You don't want to hear me apologize for not updating. You just want to read the next heap of hilarity and teenage angst. And so here it is. :3

I am also toying with the idea of a PG-rated Yuna-harem... :P Or I might just end it soon as planned, with Yunalai. Who knows?


Of Teenagers and Hormones

Chap. 4 ~ Heartbreak

The most restless of nights; how can I sleep when the day has been so grueling? Waking up in the early morning when the day before felt tedious, rushing to arrive at school on time because I overslept, giving half of my attention, not even half, listening to the teacher's voice droning on and on and on, neglecting work, thinking about what I'd done wrong, what should I do to fix it, or maybe... I'm not good enough. I just wasn't good enough for him...

Reaching home after seven hours of wasted activity, empty progress, and going on the computer and browsing on the internet when I'd rather take a nap and rest. Refusing the choice of responsibility, falling into sick temptation, being lazy and dull and unmotivated to do anything. Before I realize it, night falls and I worry about having little time to practice a dance routine or finish my homework that I had planned ahead to finish. When the clock strikes past midnight, sleep is already overdue. Arguing with a guardian who tries in vain to usher me to sleep, but I still stay up. Now they have fallen asleep, my uncle, my brother, and cousin and grandmother, too and I'm the only one awake. How can I rest when I don't get sufficient hours of sleep?

So many doubts and thoughts working against my heart, which drowns from a lifelong depression of domestic fights and mental abuse; the darkness tempts me, lulling me into unconsciousness, but I can't do it. Everyone is asleep, people, animals, bugs, the world, and I am all alone. To myself, and my constant thoughts in my lovesick mind.

I soon slip under the covers, burrowing in the warm, thick, cozy blanket, queen-sized bed too big and soft to the point of soreness. The heater floods my body with substantial heat, not enough, definitely not enough for my cold-blooded body. Lying awake and blinking in bed, I continue to toss and turn minutes after minutes of fruitless movement. I can't fall asleep, not when there's noise, not when there's a TV in the other room close to me and the ongoing loud noise beats through the thin walls. I'm too languid to turn it off myself.

Imagining the closed room, illusory silence, puts some ease to my daydream-laden mind. Sometimes fixing a single image, scene, or thought into my head, I let the picture flow, move, and live as my consciousness becomes distracted and detached to the physical realm. I eventually enter an episode of unconsciousness. Not rest, not sleep, simply a pause from feeling awake. Zoning in and out of consciousness, dozing, rapid blinks of mismatched-colored eyes, disoriented and half-lidded, I snap out of it when kind pressure startles me into clarity. Someone must be leaning on me. I didn't hear them walk in my room.

A dull pain in my head floods all senses, yet I can hear breathing, the mattress sinking when an arm superimposes mine. "Yuna..." Loose embrace, a soft, strong grip holding my curled fingers."Wake up. It's five o'clock in the afternoon. I know it's the weekend, but still..."

The blanket rustles as I sit up, and it falls crumpled on my lap. "You will feel better after taking a bath." Instead of leaving me to fend for myself, the same caring hand, two in fact, grabs mine, pulling me to climb out of bed.

Distrust in my own devices? No. More like over-excessive in his concern. A yawn heavy with emotional baggage, a sigh of happy resignation, I lean on him, finding no strength to stand straight on my own.

I'm growing tired of being independent, growing tired of relying on myself– I want someone to want me. Why would my boyfriend date me if he didn't want me?

"I only said yes because I didn't want to hurt your feelings."

I would've been able to move on, get over it, if we didn't have anything to lose. Instead, you made me believe we actually had something. I'm still not sure if it was ever real in the first place...

"Talking about him again?" He startles me, his voice nonchalant as he glances away from scrubbing my soapy arm to regard me. Unsmiling, but insightful. Again, he makes it his responsibility to look after me, this time in the form of a nice, hot bath.

"Ah, sorry... I'm talking out loud again..."

"I'm relieved. It's a miracle for you to be talking at all." Aware of my self-conscious, inquisitive look, Baralai puts forth effort to smile. Half-hearted reassurance. He doesn't care about my dilemma, a cliche common in the majority of women these days. He cares about the precarious state of my mind, whether or not I'll survive from this chronic depression.

"He doesn't love me..." I choke in my own sobs, reaching across the tub to hold him, clinging onto to the last person who cares.

"Of course, he does. He cares about you a lot." His whispery solace does not reach through my deaf tears. "He's just... not in love with you. Being his friend is not enough?"

"But I love him so much..."

Mental shutdown. No hope. No vigor. My best friends can't even help me this time. The nights, including this one, are beginning to feel grave, restless until the moment I will cave in.

"I love you." My brother's confession, a platonic retaliation, disinfects my emotional wounds and it stings, causing fresh tears to stream free. "Please. Be happy. Be happy for me." He squeezes me, suddenly so solid he anchors me, and I croon as he strokes my hair, touched by his melancholy timbre. "Do I not matter to you anymore?"

"How can you say that? You know you do."

"I say that, because you don't see what you are doing to yourself. Stop thinking too much. Stop beating yourself up inside. Things happen. You'll have to deal with it as best as you can.

"Time waits for no one."


Poking her head inside the doorway, Yuna found him standing in front of the stove, boiling hotdogs for everybody, arms crossed and supervising the food with absentminded caution. How innocent he seemed in that casual pose, how violated his mouth looked, a precious place Yuna had the privilege to touch, to kiss, to taste– and another desecrated what she wished belongs to her, should belong to her only, shouldn't be hers to start with.

"Where were you?" Baralai asked, smiling, as Yuna tiptoed into the kitchen, cheeks crimson as a maiden's shame once she glanced at his lips. The soft, split skin where Tidus had "nibbled" him. "You disappeared before I noticed."

"W-why did you... k-kiss him? You never..." Kissed anyone except for me, she didn't say.

"For your visual pleasure. Don't think I don't know about your fetish. Pretty boys kissing..." Yuna deadpanned, ten shades of red highlighting the tips of her flushed ears, gulping thick. "I'm sure you've had a daydream or two of us doing just that."

"T-That's... That's not true!" Yuna willed her eyes to look, feeling a little envious, touching his bottom lip with her thumb. "It looks like it hurt..." A little embarrassed, Baralai glanced away for a moment, blushing.

"Kiss it to make it better?"

"And you believe I'm the cure?"

"Your holy touch would be most appreciated."

Yuna stumbled at the hastiness of his tight embrace, grasping his shoulders for balance, eyes drooping, unwinding under the kiss, blushing in happiness. Prolonged inhalation, involuntary shiver, one kiss longer than the rest, like their first.

His shaky exhale, a nervous breath, causes her to blush, reminding her of their illicit intimacy, euphoria flooding from their covert emotional affection.

"Stiff?" Yuna whispered, smiling, massaging his shoulders, and a disgruntled grumble became his response.

"What man wouldn't be after being mouth raped by another man?"

"You provoked him."

"His reaction was worth it."

"I'll never understand your perverse impulses to torture people."

"It's fun, and speaking of torture..." He chuckled, his tone husky. "You like it."

"Yeah, maybe I do." Yuna hummed, wrapping her arms around him once more, inviting herself closer, and pecking his cheek, hoping he'd take the bait.

For him to last this long without feeling "obligated" to resist her advances must mean she's close to convincing him to let down his guard. Why would he have it up constantly, Yuna had no clue, but she could see him slipping. It pleased her when he acted selfish, monopolizing whenever he preferred it; most of the time in the presence of boys, especially around Tidus.

Baralai sighed and tugged at her arms. "Don't get too comfortable." His evasive smile dismissed her intention and he twisted his body to face the stove. "I have to make sure the hotdogs aren't overcooked."

"...okay."

Good things happen to people who wait, Yuna heard, but there were times Yuna tired of waiting for him to break. The doubt would creep in mind, 'If he really wanted me, or loves me the way I do for him, he would've claimed me by now,' and Yuna hated it. It's the adversary of her hope, bullying her constantly. Maybe it'd be easier to cope, be simpler to acquire companionship, if she submitted to another's whims.

Baralai tried not to think of it much, the brisk push when Yuna pulled away. "Go have fun with the others," he said, smiling, a smile meek and wilting, heart throbbing when he received no response. A reaction she'd make when upset and Baralai couldn't have felt more jilted.

Nostalgia lingered on his lips, the absence of touch, cool heat, and bittersweet affection.

It had been years since their parents second marriage, his mother and her father, growing up with a non-blood-related sibling for the past few years. He watched as Yuna matured in both mind and body, and soon the heart, too. Especially the body.

How dimples heightened the cuteness whenever she smiled, or how slender her bare legs were on a particular warm day and the skirt sashays to the beat of her swaying hips. Or how soft her hair felt when his hand moved to squeeze out the chunks of glue in her hair from Gippal's latest prank; or how melodic her voice sounds, her soft-mannered tone, her pissed-off tone, her brokenhearted tone, whenever she called his name for whatever reason.

Maybe it was his imagination, Yuna reciprocating his attraction, the way she'd always be in the same room with him, sometimes to engage in fun with him or do her own thing. Or eat everything he'd make, even when the starting point left much to be desired, or how she flanked his side whenever in the presence of friends and strangers. Always seeking his opinions on her outfits, always requesting him to watch movies together, take walks and adventurous detours in the park, or help tutor her in school studies.

And tutoring her had its moments, very private moments. Situated at the kotatsu, a gift from Yuna's father working abroad in Japan, at times a great napping place, at times a spot where tentative, flirtatious gestures were exchanged. Like how Yuna would sometimes scoot closer as he hovered behind her. Baralai would lean closer, casually of course, close enough for him to feel her body flush. He would breathe in her flowery scent and sigh in contentment, hair so silky against his cheek. Yuna would sometimes shiver, because she gets cold easy or maybe because his voice murmured so clear in her ear when explaining a math formula, a historical event, or a literary device.

She would suddenly become quiet and her writing hand would stop moving; spurred by subconscious urges, his fingers would clasp her wrist in the guise of grabbing her attention, proud of being able to make her pulse jump and her face flush. She would smile, apologetic, providing a vague excuse for her distracted state of mind. His touch would linger, long after she resumed scribbling notes or scrawling answers. To relax her in a particular complex problem, he would caress her wrist while waiting for her to phrase her question, stalling to make the initiative if it meant he could bask in their proximity longer.

When their study sessions would eventually end, Yuna would reward him with a smooch on the cheek, and Baralai would nuzzle his nose to her temple in speechless gratitude, and by habit they would exchange their customary words "thank you" and "you're welcome".

And what followed at the end of each study date stayed between them. 'Maybe I should stop deluding myself with this pseudo-forbidden line…'

"I could sure go for a wiener! You gonna feed me or what?" Gippal stretched, walking into the kitchen for more soda, and hopefully, food. And to annoy his best friend.

Snapped out of memory lane, Baralai bumped his elbow against the counter, hissing when this violent jerk of motion caused the wooden spoon he held to splash water on his fingers.

"Dude, are you alright?" Gippal panicked, rushing forward to grab his arm, and blew wind on his red fingers to cool them down. His best friend's spontenienty failed to alleviate the situation, only made it awkward on the receiving end.

"What... are you doing? I need to get an ice pack." Baralai jerked his hand back, inspecting the damage. A small burn, but severe.

"What? Don't get weird on me!"

The blush flared slight, embarrassed and awkward, and Baralai hid it by fetching said desired item from the freezer, which housed none. "Of course there would be no ice packs when I need it." Baralai groaned, and turned tail to the bathroom, where the first aid kit included some anti-burn cream. "And I'm not getting weird! This just hurts..."

"Hey, there." Understanding dawned on him, along with a recent hilarious development. Gippal smirked, parading right after him. "Did I just hear hesitation in your tone, mister?"

"Ow, ow... hesitation? I'm in pain. Forgive me if I can't deny your accusations quicker. Not my top priority." Gently applying the cream, he laid a bandage over it, blowing on it himself to keep Gippal from taking up the task again. "And will you please stop touching me? I don't want to feel you back there." Gippal smiled like an imp, hugging him and groping for potential tickle spots.

Baralai could only wiggle while multi-tasking, eye twitching, and he elbowed him in the stomach before capping the container shut. "Unless you have forgotten, I am not ticklish. And do not dare seduce Yuna to prove me otherwise."

"Hey, hey. Who said anything about seducing your sister? Well, she's not actually your sister, so I can see why you might..." Gippal misunderstood Baralai's command for him not to seduce Yuna into tickling him, accidentally speaking a secret he didn't even know.

Shoulders stiffened. Deliberate pause, before Baralai shut the cabinet. "Excuse me?"

"Whoa! No need to unleash the death glare, man. I get it. Don't talk about Yuna like that. Geez." Gippal smirked, mischievous. Annoying Baralai never ceased to be fun. "I'll leave you to your gay fantasies." Gippal departed with a heartfelt slap to the back, and dashed out, laughing.

Pounding his head against the wall, Baralai took a deep breath. Too close. Gippal found out without finding out. But, it provided very useful information. Not everyone would frown upon it if he did choose to engage, officially, in a more intimate relationship.

Especially since unintentional acceptance came from Gippal himself, Yuna's first boyfriend.

"Hm. He may even be onto us…"