The classroom was dimly lit, made dark by the black, stormy cloud cover outside. Rain rolled down the windows, distorting the view for Takaishi Takeru, who sat in the back of the room on the right side; the side next to the windows. He tried to pay attention, honestly he did. But when it's a Friday morning and you're sitting in Trigonometry, you want to do anything but pay attention.

So he sat there in the back of the room, blue eyes focused on the window. Every now and then, lightning would flash outside, and a low rumble of thunder would cut through the classroom. Takeru smiled, leaning back in his seat and brushing blonde hair from his eyes, tucking it gently behind his ears where it fell out from again only an instant later. His hair wasn't quite long enough to be held out of his face, but it wasn't short enough to keep out of his eyes. It got to be very annoying.

The door to the classroom opened, and everyone looked up from his or her work expectantly. The teacher, Mr. Monuke, rose from his desk. "Oh, I almost forgot. Class, we have a new transfer student today. This is Motomiya Daisuke; he transferred from Osaka."

Stepping into the classroom came a boy about Takeru's height, but opposite in every other way. His hair was spiked up through the use of hair gel, short, and dark brown, although the ends showed the remains of a dark blue dye job. Pushed up on his forehead was a pair of blue-and-orange snowboarding goggles, shoving bangs up but not quite out of deep auburn eyes. Around his neck were three necklaces and a dark blue collar, and covering his wrists were several styles of bracelets. His clothes were baggy, and the tattered edges of his blue jeans hung over bright orange tennis shoes. He glanced around the room, ignoring the fact that most of the male students were staring at him with an expression somewhere between shock and mockery while the girls were stuck between shock and drooling. A slight smirk crossed his tanned face.

"You'll have to sit in the back," Mr. Monuke gestured to the otherwise full room. "Why don't you sit beside Takeru? He's the blonde boy."

Every step the boy took through the rows of students echoed with arrogance, and he flopped down silently in the desk next to Takeru. Casting him a sidelong glance, he arched one eyebrow in acknowledgement. Slinging the messenger bag off his shoulders, he fished through it idly and produced a notebook. He slouched down in the seat and started taking notes, ignoring the fact that quite a few students were still staring at him.

Takeru shifted his mindless gaze from the window to the boy sitting next to him. Everyone else at the school was completely conformist; wearing the type of clothing you'd see in an Abercrombie & Fitch window. Glancing down at himself, the blonde realized that he wasn't much better. He looked back up and studied the new student. It was refreshing to see something different once in a while, and this was certainly different. His eyes fell on the silver polymer jacket that changed colors in the lights. Grey, silver, white, silver, white, grey... Realizing that the jacket had suddenly stopped switching shades, Takeru looked up to find Daisuke eyeing him.

"What?" he asked bluntly, in slightly accented Japanese.

"Uh, nothing," the blonde turned away, refusing to blush. Instead he just went back to the window, staring at the rain as it made little wet paths down the glass. The sky was no longer a deep black color, giving hope of sunlight later in the day. Shoving his hair behind his ears again, the boy leaned his chin on his hand. Today was going to be incredibly average.

By the time lunch hour rolled around, the sun was out and there was a strong breeze shoving the rain clouds across the blue sky. Takeru sat outside at a table with his friends, eating his soggy lunch. His mother had made him the same lunch every day since he started kindergarten – a sandwich, an apple, and a box of juice. It was lame and he felt like a little kid, even though he was 17 years old. His other friends all bought lunches at the school, but here he was, still dragging food from home. At least he'd convinced his mother to upgrade him from grape juice to a can of soda, he thought as he opened the can.

His friends were doing what they did best – gossip. Their target for the day was obviously the easiest, most vulnerable one. Motomiya Daisuke was sitting across the schoolyard, idly typing at a laptop. In between snickers, the seven boys flung insults.

"I bet he's one of those computer geeks that downloads porn all day."

"No doubt. He couldn't get some from anyone but his right hand. I mean... just look at him. Have you ever seen anything so weird?"

"The girls seem to like him," Takeru interrupted. "I've heard them giggling about the 'hot new guy' all day."

The other boys turned and stared blankly at their blonde friend for a long moment, then turned back to sneering. "I wonder why he transferred. You think he got kicked out of his old school?"

"You think it was for fighting? He looks the type to get into a fight."

"Nah, usually if they get kicked out they don't let you transfer. Especially if it's for fighting."

"Well, maybe he was in a fight but got his ass kicked, so he was entirely mortified and had to move."

"Oh come on. What parents do you know that would move because their kid got his ass beat at school?"

All eight heads were turned towards the boy at the other end of the schoolyard, gossiping randomly. Finally, Takeru stood up, shoving the empty paper bag that once held his lunch into the pile of trash in the center of the lunch table. "You guys are pathetic," he stated, attempting to make a dramatic exit by slamming the empty soda can on the table and marching over to where Daisuke was sitting.

Glancing up through the light blue goggles, the dark brown eyes narrowed in annoyance. Reaching up, the boy pulled headphones off of his ears and settled them around his neck. "What?" he asked the blonde in the same flat tone that he'd used earlier that morning.

Takeru sat down across from him and smiled, ignoring the faint snickering he could hear from his friends across the quad. "So you're from Osaka, huh?" One eyebrow went up for an incredibly annoyed expression. Instead of responding, Daisuke just rolled his eyes and turned back to the laptop. The blonde scowled. "Okay... so why did you transfer to Odaiba?"

"Did you want something?" the other boy asked dully. "I'm in the middle of something." He glanced up from the laptop and leaned the palms of his hands against the table. "Well?" he snapped when the answer didn't come immediately.

"I was just trying to make conversation," Takeru blinked.

"Well, don't try. Please. I'm not interested. Thank you." He turned back to the screen without another word.

The other boy sat there, slightly stunned. He sat that way for a minute or two. The whole time he just stared blankly, trying to comprehend the cold way he'd been brushed off.

Daisuke sighed, shutting the laptop. He cracked his neck, first on the right and then on the left, drumming his fingers on the picnic table. "Oh, that felt good. Look, if I answer your question, will you leave me alone?"

"I'm not here to hassle you or anything, I just wanted to start up a conversation," Takeru blinked in confusion. "You're new and everything and I just thought it wouldn't hurt for someone to show you a little hospitality."

Giving a snort of disbelief, the dark-haired boy leaned forward on the table, resting his chin on his hands. "How generous."

Takeru rubbed his nose. "I didn't mean anything by it."

"I don't need you to take pity on me."

"I was just trying to be nice."

"I wasn't."

"Geez, what's your problem?" he snapped.

"Ah-ha!" Daisuke pointed at him. "Now you're getting the hang of this. Get mad. Be a bastard to me, c'mon. I'll respond better."

Takeru was seriously boggled by the responses he was getting. Was this guy just a complete ass? They'd never met before and here he was, Daisuke being completely snide. Partly in confusion and partly in disgust, Takeru got to his feet. In a vague attempt at making his exit seem less of a retreat, he said, "You know, I don't think I like you very much."

"Oh, c'mon!" Daisuke called after him. "Don't be such a bad sort. Yell at me! Get pissed off! C'mon!"

Takeru glanced back once to see Daisuke back at the laptop, a smirk of satisfaction on his face.

"Hey, have you seen that hot new kid? He's sooooo cool!"

"Yeah! He's in my history class. Oh my GAWD, have you heard his voice? It's so sexy!"

"Oh GAWD, I know I know! I'm about ready to jump his bones or something!"

Giggle giggle, gossip, giggle. All Takeru had heard all day was how hot the new kid was, and as seventh hour rolled around, he was getting really bored with it. If he was holding something sharp, he would have jabbed his eyes out as the next moment Daisuke came waltzing in the door to the classroom, walking with the same overly confident step he'd used that morning. The girls started giggling and squealing to each other; the males nudged each other and made faces. Takeru sunk down in his seat with a sigh. Taking a seat in the empty row all alone seemed like a good idea at first – but now he was stuck, once again, sitting next to the cocky little new kid.

Daisuke sat down a seat away from him. At first Takeru felt safe, but the other turned and gave him a smile dripping with mockery. "Hey hey, we meet again. Takeru, right? How nice."

The blonde forced out a smile. It was met with an even bigger grin filled with so much sarcasm Takeru could almost taste it in the air.

It was sickening. All during the period, girls kept turning around in their seats to 'discreetly' check out the new kid. Several of them dropped their pencils and kicked them back a few feet just so they could move. 'If I see that happen one more time, I'm going to puke. Just right here, throw up all over my desk.' At that moment, the bell rang, and Takeru was the first one out the door.

Basketball practice felt vaguely the same as lunch had. In between drills, the team snickered about the weird new guy. For some reason, the gossip was really getting to Takeru. Normally, he would have laughed along with them or just ignored it. Today it was different. As he slammed a shot against the backboard and through the hoop, the blonde tried to figure out what was so off that he wasn't acting the same as his friends. Maybe he was just tired of their stupidity. Even so, why should he give a damn? Daisuke was a bastard, and he obviously took pride in being one. Takeru should be glad people were talking smack about him.

Swishing another shot through the hoop, Takeru shook his head. Could be that Daisuke only appeared to be confident. Maybe he was really just nervous, and Takeru's sub-conscious was reacting strangely to that.

On the other hand, Daisuke did appear to be genuinely snide. Another ball went through the basket. Maybe Takeru just felt guilty for being on top of the high school food chain and seeing this new kid on the bottom. He wasn't exactly on the bottom with the girls, though. There goes the guilt factor.

The coach blew his whistle before Takeru could think it over any more. Instead, he shoved it out of his mind and tried to focus on the pep-talk. Big game tomorrow, whoo-hoo. The team always won. Always. Takeru had been on the team since his freshman year, and every game for every year they'd won. Sometimes it was close, but they won. Sometimes he wondered why the coach even bothered trying to psych them up for the next day. Didn't it feel like a wasted effort since they'd win anyway? Knowing the coach, he probably credited his famous little pep-talks with the victories. He always stole the glory. Not like he was out there working his ass of to make the stupid little orange ball slide through the hoop.

In the locker room, Takeru shoved his dirty gym clothes into his bag. At least it was Friday, and he had the whole weekend to forget about the stupid new kid. He had a game tomorrow to focus on; he didn't have thoughts to waste. Resolutely pulling on his backpack, Takeru clumped outside and started home.

Home, today, was not his mothers' apartment. Instead, he was on his way to his fathers'. Every Friday, his mother worked late at the office, so Takeru went to his dads place to have dinner with him and his older brother. At least that was the plan; his father was a TV producer and often worked late himself, so typically it was just Takeru and his brother Yamato.

Not that it was a problem for Takeru. Takeru liked his brother and would give anything to spend more time with him. The problem was finding off time that they shared. Yamato was in a band, and if he wasn't doing a show or at practice, he was working. And of course he had a life to get to, which didn't always involve hanging out with his younger brother, who was four years younger than him.

Takeru took the stairs up to the third floor, fishing around in his pocket for the key. He couldn't find it – most likely he'd forgotten it at home again. Stopping outside of apartment 572, he knocked twice. He could hear voices inside, and inwardly groaned. He didn't really like Yamato's band mates, and he hated hearing them all talk about the band. He almost thought about just going home instead, but the door opened just that minute.

His brother smiled down at him, ruffling his hair gently. "Hey, kid, c'mon in. I got some friends over, I hope you don't mind."

"No, 'course not," Takeru mumbled, following Yamato in the apartment and running his hands through his hair to fix it. He paused to kick off his shoes, then shuffled on into the living room.

"Well, what are the odds of this!"

Takeru jerked his head up at the familiar voice, and blinked. Sitting in the armchair in the middle of two other people he didn't recognize was Daisuke, staring at him. Groaning, he raised a hand and slapped himself in the forehead. "Somebody shoot me now."

"That can be arranged," the dark-skinned boy raised one eyebrow under the orange and blue goggles.