Haruka taps his finger on his upper arm, lying on the roof in wonder. It has been a few hours since Kantarou dismissed him and Yoko from the house. Without a doubt, his reason was plausible - he needed to pay the utmost attention to his next article and having everyone in the house had been too much of a distraction, or so he said.
Haruka frowns. This isn't like Kantarou, he thinks. Worry gnaws at his stomach. No matter how hard he tries to block Kantarou's forced smile from his mind, he can't. Over and over, Kantarou's words play in his mind.
'I just need to be alone. That way, I can concentrate more on this article and avoid another earful from Reiko!' That laugh was fake too.
It's funny. Haruka hasn't been with Kantarou as long as Yoko has, but he's noticed his patterns by now, one in particular that takes precedence over the others. Whenever Haruka gets concerned about Kantarou, he brushes it off, and attempts to redirect Haruka's concern elsewhere.
Haruka can say with the utmost certainty that he can count on his fingers the amount of times Kantarou has done this. He can only guess why since he was never given a reason. Haruka figures that Kantarou has gotten used to dealing with matters on his own, including the pain brought on by the scar on his chest.
But that isn't right. Haruka thinks. He shouldn't have to get used to pain.
He winces as he recalls what the scar looks like. It appeared as if a lion tore his claws across Kantarou's skin and all the moments where Haruka heard him groan in agony enter his mind and drives him insane. He shoots to his feet.
God, he hates hearing and seeing Kantarou in pain, hunched over, clutching his chest in an attempt to ward off the aching. No, no one ever gets used to pain like that. There's more to this, Haruka knows it. He descends from the roof and paces in the garden, resisting the urge to go against his master's order to stay out of the house.
Then it hits him. Haruka gazes at the house before him. Kantarou pays to live in this house. He pays for the food to feed Haruka and Yoko, not that he minds. Kantarou has been very welcoming to both of them and he enjoys their company. But Haruka ponders on what it was like before Kantarou named him and Yoko; when he was living on his own.
A shock more intense than any he can produce passes through him.
Kantarou was alone, and hurting because he was ostracized by his own kind. That kind of pain and loneliness…it marks you, like that demon marked his chest. You can't ever forget it. You have to carry that pain around for the rest of your life.
"Screw following orders." Haruka mutters.
He enters the house and makes his way to Kantarou's study, all the while thinking. Others may have let you down, and left you all alone, but I won't. Haruka opens the sliding door and strides inside. Kantarou looks up from his work, startled by the abrupt entrance, and twists his body to face Haruka.
He blinks. "Oh, Haruka, it's you. Did you need something?"
Always so warm and kind, Haruka muses.
He approaches and sits next to him, legs crossed. "Haruka?"
"How's the article coming along?" Haruka asks.
"I'm actually almost done with it. It's just that…" Kantarou sighs and rubs his neck, self-consciously. Then he peers down at his work and laughs. "I don't know…Maybe it'd be a good idea to trash it." He's about to crumple up the paper, but Haruka stops him.
"Can I read it first?"
Kantarou hands him the paper, nervously. Haruka doesn't know what he's so embarrassed about, but he does know that the paper holds the answer.
He reads the article, and it completely absorbs him. It's about a hihiko that Kantarou met during childhood.
Like all hihiko, this one had been tormented by family and peers alike. Her name was Leiko, and at first she had been hostile towards Kantarou, and possessed him. For a short while, she tortured him with cruel words, and made him scratch himself to the point of bleeding.
But then, she tapped into his memories, and had a change of heart. Over time, he befriended her, and they had so much fun together, playing games, and walking through gardens. It was these good times that eventually helped her in passing on.
When Leiko found her peace, Kantarou was happy to have been able to make such a difference, but at the same time, he was devastated. Leiko had been one of the few friends he made in his youth, and she was good company. Not only that, but she was the only person - although she was a spirit, Kantarou regarded her as if she were an ordinary little girl - who understood the pain and loneliness Kantarou felt as a child.
"You should believe in yourself more." Haruka hands the papers back to Kantarou.
"You mean, you liked it?" Kantarou asks, hopeful.
"Yeah." Haruka nods.
That's when he's met on with Kantarou's sunny smile. It's genuine and beautiful and it makes Haruka want to hold him close.
Kantarou gives a relieved sigh. "I'm glad. The thing is that this is the most personal article I've ever written. I don't know whether or not it's appropriate to share."
Haruka wraps an arm around Kantarou's shoulders and pulls him to his chest. He hears Kantarou's breath hitch and that sound along with the physical contact sets sparks off inside him.
"Your readers will love it. I do." Haruka says because it's true. He embraces Kantarou, faults and all. It may be aggravating to deal with Kantarou's selfish antics and lazy demeanor at times, but Haruka knows that he can't do without it.
He can't do without him.
Kantarou chuckles and the sound is soft and charming, like wind chimes. Then he nuzzles his head into Haruka's neck, his hair smooth against the bottom of his chin. "You're the best, Haruka. Truly the best."
Haruka smiles, and tightens his hold on Kantarou. "You too." He whispers.