Boys Over Flowers Fan Fiction ❯ Hana Yori Dango: Reversed Roles ❯ The Red Tag ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Hana Yori Dango: Reversed Roles
By Rokudaime Kunoichi
Tsukasa sighed tiredly as he carried his bicycle up the stairs to the apartment he lived in. He frowned when he smelt something burning. Tsubaki was probably attempting to cook again and failing miserably. Leaving his bike next to the door, Tsukasa opened the door and walked into the living room. Tossing his backpack on the ground, he made his way to the kitchen. His eyes bugged out when he saw the small fire on the stove. Tsubaki was currently waving her handkerchief around, trying to put it out and only sending smoke everywhere. Soon enough, the smoke detector went off. Tsukasa ran towards the cabinet under the sink and grabbed the fire extinguisher.
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, TSUBAKI?!” he screamed as he put out the fire, glaring at his older sister.
She glared back at him. “I was trying to make dinner, you ungrateful bastard!”
“You know I eat at work before coming home!”
Tsubaki opened her mouth, armed with a comeback, when the words died in her throat. She walked over to Tsukasa and grabbed his chin, tilting his head to the side. “How'd you get this bruise?” she asked, inspecting it.
“School,” Tsukasa grumbled.
“Looks like a handprint.” Tsubaki smirked. “Did you offend anyone?”
“I don't see how telling the truth would offend anyone,” Tsukasa shot back, putting the fire extinguisher on the floor and taking his face out of Tsubaki's hands.
“Hey Tsukasa? Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned; remember that.”
Tsukasa scowled. “What makes you think this has anything to do with women?”
“You can't hide from me; the bruise on your cheek is a handprint and a small one at that. Besides, Soujirou told me,” Tsubaki replied smugly. “I knew you were dense, Tsukasa, but I never thought you'd actually do something so stupid. Wait, let me correct myself. I thought your sense of self-preservation was higher than that. There, that sounds more appropriate.”
“I'll kill him,” Tsukasa grumbled, picturing many ways he could off Soujirou. “And what does my sense of self-preservation have anything to do with this? Makino's just a girl; it's not like she'll be able to do some major damage.”
Tsukasa turned to walk away when Tsubaki grabbed his arm. “On a serious note, Tsukasa, be careful. Makino may seem like just a girl, but she's a powerful one at that. Now, I don't know her personally nor have I ever seen her in person so I can't make an accurate judge of character, but just steer clear of her. You're an annoying little shit, but you're still my brother and I'll be damned if you do something stupid to fuck up your life…well, I won't let you do something to fuck up your life too much. Now, go get your homework done if you haven't already.”
Tsukasa watched as Tsubaki started to put burnt pots in the sink. She cursed colorfully as she burnt her finger and ran it over cold water. He sighed and shook his head before walking over to her. She looked up at him—her being at least a head shorter than he was despite their age—and cocked an eyebrow. Tsukasa said nothing as he reached into the fridge and grabbed the butter. He took her finger and stuck it in the middle of the tub.
“Tsukasa…why the hell did you do that for?” Tsubaki asked, blinking incredulously. She was worried that his level of stupidity went up a couple of notches.
“At work, there's this lady that cleans the dishes and when one of the cook's burnt their hand, she put butter on it,” Tsukasa replied, grinning widely.
“That's great, but why'd you stick my entire finger in the butter? I just touched some of the burnt pots and the gunk in them.”
Tsukasa blinked and frowned. “Well, damn.”
Tsubaki rolled her eyes and took her finger out. “Go do your homework before okaa-san gets home,” she said softly. Her eyes shone with gratitude and Tsukasa nodded as he left for his room. Tsubaki sighed as she smiled gently at her buttered finger. She knew her mother's cold indifference towards both her and Tsukasa made it hard for him to express his emotions and was happy that he had at least shown some worry. Her smile quickly turned upside down.
Tsubaki couldn't help but worry about what would happen when Tsukasa was at Eitoku Gakuen. She knew he could handle his own, but she was worried that he'd probably say or do the wrong thing to the wrong person, namely the F4. She bit her lip at the thought of their mother finding out about Tsukasa's run-in with Makino. Doumyouji Kaede would, undoubtedly, spew nothing but nasty and degrading things about the Makinos. Not that Tsubaki would blame her, after what had happened, but it surely wasn't the eldest girl's fault.
Tsubaki wouldn't be surprised if the Makino heiress had no idea about her family's history. She was only a year younger than Tsukasa at the time of the incident. Sighing heavily, Tsubaki hurriedly cleaned up the big mess in the kitchen and ordered pizza. Tired and sore, she walked up the stairs and made her way to her room. Tsubaki paused before Tsukasa's room and peaked through the crack. Tsukasa was hunched over his desk, the lamp turned on and books opened. He made a few notes here and there, scratching his head and grumbling under his breath. Tsubaki smiled gently before walking down the hall and into her room.
Tsukasa smiled when he heard his sister leave. He giggled in a conspiring manner. His lips widened into a goofy smile as he finished the sketch of Makino Tsukushi. In the childish sketch, Makino was a hideously fat chibi with a unibrow and a beastly face. Tsukasa laughed as he drew himself tall, muscular, and incredibly handsome next to her. The sketched version of Tsukasa smirked as Makino fell to her knees, begging, “Oh mighty Doumyouji Tsukasa, please accept me! You're so popular and you're so handsome; somebody as insignificant as me doesn't deserve to be in your very presence!”
He cackled evilly at the image of the all-powerful Makino Tsukushi wanting to be accepted by the incredibly handsome, yet fallen-from-grace, Doumyouji. He scribbled a couple more comic strips, all of them with the same concept of a destitute Makino begging him. When the front door slammed open and shut, Tsukasa's mood darkened considerably. He wasn't happy when he was sketching the ridiculous scenarios between him and Makino, but he was calm and carefree. Now that his mother was home, however, all of that went out the window.
Ever since he was little, his mother rarely cared or looked after him. She passed him off to a nanny, and after they fell from the prestigious part of the social pyramid, he was soon passed off to his older sister. A younger Tsukasa always hoped and prayed that one day his mother would be kind and caring to him like other mothers were to their children. Maybe even take him to the park, gently mend a scrape he would've gained from running around, or even buy him cold treats. He was even naïve enough to think that after the Doumyouji was no more influential over the corporate ladder, his mother wouldn't care so much about the business and actually pay attention to him. Instead, though, his mother focused on business even more than before. The tragedy that was supposed to bring them together, in Tsukasa's young mind, actually tore them apart even further.
He hated his mother for that.
Hearing his mother's approaching footsteps, Tsukasa immediately put away the sketches and flipped through his textbook. His mother paused at his door, probably to ensure that he was actually doing something productive, before leaving to her room. Tsukasa frowned; his mother always had hopes of restoring the Doumyouji family name. He knew full well that she'd do anything to get back the life she once had. Anything.
“You're home early,” he heard Tsubaki say.
“Pizza for dinner?” Kaede said disdainfully, scowl evident in her voice.
“Forgive me if I am not knowledgeable in the culinary field,” Tsubaki retorted, her voice bitter and angry. “Last time I checked, you were the one that forbade me from cooking.”
“Cooking is a middle-class trend and far below the Doumyouji standards,” Kaede replied coldly.
“Gee, and I wonder what class we belong in. Certainly not the upper class and certainly not the lower. That would make us…why, that'll make us a middle-class family!”
Tsukasa had to stifle the malicious chuckle at his sister's sarcastic humor.
“Don't you dare speak to me in that way!” Kaede spat, glaring furiously at her eldest child. “Especially not after all that I've done for you!”
“Oh, I dare. You've done nothing for me so don't try to pull that card!” Tsubaki glared just as fiercely as her mother. “I recall being raised by nurses and nannies, not you. As a matter of fact, both Tsukasa and I were left to our own devices while you sulked about becoming a part of the lower class!”
A sharp slap and a thud on the floor had Tsukasa bursting out of his room. Tsubaki smirked at her mother from her new place on the floor, holding her stinging red cheek.
“What the fuck did you do?” Tsukasa demanded, clenching his fists as his mother ignored him. “Answer me!”
“Watch your tone, Tsukasa,” Kaede sneered.
“You little—”
“No, Tsukasa, don't!” Tsubaki exclaimed, quickly righting herself and holding onto his arm to prevent him from stalking over to their mother. “She's just upset because I struck a nerve. Guess the truth hurts.”
For a while, everything was silent. “You both are a disappointment to this family,” Kaede said, her voice cold though her eyes flickered briefly with a tiny bit of emotion. Tsukasa and Tsubaki said and did nothing, though Tsukasa desperately wanted to hit something, preferably his mother, as she disappeared into her own room.
“You should eat something,” Tsubaki said softly as she turned around and walked towards the bathroom.
“What about you?” Tsukasa replied, his eyebrow cocked.
“I'm not hungry, but thanks.” Tsubaki smiled at him as went into the bathroom and locked the door.
Tsukasa knew she would be awake and cry for a good hour tonight. With an inaudible sigh, Tsukasa also turned in for the night. Anger bubbled within him; he hated how his mother, loathed and disgusted he felt that she was related to him, always looked down upon both him and Tsubaki. Personally, he didn't give two shits of a rat's ass if his mother approved of him or not. However, Tsubaki, though she would never admit it, still faintly hoped that their mother would change her cold and materialistic ways. Tsukasa had long since let go of that stupid, childish hope.
Annoyed, Tsukasa briefly glanced at the textbook that was still open on his bed. He didn't even want to attempt deciphering all of those stupid math problems. How on earth was he supposed to use algebra in the real world? He knew how to add and subtract, calculate percents, and other such mathematics that could actually be applied outside of the classroom. Really, what else did he need? Slamming his book shut, Tsukasa almost angrily changed his clothes and jumped into his bed. He took deep breaths to calm himself, squeezing his eyes shut when he heard Tsubaki's muffled cries from the bathroom next door. A part of him wanted to go to the bathroom and comfort Tsubaki, but he knew he wouldn't. Not only would Tsubaki refuse his help and go on the defensive, he also had no idea how to comfort a crying girl and didn't want to put either of them in that awkward situation. His last thought before his eyes drifted close was a silent promise to himself to somehow find a way to make it up to Tsubaki. Maybe she wouldn't really mind it if Kaede accidentally ended up in a hospital.
The next morning, Tsukasa woke up fifteen minutes late. He let out a string of colorful curses before getting out of bed and into the shower. The warm spray caused him to completely relax under it; he was still tired and just barely managed to prevent himself from falling asleep and collapsing down entirely. Soon enough, his shower was over and he quickly dressed. Tsubaki was still asleep as it was only seven-thirty and he knew Kaede always left the apartment at six-fifteen. Tsukasa quickly got to work fixing his apology for Tsubaki, as was ritual for as long as they could remember.
When Tsukasa left the apartment, pressed for time and attempting to close his backpack shut, he smiled with relief as he noticed Rui's limo parked in front. Gratefully, he climbed in and breathed hard, trying to catch his breath.
“I thought I was going to have to ride my bike all the way to school again,” he said, offering Rui a rare, small grin. Thanks.
“You still would've been late, undoubtedly,” Rui replied in his monotone as he stared out of the window and up at the clouds. You're welcome.
In a trip that took no more than ten minutes, though it would've taken at least twenty for Tsukasa if he had rode his bike, the pair arrived at Eitoku Gakuen and met up with Akira and Soujirou.
“Late again, Doumyouji?” Soujirou teased, grinning wickedly.
“One must wonder what you were doing. Perhaps, since you were unable to find the company of a female, you've decided to join with a man? Or your hand, maybe?” Akira said, cackling evilly before ducking Tsukasa's angry lunge.
“I'LL KILL YOU!” Tsukasa shrieked, his cheeks stained red. “AND FOR THE LAST TIME, I'M NOT GAY!”
The student populace glared at him, sniffing their noses in disdain. They obviously hadn't forgiven Tsukasa for what he had done to Makino Tsukushi the other day, not like he really cared. He flipped them off all the same, ignoring their muttering of his uncouth middle-class upbringing, and made his way to his locker. When he opened it, his eyes widened in surprise and his mouth hung open. Time seemed to stop and everybody had frozen before they came to their senses and began to shout angrily.
There, in Tsukasa's locker, hung a seemingly insignificant piece of paper. Everyone at Eitoku Gakuen knew, however, that that was not the case. Tsukasa swallowed hard, his blood cold as he stared at that paper and uttered three simple words that held so much meaning.
“The red card.”
A/N: I know I haven't updated in forever, but I've recently been in and out of the hospital due to severe acute allergic reactions. I still don't know what I'm allergic to, thought I will be finding out shortly. I also have to update my story Always, which I have NOT abandoned, and after I've finished both that story and this one, I think I may take a short break from fanfiction to get my health back up. Reviews are welcome, as always.
Also, I hope I kept them in character enough. I'll explain the new significance of the red card (or tag, depending on if you watch the drama (Taiwanese or Japanese) or if you read the manga) in the following chapter that will definitely not take so long to update.