az: Waiting to post this so that the time actually set on the proper dates was excruciating... but what to do, my time zone was nearer to JST compared to PST. And this was that birthday fic that I've been planning for quite some time. Happy birthday~ Yuuchan and Yama-chan~ Even if you guys might not be able to read this~

[EDIT] Adjusted to include a Mother's day dedication as well as to finalized the story.


That Special Day

Written by Izzu alias honou-no-izumi

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From the moment he woke up that day, he immediately tucked away the calendar that he had always left hanging on the wall. Normally, this was not something that he would do... but right now, he didn't even want to think about the significance of today. Who cares if he even spent the day by alone himself? He just didn't care.

Ainosuke sat before the small shrine of their parents as he prayed, before turning his attention towards another one placed beside it.

He smiled, almost too widely.

"Good morning, niichan," he said before getting up to tidy his room, sighing as he did.

"Everyone out there that could hear me right now, how are you all today? How did all of you celebrate your own special day? Must be with those who were very special to you, namely your family..."

"But everyone... what would you do if you have none of your family members by your side to spend it with?"

xxx

Ainosuke went out to refresh himself before putting on some fresh clothes. After he was done, he grabbed his sketchbook as he he tried to think of something to draw... but nothing comes to mind.

Not sure how long he had been daydreaming but when he rose to answer the hurried knockings on his door, he already forgotten about his earlier concerns.

At least, until that moment when he opened the door...

"Surprise!"

He blinked as Miruku-san, Sayama-sensei, Kato-san, Masaki, Shimada and some of his classmates gathered around the corridors. Immediately he was reminded of what day today was.

To think he had been trying to ignore the significance of today.

"What're you guys doing?", he snapped, suddenly Ainosuke felt his temper rising.

"B-but... senpai? Isn't today... we thought we could celebrate your birthday together!", stuttered Shimada as Ainosuke appeared unaffected.

"Have I ever said that I'd like to celebrate my birthday? Did I ever tell anyone that I wanted it?"

"Ainosuke!", Sayama-sensei suddenly exclaimed as Ainosuke glared at her. The young woman was about to say something more before noticing the tears that had suddenly filled his eyes.

Before she could say anything, Ainosuke slammed his door at their faces.

xxx

He sighed. Why did he snapped at them? They weren't even at fault. But right now...

Suddenly, everything was becoming unbearable as Ainosuke hastily put on his shoes and stormed out of his room. Not even when his name had been called out so repeatedly did he stop and turn, as he took his bike and left the place.

Dumbfounded, everyone went quiet as suddenly Miruku slapped her forehead.

"Ah, my bad!"

Everyone turned their attention towards her as she explained.

"You know how special today's date had been for Ainosuke?" she asked as none of them replied. Miruku sighed. "Today was not just his birthday alone; it was also his brother's."

"Oh!", Sayama Hitomi gasped as she covered her mouth in surprise.

"I didn't know..."

xxx

Ainosuke wiped the tears again from his face as he looked up towards the Tanaka family's tombstone.

"Ne, niichan. I'm sorry... I didn't mean to make today started out so badly. But whenever I thought of today... I couldn't help it—Niichan, I really wished that you were still here! I'm sorry, I thought I've already gotten over this grief..."

He started crying again as he remained kneeling in front of the grave. The fact that there were even less people coming to visit the place today, allowed him a bit of privacy as well. (Well, considering today was also Mother's Day... never mind.) Ainosuke silently prayed for his parents and brother as he tried his best not to cry so badly.

"Baka. Who told you that you're alone? You have me, right? I'll always be with you. No one could break us apart, not ever."

Ainosuke looked up suddenly as he felt himself brought back into the past, while his brother Yumehito smiled at him kindly. Like how he had always done...

xxx

Yumehito grabbed Ainosuke's arm as he pulled him into his lap. Ainosuke laughed.

"Niichan! Stop it... this was embarrassing!"

He gasped as his brother wrapped his arm around him fondly. Yumehito ignored him as he kissed his cheeks affectionately.

"It's not like people are looking, we're inside the room by ourselves after all. Don't tell me you don't love oniichan anymore?" he sighed before continued talking again.

"Ainosuke... did you remember what day today is?"

Ainosuke chuckled at his brother.

"I don't hate you... and yes, I do know what day today is. It's our birthday! And before you start to tell that story, I still remembered it as if it was just yesterday that you've told me that."

Yume pinched his thigh as Ainosuke yelped aloud.

"Don't cut in before your elders! And I would still tell you that story, regardless if you want it or not."

Ainosuke turned to find his brother spacing out as his hand continued fussing over his hair. He smiled as he noticed how happy his brother had looked.

"You know before you were born, I had been worried that I couldn't celebrate my birthday with mum. She had been staying at the hospital for several days that time, but you still had not come out yet. Stubborn little twerp... you! So all the time, I had been worried. I've been thinking...why can't you get out any faster, eh? You're so cheeky... even before you were born. Taking your time getting out... heh!"

Ainusuke grinned again as he remembered how this story had ended out.

"Dad and I were supposed to celebrate it together but suddenly he got a call and had to go out again. So I ended up waiting at home by myself... wondering if I would end up celebrating it alone. And then just before it got really dark, I got a call from dad. He told me that he would come back home soon and he had a nice birthday present ready for me, just that he would have to give me that present a bit late. And you know what he did?"

Both of them were already grinning at each other as Ainosuke shook his head.

"No, I don't."

Yumehito chuckled at him.

"He gave the phone to mum and mum said..."

"Happy birthday, you're a big brother now!", both of them chirped together as they laughed. Yume smiled as he hugged his brother fondly.

"You're the best birthday gift I've ever had, no other present could be greater than that. None ever will."

Ainosuke pulled away from his brother as he turned towards him, pouting.

"So does that mean, that you didn't prepare a birthday gift for me this year?" he asked as Yume nodded solemnly.

"Yes. But we are going to eat out after this. Don't you worry about that."

Ainosuke leered at him cheekily.

"You lied! You did prepare a gift for me!"

Yume stared at him innocently as he shook his head.

"No, I didn't. I really hadn't!"

"Lies!"

Ainosuke laughed again as he tackled his older brother.

"You are my birthday present! There could be no other present that could top that!"

Yumehito snarled at him before pinching his cheeks in amusement.

"You cheeky brat! No stealing my lines, I tell you!" he cried as Ainosuke immediately got up before Yume started chasing him around. Throughout the rest of the night, endless laughter continued to fill the place as both brothers spend their birthdays happily together...

xxx

Ainosuke opened his eyes as he realized he had fallen asleep beside the grave.

Of course, his brother wouldn't have been able to come back to life.

He wiped away the remaining tears on his cheeks. Everyone must have been worried; he had after all stormed out without even greeting them. And they had gone so far as to come celebrate his birthday with him...

By the time he had returned, most of his classmates had returned home... leaving the five people to whom he had ended up knowing because of what his brother had started. If his brother had not faked his own death, if his brother had not been THE genius crime planner that police had been after for quite some time—most probably he wouldn't have gotten to know these people. Well, except Miruku-san of course.

Wonder if this was also part of his brother's plan?

Sayama-sensei suddenly rushed towards him as she dragged him towards the main hall where they've set up the table.

"Gomen ne, Ainosuke. I haven't realized—well, since we can't get another one... maybe you would be satisfied with this."

Ainosuke blinked as Sayama-sensei held out a cupcake before him before he noticed a small candle being placed on top of the cupcake.

"We'll also celebrate your oniisan's birthday with you."

Immediately, his chest tightened and his eyes got watery as Ainosuke thought he'd imagined his brother smiling at him beside where Kato-san had stood. He hadn't been at it long as he was no sooner pulled along with the rest of them before everyone started to sing...

I'll always be watching over you...

Ainosuke gasped as he turned around towards the empty space behind him but saw nothing.

Did he imagined it?, he wondered as he turned his attention back towards their small celebration before throwing aside his feelings of melancholy. Ainosuke sighed before taking a large bite on the cupcake that was meant for his brother, thinking only about his brother's smile before finally feeling slightly better. He finally smiled as he stared at the half-eaten cupcake intently.

"Sorry, niichan. I'll be stealing your cupcake this time!", he thought to himself before finishing off the cupcake cheerfully...