Categories > Anime/Manga > Here Is Greenwood > Tourism

Return fare

by miskatonic 0 reviews

Here Is Cherrywood! "Michiru" reaches an understanding with his temporary roommate. (Mitsuru x Shinobu)

Category: Here Is Greenwood - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Humor, Romance - Characters: Mitsuru Ikeda, Shinobu Tezuka - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2005-05-31 - Updated: 2005-05-31 - 2260 words

Mitsuru had always believed "Shinobu" and "nervous" were mutually exclusive terms, any combination of the two being absurd and unlikely as a cow falling from the sky. Now he was forced to wonder about insurance against a livestock deluge. For someone who'd had this bright idea in the first place, Shinobu had been as twitchy as a bomb squad trainee. In fact, when Hasukawa had finally stuck her head in the door and barked out their names, Shinobu's tea had wound up in her lap.

Good a reason as any to get her clothes off, he'd supposed. It had gone a little better after that.

No, better than a little better, if he was any judge of this sort of thing.

But warm fuzzies aside, it had also felt awkward in some fashion he couldn't quite put his finger on. He was a little troubled at how easily he'd fallen in lust with someone he'd only met two days ago. Someone who looked just like /his roommate/.

He hadn't really been worried about the wrong name for the wrong occasion, which was also a bit disturbing. As for her, she seemed enthusiastic enough, but hadn't said a word the entire time, which had put a curb on any tendency he might have had toward eloquence.

So maybe he was in love. Maybe just confused as hell. Maybe not the only one.

Shinobu definitely wasn't a cuddler. She'd rolled out of bed, shuffled on her robe, and was now rummaging in her desk drawer in the dark. Then she moved to the window, slid it open and propped her hip on the windowsill.

"Er," Mitsuru said, watching all of this in confusion.

"Yes?" A scraping followed by a flare of light, as she lit a cigarette. "/Maa/, cliché," she murmured herself, gently waving the smoke out the window.

"Er," he repeated. And, more embarrassed, "Are you all right?"

"Yes. Very interesting," she said politely. "Thank you." She exhaled a stream of smoke into the night air.

Whatever composure she'd lost before, she'd captured back in spades. But his was draining in a torrent. For him, past responses had ranged from "great" and "wow" and "fun" to "hey, that happens to all guys sometimes," and that last one he really, really hadn't wanted to be reminded about, but "interesting" was an all new -- and not necessarily welcome -- addition to his collection.

"Look, if you didn't want to, then why--?"

"I do want to," she said.

Hunh? That change in tense didn't pass his notice. As she didn't intend to elaborate on it, and seemed to be operating under a different definition of "want to," he thought about it himself. A curious idea began to prod him rather insistently.

He decided to go ahead and step on it; see if anything blew up. "So why don't you just tell her?" he asked.

"I tell her every day." She flicked the butt out the window, and the coal arced off into the darkness. After a few moments, the lighter scritched and flared again.

"Oh." Not quite the boom he'd expected.

"Yes, oh."

"You mean in a, a--" he groped for a euphemism, and wound up, lamely, with "--in a Watanabe and Fujikake way?"

She snorted, clearly amused. But, he realized, as the silence stretched out, she hadn't denied it either. "No, wait a minute. Don't you have, like, three steady g-er-," no, flip it, he reminded himself, "boyfriends?"

Her silhouette at the window shrugged. So?

"Right." He'd have to tell Shinobu he's a slut here, too, he thought to himself with a shaky laugh. "So that makes me what, your guinea pig of the month? The pinch hitter? What the hell?"

"My apologies," she said calmly, "I made a mistake." Mitsuru didn't think she sounded very contrite. Then she added, "But what if you were a substitute of sorts? What do you think you'd say, if you were her?"

He blinked. Why the hell would she expect him to know?

When he didn't respond, she said, "I see."

"No, no you don't," he said. He felt irritated with the whole idea being tangled up in some mess that belonged to that Michiru, who was turning out to be not just a guy magnet but a chick magnet as well. He figured that idiot was probably oblivious to it all.

Shinobu was still waiting patiently, so he gave an explanation a shot. "Look at this from my perspective, okay? First, I'm a guy. The idea of two chicks doing that is kinda ... well, guys think this is hot. Got it?"

"Hmm. Understood."

"But," he soldiered on, "my brain cells are already crispy fried from dealing with the idea of me as a girl. Me as a girl who might even be hot. And adding me-as-a-girl-who-might-be-hot into a scenario where I'm doing that, which is definitely hot, with another chick, who is, well, major also, is just, just--" He flapped a helpless arm, fanning the air.


"China Syndrome. So I'm the last one to ask."

"Well, I suppose in the end it makes no difference," Shinobu said at last, in that same cool, remote tone. "Get some sleep, Ikeda-san," she said. "Tomorrow you go home."

"Yeah, whatever," he said, defeated. He suddenly felt deathly tired. He'd be a mess in classes tomorrow. No, classes /today/, he thought woefully.

"Did you really mean that?" she asked suddenly.

"Mean what?"

"That I was 'major also,' as you put it."

He thought back his babble over this and that, and figured it out. "Well, yeah. Obviously."

"Thank you."

Weird. Definitely weird, he thought, lying back.

"That is my bed." The coal of the cigarette levitated to point upward. "That is yours."

That settled it; not just irritating, major hot, wannabe-dyke, but also a bitch. Mitsuru climbed out of the bunk, and growled, "Did I mention you're as big a pain in the ass as Shinobu?"

"I am Shinobu," she reminded him.





"Michiru. Time to get up."

"Lemme 'lone," Mitsuru moaned from under the blankets. "Why the hell do I have to get up this time?"

"To go to class," his roommate said.

"Wha? Class?" Mitsuru sat up abruptly in full panic.

"Class in your own school," she said. "The holiday is over."

Shinobu dropped back to the floor, and calmly began to knot the tie of her school uniform. "I would suggest clothing," she added pointedly. "The workmen have come and gone, and Hasukawa and Shun were kind enough to coordinate the necessary distractions."

"What? Why the hell didn't you wake me up before now?" he said, clutching at the sheets.

But she was the sort who never bothered to answer stupid questions.

Mitsuru balanced on the narrow top of the ladder and eyed the mirror beside him warily. Now he knew how Hasukawa must have felt; he'd been perfectly content to be living without that particular bit of knowledge.

"So, uh," he said.

"Go ahead, Mitsuru-sempai," Shun encouraged him happily. "Fall off!"

"Yeah, okay. . ."

"C'mon, sempai, do it! We're missing class for this," Hasukawa said.

"Hey, no one asked you to," Mitsuru snapped at her. "Go to class then."

"We're not here for /you/," she pointed out.

"Oh, right," he said. "Hang on." Like so many things, this had sounded easier in theory than it was turning out to be in practice.

Mitsuru glanced down, unsteadily, at his audience, in their neat school uniforms.

Shinobu held up a hand in a parting wave; her expression was saintly. Cute little Hasukawa's was not; she now was smiling up at him in positively evil satisfaction.

That was when Mitsuru recalled whose foot had propelled Hasukawa back to her dorm last time. Shit.

"Wait, listen, Hasu--"

But whatever Hasukawa planned was preempted, because the first class period had ended -- and his Cherrywood fan club arrived in full stampede.

"Wait, what are you doing!" they screamed.

"No, no, Mitsuru-/sempai!/" they shouted.

"Don't /go/, please staaaaay!" they shrieked.

They collided with the small group around the ladder en masse.

Mitsuru laughed hugely. "No way, Hasukawa didn't call her a pervert, too?" He'd had to wait until the day's classes were over to get all the details, but definitely worth the wait.

"Hmm?" Shinobu glanced up, from unknotting his tie. "Yes, oddly enough," he mused. "But Hasukawa was rather awed by your looks and tended to be easily cowed into submission."

"Heh heh heh," Mitsuru leered. "I'm that gorgeous?"

Shinobu shook his head and pulled open his desk drawer. He slipped out a sheaf of Polaroids. "See for yourself."

Mitsuru leafed through them, feeling a bit embarrassed. She'd struck a series of silly cheesecake poses, flashing a dazzling grin and a peace sign to the camera.

When he'd done this, he'd gone for lame macho poses.

"Yo, no one's kicking sand in my face at the beach," he'd said.

"Of course they won't," Shinobu had agreed. "You're the hero."

And here she was wearing one of his own shirts, but it wasn't buttoned all the way. "Damn, she's got a good figure," Mitsuru muttered. He frowned, idly wondering what her three sizes were. He had an odd notion, and flipped the Polaroid over. They were on the reverse -- waist, bust, and hip -- in his own handwriting, with "Yo! Pretty hot, ne" written right beside them.

Mitsuru reddened. "Cute. Real cute," he muttered.

"Aren't you?" Shinobu agreed, holding out his hand for the pictures.

"What, I don't get to keep these?" he said, clutching them to his chest.

"I'll buy you a mirror," Shinobu said.

"You already bought me one," Mitsuru said, tossing them back on his desk. He guessed he could understand a little why he'd come out of it surrounded by weeping, cursing dorm-mates. Assholes, the lot of 'em.

Then it occurred to him that, over there, Michiru had flipped over those Polaroids and seen what he had scribbled on the back of one of them. He blushed. She would have just finished tossing them back to Shinobu as well.

He turned, and began to beat his forehead on his desk. "I'm freaking out," he announced to no one in particular.

"What, again?" Shinobu said, sounding mildly perplexed.


Oh. Right. He got it now. The same, but not the same.

"I tell her every day," she'd said. Last night she'd even resorted to scrawling it on her mirror in tacky, bright-red lipstick, the kind she'd never wear herself, hadn't she? Those poor, oblivious Ikedas, noisily stomping around on the sunny streets, had gotten double-teamed and blind-sided by those undemonstrative, scheming Tezukas who lurked in the dark alleys.


"You freak me out," Mitsuru corrected himself. "How the hell do you pull these things off?"

"What things?"

Maybe it just came naturally to them, a reflex like breathing. Mitsuru sighed to himself, and observed aloud, not for the first time, "Y'know, that Shinobu is a manipulative sod."

"Mitsuru, I'm Shinobu," he said, looking at him oddly.

"Which I have just figured out for myself," Mitsuru told him, rather pleased to see him looking confused and off-balance for a change. But he needed to make certain of one thing. "So, did you take any bets on how soon you'd get my delectable self in the sack?"

For a flicker of an instant, he saw Shinobu genuinely pissed off, but the usual impassive expression reasserted itself. "Of course not."

"Didn't think you would." Mitsuru grinned at him, pleased, and Shinobu blinked. Mitsuru knew that, back when they'd first met, Shinobu wouldn't have seen anything wrong with that idea.

Well, he thought philosophically, as she'd been attempting to point out to him, in her cryptic Tezuka way, when you shove the villain and the hero together in the same room, strange things were bound to happen. Mitsuru got up and collected his coat.

"You're going out?"

"Yeah," he said, fingering the change in his pocket. "Conbini run. You got any money? Need about a hundred more yen." As Shinobu looked at him inquiringly, he added, "Or you could just come with, pick out a flavor or something, toss in some cigs for part two of that lecture on how 'interesting' I am."

Shinobu's face was perfectly blank.

Well, well, Mitsuru thought in satisfaction. He'd not only gotten an opportunity to see Shinobu nervous, he even got to see him stunned speechless. Nice scenery. Vacations were good.

He waited while Shinobu fetched his coat.

"Tengoku e no Hashigo-dan" (Stepladder to Heaven), volume 10, part 4: Onna nanka kirai da! Dorm-president Hasukawa Kazuya (Suka-chan!) notices a burnt-out fluorescent ceiling light in the hallway while he's doing the night's round of bed-checks. When he reports it, the dorm manager tells him she'll deal with it tomorrow. He gets righteous over her perceived slackitude, and decides he'll get a ladder from the supply closet and change it himself. When he pops the new light in, the sudden brightness in his eyes causes him to lose his balance and fall off the ladder -- he falls through the plate-glass mirror on the adjacent wall into Ourinryou Girls Dorm, aka Cherrywood. All the same dorm residents with the same histories and personalities -- but the genders are reversed. Once they figure out what has happened, the women discover that Hasukawa Narimi (Suka-chan!) is missing. They conclude that she must have fallen through the mirror at the exact same time, in the exact same way. They take the logical steps to rescue her from the all-boy dorm. Ouch. Poor Suka-chan. (Nasu Yukie love! She pens her own AUs and makes 'em canon. :)
Sign up to rate and review this story