Disclaimer. I don't own Sekaiichi Hatsukoi.

Warnings: mushy lovey dovey story, possible OOC-ness

Prompt #24: Sempiternal

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If you asked Takano to describe the word love, you'd probably get an answer of "something between two people," if you'd managed to get an answer at all. His high school self looked at everything with at least some sort of disdain, inspecting for the hidden side of everything. Could you blame him - a teen who had been neglected his whole life?

Fast forward ten years later. He's a successful manga editor - not to mention famous - and is hurting. He would never admit it, of course, his pride is too strong, his personality too hardened, his heart too...broken. Takano's learned how love really is. It hurts, like a fire on a candle burning you from the inside out. The flame flickers, and the pain diminishes, but always leaves a trail of wax - though it may be faint - until it burns brighter, hot pain slams into himwhen he least expects it. Simple, everyday things make him remember the little things his Oda Ritsu used to do. It stuns him every time, even though he's used to it. Someone stuttering, blushing furiously, avoiding eye contact...

It reminds of him of his love, so, so much.

There's a newbie editor today, and even though Takano knows his face doesn't show it, the head editor is shocked. The brown hair - worn differently from high school, looks as soft and probably feels as soft as he remembers it. And his eyes - green and lush - and is that sadness?His eyes are beautiful. Takano's never mentioned this to anyone, and isn't the one to describe eyes as being alluring, but one thing he always loved about Oda was his eyes. The head editor realizes that within a few mere moments, this man, Onodera Ritsu, has already turned him into a sap. It comes from being in the shojo manga business for too long, he tells himself. Surely it's not because of this newbie.

But he can't deny the fact that the names are suspiciously similar, and once Onodera mentions reading books after school, he realizes that it's him. His heart is pounding and aching and after ten years, he finally found his Oda Ritsu, Onodera Ritsu, once more. And Takano's determined not to let him slip through his fingers again - no, he won't let that happen, he's learned his lesson.

Onodera's different, much more "jaded" as he puts it. When Takano hears this, he can't help but chuckle a little. The younger man is different, yet, the same. He blushes just as easily, and stutters. There's something new, the chestnut-haired man can lie, but it doesn't matter much, because he does it terribly. Obviously, there are probably changes Takano hasn't noticed yet, but for now, he's just content with the fact that Onodera is here, withhim.

Now here he is, taking shelter from the pouring rain. It's strange, because in shojo mangas, rain always has been a medium to represent change. Maybe that's true in real life, maybe it isn't. But all Takano cares about right now is the fact that Onodera's hand is warm in his, and he wants to kiss the man. After all the misunderstandings, it feels as if they've finally reached some sort of breakthrough. He leans down - albeit reluctantly - and kisses Onodera, and he's truly happy. And even though he's loved this man for ten years, it's kind of surprising he hasn't reached one certain conclusion about his love.

So if you ask Takano what he thinks of love now, he'd probably say something like this -

Love is sempiternal.

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Author's Notes:

1) Sempiternal means 'eternal,' in case you didn't know. I didn't know the meaning either. But I lovethis word now~ Another thing - sorry for the late update, normally I reply to reviews and stuff like that before updating but it kinda slipped my mind...^^; and the rather short chapter...But it was the only spare one I had. Takano's kinda all mushy here. I hope you guys don't mind.

2) I got this word from a website my editor sent to me in an email, along with the words "I dare you to use a word from this website." I accepted her challenge. XD

3) Thank you very much to my editor, masterb2. I love her. She supports me even when my writing gets into a funk. There's no way you know how much you do for me, b2!

4) This one is my baby. If you see any mistakes, please notify me. Constructive criticism is appreciated.

Thanks to everyone who favorited, reviewed, and/or alerted this story! As always, it means a lot~! Thank you for reading! Reviews are lovely.

-Eraser Bitz