ei there! i'm re-posting this fic now so that i won't encounter any problems anymore. ^__^ and i'm so sorry if it took me a while to fix this. i became quite lazy. . hopefully you people will like it. and please do review so that i'll know if I should finish it or not.

Solitude

001 – mr. Popular meets mr. Anti-social

~*~Keishiro~*~

I stared at the clear blue sky as the blanket of white moved above me. I was lying on the grass of our huge field. My crimson hair spreading against the green grass, contrasting it. It was the last day of school so I might as well have the pleasure of relaxing here. I didn't really want to go home yet. Wait, can I even call that a home? I live in a penthouse... alone. My parents gave me my own place since they're never home anyway. They're just too busy with their business trips.

As I continued to lie on my back lazily, I heard someone calling [or was it yelling?!] my name. As the student who disturbed me runs toward my direction, he tripped on small rock and dove onto me. We landed on the ground with a thump. I stared at him trying to remember if I really know this guy or from where I have known him.

"G-gomen! A-ano... you're Sakuma-kun, right?" I nodded. He smiled cheerfully and said, "Miyoshi-sensei asked me to tell you that she wants to talk to you before you go home." By now it has already registered in my mind who this kid is. He's shorter to me by height and he's one of those people who are popular. Miro. Kurosaki Miro. I've known him since we were little. He was one of my very few friends before. All that changed, as we grew older. He's just too sociable I guess. We both stood up, leaving the empty field and heading for the faculty building. I walked slowly behind Miro, following him to our math teacher. I'm guessing that Miyoshi-sensei's also his teacher. We stopped at our sensei's door and knocked. We are greeted with a smiling Miyoshi-sensei. Why is everyone smiling anyway? She urged us towards her office and shut the door. I wonder what's the catch.

"I'm glad you're still in school Sakuma-kun," she said. "I would like to ask for your help. You see, Kurosaki-kun here is one of the candidates for a college scholarship because of his outstanding talent in dancing and because his grades are also impressive... except in math that is."

Hah! Now I know what's up.

"And I do know from your record that you're the top student at this subject. I'd like to ask you the favor of tutoring Kurosaki-kun through the summer because as you can see, it will be your last year in high school next year, meaning you'll be starting to take the entrance exams for college next year," she continued.

Hmm... just as I thought. "How about Yuki-chan? If I'm not mistaken, she's also very good in math," I asked. I didn't really plan on tutoring anyone during my vacation. I just want to spend my vacation alone... like the usual.

"Hai. You're right. Yuki-chan's also good in math. In fact I already asked her about it but unfortunately, her parents already planned their vacation before hand. They'll be spending their vacation in Italy, France, and in the US. They want her to go and get some kind of exposure trip and see what other countries are like. Please Sakuma-kun. What do you have to lose?

'My solitude?' I thought.

"Onegai Sakuma-kun. I know that we're not really close but please... I do want that scholarship," Kurosaki said. *sigh* Well, what else can I do? If I said no, I'm sure I'll be a bad guy. "Okay then. Since Yuki-chan can't do it, I'll tutor Kurosaki-kun," I told Miyoshi-sensei. She smiled and thanked me. Then she dismissed us and told us to talk about the schedule of our tutor session.

"It's been a while Sakuma-kun. Thank you sooo0oo very much for agreeing in tutoring me! thankyouthankyouthankyou!" Miro told me excitedly. He's so energetic! "It's okay, really. And you can call me Keishiro. We *did* become friends before," I told him while we walk towards the exit of the building. All of a sudden, Miro stopped walking. "KEI-KUN! You still remember me after all! I thought you've already forgotten all about me! You know, since you look so..." he trailed off. I looked back at him and tried to catch his gaze. "Look so what?" I asked.

/so cold, / Miro silently thought.

I thought I saw a tinge of sadness in his eyes but only momentarily. But then again it could have only been my imagination. He quickly looked back at me and answered "err... nothing! Nothing. You just looked like you didn't recognize me or something. Anyway, do you want to go to Xynthe while we talk about our schedule this summer?" Miro asked with his playful smile.

"Xynthe?" I asked. "Hai. You know, the cafe near by? It's really a cool place and I often hang-out there," Miro explained to me. Yep. I do know that cafe. It's where they, the popular type of teens hang out. Oh well, might as well since I'm quite hungry myself. "Sure," I simply answered.

The place is as I expected. Miro was greeted by almost everyone and a lot of girls were giggling whenever they pass by our table. I forgot that Miro is also quite popular with the girls. "Just ignore them," Miro told me as if reading my thoughts. "Ignore what?" I played dumbly. "Ignore them," Miro glanced at the still giggling girls. "They always do that just to get your attention so pay no attention to them," Miro continued. I just gave him a nod to let him know I understood.

We were sitting on a table near the corner. This was the only time that I got a better look at this kid. His hair is jet-black with blue highlights short and layered. His bangs are trying to hide his eyes which ahas a rare color of smokey-gray eyes that have silver flecks in it if ever you have a closer look. He tried to tuck them behind his ear in vain because it's getting on his way as he continued to draw on their table with the colorful crayons. Xynthe used this large brown paper as 'table cloths' instead of real cloth so the customers can scribble anything they want to while waiting for their order. And of course each table has their own set of crayons.

'I thought they placed this to amuse children,' I murmured. "Hmm? What did you say?" Miro asked innocently. "Nothin', I was just wondering what to order," I covered. "He, then smiled and said, "pizza!!! I've been craving for it since dismissal!" And so I called for the young waitress for 'our' order and Miro just continued his drawing [which lookd like sticks with a head].

There came a time where there was no more space for Miro to do his scribbles and we were silent for a while. He looked at me like he's expecting me to say something so I decided to break the silence, "so, I've heard you belong to a dance group called Chyrll or something? Your group any good?"

"Yup. And it's called Schryll. We're pretty good but I still think that we still need more training to be real professionals," Miro said, matter-of-factly.

"So, you'll be training in the summer too? What days and time are you needed in the club?" I asked. It was better to make our schedules clear so that our tutoring sessions can also start. The sooner we get this done, the better. "Hm... we'll be having meetings M-W-F-S in the morning at 7am-12 noon and T-TH afternoons at 1pm-6pm," Miro answered. "Meaning, we can have our session the other way, right? Are you sure you're not going to be tired for our sessions? You know, since you have training before that. I don't want you to be sleeping on me while I tutor you, you know," I told him. I want him to pay attention when I give him a tutor session. It's bad enough that I've got to help this brat the whole summer.

"Don't worry Kei-kun. I can handle it and besides, I really want to maximize my time," he said cheerfully while he took a bite on his pepperoni pizza.

"AaaaAaack!" He suddenly screeched and he began to choke. "I didn't think their hot sauce will be this hot!" He said between breaths. What a baka he is. I can't believe I'm going to deal with him the whole summer!

~*~Miro~*~

*cough*cough*cough* God! Why do I have to *cough*cough* place too damn *cough* much of hot sauce on my pizza?! I knew my face is flushed by now and my mouth is surely on fire. My hand automatically reached for my glass of cola and I finished drinking it in mere seconds. It was so embarrassing! .;

After I recovered from my coughing fit, I took a glance at Kei. He's looking outside the window, watching the different kinds of people pass by. He's really a quiet type of person He only talks to me when he has a question to ask. Come to think of it, I never really saw him with anyone else at school. I don't even get to see him that often.

All of a sudden, he stopped his interest with the people outside and looked at me. His jaded eyes locking with my own smokey ones. "What? Do I have ketchup on my face or something?" he asked. "Oh, err... no. I just quite can't believe that you're the same Kei-kun I've met before," I answered quite dumbly, lacking for an excuse. I can't actually tell him that I was ogling at him can I? That would come out really weird. He said nothing so I just kept silent myself.

After a dull 'conversation' and few pizzas later, we decided to head home. "So, I'll just meet you here, tomorrow morning for our first session, okay?" I asked Kei as we exit the cafe. "Sure. Whatever. Just be sure you won't be late. I don't really enjoy waiting. I'll be here by eight o'clock sharp, or is it too early for you?" Kei replied, stoic as ever with that hint of sarcasm.

"Eight o'clock is fine. I do have trainings in the morning every other day, remember?! I'm sure I can wake up that early," I said to him while I try to hide my irritation. "Good," was the only reply I got from him. What the heck was his problem anyway? I thought it's really okay for him to tutor me... "Ja ne," I told him as we took separate paths. He didn't even look back as he walked toward the right side of Xynthe.

RrrrRing!!! RrrRrring!! RrrRrr— *wham!*

"Argh! Damn stupid alarm clock, disturbing my sleep!" I screamed to no one in particular. I reached for my quite smashed alarm clock to see what time it was and I suddenly panicked as I saw that it was already forty minutes past seven! Shit! I have only twenty minutes to fix myself and meet Kei! I can't possibly be late! Not with that damn stupid Mr. Know it all— *sigh* I can't have this mood. It's a nice Thursday morning. I just have to hurry and pray that Kei hasn't arrived yet. Please kami-sama... don't let him be there this early!

As I finished dressing up, I grabbed my bag and stuffed the things that I'll be needing. I reached for my keys and locked the doors. I ran heading for Xynthe and thinking of a good alibi that I can use if ever I won't be able to make it on time. In my hurry, I didn't notice that one of my shoelaces was left undone and of course, I tripped. Realization also hit me that there was another person in front of me which I obviously glomped. As my vision got clearer, I focused on the young man that I landed upon. I immediately straightened myself since we're in a really awkward position. [I'm straddling him!!!]

"Seems like this is your trademark, huh?"

"Nani?" I asked.

"You know, tripping on me, glomping and all."

Oh man! Of all the people that I've got to cross paths with! Why did it have to be Kei?! "Err... not really. One of my shoelaces was left untied and... gomen," I explained lamely. Why do I have to experience my most embarrassing moments with Kei? Why am I so stupid? Why is he *here*? And why do I keep on asking 'why?'" *sigh* Oh well, look on the bright side, at least I'm not tardy for our first session this summer.

"Whatever," Kei said. I was quite startled and I almost forgot he's even there... this is a weird day for me. "How about we head to the library instead? We can get more work done in there than on Xynthe," Kei added. "Hai," I answered. I'm still quite hungry for not eating last night and not grabbing a bite this morning but hey, I'm not that hungry enough to argue with Mr. Perfect tutor. With that last thought, we headed our way towards the library.

The library was almost deserted. Well, it is summer so there's no other students here except those very few who are... well, not actually geek but studious kind of teens. We sat on a corner [Kei must have something with corners] by the fiction section. Weird. We're suppose to study math, ne? "Do you mind if we stay here? I still find this area more peaceful than in the main area of the library even if there are not much people here," Kei explained to me as if reading my thoughts. "Iie. This is fine Kei-kun," I answered. We sat down and placed our things on the small, square table. He opened the book and started browsing it as he plays with his pencil on his free hand. "Okay, we'll start by reviewing simple geometry," Kei told me. And we started our first session.

I looked up from Kei and saw that he's wearing all black again. Must be his style. He's not like that before. But then again, that was like, how many years ago? I can't remember. He's wearing black cargo and a black shirt that fit his body well. He's also wearing a silver chain with a cross as a pendant. And... oh my God! Is that an earring on his left ear?! Oh, yeah... no mistaking it. It's a silver loop indeed. If I didn't see his records myself, I wouldn't believe that he's the top math student in our batch. I looked back at my book and started to really read the book. He might ask me questions and he might also give me a quiz later.

After an hour, I just can't take it anymore. My eyes are really starting to object with me so I gave up. I reach for my bag, took off my glasses and wore them. Kei stopped writing notes and looked at me with a smile... or was that a grin?

"I didn't know you wore glasses," Kei said with an amused tone. "Well, I only need them when I study and I usually wear my contact lenses in school," I answered, trying my best not to blush. I feel quite uncomfortable with Kei's gaze staring at me like he's studying me or something. "Sou ka. Why are you so embarrass in wearing them? It doesn't make you less popular if you wear them, Miro-kun," Kei said again. I don't really get the point of our conversation but I was quite taken aback when he called me by my name. When was the last time he called me that? I can't really remember. "It's not that. I just feel more comfortable not wearing them because I can move more freely without them," I said. I should really change the subject. "Ano... Kei-kun, can you please explain to me again why this postulate proves this problem to be false?" I asked. Kei became more serious-looking and started to explain to me the answer.

After our session, I said my 'bye' and was quite happy that he also responded. He doesn't have a heart of stone after all. I looked at my watch and decided to grab a sandwich before walking again and go to my dance practice.

After our practice, I was totally drained. Man was I exhausted. I'm in the locker room right now, fixing my things so that I can finally go back to my tiny apartment and rest. I forgot to mention that I live in a small apartment ten blocks from school. I used to live with my older sister but she already got married two years ago. Our parents are in Tokyo where our family business is. But I want to remain here in Kyoto, even if that means living alone in an apartment. I don't get lonely anyway since I've got a lot of friends whom I can hang out with. Plus I'm also quite busy with my dance training. Some of our members are dancing just for the heck of it. I on the other hand am totally serious with my dancing. It can get me a scholarship you know. Speaking of which, I also have to take note that I should start preparing the group for this up coming competition. Well, got to get some rest soon 'cause I still have to wake up early tomorrow for Schryll.

tbc....

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

so... what do you think?

thanks to those who reviewed the first posted version of this chapter. [the one before ff.net removed all nc-17 fics] It really means a lot to me. =)

and to those who didn't have the time to review but read, thank you! =)

+kadien