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Get the Best of Me

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Shun was at Aren’s house studying. Well, trying to study. Shun couldn’t focus.
He looked up to see Aren, narrowed eyes scanning the page, sharp jaw clenched. Even like this Shun found Aren breathtaking.
Wait, what?
Shun’s eyebrows furrowed.
Aren was objectively handsome, Shun knew that but, since when did he have those kinds of thoughts about him?
“Can you help me with question eight?”
“Yeah, sure,” Shun said shakily.
Shun leaned closer, an action he’s done plenty of times. It should feel completely natural, but when their shoulders brushed butterflies erupted in his stomach. Shun could feel the heat radiating off of Aren. He could smell Aren’s laundry detergent from his shirt mixed with the tang of motor oil from when they were working on his motorcycle earlier.
Shun pulled back as soon as he could.
“I um,” Shun paused, “I better get back home. You know how my mother can get.”
“Yeah, the word is strict.” Although his tone was joking Aren eyes were full of sympathy.
Shun laughed before he quickly collected his stuff and left waving to Mrs. Kuboyasu on the way out.

Why did it have to be Aren? Aren was his best friend. He loved Saiki (and Nendou, though he would never admit it), but Aren was different. What was he going to do?

The next day after class Aren came over to his desk while Nendou went over to annoy Saiki.
“Hey Shun, what’s up?”
“Aren, thank god, Dark Reunion is up to something again.”
As Shun rambled about Dark Reunion he stared at Aren who was nodding along
The bell rang signaling the end of the school day, so Shun and Aren collected their bags, changed their shoes and left the building still talking although the topic had changed to an encounter Aren had.
“Her name is Aikyo Nozomi. She’s a really nice girl.”
Shun smiled at Aren. He knew he couldn’t risk giving this up. He’ll have to ignore his feelings and eventually he’d forget about them.

Shun was walking to school, when he saw familiar pink hair.
“Hey, Saiki!”
Saiki stopped walking with a sigh.
Once Shun caught up to him, Saiki turned around.
“I know you have feelings for Kuboyasu.”
Shun’s eyes widened as his stomach dropped.
“Not even a hello?” He asked, hoping to give an air of nonchalance but his trembling voice and twitching fingers gave away his nerves.
“I know you like Kuboyasu,” Saiki reiterated with a deadpan look.
Shun shivered. It was like he was looking right through him.
“You have no idea.”
“You should confess.”
Shun stood there dumbly as Saiki walked away calm as ever.

Shun didn’t mean to start avoiding Saiki, Shun just didn’t know how to deal with the fact that Saiki knew. So he declined invitations to hang out with his friends if it involved Saiki (which it usually did) with the excuse of dismantling Dark Reunion. He hated using his brave alter-ego for something so cowardly, but he didn’t have another excuse. He still hung around Saiki at school so as to not raise suspicion, but they hadn’t had an actual conversation since that day. If anyone noticed they didn’t say anything.

As Shun and Aren walked home together Shun couldn’t help but sneak glances at the other. His straight bangs fell to his eyebrows. His muscular arms held up by his broad shoulders swayed as he walked. His eyes sparkled as he spoke.
“Yeah, you would get along I bet.”
Shun made an affirming noise, not really sure what he was talking about.
“You weren’t listening, were you?”
Shun shook his head not daring to open his mouth in fear he would voice his thoughts.
Aren assessed him worriedly.
“I was just saying I think you and Aikyo-san would get along. She’s really nice.”
Shun hummed in acknowledgement. Arens eyebrows scrunched together.
“What’s wrong? You’ve been quiet.”
“Nothing. I’m fine,” Shun said, voice trembling.
Aren gave him a worried look but said nothing else on the matter.

It had been a few days and Shun’s plan to ignore his feelings for Aren so he didn’t ruin their friendship was going great. Sure the feelings persisted, but he’d gotten pretty good at hiding them. At least he thought so.
Shun was humming to himself as he walked down the hall when he felt a strong hand on his shoulder. He turned to see Aren smiling at him. A warm tingling sensation filled his stomach.
“Hey Shun.”
“Remember Aikyo? The girl I mentioned?”
Shun furrowed his brows.
“Well I want you to meet her. C’mon!”
Aren grabbed his arm and started walking, while Shun was stumbling trying to keep up.
Finally they made it to the rooftop.
Aren let go of his arm and Shun missed the contact.
Sitting on the bench fidgeting with her uniform skirt was a girl he assumed to be Aikyo. Wavy brown hair in a low ponytail sat on her shoulder; she chewed on her lip.
Once she saw Aren her eyes lit up and she smiled.
“Hi Aikyo-san, I hope you weren’t waiting for too long.”
“No it’s fine,” Aikyo trailed off.
It was awkward for a moment before Aren seemed to realize what he came to do.
“Oh! Aikyo, this is Shun Kaidou, my best friend.”
Best friend. That’s all he’ll ever be.
“Shun, this is Aikyo. I’ve already told you about her.”
“Yeah. Hi.”
“Hi,” Aikyo said, giving him a smile that wasn’t as bright as the one she gave Aren.
She likes him. Aikyo likes Aren.
Shun tried his best to be nice if only for Aren’s sake, but in the back of his head he resented her. It wasn’t Aikyo’s fault, he knew that, but he couldn’t help it. She was a nice, pretty girl perfect for Aren. The thought of them dating made Shun sick to his stomach.
The worst part was that she was actually kind. Shun probably would have liked her if circumstances were different,
Aren didn’t seem to realize Aikyo had a crush on him, or maybe he did and he was preparing to ask her out. Maybe that’s why Aren wanted Shun to meet her; so his best friend knew his girlfriend. Then, when they got together Shun would no longer be part of the picture. Aren would spend all his time with her and they would have no time for him.
The pit in his stomach made him want to throw up.
“Excuse me,” Shun said, extracting himself from the situation.
“Where are you going,” Aren asked, sounding concerned.
Shun paused.
Where was he going?
He left, not waiting for Aren’s response.

Shun sighed as he looked at his reflection in the dirty bathroom mirror. He couldn’t cry now. Not if he didn’t want eyeliner streaking down his cheeks.
“You should tell him.”
Shun jumped and a high-pitched noise he would never admit to making escaped him. He whirled around to see Saiki in the doorway.
“He doesn’t.. He doesn’t like me like that,” Shun said, staring at the floor.
“You don’t know that,” He stated matter of fact.
He was right Shun knew in a logical sense that he didn’t know for sure that Aren didn’t have any romantic feelings for him, but his gut —or was it his anxiety?— told him Aren definitely didn’t.
Saiki sighed. And pinched the bridge of his nose.
“You're going to go up there and confess, alright?”
“But Aikyo—”
“Has already gone home.”
Shun didn’t question how Saiki knew that. He was sure that there was a reasonable explanation.
“You’ll never know how he feels if you don’t tell him.”
Saiki’s face was blank, but Shun could tell he cared.
“Alright I’ll do it!”

Shun was fidgeting with the red wrap around his hand as he walked up the stairs. He chewed on his lip.
He didn’t know how he was going to go through with this, but Saiki’s words kept playing in his head. He had to do this.
He froze when Aren came into view. He considered running away, but it was too late, Aren had already seen him.
“Shun,” He called as he walked over, “there you are! Aikyo had to go home, said her parents were expecting her.”
Once he was closer he stopped.
“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Shun blurted out.
Aren just raised an eyebrow.
“Well um,” Shun trailed off, “I have something to tell you.”
“I’m all ears.”
“It’s just that I really, really like you, like more than a friend or even a best friend and it would mean a lot if you went out with me, not that you have to,” Shun said quickly.
Shun sighed. Fidgeting with his hand he said, “I like you a lot. Will you go on a date with me?”
Aren blinked, taking too much time to respond for Shun’s liking.
“Not that you have to or anything, we can still be best friends! Let’s just pretend—”
“Yes I would love to go on a date with you, Shun. Now, where should we go for our honeymoon?”