The house Yuki found himself standing in front of was notably unremarkable, and he wondered why that surprised him. He had never been there before. There was no reason it should stir feelings in him, but a part of him had still expected the well-kept little building to have some kind of impact. It had been Momo’s home before they’d moved in together, after all.
He hadn’t expected to find it so easily. After Momo left for work, he’d spent most of the morning flipping through Ban’s old notebooks until he found a shaky signature amongst the hastily written notes. ‘Sunohara Momose.’ Beneath it was a phone number and address to use in case they’d needed to contact Momo after the Bloody Eve incident, as well as some reminders from Ban to give Momo free tickets to their next show and ways to prevent Yuki from causing any other ‘incidents’ in the future. Yuki shook his head and smiled before grabbing his phone and pulling up directions to the address.
The walk hadn’t taken very long. It didn’t feel long enough for Yuki as he tried to think about what he’d say while he navigated through many nicer looking areas to find Momo’s old home, only for his mind to go blank as he stared at the residence. It was late enough in the day that it was likely Momo’s parents weren’t home, but that didn’t bother Yuki. There was only one person he wanted to talk to.
His stomach churned as he remembered the anger he’d felt when he’d learned of Momo’s family situation the previous night. Anger as he finally understood why Momo continuously dodged Yuki’s questions about his family, and especially his sister.
“You haven’t spoken to them in months?” Yuki asked, pushing his plate aside after dinner.
“I said it’s fine! Nee-ch—My sister will come around once Ban-san’s back! And my parents will be happy too!” Momo countered, sitting across the table from him.
“But you lied! I thought you said your family supported you doing this before we even started!”
“Because I didn’t want you to worry about it!" Momo argued, "You’re a kind person, so you’d fret too much over my family situation when you should be focusing on other things!”
“So you think it’s fine to hide things from me?!”
“That’s not—! Look, Yuki, you’re overthinking it! It’s getting late. I’ll handle dishes tonight so you can work on the new song, alright?” Momo asked, offering a bright smile as he stood up and grabbed his plate, extending his hand to take Yuki’s.
Yuki didn’t respond, standing with his own plate and placing it roughly in the sink before walking past Momo to set up his guitar at the small table they were just eating on. He paused, waiting until he heard the water running before glancing back towards Momo.
“Ban would never lie to me,” he said bitterly, certain he was loud enough for Momo to hear him before he sat down and plugged his guitar into his headphones. He kept his back towards Momo, thoughtlessly plucking at strings until he heard Momo turn the sink off and lay down on their shared futon.
Fuming silently, he cursed at Momo. Cursed him for hiding something like this for so long. Cursed him for still pretending everything was okay. Yuki was the kind of person who could be cut from his family’s life and be fine. When he thought of how Momo used to speak of his family, and of the comments Ban made about how close Momo and his sister were when they saw them in the crowd, he knew Momo wasn’t the same way. This was one more thing he tried to bear to support Re:vale, and that was what Yuki hated more than anything. Now that he knew, Yuki cursed the guilt he felt for causing Momo even more hardship.
He sat there for a while longer, mindless playing a few bars from older songs before sighing in frustration. This hadn’t been their first fight, but Yuki still found it impossible to focus on anything after an argument with Momo. He placed his guitar aside and stood up to pull the curtain over the window. Well-acquainted with the small space, he moved in the dark to lay on the futon, careful not to disturb Momo. If he wasn’t getting anywhere with the song, he was better off trying to sleep.
As Yuki’s eyes adjusted to the dark, he looked at the sleeping face of his partner. Even while he was resting, Momo looked exhausted. Unconsciously, Yuki reached his hand out and traced his thumb over Momo’s brow, stroking his forehead until the tension eased and his sleeping face relaxed.
Despite his frustration, Yuki found himself once again wishing he could just as easily relieve Momo of the burden he carried since they’d debuted as Re:vale. The longer they lived together, the more Yuki noticed the impact their difficult debut period had on Momo. The way each new difficulty they crossed pressed down on him relentlessly. The pressure to meet the expectations of both their new and old fans. The pressure of being estranged from the family he loved so dearly. The pressure to smile and pretend he was always fine for Yuki’s sake.
It was more than one person should be able to handle, yet Momo insisted on carrying all of it. For Re:vale. For Ban. For Yuki.
Even as he lay in bed, he could hear Ban scolding him for letting Momo struggle alone for this long. If Ban were here, he’d have it all under control and still have time to lecture Yuki for inconveniencing Momo so much. If Ban were here, Momo wouldn’t have had to deal with any of this.
Yuki’s eyes lingered on Momo. Ban wasn’t here, but Yuki was. Until they could find him, Yuki was the one Momo had to rely on. Yuki wanted Momo to rely on him. They’d made it this far because of Momo’s seemingly endless strength and determination, but, despite his insistence, he was still only human. He knew they couldn’t continue on like this forever, and he’d have to take on some of the weight himself so they’d both survive. What he hadn’t expected was that it would be so difficult, and it made him hesitate. Would he be able to handle it if Momo called on him? Or worse, if Momo never did, would Yuki be able to step in before he could be crushed under it all?
All Yuki knew was that he couldn’t let that happen to Momo. He’d learn to share the weight, so that they could move forward together as Re:vale.
Now, standing in front of the home that had shut Momo out long ago, Yuki knew he couldn’t hesitate anymore. Momo had been waiting for him long enough.
He pressed down on the buzzer, growing anxious as he waited silently in front of the door. The moment seemed to stretch into an eternity, and Yuki jumped as the door opened. The young woman before him looked surprised, her eyes widening in recognition.
“Yuki…san?” she asked.
“Hello Sunohara-san,” Yuki responded. His voice seemed to pull Ruri from her stupor, as she immediately bristled.
“I hope you have a good reason for coming here,” she said pointedly. Her grip on the door tightened.
“I want you to get along with Momo again, along with the rest of your family.”
“Huh?! Who do you think you are making demands like that?!” she retorted.
“I’m Re:vale’s Yuki. I’m very pleased to meet you. May I come inside and talk?” he asked, as politely and formally as he could manage. Ruri glared at him suspiciously.
“Did Momo tell you to come here?”
“Have you found Ban-san?”
“Then don’t come here asking such selfish things! You shouldn’t come here at all!” she snapped at him. Yuki frowned, barely biting back a retort. Getting angry wouldn’t change her mind, and he needed to change her mind for Momo’s sake.
He lingered on the thought of Momo. How he’d take on the entire world with a smile and moved so many hearts that the world would smile with him. He would know how to move Ruri’s heart, how to change the mind of someone so impossibly stubborn. Yuki had seen it himself, when Momo saved him from giving up on music. Grief and anger over Ban’s disappearance had nearly caused Yuki to lose something just as important to him. Momo felt that way about his family, and if there was even a chance Ruri felt the same, then Yuki couldn’t let them give up either.
“Understood. I’ll grovel,” Yuki muttered. Ruri paused, about to slam the door in his face when Yuki suddenly dropped to his knees.
“Yuki-san?!” she yelled, jumping back as Yuki placed his forehead on the ground before her. She glanced around nervously for anyone watching, “don’t get sick here!”
“Sunohara-san,” Yuki spoke loudly, keeping his head lowered to her, “please get along with Momo!”
Ruri froze, silent as she realized that Yuki of all people was actually on his knees before her. It was almost surreal, and if the realization that Yuki’s shouting was even more likely to bring attention to them hadn’t brought her to her senses, she might not have been able to respond.
“Y-Yuki-san…raise your head already!” Ruri urged, finding her voice. Yuki looked up at her, staying on the ground as he tried to earnestly hold her gaze. Ruri quickly looked away from him and covered her mouth.
“Unbelievable. A face like that begging to me like this,” she muttered, embarrassed. She took a moment to compose herself before facing Yuki again.
“Yuki-san, just, please come in before you cause a commotion,” she said, pushing the door open wider for him. Yuki nodded and rose to his feet, stepping past her into the entryway. “We can talk in here. Follow me,” she continued as she closed the door, allowing him to remove his shoes before leading him inside.
Ruri led him into a dining room, pulling out a chair for Yuki to sit in before taking her own seat across the table. He was surprised when she didn’t immediately speak, instead swirling the spoon in a mug in front of her slowly as Yuki sat down, the clinking of metal being the only sound between them.
As the silence went on, the realization of just what Yuki was doing dawned on him. He’d gotten plenty of experience with hostile families from Ban’s parents. Their glares and subtle digs at Yuki were easy to ignore when Ban had been there, but Yuki quickly figured out that they didn’t roll off so smoothly when he took the brunt of them alone. It were as if the weight of the task he’d undertaken were placed directly on his chest, pressing harder against him with each second. He wanted to run, retreat until he could find an ally, but there was no one he could call on. Ban wouldn’t come save him, and if Momo knew what he was doing, he’d tell Yuki to forget about the whole endeavor and go home, even though Yuki was doing it for his sake.
‘Don’t worry about it, Yuki! Momo-chan can handle it,’ he’d say with a smile, but that wasn’t what Yuki wanted. He didn’t want to be told to stand aside and watch Momo work himself to death. He wanted Momo to recognize him someone to be relied on, instead of a burden that required Momo’s constant care and attention. But if he wanted all of that, he’d have to prove to Momo, and himself, that he could do it now. Yuki steadied himself, bracing against the growing pressure.
“Why are you coming here now, Yuki-san? Momo hasn’t spoken to us in months. I’m not interested in crawling back to my little brother’s side just because he’s famous now,” Ruri said, glaring daggers into her mug in a last ditch attempt to act civilly.
“I didn’t know how his family were treating him until last night.”
“…What were you doing last night?” Ruri asked. She glanced up at him, her curiosity piquing under the guise of suspicion.
“Having dinner. Momo was home late, so that’s when we ate.”
“You’re living together?” she gaped, accented by the clattering of the spoon falling into her mug. Yuki shrugged feebly at her strangely intense reaction.
“Temporarily. Our manager’s insisting on separate apartments now that we can afford it."
“So now you’re just all buddy-buddy with Momo? Don’t think I didn’t notice you drop the honorific!”
“I don’t need to be formal with him. We’re partners now.”
“Unbelievable! It’s like Ban-san didn’t even exist to you two!” she accused.
“…What?” Yuki asked, startled.
“Ban-san gets hurt and you just move on to the next person that bothers to look your way! And Momo, because he loves Re:vale sooo much, he acts like he can just replace Ban-san and get to be even more popular! Why do either of you get to make a decision like that without Ban-san?! Re:vale would have never succeeded without him!” she yelled. She spoke more confidently now, fueled by a year’s worth of resentment. Yuki noted how practiced she sounded. She was an actor who knew her script intimately, and rehearsed it over and over in anticipation of her cue.
“You’re right,” Yuki replied. Startled by his interruption, she was thrown out of her performance, giving Yuki a chance to continue. “All I do is write music and dance. Ban did everything before, and now Momo’s doing it. Even when it was painful, when we were broke and nearly starving, he still worked hard. Because he believes in seeing Re:vale on stage again. So if you really care about Re:vale, if you really were Ban’s fan, you should be cheering for him with everything you have.”
“I was Re:vale’s fan!” Ruri yelled. She looked down, obscuring her face and gritting her teeth. “No matter how I was feeling, seeing Re:vale never failed to make me smile! When Momo became your fan, I loved Re:vale for making my brother happy again too! I brought him to one of your shows because I hoped it would make him feel the way I did, even if only for one night. But Momo couldn’t just be a fan like everyone else! He had to go to all your shows! He had to know everything about you! He had to save your lives and be Yuki-san and Ban-san’s best friend! Then Ban-san disappears and he just has to take Ban-san’s place because he can’t let things go!”
Silence hung between them as Ruri trembled, taking a shaky breath.
“Ban-san was your partner, but the accident was terrible for us too,” she continued quietly, “I still remember how scared and confused everyone was as we were ushered out of the venue. Then the rumors started. About Ban-san’s condition or if Re:vale was going to have another concert, but no one really knew anything. We were all just waiting to hear that everything was okay. I spent everyday wishing for Ban-san’s safety, and that Re:vale could perform again. It was the only thing I could do.”
“When Momo told me he’d be debuting with you as Re:vale, I saw how hopeless it was. Ban-san was gone. Re:vale was moving on without him, but that was good enough for Momo,” she seethed, her expression darkening at the memory, “For the first time, I really felt like I hated him. It wasn’t enough that he got to be close with you and Ban-san, now he gets to be famous and popular in Ban-san’s place? How is that fair? What kind of fan would do that?”
Yuki sat stiffly, clenching his jaw. Everything she’d said had been…a lot to take in, but he knew she was entirely wrong about Momo, and every nerve in his body wanted to yell at her for blaming him. He could easily blame Kujo, or himself. Even the deepest, most bitter parts of him could find a way to blame Ban, but Momo had nothing to apologize for. If she just understood their goal, she’d know that, and Yuki knew only one way to show her.
“If you’re just going to glare at me you can leave—“
“Wait,” he snapped, pulling out his phone. He quickly scrolled past apps Momo installed that he never used, finding what he’d been searching for and reaching for his pocket again.
“What are you doing?” she asked impatiently as Yuki pulled a pair of earbuds out and tugged at them desperately to untangle them.
“This is our music. Our debut song. I mean I wrote it, but,” he trailed off, waving away his tangent as he pushed the phone closer to her, “you’ll understand if you listen to it.”
“Why would I want to—“ Ruri frowned, already trying to push him away.
“Please,” he persisted, staring at her earnestly. Ruri hesitated as their eyes met. Sighing in defeat, she pulled the phone closer to her, put the earbuds in, and played the song that was onscreen.
Yuki waited anxiously, his eyes flickering between the phone and her face. He knew the song intimately, checking the timecode and carefully watching her reaction. She flinched when Momo came in on the first verse, and grimaced for most of the first half, but as the song went on her expression shifted from critical to contemplative. Yuki held his breath as she became more absorbed in the song. By the time the final chorus started, her head was just barely bouncing with the music. Yuki was smiling as the song ended, and Ruri pulled the earbuds out and pushed his phone back towards him.
“You like it,” he said as he took his phone back.
“So what? Momo can sing. Is that supposed to change my mind?” Ruri huffed indignantly, sitting back and crossing her arms. Yuki shook his head.
“He couldn’t sing like this before. He’s practiced a lot to get better.”
“Good for him. Ban-san could have sung it too!”
“No he couldn’t. I wouldn’t have written it if he hadn’t disappeared,”
“Why?” Ruri eyed him skeptically.
“It’s a song about the Re:vale I formed with Momo. About how we’ll bring back that time when Ban and I stood on stage together,” Yuki looked down at the screen, lingering on song title scrolling across. A song cultivated from the despair of losing the happiness he felt singing with Ban and the hope Momo gave him to find it again. The payoff of that dark time Yuki struggled against his trauma to make music, even now Yuki still took some pride in it.
“Bring…it back? How?” she asked him.
“By debuting as Re:vale. If we get famous, then Ban will have to see us. He’ll see I’m still singing and come back. After that, we can tell you it’s okay. You won’t have to wait anymore,” Yuki smiled kindly. Ruri was speechless, and Yuki patiently watched the gears turning in her mind, anticipating her delight.
“Was that…a joke? Yuki-san, is that really your plan?”
“I looked into hiring a private investigator too, but they’re expensive.”
There was another long stretch of silence. Ruri was staring at him, scrutinizing him as if he were a difficult equation she had to solve, and Yuki shifted awkwardly as he struggled to discern why. He had expected her to be relieved, perhaps even happy and eager to support them. He had no idea what to make of…this.
“Yuki-san, if…when you find Ban-san and he joins Re:vale again, what will Momo do?” Ruri asked. Yuki blinked, caught off-guard by the question.
“He’d step down from Re:vale and support us as our fan again,” he responded. They had never really discussed what Momo wanted to do when he left Re:vale. Momo certainly hadn’t brought it up, and Yuki never really thought about it long enough to ask.
“And you would let him?” she continued, her lips turning downward. She was clearly restraining herself, as she did just before her first outburst, and Yuki could feel the eggshells cracking beneath his feet. This time, he tried to follow her line of thought to avoid upsetting her, but he couldn’t understand why she was upset to begin with. She hated that Momo had joined Re:vale, but the idea of Momo quitting after Ban returned didn’t seem to make her happy either.
“If he wanted to,” he finally said, aiming to answer her question honestly instead. Even after Ban returned, Yuki couldn’t imagine himself forcing Momo to quit Re:vale. He could, however, clearly picture Momo humbly entrusting his place to Ban, informing him on everything he needed to know as a professional idol before he left with a promise to be in the crowd at their next show. The longer the scene went on in his mind, the more it became…bittersweet.
He didn’t have time to reflect on that thought though, as Ruri’s fist suddenly slammed down on the table, rattling the mug and causing Yuki to nearly jump out of his seat.
“Does he mean anything to you?! You come here telling me how much Momo’s given up for you, how he’s had to work so hard, and yet you’re so casual about your partners! Why did you even bother if you’re just going to throw him away?!” Ruri snapped, springing to her feet. Yuki quickly shook his head, holding his hands up defensively.
“W-wait that isn’t—. It’s just…that’s what he said he’d do…” he trailed off.
“Then you shouldn’t have listened to that idiot! Aren’t you guys idols?!” Ruri yelled, “What about his fans? Ban-san disappeared because of an accident, but this is just cruel!”
“Momo’s fans…?” Yuki asked.
“The people you’re using to get popular,” she remarked sharply, stepping away from the table and pacing angrily beside it. “The ones who come to your shows waving penlights at him and shouting his name? Are they supposed to just forget about him when they see someone else beside you?”
Yuki flinched, glancing away to avoid her gaze. It was true that Momo leaving Re:vale would impact the fans. When they’d discussed it before signing with Okazaki Productions, Momo had been adamant in his decision to act as a replacement. He would happily explain the situation to the fans once Banri was back, and he was certain they would quickly warm up to Yuki and Ban’s Re:vale. Yuki hadn’t been that interested at the time. It was what they’d agreed to and, as far as he was concerned, the fans would just have to get used to it.
Now, face to face with someone who’d had to get used to it once before, he started to doubt himself. Since Re:vale’s debut, Yuki had been so focused on working hard to help Momo and find Ban, and for the first time he really thought about what would come afterwards. He’d pictured that happiest time in his life, Ban laughing at his side and Momo smiling brightly in the crowd. He wanted Momo and Ban to be happy, and he wanted to be happy with them. That’s what he’d been striving for with Momo, but now he wondered what would happen if it didn’t turn out that way.
He didn’t have an answer, for himself or Ruri.
“I’m sorry,” he replied quietly, unable to say anything else.
The room was silent, and Yuki nervously wondered if Ruri would try to send him away again.
“Your face makes it really hard to stay mad at you,” she mumbled to herself.
“Yuki-san, I still know my brother. There’s a reason he’s always been popular. He’s the kind of person who is loved by many, and I know there are fans who have fallen in love with Re:vale’s…with Re:vale’s Momo-san,” she said, looking conflicted. “If he left, even if it meant seeing Ban-san sing again, then all of those people would be hurt like I was. People who have never even met Ban-san might hate him because of it, and as his fan I can’t allow that!”
“Right now, Momo’s only thinking about you and Ban-san, about the Re:vale that he loved so much. Someone needs to think about the fans who fall in love with this Re:vale and care for them like Ban-san did for us.” She looked away nervously, folding her hands in her lap and steeling herself. “I haven’t been kind to you, and it isn’t my place to ask anything from you. So I’ll beg instead. Please, as a fan who knows what it’s like to lose the Re:vale they loved so dearly, please don’t let this happen to them as well!” she pleaded, leaning forward in a deep bow.
Yuki stared at her, surprised as he thought her words over. People who loved Momo. People who would be as devastated to lose him as they’d been to lose Ban. Yuki felt his chest constricting at the thought, and he wondered if he wasn’t one of those people too. He cherished Momo, once as a fan who’d touched his heart, but now as something…different. Something he didn’t see in the shy fan that cheered them on. Instead, he saw it in Momo’s frustration when he dragged Yuki out of bed to make a morning shoot on time, in his insistence on extending dance rehearsals another half hour even though they were both exhausted, and in his growing confidence when he suggested changes after listening to Yuki’s latest demo. Something he, rather selfishly, felt the need to always have by his side. Yuki nearly laughed as he realized it wasn’t at all unlike how he’d felt with Ban. Something so similar, but still so uniquely Momo, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to let it go after Ban came back. Momo wasn’t just a fan who loved his music anymore. He was Yuki’s partner.
As this revelation sunk in, he noticed Ruri shaking as she held the bow, waiting for an answer. Resolve in his heart, Yuki couldn’t help but smile fondly, thinking of how much she reminded him of another Sunohara who had prostrated himself similarly to Yuki.
“You too really are alike,” Yuki mused, “I’m not really interested in marrying, but if I had to I could settle for you.”
“H-huh?! Marry?!” Ruri exclaimed, jerking upright in surprise.
“I don’t know what will happen to Re:vale, but I do care about Momo,” Yuki continued, glancing aside as he carefully thought over his words, “It’s because of Momo that I believe I’ll see Ban again, and it’s because of Momo that I can still write music and sing. Momo loves Re:vale more than anyone else, even me and Ban,” Yuki said. He met Ruri’s wide eyes, his shoulders set with determination. “I want him to stay by my side. Momo is a member of Re:vale, and my partner. I’ll make sure the fans never have to worry, because I’ll never abandon him.”
“Y-Yuki-san…” Ruri whispered. “You…you can’t just say something so cool like—,” she cut herself off, rubbing hastily at her eyes. “You…I guess you have changed. Yuki-san, t-thank you. If Momo has someone he can rely on—. Just knowing that,” she trailed off sobbing, covering her face as she broke down.
Seeing her start to cry, Yuki thought of Momo, when tears spilled over his cheeks as he apologized for failing as his partner. Pushing his own feelings aside, he embraced Momo and tried to comfort him, to return the kindness Yuki received from Ban and Momo. Kindness they had shown to everyone around them, even people that were rude to them or hated them. Kindness that Yuki was learning to show to others as well.
Only hesitating for a moment, Yuki stood and placed a hand on Ruri’s shoulder. She flinched, but didn’t reject the touch, and Yuki smiled. Seeing her like this, he knew she wasn’t unkind. Hurt and angry, and perhaps a little self-righteous, but it came from a place of caring. Not just for herself, but for others she cared about. Re:vale’s fans, both new and old. Ban. Even Momo.
Yuki wrapped his arm around Ruri, pulling her into an embrace. She leaned against his chest and sobbed openly as Yuki stroked her hair, just as he had done for Momo. He wasn’t sure how long they stood there, simply trying to offer comfort until her sobs subsided. After some time, she pulled away with a small sniff, wiping her eyes and keeping her gaze averted from Yuki.
“This is so embarrassing. Look at me sobbing all over an idol like this. I’m so sorry, Yuki-san,” she said as she tried to compose herself.
“It’s alright. I have better shirts.”
“I don’t just mean for the shirt. There’s a lot I need to apologize to you for.”
“You should apologize to Momo first.”
“Right.” Ruri nodded, anxious but determined, “I’ll apologize properly to both of you. …Yuki-san, does he hate me? We haven’t talked for so long, even before he left I was such a jerk, and he had to move because of me...”
“He doesn’t hate you.”
“Really?” she asked. Even when Yuki nodded, she didn’t look satisfied, “You can be honest!”
“I can take it!”
“Do you want him to hate you?” he asked, starting to feel confused again.
“Of course not! It’s just…I don’t even know what to say.”
“You had a lot to say earlier.”
“…You haven’t changed that much, Yuki-san,” she grumbled, glaring at him. Yuki smiled apologetically.
“Sorry. I’m sure Momo misses you. I wouldn’t be here if he didn’t.”
“You’re right,” Ruri sighed, “he's always been a pretty good kid. Thank you for coming here, Yuki-san.” She looked at him, smiling genuinely for the first time. Yuki felt more at ease seeing her relax as they walked together back to the entryway.
“Has Momo been doing okay?” she asked as Yuki slid his shoes on, “Didn’t you saying something about starving yourselves?“
“We’re better now. You can call him and ask about it.”
“Oh. Alright. Is his number still the same? Ma—my mother said he never answered his phone when she called.”
“He hasn’t changed it. I can give you my number if you’d rather call that way.”
“I-I couldn’t possibly ask for Yuki-san’s number!” she gasped, nearly instantly turning red, “If he doesn’t answer, I’ll just…call him again! As many times as it takes!” Yuki laughed, amused by her enthusiasm. In a lot of ways, she really did remind him of Momo.
“Oh, wait, Yuki-san, before you go,” Ruri said, quickly disappearing into another room. She reemerged with a brown package of meat in her hands, “I don’t know which of you normally cooks, and I know you don’t like meat, but this is his favorite. It was going to be dinner tonight, but I’m sure Mama won’t mind picking up something else when I tell her who it’s gone to.”
Yuki smiled, taking the package and examining the label, “I’ve made this for him before, I’m sure he’ll be glad to have it tonight.”
“You even cook for him?! He really is lucky!” Ruri bemoaned, still smiling. “He deserves to be spoiled once in a while though. You’re lucky too, Yuki-san. Aside from Ban-san, you couldn’t ask for a better partner than Momo!”
“You’re right,” Yuki said warmly. Undeniably, he knew that was true. Ruri opened the door, and he looked back at her as he stepped outside. “Thank you, Sunohara-san.”
“Um, if it’s okay, you can call me Ruri.”
“Thank you, Ruri-san. From here on out, please continue supporting Re:vale,” he bowed politely to her, silently bemused as he noticed the pink tinge to Ruri’s cheeks.
“Hah…you’re so much cooler than you used to be.”
“Oh? Well, even if you weren’t my fan, I can give you some fanservice.”
“Right now?! No, there’s no way I could handle it,” she shook her head, her blush turning a more noticeable shade of red, “but…maybe you could if I went to your next show?”
“Momo and I will be looking for you then.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be cheering the loudest! Bye, Yuki-san!” Ruri waved as she shut the door. As he started to walk home, Yuki glanced down at the package in his hand. He’d still have time to pick up some other ingredients and start on dinner before Momo got off work. He smiled to himself, thinking of how surprised Momo would be when he came home.
“Welcome home, Momo,” Yuki turned away from the meal he was preparing and looked at Momo coming in to the kitchen. He leaned against the doorframe, exhausted from another long day of work. Yuki knew he’d be relieved to eat well tonight, but he was more focused on how Momo was avoiding his gaze and shifting nervously on his feet.
“Yuki…about last night, I’m really sorry for fighting with you. You were just trying to be considerate, because Yuki’s a kind person. I shouldn’t have gotten upset about it.”
Yuki smiled gently at Momo. He still had his doubts about how much he deserved the praise given to him, but for today, he could meet Momo’s gaze and honestly say he’d tried his best for his partner’s sake.
“I’m sorry too, Momo,” he said, walking up to Momo and patting his head, “I want you to rely on me. Even if I might mess up, don’t do everything on your own. We’re partners.”
Momo looked surprised at Yuki for a moment, a blush forming as his glanced away.
“Yuki…” he smiled brightly, turning back to face Yuki, “that was really cool, Yuki-san! You’re as handsome as always!”
“I know,” Yuki chuckled, “do you mind getting the plates? Dinner’s almost done.” Momo glanced curiously around him, perking up at the sight of such a hearty meal.
“Wow! You left the apartment to get food, even though you had today off? Amazing, Yuki!”
“That wasn’t all I did today.”
“Huh?” Momo looked over at him. Yuki smiled and raised a finger to his lips.
“It’s a secret. You’ll find out tomorrow,”
“Plates, Momo. Or it’ll burn before you can enjoy it.”
“Ah, right! Sorry!” Momo jumped, forgetting the conversation as they finished making dinner and sat down to eat. It may have been the more extravagant meal, or the fact they’d made up, but Yuki noted how much more at ease Momo looked than usual. Despite how tired he’d been earlier, he talked enthusiastically about his day and laughed with Yuki until the neighbors started pounding on the walls. Even though it wasn’t particularly extraordinary, Yuki felt like that night was special. He had worked hard, and his reward was to be able to be with Momo.
After dinner, Yuki double-checked to make sure Momo’s phone was being charged before laying on the futon. Momo was already fast asleep, snoring softly. It may have been wishful thinking on his part, but he seemed more peaceful than normal, even almost smiling. Yuki put a hand on his sleeping partner’s head, affectionately stroking his head.
“Good work today, Momo,” he whispered, before rolling over and falling asleep himself.
Yuki woke that morning to a hushed voice. He reached across the futon towards Momo, mumbling about him talking in his sleep again, when he realized there was no Momo to be found. Yuki pushed himself up enough to look around, noticing a small light coming from the kitchen. As quietly as he could manage, he walked over to the doorway and peeked in, seeing Momo sitting on the floor, hiding his mouth as he laughed into his phone.
“Ssshhh, I’m serious! I don’t want to wake Yuki!”
Yuki covered his mouth as he giggled, hiding further behind the doorframe. Momo didn’t seem to notice him, too absorbed in his conversation.
“Of course I’ve been eating well! Yuki’s a great cook! Whatever he told you, he was exaggerating!”
As Momo leaned back against the cabinet, Yuki could see his face more clearly. His cheeks were wet, but his eyes and his smile were brighter than Yuki recalled seeing in some time.
“Yeah. It’s been great, being with Yuki. But I really missed you too, Nee-chan.”
Yuki was surprised by how much emotion hit him in that moment. Overwhelming relief filled him when he looked at Momo, feeling the weight he’d carried fall away. Now that it was gone, he realized if this was the result, if it meant seeing Momo happy, he’d be willing to take on anything. He was ready to handle anything thrown at him.
He yawned suddenly, his body stepping in to remind him that he’d be more ready with a few extra hours of sleep. After that, he’d take the world by storm as Re:vale, with him and Momo. He slipped away from the kitchen, and crawled back under the blanket, letting the sound of Momo’s laughter lull him back to sleep.