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I Can’t Trust Anyone!

Chapter Text

Len, a boy with electric yellow hair. He was by no means popular at school. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Ever since he could remember, he'd always been their primary target. Who are 'they'? Well, 'they' were everyone. Everyone he knew at school, including the children below his year, would try to find a way to make his life all the more miserable.

His last week at school alone, the bullies had stolen his homework, eaten his lunch, beat him up, and even molested him. What was more disgusting to Len at the time was that some of them were boys. Len despised the things they did to him, he wanted it to stop. He tried talking to a teacher, but they dismissed him. He tried reaching out to the higher-ups. They told him that they'd find a way to solve the problem; but here he is, still suffering without any help from anyone.

He wasn't that much better off at home either. Both his parents had left him and his twin sister, Rin, was suffering a fatal unknown illness.

Len cursed himself. Despite doing everything he could, why couldn't he make his life better? Life felt unfair.

After the long summer holidays, today was to be another miserable school day. Len reluctantly packed his things and walked to school on foot.

The walk felt long... just like about everything in Len's life. When he'd arrived at school, he walked up to and read the school bulletin which was conveniently just after the entrance.

"8C huh?" Len said aloud, "Sums up my life pretty well." He sighed. He started reading the other members of the class. He noted that most of his most prominent bullies were there, as usual. There were Kaito, Miku, and well... another couple or so.

"Excuse me" Len heard an unfamiliar voice say. He immediately turned his head to a blonde boy who looked to be slightly shorter than him. He had two different coloured eyes, one was a bright amber while the other was a brilliant shade of red. For a split second, he'd pictured white bandages, covering the left part of his head. But he shrugged it off as he felt it was unimportant at the time.

"I'm new here," He started, oh great, another soon to be bully? "Is there somewhere I can go?" He asked in slightly awkward Japanese.

Len stared at the new boy. I guess helping a little wouldn't hurt. "You should check which homeroom you belong to first," Len explained matter-of-factly, "then, you can ask your homeroom teacher for any school-related questions."

The boy looked to the board and studied it carefully, looking for his name. It was to no surprise that the boy must be a recent immigrant and that he'd been struggling to get around for a while.

Len caught himself staring at the boy and quickly averted his gaze to avoid attention.

Almost immediately after, the boy turned, "I'm in 8C it seems." He said in a robotic manner, still seemingly deep in thought.

"I am too." Len replied, and without hesitation, he offered the newcomer, "Would you like me to show you the way there?"

"Y-yeah" he hiccoughed.

Len couldn't help but to think that the new foreign boy looked cute. He shrugged it off however, as just a sideline observation, nothing more than something he thought up randomly. After all, what was attraction to a miserable boy like him?

Len guided the boy through the countless halls but stopped when he arrived in front of his classroom door.

He felt all his previous trauma flashing back into his mind. The pain he had to endure had been burned into him and he would relive all his experiences, from being shoved into the toilet bowl to being 'accidentally' tripped at the staircases. A drop of tear fell from his left eye, while the other simply moistened.

Len did not want to open the door. He'd rather wait here all school day if he had to, leaving just before anyone could see them. As for the new boy, all he could hope was for the boy to at least ignore him.

But he wasn't that lucky, if he was, he'd never be in such a situation in the first place.

"Welcome," a brown-haired adult greeted with an unconcerned voice, "Are you two in this class?"

"Y-yes," The boy replied before Len could react, "I'm new here."

"Come in," she smiled. Len took a deep breath to regain his non-existent confidence before he finally took a step. Len could tell that their new homeroom teacher was well, new. 

Surely, they'd hold back onto the in-class teasing while they get to know her

He walked into the class and was greeted by a couple of glares. "Look, the freaky haired boy is here." Kaito spat.

"And he brought a foreigner." Whispered Miku not-so-quietly.

"Enough" The teacher shouted, my eyes were immediately on her, widening, could she finally be... a teacher who'd care about this...—

"You two, take a seat... anywhere you like." She said before turning towards the class, "Let's start with our introduction session. Everyone is to tell their name and two facts about themselves."

Well, guess not.

I sat down as far away from them as possible. The others don't bother me nearly as much as they do. Conveniently, I was right beside a window with a great view of the outdoor sports area. I looked at the new boy. He struggled to decide where to sit, but eventually settled on the empty space beside me. Why? You know how everyone treats me and yet you chose to sympathise me?

"Alright, everyone's seated. Then I'll start." She pointed to herself, "My name's Sakine Meiko, you can call me Sakine-sensei, or if you prefer, the more western Ms Sakine." She said as she struck a ridiculous pose, "My favourite drink is sake and I do not like dealing with whiny children." She took another breath and pointed at me. "You there at the front, you can start and we'll work our way up the class."

Len hesitantly stood up. "My name's Kagamine Len. There's nothing interesting about me."

"Oh? Well, tell us about yourself anyway." The teacher pushed on.

Len thought about it for a moment. But he hadn't anything to say. Especially since whatever he would say would be used against him one way or another.

"I like bananas, and I have a" Len paused, halted, opened his mouth but nothing came out, he could not bear to say the next two words without breaking down, and that would be unsightly.

"Understood, you may sit." The teacher said, almost in a condescending tone, as she rolled her eyes and landed them onto the new boy.

"Oh u-uhh..." The boy stood up and stuttered. fiddling his fingers, he meekly answered "My name's Oliver. I come from England and I have a pet bird named James."

In almost an instant, "Very well, Next!" Meiko requested- no... more like demanded.

'Oliver huh', Len thought, 'it's a nice name'.

Chapter Text

Len was lazily watching the grade 7 students playing soccer out the window, ignoring whatever had been happening up front. Len wasn't a bad student. In fact, he'd consider himself to be one of the best; if it wasn't for all the stolen homeworks and sabotaged tests, he would've surely been in the top ten students in his grade.

His attention was brought back to the board when he heard the teacher sigh loudly. "CLASS!" She shouted angrily, hammering her hand onto the blackboard. Everyone stiffened... at least, those that weren't sleeping did... but they didn't care, they went back to whatever they were doing right away. You see, this was history class, and you know what it's like. Boring.

Len looked to his right. He saw the blonde newcomer, Oliver, paying full attention, writing notes. So he's the studious type eh? Maybe he will treat me differently... maybe, we can be friends? No! All that'll do is drag him into my mess-

Ding dong... The school bell rang, interrupting my thoughts. Before the teacher could wrap up her lesson. A student, very loudly pointed out, "The bell has gone!"

The teacher sighed for the umpteenth time and nodded, knowing full well of her subject's reputation among the students, she nodded and with defeat clear on her face, she dismissed the class, "you may leave."

Everyone busted out the door and not long after, Len was left in class alone with Oliver. He was reluctant of trying to befriend Oliver. He didn't want to drag the new boy into his mess, but... he really needed someone to talk to, to confide to, someone to go together with.

In the end, Len decided he wasn't worth the boy's future so he left without a word.

All the kids at school loved lunch break and the recess that follows it. It was the hour long break between the harsh and stressful study lessons at school. All kids but one. Len didn't like Lunch break, he despised it. It was usually then and after school that he had to endure his harshest abuse. Most classes were supervised by teachers, unless the teacher was specifically unable to come that day, so the bullies never had enough wiggle room to do much. After all, they were all about their 'student reputation'.

Len grabbed his lunchbox and hid in the closet. He had multiple hiding spots around school, it was his way of stalling time; and if he were lucky, escape his 'fate'.

He finished his lunch, one that he had hurriedly put together that morning with what he had: Rice... and seasoning. He waited there, dreading their voices, dreading the time the closet door would bolt open, dreading the abuse that he'd have to deal with after.

...but it didn't come.

Where could they be?     Len wasn't going to complain, but he didn't feel relieved either. After all, getting bullied in school had become next to norm to him by now. To Len, change is unsettling. It meant the unknown and with his luck, something worse is probably going to happen soon.

Len's eyes narrowed, he didn't know why, but he felt a sudden desire to come out of his hiding spot. With little hesitation, he pushed the closet door open and walked out. Len blinked a few times, adjusting his eyes to the light. When he was finally able to see, he realised that nobody was there.

Had he been late to class? He hadn't heard the bell go so that couldn't be it. As he approached the classroom, he heard a sickening snicker, one from his most prominent abusers, Kaito.

Len hid behind the door and peeked with half an eye. He couldn't see much, everyone had crowded around site, either supporting Kaito or just spectating... for their amusement.

Len froze when he saw blood trickling on the floor past the crowd. It wasn't the blood that was unusual, in fact, he'd been inflicted with haemorrhaging wounds for more often times than he could remember. What was unusual was the amount of blood, to be able to flood past a crowd of at least one and half dozens, it must be at least fatal!

Whatever happened seemed to have ended as the crowd slowly dissipated and whoever had been there slowly became visible.

Oliver!

When the coast was clear enough, Len felt a sudden jolt of energy. He rushed towards the boy and hasted with him to the school's nurse office. As he was running, he noticed what had been bleeding — and is still bleeding. It was Oliver's eye, along with a few other cut wounds... his skin looked pale, well, pale-r. Len covered the wound with whatever he had and ran as fast and steadily as he could. Past the halls, around the corner and, "there!", Len burst through the door, earning a surprised yelp from the nurse.

Len panted, carrying Oliver to the office took all of his energy, even when the boy was —as Len observed— a little small.

Upon seeing the boy, the nurse immediately frowned. "He might not make it." She whispered before taking him off Len's hands and started working on her new patient.

Len was familiar with the nurse. After all, he was a regular customer. Luka's a nice lady, probably the only lady that has even a shred of care to other people in the whole school.

"How much blood has he lost?" She asked in a worried tone.

"A lot, it made a big puddle in class." Len answered truthfully.

You might ask, well, why doesn't she do anything about the bullies? Well, she already has. All she could do was to help Len at this moment, she had no power to punish the kids, she's always ignored by her higher-ups, and their parents never answered her. it was as if she was also being indirectly abused by them.

Luka swiftly scrupulously covered his eye in bandages and closed the other wounds on his arms with simple delicate stitches and band-aids.

"Len, you're blood type O right?" Luka asked in a thick voice.

"Y-yeah." Len answered and gulped, he knew where this was going, "Take my blood." He said, thrusting his arm out.

Luka nodded and directed him onto a bed beside Oliver's, albeit slightly higher.

"This may hurt a bit" Len winced slightly as Luka inserted a thick needle into him. Connecting it to a clear plastic tube.

Len watched as his blood flowed from his to Oliver's. I hope he'll be okay.

'why?'  Len asked himself, why did he care for a boy that he had barely met? Perhaps it was the fact that the boy was in a similar position as himself. Perhaps it was because he wanted to be friends with him. Or perhaps... it was something more...

 

Chapter Text

Oliver, a boy with golden blonde hair. He was very popular at school... not for a very good reason though. Students. They're always all about what's 'on topic' or 'in season'. Well, right now, the 'topic' was him: Oliver. Or rather, his incident.

Oliver lied in bed as he slowly regained his consciousness. Pain. That was the only thing he could feel at that very moment. It was all over his body. Slightly opening his eyes, he noticed something red at the corner of his right eye. He also felt... weird... he wondered: why can't I feel anything from my left eye?

That was when the memories struck him.

He remembered the previous events. He'd been punched in the guts, bashed with a chair, and... although he didn't remember how it happened, he knew he hit his eye to the sharp corner of a table. It was unlikely he'd lived through that. So where was he now? Was he in... Heaven? No, such a perfect place would never exist. That is, if heaven truly was a good place.

Oliver opened his eye further. He turned his head to see another bed beside him. A tube was connecting his arm to whoever was over there.

He made a mental pause as a thought appeared in his mind, is someone... helping me?

"Good, you're awake." Oliver heard a lady-like voice, "You've been unconscious for three hours."

Oliver scanned her figure, she had pinkish hair, she was most definitely a young adult, and she was dressed like a nurse. Oliver tried to speak but he seemed unable to. Had they gotten my vocal cord as well?

In a sudden wave of thoughts, Oliver once again felt hopeless. He had moved from Britain to Japan to escape school-related abuse, but all he did was worsen the situation.

"Don't move!" The nurse said sternly, "or you might open your wounds again."

Oliver stared at her. How was he supposed to respond? His voice wouldn't work... and nodding meant moving his head. Thankfully though, she seemed to get what he was thinking as she nodded and went off to do whatever on her table.

Oliver stared at the blank ceiling once more before reality slowly faded out.

 

***

 

"Will he be okay?" He heard a male voice say... or was it female?

"Don't worry, Len. He has stabilised. He should recover by tomorrow." A definite female voice spoke, "He might have to stay the night here. Do you know anyone who lives with him?"

"No..." Len said in a defeated tone.

"It's okay, I can try to find his guardian's contacts from the school database." The female voice spoke in a slightly high tone.

At that moment, Oliver choked on saliva and bolted right up, coughing mercilessly.

The two people hurried to his side and immediately sought for his safety.

"I'm okay." Oliver said in a raspy voice.

"Here, drink some water." The pink-haired nurse said, handing him a clear cup of water. He took it and drank it in as big gulps as he could muster.

"Wow, you sure were thirsty." Len chuckled.

Oliver stared at Len, his eyes dilating. He saved me?

"Y-You saved me?"

Len blushed and scratched his hair, "err... well I guess so, yeah."

Clearly forgetting about his wounds, Oliver leapt at Len and hugged him. "Thank you!" He cried. This was the first time someone out of his family had done something nice to him. Even his family had never been this nice to him.

But even then, it was unusual he'd trust someone enough to make contact with them when they had barely met.

"O-Owww." Oliver winced in pain as one of his wounds reopened and started showing blood.

"Be careful!" Len scolded concernedly as he brought Oliver back to a lie-down state and called for Luka. The said nurse hurried immediately, carrying bandages in her hands.

As Luka tended to his wounds, Oliver saw Len lean in in an attempt to make small talk.

"Do you have any relatives at school?" Len asked.

"No. All my relatives are back in England." Oliver answered in a sad tone. His mom, his dad, even his brother Yohio, who had cared for him the most stayed behind. They were considerable enough to send him to what they thought was a good place so Oliver didn't doubt their care for him. Rather, it was merely disappointment. His parents were salarymen, which meant travel was expensive, and to add to that, Japan's work ethic was pretty famously... over-standard. Them moving here meant unhappiness for them. And to Oliver, if it came to him or anyone he even remotely cared, he'd choose them.

"do you have a home?" Len asked worriedly.

What came to Oliver's mind was his host family. But... from what he had learned for the past few days he had been here, they probably wouldn't even give two shits if he were to be thrown off a cliff at this very instant. Having said that, could he really call their place home? Regardless, Oliver nodded a yes. After all, he didn't want to worry them any more than he had done. Nor did he want to be seen as picky.

Len gave a slight disappointed look but quickly hid it away with a smile. Why was he disappointed I had a place to stay?

"There, all done." The nurse smiled, clapping her hands in triumph. "Now don't move too much or you'll reopen them again, Okay?"

Oliver nodded and gulped as if in terror.

"I'll come by to visit tomorrow, rest well, okay?" Len smiled as he waved.

Oliver couldn't help but smile back, "okay" he answered with little hesitation.

Why was he so nice to him? Why are you so nice to me? Is it genuine? Or is it too good to be true? Oliver didn't know. But something he did know was that it was futile to overthink about, especially in his current situation. It was best he accept his kindness now and think about it later.

 

Chapter Text

The sky was at a brilliant orange colour. It had almost been dusk. Len had just left school and was walking home alone as he had always done. But something felt... off this time. He had this uncanny feel in his heart that he couldn't just-... just shrug off.

Len picked up his pace, adrenaline was rushing through his veins for no apparent reason. He'd sped through the area and ignored the greetings that came his way... they'd never really cared for him anyway.

When he arrived, he felt a ghostly aura around his home. He could almost swear on the fact that the wood looked a darker, almost haunted colour.

His heart paced faster as he walked up and pushed his door open. it was dark and quiet. 'as usual' Len thought. But it still didn't feel right.

No, it couldn't be!

Len rushed towards the room next to his and with a whiz, the door slid open. Rin was there, lying on her bed... lifeless-like... her skin visibly paler than normal.

"Rin?" Len asked breathily in desperation. His tears at the verge of escaping his eyes.

She... didn't answer.

Len placed his ear onto her chest, desperately looking for a pulse... but he was met with silence.

At this point he could take it no more. The only person he cared about, his sister, was gone. And it came with a surprise. Just yesterday, she had been talking with him, chatting with him, laughing with him, though she had been bedridden. It was unthinkable that she would just drop dead on that very day. Len felt tears coming after tears. He hadn't seriously cried for the past two years, not that he didn't want to, but he couldn't. But it was all released that day, all the tears he had piling up from all the sad moments in his life flooded out. He was overwhelemed by the news.

"This can't be true!" A part of Len refused to believe. But the other, simply accepted it as another one of his many unfortunate events.

After a whole hour of crying. He rubbed his eyes and looked at her once more. What does one do with his sister's dead body? This wasn't something an almost-fourteen year old would typically handle. Should he call the police? No, it wasn't a murder. Should he call the hospital? What would they do?

Len was lost without an adult. But that won't stop him. He'd lived without one since he was 10, he was sure he could solve this little problem without any of them either.

After a quick moment of thoughts. Len covered her in blankets and carried her outside. He gently brought her to the open space behind his house. Len thought of a fitting place to bury her. We can't get a proper tombstone so maybe that huge stone would work... no, it'd be too difficult to carve a name into. How about a tree?

Len pondered on his choices and in the end, he chose the orange tree. It was, after all, the tree of his sister's favourite fruit.

Len dug a hole with his own bare hands, just long enough to fit Rin's height, and just deep enough to cover her. Len placed her body in the self-made hole and with deep sorrow, he finally covered her lifeless body with earth.

With tears and a heavy heart, Len picked a sharp stone from his side and carved into the tree, her name: 「鏡音リン」 in large characters.

"I'm sorry." Len said in a grieving tone, "I should've tried harder."

With his heart still in a pained state. He walked back into his house. A thought appeared in his mind: What would change now if I left this miserable world?

Len thought about it.

Again...

And again...

No, he couldn't. But why couldn't he? After all, the answer to that question was obviously 'nothing' and with the way things were going, it looked like it would stay that way. Perhaps he still wasn't all hopeless. Perhaps he did have some hope in him that things would get better. But what?

Len laid his head on his soft pillow. He gazed out to the starry night sky, pondering on different subjects from life after death to his future... that is, if he did have one.

 

Chapter Text

Len woke up with a jolt. He didn't remember sleeping last night. Heck, he couldn't remember anything since he returned from the burial. Perhaps it was for the better.

Realising it was another day for school, Len quickly packed his bag and left home.

Arriving early, Len remembered his promise to stop by at the nurse's office... and he didn't really have anything better to do anyway so he decided to give him a visit.

Len turned the knob and pushed the door open as he called out, "Oliver?"

He didn't get a reply. Well, he wasn't expecting one anyway. That little boy needed his rest.

Len entered the room, and saw Oliver, peacefully asleep on the lower of two beds. He looks so calm in his sleep, almost... cute.

Len took one of two chairs and sat down as he waited for Luka. Luka wasn't the type to leave her patients for long. She was probably out for a toilet break and would be coming back soon.

Right on cue, the door creaked open and Luka walked in, smiling as she noticed Len had visit. "I checked his wounds this morning, he can go back to his classes, but he should not be allowed to do any extreme sports for a while."

"You know," She then continued, "His wounds heal really fast. Do you think it's a foreigner thing?"

Len chuckled, "who knows."

Len looked at the clock. It was almost time for class, should I wake him up?

"Should we... wake him?" Len asked, unsure.

"Well, it is time for class." Luka thoughtfully answered, then nodded, "so go ahead."

"Oliver?" Len whispered, lightly nudging the little boy.

"Nnnn- five more minutes, mom." The boy replied in English with an accent.

Len smiled. He understood him. And that, to him, made it much cuter than it had been. Not that... I'm into him or anything!

"Oliver, it's almost time for class." Len told him in his gentle tone.

"Class?" Oliver mumbled, trying to rub his eyes before he flinched in pain when his left hand came into contact with his bandaged eye.

"Are you okay?" Len asked in near-panic mode.

"Y-yeah-" He answered, making an abrupt pause, "L-Len?"

"That's me!" Len smiled.

"You... you came!" Oliver shouted as if in surprise.

"I told you I would, didn't I."

"I-It's just that..." Oliver's eye started to well up.

"Just what?" Len asked in anticipation.

"N-Nothing." Oliver closed his eye as a tear fell, "Let's go to class."

 

***

 

The bell rang, signalling lunch break. Oliver trembled. As soon as the teacher raised his hand to dismiss the class, He packed his things and sought to leave before they could get him.

"Dismissed." The teacher announced. And with that, Oliver ran out, took his lunchbox, and hid in an empty hallway.

They won't look for me, right?

Oliver opened his lunchbox, revealing several pieces of glazed fish teriyaki and pure white rice. His host-family had been kind enough to cook an extra portion of breakfast for him. Well, I guess they're not that bad.

He frowned.

He had been given chopsticks. How am I supposed to pick up food with these bloody sticks? He didn't know. But he was willing to give it a shot. Oliver placed his lunchbox on his lap and held the chopsticks with his two hands. Trying to tweeze them together on the fish. But all he did was break it into two smaller, harder to get pieces.

"Ugh" Oliver groaned in frustration. This is harder than I thought.

Then he heard laughing... "Look, the outsider doesn't even know how to use chopsticks" cried the blue-haired boy.

"Go back to your country already!" Sneered a red-haired one.

Oliver felt on the verge of crying, and he was also quite visibly upset, Why are they acting so mean to me? What have I ever done to them?

They stepped closer. Uh oh!

Oliver closed his lunchbox and quickly broke off in a run. To where? He didn't know either. Oliver dodged teachers, and turned sharp corners. He didn't look like it, but he was a very agile runner. A sharp pain occurred on his right arm but he didn't stop, as stopping meant them getting closer, which would result in even worse injuries.

Turning around another corner, Oliver felt his bandages getting wet... of blood. He looked around frantically. Where's the Nurse's office? If only I could remember.

As Oliver fixed his gaze in front of him once more, he saw a familiar face. "Len!" Oliver whisper-shouted in fear of them hearing him.

"Your wounds are opened," Len noted in horror. "Come with me!" He said before breaking off into a run.

Oliver nodded and ran just behind him. Oliver watched Len's hair bounce from behind. He had only realised it but it somewhat resembled a bunch of bananas. It looks cool on him.

"The nurse's office is too far from here." Len gritted his teeth, "But we can wait it out until the next class starts."

"Get in here!" Len commanded as he stood in front of a dark room.

The first thing that came to Oliver's mind was one of his mom's lectures, her voice immediately echoed in his head, 'If a stranger asks you to go to a dark place, say no and come to mummy, kay?'

Nevertheless, he went inside. After all, Len wasn't really a stranger to him anymore... right?

It was really dark, there were no windows nor lights. Oliver heard the door shut behind him as the room darkened even more, then there were footsteps nearing him. He... He's not going to anything to me... right?

"They won't find us here." Len told Oliver in a relieved voice, "at least, not for a while... I hope."

Well that was quite reassuring.

Len took a small flashlight out of his back pocket. "There are lights in here, but we can't turn them on, it'll attract attention. So we'll use this." He said, turning the flashlight on and moving the beam away from the door.

"What room is this?" Oliver asked out of curiosity.

"It's one of the few unused rooms that are supposed to be locked. For that reason, they usually won't look for us here." Len told him.

Oliver nodded and took his lunchbox out. "Are you gonna eat?" Oliver asked, looking at Len's lunchbox.

"Yeah." Len replied before sitting down on the floor.

Oliver opened his lunchbox and took his chopsticks out. Now, how do I do this... that's right, I can ask Len!

Oliver turned to ask but stopped at the sight of Len's 'lunch'. "Just rice?" Came the words out of his mouth.

"Yeah, I don't really get much else." Len replied with no trace of emotion. Eating only rice can't be very nutritious.

"Here, have some of mine." Oliver offered without hesitation.

"No no. it's okay. I'm used to it." Len declined gratefully with a smile.

"Nonsense!" Oliver said, motioning his hands to grab the spo- right, there is no spoon.

"Then how about a trade?"

"What trade?" Len tilted his head in confusion.

"You can teach me how to use these chopsticks, and I'll give you some of my fish." Oliver explained, grinning at his own brilliant idea.

Len sighed, "alright then, I guess there's no way to talk you out of it."

"Nope," Oliver grinned.

Oliver watched as Len picked his chopsticks up with his left hand and explained how it works. "You keep one stick in place, then move the other one to hold your food."

"Uh huh" Oliver replied, trying his hardest to replicate what Len did, but to no avail. 'This is stupid' Oliver thought on his twelfth failure, shaking his head in his own disappointment.

"Gah, I can't do it." Oliver groaned, "you can have all my lunch, Len. I can't pick my food up anyway."

"I won't take it, Oliver." Len replied with a slightly upset tone, "You need to eat."

Len's face brightened as he looked as if he realised something. "I can feed you!"

"Wh-what? No!" Oliver flared, slapping Len's hand away. What's that idiot thinking!?

"Come on, it won't be bad. Nobody will see us and... well, I can barely see you!" Len reasoned.

"Ugh fine." Oliver gave in. He was getting hungry and there was no point in fighting anyway.

Len grinned and picked up Oliver's chopsticks. He took a bit of fish and placed it right in front of Oliver's mouth.

Why is my heart pounding? This feels weird...

Oliver accepted the food in his mouth. Salty...

Len repeated, but this time, with rice. Oliver reluctantly accepted it and chewed with a frown.

The scene went on for a while, Len smiling all the way, Oliver hiding a reflexive pout.

"There! That wasn't hard was it?" Len asked once he'd cleared Oliver's lunchbox.

Oliver mumbled a whine, "it was for me."

"Hey! You didn't leave any fish for yourself!" Oliver shouted, feeling cheated as they had agreed that Len would leave some for himself.

"Let's say I gave you my side of the trade." Len giggled before getting to his own lunch.

Just as soon as Len finished, the lunch bell rang. Oliver looked to Len, who was getting up. "Come on, we'll get your wound fixed up at Luka's office."

Oliver felt his heart skip for a split second as he realised something. He stopped Len, a joyful tear falling from his right eye. "Len..." He spoke, "Does this mean we're friends now?"

 

 

Chapter Text

Oliver was gazing on blankness when he heard the clinic door click open. Half-expecting that it would be Len, he sat straight up and greeted the visitor, "Hey, Le-"

Who is this blonde girl?

Oliver simply stared at her in question. He was never the type to start conversations after all.

"Sorry, Did I intrude on you?" The girl asked politely, visible guilt forming on her face.

"No, I-I just thought you were someone else." Oliver stammered.

"My name's SeeU." She introduced herself politely, "I heard what they did to you. It sounded horrible."

"Yeah."

"I also came from another country." She told Oliver, tearing up, "what they said were- unacceptable."

Oliver silently agreed, She too came from another country? Oliver felt more comfortable with that knowledge as it was something he could relate to.

"Look what they've done to your beautiful face." She said in a soft tone. Oliver blushed at the remark, he had never been complimented by a girl before, especially not by one he had just met mere minutes ago.

He stared at her, took into him her characteristics and properties. Blonde hair, mature, and blue eyes that somehow reminded him of Len. It was to no surprise, that Oliver found her to be beautiful; charming.

She strode closer to Oliver, taking a seat beside him.

"Would you come with me?" She asked in a half-whisper.

Oliver furrowed his brows- err, brow. "To where?"

"To my secret place."

Her answer had left him not less, but more confused. Who brings people they had just met to their 'secret' places?

Just then, Luka came back, "hey, who are you?" She asked, clearly untrusting of her presence.

"I'm SeeU, I'm in the same grade as Oliver." She explained.

"So you two are friends?" Luka asked, suspicious.

"Yeah." She answered.

Friends? When did that happen? We just met!

"Alright then," She spoke half-approvingly, "I'll let you stay for now."

"Well, I need to leave now, bye!" She waved, exiting as quickly as she had come in.

 

***

 

Len was walking home from school when an unfamiliar voice called for him. Len looked back to see who it was, but he couldn't recognise her with her light blonde hair.

"My name's Aria..." she blushed.

Why is she blushing?

"I..." she nervously started. "I like you..." she mumbled.

"I-I'm sorry." She stammered before leaving in a run.

Len took a while to process that, another two to finally understand. I have a... an admirer?

How could this be true? Nobody had ever liked him, ever. Len didn't know what love felt like. After all he had never even crushed on anyone before.

Maybe this could change my life!

Len ran after her, which was surprisingly not that hard, maybe the practice with Kaito and the others payed off.

"Wait!" Len shouted, almost desperately. Panting for breath as he stopped right behind her.

As soon as the girl looked back, his lips were locked, he couldn't say anything... he didn't know what to say to her. He hadn't even sorted his feelings out yet, and he didn't want to lie... not about such a thing.

...

The girl nodded, understanding what Len had tried to say but couldn't. She caressed his hair, his back, his everything, calming him down.

Len had never felt this much care in his life. Perhaps it was best of fate that they had met that day. Len watched her long hair, swaying in the gentle breeze; her smile, showing sympathy; her chest, modest in size.

"Th-" Len cried, overwhelmed with the amount of attention he had received, more so that it had been someone from school.

Len suddenly realised something. He was a male, and yet, he was the one being cared for. Shouldn't it have been the other way around? Maybe he had been weak... maybe that was why they kept picking on him.

Had he been stronger, more dominant, more assertive. They'd never pick on him as they had done... right?

and perhaps, I could've prevented her from leaving so early.

He had almost broken down into another sob at the thought then but quickly recovered. Len pulled away from her arms' embrace and looked at her gently in the eyes. "I think I like you too."

Do I?

"Great!" She squealed happily, "Let's plan our first date together!"

"Huh?" Len replied in quite a shock. Of course this was expected, but why didn't he seem as enthusiastic about it as he should have? Was it the constant pain he had to put up with in the past affecting him even now? Or was it something else?

"Do you not want to?" She asked in a confused manner.

"No-no... it's not that," Len answered with a shred of confidence, "I'd be happy to go."

"Are you free on Sunday noon?" She asked expectantly.

Len nodded. He was pretty-much free whenever. After all, he didn't have any parents to tell him to study on certain days.

"Do you have a number?"

"No," Len answered. Dammit, why couldn't I have had one!?

"It's okay. Let's meet up at the café near school, sound good?" She smiled.

Len nodded, "yeah."

"I need to go now," she said, hiding a degree of guilt in her tone, "See you on Sunday!"

"See ya!" Len forced a smile.

Len took a deep breath and tried to reflect on what had just happened. I got a girlfriend, great... But what does one do with a girlfriend? He didn't know.

Len continued on his walk back home, his mind filled with unanswered and then unanswerable questions.

 

 

Chapter Text

It had been a few months since Len had first gotten his girlfriend, Aria. He loved her. They had gone out together at every opportunity, and with Len's absence of a guardian, that meant often. Len cherished the thoughts of her gentle smile, her soft skin on his, her embrace under him. It was as if she was ever-present in his mind.

School had gone by normally since then. With the exception that she was always there for him. Len was grateful for her help, in fact, he would probably be dead if it wasn't for her.

"Will you stop?" Aria shouted back at Kaito.

"What can a girl like you do, huh?" Kaito roughly teased her and sneered.

Then they left.

"Thanks, but you really didn't have to."

"No! They were being mean."

Len wiped his tears and stood up. "I need to be more manly." He said with conviction, balling his fist into a tight grip.

"You're perfect just as you are." She replied.

But I'm not!

Len wanted to be more dominant. He needed it. But how is he going to do it? What will it take?

"No, it's something I need to do." Len replied.

"Well, I'll help you then." She smiled.

"Thanks."

Len walked back to class and took a seat. He sighed as he saw a particular blonde. Why are we so distant now? What happened?

Len stood and walked towards the boy. His heart racing for a reason unbeknownst to him. Len took a deep breath before catching his attention with a wave. "Hey, Oliver."

"H-Hi, Len..." Oliver replied unenthusiastically.

Ever since he had met Aria. Oliver had seemed to detach from him. They had never gone into a conversation ever since then. Sure, they'd exchange a few glances and words here and there, but it was never more than necessary. Had he been trying to avoid me?

"What's been going on recently?" I asked him.

"I..." Oliver trailed off, "I don't really want to talk about it."

It was his usual response. It was his response to any question, whether it be by Len or anyone else. Something was seriously off, and Len was sure of it. He wanted answers, but Oliver wouldn't give them. He wanted to investigate, but Oliver wouldn't let him.

Later that day, the class was finally dismissed. Len had no homework for the next day and he hadn't any plans either. As soon as Oliver'd left, Len packed his stuff up and followed him.

"What is he doing?" Len muttered to himself as he watched Oliver standing by the school's main gate, playing with the soil beneath him.

As soon as Len started to move towards him. He caught a yellow figure in the corner of his eye. Running towards Oliver.

Who is she?

Len didn't know her, but her face was familiar. It felt almost like he knew her, but it was too uncertain to pinpoint who exactly she was.

Without a better plan. Len waited for them to start walking and followed them from behind, hiding behind every bush and tree he could find. He felt like he was in some detective movie the teachers had played for them last year.

When the two stopped to part ways. Len's eyes widened as he realised what was happening. A kiss?!

Before then, Len hadn't ever thought Oliver could be dating anyone, much less a girl from school after what had happened...... Len thought back to his own. Perhaps it is possible then.

The girl waved goodbye and walked her way. Once she was out of sight, Oliver started walking again.

With a haste, Len got out of his hiding spot and continued to follow him. Once he was sure they had been far enough from the forking point, Len hasted to catch up.

"Hey," Len greeted from behind.

Oliver flinched, "Ah!" He practically screamed, "What are you doing here?"

"I was just going to the fish market." Len stated casually as if he had just coincidentally met him there.

Oliver tilted his head and gave him a look of suspicion, but ultimately questioned none the further.

"So, Oliver," Len started with his casual tone, "Is there something wrong?"

"W-What?"

"Y'know, you've never answered me properly in class." Len told him.

"What makes you think I'll answer you here?" He asked sharply.

"Well, privacy for one. Or am I no longer better than a stranger to you?" Len made a small slight smirk, convinced that he had won the argument.

Oliver looked away with no response.

Taking notice of the younger's actions, Len felt a gravel of worry form. What could be so bad that he had to keep it to himself? Did it have anything to do with that girl?

"Sorry." Len apologised, in fear of having stressed him too much.

"N-No," Oliver mumbled, "It's quite alright."

Len moved his hand to make another move but as soon as Oliver had sensed it, he broke off in a run, giving a vague reason in return, "I need to get back home or I'll be late for something." He shouted back.

Sighing in defeat, Len stood there without a purpose.

zzzzzzt

He opened up his phone to a call from Aria.

"Len here."

"Let's go on a date!" She asked in an overly cheery tone.

Taken aback with surprise, Len stuttered to answer. "U-Um."

"Do you not want to?"

"No it's not that," Len shook his head, "I still haven't gotten home yet."

"Where have you been?"

"Well..." Should I tell her?

"I'd been trying to talk to Oliver."

There was a long pause. Does she have anything against Oliver?

"Isn't he your friend?" She questioned curiously.

"Well, yes and no." I answered, "He hasn't talked to me in a while. He has been avoiding me."

"I think It'll be best if you give him a bit of space. Stalking him to his home surely wouldn't help."

How did she know? Well to be fair, I wasn't stalking him to his home, I had only done so to a few blocks past school.

"How did you?"

"Well, how else would you be 'trying to talk' to him after school?" She giggled, she made a fair point.

"Our date?" Len asked, piquing with interest.

"At the movies?" She asked back.

"Alright!" Len grinned, "See ya there!"

"See ya!"

Len pocketed his phone and started his way to the movies, looking forward to the date. But he had something in mind, something he couldn't just erase and be at peace with, 'What's going on with Oliver?'

 

Chapter Text

Oliver ran in, rushed into his room, locked his door, and leapt on his bed.

Why was he being so nosy?

And why was he following me home!?

Oliver shuffled in his bed, thinking back to a few months ago, when he had just gotten here.

Right after, Len had told him they were friends, He had suddenly disappeared when he needed him the most.

 

***

 

"Go back to your home country," A red-haired boy spat, beating me with a metre rule he had gotten from the maths teacher. I cried silently. What had I done to deserve this?

"Get away from him!" A familiar voice shouted.

It wasn't Len. It was the girl I had met the day before, SeeU.

"C'mon Fukase," A white haired one spoke, "He's not worth our time."

"Tch."

"Are you okay? Did they hurt you? Do you want me to get you to Luka?" She started rambling in concern.

"No, I'm quite alright. Had it gone for longer, I was sure to have another permanent scar," I silently chuckled, "Thanks."

"Thank goodness."

"Where- Where's Len?" I asked her.

"Len? I think he's with Aria now."

I blinked twice, then once more. Aria? Who's that?

"They're going out together," She explained nonchalantly.

"Oh." I replied, frowning. Len... you said we would be friends? Then why'd you leave me? Leave me for a girl?

 

***

 

Oliver wiped his eyes, somehow, in that moment of thoughts, he had teared up. He doesn't care about me anymore.

Then why? Why'd you follow me?

Oliver rolled on his bed and lied there tiredly. It had been another day of running and hiding. He was —quite literally— tired of it. And where was Len when he was in trouble? Probably having fun with his new girlfriend.

Oliver peeked to his bedside table, where he saw a new notification come in.

SeeU?

Curious as they had rarely texted, Oliver opened his phone up and checked it.

SeeU: Hey Ollie!

Oliver: hmm?

SeeU: Wanna go out to the movies together?

Oliver paused and stared at the screen. Sure they had been 'going out' for the past month or so, but they had never really 'gone out' till then.

Oliver: yeah! just let me get ready k

SeeU: Kk

Oliver: SeeU there! lol

Oliver lightly chuckled at his own joke. 'Genius right?' He thought to himself. Okay brain, you can stop complimenting yourself now.

With a flutter of excitement, Oliver quickly changed to his pure white button-up shirt and navy blue coat. It had always been his favourite way to dress, it fit him nicely and as Yohio would have put it, it brings out his inner 'shota'... Whatever that meant.

Once he was ready, He took his phone and wallet with him and left for the local theatre.

Oliver looked into the crowd, trying to find SeeU within the sea of people. Red hair, Nope. Green hair, Nope. Yellow hair! No, that's a boy... There!

"SeeU!" Oliver called out in his cheery tone.

"Oliver!" She called back with her almost-signature smile.

"What movie do you want to watch?" I asked her.

"C'mon, I'll show you." She said in a cheerful tone. One that seemed to be laced with a hint of malice.

Had it just been my imagination? Probably.

Oliver took steps behind SeeU, following closely. A dark aura appeared around her, but it seemed that nobody else had noticed. Wha- What's going on?

Once they had reached screen 9, SeeU promptly stopped. Oliver felt nervous as he looked around to find that they were in solitude.

A short maniacal laughter came out of Oliver's companion. "Did you really think we were dating?" She sneered.

Oliver was taken aback. What's happening? Am I dreaming? Am I imagining things again? He didn't know what to answer, he didn't know how to answer.

With a fingersnap, a figure appeared from within the shadows of the dark entrance.

His clothes. His face. His appearance. Oliver's eyes widened in fear. Kaito! Why is he here?

"I suppose I could have done this earlier. But I really wanted to make sure you had feelings for me first." SeeU sneered, "How is it? Heartbreak hurts doesn't it?" She spoke in a tease-like manner, toying with her nails as if she were a royalty.

Oliver started to process everything: SeeU had led him to a trap, betrayed him. His heart felt like it had been trampled upon by a dozen elephants. The only person he figured he could trust, had planned to crush him all along.

Kaito grabbed Oliver's arm and dragged him into the dark room. "Let's have a bit of fun." He whispered past his shoulder.

"N-No!" Oliver muttered in a broken tone, he was drowned by his own fear.

"What should we start with?" Kaito spoke in a devilish voice, "How about with this?" He sneered, grabbing onto Oliver's private area, holding a knife to his throat with the other. "Now don't move, let me do the work for you." He snickered.

In a sudden wave of fear and bravery, Oliver performed a heading attack on Kaito, kicked his crotch, and once his grip had weakened, made a run.

"You're not getting anywhere!" SeeU growled, raising her hand to summon a horde of her and Kaito's supporters.

Adrenaline still flowing through his veins, Oliver dashed past them, shoving off anyone who had been in his way without problem, not caring who it was or what they wanted to do to him.

He felt his heart ache and tears started to flow. "Why can't anyone be nice to me?" Oliver mumbled, running back to his host-home.

Oliver ran in, rushed into his room, locked his door, and leapt on his bed.

He cried buckets upon buckets, the image of SeeU's evil grin burning in his mind, Why can't anyone be nice to me?

Oliver took a deep breath in, still crying, He gathered every bit of power He had left and shouted at the top of his lungs:

"I Can't Trust Anyone!"

 

 

Chapter Text

"Len..." Came a voice from his girlfriend, crying under the cover of the dark theatre.

"Yes?" Len comforted her, taking her in with his right hand.

"I'm sorry." She told, "There's something you need to know." She teared, her face down, invisible by the darkness, barely lit by the dimly lit theatre screen.

Len gave a confused look, What could it be so important that she had started crying at a time like this?

"I'm sorry I've led you to believe I felt anything for you for the past three months." She spoke thickly, as if she were — had it not been obvious — going to break down into a sob at any moment.

I felt my chest pain slightly, had she not felt anything this whole time? Had she been leading me to a life of lies?

"I will explain everything..." she told, which Len could tell from her voice: it must have only been the truth, "but someone needs you right now." She halted for a quick moment, then muttered as if in fear, "Oliver."

Thoughts whirred around Len's head. Still in his shockalysed* state, he mumbled out his name, "Oliver?"

"He's here, y'know. You need to find him. Kaito, SeeU and the others are trying to get him."

SeeU?

Isn't she Oliver's...?

"Go!" She hastenedly imperated in her cry.

In a sudden state of panic, Len quickly rushed out of the room and looked around for any signs of the boy or at least...any of the bullies from school. He looked to the lobby, to the restrooms, but found no luck. He had almost given up on his search when in the distance, he saw a crowd of teenagers, led by a blond figure he could barely make out to be SeeU.

"There!" Len found himself exclaiming, charging towards the crowd to find his friend.

Suddenly, two of the girls were pushed to a fall; and a boy he knew dashed out in pure adrenaline shock. Len was about to greet him when he pushed him away, continuing his run out of the theatre, out of sight.

"That was rude." Len mumbled jokingly to himself. Getting up and dusting his trousers.

"Hey, look! Banana-hair is here!" Len heard a voice joke. "Why are you here alone, huh? Did your girlfriend dump you?" She snickered.

"Leave me alone, Miku." Len answered with a hoarse, harsh voice before leaving off in a run.

Len looked left and right, Oliver was nowhere in his sight. Unstopping, he remembered where Oliver was heading that evening and ran off with little hope he would find him.

As Len turned round the corner, he saw a silhouette of a blonde-haired boy turning right in the next fork. Len did not hesitate to follow him. After a few more twists and turns, Len stopped... The boy had disappeared.

Len knew that he must have gone into one of the many houses in the street, but which? He may — at that point in time — never know. Len strolled past the first few huts, eyeing them carefully as if he'd get a slight hint.

Shortly after Len had passed the twelfth house on the right, a recognisable shout broke the silence of the night, "I can't trust anyone!".

Len located the source almost immediately, it had been a few dozen steps away from where he had been. Len hurried to its front door and without hesitation, he ran in.

"Who are you!?" A woman shrieked, standing by a seemingly locked bedroom door.

Len quickly realised his position. He hadn't any excuse for trespassing, but perhaps they would understand.

"I'm Oliver's friend." Len told the woman, "Can I speak with him?"

She took a few calming breaths before replying with a sigh, "It would only be possible if I myself could speak to him right now."

"Could I at least try then?" Len asked desperately.

"Alright." She stated simply before turning to leave, "I'll be at the kitchen if you need me."

"Oliver?" I voiced as I approached the dark door.

No reply...

"Oliver, It's Len. Can we talk?"

"Go away!" He shouted, sobbing.

"Please, Oliver." Len pleaded, clutching towards the handle in desperation. Why had he been so desperate? Even he himself didn't know then. All I know is that I need to comfort Oliver, He needs someone right now.

To Len's delight, the door clicked unlocked and Oliver replied, "Come in."

Len carefully opened the door and entered Oliver's room. It was dark, lit by only a few dim lights.

"Why are you here?" Oliver spat.

"I'm here as a frien-"

"Bullshit!" He swore loudly, tears falling from his eye, "You don't care about me. You left me for that girl — left me when I needed you the most!"

Len felt a pang in his heart as it clenched, I left Oliver... for her?, Len was taken aback, I had never meant for it to be that way.

"Oliver, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to leave you out-"

"Just go away!" Oliver shouted, sobbing harder than before. Len's eyes widened in surprise, he paused a for a few seconds before leaving, "I'll come tomorrow then." Len whispered before leaving quietly.

 

***

 

Oliver lied on his bed on his side, curling up to a ball. Did Len really care?

If he did then where was he all those days I needed him?

SeeU was always there to help...

SeeU...

 

***

 

Len arrived home and sat on his bed, he looked out his window to see his sister's name, engraved on the tree. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to bury her in my window view. Len thought, reliving the dreadful experience again.

He had closed his eyes when a notification sounded.

Huh? Aria? I wonder what happened...

Len took his phone out and read the text message.

Aria: How did it go?

Len: Not good, I'll try again tomorrow.

Aria: here, I'll try to explain everything, maybe it'll help

Len gulped as he waited for Aria's next message, it had taken her at least ten minutes to type it all out.

Aria: Let's start at the beginning. Right after you saved Oliver, Kaito and the others planned to split you apart, so that they could pick on you two much easier. They thought that the best way to do it was to stage two girls to act as your girlfriends and keep one of you apart from whoever they plan to target that day. I was tasked to keep you away from Oliver whenever they decided to pick on him, which was why you'd never seen Oliver getting picked on since then.

Len carefully read her message, taking in every piece of information. It made him slightly angry to think that she was part of the reason why Oliver seemed to despise him so much now.

Len: Why are you telling me this, don't you work for Kaito?

Aria: Yes and no

Len looked at the screen in a puzzled manner, what?

Aria: I did, but not anymore. Not after I saw what they did to you and him.

Len quickly typed a reply as tears fell out.

Len: Oh well, thanks for your help.

He closed his phone and landed his face onto the soft pillow. The last few months... had all been a lie.

She never loved me back.

 

Chapter Text

The next day, Len laid on his bed unmotivated. He didn't feel like going to school, and even if he did, he wouldn't be able to get his minds off of everything at that moment.

Why do bad things keep happening to me one after the other?

First, I lost my sister, then I lost a girlfriend, then my best friend.

Len cried on his sheets. No, I mustn't cry! That makes me weak. He wiped his tears with his arms in an attempt to stop them. But it kept flowing, he continued to cry all morning, curled up into a ball of despair.

Once he had finally stopped, he looked at the time. It was past nine, school had started half an hour ago. Disevented, Len stared blankly at his school bag, Is there any point in staying here either?

He lazily stood up and threw his bag over his shoulder. I guess there's no point in staying if I have nothing to do anyways.

Len arrived quarter to ten. He stood in-front of the locked metal gates, gazing into the seemingly lifeless school-grounds through the bars of steel. "How am I supposed to get in?"

"Well, the others have done it before so there must be a way." Len pondered, looking around for anything to climb.

"Len!" He heard a lady-like voice call.

Len immediately turned his head, "Luka?" How convenient.

"What are you doing outside school grounds?" She asked sternly.

"Err, well, I just got here..." Len told her.

Luka looked to her watch — which I had never noticed till then — and raised her visibly-upset face. "You're very late."

"I'm very sorry." Len bowed, "This will not happen again."

Luka sighed, "I'm not responsible for late students so normally I'd have to call the principal for this." She paused and looked intently at Len, "But I'll let you go this time," She said, bringing out her keys and unlocking the gate.

Len shivered, he didn't know Luka could ever be so frightening. As the gate creaked open, he walked in and gratefully thanked the nurse.

"Remember, it's only this time." She said in a lecturing manner, pointing her finger up.

"Yes." Len nodded, bowed, and ran off to his class.

He slid the classroom door open and shocked, he stood face to face with his science teacher.

"Len? Where were you?" His deep voice threatened, "You weren't...trying to skip class, were you?" He glared.

"No, I, I wasn't feeling well this morning." Len reasoned.

"That better not be a lie," He said, staring even more intently than he had before.

"N-No, sir!"

His voice suddenly changed to that of a normal one, "Alright then, come in."

"Yessir!" Len spoke, walking in and getting to his table.

The class quieted down as the teacher walked back to the centre of the board. He then grabbed his chalk and started drawing, "The planets in order are Mercury —not to be confused with the liquid metal— Venus, Earth, Mars..."

 

***

 

Len walked quietly to the mess hall; he had almost gotten used to walking there, meeting her, then spend the lunch with her group. But after what had happened, could he really face her...now?

Len stopped as he entered the hall and looked up inside and saw him, the blonde British boy, Oliver, cornered by a few girls he knew well — to not be.

"Why are you still here?" The teal one asked, disgust resonating in her voice.

"Hmph, did you expect me to give you another chance?" The blonde one teased, visibly swelling in her own imaginary power, puffing herself up to assert her dominance.

Oliver stammered, stuttered, his mouth shut, he skipped words, backing away the few inches he had left. With a clenched heart, Len took a step forward and shouted at them, "Stop bothering him!" Oliver's face was flustered; shocked, surprised Len had even come — even more so that he had voiced to help him.

"and what—are you going to do about it if we don't? She challenged, her brows uneven as she made a weird look.

"We'll see." Len answered menacingly, showing no frames of weaknesses in his attempt to intimidate.

"Come on, let's go." Another girl finally cracked, cocked her head towards their right, "and stop wasting time on that brat."

SeeU lightened her glare and walked to leave. I'd done it! I felt myself fill with pride, I'd driven them off without anyone's help!

"Len..." Oliver squeaked a whisper.

Len closed their distance in response, he walked towards him, stopping only when they were face to face.

"Are you okay?" Len asked worriedly. Oliver replied with a simple nod, his gaze still fixed below.

It's now or never...

"Oliver, I'm sorry I left you with no-one when she came to me. I left you alone when you needed help the most. I know you won't forg-"

"Len, I forgive you." Oliver said, looking up with his tear-filled eyes. Len took this with a look of surprise, nevertheless, he stayed quiet to listen, "you helped me, you've saved me. I shouldn't have expected too much from you, it was my fault."

"Then can we still be—?"

"Yes," Oliver answered with a smile.

Len felt at that moment, like an innocent child given a pocket-full of candies: ecstatic. The two closed their distance, hugged each other tightly as if they had never separated. It had only been a common, friendly gesture, but why do I feel something indescribable building up inside me?

 

 

Chapter Text

Oliver took a moment to piece together the things that have occurred in the last few days. He threw his head back on his chair, gazing up in the blank, white ceiling. It had only been a few days since he and Len had re-established their friendship, and he was still figuring out what everything meant.

Oliver blankly stared in front of him as he tied together the different events, connected them, Have they been bothering Len as much as they did me? He looked down as he finally concluded: yes.

After all, they were never only targeting one of us.

Oliver was brought back to reality by the person of his thoughts, "Ollie?" He flinched at that nickname, it reminded him too much of last week. "Don't call me that!" Oliver retorted, gaining the attention of a few class members— and the teacher.

"Shush!" The teacher shot with tensed brows, giving her signature lecturing glare, it almost sent a shiver! Oliver nodded at this and returned his focus to the board, interacting with his friend only after the teacher had turned away from them.

"Don't call me 'Ollie'," He whispered, "I-It's weird." Halfway in trying to focus in class and in giving Len attention.

"Aww, alright." Len half-whined, half-accepted. Oliver took this as a simple friendly gesture, however.

"Len," Oliver started, deep in his thought, "Do you ever think of... transferring to another school?"

Len took a moment to think, "yeah," He answered nonchalantly, "but there aren't any other schools in the area."

Oliver nodded, after all, he was still new there, he knew nothing of the geography of the area.

"Hey, Oliver, want to come to my house after school?" Len suddenly invited, seemingly out of no stimulation.

Slightly surprised at the spontaneous question, Oliver pondered for a moment. Sounds fun... mum wouldn't mind me spending time with friends, nor would my host-family... as he made up his decision, Oliver flickered back to reality and nodded, "Mhm, I'd like to."

"Grea-"

Bang!!!

"Talking in class again, are we?" The teacher threatened, glaring with her blood-red eyes, sharp nose, and unpleasantly arched brows.

"Extra homework! Finish exercises seven to nine!" She spoke with clearness.

That's not—

 

***

 

Oliver kicked the orange-lit dirt below him, his right hand holding one of the gate's bars as he waited for his friend, Len, to come. Oliver looked up and saw the familiar blonde run towards him, with his associated warm smile.

"You ready?" Len asked as he readjusted his backpack.

"Yeah," Oliver answered enthusiastically.

"Let's go!"

Oliver followed closely behind Len, occupying himself by synchronising his steps to Len's. It was not a long walk, it had only been a few ten minutes since they left when Len stopped abruptly in front of a beaten-looking house. It was made of mostly wood, lifeless-like; it definitely looked old, and the lack of proper maintenance was evident in its shacky appearance.

"This is your home?" Oliver asked in question, he had expected something more... home-y — as the building looked more like a haunted house than a shelter.

"Yeah," Len replied, "it might not look like it, but it's pretty cosy inside." Chuckling lightly.

Oliver nodded, trusting his friend, he followed him inside. Oliver scanned the main room. Square. Dark and empty. Connecting to only two sliding doors which seemed to lead to bedrooms.

Len turned up the light, which was —to Oliver's utter shock— just a bulb, barely hanging from the wooden ceiling.

"You live alone?" Oliver asked. He knew Len had little, but he did not expect family to be part of his impossessions.

"Yeah," Len frowned, "Our parents left us, we had to live alone."

Curious, Oliver asked further, "We?" Didn't he just say he was living alone.

A tear trailed down his right eye and fell. Did I press too far?

"Len?"

"I used to live with my sister," Len told in a heavy, broken tone, "she's... passed away now." facing down, tears dropping onto the wooden floor.

Oliver didn't know how to react. He had never had to deal with these type of things, so he acted instinctively, walking towards him, "Len... I-"

"Sorry, I didn't mean to... break down in front of you." He spoke. His tears had stopped, but his eyes showed clearly of his sorrow, or... regret?

"Len, it's okay, you can let it all out," Oliver offered as he placed a hand on the taller boy's shoulder, "I won't mind."

A few more tears fell as he stepped forward, Oliver caught him with a hug and Len was on his shoulder. It must have been hard for him... to lose his sister... I know it would be for me if I lost Yohio.

Len did not last in that state for very long. He regained his composure quickly and stood back up. "You... weren't supposed to see me like this." Len mumbled, going to his room.

"Len..." Oliver quietly followed his friend. He shut the door behind him and quickly sat down on a chair.

In the silent dark, Oliver let his mind wander on the past events again.

SeeU... why did she? He felt his own eye well up, and as he closed it, the tear silently dropped down his cheek and below.

"Oliver?" It was Len's turn to speak, "Are you okay? I heard..."

"Y-yeah." Oliver stammered, "I'm okay. Just thinking about-"

Should I tell him? It's petty, really.

"About what?"

"SeeU" Oliver muttered, sighing, "I still can't believe she'd done that."

"Do you still like her?"

Do I?

Oliver shook his head, "Not anymore... but..." Oliver paused, he didn't know how to say it.

"I get it," Len spoke, "It's like losing someone you cared for."

"Yeah" Oliver mumbled, his tears still flowing slightly. He leaned on Len's chest and cried. It feels comforting... to know that he understands, to know that he can relate to me...

Len... you've gone through much worse things than me... why are you the one comforting me?

Does this make me a bad friend?

"Hey, Oliver." Len broke the silence. Curious, Oliver gripped Len's uniform tightly and looked up to him in interest.

"Let's have some fun now," He smiled, "together."

"Okay." Oliver grinned, his previous thoughts dimmed by the excitement.

 

 

Chapter Text

Uggh, how can I do this, Len sulled in his own thoughts.

"Le〜n!" Oliver whined, pouted. "It's your turn!"

"Oh, right." Len bit his lip. He looks so cute like that though...

Shut up, brain.

Len shook his head out of thought and played his queen of hearts.

"Hearts hasn't been broken yet, you idiot." Oliver protested, his hands fluttering about in a tantrum-like manner.

"Oh."

It wasn't a secret that Len had no experience in games. He never had anyone to play with. Not even his sister. He didn't even know he had any playing cards until Oliver spotted them on his table.

Oliver sighed, "It's okay, we can do something else."

Len felt guilty form, they were supposed to be having fun, but it looked like Oliver wasn't having his share. Len bit his lip again. Oliver seemed to notice as he positioned himself beside Len and smiled, "Don't worry, Len. I'm having fun too."

Huh? How did he?

"It's fun to... to spend time with you." Oliver spoke softly as he leaned closer towards him. Those words made Len's heart flutter and pound. Why? What is this feeling?

"You too." Len returned.

"It's getting late," Oliver commented as he looked to his phone's time.

"You can stay over if you'd like." Len offered.

"I, I don't want to be of interference," Oliver mumbled, his head hanging low, in a cute, meek way.

"You won't be!" Len told him, "I'd love for you to stay the night."

Oliver blushed for a quick moment before replying in a mumble, "Okay, then I'd like to stay with you."

"Great!" Len exclaimed, "You can sleep in my room..." Realising how awkward it sounded, he quickly added, "Or if you'd prefer, you could sleep in the other room."

Oliver weighed his choices for a moment, "I'll... just use the empty room." He said, quietly leaving.

Len felt a small clump of disappointment form. Why?

"Alright then," Len replied, then showing Oliver the way.

"Thanks." Oliver spoke before entering the room and closing the door behind him.

Len felt lonely as he walked back to his room. Sure Oliver was just next door, but he really secretly wished he would have picked to sleep in his room.

Len bounced to his bed and covered himself with his blanket. "Why do I feel this way?"

 

***

 

Oliver recognised this feeling inside him, and he was scared.

It's like my feelings for Yohio, just a little more... on the intimate side. Like my feelings that were for SeeU, but much stronger. Oliver was not oblivious, he knew perfectly well what this meant. He was developing feelings. For his friend.

Oliver clutched his chest as his heart ached, "Why does this have to happen?" I don't want to put this in the way of our friendship.

"hnngh," Oliver grumbled, shifting in his bed, tossing, turning, trying to get in a comfortable enough position to rest.

No, I can't sleep...

...

'Maybe if I...' He pondered, 'He did suggest it...'

...

No, I don't want to make it awkward... especially for him, if he's... y'know.

Oliver sighed as he opened the hinged louvre window gates, desperate for fresh air to clear his mind. He slowly swept his gaze from left to right, and in the middle: he saw four characters carved into a tree, and recognised them to read: 'Kagamine Rin.'

'Len's sister' He silently thought, still focusing on the tree.

Oliver noticed the burial beneath it. The ground... still isn't fully covered with grass.

"It's still at most a few months new," Oliver mumbled, shook. He had felt sympathy for him when he said it, but looking at it makes it feel so much more real.

"Len..." Oliver cried hugging the pillow beside him. Is this what you've been through? Then... how can you be so strong? Even after all this?

As Oliver thought about it, a bird flew in, cuddled into Oliver's shirt and peacefully roosted itself there.

"H-Hey" Oliver giggled at notice, "It was cold out huh?"

The bird chirped an affirmation and refused to budge from his warmth, Perhaps if I close the window...

Oliver closed the window and carefully took the little creature into his hands, "here," He said, placing the bird on a table with a piece of wool cloth, "You can stay warm there."

The bird nodded as if it understood, then stayed. Oliver giggled, "Hey, I should name you." He paused, pondered, thought deeply, then exclaimed, "I know, I'll call you James!"

Oliver's face turned to one of disappointment when he saw that 'James' was not paying attention, in fact, it was asleep; a sleep bubble forming on the tip of its beak.

"Huh, I guess that must do then." Oliver mumbled, falling back onto his bed. His thoughts turning back to Len.

I just hope he will return these feelings...

 

Chapter Text

Len slept sound, steady. Until a certain damn thing decided to ring.

"Ugh..." Len groaned, "It's a Saturday!" He complained, lazily stretching his hand out in an attempt to silence it, but all he did was just knock it over and made it harder to reach.

Reluctantly, Len sighed and stood from his bed, took the clock, and turned the alarm off, stupid alarm clock.

"Ugh..." Len groaned once more.

"A-Are you okay, Len?" An angelic voice came from outside his door. Oliver?

"Yeah, I'm fine." Len replied, stretching his arms as he yawned. Once he claimed himself fully ready, he went outside of his room to meet Oliver, who was sitting on the straw mat floor.

"Morning, Len." Oliver cheerily greeted.

"Morning, Oliver." Len returned in a slightly high-pitch tone, sitting beside his friend. Len turned his gaze towards the younger's shoulder, where, curiously, a little bird rested peacefully.

"Who's this?" Len asked, puzzled, Oliver had never told him he had a pet bird, then again... they had not learned much of each other's lives yet either... since that happened.

"Oh, I found him yesterday, He-" but the bird flew off, landed on his head, and started pecking him fiercely. "Hey! Ouch! Stop!" Oliver yelled, rapidly shaking his head. The finch finally stopped its assault, but it definitely didn't stop chattering angry tweets at him. Sheesh, that bird's got some attitude.

It kinda reminds me of someone...

"So...Len," Oliver spoke, still rubbing his head from the attack, "Any plans for today?" He asked with an expectant tone.

Len thought for a moment, frowned for an instance, then finally spoke, "Wanna go out? There's nothing much here." He offered, getting up to prepare.

Oliver merely nodded, "mhm."

Len put his white jacket on and walked outside, He looked back and frowned, Oliver was still in his uniform.

"I might have some extra clothes for you." Len offered, "you could wear them if you'd like."

"Okay!" Oliver nodded once again.

Len ran back to his room and rummaged through his closet, "No... too big... too small... I think I might've left it over there..."

"Aha!" Len exclaimed as he spotted a plain white button-up shirt; strangely, it seemed to be the perfect size for the younger boy. Len shrugged it off, grabbed it and ran back to Oliver, who had patiently waited.

"Here," He handed the piece of clothing towards Oliver, "You can change in your room."

Oliver looked puzzled for a moment but quickly regained himself, "Right, be right back then." He said before grabbing it and running off.

Len leaned on a tree and waited. Within a few moments, Oliver came out in fresh clothing, He looks so much cuter in those than in that ugly, old school uniform.

"Len?" Oliver mumbled as he tilted his head, nearing towards the older boy.

Len panicked but quickly hid it, "Sorry, I was just..." Len scratched his head, "wondering about something."

Dammit, why can't I be less awkward?

"Where to?"

"How about-" Just as Len was about to suggest, Oliver's new-found pet circled around him and flew off to a direction.

"Hey, Wait!" Oliver called, running to catch up.

"Len, I think it wants us to follow him!"

Len nodded and took off behind him, He's a pretty fast runner.

The bird suddenly stopped, right in front of a small ice-cream parlour. Oliver stretched his hand out as the bird landed, but as soon as Oliver motioned to leave, it pecked him and flew back to the shop.

"Oww," Oliver turned to Len, puzzled, "you think he's telling us to go here?" He asked.

Len, flabbergasted, nodded, "seems like it."

They went in, and placed their order, "One banana ice cream, please."

"And one cookies and cream!" Oliver smiled expectantly.

"I'm sorry, we're out of cookies-and-cream today." The cashier frowned.

"Then I'll have vanilla."

They took their ice cream and sat opposite to each other. Len mindlessly bit in his as he watched Oliver lick his own. It didn't take long for him to finish.

Oliver shyly blushed as he stuttered to speak, "Len... I have to tell you something."

"Go ahead," Len said, his heart —for a reason unbeknownst to him— beating at an increased rate.

"I..."

"Look who's here!" A familiar voice spoke, Len and Oliver jumped as they turned their heads towards the parlour's entrance. Len could swear he heard Oliver's pet chirp an 'oops', although it was probably just my imagination.

"Kaito?" Len questioned, "why are you here?"

"Ice cream, smartass." He replied roughly, "what else would I be in an ice cream shop for?"

Len glared at the blue-haired male, reflexively stretching his hand out to shield Oliver from the bully.

"Relax, I'm not here to do anything to you," He snickered, "Ice cream's much more important than the likes of you," emphasising 'ice cream' as if it was some heaven-sent gift.

Len's glare turned to a look of fluster, puzzle and question. Has he gone mad?

"Perhaps I have," Kaito chuckled, "or perhaps you have! Oh, how the world may never know!"

Yep, definitely.

"Let's go," Oliver whispered from behind, "before he gets back to his senses from whatever he's on right now."

"Yeah," Len agreed as they ran out.

As soon as they had reached far enough, they stopped and caught their breath. Laughing hilariously as they silently spoke of their bully's behaviour.

"What do you think's gotten into him?" Oliver chuckled.

"I don't know but he has always been crazy for ice cream." Len laughed, "Maybe he's not so scary after all."

"Yeah, we can face him." Oliver smiled.

A pause occurred, Len took a deep breath and asked, "What is it that you wanted to tell me?"

"I-Uhh, never mind that." Oliver dismissively said, blushing all the while.

Len took in his features, his rosy red blush, his lip's form. It all pulled him closer, attracted him... like Magnets... and whenever he's around, it makes Len feel as if he could do just about anything for him. maybe I do like him... but we're both boys... that's not supposed to be right... does that make us good friends? Or is it something more?

 

 

Chapter Text

Len groaned, grumbled sleepily, protesting of his waking up. No, he wasn't in his cozy bed, although he wished dearly it was the case. Rather, he was in somewhat of an uncomfortable confinement: the classroom.

He had not slept last night. He couldn't... not since his mind could not rest.

Len's eyes slowly fluttered open as the bell rang four times loudly. He really didn't want to deal with them right now.

But I have to...

"Len" Oliver called from his side; they had planned together for that day to finally face them, to not just run away.

"Got it." Len answered, rubbing his eyes, blinking a few times.

"We don't have to..." Oliver voiced his concern, "if you need rest."

"No... I'm fine... I'll do it." Len dismissively said, shaking his head slightly, Besides, it'll just get worse tomorrow...

Of course, they weren't going to look for trouble, all their plan was to simply not avoid them, and if they succeed, that is: to not get beaten up in the process— then they would no longer need to be scared of them. As long as we stay together, they wouldn't be able to pick on us.

"Let's go."

They took their lunch and made their way to the mess hall, where they secured a table, and ate their food.

As expected, Kaito and his gang shortly arrived, surrounding them in a circle. "Pretty brave of you." Sneered Fukase, "to just walk in here."

"We're not afraid of you anymore." Len challenged as he kept eye contact.

"And what about you?" Fukase turned towards Oliver, who had also made his resolve to stand up to them. Oliver, however, was unable to keep up for very long before he faced away, breaking down in fear.

They snickered, sneered; laughed at his weakness, ridiculed him with words like 'pathetic'. Len had none of it; as he felt the beast in his heart unshackled, he stood in front of the british boy and balled his fist, "Leave him alone! Or you'll have to answer to me too!" He roared as he glared at them with his striking blue eyes.

"Tch..." Kaito spat, leaving the field. The rest followed suit, as if it had been a concerted drama. With what has been happening lately, surely it could be...

"I'm too weak." Oliver mumbled, "you shouldn't have stood up for me... I deserved it for being weak."

"Oliver, I couldn't have done it without you." Len told him softly, "you're not weak."

"My strength," Len placed his right hand on his chest, then moved it to Oliver's, "is yours too."

Oliver teared, cried, sobbed. "Len... I-" he stopped; stuttering as he reassembled his words, "I lo-ve you." He spoke, hiccoughing in fear of rejection.

Len's eyes dilated as he processed the words, his heart aching in impatience, "Oli-..." Len immediately took him in an embrace, he closed his eyes and neared himself to Oliver's ear, whispering quietly: "I love you too."

"Last night," Len confessed, "I couldn't stop thinking about you."

"M-Me neither." Oliver replied, still sobbing from his overflow of emotions.

A crowd gathered around them, whispering quietly, exchanging glances. But the two paid no mind, embracing each other lovingly as if they were alone. Eventually, the crowd dissipated, the students returning to their classes, and left nobody but the two: their eyes locked together, laced with love and care.

"Ai shiteru yo!" Len whispered to him, leaning in to kiss. Sure it had been neither of their first kisses, but it had certainly been their best, Len felt Oliver's soft breaths as he tasted the younger's even softer lips on his. It went for a good few minutes before they had to pull away. Len offered his right hand to Oliver; to which he accepted with a beatific smile and a rosy pink blush. They grabbed their bags and finally walked back, their fingers intertwined all the way.

Now I know what true love feels like.

I—... I love Oliver.