Umeda Hokuto cursed colourfully as he roughly shoved some medical folders into the drawer of the file cabinet, not caring that a few became dog-eared in the process.
Damn that Ryouichi! Damn that bastard to hell! he thought vehemently as he slammed another pile of folders onto his desk and began to throw them violently in as well. That's the third time he's cancelled on me in three weeks! And he always does it at the last minute, too! The file he was currently holding scrunched up as he clenched his fists in supressed rage. Poor file.
I swear, when I next see that assho-

"Good morning, Umeda-sensei!" greeted an overly cheerful voice for such an early hour, accompanied by the slamming of the infirmary door. "What are you doing?" Mizuki asked gleefully as she hopped right up to him and peered at the piles of folders – most of which were on the desk, a few in his hands and when her eyes travelled to the ones thrown haphazardly into the file cabinet, the girl frowned in disapproval.
"Sensei! You shouldn't put them in like that! They'll get damaged!" she scolded, taking out all the folders in the drawer before putting them back more neatly than he had done, taking care to smooth out any crinkles or dog-ears in the process. "See? If you put them in like this, they'll stay nice and smooth."

Umeda growled, but allowed her to help him take care of the filing while he turned to the next pile and arranged them in the relevant order "I don't need a child to teach me how to store my documents, thank you very much." Mizuki merely laughed at his huffiness. She appeared so adorable and feminine when she did it that, once again, Umeda was left wondering how a school chock full of males in every freaking direction could not recognise her as a girl.
They continued in this manner – Umeda arranging the folders in order while Mizuki slipped them into the file cabinet. This whole while, the doctor was contemplating the most horrible way to kill someone and ways in which to get away with murder. After some time, Mizuki broke the silence "Is something bothering you, sensei?" That took him by surprise, though it shouldn't – the girl was very perceptive and dead-on-the-mark.

"I – who – what – "spluttered Umeda as he struggled to regain his composure. When he finally regained control of his tongue, he managed "W-what makes you think so?" Mizuki looked at him with her deep, knowing brown eyes. "Sensei, you've been wearing an expression like the devil's while muttering death threats under your breath. What's wrong?" Oops. He didn't even know he was doing that. Damn Ryouichi for having such a hold on him, it was embarrassing. At the thought of his former classmate, he felt his cheeks immediately heat up and quickly turned away from Mizuki to hide his blush, his hand half-heartedly covering his mouth.


Oh well, she confided most of her secrets to him. After all, he was the only one in this entire school to whom she had confessed her biggest secret to (though it's a different story for those who found out about it independently). It only seemed fair that he give her the same trust she gave him. He faced her again, leaned back in his swivel chair, taking off his glasses and getting comfortable "Mizuki, remember I told you that I have this crush since high school?" Mizuki nodded furiously, eyes wide and body leaning in slightly. Umeda continued "His name is Ryouichi. He and I have still been going out once in a while but the damned thing is; the bastard keeps cancelling on me at the last minute." Mizuki's eyes grow wider –if possible- in realisation "Oooh… And he cancelled on you today, too?"

"Exactly!" exclaimed Umeda, "And it's always the same excuse too, 'Sorry, but something came up so I won't be able to make it tonight.' Can't he at least be a little more creative with his excuses? And he's the one who always asks me out. If he can't make it, he shouldn't ask in the first place! What a jerk…"

Mizuki listened to his tirade the whole way with a thoughtful expression on her face. When he finally ran out of insults and names to call Ryouichi, she said "Sensei, why not trying a different tactic?"
"Tactic?" Umeda repeated cluelessly. He wasn't aware of any such 'tactics'.
"Yeah, you know, since your crush doesn't really pay much attention to you, why not try playing hard to get? It'll give a taste of his own medicine! Come on, sensei! He deserv - sensei, why are you looking at me like that?"

Umeda was staring at her as if seeing her for the first time "I never knew that you, of all people, would resort to such methods for love. Why haven't you ever used them with Sano?" At this, Mizuki's face turned the bright red of a fire engine. "B-but, it's not me! I could never do that – I mean, it-it's Julia who tells me about the things she did with her ex-boyfriends…" Mizuki trailed off, blushing an even darker red which extended up to the roots of her hair. Umeda laughed and ruffled her chocolate tresses, messing them up despite her protests "All right, all right… You could never pull it off anyway." He leans in closer to her "So tell me, how do I go about using this 'play hard to get' tactic, hm?"

It had been two weeks since Ryouichi's last call, so Umeda's heart picked up its pace when he heard his cell phone ringing and saw the caller ID on the screen while he was taking inventory of the medicines. Well, he thought, time to put Mizuki's 'tactics' into practice. Flicking the phone open, he put it to his ear and leaned against the counter.

"Hello?" he greeted casually "Hokuto," came that dark, deep, sexy voice that always made the doctor's legs turn to jelly and his insides into butterflies. This time was no different.
"Well, what do you want?" Umeda asked gruffly, trying to conceal the fact that his heart was going into over drive just from hearing the man speak. He was following the usual script; Ryouichi would give him a call, Umeda would snap at him that he was busy and go what-the-hell-do-you-want-this-time then Ryouichi would ask if he was free that night and Umeda would instantly say yes. After that, Ryouichi would bail out at the last minute with some lame-ass excuse.

"Do you have any plans for tonight?" Ryouichi asked, as tradition dictated. Well, fuck tradition – for this act, Umeda Hokuto will be deviating from the script.

He took a deep breath to prepare himself then replied "Sorry, I promised the principal that I would finish up the records for the students' semester check-ups tonight and I still have lots of it undone. I doubt I can finish them on time." Dead silence on the other end. He grinned. This was the first time he had ever turned down a date from Ryouichi. Ever. Now for the other man's reaction –

"Oh. Is that so?" Ryouichi said indifferently "Well, maybe next time then." And just like that, the line went dead. Umeda slowly took the phone from his ear and stared at it in disbelief. His blood pressure was steadily rising at the same time, he was gritting his teeth and his shoulders were trembling and then –

"You OK, Ashiya? Why do you need to go to the infirmary? You sick or something?" asked a concerned Nakatsu as Mizuki turned to head down the corridor towards the doctor's office. "Ah, I'm fine, Nakatsu. It's just a little stomach ache, nothing to worry about!" she assured him, trying to brush it off by laughing at herself. In reality, it was a lot more than just a stomach ache and it hurt a lot. She hoped that the doctor would be feeling charitable enough to give her some painkillers. Sheesh, being the only girl in all-boys school was tough.

Sano sighed heavily, closing his eyes "All right, Nakatsu and I will go ahead first." Mizuki grinned at him as she reached the door "Right, I'll just be a min- "

"RYOUICHI, YOU INFURIATING ASS!" an ear-shattering screech of rage erupted forth through the door of the doctor's office. Exchanging looks of trepidation, the trio could only stare at each other while recovering from the shock of hearing Dr. Umeda yell in such a manner. The first to recover, Mizuki laughed nervously as she slowly slid the door open "So, um, you guys just go on to class without me!" Looks like this is gonna take more than just a minute… thought Mizuki dejectedly.

Later that week, Umeda Hokuto had been making himself a cup of coffee when his cellphone rang once more. Identifying the caller as Ryouichi, the doctor hesitated; one hand holding onto the phone and the other gripping the softly steaming mug of coffee. He had three options, he could either:-

Not answer

Tell off Ryouichi for being such a stick in the mud

Stick to Mizuki's original plan and follow this 'tactic'

Umeda heaved a heavy sigh. Oh. What the heck, he thought as he flipped the phone open. "Morning," he greeted as he took a sip of his coffee. "Morning, Hokuto." Returned Ryouichi "Slept well last night?" Umeda's eyebrow twitched in irritation. Was the guy actually mocking him? Well, he'll show that insensitive bastard… "Like a log. Couldn't have been better." Replied Umeda through gritted teeth. At least the dark rings under his eyes couldn't be seen through the phone. "But that's enough of your crap, hurry up and get to the point or I'll be late for work."

"Ooh, that's cold, Umeda," said Ryouichi in a mock hurt voice "I was going to tell you to meet me tomorrow night at that new bar that just opened downtown. Aren't you interested?" Umeda raised an eyebrow at this. Odd, Ryouichi had never asked him for a date so nicely before. Under normal circumstances, Umeda would have melted upon hearing that persuasive tone, but Mizuki's advice and his recent rejection were still fresh enough in his head to remind him that he was still mad at his former classmate.

"Sorry Ryouichi, I'll take a rain check," said Umeda as casually as he could, "I have to supervise a night event at the school tomorrow." This was, in fact, true; Ohsaka Gakuen's students had been preparing for the highly anticipated 'Coward's Test Night' which was to take place within the school grounds in the dead of the night. Though he had been cursing at the time he was informed of the fact that he would be the adult supervision, he was now thankful for the excuse.

"Ah. I see." Ryouichi sounded, Hokuto was satisfied to hear, taken aback. Umeda also imagined he could detect a hint of disappointment in the other man's voice. No doubt it was because Hokuto had not turned him down for a date just once, but twice in a row. It was certainly something new. Something new that he was totally not used to. Hah, served him right, the bastard.

"And the day after that?" pressed Ryouichi. "No can do, I have to finish taking stock of the school's medicines. A new batch just came in yesterday and I really should finish the paperwork." Three times now. Umeda inwardly congratulated himself and thought he deserved a pat on the back – he had so far evaded Ryouichi's passes as easily as Yamamoto Takeshi could make a homerun. He briefly toyed with the idea that should Mizuki's ploy fail. he could ditch his job as the school doctor and become a professional conman.

"Tch," Ryouichi clicked his tongue, displaying his irritation for the first time. Umeda could also hear the click of a lighter as Ryouichi lit a cigarette. "Are you really all that busy, or are you just trying to annoy me?" Umeda fiddled with the now empty coffee mug with his free hand. He found that he was actually enjoying turning the tables on Ryouichi – he should sit on this side of the desk more often.

"What if I told you it was bit of both?" Umeda smirked, fingering a coffee stain on the inside of his mug.
"Hokuto…" said Ryouichi warningly, but before he could say much else, the doctor promptly hung up. Was that all right? Umeda wondered, staring at the cellphone in his hand. Was that a bit too rash? That girl did say to take things up a notch but maybe I overdid it… Looks like I really made him angry this time. Umeda pondered for a while longer as he washed up. Then he shrugged, exiting the kitchen and making his way to the front door, grabbing his suitcase as he did so. Whatever, the bastard had it coming to him.

Arriving at his office in Ohsaka Gakuen, Umeda unlocked the door and let himself in. He had just straightened up the clinic to be ready for the day ahead and pulled on his white coat when the door slammed open with enough force to knock over a cart horse. "DOCTOR!" shrieked a voice Umeda hated to say was very familiar "MIZUKI'S CUT HIS HAND! IT'S BLEEDING! IT'S BLEEDING! DO SOMETHING, QUICK!" Nakatsu was completely beside himself as he stormed into the room, dragging a sheepish Mizuki by the arm with Sano trailing behind them with a grumpy expression.

"It's really okay, Nakatsu," Mizuki said reassuringly as she tried to calm her panicked friend "It's just a little scratch, nothing to bother Umeda-sensei about. I just need a band-aid and I'll be fine."
"You can't!" exclaimed Nakatsu worriedly, though he did stop dragging her and shouting. He took hold of both her shoulders, oblivious to Sano's visage changing from that of an irritable teen to a furiously jealous one. "What if it gets infected? What if it progresses to the point where you need to amputate your hand? What if-"

The soccer player was abruptly cut off when a heavy, two-inch thick medical textbook flew at him and struck him about the face with deadly accuracy. "Quit your whining, I'll take care of it." huffed Umeda, turning around to gather the necessary equipment. "Sano, get that drama queen out of my office and get your asses in class. Now."

"But- " Nakatsu began, outraged, before Sano swiftly grasped the hand still touching Mizuki and wrenched it away, dragging his blonde friend with him to the still-open door, walking through the threshold and shutting the door behind them both.

"Really, getting all worked up over a tiny mark like this." Grumbled Umeda as he examined the long but shallow red line oozing beads of blood on the back of the girl's right hand. "What did you do this time?"

Mizuki put her free hand behind her head, laughing sheepishly "An accident with a mechanical pencil…"

Umeda shook his head in exasperation a he began to clean the wound. No wonder this girl was constantly keeping Sano on his toes, worrying about her- she was as clumsy as a new-born foal learning to stand on its spindly legs and just about as graceful as one too.

He had just applied the band-aid to her hand when there came a hurried, continuous knocking on the door. Irritated at being interrupted yet again, Umeda was about to yell at the knocker and tell whoever it was to take a running jump into the lake since he couldn't be bothered with any attempts at feigning sickness to skip class when another voice, again one that was ominously familiar to the doctor made itself heard through the door.

"Hokuto? I know you're in there. Open up."


Umeda froze, mind racing. What should he do? Ryouichi already must have known he was here, thanks to that brat's yelling. He could open the door and let him in- but Mizuki was here! He couldn't risk a meeting between them. He could meet Ryouchi at the doorway if it weren't for the risk that they might be seen- but wait, why was he even assuming that something… suggestive would happen? Yes, he could just pass it off as a normal conversation between two old friends and make Ryouichi leave as soon as possible. But wait, why was Ryouichi even here in the first place? He had never visited Umeda during work before.

As Umeda rapidly considered his options, Mizuki watched him with a naively curious look in her eyes. Whoever it was at the door, they were familiar enough with the doctor to address him by his first name. The only person who she knew did so was Io, but the voice did not sound like Io- it was a man's, low with an air of arrogance and authority. Tilting her head, she asked "Umeda-sensei, who- "

"Fine, if that's how it is, I'm letting myself in." the door slowly began to slide open.

With a panicked 'meep' the doctor quickly grabbed Mizuki and dragged her towards a cupboard on the wall next to the steadily opening door. Throwing open the cupboard doors, he roughly shoved her inside, hissing "Stay in here, don't make a sound." Closing the cupboard doors in her startled face, he rushed to the infirmary door just as Ryouichi slid it open it the whole way.

The man wore an all-black attire, a sleeveless, black turtleneck coupled with a pair of black jeans and black sneakers to match. Umeda fidgeted as Ryouichi gazed at him, saying nothing. Then the man swivelled his head around to take in the room, inspecting the dry, white walls and tables laden neatly with stationery and papers. "You're alone?" he finally asked, dropping his eyes to meet Umeda's once more. Umeda blushed, trying to conceal his shock and flusteredness.

"Well, do you see anybody else in the room besides you and me?" snapped Umeda rudely, shoving his hands into the pockets of his pure white coat. He tried to exude an air of dignified, righteous anger, but was really sweating bullets on the inside. Why the hell had he hid Mizuki? He could have used her as an excuse of a sick student that needed tending and kicked Ryouichi out of the school. But it was partly Ryouichi's fault too for showing up without prior notice like this and catching him unawares – Umeda swore that his heart was still stuck in his throat, going off at a pace faster than Professor Snape being chased with shampoo.

Ryouichi narrowed his eyes suspiciously and opened his mouth as if to return an admonishment in kind, but paused, thought better of it, and shut his mouth. He turned a little to the side, shuffling his feet in a show of uneasiness though his face remained an ever unreadable mask. "No. It's just that I thought I heard voices when I was coming in…" Umeda spared the cupboard by the door a quick glance; he hoped Mizuki would at least be smart enough to successfully conceal her presence.

"You need to get your ears cleaned out then. Voices. Really. Are you implying my office is haunted? Or that I'm a retard who belongs in a mental institution because I talk to myself?" Umeda took the chance to prattle. In all honesty, he had no idea what he was saying or where this conversation was going. Ryouichi's surprise visit had taken him by… well, surprise, that he hadn't thought about what he was going to say to his former classmate and sometimes-lover once he met him face to face after standing him up three times. So all he could do now was shoot his mouth off.

"And just coming by without an appointment, disturbing me at work and not to mention just barging into my office without even knocking. What are you, some modern day barbarian? You should know better than- don't light that in here!" the doctor made a lunge for Ryouichi as he stuck a cigarette in between his lips and pulled out a lighter from his jeans pocket. Ryouichi suddenly dropped the lighter, grabbing both of Umeda's wrists to stop the doctor from- whatever he had been planning to do. Their position was an awkward one. The momentum pushed Umeda towards the other man, so that they were almost nose to nose. Umeda, off-balance, was being prevented from crashing to the floor face-first by Ryouichi's vice-like grip on his wrists and the fact that the doctor was partially leaning on him.

Before Umeda could do more than blush a blush that coloured his face right to the roots of his hair, Ryouichi made eye-contact and took a breath, "I'm sorry." He muttered, almost too low for Umeda to hear. The doctor stilled, staring up at Ryouichi with widening eyes that clearly conveyed disbelief. A pause. Sighing and frowning at the same time, Ryouichi looked away as if embarrassed. "Don't make me say it again, damn you." he said, sounding very much like a pouting child as he studied the window, suddenly not wanting to meet Umeda's eyes.

Umeda, eyes still as wide as saucers and mouth hanging slightly agape, began to inwardly crow with victory as the realisation of it all dawned upon him. "Well, you deserved it, you right bastard." Said Umeda, grinning mischievously. "I am a doctor after all, so I thought it was only right that I prescribe you with some of your own medicine. Tasted terrible, didn't it?"

Ryouichi's eyes snapped back to his "You- "

"- are welcome." Umeda cut in, enjoying himself immensely having had, at least this one time, turned the tables. Umeda leaned in closer, close enough that each could feel the other's breath on their lips. He stayed there for a moment and it seemed as if he was going to kiss him, but then pulled back. "Now that you've learnt your lesson, how about letting me go so I can get back to work?" he said, looking pointedly at his wrists still entrapped in Ryouichi's hands.

There was a brief silence. When there was no response from Ryouichi, Umeda looked up to find that said man was smiling at him in a not-so-innocent fashion. "Let you go? Oh no, I don't think so," he said with a slightly husky tone to his voice as he released Umeda wrists and dropped his arms to encircle the doctor's waist and pull him closer again. "I've had to swallow numerous excuses from you – very unimaginative excuses, might I add – and I refuse to do so again. Tell me, is work that much more important than me?"

Yet again, Umeda Hokuto was lost for words as the tables were turned back to their original positions; with him the one at odds. He stuttered, trying to find a decent comeback. "I-I do need to earn a living! O-O-Of course my work is i-important, you b-bl- UWAAAH!" he was rudely interrupted by Ryouichi stripping him of his white, clinical coat which was tossed in the direction of Umeda's work desk. Umeda did not turn around to see where it landed, for then Ryouichi had seized him by the arm and was pulling him outside.

"You are not working today. Instead, you will be spending it with me." Ryouichi stopped at the doorway, leaning in close to Umeda again and reaching out a hand to caress his cheek, rendering him speechless "That's what you want, is it not?" he asked with that sly grin of his that was so signature of Ryouichi. If Umeda was blushing before, he was on fire now. "B-But wait! I-I mean, at least- No! I mean- Yes! No, I mean - Y-You can't just-!" the door slammed shut on the two, and Umeda's protests could be heard all the way down the corridor until the two were too far away and out of earshot.

When Mizuki was certain that the coast was clear, she slowly opened the door of the cupboard and cautiously stepped out, a look of amazement upon her heart-shaped face and a sparkling mirth in her large brown eyes. She hurried to the door, opening it and poking her head out to see where the pair had went but they had long since left the building.

Breathless and sporting a pink tint upon her cheeks, she rushed back to class with an overly-enthusiastic apology to the teacher for her (his) tardiness as well as her (his) explanation, then quickly plopped herself at her desk. Sano, noticing her grin that threatened to split her face in two, raised an eyebrow and questioned her "What's up with you? Are you high on drugs because Umeda-sensei give you something he shouldn't have?"

Turning to him, she laughed, "No, just thinking that Umeda-sensei can play pretty well when he wants to." Leaving him completely bewildered, she gazed out of the window, stifling her giggles.

A/N: Ah, what a torture this one was. Took absolutely AGES to finish; I threw my hands into the air at one point and nearly gave up on it. Then, I finally managed to finish it... A few weeks ago (like, in November/December) and it's been lying in my folder until now when I remembered it. You'd think I'd remember something I slaved so hard on but no, I completely forgot. That's just how I roll :D

I didn't proof-read it completely (only bits and parts) but my friend did it for me so it should be presentable. God knows what I may type while sleep deprived. This inspiration came about because I thought that Hokuto and Ryouichi don't get enough love. 3

Anyway, my first (and probably last) Hana-Kimi fanfic. I lost my love for the series a while ago - but I still like it! I'm way into KHR! now so if you're into that you're in luck - I'm working on two Hibari x Tsuna fanfics as of current and even have one Mukuro x Chrome up right now so please do check that one out! Haha 6996: the only heterosexual pairing I support. xD

PS: While writing this, I kept accidentally using 'Ryohei' instead of 'Ryouichi'. Call me a KHR but anytime.