Um... I don't gave much to say about this one besides that it has spoilers for the Bakaleya movie, so don't read it if you haven't seen the movie and don't want to be spoiled! Only two weeks until the movie release, anyway~ Hopefully this icon doesn't make things awkward |D;
title: Alike in Dignity
pairing: Sakuragi Ren/Mashima Kenji (Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou)
word count: 1,295
author's note: SPOILERS for the movie! I wanted to give a little glimpse into what things used to be like for Ren and Kenji. The title is from Romeo and Juliet, lol, yes, I know, I suck.
summary: They're alike in so many ways, really, only from opposite sides, which is where the problem lies.
Tatsuya is sleeping soundly when Ren slips out of bed; Ren makes sure not to wake him as he dresses quietly in the dark. The fact that Ren is sneaking out in the middle of the night is supposed to be a secret, after all, but more importantly, he knows Tatsuya needs his rest. He's a growing boy, after all, a fourteen year old with a small body but big ambitions and big dreams, and Ren loves him more than words can say, would do anything to protect him and take care of him. But now Tatsuya is sleeping soundly, his round face relaxed and deceptively angelic from where it sticks out from beneath the covers, and Ren can't help but smile as he glances at his brother for one more moment before opening the door to the balcony and letting himself out.
It's a bit of a drop from balcony of their second-floor apartment, but the building is set into a hill and low enough to the ground that Ren can climb down with no real trouble. The rubber soles of his boots hit the ground without much sound and absorb the shock of the fall; he rarely changes out of uniform on any given school day, but now, he's dressed causally, in jeans and an old t-shirt, his hair in a ponytail and a leather jacket shielding his arms from the chill of the evening. It wouldn't do, after all, for anyone to spot him as a Makada student tonight, it wouldn't be good to get into a fight, or worse, to see his friends. He's always been a natural leader, attracted plenty of friends and companions, but tonight, he needs to remain alone, to keep unseen. It's a little lonely, he thinks, but he supposes that's the way it has to be, for now, anyway. Sometime down the line, in a few years, maybe when they're graduated, he'll find a way to turn things around, but for now, it has to be this way. For now, the others just wouldn't understand.
The early May air is cool but pleasant enough around him as he walks briskly towards his destination; all the regular places are too dangerous, every conbini crowded with other high school thugs, every izakaya and fast food restaurant smattered with his classmates from Makada. But Ren doesn't particularly want to be beneath the bright white lights of the corner Family Mart or crowded into a bar with drunken salarymen anyway, and so, as he approaches the empty park at the end of the block, deserted now that it's far past bedtime, he can't help but smile to himself. His pace quickens, and with each step, he peers ahead into the darkness, trying to make out the lone figure seated on a bench that he can't quite see but knows is there. And sure enough, as he gets closer, he spots the bleach-blonde hair (a recent development) and slender form he's expecting, and he can't help but hurry even more, his pace almost to a run before slowing down a few feet away, dropping to a nonchalant saunter as he seats himself on the bench beside the pale, skinny boy his age, nudging him in the side and giving him a lopsided grin in greeting.
"You're late," his companion whines, giving Ren a pout in return. With delicate features and fair skin and a slender frame, Mashima Kenji doesn't seem like a contender for leadership at one of the strongest high schools in the city, but then again, Ren thinks to himself with a smile, there's a lot about Kenji that doesn't show on the surface. Sometimes, Ren likes to fancy that he's the only person who really understands Kenji; certainly, Kenji has plenty of friends at Kikunaga High, just like Ren has his posse at Makada, but there's something different, something special about Kenji, something that has drawn him to Ren rather than any of the other boys at his school. After all, it's the same for Ren; he knows that most of his group expect him to end up with Kajiwara (Kajiwara himself, in fact, seems to be under this impression, and while he's Ren's best friend, Ren knows it's not going to happen), and that half of them would probably turn their backs on him they knew he was carrying on with a boy from another school. That's just how it is, he supposes, in the circles they run in, but it's hard, sometimes, to have to hide the truth from everyone, from all of his friends, even from his little brother…
But right now isn't a time for those thoughts; right now, here with Kenji, he only has a few minutes, an hour at most, and he can't bear the thought of wasting a single second. And so he shrugs in response, bumping their shoulders together again and responding, "What fun would it be if I did everything right?"
Kenji snorts. "More like if you did anything right," he responds, but he's smiling a little now, thin lips drawn up at the corners. "What would your friends think if they saw you here?"
"Che-" Ren clicks his tongue, slouching into the bench a little too close to Kenji's side. "Like I care." Only, of course, he does care, or else he wouldn't be here now, in the dead of the night. He wants to do things right, the way the upperclassmen do, wants to go out to chain restaurants with Kenji, to kiss him in alleyways and lean on him after fights, but it's out of the question right now, and both of them know it. Kenji tends to be a pessimist, but while his long face is pretty, Ren would rather see him smile, and he changes the subject.
"Word on the street is we're coming to your place on Wednesday," he comments, looking up from where he's leaning to catch Kenji's eye. "Better hide, I'd hate to bruise up that pretty face of yours."
It's Kenji's turn to click his tongue, and he elbows Ren in the head slightly harder than Ren would have liked. "Like you could lay a hand on me," he responds, he tone haughty, but of course, there's no bite. When their schools bring them into a fight against one another, they fight earnestly enough, but even still, it feels like a time-filler, like they're just waiting until the fight is over, until their high school careers are over, until they've saved up enough to move in together and open a garage, like they've been talking about, like they've been dreaming about. If they were really to fight, Ren thinks, who knows who would come out on top; skinny and pretty as he is, Kenji is the strongest person Ren's met, and, he thinks, there would be no way to find a winner between them. They're alike in so many ways, really, only from opposite sides, which is where the problem lies.
But it's a small problem, anyway, and right now, Ren is happy just to be here on this park bench with the boy with whom he shares food and feelings and kisses, this boy who he might even love. And so he only shrugs again, straightening to slip an arm around Kenji's waist. "Is that a dare?" he asks teasingly, squeezing Kenji's side just a little, just enough to make Kenji squirm.
"Shut up," Kenji replies with a roll of his eyes, leaning in to grab Ren's face in one hand and pull him into a kiss. And Ren can't help but smirk against his lips for a second, before he loses himself into the kiss altogether, because no matter what side they're on, he thinks, they really are alike.