Ah, so I started something new. First part of two, and no, I most likely am not the owner of these lovely boys. KaRe, (YuBo)

I'm lazy, so shoot me. The school system used, very vaguely hinted at, is Swedish. And while I'm well aware that it's rather unique, it's also the only one I know. We have two terms in Sweden, which is also why this fic is split up in two chapters. One school year, last year before graduation and university studies.

So...now all they have to do is get together...


Autumn/Winter

"-former exchange student who returned home just a couple of weeks ago," here the teacher paused temporarily to wave in the average direction of the 'new' student before going back to his speech. "The schedules you were handed are, as usual, not likely to last more than a week, and-"

Rei sighed, his attention already away from the teacher's rambling; sounding vaguely like last year's welcoming speech had. Leaning his head in his hand, he stared out over the classroom. Finding the new student would have been fairly easy had they all not been new themselves. From what Rei could tell, there was only one from his former class, and they had probably exchanged five words. Maybe six.

There were some, of course, who he recognised from the hallways, but…Rei shrugged mentally, and directed his attention towards the open windows and the rustling trees. He'd find out soon enough.


Rei didn't like eating at school. Especially when he didn't have anyone to sit with, which he rarely did. He had friends…or acquaintances, rather and one friend. But Yuriy had been in class, and neither of them had felt like skipping when school had only just started. Rei supposed he should be lucky it wasn't soup or pasta, or some other messy food.

Closing off the surrounding noise, the other students moving about, Rei disappeared deep into his thoughts, and he was just contemplating finally buying that book he had been wanting for quite a while when the chair opposite his was pulled out. Rei's head snapped up, and he offered a tentative smile, that wasn't returned, at the teen who slowly sat down. Shrugging, Rei went back to eating.

It was probably because there wasn't room anywhere else. Either that, or he was new and hadn't heard any of the rumours that circulated around Rei and was the reason he only had one friend.


It was not until Rei arrived for his first lesson two days later that he realised the teen from lunch had been the very same student his teacher had welcomed back. His name was Kai, Rei had learned that much from the roll call, and by the look of things, they were also going to be partners for the first English project.

When his teacher looked up and sighed, nodding for Rei to move, Rei smiled politely and stood. Miss Marie had never understood how someone so, 'polite and kind' as Rei always ended up alone and never had any friends.

Kai barely looked up as Rei sank down in the chair next to his, placing his notebook and his pen on the desk. "Hi."

Kai nodded. "We're partners, then?" Rei nodded, and Kai didn't say anything more.

After a briefing, the teacher fell silent and sat down behind her desk. Turning towards Kai, Rei had barely opened his mouth before the other teen grumbled. "Not Shakespeare."

Rei chuckled silently, but nodded. "Oscar Wilde, then?" Kai shrugged, and Rei figured that to be enough of a yes to stand up and let the teacher know which of the authors given they had chosen.

"Kai?" Rei stood by the door, waiting for Kai to answer, or look up from the desk he was glaring a hole in. Kai eventually looked up, and Rei nodded towards the door. "I thought we could go to the library."

Kai frowned at Rei as he walked passed the corridor they were supposed to follow in order to reach the library, and instead carried on towards the stairs leading out. "Hey?"

Rei stopped a questioning smile on his lips. "It's Rei."

Kai blinked. "Yes?"

"Oh. I thought we could use the grand library, instead. Or you-?"

Kai shrugged. "Alright."


Rei's and Kai's first silent agreement was to start eating their lunches together. Rei figured, and assumed Kai did the same, if they were going to eat anyway, they might as well sit together.

It was of course during one of those occasions that one of Rei's old bullies turned friend of a friend sat down next to Rei. "So, Kon, you never introduced me to your new boyfriend."

"He's not my boyfriend, Boris. How's Yuriy?"

Boris shrugged, poking slightly at his food before reaching over and stealing some of Rei's tomatoes. "Boy toy, then."

Rei sighed, and pushed his plate over. He wasn't likely to eat anything more of it anyway. "His name is Kai, and he is in my class." Boris smirked, and raised an eyebrow. "What do you want, Boris?"

"When's Yuriy's birthday?" Rei blinked, and Boris shrugged, his smirk turning dangerous. "I know you know."

"End of September." Boris nodded, squeezing Rei's shoulder perhaps a bit harder than necessary in thanks. Boris left, and Rei sighed in dismay as he had once again been left with Boris' plate.


It didn't take Kai many days after that to figure out why Rei didn't have any friends, or what the whispers behind his back were about. Kai didn't, however, confront him like Rei expected. He didn't say anything, or do anything, but his eyes told Rei that Kai knew, but at the moment it wasn't anything he was particularly bothered about, so he would continue to eat with Rei and partner up together with him for the few projects they had.

It told Rei that for now, it was more convenient for Kai to continue their fragile acquaintance.


"Why do you go to these things if you know you're going to sit away the night?"

Rei startled, and stared across at Kai with wide eyes. Kai smirked slightly, mildly amused. "Because I have to."

"No you don't." Kai frowned, and reached for the jug of water, refilling his glass.

"If I don't…people always start speculating about where I might have been, and what I might have been doing." Rei shrugged. "In the end, it's always easier to just go. At least I didn't have to cook, tonight." Rei smiled slightly.

Kai nodded, frown not completely gone. "How can you let people you don't know dictate what you do? Why do you even care what they think?"

"Because, Kai, I quite fancy walking without crutches. The first time they held these dinners I didn't go because I didn't see the point. Two weeks later I had enough bruises for my whole class to go around and a sprained ankle from one unfortunate flight down the stairs too much. All because they didn't know where I was or what, who, I might have been doing." Rei spat bitterly, shaking his head. "If I can get out of here in one piece and with decent enough grades to get me into a university far away from here then I'm happy."

"It shouldn't be like this." Rei nodded, smiling wryly, then he grabbed the jug before Kai could, refilling his glass. He never got to drink it though, as Kai snatched the glass just as Rei had poured the last of the water.

"Kai-"

"Thirsty."

Rei chuckled disbelievingly. "So am I!" Kai smirked and held the glass out, half of the water still there and Rei grabbed it, drinking up.

"It makes me curious, though, of what you did."

Licking his lips, Rei put the glass back down and leaned his head heavily into his hands. "I kissed a boy when I was fifteen. Everyone in my old school knew, and they started here too. They all just ignore the fact that he was my best friend and everyone thought he had been run over by a truck. I saw it coming, I heard it honk! I knew Yuriy was there, and when I turned around he was gone!" Rei scratched his chin, surveying the room and pointing at the lanky teen several tables away with fiery, red hair. "Everyone around me started screaming that he had been killed, and I was just a kid, when you think about it…how did they expect me to react, if not relieved and happy that he was okay? I would be so lost without him."

Kai hummed, raising an eyebrow. "…isn't he with Boris?"

Blinking, Rei grinned, and shrugged. "Well. They have sex." Rei winked. "But that stays between the two of us, alright?"


"Where were you then, last year?"

Kai looked up briefly from the book. "Berlin. Did you get the-?"

"Somewhere…" Nodding, Rei shuffled through his papers and found the question sheet, keywords highlighted with Kai's yellow marker. "Was it nice?"

"You wouldn't have been an outcast." Kai smirked briefly, then rapidly scrawled the answer to the last question, his writing less than legible and Rei sighed.

"You know I can't read a word of that." Kai's smirk widened, almost in a 'why do you think I keep doing it?' way, and Rei tsked. "German is kind of…sexy, though. Were they pretty then, the boys?" Rei winked, leaning closer only to receive an annoyed glare from Kai.

Smirking, Rei sat back and Kai rolled his eyes before humming and shaking his head. "Not really, no." Kai's hand stilled, forehead furrowed slightly in thought. "The exchange guy from England was…quite alright."

Rei's eyes narrowed, but before he could say anything a hand clamped down hard on his shoulder. "Kon. I thought we had an agreement."

"Boris-?"

"You lied to me, Kon." The grip tightened, and Rei winced. "You are not supposed to lie to me."

"Yuriy told me to, and I have an agreement first and foremost with him. He is my friend, after all. But," Rei licked his lips, moving slightly to make Boris let go, which he did, and Rei continued. "Did you ever think he might have a reason for not wanting you to find out?"

"What?"

"He's adopted, Boris. That birthday is the only thing his mother ever gave him before she died."


Rei laughed softly, leaning tiredly against Kai's shoulder, almost in a way as a compensation for ignoring the silly urge he had to crawl into Kai's lap and fall asleep. "I'm so tired." Kai nodded, moving slightly, and Rei's head bounced softly until Kai was settled, leaning against the window. "I think I'm carsick, Kai. I feel nauseous."

"Then go sit somewhere else."

Rei chuckled again, gently patting Kai's thigh. "I don't think that would be appreciated, Kai. Besides…" Rei yawned. "If I take a nap I think I'll be fine…" Moving his head, Rei bundled up some of Kai's scarf on his neck for a makeshift pillow and slid back in close again, eyes already falling shut and sighing softly. "I can't wait to come home, again. I miss my bed…"

"Hn."

Rei smiled. "Oh, I know. You never complained, but it can't have been comfortable for you to sleep with me constantly moving around and cramping your space." Rei's voice was quiet, soft, and he yawned again. "…I never can sleep when I'm away…"

"I noticed." Kai remarked dryly, before bending down slightly to grab the bag by their feet and dug up a book. Rei chuckled, hand squeezing Kai's thigh before slipping away. Kai blinked, slightly bothered by the fact that he had failed to notice Rei keeping his hand there in the first place.


Another night, another day and Rei stared silently, intently, at the open refrigerator in dismay. The empty refrigerator. How he had managed to forget to buy groceries, he couldn't quite figure out, but he supposed it had something to do with the fact that he and Kai had stayed behind after school the past couple of days and had consequently ended up eating out. As a direct result of that, he had probably just grabbed something as he was passing by, and not thought of the fact that yes, once eaten the food does not come back on its own.

An insistent knocking at the door had him move towards it, and he blinked in surprise at Kai, who was standing just outside with crossed arms and glaring at the wall above Rei.

"How do you know where I live?"

"You're in the phonebook, Rei." Kai coughed. "Can I come in?" Rei nodded, and moved to the side.

It was only when Kai dropped his heavy bags just inside of Rei's apartment that Rei noticed them, and he frowned. "Did something happen, Kai?"

Kai shrugged, eyes slightly narrowed. "Should you really leave the door open like that?"

Rei blinked, turning around slightly and then he sighed in exasperation. Moving to close the refrigerator, he motioned Kai to come in. "If I had a couch, I'd offer it to you, I promise." Rei shrugged, and sat down on his bed, leaning against the wall. "If I had food, I'd make us some late dinner." Nodding, Kai sank down next to Rei, and stretched out his legs. "What happened, then?"

Blinking, Kai tilted his head slightly, looking vaguely confused, but mostly tired. "My parents know the principal of our school, and apparently one of your teachers had been talking about you, and mentioned that besides that art guy, I was the only one you talked to." Kai paused slightly. "How long can I stay?"

"…make yourself at home…" Rei sighed, then he twisted around and slipped under the covers, still fully dressed. "Try to be quiet, though. Night."

Rei strained his ears as Kai moved about, quietly investigating the small one room flat. The bathroom was warm, floor an ugly plastic yellow, the kitchen basically in the same room that was the flat itself, were it not for the screens dividing it slightly, offering some privacy. There was a small television standing on a plastic box, opposite to Rei bed, which Kai figured doubled as a couch.

Undressing quietly, Kai folded his clothes over his still unpacked bags, turned of the lights, and tried to be careful as he found his way back across the room to Rei's bed and lay beside him. Kai sighed deeply, twisting to lie on his side, and Rei turned around, eyes large in the darkness.

"I don't mind you staying here, Kai." Rei reached to gently squeeze Kai's shoulder. "It…it gets lonely, sometimes. Living on your own."

"I know." Kai gently pulled Rei's hand away and closed his eyes. "Good night."

"Night…"


Rei woke up early the next morning, smiling about the fact that it was Saturday, that he didn't have to get up and that he had a most attractive and handsome half naked Kai in his bed. Of course, he doubted Kai felt the same way, but it was still nice not to wake up feeling cold and alone for a change. Twisting slightly, he allowed an arm to slip over Kai's chest, and he nestled a leg in between Kai's.

"Rei…" Kai breathed heavily. "Don't."

"Can't you tell that I'm cuddling you in my sleep, Kai?"

Kai snorted, dark eyes slipping open, and smile tugging at his lips. "No."

"Oh." Rei sat up, grinning tiredly. "Then how about an apple, and then you help me buy some food. I can't afford to pay for both of us."

Rei made to stand up, but abruptly sat back down as he felt Kai tug at his plait. Turning around, he found Kai staring up at him with narrowed, contemplative eyes. "Why don't you live with your parents?"

Sighing, Rei lay down again, head nestled close to Kai's, his arm resting over Kai's neck, hand playing gently with the hair just above his ear. Suppressing a shiver, Kai nudged Rei to go on, looking suddenly very far away. "Mama…died when I was thirteen. Dad and I did what we could to move on, trying to find something happy and comforting in the chaos and hurt that followed…dad found a sweet looking lady from work, and I found the best friend I've ever had in Yuriy.

"She was nice, Alexia. They moved in together, eventually. Threw a fit when they heard I had kissed Yuriy, calmed down when they found out why and told me to react a bit…calmer in the future. Had a baby when I was sixteen, and it turned out to be twins. Started to worry about my lack of girlfriends at seventeen, and tried to make me listen to music that didn't come from when they where young and meant you had to be gay if you were a guy listening to it. Threw me out when we came back from a holiday when I was eighteen after catching me in a…rather…compromising situation with one of the waiters." Rei sighed, and slowly sat up again, pulling off his wrinkled shirt with distaste. "And now I'm here. Whishing Alexia wouldn't hang up every time I call and that dad would say at least more than a few words. Whishing I could see my little sister and brother grow up. They're almost…three now, I think." Shaking his head, Rei forced a smile on his face and he shuffled over Kai. "Now let's get dressed, and I'll teach you how to shop economically."


Rei stared at the door as if it somehow held his doom. It was rather silly of course as the door itself could not do anything. The occupant on the other side, however, could, and that was the reason for Rei's hesitancy about entering his own home. He really had no way of knowing how Kai would react, or if he even would.

Rei just didn't see how Kai could fail to notice the bruises littering his arms, the ones aching, straining, pounding, on his body or the swelling on his cheek and split lip. Not when they practically lived on top of each other like they did.

It was with great trepidation that Rei pushed the door open, mentally berating Kai once again for not having locked it. Rei had barely closed the door behind himself and twisted the lock when he heard Kai step out of the bathroom. "Kai-" Rei's eyes widened as he found himself tightly against the door, Kai staring down at him with a mixture of anger and disbelief, mouth moving silently with words, questions that didn't come.

"Because you're gay?!"

"I-" Rei winced as Kai's fingers dug into his shoulders, and nodded. "Yes. People like to blame…the…unnatural every time something goes wrong, and sometimes I'm the worst abnormality-"

"That's stupid Rei. Idiotic and sick!" Rei winced again, and Kai abruptly pulled his hands back, moving them to the door so that he was leaning even more over Rei. "I'll bloody well kill you myself if you think they're right. During the short time I've known you you've never been weak." Kai hesitated slightly, wetting his lips before he continued, eyes averted. "You're beautiful, Rei. In every sense of the word."

"Kai…" Eyes large, a small shaky smile on his lips Rei reached up for Kai's face, but Kai snorted, and stepped back, shaking his head.

"Are you alright, though? You know…?" Rei nodded, slowly flushing. "Stop looking at me like that." Kai grumbled, stalking over to the bed and flopped down on it, producing a book from under one of the pillows.


"Who is it?"

The pounding on his door stopped, and there was a heavy silence before someone spoke up. "Seriously, Rei, who do you think?"

Shrugging, Rei fastened the towel around his waist and found another one for his hair to prevent it from dripping on the floor. "You never know…" Opening the door, he offered a small smile to his friend, and Yuriy's eyes narrowed. "I'm fine."

"You always say that…" Moving inside, Yuriy wondered briefly about the slight addition of possessions, but shrug it off as he sat down on the bed. "You didn't come to school today."

Rei smiled weakly over his shoulder, before going back to sift through his, and Kai's, clothes in search of something to wear. "I was looking for another job. I need more money, and I'm fed up with folding napkins." Pulling on some underwear under his towel, he tossed it aside and slipped on a t-shirt and a pair of washed out trousers.

"That is not your t-shirt, Rei." Rei blinked, and Yuriy smirked. "You finally found yourself a boyfriend?"

"No. Why can't it be mine?" Rei looked down, pulling slightly at it. And Yuriy had a point, he knew that. It was too big, and Rei never bought anything that didn't fit, his lack of income didn't allow it. "Maybe it is, you know." Yuriy rolled his eyes, but didn't say anything more. "You hungry? I was just about to see if I could dig something up."

Something turned out to be spaghetti, and they had just sat down as the door clicked open. Yuriy raised an eyebrow slowly, smirking and looking curious.

"You hungry, Kai?"

"No." Stepping out of his shoes, and hanging his jacked by the door, Kai walked in, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "Class was cancelled anyway, so you didn't miss anything." He looked up briefly and nodded at Yuriy, before sinking down on the bed, lying on his back and closing his eyes.

"So you do have a boyfriend."

"No, Yuriy I don't. Kai simply lives here."


The bus shook heavily as it took a sharp turn, and Kai sighed as Rei's head bumped into his chin for the umpteenth time. Rei claimed to have difficulties sleeping away from the sanctuary of his flat, and yet, after twenty minutes on a shaking, jostlingbus, he was already dead to the world.

It did not help the least that all those around them were avoiding to look at them, with abnormal interest. Fishing out his mp3 player from his pocket, Kai awkwardly slid in the earpieces as Rei was very much in the way and greatly hindered the use of his left arm. Closing his eyes, Kai leaned against the window, gritting his teeth as the bus took another unnecessarily sharp turn and jostled Rei's head yet again against the side of his neck.

When they arrived at wherever they were going, Kai would make sure that Rei was nowhere near his bed. The reminder of their last 'class outing' still vividly in memory, and how he had proceeded to sleep almost the entire weekend following.

Kai startled as Rei suddenly moved, and looking to the side he found Rei glaring grumpily at the annoying teen Kai had come to learn was Boris. Boris had an eyebrow raised, lips quirked in that annoying leer of his. His lips moved, drawling another veiled insult that Kai only managed to catch the last word of, as he lowered the volume. "-Kai?"

Rei rolled his eyes, still glaring faintly, and he shook his head. "Does it even matter what I say? You either ignore it or make something up." Rei yawned slightly. "Now go away." Kai blinked as Rei pointedly turned away from Boris and wrapped his arms around one of Kai's, head nuzzling his neck again, trying to get comfortable.


"When did you start to sleep on me?"

Kai felt Rei twist slightly, a hand moving to scratch his nose. "I don't know." Rei yawned, grinning. "Merry Christmas."

"Yeah…merry Christmas, Rei." Moving, Kai brought his hands under his head, lazily studying the ceiling. "Do you want to go out for breakfast?"

Rei was quiet, thinking, and he stretched, his leg tangling with Kai's. Then he snorted. "We're out of food again, aren't we?" Kai shrugged. "We used all of it after all…"

"You insisted on a 'Christmasy dinner', not me."

Rei sat up slowly, poking at Kai until he too sat up, glaring. "I'd love to go out with you, Kai." Kai snorted, shaking his head, and he pushed Rei away from where he was wrapped around his arm. Laughing, Rei placed a friendly kiss on Kai's cheek before standing up. "You want to shower first, or-?"

Wiping his cheek, Kai pulled Rei back down on the bed before standing. "I'll go. I need to wash-"

"Kai!"

Smirking, Kai's raised an eyebrow. "What?" Rei rolled his eyes, and Kai's smirk broadened.


Frowning, Rei blinked at the door, slightly puzzled as there was a second knock. Who-?

"Rei." Rei's eyes widened, and he stared in shock at the man, his father, looking uncomfortable and embarrassed. "Can I come in?"

Rei nodded, too taken aback to construct a proper sentence. "Dad…? What-?"

His father looked away, unable to meet his son's bright eyes, and he dug through one of his pockets, coming up with a crumbled, box, wrapped in plain paper. He held it out gruffly, still not facing Rei. "Your…mother would've wanted you to have it."

Nodding, Rei accepted it, pretending not to notice how fast he withdrew his hand. "Thank you." Rei paused slightly, biting his lip. "Dad-"

"Well." His father shifted, forcing a smile. "I promised to meet with Alexia. I'll…" He shook his head, already turning for the door. "Goodbye."

"Dad-!" Rei's mouth shut and he closed his eyes, the arm he had been holding out slowly falling to his side. His cry falling to deaf ears and a closed door. "I miss you." He almost whispered, startling as arms wrapped around him from behind and a warm body pressed up close to his own, a head resting gently on his shoulder.

"He cares about you."

"Kai-"

Kai sighed, slowly straightening but not stepping away, and Rei took comfort in Kai, allowing himself to lean back into him. "He does, Rei. If that had- my parents' would've sent a delivery man." Kai clamped a hand over Rei's mouth before he could speak, smirking slightly. "If he didn't care, then he wouldn't be that uncomfortable, Rei."


TBC...

Ah...not often I write that. Well, R&R, and thanks for dropping by.