Disclaimer: I don't own any original characters from Junjou Romantica, etc. However I do own my OCs and my writing.
Hey, readers! It's been a long time. Obviously writing Fanfiction is not my top priority, and I can't really promise anything at this point. But in any case, here is Chapter Two of Junjou Ascendence for your viewing pleasure. Heads up, it will get very steamy soon!
Kiyoshi headed toward the library quickly, fear rising in his chest. Ryunosuke had agreed by email to meet in the Reference Section, since it was on the top floor and hardly anyone ever went up there. Kiyoshi wondered if Ryunosuke was truly so embarrassed about his grades that he had to pick such a remote location.
"Well…if he couldn't even pass…the entrance exams," Kiyoshi huffed to himself as he trudged up the stairs, "then I guess…it makes sense…that he'd be…embarrassed." The stairs were proving to be difficult. Not only did Kiyoshi rarely get this much physical activity, but he was also carrying a heavy backpack and two extra textbooks under his arm. His legs were starting to ache as he made it to the fourth flight. He said, "If I were…a basketball…if I were…a basketball…person…" He couldn't even find the breath to finish his sentence.
Panting and sweaty, Kiyoshi stumbled onto the fifth floor. He wished he wasn't so out of shape. It was a little embarrassing that the stairs had just given him a full workout. Hoisting his strap further up onto his shoulder, he hurried down the stacks of books, the numbers flashing by and his panic increasing with each step.
"It should be…right about…here." Kiyoshi froze in his tracks. "Oh!"
Behind all those stacks, nestled in a corner and situated just below a large window, were a study table and two chairs. And an incredibly tall, broad-shouldered person was slouched down in one of them, while his feet were propped up on the other. The hood of his sweatshirt was pulled down over his head, partially obscuring his face, and his arms were crossed in front of his chest. He was sound asleep. A black gym bag sat on the floor next to his chair.
Kiyoshi could only gape at him. Was this guy even Japanese? He was huge. Kiyoshi was positive that this must be Ryunosuke, as much as he wished it weren't. Surely someone like this would only show contempt for Kiyoshi, and he might even try to bully Kiyoshi into doing his homework for him. Kiyoshi had had to deal with a few situations like that in high school. He'd only been lucky enough to not get beaten up.
Maybe he chose this spot so no one would hear me scream, Kiyoshi thought wildly. He checked his watch. It was exactly four o'clock, which was the time they'd agreed to meet. Which meant that Kiyoshi was going to have to wake him up. He gulped, crossed his chest for good measure, sent a quick prayer to God for extra measure, and then walked up and set his bag down gently on the table.
He glanced at Ryonosuke. The noise hadn't woken him up. Kiyoshi cleared his throat hesitantly and asked, "Um, excuse me…are you….Ryunosuke Mitsubishi?"
A twitch. Then, the cloaked head raised slightly. His question was low, deep, and menacing:
"You're my tutor?"
"Um, yes, I am." He shivered. This guy could probably snap his arms like a stick of Pocky.
Slowly, the giant demon basketball player removed his legs from the opposite chair, sat up a little straighter, and uncrossed his arms. "Well…" He reached up with one hand and pushed back his hood. He stared up at Kiyoshi. "Then sit down already."
He looked like someone who worked for a host club. Put simply, he was much better looking than Kiyoshi had expected. His light brown hair was razor cut, short enough not to get in the way, but long enough for someone to run their fingers through. His eyes were dark and deep. He was staring at Kiyoshi with such anger and intensity that Kiyoshi felt like he was going to be incinerated.
"R-right, thanks," Kiyoshi said, hurrying to obey him. He was amazed that he'd never seen him around school before. He definitely would have stood out in a crowd. "Umm, well, I guess you already know my name is Kiyoshi Tsuzuki…but, um, if it makes you uncomfortable, you can call me by my first or last name, it doesn't matter."
"Hmm." Ryunosuke continued to glare at him. Kiyoshi wondered why he felt the need to examine him so thoroughly – surely with one glance he could see that Kiyoshi was no match for him physically? It seemed that Ryonsuke was a very defensive sort of person. Maybe because Kiyoshi was technically the authority in the situation, he felt that he had to be on his guard. Well, Kiyoshi didn't plan on forcing this guy to do anything – he felt like living a few more years.
"Um, so should I call you by anything in particular?" he asked hesitantly. Ryunosuke finally looked away from Kiyoshi, fixing his gaze on something outside that Kiyoshi couldn't see.
"Ryo." It was a shortened version of his name. Kiyoshi took it as an affirmative.
"Right, well, then, Ryo, I'm supposed to be tutoring you in Japanese and English," Kiyoshi said as he began to open his bag. "I think if I remember, you're in the one hundred level class-"
"Huh?" Kiyoshi stopped abruptly. Ryo's expression was dark and fierce.
"This is a waste of time," he said simply. Kiyoshi gulped, and tried his best to smile encouragingly.
"But it's important that you get good grades – and once you get the basics, I think you'll find it's pretty easy-"
"There's nothing you can do. I've never been able to learn anything." Ryo spoke as if it were the Word of God. "I was born stupid. No amount of extra lessons is going to change that." He leaned back in his chair so that it stood up on two legs. Kiyoshi hoped desperately that it wouldn't break.
"But I'm sure that's not true." Kiyoshi said, knowing he must sound annoyingly persistent. "I'm sure you're really good at something."
"Basketball. That's what I'm good at." Ryo met Kiyoshi with those dark eyes again. "I'm only meeting with you because I have to. You don't have to try to teach me anything."
Something was wrong with this. Why would someone as strong and talented as Ryo have such low confidence? It was one thing to know that he was behind and he didn't understand some of the more advanced things…but Ryo was claiming that he'd been stupid from birth. Had someone told him he was stupid? Who had allowed this belief to continue on until college age? Why had nobody in elementary, middle, or high school ever held him back for his grades? Why hadn't someone helped him from the beginning?
Unexplainably, Kiyoshi felt himself becoming angry on Ryo's behalf. What kind of parent would perpetuate such a falsehood? Ryo was convinced that he couldn't be taught at all – that just couldn't be true. People had to learn in order to grow. It didn't make any sense.
"What is it?"
Kiyoshi jumped out of his skin as Ryo addressed him. "Are you mad because this is a waste of your time? Are you late for a meeting with your research group?"
Kiyoshi flushed, wondering if it was an insult. And was it so obvious just from looking that Kiyoshi was part of a research group? Well, he did fit the profile of an academic type to a T. The glasses, the perpetually messy hair, the sweaters and always carrying out a mountain of books – anyone would guess that he was a nuclear scientist in the making. Or maybe a future surgeon, or at least a literature professor.
Kiyoshi still wasn't sure himself. But he did want to make sure he corrected Ryo on this matter – he couldn't stand listening to this false belief anymore, and he didn't want Ryo to think for a second that Kiyoshi agreed with it. Even if it made Ryo mad, Kiyoshi's indignation made him braver than usual. He found himself grabbing the table with both hands, and speaking in a slightly louder, higher voice than usual.
"That's not it. I don't think this is a waste of time."
Ryo blinked. Clearly the news had come to him as a surprise.
"Even if you don't think you can learn anything," Kiyoshi said, "even if someone has told you before that you can't – I don't think that's true at all. I think that you can do it. It's amazing that you're such a great basketball player, and I really," Kiyoshi's voice wavered for a second as he felt the emotion of his speech, "really admire you a lot for that, and I think a lot of other people do too."
Ryo's lips parted slightly as he stared, open-mouthed with disbelief, at Kiyoshi's determined face.
"So…I don't believe that you're stupid at all. I think you can learn anything. Maybe," he added with a nervous laugh, "Maybe even with some effort I could learn to play basketball, if that says anything!"
Kiyoshi finally finished, and noticed the dramatic change in Ryo's face. The perpetual scowl had vanished – his clean, unlined awe made Kiyoshi's knees tremble slightly. Really, he was a very attractive person. But Kiyoshi wasn't even going to let his thoughts go down that road – someone as talented and attractive as Ryo must already have a girlfriend.
"Hmm." Ryo crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back in his chair again. He was examining Kiyoshi with far less hostility now.
"You could be a good player."
Kiyoshi started. "Huh?"
"Your size could be an advantage." Ryo's deep voice washed over Kiyoshi like ocean waves. "And you've got a good, slender frame. Long fingers. Nice legs too, really tapered and supple."
Instantly, Kiyoshi face lit up like a traffic light. How could Ryo tell anything about his legs when he was wearing pants? More importantly, how could descriptions such as "good", "tapered" and "supple" apply to any part of Kiyoshi's body?
"Um, well, anyway," Kiyoshi stammered, thankfully taking Ryo's attention away from his legs, "I really think if we work hard we can make a lot of progress. So um, don't worry about what level you're at right now. We're not in any hurry."
With a thump, Ryo let the legs of his chair fall back on the floor again. His face had darkened slightly at the return of his least favorite topic, but at least he didn't look like he was angry with Kiyoshi anymore.
"You can try," Ryo finally said. "But if we do this and you can't help me, then I'm quitting for good and sticking with basketball."
Kiyoshi blanched and tried to protest. "Hey, don't you think that's a little extreme?"
"Hmph." Without a word, Ryo stood up from his seat. Kiyoshi couldn't hold back a gasp. Ryo was positively fear-inducing, tall and broad-shouldered, with long, muscular legs. Kiyoshi was sure he had no problem making baskets on the court with his stature. In fact, he could probably stuff Kiyoshi through a hoop if he pissed him off too much.
"I didn't bring my stuff today," Ryo informed him. Kiyoshi watched as he picked up his bag. "Is this a good place to meet tomorrow? Or do you want it to be somewhere else?"
Kiyoshi was surprised that Ryo was even consider Kiyoshi's preference. He smiled and said, "Right here is fine! So I'll see you at four o' clock tomorrow, and we'll start with your Japanese."
Ryo grunted noncommittally, and began to walk away. Kiyoshi just barely caught a glimpse of his profile from the back, and in that instant, realized that he had seen him before.
Ryo paused. "What is it?" he asked over his shoulder. Kiyoshi flushed with embarrassment.
"Oh, it's nothing. It's just that, I actually remember seeing you somewhere else." In fact, Kiyoshi had seen him just a few days ago. "We ride the same train together in the morning sometimes. I didn't recognize you because I've only ever seen your back, and usually you're dressed up really nice. I always thought you were a business man and you worked for some expensive corporation!"
It was exciting to finally recognize him, but Ryo seemed more interested in Kiyoshi himself than the fact that they rode the same train. He was watching his expression with what might have been amusement. Kiyoshi wasn't sure – Ryo wasn't exactly smiling, but he wasn't scowling either. Whatever he was feeling, he was good at disguising it. The attention made Kiyoshi uncomfortable again, and his stomach fluttered.
"What time do you usually get to the station?" Ryo asked.
"Uh, around seven-thirty, if I'm on time," Kiyoshi said. "Why?"
Ryo was already turning to walk away. "I'll buy you coffee sometime." He disappeared among the stacks.
Kiyoshi felt like he'd been shot in the chest. His mind took off on a rampage.
Calm down, I sure he doesn't mean anything by it. It's just a coincidence that we ride the same train. Besides, he's got to be dating somebody already, right? Don't even think about it. This isn't one of your BL novels.
Yes. He couldn't afford to think that way. He couldn't entertain ideas that were unrealistic. Ryo was out of his league, in any case, and had no reason to be interested in Kiyoshi for anything other than tutoring. Sighing, Kiyoshi stuffed his books back into his bag, and after checking his watch, headed out for his next meeting. His research group was conducting an experiment, and he couldn't afford to be distracted by a fantasy.
As always, reviews are much appreciated. Thanks for reading!