Standard disclaimers apply.


By: Ryuuen

          He tells me he loves me over a cup of coffee.

          It just sat there – calm, quiet, unimposing. Pale blue ceramic against the white table cloth. Steam was steadily rising from its warm contents, brownish fluid potent enough to get one's blood flowing, erasing the remainders of sleep. It was always good to wake up to a nice, hot cup of freshly brewed Brazilian coffee on a cold autumn morning. But today, that would've been the last thing on my mind.

          It came as a shock, how the resident playboy and only presupposed heterosexual in our group  confessed that he had feelings for me after blatantly announcing the fact that he was gay (or bi, at least) over breakfast. And of course, he had to do it before our two other friends, who didn't seem the least bit surprised. And it came as a bigger shock, when an almost discernable smirk made its way into Aya's usually blank countenance, his arm tightening instinctively around Omi's shoulders as the said blond hyperventilated amidst all his giggling. It was almost as though they expected things to happen as they had. Expected me to volunteer to make breakfast today when I was fully aware of my culinary skills, or lack thereof. Expected Yoji to turn up at the record-breaking hour of 7 AM and offer to help me with it. Expected me to burn the toast and toast the bacon and eggs so we just had to settle for coffee. Expected Yoji to "casually" drape his arm around my shoulders, commenting offhandedly how I shouldn't let him distract me even if he were such a damn sexy distraction, with me blushing to my demise. Expected him to grab my hands at the table and say those words that now jeopardize whatever we had in the past. And Yoji? There he was, sitting on his chair, pretty-as-you-goddamn-please, as though nothing happened. And it was infuriating. No, he was infuriating – being so damn cool and nonchalant about it as though what he were suggesting were as predictable as today's weather, if at all. And, as tempting as it was to ignore common sense that was jumping up and down at the back of my mind and just throw myself at him, annoyance at the possibility that he was just pulling my leg won out. After taking a few moments to ease my rapidly beating heart and to gain control of my thoughts that were going haywire at the implications of what he said, I finally managed a glare.

          "What did you say, Yoji?!"

          He laughed. "Ne, Kenken? I didn't know you had a hearing problem."

          I growled impatiently, my voice trailing off dangerously. "Yoji…"

          "Alright. Alright. I said, 'Suki da, Kenken.' There… Happy?"

          Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Sarcasm himself.

          "But really now, you should be more attentive to the things that happen around you, especially when I'm involved. You may not be so lucky next time..." And, knowing him, there just had to be some bizarre sexual innuendo hidden somewhere beneath. It took all the patience I didn't know I had not to bash his head in. Which would have been a shame, seeing that it was such a cute head. I seethed at my thoughts. What a time for my mind to betray me. I glared even more.

          "Cut the crap, Yoji! Whatever sick joke you're playing…"

          "Who said I was joking, Kenken? I don't hear anybody laughing, do you?" And he smirked. Damn, what I would give to wipe that smug look off the face of that smug bastard, in more ways than one. Not that it didn't make him damn sexier. I scowled. I just had to think that, didn't I? And it was all I could do to keep from slapping myself physically as I did mentally. And it made me even more annoyed, the mere fact that, in spite of everything, he could still manage to draw such thoughts from me. It made me annoyed to the point of frustration which, somehow, leaked into my tone.

          "Damn it, Yoji! Be serious for once!"

          And there was that fucking smirk once again. Did I mention that I wanted to slug him?

          "Tsk, tsk, your disbelief wounds me…"

          I rolled my eyes. Obviously, not enough for my peace of mind…

          "But don't you see, Kenken? I always am serious," he continued grinned. "Especially with you." And just like a million times before, he winked and I blushed. Damn reflex. And with Yoji, that was some sort of Pavlovian reaction that worked with anyone. Except Aya, that is. But, he never flirts with Aya. Does he? I shook my head. I was getting delirious.

          "Stop flirting, Yoji," was my feeble protest.

          "You never complained before."

          I sighed in frustration and had to kick my own ass ten times over for the next words that found their way out of my mouth. "Well, geez, Yoji-kun. You never attempted to give me a heart attack for telling me that you loved me before, did you?"

          "I said I really like you, Kenken."

          "Oh yeah, I forgot. I'm talking to a fucking playboy who's too damn generous to deprive the rest of the world of the sexy piece of flesh that he is that he just wouldn't admit that he loves someone."

          A pained expression crossed emerald depths for a moment that I almost regretted saying what I had. Almost. But then, the mask was back and there was slight amusement in his voice when he said a little too innocently, "But I thought you would have figured it out yourself, Kenken."

          Aya snorted and I jumped. For a while, I had actually forgotten that he and Omi were still there. Watching me make such an ass of myself. Shit! But then Yoji had that look in his eyes that usually meant he was up to something. Double shit!

          "Not that our esteemed leader would know anything about realizing something as obvious as someone having a crush on him, ne, Omittchi?" There was that wink again and the resulting blush, this time coming from the younger blond who simply whined. "Yoji-kun!" Welcome to the club, Omi!

          "Urusai, omae!" And there was the patented Abyssinian Glare of Death™ sketched upon the face of the said redhead, the one that promised a slow painful death for whoever was at the receiving end of it. He just hated being reminded of how dense and clueless he had been in that respect. Yoji was unperturbed, even as I looked between him and Aya in alarm. I'd better do something about this potential bloodbath before our leader does something permanent to my not-so-potential lover before I could do him. Or the other way around. I frowned. That did not come out the way I intended it to. I sighed. "Um, guys…"

          "Aya-kun, Yoji-kun," Omi chimed in, while tugging on his lover's arm. Funny how he still maintains the name-kun thing with Aya in spite of the ahem… more than platonic nature of their relationship. For once, I'd like to hear Omi call Aya something embarrassing like loveydoveysugarmuffin or another so we could tease the shit outta them. Now that would be something to look forward to. But, I'm getting sidetracked.

          Aya huffed in resignation. "Fine. We're leaving." And with that, he walked out the back door.

          Omi looked at his boyfriend's retreating back before offering us a look of apology and scampering off in pursuit. The sound of an engine revving up was heard. The blond then looked back as he was opening the door and grinned. "Don't worry, guys. I think Aya-kun's happy for you and so am I so please, try to work things out. Ja ne." And for the nest few moments, all that was heard were the slamming of the door, a muffled giggle and the screeching of tire wheels. And then, there was silence. What did one say to that?

          "Um, Yoji…"

          It happened all of a sudden. One moment, I had been turning to face him and the next thing I know, he had me pinned against the kitchen wall, face dangerously close, our breaths intermingling. Emeralds stared into my own cobalt orbs. And his lips… We were so close that it would hardly have taken the slightest movement to bring them to mine as I thought he would have done. But he just stood there as though waiting for me to make the next move. My heart stilled in my chest and I had to remember how to breathe. When I spoke, my voice was surprisingly husky. "Yoji… What the fuck are you doing?" Calmly.

          And he chuckled, warm breath fanning my cheeks and eyes crinkling at the corners. If I was blushing before, I had to be creating all new shades of red now. I would've called the crayon company to get them patented.

          "Really, Ken. I knew you were dense but not as  dense as this." And with that, the negligible space between our lips disappeared into nothingness and warmth descended upon warmth for a brief second before I pulled away. I could not allow myself to get lost in that kiss, not when… Once again, a hurt expression rose to his face and, for once, it stayed there.

          "I'm sorry, Yoji." I refused to meet his gaze and he let me go, green eyes airing an unvoiced question that I was compelled to answer, nonetheless.

          "I'm sorry. I just… can't. I'm not even sure if you meant what you said, that you feel something for me. I can't… I'm sorry." I had to bite down on my lip to keep it from quivering.

          "And if I didn't mean anything I said? That you were right about me just playing around?" The tone was challenging, almost hostile, and I missed the warmth that once tinged that voice. And for some reason, it hurt. It goddamn fucking hurt and I didn't understand why and how the only thing that I expected out of this whole fiasco, if I did expect anything at all, could hurt much more than treading through the previously unchartered regions between love and friendship. But I had pride; I always had – as a player, as a florist, as an assassin, as myself. And let everything be damned if I were to lose that over someone like Yoji. So, taking a few moments to calm the dull ache of my throbbing heart, I carefully donned a blank expression that would've made Aya proud and spoke the words I would come to regret for the rest of my life. If ever I were to survive this.

          "It doesn't matter, Yoji. I wouldn't have cared either way." And with that, I turned around. Walked away. Blinked back the tears that stung my eyes and threatened to fall. Yoji was silent, another first, beaten at his own game. For that was what this all was – a game. And, from the looks of it, there would be no winner – only me and my broken heart and Yoji. Because it wouldn't have hurt as much if it weren't so close to the truth, so much like the words that I wanted to say to him and him to say to me in return. But not now. Not like this. I was nearing the door when he spoke, words proverbially mere whispers in the wind.

          "And if I told you not to go? That you mean the whole world to me?"

          And it hurt even more, how he still went at it. But it made me hope, for just one moment, that maybe there was a shard of truth in his claim. That got to me, the tears I've been fighting so hard to keep falling freely now. A part of me wanted to throw all caution to the wind and give in to the stirrings of an emotion that I hadn't wanted to acknowledge at first. But a greater part of me insisted that doing so would only lead to more hurt for the both of us in the long run. It was such a simple choice. And so, with a look of determination that seemed out of place drowning in the luster of tears, I hefted my shoulders up, opening the door decisively. And I could only hope he didn't notice the quiver in my voice and the sobs that wracked my frame in spite of my self as I spoke, "I told you, Yoji-kun. I wouldn't have cared either way." My world ended then and there. Not waiting for an answer, I ran out completely. Wanting to get away from it all. Wanting to get away from him. Leaving my heart behind with that damned cup of coffee, suddenly turned cold and uninviting after all.


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