Reading Material

By: SilvorMoon

Misawa was sneaking. He knew he didn't belong in the Obelisk Blue dorm, but he was hoping that nobody would notice him at this time of night, and that he might be able to slip inside without detection. However, it wasn't only the idea of trespassing that made him nervous. The idea of what he was attempting to do was enough to make him feel somewhat uneasy. He never would have attempted it under the light of day... but on a cold, lonely night, certain ideas became far more compelling.

He found a side door near the kitchen, and was pleased to find that it was unlocked. Moving stealthily, alert for any sounds that would mean someone else was traversing the halls, he picked his way to the boys' wing and began making his way to a particular hallway. It was after quiet hours, and the lights were out in the halls. Everyone was in their room - if not sleeping, than at least being quiet. Misawa stared at the door for a moment, and then knocked lightly, hoping that the occupant would hear him and that nobody else would.

A moment later, the door was opened, and a pair of brown eyes peeked out at him.

"What's up?" asked Fubuki.

"Um..." Misawa could feel himself blushing, but he had come this far and wasn't about to back down now. "I heard that you had some, ah, reading material... the kind they don't keep in the school library... and that you might be willing to loan it to a friend."

Fubuki flashed a grin. "You've come to the right guy! Come on in."

He opened the door wide, and Misawa slipped through, grateful to be out of possible public view. Fubuki shut the door and turned to face him.

"So," he said, "what'll it be? You name it and I've got it - just say the word."

Misawa stammered out a description of what his particular tastes were, and Fubuki listened, nodding wisely.

"Hey, no problem," he said. "Nothing to be ashamed of! A young man's heart must go where it wills! You have to be free to pursue your dreams! Whatever empowers your romantic impulses, that's what you should have."

"I just wanted, you know, a little... bedtime reading," said Misawa, trying to keep a straight face.

"Sure you do! Don't worry, buddy, I've got exactly what you need."

Fubuki dug through his closet and pulled out a large plastic box labeled "Winter Clothes". Inside it were, as advertised, several sweaters, which Fubuki took out and set aside. Beneath the sweaters were a large quantity of magazines and books of dubious literary value. The covers displayed a number of attractive people, both male and female, whose state of dress gave some irony to the label on the box, as they were all wearing little or nothing at all. Fubuki studied the selection and took out three items, wrapping them each in brown paper covers that seemed to have been stored there for that purpose, and then passed them to Misawa.

"Here you go," he said cheerfully. "When you're done with these, bring 'em back and I'll get you some more. Try not to mess 'em up, okay? Other people read these too."

Misawa agreed that he would indeed be very careful with them.

"You won't tell anyone, will you?" asked Misawa. "I don't want anyone else to know I read this sort of thing. I have a reputation to uphold."

"No worries," Fubuki assured him. "All transactions are strictly confidential! I mean, you never hear me going around blabbing what anyone else likes, do you? And I know what everybody on campus likes, even the teachers."

"The teachers know you're doing this?"

Fubuki grinned. "Why do you think I never get caught?"

Misawa thought about it and decided he didn't want to know what it was his teachers got into in their off-hours. Instead, he said, "Well, as long as no one ever finds out..."

"Don't worry, you're secret's safe with me," Fubuki assured him. "Lots of guys are into that kind of thing - you'd be surprised. Now, you'd better get going before someone finds out you're here. I don't want you to get in trouble for being in the wrong dorm. I'll show you to the back exit, all right?"

Misawa agreed to follow Fubuki down the hall and through a door, which led to a narrow flight of stairs that was probably used by cleaning staff. It led down to an opening near a discreetly hidden shed out back, which was conveniently situated so none of the school's elite students would have to watch the comings and goings of mere drudges. Misawa thanked his benefactor again and slipped off into the night, carrying his paper-wrapped treasures and pondering the marvel that was Fubuki. He didn't think he would want to know the sexual peculiarities of everyone on campus, much less be able to cater to them so cheerfully. He wondered idly how much money Fubuki could make if he ever took a notion to start blackmailing people, and felt deeply grateful that Fubuki didn't seem to have the temperament for that sort of thing. He put the thought out of his mind as he reached his own dorm and returned to his room. He had some serious reading to do.

About an hour later, a few of his fellow students, who had been studying together quietly in the common room, had come to loggerheads over the answer to a particular question, and had decided to consult with their dorm's top student about the issue. He was usually good about helping people with homework - he might occasionally get a little too smug about the fact taht they came to him for help, but he'd always come through with the right answers when asked. They picked up their books and headed for his room.

"Think he's asleep?" asked one boy.

"Nah, he never sleeps," his friend answered. "He stays up all night, like, doing calculus and stuff. He'll be awake."

They tapped on the door. Perhaps they did not tap loud enough, or else Misawa was too involved with whatever he was doing to answer, because there was no response. They tapped again, and this time there was a sound like a soft moan. The boys looked at each other, and then, without even really deciding to, they slowly opened the door.

They found Misawa lying sprawled across his bed with a flashlight, a box of chocolates, and a number of books, the covers of which seemed to feature women in flowing gowns and men in the process of losing their shirts, if they hadn't lost them already, and backgrounds of dramatic sunsets or flowery gardens. The titles all seemed to be written in elaborate cursive script. Misawa was holding one labeled Flower of Desire - pressing it to his heart and sighing dreamily.

"Oh, that's so romantic," he murmured, eyes closed blissfully.

The other students looked baffled.

"Misawa, you read romance novels?"

His eyes snapped open. He looked at them, looked at the book in his hands, and looked back at them again.

"I borrowed them from Fubuki," he said crisply. "And I think you have no right to criticize me, since these are nothing compared to what you all have been borrowing from him."

He coupled this announcement with his sternest glare, and the other three students blushed crimson in unison and suddenly decided that they could figure out their homework on their own. They scrambled out of his room and slammed the door behind them. Misawa shrugged and wondered idly what on earth it was they had been reading, anyway, to get a reaction like that. He decided he would probably rather not know. Anyway, he had more important things to think about - like whether or not the lovely Claria would be able to confess her feelings for Roger before she was forced to marry Aubrey. He picked up his book again and returned to his reading.

The End