Actions

Work Header

Decision

Work Text:

When she stumbled into the club, he could see the way the other’s eyes lit up. What is it about her? Her innocence, the soft, genuine air about her? Her rapid apologies? The way she conducted herself?

Ah... Perhaps, he fell for her then too.

It takes no time to learn more about her, since she’s an open book.

Koizumi Akane, her sudden transfer causes confusion. Her father runs a small company that came into dealings with the Minakawa group, so shesomehow gets the privilege of studying here. Like a deer in headlights, she stumbles through her new environment, freezing in confusion. She’s lucky she’s here, but she doesn’t know what to do, nor does she want to take anything for granted.

Ah well, not to say he, who grew up under scrutiny, didn’t have some fortune in coming to where should have been his birthright.

The blood that runs through his veins, how has it treated him? Does he want the approval of that man, or the life that that man can give him? For the one he abandoned, chasing power, money, status over love... Disgusting. But he... he could never do that. Not to the memory of his mother’s sadness. Not to what should be. Not to her .

Things are complicated. Yet, it seems that she is the one adding ingredients to the mix, making things even more so. That is why it is so imperative that he be decisive. That he see clearly what her intentions are. He knows Asahi’s world is too different to even fathom her alienation.

Asahi is clueless. Selfish.

Yuya? Selfish too? Perhaps. But at least he’s aware of it.

But really, there should be some self-evaluation, shouldn’t there be? For the one that seems so disconnected, casually declaring that they should all call each other by first name. It’s not like Yuya minds it, since it’s how it’s been with the others for some time, but for Akane, a nervous, new girl, isn’t it a bit much?

And then to watch Asahi so casually “treat” her to a grape by feeding it to her himself.

What an awful feeling in his chest, what a terrible anger boiling in his soul. Good thing he can impress her in his own way, the next day, when they both happen to be early.

“ Akane, I’ll make you a drink, so what’s your favorite color? 

“ Thank you very much, Yuya-senpai!  That smile is captivating, “ And umm... pink..! 

She watches in awe as he mixes two drinks, managing to get the coloring just so, and the flavor should be just fine too. Well, the light in her eyes speaks it all.

Enjoy.

Senpai, it really is pink... you’re amazing!

Haha, it’s nothing much, really.

But I really do think it’s cool... how you did that, I mean. 

“ Really? Well, I’m glad that you enjoyed it that much. Maybe I’ll do it again for you sometime. 

“ I would love that! 

Perhaps it had been fate, for him to offer to make him lunches sometimes. For all that, he returns the favor in another offer. He’ll teach her how to cut fruit into special shapes.

These “cute” cuts speak to the world of their playful game. He wants to see her smile; he wants to tell her, how much... she’s appreciated for her gesture. When he does it for her, maybe... he feed it to her, a treat, that is, with light reflecting, he’ll hold up the apple rocket-ship and ask her to say, Ah~n!

Would she embarrassed? Would her cheeks grow red, feverish? How cute she’d be...

She and his mother... why, they would have gotten along, wouldn’t they have?

Right... they would have.

While he’s in these thoughts, he remembers something particular. Something that is, perhaps, crucial to bits of his feelings now.

He remembers the day where he met someone that was like her - perhaps, it was her, considering how they could have lived in the same town. Small towns talk, this girl, she probably knew of the rumors, but... she simply smiled, held out her hand, listen to what he had to say, what he had to gift her.

I’m sorry... you shouldn’t be so alone right now...

Flowers are in her other hand. She’s visiting... here too then? That would be sensible, considering the place they are. Then why... would she take time to speak to him? Why would she take time to hold his hand, how could she have even a moment to spare to someone so pitiful... so outcasted like him?

He didn’t understand it then, how some could actually push past the words that circulated. But... the care of that, the kindness of that... he finds himself attached.

It’s unlikely that she recalls it. He’d be surprised if she did.

Can he pull her in anyway?

Does he know yet if he never wants to let her go?


 

First shopping trip, he watches as she laughs alongside him. Inches away from holding hands, she’s the one that pulls back when she realizes they are getting too close. Embarrassed, this had all been Asahi’s plan. There’s no way around that. Happening to forget to order enough of a certain product, so they have to take an emergency outing to get what they need for the nightclub? It’s far too careless, even for him.

Yet, Yuya understands the reasoning. If he was more Asahi -typed, then perhaps he would do the same. Akane is one that’s worth mistakes, or is it more, because of her, there will be mistakes? Why risk the efficiency and functionality of the Night Club in order spend another afternoon with her?

Akane, you haven’t had a chance to shop for yourself yet, right? Then you should do that too! Asahi smiles that usual smile

Is that really okay?

“ Of course! 

Watching them all wrapped up in that air makes him sick. He’ll let them wander off on their own; he’ll let them do as they need. There won’t be any progress for Asahi, even if the fluff continues to cloud it over.

And he goes on, not allowing Asahi to get everything he wants to try out for the Club. Not allowing Asahi to take control of the conversation. Even if her eyes are on him now, Yuya thinks that maybe, so long as he makes the right motion, he can get her to look at only him.

This laughter, those pats... annoying. The way Asahi’s getting nervous... bothersome. He deflects any comment on his awkwardness with a quick “N-Nothing!” and pushes the conversation back his way.

Yeah , Yuya can’t stand it. After a break, he’ll split off from them, watch their already purchased items if he needs to. She clearly wants to be beside him this time, so he’ll use this time to plan out his next steps.

And he does just that -- he allows them to finish shopping on their own while he stays at a table with the rest of their items. Does he expect the two of them to come back just as red as the hair Asahi sports? Not particularly, but considering the luck of the draw, it’s not very surprising.

...T-Torn...” He hears her soft voice mutter, between his arms... and the situation.

Thinking aloud is a terrible habit.

Let’s go. Yuya says, grabbing the shopping bags he can carry and walking toward the exit.

R-Right! Both Akane and Asahi shout behind him. He doesn’t see it, but he can feel them smile at each other before their footsteps speed up.

It... disgusts me.. I absolutely will not lose.


 

The Culture Festival, so much spirals out of his hands. She would do well in the pageant. Likely, she deserves to be up there. However, Yuya can’t imagine letting her. Not that she really seemed willing to, anyway.

Checking the nomination ballots, he makes sure her name isn’t in there. It’s underhanded, sneaky, but no one questions it, not with his smile. All they need to focus on is getting set up, and doing what they must for the cafe that they were nominated to run. Since Akane’s helping in that front, she doesn't have time for anything else.

Yuya already has to share her attention with Asahi, with the Club, he’d rather not spread that vision around.

The cafe, conducted just as they held the Night Club, would go well. With all the work they put in, with who they are, there is no other conclusion. However, problems did arise, due to the closeness of a player whose not even welcomed in the game involving Akane.

His hand, on her, teasing, any closer and their lips may as well be touching. It's enough that Asahi’s very nature is senseless affection, but Renji knows very well what he’s doing.

Seconds pass, no more, Yuya grabs Renji’s arm, tightly, yanking back with full force.

Yuya-

Y-Yuya-senpai..?!

Stop that, Renji, and get back to work.

Short words. Control. Breathe. Yuya’s staked his claim, so he insists.

Right, riiiight, Renji shakes Yuya off, grinning regardless of the actual situation. He winks at Akane before moving back to his station.

Akane herself blinks, quickly excusing herself to the back, where Asahi is taking a break. She notices that his tie is crooked, so she moves forward to straighten it out without any further though, her fingers gently tugging on it.

Is this what it’s like to be a married couple..?

E-Eh?

Asahi moves to rest his hand atop of hers, holding it there. Words flutter at the tip of his tongue, as if he’s about to shout them out and change the whole world to his pace... more than it already is.

“ I want to be number one. I’ll definitely be number one! 

“ If it’s Asahi-kun, I think you can do it! 

Thank you, Akane! But it’s not just the Club I want to be number one in. I want... I want to be number one in your heart.

A-Ah... sa... hi... kun..? She can barely answer him, due to just how flustered she is, U-Um... it’s straight now..! Your tie, I mean!

Ah! Right! And that just now, it was a joke, so lemme take it back!

O-Okay!

Quickly, Akane agrees, trying not to dwell on the thought too long. Is her heart fluttering? Can Yuya do that too? What will it take?

Watching the moments, trying to figure out the set rhythm, he glances over, silently taking it in. He’ll interrupt at the precise moment he’s deemed necessary. Just like Asahi does.

In order to make sure the cafe keeps up, Akane picks up the whipped cream, attempting to continue preparing orders, trying to shake off what Asahi just said.

“ O-Oh...  It’s stuck, it seems.

Akane, I can help!

Asahi offers without skipping a beat. To play more into the image of a married couple, having fun making sweets like that. They need to stop playing around. This is only further confirmed when the packet explodes under the pressure they put on getting it to work and, instead of being concerned for their uniforms, they burst out in laughter.

Time for Yuya to make his move.

Asahi, clean up and get back to work. You’ve been back here longer enough.

Ah, right. I’ll be going then, Akane!

Akane nods, Good luck, Asahi-kun!

As soon as Asahi practically skips off, Yuya takes a napkin and wipes some of the cream from Akane’s face. Surprised, she doesn’t manage to say anything back. It’s embarrassing, and Yuya, well, he’s serious.

I’m going to be number one, he says so only she can hear, even if others walked back, I’m not giving this academy - or you - to him.

Huh?

There’s no time wasted in shifting to a smile, one that he hopes will put her at some sort of ease, despite his words, despite today already.

Done. Let’s work hard for the rest of the day.

Oh..! R-Right! She’s left to wonder what he meant, but it’s fine. It fills her thoughts of him. It gets her to look at him.

The show must go on.


 

Well, after the clearly successful cafe, and considering the significant dent in their supplies, he’d say that they’d have to make another, time-consuming run.

Second shopping trip, there are far more supplies needed than little things, so it’s quickly decided that they would use the car Yuya’s allowed to drive. But driving to the shopping mall is difficult when one has to take roads that one isn’t expecting to, so they stop and have Asahi run in and buy a map.

Yuya-senpai, I was just thinking that you and Asahi-kun...”

Don’t say it... Don’t...

...could be related...

His fingers grip the steering wheel tightly. He doesn’t want to hear it, he really doesn’t want to. It’s not fair, not at all. He doesn’t want those comparisons. He should be the only focus. The disappointing man that ditched his mother for reputation and money... and the one that was fortunate enough to live with wealth, he loathes them.

He wants the company. He wants them out of his life.

Eyes, darkened. Akane notices this, her breathing becoming nervous. He’s... scaring her, huh?

I’d rather you not say something like that, Akane. He can’t even force a smile.

O-Oh, I’m really sorry..! He can tell she means it. She’s pure, sweet, genuinely curious. Does she search for the best in them? He thinks so. Asahi probably thinks the same.

It’s difficult not to fall for someone like her.

She grows quiet, even still, shifting in her seat. It isn’t until Asahi returns that the mood lightens. Of course it’s like that. He has that sort of capability. A... charm point, if one will, to cater to the situation, even if he misses pieces in reading it. It’s what he does with customers, but he misses it. Her feelings, the truth behind the tense mood in the first place.

For Yuya, Asahi’s presence makes it worse.

Things do not really ease up once they get there. Asahi, probably on his better judgement, decides to wander off and get what he can, leaving Yuya with Akane and the cart.

This place is still so big... I’m not sure when I’ll get used to it...

It’s really on its own level.

Mmhmm! Nothing like the shopping areas back home...

She’s so genuine about it, her interest, her thoughts, but... right, he really can’t have her getting lost while she’s all wrapped up in her thoughts, can he? Absolutely not, which is why he takes her hand in his, quickly reminding her that she won’t be able to get lost in unfamiliar territory; all she has to do is hold his hand.

Her acceptance seems to echo her thankfulness. Or, perhaps, that’s just him stretching, but for the moment, he’ll see it as he sees fit.

Juice, syrup, everything is picked up without them separating once. It’s rather inviting, the calm that comes with them. This is how it should be, having her close, shopping together, all eyes on him, them.

Her hand is warm. So she’s not as nervous as she could be. Good. As they casually speak, she brings up, absently, that this life isn’t normal to her, but she feels that the Club saved her.

Saved her?

Is she using it just for purpose? Does she not value herself? Does she feel like her wings have been clipped, so she’s forced to look at this as she has been?

Is she serious?

She’s more, more than just a tool for the Club. It was her mistake, sure, and thus she was swept into working for them, but if she takes it lightly, then it’s just insulting.

His hand grows cold, his grip tightening. He can feel her wince, so he quickly releases her.

You regret it then... you could have lived a normal life.

I’d... be lying if I said I didn’t regret it... but I feel like I fit there. It gave me a place to be in this unfamiliar environment.

He tries to calm himself, but the thoughts swirl. Kicking his feet against the metal, he shoves the cart that’s in front of them, allowing it to slam into a wall, as he faces her, his expression twisted.

If you’re just looking at the Club as some fun activity, then that’s a problem. We take it very seriously.

The Festival, the competition, all of it should be stark reminders.

The Club? Purpose? Is that all you’re worth in life? To be there, and make friends?

“ Yuya-senpai... 

He sees her, trembling right through her shoulders. It hurts. He keeps doing that, making her afraid. Bring her to the border of tears. And he’s about to cry too.

No, I’m sorry, Akane. I didn’t mean to say any of this.

Her head, he has to pat it, to try to settle himself down.

It’s okay. I’m sorry too. You’re right. I’ve been having so much fun, that I’ve been taking it too lightly. I took advantage of everyone’s kindness... I really do like it, with you, and everyone...

She smiles, but it’s not like her others. It’s not real. She’s pushing herself, but obviously, he’s messed up. He doesn’t want to do anything more, so he creates distance between them.

Awful. Awful. Awful. He didn’t have to snap. That’s no way to treat her, the one he’s fallen for. If she’s going to stay beside him, he’d rather her think favorably of him. But he couldn’t stand it, those thoughts of hers. More. More. That’s just it, she’s more, he’ll be more. It’s nothing lighthearted. She should see that, see him.

So he comes to ignore her, brushing off the parting of her lips, and moving on with the shopping. They don’t want to run too late, ever

Her feet shift, what is she going to say?

Ah , what’s next on the list...

Answer her, but don’t look at her. It’s painful, but it’s better this way.

...You know... I was a little startled by what happened earlier... And a little hurt... but...

Don’t stop.

Maybe she’s fed up, as she tugs on his sleeve. Maybe she’s the one angry, as she doesn’t let him escape her.

Please, look at me! I’m really upset with myself for taking things too lightly, especially when you and the others hope the Club so close. You pointed out some of the important things I forgot, senpai.

...Why? Why are you telling me this..? Hesitation causes his voice to be shaky. This side of him, it’s not cool. It’s no good. He has to be better than this, or he’ll lose.

There’s not really a reason... I just can’t stand being avoided. I promise to take things seriously. I really want to do my best to support everyone as much as I can.

Cautiously, she grabs his hand. This is... the first very time she’s done it of her own choice. With her resolution, her grasp is inviting. The childlike sulk, the facing down and away from her, it fades as he meets the gentleness in her frame.

You’re very kind, aren’t you? He beams, tints of a sheepish glow coming in, Aren’t you scared of me? She should be, right?

He’s been losing his cool when it comes to her so often.

That’s not the case at all! Akane protests, B-Besides, my father’s scary way scarier than you.

She’s truly believes that, it seems, considering the confirming move of her fingers, and the light in her smile.

Pfft, your father?” Yuya laughs, “Haa, I’m really no match for you.

Back to the usual air. Complete the list, and call Asahi. The shopping trip, somehow, manages to end in peace.

And really, Yuya is relieved when the days pass smoother, after that. He’s shown her a bad side of him too many times. He doesn’t want her to be afraid. He doesn’t want to reach the point Asahi’s at - unable to move forward. His gaze is clear, isn’t it?

It has to be. He can’t afford it not to be.

Keep calm. Don’t scare her again.

As he mixes a drink for her - blue this time - he thinks about how he can break the silence. Their conversations, serious, contemplative, seem to move them forward, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for spoiling, for fun.

But Yuya has to know something. Thus, he decides to casually press the situation and ask her

Akane, if you were about to lose your only safe place in life, what would you do?

She looks at him, matching the serious expression he gifts her as best as she can, I... I would fight for it. Even if it means being laughed at... once you lose something like that, it’s gone forever...

Even if fighting for it inconveniences people?

...Yes, I think that would be okay, to a certain extent, for something that important to you... That might be a little irresponsible, selfish even, but... That’s what I think.

I see... Thank you, Akane.

She smiles, nodding, And really, thank you for this drink, Yuya-senpai. You’re really good at this!

This?

A bit of worry stills her features at his question, but she shakes it off, answering this next question with careful hesitation. Clearly, she doesn’t want to say anything that she might find unnecessary or rude. Perhaps she thought he was the considerate one, considering she called her own thoughts selfish, but really, it’s the opposite.

Making these drinks, talking to people, considering others’ needs... you really are amazing...

He allows her words to be the last of the conversation. He’s said it before, but it’s really true. He can’t hold a candle to the light she’s brought.


 

The rooftop at lunch. He has her all to himself for now. Asahi’s too busy to tutor her, not that their sessions meant much more than casual studying anymore. And fortunately, she went ahead and made enough food for the both of them.

He enjoys this, this simple sharing, the taste of her cooking, the care she puts into each part of it. She must’ve lost sleep making it this time, considering she has the nightclub as well. How he wishes she didn’t have to be in it, but if she wasn’t, then they likely would have never even had the chance to speak.

Her cheeks turn redder and redder still. Yuya-senpai... There you go again, joking like that, still, she smiles at him. That smile... really should be his alone.

Haha, yeah, sorry. His laughter guises the pain in his heart. Whenever he glances her way, he feels the need to tease her. He feels the need to make it clear just how jealous he is that she’s looking his way. You’re right. I was joking just then. Better to lie now.

But, can he hold back? He, the one that’s offered to listen to her, the one that’s given her someone to possibly trust in while the other lacks understanding of her world... That’s just it, right? All Asahi’s caused her is worry.

They are both commoners. The upperclass could not possibly understand them.

He’ll protect her. From the mistakes and foolishness of Asahi. From the clutches of the headmaster. From unhappiness. He’s the one to make her happy. None of the others can do it.

Maybe that’s why he only waits a moment more, testing the waters of timing, seeing if the rather inconvenient presence will burst in between them again.

Say...

...Huh..?

He looks at her seriously, moving his hand to move a strand of her hair back, resting it on her cheek afterwards, What if I wasn’t joking?

...Senpai?

What would you do?

Her face continues to get warmer under his once-chilled hand. She’s adorable, she really is. Wide eyes, sparkling with confusion, delicate in their nature. She’s concerned, for who? Herself? Him? Or the other person that tends to stand between them?

I… She bites her lip.

Frozen in place, huh?

It appears to Yuya that Akane is thinking, processing, trying to decide exactly what she can say, or if she can even say anything, with how flustered she seems.

As if he could sense a disturbance in beating hearts that weren’t caused by him, Asahi shows up, his usual beam twisted into annoyance. Always intruding. Even here, where he rarely goes. Did he know Yuyu was trying something? Did his gut tell him to check today?

…Don’t worry too much, Akane, Yuya laughs, killing the silence, throwing his attempts at breaking up the tension just enough to make his exit, I really was joking.

But for how long will he say it’s that way?

Thanks for the food.

Yeah, it’s time for him to leave.

Her hesitance, her consideration, she sees and attaches herself to the people they are, not their reputations, not their money. He likes that about her. He really does.

He closes the door behind him, standing there, listening to the laughter Akane is sharing with Asahi. As if Yuya hadn’t just been there.

Asahi-kun, now that I think of it, you really can see a lot from up here! This campus is so big... it’s really amazing!

Yeah! Isn’t it? This place... I’m going to make sure it stays a place for the others to be happy.

..! I’d really like that!

Right?

While Asahi is stuck, while he’s confused, while he’s pursuing smaller sights, perhaps... Yuya should take action.

Asahi, if you’re so careless, someone is going to take her... actually, I wouldn’t like you to have her, regardless. She’s too good for someone as awful as you.

This is his decision. Win, win and he can have what he wants. To be the heir, and to have her.

But when the end of the battle is near, will he be able to turn tide against her expression? Her choice? Or will the lies in his heart have to capture him, steeled to their old tales? If she chooses the other one, and he picks a path even Yuya can’t combat, will that be the end of it?

Support himself, support her.

What... will challenge the fate he’s making for himself?