Aug. 4th, 2015
The only words going through Yosuke's mind were strings of curses. He grabbed his wallet, keys, and cell phone and immediately headed out to the bus. He tried to calm himself but fuck, his kid was missing. It took all of his energy to remain angry and not fall into despair.
And Kichirou didn't have his phone, so Yosuke couldn't just call and ask him where the hell he was or anything. Dammit, why the hell would he run away? Where the hell would he go? He didn't know the neighborhood over there, probably didn't know how to get home, if that was where he was going. Maybe he would know how to ride the bus? But the city had several bus routes, he could get on the wrong one and get lost and... He'd never ridden the bus alone before. And if he somehow made it home, he might not have his key—oh, but he could just go to Hiroshi-kun's house... Then what? Then the Itos would call him, right?
Yosuke wiped the sweat from his brow. This early autumn heat wasn't helping. His son, he couldn't manage without his son. Dammit, if something happened to him...!
What felt like hours later, he finally he reached the Furusawa residence. He rang the doorbell several times in rapid succession in his frustration as he fantasized about kicking down the damned door—
It opened a fraction, and a frightened-looking Mrs. Furusawa hid herself behind it. "Hanamura-san...!" she whispered. "We were talking, and then we heard the front door close and Kichirou-kun was gone!"
Yosuke pushed his way into the house, not that she resisted him at all. "When?"
"T-two hours ago."
"Two hours ago!?" he repeated. "And you only just called me?"
"We were sure we could find him." She lowered her eyes. "We-we're sorry, I..."
Before she could finish, Yosuke left the house. He stopped a few steps from the stoop and looked out unseeing into the street. He ran his fingers through his close- cropped hair and sniffled. Damn it, Kichirou, why...?
Mrs. Furusawa joined him and gently told him that her husband was out there looking for him. Yosuke barely registered her words. His mind whirled, trying to figure out what could have happened. "Did Michiko visit at all during the time he was here?" he asked.
"No, actually... We tried to invite her, but her phone doesn't seem to be in service."
Yosuke stared up at the sky. Ha, she'd never given them her new number, either. It would've been funny if the situation wasn't so dire.
Damn it all, he didn't know the first place to look for the boy. There was a park nearby they'd taken him to once. It was as good a place as any to try. He strode in that direction, the fact that he was taking action temporarily halting his panic.
A menagerie of kids were playing on the playground, but none of them were Kichirou. He tried asking a small group of parents sitting on a bench if they'd seen his son, but there was no luck. Kichirou didn't have any distinguishing features and Yosuke didn't even know what clothes he was wearing today. It wouldn't be his school uniform since there hadn't been Saturday school today.
With the park a bust, Yosuke didn't know what else to do or where else to look. Find the police, maybe, but he was just as unfamiliar with this area of town as Ki-kun was. There wasn't even a store or restaurant nearby that they'd been to. They really only came to this area to visit the grandparents.
In desperation, Yosuke was about to accost a child around his son's age, but then his cell phone jingled in his pocket.
He took it out and stared dully at the screen. Yu was calling him.
He didn't answer. He wiped his eyes on the sleeve of his arm and sniffled.
The phone rang again. Yu again. Yosuke watched the little dots at the end of the words "Now calling..." dance until the call ended, redirected to voice mail.
He blinked, trying to get himself out of this stupor. He hustled away from the park, the sounds of the children playing the opposite of music to his ears.
Then his phone buzzed in his hand. This time it was a text message. He opened it.
Call me asap.
It was from Yu.
Not now, partner. Yosuke hiccuped. Not now...!
I have something that belongs to you.
Yosuke stared uncomprehendingly at the message, then navigated to the oldest name in his contact list. "Yu," he said when the guy picked up, "man, what is... I can't talk. M-my son is..."
"I know," Yu replied swiftly. "I found him."
"Here, Kicchan, let your dad know you're okay."
A short pause, and then his son's voice came loud and clear. "Dad, I'm okay! Umm, I miss you..."
Yu took the phone over from there. "Where are you? I could take him to your place."
"Y-yeah. Umm, I'm at his grandparents'. My place? A-all right..."
"I'll see you there."
In a daze, Yosuke returned to his in-laws and told Mrs. Furusawa that his son had called him. Without waiting for her response, he left the house and trekked to the nearest bus stop. His mind was blank during the entire ride home.
Sure enough, when he opened the door to his house, he found Yu and Kichirou sitting together on the couch. He immediately picked his son up in a sweeping embrace that might have been a little too tight. He didn't hide his tears. "Dammit, Ki-kun! You... I thought... Why did you run away from your grandparents?"
"S-sorry, Dad..." the boy whimpered in his arms.
Calming down, Yosuke fell onto the couch and settled the boy in his lap. Now he looked at his best friend, a mix of emotions flowing within him. There were so many questions to ask. He started with the biggest one on his mind: "How the heck did you find him, partner?"
"Well," Yu began. "You'll have to ask Kicchan why he ran away from his grandparents."
Kichirou's expression darkened. "They were talking bad about you and Mom, and it hurt, so I left, and..."
Yu filled in the rest. "He got lost. He eventually found a train station, and asked a policeman there to use the phone. He called me, and, well, I went and got him. There you have it." The man lifted his shoulders in a shrug as if it was just that simple.
"How did he know your number and not mine?" Yosuke asked.
"I remembered it because it was a song," Kichirou said. "A-and because I've called him lots of times. But your number's always been in my phone, Dad! I didn't remember it..."
Yosuke hugged his son closer. "It's all right. Don't leave the house without your phone next time, okay?"
"Y-yeah, Dad. I won't!" the boy promised.
"Yu," Yosuke said, turning to his friend even with Kichirou still in his arms. "I can't thank you enough for going out of your way to collect him like that. I'm glad you were still around town."
"Hey! Kicchan's important to me, too!" Yu protested. "And he was at a train station, so it wasn't that far."
"Yeah..." Yosuke scratched Kichirou's head affectionately, then gently pushed the boy out of his lap before looking at Yu again. "Sorry I'm not a better host. My nerves are kind of shot. Do you want a drink or anything?"
"I'm all right," Yu murmured. "You don't need to do anything for me."
He wasn't looking at Yosuke, instead focused on Kichirou, who didn't seem to know what he should be doing now. Yosuke asked him to get his uncle a soda.
While Kichirou was in the kitchen, Yosuke thanked his friend again. "You might as well stay for dinner," he said. "We'll probably get takeout, though... I'm totally not in the mood to cook. I know you hate that."
"Oh, well, I don't want to impose," Yu said demurely, still not looking at Yosuke.
"It's not a big deal, partner," Yosuke assured him. "You can even stay the night, if you want. I mean, it's already pretty late in the afternoon. And... and we need to catch up, after all!"
Now Yu gave him a funny look. Yosuke wished he wasn't so surprised! But... considering their lack of contact over the last several weeks, maybe it was understandable. Yosuke felt his pulse quicken as he realized that ignoring his friend the way he had might have given him the wrong idea. Yu certainly looked reluctant to accept his offer.
"Y-you know where we keep the spare futon," Yosuke pressed, waving a hand towards the hallway and trying not to worry.
"Uncle Narukami is staying the night!?" Kichirou exclaimed.
The two adults glanced at the boy. He'd returned with the cans of soda and must have overheard them.
Yu relaxed enough to give the boy what appeared to be a genuine smile. "Yeah, why not? Maybe tomorrow we'll go to the park again, huh?"
"Sure," Yosuke agreed. "Why don't you two work on getting the futon out while I order us some dinner?"
During dinner, Kichirou told them all about his stay with his grandparents. How he'd finished his homework the first day, how he'd been bored after that, how he'd missed Dad and missed being at home...
"If I'd known it was that bad, I'd have come for you," Yosuke said. "I really didn't think they'd try to pull something like this."
"They didn't have any video games," Kichirou said, as if that was the main issue here.
"If they visit again when I'm not here, don't answer the door for them," Yosuke told him. "What in the world could they have been thinking?"
He looked at Yu, who seemed troubled about the situation but hadn't contributed anything. In fact, he'd been unnaturally quiet during the whole meal.
"What do you think I should do about it?" Yosuke asked, trying to include him in the conversation.
It took Yu a long moment to realize he was even being addressed. "What?" he said, then he blinked out of his reverie. "Oh. Well, you're gonna have to talk it out with them." He thought it over for a moment longer. "You should probably tell Michiko-san about this. They're her parents, after all."
"Yeah..." Yosuke agreed reluctantly, punctuating it with a sigh, knowing his friend was right about that. At least he had a way to contact his wife now, what with Ki-kun having her number in his phone.
His friend apparently didn't have any further advice, and so it grew quiet while they ate from their takeout boxes. Yosuke didn't know what to say. He noticed that Yu was toying with his food more than eating it, which was unlike him, but Yosuke didn't have much of an appetite himself after the day he'd had. He was still feeling nervous.
"U-Uncle Narukami?" Kichirou ventured. "How is your job?"
Yu held his lower lip in his teeth before answering. "It's... just a job." He shrugged and didn't say any more, not even to spin it into an interesting story like he so often enjoyed doing in the past.
"Do you have to go back soon?" the boy asked. His tone was clearly hopeful that he wouldn't.
Yu didn't look at Yosuke when he said, "I'll talk to your dad later."
"Umm, sure?" Yosuke said uncertainly.
Another awkward silence ensued, with Kichirou looking back and forth between the two adults with a puzzled frown on his youthful face.
"Uh, so... are you done with that?" Yosuke waved vaguely at their takeout boxes. "Yu, partner, why don't you go play with Ki-kun while I clean up?"
Yu leaned back in his chair and looked at Kichirou, then nodded.
After watching a few episodes of Featherman that evening, it was time to put Kichirou to bed. Yosuke tried to pull the pajama top down over his son's head, but the boy slipped out of his grasp like an eel with a mission. "I don't wanna...!" the boy cried.
"Kichirou-kun!" Yosuke called in a no-nonsense voice, though privately he was amused by the boy's antics. "Get back here this instant!"
"I wanna play with Uncle Narukami some more!"
Yosuke shook his head and followed his son, who was clad only in his underwear, back out into the living room. Yu was sitting at the tea table in what was once his regular spot. He was watching the excited boy with bemusement. "Ah, partner," Yosuke said. "Maybe you can put him to bed?"
"Hmm, all right." Yu pulled himself to his feet with a half-smile on his face. "Kicchan, come on. I'll read you the next chapter of your book, how's that?"
Yosuke remained in the living room. Since the door to his son's room was open, Yu's voice carried through the hallway as he read to the boy. Hearing this, Yosuke felt something warm settling within him. Yu loved Kichirou, there was no doubt about it. That he'd gone so far out of his way to pick up Kichirou from that train station like that...
There was also no doubt that Yu was the best friend he could ever have.
Apparently Yu had finished the chapter, because now Kichirou was trying to get him to read another. The man simply promised that they'd play tomorrow and wished him sweet dreams. Yosuke wondered if Yu kissed the boy's forehead before turning out the light. He smiled at the thought. It was cute to imagine.
The smile faded from Yosuke's face when Yu returned to the living room; his friend was definitely not smiling. Yu glanced at Yosuke and then away. He walked to the spare futon he'd set out earlier and perched precariously on its edge.
The ensuing silence was suffocating. Yosuke squirmed, his palms becoming sweaty, before it just became too much. "Err... Thanks again," he blurted out in an attempt to break it. "You're the best, partner."
Yu looked down at his lap. "...Am I?"
"Y-yeah!" Yosuke shot him a worried smile that he didn't see. "You found my son. I can't thank you enough—"
"Am I even your partner anymore?" the man continued as if he hadn't heard him. "You haven't called me or talked to me at all. What did I do, Yosuke?"
"What...?" Yosuke repeated with a frown.
"What did I do that was wrong? Why... why did you tell me to leave like that...?"
Yu looked so sorrowful that Yosuke couldn't manage to say anything.
"You became so d-distant..." Yu's soft voice cracked with emotion. "You ignored my calls. I thought I'd offended you somehow. I didn't understand it at all, and I didn't know how to ask why..." The man shook his head. His fingers were gripping the sheets atop the futon so tightly that his knuckles were white. "Wh-When I left here, I felt lost. I didn't know what to do. In the end I went back to Inaba to stay with my uncle and Nanako. The only place it seems I'm able to call home."
At the word 'home,' Yosuke hunched his shoulders. He knew how important the concept of home was to Yu...
Yu quieted for a moment, then continued, his voice still barely above a whisper. "It took Nanako-chan to figure it out. I'd... I'd thought I was part of your family, and then you'd told me that I wasn't. Not with words, but... I still... Y-you hurt me." He lifted his head, and his stormy eyes bore right into Yosuke. "You know how much I care for you and Kicchan, and you pushed me away and I didn't understand and I still don't understand. And it hurts!"
Yosuke blinked away tears, knowing that the time for dancing around the issue was long past. If he didn't at least try to explain himself, his friend would never understand. Things would never be the same between them, but... maybe he could salvage their friendship.
"Y-Yu, I... I had to push you away," he began, "as far away as I could. It's stupid, it's ridiculous, but... I was developing this massive crush on you!" Yosuke waved a hand as if to emphasize how absurd that was. "I thought it was a rebound," he admitted in a mutter, "because you fit so well into our lives, picking up where Michiko left off. I couldn't do that to you, partner!"
At that, he looked at Yu, but from all the tears suddenly filling his eyes, his friend's form was just a blur; if the man was reacting in any way to his words, there was no way Yosuke could tell.
"I thought I'd get over it with you gone," Yosuke continued in a whimper, "but I was wrong, I was so, so wrong, Yu, dammit, partner..." He coughed as it became difficult to breathe. His face felt hot, feverish, and his fingernails were digging deep into his palms. "I m-missed you every day. I never wanted you to leave. I wish I could've just told you, but I c-couldn't."
Yu whispered his name in question.
Yosuke tried wiping his eyes but a new slew of tears came out. He swallowed the lump in his throat and croaked out the rest. "I want you to be part of our lives, to stay with me—with us—for... for as long as you can." He shook his head, recognizing the truth now for what it was. "I love you, Yu, and I'm sorry, I'm so sorry..."
He wept openly now, making no effort to stem the tears. He continued to blubber incoherent apologies until suddenly arms were wrapping around him and Yu was on the couch with him, shushing him.
"It's all right, Yosuke... Calm down... I understand now..."
"Y-Yu," Yosuke whimpered against the man's chest. "I didn't think I could love again and then it hit me that I l-loved you. Next to Ki-kun, you're everything to me. Please don't..." He sniffled and coughed and tried once again to rub his eyes. "I don't even know what I'm asking you to do. N-not hate me, I guess. I'm just... I'm sorry, I can't help it, I'm such a mess, just..."
Then Yu's fingers were over his lips, preventing him from talking. "What, you thought I wouldn't return your feelings?" Yu asked. Now the man brushed those fingers against Yosuke's cheek and looked right into his blurry eyes. "Yosuke. It's not hard for me to love you. I already do."
Yosuke's breath caught in his throat—and then Yu kissed him. A gentle kiss slick with the taste of salt from both of their tears. After it, Yu took out a handkerchief and tenderly wiped Yosuke's face with it.
"You still hurt me," Yu murmured. "But I think I forgive you."
[Summary: Yu reflects on how things have turned out.]
Yu sat on the couch, his best friend cradled in his arms. After that confession, Yosuke had essentially cried himself to sleep, which left Yu alone there to consider everything. His shirt was soaked with tears... and they weren't only Yosuke's.
He gently drew fingers through his slumbering friend's short, dark hair. Yosuke'd had such a rough day. Yu didn't want to imagine the gut-wrenching panic he must have been in while trying to find little Kicchan, although it was all too easy. The boy was like a son to him, too. That's why he'd dropped everything he was doing when that policeman had called from that train station. That the boy had known his phone number by heart—what a surprise!
Not that he'd been doing much of anything, anyway... He'd just been tutoring Nanako-chan in some of her college classes while doing some soul-searching, trying to figure out what he wanted out of life.
Seeing Kicchan again had answered that. His heart had been bursting with so much joy that it was impossible to quantify. He'd missed him so, so much, missed being his goofy uncle.
And he'd missed Yosuke, too.
He felt his eyes water, but he blinked the tears away. It had hurt so much, not hearing from Yosuke, not knowing why. To be pushed away like that, like he wasn't wanted or needed at all... But Yu could totally believe that Yosuke had thought it was for the best.
"You're such an idiot," Yu whispered with fondness.
He bent his head down and gave Yosuke a light peck on the cheek. The man remained asleep. He was exhausted and Yu judged that he wouldn't be conscious for a long while now.
He let out a soft sigh. Really, he hadn't expected his best friend to fall in love with him, mostly because they were such close friends. But Yosuke hadn't added any caveat to his confession; it had come purely from his heart, and Yu couldn't imagine him taking it back later.
As for Yu... He'd already loved Yosuke as his best friend. To be more than that wasn't something he'd seriously considered before, but now that it was in front of him... Well, yes.
Yosuke's body was so warm in his arms. The man looked so vulnerable while he was asleep like this. Yu wished he was awake so that they could speak more calmly and discover exactly what they wanted from each other.
They'd do that in the morning, he supposed with a huge yawn that almost pushed Yosuke off his chest. He was tired—it hadn't been an easy day for him, either...!
As cute as it would be, he knew Yosuke would be sore in the morning if he slept the whole night in this position. Yu carefully lifted his friend—he was still too skinny, he noticed with a frown. He probably still wasn't eating much—and carried him to the bedroom. He freed a hand to unmake the bed, carefully placed the man on it, and then covered him up with the sheets. Yosuke stirred only enough to emit a heavy sigh.
Yu watched the rise and fall of his chest as he slept for over a minute, longing in his heart. He didn't want to leave Yosuke alone, not now. He lifted the sheets and slipped in right next to him. He hesitated only a moment before wrapping his arm over him and pulling him into a hug from behind.
Author's Notes: Back during the bedroom redecoration chapter, someone mentioned that they wanted Souji to join Yosuke in bed. Well, there you go! I wrote this just for you.
And when they wake up the next day, sexytimes happen. I posted the smut externally to keep the T rating here.
You do not have to read the smut if that's not your thing! Any important dialogue in it will be repurposed in the next chapter so you won't miss anything, I promise.
And next week's chapter will have more content than this one, I promise! I'm still writing it, actually... haha.