Episode 1: That moment when Shoma finds out that the art of making friends, was not actually part of some satanic ritual that Itsuki had made up for the last 18 years of his pathetic life.
“Here idiot, you’re forgetting your charger inside the car.”
Shoma turned around to see Itsuki’s hand poking out of the car window. He couldn’t wait to get rid of the kid.
‘Okay, not really but maybe some space would be appreciated after all these years.’
“Thanks, loser. That wouldn’t have been nice.” He grabbed the charger, throwing it his backpack’s side pocket, before facing his brother once again. “Don’t make mom and dad’s life a living hell now that I won’t be there.”
“Unlikely. I’m their favorite child anyway, so everything will be okay.”
To anyone else, it would’ve looked like they hated each other, and couldn’t stand to be in each other’s presence for more than ten minutes, but Shoma knew that Itsuki was putting up a front, just like he was pretending himself.
Shoma, as Itsuki had always said, had the social ability of a tree, a very hollow and old tree, so his younger brother had always been his best friend. They had spent quite some time talking about how life was going to change for the both of them when Shoma left for University and, even though they had done their best to prepare themselves for the separation, the Uno brothers knew it was going to be so very strange to go on for so long without each other.
Shoma’s train of thought was interrupted by his mother hugging the life out of him.
'Now, this is something I’m not going to miss.’
“I can’t believe my baby is all grown up and leaving home to go to college! Oh, it seems like just yesterday you were prancing around in tiny trainers begging us to take you to the park and now…”
‘Here we go.’
He looked around and let out a quiet prayer under his breath. Apparently, nobody cared that one of the freshmen’s mom was making a scene in front of the dorms. People just went by them and didn’t even look at the spectacle twice. Almost like it was the most boring and normal thing to happen.
“Mom, you’re embarrassing me,” Shoma said out loud, but hugged his mother closer, enjoying the comfort her embrace gave him.
“Shush, I’m your mother, embarrassing you is my job.” She broke the contact and leaned back, grabbing his cheeks. “Are you sure you don’t want us to help you get settled?”
‘Only if I want to be mocked for the rest of my life…’
“Nah, it’s okay, I don’t have that many things anyway, I’ll be okay on my own. You should start heading back so you can get home before it’s dark.”
From inside the car, Itsuki scoffed, “It's not even noon and you know you can actually drive cars at night right? It’s not like it’s a carriage and you need to-”
“I will miss you too, Itsuki.”
They didn’t need to say anything else, both brothers looked at each for the last time until they could be reunited again and it was all it took to get their message across. Like it always had been between them.
‘I will miss you like crazy.’
‘Take care. I love you.’
His mom gave him one last hug, his dad patted his shoulder and before he knew it they all had climbed back into the car, and he was waving goodbye as he watched them drive away from the pavement, where he was standing next to the trolley that had his things stacked on top, rather precariously at that.
It all happened to fast. One moment he was imagining how his school life would turn out to be, and in the next one, he was alone with only his thoughts for company.
Shoma sighed, shaking his head as he took the campus’ map out of his pocket and started to push the trolley towards his dorm building.
‘Let’s just get this over with.’
It took Shoma ten minutes to realize that he was kind of lost. Just kind of.
Okay, he was really lost, and he had no idea where to go.
“Hi! Are you okay? Do you need any help?” Shoma turned around to see a boy that looked about his age, carrying what looked like a stack of hangers, looking at him curiously.
‘Amazing. My first day here and I already look like a child in need of rescuing.’
“Hmmm, actually I do. Do you, by any chance, know how to get to building 4? That’s the dorm building I’ve been assigned to, but I don’t understand this map at all.”
“Building 4? Sure! That’s where my room is as well! I’m heading back, we can go together!” The other boy’s snaggletooth made his smile extra adorable. “I’m Boyang Jin, Electrical Engineering.”
‘An engineer…Do not stereotype Uno. Do not stereotype. He just saved your life.’
“Shoma Uno, Computer Science.”
“Cool! Maybe we’ll share a class, who knows? C’mon, let’s go, it’s this way.”
They walked together leisurely, talking about their respective chosen majors, comparing the courses they’d be having, and bonding over their shared love for video games. For once, the other kid's over-eagerness didn't seem to tire him out at all.
“Oh, wait, that’s my cousin. Hey Nate!” Boyang waved someone over. A curly-headed boy joined them, smiling. Shoma wondered why everyone was so happy, they were in science majors. Weren’t they supposed to be miserable? “Shoma, this is my cousin Nathan. Nate, this is my new friend Shoma.”
'Would you look at that, I made more friends in thirty minutes than in 18 years of life... What's with the poodle hair?’
“Hi, I’m Nathan, nice to meet you!”
“Nathan’s on the same floor as you, I’m one floor above, so if you need anything just holler, or send a text and we’ll meet up.”
Shoma almost laughed at that. Was it normal for people to holler through the dorm when they needed to call someone?
‘I’m going to end up killing someone on my first night here, aren’t I?’
“Sure, thank you.”
“See you later Boing.” Nathan turned to Shoma with a smile. “So, shall we?”
Shoma nodded and pushed his trolley towards the door.
They made their way to the third floor and Nathan pointed to the right.
“Your room is over there, at the end of the hallway. Mine’s on the other end, but you’ll probably find me over at Boing’s room because I met my roommate for five minutes but I can already tell he’s an asshole.” Shoma winced. “Text us if you want to go get dinner with us, we found a cool looking pizza place not far away from here.”
‘I completely forgot that I’ll probably have a roommate as well.’
“See you later then.”
Shoma walked away in the direction Nathan had told him to go, reaching the far end of the hallway and standing in front of his door. He opened it and peered inside, but it was completely empty.
Seems like his roommate had not arrived yet.
He sighed in relief at being alone a little longer and started unpacking his things on the right side of the room as he played music on his phone quietly, not knowing how thick the building’s walls were yet.
By the time he finished shoving the last of his stationary into a drawer and unlocked his phone to check the time, he had 2 new messages from an unknown number.
Shoma wasn’t a social a butterfly by any means, but Boyang had been so nice to him, how could he refuse?
If he became a recluse on his first day of college he would be friendless for the rest of the year for sure. He would die alone and become an outcast. People would write about him on the college newspaper. He would never find a job. He would be homeless-
Maybe that was a tad bit overdramatic but he still didn’t want to go back to his old habits. Maybe socializing wasn’t that bad?
‘They seemed like good people.’
Shoma looked at himself in the bathroom mirror. Shrugging and deeming himself presentable enough, he grabbed his phone and keys and looked at the empty side of the room, as his roommate still hadn’t arrived.
‘This anticipation is killing me. What if I get, like, some drug dealer? What if I need to sleep with one eye open every night? What if they kill me and hide my body somewhere where no one will find it? My family will never know what happened to me. Itsuki would get my room and-’
He stopped his train of thought before he could conjure up even worse scenarios and run back to his room, instantly spotting Boyang talking with a tall blonde boy.
“Hi, Shoma! Glad you could make it! This is Mikhail, he’s a Physical Education major and my roommate.”
“Hi,” Shoma greeted, and Mikhail nodded hello. He wondered if something bad had happened to the boy, his expression seemed to be stuck in a scowl. His eyes looked slightly murderous.
His major started to make a lot of sense to him.
‘Maybe it’s the moving in thing. I better be careful around him, I still have my whole life ahead of me…’
“Well, let’s get going, Nathan is outside already.”
They left the building and, as Boyang had said, Nathan was standing there, with his arm around a girl’s shoulders.
‘Do you get girlfriends as quick as you make friends around here?
“Hi, Shoma! This is my girlfriend Evgenia and her roommate Alina.” Shoma nodded hello awkwardly, and both girls smiled at him.
'Did they just coo at me?’
“He’s cute! Can we keep him?” Evgenia asked, looking at Nathan with puppy eyes.
“Zhenya, he’s not a puppy. C’mon, let’s get going, I’m hungry.”
He couldn't wait for the beginning of his new life.
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Episode 2: The exact moment Shoma realized that he was surrounded by morons. And then decided to take a nap.
Actually, less than one week to go before classes start and his roommate was still nowhere to be found. Did the kid even care? Had he dropped out at the last minute?
Would he end up with some kind of procrastinator that would make him jump off the roof after their first week together?
He needed to know, and in the end, Itsuki was right, he could find the RA and ask them who the hell was he rooming with or perhaps he didn’t get a roommate at all. Which would be just…amazing.
‘Time to find that RA.’
Shoma made his way towards Nathan’s room, he still remembered the number in case he needed someone to help him once his roommate arrived. Because obviously, they could turn out to be a murderer, a thug or worse: a vegan.
He shivered at the thought.
Some random classical music piece could be heard through the thick wooden door, and he wondered if he had gotten the wrong room number. Nathan didn’t seem the type of guy to listen to Van Gogh of all people.
Still, he needed help, so he knocked twice and waited. And surely, a few seconds later, an Asian boy with a three-piece suit opened the door.
‘Definitely not Nathan.’
“Hello, how may I help you?” the stranger asked, politely. Way too politely.
“I was looking for Nathan, is he here?”
“No, he left before we could begin our daily reflection on how Bach’s music influenced our-”
“Oh that’s lovely, I’m sure he was a great dude and I’m sure you need a lot of reflection,” the boy still standing by the door narrowed his eyes at him as he started walking backward and around the corner, “my personal favorite is Gogh.”
“So this is Nathan’s dumbass roommate.’
“Van Gogh, you don’t know him? Great guy.” He didn’t wait for any reply and quickly turned around and made his way for the stairs at the end of their floor.
‘Such a weirdo. No wonder Nathan doesn’t like him.’
‘He doesn’t even know Van Gogh.’
He had almost made it to his destination when he bumped into someone. Or at least he thought it was a person. Their chest seemed made of steel and the impact made him fall flat on his butt.
‘This day is getting better and better.’
The stranger was definitely taller than him and much bigger. In all aspects for sure. He looked exactly like those jocks he tried to avoid back in high school. The stupidly handsome student even had a dumb smile on his face, a well-trimmed beard and moronic Bambi eyes to complete the whole package.
Before Shoma could bow to him in some sort of apology and disappear quickly, the young man had already bent down and offered his hand to him.
At first, he thought he was going to get punched, but once the stranger saw him flinch like a scared chihuahua, he retreated his hand and asked him, “Are you okay little guy?”
‘Can accents make you even more attract- I mean stupid? He just called me little!’
“I’m fine.” Shoma got to his feet and cleaned the nonexistent dust from his bottom, there was no way tall-dark-and-handsome was going to humiliate him further, “And my name is Shoma Uno by the way, not little guy.”
He had enough shit from his brother. He didn’t need this guy to come up with some ridiculous nickname behind his back, once he had the chance. Shoma knew this type of idiots pretty well, if you gave them an opportunity, they would never let you forget.
“Oh, I’m Javier but everyone calls me Javi so please feel free to-”
“It was lovely to meet you Javier but I need to go.”
‘Good one Shoma, show them who’s in charge.’
“Wait a second! That name sounds Japanese.” Shoma had almost slipped away from Javier’s view when he was forced to look back out of politeness.
‘No shit sherlock.’
“That’s because it is.”
“So technically your name is Uno Shoma, right?” Javier’s smile widened as he kept on babbling and Shoma could basically hear the gears turning inside his head, not that he thought that there was much inside it, to begin with, “that means one Shoma!”
‘I’m so gonna report this guy to the RA once I find him. Drinking excessively or smoking weed is such a bad example for the freshmen…’
Given the fact that behind Javier he could actually spot a beer keg, he must have been right on the money.
“Javier, perhaps you had too much?”
The older one looked behind him and with a guilty smile and puppy eyes that begged him to believe him, he tried to explain, “That’s for later! We’re gonna have a party in my room!”
‘Mr. Popular too…makes sense…’
“You’re new right?”
“Is it that obvious?” To be honest he did blame the complete lost look on his face half of the time. But until now he had managed pretty well on his own.
“Kind of, I just wanted to tell you that if you need some help with anything, just tell me okay? I sort of help the new kids every year.”
‘Is this fucker the RA?’
It made sense, Javier seemed older and perhaps he had slept with the right people- Or perhaps he had been lucky and nobody else wanted the job.
“Are you perhaps the Residence Assistant…?”
“No, but I-”
‘Thank fuck, I need to pay for this small mercy somehow. Perhaps I won’t eat meat for like 8 hours…Ugh…’
“Shame, I need to go now.”
‘I need to get the fuck away from this idiot or he’ll have the brilliant idea of inviting me to a party. As if.’
‘Please be here. Please be here. Please be her-’
“Hey, Shoma, what’s up?” And sure enough, Boyang’s smiley face greeted him at the door.
“I need help.”
“Sure, come in.”
As soon as Boyang stepped away to let him in, he instantly spotted Nathan in one corner trying to balance himself on top of a skateboard. What made the whole thing seems ridiculously dangerous was the fact that he wasn’t wearing shoes.
“Are those ice skates?”
“Why…? You know what, never mind.” He was starting to understand that the best way of dealing with whatever happened inside this school was to just accept it and move on with your life, “Boing do you know who’s our RA?”
“RA? Why? Is everything okay?”
“I just wanted to find out who’s my roommate…”
‘And basically beg him to not match me with some sock thief or pickle eater.’
“Oh, well I don’t know who that is, we are also first years.”
Shoma heard the door open behind him and Mikhail made his way inside the room, smiling at the shorter one and making him want to run back to his place. Mikhail wasn’t scary per say, he just looked slightly murderous all the time. Who could blame him really?
“Mikhail is a third-year though.” Boyang pointed out.
He really didn’t want to bother him with such a frivolous cause but…was it frivolous when it came to his survival or impending doom? “Humn, I’m sorry but…do you know who’s the RA?”
“Oh, yeah…never saw him.” Mikhail shrugged and proceeded to take Nathan off the skate with a single hand, the poodle haired boy didn’t even question it and Shoma understood that it was common knowledge that Mikhail was not one to be defied.
‘Iconic. Such respect. Much scary. Very wow.’
“I see, perhaps they haven’t chosen one yet-”
“I meant that I never saw him in three years.”
“Fuck my life.”
“You’ll be fine.” Nathan had already taken his skates off and was patting Shoma’s back as he looked more traumatized by the second.
“Fine? My roommate could end up being a serial killer.”
“If that happened, can we switch?”
Shoma looked back to Nathan and pondered the possibility of such an exchange, the answer was obvious.
“Not a chance.”
“Hey perhaps you could ask Javi, he knows everyone.”
‘Great, even Mikhail knows the resident junky…if he complains about me…I’m so done for…’
“Javi? Never heard of him.”
“Very Spanish, very handsome and the kindest guy I ever met.” Boyang answered him and Shoma couldn’t help but look at him with his best attacked face.
‘Et tu brutus?’
‘I must have set some kindergarten on fire in my previous life.’
‘Why is this happening to me.’
“I’m Javier Raya actually.”
“I meant that you scared the shit out of me!”
“Sorry I saw you sitting there and wanted to check on you.”
“Fine,” Shoma looked him up and down from his sitting position on the ground and wondered if all the Javis looked ripped and over-enthusiastic at the sight of someone else’s misery, “Is everyone called Javi around here or something? Did Spain ship all of their Javis here cuz they had too many?”
Javier laughed and for once Shoma didn’t want to punch a Spaniard. He seemed quite…nice.
“That’s actually racist you know, there’s also Javis in South America.”
“Oh who would have thought, I finally met the smart Javi.”
‘Well done smartass, keep insulting people left and right, that’s just the way to go.’
‘I mean, it’s not like all Javis know each other right? Now that would be racist.’
“What did Javi do to you?” Raya asked him while he sat down right next to him.
Shoma didn’t really like people so close to him, but perhaps this was some way of showing some type of consolation gesture back in Spain and he definitely couldn’t afford to offend them further.
“Nothing nothing, he seemed really…” Stoned? Way too attractive and a waste of good looks? “Cool, he seemed really cool.”
“Well, he is. Now, why are we sitting in the middle of the corridor?”
‘Well, I’m sitting here because I have no idea what to do next and I want to throw myself on the floor crying, and so, I decided to shorten the distance between me and the floor so the fall would be kinda shorter…not that it would be huge, to begin with…but you are sitting here because you don’t know the meaning of personal space.’
“I was looking for the RA, but no one seems to know him so I’m just sitting here praying I won’t get some weirdo as a roommate.”
“I see, well I don’t remember exactly who that was when I was a freshman…and right now I don’t really care about that kind of things, especially since I room with Alex since…” Shoma patiently waited as he counted the years? With his fingers and maybe, just maybe he had judged him wrongly way too soon, “ever?”
“But I do remember something!”
‘Thank God, since you obviously don’t suffer from amnesia…’
“There was some paper posted about it on some boards?”
“Notice boards? Who even uses those anymore-”, Shoma got up and looked around them, the corridors were lined up with dozens of them, papers barely hanging on to their pins and meters of duct tape. He had never noticed them until now.
‘Is dumbness actually contagious around here?’
Shoma jumped right at the first one he saw, clawed through hundreds of papers and pamphlets about sports events, music events, dance events, theater events, erotic events- wait what?
He stopped at the pink paper in his hand and hid it somewhere between a post-it note that held a phone number and a promise of a good time and a nightclub promotional poster. It fit.
After minutes of searching through endless trash (in his opinion) he finally spotted a crumpled paper from some notebook with a single line:
Shoma had never typed a number so fast in his life.
It took only two rings for the call to be picked up, "Hello?"
"Hello, my name is Shoma Uno and I'm calling you from the college dorms because I'm a freshman and since you are the R.A I was hoping that-"
“Wait a second kid,” that had been the second time that day that someone had called something degrading, but he needed this guy’s help, so he did what he knew best. He sucked it up. “You are calling me because I’m the R.A.?”
“Yeah? Did I get the number mixed up?”
“No, I was the R.A. but…kid I graduated 3 years ago.”
Shoma laughed into the phone, “I see, I’m so sorry for calling you and taking up your time.” He hanged up and looked down to Raya who was still sitting right where he left him.
He looked at the paper in his hand and handed it to Spaniard, his manic smile never leaving his lips and for a second he swore that Javier had quietly moved back and put some inches between them. “Here, take this.” Raya took the paper from his hands slowly but never looking away from Shoma’s eyes, “I’m gonna take a nap.”
Episode 3: The exact moment Shoma knew his peace was over.
Classes were about to start and Shoma had already gone over his schedule at least 63 times. He had counted.
It wasn’t that bad, he had barely any free time during the day and that meant he didn’t have to socialize. It was perfect for him.
The only thing that had kind of bothering him, had been the teachers themselves. He still remembered how Mikhail had cringed at every single teacher he had named during one of their daily hangouts. Mikhail’s major had nothing to do with Computer Sciences, yet he seemed to know every single professor on campus. It was creepy, but like always Shoma didn’t ask questions.
The first one to be thrown under the bus by the senior had been the Digital Systems professor, Tatsuki Machida. According to Mikhail, he was pretty dramatic and had once started singing in the middle of a class about coding and the beauty of the digital era.
It promised to be a quite fun class, and besides his theater skills, he apparently liked to wear very fashionable outfits, since to this day people still wondered if one of his shirts was made out of some bird remains or fake feathers. The teacher never tried to explain it so the rumors were obviously true.
Just like the fact that Professor Machida was in a relationship with Professor Takahashi from the Arts Department.
Nobody had real proof of such a thing, yet everyone had apparently just gone with it since it made sense and Professor Takahashi had a similar fashion sense anyway.
‘These people need to get a life.’
‘Or just stop being idiots, that would work too.’
And then you had Professor Kostner and her Algebra class, which for Shoma sounded spooky but everyone told him that it was the easiest class ever. Shoma asked if the teacher was really so good that everyone had good grades?
The answer was no, the teacher was just so nice that everyone just made cheat sheets.
‘Lovely. Can’t wait.’
Shoma still in awe at how by the end of the day all of his friends had already chosen for which sport’s clubs they would try out and other free time occupations, while he just dreaded the day he wouldn’t be alone in his room anymore.
He hated group projects in high school and any kind of social gatherings, so the inevitable doom was stressing the hell out of him. He wished that his roommate would just arrive and take him out of his misery. If it turned out to be a murderer at least he wouldn’t have to suffer for long.
He looked at his phone just in case his mother had called him and sure enough he had a text message from both her and Itsuki.
Shoma’s amazing first day of school started with the sound of a really loud thud inside his bathroom at 6 am.
‘What the fuck?’
His brain automatically thought that Itsuki had dropped something but then he looked around and took in his surroundings.
‘I’m definitely not home and I’m alone.’
‘At least I was until now.’
Perhaps it could be his new roommate, but then again they wouldn’t arrive at 6 in the morning and creep into the bathroom.
So it was obviously a thief.
‘Time to man up Shoma.’
He grabbed his shoe and made his way for the bathroom. Shoma wouldn’t let the thief get away with this, he would-
Did he just…hear the burglar swear…in Japanese?
Well, that didn’t make a difference. He carefully turned the bathroom’s doorknob and counted to 3.
On the other side of the door, he found a boy not much older than him, holding a toothbrush and still dressed in his pajamas. He looked…quite at home?
If he was at least a bit surprised to see Shoma holding a shoe, he didn't show it.
“Hi! Are you my roommate? Nice to meet you! I’m Yuzuru Hanyu but you can call me Yuzu. Did I wake you up?” Shoma’s brain had decided to take a holiday the second he saw the big smile on his apparent new roommate's face, “I’m a Human Informatics and Cognitive Sciences major, second year.”
Shoma gulped, inwardly panicking as he tried to remember how to form words.
‘Words? What are those?
‘Breathe Shoma, breathe.’
‘Who even needs air anyway?’
“Shoma Uno. Computer Sciences. First year. I think.”
The older one cocked his head to the side and Shoma squealed inside. He was so adorable. Could he really be his senior?
‘No he’s not adorable, he’s just here to make your life worse and-’
‘Nice one Uno, nice one.’
"I mean...yes I'm sure. I'm a first year. Sorry, I just..." he gestured vaguely with his hands and Yuzuru only laughed at him.
‘How creepy would it be if I asked him to never stop laughing?’
“You’re sleepy, I get it! Well, nice to meet you, Shoma.”
Yuzuru smiled at him one last time, before turning away and getting out of the bathroom. On top of the twin bed sat a pile of boxes, no doubt belonging to Yuzuru, the once clean desk now hosted some scary mountains of paper sheets and books.
And the school year had barely started yet.
Shoma did the most rational thing he could think of after that, and hurriedly grabbed his toiletries and towel and locked himself inside the bathroom. He turned the shower on, undressed and jumped in.
He let his head rest on the wall with a loud thud that was muffled by the sound of the shower. Or so he hoped. It would be a terrible first impression if his roommate had to barge in thinking Shoma was trying to break his skull on his first day.
He was fucked.
‘Am I getting sick? Why do I feel funny out of a sudden?’
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Episode 4: That moment when Shoma realizes he’s absolutely screwed.
‘Can’t believe my own brother is a backstabber.’
Actually, he could.
Shoma had moaned and complained for weeks now, and all Itsuki did was either laugh at his misery or tell him to man up. He still wasn’t sure what he meant by the latter but, he needed allies in this war. He just couldn’t let Yuzuru intimidate him like this.
He still couldn’t understand why he felt so weird every time the senior would talk to him, or how his breathing seemed irregular when Yuzuru walked past him and ruffled his hair as if Shoma hadn’t told him that he absolutely hated it.
‘Okay, I might have told him that I slightly disliked it. Oh fine, I didn’t tell him.’
Just as he expected, Yuzuru turned out to be a complete nuisance after their brief but embarrassing as hell first meeting. And, since this was Shoma, the first few days were bound to be slightly awkward, especially from his side but Yuzuru had quickly made himself at home and even decided to voluntarily explain why he was so late. Apparently, he had been visiting his parents in Japan and the flights back had all been canceled at the last minute.
Shoma hadn’t asked him anything about himself, but Yuzuru thought that they should get to know each other better even though only one party was interested.
He had found out about his parents’ hometown, how he had been temporarily homeless due to an earthquake, that he liked watching baseball with his father, and how he had given up on taking figure skating classes when he was little so his older sister could pursue her dream.
Now that was more information about a human being that he had ever cared to find out. Shoma couldn’t care less about his roommate’s life or his family’s, and the way Yuzuru’s eyes shone brightly every time he talked about his mother or sister was definitely annoying.
But out of all that, the only two things Shoma seemed to engrave on his brain were:
- He was vegetarian.
- He was allergic to alcohol.
The first one he memorized just so he could have a reasonable reason to hate Yuzuru, and the second one-
'Well, it was always nice to know how you could end someone’s life if you were doomed to share a room with them for a whole year, right?’
And because Yuzuru liked to talk enough for the both of them, it was like everything happened in a blur: one moment Shoma was cursing his existence and on the other, he was giving Yuzuru his phone number.
'He said it was in case either of us got locked out of the room. It makes perfect sense.’
Shoma didn’t even remember telling his roommate that he liked coffee or where he stored his coffee mug but every morning now, he would wake up and find a steaming cup of coffee on their small table, even when Yuzuru left first for his morning classes and couldn’t meet him. And every day, a bright post-it note was attached to the mug’s handle with a sweet message like: “Have a good day!” or “I hope Professor Asada doesn’t give you a hard time!”
He later realized that Yuzuru knew most of his teachers already since their majors had a few classes in common. Thank God that at least he was a sophomore and he wouldn’t have to spend even more time with him than he already had to.
It seemed like today he might even get up early, so he wouldn’t have to stare at the offending pink paper and the disgusting daily message. He would just take a nap for five more minutes and he would make sure to get up before his senior.
‘ Shit shit shit!’
Professor Asada was definitely going to kill him.
He had just closed his eyes for a second, this was obviously Yuzuru’s fault. Shoma jumped out of bed, brushed his teeth, combed his hair, and changing his clothes at light speed he managed to look at least presentable enough for the first class of the day. He would have a considerable break after so, he could come back and take shower so he could at least look human for the rest of the day. Just as he was about to run out the door, something pink caught his eye.
Of course, how could he forget. His day couldn't just get any worse, could it?
‘Even his handwriting is stupid. And why did he have to use pink post its? God, I hate pink, it hurts my fucking eyes.’
Then again, the dude wore pastel sweatshirts, pastel t-shirts, and even pastel underwear. Not that he had seen him in his underwear! But he couldn’t help but see the basket of clean clothes that he brought every other day from the laundry room.
Which reminded him, that he hadn’t done his laundry in like a week and he was running out of clothes. Who needed to do laundry if you owned exactly 7 shirts?
He had managed to get inside the classroom just as the last poor soul was taking his seat, and by the nearest window, Boyang was already waving at him enthusiastically. Two girls by his side clearly told him to tone it down before they all got kicked out before the class even started.
“Aren’t you lucky that we share this class? At least it’s one class you won’t fail for falling asleep.”
The still unknown girls sitting on his left side laughed and Shoma once again wondered how on earth did Boyang manage to meet new people every week. Last time he had met Gabby, a first-year from Industrial Engineering that let everyone know she could probably kill you with her hairpin, and the week before they had somehow ended up having lunch with Alex and his sister Maia from the Performing Arts major. The siblings were weird as hell, they seemed to dance to some random music inside their heads every five minutes and when the college radio station had made the mistake of playing some old ass song from Coldplay, they had given the whole cafeteria a show.
A show that Shoma didn’t actually see because he ran out of there before too much attention had been directed towards his table.
“Oh, by the way, I found these two lovely ladies from your major! This is Satoko and Kaori!”
‘Those sound like very Japanese names, is everyone from Japan in my major? Wait Yuzuru is not…well he probably got kicked out for being too ugly.’
Both ladies waved at him, and Shoma mentally praised himself for not running out of the classroom as they complimented his adorable hair cute smile that reminded them of a stuffed animal.
He just told them that like the stuffed animal, he was quite dead inside.
It took him approximately 10 minutes to understand why everyone had quietly left Professor Asada’s classroom after the first two weeks of class.
A few classes into the semester and she had already handed 15 assignments about theories that he would be expected to research on his own. Shoma had always been a good student, don’t get him wrong but what in the loving fu-
Did his phone just buzz or his leg was telling him that all the meat he had consumed in his present life was leading him now to an early death by a stroke?
What kind of question was that? Sure, he would appreciate sparing himself the trouble of going down to the laundry room with a basket taller than him…but your roommate isn’t supposed to just do your laundry. It was invasive, over the top and he barely knew the guy. Did he really want him to snoop around his underwear? Shoma had to take a stand before things got too personal, he could be messy, sure, but he wasn’t a child that Yuzuru could just mess with.
Shoma had to take a stand before things got too personal.
There. Next time he would definitely show him who’s in charge.
“So how’s it going with Yuzu?”
Shoma groaned and almost let his face fall on top of his food tray. Why was everyone so curious about his time with his roommate?
Nathan and Boyang as first-years shouldn’t really know much about the sophomore, but apparently, Mikhail had spilled the beans and according to him, Yuzuru was the only second year in their dorm that hadn’t been reported by the RA for causing any ruckus or for smuggling forbidden substances during his first year.
‘Of course, he was not reported! There hasn’t been an RA in three fucking years!’
“Why? Do you want to exchange rooms with me?”
Nathan sighed and with a sad look he shook his head, “I wish, but people told me the RA is quite strict and we can’t really change roommates. You are so lucky man, Mikhail told us that Yuzu is really polite and kind.”
“Nathan, there’s no fucking R-”
‘Wait, so he’s kind to everyone huh?’
Shoma wasn’t jealous. Nor did he feel betrayed by his roommate of a few weeks. No, he just felt like someone like Yuzuru was probably being fake and didn’t really care about people. It was unfair to those kids that thought he was a goodie two shoes when he-
“He must be an amazing boyfriend.”
He choked on his drink at Gabby’s wishful loud thinking. The poor girl had absolutely no idea what she was talking about, Yuzuru wasn’t nice. He was annoying and a nerd with way too many books for someone normal and a busybody that liked to snoop on people’s clothes.
“Why don’t you go and try to date him? He’ll even wash your clothes.”
“I wish. If only he wasn’t gay.”
“Wait he’s gay?”
It was like the whole table had stopped eating at once. Their attention wholly on him and they seemed to expect his next move before anyone breathed again.
Boyang, his first friend, was the one to break the silence.
“Is that a problem, Shoma?”
Shoma almost wanted to cry at the irony. So that was what everyone was so afraid of.
“No, I’m just surprised that everyone knows about it and accepts it.”
And just like that, everyone went back to what they were doing, Nathan and Zhenya too busy making heart eye at each other and Alina with her nose buried in her law book. Things were different in this school.
For the first time since he had joined their table, Kazuki, the Physical Education freshman that refused to speak more than three words per day and had been dragged into their group by Boyang, looked at him and smiled.
“People here are very open-minded.”
That was good, right? Shoma didn’t really know, but maybe it was time to just let go and forget. Begin anew.
“I wish people back home were too.”
If anyone noticed the drop in his voice and how his eyes seemed to momentarily glaze over, nobody mentioned it.
And Shoma was grateful.
The first scent that greeted him once he stepped foot inside his room was the smell of freshly washed clothes, and something that Yuzuru was eating that looked like something a cow would love to feast on.
However, he could distinguish the faint smell of strawberries and as he quietly tried to check on his roommate he found the guilty strawberry cheesecake next to him. Yuzuru was uncharacteristically quiet and kept his head low, his nose almost touching his bowl, as Shoma threw his bag on his bed and studied him
“Aren’t you vegan?”
“Can you eat cheesecakes?”
“That’s a vegan cheesecake.”
Where his laundry basket once stood, now he had a pile of already dried clothes ready to shove inside his closet. Did Yuzuru also fold his clothes? Without asking him? Now that was a step too far.
“Thank you for folding them too, you didn't have to.”
“No problem.” Yuzuru finally looked up from his bowl of grass and slowly got up and fetched a pink shirt from his own bed, “Humn, I might have mixed up this shirt with mine and…yeah.”
On his hand, it was Shoma’s favorite once-white shirt. The same shirt he had waited to buy on an online sale from his favorite game merchandise shop.
The shirt he had spent a ridiculous amount of money on and had rubbed on Itsuki’s face.
And it was pink.
Yuzuru must have seen how the color of Shoma’s face changed as well because the boy started apologizing as soon as he didn’t get an answer from him, “I’m so sorry, I’ll buy you a new one!”
Shoma took the shirt and looked up at him, Yuzuru seemed to be on the verge of tears and his lower lip trembled. Still, Shoma was firm as a rock.
“It’s okay, pink is my favorite color anyway.”
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