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Listen: Just The Way You Are
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Yamada Ryosuke & Chinen Yuri


Yamada x Chinen

Ship Name





Yama is an idol
Yuri is a student/barista
soft fluff
little bit of angst




MxM Relationship
Alternate Universe

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“Shut up,” Yuri laughed as a tear slid down his cheek onto the surface below him. 

“I don’t care what anyone says,” Ryosuke spoke the words softly and it was as if the world held still in anticipation of what he would say next, “I think you’re the most amazing, brilliant, and beautiful human in the world just the way you are.” 

I wrote this fic especially for a dear precious friend of mine, my sweet Kenzie-chan who has been there with me through all of my struggles this last year and has offered me unconditional support, insights, comfort, and friendship. I am so thankful for her! When I was trying to figure out how to handle my feelings with the reader-insert issue, she was such a huge help, I had to do something special for her, and this fic is the result of that! <3 I LOVE YOU MY DEAREST!!! <3

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Music Inspiration: The World is Ugly by My Chemical Romance

Yuri groaned as he became aware of the alarm sounding from the crate next to his bed, rolling over to slap at it blindly, thankful when the blasted noise finally went silent. He tossed himself back onto his pillow, eyes clenching against the light from the window as he tried to convince himself that it was a terrible idea to skip classes this morning.  

You should not skip classes; you need to finish this semester strong! 

Get out of bed!  

You have work to do still! 

He knew he couldn’t, it was just an illusion he was nursing that he could remotely do such a thing, he had too many projects he was working on, including one with a classmate who would be depending on him to be there. At least, he knew it was right to be there whether it was what he wanted or not.  

He rolled out of bed, blinking as he scrubbed at his eyes, his fingertips gravitating to his cheek, his mind flashing back to the night before, warm fuzzy feelings swelling up inside his heart as he thought about how it had felt like a dream even now—then he groaned, “You’re such a dummy,” his eyes flashing across the room to where his computer sat, remembering the email he’d sent from his personal email instead of his school one.  

You idiot…I still can’t believe I did that. 

He forced himself up, managing to make it out of the door in thirty minutes, rather impressed with himself, using the travel time to class to cram in a little extra studying for his child psychology class 

His morning went fine, his classes were typical and nothing unusual happened other than his frustrating attempts to get his partner in his science class to do the work he was supposed to be doing for their mid-term project—something that felt like it was becoming impossibly harder the longer they worked together, and in Yuri’s mind at least, it seemed to him that perhaps he was being taken advantage of because his partner knew how important his grades were to him. In reality, Yuri was positive this was true but he wasn’t sure he had the courage to put a stop to it…After all, the partner was someone he’d known way back from when they were in grade school together as small children. Even then, Morita Seiji was not the nicest person in the world—though he was rather close to Yuri just because they were neighbors—and their mothers were good friends, so they were together a lot because of that.  

They’d lost touch after Yuri’s family had unexpectantly moved to another suburb, and in reality, neither of the boys had recognized one another until they were chosen to work together on the project. They’d both laughed about the fact that they didn’t realize who the other was, though in all fairness, while Yuri couldn’t claim to look much different than he had when he was seven years old, Seiji was a far cry from the small, precocious young boy he’d once been…he now towered over Yuri, not just in height either, but for his broadness as well, which made sense given the fact that Seiji was one of the essential players on their college’s sport team, his thighs were at least the size of both of Yuri’s legs put together…needless to say, he was rather imposing in his stature, and while Yuri had thought maybe they could pick up their friendship where they’d left off—it turned out they had very little in common, in fact, practically nothing that mattered to Yuri was even on the radar for Seiji.  

Seiji was a posterchild for the typical “blockhead jock”, not to mention just not a very nice person in general, which made Yuri sad, because he had expected more from him somehow—and he knew now—that he’d somehow created a false memory of who he had been and the role he’d played in his life those years. Still, he didn’t really care, at least he liked to pretend he cared less that he really did, but the nostalgia was soft in his heart, and he wished somehow they could return to those carefree days, at least that’s how Yuri tended to remember those times, a way to rewrite history perhaps, but still he’d made Seiji one of the few positive memories he’d clung too for these many years, so it hurt him a little bit that he had grown up to be someone that Yuri couldn’t remotely identify with. 

On the up side, the distance between them made it easier for Yuri to be honest about his frustration with the fact that Seiji had barely done anything at all for the project and today when he had built up his courage today and pressed him about his contribution, he made excuses and then assured him that he’d be doing the work after school that day and bring a copy to Yuri at their next class. Yuri wanted to believe him, after all, he seemed earnest enough when backed into a corner, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that it would be best for him to prepare the material himself just in case Seiji didn’t pull through in the end…otherwise, he might risk a lower grade than he was willing to settle for.  

He knew that grades weren’t that big of a deal, at least not in the long term picture, of course, no one asks you about your GPA after you graduate, but…it was a matter of his own personal drive, his own intentions and he wanted to do his best, not just get by but, maybe, in the moments he was truly honest with himself, it was a chance to show what he was made of, who he was despite where he came from—and to make his Momma proud—he wanted to show her those scores and grades and give her the credit for all of her hard work, sacrifices, and love she’d given him as a child. 

He had arrived home for a quick bite to eat and then spoke to his sister, who did everything she could to get him to confess to what he was so discombobulated about the night before, which he steadfastly refused to do, in fact, he would stall letting Saya know anything about Ryosuke until he had absolutely no other choice. It wasn’t that he expected Saya to be an issue, in reality, she would fall all over herself about this development—which was the problem, Yuri wasn’t sure what this really was yet, he couldn’t help but acknowledge he tended to overlay everything with a softness that it didn’t always deserve, and he didn’t want to mess this up—didn’t want to risk this new found relationship on any level—and he definitely didn’t need Saya making things more complicated for him than they already were. 

He enjoyed the walk to work, the air starting to turn brisk, the warmth of the summer sun starting to ebb as the seasons welcomed the oncoming kaleidoscope of colors to backdrop the landscape of fall. He loved walking through the park, enjoying the way the trees seemed to whisper to one another, often thinking of stories they might be sharing among themselves, entertaining himself and smiling when he’d pass a family or playing children. He arrived a little bit early, knowing that he owed his manager an explanation for what he’d done the day before, but also fully aware he had no idea how to remotely explain it to her. Rather, he knew…perhaps just saying he was wrong would be enough 

“I’m really sorry about yesterday,” he shuffled his feet as he looked down at the floor, feeling his manager’s eyes upon him from behind her desk, his fingers fiddling with the edge of his shirt nervously, “It won’t happen again.” 

The silence stretched out before she stood up, making her way around the desk, her arms gently pulling him into a warm embrace, “It’s okay Yuri, you know…” she pulled back, forcing him to look into her eyes, “You can always talk to me?” 

Yuri swallowed roughly, nodding weakly, “I know.” 

“Are you okay?” her voice was soft, though he knew she wanted a real answer…but he didn’t know what to say, not really 

Am I okay?  

Not normally, but somehow, I feel more okay in this moment than I have in every single moment leading up to it…how can I possibly explain this to her?  

Is it real?  

Is what I feel real?  

How can I be sure? 

When he didn’t respond, just attempted to move his eyes away she leaned around to catch his line of sight again, her voice stern this time, “Are you okay? 

“I’m okay, I am…I’m just…there’s some confusion, but…I’m okay, and it won’t interfere with my work again, I promise,” Yuri was sincerely sorry for the way he’d just ran out the day before, and as much as he wished he could explain the situation to her, he just knew it would be a conversation of him babbling nonsense that would neither help her understand or make her believe he was genuinely okay 

“It’s fine, we handled it, and if you need time off, you know I’ll help you,” the woman stepped back, leaning against the edge of her desk, arms crossing, “I’ll help in any way I can, I hope you will always remember that.” 

“I will remember, Chinen-san,” he bowed slightly toward her to which she scoffed, rolling her eyes dramatically, waving her hands in the air, her voice high, “Knock that off, you know I hate that.” 

“I’m sorr” Yuri tried to apologize again, mostly out of habit not sincerity, but she cut him off immediately, “And stop apologizing to me, for goodness sake!” 

The words blurted from his lips before he could stop them, “I’m sorry,” which caused his eyes to widen in shock before they both burst into laughter.  

“I appreciate your kindness,” he tilted his head down, wishing he had better words, more eloquent words to convey how much her support meant to him…not just now, but truly for as long as he could remember. 

“You’re my nephew, taking care of you is part of my job isn’t it?” she shifted to reach onto the desk behind her to grab an envelope that had been laying there, “Speaking of which, this is yours.” 

“What…” Yuri reached forward to grab the envelope from her hand, his eyes widening when he saw the handwriting on the front, immediately scowling, “Oh…” 

“I hate giving them to you,” his aunt was frowning, her eyes fixated on the envelope as if she were willing it to burn to ash, “I’m sorry to have to do it.” 

“It’s not your fault,” Yuri spat the words out, then sighed, his fingers clenching the letter so tightly it was folding under the pressure, “It’s his fault,” he looked at her then, hating the pity he could read in her eyes,  clearing his throat before lifting his chin and speaking the words confidently, “It’s nothing, I don’t even care at all.” 

With this, he stepped toward the doorway, pushing the envelope down in the shredder that was positioned there, watching with a sense of satisfaction as it went through the feed and disappeared into the waste basket in shreds, exactly as it should be, turning to look back at his aunt, “Thanks again, Aunt Kyoko.” 

“Of course, she waved him off, her eyes watching as he turned to go clock in, her frown deepening as she wondered if she could ever do enough to truly help him after all the things he’d been put through in his short life. 

Probably not, but I’ll keep trying. 



Yuri had been working all day when there was finally a lull after the evening rush affording him a few moments that anyone else would have used to check their cellphone or laze about, but instead, Yuri had his nose stuck in a book, studying for his upcoming midterm exam. He was so engrossed in the words on the page he didn’t realize someone was at the counter until they cleared their throat.  

His head jerked up, his heart thundering in his chest when he discovered Ryosuke standing there, on a Tuesday, in the evening, a time when he never, ever had come before.  

Damn, I really am a lost cause. 

A broad smile graced Ryosuke’s face at Yuri’s surprised expression, leaning against the counter, he tapped his fingers on the surface as he greeted him, “Good evening, Yuri-cha–” he stopped himself, glancing around the room out of concern others might hear him, thankful there wasn’t anyone close… 

I need to be careful.  

Correcting the words as he cleared his throat, the adorable grin at his sheer cheekinessChinensan.” 

Yuri wasn’t prepared for the rush of butterflies that took up immediate residence in his tummy as he realized once again, that this incredible human being was someone who wanted to date him, smiling as he shoved a napkin into his book to close it and walk to the counter, “Good evening, Yamada-san! Would you like the usual?” 

Ryosuke nodded, “Sure!” his following angelic smile making Yuri’s heart flip-flop.  

Yuri wanted to reach across the counter and hug him, because despite not knowing how his arms felt before the night before, somehow he missed them more than anything today—but, of course, he knew better, turning to make the drink for him, intent on putting extra hearts in it on purpose today, glancing over his shoulder when Ryosuke spoke, “Did you have classes today?” 

“Yes,” Yuri nodded, his fingers busy with the drink, the movement predictable and comforting, done through mostly muscle memory as he tossed the words over his shoulder, “I had three classes this morning.” 

“Wow, that’s a lot of classes,” Ryosuke seemed impressed which made Yuri wonder how he could possibly think that was impressive when he was fairly certain Ryosuke probably worked far harder than he did, “What time do you go to classes!?” 

Yuri glanced over at Ryosuke as he waited for the drink to finish brewing, noticing his hair which looked just perfect, as usual, with the cutest little twists framing his eyesAh, I leave my house at 6:45 to catch the train, I am taking four classes, but only three of them are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the last one only meets on Friday,” Yuri shrugged, carefully adding the sweet foam hearts to the drink as he spoke, This is the first semester I was able to take that many classes…” 

He stopped himself when he realized that he would be revealing something very personal if he said the reason why, opting to change the subject, “Anyway,” he turned to bring the drink to the counter, then grabbed a plate to use for Ryosuke’s cupcake, “How was your day?” 

Ryosuke knew he was purposefully changing the subject and figured there would be a time to call him out on his shady dodging of questions he didn’t like but now was probably not the time, the wildly messy day flittering through his mind before he sighed softly, It was okay, there is a lot of…I mean…everything was chaotic today, I suppose…” Ryosuke wished he could explain but he was always wary of speaking about his work in public under any circumstances his words fading off, watching as Yuri retrieved his cupcake, “…though,” he couldn’t help the way his heart fluttered at how cute Yuri looked in his apron today, “…it’s significantly better now.” 

Yuri’s eyes shifted to look at Ryosuke’s, the wink happening so fast he had to do a double take in surprise, met with Ryosuke’s sassy and mischievous grin, as he clearly picked up on the fact that he’d surprised Yuri which in turn caused Yuri’s cheeks to turn a lovely shade of pink instantly. Ryosuke wished he could elicit that response all of the time as it made Yuri look infinitely more gorgeous than he did normally—which by his estimate was almost impossible—but he couldn’t deny it. 

Yuri pushed the plate across the counter toward Ryosuke, glancing down when Ryosuke’s fingertips brushed across his hand, leaning forward, his voice low, “What time are you off work?” 

Yuri shuddered from the touch, an automatic response that he knew he was going to have to stop, his eyes moving up to the clock and then back to Ryosuke, “In about an hour, I have to close tonight. We close at 8:30 on Tuesdays.” 

Is it okay for me to wait for you?” Ryosuke tilted his head, it was so adorable that he was trying to be so thoughtful. 

Of course,” Yuri answered softly, flustered at the attention, taking Ryosuke’s money silently, smiling when he shoved the extra bills that he’d given him back into the tip jar. 

“I’ll just be over here then,” Ryosuke gestured to the table in the corner. 

“O-okay,” Yuri nodded, grabbing a towel to wipe off the counter just to give his hands something to do when Ryosuke sat in the chair that would afford him a constant view of Yuri while he worked. Yuri didn’t realize how awkward he would feel for Ryosuke to be more or less blatantly staring at him, only looking down at his phone here and there, then he would feel his eyes on him again, and sure enough when he’d chance a peek Ryosuke would just smile and nod.  

He had to wonder if Ryosuke had been this obvious all along? In considering how absolute Ryosuke was about how he felt in all probability he had been, and Yuri was just so…well, he supposed the right word was naïve or even perhaps he was just innocent in the idea of someone paying attention to him. After all, he’d spent most of his life thus far attempting to be invisible, to blend in and not be noticed no matter what. It was hard to know that Ryosuke was watching him, relief flooding him when the door tinkled signaling that someone had entered the shop. 

Yuri felt his palms sweat, his fingertips brushing down the ruffles on the apron he wore, wondering at the strange sensation he had that made him want to cover himself up or maybe run away….he never saw people here from school, as this little coffee shop was far away and across from town from the campus—and at this point, he’d rather it be anyone from his school other than who it was. 

Seiji’s laughter was loud in the quiet café, drowning out the music that filled the room, as he shared a conversation with another player from their team. Seiji was holding a soccer ball, moving it from one hand to the other as he walked toward the counter, his eyes focused on the wall with the menu before they drew down and realized it was Yuri behind the counter, his eyes widening in surprise as he laughed, “Chinen—what the hell are you wearing?” 

“I—uh…” Yuri cursed his stupid brain for malfunctioning, clearing his throat, “My uniform,” he stated flatly, then smiled as best he could, “Welcome to Pink, what may I get you?” 

Seiji laughed , dropping the ball onto the counter, his huge hand holding it in place as he shook his head, his elbow pushing into the other guy as they exchanged a look, “A barista would be nice? Aren’t girls supposed to work in these cafes? 

Yuri managed to keep the smile on his face, his eyes moving past Seiji to see Ryosuke watching what was happening, both of his feet on the floor seemingly prepared to leap up at any moment, his head tilted as if he were trying to understand what was going on, “The term barista is not gender specific actually,” Yuri corrected him, his fingernails digging into his palms, “Pink hires anyone who shows aptitude for the position. Now, what may I get you? 

Ohhh hohoho,” Seiji crowed, laughing loudly causing Yuri to cringe, “Listen to you, Mr. Know It All…sure, sure, whatever you say—I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that you ended up working at a place called Pink. 

The guy with Seiji looked uncomfortable, his gaze apologetic when he spoke up, “I’d like a medium black coffee, please.” 

Yuri nodded his head, his eyes not leaving Seiji who was staring him down, “And for you?” 

“I’ll have the same,” Seiji responded, clearly unhappy that Yuri wouldn’t engage in whatever this was he was trying to do, “I have a party to go to after this, I’ll need to be awake for that.” 

“Sure,” Yuri turned without waiting for him to finish the sentence, irritation in his motions as he fumed, knowing full well that this was him making sure Yuri knew he’d lied about working on the project today 

Yuri made their coffee quickly, glancing at the clock to discover it was finally closing time, returning to the counter to push their coffees across the counter, taking their payments and then thankful when they turned to leave, his breath catching when Seiji called back, “Oh, that’s right! I remember now! You always did like wearing dresses! Didn’t you Chinen?” 

He laughed loudly as he shoved his friend out the door, the bell tinkling and then the door shut behind them, Yuri stared at the door for a moment, his mind flashing through various memories, his heart pounding in his chest at the emotions swirling inside his head, moving across the room without thought to flip the sign on the door and lock it, turning the light outside off with a flip of the switch on the wall, then shifting to lean back on the door, his eyes closing as he tried to get himself together. 

“You alright?” 

Yuri yelped, jumping from the surprise of Ryosuke’s voice beside him, his hand on his chest as he laughed nervously, “Oh my gosh, you scared me I wa—” 

“I’m so sorry,” Ryosuke reached forward, his hand brushing down Yuri’s arm softly before taking a step back, and Yuri wasn’t sure if he was apologizing for startling him or for what he’d just witnessed. 

“Don’t worry about it,” Yuri stepped forward, taking a deep breath, as he began crossing the room, “I have just a few things to do and then I’m all yours.” 

He nearly stumbled over his own feet when he realized how that sounded, his eyes clenching shut when Ryosuke laughed softly from behind him, his voice filled with humor, “Finally! 

“Oh my gosh,” Yuri laughed at himself, shaking his head as he began the closing routine, his cheeks flaming as he peeked at Ryosuke’s mischievous expression, rolling his eyes, “You know what I meant.” 

“I really hope you meant exactly what you said,” Ryosuke grinned as he leaned across the counter, watching Yuri break down the machines and wash the parts, lining them up neatly on a towel, his hands moving like a blur, obviously having done this so many times he could do it in his sleep.  

“Don’t be ridiculous,’ Yuri laughed softly, shaking his head as he continued to move around the counters. 

“I’m not, I’m completely serious,” Ryosuke stated the words firmly, not wanting to make Yuri think there was a remote possibility he meant anything other than exactly what he’d said. 

“Well, then…” Yuri was facing the machine, glad Ryosuke wasn’t looking at him directly, “I’ll see what I can do.” 

“I’ll hold you to it,” Ryosuke responded playfully, his eyes fixated on how cute Yuri was flustered, his movements less fluid, his feet twisted together as he finished working. 

It only took a few minutes more and then Yuri was drying his hands off, “I have something I want to show you, if you have time?” 

“Sure,” Ryosuke shrugged, “Whatever you want, I’m here.” 

Yuri gestured for him to follow him, leading him behind the counter and down a hallway to a doorway, then up a flight of stairs until the floor opened to the room that overlooked the downstairs area, something that surprised Ryosuke, as he’d never even noticed it before. It was a rather large room, containing some video games, along with couches, a television, kitchenette and reading corner, obviously a break room for the employees. Ryosuke was considering the two arcade video game machines and wondering who held the high score when Yuri’s voice called out, “Over here.” 

Ryosuke crossed the room to where Yuri was holding open another door that led to more stairs which they climbed, opening the door at the top to reveal what seemed to be a patio on top of the building. There was no need for lights, as the signs from other buildings, as well as the street lights provided enough cast light to see across the space to where there was a setting with lounge chairs and a tiny table, obviously a place to relax, and then the view…it was exquisite—the bay opening up to reveal the city across from them, the lights twinkling, the city looking alive from where they were in the quiet, quaint district that seemed to already be asleep despite it being early. 

Yuri grabbed Ryosuke’s hand, dragging him over to the lounge chairs, releasing his hand when he plopped down in one, and gestured for Ryosuke to do the same, waiting until he sat down to tell him, “Now look up.” 

Ryosuke wasn’t sure what he meant, leaning his head back to look up at the sky and his breath caught in his chest, as it was the most beautiful view of the sky, the stars twinkling and he couldn’t help but feel like they were smiling down on them, slowly shifting to lay on the chair, folding his hands across his tummy as he took in the view, “Wow, I thought the view of the city was something.” 

“It’s amazing how much you can see when you get outside of the metro area,” Yuri twisted on the chair to look at Ryosuke, “I come here to think sometimes, it’s peaceful and quiet after all the shops close in the evenings.” 

Ryosuke smiled, imagining how nice it would be to have this view all of the time, feeling Yuri’s eyes on him, he shifted to look at him, “This is really nice, thank you for sharing it with me.” 

Yuri nodded, laying his head down on his arm, his eyes fluttering closed and Ryosuke thought he looked so peaceful that he could be sleeping, loathe to bother him, but he couldn’t get the nagging question out of his head, “So…who was that guy?” 

Yuri’s eyes popped open, his brows drawing down, and Ryosuke instantly regretted bringing it up, as the peaceful expression was completely gone, Yuri’s voice soft when he spoke, “An old friend from grade school, he’s in one of my classes now.” 

“Not much of a friend,” Ryosuke mumbled, frowning, trying to stop his mind from racing to the vision of how cute Yuri must have been as a little boy, but he couldn’t help it, smiling when the vision filled his head, then shook his head, “Does that happen a lot?” 

Yuri hummed softly, unsure of what Ryosuke might mean, glad when he spoke to clarify, “I mean…how that guy was rude to you for working here?” 

“Nah,” Yuri turned to lay on his back, his eyes focusing on the stars above them, “We almost always have customers here who are regulars, not a lot of people come here who don’t live in the area to be honest—it’s a small community, I’m pretty sure that Seiji’s friend lives around the corner from here.” 

“I see,” Ryosuke still didn’t like it, he didn’t actually say people didn’t harass him on a regular basis but then he knew it wasn’t up to him to protect Yuri or something, he’d spent enough time here to know that people loved Yuri, they were friendly and kind to him, but something swelled up inside Ryosuke at the thought of someone hurting him, rolling over onto his back to look up at the stars himself, “I don’t know if I could have handled myself as well as you did.” 

“You might surprise yourself,” Yuri answered, shrugging, “It doesn’t bother me.” 

A lot of people say things don’t bother them, but for Yuri this was a complete truth, it didn’t bother him, because the simple fact was, nothing anyone could do to him could be worse than what he’d faced before. Everything paled in comparison to those days, months, years—the pain, the suffering, the way he felt about himself, about those around him, the struggle, and no, he’d never think words from someone who meant nothing to him now could even touch him now. It wasn’t that he’d built walls up around himself so much as he had a proper perspective on things, he just didn’t care if people liked him or not. He was who he is. He would never be anyone else, ever. 

“I wish I could be that way,” Ryosuke spoke the words softly, his eyes focused on the sky above them, “I’m usually good about not worrying about what other people say or think about me—but sometimes it gets to me.” 

He shifted, looking at Yuri again, “I was really angry, I was wanting to come and stop him…and it’s,” Ryosuke swallowed roughly, “It’s not like he was saying anything…horrible, but it just felt like he was trying to hurt you.” 

“He was,” Yuri confirmed it, he knew it was true, there was no other explanation for it, “You don’t have to worry though, I know people like him, I understand what they think and why they think it.” 

“Are you making an excuse for that idiot?” Ryosuke didn’t mean to say the words so heatedly but he couldn’t keep it out of his tone, his brows furrowed in frustration. 

“No,” Yuri blinked softly, his head tilting, “I wouldn’t ever—that kind of awful behavior doesn’t have a place in our lives…so I wouldn’t find an excuse…but, I suppose I would rather someone like that take those feelings out on me instead of someone else, someone who isn’t able to handle it…who is weaker than I am.” 

“I don’t think you’re weak,” Ryosuke inhaled sharply, “You’re strong, one of the strongest people I’ve ever known.” 

Yuri blinked, he felt the heaviness in his chest at these words, at the way he felt like maybe these words didn’t belong to him, not yet—he wasn’t quite there yet, not quite to the point in his life where he thought it was okay to see himself as having finally become who he was meant to be. He never really let people say things like this to him, first, because he didn’t want pity, he didn’t need people feeling sorry for him, and he certainly didn’t need people to prop him up and fill his heart with needless praise…yet, these words didn’t feel like that from Ryosuke, they just felt…right?  

He knew then that if he didn’t stop thinking like this, he was going to cry from these words Ryosuke was speaking into his soul, clearing his throat, whispering, “I hope you’re right.” 

He turned his head away, inhaling slowly, trying to blink back his tears, turning to look at Ryosuke who was suddenly in motion, scrambling off the chair to push the table away, the screeching feet of his chair sliding loud in the silence of the world around them as he pushed it against Yuri’s. He shifted, crawling back onto the chair to lay back down, smiling as he shifted closer still to Yurientwining their hands  together as he used his other hand to pull Yuri’s head against his own, “I know I am.” 

“Shut up,” Yuri laughed as a tear slid down his cheek onto the surface below him. 

“I don’t care what anyone says,” Ryosuke spoke the words softly and it was as if the world held still in anticipation of what he would say next, “I think you’re the most amazing, brilliant, and beautiful human in the world just the way you are.” 

Yuri couldn’t help the sob that tore through his body, not really understanding how he ended up in Ryosuke’s arms, all he knew was he was being held as he tried to control himself, to stop the tears but suddenly it was like he couldn’t stop crying…so…he just did. And Ryosuke held him, his hands running softly on his back, not saying anything at all, not trying to shush him or pretend everything was okay—no, Ryosuke just sat in the pain with him until his tears had abated, and then they shifted, their heads touching as they turned to stare at the sparkling sky. 

“Thank you,” Yuri whispered, his fingers gripping Ryosuke’s tightly, hoping he could hear all the words he wished he could speak. 

“I’m here, it’s where I want to be, and I’ll take care of you, as much as you’ll let me,” Ryosuke meant these words more than any promise or oath ever spoken, “You mean the world to me.” 

Yuri didn’t know what to say, his mind whirling with thoughts and feelings that felt inappropriate after such a short period of time together, but then, he couldn’t imagine a life where these words weren’t real and vital and something meant to be spoken, “I never thought I could have this.” 

“What?” Ryosuke shifted, tilting his head so he could see Yuri’s face. 

“Someone who cared about me,” Yuri admitted, “Who would feel like…like maybe I am really important.” 

“You are important,” Ryosuke corrected him. 

I am really used to being alone,” Yuri admitted, certain one of these revelations would be the one that drove Ryosuke away, especially now that he’d seen him cry. 

“You didn’t have to be alone anymore,” Ryosuke responded, smiling, “I’ll be here if you’ll let me.” 

“Why me?” It still didn’t make sense to Yuri, he wished he could understand, fully comprehend. 

“How to explain this?” Ryosuke drew his hand up to press his fingers against the bridge of his nose for a moment, “It was just always you…I know that sounds crazy maybe? But…from the first time I met you, it was just you—like those stories or fairy tales where they say those really cliché things like ‘the world tilted’ or ‘everything stopped’ except, seriously, that’s how I felt, so the real answer is, it was always you, there was no other choice for me, it had to be you.” 

Yuri swallowed roughly, trying to think of how to respond, because Ryosuke had a while to figure out his feelings but Yuri had built up some many walls, had spent so much of his life protecting himself, sheltering his heart and soul from pain, that he hadn’t even imagined he’d ever find someone to remotely care about him, let alone any kind of romantic love. That was something for other people, for people who weren’t like him—yet, Ryosuke broke through every single wall Yuri had built almost instantly and that was crazy, because he felt like he knew him, and somehow it felt like Ryosuke knew him as well.  

But still, he was no one, he was nothing, compared to someone as amazingly talented and gifted and beautiful as Ryosuke…his eyes blinked slowly as he took in Ryosuke’s expression, which softened as if he could read Yuri’s mind. 

“You don’t see yourself clearly,” Ryosuke’s fingertips traced Yuri’s cheek before he leaned forward, pressing a tender kiss to Yuri’s forehead, “The world…people are filled with so much darkness, their spirits are so ugly—but you’re…like a light in the darkest night…you radiate something…so beautiful.” 

Yuri wanted to stop the words, but he couldn’t, “I’m just really broken, Ryosuke, I wish I could be who you think I am.” 

“Don’t be dumb, I know who you are! One day I’ll convince you that I see you better than you see yourself,” Ryosuke shook his head, “Haven’t you ever noticed that fractured glass can cast light further than smooth glass? Being ‘broken’ doesn’t change the light you emit; it just serves to amplify it. It’s just who you are…you’re so pure of heart, and you’re so mindful of the world around you and you care so much about others!” 

“Doesn’t everyone care?” Yuri felt naïve asking but it did indeed feel like maybe Ryosuke saw the world in a way that’s different than how he saw it himself—and maybe that meant that he really did see Yuri in a way that Yuri couldn’t see himself. 

“No,” Ryosuke laughed bitterly, “No, they don’t…honestly, how can you not know this? Someone was horrible to you earlier and you were nothing but nice to that asshat.” 

“His words didn’t reach me,” Yuri tried to think of how to articulate what he felt, “I just think he must be sad in his world, lonely even, to be someone who goes around trying to hurt other people like that…if it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else—so I guess…after all, I am glad that it was me.” 

“You feel like you saved someone else from being hurt?” 

“Yeah,” Yuri frowned, “But it sounds self-serving when it’s spoken like that.” 

“Believe me,” Ryosuke laughed, pulling Yuri against his chest to hug him again, “It’s the furthest thing from self-serving, that’s obvious to me.” 

They stayed like that for a long time, eventually, turning to face the sky, Yuri hugged against Ryosuke’s side as they talked about the stars, Ryosuke’s hand would sometimes tighten against his waist, like he was testing to make sure he was still there, then they’d both fall into peaceful silence, drifting off to sleep to the lullaby of the world around them. It was peaceful and perfect, and then Yuri suddenly jerked awake, yawning widely, which caused Ryosuke to laugh, “Feels like that’s my cue to let you go to bed.” 

“I don’t want to,” Yuri pouted, leaning up on his elbow to look down at Ryosuke, “I want to stay here with you.” 

“Do you have school tomorrow?” Ryosuke’s voice was soft, not wanting to change the atmosphere, his fingers feeling like they were made to hold Yuri just like this.  

“Nope, I am completely off tomorrow—I don’t have work or school on Wednesdays,” Yuri shivered at the cooling night air, “Why?” 

“I have an interview tomorrow, and then I don’t have anything else the rest of the day…maybe I could see you?” 

“That would be…” Yuri wanted to say something like ‘amazing’ or ‘fantastic’ or ‘wonderful’ but thought maybe it would be too eager, but then he realized that Ryosuke could probably read him pretty well anyway, smiling as he spoke the word, “Perfect.” 

“Cool,” Ryosuke reluctantly released Yuri, pulling his cellphone as he sat up, tapping some buttons on it as the screen lit up his face, Yuri couldn’t help but marvel at how pretty he really was. 

He shifted to sit up, glancing away, not wanting to intrude on Ryosuke’s privacy, but then Ryosuke asked him, “Do you have a regular schedule then?” 

“Yeah,” Yuri nodded, glancing over at him. 

“Can I….could you let me…have it?” Ryosuke seemed flustered asking for it and in reality, Yuri supposed it was a very private request, and one that he only really gave to his Mom and sister as a matter of course. 

“Sure,” Yuri nodded, surprised when Ryosuke thrust his phone into Yuri’s hands. 

“Just input it right there,” Ryosuke pointed to the screen. 

Yuri looked down at the calendar, realizing it was mostly like the one that they used for their work schedule, quickly inputting his information, watching as the automation populated the full calendar with his information, thinking it was the cutest that his color was pink on the dates he’d input. 

“Wow, you’re insanely busy!” Yuri couldn’t help but comment on how absolutely packed the calendar was, filled so much in some blocks there was an overflow button, with a veritable rainbow of colors. 

“Oh,” Ryosuke laughed, “It’s our group schedule, like…we all have access to it and our managers keep all of our various jobs on it so we can keep up with our own schedule as well as the other members. I can click this,” his finger pressed the red box on the top of the screen,”…then it just shows all of my work.” 

Ryosuke looked at the page, now populated with his red blocks as well as Yuri’s pink ones, liking the way it looked, he smiled, “Well, and yours too, but don’t worry, the other members can’t see those, I have it set to private, only I can see what you added.” 

“Huh,” Yuri looked at the screen, pulling the phone closer, his eyes scanning the text there, acutely aware of Ryosuke’s eyes on him, making him wonder internally if it was rude to look so carefully at this information, to discover these things about his private life, his eyes scanned the list of work projects–dance rehearsals, studio recordings, magazine photo shoots, tv show recordings, promotional appearances, meetings, even things like hair and nail appointments were listed there.  

Yuri’s eyes moved without his permission to where Ryosuke’s hands were resting on his knees, his eyebrow raising slightly as he had to acknowledge that for a guy his hands were exceptionally manicured.  

Such pretty hands. 


His eyes snapped back to the screen, but not before Ryosuke twisted his fingers together in what he could only imagine as nervousness. 

Bless his heart. 

He wanted to comfort him, tell him he wasn’t judging him, knowing in his heart that he couldn’t imagine how weird it must be to constantly be on display, to always need to be 100% on your a-game and always presenting your idol face…how exhausting it must be. 

As he scrolled through the endless list of work, not minding the way his schedule intermingled with Ryosuke’s, he couldn’t help but realize that Ryosuke worked really hard…harder than he’d ever worked which was saying a lot given his obsessive need to be better than anyone else at…anything.  

Pretty much. 

Yet, Ryosuke’s schedule was shockingly busy, with so many different things it sort of made Yuri’s head spin. He was fortunate to keep up with four classes and a full-time job…that was always in the same place.  

Yuri blinked when the screen flashed and a message popped up over top of the schedule he was looking at, confused as he read the words, quickly followed by other messages flashing up underneath. 

Daiki: Well, Ryosuke, how’s it going with your hottie? (´`) 

Yuto: Yeah, how’s it going Yama-chan? (´)Ψ 

Yabu: Guys, c’mon. ┐(´д`)┌ 

Yuri swallowed thickly, his cheeks feeling hot with embarrassment as he realized that he was looking at a group chat and that these messages were clearly meant to be for Ryosuke’s eyes, his voice soft as he held the phone out, shaking it, “I umm…I think your friends…” 

“Huh? Wha–” Ryosuke took the phone from Yuri, turning the screen to see what he was referring to, his eyes widening for split second before his teeth bit into his bottom lip as his entire face turned red all the way up to his ears. 

Oh my gosh, he’s the cutest human in the world. 

Ryosuke’s eyes lifted to look at Yuri and then snapped closed, sighing softly, “I’m so…this is…just…my members are just… 

Yuri wanted to rescue him, to save him, his mind whirling with infinite ideas of what he could possibly do to make Ryosuke okay the way he had made him okay before, grabbing the phone from Ryosuke, tapping the screen quickly and pressing it back into his hands. 

Ryosuke opened his eyes, glancing down at the screen at the words that were written. 

Ryosuke: Things are going great. ω^ We’re stargazing. <–from the “hottie”  

Yuri laughed nervously, suddenly shocked by his own boldness, the words blurting out, “I assumed I was the hottie.” 

Ryosuke couldn’t help but laugh, shoving his shoulder into Yuri’s as he smiled, “Yeah, that would be accurate.” 

Yuri studied Ryosuke as he watched the screen scrolling with the sudden influx of responses to the message he had sent, impossibly captivated by his expression as he read what his friends were saying,  his head turning to look at Yuri with a bashful smile. 

“We could send them a picture? If you wouldn’t mind being in one wi—” 

Yuri shifted before Ryosuke could finish the thought, leaning around against Ryosuke’s back to position himself for the picture, Ryosuke lifted the camera, his voice soft, “I can’t be as cute as you are, but I’ll do my best.” 

Yuri meant to smile for the picture but couldn’t help that he looked over at Ryosuke, his expression probably betraying his feelings about Ryosuke saying something as absurd as that when between the two of them he was the one who reached Greek god status without even trying.  

Ryosuke sent the picture, the scrolling increasing as the other members responded, causing Ryosuke to click his phone off, turning his head to look at Yuri, surprised by how close he was still sitting to him, realizing he was still leaning a little bit against his back. 

“I think they got it wrong though,” Yuri tilted his head, his eyes holding an emotion Ryosuke couldn’t really name. 

“How so?” Ryosuke wondered, taking his hand again, loving the feeling of Yuri’s hand in his. 

“Because…” Yuri paused, blinking softly, feeling a little flustered now that he was about to say it out loud, “I mean…” 

He almost lost his nerve, he almost inserted some other words, some other something, but he knew Ryosuke would see through him, rushing the words out, “You’re the hottie here.” 

“Well,” Ryosuke smiled, his eyes twinkling in the lights from the streets around them, but to Yuri it just looked like the stars reflecting in them, “We’ll just have to agree to disagree.” 

When he said the last word, he reached forward to boop Yuri’s nose before she shifted to stand up, stretching with a squeak before he reached his hand out to Yuri, “But for now, I think you need sleep.” 

Yuri wanted to argue but he was actually really tired, and not sure what time it was at this point, and surely Ryosuke needed sleep before he went to work the next day as well, reaching up to take his hand and allowing himself to be pulled up, he agreed, “I guess so…” 

They made their way downstairs, making sure the doors closed properly and Yuri did a quick walkthrough to make sure he didn’t forget anything, satisfied with everything, he clicked the door locked, drawing the keys out to put into his pocket before he turned to see Ryosuke leaning against his car where he’d parked behind the building as if knowing they’d be coming back there at the end of the day.  

He was so pretty, standing there with the neon lights from the street behind him, the glimmery color of his red car a beautiful backdrop, his feet stretched out in front of him, his arms crossed as he seemed to be studiously watching Yuri. It made him feel a little uncomfortable, his fingers fumbling with the keys as he finally slid them into his pocket, taking a deep breath, “So…” 

Ryosuke blinked, as if he’d been caught up in his own thoughts, immediately standing up straight and shuffling forward to reach for Yuri’s hands, holding them softly in his own, “I don’t know what time I will be finished tomorrow for sure…do you have plans?” 

“Nope,” Yuri shrugged, “I’m available all day.” 

“Okay,” Ryosuke tilted his head, “I can…email you when I am leaving to come here?” 

“Sure,” Yuri nodded, and then swallowed roughly, “I...what did you want to do?” 

His heart immediately began to pound wildly in his chest as he thought maybe it was such that Ryosuke would want to hang out around here, or even imagine that he would want to come to his house or something and it was all Yuri could do to stop himself from running away immediately out of fear that who he really was would be exposed. 

“I dunno, we can decide tomorrow if you want?” Ryosuke studied Yuri, then frowned, “What are you worried about?” 

“ME?” Yuri’s voice was high and obviously he was deflecting, clearing his throat, “Nothing, that sounds fine, I can…I could just…” 

“We can meet here if you’d like?” Ryosuke offered, his eyebrow raising slightly as if to tell Yuri he knew what he was worried about but wasn’t going to force him to admit it. 

“Sure,” Yuri nodded, “That would be good…you email me and then I’ll meet you here, I just live a little bit aways.” 

“That sounds good,” Ryosuke nodded, then without pause moved forward to draw Yuri into his arms, holding him softly as he whispered, “You know, Yuri, you will have to share your world with me at one point or another.” 

Yuri clenched his eyes closed, his fingers grasping onto the soft fabric of Ryosuke’s shirt, his mind whirling with a million things he wanted to say but before he could work himself up into a complete frenzy, he felt Ryosuke’s hands flatten on his back, and it was such a different hug all of a sudden. Soft, but secure, and it was less like he was hugging him and more like he was embracing him as his voice spoke softly, “Whenever you’re ready, of course.” 

Yuri laughed nervously, because honestly, he wasn’t sure when he’d be ready, but Ryosuke deserved his honesty, deserved to be trusted, after all he’d literally shown him his calendar and work related stuff today without any hesitation, “Okay,” he nodded his head, “I will…I’ll try to be…brave.” 

Ryosuke drew back then, his eyes soft, “What do you think you need to be brave for? What do you think is going to happen?” 

“You might…” Yuri bit his lip, looking bashfully up at him, “What if you…find out more about me, and I’m…I’m not who you think I am?” 

Ryosuke’s expression changed and Yuri knew that he felt hurt, his fingers grasping onto Ryosuke’s shirt, when his mouth opened and closed as if he weren’t sure what to say, Yuri rushing the words out, “I don’t mean it’s because of you, it’s…not you, it’s me, it’s how I would see it…I just…”

“You don’t have to worry about that,” Ryosuke shook his head, “I know I probably can’t convince you of anything, but…I wish you had more trust in how I see you than that.” 

Yuri felt ashamed, because there hadn’t been a single thing that indicated that Ryosuke would be the type to judge him at all, nor that he’d think less of Yuri because of his circumstances, frowning as he looked down, his eyes blinking when Ryosuke lifted his chin with his fingertips, his smile endearing, “I understand—you don’t have to push yourself to do a single thing you’re not ready for, okay?” 

“Okay,” Yuri reached forward and this time, it was him who hugged Ryosuke and he could swear that he was trembling in his arms as he grasped him tightly. 

Ryosuke finally drew back, his fingers running into the base of Yuri’s hair before he pressed a soft, lingering kiss to his cheek, then stepped back, “Then I’ll see you tomorrow, yeah?” 

“Yep!” Yuri knew he was smiling like an idiot, but he couldn’t help it, this amazingly wonderful guy was here with him, out of all the places in the world he could be. 

“I can drive you home if you’d like?” Ryosuke shuffled his feet in the dirt, his eyes moving to look at the ground between them, “No pressure…of course…” 

“That would be…nice,” Yuri spoke the words before he could change his mind, unable to hide his smile when Ryosuke’s head jerked up in surprise his expression clearly disbelieving.  

“O-okay,” Ryosuke stuttered for a moment before he walked to the passenger door to open it, gesturing for Yuri to follow him.  

Yuri blinked and he was sitting in the car, jumping when the door shut next to him, his mind whirling, screaming that he was actually sitting in this car, this car that felt like it was molding to his form, his hands shaking as he reached for the seatbelt, jerking to the side when the driver’s door opened and Ryosuke climbed in, closing the door and putting his own seatbelt on, not noticing Yuri’s reactions. 

Yuri folded his hands in his lap, inhaling the soft pleasant scent, his eyes gliding across the smooth surface to land on a little gadget attached to the vent that he knew was one of those oil diffusers, not remotely surprised that Ryosuke really did buy the things he said he would on television programs.  

“Where to?” Ryosuke’s voice broke him out of his internal thoughts, looking over at Ryosuke who somehow looked even more gorgeous behind the wheel of this ridiculous vehicle. 

“Just pull out of the lot and turn right, you will drive down past the park,” Yuri watched Ryosuke as he reversed and pulled out onto the street, turning to watch the roads so they didn’t miss his turn. After they’d gone the several blocks to pass the park, he sat forward a bit, “Just up there, you’re going to turn right.” 

Ryosuke slowed down, glancing over at Yuri, “At that corner with the little ramen shop?” 

“Yeah,” Yuri nodded, his tummy flipping as he thought that this fancy car was going to drive down these streets. 

Ryosuke turned onto the road carefully, as it was one of the smaller roads that led away from the shopping district, driving slowly to avoid any issues with stray animals or such as it immediately felt like he’d been thrust into a different part of the world, the buildings were all touching, the streets were decorated with flags and lanterns and banners to denote little family owned shops, then above them were patios and decks, laundry lines and lawn chairs, the atmosphere reminded him of those festivals they used to go to—and maybe that is what the festivals were meant to represent after all? Maybe they were meant to show the small town feels of these kinds of communities, a far cry from the sterile, impersonal world where Ryosuke spent most of his time. 

They’d driven for a bit, and Ryosuke had to wonder if there might be a shortcut Yuri used to walk this far on foot from Pink…because it seemed like they’d driven quite a distance, but then he considered maybe it felt that way just because he was driving so slowly. 

He glanced over at Yuri who looked like he was drawn up into the smallest form possible, like he was folding in on himself, and without thought, he reached over to take his hand, his eyes wide when Yuri jumped, “Oh my gosh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to startle you…” 

“It’s okay, it’s fine…” Yuri looked at Ryosuke’s hand which was still extended, reaching up to take it with his own, clenching tightly to Ryosuke’s fingers and when he looked over at him, he knew he wasn’t hiding anything. 

“Everything’s okay,” Ryosuke had slowed down so much he was nearly stopped in the road, his eyes pleading with Yuri, “I can drop you off here, if you don’t want me to go all the way…” 

“That’s stupid,” Yuri shook his head, “We’re almost there.” 

Ryosuke did stop the car, his eyes not moving from Yuri’s, “I don’t have to go there, if you don’t want me to.” 

Yuri blinked slowly, his eyes watery, and he felt stupid, his heart pounding in his chest, “Are…you sure?” 

“Yeah, of course,” Ryosuke moved the car forward to pull over, at least as much as pulling over to the side of the road worked when it came to these tiny roads, putting the car in park, twisting to look at Yuri, “This is good, thank you for letting me bring you this far…” 

Yuri couldn’t speak, his voice lost to the thoughts whirling through his mind, finally actually seeing Ryosuke when he spoke softly, “This community reminds me of the festivals we used to attend at school—they are filled with people who smile at you and wave, with families that take care of each other…”  

Yuri tilted his head, trying to understand what Ryosuke actually saw, glancing around the streets before him, seeing only the normal landscape he could map out with his eyes closed, everything familiar, but to him, this was something else, something so far removed from the metro Tokyo area, from Shibuya where he figured Ryosuke lived—at least he thought he’d read that somewhere once, “It has to be such a huge difference from where you live…” 

Ryosuke studied Yuri’s profile, glad when he turned to look at him, “Different doesn’t mean it’s bad.” 

Yuri thought about this for a moment, chewing his lip for a moment before he nodded, “I suppose not…” he glanced around and then pointed to the alley just ahead, “If you turn there, you can go back the same way you came, so you won’t get lost…it can be confusing.” 

His hand reached to undo the seatbelt, and then he looked over at Ryosuke who was smiling, like he wasn’t remotely put out that Yuri wouldn’t let him go the rest of the way to where he lived, “Thank you for coming to see me tonight, it was really nice,” Yuri reached over to touch Ryosuke’s hand which instantly grabbed his within his own.  

“It was my pleasure,” Ryosuke clicked the button so the doors would unlock, “I’ll see you tomorrow?” 

“Yeah,” Yuri nodded, opening the car door and standing up to lean back down to speak, “I’ll wait for your email.” 

“Sounds good!” Ryosuke watched as Yuri closed the door, waving to him when he lifted his hand to wave to him, watching as he walked down the sidewalk. He waited until Yuri had moved to the next block before he shifted the car into gear and drove to the ally that Yuri had told him to use to turn around in, backing out, he realized that Yuri was stopped just a short ways down the block, speaking to someone who was sitting outside of a building, before he disappeared into the door next to the person.  

“Huh,” Ryosuke shook his head, realizing that Yuri had almost let him go all the way, he’d very nearly done it and he was glad to know that Yuri didn’t have very far to go after all, as he reversed out, he glanced back, seeing the light come on in the uppermost windows and he realized that must be where Yuri lived. He glanced around, trying to commit some of the landmarks to his memory so that he would know where he was, and it made him happy to know this one little thing about Yuri, this one detail that maybe he didn’t really mind sharing with him, even if it made him too nervous there at the end, the truth was, Yuri had to have known he’d see him go into that building.  

He thought about ways he could make Yuri more comfortable as he drove home, not very versed at these kinds of relationship nuances after all, he’d never been in a relationship with anyone before, so he felt like he needed to figure out how to handle this…he reached over to push the button on his dash, dialing his Mom, because he was sure no one would be able to help him more than she could.  



Yuri listened to the messages from Saya, rolling his eyes as he dialed her number, her voice trill when she answered on the first ring, “It’s about time!” 

“Saya,” Yuri rolled his eyes, “We’re not doing this every night.” 

“Then tell me why you aren’t home!” Saya snapped, “I don’t understand what you’re hiding, you know I get nervous, I just want to know you’re okay!” 

“I met someone,” Yuri blurted the words out just to shut her up and immediately regretted it, drawing the phone away from his ear as she commenced to screaming in his ear. 

“Saya!” Yuri threw his hand up in the air, “This is exactly why I don’t tell you things!!” 

“Okay, okay, okay, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she was wheezing from her excitement, “I’m okay, it’s okay, just…who? Who!? TELL ME!” 

Yuri sat in silence, contemplating telling her anything at all, her voice frantic in his ear, “Are you going to tell me?” 

“No, not yet,” Yuri answered honestly, shushing her when she began to protest, “I’ll tell you, okay? Just…let me have a little bit, I don’t want to…get invested and it not be what I think it is.” 

“What does that mean?” 

“Just…it’s complicated, okay?” Yuri pressed his forehead down onto his desk, “I just…I want to be careful.” 

“Okay,” Saya’s voice was normal again, and Yuri scoffed, “Just like that?” 

“Yeah, just like that—I just wanted to know you’re okay, and besides if this guy hurts you, he’ll have to contend with me, and we both know how that will turn out.” 

Yuri knew it was true, laughing softly, “I know, that’s what I’m worried about here Sis.” 

“I’m glad we’re on the same page then,” Saya sighed, “When do I get to meet him?” 

“Later,” Yuri reached over to turn on his computer, “I’m not introducing you until I’m sure.”

Sure, about what?”

“If he really likes me…” Yuri didn’t like saying it out loud, it felt wrong and like he was not being fair to Ryosuke but after all, he did need to figure this out, and Saya was the only person he could talk to. 

“Why wouldn’t he like you!?” Saya’s voice was incredulous, “Who wouldn’t love you?! You’re perfect!” 

“Shut up,” Yuri laughed, shaking his head, “I told you, it’s complicated!” 

“Okay, fine, whatever, just…isn’t there something you can tell me? C’mon, you’re killing me here!?” 

“He’s beautiful…like…inhumanly beautiful,” Yuri spoke the words without much thought, opening up his email. 

“Oh, like, beautiful by your standards or beautiful by MY standards? Because we don’t always agree on who is beautiful…” 

They both spoke the name at the same time, “Eichi!” then burst into fits of giggles together.  

It felt good to laugh, Yuri felt genuinely happy, “I think he’s definitely up to your standard.” 

“Well, then he only has to pass one other test…”  

“What’s that?” Yuri wondered, as his eyes widened when he saw there was an email from Ryosuke. 

“Mom,” Saya spoke the word with reverence, and Yuri closed his eyes, nodding, then speaking since he realized Saya couldn’t see him, “Yeah, that…that’s true.” 

“If you like him then she will,” Saya reassured him, “All she wants is for you to be happy, if he makes you happy, she’ll love him.” 

While Saya was talking, Yuri took time to quickly scan the email from Ryosuke. 



Thank you for sharing the stars in the sky with me tonight, you have the most beautiful view of the world and it’s an honor to get to see even the smallest part of it.  

I’m looking forward to tomorrow!  

Sleep sweet! 




Yuri smiled at the email, glad Saya wasn’t there to see him grinning like an idiot, his voice soft when he answered her finally, “Saya, he makes me so happy.” 

“Good,” her voice was soft in his ear, “You only deserve happiness, Yur…oh, what are you doing tomorrow?” 

Being happy,” Yuri responded knowing she’d understand, which made her squeal loudly in his ear, “OH MY GOSH!!! Another date tomorrow!?! What is happening with my baby bro?” 

Yuri just laughed softly, feeling shy all of a sudden, even with Saya. 

“Well, go to bed then, I’ll check in tomorrow okay? Get some rest,” Yuri couldn’t help but wonder at how easily she let that go, his eyes narrowing in suspicion.  

“If you come here tomorrow, I will seriously kick your ass, Saya,” he hissed into the phone. 

“Damn,” she huffed, “How do you do that!?” 

“I know you. I’m hanging up now.” 

“Love you,” she whispered softly.  

“Love you, too, and...Saya,” Yuri swallowed awkwardly, “…just…thanks.” 

“Oh my gosh, just shut up.” 

The line was silent then, Yuri put the phone back on the receiver, knowing she’d hung up, because they were far better at harassing one another than with real feelings most of the time, but there was no one in the world who would be there to have his back if he needed them like Saya.  

He typed out a quick message to send to Ryosuke thanking him for the evening and that he was super excited about the next day as well and that he’d be unreasonably stalking his email while waiting to hear from him. He chose to ignore the comment on his email address completely.  

After he settled down, bundled up in his blankets against the cool air, his mind drifted, sleep soft on the edges of his mind, considering whether his Mom would like Ryosuke or not, then firmly deciding after a moment that she would most certainly adore him. 

Just like I do. 

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