Close to You
He woke up feeling alone and the same dread he had felt in Bali swept over him at once. Jiro threw the covers off of himself, searching the room for the man he had been with the other night. When seeing that only silence met him, he let out a long sigh.
“ It’s happened again..” he murmured to himself.
“ What’s happened again?”
Jiro’s head instantly turned towards the voice, his heart leaping for joy once seeing that Sugizo was standing at the door. He gave the pink-haired man a smile, shaking his head.
“ Iie.. I was just worried about nothing.. that’s all.” Jiro shrugged, getting off of the bed.
Sugizo bit his lip, watching as the blond shakily got to his feet.
“ You were worried I’d leave you like Teru did, ne?”
Jiro looked up at the question, guilt briefly crossing his face before it disappeared without a trace. His lips slowly broke into another one of his kawaii smiles, making Sugizo’s heart wrench at the sight.
“ There’s no fooling you, ne Sugizo?” Jiro walked up to him, slowly arranging the words that were appearing in his mind. “ Yes, I thought that you would repeat what Teru did to me… leaving me alone anyways.”
Sugizo wanted to say something but all was lost when the young man quickly embraced him, giving him a peck on the cheek.
“ But as my brother always said.. ‘Baka Jiro! You think too much’!” Jiro laughed at himself, closing his eyes and just feeling Sugizo’s warmness as he held onto him.
“ Well… that’s true.” There were no words that could describe how relieved he felt at hearing those words from Jiro’s mouth. “ Come on.. I’ve made breakfast.”
“ Breakfast?” Jiro took in a deep breath. “ Now that you’ve mentioned it, you do smell like eggs and toast…And I’m starving!”
He didn’t return last night.
Hisashi paced the living room, looking at the clock that now pointed the time being half past ten. Jiro had never been away without telling him where he’d be. Hisashi stopped pacing and tried to sit down to calm his nerves, only to stand up and pace the floor again.
He’d never been so worried about his younger brother. He hoped that nothing had happened to him…
The blue-head glanced out the window, glaring at nothing in particular.
‘ If anyone dares hurt him.. they’ll wish they’d never been born..’
Yumi yawned, glancing at her best friend who lay asleep beside her. She smiled at the peaceful face, brushing away a lock of long curly hair.
“ Why doesn’t Teru see how much you’re worth? He’s worth so much to you..” She whispered softly. Then, as a pained look covered her eyes, “ Why doesn’t Die like me the way I do to him?”
She gave an annoyed look at the door. It wasn’t like her to sleep late but today, after all that crying she’d done with Ami the night before, all she wanted was shut-eye without any interuptions from the outside world. Well.. unless it was from that extremely handsome red-head anyways…
Yumi got up from the sofa, heading towards the door, thinking that it was Die when she realized where she was. Ami’s house. And unless Die decided he liked her best friend more than Shinya, then there was no way on earth he’d be here at such a time. She gave a loud sigh, trudging towards the door in no better mood than she was before.
“ Yeah, what do you want?” Yumi growled out as she opened the door.
“ Um.. Yumi-chan.. Is Ami in?”
All of a sudden she felt awake. There, in front of her, was Teru himself, looking like he’d just lost his heart. She felt like grinning for Ami.
‘ So.. Ami’s got no more problems now..’
“ Wait a sec, Teru-kun..” Yumi turned to call out to Ami when she saw her best friend looking back at her. “ Ah! Ami, Teru’s—“
“ Tell him to go away.” Ami said, loud enough for both Yumi and Teru to hear. “ I don’t want to see him anymore.”
“ Ami?” Teru pushed through Yumi effortlessly, going after Ami.
Yumi sighed, feeling happy to see that finally, something right was going to happen. Not at all caring about how she looked, she walked out of Ami’s house, deciding to give the two some privacy.
‘ Now… if only Die would come back to me..’
“ So Shinya… are you planning to do anything this weekend?” Die hugged the said man from behind, whispering the words into his ear.
“ Die, I’ve got work to do..” Shinya protested half-heartedly, leaning back against his body comfortably. “ I need to get things ready..”
“ Can’t you just skip work for today?” Came the request along with a kiss on his neck.
“ Die.. don’t do that, you’re distracting me.” An attempt to push the taller man away, to no avail.
“ That’s the whole point, Shinya.” Another kiss, this one lingering briefly, teasingly on his lips.
“ Die! You’re not helping me!”
“ I’m not intending for you to leave me now..” Another kiss, longer.
“ I’m going to work whether you like it or not!”
Die chuckled at Shinya’s annoyed look, turning him so that they faced each other properly. Shinya’s hand was still clutching to his file in front of him, acting as if it was some sort of shield.
“ I thought you came here to give me a lift to work.” Shinya said, looking up wearily at the grinning man. “ Why do I have this feeling that that wasn’t your intention all along?”
“ Well.., you didn’t let me accompany you home last night.. or let me spend the night..” Die leaned in till the tips of their noses met, “ I’ve just been able to call you mine and then you walked away.. did you really think I came here just to give you a lift to work?”
Shinya’s answer never was finished for Die bent forward, cutting of the rest of his sentence with a kiss. He didn’t mind the distraction actually; it was rather a welcomed distraction and as he returned the kiss, pressing his own lips harder against Die’s, all thoughts of work flew from his mind. He had always wondered why he’d felt so uncomfortable when Die was with Yumi or when the man had caught him kissing Toshiya and now he knew why… All along, it was an attraction he hadn’t thought of..
His hands managed to push Die away from him.
“ Nani? What’s wrong, Shinya?” He looked worried.
“ Toshiya…” Shinya voiced out the name, wondering how he could’ve forgotten the incident in the café. “ Toshiya and I.. we.. you were there!”
Die furrowed his eyebrows, taking a step closer towards Shinya, though he took another step back.
“ What about Toshiya?” His voice was dangerously deep.
“ In the.. café..” Shinya stuttered out, “ We were…”
“ Kissing?” Die supplied the word.
Die took another step forward, grabbing hold of Shinya’s arm, pulling him close before he had a chance to take anymore steps away. Shinya hung his head low, not wanting to look at Die but a hand on his chin pushed him to do exactly what he dreaded. Meeting Die’s eyes.
“ Why does it bother you so much? Does Toshiya mean that much to you?” Die asked, staring straight into his eyes. “ Is that why you’re turning away from me?”
“ Bother me?” Shinya blinked. “ Die, doesn’t it bother *you*?”
“ Hm?” He didn’t understand what Shinya meant by the question. “ What do you mean?”
“ You saw me and Toshiya together.. I.. we..,” Shinya took in a deep breath, “ I know we kissed and all and what happened was nothing long-lasting but.. you were there! Aren’t you a bit bothered that you’re with someone whom you had witnessed kissing one of your close friends? I mean, I know that you and Toshiya and Teru are all close friends so.. aren’t you bothered?”
Die blinked back at Shinya, the creasing lines on his forehead disappearing as his lips turned into a smile.
“ So that’s why you’re worried.. You’re worried that I’ll be worried..” Die concluded, his arms wrapping themselves around the slim waist.
“ Haii… you’re not?”
“ Of course not.. Totchi’s explained everything to me.. and now that you’ve explained it to me, there’s nothing for me to be worried or bothered about..,” Die chuckled again at Shinya’s surprised expression, “ And even if you hadn’t told me.. I wouldn’t have cared.. because you’re with me now and that’s all that I care about.”
Die leaned in again, his lips closing in on Shinya’s own. Shinya turned away in time though, the kiss landing on his cheek.
“ But Die—“
“ I told you Shinya, I just want you..” Die held a finger to Shinya’s lips. “ Just trust me.. I trust you, ne?”
Shinya looked up at him, wondering if all that was happening had been real. Had he just engaged himself in a relationship with this man who had pissed him off so badly during their time in Bali? Had he just totally threw away all rationale, surrendering himself to the inviting taste of this red-head man? This.. utterly exquisite tasting… teasing.. comforting.. red-head..?
He didn’t really care anymore, only wanting to taste even more of what Die had to offer.
‘ Maybe I’ll skip work.. just this once..’
Teru knocked on the closed door.
“ Ami? Ami, open the door.”
“ Go away.” Came the same voice again.
Teru sighed. He glanced at his wristwatch; it had been nearly an hour since he arrived in Ami’s house and the girl still refused to talk to him. Instead of cornering her the way he thought of doing, she had taken refuge in her bedroom, locking herself away from him. He slumped down against the door, feeling tired.
“ Ami, why won’t you tell me what’s wrong?”
“ Go away.”
Things weren’t going anywhere.
He let out a sigh, reaching into his breastpocket for a cigarette. Finding one, he instantly lit it, relieving himself for the moment. Smoking had always worked for him whenever he was in stress.
He was about to indulge himself into his own thoughts of why Ami was acting so coldly towards him when the girl opened the door suddenly, making him fall back against the carpeted floor. She glared down at him, plucking the cigarette from his finger.
“ I told you I don’t like smoke in my house.”
She threw the cigarette into an ashtray she provided especially for Teru’s unstoppable habit, her hand quivering the slightest bit when remembering that fact. Turning around, she saw that Teru had closed her door, not allowing her to return to her room. Ami tried to give him an annoyed look, but she knew that all she was able to manage was a pained one.
“ Ami, what’s wrong? Just tell me..” Teru’s voice was so sweet, as he always was.
Wasn’t that why she had fallen for him in the first place? His sweet demeanor, the laced words he often gave her without care, that awfully attractive flirt in his voice..
Even when he didn’t intend it, it was always there..
She turned her face away from him, going to where she and Yumi had slept the night before.
“ Teru, leave me alone.”
Picking up the pillows, folding the blankets; she tried not to steal glances at the confused figure by her door. Instead, Ami concentrated on closing the sofa bed, rearranging her living room to look the way it usually did. Once done, she knew that Teru was still waiting for her but she wasn’t ready to face him yet. Her eyes fell on the flowers on her coffee table and she went to them, playing with them, trying to bide her time.
“ Ami, look at me.” Teru’s voice, though it lacked warmth the sweetness was still there.
Why couldn’t she just ignore that sweetness? Why didn’t it bother her the way other’s did? Why did *he* have to have such an impact on her feelings?
“ Ami, did I hurt you somehow?” Teru’s voice was becoming clearer, he was coming nearer.
She took in a deep breath, letting it out with a surprised choke when she felt Teru’s arms weave around her shoulders. She shut her eyes tightly, this touch, this was what she had missed.
“ Teru.. go away.”
Even her voice wouldn’t hide her true emotions. They were inconfident, filled with doubt.
She felt tears sliding down her cheeks. Her eyes were still tightly closed.
Why did she have to fall in love with him?
“ Please.. onegai.. go away..”
Hands, soft touches on her face. *His* hands on her face, his fingers gently brushing away the tears that were falling freely. She sobbed, feeling so incredibly stupid for not being able to just control herself from crumbling in front of him. If she could’ve just sustained..
“ Gomen ne, Ami..” Teru was now holding her, his own voice guilty. “ I don’t know what I did to you.. but I must’ve really hurt you… I’m sorry.. Gomen ne..”
‘ Don’t ask for forgiveness…’
Ami looked up at Teru as he clutched her to his chest, holding onto her as if she was life.
‘ Don’t.. ask.. me to forgive you..’
She felt herself tilting her own head back so that she could have a better view of him. There were tears, also falling from Teru’s eyes. Ami couldn’t help but let out a strangled laugh.
“ Baka Teru.. why are *you* crying..?”
“ Gomen ne.. I’ve hurt you..” Teru pressed his cheek against hers, his own body shuddering from the touch, “ I didn’t mean to.. I really didn’t.. gomen ne, Ami..”
“ Baka Teru.. baka..”
She continued to chant this, over and over again, before their faces shifted, their lips finding each other.
‘ Don’t ever ask me to forgive you Teru..’
Ami smiled against Teru’s lips as he smiled against hers.
‘ … Because I always will..”
Sugizo let out a long sigh, tired.
“ Jiro, don’t you have to go to work?”
Jiro stopped to look back at him, smiling cheekily.
“ What? Tired already? You really are an old man… “
“ Old man? Why you little imp!” Sugizo chased after the blond, earning himself several curious looks from bystanders. “ Come back here!”
“ Old man! Old man!” Jiro shouted out at the top of his voice, turning around a corner and into an empty street. “ Can’t even catch up with me!”
He slowed down, turning to look if Sugizo was still trying to catch him. He was surprised when he didn’t see a trace of the bright pink hair that was Sugizo’s trademark. Jiro stopped, squinting and looking around, in case he was hiding anywhere.
“ Oi, Sugizo! Where are you? Don’t tell me you’re so slow— Gya~~!”
Jiro let out a startled yelp when he was suddenly pounced on. He lay sprawled on the concrete road, Sugizo on top of him, grinning down victoriously.
“ Old man, eh?” Sugizo’s grin still tugged on his lips. “ I don’t think so.. Jiro-chan..”
Jiro narrowed his eyes, giving a glare at the man looking down on him.
“ Don’t. Call. Me. That.”
The frightening effect the glare was supposed to have on Sugizo didn’t exactly work, what with their positions and the fact that Jiro wasn’t that frightening to begin with.. so all that Jiro got was a wistful smile from Sugizo.
“ Jiro-chan..” Sugizo drawled, bending down so that Jiro couldn’t lift his head in the slightest bit.
“ Don’t call me that!” He fumed; no one had called him by that name since he was 7 and now this… this.. Sugizo!
“ Jiro-chan! Jiro-chan!” Sugizo bent down so that their faces were even closer.
“ Old man!”
“ Old man—“
The empty street was quiet again. The two lost themselves in their kiss, knowing that there was no one around to witness them.
Well.. almost no one.
Die looked out of Shinya’s window, whistling at the deeply engaged couple.
“ You’ve got a really nice view up here, Shinya!”
Shinya put on another annoyed look, looking out his window to see what exactly it was that had caught Die’s attention. His eyes widened when he saw the familiar figure of a man with short blond hair..
“ Isn’t that Jiro?”
The said man stood up with the help of his lover, smiling bashfully up at him. All that Shinya could see from the man was pink hair but it was enough for Die to recognize him.
“ Isn’t that Teru’s brother?” Die sounded even more surprised then Shinya had been.
Shinya felt like fainting.
‘ Teru’s.. brother…?’
One thought crossed his mind and only that thought made sense to him:
Yumi walked, feeling incredibly lonely being all by herself in this big town. She kicked at a nearby pebble, watching with complete boredom as it jumped several steps before landing on someone’s shoe. A very nice shoe..
She looked up and met with Toshiya’s smile.
“ Hey! It’s you!” Toshiya exclaimed, walking up to her.
“ It’s you..” Yumi repeated, smiling back at the man.
“ What’re you doing here alone? Where’s Die?” Toshiya looked behind her, as if though expecting the red head to show up suddenly.
“ Die..? I don’t know where he is.. probably at work.” Yumi tried to keep on the smile on her face. She didn’t really want to talk with Die at the moment.
“ Oh.. Then, what’re you doing walking around like you’ve just lost your best friend?” Toshiya looked at her with concern. “ Something wrong?”
Yumi chuckled, shaking her head.
“ No.. It’s just that Ami, my friend, she’s patching things up with Teru right now and I don’t want to interfere with them so I’m on my own…”
Toshiya looked surprised.
“ Teru? As in, Teruhiko the dentist, Teru?”
Yumi looked up at Toshiya again.
“ You know Teru?”
Toshiya nodded, looking a bit flushed.
“ I guess you could say that… he has a girlfriend now?”
Teru and Ami had been trying to find a decent restaurant but all was full at this busy lunch hour. They found theirselves returning to the bar they always met at only to find it closed.
“ This is just our luck, ne? I’ve finally found you and this place closes!” Teru gave the door holding the ‘closed’ sign a kick.
Ami held onto Teru’s arm, smiling.
“ Let’s just go walk until we find someplace nice.. I’m sure not all of the places here are full.”
“ I wish I had your positive thinking attitude, Ami.” Teru sighed, placing an arm over Ami’s shoulder. “ Let’s go.”
Ami thought about Teru’s words for awhile before looking up at him.
“ Ne Teru.. I don’t always have a positive attitude.. I mean, just now..”
“ Everyone’s allowed to have their downs, Ami,” Teru cut in, offering her a kind smile, “ I don’t expect you to be happy 24/7. That would be scary.”
Ami hugged his arm, giggling.
“ I’m so glad you found me..”
“ I know your house you know, it wasn’t really hard to know where you’re at if you’re not at work..”
“ Teru! I was trying to be romantic!’
“ Oh, were you?” Teru let out a laugh.
Teru’s laugh was cut short when he was greeted by the sight of his brother, an arm around the one person he had tried to forget—Jiro. And it didn’t help that Jiro was looking as beautiful and as innocent as ever, his smile infectious, his own laugh filled with all the genkiness available.
“ Teru?” Ami’s voice cut through his thoughts.
As if though hearing Ami’s voice, Sugizo looked up to meet his eye.. and so did Jiro. The blond looked almost afraid, his hand clutching Sugizo’s tightly.
“ Well, my dear younger brother.. where were you last night?” Sugizo led Jiro towards the other couple, giving them both a smile. “ With her?”
Ami looked up at Sugizo and Jiro quizzically, then turned to Teru.
“ Teru, who’re they?”
“ Sugizo, this is Ami.. Ami, this is my brother, Sugizo.” Teru introduced them, purposefully leaving out Jiro’s name.
“ Hello Ami, nice to meet you.” Sugizo nodded at her then placed a hand on Jiro’s shoulder. “ This is Jiro.”
Teru tensed at the introduction and he felt Ami freeze from the name.
She gave Jiro a long look then felt despaired.
‘ He is… so beautiful..’
Hisashi placed down the phone, taking his sunglasses as he headed out the door.
‘ Jiro…’ Was the single, fleeting thought that came and went as he hurried out to find his brother.
The four of them sat at the café table, an uncomfortable silence hanging over them like a dark cloud. Jiro would speak softly to Sugizo from time to time and Teru would do the same to Ami but there were few words exchanged between the two couples. Jiro kept on holding Sugizo’s hand while Ami wrapped her arms around Teru’s.
“ So… “ Jiro finally addressed Ami. “ How long have you been together?”
“ Um.. for some time now.. Teru and I had known each other for quite awhile back..” Ami answered, trying to smile. “ How about you and Sugizo-san?”
“ We’ve just gotten together recently,” Sugizo answered for Jiro. “ I’ve heard about you from Teru’s friend.. but I was never given the chance to really talk to my brother about you. He’s probably to busy with you, ne?”
Ami looked confused at his words before she blushed, understanding.
Jiro looked embarrassed himself. He gave Sugizo’s shoulder a shove, which looked rather playful but was actually painful. Sugizo rubbed at the now sore shoulder, giving Jiro an apologetic look. Teru looked quite murderous.
“ Well.. um…”
They were ‘saved’ from another uncomfortable silence or question when they heard frantic footsteps coming towards them. Both Jiro and Sugizo turned and the blond looked surprised when he saw his brother.
“ Onii-san!” Jiro couldn’t help exclaiming.
Hisashi ran up to him, thanking the gods for being able to find his brother in such limited time. He saw the man next to Jiro, the man across with the girl then turned his attention back to his brother.
“ You didn’t come home last night.” Hisashi tried to sound as cool as his appearance showed. “ You were with this man?”
Jiro chewed on his bottom lip, not knowing how to answer his brother truthfully without causing him to go mad.
Teru and Ami turned around to see the newcomer while Jiro, Sugizo, and Hisashi’s attention were diverted for the moment. Toshiya ran up to them, out of breath. As soon as he reached their table, he took a quick glance at the girl beside Teru and looked furious.
“ *This* is the girl you left Jiro for?!” He demanded.
Hisashi was starting to feel faint; all that running and this sudden commotion.. He looked at the other blue-head, feeling his mouth becoming dry.
Jiro’s ears perked up at the name.
‘ Hisashi knows Toshiya?’
Toshiya looked up upon hearing his name being called out and his face drained of colour. The hand he had raised to gesture at Ami was dropped and he stood still for a moment, frozen. Then he rushed to Hisashi, throwing his arms around the smaller man.
Ignoring the shock from everyone, Hisashi closed his eyes, exhaling loudly. He wrapped his own arms around the slender man, holding him so that he would never lose him again.
“ Totchi.. I can’t believe I could meet you again…”
End of Part 8
to be continued~
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