Listen: Just The Way You Are

by Juliet AlayneSeptember 23, 2020
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Listen: Just The Way You Are
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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. 

FOCUS. 

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. 

 


 Yuri-chan, 

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! 

Ryosuke 

P.S. I LOVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS ღゝ◡╹)ノ 


 

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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Listen: I’ll Remind You
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Music Inspiration: We’ll Be A Dream–We The Kings featuring Demi Lovato

Dinner ended up being a lot of fun, despite Yuri being a huge ball of nerves for the first twenty minutes or so, he stayed mostly silent, nodding his head and answering in monosyllabic responses as they settled down and looked over the menus, ordered food, and waited to be served. He was pretty amazed by the way Ryosuke just sort of seemed to be so self-assured and relaxed—taking control of pretty much everything and handling ordering and everything. The only thing Yuri could think was that it was a byproduct of being an idol…it was no telling the kinds of situations that Ryosuke was thrust into on a regular basis, so it wasn’t really surprising he seemed to take most everything in stride.   

The only time he really showed any nervousness was when the ticket came.  

“I know we didn’t discuss this,” Ryosuke had swallowed roughly, his eyes sincere when he looked up at Yuri who had no idea what in the world he had become so serious over, “…but…I would like to pay for your dinner. I mean, I am the one who asked you to come here with me.”  

Yuri tilted his head, not completely sure what the proper etiquette was for this moment—like was he supposed to initially turn this offer down? The way he’d seen in movies, was like the person denied it and then they would go back and forth, and the person would relent. Is that being polite? Is that how he should handle it? Or…was he supposed to immediately thank him for his generosity? To say yes up front? Because he was right, he did invite him, didn’t he? Was he supposed to insist on paying half? Was he supposed to offer to pay all of it?  

His mind buzzed with all of the possibilities, nervousness feeling like it was suffocating him, trying to calculate how much money he actually had in his pockets and whether it would be enough to pay for the meal or not—and then would he still have enough to get home—an entirely other issue, as he had no idea where they even were but given the distance they’d traveled he figured his apartment definitely wasn’t within walking distance.  

He was so confused, after all, in reality, this was his very first date.   

Ryosuke immediately sensed the panic that was flooding Yuri, reaching his hand out to squeeze Yuri’s under the table, “Hey…it’s not a big deal. I’ll pay this time and next time I promise that we’ll discuss it and make sure we’re on the same page before we get to the end of the meal…will that be okay?”  

Yuri wanted to say no…he wasn’t sure why, but he suspected it was a pride issue, he wasn’t used to people taking care of money things—he’d lived on his own for so long now and insisted on being self-sufficient, the very idea of someone paying for his food felt like an insult.   

But…aren’t dates different…isn’t this okay?  

What if it’s because he feels sorry for me though?   

What if it’s because he pities me?  

“Yuri?” Ryosuke’s voice was soft as he leaned closer to him, “I really wanted to take you out for so long now…please let this be my date, and next time we can discuss it. It’s not because I think you can’t pay or don’t want to pay or anything like that—it’s because I want to do this and it’s something in my head about the order of things—I just…I guess it’s stupid and old fashioned, but…I just want to pay…please…just let me this one time?”  

“Okay,” the word was just a whisper, and Yuri didn’t even realize what he’d said because he was still stuck on the words that Ryosuke had just said.   

This time…  

and next time…  

Next time.  

He wants to go out again.  

Yuri shook himself out of his internal musings when Ryosuke shifted to move out of his chair, apparently having paid for the meal while Yuri was lost in his thoughts, his smile beautiful when he turned to to wait for Yuri to be ready, his hands grasping a small box that contained the piece of pizza they couldn’t eat, “I had them box this up for you…”  

“Thank you,” Yuri felt his cheeks become warm, standing, and moving with Ryosuke toward the exit, “For the pizza and for this…all of this…just thank you.”  

Ryosuke was studying him, his brows drawn down, “You’re welcome, and I want to say thank you as well…”  

“I didn’t do anything,” Yuri admitted weakly, shaking his head but Ryosuke shushed him immediately, “You gave me a chance, you came here with me, that’s everything.”  

Yuri shook his head, wondering how Ryosuke knew how to say everything so perfectly, wishing he had some of that ability as it felt like he was more or less constantly putting his foot in his mouth and embarrassing himself. Turning away from him, as he didn’t really know what to say, he was feeling weird about the fact that he’d only just realized that the probability was that Ryosuke was that seasoned at this because he’d probably been on tons of dates before.   

Of course, he has, he probably has a line of girls…or…guys? I dunno, but he probably has a whole line of them waiting to go out with him…  

He felt like his whole body was on fire as a wave of pure jealousy spread through him, his fingers clenching tightly at the thought but then he chided himself because he had no rights to have any kinds of questionable feelings about anything in regard to Ryosuke.   

He’s him, and I’m me.  

Don’t be stupid. 

Don’t get carried away. 

Though, the very idea of Ryosuke dating other people was a surprise to Yuri really, because he thought the idols weren’t allowed to date, but if Ryosuke’s behavior was any indication—then he’d surely done this plenty of times. There was a small voice in the back of his head that argued with him, replaying the words from earlier that afternoon to remind him of how sincere and nervous Ryosuke had been, trying to measure this current Ryosuke side by side with that one.   

Yuri glanced up at the sky, surprised to discover it was completely dark, “Oh my gosh, how long were we in there?”  

Ryosuke laughed, “A while I guess,” glancing at his watch, he smiled, “It’s almost ten!”  

“Wow!” Yuri was amazed they’d talked that long, it had felt like minutes—not hours, and then, suddenly he felt a yawn coming on moments before it actually burst out, his apology distorted as he waved his hand in front of his face, “I’m sorry, I swear I’m not bored…I had classes this morning and then work right after so…”  

“I’m so sorry I didn’t even think about how early you must have gotten up today, seriously, let me take you home,” Ryosuke waited for Yuri to answer, glancing up and down the street to see if there was a taxi available.  

Let me take you home.  

Yuri felt a brick settle into the pit of his tummy, because he was not prepared for this date, and he certainly wasn’t prepared to have Ryosuke see his home.  

Nope…not happening.   

His eyes widened as anxiety spread through him, his expression worried for a moment before he could school his expression, but Ryosuke saw it, “What’s wrong?”  

“Nothing,” Yuri tried to keep the panic out of his voice, shrugging, shifting the box that held his extra slice of pizza from one hand to the other nervously, “I just don’t want you to be put out, I can get a taxi and head home, there’s nothing for you to concern yourself with.”  

He wanted to kick his own ass for being so weird, honestly, who is so formal with someone on a date when they’d spent five hours talking about stupid stuff including the most mortifying time in his life when the first time he’d gotten drunk at a party then promptly confessed his undying love to the most popular boy in school.   

Ryosuke stared at Yuri for a moment, clearly trying to read the situation, shrugging, his voice soft, “We can do whatever you want to do, there’s no pressure here…” Ryosuke shuffled his feet, glancing down at the ground between them, “…but…I mean, I really don’t mind…and it’s…quite a ways back to the café…and I don’t know where you live…so…”  

You don’t know where I live, and it will be a cold day in hell before you do…  

Yuri tilted his head, trying to think of how to explain something, anything to Ryosuke that might make sense, “I don’t know where we are to be honest,” he felt bashful suddenly, “I don’t really go very many places, mostly from home to school to work to home to school and so on…then to my Mom’s and my Grandmother’s but otherwise…I am more or less a creature of habit so to speak. So, I guess, it’s good taxi drivers know the city so well.”  

“Well, at least I can take you to a taxi,” Yuri could tell by Ryosuke’s voice that it wasn’t what he really wanted to do and he had to wonder how far Ryosuke would go to make him feel comfortable?  

Ryosuke held his hand out, “Would that be okay?”  

“Alright,” Yuri nodded, his eyes looking at Ryosuke’s hand for a long moment before he tentatively reached out, not closing the distance between them, but not particularly surprised when Ryosuke reached further and grabbed his hand, turning to lead him to the corner where they could wait for a taxi.  

As they stood together waiting, Yuri wondered about each of the people who were passing them by, certainly there weren’t all that many out at this hour, but he was still really curious, tugging on Ryosuke’s hand, causing Ryosuke to glance over at him, “Is…is this okay?”  

Ryosuke looked at him curiously, “Is what okay?”  

“This,” he wiggled their hands, “I mean…is it okay for you to…be…so open like this?”  

Ryosuke finally caught up after his expression had twisted into the cutest little confused face Yuri had ever seen, laughing, “It’s just a rumor we’re not allowed to date.”  

“Really?” Yuri tried to make sense of that, because he’d always heard that the idols weren’t allowed to have relationships at all.   

Well, you idiot, you already decided he’d been dating a lot of people before now, obviously, he’s allowed to date, duh. 

“Yeah,” Ryosuke shrugged, glancing down the road to see if there was a taxi approaching yet, “I mean, we’re supposed to be…discreet…but there’s no real policy about it. It just sells more products if we keep that illusion, that’s all…”  

“Isn’t it important for you to keep that illusion?” Yuri asked, unable to stop himself because he knew Ryosuke—Ryosuke the Idol.  

Hell, everyone knows Ryosuke…he’s a national idol…he’s stupidly famous.  

There’s never been a single rumor about him and any girls. 

Which means the girls he went out with were really good people…because… 

He’s never been caught on a date before. 

He’s the prince character in his group.  

He’s the one all the girls wanted to marry.  

Wouldn’t him being discovered dating be destructive to his career?  

Wouldn’t dating a guy be even more destructive?  

Ryosuke had been staring at Yuri while he considered what it was Yuri might really want to know, “I won’t get in trouble for taking you out, if that’s what you’re wondering,” he carefully released Yuri’s hand, gesturing to the bench outside the restaurant behind them, “Sit for a moment?” 

“Alright,” Yuri followed him to the bench where Ryosuke sat, turning his body sideways so he could look at Yuri while he spoke. 

“I…it’s just…You make me forget who I am,” Ryosuke blurted the words out, laughing nervously after he said it, “Like…I don’t mean to be so…direct…or…yes, I mean….it is true about the way we’re supposed to be, and I’m not…I mean there’s no rule, but I have been…advised.” 

“Advised?” Yuri was curious what kind of ‘advisement’ Johnny’s would give to an idol of Ryosuke’s stature.  

“Yeah, like…we have these meetings and stuff and of course, my manager knows everything, it’s impossible to keep anything from him—and it’s like…you make me want to forget all of that, to just not think about it.”  

“It must be hard?” Yuri had wondered about this, about this kind of life and what it must be like for someone like Ryosuke.  

“It can be, but I mean, I made the choice, I want to be where I am, right? I want to be who I am, I’m happy and satisfied, so…it’s just so confusing.” 

Ryosuke tilted his head up to look at the stars in the sky, sighing, “I know it is wisdom to not be involved with anyone…that I should you know…” 

Yuri felt his heart clench, these words not ones he wanted to hear, not now, not after this evening. 

Ryosuke glanced back at Yuri, his brows drawn down as he shook his head, expression sad, “I just…I know I should be careful and it’s probably a really bad thing for my career…”  

Oh no…please.  

Yuri felt like he could burst into tears, his eyes instantly stinging from the imminent rejection he felt coming on.   

Ryosuke shifted, his body turning toward the road as he tried to gather his thoughts, chewing on his bottom lip and he chastised himself for not having this already figured out, for not already addressing this. He’d been so focused on just getting Yuri to let him take him out he hadn’t really thought much further than that in reality.  

He turned to look at Yuri, taking in his expression, his eyes widening, “Oh my gosh, Yuri…I don’t mean…” 

“I’m sorry, it’s not like what you’re thinking,” he sighed, shaking his head as he pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes, “Honestly, I am just not very good at this, am I?”  

Yuri was confused, trying to think of what to say, wanting to make sure Ryosuke knew how much he had appreciated even this one night, the one chance to go on a date with him—something he could treasure forever, “It’s alright, Yamada-san,” Ryosuke’s body jerked at the formal name, his mouth opening to speak, but Yuri raised his voice, “Thank you for today, it was a sweet gift, but you really need to take care of yourself, and your career, and I understand that, I really do.”  

“What…” Ryosuke was dumbfounded, “What do you think we’re talking about here?”  

“Umm…how you need to be careful and not date someone like me, so you don’t mess up your career?” Yuri said the words as plainly as he could, trying to be sure that Ryosuke wouldn’t feel guilty and understand that he was thankful for this moment in time.  

“Or,” Ryosuke shifted to move closer to Yuri, his voice low as a couple passed them by, “Maybe what I am trying to say is that I’ve never wanted to be with anyone who made me need to figure this out before, so I don’t know what I’m doing or how I should be doing it…”   

Yuri’s eyes were wide as he stared at Ryosuke, blinking when he smiled broadly, “It’s your fault anyway, isn’t it?” 

Yuri sputtered, “M-my fault…” 

“You make me want to be who I really am, who I want to be, and I feel more me when I’m with you than I have ever felt in my whole life.” 

His fingers grazed Yuri’s hand, but he didn’t take it in his own, instead, he pulled his hands in, crossing his arms as if to stop them from acting on their own accord, “I don’t know why I keep touching you…I just…I guess I want to make sure you’re real, to keep you close…I’m sorry.”  

“You want to b-be with me? To—to keep me close?”  

Ryosuke laughed, his eyes twinkling as he teased Yuri, “I know you’re an absolutely brilliant guy, Yuri, but seriously I don’t know how I need to say this so you will actually understand.”  

“I’m sorry, it’s just all so…confusing.”  

“Let me clear this up for you,” he shifted, freezing when a taxi slowed down in front of them, the window rolling down and the man asking him if they needed a ride.  

“Yes, sir, we do,” Ryosuke looked at Yuri apologetically.  

They approached the car, Ryosuke opened the door for Yuri and gesturing for him to get in.  

Yuri nodded, sliding into the taxi, turning to look at Ryosuke who was leaning in the door but not getting in, “I can get another one?”   

Yuri had the same panic from before tickling at his nerves, but he figured they could at least go back to the café, so he shrugged, “He can take us to the shop, and I can go home from there, I walk to work and…I figure—your ride is there, right?”  

“Yeah,” Ryosuke nodded, sliding into the taxi and instructing the driver on the address of the café to take them to before he turned to look at Yuri, his voice low as he spoke, clearly trying to ensure the driver could not hear him, he leaned close to Yuri, the scent of his cologne nearly as intoxicating as the way his breath brushed his cheek as he spoke, “I want to take you out again…tomorrow, the next day…I want to be with you as long as you’ll allow me.”  

Yuri startled, the words were so blunt, so forward, his eyes wide as Ryosuke bumped his chin into his shoulder, and Yuri could tell he was smiling even though he couldn’t see his face, “Do you understand that?”  

“I-I think so,” Yuri guessed he did understand but he didn’t know why, it didn’t really make sense to him, his eyes wide as Ryosuke drew back, his palm sliding up his leg to grab his hand, entwining their fingers together and Yuri felt like he should remind him that he literally had said they should be discreet not even five minutes ago, but at the same time, he didn’t want to because it felt so nice to have his hand holding his own.   

He figured the driver couldn’t see what they were doing with their hands anyway so he stopped worrying about it and just decided to enjoy it, twisting his head to the side to try to look at Ryosuke, but he was so close their noses bumped into one another.   

They both laughed, and Ryosuke leaned back a bit, “Sorry…it’s just…you smell really good.”  

Yuri turned to look at him again, surprised, “What?”  

Ryosuke was glad for the darkness inside the taxi that made it so that Yuri couldn’t see how embarrassed he was, heat spreading all the way up to his ears, “I was…smelling you.”  

“Smelling me?” Yuri laughed then, he didn’t mean to, but he just couldn’t help it, amused, “What do I smell like?”  

He was sincerely curious because he didn’t really use anything except soap and shampoo in the shower—not really able to afford other products and certainly not any kind of good smelling cologne.  

Ryosuke shrugged, biting his bottom lip for a moment before he responded in a whisper, “Cupcakes.”  

“Hmm…that makes sense,” Yuri admitted, considering that the smells from the bakery surely did get on his clothing and things, “Do you like cupcakes?”  

Yuri felt stupid, he knew it was the worst attempt at flirting in the history of all romance, but he said it without giving it even a small amount of consideration, chewing on the inside of his cheek because he already wished he could take it back.   

“You know I love them,” Ryosuke smiled at him, thinking the teasing was cute because he always purchased strawberry cupcakes as part of his normal order every single time he came to the café–and Yuri almost always served them to him, so he knew they were both fully aware of how much he enjoys them, his lips twisting into a grin as he leaned a little bit closer, “But I definitely prefer this more…”  

“What’s ‘this’?” Yuri tilted his head in confusion.  

“How the cupcakes smell on you,” Ryosuke leaned closer and Yuri realized he was actually inhaling, “You smell so sweet, but it’s like more than a cupcake…it’s…”  

Ryosuke shook his head, shifting toward the window, clearly overwhelmingly embarrassed at the whole conversation at this point, setting the words firmly, “It’s good.”  

“Well, that’s good then I guess?” Yuri wanted to console him but he didn’t know what to say or how to say it so he just settled for squeezing his hand softly, to which Ryosuke squeezed back, his eyes soft when he turned to look at him, “You were there all of those times weren’t you? The times when they said you weren’t?”  

Oh, we’re just gonna dive into all of this now then.  

“Yes,” Yuri confirmed immediately, “I was, but I felt like it was better for me to put distance between us instead of encouraging you.”  

“Because you thought I was not someone who could care about you?”  

“I guess…it’s like I really don’t understand even now,” Yuri admitted, his voice soft, his eyes moving past Ryosuke to watch as the lights zoomed by outside the window,  

“Understand why I wanted to take you out?”  

“Yeah,” Yuri’s eyes moved to look at Ryosuke against his will, only to discover Ryosuke was staring intently at him, his expression filled with an emotion he couldn’t quite put his finger on but it seemed like it was related to aggravation.  

“Did someone hurt you?” Ryosuke asked the question his brows drawing down.   

“No,” Yuri shook his head, “No one has hurt me, it wasn’t like that…even the guy I drunk confessed to was actually really nice to me, even after that we talked some and he never made fun of me despite it being awkward as hell given the fact I hadn’t actually come out at that point. He stopped people from making fun of me actually, like got into a fist fight with one of the other guys on the sports team he was the captain of—he was…he was really nice, and we hung out a lot after that…he ended up going away to college though so I haven’t talked to him since graduation.”  

Ryosuke hummed softly, his brows drawn down, his voice heavy as asked, “He liked you then?”  

“What? No…no…he didn’t,” Yuri couldn’t help but laugh at the very idea that his friend had like liked him, “No, it wasn’t like that at all, he just was a really nice guy, that’s all, he dated a lot of girls, like the head of the cheer squad, girls like that, he was the prom king and he was in a two year relationship with the prom queen by our Senior year.”  

“Okay,” Ryosuke laughed softly, shaking his head, because every new discovery about Yuri was a delight, and his pure heart was one of the parts of him he was fascinated with, “You say all of that like it negates the fact that he clearly was into you.”  

“Between you and I—not to be rude—but I think I know the guy and you’re absolutely wrong, he didn’t like me he was jus–”  

“Kindness does not make someone hang around with a person who has shown overt interest in them, it also does not make them protect them, that’s not kindness, that was him going a step further than kindness…he probably was one of those guys who was going to be in denial his whole life, huh? Like family expectations, stuff like that?”  

“I don’t know what you mean,” Yuri was confused, tilting his head as he replayed Ryosuke’s words through his mind but discovering that did not give him any more insight into what he was trying to convey.  

“He wouldn’t be able to come out because his family or whatever would not be okay with it, so he’ll like…have a token wife and pretend to be happy but he’ll be sad and lonely no matter what…”  

“Because you think he was into me?”  

“Yeah, I know he was,” Ryosuke answered with such a firm tone, like it was just a matter of fact, Yuri couldn’t help but wonder how he could be so confident.  

“Why do you think that?”  

“He sounds like me? Doesn’t he? I mean, he was willing to put his own needs to the side to be close to you, to be your friend, because to him being your friend was going to have to be enough. I can fully understand that, after all I spent six months coming into the café to see you with zero indication that you would ever even consider going out with me—in fact, I started coming in at the start without confirming that you even liked guys just because…I mean…I wanted to be near you, it’s like the overflow of your heart is…”  

Ryosuke shook his head, feeling himself getting carried away and certain it would overwhelm Yuri, so he shook his head, “Just know, I understand guys like that guy—that’s all I am saying. Whatever he felt it wasn’t just ‘average’ friendship—you should just trust me on that.”  

Yuri contemplated this, the very idea that his friend had maybe had some kind of feelings for him, an array of memories assaulting his senses—and incredibly, through this new way of thinking about things, it felt like maybe Ryosuke wasn’t so far off the mark after all…certainly, in his innocent naivety Yuri had never once imagined that his friend could have had even the most remote of feelings for him, but if he was going to look at it from this new perspective—then…maybe, just maybe, he did.  

“Huh…” Yuri glanced back at Ryosuke, “I dunno for sure.”  

“Well, I do,” Ryosuke laughed, turning to see that they were pulling up to the sidewalk outside the café, “And frankly, I’m relieved he left to go away to college.”  

Yuri blinked at that declaration.  

As if there’s any competition, my God, he carries on about ME not seeing things clearly.   

He released Yuri’s hand, stepping out of the car, holding the door for Yuri, then closing it after he’d stepped onto the sidewalk, leaning in to pay for the taxi, and then thanking the man as he pulled away.  

He turned to look at Yuri, who was standing there on the sidewalk looking so small, so tiny, all Ryosuke wanted to do was hug him. He knew he’d undoubtedly already made Yuri feel uncomfortable with such a high level of affection already, so he wouldn’t do it, but man, he really wanted to.  

He ran his hands down his sweater nervously, “Anyway…” 

“Yeah,” Yuri smiled at him, sensing that he was a little out of his element now that they were standing here at the end of their impromptu date, and for his own sake, he had to clarify, just to be sure, just so there was no misunderstanding at all, “So…about the stuff you were saying before…it’s…not a problem if…I mean not to presume anything but you did say you’d like to…see each other…” 

“I said I want to be with you as long as you’ll allow me,” Ryosuke corrected him gently, stepping a little bit closer, “I don’t just want to see you…that’s too…small.” 

He paused, swallowing roughly, his brows drawing down as his expression took on a gentle nature, “I’m sorry to be so…forward…or intense, I don’t want to be too much, I just…” he shrugged, “I don’t know how to explain it to be honest.” 

“It’s okay,” Yuri couldn’t help but smile at how precious he was, “I think I understand it just fine myself, even if I’m not showing it outwardly, internally, I get it, believe me…” 

Ryosuke nodded, tilting his head when Yuri continued, “But…what if….I mean, like you said, there are complications and…I don’t want to hurt your career or anything li—” 

“Don’t worry about that,” Ryosuke interrupted him, sincerity clear in his words, “I’m sorry, I mean, I really am because I was flustered and I couldn’t think,” he laughed lightly shaking his head, “I mean you have a curious effect on me to be honest, and I’ve never been one to be…flustered I guess is the right word, but you  make me all kinds of ways confused.” 

They both laughed and whatever tension had been in the air fueled by uncertainty seemed to dissipate with their combined smiles, Ryosuke stepped closer still, “There’s plenty of ways to handle things like this and while I respect and understand your concerns, the truth is, being with you will be far easier than being with a girl in a myriad of ways.” 

Yuri wondered at this, his head tilting as he tried to consider how this could possibly be true. He also filtered the comment through the thoughts he had about how many dates Ryosuke had undoubtedly been on and for some reason felt far more threatened by the idea that he’d been on those dates with boys and not girls. 

“I mean, if I liked girls, which I mean you didn’t specifically ask but I’ll just make it clear to you that like your description…what was it? ‘Girls are not my type’? Yeah, that’s about it for me, I think girls are pretty and soft and that’s all great, but to be honest I have never felt any kind of genuine attraction to them on any level other than a strange association with my Mom which we definitely don’t need to get into on our first date.” 

Yuri giggled as he nodded, liking the way Ryosuke’s cheeks pinked at the words he’d said, reassuring him, “I’ll file that away to bring up on another day then.” 

“Please do,” Ryosuke laughed at himself, shrugging, “There’s some unpacking to do there I’m sure. Still, the whole point is, no one will question us hanging out together, we can go where we want, do what we want, as long as we don’t act romantic, honestly, no one could ever say anything about it. I couldn’t get by with that with a girl, not in a million years.” 

“Huh,” Yuri understood what he meant, “That’s…actually really clever…so,” he hated himself for the way he cringed at the thought but asked the question anyway, “If you went with a girl to pizza tonight?” 

“If pictures had been leaked it would have been a fiasco, but I mean, I guess pictures of me holding your hand would have also created quite the sensation—so I mean, that’s why I said as long as we refrain from affection in public then we’ll be fine to go and do whatever we want to do.” 

Yuri hummed in understanding, blinking rapidly when Ryosuke took a step closer, “I recognize that I am responsible for all of the crossing lines and making a mess of things today, and I’m really sorry for being…such a handful… but I will do my best to do better—” his grin was positively mesmerizing and Yuri felt like the world was spinning when he spoke the words so softly, “You kinda drive me crazy though, so…I might need reminding.” 

Yuri wanted to scoff at him, like he had some supernatural level of self-control or ability to keep his impulses in check but then, he instantly realized that he’d do whatever Ryosuke needed him to do, so he supposed that if this was it, he’d do it, nodding his head, “I’ll remind you. 

Ryosuke nodded, his fingers reaching up to brush gently across Yuri’s cheek, his words soft, “And when you get all dumb and forget how utterly amazing you are, I’ll remind you. 

Yuri was just about to tease him for such cheesy words, and to probably insist they weren’t exactly true as far as amazing goes and all that, when he was suddenly overtaken by a violent yawn, causing Ryosuke to frown, “You need sleep, enough talk for tonight, my car is in the lot around the side there…do you…want me to drive you to your house?”  

“No!” Yuri practically screamed it, laughing nervously, and suddenly feeling wide awake, “I mean, no..no it’s not a problem, I live close, so don’t worry a bit about it, you go home now.”  

“If you’re sure?” Ryosuke just wanted a few more minutes with him but he knew it was stupid and of course he couldn’t really insist he let him drive him home so he was trying to be as normal as he could about all of this but frankly, it was a whole lot harder than it should be.  

“I’m positive,” Yuri confirmed, leaving no room for misunderstanding.  

“Well, then…at least you can send me a message when you get home? I can put my number into your phone so you ca–”  

“I don’t have a phone,” Yuri blurted out, “I mean…there’s a phone I can use, but I don’t actually have a cellphone.”  

“You don’t…have…ahhh…but…”  

Yuri felt embarrassed, all of his concerns about how different the two of them were feeling like it was shining a spotlight on him at the moment, fully prepared for Ryosuke to ask him how he could possibly live without a cellphone.  

“How will I know you made it home safely?”  

That definitely wasn’t what Yuri imagined Ryosuke saying, and measuring him, he knew he was being completely serious, he really only wanted to be told he was home safely.  

Huh.  

“I can email you? If you have email? I have a laptop through my school at home, so I do have the ability to send an email…would that…work?”  

“Yeah,” Ryosuke nodded, relief evident in his expression, “That would be great.”  

Yuri couldn’t help but tease him, “You know I managed to go home by myself every single day before today, right?”  

“Yes, yes,” Ryosuke rolled his eyes, “I get it, I get it! I know it doesn’t make sense, and I can’t explain it so just…please, indulge me in this one thing.”  

“Alright,” Yuri nodded, “…but I don’t have anything to write it down on—I sort of…” he couldn’t help but look down, his cheeks pinking in embarrassment, “I sort of ran out of work without really thinking about grabbing my stuff out of my locker.”  

Ryosuke laughed, shrugging as he gestured for Yuri to follow him, “It’s no big deal, I have paper and a pen in my car, I’ll write it down on there for you.”  

Yuri nodded, following Ryosuke as they went around the side of the building where the café was located. There was only one car in the tiny parking area, and even if Yuri hadn’t known it was Ryosuke’s–somehow, it felt like he would have imagined it. He didn’t know anything at all about cars, in fact, to his recollection he had only ever been in a car once before when his Grandmother had taken his family on a vacation to the sea—and it was a tiny rental car even then.   

This is no rental.  

Yuri watched as Ryosuke dug in his pocket, producing a set of keys as he approached the car, the sound of the alarm being disengaged loud in his ears. Ryosuke was interacting with this car so casually.  

And why shouldn’t he?   

He’s wildly successful and deserves every single wonderful thing he has earned through his hard work.  

Yet…Yuri couldn’t shake the feeling that he shouldn’t even be breathing in the mere vicinity of it. He was positive, even not knowing anything, that this car probably cost more than his entire education…probably more than his Mom’s house…hell, his Mom’s and his Grandmother’s house together, maybe.  

Ryosuke opened the passenger door, leaning into the car to retrieve something, then moved over to use the hood of the car to prop up on while he wrote something, then he turned to Yuri who was still standing there staring blankly. Ryosuke was confused by his expression, looking at himself and then the car and back to Yuri confusedly, “Do I have something on me?”  

“Wh–what? No!” Yuri snapped out of his internal monologue, taking the paper from Ryosuke’s outstretched hand, “I’ll send a message to you as soon as I get home.”  

Ryosuke smiled, turning to close the car door, glancing back at Yuri as he held it open, his head gesturing to the car, “You sure you don’t want me to take you home?”  

“I’m sure,” Yuri confirmed, “Thank you though—for everything.”  

Ryosuke nodded, closing the door before he walked back to stand in front of Yuri, “It was my pleasure, really—and thank you for going with me…”  

There was a moment, a weird sort of moment that seemed to waver on the line between soft and awkward, and probably it could have went either direction, likely awkward if Yuri had anything to do with it, but before it could go that direction Ryosuke stepped forward, hesitating for only a mere second before he pressed a quick kiss onto Yuri’s cheek, shuffling back just as quickly, ducking his head to avoid Yuri’s eyes, hiding his expression, his words far less confident than before, “I’ll see you again…we’ll talk…I don’t…just…yeah…”  

He was in his car in the next breath, and Yuri was still standing in the same place, his hand raising slowly, blinking at Ryosuke as he waved bye to him, his car barely even making a sound as he reversed to pull out of the parking lot, driving away.   

Yuri watched him until his taillights disappeared in the distant landscape, his hand touching where Ryosuke had just kissed his cheek, his lips stretching into a slow smile.   

He likes me.  

Yuri didn’t really remember the walk to his apartment, discovering himself standing in the middle of the room before he felt like he woke up from the dream that was today.  

He giggled, covering his mouth quickly as if his giddiness might break the spell when he thought about how Ryosuke had snuck that surprise kiss to his cheek and then quite literally ran away.  

It might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life.  

Yuri glanced down at the paper he had clutched in his hand, his fingers white from the death grip he had on that one piece of paper that was a very real connection to Ryosuke, stepping over to the table to lay it out there, carefully pressing on the paper to smooth out the creases he’d made with how tightly he’d been holding it.  

yamada.ryosuke@j-storm.co.jp,” Yuri stared at the email address for a moment, fascinated with every aspect of the paper because it revealed so much about Ryosuke in such a tiny little powerful punch. First of all, the paper itself looked like it had been ripped out of a planner or something, as there was a very faint gridline on the paper like it was part of pages meant for notes—and maybe Ryosuke didn’t realize it, but there was something written on the back of the paper. It appeared to be part of a list for groceries, and Yuri could only read a few of the items that were visible.  

Strawberries.  

Milk.  

Chicken.  

Then there was his handwriting, it was really pretty—the grocery list was rather messy, clearly scribbled in a hurry, but the email address was written with great care, probably to ensure the email went to him and not someone else at Johnny’s–but even so, the writing was very nice. The ink was red, which kinda made Yuri laugh since he knew that was Ryosuke’s member color and he absently wondered if that might be his favorite color. The note had not been ripped but carefully separated from the rest of the page, a nearly straight line instead of a tear—which he couldn’t even imagine how Ryouske had managed to do.  

Yuri glanced up at the clock and wondered where Ryosuke actually lived and how long it took him to get home from the café. He figured he probably lived up town in the arts district where all the wealthy types lived. Yuri hadn’t ever really been there, only passed through on the bus a few times when he was going to visit his Grandma. It was beautiful there though.   

He moved to sit down at his computer, turning it on and waiting for it to load up and connect to the internet. He opened his email, smiling when he saw a message from his Mom and another from Saya, his older sister.   

He opened the one from his Mom who was asking him about his day like usual. He wrote a quick response, telling her he would call her after classes the next day to catch up but that he was heading to bed soon, it had been a long day, and he was exhausted. He sent the message and then opened the one from Saya.  

Hey idiot, I have called your house phone like eighteen times and you’re not answering. I was making plans to go see Grannie this weekend and wanted to see if you had to work or if you could go with me. If you’ll just let me know then I will buy your train ticket when I get mine tomorrow. Where are you? Anyway, let me know! RIGHT NOW.  

Yuri rolled his eyes at his sister’s flair for the dramatic, glancing over at his answering machine to discover that there were indeed eighteen messages waiting for him.   

He quickly typed a curt message to Saya telling her to kindly kiss his ass and that he’d let her know the next day what his schedule was. He also indicated he would not be listening to the 18 messages she left because he was positive that they slowly degraded into nothing more than insults and name calling by the last one and he wasn’t in the mood. He hit send, grabbing the paper with Ryosuke’s email address on it so he could send him a message and head to bed, he was absolutely exhausted, jumping with a yelp when the phone rang beside him.  

He jerked the phone off the base, rolling his eyes, “What do you want, Saya?”  

“Where have you been?”  

“OUT. What do you want?”  

“Right now, butter vanilla ice cream, but in general, I want to know if you can go with me to Grannie’s house—I mean if you’re not going to tell me why you weren’t home.”  

“You know…contrary to what you think, I am a pretty busy guy, you know? I have school and work and I mean I know it’s hard for you to underst–”  

“I knew your schedule today, and you don’t have any friends, and you never go anywhere or do anything at all outside of school or work so you’ll have to excuse the hell right out of me if I panic when I can’t get ahold of you when you’re supposed to be home.”  

Yuri closed his eyes for a moment, feeling badly for snapping at her, “Right.”  

“I was worried about you, it’s almost midnight!”  

“I know, I’m sorry, Saya…”  

He tried to listen to her, but he really didn’t need another lecture about how it would be better if he’d just move back home, that it wasn’t safe where he lived and that he could get ahead and save a bunch of money if he’d just return to the house and on and on it would go…  

He carefully put in Ryosuke’s email address, trying to say ‘uh-huh’ and ‘yes’ and ‘I understand’ at the right times to keep Saya satisfied as he began to write the message to Ryosuke.  

                                     Hi.  

                                     I’m home now. Thank you again for a fun  

No.  

                                     Hey there!  

No.  

                                     Hey Ryosuke!  

Ugh.  

                                     Hi Yamada-sa  

Damn it!  

                                     Hi,  

                                     I’m home  

Oh my God.  

                                     Hi,  

                                     I thought I would let you know I am home like you asked me to.   

Yah…that’s good…  

                                     Thank you for a fun night.  

No.  

                                     Thanks for the pizza and fun night out.  

                                     It was really nice, and I enjoyed getting to know you better.  

                                     Yuri  

He knew he’d sit there for another five hours trying to come up with the exactly perfect words, so he just shrugged, “Yes, I understand, Saya.”  

He hit send.  

The screen flashed and then the sent message popped up.  

He tilted his head, his mind trying to make sense of what he was looking at, his eyes widening in realization, the word coming out of his mouth in a near scream as he panicked.  

“FUCK!” he flew straight up, dropping the phone, the sound of the chair tipping backwards deafening as his fingers flew into his hair, his voice frantic, “Oh, fuck…fuck…”   

He frantically clicked buttons, trying to go backwards, to undo the sent message, to undo EVERYTHING in his life since he turned twelve years old.  

He faintly heard Saya freaking out where the phone was dangling down from the base, spinning slowly like he felt the world was.  

He sat down in the floor, grabbing the phone and holding it up to his ear, tears prickling at his eyes.  

“Yuu!!!??? What’s happening!? Are you okay??? Answer me or I’m getting on the bus right now to come check on you! Yuuuri!?”  

“I seriously just screwed up so bad, Saya….”  

“What? What happened, what is going on?”  

“I sent an email to a friend from the wrong account.”  

“Wh–what…wait, what?”  

“I meant to change to my school email, but I was distracted by you and I sent the email from the account that I use for my personal stuff, like with you and Momma.”  

“So? Honestly, Yuri, what the hell? You scared me to death just now!”  

“I know, I’m sorry, I’m sorry but…Saya…”  

He heard her taking a deep breath, her voice softening, “Fine, explain to me why this is such a big deal…if you’re emailing a friend from your personal account isn’t that okay?”  

“No, not really,” Yuri groaned, pressing the heels of his hands into his eyes, “It’s fine, don’t worry about it Saya—everything is fine, I am too tired to think about this, I have to go to bed, I have class at 8 in the morning.”  

Saya hesitated, not sure she should let him go without getting to the bottom of whatever was happening, “Are you going to be okay?”  

“Yeah,” Yuri nodded even though she couldn’t see him, taking a deep breath, “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”  

I’m going to never leave my home again and hide away from the world, but I’ll be fine.  

“Okay, but…call me when you get home from school, you have a few hours after classes before work, yeah?”  

“Yeah…”  

“Okay, then call me, promise?”  

“Yeah, sure…I promise…tell Mom I love her.”  

“Alright, just…get some rest…stupid.  

“…’kay, you get some rest too, dummy.”  

He lifted the phone to set it back into the cradle, his body shuddering as the thought of what had just happened ran across him again.  

I’m a damn idiot…I cannot believe I did that; he is going to think I’m the most cringe worthy person in the world.   

He did in fact, physically cringe when he heard the notification from his email make the tell-tale sound indicating he had a new message.  

He frantically prayed to all the saints and gods in all of history that it was Saya getting in a last little jab before bedtime, or maybe one of those emails asking him to wire money into some foreign account, or like…something…anything, but he knew before he grabbed the chair, setting it upright and moving to sit in it, he would never be so lucky.  

His suspicion was confirmed when he saw that the email was indeed from none other than Ryosuke.  

His hand shook as he moved the cursor over to click on the email, hovering there for a moment before he built up enough courage to open it.  

The screen blinked and then the message popped up.  

_________________  

  

Yuri,  

Thank you for letting me know you made it home safely! I know it was a weird request, but I really do appreciate you going along with me about it.   

I didn’t think to ask you what your schedule was or well, anything really…you might have noticed I was a little flustered but…well, please let me know when you work again so I can come to see you, alright?  

I mean…if you want to. I don’t mean to presume anything. Yeah…so….anyways, thanks for the fun evening too, I had a really great time.  

Have a good night!  

Ryosuke  
   

____________________  

Huh….  

He didn’t mention the email address at all.  

Yuri read through the message again, wondering if he had somehow glossed over the part calling him out, but, no, there was nothing.   

Huh.  

He smiled, glad that he didn’t have to deal with any of it tonight at least, stretching as he stood up, moving across the room as he stripped off his clothes to throw on his pajamas, falling into bed, laying there for a moment as the weight of the day fell away and all that was left were the feelings of butterflies in his tummy and the gentle cadence of his heart beating to a new rhythm. He wasn’t a romantic sort, not one to be caught up in fantasy and dreams–but somehow, Ryosuke made him want to believe that the fairy tales he clung to so desperately were real, and that his dreams had just as good of a chance to come true as anyones. He didn’t necessarily believe in such things…yet…but he thought, maybe with Ryosuke involved–maybe, just maybe he could. 

As he drifted off to sleep he wondered if Ryosuke might be thinking the same kinds of thoughts as he was, filling his night with sweet dreams of pizza, warm hands in his own, and soft gentle kisses against his cheek.

 

 

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Yuri slid the cup of coffee across the counter, his heart thrumming in his chest, because every time he came in he spoke to him so kindly, his voice was soft and tender, and it would be easy for Yuri to imagine there was more to it than just a customer being nice to the person who made his coffee. He did everything he could to stop himself from allowing those daydreams to carry him away, as he was just the same, charismatic, friendly, and bold—yep, today was no exception, and Yuri found himself struggling to answer the question he had just asked him today…thinking he might have misunderstood, or imagined it.  

Would you let me take you on a date? 

What? No. You’re Yamada Ryosuke, and I am no one. 

I am literally nobody. 

I barely make eight dollars an hour, am putting myself through college, and live in the most embarrassing neighborhood in the universe. 

I come from a broken home, have a crazy family, and I literally can’t fathom what kind of world you live in. 

Yuri had probably looked like a deer caught in headlights, swallowing roughly as his mind whirled in every direction trying to make sure he wasn’t going to make a complete fool of himself by misunderstanding what was just asked of him, his voice trembling when he cautiously spoke, “Th-thank you for asking, but I am afraid I can not do that.” 

“You can not do that?” Ryosuke leaned onto the counter, his words slow and measured, his eyes shifting to look at Yuri’s closely. 

Too close.  

Yuri’s breath caught, because Ryosuke’s eyes were beautiful under normal conditions, but they were so tender with some feeling Yuri just couldn’t quite put a name to, Ryosuke’s voice incredibly taking on an even more tender tone than normal as he shifted closer still, “Why’s that, exactly?” 

“Um,” Yuri blinked, his mind running through a billion different reasons—starting with the most obvious one. 

I’m just an average guy and you…are Yamada Ryosuke.  

An idol. 

Who wouldn’t be caught dead in a scandal, let alone a scandal that involved a date with another guy.  

I clearly misunderstood.  

Fumbling over the words in his mind, Yuri’s eyes landed on the coffee still sitting on the counter, pressing it forward with his fingertips, just a bit further toward Ryosuke—gasping when his hand snapped out and grabbed his wrist, causing Yuri to jump. The tiny squeal sound that escaped against his will made Ryosuke grin for a moment before he spoke. 

“This is my number, you should text me when you change your mind,” he whispered the words, smiling a completely ridiculously beautiful smile as he pressed something into Yuri’s palm with his other hand, then released his hand as he picked up his coffee in a single smooth motion, then turned to stroll casually out of the cafe. 

Oh my God. 

It wasn’t like Ryosuke hadn’t been coming in the cafe regularly for over seven months now. Though for two months the simple truth was Yuri was so completely oblivious to the attention Ryosuke had paid to him that he was in complete and utter denial. Then one of Yuri’s friends who had started working there asked him what exactly was going on between the two of them. 

“What do you mean? He’s a customer?” 

“Ah, right? He’s a customer?” 

“Um, yes? He has been a customer for a few months.” 

“Ah, no. Honestly, he’s totally into you, and you talk to him.” 

“I talk to him because he’s a customer, and don’t be insane do you know who that is?” 

“Yes, I do know, but who cares, who actually needs to buy eight different things in an hour? Plus, the entire cafe is pink. I feel pretty strongly he’s not coming here on average three to four times a week because he’s into pastel colors. I mean, really! C’mon! The way he watches you…seriously? You don’t see this?” 

Yuri had thought about it for a moment, then shrugged, “Your logic is off, I’m a guy and I work here,” he pointed to the apron tied around his neck, “I even wear this thing…I don’t think that has any bearing on the situa—” 

“You work here because you’re gay,” his friend reached forward, straightening up his bowtie, “And your favorite color is pink, and I will let you believe what you want to, but I’m just saying to you, he’s not coming in here for any of us—he doesn’t even see us. He only has eyes for you.” 

Yuri had considered what she said, because he’d always figured Ryosuke was ordering things for friends or group members who sometimes met him there. He’d never really wondered about it, at least he had tried very hard to not wonder about it.  

About how long he would take to order sometimes, even though he must have the menu memorized by now.  

The way he sometimes reached a little further, the tips of his fingers touching Yuri’s hand brushing against his fingertips when he would hand over the money.  

Still, Yuri was nothing if not a realist, and frankly, he wasn’t one for flights of fancy or an overactive imagination–or really, one to set himself up for heartbreak—he already had enough of that being one of the few guys like himself in his town, let alone seeing possibilities in someone so far out of his league as Yamada Ryosuke. No, he would continue to insist, anytime it was brought up that Ryosuke was just another customer. 

After all, Yuri served a lot of people every single day and he treated all of them the same, with respect and kindness–because that’s who he was, and it was the foundation of his personality so he didn’t treat Ryosuke any diff—and…and, wait…was he really just making up excuses to come up to order more stuff so he could talk to me? 

He didn’t make a decision to purposefully do it, but after that, Yuri couldn’t help but pay attention to what was really happening when Ryosuke would visit the café.  Iwas pretty undeniable that he was most certainly spending a lot of time interacting with just Yuri.  

Of course, if Yuri wasn’t so stubborn and utterly, completely obnoxious about the whole situation then it could maybe be easy to imagine that Ryosuke might actually like him or something–which really, even in the constant state of denial, Yuri simply couldn’t begin to understand.  

Confused by his own feelings, Yuri had begun forcing his friend to start waiting on Ryosuke when he would come in—mostly because he wasn’t sure how to handle the situation and he had no idea what to say to Ryosuke to make it clear that he was so far out of his league that a handicap of epic proportions would be required for Yuri to even be permitted into the locker room, let alone onto the playing field. 

Even then, Yuri didn’t remotely miss the way Ryosuke would linger around the register when he would hide in the back, or the way he would sulk, often leaving rather quickly when his ongoing attempts to reach out to Yuri would inevitably fail.  His friend had informed him each time that Ryosuke had asked about him specifically by name, thanking her for her smooth deflection each time—and for putting up with the intensity of Ryosuke’s stare down when he would be told that Yuri wasn’t available. He was fierce and his curt nod each time seemed to indicate he understood far more than he was actually saying. 

It’s better this way. 

But today?  

Ryosuke had certainly taken the game up a notch today—he’d been bold, and the fact was Yuri nearly passed out on the spot when Ryosuke had squeezed his wrist before he released it. As he’d picked up his cup, Yuri stared dumbfounded, watching him walk out the door, then looking down at the paper he’d pressed into his hand, the words ’Call or text me! Ryosuke’ printed in neat writing, along with his phone number. 

Yuri had instantly went to the office and shredded the paper as small as he could before he threw it away because honestly, there’s no way he wanted to be responsible for some overbearing fan who knew Ryosuke came there regularly to stalk the garbage and get their hands on it. 

The next day, Ryosuke was back, which was unusual, because he didn’t normally come in on Mondays. 

God, Yuri 

Could you not? 

Not what? 

Admit you know his schedule? 

Riiightummm…sorry. 

“You know, I couldn’t help but notice you didn’t call me? Or text me,” Ryosuke’s voice was teasing, and Yuri raised an eyebrow at the familiarity he was using, tilting his head, smiling as angelically as he possibly could, the words sweet, carefully annunciating each syllable, “The usual?” 

“No,” Ryosuke leaned onto the counter, and the scent that Yuri had come to find uniquely ‘Ryosuke’ wafted across the counter. In defense, Yuri immediately held his breath, trying to not hum in satisfaction as Ryosuke smiled disarmingly, his words soft yet full of intensity at the same time, “I want to talk to you.” 

Yuri stepped back away from the counter a bit, taking a deep breath of fresh air, because Ryosuke was entirely too close, his eyes frantic as he glanced around nervously in case anyone was watching their interactions, “I can’t really talk right now, I…I’m working.” 

“When do you get off work?” 

“I-I…what?” 

“I’ll come back when you’re off work, we can talk then?” 

“Ah, no…I mean…I do get off work, but we…you can’t…What can I get you to drink? To eat?” Yuri’s words were a blur, a frenzy as his nervousness escalated, his fingers grabbing the edge of his apron to stop his hands from trembling. 

Ryosuke’s eyes moved around Yuri’s face, his expression intense, clearly trying to read the situation, then his head tilted, his face lighting up with a beautiful smile, “The usual.” 

“O-okay,” Yuri turned, his hands shaking as he began to make his drink, one of the young girls who came in daily after school approaching the counter, calling out Yuri’s name. 

“Yes, Aito-chan?” 

“May I please have one of the orange-cranberry muffins?” 

“Of course,” Yuri had smiled, forgetting all about Ryosuke for a moment as he nodded at the young girl, one he was quite fond of, “I just made them a few hours ago and they are very good!” 

Yuri put the drink into the mixer and then turned, putting on gloves to get the muffin for the girl, “How is your history assignment going?” 

“Really, really good!” the girl gushed, her entire body vibrating with excitement, “Plus, oh my God, guess what?!” 

Yuri laughed happily at her excitement, “What?” 

“I’m in the group with him!” 

“Oh, that is exciting, huh?” 

“Very!” the girl glanced over at Ryosuke who had leaned his hip onto the counter, his arms crossed, expression filled with amusement as he watched the interaction. 

“I’m sorry,” the girl startled, “It was very rude for me to place my order like that while you were still here.” 

“It’s okay,” Ryosuke laughed, waving his hand in front him, “Please, don’t concern yourself with it for a moment.” 

Yuri blinked at Ryosuke, chiding himself for being so unguarded, but having a real weakness for Aito, looking back to her as he slid the muffin on the plate across the counter, shaking his head when she went to open her bag, Yuri’s voice soft, “Not today.” 

Aito’s eyes clouded with emotion for a moment, and then she nodded, bowing quickly, “Thank youChinen-kun.” 

Yuri watched her as she turned and took her muffin to the corner where she was studying, feeling heat settle across his skin, his eyes darted over to discover Ryosuke looking at him curiously, which once again made his tummy bubble in nervousness, the already active butterflies which always seemed to take up residence there anytime Ryosuke appeared now doing somersaults. 

He immediately turned his attention to the mixer to finish Ryosuke’s drink, doing the thing he knew he best did seem to calm his nerves a bit. 

When the drink was finished, Yuri stepped back over to the counter, sitting Ryosuke’s cup down, and pressing it forward with his fingertips, trying to ensure he kept a proper distance, his words strained, “There you go!” 

Sensing the tone, Ryosuke slid his money across the counter, carefully avoiding touching Yuri, and when Yuri offered him his change, Ryosuke smiled as he pushed it down into the tip jar, Yuri’s eyes widening comically as he realized Ryosuke was the one who kept leaving the fifteen dollar tips! 

I should have guessed that. 

Something flared up inside of Yuri, his cheeks feeling hot and flaming and he took a breath, chastising himself for wanting to tell Ryosuke that he didn’t need charity—knowing it was just a prideful feeling—after all, he was fairly certain Ryosuke must know the tips were divided between all of the employees, and his leaving the money there was a mere act of kindness.  

He’s just a good guy.  

Is that so hard to believe? 

Yes. 

Why? 

There are no good guys. 

Sigh.  

You’re too jaded to be so young. 

“Thank you,” Yuri’s voice was soft, a genuine smile gracing his face, and he felt too raw and exposed in that moment, grateful when the door chimed where a new customer was walking in 

Yuri’s eyes grew wide when he realized that there would be no escaping Ryosuke just yet, as the person who walked in was one of his group members.  

Daichan,” Ryosuke smiled, gesturing to Yuri, “Tell my friend here what you’d like, I’ll take care of it.” 

The boy looked curiously at Yuri from across the counter, his friendly smile somehow unnerving as he told him what he’d like to have. Yuri was happy to escape away from their gaze, turning to prepare the order, studiously ignoring the two of them and their conversation–at least he was sincerely attempting to. 

So, you know…he didn’t call or text.” 

“Didn’t he?” 

“Nope. Not a call, not a text. 

“Hmmm, maybe he just doesn’t like you, Yama-chan. I know that’s hard for you to believe, being…you and all that…but maybe tha 

“I am not sure that’s what it is.” 

Hmm…what makes you think not?” 

“I’ll show you in a minute.” 

They were quiet for a moment, and Yuri felt like something was being said silently between the two, resisting the urge to turn and look for himself. 

“Okay, then I’m just saying, I mean if he did like you, I think then he would have called or texted, right?” 

“Maybe, maybe not.” 

Yuri took longer than it should have, not wanting to turn around to them, like, in all the world of things he wanted to do, including having the floor swallow him whole, he did NOT want to turn around and face the two of them because they obviously knew he’d heard every word of their conversation.  

He didn’t want to see their faces; he knew his cheeks were bright red and he was so embarrassed it felt like he was in a spotlight. 

“We should ask him.” 

“Let’s do.” 

Oh, God please….just kill me now. 

Yuri had been standing stone still, the drink finished for several minutes before he gave up, taking a deep, shuddering breath, then turning around to quickly set the drink down in hopes of making a quick escape. Before Yuri could even think about getting away, Ryosuke smiled triumphantly, pointing to the cup Yuri had just set down for his group member and then gesturing to his own, “See? I told you!” 

Ryosuke glanced up at Yuri, winking quickly and then his eyes went back to the other boy who looked at the cups and then looked up at Yuri, his stance defiant, voice whining, “Hey! I want a heart in mine, too!” 

The world felt like it was tilting and Yuri was pretty sure he was going to pass out when he heard Ryosuke laugh softly, telling his friend to shut up, and without his permission, Yuri’s eyes darted down to the cups, widening when he saw it, the feeling of mortification running across his skin when he realized that he had indeed put a row of hearts in the foam on Ryosuke’s and had only done a pattern of circles on the top of his group member’s cup.  

Kill me now, I’m begging you. 

Yuri couldn’t tear his eyes away from the cup with the hearts, a million thoughts battling for dominance, and then he rolled his eyes in exasperation, the words flying out of his mouth rather ineloquently, yet too fast to stop them, “I threw the number away, I have no intention of calling or texting. I…I just…I am in school, and I work, and I don’t have time to think about anything else…I…and I just don’t need pity or anything either.” 

Yuri’s hands lifted to cover his mouth, to stop the word vomit, not meaning  to say so much, feeling utterly appalled that he’d said those things out loudhis head shaking as he backed away from the two dumbfounded boys, turning to escape into the back to the manager’s office, his voice high and fast as he bowed, “I’m sorry, I am really sorry, I have to go, it’s an emergency!” 

“Of course, I’ll call in someone, go, take care of what you need.” 

Yuri had never lied to his manager before, in fact, lying wasn’t really part of Yuri’s nature in the first place, and given this, he was fairly certain she must believe something quite dire had transpired to make Yuri willing to leave work, and it had. 

I’ve lost my mind, clearly. 

Yuri grabbed his hoodie from his locker, willing his hands to stop shaking as he threw it on, not bothering to slow down enough to even take off his apron he rushed out the back door, gasping for air.  

He rushed across the street, stepping into the border of the park that he crossed to reach his home when he heard his name from behind him.  

Yuri froze. 

Ryosuke’s voice was soft, and apologetic, “I’m sorry if that was rude…I don’t know what I’m doing, I just want to talk to you.” 

Yuri jumped, not having realized how close he was, waiting for him to block his way, debating how fast he could take off running and get away from this situation—to go where he’d never be found again, after all, he could get a new job. 

“I-I…” Ryosuke’s voice was shaking, and Yuri’s heart clenched because he was so nervous…wait, honestly, why in the world is he nervous!? 

“This…this isn’t like me okay? I don’t….I just don’t do things like this…” 

It’s precious. 

“I don’t have any idea what I’m doing here…and if I messed up or something you just…” 

It’s so cute. 

“I don’t understand. that’s all..I don’t know what you meant…” 

He’s so cute. 

Shut up! 

“I don’t know what you meant about pity. I didn’t ask you out from pity. I just…I just really wanted to make sure you knew that.” 

Ryosuke sighed softly, his voice so near Yuri imagined that he must have moved closer still, “I’m sorry to be so persistent. It’s just…I wanted to get to know you. I see you and I know about you, but I want to know you more. That’s all.” 

His words caused Yuri’s heart to skip a beat, his fists clenching at his side as he tried to speak words into the situation that would fix this, make it okay, “I’m sorry, Yamada-san, but you don’t know me at all.” 

“I know you better than you think,” Ryosuke spoke softly, “I know that you are going to school to be a teacher, that you finally graduate this year–and that you choose high school because you think those kids need someone to love them the way they are. I know that you want to teach literature because books have been an escape for you for all of your life and you want to teach kids to love them.” 

Ryosuke shifted, moving a little bit closer, “I know your father left your family when you were seven, and you took on a lot of responsibility for your Mom and sister who is two years older than you.” 

What? 

“I know that you work as many hours as they’ll let you so that you can pay for your education, which means it has taken you nearly two more years than anyone else to graduate, and on top of that, you always send money home to your Mom and sister to help them as much as you can–even though they tell you not to.” 

How? 

“I know that you love music, your favorite color is any shade of pink, you love the smell of apple cider but hate to drink it…” 

He’d moved to the side of Yuri, and even though there was a part of him that was really freaked out by Ryosuke stating all of this personal information, somehow wondering if he was a stalker, which would undoubtedly be a really weird turn of events, but…stranger things have happened. 

After all…I am standing here in a fluffy pink apron talking to Yamada Ryosuke. 

Still, despite knowing there should be warning bells, instead there was an insistent part that was telling Yuri that it was okay, everything is okay…just listen. 

Listen. 

“I know that you don’t buy new clothes, and that you have great pride in what you do have, your apron and uniform is always pressed, every single time I see you. I know that you are far cuter in your uniform than anyone else in that whole shop–in fact, the whole city.” 

Yuri could hear the smile in his voice, the warmth settling across his skin like a blanket, his voice soft and tender as he continued to speak, “I know that you are very careful with your money, and I know that you give two of those girls who come into the shop every school day freebies out of your own paycheck because they come from broken homes and their mom’s struggle like your own did.” 

Yuri’s eyes drifted to look at Ryosuke’s shoes when he moved to step in front of him, shoes that probably cost more than eight month’s rent. 

“I know that you take care of those girls, give them advice, listen to them. I know that you also look out for several of your elderly customers, keeping umbrellas on hand in case they get caught in the rain, sending some of your friends to walk them home if they are out past dark.” 

He moved closer to Yuri, his hands moving out of his pockets and Yuri couldn’t conceal the way his entire body flinched, wanting to run away, wanting to back up. 

“I know that you have the purest soul I have ever seen, I know that you couldn’t care less about material things, you find joy in the simplest things, you giggle at children’s laughter, you watch out the window at the wind in the trees. When you get mad you clean. When you are happy, you hum. Sometimes, you even hum one of my songs.” 

“Please,” Yuri gasped, it’s too much, “How…I’ve never even talked to you!” 

“That’s true,” Ryosuke mused, his hand lifting to delicately touch Yuri’s chin, tilting his face up to look at him, Yuri’s breath caught in his chest from the contact, from the earnest look in Ryosuke’s eyes, “You don’t talk to me, but you do talk to everyone else.” 

He’d listened. 

For all of these many months, Ryosuke had been paying attention, and he’d been learning about Yuri by listening to him talk to the other customers, some of them people that knew Yuri since he was just a toddler. It never occurred to Yuri to censor himself, and he was never worried about talking in the café…it was like his second home. He trusted people there, and his guard was always down, always down apart from with Ryosuke–because Yuri did like him, and that was dangerous and scary, and impossible. 

“I know everything apart from one thing,” Ryosuke’s finger stayed on his chin, insistent that he not hide, “Why you won’t talk to me.” 

Yuri shook his head, pushing Ryosuke’s hand away, shifting around him so he could rush past himthe words frantic, “I have to go.” 

“Why won’t you talk to me?” Ryosuke was begging, his voice louder as Yuri’s feet carried him away, “Please!” 

“What did I do?” Ryosuke called out, desperation laced within the words. 

“Please!”  

Yuri could tell he was following him, that he was not going to give up, his head shaking as he tried to block the words.  

“Tell me why you won’t talk to me!” 

It was nearly a scream, and it made Yuri jump, made him stop, turning on Ryosuke, a strange mixture of anger and frustration and fear combining into a response, “You want to know why? Because this,” Yuri’s hand gestured between the two of them, “This is not possible. This is not going to happen. You are you and I am me, and it’s not remotely possible for us to have anything more than a professional relationship. I am always going to be the barista, and you are always going to be the idol.” 

Ryosuke’s mouth opened and closed, flabbergasted, his head shaking, his expression not remotely hiding his confusion and hurt feelings, “What in the world…what do you mean?” 

Yuri sighed, crossing his arms across his chest, his voice pained, “I am nothing like you, I don’t fit you, you need one of those other kind of people who, I dunno, who know the difference between types of wine, and who knows which fork to use for what course, and all of those things–who knows name brands and likes expensive and weird things like caviar…I’m not that person! Honestly, I’m nobody. I have nothing to offer you. I bring nothing to the table. You would only be with me because you feel sorry for me.” 

“That’s a lie!” Ryosuke’s voice was firm, his body shifting toward Yuri, like he was preparing to step closer, his eyes intense as they held Yuri’s, daring him to argue, “That’s completely false. I want to take you out because you are an amazing guy, and because I think there’s something so unique and speci–but now, wait, wait just a minute–what in the world would make you think any of that? Did I say or do something or is this because you know I’m an idol and that automatically makes me a stuck-up brat who doesn’t eat frozen pizza and drink beer on the weekends?” 

Yuri stared at him, his mouth growing dry, opening and closing before he spoke softly, “You don’t eat frozen pizza and drink beer.” 

“I most certainly do,” Ryosuke laughed, shaking his head, “Do you honestly think I cook seven course meals daily just because I know how to cook? Or that I pay a personal chef to cook for me or something?” 

“I–I don’t know…I–You’re…you’re confusing me.” Yuri clenched his eyes closed, trying to clear his head, to make sense of this conversation. 

“No, I’m telling you the truth, I don’t know why you thought these things, but it feels like you’re doing to me what you’ve been saying I was doing to you!” 

Yuri startled at that, weighing the words for truth and finding it was fact, his eyes popping open, his brows drawn down, “I’m sorry,” his voice was a mere whisper, “I just…I don’t know why you’re so interested in me.” 

Ryosuke darted forward so fast Yuri inhaled sharply as he invaded his personal bubble. 

Yuri trembled at his proximity when he moved close enough to whisper against his ear, his voice soft, and gentlethe smooth sound of his words making Yuri’s eyes flutter closed, “Yuri, I am interested in you because you are fascinating, and it has nothing to do with where you work, what you wear, or where you live–it’s because of who you are.” 

Yuri’s mouth popped open to protest, but it was like Ryosuke could read his mind, “I don’t know who told you that you were nobody, but I’m going to see to it one way or another that you realize it’s a lie.” 

Ryosuke leaned back, his face entirely too close to Yuri’s, his eyes filled with sincerity, “Just…please, just let me take you out. Let me get to know you the way those people do.” 

“I can’t give you anything, Yamada-san,” Yuri glanced down, the truth causing him to feel embarrassed again, “I can–” 

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Ryosuke interrupted him, his voice firm, “You can give me the only thing I want, the thing that no fame, no fortune, no amount of prestige, talent, skill, or abilities will ever afford me…” 

Yuri looked up at him, his eyes wide, afraid that the spell was going to be broken, feeling overwhelmed as Ryosuke smiled softly, the corners of his eyes tender with emotion, “You. 

“Me?” 

“Yes,” Ryosuke nodded, “You. Please, give me a chance. Forget the notions you’ve built up about why you should run, and let me reassure you–convince you to stay.” 

Yuri felt a war within, wondering if he could, or maybe more importantly if he should believe the things Ryosuke was saying, if he should so easily toss all of his excuses aside. 

They were always stupid excuses, Yuri knew that, because the truth is, he wasn’t one to take risks, especially not in relationships. He’d rather be alone than suffer from caring for someone else and them not feeling the same.  

“Ok-okay,” Yuri nodded, surprised when the word flew out of his mouth. 

“Really?” Ryosuke’s eyes were wide, his voice high, “Seriously?” 

Yuri couldn’t help but laugh, because Ryosuke’s expression looked so excited, so happy, and he shrugged, nodding, “Okay.” 

Ryosuke laughed, grabbing his hand, and started to drag Yuri toward the sidewalk, Yuri looked around in confusion, “Wait, what are we doing, Yamada-san?” 

Ryosuke stopped, looking at Yuri with amusement, “Ryosuke,” he corrected firmly, “and we’re going on a date.” 

He started walking again, and Yuri tried to stop him, pulling back on his arm, “Wait, what? Now?” 

“If you think I’m giving you a chance to change your mind, you can forget it!” 

He has a point. 

Shut up. 

Just saying. 

“Where are we going, Yama–” Yuri stopped mid-sentence when Ryosuke frowned, clearing his throat before he tested the name, “Ryosuke?” 

“To dinner,” Ryosuke smiled, dragging him toward a taxi. 

“Dinner…” Yuri’s mind flittered to his appearance, to the jeans and t-shirt he had on under that stupid apron and coat, his hands shaking with nerves as he pulled his hand free, untying the apron to drag it off and fold it into his arms, gesturing to himself and his hoodie, “I’m not…I’m not wearing the right clot–” 

“Relax,” Ryosuke mused, opening the cab door, holding his hadn out for Yuri to hop in, “We’re going to this cute little Italian restaurant I love, a normal, everyday place. Besides, to be honest, you’re dressed perfect for at least 99% of what I actually do in my life.” 

“You sure?” 

“Positive.” 

“But…what if…” 

“We’re eating pizza. 

Ryosuke smiled softly when Yuri got into the taxi, shifting into the seat to make room for him to slide in, not trusting his words, he just nodded in agreement. 

That sounds good. 

Ryosuke glanced over at Yuri, their legs touching  as he moved forward, telling the driver where to take them, and then turned to look at Yuri, his eyes twinkling, “Pizza…and then we’re going to really talk.” 

That sounds even better. 

 

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[26] Inoo-chan’s Ass (June 2019) NSFW
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Yuri had gone out to dinner with his parents since Ryosuke had to work later than he did, so when he arrived home, he wasn’t surprised that everything was dark apart from the small lamp on top of the entry way table. He figured Ryosuke was asleep already since he texted him that he was on his way up and didn’t get a response. He toed off his shoes, pushing them against the edge of the wall, glancing down at the waffle he’d stopped at the gourmet bakery on his way out to bring home for Ryosuke, smiling when he thought about how happy he would be.  

He is so easy to make smile. 

Well, in reality he knew that wasn’t exactly true, at least, it seemed these days it was definitely a little harder than normal. 

Maybe, it’s best to say it’s so easy for me to make him smile. 

He moved down the hallway, turning the corner toward their bedroom, his mind going over the last few weeks and how worried he’d been about Ryosuke. After all, he’d been working non-stop for months, and honestly, not taking good care of himself so he was a little hair-trigger at best and a complete foul beast at worst. Yuri didn’t mind his moods, Ryosuke had always been a moody one—but more like, he was worried about his health, about his mental well-being, and about his overall happiness when he seemed to be taking everything in life so seriously. 

He made a decision then…knowing he needed to do something, anything to help him, to keep the promises he made that day on the beach, cause he meant them, and even though he felt ill equipped to be in the nurturing taking-care of your husband role…somehow, he was pleased to discover he was actually eager to try to figure it out.  

I have no idea where to start. 

In all reality, Yuri wasn’t too much of a planner, fairly used to being told what to do, when to do it, and where to be at what time in general, he relied very heavily on his calendar app which he shared with Jump so they would always know what was doing what when. In this way, since he was just a small child, most all things had been planned by others, and he wasn’t sure how you started to plan to do things on your own—or how you plan things for someone else who has a schedule as insanely hectic as Ryosuke.  

Though, in considering it, there had been a few times he’d enlisted the help of his manager and sometimes one of the other members to help him plan a gift or event or even trip to surprise Ryosuke with—and then that one time he actually had managed to plan an entire mini-vacation by himself—but it was unusual and took a lot of time to do. 

He turned the corner to head down the hallway to their room, standing between the door to the kitchen and the one to their bedroom, hesitating, trying to decide whether to take the waffle to the kitchen or not. He’d had the thought to take a picture of the waffles in the display case to show them to Ryosuke, as already the on in the clear container didn’t look quite as appetizing as it did earlier in the day—though, he hoped the old adage ‘it’s the thought that counts’ would work here—which if he knew Ryosuke—that would be all that mattered, and he’d probably eat anything if it was from Yuri anyway.  

All he wanted was to make him smile…in retrospect, maybe a waffle for the next day wasn’t the best gift…but he just knew when he saw them that he needed to give it to Ryosuke. Though, it was frustrating sometimes trying to figure out how to do this…he felt ill prepared and blamed his parents and primarily the other Jump members for letting him get by with being a complete baby for so long. It certainly wasn’t serving him well in this part of his life thus far. 

I really don’t know the first thing about how to take care of anyone…let alone Ryosuke. 

He shrugged, turning into the bedroom, thinking that since Ryosuke didn’t have to go to work until they left to film School Kakumei that he could surprise him with the waffle in the morning, then go warm it up to feed him as breakfast in bed. 

Pleased with his foresight he wondered again if just maybe he could really, genuinely figure out a way to help Ryosuke…to help him, heal him, to even just show him how loved he was, how important he was. 

There has to be a way. 

How can I figure this out…I need to…think of something that would make him feel soft and cared for… 

His eyes widened as the image of Ryosuke’s mother flashed through his mind. 

Of course! No one knows him better than she does! 

And in that moment a new plan was born—the ‘heal my husband’ plan that he knew he would probably spend the rest of his life implementing if he could.  

His eyes landed on the bed where Ryosuke was sleeping, curled up onto his side, his arms wrapped around the stuffed teddy bear that Yuri keeps on his side of the bed, and he couldn’t help but laugh softly, because while Mama Yamada knew Ryosuke better than anyone else, certainly, there was no question that he knows him better than even her…which meant if he brought her in on his plan, they couldn’t fail to make Ryosuke happy and feel cherished, loved, healed, and renewed. 

Tomorrow. 

__________________________________________  

Ryosuke had left to visit his sister for a little while, hesitant after having been gone the way he had recently for work, but Yuri had all but insisted, saying he knew it would help him feel better, and as he moved into the elevator and pressed the keycode to take him up to their home he realized he had been right. Of course, playing with his niece went a long way to bringing him into a better headspace as well, as always. 

When the doors opened and he walked into the lobby of their entry, he felt the warmth of happiness spread across him—so glad to be home. He inhaled deeply when he swung the door open, an enticing aroma immediately hitting him, his eyes widening, because this wasn’t just any scent, but the scent of something familiar to him, nostalgia rushing through him as he threw off his shoes to move quickly into the kitchen.  

His eyes widened when he walked in, his gaze affixed to where Yuri was standing at the stove, twisted around to look at Ryosuke, expression surprised with his mouth popped open to form a near perfect ‘o’ shape. His adorably cute face was distracting enough, but honestly, it was the ruffled apron tied around his neck that was giving Ryosuke fits at the moment. His eyes flowed down from the heart shaped bib with red trim that had strawberries on it that covered his chest, tapering down to his trim waist where there was a small ruffled apron covered in white polka dots, with a flowing red apron skirt underneath  flaring out in soft flowing pleats around his legs.  

Ryosuke swallowed hard, not knowing until this exact moment that he’d always needed to see Yuri in an apron. 

No, not any apron, one just exact-a-fucking-like this one. 

THIS apron. 

He cleared his throat, his fingers clenching tightly as he stopped himself from rushing across the room to show Yuri exactly how much he appreciated his apron when the scent from the pot he’d been stirring hit him again, the fog clearing momentarily so he could remember what he’d been wondering in the first place. Glancing quickly around at the counters, he discovered they weren’t the mess he was expecting, rather, it was fairly tidy, his eyes landed on Yuri who was blindly stirring whatever was in the pot, his eyes still affixed to Ryosuke’s despite his mouth now being drawn into a tense line, “Ah…Ree?” 

“You’re early!” Yuri snapped, twisting as he threw himself into resuming his stirring, his head bending to look back down into the pot. 

“I’m exactly on time, I told you I’d be home at five…” Ryosuke gestured to the clock on the wall above Yuri, taking the time to appreciate this view of Yuri as well, his shoulders looking broad where the apron’s strings tied around his waist pulled his shirt down, narrowing his waist.  

Damn. 

Yuri glanced up, his eyes widening, his voice surprised, “It’s already five!” 

“Yeah,” Ryosuke laughed, too curious to not ask, his stomach rumbling softly at the exquisite smell of the food around him, “What are you doing?” 

“Nothing!”  

Ryosuke smiled, knowing full well that if Yuri could cover everything up and keep it from him, he would, but there was nothing to be done for it now, unable to resist, Ryosuke walked slowly around the counter, “Whattttcha doing, Reeeeeee?”  

He wanted to laugh at the way that Yuri’s shoulders stiffened, irritation clear that things were not going according to what was in all probability his very carefully tended and executed plans. Ryosuke watched as his shoulders raised up, then fell in an effort to dispel the tension from them, twisting his head to the side to stretch his neck, calling attention to where his shoulder and neck met, looking perfectly kissable with the red and white polka dotted bow from the apron nestled underneath the edge of his hair as if presenting Yuri as a gift to him. 

Well, I mean really tho 

NO! 

Later… 

Ryosuke tore his eyes away from the exquisite line of Yuri’s neck to glance around the kitchen as he continued his approach where Yuri was standing, vision moving across the ingredients sitting neatly on the counter, his mind whirling as he put it together, “Wha–what….” 

Yuri glanced over his shoulder, his expression an odd mixture of excitement, anticipation, and…maybe, fear—then he took a quick breath, tilting his head toward the stove, inviting Ryosuke to come closer.  

Ryosuke shuffled forward to stand behind Yuri, leaning to look over his shoulder into the pot, the bow tickling his neck as he tilted forward, his breath caught in his throat as he saw what it contained, “Is…is that…?” 

“Yes,” Yuri spoke the word so proudly it made Ryosuke smile, realizing why Yuri was so worked up over this moment.  

He reached his arms carefully around Yuri’s waist, brushing against the soft cotton of the apron to draw him back against him as he squeezed him tightly.  

“You…you’re…but…wait…is my Mom here?” Ryosuke leaned around to press a firm kiss on Yuri’s cheek. 

“No, she left a few hours ago after she got me started on how to make this,” Yuri spoke quickly, pushing his behind backward to press against Ryosuke, trying to make him move, “Scooch!” 

Ryosuke held him for another moment, wondering if he couldn’t just wait this out, but then he didn’t want to cause Yuri to be any more nervous than he already was—reluctantly releasing him, his fingers lingering on the apron’s soft fabric as he stepped just far enough back to give Yuri what he considered a reasonable amount of space without actually moving outside of his bubble. His fingers ran down the edge of the apron, grabbing the long string of the bow that was tied around his waist, watching as Yuri pulled on what must be oven mitts his mother had brought him, red and white polka dotted ones that matched the apron.  

Damn. 

Yuri sighed in exasperation when he bumped into Ryosuke as he moved backward, huffing impatiently, “Oh my God!” 

“Sorry,” Ryosuke muttered, but they both knew he wasn’t remotely sorry, and that Yuri would have to literally force him away at this point. 

Yuri stared at him for a moment, gauging how hard it would be to manhandle Ryosuke into a chair and then decided it would be far more trouble than it was worth, huffing again as he shook his head, turning to open the oven door. He leaned over to remove the pot held within, hissing when he felt Ryosuke’s fingers slide across the roundness of his backside to grasp his hips as he pulled him back slightly against him.  

“I’m actually dealing with a 350 degree oven here,” Yuri rolled his eyes, knowing Ryosuke was singularly minded at the moment, absently wondering if his mother actually knew this would happen when she gave him the apron and gloves, but then felt weird to even consider it so dismissed it forthright, “I mean, it’s a miracle for me to be cooking at all, you’re putting both our lives at risk at the moment.” 

Ryosuke groaned, his fingertips tightening on Yuri’s hips before he released him, stepping backward until he bumped into the counter in an effort to give him room to safely move, “Sorry…” 

“You’re definitely not,” Yuri laughed softly, pulling out the covered pot carefully, setting it on the hotplate on the counter. 

“Yeah,” Ryosuke shrugged, “I’m not at all.” 

Yuri shook his head, “You are shameless,” reaching over to turn the oven off, then took a deep, cleansing breath before turning to fully look at Ryosuke with a bashful expression. 

Ryosuke wanted to grab him up into his arms and erase whatever this emotion of uncertainty was, but he knew it would just make Yuri even more flustered, so he settled for smiling softly at him as a way to encourage him to go on. 

Yuri’s fingers fiddled with the apron’s edge, “I…um…I’d wanted to have it on a plate already but…well…I mean…surprise?”  

Yuri’s hand gestured to the side at the food on the stove, “I wish I had the ti–” 

His words were muffled as Ryosuke had darted forward, grabbing him around the waist and kissing him fiercely as he stole his breath, drawing back with a laugh, “Shut up, it’s perfect, I don’t think anyone has ever done anything…so…perfect for me.” 

“I mean, I did marry you,” Yuri raised an eyebrow. 

“Well, yes, but…you made my favorite home-cooked meal from my childhood…that’s…well, it’s not marriage worthy maybe but it’s pretty high up!” 

“Really?” Yuri couldn’t help but smile, thrilled that Ryosuke was pleased, his heart soaring at how happy Ryosuke was. 

“Yes!” Ryosuke hugged him tightly, “Really! Thank you!” 

“You’re welcome,” Yuri whispered as he squeezed Ryosuke’s waist, trying to ignore the way his ribs were poking into him, knowing he’d learn to cook everything Ryosuke loved, anything in the world, no matter how hard, if it meant getting him back to good health again. 

“Come on! Let’s get you fed,” Yuri pushed at Ryosuke’s shoulders lightly, not remotely surprised when he simply shifted to the side, still holding onto Yuri as he made them both bowls of rice and curry.  

Yuri attempted to sit down on the couch in his normal place, but Ryosuke had grabbed him around the waist, pulling him down across his lap to where he was turned sideways, his legs laying across his lap, eyes wide as he watched Ryosuke turn on the tv to watch one of their programs, his gaze moving across Ryosuke’s face to try to decipher this mood. 

Ryosuke sat the remote down on the cushion beside them, his hand squeezing Yuri’s thigh absently before he grabbed his bowl of curry, then glanced over at Yuri who was stilled, watching everything he was doing, “Wh—what?” 

“I can sit over here, or…there or…” 

“Or here?” Ryosuke tilted his head, “Here is good.” 

“You’re so…” 

“I know, just…” Ryosuke tried to explain it, tried to put into words but he just couldn’t figure out how to express it, “I just…I need you close right now…” 

Yuri felt his heart beating wildly in his chest, because Ryosuke wasn’t weak, and he rarely confessed to needing more attention than normal, he definitely wasn’t the clingy type ordinarily. As Yuri studied him, his eyes grew softer, his fingertips tightened on Yuri’s thigh, “Is…is it okay?” 

Yuri tilted up and forward, pressing a soft, tender kiss to his lips, and then his cheek before pulling back, “Here’s perfect.” 

He felt the relief in Ryosuke immediately, his cheeks bright as he smiled, flashing forward to kiss Yuri quickly and then wiggling his hips to settle them down further into the couch. 

Yuri tapped his arm, and when Ryosuke glanced over at him, he gestured for him to hand him his bowl of curry sitting on the console table behind them.  

Ryosuke grunted, his expression clearly saying ‘as if’ before he dug his chopsticks into the bowl to dig out the perfect bite to feed Yuri. 

“I can feed myse—” 

The words died in Yuri’s throat when Ryosuke’s eyes darted up to his, something there, something soft, and tender, and insecure, and so…needy. Yuri bit his lip, not completely sure he should be indulging whatever this was but at the same time, wanting to do anything that would heal Ryosuke, so he stopped worrying so much, smiling before he popped his mouth open expectantly for Ryosuke to give him the first bite. 

He screeched, smacking his shoulder, indignant when Ryosuke started to feed him and then quickly put the first bite into his own mouth, making a show of how good it was, “Give me my bowl, you dummy!” 

“Uh-uh,” Ryosuke shoved Yuri’s hands back as he laughed, trying to not spill the food from his mouth, “Sorry, sorry okay here! Here!!!” 

Ryosuke frantically dug into the bowl to pull out a large bite which he offered to Yuri, who narrowed his eyes at him before he slowly leaned forward, his mouth opening wide enough to take the bite into his mouth. 

Ryosuke’s eyes dilated, his breath caught in his chest as he watched Yuri’s lips close around the chopsticks, the slow pull backward as they drug against the smooth black surface, sliding off the end as Yuri hummed in satisfaction. Ryosuke stared at Yuri’s lips as he chewed the curry, his mind racing, and then he blindly reached back to grab Yuri’s bowl, shoving it into his hands. 

Yuri looked at him in confusion, chewing rapidly, talking around the bite of curry, “But I though—” 

“We’re not going to get any dinner if I keep feeding you like that…” Ryosuke spoke bluntly, his head tilting as his eyebrow rose slowly. 

A soft heat spread across Yuri as he felt himself blush furiously, still amazed that Ryosuke could make him feel like this after all this time, his voice soft as he clenched the bowl in his fingertips, “I see…” 

Ryosuke looked away from him, fixing his eyes on the safety of the television, freezing when Yuri leaned forward, his lips close to his ear, the softness of his breath caressing his skin, “If my goal wasn’t fattening your skinny ass up I would demand you not only feed me but that you wear the apron while you do it.” 

Ever the master of perfect timing, he let Ryosuke sit in that thought for a moment before he purred seductively against his ear, “Only the apron.” 

Ryosuke gasped, attempting to turn his head to look at Yuri but he was stopped by Yuri’s fingers grabbing his chin to turn his head to the bowl resting on his legs across his lap, his voice back to his typical, bossy, no nonsense one as he ordered pointedly, “EAT.” 

Demanding little… 

“Now,” Yuri insisted, and Ryosuke couldn’t find it within himself to argue, savoring the next bite of the curry that his mother made for him when he was a child, but somehow tasted even better now that it had been touched by Yuri. 

__________________________________________  

Yuri had nestled himself into the couch, laying his head in Ryosuke’s lap after they’d finished eating, intent on watching the latest installment in their favorite movie lineup. He’d been so intrigued by the movie they were watching he hadn’t realized Ryosuke had fallen asleep until the credits began to roll. Carefully rolling onto his back so he could look up at him from his position, he had to smile at how cute Ryosuke was with his head tilted down and to the side, tiny little puffs of air causing his hair to barely move against his cheek. All Yuri wanted to do was grab him up and cushion him in a huge roll of bubble wrap to keep him safe and protected. 

If only there was a way. 

A tiny sound escaped his mouth when Ryosuke’s body jerked, his eyes popping open, and Yuri lifted his hand to soothe him, running his palm against his cheek, “Another dream?” 

Ryosuke had the haunted look in his eyes, swallowing hard, then then nodded slowly, glancing at the television to see he’d missed the end of the movie, eyes finally connecting to Yuri’s causing him to smile, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to fall asleep.” 

“Oh, well,” Yuri grinned up at him, grabbing his hand to pull it over so he could place a soft kiss on it, “You definitely owe me now.” 

Ryosuke blinked slowly, his head tilting, his voice soft when he quickly pulled Yuri’s hand up and placed a kiss on top of it, mirroring his actions, “I already owe you more than I can ever pay.” 

“Pfft,” Yuri laughed softly, “Don’t be stupid…” 
 
“I’m really not,” Ryosuke insisted, his hand moving to brush Yuri’s hair off his forehead, “I’m not.” 

Yuri stared at him, studying him, because he was still radiating the same intensity from before, something Yuri wasn’t able to quite pinpoint the meaning of or the reason for, his heart just wanting more than anything to just impress upon him how precious he was to him. 

“I love you,” Yuri lifted up on his elbow, drawing his hand up to pull Ryosuke’s head down so that their noses touched, “I really love you, and you loving me is all I need.” 

Ryosuke hummed, his fingers running softly across Yuri’s hip, up his side to rest on his shoulder, the delicate motion of his thumb causing chills to erupt on Yuri’s skin, his eyes full of tenderness, “Same.” 

Ryosuke leaned down, closing the space between them, the touch of his lips speaking tenderness between their souls, soft and gentle as he conveyed more than his words could possibly express. 

When Yuri’s lips parted, his tongue touching Ryosuke’s lips softly, he felt the knot in his tummy tighten when Ryosuke moaned into the kiss, his fingers clenching against his shoulder before he was instantly in motion, flipped around and squealing as the world was spinning. 

His arms grasped onto Ryosuke’s shoulders, laughing as Ryosuke made no effort to worry over what Yuri was thinking as he carried him down the hallway to their bedroom, gingerly depositing him on the bed before he crawled up to him, resuming the kiss. 

This was the simplest of things in their life, the connection they had, the kisses, the touches, there was nothing to think about, nothing to consider, it was always the one thing that anchored them to the moment—made the chaos of their lives dissipate into the place where they both knew all that mattered was each other. 

Yuri groaned as Ryosuke pressed down onto him, never growing tired of how this felt, of the way his weight met his own with such perfect alignment, of how it felt like his body, all of the hard planes and gentle curves were made to fit with his own body—except… 

His fingers ran across Ryosuke’s side, fingertips hitting the obvious indentions between his ribs, forcing his head to the side, breaking the kiss with a breathless complaint, “No…no…” 

Ryosuke just ignored him, grinding his hips against him as he dipped his head to nibble on his neck, causing Yuri to groan loudly, smacking his back, “Stop that!” 

Ryosuke laughed against his neck, having zero shame in the rolling rhythm his hips were still dancing in when he drew back to look down at Yuri, “What?” 

“It does no good for me to feed you a bunch of food so you’ll gain weight,” Yuri ran his fingertips underneath Ryosuke’s shirt, tickling across Ryosuke’s abdomen to draw attention to what he meant, causing Ryosuke to suck in his tummy and squeal, “If you’re just going to turn around and work it off instantly.” 

Ryosuke stared at him for a moment, his eyes clearly showing that he was quickly going through multiple conversations in his mind, looking for the perfect words, actions or combination of the two that would win Yuri to his way of thinking, but Yuri grabbed his hips, stopping his motion, his words firm, “No.” 

“But you…” Ryosuke pushed down harder against him, drawing attention to the fact that both of them were in the same condition, to which Yuri slapped his ass, hard, laughing when Ryosuke’s eyes widened comically. 

“No,” Yuri repeated, shoving up against Ryosuke, “Get off!” 

“I’m trying,” Ryosuke grinned shamelessly. 

“You…” Yuri sputtered, laughing softly, then narrowing his eyes so Ryosuke would know he meant business, “Get off of me or I’m locking up the game system for a week,” Yuri shoved him again, and this time Ryosuke let himself be moved, rolling off of Yuri onto the side of the bed, his arm thrown across his eyes as he issued a long, loud series of complaints about how Yuri was decidedly the worst husband in the universe who didn’t remotely care about him.  

Yuri just shook his head at how dramatic Ryosuke could be when he was turned on and then denied satisfaction, his eyes drifting over his form, his shirt too loose from his weight loss, the way it hung off his frame making Yuri frown, the shorts on his hips too large as well, the gap of the band between his stomach and the material too apparent…his tongue automatically peeked out to wet his lips when he arrived at Ryosuke’s more than apparent need.  

He’s so beautiful…God…I hate myself sometimes for my self-control… 

A thousand scenarios flashed through Yuri’s mind, none of them helping the insistent need he was having trouble controlling himself, each making the situation harder, in every single aspect of the word. 

Unless. 

Yuri shifted, quickly straddling Ryosuke, his thighs resting on him as he rolled his hips, Ryosuke’s hand flying down to hit the bed as he gasped, jerking up to grab Yuri around the waist to stop his movement, hissing, “Isn’t the point here to calm the fuck down?” 

“Or…” Yuri tilted his head, his hips swaying despite Ryosuke’s attempts to keep him still, “You could just let me do all the work.” 

Ryosuke blinked, his eyes widening for a moment, and then he started to say something, but Yuri stole the words with a searing kiss, then pushed against his chest, “Go.” 

Ryosuke hesitated but when Yuri pushed against his chest again, he slowly laid back down, watching as Yuri pulled his shirt off, tossing it across the room, his heart racing at the sight of how unbelievably gorgeous he was sitting there on top of him like he was the king of the world…and well, he was, at least Ryosuke’s world. 

Yuri took his time, undressing Ryosuke, worshipping each inch of skin as it was exposed, touching him, teasing him, loving him…and when he had brought Ryosuke to the point he was a shaking, whining puddle of need—he took care of him in the only way he knew how—loving him in the way he deserved to be loved. 

As Yuri slowly pressed down onto him, Ryosuke reached forward, his fingers skimming his thighs, but Yuri grabbed his wrists, leaning forward as he pushed all the way down until he could capture Ryosuke’s lips with his own, pinning his hands to the side of his head. Drawing back slightly, so that he could see his expression, slowly rolling his hips, causing Ryosuke to moan softly, his arms pushing against Yuri’s hands where he had him restrained. 

“Keep them here,” Yuri whispered, pushing firmly against his wrists in emphasis. 

Ryosuke studied him for a moment and when he looked like he was about to argue, Yuri stopped moving, his eyes narrowing, and when Ryosuke tried to move his hips, looking for the lost friction, Yuri pushed him down onto the bed as hard as he could, causing him to hiss, his voice rough, whining, “But why?” 

“I told you…” Yuri’s voice was soft despite how demanding he was being, “I told you,” he pressed a soft kiss to his lips, “Tonight,” a kiss to his left check, “Is,” a kiss to his right cheek, “All,” a kiss to his forehead, “About,” a kiss to his chin, “You,” a kiss to his nose, “So, just be still and let me take care of you.” 

Ryosuke reluctantly nodded, lifting his head to kiss him before Yuri pushed up off the bed, his hands resting on Ryosuke’s abdomen, relishing the feeling of his muscles flexing as he began to slowly lift up, rotating his hips with a sigh.                                 

There was something about this position, about being the one in charge, and it wasn’t what he figured most people would think it was—after all, there were certainly times Yuri got off on being in control and basically making Ryosuke take what he gave him—but then there were times like this—times when it wasn’t really about that—it was about the connection. Each tiny flutter of his heart as he pressed down onto him, yielding his body to his form, allowing him to become a part of him, to merge within his own body, it felt like their hearts were bound together more fully. To see Ryosuke there underneath him, his eyes soft and flaming at the same time, his lips full and pouting, his form strung tightly—it wasn’t about power or control, not right then, it was about how vulnerable he was, how he was willing to be there under him—how he would let himself be made vulnerable. 

It was the purest and rawest form of love that Yuri could think of—to be vulnerable with the person you trusted to never abuse or take advantage of you. 

When Ryosuke would try to move his hips or actively participate Yuri would instantly stop moving, his eyes threatening Ryosuke who would pitch a mini fit and then nod, trying to stop himself from grabbing Yuri, flipping him over and fucking him into the next week for torturing him like this—even if it was the best kind of torture, it was still torture.  

Eventually, Yuri settled on a perfect rhythm, slow and sensual, tender and loving—and after a while he even showed a bit of mercy, allowing Ryosuke a little bit of leeway to move, his hands grabbing his hips, clenching against the skin there, urging Yuri to move more. Yuri teased him as long as he could stand it, the friction a powerful motivation to make him move more, touch more, and then his hips were rolling in abandon, eyes closed as he lost himself in the feeling, hissing when Ryosuke’s hand shifted from his hip to wrap firmly around him, stroking slowly as Yuri’s eyes popped open, jerking his hips at the same time. 

He was too close—there was no way he could keep both the movement of his hips and handle being touched, his hand reaching down to stop Ryosuke, but it was too late. In his moment of weakness, Ryosuke had usurped control in an instant, his body lifting up off the bed, his lips attacking Yuri’s as he pushed him, his form easily being manipulated until Ryosuke was on top of him, his hips snapping in the way that Yuri could literally die for, and then he was bowed up against him, his entire form consumed with the enveloping pleasure as it spiked and then reverberated throughout his body, somewhere in the ensuing bliss hearing Ryosuke gasping and violently cursing through his own release. 

Minutes later, Yuri lay breathlessly beside him, still riding the euphoric high, his arm slapping against Ryosuke’s chest in frustration, “You fucking ass!” 

Ryosuke laughed, rolling on his side to see Yuri better, “A few minor adjustments to that sentence and then…yes.” 

Yuri scoffed, “You…” 

“Hmm?” Ryosuke was smiling so cutely, so proud of overthrowing Yuri’s authority he couldn’t even work himself up into being mad about it. 

“The plan was to make you eat and rest,” Yuri complained, letting himself be pulled against Ryosuke as he grinned down at him. 

“Is that so?” Ryosuke asked, his smile soft and sweet as he pressed a kiss to Yuri’s lips, “Did I mess up your plans?” 

“Well,” Yuri couldn’t help it, he was mesmerized by Ryosuke, by his charm, the soft tilt of his smile, “I guess not.” 

__________________________________________  

After Ryosuke had fallen asleep, Yuri rolled over, gingerly sliding his cellphone off the charger to look at the email again. Blinking his eyes to be sure he was reading it correctly. He just couldn’t believe it… 

This is real. 

This is happening. 

The smile on his face was nearly hurting as he slid his finger to close the email, then tapping the screen as he dug down through his folders into the dark abyss, reaching five layers deep into his Inoo-chan folder. 

He tapped the file titled ‘Inoo-chan’s ass’…stifling a giggle over the name. It had been Ryosuke’s sisters who had helped him set up the folder when he’d come to them with his idea of healing Ryosuke—and they were responsible for the name of the folder. They’d asked him if there was a place that Ryosuke would likely never go to on his phone and he’d said he would probably have to be threatened with not his own, but in fact, Yuri’s death to get him to enter into the Inoo-chan folder. So, they suggested they bury the file deep inside that folder, in a place that they could be pretty sure Ryosuke would never dare go from fear of being traumatized for life. 

He’d been relieved when they didn’t ask him about the folder with a mountain of odd pictures of Inoo—nor the fact that the folder they’d ended up placing the file held an extraordinary number of pictures of Inoo-chan’s fingers. He smiled at how amazing Ryosuke’s sisters were, feeling blessed they were such loving, supportive siblings to Ryosuke, and precious, dear friends to himself as he waited…the screen flashed and the spreadsheet opened, his eyes skimming his list of things he had come up with to do for Ryosuke. Some of them where things he’d thought of, some that he’d read about or saw in a tv show or movie, friends and even Jump members also contributed, and of course, Ryosuke’s Mom and sisters as well.  

He scrolled down through the pages until he reached the proper line, happy when he could put an X into the box to denote, he’d accomplished feeding him his mother’s curry. 

Once he’d done that his eyes landed on the next one, the one that was already planned and set to take place next week—“Make Yama-chan a Daddy for the day”—and he couldn’t wait! Ryosuke was going to melt when he was in that studio for the magazine shoot with all those babies! Yuri felt like a mastermind when he thought of the other super special surprise, he’d arranged for that particular photo shoot, and could not WAIT to mark that one off the list. 

He swallowed hard, his finger hovering above the screen for a moment before he drew it down, trembling as he pressed onto the line that held the text for that event, copying the block, the words of the email flashing through his mind, pasting the cell and then changing the words to the newest goal he’d set. 

His heart was thundering in his chest as he looked at the words, in black and white, placed there on his ‘to do’ list he’d begun so many months ago for becoming a better caretaker for Ryosuke—and with this new addition, all Yuri could think was that there was nothing that was going to stop him from making this one come true. 

Nothing. 

**scroll down to see Yuri’s cellphone screen!


Types
Now Reading
My Omega Index
Multi-chapter
Reading Time: 3 minutes
0

“I think fate is a chance to meet someone wonderful! I think fate is what brought Chinen and I together.” –Yamada Ryosuke

Chapter 1: Mystery

Chapter 2: Alpha

Chapter 3: Hybrid

Chapter 4: Alone

Chapter 5: Trust

Chapter 6: Understand

Chapter 7: Promise

Chapter 8: Wrong

Chapter 9: Fate

“I think fate is a chance to meet someone wonderful! I think fate is what brought Chinen and I together.” –Yamada Ryosuke

This story is an AU featuring the members of Hey! Say! Jump as Idols (as themselves) with an Alpha/Beta/Omega type society that has been dormant for a very long time but suddenly the trait appears to have been reactivated.

Primary pairing is YamadaxChinen, but it also includes a few other group pairings.

There are a few details about this universe that are revealed through out the story and I hate when you sort of feel like you have to take notes while reading a fic so I have done my best to lead forward and point backward when necessary. In the notes at the start of each chapter I will place a list of what we have learned up until this point about the world, our Alpha/Beta/Omega characters, and their abilities. I hope this will help you enjoy the story even more!

If you find yourself wondering more about the story’s universe or background information, please feel free to ask any questions you have.

I didn’t really know a single thing about ABO (Alpha Beta Omega) Universe before this so if you are put out by that genre I do understand–I realized through my research there are certainly some dynamics that can be confusing and in some cases disturbing–but I hope that even if ABO traditionally isn’t your forte you might give my story a try as I did my best to put my own spin on it and take the parts I thought were pretty fascinating and then the ones that made my heart flutter in softness to make something a little bit new! ENJOY!

Comments and thoughts are priceless gifts to me, and Kudos are a blessing to me and mean so much I can never express. Whether you do these or not, please know how much I truly and sincerely appreciate you taking the time out of your busy life just to read this work! THANK YOU!

“I think fate is a chance to meet someone wonderful! I think fate is what brought Chinen and I together.” –Yamada Ryosuke

This story is an AU featuring the members of Hey! Say! Jump as Idols (as themselves) with an Alpha/Beta/Omega type society that has been dormant for a very long time but suddenly the trait appears to have been reactivated.

Primary pairing is YamadaxChinen, but it also includes a few other group pairings.

There are a few details about this universe that are revealed through out the story and I hate when you sort of feel like you have to take notes while reading a fic so I have done my best to lead forward and point backward when necessary. In the notes at the start of each chapter I will place a list of what we have learned up until this point about the world, our Alpha/Beta/Omega characters, and their abilities. I hope this will help you enjoy the story even more!

If you find yourself wondering more about the story’s universe or background information, please feel free to ask any questions you have.

I didn’t really know a single thing about ABO (Alpha Beta Omega) Universe before this so if you are put out by that genre I do understand–I realized through my research there are certainly some dynamics that can be confusing and in some cases disturbing–but I hope that even if ABO traditionally isn’t your forte you might give my story a try as I did my best to put my own spin on it and take the parts I thought were pretty fascinating and then the ones that made my heart flutter in softness to make something a little bit new! ENJOY!

Comments and thoughts are priceless gifts to me, and Kudos are a blessing to me and mean so much I can never express. Whether you do these or not, please know how much I truly and sincerely appreciate you taking the time out of your busy life just to read this work! THANK YOU!

Finally, to the dearest blessing I can call a precious friend, Punkin–THANK YOU. I know I couldn’t have done this without you, and while the “formal” name is beta–let’s be honest, you were my sounding board, therapist, fact checker, and sanity keeper. I appreciate you more than words can EVER express and this would NEVER have been what it is without you!!!!! (Seriously tho lol)

Types
Now Reading
{ 9 } Fate
Multi-chapter
Reading Time: 21 minutes
0

What we know so far: (refer to this section at the start of each chapter for recaps of the chapter before)

Our Members–

Yuri:
-although he does not recognize it as such, moving the furniture is the start of his ‘nesting’
-has resorted to taking small tokens of things that he has a strong tie with in memories and feelings of Ryosuke

ABO–
-AO are capable of cheating the bond system and ‘lie’ through it under some circumstances

Omegas:
-need their Alpha’s acceptance and support

Betas:

Super-Hybrids:
-Parent Alphas intimidate ALL Omegas (even those already marked by their own Alpha)

Please note: I subtitled the video, just turn them on =)

Chinen: Radio name, Ichigo san. The keyword is “fate”

Yamada: Fate?

Chinen: Yes

Yamada: So, it’s about fate now

Chinen: Says here to talk about Beethoven’s fate
(Beethoven’s fifth is called 運命/fate in Japan)

Yamada: Ah, I see. Well, I have nothing to say

Chinen: Na na na naaa♪

Yamada: … fate? I don’t know what to say on fate

Chinen: Fate, I don’t have a clue

Yamada: What’s fate?

Chinen: While you’re still talking, the sound is breaking up

Yamada: Not that fate?

Chinen:  Yes but your voice is breaking up while you keep saying fate, fate, fate

Yamada: Fine! You don’t have to say anything, I’ll talk about it!

Chinen: Here’s Yama chan’s opinion

Yamada: Fate is… well, a new encounter and what not. I’m going for just in general… I think fate is a chance to meet something/someone wonderful! In short, I think fate is what brought Chinen and I together

Chinen: Umm, I don’t have to talk right?

Yamada: No

Chinen:  ‘Cause you sounded like you were hoping for an replay back

Yamada: No no, you keep quiet

Chinen: You’re talking with the people listening, right?

Yamada: Yup

Chinen: Right?

Yamada: Yes so, you just keep quiet… To those who are listening to this radio, to those who are listening to my voice, I think this is a form of fate too… I love you all! Yup, I don’t know what I’m saying. Okay, Chinen kun talk!

Chinen: Okay

Yamada: My face is red right now

Chinen: After all, I can only think of Beethoven’s fate when I hear “fate”

Yamada: I think Chinen’s idea a little out there

Chinen: Yes, a little out there. Sorry about that

Yamada: Yup

Chinen: We are still waiting for keywords you want us to talk about. This was HEY!SAY!Talking

Yamada: Please listen to a song for now. It’s HSJ’s

Yama-Chi: Too shy

Translation courtesy of: https://jump-daisuki.livejournal.com/38164.html#cutid1

Ryosuke stood looking in his closet completely confused, because there were no clothes there. In fact, when he checked his drawers and the bathroom hamper—there were none of his clothes to be found. He couldn’t understand it and wandered to the kitchen to get the number for the laundry service to find out what exactly was going on.

He reached the cleaning service and they forwarded him to the laundry service, and once they answered he explained the situation to the lady on the phone, telling her that his laundry was clearly being picked up but no one was delivering it back to him.

The lady asked him to hold while she investigated which he agreed to, spending the four minutes she was gone lamenting how hard it was going to be to replace all those clothes if they were actually lost. They might be rather monochrome, but the truth was, they were all a little different and carefully curated to stay in his collection as he never bought something new without getting rid of the old.

When the lady returned to the line she spoke softly, “I’m sorry sir, but it appears that we were put on hold about three weeks ago.”

“What does that mean? ‘Put on hold’?”

“It is normally used when patrons go on vacation or something of that nature—a temporary disruption of service, but not a cancellation.”

“So, you were not picking up my clothes at all during the last three weeks?”

“No sir…”

“Who could authorize that?”

“Only someone who lives in your home.”

“I see,” Ryosuke thanked her for her help and got off the phone, more puzzled now than before he called—because unless he was losing his mind—he did not put the laundry service on pause, which left Yuri as the only possible explanation but he was so obsessive about soft, clean clothes he couldn’t remotely fathom him canceling a service he considered positively essential.

Still, he should ask, so he moved across the house, slowly stepping into the room since the door was open, “Yuri?”

His eyes landed on the bed, where there was a round lump, and he whispered, “Sorry! I didn’t know you were sleeping.”

He started to tiptoe out of the room, but then he couldn’t help the idea that flitted through his mind of how cute Yuri was when he slept, and how much he really wanted to see him since he hadn’t seen him all day long.

He carefully approached the bed, grabbing the edge of the comforter to gingerly draw it down to reveal Yuri.

Yuri.

And Ryosuke’s clothes.

Ryosuke tilted his head, trying to understand what he was seeing—because Yuri was just as cute as he had imagined, curled up into the tiniest little ball he’d ever seen, his arms tucked under his head, his expression soft and contented. Yet, around Yuri, in what he could only describe as a nest—were all of Ryosuke’s missing clothes.

The arrangement was clearly not random—rather, they were placed very precisely—it was obvious by the way they were rolled and folded—the soft parts pointing inward toward where Yuri lay, with the snaps and edges which were hard along the outer edge of the ring. He looked at all of the clothes, then noticed that Yuri’s head was on a makeshift pillow—his Fullmetal Alchemist hoodie.

If Hikaru hadn’t talked to him that day—if he didn’t know the truth, he would probably have been really angry and pitched a fit about this—but in light of what he now understood, what he knew about Yuri…this was absolutely the cutest and most precious thing he’d ever seen in his life.

His heart melted, his hands itching to touch Yuri, so he took the chance, tracing the line of clothes that led to his curled form to graze across his shoulder, smoothing through his hair, causing him to stir, a soft sigh in the space between them.

“Ryosuke?” Yuri whimpered, curling up tighter into the tiny ball, not opening his eyes.

“I’m here,” Ryosuke whispered back.

“I’m sorry,” Yuri stated, his eyes fluttering open to make contact with his for a moment and then he grabbed the hoodie and drug it over his face in embarrassment.

Ryosuke’s mind raced, trying to think of the right way to handle this, to reassure him, and then he knew.

He gingerly climbed up on the bed, much to Yuri’s protest as he messed up part of his nest, his complaints silenced when Ryosuke had positioned himself as a mirror to him, his nose touching his own where he peeked shyly out of his self-made hoodie cave.

Yuri blinked at him, confused, “I…”

“Shh,” Ryosuke smiled, reaching beyond the edge of the hoodie to run his fingers through Yuri’s hair causing him to close his eyes and he could swear he heard him purr softly before he spoke, “If I could I would have your stuff all around me all the time. If your clothes fit me…I would wear them too.”

Yuri’s eyes popped open, sparkling in the dim light of the fading afternoon.

“I would have you with me, beside me all of the time, and I’d never let you go.”

“Never?” Yuri whispered.

“Not ever,” Ryosuke confirmed, “I think you should just sleep in my room.”

“I…I should?”

“Yes,” Ryosuke nodded, nervous now that he’d said it out loud, “You obviously would sleep better there, wouldn’t you?”

“Yes,” Yuri replied without hesitation because he would, undoubtedly.

“Okay, then let’s try that?”

“Okay,” Yuri nodded, his eyes twinkling, “It doesn’t mean I won’t still…you know…take your clothes to…be a freak with.”

Ryosuke laughed, shrugging, “That’s fine, it just means it will be easier for me to find them this way.”


Ryosuke glanced around, the  hair on the back of his neck standing on end when he pulled the letter out of his mailbox.

The handwriting was unmistakable.

It was most certainly a letter from his Granny Yamada.

Postdated…the day before.

His hands shook as he flipped the envelope over, the trembling causing it to take longer than it should as he attempted to open it.

Finally managing to get past the envelope he slid the paper contained within, opening it slowly.

There were only eight words.

What are you waiting for?

Trust your heart.

At the very bottom was a tiny ink heart with two initials GY.

He wondered absently if this was one of the JUMP members messing with him? 

Who would do something like this?

No one…none of them seemed like they’d devote themselves to this level of prepwork for a practical joke.

He had no idea how he got the letter, and even on the off chance his Granny was still alive–how would she know he was waiting or not rushing ahead or anything about his life at all really?

Even so, he couldn’t shake the words haunting him the rest of the day…falling asleep with the words replaying over and over in his mind.

What am I waiting for?

____________________



Ryosuke had been hyper fixated on Yuri—not the normal way either, having grown rather complacent over time to allow the link between them to help him better understand what he was thinking and such. No, after talking to Hikaru he’d made a concerted effort to not use their connection as the only way he gained insights—instead, he’d made a practice of studying Yuri, more often than not when Yuri sincerely had no idea at all.

And today, Ryosuke decided he needed to figure this out, to discover the truth, once and for all.

“I saw the magazine interview you did,” Ryosuke spoke the words softly, glancing over at Yuri who was stretched across the couch, arms folded under his head, looking ten seconds away from taking a nap.

“Which one?” Yuri wondered, turning his head up to look at Ryosuke in the chair beside him.

Ryosuke reached down into his backpack, somewhat embarrassed he had purchased a magazine that featured their group.

If it mattered at all to Yuri he didn’t show it, blinking softly as he waited for Ryosuke to continue.

Ryosuke opened the book to the page with the quote, reading it carefully, “It’s not entirely JUMP, but I have a soft spot for Yama-chan. When Yama-chan says, ‘Do it~’ I unconsciously end up wanting to do it, you know. When he sleeps on hard places, I fold a towel into a pillow and put it under his head. And when he falls asleep in the car, there are times when he leans on me. At those times, I move my body, and to me, Yama-chan ends up adjusting himself to the most comfortable position. Yama-chan is so sweet.”

By the time he reached the end, Ryosuke’s voice was a whisper, the weight of the words strong within him, and he wanted to make sense of it, “Is this how you feel?”

Yuri was confused, rolling over onto his side so he could look at Ryosuke, “Yes?”

“You said when…when I say ”Do it“ that you unconsciously end up wanting to do it…is that…is that the thing you’re scared of?”

Yuri considered this for a moment, his mind flitting back to the interview and how naturally those words had come out of his mouth, not once thinking that he was a mindless robot made to do as he was told, that was the furthest thing from his mind actually, “No…it wasn’t like that…I meant…I want you to be proud of me. I want to make you happy, so if you want me to do it I will.”

“But I don’t wan—“

“Wait,” Yuri lifted his hand and Ryosuke bit his lip, “I trust you, that’s the difference. You’ve shown me that you have this power to force me to do things, but, it doesn’t matter anymore, because I know in my heart that you’d never use it to hurt me—you’d never abuse that power. I just…I trust you.”

Ryosuke stared at him for a moment, his mind whirling with thoughts and things he wanted to say, but nothing seemed good enough, proper enough to express what he felt, “Thank you.”

It was too small but he knew if he said more he was going to cry and that was not something he wanted to do.

“For what?” Yuri couldn’t help it, he could tell Ryosuke was distressed and it wasn’t that he wanted to add to it, but in all reality—he absolutely did not understand what he was being thanked for.

“For caring about me, trusting me, being here right now, I don’t know, just being my friend, being with me,” the words were rushed, doing his best to keep his emotions out of it.

“Is that unusual?”

“You know it is,” the words were pain filled, and Yuri’s heart yearned to comfort him, to touch him, imbue him with the truth about who he really was, frowning when Ryosuke shook his head.

“They are just jealous,” Yuri stated plainly, “They’re too jealous to care about knowing you, and then the other half are just too enamored by you that they see you as something set apart. I sort of feel sorry for them in reality.”

Ryosuke was staring at him, never having really considered the words he was saying, “But you care about me…you take care of me.”

“I do,” Yuri agreed, shifting so he could sit up, crossing his legs onto the couch.

“Why?”

Yuri wasn’t really expecting a question like that, but surely this is easy to describe, simple to explain, but suddenly his mouth was dry and his palms were sweating because honestly, he wasn’t really sure how to describe this.

He closed his eyes for a moment, and the words flashed so clearly in his mind that he might as well have been reciting them directly from the radio program all of those years ago, his voice tender when he looked at Ryosuke, “I think fate is a chance to meet someone wonderful! I think fate is what brought Chinen and I together.”

Ryosuke blinked at him, tilting his head, “I…I said that…wow, I mean it was a really long time ago.”

“Uh-huh,” Yuri confirmed, “I memorized it.”

“Why would you do that?”

“At the time, when you said it,” Yuri struggled with how to explain something that was so complex inside himself, “Well, I mean I couldn’t even respond, because I’d spent so much time trying to understand who I was and what I was here for—maybe even more so when it came to you, my connection to you and what it all meant. Who I was when it came to you felt like…like a separate question. Then you randomly said that on our radio show and I was blown away—cause you just said it so easily. It was obvious you didn’t prepare for it, or think many long hours about it—you just said it because it was what you truly believed.”

Ryosuke stared at him for a moment, shrugging, “I mean…I still believe it, even now…maybe even more now…”

“I don’t like fate, the very idea of it, but…in that moment because I had spent so much time trying to understand how I fit into the world—it made sense somehow…it fit all of the various aspects of my life up until that moment,” Yuri smiled, “You know, I wasn’t really one to get caught up in fairy tales and fantasies, but I know you were.”

Ryosuke shrugged again, it was true.

“Fate is another name for fairy tales and fantasies, isn’t it?”

“I guess,” Ryosuke wasn’t sure what he was thinking, but he wanted him to really understand what he’d said, not decide on his own, leaning to his own understanding, “But…fate just takes us to the starting line. We decide if we’re going to step across it to start the race.”

Yuri studied him, his eyes moving across his expression, considering his words, “I still don’t like the idea of fate.”

“Why not?”

“I want to be in charge of my own destiny, I don’t want some force out there making choices for me…but…”

Ryosuke shifted forward, his elbows resting on his knees, “But?”

“When you say it like that then I’m not so scared of it,” Yuri wrung his hands in his lap, “I have…I don’t remember a time…now…after all these years I don’t remember a time that you weren’t…like…there…in the back of my mind’s eye, even before I met you—you were there.”

Ryosuke swallowed roughly, clarity rushing through his mind, “That’s me, I have that same thing.”

“Really?” Yuri’s eyes were impossibly wide, “I felt…like…sometimes, it seemed like I could…that you…we…”

“I talked to you,” Ryosuke blurted out, “I know it sounds insane okay, but I swear, it was like I talked to you. I used to pretend you were an angel, or like a spirit that visited me so I wouldn’t feel like I was crazy.”

Yuri laughed softly, shaking his head, “Me too…I did the same thing, but Saya told me about what happened to her and I guess I didn’t feel so alone.”

“I knew you, that day,” Ryosuke felt a thousand words vying to be set free, to be heard, “When you came into the practice room, I knew you. I didn’t know your name, I didn’t know the first thing about you but, I KNEW YOU.”

“I knew you, too,” Yuri whispered, the air between them becoming charged with something new.

A heaviness in the air around them, a static charge between them, and something sacred neither of them had a name for came to life, something bigger than them, something more powerful than fate or destiny within the walls where they sat. Ryosuke’s fingers dug into his palms, his legs trembling, screaming for him to move, to go.

Yuri shifted to sit on his hands, his legs bouncing up and down as his mind played a scene over and over again—GO TO HIM.

There was a single beat in time, the world stood still, all of creation holding her breath in anticipation, a moment finally revealing itself that had been set in motion in a time before they could comprehend, and then, an ancient whisper brushed against them.

Go.

The world was set in motion, new colors blossomed before their eyes that they had no name for, an emotion so strong neither of them had the will to fight it, letting go, bolting forward, crashing into chaos, desperately grabbing one another, their words messy and blurry as they boldly confessed their feelings, giving freedom to express themselves, to open the doors that had been so heavily locked.

Their voices overlapped, their hands touching each other’s faces, arms, running through their hair, memorizing every aspect of them, trying to commit the way it felt to their senses, to never forget this moment, as every wall they’d built between them crumbled, inhibitions destroyed in a single breath as they showed themselves to one another, gave the other the freedom to discover who they really were.

In the flurry of motion, Ryosuke had his hands on Yuri’s cheeks, holding him as he practically vibrated in place with the amount of energy coursing through him and all he could think was that they were standing there together, facing forward at the starting line.

Yuri froze, his eyes widening, and then his heart responded, his hands raising up to press Ryosuke’s against his cheeks, his eyes so soft and tender as he lifted up on his toes, pressing his lips against Ryosuke’s in the softest whisper of kisses.

A tiny taste, it might have been enough for lesser men, but for them, after these many years of dancing around their feelings, it was still like suffocating under water, and Ryosuke pulled him against his body, his mouth seeking his own, writing words of love, of passion and longing, of now and forever after, of the time he’d waited and now the time that stretched out before him in a delightful melody of what would undoubtedly be a chaotic, messy, sometimes feral future–but oh!

Oh, how they would love!

Yuri felt the thoughts flowing through the bond, conflicted by the imagery that flooded his mind and the wicked things that Ryosuke’s mouth was doing to him—his mind whirling in a million different directions.

For the love of God brain, shut the hell up already!

Ryosuke snorted, pulling back with a smile, his lips glittering with passion but his eyes were dancing, because it was seriously absurd, just utterly and completely ridiculous, and then…they laughed, a joy filled, genuine laugh that made them both breathless as Ryosuke grabbed Yuri up into his embrace to swing him around, his heart speaking straight into his own, “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

The words echoed in the room, and neither of them were really sure if they’d said them out loud or not, but it hardly mattered, because they heard them. They heard them with their ears, with their minds, with their very souls.


**
“I want to sing this song.”

Ryosuke’s finger was touching the page on the table titled “Stars In Heaven”, his eyes focused on the manager, not the chaotic aura rolling off of Yuri next to him.

“It’s a love song,” the manager shook his head, “You’re both too young to be singing a song like this.”

Ryosuke frowned, “Love has nothing to do with age. I want to sing that song.”

“Me too,” Yuri spoke up, his voice weak but clear with conviction, clearing his throat, “I want it too.”

Their eyes connected and for a moment there was just white light and softness, and as quickly as it was there it was gone, both blinking and then jumping when the manager sighed.

He crossed his arms, eyes fixed on them, studying them, undoubtedly trying to figure out if he could regain the control in this conversation.

Yuri leaned onto the table with both hands, speaking in absolution, “We’re singing the song, you can either have a track prepared for us or we’ll sing it acapella—but we’re singing this song.”

“Fine.”
**

They were breathless as they stared into the other’s eyes, Yuri’s fingertips tracing the sharpness of Ryosuke’s cheeks as he studied his eyes, looking past what was obvious to see what was really there.

The sprouting green leaves
receive rain and changes color
Embrace the light of our
lives on the same earth

“How old is your soul?” Yuri murmured, his fingertips moving across Ryosuke’s cheek to cup his face.

“I don’t know,” Ryosuke shrugged, “…but it took you long enough didn’t it?”

Ryosuke swallowed, a shallow, distant part of himself knowing there was a time that he felt so lost, but unable to fully embrace that reality in light of the power of the bond before him, “…how many lives have I lived waiting for you to find me?”

ALL MY LOVE
Everyone’s love shines
on the earth’s future

ALL YOUR LOVE
If you’re overflowing with smiles
That’s all that I adore (love)

“I’m sorry I made you wait so long.”

Ryosuke smiled, twisting his head to press a tender kiss to Yuri’s palm, grasping his wrist to hold him close, “You were worth it.”

Everyone has someone important to them
I wonder how long you can be together
It makes me worried

“You’ll never be alone again,” Yuri whispered, shuffling forward, closing the distance between them, his hand moving to brush against the hair at the base of Ryosuke’s neck.

Our future depends on us
So let’s start the love
Radiant, day by day it arrives

Ryosuke’s smile was gentle, his arms moving to pull Yuri impossibly closer, “As it should be.”

Everyone’s dream
Continues on in the earth’s future

ALL MY LOVE
And if we miss each other
It’s only a piece of the beginning

“I didn’t believe in fate,” Yuri tilted his head, “You know?”

“Yeah,” Ryosuke laughed softly, “I know.”

ALL YOUR LOVE
Because you’re by my side
Everyone’s FUTURE EARTH

And then, in that moment, Yuri realized, he could finally take a deep breath.

…and when he did, when he finally inhaled, and his lungs expanded after all of these many years of feeling like they had been compressed and held bound, he froze.

His eyes dilated, and his head jerked up to stare at Ryosuke who could sense the change in Yuri.

Ryosuke’s hands tightened on Yuri’s arms, leaning a bit back to get a better look at him, but it didn’t reveal any more information than he had before that moment, rather, he was more confused because it felt to him as if there was an underlying current of electricity running beneath his fingertips, causing him to flex and release his grasp.

A low, deep noise began in Yuri’s throat, and then he’d pushed forward into Ryosuke’s arms, his hands grabbing his head and pushing it to the side so he could bury his face against his chest, to push his nose against the juncture of his neck, inhaling deeply of the fragrance there–a warm, soft, yet slightly spicy scent, similar to what he smelled like before but…more, a deeper, more nuanced scent, layered with deeper undertones that called to Yuri in a way it had not before.

Ryosuke’s hands jerked up to hold Yuri there against him, something dancing around the edge of his being, something toying with the fraying edges of his unwavering control–his eyes closing, trying to block out the myriad of inputs but that was a mistake–because the moment he shut off one sense, the other heightened.

The power of the way Yuri had always smelled was strong, compelling, and never had Ryosuke tried to explain it to him, not really, but what was there before? It paled in comparison to what was there now.

It felt to him as if the scent was not just something he could sense with his nose, but something he could perceive with his being, like it was imprinted upon him from ancient days of old when whatever powers that be would have made the map of time and space that would lead him to this very moment in history.

It called to him, it spoke words of a lifetime directly into his soul and all Ryosuke could think was that he needed more.

Yuri whimpered when Ryosuke’s fingertips ran through his hair, tugging on the ends as he tried to process what was happening to him, to slow down his mind so that he could keep track of his own motions, but something in the noise, something in the sound combined with the way Yuri’s scent seemed to be changing by the second made something snap–made one of the tethers that had held Ryosuke break instantly.

Yuri squealed when the world was spinning, swept up into Ryosuke’s arms as he moved to the hallway, his foot slamming into the door to throw it open as he entered their room, the scenery a blur until he was there, somehow in the middle of the bed with Ryosuke looking down on him, his eyes bright and shining in the dim lights around him, and then Ryosuke’s lips twisted into a sly smile, his eyebrow raising slowly, his voice hoarse when he spoke, the tremor in his voice betraying his confidence, “Is—Is this okay?”

Yuri wanted to say so many words, wanted to call him names and tell him what a dumb boy he was, but he was too distracted by how beautiful he was, by how good it felt to have finally his weight pressing down on him, and to have him enveloped in his arms, his fingers grasping the back of his neck, pressing down to pull him closer, eyes linked, feeling like they were connected to his very soul, nodding his head in response.

Ryosuke leaned down, his breath warm on Yuri’s face, his voice soft on his skin, “I love you.”

“I love you,” the words were spoken without hesitation, and before he could think further about anything that was happening, Ryosuke had closed the distance between them, his lips delicate and tender against Yuri’s.

This kiss was different than their first, less chaotic, the undertones steeped in emotion, something that neither of them had expected, in truth, having thought they understood what all of this was, how it worked, as the reality was unfolding within each other’s arms, they were realizing they needed to let go of their expectations and just live in this moment.

Let it happen.

Trust your heart.

When Yuri shifted, his arms wrapping around Ryosuke to draw him closer, Ryosuke gasped, his head dropping down against his shoulder, his eyes clenched shut and he reached up blindly, his hand grabbing at Yuri’s t-shirt, desperate as he tried to get closer to him.

Yuri shoved against him, tried to push him back, a few attempts before Ryosuke finally realized what he was doing, giving him room to move, blinking slowly as he watched him jerk the t-shirt over his head, and before Yuri could release the soft material he was pressed down into the mattress, Ryosuke’s nose against his neck, his heart feeling like it was beating so fast it might explode.

His hands grasped Ryosuke’s shoulders when he felt him press a soft kiss against his skin there, his head moving to offer him more freedom, something inside of him speaking words he didn’t understand but knew through the sheer power of them what they meant. Ryosuke groaned, his lips tender against his skin, and Yuri thought that he was going to crawl out of his own skin as a need so deep, so primal rose up inside of him, his hand moving to cup Ryosuke’s head, pulling him closer, lifting his shoulder up, consumed with the desire to have this need met, this empty spot filled, this place within him that had cried, had wept since as long as he could remember would finally feel at peace.

Would feel accepted, and necessary.

Would feel known and heard.

Would feel the truth and never, ever feel lost again.

“Please,” he didn’t even recognize his own voice as the word slipped out between his lips, his hands frantic on Ryosuke’s skin, pulling at his shirt, pressing against his hair, begging him.

Ryosuke felt like he was drowning, like he couldn’t think, couldn’t breath, couldn’t see beyond the hazy fog surrounding him of all things Yuri, his voice, his breath, his scent, his body, his heartbeat, his love, all surrounding him, wrapping him up into a warm embrace, a soft, tender place that he never knew could exist.

That was what Yuri was to him, a fortress that stood against the world, that gave him a place where he could be himself and never worry that the world could touch him, could reach him, could hurt him, or harm him because Yuri would stand as a bastion between him and any force that might come against him. A place where he would always be accepted, where he would never need to worry about being rejected or not enough, where he would always have a home, where his heart was free to be raw and real and whole and true to who he was, inside and out, and he would be safe.

“Always.”

He didn’t know if the word was spoken out loud or inside his head or if he’d made it up, but he didn’t care, it didn’t matter because he could feel it, he knew the truth of it, he could sense the purest form of that thought pushing through the tiniest shred of distance between their bodies, and he knew…he felt so sure…so positive, but he couldn’t…he couldn’t…

He jerked back, the most painful thing he had ever done, paling in comparison even to his transition, his eyes shining with the struggle as he stared down at Yuri, who looked up at him with such affection, with such assurance, such security.

“I—Yuri—” Ryosuke swallowed hard, trying to force his mind, his brain to work, to make the words form out of the jumbled mess that was his brain, to speak light into this moment, to make Yuri see—this is me—I am here!

THIS IS ME.

“I want you to be with me forever,” the words clawed out of his throat, “Need you with me.”

A soft bubble of delighted laughter shook Yuri’s form, his eyes twinkling as he smiled, knowing on every single level the control that Ryosuke was using to ensure that he knew, that he understood—this wasn’t the bond.

This wasn’t the trait.

This wasn’t destiny.

It wasn’t fate.

It wasn’t some supernatural force that conspired through the ages to bring them together.

In this moment, it was none of those things, it was Ryosuke.

It was him.

It was always him.

All of the worries and concerns, the fears and the trepidation, the unknown and the implications of whatever role destiny and fate might play in their relationship—all of them faded into nothingness in that moment—because all that mattered, all that had ever mattered was Ryosuke.

“Be mine?” Yuri whispered the words, his fingers delicate on the edge of Ryosuke’s hair, reveling in the way his body trembled under his touch, his entire form radiating with the control he was using, and when Ryosuke just blinked, Yuri tugged on his hair, “Ryosuke, be mine…always.”

The words echoed in Ryosuke’s mind, reverberating into his very soul.

Be mine.

Always.

It is all he could ever want, nothing mattered more than that, it was all he wanted, all he could ever want, and while he was trying to somehow work through the complexities of his emotions he heard the noise, his thoughts rushing back into the moment where Yuri had forcibly ripped the collar of his shirt open, and without another second passing, he lifted up off the mattress, his mouth connecting to the spot on Ryosuke’s neck that called to him in every language of the universe, his teeth grazing the skin softly before he bit tenderly into it, the tiny tangy taste touching his tongue making him moan in satisfaction.

The world was in motion, Yuri’s mouth still touching his neck, lightly sucking on the skin there, Ryosuke’s entire form pressed into him, and it felt like there was no gravity anymore, the connection between them seeming to come alive with static, with some energy as of yet having been unknown to them, yet held every answer to any question there was in all of time and space, as Ryosuke felt a deep seated need wash across every single fiber of his being swirling with the delight, the pleasure from this sacred, intimate connection to Yuri.

I need.

When he felt Yuri’s fingers thread through his hair, pulling against him to draw him down, every resistance he had fell away. Every wall he’d put in place over the years, all of the lies he’d told, to himself, to others, to keep Yuri away, all of the distances and the reasons and the suppositions meaningless as they were stripped away one by one, and when his lips grazed Yuri’s neck, when he felt Yuri’s form lifting up to meet him, he knew…this was what he’d been looking for all his life.

This was why nothing was ever enough, and this was why he never was satisfied with himself.

He was never going to be enough.

He wasn’t who he was meant to be without Yuri.

He never would be.

Yuri was a part of him—whether it made sense to either of them, whatever the implications of that—neither of them could possibly deny this fact.

The same as Ryosuke was a part of Yuri—because they were clearly designed for one another on a plane of existence neither could understand.

But maybe that was the whole point—maybe they didn’t need to—maybe they just…

Trust your heart.

“I love you,” he whispered, the response from Yuri immediate as he grabbed him tightly against his body, his head lifting as he gasped for air, hands frantic on his skin until he was pushing down on Ryosuke’s head, answering him since he could not form the proper words, his sigh a whisper of love in the air around them when Ryosuke’s teeth broke the skin, the sweet taste causing his eyes to clench shut in pleasure.

Feeling pure contentment for the first time in his life.

Sensing a level of fulfillment he could have never imagined.

Knowing that finally, after the years of uncertainty—he would never wonder again, he would always know…he would always be sure of one absolute truth, one fact that was never going to change.

Whatever might rise up against him, whatever might stand in his way, anything that could attempt to make him stumble, or fail—he would never be alone again.

He would never be alone because Yuri was there, and he would always be—his heart living outside of himself.

His partner, his husband, his lover, his friend, his help-meet, his confidant, his shelter, his comfort, his heart and soul.

My everything.

My Omega.

The sprouting green leaves receive rain and changes color
Embrace the light of our lives on the same earth

ALL MY LOVE
Everyone’s love shines on the earth’s future

ALL YOUR LOVE
If you’re overflowing with smiles
That’s all that I adore (love)

Everyone has someone important to them
I wonder how long you can be together
It makes me worried

ALL MY LOVE
Everyone’s love shine on the earth’s future

ALL YOUR LOVE
I’f you’re overflowing with smiled
That’s all that I adore (love)

Our future depends on us
So let’s start the love
Radiant, day by day it arrives

Everyone’s dream
Continues on in the earth’s future

ALL MY LOVE
And if we miss each other
It’s only a piece of the beginning

ALL YOUR LOVE
Because you’re by my side
Everyone’s FUTURE EARTH

Types
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What we know so far: (refer to this section at the start of each chapter for recaps of the chapter before)

Our Members–

Ryosuke:
-can make Yuri do whatever he wants to do
-thinks that power is horrible and promises to not use it

Yuri:
-took Ryosuke’s FMA hoodie and used it as a pillow on compulsion
-is subsceptible to being controlled by his Alpha

Kei:
-has marked Hikaru, thus making his scent change to being horrible to other Alphas

Hikaru:
-has been marked by Kei and his scent has changed accordingly

ABO–

Alphas:
-can find synthetically created perfumes, if designed with the exacting properties that make up the base chemical composition of their marked Omega’s scent to be HORRIFICALLY foul, more foul than the odor from the Omega themselves
-can use their Alpha power to make Omegas (and some Betas) to do their wishes

Omegas:
-can not smell their own scent
-can smell other’s scents, including the difference after being marked, though it does not smell bad to them at all, just different
-lack any power to disobey against what their Alpha does using their Alpha powers to order them around

“Can I talk to you?” Hikaru asked as he stepped into the dressing room, looking around to be sure no one else was there but him and Ryosuke.

“Sure,” Ryosuke dropped his phone onto his lap, not having anything he was more concerned about in the world if the group needed him.

“So,” Hikaru swiped his hands on the front of his pants, clearly nervous, “I know I might be overstepping or…something but…I just…I feel like I should discuss some things with you.”

Ryosuke was confused, since this was obviously not concerning something Jump related, but he was always open to the members, nodding his head as he gestured for him to sit down next in the seat across from him.

Hikaru plopped down into the seat, wringing his hands, “Okay, okay,” he took a deep breath, then laughed nervously, “You intimidate the hell out of me, you know?”

“What?” Ryosuke was surprised by this, shaking his head, “I don’t me—“

“It’s an Alpha Omega thing…” Hikaru explained, “I didn’t ever feel this before, but now, it’s there, it makes me nervous, but I know you and I know we can talk so I’m pushing through it for you.”

“Thank you,” Ryosuke nodded, sincerely appreciative that Hikaru was so willing to work through whatever discomfort he felt, “I promise there’s nothing to worry about.”

“I know that logically,” Hikaru pointed to his head, “…but the rest of me sorta has it’s own mind about these things.”

They both laughed, fully understanding.

“So,” Hikaru took a deep breath, “I wanted to sort of tell you some things that I think might help you with Yuri.”

This was not something Ryosuke was expecting—advice or whatever was about to be offered in reference to his relationship with Yuri, his interest was certainly piqued.

“So, as an Omega, I have sort of moved pretty quickly through the transition since the trait activated—maybe it’s an age thing or something, it’s hard to say—but I’ve already experienced some things that I felt like…it would be good for you to know so you can help Yuri the right way through it.”

“Alright,” Ryosuke sat forward, wanting nothing more than to know anything that could help Yuri.

“He’s soft,” Hikaru blurted the words out, “Yuri acts bold but he’s soft,” he laughed, “Of course, no one knows that better than you—you two have that really wild extra sensory thing right? So you know?”

“Yeah, I know,” Ryosuke confirmed, “I know everything.”

“Well, you might think you do, but that’s part of what I wanted to tell you,” Hikaru took another deep breath, “Even with the sensory help, Yuri can lie about what he’s feeling and fool you.”

“What? What do you mean?” Ryosuke didn’t really believe that was possible, he had a direct connection to Yuri, he could sense his feelings, even the smallest adjustments, there’s no way Yuri could mislead him.

“It isn’t usually on purpose,” Hikaru’s hands shot up, concerned Ryosuke might take this the wrong way, “It’s a protective thing, like to keep himself safe, or honestly, it’s more likely to keep you safe—he would do anything to keep you away from harm, and that includes misleading you if it’s necessary. Of course, that goes both ways I suppose…”

Ryosuke thought about how much he loved Yuri, and the fact he refused to let him see even the smallest hint of it, and he understood, nodding his head sharply.

“So, just keep in mind that he can mislead you, don’t trust the bond all of the time, or you’ll become lazy and miss things—you need to pay attention to him and discover the truth on your own.”

Ryosuke pondered these words, tilting his head when Hikaru continued, “I’m sorry if it’s too forward…”

Ryosuke waved him off, thankful for practical advice that he wouldn’t get anywhere else, “Don’t think that—it really means a ton to me. Thank you.”

“Good, good,” Hikaru stood up to leave, but turned to look back at him, “It’s hard, the figuring out what’s my mind, my real thoughts, and what I really want through the trait’s filters—and there are some parts I just can’t control—things that are sort of a part of me now—and it would be easy for Kei, as my friend and as my Alpha, to find them annoying, but if he rejects those parts of me…”

Hikaru visibly shuddered at the thought running through his mind, “That would feel the same as him rejecting me. It would be devastating.”

This hit Ryosuke hard, and he had to really think about what Hikaru had just revealed to him because he never wanted it to feel like he was rejecting any facet of who Yuri was, not a single one.

“Like, he might touch your things, you know? And…just do things that are super confusing and make no sense, right? Wearing your pants—yeah, that’s a real thing ya know? And the last thing he needs is to feel bad about it—it’s not like he’s doing it to bug you or make you mad, so just let him wear the pants and buy yourself a new pair.”

Ryosuke nodded, understanding, but Hikaru clearly wasn’t done despite his body facing the door more than Ryosuke, his voice firm, “Maybe he will sometimes act a little out of character, or he might be a little clingy sometimes, just needing extra reassurance and comfort…and he needs you to be patient, and understanding—he’s…he’s going through a lot even if you don’t see it or know it—he’s being strong for you so he can be the best he can be for you.”

Hikaru was so passionate about this, so assured, that Ryosuke couldn’t help but take every word to heart, his love for Yuri and himself so clear in these words, “I want you two to be happy—so…just try to look at things through his eyes, and feel things from his perspective a little bit so you know what he’s thinking and where he’s at emotionally.

“Thanks for everything, Hikka,” Ryosuke smiled as he turned to leave the room, calling back over his shoulder, “You’re welcome, when I have more good tips for you I’ll be back.”





Ryosuke felt himself being dragged out of his dream, a sharp, grating sound interfering with the video game he was completely slaying, groaning as he tried to take hold of the dream, to stay asleep, but that noise…

THAT NOISE.

He blinked his eyes open, slapping his palms down on the bed in frustration, rolling over into his pillows as he basically pitched a mini-fit over being awakened, especially now that as he waited for the horrific noise to happen again it appeared not be happening at all.

Maybe there really was no noise?

Ugh.

My fucking psyche though.

He grabbed the pillow he’d shoved to the side, burying his face into it as he curled up into a ball intent on trying to go back to sleep and maybe pick up where the dream left off.

He focused on slowing his breathing down, thinking about sweet dreams of monster hunting, slowly drifting off to sleep.

SCCKKKRRRREEEECCCCHHHHHKKKKKK.

He bolted upright, twisting his head to figure out where the noise came from, but it immediately stopped.

“What the…”

He threw his legs off the bed, running his toes across the cold floor trying to find his slippers, when the noise happened again.

He didn’t have time for slippers, as he darted off the bed into the hallway, standing still when the noise stopped abruptly again.

He crept slowly down the hall, waiting for the noise, and then he heard it, a softer noise, followed by a series of grunts and gasps.

He pressed his ear to Yuri’s door, his eyes wide as he tried make sense of what he was hearing, jerking his head back from the door when the loud grating noise sounded loud in his ear.

He jerked the door open, screeching, “What the hell are you doing!?”

Yuri had stopped in mid-motion, his body caught between the wall and his dresser, his feet on the edge as he had apparently been using his body weight against the wall as leverage to move the piece of furniture.

He blinked rapidly like he was trying to make sense of what Ryosuke had asked him, tilting his head in confusion.

“Yuri!” Ryosuke snapped, moving quickly across the room, taking in the absolute disarray that was Yuri’s normally clean and tidy room—it looked like a bomb had went off in the room—twice…maybe even three times, he couldn’t be sure, his hands gesturing to the room around them, “What the hell are you doing right now!?”

Yuri’s mouth opened and closed, trying to form words but they were failing, him, he had no idea how to explain how he had moved from one moment to another for the last thirty minutes, just knowing he had and he couldn’t explain it.

Ryosuke was five seconds from losing it entirely, “Do you have any idea what time it is!?”

Yuri hummed softly, pushing gently against the wall but stopping when the feet of the dresser made a squeaking sound and Ryosuke’s eyes narrowed.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” Ryosuke demanded.

“FIXING IT!!!!!!!!!!!” Yuri bellowed violently, immediately biting his lip as he cast his eyes to the ground between them.

Ryosuke was so shocked by the outburst he couldn’t formulate a response for a moment, his eyes moving across the mess again, exasperated, “Fixing WHAT exactly?”

Yuri sighed like it was the most obvious thing in the world, his hands moving rapidly to point at things as he spoke, “Nothing is where it’s supposed to be, it’s wrong, everything in here is wrong, that’s not facing the right way, and that’s got to go over there but that thing is in the way and it’s just all messed up and I need to fix it, okay? I need to FIX IT!”

Ryosuke tilted his head, trying to make sense of the nonsense he was saying, wondering absently if people can sleepwalk…or in this case sleep-rearrange-furniture to this degree. Sighing, he moved over to grab Yuri into his arms, to set him safely down on the ground on his feet, “Yuri, what in the world is going on with you?”

When Yuri tried to look away, Ryosuke shifted until he was in his line of sight, “Seriously, what’s happening?”

Yuri studied him for a moment, swallowing thickly before he spoke softly, “I mean…it’s…it’s really nothing…it’s just that…I need…I need it to be…right?”

Right…” Ryosuke repeated the word but it didn’t make anymore sense when he said it, “I don’t know what it means…what you mean?”

“I don’t know…I just…it’s all wrong and I need to…fix it.”

Ryosuke felt all the frustration and anger from before fading as he actually took a moment to look at Yuri—to really see him—Hikaru’s words flashing through his mind.

He needs you to be patient, and understanding—he’s…he’s going through a lot even if you don’t see it or know it—he’s being strong for you so he can be the best he can be for you.

He needs you to be patient.

Understanding.

He’s being strong for you so he can be the best he can be for you.

For me.

He was frazzled, his clothes a mess, his entire being seemingly as messy as the room around him, and he felt like he needed to do something, anything to fix him…forget the room. Yuri looked so small, so timid standing there, and Ryosuke couldn’t shake the feeling that he felt…alone.

That he felt…sad…like…no one in the world could understand.

“I don’t understand,” Ryosuke put his finger on Yuri’s lips when he started to talk, stopping him as he continued, “I don’t understand, but I want to…”

Yuri’s eyes widened, mumbling under Ryosuke’s finger, but he just softly shushed him, sighing slowly, “What can I do to help?”

Yuri’s hand grabbed Ryosuke’s wrist, pulling his hand away, “Really?!?”

Ryosuke couldn’t help but smile at how absolutely adorable Yuri was in all of his excitement and enthusiasm and the dark, cloudy gray of his mood before seemed to dissipate, his expression shy when he looked up at Ryosuke, “Will you help me move my furniture?”

“I’m assuming you mean right now?”

“Yeah…” Yuri shrugged, “I mean it’s okay if you don’t wan—”

Ryosuke brushed past him, situating himself on the side of the dresser where Yuri had been, gesturing for him to take the other side, “Where are we moving it?”





Ryosuke had tried so hard to fall back to sleep but it was impossible, his throat was so dry, he was absolutely parched, and there was nothing to be done for it but to go get a drink.

All the way across the house.

He groaned, frustrated as he flung his legs over the side of the bed, slipping his toes into his slippers.

He mumbled incoherently as he shuffled across the floor, opening his door and stepping forward, his foot catching on something causing him to stumble forward, slamming into the wall as he twisted to try to make sense of what had just happened.

There, on the floor, clearly having been pressed up against his door, was Yuri.
Curled up into a tiny ball, covered up with his thin blanket, he was sleeping soundly on the floor despite Ryosuke practically kicking him just now.

“What the…”

Ryosuke bent down, resting his hand on Yuri’s forehead, checking to see if he had a fever or something, but he felt normal. He touched his shoulder, shaking him gently, “Yuri?”

He stirred, his eyes blinking open slowly, “Hmm?”

“What are you doing here on the floor?”

He could tell Yuri was still half asleep, his eyes blinking slowly, staying closed longer than was natural, and Ryosuke shook him softly again, “Yuri…”

“Hmm?”

“Why are you here?”

“Want to be here…” he murmured, the words slow and lazy.

“On the hall floor?” Ryosuke asked, unsure if he was hearing him correctly.

“Near you…”

Ryosuke swallowed hard, his heart feeling like it was tripping over itself, “Near…me?”

“Uhnn,” Yuri agreed, his fingers moving slowly up his arm to grab his t-shirt, “Bad dream…”

“Come to bed,” Ryosuke whispered, reaching forward to twist his head a bit, try to wake him up, but Yuri wasn’t having it, complaining with various grunts and squeals as Ryosuke tried to get him to where he’d be alert enough to walk.

“Fine,” Ryosuke sighed, scooching forward until he was close enough he could work his arms underneath his body, groaning as he lifted him up, “You’re not twelve anymore, and frankly, neither am I.”

Yuri laughed softly against his neck as he moved into his room, shutting the door with his foot, then crossing the space to put him down on the other side of the bed.

Water long forgotten, Ryosuke pulled the covers up over Yuri, watching curiously as he curled up into a ball, his face pressed into the pillow, and then, he was in motion, shuffling his body across the bed until he was on Ryosuke’s side, his arms grabbing the pillow to ball it up and then wrapped his entire body around it as he stuffed his face into the fabric and inhaled.

Ryosuke wasn’t sure what he should do at this point, partially thinking he should just go sleep in Yuri’s bed and let him do…whatever…it was he was doing here.

“Ryo…” Yuri’s voice was soft, though he didn’t lift his head or open his eyes, his hand moved out to pat the bed, “Come.”

Ryosuke sighed, pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to sleep with Yuri being so…weird.

Still, he felt like he couldn’t leave at the same time, so he threw the covers back, climbing into the bed on what was clearly the wrong side, everything feeling foreign from this perspective.

Whatever he thought would matter faded the moment Yuri moved, his pillow thrown over his face as he shuffled into his arms, curling around Ryosuke instead of the pillow. Ryosuke jerked the pillow down off his face, looking down at where Yuri was wrapped around him.

He thought maybe this would feel weird, to have Yuri here with him, to have him hold him this way, but all he felt was peace, a smile spreading across his face as he shoved the pillow under his head and wrapped his arms around Yuri.

“What was the dream about?” he had wondered for a few minutes what kind of nightmares Yuri had these days.

When Yuri didn’t answer, Ryosuke lifted his head up again to look down at him, contented when he saw his face soft and serene in a peaceful sleep.

“Sleep sweet,” Ryosuke whispered, pressing a tender kiss to the top of his head.



Ryosuke was trying to find his favorite watch, convinced that he had lost it, because as a matter of habit he didn’t really take his jewelry off anywhere except at his dresser…he growled in frustration, turning when Yuri walked into the room, eating an apple as he climbed up on the bed, “What are you doing?”

“Looking for my watch,” Ryosuke shrugged, but he didn’t miss the way the aura around them flared up for a moment, his head tilting in confusion.

“Oh,” Yuri nodded, clearly nervous about whatever he wanted to say, “It’s just…well…”

He sighed, standing up and throwing the apple in the garbage can as he gestured for Ryosuke to follow him to his room.

When they walked in, Yuri stood still for a moment and Ryosuke could sense his hesitation, speaking softly, as reassuringly as he could, “Whatever it is, I won’t be mad.”

“O-Okay,” Yuri swallowed thickly before he walked over to his nightstand where there was a light pink cloth covering the surface. As he slowly drug the cloth away, drawing his hands up to his face to hide himself, an array of items placed on a large tray were revealed.

Ryosuke stepped forward, recognizing all of the items—a few he had thought he’d lost, others that he didn’t even realize were missing—some of them he didn’t really understand—a penny and a small piece of paper that looked like a movie ticket…but most of the items he knew for certain were his.

He glanced over at Yuri who was still hiding his face, and it just didn’t matter what this was or why he had the items, he was upset and Ryosuke wanted, no, needed to fix it, stepping forward to draw him into a hug, “It’s fine, why are you worried?”

“I don’t know, I just…” Yuri released as slow breath, “I didn’t mean to take them, I was going to put them back but then…I just couldn’t let them go…”

Ryosuke squeezed him tightly, wishing he were one of those people eloquent with words, who could most certainly say something that would comfort him, to know it was okay but he didn’t know what to say, his eyes fixated on the items on the tray over Yuri’s shoulder, and then he wondered, his arm moving slightly down to touch the edge of the tray and spun it slightly until it was facing him.

His eyes widened, his heart beating wildly in his chest, because it was obvious from this angle that these items had been placed in very specific places, maybe even Yuri didn’t realize it, who knows—but there on the tray—those items created a heart with two letters inside of it—a R and a Y.

So, just keep in mind that he can mislead you, don’t trust the bond all of the time, or you’ll become lazy and miss things—you need to pay attention to him and discover the truth on your own.

Ryosuke’s thoughts whirled in his head, could he be…could it…

He had no idea, but he decided that he was going to find out, he was going to find out because if there was any chance at all with Yuri—he was going to take it.

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{ 7 } Promise
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What we know so far: (refer to this section at the start of each chapter for recaps of the chapter before)

Our Members–

Ryosuke:
-struggles with the innate desire to ‘possess’ Yuri
-is in fact, a somewhat ‘possessive’ freak lol (not in an abusive way to be clear)

Yuri:
-appreciated Ryosuke running off the other Alpha

ABO–

Alphas:
-can recognize other Alphas once their trait has been activated
-stink worse that anything to other Alphas

Omegas:
-smell GREAT to Alphas

Betas:
-smell good to Alphas

Super-Hybrids:
-have no desire for any other Alpha/Omega apart from the one gifted to them in their soul-bond
-Omega Super-Hybrids are subject to their scent being ‘tainted’ by other ABO’s

Daiki rushed into the room heading for the shower–the air stirring around them as he brushed past them carrying a horrible strong, pungent smell into the room.

Ryosuke who had been standing at the mirror blinked, jerking his head back at the odor.

“Sorry, I know the smell is horrible,” Daiki rushing to speak, waving his hands, causing Ryosuke to lift his hand to cover his nose.

“What is that!?“

Daiki paused, frowning, “Listen, just look out for Kei.“

“Hmm?” Ryosuke was unsure of what he was referring to.

“The smell, he’s spraying everyone with it–it’s one of those ‘create your own scent’ perfumes he made at some shop downtown–I don’t even know how they let him buy it…it’s the most disgusting smell I’ve ever smelled in my life!“

“It’s like the smell of sulfer from the burning pits of hell,” Ryosuke commented as he pulled his hoodie on.

Daiki stared at him, “You feel…strongly about that obviously,” he laughed then, “I mean…it’s nasty I think…but…it’s not that bad?“

“It is,” Ryosuke grimaced, needing to get out of that room, away from that smell, “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever smelled.“

Daiki pulled his arm up to smell the spot where Kei had sprayed him, shrugging, “I mean, I don’t like it… but…but it’s not that bad…“

“It is the WORST SMELL IN THE WORLD!” Keito bellowed, storming through the doorway, shoving Daiki out of the way so he could walk directly into the shower he had been going into without even removing his clothes, the door slamming loudly as he raged about the perfume Kei had sprayed him with.

Ryosuke and Daiki both stood with their mouths open staring at the door that Keito had disappeared behind, shocked, because Keito never freaked out about anything or ever got worked up, but he definitely was now.

“I swear to all things good and holy I am going to kill him if he comes near me with that cursed scent again!“

Ryosuke’s eyebrow raised, glad he wasn’t the only one who thought that the perfume had been procured directly from the inner circle of hell—and equally amused that Keito was now throwing his clothes over the top of the door, screeching, “I’ll have to burn all of those! That smell will never come out!“

Daiki was still standing where he’d been shoved, dumbfounded by all of the events that were happening, slapping away the pants that flew over the door, his eyes catching Hikaru’s when he opened the stall door next to Keito’s, stepping out with a towel wrapped around his waist, eyes filled with amusement.

“I think there’s a gas leak or something and everyone’s slowly being poisoned or something–Yama-chan and Chinen are sniffing each other all the time like…weird ass freaks, not gonna lie and then here’s Keito…” he banged the door where Keito was, laughing when he just got louder with his ranting, “…who is clearly losing his mind…and you…“

Hikaru leaned close to Daiki, sniffing him gingerly, “You smell like that assinine perfume, and something else, something…foul.“

“I–I–I most certainly do not!” Daiki screeched, shoving Hikaru, “I just smell like that perfume Kei is spraying, nothing else…“

“No,” Hikaru frowned, “There’s something else and it’s bad…really bad.“

“Are you using a new laundry detergent?” Ryosuke asked absently.

“Or hair product, it could be hairspray maybe? Anything like that?” Hikaru asked quickly.

“What about skincare products?” Ryosuke tilted his head, “Any new products like that?”

“No! I mean, I don’t even need anything for that, and whatever you think—frankly, this is all your fault,” Daiki snipped at Hikaru, who seemed surprised, “Kei was so proud of the malodorous concoction he created specifically because he said it smelled like you!”

“Huh,” Hikaru looked mildly amused, slightly confused, and then shrugged, “I won’t be able to smell my own scent—Omega’s can’t—not equipped with the proper glands…but…damn…I’m sorry if that’s what I actually smell like.”

Ryosuke and Daiki both stared at him, his brows raising as he shrugged, “Do I really stink?”

Ryosuke hummed softly, “You do smell bad, different than you did before your mark, now…Kei’s scent has merged your fragrance with his, which creates something that other Alphas will recognize immediately and tell them who the Omega is bonded to. It is pretty bad, how gross the smell can be, because like…Kei reeks to high heaven, and now you do just on a weird messier level.”

“But…” Hikaru looked to be doing his best to piece this together, “Then how does he even stand to be around me if I smell that badly?”

“You don’t smell bad to him, not at all,” Ryosuke reassured him, “In fact, with your Alpha you will smell amazingly good—if you don’t smell good, I can’t imagine they’d even show interest in you.”

“Huh,” Hikaru nodded in understanding.

A beat happened, and it was like Ryosuke could see the wheels in Hikaru’s head turning, wanting to slap him for going there, because he knew he’d pieced together the scent factors with the fact that Yuri’s fragrance had not changed.

“Ohhh, hoohooohhooo,” Hikaru was laughing like he’d just thought of the funniest thing in the world, wagging his eyebrows up and down, “I know the answer to my question now…”

Ryosuke didn’t like the change in his tone, not a bit, his eyes narrowing, “What do you mean?”

“If you two were…you know…” He raised and lowered his eyebrows for good measure.

Ryosuke wanted to punch him because it wasn’t like he didn’t think about it or care about it and to just point it out this way without an explanation was rude and obnoxious but there really was nothing he could do.

“Do what…what?” Daiki asked, looking back and forth between the two.

“Shut up,” Ryosuke snapped, turning to leave.

“I’m just saying, Yuri smells really nicely these days, doesn’t he?” Hikaru called after him.

“What…what does that mean? What were they doing?” Daiki was so confused, throwing his hands up in the air, looking between the two, “Frankly, I am glad to be a Beta, all of this is entirely too complicated.”





Ryosuke was passing by Yuri’s room, glancing to the side as he passed the open door, then backing up to look into the room, tilting his head in confusion, because…is that?

He walked into the room, “Yuri?”

He glanced around, realizing Yuri wasn’t there, walking slowly over to the bed, eyes wide as he ran his fingers across the hoodie that was draped on top of his pillow.

My Fullmetal Alchemist hoodie….what…what in the world is it doing in here?

“Oh! I didn’t know you whe—”

Ryosuke jumped, jerking around to face Yuri who had just walked into the room, his words fading as his eyes moved to land on the hoodie covered pillow that Ryosuke was currently touching.

“I…I didn’t…” Yuri’s hands lifted, as he began to wring them together in nervousness, “I mean, it’s not that I meant to…I just…and then…”

“Yuri,” Ryosuke moved slowly, approaching him cautiously, not caring about the hoodie so much as he was worried about Yuri, “What’s…what’s going on?”

“Nothing,” Yuri’s voice cracked as he rushed past Ryosuke to the bed, grabbing the hoodie off of the pillow and then holding it out to him, “I don’t know, okay…just…here, take it, I’m sorry, I just…please…just take it.”

Ryosuke was so confused, his emotions were all over the place and all he wanted to do was hug Yuri.

He just needed to touch him.

To help him.

To heal him.

So, he did.

He moved in a flash over to him, grabbing him into a hug before he could stop him or tell him why he shouldn’t or dart away or any number of possible scenarios that would have been something Yuri would certainly do in his frustration.

He partly expected him to push him away, sighing, his eyes fluttering closed in contentment when he felt him nestle into his embrace instead of drawing away. His hand lifted to press into his hair, holding his head there against him, his face buried into the hoodie he’d drawn up between them, and then Ryosuke froze, because Yuri inhaled.

Not just a normal breath, but a deep, long inhale, and his body became even softer within his arms.

Ryosuke began to tremble, his arms squeezing Yuri even tighter as he turned his head, pressing his nose against his hair and slowly inhaling, his skin feeling like it was on fire, every nerve ending tingling to life, and for a moment, for just a moment it felt like too much—almost painful to him, and he pressed his nose further into Yuri’s hair, seeking relief, and then as quickly as the overwhelming feeling had come, he felt a softness, a tenderness nipping gently at the edges of his mind, his heart feeling as if it were growing, trying to spread out further in his chest, and he let it, he relished it, pressing further against Yuri, holding him as tightly as he could, feeling like he was where he belonged, where he was always meant to be.

His heart clenched in his chest when Yuri’s hands moved, grabbing onto his shirt like he was afraid he was going to move away, desperation flowing in the connection between them, his body shaking in his arms as he spoke softly, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to take it…I just…I don’t really know why I did…I’m…I’m really sorry.”

“It’s fine, Yuri, honestly, I wasn’t even going to take it from you, I just…I was surprised is all, if you wanted one, I could get you one, you know?”

“No, it’s not that, though…it’s not…”

Yuri pushed into Ryosuke further, almost as if he were trying to hide from him as he spoke, “I don’t want one of my own.”

“But…you have…mine…”

“Yes.”

Ryosuke’s mind was whirling trying to put together what Yuri was trying to explain to him, his eyes popping wide open when he managed to piece together the situation and the things Yuri was saying, “You…you want mine.”

“Yes.”

“I…I see,” Ryosuke tried to calm his heart down, positive that Yuri could feel it beating wildly in his chest but there was nothing he could do to stop it, even if he really wanted to, “Then…it’s alright, you can have it.”

Yuri made a small noise against his chest, shaking his head, and Ryosuke couldn’t help but laugh, because he was never shy, never bashful, but here he was hiding from him, over a hoodie, “I want you to have it.”

Yuri went limp against him, the will to fight draining from him as he pressed his face against the soft fleece of the hoodie, inhaling again the scent that seemed to be a part of the fabric itself.

“Thank you,” the words were muffled against the fabric, and Ryosuke could hear the smile in them even so, unable to keep from smiling himself, because he didn’t really understand why Yuri wanted the hoodie, but…somehow, he knew he’d give him anything at all if it made him happy.

A hoodie was the least of what Yuri could ask for all things considered, even if it was one of his favorite memorabilia from his movies, it hardly mattered at all if it meant making Yuri happy.




They were all more than a little tired, the tour was on the last leg, and all of them were looking forward to some down time. They’d arrived early, setting up the game consoles and spent the afternoon challenging each other to battles.

It was fun, and more than what Ryosuke most certainly needed at this point. He was taking a break, laying across the couch, his feet pushed into Yuri’s legs as he closed his eyes, sighing in contentment.

He could have fallen asleep, if not for the weird movement that Yuri was currently doing—when Ryosuke opened his eyes to look down at him, it was obvious that he was not even aware he was bobbing his legs up and down, the motion shaking the entire couch.

“Yuri,” Ryosuke said his name lazily, still feeling the fog of sleep over himself, pushing against his legs harder to get his attention since he had earbuds in.

When he pulled one out and tilted his head, Ryosuke pointed to his legs that were still moving, insisting, “Stop that.”

Yuri’s legs instantly stilled, his eyes widening as he looked at Ryosuke and then back to his own legs.

Ryosuke lifted up on his elbows, getting a better look at him, trying to decipher the change in the atmosphere. Yuri stared at him for a moment longer, slowly lifting the earbud to push it back in, glancing around the room before he focused back onto the game he’d been watching.

“Tell him to go over there,” Hikaru whispered from the seat next to Ryosuke’s head, causing him to startle, jumping to the side as he reached out to smack his leg.

“What?”

“Tell him to go over there, to the catering table…”

“Why?”

“Just do it,” Hikaru rolled his hand, encouraging Ryosuke to listen to him.

He wasn’t sure he should do whatever it was Hikaru was suggesting, it felt a little bit like most of Hikaru’s suggestions were just him messing with them on a general basis, and more often than not ended up with Yuri mad at him, at Hikaru, or unfortunately most of the time, both of them.

“Do it…” Hikaru nudged him with his fingertips.

Ryosuke sighed, already regretting his choice to listen to Hikaru, pushing against Yuri’s legs to get his attention again.

Yuri huffed, irritated at being interrupted again when Yuto had just made it to one of the really challenging parts, his eyes wide, “What?”

“Go over there to the catering table.”

Yuri glanced over to the table, then back at Ryosuke, “Why?”

At this, Ryosuke jerked his head to look at Hikaru, needing to know why he was even asking him to do this in the first place. Hikaru rolled his eyes, “You didn’t remotely mean it.”

“I didn’t mean what?”

“You don’t actually care if he goes over there or not—you have to mean it…say it like you mean it.”

“I don’t really care about him go—“

“Yama-chan, for the love of God, just do it…”

“You idiot, why don’t you ask him to go if you’re so keen on it?”

“It won’t work if I do it—it has to be you.”

Ryosuke looked back down the couch at Yuri who had just about lost even the last bit of his patience, “What in the world are you two on about?”

“Go over to the catering table,” Ryosuke repeated, but this time he meant it as an order, as a direct demand.

Yuri rolled his eyes, but then he was in motion, shoving Ryosuke’s legs off of his lap, and then moving quickly across the room to the table where he stood, throwing his hands up in the air in frustration, “Okay!”

Ryosuke couldn’t think straight, couldn’t make sense of it, his eyes snapping to Hikaru’s who was staring at Yuri with his mouth open, shock clear in his expression.

“Tell him to eat one of those cookies.”

“He doesn’t like those cookies though…” Ryosuke mumbled, shaking his head slowly.

“That’s how to tell, isn’t it?”

Ryosuke understood what he meant but he was already feeling completely uncomfortable with all of this, and unsure of what was really taking place at this point, but he was curious, so he focused on Yuri, “Yuri, eat one of those cookies.”

Yuri frowned, his torso twisting as he looked at the cookies on the table, “I don’t even like them though, they’re gross…”

“Eat that cookie,” Ryosuke snapped.

His heart dropped into his tummy, his fingers clenching into fists as he watched, horrified when Yuri’s hand reached out to pick up one of the cookies, his arm shaking as he lifted it to his mouth to eat it.

“Yuri! STOP!” Ryosuke bolted up off the couch, rushing across the room to slap the cookie out of his hand, mortified by what had just happened, grabbing Yuri into his arms, frantically touching him to hold him closely, “I’m so sorry, oh my God, Yuri, I’m so sorry!”

Yuri melted against him, sighing softly into his chest, “Don’t do that again.”

“I swear I won’t,” Ryosuke insisted, pressing a soft kiss against his temple, “I won’t…never again.”

“You promise?” Yuri whispered, his fingers grabbing onto Ryosuke’s shirt.

“I promise.”




They should have seen it coming, they really should have, but they most definitely did NOT see it—so when they were on the talk show and they were filling up the screen with an array of complaints about “Yamachii” both of the boys were in near panic mode. If they weren’t such seasoned professionals, they might have had a meltdown right there on screen.

Instead, they both laughed nervously, a strange vibration of energy passing between them as the hosts brought up the fact that there were concerns about the “Yamachii” relationship.

Ryosuke felt like someone had put their fingers around his throat, grasping him tightly so that he could not move or take a proper breath, his eyes cutting over to look at Yuri who was obviously worse off than him.

Behind him he could feel Yuya’s energy, a weird combination of peaceful assurance, and vague panic. Ryosuke rolled his eyes, wishing he better understood these concepts so he could tell Yuya to focus, this was big and they needed to handle it properly for the sake of all of their careers.

Ryosuke wanted to kick someone, hard, when the first ‘revelation’ popped up on the screen.

“They often kiss on the lips and hold each others hands…”

Alright, alright, so…this wasn’t true, it really wasn’t because neither one were stupid, and they wouldn’t actually kiss each other in concert in front of the camera.

And, factually speaking they hadn’t kissed anyway, not at all, not that either of them didn’t think about it an extraordinary number of minutes in a day, nor that they weren’t borderline obsessed with the very notion of the ‘perfect’ kiss between them, but rather, it was because…well, as far as they were concerned, it was simple to be whatever this whole Alpha/Omega thing was, and maybe it was more than that, involving some ancient weird ass magic, but navigating a romantic relationship while trying to figure out who you were while under the influence of that self-same weird ass magic?

Well, suffice to say, labeling it ‘it’s complicated’ is far too simplistic. 

So, they were moving slowly in all aspects of their relationship–mostly out of the need to be sure they were making the choices and none were being usurped from them by the link between them. For Ryosuke, it wasn’t that hard to see and understand the dynamics per say, but he sensed a lot of conflict in Yuri over it sometimes, and out of respect and care for him–he’d become determined to be as supportive as possible of Yuri being the one to move forward and take initiative.

The interesting thing was, in truth, a lot of things hadn’t exactly changed…it wasn’t like they had strict boundaries or normal friendship behavior before they had decided to become a couple–in fact, it was like their bodies and minds knew before their own hearts did–so in many ways, it didn’t feel like a very dramatic change to either of them to go from friends to a couple at all. 

Of course, there were plenty of times Ryosuke liked to pretend he would have surely moved forward with their relationship sooner but Yuri had never given a single indication he would be receptive to his attention in a romantic way.

Oh, just shut the hell up with that nonsense.

He couldn’t even kid himself about this, the truth was, Yuri had been more than clear, practically from the first day they’d met and he called him ‘Yama-chan’, that he felt a deep rooted affection for Ryosuke, and while Ryosuke didn’t consider himself the smartest guy in the world, he was in tune enough to recognize that Yuri held romantic feelings for him.

Ryosuke had felt much the same, of course, and though it had taken time for them to force their own stupid hangups out of the way of their relationship–plus, it was a strange thing to wonder about how much their traits influenced their thoughts and ideas about things–he wanted Yuri to want to be with him, to kiss him, touch him, because he wanted to, because it was his own desire–not a compelling need that he didn’t actually have an emotional connection to.

It was hard for Ryosuke to advise Yuri about his Omega trait…even a little bit, because it was so foreign to him. The Alpha trait was so ingrained in him, such a part of his being, that it seemed like it was just who he was from the very start, not actually ‘activated’–but it felt somehow different for Yuri. Sometimes, Ryosuke felt sure it was just because Yuri was afraid of the implications of what it would mean to be both a being of complete free will who was also moved through the spinning circles of life on a path set forth by destiny. It was a simple picture to Ryosuke of what that meant, and how it looked to him, but he had never been able to articulate it in a way that would give Yuri the confidence that they were who they were and they were in charge of their own lives even if fate had woven threads within their story’s tapestry.

So…sadly, they had not yet kissed.

They were waiting–for what?

Neither of them could really say, but they felt sure that they’d know it when it had, in fact, happened. 

Which made Ryosuke’s cheeks flame up in frustration that they were implying the two of them were out there randomly kissing all the time when in fact, he’d honestly love nothing more than to just say, “Hell ya, wouldn’t you kiss his perfectly pink, delightfully soft, plump pouty lips all the time too?” but instead would have to state the clear and concise truth, “That’s a lie.”

And even if they had kissed, if they were kissing every day, fifty times a day, it would be none of their business at any rate, and the entire situation offended his sensibilities.

Of course, thankfully, Yuri had the sense to point out that it certainly wasn’t on the lips, cause who the hell knew if they were going to be dragging out some obscure fan-cam or papa pic of one of the rare times they got a little carried away?

Best to cover their bases, so he was glad when Yuri played off his lead.

One down.

Then the second one popped up.

“They have ‘couples’ rings.”

Well, yeah?

This felt a little anticlimactic to be honest, sort of a let down, cause the thing is, they’d never even made a secret about the rings.

Ryosuke had bought them and they wore them and they were important and vital and meaningful and lovely and represented how much they cared for each other, their commitment to one another, and they had chosen them together, pleased in knowing it was far too trivial of a gesture for fate to have even given a single blink to it–so it affirmed they were the ones making the promises to each other.

The rings were sacred, and he’d personally kick anyone’s ass who said otherwise.

“Yes, we do have rings—it’s common among friends…”

“But you wear them on your pinkie—that means lover!”

Oh, hell no you did not.

“Now, that really is going too far,” Ryosuke snapped, knowing his tone was disrespectful and he meant it to be, he could feel the hair on the back of his neck standing up out of the desire to stop this whole thing before they actually hurt Yuri.

Finally, the third–

“They recognize each other by scent.”

Well, fuck.

Ryosuke wanted to just throw his arms up in the air and just reveal the whole sordid truth because he wasn’t sure who told who what when but this was all beyond incriminating and to be perfectly honest, he felt attacked by the host and the program and felt the innate need to protect Yuri from these vipers.

How dare they.

They could bring Ryosuke onto their show and do whatever they wanted, God knows they have—but to involve Yuri?

For what?

Ratings?

Entertainment?

Please, that’s the worst of all if it’s just for entertainment value, it’s even more offensive.

His mind was focused on Yuri though, his heart reaching out to him, knowing he was undoubtedly having a mini-heart attack even as Ryosuke was plotting revenge on everyone in that studio along with all of their relatives, pets, and maybe even their children’s children if he had anything to say about it.

If he found out who gave them this information, he was going to hurt someone. Maybe go to jail—at the very least probably lose his job.

It would be SO worth it.

Ryosuke clenched his fists because he didn’t remember the last five minutes, pretty sure he blacked out or something to get through the insane explanation of why they could tell each other by their scent, and all he could think was ‘thank God for Yuri’ because he really stepped up and delivered when Ryosuke couldn’t think of any response that wouldn’t be like…

“Well, Karen, I realize this doesn’t rank as real news to you since it’s not common knowledge anymore—but, please, educate yourself. Our ancestors were these hybrid humans with crazy sensory perception and all of this really bizarre stuff that we just can’t get into on national television, and even though all of you want to pretend it’s not real, it is—so, but suffice to say, I can smell Yuri from two miles away and well, to be perfectly blunt, his scent is the most perfect thing in the universe and I could live off of it alone…was there anything else you wanted to know about us? Since we’re here and you’re so actively violating our privacy and all that…No? Okay then…see you next time.”

No, it was good that Yuri had answered with some inane jabber about colognes and lingering scents and whatever else he’d said, and all Ryosuke could think was Yuya hasn’t said a word the whole time.

Then they asked him what Jump thought about this and if Ryosuke hadn’t already had an out of body experience through his multiple deaths while being filmed on this program, this would have sent him, cause they did NOT need to talk about what Jump thought about him and Yuri.

At all.

He held his breath, hoping with his whole heart that Yuya had been given enough time to formulate a response to any question they’d thrown their way, and then when he answered, Ryosuke felt so happy—because that was simple, wasn’t it?

“Yeah, we acknowledge this,” Yuya laughed softly from behind him.

And it’s true…they do acknowledge it—they support us, and well…

“Karen, we’re all a little twisted right, and Yuri and I are not the only ones, though we are certainly the most progressed out of all of the people we have met with this issue.”

Nah, better they just think he means “Yah, Yamachii, little freaks the both of them” rather than the truth.


Ryosuke arrived last to the dressing room—having filmed his latest Lachesca commercial that afternoon—he was exhausted, and tired and a little cranky, but his mood was about to change.

The moment he saw Daiki, he moved across the space that separated them, inhaling deeply of his scent, crowing loudly in his ear, “I KNEW IT!”

Daiki shrugged his shoulders, covering his ears, looking at Ryosuke like he was crazy, in fact, pretty much everyone was looking at him that way except for Yuri who regarded him with a sense of amusement as he tested their connection.

“I want to know the secret of your beautiful, young looking complexion,” Ryosuke asked in the most sincere voice he could, “…because I think all of us, as idols, can use every single tip possible for keeping our skin in the best, healthiest, most youthful condition!”

Ryosuke threw himself down into a chair in front of Daiki, gesturing to him now that he was the only person standing, “Go ahead, Dai-chan, the room is yours, please, share your skin care routine so we can all learn from you.”

“I—I don’t understand…I don’t…I mean I don’t use anything special, my skin is just naturally hydra—“

“EEEEEEEHHHHHHHNNNNNNTTTTT,” Ryosuke mimicked the sound of a buzzer—loud and annoying causing Daiki to jump, rolling his hand at him, “Go on, try again.”

“I—I just wash my face with normal wat—“

“EEEEEEEHHHHHHHNNNNNNTTTTT!”

“Will you please sto—“

“EEEEEEEHHHHHHHNNNNNNTTTTT!”

“Seriously, yo—”

“EEEEEEEHHHHHHHNNNNNNTTTTT!”

“Ryos—”

“EEEEEEEHHHHHHHNNNNNNTTTTT!”

“For the love of all things good and holy what in the world is happening here?!” Kei spoke up, having watched the scene with amusement and then irritation.

“He’s a liar, liar pants on fire,” Ryosuke taunted, looking over at Kei, “I know what the smell is.”

Daiki went impossibly pale his eyes widening before he managed to school them.

“Ohhhh,” Ryosuke smiled, but it was perfectly evil, obviously something he picked up from one of his less sane character portrayals like Semi or something, “Noooow you see.”

Daiki nodded his head once.

“Shall I tell them or will you be doing the honors?”

Daiki tilted his head down, gesturing for Ryosuke to go ahead. 

Ryosuke smiled, standing to put his arm around Daiki, pulling him into a side hug, “Our boy who has spent the last God knows how many years touting the natural beauty of his skin, who has repeatedly told all of us along with any magazine, talk show, or fan that would listen that he had flawless skin based on his good genetics, eating habits, and ‘fresh happy attitude’—has been holding out on us all along.”

The room erupted in chatter, everyone freaking out about the idea that Daiki lied to them about this, after all, they all shared ‘trade’ secrets regularly—but Ryosuke didn’t let them get too carried away, “He uses Lachesca products.”

Everyone stopped talking weighing this information, then Daiki nodded, “I do.”

“Apparently, he uses a lot of them, simultaneously,” Ryosuke added, “Like, it takes a really potent cocktail of their products to produce the level of noxious scented fumes that would tamper with your natural aroma to this point.”

“I just want my skin to look nice!” Daiki defended himself, “…and I didn’t tell you guys cause I didn’t want you to think it was stupid.”

“It is stupid,” Ryosuke snapped, “Not for the reason you think, I’ll give you the number to my dermatologist—let them take care of you, stop using the stuff you’re using, I swear it has to be destroying your chemical makeup bit by bit to produce such a horrible smell.”

“We endorse that product,” Daiki commented, and everyone paused considering this information.

“We do,” Ryosuke agreed, “However, no one I know uses fifteen of them a day—no one but you, and apparently the girl I met on set for my commercial today who incredibly had the same bizarre underlying scent as you.”

“Huh,” Daiki tilted his head, wrapping his arm around Ryosuke’s shoulder in return, “Maybe you should introduce us, sounds like we already have a lot in common!”

They all laughed at that, and Ryosuke told him he’d think about sharing her contact information if Daiki would go to his dermatologist. 

Types
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{ 6 } Understand
Multi-chapter
Reading Time: 13 minutes
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What we know so far: (refer to this section at the start of each chapter for recaps of the chapter before)

Our Members–

Ryosuke:
-is no longer sure if his Granny has passed away as he assumed
-will literally fight anyone who mistreats Yuri

Yuri:
-wore Ryosuke’s pants to work
-escalated to wearing ALL of Ryosuke’s clothing

Kei:
-Can smell Daiki’s scent, indicating he is a hybrid
-is an Alpha

Hikaru:
-is Kei’s Omega

Jump:
-received a letter from Granny Yamada explaining about Ryosuke and Yuri and revealing
-there were going to be two additional Alphas and matching Omegas whose traits would activate once they were exposed to Ryosuke’s activated trait
-these may or may not activate and show themselves in the same way as the original ‘parent’ Alpha (Ryosuke)

ABO–

Alphas:
-can smell subtle (or not so subtle) changes in other’s scents

Omegas:
-can smell other’s scents just not to the level of an Alpha

Ryosuke froze when he walked into the dressing room, one of the older boys from a different group standing at the styling counter, arms crossed as he leaned against the edge of the surface, his eyes fixated on Yuri who was sitting in the chair waiting for his stylist to arrive, slowly spinning the seat back and forth as he listened to the other guy tell a story.

Ryosuke couldn’t help it, he felt a spike of possessiveness flare up, jealousy running across all the nerves in his body and all he wanted to do is to grab Yuri and run him out of the room…not let anyone see him, touch him, be near him…which was…utterly insane.

Seriously, you can’t own another person…you can’t pack him away in fluffy cotton and keep him for yourself.

His eyes shifted to look at Yuri who was still spinning the seat and his face was so pure, so full of light and happiness that Ryosuke wanted to just fall to the ground in front of him and ask him to just shine for him alone.

There is something wrong with me.

I think I need therapy.

You’re an Alpha, this is probably just another part of it, seriously you need to stop trying to stifle these things, just let them ride and take care of him.

Why am I talking to myself like this?

God, I really do need therapy.

I can’t keep people from wanting to be close to Yuri.

I can’t do that…

He knew this, he recognized it, fully understood that it was irrational and impossible and stupid and a million other ‘un’ and ‘ir’ words, but he couldn’t help it. It just was what it was, and it was on top of him without a single thought, every single cell of his body honed in and attuned to the boy across the room who was spinning in the chair, and maybe even more so, at least in this moment, the guy who was looking at him.

Ryosuke could see through him, see through his kind act, he was testing, trying to see if he could get Yuri’s attention, and suddenly Ryosuke was seeing red, his focus narrowed, moving across the room like a flash, standing between Yuri and the boy.

“Ryosuke!” Yuri’s voice was animated and happy, though he fell silent when he sensed the emotions rolling off of him, realizing something was happening, but not sure what it was.

“Takada…” Ryosuke said the name, and it was just a name, but the way he said it was as a curse, as a taunt, and the boy stood up to his full height, taking a step forward to diminish the space between himself and Ryosuke.

To be fair, the boy stood well over a head taller than Ryosuke, but he didn’t back down, rather, Ryosuke’s entire stance screamed ‘predator’ his tiny form radiating a dangerous aura, his head lifted up, eyes dilated as he stepped forward in response.

“You don’t want to do this,” Takada spoke the words as a matter of fact, but Ryosuke just bit back a laugh at how bold the boy thought he was going to be.

Hell no.

“Walk away.”

The boy stood still, and Yuri had shifted, peeking around Ryosuke to look up at him, still trying to piece together what was happening here, what was going on, because he’d never felt this before from Ryosuke, never saw this weird stance he was projecting, and all he could think was…

It’s hot.

Damn it, brain, get your shit together.

There was a strange battle happening, he knew that…while no words were being spoken aloud, and while they weren’t coming to blows, Yuri was positive there was a war being waged in that moment, and then, his eyes widened as Ryosuke took a step forward, a low, menacing sound erupting from his chest, so faint, Yuri was sure he would not hear it from even a few feet away.

Ryosuke took another step forward, his head tilted up to continue to hold eye contact with the other boy, his shoulders rolled forward, hands balled into fists, and everything about him screamed that the boy should run, that he was the prey—and then, the other boy seemed to shrink.

His entire form seemed to fold in on himself, becoming so…small. Whatever swagger, whatever confidence he’d had that had caused him to step up toe to toe with Ryosuke had been deflated, his entire being flustered as he stepped backward quickly, bumping into the counter, and then mumbling some words about needing to go somewhere to do something and then he was gone.

Ryosuke twisted his body, his eyes affixed to the boy, watching him go, his fingernails biting into the palms of his hands as there was a part of him that did not want to let him go, that wanted to impress upon him in whatever method necessary that he was not to come sniffing around Yuri again, that he didn’t belong there.

He’s mine.

DAMN IT.

He is not mine…he’s his own…stop that!

Ryosuke’s eyes shifted to discover Hikaru and Daiki standing just inside the door the boy had just walked through, their eyes wide as they’d watched the strange encounter.

“What was that!?” Daiki asked in wonder, turning to look at the door where the boy had walked through, shifting to move over to where the other boys were.

“What was what?” Ryosuke said the words dismissively but he knew it was stupid because if the boys had been there for even the last twenty seconds, they would know there was something going on…but he just really, really wasn’t ready to try to sort this out.

His head jerked to look down when Yuri twisted his fingers into the edge of his shirt, tugging softly on it, allowing himself to be moved those few inches closer to him, looking up to discover Yuri smiling, his head tilting as he seemed to radiate approval.

“That…whole weird display of…what…testosterone?” Daiki studied Ryosuke, sitting down in the chair behind the stylist station, “…or do you like have some other kind of freaky hormones that make you all…wait—wait!! Is it your Alpha trait that made you all bad ass like that?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ryosuke stated, but he couldn’t hide the smile that was trying to show itself, his body loose and his tone back to conversational, shrugging, “There was no display.”

“Well, I mean the hell? Yes, there was!” Daiki sat forward, ready to challenge Ryosuke, but paused when his eyes narrowed, his head turning slowly to stare at Daiki.

“No…” Ryosuke tilted his head, it was minute, a small movement really, but somehow it held a veiled threat, “There wasn’t.”

For a moment Daiki thought about pushing this issue, confused about Ryosuke’s behavior but then he realized this was not new—he’d been acting exceedingly strange for months, but at least they knew what was going on now. Still, he decided it was best to pick his battles, “Fine, whatever. You do you.”

He waved his hand dismissively, grabbing his phone to play his game, pointedly ignoring the other members in the room.

This left Hikaru, who had not moved from the door, taking in the scene, and when Ryosuke glanced over to see if he was going to need to handle something with him, he was surprised to see a look of clear approval on his face.

Hikaru glanced back at the door where the boy had left, and then back to Ryosuke, nodding his head, “Good.”

Ryosuke grunted in acknowledgment though he wasn’t really sure what exactly was good about it or why this warranted his approval, but he was at least glad it wasn’t going to turn into another conversation about Yuri wearing his pants again.




Ryosuke had felt very protective over Yuri for a few weeks now, though he really thought maybe the word protective wasn’t quite right, because while he did want to protect Yuri in the broadest sense of the word…the really odd underlying emotion was one of possessiveness. It had started back with that idiot Takada and just seemed to grow from there.

He wasn’t the possessive type though, it was just something that didn’t particularly resonate with him in general, at least not before now…he wasn’t one who was too tied to much of anything, emotionally, physically, whatever—he didn’t care much about possessions—well, except for maybe his game consoles but otherwise?

Who cares?

Yet…he couldn’t shake this feeling that kept swelling up within himself, that wanted to stand between Yuri and everyone else, to stop them from touching him, to stop them from interacting with him.

He hated it, and couldn’t really make sense of it, because honestly, the real issue is that…well…to be blunt…everyone smells.

Whether good or bad, everyone seemed to have a distinct odor, and at first he thought maybe Johnny’s had picked up a contract with a fragrance company and was making all of the talents wear them despite half of them stinking to high heaven.

Then he realized, no one else seemed to notice, no one else really smelled anything different, and when he was bold enough to ask one of the other members if they smelled a particular scent, it for the most part ended up with them looking at him like he was insane.

Maybe I am?

He just couldn’t be sure anymore because he knew that Kei and Keito were both Alphas, and while they had a few times experienced things he had—nothing had really measured up to how it was for Ryosuke.

Maybe I’m a broken Alpha.

What it really amounted to was that people smelled…and an extraordinary number of people smelled really BAD. There were many who were more or less neutral, and then a handful of those who had a somewhat appealing scent, but in truth, no one smelled like Yuri.

He felt creepy when he thought about it, trying to define the nature of Yuri’s aroma—feeling like it was super weird to even think about it long enough to label the aspects of his essence—yet, in the dark of night, he’d certainly spent more than a few hours contemplating it until he’d narrowed it down to the finest detail possible.

Yuri smells like a work of art.

Ryosuke smiled to himself, glancing around the table where the group was gathered eating their lunch together, leaning to the side just slightly toward Yuri, inhaling slowly so as to not draw attention to himself.

The distinct scent of the purest sunshine warming the sand on a pristine beach filled his senses, so wonderful and good, it made his toes curl in pleasure.

His fragrance was so perfect, so perfectly him, and it was so raw, so real, and Ryosuke felt like an addict in a lot of ways which was thoroughly disturbing on a lot of levels—yet, he couldn’t really care, because he loved, absolutely loved and adored the way Yuri smelled.

At least, he did when he was at home, untouched by others—because as soon as he touched something someone else had touched, or someone touched him, the scent was tainted somehow—slightly off, as if it were taking on properties of the scent of the other person, and at this point in his life, there were very few things that caused Ryosuke to proverbially lose it than when he could smell someone else’s fragrance on Yuri.

Especially, if it was another Alpha.

It makes me crazy and want to kill someone.

He hated it.

He glanced over, watching as Yuri reached to take the soy sauce out of Yuto’s hand, their fingers brushing through the exchange, and he had to grit his teeth to stop from asking Yuri to wash his hands.

Right then.

Immediately, because the second they touched he could smell the change in Yuri’s aroma.

In all fairness, the change in his scent didn’t last long, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes, but it was enough to make Ryosuke uncomfortable, because honestly, how many people needed to touch Yuri in a single damn day?

He would just get to smelling like himself and then someone would touch him again and there it went, off the scent goes…and the worst, the absolute worst were those people with the horribly pungent stenches that he could hardly stand, the Alphas, because it made Yuri smell sour and offensive to all of Ryosuke’s senses.

At least Yuto smelled reasonably nice, a little bit like rain in a spring field or something Ryosuke couldn’t really put his finger on to be perfectly honest because he didn’t care enough to figure it out, dismissing it, and while it did change Yuri’s scent—it wasn’t exactly too much so he could live with it, for now.

Out of the other members only two of them had an odor that Ryosuke hated—Kei and Keito—the other Alphas. Hate actually was probably not even a strong enough word for his reaction to them—he loathed the way they smelled, recoiled from it, was disgusted by it and wanted to douse them in bleach to try to remove it—though thankfully, they didn’t smell that way all the time, only occasionally—yet, if they touched Yuri—they wrecked his scent entirely.

He glanced around the table, still thinking maybe he was a little insane, because there were no superpowers here, that wasn’t how he understood it, yet, unlike the others, he was acutely sensitive to all of them. Obviously, he had no desire to be so fixated on what people smell like, especially when other people don’t seem to even notice it—yet…here he was.

He smiled when his gaze landed on Yuya, the corners of his lips curling up into a smile as he sensed the soft smell between them—the salty wind, a gentle breeze over the ocean waters…tranquil, serene, so peaceful. Yuya had a perfect smell, if he didn’t love Yuri’s scent so much, he’d definitely say that Yuya had the next best smell of everyone he’d ever smelled before, probably just because of the ocean scent.

God…I’m insane.

I really, really am.

Daiki smelled like clean clothes hanging on a line in the warm sunlight—fresh, comforting, simple but still pleasant. His scent was in direct contrast to Hikaru’s—the aroma of old books, worn and well read—within a study, where a fire was burning projecting a gentle heat across the space—the mahogany shelves casting shadows across the room.

Never mind how much he enjoyed Kota’s too—it was hard to pin down, but somehow it seemed like it must be what a rain forest would smell like—refreshing, peaceful—life giving. Somehow it was like a blanket of warmth around him, and he didn’t mind it a bit, and it was one of the few scents that didn’t completely change every aspect of Yuri’s own personal fragrance.

He looked at Kei, cringing as the memory of his scent washed over him, frowning, because it was so disgusting, so pungent—like curdled milk that had been sitting in a locked car for a month, burning his nose and making his stomach roll. And then there was Keito—dear God—Keito, who was genuinely one of the softest, most precious people Ryosuke had ever met—but, Lord how he reeked. His scent varied from a dog that had been outside in the sun too long and needed a bath to straight up nasty wet dog smell that had been in a sauna for sixteen hours.

He shook his head, knowing he had a foul expression, distracted by Yuto who was in the middle of some animated conversation about something Ryosuke couldn’t be bothered to figure out, his mind becoming fixated on the way the fragrance of rain, misting across a field of wildflowers, blossomed and full in the Spring met his senses.

Seriously, he smells really good too…

He shuddered when he felt Keito’s gaze on him, his eyes connecting with his own—watching in abject horror as if it were being viewed in slow motion as Keito’s hand reached across the table to give Yuri a napkin—his eyes never leaving Ryosuke’s.

Oh, please, no, not this, not today!

Without thought, Ryosuke’s arm snapped out, slapping Keito’s hand away on instinct, surprised by his own actions, eyes wide as Keito drew his hand back to his chest, blinking at Ryosuke while the rest of the members were staring at him in stunned silence.

“Sorry,” Ryosuke huffed, grabbing the napkin from beside his plate to hand to Yuri, “I was…just giving him mine is all.”

Yuri took the napkin from Ryosuke to wipe his chin where he’d spilled a bit of soup, his eyes not leaving Ryosuke’s as he contemplated what exactly was going on.

“Anyway,” Kota cleared his throat, causing everyone to shift nervously, as they redirected themselves back into a normal conversation.

Yet, Ryosuke was hyper fixated on Yuri now, watching him out of the corner of his eye, doing his best to be subtle when he reached forward to push the seasoning shaker across the table away from Yuri when Kei had set it back down, telling Yuri he should try it.

Yuri watched Ryosuke’s hand with curiosity, confused at why he was making a point to move the seasoning too far away for him to reach it, amused when Ryosuke was practically standing up in his seat so he could get it to the furthest edge of the table.

For his own part, Ryosuke was fairly oblivious at this point to how others were behaving or their interest in his own behavior, as he was too overwhelmed by the number of scents on the table that were so close to Yuri.

“Inoo-chan,” he vaguely heard Yuri speak next to him, as he shifted in his seat to reach the bowl of noodles so he could pick it up and move it to the other side of the table with the seasoning, Yuri’s voice seemingly louder than normal, “Can I use your napkin please?”

All of the noise in the room seemed to float softly against Ryosuke’s ear, a high pitched, loud squealing taking the place where Yuri’s voice had been, and his eyes moved to where Kei was now reaching across the table to hand Yuri his napkin.

A napkin he used.

A napkin that has his saliva on it.

Ryosuke could smell it all over the napkin as it moved closer, his focus moving in and out of clarity, and then he was in motion, leaning forward to snatch the napkin out of Kei’s hand before Yuri could take it from him.

Without thinking, his entire form was vibrating, all of his energy seemed to amass into his fingertips as he frantically, maniacally shredded the napkin. Bits and pieces flew into the air, littering the table and the floor as he decimated the paper until it was nothing more than tiny bits of confetti all around him.

As he dropped the last of the napkin into his lap he smiled, feeling a deep rooted satisfaction at having stopped Yuri from touching that napkin.

“Ryosuke?”

“Hmm?” he turned to look at Yuri next to him, his eyes wide in utter and complete innocence as he tilted his head at Yuri’s concerned expression.

“What are you doing?”

“Huh?” Ryosuke stopped for a moment, glancing down at his lap and the plate in front of him, not exactly sure what he’d done, and then he glanced up at the other members in various states of disbelief, worry, and forthright curiosity at the strange display Ryosuke had given them.

“I…umm…” Ryosuke struggled to come up with an explanation for his behavior, his cheeks turning pink in his embarrassment, his eyes moving back to Yuri who had an expression of compassion now, his arm reaching out so he could rest his hand on Ryosuke’s back, patting him softly.

His voice was so gentle, so tender when he spoke, “I wasn’t going to use that napkin.”

Ryosuke felt like he was exposed, like the entire world could see what he’d felt, what he’d thought and he wished it would swallow him whole, but when he chanced a glance up at the others they didn’t have the same expressions as before, instead, they all seemed to somehow be understanding, to be in the moment with him, his discomfort their own.

Even Kei’s expression was soft, his eyes expressive as he nodded his head, then shrugged, “I was just messing with you.”

“I—I knew that…of course…I knew that,” Ryosuke couldn’t find words to explain the situation and then he sort of felt like he didn’t have to, when Yuri moved slowly, his movement precise as he used the napkin Ryosuke had given him to push the last remaining bowl of food that the others had most certainly touched across the table toward the other members.

“I want ice cream,” Yuri announced, intent on diverting attention away from Ryosuke…but Ryosuke was staring at the bowl Yuri had moved, his eyes going in and out of focus.

“Ice cream?” Yuri repeated, bumping Ryosuke with his shoulder.

Ryosuke blinked rapidly as he jerked to the side, brought out of his thoughts by the movement, “You…you just…”

“Shh,” Yuri shook his head, the slightest way, then smiled, “I understand now.”

He paused for a moment, watching Ryosuke’s expression carefully, pleased when he saw the moment he truly comprehended what he had said, what he was trying to tell him, and when he knew he had, he grabbed his hand under the table, “Go get me some ice cream now?”

“Yeah,” Ryosuke nodded, his affection blossoming in his chest, because he knew then, he knew that even though he didn’t remotely understand what was going on or what any of this meant—somehow, it didn’t really matter if he did or didn’t—because Yuri made sense…and he understood—and maybe that’s all he really needed.

All he might ever need.

For him to understand.

And Yuri most certainly did.

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{ 5 } Trust
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What we know so far: (refer to this section at the start of each chapter for recaps of the chapter before)

The World:
-the government has spent decades and billions of dollars to erase the history of they hybrids and to convince people it never happened

Our Members–

Ryosuke:
-his Granny was an Omega who had an Alpha
-his parents know the truth but choose to deny it
-his Granny was a brilliant scientist
-his Granny had visions of a new hybrid evolving, was convinced Ryosuke was the first of his kind–a “super-hybrid”–meant to lead the hybrids into a new era
-knows instinctively he is a super-hybrid
-believes Yuri is his soul-bond Omega
-is a stupid ass.

Yuri:
-no surprise: Yuri is a hybrid
-knew something was different about himself and had researched as best he could
-is also a stupid ass.

ABO–
-mark their partner–an intimate act that is equal to marriage/lifetime committment
-marking generally happens during intimate relations and is pleasurable not painful
-when an Alpha marks an Omega their biological/physiological composition changes to reflect that Alpha
-the level of this change depends on various factors such as rank, personality, and such

Alphas:
-can have more than one Omega partner

Omegas:
-can tell what is wrong with their Alpha
-smell amazing to Alphas if they are unmarked

Betas:
-smell good to Alphas in a neutral way

Super-Hybrids:
-capable of a “soul-bond”
-could access one anothers powers, thoughts, energy, and will when needed

It had been a discussion filled with lots of laughter and tears and threats and insults.

A few times they were at each other’s throats, angry, volatile, ready to beat the hell out of the other one to make them just listen, to understand.

They’d spent nearly two days, talking, screaming, and crying. 

It was a painful process of growing and learning, of bending and stretching, and of compromise more than anything.

When they walked away, they both understood where they stood with each other, and also had a very clear understanding of what they were wanting in their relationship.

One of the hardest parts for both of them to admit was how truly afraid they were. Yes, they cared for each other, maybe they did love each other, who could say for sure, but the truth was, they already had something significantly more valuable, more real, more beautiful than what many people will ever discover–and to do this?

To pursue a relationship it felt to both them as if it were tempting fate. 

They already had something perfect, could they ask for something even more perfect?

What if they really just were overwhelmed with the chaos of the Alpha/Omega traits?

What if what they felt was just a result of that change and not real?

They’d mess up everything they had that they knew was real for something they couldn’t be sure was.

It felt like too great of a risk–especially in light of the devastation it could bring into their friendship. 

Add to that their very real reservations about the traits forcing them to care for one another instead of it being genuine, something that neither of them was comfortable with. Of course, there were no reliable studies about it thanks to the government, and nothing of any substance in Ryosuke’s letters from his grandmother.

They’d each taken turns, being the good guy, being the bad guy, being the objective one, being the voice of reason, being the devil’s advocate…they’d spun in circles, written the world in a million different paths, and lay in the floor in utter and sheer exhaustion.

Ryosuke had his arms crossed over his eyes, half asleep, half dead to the world, at a loss of how they could ever figure this out.

“I think we should date,” Yuri twisted onto his side, propping his head up on his hand, watching as Ryosuke slowly lowered his arms, his head turning, eyes narrowed as he looked over at him.

“And?”

Yuri shrugged, “Just that…I think we should…”

“We have said this and then listed fifty reasons why we shouldn’t,” Ryosuke sighed in defeat, “You have something that makes this time different?”

“Yeah,” Yuri nodded causing Ryosuke to tilt his head, “I figure..we already do. I mean seriously, we practically already do date–don’t we?”

Ryosuke considered what he had said, thinking it over, reluctantly shrugging because he couldn’t be held accountable for anything with the lack of sleep, nutrition, and sanity he was experiencing at the moment.

“It’s just…” Yuri scooted closer on the floor to where Ryosuke was, reaching forward to take his hand in his own, “We aren’t going to figure it out by sitting here and talking in circles but…I think…if we knock down the wall, you know, like…get rid of the worry about all of that to just see what’s there—I sort of think maybe we can tell what’s the truth?”

Ryosuke was staring at their connected hands, his eyes lifting up to look at Yuri, “What do you mean?”

“Well, I think we’d know if it were just the trait’s interference, or if we were the ones making the choices or not. We can’t know that by just going through all of these scenarios in our imaginations, we can’t know unless we’re living it, breathing it, right?”

“Hmm…” Ryosuke thought about this for a moment, unsure if they’d really have better clarity if they were a couple but at the same time, hope was alive in his heart, and he wanted more than anything to take that chance, “I…I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“Like I don’t want you to get hurt, but honestly, could it be worst than how we are suffering now?”

Ryosuke laughed but it held no humor because out of all the things they’d said in the last two days–nothing held much more truth than that statement, “Probably not.”

“It’s just that…I am worried about your…”

Ryosuke hummed, encouraging him to carry on, Yuri took a deep breath, “If we dated and your fans found out it could be a prob–“

“Screw them,” Ryosuke interrupted him, waving his free hand dismissively, “I don’t mean that in the bad way but honestly at this point I would rather give up my career than to say no to a chance with you.”

“Really?” Yuri’s eyes were bright and joyfilled.

“Wouldn’t you?” Ryosuke felt a little uneasy, wondering if Yuri didn’t feel the same, but before he could give it another thought Yuri had tugged on his hand, “Don’t be stupid, of course I would, we can quit today, right now….we’ll buy a plot of land–well, let’s be honest–you’ll buy it…”

They both laughed, and Yuri continued, “…we’ll grow roses and become that weird couple of old men who grow flowers and make everyone worry.”

“Why would we make everyone worry?”

“Because we’d be so happy,” Yuri blinked slowly, “Happiness makes people nervous.”

“Hmm, I see,” Ryosuke nodded, “What about the agency?”

“Screw them,” Yuri repeated Ryosuke’s words back to them, and they both melted into laughter.

“Are we really doing this?” Ryosuke asked, his hand reaching out to brush Yuri’s hair off his face, he needed to see his eyes, to be sure of what was really happening.

“I want to, if you will, I want to,” Yuri spoke the words as earnestly as he could, his heart skipping a beat when Ryosuke smiled so brightly it felt like the sun had filled the room.

Trust your heart.

“I want to,” Ryosuke nodded, dragging him into an awkward sideways hug–but it didn’t matter–because there in that moment, not with flowers and poetry, or with lavish gifts and romantic dates—but with certain trepidation and concern, the two decided they would give dating a try.

They knew despite so much time together, knowing each other as well as they did, there was still so much they had yet to discover—about each other, about themselves, about the two of them together—so many wonderful memories to be made—and in the moments when they could push away all the worries and anxiety—it was a very happy ‘what if’.




Ryosuke dragged Yuri by his hand into the dressing room where the other members were waiting, then with absolutely zero preamble, he announced, “Yuri and I are a couple.”

When no one really said anything, instead just looked around at each other, shrugging, Ryosuke laughed, looking over at Yuri, “I told you.”

“Wh—what…wait…you’re not surprised?” Yuri couldn’t believe it.

“I mean,” Hikaru glanced around at the other members, “I might be alone in this, but…I thought that you guys were already dating…like…a long time ago?”

Echos of ‘me too’ and ‘yes’ echoed in the room from the other members.

“WHAT!?” Yuri was flabbergasted, “What in the world…why would you think that?”

The room exploded into all of the members talking at once.

“You’re always together.”

“You finish each other’s sentences.”

“You are always getting caught ‘dating’ by the papa…”

“You are never separated.”

“You are like an old married couple.”

“You live together?”

“You are you, what else is there?”

Ryosuke was just amused, as he had figured that this wouldn’t exactly be a surprise to any of the members at all, and was relieved he was right about that, just watching Yuri have a melt down over not being able to shock the members was priceless though.

“I’m gonna say though,” Hikaru rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “If all the weird shit you two do is an example of what you’re like when you aren’t dating…I’m kinda of worried now.”

“Oh, shut up!” Ryosuke snapped, laughing because even with Yuri being so belligerent about this situation, he could feel the joy in his aura and it was worth all the waiting they’d done to get there.

“Well, it’s a little more complicated than that,” Yuri glanced nervously over at Ryosuke, hoping he would just blurt this part out too.

He could see the way Ryosuke contemplated throwing him out there on his own and then he smiled, nodding a tiny nod to him, “I’m an Alpha and Yuri is an Omega—we are both hybrids.”

Daiki made a big show of mock yawning, causing Yuri to blurt out, “You have to fucking be kidding me!?”

“Well,” Daiki shook his head, laughing lightly, “No, I don’t know what you thought we thought about the weird sniffing and bonding behavior between you two—I mean honestly, if it weren’t that then what in the world were we supposed to think it was?”

“I—I don’t know!” Yuri couldn’t believe they knew, “Wait, wait…I love all of you guys but…but there’s just no way you all put this together on your own! I just don’t believe it!”

Ryosuke stepped over to the fluffy arm chair, plopping down in it and dragging a lightly protesting Yuri down to sit on his lap as he watched the room with amusement.

“What, you think we’re not smart enough to figure it out?” Yuto asked, raising his eyebrow in disbelief.

“That’s what I am saying exactly,” Yuri pushed back.

“We aren’t,” Keito announced, causing the rest of the room to explode in chatter about how he ruined everything, he just shook his head, “There’s a time and place for that kind of play and this isn’t it.”

The other members considered this while Keito continued to explain, “A letter came here about two years or so ago—maybe three now?”

He glanced around at the others who nodded that seemed about right, so he continued, “It was sent anonymously and came to Kota. He shared it with us when he received it.”

“He shared it with all of you but…not us?” Yuri questioned, and even Ryosuke felt like this was something he didn’t expect, though he didn’t know why he was so certain the members knew, he’d never wondered how.

“What did the letter say?” Ryosuke prodded.

“That you were an Alpha and that Yuri was your Omega—and it sent references for us to look up and some other stuff…”

Keito faded off at this, his cheeks flaming red as his eyes flashed over to look at Yuto and then away, Kei clicked his tongue sharply and then picked up the conversation, “We dismissed the letter forthright, of course we did because it was insane and we all know that there are no hybrids now—at least that’s what the illustrious government wants to tell us and we’re meant to believe.”

He rolled his eyes dramatically, “At any rate, obviously, when the two of you started showing signs of…being so…”

“Freaky,” Daiki supplied.

“Strange,” Yuto injected.

“Weird,” Hikaru offered.

“Oh my God!” Ryosuke waved his hand at them, trying to lean around Yuri to glare at Daiki and Yuto, “Just shut the hell up!”

“You asked,” Daiki hissed in return.

“I asked what the letter said,” Ryosuke snapped, “Not your opinion of me and Yuri—it’s not like we did things on purpose or something.”

“We know that,” Kota said softly, raising his hands up and down in a gesture for everyone to calm down, “We know that, everyone needs to stop joking around about this.”

Daiki shrugged, “I wasn’t joking, they are freaks.”

“Dai-chan,” Kota leveled his best parental glare at him, causing him to shrink into his chair, nodding for them to go on.

“I have the letter here,” Kota opened his bag, digging around for the letter.

“You carry a letter with you every day from three years ago?” Yuri was curious about why he would ever do that.

“I have kept it with me every day since it arrived,” Kota nodded, pulling the envelope out of his bag.

“Why in the world would you do that?” Yuri asked, watching as Ryosuke took the letter from Kota, his hands shaking as he drew it down to look at it.

But he knew…he could feel it, he saw the front of the envelope, his eyes widening as he turned to look down at Ryosuke who was staring blankly at the front of the envelope.

“Ryosuke…” Yuri’s voice was a whisper, his words halting as he tried to weigh and measure each one to be sure he wasn’t going to say something wrong or that would hurt Ryosuke, “Could your…do you think…is it possible your grandmother is…still alive?”

“Your grandmother?” Yuto asked, standing up to lean over them to get a look at the envelope.

“My grandmother definitely wrote this,” Ryosuke confirmed, unable to move, because the last letter he had received from her according to the box he had was five years ago—but if this letter arrived two to three years ago, that means it arrived after his letters ended.

“To answer your question,” Kota smiled, patting the top of Yuri’s head, “I kept the letter with me because the letter told me I needed to and I believed it—now I am glad I listened.”

When they’d read the letter Ryosuke was amazed to learn his grandmother had the foresight to send this to his members—explaining to them that this was going to happen and that they needed to support both him and Yuri through the changes that would happen when the trait reactivated.

It was a like a Cliff’s note version of his book at home, though there were a few additions in the letter that made him laugh, his eyes landing on the other members, as she had said that once the Alpha and Omega trait had activated in Ryosuke and Yuri, that it would signal to any other hybrids who had the dormant trait to activate. It might be to different degrees, and might happen in rather unpredictable ways, but it would happen and they should all prepare for it.

Of special note was the revelation from a vision she shared that their group had two additional Alphas and matching Omegas—something that shocked everyone.

They’d started a betting pool on who was going to be which.

And in that moment Ryosuke and Yuri could not have been more thankful for these boys being a part of not just their group, but their dearest and most precious friends.




“Do you smell that?” Ryosuke whispered, leaning closer to Yuri, who was staring down at the pages with the song lyrics they are going to be performing next.

“Smell what?”

“It’s…just wrong…like…there’s a weird smell…” Ryosuke looked around at the other members who were all focused on their work, “Seriously? You can’t smell that?”

Yuri shifted to the side, moving his cheek against Ryosuke’s in an attempt to smell whatever he was smelling from his own perspective, inhaling deeply.

Ryosuke felt his heart stutter and skip, Yuri’s cheek soft and warm on his own, the fragrant scent that was pure Yuri rushing across his senses, his eyes closing as he savored the moment.

“I don’t smell anything unusual,” Yuri announced but did not move away from Ryosuke, holding his cheek there against his.

“What does that mean?”

“I can smell…” Yuri hesitated for a moment, stopping himself before he blurted out ‘you!’ because somehow he knew that everyone would make fun of him if he said it.

Yet, even so, he couldn’t stop himself from turning his head slowly until he was looking straight at Ryosuke who was staring at him wide eyed, their noses touching, and the smell of him was all around him, enveloping him, his voice soft, “All I can smell is you.”

“That’s all I smell now, too,” Ryosuke whispered in return, smiling, “I mean…you…not me…”

“For the love of God,” Daiki lamented, throwing his hands up in the air when everyone looked at him, “Are we going to just let them be like this and pretend it’s perfectly normal?”

Kei shrugged, focusing back onto his own lyrics sheet, Yuto and Keito both seemed mildly interested, but not fully committed, and the other members were all in various states of concern—but no one spoke up.

“Really?” Daiki shook his head, “No one but me then?”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Hikaru stopped him, “But…I mean…”

“Well, go on then,” Ryosuke snapped, glaring at them, “Say what you want to say!”

“You talk a lot about…smelling each other…” Hikaru spoke the words slowly, as if he were concentrating on making sure he was fully understood, “It’s a little…strange…don’t you think? Maybe?”

“Maybe so,” Ryosuke hissed, “…but you’re all weird too, don’t make me list all the things I could say about each of you.”

Ryosuke honestly couldn’t care less what any of them thought about him, but he’d felt the way Yuri had stiffened, his sharp inhale when they started talking and he wasn’t gonna have it, not even a little bit.

“I mean,” Daiki shrugged, “Yeah, sure we do, but…you’re smelling each other.”

“It is a little strange, isn’t it?” Kei looked up from his page, frowning, his brow furrowing into a scowl that Ryosuke couldn’t properly read the meaning of, because his tone wasn’t particularly confrontational or negative, “I mean all things considered…”

“I wouldn’t interject into this conversation,” Ryosuke snipped at him, narrowing his eyes, “You don’t want me to describe how YOU smell.”

“How I…” Kei leaned up, raising his arm to sniff himself, “I don’t smell like anything other than my cologne.”

“That really isn’t true,” Ryosuke sighed, “I don’t really know how you all can’t smell this…”

He pressed Yuri back a bit so he could stand up, moving slowly around the group, sniffing the air, and when he got to Daiki he stopped, leaning closer to him as he inhaled sharply, “Well, of course it was gonna be you.”

“What? What was gonna be me?!” Daiki sat up straight in his seat, looking around at everyone like any of them understood what was happening.

“Are you taking any medications?” Ryosuke ask him, his hand on his chin as he tried to solve the puzzle of the strange smell coming from Daiki.

“No,” Daiki shrugged, “No medicine or anything like that.”

“New foods?”

“Nuh-uh,” Daiki smelled his own arm, not really smelling anything unusual, “Can you really smell me, like something…different than I smell?”

“Yes,” Ryosuke frowned, “You usually smell…fresh…like freshly pressed linens or something infused with sunshine…”

“You think I’m like fresh sunshine,” Daiki declared proudly, “Thank yo—”

“I do not think you are like fresh sunshine, you idiot,” Ryosuke reached forward to pop Daiki’s head, “I said it’s what you smell like—if anything it’s a very normal, neutral smell compared to most so don’t get too proud over it.”

“Then what do you smell now?”

“There’s a sour note to it, like…umm…it’s like the smell that a watermelon has when it starts going sour. It’s not exactly foul, or bad, but it’s certainly not the good fragrance you normally have.”

“Huh,” Daiki glanced at the others, “What about them?”

“It’s my turn,” Kei stated, tilting his head when everyone looked at him surprised, “I smell it as well.”

“What!?” Ryosuke was dumbfounded, “You smell Daiki?”

“I do and it is just as you said, though I don’t really smell the fresh washed linens or whatever, it’s more like…cucumbers and melons in the summertime. But…yes, there’s an odd flavor to him right now.”

“Flavor?” Daiki balked, “Why do you have to make it weird?”

I’m making it weird?” Kei rolled his eyes dramatically, “We have Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum over there,” he gestured at Ryosuke and Yuri, “Sniffing each other like rabid animals and I am the one making it weird.”

“In the animal kingdom, sniffing is a form of greeting and an actual language,” Yuri announced in a matter of fact tone.

Ryosuke plopped down into the chair next to Yuri, sighing, his hand landing on his knee to get his attention, shaking his head when Yuri looked over at him innocently.

The others began to laugh, causing Yuri to glance around, “What? What is it?”

The others just laughed harder at his cuteness, but he was frustrated by their behavior and especially at not being in on whatever they were laughing about, in particular if it was at his expense.

“What’s so funny? Animals do that, it’s a base instinct for them to sniff each other, it tells them important things about each other and they use it as a vital form of communication, it’s all true.”

The others were grabbing each other, laughing their heads off, and Yuri was scowling, jumping when Ryosuke grabbed his arm to make him turn to look at him.

“Yuri, that’s the whole point, I’m trying to tell them this isn’t a big deal…but you’re telling them this is ‘animal’ behavior and base instinct as part of a social communication.”

Yuri frowned, “Oh.”

He looked down at his hands clasped tightly in his lap, “But…it is true.”

Ryosuke sighed in resignation, blocking out the others who were still losing their stupid minds over something so inane, “Maybe so…but we seriously don’t have the time to unpack that Pandora’s box right now.”




The tour had been going for three weeks, and they’d all settled into a fairly normal routine all things considered. The truth was, they all were a little quirky, and they were like a bunch of childish siblings, so it was mostly a mess when they were all together. Yuri and Ryosuke had come to the arena for practice together, so they walked into the dressing room together, thinking it was strange when everyone who was already there fell into silence.

“What?” Ryosuke glanced down at his clothing, twisting his body to see if he had something on his clothes, or someone had stuck a note telling the staff to kick him or something, his eyes catching Yuri’s who was studying him as well, shrugging when he didn’t see anything amiss.

The other members all just stared, and then awkwardly looked away.

“What is going on here?” Ryosuke demanded, stepping into the room, glancing back to make sure Yuri was following him.

“Yuri—are you wearing Yama-chan’s pants to wo—” the words died in Hikaru’s throat, the air in the room stilling instantly, almost as if all the air had been sucked out, the hair on the back of his neck standing up as his eyes were inexplicably drawn to Ryosuke who was radiating a strange mixture of challenge and anger.

Ryosuke’s eyes were narrowed, his nostrils flaring as his eyes cut over to look down at Yuri’s pants…confused, because…yeah, those were his pants alright, his eyes darting up to find Yuri looking back at him, his expression bashful, almost ashamed but then he shrugged, pushing Ryosuke’s chest, “You calm down,” he looked at Hikaru, “…and you mind your business!”

He walked over to the fluffy loveseat in the corner, plopping unceremoniously down into it, stretching his legs across the seats as he glanced over to see everyone still looking at him, “Actually, that sort of goes for all of you, now that I think about it…just…all of you…”

He waved his arm dismissively, “Stay in your lane.”

Daiki scoffed loudly, his mouth opening but he stopped when Hikaru held his hand up, jerking his head sideways to get him to look at Ryosuke.

Daiki leaned around Hikaru, his eyes catching Ryosuke’s who were dark and stormy, his entire countenance far too hostile and…scary for Daiki to risk saying one of his quips that he’d normally insert into the situation here, rolling his eyes as he sat down in the chair he’d been in before, crossing his arms, just about done with the weird attitudes in high supply around here these days.

He continued to stare at Hikaru, a strange sensation swelling up inside him and then he heard Kei inhale sharply, a loud clicking from his tongue and then a single word that felt almost like it was spoken directly into his mind instead of into his ears, “Don’t.”

Ryosuke’s head snapped to the side to look at Kei, eyes wide, and then he threw his hands up in the air, “DAMN IT!”

Everyone jumped, unsure of what had just happened, but Kei just laughed softly, his expression a knowing smirk as he went back to reading his book.

“What?” Daiki glanced around, curious if anyone else knew what had just happened, but they all seemed just as clueless.

“Yama-chan,” Yuri spoke the name softly, and like he was made specifically to respond, Ryosuke’s head snapped to the side to look at Yuri, his expression immediately softening when Yuri smiled at him, “Come sit with me.”

Ryosuke turned to look at the others, glaring at them, for reasons he really didn’t understand himself as he crossed the room to sit down, moving Yuri’s legs to rest on top of his lap as he continued to stare down the other members.

He blinked rapidly when Yuri snapped his fingers in front of his face, “I said to simmer down! You’re fine, I’m fine, no one is out to get you. This is your family.”

Ryosuke looked at him, nodding, “I lost…”

“Yep,” Yuri shrugged, “I could have told you that!”

“Well, why didn’t you?” Ryosuke frowned, knowing full well Yuri was not lying and he really was going to win.

“You wouldn’t have listened, and you know it.”

Ryosuke shrugged unable to argue with that at all.

“Well,” Kota cleared his throat, wanting to redirect everyone, “Now that that’s settled can we talk setlist please…”





“You are literally wearing his entire outfit,” Hikaru pointed to Yuri’s clothes, leaning forward in his seat, “I mean…you could at least try to be subtle about this…”

Yuri narrowed his eyes, “Who said I care about being subtle?”

“So, you’re admitting that really is Ryosuke’s outfit? His pants, shirt, all of it?” Hikaru wasn’t sure what to think about this, or what to do with the information, glancing around the plane to see if anyone else was listening to their conversation, discovering everyone else either asleep or with headphones on while watching the in-flight movie.

“And if I am?” Yuri challenged.

“We’re going to Taiwan, landing at the airport and they have like a ton of fans going to be there to greet us, along with the press, this is a pretty big deal, you know? You won’t have time to change, and you’re basically walking into that crowd wearing an entire outfit that people will definitely recognize belongs to Yama-chan!”

Hikaru failed to see what Yuri did not understand about this situation, wondering if the bathroom was big enough for Yuri to change into whatever he’d carried in his overnight bag.

“I’m not changing my outfit,” Yuri stated firmly, causing Hikaru to pull back in surprise, opening his mouth to speak, but Yuri held his hand up to stop him, “This is the outfit I brought to wear, I’m wearing it…there’s nothing else to discuss.”

“I just think tha—”

“FOR THE LOVE OF GOD,” Ryosuke ripped the earplugs out of his ear, bolting up so he could lean around Yuri to look at Hikaru who had jumped at the loud noise and movement, “Hikka, to be perfectly honest, you kinda have an unhealthy fascination with Yuri’s pants!”

Hikaru scowled at this, his mouth opening and closing trying to defend himself, but Ryosuke made a dismissive noise in his throat, continuing on, “Not to mention, I mean, seriously, what the fuck do you care if he’s wearing my clothes or not!?”

“I mean…we have to be conscientious about things and I think that it would be wisdom to consider how oth—”

“Look,” Ryosuke interrupted him, “I’m too tired and busy and tired and done with all of this, and fucking tired, to be bothered about what you think about Yuri wearing…”

He leaned back a bit, trying to get a read on what Yuri was actually wearing, his eyes widening as he took in a complete outfit that most certainly was his own, “Damn it, Chinen! Did you take those out of my closet?”

“I most certainly did not,” Yuri scoffed at him, shrugging nonchalantly, “I got them from the laundry service.”

Ryosuke frowned, his eyes fixated on the pants he’d been missing, “I was looking for those pants!”

“They fit me better,” Yuri announced, waiting for Ryosuke to argue, smiling when he merely raised an eyebrow, clearly admitting he was utterly and completely correct in his assessment of which of the two of them wore the pants better.

“I want them back,” Ryosuke said, to which Yuri stood up and made like he was going to take the pants off right then and there.

“For God’s sake,” Ryosuke was exasperated, rolling his eyes at the way Yuri was currently shaking his ass directly in front of him, “Just sit down!” grabbing Yuri’s shirt to drag him back into his seat, “I don’t mean right now—”

“Your loss,” Yuri’s voice was sing-song, tilting his head, smiling beatifically as he batted his eye lashes at him.

Ryosuke stared at him, dumbfounded, his expression blank for a moment, trying to process what Yuri had just said, his mind running into a million different directions, most of them, not anywhere near where his mind should be headed by any stretch of the imagination, his cheeks flaming at the flustered feeling in the pit of his stomach, muttering, “I…It’s…you…just…whatever!”

He flung his arm out, pressing Yuri back against his seat so he had a clear view of Hikaru, intent on redirecting him, but he stopped with his mouth open when he took in his expression.

Hikaru’s face was twisted in a strange look of fascinated horror, like he was watching something terrible but couldn’t tear his eyes away.

“What?” Ryosuke demanded.

“What? What? Yeah, what!? That’s the real question isn’t it!? I want to know right now—what exactly is going on with you two,” Hikaru’s eyes narrowed impossibly further, suspicion tainting his words, “This whole…Alpha thing…are you two…you know?”

“What on earth do you mean?” Ryosuke practically screamed the words, Yuri reaching over to slap his hand across his mouth while Ryosuke pushed firmly against Yuri’s chest when he attempted to sit forward, sighing dramatically when Ryosuke didn’t lower his arm, simply turning his head to study Hikaru as well.

“It’s just…you two…I…”

“Hikka!”

The three of them turned in unison to look back down the aisle of the plane to where Kei was gesturing for Hikaru to come to sit with him.

“Come here, Hikka,” Kei called out, patting the seat next to him animatedly, his voice almost melodic.

Hikaru didn’t spare Ryosuke or Yuri another glance, jumping up and heading down the aisle, but Ryosuke didn’t miss the smile on Kei’s face when he made eye contact, winking so fast if Ryosuke hadn’t been so hyper fixated on everything thanks to Yuri’s stupidly dumb teasing he might have thought he imagined it.

Weird.

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Most Voted
1

Listen: I’ll Remind You

Heh I think I’ll just continue here cause I like how they let me comment my fav quote and part!! (Something I always do so it’s perfect!!) Excited to see his email add hahahaa imagine how embarrassing it would be :3 Order: 1 Yuri-scented cupcake pleaseeee 💕💕 /squeeze you tightly
  • June 9, 2020 by Tingke

1

Listen (Yamachii Version)

Oh myyyy can’t believe I read chap2 before I read chap1 and I have to say I like 1 more than 2 because omg Yuri why’re you so difficult!!! Lucky for us Yamada’s really persistent to the point that he’s almost a stalker lol Love the AriYama interaction omggg Hearts ...
  • June 9, 2020 by Tingke

1

Listen: I’ll Remind You

I wanted to read this on AO3 but I think you prefer us to be diverted here? So here I am! Vfwksmttbentb it’s so cute how Yamada’s so careful and everything. Yuri smelling like cupcakes oh my god. Definitely enticing, I bet Yamada can’t resist lol. Also super super curious ...
  • June 8, 2020 by Tingke

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