Chapter 4: The secret behind your pain
Pairing: KimuShingo already goes into a certain direction I guess^^ And what's with Aiba/Ohno? There will definitely be some other pairings, but I don't know who with who...
Rating: PG-13 (will rise)
Genre: AU, family, friendship, romance, angst, drama
Disclaimer: I don't own them or anything else JE-related. But the story is mine of course^^
Summary: Shingo has a plan... that makes Hina and Miyake worry. Nino suffers from writer's blockade. Takki finds out about Jin's sleepover and feels bad that Ryo thinks he has to hide it. Much to his brothers' amusement Takuya complains about Shingo. Sakamoto wants Takki to talk about his problems. Tegoshi and Yamapi are still fightind and in the meantime Ryo and Ueda find out about Maru's secret, while Kame is still jealous. And in what kind of direction are Ohno and Aiba heading?
„What are we doing here Shingo?“ Hina’s voice sounded slightly uncomfortable and as there was no answer coming from the tall guy, he turned around to look at Miyake. Miyake shrugged helplessly.
“Isn’t that the part of the building where the teachers are having their offices?” Miyake asked when he looked around a bit, his voice sounding surprised.
Hina stopped immediately, staring at Shingo in disbelief. “Don’t tell me you want to…”
“NO!” Miyake cried desperately. “Please…Shingo!” He looked around in panic, searching for a way to escape this situation. Out of the corner of his eyes he could see Hina’s angry expression.
Shingo shrugged a bit. “There is not really another way to talk to him. After class he is always surrounded by so many students. Let’s try and look if we can talk to him a bit. I have no chance to get to know him otherwise.”
Hina tilted his head a bit, feeling torn between understanding and shock. “Well…yes, I get what you mean. Getting to know a bit about him isn’t a bad idea. But now? You can’t be serious, Shingo.” the latter scolded. “That’s Sensei’s privacy here. We can’t just intrude during his lunch break. Let’s think of something else…”
Miyake nodded his head, feeling that Hina might have created a small hole where they could escape through. “Exactly…” He paused for a moment, an impish glance in his eyes. “Talking about lunch. We didn’t really finish it. And there is still dessert left…”
“Dessert?” The two other boys stared at him, both of them feeling really interested.
“Yeah…it’s pudding with cherries and vanilla cream.” Miyake explained, feeling a bit confident again.
“Sounds shockingly amazing” Shingo chuckled a bit. Hina grinned over the other’s remark, nodding his head in agreement.
Miyake rolled his eyes a bit. Well, at least they were interested. “You can have my spare. I’m quite full already…”
“Really?” Hina smiled softly at Ken, slowly getting what the other was up to. Unfortunately also Shingo got it. He knitted his eyebrows a bit. “Come on, Ken…”
Miyake sighed. “But you’ll make him angry again and we’ll fail in our exams…”
“No you won’t” Shingo told him firmly. “That’s not the type he is.”
“Are you sure about that?” Hina wanted to know, secretly sharing Miyake’s doubts.
“Yes.” The cheerful and mischievous glance had disappeared out of Shingo’s eyes. He looked at the other two dead-seriously. “He is not the type of guy who would do such a thing. Remember my oral exam today?”
“Yes…” Miyake mumbled.
“And didn’t I do pretty well?”
“Yeah, you were actually surprisingly good.” Hina admitted. “I never thought you would be that determined to become a good student.”
“If he really had wanted to take his anger out on me, he would have done that today.” Shingo tilted his head a bit, eyeing the other two boys piercingly. “I’m not forcing you guys to come with me. I can go alone, if you prefer that.”
Hina looked at the other thoroughly, before his eyes grew a bit softer and he sighed. “Well, I’m still not happy about your strange way of achieving things…and I still think Sensei is not only quite, but rather much, annoyed by you. But leaving you alone with that is no possibility either. I guess that’s what friends are for.” Hina looked a bit grumpily. “I should have really listened to my mother in kindergarten when she told me to choose my friends carefully…”
Shingo smiled brightly over Hina’s friendly but also critical words, while Miyake shifted a bit, feeling uncomfortable, especially since both guys were looking at him now. “The pudding…” he suggested weakly. Then he sighed. “Okay, whatever. Let’s go and get on Sensei’s nerves. But if I fail during my exams, it’s your fault!”
Nino pursed his nose a bit when he placed the huge basket full of clothes on the living room’s table. “That’s it. The whole laundry done.”
“Eh?” Takki blinked at him in surprise. “You did the whole laundry? All of it?”
“Yes.” Nino shrugged, a dramatic expression on his face. “I’m suffering from writer’s blockade.”
“Again…” Subaru mumbled, gladly too low for Nino to hear it, but Ryo had caught his brother’s statement and giggled a bit.
“Hey…what are you laughing about little brat.” Nino scolded him slightly, but couldn’t hide a grin.
“Sorry.” Ryo smiled brightly, knowing that Nino was just joking around with him.
“I’m glad you look better today.” Takki smiled happily at Ryo. “Yesterday you were looking so tired.”
Ryo winced a bit, trying to hide his surprise. Why again was it that Takki always recognized everything? “Didn’t sleep well.” He mumbled. That wasn’t a huge lie, he thought. He only slept well until Jin had woken him up. And Ryo was really bad with waking up in the middle of the night… okay… middle of the morning… and falling asleep again.
Nino smiled wickedly, though there was a dangerous glance in his eyes. “You should really watch out a bit and sleep properly.” He looked at Ryo with a meaningful glance, not even blinking once.
Ryo shifted a bit, feeling uncomfortable under Nino’s piercing eyes. He sighed a bit when he realised that Nino did know what really happened. Ryo only wondered slightly how his older brother found out that Jin had sneaked into the house. “Yeah…sorry.” He mumbled. “I’ll watch out.”
“Why are you apologizing for?” Subaru pulled one of his eyebrows up, shaking his head. “It’s not your fault that you weren’t able to sleep well.” He eyed Nino reproachfully. “Really…Nino, what are you thinking?”
“Well, who knows what I’m thinking...” Nino explained simply, before he dropped the subject again, much to Ryo’s relief. Instead of bugging Ryo longer he turned around and looked at Takuya, wondering about the tired expression of the other. “And what’s with you?” Nino wanted to know.
Takki had watched Nino and Ryo, wondering a bit about what Nino meant with his teasing remark. But then he drew his attention back to Takuya, who sighed a bit. “Nothing important, really. Just one of my students came to my office yesterday and somehow managed it to make me explain tons of things about the last lesson. As a thank you he was determined to invite me for dinner.”
“You went out for dinner?” Subaru blinked in surprise.
“Of course not. But since he didn’t let go, I agreed to have a drink with him and two other students. Poor guys. One of them was threatened like hell by my presence.” Takuya smirked a bit, glad that at least the others had some respect for him, while Shingo was basically being fearless.
Takki shook his head a bit, chuckling lightly. “That’s totally unlike you. Normally you don’t get yourself in such a situation.”
“Normally.” Takuya frowned a bit.
“So what’s different this time?” Ryo asked curiously, enjoying the little small-talk with Takuya, who was working way too much and at home way too less in his opinion.
“Yeah. If he gets on your nerves, push him away a bit. Till now you always knew how to deal with such guys.” Subaru agreed, furrowing his brows.
Takuya smiled. “This guy is different. And…well…maybe I could push him aside, but… he is bright. I can’t help it but enjoy having someone in my class who is unusually skilled and smart.”
“Ah.” Takki grinned. “A teacher’s pride? I understand.”
Takuya frowned a bit over the teasing remark but kept quiet. Instead of answering, he pointed at the laundry basket. “What to do with that now?”
“I’ll finish it later.” Nino reassured him. “I just have an appointment now.”
“I can do it.” Ryo offered himself, eager to make Nino forget what he knew and to make up again.
Nino smiled a bit, guessing Ryo’s intentions. He shook his head a bit, looking at the boy warmly. “It’s okay. You should eat your breakfast and go to school.”
“Yeah, don’t worry. I’ll do it.” Takki smiled a bit. “I have time till evening.”
“Thanks.” Nino sighed in relief, grabbing his bag and car keys. “I’ll take my leave then.”
“Wait.” Subaru called after him. “I’ll go with you.”
“Yep.” Subaru confirmed.
Takuya watched them leaving, before he got up too. “I guess I should leave too. We have a study trip till Sunday.”
Ryo looked at him hesitantly, not wanting to put his brother under pressure. “It’s okay for me to delay our meeting.” he reassured him. “I don’t want you to stress yourself”
Takuya laughed at that, yanking at Ryo’s hair playfully. “No need for that. We’ll definitely hang out on Sunday.” He hugged him, before turning around and padding Takki’s shoulder. “See you in a few days.”
The moment he had left, Takki grabbed the laundry basket, smiling at Ryo. “Just finish your breakfast. I’ll bring the laundry to our rooms.”
It was not part of Takki’s character to get jealous that easily, especially not of one of his brothers. He knew it was dumb, but on the other side he couldn’t really help it. The toxic arrow was digging his way through his body, slowly reaching his heart. Why was Ryo so relaxed when being with Takuya? Why so happy? There had been a time when he and Ryo had the same relationship and Ryo would smile at him like he smiled at Takuya now, but that was so long ago… Takki couldn’t even remember when it was that it suddenly stopped. And after all this time he still didn’t know what he did that made his brother avoid him.
He placed some of Ryo’s laundry on his bed, bending down a bit as one of the socks was falling down to the floor. Takki blinked for a moment as his eyes caught a small item lying in a corner of Ryo’s room. A small key-ring. He sighed when he picked it up and looked at it thoroughly, Nino’s words suddenly slipping into his mind again.
Ryo was on his way leaving for school and turned around when Takki called him, a bit surprised by the other’s intense look. He flinched a bit. Was something wrong? “Yes?” he asked carefully.
“Did Jin sneak in yesterday night?” Takki asked straight-forward.
“No.” Ryo answered without thinking. It was like an instinctive reaction, like a defence mode.
“Is that true?” Takki wanted to know.
And the moment Ryo nodded his head hesitantly, they both knew he was lying. Takki sighed a bit. He hated it that Ryo felt like he needed to hide it that one of his friends dropped by. And he was well aware of the fact that Jin and Ryo were close like brothers, depending on each other and that Ryo would do anything to protect the other, even lying to one of his brother’s face. Takki flinched a bit over Ryo’s troubled expression and padded his head softly, handing him the key-ring.
“Listen, I don’t want to butt in your business. I know you guys are close and it’s okay if Jin stays over. I don’t want you to hide it that your friend visits you. But it’s a weekday and you need your sleep.” Takki said silently, a warm tune in his voice. “Why don’t you keep your sleepovers for the weekend?”
Ryo tilted his head a bit, wondering if he should explain to Takki that it wasn’t exactly planned and that Jin had just been feeling upset and needed some company, but then he decided against it. He just nodded his head apologetically towards Takki. “Okay. Sorry.” he said, smiling a bit before he left the house.
“When are your friends coming today?” Tsubasa asked when he placed a cup of tea in front of Yamapi, who was sitting on the sofa, eating his breakfast.
“Afternoon.” Yamapi told him, busy with chewing on his cereals. He reached for the milk and for some sugar.
„Do you want me to decorate the house?” Tsubasa suggested, still unbelievably happy that his young cousin had found friends. “I’m free this morning.”
Yamapi nearly choked on his breakfast, looking at Tsubasa in utter shock. “I’m inviting friends, not marrying!”
“Really…” Kame mumbled, glaring at Tsubasa. He was still not feeling too happy that Yamapi was suddenly so busy with other people, but there were also Jun’s warning words circling around in his head, telling him to not create a mess otherwise Jun would rip his head off. But still…voicing his opinion was something else. He looked at Tsubasa grumpily. “You are totally exaggerating. It’s not that special.” Kame yawned, shifting a bit to find a more comfortable position on Yamapi’s lap.
Tsubasa eyed him grumpily. “It is special! Talking about special…why are you already awake?”
“Couldn’t sleep.” Kame lied. He was feeling unbelievably tired, but he just had to meet Yamapi before he left for school to get some more details about his friends and today’s happening. Besides that he hadn’t seen Yamapi since days and started to miss him. He clung a bit to Yamapi, smiling comfortably by the warm feeling that dwelled inside his chest as Yamapi curled his hair playfully.
Tsubasa rolled his eyes. “You really are something Kame, you know that?” He looked at Yamapi again. “I’ll be working today, but Koichi is at home if you need something.”
“Great…” Yamapi grumbled. The prospect of Koichi alone with them was not too promising. He was still afraid that Koichi would accidentally give away his secret or forget his promise.
“Don’t worry.” Tsubasa laughed a bit. “Koichi will behave well. And I’ll come home a bit earlier today.”
“Hurry, Ryo-kun!” Tegoshi pouted a bit. “I’m starving.”
Yamapi sighed heavily. “Why don’t you leave first then? Ryo-chan and I will follow… later.”
Tegoshi glared at him. “Wanna get rid of me?”
“No way.” Yamapi smiled sarcastically, pulling up one of his eyebrows.
Tegoshi poked his tongue out at the other, grinning a bit. “You have no chance!”
Ryo rolled his eyes a bit. “I’ll be back in one minute. Promise. So please… don’t kill each other.” He grinned at his friends, before he slipped into the school’s bathroom. He paused for a moment when he saw Ueda there, sitting on the window sill and reading in his book.
“Hey…” Ryo greeted him, his eyes scanning the other boy in interest. He was pretty, definitely. Actually too beautiful to be a guy. And also weird. Why was he never talking? Somewhere in his mind his imagination started to work on his own. Maybe Ueda was really a girl who just dressed like a boy to attend an all boy’s school? Ryo grinned about himself, how stupid, of course that couldn’t be it.
“Hi.” Ueda answered, not really looking up, his voice sounding bored.
Ryo shrugged a bit and decided that this guy was not worth it to feel bothered about. At least he should learn to greet properly. “Damn!” he cursed when something dropped out of his pocket, landing in the dustbin. Ryo knitted his eyebrows, staring down a bit, scanning the dustbin for Jin’s key ring. He just couldn’t leave it there. It belonged to Jin and Jin loved it. With a sigh he bent down, shaking the dustbin a bit and searching for Jin’s key ring. Here it was! Ryo picked it up, sighing in relief. Then his eyes caught something strange, he blinked for a moment, angling a bit and pulling out a school book.
Till now Ueda hadn’t really paid attention to the other boy. Not that he didn’t care for other people, sometimes he even found himself watching Yamapi, Ryo and Tegoshi, who apparently had so much fun together. Then he often wondered why he wasn’t able to be part of them, why he didn’t want to be part of anything. One part of his mind wanted to do something about that, sometimes he even felt envious of some of the other boys, wondering why they were able to be so close together, tease each other, fight and have fun. But then he thought that being alone was way less troublesome. He didn’t have to care for someone, he didn’t have to look after someone, be careful to not hurt someone’s feeling, accept some teasing and tease back… He thought he was okay with how things were, but recently something in his mind started to work on his own. Why did he feel so lonely sometimes?
A surprised yell from Ryo pulled him out of his thoughts. The other sounded so shocked that Ueda turned around immediately. “What?” he asked.
Ryo pointed at a school book he was holding in his hands. “I found that in the dustbin. Look at it.” He turned it around so that Ueda could see it. The pretty boy’s eyes grew wide. “What the heck…” he mumbled, staring at the book. It was in a miserable condition - someone purposely destroyed it. There were swearwords all over it in different hand-writings, heavy insults…and also other things like…. Ueda blinked in shock as Ryo pointed at a phrase on the top of the book. ‘Die Maru!’ was written there in capital letters.
“Whose is that?” Ueda pressed out, sliding down from the window sill and walking towards Ryo, who was searching through the book. He looked at Ueda in utter confusion and shock when he found the name. “It’s Maru’s.” he said silently.
Ryo sighed a bit when he walked back to his friends. Maru was gone already and he didn’t even know where the other was living. “Let’s keep it a secret for now until we find out what’s going on. Maybe we’ll bring Maru into troubles otherwise.” Ueda had suggested and Ryo had agreed, with the only exception that he would tell his friends what was – maybe – going on.
Ohno blinked at the slender figure in front of him. “Well…” he mused a bit. “Hello, I guess.” He still looked at the other in disbelief. Showing up without any further warning, just because he ‘wanted to see were Ohno-kun worked’ really was something…
Aiba grinned cheerfully, looking around in Ohno’s company in interest. He had expected it to be different…not so modern. It was like a normal business complex, with a lot of offices and huge storage rooms for wine, spirits, liqueurs, and syrups and other utensils restaurants, bars and shops needed. Secretly Aiba wondered how this Ohno-guy had been able to stay such a normal and down-to-earth guy though owning such a huge business. He grinned a bit. “Well, well, I guess I’m impressed.”
Ohno smiled. “I’ll take that as a compliment then. Want so see the rest of the building?”
“Sure.” Aiba smiled contently, following Ohno through the large corridor.
Ohno tilted his head a bit, watching how Aiba passed him and looked through some doors and windows, an amazed look on his face. Aiba looked so different in comparison to the other times they had met. He wasn’t dressed so fancy now, just some blue jeans and a black, comfortable shirt, giving him a casual and cool charisma. His hair wasn’t perfectly styled now, he had just pulled it back with a clip which made him look a bit quirky, less fancy but despite that…there was still the same charming and attractive aura around him. The way he was able to smile at people and pull them into this smile... And despite that Ohno could also totally recognize the stylish barkeeper, with his perfectly messy-styled hair and his quirky-fancy clothes. Aiba was both characters…at the same time.
“What are you thinking about?” Aiba’s voice pulled Ohno out of his thoughts.
“Nothing.” The older one stated simply, leaving a curious look on Aiba’s face. But when Ohno started to show him the other rooms, Aiba simply shrugged and forgot about the strange moment from before. He winced a bit as his stomach grumbled.
“Hungry?” Ohno asked him.
“I’m starving.” Aiba sighed a bit, holding his stomach. “I could eat a whole cow. Do you have a canteen here? Or anything else to eat? Or we could leave and eat somewhere else?”
“Eh?” Ohno blinked at him.
Aiba smiled at him brightly, happy about his idea. “That’s good, right? Let’s go for a late afternoon-lunch or a very early afternoon-dinner!”
Takki was too pre-occupied with his work, so he nearly jumped a bit out of surprise when he saw a tall and slender figure watching him. He smiled weakly at Sakamoto. “Sorry.” he mumbled. “I didn’t see you, Maa-kun.”
“Ah, it’s okay, Takki” The man grinned, then his face grew earnest again. “Problems?” he asked.
“Well…” Takki sighed. „The usual stuff.”
“Want to talk about it?” Sakamoto offered. “We can go out and eat something. There is still a lot of time until the Host Club opens tonight.” He smiled encouragingly. Takki was like a son to him and he was well aware of the fact that things were often difficult for him, carrying so many responsibilities. And Sakamoto always wanted Takki to be able to talk about the stuff that was bothering him.
Takki smiled at him thankfully, nodding his head in agreement. He was not the type to talk about his problem. But with Sakamoto it was different. Sakamoto was like a second father for him. He was the only one who would ask him directly about his problems or rather insist to know them, Sakamoto would scold him harshly sometimes or criticize him. And beyond all…he would guide him and always help him. Sakamoto was fair and helpful, strong-headed and smart, friendly but short tempered. He hated stubborn behaviour. Takki could still remember how Sakamoto had helped him to search for his brothers and he could remember the times when Sakamoto was the only one standing at his side, saving his life. He adored Sakamoto as his friend and Senpai, supporter and helper, as a guidance and father-figure. Glad that he had one person he could trust and talk to when it was about his family and deep problems.
So also this time Takki smiled at him and decided that he should show Sakamoto his sincere trust and talk to him, especially since the latter had asked him to, but not now. He smiled fondly at the older guy. “Just give me a bit more time to sort out all my thoughts.”
“Well…” Sakamoto laughed heartedly. “That just sounds like you. Call me when you did that.”