A/N: For those of you who read my initial post called Unexpected Preferences, this is a cleaner version of the same story...no lemon. The lemon was awkward...this is a little awkward too. But this is still cute, and I'm actually pretty proud of the way it came out. Please enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own anything...I don't even have my own copy of the manga!

Unexpected Preferences

Ranmaru sighed dramatically as he walked through the garden in the back of the house. His latest girlfriend's husband has returned from his trip early, interrupting their romantic rendezvous. She had made up some excuse about the reason he was there, but the husband was still suspicious, so Ranmaru had hastily taken his leave. He fingered the condom in his jacket pocket wistfully. He really wanted to use it. Suddenly realizing he was lost in his thoughts and wandering, he looked up and found he had no clue where he was.

"How big are the grounds at this place?" he wondered, somewhat angrily. "I thought I knew my way around!"

Ranmaru wandered for a while, trying to get his bearings. Suddenly, he heard a noise through the bushes on his right. It sounded like someone was crying. He pushed through the bushes and found himself in a clearing, which was divided neatly by a small stream. On the bank of the stream was Yuki, who looked up in surprise when Ranmaru crashed through the bushes. Tears were still streaking down his face, so he hastily wiped them away.

"Oh, hi Ranmaru," he began, his voice breaking despite his best efforts to hold back tears, "I didn't know you knew about this place too."

Ranmaru watched as his friend blinked back more tears. "Hey, Yuki? Are you okay? What happened?"

At his words, Yuki's eyes watered and he broke down. "Ma-Machiko-chan b-broke up wi-with me!" he managed to choke out in between sobs.

Ranmaru, unsure of how to comfort a guy, walked over to him and awkwardly patted him on the shoulder. "There, there?" he said. It sounded more like a question than a comforting statement. Usually when something happened between Yuki and Machiko, Takenaga or Kyohei or even Sunako would be there to say something, and he'd just put in his two cents. If only Yuki was a girl, Ranmaru thought, then I'd know how to comfort him. He was jolted from his thoughts when Yuki began talking. His eyes were glazed over and he looked unseeingly at the stream.

"I think we're done for good this time." Yuki whispered. His breathing had evened out, and he was no longer sobbing, but unshed tears still glistened in the corners of his eyes. "She said I'm not man enough," he continued, "Do you think I'm man enough Ranmaru?"

Ranmaru was taken aback by the question. "Uhm, Yuki…that's a weird thing to ask another guy…"

Yuki's eyes came into focus and he turned to look at his friend. "You're right, forget I said anything."

Ranmaru was struck by how vulnerable Yuki looked. He could tell the smile Yuki wore was forced, and his eyes were shining with tears unshed. Yuki shied away from Ranmaru's gaze and looked again at the stream, hugging his knees. A gentle breeze picked up and ruffled Yuki's hair. Ranmaru found himself fingering the condom in his pocket once again, and wondering if Yuki's hair was really as silky as it looked. His eyes widened and he mentally slapped himself.

No! he shouted in his head, Yuki is a guy! And one of my best friends! Not to mention a guy! A guy with soft looking hair and big, vulnerable eyes…NO!

As Ranmaru stood frozen in time, arguing with himself, he was unaware of the strange sight he presented. Yuki turned to find Ranmaru in suspended animation, and he blinked back the last of his tears. "Uh, Ranmaru?" Ranmaru didn't respond. He stood up and walked over to his friend. "Hel-lo? Ranmaru?" Yuki waved his hand in front of his face. Ranmaru blinked and grabbed Yuki's wrists.

"Yu-ki?" Ranmaru whispered, his voice slightly husky after being broken out of his thoughts.

Yuki tried to pull free of Ranmaru, who was staring at him intently. Yuki looked up and caught Ranmaru's eyes. His gaze was tender, almost…loving. His shoulder-length red hair framed his face in an almost angelic manner. Yuki felt his heartbeat quicken, heard his blood roar in his ears.

No! he thought, Ranmaru's my friend! And even if there is a reason behind my beating heart, Ranmaru doesn't go that way!

But he couldn't be sure. Both boys were questioning the other's feelings-and their own. They both thought the same thing.

Can I really be feeling what I think I am?

Heart pounding ferociously, Ranmaru released Yuki's wrists and brought his hand up to cup Yuki's cheek. He didn't pull away, but brought his own hand up to cover Ranmaru's.

"Ran-maru?" Yuki whispered timdily. Ranmaru's hand felt cool on his flushed face. His breath quickened.

Ranmaru leaned in towards Yuki. "Don't be frightened." He murmured soothingly, and then captured Yuki's lips in a gentle kiss.

Yuki gasped into Ranmaru's mouth and then kissed back timidly before pulling away. He licked his lips and ran a hand through his windblown hair. Ranmaru stood, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly, eyes downcast. Yuki had never seen Ranmaru this self-conscious. Where was his confidence?

Ranmaru looked up, but refused to meet Yuki's gaze. "I'm sorry Yuki, I shouldn't have…I should leave…" As he turned to go, Yuki reached out and grabbed Ranmaru's sleeve.

"Wait!" Ranmaru turned to face him, not quite able to mask the hope in his eyes. Yuki smiled. "Don't go! That was…nice."

Ranmaru grinned, confidence returning in a flash. "Nice, huh?" Yuki smiled assent. "Well then, how about this?" Ranmaru pulled Yuki towards him and kissed him passionately. Yuki kissed back, with just as much fervor. Neither boy could deny the heat and pressure building in their cores, and the painful throbbing in their loins.

They broke apart, gasping. Ranmaru turned Yuki around and pulled him so close he could feel the heat through both his and Ranmaru's jeans. Ranmaru pulled the condom out of his pocket, and held it in front of Yuki's face.

"You know, I was planning on using this with my girlfriend earlier, but I'm glad I didn't. I'd rather use it with you."

Yuki pulled away and whirled on Ranmaru, surprised. "Now...but I-I never…I mean, I…uhm…"

Ranmaru chuckled. "You're still a virgin?" Yuki nodded mutely, his face cherry red. Ranmaru stepped forward and pulled him into a tight embrace. "That's okay," he whispered into Yuki's neck, "I'll be gentle."

Yuki pulled away from Ranmaru and shook his head violently, his face still red. "No! I'm not ready! And this is all happening so fast! Maybe someday…someday soon, but not today!"

Ranmaru nodded slowly, and put the condom back in his pocket. "I understand completely," he held out his hand towards Yuki, "C'mere." Yuki took Ranmaru's hand, pulled him close, and kissed him gently on the lips. "I'll wait for you." He whispered into Yuki's ear. A shiver of pleasure ran up Yuki's spine.

Yuki leaned back slightly and smiled up at Ranmaru. "When I'm ready, you'll be the first to know. But until then…" Yuki pressed his mouth against Ranmaru's. Not expecting the move from the normally shy Yuki, Ranmaru gasped. Yuki took advantage of this and slipped his tongue into Ranmaru's mouth. The two boys' tongues danced together as they fought for dominance, but eventually, Ranmaru won, being more experienced in the area of kissing from his former womanizing exploits. Yuki surrendered and let Ranmaru's tongue explore his mouth, relishing in his taste. It wasn't long before they needed to break apart to breathe. The only sounds that could be heard were the gasping breaths of the boys, as their chests heaved, trying to get enough air.

After a few moments, Ranmaru smiled and sat on the bank of the stream, patting the grass besides him. Yuki sat down beside him, and the two sat in companionable silence. Ranmaru leaned back on his elbows and closed his eyes, letting the gentle breeze blow his hair around his face. Yuki hugged his knees and watched, the breeze ruffling his own hair. Ranmaru opened his eyes and caught Yuki's gaze. "Sure is beautiful out here, isn't it?"

Yuki smiled. "Yeah, it is."

The sun streaked through the trees and sparkled on the water, causing it to sparkle as if its surface were made of thousands of crystals. The breeze was gentle, rustling the leaves of the trees and causing the grass to sway. In the quiet beauty of the afternoon, the boys fell asleep in each other's arms, relishing the fact that they had found someone who they could truly love.

The sun was setting by the time Yuki and Ranmaru returned to the house. Takenaga looked up from the book he was reading. "Where have you two been all afternoon? We've already eaten. Sunako-chan left food in the fridge."

Yuki smiled. "I'm not all that hungry. As for where we've been…" he paused, trying to come up with something plausible, without actually lying to his friend, "We met up by accident after we both got dumped, and spent the afternoon hanging out. I guess we lost track of time."

Ranmaru stifled a laugh. Everything Yuki said was the truth…maybe not the whole truth, but still the truth. "Yeah, we had fun…" he trailed off, not knowing what else to say without making Takenaga suspicious. He changed the subject. "So where are Kyohei and Sunako-chan?"

"They went to go see some horror movie, but it's not a "date". Sunako-chan really wanted to see it, but she couldn't get Noi-chi or any of the other girls in her class to go with her…and Kyohei wanted to see the movie too." Takenaga explained.

Ranmaru and Yuki laughed simultaneously. "They can call it what they want, but I do believe romance is beginning to blossom between the two of them." Ranmaru chuckled. And they're not the only ones. He thought. He caught Yuki's eye and could tell that he was thinking the same thing.

As the two boys turned to leave, Takenaga called out, "Oh, and Yuki? Machiko-chan called. She told me to tell you she made a big mistake and was sorry. She wants you to call her."

Ranmaru froze in the doorway, and Yuki turned around with a forced smile. "I'll call her back tomorrow to tell her we're through. I don't think I like her that way anymore."

Ranmaru released a breath he hadn't known he'd been holding, and Takenaga stared at Yuki for a few seconds before shrugging and returning to his book. The two boys left him and walked far enough down the hallway so they were just out of earshot.

"Should we tell them?" Yuki whispered, glancing back down the hallway nervously. Ranmaru shook his head.

"Not yet. But we will…sooner rather than later." He pulled Yuki in for a gentle kiss before turning towards his room. "Good night Yuki."

Yuki smiled kindly. "Good night Ranmaru."