Rating: PG-13 for language
Summary: Niwa wants a tradition established in Bell Liberty School. Kaoru resists.
Warning: I have not written anything in a very, very long time ^^;;; So please be warned of potential suckiness.
Notes: Written for hamu_rabu's "Royalty in Pairing" challenge. Dedicated to mdseiran, because she's all kinds of wonderful and was so kind to proofread for me Q_Q ♥ Credits to dreamlessness for the title.
"This…this is outrageous!"
Saionji's loud voice shattered the calm serenity that had temporarily settled in Kuma-chan's office. True to the Queen, it had only taken him a few moments to read through the two inch-thick document he'd been handed earlier.
A document which, in all its two-inch glory, detailed exactly why a tradition should be established in the school where the King dances with the Queen during the school's year-end party, and every year-end party henceforth. Signed, Niwa Tetsuya.
The paper was remarkable. Attached was even a dichotomy on the assignation of 'King' and 'Queen,' and it listed deciding factors on being the subject of said terminology.
It was all very intricate and well-thought out (dammit, but the man can argue). Which meant Niwa had been planning this for some time now.
"And you _agreed_?!" Saionji yelled at the stuffed bear.
The slight hiss and crackle of the speaker being activated gave way to Endo's apologetic tone, "The board members were all in favor. It really is very impressive how much work Niwa put into that th—"
"The…board…members," Saionji deadpanned, giving Kuma-chan a baleful glare. "Chairman, do you not have any other _pending_ matters to discuss with your board? Like, say, why the extra funds that should rightfully be given to the Art Club have been split between the Tennis Club and the Judo Club—"
"—well, Niwa was very insistent—"
"—an inquiry and proposal which, as I recall, I left no shorter than two months before?"
"Saionji." The heavy tone was followed by a slight pause, making the second year's eyes narrow slightly. "This is going to happen, and it's not subject to argument."
Tense silence filled the room, Saionji's fist clenching at his side. Silence from Endo's end as well – the two talked often enough to know how to deal with the other. Sadly for Saionji, the Chairman knew how to handle him more than the other way around.
A heavy, defeated sigh broke past tense lips, and a slim pale hand rose to rub at his temple. "Couldn't you _at least_ have delayed discussing it until after Niwa graduated…?"
"Niwa's proposal came at the right time, unfortunately. We needed an icebreaker from the heavy matters and disagreements we'd been having often of late, and, well…"
"It's…no matter," Saionji relented, making a slight, dismissive wave despite Endo's not being in the general vicinity. "I'll live, I suppose. Maybe I can convince him to cancel it before he graduates."
"My apologies, Saionji. I hope you two can work something out."
"Bet you he'll slap you," Nakajima so helpfully remarked from his seat.
"Three thousand. And hate you forever."
"Won't be any different from how he hates me now."
Nakajima briefly paused from typing to cast a thoughtful glance in Niwa's direction. Resuming his work, he throws out a casual, "Any sane man would wonder why you even bother."
Niwa blinked. He eyed the back of Nakajima's head with incredulity. "Come on! You can't sit there and tell me he's not worth it."
"Ooh, yes I can. But I'm not the one that karma bit in the ass."
Just as Niwa was about to respond, mouth halfway open, the door to the Student Council room opened none-too-gently, Saionji's small form blocking the way. The fair boy wasted no time in marching to the center and dumping the (by now, slightly wrinkled and damaged at the edges) document Niwa recognised as his proposal on the lounge table.
"Retract that," was the curt order from the Queen.
Niwa let a lazy smile spread on his face while he leaned back, briefly admiring the pale dusting of pink around Saionji's flushed cheeks. "Kiss me first and I'll consider it."
"Don't be ridiculous! The Chairman's actually taking _this,_" with the way he glanced at the document, Niwa thought Saionji may as well have been looking at a venereal disease, "seriously! Now go up there and tell him it's all part of your sick joke to humiliate me and be done with it."
"I'm not going to talk to the Chairman," he replied calmly, meeting Kaoru's stare straight on. "And I'm dead serious about this. Ask Hide."
"Fuck you if you drag me into this, Niwa," came the grumbling remark from the vicinity of the computer chair.
"Geh, fine. No sense of adventure." Niwa returned his gaze to Saionji, finding the younger boy looking angrier than he'd ever seen him before. It really was rather attractive, how all those shades of red brought out the green in his eyes.
Saionji crossed his arms against his chest, a look of stubborn refusal plastered on his face. "You can't make me go if I'm sick."
He couldn't help it. Niwa burst out laughing. "So we can schedule illnesses now, can we?" Ignoring the withering look aimed fully at him, he plodded on, "Well, you'd actually _have_ to be sick first, complete with Sensei's authorisation and all that jazz. No family doctor's notes. It's all there in my proposal. Oh…sorry," he let a self-satisfied smirk curve his lips, "it's as good as law now."
Saionji was already opening his mouth to reply, but Niwa quickly cut him off. "And if you want to make yourself sick…," he braced his elbows on his knees, leaning forward from the couch, "you should know that nothing short of a broken head's going to keep me from dragging you to that dance floor."
The unspoken "mine or yours?" all but echoed in the answering glare.
"Really, Kaoru-chan, just sit back and enjoy the rest of the year." He reached forward and nudged the proposal toward the other boy, which the latter seemed intent on ignoring. "It's just one dance."
"Bad enough you had me labeled as 'Queen' in front of the board members, but you—"
"And wear something nice, I wouldn't mind seeing you in something backless…"
The unforeseen slap sounded just as painful as it felt. Niwa didn't even notice that Saionji had covered the gap between them in just a few steps before he felt the hard edge of that palm digging painfully into his left cheek.
"Gaaah…" Was that blood he could taste in his mouth? He hoped not. Niwa rubbed at the sore area just as Saionji spun and grabbed the proposal back from the table. "So mean, Kaoru-chan. I'm your sempai, you should be nicer to me."
The second year didn't even bother to look at him and simply headed out the door, leaving it wide open. "Go rot in hell!" could be heard from down the hall, fading with each angry step.
News of the upcoming dance was the talk of the school the following day.
More insulting, of course, was that not many people seemed to be all that surprised that the King was showing this much interest in their Queen. The subject of fascination seemed to be whether this was another one of his pranks or if it was backed up with (finally!) more serious intentions.
Eventually, speculations ranged from drunken bets to petty rivalries, though the more creative minds (and there were plenty of those to go around) had concocted intricate plots of broken hearts and relentless seductions. Niwa couldn't really say that he didn't like the attention. He wisely stayed out of the Queen's line of sight for a good few days, however. Saionji couldn't have been all that pleased with the rumours plaguing the school.
Niwa found himself snickering at some of the asides people threw in Saionji's direction when the latter was out of hearing range. 'Belle of the ball' being his favourite thus far.
Despite the ever-present bravado, however, he wasn't all that sure about what he was doing. He never really was, with regard to Saionji, since the start of the school year.
It was karma, Nakajima had so helpfully remarked. Niwa has been pretty relentless with teasing Saionji for his less-than-manly looks the year prior, and now he was paying for it.
If Nakajima _was_ correct, and the universe had somehow conspired to punish him for a few laughs at the younger boy's expense…then that wasn't all that fair, was it? It wasn't like he was the only one thinking Saionji was more ladylike than his own mother. Bad enough he was so convinced Saionji was female when he first met him, that soon after feeling the younger boy's hair, he had been about to check for breasts. Thankfully, the first year had withdrawn fast enough and stalked off in a huff.
Unfortunately for Saionji, Niwa found him very fun to aggravate. It was pretty much downhill from there. He just wished he could pinpoint exactly when the teasing became a call for attention rather than just good old fun and games.
Whatever the case, he had a deadline to keep up with. And when Niwa Tetsuya set his mind on something – as rare an occurrence as that was – he always managed to get it.
It was a difficult task, cornering Shichijou. The programmer stuck to Saionji like glue, and on the few times he left the Queen's side, it was only to do something that would arouse suspicions if delayed.
Niwa got his chance one afternoon, however, as Saionji decided to attend an elective class he'd been neglecting for a few weeks now. His three raps on the door to the Treasury were met with a gentle "Come in. The door's open."
The Treasury looked pretty much unchanged from how Niwa remembered it a month or two ago, no surprise there. The soft sound of Shichijou's typing was the only sound filling the room, paused briefly when the latter saw who had entered.
"Niwa…," came the puzzled greeting, before the fast typing resumed. Niwa idly wondered how much faster Shichijou could type compared to Nakajima. "This is a rare visit. What brings you to the Treasury?"
"Been a while since I visited, thought I'd drop by," he replied with a lopsided smile. Taking a cursory glance of his surroundings, he casually remarked, "I see Kaoru-chan isn't here."
Shichijou gave a slight nod without looking at him. "Mm. Elective class for the afternoon. You just missed him, in fact." A slight smile. "What odd timing."
"…Yes, odd." Niwa remembered why he didn't talk to this boy very often. After coughing loudly into a raised fist, he asked, "So…what things does Kaoru-chan like, by the by?"
The small, knowing smile turned into a full-fledged grin. "Why, President Niwa, are you fishing for information you should really be getting yourself?'
"No." This wasn't going well. Niwa resisted the urge to scratch his head. "But since you're here, and you seem willing to share your wisdom on the matter…"
"…lend a desperate guy a hand here?"
No other reaction from Shichijou for a good part of a minute after that, simply the continuous landing of deft fingers on the white keyboard. Niwa did a very good job of keeping himself from tapping his foot impatiently.
A few choice words, a single enter key, and the programmer seemed to be done, signalled by the quiet 'beep' from the PC. Violet eyes finally returned to looking back at Niwa, their holder leaning comfortably back in his seat, arms crossing over his chest. "You're asking for very valuable information."
Niwa blinked. A carefree smile lit his lips while he canted his head a bit to one side, saying, "Is this the part where the Knight defends the Queen's honor? So predictable! Think I have a speech prepared just for this…"
But Shichijou was shaking his head negatively. "Kaoru can take care of himself," was the confident response, and was that a hint of pride at the end? "To put it more simply, I'm asking you what would make it worth my time to help you out."
"Aah…," Niwa hesitated, thick brows furrowing in thought, and blatantly ignoring the not-too-subtle jab at his intelligence. "I could…stop nagging for more funds for the Student Council for a month."
The programmer merely smiled in amusement. "You'll have to do better than that."
"Geh." Niwa uncrossed his arms, placing them on his hips and casting his gaze on the ground as he gave it more thought. Well…there was one thing. And he doubted Nakajima would find out anyhow. "Fine…and to prove to you I'm serious: Hide's planning on setting a worm to cover a virus and target your computer's registry tonight, and while you're dealing with that, shell-access your unit using…some telnet program." There. Shichijou can't say that wasn't worth anything, especially since Nakajima's been planning tonight's attack for months.
It was Shichijou's turn to blink. A slim, pale eyebrow rose. "Telnet program? Mckenzie's?" At Niwa's utterly blank look, he shook his head dismissively and stared back at his screen, looking slightly annoyed. "That's actually rather clever," he murmured, sounding reluctantly impressed.
Niwa shrugged, finding himself restless and beginning to make his way around the rooms. He found a west-side opening that seemed to lead to a small kitchen. Now why didn't the Student Council have something like this? "Your turn," he prodded, when Shichijou didn't say anything further.
"Mm," was the noncommittal response from the computer chair. "If you really want him to like you…I suppose you could try for Krystin's Belgian Chocolate Confections if you can afford them."
"Chocolates?" Niwa didn't bother to hide the incredulity in his tone, glancing back to see the second year looking at him with his atypical neutral expression. Frowning a bit, he returned to his inspection of the immaculately kept cupboards, idly picking up a tiny porcelain cup from its seat. "Doesn't he like these…tea things?"
"Well, yes. But I thought you wanted to impress him, not give him something he already gets on a daily basis. You're holding his most prized teacup, by the way."
Niwa cursed, fumbling with the small container and almost dropping it. With an annoyed glance at Shichijou, he set the teacup very carefully back in its place on the shelf. "So…where do I find these chocolates? You mentioned a brand."
"Yes. I have a catalogue." The programmer rose from his seat and went to the bookcase, fetching a file from the bottom row. "Kaoru knows this by heart, so he'll know whether you got him the expensive kind. Just a forewarning."
"Appreciated." He reached out his hand to receive the fancy piece of paper. Just how expensive can chocolate get—
"…This is almost the price of a goddamned motorbike." And that was just a set of those strawberry-éclair things. Niwa was afraid to look at the top of the page.
"Is it? I don't know motorbikes."
"Doesn't he like anything else?" Niwa didn't bother to hide the slight whine in his tone.
Shichijou merely frowned at him.
"Fine, fine…," with a heavy sigh, Niwa folded the note and pocketed it. "This is going to cost me an arm and a leg, but manageable I guess. Thanks. Didn't think you'd be willing to help me out."
The amiable smile returned as the second year went back to his seat. "I should be offended you have such a low opinion of me."
"No, just…" Niwa peered thoughtfully at Shichijou. The latter had turned his back to him and had resumed his steady typing. "You've always been protective of Kaoru-chan."
The programmer nodded, "And I still am. But as far as Kaoru's concerned, not many things – and that's an understatement – can get under his skin. Unfortunately or fortunately, you're one of them." A neutral glance in his direction before continuing, "Whether or not that's a good thing is still under observation."
Niwa smirked. "Thin line between love and hate, is that it?"
"Oh, no. He really hates you." Shichijou smiled angelically at him just as Niwa felt his spirits plummet. "But then, he hasn't really considered you might actually be serious in pursuing him yet."
"Well…," Niwa patted the piece of paper bulging his uniform's right pocket. "This will certainly help. Thanks again, Shichijou."
"You're most welcome."
"Add a stuffed toy or something," Nakajima remarked, after a moment of silent staring at the online order he'd helped Niwa place.
Niwa could swear he could feel his bank account crying. "Stuffed toy?" he weakly replied.
"I don't know. Girls like that."
He huffed, moving to sit on the couch. He felt the beginnings of a headache pulsing at the back of his skull. "Kaoru-chan isn't a girl."
"He sure as hell looks like one."
"Aren't you supposed to be an expert at this?"
Nakajima spun his seat to face Niwa, an arm thrown over the backrest. "As far as making him experience the orgasm of his life, sure. God, don't ask me for romantic advice. An inch above his right collarbone, by the way."
Niwa stared at him. "…That's where—"
"I sincerely doubt you'd ever be close enough to as much as breathe on it, anyway."
The gold-wrapped box of chocolate confections was even embroidered with silver ivy patterns around the side, intertwining toward the middle where the custom name "Saionji Kaoru" had been embossed in lustrous red ink. Curled around the package's sides were also the arms and legs of a one foot-tall Tarepanda, its head placed at the top center of the embossed name, eyes wide and soulful, chin resting on the elegant wrapping.
Niwa was pretty confident it would have made anyone's – man or woman's -- heart melt. It certainly got Naruse trying to make a grab for it to give to his "Honey."
Which made the harsh stinging of his freshly-slapped cheek such an enigma to him.
Niwa tried desperately to replay the conversation in his head while Saionji stalked off, package under one arm, the poor Tarepanda's head lolling back and forth as it was held by its neck.
Saionji had been crossing the courtyard and no one else was in sight when Niwa decided to approach him with his gift. Upon seeing the King, the second year had backed up and was about to head in the other direction. Niwa was faster.
"Kaoru-chan!" he called, skidding to a halt in front of the younger boy. The latter wore a distressed frown when his escape was blocked. "Don't be like that. You're not still mad at me about the dance, are you?" He leaned one arm against a nearby column, lovingly-wrapped parcel held in the other.
Pale green eyes narrowed up at him in annoyance. "Thank you for reminding me, I'd almost succeeded in forgetting about that unpleas—" An abrupt pause in the fast speech as his gaze alighted on the package being offered. Cautiously, he asked, "…What's that?"
Niwa's grin grew wider. "A gift."
"…Yes. What for?"
Niwa shrugged. "Peace offering? To prove I have no malicious intent about the dance?"
"Are you asking or saying?" Saionji distractedly retorted, carefully receiving the package. Really, he couldn't have been holding it more gingerly if it were an open grenade. The young man blinked at the embossed name. Niwa thought it was a good sign.
Falling silent after opening the box, however, was not.
"…Heart-shaped chocolates?" Saionji slowly asked.
Niwa frowned. "That obvious?" he wryly said, trepidation coiling at the edges.
"Do I LOOK like a girl to you Ni—actually, no, don't answer that!" Saionji closed the box with an audible 'snap,' his glare now fixed on the stuffed animal peering innocently up at him. "And WHAT the hell is _this_?!"
Niwa blinked. He couldn't possible be upset with…yes. Yes, he was. "It's Tarepanda."
"I KNOW it's Tarepanda, but why in all that is holy are you giving me a Tarepanda doll?"
"What fucking moron doesn't like Tarepanda?!"
The brief, resulting silence almost seemed as tangible as the ear-splitting slap that connected with Niwa's face soon after.
At least it all made much more sense in hindsight.
Niwa was met with the sight of Nakajima trying to restrain his laughter behind his hand as he opened the door to the Student Council. Glaring at his sniggering friend, he made his way over to the couch, his left hand cradling his sore cheek. For such a frail boy, Saionji's slaps _really_ hurt.
"I suppose you heard," he muttered, ill-humoured.
Nakajima managed to compose himself, dropping his hand, though an extremely amused smile still curved his lips. He replied at length, eyes dancing with malicious cheer, "The two of you were almost shouting, after all. I bet even that dog could hear it from the Treasury."
"…Shichijou…" A growl unconsciously rumbled through Niwa's throat at the mention of the second year's name. "I'm going to kill him."
"Hmm…not a good idea to show you his e-mail right now, is it?"
The King's eyes narrowed. "E-mail?" Slowly, he stood, walking over to where Nakajima was opening a new window on his browser.
The note read:
_To: President Niwa Tetsuya,
Thank you for the chocolates. You picked an excellent set.
I think I'm falling in love with you.
PS, if Kaoru ends up hurt in any way, I know where you live. And your social security number._
"…Print that out and mail it to me, Hide. I might need it as court proof one day."
- tbc -