Give It Two Weeks

 

Chapter Thirteen

 

The first thing Fushimi became aware of when he started to shift towards waking was the unusually stiff surface beneath him. It didn’t feel like the bed in his apartment. There was a pillow under his head, but the mattress wasn’t right. On top of that, the amount of light in the room that could be gauged from behind his closed eyelids was too much for him to be at home.

Where, then?

As he shook off sleep, the memories started to become clear again. Fushimi opened his eyes partway – and the first blurry image to swing into focus was Misaki on the futon next to his, facing him.

His skin prickled immediately. Fushimi squinted without thinking, which didn’t help much but at least cleared things up a little. Misaki was still sleeping soundly; even without his glasses, Fushimi could make out rough outlines. Closed eyes, open mouth, steadily expanding and contracting chest under the thin blanket.

Misaki… A strange little surge of warmth rushed through him. Struck by the sudden desire to see that face more clearly, Fushimi rose up on his elbow and groped above the futon for his glasses, sliding them back in place once he had them again.

The world cleared around him. Misaki’s apartment was still and shaded, though there was light pouring in through the single window on the wall beside the entrance. There was the usual morning hush – this time broken by the soft, even rhythm of Misaki’s breathing.

Fushimi turned his gaze back, feeling that now-familiar little squeeze in his chest as he took in the still face across from him. He was used to seeing Misaki’s expression painted starkly with whatever he was feeling, but this view wasn’t bad either. It was vulnerable, in a way. Looking at it gave him that strange urge again: to somehow or another become a hero for just this one person.

Well, not that I even know how to do something like that…

Still, it felt like a goal he might one day be able to achieve.

Fushimi clicked his tongue, pushing that thought aside. Never mind. Come to think of it, he hadn’t had a chance to see Misaki sleeping when they’d been trapped together. It felt oddly intimate to be seeing it now, while lying on a borrowed futon in his underwear.

It might also have been the things they’d done last night… He closed his eyes for a moment, allowing the memories to rise to the front of his mind. As expected, touching Misaki’s body – and being touched in return – had felt good. It had been easy to get caught up in the sensations, the heat of Misaki’s lips and tongue clouding his thoughts to a degree that should’ve been alarming. That, along with the remembered sight of Misaki’s face – skin flushed, lips swollen and eyes glazed with want – sent a warm shiver through Fushimi’s body, the residuals of that desire stirring to life.

The whole thing was… overwhelming. He wanted it again – wanted more – but it felt like too much, too fast just then.

If we continue, there should be time for that kind of thing later anyway.

Would they continue? Fushimi frowned slightly, opening his eyes again to study Misaki’s face. He’d assumed it, but they didn’t have any kind of understanding, did they? Was there any guarantee that this would go beyond the one night in the first place?

Yet another piece of useless etiquette that he had no idea about.

How annoying. Fushimi clicked his tongue again. It couldn’t be helped – he’d have to figure it out. There was the possibility of waiting for Misaki to make the first move in that direction – and actually, considering how headstrong and impulsive Misaki was, that might not be a bad idea. He was the one who’d confessed first, after all.

But then there was the unusual hesitance from last night…

As if he sensed the thoughts centering on him, Misaki suddenly shifted, sucking in a longer breath, and his eyes opened in narrow slits. He blinked lazily several times and then his blurry gaze seemed to focus and his eyes abruptly went wide. “Sa… Saruhiko…” His voice was noticeably foggy; he cleared his throat, a tiny hint of color rising on his cheeks, and managed, “You’re here…”

Something about that reaction was as endearing as it was amusing. Fushimi allowed a smile to form, letting his earlier thoughts sink to the back of his mind and raising an eyebrow in response. “Where did you expect me to be, Misaki?”

He got a scowl for that. “You seriously do just wake up and start pissing people off right away, huh?”

“Hm.” The mood was oddly relaxing; Fushimi continued to smile lazily back, enjoying the way Misaki’s half-hearted glare softened when their eye contact stretched on. “Have you considered that maybe it’s just you I piss off?”

Misaki snorted. “Yeah right – as if I’d buy that. Your default is ‘piss everyone off’.” Despite the words, his lips spread in a warm smile, eyes going heavy-lidded as he stared up at Fushimi from his pillow. “So, how’d you sleep?”

“Fine.” That was actually the truth, which was surprising. He didn’t normally sleep well outside of his apartment. “I probably need a bath, though.”

“Right, we forgot last night, huh?” Misaki shifted, shrugging the covers off of his shoulders and exposing his bare arms. The sleeveless undershirt also displayed a good portion of his collarbone, and with his head tilted against the pillow, the line of his neck was bared openly. “My bad. You can go ahead, and I’ll make us breakfast.”

‘Make us breakfast’, huh? That was enough to distract Fushimi from the places where his eyes caught. The stirring of desire in his chest was swallowed by an edge of confusion and something like longing. He didn’t ‘make’ breakfast – what was the point, when he had the money to purchase something pre-made? In fact, half the time it was too much bother and he just had an energy drink to get himself past the initial edge of hunger.

… It didn’t sound entirely unappealing, though, to eat something Misaki made for him.

Still, that was no reason to be careless about it. “What are you planning to make?”

“Huh? I dunno.” Misaki raised an eyebrow at him. “Why d’you sound so suspicious? I’m not gonna poison it – I’m a pretty good cook, y’know…”

“I didn’t say you weren’t.” The pancake had been decent, if a little strange. Fushimi clicked his tongue. Well, whatever. “I don’t like fish or vegetables, so if you make something with either of those, I won’t eat them.”

Misaki blinked at him, seemingly taken aback by this simple statement, and then he huffed, an amused smile spreading on his lips. “Seriously? You’re like a kid or something.”

“Considering what we did last night, that comment says more about you than me,” Fushimi responded blandly, and watched with satisfaction as a flush spread across the face opposite him.

“I-I didn’t mean literally!” Misaki’s hand curled a little as if to form a fist, the sheets catching on his fingers. His expression was a mix of flustered and disgruntled – it was a tiny bit cute. “A-anyway, I got it, okay? No fish or vegetables. Anything else?”

“Hm.” Fushimi eyed him for a moment longer, taking in the flush and the frown and the furrowed brows. There was that edge of hesitation from last night in there, and he thought perhaps he could place it now. Something small and anxious lurked at the back of those bright, stubborn eyes; it put him in mind of that night in the cellar of the school, when Misaki had talked about his family.

“I was used to feeling like I didn’t really fit anywhere.”

There was the echo of a gleeful voice at the back of Fushimi’s head – the one that used to remind him that he needed to be careful with his precious things, because they seemed to break whenever he touched them. It was a voice he’d long since stopped listening to on a conscious level, but there were times when it blended with his own all too seamlessly.

If I really do want to achieve that goal… then…

Forcefully pushing down his own instinctive misgivings, Fushimi reached out and set his hand over the one Misaki had lightly fisted against the futon, curling his fingers with some hesitance to blanket it.

He could hear it when Misaki’s breath caught – in the same moment that those eyes lifted and met his, widening with surprise. It only lasted a heartbeat, and then Misaki’s lips lifted and spread in a wide smile, his gaze growing warm and impossibly fond.

The tightening in Fushimi’s chest didn’t seem so bothersome now. It was painful – so painful – but also so good at the same time.

Because it’s him, I guess.

Misaki turned his hand, threading his fingers through the gaps between Fushimi’s. His eyes lowered to take in the result. “I like you so much,” he mumbled, almost to himself, face going a bit redder as he looked up to meet Fushimi’s gaze stubbornly. His mouth was set; it was almost like he was adding ‘you wanna fight about it?’ to the end of his own statement.

That really was endearing. Fushimi let his own lips quirk upward, wonder and infatuation rising up through his whole body. “Me too,” he murmured back, and pushed himself a tiny bit further to add, “I like you.”

When Misaki pushed himself up and moved in to haltingly bring their lips together, Fushimi leaned forward to meet him without hesitation. The first touch still sent a rush of what felt like electricity through his veins; the soft press of Misaki’s mouth on his set his heart ablaze.

It felt somehow like the feelings within him had settled into something satisfactory.

 


 

 

Yata was in the process of dishing out breakfast when the bathroom door opened. He turned with plates in hand. “Yo. Food’s ready.”

“I can see that.” Saruhiko crossed the room to Yata’s tiny table. With just his boxer shorts and one of Yata’s T-shirts on, his limbs looked even longer and thinner – combined with his damp hair and the towel around his neck, it was kind of a good look, honestly. He peered at the plates warily. “What did you make?”

“Pancakes, actually.” Yata grinned, stepping forward to wave one of the plates at Saruhiko’s face. “They’re plain, so you can relax. I got butter, jam, and syrup, too” – he waved the other plate towards the table, where the items were already set out – “so you can pick whatever your picky tastes let you get away with.”

Saruhiko clicked his tongue, raising his eyes to meet Yata’s flatly. “Butter is enough.”

“Kinda figured.” Yata shook his head, still grinning, and bent to set the plates on the table before dropping down onto one of the cushions. “Well, dig in.”

Across from him, Saruhiko folded onto his own cushion, slouching a little in his seat. He glanced up and met Yata’s gaze, one corner of his mouth quirking. “No pineapple?”

“Nah.” Yata shrugged, not bothered. “One of these days you gotta try my special Yata-rice, though!”

“I’m not sure I want to know,” Saruhiko responded wryly, the other corner of his mouth quirking. “Thanks for the food.”

“Yeah – let’s eat!”

They ate mostly in silence, but it felt comfortable. Yata was used to eating by himself when he was at home – it was one of the reasons he had most of his meals out, though breakfast was usually the exception. Having another person across the table gave him a satisfaction he hadn’t expected; he couldn’t help but smile widely between bites, sneaking glances at Saruhiko throughout.

His hair looked good styled, but it was nice like this, too, hanging damp around his face. There was a sorta natural feel to it – a ‘just getting ready in the morning’ thing. It made it that much more real, that they’d really just spent the night together and were sitting at the table having breakfast like an actual –

An actual…

Oh, right.

Yata swallowed his last bite, feeling a little spark of nervous tension stir up in his belly. “Hey, Saruhiko,” he began, and felt his throat nearly close up when those blue eyes met his. He had to cough lightly to clear it, and forged on stubbornly. “There’s something… I kinda meant to ask you…”

Saruhiko tilted his head to the side just slightly. “Go ahead, then.”

“Right. So. Anyway…” Yata squirmed a little in his seat, finding it difficult to keep his gaze up but determined to do so the whole time. “I was thinking… y’know, we both… actually…” Fuck, why is this so difficult? “… l-like each – each other… so… it’s just… we should… we should…”

Date. We should date. Fucking be my boyfriend, asshole.

The words stuck in his throat; he could feel heat rising on his face, and sat there like an idiot, frozen.

“’We should’… what?” Saruhiko raised an eyebrow, a lazy sort of condescending expression on his face. “After last night, I figured you’d be done with the nervous virgin act, actually…”

“Shut up! Don’t act like you’re not a v-virgin, too!” Yata glowered back, frustration overriding the anxiety. “Ah, seriously, screw this! I’ll just fucking say it! What I’m getting at is, I wanted to ask you to – ”

“Go out with me.”

Saruhiko’s cool, even tone cut right across his rant; Yata halted, sucking in a sharp breath, and nearly choked. He blinked across the table. “Eh?”

“You heard me just fine.” Saruhiko wasn’t meeting his gaze any more – his frown was directed at his plate, utensil tapping restlessly against the edge of it. “That’s what you were getting at, right? Give me an answer quickly.”

Yata gaped at him, unsure if he was more astonished and pleased or strangely dissatisfied by having the words taken from him just as he’d set his resolve. He struggled with himself for a moment, watching Saruhiko’s restless movements and the mulish-looking frown set on his lips as the silence stretched on. He couldn’t seem to sort out his head properly after that shock.

Seriously, what the hell?

Saruhiko clicked his tongue, raising his eyes again to aim a flat stare across the table. “Oi. If you’re going to take this long to make up your mind – ”

That was enough to clear Yata’s brain. He scowled back, disgruntled. “Shut up, you fucking cheater.” Still feeling vaguely out of sorts about the whole thing, he crossed his arms over his chest and sighed, leaning back in his seat. “Of course I’m gonna go out with you, asshole – but that was cheap as hell. I was s’posed to say it!”

There was a noticeable loosening of tension across Saruhiko’s frame. Even his face seemed to relax, eyes softening slightly from that defensive stance. “You’re too slow.”

“I was there, okay? I had it!” Yata glared across the table. “You stole my thunder at the last second – don’t pretend you didn’t do that shit on purpose!” He shut his eyes, letting out a sharp ‘ch’. “Seriously, this is so annoying! I was all fired up, and now it feels like – ” When he opened his eyes again, he found Saruhiko staring across the table at him with a funny little smile on his lips, eyes partly lidded and looking openly content. It jarred him out of his thoughts completely. Yata blinked, thrown off for the second time. “… What?” he muttered warily.

Saruhiko’s smile widened; he shut his eyes briefly and let out a short huff of breath. “Nothing.”

“Yeah right.” Yata snorted, but most of his earlier outrage seemed to have drained out of him. He shook his head, reluctantly allowing the resigned smile tugging at his mouth to spread. “It’s never ‘nothing’ with you.”

“Mm.” Saruhiko’s response was just as lazy and content as before. “If you say so.”

That unguarded look was doing a number on Yata’s heart; it was hard to hold onto his anger with it beating so hard against his chest. Seeing Saruhiko without his walls like this was almost surreal, but it triggered a kind of protective urge he didn’t really feel like fighting back.

If he could make it possible for Saruhiko to look like that… well, the annoyance was worth it.

Yata uncrossed his arms, leaning in and sliding his plate forward so he could brace his elbows on the table. “So, then… we’re dating.” Without pausing for a confirmation, he rushed on with, “That means I can call you my – my boyfriend. Right?”

Saruhiko blinked at him, looking a little taken aback; his smile took on a slightly mystified edge. “If you want.” He nudged one shoulder up in a sort of half shrug. “I don’t mind.”

“Right. Okay.” Yata couldn’t help the grin splitting his face at that. He felt almost weightless. “You can, y’know, call me yours too.” He lifted one arm from the table and rubbed at the back of his neck, feeling awkward about it. “If you feel like it, I guess.”

The corner of Saruhiko’s mouth quirked. “All right.” He tipped his head forward a little, looking up through his lashes. “I will, then. Probably.”

“Yeah! That’s – hey, wait… ‘probably’?” Yata furrowed his eyebrows, leaning forward to frown across the table. “What’s that s’posed to mean, huh?”

That little smile widened to something more like a smirk. “Nothing,” Saruhiko drawled out with a deliberate slowness. “You were the one who said ‘if you feel like it’, Misaki.”

Caught without a good reply, Yata glowered back helplessly for a stark moment. “… Don’t twist my words, goddamnit!”

Apparently that was something of a trigger, because Saruhiko tipped his head forward further, shoulders shaking as his mouth contorted. And despite everything, Yata felt himself softening again – he couldn’t help but snicker a bit, too.

It felt like a promising beginning, really.

 


 

 

By the time they’d washed up, dressed, and left Yata’s apartment, it was nearly lunch time. Honestly, the timing of all of this was pretty damn good – not the ‘leaving his apartment’ timing, but the ‘spending the night’ timing. Sunday was Yata’s day off, and Saruhiko apparently wasn’t obligated to work either, unless he was on a case with a tight schedule and needed to finish something. The only reason they needed to leave at all was for the challenge.

Well, there was also the fact that Saruhiko would’ve had to get some stuff from his place if he was staying another night, but whatever.

Actually, Saruhiko didn’t look too bad in one of Yata’s T-shirts. They were apparently pretty close in size, height aside. It was kinda nice to see him in it too – Yata kept stealing glances and feeling that little twist of squirmy pleasure in his belly at the sight while they stood together in the aisle on the bus. And then there was the fact that he knew that under those work pants, there was a pair of his own clean underwear…

Shit. Don’t fucking think about that now.

Saruhiko glanced over and met his gaze, raising an eyebrow in silent inquiry, and Yata felt a rush of guilty heat surge up to his face. He shook his head furiously to try and wipe those thoughts out, muttering, “Sorry,” under his breath.

There was a light ‘hm’ from next to him, and he felt the tentative touch of Saruhiko’s fingers brushing against his own – not enough for it to be noticeable to anyone who happened to be looking, but deliberate enough for Yata to be sure it wasn’t a mistake. He looked up again quickly, and his heart gave a little anxious flutter when their eyes met.

“You wanted to come to my place, right?” Saruhiko murmured, and shifted with just a slight edge of awkwardness. “You can tonight, when we’re done.”

“Huh? Really?” Yata blinked and then grinned back, feeling a little thrill at the offer. “Yeah, of course! That’d be awesome!” Realization struck just a split second later and he added, “So, tonight like… all night, or…?”

Saruhiko shrugged slightly. “If you want. I don’t mind.”

Which means ‘yes’, huh? Yata’s grin widened. “Yeah, cool. Sounds good, then!” Once again, he had a belated thought pop into his head. “Too bad we didn’t figure it out earlier – I’d have grabbed a change of clothes.”

“Too bad,” Saruhiko echoed, in that drawl; his eyes went lidded, corners of his mouth edging up. “You’ll have to borrow some of mine,” he added, lazily, “won’t you, Misaki?”

The combination of the tone and the immediate assumption kicked the truth of what had just happened to the front of Yata’s brain. He stared back for a moment, mildly shocked, and then sagged, rueful pleasure causing his grin to shift a bit. “You fucking prick. Coulda just asked.”

Saruhiko hummed again in response, unconcerned. “It’s more interesting this way.”

“Yeah, whatever.” Yata snorted, still grinning. His heart felt light.

Saruhiko’s shirt and boxers from yesterday were still at his place – and it wasn’t like Yata was gonna bring his dirty clothing from today to work tomorrow. But the thought of them having stuff mixed together at each other’s apartments was appealing in some weird way. It was like the feeling he’d got at the breakfast table – a kind of comfortable satisfaction.

I don’t really get it, but hell, I’ll roll with it.

It wasn’t too busy at the familiar bus stop by Homra; after they’d started up the street, foot traffic thinned out considerably and they had most of the sidewalk to themselves.

Yata hefted his skateboard, glancing sideways to catch Saruhiko’s gaze. “Hey,” he started, “what kinda challenge d’you think it’ll be today?”

“Who knows.” Saruhiko’s response was typically breezy. “Regardless, this will be the tie-breaker – whoever wins it will be the winner of the whole competition.” The faint edge of a smirk started on his face. “Are you ready for that, Misaki?”

“Heh!” Yata returned the smirk. “Ready to win? Hell yeah! I’ve been waiting for this since the start – bring it on!”

Saruhiko hummed low. “We’ll see about that, huh?”

“Yeah, just wait!” Feeling enthusiastic about it, Yata drew himself up. “As long as it’s not a shitty challenge like yesterday’s, we can settle this no problem!”

“It’ll depend on who wrote today’s, I guess,” Saruhiko mused, almost to himself.

“Huh?” Yata stared at him, confused. “’Who’?”

“I never mentioned it to you, did I?” Without waiting for an answer – not that Yata could’ve answered it anyway – Saruhiko went on. “I’m pretty confident that there’s more than one person writing challenges.”

“Really?” Yata frowned, feeling his brow furrow. “Why d’you think that?”

“It’s the style of the challenge.” Saruhiko reached up to push his glasses higher on his nose, voice dry as he explained. “The person behind it seems to change not only their mood but the way they give instruction. For example, ‘Make a stack of pancakes’ is practical and pointed. By contrast, something like ‘Visit three places that were significant to you and take a picture’ feels too whimsical and flighty.” He frowned a bit. “It’s even more apparent if you compare Thursday’s and Friday’s – they’re similar enough that they could’ve been a single challenge, but ‘Confess a hidden feeling’ is specific and simple to the point of childish while ‘Do something you’ve been holding back on’ gives the reader something to think about while still guiding their thoughts in that general direction. You see what I mean?”

“Huh.” Yata scratched at the back of his head, absorbing that. “Yeah… yeah, I can see it.” He grinned back, impressed. “Seriously, that’s kind of amazing, though! I never even thought of any of that stuff!”

Saruhiko fixed his gaze in front of them, still frowning. “It’s not exactly a huge deal. I’m paid to notice this kind of thing.”

That habit again, huh? Yata turned his gaze as well, letting out a soft, amused huff of breath. “Still, I think it’s pretty awesome!” He shifted his skateboard again, musing out loud, “I wonder if they’re people we know…”

“I think so.”

“Huh? Really?” Yata turned again to stare, surprised at the frank answer. “Who d’you think?”

“Who knows.” Saruhiko shrugged, his voice taking on that infuriatingly smug tone. He smiled lazily. “I’ll bet you could figure it out if you thought about it.”

Yata shot him a flat stare. “Seriously, you’re the worst, y’know that?”

“So I’ve been told,” Saruhiko murmured. That content look was back on his face – the one that made it hard to be mad at him. “Anyway, we’re nearly there.”

“Right.” Yata straightened again, facing forward. The challenge board was just up ahead – it had the familiar poster board set up, and as they drew closer, he could make out the text on it.

Hah?” Yata couldn’t help but blurt out, shocked, just as Saruhiko’s irritated voice said, “What.”

The text on the challenge board read, ‘Tell someone important how much you love them’.

After a moment of stunned silence, they glanced at each other.

Fuck… Yata felt his face growing hotter by the second. Not ‘like’ – actual love. A dramatic movie confession kind of thing. And the ‘how much’ part… What, he was supposed to stand here and pour his heart out to someone he’d been official dating for just a few hours? He felt his mouth work, but nothing was coming out – not even a sputter.

Seriously, what the hell was he supposed to do with this?

Saruhiko clicked his tongue, looking away. His lips curled down into a frown; there was an irritated edge to his expression. “What’s with this theme?” he muttered. “It’s like they’re all having a good laugh about it.” He exhaled sharply. “How annoying…”

Well, they were in agreement there. Yata recovered himself a little, letting out a soft ‘ch’ and then summoning his will power. Right. I can do this. No problem. “Oi. Saruhiko.” It came out sounding kinda weird; he cleared his throat, ignoring the flush lingering on his face and setting his shoulders stubbornly as their eyes met. “You – you know already, but… the truth is, I really…”

“I love you.”

It was a soft, reluctant mumble – and it came with an even deeper frown – but Yata felt his skin prickle up in reaction. The feeling didn’t last long against his outrage, though. “AH! AGAIN! What the hell, Saruhiko?” He clenched his free hand into a fist without thinking, glaring back with all of his power. “Quit stealing my goddamn lines, you bastard!”

Saruhiko crossed his arms, leveling an irritated stare back at him. “Quit taking so long with them, then.”

I was fucking fine!” At that point, Yata really was sputtering, and he wasn’t sure if it was more embarrassment or anger. Mostly, it felt like a confusing blend of the two. “Damnit! Fine! I love you so much, it makes my heart feel like it’s gonna burst!”

Those blue eyes narrowed at him. “Well, my love is so strong, it makes my entire body feel weak,” he retorted, voice flat.

“The whole fucking ocean couldn’t hold all my love!”

“The sky doesn’t have enough space for how much love I have.” Saruhiko lifted a hand to push his glasses up further on his nose, and his lips curled into a smirk. “That includes the troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere, by the way.”

Yata wasn’t about to admit that he didn’t have the first clue what those things were. “Yeah, well… well, my love could fill up all of outer space!” he declared boldly, and smirked right back, eyebrows coming down. “How about that?

Saruhiko’s eyebrow twitched slightly, his smirk taking on a hard edge. “My love is infinite, in fact.”

“S-so’s mine! Bigger than infinite!”

“There’s no such thing as ‘bigger than infinite’, stupid.”

“There is now, asshole – it’s my fucking love! Accept it already!”

They glared at each other for a long moment, breathing hard.

Finally, Saruhiko clicked his tongue, uncrossing his arms and leaning back. “This is pointless,” he muttered. “There’s no possible way for either of us to win a challenge like this. Who’s going to decide one way or another which ridiculous confession is the winner?”

Yata scowled at him. “Look, my first confession was sincere, okay? I mean” – honestly, a confession of love at this point was kinda over the top – they’d just started dating, after all – but the sentiment was there – “y’know, mostly. I mean, probably. Eventually. Y-you know what I mean!”

“So was mine,” Saruhiko responded flatly, fixing him with another of those even stares. “Mostly. Or, as you said, ‘eventually’. So where does that leave us, exactly?”

There was another brief second of sharp silence – and then realization struck. Yata had just an instant to catch those blue eyes widening before he was turning his gaze aside, unable to stand it. His free hand came up on instinct to rub at the back of his neck as uncomfortable warmth flooded up over his throat and jawline.

Goddamnit…

Still, there was only so long he could let the awkward pause stretch out before it became too much. Yata sucked in a determined breath and turned his eyes back up, frowning. “So? Now what?”

Saruhiko turned to face him as well, a mix of irritation and wariness in his eyes. “Why are you asking me that? How should I know?”

“Well, your boss is the one who made up those shitty rules!” Yata shot him a disgruntled look, and then let out a sharp ‘ch’, trying to drain out the last of his embarrassment. “The hell’s this supposed to mean, anyway? We tied? Like, the whole thing?”

“Unless you want to flip a coin over it, it looks that way, doesn’t it?”

“You don’t have to be an asshole!” Yata snapped back, and then heaved a sigh, shoulders slumping as he released the last of his tension. “Man, what the hell? This is such a lame result…”

“Why does that not surprise me?” Saruhiko muttered, almost to himself, and clicked his tongue. Then he sighed as well, straightening. “Well, it’s fine.”

Yata glanced at him curiously. “Huh? How so?”

“Technically, I didn’t lose.” Saruhiko turned to face him, the edge of something between a smirk and a smile edging upward on his face. He lowered his eyelids halfway, gaze intent despite the lazy setup. “That means I can claim the prize, right?”

That look was causing parts of Yata’s brain to malfunction; he gaped back. “Huh? But – ”

Saruhiko didn’t even let him start to sputter a response, adding in a low voice, “So that means you’re mine now, right?”

Once again there was heat rushing to Yata’s face, fast and fierce. His stomach fluttered with a kind of pleased excitement. “Wha – ? But – you – I-I-I mean, I didn’t lose either!” he managed to blurt out, and thrust an accusing finger in the direction of Saruhiko’s chest. “Th-that means you have to be mine, too!”

“I can live with that,” Saruhiko responded, veiling his eyes with his lashes before side-stepping the finger and reaching forward to tip Yata’s chin up into a soft but shockingly daring kiss.

Somehow, as his brain short-circuited in the middle of a public sidewalk and he couldn’t even summon enough common sense to pull back and spare them both the embarrassment, at the back of Yata’s head was the answering thought.

I can probably live with that too.

 

Epilogue