When lunch period had ended, Nagihiko trudged into the classroom rather reluctantly. He had hid since the incident in the hallway, too worried and embarrassed to meet with anyone. He didn't answer the phone when Amu or Kukai called, and ignored their texts. They eventually stopped trying to reach him, and Nagihiko could only assume Tadase had asked them to stop.
Five minutes before class started after lunch, Nagihiko entered the room and watched as it fell silent. Of course, everyone was occupied with the gossip. He could only shudder when he thought of what it had become since the scene.
Everyone stared up at him, except for Rima, who was pointedly staring out the window, her hand under her chin. Amu stood up, slowly meeting him as he walked down the aisle between desks. She whispered quietly in Nagihiko's ear, making sure that her voice didn't carry into any of the others prying ears. "Was Rima the one who rejected you?"
Nagihiko nodded. Amu didn't seem too surprised about this, but rather somewhat sad. She couldn't even bring herself to smile, and just gave him a pained look. Tadase stood up and joined the two. "I told her and Kukai about what happened in the hall, I hope you don't mind."
"Did you tell them everything?" Nagihiko asked, his voice low. Tadase shook his head.
"No, only what just happened."
Nagihiko nodded slowly, wondering if this was good or bad. He didn't care about protecting Rima anymore, so maybe it wouldn't hurt for then to find out the truth. Amu would certainly be mad, and Rima would certainly be devastated if Amu completely abandoned her.
But no, even if Nagihiko wanted to get revenge for how Rima had made him feel, he would never do something that made her hurt so much. No matter what happened, he couldn't do this to her.
"If you don't mind, I'm going to sit in the back from now on," Nagihiko muttered, glancing at his old seat next to Rima. Rima didn't seem to care about this information, and just kept on staring out the window. Nagihiko noticed her face was a little red, presumably from where he slapped her, and couldn't help but feel a little bit happy that even if she didn't want to she would be forced to remember the pain she'd caused.
"I understand, um, I'll…" Nagihiko could tell Amu looked conflicted. Nagihiko and Rima were two of her best friends, and all of a sudden she was being forced to pick sides in an argument that she knew nothing about. He felt bad, and knew he had to take it easy on her.
"You can sit with Mashiro-san," he said, trying to give her a small smile of reassurance, "I don't mind."
"Oh, are you sure?" Amu asked, obviously conflicted. Nagihiko nodded.
"Yeah, It's alright. I'll talk to you after school."
Nagihiko headed to the back of the room, Amu giving him a nervous look as he walked away. "I wonder if he's going to be okay."
Tadase wished he could smile and assure her that everything was going to be fine, but he knew Nagihiko would not be okay for a long time. Sighing, he picked his bag up from the floor. "I'm going to go sit with him, but don't worry about it; Fujisaki-kun won't blame you for anything. He's very tolerant with you since you're such an honest person."
Rima buried her face into her sleeve, feeling Tadase's gaze on her back and knowing that his words were directed at her. Amu glanced at the blonde girl before turning back to Tadase. "Alright. I'll talk to you later."
"See you later," Tadase said brightly, smiling as he walked toward the back of the room to join Nagihiko. As he walked a murmur broke out throughout the classroom. Of course. He had forgotten that everyone was convinced they were lovers. Well, he didn't care. He knew they weren't, and everyone else could believe whatever they wanted. It was better than them gossiping about Nagihiko and Rima's weird relationship… well, at least for Nagihiko it was.
As Tadase sat down next to his friend (making sure his chair was as far away as possible so he wouldn't provoke anyone) he could feel every pair of eyes in the room on him. He smiled, and as a few girls grinned back the rest of the room turned back to the conversations Nagihiko's entrance had stalled.
Tadase sighed. "Well, they're complicating things a bit."
"It's kind of weird," Nagihiko murmured, "I thought they'd be all abuzz about what happened in the hall, but instead they're all excited about the idea that we're a couple."
Tadase thought it was weird too, but he suspected that the student body just hadn't gotten wind of it yet. After all, it had all taken place just half an hour ago; gossip surely wouldn't travel that fast. "Well, I'll bet they eventually end up freaking out about that too. I think that maybe the two things will combine as well."
"People are so extravagant," Nagihiko muttered as he dropped his head on the palm of his hand, resting his elbow on the table. "Why are they trying to make something out of nothing?"
"Well, it you saw Souma-kun holding, say, my head really close to his, what would you think?"
"Knowing you two? Not that you're dating," Nagihiko scoffed. Tadase nodded.
"Yes, but most people don't know us personally, and to be completely honest, we do look a little feminine, right?" Tadase said, a little bit grudgingly. He remembered the horrid nickname from middle school, "Tadagay," and hoped things wouldn't escalate to that point again. Why was he always on the receiving end of gay jokes?
"I guess you're right…" Nagihiko muttered. Tadase did have a point; because he had been raised as a girl he did have some rather flamboyant traits, and in everyone's minds flamboyant equated to gay.
"I wouldn't worry about it too much; eventually it will die down. It always does," Tadase assured Nagihiko with a smile. Nagihiko didn't look completely convinced.
"Well, I hope you're right. I definitely don't want to deal with this right now."
Nagihiko might have thought that this was putting more stress on him, but Tadase knew otherwise. Even though Nagihiko wouldn't see it that way, he knew that the ridiculous rumors were actually helping him take his mind off of what had just happened. Nagihiko hadn't even glanced over at Rima since he had sat down, which was definitely a good sign. Maybe these stupid rumors would help him move on more quickly.
No, because by this time tomorrow the rumors would surely involve her as well. But somehow, Tadase was sure that Rima would not end up as the victim. Maybe this fact would comfort Nagihiko, but if he still had the feelings that he had when this relationship had started he surely wouldn't. If some part of him still loved Rima, this would make him even more upset. Tadase just hoped this part was severely outweighed by the part of him that was fed up with her. He didn't care how it happened, but Nagihiko just needed to feel better.
And if Rima didn't love him, he didn't need to love her.
After all, Tadase was all too familiar with how unrequited love worked
Rima didn't understand how things could have possibly gone so wrong. Just as she began to feel like falling in love wouldn't be completely horribly, she had been hurt, just as she always feared. Nagihiko had hurt her, he had violently stabbed her in the back.
But no, that wasn't exactly right. Perhaps she had hurt him first. Maybe she had been hurting him this whole time. Maybe she was the one who stabbed him in the back.
It was strange seeing Nagihiko this upset. He had never had such violent emotions since they met; he had always tried to remain calm and positive, and even when he was upset he worked hard to make it seem like he was fine. But now he had no self restraint; it seemed like every thought that passed his mind was carried out.
Perhaps this was what love did to someone; perhaps it made them completely loose their mind.
Well, she kind of did feel like she was loosing her mind. Even though she highly doubted that the rumors were true, every time someone mentioned how much Tadase loved Nagihiko, or vice versa, she was filled with rage. She discretely looked back over her shoulder to where Nagihiko and Tadase were sitting together, the latter desperately trying to comfort the very upset looking indigo-haired boy. They weren't sitting all that close to each other, but Tadase did reach up to pat the other's shoulder as Nagihiko sighed, his head resting on his hand. Even though this was a simple interaction, one that friends did all the time, she couldn't help but feel angry about it.
For a second, a horrible thought struck her: what if the rumors were true?
It didn't matter, because she was starting to feel as though maybe she didn't love Nagihiko anymore. Just because her heart was thudding painfully didn't mean she had feelings for him. He had hit her! She couldn't possibly love him after that!
Besides, Nagihiko always did seem to fit being a gay better than being straight.
Rima didn't care. Nagihiko could run along and let Tadase do him in the ass as much as he wanted. He always was pretty much timid when it came to sex, Rima thought with a small smile, and the position of bottom would fit him.
Oh, but perhaps now she wasn't the only one who knew that about him. If the rumors were true, Tadase would now know Nagihiko held this characteristic. For some reason, this made the slight smile she wore drop and a cold feeling rise in her chest. Were Tadase and Nagihiko really a couple, and did they really do the deed? No, it couldn't be true….
Or maybe Rima just didn't want it to be true. Maybe she just didn't want Tadase to be in the position of holding Nagihiko, and being the object of his love.
If she thought about it, there was a possibility the rumor could be true.
No, she didn't care. She wasn't really in love with Nagihiko; she was just overreacting after what Utau said to her. There was no way she was in love with a fag, a fag who would hit her nonetheless.
And she would keep telling herself this, even as she dropped her head into the arms folding across the top of the desk, tears falling from her eyes. She wasn't crying about Nagihiko of course. No, of course not.
As long as necessary, she would lie to everyone, including herself
The rest of the day passed incredibly slowly, as though every minute lasted an hour, and as soon as class was over Rima bolted from the room. Amu seemed like she wanted greatly to know what was going on, but Nagihiko left quickly after her and Tadase refused to discuss it without Nagihiko's permission.
Whatever she was expecting, it wasn't what happened the next day.
The thing about high school is that rumors spread fast, as shown with the whole "Tadase and Nagihiko are gay lovers" thing. So even though as the day drew to an end Rima wasn't involved in the wild rumors at all, she was at the forefront of them the next day.
When the blonde stepped into the school the next morning everyone's voices dropped, as though they were attempting to hide their words from Rima's ears.
Rima walked straight ahead, trying to block out the smirks and leering eyes, the words ringing in her ears, "…she and Fujisaki-kun…" "…gave him gonorrhea…" "…messed with his head…" "…cheated on him with Kirshima-kun…."
Rima, clenching her fists, dropped her head and walked forwards quickly, desperate to get to her classroom and out of the other's judging eyes.
Maybe it was true; maybe she had messed with Nagihiko's head. But cheated on him with Fuyuki? She hadn't done anything like that! They weren't even in a relationship!
Rima's eyes widened briefly and she stopped for a second. Oh, but that was how she felt, wasn't it? She didn't want him to be with Tadase, even though they were never together, right? Imagine what it would have been like it the tables were turned and Nagihiko had slept with Tadase during the same time.
Rima had hurt him, hadn't she?
It didn't matter. Rima didn't care if she hurt him. He hurt her, so it didn't matter if she hurt him. Who cared about him? Who cared if the rumors were being spread about her again? Who cared if she would once again be branded an outcast? It didn't matter.
Rima would just block it all out, just like she blocked out her parents fighting and all the girls hating her in sixth grade. She just wouldn't think of it.
She walked into the classroom, desperate to get away from all the voices mocking her. But as all heads turned to look at her, she knew she wouldn't be free from it yet. All she could do was put on her strong facade, and pretend that she didn't care about any of it.
"Rima!" Amu exclaimed, as the short blonde approached her to sit down, "What's going on? I feel so out of the loop!"
"Ask Nagihiko," Rima muttered, dropping her bag on the floor and sitting down in her seat, "I don't want to talk about it."
"But he said the same thing! He told me to ask you!" Amu complained, looking incredibly dejected. Rima sighed.
"Then ask Tadase, because apparently Nagihiko tells him everything now."
"Alright then…" Amu muttered, not looking entirely convinced. She glanced back to where Nagihiko and Tadase sat and frowned slightly, before turning back to Rima. "No matter what, you two are still my best friends, you know."
"Wait until you hear what happened to say that," Rima muttered, not entirely convinced on what Amu's loyalties will end up like after she hears everything. After all, Rima was pretty sure if she was looking in on this she would side with Nagihiko as well.
She'd always thought this…
all along she'd known she was doing him wrong…
The door to the classroom opened half an hour after class started, and everyone was surprised to see Fuyuki standing there with tear-filled eyes. It was obvious that he was trying to restrain them, but not getting anywhere with his efforts.
"Fuck," Rima muttered under her breath, having forgotten that Fuyuki had been involved with everything as well, and had conveniently not heard anything the day before. The universe just loved making things difficult for her, didn't it?
...No, this had simply been her own fault.
"Sorry I'm late," Fuyuki muttered quietly, as he turned to walk to his seat. Nobody in the room could move, and instead everyone's eyes were simply locked on either Fuyuki or Rima.
Fuyuki froze for a second, staring first at Rima and then at Nagihiko. After a moment, he walked towards the latter. Stopping right in front of the surprised boy who had no idea what Fuyuki was about to do, if he was going to scream at him or punch him or something else. Instead, Fuyuki just said, "I'm sorry, I had no idea."
Nagihiko, somewhat relieved that Fuyuki wasn't mad at him, shook his head. "It's not you're fault, you didn't know. It's not like Mashiro-san would have told you."
Fuyuki was silent for a long moment, before simply saying, "She's a slut."
Rima froze, her eyes wide and her heart barely beating. Nagihiko nodded and turned his gaze so he was looking Rima straight in the eyes. "Yes, she is."
Rima's chest felt cold, and she swore her heart did in fact stop beating. But she couldn't let Nagihiko see how much his words hurt, so she just rolled her eyes and turned away.
Nagihiko dropped his gaze, looking at the desk in front of him with eyes blurry from his tears. "Shame on us for falling in love with a whore."
Somehow, Rima felt like she deserved that…
Although it didn't make the tears welling up in her eyes and less painful
A/N: I realize classroom seating doesn't work like this in Japan, but I don't really think it matters so I'm making it like how it is in my school. Sorry if it bugs you (it actually bugs me a lot- I hadn't realized what I'd done until after I'd done it.)
Oh, and in other news, I put a soundtrack for this story on my profile it you're interested. :)
And sorry about this being so late... again... (lol I suck). I had some personal issues (again...) and then I got Persona 4 for Christmas (which is a really awesome game, just so you know) which almost literally took up every minute of every day until school started again.
But there's only one chapter left after this, and I already have most of it completed! I actually already started writing my next story as well. I'm not going to reveal what it is yet, except that it is a romance story and it is not rimahiko! Actually, for the first time, Nagihiko won't even be a main character! Any guesses? ;)
Thanks for reading! If you have a moment please review!