lilly0 (lilly0) wrote in yume_to_ame,
lilly0
lilly0
yume_to_ame

Me without you Chapter 5 (Junba, Sakumiya)

Title: Me without you 5/?
Pairing: Junba (main!), Sakumiya, Ohno/?, others possible
Rating: up to R
Genre: AU, romance
Plot: Although they are both young students at college, both the youngest brothers within three, and both part of high society, there are worlds between Jun and Masaki. Jun comes from a rich, traditional and conservative family, while Masaki's family gained wealth and fame by luck. Masaki is cheerful and enjoys life to the fullest. Jun is unusually earnest and distanced. Although part of the same glamorous world, their paths would have never crossed, they would have never even talked, but then Masaki's brothers decide he needs to catch up with his studies, and hire Jun as his tutor. With being so different it seems they will never get closer, until they realize that they both hold a sad secret.
Note: This is dedicated to yukitsubute. I had (and still have) a lot of fun writing this, and I wonder where it takes me to. I can promise you some fluff, some fun and some drama (the usual ^^) There might even be some hurt & comfort.



Okay, congratulation to these awkward guys that drink bottles of champagne without needing a toilet, but damn it, Shingo needs to pee! And it doesn’t help that the dudes he talks with at this stiff dinner party talk about wine now, and wine production, and the beautiful onsen they visited recently.

Can they stop talking about WATER please?

Shingo is about to just tell them that he has human needs, unlike the real upper ten thousand here, when he sees Masaki with his friends. Cute little brothers are awesome, especially when he can use them as an excuse.

“Excuse me gentlemen,” he says with a bright smile. “I need to check on my younger brother for a moment. If you excuse me.”

Of course everyone excuses him, and he can retreat in dignity. When he hurries towards Masaki he passes by Satoshi who is chatting with a young man, round teddy-bear face, chipmunk smile, plump lips. “Ah, Shingo!” Satoshi calls out. “I need to introduce Sho-san to you.”

“Later,” Shingo grumbles. “If I don’t find a restroom soon, I’m going to explode!”

Satoshi rolls his eyes while his Sho-san-friend looks almost a little shocked.  Shingo however can’t bother with that, instead he hurries to the next-closest bathroom, glad that he can finally relieve his pressure.

The restroom is actually really beautiful. It might sound weird, but he has a thing for nicely built bathrooms. When he leaves the cabin, he wants to take a closer look at the sink and decoration, but what he sees instead is a pretty gropeable butt clad in tight black trousers. Shingo has a good eye for hot butts, and he knows one when he sees one. This guy has it. The dude who belongs to the butt bends forward, washing his hands, his hair perfectly styled. It’s surprisingly light hair, not black but brown. Unusual.

The guy looks up and turns around. Uhlala, who thought he would be so lucky to meet him here! This is his lucky day! “I’m sorry, Kimura-san, I didn’t know you were here.”

Takuya pulls his eyebrows up mockingly. “No, you basically ran past me and almost knocked me over.”

“Human needs,” Shingo says light-heartedly while he washes his hands. Even for his standards though this is a weird talk. Toilet talk at the toilet? Takuya seems to think so too, because he shifts around a bit. “I heard we are going to work together for the new project?” Shingo asks.

“Ah, right, it’s your company that got the offer,” Takuya nods.

“I’m looking forward to working with you,” Shingo says honestly.

“Really? Normally people are intimidated by me first,” Takuya points out with a frown.

Shingo blinks. “I’m not.”

“Hm.” Takuya checks him from head to toe, a thoughtful expression on his face. “Give me a call when you have an appointment with our news channel. I’ll check on the details then.”

“Thank you.” Shingo grins. “Seems like everyone in your family is always well prepared.”

“You know my brothers?” Takuya asks in sudden interest, his eyes turning from indifferent brown to a slight interested caramel brown. He has to be the only person in the world whose eye colours can change with his mood. Fascinating.

“Your little one tutors my little one,” Shingo explains.

“Ah!” Takuya finally seems to make the connection. “You are the oldest brother of…”

“Masaki,” Shingo helps him out.

“I hope Jun is doing a good job,” Takuya says with slight worry. “He is a good kid, but he appears so stoic and reserved sometimes.”

This coming from Takuya’s mouth is the joke of the century, Shingo thinks but doesn’t say anything. “He is putting a lot of effort into his lessons with Masaki,” he explains. “To be honest, Masaki is a happy-go-lucky guy. I love him dearly, he is a wonderful young man and sees the good in every person, but working with someone more serious will make him grow. The grades are not the problem,” he contains. “I’m sure Masaki will improve soon, but meeting people you normally aren’t accustomed with, learning and accepting other views and other ways to live, will make him grow as a person.”

Takuya nods, before a rare smile spreads on his lips. “Yes,” he says with a surprisingly soft smile. “Maybe Jun on the other side will learn to be more carefree and enjoy his life. He looks strained most of the time, like something is bothering him.” He chuckles. “Your Masaki… He is really lucky to have such a good older brother,” he says, and Shingo blinks at the compliment, fighting hard not to blush like a little kid.

“I’m sure you are good older brother too,” he points out.

Takuya chuckles. “I’m still learning,” he admits. Before he leaves the restroom, he turns around. “Give me a call, Shingo-san,” he offers. “I mean it. When you come to the news quarter, tell me beforehand. I’ll show you around.”

Shingo nods. “Thank you. I will.”

Once Takuya left the restroom, Shingo lets out a high-pitched squeal. Oh my god, he talked to him! And he managed to come off as cool and casual… and cool, how very rare!! He is sure Takuya will find him annoying soon, but who cares? He already has a foot in his door… and damn, he has a huge foot! It’s difficult to shove him aside.

~~~


Jun’s head spins. He dances with Kiko, because he has to. He likes her of course, she is like his little sister to him, but he just wishes he could go home. Dancing makes his head spin even more. But it’s inevitable that he shows himself at least until midnight on this party and pretends like he is having fun.

God, he hates parties.

“Smile,” Kiko tells him when he spins her over the dance floor.

“I’m sorry,” he sighs. “You know, I-“

She chuckles. “I know, sad man. But when you smile, you can at least pretend to have fun.”

Jun nods and forces a smile to his lips. “Better?”

“A bit,” she smiles warmly. “Let’s join Shun-kun,” she suggests once the music stops playing.

Jun nods, offering her his arm to lead her away from the dance floor, glad that they can go away from prying eyes. Huge gatherings like this with too many people always make him feel a bit uncomfortable.

They join Shun at their table together with a girl Jun hasn’t seen before. “Uh, new girlfriend,” Kiko whispers.

“Hey,” Shun smiles at them. “It’s almost midnight, right? So, it won’t be impolite to leave?”

He can’t be any more suggestive, can he? Still, Jun can’t help a grin. Shun is his oldest friend, mostly composed and calm, and sometimes a bit silly. He is so reliable. It’s just that his way to look for the perfect woman is a bit weird. “Just go.” Jun says casually. “At least one of us can have fun.” Shun nods almost thankfully before he sneaks away, holding his new girlfriend’s hand.

“Yes,” Kiko teases. “Because I’m stuck with Mr. Grumpy.”

“I’m not grumpy,” Jun argues half-heartedly, before he sighs. It’s not her fault that he is in a bad mood. “I’m sorry.”

“No seriously.” Kiko bends forward, checking his face. “Are you alright?” she wants to know. “You look pale.”

“To be honest, I just want to go home,” Jun admits honestly. “But there is no use in sulking around, so…”

“Sh, your brother is coming.” Kiko leans back a bit and waves at Sho, who is approaching them.

He sits down on the empty chair which Shun left behind. “How are you holding up, kids?”

Jun has to hold back a chuckle. The fact that Sho still calls them kids, is almost cute. A bit weird, but Sho doesn’t mean it bad, he knows that. “It’s an impressive party,” Jun points out.

Sho sighs. “Yes, indeed. Takuya-san really knows a lot of people.” He looks at Jun through questioning eyes. “Say, are you feeling unwell?”

Jun swallows. “It’s not that bad,” he mumbles. Of course it would be the perfect excuse to just tell Sho that he feels horrible. But he has never lied to one of his brothers, and it would feel weird to do it now.

Sho looks a bit worried all of a sudden. “If you are not feeling good, you should go home. I’ll call our chauffeur.”

“I can’t just leave,” Jun opposes carefully, ready to say more although Kiko elbows him secretly under the table.

Sho shakes his head. “No, if you are not feeling well, you are going home. You have your exams and your classes to worry about, you shouldn’t get sick. End of discussion.”

For once Jun is glad that Sho decides something over his head.  He just needs to nod.

“This is a good idea,” Kiko says immediately. “I’ll accompany him home, so you don’t need to worry.”

“Such a nice thought of you. Thank you, Kiko-chan,” Sho says, sounding pleased, then he takes his phone out. “Our chauffeur will be here in twenty minutes. Just wait for him outside. I’ll tell Takuya-san that I sent you two home.”

“Thank you,” Jun says, indeed feeling a bit sick now because they kind of cheated their early way home. When Sho has left them alone, he turns towards Kiko. “Is this really alright for you?”

“Hell, yes,” she calls out. “It’s so boring. And they have played five waltzes after another. Do they believe this is fun? And I don’t want to gain weight by eating yet another four courses.”

“We could go home and watch a movie,” Jun offers.

She grins. “Feed me with martini and one of your diet soup dishes there and I’m in.”



~~~

There is one question that bothered Jun every minute from the moment on that he heard Masaki and that other guy at the toilet until today three days later. He wished he would have had a worse timing and not been there, because honestly… hearing someone talk about him like that did hurt. Of course a lot of people talk about him, but it doesn’t really matter. Masaki however with his straight-forward honesty and good-naturedness is something else…

“Do I come off as arrogant?”

Kiko stares at him in surprise. She has just come over to his place, had a silly chat with Sho – as always shocking Jun with being able to even make Sho sound fun and laidback – and then joined him in the kitchen. They planned a movies night, and Jun decided to cook for them. “And you ask me that… because?”

“I just wondered,” Jun points out while he carefully forms the mass out of flour, water and potatoes between his hands.

“No, you didn’t.”

“It’s just… I heard someone calling me that.”

Kiko frowns. “Who?”

Jun sighs. “Can’t you just give me a simple answer?”

“No,” Kiko states. “Tell me who.”

“Masaki-san. He said I’m arrogant and impolite. And hurting him by not eating his cookies,” Jun repeats the words like a robot.

“No, you are not arrogant, you idiot.” Kiko looks at him with a frown. “Why do you care? We are used to people calling us names, and to the rumours; and how often are people talking about your family although they don’t even know you? You’ve never cared, now you do. Why is that guy so important?”

“He isn’t,” Jun mumbles. “But there is something about him…”

“What is it? Just ignore this idiot!”

“He is happy,” Jun says quietly. He stares down at his hands for a moment, covered in flour. “He is able to be cheesy and open, and just says what comes to his mind. He hates me but tries to make me happy by baking stupid cookies.” The tomato sauce starts cooking, and he pulls the pan aside, taking a spoon and trying some of it, before offering some to Kiko. “He says things like: I want to cure cancer. My life is perfect. My brother is so cute. And means it. And all I can do is stare at him without having an answer or without being able to actually react. Because what the hell should I even answer? I don’t know what to say. I hate him” He puts the spoon back into the pan. “I hate him so much.”

Kiko takes his arm to turn him around. “You have some flour there,” she says and rubs with one of her fingers against his cheek. “You don’t hate him. You envy him. At least a bit.”

“Hm.” She reaches out for a towel and as she can’t reach it, Jun helps her with hit, handing it to her.

“You are always surrounding yourself with the same people,” she continues wisely. “Namely my very own beautiful person, Shun… and… well, your brothers, although I find your relationship a bit weird. Don’t you think you’ll learn something important if you give it a try?”

“I’m supposed to help him study not to befriend him,” Jun argues. “Why is it important?”

“It isn’t. But it’s a chance. I mean, you haven’t had the chance to get to know someone new since a long time, didn’t you? It’s like someone presents a possible friend to you on a silver plate.”

“But…”

“You haven’t given him a chance,” Kiko insists. “I mean, you say he is honest. That’s not bad. So, his dreams are naïve, but it’s cute and shows his passion. Why don’t you try to understand his way of thinking?  I mean, when was the last time you actually tried to let someone into your life. He baked for you each time, didn’t he? Did you tell him why you can’t eat what he put effort into making?” When Jun shakes his head, she rolls her eyes. “You cannot expect someone to know what you are thinking when you don’t tell them.”

Jun shrugs. “I didn’t want to bother him with it. He would feel obliged to do something differently then,” Jun argues. “Besides, I don’t know if I really want him to know what I’m thinking,”

“Yes you do, or you wouldn’t be so upset since that stupid party.” Kiko smiles brightly. “You don’t need to become friends, but why don’t you try wholeheartedly to understand him and give him a chance to understand you. Maybe you share something with each other, and if not, you might learn new things on your way.”

Jun lets her words sink in, then he smiles. “Yes, mommy, I’ll try.”

She blinks for a moment, then she bursts into giggles. “Almost twenty years I know you! And it’s the first time that you make a silly joke! I can’t believe I live to experience this.” She continues to giggle, until something outside seems to get her attention. “Hey, Jun-san,” Kiko chuckles when she elbows Jun and points to the corridor.

Jun blinks in surprise. Sho is basically lurking around there, sometimes eyeing them carefully, before looking away like he is embarrassed. “What is he doing there?”

“He is hungry,” Kiko grins.

“Oh please!” Jun rolls his eyes

“He is!” Kiko argues. “Come on, ask him if he wants something.”

She can be so persistent that Jun decides it’s better to comply with her wishes and ask his brother, before she can pester him more. He coughs. “Sho-san, would you like to try some of our dinner?”

Sho halts, eyes widening for a moment. “I?” he stutters.  “Well… that’s really nice of you two, but I’m fine…”

Jun throws Kiko a glance. “See?” he whispers.

“He is lying,” Kiko urges quietly. “Believe me, I can never enter your house again if I eat all the delicious-looking gnoppis-“

“Gnocchi,” Jun corrects her.

“Whatever you want to call them.” Kiko makes a dismissive gesture with her hand. “When I eat all the wonderful things you made all by myself, he will die inwardly. Ask him again!”

“Fine, but if I embarrass myself, I’ll never cook for you again,” Jun huffs before he turns around to face Sho again. To his surprise he is still standing at the same spot, looking almost a bit hopeful. “There is plenty here,” Jun says casually.

“Tell him it would make you happy if he tried some of it,” Kiko whispers, like they are in theatre, and she is his prompter.

“Eh, and it would be a great honour if one of my brothers tried my creation.”

Kiko tilts her head, grinning a bit. “That’s not the wording I was going for, but well… it’s somewhat close.”

Sho’s head perks up much to Jun’s surprise. “Really?” he asks, stepping into the kitchen. “Well, if you insist…”



~~~


Masaki decides that he will bake for Jun for the last time! If his taste buds are really so high-class that he doesn’t even want to try his traditional mochi recipe, then so be it. It’s perfectly traditional and filled with red bean paste - and some he even dares to fill with a sweet sakura paste he found. And for himself – god forbid, dear Jun-san – he filled them with coconut cream. If Jun won’t even eat mochi, he will take it as it is… and he will just buy something lame then, instead of feeding someone ignorant with something he put effort into making.

“Can I try?” Satoshi asks curiously.

“Sure,” Masaki’s head perks up. “And tell me how it tastes! I’m not used to making them. Be brutally honest.” He hands Satoshi one of the mochi with red bean filling, making his brother’s eyes widen.

“You made something traditional?”

“Not all of them are,” Masaki stutters, wondering how his behaviour looks like to his brothers. “I’ve also some with coconut-filling and-“

“OH MY GOD,” Satoshi sighs happily, when he tries one of them. “They are so good.” He smiles at Masaki. “You are really trying hard.”

Masaki blushes. What is Satoshi thinking? That he wants to woo Jun or what? Why should he? “I am not-“

Unfortunately Shingo chooses exactly this moment to burst into the kitchen as well. “You are baking!” he exclaims happily. “For your awesome brothers, I assume?”

“No,” Satoshi looks at Shingo with one of these glances they sometimes share when they think Masaki doesn’t look at them. Something between all-knowing and oh-my-god-he-is-so-cute and he-is-growing-up. God, they are so embarrassing sometimes. “For Jun-kun,” Satoshi continues with emphasis on Jun.

“Ah.” Shingo smiles too now, and nods towards Satoshi with this knowing smile. What the hell? Do they really think he doesn’t realize?

“I’m just doing it to save my pride,” Masaki argues. “He didn’t touch any of my food up to now.”

“Still not?” Satoshi asks, obviously trying hard to wipe this annoying smile from his face. “Is he unfriendly towards you? If yes, I could say something to Sho.”

“Oh my god, don’t dare to,” Masaki says in panic.

“Yeah, it would totally make him look like a pathetic snitch,” Shingo agrees. “And then he would never be able to woo pretty-boy-kun.”

“I don’t want to woo anyone,” Masaki tries again with a sigh. “And he is not unfriendly towards me. We just… well… we are still searching for the right wave between each other.”

“You mean, you didn’t find a lot of similarities yet?” Shingo asks, taking a cup from the shelf and filling it with coffee. They are all coffee addicts and there is always warm coffee in their house.

“Not really,” Masaki admits.

“Do you know what he likes?” Shingo wants to know.

“No, he doesn’t talk much about himself,” Masaki admits. “And… I don’t know… I don’t want to push it.”

“You can only find similarities between each other if you try to,” Shingo says unusually earnest. “You are trying so hard with baking something he might like. Why don’t you go the easier route first and try to find out what he truly likes? Or his hobbies? Maybe you find similarities, or maybe you’ll find out he simply doesn’t like sweets?”

“What if he won’t answer?” Masaki wants to know.

“Every resistance crumbles at one point,” Satoshi intervenes. “It’s like a wall out of glass. Once you manage to put a crack into it, it will crumble more and more with every minute.”

“Wow,” Shingo teases, obviously gone back to his silly self. “That was deep Satoshi. Did you think of that yourself?”

Masaki has to chuckle too now.

“Hey you two idiots,” Satoshi huffs. “Show some common sense. I just wanted to help! Don’t laugh at me!”

“We are laughing with you,” Shingo tries to argue.

“I am NOT laughing though!” Satoshi pouts.

“Sorry, Sa-chan,” Masaki says and wraps his arms around Satoshi’s waist. “You are right though. I’ll try to find similarities between me and Jun-kun.”

When Shingo joins them and throws one of his huge arms around each of them, Satoshi sighs. “You two are never playing fair. Masaki is so nice, and Shingo is… just Shingo.”

Shingo laughs. “If I had a penny everytime someone says this…”


~~~


“Here is your coffee, sir,” a young guy, probably in his mid-twenties with a bright smile approaches Sho and puts a cup of coffee in front of him. He looks almost proud that he didn’t spill half of it over the table. There is something weird about this guy, weird as in… he seems all over the place, but in an alluring way. He is loud and shy at the same time. And he looks like he doesn’t wear a suit on a daily basis, still he works in a law office as an assistant. What is he doing in his free time?

“Thank you, Nishikido-kun,” Sho mumbles with a somewhat resigned sigh.

“Anything else I can do for you?” Nishikido asks full of motivation. He seems to take his work seriously, and Satoshi can’t help but to watch him. He wonders how it would be to paint him. He hasn’t made a painting from a model since years now, because no one really caught his interest that way. But he wonders what he would paint if this kid posed for him.

“Yes, prepare the folders for the Mikou-case for me. I will take a look at it this afternoon.”

This kid reminds him of his time at school when he was regularly meeting a young boy from hospital. A kid back then. He had these shining eyes, full of hope, and this bright smile, and this unbreakable resolve and faith. Like no one would be able to ever break him. Satoshi had a project for school in this hospital with kids being treated for severe illnesses, and though he was depressed and scared first because of all the sad stories and losses, he met this kid. The kid however never told him his name, just made up a game and asked Satoshi to call him Diamond Smile. Satoshi was called Water Coverage by him, whatever he meant by these names. He was into X-Men back then and thought it would be cool to be a super hero.

Satoshi smiles slightly. He wonders what happened to this kid. Is he still alive or did he die, like so many of these innocent children back then?

“Is everything alright?” Sho’s voice pulls him out of his thoughts.

Satoshi nods, trying to focus again. This is not the right time for thinking about the past, about his fears, how he didn’t keep in touch with this kid, although the kid wanted to and he too, and how he feels guilty because he run away from the truth back then – he didn’t want to see an innocent kid he cared for die. He didn’t want to lose someone to a sickness. He was such a wimp.

Satoshi sighs. No, this is too much coincidence anyway. And it’s also not the right time to think about painting anyone. He needs to stay focused. And he is meeting his friend now, really, no time for distraction.


~~~

Sho lets out a sigh of relief once Nishikido has hopped away cheerfully. What is with this guy? He applied to this job two weeks ago, actually not with the knowledge of an assistant, but Sho had enough of all the guys that pretended to know what they are doing, he felt frustrated that none of them actually tried before giving up, and he was and is stubborn enough that he decided he would hire the next person that at least showed a tiny bit motivation. It was this Nishikido Ryo. Now he is here, has no idea what he is doing – which means more work for Sho because he needs to teach him everything – but does everything with a hundred percent motivation. And he is still here.

“He is still around?” Satoshi asks with a grin once they are alone again. He is in weird moods sometimes, dozing off, but in general Sho simply likes him for his relaxed and honest attitude. He is one of the very few people that stuck to him and remained his friend. “Finally an assistant that doesn’t leave within a week. You are too scary.”

“It was silly of me to hire someone with not enough knowledge about the job,” Sho admits stirring in his coffee. The coffee is nice though.

“He seems to be a good guy though. And people can learn. Besides…” Satoshi smiles. “He is still around, isn’t he? Unlike the others.”

“Indeed,” Sho agrees. He is around. That’s definitely an improvement. “Am I really scary?” he wants to know.

“Not really,” Satoshi tells him honestly. “I mean, you seem to be caught in your thoughts sometimes, a little distanced. I guess people might find that scary sometimes. Only when they don’t know you.”

“Is that so?” Sho muses. He wonders if that’s the image his family and the maids at home have of him too. “By the way, are your brother and Jun getting along well? I hope there aren’t any problems.”

“Not at all,” Satoshi says, but he blushes a bit.

Sho catches his weird attitude immediately and assumes he doesn’t want to say the truth.  He frowns. “Did something happen? Did Jun do something? If yes, I’ll have a talk with him.”

“No, no!” Satoshi shakes his head. “Really, Sho-san. Jun is very polite. He and Masaki are still trying to find something they share.”

Sho’s tension fades. Hm, he can live with that answer. “Say,” Sho sighs, stretching slightly. “Satoshi-san, how about we change location?” he asks all of a sudden. “We can go and eat out for my lunch break.”

“Sounds good,” Satoshi agrees. “There is a coffee shop close by. Masaki and his friend work there once a week. Should we go?”

Sho nods in relief. He loves his work, and he is very dedicated, but when he talks about more private stuff he prefers it to be somewhere else. The coffee shop Satoshi mentioned is indeed close by, only five to ten minutes from his office, it’s small and a little bit quirky and Sho would have never set a foot into it on his own.

“They serve little dishes too,” Satoshi explains while he sits down at an empty table. “Masaki told me it’s taco week.”

“Whatever,” Sho mumbles. “Just order something for the both of us. This is not really my metier, so I don’t know what to order anyway.”

“Do you want coffee with chocolate marshmallow topping?” Satoshi asks. “It’s new on the menu.”

Sho throws him a glance. Is this question supposed to be a joke?

“I get it. Black coffee, I assume.” Satoshi turns around and waves at a young guy, apparently working there. “Hey, Kazunari-kun.”

“Ah, Satoshi-kun!” the young guy approaches them.

Sho frowns. He knows that kid… He… Wait a moment. At the dance, the weird guy that got so upset because he mistook him for a waiter. “You?” he asks in surprise. Right. He doesn’t look like a waiter now, although he seems to work here. He is way too young probably.

Satoshi seems to be surprised too. “You know each other?”

Much to Sho’s astonishment this Kazunari blushes, and shakes his head frantically. “It’s not like that.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Sho wants to know curiously. “I’ve never gotten the phrase: It’s not like that. What is it then?”

“But…” the guy stutters, his eyes wide-opened. He looks young. And he has these deer-like brown eyes, the ones Sho noticed immediately when he saw him for the first time. Eyes like amber. “I mean, we don’t know each other. We just coincidentally saw each other.”

“Is that so?” Satoshi asks, still surprised.

“At the dinner party,” Sho helps him.

The young guy closes his eyes. “This has to look weird to you,” he tries to explain. “Because I am working here, but at the party… I… I really…”

Sho chuckles. “It’s okay. I understand. At least somehow.”

“Let me introduce you properly,” Satoshi thankfully intervenes. “The young guy here is Ninomiya Kazunari, Masaki’s best friend. They know each other since years already. And this here-“ he points at Sho and looks at Nino. “-is Sho-san. He is Jun-kun’s older brother.”

“Ah, the brother of Masaki’s tutor,” Nino nods knowingly. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“Really?” Sho raises his eyebrows. “Did you talk to Jun about me?”

Much to his surprise Nino laughs. When Sho frowns, his laughter subsides though, and he shakes his head. “I haven’t met Jun-san yet.”

“Oh, such a pity,” Sho answers. His little brother is a good guy, he could definitely need a few more friends than Kiko and Shun. Why not befriending that self-confident little kid here? Well, the age difference between him and Jun would probably be a little bigger, but Jun won’t mind, he knows that. And he could need someone cheeky as a friend, someone like this Kazunari. “Why don’t you and Masaki-san drop by once?”

“Sorry.” Nino blinks in confusion. He throws a glance towards Satoshi which Sho doesn’t quite understand.

“We could also meet at our place,” Satoshi says hastily. “Well, the… it’s… easier to reach for Kazunari and Masaki. We are living closer to the…eh… centre.”

That’s true. Still, Satoshi’s way of voicing his point sounds fishy. “Are you officially inviting us?” Sho asks sceptically.

“Yes.”

“All of us?” When Satoshi blinks, Sho smiles knowingly. “How about you talk to your family first.” He turns to look at Nino thoughtfully. “And you are allowed to work here?”

“Hm?” Nino blinks. “Of course.”

“I hope your parents did check the contract properly?” Sho urges the issue. The safety of minors is important.

Satoshi looks at him a little dumbfounded. “Why?”

“A place that hires middle schoolers…” Sho muses. “There are specific rules to apply to. And Kazunari-kun’s safety is important, and…” His voice trails off as Satoshi throws him a glance of panic. He doesn’t quite understand it though, until Nino suddenly huffs and lets out a breath of deepest annoyance and frustration.  “Is something wrong?” Sho asks in surprise.

“Forget it!” Nino hisses and stomps off.

Sho is surprised. That boy has a weird attitude. Jun would never behave like that. All Jun does is perfectly thought through, he is well-spoken and serious. Even as a teenager he wasn’t like this kid. He was always so good. “We didn’t even order yet,” Sho frowns.

Satoshi sighs. “Sho-san…” he mumbles. “Nino is Masaki’s friend from school. He is actually even one year older than Masaki.”

“Wait a moment.” Sho frowns. “Does that mean he is… even two years older than my little brother?”

Satoshi nods weakly. “He is looking really young. It’s his… well… weak point.”

Sho takes the information in for a while, then he snorts. “Seems like with this kid I can’t do anything right,” he states casually. When Satoshi throws him a confused glance, he makes a dismissive gesture with his hand. “Forget it.”


~~~


Masaki can’t help but stare at Jun’s lips. He has full and luscious lips – okay, this sounded dirty, even in his own mind, but he can’t help but notice, and the most wonderful thing is, he… finally…  “You finally ate something I made,” Masaki exclaims happily. “I found something you like! From now on I’ll focus on mochi then.”

“I’m sure everything you baked was good,” Jun points out. “I…” he pauses.

“Hm?” Masaki wants to know.

“Nothing.”

Masaki blinks in confusion, but lets it slide. He is too happy that Jun finally ate one of his creations. And seemed to like it on top of that. Finally! Shingo and Satoshi were right – he shouldn’t give up so easily.

Talking about giving up. “I’ll have an exam… I think… next week.”

Jun’s eyes snap open. “You… what!? And why are you telling me that only now?” he huffs angrily.

Masaki is surprised by Jun showing his anger so openly. He was always very controlled up to now. To see him actually dropping his mask… is… relieving and kind of interesting. “Sorry,” Masaki chuckles while he looks into his schedule. “I meant, two weeks.”

Jun’s tension fades. “Two weeks?”

“Yes.”

Jun sighs. “Seriously, you need to tell me these things earlier, so that we can prepare you well,” he huffs. “I mean, your grades are important!”

Masaki checks Jun’s face properly. He is looking all serious again, and although he is right, Masaki just wishes to be able to tell him that studying is not everything and that he should find joy in other things too. Because it doesn’t look like Jun is having fun… in general… with anything.  It’s almost like he is instantly detached. How does no one else actually notice how detached he is!? It’s quite alarming actually. Why is no one worried? “I’ve missed a lot,” Masaki hears himself say, much to his own surprise. “I mean, you know that I did. But at one point I lost control over it, that’s what led me to this situation. During the last two weeks I tried to get my schedule together again, which is why I just realized that there is an exam coming.” He pauses. “I wonder if I can actually do this exam or if I should do it next term.”

“Try it,” Jun says quietly, looking surprisingly open all of a sudden. “We’ll give our best and concentrate on this exam of yours. At least try.”

“I don’t want to disappoint my brothers,” Masaki admits. “Or you. Because after all you put a lot of effort into this here or rather into me.”

Jun says quiet. “I’ve lactose intolerance,” he finally says, so much out of the blue that Masaki has to gather his senses for a moment.

Masaki needs quite a while to understand what he is talking about. “What…”

“I… sometimes eat things with cow milk, but only when I’m at home, because I feel sick easily then. Even when it’s just butter…”

Something rings in Masaki’s ear. Does this mean… Jun couldn’t eat his cookies before? “You should have told me so earlier!” Masaki exclaims. “I was pestering you with my cookies, and thought you didn’t like them or you didn’t eat them because you hate me. You should have told me, really.”

Jun nods. “Yes, I should have.”

Masaki blushes slightly. That’s new. The path their talk was going to. “You think I can make it?”

“There is never a one hundred percent certainty,” Jun admits quietly. “But we should try. You are smart enough to catch on fast.”

Masaki smiles. “Then I’ll try full-heartedly. How long are you free today? Our lesson is almost over.”

“I have nothing to do tonight,” Jun admits.

Eh? On a Saturday evening? Is this guy ever having fun actually? “Are you having dinner with your brothers?”

Jun chuckles, and Masaki wonders why his question is so funny. “No.”

“Why don’t we extend our lesson and then you stay for dinner?”  Masaki offers.

“What?” Jun blinks in surprise. “But I don’t want to put extra work on you and-“

“Yeah, yeah,” Masaki interrupts him and opens the door of his room. “SHINGO! Jun’s staying over for dinner. So, make an extra pizza!” He is about to close the door before he remembers something important. “No cow milk products though. Jun’s allergic!”

“GOT IT!” Shingo’s voice comes yelling from the other side of the apartment.

“Everything is settled, see?” Masaki grins.

“You settle things fast,” Jun stutters.

Masaki chuckles. For once he actually feels content with how a meeting with Jun went. Was about time always.


A/N: So, a step closer? What do you say? To be honest, I'm rather worried about how Sho and Nino at this moment. *lol* Anyone else think that Sho is a bit awkward around his family? I mean, just say you want to eat something :D They really have difficulties reading each others' moods.
Shingo and Takuya met too. Sorry for the comedic relief, but Shingo is such a thankful victim when it's about comedy ^^

A happy new year to everyone! I hope you are all well <3 I'm not partying much, but I've invited a few friends to hang out with them.

Tags: genre: au, genre: college, genre: high society, genre: hurt&comfort, genre: romance, l: multi-chapter, p: aiba masaki/matsumoto jun, p: ninomiya kazunari/sakurai sho, r: r, series: me without you
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