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Cold Tea

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Choromatsu is the first to awake, as usual.

 

Jyushimatsu's arm lays across his face, as usual.

 

The time reads a little before six in the morning, which is unusual.



He groans under the weight, softly tucking Jyushimatsu's arm back under the covers. The act triggers the same brother's leg to shoot out against his own.

 

"Jyushimatsu…" The older one croaks. 

 

He sits up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes, already familiar with how many bodies lay asleep in the futon. 

 

Despite having a deep seeded enjoyment for being one of the first to wake up, he can't help but feel lonely for the next few hours that will come. 

 

He slips out, paying no attention to his empty spot suddenly overtaken by a few limbs. He shuffles his way to the kitchen to prepare some tea. Being the only responsible one requires the perfect jump-start to his day.

 

He starts up the kettle, shuffling his way into the living room to take a spot at the table, half lidded eyes guiding him. 

 

A few birds decide to welcome the new day.

 

Choromatsu eases into the sound of nature's creatures waking up with him, fully at peace. Today sounds like a good day to go job hunting.

 

A thud jumps Choromatsu out of his thoughts.

 

"H-Hello?" He squeaks out, then clearing his throat.

 

"Ah.." A small mumble from the second youngest as he gathers himself up from the ground.

 

Choromatsu titters at the display with a shake of his head. "Be more careful, Jyushimatsu." He rises from his own spot to direct Jyushimatsu.

 

"Ah…" The younger one affirms at the common warning. With Choromatsu guiding him, he's redirected back upstairs to the bathroom door.

 

"You wanted the bathroom, right Jyushimatsu?" Choromatsu dotes softly, turning the knob to lead the other inside.

 

Jyushimatsu twists his mouth in embarrassment, now aware of his mindless wandering. "Thank you, Niisan…*

 

"No problem, make sure to turn off the light when you finish." Choromatsu closes the door on that note, when turns around he bumps into a face that looks like his own.

 

The directly youngest grunts.

 

"Oh? Ichimatsu you're up too?" Choromatsu swallows down the squeal this time.

 

Another grunt.

 

Silence.

 

"Do you… have to use the bathroom as well?" Choromatsu offers.

 

"Yes." He nearly whispers.

 

"No." He quickly adds.

 

Choromatsu visibly sweats.

 

"Yes you do have to use the bathroom, or no you don't have to use the bathroom?"  Choromatsu offers once more with a nervous chuckle.

 

Ichimatsu stares at his feet.

 

"No."

 

Choromatsu gulps.

 

"Uh, no you do or no you don't?" 

 

Ichimatsu seems to think this over.

 

"Don't…" He shuffles his toes together, his face revealing he's one step away from knocking out again.

 

"Well, if you don't have to use the bathroom why don't you lay back down?" Choromatsu is already reaching for Ichimatsu's arm, taking his dazed state for advantage.

 

Ichimatsu nods at this, allowing himself to be redirected into the shared bedroom.

 

Choromatsu holds back a snort as he watches the other's snail pace crawl back into the futon.

 

The kettle whistles from the kitchen, calling Choromatsu's attention back to the forgotten tea.

 

Once back downstairs, Choromatsu busies himself preparing the tea. He settles himself at the table again, dipping the tea bag idly. This time he doesn't miss the light footsteps descending toward him.

 

"Oh? Choromatsu Niisan?" A groggy hushed voice greets him.

 

Choromatsu delivers a small smile. "Good morning, Todomatsu."

 

Todomatsu blinks at him.

 

"It's morning?"  

 

A beat.

 

"Yes?" Choromatsu pauses dipping in his teabag.

 

Another beat.

 

"Really?" Todomatsu says with more alarm, yet blearily looking around the room.

 

"Don't you hear the birds?" Choromatsu begins to wonder if earphones have permanently damaged Todomatsu's hearing. 

 

"What?" Todomatsu yawns the question into his hand.

 

"The birds." 

 

"Oh." 

 

"Didn't you check the time?" Choromatsu gently scolds the youngest.

 

"Um, no, I just wanted something…" Todomatsu trails off in thought.

 

Another beat.

 

"Did you have to use the bathroom?" Choromatsu sheepishly asks for the third time this morning.

 

"What? Why would I come down here to use the bathroom…" Todomatsu rolls his eyes.

 

Choromatsu chooses not to say anything.

 

"Oh I remember now." The youngest promptly turns on his heel, heading to the fridge.

 

Choromatsu wonders if he should ask or not.

 

After a few moments, Todomatsu makes his way back upstairs with a bottle of water. "Goodnight Niisan."

 

Choromatsu opens his mouth, and closes it again. "Goodnight Todomatsu…"

 

It's not that early is it…?

 

Choromatsu contemplates this with a sip of his tea. He sharply pulls the cup away from him, the hot liquid nearly scorching his tongue.

 

"Shit!" He curses under his breath, shaking a hand violently to compensate for the pain swelling his tongue.

 

"Ah, brother, doing stretches on this fine morning?" A croaky, uncool voice announces Karamatsu's presence. 

 

Choromatsu clasps a hand over his mouth, aggressively shaking his head.

 

Karamatsu barely registers this. "Ah yes, it's good to stretch in the morning, dear Choromatsu. Always one to look after your health!" He praises emptily.

 

Choromatsu scowls at this, but says nothing else. 

 

Karamatsu walks toward the fridge before pausing. 

 

Choromatsu watches his directly older brother bring a finger to his chin in thought.

 

With a numb tongue, Choromatsu asks, "Do you have to use the bathroom?" 

 

Karamatsu perks up at this, "Ah! Yes!" His voice takes away from the enthusiasm, but it still shines through. 

 

"Thank you for jogging my memory, Choromatsu! I know I can count on you in the event of–"

 

Choromatsu tunes out the rest and mumbles out a 'you're welcome' when he hears the other has finished.

 

Choromatsu listens to the older one's footsteps disappear upstairs, as a frown creeps on his face. No longer he's looking forward to drinking hot tea with a burnt tongue.

 

He heaves at this, resting a hand on his chin in disappointment. Looking out the window he sees the sun trekking it's way up into the sky. Vibrant hues having taken their leave already.

 

His frown deepens.

 

Well, there's always tomorrow to enjoy the sunrise. He looked into his cup, and unfortunately, he'll have to wait a few hours to enjoy a nice cup of tea.

 

Heavy, slow footsteps descend the stairs.

 

At this point, Choromatsu hopes that–

 

"Choromatsu!" Osomatsu welcomes openly, no control over his voice.

 

The younger one groans.

 

"Are you trying to wake everyone up!?" Choromatsu hisses a whisper.

 

"Huh?" Osomatsu lids rise, then falls, "Oh, nah, they're already up anyway." He chuckles at the look on the younger's face.

 

Osomatsu scratches his scalp as he opens up the fridge, "Yeah, all that shuffling woke me up, is it alright if I join you?" He pours a glass of milk for himself. Choromatsu wonders if he's not drinking straight from the carton to not seem uncouth for once.

 

"Sure." He relaxes into his seat, not minding the sudden body heat sitting alongside him.

 

Osomatsu doesn't say anything for a few minutes.

 

Choromatsu opens his mouth to ask the same question he asked all this morning.

 

"Do you have to use the bathroom?" Osomatsu asks.

 

Choromatsu freezes at this, openly gaping at the eldest.

 

"What?"

 

"Do you have to use the bathroom?" Osomatsu takes a steady sip from his milk. "You haven't touched your tea yet, looks cold." He says with a patient look on his face.

 

"Oh, um," Choromatsu fumbles a response, "No–No, I don't." He hurriedly takes a sip from his tea. It's cold now.

 

Osomatsu unabashedly looks over Choromatsu, lazing his head on a hand. "Just checking, it's a big brother duty yaknow." He gives an easy smile.

 

Choromatsu's face heats up. "The one time you want to be a big brother!" He hides his face behind the cup, the attention making him more flustered than usual.

 

Osomatsu doesn't feign hurt, only offering a small shrug of his shoulders. "Hurry and finish your tea, the futon is a little cold without you." He finishes off his milk on that note.

 

Choromatsu has nothing to counter this.

 

"Okay…" 

 

He takes one last sip of his cold tea, and follows the eldest back into the bedroom. 

 

Upon seeing the sleeping bodies Choromatsu raises an eyebrow. "You said they were all awake."

 

Osomatsu doesn't respond, gently guiding Choromatsu from the small of his back toward the futon.

 

"I know." Is all he says, watching Choromatsu slip under the duvet.

 

Following suit, Osomatsu huddles himself closer to the younger, yawning openly. 

 

Choromatsu doesn't protest when Osomatsu leads him into open arms.

 

Suffice to say, he wasn't lonely this morning.