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Betrayal Always Begins With Trust

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Yoichi Shigaraki stood awkwardly in an elevator with his hands in his pockets. The 15-year-old had his hair pulled back into a half-up, half-down style keeping his bangs out of his face. His favorite dark green jacket kept him warm from the chilly air in the building. Slung across his shoulder, his trusty leather bag hung as a comforting presence. The phone in the back pocket of his grey-tinged jeans vibrated in silence. They were starting to rip around his shins. Hisashi kept insisting on throwing them away, but they were his favorite! They fit just right. 

 

The eccentrically decorated elevator, come on Hisashi , kept displacing higher and higher numbers as he approached his brother’s office. He had narrowly escaped his tutor on a lower level of the building, coming up to bother his brother into doing something interesting. All they had done for months now was home, work, school, doctor, and home again. Yoichi would say that he was glad to be out of the hospital for this long if he didn’t know that he needed to be in one again. 

 

He coughed a little, trying to keep it down as much as possible. The stupid phlegm in his chest was giving him issues again. He reached into his pocket and brought out a red handkerchief that he had stolen from one of the ridiculous suits Hisashi had bought for him. I mean really, red Hisashi? Red was not his color at all .  

 

Leaning into the bar he hunched over as phlegm came up tinted a dark red. This isn’t good. He tried to keep a smile on his face best he could, but his brother had always known when he wasn’t doing well. Brotherly Instinct , he called it. Yeah right. It was probably one of his quirks. 

 

Moving his bloody overpriced rag away, Yoichi pulled out his inhaler from his bag and lifted it to his face. The blue menace left a scar on his pride, but it never failed to help. Storing his biohazard into some crevice in his bag, he quickly shoved the inhaler away as well. He had about 10 seconds before he was at the 108th floor, big brother Hisashi’s office. Standing back up to a somewhat respectable posture, he slapped a small smile on his face. 

 

Time to be a menace to society. 

 

The elevator slowed and stopped. The doors opened to reveal the huge office on one of the highest floors. The room had way too much space just to be an office, but Hisashi used it anyway. The walls were, of course, mainly glass glimmering above the Tokyo skyline. Yoichi adored the view up here and so did his brother. He had spent countless nights with his brother working late. He sat watching the city work like a well-oiled machine. Hisashi had put in a lot of work to get the city functioning again after the civil wars had broken out. But here Japan was, still in one piece, trying its best to beat the odds once again. 

 

Hisashi, all the way in the back of the room, was sitting at his desk, glanced up at Yoichi and immediately rolled his eyes. About 10 feet away from his desk were two large burgundy couches with a glass table between them. The led lights in the lifted ceiling shined and reflected white light off the glass. Magazines, files, and a fruit bowl sat on the table along with an abandoned to-go coffee cup.

 

Yoichi had caught Hisashi in the middle of a phone call. His brother’s baritone voice echoed slightly in the room as Yoichi walked in with a bounce in his step. His hands fidgeted behind his back as he stalked towards the older man.

 

“...So as I’ve said multiple times already, this failure is due to your ignorance of safety protocols?”

 

Hisashi continued his conversation but shot Yoichi an ‘ Oh? You’re here to bother me? ’ look as Yoichi grinned back at him. Hisashi could call him a brat all he wanted to, but he knew his brother always brought a smile to his face. Hiashi seemed like a big ole’ raging asshole , which, well, he is , but he’s also the most loving person Yoichi knows. 

 

“If you can understand the absolute mess you’ve made for me, you should also understand that if I have to deal with a mess, you never will again . I suggest packing your desk up and being out by the end of the day.”

 

Stalking towards the desks, Yoichi took his bag off and set it in front of the desk. Leaning over the wooden surface on one of his hands, he lifted a finger to flick his brother on the forehead. Hiashi, who was leaning back in his chair, swatted his hand away easily. 

 

“Good luck finding another job with ‘ Ignorance of safety protocols,”

 

Yoichi aimed another flick, with the same result. 

 

“negligence of duties,”

 

He moved over to his ear; a miss. 

 

“terrible attitude towards co-workers and employees ,”

 

Hisashi very gently pushed his arm back. Yoichi just came right back laid over Hisashi’s desk to lean on his brother. He could feel his brother barely hold back a laugh, a smirk surely on his lips. 

 

 “and money laundering on your record. Have a nice day.”

 

Yoichi smiled as he hung up on the call, tossing the sleek black phone onto his desk without care. It landed in front of his computer which had some kind of word document up. Yoichi moved to where his head was hanging off of the desk and off of his brother so he could look up at him. With a raised eyebrow, Hisashi looked down at him. 

 

“Hello, little brother. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

 

“Being a menace to society” Yoichi responded with a shit-eating grin. Hisashi let out a long sigh. 

 

“Ah, of course. Your favorite pastime.”

 

“Yep!”

 

Yoichi lifted his hand and gently ‘booped’, as he would say, Hisashi on the nose. He smiled at him and Yoichi felt accomplished. Moving his right hand from under Yoichi, his brother returned the gesture with an air-light tap on his face. 

 

Yoichi started to sit back up and immediately regretted it. The muscles in his back tensed tightly, a cramp building up. From laying down, something started to tickle his throat with the faint taste of copper. He swiftly swallowed the taste. Not now. 

 

He then brought his hands to the end of the desk to help push and pull himself up. Hisashi’s hands came up quickly on his back to help him up. God, I hope he doesn’t take this as a reason to bitch at me about my health. To avoid his fate, once he was up he used the momentum to hop off the desk and turn to face the taller man. 

 

“So!”

 

“So?”

 

Whatcha doooiinnggg?

 

“I was working, now I’m watching you now.” 

 

“Well, that sounds like so much fun.” Yoichi rolled his eyes. “Your subordinates still being, and I quote, ‘ useless bags of decayed brain matter that ended up on your doorstep from a Mcdonald’s’ ?”

 

“First off, don’t repeat me. Do as I say, not as I do.” Hisashi glared across the desk at his brother with a slight smirk. “And in so many words, yes , they are. I didn’t think anyone could be that useless, but we learn new things every day. Speaking of that,” -O h shit- “How were your lessons?”

 

Yoichi froze up. A nervous hand coming to his neck, he looked off into the Tokyo skyline. His lessons, of course. Hisashi was always on his ass about them. Japanese, Art, Science, and History were all interesting and he genuinely liked learning about them! He just had more of a, ah, struggle with math. The numbers sometimes switched meaning on him, fours and nines, fives and threes, ones and sevens. 

 

“They’re, you know, fine. We moved on to the Chinese revolutions in history. My essay on classical literature is still in review. Naosuke-sensei said that my biology quizzes looked great! All of them were 91s, 93s, and 97s! How about you? What was that phone call?”

 

He was hoping if he talked enough about his other classes being good he wouldn’t bother with math. Throwing in that last line as a distraction couldn’t hurt either. Hisashi couldn't help but make fun of him for his lack of skill in mathematics. He couldn’t understand how he was struggling so much, but at this point, Yoichi had been theorizing that he was seeing this differently from everyone else because there was no way this made sense. Little did he know, his teacher had also theorized this. 

 

Today Shiota-sensei had talked with him about maybe having a learning disability. Something called ‘dyscalculia ’. At first, Yoichi didn’t want to believe any of it. He wasn’t stupid! He could do the work, he just needed a little more time than other people! He struggled, yeah, but that didn’t mean he was broken! This train of thought made his teacher go into a rant on how he wasn’t stupid or broken. Being diagnosed with a learning disability is only a step to overcoming his issues. This is only to help give a name to his struggle, not meant to demean him. Yoichi was just sick of being diagnosed at all. A freaky version of cystic fibrosis, albinism, anxiety, depression, dyscalculia, what was next, a freaking quirk ?

 

“And math? Shiota-san said he talked with you about your...struggle with mathematics. How are you feeling about that?”

 

He kept his eyes on the floor. His hands came together in front of him twisting in the same knots as his gut. There weren’t any words coming to mind. He just didn’t know what to say. Yeah, maybe it was a thing that he had. Did that make him different? He didn’t want one more thing to add to his list of medical issues.  

 

I don’t want to be even more of a nuisance. 

Someone’s weak little brother. 

 

Twisting his very interesting converse into the floor, tears started to well up in his eyes. He was embarrassed, ashamed. He logically knew that it was okay and he had no reason to feel like this, but he couldn’t help how he reacted or felt about things. This was just another failure on his part. 

 

Suddenly, a pair of dress shoes and slacks came into view. Hisashi stood in front of him, the tall bastard. Yoichi only came up to his shoulders on a good day. The shadow looming over him didn’t feel threatening at all, but Hisashi was expecting an answer. His hand came on Yoichi’s shoulder. The weight of his answer now physically represented, Yoichi couldn’t bear to even look his brother in the eye. 

 

“Little brother,”

 

Yoichi wanted to huff at the title but he wouldn’t risk it becoming a cough. He had come up to get away from the boredom, but it brought consequences. He loved Hisashi so much. He was always very loving, but very controlling. He had to have a reason for everything, no secret without his permission, no stone left unmonitored. 

 

Yoichi wasn’t dumb by a long shot. Their childhood together was rough. After they left their parent’s house they were homeless for a time. This was shortly after Yoichi had left the hospital. The bills and the stress of having a sick child becoming too much on their parents to see worth in keeping them. Yoichi was around nine years old when they left. 

 

They were on the streets until he was 13. 

 

Four years of being on the street taught anyone things, no matter what Hisashi tried to hide. Yoichi knew when he was being followed. He knew when people were watching him. After being hooked up to so many machines in the hospitals and under constant watch, Yoichi knew when he was alone. 

 

He hadn’t been alone in a long time now. 

 

Hisashi moved his hand in the silence of Yoichi’s internal monologue to his hair. He quickly snatched the hairband out of the back of his head, leaving his hair to fall directly in his face. This actually got him to laugh in a quick breath, but not without a small cough. Bringing his hand up to his mouth as to be polite, he finally looked up at his brother. 

 

Unruly white hair just like his own and wine-red eyes met him back with a smile. Freckles had always dotted his brother’s cheeks while his own skin had always been pale.

 

“It’s fine. You don’t have to talk about it now, but we will talk about it.” 

 

Yoichi sighed, or rather tried to. The air didn’t quite end up in his lungs, leading to a particularly bad cough. A rasping noise came from his chest, rattling his chest. Hisashi’s hand moved to his back, but his breath kept coming up short. 

 

“Hey,” Hisashi said in a soft tone. He bent down some to keep a steady hand on the boy’s back while he struggled for air. “I didn’t mean to stress you out. Take a minute.”

 

“Can you-” Yoichi gasped in a breath, “g-grab my bag? My-” another rattling erupted from his chest and his brother was already stepping back to grab the bag. 

 

Hisashi called upon some kind of telekinetic quirk, calling the bag to zip right into his hand. Without much care, he flung the leather bag open and began searching for his inhaler. Yoichi didn’t worry much; his brother went through his shit all the time much to his spite. It’s not like he had anything to hi- the handkerchief

 

Panic seized him into freezing for a second, eyes wide. Gripping at his jacket, he prayed to god that he wouldn’t find it. Where did he even shove it? It should be somewhere near the bottom of the bag. Hisashi kept searching past the books, pencil bags, medicine bottles, and various papers as Yoichi continued to choke on his own breath. Blood was welling up in his lungs and he would have to cough it up soon. He could also awkwardly swallow it back down but the chances of that happening were decreasing by the second. There’s too much

 

“God, your bag’s a mess. Seriously, do you ever clean-”

 

Hisashi broke off his sentence and a chill went over Yoichi’s body. Had he found it? He watched as his brother froze for just the slightest moment. If he had been anyone else, they wouldn’t have noticed the stiffening of his shoulders. Shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT!

 

Hisashi dropped his bag onto the floor with his blue inhaler in hand. The stabbing pains had kicked in at this point, needle-sharp pin pricks dotting his chest. Still heaving from his chest, Yoichi was hunched over as his brother knelt down to him. Tall bastard. 19-year-olds shouldn’t be that tall. 

 

Hisashi brought it up to his mouth just a moment too late. 

 

Yoichi choked on the blood in his throat, spewing flecks of blood onto Hisashi’s pristine white sleeve. Yoichi’s nails dug into one palm as he finally, finally got the inhaler into his mouth. He didn’t even look for his brother’s reaction as he closed his eyes to focus on breathing. The relief of the first press was sweet. As was the second and the third. By his fourth breath of actual air, he dared to open his eyes. 

 

His brother was still in front of him, glaring red eyes at him. His stony face was an indicator of how utterly pissed off he was. The end of his sleeve was spotted with blood. His blood . As were his hands. The deep indent in the middle of his hand pooled blood like a bath. Yoichi brought his other hand up to wipe the blood from his face when Hisashi held up a stained handkerchief in his other hand. The red one from his bag. 

 

“You need this?”

 

Green eyes flitted from red to red, eyes to the handkerchief. Hesitantly and with gentle movement, as to not make the situation any worse, he took the stained rag. Hisashi was quiet as Yoichi cleaned himself up. It was suffocating in a way his chest could never live up to. No amount of pressure, lack of air, or chokehold could compare to the silence around them. 

 

Neither of them moved a minute or two. Standing in silence as Yoichi avoided eye contact. He noticed a few drops of blood, well more than a few , had fallen down the front of his jacket. He could feel his brother’s gaze on him and his chest; analyzing for any and all weaknesses. 

 

Awkwardly, he shifted his feet. His hands were fiddling with the inhaler at his sides. What an image he must be: his hair down in a mess, his favorite green jacket now stained with his blood, chest heaving. 

 

Somebody’s weak little brother

 

“Hisashi, I-” Yoichi tried to stutter something out, some kind of explanation but no amount of talking could cover his ass now. Hisashi cut him off sharply. A knife in bread, an axe swinging into the bark of a tree, a head and a guillotine .  

 

“Take your jacket and your shirt off.”

 

“I-” Yoichi paused and looked up at his brother’s woefully cold eyes, “Um, w-what?”

 

Hisashi stood up to his full height, towering over Yoichi. Standing in his shadow, Yoichi looked no more than a pebble in his path. His brother was only 4 years, 5 years depending on the time of year, older than him. Sometimes though, sometimes, he is an overbearing parent instead of his brother. Yoichi knew damn well what they said about poking bears. 

 

“You heard me. Take it off.” Hisashi demanded while walking back to his desk. Yoichi stood frozen in anxiety as he opened a drawer to rustle through it. “I’m not going to yell at you until I know you’re not going to stupidly die on me. Sit on the couch.” 

 

Glancing towards the window, he stepped back towards the couches and took a seat. The sky had turned overcast sometime in the past 20 minutes. He slowly took his jacket off, the muscles in his shoulders making themselves painfully known. Keeping his head down, his hair fell in front of his eyes. His sweater underneath had thankfully been spared from his, uh, accident. 

 

Grabbing the edges of it, pulling it over his head proved to be insanely painful. He bit his lip as he raised his arms above his shoulders. He couldn’t stop a pained grunt as it slipped off and brought it back to his lap. His skin had goosebumps all over. The cold air in the office penetrated his frail bones, a slight tremor to his figure. Whether that was the air or actually his brother’s presence was yet to be understood. 

 

Hisashi appeared in front of him with a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, and a stupid peak flow meter. Yoichi stared at his chest. Prominent scars stretch over his chest and stomach. Previous surgeries and whatnot. The largest was a scar right over the length of his sternum. He had gotten that when he was around 7, maybe 8 years old? Another traced diagonally from his inner ribcage up and out towards his side. Small incision marks were littered about. He’d never, ever say it aloud, but Yoichi hated these scars. He felt them somehow deformed him. He’d never be comfortable going to the beach again. Every time he was in the mirror he kept his gaze from them. He didn’t want any more surgeries. No more scars. No more hospitals. With the way this was going however, he may not have a choice

 

“Sit up for me please.”

 

Yoichi didn’t resist at all, sighing deeply as he sat up from the back of the burgundy leather couch. His hands came together in his lap as Hisashi put the cold metal on his back. His brother was only a semester away from finishing his medical degree. Yoichi hadn’t asked how, but Hiashi did know the information well enough. This was just another way to keep track of him. 

 

Hisashi didn’t even have to say anything as Yoichi breathed deeply as he could. He could feel the contents of his lungs moving about as he was breathing and no doubt Hisashi could too. He probably could without the medical instruments. 

 

After a minute he took the stethoscope off and set it on the table behind him. Without a word, he went for the blood pressure cuff. Yoichi knowingly held his left arm out in sacrifice. No words were spoken. 

 

The silence was worse than anything else. Yoichi felt like he was trapped under rubble that hadn’t quite fallen yet. It was teetering, swaying above his head and he had nowhere to run. Hisashi was the inevitable crash above his head. He was watching a collision in slow motion unable to do anything. Doomed to his fate. 

 

Somebody’s weak little brother .

 

Next came the peak flow meter, his worst enemy. This gave the exact number of how much his breathing sucked, on a professional scale. Hisashi used to make him test every morning, and technically he was still supposed to. He had weened his brother out of doing them casually about two weeks ago. 

 

Hisashi held the stick out to him between two fingers like a cigarette. Ironic. Yoichi took it without a word though hesitating to actually bring it to his mouth. His eyes came up from his lap for the first time to glance at his brother. Hisashi’s face gave nothing away. At his hesitance, he gestured his head towards it and Yoichi sighed in defeat. He took a deep breath and brought it to his mouth. 

 

A breath later he looked at the meter. 

 

YELLOW 68/100 NORMAL- ACTION REQUIRED

 

Fuck.  

 

Hisashi snatched the meter from his mouth and tossed it carelessly on the table. He sighed, stood up, and took a seat across the table on the other couch. Yoichi swallowed. Hisashi dragged one hand across his face, pinching the bridge of his nose. He threw up a quick hand gesture for him to put his shirt back on. Yoichi went through the painful process quickly this time, coughing after he got it back on. 

 

“I’d like to know what the hell you were thinking , keeping this from me.”

 

Yoichi kept quiet on the couch. Should I speak? Is it rhetorical?  

 

“I-I wasn’t-”

 

“That’s right, you weren’t fucking thinking!

 

Hisashi shot that venomously at him with frustration and anger leaking into his body language. Yoichi flinched at his volume and tone. Hisashi never cursed at him unless it was really serious. Yoichi knew that if his brother found out it would be bad, but he was now realizing that this consequence hadn’t really set in his mind. 

 

Hisashi leaned his large frame over, making forceful eye contact with Yoichi. Yoichi couldn’t find the strength or the mind to look away. The tension in his shoulders was obvious as the blood staining his shirt. 

 

Shigaraki Yoichi, what did I tell you? If it got bad again you would tell me! Does this- ” he gestured towards the stains, “ -look okay to you? No, don’t answer that because of course, it isn’t! If you would take care of yourself we wouldn’t have to do this! What in the world possessed you to keep this from me? You know as fucking well as I do that the doctors specifically said that if your coughing worsened, you would need to go back. But no, not only did it worsen, you’re fucking drowning in your own lungs! Do you understand that? You are internally bleeding.”

 

Yoichi tore his eyes away from his brother and looked out towards the skyline. A storm had rolled in covering Tokyo in a grey haze. Lightning struck in the distance. 

 

Of course, he understood that. 

 

Of fucking course he understands, Hisashi! 

 

You aren’t the one drowning every day. You aren’t the one with swords ripping your chest apart at any chance! The sleepless nights, the constant exhaustion, the hopelessness of it all. All a terminal patient can do is die! We’ve known for a long time that I won’t make it to 20! What is the point of existing miserably in a hospital room just to die alone, exhausted, depressed, and craving for it all to stop! I’m trying a terrible attempt to live somewhat happily before I pass on! Can’t you let me have one god damn thing? Just ONE!

 

Quitely, Yoichi spoke. 

 

“...can you honestly tell me how informing you would have helped in any capacity?” 

 

What? ” Hisashi asked with, Yoichi dare thought, a tremor in his voice. 

 

Sighing, Yoichi continued on. “What is the point, huh?” He moved back to looking his brother in the eyes, his mask falling away. “To go back to a sterile hospital room that makes me wish I would just die already? That’s no life and you know it-

 

“Yoichi, wait a minute-

 

“I’m just trying to fucking enjoy myself for once. I don’t exactly care that I’m bleeding anymore. Honestly, it’s nothing new. It’s almost funny you think I give a shit-

 

Watch your language and hold on a minute, we need to address-” 

 

“I’m sick of it, Hisashi. I’m sick of constantly being sick.”

 

His brother had just completely shut down after this. The sky rumbled and rain started to hit the window panes. The sky was crying the tears that Yoichi could care less about. Hisashi put his head in his hands hunched over on the couch. Yoichi sat still, hands still for the first time since entering the room. The rain pitter-pattered on the walls. The lights of the surrounding building blurred in the fine mist. 

 

Hisashi moved his head up and used his thumbs to wipe tears away from his face. 

 

In all of his 15 years of living, Yoichi had not once ever seen his brother cry. 

 

Taking a deep breath, Hisashi started the conversation back up with pressure in his throat. 

 

“Okay, okay, so there are definitely some things we need to go over here. But first off, please, please tell me you haven’t had thoughts of intentionally harming yourself?” 

 

Yoichi’s silence and dead stare were enough of an answer. 

 

Damn it, oh god, damn it Hisashi ” His brother desperately whispered to himself. 

 

The rain continued on. 

 

The world kept turning. 

 

Yoichi didn’t expect it to stop when he did. 

 

Unfortunately, the truth wasn’t something that his brother handled well. 

 

Hisashi took some deep breaths while Yoichi agonized over his stupid words. God, he shouldn’t have said anything. Now Hisashi wasn’t going to leave him alone. He should have just sucked it up, what is he going to do now? Here his brother was crying and oddly enough, Yoichi felt...guilty. 

 

It took a few more minutes for him to gather himself. When he had accomplished this, he sat up to face his little brother with teary eyes. 

 

“So when...When did these...feelings start exactly?”

 

Yoichi looked off to the side, shrugging. He couldn’t quite remember but he could make a guess to appease his brother. 

 

“Two, maybe three years ago? Treatment is hard on people. It sucks your soul out and spits it back in your face.”

 

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

 

Here was the hardest part. If he had finally gotten that out, if they were having their moment, should he continue to be honest? Would that even help any? It had been eating at him for sure, but would admitting it do anything better? Taking a shot in the dark, Yoichi mumbled his answer. 

 

...I didn’t want you to worry more.

 

“What?”

 

“I said, ‘I didn’t want you to worry more.

 

“Yoichi, it’s my job to worry about you”

 

The conversation dropped off there. 

 

Yoichi’s hands went back to fiddling, pulling at the seam lines in his jeans. Hisashi sighed and rose from his seat. Walking over to beside Yoichi, he sat down. Hesitantly, and with no real reason at all, Yoichi leaned his head on Hisashi’s shoulder. The older quickly moved his arm to be around him instead, pulling him into his chest. No words were spoken. Hisashi put his head on top of Yoichi and squeezed his arm around him tight as if it would save him. 

 

Yoichi had his issues with his brother for sure. He was overbearing, an ass most of the time, and didn’t play fair with others. But this was his brother. He took up the role of parent when theirs didn’t want to anymore. Through thick and thin he had always taken care of Yoichi. He used to believe that Hisashi had hung every star in the sky just for him. That he made sure every cherry blossom bloomed at just the right time so he could see them in their full glory. He made the world shine for him. 

 

“I love you so much, little brother. Everything I do is for you. This job, this home, everything. There would be nothing in this world to enjoy if you weren’t in it.

 

Yoichi stayed silent, just trying to savor this one moment. The two stayed like this for quite a while watching the rainfall over Japan. They didn’t move until Hisashi suddenly sat up about 30 minutes later. 



“Have you eaten anything today?” 

 

Sheepishly, Yoichi answered honestly, “No. I wasn’t hungry earlier. Everything is just kind of...unappetizing.” 

 

Yoichi tucked his hair behind his ear, one of his other nervous ticks. Hisashi sighed and leaned forward to the table. Reaching into the fruit bowl, he picked out a pomegranate from the back. 

 

“I don’t just keep this here for show. Eat this.” He requested, breaking it in half with his hands. He offered a half to Yoichi, who offered it a raised eyebrow. Pomegranate? Really?

 

Hisashi stood up and made his way towards the windows. Yoichi glanced back at the fruit in his hand then at his brother. He was holding the other half of the pomegranate still. Turning it over in his hands, his brain couldn’t help but think something was wrong. It felt solid in his hand, it was real, but something was just off about it. He was about to sniff it, looking for anything weird, when Hisashi glanced back at him in a way that meant come over here, brat.  

 

Yoichi pushed himself off the couch and walked over to the window, fruit in hand. Casually, Hisashi took a bite of his half as if to say ‘ See? It’s fine. ’ Looking over the city with his brother, Yoichi sighed. The rain was letting up some, but lightning kept flashing in the distance. The storm hadn’t quite left, the risk of being struck was still present. An omen.

 

Yoichi lifted his hand to take a bite of the fruit. Immediately he knew it was way too bitter. He almost opened his mouth to let it spill out of his mouth. He glanced at Hisashi who was eating like nothing was wrong. In spite of his brother, he tentatively swallowed the bitter bits of whatever was in his mouth. 

 

Then Hisashi, the ass he was, asked, “Is it good?”

 

Yoichi didn’t answer for a moment. He was doubting himself. If Hisashi ate it and it was fine, why is it bad for me? The lingering taste of tartness and what he could almost call chlorine in his mouth was upsetting. Was he just having a bad reaction because he wasn’t really hungry? Was it because he hadn’t eaten in a while, let alone any kind of fruit? If they were still being honest with each other, well… 

 

“No. It’s too bitter.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“Is yours bitter at all?”

 

“No. Maybe it’s just from not eating today?”

 

“Yeah. Maybe…”

 

The rain picked up again and a building a few blocks away was struck by lightning. It scattered down the lightning rod atop it to where it would be grounded. Yoichi flinched while his brother stood still as stone. Something is wrong.

 

“Brother, can I have a bite of yours? I don’t think my half is-”

 

“Nonsense, it’s probably just because you haven’t had anything else. Try another bite.” 

 

He glanced up at Hisashi who was watching him with piercing eyes. Something is wrong. Something is wrong. Something is wrong. Something is wrong. Something is wrong. Yoichi stupidly ignored his gut feeling.

 

Hesitantly, he took another bite under his gaze. The seeds were still just as bitter as ever. He quickly swallowed them down to try and get rid of the taste. God, it was bitter as shit. It was almost as bad as his medicine. 

 

His medicine.  

 

Yoichi snapped his head down to look at the fruit in his hand, and for the smallest second, it wasn’t a pomegranate. In his hand were pills. Lots of pills. They shimmered back into the image of a pomegranate. What the fuck? Yoichi blinked several times over and on the fifth or sixth time they shimmered back for just a second. He hadn’t imagined that. 

 

Frantically, he shook the ‘fruit’ out of his hands towards the floor in a panic. Faster than the eye could see, Hisashi caught it. The overwhelming sense of anxiety, and for the first time in a while, fear settled into his fractured body

 

“Oops, don’t want to drop that,” Hisashi said with a sickening smile. “Here you go.” He offered the pills back to him. 

 

Yoichi took a step back and looked up from the pills to his brother’s eyes. They told the truth. That definitely wasn’t fruit. What the fuck had he eaten? What was in his body? His breathing became quick and shallow. 

 

“That’s not- That’s-” 

 

“That’s what? A simple mistake? It’s fine little brother, we all drop things. “

 

“That’s not- What the fuck?!

 

Yoichi, ” Hisashi said with that smirk still on his face, eyes screaming that he was in danger, “Now, I know I taught you better than that. ” 

 

Yoichi in his panic tried to run back, run anywhere away from Hisashi. His arm was grabbed in a vice grip. Yoichi used his other hand to try and push him away but Hsiashi just brought him closer into his chest. 

 

In the past, Hisashi had slipped remedies and other things into his food but he would always tell him. In soups, teas, and the likes. He had never outright tried to drug him or even lie to him about it. Why was he doing this? He was being creepy and predatorial. Yoichi had never been so uncomfortable in his life. Someone he trusted was trying to drug him forcefully . Hisashi was a good bit taller than him and was definitely stronger. There was no chance in hell that he could escape. 

 

Yoichi was batting his brother away, clawing at one of the hands. He was drawing blood in a desperate attempt to get free. He tried kicking his legs out but Hisashi wasn’t moving. Hisashi slung an arm around his hung and let him pull away some. He shot back as far as he could but couldn’t quite duck out of his grasp. His fight of self-defense was stressing his lungs out and he coughed with no regard, spraying Hisashi’s shirt with more blood. 

 

“No come on, “ Hisashi taunted, “Eat your fruit, brother.” 

 

Yoichi, still trying to pull away, had his head held in place as the flickering image of pills and pomegranate. Still struggling to breathe, Hisashi shoved the pills in Yoichi’s mouth. He kept coughing, not even trying to dispel the pills but trying to breathe. In this process, he spit the pills with the appearance of pomegranate seeds onto Hisashi’s face.

 

“Now, now don’t worry. I’m just trying to help. If you won’t take care of yourself,” Hisashi didn’t even pause as he shoved the pills down his throat, “ I will.

 

Yoichi openly sobbed now. Coughing horrifically, Hisashi let him go and he stumbled back. He lost his balance easily, falling to the floor. Tears were streaming down his face as he was going into a full-blown panic attack. Hisashi had just drugged him, had hurt him purposefully. His chest heaved in the struggle between his racing mind and aching lungs. 

 

“H-Hisashi, what, what the FUCK! ” Yoichi screamed with a cracked voice. Sobs erupted from his chest mimicking a small child. Hisashi stalked towards him on the floor and Yoichi crawled back. His heart was breaking. How could he DO this? What happened to protecting him from harm? 

 

“Yoichi, sweet, weak little brother . You refuse to take care of yourself and that is unacceptable, ” Hisashi was still chasing Yoichi on the floor back towards the other side of the room, “So I will have to do it. I love taking care of you, Yoichi, so just let me. ” He finished with a threatening tone. 

 

Yoichi limbs chose now to give out on him. His back hit the floor and his gaze landed on the ceiling. His eyes were losing focus, silver hair pooling around him stained with his blood. His breathing slowed as his mind slowed. He could faintly comprehend his brother walking up to him. The tears leaking from his eyes didn’t stop. 

 

Sshhhhh, there we go, just let them take you away. When you wake up, you’ll feel a lot better. Sleep, little brother. ” 

 

Hisashi pulled his drugged brother off the floor and into his arms like a toddler. With his muscles limp, Yoichi melted into his brother’s chest. The 15-year-old was confused, hurt, and scared . Why was this happening to him? What did he do?

 

Covered in blood and tears Yoichi drifted off into a world of darkness. ‘Safe’ in the arms of his brother, he felt very much like the weak little brother he was.