The Broken Pieces
Kiku felt frozen, the reality of what he had just done crashing down on him. A second after, he let go of his sword. The blood of his brother leaked on the grass.
Both shouted almost at the same time as blood pooled on the ground.
"Hyung, are you alright…?" Yong Soo said as soon as he came near. He shook Yao but received no answer. Kiku pushed him away, making him stumble.
"Don't do that! The bleeding will get worse!" Kiku said. His trembling hands ripped Yao's clothes to reveal the deepness of his cut. It was going to leave scar; Kiku closed his eyes, sweat running down his jaw. Waves of guilt, worry, shock and fear came crashing into him all at once.
"Why did you do that? Kill me if you want, but don't hurt Hyung-Nim!" Yong Soo was now close to tears.
"Shut up! You were the one who provoked me!" Kiku shouted back. He was about to say more, when Yao emitted a soft groan, fighting over the pain to get up.
Both brothers cried out in relief, glad that he was gaining consciousness.
"Both of you… seriously… stop fighting…!" Yao said, wincing as he tried to move. His vision was blurry, but it didn't prevent him from backhanding Kiku, who had been too stunned to react. Kiku landed on the ground with a soft thud. It felt like all the emotion had been slapped right out of him.
"I told you not to use violence. Now look what you did, aru…!" Yao said as he struggled to breathe.
Kiku felt his face burning up, trying hard not to cry. He would never show that weakness to anyone else… not even Yao. As he slowly sat up, Yao tried to do the same. Kiku hurried and helped him to his feet, supporting him with his body. Yao groaned with every movement.
"If you hadn't held back a second ago, I wouldn't be alive right now…" Yao mumbled darkly at Kiku, groaning whenever the bandages passed his wound. His brother did not say anything. He had been silent since they had helped Yao to his room and cleaned the gash. They were going to call the doctor when Kiku insisted he take care of Yao's injury himself. Right after Yong Soo had brought the medicine and bandages, he had been asked to leave so Kiku could work without distraction. He protested at first, but after Yao told him off Yong Soo reluctantly obeyed.
Once Kiku had finished, Yao tried turning around; when it had proved too painful he just decided to lie on his stomach. He gave Kiku a sideways look and was surprised to find his brother's eyes gleaming with tears. Kiku was biting his lower lip hard, trying not to let out a sob.
"Kiku…" Yao said sympathetically. He raised his hand and touched the other's bruised cheek, making Kiku flinch. Kiku recovered and grasped Yao's hand tightly, visibly distraught.
"I almost killed you…" Kiku said. "I'm... sorry… I'm sorry…" Despite his best efforts, he began sobbing in between the words, brushing his sleeves over his tears. Yao softened, but it wasn't enough to excuse Kiku's behavior.
"Why did you do that, aru…? Yong Soo is just a child…" Kiku gave him an exasperated look.
"I love you…! You know that…"
"You don't love me, aru… You are just being possessive," Yao said. He pulled his hand away from Kiku's grip.
"No, listen… Yao-san—"
Yao stilled. Kiku gazed meaningfully at him.
Only then did the realization strike. All of Kiku's 'I love you's had been about… that type of love. Yao hastened to clear things out.
"Kiku… no… you don't—"
"I do! But now… I almost killed you because of my feelings… this feeling… I shouldn't have them in the first place." Kiku couldn't look him in the eye; he was clutching at his clothes so hard that he was wrinkling his hakama. Yao sighed, unsure in what way he was supposed to respond.
"I will move to the dormitory…" Kiku said finally.
"What? Kiku…" Yao hadn't expected that sort of decision. "You don't have to go that far…"
"I've made up my mind… so… I'll gather my things as soon as I can. I… I'm not sure if I can stay here any longer…" Yao couldn't say anything, mixed looks of anger and sorrow battling on his features.
"Alright, aru… if you really want it…" Yao looked away, just missing Kiku's bitter smile. It hurt to think that Yao wasn't even stopping him from leaving.
Kiku stared at his new room in the dormitory. He dropped his luggage and slumped on the carpet. A loud sob escaped his mouth and he hugged himself tightly.
Someone lightly put a hand on top of his head and it made him flinch, having been spotted in a moment of weakness. His cheeks still wet, Kiku found his Grecian roommate, Heracles, staring at him with a sad expression. He hadn't heard him coming inside the room because he had been too busy thinking about his own problem.
"Cry as much as you want…" he said, brushing Kiku's bandaged cheek. Kiku shut his eyes and let out a muffled cry, unable to hold his tears any longer. He had had enough…
Kiku hoped that this change in his life could make him forget all the things that had happened. It was his first year in junior high school; he should start anew and forget about his feelings for Yao. He will cut ties with him as soon as he was in senior high school and could work and live on his own. It would be for the better, not remembering any painful memories… maybe he should close his heart as well… not to love another…
Yong Soo looked around the nearly empty house. It had become so quiet once Kiku had moved away. A part of him felt relieved that his older brother was living in the dormitory now, but another part of him felt a bit mad as well. The reason for which was inside the room Yong Soo was currently peeking into. He could hear his brother's muffled voice against his pillow. He was crying again wasn't he? How many nights has it been? Yong Soo closed the door, feeling utterly useless.
"Kikuuuu…" a voice called as Kiku walked out of the building with Heracles. He heard running footsteps behind him and stopped to wait for his friend. The Italian had recently become one of his closest companions in the university.
Kiku had taken an Art major because of his liking for anime and mangas. Barely one semester had passed and he was already fond of his surroundings. His Grecian roommates; Heracles back in junior and senior high school had also chosen the same university and a Japanese major department since he took great interest in Japanese cultures.
"Do you still have classes after lunch? Shall we go together? Ah, Ludwig and Gilbert are going to the cafeteria right now. Arthur said he wasn't going to come, but he followed us nonetheless…" Feliciano said as soon as he reached him, followed by Kiku's roommate Heracles. Kiku nodded.
"I don't have any more classes… I shall take my lunch with you guys then, Feliciano… What about you Heracles-san?" Kiku asked the Greek who stood beside them without a word.
"Okay… I will go… with you…" he said with a slight nod.
"Good… veee~ I'm hungry… I'm going to order pasta again today…"
"Aren't you having them too much already?"
"Eeeh? But they are soooo tasty…" Kiku shook his head and chuckled.
Once they got to the cafeteria, Alfred waved them over.
"Heeey~ We're over here…" he called with a mouth still full of hamburger. Arthur nudged him.
"Alfred, you are too loud! And don't talk when you are still eating!" Arthur said.
"Stop that, Artie!"
"Quit calling me that!"
Across them, their French friend shook his head.
"Stop it you two… It's not like they can't see us sitting here…" Francis said when he saw their friends approaching.
Kiku took a seat beside Arthur, who rummaged around for a while before giving him a letter.
"It's from Hong…" he said with a smile.
"I see… Umm… you should just give this to my brother though…" Kiku said as he stared at the letter.
Arthur had known Hong since they had gone to the same school in England. Afterwards, he decided to study Music in Japan. Kiku remembered the time when he had sat in class beside Arthur, who had mistaken him for Hong.
"Ah, you mean Yao? Well wouldn't it be better if you were the one to give this to him?" Kiku stiffened.
"Ah well… You usually give it straight to him… It's better that way anyway…" Kiku away, refusing to even look at the letter. Arthur blinked in bafflement. He recalled the first time he had given Kiku letters from Hong. Kiku had been genuinely surprised.
"What's with these letters?" Kiku asked. Arthur only grinned. He shoved the letters into Kiku's fidgeting hands. Beside them, Alfred slurped on his soda.
"I told Hong that I met you. So he wanted me to deliver these letters to you. Well, including your brother. He said you have an older brother as well. So he wanted me to deliver them to you. He wondered if you guys still live in the same house when you were little," Arthur explained, not noticing Kiku's sour expression.
"Arthur-san… can't you deliver these to Yao's house on your own? I don't wish to send the letters home," Kiku said, while giving the letters back to Arthur.
"Eh? But—" Arthur stopped when he saw Kiku's expression. He had never seen a look that dangerous before. Alfred made a face.
"Hey, settle your problems on your own. Don't put Arthur's kindness to waste," Alfred said. Kiku raised an eyebrow at him.
"Alfred!" Arthur hissed, elbowing him.
"I'm just stating that—"
"Okay, I will take the letters for now; but I do not wish to receive any more," Kiku said, turning around to leave. He had barely taken two steps when the sounds of ripping paper reached Arthur's and Alfred's ears. In seconds, all of Kiku's letters were reduced to shreds.
"Stop!" Arthur said before Kiku could tear Yao's letters as well. He snatched them from Kiku's hands.
"Tell me your brother's address. I will send these myself," Arthur said with a frown. Kiku relented and told him Yao's address, then he said goodbye and left. Alfred regarded the Japanese with distaste.
"He is weird!" he whispered to Arthur.
"Maybe he had some problems at home, who knows…" Arthur muttered as he looked down at the torn envelope. He wished to know though; he might be able to, after delivering the letter to his brother. Yao, was it?
"Alright then, if you say so… He sent me a letter too, by the way, asking me how you are doing and all that… I'm guessing you've never replied to him? You have a Korean brother as well, haven't you? He told me that in the letter…"
"I never knew about that, tell me more about you Kiku…!" Feliciano said in full curiosity. Kiku smiled timidly at him. He was not sure what to tell Feliciano, but as he was about to speak up there came a ruckus.
"Uwaa… what's with that child…"
"He is wearing weird clothes…"
"Its Korean clothes, silly… what's a Korean boy doing here…?"
"He looks like a Junior High School student…"
"Is there a Korean School nearby?"
Kiku and his friends trailed their eyes at the recurring mumblings not far from them. A boy wearing traditional Korean clothes was walking towards their direction. He stared at the boy who stopped before him until he realized the weird curl on top of his head. Im Yong Soo… his half brother.
"Kiku-nii… I'm glad I found you, da-ze!" he said with a big grin. All attention went to Kiku and Yong Soo. Kiku stood up.
"Yong Soo… what are you doing here?" Kiku demanded. Yong Soo's happy look suddenly turned serious.
"I'm searching for you, da-ze! Let's go home!" he said, making Kiku's eye twitch.
"Um.. I will take him somewhere for a moment. You guys, have your lunch without me, okay…" Kiku reassured his friends before taking Yong Soo's hand and dragging him away from prying eyes.
"What are you doing here?" Kiku said, annoyed to no end. Yong Soo glared back.
"I want you to take responsibility, da-ze!" he said. Kiku felt like a thick blanket of fog had descended on his mind. The child wasn't making any sense. They were in the hallway not far from the entrance of the cafeteria. He could see some of the students passing by sending inquisitive glances their way.
"What are you saying?" Kiku exclaimed in frustration.
"I want you to go home and take responsibility over Hyung Nim." The sentence only served to confuse Kiku even more. Impatient over Kiku's inability to comprehend, Yong Soo pulled his hand and dragged him further away from the cafeteria.
"W-wait a minute!" Kiku yanked his hand from Yong Soo's hold.
"I don't understand you at all…! How can you show up before me, now, after years have passed as if nothing had happened to you…" Yong Soo scowled when he asked him that, facing him fully.
"I'm sorry…" he said suddenly.
It looked like Yong Soo was struggling to overcome something. Finally, he said, "I didn't realize what you were feeling back then… you said you love him… But it wasn't brotherly love at all… I understand that now…"
Kiku looked at him in shock.
"Hyung Nim has been crying for nights since you've left, Kiku-nii… and then you cut all ties with us as soon as you entered Senior high school… you even took a part-time job so you would have no need of Hyung's help… We tried to search for info about you and soon I found out you had a British friend who has contact with Hong in England. Arthur went to our house one day, told us about Hong and you. That was when you just entered this university… Hyung Nim was relieved to have found where you were, but he wasn't sure if you wanted to go home. I told him to ask you to come back home, but he refused … so now I'm doing it in his stead. Kiku-nii… can't we just forget about the past and move forward? We are family; you can't cut ties just like that… You hurt Hyung Nim by doing all of this…"
"What about you… I… I almost killed you that time because of this… possessiveness…" Kiku stopped when Yong Soo touched his arms.
"You are not a bad person… I know that… if you are, you would have killed me that time… without caring about Yao Hyung. But you held back, right, because in your heart you didn't really mean it…" Yong Soo said gently.
When Kiku remained silent, Yong Soo let go.
"If you don't want to come back, at least consider visiting us…" Yong Soo said, preparing to leave.
"What did you mean by taking responsibility?"
Yong Soo looked at him hopefully.
"You are to take responsibility and make him smile again from his heart…"
Kiku closed his eyes, willing himself to respond. "I will think about it… Yong Soo… I'm sorry…" Kiku made a deep bow in front of his younger brother. The once teary-eyed little child was now a brave youth.
"We forgive you, Kiku-nii… and I'm sorry as well… for never noticing your deepest feelings."
Yao opened his door with one free hand, the other being dragged by Yong Soo.
"Geezzz what the hell, Yong Soo… What are you…" But Yong Soo had already left him before the entrance of the house. Yao frowned, then was mesmerized when he saw someone standing before the door, face to face with his brother. Honda Kiku… a sad smile played on his face as he face Yao. Yao's eyes widened, trembling hands brought up for a light touch on Kiku's cheek.
"Kiku…?" Yao whispered. Kiku nodded, placing his hands on top of Yao's.
"Yao-san… how are you doing…?"
Yao pulled his brother into his arms, hugging him tightly. Kiku was now taller than him.. How many years has it been…? Yao clung to Kiku, who was doing his best not to cry. Kiku circled his arms around his brother.
Behind the stairs Yong Soo watched the two brothers with a bittersweet haze. It was for the better… but someday he would claim his brother's heart…
End of flashback
Kiku smiled to himself. He wasn't sure if he had made the right decision by going with Arthur. As far as he remembered, he was sure he wouldn't love any person other than Yao. Had he opened up his heart too much? Or did he love him just because he saw himself in Arthur?
The image of Alfred and Ivan the other day returned to him… maybe Arthur should know. After all, it was hard to let go of feelings you've been harboring for so long… A slight fear crept into Kiku's physique.
Maybe he will choose Alfred over me…