“Going to the movies?” Yuma blinked at Michael’s suggestion while putting his electronic notebook in the school bag.
“Yeah I know it’s a bit late and sudden, but Dark Side of Dimensions is a really good movie. My brother went to see it last week and recommended it to me. I tried inviting my other brother, but he said he’s too busy.” Michael said as the two of them left the classroom.
“I don’t know if sis will allow it. I mean it’s on Monday and all…” the black haired boy wondered, but when met with a pair of persuading green eyes, Yuma could hardly refuse “I’ll think about it.”
It’s been little over three weeks since the two of them became friends and they would spend as much time as they could together. They would mostly hang out at Yuma’s room or at the attic with artefacts where they continued to talk about ancient civilizations and how they would one day go visit the places that Yuma’s father did. That and Michael would help Yuma with his school work. Yuma was already two months behind, so any help from his pink haired friend was more than welcome. Michael turned out to be an excellent teacher and would patiently correct his friend until he got the things right. It may not seemed like it, but Yuma was actually smart at several subjects, like History and Geography, though the certain other ones, like Math and Science, presented quite a problem. Fortunately Michael knew several tricks to understand it faster from his elder brother Chris and before they knew it, Yuma gradually caught up with all of his school subjects.
A recently achieved C- at Math, not excellent, but still better than F, was probably a good way to start a conversation with Akari. Though he was a little bit in a doubt he’ll be allowed to go out and return late at the school day. Ever since they’ve moved to Heartland, Akari found dozens of reasons to keep him at home at all times. Before their parents’ death she never appeared to actually care about him due to being discreetly jealous since he’d usually get all the attention as the younger child. But once they came to Heartland, Akari became very protective of him and would do anything to keep her only family left safe.
“Sis?” Yuma peeked into his sister’s working room, the only room in the house that was equipped with modern technology. As a freelance journalist, Akari needed quite a lot to stuff for her work and sometimes she would work for days on a single article.
“Already back from school?” she turned around while still typing something on her computer.
“Yeah… I just wanted to tell you that I managed to get C- minus at Math…” Yuma nervously pulled the electronic device from his pocket that contained all of his school’s documentation.
“Oh, that’s amazing!” Akari actually stopped typing in order to give her brother a quick hug.
“III helped me out a lot.”
“The pink haired kid who’s been constantly visiting you for the past couple of weeks?”
“Yeah him… and today he invited me to go to the movies with him. I was just curious if I can go too…”
“Yuma…” Akari sighed to which he was sure that she wouldn’t allow him “What you want to do is for you to decide… I know I must’ve kept you away from everything ever since the accident in order to protect you… but since you’ve became friends with that guy, I know I can trust you more.”
“Sis...” Yuma had tears running down his face at her words, instantly wrapping his arms around her in gratitude “Thank you…”
The older sibling smiled as she returned the hug, knowing that her little brother is slowly becoming himself again.
Michael waited nervously at the doorstep of Yuma’s house. It was the day they were supposed to go to the movies and the pink haired boy had been looking forward to it ever since Yuma texted him that he can go. The movie would start in little more than two hours from now on, enough for him to pick Yuma at his house, walk to the main train station and check out the movie theatre a bit before it starts. It sure has been a while since he was there, the last time probably being when he went to check Bonds Beyond Time movie, nearly five years ago.
“Bye sis, bye granny!” Yuma shouted while buttoning his winter coat “Seeya tomorrow.”
Yuma managed to get a wool cap over his spiked bangs, fully ready for what was yet to come. He also carried a backpack with his sleeping clothes and school supplies since he was supposed to spend a night at Michael’s place. The other boy’s house was after all at the walking distance of the movie theatre, so it was easier for Yuma to sleep over at Michael’s and take the same bus as he does in the morning to get to school.
“All set?” Michael asked despite knowing the answer.
“Yeah!” Yuma hardly covered his excitement.
Soon they were on the train, talking about movies since they were going to see one. It turned out that Yuma watched a lot of adventurous documentaries, some of which Michael liked too. The black haired boy also watched some of the TV series, mostly based on mythical civilizations of the past although he really liked a science fiction series ESPer Robin too. He briefly mentioned that he actually knew the person portraying the space hero, Fuya Okudaira, whom he met by coincidence when the actor visited his father’s adventure guide signing. Yuma admitted that he needed some time before he recognized him since he was wearing a disguise, but once they got to a bit more private place Yuma got a chance to get to know the young actor and even got his autograph.
“You’re really amazing Yuma…” Michael smiled as he stared at Yuma’s eyes that were sparkling more by each day they spent together.
Yuma was about to respond when the speaker announced that their stop was close by, so the two of them moved towards the doors. Holding onto Yuma’s hand due to a lot of people everywhere, Michael guided him through several moving stairs and hallways until they finally reached the movie theatre. There were less people since it was a weekday and since they still got over an hour before the movie started, they decided to just get the tickets and have bubble tea or something until then.
Michael went to buy the tickets while Yuma looked over the flyers that announced the upcoming movies. The black haired boy was rather hyped for The Dark Side of Dimensions since they were supposed to get the special edition of cards for a game he haven’t played since elementary school and some of the cards were based on ancient civilizations. When Michael mentioned that his brother Thomas Arclight is actually a regional champion, Yuma’s jaw nearly dropped since the pink haired boy looked nothing like a certain blond and dark red haired teen.
With tickets in their hands they had just enough time to get a bubble tea on the other part of the movie theatre. Michael admitted he wasn’t that fond of the popular drink since he preferred homemade tea, but there were few green tea and black tea flavoured choices that were close enough. Yuma actually never had bubble tea before, so it was not surprising that few tapioca balls slipped into his throat when he slurped it too fast. Luckily Michael reacted in time, tapping his friend’s back until Yuma was no longer choking on a chewy ball.
“Let’s just sit down, we’re not in a hurry.” Michael pointed towards the free bench when someone called a familiar name.
A black haired boy turned around to see a child around eight years old staring at him with a mix of confusion and soon excitement. The boy had cyan coloured hair and warm hazel eyes that were pointed directly at Yuma.
"Yuma!" he called again, this time running closer and pulling Yuma in a hug "It is you!"
Michael was s bit puzzled to see Yuma not panic or fidgeting away like he usually did when people would touch him. Instead of that he simply returned the hug and gently caressed child's hair.
"Do you know him?" the pink haired boy observed the kid who was wearing dark blue sweater with white stripes and ochre pants.
“Haruto!” another voice called in the distance like the person behind it was in panic “I told you to stay…!”
At that moment Yuma was dumbfounded by the older looking boy who appeared almost out of nowhere, continuing to call name Haruto. The voice belonged to a person that looked at least few years older than Michael and Yuma, his hazel eyes, identical to the child, staring at the black haired boy in confusion. The boy was wearing black and red coat over white running leggings and black trainers like he had just came out of a track field.
“Look brother! It’s Yuma!” the kid, Haruto apparently, smiled as he continued to hug Yuma “It’s been so long since we’ve seen him!”
“H-hey Kaito…” Yuma blurted nervously and turned towards Michael “Our parents used to work together…”
“I didn’t expect to see you here…” Kaito stepped closer, observing Yuma up close “Are you doing alright?”
“I do…” the black haired looked down, but then pointed his eyes at Michael “III helped me a lot…”
“III… as one of Arclights?” Kaito turned to the pink haired boy who nodded slightly “Thought so, your older brother Chris or so called V is actually my tutor and is currently helping me study for the finals. I’m Kaito Tenjo and this is my little brother Haruto.”
“You know my big brother? But he’s studying in Miami City.”
“Well, I actually live there. I just came to Heartland since Haruto wanted to see Dark Side of Dimensions while it is still in Heartland’s theatres.” Kaito pulled movie tickets out of his pocket “Speaking of which we were about to get popcorn.”
“Mind if we go get it too?” Michael smiled at Yuma giving Haruto a piggyback ride and running around fast.
“Not at all.” Kaito replied already walking towards the snack stand.
Due to several people already waiting, Michael and Kaito had to wait in line while Yuma went showing Haruto around. Several minutes have passed before a staff member wearing a shirt with movie theatre’s logo assisted them.
“One big popcorn and rainbow cotton candy.” Michael ordered first as Kaito looked at the menu, checking several different options over and over.
“Alright…” staff member who was obviously tired from the work said as he scooped the popcorn into a paper bag “Anything else?”
“Do you happen to have caramel spread for popcorn? And non-fizzy drinks?” Kaito asked as soon as Michael took his popcorn.
“I don’t think so…” the staff member looked up for the first time and nearly paled at the sight of the certain blond haired teen “Let… me check.”
Kaito gave him a confused look, but once he saw him check the shelves with supplies, he ignored the strange feeling and rather went digging for his wallet. The staff member with bright blue eyes and long blond hair pulled in a ponytail looked oddly familiar, especially due to the glare he was secretly giving, like Kaito had just punched him in a face or something. Kaito so just ordered the rest of the snacks and put the precise amount of money on the counter.
“Cartoon of apple juice, one bottle of mineral water and caramel flavoured popcorn.” the staff member counted at which Kaito merely nodded and took the snacks as soon as Michael paid for the snacks as well. The blond haired teen mouthed a quick thank you and already headed towards Haruto who was overjoyed to see popcorn with his favourite spread. Yuma was pretty excited to try the cotton candy as well and before they reached the movie theatre, the black haired boy had the sugary treat all over himself. Haruto giggled at the sight of Yuma trying to get it off while Michael and Kaito just shook their heads at the sticky situation.
At the same time, someone else felt anything but what the party of four did. The blond haired staff member gritted his teeth as he walked towards the pantry, his ponytail jumping up and down with each angry step.
“For the last time Girag, I’m not going all over to Miami City just for some stupid high school festival.” another staff member with pointy brown hair and tanned skin complained over the cell phone.
“Bu-But Sanagi Chono will be there! Please come with me Alito! I don’t want to go alone!”
“Tsk fine, but you’re buying me a lunch. You know how bored I can get if there’s nothing to do.”
“Also… since Akihiko transferred to that school about a month ago…. you could…”
Alito cancelled the call before the blond haired teen could hear what the person on the other end could be suggesting.
“What’s up Mizael? You look like you’ve just swallowed a lemon.”
“He’s here! Damm bastard is here!”
“Kaito freaking Tenjo! The pitch perfect boy is here!” Mizael’s face literally turned red “And he didn’t even recognize me!”
“Look, it has been years since that day, maybe you should just let it go already.”
“Hell I will! I won’t let him forget what he did!”
“Do what you want…” Alito sighed as he headed back to the counter “You can bitch about it for however long you want, but it won’t change the fact that he had all the right to leave the track team in elementary school. Hell he was better on his own than all of us together.”
The conversation left Mizael anything but calm, in fact it even pissed him off more than he already was. He continued to stare in direction that Kaito and others went, determined to go get him as soon as the movie was over and his shift was done. Until then he’ll have to endure more of the way too familiar smell of buttery popcorn and serve more customers. Alito on the other hand was handling the drinks and snacks to a group of girls with such a charm that one of them nearly fainted. Mizael had an urge to blurt out to all other girls that approached his classmate that the tanned teen had eyes on someone already and went unleashing his anger on a sack of corn in the machine that popped almost as intensely as his nerves.
On the parking spot of the movie theatre someone else was about to have teen love crisis. One boy wrapped in a coat and scarf awaited another one who arrived there with a motorcycle.
“You surely took your sweet ass time getting here, Ryoga. My fanservice nearly left me by the time you finally appeared.” Thomas grumbled while purple haired boy was in the process of removing his helmet.
“Not my fault Rio took so long to get ready for her date and even once she was ready she complained I was going too fast.”
“A date you say?” Thomas raised his eyebrows in seducing manner “Which guy won the heart of my very first crush? A guy who can offer even more fanservice than me?”
“Hate to say it, but you lost to a thirteen year old girl.”
“Don’t tell me she was actually serious when she said she had hots for Kotori!? Oh no, the puppet gods have forsaken me!”
“Shut it drama queen, I’m right here. As her brother and your boyfriend.”
“Yes yes, I’m so lucky that Rio has a twin that is nearly as hot as herself.”
“What do you mean by nearly?” Shark practically pouted when pulling after Thomas’ collar.
“Relax, I’m just teasing. You’re obviously the hottest… OH MY GOD, Seto Kaiba is in this movie!” Thomas nearly screamed when seeing the movie poster “I had no idea that sexy asshole stars in Dark Side of Dimensions!”
Ryoga just sighed while dragging Thomas away from the movie poster so they could get tickets in time. They quickly fetched a couple of drinks and bunch of snacks, including corn chips with a load of melted nacho cheese and then got into auditorium before all the commercials ended. Ryoga was about to lean back in the comfortable seat when a familiar strand of pink haired at the front seats attracted his attention.
“Isn’t that Michael?” Ryoga nudged it to Thomas.
“I doubt it, baby bro wouldn’t go to theatre by himself since… HOLY HELL it is him!”
“He doesn’t seem to be alone…” Shark tried to look more closely “I can’t see who is with, but he’s definitely there with someone.”
“This explains why he would keep nagging me for an opinion of how he looked in various outfits…” Thomas thought when realization suddenly hit him “He’s on a date!”
“Shhhh, shut your trap before he and the rest of movie theatre hears you.”
“He didn’t say a word about it… what if he’s out with some creep?!” the teen was ready to stand up and go check it for himself before he was pulled back by Shark.
“For goodness sakes, just sit down, eat your nachos and watch the damn movie! Whoever he’s with seemed about his age and the last time I checked Michael has more brain than you do, Mr. fanservice.”
“Fine, but if there’s any kissing, she or he will have to answer to me!” Thomas still wouldn’t back off, glaring at the mysterious person talking with his younger brother.
“You’re unbelievable.” Shark sighed as he took a sip of his coke.
At last the movie began and all the people went quiet instantly, starting to chew on the popcorn and pointing their eyes at the projection. Yuma’s eyes beamed from excitement since it has been a while since he was at the movies and the opening scene surely shook entire movie auditorium into an awe. For the next hour and a half, the two teens followed a plot of ancient spirits trapped in artefacts discovered by main characters who were pulled in an action packed story full of decisions and unexpected plot twists.
At one point Michael reached into a shared paper bowl with popcorn, his eyes too focused on the movie to realize there wasn’t much of it left. Blindly picking around the burnt grains of corn on the bottom, Michael suddenly felt something much softer than a fistful of popcorn.
It was Yuma’s hand.
Ever since the day the two of them became friends, Michael would hold Yuma’s hand whenever the other boy felt anxious or just needed some comfort. The pink haired boy never saw the hand-holding in any sort of a romantic way, rather a brotherly-like way. Due to growing up with two older brothers and a loving father who would regularly act overprotective towards him, especially after his mother’s death, Michael saw nothing wrong with showing family affection to Yuma. The black haired boy was always ok with it since he found it easier to open up to his friend and gradually breaking out of his shell.
But why did he felt butterflies in his stomach and his heart beating to the point that his chest hurt? Whatever it was, it was certainly different from when his brothers would hold his hand. He knew he allowed Yuma to call him after his family nickname, but was the other boy really just a close friend to him?
“III? Are you alright?” Yuma turned towards Michael once he realized just for how long his hand was being held.
“Yeah… I just remembered something…” he forced a smile as he focused on the movie again “So what was that Diva guy planning again?”
The rest of the movie went on pretty fast and the whole time Michael tried hard not to touch Yuma, not because he was feeling uncomfortable, just a bit unsure due to the feeling in his chest. Towards the end of the movie he even spent more time staring at Yuma’s gleaming eyes as it showed just how much Yuma has changed from the frightened child with empty eyes. Whenever he would try to get closer to his friend, Michael had a weird gut feeling like someone was watching him that disappeared the moment he looked back. Just what was making him feel so uneasy and puzzled?
By the time the credits were rolling, Michael hardly realized that at that point he was so busy watching Yuma’s excited and smiling face that he completely didn’t see how the movie ended. Never mind that, he’ll see it once it will be available on TV.
You could always replay the film after all.
Yuma’s sparkling eyes were a sight that could never been replayed, no matter how beautiful and full of life he looked at that point.
Michael had to be nudged several times by Yuma before he noticed that people were already leaving auditorium, including Kaito whose little brother was hardly walking around. The four of them headed towards the exit since the Tenjo brothers had a train to catch if they wanted to get home in Miami City at a reasonable hour. Still, they had couple more minutes to spare before the two siblings had to leave.
“That made up civilization was pretty interesting. I wonder if it’s based on existing culture or not.” Michael started to distract himself from all the butterflied gathering in his stomach.
“Yeah, the objects had awesome designs too, especially those pyramid shaped ones.” Yuma shouted in excitement that didn’t help his pink haired friend’s bushiness.
“Well, if you’re interested you can check Miami’s High School festival in couple of weeks. A lot of educational institutes will have stands there, including Millennium Research group that actually worked with the producers of the movie.” Kaito added.
“Brother will have a stand too! With rockets and galaxies!” Haruto exclaimed.
“Uh Astronomy based stand? Sounds like something my brother would make.” Michael smiled, remembering all the planetariums that Chris took him to along with all the spaceship models still exhibited in his old room.
“He actually helped me out a lot. Chris wanted to be there too, but he has an exam on that day.” the blond haired reached for his cell phone to show some of the pictures where he was making decorations for the stand.
“Nice!” Yuma checked the pictures of galaxies with an interest “How many stands will be there?”
“Well from what I know, my friend Shun will present his family’s shelter for avian species, couple of girls that I know will have singing workshops, there will be a stand about Fudo technologies, idol Sanagi Chono will perform with the school’s band… I think there will be also a cosplay café, some mini tournaments and tons of other stuff to check out. Uh, there will be also a recreation of Smile Universe event from several years ago.”
“Really?!” Yuma’s eyes beamed even more when he remembered a showed that he enjoyed so much during the time he was in Miami City.
“Members of drama club have been overworking themselves to make it come true. I surely hope no one gets sick from all that work. I’d love to see it.” Kaito nodded, feeling his brother’s body leaning more and more against his leg.
“Yeah, Yusho Sakaki’s show was just amazing!” the black haired boy’s eyes were again filled with sparkles of excitement.
“I should get going. It’s passed the Haruto’s sleeping time and we both have school tomorrow.” Kaito picked up his sleepy brother so the child’s head was leaning against his shoulder “It was nice to see you again Yuma. I hope you make it to the Miami’s High School festival.”
“You too Kaito!” Yuma waved as the two siblings headed towards the train stop.
“Have a safe trip home.” Michael finally found something to say over something that was clearly of Kaito’s and Yuma’s same interest.
Kaito gave them a quick wave before practically running down the staircase with sleeping Haruto in his arms. Though Yuma and Michael weren’t the only ones who saw it.
Hidden behind a stand with upcoming movie dates, Mizael carefully listened to every word that Kaito said. If it weren’t for the two teens he knew by appearances, that were attending Heartland Academy, he would probably give Kaito a speech he’s been putting up together for years. But now that the blond haired was already on a train he couldn’t do much.
“So you’re going to Miami’s High School festival?” Mizael thought while going through his long, now loose, blond hair “I guess I’ll ask Alito and Gilag if I can join them…”
On yet another part of the movie theatre a couple was getting home. Or trying, would be a better way to say it. Ryoga was losing his patience at his boyfriend who couldn’t step away from the poster with life-sized Seto Kaiba.
“I get it okay! You worship Seto Kaiba, can we go now? I rather not drive into some weirdos on the road at this hour.” Ryoga narrowed his eyes when Thomas didn’t appear to hear what he was saying “Oi! We should get going!”
“Just a minute Shark boy.” the other teen pulled out his cell phone for a photo “This selfie with a legend of Duel Monsters and action movies will triple the fanservice on my blog. I can already hear my fangirls screaming.”
The purple haired teen sighed as he sat down on a bench, trying to think of anything that would distract him from his growing temper. At times Thomas would have a talent to push on all of the wrong buttons at once while laughing menacingly. Though fortunately the other teen took the rest of the photos quite fast and was fully ready to jump on Ryoga’s motorcycle as soon as they get on the parking lot.
“I’m sorry it took so long.” Thomas threw his arm around the other teen, leaning close to his lips in order to give him a kiss “You’re still my hottie and the next time I’ll make sure to give you 100% of my attention.”
“Don’t…” Ryoga mumbled, but couldn’t do much when he felt Thomas’ lips on his own.
“Why not? We had a nice date so far and it’s only appropriate we finish it properly.”
“Just stop…” the purple haired teen was clenching his fists now, his temper close to a limit.
“Why? Can’t I give you an affection as your wonderful boyfriend? You make my fanservice going crazy.” Thomas failed to notice just how rapid Ryoga’s breathing was becoming.
In that moment Ryoga outright lost it and grabbed him by his collar. Thomas instantly forgot all about his favourite card game idol and his fans the moment he saw Ryoga’s dark blue eyes filled with so much anger he hardly believed it. And not only anger…
At the edges Thomas could see tears prickling out.
“Don’t go off with kissing, promises and pretty words to avoid our issues. You always do it and I’m sick of it!” Ryoga let go of him as the more tears poured out of his eyes “It’s already hard as it is that you started dating me just because I look like Rio, your dream crush that turned you down the second you asked her out!”
“I hate it, okay! I hate it that you’re treating our relationship like an entertainment! I hate it that you’re drooling over some celebrity you don’t even know in person! I hate it that you don’t pay attention to my feelings!”
Thomas felt like the shards of Ryoga’s broken heart were flying into his own. Was his boyfriend really hurting because of all of this? They’ve been dating for two years now and for Ryoga to explode with such intense emotions before saying anything… it hurt him too. He always thought that the purple haired teen was in a way thinking like his fans, people who enjoyed his blog and loved to see him play Duel Monsters. But not Ryoga. No, his tag duel partner was the right opposite of it, preferring to keep his emotions for himself instead of throwing them on everyone. Come to think of it, Thomas now knew for certain that it wasn’t the fact that Ryoga resembled his twin sister that attracted him.
It was because Ryoga was different.
Without a second thought Thomas pressed his boyfriend close to his chest, no matter how much the other struggled to break free. The tears continued to run down Ryoga’s cheeks the more he cursed over Thomas who remained quiet, taking every word as seriously as he could.
Sooner or later, Ryoga ran out of insults and reasons to hate Thomas, so he just sobbed into his arms while the other teen gently caressed his hair. Then he moved away the locks that were covering Ryoga’s eyes, carefully tucking them behind his ears. And lastly pressed a gentle kiss on his forehead.
Just like on their very first date at the nearly the same spot.
“I’m truly sorry about it… I never took your words seriously. I’m sorry I had to push you to this point in order to realize it.” Thomas continued to hold his boyfriend close “I knew how distant your emotions are… and this doesn’t mean you don’t have them…”
“I guess… it’s sorta my fault too… I always keep them for myself…”
“And you do it for a reason. I have no excuses…”
The two of them eventually found their way to Ryoga’s motorcycle, but when they got on it, home wasn’t where the purple haired teen was headed.
“Do you think Heartland’s Arena is still opened?” Ryoga asked once driving out of the parking lot.
“Considering it’s ran by AIs, I guess so? Why?” Thomas got confused at the mention of place where Duel Monsters tournaments were held.
“I think we both need a duel to clear our thoughts. Even as tag duel partners we have to face each other from time to time.”
“Heh, you got that right.”
Ryoga accelerated towards the stadium looking building as Thomas let out a joyful shout, earning several puzzled glances from passers-by. But they didn’t care. All that mattered was that they get to have a duel with brand new special edition cards they got from the movie theatre.
Michael and Yuma didn’t have much trouble getting home. As soon as Kaito left, the two of them headed straight towards Michael’s house, Yuma amazed by the fact that the pink haired boy lived in such a fancy home. The moment they got in, the black haired instantly went checking out the unique furniture that he knew well from the books about mediaeval times and that was just enough for Michael to excuse himself, saying he needed to use a bathroom, and finally get a break from it all.
It may not seem like it, but the whole way home when Yuma was holding his hand felt both torturous and pleasant. In one way he enjoy it since his heart beat fast and warmed him up, though in the other way his stomach felt like butterflies caused a hurricane in it!
Just what was with all of this? Was he really so deep in love that his body was already reacting to it? And if he was, just what it was suggesting?
“III? Are you in there?” Yuma knocked on the door, sending another tornado of butterflies in his stomach.
“Yeah… do you need anything?” Michael somehow managed to sound decent enough.
“I feel like sleeping already… is it okay if I just fall asleep on the air mattress next to your bed?”
“Sure.” Michael thanked all possible deities that he got everything ready before they went to the movie theatre. If he would have to do it now… boy it would be difficult.
It took him nearly twenty minutes before he calmed down at last and by the sound of quiet breathing, he concluded Yuma was asleep. Slowly he got in his room, slipping in his pyjamas and set his cell phone on quiet. It was eleven already and by his father’s coat and shoes at the doorstep, he guessed he was in the bed too. In a way he wanted Yuma to meet a man who was good friends with his own father, but considering everything that happened that day it could freely wait until a better time.
Pulling covers over his head, Michael hoped a good night sleep would prepare him for the next day when his beating heart and wild butterflies would probably go after him again.
But during the night, Michael woke up due to a dry throat and grumbled at the fact he ate so much salty snacks that evening. With no other choice since his water bottle was empty, the pink haired boy silently headed for the kitchen where he had not one but nearly three glasses of water before he deemed his thirst taken care of for the night. Quietly, so he wouldn’t wake up his father, Michael was about to reach the door leading to his room when lights suddenly turned on.
Quickly covering his mouth before his yelp could wake up the rest of his family, Michael’s green eyes went wide when he saw a familiar figure leaning against the wall.
“Brother!? Why are you up?! It’s like one o’clock in the morning!” Michael asked with unlikely high pitched voice.
“Checking on my baby bro of course.” Thomas grinned.
“Scratch that, weren’t you supposed to be at Ryoga’s place?”
“I was, but I decided to go home.” he coyly stepped around like he was on a fashion runway “What? Can’t I come home whenever I want?”
“It’s not that… just that…”
“You have a friend over, aren’t you?”
“How did you…?!”
“I saw the two of you at the movie theatre. I must say you were pretty close to you know-“ Thomas imitated smooching sounds and pretended to kiss one of his cards that he carried around at all times.
“Brother!” Michael’s cheeks turned bright red “It was nothing like that!”
“Riiiiiiiiight… if that’s true then I’m a unicorn.”
“Seriously, we just went to see the movie since you were too busy to go with me.” the younger sibling looked away since his older brother’s eyes were way to prying into him “What do you want anyway?”
Thomas only nudged at the half-opened doors, revealing a sleeping form of Yuma, all curled up on an air mattress. The face of a black haired boy was peaceful, like the dreams he was seeing were his favorite.
“You love him, don’t you?” Michael blushed even redder at his sibling’s words “Before you ask why, your face is saying it all. You look like a freaking schoolgirl in love whenever I mention him.”
“B-but we really are just friends! Yuma has been through a lot and I’m just trying to help him out!”
“By inviting him on a date that ends in your bedroom?”
“Brother! Stop teasing me already!” the pink haired boy pouted which made Thomas even more daring to tease him.
“Relax, I’m not expecting you to go THIS far on your first night.” the older sibling continued to laugh though soon his expression shifted to more serious one “But seriously… I’ve noticed how much you changed during last few weeks. I might’ve not been home that much… but even I can tell you smile more and that you’re less shy… Is it because of him?”
Michael looked towards his room, staring at the face of a person for whom he never thought he’d develop such strong feelings. He mentally admitted to himself, he first reached out to Yuma because he saw himself in him and wanted to help him out, but now? He began to see him more and more as a person that warmed up his heart, a person whose passion for similar interest was pouring into him… and someone who made him happy in a way no one did before.
“Just tell him how you feel…” Thomas said in a firm tone, remembering Ryoga’s crying face “Today I’ve realized just how important your feelings are in a relationship.”
“Brother…” Michael hardly believed his older sibling would say something as compassionate as that.
“But don’t rush it, hell whatever you do, don’t be too straightforward! Otherwise the guy you’re crazy about will get a wrong idea!”
“What do you suggest then?” the younger sibling crossed his arms “It’s sort of hard to find a way between being blunt and not too straightforward for such serious situation.”
“Geez you got me here…” Thomas sighed, trying to remember more of what Ryoga told him that night.
“I mean… I doubt I’ll have an opportunity to make sure if he’s feeling the same way about me outside school and friendzone… unless we go to Miami City on that festival…”
“That’s it! My baby bro genius, you got it!” the older brother picked his younger one and spun him around “You’ll both get a lot of fun there and plenty of chances to learn more about him! Not to mention I’ll be there too!”
“Yeah, one of the school band’s bassists broke his arm and asked Ryoga if he can cover him on Sanagi Chono’s concert, so naturally I’m going too.”
“Will you really help me out? Not just tease me?”
“Believe me, after this night I’ll probably think twice before I joke around anyone.”
“Did something happen between you and Ryoga?”
“You could… say that, but it doesn’t matter right now.” Thomas playfully ruffled Michael’s hair “Now go catch some shuteye before your love life affects your grades!”
“Okay, this was the last time I tease you today. Now go to bed already!”
Despite all of it, Michael grinned at his brother and headed for his bed. Just before getting in, he crouched down on Yuma’s level, watching his calm face. Whispering so quiet that only he heard himself, Michael said those few sentences.
“I’m afraid to say it… but my feelings for you are becoming stronger each day…”
Michael fixed the blanket so Yuma was properly covered up.
“Yuma… will you ever see me more… than your friend?”