“Why won’t you just be fucking honest with your feelings?!”
Saburo lowers his eyes to where Jiro is gripping his wrist so tightly it hurts, and he belatedly realizes he’s been biting the inside of his cheek this entire time because he starts to taste iron in his mouth. The latter, he can easily hide, because thankfully oral checkups aren’t part of the hypnosis mic-wielder routine, but the former, if Jiro doesn’t let go at this rate…
Even if Saburo can excuse that it’s just another stupid fight gone too far when Ichiro comes home and notices, he’ll still have to explain what this fight was about to begin with, and why it warranted a bruise, why it’s warranting Jiro looking at him with dead-serious eyes and refusing to let him go without an answer.
Saburo knows he isn’t strong enough to break away, not when Jiro’s like this. So to satisfy whatever reason Jiro has for desperately wanting some response, and to save himself the trouble of justifying an injury, Saburo answers simply: “Because I don’t wanna lose to you.”
The fingers around his wrist loosen and Saburo gets ready to turn around—an answer is an answer even if neither of them can tell if it’s true or honest or good enough— but then those fingers catch in the collar of his shirt instead and yank.
“This ain’t a game, Saburo—” Jiro spits, “we’re brothers!”
Ah, Saburo realizes, Jiro wasn’t satisfied with his answer at all after all. He can feel Jiro trembling through the stretch of the cloth, can hear Jiro’s voice shaking,
“The world isn’t your enemy.” Jiro pauses, letting go. “And even if it is, I’m not. I’m on your side, Saburo, both me and Niichan are…!”
Saburo knows he isn’t strong enough to step away, not when Jiro’s voice cracked. But he isn’t strong enough to listen either, take these words in and just stop being cynical lickety-split, “That’s not how it works—”
“—Then how does it work?!” Jiro interjects, clueless, appalled, “This is the problem with you and I don’t get it…!”
Ah. At that, wryly and in spite of the ache of his wrist where Jiro held him and his heart where it feels hollow, Saburo smiles. “Well, I don’t expect an idiot like you to get it.” Saburo doesn’t expect anyone to.