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Unavowed Love

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Kazuki sighed as he typed one key per minute on his computer, drained by the never-ending paperwork. Even though it had only been only a few hours into the work day, he was already exhausted as if it was five pm. He didn’t mind crunching numbers, after all his degree was finance, but dammit today he wasn't feeling in the mood. He already had a long meeting with the big wigs since he was manager of the floor, so in reality, he wished he could lie down and take a nap.

Not to mention, he also had a huge report to tackle, but he had to wade through five hundred stacks of papers to finish. If he didn’t do well, then he would be fired from his position, and he couldn’t afford that. Dammit, it didn’t help that he had been staring at these numbers for the past few days. He rubbed the temple on his forehead, groaning a little. Kazuki kept on thinking to himself why the deadline had to be so soon.

He sighed out loud and peered over at his watch. Hmm? Oh, sweet! He excitedly logged off from his computer, figuring he could save the work for later. Eh, it wasn’t that hard anyway. He eagerly grabbed the nice bag of lunch bentos he made for today from his desk drawer. He scurried off, not caring about if anyone else was going. He was hungry!

Ibuki tallied up the last of his paperwork and neatly stacked it all into a pile to be submitted to his superior for review. He peered around and noticed everyone else hard at work. Honestly, he didn’t feel work was as complicated as everyone made it out to be. He enjoyed working with numbers. They made sense. Relationships, on the other hand, didn’t always fit so nice and neat. It was nearly impossible to read what the other party was thinking.

He opened his desk drawer to grab a rubber band to tie his stack together, and quietly smiled to himself seeing the tiny photo of Kazuki and him at the amusement park. He still couldn’t believe that Kazuki convinced him to skip work that day. That wasn’t something he would have done on his own, but it was hard to say no to Kazuki. Although he always felt a bit guilty in admitting he didn’t regret going.

Ibuki noticed the others starting to file out for lunch. He wondered if Kazuki would have time to go to lunch. Sometimes, Kazuki was so swamped with work that they had to miss lunch altogether. For some reason, Ibuki always felt moody afterwards if he skipped lunch without Kazuki. He often wondered if Kazuki felt the same, but he never had the courage to ask.

Kazuki flew down the stairs to the next floor, eager to see Ibuki. This guy, cute as a button, royally stunk at cooking. He still couldn't believe how that man survived off of those wretched TV dinners or take-out meals. Thus, he made sure to cook lunch for the two of them, otherwise, this unhealthy guy would seriously eat premade sandwiches or rice balls. Besides, he enjoyed spending time with the shy, quiet guy who didn’t reveal much of what was constantly churning in that brain of his. After spending so much time with him, though, he could pretty much guess Ibuki’s thoughts from his cute little quirks and adorable silent actions.

He chuckled to himself, wondering what Ibuki would think of the lunch he made for them today. Haha, Ibuki denied eating a lot, but he saw the amount of what they ate whenever they went out to eat. Even after eating a big meal, Ibuki always had room for his favorite dessert, strawberry sponge cake.

He wiped the smile from his face when he arrived on Ibuki’s floor. He scanned the cubicle area, wondering if Ibuki already left since most of Ibuki’s coworkers had left for lunch. Hmm…? He spotted that obnoxious, tall blonde ogre harassing Ibuki! What did that ignorant ogre want with Ibuki now?

Kouki peeped up over the edge of his cubicle wall and smirked seeing Ibuki lost in thought or possibly waiting for his stupid Prince Kazuki to show up. He hated that Kazuki fellow. Everyone in the office had eyes for him. What was so great about that tall, handsome, funny guy? He was just was tall, handsome, and funny! He was going to make Ibuki see that one day.

Kouki proceeded to tiptoe around the corner, out of sight, and then hugged Ibuki from behind, “Ibuki-chaaaan!!!”

Ahhh, Ibuki’s cologne smelled sinfully delightful! He just wanted to kiss him!

Ibuki almost jumped out of his skin, and stifled his cry, “K-Kouki-san! Please! Let go of me!”

Ibuki always felt extremely uncomfortable with how touchy feely Kouki was. He barely knew the man, yet this guy acted like they have been friends from childhood. He never knew why Kouki persisted to act overly friendly with him. They didn’t really interact much besides right before the lunch hour. Was it because of the way he looked?

“I’m headed out for lunch, Ibukiiiii. Wanna join?” Kouki reluctantly released Ibuki, but still had his face quite close to the beauty.

Ibuki rolled his seat as far back as he could, still frightened at what Kouki might have in mind, “I’m actually waiting on someone. Sorry.”

Ibuki looked at the floor to avoid eye contact with Kouki. He cursed himself for not being able to tell Kouki off. He didn’t want to be rude to him either, but at the same time, he wanted to know why Kouki only “attacked” him for lunch. If Kouki really cared for him or so he appeared to show, why didn’t Kouki talk to him in the morning when he was getting coffee? He always noticed Kouki floating from cubicle to cubicle and carrying on with every “cute” guy in the office like the way he was playing with him. Ibuki actually felt kind of sick to his stomach thinking about that.

“Oh. Kazuki-san, huh?” Kouki stood up straight, folding his arms across his chest. “Well, I heard that guy-”

“Thaaaat’s me!” Kazuki zoomed right in, seeing how Kouki was greatly bothering Ibuki like he did every single fucking day. “Hello, Kouki-san. How are you doing?”

If he could, he would beat this stupid ignorant ogre into a fucking bloody pulp, but he didn’t want to tarnish the good name he built around the company. People knew him as the relaxed, funny guy, and Kazuki wanted to keep it that way. Unfortunately, Kouki ticked him off, flirting with Ibuki and every other “good-looking” guy in the office. People like that made his blood boil because he hated those who only judged others by their appearance. Others constantly treated him that way, so he knew what it felt like to be only evaluated as such.

More importantly, though, he couldn’t let Kouki ruin Ibuki who was one of the rare people on this planet who treated him for who he was, not because of what he was.

Ibuki’s heart skipped a beat, feeling such joy and relief upon seeing Kazuki, his savior. Always Kazuki came to his rescue. Fuck. He was such a “damsel in distress” around Kazuki. Hrm, not that he really wanted it to be any other way. Ahem.

He recalled meeting Kazuki for the first time in a similar manner. It was the first day on the job and he had no fucking clue where he was headed. He wandered the office building like a dweeb, and just when he was about to fucking give up for being so late, this strange happy funny guy appeared out of nowhere to save the day. Ibuki never really noticed at the moment how handsome Kazuki was until they started to drink coffee in the morning together, then they ended up having lunch together as well. He was very much in love with Kazuki. Did Kazuki feel the same? They never really discussed that explicitly and Ibuki was too afraid to confirm it if it wasn’t mutual.

“Ooooh Kapoozki-kun!!!! How are you? So nice to see you on the wrong floor again!” Kouki fakely greeted his arch nemesis. “Here to sweep my good friend Ibuki-chan off to lunch?”

Kouki didn’t see what was so great about this guy. For all he knew, this guy probably didn’t do much work all day long. He saw him here visit Ibuki as much as he could. Huh! Sure must be great to be a manager on a floor. Hmph! Kouki was close to getting his promotion. Wait until I am manager of this floor, Kapoozki! I won’t let you see Ibuki-chan again!

“Well, someone has to sweep him away from all the dust and germs on this floor.” Kazuki innocently stated, pretending to play the role of the good employee.

He had no idea what was up Kouki’s ass all the time. They didn’t even work on the same floor, so it couldn’t be about their job positions. And Kazuki knew for sure that Kouki had no true feelings for Ibuki like he did. So, what did this fucker want?

Ibuki chewed on corner of his lip, watching the two of them bantering back and forth. This had become a daily routine. For some reason, Kouki didn’t seem to get the message or Kouki didn’t care. Ibuki doubted Kouki even liked him as much as Kazuki possibly could.

“Um, it’s kind of cutting into the lunch hour. See you later, Kouki-san.” Ibuki stood up and pushed Kazuki from behind to escape from Kouki.

Kouki clenched one fist behind his back, seeing how conveniently Ibuki and Kazuki dashed away before he could put in the last word. Ooooh, that Kapoozki really got on his nerves.

“Ah! Heeey, why did you do that? I wanted to see what the little idiot would say.” Kazuki frowned as they headed off together.

Ibuki shrugged, “I have a feeling he’s up to no good. You’ve seen how he flirts with every able body in the office. He’s a flake.”

Although Ibuki had to admit that he didn’t see Kouki approach anyone else for lunch, which was odd, and he never saw Kouki go on a date with any of the coworkers, but still it didn’t hurt to be too cautious.

“Blah, blah, blah. Let’s not talk about him. I’m hungry!” Kazuki waved it off, not wanting to think about unimportant matters. The only thing that mattered to him right now was Ibuki who he couldn’t stop gazing at every so often.

He knew Ibuki hated being complimented about his appearance, but geez. He did look super stunning. It was sort of hard not to ogle at such a beautiful man. Dammit. He sensed his own heart racing, and felt afraid that Ibuki just might hear it.

Ibuki looked around and saw their usual picnic table had already been taken. Of course, stupid Kouki wasted so much of their time.

“Oh great, most of the others have already gotten their lunch. There’s nowhere left to sit.” Ibuki quietly whined a little, feeling despair that lunch was ruined now.

Kazuki chuckled and grabbed Ibuki’s wrist, seeing a perfectly empty spot under a big shady tree. “No worries! We can sit over there, silly.”

He enjoyed eating with Ibuki since he felt like he could be himself and not have to worry about anyone laughing or looking down on him. Also, Ibuki never judged him for his weird habits or his silly side. Because of his supposed charming appearance, people thought he should be more serious. So, when they happened to catch him being idiotic, they found him hilarious but odd.

Ibuki smiled at how childish Kazuki could become when it was off work hours. He had come by Kazuki’s desk while he was in work mode, and Kazuki seemed like a scary, intimidating co-worker with his brow furrowed and eyes narrowed in such deep concentration. Here, he could relax with the silly, fun Kazuki who was as warm as the sun.

Ibuki couldn’t resist breaking out into a big smile when he saw the Pokemon bento boxes Kazuki used today with matching chopsticks.

“You had to go all out, didn’t you?” Ibuki rolled his eyes at Kazuki in a teasing manner.

“It’s even three-layered! Just for your little big tummy.” Kazuki reached over to pat it even though Ibuki hated it when he did that.

Oh, well. It wasn’t as if Ibuki could stop him since they were literally sitting right next to each other.

Ibuki swatted Kazuki’s hand away and hovered over his food as if Kazuki was going to steal some, which he never did, but it was fun to pretend. It has been three years being like this with Kazuki. He enjoyed every moment with Kazuki, and imagined even something more, but he was always too afraid to ask because Kazuki never mentioned it. He didn’t want to be the fool to voice his opinion, and in reality, all of this lovely time they spent together was nothing more than a fantasy of his own whimsical imagination. Although, he never did see Kazuki spend time with another person like they way they spent time together. Kazuki never did mention anyone else in his life either.

Kazuki snickered at Ibuki being so protective of his food. That guy loved eating food way too much even though he didn’t have a single ounce of cooking skills. He still recalled the day when Ibuki arrived as a newly hired worker for the company. He appeared to be a lost mouse that didn’t know where its home was.

Out of politeness, Kazuki kindly offered to bring him to the correct floor where Ibuki’s team was located. Somehow, they managed to hit it off especially when Kazuki discovered Ibuki played all the Pokemon games and attended visual kei concerts just like him. Ever since then, they pretty much hung out all the time whether it was watching those cheesy Pokemon anime shows or listening to bands like D=OUT or the GazettE.

Any free time Kazuki had, he made sure to spent it with Ibuki because he found it hard to not be with the guy who brightened up his day. Ever since he met Ibuki, he looked forward to waking up each morning and going to sleep at night, knowing he would be graced with Ibuki’s loving presence the following day. He enjoyed that soft laugh, that precious beautiful smile, and that shimmering brown hair highlighted with a bright blonde color.

“You don’t have to be so protective of your food. I made it.” Kazuki teased him as he uncovered his lid and grabbed his chopsticks to eat.

Ibuki smirked, silently admiring the Charmander Kazuki cut out of the carrots. Kazuki always knew which strings of his heart to strum, and the exact chords that made his heart sing.

Ibuki lightly elbowed Kazuki in the side, “Sappy.”

But he grinned as he happily ate the delicious fried rice Kazuki neatly placed underneath the Charmander shaped carrots.

“Sappy? You don’t like it. Huh! I see how it is. Next time, I’ll won’t make it for you.” Kazuki stuck out his tongue at him, jabbing at his pride since Ibuki couldn’t cook even if his life depended on it.

“You better cook. That’s all you’re good for!” Ibuki almost choked with his mouth full as he threw his comeback at Kazuki.

“Oh, what? It’s not like they don’t serve food in the cafeteria.” Kazuki blew a raspberry at him.

Ibuki picked up a baby tomato from his bento and stuffed it in Kazuki’s mouth, “Eat, you big talker.”

“Awah! Hwey!” Kazuki was taken by surprised and still tried to speak even though the food muffled his speech. Dammit!

Ibuki chuckled seeing the tomato juice roll down the side of Kazuki’s mouth. He took out his personal handkerchief and wiped it for Kazuki, holding the napkin at Kazuki’s mouth. He peered into Kazuki’s dark chocolate eyes, bursting with the excitement of life. He tried to pull his gaze away, but something inside of them kept sucking him in to stare and stare and stare. Ibuki felt his heart pounding against his chest. Why wasn’t his body responding to his brain to move away?

Kazuki blinked his eyes, feeling his own heart thumping hard against his chest. He was afraid this beautiful man could hear his heartbeat. Fuck. Scratch that. He was deathly scared that everyone would hear his loud heartbeat. Dammit! Even his body was firing up from the weird, awkward moment.

“Ohohoho, what are you doing, Ibu-chan? Being cute?” Kazuki raised up both of his eyebrows, joking with Ibuki to lighten the weird, strange tension between them.

He knew Ibuki disliked it a lot when he called him ‘cute’, but hey! He couldn’t help it. Ibuki was so deliciously adorable. Just like those strawberries Ibuki loved to eat.

Ibuki only felt his cheeks burn in embarrassment at Kazuki calling him outrightly cute. He wanted to punch the guy in the face because of how shy he was feeling at the moment, but all he could do was finally pull away and look directly at the floor, sucking in air to breathe. Geez, this guy really knew how to get on his nerves! He was never worked up about anything anyone ever said, except Kazuki. All of Kazuki’s opinions mattered so much to him.

To change the topic, Ibuki cleared his throat, “I’m planning on going to the company’s annual dinner party. Are you going this year?”

“Hmm? Whyyy? It’s just work.” Kazuki frowned, disliking the fact that Ibuki abruptly switched the subject.

The last thing he wanted was to spend a weekend hanging out with all of his stinky co-workers. He had enough of them during the five days he had to be at the office. Why would he want to see them after hours? Besides, weekend were the days when he got to spend time with Ibuki!

Ibuki’s heart sunk a little. He hoped Kazuki was going to ask him to go with him, and finally present him as his official partner to the world. It wasn’t like they were hiding in plain sight or anything, but he wanted to know from Kazuki what their official status or what they meant to each other. Why couldn’t he man up and ask it himself?

“Anyways, why do you want to go? Actually, don’t we already have plans?” Kazuki tried to remember to see if he could concoct a good excuse to skip out.

Ibuki interlaced his fingers and rubbed them together as he nervously spoke up, “Well.. the big wigs are going to be there… and I heard from some of my other coworkers that it is a good chance to show face if you want a promotion within the company.”

“And you want to go shoomzy up with those people?” Kazuki snorted a little, feeling a bit depressed that Ibuki had made other plans without him.

He greatly disliked people who used their looks or statues to get by in life. Most people took one glance at him and assumed he could only serve as a model or movie star. Argh, screw those people. Sure, he could be lazy, but he worked hard, too! He made sure to build up his reputation as a guy who relied on his work and skills, not on his appearance.

Of course, he didn’t think Ibuki was one of those sleazebags. The truth was he was upset because Ibuki already chose to cancel their original plans. And without his consent! The thought made him frustrated because he demanded to be kept in the loop especially if it concerned Ibuki.

“N-no!” Ibuki immediately retorted. “You know I’m not like that kind of a sleazy guy!”

If this wasn’t Kazuki saying it, he might actually feel completely offended to the T. He cherished his reputation of working hard to earn his seat. Was Kazuki catching his subliminal message?

Kazuki tapped the Pikachu-designed chopsticks against his lips, wondering what secret message Ibuki was trying to send.

He then narrowed his eyes and pointed his Pikachu chopsticks at Ibuki, “If I go, then what do I get in return?”

As if he really wanted to go, but he couldn’t stay at home resting when that stupid ogre Kouki might be there. That fucker Kouki might make a move on Ibuki and do something he didn’t want. He could not let that happen on his watch!

Ibuki blinked at Kazuki in surprise. Seriously? He didn’t get his message at all, did he?

“Do I have to spell it out for you?” Ibuki frowned at Kazuki, folding his arms across his chest in slight frustration. “We never get to go to a big party and dress up. It’d… It’d be nice to see you… I mean, see you cleaned up in a tux.”

Dang it. That wasn’t what he really meant. He just wanted Kazuki to show him off as his partner. Fuck. Was it this hard to ask? Arrrgh. Ibuki didn’t know why he struggled conveying what he meant.

Kazuki blushed a little, feeling slightly self-conscious of Ibuki’s line. He didn’t think he looked that good wearing anything stuffy or proper. To hide his embarrassment, he quickly averted his eyes and quickly smirked, “What would you be wearing that day?”

“A tux.” Ibuki flatly answered, glaring at Kazuki’s retarded question. “I’m not wearing a tutu.”

Geez, Ibuki could be such a joke killer. He didn’t even mean it that way! Why the fuck would he want to see Ibuki wearing such a wear piece of clothing?!

“Tutu?! Seriously?” Kazuki dramatically shouted, lightly pounding his fist on the table.

Ibuki made an executive decision, “We won’t watch that creepy horror movie unless you go to this dinner party with me. That’s it.”

Phew. He said it. Not exactly the way he wanted it to come out, but at least they were going. Maybe this would push Kazuki to finally do or state something official about them to the rest of the world. Ibuki could only pray this was the right method of making clear of their ambiguous relationship.

Kazuki stopped and almost spit out all the food in his mouth when he heard Ibuki use such a threatening tone!

“What?!” Kazuki cried out, but then frowned at Ibuki’s stupid demand.

No! He loved watching horror movies! How dare Ibuki do this to him?! Other than food, Kazuki loved his horror movie nights.

To pacify Kazuki’s outcry, Ibuki waved the D=OUT tickets he bought for them to see on Friday night.

“And yes, we’re still going out Friday night to see D=OUT. I haven’t forgotten.” Ibuki smirked and patted Kazuki’s head since he was acting like such a child.

“Real funny, Ibu-chan.” Kazuki grumpily said as he shoved more rice into his mouth.

Even though Ibuki usually let him make the decisions, there were times when Ibuki could be as stubborn as a bull and stomp his foot down. He learned early on that when Ibuki got passionate about something, he would do nothing to stop it. But Kazuki admired that fiery zeal Ibuki had for the things he loved to do. Not to mention he was hardworking, honest, and responsible. All the perfect qualities clumped into this quiet man who he couldn’t ever resist looking at.

If it were anyone else, Kazuki would flip the bird at them. But dammit. Ibuki had to be such a cute, sexy man.

It was Ibuki’s turn to burst out laughing, “You’re always such a child.”

But he loved that energy about Kazuki. Before they met, Ibuki had always had somewhat of a gloomy outlook on life. He actually was studying to become a physician, but he didn’t have the smarts to pass the entrance exam, so he settled for the next best strength he had, which was mathematics. He supposed being an accountant was just as good. A lot of people couldn’t count for themselves. It was a secure enough job.

“Oh! Does that mean you’re going to wear some sexy shorts?” Kazuki widely grinned at Ibuki unable to restrain himself from his perverted comments.

He never managed to persuade Ibuki to wear those shorts, but he was seriously dying to see Ibuki wear it one of these days. He could imagine it now how seductive he would look just wearing. He constantly dreamt about it, and he wanted to see it in real life, too. Oh boy, he would definitely get a nosebleed if he saw it for real!

Ibuki threw his arms up in the air, “Seriously? How many times are we going to go through this?”

He grabbed both of Kazuki’s ears and playfully pulled at them, “Are these working or do we need to get these examined?”

“Owie! Those are my ears!” Kazuki squeezed his eyes, pretending to be in pain.

Hmph. Fine. He would get Ibuki to wear those damn shorts since he had to go to this suffocating party. He would make sure to stain all of Ibuki’s clothes pink!

“Oh, and don’t forget, you’re coming over to my place tonight. You promised we were going to the park to catch that one rare pokemon on Pokemon GO. You were too lazy to go last week, remember?” Ibuki poked Kazuki’s side.

“Okay, okay. Ibu-queen.” Kazuki made a salute, slightly mocking the many commands he gave out all at once.

Ibuki jabbed a finger into Kazuki’s cheek, but smiled that he had won several battles. The party, the D=OUT concert, and now Pokemon GO. Three wins for the Ibuki team, hehe.

In return, Kazuki made sure he was going to exact his revenge. Huh! See what little Ibu was going to do about it!

*****

“Goddammit! Why are we here again? Can we go home? I’m hungry.” Kazuki complained, not caring about one freaking Pokemon this much.

He loved playing Pokemon games, but when his stomach was empty, all he cared about was eating. He loved Ibuki’s enthusiasm, but sometimes it got in the way of his stomach.

“We found it last time, but you were too impatient to stay. Just like this time!” Ibuki protested, as he had no intentions of leaving yet.

The rare pokemon kept appearing occasionally on their screen as long as they walked around… in circles, but still! It was there! Ibuki saw it. He knew it was around here somewhere. He desperately wanted to catch it to complete his collection.

Kazuki was bored out of his mind as he stared at Ibuki. He loved studying Ibuki’s figure especially those nice long legs. He could even see that white skin since Ibuki wore cutoff jeans. They had gotten off from work several hours ago and dropped their belongings off at Ibuki’s apartment before coming out here to catch Pokemon.

As Kazuki began to think about ways to kill time, he got an ingenious idea to cure his boredom. Yes! He was a genius for coming up with such a brilliant plan! He ran over and picked up Ibuki by wrapping his arms around that man’s slender waist and carried him up.

“Hey! Can you see better up here? Let me know if the reception is any better!” Kazuki even made sure to drag him along as they walked together.

“W-what the hell?” Ibuki shouted as he felt himself being carried around like a totem pole. “Put me down already! You’re not really helping at all!”

Kazuki always got like this. Silly to the core when he was bored. Ibuki couldn’t blame him. He realized he had a bad habit of being so persistent to the point that he kind of ignored Kazuki’s needs, too. But still… a mission was a mission!

“Sir, I think I know what the problem is. This area is deficient of any life! Let’s move to new area!” Kazuki threw Ibuki over his back and decided to run into another area. “Here we gooooo!”

Without being able to think, Ibuki had to react quickly because of Kazuki’s stupidity. He grabbed onto Kazuki with his legs and threw his arms around Kazuki’s neck, holding on for dear life. Fucking Kazuki! Maniac! Crazy pants!

“We’re off to the see the Pokemon! Pokemoooooon! On this grassy green road!” Kazuki crazily hollered out loud since no one else was there to witness him, looking like a complete buffoon.

“This is not Wizard of Oz!” Ibuki shouted, praying Kazuki didn’t trip over anything to send them flying into who knows what.

“We’re off – Whoaaaaaa!” Kazuki had been speeding along, but then he lost his footing because of a goddamn rock and instantly tumbled to the ground. “Fuuuuck!”

“Oh shit! Oh shit!” Ibuki shouted, seeing them fall in slow motion even though it was happening faster than lightning.

Ibuki blinked in horror, seeing himself lying flat on top of Kazuki. The soft warmth emanating from Kazuki’s body was making him feel woozy, and he panicked, not knowing what to do.

Kazuki’s head fucking throbbed in massive pain, which he would be childishly complaining. But he kind of liked the position they were in as well.

“Are you… s-c-a-r-e-d?” Kazuki decided to be a jerk as he purposely hugged Ibuki to bring him even closer.

He started it out as a joke, but he was also serious as well. Although, he was too much of a chicken to say it out loud. Ibuki might get freaked out and run away from him if he told him the truth of his feelings. He also became frightened at the thought of opening up his heart to someone because of how long he had concealed it from the whole world. At the same time, Ibuki already saw the whole of him. He would never reject him, right?

Ibuki muttered a string of curses underneath his breath as he tried to calmly deal with the extremely awkward situation, “Is… is your leg broken? Anything in your body broken?”

He tried to focus the subject matter on more practical things to calm his own embarrassment. They played around before, running after each other, horseplaying, but never anything so bodily close like this. What was he supposed to do?

At this close distant, Kazuki relished in the warmth of Ibuki’s body and the spring clean scent from his semi-long hair. He had such a strong desire to kiss him to unveil these hidden feelings of love he had for Ibuki. But he restrained himself since Ibuki might not appreciate such straightforward actions. Ibuki tended to scold him for not having more tact.

Also, he had no idea how Ibuki felt for him other than being a best buds. They had been best friends these past three years, and, in that time, he opened up about himself to Ibuki. Admitting he was a nerd who played Pokemon or listened to visual kei music was a fact he hid from the world. Only around Ibuki he had no fears of being ridiculed. He liked being carefree and dressing up fashionably, but he found himself thinking about how Ibuki would feel about what he wore or did. He began to constantly contemplate about Ibuki’s thoughts and feelings, and ended up realizing how much Ibuki’s opinions mattered so much to him.

It was at that moment Kazuki noticed how he was hopelessly in love with Ibuki, who was an understanding and honest man who looked past his fault and saw him for being himself. However, he had no idea about Ibuki’s feelings. Were they friends or something more? The question plagued his mind, but he never had the guts to ask afraid of breaking up this fuzzy relationship he had. He finally found the person of his life, but did that person view him the same way? And if he didn’t, then what would he have to look forward to in life?

Ibuki felt himself unconsciously whisper, “Do you think anyone saw how stupid we looked… just now?”

“At least we looked stupidly cool.” Kazuki smiled at Ibuki.

It was dark out at night, so he couldn’t see Ibuki’s incredibly exquisite eyes, which drew him in. But Kazuki enjoyed being in such close proximity to Ibuki who seemed to have let his guard down. Could Ibuki feel his racing heart in the dead silence of the night?

Ibuki cracked up laughing at Kazuki’s weird sense of humor. This guy could turn any situation into a humorous one.

“Kazuki…” Ibuki bit the bottom of his lip. “...What are we…?”

Ibuki’s heart pounded as he heard himself dangerously breach the ambiguous subject matter so boldly, but the dark night worked as a sort of cloak to help him speak it out.

Kazuki thought Ibuki’s question was oddly vague and weird. He had no idea how to answer him, but he knew Ibuki probably wished to hear something serious. Ooh, well. That wasn’t in his nature to be so serious. At least not on the outside.

Kazuki snorted to restrain his laughter, “We’re two fucking idiots. And I’m hungry.”

Ibuki instantly frowned at Kazuki’s nonchalant response. Did Kazuki only see him as a close friend then and nothing more? He pushed himself off of Kazuki and stood up, dusting off his clothes from the dirt and grime of falling.

“Whoa! What do you have to be so rough for? Are you preparing for something else?” Kazuki didn’t catch onto Ibuki’s ‘angry’ gesture and poked fun at him.

Kazuki also stood up, brushing off the dirt and whatever else got on his clothes. He loved seeing Ibuki’s irritated cute pout. For some reason, it never failed to make his heart flutter.

Ibuki blushed and kicked Kazuki in the shin, “You dirty pervert!”

“I’m a pervert? You’re always trying to stare at me when I get out of the shower.” Kazuki blinked his eyes in innocence despite the pain he felt in his shin.

He couldn’t give in and let Ibuki have the satisfaction of seeing howl in pain. He was the man!

“I- I do not confirm those lies!” Ibuki shouted back and said, “I’ll race you back to the house!”

He cheated and made a head start back to his place, knowing Kazuki was a faster runner than him.

“Ahhh! Waaaaiiiiit! Get back here or I’ll raid your boxer pile!” Kazuki screamed out loud as he chased after Ibuki.

“Stay out of there, you big ass perv!” Ibuki cried out, pushing himself to run faster in desperation to save some of his private belongings from Kazuki’s rifling.

*****

Kazuki had such a fun time last night and, unfortunately, he never had a chance to raid his underwear pile. Oh well. One of these days, he would storm in there and tear it apart. He quietly woke up and heard nothing moving around in the house, figuring Ibuki was probably still snoozing.

Ibuki wanted Kazuki to share his bed with him, but then again, he didn’t know exactly how to ask. It was kind of routine from day one that Kazuki slept in the guest bed in the bedroom next door.

Kazuki exited his room and noticed Ibuki’s door still shut. Despite their close friendship, Kazuki slept in the guestroom since, for the most part, he respected Ibuki’s privacy. However, it pained his heart to spend the night alone in bed, but then again, they weren’t anything more than “best friends”. Would the day ever come when he could be bold enough and admit such fragile, vulnerable words from the depths of his heart? Or would this love be forever hidden from the world?

He wiped the melancholy thoughts from his brain and headed into the kitchen. When he stepped inside, he chuckled, seeing that Ibuki hardly ever used it unless he slept over. Being the chef cook, he decided to prepare some breakfast, wondering if Ibuki even had any ingredients in his fridge.

Ibuki couldn’t sleep as well whenever Kazuki was over, and he peered out his bedroom door when he heard Kazuki moving into the kitchen. He secretly watched as Kazuki prepared food in his oversized Mickey Mouse pyjama shirt with matching black pants patterned with tiny Mickey Mouses. He smiled, remembering the first time they went to Disney World together and that was when he discovered Kazuki’s secret admiration for the character, Mickey Mouse. He never would have guessed Kazuki would have liked such a character. Ibuki ended up buying those pyjamas Kazuki was wearing because he liked how happy it made Kazuki.

Kazuki cracked the eggs in the pan and managed to find some white bread to place in the toaster. Luckily, Ibuki had enough food items for them to eat a decent breakfast. Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough to make lunch. They would need to go grocery shopping after work today.

“Ibu-chan, how are we going to eat lunch?” Kazuki loudly asked, not caring if Ibuki was awake or not.

Ibuki jumped in place, and quickly shouted back, “I’m showering. You figure it out.”

He quickly escaped into the shower, pretending he was never watching Kazuki in the first place.

Kazuki sharply turned his head around, seeing Ibuki scurry away at the last second.

“What?! Heeeey! Come back!” Kazuki shouted at him even though he was gone.

Ibuki’s heart pounded hard against his chest when he safely made it into the bathroom and locked the door behind him. Even though Kazuki always joked about catching him butt naked, he doubted Kazuki was kidding. He wasn’t ready for it to go that far. That was beyond what he was hoping for. Way beyond.

He turned on the television to have background noise, so he wouldn’t be bored. Usually, he liked it when Ibuki was watching him or in the kitchen making a mess. That way he would have someone to tease! He quietly laughed to himself as he continued cooking.

Ibuki carefully styled his hair after coming out of the shower. He made sure to put every strand in the perfect place. He was smart enough to bring his bathrobe with him, and tightly wrapped it around him to dash into his room to finish getting dressed.

Kazuki successfully whipped up the huge meal, but he saw the bathroom door still closed. Had Ibuki fallen asleep in the shower? He walked over to the bathroom door, wondering if Ibuki was done yet. Without even asking, he turned the knob and opened the door.

“Hey, Ibu-chan. Are you done yet?” Kazuki seriously inquired.

Ibuki crossed his hands over his chest, in great surprise, “H-hey! You’re supposed to knock before entering!”

Kazuki blinked his eyes and widely grinned at Ibuki with devious eyes, “Oooh, Ibu-chan. Are you wearing sexy boxers underneath?”

Ibuki’s face burned a tomato red. Every part of his body froze. No, no, no! Legs! Don’t become like cement blocks now! He needed to run and run fast before Kazuki got any crazy ideas in that perverted brain of his!

“D-don’t come any closer!” Ibuki held out his hand as a warning to Kazuki to stay back.

“Why not? You smell so fresh and clean! Just like flowers you want to hug in the sun!” Kazuki exclaimed in glee as he purposely approached Ibuki ever so slowly.

He was being a bit of an evil bastard but toying with Ibuki’s fears produced some of the best moments. That usually calm face transformed into panic and fear. Haha! He got such a kick out of it! Ahem, okay. He was being a douche. But he loved teasing him to no end.

Ibuki backed up with his back hitting against the bathroom wall. Fuck! He was cornered and boxed in. He couldn’t go anywhere and Kazuki blocked the way to his bedroom. The toilet was to his side and the bathroom sink was to the other side.

“Please… don’t... do... anything… to… me...” Ibuki started to feel so nervous that he choked on his own words.

This was no longer funny anymore. Ibuki didn’t like where this was headed.

Kazuki cornered Ibuki up against the wall and closely leaned in to carefully study Ibuki’s irresistible face. He sort of wished he could be courageous and taste those refined, tasty lips. However, he stopped himself and only allowed his breath to slice against Ibuki’s skin. In his mind, he imagined kissing him with overflowing passion, but would Ibuki be scared of his irrational actions?

Ibuki raspily breathed in and out, feeling like he was running out of air. Kazuki’s face was so close to his. Closer than he had ever imagined. Ibuki squeezed his eyes shut, not sure what to expect.

“What… are you… planning?” Ibuki whispered in great fear.

“I’m… going… to…” Kazuki slowly spoke up, but then broke out into a wide smile, “Tickle you!”

He reached over to Ibuki’s sides, which were his most sensitive places. He really desired a kiss from Ibuki, but Kazuki decided to settle on gazing at it for now. He didn’t have the nerve to place any teasing kisses yet.

“Ah! Ah! Ah!” Ibuki squirmed in place, trying to evade Kazuki’s tickles and not to laugh so hard that he could barely breathe.

No, this was not good! Ibuki was completely nude underneath his bathrobe. If Kazuki continued with this, his bathrobe might get undone and then he would be embarrassed for the rest of his life! How could he ever face Kazuki again?

Ibuki saw a slight opening to slip away, and attempted to push Kazuki to the side against the sink, but he didn’t realize the floor was still slightly wet and his foot slipped forward when he pushed, actually sending Ibuki straight into Kazuki, face first. AHHHH!

Kazuki was having too much fun tickling Ibuki and trapping him. However, Ibuki managed to push him down as he fell since he somehow slipped over air! Kazuki was about to scream out in bloody death, but at that same moment, Ibuki’s lips touched his! Shit! Shiiiiit!

Ibuki felt a strange, wet softness against his own burning lips and immediately widened his eyes at the new sensation. He didn’t hate it, but he also didn’t know what to do next. He freaked out and tried to push away, but the slippery floor wasn’t helping. He felt himself only making matters worse and continued to smoosh his own lips into Kazuki’s! What the hell was going on?

Oh, it was just as soft as he imagined it. Ah, fuck! He wasn’t supposed to be doing this! His own body flared up from the close bodily contact.

Without any warning, Kazuki heard the doorbell suddenly ring. Huh? Who the hell was at the door so early in the morning? All of it happened so quickly, he barely had time to register what happened.

Lightning jolted through Ibuki’s body sending him scrambling straight off of Kazuki and directly into his room, shutting the door behind him. He didn’t care who was at the door right now. He was still trying to process what had just happened in the bathroom. His lips were still tingling with sensation.

Kazuki saw the smoke trails Ibuki left behind when he disappeared into thin air. He rubbed his fingers against his lips, wondering how the fuck that happened. He only joked about that stuff with Ibuki since he secretly desired it for himself. But he never imagined actually getting to… kiss those precious lips. His own heart was pounding against his chest as if threatening to explode into pieces. He even held onto the sink with one hand to regain his balance.

Shit. Kazuki clenched his other fist and stared down at the floor in despair. What was wrong with him? Wasn’t that what he wanted all along? But the moment… was all wrong.

Ibuki stared at the mirror in his room and at his lips. He rubbed his fingers over them, but it didn’t feel anything like when Kazuki’s lips touched his. He felt his own lips still pulsating, and he kept blinking wondering if all of that was just a dream. Did Kazuki feel as mortified as he did? Should he ask Kazuki what just happened or should he play it off like it was a big accident?

Kazuki decided to answer the door since Ibuki locked himself in his bedroom. Fuck. This was going to be awkward. How should he even approach the subject with Ibuki?

He saw it was only the deliveryman and sighed inwardly to himself. Goddammit. This was the interruption? What the hell? So unromantic.

Once he signed off for it, he closed the door behind him, seeing that it was addressed in Ibuki’s name. He deviously wondered if it was something super private and decided to rip it open without his permission. Ibuki would probably stop him if he were out here, but he was by himself. So too bad.

Once Ibuki snapped out of his thoughts, he heard something being opened in the living room. Ibuki threw on some clothes, then tried to rush out into the living room to stop Kazuki. The moment he flung open his door, he knew what it was. The gift he ordered for Kazuki! Shit!

“No wait! Don’t-” Ibuki attempted to stop Kazuki from seeing it, but it was too late.

“What’s inside of this box?” Kazuki tore apart the brown taping and stopped when he saw it was a Mickey Mouse figure, wearing a tuxedo.

Ibuki slapped both of his hands against his face. That was supposed to be a commemoration gift of their third anniversary of knowing each other. Shit… He had the wrapping paper and greeting card to go along with it.

Kazuki’s face flushed at the sight of such a toy. Goddammit. Ever since they made a trip to Disney World, Ibuki somehow discovered he liked Mickey Mouse. One of these days, he would turn Ibuki into his Minnie Mouse!

“You… weren’t supposed to see that… yet.” Ibuki sheepishly stuck his thumbs into the pockets of his pants. “I meant to gift that to you to tribute our three-year anniversary of friendship.”

The word, friendship, made Kazuki’s heart throb in pain. He supposed he could have been satisfied with that. But he thirsted for more. Was it wrong of him?

“Why didn’t you just buy a Minnie Mouse to make it a pair?” Kazuki jokingly said without thinking.

Ibuki didn’t like the sound of that, “I like Pooh Bear, not Minnie Mouse. I’m not a pink kind of guy.”

“But whyyy? Pink suits you peeerfectly!” Kazuki grinned as he shook the toy with his hands.

“I had the wrapping paper and everything to go with it. You cheated.” Ibuki changed the subject, disliking the notion of Minnie Mouse a lot.

No way in hell was he ever going to be dressed up as a Minnie Mouse. Oh no. Not over his dead body.

“Too bad. We peas in a pod, so you’re going to be Minnie Mouse.” Kazuki stubbornly refused to accept Ibuki’s denial.

“Not even if I’m dead! I refuse!” Ibuki protested.

“What?!” Kazuki couldn’t believe it.

How could Ibuki refuse all of his requests? Goddammit! Wasn’t he the man around here?

Ibuki’s watch started making a series of beeps, “Oh shit! We have to go to work now otherwise we’re going to be late!”

“Ahhhh! Fuck! Time to eat!” Kazuki rushed over, dropping the toy on the couch, and hauled his ass over to eat the food he made.

Kazuki would have to put that Mickey Mouse on his desk or nightstand, so he could think of Ibuki whenever he worked or went to sleep. Every day and night, his mind was filled with Ibuki’s laughs and cheerful expression. He wished he could have returned that kiss, but his own heart and body was arrested in fear. Dammit. Why couldn’t he have been more audacious? Mickey Mouse kissed Minnie Mouse, so why couldn’t he do the same?

Ibuki equally scarfed it down and smiled that Kazuki still had to work a little to open up the box to find his gift. Too bad he didn’t get a chance to wrap it in a million different boxes and wrap each of those boxes with wrapping paper to make it more fun and difficult for Kazuki. More importantly, he was warmed inside seeing how happy Kazuki was when he opened the gift. Although this morning was fucking awkward, did Kazuki feel the same way he did? Scared, confused, but excited?

*****

“Heeey, Ibu-chan.” Kazuki called out his name.

The rest of week had progressed faster than usual, and it was already Friday, which meant Kazuki and Ibuki were going to the D=OUT concert tonight. After a long day of work, Kazuki drove Ibuki and him to his own apartment, so they could change out of their suffocating suits into some more normal clothes for the concert. Kazuki was eagerly looking forward to going and spending more time with Ibuki. He was still determined to have Ibuki wear those shorts somehow.

Ibuki was glad it was Friday, too. It had been a long work week for some reason, not to mention a weird and awkward one. So many awkward moments already in one week. He prayed today was just going to be one of their more normal outings.

“What are you going to wear?” Kazuki asked as he took out some orange juice from the fridge and poured some in his Mickey Mouse cup.

Ibuki unzipped his duffel bag with his change of clothes for the weekend since they agreed for him to stay with Kazuki since they were going to the party together on Saturday as well.

“I brought everything I have in here. There’s nothing different from what I normally wear.” Ibuki shrugged, not understanding Kazuki’s line of questioning.

“Whaat? You’re going to wear normal looking clothes to an awesome visual kei concert? You gotta look cool!” Kazuki excitedly stated.

There was no way Kazuki was going to be wear a regular t-shirt and jeans. He could wear that every fucking day. Why would he wear something so normal on a special day like this?

“I’m going to listen, not to be a cosplayer.” Ibuki never understood why people dressed up like they were going to be playing in the band.

“Whaaat? Ibu-chan… Let me see. Right now.” Kazuki demanded with a frown on his face. “Or else I’m going to dump everything out of it and see your boxers.”

“What the hell?!” Ibuki snatched his bag up and hugged it close to his chest. “What is up your sleeve, huh? I don’t trust you right now, especially what has happened in the past few days. You’ve been really sneaky lately!”

“Hey! You’re saying like I’m a bad guy.” Kazuki pretended to sniffle like he was feeling hurt.

“Maybe you are.” Ibuki glared with confidence, wondering if Kazuki set up all those awkward moments to happen.

It just could be truly not such coincidences.

“Come on… Gimme!” Kazuki tugged the dufflebag out of Ibuki’s arms since he was the stronger one who worked out all the time.

Ibuki tried to hold on tight, but Kazuki’s strength was impossible to overcome, “Nnnnoooo! Those are miiiineee!”

Ibuki couldn’t believe what Kazuki was doing! His worst nightmare!

“Here it is!” Kazuki unzipped his dufflebag and dumped out all the contents, which included all his clothes even his dark navy blue tuxedo.

“Oooh, Ibu-chan is going to wear something super sexy like this tomorrow night?” Kazuki pulled Ibuki’s tuxedo jacket up.

“Alright enough! You’ve seen it all already. Geez! Now give it back.” Ibuki was more than embarrassed at how Kazuki was scrutinizing and flattering him at the same time.

“Hahaha, and Pooh Bear boxers!” Kazuki pulled out of the pile.

“W-w-wait! You weren’t supposed to see those!!” Ibuki tried to snatch them back, but Kazuki kept waving them around, embarrassing him even further. “Kazuki! Kazuki! Give them back now!”

Kazuki chugged those boxers across the living room, knowing Ibuki would chase after it. Hahaha! This was fun!

“Fuck! Kazuki! Fuck!” Ibuki dashed across the living room to save what was left of his pride.

Kazuki evilly smirked and, luckily, the orange juice he had earlier was sitting out on the bar table. Exactly where he left it. He then made sure to spray it all over Ibuki’s clothes, “Ahhhhhhhhhh! Look at this disaster! Ibu-chan!”

Ibuki heard sounds of liquid and sharply turned his head around, gasping in horror at all of his clothes ruined by Kazuki’s stupid juice! What the fuck?! How was this happening? First, his favorite boxers were exposed, and now all of his fucking clothes were ruined??

“Looks like you’ll need another pair of clothing to wear.” Kazuki commented, being somewhat of a douche.

“What the fuck am I going to wear? I have to go home now!” Ibuki didn’t listen to a word Kazuki just said. “That’s it. I’m leaving right now.”

Ibuki grabbed his tuxedo and empty duffel bag, heading straight for the door.

“Ah! Wait! I know what you can wear! Let me show you!” Kazuki grabbed onto Ibuki’s arm to drag him towards the guest room closet where he secretly bought clothes for Ibuki.

Although, he never let Ibuki know that because… well, he was sure Ibuki didn’t appreciate his style of clothing for him. Too bad. He didn’t have any clothes to wear at the moment. So he was going to have to suck it up. Also, he didn’t want Ibuki thinking he was a creepy stalker who mysteriously discovered his clothing size.

“Wah!” Ibuki didn’t like it when Kazuki got such hairbrained ideas.

Ibuki had to double blink when he saw a closet full of clothing that were his size only. Not to mention, none of the clothes were anything he would ever wear. What the hell was this?

Ibuki pulled out a very fashionable chic t-shirt with all sorts of designer words scribbled all over in a manner that looked “cool”. He also saw that there were those shorts Kazuki was always fanning over like a little fanboy. Oh great. He was catching on now. Kazuki had this all planned! That little bastard!

“You can-” Kazuki was about to taunt Ibuki some more, but was menacingly cut off by Ibuki’s sharp tone.

“I’m going to kill you!” Ibuki launched out with hands ready to strike at Kazuki’s neck. “You did this to me on purpose! I’d say this is kidnapping and harassment!!!”

“Ahhhhhhhh! Heeeeelp! Don’t kill meeee!” Kazuki screeched like a girl.

“What is it with you and fucking flashy shorts?” Ibuki raged and lashed out at Kazuki with his words.

“Hey! You haven’t even tried it on. You probably look super sexy in it! You should wear these bright silver shorts! With a cool silver-studded black belt!” Kazuki had already picked out the items for Ibuki to wear.

“I don’t agree one bit with your weird fashion taste! It looks bizarre!” Ibuki adamantly refused.

He did not want to be seen with such clothes because he knew he looked special and “handsome” as they’d call it in the fashion world. But he didn’t want to be noticed for that. He wanted to be valued for his skills and his brain. That was why he strived so hard to blend in and wear very boring, simple clothes so people wouldn’t target him for his looks.

“Not even… for a kiss?” Kazuki held up the shorts and raised both eyebrows.

“I feel you don’t get me.” Ibuki was still pissed off.

“Hmm? What are you talking about?” Kazuki was puzzled by Ibuki’s weird words.

“I don’t dress up for a reason, Kazuki.” Ibuki sternly glared at him. “Maybe you can flaunt your handsome style without worrying that people will only treat you superficially. I truly admire that about you, but I’m not that strong! I can’t. I know I look… pretty. But I don’t want to be treated differently just because of that. I have more than just my face. I have my brain!”

Ibuki almost felt himself on the verge of tears because he had to fight this “image” all his life. His own parents didn’t understand why he struggled so hard to study that much when he could just be a model and make millions. Ibuki didn’t like the way he looked. He wanted to be just like any other person and live a normal life. Was that too much to ask? Only with Kazuki he felt that he wasn’t being judged just for his pretty face, but something more.

Kazuki stopped as he stared at Ibuki strung with high emotion. He grimaced at Ibuki’s words, feeling somewhat shocked that Ibuki felt that way about himself. He had an inkling that Ibuki disliked the way he looked because then he might be treated badly by others. But he never thought those emotions would eat him to the core.

“You do like me for me, don’t you?” Ibuki looked at Kazuki, fearing what he might hear.

“You little dork, Ibu-chan…” Kazuki chuckled as he felt his body tremble, feeling odd.

How did they get to such a serious moment in a split second? Goddamn Ibuki for forcing this weird situation on them.

“I… I always admired your strengths and weakness. Because it gave me something to look up to.” Kazuki stared straight into Ibuki’s eyes as he heard his own voice waver a bit. Shit, he hated these sappy moments. He was never good at conveying his true meaning when the moment counted. No, he had to do this. He couldn’t turn away when Ibuki was suffering the same problem as him.

“And it’s not just you. People always judge me for what I look like because, well you know… I look “handsome” as you say. But I don’t know, I mean, I try not to let it get to me and I shrug it off. Sometimes it still gets to me, but that’s the reason I tend to laugh and joke around. People don’t see the suffering I’m going through, but I can feel it, too. You’re not alone.”

Kazuki swallowed hard wondering how he could pour out his fucking entire life in front of him.

“But you were different. You saw me for me. Not because of what I looked like, but of who I am. Because of you, I could genuinely smile every single day.” Kazuki tenderly placed his hand on Ibuki’s beating chest.

Ibuki didn’t know what had overcome him. He didn’t mean to let his emotions spin out of control, and put him on the verge of fucking tears. It was a button that was boiling inside of him since who knows when, and for a moment, he thought Kazuki was another one of those people.

He didn’t know Kazuki had felt so strongly about him in the same way he felt about Kazuki. He almost wanted to fucking cry harder. Fuck! Just now, it dawned on him that Kouki’s mannerisms did bother him. So much to the point that he doubted Kazuki’s love for him. He really let Kouki get into his head.

Ibuki let his emotions wash out over him, and he calmed down, then bravely walked towards Kazuki, closing the gap between them. He felt more confident pushing the limit with Kazuki after hearing Kazuki’s partial confession.

“Do you… Kazuki… Do you see me more than a friend? If I’m not just a friend, what am I to you?” Ibuki looked up at Kazuki, squeezing Kazuki’s hands to steady himself.

Kazuki felt the words lodged in his throat, unable to say what he truly wanted to. Instead, he reached out to hug Ibuki and whispered in his ear, almost to a hush, afraid that saying it any louder would ruin the moment, “Can’t you tell?”

Even though he usually had no problems vocalizing his thoughts, he could not even spit out the simple phrase, ‘I love you’, to the person who mattered the most to him. To him, it sounded so damn cheesy and foolish. Every person in the whole world said those lines. What could he do to not sound that cliche?

His heart pounded wildly, almost about to burst, but he didn’t want to hold back any longer. Everything he felt, desired, and dreamt of, he wanted Ibuki to feel as well. Couldn’t little Ibu-chan tell? He longed to share everything with him - all his happiness, pains, and experiences. It was why he spent every waking moment with the man he pictured to be his forever. Even when he looked away for a moment, he already missed Ibuki.

Ibuki couldn’t hold back the tears from rolling down his face, “Fuck. I’m a blubbering mess. What the fuck…”

So it wasn’t his imagination. Kazuki did feel the same way he did. His heart was soaring and leaping with joy, even though he was crying like a fucking baby. This was what he meant. Relationships. They didn’t make any sense. The words that should be so easy to say, so easy to calculate, were so hard to spit out, even though now they both were on the same page. Perhaps some things were simply felt between both parties, not only said out loud.

“Silly, Ibu-chan. You don’t have to cry.” Kazuki took out a nice purple handkerchief, which he always kept in his back pocket, and gently wiped those glistening tears.

Without hesitation, Kazuki felt a magnetic pull towards Ibuki and gently brushed those lips with his own, placing a soft kiss. Could he really have this moment? Could he really do this? He had never gotten this close to anyone and yet he was fully exposing his fragile soul to Ibuki. It frightened him a little, but he knew he could place his trust in this shy man. Ibuki never said much, but he didn’t need to because he understand exactly what he meant.

This time, Ibuki did not resist or push back. He let Kazuki guide him in the right direction. He fully embraced Kazuki, soaking in his warmth, letting it blanket him. He trusted Kazuki, and was willing to give his all towards this budding relationship. He didn’t know what really to expect or what was next in this journey, but he didn’t feel afraid with Kazuki by his side.

Kazuki slowly released his lips and whispered to Ibuki, “Can I trust my heart to you forever?”

Ibuki softly chuckled, “Are you seriously questioning me that now?”

“W-what? I-I-I’m being serious!” Kazuki, for once, was slightly annoyed at Ibuki’s jest.

It was rare for him to unmask himself because he didn’t want anyone to see the real him. After all, he was afraid of being tossed aside after they were done with him.

Ibuki couldn’t help laughing at seeing Kazuki irritated for the first time ever, “So that’s what you look like when you’re actually mad!”

Ibuki slipped out his cell phone and snapped a picture, “Got it. Forever!”

“Heey! I- I‘m honest with you, and you’re laughing. Huh!” Kazuki narrowed his eyes at him.

“As long as you take care of my heart, I will forever treasure yours.” Ibuki smiled back with a smirk. “Duh. Dummy.”

Kazuki smiled right back at Ibuki, feeling confident that he could finally be free with his emotions. He no longer had to hide his feelings or painfully wonder if Ibuki was scared of the crazy things he wanted. For some reason, it was as if a heavy burden had been lifted from his chest and the unknown chains binding him to his fears were ripped asunder. From this moment forward and forever, he would do everything for the one and only person he loved and cherished.

“Let’s actually skip that party, and go to the beach as we originally planned.” Ibuki suggested to Kazuki, now that he didn’t need that party to confirm what he already knew now.

“Ha, and you definitely have to wear those shorts.” Kazuki grinned right back at Ibuki.

The future was definitely much brighter than when the day began.