Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. They are the property of their respective owners.
by samuraiheart


Prizes


Mitsuru looked around anxiously as the residents of Greenwood began to gather in the hallway. His roommate stood beside him and waited patiently. Finally, Tochizawa stepped to the front and cleared his throat.

"Okay, everyone. I called you all here tonight to announce a contest. I've noticed lately that life has been kind of boring around here so I propose that the first person to stir up a little new romance will win a prize. Any questions?"

The volume of the crowd increased as people whispered and generally got excited about the news. Someone gestured towards the other room and the group got quiet again. They didn't want to disturb the dorm lady.

"What about Furusawa and his motorcycle? Does that count?" someone shouted.

Furusawa just shook his head. Tochizawa laughed and assured the group that the romance had to involve human beings.

The crowd seemed to consider this for a few minutes and then agreed to the contest. One by one, people headed back to their dorms and talked about what kind of romance they could possibly start up. Mitsuru heard whisperings about the dorm lady and some of the guys. He frowned a little at that. He didn't think that would work. This was going to be tough. There were so few girls around and so many guys. Mitsuru grinned and his eyes glimmered as a plan began to take shape. He nudged Shinobu and they headed back to their room to discuss the new development.

Shinobu looked at Mitsuru mischievously. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"Aren't I always?" Mitsuru answered playfully. He grinned again. This was going to be fun. "Hasakawa and Shun."

"Exactly." Shinobu said nodding. "How should we start?"

"Well, I know that Hasakawa liked Shun when he thought Shun was a girl." Mitsuru said slowly. He was still trying to figure it all out.

"Yeah, but he was also heartbroken over Sumire at the time." Shinobu answered.

"Well, yeah, but if we could just convince him that it was still alright for him to like Shun..."

"I see. We could give him subtle hints and things like that."

"Okay, let's give it a try."

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Later that night at dinner, Mitsuru and Shinobu decided to put their plan into action. Mitsuru and Shinobu sat down across from Hasakawa and Shun.

"Hey, guys." Mitsuru said as he put down his tray. He looked from Hasakawa to Shun and then back again.

Hasakawa raised an eyebrow. "What's going on?"

Mitsuru focused on his chopsticks and said, "Oh. Nothing." He was trying to be nonchalant about this.

Shinobu nudged him and whispered, "Stop looking so suspicious."

Mitsuru frowned. What did Shinobu know about getting people together? Mitsuru took a deep breath and began. "My you're looking nice today Shun," Mitsuru gazed at Shun and then turned to Hasakawa, "isn't he Hasakawa?"

"Ummm... I guess so." Hasakawa responded hesitantly. He was kind of confused by the way that Mitsuru was acting. He wondered if he was missing something.

Shinobu shook his head and whispered to his roommate again, "What are you doing?" he sounded exasperated, "We're trying to hook up Hasakawa and Shun, not you!"

Mitsuru blushed and Shinobu decided to give it a try. "Ummm..." Okay maybe this was harder than he thought. "You know, red's a good color on you Shun."

"Thank you." Shun said suspiciously.

"Not just any red though." Mitsuru added. He was smiling again. Shinobu looked worried.

"Let's seeeeee." He looked around a little bit and finally pointed towards Hasakawa. "There – about the color of Hasakawa's hair."

Hasakawa and Shun looked at each other. They were starting to catch on.

"You know I have a girlfriend." Hasakawa said.

"Yes, but you know that Shun is much prettier than Mia." Shinobu said calmly.

Mitsuru looked over at him. Now who was going too far with this?

Shun started to laugh. This was unbelievable. Were Shinobu and Mitsuru really trying to set them up as a couple? The idea was ridiculous. They had to stop it. "You know this won't work." Shun said simply.

Shinobu shrugged his shoulders and decided that that was enough subtle hinting for tonight. They would have to try again a little later.

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Shinobu and Mitsuru walked back to their room after dinner. They were both thinking about what had happened. It really was kind of amusing, but they didn't want to give up quite yet.
"Actually, I don't think that red and pink go very well together." Mitsuru smirked.

"Me neither." Shinobu said simply, but he was smiling slightly as looked over at his friend.

Mitsuru was looking at Shinobu, too, and not at the path in front of him. He didn't notice the boy coming towards them until he ran into him and they both fell to the ground. The other student apologized and hurried off. Mitsuru just smiled. He should have been paying attention. Shinobu leaned over to make sure that his friend was okay and held out his hand to offer him help. Mitsuru looked at Shinobu's hand and then up at his face. Their eyes met and the world seemed to slip away for a moment as their attention became solely focused on each other. For those few seconds, nothing seemed to stand in their way, but that quickly faded as Mitsuru shook his head and stood up on his own. Shinobu blushed slightly and Mitsuru put his hands in his pockets. He tried to think of something to say, but they remained silent as they headed back to their room.

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The next day Mitsuru sat at his desk and finished up the last of his homework after dinner. When he was finished he turned to Shinobu and smirked. "Now what are we going to do about Shun and Hasakawa?"

Shinobu looked up uncertainly. "I don't know. I guess we should keep dropping hints."

"Yeah. We should try to convince them that it's okay." Mitsuru answered as he stared out the window.

Shinobu shifted uncomfortably. "Do you think it is? Okay, I mean."

Mitsuru turned back towards his roommate. He wasn't sure how to answer the question exactly. It seemed so simple, but it wasn't something he thought about often. "I guess so," he said hesitantly.

The room was silent for a few minutes as the two friends contemplated this. For some reason, this was all making Mitsuru a little nervous and even Shinobu felt kind of uncomfortable with this topic of conversation. He wasn't sure why. Something about it seemed a little too close for comfort.

"We're just talking about Shun and Hasakawa, right?" Mitsuru finally asked.

Shinobu nodded and smiled as a sense of relief washed over him. His friend was right. This was about Shun and Hasakawa and no one else. "Right."

"Well, in that case. I think love is love. It shouldn't matter who it is." Mitsuru walked over and sat next to Shinobu on the bottom bunk. It was getting late. They should probably go to bed soon.

"I think you're right, Mitsuru. Love is love." Shinobu frowned and looked over at Mitsuru. It looked like he was about to say something. Mitsuru's heart beat faster and he didn't know exactly why. He held his breath and waited for Shinobu's next words. "Goodnight, Mitsuru. We should get some rest. We can talk about this another time."

Mitsuru nodded and breathed again. He felt a little relieved and a little disappointed as he climbed up into the top bunk and pulled the covers closer to him. He lay there in the dark for a while thinking about the friend in the bottom bunk. They were good friends. They had been good friends for a long time. Mitsuru didn't know what he would do without Shinobu. He could picture his face in his mind and he admired the way his blue-gray bangs fell across his forehead and the way his piercing eyes seemed to see into his soul sometimes. He lifted his hand and wanted to reach out to that face. He wanted to feel the softness of his cheek and the texture of Shinobu's hair. Mitsuru shook his head and squeezed his eyes shut. What was he doing? He turned to face the other wall and drifted off to sleep wondering what Shinobu was thinking about.

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After classes the next day, Shinobu was walking along the path just beyond the dorm when he came across Shun sitting on a bench reading a book.

"Hi, Shun." Shinobu said as he took a seat beside him.

"Oh, hello, Shinobu. What are you doing out here?"

"Just enjoying the fresh air. How about you?"

"The same. It really is nice today." Shun eyed Shinobu suspiciously. He hoped that he and Mitsuru had given up on their little game. It was starting to get kind of annoying.

"You know you might love him and not even realize it." Shinobu said simply as he looked directly at Shun.

Shun put down his book and sighed. "Gee. I wonder what that's like." He rolled his eyes and shook his head. He looked up to see Shinobu looking confused and decided it was best not to explain. They would have to figure it out on their own. "Please just leave us alone. It's not going to happen."

Shinobu leaned back on the bench and nodded. He was pretty sure of that already, but he wasn't quite ready to give up. He still had to talk to Mitsuru about this. "Okay, Shun. I'll think about it. Bye."

"Bye." Shun said quietly as he returned to his book.

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Back in the dorm room, Shinobu and Mitsuru sat together on the bottom bunk and reviewed their plans. Things weren't going very well so far.

"You know, maybe we should just give up." Mitsuru said.

"Yeah. It doesn't seem like we're getting any closer." A slow smile spread across Shinobu's face. It had been kind of amusing, but there was really no hope from the start.

"I wonder what it would have been like though." Mitsuru said softly. He was no longer looking at Shinobu.

"You mean Hasakawa and Shun?" Shinobu asked hesitantly. He clasped his hands together nervously.

"Yeah, I guess so. I mean any two... any two..." Mitsuru shook his head in defeat. This was pointless. There was no reason to talk about this.

"Guys?" Shinobu filled in. He wasn't really sure what his roommate was getting at but he turned toward him and tried to figure it out.

"Yeah." Mitsuru said looking down at his hands.

"I don't know." Shinobu said simply. He watched as Mitsuru tugged at the fabric of the bed sheets. He was clearly nervous. He ran his fingers over the folds and refused to look up at his friend. Shinobu felt nervous too. He saw Mitsuru's hands and wandered what it would feel like for Mitsuru to hold him in his arms and run his hands over him. Shinobu blinked at the thought. It had come from nowhere in particular, but it certainly wasn't the first time that something like that had come to him.

Mitsuru looked up at Shinobu hesitantly. His violet eyes said more than words could. He was scared, but he continued. "I mean, do you think that you kiss a guy the same way that you kiss a girl?"

Shinobu's throat suddenly felt dry. He struggled to find the words to answer the question. He didn't want to take his eyes off Mitsuru as he did so. "I don't know." He paused to take a deep breath. "I think it might be different."

Mitsuru nodded and seemed to contemplate this statement before moving on. "Have you ever kissed a girl, Shinobu?"

Shinobu's eyes widened at the question. For a moment, he thought it was going to be a different question. He thought Mitsuru was going to ask if he had ever kissed a guy. "Yeah. One. How about you?"

Mitsuru seemed pleased with himself for a moment. Maybe he was happy that he had actually found out something meaningful about his roommate, but after a moment the nervousness returned to his gaze and he looked up at Shinobu. "A few."

Shinobu closed his eyes. He tried to think back to that first girl. It was only a few years ago, just before he came to live at Greenwood dorm. It was just a few months before he met Mitsuru. He tried to see the girl in his mind. She had long dark hair and sparkling brown eyes. The image seemed fuzzy and out of focus. Shinobu couldn't remember her exactly. They weren't together for very long. It just didn't seem right. He looked up at Mitsuru and wondered what it had been like for him. "What was it like?"

Mitsuru looked up at his roommate surprised. He hadn't really expected such a question from him. It had almost sounded like there was some doubt to it. He thought he was the only one who wondered things like that. Kissing was supposed to be wonderful. You weren't supposed to question it like he did, but for some reason he always had. Every time, with every girlfriend, it just didn't seem quite right. "I don't know... I kind of felt like it was overrated."

Shinobu nodded. "I know what you mean."

Mitsuru continued as he felt a little more confident that Shinobu understood him. "It kind of made me uncomfortable."

They sat in silence for a few moments as if some revelation had been revealed.
Mitsuru blushed as he realized how closely they were sitting. He looked at Shinobu uncertainly.

Shinobu leaned closer to Mitsuru. They were almost touching. "Maybe, we could..."

Mitsuru nodded, "I've always wondered..."

Shinobu put a hand on Mitsuru's shoulder and drew him closer. "Just this once." He said softly as he brushed his lips across Mitsuru's.

"So we would know." Mitsuru whispered between kisses. He closed his eyes and felt Shinobu's warm lips on his. It was an unbelievable experience. He lifted his arms to embrace Shinobu. He didn't want to let go. He never wanted to let go. Shinobu closed his eyes and melted into the embrace. It all felt so right. He broke the kiss reluctantly and looked into violet eyes. They shone with a mixture of pleasure and confusion. Shinobu felt the same way and his hands shook as he ran his fingers along Mitsuru's cheek and bent closer to kiss him again. Mitsuru moved his lips along Shinobu's and across his cheek. He brought his hand up to touch Shinobu's hair and marveled at its softness. He kissed Shinobu along his jaw line and then returned to his lips. The sensation was exquisite and for a few moments nothing else seemed to exist in the world. Mitsuru could feel Shinobu breathing and his heart beat faster at the feel of his roommate's breath against his neck. They paused before the next kiss. Silence filled the room as they hesitated.

Shinobu looked up at Mitsuru cautiously. Neither of them knew what to do. They let go of each other and looked down at the floor. The room was dark and the clock showed that it was well past the time when they should have been asleep.

"Well, I guess we should go to bed now." Mitsuru looked up at his roommate and then blushed at the double meaning that his words held. "To sleep." He said quickly and looked away.

"I know." Shinobu said quietly. "We should go to sleep." He couldn't look at Mitsuru as his roommate climbed into the top bunk and settled into bed. He lay down and closed his eyes, but the moisture on his lips burned with the memory of their kisses. He tried to ignore it, but he couldn't stop thinking about it. He stared at the bottom of the bunk above him and wondered what Mitsuru was thinking about.

"Shinobu?" Mitsuru said softly. He hoped that his friend wasn't asleep yet.

Shinobu blinked at the sound. It took him a moment to realize that Mitsuru had actually said his name. "Yes, Mitsuru?"

"It was different." Mitsuru said quickly.

Shinobu smiled slightly and agreed. "Yes, it was."

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By the end of the next day, they had pretty much given up on the Hasakawa and Shun idea. It seemed hopeless and no amount of subtle hints or not-so-subtle persuasion was going to change their minds.

Shinobu looked at the clock and shook his head. It was almost time to gather in the hall and see if anyone had won the prize. "Well, I guess we lost."

Mitsuru nodded. "Yeah. I guess so." He looked away for a moment and stared out the window. "We should probably go tell Hasakawa and Shun. I'm sure they'll be relieved."

Neither friend moved from their seats. The silence in the room seemed to surround them as they waited. Mitsuru continued to stare out the window. He was afraid that this had all been a terrible mistake. Shinobu worried too. He was having trouble keeping his mind from drifting back to that first kiss. They had both liked it hadn't they?

"Shinobu?" Mitsuru said hesitantly.

"Mitsuru?" Shinobu said at the same time.

For a moment they both looked flustered and neither knew how to continue. "Go ahead." Mitsuru said after the pause.

"No it's okay, you go ahead." Shinobu answered. He was suddenly very afraid of what Mitsuru was going to say. He tugged at his sleeves for a moment and tried to take a deep breath.

"It's just..." Mitsuru shifted in his chair. He wasn't sure how to begin. "About last night..."

"Oh." Shinobu was worried about that. Maybe he was wrong after all. Maybe it was all a mistake. Maybe they could forget about it and move on. Somehow Shinobu doubted that as he looked up at Mitsuru again.

After a few moments, his eyes took on a mischievous glimmer and Mitsuru looked at him quizzically. He had a plan and maybe it would all work out. "I think maybe we could still win the prize."

Mitsuru leaned a little closer and raised his eyebrows. "Really? How? I don't think there's any hope for Hasakawa and Shun."

Shinobu smiled. "No. I meant us."

"Us?" Mitsuru could hardly believe it. Was he serious? "Of course. That's perfect! We can pretend that we are a couple – at least for the sake of the contest."

Shinobu nodded. He was beginning to relax a little. They wouldn't have to talk about the serious stuff tonight. For now it would just be a game. That could work. "Do you think anyone would believe us?"

Mitsuru was starting to get excited about the idea. He sat next to Shinobu on the bed. "I don't know. They might want us to kiss or something." Mitsuru looked down at the floor again as some of the nervousness returned. He looked up when he felt Shinobu's hand take his.

"In that case, maybe we should practice some more." Shinobu smirked, but his eyes glimmered with uncertainty as he reached out and brushed the bangs away from Mitsuru's face. Mitsuru leaned into the touch and closed his eyes as he felt Shinobu's soft lips on his own. He parted his lips to welcome the kiss and reached out to hold Shinobu closer to him. Mitsuru ran his hands down Shinobu's back and admired his strength. He let one hand move under Shinobu's shirt to caress his bare shoulders. Shinobu closed his eyes and ran his tongue along Mitsuru's bottom lip as he leaned closer to him. Mitsuru leaned back against the pillow as Shinobu began to kiss him lightly down his neck and shoulders. He whispered Shinobu's name and smiled when he heard his roommate answer by saying "Mitsuru." It felt so good to hear Shinobu say his name. He closed his eyes again and pulled Shinobu closer to him until he was almost on top of him. Their legs tangled as they each became lost in the moment. They both froze when they heard a knock at the door. Shinobu pushed himself up with one arm and leaned over Mitsuru. Both friends stared at each other breathlessly.

Shinobu smiled. "I guess it's time to go meet everyone."

Mitsuru blushed and smiled also. "Are you ready?"

Shinobu leaned in and kissed Mitsuru lightly on the cheek. "I hope so."

Shinobu sat up and went to open the door. He told Hasakawa and Shun that they would be there in a minute and then he sat down beside Mitsuru again.

Mitsuru shook his head. "I'm still not sure they'll believe us."

Shinobu grinned. "Of course not." He turned to Mitsuru and looked at him sincerely. "We'll have to keep it up for a little while."

Mitsuru nodded. "How long?"

Shinobu's eyes shone in the darkness of the room and Mitsuru saw his lips curve up into a smile. "Oh a couple of years at least."

Mitsuru smiled too and they stood to go.

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Tochizawa stood in front of the group and glanced around to see if everyone was there.

"Well, it's been a week and I haven't seen any signs of a new romance. I guess no one gets the prize."

"Wait! We have one!" Mitsuru announced excitedly.

The residents turned around and looked towards Mitsuru. Everyone seemed curious to find out who the new couple was. "Who is it?" Tochizawa asked anxiously.

"It's us. We're a couple." Shinobu said in response.

Tochizawa laughed and shook his head. "No, that doesn't count. You too have been together for as long as I've known you."

There was a resounding agreement as dorm residents nodded their heads and made comments.

"But, we... but, we..." Mitsuru looked over at Shinobu in disbelief.

Shun walked over and put a hand on Mitsuru's shoulder as the crowd began to disperse and residents headed back to their rooms. "They'll never believe you, but I know just how clueless you two really are." He smiled and looked over at Shinobu. "I was wondering how long it would take you two to figure out what everyone else already knew." He winked at them and smiled. "Good luck!"

Shinobu and Mitsuru stared after him and then turned to each other. Shinobu took Mitsuru's hand in his own and gestured towards their room. "It doesn't matter. Shall we continue?"

Mitsuru nodded and followed his roommate. "Just to keep up appearances, right?"

Shinobu grinned. "We have to fulfill our reputation."


~Owari~

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