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Arrhythmia (You make my heart flutter)

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Sho was not sure what to do as Jun clung to him, crying his eyes out, soaking Sho’s shirt. Frankly speaking, Sho wasn’t bothered by the fact that his shirt was likely getting ruined by tears and snot (he had had grosser bodily fluids on him, and this was Jun ). Rather, he was bothered by the fact that Jun was upset over their fight still, something Sho rather saw Jun put aside until he got better. The last thing Sho wanted was for Jun to be eaten up by more negative emotions.

After all, Sho knew that their fight had been both of their faults, not just Jun. Sho needed to apologize as well. But for now, he had a distraught Jun to console.

Jun tightened his grip on Sho’s shirt and mumbled softly, “If I’ve hurt you too much, just tell me and I’ll go. But I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Sho could have sighed loudly at the words.

Sho would never let Jun go away, not when he was like this. Not even after Jun got better, Sho decided, as he shifted to wrap one of his arms around Jun’s waist, and then the other to cup the back of Jun’s head. At the soft whimper Jun released, Sho pressed a soft kiss against Jun’s temple and tightened his grip on Jun’s waist.

“Crying isn’t going to help your migraine, Jun.” Sho sighed against Jun’s skin, and then smiled softly when Jun petulantly answered:

“Don’t care.”

“You don’t, but I do.”

Sho forced Jun to pull away and gently led him to the couch, tucking Jun into a corner and draping the nearest blanket around Jun’s shaking shoulders.

Jun’s face was a blotchy red from his crying, but before he could raise his injured hand to wipe his face, Sho handed him a box of tissues and patted his shoulder. “Sit tight. You need to drink some water so you don’t dehydrate.”

Jun raised his wide eyes to meet Sho’s, and the bright red sent a jolt of pity and protectiveness through Sho, especially when Jun reached out to pull on Sho’s fingers.

“Hey,” Sho knelt in front Jun, smiling reassuringly. “I’ll be back in less than a minute. Use the tissues, not your hand, okay? I’ll need to change the dressing later.”

Jun seemed to hesitate, pale lips pursing in uncertainty before reluctantly letting go of Sho’s fingers. Not that Sho couldn’t just pry them off on his own, really; Jun’s grip was feeble, his entire stature appearing so fragile and thin and tired .

As promised, Sho spent little time fetching the promised glass of water.

“Here. Drink as much as you can, but don’t make yourself sick, okay?” Sho watched with concerned eyes as Jun grabbed the proffered glass with quivering hands, feet curled up under himself as he pressed himself as close to the back corner of the couch as possible, almost as though trying to hide from Sho despite the earlier outburst.

Perhaps he is afraid of being denied , Sho surmised sadly, before taking a cautious seat next to Jun, keeping a small distance between their bodies. He yearned to hold Jun close and soothe his anxiety, but he rather Jun willingly give him permission.

“...You are too nice to me.”

Sho cocked his head to the side to gently smile at Jun. “Am I?”

Jun timidly nodded, leaning forward to deposit the glass on the table in front of the pair. “Don’t you hate me?”

“Why would I?”

“I said those … Horrible things to you! You should be angry! Instead you’re just being so… So… Nice.” Jun finished quietly, looking down at his hands and playing with the edges of the blanket.

Sho remained silent for a moment, watching as Jun started to chew on his lower lip in unease, fingers tightening on the fabric draped around his body until his knuckles went white. Sho clucked his lips at the sight - that wouldn’t do for Jun’s cut. Reaching out slowly, he lightly covered Jun’s bandaged hand with his own, and lightly pried Jun’s fingers away from the throw.

Jun flushed lightly at the action, and mumbled a soft apology.

“Can I come closer?”


“Closer. Can I hug you?” Sho repeated slowly.

If Sho were being honest, he felt slightly out of his depth - he wasn’t Aiba, trained to help people like Jun. No, he was just a doctor, and the only thing he knew was how to help people with their physical afflictions - the only comfort he could provide Jun was a physical one.

The soft sound Jun made, could have either been a yes or a no, but Sho couldn’t help himself - not when Jun was looking at him with his large eyes, sclera still tinged pink, dark rings around his eyes only adding to his fragile appearance. In a smooth motion, Sho had his side pressed against Jun’s warm body, Sho’s arm wrapping around Jun’s shoulder to pull Jun close and have him rest his head against Sho’s chest.

Sho closed his eyes when Jun hesitantly shifted closer to Sho, releasing a shaky breath.

Finally , he had Jun back again.

A little bit broken, but still Sho knew the flame within Jun had not been extinguished, merely… Dampened. All Jun needed was to find his passion again.

But only after enough rest.

“I missed you.” Jun quietly confessed into Sho’s shirt.

Sho lightly played with Jun’s hair in response, running his fingers between the locks before lightly massaging Jun’s scalp.

“I missed you too.” He paused, searching for the words he had been thinking of for the past few hours while waiting for Jun to wake. “...I’m sorry too. It’s my fault as well. I should have told you from the start, but I’ve… Always been ashamed of what happened. Aiba-chan and Leader were very patient with me, and they tried to help, and I rejected them for a very long time. And then, well, you know what happened. I’ve known Aiba-chan since high school - he’s stuck with me even during my ‘rebellious’ days, and I repaid him with neglect. I repaid both of them with neglect. Most days I wish I could pretend it never happened - and for that I’ve let this happen to you.”

“Sho-san—,” Jun started, but Sho was not done yet. He pressed his forehead against Jun’s hair and tightened his hold around Jun.

“Forgive me, Jun. I should have told you the truth from the beginning.”

The room was silent, save for their breathing - or rather, for Jun’s breathing, as Sho found himself holding his breath, waiting for Jun’s response.

Then Jun laughed. He laughed a small laugh that carried a tone of hysteria, one which immediately grabbed Sho’s concern as Jun turned to press his face against the hollow of Sho’s shoulder. His face was wet as he giggled against Sho’s skin, and Sho could not help but voice his concern.


“S-Sho-san… I don’t think,” Jun’s tone was brittle as he stammered, “I don’t think it would have changed if you told me about it earlier anyway.”

“We don’t know th--,”

“I know.” Jun moaned. “I know. It wouldn’t have done anything. Don’t you see, Sho-san? It’s really just my fault. I did this to myself.”

Panicking, Sho hurried to shush Jun’s incoherent ramblings, suddenly feeling at loss of what to say or do - he had not expected for Jun to react that way. “Don’t say that. You’ll be okay.”

“How would you know?”

It was a valid question. How would Sho know?

“I don’t. But you won’t be alone in this. I promise.”


“I don’t need a babysitter, Sho-san.” Jun huffed as he slowly finished his breakfast: Rice, miso soup and omelet (or whatever Jun could use from Sho’s fridge) - eyes narrow as Sho wore his coat and leaned in to press a kiss against Jun’s forehead.

It was only a few days after the incident, but Jun had convinced Sho to go back to work, citing that he was fine being alone.  

“Aiba-chan isn’t a babysitter, and you promised you’d talk to him.” Sho reminded Jun, chuckling at Jun’s pout. Despite the light-heartedness, the topic was a fairly morose one, and Sho would be lying if he said that he was alright with Jun being alone.

Jun had been extremely quiet since his small bout of emotionally fuelled hysteria. Somewhere within that bout, he had ended up falling into a disturbed sleep on Sho’s lap, likely due to how worn out he was. The following days had Jun sometimes curling up next to Sho, and sometimes staying away and staring blankly at the wall, lost in his thoughts. Sho wished he knew what was going on in Jun’s mind at those times - there was an inherent sadness in his brown orbs, dark rings under his eyes that didn’t go away with sleep.

At the same time, Sho recognized that it wasn’t healthy for Jun to remain cooped up inside, with only Sho as company. Which was why he had asked Aiba to accompany Jun, knowing that at least out of them two, Aiba would be able to help Jun a lot more than Sho could.

“I finish work at 6. Do you want to have dinner outside?”

Jun looked surprised at the offer, eyes brightening just a bit. “Do I get to pick where?”

“Just text me the place and I’ll meet you there. I left the spare keys on the table.” Sho briefly looked at his wristwatch. “I should leave now or I’ll be late for work. Aiba-chan said he’ll be by in an hour with …A friend , that is to say, he’s bringing an animal or ten, so you might want to brace yourself for that.”

The crooked smile Jun shot him stayed with Sho for the rest of the day.


Jun couldn’t help but stare at the ferret that was draped over Aiba’s shoulder when he opened the door to let the man in. The small creature was a light cream colour, with a noticeable dark brown mask pattern on its face which reminded Jun very much of raccoon dogs… And of Nino.

“Grab your stuff! We’re going to Chiba today!” Aiba grinned toothily as he dangled his car keys between his fingertips, eyes and tone exhibiting none of the pity or wariness Jun had heard from Sho in the past few days.

He did not harbour any resentment for Sho treating him like he was fragile - the doctor did try his best to hide it from Jun, but Jun would rather pretend nothing happened and that he was merely on a short, surprise ‘vacation’. That being said, Jun appreciated Aiba’s exuberance and chattiness as he drove the the two of them (or three, if Jun counted the ferret - his name was KAZ, in capital letters, apparently) to Chiba’s Natural History Museum*, filling up the silence with random facts and questions, accepting distracted hums as answers. Jun felt bad about it, but he found it difficult to garner sufficient mental energy to respond decently to Aiba, and the man didn't seem very bothered by it, radiating enough energy for the two of them.

“We’re here!”

Jun blinked at the sight of cars around him, finally registering that they were indeed in the parking lot; he had not been paying attention, despite having his eyes directed at the window next to him the entire time.

“Oh. What are we doing here, exactly, Aiba-san?” Jun asked as he unbuckled his seatbelt, watching warily as Aiba tried to persuade KAZ to wear the small ferret leash with soft croons.

Jun hadn’t been to Chiba, ever. But from the looks of it, it looked like most prefectures that were next to Tokyo: a bit of a backwater area, but cozy and quiet. Peaceful.

“To look at their mushroom exhibit! And to take KAZ out for a walk. He needs to exercise his leg. His leg was broken when he was rescued, but he’s gotten too used to being carried around by everyone and is just a lazy ferret now.”

KAZ made a distinctively peeved sound at Aiba’s comment, as though he had understood that Aiba was insulting him.

“I mean, lazy but cute ferret.” Aiba corrected placatingly.

Jun blinked and shook his head, smiling slightly. He would never understand Aiba’s fascination with animals. Save for Shoko-chan and the baby capybaras, Jun didn’t have a good track record with animals. Most of them preferred to scratch or bite him.

It took a considerable amount of time to convince the weasel to actually walk after being put down on the concrete ground. The little creature had to be dragged momentarily for five minutes - to Jun’s dull amusement - before reluctantly moving forward with an annoyed chitter.

He reminded Jun of someone, for sure.

Following that, Jun let himself be led around the museum and park, nodding at Aiba’s continuous commentary on mushrooms and ferret habits.

“You should host your own TV show, Aiba-san.” Jun commented offhandedly as he watched Aiba yelp for the nth time that afternoon when KAZ nipped at his fingers again .

They had taken a small break under a gazebo, and Aiba was trying to get the stubborn critter off his lap. The pair made for excellent entertainment, Jun thought. “—An animal-related one.”

“Stop biting me—” Aiba complained at the ferret before giving up entirely, letting the creature take its nap on his lap, clearly tired from the barely long walk. “Nah. Humans are more interesting.”

“Are they?”

“I think humans are a lot more complex, in some ways. There’s always room for change. Less so for animals, on a purely biological stance, of course.”

Aiba’s response was innocuous, but Jun knew there was more meaning to his words besides science, especially when Aiba patted his shoulder comfortingly, in a way that informed Jun that Aiba was more or less privy to what had happened, despite not being there when Jun had his meltdown.

Of course, it was likely the case that Aiba was just being polite by not mentioning it.

“How much did Sho-san tell you?” Jun’s tone was brittle, but not from unfriendliness. He couldn’t help but cover his bandaged hand with the other, shame rising in his throat like nausea, yet not quite. After all, Aiba had been one of the people who had tried to look out for Jun, and just another person Jun had ignored.

“He only asked me if I was free to talk to you today. Sho-chan knows you appreciate your privacy, but… It isn’t that hard to figure out what might have happened. But I won’t assume anything of course. Just tell me whatever you want me to hear.”

Jun picked at the edges of his bandage, lips pressed together as he wondered where to start. Sho had taken a lot of care making sure that the cut was kept clean, stitches uninfected. When Jun asked him why he was being particularly meticulous about it, Sho had merely pressed his lips against the edges of the gauze, as though that one small action explained his motives.

Perhaps Jun did understand Sho’s motives. Sho understood that at the base of Jun’s ‘dreams’ - or what was his dreams were - was his ability to draw and to handle his fabrics and designs. Sho likely thought that it would crush Jun further if he lost that.

Not that it mattered much now, anyway.

“I just…” The words seemed to fail on his lips, even as Aiba patiently waited, never actively prying.

“I got tired.” Jun finished lamely, unsure of how else to proceed besides letting whatever thoughts spill. “I don’t even know why I tried so hard in the first place. I just wanted to be certain. I’ve spent so long convinced that it was the only way and now I’m just really… Tired. Tired and utterly terrified of going back and doing it all over again. I don’t even know what to do anymore.”

“Aren’t there other options for you?”

“I don’t know. I don’t want to know.”

“It’s okay, you know,” Aiba lightly elbowed Jun. “To not know. Most people don’t know. It’s okay to try something out and realize it isn’t for you.”

“But I was good at it!” Jun snapped. “I was good at what I did. That was why I wanted to do it.”

“Being good at something doesn’t mean you have only one job option. There are plenty of other careers out there that involves design and event planning. If you shined as you did in Joh— as you did before, you would be fine wherever you ended up.”

“Except I don’t want to do it anymore. I’m terrified of even picking up a fucking pencil. Tell me how I’m supposed to do anything when I’m like this!” Jun near-shoved his injured hand in front of Aiba’s face, breathing heavily as his hand trembled almost imperceptibly. “And to think I did this to myself. I hate that I did this to myse—,”

Aiba silenced Jun by grabbing his hand and pressing it against the coarse fur of the napping ferret on his lap. The warm thrum of KAZ’s heartbeat killed Jun’s train of thought instantly.

Jun could see the appeal of using animals for counselling.

“I think you deserve a nice break.” Aiba gently patted his hand, his calm tone distinctively different from Jun’s frazzled state. “Do what you want, what you haven’t done in a while because you’ve been so busy. Go out with Sho-chan, play some Mario Kart with Nino, whatever you feel like doing.”

“I have to go back. I still need to quit. And wrap up my final year portfolio. I don’t even know what to do for my final year portfolio.”

It was the former that Jun was really afraid of - what look would he earn from his supervisors? Disappointment? Or pity? How would they react if they saw him like this? And could Jun really find it within himself to walk into the building and tell them he wanted to quit?

“There’s a lot of people who are willing to help you if you ask them, Matsujun. And haven’t you gotten most of your final year portfolio done already? You’ve been working on it for a while, haven’t you?”

Jun rubbed his eyes, tired. “The main piece isn’t… I don’t want to talk about it right now.”

Aiba nodded knowingly, before picking up the snoozing ferret and cradling the creature in the crook of his elbow. “Of course. Shall we get some lunch then? We can pick Leader up from the museum gallery.”



Jun couldn’t help but feel mildly bewildered as he found himself seated across from Ohno and Aiba, a large spread of chinese food between them. KAZ had taken residence around Ohno’s shoulders, face hidden behind his ear in a way that made Jun awarethat it wasn’t the first them the two had been together.

“Jun-kun. You should eat more.”

A gyoza was placed onto Jun’s bowl of rice, still three-quarters full. Jun blinked, half confused, before nodding in thanks at his advisor, cheeks warming at Ohno’s watchful gaze.

“So…” Jun asked after taking a bite of the mapo tofu, “Why exactly are you in Chiba, Ohno-sensei?”

“Their mushroom exhibit. I’m making part of next spring’s exhibition mushroom-themed, so I got permission to work on some of the sculptures in the museum.” Ohno explained between mouthfuls of rice.

“Spring exhibition?” Jun lowered his chopsticks, forehead pinched.

Was this another thing he had missed? Ohno-sensei was his academic supervisor, for christ sake. Jun should know th—

“Don’t worry if you didn’t know, Matsujun. He forgot to tell Nino .” Aiba reassured, nudging the plate of steamed gyoza closer to Jun. “You should eat more, really.”

“Oh.” Jun blinked, feeling his uneasiness melt away to amusement. “You forgot to tell Nino? He must have been annoyed when he found out.”

At the thought of Nino, his mood fell again (like a roller coaster, Jun realized in hindsight), appetite lost. The two must have sensed his trodden mood, Aiba hurriedly explaining how Ohno had been a useless puppy the entire time Nino had ignored him. Jun merely nodded despondently, suddenly missing his best friend.

“You know, Nino is usually with me nowadays, especially since he has to rest his wrist for a few more weeks and he can’t really work. Why don’t you visit us in the weekend, at the art gallery?” Ohno gently queried, eyes crinkling at the sides. “I know he misses you because he’s been looking grumpily at his phone.”

Right. Jun hadn’t looked at his phone in a while. He carried it around for the sake of texting or calling Sho whenever, but he had nearly forgotten that he could text anyone easily; his friends, Nino especially.

Visiting the gallery seemed like a good idea as well, Jun realized - he had missed working there.

It seemed as though it was a long time ago when he had worked there, when things were calm, pace almost ‘slow’ - slow in relation to his lifestyle during and after the summer vacation, of course.

He had thought a lot in the past few days, thinking about when things had gone wrong. In retrospect, Jun knew it was not just a matter of that job he took, but also what Sho had pointed out to him during their fight.

Jun couldn’t say no.

When all was said and done, his supervisors at Johnny’s gave him plenty of opportunities, but Jun never had to take up all of them. He could have denied them at any time, especially when he knew he had other priorities besides work . Yet Jun did not.

“...Sure, of course.” Jun mumbled when he realized he had yet to reply to Ohno’s question. “Is Nino alright?”

“He’s good. Less demanding after I gave him what he wanted.”

Jun gaped at the languid response, worries forgotten for a moment at how casual Ohno was being. “What?” When Ohno opened his mouth to clarify, Jun hurriedly interrupted, “No, don’t tell me - I don’t really want to know.”

Aiba snorted mid-gulp, before turning to look at Jun curiously, a smirk tugging at the edge of his lips. “Why not? We’re all adults here. Or are you trying to hide something from us, Matsujun?”

Jun pointedly inched away from the table when Aiba leaned in close.

“Don’t hold back on the details. Have you found Sho’s old belly-button piercing yet? We’ve known him for a long time - we could probably tell you his kin—”

“Shh…!” Jun hissed as he hurriedly looked around, slightly scandalized. “This is a family restaurant! YOUR family’s restaurant, in fact. We shouldn’t talk about this topic here.”

“Oh, so you do actually want to talk about it, then?”

Jun felt his cheeks warm at the accurate assessment, occupying his hands and mouth with lunch before he threw his chopsticks at Aiba. He had to admit though, learning about Sho’s belly-button piercing was an excellent distraction.


[About dinner, can we stay in instead? - Jun]

[Of course! Do you want me to pick up something on my home then? - Sho]

[No, it’s fine. I’m dropping by Aeon* with Aiba-san and KAZ. - Jun]

[Don’t let him get to the banana section unless you want to hear innuendos. KAZ? - Sho]

[Thanks for the warning. The ferret. - Jun]


The apartment was filled with the fragrance of ginger and garlic when Sho got home from work that evening, the soft sounds of a knife against a chopping board and a light sizzling sending a warm comfort through Sho. He had been used to living alone since he graduated from medical school, but this… This was nice.

Coming home to someone.

Sho peeked into the kitchen and felt his heart stutter slightly at the sight of Jun, forehead pinched in mild concentration as he finely shredded the cabbage, pork belly sizzling in the pan.

Ginger pork belly. Sho internally groaned. He hadn’t had home-cooked japanese food for so long. Aiba had always cooked what he knew - chinese food - and Sho could only manage the most basic of foods.

“You know, it’s rude to stare.” Jun commented drily without turning around.

“But you make a pretty sight.” Sho crooned, and watched as Jun blushed faintly at the compliment.


Jun sounded a lot better - tired, likely from being dragged around by Aiba, but his mood was lighter, back straight as he shifted the large strips of cooked pork loin onto the plates, colour back on his cheeks. Sho figured Aiba wanted to tire him out naturally, bringing him to places around Chiba - after all, it was not healthy for Jun to stay home, curled up and sleeping.

If Aiba hadn’t done so, Sho would have dragged Jun out during the weekend, when he had no shifts.

But tire him out, Aiba did, if the picture of a sleeping Jun in Aiba’s car was any indication, along with the message, ‘Looks like no fun for you tonight!’ followed by a series of hearts and bananas.

(Jun clearly failed to avoid the banana section.)

It did not matter to Sho, as long as Jun was happier.

“I was talking to the dinner you’re plating over there.”

“Another word from you and you’re going to be eating only shredded cabbage and sliced okra for dinner. You won’t even get the miso soup I made.” Jun glanced at the covered saucepan on the counter, and raised an eyebrow at Sho. “So, you were saying?”

Sho raised his hands in surrender, eyes wide with excited wonder. Miso soup! Was today his birthday? “Did I ever mention how much I love you?”

“...No?” Jun released a cute yelp when Sho wrapped his arms around his waist and squeezed.

Sho buried his face into Jun’s nape and inhaled deeply. An irrational sense of satisfaction swelled in his chest when he realized how Jun smelled like his shampoo.

With a voice just audible to the two of them, Sho breathed, “I love you.”  

“You’re a sap.” Jun responded, tone strained, but pleased. “A dorky, handsome sap, but a sap nonetheless.”

Sho snorted, and tightened his embrace.

“Doctor Octopus, if you want your dinner, please let go of me.” Jun wriggled slightly in place, and Sho conceded with a small pout, backing away with slight reluctance, then almost eagerly when he realized how good dinner looked.

Then promptly decided that he would marry Jun just for his cooking skills if Sho could, when he took his first gulp of the miso soup Jun had made.


When the doorbell went off thrice in quick succession on Saturday morning, Sho had to blink blearily multiple times before shushing the stirring Jun next to him. They had slept late the previous night, having stayed up watching movies on the TV in Sho’s room, before things turned somewhat… Hot between them.

They hadn’t gone too far - Sho wasn’t comfortable with having sex with Jun just yet, not when Jun was still emotionally fragile.

‘Fragile’ wasn’t a term Sho enjoyed associating with Jun; Jun was strong, and Sho would enjoy turning him into a trembling mess once he took Jun, but for now…

For now, Sho would wait until Jun found his bearings again.

Nevertheless, they had fallen asleep without their shirts on, and morning temperatures in November were cold, making the warm bed (the warm bed with Jun in it, no less) very inviting.

The doorbell rang once more, and Sho groaned quietly. Sighing, he tugged the duvet over Jun’s bare shoulders and lightly traced the side of Jun’s face - marvelling at how innocent he looked asleep -  then forced himself out of bed.

“This had better be important.” Sho grumbled, tugging his shirt over his form and slipped out into the genkan.

He was stunned to see a crying Mai outside his door, eyes red as she impatiently pressed the bell once more.

“I’m opening the door, wait a moment.”

Sho hurriedly unlatched the door, stunned as his sister barrelled into his chest and started to bawl into his shirt. Alarmed, Sho awkwardly locked the door while one-handedly patting her hair. This hadn’t happened in years , not since her first boyfriend broke up with her during high school, but Sho couldn’t fathom what had happened.

Admittedly, his weekly calls with her revealed that she had been having several wedding planning woes, but he had never expected such an extreme response. Not when she had a fiance that was supposed to be taking care of her.

“Mai, Mai, what’s going on? Where’s Yuuto-kun?”

Mai sniffed miserably, letting Sho guide her to the couch and accepting the box of tissues he offered.

“T-this wedding p-planning is driving me i-insane.” She blubbered semi-unintelligibly, and Sho winced.

He wasn’t too surprised - the family she was marrying into was of equal standing to theirs, and that usually meant extremely involved in-laws and traditions (Sho rolled his eyes at the thought) to be followed.

For a moment, he wondered if it was too early to take out the alcohol. However, the doctor in him won, and he settled on putting on the kettle for tea.

“I’ll make some tea.”

“I want alcohol.” She moaned, and he snorted. “And chocolate.”

“You can have chocolate. Not alcohol. It’s too early.”


“Tea, chocolate, and you can tell me what’s going on.” Sho interrupted, rummaging the fridge shelf for the bar of semi-sweet chocolate Jun had gotten during his shopping trip with Aiba. “Is this you trying to avoid Yuuto-kun, by the way? Because he will find you eventually, you know.”

“I’m not hiding from him. I’m hiding from his older sisters and mother.” Mai whined, nibbling at the chocolate miserably. “I’ve already accepted their ‘requests’ to let them plan the traditional part of the wedding, kimono and shrine and everything, b-but now… They won’t even let me pick my own wedding dress!”

Sho frowned and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. “What does your husband-to-be think about it?”

“He said he’ll talk to them about it…”

“Well, that’s good, isn’t it?”

“But… I don’t want to make them disappointed either. It’s Yuuto’s family and…” Mai’s lip trembled, and Sho sighed, wishing he knew what to say. “But they have such conservative tastes and I don’t know how I’m going to find a dress that’ll suit my and their tastes a-and…”

“Mai…” Sho sighed, hearing the kettle go off in the kitchen. “Wait, let me go grab you some chamomile —”

“Sho-san?” Jun’s sleep-tinged voice cut through their conversation, and Sho grimaced.

Jun had never met any of his family members, and Mai had only briefly heard of Jun when Sho mentioned of his plus one for her guest list. The last thing he had wanted was for the two to meet in such a situation, one half-naked(!) and the other in the middle of a pre-wedding blues-related breakdown.

So much for a calm weekend .

Sho shot Mai a semi-apologetic look, having had forgotten to mention that he had company. However, she seemed star-struck as she looked at Jun, eyes looking up and down as Jun rubbed his eyes behind his glasses and ruffled his hair.

He could understand her expression.

“Sho…” Mai started slowly, expression stunned.

Jun seemed to realize they had company, shoulders stiffening as he looked between Sho and Mai, and Sho’s comforting hug. Despite the compromising position, Sho knew Jun would be able to tell who Mai was.

“...I don’t know where you found him, but is there more of him?”

Sho looked scandalized as he snatched his hand away from her. “Mai!”

In the hallway, Jun shook his head and went into the kitchen. “I need coffee. Do I start on breakfast for three?”

“And he cooks — Sho! I want one.”