Instead of those thoughts, however, Yasu was focused solely on Subaru, who had jumped up from the bed and was now pacing back and forth across the room.
"I knew this was a bad idea," Subaru muttered, running a hand through his hair.
That comment, more than the pacing, had Yasu worried. "I'll talk to her. Don't worry about it."
But Subaru was already shaking his head. "I acted too quickly. This isn't going to work out, Yasu."
Yasuda shook his head fiercely, standing up. "You don't know that."
"Look what's already happened," Subaru looked torn. "I no sooner made the decision and already its blown up in our faces."
"I don't care that she saw us," Yasu tried assuring Subaru.
But he shook his head, his long hair blocking his face from view. "I care," he said quietly, and Yasu had an overwhelming sense of deja vu. "Look at what they did to me." He motioned to his mud-stained jersey. "They hate me. And when they find out what just happened, they'll hate you too. If not because of me, then just because you're gay."
Yasu opened his mouth to protest, but Subaru shut him up by continuing. "I know you say that you don't care about it. But I do." He paused, looking up at Yasu. "Was it easy for you to watch those guys push me around?"
Yasu hesitated, already understanding where Subaru was going. "It wasn't easy, but..."
"There are no buts, Yasu. I don't want to sit back and watch you get bullied knowing that it's my fault."
"It isn't your fault. This is a decision I mad on my own. I know how you feel about me. I know that you want to be with me too, so its too late to take it back now."
Subaru stopped his pacing. "You can't force me to be in a relationship with you."
Yasu noted the worried look on Subaru's face, "So then what do you think we should do? You just want to pretend that we don't know each other? We can never talk again?"
"It's not what I want, but maybe it's for the best," Subaru finished.
"I can't stay away from you, Subaru," Yasu admitted. "I tried, but it doesn't work. And you can't stay away from me either. If you could, you wouldn't have snuck off to be here with me right now."
From the look on Subaru's face, Yasu could tell that Subaru was already losing his will to fight.
"We could be friends, we could go back to hanging out after school," Subaru offered weakly.
"I can't go back to that. I won't be able to resist touching you or kissing you," Yasu admitted, blushing.
"You're making this too complicated," Subaru complained, distress entering his voice.
"You're the one making it hard," Yasu disagreed. "I like you and you like me. So then let's be together."
Subaru sighed heavily and it seemed as though he didn't know how to respond. Yasu wasn't going to give up especially not when he could see Subaru struggling so hard to come up with a good excuse to end their relationship.
He stepped forward, grabbing Subaru's hand and shyly placing a kiss on his cheek. "I'll talk to Ishihara-san. Don't worry about it."
Subaru still looked very distressed, even more so as Yasuda took a step towards the door. "Shouldn't you be resting?"
Yasu shook his head, a smile spreading across his face as he tried to reassure Subaru. "I feel fine." He felt better than fine, in reality. He'd spent the past two days worrying over Subaru's answer. Now that he had it, that he knew Subaru felt the same way, Yasu felt that he could easily go out and run a marathon. "I'll see you back in class."
He left the nurse's office before either Subaru had a chance to change his mind or he could no longer control his urge to kiss Subaru again. Quickly, he surveyed the hallway for any signs of Ishihara Sara.
It would seem, however, that she had already disappeared back into her classroom. Panicked, Yasu glanced up at a clock, surprised to see that it was already lunch period.
If he was going to stop Ishihara before she told anyone what she saw, he would have to hurry. His pace quickened as he headed towards the cafeteria.
When he came to the doorway, he paused, scanning the cafeteria for any sign of Ishihara. When he realized she was nowhere to be found, he hurried towards his regular table.
"Yasu," Ohkura greeted, his mouth full of food. "How are you feeling?"
"Fine," Yasu answered, though he was starting to feel queasy again at the thought of who Ishihara might be telling at that moment. There was a moment of brief relief at the realization that the news hadn't yet reached his friends.
"Yasu," Ishigaki rushed towards the table, joining Maru and Ohkura. Looking up at Yasuda, he continued. "I just saw Ishigaki coming out of the girl's room crying. Did you break up with her?"
Maru looked up from his bento for the first time since Yasu arrived at the table.
Yasuda paused, wondering what he should say as he realized that this could be his chance to patch things over with Maru. "We weren't dating. I only told her that I don't feel the same way about her."
Ohkura was beaming as his eyes kept shifting over to Maru, who had been listening intently to the conversation.
Yasu continued, this time looking directly at Maruyama. "Maru, I'm sorry if I hurt you. I wanted to tell you that there was nothing going on between Ishihara and me. I didn't mean to betray you."
Maru looked down at his bento, shaking his head a little. "I knew that she had feelings for you. And there's nothing that I can do about that. It just really hurt to think that you would date her even knowing how I feel."
Yasu shook his head, "I wouldn't do that to a friend. Besides, she's really not my type."
Maru smiled, and Ohkura started clapping his hands. "Its about time, you two. Now we can finally practice. Unless you're not feeling up to it, Yasu."
Yasu smiled sheepishly as he finally sat down in his chair, and he was really happy, for a moment, knowing that he had patched things over with Maru and started a relationship with Subaru. And then as he remembered Ishihara could be telling someone right at that moment, he stood up.
"Where are you going?" Ohkura asked, looking at his with concern.
"I feel bad. About Ishihara crying. I think maybe I should go talk to her," Yasu pushed his chair in, noticing the way Maruyama was looking at him with suspicion.
At that moment, Ishihara came into the cafeteria, her eyes meeting Yasuda's and she quickly looked away. Yasu sighed at the look of mixed sadness and bitterness on her face. He needed to talk to her, and his moment was quickly passing as she approached the table she usually sat at with her friends.
"I'll be back in a minute," He told his friends, heading to where Ishihara was taking her seat. He felt nervous as he approached her table, trying desperately to figure out what he was going to do about the situation.
When he finally arrived at the table, Ishihara was trying her hardest to ignore him. Though she wasn't actively participating in the conversation with her friends, she also wasn't going to acknowledge that Yasu was standing right next to her. So Yasu cleared his throat. "Ishihara, can I talk to you?"
She didn't bother looking up at him as she answered, "I don't think there's anything to say..."
Sara's friends looked back and forth between Yasu and Ishihara in interest. One of them finally spoke, standing up. "Why don't we give them a few minutes to talk?" She suggested to the rest of the girls at the table.
As soon as the table was cleared, Yasu took a seat near Ishihara. A silence fell over the table as he struggled for an explanation to offer her. "I'm sorry," was all that he could think to offer.
She didn't say anything, staring down at her lunch as she clenched his jaw, tears springing to her eyes. "If you came to tell me not to say anything, I won't."
"Thank you." Although that had been what Yasu had come over to talk about, he didn't feel much relief. Not when Ishihara was crying and it was his fault. "And I'm sorry that I couldn't return your feelings."
She shook her head, "You tried to tell me, didn't you? When I confessed. But I didn't want to hear it."
Yasu bit his lip. It was true, he had tried to turn down her confession, but she hadn't given him a chance.
"I never would have thought the reason was because of Subaru," She sniffed, finally looking up at Yasuda. "I thought that if I tried hard enough, you'd come around eventually."
He tried comforting her, "You're an amazing girl. And if I wasn't," he paused to look around and make sure that no one was listening in, "...with Subaru, then I would be happy to be with someone like you. I really admire you. You're smart and pretty and kind..."
She smiled, still teary, "But that's not good enough, huh?"
"It's good enough for someone. Just not me," Yasu finished.
She sighed, looking down at her bento again as she wiped the tears from her cheeks. "This kind of sucks."
Yasu nodded, agreeing. He knew how hard it was to confess to someone knowing that there was a good chance they didn't feel the same way. He knew what it was like to feel that the person you like is in love with someone else. Obviously, even if a person had never experienced such feelings, they would knew it was an awful experience.
But Yasuda honestly didn't expect that being unable to return someone's feelings would make him feel so horrible. "There will be other people." He tried reassuring her, although he himself didn't think that there was anyone for him beyond Shibutani Subaru. He hoped that he would never have to find out either.
She sighed, "That's nice of you to say. You're so nice, Yasuda-kun. That's one of the reasons I like you so much. You're much kinder than the other boys here."
He shook his head, "That isn't true. There are plenty of nice guys here." He paused. "Like Maru."
"Maruyama?" She asked, looking up. "Well, yeah, I guess."
Yasuda nodded enthusiastically. "He really likes you, too, you know."
"Really?" She asked, sounding rather flattered
Yasuda wondered if he had overstepped his boundaries by divulging Maruyama’s crush. He thought, however, that it would be he could both help Maruyama and comfort Ishihara.
She sighed then though, “He’s not my type, though.”
Yasuda wanted to shake her, ask her why she was being so picky. Yasu felt that he knew nothing about him before she had chosen him to be her type. They’d had only a handful of conversations before she had decided that she liked him. Was she shallow enough to like someone based only on appearance?
He didn’t know what to say. Finding himself slightly disappointed in her, he rose from his place at the lunch table. He wanted to tell her that it bothered him that she turned Maruyama down without consideration, but he knew it wasn’t his place.
People couldn’t help who they were attracted to. Ishihara didn’t want to be with Maruyama. There was no attraction there, and no matter how ideal the situation was, he couldn’t force her to like him. Just like he couldn’t force himself to like her.
And Yasuda thought that he wasn’t so different from Ishihara. Now that he looked back, there had always been an attraction between him and Subaru.
On some level, there had always been something there since the moment Yasuda had laid eyes on the boy. At first, it was easy to deny. He reasoned that Subaru didn’t want to be alone, and certainly didn’t deserve it. Everybody needed someone to lean on. Now, he was willing to admit that he had needed Subaru just as much, had sought out his warmth for his own benefit.
Against Ohkura’s wishes, he’d wanted Shibutani Subaru in his life. He’d risked his reputation at school, his friends, his place in Revolver, all to be able to spend time with the long-haired boy. That thought suddenly made him feel like throwing up again, so he leaned on the table and closed his eyes, trying to will the dizziness away.
The relationship with Subaru was already in shaky territory. Subaru had a point in being scared. As soon as their relationship had begun, there were already problems. And there would always be problems. He wondered if there could ever be a time when they wouldn’t have to sneak around and pretend they didn’t know each other.
For the time being, he just had to hope that things would work out. He wanted to believe that someday it would be okay to tell people how he felt about Subaru. He wanted to be able to smile at him, to look at him without having to worry about who was watching. He wanted to hold hands and share kisses and not be ashamed by the lingering touches.
Yasu cleared his throat. “Ishihara, thank you.”
“Eh?” She looked surprised. “For what?”
“For everything. For not telling anyone about what you saw. For liking me enough to put your feelings aside. I really think you’re an amazing person...”
She blushed. “Stop. You’re going to make me fall for you all over.”
He smiled, shaking his head. “I hope we can still be friends.”
She bit her bottom lip, looking hesitant before she nodded her head. “Am I the only one who knows?”
Yasu froze. “Well, besides Subaru’s mom. And my sister. And our friend Ryo...”
“So then Ohkura and Maru?”
Yasuda’s eyes widened, “No! You can’t tell them. They don’t even know that I’m friends with Subaru.”
An indiscernible look crossed her face for a moment, but it was quickly replaced by a sweet smile. “I won’t tell anyone. Your secret is safe with me.”
Yasuda had a sick feeling in his stomach as he walked away from Ishihara’s table back to his own. As he rubbed his stomach, he tried telling himself that it was because of his lack of food and sleep, and not some kind of foreboding warning sign.
When Yasuda re-entered the classroom after lunch, Subaru was already sitting at his desk. As Yasu seated himself, he noticed the blush on Subaru’s face and the way he was trying to use his hair as a curtain to avoid being looked at.
Yasu was tempted to say something to him because he could sense the nervousness of the earlier situation radiating off of him. As soon as he managed to make eye contact with Subaru, he nodded encouragingly, hoping to alleviate some of the palpable stress.
The end of the day didn’t come soon enough, and when Murakami finally dismissed the class, Subaru immediately shot out of his desk. He seemed to linger by the door, casting Yasuda glances, but with Ohkura and Maruyama approaching, there was no way they could meet.
“Now that things are finally smoothed over between you two, can we please practice today?” Ohkura begged, looking back and forth between Yasuda and Ohkura.
Yasu glanced sideways towards the door, his heart sinking in disappointment as he realized that Subaru had already left. “I forgot my guitar at home,” Yasuda replied sheepishly.
Ohkura groaned in displeasure. “The one day this week we’ve gotten a chance to practice and you forget your guitar.”
“I’m sorry,” Yasu hung his head guiltily.
“He’s sick anyway, Ohkura. Let him rest. We can practice next week,” Maru commented, and Yasu suddenly remembered that it was Friday already.
Ohkura sighed heavily. “We have our first gig coming up...”
“We’ll both practice all weekend,” Maruyama spoke up, and Yasu felt happy that Maru was back on his side for the first time in what felt like weeks.
“No more skipping practices,” Ohkura said, finally relenting. “Every practice for the rest of the year. I don’t care how sick you are.”
Yasuda and Maruyama both nodded. “Yasu you can go home and get some rest. I think you should still come to practice, Maru. We should at least practice some.”
Maruyama sighed, clearly hoping to get out of practice too. Instead, he watched miserably as Yasuda gathered up his things. “I’m tired too.”
“Its your own fault that you’re tired. Both Yasuda and I tried telling you that the whole Ishihara thing was a misunderstanding.” Ohkura retorted, dragging Maruyama from the classroom.
“I know,” Maru sighed, allowing himself to be dragged away. “Sorry, Yasu.”
“That’s okay,” Yasu smiled. “I’ll see you two Monday.” He waved to his two friends, hurrying out of the from the school building. Subaru had already left, and he wanted to meet him so they could walk home together.
“Yasuda-kun!” He heard a voice call as he was sprinting towards the school gates. For a moment, he thought to ignore it.
He sighed, however, turning towards the voice. “Ishihara. What’s up?”
“Where’s Subaru?” She asked loudly.
“Shhh,” He shushed, looking around before grabbing her hand. “Don’t say that so loud here.”
As he dragged Ishihara out of the gates, he had no idea that Maruyama happened to be looking out the music classroom’s window.
After he had gotten rid of Ishihara, Yasuda sprinted down the street towards home, hoping to find Subaru. About a block from the music shop where Subaru worked, Yasu successfully spotted his friend. “Subaru!” he called.
He saw Subaru stiffen and look around, and when he finally turned around and looked in Yasuda’s direction, a shy smile stretched across his face. He waited for Yasu to catch up to him, switching his weight between feet nervously.
As Yasuda hurried to meet him, he suddenly felt nervous too. “Hi,” he said as he finally caught up, out of breath.
“Hi,” Subaru replied, pursing his lips as a silence settled over the pair.
“So,” Yasu began.
“What did Ishihara say?” Subaru blurted out.
Yasu shook his head, “She won’t say anything. She promised.”
Subaru sighed in relief and Yasu wondered where that left them. It was true that he still considered Subaru his best friend. But to call him as a friend seemed wrong. The invisible line they had been toeing was crossed. They were more than friends. So Yasu wondered if it was okay to think of Subaru as his lover. Or his boyfriend.
As he stood there, waiting for Subaru to say something, his nervousness increased. Would Subaru try to reject him again? Would he want them to remain as friends only? The longer they stood there, the more Yasuda’s confidence in their future seemed to falter.
And then Subaru reached forward, grabbing Yasu’s hand. “I’m glad.”
As soon as Yasu got over the shock, he gripped Subaru’s hand in return, allowing himself to be pulled down the street. “Hey, Subaru?”
“Yeah?” Subaru responded, still holding Yasu’s hand.
“What are we?” Yasu asked.
“We’re people,” Subaru responded.
Yasu shook his head, “But what can I call you? I mean, are you my boyfriend?”
“Don’t worry so much about it,” Subaru said, sliding his hand out of Yasu’s.
Yasuda didn’t know what to think about Subaru’s answer. He tried to imagine that Subaru was just trying to comfort him in his own way. But he couldn’t worrying because it felt like Subaru was purposely avoiding putting a label on their relationship.
A/N: I'm so not happy with this chapter. So the next one will probably be coming soon ><