A.N: I love you all. Try not to hurt me. x.x

Rank and File

Chapter Twenty-one

By Firefly-chan

I didn't see Kai for a long, long time after that night. I had gone home the next morning—like usual. But when I tried to call his house a week later, his mother answered the phone. She told me that Kai wasn't there anymore; that he had gone to Tokyo to finish off the rest of his senior year and then attend college.

It's been two years since that night. Since that revelation for me.

I'm seventeen now—almost finished with my junior year of high school. Surprisingly, I passed the rest of my freshman and sophomore year with ease. You'd think it would be a struggle after what had happened. After he left.

I mean, the jackass left without a word. Without ONE goddamned word. Was that his plan the whole time? To just screw the fuck with me and then leave? I don't know. I hate thinking back on it. I had cried for… God knows how long. I actually cried. First there was the anger, and then it just hurt. And did it ever hurt. I didn't understand… and I guess a part of me still doesn't.

I wanted an explanation. A reason why. Was that too much to ask for?

"GODFUCKINGDAMNIT!" My head snapped up at the sound of Rei's(1) voice, an eyebrow slowly raising at the sudden outburst.

"Are you okay in there, Rei?" I called, leaning off my couch a bit to peer into the next room.

There was no answer; just the sound of a door slamming and heavy, stomping footsteps. A minute later, Rei appeared in front of the frame to the living room, glaring at me. I laughed loudly at the sight of him, before slapping a hand to my face and doing my best to make it sound like a cough. Well… the guy was covered in toilette paper. You'd laugh, too.

"What the hell happened to you?" I asked, flinging my pencil onto my history book.

Rei didn't answer me. He just stomped up to me and thrust a magazine in front of my face. "Why didn't you tell me about this?" he demanded, poking the magazine. "Huh?"

I blinked and drew back, taking the magazine in hand and looking down at it. On the front cover, in big letters, were the words: 'DELL GUY ARRESTED FOR SMOKING POT'. I coughed again, snickering beneath my breath. That explains everything…

"Because I didn't know…?" I said slowly, handing the magazine back to Rei.

The corners of his mouth pulled down in what looked to be the beginnings of a pout. "So that's why he doesn't show up on any of the commercials anymore," he said softly, before letting out a loud sigh. "I have to go home and think about this."

I watched, with a raised eyebrow, as Rei gathered all his stuff, shoved in his book bag, and left my house… in a depressed kind of way. Okay, that was really weird. I didn't even know Rei had an interest in the…uh…pot-smoking Dell Guy. I should print of a picture of the guy and give it to Rei for his birthday. That was I don't have to pay anything! Yay!

Okay, so, yeah. I'm cheap. Bite me.

I looked back up when the front door opened again and Rei stepped back inside. "Forget something?" I asked, looking at him expectantly.

He went back into the living room and handed me a small card, shrugging. "It was outside on your front door step," he said, backing away towards the front door again. "Thought I might as well bring it in for you."

I nodded my thank you, and Rei turned again and (more calmly this time) left my house, shutting the door firmly behind him. I looked down at the plain; crème colored white card before thumbing it open.

My blood ran cold at the sight of it. On the bottom flap, neatly written and unmistakably clear, was:

Akita Central Apartment. Room 9. First floor. Right now.


No. No, no, no, no, no!

I threw down the card onto the coffee table resting in front of me violently, accusingly jabbing a finger at it. "You don't control me anymore!" I growled to the, uh, card. "You left and that's your fault! I don't have to listen or do anything you say, Hiwatari!"

The card just… sat there.

Not like I—uh—was expecting anything, though. I just needed to let off some anger, okay?

"Son of a bitch," the whisper escaped past my lips as I sunk back down onto the couch. "I hate you."

How can he come back after two years, and tell me to go to some apartment like nothing happened? How can he forget that he's the one who left without a simple explanation or reason why? How can he forget the notion that he put me through all this pain—it wasn't the other way around. It was never the other way around. He was the only one who ever hurt anyone.

And I hate him for it. I really, really do. I hate him for everything he's put me through. I hate him for… for… everything.

"I'm not going," I spoke my thoughts aloud, kicking the card off the table. "I refuse to go."

I groaned inwardly, slapping a hand to my face. God, it's been two years. Two-goddamned-years. He's what? Twenty now? For God's sake, he's twenty! In his second year of college by now! And all the sudden he wants to see me? Right now, for no reason or warning? What the FUCK is going through his mind?

What I wouldn't give to punch that bastard out right now.

I think angry is an understatement. Pissed as almighty hell would work better. You know what? I think I will go. Not to try and work things out, not to try and make him grovel (although that would be nice) but to beat the shit out of him. Uh, yeah. That and get a damned explanation. And make him feel sorry. Oh, and make him apologize.

Because I do deserve one. Ha—like, five million of them from that guy, I swear.

Coming to a sudden stand, I picked the card up from the ground and stuffed it in my pocket. Stalking to the door, I yanked my car keys from the key holder and stomped outside, slamming the front door behind me.


Frowning, I brought my car to a stop in the Akita Central Apartment parking lot, pulling my keys from the engine. Hmm, this place was bigger than I last remember it. Maybe they added on to it? Looking up at the unusually tall building, I opened the car door, locked it, and shut it behind me. I stood next to my car for a couple of moments, taking in deep breaths, before starting up the stairs to the apartment building.

I pushed open the door, not surprised as the sudden wave of cool air hit me. This place was air-conditioned. I remember because my aunt stayed her last summer. Ah, yeah. Those were the days. Pfft.

'So his room is on the first floor,' I thought to myself as I stepped into the main 1st floor hallway. 'Now I have to find apartment 9.'

I walked slowly down the hall, not too intent on seeing Kai for the first time in two years, but barely suppressing my obvious pissed-off-ness. Oh, yes. That jackass is getting what's coming to him. What he deserves. Psh, he deserved it a long time ago but I'll give it to him now. Because, uh, he's here. Yeah. Now. Right…

Finally, I stopped in front of the door that had the number '9' printed on it. Cautiously, I raised my hand to the wood, before pressing my fist to it, loudly (and obnoxiously) knocking. There was the sounds of movement coming from inside, before I heard a click on the other side, and the door opened quickly.

I pulled back sharply, surprised at how fast the door opened. I looked up bitterly, suppressing the urge to scowl at the person who had opened the door. Lo-and-behold, it was him. The very guy who made most of my freshman year hell. The very guy who had the nerve to step past my boundaries and break every last one of them. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this was the guy. You all know who I'm talking about.

"Well," I drawled, giving him a cold 'once-over'. He hadn't changed… much. "I'm here. Surprised?"

Kai ran a hand through his dark hair, looking down at me and shrugging. "A little," he said, his tone a bit clipped. Shoving his hands into his jean pockets, he stood aside to let me in.

I took a glance around the apartment as he shut the door behind me. It was nice—nothing all that much. But it was nice and simple. Not like I cared, though. No, I was just making an observation, is all. That's okay, right? I can do that? Pfft. Whatever. I don't care.

Turning around to face Kai, I began sharply, "So, Hiwatari, what is it you want to discuss with me?"

He didn't flinch; he just stood there, staring at me passively. "I need your help," he said bluntly.

I tried to force down my laughter. Really, I did.

Haha. Who the fuck am I kidding? No, I didn't. I burst into hysterics, man. And with Kai staring at me, too. The ass gets what he deserves, like I said. And he deserves to be laughed at. And ridiculed. And tied to a pole and have fruit thrown at him.

"You want my help?" I repeated, trying to contain my giggling. "You want MY help?"

He scowled, looking away. "Listen, Tyson, I'm serious. And I didn't say I wanted your help. I said I needed your help."

I managed to calm my laughter, and shake my head, looking back at him. "You have a lot of nerve, Kai," I said, a smile quirking my lips. "You have a lot of nerve to come to me after two years and ask for my help. You know that, right?"

Kai shrugged, digging around in his pockets for something before pulling out a lighter and cigarette. "I can just as easily find someone else to pair up for laser tag with," he said lightly, lighting his cigarette. "You don't have to."

I stood there, my mouth falling open as I stared at him in disbelief. "Laser tag?" I repeated. "You came here to ask me to play laser tag with you? Kai, have you lost all the common sense in that unstable head of yours?"

"Okay, look," Kai let out an unnecessarily loud sigh, taking a drag of his cigarette, "the university I attend signed up for a competition to raise money for charity and asked anyone who interested to sign up as well. 250 people from the university signed up, and now—four months later—230 have been eliminated, leaving 20 of us left. Our teams have been split up into ten people per team, but we need eleven people in order to play laser tag. As captain of my team, I've been directed to find someone to play with us. And since you're the only one who can kick my ass in laser tag, I thought I might ask you…"

Okay, was he kidding me? Or what the hell was going through his mind when he thought up this plan? I was about to ask him how he'd know I could kick his ass at that game, but the question died in my throat. Of course! We had a laser tag unit against the seniors my freshman year. That was how he knew.

"Kai, listen," I began, noting as my voice caught slightly, "this isn't going to work. And I don't know what you're getting at, but I don't find it funny."

He scowled, frowning down at me. "I told you, I'm being completely serious. Why else would I come back? Just to purposely see what you're reaction would be?"

"It wouldn't surprise me!" I snapped sharply, turning away. "I just have one question to ask you, and that's why. Why the hell did you just leave like that? With no reason or explanation?"

I heard my voice catch slightly at the end of my sentence, and resisted the urge to flinch. I bit down on my lip, forcing back the urge to scream and bitch the hell at him. God, this is so much harder than I thought it'd be. I tried to stay angry with him, but every time I looked into those damned eyes it just hurt. So much.

Kai didn't speak for several minutes. "I don't know why," he said finally. "I know I wanted to hurt you… but I was so angry then."

It felt as if a million more weights fell onto my back, and I had to grip the edge of the coffee table to keep from collapsing. I shook my head, before clenching my teeth. "You were angry with me?" I hissed, fighting back tears. "Kai… what the fuck?"

I looked away sharply when a tear slid down my face, violently wiping it away. I felt a rush of air as Kai took a couple steps nearer to me before I could even comprehend he was moving. I breathed deeply, smelling the clear scent of drugs and spices on Kai. I felt a cool finger slip under my chin, lifting my face up, as he brushed my tears away with his thumb.

"You're crying," he murmured, studying me. "I haven't seen you cry in a long time."

I snapped my head away from his hand, taking several steps back until I collided with the back of a chair. "Stay the fuck away from me, Kai," I growled, my voice trembling the slightest bit. "Just stay away."

Kai placed his cigarette down on an ashtray near him, before stepping foreword, and grabbing my wrist. Yanking me towards him, he placed his hand under my chin again, leaning my head up before crushing his lips down onto my own. I choked back a cry of surprise and protest, placing my hands against Kai's shoulders and pushing roughly.


What the hell did he think he was doing?

"Kai, stop," I said when he pulled away, pushing at him again. "Stop it. What are you doing?"

"Shut up, Tyson," he murmured, brushing my hair from my eyes before locking his lips with my throat. "I'm not going to…"

He trailed off, but he didn't need to finish, anyway. I already knew what he was going to say. I let out a miserable, small whimper, but Kai's mouth was on mine again before it could even fall from my lips. I turned my head away, breaking the kiss again and clenching my eyes shut.

"Kai, stop, please," I whispered, trying my best to keep from breaking down. "Please stop…"

Kai pulled back suddenly, frowning down at me. I pulled away from him, pressing my back against his apartment wall. Kai also took an advancing step backwards and picked up his cigarette again and placed it to his lips, still watching me with blank, yet disapproving eyes. I tried to suppress my trembling, and I folded my arms across my chest.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" he said after a moment, drawing my attention back to him.

"Nothing," I said, trying to make it sound as vicious as possible. "Don't touch me, Kai. You lost that right the moment you turned and walked the fuck away. So, don't touch me."

Kai shrugged, his frown fading. "You act like I've never done it before," he said, lightly. "Like I've never kissed you…"

I narrowed my eyes. "Shut up."

"Or held you."

"Shut up."

"Or had you beneath me."

"Shut up!"

The pitch of my voice surprised even me, but at that moment, I could give a flying fuck how I sounded. Strangling on fallen tears, I sank to my knees, gripping tightly at my hair. I didn't sense Kai until he was right beside me on the floor, a strong arm encircling my waist and pulling me closer to a warm chest. I half-heartedly struggled against his grip, but he only proved superior by holding me tighter. Pulling me into his lap, he took another long drag of his cigarette, resting his chin on top of my head.

"You're so much more sensitive than you use to be," I heard Kai mumble.

I swallowed roughly, wiping a hand over my wet eyes. "Yeah, well, you can do that to people. Sort of that effect, you know."

He was silent for a minute, before speaking again, "I knew, when I first met you, that I was going to break your heart."

I flinched. "I know."

"It wasn't all a lie, though," he said, softly.

"I know, Kai," I whispered. "I know."

I sat in silence for several moments, trying to gather and sort through my thoughts. Trying to think logically for once, you know? It didn't work, though. Everything was still one big mess, and I doubted I could pull it all together in a short amount of time. This was so wrong. This was so, so wrong.

"This isn't love," he said suddenly—almost thoughtfully—as his grip around me tightened considerably.

"Yeah," I swallowed again, almost laughing. "I know it isn't."

Kai paused. "Then… what is it?"

"Want need," I shrugged, a half-smile gracing my lips. "But whatever it is, it hurts a lot."

I jumped in surprise when he buried his head in the crook of my neck, his fingers digging into my skin. Slowly, I raised a hand and placed it on the back of his neck, closing my eyes and leaning into his embrace. I noticed the wet feeling on my neck where Kai's head was, but ignored it, knowing he wouldn't want me to mention it.

If this wasn't love, then why did it hurt so damn much?

"I should go," I said after a minute, gently running a hand through his hair. "I have… things I need to get done."

I felt Kai nod, before he gently pressed his lips against my neck, and released me. I came to a slow and steady stand, reaching down to help my 'use to be stalker' to a standing position as well. We stood in silence for awhile, facing each other before I coughed, and looked down, backing up towards the door. Kai followed me towards the door, and opened it for me, watching silently as I stepped out into the hall.

"So, I take it you're not going to do the laser tag thing, then?" he said after a few seconds.

I offered him a weak smile. "No, I don't think so."

Kai nodded, seemingly understanding. We stood in that awkward silence again. I was about to open my mouth and say goodbye, but Kai beat me to it. He leaned over and brushed a stray piece of hair from my eyes, before lightly kissing me on the forehead. My smile didn't waver, and I looked up at him when he pulled away.

"Goodbye, Tyson," he said, his voice almost inaudible.

I nodded, before taking another step back. "Bye, Kai. I'll… see you around."

And then, without another word, I turned around and walked away.


And that's my story.

Not how you thought it would end? I didn't think it'd end this way either, folks. I originally had the idea that me and Kai would happily ever after. But that's not how these things work out sometimes. I guess our "relationship" was always based around anger and want. Nothing really more than that. It could've been need, I guess. But mainly… we just wanted to hurt and outdo the other more than before.

Yeah, it sucks. But… you know. Life's a bitch, then you die. What can you do? I just had to swallow down my pride and my pain and have the strength to walk away from Kai. And I did. And it hurt. Believe me, it did.

So, is there a moral to this story? No, not really. I fell hard, only not the way I thought I did. Sometimes, you just got to roll with things. And this story isn't exactly Romeo and Juliet, but it's something along the lines of that. Not like everything turned out the way the original story did, but whatever. Like I said, you got to deal and move on.

But I guess I did learn one thing through this ordeal. I learned that hating someone and needing someone are only a thin line. Meaning, there's only a little difference separating the two from one another. I learned that you can't love and hate someone at the same time. No matter what anyone says—c'mon, people. You're smarter than that. The next time someone says that, tell him or her its bullshit. Because, truthfully? Yeah, it is.

So, leaving you with that last statement, that's the end, I guess. That's my story. My name is Tyson Kinomiya and it took me almost three years to figure out that I wasn't in love with someone. Pathetic? No. Sad? Not really.

It's just the way life works.


End Notes: The end. Finished. Done.


o.o; I'd like to thank my reviewers. You guys… seriously… kick some MAJOR ass. Thank you so much for sticking with me all this time and putting up with my shit and plot twists. I love you for it. XD Really, I do.

And sorry about this ending. I know it probably wasn't what you all were expecting. But, uh, yeah. . That's how I wanted to end it. Sorry for those of you who were expecting something else. ^^

Okay, that's it for me, I guess. ^^

Have a wonderful… spring and summer, I s'pose. x.x

Peace out, my lovelies. XD

1: Sorry, changing the spelling. .; Hated the way I had it before.