|Sakura High Girl Side Story: Junior Memories
Author: lunarstargazer PM
Shuichi and Ryu are best friends, but there was a time they were worst enemies living in the same dorm room. Shuichi was a model student and Ryu was anything but. See how these two first became friends and almost killed each other in the processRated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Friendship - Chapters: 4 - Words: 13,247 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 09-16-09 - Published: 08-10-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2707735
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Sakura High Girl Bonus Story: Junior Memories part 1
The bell on the door of the bed and breakfast gently rang, and the woman wiping down the counter turned and smiled. "Welcome! Oh, hello Hirohata! I haven't seen you in awhile."
Hirohata took off his hat and returned the smile. "Good Morning, Mina. The tea of the day wouldn't be Darjeeling, would it?"
Mina was already pouring a cup at Hirohata's favorite table. "When you are here, it is always Darjeeling."
He sat down and held up his tea cup in a toast. "Thank you, Mina. How is your husband? Why isn't he helping you?"
She smiled fondly. "That stubborn man hurt his back again. He tried to move a box of canned peaches on his own yesterday. I told him to stay in bed."
"That old friend of mine never learns. So what of the other man of the house? Where's your grandson?"
Mina's smile immediately vanished. "He's upstairs sleeping."
"Still? It's almost noon. Is he sick?"
Mina shook her head. "The police brought him home late last night. He was with a bunch of other boys, and they were caught fighting with another group."
"Again? This must be the third time this month." Hirohata sighed, swirling the contents of his cup. "I was afraid this would happen. The boy's father was so strict with him. Now that he isn't around, he's beginning to rebel."
"Please don't think like that, Hirohata," Mina said desperately. "You must understand what he is going through. He is barely fourteen after all. He was told this situation would be only temporary. He had waited so patiently, but it's already been three years. He doesn't understand why things are like this, and he's beginning to lose hope." Mina rubbed a hand over her eyes. "I don't know what to do, or what say to him anymore."
Hirohata reached up and patted her on the hand. "Don't cry. I think I have a solution, Mina." He opened the briefcase he had brought in with him and took out an application form. Mina took it questioningly. "Bring him to my school. All he can do here is wait. Let's see what happens when he has somewhere to go."
A little girl opened the door. "Hi, Grandpa!" she exclaimed happily. "Did you come to visit?"
Fujioka Hirohata patted the girl on the head. "Good morning, Ichigo. Is your brother here? I want to talk to him."
"Uh-huh. Come in! Come in!" She took his hand on both of hers and pulled him into the house. Before they had crossed the entry hall, the little girl was shouting "Shuichi-nii! Shuichi-nii! Grandpa's here to see you!"
Thirteen-year-old Kitahanda Shuichi appeared at the end of the hall. He looked at Ichigo in mock annoyance as he rubbed his ear as though her shouting made them hurt. "Don't yell in the house, I can hear you fine," he said. "What are you doing here, Grandpa? We would have seen each other in two weeks anyway."
"It's for that reason that I want to speak to you. Can we speak in private?"
"Is it really that important?" he said, but lead him to his bedroom nonetheless. "So what is this about?"
"It's about a new student this year. He's the grandson of my friends that own the bed and breakfast. You have met him once before. His name is Kato."
"Kato…Kato…" Shuichi repeated to himself thoughtfully. "Oh! I remember a little now. He's a year above me, isn't he?"
Hirohata clasped his hands behind his back. "Due to certain circumstances," he began diplomatically. "you are now in the same year."
"So he failed," Shuichi said bluntly, and his grandfather nodded begrudgingly.
"His grades in elementary school used to be the best," Hirohata offered in his defense. "They didn't begin to fall until the end of sixth grade until they were too low for him to continue on to his second year of junior high."
"So how did someone with a transcript like that make it into Sakura, or even pass the entrance exam?"
Hirohata cleared his throat awkwardly. "He didn't take the exam. He is entering on my recommendation."
Shuichi felt a pang of annoyance. Although he was an honor student and the chairman's grandson, Fujioka had insisted Shuichi take the entrance exam for the sake of experience. "So he's your newest special student," Shuichi concluded. "What does any of this have to do with me?"
"Well," Fujioka began slowly, "I've roomed you two together."
Shuichi looked first surprised, and then indignant. "Grandpa!"
"We had an agreement. You said I could live as a normal student until I graduate. I haven't even had my first day at Sakura and you're doing stuff like this. Is this what I'm to expect for the next six years?"
"I just want you to help him. You should consider this training for when you become the chairman. There will be many troublesome students in your care throughout your life."
Shuichi crossed his arms. "I have plenty of time for that. Can't you at least wait until I have a teaching degree before you start grooming me for your job?"
"It's never too early to learn. Besides, do you think I do not know how your mother has already been 'grooming you for my job' for years?"
Shuichi sighed. "It looks like I don't have a choice."
By his grandfather's advice, Shuichi entered the dorms of Sakura Junior High the day before the welcoming ceremony when the halls wouldn't be crammed with first years scrambling to find their rooms and unpack without being late. He had warned him that although it is a welcoming ceremony for the first years, only half of them make it on time each year.
Shuichi had suspected his new roommate to be among those masses, probably showing up later than the rest. However, in the middle of his unpacking, the door banged open. The boy standing there leaned on the doorframe and looked around the room contemptuously.
"Ugh, it's worse than I thought."
"Are you…Kato-san?" Shuichi asked uncertainly.
The Kato in front of him was nothing like the foggy memory he had of the boy he once met a couple years before. His expression seemed to be imprinted with a permanent scowl. He had a bruise above his right eye and two band aids on his cheek as though he had recently been in a fight. His hair was bleached bright blond, and underneath that wild hair, Shuichi could make out several ear piercings in each ear.
"Would I be here if I wasn't?" Kato answered Shuichi derisively, brushing past him.
Shuichi kept in check the rebuttals he wanted to make. "I know that we just met, but since we're roommate, why don't we try to get…" Kato grabbed Shuichi's bags on the bottom bunk and hurled them to the top. "…along."
"I'm taking the bottom," Kato said. He turned and smirked at Shuichi. "You don't have a problem with that, do you?" he asked with the tone that he wasn't giving him any choice.
'Grandpa, what did you get me into?' Shuichi thought to himself. "That's fine. Kato-san, dinner is being served down in the cafeteria right now. Do you want to grab something to eat?"
"Listen," Kato said, putting his hands on his hips. "Just because we're roommates doesn't make us friends. So if you want us to 'get along,' then stay out of my way and we'll get along just fine." Shuichi could feel extreme irritation rising in his chest, but then Kato added, "And don't call me 'Kato-san.' It's like your trying to talk to my father—it's disturbing. The name is Ryu—only Ryu."
Shuichi took a deep breath, massaging the angry vein that was beginning to pulsate in his forehead. He decided to try one more time. "If you have any questions about the school, you can ask me, and I will most likely know the answer."
"Is that so?" Ryu asked mockingly. "You haven't even had your first day here and you're already an expert on the school?" He stepped towards Shuichi. "You must be so smart."
Shuichi took a half step back, grimacing at his stupid mistake. He had no explanation that wouldn't give him away as the chairman's grandson, and he had no intention of letting Ryu know. Ryu moved until his face was only inches away from Shuichi's, and Shuichi caught a strong whiff of tobacco.
"If that's the case, I'll be counting on you from now on, Sempai," Ryu said sarcastically, knowing that Shuichi must be at least a year younger than him. Shuichi took another step back. Ryu's smirk widened before he turned away, and Shuichi felt angry at himself for feeling intimidated even for a moment. Ryu only glanced at his unopened bag, and then at the darkening sky outside the window. "I'm going out," he said, already at the door.
"Out? What about school tomorrow? Curfew is at ten."
"I don't care," Ryu answered coldly. "Besides, I have you to take care of me. Right…Sempai?" He closed the door with a loud snap.
Shuichi scowled at the exit. "Troublesome does not begin to describe this boy."
The next morning, Shuichi woke to find that Ryu was already gone. Hoping that he had only left early, instead of never coming back, he dressed and went to breakfast. Shuichi did not see him in the dorm cafeteria or at the opening ceremony, but very few other first years made it. However, when homeroom began, every student had managed to make it to the class on time for the exception of one.
"Kato," their homeroom teacher called out. No one answered. He looked up from the roll call list. "Kato? Kato Ryu!" He looked around the room until he found the one empty desk. "Unbelievable—on the first day. Who is Kato-kun's roommate? Roommates are responsible for each other!"
'Even when he isn't here,' Shuichi thought with aggravation as he raised his hand. "I am."
The teacher looked to the list again. "And your name…?"
"Kitahanda Shuichi, sir."
"Oh." Shuichi could hear the sudden strain in his voice as though he recognized the name. "I guess it can't be helped. Who's next…?"
'Being the chairman's grandson does have benefits,' Shuichi thought, disregarding the looks he received for escaping trouble so easily.
Ryu did no appear until late into second period. He had stripped the school uniform down to just the shirt and pants, forgoing the required jacket, vest, and tie that most students willingly wore in the chilly Hokkaido weather. His hair was even wilder than the night before, and his face bore a few more scratches.
"Sorry I'm late, Sensei," he said lazily. 'But my roommate didn't wake me up. He's really unreliable."
'He's going to target me like this?!' Shuichi thought in disbelief. 'Who does he think he is—an elementary school bully?'
Their English teacher, irritated that his class was interrupted, but didn't want to make a bigger disturbance with a scolding, simply told Ryu to take his seat and went back to the lesson.
"I don't think that will work, Sensei," Ryu interrupted again, obviously aware how he was trying the teacher's patience. He started walking down the row of desks to the left of his. "You see, my eyesight isn't so good. I think it would be better if I sat somewhere like," he pointed to the top of Shuichi's head, "here."
"It's only one row over!" Shuichi protested. "How is that going to help?"
"Just change," the teacher said, his annoyance apparent in his voice. "You'll still be neighbors, so just be quick about it."
Suppressing a grumble, Shuichi collected his books and his bag. As he moved to pass him, Ryu grabbed his arm and whispered into his ear, "Tell me, Sempai. Do you still feel like trying to be my friend?" Shuichi could feel his mouth beginning to twist into a snarl. "By the way," Ryu added. "I'll be out again tonight. But you'll cover for me again like now, won't you?"
"I won't be your scapegoat," Shuichi whispered back harshly.
"Too bad," Ryu said, letting go of his arm. "You seem pretty useless as anything else."
Throughout rest of the class and the next, Ryu took every opportunity to grate Shuichi's nerves until halfway through third period, Ryu stood and left the classroom without a word. He didn't show up for another morning class.
Shuichi went through the lunch line feeling very tired. He was glad that he only had to endure Ryu for a class and a half. He suspected Ryu could tell that Shuichi was completely insincere the night before with his offers of friendship, and was taking every opportunity he could to make him regret it.
'I regretted it yesterday.' Shuichi turned from the line with his tray in hand, but then stopped with a groan when the first thing he saw was Ryu. He sat alone at the table, glaring at his food as though he had some grudge against it too as he stabbed at it with his chopsticks. He gave off an almost visible aura of inapproachability and students instinctively gave him a wide berth.
Shuichi did not move as he considered his situation. If he did not at least attempt to sit with Ryu, there was a chance that the chairman, who could be sadistic when he felt like it, would hear about it. Then he considered how much more schoolyard bullying Ryu would inflict if he did sit with him.
He jumped, almost dropping his tray. The boy who called him went to the same elementary school as him: Okuda Keisuke. "What is it, Okuda-san?" he asked.
"I and a few other boys were going over this morning's assignments, and we would like you to come over and help."
"Okuda-san," Shuichi said with a sigh, "you are ranked first in the class from the entrance exams. Why would you need my help?"
"That may be true, but you are ranked second."
"I don't know," Shuichi mumbled, glad to have a reason not to follow his grandfather's orders, but equally conflicted by the offer given to him.
Keisuke followed Shuichi's gaze until he found Ryu. "You shouldn't worry about him. Kato-san doesn't even have a class rank yet."
"I know. He's here on Principal Fujioka's recommendation."
"Ah," Keisuke said as though it had explained everything. It was common knowledge that every few years, the chairman selected a "special student" to be accepted into Sakura that attended the school following different rules than everyone else, convinced that he could help or change them.
"He's also my roommate," Shuichi added.
"Shuichi-kun," he began, "you shouldn't do something you don't want to do just because you're roommates." He paused. "Or because your grandfather asked you to."
Shuichi looked at him in shock. "How did you know?"
"You would be surprised how much I know." He put a hand on Shuichi's arm. "Join me?"
Shuichi sighed in exhaustion. "Okay."
Ryu arrived for the first afternoon class, and most of the second. However, like in the morning, he left during class without a word and did not come back, nor did he return to the dorm room. Secretly, Shuichi did not mind, as long it meant he did not have to try to be nice to him again.
That night, Shuichi was woken long after midnight by the door banging open. He looked over his bed to see Ryu stumble into the room. He took a few steps, closed the door, and sat down hard to the ground.
"Kato-san?!" Shuichi exclaimed. He jumped from his bed and took several steps towards Ryu. "What happened?" He stopped once in arms length of Ryu and backed up, putting a hand to his nose. "What did you do? You reek of beer!"
"I told you not to call me Kato-san," Ryu snapped, and his words were mildly slurred. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, checking to see if it was bleeding. "And a naive boy like you has no business knowing the affairs of yanki."
'So he admits it?' he thought. He looked Ryu over. "Those injuries look pretty serious," Shuichi said carefully. "Maybe I should go get the school doctor so he can make a report out of this."
Ryu glared at him. "You know, I hate stubborn brats like you. Fine, I'll try to keep this simple so as not to corrupt your innocent little mind." He stood up, brushing off his pants. "Another group was trying to take over our territory and tonight we finally beat them back so we celebrated a bit."
'So he's in a gang too.' Shuichi crossed his arms, and said dryly, "Just like in a movie, huh?"
Ryu's glare intensified and he crossed the room to the bathroom. "I told you, this is none of your business." He opened the door. "Oh, and if anyone else finds out about what you just saw or heard, you'll find out first hand exactly what I did tonight."
He slammed the door shut as he did whenever he left a room, and Shuichi heard the shower running a moment later. "My second day here and my life is already being threatened," Shuichi said to himself. "This should be an interesting year."
Shuichi quickly discovered that Ryu's actions those first two days were habitual behavior. He spent most nights outside, and slept late throughout the mornings. The classes he did attend he did not participate in, and usually showed up late or left early. Shuichi learned from other students that he spent his time skipping either sleeping in the infirmary or somewhere else on the school grounds. After the first week, half of the teachers assumed that the student "Kato Ryu" would either never show up or did not exist.
A week had passed. Shuichi sat at the desk in his dorm room studying. Ryu entered, but Shuichi did not look up. Ryu looked at him and sneered.
"If all you ever do is study, you'll never get a girl," he mocked. "They don't like bookworms." Shuichi didn't answer. Ryu watched him speculatively. "What's the matter?" He poked Shuichi hard on the cheek. "You're not talking to me? But I thought you wanted to be my friend." Shuichi still gave no response, and Ryu shrugged. "Whatever. I'm going out."
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Shuichi said suddenly, and an air of satisfaction was evident in his voice.
Ryu paused midway in to putting on his jacket and turned. "Oh?" he asked in annoyance. "What makes you think so?"
"There have been reports of someone lurking around the grounds after hours, so the dorm manager is locking the doors after curfew."
"I wonder who made those reports," Ryu said sarcastically, fully suspecting Shuichi as the culprit. 'Doesn't matter—I don't need a door."
Shuichi looked up and saw Ryu on the other side of the room by the window. The dorm windows were infamous for being rusted shut, but with two quick jerks, Ryu forced it open.
Shuichi stood. "You can't—"
Something shiny flashed by Shuichi's hair and embedded into the wall behind him. A lock Shuichi's hair near his ear fell away, breaking into strands as it fell to the ground. Ryu smirked at Shuichi's wide-eyed shock. He crossed the room towards him to retrieve his knife from the wall. He reached his arm over Shuichi's shoulder and leaned in close until his mouth was level with Shuichi's jaw.
"Can't what?" he whispered. "I can do whatever I want." He pulled away, pocketing his knife. "There's no one around to stop me anymore." He put a foot on the window sill. "So let's continue to get along like this, Sempai." He jumped out.
Shuichi recovered from his shock. He gritted his teeth. "I…have…had…enough!"
The next morning Shuichi found himself on the Sakura High School campus. He had been there a few times before and knew the way, ignoring the puzzled looks of the high schoolers as he stormed to the chairman's office.
"I want another roommate!" he exclaimed the moment he opened the doors.
Fujioka looked up from his morning work, and with a sigh, he put down his pen and took off his classes. "It's only been a week, Shuichi. Is it really that bad?"
"Yes! When you said he was difficult, you didn't say he was a criminal!" He brought his hands up as if strangling an imaginary person as he spoke. "He sleeps through the morning classes, skips the afternoon classes, and does nothing but try to get me in trouble! He sneaks out at night to drink and smoke and get into fights, and when I tried to stop him, he threw a knife at me! A knife! I don't want to spend another minute with that yanki! He shouldn't be in school, he should be in jail!"
The principal listened to his rant calmly and politely. "So in other words," he said once Shuichi finished, "you haven't made any progress."
"What?" Shuichi said in disbelief. "Haven't you been listening at all?"
"I asked you to do this because I thought you could change him. I still do. You have both gone through similar circumstances with your parents, and I think your experiences could help him with his."
"His parents?" Shuichi sat down in the chair in front of Fujioka's desk. "I think it is time you tell me everything about Ryu."
Fujioka nodded. "I understand." He took a deep breath and folded his fingers together. "His mother is dying."