Dream Deferred

 

Epilogue

 

"I have a couple of questions I've been meaning to ask." Miyako stretched a little, and glanced backwards over the edge of the bed. "Now that no one else is around."

Daisuke frowned. He wasn't entirely pleased by Ken's absence - they'd been together a short enough time so that he still would've been happy if they'd been together every second. Preferably alone. In one of their rooms. Where exciting things could happen. "About what?" he muttered, not putting down his textbook.

"You've liked Ken for as long as he's been here, right?"

That was a good subject. Daisuke grinned to himself. "Yeah." He could still remember standing out in the hall - looking damn good, if he had to say it himself - and catching his first glimpse of the sexiest pale-skinned exotic beauty he'd ever seen in his life. Mmm… Ken… Maybe he's finished with his study group… Absently, he started to push himself off the bed.

"Whoa!" Miyako pushed him back down. "You're not going anywhere yet, sex fiend."

"But Ken - "

"Left for a study group five minutes ago." Miyako shook her head and grinned. "Honestly, Daisuke, you're so far gone I'm surprised I can still get your attention at all!"

Daisuke scowled and sank back onto the bed, glaring at her. "What?" he said again, feeling sullen.

"Mmm… nothing." Miyako stretched lazily and grinned. "Just one simple little question; it shouldn't be a bother to answer - I'm just curious, that's all."

"What?" Daisuke repeated, annoyed.

She grinned wickedly, and turned, to say, in an overly conspiratorial tone, "So… when you two - you know - do it… who's on top?"

Daisuke stared at her. "What kind of question is that?" he demanded.

Miyako didn't answer that, and jabbed a finger into his side, sharply enough so that it hurt. "So, who?" she persisted.

Daisuke crossed his arms and tried to look offended. "I don’t think I have to answer that," he said, trying to sound cool and dignified. He had a suspicion it didn't work, since Miyako was still giving him that impudent grin.

"I'll bet you're the one being fucked - that's why you don't want to say," she teased, smirking.

That's not fair at all! "No I'm not!" Daisuke protested. He wished he could be offended by Miyako's rude questioning, but he was too used to it. This is personal stuff, though - it's none of her business. And why does she care? She's some weird kind of pervert or -

"So you're on top!" she concluded, sitting back.

Daisuke felt his skin heating. "I didn't say that!"

"Yes, actually, you did."

He frowned. Damn it! Miyako was too good at manipulating him. "Not that it's any of your business, but why would we just have it one way or the other?" That was better. There. Now she'd have to stop bugging him.

"So, what? You take turns?"

What is this, the third degree? "Mind your own business for a change, will you?"

"Fine, the question goes on hold. For now." She shifted around and hopped onto the bed to face him. "Are you two in love?"

Daisuke frowned some more. This question was made him more uncomfortable than the sex talk had. When he heard the word 'love', he didn't think much about the conversation between himself and Ken after the first time they'd slept together. That was the only time they'd actually spoken the words, but it hadn't seemed so… well, special. What was special, what did make him feel warm and excited and frightened all at once were actual moments. When he'd spoken with Ken, before they hooked up, and their eyes met and held for so long. When they stayed up late and talked and talked, and neither of them wanted to sleep because being together felt so right. When he was awake and Ken wasn't, and he could press his head against Ken's chest and listen to him breathe and feel his heartbeat thumping steadily. Sometimes… sometimes they'd be pressed together, and it felt like his heart and Ken's were pounding so hard against both their chests that they were trying to break free and merge.

That was 'love' to Daisuke. He wondered about Ken sometimes, but wasn't sure how to say he meant, or ask the question right.

"Yeah," he said, awkwardly, to answer Miyako's question. "I guess."

"You guess?" She raised an eyebrow at him. "You don’t sound very sure."

"Well, how do you want me to say it?" Daisuke frowned, feeling sullen. She doesn't need to know… it's none of her business… But he couldn't stop himself from telling her things - especially when she had that all-knowing, I’m-right-and-you're-wrong tone in her voice.

"So maybe you don't?" she pressed on, ignoring the question. "Is that it?"

"No! I do!" Daisuke glared at her. "And Ken does, too."

"So what's your problem then?"

Daisuke crossed his arms over his chest and glared at her, not answering. Damn it, I can't let her get to me! That's what she wants!

"You think he doesn't love you," she concluded, smirking. "That's it, isn't it?"

The problem was that she was wrong. Daisuke couldn't resist flaring up and telling her off for not getting it right. "Ken does! He said so!" That was a sure thing.

"Well, if there's nothing else wrong, then I'm going to have to assume that you're lying to me." Miyako crossed her arms smugly. "Aren't I?"

"Shut up," Daisuke muttered. He didn't want to talk to her about love. Why couldn’t she just ask him more questions about sex? That he could deal with; it wasn't so complicated, and he knew exactly where he stood.

The smirk disappeared as Miyako bit her bottom lip thoughtfully. "You're really having a problem, aren't you?"

"No," Daisuke said, right away. That was the truth. She was the problem.

"So why'd you say 'I guess'?"

"Look, if you're gonna keep it up with the questions, I'm not sticking around." Daisuke stood up, brushing himself off, and headed straight for the door, away from the uncomfortable Miyako-must-know-everything-quiz.

"Oh, sit down!" She grabbed his wrist again and shoved him back down. "Stop getting so offended! All right, so there's no problem. You love him, he loves you. Everyone's happy. Right?"

"Right," Daisuke agreed warily. He still expected her to pull something sneaky.

"Well, then I'm sorry I misinterpreted the natural 'guys don’t talk about love, it hurts the macho image' thing for an actual problem." She made a face. "It was an honest mistake - could've happened to any girl."

Daisuke turned that statement over in his mind a few times, decided that it didn't have any traps in it, and answered, "Okay."

"Forgiven?"

She's just gotta press it, doesn't she? "Yeah."

"Good." Miyako sounded satisfied. "Now pass me my book and start telling me how good a kisser Ken is."

~~~~~~

"Because it's none of my business." Iori snatched a sandwich off the tray. "What exactly is in these things? I'm sure it's not healthy, whatever it is."

"But you're not even curious?" Daisuke pressed. "Not about the meat in the sandwiches," he added hastily. "I mean, about me. I mean this is big! It's amazing! It's interesting! People should've made it front-page news!" He waved a hand around, nearly knocking out an eighth-grader and losing his grip on his tray at the same time. "Fuck!"

"It's been three and a half weeks, Daisuke," Iori answered dryly, as the red-head tried to save his lunch. "We're used to it by now."

"Yeah, but you never asked how we got together!" Daisuke kept both hands on the tray this time. "Miyako drilled me until I felt like I'd been inside-out for a while. Even Takeru wanted to know what was up. Why didn't you?"

"It's none of my business," Iori said again, calmly. He started walking back toward the table the others were sitting at already.

"Don't you ever wonder what's going on with… you know… Takeru and Hikari?" Daisuke followed him quickly. "Or me and Ken? Ever wonder if we're serious? Or just a fling? Or… whatever we are?"

"Not really."

"But what if we weren't just fucking around?" Daisuke lowered his voice as they turned to take a detour around a bunch of other guys who were blocking the most direct path to the table. "What if it was serious, or one of us thought it was serious, and what if there was a possibility we might be the greatest, most serious couple in the whole world?" He grinned a little, nervous and excited at the thought.

"Daisuke, just about every couple thinks that right at first," Iori told him, sounding completely unimpressed.

"But what if it's for real?" Daisuke re-balanced his tray and caught Iori's arm, stopping him. "What if me and Ken were the most in-love people in the whole world, and we were un-separate-able soulmates, and couldn't be apart or it'd cause unbearable pain?"

"Then it would still be none of my business," Iori said, with a note of finality. He pulled his arm free and kept going.

"So, you don't care that we're sleeping together and in love and I've never, ever been happier in my whole life?" Daisuke demanded.

Iori stopped, turned around, and grinned. "Of course I care. And it just took me less than two minutes," he added, "to get you to tell me all about it."

"Um…" Daisuke couldn't think of an answer to that one, so he just stood there, while Iori made his way back to the table.

Note to self: never underestimate the younger ones. They are sneakier than they seem.

~~~~~~

Daisuke climbed in through the open window into Hikari's room. "Very careless, Takeru," he said calmly, watching as the couple broke apart to stare at him in astonishment. "You shouldn't leave the window open like that. Just about anyone could climb up that tree and waltz on in here."

"Daisuke?" His blond friend stared at him as if he'd suddenly sprouted an extra head. "What are you doing here? I though you said you weren't going to come along every other Friday from now on."

"Yeah, I know. Bet you're surprised to see me, huh?" Daisuke gifted his friends with an oblivious grin, waiting to see how long he could get them to believe it for. "I thought I'd gift you with my wondrous presence for another week."

Takeru and Hikari looked at each other.

"Um… okay…" Hikari attempted a polite smile.

"You can't tell me you actually think I'm serious!"

Takeru frowned at him. "You're not serious?"

"No! What do you take me for, an idiot?" Daisuke rolled his eyes upward. "Don't answer that one. I just want to ask you two a question, that's all - then I'm out of your hair, and you can make out or play cards or - whatever it is you do when we're not around."

"I have two packs of cards," Hikari said, solemnly. "We're able to play double solitaire with those."

Takeru grinned. "And if that gets boring… there's always board games."

"Ahaha… cute." Daisuke sat down on Hikari's bed, staring up at the two of them. "Okay, so I've got a question for you two. It's kind of a personal question, so you don't have to answer. But I'll probably bother you until you do anyway, so I guess there's not much of a choice. You might as well answer now."

The two exchanged glances again.

"For the sake of argument, let's pretend we're going to agree with you." Takeru raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms. "What's the question?"

Daisuke leaned back and grinned, striking a casual pose. "Are you two in love?"

They stared at him.

"Whaaaat?" He blinked innocently.

"Um… Daisuke?" Hikari raised an eyebrow as well, almost matching her boyfriend. "No offense, but…"

"Why the fuck do you care?" Takeru finished for her, offering an incredulous look.

Daisuke shrugged. "I dunno. It's just… me and Ken, you know? We're close. I mean, we've only been going out a few weeks now, but I wonder about these things. So I figure if you guys are, then... I don’t know. It's possible?"

"Okay… let me get this straight." Takeru looked amused now rather than annoyed. "You're using us as an indication of whether or not your relationship will work out?"

"Don't be a moron." Daisuke threw a pillow at him - which he dodged fairly easily. "I want information, not sarcastic comments. Just answer the damn question, and I'll be out of here."

"Daisuke…" Hikari shook her head at him. "Just because we happen to be, it doesn't mean that you're going to be. There are completely different circumstances involved here."

"Aha!" He jumped up from the bed and pointed triumphantly. "You said 'we happen to be'! That means you are!"

She frowned. "Did you hear anything I just said?"

"No - and does it look like I give a damn what you just said?" Daisuke grinned cheekily at her. "Thank you for answering my question, I will leave you to finish your very important card game - and good night!" He sauntered over to the window, and slid out onto the tree again.

"Thanks for stopping by, Daisuke!" Takeru called after him, sarcastically. "Always a pleasure to have you around!"

And he dropped a battered Parcheesi game onto the descending boy's head.

~~~~~~

"He's out to get me," Daisuke grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring the wall in Ken's room.

The dark-haired boy himself sighed, looking up from the Physics textbook he was studying. "He is not out to get you."

"He is! He hates me!" Daisuke scowled, flopping back onto the bed behind his boyfriend. "He's always hated me - that's why he treats me the way he does! It's jealousy, I tell you! I'm too good-looking for him to handle!"

Ken turned again and smiled down at him, the look melting some of Daisuke's annoyance just by existing on the taller boy's face. "I hardly think your Algebra teacher is jealous of your looks, Daisuke."

The redhead met his boyfriend's gaze, eyes narrowing. "Are you saying I'm not attractive enough for a teacher to be jealous of me?"

"Not at all," the dark-haired boy answered smoothly, unruffled by the accusation. "But I think that your lack of understanding in the current course material is the reason for the extra homework you've been assigned. Practice, you know."

Daisuke sighed. He wasn't going to get sympathy from Ken, clearly. "I can practice on my own."

"You could, but that's what the teacher's there for." Ken smiled again, tilting his head so that his hair fell sideways a bit. "To make sure you practice and understand."

"So they're not fiendish torture robots designed by the government?" Daisuke pushed himself up on his elbows, openly admiring the sight of his lover. Ken was really something amazing - not just in looks, of course, but one had to admit, he was godlike. He had the palest skin Daisuke had ever seen - like a marble statue, but not nearly as cold. It begged to be touched. And those eyes - god, he could get lost in them forever if given half a chance. And then his hair… his body… The boy was like a piece of sculpted art - immaculate in all ways.

And then he was kind, and smart, and witty… How could anyone not fall in love with him?

"Now that, I don't know for sure," Ken admitted, with a slightly raised eyebrow.

Daisuke sat up completely. "See? What did I tell you?" He gave in to the urge and brushed his fingertips over Ken's pale cheek. Soft and warm. "You should listen to me more often."

"I always listen to you." The corners of Ken's mouth edged upward, turning his expression into more of a smirk. "It's not my fault that what you're saying doesn't usually make sense."

The shorter boy snickered, leaning forward so his mouth would brush Ken's as he spoke. "Your cruelty only makes me want you more," he murmured, kissing those perfect lips. So convenient - they were right there in front of him. How was he expected to resist?

Ken kissed him back, for a good long moment, then pulled back suddenly and smiled again. "Aren't we supposed to be studying tonight? I thought you wanted to be a good student."

"I'll be a good sex-ed student," Daisuke replied promptly, and leaned forward for another kiss.

This was allowed for a few minutes, and then Ken broke away again. "Isn't it your algebra that needs work?" he suggested innocently.

Daisuke was getting a little tired of this game. Did Ken actually think that 'studying together' was supposed to mean studying together? "Put down the textbook," he growled, half joking. "And keep your hands where I can feel them."

Ken actually laughed at him. "All right, if you insist." He set the textbook down beside him. "I'm not the one who's going to fail that test tomorrow, am I?"

"Test?" Daisuke had to think about that one for a moment - before he remembered why he'd been assigned the extra homework. "Shit!" He abandoned Ken and grabbed for his book bag. "I haven't even studied yet…!"

"You'll do fine." Ken retrieved his own book, shifting around a little so he could watch his lover frantically pull out his text and exercise books. "You're smarter than you give yourself credit for."

"Easy for you to say, genius." He made a face at the taller boy, setting out the book and the exercises, and getting out a pencil, calculator and eraser. "You actually understand this stuff."

"So will you by the end of the course."

Daisuke risked another glance at his boyfriend, finding the other boy gazing at him, with a little half-smile on his face and a familiar softness in his eyes. It was impossible to feel bad with Ken looking at him like that… The sight always made him feel warm and happy. And it made him think of something… "Hey… Ken?"

Ken tilted his head a little. "What?"

The words were on the tip of his tongue - three words, the ones that he'd always thought were the most important ones he'd ever have to speak. Not even long words, or hard to pronounce. And ones that he was sure he meant. "I…"

"You what?" Ken prompted, when he hesitated.

Daisuke looked at him again - the way Ken still had one hand on his textbook, keeping the pages open where he wanted them… his eyes meeting Daisuke's gaze, with enough force to match it… and that sense of something shared between them - the sense he'd felt even before they'd become a couple.

And he didn't need to say it. They both already knew.

"I need help studying," he finished, stabbing at the exercise book with his pencil and grinning ruefully at the taller boy. "If you help me pass this test, I'll make it worth your while?" That came with a raised eyebrow.

"Five dollars at the arcade," Ken said immediately. "And remember, I only take cash - no promises."

"Aw, man! You are no fun at all!" Daisuke sighed mournfully.

They held that gaze seriously for all of five seconds, and then started to laugh.

Daisuke grinned to himself, letting Ken lean over his shoulder to explain how the problems in front of him were solved. Things were going pretty well between them, he decided, taking the opportunity to share his lover's personal space.

And that was more than good enough for him.

 

The End