Kirihara glared at him. He'd been fuming all afternoon. But it was good to know nothing was bothering Akira, obviously. “I came to see you. Is that a problem?”
Kamio blinked, looking a bit taken aback. “No, not really. But I told you earlier, I can’t go out tonight. I need to help the girls with their homework and then I have laundry and stuff to do.”
Kirihara snorted and pushed his way inside. “Sounds like you just don’t want to see me.” He dropped on to the sofa and scowled up at the other boy. “You were the one who asked me if I wanted to try an actual dating relationship, remember. So how come every time I try to actually, you know, date you, you always freaking say no?”
“Because I’m busy, Akaya,” Kamio said, surprised. He closed the door, and turned around. “I told you—“
“You always tell me.” Kirihara folded his arms, but he didn't pout. Pouting might get him sympathy, but it wouldn't help him make his point. “I get that your busy. I do. But last night was track practice, and the night before that you scheduled some ‘team-bonding’ time-“
Kamio looked embarrassed. “Momoshiro told me Seigaku does it all the time to strengthen their team-“
Akaya carried on as though he hadn’t said a word. “-and the night before that was another track practice, and then Monday night you had Shinji over because you said he was getting introverted or some shit ever since you got a life of your own for a change-“
“Shinji’s a special case, and a very good friend-“
“-which makes it almost an entire week of nothing but a few text messages asking me how it’s going!” Akaya dropped his eyes to the ground. “You know, I wanted to be your friend. I was surprised when I knew I wanted this. Since you asked me, I figured that meant you wanted this too.”
“I do want this!” Akira snapped. “But I refuse to cut off my friends just because I’m dating you!”
“I never asked you to cut them off!” Kirihara growled back. He certainly wouldn’t cut off his own of his own volition, so it was only fair. “But even if you’re too busy to see me, why the hell can’t you call? Shit Akira, I called you twice this week. The first time you said you had to go because Michi was crying, and the second time you said you’d call me back and you never did. You sent me a text saying, ‘sorry, something came up.’ What am I supposed to think?”
“That maybe I have things I have to do that are more important?” Akira shouted.
Akaya’s mouth snapped shut and his eyes betrayed a very deep look of shocked hurt before a blank look replaced it. “Well, at least it’s a straight answer,” he said, somewhat hoarsely. He forced himself to stand up, a strange numbness making his legs shake. “Thanks for sharing.”
Kamio looked as white as a ghost. “’Kaya…”
“I gotta go,” Kirihara mumbled, and pushed past him towards the door. Pain was twisting a knife in his stomach, making him want to throw up, but he swallowed it down. Part of him had been expecting to hear that, after all – shouldn’t he be used to that by now? The way his old teammates seemed to have forgotten about him, the way his parents kept in touch by emails and text messages even while living in the same home, should have reminded just how very little he ranked on anyone’s scale.
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Kamio stood frozen in the living room, unable to move to stop Akaya as he left. Had they just broken up? His first attempt at dating, and it was over in less then two weeks? Kirihara had had a point. He had been busy and he had been deflecting Akaya’s coaxing attempts at building a functioning relationship. Kamio had thought it was what he wanted. He knew it was what he wanted. So why had he made such an effort to push the other boy awaya311;
Sachiko crept around the kitchen doorway, staring at him with wide eyes. Michiko went straight to the window, peering outside as though trying to catch a glimpse of Akaya leaving. Sachiko, on the other hand, moved closer to her brother. “’Kira-nii?” she asked hesitantly.
“What did I do?” Kamio breathed. He looked at Sachiko helplessly. “Sachiko?”
“You told Akaya-nii that you had more important things then him,” she said sadly. “I think that hurt his feelings. Everyone needs to feel important. At least, that’s what you always tell us.”
Such innocent words from such an innocent face. Kamio felt like pond scum. Akaya was a tough, hard-as-nails tennis player, but during their budding friendship, he had opened up and revealed a whole new side of himself, showed him his vulnerability, as a sign that he trusted Kamio. It was that side of him that had made Akira fall for him, and fall hard. But to throw Akaya’s fear back in his face, to say that he wasn’t important to him… not only was it a lie, but it was deliberately hurtful. “How could I say that?” he wondered again, dazed. A sudden slam of the door, made Kamio’s head snap around. Nobody was there, but Sachiko suddenly smiled. Akira blinked. “What was that?”
“Michi went to get Akaya-ni,” she said with satisfaction. “You two need to work this out.” She came closer and wrapped her arms around Akaya’s waist, hugging him hard. “You're happy when 'Kaya-nii's here. You're a lot happier now then you used to be. That's because of him. So Michi's gonna bring him back, and then you'll stay happy.”
Kamio gazed at his little sister, feeling a surge of love and pride swell inside him. “When did you get so smart?” he asked, brushing her hair back.
She beamed at him, wrinkling her nose. “I learned from you.”
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Kirhara turned around in surprise. The numb feeling had only grown stronger with every step he took from the Kamio household, which had kept him from moving very far. “Michiko? What are you doing out here without a coat on?” It was early November, and while the weather was still nice, there was a crisp breeze in the air, and Michiko’s thin blue sweater was not a decent defense against it. “Get back in the house, brat.”
“You come too,” she insisted, reaching forward and tugging on his hand. “’Kira-nii looks sad, and you need to talk to him.”
“I think he’s said enough,” Akaya muttered, trying to gently break the steel-like grip Michiko had on his hand. “Michi, just… go back inside, okay? Don’t worry about this.”
“No!” Michiko stamped her foot, glaring at him. “You two were fighting! ‘Kira-nii always tells me and Sachiko to make up if we fight! That means you have to make up too!”
Akaya wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. He gazed fondly down at the determined little red head, her pixy face glaring at him with such determination. She truly was Kamio’s little sister, from her feisty attitude, to her stubborn nature. It was what he liked about her. It was what he loved about him. Didn’t he owe it to both of them to go back and try this again?
“You win,” he sighed. A wry smiled crooked his mouth. “Besides, I never back down from a challenge, right?”
Michiko’s face cleared instantly, and she grinned widely. “Right,” she affirmed, nodding her head. Establishing an even firmer grip on Akaya’s hand, she began to drag him back to the house. “Let’s go!”
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Kamio looked up as the door opened again, and Michiko marched inside, pulling a grimly amused Kirihara behind her. Sachiko gave her brother a small push from behind, before walking over and taking Michiko by the hand. “We’re going in the kitchen,” she said sternly. “I want to hear sounds of making up, understand?”
Recognizing the spiel he used on the two of them, Kamio felt a reluctant grin quirk his upper lip. “Roger.”
Then they were gone. Kirihara was watching him warily, his face impassive and still. But his eyes gave him away – Kamio could still see the hurt inside, barely hidden. He couldn’t take it anymore. “Akaya, I’m sorry!”
“Why are you apologizing?” Akaya asked quietly. “You were only saying what you felt.”
“I didn’t mean it the way it sounded,” Kamio pleaded. “I swear I didn’t. I just meant… I have a responsibility to my team, to my friends, as well as an obligation to the girls. I didn’t mean to say that you weren’t as important as them. You are.” He stopped, a faint blush heating his face. “You’re very important to me.”
“You have an interesting way of showing it,” Akaya said, but his shoulders relaxed a bit. “What you said… it hurt, ‘Kira.”
“I know,” Kamio said, head hanging guiltily. “I was angry that you were pointing out the truth – I have been avoiding you. I guess I was… scared, or something.”
“Of you. Of myself. Of this.” Kamio gestured helplessly. “Of… us. This is my first real relationship, you know? I have a habit of screwing things up. I’m bad-tempered, I’m obsessive compulsive about things, I worry all the time, I have so many things to do.” He looked away, biting his lip. “I think I was scared you were about to break up with me for being so distant. Maybe subconsciously I wanted to make you angry enough that you’d leave.”
“You break up with me before I break uo with you, huh?” Kirihara narrowed his eyes. “Akira, think about it. If I wanted to break up with you, why would I be so upset about not being able to see more of you?”
Kamio shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said helplessly. “I… you came in angry and yelling. My temper got the best of me.”
Akaya gave him a small smile. “I guess I didn't help much,” he admitted slowly. “I think I was jealous. It was like you wanted to make time for everyone else but me.”
“I'm sorry,” Akira said again, and timidly moved closer to the other boy. “Do you forgive me?”
Kirihara rolled his eyes and reached out, grabbing Akira's hand, tugging him all the way over. Akira melted into his arms, pressing close as though he were afraid Akaya was going to change his mind and push him back. “What do you think?” he murmured into Kamio's ear, making the smaller boy shiver.
“I think we'd better cool it,” Akira said reluctantly. “Little ears nearby and all.”
“Ah, but those little ears stated they wanted to hear the sounds of making out,” Kirihara pointed out, and leaned forward, attaching his mouth to Akira's neck. Tasty Kamio neck.
“Making up,” Kamio protested weakly. “Akaya...”
Kirihara pulled away, then leaned his forehead against Kamio's. “You're stuck with me,” he told the redhead. “Until you tell me flat out you don't want me anymore. Understand?”
“Then you've got me,” Kamio returned instantly. “Me, and Sachiko and Michiko, until you decide you're sick of the package deal. Understand?”
“Then I guess we're both set for life,” Akaya said with finality. This was getting soppy, and so he pulled back, grinning at the other boy. “And now you have to feed me.”
“...huh?” Kamio looked happily dazed at Akaya's statement.
“I was so angry I skipped dinner at home to come here and yell at you. Since it was your fault, you have to feed me. What's for dinner?”
“Spaghetti!” Sachiko shouted from the kitchen. Michiko giggled, chiming in after her with, “And meatballs!”
“Perfect. I love Italian.” Kirihara poked Kamio, bringing him back to earth. “Food time.”
Kamio smiled softly at him. “Come on, then.”
Kirihara returned the look, and followed Kamio into the warmth of the kitchen
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