Dokugakuji had just put his lunch on a plate – grilled cheese, nothing in the known universe was better than grilled cheese – when Gojyo slunk his way into the kitchen, dropped himself onto a stool on the other side of the breakfast bar, and said, “Okay, hypothetical question...”
Dokugakuji gave his brother a long, long look, munching on a carrot stick, “Does this hypothetical question have anything to do with the Freshie Slosh I told you not to go to last night, but you did anyway, though I’m not going to tell Mom and Dad because I’m a good brother?”
Gojyo had the decency to look at least vaguely guilty, “Maybe. Look, I’ll say you were right all you want later, but this is kinda serious.”
Dokugakuji leaned forward on his elbows, “Okay, shoot.”
“What do you do...if you, maybe – maybe – like someone, but you haven’t really figured it out yet, or talked to them about it, or even given them any hints – but then all of a sudden you kiss them...”
“Oh my God,” Dokugakuji didn’t even bother to hold his tongue, because this – this right here – was priceless. “You kissed Hakkai.”
Gojyo’s face turned instantly the same colour as his hair, “Maybe I did, okay that’s not -- ”
“Are you seriously having some kind of gay crisis right now in front of your gay brother, because I don’t really think that’s appropriate...”
“I’m not having a gay crisis!” Gojyo’s voice was a few octaves too high to be considered anything but blind panic. “I’m not gay, okay – not that there’s anything wrong with it – I’m bi, or something. I haven’t figured it out.” He paused for breath, waving a hand like he was trying to chase the buzzing swarm of his thoughts into order. “I don’t care that Hakkai’s a guy...it’s just...he’s been really upset about Kanan lately, and I’m worried that he wasn’t really into it, but if I say anything about it or try and do anything again he’s not going to call me on it even if he’s not into it because he doesn’t want me to stop being his friend.”
Gojyo looked so honestly upset that Dokugakuji felt bad for teasing him. Gojyo and Hakkai had been friends for years – best friends – and the possibility of losing Hakkai was probably terrifying in a way that Dokugakuji couldn’t even begin to understand.
“Please...” Gojyo stretched across the breakfast bar and grabbed the front of Dokugakuji’s T-shirt, shaking him despondently, “Tell me what to do bro. I need your help.”
Dokugakuji pried his little brother’s fingers loose from his shirt, “Man up and talk to him Gojyo. Like he’s a real human being. Tell him how you feel; ask him how he feels...”
Gojyo dropped miserably back onto his stool, “You’ve never had this problem, have you?”
“Nope, the guys are all over me. Never a shadow of a doubt.”
The doorbell rang, saving Dokugakuji from being called on his giant flaming lie. He abandoned his lunch and went to find Kougaiji standing on the porch.
“Hey Kou, what’s up?”
Kougaiji stared down at his sandals, shifting awkwardly from foot to foot. “I know it’s Saturday, and I’m sorry to bother you – but you said if I needed help with anything I could ask...and I’m sort of having trouble with this Math thing...”
“Homework, on a Saturday?” The guy was dedicated, Dokugakuji had to give him that.
Kougaiji blushed brightly, “I’ll come back...”
“No, no – come in. Are you hungry? I was just about to have lunch.”
“I’m fine, really.” As they walked into the kitchen, Gojyo scurried out, head bent low and muttering to himself. “Is your brother alright?”
“Oh, don’t worry about him,” Dokugakuji grabbed a spot at the breakfast bar, pulling his plate towards himself and motioning for Kougaiji to sit. “He’s just having a crisis. He’ll be fine in like – ten minutes.”
“Are you sure? Because I could come back later...”
Gojyo stomped back downstairs, wearing his favourite T-shirt and an expression of grim determination.
“Gojyo, tell him you’re fine.”
“I hate you Jien,” Gojyo shouted in response, slamming the door; then from outside, “you don’t even know!”
Kougaiji blinked, “Jien?”
Dokugakuji laughed, “When he was little he couldn’t get his tongue around my name – so it just became that...somehow.”
“I like it.”
“Thanks. Now what were you having trouble with?”
Kougaiji spread his textbook out on the bar, “You did proofs last year, didn’t you?”
“Oh yeah,” Dokugakuji mumbled inelegantly around a mouthful of sandwich, quickly washing it back with a gulp of iced tea. “This I can handle, no big deal. Here, lemme see.”
Kougaiji happily passed off the textbook, his hand flitting over on the way back to snatch a carrot stick from Dokugakuji’s plate. Dokugakuji grinned and bumped up against his shoulder, studying the page.
“It’s this one right here,” Kougaiji leaned in, pointing. He didn’t draw back after, just lingered there, warm against the side of Dokugakuji’s body, making it impressively hard to concentrate.
He had told Gojyo to man up, but then again, Dokugakuji was an impressively big hypocrite sometimes. That little seed of doubt in him had him skirting the edges of starting anything with Kougaiji because the what if was just too damned big.
But if Gojyo was going to man up, then he felt like he had to man up too – after all, it was pretty pathetic to be bested by your little brother.
“Kou...” he tipped his face just a little, stared at the line of Kougaiji’s jaw. “What would you do if I kissed you?”
He watched Kougaiji’s Adam’s apple bob hard as he swallowed. “I don’t know,” he said, very, very softly, like his voice was caught up in his throat, “I guess you might have to kiss me and find out.”
So he did; and yeah, it wasn’t perfect – their noses bumped and Kougaiji made a sound suspiciously like a squeak and would have fallen off his seat if Dokugakuji can’t caught him by the front of his shirt – but a little imperfection was no big deal.