title: Compatibility
fandom: Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi
characters/pairings: Kisa/Yukina, Kojima Rio
rating: G/Teen
warnings: none
summary: Kisa meets one of Yukina's friends
notes: takes place after Kisa Shouta no Baai 5, and contains spoilers for that chapter

"Shou~ta~san!"

Kisa scrunched his face up, fighting with all his will the notion that he might not get to keep sleeping. He batted at the insect that was buzzing next to his ear. Even though, in some part of his brain, he knew it was not an insect. He also knew that it was some Ungodly Hour of the Morning, and he was not prepared to be bombarded by his prince-like boyfriend's perfect visage.

Though, he was dreaming about Yukina, so...

"Shouta~san! C'mon, I just want a kiss before I go!"

Kisa grumbled, balling himself up a bit more, clinging to Yukina's blanket. Which was too warm for this time of year! He cracked one eye cautiously. Of course, Yukina was beaming at him. That damned smile was worse than looking into the rising sun. "Whffmmptrrrnnt??" Yukina should know that he did not want to be awake yet!

"Those weren't words, Shouta~san!" Yukina grinned. He leaned in, toying with a strand of Kisa's hair over his temple. "Pleeeeeease? Can I have a kiss before I head off to work?"

Kisa wriggled a bit, feeling vexed. He opened both eyes, and pouted. "What time is it, even? Why are you waking me up? Why are you going to work so damned early? Just... comebacktobed!" He pouted even harder. Yukina was practically forcing him to say these things! But he really should just come back to bed. They were both up - and active - until really late the night before!

"That's a funny thing for a manga editor to ask!" Yukina grinned. He leaned in, caressing Kisa's jaw. He kissed Kisa's nose lightly. "You should know that today is the day that new manga come out! I have to go in early... and set up all the new books displays... including yours that's coming out today... and then I have class... and then I have to go back to work to sell the crap out of your book..." Yukina smiled brightly. "Doesn't that deserve a kiss?"

Kisa sat up a tiny, tiny bit, repressing the huff he was feeling. Yukina was totally emotionally blackmailing him! Well, whatever. "My mouth is all smelly, but whatever. Work hard today!" He parted his lips and tilted his chin...

Yukina rarely even needed that much in the way of an invitation. Honestly, couldn't he have just kissed Kisa without waking him up?! But... this was ok, too... probably. But.

He put his hand on Yukina's neck, and when Yukina finally broke off the kiss, he held on tightly, not letting Yukina get too far away. "Are... you sure it's ok? This crazy schedule of yours...? Don't you... have that big project?"

"Oh, yeah!" Yukina just laughed it off. He was so damned hard-working. If he had a flaw besides his showy personality (which, admittedly, Kisa was getting a bit more used to), Kisa sure didn't know what it was. Yukina was just...

Sparkling.

"Well, today is the new books day, so there's nothing for it. I just have the one class, though. I'll have to go back to campus after work, so I can get some more work done on my project. I'll probably be there all night!" He looked like he was looking forward to it, but that absolutely couldn't be the case. Even at his age, Kisa pulled all nighters from time to time, but no matter how young Yukina was, it would have to suck.

Kisa touched Yukina's arm, giving him a wary look. "Is it genetically programmed into all artists that if there's a deadline, you absolutely can't do any work until right before it, or... have you been... er... with me, and...?" Kisa somewhat ducked behind the blanket.

As always, their schedules just didn't mesh. When Yukina had a relatively light schedule a week ago, Kisa was facing the end of the cycle, and all the madness that came with that. Now that Kisa had the rare easy week in his cycle, Yukina's work and projects were piling up. That was why Kisa came to Yukina's apartment last night, so they could at least sleep together. But...

He just didn't want to think that Yukina was neglecting things for his sake...

"What? Don't be silly! I really am very conscientious... if I drew manga, you'd be begging to be my editor." At Kisa's dubious look, Yukina just grinned and went on. "But, you know, this project just coincided badly with my work schedule, plus I had to scrap my original idea because I ended up blocked..." Yukina shrugged. "It's just the way it goes sometimes."

That damned sunny smile. And the way it made Kisa's heart pound. Damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it... "W-well... if you don't mind, I'm going back to sleep, b-but... I c-can stop by your store later... at least say hi while you're working..." Kisa nearly hid entirely under the blanket. That was just too ridiculously embarrassing! How in the world did he manage to say that out loud! Yukina should just leave, he had to get to work! And it was Yukina's fault he was up so late, anyway! He was the one who wanted to do it in the shower after they had sex, and then do it again when they got back to bed!

"I'll look forward to it!" Yukina boomed in his happiest voice. He pulled down the blanket to kiss Kisa's forehead one more time. "I'll see you later, then. Shouta-san."

He was looking at Kisa so eagerly, so expectantly... Kisa turned his face. So embarrassing, and so early in the morning! This was all so annoying! "Whatever, ok, just go then... K-Kou..."

"I love you, Shouta-san!" Yukina shouted, cuddling Kisa again. Damn it...!

"Just go already! I wanna sleep!" Kisa pouted.

One more sloppy kiss to his cheek, and Yukina finally stood up. "Right, right! See you later, then!"

Kisa just covered his head with the blanket until he heard the door close, and lock. Ah, he should have gotten out of bed to lock the door for Yukina, huh? And... ah, that was what he wanted, right? The kiss in the genkan to see him off on his day...?

What the fuck was he, Yukina's wife?! Like hell he'd do that! Kisa needed to get more sleep!

It took a while for him to calm down enough to even close his eyes and pretend to sleep. And even then, when he closed his eyes, all he saw was that dazzling smile. Yukina had invaded every part of Kisa. It would have been nice if they'd been able to have breakfast together. And if he did kiss Yukina goodbye in the genkan... that wouldn't be so bad, either. When he saw Yukina at the store later, after all, he wouldn't be able to kiss him again. Or touch him. Or be touched.

Kisa shivered, and balled himself up really tightly. It was too hot in the bed, and the sheets stank of being overly used. Kisa liked this smell, though, and he wanted to feel hot. He hadn't even noticed Yukina getting out of bed... he should have, though! In manga, the girl always noticed as soon as her lover got out of bed... Though, just because Yukina looked like he stepped out of the pages of the best shoujo manga ever, that didn't mean life could be like a manga.

If it were, it'd be like a BL manga, anyway. In which case, Kisa would have to act way more like a girl, and that would suck.

He finally did manage to get some more rest, but it was only about an hour or so later that he decided to get up. Yukina's apartment was kind of strange when he wasn't in it. It seemed a lot bigger, for one thing. Yukina took up a lot of space! It was an overcast morning, so the place was full of transparent shadows. Kisa sat up in bed, hugging Yukina's blanket, just... looking around.

He sort of wanted to go through Yukina's things, but... no. It was nearly eleven now, and he had to go back to his apartment before he could go to work. Which was silly... Yukina had a few changes of clothes at Kisa's place, but Kisa didn't have anything to wear except what he'd come over in last night. He should at least have a toothbrush here, right? They mostly got together at his place, probably because it was bigger, but for nights like last night, when it was more convenient for Yukina for Kisa to come to him...

He chewed a bit on Yukina's blanket. He was thinking crazy thoughts. And he was being ridiculous, again. Whatever!

He got up, and washed his face, and used Yukina's toothbrush. He turned the light on so he could make some coffee, and he proceeded to go through Yukina's refrigerator and cabinets. Kisa rarely ate anything for breakfast, anyway, though he did make his coffee with lots of sugar and milk. And he needed to find the sugar! That was mainly it. He sat on Yukina's counter and sipped his coffee - from Yukina's favorite mug - and he looked around.

This wasn't his place, but he felt oddly at peace here. If he spent more than ten seconds thinking about that, though, he'd start to freak out. He took another big sip of his coffee... he really should keep some clothes here... all right, he'd just finish his coffee, and then he'd head home, and then to work. Today was the first day in weeks that he had no meetings about the new anime, but he'd have to talk to the sales people about that new promotion, because his proposal had been rejected but that idiot Henmi hadn't been at all clear about what was wrong. He really should just talk to Yokozawa-san directly about it, but Kisa didn't go out of his way to find reasons to talk to Marukawa's in-resident bear...

"Kou!" There was a sharp bang on the door.

Kisa jumped, nearly dropped his coffee, and then just stared, fish-faced, at the offending door.

"Open up, please, please, Kou, c'mon, if you're asleep, wake the hell up!"

Oh, shit. It was that girl, Kisa was sure of it. She kept pounding on the door, too! Kisa didn't know what to do! He sure as hell couldn't answer it, though, so he tried to just be silent and invisible and maybe she would just...

"I can see your light on, Kou! You never leave the light on when you're not at home, so I'm just going to keep pounding and yelling until you open the damned door! Kou!"

Fuck. Kisa glared up at the light. Damn it all...! If she really did keep that noise up, the neighbors or the landlord would show up! And what if he was found inside of the apartment then?! This chick was leaving him with no options...

Carefully, and stealthily, Kisa went to the door, unlocked it quietly, and opened it exactly one crack. He peeked around the edge, glad that the damned noise had stopped when he started to open the door.

"Oh!" Whatever she was going to say died in her throat as she saw Kisa peeking.

He grimaced. "Yukina's not here right now, so..." he started to close the door again, but she shoved herself bodily into it. Damn it, she was strong!

"I'msosorry! My name is Kojima Rio, and I'm a friend of Ko- er, Yukina's, I swear! I swear! I just... I really, really need to use the bathroom, please, I'll just be right in and out, I promise, I go to school with Yukina, so I swear I'm not an axe murderer or something, please, please, please can I use the bathroom?!" She clapped her hands together as she begged, keeping her body in position to prevent him from slamming the door shut.

Well, fuck. Resigned, Kisa sighed, and moved back, giving her room to get inside.

"Thankyou!" she whooped, carelessly chucking her shoes off as she dumped her bag and made a beeline for the bathroom.

As soon as the door shut, Kisa's heart dropped to his ankles. Damn it all... he should have known better than to start feeling good about things! Of course he would get depressed because she knew her way right to the bathroom! Of course he would start to think about how she used to be Yukina's girlfriend, and she never called him by anything but his given name. And she'd known Yukina since prep school, which meant they were both from Sapporo.

Of course.

He chugged back the rest of his coffee and swirled some water around in the mug. Right, he'd just... gather up his shit and get ready to go so as soon as she came out, he could shove her out and they could both leave... He just didn't want to get stuck talking to this girl. What would he even say to her? She didn't seem too put off by his being there, but that was probably because she needed the bathroom.

And just why would she need Yukina's bathroom? Didn't she say on the phone that time that it took her an hour to get here? She was probably angling to get back with Yukina.

Kisa really didn't want to think about that.

"Ah, that's such a relief!" she sighed as she came out. She stretched her arms out and beamed.

Great, she and Kou both had such loud, sparkling personalities. With the two of them, there was no one to bring them down and think weird, depressing thoughts...

"I hooked up with this guy last night. He's been coming to my bar to see me... I thought it was a really bad idea, but he'd been so persistent and he's pretty hot, so last night I just figured... What the hell, I'm horny and he's ready, so let's do it. I didn't even notice last night, but when I woke up this morning, I realized... that guy's apartment was a complete pig sty! It was so disgusting, I can't even describe it... And there was a huge bug in the kitchen, and the bathroom was just... fuzzy with mold..." she shook her head, smiling at Kisa. "I had to get out of there as quickly as I could, but then I realized that it was a residential area and I hate the bathrooms in train stations... I didn't think Kou would be home, but then I saw the light..."

Kisa looked up at the light, again, balefully. And then he shrugged. This girl... she just came out and said all that to a complete stranger? "Well... we've all had mornings like that. That's why it's generally better to get out before the last train," he nodded.

If he knew anything about anything, he knew about one-night stands.

"Next time, make him pay for a love hotel," he suggested.

She looked at him and he looked at her, and then she just broke up, laughing. "I don't usually do that sort of thing! Just go to some guy's place... Maybe it would have been better to bring him back to my place?"

"No way," Kisa shook his head. "Then, when things go south, he knows where you live. Never bring a guy back to your place. A moldy bathroom is way less disgusting than a stalker hanging around your front door." That was a hard lesson Kisa could never forget.

"You are every bit as adorable as Kou said you were!" she squealed, covering her mouth. "Ohmygod, he just keeps going on and on and on, 'Rio, did I tell you, Kisa-san wore this red hoodie today, and he looked even smaller and cuter than normal!' or 'Rio, Rio, you won't believe it, I can wrap my whole hand around Kisa-san's ankle and my fingers touch the knuckle on my thumb!' and I just kept thinking, shut up, Kou, there isn't anybody on the planet who is that small and cute, but... you really are! It's like... if I were to design someone who was just exactly Kou's type, it'd totally be you, exactly!"

Kisa just stared at her. And then, when the universe didn't just suddenly start making sense again, he turned bright red. "Oh, shit, are you saying... he talks to you about me?!"

"Well, of course!" she beamed. "I mean, I doubt he talks to just everyone about you... but he and I have been friends for ages now. Plus, even if he hadn't told me about you before, I would have made him after that little stunt at the fashion show."

Kisa's blood froze. Oh, right, that was... His shoulders slumped and he hung his head down. "Enh, I'm... I'm so sorry about that! I was just... just trying to leave, and...!"

"Oh, don't worry about it!" she laughed, waving away his concerns. "I mean, I was super pissed at the time... oh, not at you, at Kou, at Kou! I mean, you didn't want to fall on the runway like that! But then Kou just ran off..." she huffed loudly, crossing her arms over her chest. But just as suddenly, she turned back to him and beamed. "But then, later, it was like... that was the only thing anyone was talking about after the festival. It just became this totally infamous incident, so it was pretty cool, being in the center of attention and all. And then the film group wanted to use that picture... which was totally gorgeous..." she sighed happily.

Kisa did his best to just melt right into the tiles. This was horrifying. It was bad enough that it happened at the time, but then...

"Looking back on it, ohmygod, how awesomely romantic was Kou! Just scooping you up and running off! I bet you two squirreled away somewhere for hot, torrid sex...!" she sighed happily, clearly imagining it.

Kisa was going to die. He was going to die, right there, right in Yukina's kitchen...

She suddenly grabbed his shoulders, and shook him a tiny bit, just to make him look her in the eye. "Kisa-san, will you model for me?"

So... somehow, getting out of bed, Kisa had fallen into an alternative universe. He didn't like this. At all. Maybe he should go back to bed? But he couldn't do that while some crazy chick was clutching him, so... "Model for you? Isn't that something you should ask Yukina to do?"

"No way, no way!" she laughed, which at least meant she let go of him. If he edged around her... maybe... "See, what I need is to create a look book for my designs, because I want to get an internship at a fashion house. Next year is our last year of school, so I've really got to get my act together so I can hopefully get a job. Otherwise, I might end up going back home to work retail. I do not want to do that. If I used Kou in a look book, even if I got hired, it would only be so they could find out who my model was. Can't you just see it?" She made a face. It was kinda of cute, but... Kisa looked at the bed. Even if he crawled back in, time wouldn't rewind itself, would it? "I think you'd be perfect! Oh, please! I have a friend in the photography department who's promised to help out so I'll make sure it looks as good as possible and then I'll buy you cake and everything!"

He gave her a dirty look. "Like I'd be bought with just cake! There's no way I'd model for you! What kind of clothes would you get a shrimpy guy like me to wear, anyway?" He started to think about it, and any way he turned it around in his head, it always came out the same. She definitely wanted him to dress in drag! "Like hell I'd do something like that!"

"Aw... but I'll teach Kou some really good new cooking techniques!" she tried to tempt him.

"You'd do that for him, anyway. And stop making him go to those all-night slasher deals! He's not into that sort of thing, and anyway, if he's got that sort of time, he should...!" Kisa clamped his mouth shut. Oh, damn, he almost told her that Yukina should spend his free time with Kisa, not her. That was way too overt, right? This chick... probably was angling to get back with Yukina. All this fawning... she was definitely trying to get a handle on the competition, right?

It must seem like it'd be easy, seeing as how he was just a tiny, old guy. For an energetic and pretty girl like her, he wasn't any competition at all.

He really, really had to learn how to stop thinking.

"Aw... oh, my god, I can't stand it, you're just... too damned cute!" She threw her arms around Kisa's tiny shoulders and snuggled him close. She'd caught him completely off-guard, too, so he couldn't really get purchase to push her away. Well, not without grabbing her by her tits, and he definitely wasn't going to do that. "All right, all right, I get it, you won't model for me... but... but! You have to go shopping with me! If you go shopping with me, and let me pick out some clothes for you, then I'll let Kou off the hook. But it's really hard to find someone to go to a slasher marathon!"

"Yeah, right, a pretty girl like you'd have no trouble getting a guy to do whatever she wants," Kisa muttered. And then, he wanted to kick himself. That was practically like admitting defeat!

Again, though, she just laughed. She was way too much like Yukina. And she was still cuddling him! He started to squirm, but that made her tighten her grip. Damn, this woman was strong! "Well, may~be. I'm guessing a cute boy like you would also know all about that sort of thing," she snickered, but at least she finally pulled back. She winked at him, like they were charter members of the Secret Society for Using Sex to Control Men. "So you'll go shopping with me? How about today? Kou was whining last week about how you were going to be free this week but he was going to busy, so you'll be free, right? We can meet and go shopping after work, right?"

Kisa blanched. And backed away. This... this damned chick! But... she seemed to know... an awful lot... Even though Kisa trusted Yukina completely, he could never be totally at ease. After all, this was his first love... and he was the older one... Yukina had never been with a guy before. Bisexuals were never trustworthy! They always end up with a chick in the end! Though, Kisa didn't really believe that about Yukina, he did have a damned hard time believing they had a forever thing. It might not be this girl, but it would be some girl, eventually, right? And...

Maybe it wouldn't hurt, getting a little closer to her. She was close to Yukina, and...

She was dangerous.

"O-okay... but... I work late. And, I'm stopping by Books Marimo tonight, too, so... er... n-not today..." he blushed. It was really, really embarrassing, talking about their relationship with someone. It felt wrong, too. Like... their fragile little world in which only the two of them existed would be crushed if someone else barged inside.

"Ok, then, tomorrow!" she excitedly agreed. She whipped out her cell phone. "Afterward, I'll take you to the shop where I work and treat you to dinner. Let's exchange info so we can contact each other if something comes up!"

This felt like a huge trap, and Kisa was walking right into it... He felt his pockets, but of course, his cell wasn't in there. Just as well, since he was pretty sure his jeans went flying last night... His cell was right next to the bed, which seemed to make Kojima-chan a little excited.

This was such a huge mistake, but there was nothing for it. After she finally left, Kisa sank into the bed and held his head in his hands. Tomorrow. Shopping.

With Yukina's ex.

He was such an idiot.





He'd resolved to himself that he wasn't going to wait for that chick, not even for a minute. If she wasn't at the station where they'd agreed to meet, he'd just take off. All day yesterday and all day today, he hadn't been able to stop thinking about her, and the more he thought about it, the more he was certain that this was a Very Bad Idea. Possibly one of his worst. If he could even imagine anything good coming of this... but no, he couldn't. It was impossible, wasn't it?

Yesterday, he'd gone to Books Marimo and he was able to spend about ten minutes with Yukina, but it was busy so they couldn't leave the sales floor. Kisa should have been happy, because Yukina was sure selling the hell out of his latest book, but... they couldn't even share a kiss like that. And today, he'd just gotten five texts from Yukina. Not that he really wanted more... he'd been in a meeting most of the day with the anime people, so he couldn't really reply, but still. It was just one day, but he wished he could go see Yukina now, instead of seeing this girl who wanted to take Yukina from him.

Damn, he was an idiot. Even Kisa knew it, but it didn't help. He was just... so damned in love with Yukina.

He had lost all control.

He sighed heavily, earning a few sympathetic looks from the other passengers on the train. They probably thought he was a high school or college kid with typical 'kid'-type problems. They were probably thinking, 'How nostalgic!' Kisa really was going to drive himself crazy one day, he knew. Hopefully, he'd have some huge meltdown on the editing floor at Marukawa and take out a few innocent bystanders in the process. That would be fun.

The train pulled into the station and Kisa got off, and he hadn't even had time to look around before Kojima-chan was calling out, "Kisa-san! Kisa-san!"

Well, shit.

Without even a trace of enthusiasm, Kisa waved to the way-too-energetic chick and trudged over to where she was waiting. Giving her a baleful look, he managed to greet her, if not totally properly. "Yo. Haven't been waiting long, have you?"

"Not long!" she cheerfully replied, reaching down to grab his arm. "C'mon, let's not waste any time! You sure do work late. We'll only have time to go to one store, but we'll go to my favorite and we should be able to find some good stuff!"

"Hey... hey!" Kisa complained, but she wasn't really listening. She was noticeably taller than he was, so the way she was holding his arm wasn't exactly super comfortable, and she was moving fast. It was like being caught up in a damned typhoon or something. Just doing his best to keep up, Kisa tried to remind himself that it was just, well, one night. And he could get through just one night with this chick, and then it would be it and he wouldn't have to see her again.

Though, that was a lie because she was Yukina's friend, and Yukina was his lover, so the chances they would meet again were pretty good.

Kisa really, really had to train himself to not think.

She finally pulled him into a department store, and so their frantic chase for shopping was slightly mitigated. She even released his arm since she had gotten him through the doors. Kisa had to admit, the chick didn't have bad taste. He shopped here sometimes himself, since their clothes were pretty cool and yet still reasonable. She beamed at him, as if she could read his grudging approval from his face. "Ok, let's pick out some nice stuff! I mean, I know you won't necessarily buy it, but for tonight, I'm going to be your stylist!"

And she took his hand and started to lead him off in the direction of menswear.

Kisa's heart plummeted. He dug his feet into the floor so he could stop her. She turned to pout at him, and he looked up at the ceiling like Batman was hanging around up there. "Um... if you laugh at me, I swear, I don't care if you're a girl, I will punch you. But. You're not going to find anything that fits me over there..." he sighed. And then.

He started to head to the Juniors section.

Kojima-chan made some kind of choked squeal-like noise, so Kisa glared at her, but she just beamed back at him. Reading his mood, though, she whipped out her cell phone, and sure enough, his buzzed to let him know he had a text. Reluctantly, he opened it up.

OMG you are SO FRIGGIN' CUTE!

He leveled another icy glare in her direction, but she was floating above the floor with giddiness, so it just didn't reach. Realizing more and more that this was a damned trap, he sighed. Once they got to the right section, he crossed his arms over his chest and closed his eyes. "Ok, stylist, now what?"

She grabbed his collar and looked inside. And as if that wasn't enough, she pulled up his hoodie, grabbed the waistband of his jeans, and looked inside them! Kisa was too shocked to even properly protest. "Just wait right here! Give me a couple of minutes, and then we'll find you a dressing room!"

"Y-you could have just asked!" he sputtered, but of course, that only made her laugh.

This was such a freakin' nightmare! What in the world had he been thinking, letting this chick push him around like this?! It was all Yukina's fault, somehow! Kisa was usually quite good at using his cuteness to keep the girls in line. It wasn't like it was a skill he was proud of, but it was definitely a survival skill that had served him well through the years. After all, he spent his childhood being chased around the schoolyard by girls who thought he was the cutest damned thing. He just had this damned sinking feeling.

If this girl was so good at spinning him around like this, then... if she set her mind to it...

Kisa absolutely trusted Yukina. He trusted him with Kisa's heart and soul. But this girl...

It was scary. Just thinking about it was scary.

"Don't make a face like that," Kojima-chan pouted. "We're shopping!"

"I think that might mean something different to you, oh stylist, than it does to me," Kisa frowned. Her arm was loaded down with half the store's merchandise. He was supposed to try on all that?!

"If you just let yourself, you could be having fun right now!" she insisted. "C'mon, let's get a dressing room!"

Kisa wasn't entirely sure he liked how she phrased that, but... he followed her to the dressing rooms, and let her lead him into one. He was 100% sure that the man who was working the counter thought that Kisa's annoying older sister was dragging him out to buy clothes. That was fine.

He was fine with looking way younger than her.

She sorted the clothes quickly on the little hooks in the dressing room, hemming and hawing until she'd finally decided on what she wanted him to try on first. He gave the outfit a look. He didn't really wear corduroys, and button-down shirts always fit him weirdly. Plus, a vest? Wasn't that a little...?

"Don't second-guess your stylist!" she commanded, wiggling her finger in front of his nose. "Tonight, you have to try on everything I suggest for you, ok!"

"Ok," he huffed, "but I'm not going to try on anything until you step out," he gestured to the other side of the curtain.

"Hmm," she sighed, as if she was really hoping to see him in his skivvies. "Fine, fine, but make sure you come out as soon as you have it all on!"

Kisa spent a moment or two adjusting the heavy curtain to make sure he had privacy. He looked at the large stack of clothing. This... was going to take all the way until the store closing, wasn't it? Resigning himself, he stripped down to his undies (and he was quite skilled at undressing in a hurry... another survival skill he'd picked up over time...) and put on the clothes she wanted to see. He took a moment to look himself over. All right, he'd admit that the cords weren't too bad, as they kinda made his legs look a little longer, but even though the vest was nice... he just wasn't a 'vest guy.'

He stepped outside, though, pouting a bit. Kojima-chan just squealed and whipped out her phone, taking a quick picture. "Oh, it does look good! You look really nice in a vest!"

"I look like a primary school brat," he muttered under his breath. He turned on her command, shocked that she took another picture.

"The pants are too long, though," she sighed. "I thought I got the right size."

He blushed a bit. "Ah... I always cuff my pants, or, if I have to, get them hemmed."

"It's because your waist is so tiny!" she gleefully nodded. "Most guys your height aren't so slim. Your body is really proportioned beautifully. And you have such a cute butt!"

"I know that," Kisa said coolly, though he did take a second to look at his cute butt in the mirror. The vest and cords really did a nice job of showing it off! Though, he still wasn't a vest guy.

She came up and cuffed up his shirt, until it was about elbow-length. She adjusted his collar, and straightened the vest. Beaming, she asked, "What do you think?"

He looked at himself in the mirror. "Isn't it a little...?"

"A little?" she prodded.

"Flamingly gay?" he sighed.

"Is that a problem?" she laughed.

"It's... just not my style," he glared a bit. Sheesh, didn't she have any common sense!

"All right, all right, fair enough. But those pants make your ass look delicious. If Kou saw you in them, he'd rip them right off," she advised.

He didn't want her to think that made him happy, so he just huffed, "All my pants have that effect."

"I'm not surprised," she laughed. Damn, she laughed a lot! She went in and picked out his next outfit.

They went on and on until he'd tried on the whole damned pile, plus she went back to the floor three times to pick out a different color or just a slightly different style or oh my god that looks so great wait they had another one similar to that...! Every damned time, too, she took his damned picture. Once, she even patted his butt.

Just because his butt was cute did not mean it was free to pat!

Still, despite himself, he eventually started to have fun. It was true, pretty much everything she had him try on were things he wouldn't normally wear, and he did find that there were some things that looked better on him than he expected. Like, that turtleneck sweater did look great, though it would be too inconvenient for making out. And she found him a great faux-leather jacket that was pretty sexy, but it really wasn't his style.

When he was finished, though, he still had about two or three outfits worth of stuff that he had decided to buy, much to her delight. He made a quick detour, though, on the way to the register, glaring at her to keep back. He sure didn't need her to look over his shoulder while he picked out underwear!

Even with all the trying on, and buying, they still managed to leave the store with five minutes to spare before closing. Kojima-chan had a firm grip on his arm once again, but he kept trying to protest, "You know it's getting late and I have work and you have school... you don't need to treat me or anything..."

"I already promised! Anyway, we haven't had any chance to talk yet," she smiled at him.

Well, shit. So this was how it was going to be, huh? Was she going to say something like, don't you think Kou is better off with someone like me? Kisa would have to lie to say no, but he would.

It hadn't... been long enough yet. He wasn't sure how long was long enough, but if he could still hang onto Yukina, then it hadn't been long enough!

They took the train to get to the izakaya where she worked. Kisa's packages seemed heavier and heavier with every step, but he trudged onward. Once inside, the place was surprisingly nice. It wasn't the kind of place that Kisa typically hung out in, since it was clearly not aimed to the kind of market that Kisa was generally a part of, but this place might be good for an after work drink, or something. She took him to a table, so at least he could set his bags down next to him. She cheerfully waved to one of the staff, and then sat opposite him.

"All the food here is pretty good, and the portions are nice. We have lots of good beer, but the bartender can mix a decent drink, if that's your preference. Just remember, I said decent drink. Oh, they have the wasabi shumai again. That is so good, let's share an order!"

"Wh-whatever you think best," he agreed, hiding a bit behind his menu. She seemed so nice... but. She was still an enemy, right?

The waiter came over, and she and him chatted for a bit. She introduced Kisa as her friend's friend, and then she dared the waiter to guess Kisa's age. Naturally, that ended with him showing off his license, as always, and enduring the shock of the waiter. They placed their order, though, so the waiter finally left to take care of it.

"That must get really tiresome," she sympathized.

He didn't feel like showing any weakness, though. "I'm used to it. It's not like I used to be average height and then just didn't grow, like in some manga or something. I've always been small and cute." He managed to not emphasize the cute. Too much.

She leaned her face against her palm, and grinned. "I didn't really get a chance to see you at the fashion show, because I was backstage and Kou was sweeping away with you so fast, but I was totally shocked when we first met. I honestly didn't believe Kou when he described you, and he refused to show me any pictures. That guy can get pretty possessive, you know! You should be prepared!"

He bristled. "I am. I c-can be possessive, too." That was an out-and-out lie. Kisa would never feel secure enough to be possessive of anyone. That was all a part of Yukina's amazing confidence. Kisa just had to bear it out.

"Well... you should be. I mean, possessive. I've never seen Kou so worked up about who he was dating before. I mean, he's always been like that, a real prince... but... Oh, but I shouldn't imply that I've known him forever or something! We went to prep school together, but we weren't really in the same social circles, not at first. I was always hanging out with my boyfriend, who was on the soccer team, and Kou was in his own circle."

"He was the prince of the school," Kisa nodded. He knew it. He could see it, all too well. Even Kojima-chan had said prince. That guy should just go around wearing a crown. No one would find it odd.

"I guess so," she chuckled. "Though, Kou is Kou. I don't think something like popularity has really ever mattered to him."

Their food and drinks arrived, so Kisa took the break to gulp down some beer. It was nice and cold, and gave him just enough refreshment to carry on. "Er, so, if you weren't close in prep school, then...?"

"Well, we found out we were trying for the same school," she elaborated, getting her chopsticks ready to dig in with fervor. "So, I guess that's when we started to hang out. His girlfriend at the time was this chick I absolutely hated, so even back at home, we didn't hang out that much, but he broke up with her right after exams and evals, and then when we moved to Tokyo, we were in contact a lot, because... well, we were from the same place, so that was a kind of comfort, I guess."

Kisa could imagine. When he first moved to Tokyo, he'd been all alone... "Is that when you started to date?" he asked coolly, grabbing a bite to eat.

"Oh, he told you? Of course he did. Kou is so forthright," she smiled. "Yeah, I guess so. We were always hanging out, and people were always confusing us for a couple because we were hanging out, so I guess we decided to just try it. But it completely didn't work out. I mean, Kou is mostly my type, but I really like athletic men. I love sports. And I'm sorta Kou's type, but he likes cute and sexy. And I think cute beats sexy for him. So it was never like... we were desperately in lust or anything," she shrugged, grinning.

Kisa had a hard time imagining it. Yukina was so perfect, and his face was so beautiful, how could anyone think he wasn't just exactly right?

"And it turned out, we just didn't work out at all as lovers." Ah... that was exactly what Yukina said. Hearing the same words parroted back... It hurt Kisa. It made it seem like a story they'd worked out together... "I mean, I'm not a prude or anything, but Yukina wanted to have sex every time we were together. And every time we had sex, he wanted me to go down on him. I don't want that thing in my mouth no matter who it's attached to, but if I'm going to do something like that, at least he could reciprocate, you know? But he was always, No way, Rio, that's gross. It's really hairy down there! And I was all, Whatthefuck, Kou, it's not un-hairy down there, either! It's a good thing we were able to break it off and still be friends." She shook her head, chomping down on more food. "Besides, he never let me tie him down, not even once. I just like to try it out every now and again! It's not like a lifestyle. We're just much more compatible as friends," she finished declaratively.

Kisa just stared at her blankly. He had his chopsticks halfway to his mouth, but he'd been frozen.

Suddenly, he started to laugh, and he had to put down his chopsticks and hide his mouth behind his napkin. That was just...

He couldn't even remember the last time he'd heard something so funny!

"What?!" she pouted. "What, what did I say? Was I too blunt? People are always telling me I'm too blunt, but it's just sex! What's the big deal?"

"No, no," he shook his head. "That's not... that's kinda it, but... I was just thinking... well, first of all, you reminded me of a friend I had in college. We used to talk about guys together like this, too," he blushed. He'd never shared too much about his personal life at all, ever. That was a good way to get hurt, he knew. But still. Everyone had a good friend like that, at some point.

"You said had. You don't talk to her anymore?" Kojima-chan frowned a bit, looking at him inquisitively.

"Oh!" he shook his head, grinning. "It's not like that. No, she got married about a year after college, to another good friend of mine. They have like six kids by now. It's just..." he shrugged. It happened. Life moved on. "Well, I still hear from her every now and again and all, but."

"Oh, I see. That's still sort of sad," she said apologetically.

"That's because you're still in college," he shrugged. "But it's ok. You'll go off and do your own thing, and then when you meet up with your friends again, it'll be like no time has passed. That's what real friendship is like." Fuck, he sounded old.

"You sound so old," she laughed. "It just makes you look cuter!"

He rolled his eyes at her.

"But you said... firstly?"

"Eh?" he looked at her.

"Well, you said you laughed because firstly, I reminded you of your old friend. So what was the other reason you laughed?" she prompted.

"Oh!" he blushed. "Ah... that... well, I was just thinking..." For the first time ever... "That Yukina... That Kou was better off with me, after all." He looked away, sure his face was completely red. "After all, since we're both guys, we both have the same expectations for sex. And if Kou really likes blow jobs, well... There isn't a woman on the planet who could be as good at it as I am," he said, not really feeling like it was a boast. In general, gay men were better at that than women, and he was damned experienced. He'd been doing it for a long time by now.

This time, Kojima-chan burst out laughing. "Oh... I think so, too, Kisa-san!" She was giving him such a mirthful, affectionate look. "I mean, you really are just perfectly Kou's type. Long before you started to go out, he even bragged to me that the cutest high schooler in Tokyo was watching him at the store. So, of course, I made fun of him for trolling high school girls. And he was just... No, no, it's a boy! I'd be trolling high school boys! But... wait! I said he was after me, he's the one trolling! I'm amazed, though. I never though Kou would get this serious about anyone." She sounded... nostalgic?

"Does it... bother you?" he asked her, unconsciously making himself cuter to do so. Somehow... his feelings had taken a sharp turn, and now he really didn't want Kojima-chan to get hurt.

"What? No way! I already told you, we were totally incompatible as lovers! Plus... after dating him for a while, I started to think... how much I prefer to be the pretty one in a couple." She made a face, and Kisa couldn't help but laugh. That was definitely another reason why Yukina was better off with him. A girl would have to hate being second-best to him in looks, always.

Yukina... was better off with him...

That was going to take a long, long time to sink in...

"No, I don't want to get back together with Kou. Actually... I think I'm jealous... of him." She looked at Kisa shyly, and smiled. "I... I want to feel the way he feels. I want to be so desperately in love like that, you know?"

He could almost understand what she meant, but then... Kisa definitely turned bright red, and he quickly gulped down some more beer. She meant... that, with Kisa... that Yukina was so in love with...

"You know, don't you? That he's completely mad for you?"

He couldn't look anywhere near her direction. "Ah... I mean... I know he's completely mad..." he half-muttered, half-stammered.

That made her laugh. "He's a lot to take in, I know. But he really is in love with you, Kisa-san. So. Please take care of my dear friend, ok?"

He couldn't look at her, so he couldn't see if she was doing something horrifically embarrassing as bowing or something, but. He cleared his throat, and sighed. "Yeah... well. That's. I'd like to..."

"But damn! I really need to find myself a good man!" she sighed.

He looked at her cautiously. Well, this was a topic he could handle better... "It's easier to find yourself a good lay," he suggested.

"Fuck, I need one of those, too!" she complained.

For the rest of the time, they talked about sex, which as long as it was about sex in general, Kisa could handle, quite well. It really was like stepping back in time a bit, back to when he was in college and drinking with Kimiko as they commiserated about their love lives.

He had a belly full of good food and a pleasant buzz going when he walked with her to the station. She met one of her coworkers there, so when her train came, he could send her off without accompanying her guiltlessly. He waited for his train, but then...

He got on the train to go to Yukina's instead. Well... he had a key. He'd never used it yet, and this was a terrible reason to do so, but...

He was feeling good, so he decided that, with the help of the alcohol, he wasn't going to think about this too much.





"Shou~ta~san!"

Kisa scrunched his face up, and whimpered. He was having a bad case of déjà vu. He batted at that same damned insect once again...

"Shou~ta~san! You can't just show up unexpectedly in my bed and be all tempting and then bat me away!" Yukina whined.

Kisa opened one eye. What the hell was this idiot talking about?

And then, the haze lifted from his thoughts, and he was very aware of where he was and why he was where he was. And. Of Yukina. Whose beautiful and perfect face was right next to Kisa's. Kisa hid under the covers a bit. Oh, damn, this was embarrassing!

"I-It's not what you think!" he protested.

"Oh? I was thinking that you were lonely without me, so you came to sleep in my bed," Yukina beamed, leaning next to Kisa. "I'm wrong, then?" he asked innocently.

Like Kisa could believe he was innocent! "You're wrong!" Kisa quickly returned. Even though... he wasn't... that is, it wasn't really...! "I went shopping with Kojima-chan and got some clothes and I thought I should have some clothes here because you have clothes at my place, so it just makes sense. So. I was just... bringing over... clothes," Kisa finished miserably.

Yukina's eyes lit up, but he also had an odd expression on his face. "You... you went shopping with Rio?"

Oh, damn. That was right... Well, Kojima-chan would definitely have told him anyway. "Well. I told you I ran into her here yesterday. Er, the day before yesterday now..." It was morning, right? Why was it always morning again? Why had Yukina woken him up?

"You didn't tell me you were going shopping, though," Yukina mused. He looked... troubled.

What. What was that? "You don't want me to be around her?" Kisa asked, suspicious.

"Of course I don't!" Yukina boomed out. Kisa backed up, but Yukina leaned closer anyway. There was nowhere for him to go. "I don't want anyone to spend time with you when I can't be with you! I certainly don't want anyone else helping you to pick out things to wear, and to laugh and joke with you about random shit! I want to do those things with you!"

Kisa just stared. ...What?! "You're an idiot. You were working yesterday. You've got more work to do today, right? Are you just getting home? What time is it?"

Yukina pouted. "It's nine. I just needed to grab a shower and change my clothes before class. And... I know that I was working and all, but still. You're mine. I don't want to share you with anyone!" He surged forward, and grabbed onto Kisa, blanket and all, and pulled him close, cuddling him tightly.

Tight enough to make it hard for Kisa to breathe. "You're really a strange one, aren't you?" Kisa complained, pushing and wriggling to gain some more room. Yukina's arms were like vices, though. "Yukina! C'mon, gimme some air, at least!"

"No! You're not supposed to call me that anymore!" Yukina childishly complained.

Kisa could actually laugh out loud, except he didn't have enough oxygen and he was too weirded out. "Fine. Kou. Happy?"

Yukina relaxed his arms ever so slightly. "I can't believe you went out with Rio. I'm so jealous! I don't want you to get close to her, Shouta-san! I-I mean... I know you have friends and there's... there's lots of people in your life I know nothing about, but... I'm the one who wants to be with you most of all! Even knowing that I was working... that just makes it worse! Because I want to be with you more than I want anything else in the world!"

It was like waking up in Bizarro world. Had he and Yukina somehow switched places? This was too freaky. Kisa snaked his arms around and loosely put them around Yukina. Well.

As long as Yukina felt this way... for as long as this could last...

"You... you said you came home to shower? Well, then. Why. Why don't we... shower together?" Kisa offered nervously. Something like this...

He'd showered with dozens of men in his life, and had sex with most of them in the process. It wasn't something someone like him should get nervous about, but this was showering with Yukina.

Everything, everything in the world was different when it was with Yukina.

"Really?!" Yukina beamed, practically lifting Kisa out of bed with one jolt. "Shouta-san, you never suggest stuff like that!"

Kisa turned his face away, embarrassed to an extreme with which he found hard to cope. "Wh-whatever, it's not a big deal and all. I just. Well.

"I know how you feel. And all. I... I feel the same way." Not like he could bring himself to say it! If he did... first of all, he might die on the spot from embarrassment. At his age and everything! And anyway...

Maybe it had been ok to let Kojima-chan... peek into their private little world. Just a bit. But if he said something strange out loud... well, who knew what the words would be that break everything forever? It was too fragile, their little space.

It had to be protected.

Yukina hugged Kisa closely, beaming. "I love you, Shouta-san!" he said, totally oblivious. But then, the handsome prince never did anything to destroy the fantasy. That was always the job of the toad, or wicked step-sister or something. In other words, it would end up being Kisa's job.

But Yukina was happy, so.

It was fine. For now.





Rio was sketching. Or eating her lunch. Or watching passerbys in the cafeteria, judging them as people for what they wore. She was too indecisive to pick an activity.

"You're not going to steal him away from me, you know."

She nearly jumped out of her skin. "Kou! Geez, you scared me!" He had suddenly appeared right next to her ear! Usually, the clamor that came with his entrance was enough to warn her he was approaching.

What was wrong with his stupid fangirls today?!

He was watching her closely as he smoothly slid into the seat next to her. "Running off with my lover for a shopping trip... Don't think I'll forget this too soon."

"You know, you're a little scary," she pouted, closing her sketchbook. "Someday, you're going to lock poor Kisa-san up in your bathroom or something, aren't you?"

He gave her a look, like he was considering it. Damn, but he was possessive. And jealous. Only a perfect prince like him could get away with those kind of bad traits... as long as he didn't go too overboard with it.

"I don't need to do something like that," he replied airily. Cocky bastard! "But what were you doing, running off with your friend's lover?"

"Oh, c'mon," she rolled her eyes. "It was just shopping! He's just so damned cute! I wanted to dress him up and play with him!" she smirked.

He huffed. "Kisa-san is not your doll!"

"He's not yours, either," she slyly challenged. "You're going to have to let go of this jealousy thing, Kou. If you keep acting like this, I won't show you the pictures I took of Kisa-san trying on clothes."

He had a strange look in his eyes. That was desire, right? That was Kou, being lustful? "There are pictures?"

Coyly smiling, she took out her phone and queued them up. "See? Isn't he just adorable??"

"I already know that he's adorable," Kou replied calmly. He took Rio's phone and looked through the photos.

But... he was holding onto it for a long time... She peeked over to see what he was doing...

"Kou! You idiot! Don't email that many photos! You're going to suck up all my data for the month!" she complained, trying to grab her phone back.

He was too quick and too damned tall. "Oh, too bad. But I need these. And you know what? You don't." He evaded her grasp until he was done.

Sure enough, when he handed her back her phone, all the photos were deleted. She glared at him. "Kisa-san isn't going to find this side of you cute at all. You're like a damned stalker, Kou!"

He just tilted his head to the side. "What were you going to do with those pictures, anyway, Rio? You didn't need them. And I'm the one who was excluded from this little adventure. Next time, make sure I can come with you, and then I might let you keep the pictures."

"But probably not, right?" she sighed, putting her face on her fist. Damn, he was annoyingly in love... "You're about 70% less attractive when you're like this. You should be careful not to let yourself get too ugly. Anyway, what's so wrong with your friend and your lover being friendly? Isn't that better?"

Yukina looked troubled for a moment. "But Kisa-san is mine. Our schedules are so hectic... and I hardly get to see him. When I can't be with him, I just get so frustrated. So I don't want someone else to be filling my spot. I don't ever want someone else to fill my spot!"

Ah, maybe he was a little cute. But still nowhere near as cute as Kisa-san. She leaned over and kissed his forehead. "You lunkhead. You should see this as a good thing. By making friends with your friends, he's tightening his bond with you. It's no good to keep yourselves all locked up with yourselves. And anyway, once you see his ass in those jeans I picked out for him, you'll be thanking me!" she slapped him playfully on the shoulder.

He looked slightly mollified, but "Kisa-san's ass always looks amazing," he pouted.

"Idiot couple," she muttered, shaking her head.

If Kou's boyfriend wasn't so adorable, she'd be done with them both!








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