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My Best Friend’s Brother

Chapter Text

You know, when people talk about falling for their best friend’s brother, it’s usually a teenage girl crushing on the 6’3” jock brother she catches a glimpse of every so often when she goes to hang around Tiffany’s house. But no, not Junpei Tenmyouji. Oh no. He was not your usual teenage girl, well, for one he was a dude, and for two, he’d fallen for an emo, moody teen who dressed like he’d be freezing in the Caribbean. Yes, Junpei was crushing hard on the disaster that is Aoi Kurashiki.

How had it started? Well, thats a good question. Junpei can’t quite remember, but he can tell you about the first time he caught a glimpse of Aoi. It was back in middle school, his friend Akane’s guardian was late to pick her up, so Junpei decided to stick with her until she got picked up, much to the complaints of his mother.

Akane was in care, due to her parents not being around anymore. She didn’t like to talk about it. So Junpei was expecting her care worker or a childminder to pick her up, you know, an adult. You can just imagine his surprise when a kid hardly any older than Junpei, couldn’t be more than 2 years, rushed up to them. This kid looked nothing like Akane, buzzcut hair bleached snow white, albeit messily, lanky build and sour expression. Quite a contrast to how Akane’s face lit up upon seeing this kid.

“Aoi!” She clasped her little stubby fingers together in delight, jumping up from the road curb she and Junpei were squatting on.

Aoi had given Junpei a look of confusion, but Akane quickly explained that he was her friend and was waiting with her. Aoi’s expression softened slightly, and he thanked Junpei quickly, before picking up Akane’s bag and taking her grabby little hand.

Although they had met briefly that one time when Junpei was 11, they didn’t really see each other again until Junpei was 18.

Akane had only ever brought up her brother in short conversations since Junpei met him, saying that he was a nice person and that Junpei shouldn’t be afraid to come around after school to meet Aoi properly.

Well, back then Junpei’s mother had booked him into many an after school club, something about how being bad at academics wasn’t an excuse to not make the most out of his education. Bla bla... you know. So Junpei had turned down all her offers politely.

But by 18, Junpei now had control over his own after school activities. Which were usually crying himself to sleep over maths homework. Sometimes science homework if he wanted to spice things up!

So when Akane next asked Junpei to come over, he agreed.

The Kurashiki apartment was small, but still cozy. It fit a small kitchenette and tv area, and Akane had her own bedroom. Something she was very prideful of.

The duo spent a few hours watching mindless garbage on TV, you know, Dr Phil and Judge Judy, that sort of thing, until Aoi came home.

He looked exactly the same as he had when he was 14, only lankier and with spikier hair. His hair was clearly in need of a bleach, as you could see his dark roots growing back in. His sour expression looked as if it was etched in stone.

Akane had said he’d been working today, so that explained it.

“Kanny, have you started dinner yet?” Aoi asked, to which Akane shook her head.

“No, not yet, what did you want?”

“Pot noodle is fine.”

“We can’t have just pot noodle! Especially when Junpei is over!” Akane had pouted and gestured to Junpei, who Aoi had either not seen or purposefully ignored.

“Oh. Hey.” Aoi raised his hand slightly, and shrugged his jacket off. The outfit underneath was questionable to say the least, but Junpei felt like mentioning the shredded tank top and camouflage trousers was a bad idea.

“Afternoon.” God, that was way too formal. Junpei was kicking himself mentally as Aoi’s left eyebrow raised slightly.

“Uhh... yeah. I’ll make something good then.” Akane had interrupted the short but awkward pause. Then she left to go to the kitchenette, putting in her tattered earphones.

Aoi slid into Akane’s place on the coach besides Junpei, with the most extreme slouching he could manage.
“So.”

“So...”

“What’s the deal with you and Akane, huh?”

Junpei blinked slowly. “Huh?”

“You know what I mean,” Aoi pulled a pack of gum out his trouser pockets, tearing out two and handing on piece to Junpei. “Teen boys usually only have one thing on their mind when it comes to girls.”

Junpei blinked slowly again. “Sorry? I’m only here to escape my mother, dude.”

Aoi sat a bit more upright. “Oh.” He scratched the back of his head sheepishly. “Sorry man, I thought...”

“I was into ‘Kanny? She’s basically my only friend, why would I ruin that?”

“Cool, cool,” Aoi stood back up. “Well, if you need me, I’ll be in my room.”

He scuttled off, embarrassed his tough big brother act hadn’t worked.

Junpei felt his cheeks flush as Akane yelled over her music if he liked spicy foods.

Chapter Text

After that second awkward encounter with Aoi, their relationship seemed to just... Junpei wasn’t sure how to describe it but it seemed like they hardly knew each other, and then a moment later they were best buddies.

After realising he wasn’t trying to date Akane, Aoi visibly relaxed around me. Sure, he still sat between them when they watched movies at theirs, but Junpei didn’t mind. It felt natural for him to be there, he wasn’t intruding at all. In fact, he liked when Aoi hung out with them.

A few times Junpei would catch him snickering from the sofa when Junpei was joking with Akane near the kitchenette. At the time he felt that the flips his stomach was doing was because Junpei wasn’t used to someone finding him funny.

At this point in time, Junpei didn’t know much about Aoi, other than he had an outrageous taste in fashion, and he like puzzle games.

And Junpei only knew that because he saw the Professor Layton DS games left on the sofa, and Akane told him they were Aoi’s.

Junpei had never really gotten into that series. Not that he didn’t like puzzles. He was more of a sudoku man himself. He even had a sudoku app on his phone to help him pass the time.

-

Skip a few weeks later, Junpei actually caught Aoi sprawled out on the sofa with his DS, stylus inbetween his teeth as he grumbled about the game he was playing.

“Having trouble?”

Aoi nearly choked on the stylus in surprise to hear Junpei. Well, Akane had given Junpei a key, but he doubted she’d told Aoi she did.

“Wha-? Jesus Christ I thought you were a ghost!” Aoi sat up straight and spat out the stylus, before slotting it back into the DS.

“Was I a pretty ghost?” Junpei teased, plopping down on the sofa next to Aoi, who was appropriately dressed for the May month, in cargo shorts, tiger print tank top and clashing leopard print choker. At least he tried.

“Tch. You should think yourself lucky you’re not a ghost burn victim.”

“Doubt you get those around here.” Junpei played with the dirt beneath his fingernails.

Aoi scoffed, “You’d be surprised what rumours get thrown around downtown.”

Junpei leaned over to look at the DS screen. “The answer is 3:51.”

“What.”

“The puzzle. That’s the answer.”

Aoi glanced back at his DS. “Oh shit yeah, it is. How did you-?”

“You gotta think in 24 hour time, that’s the trick to solving it.” Junpei explained as the cartoony professor declared the puzzle solved.

“You’re not as dumb as you look.”

“Hey!”

-

By that point Junpei had started to consider Aoi a friend. It wasn’t until he saw Aoi outside of meeting at the flat that he realised there was something more he felt.

It was clearly just a casual thing. Junpei had spotted Aoi outside the local cinema. Rundown and low maintenance as it was.

But he wasn’t alone. He was with a pink haired girl, they seemed to share a similar taste in strange fashion. Judging by the leg warmers and miniskirt combined with an oversized bomber jacket she was wearing.

Okay, that’s normal. Aoi is allowed to have other friends and hang out with them.

But when the girl leant over to peck Aoi on the cheek, Junpei felt a tug on his heart strings. Ouch.

Aoi didn’t seem to care that much, and only scolded her slightly before throwing an arm around her and pulling her in for a noogie. She giggled and dislodged herself before blowing a raspberry at him and running into the cinema.

Of course Junpei didn’t realise at that moment why he was feeling jealous. It wasn’t until he woke up in a cold sweat at 2am on a Thursday morning he realised.

“I’m in love with Akane’s older brother.”

Chapter Text

After realising you have a crush on someone, what do you normally do? Hide it until you’ve figured yourself out? Avoid them? Rationalise and realise they probably don’t notice?

No. Do what Junpei did. Stare at them and completely over analyse every little thing they do.

And blurt out that you saw them with a girl at the cinema.

Clover, Aoi explained, was the younger sister of Aoi’s close friend. Clover was also much younger than Aoi, and even Junpei. She’s what Aoi calls an extreme extrovert. Ultra clingy, and no clue about personal space. Aoi’s basically given up on telling her to not do things, and just goes along with it. If she was interested in him, good for her. She’s not his type, and he’s not about to be a cradle-robber.

Junpei had snorted his drink at that last remark, causing Aoi to roll his eyes and snigger.

“I’ll get you a paper towel,” Aoi had gotten up and headed to the kitchenette, hands in his baggy pockets and tutting loudly.

Junpei didn’t realise he’d zoned out until he got paper towel to the face.

“Dude, it’s weird to stare.”

“Sorry.”

“Pfft, you don’t have to apologise. I know I’m all that.”

Junpei didn’t even try to cover his snort this time. “Yeah okay buddy, and I’m George Clooney.”

“Hey, hey, hey, you just don’t get the appeal of the E-Boy aesthetic like the internet does okay?” Aoi fired back, plopping down on the sofa next to Junpei. The static of his pale blue jumper causing Junpei to shudder. “What? Can’t handle a little electricity?” He joked but it caused Junpei’s cheeks to heat up.

Aoi laughed as Junpei covered his face with his hand.
“Man, you’re so easy to mess with, are you always this predictable?”

“Haha.” Junpei glared from between his fingers. “Bet you think you’re hot shit now that some teenager online thinks your pretty.”

Aoi pouted and stuck out his tongue, before asking. “Am I not pretty then?” He batted his eyelashes in a joking manner, but Junpei started reddening up once more.

“Well, uh,”

“Am I???”

“Yeah you’re conventionally attractive by mainstream standards-“

“Stop avoiding the question,” Aoi removed Junpei’s hands from his face, forcing Junpei to look him in the eyes. “I was asking if YOU think I’m pretty Junpei.”

Junpei gulped. “Yes, I think, you are pretty.”

Aoi let go of Junpei’s wrists, and relaxed back into the sofa, happy with the response he’d gotten. “Oh yeah, Akane should be back with the groceries soon, are you staying for dinner?”

How Aoi could go back to talking so casually after what had just happened still amazes Junpei to this very day.

-

Despite this, Junpei still hadn’t vocally admitted to anyone he had this crush. Well, no one in his casual friend group knew who Aoi was, why would they care?

He couldn’t very well tell Akane, his lifelong companion and best friend, he wanted to pin her brother against the wall of their shared apartment and passionately kiss him, now could he?

Well he could but it probably wouldn’t end well.

Carlos, Junpei’s other close friend, wasn’t really the kind to talk deeply about relationships. Sure, Carlos had had a couple partners more than Junpei, but Carlos’ main desire in life was to have a decent income before he even thought about settling down with ‘the one’.

Now, other than those two Junpei was also close to another person, a police detective known only as Mr Kashiwabara. Now, this man had two twin step daughters who were Junpei’s age, he didn’t need to listen to Junpei’s boy troubles as well.

And that only left Junpei with one friend left, Aoi. You can see where this is going can’t you?

Junpei had ran out of options to vent about his crush.

Turns out Junpei didn’t have to be the one to start the conversation.

As one day, walking home from the supermarket, Akane had blurted out something along the lines of:

“IKnowYou’reDatingMyBrotherBehindMyBack-“

In one fell swoop, Akane had knocked the air out of Junpei, causing him to nearly drop two heavy bag for lifes of shopping.

“WHAT”

“You heard me!” She crossed her arms, shopping bags finding home on her elbows. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed you two flirting whilst I cook! It’s hurtful that you didn’t tell me and then blatantly display affection in front of me!”

“Woah woah woah, hold up.” Junpei motioned for Akane to pause. “One, I am not in a relationship with Aoi. Two, I am not flirting with him!”

Akane huffed, putting down her shopping so she could poke a finger into Junpei’s chest. “You oggle him every five minutes when you’re round like he’s a juicy steak!”

“I do not!”

“You do!”

“Well I don’t do it on purpose! It’s not my fault he always wears weird clothes that perfectly accentuate his slim figure and the dip of his collar bones is highlighted by multiple pendants!”

“Uh huh.” Akane crossed her arms again, raising an eyebrow at him. “So you do have a thing for my darling brother.”

“I never said that!”

“It was clearly in the subtext, Jumpy!”

“Oh come on!”

Chapter Text

Now, what’s the proper way to react to your best friend knowing about your crush? Especially when it’s on her brother.

Well, denial wasn’t an option, Junpei was a rubbish liar.

That and he felt kind of bad for not telling Akane about his ‘boy troubles’ if you could even call it that. Was it a trouble? No. It was just a crush. A very big one at that.

“Well? Spit it out!”

“What do you want me to say? Sorry for thinking your brother is really hot?”

Akane’s eyes widened and she doubled over in laughing.
“Oh my gosh! N-no! I’m not mad Jumpy!”

Well phew. That was a relief.

Junpei let out a huge sigh and knelt down next to the giggling mess that was Akane.

“God Kanny, what do I do?”

“Pfft, I know my brother, he probably hasn’t even realised it’s serious.”

“He has.”

“Just like I said, he hasn’t- wait what?”

Junpei placed his hands over his eyes.
“I can’t tell if he’s legitimately flirting with me or making fun of me!”

What a sight they were, plopped on the pavement surrounded by groceries and the like.

“Well, I guess he’s just that sort of person.” Akane tapped her chin, now recovering from her laughing fit. “You could always just straight up ask him?”

“Nope.”

“Hm...”

-

Turns out straight up asking him was what Junpei did anyway.

Akane had left to go buy something she’d forgotten, a blatant lie, but Aoi didn’t need to know that. This left him and Junpei alone in the apartment for an unknown amount of time.

Aoi was in his usual garb, and by that Junpei meant an unusual and completely unreasonable fashion faux pas. A thin mesh long sleeved top covering a spagetti strapped tank top, showing off those collar bones that made Junpei just want to die.

Die in a good way, but still.

It didn’t help that Aoi was leaning over Junpei’s lap to reach for the TV remote, or that Aoi’s hand was on his thigh. Or that Aoi’s hand was basically squeezing Junpei’s thigh at this point.

It was when Aoi leant back up to sit back in the sofa, that Junpei felt his face really redden, and he could almost taste the teasing he was going to get.

“I didn’t know that Planet Earth got you so flustered.” Aoi smirked as he started channel surfing.

Aoi wasn’t even paying attention to Junpei anymore, fully focused on deciding what movie he was going to make fun of Junpei for being invested in.

“Aoi.”

“Mhm...”

“DoYouLikeMe?”

“Wha-? Say that again and slower.” Aoi had tilted his head away from the screen.

“Do... do you like me?”

Aoi had laughed. “Yeah of course, you’re a good guy, fun to mess with.”

“No, not like that, I mean, like, like me?”

“Um... let me think...” Aoi placed his finger against his jaw to mock thinking. “Don’t get the question. You’re gonna have to explain.”

Oh now that was just unfair. Poor Junpei was already getting nervous just asking the first question.

“Well I uh, I just, I don’t know?” Junpei tried to shake off Aoi’s stare. “I guess I want to know if you’re just messing with me or if you’re genuine flirting.”

“Took you long enough to ask.” Aoi moved closer so their shoulders were touching and turned off the TV. “I guess I’m asking the same thing, are you messing with me or genuinely flirting?”

“I- uh-“

“See? It’s not as straight forward as you may think it seems,” Aoi’s playing with the remote now, flipping it over and over. “I guess I’ll say I’m not just flirting for teasings sake, but I’m not saying it isn’t fun to see you go red like a lobster.”

“Well I-“

“No I’m not done yet,” Aoi hushed Junpei, finger to his lips and all. “But you are a genuinely nice person that I want to get to know, and maybe I’d like to flirt and stuff more realistically with you, but for now this is how I feel comfortable, just, chilling, okay?”

“I see.”

“Honestly I'm flattered that you think of me that way, and I do like you back that way, but I’m not the kind of person you want to be in a relationship with, or even be seen with in public Junpei.” Aoi had stood up now, and was rolling up his mesh sleeves.

“You don’t know that.”

“I do,” Aoi shrugged. “I’m not a serious dating person, maybe I will be in a few years time, but not today.”

“Oh...”

“I’m sorry.”

“No, no it’s okay.” Junpei deflated, slumped back in the chair.

Who knows what would have happened from then on, if the door hadn’t burst open and Akane rushed back in.

“Hi boys!” She’d exclaimed, tiny bag bouncing on her arm.

“I’m going out.” Aoi had announced, slight perturbed by Akane returning, and left.

“Oh?” Akane watched him walk out. “What happened Jumpy?”

“Kanny... I think I just got rejected.”