AN : My writing style changed a bit. Actually I had typed out this chapter ages ago, but something happened and I lost it Q_Q No motivation until now.
Sorry for the long wait!
p.s.: I'm not good at english, sorry :)
K N I G H T
they say you're an awful dreamer; you dream a reality, don't you?
For some incoherent reasons, girls defined a random encounter inside the train as one epitome of highschool romance.
They cooed on a very idea of girl A bumping on boy B as the work of fate. Just one sight from the Mr. Right to Miss Sweetheart as the red threads rolling away; pink arrows would tick straight to their hearts, hatching pretty flutterbies in the veins, floundering sparkles and pretty flowers and cherry blossom smile. They would go all dokidokidoki and their hearts, literally said, beating as one in loud thumpthumpthump. This nonsense had its own popular trope:
falling in love at the first sight.
Whatever. He held an opinion that it was contemptuous, but Seto had been famous for being cynical in any aspects called love. Ren said it was fairly typical for dull, sad man named Seto, who never tasted love in his youth, to have such bitter judgment against romantic tendencies. He snorted back sarcastically at her words and rubbed the fact that Ren's love life was huge chunk of failures.
Falling in love? It's more like fail-ing in love for you, Ren.
He could recall her amazing shin-breaking kicks.
Seto despised train in working day. He was absolutely allergic to the very idea of swimming in crowd full of strangers, sweats and perfumes filling up to his nostrils, damp bodies slicking on his own, itch crawling on his skin. He tried to move to the left, and then to the right, back and front, but peoples on the train showed him no mercy. Everything in his eyesight made of heads and bodies and dangling handbars. The air conditioner didn't even work.
Seriously girls had no mind to qualify this blazing inferno as romance.
He had tried to adapt on this tight surroundings, fingers adjusting themselves to get better grip on handbar, his lungs already yearning for fresh air. The old man on his left sweated a lot, the girl in funky harajuku on his right smelled like cheap perfume, the frowning grandma in front of him stood too near for his own liking. He could count wrinkles in her crumpled-paper skin.
God. If it wasn't for his Grandpa's request of top-quality Kamaboko sold in another district, he would never allow his body and soul to experience such disgrace.
He sighed. Well, only fifteen minutes until he would reach the station. Fifteen minutes left until he would inhale sweet, untainted oxygen.
Bright blue eyes blinked in confusion.
So from all of the butts possible to grope, this certain molester chose to lay a hand on Seto's butt. The hand continued to grope, rougher and somewhat more daring, making the poor boy gasped in involuntary moans, making him screamed toward the sunset inside his mind—WHY THE HELL IT'S ME, GOOD GAWD THERE'S A LOT OF GIRLS HERE. WRY WRY. CRY.
But of course the molester didn't hear Seto's internal frustration and his victim was too humiliated to start yelling. Seto knew he was lacking masculinity, but he got a damn pride to be protected. A male being targeted by pervert, that was shameful, so he bit down the scream and tried to ignore the touches. Ten minutes more, ten minutes more. Endure endure endure.
Wait, he started to sound like a helpless heroine in soap opera.
The humiliation didn't stop. Seto tried in vain to move away, but the train was so full and many eyes were glaring hole at his fidgeting movements, completely bothered with Seto's desperate attempts to steal more room. If only those people had their butts as much abused.. maybe they would understand his urgent need of spaces. It was unfair, just unfair.
Just then, one finger was diving in between his round buttcheecks, poking his clothed butthole. The sudden sting electrified Seto and he was damn sure he would scream his lungs out until—
"Old man, stop this shit."
Seto turned his head, brilliant blue flashing with dangerous golden beneath purple hoodies. Someone had grabbed the molester's hand on his wrist, catching the culprit red-handed. A hearbeat passed, a fleeting glance, and Seto never felt so saved.
Like a damsell saved by her knight, that must be how this feeling defined.
This morning, Ren almost slapped a hearty good morning when she noticed her beloved redhead looking different on his seat. People would say he acted all the same; textbook on his hands, strawberry milk and half-eaten tuna rice balls for breakfast, thick-framed glasses on his nose and uniform so neat it almost perfect. But no, Ren would say something was off. Because being a bestfriend-with-benefit since they met, Ren could see everything past the outer shell. She could see his heart inside the ribcage, as easy as open book, eventhough Seto didn't wear his heart on his sleeves.
Her bestfriend was definitely out of character today.
Those brilliant blue eyes were dazed, his reading speed had decreased more than thirty percent, his tie slightly crooked and she swore for twenty buckets that there was something longing on his face. It was like—almost—
"—You're falling in love."
Ren mouthed the words without thinking. Those blue eyes blinked, one, two times, and he was surprised to see his pretty friend standing in front of him, her arms crossing and green mini skirt fluttering, "What? Ren? You're here?"
Raising to fifty buckets. She was damn sure now. Seto never daydreaming, he said it was unproductive.
"You're falling in love." said her, the word love strongly emphasized.
"You. God, Seto, it's not hard to realize." Ren facepalmed. She knew Seto wasn't that innocent, he was more leaning toward... super dense.
Seto frowned, her misunderstanding had sunk down to his mind."Stop accusing me, I'm not falling in love with him." Her eyes went the size of saucers at the certain word.
"HIM? That's an amazing plot twist, Seto."
"Hey, I said it's not what you think!" he protested, the book flitting toward her, in which she had dodged it mimicking The Matrix. "I'm not falling in love, okay? He saved me, that's all."
Once Ren wanted to ask why Seto was lame enough to be saved by a male, but she dumped the question, because even Ren had her share of pity for his masculinity. So she said instead, in less mocking tone, "You sounds like a heroine in dorama. Captivated by a stranger who had saved her."
"Stop it, okay? I know. I, I just—" He scratched his head. "— I couldn't say thank you yesterday. It bothers me."
Flashbacks flashed and the scenery shifted. Seto, the golden-eyed savior, and carnival of shadows inside the train, all washed in different shades of sepia, movements went slower. When he wanted to give proper thank you, the train just had to stop. People inside the compartment were shifting in different blurs, some eager to be in and some eager to be out. Seto was dragged away to opposite direction when the young man who saved him walked out from the train. Just like that.
No thank you for saving me, no what is your name. No anything.
He didn't even sure how his savior looks like. Seto tried to recollect the details; purple hoodies, black hairbangs, perfect faceline. At least one foot taller than him. Face half hidden in shadow. A compressed frown.
A glimpse of golden eyes, which had these nostalgic vibes on their yellow irises, making silver droplets seeping on his white-cream skin.
They were nothing but a pair of strangers meeting in the train, but those yellow eyes were painfully familiar.
"This district is shit."
Two abandoned people held a meeting in an abandoned park, under the tree, hidden beneath the shadow. Crow had his purple hoodies up, protecting his identity from public. The biggest from the two, Sakutaro, was wearing a baseball jacket a size too small for him, a tiger head printed on the back, the unzipped jacket showing tight undershirt beneath. For once he looked neat, not shaggy like usual, in which Crow nodded in approval. His scarred face wasn't less scary, though.
"It's unknown who's in the top. This town's hierarchy works too fuckin' complicated."
Crow was listening, despite looking utterly bored.
" Currently, there are three schools fighting over the position—Saitama, Aoyama, and Ryuzan. Still in stalemate until now."
"Sounds boring for me."
"I'm not finished, Crow. Those three are famous for being old rivals to each other. But now they're getting tired with this tug of war and trying new improvement. All of them at least have one backup for each."
Crow perked up. "You mean?"
"In this town, it's not only about Yankees. Riches and elitists have involvement too. They are like, what? Forming teams to compete for the highest position. Like this one school, Saitama, that comes in pair with private school Aozaka. The competition is getting heated because everyone try to perform alliances as many as possible. It sounds like politic."
"How about the others?"
"Usually they are either under the lead or vanished. Everyone is involved, directly or indirectly, willing or not willing. This place is fuckin' war field."
"Our chance to barge in?"
"Possibly, but unlikely. If we attack one of them, the others will take that as a chance. Our involvement only gives them benefits."
"Okay, okay, good work."
"Then what should we do?" Sakutaro accused his leader with a refined glare. After all, it was Crow who had this clever idea for spying.
"Get more information, Sakutaro. I want to know more about who leads in present. Who dominates the others most.
Who actually tops in this hierarchy."
Her chopsticks danced in the air, as lively as her voice, "Yes, gangs war. It's getting pretty heated now."
Their class always bustling when it was time for lunch; chatters, foods, laughter, soda pop smile and sound of chopsticks. The boys playing guitar, sometimes off-tunes and missing some keys, while the girls gossiping in group, sometimes too giggly and noisy. Seto, for once, didn't have any book in hands, instead he had melon milk and a pack of tuna sandwiches for himself. Ren always brought lunch box from her house. It was colored candyfloss pink with sprinkles of white cherry blossoms. She did have a mother who prepared her lunch everyday, unlike Seto.
Seto only had a grandpa now.
Sometimes, as he saw the pink lunchbox and shiny chopsticks on her hands, or some homemade tempura stuffed inside the box, Seto couldn't help but flicker a little jealousy, to yearn what would it feel to have a mother again. But that was a small thing, a small peck that soon would begone, he was over with it after all.
Back to their conversation.
He bit down his sandwich, confusion twisting on his pretty features. Never once he thought that this town was a bloody war zone. On his eyes the days went as peaceful as ever. The sky outside was colored brilliant blue, the clouds all white with silver lines, the leaves shaded with tones of green and sunspot yellow. Boys joking, girls giggling. But under the pretty veil, there was a conflict going on.
It was weird for him, maybe because he was an outsider from this matter.
"I don't see any gangs war here."
"Duh, Seto. Go out from your tiny shell more often. If you—let's say, waltzing in the outskirt of this town, you'll see some brutal shows almost everyday. There are many low-level schools there, after all. Many Yankees, males and females."
Well, remind him to not ever take a walk to that place.
"Well, because we're living in the center of the town, that means we're saved?"
"Not really." Ren crossed her arms, her grapefruit bosoms raising upward, chopsticks in right hand. As she chewed an oily-looking, fat tempura, she continued with stuffed mouth, "There are news that schools in the center of this town are involved. Like Aozaka."
"What! But Aozaka is prestigious! No way they will drop themselves that low!"
Aozaka Private High, one of the best academic institutions. The dream of all nerds. Two months ago, an invitation from Aozaka had been sent to Seto as the result of him winning some science competitions, but he had it declined politely. Seto liked his current school, despite being less awesome.
She shrugged. "Well, why not? Even the perfect wants domination, I guess."
Seto had this 'I-dont-believe-it' all scribbled on his face, sandwiches on the table had long forgotten.
"...By the way, Seto, this reminds me of something."
There were vibes of urgency hanging on her words, making him uneasy. For once, playfulness on her face was nowhere to be found.
"You must be careful, okay? I hear that—"
She gave a cautious look as she lunged forward, their faces almost met in inches, silver tresses fluttering in the air.
"—some guys in Aozaka are chasing after you."
On the third day they met again in the same park, under the same tree. Only their outlines could be faintly seen under the tree shades. Sakutaro still wore his baseball jacket, albeit dirty, while Crow still had his hoodies up, now with stains on it, the brown splatters almost as suspicious as dried blood.
Sakutaro didn't ask why and Crow didn't tell how. They understood each other without words spoken. Well, sort of.
"So it's Aoyama who leads, huh?"
The big one nodded, sipping his beer from a can, eyes locking on his leader. Like usual, Crow appeared like he gave no shit on this matter, but Sakutaro read it otherwise. He always knew, because he was the only witness of how Crow growing up from an arrogant, bitter prince into a ruthless, cold king. He could even count how many times Crow must wash the blood on his hands.
Actually Crow didn't like the fact that Sakutaro had learned him well like an encyclopedia, but he let it justified for the sake of friendship.
"What will we do?"
"No clue, man."
Such a lie. Crow actually owned an idea on his mind, but he didn't share it now because it wasn't the time. Sakutaro could guess the idea, so he said nothing, just drinking his beer in silence, waiting patiently for something to burst.
His king was planning to be engaged in the battle, dragging Ueda all along into this warzone.
Just a matter of time for himself to be implicated on this shit.
Once, when he was in the class, Seto stole a glance out of the window, to the pattern of sky up there and yellow spots on the green leaves.
When his mind tried to relax, those golden eyes would haunt back, never want to let go. It bothered him so much, because he was sure he had seen those yellow eyes shining brighter than a sun, somewhere in a day that was forgotten. Taken in sepia-colored photograph that was lost. But the more he tried to remember, the more his memories were blown away.
Like an old saying, maybe the owner of those golden eyes had left a footprint ages ago, placing a proof of existence somewhere inside his heart, but Seto didn't know which one from the scattering footprints. He couldn't remember.
AN: Yeah, Seto doesn't remember Crow.
I'm sorry that they are lacking interactions, but it's for a buildup. Originally Seto is more molested XD But I decided not. That poor boy.
Review? Your reviews are my only reason to update guys.