“What did you do that for?” Subaru asked, anger leaking into his voice as he dropped Yasu's hand.
A confused look crossed Yasu's face, followed closely by a frown. “Do what?”
“Why did you tell Ohkura that we're dating?” Subaru demanded, and Yasu realized that he'd never really seen Subaru angry before this.
“Why does it matter?” Yasu returned, trying not to get angry at Subaru. “I don't care if he knows...”
“How many times do I have to tell you that I care?” Subaru asked as the anger left his voice to be replaced by frustration. “Do you even care what I want? You always just do whatever you want without considering how I feel.”
Yasu froze and this time he did let the anger fill him. “Excuse me?” His voice was dangerously low as he looked at Subaru. “I'm always considering your feelings!”
“Really?” Subaru asked, letting the anger return to his voice as he returned Yasu's glare. “When? Were you considering my feelings just now when you told Ohkura? Were you considering my feelings this afternoon in the bathroom? Or how about last night? Did you ever stop to think about how I felt?”
Yasu stopped in his tracks, forgetting the angry words that had been threatening to fall from his lips. As he stared at Subaru, he tried to push down the painful nausea that was welling up. “What about last night?” he asked quietly, trying to keep the tears from coming.
“I felt pressured,” Subaru admitted and the anger was gone from his voice again. Perhaps he knew how those words would hurt Yasu because he only stared at the floor and refused to meet Yasuda's gaze.
“I see,” Yasu said calmly.
“You didn't give me a chance to think about it,” Subaru continued, his voice taking on a defensive tone. “I told you that I still have feelings for Rikiya and then we did that and now I feel like I've betrayed him somehow,” Subaru had forgotten that Maru and Daisuke were still standing there as he fought to make himself clear to Yasu.
“Well,” Yasu said after what felt like an eternal pause. “You don't have to worry anymore. I'm tired of trying so hard when you'll never return my feelings. You can have Rikiya or just sit around feeling sorry for yourself forever. I don't care anymore.” When the last words left Yasu's mouth, he realized that he was crying. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he cast one final look at Subaru and turned on his heels to leave the shop.
Once on the street, Yasu took a deep breath in the seconds before the tears really came. And when a sob broke through, he quickly covered his mouth when he realized how loud it was. Marching quickly towards his house, he knew he had to get away from Subaru fast or he'd end up going back and apologizing. And what did he have to apologize for? Yasu wondered.
That was his first sexual experience and though it had been amazing and special to him, Subaru regretted it. Had he been thinking about Rikiya the whole time? Yasu felt dirty and disgusting. If this was what love and sex were like, Yasu didn't think he wanted any part of it. And yet there was still part of him that wanted to go back and see Subaru. To experience it again.
By the time he reached his house, the crying had become uncontrollable and he had to march past his mother and his sister, who exchanged worried glances, in order to get to his room. As soon as he made it to his bedroom, he threw himself onto the bed and buried his face in the pillow, muffling the sound of his hard cries.
“Shota?” his sister knocked on the door quietly before poking her head in.
“Go away,” Yasu replied miserably and half-heartedly.
“What's wrong?” she asked, opening the door all the way and letting herself in. She was a Yasuda afterall and like her brother, a simple 'go away' wasn't enough to deter her.
“Nothing,” Yasu answered, burying his face in his pillow again so that she couldn't see his tears.
“Did something happen with Subaru?” she asked, although she already knew the answer.
Yasu's sobbing grew harder then and that was all the confirmation she needed. Sitting on the bed, she began rubbing her little brother's back soothingly as she waited patiently for him to begin speaking. After several minutes, Yasu's crying subsided and he drew in a shaky breath to calm himself. Then, turning his head so that his face was no longer buried against the pillow, he spoke, “We broke up.”
“Why?” She asked almost immediately, hoping that it didn't sound as nosy and intrusive as she felt.
Yasu was used to his sister's abrasiveness so he continued, unfazed, “He doesn't like me.” Shock hit Yasu when he received a sharp smack to the back of his head. “Hey!” he cried, turning to look at his sister as he rubbed his head.
“Don't be stupid. Of course he likes you,” she clicked her tongue in annoyance at her little brother.
“Okay,” Yasu conceded. “But he likes his ex more...”
“Yeah,” he replied miserably.
“At least he likes you though,” she told him. “That's the most important part, right? He could grow to love you more than his ex. It has to start somewhere...”
Yasu shook his head. “I doubt it. I've given him everything. I've treated him the way his ex couldn't. I've been patient with him, I've tried to show him how much I love him. But it hurts. It hurts that even though I'm giving him everything he could ever want, he's still thinking about someone else. I can't give him anything else, so what would possibly change his mind?”
Yasu's sister was silent for a few minutes as she contemplated what her little brother was telling her. Finally, she spoke and disappointment colored her voice. “I don't like this side of you.”
“What side?” Yasu asked snobbishly.
“This pitiful side. Since when do you give up so easily?” She asked him, searching his face for the answer.
“I'm not giving up easily,” Yasu replied, feeling the anger rising up in him again. “I've been trying for months. And then yesterday...” he trailed off, unsure if this was a conversation he wanted to be having with his sister.
“What? What happened yesterday?” she asked quietly, deciding not to take his anger personally.
Yasu was silent for a moment as he debated whether or not to tell her. His anger had already slipped away and all that was left was nervousness and embarrassment. Finally deciding to indulge, he spoke quietly, “We did... things...”
“Oh,” she answered. It was an awkward conversation to have with her little brother, but as a concerned older sibling, she had to ask anyway, “Were you safe?”
His face turned bright red and he spluttered as he fought to find an answer to such and embarrassing question. Finally, he managed to squeak out, “We didn't do that!”
“Well what did you do?” She asked.
Yasu blinked and then threw a pillow at her. “It's none of your business!”
“More than kissing?” She asked, not caring if she was being nosy anymore or if she was embarrassing her brother.
“But less than sex?”
He nodded again.
“Got it,” she nodded, and then grinning she added, “you whore.”
“Now isn't the time,” he told her, not finding the amusement in her commentary. Not when he was so miserable, anyway.
“Sorry,” she told him, patting his back. “So what happened?”
“He told me that he felt pressured. That he felt like it was a betrayal to his ex by doing it with me...”
“What the hell?” she commented, more to herself than to Yasu. “They broke up, right?”
“His ex just moved to Tokyo without telling him...” Yasu commented.
“Well maybe it still feels like they're dating to Subaru. Because there was no official break-up...” she suggested.
“Maybe,” Yasu agreed. “But this guy treated him like crap. He wouldn't let Subaru tell anyone about their relationship and then he just left for Tokyo without a word. I don't understand how Subaru can still love him after all of that.”
“Well, he sounds like a dick,” she said. “But love isn't that simple. You're here crying because Subaru hurt you. Has he treated you well? Of course not. Hell, I'm tempted to go beat the shit out of him.” She was pleased when that earned a small smile from her brother, and then she continued, “but you still love him right?”
In reality, Yasu felt like crying again. “But why can't I be enough? I don't want to hide our relationship and I know that I could never leave him. So why is his ex so much better? When I treat him the way he wants and the way he deserves, why can't that be enough? Why is it that no matter how hard I try, I can never be enough for Subaru?” By the time Yasu finished with his rant, he was crying again and his siter leaned forward to wrap her arms around him.
“Sometimes it's hard to let people go. Even if there were times when he was treated poorly, the good times made up for it. We can't really help who we love, Shota.”
Yasu nodded. He knew that was true. Never in a million years would he have imagined that he would fall in love with another guy. And what was so special about Subaru? What made Yasu fall in love with him of all people? He wondered if that was a question that could really be answered. “I know that.”
“Is Subaru worth it to you?”
“Of course,” Yasu replied easily.
“Then you just have to be patient. He decided to try, even if only a little. And that's because he has feelings for you, right?”
“I guess,” Yasu replied, thinking about it carefully.
“Maybe he'll realize someday that you're amazing and perfect and he'll want to be with you completely. Or maybe he'll decide that he can't do it. But isn't it best to try and figure it out before giving up? Isn't what you have special enough to keep going?”
“Well then why are you sitting here crying?” she asked.
“Because it sucks,” he answered, still feeling miserable.
“Quit feeling bad for yourself,” she scolded him, smacking his head again. “At least go talk to Subaru.”
“Fine,” he sat up, fixing his hair before standing.
“Good,” she smiled. “That's the Yasuda spirit!”
“You're such a dork,” he rolled his eyes, pushing her out of his room and following her down the stairs to the genkan. He ignored her teasing as he slipped on his shoes and headed out the door. Determined to talk to Subaru now, he took off at a jog for the music shop.
Inside, he was surprised to see Maru and Daisuke still hanging around. “What are you doing here still?”
“We were just getting ready to go talk to Ohkura. We want you to come with,” Maru told him.
Yasu shook his head. Ohkura and the band weren't a concern to him right now, and though he felt bad admitting it, he hadn't thought of them at all in the hour since Ohkura had stormed out. So he replied honestly, “I want to talk to Subaru right now.”
“Ryo's in the back talking to him. Or should we say giving him a talking to...” Daisuke answered.
Indeed when Yasu trained his ears to the back of the store, he could hear Ryo's voice coming from the stock room, sharp and angry. Yasu almost felt bad for him. He really needed to talk to Subaru, but maybe what Subaru really needed then was a lecture from a caring friend.
“Don't worry,” Maru assured him, as if able to read his thoughts. “Ryo will take care of him. I don't think he's ready to talk to you yet anyway. Just come with us. Ryo will have Subaru calmed down by the time you come back. Come with us.”
Yasu shook his head again. “Ohkura isn't going to see it your way.”
“Don't you at least want to try to convince him not to tell the entire school about you and Subaru?” Or at least ask him not to make the others ignore you?”
Honestly, Yasu didn't care if the entire school knew about him and Subaru. He'd never thought it was something worth hiding. But he did care about Subaru and he knew that keeping it a secret meant a lot to him. Even if he didn't agree, he'd go if it meant that Subaru would understand how Yasu always considered his feelings. For Subaru's sake, he would swallow whatever pride he was feeling and go talk to Ohkura. “Okay, fine.”
Yasu let Maru and Daisuke lead him from the shop and silently followed them to Ohkura's home. And though Yasu had been there before, he was still awed by the size of it. It was hard to believe that Ohkura came from such a wealthy family, but he supposed that also explained a lot about his attitude.
Maru reached forward to ring the doorbell and when the housekeeper answered the door, she replied instantly, “Master Tadayoshi is refusing visitors right now.”
Maru looked slightly annoyed to receive this information. “Tell him it's Maruyama and Ishigaki and if he doesn't want to talk that we can make that a permanent arrangement.”
Yasu stared at Maru, impressed. Since he'd met Maru, he'd always been silly and goofy and at times, very hard to take seriously. But in the past few days, he'd proved that he was more. No wonder Sara was suddenly so interested!
The housekeeper looked horrified at the prospect of having to tell Ohkura something so rude, but she turned and left anyway, returning a few minutes later to direct them to Ohkura's bedroom.
Once inside, Ohkura immediately cast a look at Yasu and turned angrily towards Maru and Daisuke. “What's he doing here?”
“We brought him here,” Maru replied, stating the obvious.
“There was no point,” Ohkura told him. “I'm not letting him back in the band.”
“That's fine,” Maru stated non-nonchalantly. “We actually just came to tell you that you're out of the band.”
Ohkura stared blankly at Maru for a few seconds before questioning in a low voice, “What?”
Both Daisuke and Yasu were staring at Maru in shock as he continued. “We're tired of you making all of the decisions yourself. We didn't want Subaru out of the band and we don't want Yasu out either. They're both talented and you let them go because of your giant ego. You don't care about the band and since you don't mind finding new members all the time, you can just go start a new band. We'll keep Yasu.”
“Maru,” Ohkura looked at him, a hurt expression crossing his face. “You're not serious...”
“I am,” Maru nodded. “I wanted to be in the band because I thought it would be fun. But you just wanted your own little dictatorship and you squeezed the fun out of everything with your pride.”
“So then that's it” Ohkura asked quietly.
Maru nodded. “You're out...”
“Even if you have to look for a new drummer?” he asked.
“You're replaceable,” Maru replied with a shrug.
“That's cruel,” Ohkura told him, staring at the floor.
“Isn't it?” Maru asked softly.
Ohkura froze at the sudden softness of Maru’s voice and his body went slack as he realized what had just happened.
“It doesn’t feel very good to just be tossed aside, does it?” Maru asked.
The drummer was silent, his pride still keeping him from admitting he was wrong, that what he’d been doing was cruel and unnecessary.
“What did Subaru ever do? Did he tell Rikiya to leave?” Maru continued trying to drive his point home to Ohkura. “You knew they were dating. Ryo, your own best friend told you, but you didn’t want to listen. You cared about your pride more than your own friends.”
“That isn’t true,” Ohkura replied weakly, his voice wavering as though he was having trouble denying the accusation.
“And Yasu too. Someone who’s been a loyal friend and a good person this whole time. You didn’t have any trouble tossing him aside when you realized you’d been lied to. But what you didn’t realize is that it’s your own fault Yasu couldn’t tell you...”
“I get it...” Ohkura mumbled.
“Do you?” Maru asked. “Because we’re beginning to wonder if you care about the band at all. Subaru was irreplaceable as a vocalist. And Yasu, well I think he’s even better than Rikiya.”
Daisuke nodded and patted Yasu on the shoulder.
A silence filled the room then as the three guests allowed a chance for everything to soak in. When Ohkura looked up, his eyes were filled with tears. “I’m sorry, Yasu.”
Yasu didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t mad at Ohkura and didn’t hold anything against him really, but the apology seemed to be an important step so he nodded at his classmate and stepped forward to pat him awkwardly on the back.
“You’re right, Maru. About everything. The band is all I have for myself,” Ohkura told them, and Yasu remembered how structured and inflexible Ohkura’s home life was. “When Rikiya left, I was so mad. I thought everything was over. I needed someone to blame, so I got angry at Subaru. And when Ryo defended him, I got mad at him too. I thought I was protecting the band. So when Yasu said he’d been dating Subaru, I thought it was going to happen all over again. I’m sorry.”
Yasu shook his head and sat down next to Ohkura on the bed. “I appreciate the apology, but I’m not the one you really hurt.”
Ohkura bit his lips. He knew that meant an apology to Subaru, but he wasn’t sure if he was ready to put his pride aside to do it.
“I meant what I said,” Maru said quietly. “About you being out of the band. I know it’s cruel and honestly, I feel bad. But until you’re ready to make things right, I don’t know if we have a place for you.”
“I understand,” Ohkura nodded. “I deserve it.”
Maru was silent for a few moments. “So what are you going to do?”
“I have to apologize to Subaru, right?” Ohkura asked, though from his tone it was more of a statement.
“Only if you want to. A sincere apology. And you have to make things right with him...”
Ohkura nodded and Yasu didn't doubt his sincerity. Maru had gotten through to Ohkura. Yasu wondered briefly how Subaru would react to Ohkura's apology. He wasn't as proud as Ohkura, but accepting an apology after everything that had happened would still be difficult. Subaru had been ignored and mistreated for almost a year because of Ohkura.
“Is he still at the shop?” Ohkura asked cautiously, looking at Yasu.
Yasu was surprised at being addressed so it took him a few moments before he was able to give a stumbling, “I think so.”
“Then I'll go talk to him,” Ohkura nodded, standing up. “Better sooner than later.”
“Wait,” Maru stopped Ohkura. “Yasu needs to talk to him first.”
Yasu stared at Maru before shaking his head, “That's okay. Ohkura can go first.”
Maru shook his head. “Your relationship is more important. Subaru was really upset after you left.”
“He was?” Yasu asked, honestly wondering if Maru was lying to him. Why would Subaru be upset? Didn't he get what he wanted? He didn't have any ties to Yasu anymore. He was free to leave for Tokyo. To be with Rikiya guilt free.
That trail of thoughts only upset Yasu again. Hadn't he already decided to make things better with Subaru? But now he was wondering if that was a good idea. He wondered if maybe it was best to just let Subaru go at this point. Ohkura was going to apologize and fix things so that Subaru wasn't left out at school anymore. Things could return to some semblance of normalcy for Subaru and he could happily leave for Tokyo after graduation. Everything his heart wanted was within reach now. So then what right did Yasu have to come in and take that away?
He shook his head at Maru. “It doesn't matter. There is no relationship anymore.”
“Because of me?” Ohkura asked meekly. “I'm fine with it if you two want to be together. It's not my business anyway.”
Yasu shook his head pitifully. “Not because of you. There are too many other problems.”
“You both said things you didn't mean,” Maru pointed out, a desperation filling his voice and Yasu had to wonder why he cared so much. He took a step closer to Yasu and put his hand on the shorter man's shoulder.
“He meant what he said,” Yasu spoke quietly. “He still has feelings for Rikiya.”
“Well, maybe that's true,” Maru admitted. “But he has feelings for you too!”
“But the feelings for Rikiya are stronger. I can't compare. I'll never be able to.”
“How do you know if you don't keep trying? I can tell Subaru cares about you. And you make him happy. Isn't that enough for now?”
Yasu shrugged. “He's planning on going to Tokyo after graduation anyway. Maybe its best to end things now.”
“Yasu,” Maru gave his friend a sharp look. “I've been busting my ass trying to protect you two so you could be together...”
“I know,” Yasu replied, having trouble keeping the guilt from his voice. “And I appreciate it. But I'm beginning to wonder what the point is when he's just going to leave in a few months.”
“A few months is a long time to change his mind,” Maru pointed out, his voice softening. “In a few months he might realize that he no longer has feelings for Rikiya.”
“Or it might hurt more when he decides to leave me...”
“Yasu,” Ohkura piped up, and Yasu looked over at him in shock. “Don't you care about him?”
“Of course I do.”
“Enough that you were willing to risk your reputation and the band...” Ohkura reminded him.
“Give Subaru a chance. You're just assuming you know what he's going to do,” Maru added.
“I do know!” Yasu cried, exasperated.
“You don't! He said something he didn't mean today so you're just going to throw it all away?” Maru asked, shaking Yasu a little.
“He meant what he said!”
“If he meant it, would he really let Ryo yell at him right now? If he knew he said nothing wrong, do you think he would sit through a lecture?”
“Well, he doesn't want to hurt me,” Yasu suggested. “Maybe he feels bad.”
“Yasu!” Daisuke spoke up for the first time. “Stop being difficult! He LIKES you.”
“Not enough,” Yasu pouted.
“I don't know what you want to hear, Yasu,” Maru sighed, and from the look on his face, Yasu knew he was a little annoyed. “I can't tell you that it'll last forever, but at least give it a chance. See where it goes.”
Yasu said nothing as he crossed his arms over his chest and continued pouting.
“Why do you think he got so mad today?” Maru asked after a few minutes.
“Because he likes Rikiya more.”
“Yasu!” Maru cried, throwing his hands up. “He was mad because you told Ohkura!”
“Right. Because obviously he didn't want people to think that we're dating.”
“You're wrong. Not for the reasons you're thinking.”
Yasu didn't like that he was being lectured, but he knew that Maru was trying to get him to learn something so he thought hard. Subaru had always wanted to keep their relationship secret. Not because he was ashamed, but because he knew what would happen if anyone found out. Subaru had nothing to lose from people knowing. He'd already become the school outcast. But Yasu... he had friends. Popularity.
“He's protecting me,” Yasu said quietly.
“Right! He cares about you. Don't doubt that he loves you. Maybe not in the way you want him to. Not yet anyway. But he loves you. He's attracted to you. Can't that be enough for now?” Maru asked, his eyes searching Yasu's face as though the answer would be right there.
Yasu thought hard. Was it enough? Would he rather have Subaru these last few months and hope that he changes his mind? Or would he rather be without him – to see him everyday at school and not be able to kiss him or hug him or reach for his hand?
“It is enough,” Yasu answer, nodding with conviction.
“I thought so,” Maru smiled.
“When did you get so wise?” Daisuke asked, staring at Maru in amazement.
“I've always been wise!” he smiled goofily. “I'm just good at hiding it!”
“Then should we go back?” Yasu asked.
“You go back and talk to Subaru. You need some alone time,” Maru told Yasu as he patted his shoulder encouragingly.
“And what about Ohkura?” Yasu asked. He was nervous about going to see Subaru. There was a chance Subaru would still be mad. Or tell him that he didn't want to see him. If someone else was there with him, Yasu thought that maybe things would be easier.
“I can talk to him tomorrow,” Ohkura nodded at Yasu in what must have been an encouraging manner.
Yasu knew that he wasn't going to get out of seeing Subaru, not with all the encouragement he was getting from the other three – Ohkura included. So when he left Ohkura's house, he left alone and with nervousness gripping him the entire train ride back to his neighborhood. As he approached the shop, he was still unsure of what he would say to Subaru. Or even if Subaru would be willing to listen to him.
When he arrived at the shop, Ryo was standing by the register, but Subaru was nowhere in sight. “You came back!” Ryo commented in a surprised tone as a grin broke out across his face.
Yasu nodded, unable to speak over the lump of nervousness that had formed in his throat.
“I told Subaru you would,” Ryo commented, stepping around the counter with a smile. “He went to your house to look for you but I suppose you two just missed each other.”
“He did?” Yasu asked, surprised by that bit of information.
Ryo nodded, clicking his tongue at Yasu's surprise. “He's not stupid. He knows he messed up!”
Yasu was silent as he contemplated Ryo's statement. Did Subaru only know he messed up because Ryo yelled at him. Curious, he timidly asked, “Because you yelled at him?”
“No,” Ryo rolled his eyes. “He knew he messed up before I even got here. Besides, if he didn't feel like he fucked up, do you think he would have let me yell at him for half an hour?”
“I don't know,” Yasu shrugged. “I don't know what to think. All I know is that Subaru meant what he said.”
Ryo nodded, and Yasu's heart dropped a little at that acknowledgment. “I know. He wouldn't have said that if he didn't really feel that way. I think it was a big mistake to jump into a sexual relationship with Subaru so fast. Don't get me wrong. I don't doubt that Subaru is attracted to you that way. But honestly, it was stupid of you to go there knowing how Subaru feels about Rikiya.”
Apparently, it was now Yasu's turn to get lectured. And maybe he deserved it, because when he'd been intimate with Subaru, there was a small part of him that only did it in hopes that it would get Subaru to forget about Rikiya. If he was honest with himself, he would let Subaru use him if it meant that there was a chance it would stop him from thinking of Rikiya. “Maybe you're right,” Yasu admitted.
“I'm only saying this because I care,” Ryo assured Yasu. “I don't want you guys to give up. I like you, Yasu. You have no idea what Subaru has been like since Rikiya left. I couldn't get him to talk, or smile or do anything. He was like a zombie. And then you came along and I don't know what you did, but he's slowly changing for the better. It's nice to see him smile again.”
“It could have been anyone to come along and pull him out of the slump. All he needed was patience and understanding.”
Ryo nodded. “That's true. The part about patience and understanding. But I think maybe you're the only person on the planet who's able to give him the patience and understanding that he needs.”
That thought made Yasu happy, but a frown quickly replaced the smile that had spread across his face. “But he'd still be happier with Rikiya.”
Ryo shook his head furiously. “Definitely not. He might think that he would be, but he wouldn't.”
“He knows what he wants and needs more than we do,” Yasu objected.
“Yasu,” Ryo began, his voice serious. “I was here during the time that Rikiya was. He didn't just hurt Subaru by leaving. He was always hurting Subaru. He wouldn't let Subaru hold his hand or touch him or even stand too close to him. Even when they were here and even though I knew about them, Rikiya still didn't let Subaru close. Maybe he was afraid of people thinking he was gay. Or maybe he was just using Subaru. I don't know. But it wasn't right and Subaru wasn't happy.”
Yasu had never heard this before. He'd always assumed that Rikiya was just as in love with Subaru, and that the shop was their secret hideaway. He'd always imagined that their love affair was passionate and romantic, but could it be that none of that was true?
“Subaru is still caught up in his feelings for Rikiya,” Ryo explained. “He's completely looking over the fact that he was never happy with Rikiya. But I see you in here, not hesitating to reach out and hug Subaru, or grab his hand or even just lean over for a kiss. And maybe you can't see how happy that makes him, but I can. Much, much happier than Rikiya ever made him.
“Yeah?” Yasu asked, his heart beating wildly in his chest at the thought that he was making Subaru so happy.
Ryo nodded. “I know there are times that Subaru hurts you. And I really wouldn't blame you if you gave up, but you love him, right?
Yasu nodded, a blush coloring his cheeks as he realized this was the first time he'd ever admitted it out loud, to another person.
“Then just give him some more time. We talked about it today. He's afraid of losing you right now. You're the only good thing in his life right now. He loves you too, he just needs to realize it.”
The idea that Subaru loved him made Yasu's heart beat so hard that for a minute he was afraid it was going to beat right out of his chest. He'd known for a while now how he felt about Subaru. He'd been suspecting that it was love for a long time now, but this was the first time he'd really admitted it and allowed the feeling to take root within him.
The bell above the door rang then, shaking Yasu from his thoughts and when he looked up, Subaru was standing in the doorway, watching him.
“You're here,” Subaru murmured, surprise filling his voice.
Yasu nodded shyly. “Yeah.”
“I'm gonna go take care of some stuff in the back,” Ryo grinned, though Subaru and Yasu were paying him no attention.
“I went to your house,” Subaru said quietly, breaking the intense eye contact with Yasu. “But you weren't home.”
“Yeah,” Yasu nodded, not knowing what else to say. An awkward silence filled the air as both young men tried to think of what to say to one another.
“I'm sorry about what I said,” Subaru finally spoke after a few minutes.
Yasu looked up, and noticed the way Subaru was staring guiltily at the floor. “You don't have to be sorry. You were just saying how you felt.”
“No,” Subaru shook his head, glancing up at Yasu. “I was just mad. I know you consider my feelings.” His voice was shaking a little as he continued. “And you were right. You're always considering my feelings. Since we met, you've always been putting my wants and needs before your own. You deserve someone who can give you the relationship you want,” Subaru continued and by this time, Yasu was fairly certain that he was crying. Yasu was about to shake his head and disagree, but Subaru cut him off. “But I'm selfish and I don't want to let you go.”
Yasu's heart started beating wildly in his chest. Didn't that mean something? Sure, Subaru still had feelings for Rikiya, but wasn't it encouraging that Subaru couldn't let go of Yasu? If he felt like this now, how could he possibly be able to leave with Rikiya in a few months?
Without even thinking, Yasu rushed forward and wrapped his arms around Subaru, catching the other man off guard. The surprise only lasted a moment though, before Subaru was wrapping his arms around Yasu, clinging desperately to his back as though he truly believed Yasu was in danger of vanishing. Burying his face against the juncture where Subaru's shoulder and neck met, Yasu couldn't decide if he wanted to laugh or cry.
“You're not going to leave, right?” Subaru asked quietly.
Yasu lifted his head from Subaru's shoulder and shook it. “I'm not going to.” He wondered if Subaru realized how happy he'd just made him. He wanted to tell Subaru how he felt, that he loved him. The words were right at the tip of his tongue but he held it back. Subaru had just given him a lot and he didn't want to ruin it by telling him something he didn't want to hear.
“Thank you,” Subaru spoke softly, his fingertips massaging the small of Yasu's back. “I want to give you what you deserve. I want to try.”
Yasu looked up in surprise and his eyes met Subaru's. He wondered if it meant what he thought it meant. If Subaru really wanted to put 100% effort into the relationship. As he searched Subaru's face, he knew that was exactly what Subaru was promising. A grin stretched across Yasu's face.
“I can't promise I won't slips and mess up,” Subaru admitted. “Please be patient with me.”
Yasu nodded enthusiastically, and still smiling, he pulled Subaru over to a more private corner of the shop. When they were out of sight, he pulled Subaru into his body and kissed him full on the lips. Any initial hesitations and reservations Subaru usually had weren't there as he wrapped his arms around Yasu and returned the kiss with equal enthusiasm.
When they finally broke apart for air, Subaru was smiling, a little shyly, and Yasu felt happy. He was tempted to lean in for another kiss but he stopped himself. If he started with that, he'd only want more. And for now, it was best to take things slowly.
Ryo peeked his head out from the stockroom and nosily asked, “Did you work everything out?”
“Yeah,” Subaru rolled his eyes, grabbing Yasu's hand, and pulling him back towards the front of the shop.
“Is it safe to come out now or are you two doing something I don't want to see?”
“It's safe,” Subaru called, his voice playfully indignant as Ryo emerged from the back grinning.
“I should go now anyway,” Yasu replied shyly.
Subaru nodded, “I'll see you tomorrow morning then?”
Yasu smiled and nodded, “I'll see you then.”
Subaru leaned forward and gave Yasu a small kiss, earning an “Awwwww!” from Ryo.
“Bye!” Yasu giggled happily as he bounced to the door, turning away after Subaru placed a smack on the side of Ryo's head.
As Yasu walked home, he couldn't keep the smile off his face. He'd been so afraid of losing Subaru only hours earlier but in the end, he'd gotten a promise of devotion from Subaru. Maybe Subaru would change his mind in a week or two. The idea of that happening terrified Yasu. But for now, Subaru wanted to be with him. He wanted to try. And that was good enough for Yasu. It was good enough for now.