Reize, headstrong leader of Gemini Storm, hastily made his way through the halls of Aliea Gakuen. Today was White Day, a day carrying the yearly tradition of boys giving presents to the people he liked. While both friends and lovers could participate, the day had always been connected to romance rather than friendship. This was the reason Reize had not dared to give his own gift, a piece of homemade chocolate, to the recipient of his choice: Gran, the captain of the master rank team Gaia.
Seeing as Gemini Storm was the lowest rank team, Reize harbored a deep respect for all captains above him. But while he reverenced Desarm, Burn and Gazel on an obligatory level, it was Gran he truly adored. Not just because he was a good leader, but also because he was skilled, smooth and polite. Just his smile managed to get Reize's heart racing.
Today was the one day Reize knew he could express affection to Gran without giving the wrong impression. Afternoon was about to fade into evening, and Reize had not dared to give Gran his gift earlier on. He had been afraid Gran would reject his feelings, or maybe even come to dislike him. It was Burn who had spurred him on to gather his courage and cross the border: "You should always accept something when you can get it for free. Besides, I'm more than sure Gran will accept your feelings."
That's right. There was no reason Gran would turn down his present. Even if he didn't return Reize's feelings, he would still get a sweet, tasty gift. He didn't know a single person who didn't like chocolate. Oh… but what if Gran did? What if he despised it? Or what if he liked chocolate, but Reize's homemade chocolate didn't appeal to him? What if he had so many admirers that Reize couldn't even get close to him in the first place—
Reize shook his head madly to ban those thoughts out of his mind. Now was not the time to think about such things. He had made up his mind: he was going to give his White Day present to Gran, and after that, it was up entirely to his superior to respond the way he wanted.
Everywhere Reize went, he came across players from his and others teams, all of them carrying both a blush and a smile on their faces. White Day was a popular day here at Aliea Gakuen. Seeing everyone so happy encouraged Reize even more: he couldn't be the only one left out on this day.
He had checked a lot of different places, but Gran seemed nowhere to be found in the school. He wasn't in the kitchen or at the indoor soccer field, nor did he appear to be outside or in his room. Then where could he be…? Another place activated a light bulb inside Reize's head. The master rank chamber. The chamber where the captains of Diamond Dust, Prominence and Gaia were honored with their own pillar. When Reize and Gran spoke to each other, it was often in that room, with a height difference of 10 meters.
Reize frowned a bit as he made for the chamber, not entirely happy recalling those memories. Even though he admired Gran, it was rare that they would speak on an equal level. It made him wonder what Gran thought of him: if he was truly lower in his eyes, or if he valued him as a member of Aliea Gakuen.
By the time Reize reached the master rank room, he was panting a bit. He had run around the school for a while now. He really hoped Gran was here, as this location was the last option in his mind. It was also possible he had gone out in order to spy on Raimon, but Reize figured he had to be here on a day like this. He couldn't be the only one giving Gran a present.
Reize pushed against huge door to the room, and it slowly opened with a familiar creak. The noise resonated through the entire chamber; they should really fix that thing sometime. The green-haired boy walked inside at a low pace, trying to see through the darkness. It was usually dark in this room, as the only light sources were spotlights reserved for Burn, Gazel and Gran. To Reize's relief, the blue and red lights weren't burning. That meant the cold-hearted captains of Prominence and Diamond Dust weren't present to tell him off today.
Reize's heart made a jump when he saw the third light, the white light, was indeed burning. Gran was here! He lifted his head as he scanned the Gaia pillar from bottom to top. All the way up was Gran's familiar silhouette. He was in a sitting position with his knees up and his arms wrapped around his legs; an unfamiliar sight to Reize.
It appeared Gran hadn't noticed his presence, despite the noise the door made earlier. Reize took a deep breath in and back out and held up his gift-wrapped chocolate. He was determined to do this. He told himself it didn't matter how Gran responded, all that mattered was that he could show his affection to him in the form of a gift.
Reize slowly approached Gran's pillar, and after swallowing back his fear, called out awkwardly: "G-Gran-sama. I… I have something for you."
Gran perked up above him and turned around, spotting him all the way below. "—O-oh, Reize." Reize raised his eyebrows. That was the first time he had ever stuttered to him. Just the fact that Gran was capable of stuttering too caused a spark of cuteness to hit Reize in the chest.
As Gran got up, his pillar slowly began to sink, bringing him closer to the other boy. Once the two were at an equal level, Gran stepped onto the floor, approaching Reize with a smile. "What is it?"
Reize caught himself blushing when he saw his smile, which unfortunately caused a sudden lump to pester his throat. He stared at his superior for a moment, stuttering non-existent words, and then he realized he had totally forgotten something very important. Reize instantly kneeled down and bowed his head, his cheeks red.
"I-I'm sorry! F-forgive me my rudeness," he stumbled as he hit himself over the head. How could he have forgotten the one custom he must always follow in front of his superiors?
Gran let out a laugh, a small, timid laugh. "That's really not necessary, Reize," he remarked with a kind smile. "Please get up."
"Y-yes!" Reize instantly stood up straight, his hands firmly at his sides. Gran was looking straight at him, and Reize needed some effort not to get lost in his teal-coloured eyes. Just the fact that Gran was right in front of him, looking at him and smiling at him, had his heart thump madly inside his chest. Not only did he respect or adore Gran… he truly loved him.
Reize exhaled a small gasp when he reminded himself what he had come here for, and he shook his head vividly to get it out of the clouds. He stared at the small package in his hands with a nervous frown. He couldn't crawl back now; he and Gran were alone together, in front of each other, at a time when the master rank chamber was rarely occupied. This was the perfect chance.
"H… Happy White Day, Gran-sama!" Reize bowed his upper body in such a swift movement that Gran took a step back in surprise. He held out the gift with straight arms, nearly poking his superior's chest it. "Pleaseacceptthisgift!"
Gran looked down at the present at his chest, his eyes filled with awe. He then took a peek at Reize and saw the boy had frozen into his current position. Hesitantly, he took the present from his hands, examining it from the outside. "This… Is this for me…?" he inquired quietly.
Reize resumed his former position and nodded hastily. "Y-yes!" he confirmed and shook his head to make his point. The blush on his cheeks had grown so deep Gran could swear you'd see it from a mile distance.
Reize waited for him to open the gift, feeling so nervous he was actually trembling. The fact that Gran barely moved, just eyeing the gift in silence, didn't make the situation any better. Did he not like it? Was it too plain? Had Reize just totally grossed him out? The timid boy lowered his head, frowning worriedly. Gran was about to reject his gift. Oh man, he had messed up, he had completely messed u—
Gran's arms flew towards him and closed around his neck, automatically pulling him closer. The next moment, Reize felt the warmth of Gran's body against his, their cheeks suddenly so close that he could smell his scent whenever he breathed. Reize's eyes and mouth both went wide in shock, and he felt like his dark red head was about to explode. Gran was hugging him, Gran was actually hugging… hi-…!
"G-Gran-sama?" Reize stuttered in a high-pitched voice. His heart racing inside his chest, he barely managed to find the words he wanted to say at this moment. He simply let his hands hang at his sides, afraid to do so something with them, and his entire body stiffened when Gran moved even closer and pressed his face against his hair for a moment.
"Thank you… Thank you, Reize," Gran whispered into his ear. Normally, this gesture would send chills of horror down Reize's spine, but Gran's voice had the soothing effect of actually calming him down. He then pulled back with a smile, leaving Reize to spot the red on his own cheeks. Even though the green-haired boy had stopped trembling, he was still dumfounded by what his superior had just done. "… G-Gran-sama…?"
Seemingly realizing the effect of his action, Gran tilted his head with an awkward smile, blushing a little more. "Ah, sorry about that… Your present just made me really happy."
Reize's jaws dropped again. "H-happy…?"
Gran nodded at him. "You see… this is the only present I've received for this year's White Day. I don't usually get many presents, but… I suppose everyone has stopped putting up with me and handing me obligatory gifts by now," he explained. His awkward smile was still visible, but Reize could sense a hint of pain on his face.
"Obligatory gifts…?" he repeated, confusedly. "Gran-sama, how could anyone feel like they have to give you obli-"
"That's because I'm not very well-liked here," Gran interrupted. As soon as the words were out, he turned his head to the side, his smile completely gone. "Reize… I envy you, and Desarm, Gazel and Burn. When I see you all practice with you teams, I see unity, teamwork, friendship. That is not the case with Gaia. While we play soccer as one team, we're all divided… we all think only of ourselves. By not considering each other's feelings or strength, we've become the best team, Genesis. I just… I guess I'm not always sure if that's what I prefer over what I see when… when I see you and your friends."
Reize listened to his story in silence, his eyes widened with sympathy. He felt ashamed for not having realized Gran's pain, but at the same time, all he wanted was to erase it. He wanted to make his loved one feel better. "Gran-sama…"
"Just Gran, please," Gran insisted. He regained eye contact with the other boy, a sad expression on his face. "I am in no way better than you. You're a great captain, truly caring for your team. You keep them together, and that is why they're happily handing out gifts today. No obligation, just… sincere affection. Those words don't exist in Gaia."
"But… but Gran-sa-, no, I mean, Gran…" Reize corrected himself with a blush, "you're a great captain too! Even if you play separately, I know you care for your team as well! It's not just me, or Desarm-sama, or Gazel-sama or Burn-sama… Gaia couldn't have possibly made it to the title of Genesis without your help! You're a great leader! You… you're kind, and considerate, and… and I admire you for that!" His hands were at chest height by now, tightly clenched into fists as if to convey his words with all his might. Reize knew everything he had just said might cause the embarrassment of his life, but it didn't matter. Gran, the one person he looked up to, was what mattered. His happiness was what mattered.
To his surprise, Gran flashed him a grateful smile. "You sound just like before… Like many years ago," he commented quietly. "You always used to enjoy watching me play soccer. I've never forgotten those moments… when things were just normal and simple, innocent and sweet… when I was just Kiyama Hiroto, and you were Midorikawa Ryuuji."
Flustered, Reize glanced down at his feet, awkwardly fumbling his hands. He had no idea Gran treasured those memories, just like him. Indeed, those times were much more simple and sweet… They were just kids playing and laughing together. Reize would be lying if he said he didn't miss their childhood. What's more, Gran had just called him by his real name. The fact that he acknowledged him as an equal person, not to mention a precious person… It made him feel happier than ever.
When he lifted his head again, Reize nearly got the shock of his life. Gran's face had suddenly gotten very close, his eyes piercing straight through his. Reize's mouth fell slightly open and his cheeks began to burn like before. This time, he found himself unable to say anything, feeling far too nervous and embarrassed to utter a single word.
Gran, on the other hand, seemed to have no problem speaking. "Midorikawa Ryuuji…" he repeated in a whisper, and Reize felt how his hands crept onto his cheeks and got a hold of his face. Before he knew it, Gran closed the distance between the two of them and very slowly, very gently, brushed his lips against his.
Reize felt like his heart was about to blow out of his chest. While Gran had closed his eyes, his own were wider than ever, as he barely managed to comprehend what was going on. Eventually, though, the shock in his body was replaced with a soothing warmth, and Reize managed to gather the courage to shut his own eyes and return the kiss. He knew he had fantasized about kissing Gran before, and as the mere image brought him happiness, the real thing felt nothing short of right and natural. Gran's lips were soft and inviting, and they remained pressed against Reize's for what seemed like an eternity. Don't let this end, Reize thought, please don't let this end…
To his disappointment, Gran pulled away a few seconds later, but the smile on his face brought one to Reize's as well. He had somehow managed to make Gran so happy that he had thanked him with a kiss. A tender, caring and loving kiss, just like Reize had imagined it. This was a much better outcome than he had thought when he planned to give Gran his White Day present.
Reize was suddenly so overwhelmed with gratitude that his eyes watered up a bit. Embarrassed, he lowered his head and quickly wiped away his tears, but he couldn't help but continue to smile. These tears didn't resemble sadness, they merely conveyed his happiness, the happiness Gran had just given him. "G-Gran-sama…" he sniffed.
When he suddenly felt a pair of hands touch his hair, Reize looked back up, only to have Gran answer him with a loving smile. "You haven't changed a bit, Midorikawa," he remarked. After a few seconds, he managed to undo Reize's alien hair and let it sink down across his shoulders, almost automatically changing him back to his "human" self. "And that is why I love you," he added cheerfully.
His words were enough to fully let Reize's tears loose, and he couldn't help but sob as they rolled down his warm cheeks. "G-Gran… Hiroto…" he stuttered. He took a step closer to the other boy, completely ignoring the rules about respect, and he wrapped his arms tightly around Gran's back. He let his head sink against his chest for a moment, wetting his suit with his tears.
Gran simply continued to smile and returned the hug, gently brushing his hand through Reize's hair. "Now," he said eventually, and he put his hands on Reize's shoulders to carefully push him back in order to look him in the eye. "It's about time I opened your present, isn't it?"
"O-oh, yes, of course," Reize stumbled and quickly got rid of the last tears that lingered on his eyes. He couldn't believe he'd almost forgotten.
Gran gently unwrapped the gift paper and smiled when he saw his present was a piece of chocolate shaped like a heart, clearly homemade. Reize watched in anticipation as he broke off a small part and put it in his mouth. After a moment, a wide smile brightened up Gran's face. "It's great! Thank you," he said.
Reize let out a deep, relieved sigh, and he placed one hand on his chest as if to tell his heart it could go back to beating normally. It was alright, everything was alright. Gran had approved of his gift, and had even kissed him and told him that he lo… lo… His heart instantly began to race again. Gran loved him… just like he loved Gran. Reize almost thought it was a dream.
He watched happily as Gran had another piece of the chocolate and looked back at him with the same expression. They continued to gaze at each other for a little while, neither of them saying anything. That's why they both flinched when the creaking of the door cut through the silence and announced someone else's arrival.
"Come on, no one will notice us here," Burn's voice echoed through the chamber. He stepped through the entrance, holding onto something that turned out to be Gazel's hand. The other boy, following right behind, pouted at him in disapproval.
"Burn, don't, we can just go to your roo-" They noticed Reize and Gran at the same time and their expressions turned shocked almost identically.
Reize stared at the two in fear, wondering what he was supposed to say, but he calmed down when Gran place a hand on his shoulder and sent him an almost unnoticeable wink. The red-haired boy then focused on the two intruders and flashed a mysterious smile. "Hello, Burn, Gazel."
The boys almost looked like twins, glaring at him in such a similar way that it seemed like they'd rehearsed it.
"You!" Burn snapped, pointing from Gran to Reize. "What are you doing here?"
Gran held a hand in front of Reize protectively, as if to fend off Burn's accusing finger. "Reize was simply giving me my White Day gift," he explained calmly.
Burn's expression softened when he heard those words. While Gazel seemed unaffected by them, Bun pulled back his hand and sent Reize a calm, understanding look. He hadn't forgotten that he had been the one to push him across the border and urge him to hand over his gift to Gran. Even though he didn't regret that decision, he was clearly annoyed that he and Gazel had met these two at a time like this. What if they realized he and Gazel were-…?
"Don't worry, we'll be taking our leave now," Gran added, interrupting his thoughts. He beckoned Reize and made for the door, slipping past the boys that were still glaring at him. Once he and Reize were outside and Gran pulled the door back into its lock, he could hear Gazel mutter an "Idiot, that was too close" and grinned to himself, his eyes closed for a moment.
"Gran-sama… What do you think they came here for?" Reize inquired curiously.
"Most likely something similar to us," Gran replied. He brushed a finger across Reize's lips to make his point, and when he saw the gesture caused the boy to blush, he couldn't help but smile. "And you can still call me Gran. Actually… Hiroto. I felt happiest when you called me Hiroto."
Reize's face brightened up at those words. Cheerfully, he tilted his head and nodded at him. "Yes!"
"Come on, let's go," Gran suggested as he held out his hand. "Wouldn't want to interrupt those two."
Reize looked at his hand in awe for a moment, but then he firmly took it, linking their fingers together. After overcoming some hesitance as they began to walk, he said: "Happy White Day, Hiroto," confidence shining through his voice.
"Happy White Day, Midorikawa," Gran replied, and he held Reize's hand a little tighter.
A/N: Couldn't resist putting some Chaos in there, shishishi~ XD For those who read my first White Day fic and are wondering what they're doing in the master rank room, I figured an hour or two passed between the Chaos fic and this fic, so they probably left Burn's room to have a snack or something in the meantime~ Hope you all enjoyed the story! If you like, please leave a review and until next time!