Takahiro's First Truth

Takahiro was worried. After all, his best friend, Usagi-chan as he called him, was thirty-two and wasn't even thinking of marriage. He seemed content to let Takahiro's brother take care of him for the rest of his life, but Takahiro knew it couldn't last. Misaki was graduating college and would soon be off on his own.

Manami wasn't on his side, but he had someone who he hoped would be. And that's how he found himself outside the apartment of his old high school friend, Hiroki Kamijou. They hadn't seen each other much since graduation, but Usagi had known where the man lived, so they were obviously still in contact.

He was slightly disconcerted when he knocked on the door and a tall, black-haired man answered, but he didn't let that stop him. "Is Hiroki Kamijou living here?" he said, a radiant smile on his face as he looked the man right in the eye- a great effort, to be sure.

"Hiro-san!" the man said, looking into the apartment. "You have a visitor."

"I'm busy, Nowaki." It was Hiroki, all right.

Takahiro smiled. "You must be Kamijou's roommate. I'm Takahiro Takahashi." He bowed, not noticing that Hiroki was staring out at them. "It seems weird. Kamijou's family is so rich, I thought he'd be able to live on his own."

Hiroki sat there in the living room, books spread out on the floor around him as he made lesson plans. At that, though, he looked like he was dying to say something, and Nowaki quickly intervened. "Would you like to come in? I just made tea."

"Thank you."

Takahiro stared at Hiroki as Nowaki got their drinks ready.

"So, to what do I owe this… pleasure, Takahashi?" Hiroki asked. He had his unruly hair back in a bandana and was wearing his small, plastic-framed glasses. Takahiro had never seen him looking so casual, and it almost distracted him.

"Oh, yes," he finally said, shaking himself out of his thoughts. "I was hoping to talk to you about Usagi-chan. I'm worried about him."

Hiroki flinched at the pet name but hid it by going to examine one of the books nearest to him. "What's Akihiko done this time?"

"Oh, nothing!" Takahiro said. "It's just that he's thirty-two now, and I think his life would be much better if he settled down."

His old friend looked flabbergasted just in time for Nowaki to enter with three cups of tea. Takahiro smiled at him and watched as Nowaki lingered with Hiroki, staring into his eyes as they both held the mug. Then Nowaki smiled and the moment was broken.

"Oh, Hiro-san, you needed to mail something, right? I'll drop that off for you," Nowaki said. He didn't give Hiroki time to protest and was gone with the sealed letter, still holding his tea in his free hand.

"You're alone too, right?" Takahiro said. "You know how it must be, being a bachelor in your thirties. Maybe Usagi-chan will listen to you."

Hiroki's eyebrow twitched as he brought the tea to his lips. "For one thing, Akihiko never listens to me." He removed his glasses and fell back, covering his eyes with one hand.

"And two?" Takahiro was genuinely curious.

"I'm far from alone, Takahashi." His face went red as he admitted this.

"Well sure," Takahiro said. "You have Usagi-chan, and your roommate, I suppose. But don't you ever want to settle down? I'm so happy with Manami."

"Nowaki's not my roommate."

"Oh, so you do live alone?"

"That's not what I'm saying." His eye twitched when he saw the blank look on Takahiro's face. "If you want someone to convince Akihiko to marry, I suggest you look somewhere else." Still no comprehension. "I'm gay. Nowaki and I have been together for nine years now."

The smile was frozen on Takahiro's face at that point. Instead of looking at Hiroki, he stared at the books around him.

"Oh, you're reading… The Picture of Dorian Gray?" He'd vaguely heard of the book and was clearly grasping at straws.

"I'm teaching a classic western literature class right now."

More awkward silence.

"Well, it was nice seeing you, Kamijou."

"You too."

And Takahiro left.

This was just a random thing I thought of while working on the last chapter of Old Friends, Old Problems. Feel free to make requests for 'truths' you'd like to see and I'll see what I can do .