I am here to help you stand
Protect you from harm.
Character list: Isao Hironori (Morry), Yoshihiro Renge (Mani Mani)
Total words: 8066 words
Summary: Renge wants to see Hiro’s dancing with her own eyes in the studio. Hiro lets her, and their relationship grows as some... accident happened between them. As they get closer, Hiro also grows a feeling of protectiveness as he takes notice of Renge’s insecurities toward her own art.
Trigger warning: none. Just some fluff to fulfill your day.
*Pirouette: classical ballet term meaning “spin.” It describes when a dancer is turning around one leg with the other off the ground and in a position.
Cover by Morry.
The moment she entered the room, she saw Hiro sitting at his desk and just finished eating lunch, she presumes. Then Renge remembers Hiro's invitation to see him dance again. With that in mind, she approaches the tall boy.
"Hi there, Isao-kun," she greets him with a smile. "I was wondering about your offer several days ago... Can I go watch you today?"
Hiro looks up to his female classmate who comes to greet him. Hiro made a small smirk on his face.
Hiro was glad that today his aunt bring him lunch. He already had a mind to do some dance after school.
Well, usually he was fine without lunch, though. It's just that he would have more energy stored for the activity.
"Sure," Hiro replied. "Just come to me again after school. We can go together to the studio."
Renge clasped her hand together, looking excited. "Okay then, see you after school!" She smiles at him as she makes her way to her seat. Finally, she can watch Hiro’s dance officially in the studio and not look like a stalker, she thought to herself briefly.
The bell sounds and the next session of school is starting.
In the studio changing room, Hiro takes off his school uniform and uses his leggings. Despite its winter season, he still prefer to dance bare-chested. It’s more comfortable for him, and dancing is about expressing with your body, so you have to be exposed as much as possible. He can stand the cold and his body will get warmer eventually anyway.
As Hiro tying back his hair, his mind goes to the girl whom waiting in the dance studio. Renge was there to really see him dance this time. To be honest, he is a bit anxious. And nervous. This is his first time to expose himself in front of other than his mother. But yet, his mother had only got to saw him dance without all the techniques he had learn for these past two years. The dance his mother saw was only a child play one.
And now, with the skills he acquired now, he will be dancing in front of his classmate. His classmate who 'accidentally' peek him dancing and made him panic for no reason.
As he finished tying back his hair, he sighs. His heart is racing fast, knowing there would be someone watching him dancing today. He hopes he can concentrate in his dancing while Renge is watching him. One thing that he feel grateful that it is Renge who watching him. No other of his classmates or schoolmates. Renge, who shares the same interest in art and also the life they through in art.
He took an intake of breath to calm down his thumping heart. It is his first time to show his dance to someone else (other than his mother and the studio attendant, of course), for crying out loud!
Calm down, he tells himself. It's not like she would mock you and laugh at you and ditch you and disgusted in you and leave you. He knows, as far as he spent his time with her, she's not one of them.
But still. It is only one audience out there, and Hiro is jumpy and nervous. He is ashamed of himself for having a bit of stage fright.
But he has made a promise. So this one will have to do.
As he tries to take another long breath, he steps out of the changing room, opened the studio's door and entered.
Renge is seated on the floor while waiting for Hiro changing his clothes in the studio. She is pretty excited since she can see the dance better now. She wonder what kind of performance Hiro will bring out today.
When she hears the door open, she turns her head to greet her classmate. “Welcome ba—“ she stops her words midway and her eyes are wide opened in pure surprise.
Hiro is only wearing leggings and bare chested. Ah, yes, of course. How she could forget? It's literally the thing she needs to prepare her heart for. Renge quickly averts her gaze somewhere else and she can feel heat rising to her face.
"M-my, it's in the middle of winter! Aren't you cold, Isao-kun?" She really tried her best not to sound awkward.
"Hmm?" Hiro stops at his steps and looks up to Renge, furrowing his brows. He clearly can hear Renge stutters. Is she... flustered just now? What is she flustered about? He isn't even--
His eyebrows raise in realization when he glances at the wide mirror. Hiro rarely get reactions or comments about his body build (he even barely remembered that there were some girls in the school swooned when he was using the summer's PE uniform, showing his rippling biceps). But he has to forget that his body shape already get builder these days and might made some girls... well, probably like Renge was having right now. Hiro's frown deepen.
But he isn't quite sure about that, so to confirm his thoughts, he replies. "I'm usually fine with the cold. It will get warmer eventually when I dance."
The bare-chested boy raises an eyebrow, "are you not comfortable?" Hiro asked straightly.
"Oh no, no! It's fine! I just, umm.... N-need some time to adjust, that's all." She says while holding her cheeks. It's getting a little hot.
She closes her eye for a bit and think to herself. Pull yourself together Yoshihiro Renge, you've seen your brother and father half naked all the time. This absolutely has no difference with those situations.
She then opens her eyes and looks at Hiro's figure again. Her cheeks are as red as tomato now. "P-Please don't mind me... And, uh, go on," she continues while covering her face in embarrassment.
Hiro stares at Renge as she tries to difficultly answer him.
The boy keep staring as the room goes silent.
And Hiro sighs.
Renge feels her heart sunk a little when Hiro sighs. She annoys him again, doesn’t she?
Then Hiro turns back to the changing room. He takes out his singlet and wears it, and enters the studio again.
The not-bare-chested-anymore boy opens up his phone, preparing the song for his dance. Once it’s settled, he puts the phone at the other side of the room.
Then he goes to the center of the room. Hiro stands still, and then he takes a breath and sit down on the floor with his legs folded.
"I'm going to start now."
Her face has already calmed down when Hiro went back with a singlet on. She feels a little bit guilty for interrupting him.
"I'm sorry," she hangs her head a bit in shame.
"Don't be." Hiro mutters. He wants to tell her to not say sorry all the time when it’s clearly not her fault. It makes her looked so vulnerable.
And it makes him feel a bit uneasy.
When the song plays, Hiro closes his eyes and prepares himself.
This is a dance to express how he felt when his mother had gone from his life. The first time he danced to this, he unconsciously shed a tear. Now, he isn't sure if he will cry again.
That feeling still persists inside of him. He tries to remember the feeling when his mother died before his eyes.
He doesn't need to do that for a long time.
As the song plays its first lyric, he drowns into an emotional state and let his body moves itself.
Looking it up close is way more intense. When the music starts, the air around the boy changes and she's absolutely blown away.
Her eye follows as Hiro’s body sways with the dance. She is absolutely speechless. The boy is evidently putting his all for this dance. She's not really sure what's the sentiment behind this dance, but... she can feel him pouring his heart out.
Though... Renge feels something resonances within her. A weird feeling of power, so similar yet so distant at the same time. Renge doesn't know what to make out of this, so she just brushes it off.
As he walks on the dance floor, ending his dance, Hiro opens his eyes.
And he feels it. That wary feeling. His eyes widened and frowned.
He glances at Renge at the corner of his eyes. It can't be, can it? She has to be not. It is probably just his own feeling. It is just his own ridiculous mind, he tells himself.
The feeling is really faint, anyway. It isn't clear as Shimamura's. He also has this feeling whenever he is in school. Probably it's just false alarm.
He shakes his head inwardly to brush off his mind and the wary feeling. But he can't help to wonder if his suspicion is true. He really hopes it won't be another of his correct guess.
When Hiro finishes the dance, she starts clapping and gives him a standing ovation. "It was really beautiful, Isao-kun!"
Hiro turns his body and looks at Renge with a little smirk on his face. "Thank you," he says as he walks to the other side of the studio to retrieve his phone. "It’s one of my favorite. Though, the dance was supposed to be emotionless. I myself don't know if I execute it correctly." He finished his sentence with a chuckle.
"I think you did it spectacularly," the long-haired girl praises, making another small clap. "What was the dance about, if I may ask?"
Hiro hums in thoughts. "Well, from my representation, it's about a woman who died in a merciful hand of a man. It's... very emotional, yet it's supposed to be expressed emotionless at the same time, when telling the story from the woman's perspective. It was quite challenging for me to do so at first, to be honest." He chuckles again softly.
"You remembered the time when I visited your gallery?" Hiro asks as he approaches Renge closer. "About how a painting could also be represented in dancing, telling a story about a woman in a garden of flowers." He comes to a stop when Renge is in his arm's length. "This is what I meant, telling a story with dance and expressed yourself with your body movements."
"I see... that's why it feels very sorrowful," Renge answers with a thoughtful face. "And by seeing this, I'm more convinced that you're a better artist than myself, Isao-kun." She adds, letting out a small laugh.
Because I can't really do that, she mentally speaks to herself.
Hearing Renge's reply, he sighs, shaking his head and frowns. "You said back at the gallery. A dancer without audience is... quite lonely, no? I am no better." Hiro says with a bit sadness in his voice.
He turns away from the girl. "I only dance because... it's the only thing I have now." He stares at the floor. "It's part of my life. And I couldn't imagine myself without dancing when--" he stops himself and purses his lips. He isn't sure to reveal his past to Renge. He already exposed his most hidden side of him in front of her.
Hiro glances at Renge for a bit while, and turns his attention back to the floor and sighs, shaking his head. "Never mind that, please."
When the girl saw Hiro stops talking, Renge figures it must be something important. Maybe Hiro isn't comfortable with sharing it right now, so she decides not to pry further. Renge just nods at him.
"Maybe... I'm just a little tired of painting." She mumbles to herself while tapping her fingers on her thigh. "It would be nice if I could express myself freely in art like that. Maybe I should try dancing too," she says half-jokingly.
Hiro snaps his head to Renge when he hears her reply. Then he stares at her, eyes wide, a bit perturbed.
Did she really mean that? To try dancing? Was he really affect her that way? If so, then his dancing is...
Yes. Good. It's good, because it's just her. Renge, the girl who went through a life through art. The one who accept him dancing. His only classmate who knows him dancing, and the only schoolmate who get to see him really dance in this studio.
His dance is good.
Not amazing, not spectacular. Just good.
Hiro giggles softly, "There are many types of dance, Yoshi, according to the techniques and genre." He says as he turned himself to face her again. "Mine earlier was modern dance. Almost similar with ballet, but with more... additional techniques." He tries to explain.
"Well, if you're really interested, I could always call Kiku-san here. She's the studio dance attendant here and can teach you dance." Then he smirks softly and teases, "Don't worry, I will try to tell her to give you a free trial."
"Oh my, Isao-kun, you don't have to, but... I'll think about it." Renge responds with a smile.
Listening to Hiro talk about dance so happily makes her smile a little. It seems that dancing is really important to him.
She might look silly doing it, but if it can make someone this happy, she’s willing to do it.
Hiro snorts. He put his both hands on his sides, inclines his head and smirks, "or, do you want to try it with me instead?" He teases again.
Despite the smirking face he's putting on, his heart skipped a beat as he said that.
What am I saying? Why did I say that? What if she will take it seriously? Way to go, Seaweed.
Renge is a little surprised at the sudden proposition. Dancing with Hiro? She can feel her face reddens once again from the imagination. But she's honestly intrigued.
"U-Uh... I-if you don't mind, Isao-kun?" She says as she holds her red cheeks (again).
Hiro feel his heart is going to blow up.
He feel his nape suddenly warms. He holds himself from rubbing it but he also feels the heat rose on his cheeks, his eyes wide opened.
Is she really serious!? It was supposed to be a joke! Why did she take it seriously? He wants to run away from this and spat some lame excuses.
But, as he stares at Renge again, he feels like there's no way out from this. Actually, there is, but he just cannot stand to run away from this girl who already saw him really dance.
He actually has a mind crosses his head that he doesn't want to miss this chance.
A chance of what, exactly? He questions himself, confused.
"I--uh--" Shit. Hiro does not usually stutter. What is wrong with him today? He shakes his head and clears his throat. "Are you sure? I'm not exactly a professional and... never taught anyone to dance."
Seeing his surprised face is a little refreshing, but Renge mentally face palmed. What have I done? But it's too late for her to back out of this. So she nods Hiro.
"I-I don't mind at all. And... you can just show me the... u-uhh, beginner moves." She says in embarrassment as she’s still blushing.
Hiro momentarily freezes. She really takes it serious to dance with him.
As Hiro gain some guesses and suspicions why Renge wanted to dance with him, he mentally shakes his head. Ridiculous. There is no way. They're not there yet.
And Hiro thinks if they will ever be.
The tall boy sighs and (finally) rubs his neck. He's silent for a moment, thinking of what he should be teach Renge about. Of course, he should show Renge some beginner moves, but... he doesn't have any idea what kind of beginner moves. He just follows the moves from the dancing videos he got.
Hiro hums lowly as he's thinking, rubbing his chin with his hand. At first, he danced ballet to understand the basic of dancing technique. He tries to remember what he practiced before learning the technique.
As he gets the idea, his eyebrows raise.
Maybe he should teach her some body flexibility first?
"Alright," Hiro finally speaks and straightens his body. "Well, Yoshi, as I always explained to you, dancing is about expressing your emotion with your body. That being said, your body has to be flexible to be able to do the techniques." He explains.
"So let's start with flexing your body first."
Renge is pretty beat and out of breath from the flexing. She knows that she's inflexible but she doesn't know that it is this bad. Fortunately, after all that exercise, she has loosened up a little.
Renge redoes her ponytail and wipes some of her sweat. It will be nicer if she can do this in a shirt instead of school uniform, but it was an impromptu lesson, so this is the best she can do.
Hiro’s heart is still beating fast and Hiro cursed mentally. Not because he's out of breath. This is the first time he teach a girl to dance, and he was kind of nervous.
He told himself that it's not because it's Renge.
"What's next, Isao-kun?" The girl asks, wondering what's next in the menu.
Hiro looks at Renge and frowns, "Can you still move? You might not feel tired yet, but if you're not get used to it, you will get strains and aches by tomorrow, especially on your feet." He put his weight on one leg in a relaxed stance. "You will get a hard time walking tomorrow."
"I can still go on." She replies stubbornly. Renge is tired, but she still wants to learn.
"Well, I hope that won't happen," she adds, letting a small laugh. Though, that's most likely the case tomorrow.
Hiro hums in contemplation and frowns. He doesn't want risk himself in blame if there's anything happened to Renge tomorrow. Her family might asked him what happened to her, yet her friends.
The tall boy sighs. Why does he have to bother?
"Well, if you still can go on, then." Then Hiro stares Renge to her eyes, "but don't blame me if you ended up absent from the school tomorrow. And don't tell anyone about... today." Hiro closes his eyes for a while.
Why does it sound so wrong to his ears?
Mentally shaking his head, Hiro looks at Renge again. "Your flexing is not enough, so we might have to try it again." Actually, if it's other than Renge, Hiro might already throw curses at her. He cannot help it; if it comes to dancing, his perfectionist side emerges. He tries his best to bite his tongue to hold him from spatting words at his female classmate.
"Are you ready?"
Renge smiled at Hiro, pretty determined to do this. Hiro looks like he's a pretty strict teacher, but Renge is used to pressure since her father is also pretty strict on her. This is nothing, she thought to herself. Plus, the workout is a little refreshing, she hasn't been working out lately.
"Okay, teacher," she replies automatically. And, when she realizes her slip of tongue, Renge immediately corrects her mistake, "I mean--Isao kun! Sorry, it was out of habit..."
Hiro tensed at the name.
Hiro frowns and his nape is heating again. He shakes his head as he rubs his nape, sighing.
He will never be one, anyway, so why bother?
"Alright. Let's begin."
"A bit better, but you still have to work more on it." Hiro says with seriousness on his tone as they finishes round two of their flexing. Renge is new to this, he knows. But in dancing, body flexibility is number one, with gracefulness to add yet. And Hiro thinks Renge is still far from it.
Hiro is born with rather thin body, and his body was far from flexible. He didn't train his flexibility at first; he just danced until his body learned the flow of the techniques. Until he realized, as he once saw himself in the mirror, his body was still stiff to his liking.
"You go to rest, now. I'm not going to train you more for today." Hiro speaks with a clear period sign on his sentence. And he walks to the other side of the studio, scrolling his phone.
"I'm going to dance one more time, and then we can go back." He still have much stamina left to be honest, but he wasn't sure if Renge still want to stay here any longer.
Renge sits down on the floor and let out a big gasp. She is really exhausted from all that flexing.
"Thank you for your time, Isao-kun...," she said sluggishly, out of energy. When she hears Hiro's still going to dance, she’s amazed. After all of that, he’s still have stamina left? She internally praises him.
Hiro lets out a short sigh when he sees Renge sits down and gasps heavily. He has no idea about how much stamina a normal girl have, since he never taught any dance lesson to anyone. But seeing Renge, he supposes that she really will get leg cramps.
And probably tomorrow, he will be doomed as everyone will ask her what happen to her, and eventually, they will find out that he's the one behind it and throw accusations and shits.
He scratches his head. Even with a girl, he still gets some trouble.
"Make sure you go straight to home and rest after this." Hiro just doesn't want to get into another trouble.
Renge nods at the boy. She’s certainly need get some rest. Then, the girl asks, "Can I watch?" She leans her back on the wall.
"Well, you're here anyway. So, why not?" Hiro answers with a small smirk.
As he sets his phone, he takes steps to other side of the studio, a bit far from the middle, and sits down. "Since you only saw a glimpse of my dance the first time you took a peek of me, I just thought you wanted to see the complete dance."
When the song plays, he deluges into his emotional state once again and let his body moves along with the song.
Looking at Hiro's dancing is somewhat soothing. He lays out his emotion bare and raw. Renge is a little bit worn out to focus, but she can still feel the sadness she saw the first time she peeked at him.
What drives him to dance like this? She wonders. Who shunned him from what he does? Some questions spiraled in her head while she watches Hiro dance.
The uncomfortable feeling resurfaces again. It feels like something inside her is giving a warning signal. What does it mean? Is there something wrong with Hiro?
Renge feels her eyes getting heavy. She begins to droop and her position is pretty comfortable and before she knew it, Renge fall asleep.
The dance is quite long and Hiro gives all his power, so he is a bit out of breath. He stands up and take a look to where Renge is--
Then the boy goes silent.
Really? She has to fall asleep? After all he said that he wanted to show her the full dance she once saw at their first encounter in this studio? Hiro scowls.
Why does every time he get to know someone, something troublesome, like now, happen to him?
Hiro groans as he takes off his hair bands and ruffled his hair. He strides to the side where he put his phone and looks at the time. It's a still bit early to go back, so maybe he will give some time for the girl to sleep.
Did he went too far with her? Was the flexing too much for her to handle? As he approaches Renge and tucks her with her school jacket, Hiro goes into a deep thought.
What makes her of not having the confidence in her art? Is it not part of her passion? Is it possible that she might be forced into this? Or that her art was not satisfying for her family? The painting that her brother made got the right to be displayed at the gallery back then, she was pretty proud of it.
What makes that herself not?
He doesn't realize that he has been staring at the girl while he's in thoughts. Eh, it doesn't matter. As he keep staring at the sleeping figure in front of him, Hiro scowls once again.
Discrimination must be perished from this world, he thinks furiously. That's why he need to hunt down that person. And those hypocrites. He may also want to hunt down to anyone who makes Renge feel like this. She doesn't deserve the inferiority she's having now.
But he needs more time. Hiro growls inside his throat that he makes a low, rumbling sound. Hiro is a patient man, but sometimes when he's thinking about them, he really wanted to hunt them down as soon as possible.
He stands up and goes to the changing room to change to his school uniform.
Hironori will wait for the right time to come. He may find some answers and clues and ideas at the meeting later this weekend.
"Hey," Hiro speaks softly and shakes Renge gently as an attempt to wake her up. It's already night time, they have to leave the studio and get back to their each other home. "Wake up. We have to leave, now."
Renge wakes up to the voice, but she is still fuzzy from the sleep. "Hnn... Is it already time...?” She slurred out.
Renge slowly opens her eyes and looks at Hiro, who already in his school uniform.
Did she fell asleep through his dance? Now that she regains some sense, she sees that she's covered in a school jacket. Realization hit her hard and her eyes widen of what she has done.
"I-I’m really sorry, Isao-kun f-for sleeping in like that! It was very rude of me!" She blurts out, absolutely flustered. “I-I uhh... Let me pack up my thing—“ Renge stutters as she quickly stands up, but so suddenly that makes her feels dizzy, her legs are also slightly tingling from her weird sleeping position. Thus she loses her footing and fall down.
"Whoa wait, calm do--" Hiro tries to stop Renge from standing up, but it's too late until she stands and sways, making Hiro acts on an direct instinct to steady her, holds her on his hands, and she also grabs onto him. But he just also has to lose his footing due to the awkward position they're having, making both of them fell down to the floor.
"Wha—“ Renge reflexively grabbed onto something to prevent her from falling, but in the end a loud thud echoes through the room.
"Ow..." She cries out a little, but surprisingly, the floor isn't that hard? And a little warm. When she opens her eyes again, she realizes that she doesn’t fall to the floor; in fact she is now on top of her male classmate.
Renge looks like she's about to burst.
And Hiro feels that his heart may explode right at this moment.
His eyes wide, looking at Renge. She's too close. Way too close. His mind suddenly goes blank, it's gone from his head, he cannot think of anything. Anything else than his female classmate whom on top of him.
Hiro stares at her and realization comes to him. Is she always this beautiful? Is that freckles on her cheeks? Her eyelashes are long and curving elegantly. Her wide eyes are so bright that Hiro can reflect himself on them. Her lips are in fresh color and looking plump. Her long, curvy hair waving down from her head to his side.
And, with those realization comes to mind and yet last one to come that he has been staring at Renge, he feels that his neck is boiling and he's pretty sure it's red now and it's creeping slowly to his face.
His heart is pounding uncontrollably. Hiro freezes, unable to say a word as he keep staring at the girl on top of him with wide eyes.
Renge blushes a lot but this time, she's now a full blown apple red.
Their gaze met each other, Renge can feel herself being mesmerized by Hiro's sharp, brown champagne-colored eyes, and she feels like a deer in the headlights.
She has never looked at Hiro this close before. Now, that they're face to face, she can see clearly that Hiro is certainly handsome. He has nice, structured jawline and strong eyebrows. His raven hair is a stark contrast with his bright eyes, his features reminds her of a grey wolf.
Her heart beats so fast and loud that she's scared it might fall out. She can also feel the Hiro's heart beat and she notices that he, too, is colored beet red.
I-is he furious at me? Oh Lord, Renge mentally smacks herself.
Renge finally regains some of her senses and backs off quickly, releasing Hiro from herself. "I-I’m so sorry!" she apologizes loudly.
Hiro is finally recovered from his sudden momentary shock. He lies still for a while, until he sighs a long breath and palms his face.
He tries to calm himself down. Hiro still doesn't believe of what just happen and what he was thinking. His heart is still beating wildly.
And seriously. What. Was. He. Thinking!?
Hiro shakes his head and, surprisingly, giggles. Just a little. Sure, he's still quite in shock, feels kind of embarrassed from all of that. But he also finds the situation kind of... funny.
When he fully composes himself, the boy slowly comes to a stand and runs his fingers on his hair and sighs once again. Then he shakes his head, "You guys really likes to make me in trouble, huh?"
The incident earlier made him a little annoyed too, to be honest. But well, as he approaches the girl and stretches out a hand to help her stand up, at least he doesn't need to carry her and bring her to the health unit's room. Even if she faints and he does need to do it, at least it will be a girl this time.
"Come on," Hiro mutters to the girl. "It's already night. We need to leave and you need to rest."
Renge gets up with Hiro's help. Looking at him, she is a little glad that he isn't mad at her.
"O-okay! Let me get my things first," she says as she packs up her stuff and wears her jacket.
"I'm ready now. I'm really sorry for the delay,” she speaks apologetically.
Hiro snorted. She really has to stop her apology habit.
Hiro pick out his phone from his pocket and looks at the time again. It’s almost late.
As he puts his phone back and shoves his both hands to his pockets, he speaks, "I'll walk you home. It's getting dark now. Are your legs okay?"
"Thank you, Isao-kun," her legs are shaking a little, but she figures that she should be fine. "It's a little sore, but it should be okay. My house isn't too far from here." she said mending her hair a little, now taking off her ponytail.
"Hmm," Hiro hums as he observes the girl if she's really fine as she says. Then he stares at her, "True, though. Let's go, then."
They step out from the studio and heads to the road where Renge's house resides.
Hiro glances at Renge for a moment, then he looks forward to the road again. "How do you feel? After all of that flexing and saw me dancing." He asks. "Aside from tired, of course."
"Hmm...” Renge hums. “It's a little hard of course, me being inflexible and all." The memory of her trying her extra hardest just to keep her legs straight resurfaces and she laughs a little at it. "But I think it's a good workout."
"And after doing those flexing, I grew to be more amazed at your dancing, Isao-kun. You make it look so pretty and easy," the girl adds with a smile.
"Pretty and easy, huh?" Hiro snorts softly. "The first times I dance and tried to do en pointe, a common stand in ballet to put all of your body weight on the tips of fully extended feet, resulting me with absent from school for good three days because I sprained myself so bad." He chuckled.
"Flexing is just a small part of dancing, Yoshi. You haven't seen the other moves, yet."
Renge nods to the explanation. There's still a lot that she doesn't know about dancing.
"Well, you've been doing it for almost three years, right? The hard work sure is rewarding. You dance beautifully, Isao-kun." Renge expresses her admiration. "I'm sure I'm only barely scratching the surface right now." she says, letting out a small laugh.
"Hmm," he bows his head and looks down. Hiro still isn't sure about his dancing, but if Renge thinks so, then, well, maybe so.
But her opinion won't be the same as those... imbeciles. That's why he won't be able to dance out there. His dance is just a tiny, useless trash.
At least there is one person who doesn't think that way. But still, it's not enough.
"Well, if you're pretty confident about it, I'm sure you can at least learn the basic moves." Hiro turns his head a bit to look at Renge. "You can come to me anytime you want, well, if you still want to learn more." Then he smirks, "but I won't go easy on you next time. If you come again, that means you're really serious on taking a dance lesson."
Didn't he just think that he won't be a teacher?
The girl shivered a little at the warning. She wants to learn more, but she wonder if she does have the time for it. With all her student council jobs and also art classes, she ponders if she have any free time at all.
Well, if she wants, she can... maybe skip one or two lessons since she practically learned them all, but... her father would be furious if he found out.
"I would love to but.... I need to rethink my schedule." She looks apologetic.
Hiro chuckles, "It's not like that I told you to dance. It's all up to you." He shrugs nonchalantly. "But if you come just want to watch me dance, that would be fine as well." He continues with a little smile. "As long as you don't bring someone else."
Why does it sound a bit wrong to his ears? Realizing his earlier words, his ears are reddening and he unconsciously rubs his nape. He does NOT mean it that way, and he hopes Renge won't take it another way. As he recalls the incident at the studio earlier, his heart is thundering once again. He shakes his head, fuming about himself.
What the hell is wrong with him today? He closes his mouth with his hand in embarrassment.
Renge nods, "Of course, I won't do anything to make you uncomfortable, Isao-kun," she says, oblivious of Hiro’s flustered expression.
When Renge looks around, they already arrives at her home. "Oh, we’re here," she’s about to say farewell to Hiro, but then she remembers the incident that happened in the studio. It makes her blush a bit. She has been rude for falling asleep and fell on top of him.
Hiro snapped out of from his embarrassment as he realizes they already arrives in front of Renge's house. He also feel kind of bit relieved that she doesn't notice his flustered expression.
But, as he's still confused of himself, he feels a bit disappointed. Disappointed of what, exactly? Hiro curses himself inwardly, doesn't have any clue what's wrong with himself.
"About today, um.... Thank you for letting me watch you dance," Renge mutters softly. "And um.... I'm sorry for the inconvenience I caused!" She apologizes as she bows her head.
"It's--..." Hiro confuses once again. Then he sighs. Of course if he answers 'fine', then that incident WAS really fine to him, when he clearly embarrassed and flustered and annoyed and confused and mesmerized!
The last one comes unexpected.
So Hiro decides to answer with something else. "Be careful next time. You have to try to compose yourself." A better answer, he guesses.
There's still something he wants to ask her before he leave.
"Yoshi," he calls. "I know it's already night time and you want to get rest as soon as possible. But I want to ask you a question or two before I leave.
Are you forced into painting?"
Renge stuns when she hears Hiro's question.
Forced...? She wonders if she's really forced to do it. It's not like she hates... Painting.
The question is a little bit too much for her right now. She doesn't know what to answer. But for now she wants to dodges the question.
"What are you talking about, Isao-kun? Of course not." She lets out a laugh and smiles. God, she hopes that she doesn't sound fake.
"Then, why are you tired of painting? You're proud of your brother, but not yourself." Hiro keeps on asking, unconsciously raising his voice. Suddenly, he feels so mad, but not at the girl.
"Are you really enjoying painting, actually?"
"I...," She’s lost in words. Honestly, what is there to say? That's she's jealous of her brother's skills? That she is incompetent in what she does?
She doesn't want to disappoint someone else again.
She can't look at Hiro in the eyes, she can only be silent about it.
Seeing that Renge doesn't stare back at him and doesn't answer his question, he's also quiet. He knows that this is a sensitive matter, but that's exactly why. He wants to know who the ones are making her look down on her own art. He doesn't even saw Renge's painting yet, but after the times he spent his time with her, all the talks they share, Hironori, of course, takes notice that Renge is struggling in her art life.
He doesn't usually bug in to someone else's business. But if it's about art, Hiro have a tendency to bother himself if necessary.
Like this one.
After several moments of silence, Hiro finally lets out a breath. "I know this is very sensitive for you to be asked." He speaks softly now. "But I just want to know. Because I... also struggled. And I know you're struggling, now. Don't try to deny it," he adds.
"If you don't want to answer me, that's fine. But I just want to ask you," he searches Renge's face. "Be proud of yourself. In your art. Your painting. Because I'm looking forward to your work, since you already saw me dancing." Hiro finishes his sentence with a smile.
"But I still want to know why. You can answer me anytime."
Because Hiro will hunt them down. They discriminate. Must be punished.
Listening to Hiro makes her feel even guiltier. Hiro is kind enough to worry about her, to encourage her and Hiro is also looking forward to her art. But she feels like she's just going to disappoint him. She always let everyone down. Renge feels like her heart is going to fall out of her chest from all the emotions pooling inside her.
"I...," she trembles, her voice shaking a little. Why is she getting teary eyed now?
Hold it in Renge, hold it in like those times with father. Hold it in and put up a smile. Say that you're fine.
But she can't. Not in front of Hiro.
"I--I'm sorry... I'm not ready yet," she chokes out as she covers her face. She doesn't want to worry Hiro even further with her tears.
Hiro feels a momentary panic when he hears Renge's trembling voice. He knows it's a sensitive topic, but he didn't expect that Renge would be really... sensitive about this.
He becomes livid inside. Of course, it's not about Renge. It's about them. That's why, he need to hunt them down soon. But yet he still need more time for that.
He's really furious and he bares his teeth. This is exactly the reason why he seek the power. To beat those bastards who look down on them, thinks that they own the world and have the guts to rule over the weak. The minority. The unalike. Those bastards are the ones who deserve penalties.
His eyes flashes the color of yellow gold. Hiro palms his face slowly in order to calm himself down. His hatred cannot be shown here. Not in front of Renge.
Hiro looks up to the girl in front of him. Looking at her, he feels a bit guilty. He knows that they're not that close yet, but he cannot help it that he really wonders why Renge could feel the way she is now toward her own art. He really need to act soon, but the plan won't work if he rushes. He didn't even attend the meeting yet.
Hiro sighs heavily. Guess this will have to do, won't it?
The tall boy steps slowly toward Renge, closing the range between them. Then he puts a hand to Renge's head and pulls her to his chest.
"I'm sorry." Hironori says simply. "I should have figured it out myself."
He tries to act cool, but inside, his heart is drumming wildly. But he has the need to calm the girl down.
The brief silence between them makes Renge felt like she’s being caged. She doesn’t know what to do; she really wants to run away.
Until Hiro pulls her close.
Though unseen, Renge is wide eyed when it happens. She doesn’t know what to make out of this development.
Renge can feel Hiro’s body warmth. She also hears Hiro's heartbeat very clearly and it's beating very fast. Is he perhaps nervous? But, strangely she feels calmed down by this. So she just stays like that, crying softly on Hiro’s chest.
Hiro holds Renge closer as she begin to cry and sobbing. He puts his chin on her head to show his presence. To make her know that she's not alone in this.
As he strokes Renge's hair softly, Hiro glares at no apparent view. This is the answer he gets. This may confirms the insecurity Renge is having about her art.
And he'll make sure they will get the judgment they deserve from him of what they have done.
Renge feels at comfort with all the little things Hiro does to calm her down. After several moments passed by, she has finally stops crying and regains some sense of herself.
"Don't cry too much. Your face will be frozen from the cold, you know," Hiro teases with a soft voice, in a hope he can lightening the mood. He keeps on stroking Renge's hair in a soothing manner. "But don't worry. I'm pretty sure my body is warm enough to prevent that." He sounded like a pervert, but eh. He shrugs mentally.
Renge can't help but laugh a bit at Hiro's remark, she finally calmed down. "It sure is warm." She mumbles softly, muffled by her hands.
The raven-haired boy chuckles lightly, feels so relieved that finally Renge laughs. "It is, isn't it?" Then he smirks, "But don't get too comfortable, or else I can't go home." He finishes with a soft laugh.
At Hiro's last remark, Renge finally realizes their current situation, heat quickly rose to her face. She slowly lowers her hands up to her eyes (it’s a little red from the crying) and when she looks up she sees that... They are very close right now.
For the second time today, Renge wants to burst out of embarrassment.
As he stares back at Renge whom looking up on him, his heart is pounding fast again. Their face is too close once again.
Hiro observes the girl's face, his eyes staring in awe. Even though her eyes are bit puffy from crying, she's still beautiful. He half-consciously runs his hand from her head to her face, wiping away her tears.
He have the urge to do the next action, but he's not sure how she will react. So he just keep holding Renge's cheek with his palm gently.
"I'm sorry." Hiro whispers. "I should have known." He frowns wistfully. "I... just can't stand it. I just wanted to know. But I guess went too far."
Hiro's expression and gentle gestures causes Renge's face to redden each second pass.
This is not fair... she thinks to herself and her beating heart.
"I-it's fine... I, umm...," Renge is having a hard time to construct her own words due to the current circumstances. She wants to back off but she's also having a hard time to do so.
Not when Hiro's gentle and warm hand holding her face.
The tall boy keep staring at the girl for a while when she tries to answer him, then he take his hand off of her face with a smile. "You don't have to answer 'its fine' all the time, you know. Because I know it's not." He tilts his head a little.
He really want to screams at himself. What exactly is he doing with Renge? You may give the girl wrong impression! Hiro scolds himself inwardly.
But he cannot help it. He has made her cry from his own question, so Hiro thought that she might need some comfort.
Well. Maybe because he watched too many musical romance TV shows. Hiro hopes that Renge won't be feel awkward with him after this.
Because I know it’s not, echoes a bit in her heart. Did she not hide it well enough? Or maybe Hiro's that sharp? She wonders.
Renge feels like she finally can breathe when Hiro finally lets her go. She fans herself in hope of making her face less red.
"I... I'll tell you when I'm ready, Isao-kun... I'm sorry...," She feels apologetic that she can't confide to Hiro yet. She needs to mentally prepare herself first.
Seeing the girl quite relieved after he hold her, seems like he have that much effect on her. He smirks inwardly.
"I probably already know the answer to that, but I'll be glad to hear it directly from you." Hiro chuckles softly.
"Before I go, there's still one question I want to ask. And no, it's not about earlier, don't worry." He smiles for a moment, then his face turns flat with a bit seriousness,
"Do you know the book clerk?"
Looking at Hiro's serious face makes her shudder a little. "Book clerk? Like... A shop attendant?" She's a little confused with the nature of the question, but she answers anyway.
The weird feeling is there again. Really, what is it? What is wrong with Hiro actually?
As the boy keep quiet when he hears Renge's answer, it seems that she doesn't know Shimamura. But then what's with this... wary feeling he's having since he was in the studio with her earlier? Is it not her? Someone else? But who else was in the studio earlier?
The feeling is fainter than when he was with Shimamura. Hiro guesses that he can just drop it off then.
She's may be lying, but if she is, there's only trace of confusion on her face. Hiro can read her like an open book.
He shakes his head and sighs faintly. "Never mind, then," Hiro finally takes some step back and ready to leave. "Go get some rest, now. I'm going home." Then he smiles, "See you tomorrow."
When Hiro step away from her, the feeling hasn’t subsided. Renge is left even more confused. Maybe she's just too tired? She thinks to herself.
"Thank you for today, and... I'm sorry about that emotional outburst of mine. I must look so unsightly." She says, looking embarrassed.
"You too, Isao-kun, good night and see you tomorrow." She bids her farewell and opens the door to enter her house.
As Renge finally goes into her house, Hiro is glowering once again before he left the scene.
He’ll make sure to find anyone behind all of her inferiority and make them pay.