The Misunderstanding

"Arthur, you jerk!" Yao scolded over the phone, throwing an empty box of flour in the trashcan once he had finally managed to contact the British. Arthur hissed in indignation.

"What? Wait! You called me just to insult me? I'm hanging up!"

"Wait a moment, opium! I'm not done yet!"

"What did you just call me, you bloody wanker?"

"Kiku got attacked because of your stupid ex, idiot! Where were you last night? It's very hard to contact you, aru! Or are you ganging up with them to hurt Kiku, aru?"

"Wha—Kiku was attacked? I didn't know that… I…" Arthur was cut off when the phone suddenly died on the other line. He gripped his mobile tightly and gritted his teeth.

"Damn it, I'm not done talking yet! Oh gosh! I better go to Kiku's house now… Damn Alfred. What have you done?" Arthur quickly threw the mobile into his bag and took his jacket and umbrella. It was raining hard today, and he had skipped another class yet again. He had just been wondering whether he should call Kiku or not when suddenly his phone had started ringing with Yao's number on the said he was going to the printing to finish his homework due today, but the news had really surprised him. He was worried; as far as he knew, Alfred was never one to use force, unless… Arthur stopped half-way through closing the door of his room, his face hardening.

"Ivan," he muttered, glaring at the door knob. That Russian guy who had been hanging out with Alfred before he left for America. He knew they were pretty close, and it seemed Ivan was rather possessive of Alfred. But this was beyond his expectation; Ivan even went to hurt Kiku. He must have been blackmailing him for some time, but since Kiku never said anything to Arthur, he thought that Ivan was just taking things lightly. Arthur grimaced. The last time Ivan took action, it was Yao who had gotten blackmailed. If Yao hadn't told both Arthur and Alfred about it that time, the two would never have known. As it turned it out, it was Alfred who prevented Ivan from causing anymore harm.

Arthur stopped before the elevator, pressing the down button and waiting. He stared at his feet .

Kiku, can't you rely on me anymore…?

The elevator doors slid open and Arthur quickly got inside.

Yao opened Kiku's bedroom door and entered, setting the tray of breakfast on his table. Yong Soo followed closely and shut the door. From his bed, Kiku slowly turned to face them, staring at Yao for a moment with a sad look.

"Kiku, you have to eat breakfast, aru" Yao said softly.

"Ni ni…" he whispered, surprising Yao. He looked down at Kiku, whose eyes were filled with sadness.

"Kiku… are you feeling okay?" Yao sat on the edge of his bed.

"I'm okay I think… Sorry… It's just that… I have so many things in my mind…" Kiku said. Yao touched his bandaged cheek.

"I've scolded Arthur for you, aru. Ivan won't leave you alone once he starts his attack, aru."

"How did you know him, Yao-nii?" Kiku asked as he made to sit up, Yao's arm supporting him. Kiku clearly felt Yao stiffen when he asked him that.

"Ah… you probably didn't know about this. But… right after you left home that time… I was desperate… I felt like I had just let my important person leave my life. And I didn't raise you good enough, aru. I was crying a lot, aru. And that time when you cut ties with us, it got worse, aru. Even if I had known where you were since Arthur had come to our house and gave us Hong's letter.

"I went to a bar to relieve myself, and there I met Ivan and Arthur along with Alfred, aru. They were very welcoming, so at that time I thought I could be with them to ease my suffering. And somehow I started hanging out with them. But that didn't last long, aru. They… they loved to drink a lot and got drunk. One day Arthur forced me to drink with him, which I didn't want. In the end I agreed, but the drink tasted different somehow, aru. He… Ivan did something unforgivable, aru. He took advantage of me. I was drunk, and I went back home with him. Yong Soo had gone to sleep that time, aru… We…"

Kiku couldn't speak; never before had he heard this kind of story.

After a while he swallowed and managed to ask, "Yao-nii… are you alright?" Yao circled his arms around Kiku's and smiled apologetically.

"Ah, sorry, aru, that you had to listen to this… I don't remember much right after that, aru. There was probably an aphrodisiac inside the drink, and well the morning after I felt my body ache here and there. Ivan was still in bed with me. When Yong Soo entered the room, shocked to find us, he… he slapped me awake, aru. He told me to wake up from my desperation and he told Ivan to get out. Ivan was about to hit Yong Soo that time, but I had gathered enough sense to stop him and told Ivan that there was nothing between us. But he wouldn't leave me alone, wouldn't stop pestering me, aru. Alfred and Arthur had apologized for making me drunk because that time I was so furious. It wasn't until Alfred had told Ivan to stop bugging me that he stopped, aru. I think Ivan loves him; he just didn't want to show it. He must have been calling out Alfred's name when he… did me, aru. Ah, after that, Yong Soo decided to go to your university. I told him not to many times, but he didn't listen to me aru."

Kiku stared at Yao miserably; he didn't know what to say. He felt to blame that Yao had to endure something like that, he felt like he had to take some responsibility. But the thought itself was wrong; he had promised himself not to think about it anymore. Kiku leaned forward and pressed his forehead against Yao's chest; his circled his arms around Yao's waist and muffled a cry.

"I'm sorry… Yao-nii… I'm sorry…"

Yao was now fidgeting, not knowing what to do.

"Aiyaa, Kiku, you don't need to apologize, aru. It's the past already. I'm worried about you more, now. Are you okay? I just wished you would your relationship with Arthur now that it's come to this… I don't want you to suffer…" Yao ran his hand through Kiku's hair, caressing him with a smile.

"I… I don't know… I'm confused…"

"The moment Ivan blackmailed you, you should have told Arthur or Alfred right away, aru. Ivan must have been working on his own pace without the two of them knowing. I feel sorry for his comrades."

Kiku looked up, not quite sure if he really should have told Arthur about it. "You think I should call this off…?" he said. "I mean… I wished things would finish if I broke off with Arthur-san, but I don't want to do the same thing Alfred-san did… He will break again if I did… I love him, but I can't have Arthur-san protect me twenty-four seven… Besides it will become a bother to him… and if I told him about Ivan and Alfred, he might think I'm bad-mouthing them since they acted nice in front of Arthur-san. So…"

Kiku was close to tears now trying to explain. All Yao could do was stare; he wasn't able to do much for his brother. Love was painful. Their fate was cruel. And Yao wasn't sure if it was really his right to take Kiku back from Arthur. Especially not with Yong Soo declaring his love now and then, saying that he has him and such… Yao bit his lip. How can he make this entire love problem stop spinning his head…?

"Kiku…" Yao put his hands on Kiku's shoulder, and Kiku glanced up. What surprised him next was when Yao leaned forward and pressed his lips on his forehead. His eyes went wide in their sockets. Yao smile was rather melancholy, though, once he pulled back.

"Just to let you know, that I will not hurt you, aru…" Yao pulled Kiku into a warm hug, causing Kiku's mind to come to a complete halt. Why had things become this complicated…? Kiku rested his head on Yao's chest, closing his eyes, calm. It had been such a long time since Yao had hugged him like this. He felt nostalgic. Kiku's lips formed a small smile: he loved him… But right now… He didn't know…

Arthur was about to speak up when Yao suddenly grasped his neck forcefully, making him choke.

"Ya…. O…" He tried to pry Yao's fingers free, all to no avail.

"How dare you appear in front of me, aru! I thought you promised to make Kiku happy, aru! Can't you even make your ex lay his hands off of my brother, aru?"

"Hyung!" Yong Soo quickly pulled Yao back, his hands slipping off Arthur's neck.

"Let me go, aru!" Yao said, struggling against Yong Soo's arms. He stopped when Yong Soo's hands ran to his chest, taking advantage of the moment and groping him. There was a loud 'smack!' and a second later Yong Soo was kneeling on the floor, clutching his head.

"It's Ivan…" Arthur panted out, massaging his neck. Yao's face hardened, narrowing his eyes at the British.

"Kiku got beaten last night, aru. He told me everything. Ivan keeps thinking that you haven't broken up with Alfred, aru." Arthur gaped at him, reminding Yao of a fish.

"I… what? Ivan has gone crazy!" Arthur exclaimed. Yao wheeled on him and stabbed a finger at his chest.

"I don't care, aru! You should have ended things clearly if you really want to go out with my brother, aru! Or I will take him back from you…" Yao threatened. Arthur hung his head and nodded.

"I know… I will… talk to Alfred about this and let Ivan know…" Arthur mumbled, much to Yao's satisfaction.

"Good aru, I want you to leave now, Kiku needs his rest…"

"Can't I at least see him? I came all the way here, I'm worr—"

"No! Go home…" Yao did not care whether the Kirkland guy would reach his home drenched like a drowned rat; he needed to know at least part of the suffering Kiku had gone through. The rain didn't even match the beatings Kiku had taken. Yao closed the door after Arthur left with a sigh of defeat.

"Aren't you a bit too harsh on him?" Yong Soo asked Yao.

"No. He needs to know at least a little of Kiku's pain. I wish I could show him how he got beaten…" Yao muttered, passing Yong Soo on his way to Kiku's room. Yong Soo stared after him, crestfallen. Maybe… his love for Kiku was stronger than he thought… Will he still have a chance? Yong Soo looked down, letting the wall take his weight. He buried his face in the palms of his hands.

Near the entrance of the kitchen, Hong stared at his brother, who was now crouching down, trembling.

The rain got heavier by lunch time, and Kiku had felt much better. He was glad that he took some rest. A buzzing sound came from his mobile phone, and he got off the bed and walked toward his desk. It was his boyfriend. Kiku stared at the name, wondering if he should pick up or not. Kiku shook his head and put the mobile on the desk, ignoring the buzzing sound. It stopped for about three seconds and Kiku sighed in relief. Another buzz rang off, but this time it was shorter, a message. Kiku picked up his phone and curled up on his chair, staring at the mobile screen.

"I heard you were beaten up. Yao wouldn't let me inside the house. I'm worried. I just got back to my dorm, I'm glad I went back. The weather is so bad… I wish you were okay."

Kiku stared at the sentences with sad eyes. Another buzzed startled him, almost making him dropped his mobile. He quickly opened the new message, and the new words made his heart clench painfully.

Kiku, can't you trust me and tell me anything? Why did you keep it to yourself?

Kiku buried his face in his arms, biting his lip, his face felt so hot.

'It's not like that… it's not like that at all…'

Kiku stared at Arthur, who was currently giving him a sheepish smile. The Japanese looked down at the temperature in his hand, and sighed.

"How can you wait in the heavy rain with that raincoat of yours, in front of my house for hours, and then come back home freezing to death?" Kiku cked, shaking his head.

"Sorry… I just… I was worried about you… I was hoping that you would come out of the house if I waited a little longer outside… I don't know… I wonder why I did that though, knowing Yao…" Arthur coughed a little, removing the cold handkerchief from his forehead and trying to sit up. Kiku gave him a sad smile, taking the handkerchief from his hand.

"I'm sorry… for not telling you anything…" Kiku said softly. Arthur looked at him for a moment and sighed.

"Ivan… he… he didn't do it at Alfred's command. He acted on his own… You don't have to worry about Alfred… I will tell him about Ivan tomorrow…" Arthur said firmly. His voice was already developing a hard edge.


"Why didn't you tell me?" Arthur finally exclaimed, glowering and grinding his teeth. He felt his head spinning at the sudden flare of anger rising up and groaned, clutching his head.

"I'm just afraid that I'm being possessive and badmouthing both of them without cause. I didn't want you to think of me like that… And I didn't want to ruin your relationship with Alfred, it being on tenterhooks already…" Arthur got up from his bed and pulled Kiku into his arms. Kiku managed a squeak.

"I will trust you, Kiku! I'm sorry I couldn't protect you the other night… I…" Kiku put his fingers on Arthur's lips, stopping him.

"Please don't think about that. Things wouldn't have gotten that bad if I had brought my sword with me. You can't protect me like I'm a woman… Beside it would be bothersome…" Kiku raised his eyes to meet the gleaming green orbs.

"Then we should… break it off…"

Kiku's heart almost stopped. He pushed Arthur away.


"What did you just say?"

"I want to protect you! I don't want Ivan to hurt you or burden you anymore because of me and Alfred!" Arthur said, voice cracking, sweating hard. He could feel his fever rising up. Kiku shook his head harshly.

"Are you telling me that I'm some kind of Princess that needs protecting? I'm a guy, Arthur-san! I can take care of myself. I'm taking the entire beating to protect our relationship. Ivan keeps insisting that I stole you from Alfred-san, and I want to prove him wrong. And even Alfred was pestering me to give you back, like you are some kind of movie for rent. Are you telling me that you want to break up with me because I won't let you protect me, even now that I've taken the effort to protect both of us?" Kiku spilled his frustration toward the British who was gawking at him. He had never seen Kiku like this, not this open.

"Kiku… you…" Arthur stopped when Kiku tugged his collar.

"I love you! I don't want to let you go, not in this condition! Don't let them break us apart! You are falling into their trap!" Kiku was desperate now, his hands trembling. He was about to continue when suddenly Arthur locked his lips with him. He jerked in surprise. Kiku quickly pushed him off, and Arthur was left to gape at him.

"Ah, sorry… it's… you are sick…" he explained, looking away. He didn't want to see those puppy eyes of Arthur.

"Now, why don't you get some more rest, I will prepare hot soup for you…" Kiku quickly pulled Arthur to the bed. Arthur grumbled but let himself be tucked in.

"Stay here for a while longer…" Arthur mumbled, making Kiku smile.

"I will…" he whispered, leaning down to kiss Arthur's forehead. The British blushed; he didn't say anything when Kiku pulled back and turned to head for the stove. Deep inside, he was glad that Kiku did not want to end their relationship because of Ivan. He was right: he shouldn't let Ivan succeed in breaking them apart. He wondered, though, if Kiku would be alright. Arthur closed his eyes and rolled to his side, stopping himself from thinking too much.

Alfred looked up, only to be met by Arthur's glare. He wondered what it was that made the blond so angry.

"What is it?" Alfred asked with a frown, obviously not knowing what's going on. But Arthur wouldn't—he presumed—fall for his fake innocence. He needed to talk this out with him. That's why he had called Alfred into one of the empty classrooms. He let Alfred sit on top of the teacher's table.

"I think you know why I'm angry, Al… Your Russian boyfriend… he beat Kiku three days ago, and I was thinking how low you've sunk as to let your boyfriend employ violence on mine!" Arthur raged. Alfred only stared at him like one would at a lunatic.

"I… don't know what you are talking about! And he is not my boyfriend! For a hundred times already, he is not my boyfriend!" He wasn't lying. As far as he knew, Ivan had never done something that hostile, not since that incident with Yao. Although even if he had, Alfred would probably not know about it.

"Don't lie to me, Alfred! Can't you at least control him a little? He always listens to you, I know it!" Arthur snapped.

"Wait a minute! Can't you at least explain why he beat Kiku? He didn't even tell me."

"Ivan was blackmailing Kiku so that you could take me back from him. What do you think I am? We've been through over a year ago, Alfred. I don't think that's a very appropriate thing to do, you know, opening old wounds and letting some madman terrorize someone very dear to me," Arthur said, voice dripping with sarcasm.

Alfred was slow to react, the words still registering. It wasn't about what Ivan did, but what Arthur had said, about 'over a year ago.' And that's when he left…

"So that's it… no wonder you never contacted me anymore and just… went out with Kiku…" Alfred mumbled, still dazed. Arthur stopped huffing like an angry bull.

"What? What are you talking about? You were the one who left me like that, breaking up with me because I was mad at Ivan. And you just left me there in the rain, traipsing back to America with him!" Arthur was already clenching his fists; no, he didn't want to talk about this right now. It was useless, he knew, but Alfred's answer was something he had never expected.

"I never said anything about breaking up!"


"I've never said anything about breaking us apart!"

Arthur was stunned, mouth going dry. Before him, Alfred was scowling, shaking his head. He didn't sound like he was… lying… no, wait. As far as he could remember they had had a fight… because of Ivan. Since that guy kept wandering around with him, and that was when they had just entered university. Ever since that guy came around, Arthur and Alfred were always fighting.

"I just wanted you to get over your possessiveness over me, Arthur! I never said anything about breaking up with you! We just… needed some time to get away from each other… I thought it was best if we just cooled off before talking. So I decided to go back to America for a while, and to visit Matthew."

"I got mad at you because you decided to ditch your studies, Alfred. We just got into the university and we were not even finished with the new term yet! And I don't know why but ever since Ivan started befriending you, you were so easily distracted! I'm not being possessive! And then you left, just like that, for America? It's not because I don't trust you—"

"Yes, you don't trust me. You never wanted me to go anywhere, or have some new friends. But Matthew was sick… he was in the hospital."


"I got there not knowing that he was in the hospital until I had contacted Cuba. He said he was in coma, so I decided to stay there until he woke up. I tried to contact you a week later, but you never answered me! Who was the one who never picked up his phone when I called? I sent you emails, but I bet you never even opened them!"

Arthur swallowed thickly. "Your brother... is Matthew… alright?"

"He is alright… I'm glad that he finally woke up before reaching three months as a vegetable… but still I decided to stay longer. I was desperate, I wanted to talk to someone, but you never answered me. I was grateful that Ivan followed me there, he listened to me all the time. He even told me to stay there for a while, to take good care of Matthew and finish a year of studies there. I wanted to come back, since you never replied. But I couldn't just ditch my lessons halfway, so I forced myself to finish and finally go back here."

There were so many things happening all at once now. So they were actually just… fighting and weren't really breaking up? Just a misunderstanding? Arthur was sweating; he didn't know what to do.

"And then I came back to find out that you are with Kiku," Alfred continued in a sullen tone. "That pathetic Japanese guy who's always fidgeting. I don't know why you're so attached to him. So I decided to take some action, take you back. I talked to Kiku about this, and he ignored me. He hadn't said anything that time and just turned around to leave. I talked to Ivan about it, and he said he would…" Alfred stopped when he remembered.

"What…" Arthur was alarmed.

"I was complaining that time and I said to him, if only I had come back here sooner. And he said that he would help. I just replied nonchalantly, that anything he would do would be fine. I didn't know he would do something like that to Kiku!"

Arthur almost choked; he actually talked to Kiku about that? Arthur couldn't help but wince, he was so confused now. What should he do in a time like this… "Even if Ivan was acting on his own will, you are a bit responsible for this, Alfred. We need to talk to him."

"Aren't you going to say anything about our misunderstanding?" Alfred mumbled. Arthur's heart was beating faster now. Alfred jumped off the table and stood before him.

"Alfred… I…" Arthur looked away, but before he could move Alfred forced the British to face him by the chin. The American leaned down to press his lips against Arthur, receiving a muffled exclaim. Arthur's mind gave way. It had been a long time, since he felt those lips against his. Arthur closed his eyes.

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