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Can't Stand a World Without You

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Mikoto sighed as he heard the bell signalling lunch time ring. He was laid out on the bench Kusanagi used to watch from his old classroom window. Of course, the redhead didn’t have a chance to randomly make eye contact with the other having already graduated by now. Izumo wasn’t going to come to the courtyard and bother him, though, that meant someone else would.

The senior hummed in thought, momentarily counting the seconds it might take Tatara this time to bolt from his classroom and come to the courtyard in his one corner of the school. Suoh knew he was annoyed, but he also welcomed it. He hated the stuffy, suffocating world he lived in and couldn’t understand why he agreed to Kusanagi telling him to finish senior high.

But somehow, Totsuka made it worth it. The redhead stared up into the tree branches above, watching them rustle with the cool, late winter breeze. Subtly, eager footsteps began to come into earshot as that short blonde rushed along. Mikoto’s eyes didn’t move from their fixed spot as they grew closer and closer until he heard a clear, “Good afternoon, King! I have something for you!”

“Mmm…” Mikoto finally bothered to look to his left to see Tatara finishing those final steps. “What’s so good? You look more stupid than usual.”

“Don’t be like that, King! It’s Valentine’s Day and that’s got to count for something, right? And if not that, it’s also my birthday! And I’m pretty happy to be alive and to be around people like you, so why shouldn’t I be ecstatic?!”

The man on the bench cocked his brow before sitting up with a tired grunt, “It’s your birthday?”

“Yeah! Did I never tell you? I’m 15 now.”

Mikoto paused to think back to when he first got to know Tatara a year ago. The guy did say he was 14 then. “Is that so…”

“Oh, lighten up a bit. Like I said, I have something for you.” Without wasting any further time, the blonde eagerly whipped a small box out from behind his back. It looked new and had a nice ribbon wrapped around it, bow on top. “Open it up, I wanna’ see your reaction, King!”

Totsuka bounced on his heels lightly as he held it out to the upperclassmen. Suoh hesitated but slowly took it nonetheless. He saw this stupid exchange to be bothersome, not processing that Totsuka had said it was Valentine’s Day or the fact this was for him. Ungracefully, he tore the ribbon back and pulled the top off. Inside was assorted chocolates on one side, and some type of meat dish on the other. “... What’s with this?”

“Well, ya’ know! It’s Valentine’s day and all that,” as Tatara spoke, the lightest blush made its way onto the underclassmen’s cheeks. “King never tells me what he really likes, so I wasn’t sure if you really cared for sweets. So I made chocolates but also a small meat dish since I know you like steak and pork and stuff. Better safe than sorry, as they say.”

Mikoto stared at the items and slowly processed all of what the blonde said to him. It looked professionally cooked and like it was made from some pretty expensive ingredients. A long silence waded between them in the thickening atmosphere as the upperclassmen was unable to fully comprehend the situation he was in. “… Right, okay.”

That was all the redhead said before looking back up at his friend as he put the top back on. He almost handed the box back on reflex but managed to still himself.

Tatara just smiled brightly at him, though his lips seemed to twitch a bit. He usually could read King like a book, but today was just a bit too difficult. The blonde wasn’t depressed or surprised by the action, simply downcast as he faced the reality of how Mikoto would respond.

“Aren’t chocolates something girls give to their crush on Valentine’s Day?” Mikoto finally continued, tilting the box slightly in his hand.

“Ah, well… Yeah? But I like to view it more as the day where people give the guy they admire a gift. And I admire you, King! I hope that’s not too weird.”

“… It is,” Mikoto replied without a second thought.

Totsuka let out a nervous giggle and simply nodded in agreement, “Ah, yeah, well… Keep it anyways since it looks like you didn’t bring anything for lunch.” The blonde purposely widened his smile to act unphased. “I gotta’ go to the teacher’s office because I came in late, so I’ll see ya’ after school. Bye, King!” Tatara turned and waved as he quickly walked back towards the building.

This left Mikoto all alone, still staring down at a Valentine’s Day gift that was clearly meant to be a silent confession of love or something. It was so perfectly put together- Not to mention, it was handmade! There was this confusing feeling in Suoh’s chest that he had never felt before. It felt like he was getting choked while also feeling nauseous. What the fuck was he suppose to do?

The redhead slowly lifted his head to look towards the window Kusanagi used to be seated by on reflex but ended up meeting the eyes of other fellow seniors watching him in shock. Had they just watched Totsuka gift him the item? Instantly, the loner gave a look that could almost kill, and all the students watching out the window jerked back. Mikoto didn’t want to deal with them right now, he had his own thoughts to sort out.

He wanted to figure out why he felt so confused. Suoh shouldn’t feel anything, this is so bothersome after all. Without another thought, the student headed towards the open school gate around the corner of the building. He was going to bother Izumo with this because it was too much to deal with it on his own. Mikoto was a fighter, not much of a thinker after all.

Kusanagi needed to tell him why his heart was pounding so bad.

-

Mikoto walked into the bar with a grunt of introduction before quickly smacking the box onto the bar counter. “Look at this and tell me what you think.”

The man behind the counter quirked an eyebrow before leaning over and removing the top of the box. Inside, he saw assorted chocolates and a meat dish (which Kusanagi found to be very uncoordinated). “Uhm… Well, they look finely made. But the match of meals seems to be in poor taste.”

“Totsuka made it… with me in mind,” Mikoto grumbled, reaching over the bar to snatch a fork. After grabbing the box back, the redhead walked over to the couch. He let himself plop back into the cushion and began eating the steak on the right.

Izumo’s eyes went wide as he stared across the room at his best friend. “You’re serious?” the tall blonde asked softly. “Was it like… a friendly gesture type of situation or…?”

Mikoto simply chewed in silence and didn’t dare look back. He could tell the dish was savory and well-made, even if he never paid attention to those details. It had a rich flavor, and Suoh hated how he couldn’t stop thinking of the fact it was made just for him by Tatara.

“Did he, like, say something to you in particular when he gave it?” Izumo pressed further with his questions, hoping to drag out an answer.

“Totsuka said that people give the guys they admire gifts on Valentine’s day. Then he said “and I admire you.” When I told him that was weird, he got awkward and said he had to go to the teacher’s office for being late to class,” as the redhead spoke, he stared down into the box in silence. The dish was only about 5 bites worth, but it was still delicious.

“Oh, wow!” Kusanagi mused with a smile, “He totally was fucking confessing and you just turned him down!” The older guy couldn’t help but start laughing about it out loud. “God, Mikoto! So what? Did you do it like an airhead or just straight up tell him to stop?”

The student on the couch instantly began brooding, displeased that Izumo was right on the dot about him being an airhead and basically going “no thanks” without thinking. “I… was an airhead.” Suoh gulped down the last bite of the meat dish before pressing his fork partially into the sweets.

“Well, do you regret it?” Izumo asked in a way too cheerful tone, finally moving around again to finish writing on the green chalkboard above.

Mikoto couldn’t find the words to answer. His head was swimming with thoughts he wasn’t used to. Hesitantly, the boy put the chocolate on the fork into his mouth and ate slowly. It was unreasonably sweet and even a little tart from the filling, yet unbelievably enjoyable for Mikoto.

Like Totsuka was.

He was never fond of sugary things, but Totsuka seemed to always do things right when it came to pleasing him. The energetic, little blonde went to great lengths to always make things that suited his King.

The redhead let out a heavy sigh and let himself fall over onto the rest of the couch cushion, his forehead pressed downwards. Why the fuck was he so worked up over this? It was so bothersome after all.

Izumo hummed in thought for a moment then, processing Suoh’s own silence and trying to read it the way Totsuka always could. “Mikoto… What do you feel for Totsuka?”

“Hmmm… Annoyance… He bugs me every damn day and I wanna’ smack him.”

“And?”

“Hunger?” the student replied as he shrugged. “Whenever he comes around, I know he’s gonna’ try doing something new in your kitchen. And even though it probably sucks to someone with good tastes, I always like it,” Mikoto grumbled as he set the box on the table in front of him.

Kusanagi had a surprised expression resting on his face as he continued writing with the chalk in hand. Mikoto wasn’t usually this verbal with anyone. “But, what about the more positive feelings?...”

“I feel like…” the redhead’s words stopped for a moment as he came to a realization. He ran a hand through his hair and gently tugged at the roots. “I know that… I tell Totsuka to stay away a lot, but I don’t think I could last a month alive without him around. He pisses me off and I sometimes want to throw him through a wall because everything, including him, is exhausting, but-...” Mikoto silenced himself when he realized he was getting worked up. “Seeing him leave today… upset by the way I replied… made me hate myself more than ever.”

At this point, Izumo had turned back around completely to watch Mikoto. This was so unlike him to be so honest and open and to be actually using his brain. “... Yeah?”

“I go through every fucking day with this burning feeling under my skin- It feels like it could boil off any damn second. I purposely cause fights just to ease that sensation, but… But Totsuka just has to talk and my problems disappear… What the fuck does that mean about what I think of him though?” Mikoto gripped the edge of the couch, his body feeling ready to go up in flames from how frustrating all this was.

Izumo chuckled softly and shook his head, “You really are an idiot, Mikoto. It’s pretty obvious you’ve got feelings for him too.”

Mikoto bit his tongue as he took in that statement and let it echo inside his mind. He hated the way that jackass said it so calmly. However, the blonde behind the counter was right.

He needed Tatara by his side so badly and so often. It was annoying to realize so late that he actually was in love. Not to mention, he felt like he was suffocating when he confessed, “I can’t stand a world without him.”