Doubt

By: Asagi Tsuki

Summary: (sequel to Girlfriends) Shima struggles to decide whether Kaori was serious when he confessed

Warning: OOCness (I hope there isn't any, but if there is, you have been warned) and slight fluff

Special thanks: to everyone who reviewed my first Yorozuya fic 'Girlfriends', fav-ed it, or put it on their alert :D I was rereading the manga, the second volume, and this suddenly came to mind. I hope this is still up to your expectations

Note that this is set during Misato's Arc (Shima's childhood friend)

Disclaimer: Yorozuya Toukaidou Honpo belongs to Saenagi-sensei

Does He Mean It?

It had been some time since the incident involving lunch, wayward discussion, and not-so-sagely advice. Every time they met, Kaori never mentioned anything about it, and although he was reluctant to admit it, he was beginning to doubt Kaori and himself.

Was it true when Kaori said that he liked him? Was it true that he wished to be together, or was it just an impulsive action? Worse yet, was it all just a cruel prank played on him, to see how he would lose his cool and break down in confusion and suspense?

"Aaaaaaaaaaa!" Shima screamed into his pillow and hit his feet against the mattress repeatedly in frustration. Once he was done, he looked up and glared at a picture of him and Kaori that he put beside his family picture.

"Humph, this is stupid," Shima grumbled as he got up and walked towards his computer. "Let's see if there's any request. Maybe it'll help me take my mind off this thing."

A knock came from the front door, and he got up to answer it. "Oh, Kaori. Hey," Shima greeted as he stepped aside. "Come on in. I was just checking if there is any request."

"I see," Kaori said as he smiled at Shima. "Well then, I guess there's one," he added when Shima's computer let out a loud ping sound.

"Maybe you're a good luck charm," Shima commented teasingly as he walked back to his computer and see who it was. "Eh... Toriumi? Don't tell me..."

"Why?" Kaori asked as he stood beside Shima. "You know this person?"

"Yeah, she's a friend," Shima said as he stared at the message. "She asked to come. Ah, well, since we don't have to worry about lodging and food, we should go right away."

Kaori chuckled. "How so like you, Shima-san. Well, I'll go back to pack and I'll meet you at the train station."

"Alright," Shima said. "Thirty minutes from now. Don't be late."

"Of course."

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

"Oi Misato!" Shima called as he waved at the girl watering the back yard of an inn.

"Yoshitsune!" Misato called back cheerily as she turned off the tap and walked over to the two. "Ah, who is this? He looks a lot like Kyou, the model," she commented as she looked up at Kaori.

"I am he," Kaori said with a charming smile.

"Eh! How come Yoshitsune knows a celebrity!" Misato asked disbelievingly. "Ne, Yoshitsune, you didn't do anything strange to him, did you? Did you put him under a spell?"

"What do you take me for?" Shima protested. "I'm not a magician!"

"Huh, well, knowing you, it's not entirely impossible," Misato said with a sigh. "Anyway, to the topic of why I asked you to come here."

"Yes, that, I'd like to know that as well," Shima said as he nodded. "Did something happen?"

"There seems to be an intruder," Misato said gravely. "A couple of break ins have happened to our inn. Some money was taken, and everything was thrown into a mess. It's really annoying."

"Why didn't you ask the local security then?" Shima wondered.

"We tried, but they fell victim to the intruders too," Misato said, sighing heavily. "You're an investigator right? Our only hope is you now."

"Hm..." Shima mumbled.

"We'll take it," Kaori said and Shima looked at him in surprise. "Won't we, Shima-san?"

"Yeah, well, I suppose we will," Shima said absently. "Can you show me to my room? I'd like a moment to think."

"Is there something wrong, Shima-san?" Kaori asked, holding onto Shima's shoulder gently. "You know you can tell me anything, right?"

"Ah, yes, of course," Shima mumbled. "Na, Kaori, do you like Misato?"

"Hm? She seems like a nice person," Kaori said. "Why?"

"Nothing," Shima said as he shook his head. "You should head to your room for now. I'll be in mine."

"Shima-san—"

"Kaori," Shima cut him off quickly, looking up at him with the most convincing smile he could muster—which, at that moment, wasn't convincing at all. "I'll be fine. I just need some time to think. Alone."

Kaori stared at Shima, obviously still worried. "Alright, if you insist," he said finally in defeat. "If you need me, call. I'll be there."

"Thank you," Shima said as he smiled at him and walked off to his room, led by Misato.

Kaori watched as he walked off. "Shima-san..."

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

Shima stopped in front of a wooden hut, catching his breath. Turning back, he was surprised to see none of the girls have caught up with him yet.

"Eh, I guess I was too riled up," Shima said as he sighed. "Well, the prize was quite big, after all."

He walked up to the hut and reached for the front door knob. They were supposed to find a balloon inside and take it as a proof that they were the first to get there.

"Why did you break up with Misato, Ryuuzaki-senpai?"

"Don't you know? The one she likes is you all along."

"But that's impossible!"

"She talks about you all the time!"

Pausing as he remembered his earlier conversation with Ryuuzaki-senpai, he sighed, resting his hand on the knob. "Silly, silly me. His situation is exactly like mine... maybe he likes someone else after all."

Just as he was turning the knob, a pair of arms grabbed him from behind, catching him by surprise. In reflex, he hit his captor's ribs with his elbow, causing the person to let go of him and run away.

"Wait!" he shouted as he tried to run after the offender, but his geta got caught in between the floorboards and he fell down. "Damn it!"

"Yoshitsune!" Misato called as she finally caught up and rushed up to help Shima stand up. "What happened?"

"Nothing big," Shima said quickly. "I'm going to retrieve the balloon."

Misato watched as Shima walked inside and took the balloon, then walked back out. "Yoshitsune," she called again. "Were you attacked?"

"No, I—"

"Don't lie," Misato insisted. "There are finger marks on your face."

"Eh?" Shima exclaimed in surprise and quickly reached up to feel his left cheek. "You tricked me!"

"So you were attacked," Misato said. "What happened? Actually, I saw someone running away when I was running here so I asked."

Shima sighed in defeat. "I'll tell you back at the inn. I don't feel like repeating the same story."

Misato looked at him questioningly, then realization dawned upon her. "Ah, Kaori-kun."

"Yeah."

"Right. Let's head back."

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

"Ah, Shima-san, congratulations on winning first prize," Kaori said once Shima and Misato walked towards him. "Hm? Did something happen?"

"Yoshitsune was attacked," Misato said.

"At the hut?" Kaori asked as he frowned.

"Yeah," Shima said. "I suppose they weren't targeting me. It just happened that I was the first to get there."

"Shima-san—"

"No," Shima said, shaking his head. "It's fine, Kaori. I'll just go change and take a bath for now. It seems that there might be something the intruders were hiding. That might have been a warning."

"And you're not heeding that warning," Kaori stated.

"Of course not," Shima said with a grin. "You should go to sleep too. We need to be up early tomorrow for more investigation."

"If you say so," Kaori said as he bowed slightly at Shima. "Good night, Shima-san. Sleep well."

"Thank you, Kaori-kun."

Kaori looked up in surprise at that, but Shima had already retreated to his room. He frowned as he stared at the wooden door in front of him.

"Shima-san..."

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

"Does it still hurt?" Shima asked as he stared at Kaori's bandaged arm.

"Nah, they weren't deep," Kaori said with a grin. "They're just scratches, really. They'll heal in no time."

"I suppose," Shima said. "I'm going to confront Ryuuzaki-senpai," he added. "You stay here."

"Wouldn't it be better for me to do it?" Kaori suggested. "I think it'd be better to let a third party handle this."

"No," Shima said sternly. "I didn't hire you to do the dangerous work, Kaori-kun. I'll confront him myself. There are things I wish to clear as well."

"Why?" Kaori asked, frowning.

"Because I want to know—"

"No," Kaori cut him off. "Why did you call me that?"

"What—oh," Shima mumbled when he finally understood what Kaori meant. "I don't know. What would you want me to call you?"

"Are you doubting me, Shima-san?" Kaori asked as he held onto Shima's hand. "Why are you always looking at me with such doubtful eyes?"

"I don't—"

"Then at least call me by my name!" Kaori insisted.

"You're hurting me," Shima said quickly, and Kaori let go of his arm. "I'm sorry. I... I need to go now."

"Shima-san—"

"I'll be back soon," Shima said with a wry smile on his face. "I'm really sorry. I just... I guess I am not yet done with my thinking. Please bear with me for a little while longer."

"I suppose I could do that," Kaori said as he sighed. "Be safe, Shima-san."

"Of course. Thank you."

Once he was out of sight, Kaori sighed. "Why won't you even say my name now?"

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

"Ah, good thing that it is resolved now," Shima said happily as they walked into a train headed back to their town. "That was a nice vacation. Time to go back to work."

Kaori chuckled as he settled down beside Shima. "If you call that a vacation, I don't know what kind of work you do, Shima-san."

"Mou, Kaori, don't tease me!" Shima protested as he tickled Kaori's side until he begged mercy. After accidentally knowing Kaori's weak spot, he planned to abuse it to his heart's content.

After the short-lived tickle fight, Shima leaned back in his seat and stared at the scenery outside, smiling at the memory of the case's conclusion.

"Huh? You thought I like Misato-san? We've just met!"

"Well, sorry for being insecure! You weren't that helpful either!"

"So that was what you were thinking so hard about? You're so cute, Shima-san."

"You're one to talk! You never spoke of it ever since that time! How should I know if you meant it or not?"

"Well, you never told me what to do if the girl remains unresponsive, Shima-san. I thought you would tell me by doing it yourself. Maybe I should've been more forward."

"And maybe me too."

"Although, why do you suddenly admit it?"

"I was just... affected, I suppose. I guess, since they both made up, I guess I should try too."

"I see. Well then, don't ever doubt me again."

"Alright, alright."

"Remembering something good?" Kaori asked as he glanced at Shima.

"Yeah..." Shima mumbled, closing his eyes and smiling happily. "Something really, really good."

I Will Believe in You

So, I omitted a lot of things that could be read from the manga, but hopefully it was still clear as to what was happening. I didn't include any interactions between Misato and Ryuuzaki, the investigations and such, as this fic was supposed to focus on Shima's internal struggles

By the way, Kaori was surprised when Shima called him Kaori-kun instead of Kaori because calling someone by their first name without any honorific in Japan showed that they have a close bond. To have Shima suddenly add a honorific to his name would be quite surprising, I suppose

I hope that was enjoyable to all of you. If you did enjoy it, please be so kind as to leave a comment :D I love reviews :P