Rhythmic thumping vibrated the wall adjacent to Seiran's desk as he hunched over his biology book, studying for the following day's exam. His eyes slid sideways from his book to watch a pencil dance across the desk with each pulse of the rap music blaring at full blast from the dorm room next door. He caught the pencil in his fist as it dove off the edge of the desk, and it snapped in his clutch. He jumped up to pound his clenched knuckles against the wall.
"Turn it down, damn it!" Seiran bellowed at the wall. "Some people are here to get an education!"
"Ya, you got 'em shaking now," Ensei muttered from under the textbook tented over his face where he lay on his bed. "Using the wimpy nerd approach will quiet them right down."
"Shut up, cockroach! Your incessant snoring is just as disruptive as that racket!" Seiran yelled and flung his book at the one draped over Ensei's face, knocking it askew and thumping Ensei on the head.
"Hey, that hurt!" Ensei sat up rubbing a lump quickly forming under the sad case of bed-head that served as his hairstyle.
"Don't whine. I aimed at your head where it wouldn't do any damage," Seiran sneered and then slumped in the chair at his desk. The music next door continued to bump the walls, making him grit his teeth.
"You know, there's still time…" Ensei pointed out, looking at his roommate with pity.
"Are you on that again?" Seiran sighed impatiently. "I already told you I'm not interested in pledging your moronic fraternity. I've heard about Ran House's reputation. Leave me the hell out of it. But by all means, you go right ahead."
"Like I could move into a frat and leave you here to terrorize some poor, unsuspecting newbie who gets stuck in this room with you. My conscience would bother me," Ensei grunted, as he hung over the side of the bed and collected up the scattered textbooks. "Besides, I want to see how long you can take that ruckus next door before you crack. What's it been? Every night since we moved in last week?"
Seiran glared at his roommate and then glanced at the wall where the corkboard hanging from it vibrated enough to make a tapping noise on the wall. A muscle in his jaw flexed.
Ensei jumped up from the bed and crossed to Seiran's desk, leaning his rear against the edge, and casually flipped through Seiran's highlighted and notated text.
"Man, you really are a geek," he said, perusing the pages.
"Just give it to me," Seiran demanded, reining in his impatience. "I have to find somewhere I can study."
"Yep, the frat has a top-notch library," Ensei mentioned off-handedly and caught the quick flicker of Seiran's eyes toward him. "C'mon, what harm is there in just checking it out for yourself? It's still Rush Week, and there's a recruitment tomorrow night. Free food and beer, and you can get a look at their private computer lab. It'll make a geek like you cream your shorts," he grinned, snapped the textbook shut and dropped it on the desk in front of Seiran with a loud thud.
Seiran flinched at the sound and then leaped up, grappling Ensei by his t-shirt and hauling him to his feet. "Vulgar rodent! Get your ass off my desk and your face out of my sight," he growled up at the taller man, who stared at him wide-eyed, but otherwise seemed unconcerned.
"Hey! Don't take your frustration out on me! I'm trying to offer you a solution," Ensei explained. "A comfortable, quiet, private house, high-speed wi-fi, the best library on campus, all the luxuries we ever dreamed about back at the orphanage. You'd…uh…even have your own…room."
"What?" Seiran asked and his brows knit together with his sudden interest. His fingers loosened their grip. "What was that about my own room?"
"All the members of the frat get their own bedrooms," Ensei shrugged and plucked his roommate's hands off his shirt.
"A room without you?" the silver-haired young man asked with giddy disbelief.
"You'll miss me, huh? First time apart since we met," Ensei nodded knowingly and clapped his friend on the shoulder roughly enough to make him wince. "If all goes well, they'll take us both, so we'll still live in the same house. Don't worry. We'll see each other all the time."
"A room of my own…presumably with a lock?" Seiran mused absently.
"Eh…I suppose," Ensei eyed him curiously. "If you're worried about security, don't. Those guys are all loaded, so they're not going to want your crap. And nobody else fucks with Ran House."
Ensei straightened up to his full height and looked down at his friend whom he'd known for better or worse since they'd joined the same gang when they were both 13, before ending up wards of the state.
"Seiran, it's a place to belong—a good place. They're good people, no matter what you've heard," Ensei pointed out, giving Seiran's shoulder a firm squeeze.
Sharp, sea-colored eyes locked on bright blue ones for several long moments before Seiran turned away and shrugged off Ensei's hand. The taller man grinned at the smaller one's back and watched him square his shoulders.
"When is this idiotic recruitment thing?" Seiran asked gruffly over his shoulder.
"Ha-ha! All right! You won't be sorry!" Ensei howled with glee and clapped his hands together.
"I didn't say I was going, moron," Seiran scowled. "I might go. Unless you act like your usual dimwitted self."
"Ok, ok, it's at 7. At the Ran House," Ensei added, snapping his fingers and dancing with the thumping music still pounding the walls.
Seiran rolled his eyes in disgust. "If I do show up at this thing, don't talk to me. Or stand near me. Or act like you know me at all. Got it?" he demanded.
"Sure thing," Ensei spun and wiggled his rear. "This is gonna be great. Wait until you see the babes that hang out over there—Kou House babes. It's their sister sorority. Have you seen the RA from Kou House? Name's Kouchou. She's a senior. Gotta rack out to here. I hear she's part of the Ran initiation for pledges." Ensei grinned and wriggled his eyebrows.
"I should have known," Seiran threw himself down on his bed. "Do you ever think about anything besides food and fucking?"
"What for?" Ensei asked and swept his hands down his chest to his thighs as he rocked his hips to the music. Seiran stared at him in revulsion. "See something you like?" Ensei smirked.
"All right, forget it. I'm not going," Seiran stated and tipped his head back on his pillow, closing his eyes.
"Ah, come on, don't be a shit," Ensei cha-cha'd his way over to Seiran's bedside. "That's the kind of attitude that's going to get you shot down."
"Shot down? What do you mean?" Seiran glared up at him.
"Well, I hate to break this to you, buddy, but your personality sucks," Ensei tossed himself down on Seiran's bed next to him, his bony elbow digging into Seiran's stomach.
"Get off!" he growled, jerking his long silver hair out from under Ensei's shoulder and shoving him away, though the bulky frame was impossible to move.
Ensei rolled over and grabbed Seiran's thin wrists, pinning them back on the pillow and wedging a knee between the two beneath him. Seiran gasped and tensed his muscles, staring wide-eyed up at the rough, scarred face of his roommate hovering over him.
"While I'm willing to put up with your shit, other people, especially spoiled, rich preppies like the Ran kiddies, aren't likely to be as tolerant," Ensei told him plainly. "Don't fuck this up by bringing that king-sized chip on your shoulder with you to the party."
"Get off me," Seiran said in a cold, quiet voice.
Ensei's eyes drifted down to the pale, flat lips set firmly in a stony, expressionless line.
"Why don't you make me?" he looked into Seiran's eyes glimmering with emerald fire. A slow, tawdry grin slinked over Ensei's mouth.
"I know your balls are precious to you, so I'll give you exactly one second to save them," Seiran stated and pressed his knee against Ensei's inner thigh.
"Oh, shit!" the bigger man quickly jerked to the side and rolled his heavy body over to sit up on the side of the bed. "Tch, you're no fun. You could stand to burn off some of that hostility, you know?"
"You're right," Seiran pulled himself up on the other side of the bed, his back to his roommate. "Maybe I should kick the shit out of you. I'll definitely feel better."
"Why do I take this abuse? You're lucky I'm a nice guy," Ensei flopped back across the bottom of the bed and rested his head next to the spot where Seiran sat.
"I feel so privileged," the imperious young man snapped back sarcastically.
"Hey, I know what to do since you can't study anymore anyway," Ensei remarked glancing toward the vibrating walls. "Let's do the other thing I think about besides food and fucking."
"Do I dare ask?" Seiran drew back cautiously at Ensei's cheerful grin.
"Fighting," he announced and jumped up from the bed, drawing Seiran's curious gaze. "How about we introduce ourselves to our neighbors?" The tall, lanky man cracked his knuckles and smiled broadly.
Seiran smirked and a dark glimmer glinted in his eyes in spite of himself. He strode purposefully toward the door without another word. Ensei cha-cha'd behind him to the throbbing sound of the obnoxious music that would soon be silenced.
Seiran had to admit—occasionally the locust had a good idea.