"What is this?"
Naoto looked down at the package in his hands. It was wrapped with silver paper and had a bow on top that could only be described as ridiculous.
Kanji shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket. He looked more annoyed than anything, but there was a telltale blush on his cheeks that showed he was really embarrassed. "Look, can you just open it?"
Naoto blinked down at the package. After a moment, he pulled the bow apart, and carefully opened the wrapping paper. Inside the box was an expensive-looking little cake with an elaborate chocolate heart design on top. Naoto felt his own cheeks turn red. "Kanji…"
"Shut up! It's White Day," Kanji said, looking off at the wall behind Naoto instead of directly at him.
Naoto stared down at the cake. "But I'm not…"
"I know!" Kanji responded, loudly. He realized he was yelling and tried again. "It would have been weirder to give it to you on Valentine's Day."
"Did you make this?" Naoto finally asked, looking up.
Kanji glanced down at him. "Don't laugh," he said.
"You know I wouldn't."
Kanji shrugged. "I did the part on top. I didn't want to fuck up trying to bake though."
Naoto smiled, unable to resist. "Thank you," he said, putting the lid carefully back on the box. Now it made sense that Kanji had asked him to come here, away from school and people like Yousuke who couldn't keep their mouths shut.
Kanji looked down again, meeting the smaller boy's eyes for just a second. His mouth twitched, and he finally smiled, too.
"I didn't get anything for you, you know," Naoto said.
Kanji shook his head. "Yeah I know."
Naoto held out his hand. "Do you want to come home with me?"
Kanji stared down at Naoto's hand like it might bite him. "I don't know."
"My grandfather is never home," Naoto said. He was used to Kanji's insecurities.
Kanji still seemed hesitant, but he finally did each out and take Naoto's hand. There were people on the streets, but despite Kanji's paranoia about it, no one paid them any mind. They walked mostly in silence. Though it had been almost a year that they'd known each other, Kanji still wasn't sure how to act and Naoto wasn't exactly good at meaningless banter. Still, it was comfortable silence.
The house was dark when they arrived, with no sign of Naoto's grandfather, just as he'd said. Kanji had been here a few times, and he'd never been home. He was starting to wonder if he ever came home at all.
Kanji settled awkwardly on the couch while Naoto disappeared into the other room. He came back a few minute later with two cups of tea and handed one to Kanji. Kanji held it with both hands and stared down into it as if it would tell him the secrets of the universe. Naoto stood nearby, watching him, for a couple minutes.
"You can relax," he finally said.
Kanji looked up, almost startled. They looked at each other for a long time. Finally, Naoto sighed and set his cup down on the nearby table. He reached down and took Kanji's cup and set it there, too. Then, he crouched in front of the larger boy and put one hand on his knee.
"You don't have to be here with me if it makes you uncomfortable," he said.
Kanji shook his head. "I like you. Damnit, this is just weird! I don't know how to act at all!"
Naoto's face went carefully blank and he stood back up. "I'm not that different, am I?"
Kanji blinked, confused. "What? No! I never had anything with a guy before! I mean, I got you chocolate! That's stupid. Guys don't buy guys chocolate, and now you're all pissed at me 'cause I did something like you'd do for a girl instead."
"I'm not," Naoto said.
Kanji stood up, fast enough that Naoto took a step back to avoid being knocked off balance. Kanji reached out and grabbed his shoulders, a little roughly. The smaller boy looked surprised, but didn't pull away, despite the fact that Kanji was holding on to him tight enough to hurt.
Kanji actually looked directly down into Naoto's eyes full on - something he almost never did. "I just don't know how to do this, you know? I'll get better."
Naoto smiled slightly. "I like the chocolate. Don't worry so much about things like that. I didn't think I'd ever get something like that. Boys don't usually by boys chocolate. And I wouldn't usually want it. The only attention I tend to get is the kind Hanamura started giving me after he found out I was a…" He trailed off, not sure what word to use to finish that sentence.
"I want to strangle that guy sometimes 'cause of what he says to you," Kanji said, his expression darkening.
Naoto reached up and brushed a hand along the taller boy's face. "You look so serious."
"Well it pisses me off the way he talks to you like a girl!"
Naoto smiled again. "Thanks," he said.