His Choice of Heart
Arthur glared at Alfred, who was gaping at him like a fish. As he walked past him, Arthur mumbled.
"I've broken up with Kiku; happy now? Congratulate your stupid friend about it, Ivan's done a pretty good job on breaking us apart." Arthur gave him one last glance before making his way downstairs to the hallway. Alfred quickly turned around to stop him.
"Wait, you are not serious are you? I mean, I didn't even plan—" Alfred caught his breath when he saw the look in Arthur's eyes .
"He broke up with me, what else can I explain? How else can I explain? We kissed. That's what he saw. Don't tell me that that wasn't your plan as well, kissing me like that when I was about to meet Kiku. You knew he was going to come to the classroom, yet you…" Arthur cursed and looked away, unable to finish.
"But you kissed me back…" Both were now engulfed in silence. Arthur raised his eyes, only to see Alfred looking anywhere else but him.
"I'm sorry…" Arthur's apology caught Alfred off-guard. The smile on Arthur's face made him blush; he was not sure if he should feel happy or sad. What the British said next allowed him to decide.
"I'm sorry for the misunderstanding on my part, on the day you left. I thought at first, that I still love you when you explained to me just now. But losing Kiku was actually much more painful for me, Alfred. I can't go back… I… I love Kiku now, so…" Arthur bit his lip.
Alfred's gradually sinking expression didn't help, but he had to choose. And without a doubt he knew he had chosen the right one. Even if now he had lost Kiku because of his stupid act. "You've lost him…" Alfred pointed out, taking a step forward. Arthur gave a slow nod.
"I know, but I'm not going to lose him forever. I'm sorry… we've been through over a year ago, Alfred." Arthur gave him a sad smile. Even if it had been on misunderstood terms. He was over his possessive feelings toward the American, over his own selfishness, and he had already let go of him the moment Kiku had reached out his hand towards him.
Alfred was flexing his fingers. Arthur had left a few moments ago, yet he still stood there, unmoving. He frowned, not knowing what to do, until someone tapped on his shoulder.
"How is it?" Ivan asked, puzzled when Alfred faced him with a grimace. He shook his head. "Should I do something to the two of them?"
"No, that's enough. You… you've done a lot for me already, Ivan. Probably too much. I just want to be alone for now…" Alfred shook his head again. He quickly ran from his very best friend, and Ivan stared after him, aghast.
"I see… So, I'm all alone now…" he muttered to himself. A dark aura surrounded him.
Yao looked both ways after opening the door of his room, making sure that no mischief was afoot. Satisfied that his brother was nowhere to be found, he quickly dashed to Kiku's room. The boy had not left his room for almost a day since coming home. He hadn't even emptied his bowl of rice for dinner.
"Kiku, aru." Yao slowly slid the door open. He saw his brother facing the window. Yao couldn't help but to smile. Ever since childhood, Kiku had always sat down on the floor, facing the round window whenever he was sulking. It seemed like Kiku had no intention of stopping him coming inside, so Yao let himself in. He sat beside his brother.
"Are you alright, aru?" he asked tentatively, earning a small nod from Kiku. Yao sighed; he was glad Kiku was giving at least some sort of response, but really, his brother needed to open up a little bit more.
"I didn't see that coming at all, aru." That statement made Kiku look him in the eyes, finally. Yao's tender smile told Kiku that he already knew what happened.
"So, you've heard…" he muttered. Kiku tore his eyes away from those golden orbs, and put his chin on top of his knees. He stiffened when Yao circled his arm around his shoulder, but did not shove his brother away.
"Are you sad, aru?"
"I'm more angry than sad, actually, ni-ni." Ni-ni. Kiku hadn't called him that in ages. This was serious.
"…I see, aru…" Both of them had nothing more to say for a moment. Their eyes went outside to their small pond. The scenery all seemed so peaceful, drowning their troubles away. Kiku made an aggrieved whine and let his head lean against Yao's shoulder. Yao looked at him before chuckling; he ran his hand through Kiku's hair, caressing his brother lovingly. Kiku couldn't help but smile at the affection.
"Ni-ni, I'm alone now…" Kiku whispered to him, giving Yao a look his brother couldn't fathom. Yao shook his head, trying to reassure him.
"No you are not, aru…" Yao replied, until Kiku tilted his head.
"You do know what I meant, ni-ni." Kiku straightened up, his eyes staring deeply into Yao's. Finally recognizing what Kiku meant, Yao pulled his arm away from Kiku and sighed.
"Kiku, listen, aru…" Yao's words were cut off by a pair of lips against his, making him flinch. Yao stared at Kiku's closed eyes, his brows furrowed together; the chuckle escaping his lips was uncalled for. He closed his eyes and leaned forward as his hand ran to the back of Kiku's head to deepen the kiss. Yao received a small moan from his brother when he licked his lower lip, his tongue meeting Kiku's when his brother complied, giving him entrance. Yao sneaked a peek to look into Kiku's still closed eyes, brows still furrowed as if he were in deep thought. Deep inside, Yao knew he wasn't thinking about him. He pulled back, allowing Kiku a breath. Yao wondered if he had made the right choice doing this: after all, it was his brother he was kissing. Not to mention that there was another brother who was hell-bent on chasing after him. Yao struggled to understand how he could be thinking of Yong Soo in a time like this… Yao opened his mouth when Kiku suddenly hugged him, toppling both of them on the floor.
"Kiku, aru…" Yao gasped when his brother was looming on top of him. Kiku opened his collar, and Yao gasped sharply when his brother licked him on the neck, marking him as if he were his.
"Ah, aru, not so hard, aru…" Yao softly pushed Kiku away, having the decency to blush. He hadn't expected Kiku to do that to him. Why did he seem so experienced? Had he gone that far with Arthur? About to ask him exactly that, Yao found Kiku's brown eyes suddenly filled with sadness. He propped himself up on his elbows.
"Kiku? What's wrong, aru?" Yao brought his hand to caresses Kiku's cheek; he brushed his fingers against Kiku's lip when he started biting on it.
"Why aren't you resisting?" Kiku asked, taking Yao's hand into his own, grabbing it firmly. Yao smiled placatingly when he heard his question.
"Why should I, aru? I love you, aru…" Kiku stared dumbfounded for a moment, before shaking his head. His closed his eyes tightly while clutching onto Yao's hand.
"But I don't… I no longer… love you, ni-ni… Why is it? Why does this feel so different… Am I just using you as a substitute…?"
"So, you figured it out for yourself, aru…" Yao said. Kiku was surprised to find him grinning.
"For a moment, I was wondering, aru. When will you notice your true feelings for me, aru. You still love, Arthur, don't you, Kiku?" Yao sat up properly when Kiku let go of his hands. He watched as his brother fidgeted.
"I…" Kiku brought his hands to his lips, blushing furiously. Yao wrapped his arms around Kiku and pulled him into a hug. He surrendered, letting his head rest on Yao's chest, trying to ignore the lump in his throat.
"He cheated on me… he kissed Alfred-san when I entered the classroom, Yao-ni." Yao looked at the ceiling, listening quietly. He was glad that Kiku was finally telling him what happened. So, that kiss just now, was an act of revenge? He found he didn't mind that much—it was his brother after all—although he did not know what Yong Soo would do should he find out. Yao stiffened, why was he thinking about Yong Soo again? Why the hell should he care how Yong Soo would react? He grunted in irritation, earning a questioning look from Kiku. Yao gave him a fake smile.
"So, you broke up with him, because you were mad, aru? Was it because of jealousy…? Not simply because of Alfred?"
Kiku hesitated. "I did tell him to come back to Alfred, but… I didn't really mean it…" Kiku pouted. Yao chuckled at him.
"Did you regret it, aru?" Yao received no answer, although he knew what Kiku was thinking. He knew his brother was still confused, so he just patted his shoulder encouragingly.
"Think about it clearly, aru. I'm sure you will know the answer to it. Now, are you hungry, aru? You haven't been eating properly," Yao said. It took a while for Kiku to answer.
"I will eat…"
"Okay, aru, I will warm it up for you. Wait here, I will bring you your dinner…" Yao rose to his feet when suddenly the door opened with a large bang. Both jumped in surprise and suddenly a wildly elated Yong Soo forced himself on top of Yao, sending them both to the floor. Kiku was too shocked to react properly.
"Found you, Hyung! Let's play a game, if you win you can do anything to me and vice versa…" he shouted at Yao who, in the meantime, was pushing him off. His younger brother was surprisingly stronger than he was, and by the time he had struggled to his feet he was panting.
"No, aru! Can't you see this isn't the right time? Kiku needs his dinner, aru. Besides, what kind of stupid game are you talking about, anyway? Stop being so ridiculous, aru!" He rose to his feet, glaring daggers at Yong Soo. The Korean quickly followed his brother out, impervious, leaving the Japanese dumbfounded.
"Err… game?" he repeated to no one. What is going on here?
Yao watched as Kiku ate his meal without so much as a hiccup. He woke up this morning to find his brother roaming about in the kitchen, cooking in silence. He was a bit surprised that Kiku continued his duties even if his mind was probably in an entirely different continent.
"Are you sure it's alright to go, aru? If you are not feeling well, you can have more rest, aru," Yao suggested, settling his chopsticks down. Kiku set his bowl aside with a slight nod.
"I'm alright, Yao-san. Today there will be a briefing about next week's final exams. I think it's about time I went, so, I will take my leave now." Kiku rose to his feet, chair scraping loudly. Hong and Yong Soo followed him with their eyes, still holding their bowls as the Japanese started to walk out. They knew that Kiku was avoiding conversation.
"Are you sure you are alright, aru? It's still too early," Yao said as he leaned against his chair, eyes trained on the entrance of the dining room. He did not really expect any answer though.
"Shall we go with him?" Hong asked after finishing his breakfast. Yao pursed his lips in thought. It wasn't until he heard a bell from outside that he made to move. The three brothers peeped out the door of the dining room to find Heracles waving at Kiku, who just opened the door for him. They continued to watch their brother and his friend until they closed the door and left.
"… his new boyfriend…" Hong muttered, earning gasps from Yao and Yong Soo.
Hong shrugged. He was just guessing, it couldn't be real… could it? His premonitions were never wrong…
"Whatever…" Hong mumbled.
Kiku raised his head upon meeting Heracles at the front door.
"Morning…" The guy mumbled sleepily, raising his hand to cover his yawn. Amused, Kiku shut the door behind him.
"Good morning to you too, Heracles-san. You don't usually pick me up in the mornings. It's been a while…" Kiku said as he walked past him. Heracles followed him lazily while rubbing the back of his head.
"I'm glad I still remember the way to your house. If you had stayed in any longer I would have never stopped wondering… so I came to pick you up…" Heracles explained.
"Don't worry, I won't close off myself towards other people again. I'm not the old me…" Kiku said clearly, making Heracles smile.
"It's been a while since we've walked together like this…" Heracles said while putting his hand on Kiku's shoulder. Kiku gave a small nod.
"I know… You've stopped coming to my house ever since you knew I loved Arthur… I should have noticed…" Heracles remained silent, but Kiku could feel the hand on his shoulder becoming rigid.
"Shall we go now?" Kiku asked, trying to appear cheerful. Heracles looked like he was about to say something more, but thought better of it.
"… okay…" he answered shortly.
Kiku kicked a pebble on the road, where it toppled out of sight into a canal.
"About the anime convention… in the end we couldn't finish the costumes… Do you still want to go?" Heracles asked once they started walking toward the bus stop.
"We can still go there; we don't have to do cosplay this year, it's fine. We can make another interesting one, I think. Shall we go together this Saturday?" Heracles nodded. Kiku could see the sparkling emotion in his eyes. He doesn't think of it as a date, right?
Kiku wasn't expecting the sudden weight and wail that had launched itself at him as he entered the painting room. It was all he could do not to fall flat.
"Feliciano!" Kiku scolded, pushing him off. Feliciano cried out in alarm.
"S-sorry, but you… but…" Feliciano howled in front of him, attracting attention from the other students inside the classroom. Kiku burned with humiliation; from the way things were looking, it would appear as if he were the one to cause Feliciano's unceasing tears.
"Calm down… I'm alright, now, so calm down…" Kiku said, his arms hovering all over Feliciano and not quite knowing what to do to keep him quiet. He stopped when Ludwig put his large hand on Feliciano's head. The simple gesture stopped his sobbing, much to Kiku's relief. He was always amazed at how Ludwig's courtesy was toward his clingy boyfriend.
"Stop it will you, you're making Kiku appear the evil guy for making you cry," Ludwig admonished lightly, patting him on the head. Kiku's shoulders sagged in relief when Feliciano nodded, wiping his tears away. Heracles, who stood behind Kiku, gave a small smile.
"I'm going to my class now…"
"Alright, thank you, Heracles-san…" Kiku gave him a slight nod, waving a little when Heracles turned around with a nonchalant gesticulation.
"Did I miss something while I was away? Any new task to do? What about the briefing you told me?" Kiku asked the two immediately. Both looked blank for a moment, then began chuckling.
"Nothing, it's just that… don't you have other questions besides our lessons?" Ludwig stood with his arms akimbo as Feliciano took Kiku's hands in his.
"Nothing you missed, you just need to continue your painting! Isn't yours almost done? We need to get it down before next week starts." Feliciano quickly dragged Kiku to his easel. Feliciano marveled at Kiku's work.
"It's beautiful, Kiku. The nature seems so real…" Feliciano admired, taking it in.
"I think I'll try making the sky brighter… is yours done?" he asked his friend, taking his brush. Receiving yet no response from Feliciano, he tried to see what was wrong. The Italian was looking rather forlorn.
"I need to redo mine…" Feliciano said softly.
"What? Why? Is something wrong with it?"
"I painted for you… But… You broke up with Arthur, so I can't continue…" he replied, which made no sense to Kiku.
"What does that have to do with Arthur?" Kiku asked. Feliciano did not answer him.
"Kiku, come with me…" Ludwig called out to him.
"No, Ludwig! Don't show him that…" Feliciano cried, but his boyfriend ignored him, signaling Kiku to follow him to the storeroom. Feliciano ran after Kiku with a worried expression.
Inside the dark room, there was one large painting still sitting on its easel. It was covered with a clean white sheet. The others were dry and could therefore be stacked on top of each other. Some paintings hung on the wall with a name under each one. Kiku stared at the covered painting, as Feliciano walked inside in a hurry, pushing him aside from the entrance. He switched the light on, although it was dim and wasn't very helpful. Ludwig walked toward the covered canvas and pulled off the white sheet, revealing a beautiful painting of Kiku, leaning against Arthur's shoulder, sleeping peacefully. Kiku stared at the picture in admiration, coming closer. That day he was having free time and decided to have lunch with Arthur under the big tree. Apparently, he ended up falling asleep while reading his manga. Arthur was right beside him, pulling him closer and letting him rest on his shoulder. It seemed Feliciano had been around at the time and decided to capture the scene.
Kiku raised a trembling hand to lightly touch the side of the painting. Both Ludwig and Feliciano watched sympathetically. They could hear a small sniffling sound as Kiku tried to hold back his tears. Ludwig patted Feliciano's back, steering him outside to give Kiku some privacy, closing the door as they left.
Kiku sobbed. Was he regretting it? He did not know… he really did not know what he should do about his feelings…
Arthur slowly peeked inside the painting room. The sunset poured in through the windows, momentarily blinding him. He wondered if this was the reason the classroom was placed on the west, so as to be able to paint beautiful sunset scenes. If he had been an art student he surely wouldn't miss the opportunity. Or take inspiration from it for music. However his concern right now wasn't about the sunset. His eyes scanned the room in search of a certain brunette guy, hoping that he was still in the classroom. Much to his disappointment, the place was obviously empty. He cursed under his breath. He should have known that, in having a different major, he would always find some difficulties to be with Kiku. Right now though it was getting exceedingly difficult, with the upcoming exams, busier school week, not to mention the fact that they were through and Kiku probably didn't want to see him right now. He rattled his hair and cursed, turning around and slamming the door as he left.
Someone opened the storeroom, wondering what the noise was. Kiku peered out and looked around. There was no one about. Some student probably just slammed it shut in a hurry. He walked outside the storeroom; eyes taking one last glance at the painting. He had just finished his painting today and had placed it beside Feliciano's to let dry. He squared his shoulders and decided to ask Feliciano to continue his artwork tomorrow.
He grabbed his things and left for the lockers. The sky was gradually getting dimmer. He remembered watching the same scenery from another classroom. His dinner with Arthur… Kiku touched the window pane.
"Hey, want to go home together?"
He spun around. The vision of Arthur vanished immediately when he saw it was only Heracles with his sleepy eyes. A flicker of disappointment stole across Kiku's face. Heracles was in so many ways too different from Arthur. And too similar to Kiku in some interests. Kiku should have known. His feeling for Heracles were that of a friend. In the end, it was still Arthur he kept thinking about. Kiku's heart clenched painfully at the realization that Arthur would never become his anymore. He fists curled unconsciously. A regret that had been building up made him wince; he looked his reflection in the window pane. He was ashamed; he had broken up with him the same way Alfred had left him. He hadn't listened to Arthur.
"No, aru! You cheated, aru!" Yao's shouts could be heard as soon as Kiku entered his house. Wondering what was happening, he saw his brother stomping through the living room angrily, too engrossed to notice him.
"Hyung, you promised me, and I won…!"
"No, aru! That's a stupid game, aru! You cheated!"
"You can't cheat in shogi! Come on, you promised me!" Yong Soo was now tailing him like a loyal dog.
"I can't, Yong Soo! We just… can't…"
"Don't say that, Hyung! It's just for two weeks!" Yong Soo was now begging his brother, circling his arms around his waist. Kiku edged around them. They were too busy arguing that they did not notice him.
"Let go of me, aru!"
"Hyung, come on, it's just two weeks… I promise you," Yong Soo continued to insist. Yao growled.
"Alright, aru! You really love to annoy me, don't you? I will go out with you, just for two weeks, but after that we'll be back to normal, straight away! Promise me, aru?"
"Really? I love you, Yao-hyung!" Yong Soo shouted with sparkling eyes.
Kiku took in Yao's blushing face; he had never seen Yao so funny like that. He brought his fist to his lips, let out a chuckle he couldn't hold. Both brothers looked at him surprised.
"Ki-Kiku, aru!" Yao's voice cracked and ended up screeching at the first syllable. This was perfect, to be caught by his brother in this situation. Yong Soo let go of Yao and gave him a sheepish smile.
"It's not what you think, aru! Right, Yong Soo?" Yao stammered, nudging his brother with an elbow. Yong Soo flinched and just rubbed his side. Kiku stopped laughing, watching the two with a big smile on his face.
"Isn't that great, Yao-san? You shouldn't break up with him up after two weeks; it will hurt both of you."
"Aruuu?" Yao exclaimed. Kiku seemed changed, much more cheerful today.
"I…" Yong Soo tried to say something but Yao glared daggers at him, and he quickly changed his mind.
"Is everything's alright, aru?" Yao asked. Kiku shook his head.
"I'm alright, nothing to worry about," he answered. Yao searched his face for any sort of lie, but he did not find any. Finally, he decided to take Kiku's word for it.
"If you say so, aru. Oh, just want to let you know, there's nothing between me and Yong Soo. I will prepare dinner now, aru." Yao quickly escaped to the kitchen, leaving Yong Soo and Kiku alone.
Yong Soo looked at his brother, eyes meeting.
"I …love him… I love him, Kiku-nii…" At that, Kiku gave a nod as an approval.
"I know. Make him smile, do what I can't do, will you?" Kiku walked toward him, giving a pat on his arm. Yong Soo immediately resumed his sparkly attitude.
"Of course, da-ze!" he shouted at the top of his lungs, making Kiku jump.
"Shut up, aru!" Yao yelled from the kitchen. Kiku sweat–dropped.
What a strange couple…