way out of it. Please accept my apologies on behalf of our principal, and my sincerest wishes for a good year. Your final grade depends upon this play, and if you do not participate, you do not graduate."
There were groans and whispers breaking out all over again, and Omi sat stock still in his chair and prayed to whomever would listen that his name would not be called.
"I sincerely hate that man," his teacher added, and class began.
Second period was upon them much too quickly, sometime a hundred years in the future, and the second period teacher looked almost as haggard and drawn as home-room's had been. "Second period is basically canceled," he said. "Because our principal is taking students to explain the rest of the play to them. Names will be called over the intercom-" He was cut off as the loud speaker came on, startling a few of them.
"We're gonna have a great year, a great year!" The principal said in English. Omi buried his head in his hands. Can I transfer to another school? he wondered idly, when several gasps around him caught his attention.
"Omi-kun, he called your name! You're going to be in the play?" The girl next to him sighed happily. "Oh, I hope I get called to play Juliet, if you're Romeo, Omi-kun!"
Omi rose unsteadily. Great. I'm in the play. Please let me be a stage tech or something... "Please excuse me," he said to the teacher, and gathered his books.
Nearly half-way to the auditorium, he was listening to the other unfortunate souls called on when one specific name startled him out of his apathy.
He'd known the other boy went to school, but he had no idea it was the same one that Omi himself attended. He was going to have words with Birman about that; why hadn't Kritiker warned him? That could have turned messy very quickly if the two had run into one another by accident, with no other warnings.
Of course, considering who the other boy worked with - did they live together, too? - it wouldn't be all that surprising to him, Omi guessed. Someone would have warned him. Lucky bastard, he griped, and entered the auditorium.
It was already filling with people, most of them buzzing with conversation about which parts they'd get. Someone called his name, dragging his attention from the stage where the hated principal was grinning madly.
"Omi-kun! Over here! Come sit with me!" He followed the voice to it's source, and smiled.
"Hello, Ouka-san," he called back, and made his way over to her. "I didn't hear your name get called," he said, seating himself. She grinned.
"It was the first one, how could you not?" She thwapped him on the arm, pouting. Omi smiled apologetically.
"I'm sorry, Ouka-san, I really wasn't paying any attention to the names."
"Welcome, welcome. You look like you're all here, good good. Now, to the fun part! Whoo! Here goes. Mizuno Ami!" He looked down at a list in his hand, and dug around in the top hat sitting upside down next to him. He drew out a little slip of paper, and grinned. "Lady Capulet!" He chucked the slip, which was subsequently picked up by one of his assistents. He made a note on the clip board he was holding, presumably writing down Lady Capulet beside Mizuno's name. When her name had been called, the girl had stood and bowed before sitting down again, thereby setting the theme of the day.
"Hmm, hmm! Kou Yaten!" The principal needed no microphone; he simply shouted and everyone heard him. "Lord Montague!" He yelled out happily, and jotted it down. Kou Yaten stood, bowed, and seated himself again. Omi tuned the rest of the names out, listening carefully for his own.
"Naoe Nagi!" His eyes jerked up from the book he'd been reading as the boy rose to his feet just two rows in front of him. "Juliet Capulet!" The principal looked excited by this, although it was hardly the first - Chiba Mamoru had been called on to play Lady Montague. Likewise, the Prince Escalus was to be played by Aino Minako. Furious whispers broke out all over the auditorium; Nagi was a known loner, and to be thrust into the female lead of this abnormal play was courting certain disaster.
The voices had barely settled when Omi's own name was called. "Tsukiyono Omi!" Omi stood nervously, still hoping for something like one of the servants. "Romeo Montague!" He stood where he was for a moment, shock, surprise, and horror warring within him.
"Wow, Omi-kun! You and Naoe-san are going to be Romeo and Juliet!" Ouka nudged him, grinning broadly. The telekinetic in question had turned around when Omi's name was shouted into the crowd, and dark blue met ocean blue with matching horrified looks.
Omi felt the edges of his vision darkening, and gave into the urge to let it take him, crumpling into his seat.
The return to consciousness was a battle in and of itself. He pushed upwards against the inclination to stay where he was for as long as he could, carefully not thinking about anything. He could sense more than hear the bodies moving around him, and it was a cool hand against his forehead that finally prompted him to open his eyes.
The shapes around him were blurry and unfocused, and he debated on whether or not sleeping some more would be the most sensible course of action, when the nurse's voice pierced through the fog in his brain.
"Oh good, Tsukiyono-san, you're awake! You gave us all quite a scare, passing out like that, but I think it's nothing more than exhaustion and dehydration. Did you eat anything today?"
"What? No, I forgot. Where am I?" He sat up slowly, blinking to focus his eyes.
"Medical ward, honey," she said cheerfully. "Go get something to eat before you go back to class, alright?" The nurse moved, leaving the room to help some students who'd just wandered in, and Omi rubbed his eyes.
Please tell me that that was some kind of nightmare.
"Feeling better Tsukiyono?" Came a cold voice from the direction of the chair. Omi shifted his gaze left, and stiffened. "I know you hate me, but really. Passing out? Dramatic much?" The psychic demon child was sitting calmly next to Omi's bed, glowering at him disdainfully.
"It's not like I did it on purpose," Omi retorted, rubbing his eyes again. "It was just a bit of a shock, you know, realizing that I'm going to have to kiss you in front of the entire school."
Nagi's face turned ashen grey, and for a moment Omi was afraid he'd need to call the nurse in again. "I hadn't considered that," he murmured, mostly to himself. Raising his voice again, he glared. "I've already spoken to the principal. There's no switching or trading, or dropping out unless you're dead or dying. I can't not do it, because our graduation is dependant on our cooperation in this. That doesn't mean I have to enjoy it." He sneered, and stood to leave. As he passed, he dropped a heavy green folder onto Omi's lap. "Your lines are highlighted. Memorize them." With that, he was gone.
Omi sat up, realizing that his shoes were missing, and picked up the folder. It appeared to be a script of the play they were going to perform, and his lines were indeed highlighted, every last one of them. Wondering who had taken the time to do that for him, he looked around for his shoes.
Beside the chair Nagi had been occupying was an uncapped highlighter, and Omi's shoes. Blinking in surprise, he realized that the telekinetic had sat there and gone through the entire script, highlighting Romeo's lines. At the end of the packet was a page with the names and email addresses of the rest of the cast, Nagi's included. One of his friends had thought to add Omi's own, and he saw it next to his name.
"DarkCat, hmm?" Omi wondered aloud, and gathered his shoes and capped the marker.
After his homework was done that night, Omi logged onto his computer and signed online. It dinged at him, informing him that he had e-mail, and he wondered briefly if any of it was from Nagi. Not that he cared, he told himself sharply. It was just curiousity.
"Welcome, Teuflisch." There were several junk letters, and a message from both Tybalt and Mercutio. He opened a new window without thinking about why.
-SUBJECT: Thank you!
Here he paused, wondering what the hell he was trying to do, getting in contact with the other assassin. Finally, he decided to forget the fact that he was going to be acting alongside an enemy, and treat him just like he would any normal friend or acquaintance.
-Hello, Nagi-san. This is Tsukiyono Omi. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to highlight my lines earlier, that was kind of you. Did someone put you up to it, or did you do it out of the kindness in your heart?
He doubted there was any kindness in Schwarz's collective heart, but he wasn't about to tell any of them that to their faces.
-You and I are going to have to do a lot of work to make this thing work. Do we limit our contact to rehearsal? Or are we getting together outside of school for this? I don't care what you think of me, I just don't want to get up on stage and make a fool of myself. I think I can not kill you for a while if you can handle not killing me.
He sent it before he had a chance to rethink any of his words, or chicken out of the whole emailing thing altogether. Not even a minute after he'd sent the message, a new window popped up on his screen.
"'DarkCat' has sent you an instant message. Would you like to accept?"
Omi considered this. Somewhere in the city, right this very moment, Nagi was online. It was almost eerie. He pressed 'Yes'.
-DarkCat: Oh, Teuflisch. That's original. Shouldn't you be Floral Kitty or White Knight or something?
Omi stared at the screen in shock, unable to believe what he was seeing. This couldn't possibly be the same unflappable freak he'd faced down so many times, could it? Still, it could be believable that Nagi wasn't always a disinterested loner. Perhaps he was quite friendly with people in his own circles. Seeing someone in a situation where death, maiming, and terror were commonplace and seeing them as they really were was completely separate. Realizing that Nagi was waiting for a reply, he stuck to his pledge to treat the other boy as nothing more than a classmate he didn't quite know very well.
-Teuflisch: Could say the same thing about you. Shouldn't your name be Demon Brat or Scion of Hell?
-DarkCat: Demon brat?! How rude! I like the scion of hell one though.
-Teuflisch: You would.
-DarkCat: Oh, would I? You would know, wouldn't you, seeing as how we're such close friends and all.
Omi snickered to himself. If he'd met Nagi anywhere but on the battle-field, he thought they could do really well as friends.
-Teuflisch: How are your lines coming, Juliet? Memorized any of them yet?
-DarkCat: -winks- Not yet. I'm waiting for the right... mood.
-Teuflisch: Mood?! You have to be in a mood to start reading? Freak.
-DarkCat: What are you, three?
-Teuflisch: You like it, admit it.
-DarkCat: And if I did?
There was an uncomfortably pregnant pause as the two teens took in their banter. Finally it was Nagi who broke the radio silence.
-DarkCat: Whatever. Are you busy later?
-Teuflisch: That depends on what's happening later.
-DarkCat: You. Me. Park. Bring your script.
-DarkCat: (Automated Away Message) Hurry up and move your butt, Flower boy!
Omi couldn't help it, and started laughing. It was so loud and out of place that Omi found Ken at his door a few minutes later. "What's so funny in here?" the soccer player asked, looking around the room as though the source of Omi's mirth would leap out at him from behind a potted plant.
"You know that my principal's been planning a surpise all week, right?" He waited for Ken's acknowledgement. "Well, we found out what it was today. He's subjecting the lot of us to a play."
"That's good, right? Watching plays are entertaining and educational, what more could you want?" Ken still peered around the room.
"No, you misunderstand. The students are playing the parts, it's a student play. It's Romeo and Juliet. Uhm... I got the part of Romeo, by accident. And... The person playing Juliet. Well... You're not going to like it."
"I know that it was a surprise raffle of the parts," Ken said suddenly. "One of the girls in the shop was talking about it. She said something about Nagi, too. Isn't Nagi the name of that kid in Schwarz?"
Omi toed the ground, uncomfortable. "Yes."
Ken blinked. "Huh," he said, and wandered back out. "Well, good luck!"
The door shut behind him. Omi peeped at it, wondering where the expected explosion had gone. He waited for it to sink in, knowing that Ken would think about it. Less than thirty seconds after the door had swung shut, it crashed open again.
"You! Schwarz! Him! Play! Kiss! How?" He looked so flustered that Omi had to laugh.
"The only thing keeping me from screaming about this whole thing is the mental image of Nagi in a dress," Omi said calmly, tucking his folder into his backpack and grabbing the keys to his bike.
"Schwarz- Dress?" Ken gurgled, and Omi patted him on the back as he walked out. As he was descending the stairs, he heard Ken burst out into laughter.