Hello everyone! And welcome to the "Always" sequel :)

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has read, faved, and reviewed the original story and I hope this sequel pleases you guys as much as your reviews pleased me. If you all had not taken the time to tell me that Yuu and Hisashi were worth reading about, this sequel would never have happened. So you all have my eternal gratitude.

This story takes place about half a year after "Always" ended. (And if you are reading Uke Flu, all of this happens directly before that started).

I hope you enjoy and let me know what you like! This promises to be a fun journey for us all.

With love,

The Black Flamingo 101

"There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love."—Bryant H. McGill


Chapter One: Living Between

Araki Hisashi stood in the midst of the crowded bookstore, and despite the looks he gathered from other patrons, he continued to glare wholeheartedly at the display in front of him. He couldn't believe the nerve they had, showing off this new publication like a wholesome bestseller.

Well, it was a bestseller. But that didn't mean it deserved all the hype it got. If anything, it deserved the least amount of hype possible. Honestly, out of all the book joints in all the world, WHY did it have to be the one just down the street from his work? If any of the other Shounen assistants ever connected the dots, he'd never hear the end of it.

The blonde swallowed hard, his blue eyes narrowing as he scrutinized the cover of the manga, where a character that looked disturbingly similar to him resided, kissing another boy and blushing.

"Augh…" Hisashi grunted under his breath, half sticking out his tongue in disgust. His eyes drifted down to the title and author's name.

Always, volume 2 by Hajime Atsushi.

The name caused a bubble of emotion to rise in the storm of his annoyance, and he briefly allowed his frown to dissolve. He'd always known Atsushi had been talented enough to be published, but he'd never thought that it would be after his death. And despite the content of his work, Hisashi took some amount of pride in the fact that his late best friend had topped the charts immediately upon release. His first volume was a hit, and the second was already flying off the shelves.

Even still, in Hisashi's opinion, Atsushi would be in purgatory for a long time for his crimes, specifically the one about writing a graphic yaoi with his childhood friend as leading uke. Renaka-san would probably spend some time there too, considering she had drawn it and published under her son's name, though Hisashi couldn't quite decide whom he blamed more.

Even still, Hisashi nodded his head respectfully as he finally turned from the display and headed out, furiously ignoring the couple of turned heads he got as he exited the bookstore.

The blonde made it about half way down the street before he mentally slapped himself for going in the wrong direction. He pivoted around, ducking through the crowds as he headed the opposite way, shoving his hands into his blue hoodie pocket. Though in spite of the mixup, it wasn't that unusual that he was so turned around, considering he was living between two places.

Hisashi's hand dug further into his pocket as his cell phone vibrated, and he flipped it open as he stopped at a crosswalk. The name of the sender brought a slight smile to his face, as did the message that asked when he was coming home. Hisashi's smile didn't fade as he replied, stating that he was on his way. The light turned green and Hisashi began to cross the street, making the journey over to his boyfriend's home.

He and Yanase Yuu had been together for nearly seven months now, and as their relationship progressed and changed, so did other aspects of their lives. The biggest one was their living quarters. Although they had toyed with the idea of moving in together, for the meantime they decided to keep Hisashi's apartment for a number of reasons. One, both of them had way too much stuff to fit in one apartment. Two, they had no time to go through their stuff because of an all encompassing work schedule. Three, it was actually quite convenient to have two pads, as when one got too dirty to inhabit (crash on the couch and eat takeout) they could just switch to the other. And four, with the creative exploits of two artists, more space was always prudent, as if one of them decided to go through a Jackson Pollock phase, they could get paint on their own respective carpets and/or walls instead of each other's.

Even though Yuu and he were barely apart, Hisashi hadn't minded the decision in the least. He was getting his apartment dirt-cheap anyways, as a former tenant had died in it and the other residents believed it to be haunted. Hisashi hadn't seen the ghost personally, and was rather disappointed by the fact.

The small blonde rounded the last corner and glanced down the street to Yuu's house, his pace slightly increasing. But more than their living arrangements, the two men themselves had changed over these past seven months. Their relationship had been shifting and growing wonderfully, and Hisashi couldn't recall feeling this content in quite a while. And he was thrilled to see that Yuu was happy as well.

But in spite of his newfound contentment, Hisashi had butterflies pinging around his stomach. Tomorrow's events would be the start of a whole new direction in their lives, and he was both energized and apprehensive.

Hisashi walked up the steps to Yuu's small house, twisting the doorknob and walking inside.

"Yuu, I'm home."