This is a drabble-ish fic (what that means is that I perceive it as one) centring on Rei. It's written as a experiment of mine with the use of present tense.

Contains KaRe, alcohol and ignorant friends that mean well yet fail miserably only to ultimately win.

Enjoy.

Friday, I'm in love…(is a song by the Cure)


Fridays…

Rather, Fridays were originally about unwinding; leaving the hectic pressure of work behind and maximising the hours of the following two days. Saturdays you slept in slightly, then took the time to do the shopping you could never quite manage in the middle of the week. Sundays were slow days, lazy days. Days were you took walks, hiked across hills and valleys, marvelling at the beautiful landscape.

It was easy, relaxing and recharging.

But not today; today is a Friday, and Rei is pleasantly hazy. There is a warm feeling pooling in the pit of his stomach and he can't quite stop smiling. It could be because of the beer. It could be because he was up at five that morning. It could be because he did not have the time to eat lunch and ended up eating only the fruits he nicked as he passed the cafeteria.

Sitting among a large group of friends, and suddenly everything that had been nagging at him all week did not matter. The beer is dark and musty and almost too tepid. Rei doesn't care. Max is sitting next to him, enthusiastically retelling, using his hands and arms just as much as he is using his voice, a comical scene from that day's work. Opposite to them, Takao is laughing uproariously, and not even Hiromi and Kyouju can keep from laughing along almost equally loud.

Standing, Rei grins and chuckles, promising that as soon as he has located the restroom, he'll buy everyone a round.


The next Friday Rei is leaning against a wall, eyes half shut and the warming swirl of alcohol absent. He is much too tired, and the difficulty he is having with attempting to swallow the plain orange juice he is having might have something to do with it. He suspects he is getting ill; it is after all November and he has been known to contract all forms of colds, and the flu, during the cold, evil month of November.

Hiromi sits down opposite to him, smiling widely even as her dark eyes portray a hint of concern. Even at twenty-something she still feels it her duty to care for her 'boys', and Rei shrugs, a lopsided smile on his face as he forces down another mouthful of the juice that is just cold and doesn't taste much of oranges at all. Then Hiromi pulls down a girl, and she is petite; all large eyes and short hair and softly rounded in the right places. Smiling pleasantly, Rei accepts her hand, but not five minutes later he excuses himself, and heads off to his flat sneezing violently.


"Rei!"

Rei blinks, deathly tired and thirsty. He is only now starting to recover from his lapse down the miserableexistence that is the flu and headaches and fevers. He is surprised and shocked as a curvy, short, redhead throws her arms around him and squeezes him almost too tightly. He is strongly suspecting that he should know her, this almost foreign woman, but his mind is still hazy and he can't get his thoughts to organise enough for him to extract a name.

"It's me, Rei," A sweet smile is aimed up at him, and Rei bemusedly returns it, "Salima!"

Salima…?

Rei's eyes widen, and he gently takes hold of her shoulders and holds her at distance, bright eyes sweeping over her face. Then he grins; and it is just as wide and happy and sunny as it had always been back in those days when they both had been teens. "Salima!"

She laughs, and Rei continues to smile.

A few hours later, he bids her goodnight, and treks home through the chilly night to his flat.


"Rei," Takao says with great seriousness, and Rei can't help but to raise an eyebrow in silent amusement. "I have brought you a date."

"Date?" Rei echoes dryly; amusement and a vague ill feeling battling for control inside.

Takao nods solemnly. "We worry. Me and Max and the rest. You could use a woman."

"You…brought one?" Takao nods again, either not hearing or completely ignoring the heavy scepticism and extreme dislike and distaste in Rei's voice. "I don't-"

"This is Misa, Rei," Misa smiles widely, fluttering her eyelashes and Rei swallows. "Rei?" Takao repeats when Rei doesn't respond.

Forcing a smile, Rei nods politely at the girl, because she can scarcely be more than a girl and Rei frowns as he wonders where Takao got it into his head that Rei would actually appreciate a woman like that. Rising to his feet, the girl quickly copies, but Rei just shakes his head gently and briefly pats her shoulder. Looking over her head he meets Takao's surprised, shocked expression calmly. "I have to go. I'm sorry, see you next week?" He directs this at Takao, who nods dumbly and Rei doesn't care when the girl hisses and glares at his back as he deftly makes his way through the crowded pub.


Rei is confused and annoyed. He does not like, or even particularly appreciate, the pattern that he has been starting to discern. There are always 'female friends', and they always 'just happen to be single'. He supposes it is because, to their knowledge, Rei has led a very lonely and single life since he ascended from a teenager to an adult.

Rei knows it is most likely because he never got around to explaining that it had never been Kai who was perverted and snuck peeks at him in the shower. Rei knows because that had been him, and he would have noticed if Kai ever looked back, even once. It is because their too loud and too outrageous reactions to those nonexistent sneak peeks that he never bothered to introduce Ryuichi or Yamato or Ken or Yuuri (the Japanese) or Subaru or even mention his other, even briefer, relationships.

It never struck him to tell his friends that he was gay, and now, as they present him with woman after blushing adolescent girl, he is starting to very much regret that he never found the time back when they still had it.

"Guys," Rei is a millimetre away from growling, but his friends are too far gone drinking to tell, "I'm going home. All these things are making me ill."

Rei leaves, uncomfortably aware of the knowledge that he has intentionally left them thinking that he has had too much, so much in fact, to drink that he refers to the beer as something evil and he is about to throw up.

In truth, Rei is too sober and too…tired.


"No!" Rei is hissing. "I've said no!"

"But Rei!" Takao wheedles, smiling, "She's my little, sweet baby cousin and she's been a fan of yours for years! Even though you lost against me!"

"Yes, Takao, and that was such a loss." Rei is rolling his eyes, clutching his thick coat in his hands.

"But please, Rei! I hate to be the one saying this but obviously someone's needing to!" Takao grows solemn, and he places his hands on Rei's shoulders as if to steady him. His eyes are strangely serious and for a moment, Rei is honestly touched by the genuine care Takao has for his friends. "You need to date, man! Staying single is not the way to go; there are countless of women out there just for you and-" Takao frowns as Rei, instead of breaking down and agreeing, glares and pulls away. "Rei?"

"And what about the men, Takao?" Rei is drawling dryly, sounding sarcastic and tired and too unlike his usual self that Takao actually listens intently. "The countless men out there who I'd actually like to date and actually do go out with occasionally?"

Takao is dumbstruck, and for a second, Rei is regretting opening his mouth. But then Takao bursts out laughing and Rei punches him.


There is no woman next week although Rei was almost expecting a dozen or so half naked, busty ones. Though, Hiromi is there, but she is there more often than not and so Rei does not count her (although he does steer clear of her because the glint in her eyes is making him very afraid).

Takao is nursing an almost healed split lip and is looking very apologetic.

"I talked to Subaru," he says as a form of apology, sounding remorseful and smiling sheepishly. "He works in my department, you know."

Rei doesn't, and just smiles slightly. "Tell him I said hi, and that he can feel free to come by and pick up his stuff any time, now."

"How could you date such a geeky pushover, Rei! The guy has no spine and he is girly!"

Rei rolls his eyes. "You see only what you want, Takao."

It is an open enough response that won't tell Takao he is wrong and thus start an argument. However, it's also an acknowledgment of the apology, and acceptance of it.

"Hey! Does that mean you and Kai were banging each other all those times you insisted on sharing a room!?"

Rei startles badly; his eyes are wide and he is opening and closing his mouth in a very stupid manner and what's even worse is that he can actually feel the colour creeping up on his face. He manages to shake his head, blurt out a hurried: "I wish," before escaping for the men's room.

Because it is a very crude question.


Rei is alarmed when Takao and Max both throw themselves at him in a very enthusiastic hug and presses a bottle of beer in his hand when he finally makes his way to their pub an hour late that Friday.

"Rei, Rei, Rei!" Max grins wider than Takao, and they are both bouncing slightly where they stand. "We have a surprise for you!" Max grins wider and Takao is proudly nodding along.

"Not a date." Hurt threatens just around the corner when they both nod enthusiastically and giggles. "I-"

"No! Look!" Arms whirl him around, and Rei flounders.

…no…no…they didn't…did they? Rei takes a breath, preparing to call out his friends names but as he looks around quickly, Rei discovers that he is very much alone and that the desperately familiar figure he caught sight of has, evidentially, seen him too because he is standing right there in front of him, smirking that devilishly attractive, gorgeous smirk and Rei blinks, feeling something not unlike extreme happiness welling up inside of him.

"Kai…" Rei is smiling widely, the bottle of beer he is holding forgotten the same minute he sets his eyes on the familiar, yet taller and now a man, form before him. Kai is casual elegance; lazily buttoned shirt and almost baggy trousers and half undone tie. Kai is messy hair and dark eyes and dangerous smirks and all Rei can do is return the smirk in a much more playful, grinning way and hug him. "Do you even know how sexy you look?" Rei had meant to say dangerous, but decides his slip doesn't matter as there is a new glint in Kai's eyes and a hand on his bottom.

"Why don't you enlighten me?" The voice is just as deep and husky as Rei remembers it to be in his most vivid dreams and the hand that only seconds ago was brushing his behind is now deliberately grabbing. Pulling back, Rei tilts his head back, sucking on his bottom lip and Kai doesn't give him enough time to think before Rei finds himself backed up against a wall.

Not that he minds, of course.


The end.

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