Haruta came home crying. He tried not to slam the door or break anything with his french horn case when he dropped it. He'd confessed to Kusakabe-sensei. He fought back a sob. He buried his face in his bed, hid under a pillow and tried to act like he wasn't broken, snapped in two with a few sentences.
“I'm afraid teacher-student relationships are impossible.”
He yelled, every variant of 'no' he could remember, every language he could think of.
“I'm too old for you.”
Haruta curled his legs up and started pounding on his bed with his hands. Thinking. Clear thinking, that was what had gotten him praise last time. He conjured up the familiar images, sensations in his head: a warm chest, sleepy days of cuddling with a tall body, sensei. He kept crying. The part of his brain that wasn't straining, trying to reconcile rejection with his feelings, reminded him to drink some water to replenish his fluids. At the fridge he broke down again.
“You may even forget about me completely.”
Never. He'd said so. Sworn by it. Kusakabe-sensei had nodded and smiled at him; that had twisted his stomach in good and bad ways. Haruta had told him, voice shaking, breaking down after school, that he would find him when he was older and date him at least once.
“I'll stay single just for you then.”
That made him happier. Having sensei to himself, even if it was only in the future. He ate a snack bar. French horn. He had to keep at it, keep seeing Kusakabe-sensei. And his school grades, he can't get kicked out of club activities. He decided to take a shower and do his homework so he could act like nothing had changed.