(For disclaimer, see chapter 1)

Chapter Two: The Plot Thickens

Shinobu sat silently at his table in the cafeteria, radiating irritability. Shun and Hasukawa approached cautiously.

"He looks mad. Letís sit somewhere else."

"Come on Suka-chan, he probably wants some company. Itíll cheer him up." Shun sounded incredibly optomistic. "Hi Sempai!"

Shinobu looked up at them, and returned to his brooding. They sat in an uncomfortable silence for several minutes, before Shinobu spoke. "Well, I guess he isnít dead after all." They turned to see a rather flushed looking Mitsuru heading towards them carrying a tray.

"Hey. I lost track of time at the library and had to run here. I missed most of the good food anyway." He managed to snatch a few pieces of Hasukawaís chicken while he spoke. He seemed oblivious to the black cloud that hovered around his roommate.

Shinobu looked mildly suspitious. "Got caught up with Hiroku, eh?"

"Yeah. You wouldnít believe how often he was wrong. I canít tell if heís stupid or just lazy."

"Mitsuru-sempai, you shouldnít be so hard on people. Not everyoneís memory is as good as yours." Even when reprimanding people Shun sounded happy.

Mitsuru smiled condescendingly. "It isnít my fault Iím gifted." He began taking Hasukawaís noodles.

"Stop doing that! I need food too!"

"Youíre little, you donít need much." He made a face at the underclassman, then noticed, with some concern, that Shinobu seemed unamused by the exchange. In fact, he seemed to be ignoring them.

Mitsuru looked quizically at his roommate. When the other boy failed to take any notice he reached over to snatch a piece of meat from his plate. Shinobu reacted instantly, moving the food just out of Mitsuruís reach, letting his chopsticks clack against the table. "Damn."

"You really think Iíd let you steal my food?" Shibobu asked, still not looking at his friend.

"Well, no. But you rarely seem so oblivious to your surroundings. I had to give it a shot, didnít I?"

Shinobu just shook his head, which worried Mitsuru even more. Something was difinitely not right. Whatís the matter with him? He canít be mad about Hiroku, can he? I told him why I had to do it. It isnít my fault. Dammit.

Mitsuru was still eating dinner when Shinobu stood up and left. "I have some business to take care of. Iíll see you all later." His voice was flat and menacing. Even Shun seemed worried.

"Whatís the matter with him Mitsuru-sempai? Heís so grumpy."

Mitsuru sighed. "I think heís mad at me for tutoring Hiroku. Itís not like I wanted to. The guyís in my class and I promised the teacher Iíd help out. Itís not like I want to hang out with the little freak."

Hasukawa looked confused, but was still managing to cover most of his food. "Why would Shinobu care who you tutor?"

Shun looked at him incredulously. "Didnít anyone tell you about Hiroku? He tried to sabatoge Shinobu in the Class President Election last year. When he lost, he vowed revenge on Shinobu. Shinobu-sempai probably thinks Hiroku is plotting against him."

Mitsuru looked outraged. "Well even if he does think so, thatís no reason to be mad at me! Heís just being paranoid." By this point he had devoured all of his food, and quite a bit of Hasukawaís. "Iím going to go take a bath. See you guys later."

Hasukawa visably relaxed as the older student walked away, lowering his arms from their protective position over his dinner. "Wow. Iíve never seen those guys fight before. They usually get along so well. Has this ever happened before?"

Shun shrugged. "Not since Hiroku messed with them last year. That guy has a way of getting between them. I wonder what heís up to."

"Who knows." He resumed eating his food, when he realized just how much of it was missing. "Damn that Mitsuru! Iím going to starve!"

Shinobu lowered the phone into itís cradle. His student council connections had been less than helpful. No one had heard anything from Hiroku for months. He had either reformed, or he was laying low, plotting something. He sighed dramatically and headed up to the arcade, where he could call in some favors and get access to Hirokuís e-mail account.

He sat at a computer in the far corner, away from the hectic activity in the rest of the room, skimming through the messages in the other boyís account. Aoki had hacked into the system for him, so all he had to do was read. Most of it was painfully boring. From what he could tell, Hiroku had NO life. He and his weasle friends sent countless inane messages to each other, mostly babbling about girls. Only two messages were of interest.

>From: "DyozoG"

>To: "HirokuT"

>Subject: Photos

>Hey man. I dropped those pics off at the dark room, but it closed >before I got there. They wonít get done until tomorrow night. You >shouldnít have stayed at the library so late, but it wonít put us too >much behind schedule. Later, Dyozo

>From: "BiizenW"

>To: "HirokuT"

>Subject: Blonde

>Yo. There is the most gorgeous blonde girl working at the coffee shop >on 5th. You have to come see her tomorrow. I think she wants me. >Oh, btw, I called Satto, and heís in. We should have plenty of people >with him in on the plan too. See you in Math, Bii

Shinobu saved the messages to a disk, then headed back to his room, eyes narrowed angrilly. This most certainly did not bode well.

Mitsuru reluctantly pulled himself out of the water and began toweling off. He felt guilty about Shinobuís being mad at him, but at the same time was outraged. Itís not like it was his fault. Why should he have to feel guilty about it? He scrubbed his hair with the towel and pulled on a t-shirt and pair of boxer shorts. He would have worn more, but had stayed in the bath a bit long and needed to cool off. He needed to stop doing that. He scooped up his stuff and trudged up to his room.

Shinobu was in bed reading as Mitsuru slipped through the door. He looked up coldly. "How was your bath?"

"Not bad. I stayed in a little too long though. Iím burning up." He yawned and pulled himself onto the top bunk. "Iím so tired. Iím just going to go to sleep. See you in the morning."

"Night." Shinobu listened to his room-mate drift off to sleep. He didnít seem at all worried about Hiroku. The silver haired boy smiled sadly. Mitsuru was very bright, but could be quite naÔve.