Brother Knows Best
Give me a box of chocolate fudge pop tarts and I’ll give a completely, utterly senseless fic such as this one…Heehee. Surgeons warning: Pop tarts rot the brain and bring crazy fanfic writers who have suffered from sleep deprivation for the past three days to write such senseless little ficcys as this.
Why, oh why, you might ask, am I taking away erm…I dunno, thirty minutes of your life away from you by making you read such a fic? Heh. I just felt like writing something…Heehee. ^__^ Sides, my bro is getting married soon and I heard him talking with our older brother about the certain ‘rituals’ *snicker* that a guy has to go through before he reaches full-fledged manhood. One of these being the *gasp* first phone call to someone of the opposite sex. Though of course, this being yaoi (I am incapable of writing anything that’s not…-___-) it’s the first phone call to someone of the same sex…
Heh. Anyways, on to the fic. Blame my brothers…
Out of Character Rukawa warning…Heehee… This is also unbetad, by the way…
This could go on forever. As far as Sakuragi Hanamichi knew, no one had ever beaten Rukawa Kaede when it came to an all out stare-at-each-other-until-someone-backs-down competition. Even though he was the great Tensai, he was beginning to think that he wouldn’t be able to claim to be the first to do so. After all, they had been engaged in said competition for the last half hour. The silence, and having to actually sit still for that long, was beginning to get to him. So he did the thing that he usually did whenever someone pissed him off. He leaned across the table, grabbed Rukawa by the back of his neck, and brought his head crashing against the dark haired boy’s own.
This, at least, managed to get some sort of reaction. Rukawa blinked and brought his hand up gingerly to his forehead. “ Do’aho. That hurt.” What, in the name of all that was good and holy, had possessed him to ask Hanamichi, of all people, for help? Sure, the redhead had delivered, getting Kogure’s phone number for him like he had assured him the ‘tensai’ would, but the stupid idiot now refused to go back to his own home before he actually picked up the phone and called the senior up.
Hanamichi had been bugging him to do that ever since a week ago, when he had reluctantly, *very* reluctantly, admitted that he just *might* like his Kogure-sempai a little bit. He hadn’t planned on letting anyone know about that. The redhead, who he had worked out an uneasy truce with ever since he had gotten over his feeling for Akagi’s sister and realized that Mitsui Hisashi was actually his real soul mate, had merely surprised him into the confession. Now he was beginning to think that maybe he should have just bitten his tongue off before revealing such a thing to the stupid idiot, because if he had done so, then maybe he might have had some peace, unlike right then.
A look of determination on his face, Hanamichi held out the cordless phone towards Rukawa. He was going to get the idiotic Kitsune to do this no matter what happened. The fate of the Shohoku basketball club depended on it, he hated to admit. Sure, he was the tensai, but even geniuses couldn’t do everything on their own. As much as it pained him to say so, he might just need the Kitsune the *tiniest* *tiniest* bit. And he couldn’t afford to have Rukawa in his current state, all broody and distracted ever since the object of his silent love had gone on to University. “ Call. Now. Do you realize what I had to go through to get this damn number?”
“ How hard could it have been?” Rukawa scoffed. As usual, Hanamichi was blowing all things out of proportion, not that he was expecting the loud-mouthed redhead to suddenly become all meek and modest out of the blue.
“ *How hard could it have been?* *How hard could it have been?*” Hanamichi repeated incredulously. He shuddered involuntarily as he recalled just how he had managed to come up with their senior’s home phone number. “ Try spending two hours with The Hentai of All Hentais and his amazing wandering hands! You can’t even *begin* to comprehend what I had to go through with that guy with your little, fox brain.”
Rukawa raised an eyebrow. “ How exactly did Sendoh Akira get involved in all of this?” He demanded, his voice dangerously low. If he found out that Sakuragi had been telling that dammed hentai about everything, then he was going to die, plain and simple.
“ I had to get him to let me take a look in that little black book of his. It’s got the phone number of every single cute guy that Sendoh has ever laid his eyes on. I thought that Koshino burned it when they got together, but Hikoichi told me that Sendoh actually had an extra copy, just in case. The Tensai has his sources!” And so saying, Hanamichi threw his head back and let out his trademark maniacal laughter. Rukawa could not doubt his genius anymore, now that he showed him just how capable and resourceful he was!
The Shohoku star player just rolled his eyes. “ It didn’t occur to you to just go to Ayako and ask her for the Basketball Club Member directory?” The redhead was even stupider than he had ever thought humanly possible. He sighed, shaking his head. “ Do’aho.”
Flushing a deep red, Hanamichi half rose on his seat and threw the phone at him. “ If you knew about the damn directory then you should have asked Ayako-san for it yourself!” Damn, ungrateful foxes. This was what he got after having to endure Sendoh and his ardent attempts to feel him up. This was gratitude for you! He should have known better than to expect any from this bastard.
Rukawa remained unimpressed by his teammate’s show of temper. He merely sat there, holding onto the phone, watching Hanamichi as he slipped a piece of notebook paper towards him. “ What are you waiting for?” The redhead demanded, slamming his fist down onto the piece of paper. “ Call him.”
“ Go away.”
“ No. I will not go away. I am going to stay here until you call Megane-kun.” Hanamichi replied through gritted teeth. It was best to get this over with. The sooner Rukawa got Kogure out of his system, the sooner the guy could get back to his one track goal of National domination. Hanamichi really preferred the ruthlessly single minded Rukawa over the ridiculously lovesick one that had been the cause of the recurrent tic on their new captain, Miyagi Ryota’s, face.
It wasn’t that Rukawa had gone into lovey dovey, the world has suddenly become a wonderfully, deliciously perfect place ever since I have fallen in love mode. No. That would have been preferable, though slightly sickening, Hanamichi was guessing. It seemed to him as though with each passing day that the Shohoku ace player spent mooning over his lost love, another basic skill necessary for playing basketball was lost to him.
The first day that the bespectacled ex vice-captain had not been in his customary place watching them practice, Rukawa had lost his ability to concentrate on the game, his gaze being drawn every few seconds towards the doorway of the gym in the hopes that maybe Kogure would have ditched his own basketball practice to watch over them.
The second day without the brown haired boy found Rukawa unable to get the simplest of shots in since he was too busy thinking about the possibilities of Kogure having found someone in his new school. And so on, and so forth until it had come to the point where Rukawa was even unable to dribble the ball properly without having it hit the toe of his basketball shoes or something.
Hanamichi had never thought it possible, but here it was, right before his own eyes. The Ice Prince himself was deeply, deeply in love, and he just had to do something before the first match of the Kanagawa qualifying games started. He couldn’t have Rukawa continuing to play this badly then. Shohoku would be humiliated! And short of locking Rukawa up in a closet with Kogure (an idea which he had considered for quite a while), he couldn’t think of any other better way to resolve things than a simple phone call to ask Kogure if he might liked to reminisce about the old times over a nice cup of coffee.
“ Do it. Now.”
Silence. Then a tentative question, “ What am I supposed to say?”
Hanamichi let out a loud sound of exasperation. He had forgotten that he was dealing with the verbally challenged one here. Maybe doing things over the phone wouldn’t be such a good idea after all... “ A simple ‘hello’ will do, for starters.”
“ Hello.” Rukawa repeated experimentally, looking doubtfully at his redheaded companion. “ But what if it isn’t Kogure-sempai that answers the phone?”
“ Then *ask* for him, for God’s sake! Kitsune! Do I have to write out a bloody script for you?” Looking at Rukawa now, you would never be able to believe that he was a strategic genius on court when faced with this incredibly uncertain idiot.
“ That might help…” The dark haired boy murmured thoughtfully. Reading from a script would certainly be a whole lot easier than having to actually come up with his very own conversation. He dug out his binder and a pen from his bag, which was lying on the floor beside him, and threw them over to Hanamichi.
The door to the Rukawa kitchen was suddenly thrown open and in came Rukawa’s older brother, Ruiji. He made a beeline for the fridge and began pawing through its contents. “ A script for what?” he asked, his head deep within the confines of the fridge.
“ Nothing. Get out of here.” Rukawa had no intention of letting his older brother know about this. “ I need to use the phone.”
This statement, and the fact that his younger brother sounded so tense, attracted Ruiji’s attention. He drew back from the fridge, a jar of peanut butter in his hands, and plopped down before the kitchen table next to Hanamichi. Kaede, as a rule, *never* used the phone. That was one of the few things that he liked about his younger brother, since the phone lines were free for his use. Something had to be up. “ Who are you calling?” He asked. Seeing a piece of paper with some numbers scrawled across it lying on the tabletop, Ruiji pounced on it before either of the two younger boys could react. “ Kogure Kiminobu!” He read out, his mouth turning down into a small frown. He had heard that name before! After a moment of consideration, his blue eyes brightened visibly when he recalled just how he had come across that name in the past. “ That’s the name that you keep calling out in your sleep!”
“ Yuck! Kitsune!” Hanamichi’s face scrunched up in disgust. “ Don’t tell me you’ve been having all sorts of hentai dreams about Megane-kun and his puny little body!” Rukawa simply ignored him, willing all the blood in his body to not rush onto his face and give away the fact that he had *indeed* been having all sorts of hentai dreams about the senior’s ‘puny’ body.
Ruiji let out a little gasp, as he pretended to brush away a tear from the corner of his eyes. “ I can’t believe this! My little brother’s first phone call to the one he’s lusting after! He’s growing up *so* fast!” He leaned across the table and hugged a scowling Rukawa, who wriggled away from him. “ This is momentous! This is incredible! This is amazing!”
“ Shut up.”
“ Well, little brother? What are you waiting for?” Ruiji demanded. He opened the jar of peanut butter and grabbed the loaf of bread lying on the table. Realizing that he had forgotten to get a knife to spread the peanut butter with, he merely shrugged and dipped his index finger into the jar, using it to spread the peanut butter across a piece of bread.
Rukawa watched all of this with morbid fascination. “ You pig.”
“ My hand is clean! And don’t mind me. Just go on ahead and call your darling up…” Ruiji told him as he licked the excess peanut butter off his finger. “ This is going to be interesting…”
He knew that he was going to end up sounding stupid, but what he was about to say was the truth anyways. Rukawa took a deep breath and finally admitted. “ I don’t know how to talk to him.”
“ What do you mean you don’t know how to talk to him? You used to talk to him all the time! What did you usually say to him?” Hanamichi prompted, frustrated by their seeming lack of progress. Rukawa made a little sound of assent. “ Well? What did you usually say to him?”
Rukawa looked at him quizzically. “ That.” He repeated the sound that he had made.
Looking back on everything now, Hanamichi realized that Rukawa was right. That had pretty much been all the participation that he had played in the brief ‘conversations’ that he had had with the senior. Kogure would tell him how well he had played and Rukawa would reply to this compliment with a little ‘un’ sound. The redhead groaned. “ God. All right, so doing this over the phone is a bad idea. Maybe we should just go over to the Kogures…ask Megane-kun if he’d like to go to Danny’s or something…”
“ What? With no warning whatsoever?” Ruiji shook his head vigorously. “ No, no, no! That simply isn’t done! Kaede-kun should call first! Scout out the area before moving in, you know, I always say…”
“ How is the Kitsune supposed to call him up when he’s so damn incapable of any sort of conversation?” Hanamichi demanded testily.
“ So we practice.” The dark haired older boy declared, brushing away the breadcrumbs from his hands. He gestured for his brother to pick up the discarded cordless phone. “ I’ll be this Kiminobu guy and you…you can be Kaede.”
Rukawa rolled his eyes at this, but right then, he was willing to try just about anything. He picked the phone up and held it against his ear, feeling incredibly stupid to be pretending to have some sort of conversation with the guy of his dreams who was being played by his meddling elder brother.
“ You start, Kaede-kun.” Ruiji prompted, using a banana as his own handset.
Hanamichi shook his head. “ This is stupid.” He snapped, looking at the two Rukawas. They looked ridiculous. Especially Ruiji, who had a banana pressed against his ear. Heaving out a tired sigh, the redhead finally decided that he might as well go along with things. *This is for the good of the whole team*, he reminded himself. “ Hello.” He urged Rukawa.
“ Hello.” The Shohoku freshman obediently mimicked him. Rukawa frowned, watching Hanamichi as his teammate gestured for him to keep on talking. After a few seconds consideration of what he should say next, he added, “ Kogure-sempai?”
“ Which Kogure-sempai are you looking for?” Ruiji asked, settling in nicely into his role.
“ Yeah. But which Kogure? There are five Kogures in this house, you know, kid?”
“ Oh for god’s sake, Ruiji! Can you just stop confusing him?” Hanamichi demanded as he began to rub his aching forehead. He didn’t know which was worse, the older brother or the younger one. At least Rukawa Kaede was quiet and didn’t get on your nerves with his incessant chattering, so he guessed he somewhat preferred the younger of the two.
“ I’m only trying to *prepare* him, Sakuragi! What if it isn’t that Kiminobu guy that answers?”
“ Fine. Whatever…” Scowling, Hanamichi sat back on his chair as he crossed his arms before his chest petulantly. “ He’s *your* baby brother after all. Do whatever you want to with him.”
Ruiji smirked. “ Oh. I suppose you think you could do better than me then, hey?”
Hanamichi didn’t answer this, instead gesturing for Rukawa to go on with the mock telephone conversation.
“ And what are your intentions towards my baby brother?” Ruiji demanded, his voice low and dangerous.
“ Aniki! Kogure-sempai is the eldest in their family…”
The older boy whacked his younger brother upside the head with his banana. “ Just go along with things, all right? How can you be so sure that that Kiminobu guy doesn’t have an overprotective older brother? I know that if any strange guy called you up, I would be a good elder brother and check him out first before letting him talk to you! Like all those times that I saved you from that spiky haired guy that was always hitting on you…”
“ You *saved* me from him then *dated* him afterwards, Aniki.” Rukawa pointed out dryly.
“ Ah, yes. But you *do* acknowledge the fact that I *did* save you!”
“ We’re getting off track here…”
“ Yes, we are.” Ruiji agreed, clearing his throat. “ And as I was saying before, what are your intentions towards my baby brother, Kiminobu?” Rukawa’s cheeks flushed suddenly as he recalled a very graphic dream from the night before of his ‘intentions’ for Kogure Kiminobu. Seeing his younger brother’s reaction, Ruiji wisely decided that he might not want to be treated to a blow-by-blow account of whatever was in Kaede’s mind right then. “ Fine, fine. Here he is…” Ruiji made an elaborate show of clearing his throat. He pitched his voice higher, and began to speak. “ Kiminobu here…”
Rukawa frowned, shaking his head in disapproval. “ That’s not the way that Kogure-sempai sounds.”
“ All right then. So how exactly *does* he sound?”
Love was supposed to make you all poetic and gushy when the subject of your loved one came up. In Rukawa’s case, however, he was just as verbally challenged as ever. Possibly even more so, since in his opinion, no amount of words could describe the incomparable Kogure Kiminobu. The one of the puppy-dog, melt you into a puddle of lovesick goo with one look, eyes. The one of the adorable round-rimmed glasses that slipped down the bridge of his nose as he ran down the court, making it necessary for him to push them back up with his index finger in the incredibly charming way. The one with the-
“ Kaede-kun? What does he sound like?”
How could he ever find the words to describe what Kogure Kiminobu sounded like? How could he get across the way that hearing that voice made him feel with just a few, measly words? There was no way even the most able of wordsmiths could do that! No way that he would ever be able to make his elder brother understand how soothing, how smooth and utterly heart stopping his beloved’s voice was! But, oh well…he could *try*. “ He…sounds like a guy…”
Ruiji sat frozen in his seat, staring dumbly at his brother. “ All right…that was…pretty much a given. I need a whole lot more than that to work on…”
“ Who *cares* what Megane-kun sounds like?”
“ That’s the problem with you, do’aho. You’re always ready to settle for the mediocre.” Rukawa sniffed scornfully.
“ That’s right.” Ruiji agreed readily. “ We Rukawas believe that there’s no point in doing something without putting one hundred percent effort behind it.”
“ Like being a bastard, right? You two do that incredibly well. Though I doubt that that takes much of an effort from you guys…” Hanamichi took the piece of paper containing the phone number away from Ruiji and thrust it into Rukawa’s hand. “ Just call him. Right now. Before I lose it.”
“ Why do you want me to call him up so bad anyways?” Rukawa demanded, raising an eyebrow. “ Are you afraid that Mitsui might still have the hots for Kogure-sempai?”
“ No. I just want you to get Megane-kun out of your system already so that you can start playing decently again!”
This made sense to him. Rukawa was perfectly aware of the fact that his performance lately hadn’t been up to par, what with him being completely distracted by thoughts of the older boy. “ Fine. You’re going home after this, though.” Rukawa grumbled, taking the piece of paper and beginning to punch in the number.
Dripping wet and clad in nothing but a white towel wrapped around his waist, Kogure Kiminobu hurriedly put on his glasses as he dashed out of the warmth of the steam filled bathroom where he had been taking a bath, out onto the hallway where the phone extension was. He hated in when this happened. “ Of course no one goes to answer the phone!” Kogure grumbled under his breath, glaring at his younger brother as he passed by his open bedroom door. “ Let Kimi-kun answer it all the time! Let Kimi-kun cook dinner! Let him wipe the baby’s ass when he takes a dump! Don’t let him take a nice, peaceful shower, though! Oh, no! That would be too much to ask!” Needless to say, Kogure was not exactly in one of his better moods when he picked the receiver up off the cradle. “ Hello?”
No answer. Feeling the towel begin to slip, Kogure pulled it up. He bent over and picked up a stray stuffed toy lying by his feet. Seeing that his lazy, good for nothing fifteen year old brother had finally wandered out of his room to grab something to eat in the kitchen, Kogure hurled the toy at him, not caring about his ‘good boy’ image anymore now that he was in the confines of his home. “ Hello?” He repeated, his impatience carrying onto his tone of voice. Once again, there was nothing. Only heavy breathing on the other end of the line. “ Pervert…” Kogure muttered, before slamming the phone back down and returning to his hot shower…
“ Kaede-kun? Is he on?” A stiff nod. “ Say something then!” Ruiji prompted, thumping his brother across the back encouragingly. For this momentous event, he had placed himself behind his younger brother’s chair where he could easily hear everything that the guy said.
Rukawa opened his mouth to do just that, but froze. Nothing came out but the sound of his heavy, rather labored breathing. Kimi-kun…He had finally heard his Kimi-kun’s voice after a whole three days of nothing. If he had been a normal person capable of normal human emotions and facial expressions, then he would have been grinning ear to ear right then, but him being Rukawa Kaede, he merely froze, enjoying having the guy of his dreams on the other end of the phone lines. That was until Hanamichi, the inconsiderate bastard, cut into his bliss by whacking the back of his head and urging him to say hello. But it was too late when he finally worked up the guts to do so. Kogure had already cut the line. He looked up, a puzzled frown on his handsome face. “ He hung up.”
“ Of course. He probably thought it was a prank call or something.” With a heavy sigh, Hanamichi ran a hand through his thick red hair. “ You’re never going to be able to do this! Good bye, National Championship…” All dreams of National Conquest had been shattered. All because of Rukawa and his obsession with the Megane-kun. Once more, he began to think over his plan of locking Rukawa up in a closet with the Megane-kun.
“I’m beginning to think that you’re right.” Ruiji murmured thoughtfully. “ Kaede-kun is hopeless…oh well!” A big smile on his face, the older boy grabbed the phone and the slip of paper containing Kogure Kiminobu’s phone number. “ I’ll call him up and arrange things for you then!”
Rukawa shot to his feet at this proclamation. What happened next was an all out wrestling match for the cordless phone for the next ten minutes, until Hanamichi, who thought it would make more sense for Ruiji to talk to Kogure, seeing how inept his younger brother was, was finally able to sit on Rukawa, who was sprawled face down onto the floor.
“ Sit still, Kaede-kun! *I’ll* fix everything for you!” For some reason, Rukawa was not in the least bit comforted by his brother’s reassurances.
The phone was ringing again. Letting out a frustrated sigh, Kogure dropped the towel that he had been using to dry his hair onto the floor and reached over to the phone that was on his bedside table. “ Hello?”
“ Hey. Is Kiminobu-kun there?”
There was the sound of some sort of scuffle going on in the background. Kogure couldn’t recognize the voice of the caller, but the guy must know him if he was calling him by his first name and everything. “ This is Kiminobu.”
“ Ah. Okay. You *do* have a nice voice.”
The bespectacled boy blinked, not knowing how to take this rather unexpected comment. “ Uh…thank you…”
“ Tell me…”
Ruiji looked down at the picture that he had found on in his brother’s wallet of the whole Shohoku basketball club. He had seen Kaede’s wallet on the boy’s back pocket and had grabbed it, thinking that he must have some sort of picture in there of the guy that he was so crazy about. “ Tell me…what’s the number on your basketball jersey?”
“ My basketball jersey number? I don’t play basketball anymore in University…”
Shaking his head, Ruiji clapped a hand over the receiver so that the person on the other end of the line wouldn’t be able to hear his comment. “ So he’s a University boy, is he, Kaede? What is it with you and older guys? Does he go to the same school as me?”
“ No. Thank god…” Rukawa growled, trying desperately to wriggle away from Hanamichi. “ Get off me! I can’t breathe!”
Ruiji had, by then, turned his attention back to Kogure. “ All right. Sorry for the mistake then. What was your jersey number back when you were playing for Shohoku then?”
“ Five. But why are you asking me this? And…I don’t recognize your voice. Who are you?”
The boy’s bright blue eyes scanned the photograph eagerly, looking out for the guy in the red and white number five jersey. When he found him, Ruiji was impressed. His brother had pretty good taste… “ You’re cute!” He commented, much to the horror of Kaede, who gave him a good kick on the backside after hearing that.
There was a pause. Then a tentative, “ Sendoh?”
“ Nope. Not Sendoh. Has he been hitting on you?” Once more, Ruiji pressed the receiver against his chest so that he could converse with his brother. “ See, Kaede! You got to him just in time! Sendoh’s been making his moves on him too!”
Kogure refused to answer this question when he was still unsure of the identity of the caller. “ Okay, who is this?”
“ You don’t know me. I’m Rukawa Kaede’s older brother. Rukawa Ruiji.”
Now what would Rukawa’s older brother be doing calling him up? He didn’t know the guy, as a matter of fact, he hadn’t even known that Rukawa *had* an elder brother until right at that moment. “ Is anything wrong, Rukawa-san? Has anything happened to your brother?”
“ Are you concerned?”
Kogure frowned, not understanding the sort of questions and comments that this Rukawa Ruiji was coming up with. “ Of course I’m concerned!”
“ Why? Well…because Rukawa-kun is my junior. So, is he all right?” Kogure demanded impatiently, getting tired of the strange conversation.
“ He will be. He’s a little red in the face right now, though.” A thoughtful pause. “ I think maybe Sakuragi-kun is a little heavy for him. But anyways, that’s not the point. I was wondering if you were involved with anybody right now…”
“Why are you asking?”
“ Well…because my brother, Kaede, you know him of course? He’s sort of interested in-” After a particularly vicious kick from his younger brother, Ruiji dropped the phone. Scowling in pain, he bent over to retrieve it and resumed the conversation, but not before he had managed to stomp down hard onto Rukawa’s hand flailing around on the floor. “He’s sort of interested in you…”
“ Interested in me?” Kogure repeated, his disbelief obvious from his tone of voice. “ And how, may I ask, did you manage to come to this sort of conclusion.”
“ Well, as I think I mentioned before, I think, I’m his brother and we share the same room, right?”
“ So, since we share the same room and everything, I can hear him talking in his sleep and everything, and he sleeps a lot. Believe me…”
“ Ruiji! Can you just get to the damn point? I’m having a hard time holding him down like this, you know!” Hanamichi shouted, flinching as Rukawa managed to sock him another good one in the gut.
“ Yeah. So anyways…in his sleep, he keeps on calling out to you. You know…I think he’s dreaming when he does that. Wet dreams, you know. They’re normal at that age. Hell, even *I* have them sometimes and I’m already twenty-three!” Ruiji laughed merrily at this. “ Anyways, just because you’re the subject of my younger brother’s hentai fantasies, you shouldn’t be disgusted or anything! You should be flattered! And…well, what Kaede-kun really needs right now is a date with you. So that he can blow off all that steam, you know? He’s really sexually frustrated right now…believe me! I live with him. Have I mentioned that I also sleep in the same room as him so I’m perfectly aware of his secret nocturnal activities?”
If he had been able to, Rukawa would have been bashing his head against the kitchen floor in frustration. His brother, his goddamn brother, was ruining absolutely everything, making him come across as some sort insufferable hentai. He was beginning to wish that he hadn’t made such a big deal about the whole phone call thing. Surely he would have been able to come up with a better way to coax Kogure into a date than telling him just how sexually frustrated he was…
“ Besides, Sakuragi-kun tells me that Rukawa has been performing really badly on court since you’re always in his mind and everything. So what do you say? Will you give a date with my little baby brother a go?”
Kogure remained silent for several seconds. He, quite frankly, didn’t know what to say after finding out that he was his junior’s object of desire. He was quite flattered, to be honest, and a bit curious. He had never thought it possible for him to affect someone, and especially Rukawa Kaede himself, that much. This was a revelation for him. “ And you’re speaking for Rukawa-kun because…?”
“ Well, because first of all, he’s not a man of words, as I’m sure you know…”
“ That’s an understatement…” Kogure smiled, remembering all of the monosyllabic ‘conversations’ that he had had with his junior before.
“ Yeah…you’re right…”
“ Can I talk to Rukawa?” The bespectacled boy asked, tired of speaking through a middleman, as amusing and humorous as said middleman might be.
“ This *is* Rukawa…”
“ Rukawa *Kaede*.”
“ Oh. Yeah, sure. Hold on a sec. Listen, if things don’t work out with my little brother, there’s always me, you know?”
“ Kaede-kun! Lover boy wants to *talk* to you!” Snickering madly, Ruiji dropped the phone onto his younger brother’s open hand.
“ Can I let him up yet?” A very tired and badly bruised Sakuragi asked.
“ No! Not yet! He’s mad…”
And understandably so, in Rukawa’s opinion. As soon as this idiot redhead got off him, he was going to kill his Aniki. And then it would be the redhead’s turn. After all of the things that Ruiji had just revealed to the object of his adoration about his ‘sexual frustration’ and all of that, the last thing that he wanted to do was to talk to him. But he could hear Kogure’s voice calling out his name from the receiver so he hesitantly spoke up. “ Hello?”
“ Do you always get your older brother to do your dirty work for you, Rukawa-kun?”
To his surprise, Kogure didn’t sound angry or embarrassed. He sounded…amused. Rukawa blinked. “ I didn’t want him to do that.”
“ No. I’m sort of guessing that you didn’t want to be humiliated in front of me like that…tell me, are all of those things he told me true?”
“ Yes…” Rukawa grudgingly admitted, his cheeks flushing a deep red as he did so.
“ All right, Rukawa-kun. That was all that I needed to know…” The blue-eyed Shohoku ace player couldn’t see Kogure, but it was clear from the older boy’s tone of voice that he was smiling. “ You’re free tonight?”
“ All right. So come by later on around seven and we’ll go out for dinner, okay?”
Rukawa was dumbfounded. He simply nodded, forgetting that Kogure wouldn’t be able to see that.
“ Oh…yeah. Pick you up at seven…”
“ Bye then, Rukawa-kun. And next time, you don’t have to ask your older brother to ask me out on a date for you. You could have just done it yourself and I would have said yes. See you later, Rukawa-kun…”
“ Yeah. See you later…” Slightly dazed, Rukawa turned his attention on his smirking older brother. “ He-”
“ Yeah. Sakuragi and I heard…” Ruiji affirmed, a smug smile on his face. “ Congratulations, little brother! You should remember that you managed to get this dream date with Kiminobu-kun only because of me the next time that I ask you for a favor!”
Rukawa was too happy to even say anything about his older brother’s comment. He had gotten what he wanted after all, so it didn’t matter. Let Ruiji think whatever he wanted to think.
“ Brother knows best!” Ruiji called out merrily as he walked out of the kitchen, leaving Rukawa to throw Sakuragi off him so that he could go and prepare for his dinner date with Kogure.