It's been a while, everyone! (dodges flying stuff) Sorry! With exams and such, I've been pretty busy lately. But I've finally managed to update!
Hope you enjoy the latest installment!
"Will you join us for dinner, Kouichi-kun?"
Faced with this straight-forward invitation from Satomi, Kouichi was rooted to the spot. Such a simple question, yet it meant so much more for him. Yes or no. Acceptance or refusal.
Taking a deep breath, he made his decision.
Kouichi lagged behind his brother as they walked up the stairs towards Kouji's room. He was feeling apprehensive about the situation, but couldn't back out of it now that he had accepted Satomi's invitation.
A picture on the wall made him pause in his steps. It featured Kousei with his arm around Satomi and a hand on Kouji's shoulder. By the looks of it, the photo had been taken recently. Just looking at them, he could see how happy they were together.
It struck Kouichi that he might be intruding into the close family of three. Always, when he had been watching Kouji before their adventure, he had been envious of the carefree love they shared. Especially now that Kouji had truly accepted Satomi into the family, Kouichi was reluctant to break it up with his presence.
But when he opened his mouth to voice his concerns, one look from Kouji made the words die in his throat. Sometimes, it was like Kouji could read his mind.
Kouji sighed. "You're thinking about that again, aren't you?" Turning, he clasped his brother's hands in his own. "It'll be fine, just wait and see."
Kouji was so confident that Kouichi couldn't help but feel better. Yet a nagging worry still lingered...
When Kousei returned home, he was greeted by the aroma of freshly cooked food. Strolling into the kitchen, he kissed his wife lightly.
Smiling, Satomi pushed past him lightly to tend to a boiling pot of soup. "Dinner will be ready in a while. Go and change first." She shooed him away.
"Hmm? Are we having a guest?" he asked, noting the four places Satomi had set at the table.
"Kouji brought a friend over," said Satomi vaguely. She didn't want to give away the surprise (or shock) in store for Kousei.
"Dinnertime!" called Satomi.
Kousei was the first to come downstairs.
Soon, Kouji entered the dining room as well. And following behind him was someone Kousei had never expected to see ever again. Not since that fateful day ten years ago.
Kouichi made himself look his father in the eyes. "Hello, Tou-san."
At the sight of this long-lost son, Kousei swayed slightly on his feet. Reaching for the nearest chair to steady himself, he fell heavily on the seat, still staring disbelievingly at Kouichi.
"How is this possible?" he muttered, half to himself. Satomi returned to the kitchen to give them some privacy. This was a matter to be settled between father and sons.
When he regained some of his composure, he managed to ask, "How did you meet?"
They had decided beforehand to give him the same explanation they had given their mother. "We met at Shibuya station and started talking. We were curious about our obvious resemblance, and investigated a bit. That's how we found out the truth."
"I've met Kaa-san," said Kouji suddenly, and there was no doubt about who he meant. When Kousei didn't respond, Kouji pressed on, determination shining in his eyes. "I don't care what you think, now that I've found them, nothing you do will make me stay away from them."
"I would never keep you apart from your brother and mother, Kouji," said Kousei quietly. Slight anguish could be heard in his voice.
"Then why did you tell me Kaa-san was dead? And why keep Kouichi's existence from me? You could have told me the truth, so why lie? Don't you think I deserve the truth from you, instead of finding out myself?"
"No more lies. I want the truth. We want the truth. All of it." Kouji's eyes were steely with betrayal as he stared his father in the eye.
Kousei took a deep breath to steady himself. "Separating the two of you was the worst decision we ever made. I've regretted it ever since. I won't try to redeem myself, but I'll tell you what happened.
"Tomoko and I just didn't work out. We had been drifting apart for a while, and one day we decided we had enough. We divorced. It seemed like the best solution at the time. We were only thinking about ourselves, and didn't realize the effects it would have on you.
"I lost contact with Tomoko after that. Whatever regrets I had, there was no way to make amends. I suppose it was for the best, so that you two won't be forced to grow up in a tension-filled family. But I regret that we couldn't give you a complete loving family.
"I..." Kousei's voice became choked. Standing, he hugged both of his sons to his chest. Tears flowed from his eyes and dripped lightly onto the twins' heads. "Seeing you two together again, it's like a dream come true.
"Kouji... Kouichi... I'm sorry."
"Tou-san..." Touched, both twins hugged their father, their eyes shimmering with tears as well.
From the kitchen door, Satomi observed the trio and wiped tears of joy from her eyes. Kousei had always felt guilty about Kouichi, so it was a blessing that they could finally be reunited.
Finally, they pulled away from each other.
"The food's going cold," said Satomi, smiling affectionately at the touching scene.
With wide smiles on their faces, they settled down to eat.
Finally, they meet. So sweet... There'll be an epilogue, featuring Tomoko as well. It'll truly be a family reunion then. Stay tuned!
Oh, and do review! I appreciate your comments very much. Thank you for supporting this fic!