This is the last chapter. I had loads of fun writing this story, and I hoped everyone enjoyed it. Many thanks to everyone who read and reviewed; I really appreciate it!
"So this is it," Mukahi finally said as he and Oshitari walked up to the Mukahi home.
Oshitari gave Mukahi's hand a slight squeeze.
Mukahi took in a deep breath. "I just hope he doesn't try killing me. I mean, I really don't want to go through a marriage, especially with a crazy, psycho, insane lunatic who's a control freak and even scares Atobe half to death."
"You know that's not true. Ishihara-san is decent girl," Oshitari reprimanded him.
"…You're lying, right?"
"Yes, I am, but you shouldn't call people such bad names; it's uncouth. I'm starting to think Niou's habits have rubbed off on you."
"I think I'm more worried about what's going to happen once I go through the front door," Mukahi replied. He grabbed onto Oshitari's arm. "Stay with me, won't you?"
Mukahi hesitated for only a moment before raising his arm up and knocking on the door. The door was opened immediately, and Mukahi's mother stood their for a moment, staring in shock. Her hand was still on the doorknob, and she stood there, unblinking.
"I'm…home," Mukahi said hesitantly. His mother suddenly pulled him into an embrace, and there was a mist forming around her eyes.
"Gakuto, you're back," she whispered. "You came back. Oh, but you're not supposed to come back right now! It's too dangerous; your father is going to find out. You'd better go back to your school dorm before he sees you."
"I'm not going back," Mukahi declared. "At least, not yet. Mother, I'm going to confront him about the marriage. I'm not doing it."
His mother stared at him. "I know you're not going to do it, but confront him? I think you'd do better if you continued avoiding him. Oh, why didn't you stay in Malaysia? When I got a call from the school I almost had a heart attack; why did you come back to Japan?"
"I came back because I realized there was someone that I didn't want to leave; someone that I just couldn't leave behind," Mukahi explained, glancing at Oshitari.
"But…confronting him?" His mother was still protesting. "I don't think that's such a good idea. You know how your father is."
"I have to," Mukahi argued. "Because I want to stay in Japan. He's going to find out sooner or later anyway, since he's probably going around the world looking for me. I don't want to run away again."
"But what are you going to say to him?"
"I…haven't really thought of that yet. I'm sure I'll come up with something once I see him."
His mother sighed, knowing full well he was too stubborn for her to argue with. "Very well." She opened the door a little wider to allow her son and his friend come in. She led them through a passage before they came into the living room, where Mukahi's father was sitting on the couch reading a newspaper. He seemed to have not noticed the new occupants of the room.
Mukahi marched up to him, with Oshitari following close behind. His mother watched from afar, not daring to get too close.
His father still hadn't noticed them. Mukahi stood there patiently, tapping his foot. Apparently his father was too engrossed in his newspaper readings to pay attention to his surroundings.
Five minutes passed. Mukahi's father still made no move to suggest that he had seen them. Mukahi was beginning to wonder if his father was just doing this on purpose, or if he really was just that unaware of what was going on around him. Finally, though, his father looked as if he had gotten tired of reading and folded his newspaper up. At least, he tried to. Catching sight of Mukahi standing right in front of him, arms crossed, his mouth formed a small 'o'. He then frowned, and anger flashed in his eyes. "How dare you show your face to me!" he seethed, glaring at his son.
Mukahi blinked. "Um, I'm here to tell you that the marriage is off."
"I know the marriage is off; do I look stupid to you?! It's been off for two and a half years already, all because you decided to run away, escaping your duty!" his father barked, slamming his hand down on the coffee table. "Oh, to be sure, I looked everywhere for you for the first six months, but apparently I was too late. Ishihara Kimiko's father informed me that he wanted to call off the arranged marriage, and all because you had the guts to run away from this household!"
Now it was Mukahi's time to look shocked. He turned to his mother. "Did you know anything about this?"
His mother shook her head, equally awed. "This is the first time I've heard of it."
His father snorted. "Of course it's the first time you've heard of it; why would I tell you of all people?"
She winced at this comment.
Oshitari coughed a little, clearly disliking Mukahi's father's rude statements.
Mukahi's father seemed to only just now realize that Oshitari was even there at all. He raised his eyebrows. "Ah, so this little pest has brought a friend with him now, has he? He must've told you I was a evil little devil, wasn't I?" He laughed. "Well, of course, he was the one who caused this whole mess. Now my pride has taken a heavy toll, all because of my son running away. You wouldn't know how it feels like to struggle in a society where everyone looks down at you."
"You should not be mad that your son ran away to avoid an arranged marriage with whom he didn't even know, or like, for that matter," Oshitari answered him. "In fact, Gakuto has every right to be angry with you for planning this arrangement."
"Every right to be angry at me, eh?" The middle-aged man shook his head and laughed. "You teenagers are always the same. Always so concerned about your own rights that you never give a damn for what adults feel. I'm telling you, once you're around my age and have kids you'll know that what I tried to do was the right thing."
"What was your motive for marrying Gakuto off?" Oshitari demanded.
"You're a smart boy, you should have been able to guess the reason," he said, chuckling to himself. "Ah, it was a perfect plan. At least, until my son ruined it for us all." He gave another chuckle. "The Ishihara family has an incredible amount of businesses, and to my knowledge they have obscene amounts of money. When they notified me that their daughter had taken an interest to my son, of course I readily agreed to their suggestions for an arranged marriage. I mean, who wouldn't? This was a financial gain that I was looking forward to!"
"She didn't even know me!" Mukahi exclaimed, looking confused. "How did their daughter 'take an interest in me' when she didn't even know who I was?!"
"Oh, to be sure, she knew you alright," his father answered him. "She must've seen you during one of your petty tennis matches. Even though I've never agreed with you playing tennis and wasting your time out on the courts, it certainly had been a help on my part. She must've come to every game you played once she'd seen you." He paused. "All that's in the past now. I've gone back to my little corner, just reading newspapers everyday and wasting my life out. It certainly is boring, but I have nothing left to do. I'm growing old, and I've all but given up on you. You're nothing but a disappointment, anyway," he spat out. "Now be off with you. I never want to see you in this household ever again."
Mukahi was about to open his mouth again and ask another question, but his mother had come up to them and was tugging at her son's sleeve. Reluctantly, both of them followed his mother out of the house.
Once they were outside, his mother sighed. "At least it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," she said. "At least he didn't threaten to lock you inside the house. Now, you both best be going, before he changes his mind."
"What about you?" Mukahi asked, taking his mother's hand. "You can't just stay here with that creepy maniac."
His mother shook her head. "Your father is growing old, and I must take care of him, regardless of how terrible he is. Don't worry, I'll be fine; it's you that I'm most worried about."
"No buts," she said firmly. "You'll be going to a university and taking a dorm there soon, and I'm sure you'll have a splendid time with your friends. You're all grown up now, so you should be off on your own. I have a responsibility now, and so do you." She smiled. "Be happy, alright? Keep your friends close to you; it's the main reason why you even came back in the first place."
Mukahi gave a reluctant nod, letting go of his mother's hand. "I'll come visit, at least. Call me and tell me when my dad's not around, okay?"
His mother agreed, and with that, he and Oshitari began walking back to school.
"You see?" Yagyuu shook his head. "I told you that you wouldn't like the results, but you never listened."
No, that's not true.
"You understand now, right? I believe you do understand, given your expression."
"You're stupid," Niou finally said, grabbing a pillow off the bed and throwing it at Yagyuu. "You're just plain stupid."
Yagyuu didn't say anything; he merely proceeded to throw the pillow back at him.
Niou threw the pillow back at Yagyuu angrily.
"Niou, if you think throwing pillows at me constantly is going to change anything, you're mistaken."
"I have a right to be angry with you, you know," Niou said, now just inches away from Yagyuu. "You know I absolutely hate it when people jump to conclusions. And therefore, that means I should hate you as well."
Yagyuu sighed and closed his eyes. "I knew it."
Niou could tell Yagyuu was going to go into something further, but he interrupted him anyway, planting a kiss firmly onto his lips. After a few moments, he gave a satisfied smirk. "Gotcha."
Who says a trickster can't love?
"I almost forgot how much I hated Atobe's stupid meetings," Mukahi muttered, giving a little shudder. "If he starts ranting about himself again I think I might as well kill myself."
"Ah, and if you do that, you'll have a very avid follower," Atobe warned. "Ore-sama does not want to go through the trouble of having lost teammates again."
Mukahi was hugging onto Oshitari's arm while he glared at Atobe. "He wouldn't. I already made him promise me that."
"Gakuto, I only promised that because you agreed that you wouldn't do anything drastic such as running away again. If you betray me and commit suicide, I'm not so sure if I can keep that promise."
"So, what's this meeting for, anyway?"
Shishido rolled his eyes. "Isn't it obvious? Atobe's going to have your head for not coming to us sooner, that's what."
"Shishido-san!" Ootori reprimanded.
"…That totally wasn't the right time," Shishido grumbled.
"SUGOI! So that means his 'gekokujouing' timing is off, right?!" Jirou was bouncing on Atobe's couch happily.
"I think I gave him way too much cake today," Marui muttered, shaking his head. "Why am I here, anyway? I thought this was like, a Hyoutei reunion party or something."
"Ah." Atobe gave a nod. "Well, since Jirou obviously dragged you all the way here, Ore-sama can't possibly just kick you out now."
Oshitari raised an eyebrow. "Atobe, is this really a reunion party?"
Atobe gave him a frown. "Well, since Gakuto here obviously has come back, it wouldn't do very well if we didn't welcome him. Of course, it seems you've already welcomed him back with your own ways."
"Why do I feel like it just suddenly got quieter?" Marui asked, blinking.
"…Wait, did he really-?!"
"Really what?" Mukahi demanded.
"Ignore them, Gakuto, they just have strange minds," Oshitari whispered to him.
Atobe coughed. "Well, it seems Ore-sama's comment was taken slightly out of hand. Today, however, we will…"
His friends were weird.
However, if they weren't as weird as they were, Mukahi might have not come back at all.