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Fall Leaves in a Small Box

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Just do it, just do it; don’t be a damn coward, Hayato, just fuckin’ DO it already!

Hayato Kamitani sighed to himself, as he watched his little brother and his brother’s best friend, Kotarou, go up and down on a see-saw. It was after school, and after all the other kids had been picked up from the Daycare center that he worked at, with Usaida, and - and -

“Hey,” came a voice from behind, and Hayato cursed to himself again as he felt the familiar (and shameful) blush snake it’s way across his pale cheeks.

Ryuuichi Kashima.

Recently orphaned ward of the school’s Chairwoman, along with his brother Kotarou.

Member of the school’s Babysitter’s Club, of which Hayato was also a member.

Good friend, excellent student, and — the object of Hayato’s affection for quite some time.

Not that he knew this.

Because Hayato felt he would surely die of embarrassment if the beautiful boy knew how he felt. But whether he’d die or not, he still wanted to risk it and confess to him. So far every day of the week he’d tried, but ended up letting fear and uncertainty get the better of him.

Today seemed a good opportunity to at least try. He had agreed to stay with Kotarou after club, awhile Ryuuichi stayed late in class to work on a group project. The weather being nice, Hayato had taken the children to the school’s playground, and had been silently practicing what he needed to say for the better part of the afternoon.

But now that he was here, close, and Hayato was looking at him …

“Damn,” he muttered, hardly aware that he was speaking out-loud. “There’s no way I can do this.”

Ryuuichi looked up from where he was kneeling in the ground and taking a small box out of his backpack. “Did you say something?”

Hayato let out a small sigh and shook his head. “No. What’s that thing for?”

“Oh,” Ryuuichi said, as he motioned for Kotarou to come to him. “It’s something Saikawa requested; he wanted Kotarou to collect pretty leaves so he could press them together into a book.”

Kotarou walked up quietly to the two boys, Taka trailing behind him.

“Kota, remember we were going to look for some leaves today?”

Kotarou nodded, and Taka jumped up and down, excited. “Me too! Me want leaves too!!”

“Shut up, kid,” Hayato growled at him, giving him a stern scowl. “This is Kotarou’s project, not yours.”

“Ah, no, it’s okay!” Ryuuichi said quickly, before Taka could start bawling. “Kota appreciates help, right, Kotarou?”

The quiet boy nodded, and together he and Taka began picking up “pretty” leaves from the ground, and bringing them to Ryuuichi for inspection. Those that were deemed acceptable were tucked carefully into the box, those that weren’t, subtly discarded.

Hayato watched as Ryuuichi interacted with the two boys. So calm, so patient … so cute.

Okay; I NEED to do this.

The box filled with leaves, Taka asked Ryuuichi if they could play a bit longer. Ryuuichi started to say no, they should head home, but Hayato interrupted him and granted the boys permission. He waited until they were back on the playground before clearing his throat and saying, voice slightly shaking,

“Are — are you doing anything this weekend?”

“No?”

“Okay, well, I’m not trying to be gross or anything but, um —“

Ryuu tilted his head head curiously. “Ah?”

Crap ... even that face he’s giving me is too — ! How am I gonna do this?!

“Er ... um ... I have two tickets for that outdoor concert thing by that popular new band. The tickets are for Saturday afternoon. If ... if you’re not doing anything ... maybe you want to come with me?”

When Ryuu didn’t answer right away, Hayato rushed on:

“I already talked to my mom to see if she’d mind keeping an eye on Taka by herself that day; I told her I’d probably ask you to go with me and she said she’s be happy to keep Kota as well.”

Ryuu let loose with a smile, and began carefully putting the little box of Kotarou’s leaves into his backpack.

“That sounds like fun. If Kamitani-Sensei is alright with Kotarou, then —“

“A date.”

Ryuu looked up from his task, startled. “W-what?”

Gulping, his face tomato-red, Hayato went on,

“Like I said I’m not trying to be gross but I’m asking you to go with me, as a date. Not as my friend. I ... I’ve really liked you since the day I met you. And I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to confess to you like that but I just couldn’t hold it in anymore.”

Ryuu’s eyes were bigger than Hayato had ever seen them, and the expression on his face was so unreadable that Hayato began to believe he’d made a terrible, terrible mistake. He was seconds from turning on his heel, going to the sandbox to grab Taka, and running home, when Ryuuichi finally broke the silence by saying, softly,

“You like me?”

Hayato stepped cautiously closer. “Y-yeah. A lot. I never liked anyone before, and for a long time I thought maybe something was wrong with me. But then you and your brother came here and then I KNEW something was wrong with me because boys aren’t supposed to like boys, right? But — but I don’t —“

Ryuuichi putting his arms around him was the most unexpected moment of Hayato’s life, so far. Even with jackets on, Ryuuichi’s warmth seemed to flood into every part of Hayato’s body, from his eyebrows to his ankles. His face was pressed against Hayato’s neck; was his skin supposed to be so soft? Had he really smelled THIS good the entire day, and Hayato just didn’t notice?

When Ryuuichi pulled back, the beautiful smile on his face served to melt Hayato’s heart even more.

“First of all, if there’s something ‘wrong’ with you, then there’s something ‘wrong’ with me, too. Because ... Hayato, I like you, too.”

“R-really?!”

Ryuuichi nodded, and then he gave Hayato the second most unexpected moment of his life: he reached up, put both hands on Hayato’s cheeks, and tugged him into a kiss.

Neither had had their first kiss yet, but, for it being their collective first time, it wasn’t bad at all. Soft, and warm ... and Ryuuichi’s lips were a lot fuller than Hayato had expected.

Unfortunately, the moment ended too soon when, from the playground, Taka’s piercing cry erupted through the air.

“That damn idiot; probably fell off the swings again,” Hayato said, sighing. His words were angry but in truth, at the moment he felt so elated that anger was the furthest thing from his mind.

Ryuuichi seemed to intuit this, and he reached down and grabbed Hayato’s hand.

“Go easy on the kid, please,” he said, as they began to walk along to where their brothers were. “Um, do you and Taka want to come back to our house with us, for dinner? Saikawa-San always makes too much, and it’s always delicious.”

Is it as delicious as that taste on your lips? Because I highly doubt it. But —

“That sounds good. The old lady won’t be home ‘til late, anyway.”

He looked down at their joined hands, happy but scared. He tried to mentally prepare himself; surely, Ryuuichi would let go, right? Didn’t he think it was weird, holding hands in public like this, with a boy?

But Ryuu didn’t seem to think anything of the sort. The only time he let go of Hayato’s hand was to pick up his brother and balance him in the opposite arm, and let Hayato do the same with Taka; but once that situation was settled, Ryuu locked their fingers together again.

And didn’t let go.

He held his hand down streets, he held his hand through crowds. They even ran into some classmates from school, and Ryuu didn’t drop his hand then, either.

They walked in the front door of Ryuu’s house holding hands, and Ryuu explained to the weird butler-guy that he and Hayato were together, now.

Now, and forever, if Hayato had anything to say about it.