A/N:Don't put too much thought into some of the cultural aspects. For example, I decided upon moving Tadase to Bifuka because it is a small town far from major cities such as Tokyo. That being said, I don't know anything about it. I didn't want to have to invent a town name though lol.
I added OC's because, well I didn't want to portray any of the SC characters (even minor ones such as Fuyuki) to be such horrible people. I hope you don't mind.
Also… This can sort of be interpreted as an alternate universe to the original DMH, or can be stand alone. I really don't care. If you haven't read the original don't bother; this one is superior lol. (I have gotten rid of some transphobic elements that I didn't fully comprehend in the past).
This will be crossposted to Ao3. The version there will be M rated, this one will be T rated (in upcoming chapters). Read that version if you want to see sexual content lmao. Otherwise, they will be the same.
Anyways- I hope you enjoy. This was my favorite story to write, and it's been nagging me to rewrite it for years.
It really was a blessing, Tadase thought, that his father got transferred to the small town of Bifuka.
Normally, getting uprooted right at the beginning of your third year of high school would be the end of the world for any student; new house, new classes, new classmates…. But Tadase could not be any happier with his current situation.
High School had been, well… bad, back in Tokyo. While Tadase had been blessed throughout his middle school years (student body president, "prince" of the school; respected by the boys, fawned over by the girls), his high school years were a completely different story.
Tadase assumed he had been struck with a series of bad luck. His first week at Seiyo High School started out with Saaya, a second year girl with a ridiculously conceited personality (and not quite the looks to match) pursuing him. Now normally he could just brush her off with a kind word or two (he had gotten very used to this back in middle school) but the problem laid in the fact that Saaya was Shuraiya's ("king" of the school, with the lackeys to match his position) so called "girlfriend."
Even as Tadase vehemently denied her pursuits (why did this guy even want her- she was atrocious!) he found that it did not matter; he had landed himself on the outside of a group of boys that held an immense amount of power.
Perhaps the second strike was his good grades. He found himself acing test after test (it wasn't like he was particularly smart or anything; his mother forced him into a relentless schedule of supplementary classes!) as the rest of the class failed.
"Why can't you be more like Hotori-kun?"
Nobody wanted their teacher to say that about them. From that point on, Tadase could feel the eyes on the back of his neck whenever he finished a test earlier, or answered a question from the teacher.
Now perhaps he could have survived all of this- maybe he could have salvaged his reputation. But then the scandal struck the school.
It really had nothing to do with him at all, yet it brought Tadase's entire high school career to an end.
His uncle, Amakawa Tsukasa, Principal of Seiyo High School, was found with one of the second year boys.
Disgusting, Tadase had thought. Pedophilia was an abomination. He was not overly concerned with the fact that it was a boy rather a girl (equally disgusting, abusing a minor- what difference did it make?) but his peers thought otherwise.
Tadase knew there would be social ramifications; his family had cut ties with his uncle the moment they heard the news. Tsukasa had tried calling his mother and his lawyer had tried to get into contact with her but nobody would pick up the phone. They went along with the police interrogation, without a single positive word to say for the man's sake.
Tadase knew he would face backlash, but he didn't think it would come to this.
He cursed his mother for giving him the same face as his pedophiliac uncle (how did genetics even go that?). Tadase had always looked a bit too feminine, but the slurs of queer and fag had always been used sparingly up until this point. After his uncle though, Tadase found himself absolutely ridiculed.
It didn't really make sense to him; judging a person based on their face and their family was not an accurate way to determine sexuality. It wasn't as if he was always hanging around "suspicious" types; the only guys he even really talked to were Kukai and Kairi! He had even dated Amu (well known for her unattainability) for over two years! He never so much as glanced at other boys in the changing room, and never so much as thought about heading into the red-light district.
But alas, people jump to conclusions. And thus, by halfway through his first year of high school, he had become the social pariah of Seiyo (perhaps even Tokyo).
So when Tadase was presented with the opportunity to start all over in a new town, where no one knew his pervy uncle, where he wouldn't find tacks in his shoes, where he wouldn't have "fag" hurled at him wherever he went, he couldn't have been happier.
And that was why he was not going to mess this up.
Although he would call them his friends, Tadase wasn't quite sure if he liked Shuu and the others. They could be a little… abrasive. Sure, they got along well enough with the majority of the other students (they were actually pretty popular) but they could be a bit misogynistic every now and again.
Tadase supposed this was none of his business though.
Occasionally the three boys could get a bit rougher with certain students. Nothing as tough as what Tadase faced back in Tokyo, of course, but there was a bit of coercion of the nerds to "help" with their homework or "lend" them some lunch money. Overall though, it was pretty harmless stuff, so Tadase did not mind keeping his nose out of it.
Well, except for the exception.
Tadase called this case "the exception" because Shuu's group was not alone in this case of bullying. Tadase could almost see himself reflected back at him through Bifuka's pariah. Astoundingly, almost every student was outwardly hostile or aggressive to her. While most of Seiyo had ignored the treatment of Tadase, he found that the number of people who simply turned a blind eye to this pariah's plight was a vast minority. Boys or girls, they all were incredibly antagonistic towards her. And it was absolutely baffling to Tadase.
Because Fujisaki Nadeshiko was absolutely gorgeous.
Nadeshiko was the kind of girl that would be stopped on the streets by scouts back in Tokyo. She would've been the queen of the school, leaving a witch such as Yamabuki Saaya far in the dust. The girls would have followed her around, practically worshipping her. The boys would have tripped over themselves to get a chance to even talk to her. She easily would have been student body president, the pride of the school.
But here she was absolutely ridiculed.
Tadase's curiosity finally got the best of him one day. He had been doing his best not to rock the boat (this was his second chance after all- he better not blow it) but he could finally stand it no longer. His heart had ached seeing her treated the way he related to (all too well, mind you) but he had decided there was nothing to do for it. One student, and a new one at that, could not elicit any major change.
But he was just so damn curious. Just why had Nadeshiko become the outcast? A beautiful, intelligent girl from a long-standing family in the community should, logically, not be facing this sort of treatment.
As he voiced his question, three heads turned to look at him with equally incredulous looks.
"What-" Shuu asked, his mouth full of curry pan, ("Dude don't talk with your mouth full that's gross!") "You've got the hots for 'em or something?"
"No!" Tadase insisted (perhaps a little bit too strongly), his cheeks reddening. Tadase did not get many crushes (he had once pretended to be in love with a girl who was in actuality his dog, just to skirt around a particularly sticky confession from a very attractive yet adamant girl) but Nadeshiko was very pretty; perhaps there was some sort of potential….
"It's just a bit surprising," Tadase decided upon saying, "as she's so pretty."
Takashi snorted and Shuu continued chewing his bread without pause, a smirk lifting his full cheeks. Keiichi, on the other hand, looked positively disgusted.
"Oh my fucking god," Keiichi spat out, "I'm gonna barf. I can't believe you can't see it."
"See what?" Tadase was puzzled. He turned to look at Nadeshiko, sitting over by the window. A girl had dumped a can of coffee over her earlier, so she had been forced to remove her sweater. Tadase stared at the back of her white button-up, the faint outline of her bra visible. His throat went a little dry.
"Oh shit, you better not be a fucking fag too," Keiichi moaned, his nose scrunched up in disgust.
"What?" Tadase's blood ran cold. No, they couldn't know. It was not going to happen again. Before his thoughts could go into overtime, he got an explanation he was not expecting.
"He's a fucking tranny, dude," Takashi laughed, a malicious look in his eyes, "He's got a fucking dick."
As the weeks went by Tadase felt worse and worse for Nadeshiko. She (he? Regardless of what Keiichi said, that didn't seem right.) didn't really do anything to warrant such behavior; she is who she is. Tadase was helpless though; he couldn't go back to the way he was treated in Tokyo. So as much as he hated it, he turned his head and looked the other way when the others started tormenting Nadeshiko.
What else could he do?
Tadase had been called to the teacher's office to discuss his current academic situation (although he was doing remarkably well in his new school, he had transferred right at the start of his third year, meaning the teachers had to keep a close eye on his progress). All went well as he met with his teachers, who practically glowed with pride at how well he was doing, until he returned back to the classroom. It seemed as though the class discussion had taken off without him.
The thirds years were currently planning their annual retreat, a class trip the served as one last bonding opportunity before the students lost themselves to prepping for entrance exams and took off for the city, never to be heard from again.
The annual retreat was nothing too spectacular (especially to a city boy like Tadase); just a bus ride to the mountains, spending a night at an onsen, then hiking up a rocky trail. The school had gotten a great deal on their location (their small town not being a hotspot for tourists, after all) but it was a little bizarre. Normally class trips involved four or five students cramming into the same room, futons crowded together in the center with little walking space, but it seemed that this ryokan was quite smaller, and it was only two to a room.
Tadase wasn't overly concerned with room assignments; he got along well enough with all of the other boys, and surely Shuu or one of the others would have grabbed him as a partner.
What he had not been expecting was to walk into the room and see "Tadase & Nadeshiko" written on the board in neat script.
What the hell? Why were they having him room with a girl?
Tadase turned to Shuu and the others, a frown creasing his face. "But Nadeshiko is-" wait, no. He couldn't say that; she was a he, at least for all biological purposes.
Takashi looked vaguely sympatic, but also a little amused, as some sort of grin creeped up his face."A fag, right?"
Well, that wasn't quite what Tadase had been going for….
"Sorry bro," Keiichi smirked, "I was gonna room with you, but Yoshida practically got down on his hands and knees and begged, and you were at the meeting so…."
Tadase understood, he really did; he was still an outsider, even now. But it wasn't as though he were particularly worried about rooming with Nadeshiko. He'd stayed away from her since the revelation, but that was only because he didn't want anyone getting any ideas about him that may lead to him becoming social pariah number two of the school.
Otherwise though, he still thought Nadeshiko was one of the most beautiful girls he'd ever seen, and if circumstances were different he definitely would have already talked to her by now.
"It's alright," Tadase sighed, trying his best to look put off by the whole situation, while the only thing that really upset him was the fact that Keiichi threw him to out to the sharks, "I'm the newbie and all."
Keiichi grinned and slapped Tadase on the back. He tried not to wince. "Glad to see you understand!"
Yeah, Tadase understood perfectly.
The bus ride felt much longer than it actually was. Stuck in an enclosed space with twenty-something sweaty teenagers was nobody's idea of a fun time. The whole way there Keiichi smacked his gum in Tadase's ear as he yelled across the aisle to Shuu and Takashi. Obnoxious, Tadase thought. He was antsy to get up and stretch his legs.
By the time they had finally arrived it was rather late, and the students were almost immediately sent off to their rooms after eating.
"Try not to get raped," Keiichi laughed darkly, before throwing his arm over Sakamoto's shoulders and swaggering off.
"I'm sure I'll be fine," Tadase insisted, although Keiichi was out of earshot by then. Shuu and Takashi gave him serious looks.
"Seriously though Hotori," Shuu said, resting a hand on Tadase's shoulder, "If he tries anything, get the fuck out of there, and let us know."
Takashi nodded. "If you need to, we can probably cram you into our room, if you're okay with the floor. You'd have to be careful that a teacher doesn't catch us though."
Tadase was touched that they were worried about him, even though they really had no need to be. "Thanks guys, but I'm sure it will be fine."
Shuu smiled, shaking his head. "Alright Takashi, let's leave him to it."
"Seriously dude," Takashi said loudly, a determined look on his face as Shuu pulled him down the hall, "Come get us if something happens."
Tadase laughed. "Don't worry. I'll be okay."
Even though he had been left out with the room assignments, Tadase really was starting to fit in after all. A warm feeling filled his stomach. Perhaps his third year would be as good as he had hoped.
Now… regarding the issue of Nadeshiko…. Well, Tadase was feeling a bit awkward about the rooming situation. But not because he was worried that she would, as Keiichi suggested, assault him. Tadase didn't have any real basis for saying it, as he had never spoken to Nadeshiko before, but he trusted her to some extent, and he believed that there was no way such a sweet girl would do something so horrid.
What really made Tadase nervous was the fact that, regardless of her biology, Nadeshiko was a girl! Sharing a room alone with a girl was rather scandalous, Tadase thought, and very nerve-wracking. But biologically, she was male….
What exactly was the expected etiquette of this?
Well, Tadase supposed there was nothing else to do but push through and do it.
So he pushed open the door.
There are a few moments in life that shape the course of your entire existence in such a way that you could never imagine.
Looking back on it, Tadase wondered if he still would have opened the door if he knew what it would bring, or if he would have chased after Shuu and Takashi and begged them to sneak him into their room.
Really… should he have opened that door?
Nadeshiko was leaning over, digging through her bag for something. One side of her lips was drawn back in an agitated grimace. Her hair was falling over her shoulder, framing her face.
Tadase set his bag down as he cleared his throat.
Nadeshiko jumped. Her eyes widened as she turned to face Tadase, blush darkening her cheeks. "Oh, yes, you're… hello."
She seemed nervous. Tadase would ask her why, but he was nervous too. What should he do?
He thought of Shuu and Takashi.
He thought of Keiichi.
He thought of his old self back in Tokyo, alone and ridiculed.
Tadase smiled. "Even though we're classmates, we've never really spoken. My name is Hotori Tadase."
"Ah, yes, I'm aware. It is hard to ignore a transfer student, especially when you move to a town as small as ours."
Tadase rubbed the back of his neck, chuckling weakly. "Yeah, I guess you're not wrong there."
Silence fell over the room, and Tadase had never felt so awkward before in his life. Nadeshiko turned slightly, as if looking for something, but found nothing. Her eyes simply bore into the wall of the room. She spoke without meeting his eyes. "I'd introduce myself, but I'm sure you've already heard all about me."
Despite having done nothing, Tadase found himself blushing. "Ah, yes. Fujisaki Nadeshiko. And, uh, I know about your… uh, situation."
Nadeshiko turned back to face him, a strong look in her eyes. Tadase found himself unable to meet her stare. "Is that all?"
She sounded almost surprised. Tadase blinked. What has she expected him to hear?
"Well, I mean there's usually some unfavorable language thrown in, but nothing really more."
Tadase briefly wondered though…. Occasionally, Keiichi would get heated and start ranting, but before he'd get too far Shuu and Takashi would shush him.
"Ah… I see," Nadeshiko paused, a hand playing with the hem of her shirt. Tadase wanted to look at her face, but for some reason he found himself unable to. "And you're not scared of rooming with me? Or… disgusted?"
Tadase suddenly felt very panicked; his normal calm eloquence was thrown out the window.
"Ah, no! I mean, it's something new to me, but I don't like to judge others based off their personalities. I mean, it's not a personality choice, but it's your body! I mean… my uncle's gay," also a pedophile, "It's not the same, I know, but that's not why I hate him! I actually think the stigma Japan has around queer people is absolutely ridiculous. Oh wait, should I say queer? I didn't mean it as a slur. More of a blanket term! Oh god, I'm so sorry- I"
Nadeshiko burst into laughter, cutting Tadase off mid sentence. He blushed as she threw her head back, chest heaving as tears appeared in the corners of her eyes. As Tadase's cheeks warmed, so did his chest. For the first time since he entered, the room felt comfortable. Before he knew it, he was laughing right along with her.
When the laughter finally died down, Tadase blurted out before he would even consider what he was doing, "I was bullied back in Tokyo."
Nadeshiko's eyebrows furrowed, but Tadase continued before she could ask.
"I was popular for a while, but the upperclassmen didn't like it. Their girlfriends hit on me, but I rejected them, actually all the girls who asked me, because I was hung up on my ex. Then my uncle, who was the principal of the school, was found with a male student. They started to call me gay."
Nadeshiko nodded, the corner of her mouth twitching, but she didn't ask.
"I'm not," Tadase clarified, "I mean, I loved my girlfriend back in middle school. But I never really thought about it too much."
Nadeshiko nodded again. For a minute, nobody said anything. Tadase sat down on one bed, unable to find a way to break the silence, and Nadeshiko mirrored him, sitting down on the other.
Tadase wasn't quite sure on how to get his thoughts out. "I mean, I kind of understand what you're experiencing, to some extent. It's stupid. I wanted to help you; I want to- but I'm scared of becoming the victim again.
Nadeshiko smiled. "Well, I don't think you alone could change anything, so don't feel bad, but thanks for the sentiment; it's nice to know that, at the very least, someone is sympathising with me."
That wasn't enough. Tadase knew that logically he didn't owe her anything, that he didn't really have a reason to get involved, but yet he was sure that he should've done something, that he should do something.
Footsteps stomped down the hall. Some of the boys were laughing, enjoying their classtrip and revelling in their youth to the fullest, something Nadeshiko would probably never get to do, seeing how she was treated by the others. At least in Tokyo he had Kukai and Amu, and he could escape amongst the other 9 million people of Tokyo. But she was trapped, and all alone.
He felt uncharacteristically restless. He couldn't defend her, but couldn't he help her somehow. It suddenly struck him.
"Let's sneak out."
Nadeshiko's eyes widened. "What?"
"Tonight. Let's go walk around outside, while nobody else is around."
The words "just us," hung in the air, but weren't spoken allowed. Tadase wondered what he was doing, but didn't care to stop. Nadeshiko blinked slowly, her eyes hesitant. Tadase's heart pounded.
She smiled. "Okay."
It was late. The voices and footsteps throughout the halls had ceased hours ago, and the literature teacher had already checked in on them twice before heading off to bed.
Tadase felt oddly giddy; his heart was pounding, but it wasn't really like he was nervous at all. Rather, for some odd reason, he felt as though he may burst into laughter at any given moment.
Shouldn't he be scared, or so many things? Being alone with Nadeshiko, being caught alone with Nadeshiko? Or, even more than that, and a thought that Tadase was not sure would call a fear, but rather a nagging feeling deep in his subconscious, the prospect of what being alone with Nadeshiko might mean, what it might cause.
They snuck through the halls in near silence under the cover of darkness. Why did Tadase feel like a little kid sneaking to the kitchen after their mom had gone to sleep, on a quest for cookies and other forbidden goodies?
Tadase made sure to keep an eye out for anyone out for a nightly stroll, wary of a door suddenly opening, or a figure surfacing from around a corner. But nobody appeared. It seemed that the two of them were the only ones up to any sort of mischief that night. They were home free!
Or so he thought. But as soon as they rounded the corner to the entrance he found himself face to face with their homeroom teacher, Nikaidou. The man stared at them, eyes wide for a moment.
Oh God, what had he been thinking? He could hear it now, the gossip that would start with their detentions. Tadase was sneaking out at night with Nadeshiko? He must be a fag then, right? Oh God, why was this happening, why did he decide to do this, his life had barely been able to start anew and yet here it was all thrown down the drain yet again. What would his mother-
And then Nikaidou's hand flew up to cover his eyes before Tadase could spin completely out of control or find the ability to sputter out any sort of an excuse. "Oh, wow, I wish my eyes weren't covered up right now so I could see what was going on! Whatever could be happening?"
Nikaidou was… a complete idiot wasn't he?
Tadase was still, too shocked to move. Nikaidou cleared his throat. "I mean, it sure would be unfortunate if someone snuck out right now while I couldn't see anything."
Tadase felt a tug at his sleeve. He turned; Nadeshiko was pulling him towards the door.
"Come on," she whispered.
Nikaidou kept his eyes covered until the front door shut. At the last minute he said, in a very deliberate manner, "If anyone isn't here by 3am I'll have to go looking for them."
Tadase felt uncomfortably hot, yet as the door swung shut he finally was able to feel his shoulders relax. So Nikaidou wasn't going to make a move…. That was a bit unexpected. While the teacher normally was fairly laid back, if not plain goofy, he could be a real hard-ass when he tried to.
It was dark out, tall trees one would never find in Tokyo reaching to the sky, obscuring the sky from view. He was used to all the light pollution of the night sky of the city, so the environment here always felt a bit dark to him. But the moon was still shining overhead as always, bright and full.
Now they were outside, but what exactly were they going to do? Tadase had felt the rush of importance to make sure Nadeshiko got to experience the class trip, but now he was lost. He probably should have thought this through beforehand.
Luckily for Tadase, it seemed like Nadeshiko knew what they were doing.
"Follow me," she said softly, taking his hand gently, hesitantly as if she expected him to object, before leading him away from the road and into the woods. Tadase was helpless but to oblige.
Maybe he shouldn't be following someone that was relatively a stranger into the woods on a secluded mountain in the middle of the night. Maybe he should have objected to rooming with said stranger in the first place. Was this a bad idea? Maybe this whole thing was a bad idea. No, this whole thing was definitely a bad idea.
Tadase loved it.
He loved the way Nadeshiko's hand fit in his, loved how soft her skin was against his. He loved the glow of her dark hair in the moonlight, flowing gently behind her as they walked. The sway of her skirt behind her long legs, occasionally getting stuck between them as the trapsed over roots and branches lining the ground, showing of their shape, before getting loose once more. The nape of her neck as her hair shifted to one side. The blush of her cheeks as she turned her head, ever-so-slightly, to chance a glance at him. Her lips, plump and pink, occasionally opening as if she had something to say, and then closing as if she thought better of it, or maybe she just lost her nerve. Tadase was losing his nerve. Or was he? He had never felt more inadequate, more nervous in his entire life. Yet he never had felt this excited before either, never had this much anticipation gnawing at his chest.
Surely there were animals there in the woods, another form of life that meant they were not the only two beings in the area. Yet, at that moment Tadase was quite sure he and Nadeshiko were the only two people left in the world, or at least it felt like that.
"Ah," Nadeshiko remarked softly, after what felt like both seconds yet years, "here it is."
Tadase wasn't sure what he had expected, but as the foliage broke apart he thought it certainly wasn't to be met with a wide field, empty save for the occasional flower or rock. It was a bit anticlimactic, if Tadase were to be completely honest. Nadeshiko turned to him, excitement evident on her face. Tadase tried to smile as he exited the forest, but he was confused as to why exactly he should be smiling.
Nadeshiko smirked, no doubt taking note of his lackluster reaction. "You need to look up, dummy."
Tadase turned his head to the sky, and suddenly it all made sense. He couldn't stop himself from gasping. Above him was a scene he had only seen in pictures before; thousands of stars twinkling, filling the dark sky with their luminous glow. It was as though the heavens were sparkling, shining a light on just him. He remembered being a kid, seeing the occasional star in the bright night of Tokyo, where too much light pollution made it hard to see much of anything above. He remembered finding them so enchanting, that even though they weren't shooting he ought to make a wish. Above his head now were thousands of unrealized dreams, winking down at him.
"This is amazing," he gasped, unable to bring his sight back down to earth.
"I figured you never got to see anything like this back in Tokyo, so I thought this would be the perfect place to take you."
"You're right," Tadase breathed, tearing his eyes away from the sky in order to respond, "it's b-" his eyes met Nadeshiko. She wasn't looking at the sky, but rather staring at him, a warm smile on her face. Tadase would feel his cheeks warm, and suddenly the stars were pushed from his mind completely. He paused for a second. "It's beautiful."
Nadeshiko opened her mouth as if to say something, and then closed it as if she something was holding her back. Her hand fiddled with the fabric of her skirt, as if trying to channel her uncertainty in some way, otherwise she didn't move.
Tadase didn't realize he was walking towards her until the gap had grown quite small. His mind was racing, but no clear thought was emerging at the forefront.
He was looking at her lips.
"I swear they must be crazy."
Nadeshiko's eyebrows furrowed. "Who?"
Tadase's body moved on its own. Nadeshiko let out a small sound, surprised. Tadase grasped her hand in his.
Her eyes fluttered closed.
Her lips were much softer than Amu's had been.
A/N: That ending scene was such a fucking bitch to write ughhhh i skipped over it like 3 times lmao And you know what, falling in love in one day? RIDICULOUS! But ITS GOOD FICTION ALRIGHT? Lol this ain't a slow burn fic.
Also a side note it's been so long since I wrote fanfic that I experienced culture shock in that I could use something besides open office to type up my drafts. God bless you, Google Docs.
I've made a vow to myself to upload once a month this year, so by the end of February at the latest this should be just about done. I'm not sure how many parts are left, but I think two.