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Begin Again

Chapter Text

Poke.

Poke.

Poke.

A quiet sigh leaves Fyodor as he slaps the hand that's been poking his cheek away, pulling the patchwork blanket over his head soon enough with a tired groan. This, however, only seems to displease his tormentor and lead them into the next horrible act.

POP QUIZ! How long until you get out from there? The countdown starts.. now!” That was all warning the raven haired boy was given before he felt fingers grip at his side, moving soon to tickle him as his roommate burst into a fit of giggles. He tries to stay composed, but his legs start kicking before too long and breathy laugher follows before he rolls out of bed and onto the floor to escape the other's cruelty.

Sitting up, he is first met with the image of a smiling Krusty The Clown printed on a baby pink shirt, and soon enough with the face of his roommate, Nikolai, whose hair was still a terrible mess, dark circles still visible. Seems he hasn't taken care of his makeup routine yet.

“A minute, that's a new record!” The blond smiled excitedly, lifting his arms up in the air as if celebrating.

“I would prefer if you stopped giving me reasons to raise the score.”

“Aww! But that's the only way to get you out of bed on Mondays!” Fyodor hates that he can't really disagree there. With yet another sigh, he stands up and walks over to the bathroom, opening the mirror cabinet to grab a bottle of iron pills before setting them on the sink counter. It was considerably lighter..

“Kolya, we'll have to go to the apothecary soon. My pills have almost run out.” The remark is loud, but blank in its tone, disinterested as Fyodor always was before his morning coffee or at least 8 AM.

“Got it, got it~! We can go after class today, if you want! We could go to McDonald's too!” The usual joy of his friend makes him smile as he focuses on the task at hand.

“Sure, why not?” Taking his cup, a plastic one with an image of a cute cartoon rat on it, he fills it with water and takes a pill as he does every morning.

By the time he's done, he hears footsteps in the bathroom and Nikolai's reflection in the mirror follows soon after. He seemed to be in his undershirt now, brushing through his hair as he walked.

Taking his own hairbrush, he steps away from the sink, sitting on the edge of the bathtub as he began brushing his hair as well. Meanwhile, Nikolai already began braiding his own and the raven couldn't help but observe quietly as he worked on his own.

“You know,” Nikolai began, already nearing the last section of his braid. He was rather quick with his hands.. “I had one of those nightmares again.”

Fyodor stops his hand, staring at Nikolai as his eyes widen for a moment before he continues as normal.

“Is that so? What was it about?”

Already done with his braid, the blond starts rummaging through his cosmetic bag that always stood on the counter before speaking up again.

“It was super weird! There was this guy who had his skin all peeled off and stuff! Arranged into a suit, no less! Ugh, there was blood everywhere!” He complained as he went about applying concealer over the corners of his dark circles.

“That does sound rather.. grotesque. Is there anything else you can remember?” Fyodor asked, running his fingers through his hair before setting the hairbrush where it belonged.

“I was laughing, I guess. I don't really get it.. Ah man, I should really quit it with horror before bedtime!” And they both knew it was a lie, but they kept it silent as they have been doing for a long while now.

Lastly, Nikolai finally draws that line over his left eye, a stylistic choice, and smiles at his reflection. Fyodor finally stands up from the edge of the tub, only to be met with a smug look from his roommate.

“Last to get dressed pays the McDonald's!” And with that, he rushes out of the bathroom like an excited child, and frankly..

Fyodor doesn't mind losing some money for this kind of cheer to remain by his side.

Chapter Text

“Hey, Fedya?”

“Mm?” Was the only reply offered from Fyodor as the two walked on their way to the school building, and so his eyes were focused on the road before him instead of Nikolai. Nikolai didn't seem to mind this time, so it probably wasn't anything terribly important or serious.

“I heard that the school's detective club is getting serious, you know? Maybe we should do something with our group too, it sounds fun!” The enthusiasm with which the other spoke had Fyodor's brows raising for a moment before furrowing in thought.

His thumb moves to his lips, and with the first click of him biting his nail, he feels Nikolai's hand suddenly snatch it away, holding onto it.

“We said no nail biting, Fedya. Your fingertips are all ruined because of that!” The words were accompanied by a childish pout from the blond, and the raven can only sigh as he takes proper hold of his friend's hand to make the position of it more comfortable.

“Right, right.. Sorry about that. Anyways..” As always, he is quick to shift the focus from his mistakes and move on. “Hm.. We could-”

 

Help.

Help people.

That is a God's duty.

 

“...Say, have you considered a do-gooder club?”

“Do-gooder?”

“Yes..” His gaze as he talks is distant, and Nikolai knows better than to speak up yet. “We could help people. Pick up trash, help teachers and students, and just.. Help.” He slows to a stop then, finally looking up at Nikolai.

A quiet moment passes, and then Nikolai scratches the back of his head with a sigh of his own. “Ah, well! Is that what you'd like to do? I'm not really all up for the public service kind of-”

“You'd get to make people happy, and meet a lot of new people.” Fyodor cut in, and Nikolai was quick to widen his eyes before looking away soon enough, a gentle pink tint to his cheeks.

“W.. well.. When you put it like that.. Do I get to make surveys if we make any, though? I reserve the question writing duty, or I'm out!” His hands on his hips, he exclaims proudly with all the confidence a 17 years old theatre kid can have.

“Certainly, I wouldn't miss your silly questions for the world.”

“Hey! They're not that bad!”

“Sure, if you say so.” A chuckle followed that, Fyodor finally began to move again and Nikolai was quick to follow, their hands still holding onto each other.

"What do you-”

“Dostoevsky! Good morning!” A cheerful greeting interrupted the blond, drawing both boys’ attention towards the source of the voice that has become a routine by now.

In the direction of the voice was Ivan, a bottle of iced tea in his hand and the other waving their way from where he stood. It seems he was sitting at the small lunch area near the entrance, Shibusawa was next to him, his earphones on as he was reading what seemed to be a textbook.

“Oh, good morning. You two are early today, aren't you?” As per usual, Fyodor took to greeting the joyful junior student who was quick to approach them.

“Yes, we are! Shibusawa insisted that we should come early because it's easier to study here and he has a grade to fix today!”

“Eh?! Shibusawa has to fix a grade? That's unbelievable! Has the doomsday finally decided to befall us?!” Nikolai exclaimed with his usual taste for the dramatic, placing a hand on his forehead as he dramatically leaned back and closed his eyes.

“Nikolai's theatrics aside, what happened?” Even Fyodor was genuinely curious, for someone as diligent as Tatsuhiko to fail a test it must have been quite something.

“He got into an argument with the teacher-”

“Oh, yikes! Was it Fitzgerald?” Nikolai was quick to ask, moving in closer and leaning towards Ivan with disregard for personal space that was, luckily, corrected by Fyodor gently pulling him back by his shirt collar.

“Yes, it was. Shibusawa thought it was a good idea to begin philosophical discussions on the subject of 'the pointlessness of material goods to humans’.. And, well, you know how Mr. Fitzgerald is when it's about material possessions..” His gaze drifted off to the side, his fingers idly playing with what hair fell over his shoulder.

“He is foolish when it's about that, that's all there is to it.” Tatsuhiko spoke suddenly, it seems he took his earphones out when no one was paying attention. “And childish.” he soon added. “He had no reason to make me take a verbal exam for that, and yet he did, out of sheer spite and hurt pride. But that's to be expected..”

“I suppose it is.” Fyodor shrugged his shoulders somewhat, looking at the stoic faced boy who didn't quite bother with facing the group, yet they all knew he was listening. Studying was just more important at the moment. “Still, you should be more careful, especially when you expect results like that. Isn't it bothersome to study more than you have to?”

A moment of silence followed and then a shrug similar to his own was given in reply.

“I don't really care much.” That was all Tatsuhiko said, and none of them needed more than that.

“Well, we'll be going now, the first class we have is with Mr. Mori and I'd rather not be late.” The raven spoke after a little while, pulling gently on Nikolai's hand to get him to move along. Luckily, he obliged without complaints.

“Oh, and..” Right as he was by the gate, he spoke, causing Ivan to stop and turn halfway on his way to the seat he had before.

“Yes, Dostoevsky?” His eagerness couldn't be helped, maybe it was a personal request..

“I would like it if everyone could gather here after class today, that's all.” And that is indeed all he says before slipping past the entrance with Nikolai once the instructions have been given. Well.. it was more of a request, but something told him Ivan wouldn't refuse it.

Chapter Text

“Yosano, please stand up.” Ougai's voice rang out as he turned around to face the students once he finished the illustration of the human brain on the board. Akiko, although somewhat bitterly, did as told.

“Yes, sir?” Her tone was as pleasant as always, though obviously polite only for the sake of courtesy.

With his usual pleasant smile, Ougai steps to the side of the illustration and holds out the marker he used. “Would you please mark the parts of the brain for the class? Surely, that won't be a problem for you.”

“Of course not, sir.” It was no difficult request for her, the whole class knew, but everyone knew just as much that she didn't want to do anything this teacher asked unless it was absolutely necessary. To her misfortune, it was, and so she quietly makes her way to the board.

She marks each part diligently while Ougai asks students at random about them. Fyodor pays little attention to the ordeal until his name is called. Quietly, he stands up and awaits the question while the teacher hums with his eyes looking at the illustration.

"Amygdala. Won't you tell us a little about it, Dostoevsky?” There goes his famous close eyed smile he had whenever he was questioning students, as if he took some special kind of enjoyment in it.

“Of course. Amygdala is the part of the human brain responsible for-”

‘All your sadness and fear. So we'll remove it, as you wish.’

“Yes? Is there a problem?” It was Ougai's voice that brought Fyodor back to reality. With a sigh, the boy shook his head.

“No, sir. As I was saying, this part of the brain is responsible for the feelings of fear, arousal, emotional and autonomic responses as well as hormonal secretions responsible for emotions.” His voice is blank as he speaks, but his tone is of little importance here.

“Excellent, you may sit down.” At the permission, he is quick to take his seat though he doesn't have much time to catch his breath before he feels a finger poking his back.

“Fedya?” The quiet whisper doesn't make him turn his head to face Nikolai, but he answers nonetheless.

“Yes?”

“Are you alright? Is the anemia acting up again or something?” He sounded.. worried, Fyodor felt a slight warmth in his chest at that. It was always like that when Nikolai expressed concern for him, and it always made him more at ease about being honest. This time was no exception.

“No, it's.. one of those things again. I heard the voice again.” His tone is quiet, but there is a certain uneasiness to it that the blond doesn't miss out on.

“What did it say? The God stuff again?” The voice was closer, seems Nikolai leaned in over his desk.

“Something about..” A small gulp filled the pause. “..Removing someone's amygdala.”

“Huh?! So it does loboto-”

“Gogol, I see you're willing to answer the next question.” Ougai interrupts the shocked boy who's quick to stand up, knocking over his chair in the process which causes some students to laugh as Fyodor rests his face on his palm with a sigh.

“Well, you see-” He tries to make an excuse as he scratches the back of his head, but the teacher is having none of it.

“I see the prefrontal cortex of the brain, Gogol, and I'm hoping to see your answer as to what it does.” The absolute fiend continues with a smile.

“Right! Uhh..” His hand moves to knock on his forehead, as if to make his brain work like it was a malfunctioning television. “Waaas it.. impulse control, maybe?”

“Correct, to some extent. It's also responsible for judgement, emotional and aggression regulation, planning and reasoning. It's what helps you reach the optimal and logical solution to situations you face, though yours aren't fully developed yet.” Ougai explains before gesturing for Nikolai to sit down again and turning towards Akiko to finally dismiss her from the board.

Nikolai hurries to pick the chair back up and put it in place before settling down with a groan of annoyance that, frankly, made Fyodor chuckle a little bit.

“That was close.” He comments under his breath and Nikolai offers a defeated sigh.

“Tell me about it..!” The conversation died there, both of them concentrating on Ougai who now had both hands on his desk, waiting for the class to be quiet.

“Now then,” the teacher continues. “Your homework would be..”