I know, oh lord do I know, that this isn't exactly original. In fact, this is probably one of the most clichéd, overused, and horribly mistreated plots the fanfic world has to offer. But I, as of yet, haven't tried my hand at abusing it. So I figured, 'Why the hell not?' That and well, I really wanted to write an AU fic that I would actually make into something not completely angst-ridden. (After all, we've seen how my take on this couple is for the most part in their original setting.) And honestly I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with this. So here we are! My (not so) lovely gender-bending boarding school fic, that is a mess of strange and predictable wrapped up into one. I'm going to also say that I'm planning on making all the chapter names song titles. Because a clichéd and unoriginal plot, needs all the clichéd and unoriginal accessories it can get.
Disclaimer: Even in a completely separate universe I don't own this game, nor any of it's characters. Sad life, I know.
Dude (Looks Like a Lady)
It had all started as a joke.
Honestly, she really had had no intentions whatsoever in going through with Junpei's plan. The only reason she had went along with it in the beginning was because it was a joke. At least she had thought so anyway.
Riichi Arisato had not planned on being accepted into St. Hermelin's School for Exceptional Boys. (Thinking back on it, her real aversion to coming might actually have been the fact that she really didn't want to go to a school where the very name was a snob-filled mouthful.) It wasn't that she was ungrateful; really this was the opportunity she had been longing for since she was running around in shorts and riding tricycles. It was a chance to, for once, stay put for a while, possibly until she was out of high school and off on her own somewhere. Something that would have helped greatly since she was now a junior and only had two years left to go. The problem with this all though was that she wasn't really exceptional -at least she hadn't thought she was- and she wasn't a boy.
It was hard to go to a school for boys when one lacked a particularly crucial part of the anatomy.
But for some reason -which she attributed to her name and the fact that the old couple had made sure she sounded manly in the application- even without the Y chromosome, she had been accepted. Not only accepted, but given a full-ride scholarship. That was like shouting at someone, 'Come to my damn school!' Obviously she was wanted. So it wasn't as much of a surprise when not only Junpei jumped on it (and really why wouldn't he? He was rather lacking in foresight along with common sense.) but her foster parents had as well.
Now let it be said that she wasn't a problem child. In all honesty, everyone who had their chance with her had nothing but praise for her cheerful and generally likeable disposition. The reason she had been thrown from family to family since the tender age of eight, was because she had the uncanny ability to get stuck with people who were unable to financially support another human being, let alone a child. Obviously the Japanese social services wasn't screening like they used to. At least not in her case anyway.
When it was discovered that she would be able to stay, she couldn't really fault the poor older-aged couple who had been saddled with her for forcing her to accept. They were nice people, loved her to death, so of course they would want her to stick around. She supposed to the point of having no qualms in committing felony and lying to both a private institution and the government about her real gender.
What she could do, however, was glare venomously at the boy across the table from her.
Junpei looked giddier than a kid on Christmas. He looked so happy that she thought if someone had just gunned down his dog in front of him he wouldn't have batted an eye. (Then again, perhaps that was too 'strong' a metaphor.) Grinning like a fool he twirled the same french-fry he had been holding for the past ten minutes in his ketchup before addressing her once more. "Dude this is so cool!" the boy exclaimed. "Just think of it Reech, we're gonna be classmates for once."
The girl looked unamused. She had her arms rested on the table, right elbow propped up in order to rest her cheek on her closed fist. She clamped her mouth back over the straw and gave a rather violent slurp of her milkshake before answering at all. "Has it occurred to you once that I'm not exactly supposed to be there?" she asked, speaking through teeth still clamped around the plastic of the straw.
There might have been a flicker of confusion from the boy, before he batted it away. "So what?" was his answer. "You act like half the guys I know," to which she bristled viciously, "no one'll ever notice."
"Until I take my shirt off in gym and they notice I have an unnaturally full chest," she muttered. He blatantly ignored her.
"Besides you're benefiting too aren't ya? I mean this way you'll get to stick around for a while longer." She really couldn't argue with that. The whole reason she had even listened to his proposal of boarding school in the first place was so she wouldn't have to relocate again. But honestly wasn't this taking it a bit too far? "And you know," Junpei interrupted her thought process. "Being around guys all the time. Maybe you'll find yourself a future husband."
Any thoughts she had that he might have held some sense fluttered out the window. His signature grin and wiggling eyebrows were not helping his cause either. "Junpei, unless he's gay, I really doubt that'll happen. Even if I do, don't you think he'll be a little freaked out when he finds out I'm not exactly packing down there?" Riichi gestured under the table. This action was enough to elicit a few gasps from mothers, and several giggles from the surrounding children. Other than the brief thought that being so vulgar in a family restaurant might not be the best idea, she didn't notice at all.
Junpei hadn't noticed either because all he did was shrug. "You're making this out to be a lot more dramatic then it is," he chided her. "Look, if you join a sport or get into one of the special programs you won't have to take gym. In fact most kids don't." Oh that certainly made her feel better. So not only was she supposed to get flak for getting a full-ride, but she also might have to take a few beatings for being one of the lonely nerds in gym class? Exceptional boys' school or not, all guys were the same.
Determined to convince someone, anyone else that this was a horribly stupid idea, Riichi went on to list several other reasons why she shouldn't go. "What about my hair? I'm not cutting it. And how I look?"
"Just wear a wig, if you do it right no one'll notice. And you can just play it off as if you're a really pretty boy."
She bit her lip in agonized frustration. "My voice and the way I talk?"
Junpei snorted in laughter. "You remember that one time we crank called my roommate? And how he honestly thought you were some guy in the yakuza? Obviously you know how to talk like a boy, just make your voice gruffer than usual."
"My chest? That's not exactly something that most guys have. Normal ones anyway." This time she was positive she had gotten him. So sure of herself she was, Riichi grinned and leaned back cockily against the seat. "What do you have to say to that?"
The boy cocked an eyebrow before shrugging. "Well, you're not that big anyway. Just bind it and you should be okay."
Riichi felt her mouth drop. Oh god he did not just say that! The sheer audacity! She once more bristled, offended, astonished, and altogether defensive. "S-s-s-so what if it's not!" she snarled. "I'm not flat! Is that what you're insinuating! I'm an ironing board!" She had gotten herself so worked up by now that by the time she had finished her rant she was panting heavily.
Junpei didn't show any signs of being moved by anything she had just said. He shoved a french-fry in his mouth and chewed uninterestedly for a few moments while she caught her breath. "I thought we were talking about why you couldn't go to my school, not how ridiculously small your chest was."
The girl flared up once more before deflating. It just wasn't worth it. It didn't matter anymore that Junpei was obviously blind, nor that she was now honestly wondering if she was actually that small. (But if she was so small, who the hell was he comparing her to? A life-size Barbie?) She hunched over the table, once more grabbing hold of her milkshake and dejectedly sipping it. "So," Riichi started. "If we're really going through with this, then we need to figure out my rooming situation."
Once more a giddy grin erupted on Junpei's face. "That's the spirit!" he cried. Never mind the fact that at the moment she looked anything but excited. "I've got it covered. This is foolproof man, there's no way anyone will ever figure it out." She gave him a look that screamed 'Get on with it'. He did as she suggested with pleasure. "We'll just room together." Riichi was too surprised to do anything but stare wide-eyed at him. "We can't go wrong," the boy assured. "I already know you're a chick. I can monitor when my friends come in so that you won't get surprised one day. You won't have to be all sneaky with your 'chick stuff' while I'm around. It's simple."
Riichi closed her eyes for a moment to collect herself. She sucked in a small breath before letting it out and speaking. "Junpei," she began, waiting for his full attention to continue. "You know I love you right? We're buddies, we're pals. We're the best friends one can be. Which is why I'm going to have to say, No. Way. In Hell."
This proclamation was enough to make his face fall. "What? Why!" was his whined resistance.
"Because I'm not stupid you moron," she hissed back. "You're forgetting that I know you. I have spent the last fourteen months listening to all your stories about trying to hook up and copping feels. Do you honestly think I'm going to do something idiotic enough as let my guard down around you? If you think I'm letting you anywhere near me when I'm defenseless you've got another thing coming."
He really did look sincerely hurt, but honestly he deserved everything she had just said. To think the boy would honestly believe she'd fall for that. Riichi knew she wouldn't be in any real danger, but she knew Junpei far too well to think he would actually let a chance like that go.
"I'll just get a single," she finally decided. Since her little explanation Junpei had converted to sulking over his half-eaten burger and barely-touched fries. She had little mercy for the boy who had not only gotten her into such a predicament in the first place, but was now trying to make it even worse for her. Good intentions or not, Junpei would have to learn the hard way that she wasn't to be trifled with. "If they gave me the scholarship, then they'll probably want to make me as comfortable as possible right? Then a single shouldn't be that hard to get."
For some reason this got him out of his funk. The boy sat up straight, fixed the lid of his cap, and shook his head in the negative. "Sorry, but I doubt that'll go how you want it to." When she gave him a look that angrily asked why, he continued on. "You see, the only ones that get that privilege are seniors and full-payers. Besides, the point of the scholarship is to bring in kids who normally wouldn't be exposed to this kind of environment. What's going to happen is that you're going to get a roommate who's probably really rich, and really popular. They play it off as a 'show of good fellowship'." He found his spark again, and was now smirking quite maliciously. "And that, my friend, is what's going to happen to you. Living with me doesn't sound so bad now does it?"
Riichi could do nothing more than moan. She let her head drop to rest on the table and lost the energy to do all else. "Why the hell do I ever listen to you?" she finally managed out, muttering it into the plastic of the table.
All the response she got was Junpei's mocking cackle.
I'm sorry to hear about your roommate leaving. You said it was due to the fact that his family was moving to Germany? That's really far away, they must be rich huh? You're getting a new one this year right? I can't imagine you rooming by yourself, it would be like me living without any access to ramen. I'm sure they'll be just as good as your last one. Plus, I don't see how anyone couldn't like you. It must be interesting to go to a boarding school. You get to have your independence while still not being totally on your own. That was weird wasn't it? Sorry about that.
Remember when I told you there was a chance I would move again? Well, I'm happy to say that I'm staying put for a while longer. It's exciting! The old couple were really happy when they found out I wouldn't have to leave too. The way we're allowing me to stay though worries me. I'm now to be attending a boarding school as well. It's located pretty close to their house, so I won't have to move far away, and I'll still get to live with them during long breaks. That joker I told you about, 'J', he's all excited about it. It was his idea in the first place actually. He's proposed that we have some kind of party with everyone else to celebrate my escape from another relocation. I think he's being really overdramatic about this whole thing, but hey, you got to give the guy props for caring so much.
Well, I know it's shorter than usual, but I really have to finish packing. I'm moving in, in about four days or so. I just really wanted to get this out to you, or else it might have been another week before I was able to write back.
Can't wait to hear back from you soon,
P.S. I know that I'll find out about mine before you can get back to me on it, but how are your baths? They're not public are they?
Baggage? Check. Room assignment? Check. Keys to room? Check. Male ensemble? Check. Smiling face that doesn't scream you're obviously hiding something? Hopefully check.
Riichi made her mental list as she stood outside the door. The hallway was well-lit, carpeted a rather nice royal blue, and was generally clean. You would have never expected a bunch of boys to live here. (She certainly wouldn't have. Living with four stepbrothers for a few months had taught her well the general hygiene of teenage boys.) As she stood there, staring at the bronze plaque that read '306', she wondered if she could really do this. While the fact that she was to be living among boys for the next two years -unless she got caught, but that was a possibility she didn't have the stomach to consider at the moment- had always been firmly engrained in her mind, it was just now hitting her that she was not only living among boys, but rich, rather well-rounded boys.
(Junpei, she had found out in the first few weeks of their acquaintance, was neither of these. His great-grandfather had apparently been an alumni of the school, and had donated a great amount of money to it at one point in time. So when he had applied they had jumped at the chance to repay old favors, despite that fact that Junpei was pretty much as middle-class as the average joe, and certainly didn't have anything to bring to the table in the brains department. He hadn't seemed too torn up about it though. In fact he had once used this as an example of why connections were so necessary to have.)
The girl swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat, and briefly wondered if maybe she should just turn around, walk back through the entranceway, and pretend that none of this had ever happened. She would bow to her at-present parents, chant all the apologies in the world, and tell them that it was simply not meant to be. Yes, this sounded like a marvelous plan.
Before she could even manage to shift her foot in order to turn, the door in front of her swung open. It was all Riichi could do not to scream as shrilly, and thus as girly, as possible. Her hands clutched fiercely at the shoulder-strap of her bag, and she stared wide-eyed at the figure who had emerged in the now-open door. What greeted her was a shock of raven-black hair.
The boy looked up in a surprised daze, clearly not expecting anyone to be standing in his doorway. This gave her time to examine him. He was about a head taller than she, and skinnier than most boys their age. His skin was a pale white, and combined with his size she would have thought he might have been sickly had it not been for his eyes. They were colored a deep azure blue, and filled with intense life. For a moment all she was able to do was stare into them and wonder how someone could be so bright.
And then his confusion was replaced by a blindingly bright smile. "Oh, you must be Kitamura-san!" he chirped. It took her a moment to realize he was addressing her. It had been so long since she had heard herself referred to by her adoptive family name that she hadn't been prepared for it. "I've been waiting to meet you, come on in," he moved to the side of the doorway, motioning for her to enter along with him. Riichi hesitated for a moment, unsure of whether or not this was a good idea. "Don't be shy, I won't bite. I promise." With that declaration the boy once more gave a wave of his hand and she decided it was probably best not to make him mad. But then again, with that smile it was hard to think of this boy as ever having been angry a day in his life.
Doing as she was told, Riichi reluctantly made her way inside. Her grip on the strap became that much tighter and she honestly felt like a deer-in-headlights. When she heard the door swing shut behind her, it was almost like a sign of finality. It was as if they were signifying that there was no turning back anymore. She was here to stay.
"Your bed is on the left," he interrupted her thoughts. She looked up to see him pointing towards the bed in question. "And most of your stuff has already been brought up, it's those boxes right over there right?"
The girl gave a start as she looked over to where he pointed next. Sure enough, those were unmistakably her boxes. The 'Make us Proud' written all over the sides of them were proof enough that the old couple had indeed marked them. When the boy saw her face he chuckled amiably. "Um, sorry," she muttered. "Parents are a little, strange to say the least." She gave a forced laugh and tried not to look mortified. She was unfortunately failing at both.
"Well would you like me to help you unpack?" He apparently was either oblivious to her discomfort, or was looking for a way to help her out. Either way, she was grateful all the same.
Riichi nodded almost mechanically and threw her bag on the foot of the bed. That was manly right? Showing unconcern for one's belongings? "Only if you want to," was her gruff response as she rolled up her sleeves in preparation. With that display, she made her way over to the boxes and looked them over. It was probably best for her to survey them and see what she needed to unpack first. Doing this in all in one night would be an unnecessary chore.
"Should we unpack this one first?" the boy asked from beside her. She gave a start, not having noticed he had already started on her stuff. The girl peered over to see what it was he had. "It says 'Important', so that probably means you're going to need it right?" He was right, the box did have 'Important' scrawled across the top in big block letters. There was a definite reason for that though.
"That's alright," she assured him, laughing nervously. "I'll um, get that myself later." She snatched the box from him, almost toppling over at how heavy it was before she was able to properly distribute the weight and stagger over to throw it haphazardly under her bed. It was important, oh lord it was important. But unfortunately for roomie boy over there, he would never get to see it. If he did there would be some serious questions about what was up with the strange new boy in his room, for in that box she had packed all of her feminine items.
When she returned to her position in front of the wall of boxes, she was surprised to see the boy's reaction. Rather than being offended by her conduct, he looked rather worried about her. "Are you sure you want me to help?" he asked. "If you're uncomfortable with me, I can leave or something."
Hit by a pang of guilt, Riichi shook her head furiously. "No, no no, it's okay really. You're fine, I'm just on edge is all. I've never really done this before." She gave another laugh, trying to prove just how fine she was with the whole thing. Unfortunately all it really did was make him look more worried. "Well, anyway," she continued, "If you open those boxes over there and mark what's in them that would be helpful. I would have done it back home, but I kind of had to do this all in a hurry. I'll see what I need to unpack now when we're done with it."
The boy nodded, a look of fierce determination overcoming his face. "I've got a few sharpies, I'll get you one too," he said as she strode over to his desk and grabbed the said utensils. He distributed hers with a smile, and then went off to do as she had instructed. After a few moments of sneaking glances at him from her own work, she was surprised to note how diligent this boy was.
In fact he was rather strange altogether. She had been expecting her new roommate to either be some poster boy for formality, or a prime example of what large amounts of wealth can do to a person. She was pleasantly surprised to figure out that was not the case. Riichi had known that not all rich-boys were like that -Junpei being a prime example; though he wasn't really rich he was still in the environment- but she hadn't expected to find an odd one so soon.
"Oh, I'm Ryouji Mochizuki."
She felt her neck snap up as she lifted her gaze quickly. With confused eyes she took in his smiling face and outstretched hand. "I don't believe I actually introduced myself. You can call me Ryouji if you would like."
The girl stood there for a few moments in a stunned stupor. He didn't seem to find this strange, and rather waited a few moments before holding his hand out further. This action shook her out of whatever it was she was in, and Riichi found herself hastily snatching at his hand. It was rather warm, and contrary to his appearance, somewhat rough. She didn't have the time to think about how nice his hands were though, she needed to stop acting like some terrified middle-schooler. "Riichi Ari-Kitamura," she answered back, ignoring the look he gave her at her mess-up. It was times like these that she was glad the orphanage had been strange enough to give her a rather boyish name. It was going to be so much easier now that she didn't have to respond to something else. Having to answer to 'Kitamura' was already going to be a chore.
Ryouji's smile did the impossible by brightening. "Do you have any siblings Riichi-kun?" She must have looked rather confused by the question because he went on to say. "Well, the kanji in your name reads first advantage right? I just thought maybe you had a younger brother or something."
Her mouth formed an 'o' and she made a sound of understanding. "No, well, I'm an only child. I think."
She ignored him in favor of continuing. "My first name comes from a particular event in my life. I'll explain it all someday." He seemed to catch on to the fact that she'd really rather not have anything to do with the topic because he himself gave a look of comprehension before returning to his work. It wasn't that the subject was painful or anything, she had long ago stopped caring about the fact that she was named because she was one of the first children the orphanage had found and attempted to adopt out. (It was rather strange knowing that her orphanage was almost brand new. In books one always was granted a picture of a dilapidated, old building that was standing on it's last legs financially and had been around for ages.) What she didn't care for was the looks of concern and the being handled with kid-gloves when people found out she was an orphan. Really, their unnecessary concern was often suffocating. Besides, Ryouji didn't want to hear her sob story any more than she wanted to tell it.
"Oh, by the way Riichi-kun," the boy once again entered her thoughts. She looked up to see him closing the lid of the box and penning the contents on the one of the cardboard folds. "I hope you don't mind me saying, but you're a rather pretty boy."
Her face fell. "Yeah. I've been told that."
There will be more clarification on the whole pen pal thing next chapter. I swear. So if you're confused by it (though probably not by who's writing to whom) be patient for a bit kay?