All That You Can't Leave Behind, part 15
Part 15 - The Part with Valentine's Day
Saihitei slipped through the jangling door, feeling like he was entering a lion's den. The sign outside had been innocuous enough, but inside...
Rack after rack of leather clothing crowded the narrow shop, every color and style imaginable visible. The walls were covered with all sorts of leather accessories. Saihitei almost lost his courage, the very air reeking of leather, but a familiar voice called out to him.
"Saihitei-san! How good to see you! If you are looking for Ry-chan, the princess isn't here." Rokou smiled from the counter where he was ringing up a customer.
Saihitei smiled, putting on his game face. "Rokou, nice to see you! Actually, I'm looking to buy a Valentine's present, of sorts..."
"Ah! Well, if it helps, Ry-chan puts aside all the things he wants to buy over here, by the counter, in hopes that one of us will buy it for him. Look through and see if you like any of it. Although, if you want to buy the leather teddy, I'm going to have to pretend I didn't see that..."
Saihitei grinned, to cover his embarrassment. "Um, actually, I was planning on getting something for *me* to wear, to uh, you know, surprise him..."
Rokou bent over the harness he was ringing up, pretending he was removing the security tags, to hide his grin. "Ok. Well, look around, and when I'm done here, I'll help you out."
"Thanks." Saihitei turned back to the daunting task of finding something suitably daring to wear. After only a few minutes, though, he thought he was going to faint. He held up a pair of shiny black pants, trying to imagine how he would squeeze into them and do up all the laces and ties. Another pair had long slits cut into them, exposing thigh and shin and more.
Then there were the chaps. He tried to move away from the chaps as quickly as he could.
He was riffling through a rack of blue suede pants when Rokou came up to him.
"Um, Saihitei-san, I don't want to offend you here, but, eh, I really don't see you in something like that. Do you?" Ryuen's older brother smiled kindly.
Saihitei wilted. "But, I want to do something *daring*, outrageous. He's always teasing me about my dull wardrobe. I want to show him that I can be as daring as he is."
"Hm. No, I see that, but... Here, as long as you are in leather, you are going to be a lot more daring than you are now, right? So, how about.... these!" Rokou pulled out a pair of long black leather pants.
Saihitei held them up, not able to ignore the soft texture. "Well... these are really nice, but..."
"I happen to know for a fact that Ryuen thinks these pants are really sexy on tall men. He's sold *many* a pair to unsuspecting customers by telling them so. Now, let's see... this is about the right size, isn't it?" Rokou held out a pair for Saihitei to examine. "Now, with that, you'd want a nice silk shirt, probably in black, or maybe red. Do you have something like that? No matter. We've got some in the back. Why don't you go try that on, and I'll get you a shirt."
Saihitei felt a little childish, being led around like that, but he was too grateful to care. He went back to the dressing room, and changed into the pants. He was surprised at how easy they were to slip on. Some of Ryuen's pants were murder to get on. The pants were butter-soft, conforming to his shape, hanging just on top of his hips. They made him look leaner than he was, but were surprisingly sexy.
Saihitei was so busy modeling in front of the mirror that he barely noticed Rokou coming in.
"See? Those are great. And try this shirt, I think that will look good." Rokou grinned as Saihitei slipped into the black silk shirt. His brother's lover was even *worse* in front of a mirror than his brother! "And now, if you want to be 'daring', I do have a suggestion that, if asked, I will utterly deny ever even remotely thinking about..."
Saihitei's eyes traveled to the object dangling from Rokou's finger, his breath suddenly becoming labored. He could feel the sweat pooling on his temples as he contemplated Rokou's racy suggestion. On the one hand, he knew for a fact that Ryuen would go mental. On the other hand...
Rokou just grinned. He loved rooking people into buying more than they intended.
Miaka tugged proprietarily on Taka's suit, making a dozen invisible adjustments. She was more nervous than she would have admitted to being, as they waited for Ryuen and Saihitei to finish dressing. They were going out to dinner for Valentine's Day with Ryuen, Saihitei, Myojuan, Shouka, Do-kun, and Kourin. Miaka felt like something was bubbling inside of her; she and Taka had been getting much, much closer since they started to live together, and Valentine's Day was a typical day for couples to take further steps in their relationships.
The fact that Taka looked like sex on feet in his stylish new suit was not helping her bubbly stomach.
"Ryuen!" She called up the stair, straightening her skirt. "C'mon! We have to go! The others are probably already there!"
"Valentine's Day is just a fuckin' corporate invention, intended to get saps to give up their cash." Genrou grumbled from the couch. "I don't know why you guys are makin' such a big deal about it."
Miaka sighed, and ignored her friend, assuming, correctly, that Houjun would take care of him tonight. "Ry~uen!!!"
"Calm down, Miaka-chan." Ryuen sauntered down the stairs. "I'm ready now. How do I look?" Ryuen stuck a pose as he reached the last step.
Everyone tried gamely to keep his or her mouths shut.
Ryuen was wearing a short red leather jacket with black piping and Chinese buttons that didn't quite meet together in the middle, leaving a half-inch of bare chest exposed. The sleeves were separate from the jacket, held up only by virtue of how tight the leather was. The theme was continued in his red leather pants with black accents running down both of his legs, and he had a wide black silk sash tied around his waist. The pants ended just above his ankles, and he wore traditional black shoes. His hair was tied back with a black silk ribbon in a very loose ponytail that trailed down his back.
He looked dead sexy.
Which Miaka was all too eager to tell him. "Ooh! Ry-chan! You look sooooo sexy!"
Taka was both stunned and disgruntled. "Will they even let you in the restaurant in that get up?"
Ryuen winked at him. "Natch, babe. I'm the essence of style, after all!"
"Really, Ry-chan, you are so sexy." Miaka's eyes were a little too bright for Taka's taste.
Ryuen giggled. "You sound surprised, Miaka-silly! So, where's Sai-chan? We need to get going, right?"
Miaka blinked. "We assumed he was with you, waiting for you."
"Hm. Well, let's go get him then." Ryuen turned to head back up the stairs, giving Genrou the chance to whistle at his very attractive retreating backside. Ryuen tossed a kiss over his shoulder before he disappeared from sight. At the top of the stairs, he knocked gently on Saihitei's door. "Sai-chan? Are you ready?"
Miaka and Taka crowded close behind him, Miaka helping by bellowing out, "C'mon, Sai-kun, even Ryuen is dressed! We need to go!"
"Just a moment..." Saihitei's voice filtered out, sounding harried. "I just have to..." The door swung open unexpectedly, since the voice sounded so far away a moment ago. "Oh, Ryuen..." Saihitei nearly fell over, his eyes widening as they traveled the distance of Ryuen's body.
Ryuen didn't hear him at all. "*Sai*." In his voice, desire and pleasure had a merry war. "*Those* pants... Rokou helped you, didn't he?"
Saihitei blushed, smiling as he head dipped automatically. "I hope you don't mind..."
"They're *perfect*." Ryuen licked his lips unconsciously as his hands went out to trace the waistband of the black leather pants. "I love these pants; they're so sexy."
Saihitei's heart started to pound, as Ryuen's eyes stalked him back, his skin burning where his love touched him.
Miaka and Taka shared a look. Saihitei looked damn good in his leather pants and silk shirt, his long hair falling in chestnut waves around his face.
But they could both see where this was going.
"Um, guys? We have to get going. Everyone else is already at the restaurant, so..." Taka shifted from foot to foot.
Ryuen and Saihitei were lost in each other's gaze. "We'll meet you there," Ryuen said for both of them.
"No!" Miaka whined. "Ryuen, we don't have time! The reservations..."
Ryuen stepped into Saihitei's room. "We'll meet you there." Not breaking Sai's gaze, he kicked the door closed.
Sai smiled. "We're going to be late."
"Mm." Ry purred, his finger tracing up to circle Sai's belly button. "I can think of worse things that could happen. Is this my Valentine's present?"
"I thought it would be better than trying to make you chocolate." Sai's eyes twinkled as his hands traced the lines down Ry's back.
"I agree." Ry grinned as he pushed Sai back against the armoire, his hands snaking down to caress the leather over Sai's bum. "Ooh, Sai-love, no underwear?" his teasing voice dropped to a husky alto against Sai's neck.
Sai smiled, soundlessly laughing. "No, I've got underwear on."
Ry's eyebrow lifted deliberately. His hand pressed more firmly against the flesh shielded by leather. "Really? I guess there's only one way to solve this mystery..." His hands circled back around to the front, teasing Sai before snapping open the top button.
What Ry saw caused him to gasp as he ripped open the rest of the buttons.
"A *leather* thong?!?!" Ry's eyes could not conceivably be any wider. "Sai! You wild man, you!"
Sai blushed hot, his blood rushing through him, scalding his skin. "I-I wasn't really sure about them..."
"*I'm* sure." Ry's hands traced the thong reverently as he nearly fell to his knees, ready to worship. "I'm damn sure. Fuck, Sai, you have got to be the sexiest man alive!"
Sai felt a fever crushing him. "Love..."
Ry grinned wickedly, his eyes fastened on the prize. "Baby, let me show you how sure I am..." With one quick movement, he slid his hand into the front of the thong, slipping it down Sai's thighs. Ry's mouth attacked, his velvet-soft lips torturing Sai with their teasing touches. Hands reached around back, holding and massaging, as Ry's mouth descended to kiss the sensitive sacs and tender areas exposed by Sai's erection.
It didn't have to take long, but Ry didn't rush it. He had plenty of experience with turning men into quivering masses of need with his lips and tongue, and he applied all the resources his years of practice had earned him. Sai leaned back, arching, aching, aiding Ry in his quest. He groaned low, his deep voice echoing in his chest. His hands clutched at the edge of the armoire, his knuckles whitening with his effort to keep stable.
Ry drank of him, feeling giddy and vampirish, a strangely common reaction to him.
He loved to drink of his lover's essence.
Looking up with goofy adoration, Ry's brown-rose eyes twinkled. "Thank you, lover. This is the best Valentine's present ever. Not that I'm not looking forward to taking advantage of the rest of the night..."
Still catching his breath, Sai grinned down at his mischievous love. "Ditto."
The restaurant that they had picked for their Valentine's dinner was very traditional. Each table had its own 'room', partitioned off with paper walls. By the time that Saihitei and Ryuen managed to get to the restaurant, the appetizers were set out, and Miaka was deftly defending them from anyone else who thought they might want to eat some.
With a goofy grin on his face, Ryuen smiled and waved hello. "Sorry! We would have been here sooner, but, eh, something came up..."
Saihitei playfully whacked him on the back of the head, shaking his head while smiling. He really didn't want his love to finish that thought.
Kourin was bouncing happily at the sight of her brother. She had purposefully sat so that she could sit next to her brother. The table was a big square, so she was next to Do-kun, who looked adorable in his suit with a vest but no tie, Do-kun was next to Myojuan, who sat next to Shouka, who sat next to Taka, who, of course, was busy trying to keep Miaka from either ordering the whole menu or eating the tablecloth.
Kourin was ready to greet her brother with a gentle barb, when he sailed right past her to sit next to Miaka, leaving her to sit next to Saihitei. Frowning, she tried to catch Ryuen's eye, but he was busy fixing Saihitei's hair. Kourin's frown became more pronounced.
Saihitei's arm was around Ryuen's waist as they knelt before the table. Ryuen's face was flushed and happy as he was surrounded by his lover.
Kourin's lips pursed. Clearing her throat, she tried to get her brother's attention. "Ry-chan! I got my acceptance letters from the colleges I applied to this week. Every place I applied to, I got into! Isn't that great, big brother?"
Ryuen was startled. Saihitei's hand had been busy beneath the table, and he barely made out what Kourin said. "Oh, that's great, sis. Where did you get in, then?"
Kourin glared. "*Everywhere*. I *just* said that!"
"Oh?" Ryuen smiled at his sister, absently. He placed his hand on Saihitei's thigh. "That's really great, Kourin-chan. I guess that gives us all the more reason to celebrate tonight, eh?"
Myojuan gently interceded into the conversation. "Do-kun has also received his grants this week. These two are a pair of highly accomplished young people."
Kourin and Do-kun blushed under the praise.
Taka raised his glass, "To the accomplished!"
Everyone raised their glasses and toasted the youngest of their party.
Ryuen and Saihitei raised a single glass together.
Kourin watched with decreasing patience as her brother and his lover shared a kiss to finish off the toast.
Before she could form another thought, the servers slipped into the room, bringing the main course.
"I hope you don't mind that we ordered," Miaka offered as she began to take the trays of food straight from the servers. "But we figured that you were going to be late, so..."
"It's wonderful," Saihitei stemmed off her apologies. "Everything is wonderful tonight." Ryuen turned to give Saihitei a wicked smile, wrapping his hand in his lover's.
Kourin narrowed her eyes.
She and Do-kun reached for dishes on opposite sides of the table, not paying attention, causing Do-kun's arm to brush against Kourin's breast. Both of them started back, Do-kun's face reddening so fast, he was in danger of combusting.
Miaka and Taka giggled lightly to themselves, as Myojuan and Shouka worked to hide their smiles.
Kourin, panicked, turned to try to stem off Ryuen's inevitable rage.
Well, he *would* have been outraged if he wasn't busy feeding Saihitei from his fingers.
Kourin's blood pressure was quickly reaching dangerous levels. Snarling, she dropped her chopsticks onto the table. "Ryuen!"
"Hm?" Her brother was only giving her the sparest of attention.
"When are you going to pick me up on Saturday for the festival?" she demanded.
"Hm? You mean Sunday." Saihitei whispered something in Ryuen's ear, causing Ryuen to melt into him.
"No, Kourin, Saihitei's taking me to a premier on Saturday."
"Ryuen! The festival only lasts a day! You promised you would take me!" Kourin was talking louder than the paper walls should allow, but she seemed indifferent to it.
Ryuen looked confused, as he met her eyes. "I thought you said Sunday. We already got the tickets and everything."
Kourin was truly mad now. "I suppose *Saihitei* was whispering in your ear when I talked to you then, too!" Her voice was dripping with bitter sarcasm.
"Kourin!" Ryuen chastised his sister sharply. "Watch your tone! I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, really I am, but we just need to find an acceptable compromise. *My* error doesn't give you the right to make insinuations about Saihitei."
Saihitei blushed, and everyone else turned their faces to their plates. Or, in Miaka's case, her platter. Kourin looked ready to either burst into fury or into tears.
Slamming her hand onto the table, she got up and fled, leaving a very confused brother in her wake.
Mouth agape, Ryuen turned from Saihitei to Do-kun to Myojuan and Shouka to Miaka and Taka and back to Saihitei again. "Did I say something wrong?"
Do-kun stirred. Looking helpless, "I should go after her...?"
"No," Ryuen stood up, kissing Saihitei on the cheek as he did. "I'll go. Obviously, I need to apologize to her."
They watched him leave, no one knowing quite what to say.
Saihitei worried about his love and his sister. There was something terribly wrong.
Ryuen found Kourin outside, on a bench in front of the restaurant. The area had a secluded garden feel to it, giving privacy. Her arms were wrapped around herself, and he knew her well enough to know that she was trying to not cry.
Sitting next to her, and gently pulling the hair away from her face, he spoke gently. "Kourin? Are... Did I do something wrong?"
She nearly laughed. "No. I'm sorry, Ry-chan. I know that I was rude. I just... I didn't expect..."
He put his arm around her. "Kourin... I know that I've been spending a lot of time with Saihitei, and I haven't been paying as much attention to you..."
Kourin snorted. "No kidding. Do-kun touched my breast, and you didn't even care!"
His eyes went wide, his body stiffened. "He... WHAT??!"
She shook her head. "It was nothing, his arm just brushed against me by accident. It was no big deal, he was more upset by it than *you* would have been if you had been paying attention."
"Kourin..." Ryuen put his hand to her face. She leaned in to the touch, her face turned to him. "I'm sorry. I... You *know* that I love you more than anyone else in this, or any other, life. But you know that I'm with Saihitei now?"
"I know that. I wanted that for you. I... I helped you to get together, albeit accidentally. But... I didn't expect you to *love* anyone else. I've seen you with so many other people, and it never mattered to me because I always knew that you loved me best. But... Saihitei is different. I knew he would be, but... When the two of you are together, it's like you are in your own private world. I'm not a part of it." Her eyes were getting wet.
"Kourin, you know that isn't true. Yes, I'll admit, grudgingly, Saihitei is different, but you are still the most important person to me. I promise you that, and you always will be, too." Ryuen tried to gather her in his arms, but she stood up and walked away, leaning against the wall.
"No. I'm not. I mean, I know that in many, very important ways, I am, but I'm not. You don't understand what it's like, to care so much for someone and watch them slip away from you..."
Ryuen got up to go to her. "Kourin, don't be silly, I'm not going anywhere. Nothing has changed between us, I swear!"
She laughed, a harsh sound. "I know that. God, nothing ever changes between us, and nothing ever can or will..."
Her head bent down, dejected. "I love you, Ry-chan."
He shook his head, feeling bizarre. "I know that, Kourin. I love you, too. That's what I've been saying."
"No." She shook her head slowly, her soft hair moving in waves around her face. "I *love* you."
Her chin touched her chest as she began to really cry. "I know you must hate me. I never wanted you to know. I never expected you to love anyone else..."
Ryuen's head was swimming. The world had suddenly been replaced by something else, and it was enough like the old world to make him feel very... strange.
His sister was crying.
Without thinking, he tried to pull her into his arms. When she resisted, he took her face into his hands, and forced her to look at him. Her face was a study in misery. Leaning down, he kissed her, sweetly, just long enough to make the blood pound behind her ears. Then he pulled her into his arms and held her tight against his body.
"I could never hate you, Kourin. Never. You are the center of my life. You have no idea what lengths my love for you would make me go. I would take the stars out of the skies and weave them into a dress for you. I would gather all the pearls from the oceans for you." Pulling back, "I would make you happy, if I could."
Her heart was fluttering. "I know, Ry-chan." Her tears spilled out of her eyes, forging hot trails down her cheeks. All she could think was, he kissed me!
Ryuen wiped her tears away, kissing her cheeks. Squeezing her close one last time, he smiled down on her. "You... want to go back and eat?"
Smiling bravely back, she nodded, wiping at her eyes again.
They came back into the restaurant together, hands clasped. Saihitei scooted over so that his love could sit next to his sister. Ryuen doted upon Kourin, making her blush. Do-kun smiled brightly at the reunited siblings, just happy that Kourin was happy again.
Saihitei worried over Ryuen, not sure what to make of his tension.
When the night came to a close, Ryuen went straight upstairs without saying a word to anyone.
Saihitei stayed downstairs long enough to put away the leftover food, discuss once again with Miaka how *nice* the place was, and assure Taka that he was going to take care of Ryuen.
He found his diminutive lover in his bed, right where he was hoping he would be. Ryuen was curled up on the bed, hiding his face in the pillow. Saihitei sat down next to Ryuen and brushed at the hair framing his face.
"Is Kourin going to be all right?"
Ryuen took a few deep breaths, and spoke in halting puffs of air. "She's in love with me."
Saihitei took pause. "Oh. Is she going to be ok?"
Ryuen turned so that he could see Saihitei. "I think so. I guess. Nothing's really changed, for her. What is wrong with me, Saihitei?"
Saihitei leaned down so that he could take Ryuen in his arms. "What do you mean?"
"Normal people don't have sisters who are in love with them." Ryuen sounded miserable.
Saihitei pulled Ryuen tighter to him, kissing the forehead below his chin. "People who give so much of their love away can't help but get love in return. I know that you haven't always believed yourself to be loved, but trust me, Ryuen, you are and have always been. You and Kourin have always been close, and after all that you have been through together, it's almost..."
Ryuen smiled into Saihitei's chest. "If you are going to say 'natural', then I'm going to have to throw out everything you've said as an outrageous lie."
"Not natural. But, understandable." Saihitei gently massaged Ryuen's shoulders.
Ryuen traced Saihitei's collarbone. "Could we... do you mind if... would it be all right if we..."
Saihitei kissed Ryuen gently. "Whatever you want, my love, it's all right."
"Would you just hold me, tonight? I know that we had plans..." Ryuen's voice was soft, his eyes down.
Saihitei put his hands into Ryuen's hair. "I would be honored to hold you, tonight or any night."
Ryuen clutched Saihitei tightly to thank him.
Saihitei laid kisses on Ryuen's hairline. "I know... You would probably prefer to have Ayuru to talk to, someone who's been your friend for a lot longer..."
Ryuen leaned up to look Saihitei in the eye. "Ayuru? He wouldn't understand. He'd just suggest that the three of us have at it... He's always harbored these sick fantasies about my sister and me. He would only make it worse. I'm... so lucky to have you now, especially *now*, Saihitei."
Saihitei took his face and kissed him, trying to convey his love and devotion. "Not lucky, Ryuen. You have me by rights. I love you."
Ryuen smiled, and buried himself in Saihitei's embrace.
He would be all right, for as long as he had Saihitei to lean on.
Ry pulled one thing after another out his closet, holding it up before disgustedly throwing it away. The floor was littered with clothes, like a tornado had ripped through his closet, and Ry's small mouth was pulled tight into a line as he doggedly continued to tear through his clothes.
Sai watched from the door, his heart aching.
"What are you doing, Ry?"
Ry didn't respond, his mouth pulling even tighter.
"Please stop." Sai sounded tired.
Ry wrapped his arms around his waist and stared down at the pile of clothes on the floor. The powder blue shirt he had stolen from Sai was bunching up and he clutched himself.
"Genrou is grumbling that he needs to 'get outta this fuckin' house.' He's almost worn Houjun down to agreeing with him. I think we should go with."
"I don't want to go out, Sai." Ry's voice was etched with fatigue.
Sai looked at his shoes. "You don't have to if you don't want to. But... we haven't left the house since... for four days. You need an airing."
Ry almost smiled, his eyes nearly sparkling. "Everything I own is so slutty. Not too surprising, eh? I don't want to be sexy. I hate all of my clothes."
"Therapy tomorrow is gonna be fun, huh? I can talk about how I'm such a whore, I can't even have a normal relationship with my sister. Fuck."
Sai moved over to take Ry in his arms, settling the smaller body into the groove in his body made for it. "Please don't say such things, Ry-chan. It's not your fault."
"She was the best thing about me, Sai. She was my little sister. And I've tainted her... She's suffering because of me. Me. I would die for her, I would suffer the most horrible fates for thousands of years for her, and I've broken her heart."
Sai rubbed Ry's back gently, sighing into the mass of purple hair his nose was buried in. "Ryuen. It's not your fault. Kourin has felt this way for a while, she said. She hasn't been any worse for the wear because of it. You just need some time."
Ry just shook his head against Sai, tears starting to form in his eyes.
"Genrou needs us now, Ry. He's probably hurting, going through withdrawal. He hasn't been out drinking since he and Kouji 'broke' up. Please, Ryuen. You can go out dressed like that. I mean, you still look sexy, but you're *you*, you can't help it." Sai hated to do that, to play on Ry's love for his friends like that, but he needed to get through to Ry.
He was enough of a politician still to pull dirty tricks from time to time.
Ry sighed, leaning back. "I don't feel like going out, going out. But maybe we could go to the coffeehouse. Genrou should see the better side of being gay anyway..."
Sai grinned widely, unable to stop himself. Kissing Ry on the forehead, he spoke softly into his love's hair. "You are a better friend than any of us deserve."
Sai dragged a trudging Ry downstairs, where Genrou had Houjun pinned to the couch with his puppy-dog eyes.
Taka and Miaka were wisely making their way up the stairs to their room.
Ryuen sighed, bringing the attention in the room to him. "Ok, kids, we're going out, we're going to a nifty lesbian coffeehouse, you *both* are coming with, let's go." He turned and headed for the door, not having to look back to see if anyone was following him.
Within a half an hour, they were all seated comfortably in the couches surrounding one of the tables, drinking huge cups of cappuccino and listening to some funky jazz trio.
Genrou was too caught up in spying on everyone around them even grumble all that much about this not being his idea of a night out.
Ryuen was comfortably seated in the crook of Saihitei's arm, so he pretty much didn't care about anything going on, as long as he could stay curled up like that forever. Houjun and Saihitei were discussing the latest developments in politics, cheerfully bantering back and forth, since basically they shared opinions on most every issue.
Ryuen's pretty, long lashes were flirting with his cheekbones when he felt Saihitei jerk up. Before he could register a complaint, his lover used the arm, which should have been sheltering him, to wave over to someone behind them.
"Hey guys! Over here!"
Ryuen turned to see who Saihitei would be calling over when his stomach dropped.
'Toku and Shun approached with amiable smiles, carrying their own huge cups of cappuccino.
Shun plopped down across from Ryuen and Saihitei, his infectious grin spilling out over his features. "Heya, guys! How's it going? Ryuen, are you feeling all right?"
Ryuen blinked. "Yeah. Why do you ask?"
"Because you look kinda dowdy, that's all." Shun shrugged as his brother took time from introducing himself again to Genrou and Houjun to sigh.
"I didn't feel like dressing up," Ryuen replied with a shrug.
"Oh! That's cool." Shun smiled brightly. "Can I play with your hair? Ooh! I could braid yours and Sai-san's hair together!"
Ryuen giggled silently. "I think that might make moving around difficult, Shun!"
Shun just giggled back. "Could be fun, though..."
The six of them settled back together, deciding to play some cards since there were so many of them, now. Soon, Saihitei was pleased to see Ryuen laughing and joking with everyone else, the color returned to his cheeks.
When the trio broke up for the night, Shun bounced up to his feet. Winking to his brother, "I'm gonna go flirt with the saxophonist!"
'Toku just shook his head at his flighty brother as he gathered up the cards.
Saihitei decided that this was his chance. "Hey, 'Toku, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?"
Shrugging, "Naw, of course not, Sai-san. Heck, I wouldn't mind anything personal from you..." 'Toku was really good at saying things that should have had double meanings as if he were unaware of the second meaning.
Smiling, Saihitei played along. "When you first realized that you had feelings for your brother, what was it like?"
"Sai!" Ryuen's back went rigid. "That's uncalled for!" His brown-rose eyes flashed painfully, causing Saihitei to almost wish he hadn't said what he did.
"No, it's all right, Ryuen." 'Toku just shrugged. "It was... At first, I felt like a total pervert, and freak. But then, I realized that he felt the same way. Then, I thought we were *both* freaks!"
Ryuen's head was down, his long purple hair shading his face. Saihitei wished he didn't have to do this, but he was so sure that he did, he carried on as if his love wasn't in terrible pain. "So, then, how did you guys...?"
"Well." 'Toku took a long sip of the coffee, thinking. "At first, it was just horseplay, really. When things started to get serious, I got really worried. This was before our parent's found out. I would have stopped us, made sure that nothing ever happened, but..."
Saihitei prodded him to continue with an enraptured look.
"It made him so happy." 'Toku shrugged, apologetically smiling. "I love my brother, more than the whole world. He meant everything to me, so when I saw how happy I could make him... And after giving it some serious thought, I realized that it wasn't like either of us was going to get pregnant or anything. I mean, it can't last forever. We both know that. But, for as long as I can, I can make my little brother happy. So."
Saihitei watched as Ryuen lifted his head slightly, so he could see 'Toku's face.
"What if he hadn't felt the same way?" Saihitei paused. "What if he loved you and not the other way around?"
'Toku considered. "Well, if he hadn't felt the same way about me, I'm sure that the feelings would have passed, especially as I got older. Everyone gets over their first crush, right? And if he had loved me, but not the other way around... That's a very tough question, Sai-san. Because, for as long as I can remember, I've been taking care of my little brother. Through every school and everything, teachers and people have always had trouble with Shun. Other students have always picked on him. So, I've always felt responsible for him. I can't really say what I would have done in that unfortunate circumstance, but I do know one thing."
Saihitei asked what with a tilt of his head.
'Toku grinned. "As much as I would never want to hurt my brother, I know he would never want to hurt me, either."
Ryuen snaked his arm around Saihitei's, hugging it to his body, as he offered 'Toku a shy smile.
Shun loped back lazily, a grin plastered all over his face. "I got his phone number!"
'Toku congratulated him by kissing him quickly.
Ryuen waited a few minutes until 'Toku and Shun were occupied discussing the relative merits of various types of musicians, and noting that Houjun and Genrou were deeply involved in their own conversation, he elbowed Saihitei, signaling that it was time for them to leave.
On the way back home, Ry was quiet, keeping his hands in his pockets as he thought carefully. Sai just walked along side of him, respecting the quiet.
When the silence was broken, Sai was so shocked he nearly tripped. "You really are a sneaky bastard, you know that?"
"Yes." Sai quickly recovered his poise, and smiled at his love. "But it comes in handy from time to time, you know?"
Ry smiled up and him, taking his arm again. "I suppose. But therapy tomorrow is still gonna suck."
"You could always skip it..."
Ry laughed softly at the idea. "Sai?"
"You think Kourin is going to be ok?"
"Well... because she's a lot stronger than you give her credit for. Because she has this really great older brother who will do everything he can to make it better. Because she's had a lot of time to get used to it, so she's in better shape than you, really. And..."
Sai sighed, shrugging. "Because I want her to be."
Ry smiled up at Sai, before he leaned up to kiss Sai's cheek.
"I love you, Sai."
end part 15
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