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Madrid

July 2028

 

"I've found someone," Javi announces.

Shoma acts like he hasn't said anything and inhales some of the tuna nigiri, but Yuzu feels his heart crack.

"So soon after we married?" Yuzu asks.

"She's a nurse," Javi ignores him.

But Yuzu can tell Javi is nervous by the way he rubs his chopsticks together. 

"Have you been with her?" Yuzu snaps in Japanese. 

"No, I have not been with her. We're just good friends. But we would like to be more. I want you to meet her."

Yuzu throws his chopsticks on the table. 

"No."

"Yuzu!" Shoma says.

"I don't want to meet her," Yuzu says with finality. 

Javi looks sad, but he nods. 

That night he sleeps on the couch, and Yuzu and Shoma in their bed. Yuzu knows Javi is trying not to upset him, but that in itself is upsetting. He can't sleep and flings his body thither hither, often colliding with Shoma, who grunts protest. Shoma finally grabs Yuzu and pins him, for though Yuzu is bigger, Shoma is stronger. Their heartbeats flare angrily but eventually calm.

"Why don't you want to meet her?" Shoma asks. 

Yuzu can't answer at first, but finally he says: "It will ruin what we have."

Shoma starts making hiccuping noises that Yuzu eventually recognizes as laughter. 

"You think that another person can ruin what we have? You idiot," Shoma unpins Yuzu and sits up. 

"She could. She could take Javi away from us," Yuzu persists, though he increasingly knows how foolish he sounds. 

Shoma laughs some more. Then he rolls Yuzu onto his back and bends down to kiss him. The kiss is sweet, tender.

"Javi loves us. We all love each other. One more person's love can't take that away," Shoma snuggles against Yuzu. 

He's asleep before Yuzu can reply. 

In a week, she arrives. Yuzu still feels worms of reluctance writhing in his gut as Javi welcomes her -- a slight brunette wearing a Real Madrid jersey like the rest of them. 

"I didn't know what you like, except Javi, so I brought beer," she says. 

"I can't drink alcohol," Yuzu declares loudly.

She looks -- unbothered. Yuzu mutters acidly under his breath, and Shoma very uncharitably pinches him in the ass. 

They arrange their snacks and drinks in front of the T.V., Yuzu glowering at her the entire time. Particularly when Javi looks at her with soft, fond eyes, clearly infatuated. 

The T.V. is on, pregame drivel, when she turns to Yuzu. 

"You want to hear about the guy who came into the emergency room with the vibrator up his ass?"

Yuzu opens and closes his mouth. Shoma nods vigorously.

"I mean, this guy shows up and he says he has a vibrator up his ass. It happens, so whatever. But the thing is, when we wheeled him in, we could hear it humming. Bwrrrrrrrrrrrr. "

Javi and Shoma are laughing and Yuzu feels a few chuckles. But he is more interested in other topics. 

"What's the grossest thing you've had to do?" he asks, actually curious. 

And so the conversation goes from there, with Marina describing certain procedures or gore in great detail, until only Yuzu and her are invested. 

"Can we -- not?" Javi asks at one point. 

"Yeah, this is gross even for me," Shoma says. 

"The game is about to start anyway," Javi adds. 

Yuzu and Marina shrug to each other as if to say: lightweights. The game comes on and Marina laces her fingers between Javi's.

Shoma is wrong; she can change us, Yuzu thinks. But change isn't necessarily bad.