Another Story

Disclaimers: Why do I even bother? -_-()

Warnings: Rated R for language (not because it's a pirate fic. Get it?? Arrrrrr?? …'kay, never mind). Also shounen ai, but not in this chapter, really.

Notes: This is a veeeeeeeeeery different type of story for me… -_-() Um, it's kind of an AU, because it's set in the US (I know more about the university system here). Otherwise, it's pretty much safe…as of now, at least. I really don't know what my goal is with this. **shrug**

Another Story

(The title used to be pending, but what the heck, I can't think of a better one. ^_^)

I peered out the door of my dorm, craning my neck like some kind of Mission Impossible reject, and glanced carefully in both directions.

Nothing. Nothing. Good.

With a deep breath, I adjusted my satchel on my shoulder and proceeded to walk as quickly across the street as I could without calling unnecessary attention to myself. Kept my eyes focused straaaaaaight ahead…and slipped through the door of Taka's apartment building—propped open with a doormat, as usual. A sigh of relief escaped my lips as I climbed the flight of stairs and rapped "Shave-and-a-haircut" on Room Number Six.

Taka opened the door just nanoseconds later, fixing me with an amused expression.

"Hi," I panted, offering him a smile.

"I saw you coming through the window…Why the paranoia?"

I rolled my eyes and pushed past him into his (surprisingly neat) apartment, slinging my bag from my shoulder and plopping down on the moderately nasty couch that had come with the place. "Gaaaahhh…that Chuin guy's stalking me again."

"Oh, no," my friend winced. "Didn't you make it clear to him that you weren't interested??"

"YES!!!" I exclaimed in exasperation, flinging my arms out so that they draped haphazardly over the side and back of the sofa. "A thousand times yes!! 'Chuin, you're a nice guy, but I'm not looking for a relationship right now.' 'Oh, really, well, that's fine; hey, do you wanna go get coffee sometime?' 'I'm sorry; I don't drink coffee.' 'Right, how about a movie?' Argh, argh, ARGH!!! He's not a dumb guy!! Why won't he take the hint????!!!!"

Taka chuckled, moving to sit in the chair across from me. "I'm sorry. I have to admit, though, he is kinda weird."

"He's normal enough," I mumbled. "He's just a stalker. I need to get 'I Neither Want Nor Need A Boyfriend' tattooed on my forehead, or something. But sadly enough, he'd probably ignore it anyway. Please, let's talk about something else."

"Maybe you should go out with him."

With a frown, I raised myself up slowly, fixing him with a dangerous glare. "Pardon?"

"Whoah, easy, Killer…" Taka raised his hands to fend me off. "I'm just saying, maybe if you went out with him once, he'd stop being such a pest."

"Yeah, or maybe he'd start making wedding plans, and he'd kidnap me to Holland."

"There's that risk," he admitted with a quirky smile.

"Oh, GOD!! Why don't boys just LEAVE ME ALONE???" I groaned, dropping my head back once more.

"It's because you're just so darn cute," Taka teased.

"Shut up."

"Hey, I'm serious!! If I weren't with Miaka, I'd totally be hitting on you, too."

"Want me to smother you with this pillow?" I growled, holding up the mentioned object threateningly.

"Let me think….No."

"Freak."

"You want a soda or anything?"

"Giving me anything hard and hurlable right now would not be in your best interest."

"Okay, okay," he laughed. "Fine, I was kidding."

"So you don't think I'm cute?"

"Ryuuen!!"

"All right," I said with a giggle. "I'm done. End of conversation. When's Gen-chan getting here, again?"

"He's picking up the movie, sooooo…pretty soon, I guess."

I raised an eyebrow. "Genrou's choosing the movie? Is it his turn again?"

Taka shrugged. "I guess. So he claims. I told him to pick an action movie."

Smiling, I squinted my eyes at him. "You realize that means he's coming home with either 'Braveheart' or 'Gladiator.'"

"That okay with you?"

"Yeah. I like 'em both, even though I've seen them…gosh, how many times?"

"Enough to have the fight choreography memorized."

A sudden thudding sound came from the direction of the door, followed by a muffled stream of curses.

"He's here!" I chirped.

Taka went to open the door for Genrou, who huffed into the room with a scowl. "What the hell?? Lockin yer fuckin door when ya know I'm comin!!"

"Sorry. From now on, I'll prop it open with a brick day and night, on the off chance that you decide to drop by."

"That's not the point, goddammit!"

"Since when can you just walk into my apartment, anyway?" Taka exclaimed, amused.

"He's just embarrassed that we heard him run into the door," I supplied from the couch.

"I didn't run into the goddamn door!!"

"Uh huh."

"Shut the hell up!"

"Can we watch the movie, please?" suggested Taka. "It's not getting any earlier, and Ryuu-chan has a class at eight."

"Really? I thought you'd managed to worm your way into a fuckin No-Class-Till-Noon schedule."

"Yeah, but every other week, I have one at eight," I said, wrinkling my nose. "It's a meeting class for my thesis. It's really dumb; we don't do anything but talk about stupid stuff. And it's hard to wake up so early, because I'm adjusted to waking up later this semester. But it's an extra credit hour, anyway."

With a fanged grin, Genrou jumped onto the cushion next to me, leaned forward, and pinched my cheek. "Awwww…ee so smart!! Writin a thesis!! You cwazy, but you smart!!"

I swatted his hand away. "Will you leave me alone?? Go put the movie in!"

"Which one didja get?" Taka inquired.

"Brrrrrrraveheart!" he replied, in what was possibly the worst Scottish accent I'd heard in my life. "Ach!! Whatta ya THINK I was gunna fockin rrrent??"

But, as he lifted the cassette out of its box, his eyes went wide.

"WHAT?" he cried angrily. "What the…GAHH, dammit!! Shit!!"

"Something wrong?" I asked calmly.

"Those idiots put the wrong fuckin tape in the box!!" Genrou was incensed; the worth of the world, in his eyes, had just dropped about a thousand points. "I thought they were fuckin s'posed to check that when ya rent a goddamn movie! Instead of 'Braveheart,' we've got fuckin 'Dead Again'!! What the hell is 'Dead Again'??! Shit! Now I gotta go return…"

"Wait!!" I exclaimed. " 'Dead Again'?? I heard that's supposed to be really good!"

My red-headed friend gave me an outraged look.

"Really!" I insisted. "I know it's not 'Braveheart,' but why don't we try it out?"

Taka shrugged. "Fine with me. I've never seen it, but I've heard the same thing."

Pouting, Genrou looked at the tape, then back at us again. "Is it a chick flick?"

"No! I know guys who said it's good," I said.

He raised an eyebrow at me.

I threw a pillow at his head. "Straight guys!! I know straight guys who said it's good, all right?!"

"Play the movie, please?" Taka reminded him.

"Right, right, right," Genrou replied, and shoved the tape into the VCR.

Apart for a minor outburst during the first thirty seconds of the movie (Genrou shouting, "Ah, dammit, it's in black and white???!!!" and Taka and me responding with, "SHHHHH!!!!"), we were all entranced by it. The suspenseful ending scene found all three of us huddled tensely on the couch, and Genrou even screamed once. (Well, it was more like a roar, but fundamentally…) As the credits began to play, Taka reached up to switch on the floor lamp, and we all looked around at each other.

Genrou, realizing he'd unconsciously grabbed my arm, shoved it back at me frantically.

I laughed. "Like it?"

"You guys didn't tell me it was a fuckin love story," he frowned, crossing his arms.

"Oh, come on! You liked it!" I pushed his shoulder.

"Wasn't terrible," he grunted.

"I thought it was good," said Taka. "Do you guys believe in that stuff? Reincarnation, and all that?"

"I dunno. I guess I really haven't thought about it all that much," I said. "It's a neat idea, though."

He just stared at me.

"Uhhh…hello? What?" I asked, quirking an eyebrow.

He smiled quickly, and rose from the couch. "Ahhh, well, what now? Anyone want some leftover pizza, or something?"

"You're on!" exclaimed Genrou, leaping over the back of the couch and into the tiny kitchen.

I, meanwhile, gathered my things together and hoisted my satchel over my shoulder once more. "I'm actually gonna go, I think."

"Huh? Not hungry?"

"Nah, I can't eat anything this late; it'd keep me up." I shrugged apologetically. "But, hey, I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"

"Okay." He walked me to the door. "Have fun at your 8:00."

"Ohhhh, don't worry." I rolled my eyes, and called into the kitchen. "Night, Gen-chan!!"

"Mmmph mm!!" He'd found the pizza.

With a laugh, I waved at Taka and made my exit, walking briskly across the street and into the ridiculous warmth of the residence hall. (There was no such thing as 'Warm' in the building's temperature regulation system: 'Freezing' or 'Boiling' seemed to be the only two possibilities.)

A few minutes later, teeth brushed, face washed, and clad in my favorite blue-and-teal-striped pajamas, I was sitting at my computer, checking my email before going to bed. I had three new messages in my campus account: one from my thesis advisor, one from Taka reminding me to come watch a movie at his place tonight (sometimes, mail took a while to transfer), and one from…

Crap.

Cringing, I opened the message from ',' braced myself, and read it:

Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001 22:53:06 –0500 (CDT)
From: Chuin Ryo
To: Ryuuen Chou
Subject: yo

Hey Ryuuen! Would you like to go to dinner with me sometime?

—Chuin

"Oh, GOD," I moaned, slapping a hand to my head. What was with this psychopath??!! I hated the position he was putting me in; absolutely hated it!! I wasn't sure what to think! Did he think I was playing hard to get, that I was somehow leading him on? I hoped it didn't seem that way! Sure, I talked to him and stuff, but I'd always been quite firm about not wanting a boyfriend! Not just him; not anyone. I didn't need that kind of complication in my already complicated life.

But the poor guy just seemed so desperate…and I kept turning him down, time after time. He must really like me, I thought in horror. I should have been flattered that someone should care so much, but somehow, the thought just made me want to throw up.

Why the heck do I feel guilty?? It's not MY fault I'm not interested!!

But the fact remained that I did feel guilty…I hated myself for it, because Miaka always said I was too self-sacrificing, and I had reluctantly begun to agree with her. I couldn't change it, though.

So, gritting my teeth and mentally berating myself all the way, I decided to take the chance that Taka had offered:

Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 24:04:57 –0500 (CTD)
From: Ryuuen Chou
To: Chuin Ryo
Subject: Re: yo

Sure! Do you like Italian? I'm free tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, so whatever's good for you.

~Ryuuen

This wouldn't be so hard. I'd just pretend we were going out as friends…just a couple of friends, eating pasta, like friends do all the time. And I'd try to make it impossibly clear that we were just friends. IMPOSSIBLY clear. And if he didn't get it this time, I'd punch him in the head.

With a sigh, I sent the message, locked my door, and turned off the light. Crawling into bed, I searched blindly for the remote control and snapped on the TV; 'The Exorcist' was playing on the RHA cable channel, and I fell asleep to the sound of children screaming.

~*~

I stood in a field of purple flowers, peering up at the blue sky; the clouds were moving surprisingly fast, and I feared there would be a storm, despite the sun shining on my face.

"Damn video store," grumbled a voice behind me, and there was Genrou, dressed in the robes of a Jesuit priest, prying open a case. "GAAHH!! 'Little Women' in the 'Mortal Kombat' box???!!! THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!!! THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!!!"

Someone shouted something vulgar-sounding in Latin, and Genrou disappeared.

Whirling, I came face to face with Chuin, who was wearing a tuxedo and smiling warmly. "Will you do me the honor of moving to Holland with me?" he said, holding out a yellow rose.

I screamed and turned to run, but collided with a wall of red fabric…Taking a shaky step backward, I realized that the wall was actually a chest. I peered up into the face the chest belonged to: it was a young man, handsome, with long, brown hair and sparkling golden eyes. I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing came out.

The young man regarded me calmly before saying, in a deep, melodic, gentle voice, "Do you believe in reincarnation, Nuriko?"

And the phone rang.

~*~

I woke in a state of confusion and disorientation, but soon came to realize exactly where I was and that the phone ringing piercingly in my ear was, in fact, real. Scrambling to the foot of my bed, I picked it up.

"Uhh…he…llo?"

"May I speak to Ryuuen?"

"This is he…"

"Ryuuen? This is Professor Michaels…you're supposed to be in class right now."

I fumbled to look at my watch, which I wore to bed every night because I couldn't see my digital clock without my contacts. 8:05. Crap.

"Oh my gosh, I'm sorry!" I stuttered into the phone. "I'm…gosh!! Jeez…I'm sorry. I'll be over in ten minutes."

As I raced around the room, pulling on a random sweatshirt and random jeans and grabbing papers left and right, I wondered why the professor had bothered to call… granted, there were only three other people in the class, but that usually wouldn't make a difference.

Oh! I realized as I flew out the door, tugging on my coat as I went. It must've been Doukun! He must've remembered I was meaning to come to class today, and realized that I'd overslept. Thank goodness for Doukun…in a class that was graded by attendance, it was not good to miss a day.

It was only when I was halfway to class that my extremely weird dream came back to me. Aside from the fact that it was extremely weird, I could explain everything in it...except for the cute guy at the end.

"Do you believe in reincarnation, Nuriko?"

Where had he come from? I couldn't remember ever seeing him before; if I had, I'm sure I would have remembered. And who had he been talking to? He'd been looking at me, but…

"Do you believe in reincarnation?"

I shook my head almost violently as I neared the classroom. Stop it, Ryuuen. It's just a stupid dream. Just a dream, that's all…

…TBC…

Notes: Ehhheheh…I'll take messed-up dream sequences for $500, Alex? ^_^

'Dead Again' is a really good movie! Check it out if you haven't seen it! ^_^ Why all this talk of Holland? Not only is it a nice place to visit with lots of tulips, windmills, and clogs, but it's the only country in the world (I think) where same-sex marriage is legal. First I thought this was true of Vermont. Then, I thought it was Hawaii. However, I have been proved wrong on both counts, but fear not!! I am CERTAIN that this is true of Holland. ^_^ In case the last note didn't give it away, Ryuuen is, indeed, a guy in this story. ^_^ Random note: it was really funny, because when I typed Ryuuen's and Chuin's email addresses, at first it went blue like a link. ^_^ Could we really email them? Heh heh…makes one wonder if, by some bizarre circumstance, the addresses would work if you sent stuff to them. I wouldn't try, though; it could scare some innocent people. ^_^

So…uhhhhh… **shuffles feet, twiddles thumbs** didja like it? Feel free to tell me if you think of any ways to improve it, etc. Thanks for reading! ^_^