Ten days had past. Ten, long and tedious days of trying to rouse the pinkette into doing something, if not anything, to signal that he was at least functioning properly was starting to wear on Kaito's patience. On the weekend, he had stayed with Robert, trying to get him to go outside and enjoy the day. When that didn't work, he insisted on the two of them playing videogames. And even that didn't work, leaving the taller teen to sigh heavily at the time. Now they were in school and nothing else seemed to have changed. The hazel-eyed teen was as quiet as ever and the dark circles under his eyes were becoming quite troublesome.
"Hey, Harukana?" Said person came to a halt and slid his gaze upward. "Did you complete the assignment Mrs. Tarris gave us in Chemistry?" Kai asked, doing all he could not to shiver under the vacant stare his classmate was giving him. When no reply came, and the pinkette continued down the hall, the grey-eyed teen sighed mentally after regaining his composure. "Hey, wait!" he called as he went to catch up. "I'll let you copy at lunch, alright?"
Turning towards the lockers, Robert rifled through his bag before withdrawing a few textbooks to exchange. "That's not necessarily," he replied quietly as he pulled out his Math and Chemistry books before placing the other two away.
"C'mon, Rob, you can't afford to fail." Hazel eyes drifted his way before the smaller teen closed the locker and headed down the hall, bag slung over his shoulder in a haphazardly way. "Robert," Kai called, gritting his teeth afterwards when the pinkette did not, stop, turn, or reply verbally. Skipping his own locker, he hurried down the hall to snag the back of his friend's gakuran. "Will you knock it off? You can't keep walking around like a zombie!" Hearing fabric rustle, he bristled the moment Robert slipped out of his top to walk freely in his undershirt. "Harukana."
Fisting the discarded top tighter, the taller student followed behind the departing party until he was close enough to get a hold of the back of his shirt. Finding a nearby restroom, Kaito pushed the door open prior to dragging Robert in behind him. And nudging the pink-haired male further in, Kai shut the door behind him before blocking the only exit as he folded his arms.
"You need to snap out of it, Robert."
"Kai, do you ever get tired of hearing yourself talk?" The purplette unfolded his arms. "I mean, really; you must have some kind of complex issue. You go on and on and on, acting all high and mighty like you know what's best for me," Robert said as his gaze wandered the bare, white walls. "Jeez, just shut up already. So what if I walk around like a zombie? I'm not hurting anyone and I'm pretty sure you're just-"
"You're just…cranky because you haven't eaten yet," Kaito said, walking forward to present the teen's uniform top.
"You're…just cranky because he usually fixes you something, right?"
Hazel eyes went over to stare at the top presented before looking at the one holding it. Seeing how dark eyes were directed towards one of the sinks, Robert took the article of clothing and pulled it back on. Noting the retreat of the purplette, Rob sighed as he focused on his schoolmate.
"Kai, I'm s-" Scrubbing a hand down his face, the pinkette sighed aloud. "It's just that he hasn't-and I can't…"
Placing a hand on the smaller student's shoulder, Kaito gave a warm smile as hazel eyes peeked from between thin fingers. "It's ok," he said.
"But I just said all those mean-"
Removing his hand, the taller teen held it up to hold off whatever else the shorter one was about to say. Instead, his smile only seemed to broaden as he said, "It really doesn't matter, Rob. There's no need to apologize to me. Besides, ya know me quite well so those words are probably true."
"They're not!" Robert shouted, making his friend drop his hand back to his side. "I didn't-"
"It's fine," Kai said, interrupting the other. "It's ok, really, Rob. I'll take it as a wakeup call to tone it down a bit, alright?" He chuckled at the fretful stare thrown at him before patting his friend on the shoulder once more. "Don't go beating yourself up." The pinkette looked down. "Hey, c'mon." Looking up at the sound of footsteps, Robert watched as the purplette headed back to the door, pulling it open. "C'mon, Robbie."
"Where are we going?" he asked as Kaito ushered him out.
"Just come on," came the reply.
Sitting beneath the tree, Kaito sighed mentally as Robert stared off vacantly. Not seeing any food in front of the smaller student, Kai presented his own lunch and placed it before him, gaining the other's attention.
"It's yours," Rob said as he went back to staring at the school's courtyard. "You eat it."
Sucking his teeth, the purple-haired teen rose to his feet, gaining the other's attention once again. "Eat it," he said. Robbie's eyes went elsewhere. "Robert, you're going to make yourself sick if you don't eat."
"I'm not hungry."
"Eat the food!" The one in glasses looked up to see dark grey eyes glaring at him. "Eat it," Kai said jadedly, gaze softening. "I know it's not going to be five star quality, like the things he made, but you really have to eat something."
Looking up at his friend for a few more moments, Robert dropped his gaze to view the lunch he was given. "Fine, I'll eat," he murmured as he picked up the sandwich, "but what are you going to eat now?"
He shrugged. "I'll get something from the cafeteria," came his reply as he began to walk away. "And more than half of that sandwich better be eaten by the time I get back."
Looking up from the food he was currently holding, Rob watched as Kaito shot him a glance over the shoulder, eyebrow raised in an expectant manner. Bringing the sandwich up to his mouth, he took a bite as the purplette smiled before walking into the cafeteria.
Inside, Kaito crossed the crowded and bustling cafeteria, looking between the lunch lines and vending machines. Fishing through his pockets, he walked through the chattering room as he pulled out his wallet, opting to just grab a bag of chips and a bottle of juice. Bypassing a throng of talking students, he came to a halt in front of the machine to pull out his money.
"Did you hear about the Tanner kid?" Pausing in his actions for a brief moment, Kaito glanced over his shoulder to see a small group of students talking. "You know, Robert's boyfriend?"
Rolling his eyes, Kai returned to counting his money.
"He hasn't been seen in a while. I heard he went to jail."
"Well, I heard he went to court and they found him guilty."
"I heard he got the death sentence."
Kaito grimaced at that as he put his money in, glad that he had left his friend outside in the courtyard. Selecting his beverage, he stooped down to retrieve the bottle as soon as the first speaker began again.
"Neh, I heard that they actually concluded that tape to be a hoax."
The girl shrugged her shoulders as Kaito moved over to the other machine to pick out a bag of chips. "Yeah, I mean, who could pick up a dumpster? I mean, really? That's just not possible! Besides, the video was all hazy and it was so dark, even with the enhancement given by the news. Clearly it was amateurish at best."
"I don't know…"
"C'mon, in the time that he's been here, he hadn't caused any trouble. If anything, he doesn't seem like he'd be the one to kill someone."
One of the guys shrugged. " Who knows? Some people can snap, ya' know? Maybe he was one of those people."
"Oh, oh. Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde!" the other girl piped.
"Yeah…sure…" the first girl said.
"Anyway, as much talk as that tape has gotten, do you think he'd even return to this school?" the male asked skeptically. "I mean, really? If it was me I'd transfer. Maybe move away from embarrassment and probably to a place where no one would know me. Start fresh, ya' know? Furthermore-"
A hush soon settled upon the conversation, leaving Kai to look over his shoulder, suspecting he had been caught eavesdropping. His ears then picked up on the increasingly peculiar silence that had befallen the entire lunchroom. Eyes flitting about the silent room, the purplette's sight focused on the closing doors at the far end of the room.
Turning completely, Kaito heard hushed voices talking amongst themselves as he continued to look about. And as he stood there, glancing to see that the group he had been listening to disperse, his sight shifted as the students standing moved out of the way in an uneasy fashion. Seeing how the seated students squirmed uncomfortably in their seats, Kai arched a brow until he caught sight of what everyone had gone still over. Soon after, the purplette's other eyebrow shot up.
Walking around, face expressionless as ever, was the alleged killer that had held the school in a buzz for the past ten days. Dull, crimson eyes scanned about the room slowly, not really focusing on anything in particular as the raven rubbed the back of his neck. Taking note of the fretful stares, the teen went to turn to leave before he caught sight of the purplette standing on the opposite end. And knowing that the people around him would simply move, he headed towards the teen.
Holding his own ground, Kai lowered his brows and composed himself before the android came to a stop before him. "Ace-"
"Where is he?" he asked.
"Where have you-"
"Where is he?" he asked again, not leaving any room for an argument or change in subject. "Where is he, Kaito?" Grey eyes narrowed on the red ones. "I missed him…a lot, ok?"
Heaving a sigh as the PDA looked elsewhere, eyes trembling in their classic fashion; Kai scrubbed a hand down his face. "Outside," he replied, knowing that the other was focused on him once more. "Beneath the tree as usual when it's lunch time." The purplette turned to retrieve his chips. "He should be there…eating a sandwich."
Standing upright, it didn't take long for Kai to spot the PDA walking through the parting mass of people. Tucking away his wallet, he then proceeded forward, only to be cut off by the swarming crowds of questioning students that were too fearful to say anything when Ace was present. Pinching the bridge of his nose, the purplette wished the rest of the student body would just leave him alone about his brief conversation after lunch, if not school for that matter.
Looking up from the sandwich he had taken four bites from, Robert watched as other students flocked to the windows and the doors leading back into to building. He was a bit curious to what they were all looking at but he opted to stay seated. Pulling out his phone, he glanced at the time, seeing how he still had another twenty minutes in his lunch period.
Setting the food aside, he drank some of the water before rifling through his bag, pulling out his notebook as well as pencil. Reaching over, he picked up the text book and work Kai had left out for him. Opening the book, Robert flipped through the pages, ignoring how quiet the chatter around the area had gotten. Picking up the pencil, he brought his knees up to rest the notebook on them before picking up the work his friend had done. Hearing the faintest sound of grass being stepped on, he lifted his sight from the book for a brief moment prior tofocusing on the words printed once more. And not hearing any words, the pinkette sighed, guessing Kai was studying what he had eaten.
"Kai, I just…wasn't that hungry, ok?" he muttered as he jotted down a few equations. When nothing was said, Robbie furrowed his brow as he turned a page. "It was good though." He continued to work, hoping for some kind rebuttal. "Kai-"
Looking up, hazel eyes watched as the tall, violet-haired student made his way past the rest of the encircling students.
As he continued forward, confusion made itself known across the pinkette's face. Watching as smoky eyes drifted off to the right, Rob turned his head a bit to the left to see a seated raven with red streaks sitting beside him. Turning his head completely, the teen gawked at the android as he turned to face him, dark red eyes as vacant as ever, before a smile began to stretch across his handsome face.
"A-Ace?" he stammered, cheeks flushing a shade that almost matched his hair.
"Did you miss me?" the PDA asked as he tilted his head at a slight angle. "I missed you a l-"
Arms wrapping around his shoulders had burgundy pools lighting up as the pinkette hugged him tighter, resting his head just below Ace's chin. Pulling the arms off his shoulders, Ace set them down at Robert's sides prior to sliding a finger under the teen's chin, raising it. Head still tilted in its original angle, the android blinked as hazel eyes started to tremble.
Shifting his gaze, the raven focused on the hand resting gently on his cheek before following it as it moved up to his forehead. Feeling his hair being brushed aside, he sat still as fingers ghosted over the area that had obtained the bullet wound. Opting to stay quiet as the pinkette slid his hand down to feel along the PDA's side, in attempts to locate the stab wounds or any other injuries, Ace's hearing was met with the sound of a relieved sigh.
"You…you were gone f-for ten days…" Robert muttered as he looked up at the android's face. "D-did they…hurt you?" The red-eyed teen shook his head slowly. "Are…are you sure?"
"I'm fine," he replied, giving a breathtaking smile. "It's nice to see you a-"
A small, chaste kiss had the project falling silently as he watched the smaller student pull away. Dark eyes shifting to regard the gasping crowd for a brief moment, Ace then focused on the bashful teen that had went back to hugging him again.
"I'm so glad you're back," Rob murmured. "I missed you so much."
Looking out the window as it continued to rain that Friday afternoon, Kaito turned his attention to the row of red rubber balls lining the center court after the coach blew the whistle. Opting not to run forward to grab any as the rest of his team did, he glanced over to see the raven staying back as well, his expression holding nothing but boredom; the same look when he was not with Robert.
It had been that way for the past two weeks since the PDA's return. He wasn't laughing and he wasn't being obnoxiously showy like he had been when he had first started attending the purplette's gym class. If anything, it appeared that he had closed himself off, not bothering to do anything unless a trigger was present.
Red eyes shifted to stare at the player a few paces away. Eyebrow arched when nothing else was said, Ace turned his head slowly to pin the pinkette's best friend with a blank stare. Being matched with the same look, anxiousness not even present in the grey eyes, a slight smirk pulled in the corner of the raven's mouth. Watching as Kaito's gaze shifted, the PDA held his hand up and out, catching the ball that was meant to hit him in the side. Not bothering to look at the thing, he then threw it back before walking towards the purplette.
Sidestepping a few more of the round projectiles thrown his way, Ace finally came to a stop, smirk still in place as he caught the latest ball thrown at him. "What is it, Kaito?"
Watching as the raven threw the ball back, hitting one of the opponents on the other side, Kai noticed something different. Seeing how the android had narrowed his eyes to a slight degree, he took a step back, putting space between them as well as avoiding one of the balls. Catching another, Kaito threw it back before watching the PDA walk around him, coming to a complete stop in front.
Stepping to the right, the purplette watched as Ace followed suit. "What?" Kai asked exasperatedly. The PDA shrugged one shoulder. "Then move." The small smirk upon the black-haired teen's face grew. "Move!"
"Ok," Ace said as he stepped aside.
Glaring at him for just a moment, Kaito then faced forward before catching a glimpse of red. From there, everything just went dark.
"No head shots!" the coach shouted before blowing the whistle, pointing at one of the students from the opposing side. "You're out!"
"Well, if that's the case, he's out too," the raven stated as he tapped Kai in the shoulder with his shoe.
Hurrying over, the gym teacher stood beside Ace as the rest of the students gathered around to stare at the downed player. Noting the reddening, circular imprint left on the teen's face, the coach pinched the bridge of his nose before looking at the player that had thrown the ball.
"I expect to see you in my office after you take Neroma to the infirmary."
Watching as students parted to give space, Ace knelt down to give assistance. "I'll help too," he said as he sat the purplette up.
With the help from the other, he managed to get Kai onto his feet before his help ran into the gym's office to grab the wheelchair stationed there. Waiting, Ace lightly tapped Kai on the cheek until he started to come around.
"Wha-?" Bringing a hand up slowly, Kai rubbed his nose before jerking his hand away. "Damn it," he murmured as he felt a thin stream of blood trickling down to his upper lip.
"I got the chair."
Looking towards the wheelchair, Ace adjusted the arm draped over his shoulder. "He's conscious enough to walk, right, Kai?"
"Mnn…yeah, I guess," he replied, pressing a finger against the line of red.
"Kai, hey, I'm real sorry."
Tilting his head in the direction of the voice, the violet-haired teen nodded. "It's fine," he said, "just a bit of blood." He winced at the sting and growing pain. "And headache."
"Go to the nurse," the coach said.
"Ok, ok," he said, slowly making his way to the door.
"I'll go too to make sure he gets there ok," Ace piped in as he hurried after the purplette.
Opening the door for the both of them, the PDA escorted the injured teen out before glancing over his shoulder at the sound of the door closing. Content with being alone in the halls, he followed behind Kaito, sliding his hand through his dual-colored hair.
"Who fixed you?"
Looking over his shoulder, Kai gave a long sideways glance at the PDA. "Who. Fixed. You."
"What's it to you?" Ace asked as he walked by, using one hand to tilt the purplette's head back. "And keep your head up, you're going to get blood everywhere."
Lowering his head, Kai covered his nose with one hand as he tailed the departing android. "Where did you go?"
"Again, what's it to you?"
Gritting his teeth, wincing as he did so, Kaito grabbed the back of his classmate's shirt. He had expected the other to stop, even look over his shoulder to give a menacing stare, yet he was not expecting the PDA to turn, grab his wrist and push him against the wall. He winced again at the sudden movement of having his hand held above his head.
"Why?" Ace asked, steadily squeezing tighter on the wrist he had captured.
Uncovering his nose, Kai reached up to free his hand though that was simply captured by the other and held up as well. Looking up at his bound hands then at the ones holding them, grey eyes flitted between the pair before focusing on the out of place grin that was on Ace's face.
"You know, I really don't like you," the purplette stated as he looked up at his captured hands again.
"Oh, really?" The smile broadened. "Well, that's a shame because I really like you."
Grimacing at the remark, Kai shifted to at least right himself. When that didn't go as planned, he looked back down to face the raven. "I don't like you."
"And why is that?" he asked, squeezing hard enough to feel the other's bones shift and rub together. "Is it because I have your hands above your head or was it because I let you get hit in the face with the ball?" Ace chuckled. "That was actually kinda' funny." Kai scowled. "Is it because I'm-"
"It's because you had Robert worried about your uppity ass." The PDA's smile faltered. "He wouldn't do anything; homework, play videogames, eat for that matter." Looking up at his hands as he felt his bones grind together, Kai's lip curled up. "Let go of my wrists, Ace."
"Think I'll break them if I don't?" he asked, grin growing again. "Worried that-"
A knee to the gut then a foot catching him in the chest had the PDA staggering back. With his hands free, Kai rubbed his wrists gingerly before wiping away the drying blood on his face. Eyes glued on the raven that had doubled over, the purplette took a step forward.
"Who fixed you?"
"What's it to you?" Ace questioned as he stood up, meeting the other's gaze. "I mean you said-"
"Who. Fixed. You," Kaito asked, enunciating each word, bringing a slightly manic grin to the android's face.
"Because whoever did did a shitty job," Kai snapped. "Not only are you uppity, you're a hazard to everyone, including-no, especially Robert."
Lightly rubbing the reddened area of his face, the purplette winced prior to walking down the hall. He stopped when he heard footsteps walking behind him. Glancing over his shoulder he saw no one but, as he turned around, he came face to face with a pair of narrowed, crimson eyes.
Hearing the slightest sound of fabric rustling, the purplette took a step back, bracing himself against the leg that was swung his way. Foot connecting with the side of his forearm, Kai slid back a few inches before his arm fell back to his side, dark eyes glaring daggers at the PDA before he straightened, knowing that good chances were that his bones were fractured.
"I don't like you."
"You've told me that," Ace replied.
"Good, that means you were listening," Kaito said, "so keep doing that. I don't know what the hell they did to you while you were gone but I'm watching you." Touching the tip of his sore nose, he winced at the lingering sting before walking around the PDA and down the hall. "You slip up and Robert gets hurt in any way, physically, emotionally, or mentally, I'll personally find a way to get rid of you permanently."
Watching as the infuriated teen walked away, readjusting the band that kept back his long, violet strands, Ace gawked for a brief moment before a slight smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth. By the time Kai had rounded the corner, a manic, face-splitting grin was on the PDA's tan face. Even as he heard the faintest sound of ringing in his head, it didn't falter.
Sliding two fingers behind his ear, the android leaned up against the wall and stared up at the ceiling as he heard the sound of ringing again. "Hello?" he said, a smile in his voice.
"You sound rather...chipper?"
The red-streaked raven ran a hand through his hair before focusing on the lights above. "That's because I just had an encounter with the most interesting person ever."
"And why do find this person 'interesting'?"
"He yelled at me," he replied giddily. "Hell, he threatened me even." Red eyes then lowered to stare out at the wall ahead. "This might sound crazy but, I think I might be in love." Processing the words, the PDA erupted into laughter as he remembered the purplette's heated gaze. "Ha, I think I might've fallen in love with Kaito!"