under the umbrella of love
They must share a deep karmic bond.
That's the only explanation Tetsuya has for the fact that the one person who noticed him when he was on the street—who gave him shelter from the pouring rain, then blushed as he refused the offer to share the umbrella with another guy—who put food in his belly and gave him a place to stay without knowing his name or anything about him, without asking anything in return—is the son of his father's rival.
Things like this don't happen to just anyone. They are not coincidences. That Tetsuya firmly believes.
If old man Sendou could see his son now, he might not recognize him.
Tetsuya embraces sweeping the verandas and raking the walk each morning as a form of self-discipline. It clears his mind and it teaches him patience.
And it allows him to see Kasanoda off to school each day.
Latter term has begun. His breath turns into mist in the autumn air, but he doesn't notice the cold until he looks up at the gray sky and a single drop of rain kisses his bottom lip.
The young master forgot to take his umbrella with him today.
The young master always picks the dumbest places to hide. That doesn't mean he's bad at the game.
Because the real game isn't whether or not he gets caught, but whether he can kick the can over before Tetsuya. They play by their own rules—sleeve-pulling and elbows, anything they can think of to slow each other down is fair. They're laughing the whole way.
Tetsuya's foot connects and the can goes flying. As Kasanoda catches his breath, he glances up with a lopsided smile, his cheeks pink from the cold. He swears he almost had it that time.
New Year's Eve, and the living room is full of mafiosi passed out around the kotatsu, or laughing and drunkenly singing enka along with the TV.
At commercial, Tetsuya gathers up the empty beer cans, sake carafe and cups, bowls of cold soba, and take-out containers into which he dumps out the full ashtrays. He balances it all into the kitchen, where the young master wraps his arms around him from behind.
A sake cup falls from the tower and cracks in the sink.
Kasanoda is hot from drinking. The red envelope in his hand wrinkles against Tetsuya's sweater.
It feels blasphemous in his mouth, but the young master likes it when Tetsuya calls him by name, when his fingers are buried deep in Tetsuya's hair and his teeth click against Tetsuya's earrings.
When he dies, Tetsuya has decided, he wants his bones intered in the Kasanoda plot next to the young master's, their names engraved on the same headstone.
Like on the charm Kasanoda bought off a classmate, that Tetsuya wasn't supposed to see when he was tidying up. The kind of magic school kids believe in—the shared destiny of two names scrawled under an ink umbrella.