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I can't live without pride (your wounds, let me carry them too)

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     Revenge is casual, a force of habit; one gang beating another up, unfair methods being used to achieve victory. Todoroki Yosuke being attacked in an alley, nine against one, doesn't escape that rule. He achieves an excellent survival rate anyway, beating up most of the guys before one hit sends black spots dancing in front of his eyes. Metal pipes are a part of the package deal; delinquents are aware of how fights can slip like that. Thus, he grits his teeth and fight back. It doesn't permit him to avoid a trip to the hospital, nor the noisy ruckus in his room when Oya's new children decide to step inside. His honor has seen worse nonetheless. He'll be able to stand and participate in the following fight against a group which could as well be nameless for how little he cares about them. 

Although he has That person's contact on Line, he isn't certain he should contact them. After all, it's a matter which only depends on Oya High. Rumors spread faster than truths around there though. He sends a quick message, ignoring the amount of unread stickers which make his eyes tired. 


      Odajima Yuken is told that Housen cannot be involved. Each group knows better than to overstep. That would be gauche, to pour oil on a burning fire. 

Since Sachio's word is law, Odajima, the Housen executive, does not step in. He laughs a little, hands waving into the air withour a goal, accepting his fate. The others do not understand; they have never wished to dwell into his personal mistakes, and he doesn't care. 

However, Odajima Yuken, who is That guy's boyfriend, will definitely show up.

What does it mean, to be lovers? Surely their relationship is weird, or too recent, in that regard, isn't it? They only meet for food or drinks, walking together—it's akin to a friendship, unless Odajima walks unannounced into his place (if he asked, he wonders if the answer would be no), and then they order takeout and sometimes kiss in front of the television. Or evenings where they kiss in alleys, hands wandering without goal. It's—he wouldn't complain about it, as he enjoys the simplicity of sharing his favorite drinks with Todoroki or when they study together at his place. Focusing on books do not come easily to Odajima, whose eyes get tired from light and reading words and who is bad at not getting bored or fidgeting, although he does appreciate the company. He could fear to be a bother, if he were less prideful—they both are, and in a way, that makes being together easier—Todoroki has never thrown him out, so why should he care?

Sachio can tell he is going, albeit under the pretense of doing something else; a walk to the convenience store, nothing too long. Perhaps he will scold him later. Unlike the bald heads, who jump when he slams doors or gets angry, Odajima has never feared Ueda Sachio. He wouldn't be able to say why, it's simply how it is between them.

Anyway, if he told them—the other representatives, that would mean explaining his betrayal. Not in the sense of loving a man—he wouldn't forgive them, he thinks, if they were to reject him—but being with a rival. It would make both of them targets, by creating a visible bond treated as a weakness.

Can't they have fun? Why would it be wrong to admit that he likes the way Todoroki scoffs when he presses a kiss against the corner of his lips in shabby alleys? That's excruciating, that power which comes from fingers getting tangled in dyed locks, tugging just enough for laughter to erupt from his throat, butterfly kisses offered against his brow, or the tip of his nose. Sometimes bite marks too, teeth grabbing an offered tongue and refusing to let go. 

He likes that.

Being free. 

That's why he grins at Sachio, waving on his way out as he steps backward. He must know, after all. Consequences will arise later, he doesn't have to mind them.


     Sitting on the subway, legs dangling in front of him in the empty compartment, he wonders how to go through Oya's buildings. Oh well, that mustn't be such a challenge. After all, you do not have to shave your head to get inside, nor wear an uniform.

He glances at the black pants he picked rather than the uniform, getting changed in the station restroom filled with tags and out of service phone numbers, usual tank top and cardigan badly buttoned—he likes when it falls off his shoulders, that's kind of fun. The pressure of sleeves too long against the back of his hands and the fact it's still comfortable enough to fight in.

Almost missing his stop, he gets up a bit too late, slipping outside with a vague sense of the point he is trying to make. Todoroki did not tell him to stay away, nor he asked for his presence.

Ah, isn't love enough of an excuse for reckless behavior? 


    Oya High in all its glory, fighters determined to challenge anybody for the sake of it. What's funny, is that he can pass for one of them, hair undone, and sunglasses off. There are too many people around there, and and by casting his gaze on his shoes and pretending to be among the weaker ones, he doesn't get more than a couple of glances. The good old hierarchy system, easy to comprehend and to slip into. 

In itself, his little scheme works pretty well, until he reaches the staircase.

A kick flies by his head without a warning—he pushes back with his arm without any hesitation. 

"Oi, Housen guy!" 

"Oyo, Oya person~" 

Two can play this game. Or three. That's the—Shida wasn't kind with Yasushi, he thinks that's the name. Oh, he did recover, so no harm done. And next to him stands the second in command, chin up and lips distorted into what's supposed to be arrogance.

They are completely ridiculous, with their prettty shirts with flowers and feral expressions; Odajima likes that. 

"What'cha doing here, you?" 

"Let's see... Secret meeting for blond delinquents, or so I've heard."

He grins, playful, leaning against the wall as he awaits for a decent comeback. What he gets is a palm slamming against his head and Yasushi's face too close to his. He leans a bit, so he can feel the other breathing against his lips. 

"Cut the crap—" 

"My boyfriend got his ass kicked, I'm here to make sure you don't screw up the whole revenge ploy."

Clogs turn slowly into Yasushi's head, until he gets the point. Apparently they share a couple of similarities, as the tongue suddenly stuck out almost brushes against his lips. The other is quick to step back though. 

"Untying your hair won't make you pass for an Oya student properly, which kind of dumbass are you?" 

Kiyoshi, Odajima realizes, has wrapped an arm around Yasushi' shoulders, tugging him further backwards, which earns him an elbow hit. 

As if he were the kind of idiot to steal boyfriends. He has a perfectly good one at home—not at home exactly, but it's the same. 

"I managed to get that far without being recognized, so~" 

"We could—" 

"No Kiyoshi, forget it—" 

"Oi you ain't even listening!" 

"I don't need to." 

Amazed, Odajima watches them going back and forth with what's, probably, a terrible idea, awaiting to learn more about his fate. The first thirty seconds are fine, after that though, boredom starts to invade his mind. He could stroll down the hallway, if only for a bit. 

"You, Housen—" 

"It's Odajima." 

"Same thing, anyway," Kiyoshi is still arguing with his partner, fingers digging against his side while he is pushing on Yasushi's head—isn't it where he got injured last time? "If you wanna fight with us, you gotta look the part." 

"Are you suggesting a makeover?" 

Isn't his sort of disguise enough? Urg, his eyes are already starting to hurt from the constant light inside the building. Outside, for the fight, it'll be worse. 


      The whole plan turns out to be an excuse for hair braiding. 

You see, Kiyoshi has been watching countless tutorials, trying new things on his hair and on Yasushi every morning. He is defensive over the whole thing though, embarrassed to enjoy what would be considered as weak by his peers. That resonates quite loudly against Odajima's ears, which isn't enjoyable. He wants to say he doesn't care, although he doubts he could be heard over the constant taunting. 

Legs rocking into the air, he's sitting on a desk, the other standing behind him in the empty classroom. Yasushi has brought back a couple of colorful shirts and jackets most of which have extravagant patterns on them, showing them one after another. Where are they from? He doesn't have a clue. A lost and found box perhaps. 

"Green? No, that would do shit with the sunglasses—remove the chain by the way, you fucking old man." 

Before he can reply that having a chain is practical, his personal hairdresser is pushing his head on the side so he can adjust the braid he's making. One on each side, joined in the back. That's still kind of reminiscent of his usual style, only fancier. 

"Purple? Fuck yeah, you'll rock purple. Kiyo, opinion." While he sorts of bark at his partner, the other guy uses the same tone. Thus, Odajima can only suppose that's their way of expressing affection. 

"Has to be open over his tank top, and be a bit too large!" 

"That guy is a shrimp, everything's gonna be gigantic on his frame." 

"The shrimp can hear you~" 

For a member of Housen Killers Corp, to be insulted in such way—he has to repress a chuckle. As if Yasushi wasn't a noodle himself, underneath loose clothes. He has a nicely detailed jaw, in the same way Kiyoshi hands are bruised and attractive.

"You could be a hairdresser." 

A grunt is the sole reply he gets. Don't mock me, fucker, Kiyoshi is saying. The shirt is thrown at him, Odajima catching it without adding anything. He does sound mocking, most of the time, a bit overwhelming would say the others at Housen. That's—how he is, that's all. Not kind, a mix between blunt and calculating. 

The jacket is light, meant for warmer days, fabric smooth underneath his fingers. He likes heavier stuff, usually. It'll do, if it's only for one day.


Using his phone as a mirror, he stares at his reflection for a while. The difference is—not worth the time he spent sitting there. It's obvious that he looks like himself, even with that purple horror over his shoulders (he likes the leopard print on the hood, although he won't admit it) and better hairstyle. Nonethelss, in a fight, that'll do. And he enjoyed the attention. 

"Thanks Kiyoshi~" 

Yay, that guy must have a last name, but since he doesn't know it—

"Oi, what about me!" 

"Thanks for picking the ugliest jacket ever, Yasushi-shan."

He has to dodge an empty can of soda being thrown at his face, which isn't that scary. 


Hanaoka Fujio stares. 

Odajima stares back, sunglasses falling off a bit (he has removed the chain, and now the back of his neck feels bare and it's not so great). 

Hanaoka is still staring. 
"Oyo oyo, I'm Average Student, pleasure meeting you!~" 

This guy is Sachio's buddy. In which way? Ah Odajima wouldn't mind knowing, although he fears it's all longing and not much happening. 

(He should give Sachio's love counseling.
Oh, he does enjoy being alive though.) 

To his credit, rather than causing a ruckus, Hanaoka merely frowns. 

"Is this about—Todoroki and you?" 

"Yep, defending my boyfriend."

Once again, Oya is accepting of that stuff, with their now graduated leader chasing every strong guy he meets, that would be weird otherwise. Still, Hanaoka is taken aback by how freely he mentions his relationship. 

"And who asked you to defend me?" 

Odajima snickers, spinning around to stare at—oh, his heart misses a beat at the bandages and overall poor complexion of his lover, the slight limp, jaw clenched more than it should—Todoroki. Love is terrifying, isn't it? To cause you to care for another being to the extend you wish to craddle their face between your hands and headbutt that fucker for not having fought better. 

"I did—as a fellow member of Oya High." 

Todoroki is beyond anger, definitely. Too calm, exactly like himself gets at time. Only ripples in an ocean of regrets and mistakes. 

"I transfered, made friends, the usual stuff." 

"That guy's member of the YasuKiyo faction now!"  Kiyoshi does not know how not to yell, which is fine as he didn't need his hearing to remain intact anyway. 

Immediately, he notes some of the tension shifting from Todoroki's face to his shoulders. 

"He's mine." 
"We dressed him up and made him look like one of us, you don't get to decide," and now Yasushi too! 

In the midst of this verbal tug-of-war, Odajima bursts out laughing, attracting the attention of everyone at once. Which wouldn't be so problematic if they weren't all standing in an abandoned part of town awaiting for the enemy. 

"Oya High is so fun~ Maybe I'll transfer for real next time. I'm just average today though! Not belonging to anyone." 

He does plant a quick kiss on Todoroki's lips anyway, as someone shouts that the enemy is marching on. That's their first public kiss, oops.

"For good luck~" 

"I don't need it."

Todoroki tugs him close, enough for Odajima to feel bruised ribs underneath his fingers, loathing that pride they all carry—how you shall fight if you're able to stand. That should be considered honorable, to seek revenge. Odajima thinks they are a bunch of idiots, himself included. 

"I have you, that's more convenient than relying on luck." 

That's a whisper, one which almost makes the worry forming at the pit of his stomach worth it. Whatever, they'll fight. 

They are going to win. 


     Oya High is filled with celebrations, colorful drinks from the convenience store or vending machines, everyone sitting on the roof, contemplating the way the sky is melting into warm tones—pinks and oranges muted behind his sunglasses, eyes pushed too far to remove them right now. Hey, he'll live. 

They're one, even if he ain't a part of this technically—Jamuo lends him a band-aid for the nasty cut on his lip, from some moron smashing a glass bottle too close to his face, Kiyoshi insists to fix his hair while shouting he better not fuck up his work, Yasushi claims that he shall join his faction later—he feels like he belongs enough. 

Housen is home, in spite of the cold aspect it carries—that's only a fake impression meant to cause their enemies to believe them invincible. Jinkawa gives the best hugs. Sachio has band-aids with cute characters on them that he offers when someone gets hurt. Sawamura is rough, yet he cares so much for all of them—and Shida is an asshole, and Odajima's childhood friend who walks him to school every morning because he's like that. 

Oya is—a reprive. Some sort of dinner you find on your way back under pouring rain, ugly from the outside, yet inviting and comfortable once you're in. Constant chatter drowning your thoughts. Alongside the good-looking guy sitting by your side. 

He leans a bit, at first, then ending with his chin on Todoroki' shoulder, staring up at him. 



He yawns, closing his eyes for a moment, to rest them. Is Todoroki well enough to walk home? Oh, that might not be the best day to sleep over. Another time. 


      "Shit!" he jolts upright at once, panic rising in his mind, and almost causing Jamuo a heart attack, "I told Sachio and the others I was gonna be back really fast after going to the convenience store—" 

"It's almost 9pm, they surely went home." 

Yeah—he does wonder what's going to happen the following day though. They are still on the roof of Oya, drinks replaced by food, sky starting to be too dark to distinguish every detail. No one wants to be the first to leave though. 

"About that," oh fuck, "You promised to bring back snacks, dumbass!" 

Shida, who decided that kicking open the door of the roof was an excellent way to say hello, is a bit pissed off. Nothing worse than usual. Odajima stretches a bit, arms up high, before waving. 

"Don't come to pick me up, that's lame." 

He glances as Hanaoka, who acts as innocent as a criminal is able to, deciding that he was probably texting with Sachio and he came into the conversation. Terrible. 

"The others are waiting in front of the building, we're eating out—and you're fucking paying." 

Odajima groans, glaring at the night sky. That's fair, since he did lie, yet he doesn't have that much money. 

"Shida, stop being so damn loud!" 

"Funny coming from ya' Nishikawa, how's the head?" 

"I'm doing well, fuck you very much."

As they stand in front of each other, ready to start another useless grudge between their schools, Odajima sighs, getting back onto his feet, abandoning Todoroki's warmth. 

"I'm coming, I'm coming~" 

Fingers tug on his, boyfriend showing that he requires assistance to get back onto his feet, even without saying it. 

"I'm bringing Doroki though~" 


"I love him, and I'm willing to buy him dinner. Not for you though—" 

Fingers laced with Todoroki's, he stops in front of Yasushi and Kiyoshi, offering the smallest bow he can manage. Pride and all.

"Thanks for today, next time let's go a double date." 

"Sure, Average guy." 

"Double date? What the fu—" 

Ignoring Shida's voice (he truly likes him, they are just mean like that), he drags Todoroki towards the stairs. That was a bit mean to say it this way, not that he minds. 


      "There was this student yesterday, you saw him? He fought like a lion—all purple and cool!" 

"Yeah, apparently he's Kiyoshi's cousin. Part of the YasuKiyo Faction." 

"What, really?" 

Todoroki closes his book, an amused smile tugging at his lips. Slapping a first year on the back of the head with the novel he was reading as  he walks past them. 

"He's mine, the new guy," is all he tells them.


      It won't be the last time Odajima is over for short visits, causing mayhem and confusion, although Todoroki sitting among Housen' staff on a Friday evening is quite a sight too. 

"Exchange program," Odajima explains, his grey jacket drapped over his boyfriend.


Sachio and Fujio spend a lot of time texting each other on Line after that.