Bokuto would like to say that it started off peaceful enough, but he knows how much of a lie that is.
His first had to be the smoothest of them all. Every moment was clear, starting from the moment he stood outside that fated dorm room. Bokuto’s belongings hung off his back, swinging about to peer at the situation. From what he knew, Bokuto would have a roommate. Allegedly, said roommate was the type to use your toothbrush to brush their teeth and clean the toilet. According to rumor, this dorm was a palace for them and them alone. Was Bokuto scared? Sure he was, but there’s no way all of those rumors were true, right?
Bokuto gulped, reaching for the handle. With his luck, he’d probably get jumpscared as soon as he opened the door. Maybe the roommate will snap as soon as they see him, and nobody will ever hear from Bokuto again. Will he become a legend too? Will he become some ghost wandering about this floor, tragically fallen victim to the person right behind this door? Bokuto let his freehand touch his chest, forcing out a light laugh. No way. He was just getting into his own head! He was just nervous, Bokuto told himself, finally gripping the handle. He was just nervous to meet the roommate he’d be staying with for-
The doorknob wouldn’t budge. In fact, Bokuto’s hand slid right off, as if the door was covered in some sort of grease. His hand floated to his face. Vaseline greeted him with a sickly smile. As soon as Bokuto’s brain processed what happened, the door slid open, as if feeding off of his surprise. He could see the inside of the dorm clearly now. The room itself looked peaceful, though Bokuto wouldn’t be surprised if every seat had some sort of loaded spring. But that wasn’t an issue, not right now. The more pressing issue was how he was going to greet the person in front of him with his very sticky hand. Luckily for him, the person had his own ideas.
“Are you my new roommate?” the person murmured. His eyes darted to Bokuto’s compromised hand. He looked almost apologetic, his head turned the slightest bit with curiosity. Bokuto grinned, letting his shoulders relax. Someone else must have greased the doorknob. Yep, that had to be it! There was no way the person in front of him, polite and everything, was the one who tripped him up before even introducing himself.
“Yep, I sure am!” Bokuto reached a non-sticky hand out in greeting. “Man, that doorknob thing really surprised me. For a second there I thought you-” Not even seconds had passed before the person’s eyes lit up with an evil, mischievous grin. All of his apologetic air had evaporated, leaving a raw kind of trickery behind. A smile lit up the person’s tired face as his fingers grabbed Bokuto’s hand. Bokuto drew his hand close to him. So this was his roommate, the one currently shaking his sticky, greasy hand. His roommate pursed his lips in amusement.
“Man, am I glad you arrived. I thought someone else tried to open the door. Then this entire plan would have gone to waste, you know?” He waved his hand in the air. “You won’t have to worry about me, though. I’m not usually this excited, it’s just- you’re amazing! You actually fell for it!” Bokuto watched as his roommate slapped his knees, getting vaseline on his black leggings.
“I know how pranks work!” Bokuto stammered, “And besides, shouldn’t we save pranking for after we get to know each other? Like- I don’t even know your name!”
“Oh, are you sure you want to introduce yourself to me?” he asked, “I could do a lot of pranks with just the knowledge of your name. Like, I’m sure you’re not here for an education, so I’ll make a couple of fake documents and then give them to your professors, killing two birds with one-”
“I’m Bokuto Kotarou!” he said, covering his face. If his roommate can’t see his face, then he can’t see how quickly Bokuto’s brain was turning to mush.
“Oh, oh, oh! You’re either extra gullible or you’ve already fallen head over heels for me!” his roommate explained. “I want to keep it fair. I encourage pranks of all kinds! Of all levels! But the best way to prank me, Kenma Kozume, is to catch me while I’m tired. I’m usually not this excited. I’m more like… sprawled on this couch that totally doesn’t have springs on it. Anyways, to catch me off guard, you have to…”
Bokuto stood there, nodding at every single way to get back at Kenma. This enigma of a person was so weird. There was no way he’d get back at Kenma. If he did, he’d probably get his jeans turned into booty shorts. Bokuto let the white flag in his head fly as he let himself into his new… home.
But… homes are supposed to make you feel at ease, right? It was only the morning after his encounter and Bokuto was already afraid to touch anything in his room. He peered at his shoes sitting across from him. They looked normal enough. The socks inside of them didn’t look wet, either. It would have been so easy for Kenma to come in and pour ice cubes into his socks, or use sharpie marker on his shoes-
No! Kenma would not work his way into Bokuto’s brain! He had his own free will, Bokuto told himself as he hesitantly pulled the sheets off his bed. Bokuto was the only one in control of his life, he thought as he rinsed his toothbrush one too many times. Kenma had nothing on him, Bokuto scolded as he double-checked what exactly was in his hair gel container.
Maybe Kenma had more on him than he wanted to admit. A solid 20 minutes had gone by without anything happening. If nothing happened during that time, then surely Kenma didn’t do any other pranks. Hell, Kenma didn’t draw anything on his face, and Bokuto was absolutely out cold whenever he was sleeping. The only thing he had to do now was to get through the small, small living room. Kenma would be sleeping, wouldn’t he? Bokuto opened his door, peering through the tiny crack. No living being greeted him, with only the cold air flowing by to say hello. Bokuto shivered, clutching his arms as he walked out of his room. If Kenma were a ghost, would Bokuto walking through him be bad?
Bokuto floated over to the kitchen, throwing open each of the cabinets. His fingers stopped in midair, hovering in front of the closest box. He tilted his head, making sure he wasn’t being delusional. As soon as he tilted his head, the words on the box became clearer as he read them upside-down. Oh no. Backing up, Bokuto squinted at every cereal box. They were all upside down. They were all upside down and open! To top it all off, the lip of each shelf made pulling the boxes off safely impossible. Bokuto pulled a chair out in defeat. Plopping on his seat, Bokuto began to contemplate how in the world he was going to eat. Kenma was trying to turn him into a ghost! Well, Bokuto thought, kicking the table, he won't be able to! Because… he glanced at the bowl that clattered in front of him. A full bowl of cereal sat neatly on the table, accompanied by a small note.
I made you breakfast.
Bokuto pouted. It wasn’t exactly something Kenma made, and Kenma nearly scared Bokuto to death with the whole cereal thing. But, Bokuto might as well have something to eat. He eagerly grabbed the spoon, pulling it to his face for a meal. When the bowl came with it, Bokuto decided that he was definitely going a little nuts.
“Kenma,” he called. His ears picked up the slightest bit of rustling from Kenma’s room. “I can’t take my spoon out of this cereal you made me.”
“Hmm,” Kenma yawned from his room. Bokuto leaned his neck back to see Kenma stumbling out of his room. “Did you turn it off and on again?” Bokuto pushed his chair back further. So Bokuto being all paranoid this morning was justified! He pushed back even further. Kenma’s masterminding everything! That mischievous, little-
BAM! Bokuto’s back collided with the cold, hard floor. He felt his stomach rumble, staring at the ceiling. He’d just have to take a few dollars from his wallet this morning. That’d be alright, for the morning at least. If only money could fall from the sky. He’d forgive Kenma a little easier. Like, doesn’t Kenma have to save his money as well? Bokuto couldn’t imagine he’d have a job. He watched as his view got obscured by Kenma’s exhausted face.
“You have a bed, you know,” Kenma said. His hair drooped over his eyes, obscuring whatever emotion was going through him. Bokuto blinked, opening his mouth to speak. Right as he did, though, a crisp five-dollar bill fell right onto his eyes.
“Kenma!” he exclaimed, sitting up. “You have to save this. It’s alright, I have money for breakfast-” Kenma suppressed Bokuto’s frantic attempts to return the money, gently pressing it into Bokuto’s hand.
“No. I did the prank, so I should pay for breakfast. Don’t worry about it.” Kenma’s lips curled into a tired, troublesome smile. “I have a well-paying job of sorts, anyways.”
“First of all, then why are you here?” Bokuto asked, his voice slightly breaking. “And second of all… thanks.” He shoved the bill into his pockets, slowly standing up to avoid Kenma’s gaze. It wasn’t exactly payment for the panic he had this morning, but it was a surprise, to say the least. Out of the corner of Bokuto’s eye, he could see Kenma’s smile. It looked like he genuinely wished to pay Bokuto back. Or maybe his prank worked out exactly how Kenma wanted it to. Either way, it was really nice of him. It would be alright to spend his time with Kenma, just a little bit. As he turned to leave, he heard Kenma’s voice call out, much brighter than before.
“Oh! I’m turning over all the boxes in this house, by the way.”
Bokuto felt his brain turn over as he slid out of the dorm.
And so, that was how most of Bokuto’s college days went. Every morning, Bokuto had some sort of prank waiting for him, and every night, another, grander prank sat idly in his dorm. Kenma himself was a strange recluse, only ever emerging to smile at Bokuto’s demise. But clowns were the saddest people, right? There had to be some person behind the jester that Kenma put on. Bokuto would be lying if he said he wasn’t the least bit curious, anyway.
He stood in front of the door, eying the doorknob carefully. Bokuto withdrew his fingers into his pocket, fishing out a small tissue. He shook his head, smiling. Someone would walk by and call him a germaphobe. Bokuto turned the door, letting himself in. Yep, then he’d agree with whoever told him that. That “germ,” however, was named Kenma. Tossing his bag to the side, Bokuto peered across the room for his roommate. Kenma was sprawled across the hallway, blocking the way into his room. Good then, Bokuto mused, it wasn’t past seven yet.
“Say, Kenma,” Bokuto said aloud, “What are you doing?” Kenma wormed about on the ground, showing no emotion on his face as he moved.
“I don’t know. I can’t come up with a prank, so I’m going to lie here and be an annoyance.” Bokuto frowned. That wasn’t so normal. It had been at least three months, and each day, Kenma had a prank up his sleeve. Whenever he ran out of ideas, an old prank would come back up. Bokuto’s pocket tissue was evidence of that. But this… Bokuto crouched beside Kenma.
“Are you sure?” Bokuto asked, noting Kenma’s tightly closed fist.
“Yeah. Oh, but don’t go in your room,” Kenma said, “A bunch of unused prank ideas are in there, so you might blow up when you walk in.” Kenma’s eyes flickered the slightest shade lighter but faded back as soon as he stopped talking.
“Really? I don’t believe you.”
“You’re very gullible.” Kenma turned around, letting his back speak for him. Bokuto stood up, fingers pressed against his cheek. There was still ice cream left in the freezer, at least, the pints that weren’t mixed with mashed potatoes. He nodded to himself, already walking towards the kitchen. His milkshake couldn’t bring all the boys to the yard but hopefully, it would bring Kenma back to life.
Bokuto shoved his spoon into his tub of ice cream. This milkshake couldn’t possibly be enough. He peered at a ketchup bottle dreadfully mixed with sriracha. Was it time to do the thing ? The thing that would get this entire dorm turned into one giant prank war? Bokuto chewed his lip. It was dreadful enough to think about it. He spared a single glance towards Kenma, who looked rather sad without his childish energy. It’s second nature for a child to jest, but their last for one to confront themself.
Bokuto watched as the blender spun over and over again. Kenma was his roommate, and Bokuto was taking care of him. That was all, probably. Pouring the mixture into a cup, Bokuto reached for the bottle of spice. He wouldn’t call this “taking care of someone,” but it was something Kenma wanted. Kenma wasn’t not important to Bokuto, so that had to count for something.
“Kenma, come here.” Bokuto eyed Kenma, who was already curling up into a tighter ball.
“No. Whatever you want to give me, you can give right here.”
“Alright,” Bokuto said, cradling each up in his arms. “But you have to at least sit up.” He sat beside Kenma, huddling close at one spot in the wall. Bokuto’s words sat low in his chest as he pressed a cup into Kenma’s arms. He’d say something sweeter than any of the sour, sarcastic comments Bokuto had said before. A ghost would miss that more than anything, since every part of their undead life was sour enough. The words hovered in the air, not moving past Bokuto’s lips. Unspoken words were as fragile as spirits, though, and were broken as soon as Kenma opened his mouth.
“Am I annoying?” Kenma turned his eyes to Bokuto for the first time that evening.
“No, of course not, I-”
“Don’t sugar coat it. If you do, I’ll melt sticky lemon candy on your jacket.” A raw chuckle let itself out of Bokuto’s chest. The light was slowly coming back in Kenma’s eyes, but there was no purpose in having a dim, dead light. Bokuto pressed his head back, letting every single moment, every single prank, flood his mind.
“Okay, well sure, you’re annoying Kenma,” Bokuto said, “But you’re not all that bad. Every time you dunk on me, you repay me, right? It keeps me on my toes. I kind of like it!” His hands flew into the air in a grand, exciting display. “What is there not to like about, well, you?”
“Lots of things,” Kenma smiled, “Like the fact that I haven’t taken a sip of your milkshake yet.” Bokuto stared at his empty glass.
“Well I mean!” Bokuto said, “You can still drink it! There’s still time to change you know!” He wiped his hands on his pants. Were there still bits of sauce on him? Or was it that obvious that Kenma’s drink was different?
“Sure.” Kenma pushed aside his messy, blonde hair, tipping the drink towards his lips. He looked rather stunning for someone who was about to get pranked. Bokuto smiled wide, partially from seeing Kenma happy, and partially from-
“Oh no!” Kenma said, smacking his lips. “Oh no, you did not! You did not put sriracha sauce in my drink! No way!” Kenma’s face was as red as the cherry on top of his drink. The sip he took wasn’t exactly small, either, and Kenma was fanning his face way too quickly to be alright.
“K-Kenma!” Bokuto yelled, “Are you okay?
“Yes- yes, it’s just- please get me some water!” Bokuto grabbed the closest bottle of water to him, practically throwing it at Kenma. As he watched him drink, Bokuto started to sweat as much as Kenma.
“Was that too much? I didn’t mean to hurt you, Kenma, I-”
“No!” Kenma shouted, unclasping his right hand. “You actually pranked me! Like you got back at me for once! This is- here, just take this!” Kenma turned away, letting a slip of paper fall from his hand. Its sloppy, unkempt letters were a frequent occurrence, but what was written… well, it had to be a prank.
“It’s not a lie, okay?” Kenma said, still facing away from Bokuto. “I want to be with someone who doesn’t get tired of me. And someone who’ll prank me. Bokuto, you’re like, perfect, okay? You’re perfect for pranking but then you’re so sweet - I wanted to give you this after you calmed me down. I figured you’d say something dumb but also smart? And then you pranked me-” Kenma’s words grew muffled as he launched himself into Bokuto’s chest.
“W-wait, I didn’t accept yet!” Bokuto said, wrapping his arms around the absolute child in front of him. “Let me say yes first, Kenma, you’re so gullible!”