"Setagawa?" Hasekura called staring down at his friend who was laying half asleep on his desk.
"Yes Hasekura?" He groaned in response, his reply slightly muffled due to his position.
"Come with me, we need to talk," Hasekura demanded in his usual agitated tone, reserved just for Masahiro.
Moaning in response Masahiro lifted his head off the desk and slowly stood up; following Hasekura who had begun to walk out of the classroom. The pair walked in total silence Masahiro trailing slightly behind Hasekura not particularly paying attention to where he was being taken. Masahiro recognised the familiar stairs leading to the roof of the school, relishing in the cool wind that hit his face. Hasekura sat leaning against the fence and Masahiro followed suit.
"What was it you wanted to talk about?" Masahiro questioned.
"About you and Kousuke..." He trailed off, "Is everything okay between you two?"
Masahiro let out a shakey laugh, "Why so concerned Hasekura?" He replied, "Nothing's wrong."
"Then how did you get those bruises around your wrist?" Hasekura responded bluntly, staring down at the bruises littering Masahiro's wrist, revealed when his shirt sleeve had rode up.
"You think Kousuke did this?" Masahiro once again let put a pained laugh, "No," He continued, "This wasn't Kousuke."
"Who's hurting you? Does Kousuke know about this?" Hasekura's voice softened slightly, the only evidence of his concern for his friend's well-being.
"No Hasekura, he doesn't know and anyway it's not important." He stated bluntly.
"Seta- Masahiro, I know we haven't been friends for long and you like to deal with things by yourself and suffer alone, but I can't just do nothing." He answered.
"Please don't." Masahiro pleaded, "Don't tell Ken or Kousuke, really I can handle this by myself."
"Judging by those bruises you clearly can't," Hasekura retorted.
"I don't want anyone else hurt because of me," He murmered.
"What do you mean?" Hasekura asked confused.
"If I tell... they'll hurt anyone who tries to help me too," Mashiro explained staring down at his hands which were splayed out in his lap.
"Masahiro, trust me on this. Kousuke, Ken and I can help you, okay? C'mon I'll take you to Kousuke now," He exclaimed standing up.
"No no no, we can't, please Hasekura," Masahiro stood up his worry evident.
"It will be okay I promise, now let's go," Hasekura placed his hand lightly on Masahiro's back and guided him out the door and down the stairs despite Masahiro's reluctance.
The journey to the teacher's lounge was short, Hasekura's hand remaining on Masahiro's back the entire time, offering comfort typically reserved for Kensuke. The nearer they got to the lounge, the more anxious Masahiro became, his usual deadpan expression becoming one of distress and internal conflict. Masahiro waited behind Hasekura as he knocked on the door and upon seeing only Kousuke was in the lounge, gently pushed Masahiro inside in front of him, closing the door behind him. Sensing something wasn't right based on his boyfriend's expression Kousuke patiently waited for one of the boys to speak.
"Go on," Hasekura gently encouraged, "Show Kousuke."
Masahiro flushed slightly embarrassed and feeling like a child, but reluctantly lifted the sleeves of his shirt revealing the bruises. The bruises went all the way up his harm which shocked both Kousuke and Hasekura.
"'Hiro, who did this?" Kousuke asked calmly, approaching his boyfriend and softly placed his hands atop his shoulders, feeling as they shook slightly.
Seeing he was hesitant to reply Hasekura spoke up, "He wouldn't say who did it, only that he feared we would get hurt too if he told anyone."
Kousuke nodded in thanks before replying, "I'm going to take Masahiro know and let reception know I am doing so, I'll claim he's sick," He explained, "Thank you for bringing him to me, please give an excuse to Ken we'll explain things to him later."
Hasekura nodded his understanding, glancing at Masahiro softly before leaving, closing the door quietly behind him.
Upon Hasekura's leave Masahiro burst into tears, leaning his head forward to hide against his boyfriend's chest. Kousuke stroked his hair softly with one hand and gently embraced the blonde with the other. They stood like that for a while, disregarding that at any point someone could walk in. Kousuke was more focused on calming his boyfriend down before proceeding any further. As Masahiro began to calm, his sobs turned to sniffling and his shaking ceased. Kousuke could feel the anxiety leave his body, feeling some relief from the fact he was able to calm him to some extent. Masahiro slowly lifted his head from where it had been resting, Kousuke's arms coming to fall by his sides.
"Let's get you home, yeah?" Kousuke suggested smiling softly.
Masahiro nodded in response, quickly wiping his eyes out of embarrassment. He followed his boyfriend out of the lounge and kept his head down as they walked down the corridor towards the reception, not wanting anyone to see him in such a state. Upon reaching the reception Kousuke had Masahiro sit in a chair as he went towards the front desk to sign him out of school and explain he had suddenly fallen ill. The receptionist nodded in understanding and smiled sympathetically at Masahiro, offering to let the other teachers know that Kousuke would need a substitute to teach his afternoon classes. Kousuke thanked the receptionist for her kindness before gently leading Mashiro out the door and towards the staff car park.
When in the car Masahiro curled in on himself on the seat still feeling embarrassed and anxious, Kousuke offering a hand for him to hold which Masahiro took after a few moments of hesitation. Kousuke squeezed his hand softly in reassurance before silently driving towards the Ooshiba residence, keeping his own anxiety at bay. Once at home and settled on the couch, Masahiro leaning against Kousuke's side they began to talk.
"'Hiro... Can you tell me exactly what happened?" Kousuke prompted.
"He, he found out Kousuke," Masahiro started, "They know about us."
"Someone knows we're together?" Kousuke interpreted and Masahiro nodded, "And they hurt you because of this?" He asked and again Masahiro nodded.
"It's not just because you're my teacher Kousuke, he ugh, he didn't approve of two men being together." Masahiro explained.
"Oh 'Hiro." Kousuke sighed pained, "You should have come straight to me, I could have helped you sooner."
Masahiro teared up upon hearing that, "But he said he would hurt you, Ken and Hasekura too," He stated, "It's common knowledge that Ken and Hasekura are a couple... But I guess I was the easy target."
Kousuke kissed his forehead gently, "Thank you for telling me... now can you say who he is?"
Masahiro was silent and leaned his head upon Kousuke's chest, turning his head into it, displaying a rare amount of vulnerability, "Toru."
"Your old gang leader? I thought he liked you a lot?" Kousuke asked slightly confused.
"Yeah well, that was up until he found out..." Masahiro trailed off.
"We'll sort this Masahiro, you don't have to be scared anymore." Kouske assured him causing Masahiro to smile slightly, "Now, are you injured anywhere other than your arms?"
Masahiro nodded softly in response, "My back, chest and legs. He hit and kicked the places people wouldn't see," He explained, "There's just bruises and a few cuts and scrapes, he didn't want to hurt me badly enough for it to be noticeable."
Kousuke nodded in understanding, lifting Masahiro's chin gently so his eyes would meet his own, before giving him a soft kiss on the lips before speaking, "Let's clean you up and get you comfortable; I'll run you a bath."
Masahiro smiled as Kouske stood with him in his arms, "Thank you Kousuke... I love you."
"I love you too 'Hiro," Kousuke replied, smiling brightly as he carried his boyfriend up the stairs.