“There you go.”
Yusaku almost didn’t notice Shoichi with a small lunch box approaching him. Well of course he didn’t, he has been staring at the ocean while leaning on the fence for the past twenty minutes.
“Are you all set to go?” the older of the two asked with his usual big-brother concern.
“Yeah, Takeru should be arriving soon.” the teen glanced at his smartphone “Is Jin ready too?”
“Has been for the past hour.” Shoichi grinned as they headed back to the house.
At the porch was Jin, his eyes buried in a textbook and judging from the combo of hissing and barking, Ai and Lightning were at it again. Ai, Yusaku’s Newfoundland, knew better not to tease Lightning, Jin’s cat, but since the feline was stuck in a pet carrier, Ai could nudge him as much as he wanted without meeting Lightning’s claws.
“Knock it off Ai.” Yusaku tugged onto his collar which made the canine’s attention shift to his owner and gladly tackle him on the ground to give him tons of puppy kisses.
“Are you sure about not taking him with you?” Shoichi ran his hand through Ai’s long hair.
“There is way too much paperwork to fill and Ai hates small places, not to mention he also has a talent for waking up the entire neighbourhood with a single bark. I think I’ll pass.” the teen slowly got up as the dog continued to nudge his head in Yusaku’s jacket “Thank you again for taking him in. I hope he won’t cause too much trouble.”
“Eh it will be fine. I’ll bring him to my morning PE classes for running exercises and he’ll keep me company while Jin is away.” the older Kusanagi smiled “Oh, I think Takeru is here.”
A small minivan entered the driveway and an overly enthusiastic white-haired boy Yusaku’s age quickly exited the vehicle the second it stopped.
“We are going to be college students!” Takeru shouted as the barking, presumably from his rottweiler Flame from the minivan was heard as well.
“Yeah, yeah no need to announce it every single time.” Yusaku yawned as he gave Ai that one last petting before picking his things and getting in the car.
“Nawww come on, we’ve been talking about it the whole summer! Just imagine the campus, the parties, new people to meet-”
“-lectures, exams and studies. Yeah, can’t wait.”
Yusaku had already said a fair share of goodbyes to Shoichi and Ai before, so he just got on the backseat while Jin got on a driver’s seat with Lightning’s pet carrier on his knees. Takeru just waved to the older Kusanagi and took a seat next to Yusaku. Takeru’s father exchanged those few words with Shoichi and off they went.
Of course, Takeru had to tell all about his big college plans out loud for the fiftieth time and Yusaku, like always, stared down on his phone and occasionally nodded. He didn’t mind his friend’s enthusiasm, but he was currently just not in the mood to talk about anything. His entire summer was spent either worrying about the results of his finals, managing his finances, packing all necessary things and organizing his Glitch stream schedules. Even now in a car he wasn’t just playing with his phone, but answering emails and comments on the latest stream. He wasn’t that fond of doing that and yet he knew the numbers of watchers increase when streamers communicate with them. Half-assed or not, replies always seemed to boost his popularity.
“Did you watch Hanoi Knight last night?”
“I don’t care about other streamers. I’m only doing it to cover my expenses.”
“But you should! You gotta improve your streams from time to time by watching others! Who knows when will your watchers get tired of watching your 3D avatar design, never-ending RPG exploration and your lifeless voice.”
Yusaku just sighed in a tired manner which was enough for Takeru to take a hint and leave him to nap for the next two hours. They only stopped a couple of times for bathroom breaks and for Flame to stretch his legs. It was a late afternoon once they finally reached Yusaku’s campus, a complex consisting of several different buildings that were close to several colleges with many courses. Yusaku was accepted to Software Development course while Jin and Takeru both signed up for Veterinary Science course which was located at the different part of New Neo Domino. Their college complex was filled with courses relating to various natural sciences and was also less strict with pets. That’s why they could bring Flame and Lightning with them. Yusaku just took his two bags and waved them goodbye before walking towards his campus.
The teen looked around to see a silver-haired guy with a folder full of papers.
“Yeah, Software Development, Fujiki Yusaku.” he answered while showing his ID, knowing the guy was marking down the newcomers.
“Ah right, here.” he handed him keys after scribbling his name down “Your stuff is already in the room, one key is for the room and another one for campus building. Be here tomorrow at nine AM, there will be a tour for freshmen”
Yusaku thanked him politely and followed the directions on the map towards his new room. Even though he has been there only a week ago to bring heavier things like his books, clothing and other necessities, it was still hard to navigate when it was darker. Eventually, he got to his room, same as he remembered it except for a pile of boxes on the opposite site. He would’ve preferred to have a single room, but it cost more and to be honest, he knew how to ignore another human being in the same room for hours. The Glitch streams on the other hand were something that was more of an issue, though that was something to discuss once he meets him face to face.
About an hour later he was already in his dark blue pyjamas, clean after a visit to a shared bathroom and his half of the room properly organized. There wasn’t much stuff to organize, except maybe his computer set since there weren’t many outlets in the room and that needed some strategic thinking when plugging all of his devices. The computer was eventually running and Yusaku used the rest of the evening to let everyone know he made it to the dorm, check the most recent activity on his stream channel and eat that disassembled hot dog, courtesy of Shoichi.
Is Playmaker having a break?
Yeah, from what I heard he is in college now. Too bad.
Noooo…. I still need to finish the rest of the Gem Knight Quest! I need his guidance!
Hahaha same here, just with Supreme King Calamity.
I agree… it just won’t be the same.
I’m just here for 3D avatar character designs, lol.
I mean even if he is in college now... he might still have some time.
I dunno, my college years were hell, props to him if he manages to balance both.
There were tons of comments about him, mostly asking if he is going to continue or not. Yusaku knew he needed to go on with streams, he just didn’t know when. He needed some cash on the side plus his character design videos could contribute to his CV and future job. Oh well, he will be receiving his schedule for the lectures and meeting his roommate tomorrow.
Speaking of which, he was a bit curious who would be the person he’ll be stuck with in his room for the next four or so years. It was a custom to pair up students from the same courses so he was likely a Software Development student too. Judging from the several boxes marked with FRAGILE and coiled in many layers of safety wrap, he likely had a big computer set up as well, since Yusaku’s equipment was packed in a similar way. He hoped he wouldn’t mind him having a few streaming sessions during the weekends or more like he wouldn’t be too loud. Yusaku still wondered what made his streams so popular since he didn’t talk that much and when he did he sounded like he was dead inside or something.
The Glitch streams were something that Takeru suggested to him when he showed him some of his character design videos he made as a tutorial for himself. He never expected requests for more and once he started including video games, his streams exploded with views and comments. His channel was among the top and from what Shoichi could explain it was mostly because he was blunt, relatable and got things done. Though that other streamer that Takeru brought up, Hanoi Knight, wasn’t that bad either.
Truth to be told, he wasn’t that uninterested about him and he actually watched some of the games he played while designing characters as some sort of background music. Or more like background noise. That guy surely loved to loudly announce everything he was about to do and laugh like a maniac when he completed the missions, levels or quests. And what was up with that get-up? He wore a helmet with a visor and bullet-shaped earrings for heaven’s sake! Yusaku got the whole first-person shooter trend, but this was really pushing it, even for cosplayers. To be honest, he wasn’t really sure why he picked his videos besides the fact that they were on the trending streamers Glitch website and that Takeru has been pestering him to watch some other streamers to learn how to build up his own.
“Whatever…” he muttered as he turned off the computer “Not like I have to listen to him more…”
The next day had a few hundred students gather at the campus’ entrance, all yawning and shivering in the cold of early October. Lovely fall weather wasn’t it. Nope, more like it was December already and it was about to snow anytime soon. To spice it up, there was fog too and if the two senior students weren’t climbing at the top of the stairs, freshmen would probably fail to spot them.
“Alright, is this everyone?” a senior student with long maroon hair tied into two ponytails called and was met with utter silence “I assume it is. My name is Ray Akaba and today I will be showing you around the campus and lecture rooms. I will also act as this year’s tutor so in case you need any help concerning your studies, don’t hesitate to contact me, my friend Zarc over here or the tutoring community.”
New students mostly just answered with murmurs and just followed Ray towards the first stop. Even though Yusaku had explored a vast majority of university and campus area ,it still didn’t hurt to look for any hidden areas that the two seniors showed. In a way, he was kinda surprised the seniors didn’t attend this same exact college but one about half of an hour away in Maiami City and came all the way to New Neo Domino due to tutor shortages.
“As you can see all geeky and artsy courses will be happening at these two building complexes. Natural sciences stuff is located about twenty minute walk away and snobbish sciences are at-” the other senior student explained in a playful tone before he got slapped by Ray’s stack of papers
“Could you stop calling business and management courses snobbish sciences!?”
Freshmen started giggling at the way the silver haired tutor did introductions which certainly lighted up the mood a bit. For the rest of the morning and midday they walked through the rest of the campus and despite slightly warmed air, the thick fog still remained. To the point you could easily bump into someone if you weren’t paying attention.
Which is if of course what happened.
Those two seconds that Yusaku glanced at other freshmen out of curiosity if any people he knew from high school were there, resulted in tackling a person he didn’t even know was there.
Before Yusaku realized what has happened, he was lying on the top of another student, most likely a guy or perhaps a girl with an incredibly flat chest. But the torso wasn’t where his attention was directed to. No… what staggered him and probably also woke him from that snooze fest known as college tour were a pair of sky blue eyes.
He didn’t know why, but this brilliant shade of light blue astonished him to the point of actually gasping even though ninety percent of human beings bored him to death. Yusaku never dated anyone nor was he interested, now however, he was somehow totally up for it.
“Would you mind?” the person muttered.
Yusaku quickly picked himself up, hoping this encounter lasted less time than he thought. He reached out his hand as a sort of apology, but by then he could only see the back of that person in a purple hoodie disappearing in the fog.
“You did what?” Takeru laughed while Yusaku just bit into his hot-dog with a stern face.
It was afternoon and with all introductory stuff over, students were left to their own devices for the rest of the weekend to prepare for their first week at university. Receiving all necessary lists with schedules, events and exam dates, the blue-haired teen didn’t have much else to do, so he met up with Takeru at the park that was located right in the middle of their campuses.
“I tried to apologize, but the guy faded into the fog before I could.”
“Oooooooooo it’s the ghost of the student who studied too much and now he is scaring newbies into having more social college life!” Takeru continued to tease.
“I thought you were a science major.”
“I can still believe in the supernatural.” Yusaku’s childhood friend grinned “But seriously, you should ease up a bit. Come on, talk to some other people besides me and Jin. Now is the time to loosen up a bit!”
“You will be far less cheerful when the first tests begin.”
“Nawww don’t be such a party pooper. Meeting people is what this whole weekend is about! It’s not that hard.”
Yeah if you are Takeru Homura, the kind of a sunshine extrovert everyone loves, Yusaku thought to himself as he watched Flame playing with another dog that belonged to Takeru’s classmate. Not only a day at the campus, and Takeru has already become best buddies with a medicine student named Kazuto or something who also had a golden retriever named Windy. Well, he would probably have more luck making friends if he had Ai. His mutt might be annoying and yet its playfulness attracted a lot of people. Unfortunately, Ai wasn’t there and it was a good thing since he couldn’t imagine having him in that small room. Campus for natural sciences students had that advantage that it was a lot more suited for pets than the other campuses.
“Have you met your roommate at least?”
“No… just his stuff.”
“Bummer.” Takeru downed his cup of coffee before calling Flame “Well, you can start your social interaction quest there. It would be awkward if you’d treat him like a stranger for the next four years.”
Awkward indeed, Yusaku thought. Still, it didn’t really matter since he knew how to ignore his surroundings with a pair of headphones and if the roommate would hinder him from his streaming session, he’ll just do that at home during the weekends.
“Oh yeah, you gotta be here!” Takeru slipped a small ticket in Yusaku’s hand “It’s a Halloween Party!”
“I think we already discussed the fact that I’m not attending any parties this or any other semester.”
“But you could boost your popularity! Do you know how much fans love when Glitch streamers show bits of their daily life? And you can freely cover up your face with your dragon mask or something. Just like twenty minutes is enough.”
That… wasn’t that bad of an idea. As much as he would love to express it, Yusaku knew to better keep his mouth shut or Takeru would flood him with costume suggestions. So he just thanked him for the invitation and lunchtime to head back to his room while Takeru went to spend time with Flame and his new friend.
The sky was already darkening by the time he got back, with a shopping bag full of necessary groceries aka. instant ramen, snacks and energy drinks. He nonchalantly put them in the cupboard where he kept a mini-fridge and other smaller kitchen appliances like a hot plate and electric kettle. The mundane task nearly got him so busy that he didn’t notice that the boxes on the other side of the room were no longer there. And the other side of the room was filled with the signs that someone else lived there now.
That someone who was sitting at the desk, eyes stuck on the computer screen.
“Hi…” Yusaku tried to sound welcoming as Takeru suggested.
“Hi.” his roommate replied almost robotically.
“Fujiki Yusaku, Software Development major.”
“Ryouken Kogami, same major.”
Aaaand that was about it.
Neither Yusaku or Ryouken continued or more like they didn’t bother to. Ryouken just went on with whatever he was doing on a computer and due to a long baggy hoodie pulled over his head, Yusaku didn’t even see his face. With nothing else to do, the blue-haired student just prepared himself some ramen noodles to slurp while working on his next character design video tutorial. He usually did these without voice-over and included some during the editing part.
It would be wise to ask Ryouken if he was okay with streams, but with how awkward their first conversation went, he rather saved it for the next time. From time to time he would glance back, seeing him still working at the computer and maybe standing up a few times to go to a bathroom or get a drink. It was around midnight when he finally spoke again.
“I’m going to head to the bed soon.” Yusaku said when heading towards the bathroom with his pyjamas and toothbrush
No idea if that meant that he will be on the computer any longer or that he got a memo that he should do the same, Yusaku went on with his nightly routine. Though by the time he was back, Ryouken was turning off his computer and gathering his sleeping things. Well, at least he wasn’t the kind of a student that pulls all-nighters for whatever reasons.
The rest of the weekend was pretty much the same, both of them minding their own business and exchanging one liners for necessary communication. Yusaku was rather glad he got this type of a roommate though for some reason still didn’t know how to ask him if he is fine with his Glitch streams. In a way, he didn’t want to let him know that he is a streamer and a rather famous one to add while discussing such things would help him organize better. For now he wasn’t that sure what Ryouken was doing on the computer nor did he want to pry into it. For all he knew his roommate could be watching LinkTube videos while playing Monster Crush the whole day.
Weekdays weren't that much different either. Ryouken would be usually already gone by the time Yusaku woke up and once lectures were over his roommate would either be at his computer again or not in the room. He did try looking for him in the lecture rooms but since he was terrible at recognizing faces besides the fact that he was never actually face to face with him, this has proven to be futile.
In any way that really didn’t matter since the lectures, homework and assignments were a priority now. Teachers were laughably basic, except for two of them that actually showed up on his very first lecture. First was a woman with long pink hair and lavender bangs, wearing way too tight motorcycling bodysuit that wasn’t helping to cover up her quite enormous cleavage. If she hadn’t carried folders and introduced herself right away as professor Emma Bessho, Yusaku would’ve probably thought she was a substitute teacher or got in the wrong lecture room. A lot of male students paid attention to the not intended part of the lecture, though her lecture was understandable and simple to follow. What followed however was the total opposite. In complete strict fashion, the teacher dropped all of his folders on the counter, loudly waking up all the students who were still in daze from professor Emma’s lecture.
“I’m professor Kengo Dojun and I’m in charge of your Programming classes. Less than a third of you averagely passes this subject in the first semester, so in case you don’t want to be the other two thirds, then I suggest you start studying right now.”
“Yeah right…” Yusaku heard someone close by mutter.
Normally he wouldn’t pay that much attention to others, but by the third class for Programming and hearing the same familiar muttering voice somewhere he finally looked up.
And there they were.
The brilliant blue eyes of that student and even brighter white hair with purple streaks. Not knowing how to respond to that or how to calm down a swarm of butterflies in his stomach, Yusaku just apologized for bumping into him on the first day.
“Now?” the guy blinked in bored confusion “We share a room, it doesn’t matter.”
Yusaku just wanted to crawl under a rock and die.
“So the infamous campus ghost is your roommate now?”
“He could as well be. The guy never really speaks and hangs around his desk computer at all times.”
This time Takeru and Yusaku met for a coffee at Takeru’s campus. Flame was running around the grass field while the two of them were sitting at the benches. After that lecture, Yusaku wasn’t sure if he wanted to be stuck in the room with the guy in front of whom he came off as the embodiment of confusion and awkwardness.
“But you actually have a crush on him.” Takeru teased which made Yusaku nearly spill his coffee.
“Am not.” the blushing cheeks didn’t help.
“Oh, but you are.”
“I’ve never had a crush on anything in my life.”
“That’s why you have it so bad right now.” the white haired student laughed “Told you, you should’ve loosened up in high school already. Now all the giddy feelings are coming up, simply because you got stuck on the first hot dude you actually paid attention to.”
Yusaku couldn’t really deny it at this point. The feelings were getting out of control and even the usual get-together with Takeru didn’t do a trick.
“Say, what if we watch some videos to get your mind off it?”
“Sure…” the blue-haired teen put on his wireless headphones, connecting them with Takeru’s phone.
Once the sound was properly connected, Yusaku’s ears were nearly blown off by some mid-game live stream, full of guns shooting and sinister laughing, all by the familiar helmet wearing dude.
“Oh so sorry about that, I was watching Hanoi Knight before you came. Here let me-”
“It’s him…” Yusaku murmured, still dumbfounded by this fact.
“Yeah, Hanoi Knight, the top streamer trending in Glitch community. I think I told you about him-”
“No, it’s him - him.”
“Dude, you aren’t making any sense.”
Yusaku managed to clear up his shock and finally express his realization.
“Hanoi Knight is my roommate."
Preview for the next chapter - Halloween Party and a Hangover
“Come on, just ask him. Or that swirl of butterflies will turn into a tornado.”
“Do you guys need help with costumes?”
“Whatever you do, DO NOT piss off the Blood Shepard!”
“I AM NOT wearing that. On a Glitch Stream or ever!”