“Stop fussing, it's not that big of a deal...”
Perhaps that was what Hayato said, but Kisumi knew that his brother appreciated Kisumi fussing over him really. If their parents weren't going to do it, then Kisumi would more than make up for that himself.
“My baby brother's first date? Of course it's a big deal!” Kisumi protested, as he straightened the collar on Hayato's shirt.
“I'm not a baby any more, Kisumi. And it's not a date! Ren and I hang out all the time. This is just... the first time where there won't be anyone else with us as well. That's all,” said Hayato, although he was clearly reasoning more with himself than with Kisumi about that, “Besides, Ren's older than me, so people would think it's weird if we were dating...”
“He's not that much older than you, honestly,” Kisumi dismissed, moving on to brush Hayato's hair, despite Hayato trying to bat his hand away, “And you shouldn't worry about what other people think. If I worried about that, then I wouldn't get half the dates that I do.”
“Y-yeah, okay. But even if it was a date – which it's not – I don't think Ren's even interested in me,” said Hayato.
Kisumi snorted; “That boy's been following you around like a lost puppy ever since you started high school! I bet he's having this exact same conversation with Makoto right now and honestly, he'd have more right to be worried considering how often you snub the poor guy. If you are interested in him, then there is such a thing as playing too hard to get, y'know?”
“I never said that I was-”
A knock at the door. It seemed that Kisumi was wrong about Ren being at home panicking to Makoto right now.
“Shit! That's him! How do I look?” Hayato panicked.
“Don't swear,” said Kisumi. And then when Hayato gawped at him, he added, “Look, I don't care if you swear, but the Tachibanas are a classy lot, so you'd best not swear in front of them.”
“Kisumi... just last week Ran wrestled a guy in her class to the ground and dripped his face in mud for insulting Ms. Amakata. Also, I've heard Makoto when he stubs his toe and he swears. A lot. Tachibanas are not classy,” Hayato said.
“All right, maybe not all of them, but Ren is a gentle soul. Anyway, are you just gonna leave him standing at the door or should I get it?” Kisumi offered.
To answer that question, Hayato dashed away before Kisumi had the chance, almost taking the comb with him. Kisumi managed to grab it back from Hayato's hair just in time, laughing as he did. It wasn't that he wanted to make Hayato nervous, but the poor kid was always so easy to wind up.
Kisumi couldn't help himself from hanging around in the doorway, watching as his brother answered the door to what was definitely his first date. Oh dear, it looked as if Kisumi had underestimated how serious the situation was as well – he'd steered Hayato towards smart-casual clothes, but poor Ren was standing in the doorway dressed in a full suit, with a bunch of flowers in his hands and his bowl-cut hair brushed as neat as could be.
“Hayato! Um, hi? Y-yeah, hi! Hello...! Do you want... well, I mean... here! I brought these for you,” Ren stammered, thrusting the flowers into Hayato's chest, “I hope they're okay? I didn't know y-your favourites so... are they okay? I can take them back if you like?”
“Hey, Ren... you look nice. A-and the flowers are nice as well, n-no need to take them back!” Hayato said. “Now let's get going before-”
“Not so fast!” Kisumi cut in, “Hello Ren, you look very dapper. I'm sorry that Hayato's kind of a mess, that's my fault since I got the wrong impression about what kind of date this was.”
“It's not a date!” cried both Ren and Hayato in unison.
“You brought him flowers, it's a date,” Kisumi dismissed, “Anyway, since this is my little brother's first date, I wanted to get a photo for the family album. Hope you don't mind! Hayato, turn around to face this way. It won't be a very good photo if I can just see your back.”
Hayato gave Ren an apologetic look and then shuffled around to face Kisumi, looking as stiff as a board.
“No, that won't do at all,” Kisumi said, “Hayato, hold those flowers up steady. Ren, put your arm around Hayato's arm. ...No, not like that! Put some effort into it! You want to come across like you're saying 'This is my date and if you touch him, you'll die!' and not like you're saying 'This is my date but I guess you'll win if we fight over him...' The message is important, Re-”
“Kisumiii...!” Hayato cried.
“All right, all right, you both look good. Now smile!” Kisumi chimed.
He held up his phone and after a few moments of waiting for the focus to adjust, he snapped a photo. Both Ren and Hayato were smiling as awkwardly as would be expected of two teenagers off on their first date who were being held up by a family member, but it was a good photo all the same. Kisumi nodded with satisfaction.
“Awww, so cute! I can't wait to send this to your Uncle Katsumi,” Kisumi gushed, “And to Makoto as well, he'll be so proud of you both.”
“Please don't send that to my brother...” Ren mumbled.
“I'm sorry, but Makoto is my childhood friend, so it's my duty to report this to him,” Kisumi countered, “Anyway, don't let this old man hold you up any longer. You kids go and have a good time.”
“We will. Thank you, Kisumi,” Ren said.
Ren gave Kisumi an awkward bow and hurried out of the door. But Hayato lingered around a bit longer, putting the flowers down on a cabinet in the hallway and then looking at his feet. Kisumi knew what Hayato was going to say, but he let him get his words out anyway.
“Look, Kisumi... I know I complain about you fussing all the time, but... I do appreciate it,” Hayato said, “I'm glad that you're still here. Just... thanks.”
With that, Kisumi went over to give Hayato a hug, trying not to mess up his outfit too much as he did.
“You don't have to thank me, Hayato. That's just what family are for,” Kisumi said.
“Yeah, well... it seems to me like you're the best at actually doing what family should do,” Hayato said.
“Come on now, don't get sappy on me,” replied Kisumi. He pulled away from the hug and pushed Hayato towards the door, “Now off you go! Don't keep your date waiting!”
“R-right... Um, see you later, Kisumi!”
“Not too much later. Be back before ten!”
...And with that, Hayato was gone. Kisumi watched both of the boys disappear down the path before he headed back into the house. Then he stared down at the photo on his phone and sighed happily. Even though he'd hurried Hayato along, those words had meant a lot to Kisumi. Perhaps Kisumi wasn't perfect, but he'd always tried to be the best brother that he could to Hayato. He'd... always tried to be the best family that he could to Hayato. It was good to know that was appreciated.
He smiled to himself, before forwarding the photo to both Katsumi and Makoto. Then to Sousuke as well, because clearly Sousuke needed to know everything that was happening in Kisumi's life. After that, Kisumi decided he might as well post the photo on Facebook, tagging both Hayato and Ren in it with the caption 'Look at my brother and his date! Aren't they so cute??? xxx' Within minutes, dozens of people from Hayato's school who must've found the photo through the tag were commenting on it.
Yes, Kisumi was a very good brother indeed.