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The Weakest Link (Part 1: Miroku)

Yukan Club Fanfiction
The Weakest Link
Part 1: Miroku

 

It was the recurring nightmare that got worse with each passing night, and Miroku knew it had absolutely nothing to do with the amount or variety of food he consumed before bedtime. It was the rumor that their school was in danger, and if it shut down, where would they all go? It was the ever-increasing reality of graduation, which posed the same question, especially with Yuri and Karen being the people that they were. It was the new tension that had taken hold in the circles of people that Miroku didn’t usually pay attention to, but now he had to because there was absolutely no way to reunite everybody in Sweden. It was that tiny hairline scar on Bido’s cheek that had healed so quickly that you couldn’t see it unless you were looking for it and Miroku just couldn’t stop looking for it.

It was a lot of things, Miroku realized, that led up to the mental state he operated in these days (which went something like “... ??? Uh, uh !AH! Ummmm...”). His luck was especially bad in this situation, and the gravity of it all (something rarely experienced by him and his friends) was emphasizing everyone’s worst qualities.

Miroku, appearances aside, was not truly clever with words, and now found it difficult to explain the most simple concepts, like, “I didn’t try to shoot my friend!” His inner weirdness was coming out in full force, and people were even starting to catch glimpses of the secret, wimpy (he preferred the term “Highly Sensitive”) Miroku, who periodically burst into tears, fainted and was prone to emotional song.

Seishiro, the boy who had an answer to everything, suddenly had five answers to everything. He had concocted so many grand schemes to save the day, (most of them involving somebody cross-dressing,) that he couldn’t decide which one to implement. He terrorized Yuri, harping over her studies, her eating habits and her annoying tendency to leave the jenga blocks spread out over the table after she finished making replicas of the Eiffel Tower.

As for Yuri, she ate. More. She had pizza delivered to the club room, which did not make the principal very happy, and skipped class to go run by the convenience store for her favorite meat buns. The club room was always full of wrappers, plastic bags and used cutlery from Yuri’s endless meals. She had even resorted to baking her own food, or, rather, getting Noriko to bake her food.

And Noriko, she took her hatred against men to another level, shooting them down before they’d even asked her, even turning an evil eye on her friends now and then. She spoke in thin, clipped tones, never laughed and spent most of her time sitting primly somewhere, acting as if the world was not worth her time.

Karen flirted with every boy on campus, even the lower status freshmen, and spent her free time sleeping. If she could squeal about something rather than talk like a normal human being, she would, and Miroku almost winced to see her purposefully dragging her I.Q. down to levels that were on par with most sheep. She whined, fretted and occasionally had to sniffle, and the rest of the club had to look away because they all knew it wasn’t just Karen’s theatrics; things really were THAT BAD.

And then there was Bido. Everyone, bracing themselves for impact, had unconsciously, yet unanimously decided to start ignoring Bido the second disaster struck. Before there was even a chance for his annoying traits to go into hyper drive, the group had already begun tuning him out. And Bido noticed. And, unfortunately, Bido cared. So he alternated between loud, flashy and panicked, (much in the same manner as Karen,) and sitting off by himself without saying a word.

Miroku always worried when Bido got quiet. When Bido became a human being, instead of a peacock.

He’d used Bido as a sort of Yukan Club gauge. In their boredom, the gang would do many things to pass time. If nothing came up, then they’d pick on each other, stir the kettle, take advantage of each other’s misfortunes. Not that they’d ever wanted to really hurt each other, of course, but life was so dull, and they weren’t the brightest group of kids, or the best group of friends. But when Bido, flighty, flakey and intentionally shallow, started to feel bad about something, then Miroku knew that they had gone too far overboard.

But, being as this particular instance actually involved Bido, it was a hard thing to judge. What points were they supposed to let blow over, and what needed fixing? Had anything actually been damaged? For the first time in... a long time, Yukan Club was actually far too busy with itself, and did not enjoy it in the slightest.

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He wondered if he was the only one who saw the scar. Seishiro, who would know, said it had healed completely after a day, there was no trace of it anywhere, and it had been barely noticeable to begin with. Noriko, who was always honest, said she couldn’t see anything and Karen, who was dishonest and lived to tease Bido, also said she couldn’t see anything, while Yuri forgot that there had ever been a scar in the first place. But when Miroku questioned Bido, the blonde boy became quiet and uncomfortable, and Miroku knew that even if it had healed, he and Bido could still see the scar and that mattered more in the end.

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In cleaning out a cupboard, he found an old ski mask, wadded up and tossed into a corner where it was promptly covered by guitar magazines. Miroku ended up taking it home with him, although the group gave him strange looks for not throwing the worthless thing away. He spent a recent afternoon, (forbidden to meet with the club, and therefore, unable to do much else,) fiddling with it, turning it over in his hands as he thought of the past. Once, Bido had worn it to school.

Once, Bido had been ugly.

For a week, no longer, and certainly not due to lack of care. There had never been a blemish on the young Swede’s face, thanks to the constant washing, beauty products and general meticulous-ness that went into Bido’s nighttime ritual. That is, until a stray soccer ball flew in poor Bido’s direction, knocked him off his feet and sent him flying down three flights of stairs to land on his face. After that, Bido’s lovely foreign complexion turned into a not-so-lovely shade of blue-ish purple.

If it were just that, a few days of skipping school, generous application of concealer and possible student avoidance would have made the week bearable. But what St. President Gakuin learned while Bido’s face was slightly distorted and not so attention-stealing, was that he was Part Swedish.

Or, since they certainly knew that and, being Japanese, had a really hard time forgetting it, they were reminded that Bido was not just Part Swedish, but ONLY PART JAPANESE. It was something about how the swelling brought out that particular shape of his nose, or how the coloring took away the slightly sallow pigment they were accustomed to seeing, or maybe because when you saw the hair and the face together, it made sense, and since the face was a little screwed up, the hair no longer made sense. Either way, Bido was no longer “pretty”; he was “different”, and this made the populace uncomfortable.

He received cards and flowers wishing his swift recovery, but most of them tapered off after the first day back at school. The Student Union, being the bored shmucks that they were, immediately seized on the chance to tease their narcissistic member incessantly, and it wasn't long before the inevitable happened...

“Granmarie-kun... you... the dress code... just take off the ski mask.”

Bido’s reply was too muffled to be heard. It had been funny at first, with Karen, Yuri and Miroku taking advantage of the boy’s non-existent peripheral vision to jump out in front of him and elicit screams. But, in time, it became a little annoying, Seishiro and Noriko being the most vocal about it.

“Honestly, Bido, are you that shallow?” Bido was content to say that he was, but it wasn’t until later that Miroku began to think that maybe, just maybe, he was being a bad friend, and went to try to have a more serious talk with him.

As always, serious talks with Bido were almost a fantasy. He was shallow, so wrapped up in superficiality that there was very little of him that was real, and even less of a chance that he’d expose it to you. But, for once in his life, Miroku tried, tried very hard to tame their wild, overly flamboyant peacock.

With Bido, one had to be very quiet, and wait. One had to be patient, and completely non-aggressive in every way. And then, if all these conditions were met, and the situation was deemed safe, the endless prattle about valentines, diamonds and Prada would pause and a quiet, timid voice would say something decidedly unusual for Bido, but slightly more meaningful than usual. Then the dialogue would immediately start up again, leaving one to decide what exactly to do with the tidbit they’d been given.

The thing one had to realize about these disclosures was that they were very fragile. And Miroku was quick to conclude that Bido was also fragile. The proper response, then, was to accept the statement, just as they accepted Bido, and this would lead to getting the colored bird to move a little closer, and maybe lower the tail a little.

Patience was not a virtue Miroku possessed, but he was slowly starting to see merits to it. He was surprised to find that dealing gently with Bido allowed him to see a whole knew side to his friend, a less superficial side.

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“You’re all amazing at so many things.” He didn’t know why Bido was the way he was, but this probably had something to do with it. Bido did well enough in school, his grades were respectfully high, but he wasn’t a genius like Seishiro and Noriko. He wasn’t a fighter, like Miroku, probably because he wasn’t brave, like Yuri. He could charm people, but so could Karen, and in all honesty, she tended to get better results when it came to charming for greater justice. Bido had a pretty face, but he contributed nothing to the group. He was, as he was so often referred to, a “useless” playboy.

Realizing that Bido was ordinary was an interesting experience for Miroku. It completely redefined his opinion of friendship, and his relationship with the rest of Yukan Club. Up until that moment, he’d always assumed that people were friends because they filled up voids in each other, one person’s weakness was another’s strength, they completed each other, and so on in that vein.

Yet, Bido could do nothing that the others couldn’t do for themselves. True, he did many things well, but he excelled at nothing. He was not particularly thoughtful or comforting, he wasn’t full of great ideas, nor was he even someone who could be considered “cool”. He had more weaknesses than strengths, and his few strengths were hardly useful. Why, then, were they friends? Why was anyone in the Student Union friends?

Because they were bored? Because they were lazy, and couldn’t be bothered to go out and actually make friends? Was it just more convenient to just hang out with each other, since they were all in the same room, anyway?

Somehow, Miroku didn’t think that was it.

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The backlash was unexpected, and in those precious few nanoseconds, his brain managed to process something he wouldn’t have ever believed to be true. It was such a short amount of time, though it felt like it was moving in slow motion, and there was no time to properly analyze the situation. He hadn’t even been able to conceptualize that he was holding a real gun, only that it had fired, and it was heading for Bido, and Bido was going to die, because that’s what bullets did to you.

That spike of fear, so small but so intense, made him want to cry, because he knew what was going to happen, he could see it all playing out in his mind, faster than light. Every night, it all began the same way, with the stupid game, and Bido playing along, holding Yuri captive with a plastic rose. (Miroku thought it would be a fitting weapon, if Bido ever decided to use his womanizing skills for evil.) He remembered Yuri’s hat, shaped like a cake, that ridiculous pink scarf and the moose antlers that he had been wearing because someone (he had yet to find out who,) thought it would be a good idea.

All of it, exactly the same, right up until he pulled the trigger and then endured those horrible, agonizing moments while inertia propelled fate forward. After that, anything could happen.

Two inches to the right, all it would take for Bido to be disfigured for life. Even plastic surgery would have trouble reconstructing half of a face, not to mention that the boy would be missing an eye. From there, two more inches up would have taken out the brain; a lobotomy (much as they had joked that Bido might benefit from one,) would be the luckiest outcome.

And if his aim had actually been good? He could see Yuri and Bido falling, one or both of them clutching their chests. He could see hurt looks, pained looks, looks too affected by the shock of it all to even register how it had happened.

He saw them hating him. He could see them afraid of him. He saw himself running to their sides, seeing looks of fury, shaking hands trying to push him away, hating the idea of Miroku, the one who’d shot them being near them in their last seconds. He saw the hurt and confused looks, ones that asked why Miroku hated them so much as to shoot them. Scared, confused, angry, and Miroku didn’t know what to do about it.

He saw the funerals. He saw the dark hospital rooms, Bido or Yuri alone, wondering, scared and with no one to tell them that it would be okay (even if it wouldn’t,) or that Miroku didn’t mean to hurt them, would never want to hurt them, loved them both with all his heart and if anything ever happened to them, he wouldn’t know how to live.

Miroku didn’t know why he didn’t say any of that before. He wondered, after the nightmare ended each morning and he saw all five of his friends alive and well, why he still didn’t say any of it.

He was a bad friend, he decided. But even if he couldn’t do what was really important, he’d still protect them, and keep them out of trouble.

 

:)

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
p_size
Feb. 4th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
This was a lovely story. :) Sorry if you meant it to be private...I found it through Google.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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