Disclaimer: I do not own any of the character, settings, etc. associated with this fic.\
Special thanks to my lovely editors: shadow101202 and Immortal-Moon44
1: A Chance Meeting
As predetermined by a book of natural customs - whose author never existed outside the capacity of one's own mind, found in any tangible form, or expounded in any amount of words - it is understood that everything and everybody changes one way or another over the course of their transient existence on this home we call terra firma. Forms may be reformed, thoughts rethought, morale reconsidered, and affections redirected. Rational reasons, if any, for such transformations are not usually grasped straightaway by the curious bystanders, the ones left unchanged, or at all if truths (or untruths) never leave that ones lips.
Who knows, to be certain. That one is not whom he used to be, so whom can say exactly who he is? However, one thing is as close to certain as anything: change is like a dandelion, spreading it's seeds all about it for its offspring to grow.
Now with these new flowers in bloom, you can look upon them as beautiful blossoms sprung from hard, crusted soil, a better form of the jealous flower that preceded it. You could cherish it, congratulate it for its being born into a person's heart. Or, you could crush it like the weed you know it is, try to exterminate its volatile existence.
To Shinobu, it was a weed.
Miyagi tried his best to ignore the little brat staring at him from across the room, arms crossed and foot tapping. Tip, tap, tip, tap. Damn, that was annoying. Shinobu wouldn't let him forget that he was there no matter what. Hiroki didn't much appreciate his presence there either, especially seeing as he did nothing but stand around and make snide comments, glaring daggers at him. Miyagi threw his coworker a desperate look only to see that Hiroki directed him a look so similar to Shinobu's he thought it uncanny. That aside, he wondered testily just how many times had he told Shinobu not to bother him at work. Didn't that boy understand that he only hindered him here? Sighing, he turned his attention back to a stack of half-graded papers.
"Are you almost done?" Shinobu asked for the eighth time in the past hour.
Abandoning his pen with some force as he placed it on the desk, Miyagi turned to look at the insolent young blond and quipped bitterly, "If you're so bored here, why don't you leave? Surely you have better things to do then stand around here pestering me?"
Shinobu gave him one of his infamous spine chilling glowers that could make flowers wither and die. If only.
Miyagi ground his teeth and growled curtly, "Go make some friends or something. You're in the way here."
Shinobu scowled at him a few moments longer. Realizing he wasn't going to make the black-haired man falter in the battle they were having with their eyes, he fired one last dirty look Hiroki's way before snarling, "Fine." He took care to kick a cabinet and a chair on his way out and slammed the door behind him. Miyagi sighed and touched his temples; thank God.
Shinobu stood fuming in the hallway just outside the door for a few minutes. Damn Miyagi, it seemed like he never have time for him anymore. He'd rather be working or hanging out with that Kamijou slut. And at home he was always too tired or got home too late to do anything. And then there was… that. It was starting to piss him off.
"Um… Excuse me?"
Shinobu looked up from the hole he had unconsciously been trying burn into the wall opposite of him. His wild gaze met the emerald eyes of a meek-looking boy, who jumped a little. The boy continued hesitantly, "Uh… You're blocking the door."
Shinobu just looked at him in a scrutinizing, dubious manner, as if he had spoken in an alien language; hate and fury still burned deep in his eyes, and it only flared upon seeing another human being. He grabbed the boy's arm and violently hauled him off, rather easily, he noted. Man, this guy is a weakling…
Misaki stumbled along behind the deranged boy. What the heck? The blond kicked open a door and jerked him through, Misaki's face making a rough introduction to the door when it hit the wall and bounced back. Finally, the angry boy released his grip and Misaki dropped to the floor, the hand supporting him gone. He rubbed his cheek and flexed his wrist. That had hurt. Wondering where he had been taken to and why, he looked around to see they were in the bathroom. The other boy was torturing a stall with a series of vengeful kicks. He was muttering incoherently, something along the lines of: "Damn Miyagi. Fuck-ass Miyagi. Shit-head Miyagi."
"Um…" Misaki was too afraid to move, in fear that might earn him one of those ferocious kicks. Sorry poor little bathroom stall, you're on your own.
Suddenly, the aggressive boy spun on him. "What did you want with Miyagi? He's busy right now, he wouldn't talk to you even if you went in."
Misaki just stared at him, bewildered and at a loss for words. He had actually gone to see Kamijou-sensei to give him his excuse for being absent yesterday, which he now held crumpled in his left hand.
"Well? Spit it out."
Misaki held up his note, which Shinobu promptly snatched away to read. Even though excuses are not required for missed days in college, Usagi had insisted on writing Misaki once, since the absence was his fault in the first place. Misaki proofread it beforehand to make sure it was appropriate and didn't say anything like: "Excuse Misaki's absence yesterday, his ass hurt from me fucking him all night." It was decent, but Misaki wasn't planning on turning it in, until Usagi said that he would call Hiroki and ask if he had. Misaki doubted that he would, but he wouldn't put it past that man.
"W-What?" How? "N-No, I'm not!"
"Yes, you are." Shinobu crumpled the slip of paper and dropped it to the floor. "It's fine, so am I."
"B-But I'm not gay! You've got it wrong! I-" He stopped when he saw that nobody was listening; instead, the already-pale boy was leaned over the sink, shaking. The face that had been red with fury just moments ago was now drained of all color. Misaki stood slowly and glanced toward the door. Would the boy notice if he left? He glanced back and suddenly realized how small and frail he looked. He couldn't be but a few inches shorter than himself, and had almost the same physique, but the way his tiny shoulders were trembling made him look much smaller - like a girl.
Misaki took a step toward him and murmured, "Are you okay?"
"Of course I am!" he snapped. "I'm just… I… I'm gonna be sick…" His head spun nauseously and he made a dash for the nearest toilet.
Misaki, cursedly compassionate, waited until he was through, then he reached out and touched his shoulder tentatively, only to have it slapped away. "You sure you're okay? I can call someone if-"
"I'm fine," he spat. He didn't know what was wrong with him, but he had this heavy feeling set deep in his stomach like a rock, and his chest hurt. Even though he didn't know why he hurt so much, he decided to blame it on Miyagi. He'd make sure the old man paid when he got home. For now, he had this little twerp to deal with. "What's your name?"
Misaki was startled. "M-Misaki."
Shinobu glared at him a moment longer before he got up and wiped his mouth on his sleeve. "Well? What do you want?"
"What? You were the one who dragged me here!" he bellowed, aghast.
Shinobu rolled his eyes and paced to the sink to wash his mouth out. Then, he headed for the door without another word, convinced that "Misaki" wasn't some mistress of Miyagi's.
"Wait!" Misaki called. Shinobu stopped with his hand on the door and threw a black look over his shoulder. Misaki hesitated.
"Well?" Shinobu asked irritably.
Misaki didn't know why he had called out to the boy. Maybe he was just worried about him. He said the only thing he could think of that he hoped wouldn't get his head bit off, "What's your name?"
He stared at him blankly as if he was the most idiotic being in the world. He turned and opened the door. "Shinobu." Then he was gone.
"Where have you been?"
The malice in Miyagi's voice made Shinobu flinch. He threw his bag down and headed for the kitchen. "Oh? And what about you?" Almost every day for the past week Miyagi had come home late because what he claimed he was late because of "work" or he "got held up." What a load of crap. "You told me to go make some friends, didn't you?"
Miyagi huffed and lit a cigarette. "Oh, did you find someone that can put up with you? Congratulations," he laughed shortly.
Shinobu, however, was not amused. His fist balled up and he punched at something, but stopped just short of hitting the doorframe. Instead, he took a deep breath and went to the fridge, he spoke in a controlled tone, "What do you want for supper?"
"I've already eaten."
Shinobu sighed and threw the cabbage back in the drawer. He didn't feel like eating anyway. "Then, Miyagi… can we do it tonight?" he tried.
There was a pause before the answer came back, the same answer he'd received in so many different forms: "No, not tonight."
Grabbing up his stuff, Shinobu walked toward the door.
"Where are you going?"
"To my own apartment." He, once again, slammed the door on his way out.
Shinobu turned the key in the doorknob of the adjacent apartment with trembling fingers, his hurt and despair finally catching up to him. When he got in he didn't bother locking the door, but merely collapsed on the bed, steaming in frustration. When he was worn out from screaming into his pillow, he lay limp, throat constricted, and feeling suffocated. The small whimper that escaped his lips next was not of his own accord, but he couldn't keep it in any longer. His hand came up to cover his face as a series of sobs racked his chest. How long had it been since all this started? Since Miyagi had become this way, so cold, so uncaring, neglectful, tart and unloving. Since he stopped caring? Shinobu pulled the covers over his head; he shivered, but not from the cold. He kept listening for the door, hoping that maybe Miyagi would come to check on him.
The door never opened.
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