Captain spastic would like to take this moment to apologise for not submitting this as soon as it was posted. He would like to blame Real Life for intruding into both authors' brainspaces.
Title: Corybantic Dance (Chapter 1)
Characters: Gekkou Hayate, Shiranui Genma, Namiashi Raidou, Hagane Kotetsu, Kamizuki Izumo, Mitarashi Anko, Yamashiro Aoba
Warnings: Pure crack, implications of violence, expletives
Notes: We saw many High School Alternate Universes. They were all poorly written. We decided to change that. Eventual GenHaya and KoIzu. OMG I'M TIRED. MADI, SAY SOMETHING SENSIBLE HERE.
Disclaimer: Naruto is not our toy, although sometimes we wish it was. Almost everyone you meet here belongs to Masashi Kishimoto, we just borrow them, occasionally. Hayate's parents, Gekkou Ken'ichirou and Gekkou Shizuka, belong to Sweetbriar, and Genma's mother, Shiranui Riza, is all Penbrydd's fault.
Author's Note: Hello, and welcome to the very first collaborative work published by the group Wryly Fantarding! This particular fic is authored by authors Penbrydd and Sweetbriar. The two of us were planning for a majorly epic GenHaya collaboration when the silly idea for this HS AU occurred to Sweetbriar. Penbrydd liked the idea, and lo, a fic was born. Do enjoy!
Thanks to dansunedisco, our awesometastic beta.
(Penbrydd would also like to apologize for the complete lack of smut in the first eighty pages of his fic.)
Warnings: Violence, expletives, eventual yaoi (KoIzu, KoIzuRai (more funny than sexy), GenHaya).
Perhaps the loudest sound to one Hayate Gekkou's own ears was that of his sharp, wheezing breath as he pedalled furiously on his rusty, only-God-knows-how-old one-speed bike. The wheels made alarming squeaking noises as he rolled past house after house in a desperate frenzy, but they were drowned out by his own breathing and the snarls and jeers of the group of seniors and juniors responsible for the otherwise dangerous speed Hayate was going at. The ride was bumpy at best as he sped over the cracked pavement, just narrowly avoiding inconveniently placed trees and street lamps and, despite his best efforts, it sounded like the group of older boys behind him were catching up — on foot. They must have been football players or track runners or something, Hayate thought, to have been able to keep up with him and gain on him at this rate.
He honestly didn't have a clue as to why they were chasing him. Well, that was a tiny lie. He thought that it might have been because he was a puny little wussy-looking freshman, and they were upperclassmen with a severe superiority complex just looking to give themselves a little rise out of taking down a scrawny nerd like him. Something told him that the fact that he'd just moved into town that summer and really didn't have many friends also made him easy pickings for the vultures.
A dry but startled yelp flew out of his mouth as the front wheel of his bike took a nasty dip into an unexpecteydly steep pothole, and his bike went hurtling forward. It happened too fast to remember exactly what had happened — but the next thing he knew, his bike had plowed straight into the side of someone's Valiant, and he was on the pavement beneath it, hurting just about everywhere his body had met the ground.
Both front doors of the car swung open and two tall seniors stepped out of the car — Raidou Namiashi, looking oddly calm in that neck-snapping sort of way, the badly scarred side of his face only adding to the intimidation factor, and Genma Shiranui, looking queerer than RuPaul, but oddly competent. Without a word to each other, they moved into position, Raidou getting between the oncoming jocks and his car, and Genma pulling the bike off the frosh.
"You gentlemen have a reason for fucking up my car?" Raidou asked the approaching mob. Obviously the kid had been trying to get away from them, which made it their fault.
"Hey…hey, kid?" Genma tried to be soothing and calming, but the effect was rather ruined by the outrageous clothes he wore and the pink highlighter stuck between his teeth. "You okay? What are these shitheads after you for?"
Hayate erupted into a round of spontaneous coughing as he scrambled away from the now-dented car, looking like a deer caught in the headlights. Garbled apologies spilled from his mouth, and he dragged himself away from Genma and the car. He turned his widened, dark eyes on the group of upperclassmen, who had slowed to a stop in front of Raidou. They looked slightly less confident, but largely undeterred.
"Back off, Namiashi, what's it to you?" one of them spat.
Genma reached out and grabbed the kid by the collar, and Hayate stared back in mild terror, as if afraid that Genma was about to beat on him, too. The shock of seeing Raidou's scarred face hadn't help much either. "Stay put, kid. I can't keep them off you if you don't stay put. Just let Rai do his thing, alright?" He held out his other hand in a relatively friendly fashion. "I'm Genma. That's Raidou. But I'm sure you already know that, or you wouldn't be so fucking bothered." A cheeky grin spread across his face, marred only by the highlighter.
"Well, you seem to have involved my car. The frosh hasn't got it in him to have done that on his own, so I'm interested in the responsible parties." Raidou's shoulders squared as he stood up straight, proving, unquestionably, that he really was more than six feet tall. He looked relaxed, but grim. "Now, which one of you am I going to take it out of? Or would you rather do the right thing and pay up so I can get that dent hammered back out of my poor Annie? Up to you…"
One of the jocks up front rolled his wrists. They cracked audibly. "Cut the bullshit, Namiashi. How's this — you and your faggy friend step out of the way of the little shithead there, and we'll think about paying up for your car. Maybe we can beat a bit of spare change out of him, who knows."
"How about I just break your knees, and we call it even? What are you even after the kid for?" Raidou cracked his neck, just tilting his head to the side. "Really. What did a scared and skinny little kid like that do to piss you off so bad that you're willing to deal with me?"
Genma looked up at nothing, tallying the significantly pointy implements currently on his person. 'All the ones you know about plus one more' had always been his motto in that regard, and working in the theatre gave him all the excuse he needed. Five sharpened pencils, two Exacto knives, a boxcutter, the razors that lived in his thigh pocket…yeah, he definitely had enough to do some damage, if it came to that. "Don't worry about it, kid. Just go sit in the car or something. I don't want them going after you if you take off. We're gonna have our hands full in a minute, here."
Hayate just stared at Genma as if the senior had just suggested that he go take a dip in a pool filled with straight chlorine, and didn't move from where he sat. Luckily enough for him, the group of bullies looked about ready to stand down. The one who had spoken last gave Raidou and Genma a potent dirty look and, shouting all manner of obscenities, the lot of them shuffled off in the other direction. "Just wait, kid, next time we'll kick you off that shitty tin can of a bike!"
Hayate just stared after them, breathing raggedly, as if afraid to move.
Raidou spat after them and then turned his attention back to the two behind him. He leaned down a bit and patted the kid on the shoulder. The kid just stared at him in honest shock and terror, and he couldn't help but stare at the scarring, now that he was seeing it up close. "I'm sure he said it, but I'm Raidou. And those guys are assholes. Let us give you a ride home, so you don't have any more trouble. Annie's big enough to fit your bike in the back, and we'll just put you on the jump in the front." His voice was calm and steady, and he had a sense about him not of having eyes in the back of his head, but of not needing them. "What do you say? Let us keep you out of any further accidents for the afternoon?"
Genma raised his hand suddenly, grinning like a fool. "Rai? Can we stop for milkshakes on the way back? I heard rumours that Joe's over on Fourth is doing orange creamsicle this month…"
Raidou waited for Hayate to answer before even considering what Genma was saying. If the kid accepted, then they'd all go out. Something about the skinny little unfortunate had his interest. But the moment Raidou had touched him, Hayate had snapped out of his fear-induced reverie, and he scrambled to his feet, ignoring the way his knees and elbows stung from the fall. He grabbed his bike, trying to upright it, and shook his head furiously between coughs. "No, um — no, it's fine," he said, so quickly the words tripped over each other. "I'm okay — um — I'm sorry for messing up your car, I really am, I'm really, really sorry —" He was backing up all the while, looking about ready to jump on his bike and bolt.
Genma slipped behind him and clapped his hands down on the kid's shoulders. Hayate jumped. "Please stop freaking out. We're not going to hurt you. Really, I'd rather you not hurt yourself, either. I've got some superglue and band aids in my bag if you want me to close those up for you." He pointed to the raw patches on the kid's knees. "Works just fine on boxcutter accidents." He pushed his arm forward, resting an elbow on the kid's shoulder, and showed off the piece of his thumb he'd glued back on. It seemed to be healing fairly well, all things considered. Hayate just flinched, looking sorely disturbed, and tried to jerk away from Genma, pushing his squeaky bike ahead.
"We know it's probably a bit strange, but you look like you could use some help, and we just happened to be here. I'd feel a lot more comfortable if you let us take you home. That way we know you made it there." Raidou looked down at the kid with genuine wide-eyed sincerity. "And don't worry about the car. It's not your fault. I'm not gonna force you to do anything, but I might resort to bribery. Come out and get a shake with us first? I'm buying. You look a little rattled — like maybe you just need to sit down a bit."
Hayate was still shaking his head insistently, looking slightly less panicked now but no more comfortable. "Um, um, no, it's okay, really — I can, I can make it home all right on my bike, it's fine, you, um, you don't have to do anything, I'm fine!" He sounded like he was babbling, each word quick and breathy as he wheeled his bike further away from the car. He gave an awkward, nervous wave, still shaking his head. "Um, sorry, I'm sorry, I just — I can get home by myself, thanks!"
Genma folded his hands behind his head as he watched the kid wander off. "Take care of yourself, kid. I don't want to see anything broken when I go looking for you tomorrow!"
Raidou jabbed his friend in the armpit with one finger, causing Genma to twist and twitch as he tried to swat Raidou's hand away. "Don't worry, kid, he's like this with lost kittens, too!"
"Rai! Dammit!" Genma whined, finally writhing away from his friend. "Shakes?"
They both waved one last time before getting back in the car.
Hayate rode his bike home so hard and so fast that it was a wonder he didn't land himself in another accident. He was wheezing badly when he leaned his bike against the wall of his home. Digging around in his backpack one-handed, he shuffled up to the front step and pulled out his inhaler. He leaned against the wall for a moment as he took two puffs, coughing a little, but he felt his lungs ease up a bit, at least. Dropping the inhaler back into his backpack, he found the door unlocked, to his mixed relief and chagrin. His father was home.
Hayate padded inside, shutting the door behind him as quietly as he could and wincing when it creaked. He slid his feet along the worn hardwood floor, trying to make it to his room before his dad noticed he was home. Just as long as his dad wasn't in the kitchen…
Hayate hissed in a breath in dismay as he saw his father emerge from the kitchen, and he waved half-heartedly. "Um. Hi, Dad." Come on, just let me go, just let me go, don't notice, don't notice…
His father frowned almost immediately, and Hayate just about cringed. "What happened to you? You look like you're a little roughed up there."
"I just fell off my bike," Hayate said dimly, silently glad that it was basically the truth, because he was godawful at lying. "I'm okay, I'm not really hurt or anything." He shifted his weight from foot to foot, looking a little antsy.
"Be a little more careful in the future. You don't need to rush home, you know." His father reached forward and tapped Hayate lightly on the head. "Are you feeling all right otherwise? You look a little unsettled. Did something happen?"
Hayate wished desperately that his father wasn't able to read him so damned well — that or he was just really readable. He wasn't entirely comfortable with that idea. "No, no — I'm fine. Nothing happened. I'm okay, I'm just kind of tired, and I have homework and stuff…" He trailed off, hoping his father would get the hint, and soon. His father just shook his head, waving his hand at Hayate.
"All right, all right. Go study. Dinner in an hour or so. I'll order Chinese takeout or something." He tapped his son's head again, as if fondly, and headed back for the kitchen.
"Don't forget to get the dumplings, Dad!" Hayate called after him, ducking into his room. He shut the door behind him and dropped his backpack onto his unmade bed, pulling out his Biology textbook. He didn't actually have that much homework, but he had little else to do but study. Flopping onto his bed with a sigh, he turned the page to the latest chapter and began reading, chewing idly on the end of his pencil. Some indefinite amount of time later, he heard his father calling for him, and he put down the textbook, sitting up. Glancing at the clock beside his bed, he saw that well over an hour had passed since he'd started studying — the Chinese takeout place was always late in delivering, he'd noticed.
"Did they mess up our order again?" Hayate asked as he padded into the kitchen, dropping himself into a creaky kitchen chair. "They were late again, weren't they?" He rested his elbows on the table and tried to peer into the bag his father was just opening.
"Just a moment, Hayate. Everything seems to be here. Lo mein, rice, sweet and sour chicken…"
"What about the dumplings?" Hayate pressed, trying to lean forward a little more. His father frowned, rooting around in the bag, and Hayate's face fell. It was a stupid, trivial issue, something that would normally have never bothered him, but he seemed to be having an exceptionally frustrating day and something so simple and silly as a screwed up Chinese take-out order and a lack of steamed dumplings was suddenly even a marginally distressing issue.
"Ah, wait, here they are!" Hayate's father pulled out the little tin of dumplings and set it down of his son. Hayate relaxed visibly, reaching for the tin almost hurriedly. He just about cringed when his father frowned at him. He could feel it.
"Hayate, tell me the truth now." His father's tone wasn't scolding or annoyed, simply firm and patient. Hayate busied himself with opening the tin of dumplings, looking resigned, but didn't answer. "What happened today, Hayate? I know something did, so don't try and lie. You're terrible at that anyway."
"It wasn't a big deal," Hayate muttered grudgingly, though he sounded a little exasperated, as if to say silently, What do you want me to say? What do you want me to do about it? The look on his father's face clearly said that that was not a good enough answer. Hayate tried again. "It was just some people from school who were being jerks. They were just giving me a hard time, that's all. I'm fine." He neglected to mention that he was really only fine because of Raidou and Genma.
His father raised an eyebrow, and Hayate tried not to cringe. Don't ask, don't ask, don't ask…
"And you fell off your bike, you said?"
Hayate felt his stomach drop slightly. "Yeah. I hit a pothole by accident. I just fell off. I'm all right now."
His father was quiet for a few minutes, gathering up lo mein with a tarnished fork, and Hayate relaxed a little. Maybe he was off the hook now. Maybe —
"Why were the other boys giving you a hard time?"
"I dunno." Hayate shrugged noncommittally, picking at a dumpling. This conversation was quickly eating away at his appetite. "They're just jerks. I don't think they had a real reason. It's not a big deal, Dad. I got away before they could do anything."
Hayate's eyes were fixed on the half-eaten dumpling in front of him, but he could feel his father frown. "Hayate, you can't keep running away from them. If they don't have a reason, then it's all the easier to tell them to step off. If you don't, they'll never stop picking on you."
Hayate put down his fork and left the dumpling. He wasn't going to eat any more. "Running away works," he muttered.
"Maybe it does for now, but it won't always work." The man watched his son for a few moments and sighed, reaching over to put a hand on the boy's head. "Hey, come on. I'm trying to help you here. You're my boy. I don't like seeing you unhappy. I just want you to have good days at school."
Hayate just ducked his head in a sort of nod of acknowledgement, getting to his feet with his plate in hand. "I know," he muttered, scraping the scraps of food off into the sink.
"If it doesn't stop, talk to your teachers, all right?" His father frowned. "Are you done eating? You hardly ate anything."
"Not really hungry today." Hayate put the plate in the sink and turned to face his father. "Can I go to bed now? I'm tired."
It was always hard to tell when Hayate was really tired, with the way he looked. He was probably tired most of the time. "All right. Just don't forget to take your medicine." His father held out a hand, palm up. Hayate took it after a moment, and his father pulled him over into a one-armed hug. "You're better than that. You don't have to put up with any of it."
Hayate didn't move. After a few long moments, he pulled back, coughing dryly. "Night, Dad."
"Night, Hayate." The man watched his son shuffle out of the kitchen, and he glanced over to the counter, at the framed picture of his wife next to the toaster. Getting to his feet after a moment, he picked up the picture and looked down at it, wondering if he was really doing quite the right thing these days.
Genma and Raidou sat across the flimsy laminate table from each other, picking at the same plate of fries and revelling in the quiet joy that was a genuine Joe's milkshake. For all the big-name ice cream shops that had tried to make a move on the town, none of them could make shakes like Joe's, and a spare few even tried to make malts. Under most circumstances, Genma would have been nursing the malt of the month to Raidou's shake of the month, but this month, orange creamsicle was just too fabulous a proposition to pass up. He did get it without all the crap on top, though, shuddering vaguely at the whipped cream-orange syrup-coloured sprinkle-chocolate chip mound that topped Rai's shake. He was surprised, some weeks, that Rai still had teeth at all.
"Interesting kid." Raidou was the first to mention the afternoon's events, halfway through the basket of fries.
"Scared shitless of us, though." Genma looked really bothered by the idea. "That's not right — I mean, you, sure. You've got a reputation for being the man who is not to be fucked with. Some kind of paladin in gleaming chrome armour. But me? I'm just your charming rogue sidekick — a patently harmless little piece of flaming ass. Nobody with any wits is going to be scared of me."
"On the contrary, I think only those with wits are scared of you. I've seen what you can do with nothing but a sharpened pencil." Raidou had hit a bit of a sore point, but it was an entirely accurate observation. Genma didn't look dangerous, but to imagine that he couldn't defend himself and others would be a horrible mistake and one that people tended to only make once.
An uncomfortable silence hung over the table for a few minutes until Genma broke it with a smile and a snicker. "Prince Albert," he cackled, looking far too amused with himself.
Raidou cringed visibly and grabbed some more fries. "Five inches of what in the where? Yeah, I thought so." He shook his head. "You really are a lot more dangerous than you look."
Genma smiled sadly. "I try so hard not to have to do shit like that," he mumbled into his shake.
"They're shitty people, Genma. It's better they come after you than that they go after people like that kid, this afternoon. At least you've got no reservations about putting some pushy cunt in his place." Raidou reached across the table and patted his friend's hand. "They come after you, you fuck them up, maybe I fuck them up, too, and then they think twice about trying it on someone else. You're doing something good, even if it happens in shitty ways."
"Thanks, Rai." Genma sighed and slurped at his shake for a bit. "But what about the ones I've bought off? Like last spring —"
"Genma, look at me." There was no room for argument in Raidou's voice, so Genma complied. "You did what had to be done. The Caffeine Twins are fine. And I don't want to think about you and me going against the entire varsity hockey team, never mind you trying to do it by yourself. You're more of a man than I am. I'd have started the fight and ended nothing. You know that."
"It's why I walked home. If I called you to come get me, you'd have come and fucked everything up. No offence, but I know how you get." Genma's eyes held a trace of bitter nostalgia, and Raidou looked out the window for a bit. "But what about the kid?"
"What about him? I can't help him if he's going to run off stuttering every time we talk to him." Raidou shrugged indifferently.
"Something's not right. Nobody should be that afraid of the people trying to help him." Genma was insistent.
"It's not our business, Genma. It's really not." Raidou shrugged again, leaning back in the booth. "As much as you might like to, we can't just save the whole world from itself."
"No one else should ever have to turn out like I did, Rai. It's not right." Genma managed to keep his face in check by chugging a quarter of his shake through the straw. Most people would have had to breathe at some point during the endeavour.
"You can't save them all, man. You just can't." Raidou bumped the plate of fries across the table by a few inches. "Now quit moping and help me finish these fries before Mom gets bent out of shape that I've been out so late."
"Yeah, yeah." Genma slumped back into the worn vinyl booth with a faint squeaking sound and resigned himself to eating fries. Raidou may have been entirely correct, but that didn't mean that he had to like that answer.