Chapter Twenty Five: Dance Partners
Hiroki and Nowaki left the auditorium heading to the dance. All the way there, they held hands, walking side by side, so close to each other they occasionally bumped hips.
Looking over Hiroki noticed Nowaki seemed particularly pensive."Nowaki," she asked softly, "What are you thinking about?"
Nowaki seemed startled by the question. Still unused to anyone actually being interested in what he was thinking or paying enough attention to note a change in his mood, his heart flushed with warmth at Hiroki's concern.
"You really liked Usami-san didn't you, Hiro-san." He offered this more as an observation and less as a question.
As always, Hiroki was shocked by Nowaki's directness. However, she answered truthfully.
"Yes, Nowaki, I did." As she said this though, she gave his hand a squeeze of reassurance.
"I haven't wanted too many things in my life, Hiro-san." Nowaki gazed down at her, his blue eyes dark and serious. "But I know I want you, and having the chance to be with you like this makes me so happy it scares me.
Hiroki was touched by this open declaration. She could tell, however, Nowaki wasn't finished with what he wanted to say so she stayed silent, waiting for him to continue.
"I want you to be happy too, Hiro-san. So, I'm feel kind of bad Usami-san couldn't like you in the way you wanted…" Nowaki said this with a convicted look on his face.
"At the same time… I'm glad that that he couldn't … Because now that means that I can."
"Hiro-san, I'm sorry that I'm so selfish."
Hiroki stared at the strange, wonderful boy beside her. She shook her wild, auburn head.
"What planet are you from, Nowaki?"
Seeing his perplexed expression, she continued, blushing mightily. "I know we haven't known each other for that long, Nowaki, but I can honestly tell you, I don't think I've ever met a less selfish person in my life…"
Hiroki focused her eyes on the ground, her embarrassment mounting.
"Besides, I am happy," she mumbled uncomfortably. Her large hazel eyes looked up into Nowaki's heartbreaking blue gaze once more.
Hiroki narrowed her eyes and her expression became fierce. "Got that?!"
A wave of relief washed over Nowaki's face. He didn't reply, he just beamed.
Entering the gymnasium where the dance was being held, approaching the ticket table with Nowaki, Hiroki immediately recognized the two girls manning it (or, more appropriately, womanning it): it was the "twins."
The twins weren't really twins but best friends. They hung with a clique of other girls at her school known as the "eccentrics." The eccentrics were an eclectic group of smart kids and arty misfits always reading manga or doing roleplay in between classes. Hiroki hung out with this crowd on occasion herself.
Today both twins were dressed in black, wearing matching outfits; only one wore a tee-shirt emblazoned with the logo EFG, while the other girl's simply sported an X.
"Hi, Hiroki-chan," the EFG twin greeted. "Did you get that coding assignment done?"
Hiroki had a computer class with EFG and she attended an English class with the X twin.
"Ah, not yet, but I'll have it done by Monday." Hiroki watched with concern as Nowaki drew his beleaguered wallet out to pay for the tickets.
Switching the conversation suddenly, EFG asked with interest,"Who's your friend?"
"I'm Hiro-san's boyfriend, Kusama-Nowaki," Nowaki offered with a light bow, not just a little proudly, before Hiroki could stammer out an answer.
"Hiro-san, that's a cute nickname!" EFG giggled despite the stern look this earned her from Hiroki.
The more pensive of the pair, the "X" twin took in this exchange silently. Ever observant, she'd seen Hiroki's expression watching Nowaki. So, when the tall youth held out his bills for their tickets, X suddenly shook her head and tentatively reached out and pushed Nowaki's hand back towards him.
"You two sure are lucky," X murmured. She tried to keep herself from blushing, not quite succeeding. "You're the one hundredth couple to the dance today."
She held a pair of tickets out to Nowaki. "Free entry to the event is the door prize for that."
EFG's brows rose considerably at her twin, but she said nothing.
"Really?" Nowaki looked both pleased and surprised.
"Uh, yeah!" EFG chirped enthusiastically, deciding to support whatever the heck it was X was doing.
Hiroki couldn't help but smile just a bit at the girls' kindness.
"Don't question it, Idiot. Just accept them," she admonished, reaching out and taking the tickets much to X's disappointment. X had kind of been hoping to brush Nowaki's warm fingers again.
As soon as she had the tickets, Hiroki put her hands on Nowaki's back and started pushing him into the gymnasium's interior. Once Nowaki's eyes were focused ahead, Hiroki turned back and mouthed "Thank you!"
The twins just nodded back.
"He's really cute. Hiroki-chan's lucky," EFG sighed.
X rolled her eyes at her twin and pulled a BL manga out of her bag from under the table. She frowned as she looked down at a couple of well-drawn males hand still tingled where Nowaki had touched it.
"I like cartoon boys better," she declared unconvincingly.
"Hey! Bring that over here where I can see it too!"
EFG reached over and pulled at the BL's pages. The two girls looked down at the manga, then simultaneously they lifted their dark heads. Staring at the door Hiroki and Nowaki had just disappeared through, they giggled.
Inside the gymnasium where the dance was taking place, Nowaki sparkled almost as much as the decorations.
"Uuuuwahhh, Hiro-san this place looks amazing!"
"Yeah, I guess it doesn't look so lame." Seeing Nowaki's enchanted expression made Hiroki's heart feel incredibly warm.
"Hiro-san," Nowaki asked almost shyly, "Would you dance with me?"
"Of course, Dumb-ass! Why the heck else would we come here?" Hiroki huffed, trying to hide just how adorable she thought Nowaki seemed at that instant. She took his hand and pulled him out onto the dance floor, just as the song that had been playing ended.
The band picked up another tune in less than a minute: it was a slow song. Nowaki and Hiroki stood facing each other. They looked at one another and then both dropped their gazes, blushing.
"Hiro-san, I wasn't kidding when I told you I didn't know how to dance."
"That's okay Nowaki, I can show you." Hiroki moved in closer. "Slow dancing is really easy anyways. Mostly it's just about standing around kind of swaying."
She pulled one of Nowaki's hands to the small of her back. After a second, she took Nowaki's other hand and did the same. Then she wrapped her slender arms around his lean torso and leaned against him, resting her head against his chest.
"Just follow me Nowaki." Hiroki gazed up into Nowaki's warm blue eyes.
"Anywhere, Hiro-san," he breathed happily.
Nowaki began to rock with Hiroki in time to the music. Then he brought one large hand up and gently stroked the side of her face.
"Dumb-ass," Hiroki muttered, bowing her head against his broad chest again, but she was smiling as she said this and her tone was exceedingly tender.
At the far end of the gym, underneath the bleachers, Miyagi and Shinobu sat together, side by side on the floor.
"See, I told you we could sneak in!" Shinobu hiccupped triumphantly.
"Okay, But so now that we're in, what do we do?" Miyagi stared at his little blond terrorist. He still couldn't believe that he'd let Shinobu talk him into this, not to mention he'd ended up spending the entire day with the younger boy.
Shinobu peered through the slats of the bleachers and then glanced back at Miyagi. His face became rather sheepish. "I don't know… Sit here and watch everyone else, I guess."
The tiny blond sat back with a sigh.
"This is the stupidest thing I've ever done," Miyagi muttered settling in too.
Then internally he corrected himself, the second stupidest, the first was getting sucked into hanging out with this brat in the first place.(Although, while he'd never admit it, he'd actually pretty much enjoyed himself. )
Miyagi's blue eyes shifted and then came to rest on Shinobu. The younger boy seemed mesmerized by the couples out on the dance floor. If he wasn't mistaken, Miyagi thought the little guy looked more than a bit jealous of the other kids dancing.
After a minute or two, Shinobu's thin shoulders hitched as he hiccuped again. Wrapping slender arms around his stomach, he groaned.
"I told you shouldn't have had that third double scoop," Miyagi chided.
"I know…" Shinobu frowned miserably as another hiccup jolted him. But he just hadn't been able to resist going back for more, not with the indirect kisses he got whenever he cajoled Miyagi into taking a lick of his ice cream.
"What are your parents going to say now when you don't want to eat dinner?"
Shinobu gazed through shaggy blond bangs at Miyagi; his normally fiery eyes filled with an ill-disguised sadness.
"It doesn't matter. They won't be home anyway. My dad's always working and my mom's probably out shopping with her friends.
"What about your older sister?" Miyagi asked curiously.
"Nah, Risako has a new boyfriend now and she's always off with him somewhere."
"So you're pretty much on your own?"
"Yeah, I guess so… But that's okay; I'm used to it. " Shinobu's voice sounded confident, but Miyagi could hear a heaviness in his tone that the younger boy was trying awfully hard to hide.
Though he didn't want to admit it, imaging the little guy rattling around an empty house pulled at Miyagi's heart.
Shinobu must be incredibly lonely. No wonder the kid was so persistent, such a handful.
Despite all the warnings his mind was giving him, Miyagi slid up behind the smaller teen, so that soon, Shinobu sat between his legs. Then he wrapped his long arms around Shinobu and pulled slender shoulders up against his chest.
The Shinobu turned and looked at him quizzically. "What in the hell are you doing, Old Man?!"
"Hush, Brat," Miyagi murmured. "I'm watching the dance."
Shinobu gaped at him with wide-eyed wonder and Miyagi just offered smirking smile back.
Turning his eyes back to the dancers again; Shinobu watched all the couples out on the floor. He surprised to find he no longer felt the least bit jealous. He let the music wash over him and leaned back in to the comforting warmth of Miyagi's arms.
Once settled, he hiccuped again. When he did, it almost sounded like he said, "Fate."
"What?" Miyagi asked, lowering his shaggy black head over his shoulder.
"Nothing…" Shinobu snuggled deeper against the older boy. "Now shut up, Miyagi. I'm watching the dancers."
Miyagi chuckled lightly at having his own words thrown back at him. Then he tightened his grip protectively around Shinobu.
As they sat together silently, watching the rest of the world out on the dance floor, in this moment, neither of them felt any need to join it.
Standing at the other end of the gym, also beneath the bleachers, Akihiko was likewise watching the dancers. However, unlike Miyagi and Shinobu, he had his eye on a particular couple.
He watched as Nowaki brought one large hand up and ran it through the back of Hiroki's hair. Then he saw Hiroki look up and he'd be damned if he didn't see her smile at this touch.
A sudden deep grief gripped Akihiko's heart, realizing that whatever it was that he and Hiroki had shared, while their friendship might continue, it was likely never going be the same. Despite this feeling of tremendous loss, seeing his best friend dancing out on the floor, Akihiko realized he'd never seen Hiroki look so content.
He was happy Hiroki had found someone who could give her what she needed; what she deserved. However, he resolved to keep a close eye on her.
And if Kusama, ever hurts her, he'll find himself having to deal with one furious Usami.
Although Akihiko had a sinking suspicion that if anyone was going to find himself on the tender side in Hiroki and her giant's relationship… It would more likely be Kusama.
"Usagi-san," Misaki's voice broke into Akihiko's thoughts and he looked over into a pair of increasingly enchanting green eyes.
"Did you find Takahiro, Misaki?"
"Yeah. He and his new girlfriend, Manami, were dancing up by the band."
Misaki scrunched his nose. "They were all pressed up against each other; it was kind of gross."
Akihiko couldn't help but laugh at the younger Takahashi's observation. He reached out with his good hand and ruffled Misaki's dark head.
"You shouldn't condemn it if you haven't tried it, Misaki," Akihiko gently teased, drawing yet another lovely blush from the younger boy.
"So, did Takahiro say it was okay for me to take you home?"
"Yeah, he was a little worried that it might be a bother for you," Misaki replied. "But when I told him you said it wasn't, he was fine,"
"So shall we head out then?" Akihiko asked. "We can stop on the way home and pick up something for dinner."
"Well, uh sure… Usagi-san." Misaki looked at the floor and his blush increased. "But I was kind of wondering…"
"Yes?" Akihiko waited patiently for Misaki to spit out whatever it was that was on his mind.
"Well," Misaki stammered, "Like, what you said… Could we try it?"
Akihiko quirked a brow at this. "What?… Here?"
"What better place would there be?" Misaki's eyes grew wide.
"I don't know?" Akihiko purred, "A bedroom perhaps?"
"I was talking about dancing you pervert!" Misaki huffed. "Don't go getting too far ahead of yourself. I haven't even kissed you again since that day at the park!"
Akihiko chuckled at the younger boy's indignance. It was so cute.
"So?…" Misaki asked hesitantly after a couple silent seconds.
Akihiko pretended to be obtuse to see if he could get Misaki to say it. Misaki sighed and turned a deeper shade of pink.
"Will… uh… Will you dance with me please, Usagi-san?" he muttered keeping his gaze locked on the ground.
Akihiko caught Misaki's chin with his good hand and lifted his head.
"Misaki, I'd love to dance with you."
Green eyes went wide again and then fluttered closed as Akihiko leaned in and kissed Misaki deeply.
It took a little arranging to work around Akihiko's cast, but after a minute or two, the two boys were swaying together in the dim shadows under the protective blind of the bleachers.
"You know, Misaki," Akihiko whispered pulling the smaller teen closer to him with his good arm. "If you're not careful, I might just fall in love with you."
Misaki blushed again and nestled his head under the older boy's chin. Then after a moment of silence he looked up into lavender eyes.
Akihiko slid his hand back up, off of Misaki's pert bottom.
"Ah… sorry," he mumbled, though he didn't really sound all that apologetic.
"Pervert!" Misaki snorted and then snuggled back in.
Out on the dance floor, Hiroki and Nowaki had "somehow" drifted into a secluded corner. It didn't matter to them that the song had changed and was now something much faster: they continued to slowly sway together, lost in a music of their own making.
Nowaki took one of his large hands and gently caught Hiroki's chin, lifting it up. Then he leaned his dark head down and placed a gentle but lingering kiss on her lips. His arm around her waist tightened when he felt Hiroki slip a bit.
Hiroki damned the effect Nowaki's kisses had on her knees.
When Nowaki broke the kiss he waited for Hiroki's hazel eyes to flutter back open. When they did, he swept her away in the blue tidal wave of his gaze.
"Being with you, Hiro-san… The one I love… It makes me feel so happy I could die."
Hiroki wrapped her arms around Nowaki's neck and pulled his head down. Nowaki's eyes widened when she captured his mouth in a crushing kiss that left them both gasping.
Staring at him hard, despite how her cheeks were burning Hiroki said hotly, "Don't even think about it, Nowaki!" Then her voice slipped into something far more tender.
"Because we've just barely started and we have a whole lifetime to be together yet."
Thank you all my lovely readers for traversing this story with me here.
So here we are at the end of this tale. If you have been reading along or have come along later, please drop a review…even if it's just and "I was here" to let me know you've read this. You have no idea how much it means to me.
Okay, so I am currently posting this fic on my tumblr and as I have been editing this fic and moving back and forth between accounts, I've noticed the reading stats for this story have been climbing. My guess is that some of you have seen the story on tumblr and have switched over here to finish reading it, not wanting to wait for updates, since the story is finished.
If this is the case, please consider dropping a review. I know this fic was done a long time ago, but it's only three small reviews away from 400 and I'm a sucker for round numbers.
Bye for now!