Disclaimer: Koisuru Boukun and all of the characters contained therein are the sole property of Takanaga Hinako. I own nothing. I profit nothing. I am nothing.
Synopsis: That first night with Tatsumi Souichi was absolute wonder but what Morinaga Tetsuhiro doesn't know is that what he thinks was Senpai's first time...wasn't.
Chapter Notes: I've never been to Japan (WHY?) so I have no clue as to how the subways operate there. Or teacher/student relationships. Or how the process of becoming a teaching professor works. All I know is that I heart KSB too much sometimes. And that this chapter was fun to write. YAY.
The air was cold that starless night. Frigid curls of wind invisible to the human eye snaked a path through the darkened house and settled amongst the corners and crannies that littered the way. Howling and moaning a song befit for the passing of a mighty king, the presence of such a gale was odd for such a modest home. Was there a meaning for the wind? Could there be a reason for it's frozen gaze?
The young boy of thirteen sitting desolately at his open window would know the answers. Yet his lips remained closed and his fists remained clenched. The wind wrapped around his slight frame like an icy coat but no shivers or shakes met it's embrace. The boy sat still as his emotionless eyes were fixed at the scene that played outside below his window. The absolute nothingness that flittered across his boyish features was unsettling. The dark blue of the curtains billowed around him like the waves of the sea but it seemed to mean nothing to the boy. At that moment in time, the boy was as cold as the air around him.
A man and woman were arguing. The man had a firm grip on the open door of a grey town car while the woman hollered obscenities at him. Pieces of luggage lay at the man's feet and, as the woman continued to shout and curse his name, the man hastily tossed the items into the car. A suitcase slammed into the backseat of the car and thudded clumsily to the car floor where it lay crooked and dejected. In a certain way, the innocent piece of luggage seemed to be fitting for the chaos of the man and woman. The man never let his hold on the door waver or loosen. Perhaps, in his turbulent mind, the man saw the door as his lifeline. The only way out and he was not about to let it slip away. The man made to get into the car but was roughly grabbed by the woman. With a jostle and a shove, the woman was tossed to the ground. Sparing her not a single parting glance, the man got into the car and sped away into the inky night. The woman remained motionless.
The young boy gazed at her prone form and, like the turning of the dark side of the moon, a sneer marred his youthful features. Like the proverbial floodgates of a stricken city, emotions began to pounce and drag within him. While the house remained cold and unfeeling, the boy became hot and red. Growling, the young boy reached out and clamped a hand around a tiny ceramic figurine that lay next to him. It was a statue of a sturdy man and a smiling woman embracing a little boy in their arms. It was a family. A perfect family captured in a perfect moment. With a holler of pure rage, the boy sent the fragile figurine hurtling through the cold air where it shattered against a pale wall. Tiny pieces rained down to the wooden floorboards and a melodious song could be heard amongst their landings.
The boy heard none of it.
The boy saw none of it.
It all mattered so very little to him. The boy became calm once again. Running a steady hand through his dark locks, the boy threw a last glance out the window. The woman was gone. The sound of the front door of the simple home rang out as it was opened and shut and unsteady footsteps clambered up the stairs. The boy stepped back from his spot at the window and placed himself on the bed. Crossing his legs and planting his hands firmly on the mattress, the boy turned a gaze onto the open doorway.
Moments later, the woman appeared.
"Your father left," Natsuki whispered in a trembled tone.
"I can see that," Reiji shot back as he turned a condemning glare onto the shivering woman. "Is it for good this time?"
"I...I t-think so," she wailed as tears began to stream down her placid face.
Reiji snorted at the the woman's overemotional state. So his bastard of a father had finally deserted him? Fine. Let the dog go and screw his dirty bitches. The man was a drunken no good shit anyway. But now, Reiji was left alone with the sniveling woman in front of him. Natsuki was covered in snot and dirt from her tumble to the ground. Her bare legs were streaked with soil and the faint marking of a bruise could be seen beneath one of her kneecaps. Her clothes were wrinkled and hung limply from her scant figure. Long locks of hair as black as Reiji's own were pinned up but large portions of her hair had come loose from the clip and tangled about her face. It was disgusting. Women shouldn't be so dirty or pathetic.
Natsuki wiped at her face and held out quivering arms towards Reiji's still frame seated on his bed. "Come here, Reiji-kun. Come make Mama feel better, my love."
Reiji balked at the idea of stepping into the woman's filthy embrace. "Hell no, Natsuki. You're dirty. Go take a bath." The image of Reiji holding the woman's head underwater until she stopped struggling alighted in his brain. A tiny smile crept onto his face at the amusing idea. "What?" he asked warily when he caught the fond look in Natsuki's eyes.
"You look like your father when you smile like that," the woman all but sighed out.
The smile disappeared in an instance. Silence covered the room like a blanket as Reiji averted his dark eyes to the side and gazed at the broken figurine that lay on the floor. He barely noticed the sniffling woman quietly shuffling closer to him. He could only focus on the sharp edges of the fragments of ceramic. The mess bothered him. He hated messes. Hated them. Letting out a sigh that was tinged with weariness, Reiji rose up from the bed and strode forward. Ignoring the look of delight on Natuski's face as he stepped closer, Reiji rose a hand and brought it down on the woman's face and slapped that grotesque fondness out of her. Natsuki fell to the floor with a strangled cry.
"Don't ever compare me to that piece of shit again, Natsuki," Reiji hissed with blazing frigidity in his eyes as he bent himself slightly over the cowering woman.
"He's your father, Reiji-kun!" the woman moaned as she looked up into her son's beautiful face.
"I don't have a father," Reiji stated with the blank finality of death. Shoving Natsuki aside, Reiji made for the door.
"Reiji-kun!" Natsuki called out as she grabbed a hold of his wrist in her trembling hands. "Reiji! Please, son! I can't have you mad at me! Tell me what to do to make it better!"
Reiji shook the weak hold off of him and made his way down the stairs. Stopping in front of the mirror that hung in the family room, Reiji inspected his appearance closely. With disdain at the the wrinkles in his sleeve from Natsuki's clutch, he straightened his shirt and adjusted his collar so that it lay on his collarbone at just the right angle.
"Reiji!" Natsuki shouted from above. "Love, I'm sorry!"
"Disgusting," Reiji muttered as he smoothed his hair down with calm precision. Satisfied with his impeccable countenance, Reiji sauntered into the kitchen and began the preparations for his dinner. For some unknown reason, he was in the mood for sukiyaki.
"Oi, Reiji! Over here!"
Miyoshi Reiji turned a blank eye towards the call and immediately noticed a rotund man waving at him frantically. The eager signaling seemed to be leeching at the man's energy as the hideous fat attached to his upper arms shook with the effort and his gaping mouth struggled for oxygen. Reiji wanted to shove his own head into the glass window of the cafe that he had just walked out of. After another long day at the university, he had stopped by for a coffee, decaf and absolutely no cream or sugar, and was on his way home when he had heard his name being called out. After realizing who it was, he should have just ignored it and headed off.
"Reiji! Oi!" the man continued to call out and was oblivious to the stares that he was attracting from the frowning faces surrounding him.
"I heard you the first time, you fat fuck," Reiji murmured before carefully placing a look of surprise and excitement on his handsome features. "Well, what do you know! Hiroshi!" he called out in response.
Reiji maneuvered his muscular frame through the various tables and chairs and joined the man at his table. Fujimoto Hiroshi was the head professor of the Agricultural department at N. University and was a reasonably intelligent man. If one could consider an overbearing, clinging, and morbidly obese man to be intelligent which Reiji absolutely did not. Hiroshi was a giant idiot in his opinion. Reiji grimaced at the fat shit's disheveled appearance. Rivulets of perspiration streamed down Hiroshi's temples and dotted his forehead. The fabric of his thrift store shirt stuck to his blubber like a grotesque second skin. It was indeed a muggy late afternoon but that certainly didn't give the man the right to look like a cow headed for slaughter.
"Reiji, how are you?" Hiroshi questioned as he placed a damp palm on Reiji's shoulder. "Come! Sit, sit!"
Reiji nodded and sat down. He was entirely too grateful to have Hiroshi's sweaty paw off of him. The pristine white shirt that he wore was worth more than the whale's life. Reiji ran his hands down his slacks smoothing out any unsightly wrinkles that may have occured when he had seated himself. Once he was sure that he was crinkle-free, he patted his dark hair carefully to assure that no stray locks had fallen out of place.
Hiroshi guffawed at Reiji's movements as he sank his heavy frame into his chair with a huff. "You're worse than the girls at the school, Reiji! You worried that the air might attack you with dirt or something?" The man continued to chuckle as he grabbed a muffin and slathered it with butter before taking a giant bite. "You want some?" Hiroshi asked as crumbles fell from his mouth to the table.
Reiji wanted to do nothing more than toss his piping hot drink into the man's disgusting face. Oh, how he would love to see the fat bubble and drip off of Hiroshi's bones. Well, his coffee wasn't nearly hot enough to achieve that but one could only wish. "No, I'm good, Hiroshi," Reiji replied smoothly as he gestured towards his coffee cup.
"If you say so," Hiroshi responded with a shrug. "But, let me tell you that this place has the best baked goods around. Very tasty and you know that I'm a sucker for delicious things. Never mind all that though. Where have you been? You keep turning down my invites to get a drink. You that busy or do you hate me now?" the man remarked with a grin.
Hiroshi's grin faltered at Reiji's response. "What?"
"I've been busy," Reiji filled in with a smile of his own.
"Oh!" Hiroshi exclaimed with obvious relief. "Right, right. Busy doing what, may I ask?"
Reiji's reply was cut short when a plate of cookies was placed in front of him. Looking up, Reiji saw a petite girl with long black hair gazing at him timidly. The girl was chewing at her bottom lip and nervously tugging at her sleeves.
"I'm sorry to interrupt your conversation," the girl said in a soft voice, "but I made these especially for Miyoshi-sensei and I wanted to give them to you myself, sir."
"Oh?" Reiji replied with a raise of a dark eyebrow. "And what did I do to deserve such a delicious-looking reward?"
"I don't think you remember me but I was in your Horticulture course last semester and you are...you're one of the best teachers that I have ever had," the girl replied bashfully.
Reiji observed her and came up with a complete blank. How the hell was he expected to remember all of these kids especially a girl with such a plain face covered by lank hair? Maybe if she had tried to look halfway decent he would remember her but she had about as much presence as the empty air that surrounded her. "Well, thank you, but I'm sure such a gracious form of appreciation would be better presented to a professor of higher standing than a guy like me," Reiji said as he glazed charm over his words to distract the girl from the fact that he had no damn clue of who she was.
"You should be a professor, Miyoshi-sensei," she continued on quietly. "I mean, an actual professor."
"And what am I now?" Reiji remarked with a good-natured chuckle to which Hiroshi joined in as well.
A vivid blush bloomed on the girl's face as her eyes widened comically. "Oh no! No, that's not what I meant! Not at all!"
"It's okay," Reiji said calmly as he placed a hand on the girl's frail arm. "I know what you meant." Little bitch.
"You really should accept the department's offer to become a full professor, Reiji," Hiroshi spoke up amidst shovels of rice and meat into his mouth. "The students love you. They would actually listen to you from time to time."
The bustle of the crowd faded around Reiji for a brief moment as the idea of teaching spoiled snot-nosed brats disguised as adults full-time tore rampant through his head. There was really no fucking way that he was going to submit himself to something like that. Goodness knows what would become of him if he were to ever foolishly accept such an offer. He might end up a fat slob like Hiroshi who wouldn't give two shits if his oily heart gave out on him. Or he might become a doddering old fool like Fukushima and spend his days meandering through the halls one stroke away from death.
"How 'bout it, Reiji?" Hiroshi's question broke through Reiji's pensive state.
"I'll think about it," he responded. "I happen to like the ease that comes with being an assistant professor."
Hiroshi shrugged and tucked into his gruel once more. Reiji looked away in veiled disgust and realized that his hand was still on the girl's arm where she was staring at it in blatant awe. She seemed to be frozen as if she were afraid that the slightest of movements would cause his hand to disappear or flitter away like a butterfly. Women. Reiji snorted in his head as he moved his hand and placed it on his leg.
"Thank you for the gift," he said to the girl in hopes of getting rid of her as he surreptitiously wiped his palm on his slacks. "You're a real sweet one."
"Could you try one, sir?" she asked. "I want to be sure that you like them. If you don't, I could bake you another batch."
Reiji's smile became a solid ice block on his face. He had to actually eat one of those sugar death traps now? "Of course! Though I should offer one to Fujimoto-sensei first."
"Way ahead of you, pal," Hiroshi said as he snatched a cookie and disposed of it into his giant maw. "Damn, these sure are good, Kudou-san. Could I, Reiji?"
Reiji pushed the plate closer to the fat man and watched silently as Hiroshi helped himself to another with a grin of content smeared on his sweat-dampened face. So the girl's name was Kudou. Reiji wouldn't have recalled that if it were tattooed on her forehead. He didn't think that this bland girl's name was worth remembering but one could never tell. He filed it away in his brain in the off-hand chance that it would prove useful in the future.
"Yes, dear?" Reiji replied as he tore his eyes away from Hiroshi and focused on Kudou.
"Will you try one?" the girl questioned nervously.
"You really should, Reiji! They're absolutely delicious!"
No, what Reiji should try is giving the fat shit a swift kick in his minuscule balls. That would certainly be delicious. Instead, Reiji placed a smile on his face as he reached out for a cookie. He gingerly grabbed one and brought it closer to his mouth. The sickly sweet smell of sugar, butter, sugar, and sugar assaulted his nostrils. Inhaling softly, he took a bite. His throat immediately started to seize up and attack at the sugary invader. Keeping eye contact with Hiroshi and Kudou, he nodded in feigned approval and forcefully swallowed the bite down. Honestly, did the girl dump Japan's entire supply of sweetener into the batter or something? Reiji hated sweets. Hated them.
"Do you like it, Miyoshi-sensei?"
Reiji allowed a bit of his saliva to pool into his clamped mouth and swallowed the liquid down to chase the residues of the cookie down his throat. He looked at the girl with a combination of delight and awe. He had to admit that it was one of his best works considering how he longed to run to the nearest men's room and shove a pen down his throat just to get the bite to come surging back up. Just the thought of that artery-clogging piece of shit in his body made him nauseous. "That is the best cookie that I have ever had the fortune of placing onto my taste buds! My dear, where did you learn to bake like that?"
The girl blushed a vivid red at Reiji's glowing praise. "My mother, sir," she stammered in response.
"Your mother?" Reiji said as his eyes dimmed slightly at the word.
Kudou nodded excitedly. "Absolutely. She owns a little bakery near the university. Would you come and visit us some time, Miyoshi-sensei? And you, too, Fujimoto-sensei. Her baking is much better than mine."
"Sure we will, Kudou-san!" Hiroshi replied genially. "Won't we, Reiji?"
"Reiji-kun! Darling, come and try the cake your mother baked for you! It's shortcake with cream-filling and strawberries! Isn't that your favorite, love?"
"I hate cake, Natsuki. Why can't you ever remember that?"
"But, it's your birthday, darling! You wouldn't let me call any of the boys from school and take you all out to a nice restaurant like I wanted to."
"Even if I allowed you to do something useless like that, there wouldn't be any boys from anywhere to call. They're all idiots."
"Not even a cute girlfriend? You're a handsome boy, Reiji-kun. You should have the girls lining up for you."
"Especially not the girls, Natsuki. They're in that stage where they feel that every situation requires an inordinate amount of squealing and giggling."
"Won't you try just a little to make me happy?"
"Are you saying that the fact that it's my birthday doesn't make you happy in itself? That I have to let you fatten me up to please you as well?"
"Reiji-kun, don't say such things. You know that I love you. I just want to make you smile."
"You know what would make me smile, Natsuki? You getting that thing out of my face. The smell alone is revolting."
"...Of course, son. Whatever you want."
"Reiji? You okay, buddy? Reiji?"
Reiji blinked the unbidden memory away and focused. He saw Hiroshi's worried frown and the girl's small hand on his arm.
"Miyoshi-sensei, are you okay?" Kudou asked as she nibbled on her bottom lip.
Reiji inwardly hissed. He despised being caught unawares and floating in his memories like that. It was an absolute human weakness to let foolish remembrances grip the mind and Reiji couldn't believe he had let it happen in front of that tub of lard and some girl that he didn't even recall. He clenched a fist against his leg and forced the anger within him at his unforgivable behavior to subside. Control was the most important thing at all times.
"Miyoshi-sensei?" the girl called out quietly.
"I'm fine," Reiji reassured as he patted Kudou's shoulder and removed his arm from her hand.
"Where'd you go?" Hiroshi questioned lightly. "You flew off somewhere without us. I was about in phone in for some air support."
Reiji burst out in exuberant laughter. Hiroshi grinned as he joined in causing the folds beneath his chin to tremble along. Oh, how Reiji was repulsed by the very sight of the useless man. Would Hiroshi's absence really be noticed? Would anyone miss the piece of shit? Reiji highly doubted it. The few people that would might actually weep about his disappearance for the turn of a day but they would get over it. So what if Hiroshi was an "esteemed" professor? The school system would take in anything and anyone these days. They had hired Reiji almost as soon as he had walked through the door. Of course, he had to screw a couple of old fucks in the process but that had been to get in their good graces. He had to admit though that making the tight-lipped head bitch of the school scream out and tremble in pleasure had been fun. Really fun.
"Asuka, come on! The movie will start soon!"
Kudou threw a quick look over her shoulder and nodded at a group of girls standing nearby beckoning to her. "Please come and visit us. It's the 'Little Kitty' bakery about a few blocks from the university. It was wonderful seeing you, Miyoshi-sensei. Fujimoto-sensei." The girl bowed and quickly made her way over to her friends who were giggling as girls were fated to do. Reiji had learned a long time ago that it wasn't a phase in life. That's just how gaggles of girls operated.
"Goodbye, Miyoshi-sensei!" the group of girls chorused out in unison and made their way down the street.
"You lucky guy," Hiroshi said as he snatched another cookie from the plate. "You have the girls at school smitten. Well, the ones with a teacher complex at least. I don't suppose anyone could blame them though. A handsome and well-put together man like you teaching starstruck girls with gleams of light in their eyes. It's like something out of a manga."
"They don't interest me," Reiji responded dismissively.
"Oh?" Hiroshi questioned in surprise. "Young beautiful women like them don't get you going, Reiji? You must be crazy, my friend! That or gay. I have to politely admit that you do take care of your appearance abnormally well."
"What? Crazy or gay?"
"Either," Reiji replied and took a slow sip from his coffee to wash the lingering taste of sugar from his throat.
"So what do you go for, buddy?"
Reiji thrummed his fingers on the tabletop as he pondered Hiroshi's question. In his mind's eye, he saw heads bowed in reverence and docile eyes widened with adoration and the utmost respect. He saw limbs folded beneath strong and weak bodies alike as gasps of pleasure fell from panting mouths simply because Reiji was standing over the prone forms. A tiny smirk graced Reiji's firm lips at the wonderful sight. "Submission," he answered below his breath.
Hiroshi leaned forward and cupped his ear. "Eh? Run that by me again?"
"Nothing," Reiji said as he ran his hands over his shirt. "I'm just flesh and bones such as yourself, Hiroshi. I have the same desires as any other poor schmuck walking these muggy streets. Perhaps I am better at being discreet about it? In any case, I had best be off. I have a certain matter to address tonight."
"Reiji! You just sat down! Can't you stay longer?"
Reiji would rather eat another one of that girl's horrible cookies than be seen out in public with Hiroshi any longer. "No can do, Hiroshi. Might I offer you this plate of cookies as an apology?"
The man's lips practically quivered and drooled at Reiji's offer before he reluctantly shook his head. "She made it for you, Reiji. I couldn't do that. But I will take one more."
"By all means," Reiji said as he stood up and held the plate out. "Now if you'll excuse me."
"See you later, Reiji. And I won't let you leave so quickly next time. You owe me a nice long chat, my friend."
Reiji felt his eye twitch minutely as he nodded in response. "Oh absolutely, Hiroshi. I'm looking forward to it."
Reiji left the cafe grounds and continued on his way down the street. Passing by a trashcan, he tossed the plate into the receptacle and wiped his hands clean of crumbs that he couldn't see but knew were lurking on his skin. Satisfied, he pulled out his cellphone and dialed a familiar number.
"What is it, Miyoshi-sensei?" a distinct voice answered after a few rings.
Snarky little bastard today, isn't he? Reiji side-stepped for a toddling old bitch who should be having dessert with a death god instead of taking up space on the streets and focused his attention on Souichi. "Tatsumi-kun!" he bellowed loudly into the mouthpiece hopefully causing the man on the line to wince from the volume. "How are you, m'boy?"
"You mean since the last time you asked today? I'm still fine, Miyoshi-sensei."
Reiji's eyes narrowed slightly at Souichi's tone. The kid wasn't even trying to be respectful now. The irritation in his nasally voice was distinct. Reiji supposed that he should consider it a victory on his part that the brat wasn't being civil towards him anymore. That could only mean that he was getting under Souichi's pretty and much too girly skin but having anyone speak to him that way pissed him off regardless. "Beautiful! You haven't forgotten about our little date tonight, have you?"
Souichi sighed audibly. "No, I haven't. 'Kuru-Kuru' at nine, right?"
That's right, you little shit. Souichi had a lot of misplaced nerve to be sighing in his ear like that. Did the boy think he was God's gift to mankind and that Reiji should consider himself blessed to have his lanky ass gracing him with his presence? "Absolutely, Tatsumi-kun! Now please be on time. I really hate-."
"Waiting. I know."
Reiji tightened his hold on the device in his hand. He hated it when he was cut off mid-sentence. Hated it. "Right you are, my boy. Well, I'll see you later, Tatsumi-kun! I'm looking forward to it."
"I'm sure. Goodbye, Miyoshi-sensei." And the kid disconnected.
Reiji let the dial tone blare in his ear for a few moments before pocketing the phone. As he went through the motions of boarding the subway line to get to his place, his thoughts turned to the man in question. Why was he even wasting his time on such a rotten person? In all honesty, people like Tatsumi Souichi disgusted him more than fat shits like Hiroshi. They were outwardly rude, vulgar, and fucking violent. What gave Tatsumi Souichi the divine right to parade through life so blatantly dismissive of the way society operates? Humans are wretched despicable heathens but it was their capacity to pretend that made them superior. That was what Reiji had learned in life. To get on top of everyone in this filthy world, you had to wear a different mask for every situation. Reiji knew better so, to pit it simply, he was better. All these foolish pathetic beings put their entire selves on the line but not Reiji. He would never do something so idiotic.
People like Tatsumi Souichi had no control. They were quick to respond and let their emotions get the best of them. It was all 'act first and think later' with them and Reiji hated such nonsense. Hated it. It was weak and that sort of behavior was better suited for the lower beasts and vermin of God's earth.
So why bother with someone like Tatsumi Souichi? Reiji could only smirk to himself in answer. It was fun. He enjoyed toying with stupid people like that so much. He practically relished the irritation and anger that he caused with his acts and knowing all the while that these people remained oblivious to his true intentions. They made the monotonous hum of repetitive life bearable. Reiji had been horrifically bored which was the reason he had moved and became an assistant professor. He had wanted to amuse himself with self-righteous pricks that ate out of Mommy and Daddy's wallets and shat out foolish idealism and tainted philosophies. What a better place to accomplish that than at a university?
He could have stripped naked and danced an Irish jig when he had met Tatsumi Souichi. Never before had he met someone so brazen and forceful. Reiji's brain had went into overdrive with all the many ways he could get the kid to acquiesce to him. Reiji took no greater pleasure in life than to have someone like Tatsumi Souichi bow to him. Figuratively or literally.
Reiji boarded the line and noticed an empty seat towards the back and moved in the direction when he paused mid-step. Seated next to the vacant seat was a tall man with hair almost as dark as his own but styled in that messy just-jumped-out-of-bed way that the younger generation was so fond of these days. Reiji couldn't understand it. While he was only fifteen years or so older than the majority of the children that he taught, he saw a gap between himself and their rotting brains nearly everyday. Reiji gently patted at his neat slicked-back locks and contemplated the other man.
Morinaga Tetsuhiro. The name popped up in Reiji's mind immediately. It usually took a lot for Reiji to deem someone memorable but this guy had stuck. His unique looks could have been a driving factor for that. Green eyes of that particular shade were few and far between in Japan, after all. But Reiji had noted the boy down for an entirely different reason that had nothing to do with his striking good looks. Morinaga Tetsuhiro was obsessively in love with Souichi and Reiji had noticed it the moment that he had walked into that laboratory. Perhaps the young man thought that he was doing a sufficient enough job hiding his true feelings about his senpai from the outside world but such a half-hearted and downright disgraceful attempt hadn't fooled Reiji in the least. You can't trick the trickster as the time-old adage went.
However, despite Morinaga's shoddy emotional coverage, Souichi himself remained oblivious to it all. Reiji could only ascertain that Tatsumi was so wrapped up in his neat little world of beakers and beating people up that he didn't notice the other boy's dopey expressions of adoration. Reiji could almost feel pity for Morinaga and his unrequited love but what else could be expected from falling for an egoist like Souichi? The fool had dug his own hole.
Reiji plastered a careful grin on his face and sat himself down next to Morinaga's slumped form. He observed the large hands that covered the boy's face from view and the broad shoulders that seemed to carry the weight of the world. It seemed that Reiji had stumbled upon a bad day. Well, a bad day for Morinaga. Reiji's day had gone quite swimmingly even when taking into consideration his unfortunate run-in with Hiroshi. "Well, hello there. Matsuyama-san, wasn't it?" Reiji exclaimed jovially as he drew his body up and out to take up more space than he needed.
Morinaga jolted in surprise and turned towards Reiji. His eyes widened for a moment before he bowed slightly in his seat. "Ah, hello, Miyoshi-sensei. It's Morinaga, actually."
Reiji allowed the grin to grow ever wider and ever emptier as he chuckled lightly. "So sorry there, m'boy. The old elevator doesn't go up as high as it used to if you know what I mean."
Morinaga shook his head. "It's okay. No harm done, sir."
"Atta boy. On my way here, Morinaga-san, I couldn't help but notice the defeat weighing you down in your seat. Everything okay? I know that you kids have a hard time sometimes juggling your studies and everyday life."
Morinaga hesitated for a moment before answering. "It's nothing really. I'm just having a...a really bad day."
Reiji nodded in paternal understanding. "Ahhh. Those do seem to be going around lately. In any case, my boy, you seem like a sturdy fellow. She'll come around eventually."
"Sir?" Morinaga responded with what appeared to be shock in his expression.
Reiji laughed as he threw an arm around Morinaga's shoulder and ruffled his hair. "Morinaga-san, the only thing that causes a man's form to slump in absolute defeat like that is women. Don't worry. She'll accept you one way or the other. If not, you can always knock her out and drag her home, eh?" Reiji's false laughter turned genuine at the horrified look that overcame Morinaga's face. Yes, he had to agree that the idea of anyone knocking Souichi unconscious and taking him back to their bedroom was absolutely ludicrous but it did make for entertaining fodder. "So where are you headed, Morinaga-san?" Reiji asked as he removed his arm and settled down.
"I'm just on my way home."
"So am I. No plans tonight with Tatsumi-kun?"
Resignation flashed across Morinaga's handsome features. "No. No plans."
"Really now?" Reiji said in feigned surprise. "Young kids like you? Now an old man like me has to head home when the long workday is through but you should be out drinking and having a good time. Unless you wore yourself out couple days back."
"Couple days back?" Morinaga questioned in confusion.
"Yes, when you had plans with him and I was terribly rebuffed."
"Ah!" Morinaga exclaimed in realization. "Right. We did. Wear ourselves out. I suppose."
"What did you boys do?" Reiji questioned quite neatly in his own opinion.
"What did we do?"
"Yes, what did you do," Reiji repeated with a twinkle of amusement in his eyes. Inwardly, he held Morinaga under severe scrutiny. Come on, boy. Lie for your beloved.
"We...went out drinking," Morinaga answered.
Horrible. Absolutely unacceptable. How was this kid expected to get far in life with such miserable skills in the necessary art of fibbing? "Oh, ho! Did you now? Well, I suppose it's only natural for Tatsumi-kun to want to spend his time with you rather than a bunch of old dodgers, eh?"
Morinaga remained silent. Reiji revelled in the fact that he had once again rendered a person unsure of what to say. That never got old.
"He did look awfully cute with that ribbon in his hair though, didn't he?" Reiji prodded. He supposed he was laying it on a bit thick but what the hell. Morinaga and his useless pining and loving was beginning to get on his nerves just a little. Why not play with him a bit?
Morinaga's eyes darkened causing Reiji genuine surprise. If he had been the guileless jerk that he was portraying, he would have completely missed it. But he was studying the boy intently and that wasn't just veiled anger in Morinaga's pretty green eyes. It was also wary possessiveness. It seemed that Souichi had landed himself a love-sick guard dog. How fun, Reiji thought with glee.
"I don't think he really appreciated that, Miyoshi-sensei," Morinaga stated firmly while keeping a respectful tone. "Senpai is a rather private person."
"Ah, not to worry! Tatsumi-kun was fine with it, I'm sure. But, would you be so kind as to tell me where the ribbon is? Poor Kudou-san doesn't look as pretty without it. All that hair in her face. It's very...how do you kids word it these days...'meh'?" So that girl's name proved useful after all. A place for everything and everything in it's place as the saying went.
"I think he might have misplaced it somewhere," Morinaga replied guiltily.
Of course this only proved to Reiji that whatever had become of the poor defenseless ribbon wasn't entirely Souichi's fault. Perhaps the fact that Souichi had needed something to tie up all that gorgeous girly-ass hair of his in the first place was something that Morinaga himself had to answer for? Most likely the ribbon had met an untimely death from Souichi's hands after Reiji had left. The kid had been giving off enough smoke to set off the detectors with his anger. Pity that. He was intending to use that ribbon to wrap up a cute little gift that he had purchased for his landlady. His rent was due that week and he didn't really feel like paying. He was certain that with a little charm here and a little fucking there, he could go rent-free for two or three months tops. But it was worth it in his office afterwards where he had a nice fit of laughter at the memory of Souichi's stony face and teenaged girl ponytail.
"Well, that's certainly a shame. No harm done though! Kudou-san was never very pretty to begin with. A real barker!" Reiji guffawed and nudged Morinaga's side with his elbow forcefully.
Morinaga said nothing as he continued to smile politely and edged himself away from Reiji's jostling. Reiji could almost respect him for that. Most people simply accepted his manhandling and the pain that he was no doubt inflicting upon them. It's amazing what he got away with when playing the fool.
"My stop is coming around soon so I'll be excusing myself, Miyoshi-sensei," Morinaga said as he stood up.
Reiji pulled him down back into his seat. "Nonsense! I get rather bored on this line and I never get very many students to talk to. It's a short line. You can circle back around, right?"
"Sir, it's a two-hour line. I would have to-."
"Marvelous! Now that we're good and comfortable, perhaps you could help shed some light for me on a particular subject?"
A sigh that was barely audible escaped from Morinaga's lips. "Sure, Miyoshi-sensei."
"I ran into Tatsumi-kun earlier today or, to be more accurate, he literally ran into me. I knocked the poor boy down. He really should eat more. He looks ready to blow away in the wind.'
"That he does," Morinaga said almost wistfully.
Bypassing the odd tone, Reiji continued. "He seemed out of sorts for someone usually so forcefully minded. Something was bothering him. Seeing as how you two are pretty close, could you tell his rather concerned teacher what it may be?"
Having spoken, Reiji had to resist the urge to lean forward into Morinaga's personal space and soak in every emotional nuance that flashed across his face. Reiji knew all too well what the problem with Souichi was. He knew when he was being lied to and, most surprisingly, Souichi had been telling him the truth. Problems with the family it seemed. It really didn't get any more useless and infantile than that.
"He didn't say anything himself?" Morinaga asked cautiously.
"I wouldn't have asked if he did, now would I?" Reiji responded jovially.
"in any case, Miyoshi-sensei, I can't discuss Senpai's personal matters. It isn't any of my business." Or yours, the boy seemed to say silently.
It seemed the kid was good at shielding certain situations when it counted. Reiji would give him that. Irritatingly polite and just oozing out good guy vibes from his pores, Morinaga was one of those fabled men that were genuinely a good indicator of humanity. Unlike Souichi, Morinaga seemed the type to think before acting and if Reiji wasn't as adept at reading people as he was, he might have missed the layering of depressive guilt that lingered around the boy. Not bad. Not bad at all.
"I suppose you're right, Morinaga-san. But if I may be so bold as to make an assumption, it has something to do with his family perhaps?"
"What makes you say that?" Morinaga replied smoothly.
Reiji was thrown for a loop. Of all the things that he had been expecting, the immediate response that had flowed out of Morinaga's mouth was not one of them. Maybe when it came to matters of the heart, this Morinaga Tetsuhiro was not one to be taken for granted?
"Growing up as an only child, I took an uncommon interest in familial relationships," Reiji answered without a hint of his miscalculation. "I suppose I was fascinated with something that I never had. Who knows?"
"You have no siblings, Miyoshi-sensei?"
"None whatsoever. Not for lack of wanting, mind you. But it wasn't fated to be. It remains just my dear mother and I to this very day."
"And your father, sir? If you don't mind my asking."
"Of course I don't mind in the least. My father is a man that I can speak openly about and with pride. He was an extraordinary man, my father was."
"Oh...he passed away?" Morinaga questioned with that irritating expression of pity that people wore when learning of the death of another's loved one. Honestly, when would they learn that death is inevitable? It happens. Nothing more to do but move on.
"Yes, he did," Reiji answered with just the right amount of grief, regret, and humbled love in his voice. "He was a police officer and was shot and killed in the line of duty."
"I'm so sorry," Morinaga said gravely.
"Why? Where you the one that killed him?" Reiji responded with amusement.
Morinaga became flustered. "Ah, well, of course not. I just wanted to-."
"Don't worry about it, my boy," Reiji replied with a reassuring pat on Morinaga's broad shoulder. "Just a little humor. My apologies. My father was a jokester all the same. When he died, the house became rather empty without the sound of his laughter filling it up. It was in those moments that I truly wished for a sibling the most. Someone to laugh and play with. Someone to spend my time with and just love. Do you have any siblings, Morinaga-san?"
"One," Morinaga answered with some hesitation. "An older brother."
"Ah. Someone to look up to and show you the ropes, eh?"
Green eyes flickered to the side. "For a moment, yes."
Reiji couldn't quite interpret what Morinaga could have meant with such a statement. All he could make out was that the boy was shuttered when it came to his family. Some sort of hardship must have happened there. "In any case, I know a problem when I see one. Is something happening in Tatsumi-kun's home life?"
Morinaga met Reiji's gaze. "Like I said, I really can't say, Miyoshi-sensei. I'm sorry."
"Well, I suppose I'll find out tonight, one way or another," Reiji said in a volume that he knew was loud enough for Morinaga to hear but soft enough to make the boy question exactly was it was that he had heard.
"I'm sorry, Miyoshi-sensei?" Morinaga said with startling clarity in his eyes.
"Just the ramblings of an old man," Reiji responded dismissively. "Ah, my stop seems to be coming up." Reiji absolutely adored the flash of angered annoyance on Morinaga's face at the fact that Reiji had kept him on the line to which Morinaga now had to circle around with all for a ten-minute conversation. The tiny victory was even sweeter because this really was Reiji's stop. He wasn't doing it just to piss the kid off.
Reiji stood up with palms automatically smoothing out his entire countenance and was pleased when Morinaga stood as well. He watched in delighted amusement as the boy bowed before him. The amusement came to a crashing halt, however, when Morinaga straightened up and looked down at Reiji. Reiji actually had to look up slightly to meet Morinaga's eyes. Since when did they make boys this tall anyway? Did his mother not only wring the cows of the world dry of their milk for his tall ass but feed him their udders and tails, too? He hadn't noticed when they had met that Morinaga was taller than he was and Reiji was not short by anyone's standards. The fact was nothing short of annoying. He hated looking up to anyone. Hated it.
"What?" Reiji responded sharply when his thoughts were rattled by Morinaga's call. He immediately cursed himself out when Morinaga looked taken aback by the sudden change in his usually light tone. The curses were then followed by the strong desire to slap himself across the face when Morinaga's eyes filled with cautious curiosity.
"Your stop, Miyoshi-sensei," Morinaga said as handed Reiji his briefcase and gestured towards the open doors and the small crowd of people filing out through them.
Fucking kid. Fucking kid. Fucking kid. Reiji was positively fuming. Twice he had slipped face today. That was twice more than he ever cared to happen. "Thank you, Morinaga-san!" he practically shouted. "I best hurry before those doors shut! I'll be sure to see you at school, my boy!"
Turning away, Reiji hurriedly left the sub making sure to trip over his own feet as he exited. With an audible 'oof,' he let his briefcase slip from his fingers and clatter to the ground. Shaking his head in a 'woe is me' fashion, Reiji picked up the briefcase and made his way out of the station. Checking his wristwatch, he saw that he had about four hours or so until he was to meet Souichi. It was a good thing, too. He was in no condition to be meeting and greeting people in his current state. He was upset at himself and he needed to reign in the emotion because he intended to put his best mask forward with that one.
He felt his spirits start to lighten at the prospects that came with the night ahead. He couldn't help it as a small smirk graced his handsome features. He felt like the proverbial house cat gazing trough the birdcage bars at the pretty yellow canary that swung on it's perch within. How the canary remained clueless as it was surrounded only by it's own wants and wishes in it's tiny little world. With the image of yellow feathers floating all around the house cat's contented grin as a few feathers poked out between it's sharp teeth, Reiji chuckled. Oh, this was going to be too much fun.