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For Better or Worse

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[You said: “Go slow, I fall behind”.

The second hand unwinds.]

 

Takeru had always had a peculiar relationship with Kimito.

They’ve known each other for a long time, they had worked together often, and with time they had become friends.

Yet there was something between them he couldn’t really explain, and every time they were together he felt like the younger one hid something from him, that he felt uncomfortable in his presence.

And until all had kept on the level of a simple friendship, not even a particularly deep one, he hadn’t even cared too much to find out what was the reason behind his silence.

When things had changed, when they had changed, he couldn’t ignore it anymore, and he almost regretted allowing their relationship to grow to that point.

He reached toward him, wrapping the sheet around his own hips and resting the chin on his chest, staring him in the eyes.

“So?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“So what?” the younger one asked, his voice placid as usual, brushing his hair from his face, uncomfortable.

Takeru sighed, sitting up next to him.

“What are you thinking about?” he tried a direct approach, hoping finally to be able to tear down the wall between them.

It was starting to annoy him, very much so, because he was beginning to like Kimito more than he had thought he could in a first time.

He needed to know if it was the same for him.

Totani shrugged, torturing his fingers. He kept quiet for a long time, but Takeru wasn’t going to help him speak up until he would’ve decided to do so.  

He was tired.

“Nothing in particular. It’s just that...” he started explaining. “It feels weird, that’s all. You and me together. I mean, since we’ve joined the agency you and I have always gone on our ways in parallel, but then...” he paused again, sighing, and the older one started to get where this was going.

He pulled back almost instinctively, even though no accusation had been pronounced yet.

“And then?” he asked, raising an eyebrow, defensive.

“Then you’ve skipped all the steps, and I’ve felt left behind. I’m not jealous or something, you’re good and you deserve what you have. But...” he forced a smile, shaking his head. “I’ve felt second-rate. That’s all.”

Takeru would’ve willingly laughed, if the bitterness in Kimito’s words hadn’t touched his Achilles’ heel.

Time had left a void between them, and the younger one was perfectly right about that. It was a void that Takeru didn’t wish to be there, that he hadn’t created on purpose, and that he had always hoped with all his strengths the others could ignore.

Kimito more than the others, since now he was with him in his bed, staring at him with such sad eyes that Takeru felt like ripping them off his face.

“Kimi...” he whispered, hearing an irritated note in his voice that he hadn’t meant, but that it was almost natural. He took a deep breath. “It’s never been my intention making you feel put aside, leaving you behind or who knows what else.” he explained, simply, because he had felt so damn hurt by his words that right now he didn’t have any intentions to tell him something to make him feel better.

Kimito must’ve caught his hostility, and seemed to take note.

He shrugged, laying under the covers and turning his back on him, whispering a barely audible good night before turning off the light, without saying another word.

Takeru kept staring at his back for a while, pondering.

He could’ve told him how wrong he was.

How little he felt he deserved all that had happened to him and all the chances he’d gotten, how much he wished all of those chances could’ve been there for them too, for him too.

But Totani wasn’t going to understand, like he had just proven he didn’t understand much about him.

Takeru was disappointed.

Disappointed from that desire he had felt for him, and from the way that desire had just broken into pieces, showing itself as an illusion, showing him that the wall between them was insurmountable.

And all because of a slight miscalculation from Kimito, and it hurt him more than he was willing to admit.

He wished he could’ve told him how second-rate he felt, but he wasn’t going to.

He wasn’t going to move a finger to make feel better someone who had made him feel worse than he already did.