Tommy didn't know when he'd fallen in love with Kira.
He remembered thinking 'What a cute boy!' when they'd first met, and how amazed he was when he watched Kira smoothly danced out the moves demonstrated by Tesshi. He recalled how shocked he was when Kira revealed to the boys his true arrogant personality, and how everything the blond had thought of his polite attitude before had seemed like a lie. He reminisced how delighted he was when Kira became more outgoing, and was willing to play with him.
Maybe that's where it began. The moment Kira began spending time with him.
That was a sweet memory. It was the day after the AIR BOYS play, and Tommy had burst into the break room, carrying a stack of paper in one hand. Kira wasn't there at that time.
"It's a drawing competition for designing T-Shirts!" he explained excitedly. "I've brought enough for all five of us!"
Kakeru, Makki and Shun weren't as excited, though, when Tommy handed each of them a sheet.
"Um..." Kakeru said awkwardly, "I'm not that good at drawing."
Makki struggled to read the kanji, "'Jungle'... 'theme'?"
"This literally says that it's for kids, Tommy," Shun told the blond.
"Well, it never said that teens couldn't participate!"
"Actually, it does," Makki said. He had taken Shun's glasses and used it to magnify the fine print on the corner of the sheet. He read it out loud and clear, "'Participants must be twelve years or below.'"
"So, there are some kanji you can read," Shun muttered. Makki swatted the redhead's face with the paper.
Tommy's enthusiasm was dissipating. "Okay, maybe it does, but that doesn't matter!" he tried to raise his and the others' spirits. "Let's do it for fun!"
Shun yawned sleepily. "Too much trouble."
"You should show this to the kids at the orphanage," Kakeru suggested. "They'll definitely be interested."
Makki picked up a lyric sheet for Hollywood Rules 1-2-5. "I wanna memorize the last few lyrics of our song."
Disappointed by their lack of interest, Tommy said quietly, "I guess I'll ask Kira instead..."
Every trace of exhaustion left Shun when he heard that. "Dude, that guy will roast you. I'm not even sure if he knows how to have fun."
"Seriously!" Makki said, putting down his lyric sheet. "One time, I was trying to feed Cat, Kira told me, 'That's the manager's job. You're supposed to be an idol. Act like one.'"
Kakeru looked at Makki sympathetically. "That's...harsh."
The idea of Kira not knowing how to have fun made Tommy say, "That's not harsh. That's just super sad."
"I think rude is the right word," Shun corrected him.
"Like you're one to talk!" Makki muttered. This earned him an elbow to his side.
"I'm still gonna ask him!" Tommy told them. The boys had decided not to say anything against his decision.
Right on cue, Kira entered the room, and noticed that the others staring at him. "What?" he asked.
"Kira-kun!" Tommy sprung on the shorter teen. Kira stepped back in surprise. "Would you like to draw a shirt design?" He showed him the participation sheet. "Uh... It's actually meant for children, but I thought it'd be fun to try anyway."
As Kira examined the sheet of paper, Kakeru, Makki and Shun watched with anticipation, waiting for Kira to admonish Tommy's childishness.
"Okay," Kira nonchalantly answered.
Makki and Shun were shocked. "Huh?!"
Kakeru and Tommy were speechless.
"What?" Kira asked again, this time with more surprise.
"Uh, well," Kakeru cleared his throat before explaining, "we're kinda surprised you agreed."
Makki stood up. "Yeah! I thought you didn't know how to have fu--!" Shun jabbed the leader in the hip to shut him up.
"Isn't this the moment where you snap at Tommy and tell him to do something worthwhile?" Shun asked as Makki crumpled beside him.
Hearing all of that, Kira bit his lip and looked away. Tommy assumed that Kira felt insulted.
He tried to defend the younger boy, "Guys, that's not very nice."
But Kira shook his head. "No, it's true. I...don't really know how to have fun and...I never really got a chance to throughout my life. So, I want to try having fun now." He looked away again. "I want to start with...well..." Kira fumbled.
Tommy suggested an answer. "Being our friend?"
Kira blushed slightly and tried to hide his face behind the sheet of paper. "Uh, I meant to say 'hang out with you guys'..."
"You didn't even need to ask," Tommy replied happily and pulled Kira into a hug.
"Yeah!" Makki whooped as he got up. "Group hug!" He rushed over to join Tommy and Kira.
"Eh?!" Kira said, blushing harder as Makki hugged him too. "Wait, stop! This is embarrassing!"
"Well, let's make it more embarrassing," Shun said, smirking. "C'mon, Kakeru."
Kakeru just smiled apologetically, but he also got up to join the group hug.
"This feels so stupid, and dumb, and--HNNGH!" Kira whimpered uncomfortably, but he eventually melted into the hug.
Then, Makki said, "Okay! Now, I feel pumped up! Let's design some T-Shirts! Tommy, gimme a sheet!"
After Makki said that, Shun wanted to join too, and so did Kakeru. Tommy, overjoyed, quickly took out his colour pencils from his schoolbag.
That was a great memory. The most distant member of Shounen Hollywood had brought them all together.
Tommy's admiration for Kira kept growing from there on.
He was excited when Kira willingly joined him in pranking the other boys during the summer camp, happy to give Kira a piggyback ride when he requested it, and grateful whenever Kira gave him advice and support.
Now, Tommy's heart was full to bursting. Just what will he do with these feelings?
That was the only time the blond cursed his occupation, because idols are forbidden to love.
"Why can't idols love?" Makki asked casually.
Everybody halted their activities. Tommy, who was straightening up his locker, couldn't seem to bring himself to remove his head from the metal box.
"What kind of stupid question is that?" Kira asked back, sounding rather offended, placing his pen down beside a stack of autographed photos.
Shun, after swallowing a packet of fruitcake, joined in. "You're an idol yourself and you wanna ask that question?"
Makki tried to phrase his question differently, "I mean, I know why idols can't love but why can't we be in a relationship and still belong to everyone else?"
"Because," Kira answered sharply, "being in a relationship will break the illusion of belonging to everyone, since you already belong to someone else."
"Fans can be pretty extreme, huh?" Makki said, shaking his head forlornly.
Kakeru, who had been surfing the net with his phone, winced. "Was...this what made you ask, Makki?"
He held up his phone, which had a video playing on its screen. It was a recording of a young woman with what seemed to be a recently shaved head. The aforementioned woman was crying and apologizing profusely.
"That's the video!" Makki responded excitedly. "The one about the idol who had to shave her head because she was caught dating!"
Shun leaned forward to see the video. He blanched at the sight. "Damn, that's just sad."
"I know, right?" Makki said, slamming both hands on the table. "To shave off all your hair just because you're in a relationship is just too cruel as a punishment!"
Kira had returned to signing photos. "Aren't punishments supposed to be cruel?"
Shun looked at Kira with an expression of slight disbelief. "Aren't you being kind of cruel?"
"Well, she did disobey her contract," Kira replied coldly. He held the pen up to his chin thoughtfully. "Okay, maybe the head-shaving part was a bit too much. What did her boyfriend get, though?"
Kakeru turned his phone back to himself. "Um... The boyfriend was another idol who had his lead role in a TV drama withdrawn and his fan club dissolved."
"No head-shaving at all," Shun concluded.
"I guess guys have it easier..." Kakeru muttered. "I don't know whether to think of it as good or bad."
"It's awful, that's what!" Makki exclaimed. "I mean, how can love be a crime? Why can't it be like in America, where relationships are supported between celebrities? Right, Tommy?"
Tommy flinched at the sound of his stage name. He slowly extricated himself from the locker. "Well... I think you should be ready to handle years of no dating if you want to be an idol."
"You said it, dude," Kira mockingly cheered.
"The head-shaving part is still terrible, though."
"That's right!" Makki grabbed both of Tommy's shoulders. "Public apologies are totally unnecessary too!"
"But I'm sure Tesshi and the president would never make us do that!" Tommy said hopefully. "Because they would always protect us!"
"Not if you've already been fired," Kira deadpanned.
Shun turned to Kira. "Don't you think you're being a little too negative today?"
Kira harshly capped his pen and slammed it onto the table harder than Makki had earlier. He stood up and gathered his just-autographed photos. "I'm taking these to the part-timers," he said before leaving the break room.
"O-kay..." Shun said, stretching the word. He looked at Makki and Kakeru. "What happened yesterday?" He was referring to the day when Makki, Kakeru and Kira arrived at the theatre so late that they were just in time for the show.
"Um..." Kakeru fumbled. He turned to Makki.
"Uh..." Makki avoided eye contact with everyone else.
Despite their reluctance, the two oldest members were able to tell Shun and Tommy the whole story- about Miss Black Coffee.
"So, he's bitter?" Shun summarized their explanation. "As bitter as black coffee? Because he couldn't get the girl he wanted?"
"I think it's more like," Makki tried to search for the correct words, "he's trying to be more... disciplined?"
Kakeru realized that Makki wouldn't do a good job explaining the problem. "Kira nearly got himself in trouble because he let his feelings overtake his priorities. He knows what he could've caused by doing so. He could've gotten fined or fired, the two of us would also be in trouble for being acquainted, and Miss Black Coffee would probably be attacked by the media. He's just trying to make sure he doesn't make the same mistakes."
Tommy looked out of the door where Kira exited. "So, Kira's never going to try to love again?"
"After being rejected, I bet he'll do his best to hold back," Shun said, shaking his head sympathetically. "Still, he was the last person I'd expect to attempt to break the love ban."
"Yeah," Makki agreed. "I actually expected it to be you, Shun."
Shun grabbed the cover of the treat box and slapped it across Makki's face. Meanwhile, Kakeru realized that Tommy was still looking out of the door.
"Tommy?" Kakeru called the blond. Tommy flinched. The older teen noticed that, and spoke much gentler, "Tommy, what's wrong?"
Tommy answered hesitantly, "It's..." He paused and shook his head. Turning around, he said with a small yet sad smile, "It's nothing."
It was ten minutes until the boys had to go onstage, and they were almost finished changing into their costumes.
Kira was already done and was leaning against his locker, watching his group-mates impatiently. "You're all so slow!"
"What's the rush?" Shun said while slipping on his vest. "We've still got ten minutes."
Kira huffed. "We've been doing this for almost a year and you guys still change your clothes like a bunch of tortoises."
"Sorry, Kira," Shun apologized sarcastically, "but tortoises don't wear clothes."
Makki whooped as he pulled on his white coat. "BURN!"
"Button it, Makki!" Kira snapped at the leader, referring to both the latter's big mouth and costume.
Tommy tried to mediate, "Come on, guys. Let's not fight."
"We only have ten minutes, after all," Kakeru said, even though he was more focused on tying his red kerchief on his arm.
As if it were planned, Tesshi appeared at the door. "Boys, are you all ready?"
"For tonight," Kakeru announced in his usual calm tone and smile, "we're going to discuss about Makki's dancing ability."
"He has really improved, hasn't he?" Kira commented excitedly.
"Yep! Yep!" Tommy agreed cheerily.
Makki chuckled proudly. "Of course, I've improved. I'm the leader of Shounen Hollywood!"
"Really?" Shun said with a doubtful tone. "I think I'm still better than you."
"Oh?" Makki asked slyly. He scooted over to Shun, using his elbow to nudge the latter playfully. "Is Shun-Shun jealous?"
"SHUNSHUN!" the redhead's fans cried in encouragement. "You're still the best to us!"
"There, there, Shun-Shun," Kakeru said, patting the aforementioned boy on the shoulder kindly. "You're still pretty great. Right, everyone?" he asked the audience, holding his microphone out to them.
"SHUNSHUN IS PRETTY AND GREAT!" the fangirls replied.
"EEEEH?" Makki said with an upset expression. "What about me?"
"You're a great dancer, too, Makki," Kakeru told him.
Makki hugged Kakeru in response. "You're so nice, Kakeru! I love you!"
The audience gasped.
Makki quickly released Kakeru, saying, "Eh, no! This isn't romantic! Hugs can be platonic, okay?"
"OKAY!" the audience answered happily.
"Hm, what's this?" Shun said, looking at Kakeru with a cat-like grin. "Kakeru's blushing? Are you embarrassed, Kakeru?"
"Well," Kakeru said, looking away shyly, "Makki's kinda warm."
"No, I'm not!"
The fans exploded with excitement. "I WANT A HUG FROM MAKKI TOO!"
"Wow!" Tommy said, listening to the audience. "A hug from Makki must be nice."
"Hm? Do you wanna be hugged as well, Tommy?" Kira asked the older male.
"Yeah!" Tommy replied chirpily. "Could you--"
Makki suddenly appeared between the two members and swept them into a single bear hug. "Here we go! Since you two are so cute, I'll give you both a big hug!"
"Thank you!" Tommy said as he pressed his head against the oldest member's shoulder.
"Kakeru's right!" Kira said. "Makki really is warm!"
That night, the fans' laughter was the loudest.
"Makki, you hug too hard!" Kira complained while massaging his arms.
It was after the show and the boys were changing out of their costumes. As usual, Kira was already done.
"Did I hug too hard?" Makki asked Kakeru.
"I don't think you hugged that hard," Kakeru said. "What about you, Tommy?"
"Me?" Tommy inspected his body. "I'm fine."
"Admit it, Kira," Shun said as he stripped off his white dress shirt. "You're weak."
Kira glared at him, and told Makki, "Hey, Shun's the only one you haven't hugged."
"Ah, that's true!" Makki said, side-eyeing Shun gleefully. He put down the shirt he was going to wear and immediately approached the redhead.
"Ack! No way!" Shun refused Makki, but the latter hugged him anyway. "GYAAAH! Stop, Makki! You're so gross and sweaty! I'll get you for this, Kira!" he vowed.
Nearby, Kira was giggling evilly. Suddenly, something pressed onto him.
"Tommy?!" the brunet cried when he realized the blond was hugging him. "What're you doing?"
"I'm avenging Shun!" Tommy replied with a sneaky grin. "Here we go!" he said as he carried Kira off his feet and swung him left and right.
"WAAAH!" Kira squealed as he kicked around in Tommy's grasp. "Tommy! Quit it! You're really sweaty, too!"
"Yeah, go Tommy!" Shun cheered as he pushed Makki away from him. "Show him my pain!"
Truth be told, Tommy just wanted an excuse to hug Kira. Before Makki hugged them onstage, Tommy was almost going to ask Kira to hug him. Now that he had the chance, Tommy wrapped his arms tighter around Kira and held the boy closer to his face until he could actually smell his hair.
It smelled like cherries.
"Tommy!" Kira whined. "Let me go!"
The blond snapped out of his cherry-scented fantasy. "Okay, okay," he said as he released Kira.
Kira held his sides, groaning, "That really hurt, y'know!"
"Wha--?! I'm sorry!" Tommy quickly apologized. Hurting the person he loved was the last thing he'd want to do.
The person he loved.
Just by thinking that, Tommy turned red.
"Ugh, Makki!" Shun said, groaning too. "Are you trying to break my back?!"
"What? I didn't even hug that hard!" Makki replied defiantly.
"Admit it, Shun," Kira said, his voice dripping with sass. He repeated the redhead's previous insult, "You're weak."
Sometimes, Tommy would wonder how he could've actually gained feelings for Kira, especially considering his nasty-as-hell attitude.
The next day, Tommy had cleaning duty with Kakeru. The former had chosen to clean the lounging area while the latter went to tidy up the break room. When the blond entered the lounge area though, he found Kira sleeping on the sofa.
The brown-haired boy was still in his school uniform and was using his schoolbag as a pillow. He had curled up his body to fit inside the sofa. Tommy doubt that position was comfortable.
Still, it was odd to find the strict-and-strident Kira napping. Tommy wondered if he should wake him up. Looking at Kira's innocent sleeping face, Tommy decided to leave him the way he is.
Tommy began to sweep the floor, trying his best to do it quietly and neatly to avoid waking up Kira or making him sneeze. Then, he wiped the coffee table. After that, he prepared the vacuum cleaner. As he plugged in the machine to the wall, Tommy began to wonder how long can he keep doing this before he woke up Kira. He turned around to look at the said boy. Kira was still asleep.
"He must be very tired," Tommy said to himself.
Putting down the vacuum cleaner, the older teen approached Kira again. He knelt in front of the sofa and stared at the boy intently. Kira let out a little murmur, like a baby.
So cute! Tommy thought, trying not to squeal in excitement.
Feeling braver now, Tommy tried to touch Kira. He slowly took his hand. The younger boy twitched slightly in response, and tightened his grip a little bit.
I'm holding his hand! Tommy thought triumphantly. He decided to try more things.
He let go of Kira's hand, and reached for his face. Kira had surprisingly smooth skin, he realized. Tommy stroked his cheek, which made Kira hum contentedly and readjust his sleeping position to lie down on his back. Tommy could feel his own face heating up. He switched to his other hand to touch Kira's right side of his face. Tommy pressed his thumb onto Kira's beauty mark.
Suddenly, Kira shuddered and mewled. His back arched and his face flushed pink. At that moment, Tommy quickly retreated to the vacuum cleaner as Kira woke up.
"Oh, Kira," Tommy tried to sound as natural as possible, attempting to quell his beating heart, "you're awake."
"Eh?" Kira said drowsily. He yawned. "Hm... Yeah, I am. I spent all night studying..."
Tommy started up the vacuum cleaner. "You didn't fall asleep in school?"
"I couldn't," Kira answered as he picked up his school bag, "not when I have to keep an image."
Tommy chuckled. "You don't have to keep an image here, huh?"
Kira shrugged, smiling deviously. "You guys already know who I am. So, I get to be as terrible as I want when I'm here!"
"Do your parents know about your terribleness?" Tommy asked as he pushed the vacuum cleaner in between the sofa and coffee table.
"No," Kira answered, shaking his head. He held his legs up as Tommy vacuumed the floor. "But my mom says she's been waiting for me to enter the rebellious phase."
Tommy laughed. "You're mom's so funny!"
Kira was puzzled by his reaction. "You think? Well, I guess she is."
Tommy vacuumed around the vending machines. "Do you like it here, Kira?"
"I mean, do you feel comfortable in this theater?" Tommy rephrased himself. "Because you can be yourself?"
Kira looked at Tommy, then at the ceiling. "I suppose so." He knitted his brow. "No, actually. Even in this theater, I have to keep an image. In front of the fans."
"So, there's no place for you to be yourself, huh?" Tommy said sadly.
Kira shook his head, grinning. "No, there is a place for me." He pointed at Tommy. "With you guys."
Tommy turned pink. "O-oh! Heh," he giggled nervously. "Is that so?"
Kira looked forward again, sitting in his usual cross-legged way with a smug and confident smile. "Well, you guys always put up with my attitude, but that's because I have to put up with you guys, too."
"Does that mean you see us as friends?" Tommy asked hopefully.
Kira pursed his lips. "You're my workmates. Haven't I made that clear before?"
Tommy kept the vacuum cleaner away. He sat beside Kira. "No, tell me honestly. You really think of us as friends, don't you?"
In response, Kira pouted and avoided eye contact. "Hnnngh... Well, I guess I can consider you all... idiot friends."
"That still makes us your friends!" Tommy cheered, and hugged him.
"Hey!" Kira cried. "You've already hugged me yesterday!"
"I wanna hug you again!"
"What are you guys doing?"
Tommy and Kira looked up, and saw Shun watching them from the entryway. Right after he asked that question, Shun just held up his hand, telling them, "Never mind. I don't care."
Then, Kakeru came down the downstairs. "Hey, Tommy? I'm done cleaning the break room. Let's go clean up the stage..." he trailed off when he saw Tommy hugging Kira.
Shun patted Kakeru on the shoulder as he walked up the stairs past him. "Afternoon, Kakeru," he greeted him. "Also, don't question them. You might get a very stupid answer."
"Good afternoon, Shun," Kakeru greeted back, slightly confused. He turned back to Tommy. "So... do you wanna help me clean the stage, or..."
"Yes, I'll help!" Tommy answered rapidly, immediately releasing Kira. As he rushed up the stairs to Kakeru, he quickly apologized to Kira, "Sorry for earlier!"
Kira just shrugged. "It's okay, I guess."
As he followed Kakeru to the storeroom to get some brooms, Tommy tried to calm himself. His feelings for Kira were growing again, and stronger, too.
"Wow, today's audience was really energetic!" Makki remarked as he changed out of his costume.
"I think that's because you nearly tripped onstage," Shun pointed out. He was shedding off the many layers of his costume.
"You're so gonna get it from Tesshi and the president later," Kira added. He had just finished tying on his shoes.
"What do you mean?" Makki asked them. "Me tripping onstage was totally scripted!"
"Liar," Kira muttered.
"I heard that!" Makki said, and pounced on Kira. "Take that!" He began to pull the smaller boy's cheeks.
Kakeru laughed. "You're more energetic than our fans, Makki."
"Hmph!" Makki said smugly. "That's because my energy is supplied by the fan's cheers!"
"Spoken like a true idol," Tommy chuckled. Then, he went quiet. He turned to Kira, who was still being picked on by Makki. "Um... Kira? Can we talk?"
"Herhh?" Kira said, his voice garbled by his stretched cheeks. "Ohkayy-- MAKKI THAT'S ENOUGH!" he cried when Makki tried to make him say different things by pushing and pulling his cheeks.
"Come on, Makki," Kakeru said sensibly, "let Kira go."
"I was already gonna..." Makki said pathetically as he took his hands off Kira's face.
Kira massaged his cheeks while side-eyeing Makki furiously. "What did you want to talk about, Tommy?"
"Let's talk somewhere else, okay?" Tommy suggested.
Tommy led Kira out of the room to the lounging area. He hadn't noticed Makki following them, though.
"What are you doing?" Kakeru asked when he saw Makki sneak out of the break room.
"I suspect something!" Makki whispered back. He quickly scurried after Tommy and Kira.
"Suspect what?" Shun asked Kakeru, but the latter had gone after Makki. "Hey, wait!" Shun called out. He hastily put on his glasses and trailed the two oldest members.
The three members of Shounen Hollywood watched Tommy and Kira from the lounging area's exit.
"So, what was it that you wanted to talk about, Tommy?" Kira asked.
Tommy was silent for a moment, as though he was contemplating his words. Then, he took a deep breath and said, "Kira, I really like you."
It's a love confession! the three boys outside realised instantly.
Kira made no expression. He merely stared back at Tommy, and replied, "Oh, okay."
Makki was about gasp loudly when Kakeru slapped both his hands around the former's mouth to muffle his words.
"Huh?!" Makki mumbled behind Kakeru's hands. "What sort of response is that?!"
"I think Kira misunderstood Tommy," Shun whispered.
"It's not the first time he's said he liked someone in a totally-not-romantic way," Kakeru whispered back, struggling to keep Makki under control.
Back to Tommy and Kira, the latter simply asked, "Is that all? Then, I'll be leaving."
"N-NO!" Tommy said loudly and grabbed Kira's hand. "Kira, I... I'm saying I like you, that I wanna... I wanna go out with you, that I love you!"
That is so direct! Kakeru, Makki and Shun all thought.
Upon hearing that, Kira looked at Tommy with shock. Then, his face turned red as his eyes widened with awareness.
"What?!" Kira gasped.
"O. M. G!" Makki whisper-squealed, still muffled by Kakeru. "He said it! Oh my gosh, Tommy said it!"
"Shut up, Makki!" Shun hissed.
"Tommy, do you know what you're saying?!" Kira asked the blond, both their faces now red as apples.
"I do know," Tommy replied, trying to keep his tone steady, "so I won't force you to date me. It's just... I really needed to get this out my system. I've been feeling this way for you since a long time ago, and it's just too much for me to contain. I'm sorry for springing this on you so suddenly, and I hope we can still hang out like normal friends because I really..." he tried to search for a word other than 'love' and settled with, "appreciate your company."
Tommy waited for a response, but Kira just stared back. So, he said, "That's... That's all I have to say. I'm going now."
Kakeru and Shun were about to drag Makki away. But, when Tommy turned to leave, Kira grabbed his hand this time.
Tommy was surprised by Kira's actions. Kira himself was also dumbfounded by his own actions. He was still blushing like he had a fever and he could barely make eye contact with Tommy. When he managed to, Kira asked, "Why do you like me?"
"I wanna know," Kira repeated his question, "why you'd fall for someone like me."
Tommy blinked with surprise. "I, well... I don't know how to say it. It just happened. One day, I just saw you as friend, and the next, you became more than that."
"I want to know your reasons," Kira pressed him.
Tommy furrowed his brow as he racked his mind for the answer. "The first time I met you, I thought that you were a very cute boy, and that you were amazing when I saw you dance. I...think it began when you agreed to design T-Shirts with me."
Kira raised an eyebrow. "Because of that?"
"Well, it was because of you the others join in too! And when you opened your heart to us all, it made me realize you were more than just some teenager with a superiority complex."
"Ouch," Kakeru commented, wincing at the straightforward mention of Kira's superiority complex.
"After that," Tommy continued, "I was able to learn everything about you, and that was when I found out that you could be a very nice person--"
"No, I'm not," Kira cut in.
"--you supported me when I was acting--"
"So did the others," Kira pointed out.
"--and you always played with me."
"The others have before."
"Kira," Tommy said firmly, "I'm saying that you're the most lovely person I've ever known--"
"And I'm saying I'm not!" Kira shouted back, tears forming by his eyes now. "I... I'm not nice at all. You know that, Tommy. Everyone knows that..." He swallowed, his voice cracking. "I called all of you idiots, I've disrespected Tesshi and the president..."
"I even yelled at my mom to shut up once!"
That made Tommy go silent.
"Don't you see," Kira whispered, weeping quietly, "I'm not nice. You don't deserve a person like me as your crush..."
"That's not true, Kira," Tommy said willfully, "and I can prove it!"
"How?" Kira asked, carrying a defiant expression despite his grief-stricken face. "What is your proof?"
Tommy took another deep breath, and told the younger boy, "Kakeru and Makki told me and Shun about Miss Black Coffee."
Kira's eyes widened. "They told you what?" he said with a low but fierce voice.
"We are so dead after this, aren't we?" Makki stated to Kakeru. The latter could only nod in fear and agreement.
Tommy went on, "They told me about how kind you were to Miss Black Coffee, that you celebrated her birthday with her and did whatever she wanted just to make her happy that day, and even when she rejected you, you took it so well. Don't you see?" He held Kira's chin and made the latter look at him. "You really are a nice person, Kira. You're..." he struggled to come up with a compliment and ended up saying, "lovingly lovely."
Tommy thought that he sounded super lame, but it made Kira stop crying. Instead, he leaned forward, pressing his face onto Tommy's chest, and hugged him. Tommy tentatively hugged Kira back. This hug was much gentler and intimate than the ones they had ever had before. Kira stood at the tip of his toes and whispered into Tommy's ear, "Okay, I'll go out with you."
Tommy's jaw fell. "What?" he asked softly.
"I said I'd date you," Kira reiterated.
"B-But, Kira," Tommy said, trying to sound rational now, "we're idols!"
"But you still confessed."
"And I did say we didn't have to date."
"If I couldn't reciprocate your feelings."
Tommy pursed his lips. "But...what if the others find out?"
"We'll have to be subtle, then."
Tommy thought about it. The boy he loved has returned his feelings and wanted to date him. This was much more than what he had expected when he confessed, yet he couldn't ignore the happiness welling up in his chest right now.
"Okay," the blond replied.
Kira smiled brightly and hugged Tommy again. "Thank you," he said, sounding glad.
"Uh, right," Tommy answered, confused. He looked down at Kira, and asked, "Can I...kiss you?"
Kira blushed brighter at the request. "A, a kiss?" he stuttered. He looked up. "Um..."
Tommy decided his new lover wasn't so ready for that yet. "Never mind. We can try later."
Kira nodded, relieved by the statement. "We should go back," he said. "The others might be wondering what're we doing."
"Yeah," Tommy agreed. Then, the two boys let go of each other, and noticed Kakeru, Makki, and Shun sitting at the sofa, watching them.
"GYAAAH!" they shrieked in surprise.
"Hey," Shun greeted them as though he was totally supposed to be there.
"We were just here," Kakeru lied, while Makki just had a large grin.
"You... You..." Kira sputtered, "VOYEURS!"
"That's a little too harsh, don't you think?" Shun said, though he was trying to hide his laugh.
Tommy looked at his three group mates pleadingly. "You won't tell Tesshi or the president, will you?"
"Of course not!" Makki answered, waving his hand dismissively. "We'll keep our mouths shut, so don't worry. Oh, and by the way," he added, "congratulations!"
That made Tommy and Kira's faces go red all over again.