Shi—I should really be studying, shouldn't I?

And crappy, lame, stupid title ahoy.

Up the Stairs and Just Down the Hall
By – Hime no Ichigo

Genre: General
Rating
: G
Pairings
: none
Story Type
: Drabble/one-shot
Summary
: In the two and a half years he's lived down the hall, they hardly know him.

Disclaimer: Higashi no Eden is the property of Kamiyama Kenji, Umino Chika, and Production I.G.

Spoilers: The last four episodes that involve Pantsu (Yutaka Itazu).

Warnings: Weird writing! Obviously.

Notes: For cannedebonbon, who requested for "PANTSU as the main focus (the life and times of being a NEET without pants)."

-----

They don't understand the person down the hall, behind the ever-closed wooden door with mountains of literature and appliances as a barricade to his room.

They never see him – the assumption that the person is a male comes from some of the stray magazines that have been kicked out of their pile. When they get ready for the day, leave for work and school in the morning, bustle around cleaning the building, there's no sign of any activity from that room. There is the occasional noise, a clumsy bump and a heavy thud here and there, but there's nothing appealing about listening to someone rip apart their apartment that way, so they continue with their sweeping and vacuuming and making squeak, squeak noises on the windows.

If they peek out, they only see t-shirts hanging and drying in the breeze overnight. As soon as morning comes the laundry lines will be empty again. If they walk by, they might knock but there's hardly ever a response, other than the one or two times when he paused in his typing and resumed shortly afterwards.

Yet they have to admit, privately, that they're curious and interested in this person. His room is only visible through a small crack in the door (and they have to fight through obstacles to get at it too), and they see lights flickering on the opposite wall. It's intriguing, in a way, and they're somewhat fascinated by the furious clicking going on inside when the lights are on display.

Maybe he's a software developer checking for bugs, they murmur amongst themselves. Or something computer-related, if he needs to shut himself in for such a long time. I wonder if he's eating right, sleeping right?

The only sort of connection they remotely have with him is when these two girls visit him – one with brown hair and the other with bright orange, someone hard to miss. Crowding around their own peepholes from inside their apartments, they see the two bring bags of things, which they suspect to be the reason why he never needs to leave his room, and they'll see a sliver of dark brown hair and pale skin before disappearing from view.

The next time they see them, there's a strange boy with them, lanky with jet black hair with a sort of mysterious air around him. Somehow, he manages to keep the door actually open for more than five seconds, long enough to let them see the computers and mess inside.

They're a bit surprised – he's a bit different from what they imagine – but in a way it doesn't make them shy away. If anything, they're relieved to finally know what he looks like.

Tomorrow, they'll stop by and make a more conscious effort of getting to know him. He doesn't seem too bad; a bit unsociable but not entirely unapproachable.

What they don't know is that the one time he leaves his room, he doesn't return.

- Owari -

Authoress' Notes: I'm not...sure if that's how you wanted it, Candy. When I first read your prompt this idea immediately popped into my mind – as in, telling the NEET life from an outsider's POV. (slinks away, back to studying)