title: 半端ない (“not half-assed”)
pairing: Sakuragi Ren x Mashima Kenji (Tama and Uchi’s characters in Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou)
warnings: The characters portrayed in a romantic relationship in this fic are 16/17. However, there’s no explicit content, and the actors were both adults at the time they played the characters.
word count: 1,395
author’s note: I rewatched Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou recently, and I was inspired! This pairing was somewhat interesting to me at the time I saw the movie back in 2012, but I think five years later, they stood out to me even more. The details of their relationship are extremely vague in the movie, so this is sort of a little glimpse into my idea of a possible backstory for them. By the way, I think this is clear in the movie, but “KikuKou” is the abbreviation the characters use for “Kikunaga High School” (Kikunaga Koukou). The phrasing “not half-assed” is my best delinquenty-sounding translation for “hanpa nai”, which the characters often say in the drama, but it really sounds less goofy and more romantic in Japanese, so I’m sorry about that. |D;; Written for shiritori @ writetomyheart!
summary: Admitting that he’d fallen in love with Sakuragi Ren was the easy part, Kenji thinks, it’s figuring out what to do from there that’s the difficult part.
Admitting that he’d fallen in love with Sakuragi Ren was the easy part, Kenji thinks as he lies in Ren’s arms in the grass in the early hours of the morning, it’s figuring out what to do from there that’s the difficult part. There’s just something about Ren that made it impossible not to fall in love with him in some way or another, something about the way he speaks in riddles that made it seem like he can read minds, the heat in his eyes when he’s fighting with everything he has, the way his touch feels somehow at once both gentle and unwavering whenever he grabs Kenji by the shoulders and kisses him, and even Kenji, in his steadfast determination to be responsible and do what was right by his obligations, can’t help but admit that his heart has been stolen. It doesn’t matter that Ren is supposed to be his mortal enemy, a student at Makada High School, the rival school to Kenji’s own Kikunaga High, it doesn’t matter that amidst his part time job at a garage and responsibilities taking care of his younger brother while their parents work several jobs to support them and commitment to KikuKou’s gang as they struggled to prove that they’re the strongest high school in their little town, Kenji doesn’t even really have time to be meeting a secret boyfriend down by the river under a bridge late at night once he’s put his brother to bed… seeing Ren, being able to spend a few hours alone together, exchanging words and kisses and more, doesn’t feel optional, if the way his heart aches every time he thinks about Ren while they’re apart is any indication. Kenji considers himself to be a fairly strong-willed person, but when it comes to Ren, things are different. He’s in love, and Ren loves him back, and there’s nothing to be done about it.
But how to go on with that knowledge, that’s the difficult part. Their relationship had started in such a whirlwind that it’s hard for Kenji to remember exactly what had happened; they’d fought against one another with their respective schools a few times since the start of their high school careers in April, but then sometime in September, they’d bumped into one another on the street, away from their friends and their gangs, and what had started out as a fistfight had somehow ended in kissing. And when they’d heard the voices of Makada guys approaching, when Ren had the option to cast Kenji aside, instead, he’d grabbed him by the wrist with those strong hands and run with Kenji trailing behind as his mind struggled to catch up with the beating of his heart. It’s been about a month since then, but the way Kenji’s heart races and his knees go weak when Ren shoves him against the wall of the support of the bridge and kisses him hasn’t changed in the slightest, and he knows that right here with Ren is where he wants to be.
But that doesn’t change that their relationship is a secret and has to remain that way for the remainder of their high school careers, doesn’t change the fact that during the day, they’re rivals, fighting for dominance in the high school delinquent scene. It doesn’t change the fact that Kenji is going to have to meet and quite probably exchange blows with Ren when their schools meet in brawls around town, a fact that had been proven to him earlier that same day, when the KikuKou gang had charged Makada looking for a fight. Kenji had told himself that there were tons of Makada students and the chances of him seeing Ren were slim to none… but then, of course, he’d turned around after toppling an opponent to find Ren right behind him, fist raised and that passionate look in his eyes and Kenji suddenly felt like he was the one who had been knocked out. Ren had frozen just as Kenji had, but surrounded by their classmates, they hadn’t had any choice but to keep up appearances, and so they’d done their best to exchange a few blows before escaping into an empty classroom. Away from any possible scrutiny, Kenji had had in mind to say any number of things, but somehow, with Ren, he always seemed to totally lose his mind, and despite the risk involved, they’d somehow ended up kissing right there in that empty room in Makada before Ren had had to leave.
Kenji had spent the rest of the day sighing over the few bruises Ren had left on him; even in a fight, something about the way Ren put his heart into everything he did made Kenji feel like he was falling all over again. And then when they’d met under the bridge earlier in the evening, enveloped in the white noise of cars driving above them, they hadn’t been able to keep their hands off one another— at 16, Kenji struggles to find the words to express his feelings, but from the way Ren kisses him, touches him, pulls him close as if he’s never going to let go, Kenji feels that maybe Ren understands without saying anything, anyway. And now here they lay in the grass, side by side, shoulders pressed against one another, and Kenji knows he should say we need to be careful or I ought to get home soon or anything that might be even mildly responsible, but when he turns to look at Ren, all he can think is I love you, I love you, I love you.
But even that’s hard to put into words (or maybe harder), and so instead, he tangles his fingers with Ren’s and quietly says, “Your punches earlier weren’t half-assed.”
Ren laughs that warm, all-enveloping laugh that he has, and the look of sheer happiness on his face is enough to make Kenji feel like his heart is melting out of his chest. “Yours too,” Ren replies, squeezing Kenji’s hand tight, and Kenji doesn’t know whether he wants to laugh or cry to have found someone he loves so much with every inch of his being. But even despite his struggle to express his feelings, he can’t help but smile back; it’s impossible not to smile when Ren looks at him that way, and Kenji doesn’t want to try to hold it back, anyway.
“Your smile’s not half-assed, either,” Ren adds with that look in his eye, knocking all the breath out of Kenji all over again, more than any punch. It feels as if his entire world is being lit up brighter than all the stars in the night sky, but he doesn’t know how to deal with that, and so even as he feels his cheeks growing hot, he shoves Ren a little and grumbles, “Shut up, what the hell are you even talking about, idiot!”
But Ren only grins, letting Kenji shove him before using the inetia to roll back onto his knees on top of Kenji, looking down at him from above. The way his long, bleached hair hangs around his cheeks is picturesque, like a famous painting or maybe a prince charming, but more than that, the look in Ren’s dark eyes, so warm and so full of love, makes Kenji lose all his senses, and before he realizes what he’s saying, “Everything about you isn’t half-assed,” is coming out of his mouth, and as embarrassing as it is, he means every word.
Ren practically glows at him for a whole minute that Kenji feels is the most perfect moment in the world, but then he’s leaning in again, pressing a kiss to his lips that makes Kenji feel somehow weak and strong all at the same time. Despite the chill of the October air, Kenji feels nothing but warmth; despite the darkness of the night, Kenji feels nothing but light, and as he kisses Ren back gently but firmly, he thinks, come what may, there’s nothing he can do. Even if he has to keep it a secret at school, even if he has to rearrange his already busy life, he loves Ren, and no matter what, he’ll do what it takes to be together.