"Shoooooma," Itsuki says, poking his brother's flank.
Shoma lies on his futon, despairing. This is usually Yuzu's job: despairing. But they are at an impasse. It is impossible.
"What's wrong?" Itsuki, Emperor of Annoying, asks.
He's sitting next to Shoma on his futon now.
Shoma sighs. He may as well confide in Itsuki. Not that it will do anything.
"You know how Yuzu and Javi have been in a relationship?"
"No duh," Itsuki replies.
"Such profundity," Shoma deadpans.
"So what about Yuzu and Javi?"
"Well . . . Yuzu and I are . . . drawn to each other too."
Shoma sits up and nods.
"Does Javi know?"
"Yes!" Shoma says, vaguely offended Itsuki would imply he and Yuzu were cheaters.
"Wow, that's kind of a messy situation," Itsuki replies.
"How long have you two felt this way?"
"Nearly a year."
"Will he leave Javi for you?"
Shoma scrubs the tears from his eyes.
"We'll never know. Javi has said he won't accept it and Yuzu says he can't live without Javi."
Itsuki puts his chin on Shoma's shoulder.
Out of the corner of his eye, Shoma can see him making a face: a very distinct face. The same one he makes when he is solving a difficult problem.
"What?" Shoma asks.
"I don't really see why you, Yuzu, and Javi, can't go on. It's not like it would be revolutionary."
"Are you saying we should have a threesome?"
Shoma isn't precisely scandalized or put off the notion. Javi and Yuzu are both, in their own ways, attractive.
"Ew, no. I'm saying that Javi and Yuzu can date each other, as they have, and you and Yuzu can date each other. What do they call it in like the U.S. or something? Polyamory?"
Shoma is silent.
"What?" Itsuki says.
"How do you come up with this stuff?"
"Hey, you were acting all sad. I just thought . . . why can't you go on as three?"
"That's not weird?"
Itsuki looks at Shoma.
"Is it any different than open marriages you know about?"
"No," Shoma says. "What should I do?"
"Well, you should tell them, duh."
"I have a gift."
When Itsuki has gone to study, Shoma deliberates Skyping Javi and Yuzu. But it doesn't feel intimate enough, real enough, to make this proposition. So he starts looking up airfare and texting Yuzu.
Hey, can I come and visit you and Javi?