The loud roaring laughter could be heard even through the closed doors of Taiga’s soundproof room. He’s been trying hard to ignore it and concentrate on writing song lyrics but it comes in random bursts that every single time he tries his train of thoughts are interrupted by the laughter outside. He could not take it any longer and stormed out of his room.
“Could all of you please just keep it down! You’ve been rowdy for the past three nights already!” He screamed at the three other people having a good time in the living room.
Their laughter stopped upon hearing Taiga’s furious voice and all their attention turned to him. Shintaro was wearing a funny mask and Jesse had a party popper in hand but still Taiga was not smiling, he just looked frustrated and threw a notebook in the middle of the room.
“Don’t you guys have your own apartment? Why are you here every single night!” He continued in a loud voice. “I have had it! Juri! I know this is our apartment and you found it first but I can not put up with all these noises all the time!”
Silence-filled the room as Taiga waited for one of them to answer him but all of a sudden Jesse’s hand slipped and pulled the trigger of his party popper that it blasted confetti on Taiga’s face.
“I want you guys out of here as soon as you can.” Still, there was no change in his expression and he flat out wanted to throw them out in a harsher way but they are Juri’s friends and he did not want to offend them any further. Not saying another word, he withdrew back to his room.
Juri cleaned up the mess at the living room before he went to Taiga’s room. He found him curled up on his bed over his blanket, the lights were turned off. He left the door slightly opened so that a little light from the living room could get in, he sat at the edge of Taiga’s bed. Taiga’s eyes were open and were staring at the wall, his expression was blank.
“Tai.” Juri was about to caress his hair.
Juri’s hand stopped midway upon hearing that single word from Taiga. Taiga then closed his eyes, not even moving an inch closer or farther from Juri. Juri stood up, he looked up at Taiga’s aircondition’s temperature and noticed it was a little colder than how Taiga usually sets it, he re-adjusted the temperature. He pulled over the end of the blanket that Taiga was not laying on and put it over him gently before he left the room.
The next day when Juri woke up Taiga was no longer in the apartment. There was still some time before he needed to leave for class that he decided to make a sandwich for Taiga as an apology for what happened last night. He checked their food stock as well while he was at it and made a grocery list for later.
After parking his bike at the university, he went to the place he knew Taiga would be at before his classes. The rooftop of the music building, Juri never liked going there but he often went for Taiga. Even with his fear of heights, he did not mind being 33 meters off the ground if it meant being able to do things for Taiga. Sure enough, Taiga was there. He was seated on the floor, his back leaning on the wall while strumming his guitar.
“Here,” Juri handed him the sandwich he made before sitting next to him. “I’m sorry about last night.”
Taiga ate the sandwich without saying a word, it was filled with ham and tomatoes. More tomatoes than ham. Juri even cut up some more tomatoes and placed them inside the plastic container around the two slices of sandwich that he made. When Taiga ate up everything Juri took the container from him and placed it back in his bag.
“Juri,” Taiga sounded serious but he was not taking his eye off of the sky. “I think - ”
“Class is about to start.” Juri got up and took Taiga’s guitar. He helped him stand up and dusted off Taiga’s pants with this free hand.
The two of them walked to their class together, Taiga a few steps behind Juri. The hallway was filled with students scrambling to get to class, trying to avoid bumping into each other as some were reading their notes while walking. Juri stretched out his hand to Taiga but instead of taking it, Taiga quickened his pace and walked in front of Juri instead. Taiga sat at the only empty chair in the middle row and Juri sat behind him, carefully putting Taiga’s guitar between his table and Taiga’s chair.
“I’m going to the grocery later after my part-time job.” Juri said as soon as their lecturer left the room. “Do you need anything?”
“Nothing I could think of for now.” Taiga left for his next class.
The two of them took different elective courses and only shared their major courses together. The only time Juri sees Taiga lately is during their classes together as Taiga barely leaves his room for months now. He never complained about Juri coming into his room to check on him and that’s about it for their interaction at home lately. Juri could not confront Taiga up front about it, he believed that Taiga would still come to him whenever he needed to get something off of his mind. Juri still believed that after Taiga had his fill of taking everything on his own, when it starts to feel too much he would come to him. But for now, while Taiga still does not want to talk about it, he’d just take care of all the other things to not burden Taiga. He’d take care of their meals, supplies, paying the bills, cleaning up, everything and anything he could take on all on his own.
Jesse and Shintaro were starting to get worried about Taiga as well, they all used to hang out together. They thought that maybe if they went over to their place Taiga might join in on the fun as well to relax for a little while. But it backfired right to their face.
When Juri got home the first thing he noticed was the boxes beside Taiga’s bedroom door. He settled the grocery bags he had at hand at the kitchen first, gently so as to not wake up Taiga who was asleep on their couch. Juri looked at the open notes on top of the center table, Taiga scribbled a bunch of moving company contacts and rates. Taiga’s bedroom door was slightly opened, Juri went inside and found Taiga’s suitcase in the middle of the room half-filled with clothes. He took a step back and accidentally knocked over a box and the noise woke Taiga up.
“Juri,” Taiga’s familiar sleepy voice was the next thing Juri heard. “You’re home.” He yawned.
“What the hell, Tai?” Juri threw Taiga’s notebook down at the center table startling the half-woke Taiga.
“It’s just about time, Juri. It’s long overdue, honestly.”
“No.” Juri was shaking his head. “No!”
“We broke up over a year ago.” Taiga picked up his notebook.
“You don’t have to remind me. You’ve been sleeping in your supposed studio for two years now. I even went ahead and fixed it up so that you can fit a proper bed in there. If this is about Shin and Jesse coming over too much I can tell them to stop.”
Taiga started picking up the things that scattered from the box Juri knocked down. “I already found a temporary place. It’s close to the university. It might take me a while to get all my stuff so please bear with it for a little longer.”
“No! Even if it is close to the campus. You, living alone?”
“Hokuto has a spare room he is willing to let me use for a while.” Taiga never took his eyes off of the box while speaking. “I’d get all my stuff as soon as I can.”
Juri scoffed. “Hokuto? You’re going to room with freaking Hokuto!” Juri slow clapped. “Wow, Tai, good trying to blame you moving to our break up when it isn’t even really about the break-up.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb, Tai! You’d have to be pretty damn dense not to notice it!” Juri clenched his jaw. “I see the way he looks at you and I know, I know because it’s the same way I do.” Juri kicked over an empty box.
“I don’t understand what you’re trying to get at, Juri.” Taiga closed up the box and secured it with tape.
Juri was seated on the sofa with his face buried in his hands, he rarely raised his voice on Taiga and everytime he does he feels bad about it. Taiga walked over to get his phone but as he turned around Juri grabbed his wrist, leaning his forehead over Taiga’s hand.
Taiga looked up, trying to fight back his tears when he felt Juri’s on his hand.
“Stay.” Juri held on his hand tighter.
Taiga took in a deep breath before pulling his hand. For the first time in two years, Taiga locked his bedroom door.
The following morning when Juri woke up he was on the couch, his head felt like it’s about to explode, and there were ten cans of beer on top of the center table. He went to the kitchen to get some water and he noticed a glass at the center of the dining table, it was the same familiar juice Taiga makes whenever Juri drinks but underneath it was a note.