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And That's Why I Smile

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Yusaku blinks when he opens one of the moving boxes. He pulls out the contents, an old worn out book with a year on it. He opens it, flipping to a random page.

Deer Diary

I made a new friend today! His name’s Ryoken and he’s realy prety. He’s got Stardust hair and eyes like the prety necklace Mama used to wear on speshell occashons. He likes Duel Monsters too and has a very prety laugh! I’m glad I met him!

Yusaku smiles a little as memories flood his head. He’d been just 6 and his therapist had suggested writing about his days would make him feel better after he lost his parents. He remembers writing in his diary everyday as he searched for the good in the world, a small part of him hoping his parents could see it somehow.

Yusaku flips to another random page.

Deer Diary

Ryoken and I played with a cat today! It was realy, realy prety with yelo Is and blac fur. The owner had kitens she wanted to guve away and we both got 1. I named my kity Ai and Ryoken named his Patches! They like each other a lot, too, like us!

Yusaku laughs a little, remembering his silly cat who he tried to paint purple for Halloween and who was always climbing on his arm. Ai has been fond of his Duel Monster cards too, so Yusaku tried to teach him how to play. Ai hadn’t been any good though because he was a cat.

He looks inside the box and sees more books with years on them. He opened one from when he was 8 and turned to a random page.

Dear Diary

Ryoken and I got into a fight. He says he cant be prety becuz he’s a boy, which is silly. So we borrowed one of Miyu’s dreses to prove Ryoken is prety and he really is! He’s the pretyest boy ever! Miyu agrees with me!

Yusaku shakes his head, fondness curling on his lips. Miyu has been a close friend when he was an orphan, a girl with a kinda scary Mom that loved her. He’s glad he still remembers her from back then.

Yusaku goes for his diary when he was 11.

Dear Diary,

Ryoken’s scared he’ll be all alone when he grows up, now that his Daddy’s gone. So I made him a promise that if he didn’t fall in love when he was 30, I’d marry him, so he’d never be alone. That’s what best friends do for each other, right? And Ryoken has been my best friend since forever.

Yusaku blushes and groans as he remembers his poor attempt to help Ryoken handle the grief he’d grown up with. It had worked a little if Ryoken’s small smile has been anything to go by, but still.

He grabs one when he was 15.

I still don’t see why Ryoken is with him of all people?! If he wanted to experiment or whatever, he could’ve asked me, I mean I promised to marry him if we’re alone when we’re 30! I swear Ryoken is gonna drive me crazy. Not if stupid Spectre doesn’t first. What kind of a name is that, anyway?! Spectre!

Yusaku blushes as he remembers that awkward stage. Goodness, he’d been an oblivious kid.

He turns to a book about the year he turned 17.

I’m in love with Ryoken. I can’t remember when I fell in love either. He’s always been important to me, but have I always felt this way and just never noticed? Or was it because I suddenly realized how hot he was? But I have never thought that about anyone, not one person has ever registered as hot to me. Why? Am I just lusting for him then? But he means so much to me, I… I don’t know what to do.

Yusaku turns the page.

I’m an idiot. I just blurted it out in front of our stupid, spying friends and ran away. But he just looked so shocked, there’s no way Ryoken feels the same way I do. I’ll be lucky if he wants to be friends after this.

Another page turn.

Ryoken’s gone. He went off fishing with Aso because I scared him. How am I going to live after this? He was such a huge part of my life, my chest hurts so much just thinking about losing him. But now it’s happened.

Yusaku skips three pages. He smiles as he reads it in full, rather than a special paragraph from each diary entry.

My heart still aches. Everything reminds me of Ryoken. Even my stupid porridge reminded me of him because I put blueberries in it.

Class was a drag, as usual, but it was somehow worse because Takeru kept giving me these stupid sad looks while Spectre was laughing in the back of the class like an idiot. The only one who isn’t being weird is Aoi, thank God, she’s a saint.  Jin and Miyu are dragging me out for drinks, even though I’m underage, don’t have a license and hate bars. They just wanna watch me suffer like Spectre.

Oh wait no, I was wrong. I was so, so wrong because Ryoken was on stage and staring straight at me. Was I scared? Yes. Did I need to be? Turns out, no because Jin and Miyu actually do care about me.

Because Ryoken told the crowd, “This is a song dedicated to a love story 11 years in the making.”

And then he sang about us. He never took his eyes off me as he strummed his guitar. I’ve always loved the passion in Ryoken’s face when he’s singing his heart out and how he’s feeling just pours into his music, connecting to everyone in hearing range. I cried but don’t tell anyone else that.

Kissing him after that felt like nothing I’d ever done before. It was like coming home and being on an adventure at the same time. Like this was what I was meant to be doing. I wish I had more room to write because that kiss could have a book dedicated to it. But what happened after matters too.

Because afterwards, Ryoken took me home and we talked about our feelings and lives all night, until he fell asleep on me. Head on my shoulders while we watched a movie. My heart was beating so fast and he looked so beautiful. I don’t think I have ever been luckier.

“Yusaku?”

Yusaku lifts his head with a smile, face warming as he looks at, “Ryoken.”

Ryoken walks over to the box, “Do you need help?”

Yusaku shakes his head, looking at the box of diaries, “No.” He then passes the one he was reading, still open on that page, “I just found a link to our past.”

Ryoken reads the page, eyes following each and every word. He blushes a little and Yusaku admires the band on his finger, glinting in the sunset’s light. Ryoken closes the diary, then smiles at Yusaku, “I remember thinking you were way out of my league and that was too cheesy to work on you. I’m glad I was wrong.”

Yusaku laughs and leans over to kiss his husband, a quick peck before he stands up, “Come on, I don’t wanna be late for Miyu and Aoi’s party.”

Ryoken chuckles and stands up.

Ryoken still has stardust hair, a scratch on his hand from annoying Patches, looks pretty in anything, is his best friend, drives him crazy sometimes and is still very hot. But more than anything, Ryoken has always meant everything to him and will always mean everything to him. So looking back, is it really that shocking he fell in love?

No, it isn’t. Because Ryoken looks at him the same way Yusaku looks at him.