"Do it for her," Yuki said, and Kyo did. And the contact made him feel just a bit better, almost— but not quite— against his will.
It was the storm messing with him. That was why his stomach felt fidgety and his head fuzzy, why Tohru’s reaction didn’t make him feel that embarrassed.
Yet somehow, there’s no return to normalcy after that. The whole hugging Yuki thing has stopped being something Kyo does for Tohru. He can't pinpoint where the tipping point was, but the realization that there has been one is like a punch to the gut.
Yuki, miraculously, doesn’t ask why Kyo's started initiating more embraces, more often than when Tohru's around. Maybe because he was the first, after the storm hug, to become more tactile. A nudge to Kyo’s shoulder here, a brief touch on his arm there. (He even gave Kyo a sleep hug once recently, when he emerged from his room just as Kyo was passing by. That was awkward. Something possessed him to cart Yuki downstairs with him and plonk him by the table instead of just leaving him in a heap outside his door; Tohru was none the wiser when she came downstairs.)
There’s also the fact that, ironically enough, the two of them are the only ones that can do this for each other. Well. That’s not entirely true; if Kyo asked Kagura she’d jump at the chance. Kisa would probably let him, too (a small smile lights his face at that).
But he doesn’t want Kagura to hug him. And deep down the kind of hug he wants isn’t what Kisa should or could give him. Because he doesn’t want touch for the sake of touch, even if he maybe needs it. He wants the emotion that comes with it. The emotion that he feels for Tohru, the same one he dares not hope she might hold for him.
What’s changed? Why can’t he even say "love" in his head, now? He nearly sighs about it, but catches himself.
“My arm’s falling asleep,” Yuki says next to him. He says it quietly, since he's pretty close to Kyo's ear.
“Yeah, okay.” Flinching internally as Yuki's arms slip away from around his shoulders, he puts distance between them quickly, gritting his teeth with the effort of wrecking the train of thought.
Instead, the train speeds up.
It’s just a convenience. Safety. That’s all.
Safe? He feels safe with—?
No. Nope. Not happening.
He bolts up from the table and occupies himself with looking for a snack.
"I'm feeling better too," Yuki calls, sounding snide.
"Shut up," he calls back, "I'm hungry, okay?"
When Yuki announces a few minutes later that he's off to pick up Tohru, Kyo stumbles out of the kitchen with milk bottle in hand. “I’ll go with you,” he says, and thank god he doesn’t sound as desperate as he feels. He needs to move, to not be alone, because if he’s stuck with his thoughts he’s going to wreck the entire house and then he’ll have to explain—
Yuki raises an eyebrow.
“Maybe she’s—" He takes one last slug of milk, then goes to return the bottle. "Maybe she's tired of seeing your face all the time instead of mine, or hell, the rabbit’s,” he says, charging past Yuki to get to the door and his shoes.
"Maybe so. Well, don't hold me up."
"Don't hold me up." He's too agitated to register the laughter in Yuki's voice, to realize his own doesn't hold the bite he intends, and he gets all the way down the steps before Yuki catches up.
They don't talk on the way there, but the fresh air and the noises of nature and the city arrest him enough to stop his thoughts from racing. And when they meet Tohru, her beaming smile burns away everything clouding his mind.
Does Yuki get to see that smile every night?
After that, going together to walk Tohru back home becomes another wordless change in their routine.
It happens on one of those walks. Yuki’s nattering on about something—that Black Pot Ranger whatever-the-hell guy on the student council—and Kyo doesn’t even think, just grabs him by the shoulder and kisses him.
The action isn't completely out of the blue. It's a dam breaking. A result of what's been building inside of him ever since Tohru had that idea, and even then it was more of a catalyst, dragging something long buried in him up, inch by inch, to the surface.
Everything comes back to her.
The worst thing is Yuki never lets on how he feels about any of this, and Kyo is too much of a coward to ask. Because if he asked, he could ruin everything. Because just asking would put a spotlight on the morass of emotions that have been weighing him down, a spotlight on one emotion in particular that he can't even admit the possibility of feeling even when it's clogging up his lungs.
When, after he'd dropped Tohru off at work for once, he'd ended up accidentally walking home with Yuki, and they'd studied together, that was another crack. He sat just close enough to make Kyo start to wonder; their fingers brushed by when Kyo reached for the eraser; he felt so overheated he didn't know how Yuki couldn't feel it. That was painful, to see hints of reciprocation when it was only wishful thinking. It was a wonder he'd managed to get anything done before they left to get Tohru.
Then she was between them, the way it was supposed to be.
And the dam weakened further.
Kyo moves in and pulls away in the same second, the headlights of the passing cars a reason to avoid looking at Yuki’s face.
The way his name sounds digs into his ribs. "Sorry," he says, except he's not really, but it's the thing to say. "Sorry, shit, I'm a fucking mess, I just," and he's babbling but he has to do something other than kiss him again—
(Yuki had called that endearing—)
Yuki's hand on his shoulder is like a bucket of water. "Are you sure," he says, slowly and evenly, "that kiss was meant for me?"
He said the word so easily. Has he been thinking abou— "Wh-Why would I kiss you if I want to kiss her?"
If there had been any emotion on his face, it's gone now. "For the same reason you hug me."
He is utterly gobsmacked, frozen into inaction. He stares, and Yuki stares back, and traffic rushes by.
"That's fucking stupid," he finally, finally yells. "You're an idiot! Tohru's Tohru, and you're you, and there's no way you actually think I can't tell the difference, so what the hell?! If you have a problem with it then why have you been hugging me?"
"It's getting late," Yuki says, voice full-on Prince now. He starts walking. "She'll be waiting too long."
"No, you don't." He kicks hard at the guardrail and catches up, grabbing him by the collar. "You're not walking away from this."
"Let go of me."
He grips harder. "Or. What."
"Or I m-might," and the wobble in his voice makes Kyo's hold loosen, "I might do something I'm not ready to do."
Kyo releases him.
Yuki smiles mirthlessly. "I'm not as brave as you are."
"What are you talking about?" he says with a scoff. "I'm a coward."
Yuki's expression changes then, enough to make Kyo feel like shrinking away. For some ungodly reason, he doesn't. He watches as Yuki's face moves closer to his, and he realizes he's holding his breath right before Yuki kisses him back.
The air tastes sweeter when he breathes it in after.
"I guess," says Yuki, "I was ready after all."
A breeze shakes Kyo out of his stupor, only for still new muscle memory to kick in. He pulls Yuki to him and hugs him close, heart beating achingly fast. "Idiot," he mutters fiercely, shutting his eyes tightly. "You're an idiot."
"Yeah. I am."
"We need to talk. Maybe."
"But..." He lets go only to grip Yuki's shoulders, meeting his eyes unsteadily. A mistake. He wants to do a million things; he wants to run down the street, he wants to hold Yuki's hand (!!!), he wants to kick his own ass for waiting so long, he wants to know why him, why now?
Her name sounds so tentative. It makes his chest prickle. "Yeah, Tohru,” he says with resolve, and he squeezes Yuki's hand, and his chest prickles more at the light that brings to his eyes. "Let’s get going." Then he turns and takes one step, and another.
He looks over his shoulder when Yuki doesn't fall into step beside him; he's just watching, the setting sun beginning to smudge his outline.
Kyo steps back. “Let's go bring her home with us." He holds out a hand.
Yuki blinks. Then, ever so slowly, he reaches, until their fingers are entwined.
Kyo faces forward before his smile is visible.