"Kisa-san...are you sure about this?"
"Sure?" Kisa Shouta repeated in his mind. He was damn sure alright. His heart though was the one protesting. "Yes."
Kisa smiled. He didn't know when he started learning to smile like this. He had come to the point that he could even deceive his own self.
"There are times Yukina...that we must choose career over relationships...this opportunity may never arise again for you..."
Wow. Kisa would have climbed the walls if not for his legs really being weak. He sounded like a proper adult. Yes, he should. He was an adult anyway. And what could he possibly offer as Yukina's future if he tells the latter to 'don't go'?
"Kisa-san," Yukina started, his pretty eyes in a downcast manner. His lashes were making this flutter of shadows over his handsome face. "Tell me the truth...this isn't about career or anything."
After a long pause, Yukina raised his pale brown eyes, locking gazes into Kisa's unrelenting gaze.
"Is it because you're tired of me? Another man? Another reason?" Yukina asked calmly, but his fists were in a ball. His veins in his throat seem to be too tense. "If long distance relationship is the problem, I'm sure we can work it out..."
Kisa sighed. Yukina was really still young to realize certain fears of an old guy like him.
The center table seperating the two lovers, the two soon over lovers was occupied by certain documents; passport, school papers, recommendations, and sealed envelope with a very prestigious seal cut open. Beside Yukina's were Kisa's travel pamphlets. They were preparing for a long out-of- the-country vacation before this awesome offer came.
"Scholarship for Harvard Art School? That's the same...even greater than winning the lottery..."
Kisa narrowed his eyes at the passport for so long.
"Four years. Who knows what will happen in four years?" Kisa smiled wryly inside. "I can't even contain my worries when he's just right beside me. What more...being on the other side of the planet?"
The wind outside was slightly knocking at the closed window panes. This winter felt far too longer than the previous years. And no matter how Kisa look at it, it will become even longer this time. The winter in him was about to come and probably stay until he forgets. If he ever forget that is.
"Kisa-san...if you're worried of me cheating...absolutely you can be sure that I won't!"
Kisa pursed his lips.
"Yuki...this is your dream right?"
"You should focus. Focus everything to it and make your parents proud."
"But why do we have to break-up? You don't trust me at all that I can hang on to us, do you? Haven't I already proven so many times how much I value this relationship?"
The raven on the other side stood and slowly walked towards the window. The window was with mist. He started circling a finger to it. Round and round, clearing the cold surface. Kisa couldn't believe how calm he was. Maybe he'd really matured.
"You really won't go if I don't tell you the 'real reason'?" Kisa said softly, as if talking to the gentle snow outside falling from the dark sky down the dark ground.
So long a moment passed. So tense and suffocating that the sound of the second-hand of the wall clock has gotten louder against their ears.
Kisa slightly opened his mouth. The real reason he cannot say. The real reason too hurtful.
"I just woke up one day realizing..." Kisa's lips curled into an apologetic smile. "... it doesn't have to be you."
The prince of Kisa's life turned to look at his documents on the center table. One by one, silently, cautiously, he picked them up.
"So this is just my worth?" Yukina said, almost sounding like he would laugh. "A year and you're tired of me," the man gritted his teeth. "A year of fucking each other like idiots in heat...that's all there is to it? This is what this is about?"
"I warned you before didn't I?" Kisa softly said. "I warned you that this is the kind of person I am."
After Yukina had gathered his belongings into his bag, he stood. He stood but never faced Kisa. He just let his broad back do the talking. Quiet. Sad.
"After all this time I thought that what we have is already real..."
"I thought so too..."
The tall man took huge strides away. One huge step after another until he reached the door that he and Kisa had so many times opened in a hurry just to be connected. This time, Yukina would open it for the opposite reason.
Yukina Kou gripped the knob tightly and uttered the worst slap any gay person could receive. It wasn't just directed to any particulars. It was directed to everyone.
"Thank you for teaching me...that a gay relationship is nothing but a waste of time."
When the door closed with a slam, the breath that Kisa had been holding has been finally released. The face reflected against the window panes with the dark night for a background was not visible. The bowed head was silent. Yet his shoulders were quivering as he bit down on his lower lip.
Kisa continued biting down hard to his own lip. He could only think of this way to stop himself from breaking into an unsightly man crying.
He couldn't count the times he had broken up with someone else.
But this was the first time that he thought he had taken out his own heart and thrown it out the window.
The floor has become dotted by small droplets from the raven's eyes. But he refused to let his voice out even though no one would hear him.
He didn't know there kind of pain in this world that tears from the inside.
It felt like a failed suicide.
You're left depressed and incomplete.
He was on the rooftop. Unfazed by the chilling breeze blowing hard against him. He chose to spend his lunch and other breaks in there. Alone, only staring at the sky counting the number of airplanes that had come and go over his head.
Kisa took a small bite of his soba bread and watched the disapppearing sight of the recent plane that passed over.
It's been two weeks since Yukina Kou had flown to the US. A four-year program like no other, almost only given to those prodigies. Somewhere in his heart, there was a small voice wondering if Yukina was on that plane landing back to Japan's soil. The man would just start shaking his head. Talk about the impossible.
"You're the worst."
A sound of a steel door being opened came into Kisa's ears. He slightly looked at the direction and saw his co-worker Onodera Ritsu walking towards him.
"Kisa-san, I knew you'd be here!" the hardworking brunette exclaimed as he hugged himself. "Wah...so cold out here!"
Kisa grinned and continued looking towards the unusually dark midnoon sky.
"What are you even doing here Kisa-san? It'd be bad if you get sick," Onodera said, handing a can of hot coffee towards the raven.
The shorter man took the coffee and warmed his hands with it.
"I'm counting the planes that are passing over our company building."
"Ehhhh?" Onodera looked up, searching for a plane. "I don't see any..."
Kisa shook his head and drew a deep breath. "There are more or less 20 planes I see when I am here during lunch and breaks."
"All in all I've already seen 240..."
"I see...uhm...but why?"
Kisa opened the can in one motion and took a short sip first.
Onodera slightly frowned and looked up again. He knew something's off with his co-worker and friend but he couldn't bring himself to ask the man outwardly either. So there he was, accompanying the raven wait and watch for planes for a reason he knew nothing about.
This habit of Kisa had become so natural. He didn't even notice it until Onodera Ritsu was again beside him, asking him a thing that he had been doing like a freak.
"That plane that passed by just now..." Onodera mumbled.
"It's the 7200th..." Kisa said as if he was in a trance as he was typing the number in his phone for reminder. "7200th...7200th...?"
Kisa ended up looking back at the sky.
It simply meant one thing.
Kisa Shouta had been enduring for a year already. But the pain didn't lessen one bit.
"I think you're smart enough to know why I wanted to have this talk with you."
The raven was on his way back home after work that early morning, one year ago. He had bought a scarf that he was imagining would look great on his lover. He was even smiling, giggling to himself while holding with his other hand a handful of brochures and pamphlets about the easiest and most affordable way to travel come Spring.
But all his smiles faded in an instant when he realized who the man was coming straight at his direction was. The man was tall. The man had good built. He had an air that could shut everyone up.
It was like Kisa Shouta had seen a Yukina Kou in his 50s. The dazzling prince would turn into this regal, authoritative King. So much so that when the man asked Kisa if they could have a tea, he only managed to nod.
"I'm Yukina Shou, Kou's father."
The man didn't have to say it. Kisa was already expecting that as he sat rigidly on his chair.
"Kisa Shouta-san?" the man called, his voice was calm but still had the same effect of clawing at Kisa's heart. "You're the person that my son is currently seeing, aren't you?"
The raven only managed to nod, again. There was something in this man that was making it hard to lie.
The other man on the other side of the round table looked around. The coffee shop was still with a few customers. The mellow jazz music playing in the background was to his taste. The aromatic coffee filling the atmosphere was also to his liking. He liked everything. Except the thing at hand.
"Kisa-san, do you seriously love my son?"
Kisa's stiff expression almost crumbled into a cry. How could he say the answer he wanted to shout in the world if his tongue had already gone numb in his mouth?
"I know you're not a bad person. But somehow..."
The King took the coffee cup gracefully and brought it to his lips. His black suit, his well selected tie, everything, intimidated Kisa.
"Can I ask you something?"
"What would the two of you do when you reach old age?"
"Who would take care of yourselves?"
"It's obvious the two of you can't have children. Adopting is another matter."
"Kisa-san...as a father, I only wish that my son could have a family he could be proud of to introduce to the world. Have children, reach his full potential and have a full life..."
The King smiled slightly. His tone was understanding yet stern.
"Please...Kou had been a normal healthy young man all this time..."
The raven's fingers have started digging themselves into the scarf he bought.
"Kou's a promising artist. He'd meet many people in his field. Go places and succeed..." the older man looked out and smiled at the little girl who happened to pass by. "Kisa-san...do you know how I learned about you and Kou's relationship?"
"A full scholarship for him to Harvard arrived in our mailbox two days ago. Of course the whole family's happy. But he said he won't go."
"'My partner is a very stubborn one who has for some reason a low self-esteem. That person would end up thinking all funny things...' is what that son of mine said," Yukina Shou pinned his gaze at Kisa. "So I did a bit of searching to know who's this 'awesome' person. And it turned out to be another man."
"Kisa-san...you're a smart person I am sure. You'd know what's best for Kou who's important for both us..."
"If you really care about Kou...think outside of the box and consider the future ahead of you. Please don't take this against me I'm just a father. But...Love between two men...it's only good for a short while...don't go against the normal flow of things..."
The King had said his piece and stood silently declaring that this one-sided talk was over. He grabbed his case and walked away regally like how he came.
Meanwhile, Kisa Shouta just remained seated on his chair. He had been only staring at one thing. And that one thing was nothing.
In a public place, tears started streaming down his cheeks and chin. They silently landed to the scarf on Kisa's lap.
"I couldn't say a thing..." Kisa thought, his brows meeting in a painful frown. "I couldn't say a thing..."
Because they were all true.
In Yukina's sphere of relationships and dreams and hardwork and bright future, Kisa was the only blotch.
"...isa-san?" a voice from somewhere called. "Kisa-san?"
"...?" Kisa blinked at the worried green eyes looking at him.
"Kisa-san...why are you suddenly..." Onodera muttered in panic.
The raven turned around and wiped his unsightly face with the sleeves of his jacket.
"The cold is too much don't you think Ricchan? Let's head back inside!"
One year. One year, two months, two weeks and three days to be exact. He'd been in this foreign land for that long and he still couldn't get used to the life. He had to adjust at everything. Even his eating pattern, his greeting pattern everything. The last thing he might need was too actually change his entire self. He was feeling that he was becoming more and more of a stranger even to himself.
What was more taxing? He'd been considered gifted back in Japan but arriving here in this place for the chosen, keeping up was blood and more blood. Everyone was just so competitive and gifted that he appeared to be a total commoner with nothing but his outward appearances to show.
He'd surely have burned a hole on his canvas if stares could.
"This is my dream..." Yukina said so in a barely audible voice. A chant. A cheer. But it didn't do any good.
If he was living his dream, why could he only feel pressure and burden? He was more happy painting back in Japan. Painting back in the apartment house while glancing back to a certain someone's sleeping form.
"Forget it. They're just good at yanking you around..." he looked around the unkempt room and glanced back to his canvas. "In the end...it's all about the flesh..."
"Hey yoh dude...what's about the flesh?"
The voice came from a tall guy with slight freckles over his nose. He had red hair and pale green eyes. He loves Japanese anime so much that the phrases he first used towards Kou were 'Mada Mada da neee', trying to imitate that Ryoma Echizen. Yukina found it funny and was happy to be with a room mate who reminds him of home at least.
Yukina shrugged. "Nothing..."
"Oh...well...if that's the case then it's fine. You seem to be too tense you know..." the red-head threw his weight on a large single sofa and stretched while yawning. "...after being in the English language program...I'm sure your vocabulary widened. But lately you're only 'nothing', 'I'm fine'...what's up with you man?"
"See?!" the redhead exclaimed, throwing a pillow at Yukina's feet.
"By the way Greg...I've placed your mails on the dining table. They're scattered in the doorway earlier, mail slot's full."
"Ooooohhhh?!" the red-head called Greg stood hurriedly, excited and giddy. "My postcards are already here? Damn it...takes a month to receive a couple!"
Yukina listened to the sound of Greg's heavy footsteps as the latter dashed towards the messy dining area. Nutella, pita bread, pasta, and more bread. Do westerners hate rice that much? Yukina would certainly die that he even took the trouble of going to Manhattan just to go to Mitsuwa Marketplace. It takes some more than three hours from Massachusetts but he didn't care. He'd buy Japanese grown rice and other stuff. It was also an excuse to take his mind off things.
"Wow...I got one from South Korea!" Greg shouted from the other room. "Turkey...Russia...ohhh...I got something from Japan too!" Greg shouted even more excitedly. "Hey Kou! I can see these weird scribbles here...read it for me!"
"Then go over here...I'm busy."
"Nah...Kou you come over here!"
Yukina shook his head and sighed. Greg was nice but can be a little pushy at times. He wouldn't stop talking if Yukina didn't just do what he was asked. So in the end, he left his blank canvas and went to the dining area.
Greg who was sitting on one of the chairs with his feet on the chair as well, extended the postcard.
Yukina looked at it closely. The music note for a stamp, with 'Nippon' on it...made him miss the land even more.
"Hey...I didn't ask you to reminisce! I asked you to read what that small phrase meant!"
The prince that was being bossed around by the red-general smiled in defeat. He could not get any inspiration anyway, might just join this easy going, genius yet not-so-obvious guy.
"It says 'Think of the time you're wasting by over thinking. Just do it.'"
"Really?" Greg exclaimed. "Wow...but...how do you read it?"
"In Japanese, how do you read it? I find Japanese sounding so romantic you know...makes me want to throw Japanese characters on my next project!"
"I already translated it for you..."
"Please? Promise, I'll clean the kitchen today!"
Yukina raised a brow. "You moron...it's your duty, these are all your mess."
"Come on...let's hear it. Besides...you miss talking in your tongue, don't you?"
The Japanese man slightly smiled, acknowledging the truth. So slowly...the words slipped out from his mouth like a breeze.
"Kangaete sugi Jikan wo muda ni shite shimau no ha mottainai..."
"Awwwww..." Greg said, squirming like he just had been confessed to. "So much better sounding...I'm filled with all inspiration now!"
"Kou, write me on a piece of paper 'I love Japan' in Japanese characters okay?"
"I'll copy what you'd write and send it back to that lovely person. I think I'd marry her, though she said she already has a partner..."
"Marry her right away? You just got a postcard from her..." Yukina sighed. "It couldn't even be considered 'meeting'."
"Shut yer trap brother. You don't know the feeling of a Japanese fanatic...I even signed up for the postcard-exhange thing. Randomly waiting for a random postcard from a random person is cool. It's sooooo full of art! It's no coincidence that out of the 99 billion people on earth, she got my address to exchange postcards with!"
There went Greg's exaggeration.
"Anyway..." Yukina looked back at the postcard. "Then your bride is 'Kisa Shou-"
Yukina looked down at the return address. He would have definitely thought that it must be some guy with just the same name. With all the same Kanjis used. But the address, that address that he coud write even without looking and thinking was there, glaring back at him.
"What?" Greg asked, looking concerned at the change of color on his room mate's face.
"Hello, nice to meet you Greg-san," said the wriggly greeting written in English. "I'm Kisa. It's nice to know you like Japanese culture. This is a postcard I got from travelling in Main land China last month though. My partner enjoys photography too so...I am using my partner's photos as my post card. Hope you like it. -Kisa Shouta"
"Give it up..." Yukina whispered. "He's got a partner already."
The lost prince of east, looking so out of place in the west felt his throat tightening.
"He's got a partner already?"
"Kou? Hey man...you okay?"
Greg frowned and started picking his mess on the table. When Yukina was this silent, there was something scary in the man and he didn't want to make trouble.
"Anyway...you seem to be too much home sick..." Greg forced a laugh. "You can hang on to that postcard for a while. But return it! He or she, I'd still send a thank you post card in return."
The sound of plates being thrown into the washer started fading in Yukina's ears. He only stared at the messy handwriting, the few erasures that was a proof of the writer trying so hard to write it. He stared at it so hard that he started not seeing it.
"Am I that easy to get over with?"
Because Greg was mainly a scatter-brained guy, receiving a few more postcards later in the week from other people in Japan made him forget all about Kisa Shouta. That post card was just quietly lying on Yukina Kou's study table.
One night, after an excruciating day at the university, getting by for a day was already a chore, Yukina sat stiffly in front of his study. His eyes at the ceiling.
Spring was almost there outside his window, but he felt like he was having a blizzard inside his head.
"Kou Yukina...what's wrong?" asked the Harvard University professor who actually recommended him for that scholarship. "Lately...the projects you're making...lack something that was there when I first saw them."
"Sorry Professor..." Yukina said aloud as his line of vision darted to the pretty postcard on his table. "I am just...angry...I can't think of anything at all..."
He had deleted every fucking photo in his phone about that man. All his messages, all their videos, everything. If only erasing memories can be done at will, he would have done so. To think that he actually fell this hard for another guy. He must be crazy.
The man slowly picked the postcard. With cold eyes he once again read the nice message on it. Yukina inhaled to calm himself. Little by little, he could feel that love turn into hate. It was burning in him.
That man who turned him into a gay, he'd make him pay someday.
Kisa Shouta was very excited when he noticed his mailbox with a couple of envelopes and cards. Tired from work, it all vanished as he looked into them one by one as he walked deeper into his quiet apartment.
"Ah...from Malaysia...Italy...Massachusetts?" Kisa said, sitting on the sofa. He ignored the other mails and focused on his postcards first. "Let's read the one from Massachusetts first...that Japanese culture lover..."
"Hi Kisa-san, I loved your post card. Your partner is one talented photographer, isn't he? It's nice you two can have time to travel around. Life here in the US is kinda taxing but I'll get by. Let's exchange postcards from now on okay? -Greg Dawson
ps. Won't your partner be bothered you're exchanging postcards with his captured pictures? Still, waiting for the next one."
The raven smiled. He felt kind of lighter now than how he used to. Doing something new, being with new people did him a lot of good.
"No Greg-san," Kisa said, eyes bright. "My partner wouldn't mind really. He wanted to share it after all. He's understanding...I'm really lucky."
After shuffling into the postcards, a deep yet light voice came from Kisa's bedroom. It sounded full of love and care.
"You're home Kisa-san? Wait a minute...I haven't prepared breakfast!"
Kisa stood and went to the bedroom where his current lover was. "It's alright take your time! By the way...I got new postcards today!"
"Greg Dawson-san, I got your Spring postcards. They look very beautiful. In return I'll be sending the Hanami here in Japan. You mentioned you're losing hope? I don't know what it is...but please hang in there.-Kisa Shouta"
"That New York night view is very pretty. Summer here in Japan is too hot. I am sending you this picture that we've taken in one of the hotsprings in Hokkaido. Hokkaido's in the north so it's cold there.- Kisa Shouta"
"Time is so fast Dawson-san. Why are you bothered about that person? Did he do something bad? For sure...he didn't mean it. I hope this picture of an Early Christmas card can cheer you up. -Kisa Shouta"
"Mr. Kou Yukina? Are you even listening to me?"
When Yukina came to his senses, the professor who recommended him frowned at him. The thick volumes of art books at the back behind glass coverings looked scary for some reason. Since when was Yukina scared of art books?
It was November then. Maple trees burning around. A majestic sight to behold. But the only sight that Yukina could see was the disappointment on that professor's face.
"Kou...why don't you go take a break?"
"A break...a pause...go back to Japan for the time being..."
"S-sir...what do you mean?"
The man's blue eyes narrowed. "If you fail with the next exhibit, your scholarship can be revoked. Find yourself first and come back here with that passion I saw in your paintings before."
"Kou...think about the future..." the professor had said before Yukina could even open the door. Did the man did that for more dramatic effect? Yukina was too annoyed. "...many students dream to be in your shoes. Don't waste it."
The lost prince gritted his teeth, managing to only nod. He couldn't anymore take that everyone in the world was telling him to 'think about the future'.
His father. HIs family. His friends. Even that man.
It sounded so floral and good in the ears. But just how do you do it? Just how do you think about the future?
After applying for a temporary leave of absence, the early winter was already there when it was approved, it was the end of November.
The leaves of the trees were nowhere to be seen. The chill biting to the bones.
Greg Dawson who have used all his glue for pastings stamps decided to come into Yukina's room to look for one. He had become an avid postcard sender that he found it better than going out with girls who only wanted to have a boyfriend 'studying in Harvard'.
He looked around and finally saw one on his roommate's study table.
There was a postcard that got him insanely curious.
"Kisa Shouta-san," he read aloud. " I'll be visiting Japan in the last week of December. I'm excited to see your happy life. See you...-Greg Dawson"
Greg frowned and scratched his bushy red head.
"Since when did I decide to go to Japan?"
There were a couple of birds flying in the sky when Kisa looked up. That habit of counting planes had bene forgotten. That habit of shedding a tear or two also was a thing in the past. He was better this way. He had moved on in resorting to things that others would consider crazy.
But who cares? It wasn't like he was troubling anyone?
"See you next week Kisa-san!" Onodera Ritsu greeted. The man's cheeks were flushed from their teams New Year's drinking spree last night. The brunette couldn't even maintain a straight walk. Good thing their boss was there, picking Ritsu up when the latter was about to kiss the ground.
"Who's the stupid dolt who brags he's good at drinking?! Stand properly!"
Kisa giggled. He could see. He could tell.
"Happy New Year Takano-san...will you manage? Ricchan's pretty drunk..."
Takano Masamune, who for some reason have the same scarf as the one wrapped around Ritsu's neck sighed but his eyes looked happy.
"Sure. He's just loud and noisy but honest when he's drunk. It's not a problem...and honestly..." Takano smiled meaningfully. "...it's perfect."
Kisa couldn't help but blush. He was too speechless the only thing he could do was watch his teammates get smaller as they walked to their own directions.
And there Kisa Shouta was. The sudden silence of the first new year's early morning enveloping him.
"Ah...I should hurry home. He'll be mad...it's new year after all..."
Blowing puffs of misty air in front of him, Kisa was surprised to see the mail man in front of his door. He was holding a few envelopes and cards that he was trying to insert into the mail slot.
"Ah! Excuse me!" Kisa called. "It's alright...I can take it here."
The mail man, young and looking eager to get home himself looked relieved.
"Really? Thanks! Happy New Year!"
Once the raven was alone in the hallway, he shuffled into the postcards first thing. Postcards arrive a month later after being sent so he was excited what the postcard from Massachusetts would be saying.
Kisa's eyes ran from left to right as he read the things written for so many times.
"Huh? Greg-san in Japan at the end of December?"
Kisa Shouta hugged his mails and cards and fished for his key while in deep thought.
"What do I do? I just got this...I haven't made any welcoming preparations at least..."
The man pushed the door open carefully. Mindlessly about to close the door, Kisa was surprised to feel the door refusing to close. When he peered outside, someone was holding the knob back open.
"Happy New Year...Kisa-san."
Everything that Kisa was holding fell on the floor. Scattered and in a mess they made a carpet for Yukina Kou who stepped on them without qualms. He went in without being invited. And Kisa, the shock man he was, could only watch as his home was being invaded by this supposed to be already stranger.
"Why the shocked face?"
Yukina looked different. His hair was longer. He seemed to have gone a bit taller. His built bigger. Everything in him was different. Including the way how he looked at Kisa.
"Am I not allowed to check on my ex in a holiday?" Yukina asked softly. The smell of early morning and faint liquior wafting around the man. "Can't you greet me back?"
"Yukina..." Kisa mumbled, stepping back a little. "Why are you here...?"
"Why?" Yukina crossed his arms and smiled. "Just why really? I am not really sure myself."
There was a long silence. Only the sound of papers could be heard every time Yukina moved. His shoes dirtying them.
"You look good Kisa-san. Your lover must have been really into you."
"Well...look at me...I tried getting into bed with those really sexy western women..." Yukina said as if boasting. "They really are mature in a lot of places than the Japanese...but guess what? Couldn't get it up at all."
Kisa grew stiff from the change in Yukina's expression.
"I've turned into someone like this...but here you are happy and well with your new partner? It's...irritating."
"Yukina...please...leave..." Kisa whispered, turning to look at the door to his bedroom. Yukina noticed this.
The prince bowed and sighed. He looked really in pain.
"Yukina," Kisa called sternly this time. "Please leave. You shouldn't be here. We're over...remember?"
"Tell me why we broke up again will you?" Yukina raised his drunken gaze while tugging at his chest. "Cause I can't seem to understand..."
Kisa, whose eyes had gone reddish but refused to yield looked away. He had his fists in a ball. And though his voice was shaky, he managed to let it out like how a composed adult should.
"You have many opportunities...you're young. You'll know along the way that someone like me...is not necessary in the future to come..."
Yukina's eyes narrowed into slits of anger.
"Future...future...future..." Yukina mumbled as if the words were foreign to him. "Future...?"
The raven held his ground, his lips quivering.
The next deep breath Kisa took, the darkblonde had already filled the distance between them. Standing face to face, with Yukina glaring at Kisa intensely, Yukina gripped the small shoulders with his own shaking hands.
"What future?" Yukina asked, his eyes hidden in the shadows of his own hair. "...I can't see it at all Kisa-san. Didn't you know? You've been at the center of everything I do! But you...you had the nerve to just toss it like that..."
Kisa looked up unable to say anything.
"How's that lover of yours?" Yukina continued, his grip getting tighter. "Better than me in cooking? Better looking? Better in bed?" Yukina looked straight into Kisa's glassy eyes. "After all... you only cared about fucking!"
"Shut up..." Kisa whispered. "You don't know...what you're talking about..."
"Are you happy?" Yukina asked. "With how things are now?"
Kisa gulped. "Yes. Very..."
"You're home Kisa-san?" said a voice from Kisa's room. "I haven't prepared breakfast yet!"
Yukina smiled. His eyes weren't.
"Oh..good timing, I want to see that guy you replaced over me."
"Yukina!" Kisa shouted. But was too late and a lot weaker than Yukina who was able to brush him off with no sweat at all.
In a split second, Yukina Kou was before that room again. The room that he used to share with Kisa Shouta. The room he always thought would belong to him. He narrowed his eyes, inhaling to calm himself. The open door showed a glimpse of a messy bed. And Yukina unceremonously opened the door wider to get a better view.
And there Yukina saw...nothing. No one. None.
"...?" Yukina stepped in.
"You home Kisa-san? Wait a minute...I haven't prepared breakfast yet!"
The voice said again.
Kisa turned his back from his room and hid his face into the palm of his hands. He couldn't hold it any longer. He ended up crying.
Yukina didn't notice it at the first time. The second time made him cringe. The voice was sickeningly familiar. Why not? Pray tell why not?
It was his voice. The phone on the bed was alarming with the recording of his voice he could not remember taken when.
"You home Kisa-san? Wait a minute...I haven't prepared breakfast yet!" the alarm went again.
With questioning eyes, Yukina turned to the shaking raven outside the door. He was confused. He was lost. Taking little more steps into the room, he noticed the small table by the corner of the room full of brochures that had been cut out. The places in the brochures were missing. They were brochures that the two of them had checked out when all was still well for them.
"You home Kisa-san?" the alarm continued before it went to snooze. "Wait a minute...I haven't prepared breakfast yet!"
Kisa was already on the floor, hiding himself in his palms. All his efforts to live a normal life, convincing himself that Yukina was still there was all out in the open.
Yukina had slowly stood beside Kisa, throat full, eyes feverish.
"Kisa-san? What...are you doing?"
"I can't really have you no matter how much I want you Yukina...I can't..."
Yukina looked up, fighting the urge to cry himself. This was...too much.
"I can't have you ruining your family relationship just because of me...a family is something you could never replace..."
"You father has found out about us...I have no choice..." Kisa hoarsely mumbled in between his sobs. "You got the scholarship, your father found out...he's...he's against us...who wouldn't?"
Yukina closed his eyes. One tear sliding down his cheek.
"There's no future being with me...Yukina..."
The tall man ended up resting his back against the wall, and slowly, like the snow outside that started falling, he fell on the floor. A foot distance from Kisa's shaking figure.
"Kisa-san...have it ever crossed your mind...that there is really no future for me...when you're not around?"
Kisa didn't answer.
"My whole stay in the US, I did nothing but play Jack. I can't do anything. Everything I do was meaningless..."
The raven only answered in hiccups.
"Sure...I got a prestigious scholarship in a prestigious university...in the US no less..." Yukina continued, still looking at the ceiling. "Sure I am one of the 'chosen', I am a cream of the crop...but Kisa-san...you know what? I was never happy."
Kisa just hugged his knees all the more.
"I was happier being the normal art student here...I was happier doing a parttime job, happier with all the workload...I was happier...so much happier when I was still living with you..."
Kisa sniffed, tried to fix the mess he was making of himself. But he just couldn't.
"Yuki...this is what I am fearing about...that your family finds out..." Kisa gritted. "...I...I don't want to ruin your family...do you understand? They have so many expectations from you..."
Yukina looked shortly at Kisa's direction and frustrated, scratched the side of his neck. The force was too much it started turning red. He couldn't take this.
"Kisa-san, I love my family, I respect my father...I am grateful to them...very much..." the man reached out to the dark hair of the man beside him, patting the head like how one would to calm and assure a child. "They're important...but what can I do? When I could simply not move forward without you?"
Kisa raised his head a bit, looking at Yukina with unmasked longing.
"Please...Kisa-san...please..." Yukina urged in a soft voice that sounded like a cry already. "...let's face this together? Huh? Coz...I'm really nothing...I've seen it firsthand...I am totally nothing...that future...I've already engraved it that it'd be with you...please...please..."
"Yukina...I'm scared. I'm so scared for you..." Kisa whispered. "I don't want to be the cause of your ruin..."
The prince, who had laid his heart out in the open, pulled the small quivering man into a tight, suffocating embrace worth of two years.
"I'm more scared of continuing this life without you..." Yukina buried his face in between Kisa's neck. Inhaling the familiar scent. Inhaling the scent of home. That scent of love that makes him draw pictures and scenes that inspires others as well.
"Kisa-san...do you still love me?"
The raven didn't answer. He only clung to Yukina so tight as if he didn't want to let go forever. No words. No sweet promises. But that was more than enough for Yukina who had his eyes opened of what was more important for him.
Sure, his career would have been better with that scholarship and perhaps, many people would mock him for this decision. But what can he do? When that very inspiration was here in his arms and not there?
"I love you..." Yukina said in his heart. "I love you... you have no idea..."
There it happened. The King. The Prince. Sitting across each other as if a war invading the protected kingdom's reputation was brewing. The Queen was there too, silently eyeing the enemy. The Prince's brother was more neutral than the rest.
"Kou...you can't have a family with a man..." Yukina Shou said aloud. He didn't mind. They were in a private Ryotei's room. Solely for this family meeting, they went here. "You just can't..."
The queen who was looking pale eyed her son with compassion. But that was all that she can offer. She didn't, in one second of her life, thought that her son would be like this.
Yukina Kou's brother, dashing even in just in his simple black shirt and jeans chewed his youkan as if he was watching a film. He was an observing man. Silent yet very sharp.
"Dad," Kou began in his most respectful voice. His left hand, squeezing Kisa's hand from under the table tightly. "I really believe...that a family...is where my heart is...I have a family already..."
"A family?" Yukina Shou repeated and in one fluid motion, looked at Kisa. "With him?"
Yukina Kou, the brother and the queen looked at the King without breathing.
"I don't want to hear that word...I don't..."
Kisa chewed on his lower lip about to cry. He had wore his best suit for this. He had acted the best he could. Just because he was a man, he couldn't considered a par of this family too? Was everything just both his and Kou's delusions?
"Dad..." Yukina Kou pleaded. "Don't be like this..."
The King looked away and stood without announcement. "Do what you want. You're old enough."
"I don't want to see you for a while though...I am angry...really angry..." slowly the King looked at the hands entertwined that got visible when Kou stood as well. "But...you said you're happy. I just wish you don't regret this decision you're doing right now. Homosexual relationship isn't and will never be easy..."
Kisa on the spot, though he didn't want to, shed tears down his face.
The queen stood following her husband, only smiling awkwardly at Kisa. She had eyes for person's personalities. She knew Kisa was deeply in love with her son. She had many expectations. But she wasn't the one who's living her son's life. Whether she's a parent, what right did she have to sever that tie between the two?
The crowned-prince, Yukina Kou's elder brother whistled. "Wow...that ended faster than I expected."
Kou fell back on his seat and sighed a forever's worth of relief. "But he didn't want to see me..."
"Well that's normal idiot. But think about it..." the brother said as he inspected the intricate carvings of the beams around the private room. He was a sculptor after all. "If he didn't have any intention of forgiving you...he would have disowned you."
"Just let it pass...give him months, years...he'll cool down anyway..."
Kisa was still silent. Looking down the untouched food on his plate, everything seemed to be too good like a dream. He didn't want to move one bit for fear of waking up.
"So...uhm...Kisa-san right?" the brother called.
"Welcome to the family...uh...So I am kinda your brother-in-law now?"
Yukina Kou frowned, but his lips were in a really happy smile. "Nii-san...cut it out..."
The Yukina brothers talked a bit. Kisa was just silent. Only feeling the warm fingers entertwined with his under the table, he thought this day would never come at all. To let it open with Yukina's family was the greatest obstacle he had ever thought of before. Now...he was only too happy.
Yukina Kou who chose life in Japan than in the US was busy pouring coffee over two matching cups one morning. Kisa Shouta was looking vacantly into the mail slot.
"What wrong's Kisa-san?"
Kisa sighed and took the cup that was extended to him. "Hmm...it's been three months...I've been into postcards you know and I've been exchanging with this Japanese Culture lover...but he's stopped mailing..."
The raven took a small sip before sighing. "He said he'd be visiting Japan in December...I wonder if it went well..."
Yukina sat slowly on the chair and smiled sheepishly at Kisa.
"It went very well..."
"He didn't have any intention of going back to the US to be honest."
The two stared at each for long. But before one could open their mouths, the doorbell rang. Curiously, the pair stood and headed to the door.
The mail man was there standing, holding a rather huge package.
"For Yukina Kou...please sign here."
After all the formalities, Yukina carried the box inside the apartment with Kisa following behind.
Slowly, Yukina Kou opened the box. It revealed blank canvases and a couple of new paint brushes. The small note was what Yukina took first.
"...it's from...dad..." Yukina whispered.
"Kou. Congratulations in winning the Chrysanthemum competition..."
Kou looked into the note for long. Kisa only gave a small smile. Sure he was happy for Yukina that his dad was already getting in touch. But still...
Yukina swallowed hard. And for no reason at all, grabbed Kisa in a hug they almost fell on the floor.
"What's wrong with you?" Kisa asked, noticing Yukina's reddish eyes.
Silently, the prince gave Kisa the note he was previously holding. After a long moment of staring into the note, the raven's eyes became cloudy, his noise runny.
"There's vitamins and ginseng I've included in the package. Share it with Shouta. I don't want you two getting sick and not being able to come to my birthday next month..."
Yukina kissed the tears away from Kisa's eyes continiously flowing. But he was too, teary-eyed.
To an outsider, the pair would have looked like idiots laughing and crying at the same time. But this was probably what any gay couples could ever wish for.
There efforts weren't in vain. They've fought hard and waited and here was their answer.
The small note that meant so much for Kisa was in his palms getting soiled by his tears and sweat.
"I guess...I've earned another son.
chapter end notes:
hi everyone! did you like it? personally...this must be one of my faves. why? because i cried. lol. i reread it and i cried. why did i write something that would make me cry in the end? but i guess...they were happy tears. i really wish that this kind of story could be true for people in the same situation. most people just can't.
thanks for the time reading and as always...waiting for your thoughts.
ps. why Twin Hearts?
hmmm..i guess it's because the hearts of lovers are the same in feeling but still distinc from one another. so kisa and yukina both love each other. but they have their own fights to fight and decisions to make. they have twin hearts( kekekeke)