All right, this is the second one-shot in my Hirota series. There are three more after this one. You don't have to have read the previous one for this one to make sense, but, for all the others following this, you'll need to have read this one. The first and last ones won't serve as much as part of the plot but more of introduction and epilogue to the entirety of the story, so you could read two through four and be content. However, I have yet to write all after this one. I will work on that immediately, though.

Thank you so much for reading. I'd love a review or two.

Anatui


Best Friend

The telephone rang loudly as Kenta was watching him get ready, and Hirokazu silently cursed the girl if she was canceling on him. But, when he picked up the telephone and said, "What?" very rudely, he heard the voice of Takato on the other end of the line.

"Hey, Kazu, what're you guys doing?" asked their very own goggle-head, a grin very evident in his voice as he spoke.

"I was just heading out," he replied almost regretfully, sad that he had little time to talk to his good friend. "Why? What're you doing?"

Takato hesitated for a moment before finally saying, "I was planning on going to the park… you know, for memory's sake." He paused again, laughing somewhat nervously. "Anyway, I was just calling to see if you two wanted to come with me."

"I don't know," Kazu said, glancing back to where Kenta was now sitting on the sofa in boredom. He almost felt the urge to call the girl and tell her he had to postpone their date, but, at the same time, he didn't want to leave her alone on a Saturday night. "Going on a date."

Takato didn't say anything for a moment. "Huh?" he finally said, his voice carrying a strange sense on urgency.

"I am going to go on a date with a girl," he reiterated more loudly.

"Oh!" exclaimed said goggle-head, relief flooding through the phone.

"What?" Kazu asked suspiciously, knowing that there was something Takato had not stated aloud for him to hear. "What'd you think I said?"

"Nothing," he lied poorly, stuttering slightly. "I just didn't hear you."

But, luckily, Kazu decided he didn't particularly care. "Yeah, whatever. So, anyway, sorry, Takato, but I can't. Kenta could probably go, though. How 'bout tomorrow?"

"I have a date tomorrow."

"Well, it's just Jeri," he complained, shaking his head at his friend, already hopelessly in love. "Why don't you marry that girl already so you don't have to date her anymore?"

"I am going to marry her, but I'm still dating her."

"Wait a minute! What? You're gonna marry Jeri?!" he exclaimed in surprise.

"Jeez, Kazu, never noticed how deaf you were before," Takato said sarcastically. "Of course, I am! What else would I be doing with the girl? I love her."

"Yeah, but why didn't you tell me before?!"

"I told Kenta," he said slowly, as if it would make Kazu feel better. "Look, Kazu, it doesn't really matter who I told first."

"It does, too."

"No, it doesn't," he defended in frustration. "You're only complaining because it means that Kenta beat you at something, which means you don't get to pick on him."

"Yes, I do. I always get to pick on him."

"Only you would pick on him without reason," Takato sighed, resigned to the fact that he could never change the way Kazu treated Kenta.

"Yeah, well, only a loser like you would choose a girl over his best friends."

Frustrated, he groaned. "You don't get it, Kazu. She is my best friend. I love her. The person you love is your best friend—no matter what."

"Hey, you're just the idiot that asked her to marry you."

"Aren't you going to be late or something?"

"Shit! Yeah, I'll call you tomorrow." And, without allowing Takato to say another word, he hung up the telephone and returned to getting ready as quickly as he could.

-----

The bar was loud, sporting a jazz band and singer on stage and many chatty customers. Even after she had left, Kazu still felt like he was being crowded in, though he was protected by a large table and booth and alone.

Yoshino Nami was a student from one of Kenta's college classes, whom he had met through his dear friend once before broaching the topic of a date. Kenta had disliked the idea when it was first mentioned, stating that it would make it awkward for him in class, knowing that his best friend had had sex with one of his classmates, and, if Kazu dumped the girl, that would make it even more awkward. However, Kazu had easily disregarded his friend's opinion and asked her out anyway.

Her last words still echoed in his ears.

"If you were in love with me as much as you're in love with your little friend, I'd call you a stalker," she had said loathingly, indignantly, pain saturating her voice.

They had spent the time trying to get to know each other better—her idea—before she would consider anything beyond dinner—his unstated idea. But every question she had asked had just seemed to make him think of Kenta alone at their apartment or some stupid thing they had done together years ago.

"If you were in love with me as much as you're in love with your little friend, I'd call you a stalker." He wasn't in love with Kenta, though.

Kazu sighed and picked up the check that lay on the tabletop. It cost too much, but he got up and made his way over to the register anyway. Besides, it was time to go home.

So what if she thought he cared too much about Kenta? What did her opinion matter anyway? She was just some stupid girl. Unlike Takato, he didn't think he'd ever be able to marry one because all they ever did was whine and complain and ask for beautiful, expensive things. They didn't care what the guy wanted at all.

Kenta was his best friend, anyway. Sure, he made fun of him a lot, and he called him names, but that was just how he said 'I love you' without having to say it—because that's what girls say. A girl would never understand that way of thinking, though.

The road was wet on the drive home, and the few headlights there were mind numbing. He didn't even realize what he was doing until he got out of the car at the apartment complex and was making his way up the stairs to their apartment.

He easily decided that he didn't want to date any more girls for a while. It was so much more fun before girls even got involved in their lives. Hell, he didn't even want to see another girl for a while—other than Jeri and Rika. But Jeri and Rika didn't fight or pry or complain all the time. Jeri was a good friend and, now, marrying another good friend. And Rika was always there, even if she lied and said she hated them all.

The apartment was dimly lit when he unlocked and opened the door, which was odd. Kenta must have gone to bed early because he never did anything with the lights nearly all off. The rest of the apartment was empty, though, so he made his way to his friend's room and gently knocked on the door.

No answer.

He knocked again, this time a little louder.

Still no response from inside the room.

Assuming his friend was asleep inside the room, he opened the door and peaked inside only to discover that Kenta was awake and not alone. Kazu cleared his throat almost angrily, and the two on the bed there jumped apart.

Kenta stuttered for a moment before saying apprehensively to the girl, "This is my friend, Shiota Hirokazu," and, then, speaking to him, "Kazu, this is Ryouji Leiko."

So much for no girls.